Friday, December 31, 2010
My intentions for beginning this devotional blog, at the start of 2010, was to inspire others to experience the joys and growth of a daily devotional life. After heralding the benefits for years, I committed myself to sharing every day, the ways God was using one of the best devotionals I'd ever used, Jesus Calling by Sarah Young ( 2004.) Thank you, Jan Boomer, for gifting it to me in 2008. God has used it to change my life!
So, from day to day, I pondered and prayed over what I sensed He was speaking into my heart and tried to journal those thoughts into this devotional blog. The response has been surprising. Here are some audience statistics, to date (12.30.2010).
Daily average pageviews ranged around 50. This year 5,687 different viewers tapped into the blog. (I was hoping for at least 100...over 5,000 absolutely amazed me!)
The majority of viewers were from the United States, however, they also came from the following countries (in descending numerical order): Russia, Canada, Denmark, South Korea, Ukraine, China, Guatemala, Romania, Lithuania, Croatia, Denmark, Malaysia, Germany, France, Poland, South Africa, Mozambique and Swaziland.
For years I've felt like my devotional life was such a sweet, yet solitary journey, until this year! I've always gained great strength from solitude and quiet times. Sharing my devotional thoughts throughout this year has been a new and very vulnerable thing to do. In the process I have grown considerably.
I am especially grateful for those who were willing to make comments, sharing the journey of their own hearts. What an encouragement and blessing you have been! My thankfulness will echo into eternity. Your responses often gave me the courage to continue.
I am also grateful for a most understanding, encouraging husband who understood my passion for this project, protecting my time and often waiting "in the wings" for me to complete the next day's blog. (I started blogging a day ahead after I realized that people were starting their day hours ahead of me, in time zones on the other side of the world! Yikes...)
I've been asked about my intentions for blogging during 2011. By "popular request" we will continue to use Sarah Young's Jesus Calling daily devotional. There will be a posting for each day, using entries from this last year, adding thoughts or insights along the way, as I am led. I encourage your participation and invitation for others to join us. This year a children's version of Jesus Calling was published which could encourage entire families to spiritually grow together!
Along with my regular counseling schedule, I am also completing credentialing as a Master Life Coach. I will be working toward that goal and will be creating a website or new blog in the near future. That will require considerable time and effort so I will soon be sharing that with you, also.
Our daily walk with Jesus makes such a HUGE difference and I want to inspire as many as possible to step into His Presence EVERY day! Thank you for your prayerful and considerate support. Please share your thoughts or any helpful suggestions.
Celebrating 2010 & Headed for Heaven in 2011...dmc
PS -Read the previous entry for the December 31st devotional blog. Happy New Year's Eve!
To close out a year and begin a new year with the Prince of Peace in total control is the wisest way to venture down the road of life. From one day to the next, moment by moment and one breath after another, staying in His peaceful Presence is spiritually, physically, emotionally, mentally and relationally wise.
For me, it's a matter of pacing myself with Him, so as not to run ahead or lag behind the Prince of Peace. Much like the synchrony of the soul, staying in rhythm with the beat of His Heart means I am pacing with His Pulse of Peace. Peace has a rhythm of its own that echoes with the nuiances of everything He is and everything I need Him to be. From moment to moment, step by step, He pulses peace into my entire being, filling me with all that He is!
The following song has the Prince of Peace pulsing through its wise and winsome message.
(Just reading through the words, as they scroll by, will bless your heart!)
Wisely pacing with the Prince...dmc
Thursday, December 30, 2010
The unique path God has each of us on can be a strange mix of companionship and solitude. I feel so blessed with the fellowship I share with others and yet I am keenly aware of the mysterious solitude I also experience. I've talked with seasoned saints who have also experienced this dual dynamic. It seems to be the profound reality of an intimate, yet involved, relationship with Jesus. He pulls us away to Himself, yet puts us in the midst of others.
The secret, sometimes fragile, balance within myself has been to stay tightly connected to Him, whether I'm in solitude or in a multitude of others. I know without a doubt, my goal and inner compass is set, no matter where I am or who I am with I'm...
Wanting to stay close to Him...dmc
Watch - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qrBYbjSg3kA&feature=related
I Just Want To Be Where You Are - by Don Moen
I just want to be where You are,
dwelling daily in Your presence
I don't want to worship from afar,
draw me near to where You are
I just want to be where You are,
in Your dwelling place forever
Take me to the place where You are,
I just want to be with You
Chorus -I want to be where You are,
dwelling in Your presence
Feasting at Your table,
surrounded by Your glory
In Your presence,
that's where I always want to be
I just want to be,
I just want to be with You
I just want to be where You are,
to enter boldly in Your presence
I don't want to worship from afar,
draw me near to where You are
Coda - Oh, my God,
You are my strength and my song
And when I'm in Your presence
Though I'm weak You're always strong
Ending - I just want to be
I just want to be with You
Wednesday, December 29, 2010
Last week we witnessed the tough and the tender sides of trust. One of our own, a precious 11 week old baby, was ushered into heaven..many decades and dreams too soon! He was one of three boys, born a triplet, into a loving family with two older sisters. This little guy impacted many lives in a very short amount of time. Without ever saying a word, he filled our hearts with the Presence of Jesus.
So, little Jeremiah was to celebrate Jesus' birthday, in heaven, far before he could ever have had a birthday of his own. His heart-broken, grieving parents leaned hard on Jesus "with every fiber of their being," with every ounce of their faith.
Letting go of such a precious gift requires a tough trust emerging from very vulnerable, tender trusting hearts. At their request, we sang the following song in a service celebrating his brief life, the day just before Christmas Eve.
This whole experience has been a demonstration of how vital, how impacting, it is for tender trusting hearts to trust even when it's tough...when we're "found in the desert place" or walking down "the road marked with suffering."
Watch this: http://www.godtube.com/watch/?v=7LKKZPNX
Vitally Touched by Tough & Tender Trust...dmc
Tuesday, December 28, 2010
Fear has a way of capturing our attention and our ambitions. Both can be sabotaged and get stuck on the fear factor, causing us to feel trapped, immobilized, totally defeated and depleted.
However, with God's help we can capture our fear and use it to capacitate, or enable, our attention and ambitions to be even more creative and productive. How is this done?
One day I learned that when I was fearful I was imagining the worst or most painful outcomes. On the other hand, when imagining the best or most productive outcomes, I was left energized and far more creative. The solution was fairly simple - start envisioning the best outcomes rather than the worst! (Remembering to put it into practice was not always so simple.)
