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Tuesday, April 6, 2010
Holey Underware - Leah Mix
"And why do you worry about clothes? See how the lilies of the field grow. They do not labor or spin...and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow…" Mathew 6:28-31 NIV
“Put them in the rag bag so you don’t keep wearing them, and we will buy you more,” my husband chided.
“But they have so many more miles left,” I retorted.
I had put my nail through the cloth and with each wearing and washing, the hole had become larger. On the outside, I was saying one thing, but God knew I was not being honest.
With things financially so tight, my heart doubted things would ever get better. My husband did well at juggling money, but we never seemed to get ahead. Therefore, it must be God’s fault. He wasn’t being true to His word; and my holey underwear proved it. Besides, no one but me, Gary and God knew I was wearing them, (and now you) so why should I spend the little we had on something unseen.
The maker of my heart knew what was lurking in the dark corners. I wasn’t being kind to His reputation.
Oh, I would tell others of His provisions, His blessings to us in so many ways, but my heart-harbored resentment that we weren’t at our previous status, or better. At this point in our lives, we should be “set” for our future, not wondering about our health care, or if we could afford to replace a broken appliance or replace a roof. As baby boomers, we were supposed to have more than the generations that went before us, but we didn’t. We were experiencing less.
I expected a bright future and when it didn’t materialize, I had become crushed in my spirit. Things were not like I had hoped for.
“God has blessed me in so many ways,” I said,” so why am I down in my spirit?”
This came the same week as the first earthquake in Haiti. Watching the scenes unfold was a wake-up call for me. With such devastation, I wanted to hold on to my holey piece of cloth. I felt blessed to have it. They had nothing to call their own. I had wealth all around me. Reality finally set in.
Satan snidely said, “See, He wasn’t kind to them either. See how He took care of them?”
Thinking on this, I said, “Yes, I do! He’s sent the world to help them.” Moreover, though they will never know it, the people of Haiti and the response to them, have even helped me!
Leah Mix has been married to her wonderful husband, Gary, for 39 years. A transplant from Upstate New York to Florida, Leah experienced culture shock, but now loves her home and wouldn't want to live anywhere else. She found out when God plants you, He will make you happy blooming there. Leah is the mother of two and grandmother of five. Writing is a new venture for Leah, but has been a dream for years. She is excited about the future because she has found, God is good - all the time. Read Leah's devotions.
Labels: faith, leahmix
Saturday, February 27, 2010
Supernatural Strength - Kristi Buttles
"I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me." Philippians 4:13
My legs dangled 50-feet in the air—heart pounding—hands shaking. “Why am I up here?” I asked myself.
Earlier, my son’s friend attempted to climb the swaying staircase to the zip line’s intimidating platform. As fast as his legs took him up the stairs, he retreated to the ground. He wouldn’t jump though he desperately wanted to.
Standing with his parents, I yelled, “You can do this! Philippians 4:13!”
My words instantly boomeranged back to me as my feet stood firmly planted on safe ground. God said to me, “So, My words are good for him, but not for you. You don’t believe them for yourself.”
God was right. I deemed myself a hypocrite if I didn’t try the sky-high zip line. Hesitantly, I climbed to the platform.
I don’t need to do this to live a satisfied, productive life, I cynically thought while sitting on the ledge. I stared at the mountainous horizon and questioned why I had agreed to zip line. I admitted defeat and whispered, “Jesus, I can’t do this.”
My son’s friend yelled to me from below, “Be a leader, Mrs. Buttles!”
I knew exactly why I was up there. If I wanted this friend to believe the Bible for his life, he needed to see me believe it for mine. His words gave me purpose and a reason to jump.
More than for myself, I needed to do this for a young man who was gripped by fear. I needed to live the words of Philippians.
I leaned forward and zipped off, screaming as loud as I could!
What a rush! What a thrill! A long-time fear conquered. I lived out the scripture to my young friend.
Sometimes God demonstrates His strength to us, and other times—by faith—He calls us to demonstrate His strength to others.
Is God asking you to do something you think is impossible like serving, forgiving, or walking by faith and not sight? Do you believe He will equip you for the task? Do you trust Him to take care of you?
When God brings you to a place of human impossibility, rely on His strength and testify to His faithfulness. There’s no other rush like it.
Kristi Buttles is a freelance writer and photographer and has been published in the book Faith & FINANCES: In God We Trust. She is an elementary school teacher and is involved in several ministries in her home church. She has written fiction, non-fiction, a Bible study, and a children’s book which she also illustrated, all of which she hopes to publish soon. She has also designed her own line of unique greeting cards that combine her love for words with her passion for photography.Read Kristi's devotions.
Labels: faith, kristibuttles
Friday, February 26, 2010
High Anxiety- He Said
"When anxiety was great within me, your consolation brought joy to my soul."
- Psalm 94:19
Listen to High Anxiety
My plane left an hour late and arrived twenty minutes before my connecting flight. The group of seventeen flying to LA was sure the airline would hold their connection. I knew better. An airline employee in a call center explained she could get me on another flight in the morning. "But you're responsible for your overnight stay," she explained.
I hung up and went looking for a rental. The drive from Atlanta to Raleigh would put me home well after midnight. Then a small voice whispered, "Sit. Take a load off. What's the hurry?"
I sat. Passengers jogged through the terminal, scanned the board for arriving and departing flights, cursed, complained, shouted and cried. I opened my Bible and began to read."The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything...the peace of God will guard your hearts." "God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble." "The LORD is a refuge for the oppressed, a stronghold in times of trouble." "They will call on me, and I will answer them; I will be with them in trouble, I will deliver them and honor them."
My list of Bible promises was long but that small voice had told me to rest so I read, relaxed and reviewed my travel options. The longer I watched, the more I saw the people around me the way God sees us-frightened and harried, frantically searching for a way out. But I knew God was aware of my circumstances. He'd known my plane would land late. He was in the moment.
