New Hope For The Day

Welcome to New Hope for the Day : My Personal Devotional

In the Indian language there is a greeting, 'Namante", which means "I honor the holy one who lives with in you." May you feel welcomed and honored as I share my strengths and weaknesses from my days which turn into years. I share from my heart, my spirit with HIS wisdom; never acknowledging that I have arrived, but always pressing towards the mark to be more like HIM.

If you are going to be used by God, He will take you through a multitude of experiences that are not meant for you at all, they are meant to make you useful in His hands."
Oswald Chambers

Please feel free to grab that cup of joe, or in my case a cup of hot chocolate, turn on some beautiful music, pull up a warm blanket, and let us together live life.

Thank you for "tuning in". I hope your day is wonderful and may HE bring you new hope for this day.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Celebrating Jesus

Merry Christmas!
Luke 2:10-11

From The Barton's
I will see you in January 2011.

Monday, November 29, 2010

My Season

O Sovereign Lord ~ Thou which hast made the changing of the seasons, will also direct and watch over mine.

"For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven."
Ecclesiastes 3:1

The great English commentator and Presbyterian minister, Matthew Henry said, “Those things which to us seem most casual and contingent are, in the counsel and foreknowledge of God, punctually determined, and the very hour of them is fixed, and can neither be anticipated nor adjourned a moment.”

Finding myself in such a troubling and agonizing season of my life, I resigned to spend several hours seeking God’s wisdom on this Lord’s Day. His answer came in quite an unexpected way, as my attention was drawn to His creation.

Not without purpose, the season in which I find myself both physically and spiritually is Fall. This is the season that brings much change and an outward appearance of death. For the leaves that drop, death is certain, yet the tree remains. Eventually, it is stripped of its beauty, left barren and dry.

Fall is short and death is quick but, Winter then blazes it’s fury upon the barren earth and Oh! how long this season lasts. Yet, see the patience of the earth – it does not groan, but waits for it’s Creator who has ordered Spring to come – and it shall come. Life shall rise out of death. Beauty shall spring forth from deep darkness.

As I pondered these things, my heart then shouted, “Oh! If there is mercy from God towards the earth, how much more to His elect ones?” How then can my soul be cast down considering such thoughts?

Therefore, in my season of death, while everything that was once beautiful, is stripped away from me, leaving me barren of all comforts and supports, I will endeavor to be like the tree and wait with patience because God has ordered my seasons and life will come again.

“And let the beauty of the LORD our God be upon us…” Psalm 90:17

My Season was written by Holly Dye. I came across this writing and thought it so aptly fit the season of my own life. I hope you enjoyed.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Stinking Thinking Defiles Many

"Looking diligently lest any man fail of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up trouble you, and thereby many be defiled." ~ Hebrews 12:15.

Boy did I fall into this! I have allowed a situation for months TROUBLE me and thought because I wasn't speaking ill about these people except to two close confidants that I was handling everything okay. But on the inside I was festering.

"TROUBLE YOU" from the Greek word enochleo means to trouble, to harass, or to annoy. It refers to something on the inside that bothers and upsets you so much that you are constantly pestered by thoughts about it. That was me! And about the time I thought I was over it, another little pesty rumor about us would hit me again.

I am reminded of a FB post Mark posted, "Proverbs 26:22-Rumors are dainty morsels that sink deep into one's heart. :(" This is so true as so many Proverbs are.

This word enochleo pictures a person who is continually troubled, harassed, and annoyed by thoughts of how someone else wronged them. The offended person is now so troubled that he/she is almost emotionally immobilized. Instead of moving on in life, he/she get stuck in the muck of that experience, where he/she wallows day after day in the memories of what happened. If that person doesn't get a grip on themselves, they will eventually fulfill the next part of the verse, which states, ". . . lest any root of bitterness springing up trouble you, and many be defiled."

The word "defiled" is the Greek word miaini. It means to spill, to spot, or to stain. Here is what Hebrews 12:15 is telling us: If you are inwardly upset with someone and don't get rid of those raw emotions, it won't be long until your actions begin to verbalize those ugly inward emotions.

All those "he/she's" can just say "she", better yet it can just state "Daniell". For that is what happened to me on a Sunday afternoon. Earlier in the weekend, I had heard the latest new rumor and I allowed it to fester along with all the others and even though I didn't cry over this one and actually just belly laughed it was so ridiculous . . . it did fester with all the others that my mind went back to. I thought, how can I protect myself from these people seeing my life, my communication; because for us this FB source was the first place we saw their slander against us. What we saw wasn't rumor - it was slander! . . . "Lord, I forgive them for slandering us."

This is what happens we we fail to deal with our hearts and instead allow wrong attitudes to fester inside us. Eventually we will begin to "run at the mouth" or make bad decisions about "the situation"; which then has a devastating affect on those who hear or see us. And in my case as all that fall into this, I was out of control, my actions tainted, spotted, soiled and ruin the way my listeners perceived the person I was speaking of. Thus, by my actions spewing a mess that was festering inside me, I ended up sliming other people with my own stinking thinking. And you know what? It doesn't even matter if it was truthful or not. I was wrong! And for this I truly apologize.

My prayer: Lord, please help me refrain from actions today that will negatively affect other people. I am sorry for the times I haven't trusted YOU to take care of "the situation" and I have done or said things. I realize how wrong this is and how I've stained other people's opinions because I didn't control my emotions and my actions. I am turning to YOU for help, and I am asking YOU to help me control my thoughts, my emotions, my actions, my tongue as I deal with these issues that have festered inside me. Holy Spirit please help me to over come the flesh and to allow YOU to have YOUR way in me! In Jesus Name I pray. Amen.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Trust God's Heart

". . . though your footprints were not seen. You led your people like a flock. . . " Psalm 77: 19, 20

Even when we can't trace God's footprints in the sand
we can trust God's heart.

Whether your family is near or far;
you can trust God's heart for HE is taking care of them.

Whether your in the middle of confusion,
and or a process of brokenness;
you can trust God's heart HE is taking care of you.

As you go through a trying time you must never loose sight to trust God's Word and never mistrust God's hand or doubt HIS heart. David wrote these words in Psalm 77:1, 2, 7-9:

I cried out to God for help;
I cried out to God to hear me.
When I was in distress, I sought the Lord;
at night I stretched out untiring hands,
and I would not be comforted.
“Will the Lord reject forever?
Will he never show his favor again?
Has his unfailing love vanished forever?
Has his promise failed for all time?
Has God forgotten to be merciful?
Has he in anger withheld his compassion?”

