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!

Saturday, December 31, 2016

Paced with the Pulse of Peace

"As this year draws to a close, receive My Peace. This is still your deepest need, and I, your Prince of Peace, long to pour Myself into your neediness. My abundance and your emptiness are a perfect match... be filled with My very Being, permeated through and through with Peace... regardless of your feelings... (it) will gradually work its way through your entire being." (382)
To close out one year and to begin the next with the Prince of Peace in total control is such a wise way to venture this road of life. Even wiser, yet more challenging, is to move from one day to the next, moment by moment, breath by breath, staying decisively, intentionally in His peaceful Presence. This is not only spiritually wise, it is 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. 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 throughout my entire being, filling all that I am with all that He is!
Pacing with the Prince...dmc

Friday, December 30, 2016

Unique Intimacy

"I am leading you along a way that is uniquely right for you. The closer to Me you grow, the more fully you become your true self - the one I designed you to be... Marvel at the beauty of a life intertwined with My Presence... in intimate communion... losing yourself in Me." (381)
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 a place of solitude or in the midst of a multitude. I know without a doubt, my goal and inner compass is set, no matter where I am or who I am with I'm...
Staying Close to Him...dmc

It reminds me of the following.
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

Thursday, December 29, 2016

Tough & Tender Trust

"Trust Me with every fiber of your being! What I can accomplish in and through you is proportional to how much you depend on Me... I care as much about your tiny trust-steps through daily life as about your dramatic leaps of faith... Consistently trusting in me is vital..." (380)
Witnessing both the tough and the tender sides of trust can impact one forever. Tough trust hangs on through fierse adversity. Tender trust cautiously reaches out with a trembling hand and heart. This came to life when 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 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 required a tough trust emerging from very vulnerable, tender trusting hearts. Their closing memorial song stirred us to keep trusting even when we're "found in the desert place" or walking down "the road marked with suffering." Yes, our hearts can "choose to say...
Blessed Be Your Name"...dmc
(Blessed Be Your Name, by Matt Redman)

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Captured or Capacitated

"I am your Refuge and Strength, an ever-present Help in trouble. Therefore, you don't need to be afraid of anything... Every day I manifest My grace in countless places and situations... blessings (and) outright miracles on your planet... have eyes that see and ears that hear...My abiding Presence in the world." Psalm 46:1-3 (379)
Fear has a way of capturing our attention and our ambitions. Once sabotaged by fear, we feel trapped, immobilized, maybe even 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 observed that when I was fearful I was also 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. While the solution was fairly simple - start envisioning the best outcomes rather than the worst - remembering to put it into practice is not always so simple.
I need to basically believe more in what God is saying and doing (blessings and miracles) than in what my fear says and does to me. Fear shouts at me from various sources; like the news media, or others' opinions, and even my own self-doubt. However, God generally whispers to me through meditative moments in His Word, encouraging encounters, and in the hidden hopes and dreams deeply tucked in my own heart.
It all comes down to how I am going to use my God-given gift of imagination.... what am I going to envision? Am I going to be captured or am 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... not only giving me life, but leading me into a relationship with Jesus... helping to anchor my earthly & eternal life! I've been abundantly blessed... making this day a very special birthday for me!

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Blessed & Balanced Wheel of Life

"I am preparing you for what is on the road ahead... Take time to be still in My Presence so that I can strengthen you. The busier you become, the more you need this time apart with me... depending on My strength and trusting Me in every situation. If you live in this way, you will do less but accomplish far more... reflect(ing) Me to the watching world." (376)
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.
Personally, we've always had to carefully carve out quality time to spiritually refresh ourselves, 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... like not participating in something we'd like to do, or are asked to do, or cannot afford to do or simply cannot do because of previous commitments.
But choosing to say a Healthy "No" allows the opportunity to 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... including those who live under my own roof!
Realigning my Wheel of Life...dmc

Monday, December 26, 2016

Fully Enjoying God's Love Gift

"I am the Gift that continuously gives... a radical concept... perfect Love... not subject to variation. (However) what does vary is your awareness of my loving Presence." (377)
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 think, in a twisted kind of way, I'd overlaid that inclination on to my relationship with God, also.)
One of the passages from today's devotional helped me to understand 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 assumptions that undermined my personal application of God's Love.
6. God's Love allows me to EMBRACE "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
(Wow, that's a lot on the day after Christmas, with a happy heart & full tummy!)

Sunday, December 25, 2016

Waiting for Heaven's Merry CHRISTmas

"As you wait attentively in My Presence..." (376)
The wait is finally over... Merry Christmas!! We've spent 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've been forced to wait and wait in long checkout lines, traffic stops and in not-so-fast-food restaurants. We've waited for packages to be delivered. We've waited for Christmas TV specials to air and we've waited for loved ones to safely arrive home. Lots of running, lots of waiting, lots of commotion and endless checklists. Yet, all along we know it's really all about HIM, after all it's HIS birthday! We've just been so caught in the chaos.
It's good to recognize that someday, in eternity, we will have reason to celebrate not only His Birth Day but His Return Day! What a Heavenly CHRISTmas that will be...in His Presence!
Celebrating Jesus & Waiting to see Him...dmc
Have a Blessed Merry CHRISTmas & Watch this - http://www.godtube.com/watch/?v=9MB1EFNU

Saturday, December 24, 2016

Where is Christ?

