November 28, 2018

His Magnificent Presence

In a conversation with a dear friend who had recently finished several months of intense chemotherapy treatment for lymphoma, she talked about the deep and intimate closeness to the Lord she experienced while going through cancer treatment. Her treatment was successful and she is now cancer free.

What she shared reminded me of the very similar way I felt when my husband and I grieved in 1992 for our baby who only lived on this earth for two days. I told her I literally felt as though God’s arms were tight around me, comforting me and holding me in the midst of deep pain.

Both of our experiences were the evidence of every Bible verse on God’s comfort and every verse and teaching that He is always with us and we are never alone and that His grace is sufficient.

My friend and I agreed that we want that indescribable special closeness to continue even though we are not in those dark valleys anymore.

As we continued to discuss our thoughts, we both also admitted that even when life is “normal” we can still have a close and intimate relationship with the Lord as a result of intentionally pursuing Him and drawing near. We can experience His magnificent presence any day of the week when we genuinely seek Him.

It might not be exactly the same as the uniquely powerful and comforting grace He provides in a valley or trial. Yet, every normal and ordinary day we still have the humbling honor to draw near and know His magnificent presence ever near to us.

Let’s not allow another day to pass us by that we don’t enjoy and appreciate God’s magnificent presence up close and personal in our lives.

James 4:8 Draw near to God and He will draw near to you.

His is a very near presence that we can know, and we genuinely will know, when we draw close to Him.

You will find more devotions like His Magnificent Presence in First Breath of Morning: Where God Waits For You Every Day - A 90 Day Devotional

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November 25, 2018

Where Can I Find God?

Someone posed the question, “Where can I find God, how can I find Him?”

I carefully thought about my answer and this I know.

He is not a God who is far off.

The truth is we can find Him early each new day. We can find Him in the morning. 

He’s waiting for us before the night sky turns to dawn. He’s waiting for us before our sleepy eyes are wide awake. 

Early each new day is the place I meet Him with whispered words and grab His hand and never let go the rest of the day.

He is already there waiting for me. While my body needed a night’s sleep to rejuvenate, He never slept or wearied for one moment. He who never tires or sleeps refreshes me each morning.

I will ask the question again. Where can I find God? I find Him first in the beauty of each new morning.  

There is so much beauty in the way a day begins. God offers to us a gift to enjoy, a brand new day – a gift for our delight. And I breathe it all in, slow, calm, serene as night turns to day … this is where I find God every morning. 

Isaiah 40:28 Have you not known? Have you not heard? The everlasting God, the LORD, The Creator of the ends of the earth, Neither faints nor is weary. His understanding is unsearchable. 

Psalm 121:3-4 He will not allow your foot to be moved; He who keeps you will not slumber. Behold, He who keeps Israel shall neither slumber nor sleep.

Jeremiah 23:23-24
“Am I a God near at hand,” says the Lord,
“And not a God afar off?

Can anyone hide himself in secret places,
So I shall not see him?” says the Lord; 

“Do I not fill heaven and earth?” says the Lord.

November 11, 2018

Faith Observations

But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him. ~ Hebrews 11:6 

I would like to share a few thoughts on the Christian faith walk as I have observed, learned, stumbled, learned again, and continue to live out my own walk of faith. 

A Faith That Takes Me Through: I am thankful for faith that takes me through and pushes past all my self-doubt, worry, and uncertainty. Faith does not mean we don’t experience all of these, it means we choose to believe in spite of them. It means we choose to endure, because we have faith in God and what He can do. We have God working for us! 

What then shall we say to these things? 
If God is for us, who can be against us?  ~ Romans 8:31 

A Faith That Holds: God holds everything in His hands, answers, plans, details, direction … I hold faith in my hands … faith in Him.

A Faith That Lifts and Sees: Faith lifts us beyond ourselves and our human strength and into God’s strength and into His will for us! Faith opens our eyes and allows us to see the invisible … faith allows us to see what God can make possible. 

“For with God nothing will be impossible.”  ~ Luke 1:37 

A Faith Walk: If there is anything I have learned for certain— it is faith is not a walk of knowing! Faith is not a knowing journey! Faith is knowing God. Faith is not knowing what the future holds—but knowing Who holds the future—knowing He is God and that He is sovereign!

