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!

Thursday, June 30, 2016

Renewing Truth Frees Us

Setting you free, "this is a work that I do in you as you yield to My Spirit... sit in the stillness of My Presence, focusing your entire being on Me. Let My thoughts burst freely upon your consciousness... I lead you along paths of newness: ways you have never imagined. I died to set you free."(189)
To be set free from our entrenched ways of thinking, our typical ways of behaving and our conditioned ways of reacting is humanly impossible. We need to be radically honest with ourselves and admit... We need a Redeeming Savior to free us from our own destructive traps!
So, Jesus freely offers us His radical answer,"If you continue in My Word, you really are My disciples. You will know the truth, and the truth will set you free." (John 8:31-32) Freeing Truth and authentic discipleship seem to go together.
From experience I know this is true! The more I "continue in His Word" the more freedom I experience, especially in my thought life. New thoughts tend to "burst freely upon (my) consciousness... paths of newness" seem to appear in the landscape of my mind, like a fog lifting over the horizon. The possibilities for life seem endless and eternally impacting, the more I "continue in (His) Word!"
No wonder the enemy works relentlessly to keep us distracted and detached from God's Word! The possibilities for eternal significance in each of our lives greatly threatens Satan's plan. What is Satan's plan? To spiritually sabotage us and to eternally ensnare us! Yikes! So, I am...
Prayerfully Pondering Truth Paths & New Possibilities...dmc

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Wake Up, Perk Up

"As you get out of bed in the morning, be aware of My Presence with you. You may not be thinking clearly yet, but I am. Your early morning thoughts tend to be anxious ones until you get connected with Me. Invite Me into your thoughts by whispering My Name." (188)
Over the years I have noticed that my first waking thoughts can often be anxious or even rather self-sabotoging. I can easily start the day feeling anxious about the demands of that day, filled with many I-should-have, could-have or if-I-would-have thoughts that accuse and can undermine me.
So, I do much better when I promptly redirect my first conscious thoughts. I will often think of a praise song or some inspirational hymn. Even some children's songs can perk me up as I am getting up. Dr. David Amen's challenge, to think of at least 5 things you are thankful for each morning, has been proven to change the neuro-chemical environment of our brains. Even smiling, first thing in the morning, according to brain research, can jump-start our day in the right direction!
I want my brain to be spiritually and neuro-chemically healthy so that I can be most productive and pleasant all day long. It radically helps me, when I "face the day cheerfully." Incidentally, YOU are one of my 5 things I am thankful for today!
Waking Up with Praise...dmc

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Beyond Instinct to Insight

"Taste and see that I am good. This command contains as invitation...and a promise." (187)
"Taste and see" invites me to deeply experience Him. I have learned that the more of Him I have tasted and seen, the more convinced I am that He is indeed very "good!" Even though His ways are often mysterious, far beyond my understanding and I may be tempted at times to "doubt (His) goodness," I choose to trust God and to gain a better understanding of Him.
Proverbs 2:3-11 says I can "call out to insight...to understanding... seek for it like silver and search for it like hidden treasure, then (I) will understand the fear of the Lord and discover the knowledge of God... For wisdom will enter (my) mind, and knowledge will delight (my) heart. Discretion will watch over (me) and understanding will guard (me.)"
Whenever my "human instinct to doubt (God's) goodness" overtakes me, I call out for insight, for understanding... I seek it out... I search for it... And even when I do not fathom His ways, I choose to "spend time enjoying (Him) and experiencing (His) goodness." Why? Because of the promise... His goodness is greater than my doubts!
I do not want my relationship with Him to be based upon my flawed, finite perspective. I want my relationship to be based upon His flawless eternal insight and love for me!
Challenged to trust Him, even when I do not understand Him...dmc

