Welcome to Mountain Breeze Devotions

Mountain Breeze Devotions began in May of 2003. This ministry is an email ministry sending devotionals and meditations seven days a week by request.
It is the sister site of www.ChristianDevotions.US

This is the ministry of authors Cindy Sproles and Eddie Jones. Two friends brought together to serve the Father -- to spread the word to those who may not know and to promote the art and writers of Christian writing.

Welcome to Mountain Breeze Devotions --Cindy Sproles, author

Friday, August 31, 2007

God is Mighty


There is no wisdom, no insight, no plan that can succeed against the Lord. – Proverbs 21:30

Our country seems to be in a shambles these days. The once staunch belief in God is faltering and sin is quickly filling the hearts of those who are weak. Families are separating, morals are declining, and the ways of the world are seeping in little by little, clouding our view.

Satan is working overtime to destroy this nation that was built on the premise of God. In many ways, he is successful. He has convinced the powers-that-be, that our children do not need discipline in school. Then when swoop in and kill hundreds of their classmates, he rejoices. He has allowed the morals and standards of marriage to be undermined to the point that anything goes. And in this success, he leans back and roars with laughter.

Still, Satan is fooled, for God is mighty. The free choice that the Father has given us allows us to make our decisions – choose our ground. However, what we often forget is that God never changes. His values are the same today that they were when He created this world. He stands to the side, knowing the pathways we will choose, watching as we make decisions to tear away at His world, and He shakes His head in sadness. For when all else fails, God does not.

“There is no wisdom, no insight, no plan that can succeed against the Lord.”(Proverbs 21:30)We as a nation, and we as a people, may think that we are oh, so smart, but we are not. For when God has withstood all He can bear, His discipline will follow. One would think that Satan would have learned; for every one success he has, God has three. Yet he continues to chip away at the values of those who believe. It is not always the big issues that are attacked, it’s the small things – the easy things.

The decisions we face will change and shape the world, and as a group Christians could make a difference if we would unite against the decaying morals that face our children. The key is, “unite.” God will not be outdone. He will not loose the war. His wrath will come down at some point because He is the Creator of all things. If every Christian took a stand against sin, imagine what would happen. Just imagine. Now is the time to take action, to drop to our knees and pray. God is mighty. He is powerful, and He will not be beat. God will prevail.

Prayer: Lord, forgive us where we fall short. Give us strength to overcome.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do everything through him who gives me strength. – Philippians 4:12-13

Marcie pulled open the cabinet to look once more. Just in case something had miraculously appeared. She had played this game every morning, hoping today when she pulled open the cupboard there would be a loaf of bread. Once again, she’d lost the round.

Walking to the refrigerator, she opened the door and retrieved a large bowl of pork and beans. “Honey crawl up at the table and momma will warm you some beans for breakfast.” She carefully measured just enough beans into a pan so that nothing was wasted, then she placed them on the stove to warm.

“We only got beans again mom?” her daughter asked.

“Yes, darling. Only beans, but today we will pretend like we are having bacon and eggs. You’re so good at using your imagination. I know you’ll be able to taste the eggs.” She placed the beans in a bright yellow plate, and folded a dishtowel to lay it in her daughter’s lap. “There, breakfast is served to the princess.”

Her daughter ate every bite, then grabbed her school bag and headed out the door for school. Marcie watched as she reached the gate. “Mom, that was the best bacon and eggs I’ve ever tasted.” A smile parted Marcie’s lips as she lifted two fingers to blow her baby a kiss. They didn’t have a lot, but they had what they needed.

Sometimes it is hard learning to make the best of a bad situation. Just when we think things couldn’t get any worse, there is always something that proves us wrong. Our problem is, we tend to become stuck in the bad things. Next, we feel sorry for ourselves, and before we know it – we’ve come to a complete halt. Giving up seems to be the only answer.

In Paul’s letter to the Philippians, he took time to first, thank them for their concern for him and the difficulties he was experiencing, but secondly, he attempted to impress upon them that he had found the key to contentment regardless of his situation. He had learned that God sustains everything, and when he trusted fully, the Father would care for the rest. Paul made the efforts to continue to press forward, regardless of his situation. The key being that he made efforts. He didn’t throw up his hands and quit. He pushed forward

Marcie and her daughter learned to make the best of a bad situation, remaining grateful for the provisions they had. They pressed ahead, whether it was waiting for the next allotment of food stamps, or whether it was a new job. Our Father in heaven knows our needs and when we rise to the occasion, He is pleased. He provides. We only have to trust. Learning to be happy regardless of our situation is the beginning of that deep trust. And from here, we find the joys of a life of gratitude.

Prayer: Thank you Lord, for the many ways You care for us. May we always be content and trust in You.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Peace

And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. – Philippians 4:7

Our lives seem all too complicated. There are days we long for the simple life again. The times when we would visit grandma and everyone would sit on the ground in the front yard under the shade tree talking. Folks would just spend time visiting. The yard was always full of kids playing, and the only real problem most of us had was what team would choose us.
We grew older and somewhere, somehow, things changed dramatically. Though the change didn’t happen overnight, it certainly took its toll before all was said and done. People rarely visit these days and life seems to have become pushy – insisting we put the needs of the world above the needs of the family. Our work schedule lengthens, while family time shrinks and day by day, a little more of that precious commodity called peace, is lost. There are times, we cover our heads with a blanket and dread to crawl out of bed.
The wonderful thing about Christ, is knowing that at anytime all we have to do is close the door, and fall to our knees. There is a difference in praying from a sitting position and praying from a kneeling position and it all begins with humility. When we want to talk to the Father – just chat, sitting is fine. However, when we are in search of peace, seeking God on our knees is displaying humility.
When we want to understand why, or when we wholeheartedly seek the Lord, then we need to drop to our knees. Why? A couple of reasons come to mind. When we place ourselves in a position of kneeling, we are laying aside our pride and stretching physically before the Lord saying, “I am willing to seek You and accept Your guidance without question.” Secondly, the "I" is taken out of the picture and we submit to the will of God. That’s when the calming peace of God gently settles into our hearts. The problem may not go away, but the peace of knowing God has the situation at bay, makes all the difference in the world.
Any position we pray from, whether standing, sitting, walking, or kneeling, is good prayer time. But, when we truly humble ourselves before the Lord from our knees then this is when we are truly willing to listen and receive that peace that passes all understanding.
Try it. Close your bedroom door, turn out the lights, clear your mind, and then go to your knees. You will be amazed at the depth of peace you will find from your knees.

Prayer: Precious Father, bless us with the peace that passes understanding. Give our souls rest.



Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Be Strong

Finally, be strong in the lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. – Ephesians 6:10-11

Have you ever been overcome by life and all it flings your way? We’ve all experienced this from time to time. We become so over-involved that Satan is able to grasp hold of us and steer us away from God.

