Bitterness Turned to Rejoicing

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Devotion:  1 Samuel 2:1

Hannah’s long period of bitterness had turned to rejoicing when she discovered she was with child.  David asked the Lord;  “Will You forget me forever?”  Later he proclaimed that God would give him “beauty for ashes and strength for fear, gladness for mourning and peace for despair.”

We were made for praise and worship to the Lord our God.  When our prayers go long unanswered; frustration, anger, bitterness and even complacency can creep in.  Has God heard the cries of our heart?  The Bible promises “His eyes are always searching to and fro, looking for those whose hearts long to be completely His.”

Our long periods of bitterness can be turned into rejoicing within seconds of receiving the answer to our prayers.  While we are waiting for the answer to come; how do we keep our souls from becoming embittered?

How do we keep from confusing God with life?  Job said in 16:7: “Surely God, You have worn me out; You have devastated my entire household.”  He then said in 16: 2, 4-5 and 19-20, “Even now my witness is in heaven; my advocate is on high,  My intercessor is my friend as my eyes pour out tears to God.”

Job did as the writer of Lamentations 2:19.  He poured out his heart like water before the face of the Lord.  He lifted up his hands (toward heaven)…  In the distress of his soul; he cried out to his advocate.  What is Jesus?  He is our faithful high priest, our intercessor, our advocate.

Oh, my dear reader; that alone should give us cause to rejoice.  He longs to turn our bitterness into rejoicing.

Prayer in Motion:

Lord Jesus, I know my Redeemer lives.  I release all of those hurts and disappointments into your very capable hands.  I give all the months or years of bitterness and anger to You. You are so amazing!  I thank You for loving me and turning my bitterness into rejoicing!  I love You Lord.  In Jesus Name I pray.  Amen

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The Lord’s Table

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Devotion:  Job 36:16

Most of us have our go-to foods when we need comforting.  For some people; it is chocolate.  For some, it is chips or some salty/crunchy kind of food.  Sometimes when our friends know we are in distress; they will offer us our very favorite foods.  Others will offer words of comfort or both.

Job had three friends who criticized him and then a friend named Elihu who brought gentle words of comfort to his hurting friend.

I love this man and I pray you have an Elihu in your life.  Elihu reminded Job of the character of God.  He told him; “God woos you from the jaws of distress.”  Job’s God was wooing him from the stress and anxiety over his horrific circumstances.

My friend, you have a God who woos you to Himself.  He will help you through the stress and anxiety of your circumstances.  He will take you to a “spacious place free from restriction.”  Right now; what are your restrictions?  Wouldn’t you love to go to this spacious place free from restriction?

Can you picture with me a field of grass dotted with daisies?  In the background are majestic mountains engulfed by a brilliant blue sky.  Now that’s a spacious place free from restriction.  However; Elihu is thinking of food, glorious food when he calls Job to the comfort of his table laden with choice food.

Job was unaware of the twenty-third Psalm where we are told the Lord our Shepherd prepares a table before us in the presence of our enemies.  The Lord’s table is laden with choice food.

I want us to go to that table, the table of my Lord.  He longs to spread out before us His comfort food; His Word that will feed your soul.  There you will find a spacious place free from restriction.  I encourage you to go there today.

Silence your phone as if you were going into a church or a business meeting.  Turn off your computer.  Turn off the radio and the television.  Turn off distractions if only for fifteen minutes.

Jesus bids you; “Come and dine with me.”  Feast your eyes on the Lord’s table.  Fill your soul with His food.

Prayer in Motion:

Lord, thank You for spreading out Your comfort.  You prepared this table so long ago.  The food of Your Word is always fresh.  It always feeds my soul.  I love Your Word and I want to love it more with each passing day.  Thank You, Jesus, for not leaving me comfortless.  In Jesus Name I pray.  Amen

Rhythms of Life

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Devotion:  Psalm 18:1-2

This song was written by David as a celebration of victory from the Lord.

