Monday, February 6, 2012

I will praise

With all my heart, I will praise you
With all my mind, I will praise you
With all my soul, I will praise you
I will should your praise at all times
with everything that I am
In all circumstances

My heart cries out to you
My heart longs to glorify you alone
Your plans are not my plans
Your ways are not my ways
Though I cannot see your vision,
I trust Your will, Your sovereignty
Your ways are not my ways,
No, Your ways are perfect!

Even in the midst of not understanding,
of not seeing the next step
I will follow Your way
I will follow Your plan
I will follow YOU

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Let it Shine!

Matthew 5:14-16 "You are the light of the world - like a city on ahilltop that cannot be hidden. No one lights a lamp and then puts it under a basket. Intead a lamp is placed on a stand, where it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your good deeds shine out for all to see, so that everyone will praise your heavenly Father"

I think this one is pretty self explanatory. Let it Shine! When you come to know the Lord, His light shines in you and you need to let it shine. If we live for Christ, we glow like lights, showing others what Christ is like. We hide our light by being quiet when we should speak up, going along with the crowd instead of doing what we know is right, letting sin dim our light, not telling others about Jesus, and by ignoring the needs of others.

I went to church last night for Miracle Monday and as I was praying for our group, we were praying for specific people to come to know the Lord and someone near me began to pray and thank God for me. For me! I was stunned speechless as I listened to her pour out her heart, that she wouldn't be a believer today if it weren't for me. Now I know it was God but she just kept thanking God for me. And then she said something that brought tears to my eyes (as if this weren't enough to do it), she said that I had so much joy and such a light in me, that she wanted what I had and she studied and learned and grew! I was overwhelmed.

What a wonderful sentiment! Now, I'm not tooting my own horn, I have a point here. The Word says that my reward will be in heaven. If I am brought to tears but such beautiful words how much more amazing will it be when I see people I hadn't even thought I had influenced in heaven. You see, it had never occurred to me that this person was in church because of something I had said or done. How much greater will it be in heaven? Who will you see you in heaven? And an even more important question, who will you NOT see because you have hidden the light inside of you?

Don't hide your light. Jesus has filled you so that you can go out and seek out His lost and bring them back. Hide it under a bushel...NO! I'm gonna let it shine! Let it shine, shine, shine, let it shine!

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

To err is human

Hosea 14:9 Let those who are wise understand these thing. Let those with discernment listen carefully. The paths of the Lord are true and right, and righteous people live by walking in them. But in those paths sinners stumble and fall.

Wow! This was a great devotion today. Here's the thing, we have a just God. He will bring justice where it is due. He will not bless sin. In the verse above it says the paths of the Lord are true and right and righteous people live by walking in them. Are you walking in the path of righteousness? I see so many people that say they believe in the Lord but their lives don't change. They don't change the way they live. Now, I'm not saying that if you believe in Jesus you have to live perfectly all the time, but when you know the Lord, something about your life should change. Your heart should change. You should care about doing what is right in the Lord's sight. You should care about other people more than yourself.

My question is, if you say you believe in Jesus and you know the Lord and your life doesn't change, you go to church on Sunday and you leave just the same as when you came, do you really know the Lord.

I meet a lot of people who know the Lord and they make the mistake of forgetting God's love and feel that their sins are hopeless and they can never be free from the sins of the past. But I meet so many more people who make a much bigger mistake. They never forget about God's forgiveness. As a matter of fact, they depend on it because they don't try to walk the path of righteousness. They err by forgetting God's wrath against our sins and they think He will continue to accept us no matter how we act.

Let's all decide today that we will surrender all of our lives to the Lord. Not just part of our lives, but all it. You won't walk perfectly but God will walk beside and help you through every storm, every temptation, every sorry, ever joy. When you stumble, He will offer you a hand up. Let God change the story of your life.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Are you sharp?

I read Proverbs 27:17 today. "As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another".
Wow! I love this verse. This verse changed my life. Or rather, I should say, some very important women living this verse out with the love of Jesus, changed my life. I came to a point in my life, where I just wasn't dealing with life well. I had taken so many hits over the course of my life and suddenly I found myself floundering. That's when I started a small group at church and met a few women who were committed to sharpening other women. They came along side of me, spoke the truth in love to me when I needed it, and showed me the truth in God's Word and how I could apply it to my life. I grew so much during that season. I learned how to deal with some of the wounds from my past and how to truly give things up and lay my burdens at the feet of the One who can handle them.

I have several people in my life who are committed to helping me be the best person I can be and helping me reflect Jesus in ever increasing glory. I am so thankful for those women both past and present who have come along side me in that way. I, in turn, am committed to doing the same for others. Why? Because the Lord commands it. That verse in proverbs isn't just something nice to say, it's a directive. The Bible also says to go out and make disciples. How do we do that? By sharing the gospel with others but also by coming along side of them and sharpening them.

