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!

Friday, September 30, 2016

Forever-Promised, Forever-Present

"I am perpetually with you, taking care of you. That is the most important fact of your existence... My presence with you is a forever-promise. You need not fear the future, for I am already there." (285)
When my husband, Joe, was asked to be involved in a VOM (Voice of the Martyrs) Colombian Pastors Conference, we had very limited communication once he arrived in Colombia. But, you can be certain, we used each brief, fragile connection as an opportunity to communicate our love for each other and to restate our commitment to pray for one another. Although he was gone, he was still very present with me. My heart was continually aware of the "forever-promise" we had made to each other.
That reminds me of the "forever-promise" Jesus made in Matthew 28:20, "And remember, I am with you always, day by day, until the Close of the Age." (Weymouth New Testament) Jesus made a "forever-promise" with us. Even though He is gone, He is very present "to the very end of the age!"
So, how was Joe very present with me although he was very far away? How is Jesus very present with me although He's been a very long time gone? Each are "forever-present" as I stay aware and available. Just as I stayed aware and available for Joe's attempts to make contact, in a similar way I can stay aware and available to enjoy my "forever-promised" relationship with Jesus, too.
Aware & Available...dmc

Thursday, September 29, 2016

A Well Trained Brain

"The human mind is the pinnacle of My creation, but so few use it for its primary purpose - knowing Me. I communicate continually through My Spirit, My Word, and My creation. Only humans are capable of receiving Me and responding to My Presence." (284)
With all the thoughts that wander and whirl through our brains, it is good to know that we don't need to "know it all" we just need to "know Him!" Every time we use our minds to ponder on the things of God, to practically apply His Truth, to envision how we can advance His Kingdom and how we can touch others, bringing glory to His Name...we are using our minds as they were intended to be used! It's about knowing Him - really knowing Him - intimately knowing Him!
It is good for me to reassess my thought-life often...to be aware of the new Truths I have learned and to be prayerfully putting those Truths into action. My mind can get side-tracked with issues and concerns that leave me feeling depleted and spiritually anemic. However, once I 'soft-boot' my brain back onto Him, I can start to experience the benefits of being in His Presence. It may be a life-long task for me to train and retrain my brain to be focused on it's primary purpose...knowing Him!
Romans 12:2 hits on our primary focus...to be "transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you be able to discern God's good, pleasing and perfect will." (Romans 12:2)
It's all about knowing Him and knowing His "good, pleasing and perfect will" for our lives.
Training my Brain to Focus on Him...dmc

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Dealing with Doubt

"Receive My love in full measure...the art of receiving...is a discipline: training your mind to trust Me. One of (Satan's) favorite deceptions is to undermine your confidence in My unconditional love. Fight back against these lies! Do not let them go unchallenged. Resist the devil in My Name, and he will slink away from you." James 4:7-8 (283)
Perhaps one of the most haunting battles many Christians face is the tendency to doubt God's goodness in our personal, everyday lives. I've found that to be a frequent challenge in my own life.
Recently I was reading about the effects of doubt on our brains. How doubtful thoughts tend to paralyze our brains, getting them "stuck" on thought patterns that are nonproductive and toxic.
One of my helpful transitions out of spiraling downward into the trap of doubt is to ask myself, "what can I do differently?" rather than asking "what's wrong with me?"
Behind every doubt the enemy throws at me is usually some temptation to look at "what's wrong?" ...with me, with others, with God, etc. However, when I look at what I can do differently I move my thoughts forward into constructive thinking, rather than downward into defeating thoughts patterns.
One of the "do differently" things for me is to immediately pray, then praise Him for all His Goodness and for being better at warfare than the devil! When the battle lines are drawn, I am placing myself firmly on God's side, ready to receive a firm VICTORY!
Fully Trusting in God's Love...dmc

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Sufficiently Covered

"Relax...your weakness is an opportunity to grow strong in awareness of My Almighty Presence. When your energy fails you, do not look inward and lament the lack you find there. Look to Me and My sufficiency; rejoice in My radiant riches that are abundantly available to help you...Thank Me for your neediness, which is building trust-bonds between us." (282)
In a world that values being self-sufficient it's hard to be OK with neediness. I know what it's like to "lament" over my lack of energy, creativity, resources, confidence or a myriad of other things. I've often told Joe that I think ministry could be better accomplished with angels in leadership rather than humans... there's just so much to be done and so little time, energy and various other resources. That's when I tend to feel overly taxed, rather than relaxed!
What a welcome word..."RELAX" even when there's so much to be done! After all, Deuteronomy 33:26 tells us that God rides the clouds of heaven to come to our aid!
So, when I'm feeling inefficient...
He is absolutely Sufficient...dmc