That familiar voice asked, "What do you want?"To catch a flight to DC
, I thought, so I can get drive home
"No, what do you really
I thought about it. What I really wanted was to catch a flight to Raleigh. I could get my car from Regan National, later.
My eyes fell upon another verse: "If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him."
So I asked. I wrote a petition in my prayer journal. I thanked God he'd kept me safe in my travels. Then I walked to the service desk and asked if there were any available seats on the next flight to Raleigh. A couple of hours later I flew home. The next week a friend visiting DC drove my van back.
Here's the thing. God isn't a genie. He doesn't grant wishes or deal in whimsical wants. But He does hear our prayers and meet us in our point of need. All that He asks in return is that we trust Him, obey His voice and follow His leading. If we can't trust God for the small things, like a plane ride, how will we ever trust Him with our lives?
Labels: Eddie, faith
Wednesday, January 20, 2010
Leaves or Stones, Which do You Choose? - Becky Hillman
“For just as the heavens are higher than the earth, so my ways are higher than your ways and my thoughts higher than your thoughts.” Isaiah 55:9 My oldest son absolutely loves bugs. The first thing he does when he goes outside is pick up anything that might have a bug, spider or insect underneath. He isn’t afraid of any of them. The whole point of his venture is to see what might be waiting for him there. He especially likes getting aphids off of our flowering plants. He knows they eat the leaves and damage the plant.God has the same attitude with us. He wants to pick up each and every stone that has some hidden sin trapped beneath. He knows that left unattended, sin will eat through our spirits and leave us damaged. God wants to remove the stone and expose the sin so He can get rid of it.I often try to get rid of a particular sin in my life on my own. It’s resentment. Being a stay at home mom, I can have some difficult days. This particular time lasted for about a week. My attitude was lacking and I resented my husband for the hours he had to work. I tried to be supportive and not complain, but all I managed to do was stifle my resentment. I even asked my husband to skip Bible study one evening because I couldn’t manage by myself that night. He needed to go, and did. I went upstairs, intending to watch TV until he left but when I shut the door, all I could do was fall on my knees in despair.
Completely drained, I cried out to God for help. Oh, it wasn’t the scene where you picture a Godly woman on her knees calling out to God. Instead, I was having a pity party. But I came to God with an honest heart, and I left that room a changed woman.When we attempt to rid ourselves of sin and turn over a new leaf, it’s as futile as leaves blowing in the wind. However, when we invite God to make the changes He wants, He leaves no stones unturned. This is life altering and permanent. Allow God into your heart. He will reshape you from the inside out. Becky Hillman is a freelance writer living in Tennessee. She is married to a wonderfully supportive husband and they have 3 boys. She writes devotionals, articles, and Bible studies. She enjoys outdoor activities with her family and friends, especially whitewater rafting. Before becoming a full time mom, she worked as an exercise specialist and a special education teacher. Her passion is sharing God's word with others, so Christ can open their hearts for life changing experiences.
Labels: BeckyHillman, faith
Friday, January 15, 2010
A Little Goes a Long Way - She Said
"Give generously to them and do so without a grudging heart; then because of this the LORD your God will bless you in all your work and in everything you put your hand to."Deuteronomy 15:10
Listen to A Little Goes a Long Way
She looked pale, her eyes sunken but her smile was unfailing. The perky college sophomore bounced into the church sanctuary, waving toward us. She was a petite girl, but that day, she looked especially thin.
“How are you sweetie?”
“Great! Can’t complain.” She wrapped her bony arms around my neck and hugged.
“You feel way to skinny, girl. Aren’t you eating?”
Her smile faded. “I can’t lie. I’m strapped. With my brother being sick, mom losing her job and me being in college, I’ve been trying to take up the slack. Been eating crackers, mostly.”
The 20-year-old, full-time college student cared for two families on her full-time, minimum wage salary. The child was starving. She’d sacrificed her own needs to give to her family.
We weren’t in a great financial spot ourselves. Our own son’s medical needs had left us literally saving pennies in a jar. But the day before, we’d taken $100 from the jar to buy our groceries, with our spare change for our empty cupboards.
Slipping my hand into my purse I pulled out the $100 bill and pressed it into her palm. “Take this and buy groceries.”
A tear dripped off her cheek.
Giving is hard at times. Especially when our needs appear to outweigh the needs of others. But how do we know, really? All we know for certain is that God instructs us to give to the poor, to those in need, without hesitation, without strings, but with a generous heart.
Two years later, I saw that girl again. Newly married, she and her husband now held good jobs. She wasn’t wealthy, but she wasn’t starving, either. Pulling out her checkbook she scribbled a check for $400.
“Here,” she said, handing me the check. “This is your money back, plus interest.”
“Not my money. God’s. And it wasn’t a loan. It was a gift. I can’t take it.”
Her faced dropped. “Then what can I do for you?”
“It’s enough to know you’re happy and successful. Now, if you really want to do something for us, give that money to four students who, now, are like you were, then.”
A week later she sent a list of students she’d helped. Later we found our friend had requested the same thing of the students she’d given money to, that they give to someone else, as well. Long before the movie, God had already introduced the concept of Pay It Forward
. All we did was obey and honor His word. Now, fifteen years later, the Starving Student Award continues to be awarded to a select group of students at East Tennessee State University.
God blesses those who give wholeheartedly. Do you see a need that should be met? Make a difference and give generously. A little given without hesitation goes a long way.
P.S. On a side note, our agent at Hartline worked in Haiti for a number of years. Obviously, her heart goes out to the people of that island whom she still knows and loves. If you wish to contribute, she’s pulling together a care package to send to those she can help on the island. You can mail your checks to: Diana Flegal, Hartline Literary Agency, 703 Vanderbilt Drive, Monroeville, Pa 15146.