Monday, June 27, 2016

Spiritual Deep Breathing

"Rest with Me awhile... Trust that I will equip you fully for whatever awaits you on your journey... it is in the present moment that I meet you... Refresh yourself in My company, breathing deep draughts of My Presence. The highest level of trust is to enjoy Me moment by moment." (186)
Breathing is a crucial present-moment activity we all must do to sustain life. Most of the time we take it for granted and tend to overlook such a critically important task. Years ago when our son battled asthmatic episodes, there were times when taking the next breath became such a priority that nothing else even mattered. Our whole focus was on his next breath!
When our other son was only a few weeks old, his infant chair tipped over and he landed in such a way that his windpipe collapsed. As I gathered him into my arms, I was finally able to position his little body so that he could make a small gurgling sound, keeping him breathing. I held him in that awkward position until we had emergency medical assistance.
In both cases, future worries and past regrets were none-issues... the primary focus was that next breath of precious air!
In creation, God breathed his Spirit into Adam’s dusty, lifeless body and he became a "living soul." (Genesis 2:7) After Jesus rose from the dead, before he ascended back into heaven, He breathed His life-giving Spirit on His disciples, saying, “Receive the Holy Spirit.”(John 20:22) The Psalmist says that our lives are like "a breath" or "a vapor." (Psalm 39:5 & 11; 144:4) But, I especially love how the book of Psalms closes with this great reminder: “Let everything that has breath praise the Lord!” (Psalm 150:6)
Days away, on our annual study vacations, are "breathing breaks" that help us to breathe in "deep draughts of (His) Presence." Our daily routines tend to cause us to become breathless and spiritually asthmatic, so we need to intentionally schedule in times of deep spiritual breathing.
Breathing Deeply Today...dmc
PS - Happy Birthday to our grandson, Hayden, who's a delightful breath of fresh air in our family!
Lots of Love & Aloha from Grammy & Papa!

Sunday, June 26, 2016

A Boat Load of Worship

"Stay calmly conscious of Me today, no matter what... Nothing takes Me by surprise. I will not allow circumstances to overwhelm you, so long as you look to Me. I will help you cope with whatever the moment presents." (185)
The devo today reminded me of Matthew's account of Peter stepping out of the boat, walking to Jesus on the water, then "when he saw the strength of the wind, he was afraid. And beginning to sink he cried out, "Lord, save me!" Immediately Jesus reached out His hand and caught hold of him... Then those in the boat worshiped Him and said, "Truly You are the Son of God!" (Matt. 14:29-33)
There are a number of amazing moments in this story... Jesus walking on the water, Peter daring to do the same, Jesus' immediate rescue when Peter cried out, "Lord, save me!", the winds suddenly stopping and finally... the impact all this had on "those in the boat." It was a spontaneous worship service!
No matter what the circumstances may be, I want everyone in my "boat" to end up...
In Worship...dmc

Saturday, June 25, 2016

Loving My Savior & My Spouse

Making a love relationship work WELL can offer quite a challenge. I find it interesting how a rich, rewarding relationship with God can strongly parallel the rich, rewarding relationship I can enjoy with my husband. I realize that many marital relationships are too strained to be rich and rewarding, and we've certainly navigated through our own relational landmines! But paralleling the two relationships offers me a constructive option of response that I like. It creates the dynamic intersecting of the two most critical relationships of my life; much like aligning two lenses for a clearer, more favorable perspective.
I especially like how the Amplified Bible puts it... "The Lord your God is in the midst of you, a Mighty One, a Savior [Who saves]! He will rejoice over you with joy; He will rest [in silent satisfaction] and in His love He will be silent and make no mention [of past sins, or even recall them]; He will exult over you with singing. (Zeph. 3:17) Ah, yes, the focus is NOT on "past sins" but the many reasons to "rejoice over you."
The devo for today pictures the love relationship this way... "Open your hands and your heart to receive this day as a precious gift from Me... I rejoice when you glance My way... the gift of thanksgiving opens your heart to rich communion with Me... thankfulness is the best way to draw near Me... I take great delight in you; I rejoice over you with singing." (184)
I certainly want Joe to view me from such affirming lenses! Especially since we are in the midst of being together, continually, for 3 weeks!! It's our annual study vacation. Stressing with each other would be such a waste of our time and energy. Beginning "each day with a sunrise, announcing (God's) Presence" and maintaining a thankful, open heart definitely sets the stage for a great day rejoicing over my Savior...and my Spouse!
Rejoicing over the "Good Guys" in my life...dmc