Just like David, I have cried out to God for help and have asked why.
Have your cried out like David and I have?
Asking Why? When? How long?
David goes on to tell us:

Your ways, God, are holy.
What god is as great as our God?
You are the God who performs miracles;
you display your power among the peoples.
With your mighty arm you redeemed your people. . .
The waters saw you, God,
the waters saw you and writhed;
the very depths were convulsed.
The clouds poured down water,
the heavens resounded with thunder;
your arrows flashed back and forth.
Your thunder was heard in the whirlwind,
your lightning lit up the world;
the earth trembled and quaked.
Your path led through the sea,
your way through the mighty waters,
though your footprints were not seen.
You led your people like a flock

(Psalm 77:13-20)

God was leading HIS people like a flock even when they couldn't see or understand the why, when, or the how. David's point is clear, "though the footprints were not seen"
you can still trust God's heart.
God's hand is always trustworthy, HIS heart is always true,
and HIS presence is always there,
even in the middle of not knowing.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Guard Your Life Closely

"Now we command you brethren, if the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, than ye withdraw yourselves from every brother that walketh disorderly, and not after the tradition which he received us." ~ 2 Thessalonians 3:6

This past year we allowed families to enter our fellowship because they felt called. They were gifted in the arena that they felt called in and had zeal like you wouldn't believe. They love God with all their heart and still do I am sure.

As pastors, we were hungry for assistance and we saw the potential that God has for them. Out of our need for help we did not see the flaws immediately; it was while they lived with us that we began to see behavior and spiritual issues.

After weeks of prayer and concerns from within our congregation; we had a strong "knowing" from the Holy Spirit and after meeting with them to discuss our concerns, which they appeared to be ignored that this was not going to be a good fit at this time. But if they were teachable, were willing to submit to authority and humble we could see down the road that it may work out - only time would tell to see where their heart was at.

As pastor, we can't divulge everything we knew and to this day we would not do that. It is not proper. We just had believed that the leadership team and congregation would trust us and submit to us in this matter by withdrawing from any further fellowship. Unfortunately, our leadership team did not adhere to this and with other concerns; we had to ask them to move out of our home.

Although these families were a family in the Lord, they never learned to submit to authority and refused to listen to those who could help them. Apparently, the apostle Paul was also aware of people who were unruly and insubordinate in the city of Thessalonica, he gave them a stern order from 2 Thessalonians 3:6 (shown above).

The order Paul gave was actually a "command". All of Paul's followers would have known that this was not a suggestion - it was a direct command. The Greek word for this is "parangello", which means to order, to charge, or to give a command.

Paul continue to instruct his brothers to withdraw themselves from every brother that walks "disorderly". To withdraw in the Greek, stello, means to gather up, to pull together, to move oneself, or to withdraw.

The Thessalonians understood that he was ordering them to make an inward resolution. He was commanding them to pull themselves together and get rid of all the loose ends that could hinder their spiritual walk, which would include withdrawing from any rebellious Christians who refused to get things right with the Lord. There was no doubt that Paul was commanding them to remove all such relationships that would adversely affect their own progress with the Lord.

The word "disorderly" is taken from the Greek word atakeo. The word atakeo was a military term that described a soldier who was out of rank or a soldier who was out of order. It carries the idea of one who is insubordinate or one who is disrespectful of those who have been placed in authority over him.

No one in Thessalonica could claim ignorance, for Paul personally had taught them. Those who continued to live in their ways were simply ignoring his instruction. And rather than tolerate their behavior, Paul told them, "Enough is enough!"

Paul's command is very clear: even though such brothers and sisters are related to us in Christ, we are not to have close fellowship with those who show disrespect to other brother and sisters, disrespect for authority and who routinely live their lives out of order. When a believer lives in defiance of God's Word and God-established authority, we must inwardly resolve to back away so we don't put our stamp of approval on them by affiliating ourselves with them. Yes, we continue to love them; nevertheless, there comes a time when we must disassociate from unrepentant, erring believers. As we do, we hope this will help them realize they are wrong and protect our own testimony from being negatively affected. Doesn't always happen, but we try!

My personal prayer: I confess that I carefully guard my life by closely affiliating with people who love God's Word, respect God's people, respect God-established authority, and act as positive influences in my life. I do not allow myself to be dragged into relationships with people who refuse to seriously walk with God. Those who could negatively influence me are not the people I choose to be my closest friends. Nothing in this world is more important than my walk with God. Since those who are close to me have a tremendous influence on my life. I choose friends who, like me, make their walk with God their greatest priority.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

HIS Grace Is Enough

"I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me. Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong." 2 Corinthians 12:7-10

Have you ever been exasperated with someone or someones that you just asked the Lord to remove them from your life? Paul was, he even asked them to be removed on what we know of as at least three times. Lets see what he learned.

The word "sufficient" is the Greek word arkeo. This is an old Greek word that means to be sufficient; to be satisfactory; and to give protection, power, and help.

This is precisely the Word of the Lord used when He told Paul, "...My grace is sufficient for thee..." It was as the Lord saying, "My grace is more than enough to protect you, empower you, and help you deal with the problem people you encounter in life. You will find that My grace is completely satisfactory in meeting your need and tha tit will make you sifficiently strong to deal with these situations."

The word "strength" in this verse comes from the Greek word dunamis, the word for dynamic power. This is strength that always releases sufficient power and possesses the ability to make needed changes.

The Lord continued to tell Paul (and us), "...My strength is made perfect in weakness..." The word "weakness" in Greek is the word asteneo, which describes a person who feels weak, distressed, unsettled, or needy. Paul was not referring to physical sickness or he would have used the Greek word astheneo, which describes physical ailments. He was instead referring to the distressing, unsettling emotions he experienced as a result of the people who were a constant source of conflict for him.

If Paul, (and us) - talking to me more than you ;) - would open our heart to the Lord, God's promise was HIS strength would be made "perfect" in HIS weakness. Here is the answer that Paul, you, and I need when we feel exhausted in dealing with troublesome people and relationships. The word "perfect" is the word steleo, which means perfection, completion, or something that is mature. But the Greek tense used in this verse is continuing action. it means that this inflow of supernatural, strengthening power is not what God only does sometimes; it is the power that HE makes available at all times if we will only receive it. This verse can be translated, "My power is constantly being perfected in you whenever you feel weak and needy..."

So the next time you feel exasperated with someone and are tempted to pray to be delivered from them, remember that this is a prayer you really don't want God to answer exactly like you asked. If HE was to remove you permenantly from the challenges HE would have to take you home early.

Instead of constantly asking God to remove all the "trouble makers" from our life, why don't we change the way we are praying? Lets start asking God to release HIS grace, HIS power to change you/me so we can walk in peace and victory even when people fail, disappoint, or attach we can learn to make us of the power available to us to deal with people, then the devil will not be able to steal our joy and victory at any time.

You ready to pray with me - for I probably need this more than you!

