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, July 31, 2016

Peace in the Fray

"I am with you at all times, encouraging and supportive... Slow down your pace of living for a time. Quiet your mind in My Presence...hear Me bestowing the resurrection blessing: "Peace be with you." (222)
Jesus gave the resurrection blessing to the disciples after they had been through a most fearful, high risk challenge to their faith...the trauma of His crucifixion, the mystery of His empty tomb and Mary's unbelievable report of having seen Him! In their humanness, "The disciples were gathered together with the doors locked because of their fear of the Jews. Then Jesus came, stood among them, and said to them, "Peace be with you." (John 20:19)
Overwhelmed with the "swirl of events" transpiring around them, the best they could do was to simply gather together and hide...behind locked doors.
I know that feeling, the desire to hide from the fray and my tendency to 'scold myself for my humanness.' I am grateful that Jesus still steps in, today, and says, "Peace be with you." That's exactly what I need... His Peace, not only right alongside me but deep withIN me, so that I can venture out from...
Behind closed doors with Jesus...dmc

Saturday, July 30, 2016

Beauty Embraces

"Worship Me in the beauty of holiness. I created beauty to declare the existence of My holy Being."(221)
Beauty certainly has a way of catching one's eye! Beauty captures our attention and holds us in a kind of silent embrace. I love the thought of using that moment to acknowledge the great Creator of beauty.
Even nature, itself, is a glorious expression of praise to God...certainly I can join with all creation in praising God for the many expressions of His Beauty around me today, until His Beauty is reflected in ME!!
Embracing Him, Reflecting His Beauty....dmc

Friday, July 29, 2016

Tender Tugs

"Come to Me continually. I am meant to be the Center of your consciousness, the Anchor of your soul. Your mind will wander from me... My Spirit within you gives a tug, prompting you to return to Me...return to your true Center in Me." (220)
I love the way the Spirit of God faithfully and tenderly tugs on our hearts. I will sense His tugs in quiet times, in distressing times, in fearful times, in sweet romantic times, in the midst of chaos or in the calm...there He is tugging and coaxing me to travel tighter with Him. To hear the whispers of His heart deep within my own heart.
Praising God for His Tender Tugs Today....dmc

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Soaking Out Secret Sins

"Let My love seep into the inner recesses of your being. Secret sins... can split off and develop lives of their own, controlling you without your realizing it. Open yourself fully to My transforming Presence... My Love soaks into your innermost being... expel(ling) very trace of fear." (219)
This reminded me of the Roman 7 & 8 passage where Paul so powerfully describes the conflict between his heart's commitment to Christ and his own propensity to sin. Although he desires to do what is right he says, "I do not do the good that I want to do, but I practice the evil that I do not want to do... in my inner self I joyfully agree with God's law, but I see a different law... waging war against the law of my mind and taking me prisoner to the law of sin... What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me...?" (Rom. 7:19 - 24)
I've watched people who've become so fractured that it's like observing several personalities in one person. One part loves God, yet another part refuses to obey God's Word, one part will be loving, another part will be hateful, one part is gracious while another part acts disgraceful... often the result of secret sins splitting the soul, setting up a milieu of mini-kingdoms where the enemy continues to mess with them.
My friend, Carolynn, said...
'As I read today’s devo, I immediately thought about (how) the “hidden secret sins” that “split off” can develop into bad habits, compulsions, addictions, etc. that do “develop lives of their own” controlling their victim. Many times friends and family do not even “know” their loved one any longer, they are “fractured” (Dawn Marie’s comments). They have become their addiction!
I (have also)witnessed firsthand the beautiful transformation God makes in the lives of those who are willing to surrender to God and allow Him to “purify them from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9). Amen, Carolynn, thanks!
God’s Transforming Power can free us from a life of bondage to our bad habits, compulsions, addictions, etc. and His Perfect Love expels every trace of fear (1 John 4:18).  Praise God for His "Transforming Presence" that can totally renew our minds! (Rom. 12:2)
Thoroughly Soaking in His Presence...dmc

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Hopeful High Road Perspective