"I speak to you from the depths of eternity... You hear Me in the depths of your being, where I have taken up residence. "I am Christ in you, the hope of Glory"... alive within you... tune in to My living Presence." Colossians 1:27 (375)
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 to 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...
Unwrapping Glorious Hope...dmc

Friday, December 23, 2016

Nurturing Trust Nurtures

"Nurture well your trust in Me as Savior, Lord, and Friend." (374)
Trust is a phenomenal entity. It can be both 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

Thursday, December 22, 2016

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!

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

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

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

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 overspending. 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

Monday, December 19, 2016

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

Sunday, December 18, 2016

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 24 hour fitness centers. 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

Saturday, December 17, 2016

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

Friday, December 16, 2016

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

Thursday, December 15, 2016

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

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

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 some of our more 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

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Soaking Time

"Take time to be holy...it means set apart for sacred use...moments in My Presence are accomplishing (this) within you. This process requires blocks of time set aside for communion with Me. The benefits...are limitless. Emotional and physical healing are enhanced by your soaking in the Light of My Presence... you become a cleansed temple of My Holy Spirit, who is able to do in and through you immeasurably more than you ask or imagine." Ephesians 3:20 (364)
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!
When we toured the extraordinary Bodies Exhibition I was captured with the graphic and detailed 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 numerous biological systems that house our 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 fragile our bodies can be!
I desire more "blocks of time" to heal and "soak"...
In His Presence...dmc

Monday, December 12, 2016

The 4 - D Perspective

"Feel the warmth and security of being enveloped in My loving Presence. Every detail of your life is under My control...fitting into a pattern for good... If you could only see how close I am to you and how constantly I work on your behalf, you would never again doubt that I am wonderfully caring for you." (363)
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 can 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

Sunday, December 11, 2016

Dreaming & Co-Creating

"Bring Me all your concerns, including your dreams...letting the Light of My Presence shine on your hopes and plans...infusing your dreams with life, gradually transforming them into reality...co-creating with you." (362)
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 "reality!"
But I know that God understands dreams, afterall, His creative abilities are a demonstration of His own dreams! That encourages my heart as I wonder and prayerfully wait. While dedication to a dream may sometimes demand great sacrifice, I know even the wildest God-given dream can come true!  Why? Because "every promise of God proves true."(Proverbs 30:5)
Check out the ABC's of Dreams... http://inspirationmotivation.com/dreamsabcs.htm
May all Your God-given Dreams come True...dmc

Saturday, December 10, 2016

Pebbles of Adversity

In your private thoughts, you are still trying to order your world so that it is predictable and feels safe...this is impossible (and) counterproductive to spiritual growth....(because) trouble can highlight your awareness of My Presence." (361)
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, surface 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 human "gems" reflect "the radiance of (His) Face." In the midst of crashing salty waves and salty tearful tides, feeling tossed and trapped, they stop and consider, then reconsider God, tearfully bathing in His Presence. No wonder they "consider it all joy" because they have been repetitively...
Tumbling with Jesus...dmc

Friday, December 9, 2016

Risky, Freak-me-out Faith

"Be willing to go out on a limb with Me. If that is where I am leading you, it is the safest place to be. Your desire to live a risk-free life is a form of unbelief...your attempts to minimize risk (keep you from) following Me wholeheartedly... relinquish your tendency to play it safe. My sovereign Presence protects you wherever you go." (360)
At times my own "risk-factor" can really puzzle me. For instance, I am willing to risk tasting a strange, new food, but less likely to risk some new hair-do.
Overall, I'm not especially fond of risking, even my parenting was geared more toward playing it smart and safe; only taking carefully calculated risks. However, taking a risk for God's glory was a whole other thing in our home. We applauded godly risks, viewing them as great opportunities to live out our faith.
Hebrews 11:6 says, “Without faith, it is impossible to please God.” God wants us to be risk-takers, but He does not want us to be risky fools. Knowing the difference is a risk-trick in itself!
Prayerfully letting Him guide us helps to determine if the risk is His idea!  Is it necessary? Is it worth it? Are there other wiser alternatives? Weighing all that out can help us determine whether the benefits of a risk will outweigh the liabilities.
For me, if the benefits are eternal, giving God glory, then I will more readily take the risk and step out on that "limb" with God-confidence. "Being confident of this, that He who began a good work in (me) will continue that good work until the day Jesus comes for (me.)" (Philippians 1:6)
With all that said, I honestly still prefer stepping on solid ground over climbing out on a limb. Limb-dwellers inspire me, yet baffle me, while others can just freak me out!
However, I was also pondering how fruit tends to grow... out on the limbs! That may be why limb-dwellers often enjoy a much more fruitful life! So, today, I will...
Risk it on the Limb....dmc