Let's pray: Lord, I realize today that I've been praying and wishing for the wrong thing. I've been asking You to remove all the trouble makers from my life; meanwhile, You've been wanting to reinforce me with sufficient strenth to live victoriously. Forgive me for wanting to run from the pain, my challenges. Help me to embrace them with the power of the Holy Spirit from this day forward and remind me immediately when I fall. In Jesus' Name I pray. Amen.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Grace In Our Relationships

"... My grace is sufficient for thee; for my strength is made perfect in weakness... "

2 Corinthians 12: 8, 9

As long as we live in this world, we will have to deal with people whom we don't enjoy or whom the devil tries to use to steal our joy and peace. If we constantly focus on getting rid of people we don't like or enjoy, we'll be praying to be delivered from people for the rest of our lives. The only way for you to be permanently free of imperfect people problems is to go home to be with the Lord.

Everyone is independent in their own beliefs and ideas about things, so never expect a person to always see things your way. These relationships are the ones that I am going to speak of for this devotional. People with difference of opinions, views, ideas, likes, dislikes, etc. (I will save for another day troublesome people where people are vindictive, manipulative. They still need grace, but are to be totally avoided.)

It is unfortunate, but I see a very low tolerance for others in this day and age. We have individuals who want to side with the winning team, but when they are not winners any more they start looking for the new "winner". There is no loyalty today. This behavior is not relationship, this does not promote goodwill, and most of all, does not please God. What pleases God is our love for one another in promoting life in one another. Do not share in some one's strength, if you are unwilling to cover their weaknesses.

Like T. D Jakes says relationships are hard work. "It is like riding the bus. You must be willing to scoot over and rearrange yourself to accommodate another person and the many parcels... (they) bring."

As true brothers and sisters we need to understand that where I am weak others are strong, where I am strong others are weak, working together in love through God Makes us ONE strong Body!! One of life's greatest treasures is the love that binds hearts together in friendship.

In closing, I am going to leave you with a quote that my son Miles put on Face book back in August, “We as a body of people who share the same belief in the One True God... we should love each other with arms wide open no matter what.. but being human as we all may be.. we still sin and no one is perfect its the fact of life. We are all born into it. Us as humans hurt one another... being hurt comes with being sad, wounded, and bitterness! As Christ was being crucified he forgave us! Do you not think Christ was hurt by our actions to put him upon the cross? And do you not think he was hurt when we mocked him and turned our back on him?! Yet Christ still loves us and forgives us everyday for our sins! So if someone has hurt you Love them and Forgive them.... So Those who have done me wrong I forgive you and I pray if I have ever done you wrong... I hope you can forgive me! I love everyone and God bless!”

Tomorrow, I will break down into Greek what this scripture is saying to us.

Let's Pray: Lord, open my eyes to the truth that more grace is needed in my life. I need more grace in my relationships. I need to be more tolerant of others. When I am not walking in this grace Lord, I ask you to open my eyes to this truth so that I can be quick to repent and walk in humility instead of walking with pride.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

I Was Given A Thorn In My Flesh

"Because of these surpassingly great revelations. Therefore, in order to keep me from becoming conceited, I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me. Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong." 2 Corinthians 12:7-10

Paul stated, "to keep me from becoming conceited, " he was given a thorn in his flesh. What was his thorn? Paul's thorn wasn't cancer, genetic or mental disorder, or any other physical malady; it was people who opposed and irritated him and continually caused him problems.

Satan will launch a full-scale attach to impede any progress you are making. He does not want you to be recognized for the good that you are doing within your community, within your work environment. The devil wants to pull a man or woman of God down - to ruin them, to destroy them, and to discredit the message that is preached.

The Lord showed me several months ago that as we were being discredited in the community that we lived in; since there was no moral flaw that Satan could use to destroy us, he inflicted people into our lives to bring discredit. These people were thorns in our flesh. Paul's share's this same revelation from verse 7. This event in Paul's life caused him personal distress and kept reoccurring over and over again. Scripture states that he asked the Lord on three occasions for this thorn to be removed.

If you survey the types of ordeals Paul endured, you will see that many of them were arranged by these people who wanted to get rid of him. They were so full of with hatred toward Paul that they wanted to see his head on the stake! He was constantly buffeted, harassed, hassled, and distracted by the negative activities of these people. These people were the primary source of Paul's problems and distractions he faced in his life and ministry. He was hindered from focusing on what God had called him to do because of the great amount of time he had to spend defending his apostleship and answering the charges of those who were stirring up the trouble against him.

Like Paul, the devil used people in our own lives to steal our joy, sidetrack us from our mission. What about you? What are the "thorns" in your flesh? How do you intend to react to this disturbance in your life? Paul never allowed people to keep him from fulfilling his divine call, and like Paul, we need to follow his example. Don't allow people to stop you, to steal your joy.

Let's pray: Lord, I ask You to help me remain focused on my goals, even when the devil tries to use people to steal my focus and distract me. Knowing that the devil tries to use people, I ask You to help me spiritually and mentally so I will be able to keep my eyes on the goal You have given me. I choose to forgive those whom the devil uses. I will pray for them to change and repent for their actions; I will keep my heart free of offense; and I will continue to go full steam ahead to achieve what God has told me to do! Holy Spirit, please help me stay on track and keep my heart free from strife! In Jesus' Name I pray. Amen.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Cultivate God-confidence

"These are all warning markers—danger!—in our history books, written down so that we don't repeat their mistakes. Our positions in the story are parallel—they at the beginning, we at the end—and we are just as capable of messing it up as they were. Don't be so naive and self-confident. You're not exempt. You could fall flat on your face as easily as anyone else. Forget about self-confidence; it's useless. Cultivate God-confidence." 1 Corinthians 10:11

Do you feel like you just can't do anything correct? That you seem to be making mistake after mistake? Are you struggling with thinking that nothing is making any sense as to why life is just not going the way it should be no matter how hard you work at it? Do you feel inept and have pride all at the same time?

The world looks at life as you are either making a good decision or a bad decision based on the outcome of what is good or bad from a world perspective. And if the outcome is not positive then you must have made a mistake along the way.

From a mistake perspective there is much to learn if you can only learn from a mistake after you admit you’ve made it. As soon as you start blaming other people (or the universe itself) you distance yourself from any possible lesson. But if you courageously stand up and honestly say “This is my mistake and I am responsible” the possibilities for learning will move towards you. Admission of a mistake, even if only privately to yourself, makes learning possible by moving the focus away from blame assignment and towards understanding. Wise people admit their mistakes easily. They know progress accelerates when they do.