Monday, September 26, 2016

Use Your Third Ear

"Come to Me and listen! Attune yourself to My voice, and receive My richest blessings." (281)
Years ago when I was in graduate school, training to become a counselor, the Lord revealed a most powerful insight to me. He clearly told me, "Use your third ear...the one in the center of your heart!" Which suddenly made sense to me...H"EAR"T !!
Whenever I am in a counseling session, it is critical to listen carefully to the client, but at the same time I can listen with my third ear to hear what God is saying. It's like having another counselor in the room...His Holy Spirit...giving insight beyond the obvious, beyond training, beyond human wisdom.
Revelation 2 & 3 often repeats the challenge that "anyone who has an ear should listen to what the Spirit says." Our devotional today talks about "the wonder of communing with the Creator of the universe!"
I marvel at the ways His Spirit leads in awesome, freeing Truth!
Keeping my Third Ear Tuned-in...dmc

Sunday, September 25, 2016

Next STEP Energy

"Pour all of your energy into trusting Me. It is through trust that you stay connected to Me, aware of My Presence. Each step...can be a step of faith." (280)
Through the years I've become aware of how various life dynamics can tend to drain off my energy while others tend to give me energy. Learning how to wisely monitor that phenomena and trying to better pace myself has been very helpful. However, I have discovered that spending quality time in God's Word really helps me navigate my day, refocus and pace my overall energy much better. There's a little acrostic I've crafted to help remind me how to specifically tackle the demands of each day...STEP Energy!
My ability to cope well and function effectively has a lot to do with the amount of STEP Energy I have. STEP refers to four kinds of energy that impact my overall energy levels: Spiritual, Thankful, Emotional & Physical energies. All are needed to cope with the stresses of my daily life. Spiritual energy gives me a God-aware perspective. Thankful energy gives me a grateful perspective. Emotional energy helps me constructively engage with others and Physical energy helps fuel my body for health and service. These can vary from day to day but can keep me from getting out-of-step, out-of-sorts and out-of-sync!
Fueling my STEP Tank...dmc

Saturday, September 24, 2016

Well Zipped

"Live first and foremost in My Presence...gradually (becoming) more aware of Me than of people and places around you. This awareness...will increase your ability to give love and encouragement to (others.)" (279)
After reading various research projects on the brain and neurology I've come to think of this "awareness" phenomena as a type of zipper in the mind that brings together two references of awareness - one typically on the right side the other believed to be on the left. One seems more aware of self and the other, more social in nature, being aware of one's self interacting with others.*
I believe the more aware we become of our relationship with God, the more it can actually enhance our lives so that our total awareness is strengthened. Being God-aware can give greater clarity to our awareness of self and our interactions with others; enabling us to BE authentic and to genuinely love and encourage others.
Much like a well functioning zipper; the pull tab is our God Awareness that helps us mesh together these two dimensions, or the two sides of the zipper...Self Awareness and Awareness of Others.
The metaphor "get a grip on yourself" could be better stated, "get a grip on God" to reflect this ability to adequately zip our lives together in God's Presence and from His Perspective.
I have noticed that when I am well-zipped in Him, it not only holds me together well, it helps me engage well with others.
Getting Well Zipped for the Day...dmc
*(V.S. Ramachandran, Neurology of Self-Awareness. Jan. 8, 2007)

Friday, September 23, 2016

Forgiveness & Freedom

"Walk with Me in the freedom of forgiveness...If you carry a burden of guilt on your back, you are more likely to stumble and fall. At your request, I will remove the heavy load from you and bury it at the foot of the cross. (Then) you are undeniably free! Unconditional Love...frees you from both fears and sins. As you come to know Me more and more intimately, you grow increasingly free." (278)
I just love this devotional truth! I love the freedom and release that comes with forgiveness. I love the incredible deliverance that comes to those who are willing to honestly confess and humbly request forgiveness.
It can be the difference between being victorious over our sin or being victimized by our sin.
Gratefully Walking in Forgiveness...dmc