Eddie Jones and Cindy Sproles are friends and co-founders of ChristianDevotions.us. They co-write the popular He Said, She Said devotions and host BlogtalkRadio's Christian Devotions Speak UP! along with Marianne Jordan.
And now you can catch them each Friday evening at 7 p.m. on He Said, She Said Radio!
(Call in number, 646-929-0706 ). They travel with Christian Devotions Ministries teaching the art of writing devotions at writers conferences across the country. Eddie and Cindy are featured in Faith & FINANCES: In God We Trust - A Journey to Financial Dependence. Publisher
: Lighthouse PublishingISBN
Labels: Cindy, faith, Family
Thursday, January 14, 2010
Homemade Tomato Soup - Dalen Keys
“For I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.” Matthew 9:13b (NIV)
For years, I have been my wife’s right-hand man in her homemade tomato soup sweatshop (it’s not really that bad – but I can’t let her know). I love her homemade tomato soup; it’s the only tomato soup I eat. So, late in the summer each year, we drive to our favorite farm and buy bushels of tomatoes. I have to admit that it can be rather demoralizing when we are just getting started and we have 15 to 20 bushels of tomatoes sitting in front of us – but, I love the results! In my opinion, there is nothing better than pulling out one of those jars of homemade tomato soup on a cold winter’s day. It’s just plain comforting – it tastes like a hug.
The first step in the preparation of the soup is washing and sorting the tomatoes. After so many years of washing and sorting tomatoes, probably thousands of them, I consider myself as somewhat of an expert on tomatoes. Tomatoes fall into three categories for me; the unblemished – those that have the right color and have not been damaged; the damaged – those that have been scarred by the handling or their surroundings but are still usable; and then finally, the rotten – they are good for nothing but the trash (and they usually stink too!).
It occurred to me that maybe those tomatoes are a lot like us and the choices we make in our lives. Maybe Jesus sees us somewhat like I see those tomatoes. Some of us are unblemished and walking a pure life in Christ. Some of us are damaged by the choices we have made, almost spoiled through and through. But we can turn things around with God’s help. And, sadly, some of us have chosen a life that is rotting us – setting us apart from God’s love. Thank God he loves each one of us and does not give up on people as easily as I do on those rotting tomatoes.
Dalen Keys proclaimed firmly that he would never write a children’s book and certainly nothing about quilting. But, God had other intensions. His first book, a children’s picture book titled, Just A Quilt? was published in February, 2009. Dalen thrives in the creative environment of science and technology and he loves being a technology manager at DuPont. He lives in Landenberg, PA with his quilter wife who often smirks as they travel to quilting events that he has scheduled. They have three children, one grandchild, three dogs and far too much fabric around the house. Dalen can be contacted at email@example.comPublisher:
Labels: DalenKeys, faith
Thursday, December 10, 2009
A Mother's Faith - Marilyn Nutter
"Then she placed the child in it, and put it among the reeds along the bank of the Nile." Exodus 2:3 NIV
Watching my child board the school bus for her first day of school brought a lump to my throat. As her little legs climbed up the steep stairs, I whispered a prayer that she wouldn’t see me cry and her day would be special. I waved good-bye with a smile on my face but my heart felt otherwise. Many "letting go" times followed and each one caused my heart to skip. Years of prayer followed—school trips, overnight camp, acquiring a driver's license, college, job seeking, and eventually watching my daughter walk down the aisle as a beautiful bride. As parents, each event took my husband and me to a new level of trust in God's plan and protection for our daughter.
Moses' mother gives us a great example of trusting God and "letting go." Her son’s life in jeopardy, she turned her crisis and fear into faith. As Jochebed applied strokes of tar to waterproof the basket that would carry her son Moses down the Nile River, surely she too uttered many prayers. She trusted when she placed Moses in the basket that would carry him into crocodile infested waters. Her heart must have raced as she said good-bye.
God worked in her life because a princess found Moses and asked Miriam, Moses’ sister, to find a nurse. Of course, Miriam called her mother, Jochebed! What joy Jochebed must have felt when she was reunited with her son, if only for a few short years! Her release, rescue and final letting go were all part of God’s plan.
Jochebed’s actions show us how, in life changing events, faith can replace fear. Whether we are releasing children as they mature, or we personally release dreams, her example of letting go, encourages us to have faith in challenging situations and trust that God is in control.
Let go of the worry and fear—trust. Let Him take control in your life.
Marilyn Nutter is the author of three devotional books: Dressed up Moms’ Devotions to Go, Tea Lovers’ Devotions to Go, and Diva Delights Devotions to Go. She and her husband are new residents of the Charlotte, NC area. Marilyn enjoys speaking to women’s groups about discovering extraordinary treasures in ordinary days. Visit her website at www.marilynnutter.com.
Labels: faith, MarilynNutter
Thursday, November 19, 2009
Wicked - Pat Moyer
“Giving thanks unto the Father, which hath made us meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light: Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son: In whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins.” Colossians 1:12-14 KJV
On a recent day trip I happened upon a quaint little craft sale. Beautiful fall arrangements, signs, and harvest decorations were displayed with a line of people anxious to purchase their favorite item. As I perused the menagerie a few things caught my eye and set me to thinking.
A cute little pig hugged his blankey and a sign which said, “Give Thanks.” I don’t know if he was thankful that Turkeys are a favorite food for Thanksgiving. Or maybe he was just telling me to be thankful for all my blessings.
Another decoration with pumpkins, squash, and hay had a sign that said “Wicked Welcome”. I couldn’t help but think how mixed up the world is today. In current slang I guess “wicked” means something good, something kids want to be; whereas in my years as a teenager, “wicked” meant you might be thrown into a juvenile detention center.
My mind wandered back to the “wicked” sign. As distasteful as being “wicked” is to me, that is what we all are before Jesus rescues us. The Bible tells us “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?” That means me…my heart is wicked. Or, my heart was wicked. But something changed me—Jesus.