Risky, Freak-me-out Faith

"Be willing to go out on a limb with Me. If that is where I am leading you, it is the safest place to be. Your desire to live a risk-free life is a form of unbelief...your attempts to minimize risk (keep you from) following Me wholeheartedly... relinquish your tendency to play it safe. My sovereign Presence protects you wherever you go." (360)
At times my own "risk-factor" can really puzzle me. For instance, I am willing to risk tasting a strange, new food, but less likely to risk a slightly new hair-do.
Overall, I'm not especially fond of risking, even my parenting was geared more toward playing it smart and safe; only taking carefully calculated risks. However, taking a risk for God's glory was a whole other thing. We applauded godly risks, viewing them as great opportunities to live out our faith.
Hebrews 11:6 says, “Without faith, it is impossible to please God.” God wants us to be risk-takers, but He does not want us to take foolish risks. Knowing the difference is a risk-trick in itself!
Prayerfully letting Him guide us helps to determine if the risk is necessary, if it is worth it and if there are other alternatives. Weighing all that out can help us determine whether the benefits of a risk will outweigh the liabilities.
For me, if the benefits are eternal, giving God glory, then I will more readily take the risk and step out on that "limb" with God-confidence. "Being confident of this, that He who began a good work in (me) will continue that good work until the day Jesus comes for (me.)" (Philippians 1:6)
With all that said, I honestly still prefer stepping on solid ground over climbing out on a limb. Limb-dwellers inspire me, yet baffle me, while others just freak me out! But knowing that HE is Sovereign helps me remember that He So-Reigns, even when I'm asked to...
Risk it on the Limb....dmc

Thursday, December 8, 2016

Huge Hugs from Heaven

"Your needs and My riches are a perfect fit. I never meant for you to be self-sufficient. Instead, I designed you to need Me... I carefully crafted your longings and feelings of incompleteness, to point you to Me... (enabling) you to find intimate completion in Me." (359)
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 and cared for, too. (After all, we are eternal spiritual beings having a temporary physical experience!)
So, when I am feeling drained and inadequate physically, I eat, drink or sleep...when I am feeling depleted and inadequate spiritually, I will hunger and thirst for righteousness, to be filled (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 openly admit my neediness and embrace His abundance... all at the same time. With arms wide open it's like a huge, big...
Heavenly Hug...dmc

PS - Happy Birthday to our youngest son, Matthew Charles Colaw! You have been one huge, big hug from heaven to me, to your dad, your brother, your wife & family and to so many others! Thanks for your huge heart of love for Jesus and for being a huge, big blessing in all our lives!

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Beyond the Parade

"I am with you in all that you do, even in the most menial task...concerned with every detail of your life. Nothing escapes My notice...(so) learn to look steadily at Me in all your moments and all your circumstances. (Have) an uninterrupted awareness of My Presence. Fix your gaze on what is unseen, even as the visible world parades before your eyes." 2 Corinthians 4:18 (358)
Whoa...this is the most empowering way to live... aware of Jesus' steady gaze on "even the most menial" details of my life while I keep a steady gaze on Him even with this world's "parade" of concerns and distractions!
Eyes and ears, heart and mind tuned into Jesus... helps me capture a perspective that supersedes this broken, fallen world's "parade" that endlessly marches on and on around me!
Like you, I have many distractions, demands and disappointments parading around me and I have to intentionally look past the "visible parade" to regroup and renew myself by refocusing on Him.
Praising Him while the Band Marches On...dmc

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

The Heart of Christmas Worship

"Stay ever so close to Me... This is the most efficient way to stay on track; also the most enjoyable way... (however, beware of) a false sense of security, lulling the soul into a comatose condition... (rather) I search for...an awakened soul that thrills to the Joy of My Presence." (357)
During this Christmas Season we can certainly be lulled into a type of consumer-coma with the media's targeted emphasis on shopping, wrapping, decorating and endless food preparation. When I was in a store the other day, maneuvering crowded isles, my attention was drawn to the Christmas music in the background... "O Come Let Us Adore Him, Christ the Lord." Instantly, my heart was stirred and drawn back to the heart of Christmas and I had a moment of private worship.
Keeping Christ the focal point of CHRISTmas is the "on track" life I want to live! It helps my morale and my spirit to soar above the "on task" demands of consumerism, materialism and the rat-race that often sidetracks Christmas. I want my soul to be awakened to the Joy of Christmas, glorifying and...
Enjoying Christ The Lord ...dmc

Monday, December 5, 2016

The Hallelujah Holdup

"Let My Presence override everything you experience. Like a luminous veil of Light, I hover over you and everything around you...stay conscious of Me in each situation you encounter." (356)
The Presence of God makes such a huge difference in ANY situation! His Presence can be absolutely capturing! Maybe you have watched one of those Hallelujah flash mob clips where the distracted, chaotic atmosphere in a stadium or mall is radically changed by just one, then two, three and finally a whole choir of people singing the Hallelujah Chorus.  Even in such a non-sacred setting the Presence of God can overtake and finally overwhelm an entire crowd!
In this Christmas season we can easily be overtaken and overwhelmed by all the chaotic distractions that hold us hostage to a hectic pace, daily demands and various troubling issues. However, as Christians, we have a profound privilege... to personally experience a kind of divine holdup in the midst of hectic.  "Surely the Lord is in this place!" In this situation! In this encounter! In this moment!
I am praying that I become more and more aware of Him and that I keep Christ upfront and foremost in my CHRISTmas!