"Hope is a golden cord connecting you to heaven... Hope lifts your perspective from your weary feet to the glorious view you can see from the high road." (218)
We were assigned to a room on the top floor of a hotel with a beautiful view over a sprawling lake with lots of little coves and inlets. We enjoyed watching all the boating, fishing, swimming activity on the lake. One evening a rain storm came up over the far end of the lake. We could see it slowly make its way across the lake. Boats were scurrying away from the storm at one of the lake, while boats at the other end were leisurely heading away from the shore... straight into the storm...until they recognized what was up ahead!
The "high road" perspective can certainly alter the way we view circumstances and people. From God's perspective everything makes sense. From our perspective many things do NOT make sense. My friend, Amelia, shared, "Many times in my life I have unknowingly headed straight into the storm but God saw what was ahead and delivered me. Other times I have received strength to endure the storm."
Aren't we so thankful for His Presence and the hope He provides. I am grateful He has the better, "high road" perspective that can protect and provide for each of us and those we love.
Trusting Him with the BIG Picture...dmc
PS - So grateful for my oldest grandson... Happy birthday, Trey!

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Reshuffle & Relax

"Relax and let Me lead you...I have everything under control. (In) My control...you are set free to enjoy Me and to find what I have prepared for you this day." (217)
My parents, Kaehl & Dorothy Volesky, were married on this day and shared nearly 58 years together before Daddy passed away. When Mother faced her first anniversary separated from Daddy we went out to eat, enjoyed some 'oldies' dinner music and did some reminising. Over and over again, the choices they had made in the midst of challenge reflected the learned art of letting God pace and grace their lives! A heritage I highly treasure!
Our culture is obsessed with planning and pre-planning, making sure every detail is under control. Recently a sweet little bride told me how she was excited, yet exhausted, with all the planning that goes into a wedding. With her exhaustion about to overtake her excitement, she was definitely looking for some relief.
I could identify with her. I have days that leave me far too exhausted to really enjoy or even notice all the hidden blessings God has woven into my day. I am asking God to help me stay in balance... to selectively attend to daily demands, to be keenly God-aware and to learn to relax a whole lot more!
Just like my Mother, adjusting to the "reshuffling" of her life without Daddy around, every age and stage of life seems to offer the option to reshuffle and relax or to wrestle and collapse! May we discover a rewarding reshuffle as we "look to (Jesus, who will) show (us) what to do now and next."
Grateful for my mother's living demonstration of that!

Monday, July 25, 2016

Divine Makeovers

"As you listen...I speak to you continually; through sights, sounds, thoughts, impressions, Scripture. There is no limit to the variety of ways I can communicate with you. Your part is to be attentive..." (216)
Listening to Jesus, all day long, during the whirl of activities or during the stillness of the night... it's a type of divine makeover! Being continually "conformed" into His image for "His purposes!" (Romans 8:28-29)
The other day a friend was contemplating how to discern whether she was hearing from God, from her past, from her own heart, from her secular friendships at work or maybe even from the enemy. We talked about the many voices that try to speak into our lives yet very few will have the kind of wisdom and credibility from which we would want to live our lives. It is most imperative that we know the difference! So, this is what I ask myself...
Will this produce more of the Fruit of the Spirit? (Galatians 5:22-23)
Am I fulfilling God's Will...by having a thankful heart? (I Thess. 5:18)
Then, I watch and wait as He does the divine makeover and "weaves it into a pattern for good."
In the midst of a Well-woven Makeover...dmc

Sunday, July 24, 2016

God's Will? Give Thanks!

"Thankfulness opens the door to My Presence... I have empowered you to open or close that door...but a grateful attitude is one of the most effective... built on a substructure of trust." (215)
The attitude of gratitude makes such a HUGE difference!  After visiting our oldest son and family in Dallas, Joe and I were traveling back, it was late, we were tired and when we stopped to gas up we got stuck at a stop light that would NOT give us the green light. After waiting & waiting, we were finally able to make our turn. We both commented on how we were going to praise God and keep a good attitude...after all, who knows what God may have been protecting us from!
Well, when we were back on the road we soon came up on a terrible 3 car accident. One vehicle was on fire, two others in the ditch and people were everywhere as emergency personel were arriving. As we slowly drove past, we spontaneously starting praying for all those involved. After a few minutes we realized how we needed to also thank God for probably protecting us... by delaying us!?
I Thes. 5:18 makes God's Will absolutely clear... "Give thanks in everything!" Our delays and detours in life may be His Sovereignty strategically at work!
Thanking God for His ability to look ahead and trusting Him all the more, with more and more!
Practicing Thankfulness...dmc