How does he do it? It’s simple. For some he can easily say, “You can’t do that activity. It’s too hard. You don’t have time and you won’t be appreciated.” But for others he works just the opposite. He may encourage us to pack more items onto our plate, pushing us in overload. Once he convinces us to take on an overage of projects then he turns the tables and begins to hint to us that we are not getting help, no one else will do the project, or even hint to us to stay home from church or school so that we aren’t asked to do anything else.

The fact of the matter is, his ultimate goal is to burn us out. He wants make us feel as though we are the only ones in the world who may feel tired and unappreciated. When that happens, he has us just where he wants us. Satan leans back and roars with laughter as he celebrates in his success.

Putting on the armor of God can have more than one meaning. Primarily, we consider the armor to be a good scriptural base – one that will offer us recall when we must fight against evil. Satan fears the word of God and when we are able to use those words against him, we become strong. However, the armor can be something else as well. The armor can be the protection we need from God to help us ward off Satan’s stinging words. By helping us to close our ears to the things that he is trying to convince us to do or not to do, we can find the necessary help we need to pick and choose the projects where our talents will excel. Now, we can perform to the highest standard for the glory of God.

Satan schemes against us daily. When we find ourselves tired, sad, and wanting a way out, it may very well be, that the devil has been successful. God loves us for our efforts, and he always sees the work we’ve done. The thing we must remember is that our Father never overloads us with work. He wants us to take our talents and use them to the BEST of our abilities to glorify Him.

Is your plate overflowing with tasks that could be shared? Put on the armor of God and allow Him to help you sort through the massive pile of work. He will give you the necessary strength to overcome.

Prayer: Father, we tire at times. Help us to find strength in and power in You.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Be an Imitator

Be imitators of God, therefore, as dearly loved children and live a life of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God. – Ephesians 5:1

Liza bounced down the front stairs and plopped up on the couch next to her dad. He dropped one side of the newspaper and winked at her. A grin spread across her lips, and she winked back. She grabbed a section of the paper and flipped it open.

As he turned the page, he shook the paper to straighten the wrinkles. Liza giggled and did exactly as her father. He crossed his legs at the knees, followed by Lisa doing the same. Letting one side of paper drop, her dad slid his hand to his ankle and scratched his foot. Being the copycat she was, Liza tittered and did the same.

Moments into the copying act, her dad tossed the paper across the living room and yanked Liza to the floor, tickling her and calling her a copycat. After a few minutes of play, he pulled her to her feet and brushed the hair away from her eyes. “I love you Copycat Liza.”

“I love you, too, daddy.”

They say imitation is the greatest form of flattery, and what child hasn’t pulled the copycat trick? Even adults mimic people they admire. This is how we learn. Our toddler children learn fine motor skills and language by watching us. If the values of their home life are strong and steady this is what they imitate. If values are careless and weak, then children learn likewise.

If we learn by imitation, then why are more of us not imitating Christ? The example He left us to follow was very controlled and precise. Jesus always chose His words carefully, and though He, like any human, had moments when anger erupted, He still thought through His actions. Even to His death on the cross, Jesus in all His brokenness and agony, still set the example of perfect forgiveness when He uttered, “Father, forgive them.”

Who do you imitate? Better yet, who imitates you? Are you sending out an example that makes others long to have the joy you have? Be an imitator of Christ and teach the world of His goodness.

Prayer: Father, help us to be the examples You want us to be. Make us good imitators of You.

Friday, August 24, 2007

He is Present

Your love, O Lord, reaches to the heavens, your faithfulness to the skies. Your righteousness is like the mighty mountains, your justice like the great deep. – Psalm 36:5-6

It is sometimes hard to understand the power and reach of God. We cannot physically see Him or touch Him, and that makes it difficult to trust when we feel abandoned. We are a people who require visualization in order to believe. Therefore, when we approach someone who may not be a strong believer, it’s hard to make them understand that God is really with us.

The harder issue comes when we must explain faithfulness and trust. Even the dictionary is clear as mud when you try to define faithfulness. “To be faithful.” Let’s ask ourselves what it really means to be faithful. It means to be steadfast and constant. Trust means to be dependent on someone or something. Now, having defined those two words, how do we understand the power and reach of God? Simple – we have a faithful trust.

Now you're wondering, what is the point? The point is, God is so much bigger than anything we can imagine that there is no way we can understand His power or His reach. The whole issue boils down to a steadfast belief.

As humans, we have the need to believe in something but it is usually something we see up front. How can we believe in someone we do not see or we cannot touch? The issue comes full-circle. We must have faith and trust. At some point in our lives, we must learn to believe in something or someone. Just because we do not see a human form of God standing in front of us daily, doesn’t mean He doesn’t exist.

When you look into the bluest of skies and see gentle clouds floating across the horizon, that’s God. When you look at the wilds of Africa and see the animals in all their beauty – that’s God. When you enjoy the sounds of a gentle mountain stream or the cool of the shade of a tree you see God. He is everything created. He is the Creator.

When it is hardest for us to trust, His faithfulness reaches beyond our wildest imagination and His righteousness rises above all else we can see. Learning to focus on the things we cannot grasp fully, like the sun rising every morning and oceans washing the shoreline continuously, helps us to see God.

At some point in our lives we have to believe in something and we have to trust in someone. It is just as easy for it to be the Father. He may not be in the form we expect, but His presence is there. Learn to trust and learn to be faithful, for the Lord is always present. We simply have to believe.

Prayer: Father, Lord and Creator of all. You are almighty and faithful. You are always near. Thank you.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Do Not Forget Them

Do not cast me away when I am old; do not forsake me when my strength is gone. – Psalm 70:9

I want to share a true story. Our office recently had cable phones and computer lines installed. As I waited for the young men to finish their installation, one of them picked up a brochure from the desk.
“You guys take care of old people. I thought they just went to nursing homes.” He looked somewhat perplexed.
“Yes, we care for the elderly. They don’t all have a need to go into a facility. Many just need a little extra help at home and they can manage.”
The young man flipped open the brochure scanning the inside. “That’s pretty cool. It would be like a …a…church is supposed to do.” he replied.
I pushed my glasses to my forehead and smiled. “Well, now that’s a good point.”
“I remember when I was a kid that our preacher told us the Bible said to care for the old people.” He pushed his finger beneath his ball cap and lifted the hat slightly.
“Your preacher was right, and I am sure if more churches did just that, there would not be a need for companies like ours. They’d put us out of business.” The young man laughed as he slipped the brochure back into the holder. I noticed, as he made a number of trips in and out of the office installing the phone lines, he would hesitate at that the desk and stare at the brochure.
Finally, he stopped once more and pulled out the brochure. “I love my grandparents. I could never imagine them being alone and having to have someone they didn’t know come take care of them. Why would a family forget their parents or grandparents? Better yet, why would churches forget them?”
I assured him there were plenty of good reasons why families would seek the help of companies like ours – it wasn’t because they didn’t care rather, they needed extra help. The real curve he threw me, was why didn’t Christians do this job? There, the young man had a point.
God has instructed us numerous times to care for our elderly, widows and orphaned children. He doesn’t offer it as a suggestion, He tells to do this. And while many “churches” are good at running a successful shut-in program, there are equally as many Christians who are not. Caring for our elderly is of the utmost importance. They gave birth to us and raised us. That should be reason enough for our concern. More so, they have earned the respect. Their lives are full of wisdom and knowledge – good information we need to learn. For the elderly who have loved ones to care for them, there are equally as many who do not.
Our Father has specifically instructed us to care for the needs of these individuals. He had good reasoning behind His instruction. Spend a little time visiting those who are older. Stop by their homes or visit them in the nursing homes. Remind them they are special and loved and that God has blessed them with great wisdom. There will come a day, when we sit in their chair. How would you like to be treated?

