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, April 30, 2016

God Confidence

"Lacking time, energy, money - consider yourself blessed. Your very lack is an opportunity to latch onto Me in unashamed dependence... Awareness of your inadequacy is a rich blessing, training you to rely wholeheartedly on Me." (125)
Lack can set us up for a far different perspective on life. It can be much like a pair of glasses that magnifies the challenge and shrinks our ability to make a worthy contribution.  We can feel extremely inadequate. This is when I recognize I must exercise "God Confidence!"
"Being confident of this, that HE who began a good work in (me) WILL carry it on to completion, until the day He comes (for me)." (Phil. 1:6)  Lack can open the door to a my true Source, God!
My lack of confidence is challenged by God Confidence! Therein lies my highest confidence...
In Him alone...dmc

Friday, April 29, 2016

Gift Wrapped Days

"Let Me teach you thankfulness...each new day is a gift from Me, not to be taken for granted."(124)
Have you noticed how some days do not SEEM like a gift? They can be wrapped in concern, heaviness and maybe even profound sadness. However, "the secret of being thankful is learning to see everything from (His) perspective."
After all, if we REALLY saw life from His perspective, we would be extremely grateful!  Why?  Because we would choose exactly what He has planned for our day... with all it's glorious gifts just waiting to be opened.  So, Lord, I need to first open my eyes so I can start opening my gifts!
Ok,  I'm heading into my day, with eyes wide OPEN !

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Lamenting Choices

"Choice-points along the way...each is contingent upon the decision that precedes it." (123)
I spend lots of time with others who are lamenting over choices made, long ago, that have altered their options for today. What a redeeming promise to know that "The Lord is good to those who wait for Him; to the person who seeks Him. It is good to wait quietly for the salvation of the Lord." Lamentations 3:25-26
My friend Melissa shared:
I was just talking to a friend about how we so easily jump ahead of God's plan and try to do things on our own when we need to wait quietly for His instructions. My impatience has gotten the best of me many times. I am slowly learning how to live moment by moment and trusting God “to supply what I need when I need it.”
Living minute by minute!
Thanks, Melissa! I join you in your "minute by minute" adventure...
Seeking His Face More, Lamenting Less...dmc

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

On Jesus' Prayer List

One verse from our scripture reading for today powerfully spoke to me! Jesus is not only praying for us "but also for those who believe in (Him) through (our) message." (John 17:20)
What an amazing thought...to know that Jesus is praying for each of us AND for those who we have witnessed to, shared our faith with, or have spiritually mentored and are prayerfully concerned for.
Sometimes the burden of someone's spiritual growth can be quite overwhelming and I can feel quite drained "of strength" to monitor their continued spiritual growth.(122)
However, Jesus steps in to protect me and His gospel message with His own intercessory prayer!
So, I pray, "Lord, help me to just remain faithful. May any life I touch, be impacted, not just with MY testimony, but with YOUR discerning prayer for THEM."
Covered in Jesus' Prayers...dmc

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Amazing Amygdala

"If you encounter a problem...your response to that situation will take you either up or down. You can lash out at the difficulty, resenting it and feeling sorry for yourself...tak(ing) you down into a pit of self-pity." OR "The problem can be a ladder, enabling you to climb up and see your life from My perspective." (121)
God has equipped us with a small almond-shaped "toggle switch" in our brains that enables us to experience the "perspective-lifter" or the "ladder" that helps us to "climb up" into a new more God-glorifying perspective. We can intentionally activate the switch (or climb the ladder) to gain a heightened perspective on our problems. With God's help problems can become doors of incredible opportunity. It's all about bringing His presence into every aspect of our thought life.
Making my amygdala give God glory...dmc

