Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Whose Tail is in Your Bird Feeder??

"The eternal God is your refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms.  He will drive out your enemy before you...."  Deuteronomy 33:27 (NIV)

This post is not about squirrels!  smile

I'm just wondering what it is that God has called you to do...to feed others...literally or through His Word...to minister to someone...to step out of your comfort zone and do something for Him...to act boldly and obey.

What or who is the enemy using in an effort to stop you?  What weapon is the enemy...the real enemy...pulling out of his arsenal that is prevailing against you?  Are you overcome with fear?  God's Word says 365 times, "Fear not!"  He...the LORD God is with us.  He will never leave us or forsake us!  Is doubt filling your mind, making you question His calling...and His ability to do His work through you?  Let me just stop and remind you right here....Moses thought that!  Is the enemy wearing you down in your circumstances, making you want to just give up?  Job could relate.  Are you discouraged...perhaps even by those to whom you are ministering?  Jesus understands...from experience.

Friends, the enemy has been BUSTED!!!

Unite in battle!!!  Take up the Sword of the Spirit and fight!  Fight!  Fight!  Fight!!!

Here's some powerful ammunition!

As Jesus said to Peter, "...upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it."  Matthew 16:18 (KJV)  What part is God wanting you to play in "building His church"??  Do it!  The enemy has been defeated!!!  Go forth in power!

"[The LORD] is your shield and helper and your glorious sword.  Your enemies will cower before you..."  Deuteronomy 33:29 (NIV)

"Do not gloat over me, my enemy!  Though I have fallen, I will rise.  Though I sit in darkness, the LORD will be my light."  Micah 7:8 (NIV)

Focus on the LORD.  Rely on Him.  Yield to Him.  Listen to His instruction.  Pray.  Believe.

"Surely it is You who love the people; all the holy ones are in Your hand.  At Your feet they all bow down, and from You receive instruction."  Deuteronomy 33:3 (NIV)

"I pray also that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of His glorious inheritance in the saints, and His incomparably great power for us who believe.  That power is like the working of his mighty strength, which He exerted in Christ when He raised Him from the dead...."  Ephesians 1:18-20a (NIV)

God has "called" you!  And He has "incomparably great power"...resurrection power to equip you for that work!!

LORD, we thank You that You desire to work through us.  We understand that in our weakness, You are strong.  In our inability, You are able!   We know that You are the Victor!!!  No power of hell can prevail against us!!  Help us to march forward knowing that You go before us and behind us!  We love You.  Empower us to obey Your call!

Friday, July 23, 2010

Adoption...The Cost

"For He chose us in Him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in His sight.  In love He predestined us to be adopted as His sons through Jesus Christ...."  Ephesians 1:4-5a (NIV)

We get the questions pretty frequently.  "What made you decide to adopt?"  "How long did it take?"  "How much did it cost?"  The answers are...God.  For God's work in our hearts, about 5 years...the actual adoption process, almost 2 years.  And $20,000.00.

God placed the desire in our hearts...mine and my husband's.  He confirmed it over a period of several years...in visible, tangible ways.  There was a longing in our hearts...an empty chair at our table.  We knew it was a part of His plan.  Before creation, God chose to grace our family with a precious daughter from China.  Oh, how thankful we are that we chose to obey!

Now, I'm not Presbyterian (smile to all my Presby friends and co-workers!!)...but not at all afraid of the word "predestined" in the verse above.  Staying away from denominational stances, I'll just say that I do believe that "He chose us in Him before the creation of the world"...and that applies to all of us.  As John 3:16 (NIV) says, "For God so loved that world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life."  There we are given the choice...to believe or not.  To accept the gift...or reject His plan for us.

Until we choose to say "yes," we are orphans...without an eternal home...without a forever family.

Through our experience of adoption, we can see a glimpse of the enormity of God's love for us...the choice He made...to make a way to give us a new life...the price that He paid...His sacrifice, beyond our inklings of understanding...His desire to have us as His own...His willingness to wait, no matter how long it takes...and the reality that He calls us His own...joint heirs with Christ.

