Frozen

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Devotion:  Ezekiel 36:26

No, I’m not talking about the children’s movie.  It was Thanksgiving Eve and I had to run out to buy cranberry sauce. My family loves it and I had forgotten this complementary addition to our bird.  Behind me was a young lady who plopped a frozen turkey up on the counter.  The time was 9:00 p.m. and that bird was as hard as stone, frozen clear through.

I wanted to ask, “When were you planning to serve that turkey? I hope it’s not for Thanksgiving Day; because your family and friends will be waiting till next week, for their slice of turkey. There won’t be any yummy smelling flavors, coming from your oven baked turkey.  My hope was that she was buying it for a later date.

On the eve of Thanksgiving, one must buy a fresh turkey, if        he or she is planning to serve it on Thanksgiving Day.

In like manner; so many people exhibit a heart of stone, to the watching world.  They just don’t care about anybody else but themselves and what’s going on in their private world.

        Frozen hearts are not ready for the work of God.

God talks about replacing the heart of stone and giving us a heart of flesh.  He longs to give us a heart He can work with; one that emits a sweet smelling savor.

How can God give a heart of flesh in place of a heart of stone? Verse 27 gives the answer.  He says,  “I will put My Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My statutes, and you will keep My judgements and do them.”

You see our hearts can only be changed by the Spirit of the Living God.  Rather than plopping down a cold, hard heart, let’s serve God and the people He has given us, through a heart of flesh.

Prayer in Motion:

Oh God, I pray that You will help me to serve You and the people in my sphere of influence through a heart of flesh.  Forgive me for all the times I have exhibited a heart of stone.  Spirit of the Living God, fall fresh upon me.  In Jesus Name.  Amen!

 

 

 

 

A Strong Light

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Devotion:  Matthew 5:16

“Light of the world, You shone out of the darkness; glorious in heaven above.  Humbly You came to the earth You created…All for love’s sake became poor.”

This Light of the World pierced a very dark world indeed.  God created a special bright star, bright enough to deliver the shepherds and the wise men to the stable where Jesus lay.

No darkness can keep the Light of Jesus from penetrating this dark world.  Christian, do you let your light so shine before the people in your world?  The light inside of you is strong.  Don’t hide it under a bushel.  Let it shine so that the people will see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.

Recently the light in my stove went out.  My husband bought an appliance replacement bulb.  It’s very dim and really is almost worthless; as far as being able to observe the food cooking inside.

                    Strength and brightness matters.

If your light is dim; you can’t penetrate the darkness of this world.  Be strong and courageous.  Do not be afraid.  The Lord your God is with you.  Sweet friend, you are inhabited by the light of the world.  Will you let Him shine through your good works?  Will you glorify your Father which is in heaven; by refusing to take a back seat to righteousness and truth?

Be strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might.  It’s by His power you can shine brightly.

Prayer in Motion:

Lord Jesus, I want to be a bright light to my world.  Help me to display You to the lost and dying people all around me.  Let me be a strong light for Jesus sake and glory.  In Jesus Name.  Amen

 

Broken Things

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Devotion:  Psalm 34:20

Standing on a wooden dinning room chair, to remove and replace a strand of burned out lights on the Christmas tree; one of my favorite ornaments fell and crashed against the edge of that chair.   It was one of those times when…

…you hear the crash before you know what has happened.

This cherished ornament was given to me by a dear friend. It was a round, white, iridescent piece of glass, with children from different nations; painted upon it.  Saddened to break this beautiful tree decoration; I descended to the floor, picking up the gazillion little pieces and jabbing one sliver into my finger. The moments pain was an indication of how my heart felt.

While re-organizing the kitchen pantry on Saturday, this time up on the step ladder,  I heard another crash.  A full jar of marinara sauce broke and splattered all over the wooden floor and the accompanying wall. Although not sad; I was aggravated at this big ole red, smelly mess.  It looked and smelled like something had died.

My husband’s cousin, Wanda Pendegrass and her daughter Ashley; along with granddaughter Zoe, were in a bad wreck about a week ago.  Wanda was t-boned and blessed that all were able to walk away from the wreckage.

I asked Wanda if she heard or saw the accident coming.  She told me, the only thing I remember is Ashley screaming, “Momma, hit the breaks; Momma, hit the breaks.”  Wanda had been momentarily knocked out.  She did not see or hear the oncoming car.  Spinning down an embankment; she was careening toward a huge tree and came in to consciousness in time to hear the words; “Momma, hit the breaks.”  She did hit the breaks and the car stopped short of slamming into a tree.

