Internet Cafe

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Weekend Blend!


Welcome to the Weekend Blend at the Internet Cafe Devotionals!

We know that weekends are full, and it's our prayer that as the calendar turns to a New Year tht you'll find a table at the Cafe just for you. A place to savor a sip as we serve up some of our favorite devotionals from the past.

As with each month, we'll be serving up devotionals each weekend in January centered around a theme...


Enjoy!

Walking in Circles

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Friday, January 29, 2010

The Promised Highway...

Upon thinking that 2010 is here, I wanted to share a promise from our Savior Jesus Christ for us as believers! I don't know about you, but 2009 was one of those years that will never be forgotten! As a family, we were talking and sharing the challenges and the victories of 2009.


Through our family sharing with one another about all the Lord has had for us this past year the Lord laid it upon my heart to remind each of us of the road that we will eventually be on for eternity! I hope it will encourage you and give you umph as it has me! Remember the Road of the Redeemed!


In Isaiah 35:1-10 it says the following to us so let's read on!


"The wilderness and the wasteland shall be glad for them, And the desert shall rejoice and blossom as the rose; It shall blossom abundantly and rejoice, Even with joy and singing. The glory of Lebanon shall be given to it. The excellence of Carmel and Sharon They shall see the glory of the Lord, The excellency of our God.


Strengthen the weak hands, And make firm the feeble knees, Say to those who are fearful-hearted, Be strong, do not fear! Behold, your God will come with vengeance, With the recompense of God; He will come and save you.


Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened, And the ears of the deaf shall be unstopped. Then the lame shall leap like a deer, And the tongue of the dumb sing, For waters shall burst forth in the wilderness and streams in the desert.

The parched ground shall become a pool, And the thirsty land springs of water; In the habitation of jackals, where each lay, There shall be grass with reeds and rushes.

A highway shall be there, and a road. And it shall be called the Highway of Holiness, The unclean shall not pass over it, But it shall be for others, whoever walks the road, although a fool Shall not go astray.


No lion shall be there, Nor shall any ravenous beast go up on it; It shall not be found there; But the redeemed shall walk there.

And the ransomed of the Lord shall return, And come to Zion with singing, with everlasting joy on their heads. They shall obtain joy and gladness, And sorrow and sighing shall flee away."

I don't know about you but I can't wait to be on that Highway promised to us His redeemed!

Close and Personal:


1. Have you ever read this passage?


2. Will you remember this as we go throughout 2010?


My Dearest Savior, Thank you Lord for your sweetest reminders of where our hope is and our eternal rest will be with You in joy and happiness! May we keep You and Your promises close to us as this new year begins! Father may we be mindful to remember that our trials and tribulations that we will encounter are just temporary in comparison to "The Highway of the Redeemed!"


We love you Lord Jesus!




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Thursday, January 28, 2010

Affairs of the Heart


We are thrilled to have Jocelyn Green, the author of 'Faith Deployed' pouring for us today!


Watch over your heart with all diligence, for from it flows the springs of life.
Proverbs 4:23

A woman in our Coast Guard unit had been corresponding with her old boyfriend for months, unbeknownst to her husband, emailing and instant messaging late into the night. She was convinced she would be happier if she filed for divorce, hoped for the best for her children, and returned to the arms of the one she did not marry.

While the geographical distance prevented her from having a physical relationship with this man, she was clearly in an emotional affair. Perhaps she thought that emailing couldn’t hurt anything. But the more she shared of her heart with him, the more her desires bent toward being with him as a permanent solution to her loneliness and dissatisfaction in her own marriage.

The fact that it is common makes it no less tragic. Each one of us is vulnerable to the same situation. Those of us who would “never have an affair” might just be feeling lonely enough to mention it to a sympathetic man. If he offers us the male attention we are craving, if he makes us feel special, how can our hearts not want to go back for more? While not every emotional affair ends up in a physical affair, you can bet that every physical affair once began as an emotional affair.

Matthew 5:27-28 MSG says, “You know the next commandment pretty well, too: ‘Don’t go to bed with another’s spouse.’ But don’t think you’ve preserved your virtue simply by staying out of bed. Your heart can be corrupted by lust even quicker than your body. Those leering looks [or thoughts] you think nobody notices—they are also corrupt.”

It’s inevitable that you will notice attractive men—and that isn’t sinful. It would be sinful if we allow that attraction to spur us on to develop an emotional attachment to that man. Here are some questions Shannon Ethridge suggests we ask ourselves to evaluate whether we, as married women, are in dangerous territory:

· Do you think of this man often (several times each day) even though he is not around?

· Do you select your daily attire based on whether you will see this person?

· Do you go out of your way to run into him, hoping he’ll notice you?

· Do you wonder if he feels any attraction toward you?

One way to play it safe and help guard our hearts is to guard our mouths. Flirting, complimenting, complaining, confessing, and inappropriate counseling and praying are all ways of communicating that could lead to a deeper relationship—in other words, avoid them!

If you find yourself struggling to reserve your heart’s affections for your husband, seek out a trusted friend to serve as an accountability partner to you. You are less likely to stumble if you know you’ll have to report it. “Iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another” (Proverbs 27:17).

Ask

Do I fantasize about what it would be like to be with a different man?

When those thoughts cross my mind, what can I do to starve those desires?

Pray

Lord,
Help me guard my heart, especially when my husband is away. I know that Satan would love nothing more than to undermine my marriage and watch it fall apart. Alert me when my thoughts drift into inappropriate territory. Help me take every thought captive to Jesus Christ.

In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Jocelyn Green is an award-winning freelance writer and author of Faith Deployed: Daily Encouragement for Military Wives (www.faithdeployed.com), from which this devotional was reposted with permission from Moody Publishers. She is also the co-author of Stories of Faith and Courage from the War in Iraq & Afghanistan. She and her husband Rob live with their two children in Cedar Falls, Iowa.

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Wednesday, January 27, 2010

The Well Worn Bible

A while back I had a talk with a friend. She had discovered her late grandmothers bible just a few days before and was excited and overwhelmed as she spoke of the treasures she found inside. She said that in times of trouble her grandmother had always told her that a bible that is falling apart usually belongs to someone who isn't.

As she read through the thin, tattered, torn, folded, highlighted, and well noted pages, she discovered the heart of a woman who was constantly seeking her Father. She also began to understand how her grandmother had not only survived but thrived through the trials in her life. As she described them to me I couldn't help but become engaged in the legacy she left.

The question marks and exclamation points through the gospels revealed the young Christian's thoughts after giving her life to her savior at 19 years of age. The tear stained pages and repeated highlighting of Jeremiah 29:11 spoke volumes about her healing through the loss of a young child and coping as her husband was overseas fighting in the war. The pages that were most thin and crumpled (John, Ephesians, and 1 Corinthians) revealed her favorite passages and places of intense study. The notes in the margins of Genesis, Exodus, and Revelation revealed her desire to learn all about her Lord. Her faith was well recorded on every page.

