Monday, February 29, 2016

Philippians 3:8

Philippians 3:8
I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them rubbish that I may gain Christ.

Sweet Jesus,
You are the deepest desire of my heart. The power and possessions I once persistently pursued are worthless. The accolades and accomplishments I aggressively accumulated are insignificant. The pleasures and treasures of the world can't come close to knowing You, my precious Savior. Please show me all the clutter in my life that needs discarded to make room for more of You.

Give me the Spirit of wisdom and revelation that I may know You more each day. Enlighten the eyes of my heart to the blessed hope to which you've called me. Show me the riches of my glorious heavenly inheritance. My greatest aspiration is to be more like You in every way. Knowing You personally and passionately is the only thing that matters. Everything else fades away like a fresh cut flower.

Put in my heart Your all-consuming, incomparably great power. Using that mighty power, I'll overcome evil and temptation to live vibrantly, victoriously, and virtuously in this fallen world. There is no greater thing than knowing You, Jesus. You mean the world to me. The most valuable treasure of all time is found in You - sweet salvation. O, how I cherish what You have done for me! With a spring in my step, a song in my heart and a smile on my face I will earnestly praise You for Your surpassing greatness in Jesus name.  Amen.

Is Jesus your most valued treasure? Are you willing to joyfully give up everything to know Him more?

If you were standing before the throne of God and He asked you, "Do you love me with all your heart, mind, soul and strength?" could you honestly answer, "Yes, Lord, You are my most treasured possession." Would your lifestyle prove it?

Friday, February 26, 2016

Psalm 40:6-8

Psalm 40:6-8
Sacrifice and offering you did not desire,
       but my ears you have pierced;
       burnt offerings and sin offerings
       you did not require.
Then I said, "Here I am, I have come-
       it is written about me in the scroll.
I desire to do your will, O my God;
       your law is within my heart."

Holy Love,
Thank You for piercing my ears with the bold truth. Finally, I'm beginning to understand how to live a life of love. Offering You my time without heartfelt devotion is inadequate. Presenting You my talent without wholehearted dedication is insufficient. Halfheartedly giving You my treasure out of obligation is inappropriate. You don't want religious ceremonies and showy performances. All that You desire is my wholehearted devotion.

It will please You when, by faith, I humbly come to the foot of the cross admitting my faults and failures allowing the bond of Your blood to fix and fortify me. Realizing the high price you paid to correct my defects will give me a deeper desire to walk and work with You. I'll willingly give up family, friends and freedom in order to spend time getting to know You. The more I know You, the more readily I'll give up my possessions and plans in order to experience Your almighty power. Forfeiting my comfortable lifestyle and important position to endure pain and hardship will perfect my faith, make me shine purer and brighter, and draw others to You.

Please dear Lord, write Your commands on my heart so that I'll remember to obey them. I desire nothing more than to walk and work with You so that my gifts will be adequate, sufficient, and appropriate for the King of my heart. Amen.

God doesn't want your rituals and routines. He wants your whole heart devoted to Him. What are you willing to give up in order to please Him? Will you give up hobbies, television or work in order to spend time with Him? Will you give up shopping and sports in order give more of your money to Him? Would you be willing to give up your home and career in order to go where He sends You?

I need to get off Facebook and put my face in the Book. I need to unplug my Smart Phone and plug into God's call for my life. These are two huge distractions that keep my heart preoccupied. 

Thursday, February 25, 2016

Job 11:13-19

Job 11:13-19
If you devote your heart to him
       and stretch out your hands to him,
if you put away the sin that is in your hand
       and allow no evil to dwell in your tent,
then you will lift up your face without shame;
       you will stand firm and without fear.
 You will surely forget your trouble,
       recalling it only as waters gone by.
Life will be brighter than noonday,
       and darkness will become like morning.
 You will be secure, because there is hope;
       you will look about you and take your rest in safety.

 You will lie down, with no one to make you afraid,
       and many will court your favor.

