Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Devotional - Day 14

Deutoronomy 5:16 - “Honor your father and mother, as the Lord your God commanded you. Then you will live a long, full life in the land the Lord your God is giving you.

Obeying our parents is our main task when we are young, but honoring them should continue even beyond their deaths. Honoring involves all that sons and daughters do with their lives-the way they work and talk, the values they hold, and the morals they practice. What are you doing to show respect to your parents? Are you living in a way that brings honor to them?
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This one has always been difficult for me because of my father.  I cannot come to honor him.  He does not in my eyes deserve honor.  He is not wise, and his commands are not honorable.  I have honored him enough to try and forgive him, but I do not follow his instructions.  His instructions are abusive.  
My mother on the other hand, I honor.   Even though she may have passed on, I work to honor her ever day of my life in my parenting, how I carry myself, how I try and be as a person, sometimes to an unhealthy point I think sometimes.  I love her so much I try to be her at times.  I am not sure if it makes me feel closer to her or what but it makes me feel better when I do things that she used to do with us, with my children.  I try and make her proud, think of how she would think of my actions and reactions, etc.  I know it almost sounds like I treat her like God, but I know the difference, she is my mom who I love, he is my Savior and all powerful.  BIG Difference.  HUGE Difference.  But that brings up a good point.  Honor but do not worship or idolize your parents.  They are not Gods and God's will is still above all.  Honor does not mean that if they are abusive you should be abused.  Honor means respect them as your parents and obey.  Many times you may not realize how much it is for your safety not just your good will.  

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Devotion - Day 13

Leviticus 25:23 - “The land must never be sold on a permanent basis, for the land belongs to me. You are only foreigners and tenant farmers working for me."

God was saying that the people would one day possess land in Canaan, but in God's plan, only God's ownership was absolute. He wanted his people to avoid greed and materialism. If you have the attitude that you are taking care of the Lord's property, you will make what you have more available to others. This is difficult to do if you have an attitude of ownership. Think of yourself as a manager of all that is under your care, not as an owner.
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This scripture makes me think of how I manage my money.  Do I take care of it as though I am a good manager taking care of God's real property, or am I treating it as property to sell as my own.  I am never good at that.  I am a horrible manager of money and I am constantly struggling with myself as a result.  I know that tithing is my number one priority and every time I am at church I give everything I have in my wallet.  But I still feel like it is not enough because it doesn't seem to add up to 10% and being that my husband and I are both unemployed we are giving more than ever but 10% still is not quite there.  We give 10% one week and 5% the next, then 10% the next then skip a week, then give well over 10%.  I guess to say we are inconsistent is an understatement.  That is my fault as I am the finance person in the family.  Ironic how I am the worst money manager and I am in charge of finances.  I am the worst at making messes but the best at cleaning up the messes I make.  I make sure all the bills get paid but I leave nothing for savings.  That is my problem.  I need Dave Ramsey.  Maybe Financial Peace is in my future.  Needless to say, money is God's property anyway and I wouldn't be worrying about all of this if I treated it as such.  It is only because I treat it as mine that I have any of this to worry about.  If it wasn't mine to begin with then I wouldn't spend it so freely.  If it was someone else's money would you spend it so freely?  

Verse:
Dear money, i wrote a song for you
cause you lead me to believe you buy me everything i need then you,
fill me full of emptiness.
So money, it's time to call you out
about the way you say you pay and then you
turn and walk away turns out, 
you can't keep your promises

Chorus:
I'm changing the locks of my pockets now,
cause if i don't let you in then you can't run out.
well i love to hate to love you, 
but i cant get enough of you, i cant get enough, 
so I've had enough of you

Verse:
Hey money I've had enough you
everyday its all the same the way you love to complicate, i knew 
that we never should've met
Yea money I'm asking you to leave 
nothing personal but you were never worth it all, oh please 
don't make this harder than it is.

Chorus:
I'm changing the locks of my pockets now, 
cause if i don't let you in then you can't run out.
Well i love to hate to love you, 
but i cant get enough of you, i can't get enough, 
so I've had enough of you.

End:
Hey money just leave me alone!


