Sunday, December 31, 2017

December 31

New year, new you! It may be a commercial on television, nevertheless I hear this saying all the time. You can change your appearance, take off a few pounds, eat healthier foods, and drop bad habits that you’ve picked up over the years, but if you don’t turn your heart towards Jesus, you’ve accomplished nothing! Besides that, I’m not even sure how you do those things without His help. Anything that I’ve set my mind to doing, I ask for God’s help and then dedicate it to Him. My thought is that I will feel obligated to do it for Him and won’t give up so easily. If you’re making resolutions for the new year, resolve to be kind to others, be compassionate toward those who are lashing out, because deep in their soul is unresolved pain and they need Jesus! This may be why He told us to turn the other cheek. Pray about your resolution, and resolve to be a better human.

Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect, but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own. Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. Philippians 3:12-14

Saturday, December 30, 2017

December 30

If you’ve ever been to Florida, you know about the beaches and Disney, but have you ever noticed our grand old oaks? They are spectacular! Their limbs reach the sky and create the perfect place for squirrels to frolic and birds to congregate. They are a respite from the sun on a hot day and protection from the frost on a cold day. However, during a hurricane, they can become dangerous, as many are uprooted or their dead branches are pruned by the wind. Though the clean up is costly, new life springs up as the once shaded area is exposed to the sun. So, what’s dead in your life that needs to be pruned so the light can shine on you? Don’t wait for a hurricane to prune your branches or possibly uproot you, ask God what needs to be trimmed now so you can continue to stand strong like a grand oak. He’ll answer you. He wants you to be set free from all that hinders your growth. 

"I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinedresser. Every branch in me that does not bear fruit he takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes, that it may bear more fruit. John 15:1-2

Friday, December 29, 2017

December 29

Things aren’t always as they seem. Many years ago I was grocery shopping at our local store. People were getting off work and picking up their supper before heading home. I noticed one particular guy who looked like he had been working extra hard because he was filthy and his hair was greasy. It was unusual that I even notice him because many people work hard and get dirty doing their work. The truth is that I thought he was a bum. As I was leaving, I saw a sporty Cadillac parked at the curb, and guess who got into it? The greasy looking bum! Come to find out, he was a wealthy business owner that was well known by many in our town. The Bible teaches us not to judge by outward appearances, and that my friends is one of the reasons why! We are to show no partiality or make distinctions between others. This is a hard teaching to hold to, but as a believer, it’s necessary!

For if a man wearing a gold ring and fine clothing comes into your assembly, and a poor man in shabby clothing also comes in, and if you pay attention to the one who wears the fine clothing and say, "You sit here in a good place," while you say to the poor man, "You stand over there," or, "Sit down at my feet," have you not then made distinctions among yourselves and become judges with evil thoughts? James 2:2-4

Thursday, December 28, 2017

December 28

God has a way of making us focus on what’s most important. If you’re worried about things rather than people, it’s likely that you will be challenged by your circumstances and forced to look at your heart. If your god has become your possessions and you’re more worried about them than the one true God, you may experience trouble or even lose them. Our God is a jealous God and will take second place to no one or no thing, so make it your mission to put Him before everything in your life. He will reward your behavior and you will become closer to Him. When we align ourselves with Him, we will automatically concern ourselves with matters of the heart; the heart of God is for His people. Live the greatest command to love God and love people, and things will fall into their rightful place and He will delight in you.

O Lord, open my lips, and my mouth will declare your praise. For you will not delight in sacrifice, or I would give it; you will not be pleased with a burnt offering. The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise. Psalms 51:15-17

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

December 27

If you are a parent, it is vital that you help guard the heart of your child. So many of us grow up with hurts caused by others that are carried into adulthood. It makes it important for you to have open communication with them so they are free to share their feelings with you. I was so proud of my daughter; when she found out my grandson had been called a name that hurt him, she immediately had him pray to reject that hurt and assured him of the value God had placed on him. If we handle these things early on, we will set them up for a successful, confident life. For your own sake as an adult, handle the pain someone causes you right away and don’t allow it to fester and grow. The enemy will use any means necessary to derail you and cause you to take your eyes off the Lord. Jesus took all of our pain upon Himself so you don’t have to carry it! 