Sunday, December 4, 2016

Puzzled & Privileged

"My thoughts are not your thoughts; neither are your ways My ways. As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways and thoughts higher than yours." Isaiah 55:8-9 (355)
One of the most amazing privileges, as a believer, is to have access to the Master of Creation, the Answer for every problem and the Fulfillment of every need. Every concern has it's counterpart in the heart and mind of God. Like two pieces of a puzzle coming together, so it is when my dilemma meets up with Divinity!
Divine intervention fills in the gaps and graciously completes the picture. Being open to receive and willing to listen makes all the difference. I just need to let His Hand guide my life until piece by piece the puzzle pieces are locked into place and the picture of my life is His Divine Design! So, I will continue to believe even when I'm quite ...
Puzzled by the Puzzle...dmc

Saturday, December 3, 2016

Fare Well in Warfare

"Do not be surprised by the fiery attacks on your mind...don't let discouragement set in. You are engaged in massive warfare, spiritually speaking. The evil one abhors your closeness to Me, and his demonic underlings are determined to destroy our intimacy...call upon My Name...at that instant, the battle becomes Mine...simply trust Me as I fight for you." (354)
I can wholeheartedly support the validity of the above quote. I've experienced "fiery attacks"  and  discouragement.  However, I also know the awesome overcoming power of Jesus' Name!! I will ask for His help, then immediately start to thank Him for the victory, even before I FEEL victorious or the oppression lifts... because I know... 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

Friday, December 2, 2016

Pick Your Prince Wisely

"I am the Prince of Peace... When you keep your focus on Me, you experience both My Presence and My Peace... You need My Peace each moment to accomplish My purposes in your life... Walk with Me along paths of Peace; enjoy the journey in My Presence." (353)
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 the meantime, 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

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Tasting Eternal Reality

"I love you with an everlasting Love, which flows out from the depths of eternity...a Love that encompasses you from before birth to beyond the grave...being still in My Presence...enables you to experience My eternal Love. You need the certainty of My loving Presence in order to weather the storms of Life. During times of severe testing, even the best theology can fail you if it isn't accompanied by experiential knowledge of Me...(devote) time to developing your friendship with Me. " (352)
This reminded me of 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 relationally experience Him to really KNOW Him! Adding experience to our knowledge is much like the difference between enjoying a meal or just seeing a picture of it in a magazine. Many more sensory-receptor sites are stirred in the brain and what was once a concept becomes our new reality.
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 GOOD sense...dmc

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Mounting Problems & Mustard Seeds

"Problems are part of life...inescapable: woven into the very fabric of this fallen world. Do not let fixing things be your top priority. Instead...Talk with Me about whatever is on your mind, seeking My perspective on the situation. Remember that you are en route to heaven, and let your problems fade in the Light of eternity." (349)
Perhaps this is one of the most important lessons of life...how to deal with problems. We're all aware of how 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 the 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

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

When Our Needs Serve a Purpose

"I have taken you along a path that has highlighted your need for Me... You have learned to thank Me for hard times and difficult journeys, trusting that through them I accomplish My best work. You have realized that needing Me is the key to knowing Me intimately..." (348)
There really is something special about those who intimately know and trust God even when being led "along a path that...highlight[s their] need for" more of Jesus. 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 levels of need, tend to rest securely, 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
We can be Divinely led and satisfied in the dry, desert, sparse times of life.  We can know God attends to physical needs, health concerns and implements healing, "strengthen[ing] bones" and body. May we be a well "watered garden" and a "spring whose waters never run dry." May we be an overflow of fruitfulness and blessing as we emotionally and relationally touch others today.
Wrapped up in this one verse I find great promises for God's daily direction and provision in life. My needs are not just problematic...they are purposeful! Giving me another opportunity to intimately KNOW God!  Like others, who have come to intimately know God, I am challenged to draw closer and closer to Him, discovering... He can be absolutely trusted!
My Needs are really God-Paths to Intimacy...dmc

Monday, November 28, 2016

Healing Perspective of Thanks

"Rest in the deep assurance of My unfailing Love. Let your body, mind, and spirit relax in My Presence. (Your) best response to this glorious gift is a life steeped in thankfulness." (347)
Being thankful can certainly change our perspective. When I was in the recovery phase from two separate foot surgeries, I was amazed at the series of little miracles our bodies go through to repair. There were times I'd be concerned, because of some new sensation or change in appearance, becoming a bit anxious about it. Even making an extra visit to the doctor's office which was out of town! 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 over.
Being thankful changes perspective and produces a restful, healing option for life!
Blessed from "healthy" head to "healthy" toe...dmc :)

