Firsts

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Devotion:  Isaiah 48:12

There are many firsts.  Our first breath; first time we began to walk, first words, first time reading, first tests, first hand holding, first kiss.  Firsts indicate beginnings.  Firsts can be outstanding or firsts can be a night mare.

                       Some firsts should never happen.

For a time; my friend Lisa and I worked with girls who had been abused physically from the beginning of their lives.  The youngest girl was a thirteen year old who looked and acted eighteen.  She had known abuse in the worst kind of ways.  She was always messing with her long beautiful hair; either twisting it, or rubbing it or combing it.  That was probably a means of distraction from all the abuse she had endured.

Every girl Lisa and I worked with; had been sexually abused and were rescued from sex trafficking.  Each one had been abused by her father, brother, uncle, neighbor, or friend of the family prior to being sex trafficked.  All of these girls are as fearfully and wonderfully made, as you and me.  Their firsts were not their lasts.  They happened repeatedly.

Just as there are horrific firsts that no one should have to endure;  there are also wonderful firsts, the first time we heard about Jesus, the first airplane ride, the first time we met our best friend, the first time we held a new born baby.  All of these were amazing firsts from which we have wonderful memories.

Some of these previously sex trafficked girls, heard the gospel of Jesus for the first time; however many of them had heard about Jesus from their grandmothers.  There had been good seeds planted somewhere in their heritage.  Some of them knew a little about God’s Word and others knew nothing.  Some could read and others could barely read.

One can understand their hesitancy to trust their Father God, as Creator and Redeemer.  It is through kindness that we are led to repentance.  We showered them with kindness on every hand. Some willingly received and others rejected the Word shared every Monday evening.

Here’s what Lisa and I realized.  God’s Word will not return void. We may not have seen the fruit of our labors but it doesn’t mean there will never be any fruit.  God can bring to their remembrance His Word at any given time.  He is the First and the Last, the Great I Am.  It is our prayer, that these girls will remember God’s Word and cling to it.  It might be heaven before we see some of these girls again but it is our prayer that not one of them would perish without knowing Jesus as their Savior.

Prayer in Motion:

Lord, may I never refuse to experience all the amazing firsts You have for me.  I want to walk with You and talk with You on a daily basis. May I be full of grace for those who have experienced firsts they would have never chosen on their own. Spirit of the Living God fall fresh on them and on me.  In Jesus Name. Amen.

 

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Reactions Based Upon Love

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Devotion:  Galatians 5:13

If we would choose to react to the people God has given us based upon love; there would be fewer misunderstandings in this world.  Actions speak louder than words.

Every single person ever created by God craves love.  If we are raised in a loving environment; we will understand how to give and receive love.  The Bible says, “God is love.”  If we are created in His image; and we are, then no wonder we crave love as much as we crave food and shelter.

God wrapped His love around us through His Son Jesus.  He uses people in this world to extend love to His children.

We hear horror stories of children being raised in extremely difficult environments.  They are mentally and physically abused so their lives are never well rounded.   These girls and boys turn into young adults who spend the rest of their lives trying to find the love of which they were deprived.

If we could learn to react in love to those who don’t know how to express love, the world would be a better place to live.  I believe people would be flocking to our churches in unprecedented numbers.  Instead people are leaving churches by the droves because they are not finding the love Jesus speaks about throughout His Word.

Since love is the first of the nine attributes of the fruit of the Spirit; ask the Lord to help you display love instead of unkindness to the difficult people He has allowed into your life. You know He will gladly answer that prayer.

Prayer in Motion:

Lord Jesus, I pray you will help me to display love to all who need a touch from You.  I want to display the love of Christ to a lost and dying world.  Thank You for teaching me and training me to react in love to those in my world.  I love You Lord.  Amen

 

 

 

 

Intentionally Paying Attention

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Devotion: Philippians 4:8

Many of us are easily distracted.  We have to intentionally make an effort to pay close attention.  It only takes a gnat to fly by for our heads to be turned.  Others are so focused; not even a loud noise distracts them from what they are doing.  I wish I had an ounce of that kind of focus.

It has to be totally quiet; no noise in the background, when I am reading.  When I was in college; I would go to the library to study because there were too many people up and down my hallway and in and out of my room. I could hear other people laughing and having a good ole time in their rooms.  All these things drove me to distraction.

Can we train ourselves to deliberately pay attention?  Through practice, I believe we can.  What thoughts are you planting into your brain?  What you consciously think about should be deliberate, with the aim to develop understanding.

Dr. Caroline Leaf says;”Intentional deep thinking shapes your world view.”  When you think deeply, your brain has the potential to change.  Lord knows I need my brain to change.  I want to study to show myself approved unto God, to rightly divide the Word of truth.

What’s the most important thing in the world?  To love God and His people with all your heart, all your soul, all your mind and all your strength.  In order to do these things we have to focus on Him, His character, and His attributes.

Prayer in Motion:

Lord, thank You for giving me the mind to think on the things You would have me to dwell on.  I want to intentionally pay attention to Your Words and listen for Your voice.  I love You Lord.  In Jesus Name.  Amen

 

 

 

The Need for Air

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Devotion:  1 Thessalonians 4:17

Ever just feel like you’re going to burst if you don’t get outside to smell the air, and enjoy God’s green earth?  I’m that kind of person who needs to be outside and actually prefers outside to inside!  I love to smell fresh cut grass, fresh plowed dirt and the fragrance of flowers wafting in the air.

