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!

Sunday, February 28, 2016

Affirming Discipline

"The only source of real affirmation is My unconditional love. Many believers perceive Me as an unpleasable Judge, angrily searching out their faults and failures. Nothing could be farther from the truth!...When I discipline you, it is never in anger or disgust... Immerse yourself in my loving Presence." (p. 61)
The online dictionary says that affirmation means "to strengthen, to endorse, to assert as true, to declare support for. It strengthens a relationship between the speaker and the one being affirmed."
When we seek affirmation from our a loving Savior, we are expressing confidence in Him and in His ability to redeem and totally recalibrate our lives.
God's discipline helps us to stop and recognize His Presence over and above all other things in our lives.
This made me think of how important it is for parents to discipline in such a way as to "strengthen, endorse and show support toward" their children. We want to lead their young hearts to a loving God who can be trusted to discipline for their good and not from a reaction of jaded gratification, frustration or misguided anger.
May we be faithful channels of Godly affirmation in discipline...dmc

God's Mysterious Music

"Listen more to Me and less to your doubts. I am leading you along the way I uniquely designed just for you...Follow Me. (62)  (Feb.29 devo - Leap Year)
It's a mystery; the ways of God! As a counselor and a life coach I've seen God deal with individuals in such unique ways. No two walk the same path, touch the same lives or fulfill the same purposes. It is absolutely imperative that we each heed His Higher Wisdom.
Even well-seasoned, well-synced couples can sense God's dealings in distinctly different ways in their individual lives. If each has an ear tuned to His voice, each following His leadership, God will mysteriously orchestrate that marriage, as if the two are singing counter-melodies or finely blended harmonies in a stirring musical production. God's mysterious ways can be like beautiful breath-taking music!
However, listening to doubts and fears will soon sabotage the song and all will be out of sync and totally out of tune. That can be most evident in a marriage that is out-of-sync. Two lives, self-focused, proud, unforgiving and ill-seasoned can sound much like small children banging and blowing on quality instruments, making much noise, but not much quality music. I Corinthians 13:1 says it well; "If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal."
In Sync with the Mysterious...dmc

Saturday, February 27, 2016

The "Great Escape" Option

Today's devo speaks of "waves of adversity" and "worrying about tomorrow." (60)
As a believer, our response is to "live within the boundaries of today" keeping our focus on His Presence in our present circumstances. Why? Because life's challenges have a way of distracting us and tempting us "to give up!"
I like using I Cor. 10:13 with I Cor. 10:31 (reversing the last two numbers lands me on the great escape I am desperately looking for!) Check it out!
So, the next time you are tempted to give up, or to give in, to some temptation (vs. 13) and you need to find "a way of escape," go to vs. 31 and decide that "whatever you do (you will do) everything for God's glory" and the "way of escape" will suddenly present itself!
Choosing an option that gives God most Glory is my best "way of escape!" Try it! It works! Just yesterday, there was a huge opportunity to take up an offense, but I decided that was NOT the option that would most glorify God. Within a matter of a few minutes my heart was so filled with a supernatural joy... God WILL faithfully provide the "way of escape" when we choose a response that brings Him glory!!
Ah, yes, I am challenging myself to look for and live in God's great escape...
For God's Glory...dmc

Friday, February 26, 2016

Secret Things

"Secret things belong to the Lord, and future things are secret things." (59) Deut. 29:29
There have been many times I've had to stop mentally wrestling with something that was clearly "hidden" from me. To truly release a "hidden thing" is not an easy task. I usually have to intentionally hand it over to Him, or I will write it out and tuck it away in my God Box, the place where unanswered prayers and confusing issues go. Then, I may have to repeat that whole process, until my heart is no longer troubled.
No matter how uncertain things may seem, we are commanded to "not worry." "Worry is an act of rebellion; doubting (God's) promises to care for (us.)" (59) The real challenge is to develop more confidence in what God says over what all others are saying, even over my own flawed feelings and imperfect human reasoning that wrestles with wanting to know the unpredictable, faith-stretching future.
I have grandkids who just LOVE to sneak a peak...checking out surprises! I love the way Kelley put it...
I wonder how often God muses to Himself and shakes his holy head when He observes us toiling away with worry or snooping or getting into business that does not belong to us. All the while thinking, "Child, how much more enjoyable and peaceful your life would be to simply trust and wait for me to give this to you, and how GRAND you would feel when in My timing I reveal what I want you to know or have because this is the optimum time for you to receive it.