I needed to basically believe more in what God was saying and doing (blessings and miracles) than in what my fear was saying and doing to me. Fear was shouting at me from various sources; like the news media, others' opinions, and my own self-doubt. However, God was generally whispering to me through meditative moments in His Word, encouraging encounters and in hidden hopes and dreams deeply tucked in my own heart.
It all came down to how I was going to use my God-given gift of imagination.... what was I going to envision? Was I going to be captured or was I going to be capacitated? Encumbered or encouraged? Fear-filled or faith-filled?
Incapacitating my fear & Capacitating my faith...dmc
A special "Thank You" to my precious mom, Dorothy Volesky, who brought me into this world...giving me life and then leading me into a relationship with Jesus... helping to anchor my eternal life! I've been abundantly blessed with an awesome loving mom and dad! That makes this day a very special birthday for me!
Monday, December 27, 2010
One of the activities I often do, with people whose lives feel out-of-control, is what I call "The Wheel of Life." Each spoke of the wheel represents an area that can enhance one's life. After they have assigned a number from 0 - 10 to each area, I draw in the outside rim of their wheel, as it relates to the assigned numbers. Instantly, the out-of-balance areas are revealed. Their wheel will reflect the areas that need to be modified or enhanced.
A well-balanced life offers a healthy ebb and flow of peace and productivity, quiet and activity, work and play, personal time and professional time, family life and social life, and most of all, time alone with God in His Word and with His people.
We've always had to carefully carve out quality time to spiritually refresh our selves, strengthen our marriage/family and nourish our ministry. To do that, we have to cut into time that could be spent doing other very good, even noble things. Sometimes that can be painful...not participating in something we'd like to do, are asked to do, cannot afford to do or simply cannot do because of previous commitments.
But choosing to say a Healthy "No" allows me the opportunity to later say a Healthy "Yes" to a more balanced, productive, peaceful, rewarding life.
I don't want to just be busy, but I want to be blessed. A balanced life blesses me and allows me to more readily bless others...even those who live under my roof!
Realigning my Wheel of Life...dmc
Sunday, December 26, 2010
Some years ago I realized that it was far easier for me to believe that God would love YOU than it was for me to believe that God would love ME! Somehow I had come to a very flawed assumption that God's love for others was much more certain than God's love would be for me.
(I've been inclined to see my own flaws and shortcomings much more readily than seeing others' and I'd overlaid that inclination on to God, also.)
One of the passages from today's devotional helped me to see this from a new perspective.
1 John 4:16-17 "And we have come to know and to believe the love that God has for us. God is love, and the one who remains in love remains in God, and God remains in him. In this, love is perfected with us so that we may have confidence in the day of judgment; for we are as He is in this world."
Applying these biblical insights challenged my flawed assumptions because:
1. Although I may KNOW about God's Love that does not mean I really BELIEVE it.
2. I must move what I KNOW about God's Love to a place where I BELIEVE it.
3. KNOWING about God's love and personally BELIEVING it means I process that truth in a different region of my brain where cognitive concepts can be personally applied!
4. Taking the truth of God's Love to a new level means I have infused His Love into every aspect of my life...not just as a 'fact' in my head but as a 'act' of my heart.
5. I must intentionally decide to believe MORE in, and respond MORE from, the perspective of God's Love than from my flawed assumption that undermined my personal application of God's Love.
6. God's Love allows me to experience "perfect love" which offers me confidence and security rather than fear or doubt. (I John 4:18)
7. God's Love activates a new purpose for living - giving God's Love to those around us. Being aware, as an extension of Him, that "we are as He is in this world!" (I John 4:17)
These Truths have challenged me. I must receive and believe God's Love to be...
Philanthropically & Practically His...dmc
Saturday, December 25, 2010
We spend so much time running here and there, in and out of stores, bustling around in a flurry of preparation for Christmas. With all the hustle we are also forced to wait and wait in long checkout lines, traffic stops and in not-so-fast restaurant drive up windows. We wait for packages to be delivered. We wait for Christmas TV specials to air and we wait for loved ones to safely arrive home. Lots of running, lots of waiting, lots of commotion and chaos.
Take a few minutes and get in the line for Jesus...
Watch this - http://www.godtube.com/watch/?v=9MB1EFNU
Because I'm not able to be out-and-about during this Christmas Season (recovering from foot surgery) I've been experiencing a much different Christmas. Much more quiet, more reflective...Waiting for Jesus...
Have a Blessed Merry CHRISTmas...dmc
Friday, December 24, 2010
Perhaps the greatest truth behind the Christ Child, in the manger at Christmas, is "Christ in you, the hope of Glory!" To find Christ we do not need to search the heavens or travel half a world away, like the Wise Men of the East . Nor, do we need to see angels or hear their angelic songs, like the Judean Shepherds. Nor, do we need to legislate, threaten and interrogate, like some pompous King Herald.
To find Christ I only need consider the state of my own soul...to look within! The journey inside my own soul, as a committed Christian, should testify to the certainty and significance of a Soul Saving Christ! The most compelling advocate is the presence of Christ, within the depths of my own soul, where sacred history is confirmed in personal reality.
The glorious Christmas gift is "Christ in you" inspiring hope...
Thursday, December 23, 2010
Trust is a phenomenal entity. It can be surprisingly strong and frightfully fragile. During a single day of counseling sessions I can observe the extremes of trust and it's undeniable repercussions. When trust is strong, confidence grows. When trust is frail, suspicion grows. The repercussions can vary from a quiet peace to boiling turmoil.
One decisive factor that can make all the difference is...knowledge.
The more shared information, transparent exchange, honest communication... the more one will know and the more likely trust can grow and be nurtured into a fruitful relationship.
The same is true with our relationship with the Lord. The more we learn about Him, the more we experience Him, the more we come to really know Him...the more our trust can be firmly established.
The more we nurture trust the more trust will nurture us!
Trusting in my Savior, Lord and Friend - Jesus...dmc
Wednesday, December 22, 2010
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." (modified from Luke 2:11-14)
PS - Happy 10th Anniversary to our oldest son & wife, Michael & Leslie Colaw! Thanks for giving us 3 adorable grandchildren and many wonderful memories.
We love you!
Tuesday, December 21, 2010
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 crawl along, inching its way forward, but its very presence is evidence of a miracle. So, no matter how fragile or weak, I will go on with or without the blindfolds!