Surely he has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; yet we esteemed him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted. But he was pierced for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his wounds we are healed. Isaiah 53:4-5

Tuesday, December 26, 2017

December 26

Rush, rush, rush, and then nothing; it’s the after Christmas blues. I remember as a child, this day would hit me hard and make me sad because there were no more gifts to open or family to see, but as an adult, I’m glad it’s over and ready for my days to get back to normal. If we could get into the habit of celebrating Jesus every day, we might not become so deflated after a big event. There are so many things to look forward to, including a new year, new events, new souls to reach for Jesus. Now maybe I can get back to eating right again; the holiday food tends to add extra pounds! If you are experiencing mild depression from the holiday let-down, remember who your source is and plug into His power to defeat the enemies attempts to derail you. Change your focus from inward to outward and rely on Him for all of your needs. He’s ready to help you, just ask.

do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:6-7

Monday, December 25, 2017

December 25

Today, I hope you are like a child opening a gift, a holy gift that could only be given by One. Have you opened your gift, or do you know what’s in the package and are leaving it under the tree for the perfect, more convenient time? Some of us take a peak and never open the package completely, we leave it in the box and never get it out to play with it. OPEN YOUR PACKAGE! It’s the best gift that you will ever receive and every time you play with it, it’s like new again. It’s not boring, it’s fun and exciting. Every day something different is revealed, but how will you know that if you don’t take it out and play with it. It’s like a real life video game, the more you play it, the better you get at it and achieve new levels. So today, be that child again; open the gift, and take it out and play with it and never put it down again. I hope you are blessed by receiving the sweetest of all presents, Jesus! Merry Christmas.

She will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins." Matthew 1:21

For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, Ephesians 2:8

Sunday, December 24, 2017

December 24

Could you have ever imagined that we would be celebrating the arrival of a King thousands of years later? Here we are rejoicing! I wonder if the shepherds and the others, who came to see Him that night, were some of those who eventually became His followers. When God decides to walk with us in the flesh, you can’t keep that a secret for very long! The King, Creator, and Savior, choosing to experience what His created experiences daily, just to give us a worthy sacrifice to atone for our sin, is incredible! As we celebrate the Savior's birth, remember that He said if we don’t praise Him, the rocks will; which is what is already happening! People are denying that He is the reason we celebrate, but are still celebrating! Only our incredible God could turn what Satan had intended for evil into the good for Him! They can deny all they want, but the truth is the truth!

He answered, "I tell you, if these were silent, the very stones would cry out." Luke 19:40

Saturday, December 23, 2017

December 23

My daughter had an appointment in St. Petersburg and my son in law and I went with her. While she was seeing the doctor, we decided to get a bite to eat. We asked the receptionist for some recommendations and she suggested a little place near the office. We were a little shocked when we saw it and were very leery about going in because the building was quite deteriorated, it gave new meaning to the expression “hole in the wall!” The people that were waiting for their food weren’t much to look at, but after placing our order, they began a conversation. We had just stepped into a culture unlike the city of its location, possibly like a place in Cuba or other Spanish city. We had left the U.S. for an hour and it was well worth it! The food was amazing, but the experience even better! Don’t be so quick to judge a situation, you never know what God has in store for you! 

Let no one seek his own good, but the good of his neighbor. Eat whatever is sold in the meat market without raising any question on the ground of conscience. For "the earth is the Lord's, and the fullness thereof." 1 Corinthians 10:24-26

Friday, December 22, 2017

December 22

O victory in Jesus, my Savior, forever He sought me and bought me with His redeeming blood! We’ve all heard this song and probably sang it in church a few times, but have you ever taken to heart what it really means? What does victory actually mean? Death comes through sin and Jesus was victorious over both of them! The power of sin is in the law and Jesus was the redemption of that law! If you’ve ever tried to abide by the Ten Commandments you will quickly realize that, for those of us born with a sin nature, and that’s all of us, the law is impossible to keep. If you break even one iota of that law, you are condemned to death! Sin dangles death over our heads every day! We have been redeemed and are no longer under the law! If not for the grace of God and our Lord and Savior Jesus, we would still be under the law, and sin and death would still have a hold on us.

