Welcome! Let's Do Devotions Together!

Let's grow together!
Here's how God is using the daily readings from Jesus Calling to speak into my life.
What is He saying to YOU? Share it with someone & have a BLESSED day in Jesus!

Monday, 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

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

On the Road Less Traveled

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

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Brain Chatter

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

Monday, October 24, 2016

Godly REST

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

Sunday, October 23, 2016

His Smile of Approval

"Open your mind and heart to receive My heavenly smile of approval...(let it) wash over you and soak into the depths of your being... experience joyous union with Me." (310)
Years ago I went through a period of time where I struggled with being able to sense God's approval. One evening Joe and I sat together discussing my dilemma of why it was so difficult for me to feel accepted and loved by God. It made no sense... I had grown up in a loving home...so that was not the cause. I had a faithful, loving husband...so that was not the issue. I had rich, stable friendships...so that was not the problem. I had enough of life's blessings to feel secure and protected...so that was not it either. No matter what, we could not unearth the mysterious misery that brewed in my spirit. Although I had been saved years ago and had tried to be obedient to His Word... I was still longing for some sense of God's approval and His Presence.
With continued, honest soul-searching, lots of prayer support from my amazing husband and some wise advice from a seasoned pastor's wife... things changed! She told me to continue to meet with God every morning and at some point, I would sense His Presence. She said that He would reveal Himself to me, again. I had to push through my feelings and be found faithful, no matter what!
After that, during an early morning devotional time, I realized I had been far too focused on myself.
Things had to change.  My focus had to shift until it was all about Jesus and the cross! So, I started to refocus on Him. I wanted to know Him better and what His death and resurrection really meant in my life.  So I studied with a new interest.  I started talking to Him nearly all the time...no matter what! Soon I was able to sense His Presence, nearly overwhelming me at times.
Still, to this day, it is spiritually healthier for me to keep Him as my focal point. There's so much to be grateful for when I consider Calvary's many blessings in my life.  His "heavenly smile of approval" is there...beyond my own sabotaging sensibilities. I know He is there! Hebrews 13:8 confirms He remains the same "yesterday, today and forever!" So, I have...
Lots to Smile About, No Matter What...dmc

Saturday, October 22, 2016

Chatting with Jesus

"No matter what your circumstances may be, you can find Joy in My Presence... Search for it as for hidden treasure... Recall that I am present with you whether you sense My Presence or not...start talking with Me...continue communicating with Me, your mood will gradually lighten." Prov. 2:4 (309)
This is one of the most amazing realities in my own journey of faith...how connecting with God can lift my heart and literally change my frame of mind!
Here's a quote from the Webinar I participated in with Dr. David Amen...
"The condition of our soul and the spiritual connections we make has a strong impact on the physiology of the brain. It is a reciprocal relationship...having a positive relationship with God and others actually improves brain function. A number of research studies have demonstrated that people of faith suffer less from anxiety disorders and depression and they recover 70% faster from these illnesses than those without a strong religious faith. The suicide rate and even mortality rate is lower for religious people than the non-religious. The brain needs a healthy soul, and the soul needs a brain that works right."
(Webinar: Healing the Hardware of the Soul - Nine Principles of the Amen Clinic, 10/18/2010)
Chatting with Jesus makes a huge significant difference!
Healing my mind, my life and my mood...dmc

