Wednesday, July 31, 2013

2 John v.6 “And this is love, that we walk according to his commandments; this is the commandment just as you have heard it from the beginning – you must walk in it.”

Yesterday I did my fair share of walking.  The kids were in the greenbelt near our house and between my neighbor and me we took turns checking on them.  I am happy the kids have friends in the community to play with and yesterday everyone got along – not always the case.  This letter from John is written to a community of faith.  Short and concise, he writes to encourage them in their walk.  He reminds them and as we read it today, He reminds us to walk in the love of the Lord.  We can sit idly to worship and pray and quiet time with the Lord is essential but we also must go out and walk.  We cannot share the love of the Lord if we stay secluded.  We are encouraged to share His love with others.  John’s letter also calls us into community.  Our faith grows when we are in community with other disciples.  God uses my Christian friends to teach me and encourage me.  He uses them to keep my feet on the path and to hold me accountable to His ways.  Our community is also essential to our walk.  When you walk out of your house today, tuck these words into your pocket, purse or heart so they will stay with you and encourage you too.

Thank you for your encouraging words.  Guide my steps as I walk out into community with others.  Keep my words and actions in check, shared only in truth and love.  Amen.

Monday, July 29, 2013

Ephesians 2:21 -22 “In him the whole structure is joined together and grows into a holy temple in the Lord; in who you also are built together spiritually into a dwelling place for God.”

This morning I saw a block or brick in my mind and I asked the Lord what He was building.  This passage was his response.  I would include verses 19 and 20 and I would encourage you to look them up to add depth to this devotion for yourself.  God is building his holy temple.  Jesus is the cornerstone, the apostles and prophets laid the foundation and we are all a part of the temple building.  We are brick or mortar; we are clay to be molded into brick or whatever piece of His holy temple he designs us to be. The Lord joins us together building us into a holy structure with all other believers and he is building us individually to becoming a place where He can live.  I am humbled by His word this morning.  I read his word every day and I try to listen to his Spirit and like a simple minded soul I asked a simple minded question.  God in his infinite grace simply answered.  Let him tear down the rickety walls we have built up in our souls so that he can come in and build beautiful and sturdy walls.  We need to allow him to mold us into his holy dwelling place.

Thank you for being with us wherever we are.  I offer myself to you knowing change and growth are on the way.  I want to be your dwelling place, help me grow and change as you mold me into the building you create.  Amen.

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Psalm 115:18 “But we will bless the Lord from this time on and forevermore.  Praise the Lord!”

Life courses through our veins.  Life flows in the rivers and ponds.  Life bursts out in songs of birds.  All these things are blessings of the Lord.  He gave each of us life and created all life on this small planet.  He is the one true living God and because of him we have life.  When we live for him and praise him we are renewed, we are lifted up with his life giving energy.  When we turn to other gods like money or time, material possessions or human desires we turn away from life.  These gods are not living or life giving.  They draw us away from life causing us to lose focus on the world around us and focus only on us.  We begin to think that god is all that matters and it will bring us happiness and fulfillment.  It can be hard to step away from those gods but if we do, we begin to see how they really cause death.  Release your hold on whatever god is drawing you away from life and join hands with me as we walk back toward the life giving, one true God.  We will bless the Lord for he is steadfast in love and forgiveness.  We will praise his name for the life he creates in us.

Thank you for the cleansing rain last night.  Thank you for washing away the dirt and deception in our souls.  Open our hands and help us release gods of deception and help us grasp on to your love and life.  We live because of you and so we praise you for life, we praise you forever.  Amen.

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Matthew 6:24 “No one can serve two masters, for a slave will either hate the one and love the other, or be devoted to the one and despise the other.  You cannot serve God and wealth.”

Sometimes I remember my dreams so vividly they seem real.  Last night I dreamt I was getting married.  Instead of preparing for the wedding, I was sitting with a friend watching a TV show.  Then at the last minute I was rushing around worrying about getting to the ceremony on time.  Even in my dream I knew it was more like a renewing of vows but still, apparently it didn’t hold the weight it needed to.  Where were my priorities?  There is a family I love dearly that has pulled away from the church.  They used to come when their kids were little but things changed and they left.  Since then they have stopped coming all together and now their kids are so involved in sports it is near impossible to come to a church service.  What is important to us?  Church is not the real issue here.  Service and dedication is the question.  Who do we serve or dedicate our time to?  As I look back at my days, do I see clear devotion or a mixed up version of sorts?  According to Jesus, I must choose.  I choose to serve the Lord.