Friday, June 24, 2016

Light Dispels Dark Thoughts

"Hold My hand - and trust. So long as you are conscious of My Presence with you, all is well... Fearful, anxious thoughts melt away in the Light of My Presence." (183)
I suppose we all know what it's like to battle with anxious thoughts that overwhelm us and mess with our sense of sanity and peace. When one of our grandsons was 6 years old, he went through a time where he was battling some scary thoughts at bedtime. He would call and want to talk with "Grammy" until he could fall asleep. While I thoroughly enjoyed listening to the little guy, his ponderings made my heart ache deeply. It just seemed so unfair for such a young, tender heart to be so troubled and unsettled.
As adults, with well-seasoned, battle-bruised souls, we know what it is like to be plagued with distressing thoughts. However, it seems all the more cruel for similar thoughts to invade our younger more vulnerable ones. So, this Grammy crafted a plan, via long-distance, over the phone, to "take every thought captive and make it obedient to Christ." (2 Cor. 10:5)
With his Daddy's help a list was made, detailing his troubling thoughts. Then he was asked if Jesus was bigger and stronger than each of those thoughts. Of course, Jesus was! Then Daddy took Noah's list of scary thoughts and placed them in the flame of a candle. Watching the flame consume his fears illustrated how Jesus is the Light that overcomes all our scary thoughts. That powerful Truth and graphic illustration helped to comfort a 6 year old's anxious heart.
No matter what our age, it's good to remember that "the Light of His Presence" melts away "fearful, anxious thoughts" along with the sinful ones that tend to haunt and harass us!
Submitting all thoughts to His Light...dmc

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Ordinary Olive Trees

"A trusting response includes Me in your thoughts as you consider strategies to deal with a situation. Gently bring your attention back to Me, whenever it wanders away. I look for persistence- rather than perfection- in your walk with Me." (182)
As I reflect, there are some 'ordinary heroes of faith' that have inspired me. It's not been the ones who've lived perfectly but those who have lived persistently.  They maintain a determined mindset and lifestyle of faithfulness. Their love for God, His Word, and the family of God are inspirational examples of positive persistence, strategically making God the priority of their lives. While others may be like spiritual super-novas that burst on the scene initially then quickly fade away in the daily disciplines of spiritual maturity. I want to be more like the ones who are "like a flourishing olive tree in the house of God... in the presence of (His) faithful people..." Ps. 51:8-9
Each 'ordinary hero' is needed in our midst. God uses the presence of ordinary individuals to inspire many others, often without them even knowing it! So, "Thank You" to all the 'ordinary olive trees' whose positive persistence deeply inspire me!
These "olive trees" tend to not "neglect meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encourage each other... (so as not to) grow weary and lose heart... maintaining a clear conscience... conducting themselves honorably." (Heb. 10:25, 12:3, 13:18)
While being perfect seems impossible, being persistent can be inspirational. I want to be positively persistent not perfectly pathetic!  It all springs out of a properly balanced, God-glorifying, healthy thought life!
Striving to be positively persistent....dmc

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Priority of Perspective

"Thank Me for the very things that are troubling you... It is impossible to thank Me and curse Me at the same time... Thankfulness awakens you to My Presence, which overshadows all your problems." (181)
The devo today mentions how we are tempted to indulge in complaining which will set the stage for "torrents of rage and self-pity." This makes much more sense to me after reading research on the way our brains work. Because the atmosphere of the brain is highly sensitive to the neuro-chemical climate of our thought patterns, the overall landscape of our mind will reflect the impact of our most-often-selected attitudes and thoughts. Choosing thankfulness over resentfulness makes a huge difference!
While reflecting on Numbers 11-14, Joe and I were captured by how a handful of grumblers, complaining about food, helped set the stage for a toxic mindset of criticism and complaints. Examples: Miriam & Aaron criticized Moses' leadership. Later 10 of the 12 spies returned from Canaan with a negative report, which put such fear and doubt in the peoples' hearts that they ended up stuck in the desert, dying, when they could have enjoyed a bountiful life in the Promised Land.
We must protect the landscape of our minds (and our homes) from deserts of criticism and complaints. Thankfulness leads us into the Promised Land of bountiful living, no matter what our circumstances may be.
Quick Caution:  Like Caleb and Joshua... Thankful living means we may be in the minority when we're making a Godly positive perspective our priority.
So, what can we do about it? We can respond like Job! In the midst of his own world of troubles, while fault-finding friends gave him flawed counsel, God told Job just to pray for his criticizing friends. And watch what happened... "the Lord restored...(and) blessed the latter part of Job's life more than the earlier (part of his life.)" Job 42:10-12
I'm challenged to be more like Caleb, Joshua & Job!
Taking on the Prayerful Positive Perspective...dmc

