Troubled Times

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Psalm 112:7

This devotional has a quote written by Charles Swindoll.

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Day 95:

I’ll admit, I’ve sat down to do this devotional, get a part of it done, and then get distracted.  I have a very busy weekend, with events with school, family, and friends.  Which is testing my focus.  I’m about 3/4 through my devotional playlist and am just now typing this sentence.  In fact, I haven’t really read the devotional yet.  I’ve skimmed it, twice.  So.  I’m calling for a redo.  Yes, it would be easy to delete this paragraph and not admit my faults, but I’m a human who fails.  So this is my failure today, I am not focused.

Redo.

Whew was that redo required. So glad I called myself out. ….

 

So this devotional could not be more relevant.

We live in a world full of fears and scary situations.  Take the most recent terror attack in Manchester.  Kids at a concert were attacked.  It makes it hard to a person to want to leave their home.  But even that is dangerous, I just read an article where a kid was killed at his kitchen table from a ricochet bullet.   Things just aren’t safe.  They aren’t.  Between anger and hate and extremist groups, this world is unsafe.  BUT, and there is a but.

BUT God provides us with many things, including courage.  He will comfort us in the bad times, and keep us safe when we ask.  He’s our Father, our protector, our savior.   No matter what trouble you find yourself in, he’s there with you.  Simple as that.

We have a guest teacher right now for our Wednesday night services, he’s doing a teaching series on prayer.  But the thing I’ve walked away with right now is the sheer amount of anything God will give to his children.  It’s pretty much a blank check, to quote him directly.  I limit what God does for me.  That is a pretty hard punch to take.  But it’s true.  I don’t ask, I don’t get.  It’s the same for anything.   When I’m in trouble, if I don’t turn to God, then I’m limiting him.  He’s our courage, our safe place.  That is what the world has forgotten.

Turn to God when you’re scared, you’re hurting, you are in need, and he’ll be there.  End of story. He will handle all your troubles and woes.

Do you limit God?  Do you turn to him for all your needs?

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Contented in Him

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Psalm 29:11

This devotional has a quote written by Charles Stanley.

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Day 94:

The world promises all sorts of happiness and fulfillment.  However, each and every time I person trust this, they are let down.  The world can not fill the void that is left in each of us when we step away from Christ.  There is a part in our hearts that cry out for Him, and only Him.

Finding contentment in this scary, crazy, messed up world,  just won’t happen.   What we need to do instead is search God for his contentment.   Align your head and heart with God’s words.  Find his joy, see the positive.  Focus on following the shepherd and see that he had the best in mind for you.

It sounds simple, living tells me it’s hard.  But God has the best in store for us.  He wants us to succeed and have a good life.  We just have to follow and trust in him.  When we do, we’ll find the contentment our hearts crave.

Find Jesus in your daily life.  Follow the path set aside for you.

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His Awesome Creation

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Genesis 1: 30-31

This devotional has a quote written by Max Lucado.

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Day 93:

Today you will encounter God’s creation.  When you see the beauty around you, let each detail remind you to lift your head in praise.

I start the devotional reflection with the quote from Max Lucado.  If you have the devotional book and are following along, you know that today’s devotional is about remembering to praise God for his wonderful creation of our world.  If you don’t have the book, ta-da, today’s subject.

The one thing I really love about this devotional book is that each entry seems to be reminding us of a different avenue of praise, whether it’s remembering our relationship, or confidence, or just a daily walk, how we need to pray and praise,  priorities, the underlying current in all the devotionals is praise.  God is worthy of our praise.  Today is no different.   Today the devotional reminds us that God created this big, beautiful world.  He commanded the seas to stop, the mountains to form, the stars in the sky, the animals: big and small, cute and scary.  He made each and everything thing we have.  He gave man brains to create.  I feel like that has backfired a bit since man creates things that separate us from God.   But alas, it’s just another thing in which God gives us a choice.