Read more: Josh Wilson - Dear Money Lyrics | MetroLyrics 

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Devotion - Day 12

Exodus 34:7 - I lavish unfailing love to a thousand generations.
I forgive iniquity, rebellion, and sin.
But I do not excuse the guilty.
I lay the sins of the parents upon their children and grandchildren;
the entire family is affected—
even children in the third and fourth generations.”

Why would sins affect children and grandchildren? This is no arbitrary punishment. Children still suffer for the sins of their parents. Consider child abuse or alcoholism, for example. While these sins are obvious, sins like selfishness and greed can be passed along as well. Be careful not to treat sin casually, but repent and turn from it. The sin may cause you little pain now, but it could later sting in a most tender area of your life-your children and grandchildren.
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Although the commentator dwells on the sin of this passage and states pretty clearly what this passage talks about with regards to sin, I would like to dwell on what I think is says about forgiveness.  I think it equally says the same thing about forgiveness.  Even if sin is cast upon third and fourth generations, if one generation asks for forgiveness and repents, then forgiveness breaks that sin chain (I think), and the punishment can end.  CAN is a strong word though because I know many people who choose to dwell on the sins of their family members, but I think that once forgiveness enters a family, the chance of love to enter can break the chains of hopelessness that generations of sin can bind a family with.  When a family is stuck in abuse, alcoholism, money, lust, gluttony, etc, they may feel hopeless to fight it, or may feel there is no other way of life.  But if one family member strays from the pack, repents, changes their ways and lives a full live void of those chains and the other family members see the fruit of that life whether it be better health, lack of stress, happiness, etc, they may see it is possible, reachable, touchable.  Let them know that not only is it reachable but there is an Almighty Loving God who wants nothing more than to be in a loving relationship with them and even my heart wants to explode.  See it is great and all to change your life, but to change your life without Jesus, to me, is selling yourself short of the biggest and best prize of all.  All of those changes mean nothing without a relationship with Him.  Just like when you have a child and you look at their face, and nothing else in the world matters.  You can't describe it, you just know.  Things are just more important than other things.  Jesus is even more important than making babies.  God gives us those babies.  Jesus gave us our lives back so we could be better people for those babies.  So we could be better people for the ones we love, and who love us.  If you don't have hope in Him who are you changing for.  If you are changing for yourself you will never find happiness, because as a human being we are never happy with what we have.  You will always be searching for more.  You will never find what you are searching for.  In Jesus, In God the Father, In the Holy Spirit, you will find utter completeness.  Inner peace, joy, patience, courage, everything you seek, you will find.  Just open the door, he has been knocking.



Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Devotion - Day 11

Exodus 28:3 - Instruct all the skilled craftsmen whom I have filled with the spirit of wisdom. Have them make garments for Aaron that will distinguish him as a priest set apart for my service.

The tailors who made Aaron's garments were given wisdom by God in order to do their task. All of us have special skills. God wants to fill us with his Spirit so we will use those skills for his glory. Think about your special talents and abilities. What ways could you use them for God's work in the world? As you focus on helping and giving to others, God will show you the best ways to do it and give you wisdom to accomplish the task.
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I have always believed that my talents and abilities have been gifts given to me by God to be used by and for God.  So what are they?  It has always been hard for me to say what they are as I don't think of myself as particularly gifted in any rare fashion.  I have been athletic but not extraordinarily.  I have been a good student but not extraordinarily.  I have been musically inclined but again, not extraordinarily.  All these I used in school and in college.  It wasn't until after college that I learned that I had more to offer than the measurable things academics look at like compassion, kindness, passion, courage, joy, self-control, and all the other fruit of the spirit in Galatians 5:22-23.  There are also the gifts of being a pastor, teacher, apostle, evangelist, or profit listed in Ephesians 4:11.  There are several tests you can take to see where you are gifted to see where your talents lie and where to start seeing how to use those gifts.  But God may surprise you in how he can combine your measurable gifts with your immeasurable gifts.  You may play the guitar and think that Sunday church worship may be where you belong but in reality God has a teen based acoustic guitar mission group in your plans.  You never know.  The key is to keep God at your center, and his purposes, not your own, or your talents.  If God is the center your talents will grow and evolve and the use of them will astonish you.  God will use you in amazing ways and you will just sit back and enjoy the ride as he blesses you for listening and following Him.  So check out the links below.  Get to know how God created the unique you.  See how you are gifted.  Look to Him and see where it goes.  Have fun and God bless.  


