Patterns of this World

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Devotion:  Romans 12:2

God is amazing!  We live in this world; so we are trained by it; by our parents, by our neighbors, by our teachers, by our co-workers and by the friends we choose.  We are always observing those around us; so our eyes are watching and our mind is storing away actions and reactions on a daily basis.

             We either reject or receive into our spirit,                                               the things we observe.

We surmise, he or she is successful; so I shall pattern myself after them.  Paul told his followers to observe what he was doing and to go and do likewise.  It was a good thing.  This was a man who said, “For me to live is Christ, but to die is gain.”  He patterned himself daily after the Lord Jesus.

One of my many earthly struggles is trusting God to provide.  I don’t mean just financially but for the things He has called me to do. Those of you who’ve been following this blog for over a year; will remember the whole dolphin story.

Pastor Gustavo; the Hispanic pastor in my church, said; “Jesus told me in Spanish that you are to help teach English as a Second Language.”  I replied, “Of course He did.  That’s your native language.”  I would laugh and go on my merry way.  He told me this several times until I thought; “I must pray about this.”  “He’s not kidding.”  Pastor Gustavo kids with people all the time.

In July of 2015; my husband and I took a vacation to Myrtle Beach, S.C.  While having my quiet time, I said to the Lord; “If You really want me to teach/lead ESL, show me some dolphins in the ocean.”  I had never seen dolphins in the ocean, except on television.  I thought I was off the hook.  About an hour later, I went back outside to see approximately twenty some dolphins playing in the ocean.  These animals were putting on a show!

The next morning I did the same thing, “God, if You really want me to do this; please, will You show me the dolphins again?”   As soon as I looked up from writing my request; there must have been fifty dolphins jumping up, splashing down and having the time of their life.

Least you think that’s how my prayer life rolls; It doesn’t!  I’ve only employed Gideon’s method less than ten times in my whole life.  God answers every time.

It’s been over a year since God spoke so clearly on teaching/leading English as a Second Language.  I have not yet started.  I’ve continued to fret and worry because I am in no way a gifted teacher.  I teach/lead through encouragement; so I’ve been shaking in my boots ever since that day.

God has sent me three different people to help me get started. My friend Tamera recommended a woman from her church.  She was the first of three people God would send to provide help in time of need.

                 Encouragement began to replace fear.

Next, there was a lady named Tish; that allowed me to come to her “beginning of year planning meeting.”  She offered all kinds of help and has invited me to come to observe in her class.

      As I began to let go; God showed me He would equip me                                          in this calling.

This week a lady named Carrie sat with me for 2 1/2 hours. Carrie has been teaching ESL for 3years.  Help and hope poured out of her mouth and her heart.  I am forever grateful! She made statements like, “Class will be chaotic.”  That’s just the nature of learning a foreign language.

I am continually learning; “Faithful is He who’s called you; He will bring it to pass.”  “He will accomplish what concerns you.”  If He’s called you to do something; it’s not necessarily because you are good at it or comfortable with it.  He wants you to know at the right time; He will provide what you have need of.

                    Observe the patterns of Jesus Christ.

Has He provided for you before?  He will do it again.  Trust in the Lord with all your heart, all your soul, all your mind and all your strength.  If He’s called you to do something; He will provide the materials, the people and the pattern to do it.

Prayer in Motion:

Lord, I seek to pattern my life after You and the godly people You have placed in my life.  All the praise, honor, glory and blessing belong to You Jesus.  I love You so!  In Jesus Name.  Amen

 

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Ears to Hear, Eyes to See

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Devotion: “Son of man, you dwell in the midst of a rebellious house, which has eyes to see but does not see, and ears to hear but does not hear; for they are a rebellious house.” Ezekiel 12:2

There are several institutions nestled in the PIedmont region of Morganton, NC.  One is the School for the Deaf.  These children have very low perceptions of sound; so they learn to use sign language or they lip read.  Either way; the hearing impaired must be facing the one speaking or signing to them.  Their listening skills are dependant upon their eyesight versus their hearing ability.

Many who have the ability to hear; take their hearing ears for granted.  We have no idea what it’s like to live in a silent world.

Helen Adams Keller was an American author, political activist, and lecturer. She was the first deaf-blind person to earn a bachelor of arts degree. Wikipedia

Three of her quotes are as follows:

“The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched – they must be felt with the heart.”
 
“Life is either a great adventure or nothing.”
 
“Although the world is full of suffering, it is also full of the overcoming of it.”
All three of those amazing quotes come from the heart of one who was totally deaf and blind.  Helen was born hearing and seeing but contracted a disease that affected her brain and stomach. At 19 months of age she became blind and deaf.  As she grew; she learned to see and hear with her heart.  She came to know the One Jesus who was her eyes and her ears.
How many times have we said to a hearing person; “Are you deaf?”  Alternately, how many times have we said to someone searching for an item; “Are you blind?”  That individual may have chosen to close their ears and focus on something else.
Helen wrote the following regarding blind and deaf people.
The only really blind are those who will not see the truth — those who shut their eyes to the spiritual vision. For them alone darkness is irrevocable. Those who explore the dark with love as a torch and trust as a guide find it good. Blind people who have eyes know that they live in a spiritual world inconceivably more wonderful than the material world that is veiled from them.”
Prayer in Motion:
Oh God, open my eyes that I might see You.  Open my ears that I might hear You and obey all You say do.  May I never be blinded by my own rebellion against You.  Forgive me for all the times I have turned a deaf ear to Your godly counsel and closed my eyes to what I’ve seen in Your Word.  Thank You for forgiveness and a new day with new mercies, all from a God who sees and hears every thought I think.