Forgive my inconsistency.  I lie to myself thinking I serve only you but you have shown me where I fall short.  Help me keep my focus and despite all the other “masters” calling me open my ears only to you.  I ask this in Jesus name.  Amen.

Friday, July 26, 2013

John 1:22  ”Then they said to him, ‘Who are you? Let us have an answer for those who sent us. What do you say about yourself?’”

John did not hesitate with his answer when they asked.  His answer was “I am the voice of one crying out in the wilderness...”  I thought about these questions for myself. There are many things I could say about myself; about who I am.  I am a mom and a wife.  I am a teacher and a musician.  I am a keeper of the home.  I am a child of God.  Actions speak louder than words though.  John’s actions were clear.  He was a preacher of the Word and the stories we have about him point us away from him and toward Jesus every time.  Do my actions match what I say about myself?  What are the reasons I do what I do?  Why do I teach and make music?  I enjoy most of what I do and am happy to claim those things as part of myself, but what is my true purpose?  I hope I do everything to honor the Lord and to serve His kingdom.  I want to glorify him in all I do and say.  The things I enjoy are gifts he has given me and so I strive to serve Him with those gifts.  Who are you?  What do you say about yourself?

I know I am nothing without you.  All that I have and all that I am is because of you.  Thank you for the gifts of teaching and music, thank you for allowing me the opportunity to use those gifts to honor you.  As I go forth, help my actions and words leave no question as to who I say I am; I am yours.  Amen.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Proverbs 23:15-16 “My child, if your heart is wise, my heart too will be glad.  My soul will rejoice when your lips speak what is right.”

I had a nightmare.  My daughter was snatched from me in a parking garage and I didn’t even know where to begin looking for her.  The man seemed harmless...  After I shook the vision from my head I was able to look deeper for the meaning of such a horrible dream.  There are many things in this world that seem harmless and yet they easily draw us and our children away from the safety and love of the Lord.  If I am not diligent in my learning I may be dragged away from truth and if I do not teach my children in the way of the Lord, they may easily be pulled away from His love as well.  My children are my world and yet, they are not truly my children.  I have been given charge of these precious children but they belong to the Lord and it is my task to teach them about Him as much as I can.  As I prepare to begin school again I have renewed urgency to study with my daughter so we can both go forward trusting the Lord and growing in wisdom through his guidance.  My soul does rejoice when I hear her lips singing and speaking what is right.  God also rejoices when our lips speak what is right.

Thank you for dispelling the fear that gripped me this morning.  Spirit, guide me as I strive to teach these precious children your wisdom.  Protect us all from evil; help us live in you and for you always.  Amen.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

James 4:10 “Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will exalt you.”

I bow before the Lord, kneeling and head down.  This is a small act of humility, only a glimpse of the humility my soul feels in the presence of the Almighty.  When I come to him in this manner, He does not leave me there.  It seems the moment I come in true humility, He is there.  He is standing right beside me; not up on a pedestal or on His throne.  His gentle touch lifts me from my knees to stand in his presence.  His healing love allows me to stand in confidence of his mercy.  As I lift my eyes I am almost blinded by the radiance of his glory and I feel its warmth seeping into my bones.  It is his glory, his love and his mercy that lifts me up.  I exalt the Lord; I praise and honor him.  The Lord exalts me; he raises me up.  In this exchange I am given new life, new energy and a renewed sense of purpose.  As I reluctantly leave this moment of my day, I know He has not left me or sent me out without Him.  His presence is still with me, glowing and warming my soul just as the sun begins to warm the world around me.

I thank you for allowing, no, desiring us to come into your presence in humility.  Thank you for loving us beyond our wildest imagination and in our humble moments for lifting us up in grace.  I praise you this day.  I pray my words, actions and thoughts will honor you and glorify your kingdom.  Amen.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Galatians 5:25-26 “If we live by the Spirit, let us also be guided by the Spirit.  Let us not become conceited, competing against one another, envying one another.”

This passage in Galatians is all about living in the Spirit of the Lord.  The fruits of the Spirit are listed just before these verses and I am a frequent visitor to those verses.  Paul’s words here seem so apparent they are unnecessary but he knows our human nature.  It is pretty easy to sit in the pews at church on Sunday singing songs and praying prayers.  It is not as easy to take that Spirit from the sanctuary of church into our daily lives and keep it close and alive in us.  The moment I realize I have allowed the Spirit to guide me I feel pride sneaking in testing me, tempting me to take credit for that.  If I look at others living in the Spirit, the temptation is there to wish for what they have or to discount it as piousness on their part.  It is a struggle, for sure.  The fruit of the Spirit listed in this passage is a measuring tool I use to know if I need to step out of the way of the Spirit or if I am allowing Him to move in me.  These verses are another tool I can use to keep my “self” at bay.  I listen to the voice of the Spirit, it does not sound like mine...

