Welcome! Let's Do Devotions Together!

Let's grow together!
Here's how God is using the daily readings from Jesus Calling to speak into my life.
What is He saying to YOU? Share it with someone & have a BLESSED day in Jesus!

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Wake Up, Perk Up

"As you get out of bed in the morning, be aware of My Presence with you. You may not be thinking clearly yet, but I am. Your early morning thoughts tend to be anxious ones until you get connected with Me. Invite Me into your thoughts by whispering My Name." (188)
Over the years I have noticed that my first waking thoughts can often be anxious or even rather self-sabotoging. I can easily start the day feeling anxious about the demands of that day, filled with many I-should-have, could-have or if-I-would-have thoughts that accuse and can undermine me.
So, I do much better when I promptly redirect my first conscious thoughts. I will often think of a praise song or some inspirational hymn. Even some children's songs can perk me up as I am getting up. Dr. David Amen's challenge, to think of at least 5 things you are thankful for each morning, has been proven to change the neuro-chemical environment of our brains. Even smiling, first thing in the morning, according to brain research, can jump-start our day in the right direction!
I want my brain to be spiritually and neuro-chemically healthy so that I can be most productive and pleasant all day long. It radically helps me, when I "face the day cheerfully." Incidentally, YOU are one of my 5 things I am thankful for today!
Waking Up with Praise...dmc

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Beyond Instinct to Insight

"Taste and see that I am good. This command contains as invitation...and a promise." (187)
"Taste and see" invites me to deeply experience Him. I have learned that the more of Him I have tasted and seen, the more convinced I am that He is indeed very "good!" Even though His ways are often mysterious, far beyond my understanding and I may be tempted at times to "doubt (His) goodness," I choose to trust God and to gain a better understanding of Him.
Proverbs 2:3-11 says I can "call out to insight...to understanding... seek for it like silver and search for it like hidden treasure, then (I) will understand the fear of the Lord and discover the knowledge of God... For wisdom will enter (my) mind, and knowledge will delight (my) heart. Discretion will watch over (me) and understanding will guard (me.)"
Whenever my "human instinct to doubt (God's) goodness" overtakes me, I call out for insight, for understanding... I seek it out... I search for it... And even when I do not fathom His ways, I choose to "spend time enjoying (Him) and experiencing (His) goodness." Why? Because of the promise... His goodness is greater than my doubts!
I do not want my relationship with Him to be based upon my flawed, finite perspective. I want my relationship to be based upon His flawless eternal insight and love for me!
Challenged to trust Him, even when I do not understand Him...dmc

Monday, June 27, 2016

Spiritual Deep Breathing

"Rest with Me awhile... Trust that I will equip you fully for whatever awaits you on your journey... it is in the present moment that I meet you... Refresh yourself in My company, breathing deep draughts of My Presence. The highest level of trust is to enjoy Me moment by moment." (186)
Breathing is a crucial present-moment activity we all must do to sustain life. Most of the time we take it for granted and tend to overlook such a critically important task. Years ago when our son battled asthmatic episodes, there were times when taking the next breath became such a priority that nothing else even mattered. Our whole focus was on his next breath!
When our other son was only a few weeks old, his infant chair tipped over and he landed in such a way that his windpipe collapsed. As I gathered him into my arms, I was finally able to position his little body so that he could make a small gurgling sound, keeping him breathing. I held him in that awkward position until we had emergency medical assistance.
In both cases, future worries and past regrets were none-issues... the primary focus was that next breath of precious air!
In creation, God breathed his Spirit into Adam’s dusty, lifeless body and he became a "living soul." (Genesis 2:7) After Jesus rose from the dead, before he ascended back into heaven, He breathed His life-giving Spirit on His disciples, saying, “Receive the Holy Spirit.”(John 20:22) The Psalmist says that our lives are like "a breath" or "a vapor." (Psalm 39:5 & 11; 144:4) But, I especially love how the book of Psalms closes with this great reminder: “Let everything that has breath praise the Lord!” (Psalm 150:6)
Days away, on our annual study vacations, are "breathing breaks" that help us to breathe in "deep draughts of (His) Presence." Our daily routines tend to cause us to become breathless and spiritually asthmatic, so we need to intentionally schedule in times of deep spiritual breathing.
Breathing Deeply Today...dmc
PS - Happy Birthday to our grandson, Hayden, who's a delightful breath of fresh air in our family!
Lots of Love & Aloha from Grammy & Papa!