Saturday, July 23, 2016

Shine & Share

"I am the Light of the World. Men crawl through their lives cursing the darkness, but all the while I am shining brightly... be a Light-bearer. The Holy Spirit...can shine from your face, making Me visible...Brighten up the world by reflecting who I AM."(214)
I praise God for all those who reflect & shine God's Light into my life; faces that reflect His Presence. Their eyes, smile, expressions, tone of voice are expressions of His Love. What a contrast to others whose downcast faces refect the residual effects of crawling and cursing their way through life spiritually, emotionally, relationally!
Exodus 34:29-35 tells the story of how God's Presence so impacted Moses "that the skin of his face shone as a result of his speaking with the Lord." (Ex.34:29) As a busy pastor's wife and young mom, years ago, I was so inspired by that story that I challenged myself to maintain a devotional time with God, no matter what!
I want my face and communication to reflect God's....
Love Light to Others...dmc

Friday, July 22, 2016

Expectation Exhaustion

"Find freedom through seeking to please Me above all else. You can have only one Master. When you let others' expectations drive you, you scatter your energy to the winds." (213)
Learning how to escape others' driving expectations can be a life-long challenge. The other day I was sitting with an elderly lady who was so distressed over things that were perceived expectations from years ago. My heart ached for her as she continued to wrestle with issues that originated with people in her life from years ago that were now deceased, but those expectations lived on, still haunting and harassing her.
I find I can become quickly overwhelmed when I start to weigh in on others' expectations but I am quickly overjoyed when I seek to please Jesus! Jesus seems to run a rather relaxed schedule and keeps the stress level minimal. I am often my own worst enemy by stressing over issues and things that are not eternally significant. I must remind myself to de-stress and become...
More Master-Minded...dmc

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Return, Rest & Renew

"In returning to Me and resting in Me you shall be saved; in quietness and trust shall be your strength." (212)
I just love how God's ancient Word can still speak wisdom to our present concerns. Several years ago I was doubting whether we should continue our annual "sabbath" study/vacation time in Hawaii each summer. I had been asking God to make His way clear. During my prayer time one morning God brought me to Isaiah 30:15 "You will be delivered by returning and resting; your strength will lie in quiet confidence...Your eyes will see your Teacher.(v 20) And whenever you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear this command behind you: "This is the way. Walk in it."(v 21, HCSB)
We've discovered in every "sabbath," as we pray and rest, we sense His presence, His direction and gentle prompting. We sense, "This is the way...Walk in it" for our ministry & personal lives for the coming year.
To rest and to be refreshed in His Presence is a powerful, peaceful place to be. I've discovered that a similar renewal happens every week when I worship with others, every day when I do devotions and every time I momentarily pause to focus on Him. I certainly need to be continually...

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Homesick for Heaven

"I designed you to desire Me... the tugs of divinity (are) within you. I made you in My Image, and I hid heaven in your heart. Your yearning for Me is a form of homesickness: longing for your true home in heaven." (211)
Years ago, during a bible study on heaven, a lawyer's wife said that her life was so good, things were going so well, she was so happy that, honestly, she wasn't really looking forward to heaven that much. She assured us that she also did not want the alternative option either, hell! She was totally happy for her life to stay just like it was. Her comments certainly turned our discussion a whole different direction!
We discussed... what were the things that caused us to look forward to heaven? As we answered that question...we recognized that if we get too comfortable, we can often get too distracted with earthly, material blessings and miss the significance of the eternal things!
While I am grateful for the blessings I experience in my daily life... I never want to loose my deep hunger for heaven.
Feeling the "tugs of divinity" deep in my heart...dmc

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Flaming Arrows & Deadly Dis-eases

"Bring Me all your feelings. Fear and anxiety...can be temptations to sin. These attacks from the evil one come at you relentlessly. Use your shield of faith to extinguish those flaming arrows." (210)
Extinguishing flaming arrows, especially when they are launched unrelentingly can seem absolutely overwhelming! I have discovered that the enemy tends to throw the same old arrows... fear, doubt, anxiety, loneliness... whatever negative feelings he's used in the past, he will try to use again.
I have also discovered what strengthens my shield of faith... love, praise, prayer, repentance, forgiveness.. basically living in the Fruit of the Spirit and obeying God's Word. It's like taking spiritual vitamins for the soul. Having a strong faith reminds me of having a strong immune system that protects us from diseases. Satan hurls all kinds of nasty "germs" our way but faith shields us from his attack of deadly dis-eases.
Keeping my Faith Strong & Healthy...dmc