Monday, December 20, 2010
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
Sunday, December 19, 2010
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.
This year things are decisively different... I'm recovering from a second foot surgery which keeps me from my usual busy bustling around and endless activities. In anticipation of this unusual addition to our holidays, we decisively revamped and modified our pace and the usual flurry of activities and decorating.
So far, we think pacing well lends to a much healthier, happier....maybe even holier holiday! Why? Because we are more focused on the important things and less distracted by details that tend to absorb a lot of time, energy and resources.
Enjoying each other & Jesus much more...dmc
Friday, December 17, 2010
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 is filled with disappointment concerning the events over the last few days. What they had hoped for was not to be. Their expectations had met with an overwhelming defeat...the death of their leader and the death of a dream!
In the midst of it all, a stranger steps alongside, paces with them and joins in their discussion. It was not until much later, in the evening, that their eyes are 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 some great insights that can be applied to our journey as 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. I am...
Enjoying Emmanuel on the Emmaus Road ..dmc
Wednesday, December 15, 2010
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!
I've just read a great book, Heaven is For Real, by Todd Burpo (Thomas Nelson, 2010). It 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
Monday, December 13, 2010
Wouldn't it be much easier to just take a "holy" pill to become "holy?" Becoming "holy" requires something we dearly value, yet tend to waste...TIME! "Blocks of time set aside" for "soaking" in His Word, in His Presence and in thankfulness. Then, to consider, that every moment in His Presence cleanses us and heals us, magnifies the benefits and the necessity of setting aside time for Him!
Last week we toured The Bodies Exhibition in Tulsa. What an amazing experience and graphic demonstration of how our bodies are "fearfully and wonderfully made." (Ps. 139:14) I was awed and motivated to thank God, all the more, for the miraculous network of biological systems that house my spiritual essence during this earthly journey. To be a chosen "cleansed temple of the Holy Spirit" is especially humbling when I consider how phenomenal yet flawed my body is!
As I head into another foot surgery today...I praise Him for crafting my body to respond and phenomenally heal after procedures that invade and mend flawed parts...and for surgeons who are extensions of God's healing hands and caring heart!
So starting today... I will have "blocks of time" to heal and "soak"...
In His Presence...dmc
Well, in the midst of recovery... step by step, moment by moment is the only way to get to the other side. But having His enveloping Presence and Peace give a healing comfort!
"Deliberate dependence" is so contrary to the independent way we most often live our lives. These early stages of recovery teach me a lot about "deliberate dependence" as I experience my amazing husband stepping up and hitting a home run for the home team over and over again. He's ready and willing for me to depend on him for all kinds of things - food, meds, ice packs, phone calls, doorbells, adjusting the temperature, running to the store, getting a pillow, propping my foot - and the bathroom duties have given us many endearing moments of laughter!
Joe is an earthly illustration of Emmanuel (God with us)... step by step, holding my hand as I am forced to deliberately depend on him. During this Christmas Season and season of surgical recovery, I thank God for Joe - God's GIFT to me - and for the gift of caring family and friends!
I am blessed with the gift of Joe's helpful presence and also the gift of God's Healing Presence with me...both cherished presents to me in this gift-giving season.
Presents of Presence Heals...dmc
Sunday, December 12, 2010
It is easy to forget the BIG picture...the one God sees! Only He can fully see how "all things work together for good, to those who love God and are called according to His Purpose." (Romans 8:28)
For me, it's like putting on a pair of transformational 3-D glasses. However, it is really more like 4-D glasses that will enable me to look past the present assumptions, uncertainties, disappointments, limitations and hindrances and boldly gaze into the possibilities and promises of an unfolding future.
4 -D transformation involves an internal pivotal paradigm shift. My life is filled with many pivot points where I halt a defeating train of thought and decisively shift into praise, thanking Him for working on my behalf, even when I cannot see it.
"The world you inhabit is only the tip of the iceberg. Submerged beneath the surface of the visible world are mysteries too vast for you to comprehend." (363)
The transformational 4-D effect changes the perspective and allows the image of God to jump out and spill over into my life. The possibilities are endless with...
An Enhanced Perspective...dmc
Saturday, December 11, 2010
Do you have a dream you have given up on? I have several dreams tucked away and sometimes I hold my breath, hoping they will become a reality and other times I just sigh, knowing that it will take a miracle to ever make them a reality!
But to know that God understands dreams, that His creative abilities are a demonstration of His own dreams, encourages my heart as I wonder and prayerfully wait.
Congratulations to our son, Matthew Charles Colaw! Today he will experience the fulfillment of one of his dreams...Graduating with a Business Administration Degree from Oklahoma Wesleyan University!
Charles, we are especially proud of you and grateful for your dedication to a dream that demanded a lot of sacrifice. Dreams really do come true!
Check out the ABC's of Dreams... http://inspirationmotivation.com/dreamsabcs.htm
May all Your God-given Dreams come True...dmc
Friday, December 10, 2010
This brings to mind the story of beach pebbles...why some are so polished and beautiful, while others can be quite rough and dull in color. It all depends upon the circumstances of their journey. If the shoreline of the beach forms a "pocket" that traps and frames the bedrock, then the stones will continually tumble and toss until they are naturally smooth and polished by the salty repetitive waves. The most beautiful ones have been battered and bathed the most. Geologists who study stones can determine a lot of history by the shape, size and color of the stones.
We are much the same. The waves of adversity can highlight how God's Presence has polished and refined us until we are like the cherished pebbles discovered on beaches and taken home as beautiful treasures and tangible gems of inspirations.
In the throes of adversity, I've seen these "gems" reflect "the radiance of (His) Face." In the midst of crashing salty waves, feeling tossed and trapped, they stop and "consider" God, tearfully bathing in His Presence. No wonder they "consider it all joy" because they have been...
Tumbling with Jesus...dmc
Wednesday, December 8, 2010
Just like our bodies will hunger for food, thirst for water or crave a good night's rest, our souls hunger to be spiritually fed. (After all, we are spiritual beings having a physical experience!)
So, when I am feeling inadequate physically, I eat, drink or sleep...when I am feeling inadequate spiritually, I will hunger and thirst for righteousness (Matthew 5:6.) My deep inner longing to be intimately connected to a Savior keeps me moving in the right direction... straight into the caring arms of Jesus!
So, I admit my neediness and embrace His abundance...all at the same time. It's like a huge, big...