O Loving and Kind Father,
Have mercy on me! I know I've messed up, made wrong choices, and blatantly disobeyed You. You've seen it all and are fully aware of my unruly conduct. There's no hiding from Your omnipotent holy eyes, and no one to blame but myself. You know the truth. I cannot lie. Like a mischievous child caught in action, I'm humiliated and dreading discipline. I'd rather hide the evidence and pretend like nothing happened, but that will get me in bigger trouble. Instead, I need to reach out my hands and run into Your open arms, honestly admitting my mistakes with a broken heart. Then, You'll pity me and be generous in love.

Tenderly, You'll scrub away my guilt so that I'll have a snow-white heart filled with clean thoughts and right desires. Because of Your love, I'll be motivated to behave like the endeared child of the King.

With my eyes adoringly set on You, I'll face the world unashamed. Clean and confident, I'll stand up straight and tall, unafraid of ridicule or rejection. Only then will I forget my misery, leaving the past behind me. The brightness of Your Son will light up my life, chasing away the clouds of fear and doubt. In Your peaceful presence, I'll rest and relax because there is hope. Without a care in the world, I'll supernaturally live a life of love. My exuberant joy and inexplicable calmness will cause others to come to me for help in their time of need.

 Please dear Father, search my heart and show me anything in my life that tarnishes Your name. Give me judgment day honesty to agree with You, and humility to obey. More than anything in the world, I want to be wholeheartedly devoted to You because of Jesus who died for me. Amen.

Study the above Scripture. What is God promising you if you devote your heart to Him, stretch out your hands and get rid of your sins?

For additional reading open your Bible to Psalm 139 and make it your heartfelt prayer. Issue God a search warrant to examine your heart, and agree with Him on any and all evidence He finds against you, no matter how hard. Reach out your hands like a contemptible child crying for pity. (Psalm 51:17) Today could be judgment day and on that day you will give an account to Him for everything (Matthew 12:36). Ask Him to give you judgment day honesty to admit your mistakes, so that you can begin enjoying His promises in Job 11.

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Job 7:17

Job 7:17
What is man, that You should exalt him,
      That You should set Your heart on him.

My Sweet Heart,
Your Word is too wonderful for me. I could and should live in complete condemnation but You did the unthinkable when You set Your tender heart on mine determined to show me the depth of Your compassion. Miraculously, You gave me a new life full of love and power, making me a witness to Your abundant grace. My ugliness is forever gone and I'm altogether lovely to You. Who am I to deserve such favor?

It's sheer joy to freely rise up each morning and move on despite my problems. Because of Your great love, I can fearlessly face afflictions realizing that You, the High and Lofty One whose name is Holy, agonized every minute of Your ministry and died suffering. Why should I, the lowly tainted one whose name is sinner, deserve better than You? Difficulties prove that Your caring heart is set on mine. Full of Your tender loving kindness I'll live a life of love even when problems and pressures plague me. My lips will exalt You, while my soul experiences absolute peace and rest because You've graciously chosen to lay Your heart on mine in the name of Jesus. Hallelujah! Amen.

How are you handling your troubles? Do you think you deserve better than Jesus? Consider Him. He was holy, perfect, and pure. He willingly left His home in heaven to come to earth where He was immensely tormented and died an excruciating death for you. He did it all without complaining in order to exalt you to a privileged position in His royal family. He intentionally set His heart on you! His eyes adore you!  Praise Him and thank Him for your difficulties because they prove that He cares for you enormously.

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

1 Chronicles 22:19

1 Chronicles 22:19
Now devote your heart and soul to seeking the LORD your God. Begin to build the sanctuary of the LORD God, so that you may bring the ark of the covenant of the LORD and the sacred articles belonging to God into the temple that will be built for the Name of the LORD.

Father in Heaven,
Thank You for Your inexhaustible love and enduring faithfulness. Because You love me beyond the limits of my imagination, I'm compelled to live a life of love, personally and passionately devoted to You.

Please help me develop a vibrant, intimate relationship with You through continual Bible study and persistent prayer. Inspire me to build a sacred place in my heart to hide Your valuable commands and priceless promises. In this sanctuary, store the treasures of Your heart so that I'll instinctively know what's most important to You.

