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!

Monday, December 22, 2014

Overshadowed & Pregnant

"Come to Me, and rest in My Presence. As you ponder the majestic mystery of the Incarnation, relax in My everlasting arms...sired by the Holy Spirit." (373)
One of my favorite Christmas passages, that also challenges me the most, is the angel's response to Mary in Luke 1:35. "The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. Therefore the holy One to be born will be called the Son of God."
When God's Word moves deeper and deeper into our hearts there can be seasons of being "overshadowed" that seem to overtake us. They are seasons of spiritual conceiving. Sometimes it can feel like a fog has settled in. Not a dark, foreboding fog, but a nurturing, comforting fog like the overshadowing wings of the Almighty found in Psalm 91.
When "the power of the Most High" overshadows me, I sense a conception of new life, a new work or adventure in God's Presence. I believe God desires to conceive new dimensions of His Life in each of us often. Much like having Christmas all year long...every day can offer moments of birthing Jesus into our humble settings, at home, work, school, in relationships, conversations, difficult situations and various opportunities all around us.
This world needs to experience Jesus and under the anointing of the Holy Spirit we can birth Jesus into the hearts and lives of others. How can my actions, my words, my gifts or talents bring Jesus to life in the lives of those around me?
Unto you is born this day, in the city where you live, a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you, you shall find the babe wrapped in human flesh lying in a difficult situation before you. And there will be a multitude of heavenly hosts praising God and saying, "Glory to God in the Highest and on earth Peace, Goodwill toward men." (My modification of Luke 2:11-14)
Birthing Jesus...dmc
PS - Happy Anniversary to our oldest son & wife, Michael & Leslie Colaw! Thanks for giving us 3 adorable grandchildren and many wonderful memories.
We love you!

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Blindfolded Faith

"My plan for your life is unfolding before you. Sometimes the road you are traveling seems closed, or it opens up so painfully slow... (or) the way before you suddenly clears... As you persevere along the path I have prepared for you, depending on My strength to sustain you, expect to see miracles - and you will...not always visible to the naked eye." (372)
2 Corinthians 5:7 tells us "we walk by faith, not by sight." It's much easier to walk by sight - being able to SEE where we're going. Walking by faith presents a much more complicated challenge when we are required to step into the unknown, the unseen, the unfamiliar. It's uncomfortable and so unnatural, awkward and foreign to our human senses. In fact, faith does not make a lot of sense! My senses may scream "Why?" "What now?" or "No way!"
It reminds me of being blindfolded, yet in motion. I have learned that faith is not a single act. It is a series of continuing actions, putting one foot in motion, stepping forward, traveling on in spite of doubt, questions, heartache or fear. My faith may merely crawl along at times, inching its way forward, but its very presence is evidence of an unfolding miracle. So, no matter how fragile or weak, I will go on with or without the blindfolds!
Pushing on...dmc

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Enjoying Restraint

"Toward the end of My (earthly) life, I was taunted and tempted to display more of My awesome Power than My Father's plan permitted. I could have called down legions of angels to rescue Me at any point. Imagine the self-control required...this was necessary to provide the relationship with Me that you now enjoy." (371)
Just because we CAN do something does not mean we SHOULD. Jesus could have escaped humiliation, misunderstanding even death, but He didn't! Why? Because He was committed to something far greater than His own desires.
Whenever we choose to avoid doing something that involves a long-term cost that will exceed a momentary advantage, we are operating out of a higher motivation that will reap higher rewards. Jesus recognized that the long-term cost of our eternal damnation was far more compelling than the cost of sacrificing His personal comfort and earthly life.
Jesus became not only our Saviour, but our Inspiration to live a life controlled by purposes far greater than the here-and-now. Our ultimate destination is worth every healthy "no" we must activate in order to enjoy a heavenly "yes" in eternity!
Satan wants to manipulate and tempt us to indulge our selfish desires without recognizing the potential long-term costs. For example, during this Christmas Season, with all the temptations to indulge and buy without restraint, we would be wise to consider the long-term costs of over spending. What a privilege to think that even our spending habits can be an example of godly self-control that proclaims His "glorious Presence" in the midst of a debt-driven world.
Enjoying the Benefits of Saying "No"...dmc

Friday, December 19, 2014

Decisively Different

"Do not be weighed down by the clutter in your life: lots of chores to do sometime, in no particular order. If you focus too much on these petty tasks...you will discover that they are endless." (370)
I am especially good at over estimating what needs to be done and under estimating how long it will take to get it all done. This tendency can leave me frustrated with the many things that must be left undone at the close of the day.
During the holidays there are so many additional activities that the days can be overfilled with "To Do" lists that push out the most important absolutes of life. Forgetting that my "ultimate goal is living close to (and) responsive to" Jesus can leave me feeling empty in the midst of all the clutter.
One year things were decisively different... We made a family decision to only give gifts to the little ones and all the rest of us contributed to a family in Africa, purchasing them a cow to suppliment their meager financial situation. Every Christmas since then we have decisively revamped and modified our plans, we think it has lended to a much healthier, happier....maybe even holier holiday!?
Enjoying each other & Jesus much more...dmc