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Captured in Timelessness

"I dwell in timelessness: I am, I was, I will always be...Meet Me in timelessness." (180)
In 7th grade I was given the assignment to read and report on a book entitled, "A Wrinkle in Time." It was very intriguing...the concept of escaping the limitations of time! I remember one of my concluding thoughts was that perhaps we are presently living in "A Wrinkle in Eternity"... that our "time" is really just a wrinkle in the broad eternal folds of timelessness! I still believe that today!
I am grateful that we have a Savior who "dwells in timelessness." I love to think of my devotional time as an opportunity for me to momentarily step alongside the Eternal, briefly escaping my own time-bound "wrinkle!"
Slivers of timelessness can capture us whenever we enjoy His presence... whether we are here, on an island Sabbath, or home in an ocean of daily demands!
Enjoying a Timeless Savior Any Time...dmc

Monday, June 20, 2016

Dad's Radar System

On my first Father's Day after Daddy had gone to Heaven my two sisters and I joined mom on a conference call to pause and ponder how blessed we had been. (I was vacationing in Hawaii, mom was in Oklahoma, and my two sisters were in Indiana and Oregon.) We were so grateful for a father who made it a priority to place us in environments that helped us to develop spiritual eyes and ears. Dad had a kind of High Powered Radar System that worked to guide and also guard his three daughters. Dad's radar system included a sensitivity to subtleties that could potentially harm us and also a keen sensitivity to spiritual influences that would be advantageous. Today's devo reminded me of how Dad tutored us to be extra-aware!
"I speak to you continually. My nature is to communicate..." through "glorious sunsets... loved ones... gentle breezes... I speak softly in the depths of your spirit, where I have taken up residence. I rejoice each time you discover My Presence. Practice looking and listening for Me. Gradually you will find Me..." (179)
I'm thankful for a Dad who helped us discover and develop an extra-awareness of God at an early age.  As an earthly father, he helped us tune into our Heavenly Father!  To those who have not been so Father-Blessed, remember that your Heaven Father delights in you. (Num. 14:8, Ps.18:17-19, Prov. 11:20, 15:8)  He calls you the "apple of His eye." (Ps. 17:8, Zech. 2:8)
So no matter what, we've all been...
Father Blessed...dmc

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Anywhere, Anytime, Anyone Appointments

"Dance and sing and celebrate My Presence. This is My high and holy calling for you... Glorifying and enjoying Me." (178)
Joe and I have found it especially fulfilling to be an extension of God's generous heart to others. The year we were celebrating our 35th anniversary, we'd gone to a nice restaurant in Kihei, Maui. Late into our meal the waiter stepped in alongside our table and asked, "What would you say is the secret to a long, happy marriage? My wife and I have been married 11 years, we have 3 kids and we're not doing well."
In just a few short minutes we gave him our best marriage tip... to choose the kind of Love that goes far deeper than the issues that challenge marriage.  To say often to each other, "I want our love for each other to go deeper than this issue/incident/disappointment/misunderstanding, etc."
It also opened the door for us to be an extension of God's generous heart. We tipped him well and told him to take his wife out, so he could share with her his decision to have a love for her that went far deeper than the irritations and issues they were currently facing.
There's no doubt...it was a powerful, God-ordained encounter. My friend, Kay, calls this a DA... a Divine Appointment! I love that concept! Any ordinary day can become extra-ordinary with just one DA. I love how God can bless us and others with just one Divine Appointment that can happen...
Anywhere Anytime with Anyone...dmc

Saturday, June 18, 2016

Well Graced, Well Paced

"You are My beloved child... walk with Me along paths designed uniquely for you... keeping in step with Me... stay close... I set the pace in keeping with your needs and My purposes." (177)
It's a strange mix for me. Most of the time I live with a sense of urgency, in a hurry, off to the next thing. However, some of the more soul-enriching, life-expanding things I would like to accomplish seem just beyond my reach, pushed somewhere into future days. Learning to be paced well requires a good measure of grace for me.
The Old Testament story of Jacob returning home with his large family and flocks has given me a good example of being well-paced.
Rather than driving them hard for even one day, Jacob choose to "continue on slowly, at a pace suited to the livestock and the children..." (Gen. 33:13-14)
Having young grandchildren and aging parents gave me opportunity to learn the benefits of pacing well, of being respectful of the weaker, more vulnerable ones. Even today, on our early morning walk, I told Joe how much I enjoyed our brisk morning walk and appreciated his thoughtfulness to pace with my shorter stride.
Jacob's tender, careful attention to his family and flocks reminded me of how the Good Shepherd of our Souls, gathers us, His lambs, and carries us close to His heart. (Is. 40:11)
So, when I'm anxious to move on...I must remember He sets "the pace in keeping with (my) needs and (His) purposes!" He graciously keeps me...
Paced Well...dmc