Full of Your riches, I'll worship You with adoring faith by pouring out my life completely for You. With one heart, we'll dance together harmoniously. Motivated by overpowering love, I'll follow Your lead, deliberately laying down my life for others. The closer I get to You, the easier it will be to identify the people and purposes that matter to You. Living in pure, uninterrupted devotion to You, my spontaneous actions and positive attitudes will be a pleasant love offering attracting others to Your divine goodness.

Please search the temple of my heart and show me anything that I love more than You. By Your power and grace, I'll deliberately remove those obstacles from my life in order to be entirely dedicated to You. More than anything else in the world, I desire to worship You ceaselessly in the temple of my heart where Your precious treasure abounds because of my unwavering commitment to Jesus, Your Son. Amen.

A lofty life-long goal is to devote your heart and soul to seeking the Lord. As you do, He will hide His treasure in your heart, and you'll naturally live a life of love, attracting others to His divine goodness.

Because of His inexhaustible love and enduring faithfulness are you willing to pour out your life for Him? Identify those things in your life that prevent you from just being with Him. Then, determine to give Him the first fruit of Your time each time for Bible study and prayer.

What matters to Jesus? ReadMatthew 25:34-40.

Monday, February 22, 2016

Psalm 34:8

Psalm 34:8
Taste and see that the Lord is good.

Sweet Jesus,
O how I love the sweetness of Your Words. They are sweeter to my taste than the finest chocolate in the world. Your delicious concoction of promises and commands is irresistible. They satisfy my most intense craving, evoking pleasure in the deepest part of my soul.

Hidden in my Bible are surprising nuggets of truth. As I taste each one, I discover Your mouthwatering goodness that melts my heart. Your opulent promises are my source of hope. Sinking my teeth into Your sumptuous loving kindness comforts my troubled spirit. Indulging, in Your luxurious mercies, refreshes my distressed mind. Treating myself to Your bittersweet commands makes my salvation thick, rich and smooth.

Your Words, O Lord, are an attractive treat! They are my heart's delight and joy! I have tasted and experienced Your goodness. With all my heart I want to savor the magnificent flavor every day of my life, and share the sweetness with others to glorify and bless Your sweet name. Amen.

Your Bible is a delectable box of chocolates waiting to be devoured. Open it, taste and see that the Lord is good!

Friday, February 19, 2016

Ephesians 1:5-6

Ephesians 1:5-6
God decided in advance to adopt us into his own family by bringing us to himself through Jesus Christ. This is what he wanted to do, and it gave him great pleasure. So we praise God for the glorious grace he has poured out on us who belong to his dear Son. NLT

Abba, Father,
I'm thankful and joyful that You chose to adopt me into Your royal family, reserving a room for me in Your mansion in the sky. You will be my Father and I will be Your dearly loved child forever because of my relationship with Your Son. O how I love to tell of the marvelous grace You've poured out on me. 

Upon arriving in the hallowed halls of Your heaven, You'll wipe every tear from my eye. You'll crown me with compassion and clothe me with fine linen, white and clean purchased with the blood of Jesus. I'll be made new. My heart leaps for joy at the very thought of the rich inheritance for those whom You adopted in love.

Until I get there, I'll be seized by shame, suffering and sorrow. In the midst of misery, I'll live a life of love by rejoicing and giving thanks to You for bringing me into Your family. Singing sweet songs in my sadness, and powerfully pleading for patience during pain, I'll smile when I feel like crying. When others around me hear my heavenly hope they'll join in the celebration when they choose to believe the blessed and beautiful words from my lips.

Thank You, Father for my identity and inheritance. They are my joy, delight and strength. No one can ever take this treasured heritage from me. Please put a smile on my face today that reflects the love and joy in my heart because of who I am in Jesus! Amen.

Knowing that God adopted you in love, what should your response be in the midst of suffering?  How will you live a life of love in order to share in Christ's glory?

Read how Paul & Silas live out their love in prison in Acts 16:16-40. What can you learn about their example?