I think one great way to do this, is a small group. You will get to know some new people that are focused on a common goal of growth. If you aren't in a small group or have people in your life that are actively sharpening you and you them, let me encourage you to join one. Be an influence in someone's life and allow them to influence your growth as well.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012


I was reading this morning and I came to a verse in Proverbs that caused me to stop. Proverbs 27:23 "Be diligent to know the state of your flocks, and attend to your herds"

Now I know what you are thinking...why in the world would that verse cause me to stop? Right? Well, I'm glad you asked. I stopped to think about this verse. First, I thought of my flocks and herds. Since, I work at a church I tend to automatically think of flock as those that are in my church, but I stopped this morning to think of the other flocks and herd that He has put in my life to tend. I thought of my kids. My son Ken may be old and nearly 21 now but I still consider him mine to tend. I want to be involved in his life and I want him to (even though he's 21) still know my voice as a voice of wisdom or guidance, because even though he's nearly 21, I have just a bit more years and experience for him to glean from and I want him to make wise choices. I thought of my youngest Christopher who definitely still needs guidance. I love we know each other so well. I know each look, each cry (yes there are different cries). I know him so well, that recently when he broke his jaw, he came up to me and wasn't crying or anything but simply said, I fell. And something inside me knew it was more than that. I think of the dog. Yes, the dog. The crazy and excitable Toby who when I come home runs to the door at top speed, jumps at and does somersaults because his "shepherd" is home. I could go on and on but I don't want to bore you so I'll move on.

The other thing I thought about was work. Yes, your job is part of the "flock" the Lord has given you to tend. Now, I love my job, but I've heard people talk about how they hate their job and they are just doing enough to get by, or their heart isn't really in it. Are you being diligent tending your "flocks and herds"? The word diligent comes from a latin word meaning to esteem, to love. Dictionary.com defines diligent as being constantly in effort, attendtive and persistent. So I'll ask the question again, are you being diligent? Whether we're talking about your kids, or your friends, or your job, or your home, your spouse - whatever your flock, are you being diligent? Do you love your "flock" simply because the Lord has given it to you tend if for no other reason? If you are one of those who hate your job or just dream of a different job or think the grass is greener somewhere else (again whether it's your job or something else), let me encourage you to be diligent. The Lord has given you this flock to tend. Tend to it well. Take painstaking efforts to ensure a job well done. Clossians tells us "whatever you do or say do it as a representative of the Lord Jesus".

You may remember a passage in Matthew 25 when Jesus told a parable and verse 23 says "Well done, my good and faithful servant. you have been faithful with little and I will put in charge of many things. Come and share in your masters happiness". Be sure to have integrity and be diligent so that the Lord will be able to reward you with something more. Want a new job? Be diligent with the one you have.

Now can you see why this verse would cause me to pause today? I think we all have something in our lives where we aren't as diligent as we should be. Today is the day to thank God for the flocks He has given you and commit to diligence.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Before I knew you...

Wow! I love spending time with God and my son. The Lord blessed me with an incredible experience with Christopher yesterday and it meant so much to me. We did our Bible reading for the day and then we did our little devotion that focuses on just one verse. Now, before I tell you the verse, let me preface this by saying that I am still in the process of embracing Christopher's diagnosis of Aspberger's along with a host of learning disabilities. And after much prayer, I don't believe that there will be a miracle of healing for him. I believe the miracle has already been done in the person that he is. I believe that the depth of feeling and the connecting that he has with God and the heart that he has for people and for missions is in fact a miracle. And I know that God has something wonderful in mind for him.

So yesterday our verse was Jeremiah 1:5 "I knew you before I formed you in your mother's womb. Before you were born I set you apart and appointed you as my prophet for the nations." This wasn't my devotion for the day, this is the devotion that Chris and I do together. All I could say was YES!!! Absolutely! Then I got to have a wonderful conversation with my son. I had been struggling with how much to tell him about his diagnosis or what to tell him, how much he needs to know and I prayed and asked God to show me how to tell him and what he needed to know. So in this moment I was able to tell him that his brain works a little differently than some other people's and he learns in different ways. But no matter how his brain works, God planned it in advance. His brain is special just as he is special. He is special because God has set him apart. His brain isn't different because God made a mistake, his brain his different because God planned it that way before he was ever born. And his eyes lit up with the joy of the Lord and said "Really?"

Yes Chris, God has set you apart for a special purpose. He made you special and unique and wonderful. God created you perfectly. Remember to always follow His leading for your special purpose and everything will be fine. He was so excited that day. Instead of feeling inadequate, he felt unique. Instead of feeling stupid, he felt special. Instead of feeling less than, he felt exalted. I can't wait to see his life unfold as he serves God and we see His purpose lived out in Chris.