Monday, July 18, 2016

The Invisible Reality

"The more aware you are of My Presence, the safer you feel...it is tuning into ultimate reality. I am far more Real than the world you can see, hear, and touch. Faith is the confirmation of things we do not see...perceiving as real fact what is not revealed to the senses." (209)
I was reading an interesting fact from a well know author, Mark Batterson of Washington DC. He was reflecting on how fearfully and wonderfully we were made... for example the human body has approximately 100,000,000 (one hundred million) sensory receptors that enable us to see, hear, taste, touch, and smell. Neurologists estimate that an average three-year old has 1,000,000,000,000,000 (one quadrillion) synaptic connections! (Now, that explains 3 year olds!)
This means that our ability to imagine things in our mind is far greater than our ability to interpret physical reality. Mathematically speaking, imagination is ten million times more powerful than our five senses! This means that if we choose to limit our reality to what we can perceive we will limit our world to only our five senses. Since we know that faith is all about confirming "things we do not see...(and) perceiving as real fact what is not revealed to the senses," we are challenged to live beyond our five senses.
Faith is "tuning in to ultimate reality...confirming things we do not see" and being certain of an invisible Savior. Faith requires that we imagine what our five senses can’t perceive or confirm. According to neuro-research, this "extra-sensory perception" is ten million times more powerful than our senses! (paulwilkinson.wordpress.com/2009/03/25/faith-is-living-beyond-our-five-senses)
Ephesians 3:20 says it well, "Now to Him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we can ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work within us, to Him be glory in the church and throughout all generations for ever and ever, Amen."
The article ends with, "And to top it off, no mind has conceived of what God has prepared for us!" Our glorious future is God's reality!
Tuning in to our Godly ESP...dmc

PS - This is Joe's dad, CB Colaw's, heavenly anniversary.  July 18, 2012 at 7:35 pm, at that very moment, Dad's reality became "immeasurably more!"  Wow... imagine that!

Sunday, July 17, 2016

Prioritizing the "Better Thing"

"Come away with Me for a while...follow me on a solitary path, making time alone with me your highest priority and deepest Joy." (208)
Time alone with God can be such a challenge to achieve. I discovered it can easily be pushed aside...but at a great cost. I learned through the various seasons of my life, that the issue was not so much 'How Much' time, but that there 'Is' time! I made it a priority to carve out some time to intentionally focus on Him.
When our sons were little and my "solitary" time was extremely limited, or non-existent, just pausing to refocus on Him, on His Word, on the ways He had blessed us, was especially beneficial and it helped my weary, starving soul to be revived.
I still have to intentionally guard my time alone with Him. So many worthwhile activities, time sensitive tasks and daily distractions can steal away that sacred, precious time with Him.
Like Mary, in Luke 10:42, it's a matter of choice... choosing "the better thing" and spending time at His feet, even if it is briefly with kids in tow, while the washing machine is whirling, the phone is ringing, the breakfast dishes are still in the sink...I am much better off...
Choosing the "Better Thing"...dmc

Saturday, July 16, 2016

Policing Self-Pity

"Self-pity is a slimy, bottomless pit. Once you fall in, you tend to go deeper and deeper into the mire...well on your way to depression, and the darkness is profound. Your only hope...look up...see the Light of My Presence shining down on you...rays of hope can reach you at any depth." (207)
Self-pity is basically feeling sorry for myself, making myself my primary focus, the object of my full attention. It is one of the most seductive and pathetic forms of existence. Why? Because one can become so absorbed in yourself that you will hyper-focus on all the reasons you believe you're entitled to be catered to and accommodated. It is pathetic in that it is pathological to well-being and constructive living. Once that kind of mindset tracks its way into someone's brain it can override constructive reason and even alter character development and healthy expressions of personality... ultimately altering one's whole life! It's very hard to praise and worship God when all you can see is yourself! It's very hard to encourage and appreciate others when all you see is yourself! What a shallow, pathetic way to live!
I have absolutely NO tolerance for entertaining that kind of toxic thinking in my own life. I find it poisonous and paralyzing. I've counseled people who have grown up in settings where self-pity was allowed or even modeled. It can be very hard to retrain your brain to take a different mental route that helps one to override self-pity. Self-pity is like a spiral stairway leading down to a very dark mental prison.
I personally find it very helpful to keep a good sense of humor (not to take myself so seriously) and to fill my mind with things to be thankful for and my life with praise music. I stay tightly connected to God's Word. Then, I practice repentance...repenting each time I catch my thoughts wandering down pity-paths...asking God to infuse my pathetic ponderings with His more noble, honorable thoughts.
Here's my practical 'next steps' out of self-pity....
1. Be quick to honestly recognize it.... Repent! Stop the pity immediately!
2. Get up, move my body. Exercise, go for a walk, clean out a drawer, etc.
3. Do something for someone else. Be generous and meet someone else's need.
4. Be grateful. Remind myself of all the blessings in my life. Express my appreciation for someone via a note, text, email or phone call.
I find it impossible to be used of God when I am wallowing in self-pity! What a waste!
Policing Self-Pity & Promoting Praise...dmc

