October 9, 2017

These Things Are Not Supposed to Be

They weren’t supposed to attend a country music festival and end up running for their lives.

He wasn’t supposed to take an anniversary trip with his beloved and end up shielding her from a bullet.

She wasn’t supposed to hug her children goodbye and end up never holding them again.

He wasn’t supposed to celebrate his 44th birthday and end up never celebrating another birthday.

She wasn’t supposed to say yes to her beloved’s proposal and never end up walking down the aisle.

She wasn’t supposed to be dancing and laughing with her best friends one minute and lying lifeless the next.

These things are not supposed to be.

I don’t have answers. I don’t have explanations.

But I know the One who does.

The One who tells me when the darkness invades my happy space … when disaster turns my life upside down … when evil oppresses me on every side … He is there.

His name is The Ancient of Days (Daniel 7:9-10). The One who was, is, and forever will be (Hebrews 13:8).

The One who gives us the powerful words of a young shepherd boy named David, who in the midst his impossible, spoke words we need today.

“Do not be afraid or discouraged because of this vast army. For the battle is not yours, but God’s. You will not have to fight this battle. Take up your positions; stand firm and see the deliverance the LORD will give you, O Judah and Jerusalem. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged. Go out and face them tomorrow, and the LORD will be with you” (2 Chronicles 20:15).

Our world is a scary place. It feels as if danger and uncertainty lurk around every corner. We don’t know what each day will hold. But, we do know the One who hold our days.

We can be afraid and discouraged or we can be confident and encouraged. The choice is ours.

It matters where we fix our eyes and on whom we fix our hope.

God is our hope … our only true hope (Psalm 62:5).

Run to the One who is your strength and your shield (Psalm 28:7). The One who fights for you (Exodus 14:14). His presence will never leave you. He will never forsake you (Deuteronomy 31:6).

The name of the Lord is a strong tower to which we can run and are safe, even in the most desperate of circumstances (Proverbs 18:10).

Whether He stills the storm or invites you in, He will be with you.

God is our Rock (Psalm 18:2). His love is steadfast (Lamentations 3:22-23).

Pray this prayer with me,

Thank You, Lord, that You are a shield around me,
    my glory, the One who lifts my head high.
I call out to you, Lord,
    and you answer me from Your holy mountain.

I lie down and sleep;
    I wake again, because You, O Lord, sustain me.
I will not fear though tens of thousands
    assail me on every side.

Lord, I will keep my eyes fixed on You (Psalm 3:2-6). In Jesus’ name. Amen

What verse gives you comfort in times when fear and darkness press in? Share it with us today. I’d love to see this page FILLED with God’s Word we can all cling to our in our times of despair and distress.

Blessings,

April 21, 2017

Spiritual Heartburn (Living So That Giveaway)

 Will you join me for a few minutes to take a trip back in time?

Today we will join two friends, Cleopas and his companion, walking from Jerusalem to Emmaus after Christ’s death. Friends whose hearts ached with sorrow as they spoke of how the Roman authorities persecuted, tortured, and executed their teacher and friend. In the midst of their conversation, Jesus joined them, but Scripture says they didn’t recognize Him.

Let’s imagine ourselves on that same road … believers who had put all our hope in Jesus. With His death, we now feel abandoned and hopeless. Yet, unbeknownst to us, standing next to us is the risen Jesus Himself!

Jesus asked the two men what they were talking about.

Expressing deep sadness, Cleopas shared how Jesus, the mighty prophet who did amazing miracles and preached powerful messages, had been crucified. He ended with these words: “We had been hoping He was the One – you know, the One who would liberate all Israel and bring God’s promises.” Luke 24:21

Basically, they told Jesus that He had let them down. Most distressing to Jesus was their lack of faith. They spoke these words in spite of the fact that trusted friends had gone to the tomb, discovered no body, and received a message from angels that Jesus was alive.

Jesus rebuked them: “Come on men, why are you being so foolish? Why are your hearts so sluggish when it comes to believing what the prophets have been saying all along?” Luke 24:25

Jesus knew the problem lay not in their heads but in their hearts. So He then took them on another journey. This one through the Old Testament, beginning with Moses and continuing prophet by prophet, explaining the meaning of the prophets’ words and how each predicted the very things they had witnessed.

Jesus spoke God’s Word in a fresh way.

