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Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Tornadic Activty

I live in "Tornado Alley."

Oklahoma, to be exact, and we have had our share of tornadoes! Every year there's a new threat, a new storm that can roll in and do some damage. We all gather around the TV with popcorn and blankets and watch the bright red blob roll across the screen. Where will they turn up? Where are the little white spinning circles going to pop up on the map? Who will get hit? Who won't?

I'm no meteorologist, but I can tell you a little bit about tornadoes.
  1. They are dangerous. Don't fool around with these dudes.
  2. It has to be the right atmosphere for one to come down.
  3. They can seemingly come out of nowhere.
  4. However, the weather will always give us a sign of pending doom!
  5. They vary in size and intensity.
  6. They could be rain wrapped.
  7. They are no respecter of persons.
  8. They leave damage if they make it to the ground.

There's plenty more about tornadoes, but I'll let the experts tell y'all that!

That's what tornadoes do. They swoop down, wreak some havoc and get on their way leaving us with a clean up.

Hmm, not unlike my words sometimes.

If the atmosphere of my heart and mind is gearing up for an unpleasant day, there is likely to be some tornadic activity of my mouth.

If I'm not careful, not paying attention to the "signs of the sky," I can speak rashly or harshly. If I'm not aware of the conditions of my soul, my mind can let a tornado of a bad attitude swoop down, twist through my life and I'll be left there doing carnage clean up.

"Honey, I'm sorry I snapped at you. Please forgive me.


"Father, I'm sorry I had such envious thoughts. Please forgive me."

Either way, if it comes out of my mouth, or it's stays in my head, my tornado of uncontrolled thoughts and words leave a path of destruction.

My thoughts and words, if not under control of the Spirit, resemble that of a tornado.

  1. They're dangerous.
  2. The right atmosphere (ugly atmosphere) can bring out ugly in me.
  3. Sometimes it seems to come out of nowhere. But, does it really?
  4. I have a pretty good idea of when the atmosphere is giving me a heads up to my tornadic activity!
  5. My "tornadoes" can vary in size and intensity.
  6. When I struggle with difficult thoughts, sometimes they are wrapped in situations that are stormy. Still, my Jesus can calm both.
  7. The tornadoes of life are no respecter of persons. Our enemy will try anything on anyone.
  8. If I let them come on down and rule me, I damage things.

But, just like in real life tornadoes, we can know the signs of storms in ourselves. What are the things I can put in place to ensure I'll stay out of harms way when I'm tempted to let destruction rule me?

Three things:

  • I make sure I let Jesus be my number one priority in my day.
  • His Word is something I study intently to know the truth that can set me free from strongholds like a quick anger or impatient attitude.
  • And finally, when "Mother" Nature decides that she would like to rule rather than The Father, I must humble myself to His control. And in His fashion He holds His hand up over me and calms the storm in my life.
You, however, are controlled not by the sinful nature but by the Spirit, if the Spirit of God lives in you." Romans 8:9

I don't mind living in Tornado Alley, I just don't want it living in me! Through Jesus, it won't.


Thank you Jesus for setting me free from the things that can cause so much damage to myself and others. With you all things are possible!

What "tornadoes" swoop down in your life?


Join me at my "home."
Natalie @
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Falling for Jesus Writing Contest

Contest closed! Thank you all so much for your entries. We look forward to reading through them and informing you all of the winner. As of now #44 is the last participant. We'll post the winner soon!


Do you remember the first time you truly felt your heart flutter for our savior? Do you remember how excited you became and how amazed you were when you began to see how his fingerprints encompassed every mo
ment of your life? Was there a particular time during your walk with Him that you felt His love and presence more than you ever had before?

We would love to hear about it.

Internet Cafe Devotions is sponsoring a contest for Fall, Falling for Jesus that is, and the winner will receive a $50 gift card to Amazon.com and have their piece published here on Internet Cafe Devotions.

How to enter:

  • Write about your most treasured God experience following the guidelines listed below.
  • Post your writing on your blog.
  • Post the Falling for Jesus button on your blog either in the sidebar (preferred) or with the post.
  • Link directly to your contest post here using Mr. Linky.
  • Make sure that you leave your email address in the comments section so that we can get in touch with you if you win.
Guidelines:

  • writing should be uplifting and void of condemnation.
  • writing should reflect a Biblical perspective.
  • writing should contain at least one Bible verse (along with its reference and the translation it was taken from.)
  • It should be 400-700 words in length, and should be well proofed for errors before submission.
  • Authors must own the rights to any works that are submitted.
We are looking for writing that shares the God moments in day-to-day life; the honest transparency that brings you closer to the heart of Jesus; and words that guide readers into Biblical truth.

Details:
  • All entries must be received before October 26, 2008 at midnight.
  • The judges will be Amy Bayliss, Lori MacMath, Darlene Schacht, and a few of Internet Cafe Devotion's other regular contributors.
  • The winner will be announced on November 1st.
Please direct all questions regarding this contest to amy@internetcafedevotions.com or lori@internetcafedevotions.com.









Thank you for participating...
the team at Internet Cafe Devotions

Scrapbook Design Kit: Designs by Krista

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Monday, September 29, 2008

And The Greatest Of These...

The Beatles got one thing right. All we do need is love.

"Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?" Jesus replied: " 'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.' This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.' All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments." Matthew 22:36-40 (NIV)

Isn't it interesting how Jesus sums up all the Law in Exodus 20 with these two commandments?

Why is that?

My thought is that if we get these two things right, we won't need to concern ourselves with the rest.

We won't have idols because we're too busy loving Jesus. And if we're loving him, I highly doubt that we'll be cussing up a storm at His expense or ignoring the sabbath. Honoring our parents, as well as keeping our hands off other people's stuff and spouses won't even be an issue if we're loving our neighbor as ourselves.

Are you loving the Lord with all of your heart, soul and mind? If not, what part of you is He not getting?

In Him,



Join Cindy daily at her website CindyBeall.com


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Sunday, September 28, 2008

The Gift

Please join us in welcoming Beth Pittman to the Cafe!