Sunday, June 26, 2016

A Boat Load of Worship

"Stay calmly conscious of Me today, no matter what... Nothing takes Me by surprise. I will not allow circumstances to overwhelm you, so long as you look to Me. I will help you cope with whatever the moment presents." (185)
The devo today reminded me of Matthew's account of Peter stepping out of the boat, walking to Jesus on the water, then "when he saw the strength of the wind, he was afraid. And beginning to sink he cried out, "Lord, save me!" Immediately Jesus reached out His hand and caught hold of him... Then those in the boat worshiped Him and said, "Truly You are the Son of God!" (Matt. 14:29-33)
There are a number of amazing moments in this story... Jesus walking on the water, Peter daring to do the same, Jesus' immediate rescue when Peter cried out, "Lord, save me!", the winds suddenly stopping and finally... the impact all this had on "those in the boat." It was a spontaneous worship service!
No matter what the circumstances may be, I want everyone in my "boat" to end up...
In Worship...dmc

Saturday, June 25, 2016

Loving My Savior & My Spouse

Making a love relationship work WELL can offer quite a challenge. I find it interesting how a rich, rewarding relationship with God can strongly parallel the rich, rewarding relationship I can enjoy with my husband. I realize that many marital relationships are too strained to be rich and rewarding, and we've certainly navigated through our own relational landmines! But paralleling the two relationships offers me a constructive option of response that I like. It creates the dynamic intersecting of the two most critical relationships of my life; much like aligning two lenses for a clearer, more favorable perspective.
I especially like how the Amplified Bible puts it... "The Lord your God is in the midst of you, a Mighty One, a Savior [Who saves]! He will rejoice over you with joy; He will rest [in silent satisfaction] and in His love He will be silent and make no mention [of past sins, or even recall them]; He will exult over you with singing. (Zeph. 3:17) Ah, yes, the focus is NOT on "past sins" but the many reasons to "rejoice over you."
The devo for today pictures the love relationship this way... "Open your hands and your heart to receive this day as a precious gift from Me... I rejoice when you glance My way... the gift of thanksgiving opens your heart to rich communion with Me... thankfulness is the best way to draw near Me... I take great delight in you; I rejoice over you with singing." (184)
I certainly want Joe to view me from such affirming lenses! Especially since we are in the midst of being together, continually, for 3 weeks!! It's our annual study vacation. Stressing with each other would be such a waste of our time and energy. Beginning "each day with a sunrise, announcing (God's) Presence" and maintaining a thankful, open heart definitely sets the stage for a great day rejoicing over my Savior...and my Spouse!
Rejoicing over the "Good Guys" in my life...dmc

Friday, June 24, 2016

Light Dispels Dark Thoughts

"Hold My hand - and trust. So long as you are conscious of My Presence with you, all is well... Fearful, anxious thoughts melt away in the Light of My Presence." (183)
I suppose we all know what it's like to battle with anxious thoughts that overwhelm us and mess with our sense of sanity and peace. When one of our grandsons was 6 years old, he went through a time where he was battling some scary thoughts at bedtime. He would call and want to talk with "Grammy" until he could fall asleep. While I thoroughly enjoyed listening to the little guy, his ponderings made my heart ache deeply. It just seemed so unfair for such a young, tender heart to be so troubled and unsettled.
As adults, with well-seasoned, battle-bruised souls, we know what it is like to be plagued with distressing thoughts. However, it seems all the more cruel for similar thoughts to invade our younger more vulnerable ones. So, this Grammy crafted a plan, via long-distance, over the phone, to "take every thought captive and make it obedient to Christ." (2 Cor. 10:5)
With his Daddy's help a list was made, detailing his troubling thoughts. Then he was asked if Jesus was bigger and stronger than each of those thoughts. Of course, Jesus was! Then Daddy took Noah's list of scary thoughts and placed them in the flame of a candle. Watching the flame consume his fears illustrated how Jesus is the Light that overcomes all our scary thoughts. That powerful Truth and graphic illustration helped to comfort a 6 year old's anxious heart.
No matter what our age, it's good to remember that "the Light of His Presence" melts away "fearful, anxious thoughts" along with the sinful ones that tend to haunt and harass us!
Submitting all thoughts to His Light...dmc