Friday, July 15, 2016

Thrust of Trust

"Do not worry about tomorrow! This is not a suggestion, but a command... When you worry about the future, you heap day upon day of troubles onto your flimsy frame... Throw off this oppressive burden with one quick thrust of trust. Anxious thoughts meander about and crisscross in your brain... (instead) affirm your faith... enjoy My presence... trusting Me at all times." (206)
Worry is a strong habitual thought pattern that many people develop, but do not enjoy or benefit from. Worry robs us of so many things...like peace, health, confidence, relationships, and joy!
Learning to "throw off" worry with "one quick thrust of trust" equips us to move forward with God-confidence. I believe God honors our efforts to "throw off" and to develop some trust-thrusting ability. Like building spiritual muscle that will glorify God!
I really liked what Amelia shared:
"I am a chronic list maker. My list for the day is always longer than I can accomplish. But if I don’t have a list I don’t get nearly as much done—or I forget something important. I have been accused of “worrying”. So, what is the difference between worrying and planning? As I thought about it, I was prompted to check the dictionary. A plan is a “detailed method for the accomplishment of a goal”. Worrying is “to feel uneasy or troubled”. As long as I am trusting God I don’t feel uneasy or troubled. Now I feel a lot better about my lists!"
Thanks, Amelia, that speaks to all us "chronic list makers!"
Strength-training My Trust-Thrust Muscle...dmc

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Next Step - Going UP

"Keep walking with me... Together we will forge a pathway up the high mountain... take the next step, clinging to My hand for strength and direction... there are sparkling surprises just around the bend." (205)
What is the "next step" UP the "high mountain?" In my own life I find that the next step DOWN the mountain is usually much easier than the next step UP the mountain.
Reflecting on the children's poem about Jack & Jill going UP the hill; I want to warn all "Jacks" that they can lead the way... up the hill OR down the hill. One can certainly fall (like Jack did) but we need to carefully protect our "crown" or head. If our thought processes become broken, if our decision-making is broken, "Jill" and the whole rest of the family will start "tumbling after."
I am grateful... for a Savior who knows which way is UP.... for a life partner who holds my hand! Both offer strength and encouragement as we forge our way "UP the high mountain!"
Stepping UP...dmc

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Fixed, Focused & Fine

"Instead of trying to "fix" yourself, fix your gaze on Me, the Lover of your soul. Rather than using your energy to judge yourself, redirect it to praising Me. Remember that I see you clothed in My Righteousness, radiant in My perfect Love." (204)
There are so many things I would love to "fix" about myself... flaws, oddities... or things that just annoy me about myself! But keeping my focus on me is such a waste of energy. I find that I am a much healthier, happier, hopeful and helpful person when I "fix my eyes on Jesus the source and perfecter of my faith." (Heb. 12:2) He causes the essence of my soul to be much more sweet and satisfying... after all, He is "fixing" and perfecting my faith... and "faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen!" (Heb. 11:1)
Getting all Fixed Up...dmc

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Whispering His Name

"...Whisper My Name in loving trust. This simple prayer can restore your awareness of My Presence." (203)
I have had many incidents where whispering Jesus' name made a huge difference in the situation... and in ME! The name, "Jesus" means God Saves!!! I am so grateful that I can bring God's power and presence into any situation, thought or encounter...just by whispering Jesus' Name, especially since worry also tends to whisper.
Research indicates that most people respond best, after coming out of surgery, or some other distressing time, if they hear their own name. To hear one's own name speaks powerfully and impacts deeply, even if it is softly whispered.
It blesses me to know that Jesus knows my name and, even more, that when I speak or whisper His name...He hears! I want to be sure that I am daily...
Responding to Jesus' Name...dmc