Prayer: Lord, forgive us when we forget our elders. Give us courage and determination to care for their needs as You have instructed.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Making a Quiet Time


After he had dismissed them, he went up on a mountainside by himself to pray. When evening came, he was there alone – Matthew 14:23

There is something to be said for quiet time. We live in a time where we are constantly on the move. There is always something or someone demanding our time and talents. So much so, we do not remember what it was like to sit down on the porch and swing. There is this feeling of urgency eating away at the time we’ve set aside to rest. Between our work schedules, outside activities, church and heaven forbid, should we forget television time, there just is not enough hours in the day.

After awhile we find ourselves less focused and the quality of the activity we perform slips. This is just another way Satan pulls us into his snare. He so self-involves us that we lose track of things. Our body tires, our mind muddles and illness sets in. I know. I’ve been there.

The fact is, whether we fill our time with outside activities or church related activities, there is a limit to what we can physically do. Once our bodies reach that limit, we go into shut-down. Jesus knew better than most what it was like to be over-extended. Imagine having the power that He carried, and the number of people who crowded around Him in a constant effort for healing. Hands outstretched constantly, touching, reaching for the saving power of His touch - He had to have become tired. As a result, there were times He demanded a quiet time. Even Jesus, the Son of God, needed time to rest and pray.

In fact, it was not uncommon for Him to send the disciples one direction for the crowds to follow. He often got into a boat and sailed just off shore in an effort to find that peace and quiet. The point being, He needed time to spend with His Father in prayer. He needed to revive himself, renew His spirit, and seek God’s counsel. Likewise, we need to do the same.

Even if our activities are good ones – ones that involve the church, the reality of the matter is, we are only human, and we can each only do so much before we wear out. Finding a quiet time to study the Word, even if it’s only five minutes at a time, refreshes our hearts. It keeps us in touch with the Father. Choosing the activities we do best and engaging our talents and efforts into serving God through those talents is one way to better serve.

More so, seeking those constant moments of silence so that we are able to focus our God-ears on what the Lord is saying. He whispers to us for a reason. He wants us to “listen intently” for His guidance. Find that quiet time and earmark it daily so that good quality time is spent in a good relationship with the Lord. Remember, shhhhh. Just be quiet for a moment – rest, meditate, and pray. You will be amazed at how it revives the soul.

Prayer: Father, help us to remain focused on what is important so we do not over extend ourselves. Help us seek a quiet time.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

He Soothes My Fear

So we say with confidence, “The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid. What can man do to me?” – Hebrews 13:6

Seeking out our talents can be a difficult task primarily because we are quick to say we have none. This happens especially when someone asks us to head a committee, work in VBS, or participate in an activity at church that may interfere with our Tuesday night prime time television. Yet, when the project is in process, even if we’ve opted out, we are quick to judge those who have worked hard.

Each time I involve myself in a project, especially at church, I want to do it to the best of my ability. It has to be the ultimate best – not for myself, but for God. It’s something I’ve committed to do for Him.

I am not always the best singer, or instrument player who takes their turn in the services, and even when my personal mistakes outweigh the good things in a project I can always say, “I did my best for God.”

Years ago, when I first began to play the piano and organ at church, I could hardly get through a song without making mistakes. One Sunday, nearly in tears before the service was finished, my sister-in-law made a point that has remained in the forefront since.

“Are you playing this piano so people will pat on you the back?” she asked.

Stunned, I said no.

“Good. Then you realize you are playing for God and He is the only one that matters. Do your best, regardless of the mistakes, and God will be dancing in heaven because you did it for Him.” Wow. What a point, but she was right. Whatever I offered to do for the Lord from that day forward, has been the best I can do – whether it’s always successful or not.

When I am afraid that no one will show for the ladies conference, God has calmed my fears saying, “It’s okay, you have done your best and I am pleased.” When I fret over a song I have to sing, He reminds me that He is joyful I have made the effort. The fact of the matter is, God

never lets me down. He is always by my side encouraging me to move forward. Do I still make mistakes? Oh, you bet ya! When I look beyond the people in the pews, to the clouds in the sky, I see the Father, leaned back on His throne, eyes closed and smiling. He is pleased.

He eases my fears and gives me the courage to try once more when I fail, and again – He basks in my efforts to glorify Him. Though every effort He soothes my fears and offers me courage to try again and again. It does not matter what man thinks. It only matters if I made the full-hearted effort to serve the Lord. He will take care of the rest.

Prayer: Father, thank you for Your love and support. Accept, O Lord, all I have to offer and help me to not be afraid to serve.

CHECK OUT MOUNTAIN BREEZE WRITER FOR THE NEWEST INTERVIEW IN THE CHRISTIANS WITH THE HEART OF A SERVANT SERIES.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Do It the Easy Way

Our fathers disciplined us for a little while as they thought best; but God disciplines us for our good, that we may share in his holiness. No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it. –Hebrews 12:10-11

When I was a child, my mother had made two ceramic birds. They were about eight or ten inches tall and were some type of elegant water foul. She had painted them a solid orange that matched the d├ęcor in her living room. There was something intriguing about those two statues and I frequently found myself sitting on the couch tinkering with them. “Put those down before you drop them and break them.” That seemed to be mom’s constant warning.

I remember vividly, when I was in third grade. It was winter and the Winter Olympics had been on television. Women’s figure skating had just ended. I rushed to my room and grabbed a slick pair of socks. Slipping them over my bare feet, I proceeded to skate around the living room, twisting and twirling, doing the most fabulous jumps when suddenly, in the middle of a spin, my hand caught the edge of one of the statues. It went sailing across the room, breaking in half. I felt sick at my stomach. Mom would not be a happy camper. So, I neatly placed the bird on its side on the table. I laid a bunch of newspapers next to make it look as if they had knocked over the bird and broke it. Mom would never suspect me – not in a million years.

I was wrong. She immediately asked me if I broke the bird. I came up with some wild story, which obviously wasn’t true and needless to say, mom truly wasn’t a happy camper. However, what angered her was not that I broke the bird it was that I lied to her. Mom offered me two options. The first was to be truthful and the second was to accept the discipline. Convinced she’d believe my story, I choose to remain steadfast. Her discipline soon followed and it was twice as bad because I’d lied.