Friday, October 21, 2016

Recognize & Release Resentment

"To live in My Presence consistently, you must expose and expel your rebellious tendencies...become aware of each resentment. Bring them boldly into the Light of My Presence, so that I can free you from them. The best response to losses or thwarted hopes is praise. The Lord gives and the Lord takes away. Blessed be the name of the Lord. Be prepared to let go of anything I take from you, but never let go of My hand!" Job 1:21 (308)
This is a hard Truth that often cuts deep into our human securities. Just the thought of having to release something or someone precious can be extremely painful. Loss leaves us so empty...I suppose that is why we must be filled with Him, focused on Him... not all the "good things-possessions, family, friends, health, abilities, time" all gifts that come from our Loving, Sovereign Lord.
Our devotional reading today continues, "Intellectually you rejoice in My sovereignty... but when My sovereign will encroaches on your little domain of control, you often react with telltale resentment."
As soon as I sense the rumblings of resentment in my spirit, I try to confess it quickly and ask for His peace that "guards my heart and mind" (Phil. 4:7) Staying close to Him means I must stay tuned in to any hint of displeasure in His Will for my life. Confessing it quickly keeps my heart repentant and tender before Him. Learning to recognize and release resentment quickly has been such a valuable gift. I was reminded of the following song. This video clip (Blessed Be Your Name, sung by Tim Hughes) has a powerful message, impacting scriptures and the most endearing pictures of children... who tend to uniquely touch and tune my heart to God's Heart.
My Heart will choose to say, "Lord, Blessed be Your Name."
Always letting go of resentment... Never letting go of His Hand...dmc

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Growing Young!

"I am your Living God, far more abundantly alive than the most vivacious person you know. The human body is wonderfully crafted, but gravity and the inevitable effects of aging weigh it down... Do not be anxious about the weakness of your body... Though the process of aging continues, inwardly you grow stronger with the passing years. Those who live close to Me develop an inner aliveness that makes them seem youthful in spite of their years. Let My Life shine through you, as you walk in the Light with Me." (307)
I participated in a brain-health Webinar emphasizing how a healthy brain will keep us more alive and youthful, no matter what our chronological age may be. Tests reveal some twenty year olds whose thought life was so toxic and negative that their brains were deteriorating faster than their grandparents who were 3 or 4 times older!
Although my outward, physical body will certainly age, I want my "inner person to be renewed day by day." (2 Cor. 4:16) Afterall... Age? It's just a number!
So, here are some personal checkpoints I have for myself to help me "grow young."
1. Eat brain healthy & body healthy foods (including my Reliv & protein shakes)
2. Stay kid-connected (time with the young keeps my heart happy, tender & sincere)
3. Keep a "young at heart" attitude (no matter how gray, wrinkled or forgetful I become)
4. Always be up for something new & different (keeps me out of the "rut")
5. Compliment often & be thankful (grumpy people are "old" no matter what their age)
6. Daily sing & make music (keeps me in tune, on beat & in my right mind, literally!)
7. Let God speak into my life daily (before I dare speak into someone else's life)
8. Use encounters to improve this world (touching people & places for good)
9. Be sure to listen well, using my 3rd ear (the one in the center of my h"ear"t!)
10. Check for Fruit (Will this produce more Love? Joy? Peace? Patience? Kindness? Goodness? Faith? Gentleness? Self-Control? Gal.5:22-23... If not, I usually DON'T go there!!)
Staying Ageless In Jesus...dmc

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Authentic vs Artificial

"Come to Me with your defenses down...relax and feel the relief of being totally open and authentic with Me. Facades abound in the world...(people may) cover up with Sunday clothes and Sunday smiles. (But) the best antidote to this artificial atmosphere is practicing My Presence...(and) glorifying Me. Then you will be able to smile at others with My Joy and bless them with My Presence." (306)
Don't you just love authentic people? Those who have moved past the limitations of preserving their egos, of defending their reactions, and blaming or attacking others when threatened? Otherwise it creates such a drama-driven environment! Of all places, the body of Christ should be free of such maladies. Alas, "one of the worst consequences of the Fall is the elaborate barriers people erect between themselves and others" not only in the world but even in the church!
So, what sets apart the authentic from the artificial? Here are just a few attributes I value in authentic people. I am thankful for them because they truly inspire me.
The authentic seem to honestly take responsibility for personal flaws; are quick to listen, slow to speak and when they do, they speak to or about others honorably. They express compassion for others; readily equip and empower someone else's dreams; support unity and efforts to elevate team effort over personal gain; inspire communication, acceptance, commitment, trust, vision, integrity and internal tenacity. Basically, the authentic live in God's Presence, dwelling on and exemplifying things that are "excellent or praise-worthy." (Phil.4:8) They view others as God's Image-bearers not as one's potential enemy!
Our true Enemy desires to make us into self-absorbed, drama-driven puppets on the stage of human insecurities. Our True Friend inspires us to be Christ-absorbed, purpose-driven people with an eternal mission...
Desiring an authentic human journey..dmc