PS - Happy 29th birthday to my youngest son, Matthew Charles Colaw! You have been one huge, big hug from heaven to me, your dad, brother, your wife & family and to so many others! Thanks for making a huge, big difference in all our lives!
Monday, December 6, 2010
I rather like a bit of routine in my life with its predictable outcome or "sense of security." However, to help my morale and my spirit to soar there's nothing like worship, especially when it's along with others who have great confidence in God. Yes, we need the heart of worship to rule in our hearts to avoid "a false sense of security" that lulls us into a spiritually "comatose condition."
Listen to this video clip of the "Heart of Worship." The message found in the words is priceless. Read along with the music.
This inspired me!
Meeting an Awesome God in Worship...dmc
Sunday, December 5, 2010
The Presence of God makes such a huge difference in ANY situation! His Presence is absolutely capturing! Watch the following amazing video clip and experience how the Presence of God overtakes and overflows!
Each time I watch it my own heart is overwhelmed with His Presence! It is so impacting! It's like a divinely inspired hold up in the middle of a hectic Christmas.
This is one remarkable way to keep Christ in Christmas!
Friday, December 3, 2010
I can wholeheartedly support the validity of the above quote. I've experienced "fiery attacks," discouragement and the awesome overcoming power of Jesus' Name!! I will ask for His help, then immediately start to thank Him for the victory, even before the oppression lifts...Victory is on the way!
We can fare well in warfare because...Jesus is still far better at warfare than the enemy is!
Practicing my Victory Dance...dmc
Thursday, December 2, 2010
Jesus is the Prince of Peace while satan is "the prince of this world." (John 12:31, 14:30) No matter how hard this world struggles to gain peace, it will never be achieved until satan is totally defeated and the Prince of Peace reigns. However, in my own life, I can allow the Prince of Peace to reign, setting up His Kingdom in my heart. What a difference He makes, allowing me to experience the purposes and plans His Peace brings!
No wonder satan does all he can to disturb and steal away our Peace...he does not want us to fulfill our destiny and bring to life the realities of our purpose.
Day by day, our path can be filled with Peace and Purpose...it just depends on which "prince" we journey with, listen to, focus on and allow to reign in our lives.
In the Presence of the Prince of Peace...dmc
Wednesday, December 1, 2010
This reminded me of the several passages of scripture.
First, John 17:3, "And this is life eternal, that they might know you the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent." Our eternal life is vitally linked to our relational life in Christ.
Second, Psalm 34:8, "Taste and see that the Lord is good: blessed is the man that trusts in Him." No matter how much we know ABOUT Him, we must experience Him to really KNOW Him!
During this Christmas season, I pray we will pause to "taste and see" Him and His goodness all around us, stretching, stirring and satisfying our eternal souls.
Experiencing Jesus with all my senses makes a lot of sense...dmc
Tuesday, November 30, 2010
Perhaps this is one of the most important lessons of life...how to deal with problems. These problems can mount up and stand in our way, stealing away our joy, confidence, and sanity! Rather than stressing, obsessing, ignoring, using or abusing...we need to activate our "mustard seed/mountain-moving" faith!
Matthew 17:20, "If you have faith the size of a mustard seed, you will tell this mountain, 'Move from here to there,' and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you."
Here are a few faith tips I often use on myself to help build my faith:
1. Magnify the Lord, not the problem.
2. Moving "mountains" begins with moving closer to the Mountain Mover!
3. Believe more in the promises of God than in problems of life.
4. Activate faith with prayer and fasting. (See the next verse, Matt.17:21)
5. Combine my faith with the faith of others...connect with some faith friends!
As we head into this holiday season,
Merry Mustard seed/Mountain-moving Faith to you...dmc
Monday, November 29, 2010
There really is something special about those who intimately know and trust God. I am quite intrigued by those who live out a quiet, peaceful confidence in a Sovereign, attentive God. Their basic needs, physical needs, emotional needs, all level of needs, tend to rest secure in Divine provision.
The scripture for today highlights this incredible God-confidence. "The Lord will always lead you, satisfy you in a parched land, and strengthen your bones. You will be like a watered garden and like a spring whose waters never run dry." Isaiah 58:11
To know that we are being Divinely led and satisfied in the dry, desert, sparse times of life tells me that our basic needs will certainly be met.
To know that God attends to my physical needs, keeping watch over my health and implementing healing lets me know He will "strengthen my bones" and this body they support.
To know that a well "watered garden" and a "spring whose waters never run dry" can be the overflow of fruitfulness and blessing in my life as I emotionally and relationally touch others, is most reassuring and motivating.
So, wrapped up in this one verse I find great promise for God's daily direction and provision in life. My needs can be more than just a problem...they can serve a purpose! To intimately KNOW God!
Like those who have come to intimately know God, I am challenged to draw closer and closer to Him, discovering... He can be trusted!
My Needs are God-sent Paths to Intimacy...dmc
Sunday, November 28, 2010
Being thankful can certainly change our perspective. In my recovery from foot surgery, I've been amazed at the series of little miracles our bodies go through to repair. There have been times I'd be concerned, because of some new sensation or change in appearance and would become a bit anxious about it. However, once I learned that it was just another developmental step in the healing process, I would view that change as something to welcome rather than worry about.
Being thankful changes perspective and produces a restful, healing option for life!
Blessed from head to "healing" toe...dmc :)
Saturday, November 27, 2010
The "scales" that fall of our eyes are often because we are reacting to a limited frame of reference that restricts a greater, fuller understanding. Much like having little ones in our home, this Thanksgiving, and the many times we must explain why sharing a toy, waiting your turn, eating "good" food before dessert, taking a nap, brushing your teeth, wearing your shoes outside, letting mommy fix your hair or daddy carry your plate...were so important...we need to know that our Heavenly Father has a perspective without "scales" and without limitations. His insight changes our perspective much like a parent's insight can change a child's perspective.
It's been a great 2010 Thanksgiving and we've got a house to clean up and lots of laundry to do to prove it! Lots of grandkids and lots of grand memories...
Perspective helps alot...dmc :)
Friday, November 26, 2010
On any given day I can focus on the blessings or the disappointments of that day. Focusing on the disappointments tends to steal away my joy and it makes it much more difficult for me to glorify Him. What a wonderful option we have... to "magnify the Lord" instead of the disappointments or painful issues of life. While disappointments and painful issues may need to be addressed, they do not need to be the focus of our lives.