God offers us discipline as well. He offers us ample opportunity to study and learn His preventative discipline, hoping we’ll choose the right path. When we fail to do so, He teaches us with corrective discipline. Our Father loves us dearly, but He wants us to be righteous and loving children, so He will discipline us, even to this very day in time. He is a God full of love and care for His children. His ultimate desire is for us to share the heavenly home He’s prepared for us.

Do things the easy way, and learn from His preventative discipline. It is much easier than the corrective discipline. Seek His ways and learn. The rewards are great.

Prayer: Heavenly Father, thank you for being a loving and caring Father; one who wants me to be the best I can be.

Friday, August 17, 2007

Chapter by Chapter

This is the disciple who testifies to these things and who wrote them down. We know that his testimony is true. – John 21:24

Dave thumbed through the index cards on his desk, sorting them into a plotline. He made three stacks of cards then continually moved the cards from stack to stack as a magician would move cups with a hidden ball beneath. “Now that looks better.” he said as he made one final switch. “I can write now.”

He pulled his cushy chair close to the desk and began to tick away at the computer keys. Before he knew it, he had completed a chapter. Today was a good day to write, for the words flowed easily into the next chapter. Within a matter of hours he’d finished five chapters. Dave leaned back. His chair complained for a taste of oil. He felt good about his accomplishment.

Emily, Dave’s dark-eyed daughter peeked through the door. “Can I come in, dad?” He smiled an approving yes. “Wow, five chapters. That’s great dad. Does that mean you don’t have to write any tomorrow?”

Dave pulled a long strand of hair to the side of her face. “Nope. Daddy writes everyday. There’s another chapter to be crafted.”

This is typical of those of us who pen. We must write daily. It’s a deep passion – an unquenchable thirst to write chapter by chapter. There is a story in every incident of life. In fact, depending on who is writing it, there are several stories, and each has to be written.

Jesus brought together twelve men to walk daily with Him, and a handful of those men chose to write. Some wrote immediately while others penned the memories years later, but the fact remains – they wrote. Chapter by chapter these men continued to share the story of the Son of God. They wrote honestly and with passion, so that others could know the Savior they way they knew Him.

A writer continues to write, even when writing is difficult. They write. Word after word, chapter after chapter – they never stop telling the stories. As a Christian we should have that same burning desire to share the story. If we do not tell the story of Christ – who will? Day after day, example after example, we are the bearer of the Word.

Do writers always feel like writing? No, but they do. Why, what would we do if no one wrote the stories? Likewise, what would we do if no one shared Christ? When telling the story of Jesus becomes hard, many of us stop. Praise God, Jesus did not stop when the road to Calvary faced him. We can never afford to stop telling the stories of Jesus. We can never stop writing -- chapter after chapter.

Prayer: God of all creation, fill us with Your stories to write. Fill us with the desire to share the love of Christ.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

The World under Psalm 136 (A Personal Paraphrase)

Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good. His love endures forever. Psalm 136:1


I am so thankful, God for your love never ends. It is always faithful. I am thankful to the Creator and Lord of Lords, because you always love me. To you, Oh Father, who does the miraculous, who created the universe and all that is within it – your love is ever faithful.

To the Lord who disciplined Egypt and rescued Israel with Your mighty hand; your love is always faithful. And to the God who performed great miracles by parting the Red Sea, saving Your people and destroying their enemy. Who served as a beacon of freedom, leading Your children through the desert and overthrowing those who tried to overcome You – Your love is so very faithful.

To the God who remembers His servants, who lifts us to a higher level and freed us from our oppressors. To the Father who sees and provides our every need, knows every thought, and cares for every living creature. Your love lasts forever.

I will give thanks to you, the God of all heaven and earth, because Your love goes on forever, and ever, and ever.

Sometimes we need only look as deep as the Father’s love to find any comfort, help or solstice that we may be searching for. If we would only search out the amazing power within the love of Christ, our lives would be much richer. Psalm 136 tells of the love which endures all things. How would you paraphrase it?

Prayer: Father, we sometimes forget the depth of Your love. Your love endures forever.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

I'm A Nut



“They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the Lord for the display of his splendor.” Isaiah 61:3

I’ve never been able to sit down at the beginning of a new year and write out goals. I find myself looking at the hopes and dreams of my family rather than myself. I want to be sure they have all they hope for. It’s a mom thing, I suppose.

I sat through a well known motivational seminar some years ago and took page after page of notes on having a winning attitude and setting goals, but when it came down to actually putting my own goals on a sheet of paper – I went blank. The speaker walked past each of us glancing over our shoulders and reading what was on our papers. When he glanced over my shoulder, he patted me on the back and said, “Honey, are you struggling?” A bit embarrassed, I smiled. He laughed a jolly laugh and remarked. “You’re a nut.” A bit confused I stared at him with a glazed look. “You’re a nut. You are a nut, waiting to become a mighty oak.” I jotted that tidbit down and it hangs by my computer to this day as a reminder that I am someone special in the making.

I’ve often wondered why it is so hard, especially for women, to feel deserving of more than we allow ourselves. Some say it is our deserve level, while others say it is the fear of success. I suppose there are a lot of good physiological reasons why, but one really sticks with me. It’s humility. Of course, we want for ourselves. For me, I work daily to achieve the dreams I have, but more than my own wants, is the desire to see those around me achieve their hopes and dreams as well.

Our Father has blessed us with much. He’s given us individual talents, abilities and desires and though He offers us abundance, I have to think that it’s not all about me and what I can achieve. In the realm of successful thinking, I’m sure to be called a failure because I don’t climb kicking and shouting over others to achieve my dreams. Some of us just have a dream of happiness for ourselves and for others. There is nothing wrong with that desire. On a daily basis, I write. I make efforts to improve my skill and I hope for a book contract someday. However, on the other side of the coin – I want others to find happiness and peace in the joy of the Lord.

Call it what you like. Label it with some physiological name, but I prefer to agree with the motivational speaker. “I’m a nut, waiting to become a mighty oak” and when I spread my limbs, hopefully it will bear the leaves of others who have been an inspiration to me and those who I may have inspired as well. We are a blessed people, given to abundance. How do you use yours?

Prayer: Heavenly Father, may we always place You in the forefront of any of our desires. May we always share Your abundance with others. Make us a mighty Oak.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

The Least of Them All

The least of you will become a thousand, the smallest a mighty nation. I am the Lord; in its time I will do this swiftly. – Isaiah 60:22

Readers often send me notes and ask if the story they’ve read in their devotion was true. I have to smile because it reaffirms that I have some tangible writing skill. My reply is usually, “what do you think?”