Needless to say; the car was totaled.  Broken glass; crumpled metal, bent frame; a total loss.  Wanda was the only one really bruised.  She retained a black eye and bruises that now cover a large part of her body.

           Broken things come in varying types and sizes.                              Disasters come in different degrees.

Wanda told me she keeps crying and saying thank You Jesus. This story could have truly been a sad one to share;

                              but God had another plan.

Brokenness comes in all forms and fashions.  Some are worth crying over and some are not.  A broken ornament is nothing to cry about.  It’s just a thing.  Broken people is something to cry about.  Will you be a part of the mending process for those  you know are broken; either physically, emotionally, financially or spiritually?

Prayer in Motion:

Thank You Lord for sparing this dear family from what could have been a horrible disaster.  What a story they have to tell; all to the praise, honor and glory of You Lord Jesus. You are a merciful God, no matter what happens.  I choose to trust You both now and always. May I be a part of the mending process for those who are broken.  In Jesus Name.  Amen

Presence of Heart

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Devotion:  Acts 3:19

Thanksgiving is over.   Black Friday is over. Some of you have completed all of your decorations, your shopping and the presents are wrapped.  Your calendar is filled with Christmas parties and gatherings to come. Hold onto your hat. Oh what fun it is to ride… the Christmas time…hap..happiest season of all.

Sometimes, I wonder if through all the gift buying, decorating, cooking, and planning; we lose the whole idea behind Christmas. We hold the gifts in our hand; the gifts we bought to give and the presents we will receive but what do we hold in our heart?

Christmas is all about the heart.  Christ-mas.  It started because of Christ’s birth.  The greatest Gift ever given; wrapped up in the form of this God – Child,  Emmanuel, God with us.

This Christmas;  I am going to challenge you to do do something intentional.

                       Make Christmas more about                                                  Christ’s presence over the presents.

There is nothing wrong with our traditions of gift buying, having family and friends over to exchange and enjoy all of those yummy Christmas  recipes.  Christmas is truly the most wonderful time of the year. Not because of the presents but

         …because of the presence of Christ in our heart.

Are you up for the challenge?  Before you get out of bed tomorrow morning; ask God to keep you Christ focused this 2016 Christmas season. Hold Him closely in your heart.   I guarantee, if you will focus on His presence, the present buying will not be the central issue.  He wants you to remember He is Emmanuel, God with us.

Prayer in Motion:

Oh Lord, may Christmas of 2016 be more about Your presence than the presents.  I want my focus to be on the Savior of the World, the eternal versus the gifts the world has to offer.  I declare to You, I will be more intentional about Your presence and less consumed with the presents.  I will love You Lord with all my heart, all my soul and all my strength.  In Jesus Name.  Amen.

 

Jesus Ascension Affirmed

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Devotion:  Acts 1:1-5

The apostle Luke wrote the book of Luke and continued his writing in the book of Acts.  Luke speaks of all those to whom He presented Himself alive, after His suffering by many infallible proofs.  He was seen by numbers of people during the forty days before His ascension.

Jesus spoke to the people He trusted with His message.  Every word He spoke pertained to the kingdom of God.  From His resurrected body came the most wonderful promise:

                “You shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit not                                                   many days from now.”

The whole book of Acts pertains to living life empowered by the Holy Spirit.  The apostles were accustomed to having Jesus in the flesh, God Incarnate right by their side.  This was the beginning of a new day, a new way of living the Christian life.

There are several times the Bible speaks about forty day periods. These key passages all represent increments of time significant to those who are Christ followers.

When God was sorry He made man.   Genesis 7:4  “For after seven more days I will cause it to rain on the earth forty days and forty nights, and I will destroy from the face of the earth all living things that I have made.”

Exodus 34:28 Moses on the mountain with God. So he was there with the Lord forty days and forty nights; he neither ate bread nor drank water. And He wrote on the tablets the words of the covenant, the Ten Commandments.”

1 Kings 19:8 Speaking of Elijah as he ran from King Ahab.  So he arose, and ate and drank; and he went in the strength of that food forty days and forty nights as far as Horeb, the mountain of God.”

Matthew 4:2  speaking of Jesus when He was tempted by Satan in the wilderness…..And when He had fasted forty days and forty nights, afterward He was hungry.”

Obviously there must be something significant about a forty day period. Every situation represents a time of the completion of a trial or time of testing.

