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Saturday, February 27, 2010

Weekend Blend

Welcome to the Weekend Blend at the Internet Cafe Devotionals!

We know that weekends are full! We understand! We want you to pull up a chair, find a table at the Cafe just for you. We've got a place to savor a sip as we serve up some of our favorite devotionals from the past. (The links are just below the menu!)
Enjoy!


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Thursday, February 25, 2010

Clean Your Room


It was a reasonable request – at least from where I stood. My desire fueled my mouth to form it. I didn’t understand the outburst. I was fairly certain there were others from Georgia to Thailand uttering the same simple appeal at the same exact time.





“Clean your room.”






“Please.” I threw in for good measure and because my mama taught me everything goes smoother with good manners.




But from the looks on my daughter’s face, she didn’t agree with the “reasonable” part of my petition. Her eyebrows scrunched low and her mouth was set in a straight fine line. The unrest in her attitude was not only from my request, but because my request didn’t include her brother, as well.



“But-” she started, “He helped me.” Meaning her one and only brother “helped” her make the mess, and he should have to “help” pick it up. “Just pick it up,” I told her pointing resolutely to the piles of Barbie dolls, dress-up clothes, stuffed animals, Hot Wheel cars, and pillows.



“Hmmph.” My five-year-old daughter stomped her feet and jerked her body towards the disarray. She began to toss and pitch toys here and there. When she found something belonging to her brother, her eyes would squint low as she marched across the hall to his room to throw the item on his floor with another, “Hmmph.”



Her body was going through the motions, but her heart was lying on the floor kicking its feet. Was I still happy with her actions?



True obedience comes from the heart.



King Saul was told to “go attack the Amalekites and totally destroy everything that belongs to them.” (1 Samuel 15:3 NIV) Saul did wipe out the Amalekites as he was told. Only, “the soldiers took sheep and cattle from the plunder, the best of what was devoted to God, in order to sacrifice them to the Lord.” (v. 21) Saul was specifically told to destroy all of the cattle and sheep, camels and donkeys. Instead he saved the best of them for a sacrifice.



Was the Lord still happy?



"Does the LORD delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices as much as in obeying the voice of the LORD? To obey is better than sacrifice, and to heed is better than the fat of rams. For rebellion is like the sin of divination, and arrogance like the evil of idolatry. Because you have rejected the word of the LORD, he has rejected you as king." 1 Samuel 15:22 NIV



I’d say that was a pretty clear answer. Sometimes we think we are fooling God because we are doing the “right” thing, but in our hearts we are rebellious. Saul was arrogant and made a sacrifice to God only after he erected a monument in his own honor for the defeat of the Amalekites – the defeat God placed in his hands.



My daughter cleaned her room, but her obedience was in deed alone. How clean are the rooms in your heart? Do you have piles of rebellion? Stacks of self? Or scatters of attitude?



Well, you know what I’m going to say. And I think I’ll take my own advice.



“Clean your room!”








Visit Carol at sheep to the right!








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Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Remaining....


Please Welcome our Guest Barista, Joye Dicharry!





A screen just blinked on my laptop and it read, "You are running on reserve power."

The battery icon is almost depleted revealing that only 5 percent of it's energy is
remaining. I'm not at home and I forgot my power cord. Great, just great. My only free time and
now this happens.

God is sitting beside me and we slowly share a smile.

"Okay, Lord. I know you're trying to get my attention here. You've been trying for
some time. I'm running on reserve power, aren't I?"

I haven't been staying plugged in to my power source. I've been trying to live on
yesterday's Word, on yesterday's sustainment.

I glance at the Bible on my side table that I haven't opened in close to three days (gasp,
I did just admit that) and I know what it is I need to do. Jesus' words rush in to remind me,

"Remain in me and I will remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me."
{John 13:3-4}

What does that look like? This remaining?

I ask and the answer comes.

"If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and
it will be given you...As my Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now
remain in my love. If you obey my commands, you will remain in my love, just
as I have obeyed my Father's commands and remain in his love. I have told
you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete."
{John 15:7, 9-11}


His Word in me. Remaining.

I in obedience. Remaining.

His joy in me. Remaining.

I in His love. Remaining.


My dear Jesus,

I want to do more than just read my Bible and pray like a good girl should. I want to
get it IN me--to hide your word in my heart--one scripture at a time until it
becomes who I am.

In Him,

Joye


Joye is a mommy to three little messy blessings--toddler twins and a
preschooler--with another little one the way. Joye longs to make God's heart her home
and blogs about it at http://thejoyefuljourney.blogspot.com.

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Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Over Thinking--Hmm, Can We Do That?

I'm a thinker. It's how I'm wired. Oh, of course, I laugh and cry and what-not, but when it comes to processing anything, it goes through an extensive system of thought.

Pipes of pondering, I'd say. Thoughts about one concept, problem, or anything really, can travel down the pipes of my mind for days, if not weeks!

Nothing wrong with thinking through things. Nothing wrong with having an inquisitive mind. Nothing wrong with the way I'm wired by God....unless, I let it turn into what Joyce Meyer called "excessive reasoning."

You see, one of my greatest strengths is the fact that I'm a thinker. However, I'm realizing it can be one of my greatest weaknesses. I can become obsessed with an idea or problem, to the point that it can wreck my faith.


Joyce put it this way.


Reasoning occurs when we try to figure out the "why" or "how" behind something. When we reason excessively, our minds revolve around and around a problem as we try to understand it, which causes a whirlwind of worry and confusion.
This one really got me.

As soon as you become confused, you have left off pondering and gone into excessive reasoning.
Yep, that can most certainly be me. Here's what God says on the whole thing.

...a mind controlled by the Spirit is life and peace. Romans 8:6
That is a great measuring verse for us. If our minds are full of chaos and confusion, then we need to let God control them. It is work and requires us learning how to settle down and believe. I know this is something I'm going to have to work on for sure. I guess I should say, it's something I'm going to let the Spirit work on in me.

I'll try not to think about it too much. ;)

Natalie

Find me at my blog!

new blog header with title

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Monday, February 22, 2010

The World Didn't Stop For My Broken Heart




And I wondered why.


I wondered why everybody seemed to be able to go about their merry way, doing their normal activities, thinking their normal thoughts when I was just trying to get my bearings for a new season in life that would not include my father.





That was almost 20 years ago. And, just recently my husband had to walk the road of losing his father.



Death is part of life and is inevitable, just like taxes. So, why do we get surprised when someone departs from this earth especially after living on it for nearly 80 years?



