Friday, February 27, 2009

Purposes Fulfilled!

Hiding in the Lord is the place to be. Contrary to our rejection of the mental image of 'hiding', it is the place of rich, abundant living and purposes fulfilled. As God's workmanship, humanity is an incredible creation. We are beings with passions and drive and ability. Sometimes so much so that we begin to think all of life depends on us...and is about us. The storms of life bless us in that we are inspired to call out to the One who is above all and who longs to nurture us. In our recognition of our limitations is the doorway to becoming all God intends for us. May we run to Him today and rejoice in the purposes He has for each of our lives!

Be merciful to me, O God, be merciful to me, for in thee my soul takes refuge; in the shadow of thy wings I will take refuge, till the storms of destruction pass by. I cry to God Most High, to God who fulfils his purpose for me. Psalm 57:1,2

Thursday, February 26, 2009


As the Israelites journeyed in the desert, they encountered resistance with each new city. Simple requests to pass by were often met with fear and rejection. Like them, our faith journeys often seem to be filled with battles, distractions and discouragements.

The Lord did not abandon His children and He does not abandon us. With faith guiding their journey, the Lord gave victories and used rejections to build His people. While we can experience that as well, we have another role 'in Christ.' We are 'cities' that others come to. In Christ, we have the joy of serving as a spot of refreshment and encouragement for others.

Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hid. (Matthew 5:14)

Someone will be needing a stop at your city today! May your heart be solidly resting in the love of Christ that you can shine a blessing on their path. And may you find a welcoming city in the times of your need as well!

Monday, February 23, 2009


Sometimes the struggles that weigh on me the most are those of my loved ones. In those times I rejoice that my position in Christ allows me to 'armor up' and do battle on their behalf. I didn't grow up in a praying family or a praying church, so I rely on a variety of tools to help me stay focused on the battle. Though prayer is simply heart-felt conversation with God, my mind tends to wander if I don't use prayer points and guidelines. If that sounds like you, this might be a warrior guide that would help: Whether you need prods like me or not, we all need great truths from God's word, so here is a wonderful 'in Christ' warrior truth:

(For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strongholds;) (2 Corinthians 10:4)

Sunday, February 22, 2009


The book of Joshua, with all its battles and victories, is a tremendous inspiration to me. So for our morning encouragement, let's use Joshua's word to God's people to encourage us:

One man of you shall chase a thousand: for the LORD your God, he it is that fighteth for you, as he hath promised you. (Joshua 23:10)

Sometimes it feels like there are a thousand attacks on worries, the political scene, health, jobs, parenting issues, a culture bankrupt of morality, and on and on. But IN CHRIST, we are assured of victory. As we stay solidly focused on Him, it is God Himself who fights for us. The pressure and the fear is removed in Him. Worship Him today and have confidence in His victory!

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Needs and Power Supplied!

One of the things I appreciate about being sick is it reminds me of a great truth Rick Warren stated in The Purpose Driven Life..."it's not about me." I'm usually a high-energy person who loves to be busy--and sometimes I forget that 'the flesh profits nothing.' Those things I rejoice in doing, while perhaps good and useful, aren't God's work. They are things I like to do and while they may bless others and even be used of God, the purposes God has for me on any given day will be accompanied by the power to do them! When I'm sick I am reminded and rejoice in the truth that God gives me all I need to complete HIS tasks for a given day. It is His power that quickens me and His power that holds me fast. Praise God this walk of faith is NOT dependent on me...It's all about Him!

So, two verses to share today to remind us of truths about "Life in Christ":

But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.
(Philippians 4:19)

Who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. (1 Peter 1:5)

Friday, February 20, 2009

Power to Witness

What does a witness do? A witness is one who has seen something and then shares it. Yesterday we looked at how confession and forgiveness give us the freedom to watch God work in us. We must move forward and not get stuck looking at mistakes from the past--they have been confessed, forgiven and wiped clean. We must refuse to focus on the seeds the devil has planted. Instead, we need to embrace the power of the Holy Spirit to look for God's hand on our lives and on those around us. We know, Jesus came to destroy the work of the devil and He is victorious. So, today the verse that seemed to jump out at me was this:

But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth. (Acts 1:8)

Living in Christ gives us the power to see and to share with others the vision of God's glorious work!

