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, October 31, 2014

Heart-Hearing Friends

"Learn to listen to Me even while you are listening to other people...you are on holy ground. You need the help of My Spirit...ask Him to think though you, live through you, love through you... Be a channel of My Love, Joy and Peace listening to Me as you listen to others." (318)
There are some people who live so close to Jesus that it seems like He is one of their very best friends. Spending time with them is almost like having an appointment with Jesus, Himself... having His undivided, discerning attention. They are such channels of godly insight and genuine inspiration that they motivate others to also tune their hearts to Jesus. That kind of a friend or listener seems to have an ear tucked in close to Jesus' heart.
I've discovered that those who are best friends with Jesus, tend to make the very best of friends!  Perhaps it's because at the very center of their heart there's an "ear" that's open and well tuned to "hear what the spirit says." (Rev. 2-3)  When I need to sort out life, these friends can be trusted with my heart. Afterall, their h"ear"ts resonate with His H"ear"t!
Moving in Close to His Heart...dmc

Thursday, October 30, 2014

God's Quiet Classroom

"Quietness is the classroom where you learn to hear My voice.... you gradually learn to carry the stillness with you wherever you go." (317)
When I was a teen, flitting from one activity to another, mom would often encourage me to go to my room and just "be still," meaning I needed to get alone, for some quiet time. It was such a healthy discipline. It's in "quietness" I find my strength even today. It's as if God whispers intimate secrets from His heart into my heart.  Or sometimes He's just quietly there; quietly soaking every cell of my body, quietly saturating every stir of my soul and quietly sanctifying the pathways I ponder. Thanks, mom, for introducing me to the powerful, peaceful discipline of just being in His Presence...learning to hear His voice, even when He is silently still!
Psalm 46:10, "Be still and know that I am God."
Knowing God Better...dmc

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Good Works Work!

"Linger in My Presence...My Presence equips you for the day ahead... I have arranged the events you will encounter as you go along your way... I ready you for action." (316)
The verse in today's devo is one of my favorites. Ephesians 2:10, "For we are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do."
When I pause and really think about it... I am blown away! I was crafted by God (His workmanship), created in Christ Jesus (through salvation's work to make me a supernaturally "new creation in Christ") to do "good works" for God, that He has already made preparation for me to accomplish, for His Glory!
Now, that totally changes the way I go into my day! This means everyday I'm on an adventure looking for ways to accomplish "good" for God's Glory!
It's not like I have to humanly drum up something "good" to do, because God has already made all the arrangements. I just need to stay tuned in to Him and allow His "good works" to flow through me.
What a wonderful way to live..and it really works! How do I know? Because of others who have been a demonstration of His "good works," having touched my life with so much "good!"
Yes, I KNOW...it works!
Up to "Do Good"...dmc

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Christ's Opinion Counts

"Do not expect to be treated fairly in this life. People will say and do hurtful things to you...mistreat you, try to view it as an opportunity to grow in grace. See how quickly you can forgive... Don't be concerned about setting the record straight. (Don't obsess) about other people's opinions of you, keep your focus on Me. Ultimately, it is My view of you that counts... I have clothed you in My righteousness and holiness...remember that My ways with you are much better than fair." (313)
As far back as I can remember I have been quite concerned with everyone being friends, or at least being friendly, with each other. Some of my earliest grade school memories involve sharing with someone who had been wronged, sitting with someone who was all alone, inviting someone to my house who was new and scared, giving up my place in the lunch line so someone could be near one of their friends, helping someone who was hurt or handicapped, giving gifts for no reason, other than to see them smile. I loved doing things just to surprise and please someone else.
Well, this may sound quite impressive, however, it has it's down side, too. When there was no way I could change or "fix" the situation, I could fixate on that dilemma until it totally absorbed my mind. As a child, it would be hard for me to focus on school work if I knew some little girl in my class was upset over something, even if I had nothing to do with it! So, I would come up with an idea that I hoped would fix the situation, helping her to feel OK about life!
This meant I could only focus on my own needs after all kinds of others' needs and expectations were met. So, imagine what happened when I married a pastor and there was a whole congregation of unmet needs, expectations and concerns that took priority! There was no way I could satisfy that many opinions! The problem exponentially grew when we had the boys and I felt torn needing to be vigilant over their needs and their various life challenges, too!
I soon learned this tendency to focus on others' expectations and concerns could absolutely drain every drop of energy from me...UNLESS...I would first focused on Jesus! Meeting with Him every day became my lifeline! It helped me to clear the clutter of issues that distracted and distressed me.
Even today, in the midst of daily demands, I work hard to stay primarily focused on Him! It seems His opinion of me and expectations are far more gracious and balanced.
I also find great strength in Joe. His personality, tendencies and spiritual gifts counterbalance mine and he helps me to realign my perspective and readjust my schedule to stay focused on Jesus and not on all the hurtful things people may say and do, not only to us, but to others.
As a refocusing reminder, I keep this sign above my desk at home...
Too Blessed to be Stressed...dmc