Pain, I suppose. Change, probably. A new normal, absolutely.



Regardless of the sadness my husband, his mother, his five siblings and the rest of us are enduring, I can guarantee you this: We are not grieving as those who don't have hope.



We all know Whom we have believed in. We know Who holds the future in His very capable hands. We know that His Spirit will comfort us like no person or possession ever could.



Wherever you are, whatever you've been through, whatever you will walk through in the future...God loves you and wants the best for you.



Of this, I can promise.



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Saturday, February 20, 2010

Weekend Blend

Welcome to the Weekend Blend at the Internet Cafe Devotionals!

We know that weekends are full! We understand! We want you to pull up a chair, find a table at the Cafe just for you. We've got a place to savor a sip as we serve up some of our favorite devotionals from the past. (The links are just below the menu!)
Enjoy!


Labels:

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Jesus did not need a Press Release...

January has been a very exciting start to a new year. Personally it has been chock full of interviews and meeting new people. It has kept me pretty busy considering I am at the beginning of my reign as Mrs. Kentucky International 2010. During this time I have also pondered how much has gone into announcing who I am, not only to those in my local community and but to those living in my whole state of Kentucky.


In Matthew 9:35 - 36 it says,

"Then Jesus went about all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing every sickness and every disease among the people. But when He saw the multitudes, He was moved with compassion for them, because they were weary and scattered, like sheep having no shepherd."

Jesus, did not need a Press Release!



The multitude knew where Jesus was and where he was going. If they did not find Him, the multitude would search for Him. Even times when He wanted some quiet time with His Father they would find Him. If they did not want Him for His healings, they would at least want to hear Him teach. It is more than obvious by His word that He was always about doing His Father's business.



To know, that our Savior was moved with compassion, shows me that people were attracted to Him for the love that made up who He was. Have you ever been weary and scattered? I have actually felt like that a few times these past few weeks. Making sure my small Public Relations team has my scheduling confirmed, speaking engagements, appointments, thank-you notes written. With all of the planning it can be pretty overwhelming, and on top of that I am running my household of 16!

No wonder our Savior had compassion on the multitudes!

Even now He has had compassion on me and I have known that! So why is it that you and I keep going 100 miles per hour to make sure we meet our goals? Why is it that we are so concerned that our timetable does not get out of whack? I was thinking also that to Him we must look like silly sheep without a shepherd. He must look down and smile at us with that sweet love that is so overwhelming just like He did the multitude in the book of Matthew.

His compassion attracted the multitudes! What is so attractive about us that people will come and try to find us? I want to so much to be like Jesus! Don't you? So, right now I have Press Releases that have to be written to tell a nation who I am, but what about those people who personally know me, do they see Jesus in me without the Press Release?

Close and Personal:

1. Do you need a Press Release to let people know who Jesus is in your life?


2. Have you ever felt that overwhelming compassion and love from Jesus that has made you stop in your tracks?


My dear Lord Jesus, help me be like You. Help me be loving and compassionate to this hurting world. Help to stop long enough to notice. I love you Jesus! Thank you for your gentle reminder of your consistent love and guidance in my life!

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True Growth





There are days when I look back upon the fervent, passionate spirituality of my youth and I wonder what has changed me so much since then. I don't remember feeling like such a sinner every day, all the time. I honestly wonder if I sinned less back then.




Could that be possible?





I tried so hard to follow God and I read my Bible regularly, as a matter of fact, more regularly than I do now. I memorized verses like crazy and I spent every spare moment in prayer meetings or Bible studies or at the very least hanging out with my brothers and sisters in Christ. I was pretty serious about this whole Christianity thing and I was sincere, but when I look back with longing, wondering if I'm moving forward or backward in my walk of faith, Jesus opens my eyes to see things a different way.


God, I wish I didn't struggle so much with sin.

Why do I keep screwing up?

I used to be a more spiritual person than I am now - I did everything You asked of me. I followed Your ways and I put Your first in my life. What happened? Am I growing in You, or just stagnating, or actually moving backwards? It just seems like instead of becoming more Christ-like, I'm becoming more of a sinner.

As a teenager, I was motivated to do what was right out of fear. I was afraid of getting caught and afraid of the disapproval of the adults in my life. I did whatever I could to avoid that feeling in my stomach that came whenever my behavior was less that acceptable. I didn't realize it at the time, but I was constantly seeking approval and everything I did was performance based.

I remember being pretty judgmental of those around me who didn't share my fear of authority as I lived out my version of perfect - at least on the outside. I knew that it was a sin to judge others, but I didn't count it as bad as some of the more visible, outward sins like drunkenness, promiscuity and the like.

My perfectionism has waned as I've grown up and realized that it's impossible to be perfect, so maybe it is true that I've allowed sins to slip into my life that weren't there before, but I think there's a bigger story here. I don't think it's my sinfulness that has increased over the years (OK, maybe I'll let God be the judge of that one though). I think it's my vision that has increased.

I'm looking for spiritual growth and I think it ought to look like me sinning less and me being more perfect. But what if that isn't what God is really looking for? Remember when Jesus told the crowds about who was really blessed in God's kingdom? I'll give you a hint: He didn't say "Blessed are the more perfect and the less sinful." He didn't applaud the pharisee whose prayer reminded everyone of how great he was. *

No, Jesus made it very clear that His kingdom is full of people who know they are broken, sinful and screwed up.

Well, maybe that's what true growth is, then. It's growing to see myself through His eyes and to know that I'm still messed up and I still need a savior. Growth is realizing how very broken I am and letting that knowledge draw me nearer to Christ.

*Of course God wants us to sin less, but I now realize how much I was trying to keep sin under control by my own strength instead of letting HIM be strong in my weakness. Now, I'm embracing this feeling of being a sinner who is incapable of self-improvement and leaning hard on HIM to change me. That's what it means to be a broken follower of Christ.


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Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Emotions, Hormones And Sin!

Ever since my children were small I've noticed that it can be easy to make excuses for sinful behavior. When they are two we call it "the terrible two's". Many behaviors are excused because it is said that they "are normal for that age". When they turn 13 "their bodies are changing"! When they are 16 "it's hormonal" or "they are teenagers". When they are college age "they are just immature...it's 'normal' to act that way 'at their age"! What I find interesting is that it doesn't stop there. Women blame sinful behavior on hormones. When we're pregnant, "it's hormones". When we're in our 40's, "I'm perimenopausal". In our 50's, "It's menopause".


And so on...