Remembering all the reasons to be thankful brings joy to my heart and can more readily bring glory to God. Psalm 34:3 "Magnify the LORD with me; let us exalt his name together."
Praising God for His delights and many blessings in my life...dmc
Thursday, November 25, 2010
My mother, Dorothy Volesky, is a great example of someone who tries to see reasons to be thankful. She tends to focus squarely on the most constructive way to approach a situation. Although her day can be a series of challenges, she tends to handle them like one adventure after another.
Her perspective is refreshing, even in the midst of constantly caring for my aging father with multiple physical struggles. When she steps into the room it's like someone opened a window of sunshine. How does she do this? She and daddy pray frequently, without hesitation, over any issue, concern or situation. I truly believe that her "grateful attitude makes it easier for (her) to communicate with (Jesus.)"
Gratitude brings sunshine into Every Day... not just Thanksgiving Day!
So, today, this Grammy is inspired to be more like Great Grammy...Who makes the best of life and makes the best Pumpkin Pies & Popcorn Balls!
Thanks to My Mom & all the other Moms who are elbow deep in turkey meat!
Enjoying a Grand Thanksgiving, with grandkids, grandparents and grand friends...dmc
Wednesday, November 24, 2010
Being thankful, regardless, can be quite a stretch at times. However, God's promises are in our favor, regardless!
Regardless means - in spite of everything, no matter what, come what may. It is a determined frame of reference that overrides opposition.
So, in my thankfulness I can trust God for His Joy...in spite of everything, no matter what, come what may! Wow...that is a huge promise!
Tuesday, November 23, 2010
What a beautiful way to walk through a day...looking for God's carefully planted treasures! I have discovered that being conscious of this and making it my "priority perspective" significantly changes my frame of mind. Looking for God's treasures can become a habit of gratitude and wonder.
When our boys were little we would make a game of looking for God's fingerprint every where we were. Like little detectives they would suddenly see trees, flowers, clouds, birds, butterflies, turtles, a clover leaf, puppies and even a garter snake from a new perspective. God has surprises everywhere!
I like the idea of gathering a bouquet of God's blessings every day...dmc
Monday, November 22, 2010
What about those "windows" of heaven! I was reminded to go to Malachi 3:10. It tells us more about the windows of heaven. "Bring one-tenth of your income into the storehouse so that there may be food in my house. Test me in this way," says the LORD of Armies. "See if I won't open the windows of heaven for you and flood you with blessings." (God's Word Translation)
A thankful attitude and faithful tithing seem to go together. Faithful tithing flows out of a grateful heart and I can see why...that's what opens the windows of heaven and gives us...
Glimpses of Glory...dmc
Sunday, November 21, 2010
"Therefore, through Him let us continually offer up to God a sacrifice of praise, that is, the fruit of our lips that confess His name. Don't neglect to do good and to share, for God is pleased with such sacrifices." Hebrews 13:15-16
This passage makes me ponder the "fruit" of our lips. Seed time and harvest reflects the seasons of nature and the situations of our words. Some people find it easy to curse, complain, argue or gossip and the "fruit" of such lips is toxic and bitter. Being thankful and remaining in His Presence and Peace produces a bountiful harvest of blessings.
When thinking about my own conversations I am challenged to produce "fruit that confesses His name." It's quite amazing how fruitful lips tend to lead to fruitful deeds that inspire fruitful lives...and "God is pleased with such sacrifices."
Yes, thanking God can sometimes be a sacrifice, but the harvest pleases and nourishes, for sure!
Wanting to be more Thankful & Fruitful...dmc
Saturday, November 20, 2010
This may be one of the most impacting Truths in my own life. Using thankfulness and trust as pivot points in my journey... at all times! It helps me readjust my course and stay in the center of His Presence. When tempted to complain or to question God, I must pivot my thought life and radically, decisively, intentionally head in the opposite direction...straight to Jesus! It takes discipline, but it keeps me "open to (His) loving Presence."
Praising Him, Trusting Him...dmc
Friday, November 19, 2010
The Exodus 15:13 verse in today's devotional is part of Israel's song of praise to God on the shores of the Red Sea. It says, "You will lead the people You have redeemed with Your faithful love; You will guide them to Your holy dwelling with Your strength."
While it seems quite counterproductive for God to lead His people straight into a dilemma, the stage is being set for a miracle! With the Red Sea directly before them and Pharaoh's army directly behind them, they are trapped in adversity, for sure!
We know how God miraculously parted massive volumes of water to give them an unimaginable escape route. But what intrigues me... He then uses that same adversarial Sea to destroy their pursuing adversary. Their great adversity became their great advantage!
It challenges me to believe God can use what appears to be an adversarial situation in my life to actually be the very elements for a miracle! With God, what appears to be an adversary can be God's way of taking care of another adversary. I just need to stay on the path of obedience, all the way to the other side! Isn't it just like God to turn our adversity into our advantage!
"So keep your focus on the path just before you, leaving outcomes up to Me." Why? Because...God's advantageous outcomes are often hidden behind adversarial situations!
Amazed at the Outcome...dmc
Thursday, November 18, 2010
Who are the "living water" people is your life? These are the ones who have spent time soaking in the inspired Truths of the Spirit. They tend to have "streams of living water flowing from deep within them." (John 7:38) I love spending time with "living water" people. They refresh and renew my heart, often without even saying a word! Their very presence sparkles with radiant drops of life!
Click on the following site to see the most beautiful, colorful River of Paradise found in Columbia! Without a single word, you will be inspired!
As you watch and listen, pray "Jesus, help me to be a refreshing stream of beautiful "living water!"
Coming to Life in the Streams of Living Water...dmc
Wednesday, November 17, 2010
There are certain benefits that come with simple living that I want to incorporate into my life more and more. It may take awhile, but with God's help, here are several I want to work on:
1. Getting rid of excess and clutter so my schedule and my surroundings are more peace-filled and manageable.
2. Choosing to overcome the rat-race rather than being overwhelmed by it, which helps me stay balanced, protecting my spirit, soul & sanity. (Smile!)
3. Making sure more "stuff" does not cost me more valuable time, more effort in upkeep or financially obligate me more and longer than I want.
4. Crafting a rewarding lifestyle that allows me to invest more eternally rather than entangling me materially.
5. Letting the ultimate joys of family, friends and God's display of nature be my entertainment, not the superficial, catch-your-eye "toys" that leave one empty, broke and lonely.
