The Will of the Father

October 1, 2022 by  
Filed under Daily Devotions

By Elaine James –

While sitting at a Senior Choral practice a frail elderly gentleman turned to me and asked, “What is the will of God for your life?”

I wondered how to respond to this kind man. To me it is a loaded question with many possible answers, but I chose to respond “to be a child of Jesus.”

He blinked and gently spoke, “First Thessalonians 5:16-22: rejoice always, pray constantly and give thanks under all circumstances. Know the love of God. Don’t despise prophesying. Test all things. Do well. Refrain from sin. Reach out to Jesus.”

I can only imagine that you have found yourself in similar situations where you weren’t sure what to do or say either. People may have been asking you “Do you believe God exists?” “Who is Jesus and what does he mean to you?” or, “How do you live out the will of the Father?”
Ask yourself these questions:

1. Do I rejoice always?
2. Do I pray continually?
3. Do I give thanks under all circumstances?
4. Do I know the love of God?
5. Do I test all things?
6. Do I refrain from sin?

Our answers just need to be honest. God is not grading us. He reminds us gently what His will is for our lives. He is not forcing His will onto us. He loves us and gently guides us. He wants us to do well this side of heaven.

What would happen in our churches if all of us began to model the will of our Father in heaven?

PRAYER: Father give me the courage to examine this checklist. Help me to be honest and desire to live out the will You have for my life. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.

Gloomaway

September 13, 2022 by  
Filed under Daily Devotions

By Elaine James –

“And they were calling to one another: “Holy, holy, holy is the LORD Almighty; the whole earth is full of his glory.” At the sound of their voices the doorposts and thresholds shook and the temple was filled with smoke “Woe to me!” I cried. “I am ruined! For I am a man of unclean lips, and I live among a people of unclean lips, and my eyes have seen the King, the LORD Almighty” (Isaiah 6:3-5 NIV).

The realization. The admission. Recognition. What a time in Isaiah’s life. Reading this verse brought to me the memory of when I dealt with how unclean I was. It was a somewhat gloomy time when I came to grips with my sin, but learned to rejoice.

You’re probably wondering how. Think about it! Awareness is the beginning stage of healing. In Isaiah 6:10, the Lord expounds, “They might see with their eyes, hear with their ears, understand with their hearts, and turn and be healed” (NIV). I found physical and mental healing.

At one point I just became determined to rid myself of my whole history of sin and confess it to God. I asked God to reveal to me my sins of the past and present. Be careful, if you choose to ask. Be sure you mean it because God is faithful to do it. Not because He is a mean God. Quite the contrary! He loves the intimacy!

God began to reveal even the smallest of sins. An example was when I was driving and merged into another lane. The driver in the car behind me made a nasty gesture. I stopped and thought “I am guilty of that same sin.” Remorse touched my soul, and instead of raging back at the person, I saw my own sin.

The revelation of my sin continued for weeks. My journal was getting full. I cried. I felt as if I was in the accelerated program called “Advanced Admission of Sins.” Well thank goodness there was absolution. It is called forgiveness, and I graciously accepted it. Ahhh- Grace! The thing I did not deserve. I was getting to know God, there was more room in my heart for Him. He does not spare grace. No! He pours it out. It overflows from my head to my toes.

What does all this mean? I rejoice now, knowing forgiveness! I try to extend that same forgiveness to others. I pray now for those who wrong me or even when I see someone do something wrong. I pray that they will discover the same truth about grace. I learned to hate the sin not the sinner.

There is a body lotion called “Gloomaway.” The product name is cute. I like to use it. It is refreshing. God’s my true “Gloomaway.” After I spend time with Him, I always feel as if He soothed my soul.

Prayer: Father thank You for Your forgiveness. Your love is amazing. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Hook Line

September 7, 2022 by  
Filed under Daily Devotions

By Elaine James –

Tom’s flight landed on time, and before he knew it, he was driving off in his snazzy red sports car rental. He was on his way to a convention where he was slated to speak. Once he arrived in town, he was pumped up but troubled. I’m on time. Everything is going to be okay, except that I still need that “hook line” to open my speech – something funny. I also need a little pick me up. Coffee!

As he made his way into the drive-through lane, he remembered that he still needed to confirm the pronunciation and spelling of the town. He certainly didn’t want to embarrass himself by saying it wrong during his presentation.

He greeted the young boy at the window inquiring, “How do you spell this place, and can you pronounce it for me?”

With a slight hesitation, the boy spelled, “B-U-R-G-E-R-K-I-N-G, Burger King.”

Tom, by this time laughing hysterically, said, “No, son, I mean the name of this town!”