Then there where the prayer verses she assigned to different family members at different times in their life. Some prayed so often and so intently that it was obvious to all that her tears had mixed with the ink on the pages and actually formed a hand print as she lay her hand on them. Letters from Vietnam and photos of her loved ones littered the book as though it was her most treasured lock box. Indeed it was. She shared her life, her most precious things, with Him.

All of these things started me thinking. What would my bible say about me? Will my love and passion for my savior be as obvious? Will my love for my family be as proclaimed? Will the complete expression of my heart be reflected in the pages of my well worn bible?

What about yours?

In Him,

Amy


I'd love for you to visit me at my personal blog: Amy Bayliss.com




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Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Unexpected Detour


So he got up, took the child and his mother during the night and left for Egypt. Matthew 2:14 NIV


I’m a planner. I carefully select my events, my times, my meals, and even my accessories in effort to make my life – well, perfect. There is just one problem. Perhaps you already know it.


No matter how much we prepare, things don’t always go according to plan.



In this way, I set myself up for disappointment. For months, I envisioned the birth of my newest baby girl. The older two children would stand at the window of the nursery while she took her first bath. The grandparents, aunts, and uncles would stand behind them along with my husband who would be videoing this perfect moment. I, of course, would still be back in the recovery room holding hands in a circle with my best friends singing “Praise God from whom all blessings flow.” That is how it was supposed to happen.


It didn’t.


Instead, my newborn was whisked out of the delivery room without so much as a how do you do. She spent not one day, not two days, but TEN days in the NICU. No siblings watched her bathe. No aunts and uncles stood in the background commenting on how she had my mouth and my husband’s eyes. Things did NOT go according to plan – at least not MY plan.


So, I wonder how Mary felt when Joseph shook her awake in the middle of the night and told her to get packing. The Magi, or three wise men, had just left their home after visiting the young King of Kings. Mary was just getting used to being the mother of the Savior of the world. If Jesus was God’s Son, then why were they running?


King Herod was on a rampage, killing every infant boy under a certain age. An angel appeared to Joseph in a dream, telling him of Herod’s intentions and God’s plan for them to flee to Egypt. Joseph, the Bible tells us, got up, took Mary and Jesus and left in the middle of the night.


This was not a part of Mary or Joseph’s plan. But it was God’s plan.


I wonder how many times when my plans took a detour, God was protecting me. I was probably too busy complaining about my trek though the desert to realize God was sending me there for my own good. I’m thankful Mary didn’t park her heels and say, “No way. I just got this straw floor looking the way I want, and I’m not leaving.” Instead, she followed and in doing so, protected my Lord.


Dear Lord,

Sometimes the only I thing I see is Egypt. Help me to understand you often have a plan in the desert road. Thank you for Mary and Joseph, Father, for their obedient attitude helped to save Your Son. Create in me a submissive attitude. Help me not to focus so much on MY plans that I miss out on Yours. Lord, may I embrace the detours. Amen.


Visit Carol at sheep to the right!


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Monday, January 25, 2010

The Aroma of Christ


We are thrilled to have Kristin Shockley pouring today!



“For we are to God the aroma of Christ among those who are being saved and those who are perishing.” (2 Corinthians 2:15)



“I want to be like you, Mama.” She says this as I loop her apron strings into a bow around her waist. She fingers my apron and beams. “Now we look alike.” She turns to look up at me with the clear blue eyes like her Daddy’s. Minus her rounded nose and flowing hair, she looks far more like her Daddy than me, but our matching red apple aprons and this rare time alone in the kitchen is enough for her.

Sometimes I think I should be more like her, she whose every move is exacted slowly, carefully. Carefully, she chooses a dress from her closet. Carefully, she folds her nightgown and returns it to its place. Carefully, she brushes each tooth. Carefully, she glides her pencil across the page of her alphabet book. Carefully, she folds the napkins into triangles for meals. She is never in hurry, but she never hesitates to stand up for truth! Me? I scurry through my days but freeze amidst confrontation.


“Mama, when I grow up, I want to take care of my babies like you do.” She licks a bit of sugar off her fingertip and smiles at the baby brother who crawled in from the living room and is at her feet clanging pots out of the cabinet.


I have a lot to learn from her, she who holds her doll in one arm while she pours chocolate chips into the dough. She hums and mixes and rocks her darling. Somehow my grumbles that it is harder this way—harder to stir and hold a needy baby—have gone unnoticed by my girl who wishes to be just like me.


We glimpse a flash of red outside the window. “Mama, when I grow up, can I be a bird watcher and a mama?” I assure her that even mamas are not too busy to notice God’s creation. “Good,” she says. “Because I really want to be a mama, but I like to watch birds, too.”


What a balm she is to my soul, this little one so devoted to her dream to be like me. And so devoted to the idea that motherhood is a calling worth striving for.


Brian ambles into kitchen to steal a warm cookie and a kiss. “I caught you!” she teases, wagging her finger and squeezing in between us “When I get married, I’m going to leave you and live with my husband,” she says, a mixture of warning and sadness in her voice.

I hug her, willing her to stay with me a few years longer. And until then, I live to be the aroma of Christ.

“Godliness has value for all things, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come…and for this we labor and strive.” (1 Timothy 4:8, 10)



Kristin has been married to Brian, her best friend, confidant, and inspiration, for eight years and has four children who are continually teaching her in the little moments. You can visit her at http://from-my-life.blogspot.com.

image courtesy of M. Harper

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Saturday, January 23, 2010

Blessed Aroma 2009


Internet Cafe Devotions introduces Blessed Aroma ~ 2009!



As a Christian Women Devotional site, we passionately want to encourage and inspire women all over the world. We know that an ounce of encouragement goes a long way and that is why we are introducing Blessed Aroma ~ 2009. It's a way to showcase some of your favorite blogs who have encouraged you with their written words and examples of faith in 2009. This is a chance to showcase some of the most encouraging and inspiring blogs, and an opportunity to introduce our readers to some new and exciting ladies.



This is not a contest. There are no prizes. We firmly believe that there is no competition in ministry and we are to support and encourage each other as the body of Christ.

Our vision for this is to simply add a page to the Cafe with a fresh list of wonderful blogs that others can enjoy. We will obtain this list through nominations by you, the readers, and not simply based on our own opinions. No one will know who was nominated or how many people nominated each blog but the top ten of those who receive the most nominations in a category will be included on our website. In random order, of course.

We will accept nominees through February 5th, 2010 and shortly after the top 10 blogs in each category will be announced when our new web design is revealed.

