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).

Oh, the Thinks You Can Think

November 6, 2019 by  
Filed under Daily Devotions, Worship

By Elaine James –

“Lord heal my knee in the powerful name of Jesus, thank you Lord,” boldly I prayed.

I woke up with this constant pain in my knee that made walking difficult. “Last week I did a long bike ride and other activities and I was fine,” I said to myself. “Why all this pain today?”

I caught myself rationalizing, reasoning, imagining and being emotional. The book, Oh, The Thinks You Can Think, by Dr. Seuss comes to mind.  It is about the many amazing ‘thinks’ one can think and the endless possibilities and dreams that our imaginations can create.

Talking to myself again, I asked “What’s the point of all this thinking and wasted time?”  God has been teaching me for years about the mind and how much time I waste on my thoughts. I have come so far with my thought life and this was just a test. God has trained my brain with discipline. I gladly accepted the discipline years ago when I found myself exhausted at the end of a day and realized I had not even exerted any physical energy. Back then it would have been days before I stopped worrying about aches, pains and thoughts like “something must be seriously wrong with me.”

At some point we need to go further with God and understand just how important what we think affects our walk with God. One day a whisper came: “Read Hebrews 12.” For weeks I read it over and over again. It’s the chapter on God loving us so much he disciplines us. Reading it helped me realize that God the Father loves me so much that he does not want me to stay where I am at. In order for me to move, he needed to correct my thought patterns and emotions. I often think of Paul being disciplined by God and how humble he became. Throughout history and even still today, Paul’s changed life helps others to grow closer to God.

Listening and learning from God has helped me to captivate my thoughts and build my life of obedience into maturity. Quite often, our aches and pains get our attention and stop us from thinking about things that are more important in life. Watch out! Oh, the thinks you can think!

AUTHOR QUOTE:  Think about what you are thinking, you may be thinking too much!

BIBLE VERSE:  “Therefore, strengthen your feeble arms and weak knees. ‘Make level paths for your feet,’ so that the lame may not be disabled, but rather healed” (Hebrews 12:12-13 NIV).

Good Mood Food

October 30, 2019 by  
Filed under Daily Devotions, Humorous

By Elaine James –

“You’re right.” This was my daughter’s quick response when I asked, “I guess you don’t want to be in a good mood, then?”

My 17-year-old daughter had just gotten home from school when this conversation took place.  Prior to her coming home, I happened to drive by an Arby’s and its sign out front said “Try our new cinnamon bites, The Good Mood Food.” I found out that in February, Arby’s launched a Good Mood Food advertisement. The new Outside-in Cinnamon Bites; try them for $1.00. My mind created its own sing-a-long jingle to help decide if I should indeed “try them.”

It is three o’clock
I can’t block
the monster in my brain
I feel insane
cause my tummy
is a bit rumbly
I am falling
For this calling
I have to have a bite
of that sugary delight.
It was a sign
I will be fine
I won’t whine
Isn’t this worth the fight
For the Good Food Mood, right?
THE END

Then, I attempted to bring my daughter down with me by asking the question, “Don’t you want to try some Good Mood Food?”

“It looks like a Totino Pizza Roll,” she said.

The ad says “Light and flaky bite size pastry with warm cinnamon cream cheese filling all on the inside,” I replied.

All she could say was, “Gross!”

After laughing together, I tasted it and decided that I did not like the cinnamon bite.

I heard a whisper inside me saying, “God is the true good mood food.”

Americans can get caught up thinking about food too much. Marketing campaigns like this one know this all to well. They market the food at a great price, with the most desirable ingredients, using fancy playful words all with the intent of making money, not really concerned about you and your health.

Little did Arby’s know that the Good Mood Food marketing ploy would prompt me to write a jingle at the 3 o’clock hunger hour and then be reminded of what truly satisfies me—God.

PRAYER: Father in heaven, so many choices today; help me to put You first. You alone can give me a good mood. Thank you, Father, for providing and help with daily needs.

“I will be fully satisfied as with the richest of foods; with singing lips my mouth will praise you” (Psalm 63:5 NIV).

Recovering Couch Potato

October 16, 2019 by  
Filed under Daily Devotions, Worship

By Elaine James –

As I plopped on the couch, my mind raced with the disappointments of the day. I asked myself, “What do I do now? I feel like giving up!”

Have you ever felt like that? Maybe you have asked yourself this same question: “What’s the point of going on?”

It took me a moment, but I stopped. I prayed, “God teach me what to do with this disappointment.”

My next thought was, “You have been reading through the Bible. Continue right where you left off.”

I got my Bible and returned to the couch, opening to the book of Job. My heart almost stopped when I read how Job suffered, yet he said these words, “For I know that my Redeemer lives, and He shall stand at last on the earth. After my skin is destroyed, this I know that in my flesh, I shall see God” (Job 17:25-26 NKJV).

I leapt off the couch to jot down the glorious anthem, that was then playing in my head:
My Redeemer lives, He lives!
I spoke with Him this morning
And He lives
The tomb is empty.

I need to remember Job’s words when I feel sick, afraid, frustrated, disappointed and numb. Those words helped Job put things back into perspective, and they can do the same for me. My priority is to remember who God is, what He did for me on the cross and that He still lives for me today. This was my gentle reminder of why I am here and how life’s circumstances can either take me away from God or bring me closer to Him.

Give God a chance. He is here for you. Don’t plop down on a couch and give up! Maybe today you need to be reassured. Job’s skin was being destroyed. Have you ever felt that way? What seems to be destroying you? Maybe you heard news about a friend making bad decisions, you were turned down for a job, or even worse.

I am here to reassure you that you can become worry/anxiety-free by trusting God and waiting as He, step by step, leads you. If you believe in Jesus, you will see Him face to face one day.

PRAYER:  Lord, I lift up ______________ (Tell God specifically what is going on in your life.) I give this to you.  I am reassured that I shall see you. Knowing this gives me peace. Thank you, thank you. In Jesus name I pray. Amen.

“But I fear, lest somehow, as the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness, so your minds may be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ” (2 Corinthians 11:3 NKJV).

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