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Thankful Eyes of Insight

"Let thankfulness rule in your heart. As you thank Me for blessings in your life, a marvelous thing happens...scales fall off your eyes, enabling you to see more and more of My glorious riches... A life of praise and thankfulness becomes a life filled with miracles... This is how I created you to live."(346)
Those "scales that fall off our eyes" are often there because we are reacting to a limited frame of reference that restricts a greater, fuller understanding. Much like having little ones in our home during 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... are all 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 always been a great Thanksgiving when we've got a house to clean up and lots of laundry to do! It's the tangible prove... Lots of grandkids, grand friends and grand memories are all ours... We're blessed, in a grand way!
Keeping a Thanksgiving perspective...dmc :)

Saturday, November 26, 2016

Thankful at All Times

"Walk with me along the high road of thanksgiving, and you will find all the delights I have made ready for you...protect your thankfulness (even though) you reside in a fallen world, where blessings and sorrows intermingle freely. A constant focus on adversity defeats many Christians... seeing only the grayness of their thoughts. How precious are My children who remember to thank Me at all times." (345)
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 our address, or where we dwell!  When our focus is on Him our perspective is clear.
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."
Let's do Thanksgiving all year long...dmc

Friday, November 25, 2016

Thanksgiving & Moms

"Thank Me frequently... If you are serious about learning to pray continually, the best approach is to thank Me in every situation... a grateful attitude makes it easier for you to communicate with Me... (there's) no time for worrying or complaining... negative thought patterns will gradually grow weaker and weaker." (344)
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 when she was in the midst of constantly caring for my aging father with his multiple physical struggles, or even now, as she faces the challenges of widowhood. When she steps into the room it's like someone opened a window of sunshine. How does she do this? She and daddy would 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)" even now, as she faces these new challenges in life.
Gratitude brings sunshine into Every Day... not just during theThanksgiving season!
So, today, this Grammy is inspired to be more like Great Grammy...Who makes the best of life and also makes the best Pumpkin Pies & Popcorn Balls!
Thanks to My Mom & all the other Moms who know what it's like to be elbow deep in turkey meat and Thankgiving celebrations!
I'm so thankful for kids, grandkids, grandparents and a host of grand friends...dmc

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Thankful Regardless

"Thankfulness takes the sting out of adversity...There is an element of mystery in this transaction: You give me thanks (regardless of your feelings), and I give you Joy (regardless of your circumstances.) Those who obey Me in this are invariably blessed, even though difficulties may remain. Thankfulness opens your heart to My Presence and your mind to My thoughts...enabling you to see from My perspective...removing the sting from adversity." (343)
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. Moving past regrets and claiming the regardlessly thankful mindset!
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 for this Thanksgiving season and every other season of my life!
Regardlessly Grateful...dmc

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Tiny Treasures

"Achieve a thankful stance...build a foundation of gratitude...(one) that circumstances cannot shake. As you go through this day, look for tiny treasures strategically placed along the way. I lovingly go before you and plant little pleasures to brighten your day. Look carefully for them, and pluck them one by one." (342)
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 creative fingerprint everywhere we were. Like little detectives they would suddenly see trees, flowers, clouds, birds, butterflies, turtles, a clover leaf, puppies and even the markings on a garter snake from a whole new perspective. God has surprises everywhere!
Grateful to be Grateful...dmc

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Windows of Heaven

"A thankful attitude opens windows of heaven. Spiritual blessings fall freely onto you through those openings into eternity...as you look up with a grateful heart, you get glimpses of Glory through those windows." (341)
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)
Melissa shared, "Amen... He will, He will!!! I remember when we didn't think we could afford to tithe. However, God kept tugging on our hearts to give, so we started out with a small amount and gave that faithfully each week. Since that day we have been blessed in so many ways and are now at a point that we are able to give a little more than the one-tenth!"
Thanks, Melissa, for that confirmation! We have also discovered that having access to a "window of heaven" radically impacts our whole perspective on life! A thankful attitude and faithful tithing seem to go together. It helps to keep us focused on all we DO have, not on what we DON'T have! There are SO many reasons to give back to God, including our promise of heaven...which certainly out ranks them all!! Faithful tithing flows out of a grateful heart and I can see why...it opens the "windows of heaven" and gives us...
Glimpses of Glory...dmc

Monday, November 21, 2016

Fruitful Lips & Lives

"Thank me throughout this day for My Presence and My Peace...As you thank Me for My Presence and Peace, you appropriate My richest gifts." (340)
"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. Much like seed time and harvest reflect the seasons of nature so it is with our words. When we plant seeds that curse, complain, belittle, argue or gossip the "fruit" of such lips is a harvest of bitter fruit. Being thankful, forgiving, encouraging and kind allows us to remain in His Peace and Presence producing 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 where "doing good and sharing" are common...and "God is pleased with such sacrifices."
Yes, thanking God and choosing to be gracious can sometimes seem like a huge sacrifice, but the benefits are huge, too.   It produces a bountiful harvest that certainly pleases and definitely nourishes, for sure, for now and forever!
Choosing to be more Thankful & Fruitful...dmc

