By Nina Medrano –
Do you ever find yourself repeatedly hum a familiar song, absentmindedly, singing only parts of the lyrics that come to mind? Often, when this happens to me, I am preoccupied and therefore miss the message of the song stirring in my spirit.
It has been three days now that my spirit has been stirring this song in my gut. Like a scratch on a CD, the same lyric is stuck, repeating itself over and over—unable to skip to the next stanza.
“Blessed be your name
On the road marked with suffering
Though there’s pain in the offering
Blessed be your name”
I’m sitting traffic, singing the same lyrics over and over when suddenly the Holy Spirit descends upon me a heaviness of heart for those whose road is marked with suffering and cannot bless His name because of the pain in the offering.
It’s hard to lift your arms in praise when they have grown weary year after year waiting for breakthrough. It’s hard to praise God when you are losing your home; when your husband did not come home last night; when you can’t pay the electric in the winter; when you cannot afford to get septic; when your teen-age daughter gets diagnosed with pre-cancer cells; when your wife leaves you with three small children to care for; when your First Time Home buyers credit check is delayed—going on a year.
“…When the darkness closes in, Lord
I WILL FIND A WAY… to say…
Blessed be the name of the Lord”
Often, life’s challenges leave a mark in our lives that render us stuck and unable to skip to the next stanza of God’s “streams of abundance flow.”
The power of praise is the weapon that releases God’s power to move on our behalf. No matter what the circumstance, whether He gives or takes away, whether there is more pain than joy in the offering, we must resolve in our heart to FIND A WAY to bless His name. With teeth gritting, FIND A WAY! As if your life depends on it, FIND A WAY to say “Blessed by Your Name” and watch God move like a mighty warrior on your behalf.
“You are a hiding place for me; You, Lord, preserve me from trouble, You surround me with songs and shouts of deliverance. Selah” (Psalm 32:7 AMP).
Nina Medrano lives in Lubbock TX with Pepper Jack, her rescued Jack Russell Terrier.
Song lyrics from “Blessed Be Your Name,” by Matt Redman.
By Art Fulks –
For most of us, the arrival of a new year causes us to do some life evaluation, including in our finances. Documents flood our mailboxes so we can complete the dreaded task of tax preparation. Most of us will wonder at some point where our resources have gone. In Alan Gotthardt’s book, The Eternity Portfolio, I have been reading about the legacy we will leave for our family both financially and otherwise.
Our family portfolio does involve our finances, but it also includes so much more. It is about investing in godly living and giving. We invest through sacrifice, preparation, personal example, and intentional training. We invest time and resources; model compassion and holiness; and take those we influence along for the journey with us. And just like a relay race, the hand-off of the baton is critical. It must be practiced repeatedly with everyone involved, or the race could be lost.
This week, I read about the generational blessings passed along by parents who revere God, persistantly follow His principles, and are consistently practicing generosity. So why is our portfolio not as productive or profitable as we desire? The answer is found in the lyrics of an old song: “I want it all…and I want it now.”
There is so much more to be invested in our family portfolio.
PRAYER: Dear God, help my vision for this day to transcend my personal and immediate desires to focus on the lasting legacy that You could lay out for my life as I invest in a lasting family portfolio today…for the sake of Your Kingdom and the glory of Christ.
“His descendants will be mighty on earth; the generation of the upright will be blessed” (Psalm 112:2 NASB).
Today’s devotional is by Art Fulks, a church planter / pastor at Connection Fellowship in Greenville, South Carolina. Married for 22 years and father of four, Art is a graduate of The Ohio State Univeristy and Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary. He is a passionate Bible teacher, speaker, musician, worship leader, and life coach. Read more at http://www.connectionfellowship.orgor http://artfulks.blogspot.com. , a refreshing oasis in our journey today.
By Cheri Cowell –
Recently, I finally decided to tackle the cleaning of the dreaded “kitchen junk drawer.” Most of us have one of these drawers somewhere in our home. It’s the place where all sorts of odds and ends accumulate—the things that don’t belong anywhere else. Well, my drawer had gotten to the point I could no longer fit anything in and still close it. So, I was forced to tackle the job. To my surprise, I found amazing things in that drawer. One such find was a fizz stopper—the gadget that seals a soda bottle after it’s been opened so you don’t lose the carbonation. God sent us a personal fizz stopper.
When Jesus becomes a part of our lives, His Holy Spirit becomes the seal on our soul. He locks in the joy, peace, and contentment that come with His presence. His seal also keeps the air, or Satan, from contaminating our spirit, turning us flat and useless. Often, however, we forget to put the stopper back in after pouring ourselves out for others all week long. When we notice our fizz going flat, that is a sure signal we need time with Jesus who will refill us and seal us once again.
PRAYER: Thank You for sealing me at the moment I invited Jesus to be my Lord. Praise You for sending the Holy Spirit to re-invigorate me when I’ve gone flat and resealing me to His service.
“And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption” (Ephesians 4:30 NIV).
