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Here's how God is using the daily readings from Jesus Calling to speak into my life.
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Thursday, April 24, 2014

Still Stitching


"Rest in the stillness of My Presence while I prepare you for this day." (119)
"Be still and know that I am God." Ps 46:10
The word for "still" in Hebrew is "raphah" and the word for "healing" is "rapha." The two are directly related. To be "still" in the Hebrew language literally indicates "to let go, relax" combined with "to mend by stitching" like a physician would repair to promote healing. Being "still" in His Presence is a healing, mending place, as we let go and relax, allowing Him to stitch and mend the torn and tattered regions of the soul.
I have a "stitching" memory that makes me smile. I grew up the oldest of three girls in a small community in eastern South Dakota. In the spring of the year, beautiful tulips would often pop through the last of melting snow drifts, as if announcing spring's arrival and the annual task mother had of sewing Easter outfits for all three of us girls. That was until we were old enough to make our own Easter dresses. Each year, the week before Easter was a workout week for the sewing machine, whirling and clicking away, stitch by stitch, until all three dresses were complete, freshly ironed and hanging in place waiting to be proudly worn Easter morning. New dresses, white sandals, hat and little gloves holding on to a tiny purse and a small New Testament bible, then off to church in the crisp, chilly morning air. What a wonderful way to start an Easter Sunday morning!
What a wonderful way to start any day! Letting God stitch and mend me so I am healed and ready to take on my day. What a wonderful way to also end the day, to let go and relax! A Stitch in Time Saves Lives!
Stitched & Ready to Go...dmc

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

"Onerous" Days

Here's a word I do not use often, "onerous," yet I have experienced it many times. It means burdensome, oppressive, wearisome, heavy or weighty. I have certainly had weighty days. Where I felt burdened, weary or heavy-hearted over some task in ministry, in parenting, counseling or even in the more ordinary things of life, like spring cleaning, laundry, meal preparation, entertaining or other trivial responsibilities that tend to pile up.
"There are many burned-out Christians who think more is always better, who deem it unspiritual to say no." (118) While learning to say a healthy "no" is smart, it has not been easy for me. There are many valid concerns and worthy activities that need to be accomplished that God has NOT assigned to me. Knowing God will "never lead (me) to do something without equipping (me) for the task" is a great comfort and a great caution.
Comfort - He WILL certainly equip me to do the task He's assigned to me.
Caution - I'm equipped for tasks HE's assigned not for EVERY task that comes my way.
Being equipped for one task does not necessarily equip me to do EVERY task that needs to be done! Even fairly simple things can be very "onerous" when God's Power is not in it...or in me to do it!
Have a Blessed "Onerous" free day...dmc

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Doin' It WITH Him

"Listen to Me continually. I have much to communicate to you, so many people and situations in need of prayer. I am training you to set your mind on Me more and more..." (117)
I've come to believe that prayer is truly a running conversation with God. I wake up checking in with Him. Go through my day with Him. And fall asleep pondering with Him. It's a back and forth flow of thoughts, prayers, praise and lots of people! "So many people and situations need prayer" and when I pass those concerns on to Him, I can sense peace and protection in the midst of the daily stir!
It makes me think of 1 Thes.5:17-18. "Pray constantly. Give thanks in everything, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus."
God's will is only a prayer and praise away! In this not-so-great world, it's such a great way to live!
With Him...dmc

Monday, April 21, 2014

The Brain Police

"The mind is the most restless, unruly part of mankind... Open yourself to My radiant Presence, letting My Light permeate your thinking. When My Spirit is controlling your mind, you are filled with Life and Peace." (116)
Here's a great way to determine if our thoughts are of God...are they filled with Life and Peace? I often check my thoughts against the Fruit of the Spirit.(Gal. 5:22-23)
Policing our thought life requires a determined discipline. "Taking every thought captive to make it obedient to Christ." (2 Cor.10:5)
I do best when I communicate often with God about my thoughts. This means, I confess and repent often, too. The slightest indication of a dark or disturbing, fearful or critical thought is snagged and brought before Him as soon as I am aware. I try to not let my thoughts ruin the landscape of my day. Making them "obedient to Christ" is something like corralling unruly children and insisting they must obey! Naughty kids cannot run our lives, neither can naughty thoughts bully us around and ruin, not only our day, but our LIVES!
Keeping a close eye on what wanders through my brain...dmc

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Fear's Distorted Perspective