With each age and season of life it can be a challenge to respond correctly. I've had my share of days when I haven't felt good or when I've felt "hormonal"! It is not easy. Thanks to some faithful women who have been living examples to me, I am also aware of the fact that regardless of how I FEEL, I am responsible for how I respond to life! I am responsible for every word that comes out of my mouth, for every response, and for every second that has been given to me.



I have a friend who regularly gets terrible migraine headaches. Although she will ask me to pray for her when she gets them, it is not normally prayer just for herself, but prayers that she will be able to serve those in her family or get accomplished what she needs to get done. I have never heard her complain and have observed her push through many things while suffering with a migraine. She has pushed through migraines (and menopause!) with self control and grace!

I have another friend who went through breast cancer, surgery and chemotherapy. Not too long ago her oldest daughter passed away at age 28. She never ceases to have a cheerful spirit. Whenever I talk with her one of the first things she says is, "Gina, God is good! He really is, Gina." The only explanation for both of these women's responses is that God is POURING OUT HIS GRACE that they might choose to glorify Him in their hard circumstances. He is also enabling them to be examples to those of us who are younger as we face our share of difficulty.

One author put it this way: "The problem is not that we have emotions--they are a gift from God. The problem is that our emotions (unlike God's) are tainted by the fall. The challenge is to let the Spirit of God sanctify us in the realm of our emotions so that they can be expressed in godly ways."

Brian and I have made it our goal to teach this to our children since they were very little. Although we are aware that there is a process of maturity going on with them (and we give them room for that) we also know we would not being doing them any favors if we made excuses for sinful behavior.

I am also aware of the responsibility I have to model this in front of my children. It would be hypocritical for me to tell them they need to respond well to difficulties and then melt down whenever I face a challenge! With the combination of health issues and hormonal ups and downs, this can been quite a challenge at times. That is when I need to be honest with my family and tell them how I am feeling. I tell them I am working very hard to control myself and that if I am more quiet than normal it is because I am working at responding correctly. In doing this I feel like my son is learning to be aware and sensitive, and preparing for the possibility of being a husband. My daughter is learning that she needs to be in control even when she has PMS! (Her husband will be very grateful!)

I understand that what happens in our bodies is very real and can affect us in many ways. I know women who have gone through very hard times both physically, hormonally, and emotionally. I have gone through it too! Yet we need to be careful that we do not buy into the lie from the enemy that we can justify sinful behavior because of these challenges.

Two year olds might throw fits, yell "NO!", and hit other children. They need to be taught that is sinful. Teenagers may become emotional or disrespectful. They need to be taught that is sinful and unacceptable. College age students may may feel like their parents have no right to tell them what to do, they may resist authority, or may act foolishly; however, they need to be told that rebellion is sinful, that they still need guidance, they need to press on to maturity and that they need to honor God. AND, women need to remember that it is sinful to allow how we feel to control us and our responses.

I find that I need to CHOOSE to practice this on a minute by minute...no...second by second basis! With the help of God I am determined to persevere in this. I don't want to make life miserable for my family. I don't want my children to remember me as a "basket case"! Teaching self control to my children is one of the greatest gifts I can give them. I pray that I would live that principle out before others. I pray that others might see God's goodness and grace, which helps us get through anything that He allows into our lives.




"Grace abounding strong and true,
That makes me long to be like You
That turns me from my selfish pride,
To love the cross on which You died...for me!
Grace unending all my days,
Will give me strength to run this race
And when my years on earth are through,
My praise will all belong to you."




This is the grace that is available to us in all circumstances! I am grateful!


I Thessalonians 5:23-24 "May God himself, the God of peace, sanctify you through and through. May your whole SPIRIT, SOUL, AND BODY be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. The one who calls you is faithful and he will do it."


(Gina has begun writing again after taking a few months off. She has some fresh, new perspective after going through some very dark times. She would love it if you stopped by for a chat and some coffee! You can find her at her personal blog: Chats With An Old Lady.)




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Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Uncomfortable








I am so much less "comfortable" in the winter.







The water has to run longer while I wait for my shower to warm up. I shiver until the van heats up and between us ladies, I've been known to wear a wool cap to bed. (Stacy and Clinton would be appalled, I assure you, but on some nights it's necessary.) I'm a vitamin D kind of gal. I LOVE the sunshine and in the winter she deliberately seems to hide as if she is purposefully hibernating.

To be honest, I'm just not as "comfortable" in the winter.

I've spent my share of winters up north, way up north. I know that winter is not always comfortable, and yet it's often in winter where unknown treasures lie and only in "uncomfortable" circumstances, when all is stripped away, can they be revealed.

I was reminded of this just the other day. As we were traveling on a country road that I've driven a number of times, I noticed out my window a lake. A lake that had revealed itself through the naked trees. A lake that I'd never noticed before. A gorgeous lake.

Isn't that just like winter?

Just like winter to reveal something hidden; something that's always been there, just hidden behind the layers that camouflage.

Isn't that just like God?

He has done it a number of times in my own life. Used an uncomfortable "winter season" of my life to reveal something that was there all along, but hidden. Hidden away, waiting for the Lord to strip away the layers that camouflage to reveal what He needed to expose. My winter.

I don't know about you, but I often exist selfishly, seeking comfortable circumstances.

Thankfully there are times that God says, "no," or "not now." I move into my own spiritual winter. It's a bitter cold season of life where comforts cease to exist. It's clearly not comfortable. It's not meant to be. It's often downright painful, and if you are like me, you try to resist it. You try to ignore it, or run the other direction, or pull the hat over your eyes, but He won't let you. You see there is so much to be revealed in these times.

Just as it's comforting to know without a doubt that winter inevitably moves into spring, my spirit is comforted by these words,


"Be truly glad!" There is wonderful joy ahead, even though it is necessary for you to endure many trials for awhile. These trials are only to test your faith, to show that it is strong and pure. It is being tested as fire tests and purifies gold....So if your faith remains strong after being tried by fiery trials, it will bring you much praise and glory and honor on the day when Jesus is revealed to the whole world."
1 Peter 1:6-7


Learning to embrace the uncomfortable, to expose what has been camouflaged for far too long. Now that's something to think about.







Join Lori daily at her
personal website,all you have to give, where she is learning to embrace winter in all forms!

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Monday, February 15, 2010

Embracing The Heart


My first “real” boyfriend was diagnosed with cancer two years into our relationship. It was a hard-fought year of surgeries, chemotherapy, radiation and sadness. It was a heart-breaking year of loss, let down and bittersweet love.