Friday, June 17, 2016

God's Delight - Our Laughter

"Learn to laugh at yourself... don't take yourself or your circumstances so seriously. Relax... Laughter lightens your load and lifts your heart into heavenly places... (it) rises to heaven and blends with angelic melodies of praise... I delight in hearing My children laugh." (176)
Perhaps one of the greatest gifts I was given as a child was the gift of laughter. I can remember so many hilarious moments. Even very simple things, or moments when I could have been embarrassed, became absolutely a "hoot!" That was one of the ways my parents helped us to learn to cope with the more awkward moments of life.
My dad, with all his physical challenges, still had a very healthy funny bone! According to research, the benefits of laughter impact one's physical, emotional and social life so much that it is often a prescribed therapy! Laughter really IS "good medicine!" (Prov. 17:22)
Praise God for the gift of laughter and for others who know how to tickle our funny bone, since God delights "in hearing (His) children laugh." I need to intentionally be...
Tickling My God-Given Funny Bone More Often...dmc

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Dust on the High Road

"Stay on the high road with Me... walk ever so closely with Me, soaking in My Presence, living in My Peace. This is My unique design for you, planned before the world began." (175) "For we are His creation-created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared ahead of time so that we should walk in them." Eph. 2:10
This particular verse has spoken to me many times. It baffles my mind to think that God had me in mind far before 'my time.' On the time-line of humanity, there's a little speck of 'dust' representing my life. With all my unique frailties, flaws and mixture of efforts, God was preparing... in the big and little things of my life... "good works" to be accomplished for His Glory!! That inspires me, motivates me and keeps me focused on HIM. It's all about using the 'dusty vessel' of my life in the most rewarding way possible...to magnify my great Creator!
My precious Daddy, who is now in Heaven, spent his whole life with some significant 'dusty' issues, living with the painful ramifications of a crippling birth defect. Yet, he seldom complained and was determined to make life a never-to-be-forgotten adventure. Quick-witted and incredibly creative, he inspired and humored all of us! Most of all, he LOVED his Creator who had "distinctly designed" a "different path" which became "the High Road" he was "called to walk." With all Daddy's challenges, he knew how "to act justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with (his) God." (Micah 6:11) So, today I am grateful and...
Trusting God with My own 'Dusty' Issues...dmc

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Beyond the 5 Senses

"Focus on things that are unseen...You must not let your senses dominate your thinking. The curse of this age is over-stimulation of the senses, that blocks out awareness of the unseen world... The goal is to become aware of unseen things even as you live out your life in the visible world." (174)
The more I learn about how God created our amazing brains, the more I appreciate biblical Truths. The way we process information, coming in from the five sensory receptor sites in the brain, is a phenomenal gift! However, it can dominate and dictate our thinking, unless, we have disciplined our minds to re-think and biblically evaluate a train of thought. When we take the time to respond wisely, rather than just reacting to a given situation, we can access higher level thinking skills. Which, incidentally, tend to produce the Fruit of the Spirit, glorify God and promote peace!
Usually during this time of the year Joe and I take time to gear down and refocus on the Unseen Creator Who created some awe-inspiring islands! "Let them give GLORY unto the LORD, and declare HIS PRAISE in the islands!" (Isa. 42:12)

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

An Ermine Anniversary

Today is our Wedding Anniversary! We married in 1975... doesn't that sound like a loooong time together!? Hollywood celebrates famous couples who can make it a full year together! Many go their separate ways within the first few years; very few experience a full decade together!
That's not us! We're not famous, far from Hollywood, but we feel abundantly blessed, loved "with an everlasting love... lifted out of the sea of despair... wrapped in an ermine robe....of righteousness." (173)
As Christians, even more so as Christian couples, we can learn alot from the ermine. Did you know an ermine is a small animal with an impressive coat of fur? In warmer weather it is a rich red-brown. In areas where the ermine experiences an inch or more of snow for at least forty days of the year, the color of it's fur will change to a luxurious white. However, the tip of it's tail always remains a conspicuous black. The winter-white fur is highly prized, and has been used historically in the robes of famous royalty. It has also become a symbol of purity. What captures my interest is that the ermine's regal white "robe of righteousness" is only revealed in winter!
As Christians, when we are in a spiritually cold, wintry season of the soul, we need to allow God to 'pursue us, embrace us, sing a Love Song to us and wrap us in His ermine robe of righteousness.' I like my friend, Renee's insight that God will often use US to be His royal robe wrapped around others who are in their own wintry season. After all He calls us "a chosen race, a royal priesthood." (I Peter 2:9) How amazing is that? What a great way to wrap up and secure a relationship for the many seasons of married life!!
Interestingly, an ermine is often confused with a weasel, until the winter season arrives and the royal difference is strikingly obvious. Praise God for couples who have discovered & live out the royal difference! (I'm sure glad I didn't marry a weasel! And I don't want to BE one either!)
Putting on my Regal Robe, Singing His Songs of Love...dmc
Caution: Watch out for "the Weasel!" (He pops in... around the mulberry bush? Wink!)
Also, Happy Birthday to my sweet mother, Dorothy Volesky, who daily dons her robe, inspiring us!