You can vote once in each of the following categories:

Cup Overfloweth Blog
This is a woman who is following hard after Him. Her words, her heart and her passion for her Savior is evident with every click of the mouse. She inspires you to have a closer relationship with Him.

Cup of the Day Blog
This blogger is the "cup" you couldn't do without. You find yourself daily drawn in to sit a spell. You leave inspired and encouraged.

Most Joyful Among Us Blog
This gal always sees her coffee cup "half full" and the joy just pours out of her site. Her joyful attitude is what keeps you coming back for more.

Beautiful Cup Blog
This blog is unique and artistic. It's the blog that you are drawn to because of it's beauty and design. Maybe she is into interiors or photography. Maybe she creates one of a kind art. Maybe she is a blog designer with an eye for detail.

Gathered Together Blog
This is a group blog category. This blog is a team of writers who inspire you with their words of encouragement.

Pouring Proverbs 31 Blog
This blog exemplifies the principles of a Proverbs 31 woman and it comes through on her blog.

Caffeinated Blog

This is a high energy blog! Perhaps she is a mom to a dozen or a woman who is wearing many hats. Her energy and enthusiasm shine through on her blog.

Learn A-Latte Blog
This is a lady who loves to see others learn. She might teach her kids at home or maybe she teaches you about: scrapbooking, sewing, knitting, crafts, photography, or anything of the like. The truth is you learn something almost every time you visit her blog.

My Cup of Tea Blog
This is a lady who loves her family and friends and is always pouring out thoughts and ways that you can love your family more. She is a woman after God's own heart.

All New Flavor Blog
This blog is less than a year old but already shows such a tremendous capacity to bless. You just can't wait to see where she'll go from here!

The rules are:

  • Each household may only nominate once.
  • The nominator must be at least 18 years of age.

  • You cannot nominate your own blog.

  • You must provide all information requested for your nomination to count.

  • You must provide the URL of the blogs you nominate in order for them to count.

  • You must submit all of your nominations at one time.

  • Blogs must be written by a Christian author. We reserve the right to refuse to include any blog we feel is not supportive of our biblical, Christian beliefs.

Don't forget to grab the button for your blog below!












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Weekend Blend!


Welcome to the Weekend Blend at the Internet Cafe Devotionals!

We know that weekends are full, and it's our prayer that as the calendar turns to a New Year tht you'll find a table at the Cafe just for you. A place to savor a sip as we serve up some of our favorite devotionals from the past.

As with each month, we'll be serving up devotionals each weekend in January centered around a theme...


We're pouring these great devotionals from our archives!

Live the Dream!

and

Free to Be Me?


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Friday, January 22, 2010

The Crooked Path

She edged closer as we chattered in the hallway about life, family and the upcoming women’s retreat. She stood a ways off as if afraid to approach us – she was tiny and a bit timid. She walked slowly, almost painfully.


As the group began to scatter she asked one of the girls how she could volunteer to help out around the church. There was some stammering and stuttering and then a suggestion to ask the pastor’s wife - -because when all else fails send them to the pastor or his wife.


I joined in the conversation and soon all the others fell away. It was just the two of us, this timid woman extending her hand to help when she seemed more in need than most, and me.


Her story came out in bits and sentence fragments. Open heart surgery just a few weeks ago. No longer able to work. Want to do something. Need to stay busy.


She told me “I’ve only been here a couple of times.” In the way she spoke, it’s like she expected rejection. I knew there was more to her story.


We talked about places she may want to volunteer. We talked about Wednesday night suppers and Sunday school and then I mentioned Bible study. She seemed excited, but a bit anxious. I shared the dates and showed her where we meet. We traded phone numbers.


As we walked out of the empty church building I told her I’d call next week about Bible study. Worry clouded her face, “I try to do good, but I always mess up.” I assured her that most of my life consisted of a series of mess ups.


She told me “I try to keep it straight, but then I fall back into the old ‘stuff’” and assured her I had lots of turns and curves on my path. I shared that much of my life was spent face first in a ditch of sin, but I realized that my words have little impact. I look like the church girl. I carry the bible, I lead the studies, and I seem like I have it together (which is so far from the truth).


As we parted ways, my heart was heavy. She'd had the open heart surgery, but I felt as if my heart was broken.


Does she think that she has to be on the living good and on the straight path before she can come to Bible study?


Does she think she has to fit the mold to come hear about God’s saving grace?


What are we doing if people think they have to fit in to come in?


“For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.” John 3:17 (ESV)

Take the time today to reach out.





Invite someone to Bible study, church or for coffee -- someone you'd never thought to invite before. The person who lives on the fringes, the outsider, the one who doesn't quite fit the mold that we've created.





Show everyone you come in contact with that Christ's love knows no boundaries and there are no molds to fit or rules to follow. You only need to accept His gift of grace and declare He is Lord.






"That if you confess with your mouth, "Jesus is Lord," and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved." Romans 10:9 (NIV)

In Him,

Mary



Come by Mary's blog at www.MaryRSnyder.com

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Thursday, January 21, 2010

The Why Behind The Telling

Shortly after Jesus' departure from earth, Peter got after it. And by that I mean he started being about the Father's business.

Every. Single. Moment.


Now, if you know the Bible at all you know that Peter going around proclaiming the risen Christ did not land very well with the rulers, the elders of the people, the teachers of the law and many others.


But he did it anyway. All of the disciples did it anyway.


But Peter and John replied, "Judge for yourselves whether it is right in God's sight to obey you rather than God. For we cannot help speaking about what we have seen and heard. Acts 4:19-20


Over the last seven plus years since our story came out, we've talked about it with just about anyone who will listen. Now, we don't go up to people, introduce ourselves and then spew all over them.


But close.


We don't do this to get attention. We don't open our hearts for others to the see the immense pain we walked through to get a pat on the back. We don't lay everything on the line and risk relationships so that we can get a book deal.


We do it because we can't help but do it. Just like Peter and John, we can't help but speak about what God has done in our lives. It's remarkable. It's miraculous. It's life-giving. And it's full of hope.


So why on earth would we not share it?


Don't be afraid to share your story. This girl, this girl and this girl did.


One of the reasons we often endure heaps and heaps of pain is so that the glory of God will be revealed in our lives.


Oftentimes your pain is what brings life to another.

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Tuesday, January 19, 2010

No Room for a Snake in the House

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


Who put a rubber snake in here?



The ugly, scaly, black thing lying in the hallway was coiled with its head up just a bit. Even so, I kept a good distance as I leaned over to take a closer look. About that time, the rubber snake must have seen me because it slithered off towards the kitchen.


Thankfully, my two-year-old granddaughter, Katelyn, who hadn’t learned to fear anything, didn’t see the snake. If she had, she would have rushed past me and snatched it up. That could have been the end of Nana.