Prayer in Motion:

Lord, thank You for every forty day period of time recorded for us. Each one was and is powerfully significant to my life today. Thank You for the example of much prayer and supplication going on during each time frame.  I love You Lord Jesus!  It’s in Your precious Name I offer up this prayer

Fruitful and Productive

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Devotion:  Galatians 5:25

Years ago, I worked at Hickory Grove Baptist Church’s Main Campus in the prayer ministry; as assistant to the prayer co-ordinator, Gail Caraway.  On any e-mail sent out by our computer guy; Dick would say, “May you have a fruitful and productive day.

Does your life seem unproductive even though you are involved in all sorts of “Christian” activities?  I read that question posed by Kay Arthur in her book “The Holy Spirit Unleashed in You.” Many Christians pray to receive Christ and then do life in their own flesh, in stead of walking by the Spirit.

What is the secret to living a fruitful and productive life?  

Jesus promised to send the Spirit after He ascended to the Father.  I want you to ask yourself; “What does my personal relationship with God look like?  What is my relationship with His Holy Spirit to be?

In Acts 1:14 we see the disciples “all with one mind, were continually devoting themselves to prayer.”  My dear friend; if we do not continually devote ourselves to prayer; we will not be continually filled with the Holy Spirit.  If you have prayed to receive Christ; He will never leave you nor forsake you; however you cannot live continually filled by His Spirit, if you refuse to have Him search your heart daily, to see if there be any wicked way in you.  Then, ask Him to fill you afresh and anew on a daily basis.

Acts 1:2 tells us; speaking of Jesus, He had by the Holy Spirit given orders to the apostles whom He had chosen.  What orders?  He commanded them in vs. 4-5  “not to leave Jerusalem, but to wait for what the Father had promised…They would be baptized with the Holy Spirit…”

Jesus knew the plan before the foundation of the earth. Jesus knew that it would be through His death; the Holy Spirit would come into the hearts of His disciples.

The only way to achieve a fruitful and productive life is through God’s Holy Spirit.  Seek first God’s kingdom and all these things will be added unto us.

Prayer in Motion: 

Lord, I am asking You today, to search me Oh God and know my heart.  See if there be any wicked way in me and lead me to the way everlasting. Fill me with Your precious Holy Spirit.  May I be convicted, comforted and remain upon the path You have ordained for me. Help me to be fruitful and productive all the days of my life. I love You Lord.  In Your powerful Name I offer up this prayer.  Amen

 

 

Endure All Things

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Devotion:  Genesis 41:38-39

Joseph endured wrong accusations and even paid for the lies told against him.  His brothers sold him into slavery.  He overcame and rose to the top; second in command under Potipher.   Wrongly accused of sexual assault by Potipher’s wife; Joseph was thrown into prison to serve an indefinte amount of time for her slander.

Joseph had interpreted a dream for the cupbearer, who promised to remember Joseph to the Pharaoh for his interpretation.  The cupbearer forgot to mention Joseph’s giftedness to Pharaoh; so instead of one year, he had to spend two more.

Have you ever experienced any such atrocity?  Maybe you deserved a promotion or some sort of recognition for all of your hard work and yet; you were forgotten, only to see someone else delivered to freedom.

                           How do we endure all things?

1 Corinthians 13: (speaking of love) declares in verse 7…..”bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things..” Verse 8a says, “Love never fails.”

Only when the Pharaoh needed an interpretation for his dream; did the cupbearer remember Joseph.  Many magicians and wise men were sought out to interpret these disturbing dreams.  Don’t you wonder why it took the cupbearer so long to have his memory jostled?

God’s timing is always perfect.  From what are you waiting to be delivered?  What is it you are having to bear up under? What are you having to endure?

The secret to bearing up under all things is found in the 1 Corinthians 13 passage.  If you will bear all things, believe all things, hope all things and endure all things; at the right time, God will deliver you to the freedom you so long to experience.

In the meantime; “Be content where you are.”  Remember Joseph’s life.  Was it the pathway to easy street?  NO!  He always endured whatever the Lord allowed in his life. Through his love for God;  he patiently endured with joy and contentment; until God brought promotion.

Prayer in Motion:

Oh Lord my God, I want to endure all things You allow into my life.  They are not for evil but for good, my good and Your glory. You are training me in righteousness.  I want to be trained in righteousness.  May I bear all things, believe all things, hope all things and endure all things.  May I be the child of God you created me to be.  In Jesus Name.  Amen