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Songs of the Redeemed

"Trust Me and refuse to worry, for I am your Strength and Song... Since I am your Strength, I can empower you to handle each task as it comes. Because I am your Song, I can give you Joy as you work alongside Me...Keep bringing your mind back to the present moment...(where) the hope of heaven fills your thoughts (and) the Light of My Presence envelops you." Exodus 15:2, Revelation 15:3 (277)
After Moses had led the Israelite people through an impossibility (crossing the Red Sea, escaping Pharaoh's fierce Egyptian army) he spontaneously responded with a song of celebratory praise to God, often referred to as "The Song of Moses." (Ex.15:1-2)
I find it interesting to note that there will come a day when we will all sing "The Song of Moses." Revelation 15 calls it "The Song of the Lamb" sung by the redeemed. Rather than at the edge of the Red Sea filled with chariots, it will be sung on the banks of the heavenly sea of glass and fire. (Rev. 15:2-4)
We live in a time of turbulent seas and believing God to work out the impossibilities in our own lives can seem like such a challenge. Especially since we can "anticipate future events" and we can be tempted to "worry about tomorrow (and) cloak (our)selves in dark unbelief" which often leads to fear and depression. Yet God sees how these challenging times can be opportunities to experience and celebrate His saving power on our behalf! The secret to being an overcomer means...
We must keep singing the songs of The Lamb who has overcome the cross and the grave and enables us to "overcome by the blood of the Lamb," even in the midst of our own turbulent seas. (Rev. 12:11)
Incidentally, I've discovered that singing the songs of the redeemed often gives me the strength to endure UNTIL I am able to overcome!
Singing my way to Overcoming...dmc

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Holy Whispers

"Wait quietly in My Presence while My thoughts form silently in the depths of your being... I make My humble home in your heart. It is there where you know Me most intimately; it is there where I speak to you in holy whispers." (276)
This devotional thought brought to mind an experience on a Sunday morning that touched me deeply. At the close of our service many of us had stepped forward during the closing prayer time. Our little granddaughter had walked with me to the front and we were standing before the platform. Suddenly, she drops her little head down over her arms, resting on the edge of the platform. She stayed in that prayerful stance for quite some time. At one point I bent over and whispered in her ear that Jesus loved her and that I did, too. She whispered back, “Grammy...I praying.” I told her she could pray as long she liked. The expression on her face was so precious, so genuine! My heart was deeply moved...what was God whispering into her tender 4 year old heart? For certain...God knew the whispering thoughts in her heart and was whispering back to her.
I am so grateful that she has experienced her parents responding with tender hearts toward God and that a trip to the altar is a familiar, welcomed journey.
How important it is that we, as adults, demonstrate a tender heart and a listening ear that tunes into the whispers of God.
Whispering the thoughts of my heart to Him, Listening for His Whispers...dmc

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Refocusing Really Works!

"Try to see things more and more from My perspective...view the world through Me.... make a life-changing discovery...that most of the things that worry you are not important...return your focus to Me, you will walk through your days with lighter steps and a joyful heart." (275)
I like this quote from Albert Einstein. "The problems that exist in the world today cannot be solved by the level of thinking that created them."
The problems we wrestle with that are often a result of unredeemed thinking and flawed reasoning will usually unravel when exposed to biblical truth.
I love the brain science that reveals how different areas of the brain are activated when we are involved in certain thought processes. Worry, prayer, reading the bible or participating in worship will light up various areas of the brain. This means that when we refocus our worrisome thoughts on Jesus we actually activate different regions of the brain. No wonder we can "walk through our days with lighter steps and a joyful heart."
Refocusing my Perspective...dmc

Monday, September 19, 2016

Aware and Worry Free

"There is a mighty battle going on for control of your mind...Refuse to worry, because this...will weigh you down and block awareness of My Presence. Stay alert! (274)
What a challenge, especially for those of us who like to plan ahead and keep life organized...Don't Worry! Sometimes we think that worry is a sign of being really aware, responsible and on-top-of-it. Actually worry is a sign of unbelief and being painfully addicted to it. It, of course, is the issue that has captured our attention along with our sense of peace and well-being.
I like 2 Cor. 10:5 where it instructs us to "take captive every thought and make it obedient to Christ." Worry is a well worn path in our minds that forces us to wander down stressful, mental roads of trying to save some situation or prevent some catastrophe. We were not created or equipped to house worrisome thoughts, therefore we have a Savior who knows how to save us and how to make every thought "obedient to Christ."
Worrisome thoughts crowd out a sense of His Presence and make us more aware of "the anxious thoughts that find me, surround me, and bind me." (quote from Jesus, King of Angels)
Many nights I sing and play the following song on the piano before heading to bed...a most healing, comforting song.
Continually Getting Rid of Worry...dmc

