Promises, Promises

May 25, 2022 by  
Filed under Daily Devotions

By Elaine James –

Fresh out of bed, I put on my robe and head for my favorite chair. I crack the window open and enjoy the bright sunshine and the sound of a distant woodpecker hard at work. I have a great sense of peace about me, and my head is clearer than usual as I pray and read Scripture. I love days like this. I feel no angst. No distractions. Just rest. Thank You, Lord, for this beautiful moment. I read, “Sustain me, my God, according to your promise, and I will live; do not let my hopes be dashed” (Psalm 119:116 NIV).

The sun is going down. I am once again settled in my chair. My view is filled with blue sky and pink scattered clouds. The window still cracked open and my heart still peaceful. Negative thoughts try to ruffle my feathers, but God is my fortress, and He blocks all attempts. Thank You Lord. From morning to evening, You sustain me. Scripture being fulfilled. Should I be surprised?

“Sustain me, my God, according to your promise, and I will live; do not let my hopes be dashed” (Psalm 119:116 NIV). I love this Word. I love You, Lord.

My greatest hope is that each day the fruit of God’s Spirit will continue to grow in me, bringing glory to my Lord. My end-of-the-day reflection also has me hoping that my family members will continue to grow in the Lord and experience precious restful moments like this. I am forever grateful that God has placed His “hope message” on my heart. I will live. My hopes won’t be dashed. My Father’s promise.

Have you been crushed by the weight of others’ unkept promises? I pray that you will find a secret place to sit and connect with God. To be filled with contentment beyond words. It is God’s pleasure! He looks forward to it! No appointment necessary.

Prayer: I come before You seeking rest for my soul. Right here, right now. Visit me. Fill me with Your promises, so my hopes will not be dashed. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Everybody Loves…

May 20, 2022 by  
Filed under Daily Devotions

By Elaine James –

…. Raymond. Do you know the show Everybody Loves Raymond? If so, then you have seen Raymond blurt out something to Deborah and right away you think, “Oh no! He shouldn’t have said that!”

My husband had one of those moments. He said it, and he could not take it back. I immediately put up my defense. He’s not going to get away with that. I’m going to make him pay. At that moment, I was making his lunch. The thought came to me, I just won’t give him lunch.

Then a whispering, sweet voice said, “Elaine, have you ever said anything wrong?”

If I have to be honest, yes.

“Have I forgiven you and given you grace?”

Yes, Lord, you have.

“If My grace is sufficient for you, then my grace is sufficient for your husband. Can you make him the lunch for me?”

With you, Lord, I can do it. Without you, Lord, I want to ……

I made the sandwich. My mind and heart were battling the whole time. I will throw the sandwich at him. Honestly! I can make this sandwich and serve it with Christ. I made the lunch and gave it to my unsuspecting man. I got to thinking, I can really only do this because of God’s grace. I didn’t deserve what my husband said, but I chose to give him grace.

Have you ever felt that way toward anyone? When the whisper of God speaks, sometimes I ignore it and do not listen. It is hard at times.

“Those who are dominated by the sinful nature think about sinful things, but those who are controlled by the Holy Spirit think about things that please the Spirit” (Romans 8:5 NLT).

I did have revengeful thoughts. My insides hurt. I did not want to serve, but when I finally did, I felt really good inside. I was able to move on. Only God can do that for me, and for you. What do you do with your revengeful thoughts?

Let’s Pray: Father, sinful things sometimes dominate within me. Help me to stop and listen to You. Forgive me for the times I have not listened. I want to please You. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Spam Mail

April 17, 2022 by  
Filed under Daily Devotions

By Elaine James –

Taking a sip of my coffee I peacefully think “Peace and quiet, now I can get some work done.” I spoke to soon. A “bing” noise from my computer tells me “I’ve got mail”. It is a sting to my nervous system. I get like a million spam e-mails a day! Do you? Some days I just delete them and move on to the important messages. Other days it bothers me so much I feel like I want to explode! I am spending more time dumping into that little garbage can than I care to. Can’t someone invent an anti-anger button on my computer?

I liken this frustration to people or things that I come across every day. That person or thing is right in my face screaming for attention. It wears me down. Are you worn down, feeling like you just can’t take it anymore? Some days I am living fully frustrated and not fully alive.
I diagnose myself with the Paul syndrome defined by Paul himself “For I know that good itself does not dwell in me, that is, in my sinful nature. For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out” (Romans 7:18 NIV).

Thank goodness there is a prescription for this syndrome which the Holy Spirit reminds me “But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness” (Galatians 5:22 NLT). Instead of exploding I pray “God give me some of that self-control.”