Oh, to take the Almighty's advice to relax, to take pleasure in the journey, trusting Him to open up the way before us as we go.
Ps. 32:10 says that "the one who trusts in the Lord will have faithful love surrounding him."
Placing my "flimsy future" into God's faithful love...dmc

Thursday, February 25, 2016

Graced with Gratitude

"Walk purposefully...letting Me direct...one step at a time...a grateful heart protects you from negative thinking." (58)
Negative thinking is highly toxic (see January 16 blog) and can paralyze productivity and purpose. The enemy may not get us to walk away from God, but if he can get us to walk away from a grateful mindset, we will walk away from our purpose and from fulfilling God's will for our lives. (I Thes. 5:18) Thus, the enemy will have achieved his greater goal... to get us to walk away from God's will for each of our lives.
That reminds me of when mom would "direct" my sisters and me to write thank you notes for various gifts or kindnesses we had received. Living a life of gratitude toward God is much like little thank you notes we give Him throughout our day!
Daily walking in gratitude establishes us in the very center of God's Will! What a privileged, pleasant  place to be!
Committed to Gratitude...dmc

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

God's Surrounding Love

"Be still in the Light of My Presence, while I communicate Love to you. There is no force in the universe as powerful as My Love...it fills all of space, time, and eternity." (57)
What a thought...to be fully and clearly known and fully LOVED!! (I Cor. 13:13 Amp)
Perhaps one of my greatest personal challenges had been believing that God's love for me was of ultimate dimensions... majestically wide, long, high and deep. I could readily support that kind of divine love for others... but for myself? That was another thing.  I think it was because I knew myself so well... especially those least favorite parts of myself... aspects I wished were different.
However, the more I have simply focused on Jesus, the more convinced I have become "that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate (me) from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus (my) Lord." (Romans 8:38-40) That's absolutely phenomenal!
Everything that represents me... my space, my time, and my eternity... is fully and clearly surrounded, fully and clearly infiltrated, with God's Love.
Whenever I don't fully "get it," I remind myself... I've fully "got it!"
Fully Surrounded in Love...dmc

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Planted far from the Pit

"Be on your guard against the pit of self-pity. When you are weary or unwell, this demonic trap is the greatest danger you face.
Several ways to protect yourself from self-pity (are)...praising and thanking Me...
Also, the closer you live to Me, the more distance there is between you and the pit... Fix your eyes on Me."
(56) Hebrews 12:1-2
Joyce Meyers shares about a time in her life when God told her, "Joyce, you can be pitiful or powerful, but you can't be both." Pity is such a pathetic kind of existence. Some have been raised in the "pit of self-pity" and find it to be their most familiar place of false comfort. They may even tend to gravitate toward pity-filled friends. (Hmm...not necessarily "pitiful" friends! )
However, God desires for us to be "oaks of righteousness, a planting of the Lord for the display of his splendor." (Is. 61:3b) Wherever we are, whomever we are with, we can be a demonstration of God's glory. When others are around us, may they rest their weary hearts in our shade or be spiritually nourished from the fruit of our lives. A much better option than inviting them into a slimy pit full of self and pity! So, today, I will be decisively, carefully, intentionally re-planted...
Close to Jesus...dmc