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Freedom of Forgiveness

What a joy that God established a plan for redemption that included forgiveness. We know that the forgiveness we have in Christ is a tremendous richness. It restored access to the Heavenly Father; it is necessary for eternal life...but there is another joy in forgiveness we often don't consider. There is a freedom and transformation in forgiveness that simple amnesty could never have provided.

To seek forgiveness implies an understanding of having done wrong. To seek forgiveness requires us to allow the Holy Spirit to search our hearts and unveil areas that need cleansing. In my prayer journal, I have a page for confession. On it I put down all those ugly attitudes that cloud my view of Him and the work He is doing--the irritation with others, the mis-placed priorities, the troubles that threaten to drown my faith in His sovereignty.

Then I claim 1 John 1:9. I've confessed them, He needs to cleanse them. God is faithful. He will bring to mind the roots of those attitudes. He will show me the pride, the sin and the blindness of my own soul. And in that heartwork, He continues with the work only He can do...transforming this fallen, selfish being into His workmanship. Praise God, "He's still working on me" and is faithful to continue it.

So the encouragement today: embrace confession, rejoice in forgiveness and watch Him work!

If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. (1 John 1:9)

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Burden Bearing

The heartaches and struggles of this world can feel oppressive. In Psalms we read that God is our burden bearer. In Ephesians 6:2, we are called to bear the burdens of others. Are you wondering where the encouragement is in THAT?

Well, if you are like me, you mis-read or substitute words sometimes. My tendency is to think I am to ‘fix’ or remove the burdens of others. Clearly God knows my limitations and has not asked me to do that at all. In Christ, I am called simply to share the weights of those around me. As I share those weights, I am called to witness Christ. Witnessing is watching Him work and sharing the beauty of Him with our fellow travelers.

With my eyes fixed firmly on Jesus, walking with Him in the yoke that is light, I will not be overcome by the hardships of this broken world. I will be blessed and a blessing! Let us stay close to His side and lift a load for someone today.

(Matthew 11:30) This yoke is easy to bear, and this burden is light.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009


Have you ever felt like you were not quite what someone else expected you to be...or perhaps you've felt completely rejected for who you are? It's so painful it can rob you of motivation, energy and joy. There is a glorious truth for us to counter every one of those times: we were chosen in love, in Jesus, before the world was ever founded!

The unconditional love of God is another of those mind-boggling truths we can explore for all eternity. We know how hard it is to give such a love but we also know how blessed it is to receive it! God has ALWAYS known us, ALWAYS wanted us and ALWAYS loved us. May we all rejoice in being chosen by Him today and show His kind of love to those who think we just don't measure up!

According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love: (Ephesians 1:4)

Monday, February 16, 2009

Heirs of unsearchable glory!

For our look at the beauties of life in Christ, let's consider all that we inherit when we live in Him. There are literally hundreds of scripture verses which discuss inheritances. Romans 8:17. tells us we are joint-heirs in Christ. 2 Corinthians 8:9 reminds us Christ gave up all the glories of heaven to suffer on earth that we might receive this inheritance.

And what is that inheritance? The great hall of faith chapter (Hebrews 11) outlines some of what we have inherited simply through faith in Jesus Christ! Every piece of our inheritance is a wealth we won't exhaust in all of eternity: the riches of God's grace, the glory of His righteousness, the promises of God, eternal life. It is incomprehensible what Jesus has done for us. So, today, in this time of fear and struggles, share with someone a glimpse of the riches God wants to shower upon them!

Unto me, who am less than the least of all saints, is this grace given, that I should preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ; (Ephesians 3:8)

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Morning Encouragement

Good morning, hope the Valentine's focus on love has your heart still singing! For our 'In Christ' focus, my heart was impressed with these words from Romans 8:1,2There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death. A friend brought the Lucado book "Give it all to Him" this week and it uses a trashman analogy. Lucado encourages us to release all that trash that builds up every day. I don't know about you but that confession part of my daily prayers always has thoughts or feelings that I DON'T want to keep with me. What a joy we can give it all to Jesus. I'll post a piece from that book as a note about 'today's thoughts become tomorrow's actions' but I've filled your boxes enough for now. Be blessed!

Chosen Parents

You are the parent God chose for your child. Isn’t that a puzzling, sometimes overwhelming concept? As we begin walking the labyrinth of parenting, the paths ahead are blessedly shrouded. The parenting journey includes delights beyond imagination and thorny passages which instill fear and frustration. God’s Word tells us the Creator Himself shepherds those with young and guides them on the paths; yet, it doesn’t always feel that way. At times the complexities of parenthood give the illusion that God stepped off the throne as challenges were assigned or that perhaps He confused us with a wiser, more loving and experienced parent. The reality is more incredible than we can begin to grasp. In His infinite love and wisdom, God chose each parent and each child as unique, perfect gifts for one another. The blessings are mutual…the plan perfect.