I come to you asking forgiveness and for guidance.  It doesn't take a thought or a moment for me to lose patience, be harsh or selfish.  Squelch those temptations in me and fill me with your Spirit once more so I can live in you and be guided in your truth.   Let me lift you up today, not me.  Amen.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Joel 2:26 “You shall eat in plenty and be satisfied, and praise the name of the Lord your God, who has dealt wondrously with you.  And my people shall never again be put to shame.”

Most of us live in a world of abundance.  There is an abundance of food; we do not wonder where our next meal will come from.  There is an abundance of water; we turn a faucet and hot or cold water comes to us in an instant.  There is an abundance of noise; TV, cars, music, the chatter in our own heads.  This passage of Joel speaks to the nation of Israel being restored to the Lord.  They had experienced desolation and destruction and He calls them back to blessing and restoration.  He calls us all back to blessing and restoration.  When I read this passage I see two levels of blessings.  He provides for our daily needs; food, water and shelter.  He also provides for our spiritual needs; food, water and shelter.  His word feeds our souls, His Spirit pours out on us like refreshing water, and His redemption is a shelter for our souls to protect us from what lurks outside.  He gives us all these blessings if only we will receive them.  He has, indeed, dealt wondrously with us.  Let us praise the name of the Lord!

Your name is above all others Almighty God.  Thank you for all you give to us each day, open our hearts and souls that we will receive the blessings you pour out for us.  Lift our voices in praise and song for the abundance you give and open our hands that we may share this abundance with others.  Amen.

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Jeremiah 29:11 “For surely I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord, plans for your welfare and not for harm, to give you a future with hope.”

I am frequently awake in the middle of the night and last night was no different.  When I am awake I usually try to use that time to listen for the Lord.  I remember asking the Lord to speak to me as he would and then I had a very unsettling dream.  My mom was in my dream (I love seeing her whenever I can) and she was there because I had just given birth to a new baby (what?!?).   I couldn't imagine how that would work with car seats in my car and the bedrooms in my house but then the nurse came and told me I was pregnant again!  There is no easy way to have four small kids in my present situation.  I was astounded in my dream; beyond words.  How could this happen and how in the world would I tell my husband?  When I woke up I was immediately aware that the babies represent something else but I am also very aware of the distinct feeling that God is about to rock my world in a way I cannot imagine.  As I read this passage in Jeremiah I put my trust in God and fasten my seatbelt.  I grab hold of his dream for me and hold on to his promise tight.  Here we go!


I don't know your plans for me but I know you love me and bring blessings beyond my imagination.  Help me trust in you fully and step forward in faith to whatever you are calling me to do and be this day and every day.  Amen.

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Psalm 25:4 “Make me to know your ways, O Lord; teach me your paths.”

It is so wonderful to watch a child’s face light up when they learn something new.  Their face first reveals the struggle and concentration while they are learning and then suddenly a glow shines on their face because they understand what they have been studying.  As they learn new things they grow into the person they are designed to be.  I remember learning how to crochet from my Grandma.  She explained it, showed it to me and helped me along the way so I would know her way, how she did it.  To this day, I love to crochet because I know how to do it, I have learned it well.  Learning God’s ways is the same.  He explains it in His word, He shows it in His love and mercy and He helps us along the way so we can learn and know it, we can know His ways.  His Spirit teaches us and as we learn we grow into the disciples He created us to be.  We can rejoice in walking in His ways because we have learned it from Him and even when we stumble, His mercy is unending and He continues to teach us and guide us all the days of our lives.


Thank you for your word and your guidance.  Through your Spirit we are never left to our own devices to figure out your ways.  You have taught me so much and I thank you.  I ask you to open my heart and mind even more so I can continue to learn more of you each day until the day I see your face.  Amen.

Friday, July 19, 2013

Luke 6:31 “Do to others as you would have them do to you.”

This verse is a biggie in my house.  I think I quote it to my kids at least once or twice a week, sometimes more on a bad week.  When I hear “well he...” or “well she...” I know something is being blamed on someone else.  Teaching my kids to work together is not an easy task and too many times they are fighting over the same toy, the couch in front of the TV screen or some other meaningless thing.  I remind them that we need to treat each other the way we like to be treated.  Do I treat others the way I would like to be treated?  The homeless person with a sign up asking for food or money... the youth with multicolored hair and numerous piercings... the business person standing in line with airs about them...  Would I like to have them turn their back on me?  Would I like to be ignored?  Would I like to be treated like I am a person of value just like everyone else?  I like to think I follow this “rule” but as I look deeper I realize there is much room for improvement.  As I preach this to my kids I hope I also hear and listen to these words several times a week so that they soak deep into my soul and become a part of me.