The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. 1 Corinthians 15:56

Thursday, December 21, 2017

December 21

There are days that I just want to stay in bed! It’s usually the day after a busy day that I need some extra rest. We have obligations, jobs, children, and spouses, that pull us in many directions. Our Heavenly Father pulls us upward, drawing us close, so we might rest in Him. Even when we are in the height of madness, He wants to bring us closer to Him. His rest is different and we can enter it while still busy! He wants us to relax our minds from worry and fear, knowing that our time on this earth is temporary and the things that draw us away from Him are meaningless. Our greatest concern should be about spending our eternity without Jesus, and that has already been taken care of by Jesus himself! So when you start to fret over a situation, ask yourself “is this going to effect my eternity?” The answer to that question is always a resounding NO!

Php 3:14  I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. Philippians 3:14

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

December 20

We are living in a time where we can partake of the tree of good and evil. Just like in the Garden of Eden, we have a choice to eat its fruit or avoid it. The internet, with all its bells and whistles, can be very attractive and draws us in like a magnet. Our eyes have been opened to the wisdom of this world and are exposed to many lies. How do you filter the information? One way is, if it seems too good to be true it probably is! However, there is some information that has been disguised as truth; it sounds true, it’s not extraordinary, it’s just a subtle lie. This kind of fallacy could easily lead you astray and send you down the wrong path. This is where we need the Holy Spirit and His wisdom to keep us on track. If you’re not sure about something you’ve heard, do a little research before you begin spreading untruthful stories or false doctrines. Listen to that quiet voice, He’s trustworthy!

"Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep's clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves. You will recognize them by their fruits. Are grapes gathered from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? Matthew 7:15-16

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

December 19

Oh, what a joy it is to shop for Christmas! The streets are filled with happy people just waiting their turn and being patient with one another. Their cheerful greetings make everyone feel the joy of the season. If only this were true! People are in a rush, they’ve waited until the last minute and it’s everyone else’s fault for their panic. We all have too much to do and too many places to be. I was feeling the same way and decided to ask God to multiply my time. Guess what? He did! I’m not sure how it happened, but I calmed down, stopped worrying about the outcome and worked through everything I needed to accomplish with time to spare! Sometimes we just need to reach out to the Creator, bring our concerns before Him, and allow Him to work out the details. Our responsibility is to work diligently as unto Him. He knows what we’re dealing with and is just waiting for us to ask for help!

"Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. Matthew 7:7

Monday, December 18, 2017

December 18

You’ve probably heard this from me before, but there is something special about a community of believers enjoying one another’s company. The women of our church got together for a cookie exchange. We shared bits of our stories, laughed, and ate. It was a time appointed by God and the Holy Spirit guided our conversation and brought the perfect scripture into the light. As disciples of Jesus, we are to train others to follow the Word of God and to set an example. We have been set apart and trained in the way He wants us to go, keeping us from being sent in a direction appointed by others. We aren’t church people, we are sons and daughters of the King. Do not accept what is considered the “standard”, that would be accepting less than what He has for you, unless you see the standard as Jesus! If you’re not part of the church, ask God to guide you to the right one. 

Older women likewise are to be reverent in behavior, not slanderers or slaves to much wine. They are to teach what is good, and so train the young women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled, pure, working at home, kind, and submissive to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be reviled. Titus 2:3-5

If you are local to Plant City, FL, I would like to invite you to try my church, City Pointe Church. We are just regular, Jesus loving people. It’s comfortable and feels like home.

Sunday, December 17, 2017

December 17

Spending time with family is probably the best part of celebrating the holidays. We get so busy with our lives that family can sometimes fall to the wayside. We met up with our children and grandchildren at a place called Christmas Lane to watch a live nativity and to hear the story of Jesus birth as it was read from scripture. The lights and decorations were beautiful, and the children loved every minute of it. There will be a few more family gatherings before the season is over which makes this heart very happy. I pray that you each enjoy your family and friends during this active time of year and that you continue to love one another. Don’t get too overwhelmed by the busyness. Slow down and take it all in, it will be over before you know it. Remember that many are lonely and may be dealing with things hidden within their hearts and a bit of kindness may help get them through their day.

