Making the Most out of Mother’s Day

December 31, 2020 by  
Filed under Daily Devotions, Family

By Rosemary Flaaten –

Mother’s Day is billed as a wonderfully happy day, but that it can be a difficult day for celebration. Being a mom, I love Mother’s Day, but in my role as a daughter, this day stirs up sadness. In my teenage years, my mom developed Alzheimer’s disease and I became her caregiver. I hated Mother’s Day, because it reminded me that life had not turned out like I had hoped.

Maybe you find Mother’s Day difficult as well. Maybe its an abortion, miscarriage or infertility that will have you waking up on Sunday mourning about the baby you never knew. Maybe you have a prodigal child and you wonder if they will even bother to contact you. Maybe, for any number of reasons, your relationship with your mother is fractured. Mother’s Day can be one of the hardest days of the year.

So how can we make the most of Mother’s Day? Start by acknowledging the pain we are feeling. If we don’t recognize that we are feeling sad about our circumstances, they will be like a trap door that will engulf us, causing the day to turn out even worse. Keeping things in the dark, by ignoring them, becomes our greatest threat. Part of my routine on Mother’s Day is to take a few minutes in the morning to think about my mom, even shedding a few tears. Mourning is the best path to healthy emotions as long as we don’t wallow in it.

Which leads to the next step – accept the love that comes your way. Accept the breakfast in bed with a heart of gratitude, even if it is cold, burnt toast. Be thankful that you are treated to dinner at a restaurant, even if it isn’t exactly the one you would have chosen. Cherish the handmade cards and the goofy lawn ornaments. Accepting love, even if it is flawed, will help us shift our focus off what we don’t have onto the good in our lives. A little gratitude goes a long way!

The third step to making the most out of Mother’s Day is to pass on love to others. You may not have a mother to celebrate, but be on the lookout for women who have influenced your life. Take this opportunity to express your appreciation. Make this a day to celebrate womanhood.

PRAYER: Lord, help me to make the most of this day and to look for ways to show love, acceptance and appreciation.

“In everything gives thanks” (I Thessalonians 5:18 NIV)

Out Of … Into

December 11, 2020 by  
Filed under Daily Devotions, Personal Growth

By Rosemary Flaaten –

Entering the air conditioned building, I left the mugginess of topical humidity. It was a relief to get out of the oppressive heat and go into the refreshing and revitalizing cool environment. When we leave something restrictive and enter something free and life giving, our mind and body breathes a sigh of relief.

In the Old Testament, God brought the Israelites out of the slavery they were enduring in Egypt and brought them into His promised land of bounty and freedom. Moses reminds the people that “God pulled us out of there (Egypt) so he could bring us here and give us the land he so solemnly promised to our ancestors” (Deuteronomy 6:23 TM). Similarly, God provides this opportunity for each of us by accepting the new life Jesus offers. When we leave our life of sin, we enter the full life He has promised.

In pondering this reality, I started a list of what I have come out of by entering into this relationship with Jesus:
 self-protection that hides
 fear
 sporadic obedience
 independence that hinders relationships with God and others
 a less than truthful existence
 a desire to gratify myself with lesser gods, including excessive food, accomplishments, status
 the tyranny of sin
 and the list goes on…

Whenever we go out of a place, the obvious is that we then enter into something else. So if the previous list represents what I have left behind, here is the companion list of what I have entered into, through Christ:
 absorption of God’s love
 experiencing unexplainable grace
 faithfulness
 an open spacious life
 interdependence on others
 the paradox of a full dependence on God that brings freedom
 and the list goes on…

Those are quite the comparative lists! Why would I desire to stay or return to the first list when I have such a compelling and amazing life offered through Christ? The promised land awaits.

Quote: “Never under-estimate the energy of unholiness in the human heart.” Larry Crabb

“Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 3:13 -14 NIV).


November 23, 2020 by  
Filed under Daily Devotions, Personal Growth

By Rosemary Flaaten –

Who gives you advice? For many of us, when someone gives us unsolicited advice we bristle and the relational walls go up. Generally, we don’t like to be told what to do. .

However, the book of Proverbs, which offers much advice on how to avoid being a fool and how to live wisely instead, gives us a picture of the wisdom of counsel. “Plans fail for lack of counsel, but with many advisers they succeed.” Proverbs 15:22 (NIV).

Andy Stanley, in his video series “The Best Question Ever,” states that a wise person knows when she does not know and is not afraid to ask for advice. Being cognisant of our inabilities is a critical piece of emotional intelligence. If we ignore our weaknesses, assuming or pretending to be competent or all- knowing, we will end up sitting in the chair of the fool instead of at the podium of the wise.