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Deuteronomy 7:6

Deuteronomy 7:6
You are a people holy to the LORD your God. The LORD your God has chosen you out of all the peoples on the face of the earth to be his people, his treasured possession.

My Knight in Shining Armor,
Hearing Your Holy Word thrills my heart! It stirs my soul to think that, in love, You chose me out of all the people on the face of the earth to be royal, holy, and redeemed. Who am I to deserve this kind of love?

Even though I was hiding in the dark behind a thick wall of shame, You found me, and gave Your life to rescue me. Bringing me into the wonderful light of Your love, You traded my ripped rags for a royal robe of righteousness. Miraculously Your Words changed my rough callused heart to a soft, holy one. I'm utterly ecstatic that an unbecoming person like me is no longer abandoned, but belongs to You, the High King of Heaven! Not only that, I'm Your treasured possession! Valuable! Priceless! Precious! O how thankful I am that You rescued me from the dark dungeon of my past, brought me into the wonderful light, and called me to be Yours!

I can't keep quiet about my miracle makeover! As a member of Your royal family, I'm obligated to live a life of love by publicly telling others the difference You've made in my life. Now to You who chose me, out of all the people on the face of the earth to be Your treasured possession be the glory, honor and praise forever and ever.  Amen.

God chose you in love to be His treasured possession, not because you deserve it, but because of His loving kindness. You are valuable, priceless, and precious to Him.

In the light of His love, will you fully surrender your life to be the royal priest He's called you to be? A royal priest devoted his life to serving God and speaking out for Him.

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Deuteronomy 7:13

Deuteronomy 7:13
He will love you and bless you.

Ephesians 1:3
Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ.

O God My Father,
What a blessing You are! Because of my friendship with Your dear Son, You've lovingly lavished me with all the riches of heaven. Pouring out Your glorious grace on me, You exchanged the ashes of my broken heart for a crown of beauty turning my sad days to glad days. My heart leaps for joy because of Your great love!

Pitying me, You looked beyond my imperfections. It delighted You to trade my tattered clothes of despair for a garment of praise. Handing me the Book of Love, a Holy Bible, You gave me wisdom and knowledge to understand the mysteries of Your Word. In the blessing of Your love, humiliation turned to honor enabling me to proudly display Your majestic splendor.

A changed person, full of glory and grace, I'll begin rebuilding ruined relationships. From the wreckage and rubble, I'll build lasting friendships that bridge others to Your heavenly kingdom. Because You've doubly blessed me with a beautiful new beginning, I'll live a life of love. Blessing others, I'll celebrate the everlasting legacy available to me because of my relationship with Your own dear Son. Amen. 

Praise God from whom all blessings flow!

Read Ephesians 1:3-14. Make a list of all the spiritual blessings God gives you because of your friendship with His Son. How will they help you live a life of love?

Dig deeper by reading Isaiah 61.

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Psalm 16:8-11

Psalm 16:8-11
I am always thinking of the Lord;
And because he is so near,
I never need to stumble or fall.
Heart, body, and soul are filled with joy.
For you will not leave me among the dead,
You will not allow your beloved one to rot in the grave;
You have let me experience the joys of life,
And the exquisite pleasures of your own eternal presence. The Book

Jesus, My Dear Friend,
You are my Lord! You light up my life, making my heart happy. O how I need You every minute of every day! You are absolutely precious to me! 

Constantly thinking of You keeps me out of trouble and away from temptation.

My problems and pressures turn to joy when I think about Your deep love for me. You love me so much that You died to save me from destruction and death while I was Your hard-hearted enemy. Not only that, but You came back to life and chose to live in my heart. Since You've moved in, my life hasn't been the same. The crud and cob webs are gone. You polished me with loving kindness and now I sparkle like a gem. I'm no longer lonely, hungry or thirsty. You're my Provider and Best Friend. Your powerful presence is my protection. The exquisite pleasures of Your eternal presence living in me is my peace and prosperity. 

I smile just thinking about the future You promise me! All around me are beautiful mansions. When I wish I could live in one of them, You remind me that they pale in comparison to the palace You promise me in Paradise. I look forward with hope to the day when my sorrows and pain will cease and I'll live happily ever with You in the beauty of heavenly holiness.

