Archive for the ‘Devotional’ Category

Behold Your God

The worldwide pandemic known as COVID-19 has created an immense diversion from our normal, daily life. During the first few weeks, I felt overwhelmed by the challenges that were developing. As a middle school teacher, what began as a one week Spring Break soon became a closure of school for the remainder of the school year with a transition to distance learning. Most people have experienced change during this unprecedented time.

Change is not always a bad thing. I’ve witnessed people caring and sharing in a manner that seemed in times past to have been overcome by judgement and selfishness. It’s refreshing. I’ve also seen people drawing closer to God with fewer distractions and declaring their faith through video devotions posted on church Facebook pages.

Isaiah 40:9 says, “O Zion, You who bring good tidings, Get up into the high mountain; O Jerusalem, You who bring good tidings, Lift up your voice with strength, Lift it up, be not afraid; Say to the cities of Judah, “Behold your God!”” We are called to share the good news of salvation. We need to shout it from the mountain tops not with a voice of fear, but instead with great joy and eagerness! So often we are hesitant to share our faith, our God, and the salvation He offers. In the past few weeks, I’ve seen many in our community boldly proclaiming the love of Jesus and the change he has made in their lives.

The word “behold” means to see or observe a thing or person that is especially remarkable or impressive. When I think of beholding a thing, I think of the Garden of the Gods in Colorado Springs. When we travel to Colorado, I always insist on visiting this park. It’s beauty just entrances me. I sit and study the magnificent rock formations and take pictures to share.

When I think of beholding my God, I feel an even greater awe! He is the one who was prophesied about and the world awaited. He is our Redeemer. He bore our sins and died a gruesome death because of His love for each of us. He has all power in heaven and earth. He is our God and so much more! To behold Him means to study and share Him even more intently than my study and sharing pictures of rock formations. It means to study the Bible and get to know Him through prayer, and then share that good news with others.

Don’t let fear stop you. Behold your God, and then shout it from the mountaintop!

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Peace in Troubled Times

In just a few weeks, COVID-19 has transformed from a subject of very little concern to many people in my area to something that is totally disrupting the lives of most if not all.

There are so many things you may be dealing with personally that may be causing anxiety, but know that God can give you peace beyond all understanding. No matter how difficult or impossible your situation may seem right now, trust God. You’ll find it’s much easier to trust Him through any struggle and even the day to day mess when you’re spending time with Him in prayer and reading His word each day. If you aren’t already doing that, don’t hesitate; start now.

My health may fail, and my spirit may grow weak, but God remains the strength of my heart; He is mine forever. Psalm 73:26

But you are a shield around me, O Lord, my glory , and the one who lifts up my head. Psalm 3:3

Now may the Lord of peace Himself give you peace always in every way. The Lord be with you all. 2 Thessalonians 3:16

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Let This be My Story

Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you – Deuteronomy 31:6.

What if I were able to live out this verse through every circumstance of my life? To be strong and courageous because no matter what happens the Lord my God will be with me. To never be afraid because I fully trust that He will never leave me.

Recently I’ve had a few nightmares in which I am being chased. In one dream, my life was in grave danger, yet as I was hiding, I was singing the chorus of “Blessed Assurance” which says:

This is my story, this is my song, praising my Savior all the day long. This is my story, this is my song, praising my savior all the day long.

I awoke in awe of the peace that I felt as I sang this chorus in a nightmare which caused such distress. I was totally trusting God in that moment! I want this to be my song each and every day. I want to be able to praise Him no matter how scary the moment, no matter how weak I feel, no matter what comes my way. I want to be strong because I fully believe that He is with me. Let this be my story!

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Bold and Unstoppable

How bold are you in proclaiming your faith?

Our cat has suddenly begun crying out boldly in the middle of the night with a squall that jars everyone awake from an otherwise uneventful night. This has become an almost nightly occurrence. I finally discovered this cry comes from our bathroom which amplifies the volume. Why does she do this? Maybe she likes the acoustics and the fact that there are no other sounds during the night to drown out her late night songs. She doesn’t care that our dog (who thinks he’s her boss) is always ready and waiting for her to do something wrong so that he can chase her through the house. She is unstoppable!

Paul was a lot like my cat…bold and unstoppable. Acts 28:31 says “He proclaimed the kingdom of God and taught about the Lord Jesus Christ – with all boldness and without hindrance”. Prior to chapter 28, Paul had been arrested for preaching, conspired against, imprisoned, tortured, shipwrecked, and more. He had many circumstances that might deter his preaching, yet he continued without hesitation.

Paul did not back down simply because someone wanted him to stop. He was not intimidated. He did not make excuses. He continued to tell of God’s goodness and of Jesus’s resurrection boldly. His ministry thrived because he was a force that would not stop simply because of his faith.