To be on the safe side, I grabbed Katelyn and picked her up. She started yelling and kicking for me to put her down. But I held on firmly as we dashed through the den and another hallway. Holding her tightly, I ran through the living room and out the front door. Crossing the front porch and side yard in record time, my feet barely touched the ground. I bound up the steps to my husband, Danny’s office and threw open the door. My abrupt entrance startled Danny.


I screamed. “There’s a snake in the house!”


He shrugged. “Well why didn’t you call me?”


“Because there was a snake between me and the phone.”


In a crisis Danny goes into his super calm mode, as if compensating for my fear. But I want him to jump up and throw on his Snake Catcher Cape. I want him to run and catch that snake.


Danny rose from his desk and walked down to the house. He searched upstairs, downstairs, and in the basement and then declared that he was certain the snake was no longer in the house. Danny said that the snake had gone back outside the same way it had come in.


Not being quite as sure of this as he was, I walked around looking at the floor for the remainder of the evening. After thoroughly searching the covers, I crawled into bed and prayed that we’d see that snake one more time. I prayed that we’d catch it so I could be certain that the snake wasn’t putting on his nightcap and turning in as well, somewhere else in the house.


A few days passed without another visit from the snake so I began to relax and agreed with Danny that the snake preferred to live outside. The following Saturday morning as Danny mowed the grass, I walked out to see him. When I reached the basement steps, something on the ground caught my eye. There it was. God answered my prayer. In His mercy, He even let us find the snake outside instead of inside the house. Catching Danny’s eye, I pointed very emphatically to the ground. Realizing immediately what I was pointing to, he turned off the lawn mover and threw on his Snake Catcher Cape. Danny came running and in one swift motion reached down and grabbed the snake behind its head. Danny put the snake in a box and gave it to a friend who actually likes black snakes.


Later as Danny and I took a good look at our 80-year-old house, we realized that we’d had a false sense of security. We found cracks and holes that a snake could easily slither through. Danny then spent a full day snake-proofing our home


This caused me to think how easy it is to have a false sense of security in other areas of our lives. We may see something potentially dangerous and think it’s not real. It won’t harm us. And then it slithers off. We may think that we have no cracks big enough for anything to slip through. We would never be tempted. We know right from wrong. We may even go to church. But something finds a hole just big enough to squeeze in. Sin can cause a lot of anxiety. It can wreak havoc in our lives if not caught and dealt with.


I think I’ll take a good look at my spiritual house. See if there are any areas that need spiritual caulking. Talking with God and reading His Word daily will help prevent cracks. Prevention really is best, in dealing with sin, and in keeping out snakes. And there really is no room for a snake in my house - physically or spiritually.



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Monday, January 18, 2010

A Quick Wit and A Stiff Neck

God has gifted me with a quick, dry wit. Constantly, I hear catch phrases that ring in my mind and cause it to answer.

It’s a blessing and a curse.

If you could be inside my mind for one day, I guarantee you would either be greatly entertained or incredibly concerned.

Anyway, I’ll get to the point of why I’m mentioning it.

One new day, I woke up with excruciating pain in my neck. While issues with my neck are common, this day was worse than normal, as it wouldn’t even relent to the pain medicine.



Halfway through the morning, Wit spoke up: “What a pain in the neck!” I chuckled in my mind. Later in the day, she spoke up again: “You stiff-necked woman!” That one wasn’t quite as funny to me, of course, as it refers to the Israelites who continued to turn away from God.


As I awoke that next morning, the pain woke with me. I couldn’t even move my neck from side to side without a wince. I was thankful for Mrs. Wit’s humor to keep me amused along the way. What amazes me is that God often uses these little illustrations in life to strike me and remind me of Himself. After spending time in prayer, the Holy Spirit reminded me of some unconfessed sin in my life. I was quick to deal with it. Then He brought to my mind some areas of complacency and unbelief. I gave those over. Then a tucked away verse woke up my memory: “Do not be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness.” That sent me on a trail of trying to figure out what this means to a Christian, and more importantly, to me:


“See to it, brothers, that none of you has a sinful, unbelieving heart that turns away from the living God. But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called Today, so that none of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness. We have come to share in Christ if we hold firmly till the end the confidence we had at first. As has just been said: ‘Today if you hear His voice, do not harden your hearts as you did in the rebellion.’” Hebrews 3:12-15


Time after time I’ve read this verse, but what the Lord showed me on that enlightened day is that it is possible as a mature believer to turn away from Him with sin or unbelief. Before, when I’ve envisioned “turning away from the living God,” I’ve thought of a BIG turning away, kind of like the prodigal son. I picture a monumental decision to leave the Christian life to seek my own pleasure. While that is certainly a possibility here, I don’t believe it is the only one. It says, “BUT encourage one another DAILY.” Wow---I can actually deal with a sinful, unbelieving heart on a daily basis?!?!? One of the things about sin is that it can sneak up on us.....it is deceitful. It wants to make us believe that we will be unaffected from the repercussions of a wishy-washy lifestyle, but read on: “We have come to share in Christ IF WE HOLD FIRMLY TILL THE END the confidence we had at first.”


We WANT to share in Christ, don’t we? Do we still have the confidence IN Him to live rightly BEFORE Him? Micah 6:8 says, “He has showed you, O man, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.” To walk humbly requires a daily giving over of ourselves. If we’re not careful, sneaky sin can convince us that we don’t have time to do this or that it’s not necessary....we can become a “stiff-necked” people, if you will. So what is the answer for us? The answer is found in Psalm 95:2-8a:

“Let us come before Him with thanksgiving and extol Him with music and song. For the Lord is the great God, the great King above all gods; In His hand are the depths of the earth, and the mountain peaks belong to him. The sea is His, for He made it, and His hands formed the dry land. COME—let us bow down in worship, let us kneel before the Lord our Maker; for He is our God, and we are the people of His pasture, the flock under His care. TODAY, if you hear His voice, do not harden your hearts....”

Let’s stretch our necks out for Him today, noticing His creation on the left, His blessings on the right, and His provision right in front of us. As He shares this with us, may it renew in us the confidence to hold firmly Today all the way to the end.




Selah~ Pause. Ponder. Praise.
Please come by and visit my new personal blog,

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Saturday, January 16, 2010

WINNERS ANNOUNCED!

Thank you to everyone who left us a comment on how we can serve your devotional needs even better!

We are committed to bringing an encouraging, relevant, Biblical word to the women who join us daily for a "cup of inspiration!"

Be assured that we are continually praying for the Lord to guide us in how we can best serve you...that is after all our hearts in this ministry.

The WINNERS (who were chosen at random) are:

Cindy Haux
Freddae
3Blessings
Karianne
Sheryl
ashbroco
beckyquilts
Laurel@From My Heart to Yours
Dianne Allen
Stacy

If you are a winner we'll need to get your email address. Just email that information to lori@internetcafedevotions.com! You will be getting a separate email with instructions as to how to register for the conference!