Please dear Lord, let me glow with delight from the joy of Your presence living in me because of Jesus. Amen. 

Who are you thinking about today? If you think about the Lord, He promises:
You will never stumble and fall
You will be filled with joy
He won't leave you among the dead, rotting in a grave
You're His beloved one
You will experience the exquisite pleasure of His eternal presence

Just thinking about my friendship with God excites me! Why He would befriend a sinner like me, is beyond my understanding. I'm choosing to believe Him and accept the cherished gift of His friendship because of Jesus! May the smile on my face reflect the joy in my heart, O Lord, because I am Your beloved friend!

Delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart. Psalm 37:4

Monday, February 15, 2016

God Winked While I Worked: Pumps & Pearls

My 80-year old neighbor, Gladys, recently passed away. She had a very colorful personality. As a younger woman she lived a life of carousing. Married and divorced twice, she had six children to two different men; and loved many men who weren't her husband. She enjoyed dressing flamboyantly and lived to dance the night away at local clubs.

Since I am a bit of a fashionista, fun, and flamboyant myself, her daughters invited me to join them as they went through her wardrobe. Besides closets full of circa 1980's designer fashions, there were hundreds of shoes! Every style and color imaginable. The classic pumps captivated me because they were so pretty and feminine. Gold. Silver. Pink. Patent. Orange. Green. Teal. Blue. Brown. Red. All like new. Surely they could be used for something fun. I took a picture of them, and asked the girls to keep them for a few days until I came up with a plan.

The next day, I posted the above picture on Facebook with the following caption: My neighbor passed away at the age of 80. I was at her home yesterday going through her shoes. Here are just a few of the most colorful and fun ones. Wish I could think of something to do with them! Anyone need nice barely worn shoes for decorating, dress-up, or fun?

I never expected the outpouring of responses I received.

Less than an hour later my phone rang. The director of Le'Chic Academy in Columbia, MD was calling to invite me to present at a Mother/Daughter Fashion Show Fundraiser. We discussed the topic, but not the theme. Curious, about the organization, I googled Le'Chic Academy and discovered that the theme of the event was Pumps and Pearls.
God had just gave me a use for the pretty pumps! My presentation would have something to do with walking fearlessly and free. And, since the heart of my ministry is Displaying Christ, the Pearl of Greatest Price, I'd use the pearls to illustrate our resources of time, talent, and treasure.

Giddy with excitement, I immediately phoned the director to accept her offer and tell her about the shoes. As we talked, I discovered that she's a Christian too, and shared with her my passion for pearls. God winked while I worked by giving me a purpose for the pretty pumps, and an opportunity to talk about pearls.

This sweet little divine connection came about through a friend named Terri. I reached out to her for a networking lunch one day. While eating pasta at Maggiano's, I told her about a large speaking engagement I had coming up. Curious, she inquired about the topic. I replied that it was faith based. With tears in her eyes, she asked, "Are you a Christian? I relocated here from Michigan two years ago and have made no Christian friends. We haven't found a church we like." God winked and gave me a new friend; who in turn connected me with Le'Chic Academy.

Watching God open doors one at a time enabling me to do what I love - inspiring women and girls to be all that He's made them to be - invigorates me. I'm so incredibly grateful to Him, and to my boss, Paul, who enables, encourages, and pays me to use my time, talents and treasure to perform a job I love!

God Winked While I Worked: Oh No! I Messed Up! Now what?

I had scheduled my boss, Paul, to speak for a local professional association. I carefully confirmed the details of the event. The topic. The objectives. The time. The date. The location.

One week prior to the affair I emailed the program director, Meg, to confirm the information: "We're looking forward to our presentation next Thursday at noon at the Uptown Restaurant. Will you please confirm?"

"It's not next Thursday," she replied, "it's the following week."

OH NO! I MESSED UP! My boss would be on vacation. Now what?

Being one to keep my commitments, I wasted no time thinking of solutions. We could possibly switch Paul and the February speaker. Or, I could do it.