Monday, February 22, 2016

Continually Present

"You need Me every moment. Your awareness of your constant need for Me is your greatest strength... guard against: self-pity, self-preoccupation, giving up. Your inadequacy presents you with a continual choice - deep dependence on Me, or despair. The emptiness you feel within will be filled either with problems or with My Presence." (55)
There's no getting around the immediacy of our relationship with Jesus. It is all about the present moment. Continually conversing with Him. Constantly staying connected, focused and God-aware. His presence alters everything. The sooner I invite Him into my present mindset and situation, the greater impact His Presence has on me.
Melissa shared this great medley of two songs, Part the Waters & I Need Thee Every Hour by Selah. What a precious worship experience! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=775yhAx7b8g&feature=related
In the Present & with Him...dmc

Sunday, February 21, 2016

Healthy Brain Secret

"Trust and Thankfulness will get you safely through this day. Trust protects you from worrying and obsessing. Thankfulness keeps you from criticizing and complaining, those sister sins that so easily entangle you." (54)
I REALLY appreciate today's devo! With the myriad of thoughts that can capture our minds, it is good to know that simply choosing "trust and thankfulness" can reconfigure the landscape of our brains. Brain imagining research supports that "thought patterns of trust (and gratitude can) become etched into our brains" overcoming the "sister sins that so easily entangle" (worry/obsession and criticism/complaining.)
To practice looking in His direction will change the direction of my thoughts, change the image in my brain and change my mind into the "mind of Christ." (Phil. 2:5)
Have you ever noticed how trusting, thankful people are much healthier, happier people to hang out with? It inspires me to be sure that my own thoughts are creating a healthy place for me to be....since I'm hanging out with my own thoughts.... all the time!
Hanging my Thoughts with Jesus...dmc

Saturday, February 20, 2016

Tasty True Center

"Learn to live from your true Center in Me. I reside in the deepest depths of your being... It is at this deep level that My Peace reigns continually...within you, waiting to be tapped. Take time to delve into the riches of My residing Presence...where My Love has an eternal grip on you." (53)
As I am reading this, I am enjoying (and indulging in) a Raspberry centered Chocolate Bliss! The application is obvious. The presence of Jesus in each of us makes us uniquely filled and flavored to feed the dying world around us!
With Christ as the blissful true Center of our lives we can make a decisive, even tasty, difference!
So... does anyone need a little holy Raspberry Bliss today?
Blissfully His...dmc

Friday, February 19, 2016

Sure in Not-So-Sure Times

"You are feeling weighed down by a plethora of problems, both big and small... requiring more and more of your attention... don't give in to those demands... break free by spending quality time with Me... I will make your feet like the feet of a (surefooted) deer, enabling you to go on the heights." (52) (NLT)
The Habakkuk 3:17-19 passage in today's devo is one of my favorites. It's so realistic and applicable to the many seasons of life, especially when things are tough. It gives us a kind of God-confidence that helps to override our doubts. It offers us the option to choose to praise God, no matter what!
In a world where so many things are NOT so sure, He can make one thing sure..."my feet like those of a surefooted deer enabled to walk on mountain heights."
What's the secret to making it to "mountain heights?" I believe it is having the ability to be surefooted in not-so-sure times! So many will never reach the "heights" because their habitual inclination or response to not-so-sure circumstances keeps them in the lowlands. I'm asking God, to make me spiritually "sure-footed" so I can experience spiritual "heights" in His Presence.
My friend, Melissa, tells of a time in the Colorado Rockies when she came face to face with a mountain goat that ran across a steep cliff without any hesitation. The goat’s feet fit perfectly on small, nearly hidden rocks that led him out of harm's way. What a great illustration that God’s plan is perfect, no matter how treacherous the paths of life may be. Even in the midst of relational, financial, emotional or physical rocky times, I must remind myself, I'm...
Headed to the Heights...dmc