Enjoy!

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Weekend Blend!


Welcome to the Weekend Blend at the Internet Cafe Devotionals!

We know that weekends are full, and it's our prayer that as the calendar turns to a New Year tht you'll find a table at the Cafe just for you. A place to savor a sip as we serve up some of our favorite devotionals from the past.

As with each month, we'll be serving up devotionals each weekend in January centered around a theme...


Enjoy a sip...

Disturb Us, Lord

and

What Needs to be New in Your Life?


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Friday, January 15, 2010

Are You Ready for a Contest??

We thought so! Let's face it, it's winter and we ALL could use a CONTEST!

This is a GOOD one! We're going to be GIVING AWAY 10 FREE tickets to the Nurturing Creativity & Efficient Living Conference at A Woman Inspired coming this January!

What exactly is The Nurturing Creativity & Efficient Living Conference at A Woman Inspired?

A Woman Inspired is presenting Nurturing Creativity & Efficient Living on January 25-29 2010

If only life was simpler: dinner ready on time.; freshly laundered clothes in everyone closet; every item has a place; money saving was easy and effective; time management was second nature to us. Hmmm… if only, right?

Well, we can ‘t change your home overnight but we can provide you with the tools to begin the process and motivate you to get started. We’ll have sessions on organization, money saving and management, easy meals, effective scheduling, overcome procrastination and more! This is one conference you can’t afford to miss!

In addition to that we hope to inspire your creative genius!

Have you been in touch with your inner creative diva? Do you want to learn to express yourself through paint mediums, culinary masterpieces, vibrant rooms or maybe through your own life as the canvas? Well, you can get inspired here.

Whether you feel stuck in a rut or just don’t know where to begin we can help. I’m confident that many of you have a pile of unfinished projects or maybe put off doing things simply because you feel you don’t have the time. We have all been there and can definitely relate. We would like you help get some momentum going so that you can begin to create and design no matter what your canvas preference is.

Learn how to:

* develop your God given talents and gifts
* push past creative blocks
* further your education in the area of your choice (at no cost)
* be more productive
* be more focused
* let your light shine!

Speakers include:
Laura, of OrgJunkie
Sandy Coughlin, of Reluctant Entertainer
Meredith, of Like Merchant Ships
Rhoda, of Southern Hospitality
Jennifer Schmidt, of Beauty and Bedlam
Alene Snodgrass, author of Dirty Laundry Secrets – A Journey to Meet the Launderer
Tanna Clark, of Organizing Solutions
Katie, of Making This Home
Sarah Martin, of Live It Out
Nicki Koziarz of Three Girly Girlz
Leslie Valeska of Simple Journey Ministries
Karin Katherine of Mommy Matters
Erin Chase of $5 Dinners.com
Tracy Berta, of Thirsty for Him
Larissa Lam of Beautiful Faith, On the Way Up, and Larissa Lam.com
Carolyn J. Carleton, of Unlimited Potential International
Kathryn Bonner, author of Confessions of a Pastor’s Wife
Kathryn Lang, of Successful Freelance Writer
Angela Parsley, of Refresh My Soul Ministries
Cindy Carrier, of Values-Driven Family
Melissa Smallwood, of Multi-Tasking Mama


How can I WIN free tickets??

Well, Internet Cafe Devotions is in the process of making some changes for YOU! We will be switching to Wordpress soon as to make your experience here a better one! We need your input though. We'd LOVE to know what you'd like to see here, what kind of design would appeal to you, what kind of devotions you are looking for; Anything that's on your heart that will help us make this the VERY BEST devotional site for women.

As we gear up for a fabulous 2010, we want to connect with you. To enter to win a FREE TICKET to this amazing conference all you have to do is leave a comment (you do NOT need a blog to win, just leave an email as to how we can reach you) telling us what you'd like to see! That's it! Tell us and you'll be automatically be entered to win a free ticket to the Nurturing Creativity and Efficient Life Conference! What better way to start the year?

Contest deadline is January 15th, 2010, midnight CST.

Winners will be announced at the Internet Cafe on January 16th, 2010

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Hopping Off The Bike

Last month I had the privilege of participating in a Christmas party for a local children's home. A group of us worked together to purchase gifts for the kids. We presented the gifts to them while hosting a party.


One of the kids we sponsored was 14 year-old *Nathan. I don't know his circumstances. All I know is that they brought him to a children's home. That's all I needed to know.


Our group had purchased a bike for Nathan as well as clothes, some games, and other teen guy things. Each were carefully wrapped with pretty ribbons and bows. Even with all our effort, that huge plastic bag could not disguise the bike.


Nathan's name was called and he was presented the bike. He tore off the plastic bag and rolled the bike towards our table. We thought he was headed to the other bag of gifts. Instead, he walked right out the door.


"Where's he going?"


We followed, braving the cold December air. There in the parking lot was Nathan riding his bike in circles, a huge smile on his face.


We called him back in and said,"That's not all. There's more."


Nathan was just happy to get the bike.


It was all he had wanted.


After a few laps around, he came inside, where he found the rest of the gifts. To my surprise, he was equally amazed at each of them.


We're a lot like Nathan. We accept salvation from God with so much joy and gratitude. In our excitement, we hop on the bike, not realizing there is so much more in store for us.


God wants to say, "Where's she going? Wait! There's more!"


He wants us to accept Him as Savior, but He also wants us to grow, accepting His gifts of the faith.




What gifts are you missing today in your life? Peace? Joy? Contentment? A stronger faith or prayer life?


Keep riding your bike with that smile on your face, but be sure to hop off and accept the rest of God's gifts. You may be surprised at the amazing things He has in store for you.

"Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows. He chose to give us birth through the word of truth, that we might be a kind of first fruits of all he created." James 1:17-18

*Name changed.



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


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Thursday, January 14, 2010

A Touch of the Flu?


We are thrilled to welcome Guest Barista Kristy Stachmus to the Cafe today!



Can you have just ‘a touch’ of the Flu?

I don’t know how it is where you live, but flu season is certainly upon us here in Texas. Schools are being closed and doctor’s offices are full. Our household was a most recent victim, when I was called to collect my eldest child from school. I called her doctor’s office straight away. She has gone there since she was three and they were kind enough to work us in for an afternoon appointment.

We arrive to be welcomed by a sign on the door stating, “If your child has any of these symptoms, please advise the office staff so we can provide them with a mask (followed by a list of flu symptoms).” I signed us in, collected a mask, and tried to convince my 11 year old, who is more concerned with fashion than with health, to cover her face by strapping on the mask around each ear. As I sit and wait I listen to all of the children as they sneeze, cough, and snort, all the while my instincts telling me that each and every one has some sort of the flu. I pull out a bottle of hand sanitizer and rub on a few squirts.