Monday, June 13, 2016

New & Refreshing

I just LOVE the devotional for today! "Let yourself become a reservoir of the Spirit's fruit." (172) To let God create "something new" in us. To be "a bubbling spring of Joy that spills over into others' lives." What a wonderful way to live life...open to the "new" thing God desires to do in us!
I have some "bubbling springs of Joy" in my life; they are so good for me. I've also discovered others who are more like wonderful deep "reservoirs of the Spirit's fruit." Both are the result of being open to "something new."
I need the bubbly ones and I need the deep ones... all God's glorious gifts to me... all so refreshing! As my friend, Kay says, "we actually need both...they offer balance in our lives!"
Praising God for Bubbling Springs & Deep Reservoirs...dmc

Sunday, June 12, 2016

The Defining Difference

"Let Me help you get through this day... Stay alert to the many choice-points... there is a better way. You can choose to walk with me along the path of Peace...watch how I transform trials into blessings." (171)
Have you noticed people who choose "the better way?" People who walk "the path of Peace?" People who are more aware of their blessings than their trials?
What is the defining difference? At each moment or point of choice, they are far less likely to complain, to "moan and groan," less likely to focus on negatives and difficulties. They have made a choice, and continue to choose, to "walk with Jesus," to "lean on Jesus," to think like Jesus, having "the mind of Christ." Phil.2:5
Checking my Choice-Points today...dmc

Saturday, June 11, 2016

Vulnerable or Available

"The battle for control of your mind is fierce, and years of worry have made you vulnerable to the enemy. Therefore, you need to be vigilant in guarding your thoughts... You are not alone in this struggle for your mind. My Spirit living within you is ever ready to help... Ask Him to control your mind." (170)
Our thought life highly dictates our entire lives. We are only as healthy as our thoughts! We can be vulnerable (to the enemy) or we can be available (to the Spirit.) "The mind-set of the Spirit is life and peace." Rom. 8:6.
The mind-set of the enemy is death, hostile toward God, unable to submit and unable to please God. (Rom.8:6-9)
Well, that makes it mighty clear, so I'm...
Checking My Mind-set...dmc

Friday, June 10, 2016

Get a Good Grip

"Rest in Me, My child. Give your mind a break from planning and trying to anticipate what will happen... As you gaze anxiously into the distance, you don't even feel the strong grip of My hand holding yours." (169)
Our minds' abilities are absolutely phenomenal, yet our minds also have some interesting limitations. We can only successfully hold to one thought at a time. We may bounce in and out of various thought processes in a short amount of time, but in each of those momentary bursts of brain activity, we are constructively processing individual trains of thought, one at a time! That helps to explain why, if we hyper-focus on solving future problems, we may forget to enjoy God's "strong grip" holding our hand, right now.
So, "when on my bed, I think of You, I meditate on You during the night watches because You are my help; I will rejoice in the shadow of Your wings. I follow close to You. Your right hand holds on to me." Ps. 63:6-8
He has the ability to look into our future and will make the necessary provisions. He directs the God-focused so that today's choices will take care of tomorrow's concerns. That's taking trust to a whole new level!
Mentally "Getting a Grip" on Him...dmc

Thursday, June 9, 2016

Pockets of Darkness, Lenses of Love

"Look at other people through lenses of Love; see them from My perspective...it pleases Me." (168)
Love is such a powerful antidote to all dark and vice-like responses. To respond with love when another has reacted in spite, or out of their "pocket of darkness," is one of the most liberating privileges of a Christian. To walk in love is often uphill, yet well worth it. Giving in to a reactionary vengeance takes little effort, however it is always a severe waste of your human dignity and especially costly to your eternal soul.
So choosing to love another, when their sin or faults would say otherwise...elicits great respect because it requires a grace-filled soul.  Grace in action deeply impacts my personal life, helping me overcome "pockets of darkness" in others and even within myself.  Using "lenses of Love" radically changes and enhances the perspective around me and within me.
"Seek to live in My Love, which covers a multitude of sins: not only others' sins but also yours." 1Peter 4:8
Checking my Pockets & my Lenses...dmc