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Pivot Points

"I am pleased with you, My child. Allow yourself to become fully aware of My pleasure shining upon you...The Light of My Love shines on you continually, regardless of your feelings or behavior... be receptive to this unconditional Love (through) thankfulness and trust... Thank Me for everything; trust in Me at all times." (339)
This may be one of the most impacting Truths in my own life... becoming "fully aware of (His) pleasure," of His "unconditional Love."  It has everything to do with intentionally moving my focus towards being "receptive... thankful and trusting."  This is the critical pivot point of my journey... at all times! It helps me readjust, when tempted to complain or to doubt God.  I must pivot. Pivot my thought life... radically, decisively, intentionally heading in the opposite direction... straight into  the heart of Jesus! It's a welcomed kind of challenge, because my soul deeply longs to be "open to (His) loving Presence." 
Praising Him, Trusting Him...dmc

Saturday, November 19, 2016

Advantageous Outcomes

"Leave outcomes up to Me. Follow Me wherever I lead, without worrying about how it will all turn out. Think of your life as an adventure... Live in the now...staying in step with Me... Enjoy the rhythm of life lived close to Me... leaving outcomes up to Me." (338)
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. Israel's 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 annoying adversary can be God's way of taking care of a much more threatening adversary.  God's advantageous outcomes are often hidden behind adversarial situations! 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 and we will be...
Amazed at the Outcome...dmc

Friday, November 18, 2016

Streams of Living Water

"Come to Me, and rest in My Peace. My Face is shining upon you... As you lean on Me...you feel peaceful and complete. This is how I designed you to live...(with) the living water of My Spirit flowing through you... (giving) you words of grace as you live in the Light of My Peace." John 7:38 (337)
Who are the "living water" people in 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!
While you view these breath-taking pictures, breathe the prayer, "Jesus, help me to be a refreshing stream of beautiful "living water!"
Coming to Life in the Streams of Living Water...dmc

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Simply Simple & Sane

"There is no condemnation for those who are in Me... Be content to be a simple sheep, listening for My voice and following Me...into restful green pastures...along paths of righteousness." (336)
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

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Incredible Life in the Fog

"As you look at the day before you...remember the One who is with you always... notice that a peaceful fog has settled over... The fog is a protection for you... to keep your focus on Me and on the path just ahead of you." (335)
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 has an incredible encounter with God, but comes back with incredible new insights (the Ten Commandments) with an incredible glow of God, literally, 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! Now that IS incredible!!
Making the Best of the Fog...dmc

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Overcoming vs Overwhelming Perspective

"Approach problems with a light touch. When your mind moves toward a problem area, you tend to focus on that situation so intensely that you lose sight of Me. You pit yourself against the difficulty... There is a better way... bring this matter to Me. Talk with me and look at it in the Light of My Presence... Approach problems with a light touch by viewing them in My revealing Light." (334)
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. What could be an overwhelming day becomes an overcoming day, simply with an adjusted perspective!
Rather than getting so absorbed in the throes of some battle, we can turn to a God who sees the way out, straight into victory! It's like having that huge advantageous big-picture perspective 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 had been 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

Monday, November 14, 2016

Fully Known, Fully Loved

"Bask in the luxury of being fully understood and unconditionally loved. Dare to see yourself as I see you: radiant in My righteousness, cleansed by My blood. I view you as the one I created you to be, the one you will be in actuality when heaven becomes your home." (333)
One of the most bonding and rewarding elements of human experience is the phenomena of being loved, no matter what... including all the awesome things, the awful things, and everything in-between! However, we know, 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, others grieved me, and many more have pleased me! 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 the fading final moments of my life, He sees it all and He still 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, yet...
So Totally Loved..dmc

Sunday, November 13, 2016

Glimpses of Glory

"I am Christ in you, the hope of glory. (Colossians 1:27) This is a deep, unfathomable mystery. You and I are intertwined in an intimacy involving every fiber of your being. The Light of My Presence shines within you, as well as upon you." (332)
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 tangible 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 because "the hope of glory" impacts me!
The mystery of Christ's love captures me and changes me...dmc

Saturday, November 12, 2016

Enjoying Jesus

"I want you to enjoy to the full... (don't) hesitate to receive My good gifts with open hands... My kingdom is not about earning and deserving; it's about believing and receiving... Receive My abundant blessings with a grateful heart...(let) My pleasure in giving and your pleasure in receiving flow together in joyous harmony." (331)
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 relationships, especially our relationship with Christ and His redeemed loved ones.
Learning to just enjoy Jesus all the more...dmc

Friday, November 11, 2016

As Your Days

"The more challenging your day, the more of My Power I place at your disposal... I know what each of your days will contain, and I empower you accordingly. As your days, so shall your strength be." Deuteronomy 33:25 (330)
This is a great promise for each day and for an entire life time! However, it only comes one day at a time, pacing strength with the strains and stresses of life. This gives me great comfort and confidence, because the strength I need for today, for tomorrow, for next year or whenever, will be right there... as I need it, forever and ever and ever... Amen!  (Which means "so be it.")
Taking My Strength from Him for Today... Amen!  dmc