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Eternal Weight Lifting

"When you are plagued by a persistent problem - one that goes on and one - view it as a rich opportunity... like a tutor who is always by your side. Ask Me to open your eyes and your heart to all that I am accomplishing through this difficulty." (369)
Our son, Charles, owns and runs a 24 hour fitness center. He interviews clients and then pairs them up with a trainer that will be best suited for each. The role of the personal trainer is critical to maximize the client's training efforts in order to see optimal results, as long as the client is teachable and willing to learn. It's a rich opportunity to achieve a healthy lifestyle change.
The same is true for us spiritually. 2 Corinthians 4:17 tells us that we are in an ongoing workout where the troubles of today are producing an "eternal weight of glory." Every trial, affliction or trouble we shoulder today can actively build eternal muscle for us in eternity!
It's as if the attitude and manner in which I bear the burdens of this day will directly impact my eternal spiritual physique.
Our son has won various competitions in bodybuilding and has broken weightlifting records, not because he is naturally so strong, but because he daily and faithfully works out, exerting himself and pushing past what's comfortable to what's challenging.
The "eternal weight of glory" we will one day achieve comes through a commitment to be spiritually fit and faithful in the demands and disciplines of daily life. Being "grateful for a problem" changes us. It tutors us to have a "thankful attitude" and a heavenly perspective!
Building Muscle...dmc

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Emmaus Experiences

"Come to Me with your gaping emptiness... Facing the emptiness inside you is simply the prelude to being filled with My fullness... If you persevere in this dependence as you go through the day, you will discover at bedtime that Joy and Peace have become your companions. You may not realize at what point they joined you on your journey, but you will feel the beneficial effects of their presence." (368)
This devotional reminded me of the two deeply discouraged disciples walking down the road to Emmanus after the crucifixion of their beloved leader and friend, Jesus. Their conversation was filled with disappointment concerning the events over the last few days. What they had hoped for was not to be. Their expectations had been met with an overwhelming defeat...the death of their leader and the death of their dream!
In the midst of it all, a stranger stepped alongside, paced with them, and joined in their discussion. It was not until much later, in the evening, that their eyes were opened and they realized... they'd been in the midst of an unfolding miracle... the resurrection of the impossible... a Risen Saviour!
This story from Luke 24:13-35 holds several great insights that can be applied to our journey as present-day followers of Christ.
1. While the death of a dream may leave us discouraged, we do not need to be hopeless.
2. When we hyper-focus on disappointments we tend to overlook divine appointments!
Somewhere along the way "Joy and Peace" come alongside and the Presence of Jesus can cause "our hearts (to) burn within us as He talks to us." (Luke 24:32)
I've had Emmaus experiences that are so disappointing and so painful that I could not see how any good would ever come from it. But, somewhere along the way, my heart begins to "burn" with His Presence and I know Jesus is somewhere nearby and what seems impossible will become my new reality.
Emmanuel means "God with us." That's what I need to focus on when I'm "feeling sluggish, inadequate" and deeply disappointed. But, today, I am...
Enjoying Emmanuel on the Emmaus Road ..dmc

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Ethical Equilibrium

"I am speaking in the depths of your being...but many are too busy to listen. The "work ethic" has them tied up in knots...(and feeling) so distant from Me. Living close to Me requires making Me your First Love - your highest priority." (367)
Having a good work ethic generally means one is dependable, trustworthy, willing to go the extra mile and possesses basic core values that equip us to be a valuable contributor to the cause, effort or task at hand.
However, we've all watched how someone can become so task-oriented that they overlook the value of others and the rich relationships right in front of them.
One of the best ways I've found to maintain ethical balance is to stay solid in my primary relationships... with God, husband & family. When I'm listening to God's directives then I tend to do better listening to others, responding out of wisdom...not just from a manipulating "work ethic" or from unreasonable flawed expectations that tend to lead to burn-out and out-of-balanced living.
Having a balanced lifestyle takes intentional effort and I much prefer the option of an ethical equilibrium where God, spouse, family, friends & purposeful endeavors are divinely...
Balanced and Blessed...dmc

Monday, December 15, 2014

Homesick for Heaven

"Your longing for heaven is good, because it is an extension of your yearning for Me. The hope of heaven is meant to strengthen and encourage you, filling you with wondrous Joy." (366)
When I was little I would wrestle with homesick feelings whenever I had to stay overnight away from my family. If I had my little sister with me, I could do much better.
There have been times as an adult - when I've had to be hundreds of miles away from home all by myself in an airport, hotel or conference - when I've had similar lonely feelings that have caused a sick, sinking feeling inside. Then, just hearing a familiar voice, or seeing a familiar face (on my iPhone) can change the atmosphere in and around me.
That's the way it's suppose to be with Jesus. He's longing for us. We're longing for Him. Spending time in His Presence lets me know that heaven will be a great homecoming experience!
A great book, made into film, Heaven is For Real, by Todd Burpo (Thomas Nelson, 2010) will inspire you and make you happily homesick for heaven where "nobody is old and nobody wears glasses!" (back cover quote)
Holding Heaven in my Heart...dmc

Sunday, December 14, 2014

The Present of His Presence

"Rest in Me, My child, forgetting about the worries of the world. Focus on Me - Emmanuel - and let My living Presence envelop you in Peace...step by step... Hold My hand in deliberate dependence on Me, and I will smooth out the path before you." 365
When I was in the midst of foot surgery recovery I discovered how literally step by step, moment by moment, was the only way I was going to get to the other side. It was a challenge! Afterall, "deliberate dependence" was so contrary to the more independent way I often live my life. The early stages of recovery taught me a lot about "deliberate dependence" especially as my amazing husband stepped up and hit a home run for the home team over and over again. He was ready, willing and wanting me to depend on him for all kinds of things -  drinks, food, meds, ice packs, phone calls, doorbells, adjusting the temperature, running to the store, getting a pillow, propping my foot - and then those delicate bathroom duties - let's just say, they offered many hilarious moments that have become endearing memories!
As I reflect on that season of surgical recovery, Joe was my earthly illustration of Emmanuel (God with us)"step by step" supporting me. It taught me a lot about "deliberate dependence" and deliberate acceptance of help. During this gift-giving season I thank God for the many gifts of caring family and friends. They are God-given cherished presents to me!
Presents of Presence are so Healing...dmc