I love nature, as I drive I marvel in how wonderful/beautiful it all is.  But I’m a weirdo oddball.  Do you ever just stop and look at the world and see its beauty?  Today stop for ten minutes, look around at the sky, the trees, the sand, the water, the wind as it moves. Give God the praise for creating beautiful masterpieces just for you.   Because there is no doubt in my mind, he would have done it all for just me.  Because he loves me that much (and there is no way I deserve it)  He would do it for you just you too.

Give praise to God, your creator.  Take the time to see his handy work in your world.

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Need Courage? God Can Handle It

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Deuteronomy 31:8

This devotional has no quote.

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Day 92:

With the rise of Marvel studios and DC comics, it’s easy to wish we had a superpower.  I know I do.  Wouldn’t it be nice to be able to move things like Scarlet Witch, or fly like Superman, Batman, Ironman, etc.  It would be wonderful to be fast like Quicksilver.  Make things move like Quake.  Have the shield Captain America totes around.  The list can on and on.  Having a superpower would be phenomenal.   And those heroes never seem to be afraid.  They jump into it without looking.  They always come out in the end on top.  Even when there are problems, they rise above.   The idea of superheroes is just nice.

But they aren’t real.  You can’t have these power that makes you invincible.   However, as a Christian, I have God.  Quite frankly, that is better than anything else that can be imagined.  No God can’t make me move faster than the speed of light, but God can help me move.  God can give me peace.  He can give me what my family needs.  He protects me every moment of every day.

I’ve seen God give babies to women who were told they’d never be mothers.  I’ve seen babies on their deathbed, live and be healed and made whole.  I’ve seen men given extra years on earth because they asked.  I’ve been able to get my car to as gas station when the empty light was already on.  I’ve seen miracles: big and small.  God has always provided for me, my family, and my church.  It’s that simple.  That black and white.  When there was no reason on earth and it still happened, it can only be known as God did what he does, take care of his children.

So, I say all this to come to the point of the devotional.  God can handle all your hurts, your anxieties, your fears, your problems, your sadness, your issues, your sad tragic back stories, your drug addictions, your alcoholism, your two-facedness, your lies, your faults.  God can take any situation and turn it around.  You are afraid, disappointed, scared, God’s got you.  Just ask God in your heart, tell him your woes, ask for forgiveness, ask for help.  I’ve never once been turned away.  It might not go the way I wanted, but it went the way I needed to go.

Every single issue you face, Christ faced at the cross, he already defeated it, just turn to him, and he’ll be there.  Have faith and courage that he’ll see you through.

God will handle whatever you need to be handled.  Simple as that.  Black and white.  No gray.  Go to God.  He’ll take care of you, his child.  Seek his face.  Live by his laws.  Easy.  Breassy, lemon squeezy.

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The Voice Inside Your Head

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Acts 24:16

This devotional has a quote written by Martin Luther.

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Day 91:

The still small voice that directs my steps, I trust it.  I place my safety in it.  I believe it more than anything else I see, sometimes.

That voice inside my head, it has helped me more than harmed me my entire life.  As a small child, it sounded a lot like my mother, now it sounds like a wise Maciena.  Especially when a dumb Maciena is trying to convince that inner voice it won’t be that bad.

The thing I’ve always believed about that conscience/inner voice is that when we draw closer to Christ it really is him, that directs that voice.  Keeping you out of the trouble we humans as so drawn to.  While that is my personal belief and I can’t prove it one way or the other, it’s always given me great pause if that still small voice is saying a firm no, when everything in me wants a quick yes.

The devotional today encourages us to listen to that voice.  To follow the direction of our conscience.  That your conscience will lead you in the right direction.  I wholeheartedly agree.  I just would also encourage you to fill your head, mind, spirit, soul with Christ and his words and love.  Because then you are more likely to not even battle that voice.  You’ll take the no before you will risk that relationship.   But that’s my two cents.

Do you pause before leaping?  Do you listen to your conscience?  Do you take the advice offered by the voice in your head?

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The Wisdom of Moderation

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Proverbs 16:32

This devotional has a quote written by St. Augustine.