This prescription has brought me to a place of true peace and the result is:
Episodes< fruit of the spirit How exciting! I pray you are inspired to want: fruit of the spirit>frustration.

I add to my daily regimen a second prescription called thanksgiving. Being grateful takes my one-track mind away from frustration. I am thanking God for: the sun shining; my daughter’s smile; my husband’s kind words; my ministry; a double chocolate donut; food to eat; a friend who checked in on me today; a lady who said “HI” at the grocery store….on and on.

Join me, won’t you? The journey of life will become brighter. Make your thankful list right in the middle of chaos that is going on.

Let’s pray about it:

Father in heaven help me to want more of You and in turn You will fill me with the fruits of the Spirit. Help me to sense that You are developing more inside of me and it is showing on the outside. Thank You for Your medicine. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.

YOLO

March 30, 2022 by  
Filed under Daily Devotions

By Elaine James –

My daughter’s friend blurted out “I fell in love with the dress and I knew I couldn’t afford it. So I just opened a new store credit card and bought it. Oh well, “YOLO”.”

“What does “YOLO” mean?” I retorted. Just picture an annoyed teen response: attitude with eyes rolling and all, stating “Everyone knows what YOLO means. You Only Live Once.”

Catchy! I gazed out my window while rinsing dishes and let the phrase roll off my tongue, “YOLO.” I asked myself “Does that line up with what God has to say in His word?”

There are so many similar sayings such as “carpe diem” meaning seize the day. “Once in a lifetime experience” was what I said in my younger years. Do these catch phrases have soul meaning that requires some reflection? I say “Yes.”

Paul informed the church in Ephesus “All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our flesh and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature deserving of wrath” (Ephesians 2:3 NIV). When I received Christ as my Savior the Holy Spirit came and dwelled within me, helping me to make decisions. Can Christians have “YOLO” moments?

Each year my husband and his Christian friends head to Canada on a fishing trip. They bring all of their fishing supplies and food and the owners provide cabins and some meals. The owners have seen some groups drinking too much and getting kind of crazy and causing trouble. They have commented to my husband “I love to watch your group have good clean fun.” He plans and budgets for the trip. It is a good “YOLO” moment.

The “YOLO” mindset can be okay when I am Spirit led. It is bad when I buy things, eat junk or do things with the “YOLO” mentality and regret it later.

The movie Ferris Bueller’s Day Off was filled with some good “YOLO” moments. I think God would agree with Ferris when he said at the end of the movie “Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.”

PRAYER: God, when I say “YOLO”, can You help me to be wise? I know I live once and I have confidence that when I die I will live eternally with You. I am grateful for the Holy Spirit that guides me to live this life well. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.

Jumble Puzzle

March 23, 2022 by  
Filed under Daily Devotions

By Elaine James –

My mind was jumbled with circumstances. It was like I had four words to unscramble in a Jumble puzzle and I needed to get to the solution phrase at the end. For many years I had been involved in a certain family’s life, but they are just not including me lately. I was coming up with a bunch of ideas as to how to convince them that I am qualified to be in their lives. What do you do when you want to be a part of something or someone’s life and they don’t call you?

I wasn’t getting anywhere with my thoughts. I really did not like myself. I felt as if the fruits of the Spirit weren’t operating in me at all. No matter how many times I forgave, I felt the anger rise up within me. Pride and jealousy were creeping in my soul. I chuckled to God, “I am not quiet enough am I?” LOL!

I heard, “No.”

I quieted down. I was able to hear the voice of TRUTH. He whispered, “You know when someone does not get invited to an event, or tries out for a play or team and does not get picked? How about when you have an interview for a job and you really feel qualified but do not get it? Even more painful is getting fired from a job when you don’t feel it is justified. You just are not called to that family. It has nothing to do with you. You will not be able to understand. Stop reading into what is going on.”

The whisper continued “I cannot explain now but I promise: I am your shepherd, I lack nothing. I make you lie down in green pastures, I lead you beside quiet waters, I refresh your soul. I guide you along the right paths for My name’s sake.” (Psalm 23:1-3 NIV).

I want to write the final solution phrase at the bottom of the Jumble puzzle. It would say: You Will Be Included. But God, the master of solutions, was leading me, for His name’s sake, down a different path. His scriptures were the clue words and His solution phrase was: YOU ARE CALLED ELSEWHERE. God helped me solve my negative thoughts with His solution.

Prayer: God in heaven I know there are circumstances in my life that are all scrambled waiting for Your solution. Please help me to be quiet and wait for Your solutions to come to me. In Jesus’ Name I pray. Amen.

Next Page »