He Loves Me, He Loves Me Not

April 29, 2011 by  
Filed under Daily Devotions, Humorous

By Elaine James –

Do you remember when you were younger and used to pick a flower and pull the petals off saying “he loves me, he loves me not, he loves me, he loves me not—?” When you got to the last petal, you either stopped on he loves me or he loves me not. I always loved it of course when I had a boy in mind. Especially Donny Osmond and it landed on “he loves me.”  LOL!

Recently I was in the mood for either a sunny easy breezy walk or a Calgon “take me away” in my, scented bubbly bath. Both would relax me. I opted for the sunny easy breezy peaceful walk. I passed a blossoming tree that smelled so beautiful. I picked a flower and playfully considered plucking each petal saying “he loves me, he loves me not.”

Memories swept over me, how my friend and I took turns with our flower hoping the last petal would stop at “he loves me.” Feeling younger again, I chuckled.

A soft whisper came into my thoughts “I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with loving-kindness.”

Tears filled my eyes. I don’t have to pluck my flower, He loves me. Those words soothe my soul forever.

When I was young I looked for true love, fulfilled in a person. As I know now, nothing can compare to Jesus’ love. Maybe you are still plucking your flowers and looking for true love. Are you?

Here in Chicago, spring is when you start to feel the warm weather, see the leaves growing back, the green grass fill in, and flowers emerge. May you see heaven and nature singing His glory.

AUTHOR QUOTE:  He loves you!

“The Lord appeared to us in the past, saying: ‘I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with loving-kindness’” (Jeremiah 31:3 NIV).

Today’s devotional is by Elaine James, author of the tract JOURNEY, certified personality trainer and graduate of Christian Leaders Authors and Speakers Seminars. She is a prayer ministry counselor, accomplished actress, and certified Christian storyteller. Her dramatic performances have made many aware of their problem with Major Mind Overload, and their need to take every thought captive in obedience to Christ. Elaine is a recycler—nothing God teaches her is wasted. www.elainejames.com

 

The Benefits of Personal Worship

April 27, 2011 by  
Filed under Daily Devotions, Worship

By Art Fulks –

The Book of Psalms is filled with the passionate, personal worship of David and others. Its variety gives us confidence that God desires us to sing to Him in both the good and bad times, with transparency of feelings and genuineness of faith. God desires and deserves to be worshipped by surrendered followers for both what He does and for Who He is.

But could there be supplemental benefits to our acts of worship, such as the praise we offer in song? I believe there is. There are two similar passages of Scripture found in Ephesians 5:19 and Colossians 3:16. Both refer to singing or speaking to ourselves and others in “psalms and hymns and spiritual songs.”

During the years of worship wars, both have been used as proof texts for worship styles. However, in the context of both passages, I found an interesting similarity. Both are sandwiched between texts that speak about the difficulties of being conformed to the image of Christ and living out our faith in the context of family relationships.

True personal worship is achieved when what we believe about Who God is and what He has done is allowed to change us and then lived out. Many of us know it is often most difficult to live out our faith in the context of family relationships. So what does this have to do with personal worship through singing songs?

God has given us the gift of music to help us not only praise Him, but to also help us remember and apply His Word. As the words of biblical truth pass from our minds through our lips to the melody of whatever style best fits our personality, it often gets to our heart. And when those words of truth are consistently engaged, they begin to be used by the Holy Spirit to change us—transform us—into the image of His glorious Son.

Recently, one of our kids picked up a guitar and learned a few chords. It is amazing how fast they learn and progress.  He tries to get his sisters to sing the praise songs while he plays, but often ends up going solo—not always singing on key. But over the past few months, I have noticed a difference in how this group process has impacted relationships in our family. There is more singing in the house and car. And the phrase, “I love you” is being said more. Sing on!

AUTHOR QUOTE: “True personal worship is achieved when what we believe about Who God is and what He has done is allowed to change us and then lived out.”

“Let the word of Christ richly dwell within you, with all wisdom teaching and admonishing one another with psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with thankfulness in your hearts to God” (Colossians 3:16 NASB).

Today’s devotional is by Art Fulks, a church planter / pastor at Connection Fellowship in Greenville, South Carolina. Married for 22 years and father of four, Art is a graduate of The Ohio State Univeristy and Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary. He is a passionate Bible teacher, speaker, musician, worship leader, and life coach. Read more at http://www.connectionfellowship.org or walk the journey with him daily on Facebook., a refreshing oasis in our journey today.

Unplanned But Part of God’s Plan

April 26, 2011 by  
Filed under Daily Devotions, Personal Growth

By Rosemary Flaaten -
“You were unplanned but definitely wanted.” These words from my mother confirmed that my conception had come as quite a surprise to my forty-year-old parents. However, God never makes mistakes and so Mom always backed up her statement by affirming that I had been planned by God before the beginning of time.

God has had a purpose for every moment of my life, and that plan will continue until the moment I die. These holy plans have been evident as a child growing up on a farm on the Canadian prairies, a student at a secular university, a nursing aid and daycare worker, a music teacher, and an ex-pat corporate wife. Being a pastor in a mega church, a writer and a corporate trainer have all been surprises to me but have also been part of God’s plan before the beginning of time. To many my journey may seem like a mismatch of pathways but God’s plans are higher than my vocation; they are my calling.