A few months ago, a church member brought a picture of a child into our presence. He introduced her and told us about her fight with cancer. Our congregation came to know this little girl through this member, and we prayed for her sight unseen. On the Sunday morning it was announced this child had lost her battle with cancer, a hush fell across the congregation. Individuals who had never met this little girl felt her loss. Soft sniffles echoed throughout the church as we reflected on this little girls’ impact. In her eight or nine short years, Hannah made an impression of faith that few can equal. Our church family never had the opportunity to meet this child, however, our love and prayers encircled her regularly.

Several years ago a church member lifted his niece, Brittany, before our congregation and the multiple problems she had experienced from the moment she entered this world. We recently met her for the first time as she participated in a wedding. For years we had prayed for this little girl, never having met her, now suddenly her gorgeous smile filled the room. Another testament of faith was placed before us. Again, a little one whom we had never met, had impacted our lives.

Recently, a third child was introduced to the congregation and we continue to pray for her on a daily basis. One Sunday morning, this little girl had the opportunity to attend our services. As our minister introduced her and we had a time of welcome, I sat at the organ and watched as our church members crowded around Savannah. My heart was warmed and tears filled my eyes, to see this living prayer request be welcomed as though she’d always been a member of our church. Her radiant smile and sweet personality filled us all. When the service was over, I had the opportunity to talk to her. What a blessing.

The benefits of youth are amazing. Their young age brings a resilience to them that adults simply cannot match. However, what touched me the most was seeing how such a tiny person had impacted so many. Someone, who by earthly standards shouldn’t make much difference; but does just that.

It saddens me when I hear people say, “I can’t do that because…” or “I don’t have a talent” when God uses even the tiniest of us to change lives. The difference in these children and most adults is their willingness to be witnesses. The face of Christ shines through these children and there are times when I feel shamed at my own lack of faith. For the times I doubt and wonder, fretting that things will go wrong, there are these few trusting children who are the example of what I need to be. Whole-hearted trust and faith, given freely and completely to the Father – and it takes the life of child to set the example. The least of you will become a thousand, the smallest a mighty nation. I am the Lord; in its time I will do this swiftly.(Isaiah 60:22) How big is your faith?

Prayer: Lord, may we lift ourselves to You to be used as Your humble servants. May we have the faith of a mustard seed.

Monday, August 13, 2007

The Tie that Binds



One thing God has spoken, two things have I heard: that you , O God, are strong, and that you, O Lord, are loving. – Psalm 62:11-12

Everyone who walks this earth has experienced some sort of life shaking event. What is deemed unbearable to one is nothing to someone else, still we have all experienced something that has ground our lives to a halt at some point. It may have been an issue with a child, some sort of health problem, or the loss of a parent or good friend. We’ve all felt the sting of pain in some shape or fashion.

It’s these times of hardship when we tend to focus and center our prayers to the one who can make a difference. Perhaps we pray occasionally, then something terrible is facing us. We begin to focus on prayer, begging and pleading with the Father to hear us. God does hear us with every prayer we pray, however, He does not choose to answer every prayer in the way we are asking. God is a Father of righteousness and love. He can lift his head and see what lies ahead for us – He is all knowing, all seeing and ever present. He has the ability to know what roads we will choose simply by looking ahead. The answers we hope for may not be what is in our best interest.

One thing God has spoken, two things have I heard: that you, O God, are strong, and that you, O Lord, are loving. (Psalm 62:11-12) There is great wisdom within the words of this psalm. God is constant and reliable. He never changes. He is strong where we are weak, and He is able where we are unable. Yet through His greatness and His strength, He is loving. Yes, loving.

Just as a child who doesn’t get their way, we sometimes stomp our feet and cry because God has not answered our prayers in the methods which we told Him. You see, that’s the key issue. We try to tell God how to answer our prayers. “I love you Lord, and I trust You, but You need to answer my prayer this way.” Our Father must lean back and shake His head in wonderment from time to time.

Often times, His children pray to Him as spoiled children. God is strong and He knows what is necessary for us, and He loves us even when He doesn’t give us everything we ask for.

Learning to respect the omniscience of God is hard for us to understand, and harder for us to do. However, when we come to the understanding that God, in His infinite wisdom, knows what is best, then we can rest assured His plan will work out.. We do not see the future but our trust can certainly offer us guidance toward it.

God is strong, and loving. He knows what is best, even when we do not understand the reasoning behind things. This is the tie that binds us to him. This is what holds us firmly in place.

Prayer: Heavenly Father, we do not always understand why life happens in the ways that it does. Help us to trust that You know what is best in every situation.

Friday, August 10, 2007

Saying I Love You


I love you, O Lord, my strength. – Psalm 18:1

Saying I love you is difficult for many. Some fear commitment while others find the words sound saucy. However, saying I love you is very scriptural, and saying it to the Father is equally as scriptural.

Why three simple words are so difficult to say is amazing to me, but we find ourselves tongue-tied much of the time. The fact of the matter is, saying I love you is one of the most important things we can do.

The words do not have to mean marriage, but they do convey an inner emotion that others need to hear and one we need to learn to share. When we say these words the recipient feels a connection to us, whether by physical love or by emotional love. Imagine how God feels when, as a parent, we tell Him we love Him. His heart must leap with joy that we care so much.

Learning to incorporate these emotions into our prayers draws us closer to the Father. These words validate the love we share with God and they deepen our relationship with Him.

Practice saying I love you. Practice it with your family and practice it even more with the Father. It’s one commitment you can always count on.

Prayer: I love you, O Lord, my strength.

Thursday, August 9, 2007

Bringing Down the Walls


When the trumpets sounded, the people shouted, and at the sound of the trumpet, when the people gave a loud shout, the wall collapsed; so every man charged straight in, and the they took the city. – Joshua 6:20

William Thomas had seen nothing but disappointment in his lifetime. He saw his mother hauled out the door, screaming as police arrested her for drug possession. He never knew his father, and his grandmother, who raised him, suffered a heart attack and died while he held her in his arms. As far as Will was concerned, life was horrible and he refused to allow himself to get close to another individual; it only meant more hurt.

Will became bitter and he allowed fear to rule his heart until the day Sarah came into his life. This pretty brunette had the laughter of child and her happiness was infectious. It did not take long for her to worm her way into Will’s heart. The more he came to know Sarah the greater his dilemma became. He wanted to date her, but the walls he had built around his heart, only proved to keep her out.

Finally, tired of being denied access, Sarah confronted Will. “Why won’t you let me inside these walls you’ve built?. I won’t hurt you. I promise.” Will dropped his head and stared at the ground. He knew there would be a risk involved in trusting Sarah. The question was, “Could he do it?”

We’ve all experienced our share of pain and frustration. Some seem to find a windfall of agony while others only experience small amounts. However, the fact remains that hurt affects us all. Our success or failure depends on how we choose to handle what comes our way.