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Ordinary Olive Trees

"A trusting response includes Me in your thoughts as you consider strategies to deal with a situation. Gently bring your attention back to Me, whenever it wanders away. I look for persistence- rather than perfection- in your walk with Me." (182)
As I reflect, there are some 'ordinary heroes of faith' that have inspired me. It's not been the ones who've lived perfectly but those who have lived persistently.  They maintain a determined mindset and lifestyle of faithfulness. Their love for God, His Word, and the family of God are inspirational examples of positive persistence, strategically making God the priority of their lives. While others may be like spiritual super-novas that burst on the scene initially then quickly fade away in the daily disciplines of spiritual maturity. I want to be more like the ones who are "like a flourishing olive tree in the house of God... in the presence of (His) faithful people..." Ps. 51:8-9
Each 'ordinary hero' is needed in our midst. God uses the presence of ordinary individuals to inspire many others, often without them even knowing it! So, "Thank You" to all the 'ordinary olive trees' whose positive persistence deeply inspire me!
These "olive trees" tend to not "neglect meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encourage each other... (so as not to) grow weary and lose heart... maintaining a clear conscience... conducting themselves honorably." (Heb. 10:25, 12:3, 13:18)
While being perfect seems impossible, being persistent can be inspirational. I want to be positively persistent not perfectly pathetic!  It all springs out of a properly balanced, God-glorifying, healthy thought life!
Striving to be positively persistent....dmc

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Priority of Perspective

"Thank Me for the very things that are troubling you... It is impossible to thank Me and curse Me at the same time... Thankfulness awakens you to My Presence, which overshadows all your problems." (181)
The devo today mentions how we are tempted to indulge in complaining which will set the stage for "torrents of rage and self-pity." This makes much more sense to me after reading research on the way our brains work. Because the atmosphere of the brain is highly sensitive to the neuro-chemical climate of our thought patterns, the overall landscape of our mind will reflect the impact of our most-often-selected attitudes and thoughts. Choosing thankfulness over resentfulness makes a huge difference!
While reflecting on Numbers 11-14, Joe and I were captured by how a handful of grumblers, complaining about food, helped set the stage for a toxic mindset of criticism and complaints. Examples: Miriam & Aaron criticized Moses' leadership. Later 10 of the 12 spies returned from Canaan with a negative report, which put such fear and doubt in the peoples' hearts that they ended up stuck in the desert, dying, when they could have enjoyed a bountiful life in the Promised Land.
We must protect the landscape of our minds (and our homes) from deserts of criticism and complaints. Thankfulness leads us into the Promised Land of bountiful living, no matter what our circumstances may be.
Quick Caution:  Like Caleb and Joshua... Thankful living means we may be in the minority when we're making a Godly positive perspective our priority.
So, what can we do about it? We can respond like Job! In the midst of his own world of troubles, while fault-finding friends gave him flawed counsel, God told Job just to pray for his criticizing friends. And watch what happened... "the Lord restored...(and) blessed the latter part of Job's life more than the earlier (part of his life.)" Job 42:10-12
I'm challenged to be more like Caleb, Joshua & Job!
Taking on the Prayerful Positive Perspective...dmc

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Captured in Timelessness

"I dwell in timelessness: I am, I was, I will always be...Meet Me in timelessness." (180)
In 7th grade I was given the assignment to read and report on a book entitled, "A Wrinkle in Time." It was very intriguing...the concept of escaping the limitations of time! I remember one of my concluding thoughts was that perhaps we are presently living in "A Wrinkle in Eternity"... that our "time" is really just a wrinkle in the broad eternal folds of timelessness! I still believe that today!
I am grateful that we have a Savior who "dwells in timelessness." I love to think of my devotional time as an opportunity for me to momentarily step alongside the Eternal, briefly escaping my own time-bound "wrinkle!"
Slivers of timelessness can capture us whenever we enjoy His presence... whether we are here, on an island Sabbath, or home in an ocean of daily demands!
Enjoying a Timeless Savior Any Time...dmc