Thursday, February 18, 2016

The "IAmWithYou" Safety Net

"I am with you. These four words are like a safety net, protecting you from falling into despair. Because you are human, you will always have ups and downs in your life experience. But the promise of My Presence limits how far down you can go." (51)
I try to envision those four words woven together forming a safety net... "IAmWithYou" providing security against misfortune, limiting "how far down you can go." Life continues to present a milieu,    of scary situations to exciting opportunities, that test this divinely woven "IAmWithYou" safety net.
Caught in the "free fall" of the unexpected, the unknown and the unwanted... it's not a welcoming place to be...yet that is the place of greatest discovery. It's in the midst of "free fall" I discover the weightiness of my own soul. I discover the unbecoming, Christ-less aspects of myself that reflect fragments of my fallen nature that continue to hinder my redeemed nature. So, it becomes a place of great discovery and growth. This is where my redeemed nature challenges my fallen nature and I safely land....
Face down, at His feet...dmc

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Fluid, Flexing & Free

"Your relationship with Me is meant to be vibrant and challenging, as I invade more and more areas of your life. Do not fear change, for I am making you a new creation, with old things passing away and new things continually on the horizon." (50)
Today's devo, about how we resist (even fear) change, brings interesting thoughts to mind.
We tend to build "idols out of routine" and security in sameness. We like the comfort of the predictable. Being open to change takes intentional effort on our part. We must decide to "embrace all that God is doing in our lives, finding security in Him alone." Just as soon as our security keeps us from moving forward in Him, He will stir up our predictable nest and ruffle our familiar feathers.
I like the picture of "new things continually on the horizon." It reminds me of watching the ever changing seascape of the ocean waves. The words of an old hymn by Samuel Francis wash over my soul, especially during our yearly island get-away. The power and peaceful presence of the ocean reminds me of "the deep, deep love of Jesus, Vast unmeasured, boundless, free! Rolling as a mighty ocean, In its fullness over me..."
Just like one cannot "force fit" one wave into another, so we cannot "force fit today into yesterday's mold." It's all too fluid, too flexing and amazingly FREE.
I love Selah's contemporary version of that powerful, old hymn. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9hzYKovRsJ8&feature=related
Rolling Onward...dmc

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Well Watered & On Fire

"Instead of resenting the limitations of a weakened body, search for My way in the midst of these very circumstances. Limitations can be liberating when your strongest desire is to live close to Me...quiet trust makes a powerful statement in spiritual realms."(49)
The following verse helps me sense the tenderness of God's heart toward us and how very vulnerable we are. "For He knows our frame, He [earnestly] remembers and imprints [on His heart] that we are dust." Psa 103:14
Remembering I am "dust" helps me to stay especially close to the spiritual wells and fires of my life. Spiritual wells water my dry dusty soul and spiritual fires warm my cold crusty heart. Thanks, Carolynn, for sharing the following "Silent Sermon" illustrating why we need the loving legacy of one another.
A member of a certain church, who previously had been attending services regularly, stopped going. After a few weeks, the pastor decided to visit him.
It was a chilly evening. The pastor found the man at home alone, sitting before a blazing fire. Guessing the reason for his pastor's visit, the man welcomed him, led him to a comfortable chair near the fireplace and waited.
The pastor made himself at home but said nothing. In the grave silence, he contemplated the dance of the flames around the burning logs. After some minutes, the pastor took the fire tongs, carefully picked up a brightly burning ember and placed it to one side of the hearth all alone then he sat back in his chair, still silent.
The host watched all this in quiet contemplation. As the one lone ember's flame flickered and diminished, there was a momentary glow and then its fire was no more. Soon it was cold and dead.
Not a word had been spoken since the initial greeting. The pastor glanced at his watch and realized it was time to leave. He slowly stood up, picked up the cold, dead ember and placed it back in the middle of the fire. Immediately it began to glow, once more with the light and warmth of the burning coals around it.
As the pastor reached the door to leave, his host said, with a tear running down his cheek, "Thank you so much for your visit and especially for the fiery sermon. I will be back in church next Sunday."
I am so thankful for the Legacy of Spiritual Wells and Fires that help to “enhance my awareness of His presence” watering my soul and warming my heart! I want to be...
Well Watered & On Fire...dmc

Monday, February 15, 2016

Wherever, Whatever, & Whenever!