The story of the children of Israel bringing down the walls of Jericho is a Sunday school favorite. Teachers march their classes around in a circle and let them pretend to blow horns and shout in order to knock down the walls of the city. There is more to this story than simply bringing down the walls. Trust and faith played a primary role in this battle. The Israelites didn’t march around the city once. They marched around the city seven days in a row and on the seventh day, they marched around it seven times. The walls built around Jericho crumbled to the ground as they blew their trumpets and shouted. The people had to trust that God was in control and that He and only He could do the miraculous.

Learning to trust when we’ve been hurt time after time is difficult. We want to guard our hearts – protect ourselves from the world. Until we reach out to the one who can heal a broken heart, those walls will remain in tact, and we will never know the joy of true freedom. Trust God. He is the one “someone” who will never let you down. He will bring down the walls and offer you a view of the countryside you have never seen before. Trust Him.

Prayer: Holy Father, God of all creation, protect us. Give us the courage to knock down the walls that surround us and allow us the joy of Your peace.

Doubts, Doubts, Doubts

Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. “You of little faith, he said, “Why did you doubt?” – Matthew 14:31

Humans fall under the category of one of the weakest species under the sun. Why, you ask? Because, we can “reason.” Within the animal kingdom, the fight for survival is one of the strongest desires there is. The lion either hunts or it starves. Therefore, it hunts. There is no questioning to do. It is instinct for them to feel hunger and then quench the desire.

Humans, on the other hand, have the ability to reason. We ponder and think, wonder and question any needs we have. We can believe or we can doubt, and this is where we get into trouble. Our intentions start out good. We being by carrying a certain amount of confidence into a situation convinced we can be successful. Perhaps we even launch into a project feet first, overcoming obstacle after obstacle, when suddenly – we choose to doubt. Before we realize what has happened, we’ve begun to sink. Our faith and belief in what we were doing is gone. One would think our ability would make us strong. Rightfully so, it should. However, we allow our reasoning to set us up for failure.

Peter’s desire to walk to the Master on water was so great, he overcame his fear and doubt that walking on water was physically impossible. He trusted Jesus to provide and care for him. First one foot over the edge of the boat and then a second, allowing him to walk, eyes fixed on the target, toward Jesus. Only when he allowed himself to reason through the miracle he was experiencing, did he allow weakness and doubt to enter. Hence, he began to sink.

The power of Christ in our lives gives us the ability to overcome doubt and fear. When we turn our reasoning power from logical to Godly, then our spiritual success is definite. We allow ourselves to think we know more than the Father. “I can’t do that because” tends to be our answer to most of life’s challenges. Our desire to be spiritually successful falls to reasoning and doubt.

Jesus asks us to fix our eyes on Him, not to reason but to trust, and then to step upon the water and walk. Walking toward Him without question or reservation, believing He will bring us into His arms. Do you reason your way out of trust or do you fix your eyes on the Father and walk on water? Perhaps today is the day to start.

Prayer: Lord, when we fear and doubt, help us to fix our eyes on You.

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Blinded by Desire

The path of the righteous is like the first gleam of dawn, shining ever brighter till the full light of day. But the way of the wicked is like deep darkness; they do not know what makes them stumble. – Proverbs 4:18-19

Is it not amazing how conveniently we twist and turn the truth to suit our needs? Whether there is a bold-faced lie involved or just a slight misconception the fact remains, many times our complete honesty hinges on if the subject matter is beneficial to us or not.
We are a people of convenience and laziness. If our schedules are busy at the time of a major decision, we can easily justify taking the short cut achieve our desired result – regardless of whether the decision or the pathway to it, is completely honest. We only bent the rules a tiny bit. No one ever promised us that righteousness, or the road to attaining it, is paved in simplicity and easy-to-find answers. In fact, the answer is quite the contrary. The more we wish to find righteousness, the harder Satan makes it to locate. You see, he doesn’t want us to find this joy. He would prefer we stumble and connive to find ways that are pleasing to us and not Christ. That, my friend, is Satan’s entire agenda.
When we focus on the dot of eternity that lays deep into our future, it gives us an unmovable landmark, one that will never fade away. Will we stumble along the way, bloodying our knees at times? You bet ya, because it is not easy to keep our eyes fixed on such a distant goal. The way of righteousness is the first light of hope for a brighter future. That future is heaven. So we ask ourselves the question, “Is it easier and right to adjust the road blocks to suit our needs?” Easier yes – right, no.
Jesus knew as He entered His ministry, what the ultimate ending would be, however, He did not choose or alter the pathway that could have changed the outcome. Instead, He set His eyes on the final goal and chose righteousness, even though it meant His earthly death.
The word “wickedness” sounds so brutal, and it is not a word Christians equate to themselves. Still, there are times we are as wicked, if not more so, than those who do not know better. When we pave over the way of righteousness with the way of convenience, we have shortened the trip, but the result can be devastating. Doing what is right is not always what we want, but it the way God instructs us.
Fix your eyes on that which is good, even if the road is longer and harder, you can rest assured that you are headed in the right direction.


Prayer: Lord, when we are tempted to fall from the path of righteousness, give us the vision to see the road we may moving.

Monday, August 6, 2007


I lie down and sleep; I wake again, because the Lord sustains me. I will not fear the tens of thousands drawn up against me on every side. – Psalm 3:5-6

May never seemed to end. Julia rolled over and pulled the covers over her head. Her hand slid across the mattress. He was gone. A sigh of relief went through her. Once again, her husband had not come home. For some, that would have been terror in its worst form, but for Julia, it was a relief. There would be no drunken man to beat her down. She laid her arm across her eyes as a tear seeped from under her elbow. Lord, if I can just open the blinds to see the sun, then I know, I can make it through another day. I need the strength to open the shades.

She lifted her hand and grasped hold of the cord, then she slowly pulled open the shade. It must have weighed a ton, but how could it? It was a window shade. The blinds lifted slightly and a streak of sunlight popped through the crack. The tiny ray of sun struck Julia in the eyes causing her to squint; still, it warmed her cheeks. She felt as though she was gaining some sort of super power. Her skin tingled, and a chill shot up her spine. She pulled the shade another inch and the light of the sun engulfed her face. Stretching her arms over her head, she felt a smile creep across her lips. Thank you, Lord. Thank you. She rolled to her knees and grasping the cord once more, lifted the shade until the sun filled the room completely. Once again, God had answered her prayer. She was able to see the sun through a life filled with darkness.

Sometimes our lives become a darkened room. The weight of the blackness alone presses down on our souls, taking hold of us and drawing any hope from our veins. This darkness pulls our strength away and replaces it with hopelessness. We can’t see the rope that offers us escape.

This is when we muster every ounce of power to grasp hold of the cord and pull open the shade. Light only requires e a tiny crack in order to flood through; and “flood” is exactly how it happens. Our Father is our light in the darkness. He is the one who will sustain us when we are surrounded from every side, but only we can lift the shade just enough to allow Him to flood through.