Monday, July 11, 2016

Jealous Eyes on Us

We have a "jealous God."(202) Who wants us to protect and highly treasure our relationship with HIM because He protects and highly treasures His relationship with US!
Years ago I wrestled with why that was so... why such a big, powerful God had to stoop to such a petty human emotion....jealousy!
However, I learned what Godly jealousy really means. God is jealous over His people because He loves us and does not want to share us with influences that would compromise our ultimate welfare. God does not leave His children vulnerable to evil. He loves us and wants to help us keep our focus on Him, magnifying and exalting His name TOGETHER (Ps. 34:3), When we do this we will be protected from distractions, or deceptive false gods, that tempt us to make poor choices. Without a steady focal point on a Holy God, we are easily seduced into compromise, led into confusion and ensnared with hurtful habits. God's jealous eye on me causes me to have...
Grateful Eyes on Him...dmc

Sunday, July 10, 2016

Planted & Pruned

"Relax in My peaceful presence...I am able to bring out the best in you: the very gifts that I have planted in your soul. Relax, and enjoy our friendship." (201)
One Sunday, while we were in Hawaii, the message in the beautiful new Kihei Chapel, was taken from the John 15 passage, also referenced in our devotional today. The key point of the message was that those who are branches in The Vine (Jesus), will experience pruning times, no matter what! Spiritually dead or withering branches are cut off, but the fruitful branches are continually being pruned...why? To produce even MORE fruit!
This is how Jesus "brings out the best in us." "The very gifts (He) planted in our souls" are the means by which we are able to produce fruit every day!
The beautiful blooming bushes, where we stay in Hawaii, are continually being pruned, once or twice weekly. However, one year, a number of fruit-bearing trees and especially the plumeria trees around our condo-complex were being radically pruned. We were shocked as we watched the lush, flower-laden branches drop to the ground, leaving a stark tree trunk with stumpy naked branches sticking out. Next year, when we returned, we saw how pruning really prompted unbelievable beauty ...flowers, fruit and lush foliage... the fulfillment of faithfulness displayed in nature!
During that same year we experienced some radical pruning in our personal lives. Both Joe and I had a parent go to heaven; his mother, my father. Gratefully, both were ready and looking forward to heaven, but their absence was certainly a huge loss for us.  It was a kind of relational pruning. Taking a lesson from nature, I prayed that even this kind of severe pruning would be an example of Psalm 34:8, where the fruit of my life could encourage others to....
Taste and see that the Lord is Good!...dmc

Saturday, July 9, 2016

Renewing Benefits Brains

"Ask My Spirit to quiet your mind so that you can think My thoughts...be transformed by the renewing of your mind...letting My thoughts reprogram your thinking." (200)
It is totally possible to have a renewed mind. I share a quote, from one of Dr. David Amen's past email updates on brain research, as a compelling example.
"Jim Fallon is a neuroscientist at the University of California Irvine who has spent nearly two decades studying the brains of psychopaths and murderers. Thanks to brain imaging, he has detected certain patterns of brain activity—or inactivity—that are common in violent types...Jim is a kind man with a sharp mind. You can imagine the surprise I got when I read an article on NPR.org entitled “A Neuroscientist Uncovers a Dark Secret,” which says that Jim himself has the brain of a killer. According to the article, Jim comes from a long line of violent people, including the notorious Lizzy Borden, who was accused of taking an ax to her parents in 1882. When Jim scanned his own brain, he found the same patterns he sees in murderous psychopaths. Genetic testing showed that he also carries the same genes found in people who commit violent acts. But Jim isn’t violent. Why not?
Because your genes are NOT your destiny. By living a brain healthy life and having loving relationships and a positive attitude, you can deactivate those negative brain pathways and those risky genes and turn on other ones that are more beneficial to you." (amenclinics.com@mcsv63.net. Newsletter sent 7/6/2010 2:27 PM)
More and more I believe our thought life strongly determines the strength and health of our relational and spiritual journey!
The following scripture passage puts it clearly. "I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now, choose life so that you and your children may live. Love the Lord your God, obey Him, and remain faithful to Him. For He is your life..." (Deut. 30:19-20)
Choosing Life and Life Giving Thoughts...dmc