He welcomed me into his arms even when I was “wicked” and he died to save me from my sins. We don’t have the power to change ourselves. But when we listen to God’s call and accept Jesus’ sacrificial death and resurrection as payment for our sins, he removes the power of Satan that binds us in the kingdom of darkness.
Has God been calling to you today? You, too, can be transformed from “wicked” into a “welcomed” child of God. Answer the call, thank Jesus for what he has done and receive the blessing of eternal life today.
Wife, mother, and grandmother, Pat's home roots are in the Pottstown, PA where she resides with her husband. Pat is a national lifetime member of National Garden Clubs, Inc. and a state lifetime member of Garden Club Federation of Pennsylvania. She is past president of the Pottstown Area Garden Club. Pat has taught Sunday School, directed D.V.B.S., and directed and co-chaired women's banquets. She has been a Junior Girl Scout troop leader and a Pioneer Club camp counselor. She teaches an adult women's Class and has been an inspirational speaker for clubs, churches, and various events.
Labels: faith, PatMoyer
Friday, October 9, 2009
Great Faith - She Said
“Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.”
- Hebrews 11:1 (KJV)
I stood at the edge of the high dive staring down. The water, clear blue, glistened like glass as the summer sun reflected its rays.
“Jump! Come on! Jump!” My swimming instructor treaded water just beneath the diving board. “I’m right here.” Below I heard her coaxing, but without my glasses, I couldn’t see a thing—where was she?
“Come on. Have faith!” She shouted.
Easy for her to say, I was the one standing fifteen feet above the water. I didn’t quite get the faith part.
I pondered the jump for several minutes hoping she would rescue me if I couldn’t make the swim to the surface. But would she?
Faith demands we step off the solid platform of the past and into the unpredictable space of the future. And when success seems unreachable, when we can’t see how or where it will come from, sometimes our believing bolts back down the ladder.
I took a deep breath, stepped off in faith and fell.
The writer of Hebrews crafted a simple yet perfect definition of faith. “…Being certain of what we do not see. In my search for a deeper relationship with God, my understanding of faith has changed.
Little faith hopes God will do what He’s promised. Big faith believes God will do what He’s promised. But, GREAT faith knows
He already has.
Once you jump, there's no going back. That is what it means to take of a leap of faith.
If you desire to have great faith… and know the God you serve, you must jump. There is no other way.Eddie Jones and Cindy Sproles are friends and co-founders of ChristianDevotions.us. They co-write the popular He Said, She Said devotions and host BlogtalkRadio's Christian Devotions Speak UP! along with Marianne Jordan. And now you can catch them each Friday evening at 7 p.m. on He Said, She Said Radio! (Call in number, 646-929-0706 ). They travel with Christian Devotions Ministries teaching the art of writing devotions at writers conferences across the country. Eddie and Cindy are featured in Spirit & HEART: A Devotional Journey.
Publisher: Lighthouse Publishing
Labels: Cindy, faith
Thursday, September 17, 2009
Remembers to Forget - Jo Huddleston
“For I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more.” Hebrews 8:12 NIV
Scrapbooks usually contain no tokens of bad memories; we save only good mementos. In a thick book with sturdy, blank pages, we collect a lifetime of pleasant keepsakes. In hindsight maybe some of the things seem silly, but nevertheless they were important enough to us at one time to treasure them away. Later we’ll drag out the old scrapbook and delightfully relive our good times through its pages.
Sometimes, however, when we mentally review our life, we dwell on regret and self-reproach. In our mind we’ve filled volumes with past sins. Beyond yellowing photos and newspaper clippings in a tattered scrapbook, our mind’s eye recalls the ugly grievances we try in vain to forget: rebellion, disobedience and bargaining we slung in God’s face and our lack of praise, thanksgiving and faithfulness toward Him. If we have repented and been forgiven for these and other sins, we create our own guilt when we choose to remember them. Doing that only helps Satan’s mission to make us feel guilty.
God says when He forgives us for sinning, He also forgets our sin. He separates us from our sin as far as the east is from the west. Why can’t we be as kind toward ourselves? Because it’s not easy for our human mind to react that way. But that which is not easy for us, God’s holy nature accomplishes.
We build scrapbooks like God treats sin: we keep only good memories. With God’s help we can live in the same manner. We can release our forgiven sins and forget them. God has.
What better example for living than God’s could we have? Will you follow God’s example? Will you try to remember to forget your forgiven sins?
Jo Huddleston is the author of four nonfiction books and the coauthor of an E-book on writing for the Christian marketplace. Her more than 200 devotions, articles and stories have appeared in over fifty publications, including Guideposts and Decision.
Labels: faith, johuddleson
Thursday, July 9, 2009
Hearse With a Trailer Hitch -- Kay Mortimer
“Then I heard a voice from heaven saying to me, ‘Write: Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from now on. Yes,’ says the Spirit, ‘that they may rest from their labors, and their works follow them.’” Revelation 14:13
Ever seen a hearse with a trailer hitch or a car top carrier? Absurd, you say? I must agree. I haven’t seen one either. But do the Scriptures indicate such an incredible notion?
Revelation 14 says, “Then I heard a voice from heaven saying to me, ‘Write: Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from now on. Yes,’ says the Spirit, ‘that they may rest from their labors, and their works follow them.’”
Perhaps, then, the more accurate phrase is, we will never see a hearse with a trailer hitch or car top carrier. Psalms says, “Do not be afraid when one becomes rich, when the glory of his house is increased; for when he dies he shall carry nothing away…
” All earthly possessions we amass will mean nothing to us when we depart this life.
However, though we carry nothing with us, the works that we do as believers shall follow us. The Greek word here depicts the image of the good deeds of the believer accompanying them as they ascend into heaven at death.