I remember--months after his hair had fallen out, months after his first chemo treatment, months after he lost all his body weight, months after I first locked eyes with a 5 year old hooked up to machines just to stay alive, months after our lives were rocked for the worst -- going out to dinner for the first time.

We went to our favorite restaurant, all dressed up.

He was wearing a hat because he had lost all of his hair and as we waited for our food to arrive, a mother sitting a few tables away began to make a fuss over John’s rude hat wearing skills at our dinner table.

She hemmed and hawed and yelled across the restaurant that her sons would NEVER wear their hats in public --in a fancy restaurant at that -- while others were eating. It was a mannerless act better suited for McDonald’s than the Inn we sat in.

She didn’t know John knew the owner of the restaurant personally.

She didn’t know that this was our first outing since his diagnosis.

She didn’t know that we had to wait for weeks for the doctors to okay this date.

She didn’t know that his life was upside down.

She didn’t know what he was living through, what we were witnessing on a daily basis, how sick he really was.

You see, she only knew what she judged.

She didn’t know what was underneath.

We left that restaurant as quickly as possible, so as not to start a commotion. As we walked past her table, her boys staring at John’s hat, it took everything in me not to tell her off, honestly.

John, embarrassed beyond belief, stopped at her table, took off his hat and said, “I sure hope your boys never have to wear their hats in public, Ma’am. Especially if it is to cover up their cancer.”

Her eyes popped open, her face turned red and she stammered an un-intelligible sentence.

I was so letdown that day.

Letdown we are capable of such ignorant ugliness.

I’ve made it a point since then to ask myself: do I see what is underneath? Do I notice those around me and treat them as creations of God? Or do I judge them by their outward appearance, instantly writing them off?


1 Samuel 16:7 says, “But the Lord said to Samuel, Look not on his appearance or at the height of his stature, for I have rejected him. For the Lord sees not as man sees; for man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart.”

I wonder today: is it the heart you and I have been looking at?

Walk out a radical faith today and follow our Father’s lead.

The woman collecting cans, she is loved by Him.
The teenager with baggy pants, God knows his name.
The store clerk who messes up your order, God holds her desires in the palm of His hand.

What will we do today?

I pray we embrace the heart and do the God thing.



***
Kristen Schiffman writes at Exemplify Magazine. She welcomes you to check it out today!

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Saturday, February 13, 2010

Weekend Blend

Welcome to the Weekend Blend at the Internet Cafe Devotionals!

We know that weekends are full! We understand! We want you to pull up a chair, find a table at the Cafe just for you. We've got a place to savor a sip as we serve up some of our favorite devotionals from the past. (The links are just below the menu!)
Enjoy!

Labels:

Friday, February 12, 2010

The Search For Significance










"I'm fat,"

"I'm ugly,"

"I'm too old,"

"I'm too young,"

"I can't compare to her,"

"Why would he marry someone like me?"

"I'm a bad mother,"

"I'll never be good enough"...Shall I go on?


How many of us hear these words echo in our heads on any given day? Multiple times per day? Every moment?

I know this negative self talk is something I struggle with, thankfully, not as much as I used to. These are lies that we tell ourselves. Sadly, some of these lies have been instilled from the time we are very young.

For many women, we grow up thinking that our worth comes from how thin we are, how shiny our hair is, what parties we get invited to or how good our grades are. Later, as adults, we think (or are told) our worth comes from how well our children do in school, how clean our houses are, how much money is in our bank accounts or what brand purse we carry or what car we drive.

We strive to outdo our neighbors. Unfortunately, this behavior isn't limited to non-Christian women. How many of you strive to bring the best dish to the church's potluck, or sell the most cookies at the youth-group bake sale? How many of us triple check our children before leaving for church, making sure they look "just right"...and who among us clean our homes above and beyond our typical routine when we know the pastor's wife is coming over, or the ladies from church? (I know my husband gets excited when the ladies from our church come over because I go crazy with cleaning and the house becomes spotless and smells of fresh bread and cookies!) And don't get me started on how we really over do it at the holidays only to weep silently in the bathroom out of exhaustion - or because the turkey was dry?


Why do we do this to ourselves!?


Why is it that we constantly feel the need for reassurance that we are good enough?

Why do we feel that value needs to come from some outside source - mirrors, friends, family, children...etc. I struggled for so many years with the search for significance; looking to everyone and everything for validation of who I was - searching for someone or something to "define" me, to give me worth, to say, "Yes! You are needed! Yes! You have worth! Yes you are loved!"


Every path I walked down in search for answers lead to some form of destruction - alcoholism, depression, illness followed me as I wandered farther and father down the path which could have lead to what often stems from such an ego-centric journey...that is, self-destruction.


That was until I found the answer to my never-ending quest for significance - I learned that I was a child of God! I learned that I was made for a purpose - His purpose. I learned that I was loved - SO loved, in fact, that God Himself gave up His only Son so tht I might be forgiven for my sins (John 3:16). I learned that I didn't need to be "good enough" on my own merit - that I was already good enough because I am His daughter! (Ephesians 1:14) I learned that it didn't matter that I had done things that were so incredibly sinful because through Christ's selfless act of love, His death, His sacrifice, I was made new and that my sins were erased - a clean slate! (II Corinthians 5:17) By coming to faith in Jesus Christ, I was given a purpose - to be a servant, to do whatever it is that God Himself wants me to do - What greater purpose is there than that!



"The Bible tells us that, 'while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us' (Romans 5:8). In fact, we 'were dead in trespasses and sins' (Ephesians 2:1). What worth is there in dead things? None. God imputed to us His own righteousness (II Corinthians 5:21) not because we were worth of it, but because we were unworthy, unlovable, and unable to make ourselves worthy in any way. But - and here's the miracle - He actually loved us in spite of our condition (John 3:16), and because He did, we now have infinite worth."



How awesome it is, and what a relief, to know that we do not have to be good enough on our own merrit!

Whew!

I, for one, am happy to know that my worth isn't determined by my husbands ironed (or not!) work shirts, or the dust bunnies on top of my ceiling fan, or the extra weight I need to lose or even my college degrees.


Instead, my worth comes from knowing that I am a child of God - chosen before the world began as His daughter, made worthy by His death on the cross - justified by faith, made whole by His love!


It is my prayer that while your children are running around the grocery store, or when your bread burns, or after the scale gives you news you don't want to see or during times when you feel less than lovable, that you remember that you are a child of God, made in His image (Genesis 1:25-27), fearfully and wonderfully made! (Psalm 139:13-16).


Hold your head up high, woman of God!