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Obstacles Leverage or Litter

"I will open up the way before you, as you take steps of trust along your path. (When) the way before you appears to be blocked (don't) focus on the obstacle or search for a way around it...instead, focus on Me...That is the secret of success in My kingdom. Although you remain aware of the visible world around you, your primary awareness is of Me." (305)
This time several years ago I was in the midst of two surgical procedures on my feet. I was recovering from the first operation and anticipating another surgery on the other foot nine weeks later. They were repairing an inherited weakness and misalignment that had to be corrected to ensure my ability to continue to be active and healthy for years to come.
While I was not looking forward to the process, of two back-to-back surgeries and the months of recovery, I am now experiencing the benefits of having made the corrections! It was certainly worth the hassle. Focusing on the benefits helped to motivate me and sustain me. It was a great opportunity to realign my focus along with my feet.
When Jesus is the main focus, He uses obstacles to leverage our focus and lift our sights to a whole new awareness of Him! Obstacles can either litter or leverage our life-journey. It's all about being...
More Focused on Him...dmc

Monday, October 17, 2016

Prayer Protects Our Brains

"Anxiety is a result of envisioning the future without Me. (Your)best defense against worry is staying in communication with Me. When you turn your thoughts toward Me, you can think much more positively...making your thoughts a dialogue with Me." (304)
Research continues to support how worry and anxiety are neurotoxic to the brain... meaning the neuro-receptor sites can become damaged when bathed in the toxic chemicals that are produced with unhealthy, anxious thoughts. Literally, regions of the brain will shrink over time. This is especially true in the executive/decision-making areas that offer us creative, constructive ways to deal with the stresses of life.
Most of us can relate to the challenge of trying to think clearly when we are overly anxious or distracted by worry. Paul gave us the best antidote in Philippians 4:6-7. "Don't worry about anything, but in everything through prayer and petition with thanksgiving, let your requests be make known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses every thought, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus."  Many of us can certainly testify to how anxiety stresses and taxes our hearts.  The antidote is to talk to God about it until His peace is neuro-chemically, spiritually and relationally in place!
Protecting my Brain & Heart with Prayer...dmc

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Staying Power

"Look to Me continually for help, comfort and companionship...the briefest glance can connect you with Me... My constant Companionship is the piece de resistance: the summit of salvation blessings." (303)
The French term "piece de resistance" means "most significant, important or outstanding." It comes from pièce, piece + de, of, with + résistance. It basically represents the essence of staying power or lastingness in the long, long haul of life.
If we were to list all the blessings that are included in a growing relationship with Jesus, I would put several at the very top of my list as Best or Most Rewarding. They would be... an eternity in heaven and the wonderful intimate, close relationship I can enjoy every day!
Our daily life and our eternal life are significantly impacted because of Jesus! He gives us the "staying power" that impacts our lives over and over, day after day all the way into eternity!
Enjoying Him...dmc