Spiritual Gifts
http://www.elca.org/Growing-In-Faith/Discipleship/Evangelizing-Church/Assessment-Tools/Finding-Your-Spritual-Gifts.aspx
Five Fold Ministry
http://www.fivefoldministrytest.com/
Myers Briggs Test
http://www.humanmetrics.com/cgi-win/jtypes2.asp

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Devotion - Day 10

Exodus 17:2 - So once more the people complained against Moses. “Give us water to drink!” they demanded.
“Quiet!” Moses replied. “Why are you complaining against me? And why are you testing the Lord?”
The people complained about their problems instead of praying. Some problems can be solved by careful thought or by rearranging our priorities. Some can be solved by discussion and good counsel. But some problems can be solved only by prayer. We should make a determined effort to pray when we feel like complaining because complaining only raises our level of stress. Prayer quiets our thoughts and emotions, and prepares us to listen.
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Who doesn't complain?  I found myself recently caught in a lot of complaining.  So much so that I had to fast to learn the true reason that I was complaining ( which was really my fault no one else's ).  Isn't that the case so many times.  Aren't we so afraid to go to prayer or any form of different way to handle things than complaining because we end up realizing that it is something wrong with us in reality and nothing wrong with what we are complaining about.  We are so afraid to admit our faults and hurt our pride and we are so ready to jump on top of someone else's reputation and self-worth that we just complain away and don't think of the ramifications.  Complaining is such a commonplace form of communication that we don't think twice when we do it, but we do.  Think twice when you complain because you are truly putting yourself and your worth above others when you do that.  Even if you think you are right in that one instance, does that make you any more worthy than another?  Do you not do things wrong at other times.  How would you like it if at the next second you did something wrong, someone put the blame on you?  Complaining is pointless but we don't know where to put the energy because we don't want to deal with it.  We increase our level of stress instead.  Just pray, give it to God, realize where the feeling is coming from and release it to who can take it and get rid of it for good.  But not just that.  Breathe it out and be prepared to listen for any message that God has back.  Speak but listen.  When you free your spirit of the darkness of complaint, the Spirit can have more space to move and change you.  God may speak into your life and you have to keep your ears and eyes open to receive the message.  So stop spreading the hate outward, release it to God and he will speak truth into it and show you where the hate lies, then absorb it and move and work in your life bringing good works.  It's a win win.  So much better then the cycle of complaining, hate, gossip, and stress.  

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Devotion - Day 9

Exodus 4:10 - 13 
10But Moses pleaded with the Lord, “O Lord, I’m not very good with words. I never have been, and I’m not now, even though you have spoken to me. I get tongue-tied, and my words get tangled.”
11Then the Lord asked Moses, “Who makes a person’s mouth? Who decides whether people speak or do not speak, hear or do not hear, see or do not see? Is it not I, the Lord?12Now go! I will be with you as you speak, and I will instruct you in what to say.”
13But Moses again pleaded, “Lord, please! Send anyone else.”

Moses pleaded with God to let him out of his mission. After all, he was not a good speaker and would probably embarrass both himself and God. But God looked at Moses' problem quite differently. All Moses needed was some help, and who better than God to help him say and do the right things? God made his mouth and would give him the words to say. It is easy for us to focus on our weaknesses, but if God asks us to do something, then he will help us get the job done. If the job involves some of our weak areas, then we can trust that he will provide words, strength, courage, and ability where needed.
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I still can't believe that Moses was so self-conscious.  Makes me not feel so bad when I doubt myself.  Although God's response makes me think again, lol.  I would though rather rely on God to guide my thoughts, words, and actions than myself anyway.  I do not trust myself and my human reasoning and understanding.  Especially over God's.  I have noticed in the past that I can ask God to help me, but if I do not have the faith that he will, even when asking Him, at times he will not help me.  So I must not only ask, but have faith that he will help me.  Sometimes I don't even have to ask if I just have the faith that he will provide the words.  When I have faith I have experienced words come out of my mouth that I have never used, and beautiful prayers, applications, examples, that I don't even remember afterwards.  He provides all of it.  Just like the commentator says afterwards not only words but strength, courage, and ability as well.  The key is that we always rely on Him and not ourselves.  If we rely too much on ourselves and not on Him then we feed pride and don't listen for Him.  We can fool ourselves into thinking we are speaking His words, when we are not.  False teaching, BAD things happen.  He warns all through the new testament about what will happen if you do so.  The Pharisees did that and well, you see where that led them if you read and of the Gospel or letters.  So rely on God in your words, watch your pride, don't take any credit for what God gives you and He will take care of everything.  No worries, no fears, be strong, step forward in faith and do as God has called you to do where ever he has called you to do it.  LEAD ON!!!!