As Jesus looked up, he saw some rich people putting their gifts into the Temple money box. Then he saw a poor widow putting two small copper coins into the box. He said, "I tell you the truth, this poor widow gave more than all those rich people. They gave only what they did not need. This woman is very poor, but she gave all she had to live on."
(Luke 21:1-4, New Century Version)

Today is my oldest son’s birthday. He is 28 today and is spending this day in prison. My youngest son’s 20th birthday was just five days ago. Yesterday, he received a rare letter from his big brother. He read it and left it open for his daddy & me to read. It was a short letter. Just a “how are you doing?” kind of letter. He asked about his job and his new place (he’s recently left our nest). He also wished him a happy birthday. Inside the letter, were two pieces of chewing gum in wrappers. Those two pieces of gum make my heart hurt. I held them in my hand and thought about what my oldest son was thinking when he put the gum in that envelope. I think he wanted to give his little brother something for his birthday and that was the only gift he was able to give him. You see, my son has been separated from us for a long time. Crimes committed must be punished and the cost of that has been years in prison. It was not what his daddy & I envisioned when he was born 28 years ago today. We had big plans for him. He has missed so much of life behind those bars and razor wire. And now, in an effort to make up for some of that, he sends his brother two pieces of gum. I hold them lovingly in my hand and forever in my heart.

We have very little to offer as a gift to our heavenly Father. In a sense, I come to Jesus with my two little pieces of gum, wishing I was a better person, wishing I hadn’t hurt Him so much over the years, wishing I could change the things of the past and make up for what I have done. Jesus looks at me, holds out his hand and I give him my two little pieces of gum. He takes them and just as I did with the gum my son sent in his letter, he holds them lovingly in his hands, he smells them, he rubs his fingers across the wrappers and his heart breaks. He wanted so much more for us, you know. There were big plans for us in the Garden. Unbroken fellowship with him, lives lived in perfect communion with God. But then the fall and sin separated us from Him just like my son’s crimes have separated him from us. And now, all we really have to offer to God are comparative to those two little pieces of gum. He knows that we are broken creations, but still he lovingly and with great compassion takes our little gifts in his hands and forever holds them in his heart knowing that it is all that we are able to give, and for him, just as my son’s gift was for me, it is enough.

Heart thoughts:

· Do you find yourself comparing yourself to others with regard to talents, time or money?

· Do you feel as though you have little or nothing to offer to God?

· Is there an area you’d like to serve Him in but you feel inadequate?

· What steps can you start taking today to present your gifts to Jesus, no matter how small?

Dear Jesus,

Thank you for seeing my brokenness, my smallness and my weaknesses and for still loving me beyond measure. Help me to offer you all that I have and to know that even as small as I think my gift may be, to you it is a treasure that you hold within your heart. Amen.

In Him,

Beth Pittman

I am a “just-turned” 50-year old wife and mother of 3. (My friends accuse me of trying to hold on to 49!) I’ve been married for 30 years to the same wonderful, loving man. I’ve worked with the federal courts for over 24 years and am five and a half years away from retirement. I was raised in a Christian home with loving Christian parents, but it wasn’t until I was 32 that I really understood that Jesus loved and died for me and what that meant for me individually. My life has never been the same since.

Join Beth at her blogspot,

www.lifeboatmoments.blogspot.com

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Saturday, September 27, 2008

Café Chat Sept 27th


Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.

The verses above are some of my favorite verses, and honestly I think we could answer questions on these verses for weeks. Over the past 5 years I have felt like the Lord has really opened my eyes to the many ways I conform to the world. I am so thankful that the Lord has done this for me because without His light on my “sin” I would probably not have made changes in my life. I still have changes to make and I will do that by “renewing my mind” with God’s Word. God will work through me to make the changes I need to make, I know I can’t do it on my own. So today, I ask you once again to examine your own lives and see what the Lord maybe saying to you.
In what ways have you “conformed to this world” in your own life? Then, share the story of how God worked through you to “renew your mind” in that situation.




Blessings,
Kim





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Our Will Be Done

It's bedtime and three pairs of knees hit the floor in their snuggly footie pajamas. They fold their hands and bow their heads like a Norman Rockwell picture and begin to recite the Lord's prayer:

Our Father, Who art in heaven
Hallowed be Thy name
My kingdom come
Our will be done
On earth as it is in heaven


Wait a minute? That's not quite right, is it? As I laugh at my children's inability to distinguish between the words Your and our or the phrases Thy will and my will, I realize I sometimes pray the same way.


Dear Lord, this is what I want and could You please do it quickly? Lord, please let me be in control of this situation, ok? Please solve this problem and change me into a super Christian overnight. Please let me get a promotion and make my children rise up and call me blessed.


Please, dear Lord, let MY will be done.

When Jesus first shared that prayer with his disciples, it was in answer to their desire to learn how to pray. I want to learn how to pray the way Jesus prayed; to make mountains move, storms cease and lame men walk again. As it turns out, Jesus' way of praying is quite different from the pattern we often follow. He suggested that prayer is a place to turn our hearts around and align ourselves with the will of the Father.

Actually, prayer is the way that we usher in God's kingdom on this earth. If we want to see what heaven looks like, we have to begin by asking God to do things HIS way. It changes everything when we see prayer as an opportunity to get involved with God's will, to become a part of His kingdom and to learn to see things from His point of view.


We begin to follow Jesus' example when we submit our requests to God and trust that His will will be done and His kingdom will come.


Put it into Practice:


*Pray through the Lord's prayer today and pause after each phrase, soaking in the meaning of those words.

*Ask God to reveal His will to you....especially about those pressing prayer requests that you keep bringing to Him.

*Submit your concerns to God this morning, trusting that God will do what is best.


Come visit me...

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Friday, September 26, 2008

The Car



I smile even now as I remember her face as I opened the door and the new red car shone like a bright polished apple behind her. You could have lit an entire city from the brilliance of her eyes and smile! I looked in amazement. “Who’s car Wanda?”

“It’s mine!” came the thrilled reply.

I really hope that my amazement…and confusion didn’t register on my face. I have the unfortunate disease called “talking face syndrome”. My face usually tells it like it is, whether my mouth does or not. So when she said that, my mind instantly thought, “But you don’t have a driver’s license.”

However, the mouth said “Wow! It is beautiful!”

