Devotions

IS THE WORLD STEALING YOUR PEACE?

Posted by on Jan 10, 2015 in Blog, Devotions, Uncategorized | 9 comments

When we listen to or watch the news and hear of tragic or sad events, it is easy to get discouraged. When we, or the people we love, are going through difficult times our hearts are heavy and we long to transform the circumstances. It’s easy to wonder where God is, and why He allows these things to happen.

We live in a fallen world where evil, disaster, disease, and death seem to have free reign, and those are the events that seem to get news coverage. It’s important to remember that there are also stories of courage, sacrifice, kindness, and generosity that are taking place all around us. These incidents could touch our hearts and lift our spirit just as powerfully, but they rarely command the same amount of press time. 

As Christians, we know Who is triumphant. The whole story has been written and we know the ending ― that evil, disease and death will cease and Jesus will reign over all.

“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” John 16:33 NIV

Until then, we can center our hearts and minds on the Lord. A great way to sheet of musicdo that is to list all the things for which we are thankful. Listening to hymns, praise songs, and inspirational music can also inspire and lift us. These tools don’t alter the circumstances, but it changes us, and our perspective as we go through trials.

“Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.” Philippians 4:4-9

The Lord has given each of us a platform, and prepared places for us to be an encouragement to others. When we choose to be the light, and do His will in the localities where He has placed us, He blesses us.

  If you need a song to encourage your heart today, listen to one of my favorites, My Jesus My Saviour by Michael W. Smith

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mqSQvoinDE4&list=PLh9KTH-y7X5URgvGx6VKf2ePhrcEe-BLIRainbow

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THE PHILOSOPHER’S AWAKENING — A CHRISTMAS ALLEGORYI

Posted by on Dec 22, 2014 in Blog, Devotions, Uncategorized | Comments Off on THE PHILOSOPHER’S AWAKENING — A CHRISTMAS ALLEGORYI

It was almost thirty years ago that I first read THE PHILOSOPHER’S AWAKENING by Mabel Lee Cooper. I’ve heard this Christmas allegory read by Paul Harvey, the well known American radio broadcaster, famous for his “‎The Rest of the Story” broadcasts several times in the years since. I’m sharing it now with you.  I wish you a blessed Christmas.

THE PHILOSOPHER’S AWAKENING

It was Christmas Eve. Outside the wind howled and the snow was falling; a dreadful blizzard was on the way. Inside his little house by the side of the road, a great philosopher sat comfortably by his warm fire with his books for companions. This philosopher was very wise. Many people found their way to his door to seek his advice and help. Not only was he wise, but also very kind; he loved all living creatures, and for his great kindness and wisdom he was beloved by all who knew him.

As he sat this stormy night by his warm fire he thought of all who might be out in the blizzard. He arose, raised his curtains high, and put a bright light in his window, saying, “All who must be out tonight can find shelter and warmth and welcome by my fire.”

As he stood by the window, suddenly he heard the sound of many voices singing, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will among men!” It was the little band of Christians singing in their chapel nearby.

“This is Christmas Eve”, thought the philosopher to himself, “the night the Christians celebrate the coming of God to earth in the person of Jesus Christ.”

Now this philosopher, being in the habit of understanding the things he believed, had not joined the band of Christians. He thought the Christians’ way of life was the best way, but he could not understand the many mysteries of their faith. Above all, he could not understand the Incarnation. Why was it necessary for God to come to earth in the person of Jesus Christ? How could it be? Because he could not understand these things he would not become a Christian.

As he was thinking, suddenly he heard a noise at his window, caused by a flock of half frozen birds beating their wings against his window pane. The poor birds had been caught in the blizzard as they journeyed southward to a warmer climate.

The heart of the philosopher was touched, for he loved birds.  He opened wide his window, thinkBirds in the Snowing the birds would fly in where there was warmth. But the birds didn’t understand, and would not fly in. Putting on his warm fur coat, he went outside, determined to save them if he could. He tried to force them into his room, but they resisted. Several times he tried to clutch them in his hands, but they eluded his grasp. Then he took bread crumbs and scattered them on a little place he had cleared in the snow. The half-starved birds devoured the crumbs, and then, with renewed strength, tried to fly again.

The philosopher thought of his barn where the birds would be safe in the warm hay. He placed a ladder leading to the door of the barn and covered each round of the ladder with bread crumbs. He succeeded in attracting the birds to the ladder. They ate the crumbs on each round and reached the open door of the barn. But they wouldn’t fly in! How hard the philosopher tried to force them inside, but they didn’t understand; and in spite of his efforts he saw the birds drop, one by one, frozen to death, with a haven so close at hand.

The philosopher looked sadly at the birds he had tried so hard to save. “The great difference between the birds and myself,” he thought, “is that I know where a haven is; they did not. They did not understand that I was trying hard to save them, and I could not make them see that the haven was close by. There was only one way I could have saved them ― only by becoming a bird could I have made them understand!”