And while they were there, the time came for her to give birth. And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in swaddling cloths and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn. Luke 2:6-7

Saturday, December 16, 2017

December 16

During my time sitting next to a creek in the woods a verse in Ezekiel came to mind. It was revealed to Ezekiel during a vision God gave him about the river flowing from the temple. As I was enjoying my time with the Lord, it suddenly came to me like a light bulb turning on! God had placed me beside a trickling creek that runs into the lake, which, by the way, is named Hancock, which is my maiden name! That little fresh water creek, which was only about ankle deep, was like the Holy Spirit pouring into me! In the vision He gave Ezekiel, He was calling him to go deeper into the river, to the point that it was over his head and it couldn’t be passed through. Where this fresh water flowed, the trees along the bank produced fruit. The Holy Spirit flowing into you makes everything fresh and alive, producing fruit! Pay attention! God is speaking to you all the time, are you tuned in?

And on the banks, on both sides of the river, there will grow all kinds of trees for food. Their leaves will not wither, nor their fruit fail, but they will bear fresh fruit every month, because the water for them flows from the sanctuary. Their fruit will be for food, and their leaves for healing." Ezekiel 47:12

Friday, December 15, 2017

December 15

God gives me illustrations of truth through His creation. Although I love the owl, there is something significant about a bird that hunts its prey in the darkness. By significant I mean creepy! They worry me because I have small dogs and I’m afraid that one might get snatched up when I take them out at night. As I was walking down a trail in the forest, I heard an owl just above my head, so I immediately began thinking there was a demonic presence, but God in His greatness saw my distress and gave me a sign of His mighty power, the eagle! The eagle was much higher in the tree showing me that it didn’t matter about the demons lurking, He is more powerful than any and His wings have me covered! The wingspan of the largest owl is only five feet where the eagles wings can span up to eight feet! If you are ever feeling overwhelmed by your circumstances, remember the He has you covered!

Like an eagle that stirs up its nest, that flutters over its young, spreading out its wings, catching them, bearing them on its pinions, Deuteronomy 32:11

Thursday, December 14, 2017

December 14

During my time in the woods, I felt the Lord was telling me to get up and take a look at the lake from that vantage point. The thorny vines, stickers, and underbrush prohibited me from going very far. I could see the clearing, but I needed a machete if I was going to make it there! I kept tripping and getting tangled, so I gave up and went back to my chair. I began to feel like I hadn’t heard Him and it was my own desire to see the lake. It was Him, because there was a lesson in it! We cannot make it as a Christian and traverse through this world without our weapon. We need something to cut through the thicket and to clear a path to the opening we see ahead of us; that clearing that is drawing us deeper into the woods with the promise of freedom once we make it there. We have a weapon and it’s our Sword! Make sure you don’t leave your chair without it!

and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God, Ephesians 6:17

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

December 13

For years I’ve gone against my desire to deck the halls as a way of getting rid of the idol. Yes, it had become an idol. Instead of worshiping our Savior, I was worshiping the season. I allowed myself to get caught up in the joy of Christmas, rather than revering God who gave us the reason to celebrate. It was very hard because I love all of the festivities and fun. Then I heard our Father tell me that it was okay for me to enjoy the season, and that it was okay to get caught up in the festivities because I was His child and He knows how much I love it. I had a reminder of how gracious and loving He is and if his little girl wanted to decorate, she could! So, I put up a tree and stopped denying my love for Christmas. I know the reason we celebrate, and He is worthy of that celebration. Nothing I do can change His love for me; my sin is hidden in Jesus and that’s something to celebrate!

But if it is by grace, it is no longer on the basis of works; otherwise grace would no longer be grace. Romans 11:6

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

December 12

Our definition of rest and God’s definition of rest are quite different. We are thinking about taking a load off, closing our eyes, and sleeping for a week. It’s true that we need to take time to rest our bodies, because, what use are we if we cannot function? God considers it rest when we are no longer consumed by the power sin holds over our heads. We are at rest when we realize that we are no longer bound by religion, but are bound by love. We find our perfect rest in Jesus. He wants us to stop striving to please man and begin to look to Him to fulfill His perfect law, and that is to love Him and to love others as we love ourselves. When we change our minds and fall in love with Him, everything else in our lives will fall into place. It is then that we enter into His rest, the promised land! Once you get your heart in line with your head and you truly believe, rest will come.