6. Listening more to the calm and less to the clamor.
7. Guarding my mind, from dark thoughts that ambush me or use fear to freeze me, so I can be free to engage in creative thoughts that encourage and bless this world.
Heading toward the "pastures & paths" of the simple & free...dmc
Tuesday, November 16, 2010
This reminded me of how God can turn foggy times into incredible times in our lives. Joe and I have had seasons where God seemed to be strangely close, yet so hidden. He just wanted us to BE obedient without knowing what was up ahead. Being faithful in foggy times can be quite challenging, yet can reap great rewards.
The example of Moses encourages me. He heads up Mt. Sinai, staying in a smoky fog for days until he not only had an incredible encounter with God, but came back with new insights (the Ten Commandments) and with the glow of God on his face! (Ex. 19, 33-34:35)
In every foggy season of my life, I pray for an encounter with God, new insights and for the glow of His Presence to rest on me. Someone once told me FOG stands for Friends Of God!
Making the Best of the Fog...dmc
Monday, November 15, 2010
The ability to gain perspective on a troubling situation really changes its potential impact. Viewing it from several perspectives can be so helpful. Even making some problems rather insignificant. We are especially blessed because God's grand perspective on life is the perspective we can claim for ourselves.
Rather than getting so absorbed in the throes of some battle, we can turn to a God who sees the way out and into victory! It's like having the perspective advantage in every situation.
Years ago we were flying over a crowded interstate that had traffic backed up for miles. While they were unable to see the big picture, we were able to see that the accident ahead was cleared from the road and that traffic would soon be flowing again. God sees ahead and knows that life will soon be flowing again. Things will make sense and He will help me handle every situation from...
His Higher Perspective...dmc
Sunday, November 14, 2010
One of the most bonding and rewarding elements of human experience is the phenomena of being loved, no matter what...including the awesome things and the awful things and everything in-between! However, many will live out their entire lives never finding that forever-faithful, no-matter-what kind of friend!
As I grow older I am discovering there are layers of secrets tucked deep inside most of us. Even though I am known for being quite transparent and open, I have discovered some mysteries within myself. Some have surprised me, even grieved me, and others have pleased me a lot! Hence, I am so grateful for the insights found in Psalm 139. I have a God who intimately knows every part of me...knowing me even better than I know myself... and still He loves me and "leads me in the way everlasting." (Psalm 139:24) From the micro-cellular moments in my mother's womb to my fading final moments of life, He sees it all and He celebrates all that I am!
The Love Chapter speaks of a "face to face" time in the future when "I will know fully, as I am fully known." (I Corinthians 13:12)
It's totally amazing to be so known, so flawed, and yet...
So Totally Loved..dmc
Saturday, November 13, 2010
The transforming work of Christ's love in our lives continues its transforming work, day after day. 2 Corinthians 3:18 says, "But we all, with unveiled face beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory..."
Others have inspired me as they reflect the transforming "hope of glory" in their own lives. They tend to bless and look for ways to encourage and help, rather than condemn or accuse. The "hope of glory" motivates and challenges them to be God's fleshly demonstrations of Christ's love to others.
For myself, I know how impacting His love has been and how it has radically modified the way I view myself, the way I view God and the way I view others. That ongoing work of His love in my life can be demonstrated in very present and practical ways... a demonstration of "the hope of glory." It amazes me to think that I can impact others by the ways "the hope of glory" impacts me!
The mystery of Christ's love captures me and changes me...dmc
Friday, November 12, 2010
This reminds me of the amazing oneness that comes with a healthy relationship. Being able and willing to bless one another, comfort and love each other, makes a relationship so rich and rewarding on all sides.
I believe the enemy tries to sabotage every healthy relationship...whether it's between friends, in marriage and family, on the job, at school, in the church, the neighborhood or even using the internet to spoil something that could be so beautiful and so rewarding. Satan works especially hard to get us to doubt our relationship with Christ.
Learning to just enjoy Jesus all the more...dmc
Thursday, November 11, 2010
This is a great promise for an entire life time, however it only comes one day at a time. This gives me great comfort and confidence, knowing that the strength I need for tomorrow, or next year will be there when and as I need it.
Taking Strength from Him for Today...dmc
Wednesday, November 10, 2010
What do we do with troubling thoughts, irritating situations, annoying people and the garden-variety of frustrations that sprout up suddenly during any day? For certain, if we dwell on those distractors, they become dictators... consuming our thought life and stealing away our abundant life.
However, if we "gently nudge" our minds back to Jesus, talking to Him and quickly unloading the frustrations that mess with us, we are able to be overcomers rather than being overcome! Our joy and creative energy for life returns as we refocus and return to Him.
For me, the secret is still in the quick and instant communication that happens between my heart and my Savior. Jude 24 explains it well. "Now to Him who is able to protect you from stumbling and to make you stand in the presence of His glory, blameless and with great joy!"
Because I need help keeping my thoughts and my ways from stumbling, I am...
Continually Seeking Him...dmc
Tuesday, November 9, 2010
I know what it's like to have fears and worries bubble up, something like murky sludge from a broken sewage line. But, I also know what it's like to have beautiful bubbles of grace surround and lift me up to new heights, into a whole new perspective.
It reminds of one summer when we had grandchildren out on the back patio making all kinds of bubbles...blowing, spinning, running, jumping with an assortment of bubble making wands. They would "ooh" and "ahh" with wonder, then squeal with uncontainable delight.
There is something quite amazing about the nature of a bubble. It reflects a rainbow of colors and seems to defy gravity, floating effortlessly in space. God's love can act as a indestructible grace bubble that allows us to defy the downward pull of sin and to be lifted up to new heights. Ephesians 2:4-10 speaks of how His great love and grace has saved us and raised us up to be with Him, in heavenly places and to display the immeasurable riches of His grace.
I think we should keep bubble wrap around for those times when we need to pop the bubbles of fear and worry in our lives and then go outside and make a few bubbles of grace!
Captured in God's Grace Bubble...dmc
Monday, November 8, 2010
There really is nothing quite like walking through a tough experience together... with a friend, your spouse, or as a family. Joe and I have experienced this with our own family, our church family, even a city of families, go through a difficult time together and come out on the other side so bonded, so confident and so grateful for one another! The same is true in our relationship with Jesus. Each challenge is an opportunity to develop a personal history with a Sovereign Savior.