As he mused, suddenly he heard again the Christians singing: Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men!”

Then a great light seemed to come to the wise philosopher. “O God,” he cried, “there was no other way for You to make men understand ― no other way that even You could lead them and make them understand, save by becoming one of them!”

And then, in the drifting snow, he fell upon his knees and uttered from the depths of his soul, “I believe! I believe!”

Holy Family

 

 

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Is Your Dream Part of God’s Plan?

Posted by on Mar 7, 2014 in Blog, Devotions, Journal, Uncategorized | 4 comments

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord,

“plans to prosper you and not to harm you,

plans to give you hope and a future.

Then you will call on me and come and pray to me,

and I will listen to you.

You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.”

Jeremiah 29:11-13

 

We all have dreams; some even go back as far as our childhood. If you think back, perhaps yours were to be a fireman, doctor, nurse, lawyer, astronaut, entertainer, musician, teacher, or something else.  Those dreams often change as we mature, and are often influenced by others, or our own circumstances and can include marriage, children, and other life choices.

Our culture can color our values and our dreams, causing us place too much importance on affluence, fame, influence, power, or popularity, and that can leave us feeling very dissatisfied.

Some dreams are fulfilled, others not, and occasionally they take a long time to be realized. After many years of not always aligning my hopes to God’s plans, I discovered that when my dreams and God’s plans were in agreement, the results were blessings.

 

“Take delight in the Lord,

and he will give you the desires of your heart.”

Psalm 37:4

 

DaydreamerOne example from my own life occurred in the mid 90’s when, after sixteen years of being a stay at home mom, I needed to return to work. My previous career in the banking and mortgage lending arena was not one I wished resume. My new dream, when the time came for me to again seek employment, was to serve in ministry. I had been involved in Community Bible Study (CBS) classes for about ten years. CBS is a national ministry with hundreds of classes throughout the US, and an international ministry with classes in many nations. In 1995, when the time came for me to re-enter the workforce, I was able to get a job at their national/international office ― their only office ― 10 miles from my home. My dream and God’s plans were in agreement, the result brought numerous blessings.

 

“for it is God who works in you to will and to act

in order to fulfill his good purpose.”

Philippians 2:13

 

 I have shared previously my appreciation for the way Roy Lessin expresses timeless truths. Here are some of his gems from his online devotional Meet Me In The Meadow Our Dreams or God’s Desires:

“It is important for all of us, as followers of Jesus Christ, not to confuse human dreams with God’s desires, direction, and will for our lives. Our dreams, compared to God’s desires and purposes, can be very different and we need to understand those differences:

~ Human dreams can be based upon fantasies;

      God’s desires for us are based upon reality and truth.

~ Human dreams can be born out of self-interests;

      God’s desires for us are based upon His will.

~ Human dreams can focus on what is pleasing to us;

      God’s desires for us will focus on what is pleasing to Him.

~  Human dreams can become the most important thing to us;

      God’s desires for us make Him and His ways the most important things to us.

~ Human dreams can focus on our self-significance;

      God’s desires for us focus on His glory.

~ Human dreams can place us at the center of our thoughts;

      God’s desires for us place Him at the center of our hearts.

~ Human dreams can be looked upon as the key to our happiness;

      God’s desires for us cause us to look to Him as the source of our joy.

~ Human dreams can bring discontentment when they are not fulfilled;

     God’s desires and will for us do not disappoint.

 

As we delight ourselves in the Lord, His desires will become our desires, and we can trust in Him to fulfill them in His time and in His perfect way.”

 

“Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine,

according to his power that is at work within us,”

Ephesians 3:20 NIV

 

I have some dreams I am still waiting to be fulfilled. What big dream are you waiting for?

 

Used with Roy Lessin’s permission from:

Meet Me In The Meadow Devotional Online, “Our Dreams or God’s Desires – Part 1 and 2.” http://www.meetmeinthemeadow.com/2013/07/our-dreams-or-gods-desires-part-1-of-2/

http://www.meetmeinthemeadow.com/2013/07/our-dreams-or-gods-desires-part-2-of-2/

 

 

 

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THE GREATEST GIFT EVER GIVEN

Posted by on Dec 23, 2013 in Blog, Devotions, Uncategorized | Comments Off on THE GREATEST GIFT EVER GIVEN

 

IS

 

JESUS

 Great Holy Family

THE MOST IMPORTANT GIFT YOU WILL EVER RECEIVE

“For to us a child is born, to us a son is given,
and the government will be on his shoulders.
And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.”
Isaiah 9:6,7

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TIME WELL SPENT IN GOD’S WAITING ROOM

Posted by on Dec 3, 2013 in Blog, Commentary, Devotions, Uncategorized | 6 comments

How many times have you been in the midst of a difficult situation, whether it’s related to a job, financial struggles, damaged relationships, a health crisis, or a profound loss? Perhaps you are in the whirlwind of just such circumstances right now and are wondering how you are going to get through it.  It’s so easy in the midst of difficulties to grow discouraged and focus inward. This is when it can be helpful to remember, everyone has “stuff” they are dealing with. As we age, and experience more of these “detours”, it can grow easier to weather these storms, because we have reached safe shores in the past.
 