And to whom did he swear that they would not enter his rest, but to those who were disobedient? So we see that they were unable to enter because of unbelief. Hebrews 3:18-19

Monday, December 11, 2017

December 11

I got away for a few days, unplugged and spent some quality time with Jesus. I thought I had found the perfect place, right along the edge of the lake. I got there early and no one was around except me and the birds. Then I realized I had picked the wrong spot. The lake side was where I wanted to be, but that wasn’t the place God had chosen. It only dawned on me when the lake's edge became the perfect spot of many others. I picked up and moved to a secluded place in the woods next to a creek. It was perfect! Just me, Jesus, and the birds communing together! It’s amazing the things He will reveal to you when you make an effort and take a time-out with Him. Do you realize how precious we are to Him? We are His everything! I know you’ve heard this before, but you need to listen to Him and take it from your head to your heart. Listen as He tells you of His love for you. You are a child of The King!

for in Christ Jesus you are all sons of God, through faith. Galatians 3:26

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

December 6

There are days when you know the enemy has you pegged! But, God already knows his tricks and will sometimes send a messenger to brighten your day. In the midst of battle, I go to my mailbox and find a special gift from a sweet friend who listened to the Lord and was faithful to obey. She sent me a shelling bag with the beautiful words “be still and know,” and a compact decorated with seashells! God’s timing is amazing! Those words were exactly what I needed to hear at that specific moment. If you don’t believe that God is involved in your life, start paying attention to the little clues, maybe it’s just a bright spot in a dark day, or a friend who calls at the perfect moment. He loves you and is there to comfort you, but sometimes we miss it because we’re so consumed with ourselves. Make sure you thank the messenger, because they followed through with their mission!

"Be still, and know that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth!" The LORD of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress. Selah. Psalms 46:10-11

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

December 5

We are living in a health conscious world, aren’t we? We are concerned with the food we eat and the amount of exercise we get and keeping our bodies in perfect, physical condition. It’s an obsession with some! Now, don’t get me wrong, I believe we should take care of ourselves because we are the temple of the Holy Spirit of God, however, when we become more concerned about our physical being than our spiritual health, we’ve missed the point. Jesus encountered this issue when He entered a region. People saw Him coming, had heard about the healings, and gathered as many sick people as they could find to bring them to be healed by Him. They were more concerned with their bodies than their souls! He had a different plan; He planned to use their infirmity to teach them about eternity and show them their true condition. He was concerned about their soul and still is!

and ran about the whole region and began to bring the sick people on their beds to wherever they heard he was. Mark 6:55

Monday, December 4, 2017

December 4

Some days, trying to get going is a little harder. You wake up, have your coffee, but still feel groggy and want to get back in bed. Trying to keep your head in prayer can be tough, but it’s even harder to focus on God’s word. Rest is important and can make a difference in the way you retain the information you hear and react to situations. Our lives are so busy that every minute of our day seems to be filled, even our leisure time is full of activity. Our families can sometimes add things to our agenda, making it even harder to find time for repose. Our plates are full, but Jesus calls us to get away to a desolate place. While the world is begging us to keep going and never stop, God tells us to take time for ourselves. Pray for Him to give you moments to relax and rejuvenate if you can’t seem to schedule it on your own. He wants us to rest, so much so, that it's one of the Ten Commandments!

And he said to them, "Come away by yourselves to a desolate place and rest a while." For many were coming and going, and they had no leisure even to eat. Mark 6:31

Sunday, December 3, 2017

December 3

I know I’ve seen you somewhere before! Do you ever see a familiar face and can’t place where it is that you’ve seen them? Or maybe, you recognize them, but they have no clue who you are. My husband and I went to a Christmas gathering in the new community that we just moved into. While there, we started noticing faces that we’ve seen before. It’s probably not uncommon because we’ve both been in the general area for quite a long time. Out of all the people there, and there wasn’t that many, Richard had graduated with three of them! Even better than that, many of them are believers! I’m not sure of the plan God has for us here, but I know He’s placed us here on purpose. Whatever your current situation is, God has a use for it. Nothing you do is just a coincidence, it’s a part of His plan. Your job is to wait and watch as it unfolds and to be an obedient servant.