Copy & Paste: Jesus, King of Angels by Fernando Ortega

Jesus, King of angels, Heaven's Light,
Shine Your face upon this house tonight.
Let no evil come into my dreams;
Light of heaven, keep me in Your peace.

Remind me how You made dark spirits flee,
And spoke Your power to the raging sea.
And spoke Your mercy to a sinful man;
Remind me, Jesus, this is what I am.

The universe is vast beyond the stars,
But You are mindful when the sparrow falls,
And mindful of the anxious thoughts that find me,
surround me, and bind me . . . .

With all my heart I love You, Sovereign Lord.
Tomorrow, let me love You even more.
And rise to speak the goodness of Your name,
Until I close my eyes and sleep again.

Jesus, King of angels, Heaven's Light,
Hold my hand and keep me through the night.

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Choice by Choice

"The free will I bestowed on you comes with awesome responsibility. Each day presents you with choice after choice... Without a focal point to guide you, you can easily lose your way...stay in communication with Me, living in thankful awareness of My Presence." (273)
The number of choices we make in a single day must be a staggering number! We know that the most important choice we will ever make is choosing to follow after Jesus.  After that, many other choices will readily flow into our lives.  One of the most memorable choices I made, that has impacted many other choices, was when Joe and I were married. During our ceremony, he spontaneously began praying a very gripping prayer that included Joshua 24:15, "Choose you, this day, whom you will serve...as for me and my house, WE WILL SERVE THE LORD."
That prayer, with that choice, set the foundation for our marriage and since that memorable day in 1975 we have continued to make the choice to serve the Lord, over and over again! We have no regrets and we're...
Still Choosing...dmc

Saturday, September 17, 2016

Path of Peace

"Excessive planning: attempting to control what will happen...is a commonly practiced form of unbelief... I did not design the human mind to figure out the future... I crafted your mind for continual communication with Me. Bring Me all your needs, your hopes and fears... Turn from the path of planning to the path of Peace." (272)
Certainly the Bible supports wise planning - "The plans of the diligent lead surely to advantage." (Prov. 21:5) - but it's the excessive, compulsive desire to control our future that can lead to unbelief, worry and unhealthy tendencies that enslave us. I suppose our compulsive planning is really a desire to somehow 'fix' the future. It is an attempt to insulate ourselves from possible impending pain. However, living without peace is the most painful kind of existence.
I like the Jeremiah 29:11 passage that reminds us how the Lord has plans for our welfare and our future. His plans will not bring disaster but a hope!
Psalm 37:3-5 sums it up well - Trust in the Lord and do what is good; dwell in the land and live securely. Take delight in the Lord and He will give you your heart's desires. Commit your way to the Lord, trust in Him and He will act."
"And the peace of God, which surpasses every thought, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus." (Phil. 4:7)
On the Path of Peace...dmc

Friday, September 16, 2016

One Step Closer

"I designed you to live in union with Me...it actually makes you more fully yourself. When you try to live independently of Me, you experience emptiness and dissatisfaction... Find fulfillment through living close to Me, yielding to My purposes for you." (271)
Living independently, detached or even distant from God is a very desperate place to be. Conversely, I am quite amazed at how powerful God's Presence can be when I intentionally turn towards Him. James 4:8 says that whenever we draw near to Him, He will draw near to us!
Some situations can leave me feeling distant from His calming Presence and simply stopping to acknowledge Him can have a profound effect on me or even on whatever is happening around me. It's like walls of resistance begin to crumble... like levels of darkness start melting away... and a glorious reconnection happens. Whatever was standing in the way, blocking His Presence, is now powerless and the Presence of Jesus can completely envelop me!
2 Corinthians 3:16-18 tells us that whenever a person turns to the Lord, the veil (of a deceived, self-centered or confused mind) is removed and the Spirit of God brings freedom that transforms us into the image of Christ "from glory to glory." It's like taking the next step into His Image, one step at a time, being "transformed more and more into the one (He's) designed us to be!" (271)
Moving from one level of glory to the next...dmc