Look each day in the face and say, "Today I will walk each step with confidence knowing that I have worth and that I have a purpose; to use the gifts God has given me to serve the best purpose there is, His purpose. I will keep my ears open to His voice, my eyes open for opportunities to serve and my heart open to love others, and be loved in return. My value is given to me through my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ - and no other." How awesome to know that our search for significance ended the moment we said, "Yes" to Christ! Now go out and celebrate who you are in Christ! Give praise to Him who delivered you from what could have been a never-ending and pain filled empty journey of self-hatred. Praise to the truth - the truth that set you free!






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Thursday, February 11, 2010

The Mother Heart of God

The years of skinned knees are a distant memory. I wonder how many “boo-boo’s" I’ve kissed through my 22 years of parenting. There’s something about the comfort of a mother that makes it all better.

I remember a time in my life many years ago when I had a boo-boo that needed to be kissed by God. It was unlike any other storm I had faced. With tears streaming down my face I pleaded for His mercy to give me something to hold onto. He spoke tenderly to me. “As a mother comforts her child, I will comfort you.”

As the days moved forward He began to show me in tangible ways how present He was. Each time my daughter got hurt, I would sweep her up in my arms, hold her tightly, and wipe away her tears until she was comforted. God spoke to my heart again, “That’s Me with you.” “I’m holding you tight, wiping away your tears.”

He knows when we sit down and when we rise up. Our thoughts are ever before Him. He knows the number of hairs on our heads. He wove us together in our mother’s wombs. We are intimately and personally known by Him. I get a small taste of God's love when I think of my love for my own children.

As mothers we kiss boo-boo’s and sometimes stay up into the wee hours of the night to nurse our children. We sweep them up into our arms to comfort them. As we hold them tightly, we sometimes sing softly over them or whisper words of love until their pain is soothed.

I can hear my children’s cries above any other. In a crowd full of people my eye is searching to know where they are. I know their voice. They know mine.

I carried them close to my heart while they were being formed in my womb. They have felt my heartbeat. They are forever woven into the fiber of my being. They have left their mark on me, and now part of me is carried in them. They are the apple of my eye, my greatest treasures on earth.

As I consider my heart towards my children, He invites me to see His heart. As a mother comforts her child, so He comforts me. He dances over me with singing. He tenderly carries those who have young. I am the apple of His eye. He is woven into my very being and I am woven into Him.

The Mother heart of God tenderly carries me when life beats me down. He sings to me His songs of love. He knows my voice. He hears me when I cry out. He runs to grab me up and kiss away my pain. He listens to me when I want to talk.

There’s a place upon His breast in which I can nestle. It’s a place where the storms around me subside. It is there I hear His heartbeat. I settle in close as the rhythm of His heart soothes me. It is then that I realize I am where I belong. He carries me close to His heart.


Papa God, today I am thankful for Your steadfast love that never ceases. I am thankful that You carry me close to your heart. I am thankful for a mother who didn’t give up on me, who waited for me to find love from You so I could see the beauty of her love. Thank you for the gifts of my children. They are my treasures on earth. I love you.



You can find Julie at her blog: Jewelz Sightings

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Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Learning to Love Myself

I stood in front of the mirror and smiled.

It was the first time in my life this had ever happened.

I turned to the left and then to the right. I even did a 360 degree turn just to see the whole picture for myself.

I smiled.

I couldn’t believe it.

For the first time in my life I was wearing “skinny girl” clothes. And, boy was I proud!

I paraded myself in front of that mirror. Walking closer and then backing up in order to get a glimpse from different angles.

I smiled some more.

Yes … I smiled on the outside, but on the inside my heart was full of uncertainties- would this be enough? Would he like me now? Will he ever truly love me?

Yes … My outside was lookin’ pretty darn good, but my heart was twisted in knots.

My thoughts going into this whole “diet” thing were that if I just shed a few pounds everything would be all better. He would like me. Maybe even love me. And, I would like myself too.

He had said it to me on more than one occasion, “You have a beautiful face, but you really could stand to lose a few pounds. Really, it would make you look a whole lot better.”

I took his words to heart, the guy who I thought hung the moon, and began doing all I could to lose those “few” pounds that I thought would make him like me more.

I dieted. I ran like crazy. I took diet pills. I went days without eating. I lost weight. Over 60 lbs. to be exact. People oohed and aahed. I bought clothes in sizes I never dreamed I could wear. I was proud. But, he wasn’t.

I’ll never forget that day. He stood in front of me after greeting less of me with a hug and said, “Wow, you sure have lost a lot of weight. You look like you’re sick.”

I stared at him, absolutely dumbfounded. “Sick!?! SICK!?! I did all of this for you. You said I needed to lose weight. You said I would look better if I lost a few pounds. And now that I have, you think I look SICK?” I said in response, tears streaming down my face almost unable to breathe.

I turned around and ran back to my dorm room. My heart was shattered into a million pieces. I had done what he wanted and once again, it wasn’t enough. I cried myself to sleep that night and many nights after. I don’t think I will ever forget the conversation I had with this guy whom I believed would make all my dreams come true. He wounded me. And, it was a DEEP wound.

Years have come and gone. Yes, the scar is still there, but the wound from that day has been long healed. I have been healed by Jehovah-Rapha, the God who heals. He took my broken, battered heart and put it back together one piece at a time.

“For I am the LORD who heals you.” Exodus 15:26a, NKJV

Not only has God healed my heart but He’s also taught me that I’m not defined by what others think I should look like. My self worth is not based on their opinions. Who I am, who He created me to be, is what’s important.

I’ve learned that in Him I am loved unconditionally. God’s love for me is great! It doesn’t matter if I’m a size 4 or 14; He loves me and accepts me, period (Ephesians 2:4)!

I’ve learned that I don’t need a guy to make me happy or to complete me. God is the One in whom I find completion and everything I need (Ephesians 1:3; Colossians 2:10).

I’ve learned that God chose me to be His bride and that guy who didn’t sure has missed out (1 Peter 2:9).

I’ve learned that He thinks I’m beautiful, face and all (Psalm 45:11).

I’ve learned that it was El Elyon, the God Most High; He hung the moon and not the other guy (Genesis 1:16).

And, I’ve learned to love myself and others and to forgive all men because God forgave me, saved me, and restored me unto Himself (Colossians 3:13; 1 John 4:11).