Saturday, October 15, 2016

Pits of Pity & Plateaus of Pride

"Try to stay conscious of Me...My Presence with you is both a promise and a protection. As you journey (watch out for) pits of self-pity and...plateaus of pride." (302)
There's such glorious freedom to those who have discovered the pathway of promise where Jesus' Presence protects and empowers.
I picture the pathway of His Presence much like the infamous Road to Hana and the even riskier road beyond Hana that cautiously sneaks along Maui's rugged northeasterly coast line until it enters the volcanic lava fields along the southeastern edge of the island.  It's a daring, often one-lane journey cut into jagged cliffs with ocean waves crashing below and steep, rocky ledges of volcanic rock towering overhead on the opposite side of the road.  Signs along the way give numerous warnings.
When we made our memorable trek around the island, we were captured with its breath-taking beauty and its brazen, bold, even daring terrain. The signs were right!  Both sides of the road were laden with risk, certain death, if one became careless or distracted.
Heeding warning signs on this life's journey is wise.  Pits of self-pity create a dangerously victimized state of mind while plateaus of pride boast of elevated grandiosity.  Both leave one stranded and desperately alone. One is self-depreciating the other is self-exalting, but both are the result of being overly self-focused.
The Presence of Jesus protects us from the extremes on our pathway of life. He promises that He will not lead us astray or endanger us.
Staying Close & Focused on Jesus...dmc

Friday, October 14, 2016

Creating Ripples for His Glory

"All suffering has meaning in My kingdom. Pain and problems are opportunities to demonstrate your trust in Me...even thanking Me for them - this is one of the highest forms of praise...sending out ripples of good tidings in ever-widening circles...Remember I am sovereign and that I can bring good out of everything. (As) your suffering gains meaning (it) draws you closer to Me. Joy emerges from the ashes of adversity through your trust and thankfulness." (301)
Most of us would "run from pain or hide from problems" and some refuse to see how such could ever be God's desire for us. But we all know these times come even to the best of God's people. However, when we must walk through the waters of adversity, we have the amazing option to "accept adversity in (His) Name, offering it up to (Him) for (His) purposes...drawing closer...(as a result) Joy emerges from the ashes of adversity..."
The impact of each life is much like ripples in the sea of humanity. How we respond to adversity can touch far more lives than we could ever imagine!
I praise God for the those who have touched my life with faithfulness in the midst of various trials, demonstrating their great trust in a Sovereign God! I like the following poem. May it inspire you to cast your...
Stones for His Glory...dmc

Ripples in The Water - by F J McCarthy. (2.2.2010)

Cast a stone into the calm clear water
Watch the ripples grow and grow and grow.
Then think of every moment in your lifetime
Creating ripples in the world you’ll never know.

Think of all the love that you have given
With the love that spreads as far as you can see.
For the life you have isn’t only yours for living.
Once the ripples of your love have come to me.

So think before you cast a stone in anger
For the anger that you cast will surely grow.
If you feel the fear and hatred of your brother.
You must find it in your heart to let it go.

Please drop your pebbles lightly on the water.
With love and hope to spread through out the sea.
And leave your stones of hatred on the seashore.
To turn to sand throughout eternity.

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Sacred Space

"Take time to be still in My Presence...you need this sacred space of communion with Me." (300)
Psalm 46:10 directs us to "be still and know that I am God." The Hebrew language uses the word "raphah" where we translate "be still." Throughout the Old Testament it has various meanings, but basically it means to "let it drop" or to "create slack." I found this especially meaningful when I was in the midst of recovering from two back-to-back foot surgeries. I had to let all kinds of things "drop." Since I am far more inclined to pick up the "slack" not "create slack," being "still" to repair and recover was WAY out of my norm!
The implications of spiritually being "still" are immeasurable! It truly creates a kind of "sacred space" to commune with our Creator! There's another Hebrew word that captures my attention in Psalm 46. At the end of verses 3, 7 & 11 it says "Selah."
This was a type of musical term meaning to "pause and calmly think about it." So, in the flow of this song from the Psalms, there are basically three stanzas. The people are encouraged to pause at the end of each stanza and consider the truths that were just presented.
Every week I meet with a group of ladies who "pause" in the flow of their week to discuss and "calmly think about" biblical truths. Our group is called "Truth and Dialog" and that is exactly what we do!
Learning to "be still" and to "selah" - or "pause and calmly think" about God's Truth can exponentially change a life...it has mine! It creates that "sacred space" in my schedule to commune with my Creator...to "be still and KNOW" God!
Scheduling Selah...dmc