Wanda had been practicing and I knew this, but I had no idea she was “ownership ready” yet. She had always been nervous about driving. I never knew exactly “why” she didn’t pursue the license issue when we were younger, but as time went by, I didn’t really think about it much. I rationalized that if I didn’t ---then she didn’t either.

But the fact was she did.

She longed for a bit of normalcy in her life, such as driving her daughter to school, just like the other mommies. She drove a bit with our pastor’s wife, Kathy, and a few times with a dear woman from our church, Ms. Shirley. I think she may have even taken our sister, Aimee for a spin….did I say spin? She “talked” about driving to me---but I never was able to go with her anywhere. I regret that.

Sometime after my sister Wanda passed away, her husband, Mark, felt that he needed to sell her car. After all, he could only drive one. A co-worker of mine had expressed an interest a few times and when the time came, I relayed the interest to Mark. They made contact with one another about the information, price, car details, etc., and Mark told her that I would drive it to work on Tuesday for her and her husband to test drive it.

I knew would be hard.

I tried to put “hard things” out of my mind. My mentality was, “if I don’t think about it, I won’t have to deal with it, therefore, it won’t be hard.”

All lies of course. Whether dealt with or not…the hard things of life will not go away. It does not sleep---rather it will stir your heart and mind and keep you from sleep.

So the morning of the drive in the little red car came and I had this sort of nervous feeling of “What will I feel when I sit down? When I crank it up?” Mark had told me the night before that Wanda had a little “CD” case inside the armrest compartment. Interested and wanting some music to flood my soul, as I started down the highway, I opened the compartment and pulled out this cute little light blue case with the words “Women of Faith” stamped into it.

Just as I was wondering what music would soon be filling my heart, a message in music (one that I could almost hear Wanda herself saying to me) came from the speakers.

“Lord, I’m glad You didn’t let me look ahead
to see the trials that I would have to face.
I would have lived my life caught up in fear and dread
and missed a lot of joys along the way”…


Since this was a devotional CD with music in the mix, the song faded away with the first verse. I was a puddle of emotion and tears. My eyes so filled with tears, I began to wipe at my eyes and face to see the road in front of me. Why I didn’t wear waterproof mascara was beyond me!

I could hear those very words coming from Wanda’s mouth. I searched for the handkerchief I had stuffed in my bag that morning. Smearing black around my eyes I knew I should have just left off any makeup at this point.

After the scripture verses were read, more of the song came through;

"On this journey I have had my share of tears,
Lonely days when I could not understand,
But then I’d hear You whisper gently,
Child, I’m here
And I knew that You were holding to my hand,
Every step has brought me closer Lord, to You

Every step that I have taken, every valley I’ve walked thru,
I have seen that your grace cannot be shaken,
Every step brought me closer Lord, to You".


I can’t tell you much about that drive to work that morning. What I can tell you is the Lord was more near than I had felt Him in days. (My fault---not His.)

Tucked neatly in the armrest compartment with the CD case, was a 4x6-index card in Wanda's neat printing that read, "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. Philippians 4:13". Her verse for driving. His words for His dear child---to comfort and strengthen her in the tests of life.

The driving test is not unlike many tests we face on a daily basis.

Surrounded by others going to and from their stations in life, not knowing if they will keep to their lane, but trusting Him to carry us on to the destination He plans for each one of us.

On that particular morning, driving that particular car, my heart ached for a talk with Wanda. For just a few minutes to spend at her table. She would have definitely told me,

“Sister, please slow down. Life is short. For some, shorter than others. Take each moment and relish it to the fullest. Love God. Love others. Love life".

That is my message to each of you darling sisters today.

Slow down.

Life is short.

Eat cake.

Share a cup of coffee and listen to a friend.

You may be the only one she has to talk to.


We build sweet relationships with friends in the internet world and sometimes, neglect the very friends the Lord has blessed our lives with. Lend a shoulder and lend a hand.

It's nearing Fall, a time when I love to clear out the house of things that I don't need. Suggest a shared cleaning with a friend. By that I mean, you go to her house and help her and then she in turn will come to your house! Fellowship and clean houses! What can be better?

Father, You alone know our days length. Fulfill Your divine purpose in each of our lives. Help us to be an encouragement and load lifter for our sisters in need. There are many. You love us all the same. I love You Lord! Use me. I'm Yours. In the name of Jesus Christ~Amen

God bless you all!




I'd love your visit at Knightly News!

Song: Every Step by Rebecca J. Peck
Thomas Peck Music (BMI)
Peck’s Corner Publishing (ASCAP)
Peck Publishing House (SESAC)

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Thursday, September 25, 2008

A God of Creativity


I don’t know about you, but I love to do all of the womanly things I swore, as a teenager, that I would never do. Cooking a big meal from start to finish (from scratch, not a frozen pizza!) is such a liberating feeling. When I look at the meager ingredients I started with and see the masterpiece I created, I feel exhilarated.

Even though many women in their 30’s like me have career ladders and board meetings on their long-term planning goals, I have sewing and scrap book projects that will keep me busy for years to come. Martha Stewart might turn her nose up at the curtains I made for my son’s room from Wal-Mart bed sheets, but I am pretty proud.

There are so many areas that we, as women, can be creative. Busy lives often rob us of our ability to express this side of ourselves. Yet, for many of us, it is lying just under the surface, begging to be released.

Do you ever think your creative projects are frivolous? Is it just one more thing that gets pushed to the side to meet more important demands?

Did you know that expressing your creativity can be a way of reflecting God? It actually can be a way to worship Him in a way that is uniquely “you.” When we look at the creativity He gave us like this, it seems terrible to waste it.

God is the God of creation. Read the first chapter of Genesis and see that He loves to create. While we might have looked down on the earth and saw a big blobby mess, God saw potential. By taking a little of this and a little of that and giving it enough TLC, He created a world that is breathtakingly beautiful.

When we seek to glorify God, we can’t help reflect a little of His nature. Part of that nature is creativity!

For some like me, that creativity may be of the domestic nature: cooking, sewing, gardening, and even a crazy love of cleaning. For others, it may include drama and singing, or even painting. Our areas of creativity are just as diverse as the people He created us to be.