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Return & Refocus with DHEA

"Focus your entire being on My living Presence... enveloping you in My Love and Peace. I am recreating you into the one I designed you to be... If something troubles you, talk it over with Me... Gently nudge your mind back to Me." (329)
What do we do with troubling, fearful 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.
I John 3:20 tells us that our thoughts, even our own hearts, can try to distract us with condemnation. However, "if our hearts condemn us, we know that God is greater than our hearts, and he knows everything.” So, if we "gently nudge" our minds back to Jesus, talking to Him and quickly unloading our anxiety and 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.
Several years ago I participated in an research project where I learned how our cortisol count climbs whenever we are filled with negativity (like being anxious, angry, or depressed, etc.).  However, our bodies also respond, with increased DHEA, when we experience a more positive stance (like being thankful, motivated, happy, or even simply peaceful, etc.)  A body flooded with cortisol drains and depletes us while DHEA provides us with numerous physical, mental, even relational benefits.
It's fascinating to me how even my body's biology knows how beneficial it is for me to return and refocus my thoughts constructively.  My secret turn-around is to engage in quick and instant communication between my heart and my Savior. Jude 24 says, "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!"  Now, that prompts some healthy DHEA production!
Continually Seeking & Celebrating Him...dmc

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Bubbles of God's Grace

"Sit quietly with Me, letting all your fears and worries bubble up to the surface... In the Light of My Presence, the bubbles pop and disappear... My Presence will be with you at all times... Enjoy Peace in My Presence." (328)
I know what it's like to have fears and worries bubble up, much like murky sludge from a broken sewage line. Yuk! 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 various bubble making wands. They would "ooh" and "ahh" with wonder, then suddenly 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 displaying the immeasurable riches of His grace.
Makes me wonder if 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

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Transforming My History

"Learn to appreciate difficult days... As you journey through rough terrain with Me, gain confidence from your knowledge that together we can handle anything... I remain the same throughout time and eternity. This is the basis of your confidence." (327)
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 with a whole city of families. Going through a difficult time together and coming 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.
I want my life story to really be HIS story! Much like the unfolding of a mystery, each scenerio reveals how He's transforming 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.
My friend, Melissa, found the following video clip. Listen to the Philippians 1:6 passage put to music and sung by Steve Green.
To watch copy & paste:

He who began a good work in you
He who began a good work in you
Will be faithful to complete it
He'll be faithful to complete it
He who started the work
Will be faithful to complete it in you

If the struggle you're facing
Is slowly replacing
Your hope with despair
Or the process is long
And you're losing your song
In the night you can be sure
That the Lord has His hand on you
Safe and secure
He will never abandon you
You are His treasure
And He finds His pleasure in you

So, no matter if this is a delightful day or a difficult day, we can be confident that...
His Story can Radically Improve Our Story ...dmc

Monday, November 7, 2016

Expressions of Holiness

"Worship Me in the beauty of holiness. All true beauty reflects some of who I Am. I am working My ways in you...creating loveliness within your being...(clearing) out debris and clutter, making room for My Spirit to take full possession (of you.)" (326)
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 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 in the not-so-profound elements of every day life.
Enjoying Expressions of His Holiness...dmc

This song by Robin Mark will help "clear out the debris and clutter" to make room for His Holiness. 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.

Sunday, November 6, 2016

Spiritual & Cellular DNA

"Seek to please Me above all else...in everything, not just in major decisions... When My Presence is your deepest delight, you know almost instinctively what will please Me...(and you will) make the right choice." (325)
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 the psalm continues, through verse 40, to describe the way of the faithful and those who live securely. It's reassuring to know that in this uncertain world, God's faithful ones can "live securely."
I discovered an interesting fact while doing research 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. (Source: University of California – Davis, 11.05.2010)
My interest was piqued when I read how current research reveals that meditation helps to increase levels of the valuable enzyme, telomerase, thus increasing one's health, longevity and immune cells.
Faithfulness, as noted in Psalm 37, emphasizes the role of various meditative activities such as prayer, applying scripture, engaging in worship and trusting in the Lord. When God's people meditate on Him, it can increase our sense of well-being, our sense of purpose and subsequently strengthen our very DNA! Literally, "all that is within me" can...
Bless His Holy Name (Ps 103:1) ...dmc

Saturday, November 5, 2016

Purr-fectly Contentment

"You can live as close to Me as you choose...(being) content in any and every situation. Don't let your well-being depend on your circumstances. Instead, connect your joy to My precious promises." (324)
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 mental climate of my brain and to brighten 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, when burdens roll in, I can roll them onto Jesus, my Burden-Bearer... which is one of the many blessings that comes with choosing to live as close as possible to Him!
I enjoyed what Amelia said. "Find contentment in all circumstances? I’m working on that... I am blessed with a wonderful family. Now. for patience with the resident cat…! I grew up on a farm. Don’t cats belong outside or in the barn?!"
I teasingly told her that I understood, since our last cat (Coca-Colaw) provided us lots of mixed moments, too. I'm so grateful God can give us a little "cat-tentment" along the way to help us enjoy those playful "purr-fect" blessings hidden in our day!
Longing to be Purr-fectly Content...dmc