Thursday, September 15, 2016

More Than "Good Enough" for God

"Rest in me...this time devoted to Me is meant to be peaceful, not stressful. You don't have to perform in order to receive My Love... It grieves Me to see My children working for Love: trying... yet never feeling good enough to be loved." (270)
Not feeling "good enough" is probably one of the most defeating emotional battlegrounds to overcome! Somehow we have a picture in our minds of what we ought to be or what we think others believe we should be. That picture can condemn us, rather than inspire us, no matter what we do or how hard we try. The hamster-wheel-effect it has on our lives can leave us exhausted, discouraged, deeply sad, even hopeless.
Proverbs 13:12 tells us that "hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a dream fulfilled is a tree of life." God has placed "trees of life" in our lives...those who speak hope into our hearts. God, Himself, "rejoices over us with gladness... delights in us with shouts of joy." (Zephaniah 3:17)
It reminds me of the passage in Colossians 1:21-29 where we "were once alienated and hostile in our minds...but now He has reconciled us...to present us holy, faultless, and blameless before Him...to make God's message fully known...which is 'Christ in you, the hope of glory.'" To be "reconciled" makes us more than "good enough"...we can actually be God's Delight!
Graciously "good enough" Today...dmc

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

His Amazing Breath in Me

"Worship Me by living close to Me. This was My original design for man, into whom I breathed My very breath of Life. This is My desire for you: that you stay near Me as you walk along your life-path." (269)
I am captured by the thought that the breath of God is within and all around me! So amazing... to think He is not only a breath away, He is my VERY breath!
Check out this song by Phillip, Craig & Dean, "Your Grace Still Amazes Me"
Breathing in His Amazing Grace...dmc

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

No Back Talk

"Give your mind a break from its habitual judging...Rather than evaluating My ways with you, accept them thankfully." (268)
Have you ever talked back to God? I have! Especially when it comes to some inherited physical challenges related to back pain. I have questioned the way He fashioned my body, with these various built in flaws that I must continually deal with.
Romans 9:20-23 tells me "who are you-anyone who talks back to God? Will what is formed say to the one who formed it, "Why did you make me like this?" or has the potter no right over His clay? What if God did this to make known the riches of His glory on objects of mercy that He prepared beforehand for glory-on us whom He also called..."
I am captured by the thought that my physical weaknesses could be used "to make known the riches of His glory" as I seek to glorify Him, no matter what! With or without the miraculous healing I deeply desire!
I know people who carry much weightier physical challenges than I do and others who must carry heavy emotional or relational challenges. They certainly help to inspire me... to hold on until my miracle comes, until Jesus comes or until I come...home to heaven!
I really like how my friend, Melissa reflected on this, "One day I thought, why am I complaining (even) about the weather? I can't change it... No matter what circumstances are thrown my way, I must focus on God and know that He KNOWS what He is doing! I must let God, be God! (Yes there is a song...here are the lyrics!)
"Rather than evaluating (His) ways" we must "accept them thankfully...(and) worship (Him)as King of Kings." It's good for me to remember who God is and that I was created first and foremost to know Him and to glorify Him!
Holding my tongue & His Hand...dmc

Monday, September 12, 2016

The Activity Addiction

"Spending time alone with Me can be a difficult discipline, because it goes against the activity addiction of this age. You may appear to be doing nothing, but actually you are participating in battles going on within spiritual realms...demolishing strongholds." (267)
I really identify with the "activity addiction" issue. Our schedules are filled while our opportunities "to sit quietly in (His) Presence" are so limited. Because of that, we have to intentionally guard our schedules, protecting our quiet times with Him.
Perhaps one of the most destructive strongholds of this age is our general addiction to activity and the overall busyness that overwhelms our lives.
Time with Jesus or "living close to (Him) is a sure defense against evil" and offers protection against all sorts of destructive addictions that distort our ability to see and think clearly.
Actively Addressing my Activity-Driven Life...dmc :)

Sending Birthday Blessings to my sister, Jeanne!  May the God of Hope fill you with all joy & peace as you trust in Him, so that you may overflow with Hope by the power of the Holy Spirit! Rom. 15:13. You are dearly loved, sissy!