This advice runs counter to the cultural assumptions we have about mistakes and failure, namely that they are shameful things. We’re taught in school, in our families, or at work to feel guilty about failure and to do whatever we can to avoid mistakes. This sense of shame combined with the inevitability of setbacks when attempting difficult things explains why many people give up on their goals: they’re not prepared for the mistakes and failures they’ll face on their way to what they want. What’s missing in many people’s beliefs about success is the fact that the more challenging the goal, the more frequent and difficult setbacks will be. The larger your ambitions, the more dependent you will be on your ability to overcome and learn from your mistakes.

But for many reasons admitting mistakes is difficult. An implied value in many cultures is that our work represents us: if you fail a test, then you are a failure. If you make a mistake then you are a mistake (You may never have felt this way, but many people do. It explains the behavior of some of your high school or college friends). Like eggs, steak and other tasty things we are given letter grades (A, B, C, D and F) organizing us for someone else’s consumption: universities and employers evaluate young candidates on their grades, numbers based on scores from tests unforgiving to mistakes.

For anyone that never discovers a deeper self-identity, based not on lack of mistakes but on courage, compassionate intelligence, commitment and creativity, life is a scary place made safe only by never getting into trouble, never breaking rules and never taking the risks that their hearts tell them they need to take.

But what if there is more to this spiritually that we are not seeing because we are not seeing this through God's eyes. Maybe it is not learning from a mistake, but God has a purpose for your life that you have been asking for, but didn't know what you were asking.

Often we are not sure what is going on because we are looking at it from the worlds perspective of mistakes that we make in life instead of what God is trying to do on your behalf. This may be a new concept to you, but once you surrender to this truth you will begin to see everything from a God perspective and you will not fight Him any longer.

Brokenness is a process where God crushes every facet of our lives; to reduce us to nothing. No self-wisdom, no self-reliance, no self-sufficiency. This is total dependence on God. It is an experience where HE shatters everything by bringing us to the end of ourselves. HE is cultivating in you a God-confidence.

God will send success instead of mistakes, but first HE must send failure, tragedy, and/or any other ills to push us to the end of our strength.

When "mistakes", trials, and struggles come into our lives we must begin by searching our heart of deliberate sin. But if we find none, we should simply assume that God is trying to break us a little more or for some, the case may be the first time.

Lets Pray: Lord, You've been working on me all these years. But I have been so foolish. I didn't understand. I resisted Your work in my life and thought they were "mistakes". I have tried to work harder and harder, thinking that if I just did more of this or that it would get me to the next place that I wanted to be at. I've tried to do everything on my own, yet thought I was totally surrendered to You. I've tried to escape everything You've sent to break me. But now I see Your hand, Lord. I see Your purpose and I am willing to surrender myself to You even more this day. Oh God, You do Your work in me."

Friday, November 12, 2010

Taking Inventory

"Let's take a good look at the way we're living and reorder our lives under God." Lamentations 3:40 MSG

Growing up Pastor Sumrall would teach and be conscious with his own life that we have to watch what and who we let into our sphere of influence; even be aware of who you let pray over you.

I have learned through the years that it is necessary to even reorder our lives under God. We must take inventory of the things we have allowed to enter into our sphere of influence. The verse in 1 Corinthians 10 comes to mind when Paul says, “Everything is permissible, but not everything is beneficial”. How true is that??

Taking a regular inventory of our life can be productive. It can help us answer questions about the direction our life is moving. Are we growing or declining in character development? Are we moving toward our life goals, or are there hindering obstacles? Are we growing in our relationship with God? What changes do we need to make to move ahead more effectively?

Consider this …
Determine to take inventory of your life. Consider your relationships with God, your family, your church and your friends. Be honest. Ask God to help you see things as they really are and to face any inappropriate behavior without making excuses for yourself.

God loves you and HE wants to help you eliminate those things in your life that may be hurting you—and others. But before HE can help you, you must face up to the fact that these problems exist. Remember, Jesus is with you. He will not disappoint you in your time of personal searching.

It’s usually obvious once sin has been detected, but what about the areas and things we have allowed to come into our lives that aren’t necessarily sin but they aren’t growing our relationship with God either? Those areas have the potential of becoming the most detrimental to our spiritual lives than anything. Why? Because we are spiritual beings! And spiritual beings are meant to be in a constant state of growth. If we allow things (relationships, TV, hobbies, recreational events, etc) to cause us to stop growing in our relationship with God, then they become idols! An idol is anything that we deem more important than God. Sometimes we create idols on purpose, other times they happen completely undetected. If you don’t inventory your life, then you might never find these “permissible but not beneficial” areas .

This is why taking inventory in your life is such a key component to spiritual growth. Maybe you should set a time once a week, or once a month to take inventory of what is going on in your life. You might find some things that that look good, you might find some things that look bad, you also might find some things that might not be so bad, but aren’t helping you either!

Take inventory!

Father, help me take a good, honest look at myself. Help me see what is pleasing you … and what is disappointing you. Help me reorder my life under you. In Jesus' name …

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Be Encouraged For . . . HE . . .

"The LORD will keep you from all harm— he will watch over your life;"

Psalm 121:7

Has things in your life gone a little awry? Have your plans not worked out? Are you not sure what is going on? Have the waves of this world come crashing down on you?

Be encouraged for . . .

HE has not forgot or forsaken you.

HE has compassion for the situation you find yourself in.

HE offers hope.

HE is ordering your steps.

HE is guiding you.

HE is seeing that you are covered under the shelter of HIS wings.

HE provides comfort among friends.

HE refreshes your soul.

As you rest in HIM you will begin to sing songs of deliverance.

Today find comfort, protection as HE guides and leads you for HE does not want any harm to come against you. Let these scriptures resonate in your Spirit to give you new hope for the day!

Psalm 9:18, "But God will never forget the needy; the hope of the afflicted will never perish."

Psalm 61:4, ''I long to dwell in your tent forever and take refuge in the shelter of your wings."

Isaiah 49:13, "Shout for joy, you heavens; rejoice, you earth; burst into song, you mountains! For the LORD comforts his people and will have compassion on his afflicted ones."

Psalm 23:3, "he refreshes my soul. He guides me along the right paths for his name’s sake."

1 Kings 5:4, "But now the LORD my God has given me rest on every side, . . ."

Psalm 32:7, "You are my hiding place; you will protect me from trouble and surround me with songs of deliverance. Selah"

Psalm 37:28, "For the LORD loves the just and will not forsake his faithful ones. They will be protected forever, . . . "

"But He knows the way that I take.
When He has tried me, I shall come forth as refined gold."
Job 23:10

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Have Thine Own Way Lord

"Yet you, LORD, are our Father.
We are the clay, you are the potter; we are all the work of your hand."
Isaiah 64:8

When I first got saved, one of my favorite songs was "Have Thine Own Way Lord".