I’m encouraged to pursue the things that truly matter in life. Understanding this motivates me to make every day count for the kingdom of God. I recently heard a sermon where the pastor talked about living our lives so that, when we pass, it costs the kingdom of God that we are gone. He encouraged us to make our lives count so that there is a cost, or void, because of our death.
We have a small window in the house of time called “life.” May we make these words, penned centuries ago by the great Christian John Wesley, our dictum for every day:
“Do all the good you can, by all the means you can, in all the ways you can, in all the places you can, at all the times you can, to all the people you can, as long as ever you can.”
When my window of life closes, may my life have been valuable for God’s kingdom. Although there isn’t a hearse with a car top carrier, may the trailer following me carry good works done for God’s honor.
Kay K. Mortimer is a freelance writer, Licensed Tax Professional, and bookstore owner who lives in Aiken, SC with her husband. She writes for a local newspaper, as well as nonfiction devotions, meditations, and Bible studies. She is a member of the SC Writers Workshop. Her greatest passion is teaching and sharing the Word of God, helping Christians to grow and be encouraged in the faith.
Labels: faith, kaymortimer
Tuesday, July 7, 2009
Faithful Provision -- Beverly Varnado
“Your love O Lord, reaches to the heavens, your faithfulness to the skies.” Psalm 36:5
My husband pointed to a box of my journals spilling on to his side of the closet, “What are you going to do with these?” He asked as he folded his arms and gave me a look that suggested he thought the nearest dumpster might be the best place for them.
Get rid of my journals?
The Psalmist declared God’s faithfulness reaches to the skies. In other words, it is immeasurable, without limit. As I stooped down to crack open one of the many volumes of my writing and scanned the entries, stories of God’s faithful provision came to life. My journals were a record of God’s faithfulness, in one area in particular—our finances. God has demonstrated over and over his abundant provision.
One day I noted a concern over whether or not we might have to sell our house because I was not generating income due to staying at home with our small children. Today, fifteen years later, we still live in that same house. Another volume contained a prayer request about paying a large sum of back taxes because of an accountant’s mistake on our income tax returns. It took a few years, and we still don’t know where the money came from, but we finally paid the debt. In a more recent journal I expressed anxiety over how we would pay the mounting medical bills. Again, in time, the statements from the hospitals and doctors finally stopped coming as the amount due columns turned to zeroes. Across the years, so many prayers have been answered.
What am I going to do with these journals?
Keep them, of course—maybe not on my husband’s side of the closet, though. I’ll also keep what God has taught me through them—that He is faithful. Immeasurably faithful.
Thank you for your faithful provision in my life. Thank you for your persistence in teaching me to trust you. Thank you that with you even the sky is not the limit. In Jesus name. Amen.
Beverly Varnado is a novelist and screenwriter who writes to give people hope in the redemptive purposes of God. She is a 2009 finalist for the Kairos Prize, an international screenplay competition. She was also a finalist in the Gideon Screenplay competition for 2009 and 2008. Her writing credits include the Upper Room
and a Focus on the Family publication. Beverly makes her home with her family and their menagerie of four cats and three dogs. You may visit her at http://www.beverlyvarnado.com/
Labels: beverlyvarnado, faith
Wednesday, June 10, 2009
God is Faithful - Linda Mae Baldwin
“Let's keep a firm grip on the promises that keep us going. He always keeps his word.”
Hebrews 10:23 The Message
Sometimes the defining moments are the moments we journey through RIGHT NOW when life seems up in the air. We are unsure where we’ll live, where we’ll work, if we’ll lose everything, or have anything when the season is over. We are battered and almost swept overboard during these difficult life moments.
Oh, we know all the right things. We quote scriptures, you know the one’s, about God’s providence and how God will never give you more than you can handle. We remind ourselves that Satan is seeking who he can devour and we vow to not let him get a taste of us. Our minds sail in a sea of uncertainness followed by a wake of discontent and doubt. Those feelings only add to our soul’s guilt.
What is the one thing we can do to stay afloat? Hold on even tighter to the One who gave His life for us. Remember what He has accomplished in the past, what He promises for us now, and what we know to be true for the future. God is not going to lead us out and dump us in the sea of forgetfulness. That’s reserved for our sin.
This we also know: God loved us so much He gave His life for us, and He holds the future. He has done amazingly beyond what we could imagine in the past and He will be faithful to do so now.
SO, even as we are tossed about in the dark stormy waters, and it appears He is not going to calm the sea but maybe, instead, make us walk out on the white caps, we know He IS the great I Am, the alpha and omega, beginning and end, and no matter how dark the moment, how deep the wound, how jagged the scar, how high the wave, He IS and this is enough for a strong defining moment. Will we cut and run or be faithful?
No doubt – faith in God wins. With Him there can be no losers.
Linda has been published in God Allows U Turns/Military Edition and Celebrations for Mothers. She has publication credits for Marriage Partnership and Romantic Homes Magazine. Additionally she is regular reviewer for Romantic Times Magazine and www.roadtoromance.ca and her own website. She lives in the Pacific Northwest where she and her husband of 30 years, enjoy five grandchildren (one on the way), one boxer Rosie, some big fish, and two turtles. She likes scuba diving, traveling, and boating. She loves Jesus and being with her church family every chance she can.
Labels: faith, lindamaebalwin
Saturday, June 6, 2009
Searching for Keys - Danny Woodall
“ I will place the key of the House of David on his shoulder; what he opens, no one can close; what he closes, no one can open.” Isaiah 22:22
At one time I took care of the visitors clubhouse for the Beaumont Golden Gators, an affiliate of the San Diego Padres, at a time when corked bats were preferred over steroids. The ballplayers enjoyed pulling pranks, especially on inexperienced batboys. Their favorite trick was to ask a new batboy if he had the key to the batter’s box. Poor kid would search high and low, until they told him it was only a prank. Everyone laughed and moved on.