Sunday, September 11, 2016

Good-to-Go, No-Matter-What

"Rejoice in Me always! No matter what...rejoice in your love-relationship with Me. This is the secret of being content in all circumstances." Phil.4:4, 12 (266)
There is such a HUGE difference between those who are content and those who are discontent. The bible makes it clear that contentment provides an environment for life that is exceptional and to be highly desired. Those who KNOW Christ can experience contentment "in all circumstances." REALLY?? In ALL circumstances? Yes! So, let's look at the secret to THAT kind of contentment?
"Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: REJOICE!" (Phil. 4:4) Rejoice literally means to "re-joy," choosing joy over and over again. Choosing to celebrate something in every situation takes a little creativity and a lot of focus. But, of course, it depends on...what we're focusing on!
Joe and I try to intentionally focus on reasons to rejoice in the midst of all circumstances. There have been a number of times we were delayed significantly in our travels and could have easily been quite annoyed but decided to thank the Lord, no-matter-what! In one case, within an hour of our delay, we came up on an accident scene with people still in the ditches and on the road. As we slowly drove past, praying for those involved, we praised God for wisely pacing our travels.
Today is the anniversary of the 911 Tragedy of 2001. So many testified to God's presence in the midst of the crisis or of how delays or even sickness kept them from their ordinary schedules that would have placed them in the bull's eye of disaster.
There's reasons, while often hidden to us, to choose to be content. Because we choose to focus on our "love-relationship" with God. We rejoice no-matter-what, because a no-matter-what God really knows and loves us, no-matter-what!
No-matter-what I'm choosing to be Content...dmc

Saturday, September 10, 2016

Crafted for Companionship

"I am always available to you... Sometimes you may feel distant from Me...that (is a) feeling...(not a) reality. The Bible is full of My promises to be with you always...to the very end of the age." Matt. 28:20 (265)
The devo for today is all about the companionship we have in Christ. There's alot of research supporting the benefits of companionship; such as the impact of pets on the elderly, the blind, or the lonely. I reviewed some interesting research detailing how even earth worms may seem to prefer being together over being isolated! Who would have guessed!?
Quoting the research article, "Ants colonize. Fish shoal. Flamingos flock and caribou herd. Earth is populated by inherently social beings. Even lowly worms seek out the benefits of companionship. New research has dissected the social proclivities of a model worm, identifying a single type of neuron -- RMG -- that "decides" whether these worms will mingle with their fellows or keep to themselves." (Neurons That Control Sociability In Worms Defined, Saturday, April 18, 2009 - 21:28 in Biology & Nature.)
It's as if all creation is genetically crafted for companionship. Romans 8 tells how all of "creation eagerly waits with anticipation" for Christ to return, even "groaning together." (v. 18-25)
My parents were married 57 years, and Joe's parents were married 73 years, before loosing a spouse. Learning how to live without one's soulmate is difficult and it reminds me, again, of how we are deeply crafted by God for companionship. "It is not good for the man to be alone..." (Gen. 2:18)
What a comfort to hear Jesus say, "Surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age." (Matt. 18:20)
Grateful that He is WITH me...dmc

PS - Happy Birthday to our charming grandson, Noah!!!

Friday, September 9, 2016

A Mind-filled with Trust

"Walk with Me along paths of trust... As soon as you realize you have wandered from your trust-path, look to Me and whisper, "I trust You, Jesus." This affirmation will help you get back on track... Anxious thoughts branch off in all directions, taking you farther and farther from awareness of My Presence... voice your trust in Me frequently...this will keep you walking along straight paths with Me." (264)
I love the verse found in Isaiah 26:3..."You will keep in perfect peace the mind that is dependent (stayed) on You, for it is trusting in You." (HCS)
The figurative paths we journey in our minds steal away our peace far more often than the literal paths we walk in life. I can roam down endless paths of frustration and fear that will become a worrisome reality only within the boundaries of my own skull! What a waste of "precious time and energy."
Jesus died for us to live an "abundant life" yet many died having lived 'a burdened life'... wandering down miserable paths Jesus never intended for His own.
The challenge is...  To live like the redeemed we must think like the Redeemer!
Rethinking Redeeming Thoughts...dmc