A High Mountain

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Devotion: “And he carried me away in the Spirit to a great and high mountain, and showed me the great city, the holy Jerusalem, descending out of heaven from God., having the glory of God.  Her light was like a most precious stone, like a jasper stone, clear as crystal.” Revelation 21:10-11

On Saturday, our dear friends, Michele and Tom Dodds invited us to come to Green Mountain in Catawba County, NC. We decided to take a  hike up to Mile High Lake.  While scaling an area about 15 feet high;  we actually had to pull ourselves up, grabbing onto small trees on our left.  I was mortified to look over the huge ravine to our right.

When I think of hiking; I think of gently sloping paths leading to a gorgeous waterfalls or view of the Blue Ridge Mountains.  Although nothing like many of you have hiked; it was a challenge for me. I am deathly afraid of heights;  however, my friend Michele said, “You can do this.”  You know what?  I did it. I am glad I did.

We saw lots of gold, glittering in the sunlight.  Known as “fool’s gold”; mica gleamed, all along our deeply creviced foot path.

Only a month ago; during a horrific rainstorm, the MIle High Lake had voraciously spilled its waters down the mountain, carving out these deep crevices under our feet.  The rushing waters of this now beautiful, calm lake, destroyed several campers and cars in the park’s resort.

Surrounding this small body of water; were gorgeous bushes full of mountain flowers. To our left and right inside the edge of the water, grew bright pink water lilies.  What beauties to behold!  We were in awe of the surrounding beauty.

John experienced the glory and awe of God when the Spirit carried him away to a great and high mountain.  One day we will be carried away by our Bridegroom to our heavenly city.  For those of us who are afraid of heights; there will be no more fear, when we take the heavenly flight to our eternal home.

Prayer in Motion:

Lord Jesus, thank You for the beauty of the earth.  You created the mountains and the hills for us to enjoy.  You did that for Your good pleasure.  I bless Your Holy Name.  May I enjoy all You created, until I am forever in my heavenly home.  In Jesus Name.  Amen

 

 

 

 

Lost Your Joy?

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Devotion:  “Nehemiah said, “Go and enjoy choice food and sweet drinks, and send some to those who have nothing prepared. This day is holy to our Lord. Do not grieve, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.”  Nehemiah 8:10

Did you know it’s a sin to lose your joy? God does not intend for us to permanently lose our joy.  So where does joy unspeakable and full of glory come from?  Can we automatically display it on demand?

There are times in our lives when the music fades.  We must strain to recall, “The joy of the Lord is our strength.”  Are joy and happiness synonymous?  They can be, but not always.  When we lose a family member or friend; God does not expect you to be happy.  Grief is part of life; however the joy of the Lord is still dwelling inside of us, because He tabernacles with us.

                     Joy is higher than happiness.

Joy comes from deep within our spirit.  It’s the second attribute listed in the fruit of God’s Holy Spirit.  1 Peter 1:8 speaking of Jesus Christ, “whom having not seen you love.  Though now you do not see Him, yet believing, you rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory.”

In verse 7 of 1 Peter 1, Peter speaks of the “genuineness of our faith, being much more precious than gold that perishes, though it is tested by fire, may be found to praise, honor and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ.”

My dear brother or sister in Christ; it’s a hard question, but

      how can we learn to rejoice with joy inexpressible,

if our faith is never tested by fire?  We will be grieved by various trials.  Many of you are grieved in your spirit this very moment.  I am with you but we must not grieve as those who have no hope.

Will you begin to praise and worship the Lord in this trial? It’s a painful thing and sometimes it even makes you angry.  Will you begin to lift up this person or circumstance in prayer; before the Only One who can do anything about it? Pray God’s Word over the person or the circumstance.  I think you may find the Lord is training you in righteousness; as you wait upon Him to answer your prayer.

Habakkuk 3:18 tells us: “Yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will joy in the God of my salvation.”  Precious one, it’s the only way God can restore to you, “joy unspeakable and full of glory.”

Prayer in Motion:

Lord, I come to You asking You to restore to me the joy of my salvation.  You alone are my strength and joy.  It’s not something I can produce on my own.  I love You and thank You for restoring my joy.  In Jesus Name.  Amen

Replica

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Devotion:  Remember your leaders, who spoke the word of God to you. Consider the outcome of their way of life and imitate their faith.   Hebrews 13:7

While walking on the beach a few weeks ago; I found a shell that resembled a feather.  A couple of days ago; I walked outside to do some weeding and I saw lots of feathers.  Some little bird was missing about 20 of his feathers.   I finished weeding and came inside to lay the real feather beside the “feather like shell”.  I snapped a picture.  My son has the cord to down load pictures or I would show you the feather like shell.