"I knew you before I formed you in your mother's womb. Before you were born I set you apart and appointed you as my prophet for the nations" Thank you God for creating us perfectly.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Heavy lifting

I was reading in one of my favorite books today and the discussion centered on Proverbs 10:29 "The way of the Lord is strength for the upright."
I love that verse! I always thought about how the Lord strengthens us for the tasks He brought to us. There's so much in life that we need strength for. Especially in this economy, we may need strength for to open the statement of our ever dwindling 401k or even just to find a job that will provide a steady paycheck let alone health care or 401k. We need strength to face the daily battles in life of health or strained relationships, our latest diet or our new year's resolutions, and we certainly need strength as followers of Christ to live in a way that honors God.

But as I was reading this book, the author began to illustrate something she needs strength with. She told about how she's getting older and more forgetful and she travels a lot so she carries a gigantic bag with everything she may ever possibly need, she'll be set for the zombie apocolypse. And then she realizes she needs her cell phone so she goes in search of her cell phone. If you are a woman, you can already picture the scene unfolding as she finds everything from chapstick to her stun gun but no phone, dumps everything out on the floor in search of the elusive contraption and then suddenly realizes she's forgotten what she's looking for. Stop laughing, you've done the same thing yourself! Then moments later her phone rings and guess what...it was in her pocket all along. Frustrated and grumpy is how she now answers her phone and it's all the fault of this enormous purse that she has to lug around. It's larger than she is, it weighs down one side of her body, even makes her walk a little lopsided.

Let's face it! We all have our oversized bags. We've got baggage. Stuff we carry around because we think we'll need to get back to it at some point or we just can't let it go. And boy don't we need strength to lug it around! But just remember, when we're carrying around such weighed down baggage, it's hard to remain upright. Now read the verse again, "the way of the Lord is strength for the upright".

Lay down your baggage, give it to the Lord. Trust that He will help provide what you need in the moment, He will strengthen you for troubles that surround you today, He will guide you where you need to go and you don't need to carry around yesterdays baggage to get there.

Matthew 11:28-30 Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.

2 Cor 12:9 My grace is sufficient for you, My strength is made perfect in weakness.

As I prepare to start the 21 day Daniel fast with my church, I will choose to lay down my baggage, clean out my bags, allow Him to lighten my load so that I can be upright and allow Him to strengthen my soul.

What are you carrying around with you? What weighs you down? I encourage you to take and leave it with the Lord.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012


There is a poem written by Emily Perl Kingsley that talks about what it's like to raise a child with a disability and that's what I want to discuss today. Now, if you are thinking, oh this topic isn't for me today because I don't have a child with a disability, stop right there and continue to read, you may be surprise where I end with this and may find it's for you after all.

First the poem, she writes that having a baby is like planning a trip to Italy. You get prepared, pack the right things, get the tour books and plan all the sites you are going to see, learn some new phrases. You're excited! All your friends are going to Italy and talking about the trip they're planning or the one they've already been on. You can't wait! You board the plane and the excitement mounts and finally you land and the flight attendant says "welcome to Holland". You start to freak out because you're supposed to be in Italy. The flight attendant says sorry but there's been a change. You aren't going to land in Italy, Italy has been canceled. You're in Holland, enjoy your stay. You are freaking out, your friends went to Italy. You know Italian phrases. You know what to visit in Italy. You have prepared all your life for Italy. You don't know anything about Holland and you don't want to be there. So what do you do? Well, you have to buy new guide books, maybe learn a few new phrases. There's pain involved here, because you wanted to go Italy and the pain of not going there won't ever go away. But if you stay in that place of grieving the loss of Italy, you will miss the beauty of Holland. You will miss the tulips and the windmills, you'll miss the Rembrandts, the people you would have never met, food you would have never tasted, and the beautiful experiences you would have never had if you hadn't gone the Holland. If you spend your life grieving the loss of Italy, you'll miss the extravagant beauty of Holland.

Now, having said that...don't we all have our own detour to Holland? You may not have a child with a disability but we all have our own Holland. We all have a place we were supposed to go, a dream we dreamed of for years that for whatever reason, wasn't fulfilled. We all have a detour. Some of us have let our detour take us to a place where we spend our lives feeling sorry for ourselves and making those around us miserable because we didn't get to go to Italy and we miss out on the beauty of our Holland experience. We spend our time grieving our Italy and don't embrace the fact, that Italy was our dream, our plan, not God's and that God's dream is far greater than ours ever could be. Jeremiah 29:11 says "For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future". If you continue to read in that chapter it goes on to say to seek the Lord with our whole heart and that he will bring us back from captivity and restore us. Now if I relate this to our Italy and Holland chat today, this is what I hear. We planned to go to Italy because the world said Italy was the place to go and the place to be but it was never God's plan. We held ourselves in captivity with that plan and judged Italy to be the beautiful place through the world's standards. But that's not where God wants us to be. We were actually on a detour and he is merely bringing us back to the plan that He laid out for our lives. Italy was the detour, Holland was the original destination.

So whatever your Italy is, may I suggest learning to embrace Holland knowing that God's plan is greater. He will never harm us, He will never forsake us and He will show us the beauty of His plan...His Holland.