Friday, July 8, 2016

Birthing Something Blessed

"When you seek My Face...Be prepared to be blessed bountifully... Open wide your heart and mind to receive more and more of Me. When your Joy in Me meets My Joy in you, there are fireworks of heavenly ecstasy. This is eternal life here and now..." (199)
Years ago just before Christmas, during my quiet time, I was reading in Luke 1 about how the angel, Gabriel, came to Mary telling her she was blessed and highly favored by God and would soon "conceive and give birth." When Mary asks how that could be because she had not been "intimate with a man," (vs. 32) he says something most perplexing. "The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you." (Luke 1:35)
When Joseph is also pondering how all this could be, the angel tells him, "what has been conceived in her is by the Holy Spirit." (Matt. 1:20)
I believe that the Holy Spirit can come upon us with life-giving, God-inspired concepts that can change lives, saving "people from their sins." (Matt. 1:21)
There is nothing as fulfilling as seeking His Face, being willing to receive and give birth to something "here and how" that blesses another with eternal life. God's best gifts are often birthed into this world through those who have spent intimate time with Him, spiritually receiving, conceiving and giving birth to God-inspired thoughts.
Celebrating "New Life"...dmc

Thursday, July 7, 2016

Beyond Chariots & Horses

"Some thoughts are unconscious or semiconscious, and I do not hold you responsible for those... Reject negative or sinful thoughts as soon as you become aware of them. Don't try to hide them from Me; confess them and leave them with Me... (this) will keep your mind in My Presence..." (198)
Psycho-therapy offers many theories, strategies or techniques to deal with troubling patterns of thought. All can be quite helpful, however, as Christians, we have an amazing advantage... confession!
"If we confess... He is faithful and just to forgive... and to cleanse us."(I John 1:9) That includes our thoughts, all our thoughts! We confess to be forgiven and cleansed... that's SO therapeutically and spiritually sound!
Other counseling techniques can be like "chariots & horses," accomplishing a lot, however, we are wise to "trust in the name of the Lord our God." (Ps. 20:7)
As a counselor I may travel in a therapeutic "chariot" or ride on a healing "horse" once in awhile, however, I most often rely on a very practical and spiritually sound strategy... confession!
It's SO good for the soul... I know that from personal & professional experience!
Soul Confessing Often...dmc

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Holy Ground Hawaiian Style

"Make space for time alone with Me... seeking My Face. Be still and attentive in My Presence. You are on holy ground." (197)
An interesting custom in the Islands is the practice of removing your shoes when entering into a home. Most homes will have a little sign saying something like this, "Hawaiian Style: Please remove your shoes. Mahalo!" (Check out: www.bananapatchstudio.com) Most traditional Island churches also practice this custom. Incidentally, I think Moses would have made a good Hawaiian! (Ex. 3:5)
It has been a good reminder to me that I need to strip off the things that would hinder entering into His Presence. The good news is that as I leave my time alone with Him, I leave lighter, less burdened, stripped of sin and stress. What a great way to go into my day! What a great 'custom' to get use to, after all, isn't it forever going to be...
Heaven's Style: All Sin/Stress/Burdens....Removed!
A Big Mahalo (Thank You)...dmc

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

A Glorious New Adventure

"Draw near to Me with a thankful heart... Gratitude enables you to perceive Me more clearly and to rejoice in our love-relationship...I am totally trustworthy. I long to make your life a glorious adventure... I am always doing something new within My loved ones. Be on the lookout for all that I have prepared for you." (196)
My precious mother, after being with daddy nearly 60 years, stepped into stages of grief after his passing. We all know that dealing with death can be an ultimate challenge, because it means we "must stop clinging to old ways." She made a conscious decision to do her grief-journey alongside others' on similar paths. In her "new adventure" she decisively touched others for God's glory. As she stepped into grief, she also stepped out in faith, getting to "know (Him) in greater depth and breadth," she became an inspiration and encouragement to many others.
No matter what our age, there are new adventures all along this earthly journey. Even when our hearts are breaking, it's good to know... God's "love-relationship" with us means "nothing can separate (us) from (His) loving Presence!"
Thanks, mom, for being a living demonstration of a love-relationship with our earthly father AND with our heavenly Father!
With Deepest Gratitude...dmc