For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. Jeremiah 29:11

Saturday, December 2, 2017

December 2

What has God given you to do, that you are not being obedient to fulfill? Before I started writing this daily devotional, I made a commitment to post a verse or inspirational message daily. Many times the words are helpful to others, even teaching a simple understanding of the scriptures in a modern world, but the notion that God is using me to get His message out to the people of whom I have contact, is the biggest blessing of all. The wealth of this world is measured financially, but God measures wealth by the fullness of His love in our hearts. What is stopping you from being filled to capacity with the riches of God’s love? If you know He has commissioned you to complete a task for Him, begin taking baby steps to accomplish it. You will bring others into the kingdom while receiving the abundance of His blessing.

"Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. Matthew 6:19=21

Friday, December 1, 2017

December 1

Setting up a home after a move is quite a chore. Imagine settling in a land that isn’t your own, setting up camp, getting comfortable and then the Lord tells you to move! Really Lord, right now? Israel wasn’t a tiny family either! Not only did they each have to pack their own things, but they had to pack the tabernacle, carefully! Our church does this very thing every week, setting up, having a service, tearing it down, and then packing it away again. You’ve got to love our Levite team for their dedication. Our church is rejoicing because God has called us into a place where we can set up and stay! When some look at it, they will see the giants, but those of us who understand God’s favor will see the abundance of fruit and the endless possibilities for bringing salvation and the love of Christ to the multitudes! Face your giants and reap your harvest!

Instead of your shame there shall be a double portion; instead of dishonor they shall rejoice in their lot; therefore in their land they shall possess a double portion; they shall have everlasting joy. Isaiah 61:7

Thursday, November 30, 2017

November 30

Many years ago on this day, I became a widow with a five year old son. It wasn’t a surprise because my husband was very ill, but that didn’t make it any easier. The challenges I faced were nothing in comparison to the devastation I had just lived through. Watching a healthy man crumble and wither down to nothing is forever etched in my memory. The thing that still brings me to tears today is that my son would experience his accomplishments without the man who loved him more than the world itself. I didn’t know it at the time, but God had a wonderful plan to change my mourning into gladness and to exchange my ashes for a beautiful crown. Though no one could replace the man we had lost, God blessed us with a family that has filled our hearts and gave us new life. If you are going through a challenging time, just wait, God has a gift waiting on the other side of your pain.

to grant to those who mourn in Zion— to give them a beautiful headdress instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, the garment of praise instead of a faint spirit; that they may be called oaks of righteousness, the planting of the LORD, that he may be glorified. Isaiah 61:3

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

November 29

The height of the season is in full swing and the celebration of our Savior’s birth is underway. Most have forgotten the reason why we celebrate. It is up to us to remind others that our efforts are for Jesus and not about a mythical being that brings gifts to the good children. The miracle of Jesus birth is something to be celebrated and a step to understanding His deity. God, walking and communing with us! Oh, how awesome that must have been! His willingness to lay down His life and take on the sin of the world for a people undeserving is incomprehensible. But, that’s not all! He rose from the dead and walked among the people, showing them His risen body. Incredible! He still walks with us today; He left with us the Holy Spirit as our companion. There are days that I wish I could see Him, but we are to believe with our hearts and He will show Himself true.

"For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. John 3:16-17

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

November 28

Oh the antics! I’d been packing for another move and had carefully lined up my recently filled boxes near the door so I could load my truck for a run to the new house the next day. During the early morning while it was still dark, I traipsed through the house to take the dog out, like I do every morning, when suddenly, the dog flew out of my arms and I landed on the floor! Thankfully, I’m okay and that no one saw me! Heck, I didn’t even see it myself! Only then did I remember the boxes by the door. The Lord has a lot to say about becoming a stumbling block to others. It’s important that you watch your behavior and keep your testimony clean; otherwise someone may end up losing their eternal life to the enemy. Watch your mouth and your actions! I can guarantee you that someone is watching your every move, and if you profess Jesus, they will follow you and believe your bad behavior is acceptable.