Monday, April 25, 2016

God's Gyroscope

At certain times, over the years, I have suffered from motion sickness... as a child on a fast spinning not-so-merry-go-round! (Nausea can quickly condition one to avoid certain things!) Then, as an adult, on a cruise ship navigating 9 to 12 foot seas... Just to simply walk we were hanging on to walls and rails...quite a memory! However, far worse...on an airplane, in the middle of a thunderstorm! Or even in the seat of a larger-than-life IMAX theater!
Our sense of balance, developing even before we are born, incorporates at least 3 of our other senses and keeps us functional from morning till night, from the cradle to the grave. A well developed sense of balance, like an internal gyroscope, is crucial to our overall coordination and continued well-being. (Hopefully, keeping our tummies settled, too!)
Many frequent travelers know that keeping on eye on the horizon can help settle a rolling tummy.  The key is to pick out a focal point in the distant, keep your eye fixed on that, until a sense of balance is restored and your inner gyroscope is recalculated.
Life has a way of throwing us off balance... distracting us, distressing us and disorientating us... hence we need a strong, never-changing focal point... Jesus!
Today's devo, coming from Hebrews 12:2 tells us to "fix our eyes on Jesus, the One who never changes." (120) Why is that so important?
That is our only way to maintain a sense of balance, a sense of direction and, must likely, a good sense of humor, too!
Checking my spiritual gyroscope...dmc

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Still Stitching

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

Saturday, April 23, 2016

"Onerous" Days

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

Friday, April 22, 2016

Doin' It WITH Him

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

Thursday, April 21, 2016

The Brain Police

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

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Fear's Distorted Perspective

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

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Regardless Love

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

Monday, April 18, 2016

Full of Manna in the Morning

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

Sunday, April 17, 2016

God's Right & Left Hand Ways

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

Saturday, April 16, 2016

Praising When Puzzled

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

Friday, April 15, 2016

The Premium Perspective

"Out of control...not running smoothly...shaken...loss of comfort." (110)
This sounds so typical of the circumstances and lives around us many days...even in my own life at times! The comfort zone seems long gone!
True security comes only in Him. But to look at these times as "growth opportunities" rather than "bemoaning the loss of (our) comfort" or  even the loss of a hopeful expectation can stretch us further than we've gone before!  Losses and changes of all kinds can radically mess with us.
Accepting "the challenge of something new" when that "something new" is NOT what we would have planned is the premium perspective that has the potential of leading us "on from glory to glory" and preparing us for eternity!

Lord, help me to take on Your Premium Perspective! For I know that my thoughts are not Your thoughts, and my ways are not Your ways...just like heaven is higher than the earth, so Your ways are much higher than my ways, and Your thoughts are far beyond my thoughts. Amen! (Is. 55:8-9)

Learning to say "Yes" & Simply Trust Him...dmc

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Soul-Anchored in Heaven

"As you walk along your life-path holding My hand you will...find many hints of heaven along your pathway...Keep your eyes and ears fully open as you journey with Me." (109)
"We have this hope, like a sure and firm anchor of the soul." (Hebrews 6:19)
So, we can confidently "hold on to the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful." (Hebrews 10:23)
In the midst of this world's stormy winds and waves, I can be securely anchored to Christ. My relationship with Him allows "hints of heaven" to touch my life. On some days, I will reach out, as if to take His hand, holding tight to my invisible Anchor! It reminds me of His Presence and it helps me to keep my focus on the Hope of Heaven. After all, around me are slivers of heaven. “Shimmering sunshine awakens (my) heart, gently reminding (me) of (His) brilliant Light. Birds and flowers, trees and skies evoke praises to (His) holy name.” That is enough evidence to rally my confidence. I am anchored to Jesus. Jesus is anchored to Heaven. Therein lies my Hope!
Holding Tight, Headed in the Heavenly Direction...dmc

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Stilled not Stalled

"When I give you no special guidance, stay where you are. Concentrate on doing your everyday tasks in awareness of My Presence with you." (108)

To "stay where (I am)" and wait for God to activate the next step and to "depend on (Him) moment by moment" can seem like such a HUGE stall. It feels like I'm loosing time, missing opportunities, idling or standing still and wasting too much precious time!

However, stillness can offer me the opportunity to gain a broader perspective of "collaborating with (Him)," allowing His Life to merge deeper into mine.
It's my choice...and I know I need more "stillness" to keep me from becoming spiritually stalled!