My life story is really an unfolding mystery revealing how He transforms my story to be His story! After all, it's really all about Him, anyway! So, I can be confident that a Sovereign Savior who began a good work in me will carry it on to completion, day by day, until the day Jesus comes for me. (Philippians 1:6) So, no matter if this is a delightful day or a difficult day, I am confident that...
His Story Radically Impacts My Story ...dmc
Sunday, November 7, 2010
Awe inspiring landscapes, rolling ocean waves, delicate flower petals, a grandchild's sparkling eyes, the strains of perfect harmonies, the whisper of love, the smell of fresh rain, a stunning sunset, the presence of those who've touched me with love...so many things that represent God's beauty in my life. Beautiful things, all slivers of His Holiness, that surround and infiltrate my life.
I'm so grateful He shares His profound Holiness with us even through the not-so-profound, yet precious, elements of every day life.
Enjoying Expressions of His Holiness...dmc
This song by Robin Mark will help "clear out the debris and clutter."
Make room for His Holiness...then thank Him for the beautiful expressions of His Holiness in your life!
In the Beauty of Holiness
We see You Son of Righteousness
So we bring all that we possess
To lay at Your feet
In the place where Your glory shines
Jesus, Lover of all mankind
You have drawn us
With love sublime
To make us complete.
So I pause at Your gates once more
As my heart and my spirit soar
And I wish I could love You more
My God and my King.
Is there tribute that I could bring
Was there ever a song to sing
That could ever express, my King
The work that You've done
Could I ever conceive of this
All the depths and the heights
And breadth of the riches
I now possess because of Your love.
Saturday, November 6, 2010
When it comes to discerning God's Will in some decision that I need counsel on, I will seek out those who have a track record of faithfulness in their spiritual journey. Faithfulness, demonstrated by those who "strive to please (God) in everything" is an underlying theme in Psalm 37. Verse 3 says, "Trust in the Lord and do what is good; dwell in the land and live securely (cultivating faithfulness.)" Then, it continues, through verse 40, to describe the way of the faithful; those who live securely. It's reassuring to know that in this uncertain world, God's faithful ones can "live securely."
I was doing research yesterday on telomerase, an enzyme known for its role in the long-term health of individual cells in our bodies. Elizabeth Blackburn, professor of biology and physiology at UCSF, shared the 2009 Nobel Prize for medicine because of her collaborated work in discovering telomeres and telomerase, which are sequences of DNA at the end of chromosomes that tend to get shorter every time a cell divides. When telomeres drop below a critical length, the cell can no longer divide properly and will eventually die, critically compromising the reproduction of healthy cells in our bodies, thus impacting our ability to handle physical and psychological stress constructively. Telomeres are essential to maintaining well-being and our ability to cope.
My interest was piqued when I read how current research is revealing that meditation helps to increase levels of this valuable enzyme,telomerase, thus increasing one's health, longevity and immune cells.
Faithfulness, as noted in Psalm 37, encourages meditative activities such as prayer, applying scripture, engaging in worship and trusting in the Lord. Seeking after God can increase our sense of well-being, our sense of purpose and subsequently strengthen our physical bodies.
Certain that Seeking God is the Right Choice at All Times...dmc
(Source: University of California – Davis, 11.05.2010)
Friday, November 5, 2010
Usually, before I get out of bed, with my first waking thoughts, I invite Jesus into my day, then thank Him for several very specific things, which can vary from day to day. This helps to set the atmosphere of my mind and to perk up my mental landscape, giving me a much more constructive way to head into my day.
Choosing to praise Him often, helps me "to be content," to be grateful and to be more aware of my many blessings, rather than just my burdens. Then, with every burden, I can roll it over onto Jesus, my Burden-Bearer...one of the many blessings that comes with choosing to live as close as possible to Him! My sense of well-being is connected to my ability to choose well! When it comes to Jesus, I choose to be...
Up Close & Personal...dmc
Thursday, November 4, 2010
Like many others, I like being well-planned, well-organized, well-thought through. However, the life of faith requires a "deep dependence" on Someone we cannot see and on some things we cannot control. That runs so counter to my human nature.
Over the last few weeks I have been in the recovery process from foot surgery. I've had to calculate carefully my "next steps" to make the most of every step-effort. Having to think ahead so that each trip across the room or to the other end of the house is maximized.
Our walk with Jesus is such a "next step" process. I've discovered that to maximize my daily walk with Him means I must "keep my mind on Him," intentionally focusing on Him and His Presence. It's not about all I am doing...it's all about what HE is doing and how I need to "be ready to follow His lead."
Stepping Forward WITH Him...dmc
Wednesday, November 3, 2010
(1) Talking with Me blesses you and strengthens our relationship...
(2) Disappointments...are transformed into opportunities for good... (removing) the sting from difficult circumstances...
When you reframe setbacks as opportunities, you find that you gain much more than you have lost." (322)
Learning to deal constructively with various setbacks or disappointments, on a regular or daily basis, revamps and strengthens the neuro landscape of our brains. I've learned that every time I "reframe setbacks as opportunities" I win huge victories over my natural, human responses which tend to set me up to be hurt or offended. Instead of becoming down and out I can move up and forward!
This has been a HUGE helpful insight in ministry life. So many expectations, so many disappointments, so many inconsistencies and inadequacies on so many levels from so many viewpoints...it's truly a HUGE benefit to just keep talking to Jesus about it, continually unloading my heart and renewing my mind.
Romans 8:37-38 says it so well. "No, in all these things we are more than victorious through Him who loved us. For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing will have the power to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord!"
My options are: Will I allow this to separate me from God's love? Or to strengthen me in God's love?
Choosing the Opportunity Option...dmc
Tuesday, November 2, 2010
Several years ago I was walking with my daughter-in-law through a shopping center parking lot and suddenly she bolted ahead, without saying a word, across the drive, toward the front door. Only then did I notice an elderly man struggling with his cane and the heavy glass door. Just in the nick of time, she grabbed the door before it knocked him over. She assisted him, chatting cheerfully with him, until he was comfortably situated inside with his own cart. By this time, I had caught up with her and overheard him thank her profusely. She briefly explained that she grew up with a mom who had mobility problems so she was just conditioned to notice that kind of thing.
I had not even looked ahead and was not aware of the situation and was amazed at her keen awareness of someone in need! He was so grateful!
That's kind of the way I see it with Jesus. He's keenly aware of our "gaping neediness" and our inherent weaknesses that cause us to struggle with so many situations and various dilemmas of life. He has an eye for that sort of thing, knows exactly when to rush in, how to ease our anxiety and how to get us situated to move forward, again.