Friday, November 4, 2016

Next Step Living

"Walk peacefully with Me through this day...one step at a time...keep your mind on My Presence and taking the next step. I designed you for deep dependence on (Me.) When you don't know what to do, wait while I open the way before you." (323)
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 things we cannot control. That runs so counter to my human nature.
When I was in the recovery process from foot surgery, I had to calculate carefully my "next steps" to make the most of every step-effort. I had to think ahead so that each trip across the room, or to the other end of the house, was 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 I certainly need to "be ready to follow His lead."
My friend Melissa shared, "It is so easy to try to do things on my own because I am usually limited on time so I just jump in with both feet and get it done. However, God has been working on me to "train my mind" to slow down and include Him in EVERYTHING! "Instead of mentally rehearsing how you will do this or that, keep your mind on My presence and on taking the next step.....This is a training opportunity, since I designed you for deep dependence on your Shepherd-King." (323) It sure is nice having help and things sure work out a lot better!"
It's such a comfort to know that His "Presence will go with you, and...give you rest.” (Exodus 33:14)
My prayer is, "Lord, train my mind to slow down long enough to include You in everything."
Stepping Forward WITH Him...dmc

Thursday, November 3, 2016

Opting Up & Forward

"Every time something thwarts your plans or desires, use that as a reminder to communicate with Me. This practice has several benefits...
(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."
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 to be IN God's Love...dmc

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Jesus in the Nick of Time

"Your weakness does not repel Me. On the contrary, it attracts My Power... come to Me with your gaping neediness; let the Light of My Love fill you... (It takes) courage to thank Me even during hard times. Yielding yourself to My will is ultimately an act of trust." (321)
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 "use to" noticing that kind of thing.
When we were in the parking lot, I had not even looked ahead. I was totally unaware of the situation.  Her quick and keen awareness of someone in need amazed me!  Obviously, the older gentleman was so grateful for her ready response!
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

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Jesus Really "Gets It"

"Do not be discouraged by the difficulty of keeping your focus on Me. I know your heart's desire... Don't let feelings of failure weigh you down. I am delighted by your deep desire to walk closely with Me... I am pleased each time you initiate communication with Me. I notice the progress you have made...don't be alarmed or surprised. You live in a world that's been rigged to distract you." (320)
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, it was the Ultimate Authority Figure that 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 them! For me! He is mercifully covering us 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 choose to agree with the prayer Jesus is praying for me, today!
Incidentally, my boys are now grown, married to precious wives who love Jesus and are 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

Monday, October 31, 2016

Heart-Hearing Friends

"Learn to listen to Me even while you are listening to other people...you are on holy ground. You need the help of My Spirit...ask Him to think though you, live through you, love through you... Be a channel of My Love, Joy and Peace listening to Me as you listen to others." (318)
There are some people who live so close to Jesus that it seems like He is one of their very best friends. Spending time with them is almost like having an appointment with Jesus, Himself... having His undivided, discerning attention. They are such channels of godly insight and genuine inspiration that they motivate others to also tune their hearts to Jesus. That kind of a friend or listener seems to have an ear tucked in close to Jesus' heart.  (See Sept. 26 devo, "Use Your Third Ear")
I've discovered that those who are best friends with Jesus, tend to make the very best of friends!  Perhaps it's because at the very center of their heart there's an "ear" that's open and well tuned to "hear what the spirit says." (Rev. 2-3)  When I need to sort out life, these friends can be trusted with my heart. Afterall, their h"ear"ts resonate with His H"ear"t!
Moving in Close to His Heart...dmc

Sunday, October 30, 2016

God's Quiet Classroom

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

Saturday, October 29, 2016

When Good Works Work!

"Linger in My Presence...My Presence equips you for the day ahead... I have arranged the events you will encounter as you go along your way... I ready you for action." (316)
The verse in today's devo is one of my favorites. Ephesians 2:10, "For we are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do."
When I pause and really think about it... I am blown away! I was crafted by God (His workmanship), created in Christ Jesus (through salvation's work to make me a supernaturally "new creation in Christ") to do "good works" for God, that He has already made preparation for me to accomplish, for His Glory!
Now, that totally changes the way I go into my day! This means everyday I'm on an adventure looking for ways to accomplish "good" for God's Glory!
It's not like I have to humanly drum up something "good" to do, because God has already made all the arrangements. I just need to stay tuned in to Him and allow His "good works" to flow through me.
What a wonderful way to live..and it really works! How do I know? Because of others who have been a demonstration of His "good works," having touched my life with so much "good!"
Yes, I KNOW...it works!
Up to "God's Good" rather than "No Good!"...dmc

Friday, October 28, 2016

Christ's Opinion Counts

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

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Spiritual Neurobics

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

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

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

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

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

Neurobically His...dmc