Thursday, September 8, 2016

Test of Absolute Trust

"Accept each day...not only the circumstances...but also the condition of your body. Your assignment is to trust me absolutely...(even when) the demands on you seem far greater than your strength. Days like that present a choice between two alternatives - giving up or relying on Me...I will infuse My strength into you moment by moment." (263)
When the demands of my day are beyond my strength or ability, having absolute trust can become an absolute test! Similar to a multiple choice test with two alternatives. "Moment by moment" I must choose which way I will fall. I will:
A. Regress (fall backward)
B. Rely (fall forward)
I have discovered that even when I choose to rely (fall forward) on God, the circumstances of my day or the condition of my body may not change. So, what initiated my dilemma may still be in place. However, the big change happens in the atmosphere of my mind! My thoughts are altered, my perspective is broadened and I realize...it's NOT all about ME! He is working on something far grander than me and I am just a small part of a much bigger picture. So, He gives me just enough strength, enough wisdom, enough of His Presence to equip and empower me for each moment. I find it easier to trust Him with my impossible days when I do it a moment at a time!
For me, the biggest challenge is making that initial choice, in that impossible moment, to trust Him, absolutely! Then, moment by moment, day by day, week by week, year by year a whole lifetime is lived....
Falling Forward into His Sovereignty and Faithfulness...dmc

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

God's Grace & My Guilt

"Enjoy the warmth of My Presence...I delight in you more than you can imagine...That is why I abhor the use of guilt as a means of motivation among Christians. Guilt-evoking messages can undermine the very foundation of grace. I grieve when I see grace eroding... "The law of My Spirit of Life has freed you from the law of sin and death." Romans 8:1-2 (262)
As a counselor, I deal often in the areas of guilt, false-guilt, condemnation, forgiveness, grace and true innocence. All of which we could blog endlessly about. In the throes of real life, real relationships and a certain eternity, all of the above can become quite tangled and tricky to navigate. Here's my quick summarizing, in spite of rather incomplete thoughts...
The opposite of guilt is not necessarily grace, but rather, innocence. When grace preaching implies and fosters a false innocence, we are being deceived and a type of spiritual paralysis sets in, numbing our hearts from spiritual sensitivity and from the Truth that can and WILL set us free!
When I am guilty of falling short of God's directives, the resulting guilt is a healthy, God-given response to my lack of obedience or fallen innocence. I must recognize my guilt so I can receive God's glorious love-gift of grace.
When people come to me, desiring freedom from the messy issues of their lives, I hinder them if I skip over the realities of their own guilt (lack of innocence) before ushering them into God's forgiving grace. I like to say "Forgiveness is GIVEN FOR the mess!" So, confess the mess and move on!
It is true that preaching, not anchored in God's love, can be harsh and condemning, using guilt to manipulate. However, preaching that flows from God's heart of love will "stir us on toward love and good deeds" (Heb. 10:42) because we are called and crafted to live for eternal purposes...purposes far beyond ourselves. His love inspires us to deal honestly with ourselves, graciously with others, and generously with the Church, His Bride. (Eph.5:25-32)
Am I fallen, guilty, condemned? Yes. Am I forgiven, graced and called? Yes!
My daughter-in-love, Leslie, says she likes to always be spiritually "challenged" to grow. I agree. It's a much healthier way to live our lives...we may be graced but we're still growing! Living things grow...dead things have stopped growing!
Whoa, that inspires me to be spiritually "challenged" daily!
I am so grateful for the privilege of sitting under healthy preaching that honestly deals with guilt, respectfully handles grace, and totally embraces God's Love!
Challenged with God's Love & Truth...dmc

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Delightfully Dependent

"Do everything in dependence on Me. The desire to act independently - apart from Me- springs from the root of pride... My deepest desire for you is that you learn to depend on Me in every situation...(enjoying) My Presence and My Peace." (261)
Years ago I had an older christian tell me that to pray over something one time was sufficient and that there was no need to repeat that prayer. Well, I found that very hard to do. Probably because of my own flawed nature, I needed to present concerns to God whenever they were messing with me, not just initially, but continually.
Today's devotional encourages someone, like me, who needs a 'User-friendly' Savior who can be accessed often and easily.
Relying on Jesus Continually...dmc