"In Him we were also chosen, having been predestined according to the plan of Him who works out everything in conformity with the purpose of his will, in order that we, who were the first to hope in Christ might be for the praise of His glory.  And you also were included in Christ when you heard the Word of Truth, the gospel of your salvation.  Having believed, you were marked in Him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God's possession-to the praise of His glory."

Lord, Your love is amazing...overwhelming...incomprehensible.  Thank You for loving us as Your own.  Thank You for the price that was paid..."Oh, to grace how great a debtor, daily I'm constrained to be".  Help me to be worthy of being called Your child.  I love you.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

His Faithful Love Endures Forever!

Please visit me at http://www.grace-devotions.blogspot.com/ for a reminder!

Also, please drop in to http://www.write2ignite.wordpress.com/ !!!  If you are interested in writing for children, this site is an absolute must!!!  Check it out!  You might recognize the blogger of the week.  :)

Praying God's richest of blessings on your day!!

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Beautiful Feet

"Everything is permissible-but not everything is beneficial."  1 Corinthians 10:23 (NIV)

(First of all, I must admit that I've been quibbling a bit with God for the last couple of days over this post.  He won't let go!)

A lot of people don't like feet.  I'm not particularly fond of feet.  However, as I was smoothing on my sunless tanning lotion the other morning,  I thought, "I've got pretty feet."  It seems they are the only part of my body  not showing unsightly signs of aging...other than those crazy hairs that have erupted on my toes and that one little spot on the top of my foot.  Where did they come from???  Fortunately a razor can remedy that!  So yeah, other than the minor hair situation, my feet look pretty good!  Somehow they escaped the wrinkles, bulges, blotches, and age spots that have invaded the rest of my skin.  So back to the lotion rubbing...as I worked to apply the tanner evenly, I couldn't help but think how lovely my feet would look with a real tan.  I'm heading to the beach soon, so that is a real possibility.  But I know better.

You see, I've witnessed a 24 year old beauty deal with the devastation of melanoma...her first year of marriage spent agonizing with the side-effects of cancer treatment, dealing with fear of never being able to have children, or even losing her life.  By the grace of God, she lives...just as beautiful as ever...has two precious children...and is cancer free.

Sadly, I've also seen my husband's 27 year old cousin battle valiantly against her melanoma...and lose the fight...an untimely death that her doctor's said was caused by years of over-exposure to the sun...and in tanning beds.

My daughters have been raised to slather on the sunscreen...and never step foot in a tanning bed.  Hopefully their skin will stay healthier and more beautiful than mine.

As I pondered getting that real tan on my feet, the verse above came to mind.

Lots of things are permissible...but not beneficial.  We need to consider all the ways we treat our bodies...foods or drinks that we ingest...proper exercise or the lack thereof.  It is critical to be discerning with what we allow in our minds...from TV, the internet, music, books...and to be careful of the places we go.  We need to be mindful of the Holy Spirit that indwells our earthly tent, and honor His presence.  We must realize the effects of our witness and the impact it has on others.

As Romans 10:15 says, "How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!"  Let's be certain as we walk this Christian journey, and share the best news ever...that of Jesus Christ...to live lives worthy of His calling us to be His own!  Let's aspire to have "beautiful feet"!

Lord, thank You for the miraculous work You performed in knitting our bodies in our mother's womb.  Help us to care for them as You would have us to.  Protect  our minds...our hearts...our witness.  We love You!


Friday, July 9, 2010

Squirrels Welcome?

In a quaint shop in Hendersonville, NC, there is the most darling little garden statue that says "Squirrels Welcome".  Although it was very cute, I thought, "I beg to differ!"  We have gone to great measures to keep the squirrels off of our bird feeders.  The defense has even been heightened since we caught them gulping the "nectar" from the hummingbird feeder!  Of all the nerve!!!  I walked out the back door recently to find the hummingbird feeder and the suet cage on the ground, and the acrylic disc (installed to prevent pole climbing) askew.  The creak of the door caused five squirrels to dash across the back yard, up the retaining wall, and into the nearest trees.  Just the day before I had put the gun back inside...the BB gun, that is.  I didn't think it was good for it to stay out in the heat...and thoughts of "what the neighbors think" about something rifle-esque being on our screened in porch had circled through my mind.  Those critters were off and gone before I had time to retrieve my weapon!