"Come to Me with all your weaknesses: physical, emotional, and spiritual... Pry your mind away from your problems... seek to attune yourself to what I am already doing... the safest place to be is in My will." (48)
The word "attune" means: to bring into a harmonious or responsive relationship. To think of my relationship with Jesus as being pitched perfectly to harmonize with Him and to be readily responsive, no matter what, deeply challenges me!
We know Jesus is always "doing" something good. I want to be aware and available. If He is singing, I am to be humming along. If He is on the move, I want to be tracking with Him. If He is carefully listening, I want to hear what He's hearing. If He is quietly waiting, I want to be peacefully patient. If He is seeking a lost soul, I want to be a reflection of His soul-saving heart. If He desires fellowship, I want to be His faithful friend.
No matter what, I want to be THERE...wherever He is, whatever He is up to and whenever He wants it to happen!
"I won't be afraid. You are with me..." Psalm 23:4 CEV
Choosing to be right "There"...dmc

Sunday, February 14, 2016

Partnered Well

"Give yourself fully to the adventure of today...relying on your ever-present Companion...Whenever you start to feel afraid, remember that I am holding you by your right hand. Nothing can separate you from My Presence!" (47)
What a great Valentine's Day Blessing!!
Did you know that the one who sits on your right side, near your right hand, is considered to be in the position of partnership with you?
Most of us know that Jesus sits at the right hand of God the Father, in a position of authority. But do you know who's at your right hand? In the position of partnership with YOU?
"For I, the Lord your God, hold your right hand and say to you: "Do not fear, I will help you." (Is. 41:13)
Your partner is GOD! Who "accompanies you all the days of your life - and onward into eternity."
Ah, yes, we are definitely....
Partnered well...dmc

Saturday, February 13, 2016

His Watchword My Byword

Jesus' Watchword - "Peace be with you!
"Ever since the resurrection this has been the watchword to those who yearn for Me. As you sit quietly, let My Peace settle over you and enfold you in My loving Presence... Wear My Peace with regal dignity. It will keep your heart and mind close to Mine."
When Jesus conquered death, the ultimate war had been fought. Peace was accomplished. All fears, fights and frustrations were finalized when Jesus walked out of that tomb.
Whenever I allow fear to rise up in me, some conflict to overtake me or some situation to frustrate me, I have resurrected something Jesus died to overcome.
What's the secret? His watchword of "Peace!" It must become my daily byword. As I hold on to peace I am able "to withstand all onslaughts...and keep my heart and mind close to Him!"
Staying Close to Him & at Peace...dmc

Friday, February 12, 2016

When Brains Give God Glory

"I am ever so near you, hovering over your shoulder, reading every thought... your (thoughts) are precious to Me. I smile when you think lovingly of Me. My Spirit, who lives within you, helps you to think My thoughts. As your thinking goes, so goes your entire being... Let Me be your positive Focus." (45)
Today's devo, concerning the careful attention God gives to our thoughts, "reading every one" makes me reflect on current neuro-chemistry research about the brain.
Our brains are so complex, and yet we've learned, they can only hold one thought at a time at any given moment. A multi-focused, multi-tasking brain is really just a brain that jumps quickly from one thought to another.
This makes me want to be all the more sure that my thoughts turn quickly and often to God so that He holds a place of focused prominence in the landscape of my mind!
Thoughtfully His...dmc

