Saturday, August 21, 2021

August 21

The red tide has almost disappeared from our beach location, so we decided to take the weekend and rest there. I saw the full moon last night and watched the sunrise this morning; both give me such peace. Sometimes I get so distracted by the things happening in the world that I forget to take a break from it, though not forgetting to pray for my fellow Christians facing challenges. We must be diligent and pay attention to what is going on, like the watchman on the wall, but not overcome by it. Rest is an essential part of ministry; you cannot give if you have nothing left. It’s Saturday, the Sabbath; use today to rest and rejuvenate.

Remember, we are not the target of God’s wrath; we are safe and at rest in Jesus.

and to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead, Jesus who delivers us from the wrath to come. 1 Thessalonians 1:10

August 20

If you go back and look at all the old videos of war, they look like bad movies. It makes you wonder if any of it is real. What if the things they’ve been telling us in fictional films are truth, and what we believe to be true is a lie? Doesn’t this make for confused minds? Who is the master of confusion? I can tell you who it isn’t, God. I believe he has allowed it to continue, waiting for the perfect moment, when it’s time for his perfect plan to fall into place, and then he will reveal the truth without the enemy's confusion. Though it may seem like the world is falling apart, I believe it’s falling into place. Allow your anxiousness to settle, and have confidence that it is God who controls the outcome. God loves us and will give us the strength to endure. Have faith in him. 

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

Thursday, August 19, 2021

August 19

After living in the Tampa area for over thirty-five years, I thought my southern accent was gone. I’m a country girl, born in Wauchula, in the center of Florida, so there is no getting away from having a southern drawl if you live there. Then yesterday, I was getting paint at Home Depot, and the guy in that department, who was obviously flirting, asked me if I was from Texas. I can’t tell you how thankful I was to have someone ask me that! That probably means my accent is much stronger than I imagined. We have so many northern transplants, plus a prominent Spanish and Italian population in Tampa; I was sure I had picked up on their accent. I’m married to a man who is both Spanish and Italian, who was born in Tampa but is as country as you can get.

We all have an upbringing that follows us around, whether northern, southern, or from another country, but as followers of Christ, our past is securely hidden within him. Through the Holy Spirit, we become transformed into his likeness, without losing ourselves, just like me moving to the city, but not losing my southern accent. In other words, you can become transformed into the likeness of Christ without losing your identity because you don’t want to appear fake. You want others to be able to recognize you, but see the change Jesus has made in your life. Lose the bad, but keep the good!

For we know, brothers loved by God, that he has chosen you, because our gospel came to you not only in word, but also in power and in the Holy Spirit and with full conviction. You know what kind of men we proved to be among you for your sake. 1 Thessalonians 1:4-5

Wednesday, August 18, 2021

August 18

I don’t think we completely understand what is going on in Afghanistan. There are a lot of moving parts, and many countries are involved. If there is one thing we have learned over the past few years, the media is the propaganda machine of the communist party. We are not going to hear the complete truth from them. Whatever the truth is, we know we have fellow Christians who are there and maybe in trouble, so we need to cry out to God on their behalf. Pull your sword out of its sheath and go into battle for our sisters and brothers in Christ and those who are innocent in this situation. It’s time to armor up! Let’s slay the enemy the only way we know how, prayer! Not just any kind of prayer, travailing prayer!

If you haven’t read Habakkuk, read it! It sounds a lot like our complaint about justice today. God gives us an excellent answer to our complaints. He will not delay.

Habakkuk’s complaint, in part:

You who are of purer eyes than to see evil and cannot look at wrong, why do you idly look at traitors and remain silent when the wicked swallows up the man more righteous than he? Habakkuk 1:13

God’s answer, in part:

For still the vision awaits its appointed time; it hastens to the end—it will not lie. If it seems slow, wait for it; it will surely come; it will not delay. “Behold, his soul is puffed up; it is not upright within him, but the righteous shall live by his faith. Habakkuk 2:3-4

Tuesday, August 17, 2021

August 17

On Saturday, we had a feeder band from tropical storm Fred pass by. Though we didn’t get much activity from Fred, this one came with a gust of wind that caught my umbrella, turned over my table, and shatter the glass into a million pieces all over my patio! I knew the glass top was heavy when it was whole but didn’t think about it being as heavy when shattered! However, it did make it easier to carry. 

If you are under the impression that your minor sins aren’t as bad as someone else’s big sin, you are probably wrong. Though it might feel easier to carry than the weight of some of the most egregious crimes, God still sees it. One tiny lie, like the shards of glass, has the same penalty as heavier sins, like the glass tabletop. Our only source of help is Jesus. Thankfully, we are hidden in his righteousness and washed clean. Make sure you are repentant and asking for forgiveness daily so you aren’t weighed down with the burden of your sin.

What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin that grace may abound? By no means! How can we who died to sin still live in it? Romans 6:1-2

Monday, August 16, 2021

August 16

I get caught on a verse and can’t move on to the next book. Colossians 4 is a final greeting to the church, and I’m finding it hard to extrapolate anything I can expand upon to use in my devotionals. So, for the last few days, I’ve used others. However, there is one verse that I find interesting, and that is Colossians 4:16:

“And when this letter has been read among you, have it also read in the church of the Laodiceans; and see that you also read the letter from Laodicea.”

Where is the letter to the Laodiceans? Is it lost? Did the “powers that be” decide that it wasn’t divinely inspired, so they did away with it? There was a lot of guessing going on when I looked it up to see what might have happened to it. Was the text purposefully hidden? It makes you wonder.

There are other books the Bible mentions that we don’t have access to, or they haven't been found; where are they? Some books mentioned are available, but are not considered divinely inspired, but are full of good information to help fill in historical gaps. Whatever the case may be, there is enough text included in the Bible to keep us fed, and most people haven’t even read that. God may be the only one to hold the answers, and that’s okay.

Stay curious, my friends!

Sunday, August 15, 2021

August 15

My dogs get up early, so I take them out the front door to tinkle, so they don’t wake up the neighbors. But because my neighbors have cats that like to roam through our yard, I have a hard time containing them to the front, and nearly every morning, they run to the back yard, barking on a trail. Is it my dog’s fault if my neighbors are awakened by the barking or their cat’s fault for wandering through my yard? My dogs protect their yard from intruders; they are only doing what they are supposed to do. The cats are trespassing. Everyone gets mad when dogs bark, but it’s the cat that has given reason for the disturbance. 

Don’t get mad when other Christ-followers sound the alarm to try and awaken the sleepers. The enemy has been dancing in our yard and leaving his scent all over the place. We have allowed him to run rampant through our streets, and now it seems too late to stop him; the damage has been done, and we are powerless. However, we have a mighty force leading us in the way of righteousness, and it is he whom we must depend. Continue to ramp up your prayer for our country and the people worldwide, and sound the alarm to wake up the sleepers. All warriors are needed on the battlefield, stat! Don’t crush the spirit of those who are barking; that may be the only warning you get.

Besides this you know the time, that the hour has come for you to wake from sleep. For salvation is nearer to us now than when we first believed. The night is far gone; the day is at hand. So then let us cast off the works of darkness and put on the armor of light. Romans 13:11-12