Forgive me for closing my eyes to the people around me that are different.  Help me see them through the eyes of your love and then guide me to treat them as I would like to be treated; with value and as a treasured person of God.  Thank you for your word today.  Amen.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Psalm 96:11-12 “Let the heavens be glad, and let the earth rejoice; let the sea roar, and all that fills it; let the field exult, and everything in it.  Then shall all the trees of the forest sing for joy.”

As I play back visions of my journey across the middle of the United States this passage fits right along with it.  I saw green fields of corn growing tall, herds of cattle with little ones running around the fields.  In the forest of Tennessee I was dwarfed by the tall trees reaching to the blue sky.  While Colorado is working with the water we have, there is land east of us that is lush and green.  While we were gone, I hear we got some rain at home and my garden looks no worse for the wear.  As I saw different parts of this country than I have ever seen before I see with new eyes how the earth rejoices.  My heart sings at the thought of heaven and earth rejoicing in unison for the blessings of the one true God.  I hope I will always remember the beauty I saw on this trip.  There was beauty in nature and beauty in each of my traveling companions.  I lift a song of praise for safe travels and for new sights and experiences for me and my kids.  I lift songs of praise for all He has done; I lift songs of praise with the sea, the fields and the trees.

Thank you for the beauty on earth and in each of us.  Thank you for bringing us safely back home and for the joy of having a wonderful home to come to.  Help us remember these blessings and remember to thank you for all things.  Amen.

Saturday, July 6, 2013

1 Peter 5:7 “Cast all your anxiety on him, because he cares for you.”

1 Peter 5:7 “Cast all your anxiety on him, because he cares for you.”

Anxiety is sneaky.  It can creep up on you and build so slowly you don’t realize it is there until it has almost consumed you.  It starts small like one small item in your grocery cart.  As you walk through the store of life, things need to be put in the basket or buggy, just a few small worries... not a problem.  Then something big comes up and a heavier load is picked up; a case of water for instance.  Before you know it the cart is heavy to push and steer but you do the best you can.  It is such a relief when the groceries are all dispersed and put away, cast into their spaces, if you will.  This is how anxiety is.  Small things pull on us but they are easy to manage.  A few more things pile up on us and then a heavy burden of anxiety lies on our hearts.  Now we can hardly push forward we feel so weighed down.  Jesus will carry our burdens, whatever they are.  We are reminded in this verse to cast those heavy and small burdens and anxieties to him so we are freed to work in the light and love unhindered.  Whatever your anxieties are, I pray that you will be able to release them to the Lord this morning and walk with a lighter step because of it.

Watch over us and remind us to cast all those little anxieties on you.  They are the sneaky ones.  Help us live unhindered by worry, anxiety, disease or suffering so that we may be free to worship, praise and honor your holy name.  Amen.

PS - The kids and I are traveling with a dear friend and her kids to Tennessee starting today.  We will be back on the 18th of July so if you think of it, pray for us and I will send emails whenever I have access to a computer and internet.  Have a great couple of weeks!

Friday, July 5, 2013

Mark 10:22 “When he heard this, he was shocked and went away grieving, for he had many possessions.”

Mark 10:22 “When he heard this, he was shocked and went away grieving, for he had many possessions.”

If there is anything we Americans know about it is stuff.  Most of us live in a home filled with possessions.  We have furniture, clothes, shoes, a plethora of kitchen gadgets, cell phones, computer, internet, television.  We can fully grasp this mans’ predicament.  This rich man came to Jesus asking what he could do to inherit eternal life.  He followed the laws written on the stone tablets of Moses but he knew there was more needed.  Jesus told his to give away all of his earthy possessions, sell them and donate the money from that, then follow him.  Just like this man, we cling to our possessions.  The truth of the matter is this:  what is most important to you?  Are you willing to give up everything for the Lord?  The less we have the easier it is to give it up.  I am not saying we have to actually do this, but we need to be willing to do this.  That is the only way we know, without doubt, that we have our priorities in order.  God comes first, then the needs of others.  This is the kingdom of heaven, this is eternal life.

I am thankful for the abundance you have showered on me and my family.  Guide my heart in truth so I do not cling to my possessions but that I cling to you.  Open my eyes to see how I can help others and open my hands so that the resources you give me can be willingly shared.  Use me for the purposes of your kingdom.  Amen.