Thursday, February 11, 2016

A Shaft of Golden Light

"My Peace is like a shaft of golden Light shining on you continuously... On darker days, My Peace stands out in sharp contrast to your circumstances." (44)
(I journaled the following example of being a "shaft of golden light" several months before Daddy died.  He's now with Jesus and mother has bravely continued on, tucked tightly in Jesus' embrace.  With a grateful heart, I share my entry from that unusual year.)
We can be impacted by our circumstances OR by our Savior. At this point in my parents' lives they are in God's "shaft of golden light." With physical challenges and pain, they continue to be an inspiration of divine collaboration, as illustrated in the following example.
This week we were with Daddy during a long, grueling procedure at the hospital that confirmed, his twisting, aging body has displaced his heart. His heart has made an amazing journey from the left side of his body to the right side, now tucked in near his right armpit. So unusual, yet even more unusual is Daddy's precious attitude and cheery disposition despite his pain and many challenges.
Mother has said, "we may have pain, but we don't have to BE a pain!" They take great interest in the friends, family and home health care professionals that come to attend to their special needs. They don't miss an opportunity to bless and encourage others. "Like a shaft of golden Light," they inspire!
Although life is wearisome...they "do not grow weary or lose heart." Heb. 12:3
Inspired & Grateful...dmc

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Ample Time to Realign

"Trust Me enough to spend ample time with Me, pushing back the demands of the day... I am omnipotent, I able to bend time and events in your favor... (and help) you sort out what is important and what is not." (43)
To think that God's ability "to bend time and events in our favor" is phenomenal!
I have experienced that on numerous occasions. What looked absolutely impossible was accomplished! There have been times I've even asked God to commission angels or prompt the Holy Spirit to come to my aid when the situation was so beyond my wisdom and ability. He was faithful to intervene somehow and supernatural strength, protection and provision were granted!
I love the fact that His eye is continually on me! He knows exactly what is and isn't important in my day. I sometimes have to remind myself that even cancellations and delays are a part of God's gracious gifts of intervention. I'm overwhelmingly relieved and....
Letting Him Realign my Day...dmc

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Seasoned Treasure Hunters

"Seek My Face more and more. You are really just beginning your journey of intimacy with Me. It is not an easy road, but it is a delightful and privileged way: a treasure hunt." (42)
Psalm 27:8 says, "My heart has heard You say, "Seek My face," and my heart responds, "Yes Lord, I am coming!" I have discovered this IS the critical difference in my spiritual journey! Seeking His face (searching for His Presence) no matter what's in the brew around me, His face (Presence) is somewhere to be found.
Herein, lies the greatest Treasure Hunt...my soul searching for His Face! It's the most challenging, yet rewarding way to journey through life!
This reminds me of the "hidden pictures in a picture" games we play with kids. Somewhere in this picture are three hidden items, see if you can find them! And the hunt is on...where, oh where, is the Lord's face? Oh, there He is! And there He is! And there He is! Suddenly, His face can be found EVERYWHERE!
Seasoned "Treasure Hunters" have well trained senses...they can just sense where He is! I love to learn from the well-seasoned, well-traveled Treasure Hunters!
Seeking His face today....dmc

Monday, February 8, 2016

A Boat Load

"I am above all things: your problems, your pain, and the swirling events in this ever-changing world. When you behold My Face, you rise above circumstances and rest with Me... (Problems) must not become your focus. When your feel yourself sinking... say "Help me, Jesus!" ...I will meet you in that very place." (41)
Today's devo reading has us in Matthew 14 where Peter steps out of the boat, walking on the water to Jesus. When his eyes were focused on Jesus, he was on top of his "circumstances." However, "when he saw the strength of the wind, he was afraid" and began to sink. Immediately he cried out to Jesus and Jesus responded. Stepping back in the boat, the wind ceased and "those in the boat worshiped Him and said, "Truly You are the Son of God." (v.30-33)
How we handle troubling circumstances impacts, not only us, but those around us. Who is "in the boat" with us? What about our responses? Will our reactions act as an arrow, pointing others to Jesus?
I believe the authenticity of our witness is most critical with those closest to us. I pray my husband, children and grandchildren will see what a difference Jesus makes in my life, especially when things get alittle stormy..."Help me, Jesus!"
May the strength of our witness be greater than the strength of our circumstances, leading us to focus on Jesus and not the storm.
All on Board, All Eyes on Jesus...dmc
Listen to one of my favorite songs, Come to Jesus by Chris Rice....And Live!