It's all about trusting Him...trusting that He really sees, really cares, really knows how to respond and really WILL respond!
Taking "trust" to a new level...dmc
Monday, November 1, 2010
As a child I would most often picture Jesus as the baby in a manger, the miracle working Savior or as a stern Clear-the-Temple Ultimate Authority Figure! Of those three, the Ultimate Authority Figure would frighten me. I was concerned that He would only see all kinds of defects in my life, pointing to various failures or inherent flaws. Over the years that perspective modified some, but even into adulthood, I still wrestled with that underlying fear that I was disappointing Him in some way.
Then, as a mother of two teenage sons, who would characteristically bounce between being spiritually passionate or spiritually passive, in an effort to own their own spiritual journey, I would often pray for His mercy to cover them. One day it hit me... Jesus is doing the same for me! He is mercifully covering me with intercessory prayers!
The devo scripture passage tells us, Jesus understands and "intercedes for us." (Hebrews 4:34) One of my favorite definitions for intercession is "to pray the prayer that another is yet unable to pray for themselves."
When I think that Jesus is praying the perfect prayer for me, even if I am yet unaware or unable to pray it for myself, that powerfully encourages me. He's not judging me...He is praying earnestly for me even delighting in me! What a thought! He really "gets it" when it comes to understanding and interceding for me!
I agree with the prayer Jesus is praying for me, today!
Incidentally, my boys are now grown, married to precious wives who love Jesus and raising children who have spiritually tender, loving hearts. They now stand with Jesus, the great Intercessor, interceding for their own children!
Grateful for an Interceding Savior...dmc
Sunday, October 31, 2010
There are some people who live so close to Jesus that it seems like He is one of their 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 tune their hearts to Jesus, too. That kind of a friend or listener has an ear next to Jesus' heart.
I've discovered that those who are best friends with Jesus, tend to make the best of friends!
Moving in Close to His Heart...dmc
Saturday, October 30, 2010
When I was a teen, flitting from one activity to another, mom would often encourage me to "be still" and get alone for some quiet time. It was such a healthy discipline. It's in quietness I find my strength even today. Thanks, mom, for introducing me to the powerful, peaceful discipline of just being in His Presence and learning to hear His voice!
Psalm 46:10, "Be still and know that I am God."
Knowing God Better...dmc
Friday, October 29, 2010
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."
To think that 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!
That totally changes the way I go into my day...everyday I'm on an adventure looking for ways to accomplish "good" for God's Glory!
It's not like I have to dream 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
Thursday, October 28, 2010
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 energy from me...UNLESS...I had 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. His opinion of me and expectations are far more gracious and balanced. Even today, in the midst of daily demands, I work hard to stay primarily focused on Him!
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
Wednesday, October 27, 2010
"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.
Recently 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. When we move outside our comfort zone, 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)
Tuesday, October 26, 2010
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."
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
Monday, October 25, 2010
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 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
Sunday, October 24, 2010
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!
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 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 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 us to...
Redeem Enough Sleep Time...dmc
Saturday, October 23, 2010
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
Friday, October 22, 2010
This is one of the most amazing realities in my own journey of faith...how connecting with God can lift my heart and literally change my frame of mind!
Here's a quote from the Webinar I participated in with Dr. David Amen...
"The condition of our soul and the spiritual connections we make has a strong impact on the physiology of the brain. It is a reciprocal relationship...having a positive relationship with God and others actually improves brain function. A number of research studies have demonstrated that people of faith suffer less from anxiety disorders and depression and they recover 70% faster from these illnesses than those without a strong religious faith. The suicide rate and even mortality rate is lower for religious people than the non-religious. The brain needs a healthy soul, and the soul needs a brain that works right."
(Webinar: Healing the Hardware of the Soul - Nine Principles of the Amen Clinic, 10/18/2010)
Chatting with Jesus makes a huge significant difference!
Healing my mind, my life and my mood...dmc
Thursday, October 21, 2010
This is a hard Truth that often cuts deep into our human securities. Just the thought of having to release something or someone precious can be extremely painful. Loss leaves us so empty...I suppose that is why we must be filled with Him, focused on Him and not all the "good things-possessions, family, friends, health, abilities, time" all gifts that come from our Loving, Sovereign Lord.
Our devotional reading today continues, "Intellectually you rejoice in My sovereignty... but when My sovereign will encroaches on your little domain of control, you often react with telltale resentment."
As soon as I sense the rumblings of resentment in my spirit, I try to confess it quickly and ask for His peace that "guards my heart and mind" (Phil. 4:7) Staying close to Him means I must stay tuned in to any hint of displeasure in His Will for my life. Confessing it quickly keeps my heart repentant and tender before Him. Learning to recognize and release resentment quickly has been such a valuable gift. I was reminded of the following song. This clip, Blessed Be Your Name, sung by Tim Hughes, has a powerful message, impacting scriptures and the most endearing pictures of children...who tend to uniquely touch and tune my heart to God's Heart.
My Heart will choose to say, "Lord, Blessed be Your Name." Letting go of resentment...
Never letting go of His Hand...dmc
Wednesday, October 20, 2010
I was on a Webinar the other day discussing brain health. A healthy brain will keep us more alive and youthful no matter what our chronological age may be. There are some twenty year olds whose thought life is so toxic and negative that their brains are deteriorating faster than their grandparents who are 3 or 4 times older!
Although my outward, physical body will certainly age, I want my "inner person to be renewed day by day." (2 Cor. 4:16) So, here are some personal checkpoints I have for myself to help me "grow young":
1. Eat brain healthy & body healthy foods (including my Reliv & protein shakes)
2. Stay kid-connected (time with the young keeps my heart happy, tender & sincere)
3. Stay "young at heart" (no matter how gray, wrinkled or forgetful I become)
4. Always be up for something new & different (keeps me out of the "rut")
5. Compliment often & be thankful (grumpy people are "old" no matter what age)
6. Daily sing & make music (keeps me in tune, on beat & in my right mind)
7. Let God speak into my life (before I dare speak into someone else's life)
8. Use encounters to improve this world (touching people & places for good)
9. Be sure to listen well using my 3rd ear (the one in the center of my heart)
10. Check for Fruit (Will this produce more Love? Joy? Peace? Patience? Kindness? Goodness? Faith? Gentleness? Self-Control? Gal.5:22-23)
Staying Ageless In Jesus...dmc