How bold are you in proclaiming God’s goodness? Often we are our own greatest obstacle. We make excuses. We are intimidated by the opinions of others and stopped by fear and insecurity.

How can we share God boldly like Paul with so many obstacles? Ask Him to cast aside all fear of judgment and give you strength to do what He wants you to do. No hesitation. No fear. No hindrances. Believe that God loves you, and hold on to the fact that His love and approval are all you need.

Like Paul’s ministry, there will be trials, but with God we can overcome any obstacle. Step out in faith and share God boldly like Paul. Then keep singing His praises like my cat who just won’t give up even when the dog is on your tail!

Be bold! Be unstoppable! All for the kingdom of God.

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Transform

Happy New Year!! A time that we make resolutions to be healthier, more committed to relationships, more successful at our job. The list just goes on and on. But there is no greater resolution than to seek God and to allow Him to transform you, and there’s no better time than today to start.

Start by reading the Bible everyday. If you don’t have a Bible, get a Bible app and set it for daily reminders. Or set your alarm a little earlier each morning. Find a Bible study partner or group to hold you accountable and share about your transformation and what you’re learning. What better way to start your day than with scripture! According to an article in Psychology Today, it takes an average of 66 days for a new activity to become a habit. So we need all the reminders we can get!

The SOAP method is my personal favorite for Bible study. It helps me avoid the Reading Just to be Reading issue. To be honest, there are times I’ve read my Bible but then later in the day or week I had no idea what I had read. I learned nothing, felt no connection to God, and definitely was not seeking Him or transformed in any way. I think if you try this method, you’ll find it helps!

S is for SCRIPTURE – Pray over the Bible reading, then read it slowly allowing God to lead you to specific verses. Write down scriptures that capture your attention and focus your attention on that.

O is for OBSERVE – Record in your journal any thoughts or questions you have regarding the scripture.

A is for APPLY – Write down what God is saying to you. What is God’s personal message, instruction, encouragement, or correction? Take time to listen, and allow Him to get personal.

P is for PRAY – Write a personal prayer about what God has shown you. This will help you to stay focused. Again, be sure to listen. Prayer is a two way conversation. God may reveal more to you during this time if you give Him the chance.

I like to keep a journal just for my SOAP Bible Studies. I use two pages, side by side. Below is an example from my journal. No judgement please…I never expected to share haha!

Often I enjoy going back to read the insight from past studies. It amazes me the application that I’ve gleaned through this type of personal Bible study. Something I plan to start is including the date. Make it pretty if you like. Make it personal. Make it your New Year’s Resolution and allow God to transform you!

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When tragedy strikes, one of three things happens with our faith. We tend to grow closer to God and our faith grows stronger; we turn from God blaming Him for allowing this and doubting His love and power; or we get caught somewhere in the middle. Honestly I have to admit that I was lost somewhere in the middle for awhile.

After my husband’s accident, I drew close to God, leaning on Him in those difficult days when it was hard to see my husband in the man that Traumatic Brain Injury had created and to watch him struggle with changes he could not control.

Then a year later I was shocked to discover that I had Lupus, and I became lost in fear. My faith became a sort of roller coaster of highs and lows. Probably more lows than highs. I have never blamed God or felt that He had given up on me. I never stopped believing or trusting God, but I failed to seek Him which left me feeling I had to face these battles alone.

I stopped journaling, had trouble focusing on reading God’s word, and struggled to get my thoughts together at times. I was caught somewhere between fully trusting God with my life and turning my back on Him, but thankfully He never gave up on me. I always felt Him tugging at my heart wanting me to recommit to that daily walk with Him. My strength was renewed and my walk restored because of His unfailing love!

No matter what we go through, God promises to be with us. Do not be afraid, nor dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go (Joshua 1:9). He promises to help us and give us rest. Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest (Matthew 11:28). And He will always love us. Since you were precious in my sight, you have been honored, and I have loved you (Isaiah 43:4). These are just a few of the many wonderful and reassuring promises in God’s word. His love is never failing!

Even when you are stuck somewhere in the middle, He still loves you and wants you to find your way back to Him.

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This is Temporary

There is wonderful joy ahead, even though it is necessary for you to endure many trials for awhile. These trials are only to test your faith, to show that it is strong and pure. It is being tested as fire tests and purifies gold – and your faith is far more precious to a God than mere gold. So if your faith remains strong after being tried by fiery trials, it will bring you much praise and glory and honor on the day when Jesus Christ is revealed to the whole world. 1 Peter 1:6-7

Things may be difficult as you’re going through trials, but this scripture promises that trials are temporary. God doesn’t send trials to break you, but instead He allows them in order to make your faith in Him stronger.

When you feel frustrated by the trials in your life, remember that there will be wonderful joy again, so lean on Him and wait expectantly for that joy. Believe that this is temporary and your faith is more precious than gold.

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