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Showing posts from 2013
New Year Dreams The New Year is a great time to reflect on new dreams.I'm learning to dream my dreams a little less specifically.I believe God gives me inspiration and ideas that my dreams are made of, but I'm learning that I can hold myself back by relying too much on what I dream of for the new year. This was shown to me during the past winter blast we had in the year previous.I was having troubles with my heater and everything stirred up on the coldest iciest day in Dallas for some time.Though my heater would go on and off, the night it totally went out was the coldest night to the storm.I was completely stressed from not enough sleep the night before and then I was faced with a house with no heat and the fear of frozen pipes and other maladies that go along with that.I knew God could get my heat on even though the specialists were not allowed to drive on the icy streets to come to my aid.I begged God to do a miracle for me.He had done it before. Instead, my fire alarms began …

Holy Peace and Merry Christmas

Peace on Earth—Good Will Toward Men I could be a multi-millionaire if I could find a way to bottle the peace that transcends understanding (Philippians 4:7).However, if I tried to do that, it would demonstrate that I didn't fully receive that peace.I only say it that way because it is a peace that is out of this world and something that lost souls are so desperate for that if they had even a taste of it, they would go to any extreme to have more of it. I received this peace recently as an utmost gift from my loving God because He gives peace generously and unexpectedly to those who are seriously seeking Him.I got caught up in a conflict that got out of hand recently.Through prayer and wise counsel the Lord showed me my sin and asked me to confess what He showed me.I did.The situation got worse; but this time, though I am not innocent for sure, I did not rebel against God and followed His direction to stand firm.When I came home I expected to be stirred up—I don't like to be invo…

Holy Joy!

How does joy become holy?It all depends on the object of your joy.If your joy is about having a certain experience, receiving a certain gift, getting a certain reaction, then you will or will not have joy based on whether your expectations are met.Presto-magic joy is achievable under certain circumstances.
Holy joy is an altogether different experience.If your joy is found in the thing that cannot be taken away from you, you can have joy in every circumstance you encounter this Christmas season.Let’s say you are stuck in the airport for seventy-two hours while your dream vacations melts away.That is definitely not a joyful thought.You are hungry, tired, broke, disappointed beyond measure.You can experience holy joy.This comes from making the object of your joy the reality that no matter how this situation plays out, you will be stretched and drawn closer to God through your prayers and hopes for the resolution you want and acceptance that His way has to be better even when you can’t se…

The Holiness of Love

Love is evidence of being created in the image of God.It is the remnant of our divine origins.God’s love is the miracle that created Christmas.It was God’s amazing love for us that prompted Him to send His only Son to us as a babe whose birth we celebrate at Christmas.It’s the warmth of that love that we encounter during the season.In the midst of the black Friday brawls, there are amazing stories of strangers showing extraordinary love because God first loved us.Every time you encounter extraordinary love this Christmas, you encounter the holiness of the holiday.

When we light the candle of love, it is can be referred to as the Mary Candle.Mary’s love for God motivated her to say Yes to the life-changing encounter with an angel and become the home for Jesus.Her love for God transformed her to love her Son, who became her Savior.It was Mary’s love for God that motivated her to say a wholehearted Yes to His invitation to become part of our redemption story.
Contrasting Eve and Mary revea…

Make It a Holy Season

Advent rolls around again. It’s not the first time I think about Christmas.In fact I have been seeing Christmas decorations in all the stores since before Halloween.It is the first time I accept Christmas.It is the week I begin turning my heart to what the season is meant to be all about.As I begin to experience Christmas again this year, I need to hold my heart open to the holiness of the season or I have no chance of making it a holy season.

It starts with fighting off the world and all its trappings at Christmas.There is nothing holy about frantically buying gifts I can’t afford, packing my schedule with events and parties that drain my energy, and eating every delight that is set before me.
The season begins with high hopes that will be fulfilled only if I set my hope on Jesus.He brings hope to every heart!Hope will help us make this season a holy season.If you have an Advent wreath, use it to help you maintain your focus on the holiness of this time of year.The circle of evergreen …

Grateful for God's Goodness

Thanksgiving reminds us to be grateful.If we wait until one time a year to think about what we are grateful for, we do a disservice to our souls.Each day God hides opportunities to know Him more.We have every reason to be grateful for every moment of every day.