Devotion - Day 8

Exodus 1:12 But the more the Egyptians oppressed them, the more the Israelites multiplied and spread, and the more alarmed the Egyptians became. 

The Egyptians tried to wear down the Hebrew people by forcing them into slavery and mistreating them. Instead, the Hebrews multiplied and grew stronger. When we are burdened or mistreated, we may feel defeated. But our burdens can make us stronger and can develop qualities in us that will prepare us for the future. We cannot be overcomers without troubles to overcome. Be true to God in the hard times because even the worst situations can make us better people.
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Boy this is the story of my life.  many people ask me how I can be so strong sometimes, but it  is not me who is strong.  I have just learned who to lean on in the times where I am weak and He is strong.  I have been through enough hard times that there is merely no time in my brain that lapses between a difficult situation and my kneeling before God for strength.  I know he gives me strength, I know I will be a better person for it.  That is why I have Philippians 4:13 tattooed across my forearms.  "I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength".  Apart from Him I cannot.  Strength and faith are the things I hold on to tight in life.  They are my bread and water besides THE bread and water.  It is how I survive and live happily.  I am an overcomer because HE overcame.  God has been an overcomer from the beginning.  He has been about his people being overcomers from the beginning as well and this scripture is just another proof of just such an occassion.  We can have no fear, He and We  WILL overcome.  Be hopeful, have faith, go to Him.  Believe.  Have no fear.  Stand strong.  Walk on the water.  Don't keep your eye on the storm.  

Monday, September 9, 2013

Devotion - Day 7

Genesis 18:14 - Is anything too hard for the Lord? I will return about this time next year, and Sarah will have a son.”

"Is anything too hard for the Lord?" The obvious answer is, "Of course not!" This question reveals much about God. Make it a habit to insert your specific needs into the question. Asking the question this way reminds you that God is personally involved in your life and nudges you to ask for his power to help you.
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It still amazes me that Sarah and Abraham had a son after so long.  Think of all the women, couples who struggle today.  Imagine being Abraham and Sarah.  Mostly Sarah.  Feeling so inadequate.  Or at least I would.  I had trouble conceiving my first son.  It took about 2.5 years to finally have him and it,  was hard work, meds, working out, loosing weight, dieting, and lots of discipline.  After all that, it was praying and God that honored the hard worked and blessed us with a son.  I was told I could not have children and I fought against it.  God honored that faith, I believe, and now I have two children.  I know many people that still struggle with that same issue today and my heart goes out to them daily.  It is very difficult to think you cannot have children, be told you cannot have children, daily fight to have children, and monthly get a reminder that you have failed.  Then pick up and fight all over again month after month day after day.  It is a daily struggle, but as the scripture says above, nothing is too BIG for God.  With my second child I didn't even have to try, she was a complete surprise.  He blessed us amazingly with no effort there.  Well obviously some effort, lol.  But honestly, don't give up, with whatever struggle you are experiencing, NOTHING is too BIG for God.  Pray to Him, Go to Him, minute by minute, day by day and talk to Him.  He will honor your faith.  He honors faith more than works.  Believe in Him, believe he will do what he promises.  Believe it in your heart.  Read about the woman who just thought if she touched his robe she would be healed, of the friends who just thought if they dropped their crippled friend on a rug down to Jesus in the Temple he would be healed, faith.  Believe, have faith and you will be healed.  Believe in Him and great things will happen.  People will h-have babies, struggles will have answers that are in the best for all parties involved according to God's will, and love will prevail.  God's promises are truth and binding.  He loves us.