When life feels hopeless, when we are so tired we can hardly lift an arm, Christ stands behind the shade encouraging us to gather the strength to pull on the cord. He wants to warm us, fill us with peace and comfort so He can change us. We are the only ones who can roll to our knees and pull the shade open. Muster the strength. Reach for the cord and pull.

Prayer: Almighty and powerful God, flood our souls with your warmth.

Saturday, August 4, 2007

When We Create


Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come! – 1 Corinthians 5:17

Elise reached for the sheet of paper that emerged slowly from the printer. She stood tapping her foot and wiggling her fingers as the printer hummed. The sheet dropped into her hand,

“At last,” she muttered.

Sitting down at the table, she placed the final page of her manuscript in place. She leaned back in her chair and gently brushed her hand across the stack of white sheets. A sense of pride and accomplishment crept through her – six months of hard work had finally ended.

Her critique group had read and re-read the book and she felt like she had rewritten it at least four times. Finally, it was complete. The rest was in the hands of her agent. Today, not only marked the conclusion of the book, but the beginning of a long wait, and more so, it meant it was time to consider a new idea.

Writers never really stop writing; even after a project is complete, they continually “tweak” their work. Some call it compulsion, others call it dissatisfaction, either way, a piece of writing is never really done. Those with the love to write tend to follow close in the Father’s example – a story may be written, but it’s never really complete.

Where would we be if once God created us, He considered us completed pieces of work? We would flounder and stray – move without direction. Our lives would be meaningless. However, this is not how our Lord views us. He is constantly working on us, moving in us, “tweaking” us into the perfect piece of work He knows we can be.

Christ writes new stories in young lives and revives old ones into new and vibrant examples. His love for us is constantly presenting a new chapter in our lives. For some, it takes years to pull the storyline together, while for others the words fall into place with ease. Either way, the fact remains that our Lord is always present, longing to add a word here or there. Because of His sacrifice, we are His new creation. The old is gone and the re-written version is yet to finished. Once we’re written, the long wait begins for publication.

As John tells us at the end of his book, “Jesus did many other things as well. If every one of them were written down, I suppose that even the whole world would not have room for the books that would be written.” ( John 21:25) Jesus, the author of our lives, is always working, ever perfecting, and never losing sight of His works in progress.

Prayer: Father, please create us anew, tweak us and perfect us, so that we might be pleasing in Your sight.

Think Outside the Box


Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows. – James 1:17

“Who doesn’t love getting presents?” Renee folded her sandwich bag and placed it in her carry-all. “I mean…a present! How can she just sit there and never be vaguely inclined to open it?”

Beth grabbed her soft drink can and swiped the table with a damp paper towel. “Who knows. Arial has always been a little, uh…well, odd.”

“That gift has sat on her desk for a week and she’s never bothered to even touch it. I heard her boyfriend wants to marry her. It’s probably an engagement ring.” Renee held out her hand as if she were sporting a huge diamond. “One thing is for sure. She’ll never know what goodies lie in wait until she opens the package.

How many times have we had beautiful packages placed before us that we never open. The best answer would be “rarely.” Most of us can hardly wait to open any gift placed within our reach. It’s not unusual to lift it gently then offer a slight shake. Our ear goes flat against the package and our heart nearly stops while we await any possible sound. The average person loves opening gifts.

So, how is it that we’ve been given the most wonderful gift in the world, yet many refuse to open it? Our Father offered His Son as a living sacrifice. He gave Him to us wrapped in the beauty of His love, and this gift was free of charge. Some rip straight into the paper to get to the prize, taking hold of the joy they have received. Still, others never glance twice at the box – never curious, never interested at what they may be passing by.

The love of Christ came to us tightly clad in the beauty of the Father. Many will never know the immense fulfillment that lies inside the box, simply because they refuse to open it. By tearing open the paper and looking inside, one will find peace, hope and the presence of the Father. What a gift to enjoy. The contents of this box bring new meaning to the adage, “Thinking outside of the box.” Won’t you open your gift? Wouldn’t you love to know what awaits you? The Father stands waiting for you to unwrap the paper.

Prayer: Heavenly Father, thank You for the gift of Your Son.

Freedom


Live as free men, but do not use your freedom as a cover-up for evil; live as servants of God. –

1 Peter 2:16

I am proud to be an American. When the patriotic songs play, the sniffing in the background is me. There’s just something that touches my heart cords when it comes to thinking about the freedoms I’ve been given.

I was raised in a household where you always placed your hand over your heart during the national anthem, and your hat came off every time an American flag passed by. My father was a veteran of World War II. At the ripe age of 17, he entered the U.S. Army and proudly fought in the Pacific Theatre. He was shot through the neck and shoulder by a sniper, then wounded a second time by a mortar shell. My dad was a courageous man who did not think twice about his own safety, rather he thought of the greater good in the job he was given. He, along with thousands of other brave men and women, paid a huge price for the freedoms each one of us enjoy today.

Freedom is an ironic word in the fact that it’s root word is free. There’s nothing free about freedom – it was bought and paid for with the lives of thousands who believed in the cause. A day never passes that I do not give thanks for those who stayed the course. Where would we be without their sacrifice?

A different type of freedom was bought and paid for through a battle that is still being waged. We are free from sin’s price because of the sacrifice of Christ. Because of Him, the curtain in the temple was torn and now, nothing separates from the Father. This sacrifice broke the bondage of death and sent Satan kicking and screaming in defeat. Still there are those who are not grateful – those who refuse to look at the grander scheme of things. They find pleasure in their greed and sin, covering it beneath the blanket of freedom and the “right to have.”

Our soldiers who have died, gave their lives in the name of freedom, so that others may enjoy its rewards, servants of our country. Jesus, the ultimate servant, died that we might enjoy the privileges of eternal life. Regardless of how we look at the issue, our freedom, spiritual and physical, came to us in blood. Blood shed freely so that others might live.

We are a nation who is blessed, but we are a people loved by God – loved so much, that He sent His son to fight the battle in our behalf. Are you grateful for the freedom?

Prayer: Precious Lord, we are so undeserving of the glories You have blessed us with. Thank You, Father for the sacrifice made in our behalf.

Learning the Hard Way

For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous and his ears are attentive to their prayer, but the face of the Lord is against those who do evil. – 1 Peter 3: 12

Human nature tells us to do things the way we want to. The innate desire to be first and to do things on our own never fails to come into play. We can see trouble or hardships coming, knowing we are in the line of fire, still we refuse to think anything will happen to us. Just as children tend to push the envelope on discipline, so do adults.

The world offers us nothing but temptation after temptation, and as a result, our defenses are whittled away daily. The ability to say no to the things which can bring us problems becomes harder and harder to refuse. Our destiny seems to be to learn things the hard way.

Some become so wrapped up in earthly desires that the things they have learned about righteousness fades deep into the background. Isn’t it wonderful to know we have a Father who never loses sight of us; one who always hears us, always knows what needs we have, and one who is willing to forgive us when we fail Him?