Ever notice how solutions rarely come when we want them? For Christians, we reach out to God for answers, all the while reminding ourselves that He’s in control. We know we need to be walking with Him, seeking His guidance, and waiting for His answers. Meanwhile our emotions can range from shock, confusion, denial, grief, anger, fear, anxiety, anticipation, impatience, and finally acceptance. 
 
“To everything there is a season, A time for every purpose under heaven”
Ecclesiastes 3:1
 
I remember reading a blogpost some time ago that referred to this time as “God’s Waiting Room”, a place where God meets us, and if we allow Him, He guides us through this season. While none of us seek trials, it is often in the midst of such events when we realize our limitations, gain some humility, and are finally willing to let go and let God. Isn’t that really what God wants from us, to be submissive, open to Him, and allow the One who has our best interests at heart to guide us?
 
God’s Waiting Room may be a lonely spot, but it is also a refuge, where life slows, and in its stillness, provides an opportunity for us to draw closer to Him. Here, we quietly acknowledge what is past, honestly evaluate where we are, and think about what is next. So what do we do A woman at prayerwhile we are in this sanctuary? We can read God’s Word, and pray. And we can listen. We find encouragement as we recall all the people and things for which to be thankful. As we enumerate how the Lord has brought us through other challenges, our perceptions change. It will probably not alter our current circumstances, but it can revise our attitude as we navigate our way through them. 
 
It is human nature to try to orchestrate our lives, whether about family, jobs or other pursuits. However, how often have you heard from someone, whose life has been involuntarily disrupted and sent in an unintended direction, that they could never have anticipated the benefits or blessings missed had they remained in their previous situation? 
 
“pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” 1 Thessalonians 5:17, 18
 
 
“Commit to the LORD whatever you do, and your plans will succeed.”
Proverbs 16:3
 
So, when we face the changes that come into our lives, do we have to navigate that journey alone? No! It is often in God’s waiting room that He does His finest work.
 
 
“Change is always in your favor when you’re walking with the Lord.”
Words from a wise friend
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PRAYER

Posted by on Oct 21, 2013 in Blog, Devotions | 2 comments

Prayer  ~ Webster’s defines it as a humble entreaty made to God. 
 
As Christians we learn from Jesus to make prayer a priority.
 
 He often withdrew to lonely places to pray. (Luke 5:16)
 He rose early in the morning and went to a solitary place to pray. (Mark 1:35)
 He reminds us that we should always pray and not give up (Luke 18:1) 
 He entreated believers to call out to Him day and night (Luke 18:7)
 He encourages us to not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving present our requests to God. (Philippians 4:6)
 He assures us that He hears and answers our prayers. (Matt 7:7,8  Matt 21:22  John 16:23,24   John 15:7   1st John 5:14,15)
                                                                                       
Our response should be ~ to be joyful always; pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances for this is God’s will for us in Christ Jesus.  (1st Thessalonians 5:16-1)
       
 
Prayer can take a variety of forms; it might be done privately or with others, silent, or with words or song. Communication is essential for a healthy relationship with people and with God. Prayer is communicating with our Creator, Sustainer, Redeemer and Savior. Some prayers come spontaneously from deep within; others may be inspired by the Holy Spirit and others may be prayers that have been passed down over the millennia. 
 
While I love to pray conversationally with God, I also appreciate the prayers of others. One of my favorites is the Prayer of St. Francis of Assisi. Francis, a thirteenth century saint who founded two religious orders; the Franciscan Order of monks and the Poor Clares, an order of nuns.   
Praying Hands -Bible, etc.
Prayer of Saint Francis of Assisi
Lord, make me an instrument of your peace.
Where there is hatred, let me sow love;
where there is injury, pardon;
where there is doubt, faith;
where there is despair, hope;
where there is darkness, light;
and where there is sadness, joy.
 
O Divine Master, 
grant that I may not so much seek
to be consoled as to console;
to be understood as to understand;
to be loved as to love.
For it is in giving that we receive;
it is in pardoning that we are pardoned;
and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.  
AMEN
 

Michael Podesta Calligraphy

PRAYER OF ST. FRANCIS   ~    Michael Podesta Calligraphy

Do you have any favorite prayers? 
This was a post of mine on Colonial Quills earlier this year.
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