They do, however, have one thing in common: They are given to us to glorify the One who created us.

In my own walk, I have found the closer I am to Him, the more creative I am. I take joy in each aspect of my creativity. It actually becomes a form of worship for me.

For we are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. Ephesians 2:10

Sometimes I catch myself comparing myself to others, and telling God that He must be more pleased with someone else’s efforts more than my own. Yet, I realize He is pleased more with my effort and attitude while creating, rather than the final product.

I am reminded that I delight in each one of the crafts my children brings home from church each week. I don’t compare them to what the other kids made. They are special because of who made them. It has nothing to do with what they appear to be, but everything to do with the heart and hands that made them.

For the most part, I am not a sentimental person. I debate little about throwing something away if I think it will create clutter for me later. Yet, when it comes to the crafty things my children create at home and church, I find myself unable to part with them. Instead I have a big box for each of them in our basement where I silently tuck away each macaroni necklace and toilet paper roll binoculars they make.

Those items, no matter how trivial they are, have great meaning to me. Those boxes in my basement represent the great love I have for my children.

I can only imagine where God must treasure our “little creations.”

Yet, I know that He does value each meal that we make and each hem that we sew. Every time we use a gift He gave us, it brings Him great joy. They are precious to Him, not because of what they are, but who created them.

Why not get CREATIVE today?




I would love for you to visit me at my personal blog, "Overflowing Grace."

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Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Best Laid Plans & Shifting Sand

What is that adage about best laid plans?

Something about going awry?

I was a bit confused on just what awry means and I wanted to be sure before I slapped it up on a blog. So I did what any good writer does, I right clicked on the word to get a list of synonyms (and yes, I do own a thesaurus and I even own a synonym finder book). Here’s what I found:
skewed
askew
crooked
off beam
out of kilter
twisted
off-center

Awry also means: muddled, and amiss

So, that’s my world – awry and all those other adjectives. I think muddled, twisted, and out of kilter describe me the best. So, that’s me today – muddled, twisted and out of kilter.

Last week, I was much more together. It seems that I just get to the place where I think I have a slight grip on what’s happening in my world, and then something shifts. Sometimes these shifts feel like a major earthquake and other times they are more like standing at the ocean’s edge as the sand moves under my feet. Today has been more of an ocean’s edge day – not a serious shift, but one that’s thrown me off balance.

I’ve plotted everything out for the next six months and this isn’t in my plan. This doesn’t work for me, Lord. I can’t do this. I don’t have this on my calendar. Find someone else. I don’t want to do this. I want to cry and stomp my feet like a petulant child.

I look at my calendar and consider the next months, I start to panic. I feel as if I’m crumbling under the load – so I’m taking a step back and, I will do, as a dear, sweet friend recently told me “take a breath.”

In that breath I realized that I’m so fast to make plans and lay them out for God to bless. Okay, Lord, here’s the deal—we’re going to do this and then we’ll go there and do that. (Notice how I say we? I’m always good to include the Lord in my plans.)

Today, He caught my attention and, once again, made me see that He’s in control and it’s only through Him that I get through each day. I don’t function in this world because I’m so together – in fact, without Christ I couldn’t make it a day without just falling flat on my face. I don’t operate out of my strength, but only through His.

Pride is stepping in the way. I want to be in control. I want to write my schedule and plot my days. I realized that it’s not about calendars or schedules. It’s about the God I serve. I serve the God who created our universe; the God who breathed life into man; the God who moves mountains, delivers people from captivity and the God who sent His own Son to die for me. This is my God – this God of might and wonder. I serve a wondrous God who’s called me into His service and given me a task. He will equip me for the work He’s laid before me. His grace is all I need.

My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.
2 Corinthians 12:9


I don’t know why the plans have changed. I don’t understand all the Lord is doing. I don’t know why the sand has shifted --- but He does. This I do know -- that I find my joy, my strength and my purpose in my life in Him. The sand may have shifted, but I’m standing on the Rock. He is my rock and my salvation. It’ in Him that I trust.

Today, I am claiming this verse—
May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.
Romans 15:13


I chose to overflow with HOPE by His power! So, even though the sand has shifted and I’m struggling with this new path, I’m trusting in God. He’s faithful and has brought me this far, I trust that He will handle the rest of this journey.

Have you had a change in your life?
Are you struggling with something that needs change?
Today, right now, call on God for His strength and His power in your life. Stand firmly on the Rock that is your Salvation.

In Him,

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Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Who Am I?

A few months ago I was flying from New York to California and was stuck in an airport for what felt like days. By the time I found myself standing within the confines of yet another line during my lay over in Chicago, my patience was wearing thin. We're talking Hollywood thin!

Directly behind me in line was a young mother with her two-year-old son. He was quite a sight. An adorable, busy little boy who wanted to know about anything and everything that moved. He and his Mom had a game they played to pass the time: "What Sound Does It Make?"

You are familiar with the game.
"What sound does the train make, Jeffrey?"
"Chugga, chugga, chugga, chugga, choo-choo!!"

They played this game for an hour and a half straight. You'd think they would've covered every single known sound in the universe at that point, but little Jeffrey only knew three sounds: The truck, the car, the train. Thus we endured through countless, "Honk-Honk"s, "Beep-Beep"s and "Choo-Choo"s.

You can imagine what this did to my already thin patience. Had the flight attendant not called my place to board, I would've no doubt "honk-honked" my way into solitary confinement after my lack of patience got the best of me. I was terribly tempted to say, "What do the travelers say, Jeffrey?" To which I dreamt he would reply in a whispered, rushed tone, "Hush up! Hush up!" And then follow suit.

Clearly if my identity in Christ was determined by my present performance, I'd be in some serious trouble. If my actions determined my heavenly nametag, we can rest in confidence, mine would read: Snappy Sister Who Robs Little Children of Fundamental Games that Exercise Cognitive Growth and Development.

Sounds like you need a Master's degree to major in that one. I guess you could say I had mastered impatience. Or rather, I allowed it to master me.

“For sin shall not be master over you,
for you are not under law but under grace.”
Romans 6:14

Impatience and I go way back. I know impatience so well it knows my Starbucks drink order by heart.