Monday, September 5, 2016

Divine Chemistry

"I am your best Friend, as well as your King...hand in hand...we face whatever each day brings...gleaning joy out of sorrow, peace out of adversity. Only a Friend who is also the King of kings could accomplish this divine alchemy." (260)
What a strange, yet wonderful mix...alchemy...the chemistry of humanity and the chemistry of divinity, mingled and mixed to offer us a glorious sense of "eternal reality" in the midst of our "dusty, earthbound" existence.
"For His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness...He has given us very great and precious promises, so that through them (we) may share in the divine nature, escaping the corruption that is in the world..." (2 Peter 1:3-4)
Living in His Presence is like "living in two realms simultaneously." To be an overcomer, I must 'come over' and capture more and more of His Divine Nature through the application of His "great and precious promises!"
In His Chemistry Class...dmc

Sunday, September 4, 2016

Where I Belong

"No matter where you are in the world, you know you belong when you sense My nearness. I designed you for close communication with your Creator. When you commune with Me in the garden of your heart, both you and I are blessed. Together we will push back the darkness..." (259)
Basic to our human nature is the need to belong. Some settings foster a sense of belonging while other situations cause one to feel uneasy, out-of-place and awkward. The one place I want to "belong," and I want my kids and grand kids to be feel like they belong, is in the Presence of God!
I am grateful for an upbringing that allowed me to experience the Presence of God and drew me close to Him. My parents, home church, circle of friends and various spiritual mentors welcomed me into a vital relationship with God by inviting me to join them in their spiritual journey. With one arm they embraced Him and with the other arm they embraced me...and "together we push(ed) back the darkness!"
We need to embrace others and let them discover they can belong to the Light ...not to darkness!
I Belong to Jesus...dmc

Saturday, September 3, 2016

Morning Dew Gems

"Let the dew of My Presence refresh your mind and heart. So many, many things vie for your attention...your mind easily gets stuck on trivial matters... As soon as you start communicating with Me...your thoughts...move on to more important things... I will put My thoughts into your mind." (258)
I love the early morning dew...where tiny drops of water create little sparkling gems that reflect a rainbow of brilliant colors. Thinking of my morning devotional time as a refreshing dew inspires and challenges me. It certainly prompts my mind to be filled with gem-like thoughts that carry the potential of reflecting His sparkling Presence throughout the rest of my day. What's even more amazing is when His Presence is reflected in gem-like tears.  Seeing the reflection of His Face and Presence in teary times, whether they are happy tears or sad tears, makes the "dew of (His) Presence" a refreshing reality. That's my challenge!
In His Dewy Presence...dmc

Friday, September 2, 2016

Life Lab of Collaboration

"Living in dependence on Me is a glorious adventure...living and working in collaboration with Me... I in you, and you in Me. This is the intimate adventure I offer you." (257)
Within the span of two years we said our earthly farewells to three of our parents, Joe's mom & dad and to my dad, all graduating from this earthly life to eternal life! It caused for some serious pondering, after all, each one had faithfully lived out their witness, touching so many in their earthly journeys.  The loss was felt by many whose lives had been eternally impacted through some encounter or "glorious adventure" that intersected their lives with one of our parents.
It reminded me of today's passage to live so that "Christ's power may reside in me...in weaknesses, in insults, in catastrophes, in persecutions, and in pressures. For when I am weak, then I am strong." (2 Cor.12:9-10)
Our lives are filled with moments of weakness, painful insults, unforeseen catastrophes, unfair persecutions, and mounting pressures that can overwhelm the best of any saint...but we are only in this Laboratory of Life for a limited amount of time. The secret is to daily Collaborate with Jesus.
It reminds me of being in a science lab working with a lab partner who knows how to successfully accomplish the lab experiment...and I get to enjoy the benefits of all His wisdom and efficient work!!
Co-partnered in the Co-lab of Life...dmc

Thursday, September 1, 2016

Rough Patches

"Seek Me with your whole being... When things go well...you can feel Me smiling on you. When you encounter rough patches...My Light is still shining upon you." (256)
Rough patches in life show up all over... marriage difficulties, parenting challenges, financial stresses, school academia, and annoying road construction zones!  Even rough, scaly skin is considered "alligator hide" and must be doused with lotion! (According to the TV advertisement!)  Things were a bit rough this morning, after a stormy night. We had no electricity and downed tree limbs all over town.
Rough times are just a part of life. They are the not-so-desired parts that come, for only a season, and then they go. Certainly, in our earthly journey, "these adversities may be shrouded in mystery" but His Presence "is an absolute promise."
I find it a comfort to know He is watching. He is absolutely...
Aware & There...dmc