God uses the tool of parenthood to craft His family likeness into earthly moms and dads. He longs for His glory to be revealed in the parenting privilege. Nearly a decade and a half ago, we brought our baby home from the N-ICU with overwhelming joy, awe, fear and a numbing sense of inadequacy. The ability of a five-pound baby to bring a prideful heart to its knees is powerful! God continues to use the University of Motherhood to draw me unto Himself, to unveil the reality that His strength is revealed in my weaknesses—and what a superb reality! My pride had rejoiced in meeting the challenges of life head-on. The magnitude of the responsibility for nurturing this precious life shattered every competency I had ever relied upon. Parenthood has taught me I do not need to be in control and managing every detail perfectly. It has taught me that struggling is okay! It is not a sign of defeat to be engaged in a battle. Struggles simply strip away the deceits which have hidden the doorway to God’s strength. The inequities and burdens of life create opportunities for God to transform parents and to begin drawing our beloved children to Him. Struggles are to help us embrace His presence in our lives with confident hope…with certainty…that His plans and purposes are perfect. As we hold fast to that hope, the very image of God begins to shine forth in our lives—changing us, lighting our children’s paths and touching all those around us!

Beyond the challenges of parenthood lie mountains which dot the landscape of our children’s future--mountains woven into the design of our children’s lives by their loving, heavenly Father. His love for our children is greater and more perfect than ours. God would never allow a mountain for which He has not provided provisions for conquering. Parents are a key part of those provisions. The parent God chooses for a child has the strengths—and the weaknesses—to guide their children to the Shepherd Himself. God longs to take the hands of our children and guide them in life. Leading our children to the One who provides abundantly is the key task of our parenting assignment. Treasure the challenges on your parenting journey as the doorways to Christ. There is a splendor possible through embracing God’s presence in the trials of life which will produce faith that perseveres and moves mountains aside.

Loving Yourself

We fill our calendars and our lives with things to do…and even strive to include good & ‘godly’ things such as family time, church activities and devotional times. The speed of life seems to whirl more quickly with each passing year. Jesus calls us to come to Him for His yoke is light and He gives rest. He summed up our duties of life in only two commands. Perhaps life would feel more manageable if we focused just on those two things…let’s consider.

The first commandment, though immensely challenging, makes instinctual sense to us. “Love the Lord with all your heart, soul, mind & strength.” God designed our hearts to seek Him. Recognizing God’s greatness is a glorious, progressive experience which culminates in total worship of Him. But that second command is challenging from the start. “Love others.” Quite frankly, others are not always lovely. Then, it gets more difficult, “love as you love yourself.” Love me? Many times I am even more unlovely than others. Seeking to love God is a sweet challenge. Loving me—and loving others—is decidedly less appealing.

There is a beauty, though, in every word of Christ. This commandment is indeed a treasure chest we will delight in unpacking! The love Christ is compelling us to give to ourselves and others is ‘agape love.’ It is the pure, beautiful love of God which we behold and pursue in the first commandment. Paul articulates it in the ‘love chapter’ of 1 Corinthians. Paul helps us clearly understand that love is a verb…actions are what love is all about. Let’s look at those verses as just ‘actions’ for a moment:

Patient. I don’t need to get even.Kind. I seek to give and to do good.Content. I don’t want what others have.Humble. I don’t need to make myself look self-important.Peaceable. I don’t always have to be right.Courteous. I show respect.Serving. I don’t have to get my own way.Calm. I don’t blow up and lose my temper.Forgetful. I don’t keep a list of ways I’ve been hurt.Righteous. I want the best for others.Truthful. I love God’s word and try to obey it.Protective. I don’t say hurtful things about (or to) others.Positive. I believe the best about others.Hope. I believe good will come.Endure. I will not give up.

As we consider the actions of love, we realize that loving ourselves with His love is not self-centered at all. It is purely other-centered love rooted in the love we pursue in the first commandment. We can not give this love until we behold it in the presence of Christ in our own lives. To love ourselves is to be in relationship with Jesus—and that will transform us and our relationship with others. May your love for Him grow moment by moment and your life be transformed!