The Devil has a ring of imaginary keys. Many have fallen for the lie that all roads lead to Heaven. Many search for the key to happiness through material wealth or social prestige. If we listen to the siren call of the world, we will begin to believe sin doesn’t matter and that a special knowledge or experience is what is important. The batboys were so eager to please the ballplayers, they failed to use common sense.
In my eagerness to get along with others, I can compromise my witness. I know that Christ is the key to life, but sometimes I fall into the trap of thinking I am self-sufficient. The early Christians didn’t listen to the world by tending to Christianity one day a week. Nor was Christianity considered their job—it was their life. Only when I develop the passion they possessed for Christ, will I see my world change.
The batboys were red-faced for a few minutes before the embarrassment and anger passed, but they got over it. In the mad house of the minor leagues, I saw the dreams of players realized and broken.
The team moved on to Kansas, and my summers returned to normal. Through all of the changes at the end of the day, I still turn to my Bible to help me make sense of the world. Only by studying the Bible and praying can I know what is real. If I stay grounded in God’s word, I will not waste my time looking for Satan’s fake keys. There is not a magical key to Heaven, only Jesus Christ.
Danny Woodall lives in Port Neches, TX. He and his wife have three children. He has a monthly column in the Christian Online Magazine, and has written for LifeWay’s Essential Connections and Bible Express magazines. This past year he contributed to Daily Devotions for Writers. He and his wife, Arlene, work with the fourth grade Sunday school.
Labels: dannywoodall, faith
Tuesday, June 2, 2009
Little Faith, Big God - Joanna Shumaker
"… for your Heavenly Father knows that you are in need of all these things.” Matthew 6:32b
$10,000! Letters and phone calls from the hospital collections department demanded we pay immediately. I was struggling to make sense of the insurance forms, hospital and doctor bills, while recovering from a major surgery. We’d fought the insurance company to pay over $500,000 in bills and I wondered why we still had to fight them for the remainder, seemingly small in comparison.
We began to pray, asking God to intervene and take charge of this situation. A month later, our answer came in the mail—a letter from college friends who’d heard about my surgery and our financial struggle to meet the medical bills. Their kindness led them to send us the gift of prayer and an envelope with a check for $10,000. God had provided.
I could just hear the Father saying, “O what little faith you have! Did you forget that I know all these things and will care for you?” In my Bible, Matthew 6 is appropriately titled, “The cure for anxiety.” God gives us all the hope we need in that one small section of the Bible. He shows us how small our cares and worries are in comparison to His care and supply for us. Whether it’s money or material goods, God can provide these things, just as He takes care of all His Creation.
Joanna Shumaker is a writer, photographer, and tutor. She has been published by Catapult Magazine. She has written two Ladies Bible Studies entitled, “Renewing Your Spirit” and “The Strong Woman’s Guide to a Meek and Quiet Spirit” which she hopes to publish soon. She and her husband have been married for 19 years and have 2 children. Her heart’s desire is to encourage women in their mid-life with help and hope for their future from God’s Word. http://www.renewingyourspirit.wordpress.com/
If you are struggling with anxiety over medical bills, house payments, future plans, or strained family relationships, God gives hope and peace in this short passage of Scripture that will calm the heart and turn your focus toward Him. Just as He took me into His Hands, He’ll take you as well. Look for the ways God shows His care for you everyday, then trust Him to take care of all the rest.
Labels: faith, joannashumaker
Thursday, May 28, 2009
For Time to Come - Kathi Macias
“Now go, write it before them on a tablet, and note it on a scroll that it may be for time to come, forever and ever.” Isaiah. 30:8
Do you ever feel like you’re spinning your wheels, running as fast as you can and getting nowhere? I sure do! As someone who feels called by God to “write the vision and make it plain,” it’s tough to spend more time collecting rejection notices than signing contracts.
But we all experience that sort of frustration and rejection, don’t we? Even when we know we are being faithful to seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness—however that may read out in our personal lives—we can still find ourselves wondering if anything we’re doing serves any sort of purpose at all.
I can say that because I’ve “been there, done that” so many times I’ve lost count. I’ve sensed God steering me in a particular direction. I’ve prayed, responded, and prayed some more. And still there seems to be no lasting fruit.
Could it be that my vision is so limited I can’t perceive what God is doing? Absolutely! Though there are times God allows me to see at least a portion of the fruits of my labor, more often than not I am left to wonder if I missed God altogether. But then I read scripture like Isaiah 30:8 and Habakkuk 2:2, and I realize what I’m writing today may not be harvested until “time to come.” In fact, I may very well not see or understand God’s purposes for what He calls me to do on this earth until after I have departed this dying globe and gone home to be with Him—and that’s okay. Truly it is. For God calls us to be faithful today—only for today—and to leave the consequences and rewards of our obedience to Him.
“Every commandment which I command you today you must be careful to observe, that you may live and multiply, and go in and possess the land . . . "
Be faithful today in whatever God calls you to do—write a sonnet, a play, a novel; plant a garden; sing to a child; take a meal to a shut-in—and He will see that it is “for time to come, forever and ever.”
Kathi Macias, popular speaker and prolific author, is an Angel-award winning writer who has published nearly thirty books. Whether keyboarding her latest book, keynoting a conference, or riding on the back of her husband's Harley, Kathi “Easy Writer” Macias is a lady on a mission to communicate God’s vision. To learn more about Kathi or to book her for your next event, visit www.KathiMacias.com
Labels: faith, kathimacias
Wednesday, May 20, 2009
Rollover Pass - Danny Woodall
"Your heart must not be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in Me.” John 14:1
The ship’s captain stared into the darkness; the waters reflected the stars on the moonless night. At dawn, they would sail into Galveston Bay. He peered over the side of the ship and saw three men unloading barrels into a rowboat. The captain was careful not to unload too much and raise suspicion. Once the cargo was loaded, the men headed toward a strip of land a few miles east of Galveston. There they unloaded the cargo, and rolled the barrels to waiting wagons. Their shipment would travel to points beyond, avoiding the tariffs at the Galveston’s docks. This path once used for contraband is now a popular fishing spot, Rollover Pass, Texas.