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Grace Gaze

"Beware of seeing yourself through other people's eyes...It is much more real to see yourself through My eyes...untainted by sin...eternally loved. Respond to My loving Presence by worshiping Me in spirit and in truth." John 4:23 (299)
Have you ever noticed how hard it is to be yourself or to experience genuine worship if you're more focused on other people? I've discovered, during a worship service, it is best for me to sit in a place where I am less distracted by my surroundings. So, if I can, I usually sit closer to the front.
That is spiritually true for me too...the more focused I am on the opinions of others and trying to please them...the more distracted and miserable I can become! This world and even some good friends can offer thousands of distractions that lure us away from our main focus...Jesus!
A wise friend, Amelia, shared, "The sentence that caught my attention in today’s devotional was “The major problem with letting others define you is that it borders on idolatry. Your concern to please others dampens your desire to please me, your Creator.” So, “what if” Abraham had been concerned with pleasing his family or “what if” Noah had been concerned with pleasing his neighbors and “what if” Moses… etc."
I suppose that means Abraham would have never left home for the Promised Land, Noah with his desperate family and dispersed "zoo" would have been washed away in the big Flood and Moses would have wandered his way straight into an Egyptian tomb!
Instead, I can live above the passing opinions and flawed musings of others by setting my gaze on Jesus and embracing His "untainted" Truth that really loves, sees the best, believes the best and encourages the best in me!
In the Gaze of Grace...dmc

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Presently & Eternally Loved

"The one thing you absolutely need is the one thing you can never lose: My Presence with you." (298)
What a promise!! What a comfort!! What a gift!! Always, forever...in His Presence!
Since God is love, and His Presence is all about His love, that means I am presently and eternally enveloped in Love!
"For I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God's love. Neither death nor life, nor angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow - not even the powers of hell can separate us from God's love. No power in the sky above or in the earth below - indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord!" Romans 8:38-39
The key for me, is being "convinced" - being persuaded beyond doubt with absolute certainty - of God's Presence and His Love. This is the sure foundation that makes all the difference!
Enjoying His Presence & His Love...dmc

Monday, October 10, 2016

Relaxing Not Rehearsing

"Trust Me enough to let things happen without striving to predict or control them. Relax, and refresh yourself in the Light of My everlasting Love...When you project yourself into the future, rehearsing what you will do or say, you are seeking to be self-sufficient... Rather than fearing your inadequacy, rejoice in My abundant supply. Train your mind to seek My help continually..." (297)
There's a healthy balance between looking ahead to be adequately prepared and obsessively seeking to control and manipulate the future. Matthew 6:33-34 tells us to "seek first the kingdom of God" and not to "worry about tomorrow." Philippians 4:6-7&20 helps us understand that when we turn our worries into prayers of thanksgiving we will experience "the peace of God (which) will guard (our) hearts and minds in Christ Jesus" because we can be confident in a God who "will supply all (our) needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus."
Since God is my Source, my All-sufficient One, there's no need for me to be self-sufficient!
What a huge relief!
Relaxing rather than Rehearsing...dmc