Have Thine own way, Lord! Have Thine own way!
Thou art the Potter, I am the clay.
Mold me and make me after Thy will,
While I am waiting, yielded and still.

Have Thine own way, Lord! Have Thine own way!
Search me and try me, Master, today!
Whiter than snow, Lord, wash me just now,
As in Thy presence humbly I bow.

Have Thine own way, Lord! Have Thine own way!
Wounded and weary, help me, I pray!
Power, all power, surely is Thine!
Touch me and heal me, Savior divine.

Have Thine own way, Lord! Have Thine own way!
Hold o’er my being absolute sway!
Fill with Thy Spirit ’till all shall see
Christ only, always, living in me.

Ad­e­laide A. Poll­ard, 1907. Pol­lard believed the Lord want­ed her in Af­ri­ca as a mis­sion­a­ry, but she was un­a­ble to raise funds to go. In an un­cer­tain state of mind, she at­tend­ed a pray­er meeting, where she heard an el­der­ly wo­man pray, “It’s all right, Lord. It does­n’t mat­ter what You bring in­to our lives, just have Your own way with us.” At home that night, much en­cour­aged, she wrote this hymn.

Adelaide's heart must have been so stirred, just as the elderly woman had prayed otherwise I do not believe she would have written such a powerful song.

When I sang that song. When I prayed prayers to the Lord asking HIM for; "less of me, more of YOU, change me. I want to live for YOU. I want my life to really count for YOU. Whatever it takes for me to walk with YOUR anointing, to be used in a mighty way. Have YOUR way, Lord."

I meant every word of it! But the truth of the matter, I didn't know what I was asking for. I had no idea that I was asking God to literally break me.

I just thought all I needed to do to be used by God was to just be a "goody two shoe" of sorts, be obedient, obtain as much theological training, be a "do-er" in the church, and apply methods, goal and agendas; sooner or later I would "arrive". With much disappointment along the way, I never was satisfied with my "works" mentality. I was ignorant of the process by which God prepares HIS servants.

The process is messy, lonely, and dry. Although it is the necessary part of God's answers to your prayers; if your prayers have been like mine. I am very aware as to what I sing and pray now. I know what I am asking for.

Some days I was not sure if I could have survived the process. God knew my heart and HE knew what I could handle. As I write this, I wonder if there is more to come. LOL. Understanding the process though helps me walk the seasons that HE needs to break me. For even today, if that is what is necessary, because my life is still not at the level of anointing that my heart desires. I still say, more Lord.

The bottom line is, if this is your true desire for HIM to use your life for HIS glory --- it will cost you something. Dr. Alan Redpath in his book, The Making of a Man of God states, "When God wants to do an impossible taks, He takes an impossible individual --- and crushes him."

If you are wanting to deny yourself and lay it all down for HIM. This is a good diretion to go. Just remember there is a cost to pay. If you are in the place of brokenness. Stay there. It is a good place to remain. If you mean it from your heart, I encourage you both to take the words of the song above and pray them out loud to HIM. Prayers never go unanswered. HE is with you ordaining your steps.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Triplets On Board

"Unto Timothy, my own son in the faith:
Grace, mercy and peace . . ."
1 Timothy 1:2

Are you overwhelmed today with the things in your life? Do you feel that you do not have enough strength to make it through the day. I have good news for you today! God has an extra measure of grace, mercy and peace for you.

Just as they did in days of Paul when the Greek's would greet with a salutation of "grace". God greets you today with this same greeting. HE says "Grace!" In the Greek it is charis, which means favor!

The common greeting among the Jews is "shalom". The Hebrew word for shalom is eirene, which is used for the word "peace". God greets you today with this same greeting. He says "Peace!" to you today.

Inserted between grace and peace is "mercy". So as they, Timothy and Titus, went about ministering between the Greek and the Jew, Paul privately in his letters to them wrote "mercy". As Timothy and Titus were being overwhelmed with the affairs of life, their brother in Christ Paul spoke "mercy" into them. Today, God greets you with this same greeting and HE says, "Mercy!"

They just needed to be reminded that God's mercy was extended to help them bravely face and overcome the challenges that they faced for the day(s).

You may need to be reminded of the same thing today. If your facing a situation that would normally be devastating or overwhelming to you grab hold of the good news: God has triplets for you! HE has grace, mercy and peace! God has given you a special gift. Don't try to face the ordeal in your own strength; carry your triplets.

Lord I thank you for making me special and that you have given me triplets to help in the times of struggle and hardship. I admit that I often try to handle all my challenges on my own, but I know it is impossible for me to overcome my obstacles without the help of YOUR triplets; grace, mercy and peace. I thank YOU in advance for pouring and birthing this into my spirit and by faith I receive it right now. I pray in Jesus' Name. Amen.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Why Do Bad Things Happen?

"'For I know the plans I have for you,' declares the LORD, 'plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.'" Jeremiah 29:11

If you have been a Christian any length of time then you have also gone through bad situations. Perhaps real pain and suffering; struggling as to why as a Christian you should be going through anything bad. Does God not love me? You have also been presented this scripture from Jeremiah numerous times that you may have become immune to the truth of HIS Words.

First, for some reason most of us believed that once you became a Christian everything is going to be all right. Let me tell you there is nothing further from the truth. Whether this ideology was delivered in salvation messages in order to lead people to Christ or whether is was a preconceived idea in our own minds. I am not sure.

There are laws in place; Gods laws and mans laws. You may have accepted the Lord for HE has forgiven you of your sins - they are even forgotten. There are still consequences for some things that don't go away. i.e. In the arena of mans laws; if you kill someone and are sent to prison. Just because you ask Jesus in your heart behind those bars doesn't mean your getting released.

God's laws, HIS Word, is the same way. Sometimes bad things are happening because there is a process of sowing and reaping. Gods Word is truth and HE cannot change HIS laws. Even today, as a group of people we are all reaping from the Ishmael that Abram and Sari birthed. I know my husband and I had to reap 20-21 years for something that we sowed.

A false theology out there is that if something bad is happening in a Christians life they deserve it for they must have done something to ask for it. I do not believe that if something bad is happening in someone's life it is always necessarily because they have sin in their lives and HE is needing to bring correction. Sometimes it is to bring brokenness to a believer that is serving God who is blameless before HIM, like Job. When a believer desires to be more like HIM and desires to be made new, then "mold me and make me" . . . there is no other way except through the process of brokenness.

It is up to that individual believer to pray and ask God 'why is this happening?'. HE will speak into your life. HE will reveal if it is a sowing and reaping process, a sin behavior, or a season of brokenness. As bystanders, we should never pass judgement or accusation. This is so damaging to do such a thing.

With this devotional I hope to speak encouragement and wisdom to the person who is going through the process of brokenness.