Sunday, February 7, 2016

Bone Weary & Soul Dancing

"You are bone-weary. Do not be ashamed of your exhaustion. Instead, see it as an opportunity for Me to take charge of your life." (40)
Isn't it good news to know that God truly understands what it means to be "bone-weary?"
My response to "bone-weariness" has changed through the years. As a kid, I'd just drop off to sleep. As a teen, I'd just get annoyed. As a college student, I'd just try to get alone and regroup. As a young mom, I'd just... keep going, no matter what! As a mother of teens, I'd just bite my tongue. Now, as a "Grammy," I just get bone AND soul-weary!
However... As I child of God, I know I am absolutely loved and totally understood.  Never judged or condemed, no matter how bone or soul-weary I may be!!  Just thinking...
Let's do a little bone & soul dance today...dmc

Saturday, February 6, 2016

Hand Crafted, Carved & Deeply Breathing

"Come to Me and rest. I am all about you, to bless and restore. Breathe Me in with each breath... Slow down and cling tightly to My hand." (39)
The one thing we cannot live long without...our next breath! Even labored breathing can be especially exhausting, and we often forget how blessed we are to breathe with ease. This was brought home to our family when, during that last year before my sweet daddy passed on to heaven, he had to rely on oxygen tanks, tubes, mask, etc to keep his oxygen levels within a functional range. So, all the equipment and precautions that go with that kind of special care became a primary focus, especially for my mother who tenderly and graciously attended to dad. She shared the following insight...
"The thought of the oxen's yoke in Mt. 11:29 always intrigued me, then a Bible scholar explained that a good farmer hand carved the yoke to fit each of his oxen. Thus, I can trust Jesus that my individually designed yoke will not be more than I can bear. Jesus said in Matthew 11:30, 'My yoke is easy to bear and the burden I give you is light.' Now, my job is to rest in Him and trust Him." And she did just that..."yoked" to Jesus while caring for daddy!
It's good for me to remember to breathe deeply in this uniquely carved yoke that God has hand-crafted for me. Afterall, I am also God-crafted, in His Image! This helps me to deeply breathe in His presence "with each breath." Gen.2:7 tells us that "the Lord God formed the man out of the dust from the ground and breathed the breath of life into his nostrils and the man became a living being."
Even our very breath is a gift from God and every breath we take is an opportunity to take in more of His restoring Presence. May we use our breath to glorify Him as we bear His Hand-Crafted yoke today!
Blessed with Breath...dmc

Friday, February 5, 2016

Monitoring Mind-Set

"Ask My Spirit within you to order your day and control your thoughts, for the mind controlled by the Spirit is Life and Peace."(38)
Good News! We get to choose our mind-set or the direction our mind goes. A mind that wanders or that's out-of-control will often lead to worrisome thoughts or wayward thoughts that impact wayward choices. These thoughts and choices alter an entire lifespan and ultimately our entire eternity! Yikes!
I often snag my thoughts just to monitor if they are producing "Life and Peace." If I don't snag those thoughts, they will snag me. "For the mind-set of the flesh is death, but the mind-set of the Spirit is life and peace." (Romans 8:6)
My friend, Kay, reflects on her perky little 3 year old grandson whose parents had come up with a great parenting tool. Kay shared this with me...
When he does something wrong and even when he does something right, they often ask, "Did you make a good choice or a bad choice?" He has gotten to where he talks about making good choices on his own. It is so cute, but so profound also. Lord, help me to make good choices today!!!
What a great example of how we can monitor a mind-set that lends to "good choices!"
"The only thing we can grasp without damaging our soul is His hand." (38)
Double checking my thoughts today...dmc