Although we must surround ourselves by people we can trust, knowing they have our best interests at heart, we must be careful to not limit ourselves to only those in our inner circle. At times wise counsel may come from unlikely sources. A new hire at work may be able to see a hole in the business plan to which the old guard is blind. Your mother may not have the same level of formal education but she may have wisdom earned through the school of hard knocks. A friend of a friend of a friend may be the person who can help you through a struggle. A homeless person can teach us about generosity and kindness.

Going it alone is a dangerous pattern. Independence, by definition, is the freedom from the control, influence, support or aid of others. That may sound appealing but biblical wisdom would tell us that two is better than one and that a cord of three is not quickly broken. A wise person will be open, even seeking the advice of others and realizing that it can come from unlikely sources.

Are you going to be wise and open to advice or foolish and live as a proud independent?

PRAYER: Lord, give me discernment and humility to hear truth when it is spoken. .

“Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their work: If one falls down, his friend can help him up. Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken” (Ecclesiastes 4:9, 12 NIV).

Have You Ever Thought of Fasting?

October 17, 2020 by  
Filed under Daily Devotions, Worship

By Rosemary Flaaten –

Fasting. Isn’t that just for the Super-Spiritual-Christian? Isn’t that what you do the morning you have to weigh-in for your weekly weight loss program?

I hate fasting. I hate feeling hungry. Maybe it’s some deep fear that if I don’t eat when food available, there might not be any left. “Eat now, or your food will be sent to starving children in Africa and you’ll regret not cleaning up that plate” says a voice from the past. Probably though, it’s much more about a stubborn human will that has a stronghold on my heart that is fighting tooth and nail to not lose its grip on my life.

The heart of spiritual disciplines, such as fasting, is to take part in an activity where the Holy Spirit enables us to do something that we cannot do by willpower alone. Fasting gives us a physical means to experience what must become a spiritual reality in our lives.

The dictionary describes discipline as “an activity, exercise, or a regimen that develops or improves a skill.” Spiritual discipline helps us practice the regime of detachment. We need to engage in activities that help us to let go of our attempts to do it our own way. Peter said it this way: “Abstain from fleshly lusts which ward against the soul” (1 Peter 2:11 NIV). Fasting, as a spiritual discipline, affords us such an opportunity.

When I abstain from food, my desire for indulgence takes a beating, propelling me into an offensive stance against my fleshly will. There is a recovering of lost territory and a moving into previously unoccupied territory. Realms of my will that had been ruled by my flesh are now occupied by the Holy Spirit. Fasting sharpens my dependence on God.

Let me be honest. When the topic of fasting surfaces, my human will still resists. However, I have experienced the joy and freedom that comes with disciplining my desires and detaching from its stronghold. As I practice the discipline of fasting, my resistance is turning to acceptance and I suspect that someday, as I grow in maturity and wisdom, I will embrace it.

PRAYER: Lord, give me the desire to follow You even into the discipline of fasting so that I might grow in my likeness of You.

“His very breath and blood flow through us, nourishing us so that we will grow up healthy in God, robust in love” (Ephesians 4:16 The Message).

A Healthy Appetite

October 16, 2020 by  
Filed under Daily Devotions, Personal Growth

By Rosemary Flaaten –

As my age has increased, so has my waistline. You may understand this. Extra weight creeps on and before we know it, we’re 10, 20, 50 pounds overweight. Despite many different methodologies and programs, there is no secret formula for losing weight. If we want to lose that extra fat, the number of calories that we expend must be more than the amount we take in. Recent studies show that the type of food from which those calories come from are less significant than the simple volume we eat.

And that’s where appetite comes in. My desire to put more food into my mouth than what my body needs is my problem. I don’t just eat because I’m hungry; I eat to experience satisfaction. Rather than listening to my God-given hunger reflex, I respond to my desire for love, approval, comfort, and strength by opening my mouth and eating. My hunger is not for food, it is for fulfilment. In my attempt to satisfy this need, I have made food an idol in my life.

God spoke these words about His people’s incessant idolatry: “They’ll realize how devastated I was by their betrayals, by their voracious lust for gratifying themselves in their idolatries.” (Ezekiel 6:9 TM)

This verse hits me between the eyes on the topic of self-indulgence. I set out to satisfy my deepest longings of my heart, but instead of turning to God, who has promised everything I need, including all the food my body requires, I seek to gratify myself. I stuff my face with food that quickly shows up on my hips and in doing so, my heart remains impoverished and gaunt.

I realize we cannot stop eating. We require physical food. But when we allow God to fill us with Himself, then our deepest needs will be met with the Living Water and Bread of Life. Instead of eating for reasons other than physical hunger, we will feast on the riches of the Holy Spirit. Food will take its rightful second place and become a means of sustenance rather than indulgence. That’s when we’ll have a healthy appetite.

PRAYER: O Father, show me where I have replaced my first love of You with a desire for food.

“Jesus declared, ‘I am the bread of life. He who comes to me will never go hungry, and he who believes in me will never be thirsty’” (John 6:35 NIV).

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