Mental Preparation

February 10, 2020 by  
Filed under Daily Devotions, Life Topics

By Elaine James –

Mental preparation, as presented by my tennis coach:
“When the stakes are high, I prepare mentally and get in the “zone.” On my way to a tennis match, I believe I will play well. I focus solely on the game, not on other people or the concern that I may play poorly. My attention is only on my racket, the ball, and the court. I typically do not know how the other games are going because I am so focused on my match.

Taking my time and trying to stay composed allows me to think about my strategy. If I allow myself to consider the possibility of a double fault or service error, it usually means it will happen. Before starting my serve, I visualize where it is going, as well as my service motion. I don’t think negatively, as this causes me to focus on all the wrong things. I clear my mind of all clutter, and seek peace, locking in on the ball with intensity. Losing is not an option. It creates disappointment in myself, because I have let my emotions ruin my ability to play well. At times, it even leads to my abusing my racket and/or body. I am very competitive. I lose self-control.”

Here, I present mental preparation for a day:
When the stakes are high, I prepare mentally, as I get in the “zone”. I believe I will do well. My focus is solely on what I have learned, not on other people or the possibility of failing. I don’t think negatively, My purpose and my focus remain on the Lord. I usually don’t know how others are doing because I am focused on my calling. I don’t rush. I try to stay composed. If I even think of a possible screw up, it usually happens. I visualize where I’m being led and His promises. I clear my mind of clutter, seek peace, and stay composed. If I don’t, I will lose confidence, as I allow my emotions to ruin my ability to do well, or abuse my body. I won’t have the self-control needed to refocus.

PRAYER: Father in heaven help me to mentally prepare for each day.

BIBLE VERSE: “Be prepared. You’re up against far more than you can handle on your own. Take all the help you can get, every weapon God has issued, so that when it’s all over but the shouting you’ll still be on your feet” (Ephesians 6:13a, MSG).

 

 

 

Audience of One

January 18, 2020 by  
Filed under Daily Devotions, Personal Growth

By Elaine James –

I woke up this morning with a whisper from God.

“Read Proverbs 3.” Before I did so, I asked God to tell me what I personally need to understand from the word. I became an audience of one.

Whenever this happens, I get excited to see what God has for me to read and learn.

Read Proverbs 3 for yourself and ask like I did “What do you want me to learn?” Proverbs 3 has the famous verses 5-6, which begins “Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding,” which is great to memorize. But today I was compelled to concentrate on the words “Don’t assume that you know it all. Run to God! Run from evil! Your body will glow with health; your very bones will vibrate with life!” (Proverbs 3:7-8 MSG)

Do I think I know it all when it comes to the knowledge of the Bible? Am I humble? Answering many Bible questions frequently and being deeply passionate about Christ is great, but I need to stay humble about that knowledge/wisdom.

I stopped, reflected and prayed a prayer of repentance that I would stay humble. So many times I find myself alone about moral subjects and I speak out and many don’t agree with me. I ask God “Am I coming on to strong?  Do I have too high of expectations for others?”

I could always use wisdom to know when to speak up and when to remain silent. I do want to stay humble.

I am reminded of another scripture “humble yourself in the sight of the Lord and He will lift you up.”(James 4:12)

I sense a deep connection with God from reading Proverbs. I love to be reminded of God’s wisdom and passion to have us close by Him to learn. Why do I need to know it all? I mean, do I lack faith to just trust God? What about you? Do you need to know it all or can you let go and let God?

Being the audience of one allows you to discover such wonderful truths as in verse 8: “Your body will glow with health and your very bones will vibrate with life!”

I think I will make some popcorn and read some more.

PRAYER:  Lord forgive me for not always being humble. Help me to have Your peace-loving wisdom.

BIBLE VERSE: “Don’t assume that you know it all. Run to God! Run from evil! Your body will glow with health; your very bones will vibrate with life!” (Proverbs 3:7-8 MSG)

On a Bright Sunny Day

December 12, 2019 by  
Filed under Daily Devotions, Life Topics

By Elaine James –

On a bright, sunny day, I was enjoying a bike ride. Like always, I rode from my home to a familiar path and would safely go a couple miles and then head back. But on this day, I took a different trail and entered an unfamiliar path. I came to a steep incline with bushes on each side that made the path extremely narrow.

The only words I could think of were, “Don’t think about it. Just go.” As soon as I focused on the trail, my bike got wobbly and I began to fall. I had to force myself to look down at the trail and say over and over “don’t think about it, just go.”

I was tickled by this reminder from God to not over think things. It was fun to go down that path, hearing from God and trusting Him. I had quite a sense of accomplishment at the end of the trail.

My mind drifted to similar stories in the Bible.

Rahab, the prostitute, was raised hearing of the miraculous stories of the God of the Israelites. Surely, despite all her mistakes, she wanted the Lord to be her God, the God in heaven above and on the earth below, so they promised that they would come back and save her and her family. So, she agreed to hide the spies for Joshua, and she took an oath. “Our lives for your lives!” the men assured her. But, what if she would have thought too much, as she waited for the men to come back to save her and her family? Her guilt and shame could have held her thoughts captive and caused her to flee. Instead she chose to not think about that and focus on anticipating making their God her God. As we now know Jesus came from her bloodline.