I have a tendency to think, “Well, I’m just an impatient person.” Scripture seems to think otherwise. Patience is a fruit of the Spirit, for goodness sake! Clearly I cannot just toss it up to “that’s just who I am”.

I do this more often than I’d like to admit. I determine who I am based on what my actions tell me instead of on what Christ tells me.

And Christ tells me two major things as I read Romans 6:

Sin no longer has say over you.
You are not synonymous with your sin.


I wonder what would happen if we started living lives that believed these truths?

What would happen if I stopped hiding behind my Impatient Nametag and started living out what the Word of God tells me?

The reality is that because of Christ Jesus and His Spirit taking up residence within us, this Hope of Glory, we are no longer under the rule of sinful whims.

I’m not saying we don’t truly struggle with them because we do!

I’m saying we have the authority in Christ to say to our impatience, “Not today.” We have the access in Christ to say to our Father God, “Help me overcome this thing.” We have the intimacy in Christ to say to the Holy Spirit, “Convict me when I step out line. Get my attention and lead me in the way everlasting.”

We also have a new identity. We are not what we did all those years ago, a few months ago or even yesterday. We are more than our screw-ups. What was is no longer what is!

We are able to grow and move toward deeper restoration. The Blood of the Lamb has covered us in redemption. What a terrible heartbreak it would be to believe everything else but that.


“But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves to God,
the benefit you reap leads to holiness, and the result is eternal life.”

Romans 6:22
To read more from Kristen check out her blog Exemplify.

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Monday, September 22, 2008

Sometimes I Wonder....

What is going on in the world today? Have we forgotten the heart of the Father? Have we forgotten about the love Jesus showed?

Lord, help me to not be so caught up in the technicalities that I miss the heart of the person.

Help me to see the situation through your eyes; from your perspective.

Show me how to love in spite of my fears and bullheaded thinking.

Remind me of the time when I was in a similar situation and how evident your hand was in my life.

Forgive me for being self-righteous and hypocritical for pride's sake.

Teach me the difference between judgment and discernment and cover my mouth so that I may not gossip about either.

Reveal yourself to me in your word so that I may stand firmly on that foundation. I'll drop to my knees when I can no longer stand.

Sustain me until my prayers are answered or until you have given me grace to live without them.

Bring to remembrance that even though I am now wearing these adult shoes that I am still your child in need or training and molding.

Thank you for choosing me. Thank you for loving me. Thank you, Father.

I just want to praise you for all of my days and bless your heart in so many ways.

You are loving, amazing, kind, giving, patient, strong, good, encouraging, comforting, mighty, and inspiring.

And because you are.... I Am.




You show that you are a letter from Christ, the result of our ministry, written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of human hearts.

2 Corinthians 3:3




I'd love for you to visit me at my personal blog: In Pursuit of Proverbs 31

In Pursuit of Proverbs 31

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Sunday, September 21, 2008

Imagery of the Psalmist

It is amazing that the more you study God's love letter, God's Word, you realize how little you know. That happens to me all the time!

Recently, I decided to begin a study of the book of Psalm.

What a beautiful book of mercy, grace, hope, encouragement and peace it is.

We find these images of God. He is our Shield, Rock, King, Shepherd, Judge, Refuge, Fortress, Avenger, Creator, Deliverer, Healer, Protector, Provider and Redeemer. These are just a few!

When we think of the book of Psalm we always remember Psalm 23 because it is used so often in times of trouble and heartache as an encouragement to us as believers.

I have learned is not only an anchor to us as believers, but is also where we see the majesty of our Savior Jesus Christ who deserves all the praise for eternity.

We see the images of God and how He sustains us. Come with me as I share some of His Images and the verses with them.

1. God is our shield. Psalm 3:3,

"But you, O Lord, are a shield for me, My glory and the One who lifts up my head."

This is a Psalm of David when he fled from Absalom, his son. That was the confidence David had in Christ for He was a shield about him. In Ephesians 6:16 Paul is describing the shield of faith as providing our protection against the power of evil. Nevertheless God is our Shield.

2. God is our Rock.

Psalm 18:2 "The Lord is my Rock and my Fortress and my Deliverer."

This is after one of David's song of gratitude. The Lord is that to us. He has been the Image of a Rock in my life many times. I think back a few years ago when one of my daughter's was raped and how He was the Rock that kept me together during that horrific time. I Praise Him for being my Rock and my Deliverer!

3. God is King.

Psalm 5:2 " Give heed to the voice of my cry, my King and my God. For to you I will pray."

Do we realize that we have access to a King; the King? My friends, it is not a King, but the King of Kings! Alleluia! He is! He reigns! Vs. 3 "My voice You (King) shall hear in the morning O Lord; In the morning I will direct it to You. (King) and I will look up."

4. God is our Shepherd.

Psalm 80:1 "Give ear, O Shepherd of Israel, You Who lead Joseph like a flock; You Who dwell between the cherubim, shine forth!"

God is the Shepherd of His people. God was called on as a Shepherd to His people. He is also our Shepherd in 1 Peter 5:4 "And when the Chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the crown of glory that does not fade away." He is our Chief Shepherd!

May we remember these are the Images of our Best Friend. Our Best Friend as we go through our days as moms, wives and women dealing with our daily routines and schedules. When we hear "Mom!" or when we are supposed to be somewhere and our little one decides to mess up his diaper or when one of our teenagers reminds us he has to be in a school meeting in about 10 minutes.

God and His Son Jesus Christ is our Shield, Rock, King and Shepherd! He is all of these descriptive personal nouns in our lives as believers! What a strength it is to know that we are princesses before our King!

Close and Personal:

1. Walking with the Lord as long as some of us have, do we forget these images of God?

2. Do we recall a time in our lives where He exemplified these images that are mentioned in Psalm?

3. Which Image of God spoke to you?

My dear Heavenly Father how majestic is your name! How excellent is your name! You are the King of Kings, you are our Shield, Rock and our Chief Shepherd! May we walk as your princesses in our life here on this earth that when we see you, oh Lord we might not be ashamed! We love You our Savior! Thank you for being Who you are!

Join Elaine daily at her personal site.