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Day 90:

The devotional today speaks to us about moderation and learning how to have temperance.  Our devotional author shares with us the idea that having moderation leads to rewards that are long-lasting.  While I totally agree with the idea, I’m having a difficult time using this premise to share what I feel like it means to me.  So I’m swinging my reflection to this devotional a totally different way….be warned.

 

The scripture reads totally different from the MSG version in the book, to what I read in my KJV.  I took a very different lesson from the KJV.  He that is slow to anger.  That can be directly related to moderation.  It’s all about self-control.  Which is also the idea of moderation.  When we control our desires, our needs, impulses as the devotional states, then we have a leg up on those who just do because.  Having that kind of control over our impulses does give the control of moderation.  Making it easier to seek God’s will in our life.

It’s very easy to be jealous over what everyone else seems to have and to seek more for your own life.  That is a feeling I get very well, the desire to seek more out.   But also, we have to be thankful for what we are given.  Yes, I’d love a bigger, more beautiful house, I will drive down the street and admire other houses.  But every morning that I wake up in my bed, in my house I’m smiling.  It took nine or so years before my husband and I even could think about owning a home.   It was a gift from God that we have the one we liked, that fits our family.

How does that apply to moderation?  We are wise enough to know that this is what have we have, we can’t take anymore.  There would be no way that we could withstand that sort of financial change.  We keep our home, we maintain it, we aren’t seeking another one out.   We are stable and secure.  We survive in this home.

It’s very important in everything we do, that we use the wisdom of moderation.  We can’t be too boastful about ourselves.  We can’t eat too much.  We can’t seek out fortunes that our not ours.  We can’t place our desires in the world.  We have to do enough in the world to survive, but not fit in.  We are a particular people, so saith the bible.   We should seek our treasures in Heaven.  Use moderation on Earth.  Simple, hard but simple.

 

What do you need to use moderation for?

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Christ’s Love Changes Everything

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Colossians 3:3

This devotional has a quote written by Mary Morrison Suggs.

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Day 89:

I was raised in the church, a fact that I’ve shared before.  But in some ways that make it harder for me to declare I was so down and out before I met Christ and felt his love for me.  I felt it from a small age.  I knew just what an amazing love he has for us.  But it also allows me to say that when I walked away from God (because I did) I know what it’s like to live out of his will.  But I didn’t feel his love for me, in fact, I could feel his disappointment in me.  I knew my actions, lifestyle was wrong, but not once did I not feel his love for me.

Because once you have felt God’s perfect love, you can’t imagine that feeling ever going away.  The love God provides is just phenomenal.  It just is.  Knowing that he loves you when you screw up.  When you walk away.  When you fall.  When you fail.  When you can’t see what is up anymore.  Knowing that God loves you through all of that and million other things, it’s incredible.  You can’t out give God, out love God, outdo God.  He’s always going to be one step ahead (or thirty) of you.

Just as our title says, God’s love changes everything in your life.  Do you feel his love?  Are you in a relationship with God?  I don’t know why you stumbled onto my blog, but know that if you aren’t in a relationship with God, I hope you ask him into your heart.  He loves you.  He’s waiting for you.

If you do, it’ll be a one of a kind trip that you won’t ever regret.  It won’t be easy, but nothing that is worth it is.  God will change your life.

If you are here and already have that relationship with God, what are some of the ways you feel his love in your daily life?

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No Complaints

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Philippians 2:14-15

This devotional has a quote written by C.S. Lewis.

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Day 88:

The devotional today reminds us that complaining is terribly wrong.  Reminding us that the cornerstone of our faith should be God, and his many blessings.  Yet, most of us, myself included count, list, rehash and complain about all the irritations we experience.  Only seeing the problems, the pains, the annoyances of our daily life.

Our devotional calls that the pinnacle shortsightedness of seeing what God is doing in our lives.  I know how easy it is to see the shades of gray in your life.  How you want to only count what has gone wrong.  But that is why you are drugged down and low.  My mood is always worse when I tick off each and everything that bugs me.  But it’s higher and good when I’m counting the blessings that I can count.  There are so many things in my life I can stress and worry about (and a lot of times I do) but when I think about how God will see me through it all, it’s not all that bad.