Sunday, October 9, 2016


"I understand better than anyone else the stresses and strains that have afflicted you. You can ventilate safely to Me, because talking with Me tempers your thoughts and helps you to see things from My perspective. Complaining to others is another matter....it opens the door to deadly sins such as self-pity and rage. Whenever you are tempted to grumble, come to Me and talk it out... I will put My thoughts in your mind and My song in your heart." (296)
I cannot even begin to recall the numerous times God has altered my responses because I was able to unload, or vent, with Him first!
As a counselor, I hear from many who are wrestling through very difficult and perplexing issues. More often than not, just having that safe place to vent can be a powerful gift, that unwraps our ability to put things back into a definitive, even divine perspective. But when we don't have that cathartic counseling opportunity, we can still access a Sovereign Savior who "so reigns" over every challenge we face. He can alter our perspective, strengthen our commitment and honor our resolve to glorify Him, no matter what!
I can validate the benefits of venting with the Sovereign Savior. Prayer has become that profitable "reality check." As I'm pouring out my heart, I am...
Capturing His heart...dmc

Saturday, October 8, 2016

More than Amazing, More than Wonderful

"Your emotions flicker and falter...you tend to project your fickle feelings onto Me. Thus, you do not benefit fully from My unfailing Love. Awareness of My Presence strengthens you, as you receive and respond to My Love. Let My Love flow into you continually." (295)
Today's devo reminded me of a Truth about God found in two places in the bible, 2 Samuel 22:26-27 and Psalm 18:25-26. "To the faithful you show yourself faithful, to the blameless you show yourself blameless, to the pure you show yourself pure, but to the crooked you show yourself shrewd."
Basically, our view of God, and WHO we believe He is, often has a lot to do with WHO we are! Our perspective on God can be strengthened or distorted depending upon the way we view ourselves! What a tragedy to have limited or even twisted our God-concept based upon our own flawed perceptions and perspectives.
The good news is that when our view of God is "crooked" or distorted in some way, God will "show Himself shrewd" or "will wrestle with" us trying to get our attention and to redirect and correct our faulty assumptions about Him.
I am so glad that God is Good and far greater than my human mind could ever conceive!
Listen to Sandi Patty and Larnelle Harris sing about our amazing, "More Than Wonderful" God!
Improving my God-Concept & Rejoicing...dmc

Friday, October 7, 2016

Hear, Seek, Soak & Rest

"In order to hear My voice, you must release all your worries into My care. Entrust to Me everything that concerns you. This clears the way for you to seek My Face unhindered... allowing My Light to soak into you and drive out any darkness lodged within you...thank Me and rest in My sovereignty." (294)
Several friends reflected on this powerful truth in their own lives. Kay said it helped her go through her "day rejoicing and not worrying!" We know that joy and worry come from different parts of our brain. Living in joy refuels us. Worry drains us.
Melissa shared how taking time, "everyday to clear (her) mind of the day's events and focus only on God" has made such a helpful impact on her daily life.
Another friend said it reminded her of the folks in the Claritin commercial...before God our thoughts are fuzzy and out of focus, however, after God our thoughts are clear! She said, "I definitely prefer the clear over the fuzzy!"
To hear His Voice, to seek His Face, to soak in His Presence, to rest in His Sovereignty... what a blessed way to live! What a healthy way to live! Hearing, seeking, soaking and resting... That's on my agenda for today...no matter how full my day becomes!
Making Him Priority....dmc

Thursday, October 6, 2016

Refocused & Reframed

"Follow Me wholeheartedly, with glad anticipation quickening your pace. Though you don't know what lies ahead, I know: and that is enough! Some of My richest blessings are just around the bend... To receive these gifts, you must walk by faith - not by sight...This frees you to experience exuberantly the joyous reality of My Presence. Give yourself fully to these Glory-moments." (293)
Over the years we have been in various situations that have stretched us to "walk by faith" and I've discovered that living by faith can be a challenge for me. My HEAD knows God can be trusted. My HEART knows God loves me. But, somewhere inside, I can still become anxious and uneasy, even fearful, in some situations.
So, what do I do? I have to refocus on Him and reframe my own situation.
To refocus, I have to intentionally draw my thought life back on Him and acknowledge His Presence in every situation and moment of my life.
To reframe, I have to recognize the "frame" or belief I have built around the life situation that limits my point of view or hinders my ability to see God at work and involved in the big picture of my life. When I reframe in light of biblical Truths, new concepts, rewarding interpretations and possibilities change and enhance my point of view to include a loving, caring, attentive God that really knows how "all things can work together" for my good! (Romans 8:28)
As I refocus on Him and reframe my point of view, I am better equipped to deal with situations that can challenge or even frighten me.
Gaining God's Better, Bigger Point of View...dmc