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Jenifer welcomes you to visit her at By His Grace Ministry.
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Tuesday, February 9, 2010

A Mess in His Hand

Have you ever seen the mess under your table after a full day of kid occupation and demolition? Gathering under your table are portions of pancake and bits of bacon from breakfast; glints of goldfish and hunks of ham from lunch; scattered salmon and messy mashed potatoes from dinner, and don’t even get me started on the ever accumulating pesky pieces of play dough, fragments of forgotten toys and determined debris from the yard.

You look at the mess under your table and become overwhelmed. “I just cleaned all this mess yesterday!” you think. Then, your mind begins its spiral into a dismal recount all of the housekeeping you do every second of the day – cooking, organizing, cleaning messes, picking up toys, changing diapers, doing laundry and that’s just the stuff you do at home!

I remember on one particular evening I finally cracked! I was so upset about the mess in the kitchen. It felt as though I looked away for one second and a tornado pointed its tricky finger down from ceiling, stirring the contents of my kitchen and brought it back up before I could see it. My mind started fuming, and I took a nose dive into my own pity party.

I angrily got the broom and started sweeping under the table. I filled my mind with all the little and seemingly insignificant things I do all day long. I questioned my purpose and the meaning of life, which at the time felt like was all about cleaning. I had no peace or joy, and I forgot all of the blessings God pours on me each day.

About one minute later my floor was clean (all that complaining for something that was so easy to do)! I walked over to the trashcan to dump out that day’s destruction, and I noticed how little the mess looked in the dustpan. I stared at the gathered garbage and laughed. I could hold all of it on the palm of my hand.

How could such a little mess cause me so much grief?

That’s when God gave me an important image. I know it sounds cliché, but I imagined all of my life’s problems in the palm of His hand, and they seemed small.

Everything is small compared to the power and love of God. If we give our lives over to Him, we are protected for eternity. Nothing can snatch us out of His hands. Though the messes of life – busyness, illness, divorce and death – surround us; we know that our Heavenly Father is holding them all in His mighty hand. He doesn’t promise that our lives will be easy; He simple promises that we will be able to persevere (James 1.12).

What messes are you dealing with today?

Do you trust that God holds them in His hand?

Will you determine your mind not to worry about situations that are out of your control? Let us praise God that we will be spending eternity in heaven with Him!


"Father, please help us to have faith that You truly have the whole world (including our messes) in Your mighty hands. Amen!"


“I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one can snatch them
out of my hand” (John 10.28 NIV).







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Monday, February 8, 2010

I-Spy A Stoplight


I was stuck at a stoplight behind another car. For whatever reason, the light had not switched to green for two turns, so I waited at the mercy of the car in front of me that would not break the law. Realizing it might be awhile, I made good use of the time. I scrambled to find a piece of gum at the bottom of my purse, and then put on my ‘Spectator Sally’ sunglasses. Now relishing the spicy flavor of cinnamon, I spied on the people in the cars that passed by in the opposite direction.



Several were on their cell phones with straight faces, maybe discussing work or the weather. A few seemed lost in their own worlds, as if on auto-pilot. One car was full of dudes jamming to the bass of a booming stereo system. One lady was lighting a cigarette. Another was looking at her handheld device, probably reading a text or checking Facebook for all I knew. In awe of the variety, I reminded myself that each person in each vehicle had a life with people in it completely separate from my own. And God keeps track of each one, I thought.



Finally, the stoplight turned green. I continued my people watching while slowly accelerating. Stopped in the turn lane on the left of me, I noticed a stark contrast from the all the other cars I had previously I-spyed. It was a young woman, 20 something…visibly distraught…thick, black streams running down her face. We exchanged momentary glances, though I doubt she could see me through her tears (or my sunglasses). I wanted to stop the car—comfort her somehow.



My heart sank into my stomach as I drove on, but all I could do was pray for that young woman. God, You’re keeping track of this one, right? I pleaded.



*******************


Sisters, “this” woman really got to me…I think because it occurred to me that I’ve been “her” many times before. Not necessarily in the car, but right in the middle of life—needing to pull over and meltdown—instead having to look forward and keep moving.



Lemme guess…you too?



That’s because whether we’re an employee or a student or a mom or a grandma or a ministry leader, life doesn’t always stop when we hurt, does it? We often must continue our striving, studying, serving, snuggling and strategizing, even when we’re about to fall apart. Most days, we can phone a friend for an ear or a prayer, but others, we simply can’t, for whatever reason.



Isn’t it such a comfort to know, though, that in those moments, God is already there, fully aware of each hurt, each burden, each tear? As simple as this promise is, it can be difficult to remember when our emotions have taken control of the wheel. But believe this…The Lord says, “Yes, I am with you always, even to the end of the street. Even to the end of that task. Even to the end of yourself. I am with you, even to the very end of the age.” God doesn’t need to rest and refuel. He only asks you to rest in Him.



So, dear ones, call out to Him when life demands you keep going. Take off your sunglasses and see the perfect love of your Heavenly Father…never leaving, never rejecting, never failing…always present, always accepting, always faithful.



"The LORD himself goes before you and will be with you;



He will never leave you nor forsake you."


Deut. 31:8


"And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age."


Matt 28:20b







Selah~ Pause. Ponder. Praise.


Please come by and visit my new personal blog,

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Saturday, February 6, 2010

Weekend Blend

Welcome to the Weekend Blend at the Internet Cafe Devotionals!

We know that weekends are full! We understand! We want you to pull up a chair, find a table at the Cafe just for you. We've got a place to savor a sip as we serve up some of our favorite devotionals from the past. (The links are just below the menu!)
Enjoy!

Ode to a Naive Bride

&

Extravagant Love



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Friday, February 5, 2010

Blessed Aroma 2009

Internet Cafe Devotions introduces Blessed Aroma ~ 2009!

Nominations and Guidelines can be found here!

You can nominate previously nominated blogs and you don't have to fill in all of the nomination categories either. We're looking forward to reading who inspires you!



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Those Little Cell Phones Could be Telling Us Something


Join us as we welcome Guest Barista, Julie Sanders today!


So many passed me that I barely noticed them against the brick buildings, fences, and advertisements. On busy sidewalks of a city once known for its hospitality, they walked across the street and out of buildings, hands to ears, lips moving, eyes straight ahead. “Cell phone talkers” in their own worlds.


They look like me, but with cute phone covers.

When did this happen?

When did we start ignoring people because we’re on the phone?


How has it changed us?


What is it costing us? Our cell phones could be telling us something.



Before I had one, I searched my purse for change, then for a payphone to make a call. Before, I prayed for God to send a Good Samaritan when I had car trouble, then rejoiced in my rescue. Now over 85% of Americans use cell phones, and we find ourselves unable to manage the little monsters. Does the Bible say anything about something just available since the 1970’s?

