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.

January 17, 2017

Remember Who and Whose You Are

I love the story of David and Goliath (1 Samuel 17). The story of the little shepherd boy who defeated a 9 foot giant with only a sling and a stone. This past year, I felt as if I was against a giant. A giant so big, I felt helpless to battle it.

God took me back to this familiar story. What could I learn from this little shepherd boy He tapped to become the King of Israel?

The words I heard: Wendy, through this story, I am reminding you of who and Whose you are.

Who-I-am.LisaBuffaloe

Before David ever stepped foot on that battle field to fight Goliath, he knew who and Whose he was. We see this first through the words David spoke to King Saul when he volunteered to fight Goliath.

“Your servant has been keeping his father’s sheep. When a lion or a bear came and carried off a sheep from the flock, I went after it, struck it and rescued the sheep from its mouth. When it turned on me, I seized it by its hair, struck it and killed it. Your servant has killed both the lion and the bear; this uncircumcised Philistine will be like one of them, because he has defied the armies of the living God. The Lord who rescued me from the paw of the lion and the paw of the bear will rescue me from the hand of this Philistine” (1 Samuel 17:34-37).

The shepherd boy remained undaunted because he remembered his personal experiences with God. How God faithfully provided for him as he watched over his sheep. David refused to allow the words of his brothers, King Saul or anyone else to define and direct him. Instead, he went back to the last place God had been faithful. The last time God provided for his every need.

As children of the Living God, we too should never allow someone else’s words or opinions define and direct us. We must STOP listening to the words of man and return to the last time God was faithful. Recall His faithfulness. The times we remember Him acting, moving, and providing on our behalf.

We again see how David remembered who and Whose he was through the words he spoke to Goliath:

You come against me with sword and spear and javelin, but I come against you in the name of the Lord Almighty, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied. This day the Lord will deliver you into my hands, and I’ll strike you down and cut off your head. This very day I will give the carcasses of the Philistine army to the birds and the wild animals, and the whole world will know that there is a God in Israel. All those gathered here will know that it is not by sword or spear that the Lord saves; for the battle is the Lord’s, and he will give all of you into our hands” (1 Samuel 17:45-47).

David measured Goliath not against his own strength but against the strength of his God. In the physical realm, the 9 foot giant should have won the battle. But he didn’t. David won and won big! He won big because the Commander of Heaven’s Armies was on his side. And He’s on our side too, my friend! Sometimes I forget this.

Whatever our obstacle … fear anxiety, sickness, financial struggles, marriage, rebellious children, depression … we do not fight alone. The Commander of Heaven’s Armies is on our side. He is for us and with us. His very Spirit indwells us to equip and empower us. He promises that we can do ALL things through Christ who strengthens us.

The key is remembering who and Whose we are.

We have a cloud of witnesses behind us who knew this same truth. When Abraham acknowledged and depended on God, God made him the father of many nations. When Moses acknowledged and depended on God, He parted the Red Sea. When Joshua acknowledged and depended on God, the walls came tumbling down. When Daniel acknowledged and depended on God, the angel of the Lord shut the mouths of lions.

Is there something in your life over which the Lord wants to give you victory? Do you believe it’s too big for God? Reread the story of David and Goliath with fresh eyes and an open heart.

And then pray David’s prayer with me:

Father, today I come to you feeling overwhelmed. Powerless. Weak, feeling as if I can’t breathe. Like I can’t take that next step. I want to curl up and hide from the world. But, Father, I know those are lies. So, in full confidence, I come to You, the Commander of Heaven’s Armies, knowing who and Whose I am. In my weakness, You are strong. In my fear, You are brave. In my anxiety, You are peace. In my sadness, You are joy. In my despair, You are hope.

Today, I remember your faithfulness …  the last time You walked me through a hard place. You used it to mold, prune and train me. Through it You ensured I depended upon You and Your alone. You used it for my good and Your glory. Keep that memory ever before me. I want to trust You here again because I know You are for me.

This is YOUR battle. I know You are on my side. I trust You for victory. Empower me to walk through this in Your strength and power. I ask this in Jesus’ mighty and powerful Name. Amen.

If you prayed this prayer with me today, please let me know.