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

His Joy & My Strength

"Remember that Joy is not dependent on your circumstances...True Joy is a by-product of living in My Presence. Therefore you can experience it in palaces, in prisons...anywhere. If you make problem-solving secondary to the goal of living close to Me, you can find Joy even in your most dfficult days." (292)
Today's devo brought to mind Nehemiah 8:10, "...the joy of the Lord is your strength." My strength is directly connected to His Joy! What brings Him joy strengthens me and increases my joy!
Scientific research reveals that we each have a "joy center" in the right orbital prefrontal cortex of our brains, directly behind our right eye ball. It is possible to restock our "joy center" in a healthy, wholesome way through joy-producing relationships. This happens whenever we are with someone who cares about us and is glad to be with us. The happy, warm feelings we experience neuro-chemically stimulate that part of our brain that releases neurotransmitters that lift our spirits thus regulating emotions, pain control, even immunity. It is the only part of the brain that overrides the main driving centers like food and sexual impulses, terror, or rage. If sufficiently developed especially during the first 18 months of life (through age 6), our "joy center," also known as the attachment center, makes us less likely to choose unhealthy substitutes for joy, enabling us to ward off a predisposition to various sexual, attachment and intimacy disorders that often spiral into destructive addictive patterns.
God created us for healthy relationships that can develop and strengthen the "joy center" of our brains. This part of the brain can continue to grow throughout our lifetime. When our amount of joy-strength is higher than our amount of pain, we can heal emotionally and relationally, constructively cope with life stresses and be our most loving, noble, God-honoring selves. Joy can miraculously rewire the stressed, traumatized and addicted brain! (See Living From the Heart Jesus Gave You, by Shepherd's House)
Zephaniah 3:17 says, "The LORD, your God, is in the midst of you, a mighty one who will save. He will rejoice over you with joy. He will rest in his love. He will rejoice over you with singing."
Can you hear "God singing" over you? Rejoicing over you with great "joy?"
Gaining Strength from JOY...dmc

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

How Big is God

"I am the Creator of heaven and earth Lord of all that is and all that will ever be. Although I am unimaginably vast, I choose to dwell within you, permeating you with My Presence... Someone so infinitely great live(s) within someone so very small. Be awed by the Power and the Glory of My Spirit within you!" (291)
When we were in college we would sing a song about how big God was and yet He was "small enough to live within my heart." Quite a concept! Thank you, Dr. Ernie Lewis, for introducing us to such a profound Truth put to music. It's Truth still awes me!
Listen to the Talley's sing that same song:
Or listen to it with a delightful South African flavor by No Limits:
Feeling so blessed to have such a profound God!
Captured by my Creator...dmc

Monday, October 3, 2016

The Waiting Room

"When many things seem to be going wrong, trust Me. When your life feels increasingly out of control, thank Me. These are supernatural responses, and they can lift you above your circumstances...Affirm you trust in Me, regardless of how you feel. Thank Me for everything, though this seems unnatural - even irrational...(in) trusting and thanking Me - you will experience My unfathomable Peace." (290)
"Trust Me...Thank Me!" These two spiritual directives may not always come quite so readily! I've known times when it required a great deal of intentional effort. Trusting is one thing. Thanking is a whole other discipline. Both are far more difficult when I am in the "Waiting Room" of life. Waiting for an answer, a call, a confirmation, a miracle...waiting and waiting.
We've spend long hours in hospital "Waiting Rooms" and they're generally not "faith-friendly" places to be. The "Waiting Rooms" of life are not so "faith-friendly" either! There are not long lines of people desiring to enter, rather many who are forced there by default or.... maybe by design!?
Which ever it is...I'm glad Isaiah 40:31 gives us the hope that those who "wait on the Lord will renew their strength; they will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary; they will walk and not faint."
So, while I wait I will prepare my eagle wings to soar and my feet to run...