Monday, October 27, 2014

Spiritual Neurobics

"One of the practical benefits of living close to Me...I will show you which direction to go... I, the Creator of the universe...will not leave you circling in deeply rutted paths. Instead, I will lead you along fresh trails of adventure, revealing to you things you did not know. Stay in communication with me; follow My guiding Presence." (314)

Perhaps this is one of the more challenging, yet inspiring aspects of the "road less traveled" (from yesterday's blog.) The familiar, routine, well-worn roads, that most journey, will often cause us to "sleepwalk through (our) days." However, as followers of Christ, we will find ourselves moving out of our comfort zones into Divinely appointed adventures that challenge and inspire us to be more than we would have ever dreamed.

I have been inspired by those who follow hard and close to Christ. Amazing opportunities seem to flourish in their lives. When I've moved outside my own sphere of the familiar and have been stretched beyond my realm of comfort, it has been a mixture of rewarding, inspiring and even a bit scary, at times.

Manning Rubin and Lawrence Katz invented a new term, "neurobics," referring to brain exercises that can enhance brain fitness by stimulating the chemicals produced when we engage in a non-routine action/thought. It was discovered that when we move outside our comfort zone or the familiar, we stimulate the growth of neurons and dendrites that can make for a healthier environment in our brains.

I believe that "one of the practical benefits to living close" to Jesus is the opportunity to experience some "neurobics." Jesus seems to stir up the brain cells and change the environment of our minds helping us to develop a mind like His. (Philippians 2:5)

Neurobically His...dmc

Sunday, October 26, 2014

On the Road Less Traveled

"You...have been called to take a "road less traveled": continual dependence on Me. True confidence comes from knowing you are complete in My Presence." (313)
Yesterday's blog about being grafted in the Vine (Jesus) and having our thought processes also grafted into the Vine can powerfully change us. Most who have chosen this kind of thought-life have discovered the "road less traveled." While some may think we are a bit different maybe even weird, living so dependant on Jesus, the benefits are eternally far-reaching!
Having my thoughts flow through the Vine certainly changes how I understand things! Christ's perspective alters my human perspective and over the years I have been modified to be a much more thoughtful person, I think! Overall, traveling the "road less traveled" is quite freeing and filled with God-appointed encounters that have enriched and strengthened my life in countless ways.
The "road less traveled" is certainly an adventure...
In the Presence of Jesus...dmc

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Brain Chatter

"I am God with you, for all time and throughout eternity... My perpetual Presence with you can be a continual source of Joy... Let your mind reverberate with meanings of My Names... remain conscious of My Presence... Talk with Me about whatever... (it) will keep you close to Me on the path of Life." (312)
I've come to a place where I'm basically in an on-going conversation with Jesus about whatever, whomever, wherever, whenever. Why? Because it truly changes everything! Once I know that He has been invited into that particular network of thoughts, I sense an internal release and a flow of Life-giving energy. After learning more about how our brains work....it makes total sense.
Thoughts are like a neuro-network of bushes with many branches that produce either positive or negative chemicals that bath our brain cells. The area of our brains that tends to be more God-aware, located near the executive, decision-making region of the brain, can take every thought and transform it to be more constructive. God's Truth can "take every thought captive to make it obedient to Christ." ( 2 Cor. 10:5)
I picture every branchy-bush network of my thoughts being grafted into The Vine (Christ) when I channel that network of thoughts into the God-aware region of my brain. John 15:4-8 says it like this, "No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing... This is to my Father's glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples."
Disciples chat often with the Master. What a great way to develop the mind of a disciple... keeping all the brain's neuro-networks attached to the life-giving Vine that produces positive life-giving Fruit!
Chatting Often with Jesus...dmc