You shall not curse the deaf or put a stumbling block before the blind, but you shall fear your God: I am the LORD. Leviticus 19:14

Monday, November 27, 2017

November 27

We all know the dreaded feeling we have when it’s time to get back to the grind after a long weekend of festivities. Facing work again, even if we love our job, can be depressing and make us long to be with our families again. Thankfully, during this time of year we have another holiday to look forward to. However, we must remember that this time of year can also be a reminder of those who have passed, the missing person at the table who has gone on to eternity without us. Though it should be a cheerful and joyous time, we should take a look around and notice those who may be hurting and pray with them and offer them comfort. It may be all they need to help lift the sorrow from upon their hearts. There is a great build up to the celebration of the birth of Jesus our Savior and a lot of fun to be had by all, but we must remember why He came and the love He has for the broken-hearted.

He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds. Psalms 147:3

Sunday, November 26, 2017

November 26

Little Gasparilla is an island that I love getting away to regularly. It’s remote, and with the exception of a few structures, it’s been kept very natural looking, like a picture of old Florida. There is no bridge, so you can only get to it by boat which makes it even more intriguing. It’s a great place to rest a weary soul and watch the sunrise as the day begins and see it set as the day ends. My mind is at peace and I somehow feel closer to God and can focus on His goodness while visiting there. Some days the beach is completely empty and I look at it as a gift from the Father, He knows I will praise Him out loud if no one is around to hear. Maybe that’s why I love going there, I feel more free to worship as I please. If you don’t have a place to openly worship, I recommend that you find one. Prayers get answered, joy is returned to your soul, and the Holy Spirit flows freely if you let Him.

And rising very early in the morning, while it was still dark, he departed and went out to a desolate place, and there he prayed. Mark 1:35

Saturday, November 25, 2017

November 25

While reading the Bible from cover to cover, we often miss things in our haste to get through it. I was stopped for a moment when I read an account of David, which I’m sure I had read before and just breezed right over it. David was very dramatic and spilled out his thoughts onto scrolls which has become a good portion of the Psalms we read today. As David comforts himself with words and thoughts, we can also draw comfort from them as we are faced with challenges. In this particular verse, he is in fear for his life and reasons that his death will be the gain of the Lord. But, God wouldn’t allow the death of His chosen one for the glory of his enemy. Have you ever thought that God would look at our death as precious? Isn’t it comforting to know that heaven awaits our coming and the Lord is ready to welcome us home when our body gives us over to death?

Precious in the sight of the LORD is the death of his saints. Psalms 116:15

Friday, November 24, 2017

November 24

I did a little shopping after Thanksgiving. This was something new for me because I’ve always avoided the madness. As it turned out, I was right about it! I stood there waiting for the doors of Macy’s to open, noticing the mix of people ready to get a great deal on whatever they could find. The rush to the escalator was incredible, and complete strangers were pushing in on me and touching me! I like Macy’s bath and bedding section, and since I go in there quite a bit for those types of items, I notice that the things that were marked for 65% off had never been priced that high before! I decided that it’s not for me! I’ll take the lazy, midweek, before Thanksgiving shopping experience over that foolishness any day! I can understand the art of getting a deal and I guess it satisfies the need to hunt, but I’m content with the normal shopping experience! The lesson today: Contentment.

But godliness with contentment is great gain, for we brought nothing into the world, and we cannot take anything out of the world. But if we have food and clothing, with these we will be content. 1 Timothy 6:6-8

Thursday, November 23, 2017

November 23

We all have so much to be thankful for. The words from our lips do not match what we’ve been given and pale in comparison to the praise that should be offered to God. Even though there is no way to give the Lord what He deserves, it should be our mission to try. As we fill our tables and stuff our bellies with the fresh harvest, we must remember who made the sacrifice and set the table before us. I look at it as a small sampling of what the wedding feast of the Lamb will one day look like, as we are seated in His presence. We have many things to be thankful for today, but above everything, we should be thankful for Jesus and the sacrifice He made so that we might one day be in His heavenly presence. We must also remember the Holy Spirit, that special gift, and the reminders He gives us daily of our Savior, and for the comfort and peace He brings. HAPPY THANKSGIVING everyone!