Monday, July 4, 2016

His Works & Fireworks

Happy 4th of July! In the US this day is all about celebrating our national freedom! Throughout the country flags wave, bands march, patriotic songs are sung and fireworks fill the night skies. It's a grand celebration!
As citizens of Heaven, worship is our celebration and we become demonstrations of His Works, singing the songs of spiritual freedom. "When you worship Me in spirit and in truth, you join the choirs of angels who are continually before My throne... your praise and thanksgiving are distinctly audible in heaven... gratitude clears the way to My heart." (195)
"True worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth. Yes, the Father wants such people to worship Him. God is spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth." (John 4:23-24)
On July 4th I like to read from John 4. It reminds me of my own spiritual freedom. The whole chapter is a display of divine fireworks, His Works, in the lives of those who needed freedom from sin and even freedom from death! (John 4:47-53)
We have great reason to celebrate and something eternal to sing about... with the Angelic Choirs! Think of it! So, watching Fireworks reminds me to let my praise burst forth with grand heavenly celebration!
His Works really Work (on any day, not just the 4th!) ...dmc

Sunday, July 3, 2016

The Interceding Mind-Set

"My children make a pastime of judging one another - and themselves...I am highly offended when I hear My children (judging) one another or (indulging) in self-hatred... There is no condemnation for those who belong to Me." (194)
This is one of the greatest Truths for me! As a 'recovering perfectionist' I have wrestled with self-condemnation for years.... and to prayerfully challenge that tendency has helped me to move deeper into "the mind-set of the Spirit (which is) life and peace." (Rom. 8:6)
Developing a transformed, renewed mind helps to better "discern what is the good, pleasing, and perfect will of God." (Rom. 12:2)
Activating the "mind-set of the Spirit" can seem more of a challenge, at certain times. But I can rejoice in this fact... that "the Spirit Himself intercedes for us...and He who searches the hearts knows the Spirit's mind-set, because He intercedes for the saints according to the will of God... (working) all things together for good... (conforming us) to the image of His Son."(Rom. 8:26-29)
When tempted to judge myself (or anyone else) I will consciously, intentionally, mindfully partner with the Holy Spirit. Choosing instead to be...
Covered with His Intercession...dmc
PS - Aren't we SO grateful for "Heaven's mercy seat?" Thanks, Melissa, for sharing a video of the Revelation Song.

Saturday, July 2, 2016

God's Voila' Ability

"Living well is both a discipline and an art... staying close to Me, the divine Artist... I work My way in your life." (193)
Maui has become an island of many artists. The lush scenery, colorful birds, flowers and ever-changing ocean just inspire creative minds to be even more creative. When there, we will often watch the various artists paint, carve, sculpt or mold their craft into highly sought after treasures.
Our lives are to be examples of God's Craft-ability at work. Daily He fashions us into extensions of His own Image.
I marvel at His handiwork in nature and in the hearts and lives of those He's placed in my world. It is "both a discipline and an art," the way He crafts His Image into our hearts. All my insecurity, inadequacy, insufficiency, and vast inability can be miraculously God-crafted... and voila'... His image appears in living color! It's God's Voila' Ability at work in each of our lives! I suppose that makes us....
God's Voila' Treasures...dmc

Friday, July 1, 2016

Soaking & Unscrambling

"Spend time soaking in My Presence...gazing at Me... This time alone with Me is essential for unscrambling your thoughts and smoothing out the day before you. Be willing to fight for this precious time with Me...the evil one's determination (is) to distract you from Me. Delight yourself in Me, for I am the deepest Desire of your heart." (192)
I've discovered that the best way for me to stay well-anchored in the midst of life's numerous demands is to intentionally guard my devotional time with Jesus, no matter what!
There were seasons of life when the "soaking" time was quite varied and even haphazard, especially during those demanding baby-days, toddler & teenage stages of parenting. Even though I was often distracted, I came to realize, all the more, my inner strength would have to be found in snippets of silence and scripture. So, carving that into my day became a priority.
Even now, in this season of life, I am still having to protect my daily time alone with God. I've discovered I also need extended "soaking" times. Time to pull away for several days or even weeks. It helps me unscramble my thoughts and re-anchor my priorities. It's good for me, my marriage and ministry!
May you discover your own spiritual soaking times, even if it's a snippet, on the run.
I am so grateful to be...
Soaking with Jesus...dmc