As we are going through the season of brokenness we need not fear the process. We need not fear what is going on around us. God is in the process with you. Simple, isn't it? Once the disciples understood that it was the Son of God who was with them in the boat it did not matter how bad the storm was. He who created the land and the seas was in that ship. As the apostle Paul would later put it, "IF GOD IS FOR US,... WHO [OR WHAT] IS AGAINST US?" (Romans 8:31)

Personally you may be struggling with minor issues or even extreme sufferings. Perhaps you have been dealing with shingles for numerous months, or did you just miscarry a child? Are you dealing with financial struggles? Is it a complicated relationship? Rejection?

The process of brokenness is a lifetime process for the person who desires God to use them in a mighty way. It can be going around the same mountain every time, OR it can be going from glory to glory. As you learn, grow, and become accomplished in one area you will then enter a season of rest. Then one day its time to go to the next glory. The process of "going around the mountain" several times I believe happens when your not learning to submit to what HE has for you to learn. I am hoping I don't ever go around the same mountain again and again.

Through the brokenness we must remember that whatever we do in word or deed we must do so with the peace of God abiding in our hearts. There is a great temptation to let people take our peace away. This happens whenever we become angry, bitter, or vengeful when others do not respond favorably or meet our expectations. Our God gives us peace in the midst of the storm, and calls us to love even our enemies. I encourage you to not let others rob the peace of God within you.

I believe that bad things, ALL bad things that happen to anybody, happen because Almighty God decides to send those things into people's lives for HIS own divine purposes.
EVERYTHING is Father filtered.

If you are going through a bad situation right now I encourage you to believe what the Word of God says even though you have no concept of why or what might be happening. You must trust in God and know that HE has a plan and purpose.

HE truly does know the plans and purposes for your life. HE does intend for you to prosper. HE controls how long you are to endure and how much to endure. HE controls ALL things. HE knows your limits. HE knows what your made of, for HE did create you. HE does have hope and a future for you. This truth in Jeremiah along with others in HIS Word will give you the strength to keep going forward. So let me help you . . . pick yourself up by your bootstraps a dust the dirt off your boots.

Let's Pray: Lord, I lift up my fellow brother or sister and I ask that the Holy Spirit comes upon them right now, right where they are at and I ask for YOU to minister to their soul, spirit and body. Father, let them feel YOUR presence right now just as YOUR Word says in Isaiah 43; 'when you pass through the waters, HE will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they shall not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze. For I AM the LORD, your GOD.' In Jesus' Name I pray this for my brother/sister. Amen.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Be Careful Who You Listen To

"Be careful therefore how you listen. For to him who has [spiritual knowledge] will more be given; and from him who does not have [spiritual knowledge], even what he thinks and [a]guesses and [b]supposes that he has will be taken away." Luke 8:18 (Amplified)

Have you ever had thoughts about someone that are not good? As you pondered over them, your thought process even began to change and then as that thought process changed then your opinion of that person even changed. Has that ever happened to you? It has to me.

Were these thoughts that you were listening too put there by God or the devil? How do you know which one? You can tell by what was YOUR fruit from the knowledge of those thoughts? Did you take that knowledge and turn it into prayer for that person or did you take those thoughts and then your mouth begin to run with it and slander that person? I know you were helping get the word out to "protect God's kingdom". You were the sounding alarm and you felt justified in bringing the "truth" and correction to the situation. Sorry, but you are not the sounding alarm nor the correction to the situation. You were acting as judge and jury and just hung that brother and sister out to dry with vicious gossip. You were used by the enemy because you listened to bad thoughts.

Listening to the thoughts that are within your mind can cause you to do things that have irreparable consequences and cause irrevocable damage; when those thoughts are not of the Lord.

What about aligning yourself with people of questionable character vs. people that have proven to be spiritually mature within a congregation, community of believers who have a known track record for a period of time, who has only one purpose, to bring you closer to HIM. Are you listening to good advice or God advice?

In our conversation, Proverbs 4:23 was brought up as to "Keep and guard your heart with all vigilance...for out of it flow the springs of life."

The New Living Translation says it this way: "Guard your heart above all else, for it determines the course of your life." That is some serious stuff, "the course of your life". It's JUST NOT ABOUT what you watch, what you listen to, about being in a good mood or keeping a smile on your face.

Guarding your heart involves ongoing and intentional decisions to carefully monitor what you receive AND what you don't receive in the deepest part of you.

How do you do this? The best way is to spend time with God and meditate on HIS Word. It's your defense. Spending time with God and HIS word helps you keep the good stuff in and the bad stuff out...even certain people!

Every day, life sends us all kinds of junk. When the junk comes at you, you have to decide, "Am I going to allow this to touch my heart?"

Even though we don't go looking for it, bitterness, hurt, discouragement and every other form of disappointment and discontent will come knocking on the door of your heart. The enemy will try to send them your way in every situation and circumstances you encounter.

As the gatekeeper of your heart - you are the one who decides what and who you will allow in, listen to and what you keep out of the most precious part of who HE has created you to be, who you truly are. That's what it means to guard your heart.

No once else can do it for you. I wish I could, and as Pastors, in some ways we feel called to help you do help you guard your heart. Unfortunately, some of our sheep fall astray, they listen to the garbage and to what they want to hear. Sometimes walking in the way of truth, accountability, grace, mercy and holiness is not easy, some people are not ready for the next level. I remember around 20 years ago, I ran from the message of grace. I wasn't ready-it was painful!

When you are going after your "dreams" make sure you are careful who you listen to. You need to make sure you get your advice and guidance from a person who has completed successfully that which you are trying to accomplish yourself.

If you speak to a person who has failed at real-estate investing for example they are certainly going to have a different perspective for you than that of the person who has been successful at real-estate investing.

The person who has failed is going to try to protect you (at least that is what they think they’re doing) by saying things like it is risky, or that you can’t make any money, or that it is very hard and you can lose a lot of money, all things that are true for that person.

But if you speak to the person who has had great success with real-estate investing they will tell you a whole different story. They will say things like it can be very lucrative, you can make a lot of money and build a lot of wealth when done correctly. They will have insights into how you can do it properly with minimal risk and stress as well as how you can set yourself up to be successful for the long term.

The problem is that most people will listen to their friends and family and all of the people who have not completed successfully that which they are trying to accomplish…Big mistake! Listen first and foremost, to the Holy Spirit and then seek counsel from your spiritual father, your pastor.

Make sure you always and only talk with and listen to those who have shown spiritual maturity and consistency, who have done what you want to complete successfully already, they will be the ones who give you the best advice and feedback as well as the proper guidance so you can ensure you’re successful too.