This past Sunday I had the privilege of hearing "The Shepherds" in concert. They were amazing! Debra Shepherd wrote music to Psalm 27 and I want to leave verse 1 with you.

"The Lord is my light and my salvation; Whom shall I fear? The Lord is the strength of my life; Of whom shall I be afraid?"




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Saturday, September 20, 2008

Radio Dial

The Internet Cafe is Thrilled to welcome Beth Misner today!

Yesterday I was in the throes of getting the kids out the door for school, reminding my son to brush his teeth, asking my daughter if she had her report in her backpack, tripping over the dogs, looking everywhere for my shoes, then the keys to the car…AGAIN, when my dearest husband made the mistake of asking me to be sure I stopped at the dry cleaners to drop off his clothes from our recent trip. My reaction to him was definitely not my finest moment, I'm sorry to say. I am not too proud to say that my voice was a few decibels louder than it normally is.

As I dropped off my little cherubs at school, I realized I needed to step away and regroup--what is it we say to our kids? “You need an attitude adjustment!” I needed an attitude adjustment, that's for sure. What had transpired at home that morning reminded me of when I was in high school and used to listen to the radio at night.

We lived in Eastern Tennessee and had no television at that time. I enjoyed listening to AM radio at night and would dial in the station that played radio theater shows. The only problem was that as it got later, stations right next to the radio theater stations would punch up their frequencies and would begin to bleed over onto the station I was trying to listen to. The signals would get crossed and I would have to constantly adjust the dial to find just the spot where the signal would come in loud and clear again. This happened so many times during the course of a one-hour broadcast!

I realized that was what had happening to me that morning—-I needed to adjust the dial to receive the station I wanted to hear, the frequency of the Holy Spirit. When we have moments like that and we take the time to step away, adjust the dial and get that clear signal again, God's Spirit can continue to be heard in our hearts and minds. We get that attitude adjustment that we need, because “we have the mind of Christ” (1 Corinthians 2:16 ESV).

As I drove back up to the house after dropping off the dry cleaning, the joy of the Lord coursed through my mind, heart and body. I greeted my surprised husband with a great big hug and a big, bright smile, being once again tuned in fully to Jesus Christ.

As you go through your day today, be sensitive to when you feel that the station needs to be dialed in a little bit better. What do you notice during those times? How do YOU "adjust" the dial?

Watch the reactions of those around you as you consciously engage the Helper, the Holy Spirit (John 16:7), to pull out of moments where you are beaten down by circumstances or situations that threaten your sense of peace and joy. How is God glorified in those moments?

The Message says it this way in Philippians 3:15

let's keep focused on that goal, those of us who want everything God has for us. If any of you have something else in mind, something less than total commitment, God will clear your blurred vision - you'll see it yet!

Dear Lord, help us to recognize those moments when we have lost your signal and are not living our lives on your frequency. We pray that the Helper, the Holy Spirit, will lead us into Your will in all things. Keep our minds focused on you, lifted up above the things on this earth that try to drown out Your voice. Father, we pray that you will give us ears to hear and willing hearts to obey. In Jesus’ blessed name we ask this, Amen.

In Him,

Beth Misner

My life's purpose is to bring glory and honor and praise to the name of Jesus Christ, the God of Heaven. It is through Him and by Him and for Him that I live and breathe and have my very being. I am student of the Bible and a disciple of Christ, and hold a bachelor of arts degree in theology. I am a prayer leader for Moms in Touch International and have the honor of serving in the body of Christ as the prayer ministry coordinator of my church, Baseline Community Church (www.baselinecc.co). I pray that my life and work will touch your heart and mind and that the Light of Life, Jesus Christ the Lord, will shine upon you.

Visit Beth at her personal sites~

www.bethmisner.com

www.lightoflifeministries.wordpress.com


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Café Chat September 20th


Colossians 3:23-24 states, “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving.”

This verse is the inspiration for today’s question.
How would your life look differently if you embraced and believed fully what the verse in Colossians states? If the truth above is something you already believe and actively live out, how does this truth make a difference in your life?




Blessings,
Kim







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Friday, September 19, 2008

Who Am I?


Who am I?

I'm a:
mother
wife
friend
daughter
sister
cook
American
christian
blogger
girl
woman

But... who am I?

His word says:

You are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for you to do. Ephesians 2:10

As a bridegroom rejoices over his bride, so will your God rejoice over you. Isaiah 62:5

God made my mouth like a sharpened sword, in the shadow of his hand he hid me; he made me into a polished arrow and concealed me in his quiver. Isaiah 49:2

You brought me out of the womb, Lord; you made me trust in you even at my mother's breast. From birth I was cast upon you; from my mother's womb you have been my God. Psalm 22:9-10

O Lord, you have searched me and you know me. You know when I sit and when I rise; you perceive my thoughts from afar. You discern my going out and my lying down; you are familiar with all my ways. Psalm 139:1-3


What a comfort to know that even when I struggle with the many hats assigned for me to wear daily that God knows me and loves me. He knows my thoughts and my ways.

I watch teens screaming to be different, yet the same. Wanting to figure out who they are but conforming to trends to be accepted. But it goes past the teenage years. Even as adult women we want to fit in. From our clothes to our children... from the vehicles we drive to even the cell phone in our purse. These things all identify us to the world. God doesn't define me by my looks, or my car. He knows my heart even when my daughter goes to school without her paper signed or when I burn a batch of cookies. I'm not a failure to God when my purse isn't coach and my sinks aren't sparkling clean.

I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. Psalm 139:14

I am wonderfully made and God loves me. He loves you too! I don't know about you, but just reading that verse is like taking a breath of clean fresh air. Exhale.

Think About It:

Do you struggle with the world's view of you?
Do you find yourself constantly trying to fit in or stand out?
Do you worry you don't measure up to the people around you?

If so, memorize that verse. I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderfully made.

Thank you God for creating me, thank you for loving me just as I am. I am yours!






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Thursday, September 18, 2008

The Greatest Show on Earth

There are times when I wake up with a tune in my head. (Admittedly, it's usually an 80's tune that finds it's way into my head for a "blast from the past" or a Christian music tune that sets the tone for the day.)