I've spent years preparing to be a speaker. I've been trained through Toastmasters, and have spoken in front of much larger audiences. I'm passionate about communications. I could do it ... BUT I'M NOT PAUL! Paul is a beloved and well known speaker who has spent many years speaking and teaching all over the world. I pale in comparison.

Not wanting to let them stuck, I offered myself, trusting God to open or close the door.

Within an hour, I received an answer, "Beth, we would love to have you present the program! Look forward to seeing you soon!"

And then, "I agree! We would love to have Beth present for us."

Whew! Now I had my work cut out for me. In less than two weeks I needed to prepare a 60-minute presentation on the skill of listening. Previously, in an article I had written on listening, God had given me a great acrostic for LISTEN. That would be the backbone.

As I worked on the script, God took me back almost 40 years to my high school days when I served as a Peer Counselor. He reminded me of the listening training I had received, and showed me that He had started preparing me for this assignment long ago.

Then, He brought to my mind the long forgotten days when, as a young adult, I volunteered for a phone hotline. While most people have never been taught to truly listen, I had been blessed with outstanding instruction and practical experience. At that moment, I realized the priceless skill I have used every single day of my life, and had taken for granted. God had equipped me for this day. He winked and assured me I could walk forward with confidence, and teach others this crucial skill.

But, that wasn't the only God wink.

The day before my presentation I received an email from a friend in another sate. It said, "Hope you're having an amazing day. Tell me how are things beneath the surface? What's your hidden hurt?"

Hmmm... I had to think. I have no hurts. I see the world through rose colored glasses. But, then I thought, and thought some more; and I thought, "my hidden hurt? I'm lonely. Even though I'm married to the sweetest man on the face of the earth, have two young adults sons of whom I am proud, a bunch of really good friends, a fabulous support system, a job I love, great co-workers, a vast network of people ... I'm lonely. The nest is empty. I miss having kids coming and going from my home at all hours of the day and night. It's so quiet. So empty."

Having shared my hidden hurt with him, he replied, "I heard you. You miss your kids. I understand. Thanks for allowing me to listen."

God winked and gave me an illustration for the E in LISTEN - Empathy. Everyone we encounter is carrying baggage. We don't know what they're carrying, but, everyone has something. Loneliness is the baggage I carry. People would never notice it; in fact, I didn't even realize I was carrying it until someone took the time to ask, "What's lying beneath the surface?" Influential leaders take time to learn the underlying message and earn trust.

While I was preparing the presentation, the idea came to me to submit a speaking proposal for the topic to a large state professional association's annual conference. It was a long shot. They receive hundreds of applications from speakers far more experienced than me. In fact, I had submitted three proposals for my boss, Paul who is finishing his PhD in business psychology.

In response, I received an inquiry: "We are considering your proposal please submit proof of performance from two sources." I had none, and had not time to worry about it at that point. If God wanted me to speak, He'd open the door.

In the meantime, I carried on with the task in front of me.

The day of the mis-calendared event I left my house with plenty of time to spare expecting to arrive an hour in advance. Fifteen minutes from home, there was an accident on the highway. Sitting in standstill traffic, it was a distinct possibility that I may not make it. My GPS told me I'd be 23 minutes late.

I prayed, "Lord, You have brought me this far. If you want me to speak at this event, please get me there on time." Soon after that the traffic started moving. I arrived at my destination 10 minutes early.

I have never packed participant materials in baggies, EVER. BUT, the night before I sprung into Miss Perfect Picky Pants mode (a sassy name my son gave me long ago when I'd make him re-do his sloppy homework), and meticulously packed nine baggies with ten of each item, so that when I arrived I wouldn't have to count the items for each table. I could simply unpack the baggies. God knew about the traffic hiccup, and that I'd need to be extra organized, and He orchestrated the baggies.

Because I arrived 10 minutes before I had to speak and desperately need a potty break, my colleague met me a the car, carried the baggies into the meeting and put one on each table. He took my thumb drive containing the Power Point and gave it to the organizer.