This morning I opened the blinds to see a squirrel perfectly steadied, his hind feet curled around the wrought iron, his tail aiding his stability, and his little hands reaching into the bird feeder...enjoying seed after seed.  I couldn't help it.  I just stood there and watched...such cute little ears, and so finely tuned...dainty hands, although bearing pointy claws...diminutive innocent, yet highly observant eyes...such talent in the balancing act he had going on....Something welled up inside me.  I think it was compassion.  And for that moment, I thought, "Okay.  Squirrels Welcome."  Yes, for that moment.

I may get the gun back out tomorrow.

I don't really have a verse to go with this.  Maybe "The earth is the LORD's and everything in it...."  Psalm 24:1a.  I'm leaning toward letting you make your own spiritual application...or not.  I just had to write...as writers sometimes do!

As goes the prayer that I learned as a child, "Thank you for the world so sweet.  Thank you for the food we eat.  Thank you for the birds that sing.  Thank you, God, for everything."  Even squirrels.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Go Ahead! Eat Dessert First!!

"When Your words came, I ate them; they were my joy and my heart's delight...."  Jeremiah 15:16 (NIV)

The thought actually occurred to me.  I should go ahead and order my dessert...first.  Maybe have a little taste before the meal...a little during...and surely at the end, so that I could keep that luscious memory for as long as possible.

We were at Famous Louise's Rock House restaurant in Linville Falls, NC.  We go there every time we head up to the mountains.  Their homemade vegetable soup and entrees are truly "comfort food,"  home-style cooking...yummy pot roast, barbecue (two sauce choices...tomato based, aahh so sweet...and vinegar based), meatloaf..lots of variety on their menu, with some Calabash style seafood (and "riverfood"...via freshwater trout), Italian dishes, burgers, and so on.  We enjoy the main course.  But we go for the pie!!!  Baked fresh daily pie!!!  Homemade crust pie!!!  Peach, Apple, Blueberry, Blackberry, Strawberry & Rhubarb, and a Mixed Berry Pie!!!  Peach is my favorite, Blueberry is my hubby's favorite, and Apple is the number one choice for the girls.  John and the girls like ice cream with theirs.  Not me.  I don't want anything to mess with the pure perfection of that pie.

Yeah...well...so we finished up our meal, and our server said, "Would anyone care for dessert?"  And we were like, "OH Yes!!"  She said, "What would you like?  I just need to let you know that we are out of the peach."  I said, "Excuse me!!!  What did you say??  She said, "We don't have any peach pie.  I just ate the last piece."  I said, "I think I'm going to cry."  Yes, I really said that...out loud.  Everyone else went ahead and ordered their faves.  Half-heartedly I settled for blackberry pie.  While I ate it, I tried to focus on the positives.  It remotely reminded me of my Grandmother's blackberry...remotely...and that really made me kind of sad, longing for days gone by, when she was able to cook and enjoy the company of family...and my Grandy was still with us...and how the Fourth of July was one of his favorite holidays.  I couldn't even finish the last bite...well until my daughter reprimanded me for even thinking of leaving a smidgen of crust in that bowl.

Yeah, so this is random...and not life-changing.  I probably won't ever actually order dessert first...well...only at Famous Louise's if it looks like there's a possibility of the peach pie running out. 

But it did prompt a spiritual connection to surface.  I do believe that we should begin our day with dessert for the soul.  Before the day begins, we need a taste of His presence...some time in His Word...some time spent in prayer.  Go ahead!  Eat dessert first!! 

"How sweet are Your words to my taste, sweeter than honey to my mouth!" 

Lord, draw us to You each morning...first...before the hustle and bustle of our day begins.  Help us to yearn for the sweetness of Your presence and the bliss of  Your Words to us.  We love you!