After a quick glance from the doctor and a very uncomfortable brain (well, at least really far into the nasal cavity) swab, my GG’s case of the flu is confirmed. A fact I could have diagnosed at home (without a hefty doctor’s bill), since she has each and every symptom presenting. The doctor explains that my child tested positive for type A influenza, which is seasonal flu or the H1N1 virus, and most likely, she has the later since seasonal flu usually shows up later in the winter. Poor baby, her skin is pale, eyes hollow, coughing, aching, stuffy head, vomiting, and fever, fever, fever! She can’t hide it – GG feels terrible and will for several more days.

Then, there’s my youngest child, Joy. She is diagnosed about 24 hours later in the after hours clinic. Yes, she also has the flu, but her lively little personality just shines thru anyway. When you meet her, you quickly learn that she operates on the extremes, even under normal circumstance. So, like her normal “Joy-ful” self she’s running around the house at full speed during her ‘feel good’ hours, then she just sleeps off the fever when it spikes by crashing wherever she lands. Like I said, she’s extreme.



And today, there’s me - maybe I have the flu? I don’t feel good that’s for sure. But, I don’t feel rotten either; Maybe, I just have ‘a touch’ of the flu? Can you have just a touch of the flu? I mean you either have it or you don't, right? And since the possibility of having it, and taking care of the two who definitely do have it, kept me home from church today, I use the time (when the girls are sleeping) to read what I know our bible study group will be reading today: 2 Timothy 4:7 (NKJV).


This passage was written by a man named Paul. He wrote many of the stories we find in the New Testament and here he writes, “I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith” (2 Timothy 4:7). Like my eldest child (with the full blown flu), Paul has a ‘full blown’ case of Christianity. Paul never had “just a touch” of Jesus. He was confidently filled with The Spirit of Jesus, prominently exhibiting every symptom of a changed life.

Though Paul was once a persecutor of Christians, when he allowed Christ to work in his life, he would never again show varying extremes. He was never one moment a believer in Christ, and the next moment in denial. No, this passage reminds us that Paul strived through out his life to keep his faith ever present and steady.

So I wonder, as I read this, which am I most like in my walk with God. Like my “touch” of the flu, do I have just a touch of faith in my life? Maybe I am more like Joy, exhibiting extremes (running around in full surrender one moment then falling away the next). I pray that my ‘case of faith’ presents more like GG’s case of the flu – that I present every symptom of a life changed by Christ. Like Paul, I want to finish the race strong, always keeping the faith.

Prayer: Oh God, please help me to confidently show every symptom of a life changed by knowing you. I want all of You – not just a touch of You– to show through my life. Please help my girls heal from the flu and keep the rest of our family well and strong so that we may be about Your business. In the name of Jesus I pray – Amen.



Kristy has been married to her sweetheart, Jeff, since 1993. She is mother to Gillian and Joy, and a caregiver to her mother who is disabled. Since 2001, Kristy has served in her local church as a teacher, stewardship coach, prayer leader, and worship director.

Once a journalism major, Kristy laid down her writing pen in 1989 to pursue other interest. In 2008, prompted by the Holy Spirit, Kristy began writing again and has recently started publishing some of her work on her blog, Taste the Smell which you can find at http://tastethesmell.wordpress.com.

Kristy obtained her Bachelors degree from the Department of Communication & Theatre at East Texas State University and a Masters degree from Lamar University. Her blog is available 24/7 as a primary outreach tool for her ministry, however she is also available for teaching and speaking engagements, as well as vocal and theatrical performances.

"Now that I am a (late) 30 something, it seems like I might finally have something to say about life that others might find useful. I am a native Texan (but did spend several years living/working in other parts of the country), a wife, a mother of two, a caregiver to a disabled mom, and an owner of "man's best friend" (or at least mine), Sunny. I am a servant of God and hope I can inspire the same in others."

Visit Kristy at her personal site, http://tastethesmell.wordpress.com/


Author own and retains the rights to the submitted works and intellectual material herein.

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Wednesday, January 13, 2010

What Are You Running From?




I've been there. Something or a bunch of "somethings" start happening and before you know it all you can think of is "Get ME Out of Here!!!"

Maybe it's a literal move, or just pulling out of a situation. But you just know that you are -SO over- the present situation.

If you're experiencing this right now, let me ask you...what are you running FROM? Or even, what are you afraid of?

The response of "flight" is connected with fear. You've probably heard about the "fight or flight" response that we experience when faced with fear.
Physically our body prepares to flee or run when danger arises.

Emotionally we tend to do the same thing.
We feel threatened emotionally and our heart sets to "checking out!"

That's not to say that sometime you shouldn't back away from certain situations, just check your motives and "fears" before you do.

Are you running from God like Jonah did?
Then stop...get before God and ask for His help and courage with what He's called you to do.

Or are you running because it's just too painful to stay?

If you're in that place, here's some encouragement from God's Word...

Isa 41:10
So do not fear, for I am with you;
do not be dismayed, for I
am your God.
I will strengthen you and help you;
I will uphold you with
my righteous right hand.
NIV

1 Peter 3:14-15
"Do not fear what
they fear; do not be frightened."
15 But in your hearts set apart Christ as
Lord.
NIV


Fear can also be intimidation. Evaluate the situation in light of these verses and see if God is not wanting you to stand against the fear or intimidation and hold your ground.

Fear (intimidation) has been crippling in my life when I let it be. When I'm feeling intimidated my response is to shrink back. But when I listen to God's Word in the quiet of my heart, I hear "take courage, I'm the lifter of your head" and I realize that I need to lean on Him and His strength in my weakness. I need to gain my confidence in being HIS daughter, nothing more, nothing less.

Flee from sin...but don't flee in fear when God is on your side!

Whatever your situation, remember He is FOR you not against you, stand strong in Him.

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Tuesday, January 12, 2010

The Arrogance of Unbelief

I'll keep this brief because I myself am still processing, seeing as how I just realized this yesterday. Maybe I should say that God showed me this just yesterday.

In a nutshell (after searching the Word and my heart) here is what I realized, er, He showed me:

My lack of faith, my unbelief, has the
potential to make God out to be a liar.


In other words, when I choose (in my own wisdom and arrogance) that I know the outcome of a situation, or I know that a particular promise of God can't possibly be for me, or I reason that God only answers some of his promises for some of his people based on certain situations, then I must know what I'm talking about...and he doesn't.

I have chosen to believe my own environment, heart, reason, whatever, and not chosen to believe God and his Word. So, he must be a liar if I don't believe he'll come through on a promise.

In essence, that's what my belief system says: he's a liar. Ouch, right?

Um, someone is faulty in their belief system and I'm thinking it's not God. So, what do I do? I go to the Word for wisdom and teaching.