Yielded & Still...dmc

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

The Trust Test

"Trusting Me is a moment-by-moment choice....Choose to trust Me in all circumstances." (107)
I find it good to be well aware of the issues that cause my trust to weaken. When certain things fall out of alignment I can sense a 'trust test' is underway.
That can include a certain physical/emotional/spiritual/relational/financial or otherwise circumstantial mix that challenges my trust. There are also certain things that can help to strengthen my trust when I'm in the throes of a 'trust test.'
However, one way I can overcome my doubts is to voice my choice to believe that God is faithful and can be fully trusted. There's just something about hearing myself speak faith over my fear and to acknowledge I believe more in a loving Heavenly Father than in some lousy earthly fear!
I will say it aloud, "I trust in You, Lord; I say, "You are my God." (Ps.31:14)
Choosing Trust, Voicing Trust...dmc

Monday, April 11, 2016

In & Out of "The Box"

Some people are outside-the-box thinkers, others are more inclined to be in-the-box people. Today's devo encourages us to "begin the day with open hands of faith...this act of faith frees (God) to work (His) ways into" our lives. (106)
Some days require an outside-the-box perspective.  This means living with a strong faith perspective that can thank God even for "unwanted situations" or to be at peace when we are challenged with a "reality of what is (yet) hoped for." (Heb.11:1)  Outside-the-box thinking frees me to face the future.
While we are challenged to have faith for the future, we must also "live within the boundaries...of only one day at a time. Not worrying about tomorrow or getting stuck in the past." So, we need to "bear the weight of only one day at a time." This requires carefully constructed mental boundaries that come with healthy in-the-box thinking that secures us in the midst of today's challenges.
The constructive balance between these two perspectives can be a challenge. I have discovered that as I recognize how "this is the day the Lord has made" and I choose to "rejoice and be glad in it," helps me establish a more balanced perspective. (Ps.118:24)
I need the roots of trust that anchor me in-the-box. I also need the wings of faith that set me free to gain that incredible outside-the-box advantage. So, in or out of the box, I can wholeheartedly choose a "rejoice and BE glad" perspective.
In His Presence...dmc

Sunday, April 10, 2016

Recycling God's Way

"Nothing is wasted when you walk close to Me. Even your mistakes and sins can be recycled into something good, through My transforming grace." (105)
I suppose this has got to be one of the MOST amazing realities of my relationship with Jesus! No matter how flawed my efforts, how broken my heart or how disappointing life may seem... God has a way of creatively re-crafting, recycling and transforming "everything that happens...into a pattern for good." (Rom.8:28)
How I picture this, comes from the Jeremiah 18 passage, where "the clay became flawed in the potter's hand, so he made it into another jar, as it seemed right for him to do... Just like clay in the potter's hand, so are you in My hand..." (Jer. 18:4&6)
What an amazing privilege... to place our flawed efforts, broken hearts, disappointing lives in The Potter's hands and allow Him to recycle and transform us into "clay jars" filled with "Treasure!" (2 Cor. 4:7)
On the Potter's Wheel...dmc

Saturday, April 9, 2016

Practicing His Restful Presence

"Each moment you can choose to practice My Presence or to practice the presence of problems." (104)
Practicing His presence is a state of spiritual awareness that I need to "practice" a whole lot more! Much like developing a skill, I want to develop the discipline of an embracing focus on Him and on the truths of scripture, more than embracing the realities of this deeply flawed and spiritually fallen world.
My heart resonates with Moses' request...when he asked God to teach him His ways and for His favor.  God responds, "My presence will go with you, and I will give you rest." Ex. 33:1
God could have given him many other things... but instead He promised REST!
There is a kind of restlessness that comes when a relationship is in question... when the love has been compromised or contaminated. However, God's presence is all about a most pure and perfect love that allows the heart to be at ease, the mind to be at peace and the soul to be at rest. It's Practice Time...time to practice resting...
In His loving Presence...dmc

Friday, April 8, 2016

Power & Presence

"When you feel far from me, whisper My Name...in childlike faith...prepare to receive My Love." (103) In Genesis 28:16 Jacob says, "Surely the Lord is in this place, and I did not know it."
There are times in my life when I feel so vulnerable and alone. Prayerfully whispering His Name  really helps me to reestablish that vital connection. "Jesus, Jesus, Jesus..." There is such power and presence in His Name!
I have learned that just because I cannot "sense" Him does not mean He is not here. If I'm aware of any sin issue in my life, I quickly repent, reestablishing our relationship. If I'm sensing the presence of sin near me, creating a spiritually dark, heavy atmosphere around me, I quickly acknowledge that and whisper His Name. It's a phenomenal privilege to have access to such power and presence through His Name!
Like Jacob, I can be so distracted by my own internal drama or the drama around me that I overlook Him. For "surely He IS in this place, and I just did not know it" until I refocused and rediscovered Him, the Resurrected Lord!
Sensing His Presence...dmc