Trust

I’m sure I was the last person in my county to get a cell phone. Now, I sometimes need someone to say, “Step away from the phone. Put it down. Nobody will get hurt.”

We depend on them, wanting them with us at all times, feeling like we have to be accessible, just because we can. We want instant access, and everyone wants instant responses in return. It’s human nature to trust things we can see. “Some trust in chariots … But we will remember the name of the LORD our God,” Psalm 20:7.

One way to insure we are trusting in God alone and not in information and access of a phone is to begin each day with prayer. God wants to give us daily wisdom in how to prioritize our time, how to give our attention, and how to use our speech.

Freedom

Recently I left home without my phone.

Panic set in.

Should I go get it? What would I miss? What if I want to call someone? Then I realized I used to do fine, just me and the Holy Spirit. He steered my path, sending help, giving wisdom from God. When I depend on my phone as “lifeline,” there’s an obstacle in the way of the Lord being my Master. Phones aren’t evil, but things made by men can become idols.

Setting boundaries about when and how long we talk helps keep priorities in order. Are we talking on the phone as we pick up kids at school, unavailable to receive ripe conversation? Am I on the phone at the cashier, distracted from divinely planned interaction? Am I available to connect and develop relationships, or am I with unseen people on my phone? If I pass a believing sister while shopping, am I free to reach out, or am I preoccupied? Do I fight the urge to check my phone when having lunch with a friend? Simple boundaries help insure that the Lord is Master. Matthew 6:24

As I watched the people, I saw myself and realized my cell phone was telling me something,“Put the phone down, put your trust fully in God, and allow only Him to Master you.” Remember these tips:


Be Discerning … “he who restrains his lips is wise,” Proverbs 10:19. If you spend a lot of time on the phone, ask yourself, “What am I talking about?”


Be Observant … “Be devoted to one another in brotherly love…” Romans 12:10. Be attentive to those you’re with, and when on the phone, be attentive in that conversation. Some distractions are unavoidable, but ask God to help you be observant of those He brings across your path.


Be Available … “A wholesome tongue is a tree of life,” Proverbs 15:4a. We miss divine appointments when we are preoccupied on the phone. Families, friends, and neighbors need us to be available. Take obstacles captive, so you can listen, talk, or pray.


Be Still … “Be still and know that I am God,” Psalm 46:10. Controlling temptation takes discipline. Let Him be Lord of everything, even your phone. No temptation is beyond His help. 1 Cor. 10:13.


Be There … “Like apples of gold in settings of silver is a word spoken in right circumstances,” Prov. 25:11 (NASB). When the circumstances are “right,” be discerning, observant, available, and still, so you can leave apples of gold wherever you go.

Questions to Ponder:

~ Has my technology started to master my time and attention?

~ Do I have boundaries to help keep my mobile technology in its place, or do I depend on it?

~ Am I willing to ask a friend if I am balanced in this area?



Lord,

I don’t want anything to master my time and attention but You. Help me to yield even my phone to your direction each day as I do life and cross paths with the people you bring. I want to be available to focus on what matters most to You, so keep my mind fixed where You want it. I pray that You alone will be my trust and that I won’t substitute anything else for dependence on you.

In Him,

Julie

Julie Sanders is a partner in ministry to her husband, Jeff, and mom to two teens who keep her life full and joyful. She is passionate about making God’s Word real to women and applying His truth to life. Julie loves to see God at work in daily things and shares about discovering Him in the most unexpected ways at her blog: “Come Have a Peace.” (www.comehaveapeace.blogspot.com)


*Scripture references are taken from the NKJV unless otherwise noted.

Statistic source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cellular_phone#History

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Thursday, February 4, 2010

I Would Have Made a Good Pharisee

For some reason, my favorite Bible characters have been on my mind as of late. They include Josiah and Peter and Esther to name just a few. I've found myself perusing the stories of these characters and those like them. As I've been doing that, I've felt this question tingle at the edges of my mind. I've kind of wanted to keep it at the edges, but as it sometimes happens, God wanted me to look at it. What is the question you ask?



Great characters of the faith fill the pages of the Bible, which one are you most like?


Sigh. I'm not brave like Esther. I don't know that my heart is as sensitive to God's Word as Josiah's. Peter jumped into the water and swam to shore even after he had failed Jesus. I would have cowered in the boat.


Yes, but who are you most like?


It took awhile, but my answer came with humbling conviction. The Pharisees. Sigh. I don't want to be like them.


In Jesus' day there were several prominent groups. One was the Sadducees. (I differentiated them from the other groups by their name and belief. They didn't believe in heaven so that made them "Sad you see." I came up with that in high school, so cut me some slack.) Then there were the Pharisees. (They wanted everything "Fair you see.") They were the rule keepers.


Honestly, I think that initially the Pharisees started out okay. They didn't want to break any of God's commandments. They were very careful about it. They decided to define all the possible ways of breaking a commandment. But, then they added to the law. In essence, they put up a zillion fences, things to do and not do, so that you wouldn't come close to breaking the law.


The problem... In the frenzy of building those fences, they lost sight of God and his people.



I like rules more than I want to admit. I'd rather be carefree and easy going. They make me feel safe. They help me know what to expect and what not to expect. They give me boundaries at times when life feels out of control.


But just like the Pharisees, I lose sight of God. Yes, I may have my quiet time. I may be able to check any number of spiritual things off the list. But if my quiet time was just about the list, did I really meet with God?


Just like the Pharisees, I lose sight of God's people. Sometimes in relationships I am more concerned about being right or more concerned about what is fair than I am about the person. Take, for instance, my job at BN. I do enjoy it. I work hard. However, my dandruff gets up if I think I'm doing more work than so and so. I want it all to be fair. Sometimes I get so focused on a task, I lose sight of the people around me.


But there is hope. Saul was a Pharisee. He went so far as to call himself a Pharisee of Pharisees! He even held the others' cloaks as they stoned Stephen, a leader in the early church. He sincerely believed it was the right thing. He was very good at following rules. He expected everyone else to follow them too. Until one day, he was walking a long and Jesus appeared to him. He was blinded for several days. Then Jesus sent someone to heal Saul's eyes. From then on, Saul became Paul and became a leader in the early church. Talk about a 180!


Was Paul still a rule guy? I think that he probably was. However, he was also someone who had completely experienced grace. This allowed him to give grace to others even when they didn't follow the rules.