...they have been entrusted with the very words of God...What if some did not have faith? will their lack of faith nullify God's faithfulness? Not at all! Let God be true; and every man a liar. Romans 3:2 &3
If we claim we have not sinned (i.e. have not had unbelief) we make him out to be a liar and his word has to place in our hearts. 1 John 1:10
The man who says, "I know him" but does not do what he says (i.e. believe) is a liar, and the truth is not in him. But if anyone obeys his word, God's love is truly made complete in him. 1 John 2:4

I believe that God says to us, "I have given to the measure you have believed." Now, be careful! I'm not saying that if you dont' believe hard enough, close your eyes and squeeze real hard, that God won't come through. I'm simply saying, challenge yourself. Hold your belief system up to the Word of God and see if it matches. I was surpised and challenged by his amazing and wonderful promises.

Then, after much prayer and reflection, you too might be saying, "Father! Increase my faith!"

Thoughts?

In Faith,
Natalie

Join me at my blogs!
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Monday, January 11, 2010

Put the Scissors Down


I think it began with a Barbie Styling Head.

It was a dream gift, but eventually combing and styling became a bore. I began to snip. I was Vidal Sasson; I was a hairdressing diva. My cosmetology career began and ended at 6.

At 40, growing my bangs out sounded like a wonderful idea. It sounded easy. My hairdresser recently said it was time for a change and long bangs were "hip."

She had me at "hip."

It sounded like a simple plan. All I had to do was wait. It was easy; easy until about 6 weeks into it. Easy until the day I woke up and could no longer take it. With scissors in hand, I became my own "Barbie Styling Head."

I know better. I've been down this road many, many times before. We all know how this ends.

So, I snipped away. Took control of it. The results as you can imagine were not the results I desired. Walking in wearing a baseball cap, I knew that sooner rather than later I was going to have to "fess up" and tell my hairdresser.

"Ms. Kay, I trimmed my own bangs."

"I can tell," she replied, with a sheepish smile on her face.

"Why didn't you just let me do it?" she inquired, snickering.

"I just thought...." It was no use. I just thought what? I'd help her out? No, I should have let her do it in the first place.

How often do I do the same with God?

I try and take control of a situation in my life, you know, "help Him out." I snip, snip, snip at a situation in my life. A situation that clearly does not need my intervention, but rather my surrendering control to the Lord. Just as Ms. Kay shook her head, I imagine that the Lord shakes His head at me, and speaks the same words to me that He spoke to Peter.

"What little faith you have! Why did you doubt?" (Matthew 14: 31)


I need to leave my hair style to the experts and I need to leave His will in my life to Him. He clearly does not need me taking scissors to my own life, "snipping here and there." The ending is always the same. I come back to the one that I should have gone to in the first place. He needs my submission to His will. He needs me to put down the scissors and have a little faith. You know, actually living the words, "thy will be done."

I'm still learning.

I've hidden the scissors...really well this time.







Join Lori daily at her
personal website,all you have to give, where she resolves this year to NOT pick up the scissors.

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Saturday, January 9, 2010

Weekend Blend!


Welcome to the Weekend Blend at the Internet Cafe Devotionals!

We know that weekends are full, and it's our prayer that as the calendar turns to a New Year tht you'll find a table at the Cafe just for you. A place to savor a sip as we serve up some of our favorite devotionals from the past.

As with each month, we'll be serving up devotionals each weekend in January centered around a theme...



We recommend,

"I Fought the Soup and the Soup Won"

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Friday, January 8, 2010

I WILL obey....next time!

I was reading Joyce Meyer's "Battlefield of the Mind" and the chapter was about "unbelief." She was saying that unbelief always leads to disobedience. It really struck a chord with me because my mentor has consistently talked about obedience really being an issue of faith. Do I really believe God? If I do, then I will obey.

I love this picture. It was taken at our local YMCA. Usually, on a busy soccer or football day, the grass is PACKED with parked cars. Do you notice the sign? Even though people are told NOT to park on the grass.....it isn't allowed....they still choose to disobey and do it anyway.

If they believed there was something WRONG with parking in the grass, I am sure they wouldn't (or at least a majority wouldn't). But, in their minds, they don't think there is anything really wrong with parking there, so they do.

I have a 13 year old who is beginning to push the limits. He is beginning to make choices on what he wants to obey. I have noticed that when he thinks a rule "isn't a big deal," he will make the CHOICE if he wants to obey. For example, he likes to listen to the ipod while going to sleep. I have a rule that only Christian music is allowed at this time. While the kids are falling asleep, I want the Word (in song) to fill their minds. He didn't BELIEVE that music was important, so he chose to disobey.

If I truly trust God, believing in what He says, then I won't question or reason or make excuses....I will obey. I won't come to the Word, picking and choosing what I want to follow. If I believe that the Word is His Will, His plan, then I won't question it, but obey it.

Whew! This can be hard for me!

And, when my mentor first told me that unbelief was a faith issue, I didn't agree.

I thought, "I believe God! I trust Him. I am just being rebellious." But, if I really TRUSTED Him, in His plan, in His ways, then WHY would I not do it? If I know that His way would lead to life and peace, then why would I choose another way?
For me, as I pondered this, I realized that at times I think I KNOW BEST.

I may think, "God, I know You are telling me to do such and such, but I am going to try this first." I may not consciously THINK, "my way is better." But, that's where my actions are rooted! If I really BELIEVED that God's way was best, then I wouldn't take a chance with MY "trial and error."

In Mark 9, a man comes to Jesus and asks Him to heal his demon-possessed son. The man says, "If you can do anything, take pity on us and help us." Jesus retorted, "If you can?????" He then says, "Everything is possible for him who believes." IMMEDIATELY the father exclaimed, "I do believe" and then says, "help me overcome my unbelief!"


That is the cry of my heart! Lord, help me overcome my unbelief! When I have doubt or think MY way is better, Lord help my unbelief! When the situation LOOKS impossible through my eyes, Lord help my unbelief! When the world says the opposite of what you say and my mind begins to reason...Lord help my unbelief! Make my faith strong and unwavering.

"Unbelief, like doubt, will keep us from doing what God has called and anointed us to accomplish in life. It also keeps us from experiencing the sense of peace that He wants us to enjoy as we find rest for our souls in Him." -Joyce Meyer from Battlefield of Mind
There is a line in a Newsboys' song that goes, "Trust and obey. There is no other way." Notice that "trust" comes first. Of course, obey rhymes with way, so that may be it as well!! :-) Seriously, there is no other way for our lives. Having the faith of a child, child-like faith as Jesus says in Matthew 18 and 19, simply trusting/believing THEN obeying without question.