The shell is perfect in form and fashion; with a quill like stem curving down the middle and perfectly spaced lines flowing out from that stem.  It just blew me away.  Of course it’s heavy; not light as a feather.  You certainly could tell the difference; but it honestly looks like it was poured into a mold and formed by the Creator, a replica of a feather.  It did not come from a bird’s body; but was formed by the sand and the ocean’s tide.

If you stand a Christian and non-Christian side by side; chances are, you won’t be able to tell by their physical appearances, if they belong to Christ.  You would have to walk beside them and observe their behavior for about a week; before you could detect their Christ like character.

Paul imitated Christ and asked those he discipled, to imitate him.

Christians; although different in their outward form, should definitely replicate the character of Christ.  The world should know we are Christians by our love.

Prayer in Motion:

Lord Jesus, help me to build my brothers and sisters up in their most holy faith.  May I replicate the image of Christ both now and always.  In Jesus Name.  Amen

 

 

 

 

Like Minded

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Devotion:  fulfill my joy by being like-minded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind.”  Philippians 2:2

“Birds of a feather flock together.”  God made it to be this way.

An author and illustrator named MaryJo Koch said; “Similarities make friendships fun.  Differences make them more interesting.” We tend to gravitate toward people who are “like minded.” We can enjoy each other’s differences but our similarities become the glue that holds us together.

All of us have long time friends that we rarely see.  The instant we are reunited; our shared history, restores the time the locusts have eaten.

You have friends at work, friends at church, friends that are neighbors, friends you go out to dinner with, friends you still keep in contact with from high school or college and even friends that are family.

We read from Proverbs 18:24;A man that hath friends must shew himself friendly: and there is a friend that sticketh closer than a brother.”  HIs Name is Jesus, the Author and Finisher of our shared faith.

Philippians 2:5  tells us, “Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus,”

Think about your closest friends.  What traits do you share? What is the glue that holds you together?  Is it your common interests?  Is it those who are close in age?  For Christians; it’s our shared faith in Jesus Christ.  We are deeply like minded. Our friendship is rooted and grounded in the One who brought us together.

Who do you call upon, when your life is falling apart?  Who are the ones you ask to pray?  It’s those you can know for certain will pray  fervent, effectual prayers that avail much.  There is a common Hope you are fixed upon. His Name is Jesus.  You can be transparent, bear your souls with one another, without condemnation.  They love you unconditionally but will give you godly counsel, when they speak truth in love.  “Count your blessings name them one by one.”

  Stop and give thanks to God for those like minded friends.

Prayer in Motion:

Lord, I am so grateful for the gift of friends.  You are the closest Friend of all.   You alone brought these precious people into my life. They have counseled me, held me up in prayer and even met my deepest needs.  Bless the ones who have not forsaken me and have loved me through thick and thin.  I will never get over Your great love shown toward me; through this earthly treasure of  like minded friends.  In Jesus Name I pray.  Amen

 

Who’s the Judge?

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Devotion: “Judge not,, and you shall not be judged.  Condemn not, and you shall not be condemned.  Forgive and you will be forgiven.” …”For with the same measure that you use, it will be measured back to you.”  Luke 6:37, 38b

If you begin to ponder the latter part of verse 38; it will most definitely curb your propensity toward judging others.  The same measuring stick you use to measure others; will come back upon you.  Those are tall orders my friend.  We can’t live up to our own expectations; much less impose them on others.

“You are not the judge of me.”  Those words have been spoken thousands of times by young and old alike.  They are absolutely right; based upon Romans 14:10 and James 4:12. Both support today’s devotional verse. Scripture exegetes scripture.

Romans 14:10 says; “But why do you judge your brother? Or why do you show contempt for your brother?  For we all stand before the judgment seat of Christ.”  If love covers a multitude of sins; then why don’t we give out the truth in love, versus condemnation. Jesus said, “There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.”  People are dropping out of church by the droves, for this very reason.

There are some who are just looking for an excuse to “forsake the assembling of themselves together, as is the habit of some.” They get their feelings hurt or don’t like the way of the leadership.  The list can go on and on.  Again, you are not their judge.  The Bible says Christians are known by their fruit.  We are to be fruit inspectors but never judgers.

If you see your brother or sister going astray; go to him or her; not in judgement but tell the truth in love, with grace and mercy,.

James 4:12 tells us; “There is one lawgiver, who is able to save and to destroy.  Who are you to judge another?”  Verse 11 tell us not to speak evil of one another.  Uh Oh!  Guilty as charged.

In James 5:8 God tells us to be patient.  Establish our hearts, for the coming of the Lord is at hand.  Verse 9 says “Do not grumble against one another, brethren, lest you be condemned.  Behold the Judge is standing at the door!”

My dear sister or brother in Christ; repent and ask Jesus to forgive you for taking His place.  We are not the judge.  Jesus is!

Prayer in Motion:

Oh Jesus, forgive me for judging my brothers and sisters in Christ.  I am not their judge.  Teach me to hold my tongue and submit my thoughts to You Lord.  In Jesus Name I pray.  Amen