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!

Friday, September 30, 2016

Forever-Promised, Forever-Present

"I am perpetually with you, taking care of you. That is the most important fact of your existence... My presence with you is a forever-promise. You need not fear the future, for I am already there." (285)
When my husband, Joe, was asked to be involved in a VOM (Voice of the Martyrs) Colombian Pastors Conference, we had very limited communication once he arrived in Colombia. But, you can be certain, we used each brief, fragile connection as an opportunity to communicate our love for each other and to restate our commitment to pray for one another. Although he was gone, he was still very present with me. My heart was continually aware of the "forever-promise" we had made to each other.
That reminds me of the "forever-promise" Jesus made in Matthew 28:20, "And remember, I am with you always, day by day, until the Close of the Age." (Weymouth New Testament) Jesus made a "forever-promise" with us. Even though He is gone, He is very present "to the very end of the age!"
So, how was Joe very present with me although he was very far away? How is Jesus very present with me although He's been a very long time gone? Each are "forever-present" as I stay aware and available. Just as I stayed aware and available for Joe's attempts to make contact, in a similar way I can stay aware and available to enjoy my "forever-promised" relationship with Jesus, too.
Aware & Available...dmc

Thursday, September 29, 2016

A Well Trained Brain

"The human mind is the pinnacle of My creation, but so few use it for its primary purpose - knowing Me. I communicate continually through My Spirit, My Word, and My creation. Only humans are capable of receiving Me and responding to My Presence." (284)
With all the thoughts that wander and whirl through our brains, it is good to know that we don't need to "know it all" we just need to "know Him!" Every time we use our minds to ponder on the things of God, to practically apply His Truth, to envision how we can advance His Kingdom and how we can touch others, bringing glory to His Name...we are using our minds as they were intended to be used! It's about knowing Him - really knowing Him - intimately knowing Him!
It is good for me to reassess my thought-life often...to be aware of the new Truths I have learned and to be prayerfully putting those Truths into action. My mind can get side-tracked with issues and concerns that leave me feeling depleted and spiritually anemic. However, once I 'soft-boot' my brain back onto Him, I can start to experience the benefits of being in His Presence. It may be a life-long task for me to train and retrain my brain to be focused on it's primary purpose...knowing Him!
Romans 12:2 hits on our primary focus...to be "transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you be able to discern God's good, pleasing and perfect will." (Romans 12:2)
It's all about knowing Him and knowing His "good, pleasing and perfect will" for our lives.
Training my Brain to Focus on Him...dmc

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Dealing with Doubt

"Receive My love in full measure...the art of receiving...is a discipline: training your mind to trust Me. One of (Satan's) favorite deceptions is to undermine your confidence in My unconditional love. Fight back against these lies! Do not let them go unchallenged. Resist the devil in My Name, and he will slink away from you." James 4:7-8 (283)
Perhaps one of the most haunting battles many Christians face is the tendency to doubt God's goodness in our personal, everyday lives. I've found that to be a frequent challenge in my own life.
Recently I was reading about the effects of doubt on our brains. How doubtful thoughts tend to paralyze our brains, getting them "stuck" on thought patterns that are nonproductive and toxic.
One of my helpful transitions out of spiraling downward into the trap of doubt is to ask myself, "what can I do differently?" rather than asking "what's wrong with me?"
Behind every doubt the enemy throws at me is usually some temptation to look at "what's wrong?" ...with me, with others, with God, etc. However, when I look at what I can do differently I move my thoughts forward into constructive thinking, rather than downward into defeating thoughts patterns.
One of the "do differently" things for me is to immediately pray, then praise Him for all His Goodness and for being better at warfare than the devil! When the battle lines are drawn, I am placing myself firmly on God's side, ready to receive a firm VICTORY!
Fully Trusting in God's Love...dmc

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Sufficiently Covered

"Relax...your weakness is an opportunity to grow strong in awareness of My Almighty Presence. When your energy fails you, do not look inward and lament the lack you find there. Look to Me and My sufficiency; rejoice in My radiant riches that are abundantly available to help you...Thank Me for your neediness, which is building trust-bonds between us." (282)
In a world that values being self-sufficient it's hard to be OK with neediness. I know what it's like to "lament" over my lack of energy, creativity, resources, confidence or a myriad of other things. I've often told Joe that I think ministry could be better accomplished with angels in leadership rather than humans... there's just so much to be done and so little time, energy and various other resources. That's when I tend to feel overly taxed, rather than relaxed!
What a welcome word..."RELAX" even when there's so much to be done! After all, Deuteronomy 33:26 tells us that God rides the clouds of heaven to come to our aid!
So, when I'm feeling inefficient...
He is absolutely Sufficient...dmc

Monday, September 26, 2016

Use Your Third Ear

"Come to Me and listen! Attune yourself to My voice, and receive My richest blessings." (281)
Years ago when I was in graduate school, training to become a counselor, the Lord revealed a most powerful insight to me. He clearly told me, "Use your third ear...the one in the center of your heart!" Which suddenly made sense to me...H"EAR"T !!
Whenever I am in a counseling session, it is critical to listen carefully to the client, but at the same time I can listen with my third ear to hear what God is saying. It's like having another counselor in the room...His Holy Spirit...giving insight beyond the obvious, beyond training, beyond human wisdom.
Revelation 2 & 3 often repeats the challenge that "anyone who has an ear should listen to what the Spirit says." Our devotional today talks about "the wonder of communing with the Creator of the universe!"
I marvel at the ways His Spirit leads in awesome, freeing Truth!
Keeping my Third Ear Tuned-in...dmc