I share one thing in common with these men who lived almost two hundred years ago. Instead of material goods, I often try to hide my spiritual baggage. Satan loves to focus my mind on my problems. The car note is due, and payday is a week away. Then there is the unexpected trip to the doctor. A troubled mind zaps my spiritual strength and my faith begins to fade.
On Sunday morning, I get ready for church, and leave a barrel of disappointment at home. Inside the church, I become the “Cheerful Christian” with a bad case of spiritual heartburn. I hear the words of the songs, but my mind wanders. The preacher keeps my attention for a couple of minutes, and then I begin to dwell on my troubles. I sit in speechless anxiety as I offer God the motions of worship.
Where is Christ is all of this? He is waiting for us to come to him with all of our problems, waiting for us to unload all of our unwanted cargo at the foot of the cross. In our focus on salvation we overlook the fact that the cross is for believers as well as non-believers, it is by his stripes we our healed. Christ is always there for us, we only have to give him permission to start the healing process, focus our thoughts on Him and His ways. Once we come to the cross, he will unload the unwanted baggage, and start loading our minds with barrels full of love, sacks full of faith, along with bags of hope. Then we can sail the troubled waters of life with confidence.
Danny Woodall lives in Port Neches, TX. He and his wife have three children. He has a monthly column in the Christian Online Magazine, and has written for LifeWay’s Essential Connections and Bible Express magazines. This past year he contributed to Daily Devotions for Writers. He and his wife, Arlene, work with the fourth grade Sunday school.
Labels: dannywoodall, faith
Tuesday, May 19, 2009
Secure Investment Strategy - Jan Loy
“You come to the help of those who gladly do right, who remember Your ways…
In these days of turbulence in the economy, it seems everyone is cautious about what to do or what not to do. Even the so called “experts” seem uncertain and no one can predict what the outcome will be.
Now more than ever, it is important for believers to remember that the Lord has planned a secure investment strategy for us. It is safe and is sure to bring returns.
The strategy is not as much about money as it is about the mind set and actions of the individual. God’s word calls us to be people of faith and integrity in every circumstance. He calls us to be salt and light in this world. He calls us to invest in the things that make a difference.
Here are some steps that will surely lead you to a brighter future:
- Invest in a positive outlook. Limit your exposure to the media. All the “breaking” news tends to produce an excessive amount of dread, fear and anxiety. Instead, stay informed without overdoing it. Choose to remind yourself of the blessings you are experiencing today. Express your gratitude to the Lord and to others. A thankful focus will help balance your thinking.
- Invest in the lives of others. Share your knowledge. Volunteer to teach or coach or instruct someone in your special skill. There are many good things to share – be sure to pass them along.
- Invest in relationships. Cultivate friendships. Take time to make a call or write a note of encouragement. Even a smile can make the day brighter.
- Invest in yourself and others spiritually. Spend time in prayer. Meditate on the truth of God’s word. Share the Lord’s love with others by serving them. Continue to give financial gifts to help further the work of the Lord.
When we are faithful in attitude and action – remembering His ways, He will help us through the turbulent times and we will bless others along the way.
Jan Loy, a free lance writer and speaker is actively involved in guiding others to greater personal growth. Jan is the author of numerous life application Bible Study Guides as well as individualized coaching and mentoring programs. Jan is a co-facilitator with her husband, Rick in training opportunities addressing temperaments/personality styles and the dynamics of interpersonal relationships. Jan and Rick have been married for 34 years and have two married sons and one grandson.
Labels: faith, janloy
Monday, May 18, 2009
New Place ... Same God - Cokiesha B. Robinson
(Photo - Ashley McCue Photography)"Jesus is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow." Hebrews 13:8
I decided to take a walk to Central Park during my lunch break and enjoy the beautiful, chilly afternoon and scenic view.
I saw things that were interesting and funny. Some made me smile, some were frightening. I sat on one of the many pond-side benches and watched as people jogged. People walked their dogs, enthusiastic children fed the birds. Cyclists zoomed past listening to their iPods. Couples walked hand and hand, while friendly passer-byers said hello as they strolled past.
Despite the sound of horns blowing from the cabs near by, it was relaxing and inviting. I was totally captivated by this new place. Then, swarms of noisy ducks, which terrified me, came out of the water and took over the place where I sat to eat my lunch. I soon felt like my captivation had turned into conflict.
Have you ever been captivated one moment and conflicted the next?
This brief outing reminded me of how it feels at times when we move to a new place or even to a new season of life.
My husband and I have found ourselves totally captivated by the newness of being newlyweds. We are captivated by the newness associated with living in a place so different from our southern hometowns. We love our home states, but we enjoy the bright lights, culture and sights associated with living in "The Big Apple." We love it on most days, but then there are times we feel conflicted as we adjust to a new way God has asked us to trust Him.
Many times as Christians we feel conflicted and captivated in our daily walk - conflicted because we become afraid when new people and circumstances come into our lives. We are uncomfortable being sent by God into unfamiliar territory. Yet we are captivated by His ability to take the new and changing things we face and bring familiarity and stability to them. We stand in awe at how the same grace that was extended to us throughout our lives, continues to be with us in new seasons as well.
Isn't it good to know that God never changes? Even when we change our address, God never changes His. He brings His never-changing character into our ever-changing lives.