Today’s devotion is by Cheri Cowell, who writes and speaks on topics of Christian discipleship. In addition to her books and articles, you can learn about her speaking ministry and sign up to receive her daily devotional at www.CheriCowell.com
By Laurette Willis –
“Do not remember the former things, nor consider the things of old. Behold, I will do a new thing, now it shall spring forth; shall you not know it? I will even make a road in the wilderness and rivers in the desert” Isaiah 43:18-19 (NKJ).
Will 2011 be a new beginning for you? Have you had fitness failures as I have? Do you wonder if the changes you’ve wanted to make will ever happen?
Someone once told me, “A leopard never changes its spots.” Did you know that’s from Jeremiah 13:23? Before I came to Christ, I had many “spots” and stains caused by a life of sin. True, a leopard cannot change its spots just as I could not cleanse myself from sin. Neither can you. But there is One who can! The blood Jesus shed for you on Calvary paid the price to eradicate every sin and stain.
Our ongoing relationship with Him will also change us from one encounter with His glory to another so we can see hard-to-conquer habits eradicated, too!
Will you submit your life and all of this new year to Him right now? It’s that simple. Allow Jesus to give you a fresh start this year!
Let’s look at some ways you can focus on how things can be different in 2011 for you.
In the area of physical fitness and health, fill in the blanks (Example: “I want to enjoy daily exercise and eating in moderation so I can maintain a healthy weight for me.”)
I want to: __________________________________________________________________________
So I can: ___________________________________________________________________________
The Lord’s Spot Remover
Consider the Scripture from Jeremiah 13:23 (NKJ). “Can the Ethiopian change his skin or the leopard its spots? Then may you also do good who are accustomed to do evil.”
Wait a second! We cannot change our skin just as a leopard cannot change its spots. So why is this followed with the admonition to do good?
I’m reminded of Paul’s words in Romans 7:24 (NKJ), “O wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death?”
The answer is found in the next verse. “I thank God—through Jesus Christ our Lord!” It is a matter of faith (firm reliance on God) AND works (doing what seems right as I follow the Lord).
Take a look at what you wrote in the spaces above. Right now, ask the Lord to tell you something you can do to help you achieve that. You may be surprised at how simple it may be. The Lord usually leads us in steps, not leaps. Start today or tomorrow to do that one thing.
God Will Change Your “Want To”
Commit this new step to the Lord. “Lord, I’m offering this up to You. I trust You to help me.” Sometimes just taking a step in the right direction with your faith firmly planted in God’s ability to make up the difference is all it takes. Follow through with action every day. In time, you will find yourself actually wanting to make the healthful choice.
You will realize that God has changed your “want to” and you will see your goals are being reached one day at a time. He is faithful—and you are loved!
Christian Fitness Expert Laurette Willis is the Director of PraiseMoves Fitness Ministry (http://PraiseMoves.com and on Facebook http://bit.ly/aAlS4u ). Get your free kit at http://ChristianFitnessKit.com . © 2010
By Jarrod Spencer –
We live in a world full of “ME.” Under someone’s facebook links was a cartoon that was supposed to say “America” at the top. All the letters were on the bottom of the cartoon except for M & E. My thought is that America is becoming more and more like that. ME is the most important person in the country. One of the issues with that is there are millions of MEs. With losing a few pounds a common New Year’s goal, why not try to lose a different kind of weight, the ME weight?
Losing excess pounds will help make your life healthier. Losing excess ME pounds will make your life healthier, too. If ME is weighing you down, causing you to be less healthy, you are probably being prevented from doing some really amazing things!
As a way of shedding the ME pounds, think about these suggestions to having a healthier life.
One: Examine what areas are preventing you from accomplishing your goals. Make a list of these obstacles. Look at what ME areas are the biggest obstacles and seek a way to lose them.
Two: Refrain from “I can’t.” When you are thinking about accomplishing a goal do you tend to look at the negatives so much that you say “I can’t”? That phrase has the potential to keep you from great things. This may be one of the weights you must remove in order to have a healthier future.
Three: Take a step. Think about stepping forward to start accomplishing your goals. Losing the ME will help you be on the path of accomplishment. Is there something that you could use your talents in, but aren’t sure how? Take a step and see how God uses the opportunity. Have you wanted to meet that neighbor that you frequently drive by? Take a step and go out the door to shake hands and simply say, “Welcome to the neighborhood!”
Your ME may be preventing you from seeing what you can do with life. Shedding the ME weight may not be an easy process, but what weight loss ever is?
PRAYER: Father, help me to remove myself from Your plans for me. Help me to be submissive and attentive to what You would seek me to be involved in, who to be involved with, and how to be the most useful servant in Your Kingdom.
“Jesus answered, ‘If you want to be perfect, go, sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.’ When the young man heard this, he went away sad, because he had great wealth” (Matthew 19:21-22 NIV).
Today’s devotional is by Jarrod Spencer. He is a seeker of God’s surprises in everyday life, looking for ways to be used by God with anyone he comes in contact with. He has a passion for encouraging people through the written word and exercises that passion with blogging and sending out a weekly text of encouragement. You can read more of his writings at http://jarrodspencer.blogspot.com and his church’s website is http://www.colbychurch.com.