This was a different tune. I couldn't quite figure out where God was going with this one.

You all know the tune. You've heard it since you were a kid...every year when the CIRCUS came to town.

"da, da, da, da, da, da, da, da, da, duh..."
(Click here if you can't get the tune in your head)
You've GOT to be kidding...

THE CIRCUS TUNE?
Where could God possibly be going with this.

The next thing I knew I had visions of cotton candy and peanuts dancing in my head, but I began to see a few things in a way I'd never seen them before.

I am the Ringmaster (sans the top hat and sequins) of this family and we have considerably more than 3 rings in this show of ours.

I juggle too. I juggle schedules, laundry piles, menus, bills and holidays.

I tightrope walk. This Circus has 2 adolescent girls, and some testosterone too; a tightrope walker is a MUST.

I've also been known to tame a few lions and breathe a little fire as well.

~LIFE IS A CIRCUS....~

Daily juggling acts, taming wild beasts, teetering on the edge and balancing acts are all part of this daily life we lead. In a word, it's a circus without the lights of the Big Top flashing.

THEN it occurred to me, there are also CLOWNS! You know the ones who ride in on silly mini cars, with big shoes and bright noses. Those clowns make the Circus complete.

Those clumsy, colorfully clad clowns make us LAUGH. Perhaps God wanted me to notice the "CLOWNS" in my life today. Those moments or people that make me smile or even laugh out loud! While our days are filled with balancing acts and juggling, the clowns bring us JOY!

Where is the pure JOY in your life? The moments that bring a smile to your face, you know the moments I mean, BIG SMILE moments.

These joys surround us every day.

It's in the knock-knock joke of an 8 year old...
In an unannounced surprise chocolate bar hand delivered from a friend...
In a hug from the man you married many years ago...
In a handwritten note from a far away friend...

Daily life can be a Circus, filled with dizzying distractions and balancing acts, but Scripture reminds us,


While Ringling Brothers lays claim to the "Greatest Show on Earth," we rest in the peace that "THE GREATEST SHOW" is yet to come...

Father,
Most days my life resembles a Circus. Circus life can be dizzying. The daily balancing acts and juggling can overcome me. Help me to notice the JOYS that come from You. As I go about my daily life I humbly ask you to be my "Ringmaster" in the Circus of life. Father, guide my ways, guard my words and open my eyes to the Joys that I often miss. Help me Father to see my life as "the greatest show on earth."
Amen

Questions for Reflection:

Do you ever feel as though your life is a Circus?

How can you become more aware of JOY moments sent into your life by God?










Join Lori daily at her personal blogspot, where she can be found daily in the Center Ring.






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Wednesday, September 17, 2008

H.U.G.S.


The Internet Cafe is Thrilled to WELCOME BACK Carmen Schroeder!


H.U.G.S.!

More than anything, keep loving each other actively;
because love covers many sins.
~ 1 Peter 4:8

Have you figured out yet that this life is all about relationships? The Relationship Expert Himself wrote an entire Book about this matter of relationships. The First Four Words of The Ten (Commandments) He gave us had to do with relating to Him…and the Last Six Words had to do with relating to everyone else!

What I’m trying to say, folks, is that it matters to our LORD how we deal with one another…yes, even ‘Sister Scouring Pad’ (the one known for her abrasive qualities). Did you know that our (horizontal) relationships are the TELLING FRUIT of our most vital (vertical) relationship to the Father...the ROOT? We are able to know the true condition of how our Heavenly Father views our relationship with Himself simply by examining our relationships with the 'one anothers' in our lives.

We all have at least one relationship in need of His healing touch, don’t we? 1 Peter 3:8-12 describes a process of His sanctification in us through friction with others…’it is to this we have been called that we might receive a blessing’. We receive this blessing as we do things His way and give up the right to ourselves.

Recently, I had the privilege of sipping some very expensive coffee (as in ‘Venti fat-free hazelnut latte, please!’) across the table from a new friend. We both shared our strange love for acronyms. You see, the LORD gave me a brain that can be easily confused, so I have found that acronyms serve me well in remembering what I should do in a complicated situation. Sometimes I do not have time to grab my Bible and look up the appropriate responses. Perhaps this is why His Spirit instructs us to ‘hide (the Word) in our hearts that we might not sin against Him’!

H.U.G.S. is surely one great acronym to commit to memory in dealing with inevitable conflict. The definition of conflict is ‘to come into collision or disagreement; be contradictory, at variance, or in opposition; to clash’. Has this ever happened to you? John records these words from Jesus: “In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33)

We have tribulation because sin resides in every human heart. But let’s not kid ourselves - even if you or I were the only one on this earth, we’d still have our issues! Therefore, we can look at conflict as an event and H.U.G.S. as appropriate God-honoring, Christ-exalting responses to a brother or sister. Until the LORD comes back, His Spirit will be teaching us all about His blessed grace and giving us ample opportunity to grow in it and extend it to others.

What would our relationships look like if we dealt in the following manner with each other?

H - Honestly (Proverbs 24:26; Romans 12:9-10)

U - Understandingly (Proverbs 14:29; James 1:20)

G - Graciously (Colossians 4:6; Proverbs 11:16; Ecclesiastes 10:12) AND finally…

S - Simply (Matthew 5:37; Proverbs 10:19; Ecclesiastes 5:7)

Jesus said that the world would know we are His disciples by the love we have for one another (John 13:35). This ahava (Hebrew: ‘love’) is the first attribute listed of the Spirit’s fruit because it is from this ‘ahava’ that the remaining Kingdom fruit flows. Ahava, at its core, is a heavenly action displayed through an earthly vessel. It is His very love flowing through us.

Because HUGS are a very SUPERnatural response, they are able to soften the edges of even the harshest Sister (yes, even Sister Scouring Pad or Brillo Britches…whichever you prefer).

Baruch Ha Shem ADONAI!!

Because HE Lives!

Carmen

Join Carmen daily at her personal blogspot


Absolute Truth John 17:17

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Tuesday, September 16, 2008

God, in the Middle of It!