When you choose to open yourself up to spiritually mature individuals who have proven consistency. When you choose to open your heart to be teachable, to encouragement, gratitude, generosity, correction with direction, servant hood and a love for Jesus and others, you; experience God's blessings and His hand of favor on your life no matter what circumstances the devil throws your way.

So listen, the next time a careless word or action hurts you, you decide: "Am I going to allow this situation to lodge itself in my heart?" Or will you say, "I am not going to allow this situation, these people to touch my heart. I am going to protect the most precious gift God gave me - my heart".

You can't live like this through willpower or an obligation to religious duty. This isn't a guilt trip to drive you to more devotion and quiet time. You can only live this way by the Holy Spirit. And His Spirit can only thrive and grow in a guarded, protected heart.

I want to clarify something very important: Guarding your heart doesn't mean you don't allow people into your heart because your afraid they'll mess you up. All relationships create misunderstandings and hurt, but a guarded heart doesn't let that junk stick around. And there are people unfortunately who will not be on the same spiritual walk as you or who will discredit you or who will not have the faith that you have, this is junk that doesn't need to stick around. Don't be ugly with them, respect them, keep a healthy distance from them, love them unconditionally.

Even Jesus wasn't friends with everyone, BUT HE did love everyone. Jesus said you'll find your life as you give it away - the more you guard your heart and live from it, the more you'll discover a passion to help others experience this too!

Another example that was set before us was Job. Job was "blameless and upright, a man who fears God and shuns evil." (Job 1:8) As a result the Lord blessed Job's life in great ways. I want to live a life like Job where God is reveared for who HE is and not what HE does and to be found blameless, upright, fearing God and shunning evil.

Guarding your heart is intentional. You can do it! You will not wake up one day with the all-knowing ability - I didn't. I have been at this for a long time. There are actions that we have to take from time to time to take to guard our heart, our family, our faith family. This is not always easy, we know...but you can do it!

Let's Pray
Father, I see the great value that You have placed within heart. I gave You my heart when I first asked YOU to come into my life as Saviour. I must admit there are days that I do not give You my heart first thing of each day, forgive me Lord. Create in me a new heart and guide me to know when I need to turn an eye, and ear away to protect my heart. I want You to be the example that lives out of me and what I allow in will come out. Lord, I know there are people in my life that do not let me be the best and all that You have created me to be. Lord, help me to make better decisions in how and who I am to associate with. Lord I need to take better actions to guard my heart. I know there are people in my life that I do not need to listen to. Help me Lord. Yet Lord, do not let me be callous towards people who have hurt me or to people in general. Create in me a pure heart that loves like You, yet has safe boundaries like You. In Jesus' Name I pray. Amen.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Loving Each Other

"My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you.
Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends."
John 15:12-13

Eleven (11) different times between the OT and the NT we are told in scripture to love our neighbors.

We have observed when people do not meet someones expectations or become jealous; they begin to gossip, and others listen to this gossip and soon it spreads and people start listening and believing and soon are sharing and expounding this gossip, even expounding on it more. Just days before these same people said words of "I love you" shared with an embracing hug. Sounds a little like Jesus when HE was betrayed with a kiss. The church, HIS people have now all been tarnished for the world to see and hearts are broken when a disruption of hate and gossip go through a church....yet we call ourselves Christians.

I see this behavior happening and have seen this happening for years. This was THE reason we did not want to be pastors. We saw pastors treated this way. To their face they are spoken to one way and their beloved sheep would turn around and bite behind his/her back. Dear sheep quit biting your pastor and each other.

We are to love our friends, neighbors more than ourselves to be considered HIS disciple. (John 13:34, John15:12-13). We are not willing to lay our lives down for each other. I am amazed at how people do not even want to give up their comforts of home for a fellow brother or sister. Remember what scripture says in Luke 14:33, "In the same way, those of you who do not give up everything you have cannot be my disciples."

God will not be mocked nor be called a liar. He is coming back for a church with out blemish...brothers and sisters...we have a huge blemish on the middle of our forehead all over this country and this is why people do not come to church. They see hypocrites! I believe this will be one if not the reason; many will say that they know HIM and HE will say I know you not (Matthew 22:37-39).

Do not share in someones strength, if you are unwilling to cover their weaknesses. That is not relationship, this does not promote goodwill, and most of all, does not please God. What pleases God is our love for one another in promoting life in one another. That we do draw off each others strengths but also cover each others short comings. We do not quit each other, and seek restoration and healing when YOU think a brother falls.

Like TD Jakes says..." relationships are hard work. It is like riding the bus. You must be willing to scoot over and rearrange yourself to accommodate another person and the many parcels... (they) bring."

Perhaps you have been the one on the short end of the "stick"; has been the one getting beaten up with the gossip, hasn't been treated fairly. How is your reaction to this? Are you without fault? or have you thrown back a stone in return?

If you have been wounded, especially severely, it is going to to be a daily process of choosing to forgive. I continue to walk out forgiveness and I have what seems like a long ways to go. Unfortunately, when I have someone who gives me an update I feel that hurt rise and I am reminded once again. When I see brother struggle against brother, I am reminded and I will walk it out again...but FOR NOW and everyday I choose forgiveness.

If you are someone who is walking out forgiveness and struggling I encourage you from Leviticus 19:18, "Do not seek revenge or bear a grudge against one of your people, but love your neighbor as yourself. I am the LORD."

We are to never pay back evil with evil nor exact revenge on others. God has empowered us to have mastery over evil and to do good to others. God even calls us to love our enemies and give them food and drink. This comes against the nature of humanity and can only flow through the agape love of God within us. As we choose life for others, we realize that we are doing the very thing that God has done for us.

Personally, we apply this into practice when we know we have become aware we have caused offence or if a brother/sister has some "cause" to not like us. A few months ago, we gave benevolence to a family who said untruths about us. The benevolence began for them when they were still part of our church and they were not aware of it; when they abruptly were asked to leave our home because of trust issues; this was when they felt wronged and began to speak untruths. BUT what I want you to grasp is not what ill that was done to us, but what we continued to do out of agape love. We continued to take up benevolence and gave it to them. That was really hard to do, and we debated for several weeks, but that is what HIS love is.

When we have been deeply hurt by another, it is nearly impossible not to have spontaneous hostile thoughts. We find ourselves consumed about what we might say or how we might pay back the person who has hurt us. To bless rather than curse takes great faith and a willingness to go beyond our feelings and choose a life-giving response. In God's Wisdom as we choose to bless we give life and also receive life ourselves.

Let's Pray
Father, first I ask You to forgive me of my sins and reveal to me any sins that I may not see. I ask Lord and choose to forgive those who I feel have transgressed against me. Your Word says that You redeem our souls when we put our trust in You. I pray that I would have faith in You to redeem my soul from negative emotions. May I not be controlled by anger, anxiety, hopelessness, fear or depression. Finally, Lord I ask You to bless those that I feel have transgressed against me. Give them joy, give them what they have need of, bless them Lord as You see to bless them. In Jesus' Name I pray. Amen.