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Romans 6:22 “But now that you have been freed from sin and enslaved to God, the advantage you get is sanctification. The end is eternal life.”

Romans 6:22 “But now that you have been freed from sin and enslaved to God, the advantage you get is sanctification.  The end is eternal life.”

I struggle with an understanding of human slavery.  Even our founding fathers owned slaves.  If the owner was kind, maybe it would be okay.  You had a place to live, food to eat and work for the day.  It would almost seem normal but you had to earn your keep for sure.  Some slave owners were not so kind.  They treated their slaves worse than animals.  During that time in US history freedom was a luxury not everyone knew and it certainly wasn't free.  Our soldiers today still fight for freedom.  Freedom from sin is a gift from God.  Sin shackles us, chains us and keeps us down with weights threatening to drown us.  When we follow God we are freed from those chains and shackles.  Being enslaved to God is not God locking us down, it is a choice to live in Him.  We are free to run to him and we are free to run away.  The question is why would we run away?  When we stay “enslaved” to him, we experience true freedom and when we turn away, we become enslaved to chains and shackles of sin again.  I choose God, I choose his sanctification and I sing praises today for all my freedoms!

Let me not take freedom for granted, you give it freely but there was a price paid by Christ for my freedom.  I live in the land of the free, help me honor the freedom I have been so graciously given.  Amen.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Matthew 24:42 “Keep awake therefore, for you do not know on what day your Lord is coming.”

Matthew 24:42 “Keep awake therefore, for you do not know on what day your Lord is coming.”

I was standing in a checkout line yesterday and overheard a portion of conversation behind me.  There were two ladies talking to each other about their faith and proclaiming to each other that they were Christian and they knew where they were going when they died.  One said she would be ready tomorrow if God came for her.    I thought to myself “I am ready if he calls me right now!”  Tomorrow never comes and he calls us to be ready whenever he comes.  This passage in Matthew is echoed in other books of the bible as well.  They say He will come like a thief in the night.  No one knows when a thief will come to their home to break in, if they did, they would prepare for that moment and be ready.  We are to prepare for the moment when he comes for us.  Each day, each hour and every moment could be the time.  I believe as we wait, part of our preparation is sharing his message of love with others so they may join us in the vigil.  When we get tired there are others to live us up and keep us awake.  Join me in the vigil and in sharing His love while we wait!

There is much to be done.  Thank you for the reminder to drop everything when you come.  Help me be ready and use me to help others be ready too.  Through Jesus holy name I ask these things.  Amen.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Lamentations 3:22-23 “The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases, his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.”

Lamentations 3:22-23 “The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases, his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.”

My family comes home today.  They have been on the western slope for a few days visiting my mother-in-law while I stayed here to prepare for the next trip.  It has been nice to have so much quiet in my house for this time but I know I would not like it forever.  As much as I have enjoyed this respite I am looking forward to holding my kids and hearing their stories.  I am looking forward to the warmth of my husband’s arms around me.  We have been apart but our love remains.  I get frustrated with my kids and husband but I never stop loving them.  I woke up this morning with a country song phrase running through my head.  Whenever I sing this song, it makes me think of God’s love more than human love.  I leave you with this phrase today – “You’re the million reasons why there’s love reflecting in my eyes.  Ooh I love the way you- Love the way you love me...”

Thank you for your unending love and mercy.  I cannot fathom it but I open my hands and heart to receive it in gratitude this morning and each morning.  Help me learn from your example how to love others.  Help me let go of selfish desires and embrace with open arms of love the ones you would have me love.    Amen.

Monday, July 1, 2013

Psalm 147:7-8 “Sing to the Lord with thanksgiving; make melody to our God on the lyre.  He covers the heavens with clouds, prepares rain for the earth, makes grass grow on the hills.”

Summertime is fire season in Colorado.  Last year we had a bad season of wildfires and this year has started off similarly.  A few weeks ago the smoke from one fire was thick where I live; we had to close the windows so we could breathe easier.  The blackened earth and loss of home is devastating to see but even as I lift those families who have lost so much I know there is restoration coming.  The burned areas from last year begin new growth.  Rain comes and helps the firefighters make advances on stopping the new fires.  Wherever destruction has occurred, healing and restoration follow.  People come to minister to those in need, His Spirit comes to heal and bring comfort to those who suffered loss.  He is faithful to them and He is faithful to us.  I sing praises to him today for the clouds, the rain and the new growth on earth and in our souls.

I praise you today and every day for all your blessings.  You are great and gracious to all your people.  Guide new growth in us to bring us ever closer to you and your truth.  I ask this through Jesus, my Lord and Savior.  Amen.