"Though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea, you need not fear!" Psalm 46:2
Having my heart and mind SO disciplined that earth-shaking events do not cause fear would be so far from my own natural response!!
Several years ago we had one of our little grandsons in the car with us. He was about 2 years old and we were singing all kinds of songs, but making up some very silly ones, that he especially liked. We drove up into a car wash, singing and having a great time. However, just as soon as the first blast of water sprayed the car, he instantly stopped laughing and was struck with fear! He saw soap and water coming from all directions...even the moon roof window over us was under a soap attack! I quickly got out of my seat belt and crawled into the backseat with him as we moved through the soapy, terrifying car wash. My heart nearly broke for him. From his perspective we were NOT OK! We were under attack!
It reminds me of how from my perspective, sometimes, I feel like we are NOT OK! Fear can radically distort my perspective. When I sense the enemy's attack on every side, it's comforting to know that God does not judge or condemn...He just comes along side and holds my right hand (Ps. 73:23-24) saying, "Do not fear, I will help you." Is. 41:13. When He takes my right hand it means He has positioned Himself next to me and is protecting me from an attack! (See the blog for April 17.)
When it seems like I'm under attack I want to position myself "under the shadow of the Almighty... my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust." (Ps. 91)
Overcoming Under the Almighty ...dmc

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Regardless Love

"I love you regardless of how well you are performing...I love you with an everlasting love... your accomplishment as a Christian has no bearing on My Love for you. Even your ability to assess how well you are doing on a given day is flawed... Bring your performance anxiety to Me." (114)
Performance Anxiety, being upfront, speaking or playing music, can cause me to be especially uneasy. I find it ironic that God has me doing both these things fairly often. Sometimes my heart will beat so hard that I can hardly catch my breath. So, when people say they are blessed by what was said or played, it baffles me, totally amazes me!
My ability to assess how well I'm doing can be so flawed. Thank God for the encouragement He's placed around us. I thank God for those who speak "regardless love" into my heart!
Flawed yet Hanging on to His Unfailing Love...dmc

Friday, April 18, 2014

Manna in the Morning

"Just as the Israelites could not store up manna for the future but had to gather it daily, so it is with My Peace. The day-by-day collecting of manna kept My people aware of their dependence on Me. Similarly, I give you sufficient Peace for the present..." (113)
The phenomena of daily manna and the phenomena of daily peace are both expressions of God's supernatural provision for our current needs. Just like the Israelites needed nourishment, we need the benefits of peace to spiritually nourish and sustain us. The daily-ness of our needs and the daily-ness of His 'peace-producing' Presence couple together beautifully.
When I am filled with His Presence, I have Peace! So, when I'm need-full I can feed on the manna of His Presence and become peace-full! What a truth!
It's a supernatural thing...I can't explain it... but it works and I am...
Overwhelmingly Grate-full...dmc :)

Thursday, April 17, 2014

God's Right & Left Hand Ways

I was captured by today's scripture reading in Isaiah 41:10-13. In verse 10, God is holding on to us with HIS "righteous right hand," strengthening, helping and sustaining us. Then, in verse 13, God is holding OUR right hand as He is stepping in to "help" and to deal with those who "contend" with us and "war against" us, as referenced in verses 11 & 12.
This reminds me of how a loving, protective father would offer his right hand of support to his child. However, when that child is under some threat or attack, and the father needs to step in next to his child, the father's right hand is now coming against the attacker or threatening situation to protect his child. Most likely standing side-by-side holding that child's right hand with, now, his left hand.
I love the benefits that come with God's right hand, however, when He has moved to MY right side and my right hand is holding His left hand, it's because His right hand is actively waging war against those "unexpected events" that try to "throw (me) off course." (112)
Sometimes it seems as if things have changed and I'm on the other side of God, that He's dealing with something beyond me. This is when I am tempted to think He's forgotten about me or has been distracted, however, scripture says that is not true... He has moved into action, protecting me from an unseen and unauthorized threat.  No matter what, on the right of left, I'm grateful to be...
Side by Side with the Father...dmc

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Praising When Puzzled

"I am calling you to a life of thankfulness. I want all your moments to be punctuated with thanksgiving. The basis for your gratitude is My sovereignty... When you criticize or complain, you are acting as if you think you could run the world better than I do." (111)
I must continually stretch my mind to fully appreciate what God's sovereignty means in my own life. To live a life of thanksgiving means I must appreciate Him, even when I do not appreciated or understand Him or His ways. If my worship is based upon my ability to comprehend what God is doing, then I will severely limit my abundant life options... because my ability to understand God's ways falls far short of the grander realities that exist beyond my own sense of reality.
I think of God's Sovereignty as the picture on the outside of a puzzle box, while all I can see are the scattered puzzle pieces before me. God sees the big picture. I see the scattered pieces of my life and will only be able to link a limited number of them together. He sees it all and the picture is profoundly clear to Him. As I trust His sovereign Hand in my life, more and more pieces will fit together.
At times I would like to force a puzzle piece into a certain place because that makes perfect sense to me. Trusting Him means I allow Him to replace and reposition the pieces to match the bigger picture He sees.
I can choose to "give thanks in all circumstances" (1 Thes.5:18) because I am confident He can see beyond what I can see. Furthermore, if I could see with His eyes I would make the same choice, because God is beyond good... He is absolutely AWESOME! So either God is Sovereign in my life or He's not...it's up to me!
Though puzzled, still praising...dmc