What if Peter continued to think too much about identifying with Jesus? Two books of the bible filled with his lessons would have had to be deleted. What if Mary of Bethany would have thought too much about anointing Jesus with expensive oil? She taught us the importance of spending time with Jesus.

So many stories of faith and trust depended on the men and women of the Bible to not think too much. How many times did I miss out on experiencing God because of my thinking too much? How many times have you missed out on God by thinking too much?

AUTHOR QUOTE:  Stop thinking too much! It could hinder the work of God.

BIBLE VERSE: “But Joshua spared Rahab the prostitute, with her family and all who belonged to her, because she hid the men Joshua had sent as spies to Jericho-and she lives among the Israelites to this day” (Joshua 6:25 NIV).

You have chosen…Wisely

December 2, 2019 by  
Filed under Daily Devotions, Worship

By Elaine James –

“But choose wisely, for while the true Grail will bring you life, the false Grail will take it from you”, said the Grail Knight. Indiana Jones chose the grail and the Grail Knight responded “You have chosen… wisely.”

As I drove away from church, I heard a whisper in my head quoting these famous lines from the Indiana Jones movie. The night before that, a lot was whirling through my head as things in my home were getting complicated. My mind had made up every excuse not to attend church.  I asked God for peace. No peace came with my decision of not going. I’m always praying that I would clearly know the will of the Father with the sign of peace from Him. In the end, peace came when I heard the whisper “just go, you go alone.” I left a house full of family members and overnight guests, feeling that peace that passes all understanding.

At moments in the car there was a battle in my mind. I was thinking: “If you go home that would be good. There is a ministry there after all.” Next thought: “But seek first the kingdom of heaven and His righteousness and all shall be added.” I don’t want to seem religious about church to anyone, but I am most concerned about following the Spirit of God. I was blessed with a great fellowship and message at church.

It was when I was driving home that I heard the whisper from God: “You chose wisely.” Lol! “God you are funny quoting a movie,” I thought. That day I became very aware of God and sensed His perspective in life’s circumstances. There was clarity! It was like God and I were fully connected. I could cry now as I write this because I sensed God saying: “Tell my people Elaine, that my word is true. When you seek me first all shall be added.” I experienced a closer bond with God and that matters more than any material blessing God can give me. My passion is that others will experience that too!

Rotten Tomatoes gave Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade a whopping review of 89%. Audiences liked it at 91%. The story of a crusade still intrigues many audiences. A crusade needs person to be extremely focused and committed towards achieving the end results. Our crusade is to choose wisely.

PRAYER:  Lord, thank You for each day where Your mercies are new. Help me to choose wisely.

BIBLE VERSE: “Grow a wise heart—you’ll do yourself a favor; keep a clear head—you’ll find a good life” (Proverbs 19:8 MSG).

Stirring Up Memories

November 17, 2019 by  
Filed under Daily Devotions, Life Topics

By Elaine James –

Clang! Clang! Clang! The spoon hit the edge of the sauce pan as it emptied the tomato paste. Yum! That meant my mom was making spaghetti gravy for a pasta dinner. Yes, we called it gravy some prefer spaghetti sauce. But I am Italian and we call it gravy.

As I was making my homemade spaghetti gravy and was adding the tomato paste I was reminded of hearing that sound when I was a child. Back in the day when my mom made her gravy early in the morning and the clanging of the spoon hit the edge of the sauce pan it was way too loud. The only benefit to the clanging was that meant dinner would be some kind of pasta and I loved pasta.

As I clang the spoon now it brings good memories of growing up and my mom taking the time to make something homemade. Remembering that makes me smile! Do you have a noise, smell or object that conjures up a good memory? Something you will never forget?

I suspect it worked the same way in Bible times. I find it interesting that many great things happened with Jesus when fish and bread were involved. After He was raised from the dead, Jesus appeared to the disciples. John landed and described this scene: a fire burning of coals with fish on it, and some bread.

When the spoon clanged the pan in my childhood it meant pasta night! When the disciples smelled that fish and saw it cooking on the fire, it meant Jesus was back! Jesus invited them “come and have breakfast.” None of the disciples dared ask him, “Who are you?” They knew it was the Lord.

Why do you think Jesus fed the disciples? Clearly, the disciples were always blessed when they took the time to sit and eat with Jesus. We, too, are always blessed when we spend time with Jesus. Jesus used that time with the disciples to pass a message to us to feed our flock. We can translate that into our own personal journey and spend time together eating with friends or family so we can bring joy and share Christ with them.

At the end of day, when anyone lays his head on a pillow, his basic desire is to feel loved. Showing hospitality is always a great way to demonstrate that love.

Who do you want to include in your next meal?

PRAYER: Jesus, thank You for showing us how important it is to show hospitality. Who is it You are calling me to show Your love?

BIBLE VERSE: “Share with the Lord’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality” (Romans 12:13 NIV).

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