A Faith Race: Faith strengthens us and allows us to run our race with endurance. Yes, our faith enables us to do that! 

Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.  ~ Hebrews 12:1-2 

Walk by faith, and you will run the race well!

November 8, 2018

A Living and Powerful Word

For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.   ~ Hebrews 4:12 

Women’s Bible Studies are well underway in many churches this fall, which leads me to remember an evening women’s Bible study I attended at my church years ago, and a particular night when several in our group of ladies came in exhausted. But as we studied our lesson in Ephesians that night, God’s Living and Powerful Word energized the room. 

Ladies that had come in saying they almost didn’t come because they were extremely tired or had a stressful day, perked up and became excited as we examined what was being taught in our study that night. God’s Word was alive among us that evening. Everyone left saying they were so glad they came. What a change!

Whether it is in a group at a church, or a gathering in someone’s house, or privately in your own home in your favorite armchair, sometimes just getting started with your Bible study is a difficult process. But it is a process God will bless and reward for the diligence we practice when we dig in and learn the truths and treasures in His Word.

When reading through the Old Testament one time, I came to 1 Chronicles and saw those countless chapters of genealogies from Adam through Abraham and through all the tribes of Israel filled with many names I could not pronounce, I will admit I began to have a complaining attitude.

But I kept reading and right there in chapter 4 I came across the well-known prayer of Jabez in verse 10. And Jabez called on the God of Israel saying, “Oh, that You would bless me indeed, and enlarge my territory, that Your hand would be with me, and that You would keep me from evil, that I may not cause pain!” So God granted him what he requested. 

I was reminded to more diligently pray for God to “enlarge my territory” in one area of my life. Reading the very chapters that I was dragging my feet through brought me a blessing that energized me to continue in the reading of the following chapters with a new and much improved attitude.

I want to do better than dragging my feet through portions of scripture and so I challenge myself and all of us to help each other dig in and learn more about God and what He has to teach us as we read this powerful book He has written to us and for us.

I hope you will buy First Breath of Morning for someone on your Christmas list this year! 

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First Breath of Morning is a great gift for teachers, secret pals, friends and family, co-workers and staff. This unique devotional is also an ideal tool as a Ministry Resource and would be great to have on hand to take with you on a hospital visit or to a nursing home, for the home bound, a women’s shelter, a local prison ministry, or other ministry outreach.

November 4, 2018

The Stumbling Block of Unforgiveness

Therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, put on tender mercies, kindness, humility, meekness, longsuffering; bearing with one another, and forgiving one another, if anyone has a complaint against another; even as Christ forgave you, so you also must do.  ~ Colossians 3:12-13

The forgiveness we do not give to those who have hurt and offended us, the forgiveness we withhold—will hold us back in our relationship with the Lord and the plans He has for us. Unforgiveness will become a stumbling block in our walk with the Lord and with others.

Forgiveness is about our heart letting go instead of staying in bondage to our wounds.

Forgiveness isn’t about changing the offender. It is about a change in us.

It doesn’t matter if the person receives it, and it doesn’t matter if the person does or does not acknowledge wrong doing. 

When we fully forgive, we will stop playing the same tape in our head, going over and over the wrong committed against us. When we stop playing that tape over and over again, life will become fuller and richer and the past pain will noticeably subside, leaving us wishing we had granted ourselves this freedom much sooner. 

God is the ultimate healer and when we forgive and let go, He comes to us with tender care and does a work on our wounds that will truly change our lives. This change will take us to a place of continued and complete healing.

When you hear yourself saying this is too hard, ask yourself—is it too hard for God? Does God want you to remain enslaved to this pain, living in a past that is keeping you from living today and embracing the future with hope? 

Unforgiveness is the precise reason we can’t get past the pain. Forgiving the offender, letting go and moving past the pain will bring you peace and peace will bring you a new and fresh outlook on life as you discover a joy in your heart you have not known before.

In the strength of the Lord, you can be empowered to forgive and let go, you can heal and move forward on a journey to complete wholeness only God can bring. 

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