Cokiesha B. Robinson is a graduate of Fisk University where she earned a B.A. degree and a graduate of Samford University, where she obtained a M.Div. degree. She worked in the field of radio before becoming involved in full time ministry work. She has served as a missionary to a number of countries and her greatest passions are encouraging others through oral and written expressions. She has contributed to 3 books, one of which she co-authored: Farther In and Deeper Down, This is My Story, and Planting Trust, Knowing Peace, She is a native Texan and currently resides in Yonkers, NY with her husband, Tim.
Labels: cokeisharobinson, faith
Saturday, May 9, 2009
Body Language - Follow the Master - Sue Payne
"Join with others in following my example, brothers, and take note of those who live according to the pattern we gave you." Philippians 3:17
God’s gift of spring-like weather in early March took us to the boardwalk along the Delaware seashore. Others, seeking the warmth of sunshine and the sights and sounds of the beach, gathered and walked in small groups enjoying an unseasonable treat.
Two characters caught my eye; a large Black Labrador Retriever and a Golden Retriever puppy. Their master stood close by watching and throwing an occasional ball for them to retrieve. The Lab confidently and obediently recovered the ball each time and returned to his master, never venturing too far. The little Golden, however, lumbered clumsily along behind but was easily distracted by anything that caught his attention. It was obvious that the puppy wanted to imitate his “big brother”, but try as he might, something always seemed to make him stray.
The Lab seemed to recognize this and kept herding him back within safe distance of their master.
In Paul’s letter to the Philippians, he urged them to follow Christ-like examples and imitate their ways. He challenged them to join together with others for support and accountability in order to focus on becoming more like Christ.
Sanctification or maturing in Christ is a lifelong process. Along the way we may find ourselves being distracted by temptations that lead us away from the safety of our Master. The importance of having someone in your life who points to Christ through the way they live is imperative if you want to follow in the Master’s footsteps.
In His great wisdom, God provides guidance for each of us as we chase after our dreams and desires. His desire for us is to look to those who have taken the road to the Cross and can confidently and obediently stand upon His truths.
Do you have someone in your life who cares enough to keep you within safe distance of your Master? Or maybe you are the example God is using to point someone in His direction.
We all seek the warmth and want to play in the “Son-shine.” Your Master stands close by, waiting for you to find and receive it. Once you have it, you won’t want to venture far, except maybe to invite someone else to play “Follow the Master.”Sue Payne is a freelance writer whose articles have appeared in home schooling newsletters and church news bulletins. She is experienced in curriculum planning and design and uses her writing skills to encourage and teach others. Sue lives in Delaware, is married, and has two boys whom she home schooled for a total of fourteen years. She is previewed in the new book, Spirit and HEART: A Devotional Journey.
From the authors of Christian Devotions comes the first in a series of 30-day devotionals focusing on the image and attributes given to us by God. Spirit and HEART: A Devotional Journey
Labels: faith, suepayne
Christian Devotions SPEAK UP!
Join us this week on Christian Devotions SPEAK UP! when host Scott McCausey interviews Chaplain Eric Dollyhigh. Eric is a graduate of Texas A&M University where he obtained a Bachelor of Science in Agribusiness. He is a graduate of Dallas Theological Seminary, earning a degree in Pastoral Ministry and Bible Exposition. He has been married to Amy for four years and enjoys their ten-month old son, Drew. Upon his graduation, he took a job as Assistant Chaplain of Interstate Battery. Interstate Battery is a Christian-operated company whose mission statement is unique: To glorify God as we supply our customers worldwide with top quality, value-priced batteries, related electrical power-source products and distribution services. Eric's work exemplifies this statement. One of the duties Eric performs is teaching Bible studies for Interstate team members. He also organizes ministry luncheons, heads a prison ministry and leads the Big Brothers/Big Sisters program for Interstate. The Chaplains' Department not only serves the Interstate employees, but organizes mission trips, raises support for Christian camps, and creates commercials to promote God's love.
To learn more about Interstate Battery and its company philosophy.
Devotions SPEAK UP! is a live call-in show. Call-in
Number: (347) 884-9367. If you know someone
who would be a great guest on the show contact Scott
Coming up on Christian
Devotions SPEAK UP!
April 27, Brad Stine, Christian Comedian
May 11 - Curt and Marybeth Whalen, Authors
May 18 - Live from Ridgecrest
May 25 - Phil Beavers, Vice President of Institutional Advancement
Tuesday evenings from 6:00 PM. to 7:00 PM.
Catch Christian Devotions Ministry at these events in 2010:
January 19, 2010, Writers Panel Discussion, Blue Mountain College, Mississippi
February 26-27, 2010 - Write2Ignite! Christian Children's Writers Conference, North Greenville University in Greenville, South Carolina. Terri Kelly/DevoKids
March 17, 2010 - The Western North Carolina Christian Writer's Fellowship, Waynesville, NC
March 24 - MOPS, at Mud Creek Baptist Church, Hendersonville, NC - Terri Kelly
March 26 - St. James School, Ormond Beach, FL - Terri Kelly
April 16, 17, 18, 2010 - FCC Annual Women's Spring Retreat, Pigeon Forge, Tennessee
May 12-15, 2010 - Colorado Christian Writers Conference, YMCA Estes Park Center
North West of Denver
May 16-20, 2010 - The Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writers Conference, Lifeway Conference Center, Ridgecrest, North Carolina
June 9-12, 2010 - Write
To Publish Wheaton College, Wheaton, Ill., a Chicago suburb
June 11-12, 2010 - Kentucky Christian Writers Conference, Elizabethtown, KY, - Andrea Merrell, Associate Editor
August 12-14, 2010 - The Greater Philadelphia Christian Writers Conference, 200 Manor Avenue, Langhorne, PA 19047
If you would like more information on when and where we'll be appearing or if you would like the staff of Christian Devotion Ministry to speak to your group
contact us at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Faith & FINANCES: In God We Trust, A Journey to Financial Dependence - turning the hearts of a nation back toward God one paycheck at a time. Learn more!