Through the many disappointments we throw at the Lord, He never gives up on us. He may turn His face away for a time, but His hand is always extended – waiting for us to reach out and take hold. God wants, more than anything, to pull us into the light of His salvation, and He is saddened when even one soul leaves this world without His gift of eternal life.

A day will come when the Father says “No more. This world has outlived its usefulness,” and He will return to take His faithful children home. Eternal life is not something we want to learn the hard way. It is something we must take hold of, prepare for, and anticipate. Are you ready? Have you taken into consideration what eternity means? Now is the time. Trust me –eternity is forever.

Prayer: Precious Father, please do not turn Your face from us. Stretch Your loving arms out that we might grasp hold.

By Faith



“What do you believe in?” asked Jason. “I mean, people have to believe in something, so what’s your deal?” Jason Thomas brushed the mixture of sweat and hair from his face with his arm.

“Do you talk all the time Jason?” Robb remarked in an aggravated tone. The two college students continued to dig a ditch along the edge of a campus sidewalk.

Jason grinned as he tossed a shovel of dirt into the wheelbarrow. “I like good healthy discussion. You, on the contrary, seemed frustrated when the subject touches home.”

Robb lifted his shovel into the air and slammed it into the dirt. He yanked a towel from his back pocket and swiped his face, then huffed. “Man, you wait until I’m burning up, working like a dog, and in no mood for conversation, then you hit me with some philosophic mumbo-jumbo.”

“It’s not philosophic, it’s spiritual. And it’s not mumbo-jumbo – it’s just a question, and besides, what better way to make this few hours of torture pass quickly, than some sort of intelligent conversation? So, what do you believe?”

Frustrated and short on answers, Robb snapped back. “I don’t believe in church, or God. I believe in the cosmos and that all things work for the greater good.”

Jason’s lips parted in a huge smile. He’d found his way into Robb. “Huh. That sounds just like scripture. Did you know you sorta quoted a scripture? Romans 8:28 says, “..in all things God works for the good of those who love him…”

“Man, you jerk everything around.” Robb said. “Okay, so I might have heard that in Sunday School as a kid. So go ahead, tell me what you believe. How do you justify this God thing?”

At last, Robb asked. Jason had waited for this opportunity for some time. This was his chance. He carefully considered his answer then said, “I believe Jesus died for me and because of that I am justified by faith. I have peace…inner peace.” He wiped his face again, and then went back to work.

“That’s it?” Robb squawked. “One sentence?”

“Acutally, two sentences, but yeah that’s pretty much it. Jesus died for me and I am justified by faith. Don’t you see that in my attempts to talk to you, Robb?”

Robb shook his head and began shoveling dirt again. This time the Jason’s words burned deep. He couldn’t quit thinking about them. God had taken root.

Romans 5: 1 tells us, “Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have a peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand…” Conviction comes to those who do not want to believe when it’s placed there by someone who consistently sets the example – someone who sows the seeds. It’s not our job to do the conversion; it’s simply ours to cultivate and plant the word.

As Christians we sometimes become caught up in the end result instead of preparing the ground work. Sometimes our job is simply to prepare. God handles the rest. We are justified by the faith we have in Christ, therefore we have every reason to share His good news. He justified us by dying for us. What an awesome thought. Now, go and share His word.

Prayer: Father, give me the courage to share my faith, and to instill the groundwork where You can work.”

When Our Hearts Break


When Our Hearts Break

Day 18

How do you describe heartbreak? How can you visualize it?

Your heart feels tight with emotion, that innate thing we only feel and yet can never really lay our hands on. It expands to the point you feel as if it’s physically ripping in two. It beats harder not faster. (There’s a difference.) Each thump of the muscle moves an enormous amount of blood, you can hear each swish, swish, swish as the fluid pumps through your head. Your breath is labored, leaving you with an urge of panic. What if I can’t catch my breath? After a moment you take in a half breath, realizing it’s not enough to live on. Your body longs for more oxygen. Your chest feels as though it will tear straight down the middle. Right at the height of hysteria, you gasp, swallow, and allow your body to relax.

That’s how the writer would describe heartbreak – that lonely place where emptiness dwells and peace is void. Intense, deep, and hopeless. Practically every person alive has remarked about a broken heart. We’ve used the term over and over again without great thought until we’re suddenly blindsided by something that causes us great pain.

In the midst of our deepest heartbreak God allows us rescue. Psalm 34:18 tells us, “The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.” Isn’t it a wonderful and peaceful thing to know? In the middle of our turmoil, God is there to save our crushed spirits. He mends us gingerly with His needle and thread. He gently pulls the pieces together and reattaches them. Each connection offers us a fraction of rest.

Through the brokenness He heals us completely, and from the reality of the situation we glean experience that will serve us or someone else at just the right time. Learning to grasp hold and rejoice in the heartache is the hardest thing we could possibly do. Looking to Christ and asking Him to take the burden away and use the vessel in which it was housed is frightening. However, there is great relief within that step of faith. There is hope.

When your heart breaks turn the pieces over to Christ and allow Him to work His miracles.

Prayer: When I have suffered such pain, please Lord, use me. Use me to your glory.

Depressed


Lexie flipped on her computer. The light from the screen caused her to squint her eyes. It had been a long night. She’d finally dozed off to sleep around 4:00 a.m. As the screen raised the curtain on the cyberworld she again saw the message from Trish.

This is it. I can’t take it anymore. I’m finished. –Trish

Lexie’s heart sank as she took in the message once more. She didn’t realize Trish was so desperate. And when she called her, she was surprised that her tone was so normal. It had been a hard decision to call Trish’s family, but it was one she was glad she’d done. Trish might be angry now, but later on, she’d come to understand.

Depression plagues thousands of Americans daily. It’s side effects lead to eating disorders, ulcers, mental issues, and even death. Intervention is equally as hard. Being the one to step in and say, “Okay, let’s get through this together” is not always the most popular choice. However, it’s usually the best.

In a world where a physician can write a simple prescription to help us over the hump, we tend to forget the other forms of help which are available. Counseling, support groups, prayer warriors, and most importantly, Christ. Jesus offered such peace over and over again.

John 14:27 tells us, “Peace I leave with you: my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” Though these were the words of Jesus to his disciples just before His death, they are still very comforting thoughts.

Within us lies the ultimate ability to lift our hearts to the Savior – to open a tightly closed subject and allow our vulnerability to show. It’s frightening to offer ourselves to the open arms of a Savior we can’t physically place our eyes on, but it’s all about faith and trust. It’s about letting go and falling into the arms of the one who promises us a peace beyond belief.

Do we continue to worry? More than likely – we’re human. But taking the first step to seek help or come to the aid of someone who is in need is a step in the right direction. Trust, faith, hope and love.

Prayer: Heavenly Father, help me to keep my eyes focused on You. Even when I think I can’t see You help me to look into my heart where You dwell.