Friday, October 24, 2014

Godly REST

"Learn to unwind whenever possible, resting in the Presence of your Shepherd. This electronic age keeps My children "wired" much of the time, too tense to find Me in the midst of their moments. I built into your very being the need for rest...(for) taking time to seek My direction. Your weaknesses...amplify your need for Me...I will shower Peace on all your paths." (311)
Years ago, during my first year in college, I discovered the unique microcosm of life that exists in a dormitory hallway after 10:00 pm. My roommate and I discovered that we could spend hours socializing, trivializing, philosophizing, conceptualizing, theorizing, summarizing, intellectualizing, even "final"izing until we began fantasizing about SLEEP. We started realizing how important it was to do some prioritizing! (Forgive my silly ponder-izing!)
It was during this time we came across Psalm 127:2 taken from The Living Bible. "God wants His loved ones to get their proper rest."
With a little effort we synchronized our schedules, reorganized our lives and legitimized our intent by simply posting the above verse outside our door. It was quite surprising how publicizing it was a revolutionizing hit! The dorm hallway, without any chastising or demoralizing, was tranformationalized!
So, to generalize, we surmised that all our socialized, fraternized, sleepy-eyed friends had eagerly surmised and agonized over their own legitimate need to rest!
What a shame we have socialized, characterized and sensationalized a pressurized lifestyle that victimizes rather than energizes us. We need REST! God, help me to...
Redeem My Sleep Time...dmc

Thursday, October 23, 2014

His Smile of Approval

"Open your mind and heart to receive My heavenly smile of approval...(let it) wash over you and soak into the depths of your being... experience joyous union with Me." (310)
Years ago I went through a period of time where I struggled with being able to sense God's approval. One evening Joe and I sat together discussing my dilemma of why it was so difficult for me to feel accepted and loved by God. It made no sense... I had grown up in a loving home...so that was not the cause. I had a faithful, loving husband...so that was not the issue. I had rich, stable friendships...so that was not the problem. I had enough of life's blessings to feel secure and protected...so that was not it either. No matter what, we could not unearth the mysterious misery that brewed in my spirit. Although I had been saved years ago and had tried to be obedient to His Word... I was still longing for some sense of God's approval and His Presence.
With continued, honest soul-searching, lots of prayer support from my amazing husband and some wise advice from a seasoned pastor's wife... things changed! She told me to continue to meet with God every morning and at some point, I would sense His Presence. She said that He would reveal Himself to me, again. I had to push through my feelings and be found faithful, no matter what!
After that, during an early morning devotional time, I decided it was NOT going to be about me anymore or how I felt...it was going to be all about Him! So, I just started to refocus on Him. I wanted to know Him better so I studied with a new interest. I read everything I could about God, about His Son, Jesus, about His precious Holy Spirit. I started talking to Him nearly all the time...no matter what! Soon I was able to sense His Presence gently moving in near me, again, even overwhelming me at times.
Still, to this day, it is spiritually healthier for me to keep Him my focal point. There's so much to be grateful for when I consider His many blessings in my life. I can easily respond, with not just a smile, but sincere joy knowing that His "heavenly smile of approval" is there...even if I can't sense it... because I have learned that my own sensibilities may sabotage me. That I may not always sense or feel Him there. However, no matter what or how I feel... He is there! Hebrews 13:8 confirms He remains the same "yesterday, today and forever!" So, I have...
Lots to Smile About, No Matter What...dmc