I grew up with a mom and dad who worked hard and worked the ground upon which they lived.  Mom hung our clothes outside on a clothes line.  She hung my dad’s work jeans on pant stretchers.  Those pants could stand by themselves when she took them off the  stretchers.  I still recall the clean, wonderful smell as I would remove them and hang them on a hanger.

We can easily take for granted the air God created for us to breathe.   I’ve had asthma the biggest part of my life; so I know what it’s like to struggle to get air into my lungs.  I’ve finally found a pulmonologist that is helping me tremendously.  Why did it take me so long to find him?  God’s timing is always perfect.

I shall never forget the day Dr. Patrick Kelly looked at me and said; “”I think I can help you.  He said it with such confidence that I totally believed him.  Many of you prayed and God gave him the wisdom and ability to know the right medications to prescribe. All I can say is hallelujah!  All glory, honor and praise be unto the Lord my God.

The air we breathe is important.  The lung capacity to breathe it is important.  God is so good to give us everything for which we have need; air being at the top of the list.

Prayer in Motion:

God, thank You for the air I breathe.  It’s wonderful to breathe fresh air from You.  I’m sorry I take it for granted but I know You supply every single breath I take; until I will breathe the fresh air of heaven.  I love You Lord Jesus.  In Your Name I pray.  Amen

Eternity Planted in our Hearts

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Devotion:  Ecclesiastes 3:11

God has planted eternity in our hearts, a God sized vacuum that only He can fill.  Many people try to fill this vacuum with everything but Him.  It’s like trying to put a square peg in a round hole.  Nothing else will truly fit but God.

God created us to have fellowship with Him.  He misses you and me when we fail to talk with Him on a daily basis.  He’s such a good Father.  He loves us more than we can possibly imagine. It’s hard for us to fathom that the God of the universe wants to have a personal relationship with us.  I can promise you based upon John 3:16; it’s His greatest desire.

You probably know this verse but here it is: “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son; that whosoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.”  Everlasting means lasting forever.  We cannot comprehend eternity because we have not yet been there.

Jesus promised “to go to prepare a place for us and when He comes again; He will receive us unto Himself.”  We will forever be with Him.  Each of those words: forever, eternity, everlasting; are hard for our finite minds to comprehend.  We probably cannot comprehend it until we experience it after our death.

However; we must pray for and witness to those who are filling their hearts with material possessions, partying and exciting adventures alone.  There is never a thought of you Jesus.  You are the very Person who alone can give peace, joy and contentment.

Prayer in Motion:

God, thank You for setting eternity in every man’s heart.  Thank You for doing that in my own heart.  I love You Lord with all my heart, all my soul, all my mind and all my strength.  In Jesus Name.  Amen.

Same Mindset as Christ

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Devotion:  Philippians 2:5

Can the realities in our lives be in alignment with God’s plan for our lives? According to 2 Timothy 1:7 we can think, choose and create with a sound mind.  So many of us react rather than respond.  The way you perceive, think and feel about things that are said to you will create your unique response.

Whether you choose to smile, agree or misunderstand; is your choice.  Lao Tzu said, “Watch your thoughts; they become words.  Watch your words; they become actions. Watch your actions; they become habits.  Watch your habits; they become character.  Watch your character; it becomes your destiny.”

A sound mind is a force to be reckoned with. You can overcome some pretty difficult things when you have a sound mind.  That doesn’t mean the things will change; however, the way you perceive and look at them will change. We need to use our minds in the best way possible. God longs for us to reflect His image to a hurting world. God is love and the world is not.

Remember the song Dionne Warwick made famous; “What the world needs now is love, sweet love  It’s the only thing that there’s just too little of.”  No truer words have ever been spoken. People need to know the love of Christ.  When man’s love fails; Christ’s love never fails.  He will never leave you nor forsake you.

God’s Word declares, “God is love.”   Just as others fail you; you will fail others.  We must give grace and love because much has been given to us.

Prayer in Motion:

Lord help me to have the mindset of Christ.  Remind me to cast my cares upon You Lord; morning, noon and night.  Bring to my remembrance that; “In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God and the Word was God and the Word became flesh and dwelt among us.”  Help me to fully rely upon Your Word as I develop the mind of Christ.  in Jesus Name.  Amen.

Just in Case

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Devotion:  Matthew 6:19-21

My husband and I were working down in our garage.  We discovered paint cans tucked away under our steps.  I suppose we kept these paints, just in case there were boo boos on our walls.  Did we ever use them? No!  Did we have boo boos?  Of course we did.

Do you ever keep old things; just in case you might need them? Maybe you’ve kept clothes that are two sizes too small or two sizes too big?  I’ve kept dishes for years that belonged to my mom, just because they were hers.  Do I ever use them?  No! Then why would I not share them with someone who will?  I asked my niece Lydia if she would want them.  She said yes!  I am so excited to share them with her.

Because of our remodeling; we are trying to hoe out and get rid of things not used in years.  I’ve kept things because they are sentimental to me.  I’m still ruminating over certain things.

Here’s an idea.  I could take pictures of things that were really special to me and look at them any time I want.   Why not?  I’ve helped clean out three people’s houses, after they passed away. One was horrific; the other two were not so bad.  It’s the horrific one that haunts me.

I don’t want our “just in case” stuff to be left for our kids to then have to throw away.  I’m certain they would not appreciate it.

Prayer in Motion:

Lord, help me to lay up treasures in heaven more than we lay up treasures on earth.  Show me what I need to share or just throw away.  I only want to keep what is valuable or useful to me. Speak to my heart Lord Jesus about the “just in case” stuff. Those things have nothing to add to eternity.  I love You Lord.  In Jesus Name.  Amen