Thursday, April 7, 2016

Days of Clay & Wrenches

Today's devo speaks of the potter and the clay. (Isaiah 64:8)
To remind myself of the role I am to play, I think I need to get out some Play Dough and learn a lesson from its pliability or transformation abilities.
First of all, for transformation to happen, I must submit myself to the process of change. Change can be quite challenging...or change can be quite refreshing! It all depends upon my ability to be pliable.
Pliability gives me the ability to be transformed into His image at any moment for any purpose with anyone anywhere. All much easier said than done!! Melissa shared how "any kind of change" is like throwing "a wrench" into her day and "messing it all up." Read how she used that to be a "molding day" for her...
"I love the play dough exercise! Yesterday was a molding day for me! It started with the devo and God was talking right to me. I guess He wanted me to keep my attitude in check because my day was full...my schedule was planned and any kind of change would have thrown a wrench in my system and messed it all up. This is where I usually get mad. However, when the wrench was thrown in, I remembered not to “focus on situations that displease” me (my inconvenience). (101) I talked with God and focused on a solution. “Talk with Me about what you are experiencing.” (102) I talked, He listened! Then, I saw God transform a disastrous day into a glorious one!"
Thanks, Melissa! I've often noticed that the "wrench" in my day is really ME and MY responses, not so much the "inconveniences" that annoy me. After all, this day is NOT all about ME. It's all about...
Saying "yes" to the Potter...dmc

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

The "ANT-eater" Fix

"When you focus on what you don't have or on situations that displease you, your mind also becomes darkened...You look for what is wrong and refuse to enjoy life until that is "fixed." (101)
Recent research highlights how thoughts impact, not only our brains, but every dimension of our lives, including our health. Happy, hopeful thoughts tend to calm the brain and heal the body. Negative, anxious thoughts can inflame certain areas of the brain that can trigger anger, maybe even depression, impacting our entire body and even those around us! Our thought life REALLY matters.
Dr. David Amen identifies ANTs (Automatic Negative Thoughts) that can ruin our lives, distorting information coming in. ANTs make us feel bad, react poorly to others and cause us to believe in mistaken assumptions. He encourages people to not believe every thought that enters our minds, but to evaluate thoughts to see if they're helpful or hurtful.
If we don't "take every thought captive and make it obedient to Christ" (2 Cor. 10:5) we will be tempted to focus on the negatives rather than the many reasons to be thankful and to generously love and care for others.
Dr. Amen teaches people to activate an "internal ANTeater to hunt down and devour the negative thoughts" that ruin life and spoil relationships. When we catch a negative thought, we can "talk to it" and replace it with constructive thoughts that build and enhance life. Otherwise, the ANTs (Automatic Negative Thoughts) will eat US up!! I want to live my life...
"Practicing the discipline of thanksgiving"...dmc

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Earthen Vessel Issues

"Though you are an earthen vessel, I designed you to be filled with heavenly contents. Your weakness is not a deterrent to being filled with My Spirit; on the contrary, it provides an opportunity for My Power to shine forth more brightly." (100)
So, what are your "Earthen Vessel" issues? One of mine is digitally documented on a regular basis... various x-ray images of my spine explain the annoying pain I wrestle with most days. I'm told it is not going to "get better" or "go away!" So, I must be committed to the long haul...accepting the weaknesses of my "earthen vessel," at least until a miracle overtakes my flawed, fragile spine.
However, the Good News is... I can also be committed to letting His Power shine forth, no matter what kind of flaws challenge this "earthen vessel" I dwell in. I have far more reasons to be grateful and I decided long ago to not be defined by my pain, but by my many blessings. I've learned how that's done from my precious daddy, who wrestled with pain all his life because of a birth injury, yet he found so many reasons to be grateful and so many opportunities to enjoy life.
Most people will have some kind of "Earthen Vessel" issue. When we focus on Jesus, our EV issues provide "opportunities for (His) Power to shine forth..." (See 2 Corinthians 4:7)
Thank You, Daddy (now in heaven), for teaching me how Jesus can shine forth in pain! You still inspire me!
Flawed yet Blessed...dmc