Earlier that morning Tom had prayed, “God, I need a funny hook line for my speech. Help!” Nothing came to his mind. He was on the plane thinking, I must come up with something funny. Still nothing! He prayed again, this time telling God, “I only have about two hours till I give that speech. Can you hurry it up a bit?”

In the past, I’ve found myself praying like Tom, telling God what to do and how much time He had to do it. I have prayed like this, “Lord, I am going right now to meet with someone. Make her think the same way as I do about this situation so there won’t be any conflict.” Then I would reason with God using Scripture, “You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it” (John 14:14 NIV).

Tom got his “hook line” with that funny story. Prayer does not always work fast even when I reason with God. James helped me out when he stated, “Instead, you ought to say, “If it is the Lord’s will, we will live and do this or that” (James 4:15 NIV).

I have learned to pray about everything, but now I end my prayer with, “… if it is your will, Father …” I’m hooked! Remember, Father knows best!

PRAYER: Father I pray for _______. Your will be done. I know You know best. Thank You. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Prizefighter

September 5, 2022 by  
Filed under Daily Devotions

By Elaine James –

My first week of empty nesting. The last two of my four children were going off to college. I kept imagining myself being alone. The adversary kept jabbing me with “You are never going to make it! You are going to fall apart! Those kids are your life. You cannot do anything else!”

I desperately prayed, “God I just can’t fall apart. This is where life is now. Help me!”

It was impressed on my heart to read the book of Philippians. My study Bible recommended that the reader focus on certain verses of that book. There are many good verses that I like, but I was praying and asking God for a personal revelation for me. I actually get excited about praying and reading, because at some point a verse does pop out at me! Then I just read it over and over till I can journal some thoughts to help me carry through the day.

“And do not [for a moment] be frightened or intimidated in anything by your opponents and adversaries, for such [constancy and fearlessness] will be a clear sign (proof and seal) to them of [their impending] destruction, but [a sure token and evidence] of your deliverance and salvation, and that from God” (Philippians 1:28 AMP).

This was the verse! Consider the phases of life as a boxing match. We’re God’s prizefighters! Are we going to throw in the towel and give into fear, intimidation or sadness? Are we wimps or fighters? We have to be careful or we can get hit hard and be KO’d (knocked out), ending up depressed or sick.

This verse put it into perspective for me. It is a daily choice. I am a competitive person by nature. I cannot let Satan win. I cannot let him destroy me. If I draw near to God, He can disable Satan and make it so he won’t have control over my life. God can give me the energy to fight! How about you?

I think that we have no choice about being in the boxing ring of life. There will always be round after round with many bouts of fighting. I know that if we take breaks between those rounds and go to God’s corner where he coaches and delivers us, we can be prizefighters!

Prayer: Dear Lord, help me embrace Your promise to deliver me. I want to draw near to You and be energized by You so I can be a prizefighter. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.

Between a Rock and a Hard Place

August 14, 2022 by  
Filed under Daily Devotions

By Elaine James –

Have you ever been between a rock and a hard place? You know, when you’re faced with a choice between two unsatisfactory options. Aron Ralston was trapped in Blue John Canyon desert in Utah where he was forced to amputate his own right arm with a dull multi-tool in order to free himself after his arm became trapped by a boulder. His choice was to die or lose his arm. What an unbelievable story.

My rock and hard place is pale compared to what Aron suffered. Yet, I quickly get emotional about decisions. Thoughts monopolize my day. I try to self-talk myself into not thinking about my circumstances. I get stuck. It becomes a challenge I ask “How can I stop thinking of this?” I pray, then pray, then pray.

One day this scripture was my consolation “The Spirit of the Sovereign LORD is on me, because the LORD has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners, to proclaim the year of the LORD’s favor and the day of vengeance of our God, to comfort all who mourn, and provide for those who grieve in Zion—to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of joy instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair. They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the LORD For the display of his splendor” (Isaiah 61:1-3 NIV).

Jesus’ M.O. gives me perspective and it becomes my M.O. Next I read, “Arise, Jerusalem! Let your light shine for all to see. For the glory of the LORD rises to shine on you” (Isaiah 60:1 NLT) and “At the right time, I, the LORD, will make it happen” (Isaiah 60:22 NLT).

When I read the words “The Lord, will make it happen”, I felt assured that some outcome will happen. I just have to wait. What will I do while I wait? I start by praying and reading scripture then I do whatever comes next…my laundry, cleaning out a closet and so on…

“It’s going to be okay, hang in there!” That’s what I wish someone would say to me, instead of “just wait.” My dilemma is 8 years in the running. Joseph’s was over 20. Abraham’s was over 90. What do you do when you are between a rock and a hard place?

PRAYER: Lord as I wait on You for answers to prayer help guard my heart and mind. You live in me and anointed me. Heal me and send me as the Father has sent You. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.

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