To the Chief Musician. A Psalm of David the servant of the Lord, who spoke to the Lord the words of this song on the day that the Lord delivered him from the hand of all his enemies and from the hand of Saul.

In music, there is an ebb and flow to each genre.  Whether it’s Bach or Beethoven, jazz, blues, country music, opera, or hip-hop, each one has its own signature or means by which we identify its genre.  Each one has a different kind of beat and rhythm.

So it goes with the rhythms of life, the ebb and flow of God’s design for us.  For each person, that looks different.  We cannot compare ourselves with any other person.  He created each of us with our own life’s calling.  We all march to the beat of a different drum.  It’s how God made us.

When I think of all the people in God’s Word, I can’t think of one that was like the other, each one fearfully and wonderfully made.  Adam came straight from the dust of the ground created by God’s own hands.  Noah was determined to build the ark and had never seen a drop of rain.  Abraham packed up his family and left everything behind to go to another country in obedience to God.  He didn’t even know where he was going.

Moses led the children of Israel to the edge of the sea with Pharoah and his army following closely on their heels.  Putting his foot in the water, he and the Israelites experienced the waters parting and standing up in a heap so they could race through and be delivered to freedom.  Talk about rhythm and perfect timing.

God’s got you.  He’s created you with rhythm and a longing to make life’s music through the ebb and flow of the life He’s given you.  Do you acknowledge the power of the way He created you and the ebb and flow for which He created you?  I would encourage you to find it and get in it.

Prayer in Motion:

Lord Jesus, I love You and thank You for the rhythm for which You created me.  I ask You to forgive me for all the times I’ve tried to march to the beat of a drum for which You did not create me.  May I follow Your ebb and flow and hear Your rhythm.  In Jesus Name I pray.  Amen.

Less than Perfect You

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Devotion:  Matthew 5:48

There are so many things we try and hide; our brokenness, our sickness, our addictions and our weaknesses.  These are the things we want no one to see.  They are too private, too personal and almost too hard to bear.

Here’s the thing.  What if someone struggling with the same issues could benefit from knowing that we struggle with them too?  Would you then be willing to take off your mask and allow people to see the less than perfect you?  Do we really want people to think so highly of us that they have no idea what is really going on inside of our world?  We are presenting to them a false picture of the body of Christ.  Christians struggle too.

That doesn’t mean you bear your soul to everyone in your sphere of influence.  God may send a few that He has for you to “be real” with.  The only perfect One is Jesus Christ.  He asks us to be perfect but we will only be perfect in heaven.

We hold people at arm’s length for what reason?  Fear of judgment?  Fear of rejection?  When will we come to the place of knowing all that really matters is what our Savior thinks of us?  For some of us; it has taken a lifetime and we still struggle with it.

God wants us to share our stories with the sick, the broken, the hopeless and the helpless.  He can certainly use your story to build these dear ones up emotionally, physically and spiritually.  Please do not withhold whats going on in your life from those He’s given you.

God wants to use less than perfect you to minister to less than perfect others.  He came to seek and to save that which was lost.  He came for you and He wants you to share the truth of your story with the hopeless and helpless.  Only when we arrive in heaven will we be perfect.

Prayer in Motion:

Lord Jesus, I fall short of Your glory.  Your mercy and grace are sufficient.  Give me courage and boldness to be an open book to those You have given me.  Your Word brings life to less than perfect me and I want to share it with those You have given me.

 

Change in Perspective

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Devotion:  John 8:12

Have you ever seen something from a distance that was totally different once you got up close?  You were driving down the road in the evening and what appeared to be a dead animal was actually a heap of heavy material.

Our perspective changes depending upon how close we are in proximity to the object as well as the amount of light shed upon it.  How close are you to the person or circumstance in question?  How much light has been shed upon a particular situation?  You may or may not know all of the details.

Your eyes see more clearly in the daytime than in the evening. There are all kinds of shadows cast in the evening depending upon the objects and the amount of light around the thing upon which you are focusing.