Complaining is one of those human things that we allow to separate ourselves from our Savior.  Because when we complain we are putting that wedge in between us and God. “God allowed this to happen”  becomes our mentality and it’s only a hop, skip, and a jump into being angry with God.  Or even hating God because he supposedly allowed all these bad things.   When we should see the bright side of each situation.  Okay, I got this speeding ticket today, it’s going to cost me, and I can’t afford this cost.  But the upside is I was stopped before I potentially hurt myself, or worse someone else.  He made sure I was taken care of.

For Example:  Okay, I got this speeding ticket today, it’s going to cost me, and I can’t afford this cost.  But the upside is I was stopped before I potentially hurt myself, or worse someone else.  He made sure I was taken care of.

I know this is a “give me” example, but you can catch my drift.  Find the good today.

What has complaining ever done for you?  How has it helped?  And if you are finding like me it hasn’t, how will you change your mentality /way of thinking?

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Mankind’s Treasure Hunt

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Luke 12:34

This devotional has a quote written by Charles Stanley.

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Day 87:

The devotional today starts out by telling us that every single person is on a treasure hunt.  But the treasures they seek are different.  That some seek fame and fortune. While others seek the treasures that God has for us.  That the difference is where we place God in our life. The devotional then reminds us that when seeking the material objects that we are not putting God at the cornerstone of our life.

No matter what your day holds, God must be placed at the forefront.  From the time you get up to the time you go back to bed, you must be in fellowship with God.  Now, I speak from experience, this is one of the most difficult things to start.  –I am nowhere close to where I want/should be.– When I first started this daily devotional I would miss so much, I would go for a few weeks and then not do it for a few weeks. Finding the balance of needs of the day and time for God was hard.  I’m still struggling sometimes.  It’s a challenge.  I have to force myself out of bed some days, let alone sit and type on a computer for 30 minutes.

–I am nowhere close to where I want/should be.– When I first started this daily devotional I would miss so much, I would go for a few weeks and then not do it for a few weeks. Finding the balance of needs of the day and time for God was hard.  I’m still struggling sometimes.  It’s a challenge.  I have to force myself out of bed some days, let alone sit and type on a computer for 30 minutes.  It’s hard to find the pattern (I’m a routine person) that keeps my kids well, my house clean, my errands ran and my spirit satisfied.

But the thing is when we put God at the bottom of our list, we hurt ourselves, our family, and we disappoint God.  Think about your list today.  Mine includes cleaning, laundry, running to the post office, getting kids to and from school.  Doing my blog work (I run a TV blog because I enjoy it).  Making sure all the appointments are set.  Making meals.  And some stuff that I’m sure I’m forgetting about.  Where on that list did you see anything about God?  It’s hard to put Him on a to-do list.  It’s weird though because if I don’t, then I tend to forget.  I’ve been really good for the last month about making sure this devotional is done.  So I always start my day with.  I’m still trying to figure out how to keep Him in the forefront as I go about my day.  But the thing is, I have to do it.

When I don’t, my day is bad.  I fail and falter.  We all have to keep our relationship with God at the forefront of our lives.  So that we are chasing the right treasures.

What treasures are you chasing? Where does God rank with you?

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Measuring Your Words

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Proverbs 16:23

This devotional has a quote written by Billy Graham.

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Day 86:

I was once asked to write a small column of sorts for my church’s bulletin.  I chose to write about the power of words, and that subject has come up again in the daily devotional.  I love to write.  I write fiction, poetry, short columns, this devotional.  I love the way words impact.  I also love to read, to see how the same 26 letters can shape a whole new world.  The power that words hold is incredible.

Even the 140 characters on twitter can create a fury.  Seriously, have you seen the news, the president tweets and the world lose its mind?  It’s just crazy how the words we speak, type, say can change a person.

Our devotional today encourages us to build others up with our words.  In fact, it wants us to vow to be an encouraging communicator every place we speak.  We have to encourage each other, we have to build each other up.  Watch what we say, how we say it.

Are you careful with your words?  Are you kind?  Or harmful?

 

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