"Abraham believed God and it was credited to him as righteousness." Romans 4:3
Father God, help my unbelief! Work in me such a strong faith that does not waver, does not question, does not make excuses. Give me Your eyes. Help me to see things the way You do. And, when I can't, help me to have such a strong trust in You that I obey in spite of what I think or want! Lord, You are so good. Your ways are perfect and true. Thank You for loving me. Thank You for Your patience with me. In Jesus' Name I pray. Amen.




Please visit me at my personal blog:



Points to Ponder:

1. Are there areas in your life where you are not obeying God's Word- either His written Word or something He has spoken to you? Pray that God would help you believe Him in these areas.

2. How does the world, and worldly thinking trip us up in these situations?

3. Read Romans 4 and the original story of Abraham in Genesis 15. Look then at Abraham's faith in Genesis 22. Ponder Abraham's faith and obedience, even when in the natural what God was asking didn't make sense.


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Thursday, January 7, 2010

Swirly Life


Life gets pretty swirly sometimes, doesn't it? For me, more often then not, I find myself feeling like the person in the infamous painting, "The Scream"; feeling that myself and my life are bending in too many directions - things swirling around me, confusing, chaotic.

This is similar to what we in the education field call, "a sensory overload day"; too much going on too quickly with not enough resolution to those things swirling around us, and not enough resources, time, money, etc, to process what is coming at us, fast enough. Children react to sensory overloads in a way that we adults, more often then not, do not; they holler, scream, push things and people away, cry, retreat, or even sometimes, seek out even more of the behavior that is making them upset in the first place.

How does it feel for you when life gets swirly?

On any given day, we have a thousand things going on in our own lives, as well as within the world around us. We have jobs to go to, houses to clean, kids to shuttle here and there, meals to prepare, financial woes, health issues, aging parents, husbands stressing us out, ministries to run, and the list goes on and on.

Yet, because we are Christians, we are expected to "keep it all together" so that we can present this image of "perfection" to the world, that we have been made completely (note the word "completely") perfect by the fact that we put our faith in Jesus Christ. Yet while it is true that, "All who call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved" (Acts 2:21), we have to remember what we are saved from: sin, hell, eternal damnation. Is there a promise anywhere in scripture that ensures us that because of our faith we will no longer have stressful days? That troubles won't come? That something magical will happen and poof all our troubles away when they occur? No!

In fact, there are more scriptures that state just the opposite - they promise that trials will come and that people will fail you and that you will face days, or even an entire lifetime of sensory overload. Not the best marketing campaign to pitch to a nonbeliever, is it? I know when I came to faith in Christ, I thought that He would magically make all of my troubles disappear (I think I was looking for a "fairy godmother" character, and not a redeeming Christ!), but they never did.

The promise Christ give us is this; "Come to Me, all who are heavy laden [stressed, burnt out, throwing temper tantrums, feeling like they are in sensory overload] and I will give you rest." (Matthew 11:28).

How many of us want to rest?

How many of you feel like you have a hiking pack strapped to your backs full of stress that has your knees buckling, your limbs shaking, tears and sweat pouring down your face...you feel physically, emotionally, and spiritually weak - or even completely spent?

Good - you know why that's good - because that means you're not broken in two to the point where you can't go on - you're not dead, in the ground, crushed by the weight of the world. However, there is something you can do with that pack on your back - you can let it make your legs collapse, resulting in you falling to your knees where you will cry, "Abba, Father!", and the promise of help from the Lord will come. God doesn't break promises for anyone - anyone, and that means you! Let the Lord take that pack off your back as you read this Psalm:

"I lift my eyes up to the hills -
where does my help come
from?
My help comes from the Lord,
the Maker of heaven and earth.
He
will not let your foot slip -
He who watches over you will not
slumber,
indeed He who watches over Israel
will neither slumber nor
sleep.
The Lord watches over you -
the Lord is your shade at your right
hand;
the sun will not harm you by day,
nor the moon by night.
The Lord
will keep you from all harm -
he will watch over your life;
the Lord will
watch over your coming and going
both now and forevermore."

- Psalm 121


How awesome of a promise is that?

How awesome to know that when everyone and everything around you is crumbling, Jesus Christ, God, the Maker of the universe, will come to your personal rescue because He loves you and cares for you personally. That's pretty amazing if you ask me!

So next time (or even right now!) when life around you gets swirly and you feel like you're being bent in too many directions, scream...but scream on your knees, in a voice of honest desire for the Lord's rescue - and my friends, be patient, our God is faithful, He is mighty to save! So scream...scream to the Lord...on your knees, He will rescue you, He alone will give you guidance, peace, wisdom and strength to endure, eventually lifting your chin, then taking your hand, lifting you up, helping you to stand tall again - ready to face the world head on as a light of His promise of redemption unto all the world! Amen!

"Do you not know?
Have you not heart?
The Lord is the
everlasting God,
the Creator of the ends of the earth.
He will not grow
tired or weary,
and His understanding no one can fathom.
He gives strength
to the weary
and increases the power of the weak.
Even youths grow tired
and weary,
and young men stumble and fall;
but those who hope in the
Lord
will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like
eagles;
they will run and not grow weary,
they will walk and not be
faint."

- Isaiah 40:28-31



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Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Be A Woman of the Word

Guest Barista Joanna Shumaker is pouring today!


“Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.”

Psalm 119:105 (NASB)


One of my earliest memories of my mother is seeing her sitting in the rocking chair reading her Bible.


One day, I picked it up and saw all the marks beside each chapter. I asked her what they were and she said they were for every time she read the chapter. I was amazed by the number of marks beside each chapter of the Bible. Besides spending time with God, she said that reading her Bible gave her guidance and help for living her life. Naturally, I grew up with the confidence that if I too read His Word, I would
find the guidance and help I needed. My mother’s devotion to God’s Word made an indelible impression on my young mind.

As we deal with the pressures of marriage, motherhood, career and relationships, our Bible reading often goes by the wayside. Yet, it is the very encouragement we need to thrive during this time of life.



The book of Proverbs is full of passages which encourage us to follow God’s principles. I Peter 2:1 encourages us to desire the Word in our lives the same way a newborn desires milk. Interestingly, this desire for God’s Word is in response to seeing the goodness of God. One of the best ways to “see” the goodness of God in the midst of trials is to remember His goodness in the past. It drives us back to the Word to look for more of Him.



Romans 12:1-2 encourages us to transform our lives by renewing our mind. What better place to renew our minds and keep our lives on track than reading the very words of God?
In the fast pace of life, remember to make the Word of God a frequent part of your life. It will give you teaching, correction, and training as you navigate this journey in life. It will keep you coming back for more insight, perspective and guidance.


“Father – help me to make time to read Your words to me so that I can transform my life for Your glory.”


What time can you set aside to read God’s Word and be renewed in your spiritual walk?

What lessons have you learned from God’s Word that you can share with others?





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