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Bridges & Branches of the Mind

"I know everything about you, far more than you know of yourself." (167)
The complexities of the human mind, all the networks of thought patterns and behaviors, are far beyond our ability to explain or to understand. Hidden, somewhere in the neuro-bridges and branches of the brain, lies the sick and seductive tendencies of the soul. Patterns that taunt us, haunt us, until we feel helplessly overcome. Yet there's SOMEONE who knows and totally understands us!
Even more AMAZING... we often continue to resist honest confess to the One who honestly knows and loves us anyway! Perhaps, our great flaw is the tangled thought patterns of pride woven in the mind where we blindly hide, becoming trapped and imprisoned in our own "offensive, hurtful" ways! (Psalm 139:24)
May our own bridges and branches not sabotage our own good choices. Confession IS good for the soul...and for the mind! It brings sanity and sanctuary...to our hearts, our homes, our health and our heritage! Hallelujah...
Bringing every network of thought into the Light of His Presence...dmc

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Welcome Christ not a Curse

"My Presence with you is a promise, independent of your awareness of Me. Many things can block this awareness, but the major culprit is worry... worry is a form of unbelief; it is anathema to Me." (166)
An "anathema" was like welcoming a curse upon someone or an evil upon yourself. The opposite of that is Maranatha which welcomes Christ upon someone or something; even meaning to welcome Christ's Return.
This struck me so powerfully... I can either welcome a curse or welcome Christ into my thoughts. It will depend upon what I choose to do with the problems and challenges that come my way. If I worry, I basically welcome all the troubles that come with that worry, much like a curse...anathema.
If I keep my focus on Christ, I am basically welcoming Christ's Presence into the situation. "My Presence with you is a promise, independent of your awareness of Me." (166)
Even if my awareness is flawed or faulty, my faith can become more God-aware and welcome all the blessings that come with...
PS - "Amen! Come, Lord Jesus!" Rev. 22:20

Monday, June 6, 2016

The Beauty of His Face

"Seek My face...my world is filled with beautiful things; they are meant to be pointers to Me, reminders of My abiding Presence." (165)
Seeing God's face in the midst of life is such an awesome way to selectively view things, gaining a fresh perspective. For me, God's face is reflected in countless ways especially through beauty, nature, music or the special bond of caring relationships.  I have also seen God's face in unfolding infancy, childhood wonder, young love, resiliency, solitude, pain and aged wisdom. There are so many "pointers" that "declare (His) Glory to those who have eyes that see and ears that hear."
Fine Tuning my Sight & Sound to See & Hear Him...dmc

Sunday, June 5, 2016

Homesick for Eden

"I have planted longing for perfection in every human heart. This is a good desire, which I alone can fulfill." (164)
As long as I can remember I have battled a sense of deep disappointment over things I do that fall short of "perfect." My tendency to self-scrutinize can steal away joy and momentum. So, I need to take my eyes off myself and intentionally refocus on Jesus, and as I do, I sense His reassuring love!
Sometimes, I wonder if I am just homesick for my ancient roots, the Garden of Eden, where life was as perfect as life can get... at least here on earth!
Eden's Girl  (with a whole LOT of fig leaves!) ...dmc

Saturday, June 4, 2016

Restored in Challenging Times

"Welcome challenging times as opportunities to trust...(although) dotted with difficulties... (and) certain to riddle you with anxiety... Let your thoughts and spoken words be richly flavored with trust and thankfulness...as you stay close to Me."(163)
The usual response to a high level challenge is low level confidence. This sets the stage for anxiety and failure. Often other lives are at stake and our response to "challenging times" can have a devastating ripple-effect!
The good news is, when we head into the challenge, we can also experience peace, "regardless of the day's problems."
In the past few years there's been a cry for leaders who are innovative, perceptive and sagacious enough to build momentum in the midst of decline and recession. We need leaders, and we need to BE leaders, who can prayerfully lead the way through these "demanding days." 
Jesus tells us to "grip (His) hand tightly and stay in close communication... Regardless of the day's problems, (He) will keep us in perfect Peace!" That's quite a promise!
We've got a Good Leader with a Good Plan for Challenging Times!
Restoring My Confidence...dmc

Happy Anniversary to Charles & Amber (my son & his beautiful wife).
What a huge blessing you are to your family, to so many others, and especially to us! God bless you with many more years of love & laughter!