I will offer to you the sacrifice of thanksgiving and call on the name of the LORD. Psalms 116:17

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

November 22

What is your reaction when people are under the attack of the enemy? My first thought is: What are God’s plans for this person? The enemy doesn’t come after people who are on his side; a house divided will fall! Then I begin to get excited because God’s plan never fails. When the enemy is fighting so hard to keep you down, he probably knows the outcome and it may be bad news for his plan! I don’t know what James was thinking when he said to consider it joy when you face trials, because there’s nothing joyful about it! You may be struggling now, but hold on to what you have until the end. It is then you will see God’s plan fall into place and it will be oh-so-sweet. When you're going through it, you're not sure when it will end and all you want is for it to be over. God already knows the end, and knows you can handle it! Anything worth having is worth fighting for. Armor up!

Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. James 1:2-3

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

November 21

Sometimes you come to a crossroad and are not sure which way to turn. If you’re following Jesus, and He hasn’t given you a signal, it’s not time to turn! So, you’ve been on a treacherous road, the path is narrow, there have been boulders that were hard to squeeze by, the potholes were deep, and you can barely see the Shepherd because He’s a great distance away; have no fear, He’s closer than you think. Adversity can make it hard to see our guide in this life, but He assures us that He’s right there carefully watching our every move. I know you’re getting sick of this particular road, everything is beginning to look the same and the travel is getting much harder, but until you hear a definite answer to your prayer to turn off this road, stay the course. I can guarantee you that what’s waiting at the end will be worth every ounce of grief you’ve suffered. Stay the course!

And though the Lord give you the bread of adversity and the water of affliction, yet your Teacher will not hide himself anymore, but your eyes shall see your Teacher. And your ears shall hear a word behind you, saying, "This is the way, walk in it," when you turn to the right or when you turn to the left. Isaiah 30:20-21

Monday, November 20, 2017

November 20

We can approach this life as timid reactors or we can stand strong when we face our trials and fight back. God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power! If you are shrinking back and refuse to fight the good fight of faith because you are afraid, you are listening to the wrong commander! The way we wield that power is quite different than what you would think. Our weapons are linked to the Spirit of God so it’s not by our own power that we win. But, you must remember that the enemy doesn’t fight fair and will use your own earthly desires to draw your attention away from God to send you off course. God wrote the playbook on how to win, but if you never read it, you will be fighting a losing battle, and the enemy will win. When you have fought in your own strength and are battle weary, go back to the Word and try God’s strategy and use His strength!

for God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control. 2 Timothy 1:7

Sunday, November 19, 2017

November 19

The mighty hand of God cannot be denied by those who’ve witnessed His power. Ask anyone that has had their soul snatch from the depths of despair and felt the compassion of the Almighty overwhelm them with His love. Ask me if you need a witness. His passion for His lovely is unmatched; and to watch it unfold before your eyes is unlike any other site. My heart sings for joy when evil turns and runs as the battle ensues, and to see the work of their hand destroyed by the warriors enlisted by Him. I am grateful for His love for me. Who could possibly need more than Him? Open your hearts, praise His name, because there is a battle going on that you know nothing about unless you tune in. He has fought and won and it’s fast approaching the time for evil to be sent to it’s forever home in the depth of Hades! But until that day comes, praise the King for His mercy!

Let them thank the LORD for his steadfast love, for his wondrous works to the children of man! Let them extol him in the congregation of the people, and praise him in the assembly of the elders. Psalms 107:31-32

Saturday, November 18, 2017

November 18

Prayer works! God is listening to the cries of His children and is ready to respond. Just when you think that a situation is too hard for God to handle, and it looks like there is no way it could work out biblically, He surprises you with a last second pass into the end-zone! After questioning the direction that I felt God was sending me in, and praying for Him to please throw roadblocks in my way if it wasn’t His will, He didn’t, so I kept going! It turns out that there was no other way to handle it and be effective. I just kept praying and crying out to Him. My heart and head were out of sync, which made it very hard to continue on that path, but wisdom prevailed; not my own, but God’s! Sometimes I don’t like the way He works, but when I saw the pieces fall into place, I knew that His plan was the only way. Trust Him and when you think you’ve prayed enough, pray again, and don’t pray alone!

Then they cried to the LORD in their trouble, and he delivered them from their distress. He made the storm be still, and the waves of the sea were hushed. Then they were glad that the waters were quiet, and he brought them to their desired haven. Psalms 107:28-30