Sunday, October 2, 2016

Jesus, Lifelong Lover

"Never take for granted My intimate nearness. Marvel at the wonder of My continual Presence with you...I am freely available to all who call upon My Name, who open their hearts to receive Me... (It's) the beginning of a lifelong love story." (289)
Calling on Jesus' Name has been such an important part of my life. Some moments that stand out in my mind:
...Suddenly screaming out "JESUS" while riding in a college friend's car, as we barely escaped a head-on collision.
...In our early years of marriage, literally living on pennies every month.
...Whispering "Jesus" over a very sick, feverish baby.
...Waiting for paramedics to arrive when my newborn had stopped breathing.
...Taking both sons to the ER at the same time (they'd collided their dirt bikes while racing!)
...Concerned over an unaccounted for teen who was hours late getting home.
...Sitting at the hospital with a dying friend.
...Listening to my husband preach a challenging message in obedience to the Lord, knowing it would not "tickle" some ears in the congregation.
...Counseling a friend through a most painful, heart-wrenching situation.
...Taking a phone call with bad news.
...Being just far too emotionally exhausted and physically tired.
Then, there are times of such rejoicing, where speaking His Name gives credit to the joy or wonder of that moment:
...Gazing at a starry clear sky or watching ocean waves curl and roll to shore.
...Holding one of our newborn grand babies or comforting a grandchild waking from a scary dream.
...Laughing over a welcomed solution to a complicated, unrelenting problem.
...Listening to our older son preach a soul-stirring message.
...Listening to our younger son pray from the depths of his heart, no matter where, no matter when or who is there.
...Being wrapped up in a worship experience.
...Sensing His Presence as I fall asleep, and again, as I wake up.
...Having a strained relationship mended.
...Being remembered and loved in lonely times.
...Hearing my husband's voice, feeling His gentle touch. Knowing how deeply I am loved.
Jesus' Name is more than the start or close of a mealtime prayer. It is the "lifelong love story" with the Lover of my soul!
Ah, yes...There really IS something about that Name...dmc

Saturday, October 1, 2016

Rest or Rush

"I am taking care of you! Rest in Me...this is a form of worship. Though self-flagellation has gone out of style, many of My children drive themselves like racehorses..(whipping) themselves into action, ignoring how exhausted they are... Worship Me by resting peacefully in My Presence." (288)
Sometimes we will wrestle with ourselves when it comes to resting. Somehow we've been conditioned to think that busyness is equated with productivity. We all know, that is not true. I've experienced some very hectic days feeling like very little is being accomplished, except to feel frazzled and frustrated.
I'm remembering those whirlwind days of parenting! When I felt exhausted most of the time! I am so grateful for friends, with their own kids, who would trade off "kid-duty" so we moms could sporadically get a modified type of "sabbath." My precious friend, Deb, offered to watch my boys while I was in graduate school! She was an extra special God-gift!
Also, a surrogate "Grandma" in the church offered to watch the boys two afternoons a month. Those were snippets of sanity for me! She was a cheery Grammy 'Angel' named Ardis. She had a quick smile and eyes that sparkled whenever she saw our boys! I have asked God to grace her and my friend Deb with extra sparkly stars in their crowns! They loved our boys like their own!
God knows we need those more restful breaks where we can be inspired and renewed. After all a "sabbath rest" was another one of God's "very good" ideas!
Looking for that healthy balance between doing for Him and just...
Being with Him...dmc
Wishing our delightful Emma Elizabeth a very Happy Birthday! Grammy & Papa love you TONS!