Thursday, February 4, 2016

The Faith-Friendly Fog

"Bring Me your weaknesses, and receive My Peace....I am sovereign over everything. Do not wear yourself out with analyzing and planning. Instead, let thankfulness and trust be your guides...(keeping) you close to Me." (37)
Years ago a seasoned pastor's wife shared with me the secret to her gentle, God-confident demeanor in the midst of painful circumstances and stressful challenges. She described her walk with Jesus as a "faith-friendly fog." While I did not understand it at first, I now deeply appreciate the "faith-friendly fog."
I've discovered it protects us from seeing too far ahead into the future and from looking too far back into the past. Thus, we are kept from unnecessary fear and needless shame. Fear that comes when we anticipate an uncertain future and shame that comes when we rehearse a unpleasant past. So, we do not have to "wear ourselves out with analyzing and planning." Like a pilot trusting his instruments while flying through a fog, we can trust God's instructions while we are flying through our foggy times.
Maybe you have seen this clever quote from a marquee... good to remember!
No God, no peace
Know God, know peace
God in the Fog Gives Peace...dmc

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Unwrapping Today's Gift

"When you feel anxious, know that you are focusing on the visible world... Fix your eyes not on what is seen but on what is unseen... Each day is a precious gift...Receive today's gift gratefully, unwrapping it tenderly."(36)
Today's devo reminded me of a long trip we made on Christmas Day several years ago. Four adults and three grandchildren, packed to the max, in "Rhonda" our Honda Odyssey headed to Ohio from Oklahoma to celebrate the holidays with our oldest son's family. Because we had about 16 hours of driving time, I had packed Christmas gifts in backpacks for the kids to each open, one at a time, paced throughout the trip. Each gift was a big deal, entertaining them for miles!  Then their focus would return to the big backpacks, laden with more gifts, waiting to be discovered and opened.
Like eager children, we can look to a Heavenly Father who has packed gifts into each day; gifts to 'receive gratefully and unwrap tenderly.'
May we gratefully enjoy today's gift, making the most of each mile in this God-adventure.
Gratefully Unwrapping My Day...dmc

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Plugged into His Presence

"I am renewing your mind. When your thoughts flow freely, they tend to move toward problems...(getting) snagged on a given problem. A renewed mind is Presence-focused. Train your mind...I am always present...I will light up your mind." (35)
How quickly we can forget the obvious...HE has always been here, HE will always be here, HE is HERE, right now! One of Jesus' names, Immanuel, means "God is with us." (Matt. 1:23)
Our minds were made to think, but WHAT we think about is our making! Rather than getting "snagged on a given problem" we can train our minds to "seek Him." He certainly has the power to "light up our minds." (Brain imagining technology proves that!) It's like plugging our brains into the power source of His Presence! As His presence fires up the neurons of our minds, transforming and renewing how we think, our interactions with others can be encounters with His light, shining through us!
Melissa offered a great example of how she is overcoming old thought patterns!

"I have come a long way in training my mind to be focused on God! I grew up with a negative attitude about everything. Maybe it was due to certain events that happened in my life, but I was determined not to change. When I decided to live my life for God, I didn't want to be that way anymore. No, it hasn't been an easy road. I still have those thoughts and attitudes pop up and the world doesn't help any with this either, but I don't listen to the world anymore. Now I give all those thoughts and attitudes to God as soon as they enter my mind and he helps me glorify him with a whole new outlook!"
You inspire us! Thanks, Melissa!
Romans 12:2 "Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is—His good, pleasing and perfect will."
Plug in & Shine on...dmc

Monday, February 1, 2016

The Simple Option

"Follow Me one step at a time. That is all I require of you... Keep your mind on the present journey, enjoying My Presence. Walk by faith, not by sight, trusting Me to open up the way before you." (34)
"Walk by faith, not by sight." 2 Cor. 5:7
 Herein lies two options for how we can conduct our daily lives.  It's not all that complicated.
1. By Faith - responding in a way that maximizes God's ability to intervene - hope-filled living!
2. By Sight - responding in a way that minimizes God's ability to intervene - doubt-filled living!
It's pretty simple...I can lean into God or lean into my own understanding! (Prov. 3:4-6)
So, today, I will intentionally be...
Simple! ...dmc