I walked into the room and walked straight into my presentation without missing a beat! All my tools were there. I had two hours in the car to rehearse the presentation in my mind. I was ready to go ... on time ... not one minute early ... not one minute late! God's timing is impeccable.

My presentation was engaging, entertaining and energizing. Laughter and audience participation indicated that they were enjoying their time with me; I was certainly having fun with them talking about a topic I love: listening.

Two weeks later, I received an email from the large state professional association inviting me to speak at their annual conference with no written proof of performance. Someone who attended the mis-calendared event told them about my passionate performance. Needless to say, I was giddy beyond excitement and grateful beyond words to Him who has prepared, equipped and commissioned me, and to my boss Paul, who enables, encourages, and empowers me.

God winked while I worked, turning my mess into His masterpiece.

Jeremiah 3:31

I have loved you with an everlasting love.
Jeremiah 3:31

My dearly beloved child,
You are precious and honored in My sight.
I created you for My glory and I love you.
Your heart belongs to me.
In love, I chose and adopted you.

My loving kindness never ends.
I don't easily get angry and
I won't nag or scold you.
My arms are wide open; come to me.
In love, I'll accept and redeem you.

I will love you forever.
I will not ever abandon you.
No matter what you've done in the past,
I've completely forgotten about it.
In love, I've forgiven you.

I will strengthen you and increase your power.
You will soar like an eagle through the storms.
You will run and not grow weary.
You will walk and not be faint.
In love, I'll lead and guide you.

I will be with you forever.
There's no need to be afraid or distraught.
I will always help you.
I will hold on to you tightly.
In love, I'll bless you and make you happy again.

My beloved, you are my eternal valentine!

Love, Your Father in Heaven

You are special and you are loved. Do you believe God? He wants you to be His valentine, not just today, but always and forever.  

Friday, February 12, 2016

Isaiah 58:13-14

Isaiah 58:13-14
"Keep the Sabbath day holy.
      Don't pursue your own interests on that day,
   but enjoy the Sabbath
      and speak of it with delight as the Lord's holy day.
   Honor the Sabbath in everything you do on that day,
      and don't follow your own desires or talk idly.
Then the Lord will be your delight.
      I will give you great honor
   and satisfy you with the inheritance I promised to your ancestor Jacob.
      I, the Lord, have spoken!"

Lord of the Sabbath,
You are holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth, and You have spoken to me! You know that I'm stressed out, burned out and need time out! Thank You for designing a day for me to rest! Forgive me for neglecting it.

You set the pace by working hard for six days to make the entire universe. Then, You stopped and enjoyed the fruit of Your labor. The problem is my work is unending. I keep going and going and going, until all of my energy's spent and there's nothing left for You, my family or me. If You, the infinite source of energy, needed a day to rest, how much more do I need it?

Help me, by the power of Your Spirit, to intentionally make time to unwind. When I'm worn out, I make poor decisions that desecrate Your holy name, and hurt my family and me. Slow me down, Lord!

Setting aside my long to-do list, I'll deliberately spend an entire day quietly reflecting on what went well and what went wrong in my week. I'll thank You for my successes, admit my failures, and plan to do better next week. Letting go of everything, I'll concentrate on honoring You in everything I say and do. With my heart at ease and my mind clear, it will be a pleasure to praise and worship You for Who You are and what You've done.

Spending time with You, I'll discover remarkable peace and inexplicable joy. Free from obligations, my weary soul will enjoy a quiet day. My rich reward will be a revived heart, re-energized Spirit, and renewed strength. Rested, I'll consistently make right choices that bring glory to Your name. The noticeable change in my heart will draw others to You, the perfect designer of the day of rest. Amen.

The Lord has commanded, "Keep the Sabbath day holy!" Hard as that is in our current culture, it's not optional. To disobey is to dishonor the Lord of the Sabbath.

For one month, intentionally keep every Sunday open. Take a nap. Read a book. Take a walk. Play games. Visit the sick or elderly. It's very difficult, but you'll notice a remarkable difference in your demeanor and long for that day of rest each week. 

Sunday's are like a sedative for me. I come home from church, kick off my shoes, read a book, and fall asleep nestled in a warm blanket in the sun. Ah! Glorious day! 