The worst day of my life will surely be the morning I awoke to find my husband unconscious in our home.Even on the worst day there was a long list of people and experiences of God’s love for which I could be grateful.I was immediately surrounded by half the staff of ministers with whom Brian worked.I only made one call to his assistant, and everyone came running to be by his side (and mine).I’m so grateful that in the midst of my shock my sister-in-law had the good sense to buy Rachel a flight and get her on her way—she arrived just after lunch.When I thought about my friends, I called one and gave her a list of those to call because I knew they would kill me for not knowing what was going on.I missed a few, but they didn’t mind…

The Lord's Prayer--Thy Protection

The Lord’s PrayerThy Name, Thy Will, Thy Gift, Thy Victory, Thy Protection
Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil

In our last section of the five requests in the Lord’s Prayer, we ask God to send us into the world with His protection.This request does not mention heaven, but it is all about the heavenlies!
It is vital that we daily take into account what we can and cannot see.It is what we cannot see that has the greatest power to affect the outcome of each day.Sometimes we think our enemy is our boss, our spouse, our children—those with whom we have a conflict.They are not our enemy.
As this prayer attests, we are up against something powerful each day.It is called evil.We are tempted to follow the path of evil.The Pharisees demonstrate to us that sometimes the greatest evil looks like religious service.
God’s remedy to evil is Himself.Notice Jesus doesn’t teach us to pray for more moral goodness.He doesn’t ask us to pray that we become righteous on our own.He doesn’t say…

The Lord's Prayer--Thy Victory

The Lord’s PrayerThy Name, Thy Will, Thy Gift, Thy Victory, Thy Protection
And forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us.
I don’t know about you, but I don’t think very rigorously about the things I do wrong to others. After all, I know they are done out of a good heart. I have all kinds of rationalizations about them.
But let me tell you. I can become very stern over a minor (in comparison to my sins) resentment.I can let resentment crush my soul by rigorously detailing every wrong I endured.I can be depleted of time, emotional energy and clear thinking when I put myself in a prison of resentment and throw away the key of forgiveness.When I do this, I drink the poison of unforgiveness, rather than experience the supernatural experience of sincere, agape love for someone who has either carelessly or seriously offended me.
This phrase of the powerful Lord’s Prayer if prayed sincerely can become the most transformational phrase we ever utter.God our holy Abba-…

The Lord's Prayer--Thy Gift

The Lord’s PrayerThy Name, Thy Will, Thy Gift, Thy Victory, Thy Protection
In our five-part series on The Lord’s Prayer, we come to the gifts God gives us every day when Jesus asks us to ask for our daily bread.The exact phrase: Give us this day our daily bread.
Why would something so basic be mentioned in a prayer so epic?After all, we have started this prayer by wrapping our minds around how amazing and powerful our Abba Father is and that He is in heaven.We quickly move on to establish the fact that no matter what we want or say in our prayer to Him we want it settled from the beginning that we only want His will to be done like it is in heaven.So why stoop so low as to discuss the things of earth such as our daily bread?
Here is where this prayer focuses on the earthly realities that we all face.Jesus teaches us to be so intimate with God that we ask Him for our daily bread. Though He indeed is a holy God who abides in heaven, He is a present God so familiar that we call Him Father, …

The Lord's Prayer--Thy Will

Thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.
Once again this prayer teaches us how to orient our souls by thinking about heaven.As we move forward in our reflection of these amazing words from the most famous prayer, we find ourselves considering heaven.The world is so intoxicating—the good and bad aspects of it—that we often overly focus on and dismiss the unseen reality of heaven.Jesus left heaven so that He could bring heaven to us.
Praying for God’s Kingdom to come and His will to be done is in fact, praying for heaven to intersect with our lives beginning in our hearts.When we ask for the Kingdom to be in our midst, we are inviting the virtues and justice of heaven to govern our hearts and lives.The best way to make sure that you receive everything you really need for each day on earth is to keep your focus on heaven.Matthew 6:33 says:But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.
So what does seeking first hi…