God wants our perspective to be clearly focused on Him.  There will be times when the shadows of life try desperately to change our perspective.  Our spiritual senses can easily become dulled by an overwhelmingly difficult situation.

We can even begin to feel forsaken by the One who is the Light of the World.  He is the One who longs to reveal Himself in our darkest hour.

Ask the Lord to give you His perspective.  He will do this through prayer and reading His Word.  He can also speak to your heart as you listen to a particular message being preached or a song being sung.

Ask the Lord to give you His perspective.  He will do it!

Prayer in Motion:

Lord, I want to walk in the light as You are in the Light.  Surround me with Your glory and allow me to have Your perspective on the things in my life that are overshadowed due to my lack of trust in You.  You will work all these things out for my good and Your glory. I trust You Lord.  In Jesus Name.  Amen.

One in a Million

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Devotion: 2 Chronicles 6:14

I woke up hearing the old song; You’re One in a Million, chance of a lifetime.”  God is our One in a Million –  to Infinity and Beyond.   He is perfect and there is no one in heaven or on earth that compares to Him.  Here’s a question to ponder.  How much time do I devote to Him?  Is it more than going to church?  Is it more than your mealtime prayers?  The answer is probably different for every single one of us.

Some only have a certain amount of time to devote to spending time with God.  It may be fifteen minutes, thirty minutes, or possibly even an hour a day.  There is no time limit.  God doesn’t judge you for the amount of time you spend with Him.  He just wants you to carve out some time for Him.  Your Redeemer wants to spend time with you His beloved child.

He has things  He wants to discuss with you; your life, your people, your future, your past and even your present.  He is a God for every moment in time.  He knew about you before you were born.  He created you to have fellowship with Him above all others.  He longs to hear your voice.  He wants you to hear His voice.  He promises, “My sheep hear My voice.”

Ask yourself this question; “Is God my One in a Million?”  Out of all the people in this world; do I give Him any time during the day?  Oh, sweet friend; there is no one more important than the One True God.  Please don’t wait until Sunday to hear from Him.  He waits for you each day.

God is Omniscient, Omnipresent and Omnipotent.  He is everything to me.  I want more of Him.   I want to hear the voice of my One in a million.

Prayer in Motion:

Lord Jesus, You are my One in a Million.  You offer daily to me the chance of a lifetime.  My relationship with You is the best thing that ever happened to me.  I worship You, Lord, in Spirit and in truth.  Thank You, Lord, for offering this to me.  In Jesus Name.  Amen.

 

Season for Change

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Devotion:  Ecclesiastes 3:1-8

I’ve talked to several friends whose pathways for life are changing, either in ministry, with their jobs or churches.  It must be the season for a change.   We are only a few weeks into a very hot summer.  Is it the weather or is it God’s Spirit blowing over His people?

I thought it was just me but the more I hear from people; there are many who are seeking to make a change.  Change in a Christian’s life can be good if it is Spirit-led change.  There are times He makes us restless because He wants to take us to a different place of service.

You have to say no to one thing before He will open up another door of opportunity.  Christians especially have a really hard time saying no.  We can take on so many things that we do none of them well.  God does not require that of us.  He wants us to do the thing(s) for which He created us.

The seasons of a Christian’s life changes according to God’s purpose and plan for His kingdom work to be done. Whenever we are seeking direction for our lives, we must look at what’s going on in the world and our sphere of influence and ask Him; “What do you want me to do?”

If God says move; you move with Him.  If He says stay, you just keep doing what you’ve been doing.  He will order your steps and direct your path.  That’s a promise.  Get ready to obey if He brings you to a season of change.

Prayer in Motion:

Lord Jesus, thank You for every season You bring me to and through.  I love every single one.  You are my Lord and I want to go where you go.  May I stay focused in each season.  I trust You Lord.  In Jesus Name.  Amen.