Friday, June 3, 2016

Spiritually Sleepy

"Fears and worries...will encircle you, seeking entrance, so you must stay alert. ..turning back fear before it can gain a foothold." (162)
Remember a time when you tried to "stay alert" and it seemed impossible to do so? I have certainly struggled with staying alert, even dreaming that I was AWAKE, when I had really briefly fallen ASLEEP ...driving down the road! Yikes!
As our boys were growing up they would sometimes vacillate from being spiritually passionate and then spiritually indifferent. At times, when they didn't seem as tuned-in and alert to spiritual things, they were also more inclined to give in to temptation. So, I would occasionally ask if they were getting "spiritually sleepy."
I know that when I become spiritually sleepy it's harder to "stay alert" and fight off the fears and worries this world throws my direction.
Keepin' My Eyes Wide Open...dmc

PS - I'm including some great insights from Kay, Melissa & Carolynn. Thanks, ladies, for your awesome comments & great wisdom!
From Kay...This devotion also reminded me of 2 Tim. 1:7: God has not given us a spirit of fear, but a spirit of POWER, of love and a sound mind. That is what I want! So, why do I get fearful of stupid things, like speaking to a group of people, doing something new, etc?! I do not want to be spiritually sleepy. I definitely needed this devo! I actually should have read it yesterday, before I spoke to a group of out of town visitors:)
From Melissa...I like that Kay! I've been there. 1 John 4:18 says, "There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love." I know I will always have some sort of fear or worry in my life (I'm human), but having God's love will quiet that fear/worry."My Peace displaces fears and worries".(162) The only thing that I really fear is living life without His love and that is why I must take time to be in his word. "Sit quietly in My Love-Light, while I bless you with radiant Peace. Turn your whole being to trusting and loving me." (162)
From Carolynn...So, why DO I sometimes get fearful of "stupid" things? I really liked the 2 Tim 1:17 scripture also...I too, want the spirit of POWER, of love and a sound mind. A very wise Christian lady once told me when I am in doubt, needing to make a choice, decision about something, etc., to ask myself the question, "will this choice, action, or do these feelings have eternal consequences?" For me, answering that "plumb line" question honestly has given me much peace and freedom, "displacing fears and worries" (162) 2 Thess 3:16 The Lord of peace himself gives me His peace at all times and in every situation.

Thursday, June 2, 2016

God's Emergency Room

"Relax in My healing, holy Presence. Be still, while I transform your heart and mind."(161) The scripture for today paints an interesting picture in the original language. "Be still and know that I am God..." Ps. 46:10
The phrase "be still" comes from the word "raphah" which means "to mend, heal by stitching, as a physician stitches a wound."
This reminds me of a memorable trip to the ER years ago when our two sons were in their early teens. The boys had been riding their dirt bikes in the woods near our home. Racing back home, the younger one went down, while navigating a turn, on loose gravel. In an effort to miss him, the older one also went down. You guessed it... I had to take both boys to the ER to remove gravel, set a broken bone and get a knee stitched up. In the midst of all the ER drama, the biggest challenge was getting both boys to "be still" or sit still, while their flesh was scrubbed, stitched and a broken arm set and placed in a cast.
When life leaves me broken, bruised and in need of some mending...it's still hard, no matter what age,  to just "be still" and let the Great Physician do His great work.  However, Matthew 12:20 encourages my often bruised or broken heart, "A bruised reed he will not break, and a smoldering wick he will not snuff out, till he has brought justice through to victory."  So, I'm learning & quietly waiting my transformation...
In the Eternal ER...dmc

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

In the Midst of Messy

"Because the world is in a fallen condition.... Expect to find trouble... At the same time, trust that My way is perfect, even in the midst of such messy imperfection." (160)
Learning to have a dual perspective greatly increases my ability to maintain a sense of balance when life gets crazy and complicated. While it is necessary to be aware of what's happening around me, it is essential that I am even MORE aware of what's happening within me... staying conscious of the Holy Spirit's inner promptings within me! How absolutely valuable it is, in the midst of the Mess, to be MORE focused on the Message! Therein lies the secret to discovering the "Peace & Joy that circumstances cannot touch."
Keeping My Mind on the Message not the Mess...dmc