This was a devotional I began on August 15, 2010 and because of the pain, hurts and woundings, I had to rewrite and allow a different tone to come forth. My prayer is that there is no tone and that those who have been wounded can learn through my pain.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Extraordinary People

"And so here I am, preaching and writing about things that are way over my head, the inexhaustible riches and generosity of Christ. My task is to bring out in the open and make plain what God, who created all this in the first place, has been doing in secret and behind the scenes all along. Through followers of Jesus like yourselves gathered in churches, this extraordinary plan of God is becoming known and talked about even among the angels!" Ephesians 3:8

I have NEVER been ordinary, and have NEVER wanted to be ordinary. I have ALWAYS wanted to be EXTRAORDINARY at everything I have ever wanted to be or why would I expect this journey to be any different . . . it is everything but ordinary.

As I reflect over ALL of my unusual decisions or actions I have taken; they ALL reflect the extreme, unusual, non-conformative, extraordinary patterns that was typical for my life. Even in high school, I was different. Any of my classmates or family reading this will acknowledge this. I never conformed to the norm. I never acted the norm. I was always seeking a new way of doing, or acting. It must have been something that was born in me. I guess if I was to ask my mother, perhaps her pregnancy and birth with me was different too. I am sure I tried to do it differently. LOL

But back to high school, I remember I saw something in the fashion magazine that no one else was wearing and it was creative. So I did it. I took my polyester knit slacks and at the bottom I tied a ribbon around the bottom to make it look like Jeannie pants. I was different! I went to school thinking I was looking extraordinary fashionable! I received some laughs, but I was new and cutting edge. They didn't realize they were laughing at something found in a fashion magazine from New York! They were farm kids just like me, but I was not going to be a farm kid, I was going to be different!

I accomplished and was quite successful at what ever I had put my hands to through high school. I went on my first missions trip at 16 by myself. I was quite successful with 4-H and other arenas that was performance oriented; except for Junior Miss. Junior Miss was in my opinion a complete flop and embarrassment, but that's for another day.

I met my husband through extremely different measures and within 9 days we were engaged and married within 2 months. Within that same year I was pregnant, had cancer and then healed of cancer, but that's for another day too.

So in just those brief paragraphs you can see just a glimpse of some unusual, extraordinary events. I actually probably could go on and I am sure when my family reads this and some of my friends; they will remind me of some other unusual decisions and circumstances that I have made or have gone through.

But I am know different than most of you and there are far more extreme and extraordinary characters in the Bible. I haven't been swallowed up by a whale, thrown in a lions den, or even been scolded by a donkey. Or even in today's times; there are some extraordinary people who have faced very significant physical complications who have made great accomplishments.

We each have lives that are extraordinary. We each have a "extraordinary plan of God" that we are to be following. Sometimes we just need encouragement along the way to say there is a plan and a purpose for this "insanity". You may feel like you are way over your head and are not capable of what is being asked of you. At times you are overwhelmed at the generosity that is being extended to you and its hard to receive the vast favor HE bestows upon you through HIS children. HE has created us to be extraordinary people and live extraordinary lives!

Through all this, our responsibility is "to bring out in the open and make plain what God, who created all this in the first place, has been doing in secret and behind the scenes all along"; to bring HIM glory and to bring ALL to HIM. When we are dependent upon HIM for ALL things and are willing to let ALL people see HIM live through our weaknesses and strengths, in ALL seasons of our lives. HE will receive the glory as HE brings us from the pit to the palace. We have to go through the valley's to get to the mountain tops. The reason we have to go through those ups and downs is because in this journey there are people that we must meet and be vulnerable to so that HE can be seen. Our light has to be shown in the valleys and on the mountains for as you know there is darkness all around no matter where we are at.
I came across this quote that I think is quite fitting:
"Between you and every goal that you wish to achieve, there is a series of obstacles, and the bigger the goal, the bigger the obstacles. Your decision to be, have and do something out of the ordinary entails facing difficulties and challenges that are out of the ordinary as well. Sometimes your greatest asset is simply... your ability to stay with it longer than anyone else."~ Brian Tracy

After I found this quote, I wanted to look up the word extraordinary. We use words all the time that we don't necessarily know the depth of what it means. This is what extraordinary means:
1a : going beyond what is usual, regular, or customary
b : exceptional to a ...very marked extent c of a financial transaction : nonrecurring
2: employed for or sent on a special function or service

I like #2 . . . I like to think we are being sent on a special function or service.
This kind of journey can only lead to EXTRAORDINARY!!!

Like you, I have faced some big obstacles in my life and I must say that at this moment; this must be the biggest obstacle I have ever faced. Perhaps you yourself at this very moment is facing an obstacle in your own life like you have never faced before. I hope this devotional has encouraged you and as you are encouraged to go on and pass it on!

My spiritual pappa always says, " if you need love, sow love", "if you need a friend, be a friend", so at this time "if you need encouragement, give encouragement".

I will leave you with some encouraging bible verses that I have found to be helpful at different times for specific areas:

“These things I have spoken to you, so that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world.” John 16:33

God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth should change and though the mountains slip into the heart of the sea; though its waters roar and foam, though the mountains quake at its swelling pride. Selah. The LORD of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our stronghold. Selah. Psalm 46:1-3,7

‘Do not fear, for I am with you; do not anxiously look about you, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, surely I will help you, surely I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.’ Isaiah 41:10

For God did not give us a spirit of timidity (of cowardice, of craven and cringing and fawning fear), but [He has given us a spirit] of power and of love and of calm and well-balanced mind and discipline and self-control. 2 Tim 1:7 (AMP)

I have set the Lord continually before me; because He is at my right hand, I shall not be moved. Psalm 16:8 (AMP)

Cast your burden on the Lord [releasing the weight of it] and He will sustain you; He will never allow the [consistently] righteous to be moved (made to slip, fall, or fail). Psalm 55:22 (AMP)

He only is my Rock and my Salvation; He is my Defense and my Fortress, I shall not be moved. Psalm 62:6 (AMP)

Casting the whole of your care [all your anxieties, all your worries, all your concerns, once and for all] on Him, for He cares for you affectionately and cares about you watchfully. 1 Peter 5:7 (AMP)

The Lord is good, a Strength and Stronghold in the day of trouble; He knows (recognizes, has knowledge of, and understands) those who take refuge and trust in Him. Nahum 1:7 (AMP)

“The steadfast of mind You will keep in perfect peace, Because he trusts in You. Isaiah 26:3

Remember, you can do extraordinary, because we serve and extraorindary God!