Sunday, September 25, 2016

Next STEP Energy

"Pour all of your energy into trusting Me. It is through trust that you stay connected to Me, aware of My Presence. Each step...can be a step of faith." (280)
Through the years I've become aware of how various life dynamics can tend to drain off my energy while others tend to give me energy. Learning how to wisely monitor that phenomena and trying to better pace myself has been very helpful. However, I have discovered that spending quality time in God's Word really helps me navigate my day, refocus and pace my overall energy much better. There's a little acrostic I've crafted to help remind me how to specifically tackle the demands of each day...STEP Energy!
My ability to cope well and function effectively has a lot to do with the amount of STEP Energy I have. STEP refers to four kinds of energy that impact my overall energy levels: Spiritual, Thankful, Emotional & Physical energies. All are needed to cope with the stresses of my daily life. Spiritual energy gives me a God-aware perspective. Thankful energy gives me a grateful perspective. Emotional energy helps me constructively engage with others and Physical energy helps fuel my body for health and service. These can vary from day to day but can keep me from getting out-of-step, out-of-sorts and out-of-sync!
Fueling my STEP Tank...dmc

Saturday, September 24, 2016

Well Zipped

"Live first and foremost in My Presence...gradually (becoming) more aware of Me than of people and places around you. This awareness...will increase your ability to give love and encouragement to (others.)" (279)
After reading various research projects on the brain and neurology I've come to think of this "awareness" phenomena as a type of zipper in the mind that brings together two references of awareness - one typically on the right side the other believed to be on the left. One seems more aware of self and the other, more social in nature, being aware of one's self interacting with others.*
I believe the more aware we become of our relationship with God, the more it can actually enhance our lives so that our total awareness is strengthened. Being God-aware can give greater clarity to our awareness of self and our interactions with others; enabling us to BE authentic and to genuinely love and encourage others.
Much like a well functioning zipper; the pull tab is our God Awareness that helps us mesh together these two dimensions, or the two sides of the zipper...Self Awareness and Awareness of Others.
The metaphor "get a grip on yourself" could be better stated, "get a grip on God" to reflect this ability to adequately zip our lives together in God's Presence and from His Perspective.
I have noticed that when I am well-zipped in Him, it not only holds me together well, it helps me engage well with others.
Getting Well Zipped for the Day...dmc
*(V.S. Ramachandran, Neurology of Self-Awareness. Jan. 8, 2007)

Friday, September 23, 2016

Forgiveness & Freedom

"Walk with Me in the freedom of forgiveness...If you carry a burden of guilt on your back, you are more likely to stumble and fall. At your request, I will remove the heavy load from you and bury it at the foot of the cross. (Then) you are undeniably free! Unconditional Love...frees you from both fears and sins. As you come to know Me more and more intimately, you grow increasingly free." (278)
I just love this devotional truth! I love the freedom and release that comes with forgiveness. I love the incredible deliverance that comes to those who are willing to honestly confess and humbly request forgiveness.
It can be the difference between being victorious over our sin or being victimized by our sin.
Gratefully Walking in Forgiveness...dmc

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Songs of the Redeemed

"Trust Me and refuse to worry, for I am your Strength and Song... Since I am your Strength, I can empower you to handle each task as it comes. Because I am your Song, I can give you Joy as you work alongside Me...Keep bringing your mind back to the present moment...(where) the hope of heaven fills your thoughts (and) the Light of My Presence envelops you." Exodus 15:2, Revelation 15:3 (277)
After Moses had led the Israelite people through an impossibility (crossing the Red Sea, escaping Pharaoh's fierce Egyptian army) he spontaneously responded with a song of celebratory praise to God, often referred to as "The Song of Moses." (Ex.15:1-2)
I find it interesting to note that there will come a day when we will all sing "The Song of Moses." Revelation 15 calls it "The Song of the Lamb" sung by the redeemed. Rather than at the edge of the Red Sea filled with chariots, it will be sung on the banks of the heavenly sea of glass and fire. (Rev. 15:2-4)
We live in a time of turbulent seas and believing God to work out the impossibilities in our own lives can seem like such a challenge. Especially since we can "anticipate future events" and we can be tempted to "worry about tomorrow (and) cloak (our)selves in dark unbelief" which often leads to fear and depression. Yet God sees how these challenging times can be opportunities to experience and celebrate His saving power on our behalf! The secret to being an overcomer means...
We must keep singing the songs of The Lamb who has overcome the cross and the grave and enables us to "overcome by the blood of the Lamb," even in the midst of our own turbulent seas. (Rev. 12:11)
Incidentally, I've discovered that singing the songs of the redeemed often gives me the strength to endure UNTIL I am able to overcome!
Singing my way to Overcoming...dmc