Today, I was talking about a situation with someone who knows my tendency to gravitate to rules, to put my expectations on people. She said, "Watch your rules." She was right to say it, but it brought tears to my eyes. As much as rules make me feel safe, I would rather be safe in God's love and be able to love people.


Yes, I would have made a good Pharisee. But as God shows us through Paul, God is more than capable to knock down some fences to bring hope to a heart.


What about you?

Would you have made a good Pharisee?

Does following the rules ever get in your way of loving God or His people?


Watch your rules . . . .



God's Work In Progress,







This year I'm focusing on hope. I'd love for you to visit my personal blog:







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Wednesday, February 3, 2010

He's Calling YOU

I sit and wait nervously for him to appear. It seems to take forever. My palms sweat, my stomach churns. "Please don't let me be sick. Not here. Not now. Please Lord", was my silent plea.

The khaki colored pants and shirt does nothing but emphasize his haggardness and aging. I smile with tears in my eyes as he looks my way. As he finds his way to me, moving past the other men all dressed the same, I see a look of tremendous shame in his eyes. He tries to hide it, but it's there nonetheless. To turn around now would only bring more pain than we've already felt.

I stood, we embraced, but not too long for the men in uniforms would separate us. We sit. Small talk begins. All the months of wonder and questions fade away as we talk. About nothing.

Then his eyes flood. He begins to tell about his Bible Study friends. Bible Study? Yes. And he's leading the group. My eyes fill as well, remembering a statement his mother told me years ago.

"Your daddy was called to preach".

But instead, he ran in the opposite direction. But His Father knew how to capture his full attention. See, this man's mother had prayed, "Lord, save my son no matter what it takes."

Years have passed, the man's mother is gone Home to her Father, yet God still answers prayers. Distance and time have no meaning for He heard that prayer and the merciful Father gave the man opportunity upon opportunity. So many chances and ways in which He could have turned his back on the wrong path and chose to travel with Him---the One who called.

Yet he did not.

However, time and circumstances have a way of changing a person. The man does what he can to answer the call today. Although the Bible Study does not take place in a comfortable home, nor a church Sunday School room. A prison cell and sometimes the day room holds his small congregation. The conversations are quietly spoken at first. Then, as he realizes he has nothing left to loose, more boldly will he speak. Soon.

How many times have you heard the Father call you to a task?

Have you offered other ideas?

Easier options?

Perhaps you feel less educated than the others--who seem so more qualified. (That's been my excuse.) Or, maybe you feel the task beyond you financially. Could be you feel too old? (I've heard that excuse too. I think I actually asked the LORD why He would ask me for something now, at my age!)

Listen, your age, weight, or even shoe size has nothing to do with your calling. But every bit to do with your willingness. Your lack of ability does not even matter, if you have a willing heart.

God uses those who seek to be used. Those who long to feel the Holy Spirit course through their veins and skin--coming forth with power and victory on the other side of a trial!

Today, while it's early in the year, determine in your heart not to wait until you've run out of excuses and He has had to "place" you where you can't run any further. Run to Him with open arms and heart of obedience and put everything you own on the altar. Give it all up to Him--and He will give to you what you need for the journey.

"Now what I am commanding you today is not too difficult for you or beyond your reach...." Deuteronomy 30:11 NIV

Read Deuteronomy 30:11-20 for your devotion today! You just might find a note from God inside those words!


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Tuesday, February 2, 2010

"Windshield Stalker"


Do you ever peek in people's windshields as they drive by?




Do you notice their faces as they hurry to get somewhere?




I have to admit, I am a "windshield stalker."




I am an avid people watcher. I wonder about their "stories." I notice when someone looks sad or stressed out.




So....I look in every window that passes me by.




Sometimes I pray for a person that looks sad or angry.




Sometimes I pray that I would have an attitude of person who is joyfully smiling through the windshield.





Sometimes I pray for protection of the person speeding by too quickly!




I have been so blessed by praying for these "strangers" God has placed in my path. Sometimes, though, it is tempting to feel frustrated that I didn't do "enough".......or say "enough."




But, I heard Joyce Meyer share a similar story recently. When she was shopping, a clerk said something to her and she regretted not "correcting" her with the Truth. She felt that she had missed an "opportunity." God reminded her, though, that she had the OPPORTUNITY to pray for that woman!




I sometimes regret not opening my mouth and saying more or doing more, but this was revelation that I AM! I have the opportunity to pray for that lonely person sitting on a bench...the grouchy salesclerk....the receptionist....the passerby in the next car.




I have the privilege to pray for people that may NEVER again have someone praying for them.




And then......




God DOES call us to DO things for those who are hurting.




The Holy Spirit has shown me lately how important it is to have open eyes, listening ears, and a willing heart. In one day, God laid on my heart several people to reach out and "touch."




"Email a friend to let her know how great her husband has been doing in youth ministry."




"Don't just delete that informational email. Take a few minutes to reply to the busy church leader, letting her know you appreciate all of the work she has been doing in women's ministry."




"Send a card to a friend who has been going through a tough time."




"Spend a few minutes talking to the clerk at the dry cleaners."




"Pray for this person that keeps coming to your mind."




God gives us this incredible opportunity to pray for others, even strangers. We don't always know what someone is going through, or dealing with. We may never know the eternal ramifications that a simple email, spiritually timed, may have.




I love the song, "Give Me Your Eyes" by Brandon Heath.




Ponder some of the lyrics with me.




"Give me Your eyes for just one second. Give me Your eyes so I can see...everything that I keep missing. Give me Your eyes for humanity. Give me Your arms for the broken-hearted...the ones that are far beyond my reach. Give me Your heart for the ones forgotten. Give me Your eyes so that I can see. I want a second glance. So give me a second chance.....to see the way You've seen the people all along."




Oh, Lord, that is the cry of my heart! How I want to see people the way You see them! I don't want to be too busy that I pass by without noticing. I don't want to miss the lonely, the hurting, the overwhelmed, the broken...




....."Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?" The King will reply, "I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me." -Matthew 25:37-40


Father, help me to "see" people with Your eyes. Help me to listen better to people and really hear what they are saying. Help me to keep my mouth closed until Your Spirit prompts me to open it and then speak what YOU want me to say! Lord, help me to always remember to pray for those you place before me. I love You, Lord! In Jesus' Name I pray. Amen.




To watch a response video of Brandon Heath's song, click HERE.





I would love for you to visit me at my personal blog,




Points to Ponder:



Who is God placing in YOUR life to minister to today?



How can you slow down to notice those who are hurting?

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