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Psalm 103:1-5

Psalm 103:1-5
Praise the LORD, O my soul;
all my inmost being, praise his holy name.

Praise the LORD, O my soul,
and forget not all his benefits-

Who forgives all your sins
and heals all your diseases, 

Who redeems your life from the pit
and crowns you with love and compassion, 

Who satisfies your desires with good things.

Our Loving King~
We bow before Your heavenly throne in awe of Your Majesty. You are Lord Most High. Your name is Holy! Thank You for all the gifts You generously give to Your beloved children.

You forgive ALL our mistakes - past, present and future; BIG, Middle-sized, and small. The next time we choose to wallow in a sea of self-pity remind us that You don't harbor a grudge. In love, all our errors were erased at the Cross with the precious blood of Your Only Son. Thank You, Jesus!

You are the Great Physician who touches and heals our heart disease. Gently, You mend the deep gashes, scrape away the calluses, and bandage our injured souls by Your stripes. Compassionately, the capillaries preventing Your love from steadily flowing through us are unclogged. Thank You for providing unending heavenly healing.

Reaching Your long fingers into the messy muck and mire of our lives, You pull us out of the polluted pit and redeem us. With the sludge of sin washed away by the blood of the Lamb, we sparkle and shine like brilliant diamonds. We are free to live above shame and reproach. Thank You for changing us. 

Because you are a doting and loving Father, You crown us with love and kindness. We don't deserve to be forgiven, healed, or redeemed, but it delights You to give us these treasures. You are pleased to embrace us and teach us to walk Your way. Thank You, Father, that Your hands are wide enough to hold the whole world.

In Your presence the desires of our hearts are satisfied. You give us a never-ending supply of Bread from Heaven, Your Holy Word. Our thirsty souls are continuously quenched with fresh water from the River of Life. There is nothing more rewarding or tranquil than communing with You. Thank You for Your plentiful provision.

Recognizing the incredibly good gifts You've given us in the name of Jesus, we stand up and sing to You, our Father and King! Make us a blessing today! Amen.

If You are a child of God, You are a child of the King and the heir of these incredibly good and generous gifts. Have you claimed the benefits of His royal family? They are yours and they are free! Please accept them gratefully and be satisfied.

Knowing and accepting all the incredible gifts God has given us should make us giddy with excitement. We didn't deserve a single one, but the God of grace gladly bestowed grace upon us. What would your attitude look like if you accepted these gifts with a thankful heart? 

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Exodus 33:11

Exodus 33:11
The LORD would speak to Moses face to face, as a man speaks with his friend.  

Faithful Friend,
I'm astonished that You have chosen to speak friend to friend with a rebel like me. You're prominent, perfect, and pure. I'm insignificant, imperfect and impure. My life is in shambles! I've made bad choices and I'm incredibly needy! Of all the beautiful and gifted people in the world who seem to have so much to offer, You've chosen to chat with me. I have no beauty, no gift, and no clout to offer. While some people wouldn't be caught dead associating with me, You, Most High, are delighted to call me "friend".  How can this be?

It is a mystery I will never understand. My heart dances within to hear You calling and inviting me to hang out with You - the Immortal, Invincible, Incorruptible King. It's not the rich and famous You desire to be with, but lowly people with humble hearts. Thank You for stooping down to speak to me face to face when I come to You with an open heart, mind and Bible. I yearn to hear Your Voice.

O how I desire to know You deeply, personally, and intimately. Keep the fire burning in my heart and consume me with passion. I never want to break away from this sweet fellowship we enjoy. I'm tickled that You'd speak to me friend to friend! Hallelujah! Amen.

Friendship with God is attainable. Moses was far from prominent, perfect and pure. He wasn't great or glamorous either. In fact, after committing murder he was wandering in the wilderness when God chose to befriend him.

No matter who you are, what you've done, or where you've been the Immortal, Invincible, Incorruptible King is calling you into uninterrupted intimacy with Him. Respond to Him with an open heart, mind and Bible, and He will speak to you face to face as a man speaks to a friend.