Can you imagine how wonderful it must have been to hear the words of Scripture delivered by Jesus Himself?

Upon reaching their destination, they invited Jesus to join them for dinner. He accepted. When they sat down, Jesus took bread, gave thanks, broke it, and handed it to them. Scripture says that in that instant, their eyes were suddenly opened so that they recognized Him. And a moment later, Jesus vanished! (Luke 24:31)

What changed in that moment? Before, these two men believed only part of what they had been taught growing up. They never got the big picture of Who Jesus was and was to be. They saw the King, not the servant … the crown, not the cross … the glory, not the suffering.

Listen to the words they spoke to each other after Jesus left:

Amazing! Weren’t our hearts on fire within us while He was talking to us on the road? Didn’t you feel it all coming clear as He explained the meaning of the Hebrew Scripture?” Luke 24:32 (emphasis added)

The NIV says “Were not our hearts burning within us while he talked with us … and opened the Scriptures to us?”

Friend, they experienced spiritual heartburn! The word “burn” is from the Greek verb kaio, meaning “to set on fire.” Metaphorically, it means Jesus’ words created a hunger and passion within them they had never before experienced. His words captivated their hearts.

Jesus, the master story teller, brought what seemed simple Bible stories alive for Cleopas and his friend. As He opened the Scriptures, the puzzle pieces came together in such a powerful way that they not only listened, but something within them changed … something so profound that they immediately went to Jerusalem to share with others what they had seen and heard.
Jesus used His Word to teach, rebuke, correct and train Cleopas and his friend. Jesus’ spoken word enlightened their minds and deepened their faith. His visit empowered and equipped them for the task He called them to … sharing the good news they had just heard.

God will do the same for us. How He longs for us to open His Word so He can teach us! God is waiting to speak into our lives just as Jesus spoke into theirs. Sometimes He will teach and train, and we’ll savor it. Sometimes he will rebuke and correct, and we’ll fight it. But through it all, we’ll gain a confidence in His Word. A confidence like we’ve never had, one that will strengthen our convictions.  And as our convictions strengthen, God will use those convictions to equip us for His Kingdom work

**This devotion is taken, in part, from Chapter Two of my book,Living So That. Click here to learn more about the book or order a copy.**

GIVEAWAY

I’m thankful you spent time with me here today. I would love to hear from you. Please share a time when you have felt spiritual heartburn. I will choose one comment to receive a signed copy of my book Living So That. Stop by next week, and I’ll announce the winner.
 

February 6, 2017

My Morning Prayer (+Cindy’s winner)

Happy Monday!

Mornings now don’t look like they did when both my kids were at home. Our mornings were busy, and sometimes all I had time for was a quick prayer. So, I thought I would share the prayer I often prayed on those busy mornings. It brings back sweet memories.

FatherHearYourVoice.John

My Morning Prayer

Lord, I don’t know who or what will cross my path today. But I do know that You are my Rock and my Fortress. You are my Shield and my Strong Tower. Help me to anchor myself to You today. Teach me how to stand strong in You and choose only Your way today. Help me walk by Your Truth and not my feelings.

Help me to embrace anything that comes my way as an opportunity to see You at work and as an opportunity to point others to You.


Thank You that You love me and nothing can ever take that away from me! Even if I fail today and fall short, You whisper Your unconditional love deep into my soul and remind me that Your mercies are new every morning.

That is truly amazing, Lord.

Thank You for meeting with me today and wake me again tomorrow with the same sweet whisper of Your love. I can’t wait to meet with You again. I ask all this in the powerful and majestic Name of Your Son, Jesus! Amen.

Please don’t fret if you can’t spend extended time in the Word each morning, reading and praying. God simply wants us to give Him our first thoughts of the day … whatever that looks like. Maybe it’s meeting Him in our First 5 App. Maybe it’s reading your favorite devotional. Maybe it’s spending time with a few verses before you jump out of bed. Or maybe it’s offering a morning prayer. He loves it all!!

I’d love to hear YOUR favorite way to meet with God in the morning. Please leave a comment and share with us.

If you are looking for encouragement on how to have a quiet time, click here to check out “Quiet My Anxious Heart,” a free on-line study I did a few years ago.

*****CINDY’S WINNER*****

Shawna who posted on 1/31 at 9:37 a.m.

Shawna, please e-mail me at deuteronomysix@aol.com with your full name and mailing address so we can get Cindy’s book to you.