The path of our lives may start with a bump or two, be full of winding roads and mishaps, and have their share of both mountain tops and deep valleys but through it all we must continue to believe that God has a plan. Our lives our not random or purposeless.

Wherever we find ourselves, we must be attentive to the God-tracks in our history. History is really God’s story and we get the privilege of living His-story in our skin. When we can believe that God has brought us to this place, on this day in history for “such a time as this” (Esther 4:14 NIV), then we will view each unexpected diversion in our path in a different light. Instead of being setbacks, they will be stepping stones on the plan God is unfolding.

May each of us be attentive to the portion of His-story that we are part of this day and commit to living out our potential in His holy plan.

PRAYER: O Lord, give me the faith to catch a fresh glimpse of Your holy plan for me this day.

“Before I shaped you in the womb, I knew all about you. Before you saw the light of day, I had holy plans for you” (Jeremiah 1: 5 TM).

Today’s Devotional is by Rosemary Flaaten. Her successful book, A Woman and Her Relationships, and its accompanying DVD small group resource helps women bridge the gap between their spiritual lives and everyday interactions. Her newest book A Woman and Her Workplace delves into 9-5 relationships. A dynamic speaker—Rosemary challenges her audiences to view their workplaces as opportunities to live out Christ’s love. Rosemary lives with her husband and three children in Calgary, Canada.

You Put Your Whole Self In…

April 25, 2011 by  
Filed under Daily Devotions, Family

By Robin J. Steinweg –

“Is this your youngest? He’s so tall! When did he mature so much?”

Startled, I looked at my son through my friend’s eyes. He had grown tall. How had I missed this latest spurt? How long was I not really paying attention? Once I’d had every eyelash, every mole, each dimpled finger memorized; his hairline mapped out; the pitch of his voice was the refrain that wound through my mind like an 8-track loop.

What things had I put my whole self into instead? A novel or a project can capture my focus, so my attention and energy converge to one point. The external world fades. I even forget meals. Most often it’s the pressure of my To-Do list.

Now properly jolted, I reacquainted myself with the features of this young man of mine. I contemplated his choice of words—the things that make him laugh or concern him—listened with care. I saw and jumped on the opportunity to ride with him in the car once a week to his choir and art classes. This had been my free morning; now it was the morning I was free to spend my most precious commodity on him.

Time.

Two captured hours with my son in the car one morning a week until the end of the semester. I’ve been told that I’ve made a sacrifice. Hmm—balance this one on the scales: my son on one hand, a few hours of my time on the other. In terms of sacrifice, I feel as though God has provided the lamb. He has gifted me with an opportunity to “put my whole self in,” as the song goes. My full focus and attention can converge to this one point. The external world can fade. My To-Do list can wait, my son’s maturing won’t.

Seconds expire the same instant they spring up. I’ll put my whole self into these!

QUOTE: “You must have been warned against letting the golden hours slip by; but some of them are golden only because we let them slip by.” –James Matthew Barrie

“For everything there is an appointed time, and an appropriate time for every activity on earth” (Ecclesiastes 3:1 NIV).

Today’s devotional is by Robin J. Steinweg. Robin’s life might be described using the game Twister: the colored dots are all occupied, limbs intertwine (hopefully not to the point of tangling), and you never know which dot the arrow will point to next, but it sure is fun getting there!

Crazy Wasp Syndrome

April 15, 2011 by  
Filed under Daily Devotions, Humorous

By Aubrey Spencer –

I spent most of the day today being held captive in my own home. Afraid to enter various rooms. Worried about my children being attacked. Anxious. Nervous. Looking over my shoulder. Basically, just “bugged” out. I’m sure you are wondering what has ruthlessly held me prisoner. It was a WASP! A mean, angry, flying like a maniac, never landing, wasp! I spent hours creeping around, armed with my sturdy flyswatter, just waiting for him to land.

Like so many things, it got me thinking. Does God sometimes have a hard time getting me to “land”? Do I fly about my day in a frenzy forgetting to be still before Him? I have a feeling I’m a lot more like that crazy wasp than I’d like to admit. Chasing him around today made me realize an important fact. I need to spend less time bouncing off the walls of busyness and more time landing in the presence of my Savior. How about you? Anyone else struggle with “crazy wasp syndrome” from time to time?

Oh, and in case you’re wondering, I haven’t caught the wasp yet. He is, however, skillfully trapped behind the blinds in my living room window just waiting for my husband to come home!

PRAYER: Father, I confess that I so often let busyness get in the way of my relationship with You. Please help me to be still before You. Show me how to set aside the busyness of life in order to find rest in You.

“Be still, and know that I am God…” (Psalm 46:10 ESV).

Today’s devotional is by Aubrey Spencer. Aubrey is a minister’s wife and a stay-at-home mom to two little miracles, Oliver and Ava. She has a passion for writing and entertaining but realizes her greatest ministry at the moment is to raise her children to be people after God’s own heart. She loves to see how God shows up in everyday situations. Read more of her writings at http://ministrymama.blogspot.com.

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