Monday, April 4, 2016

Prayers Under the Stairs

Today's scripture says, "For the eyes of the Lord range throughout the earth to show Himself strong for those whose hearts are completely His." 2 Chron.16:9
Quoting our devo for today..."I am pleased with your desire to create a quiet space where you and I can meet. Don't be discouraged by the difficulty of achieving this goal. I monitor all your efforts and am blessed by each of your attempts to seek My Face." (99)
Years ago, when we were first in ministry, I wanted to "created a quiet space" to get alone with God. There were limited options, so I cleaned out a storage place under a staircase. It was in a cold basement so I had to use a small space heater to keep warm. I added a little bookcase, folding chair, lamp, a map of the world on the wall (to pray for countries and missionaries), notebook, journal, prayer file with 3x5 cards, my "God Box," tissue box and a Boom Box to play praise music. Then, I would daily sneak under the stairs.
I was seriously seeking Him...and after several months...it seemed like He "found me" and began meeting with me! My relationship with God, my love for His Word, my perspectives and assumptions were radically impacted.
As children, pets, daily responsibilities and other demands filled my time, I found it more difficult, yet more critical, to get into my little prayer closet while kids napped or early in the mornings. Over the years my prayer closet has had to morph into a prayer desk, a prayer corner, a prayer basket, and now a prayer chair...depending on where we're living. Yet, it is SO worth all the effort.
I understand that Charles & John Wesley's mother, Susanna, would throw her apron over her head to create a place to seek God in the midst of her many children and very limited space. She had 19 children. Although 9 died as infants, the remaining 10 kept her more than busy! God certainly blessed her prayers under her apron! Although I hardly ever wear my apron and I no longer have a staircase, I'm still...
Prayerfully Seeking His Face...dmc

Sunday, April 3, 2016


Today's devo emphasizes how our "capacity to experience (Christ) is increased through (the) removal of debris and clutter from (our) heart." (98)
This caused me to reflect on some studies over the past few years in neuro-science and brain imaging. Research indicates that the more distracted we become with toxic, negative thoughts, the more likely we are to functionally derail, stressing others and distressing ourselves. But then, we already know that... just living life has proven how stress messes with us. But now we can fully appreciate the clinical reality that such thinking can actually be detected, through various brain scans!
The more I learn from brain science, the more prompted I am, to daily ask God to "de-stress" my mind and "de-toxify" my thought life. I want to be better focused on Him and His directives for my every day life!
Especially since "we ARE the sanctuary of the living God." II Cor. 6:16
Spring cleaning my thought life...dmc

Saturday, April 2, 2016

Weed Free & Light Filled

"Your deepest, most constant need is for MY peace." (97)
Over the years I have been awed at how some individuals, going through the most heart-wrenching experiences, could also have such an overwhelming sense of God's peace and presence! In my own life, I have made it a practice to monitor my level of peace at any given moment. If I sense a disruption in my peace, I try to discern where it is coming from, then quickly deal with it.
Today's devo speaks of weeds growing in "the garden of (our) hearts." For example, weeds of "pride, worry, selfishness, unbelief." However, God's "heavenly light" will make the "weeds shrivel up" while His "peace flourishes."
Sometimes I will wrestle with seemingly disjointed emotions over life experiences. For example... feeling anxious when I have no apparent reason to BE anxious! One thing I've found helpful is to intentionally go into PRAISE!  Praising God, reminding myself of the many ways I have been blessed! It quickly helps to change the 'landscape' of my life and to make for a more constructive frame of mind!
I've learned to keep at it, until peace penetrates those more anxious thoughts. It's much like shafts of Light piercing through darkness... and it works!! Praise God, it works!!
Wanting to have a weed-free, Light-filled day...dmc

Friday, April 1, 2016

Stretching Time, Shrinking Tasks

"A successful day is one in which you have stayed in touch with Me, even if many things remain undone at the end of the day. Do not let your to-do list (written or mental) become an idol directing your life." (96)
I'm usually a firm believer in "to-do lists." Time is so precious and being responsible with my time is a priority. So, accomplishing tasks can become quite important. In fact, if I do a task that was NOT on the list, I may write it down and cross it off, just because it feels SO good to be productive! Or at least LOOK productive! However...
I've had many days when my plan was totally circumvented and God's plan totally overruled! When that happens I am awed at how God can stretch time and shrink tasks, proving that when we allow Him to take 'first place' He makes everything else fall INTO place.
It's my desire to stay so in touch, with Him that when He overrules it's a welcomed interruption!
Reconnecting & Rescheduling...dmc
PS - Today, I'm celebrating my soul mate's birthday! Happy Birthday, Joe...you bring so many expressions of God's love into my life and into this world!  I am blessed, indeed!