"Faith is deliberate confidence in the character of God whose ways you may not understand at the time." - Oswald Chambers

How many times have you asked yourself..."God, where are You in all of this!" Maybe you've asked that when you lost a loved one, went through a personal trial or just get fed up with all of the injustices in the world. There are more times than not when I don't understand the ways of the Lord. Just today, I became involved with an incident at our church where I just threw up my hands to the Lord and said, "So, is this all a part of Your 'big picture'!? I don't understand Lord!" And of course, my flesh waited for a response from the Lord...but He didn't answer.

So I went home, cried it out, talked with friends, and I still didn't hear from Him.

But yet now, as I write this post, I hear His voice saying..."My ways aren't your ways, My thoughts aren't your thoughts...and remember...it was sin, not I that caused this. But I will resolve it."

That's pretty comforting to know!

We are daughters of the Most High King...and, like any good Father, our Heavenly Father will always defend, protect and seek vengeance upon those who hurt us. And, in those times when you cry out "Abba, Father, why!" we know that, as joint heirs with Christ, we have the right to boldly approach the throne room of the King and bury our heads in His lap...and weep.

For He is not only our King, but He is our Daddy - and we are His little girls.

He is prepared to go to battle for us - to fed off and cast judgment on those who hurt His family members. He is the Warrior King, our Sovereign Lord.

But at the same time, He is our comfort, He is the voice that says, "Shh, my daughter shh...cry on Me, I Am here...that's it...Daddy's here." I can't help but think of the character of Marlyn in "Finding Nemo". The barracuda had just eaten Marlyn's wife and most of his children, still in their eggs. But Nemo remained...alone, shivering from fright...Marylin thought all hope was lost, but Nemo was there and he needed him - they needed each other. Marlyn took Nemo in his fins and said, "There, there...Daddy's here."

That is how we must surrender when we don't understand the ways of the Lord. We need to crawl into His lap, and let Him coddle us...soothe us...knowing full well that He will defend His family.

Sin is what causes this pain...and we know from His Word that the Lord hates sin "The wages of sin is death" (Rom. 6:23), and He will defend and protect us against those who sin against us.

So, ladies, let us run to the lap of our Abba Father - our Heavenly Daddy - and weep when we don't understand His ways. And let us ask Him for understanding and comfort in knowing that He will protect us all, and all will be made right when He comes again to rule and reign forever, and ever amen.

I would like to close with a prayer I know that you are all familiar with - as it is on my heart right now in regards to those that harm us, and not understanding His ways...please pray with me...

"Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen."

- Matthew 6:9-13 (KJV)


Allison is the author of, Simple Christian Living, a blog committed to enjoying Christ, simply, every day in every way.

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Monday, September 15, 2008

Through The Fire

I was in a ladies’ Bible study one evening when the leader posed a question,” Who is your favorite person in the Bible and why?”


We took a few moments to write down our person and shared with the group. (Jesus not included; that one’s obvious.)

“Daniel,” I shared when it came my turn, “because Daniel purposed in his heart to do what was right in the sight of God.”

Daniel is still my favorite person in the Bible, besides Jesus. In the last few months of my life, three of Daniel’s friends have gotten my attention.

Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego were Daniel’s friends. They, like Daniel, had chosen to worship Jehovah, the one true God.

When told to bow down to another god, Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego refused. This act of rebellion to the king’s orders was punishable by death. Still, the three stood in their unwavering faith to God.

They were sent to the furnace to perish. Before they were taken away, they shared their testimony with King Nebuchadnezzar.

“Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego replied, “O Nebuchadnezzar, we do not need to defend ourselves before you. If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God whom we serve is able to save us. He will rescue us from your power, Your Majesty. But even if he doesn’t, Your Majesty can be sure that we will never serve your gods or worship the gold statue you have set up.” Daniel 3: 16-18 NLT

These young men believed God. Notice that they knew God was able to save them, but were also prepared if He did not. Facing the most grim and torturous possibility, they were willing to accept God's Will.

We often ask God to remove us from “the fiery furnace” or trial in our life. Our furnace may be financial struggles, relationship issues, or sometimes a fatal disease. Many times God does remove us from the situation by providing for us financially, mending a broken friendship immediately, or healing cancer.

Most of us have the faith that God is able to rescue us, but are we prepared when He chooses not to? Are we prepared when God (sometimes temporarily) allows us to enter into a trial, a "furnace" in our lives?

We know that in the end, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego were protected and emerged from the fire unscathed, but there is so much more to the story.

“Look!” Nebuchadnezzar shouted, “I see four men, unbound, walking around in the fire. They aren’t even hurt by the flames! And the fourth looks like a divine being!” Daniel 3: 25

It has been discussed that the fourth man may have been preincarnate Christ or an angel. Either way, someone Heavenly walked through the fire with three young men prepared to die for their God.


God not only protected them from the flames. He was by their sides the entire time.

In my own life, when the fire gets too hot, I often pray and ask God to remove me from the furnace. Sometimes the heat seems impossible to bear. All I want to do is escape and I can't understand why God won't give me a way out. I have realized that sometimes God chooses not to rescue me by removing the flames, but by protecting me and staying beside me through the fire.


After Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego survived the flames, King Nebuchadnezzar, witnessing the miracle, praised and acknowledged the Most High God. The King witnessed God's faithfulness and believed.

I still love Daniel. In his youth, He chose to always follow God before he was tempted to do otherwise. Now, I also want to be more like his friends, three young men who knew their God was able to save, were bold in their testimony before unbelievers, and who were unafraid to literally walk through fire.

God is able to save. Yet, for reasons we do not understand on this side of Heaven, he may allow us to enter in the "furnace." Just like Daniel's friends, we can endure the furnace because God is there with us, every step of the way. He may rescue us; He may allow us to suffer.


No matter the results, God is faithful to stay with us on our walk. When He does, others around us will see the one true God, the "divine being" walking with us through that fire. They may come to praise Him as the Most High God, just like King Nebuchadnezzar.


He's with you, friend. Trust Him today to walk with you- even through the fire.

Questions for reflection:

Have you suffered through your own type of "furnace?"

How has God shown you His Faithfulness?



Join Melanie at her personal blogspot, "This Ain't New York."

If you are going through a trial right now and would like prayer, please email or leave us a note in the comments. We would be honored to pray for you.

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