The Lord's Prayer--Thy Name

The Lord’s Prayer—Thy Name, Thy Will, Thy Gift, Thy Victory, Thy Protection
For the next five weeks, I would like to unpack the five main phrases of what we call The Lord’s Prayer, The Our Father, The Prayer Jesus taught us to Pray, The Model Prayer, found in Matthew 6:9-13.I hope to help us reflect more deeply on the phrases many of us know by heart.Jesus did not teach them to us to pray without considering the meaning behind each word and phrase.
Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name….what a beautiful way to begin.
Our Father: Jesus is the one who taught us to think of God as our Father.God gave this image of Himself with mankind in the Old Testament (Deuteronomy 1:31; Psalm 103:13; Malachi 3:17) but it was not until Jesus that we began to comprehend that God wants us to think of Him as our Father during prayer.I love that Jesus didn’t teach us to pray to His Father.Jesus calls God our Father.Jesus called Him Abba—Daddy.When we pray we are to consider that we are talking…

The Missing Tribe of Dan

The reason I love studying the Bible with a group of people is that they teach me things I don’t know.I love it when I don’t know the answer to a question.That is how I learn.So when someone recounted the ugly tail of Dan’s idolatry in Judges 18 concluding with the passage in Judges 18:30-31:There the Danites set up for themselves the idol, and Jonathan son of Gershom, the son of Moses, and his sons were priests for the tribe of Dan until the time of the captivity of the land.They continued to use the idol Micah had made, all the time the house of God was in Shiloh. I wanted to know if that could possibly be true that the Danites never ever worshiped God!How could that be?

Before I had a chance to settle that question, someone in the class read the passage from Revelation 7 where the tribe of Dan was omitted.I never considered that!I never realized that a whole tribe of Israel was not found in the New Testament.What could that mean?As an avid reader of the Old Testament, I am constantl…

Answered Prayer

One way or the other everybody will pray.This was driven home to me on the finale of the much talked about show Breaking Bad.It was my little secret that I became a huge fan of the show.It’s not a show for the fainthearted, and it might shock you that I liked it.I’m sure most of my readers don’t watch it so let me sum it up for you.The show is about an overqualified high school chemistry teacher who gets cancer and due to his pride devises a scheme to pay his medical bills and give his family a nest-egg after he dies.The strategy involves cooking meth and ultimately becoming a drug lord, overthrowing the cartel.There is a lot of violence, drug use, illicit sex and murder.

Though the show taught me a lot about depravity, I never thought that I would see the main character praying.That is what is so great about the show; it is always shocking you and taking twists you never saw coming (even though you tried to guess).Walt prayed.Most people missed it, but there was no other explanation.I…

Belongings Belong

I can’t think of one more word that will help you understand where I am going from that title so this devotion will be the explanation of how belongings belong.I’ve never had the occasion to think of my belongings in quite the same way as after my husband went to heaven and left all of our belongings to me.One of my great privileges for the twenty-seven years of our marriage was having a husband who took care of most of our belongings.I had belongings with all the benefits and none of the burdens.All that dramatically changed in an instant.The same belongings that had brought me comfort the day before became a burden.A year ago I could not cope with buying dog food, getting my dog to the veterinarian, getting my car serviced and having repairmen in my house alone!I called my parents, who came for a week to catch up with everything that was crashing down on me.In the year that has passed I have done a better job of caring for my belongings, but it seems a never ending task.

This week Go…

Humility and Tears

Humility and tears don’t sound like something we would strive for, do they?Most of us concur that life is found avoiding humility and tears.The apostle Paul makes some very bold statements in the New Testament books he wrote.Some wish that he never said what he said about women especially.In Acts 20:19, Luke quoted his description of ministry when he wrote Paul’s words: I served the Lord with great humility and with tears and in the midst of severe testing by the plots of my Jewish opponents.

Paul’s audience was the elders from Ephesus.These were church leaders who could better comprehend how humility and tears are part of serving God.Perhaps they needed to hear it again.They needed to hear it from the one who taught them all he knew about loving and serving God.These words were most likely received like affirmation that their own service to the Lord was on track with Paul’s example.This was Paul’s last opportunity to address this group, which caused them great grief (Acts 20:37).These…