Showing posts from December, 2010

My Divine Devotions: Changing the way we approach life

1 John 5:3 Loving God means keeping his commandments and his commandments are not burdensome. When all is said and done, it takes knowing God to love him. Loving God with our entire heart, mind and soul means we will care what he thinks. If God says: we will not worship other gods (things, people); we will not make images (material possessions, etc.) to worship; we will not use his name irreverently; we will observe a day of rest; we will honor our father and mother; and that we will not commit murder, adultery, steal, lie and be envious of our neighbor, then we will obey for one simple reason: love. Loving God means changing the way we approach life and relationships. After a while, we detest the loathsome things we did and we change the way we think because God opens our minds and gives us a new way of thinking. Our minds are opened to receive the truth. Truth is freedom. Freedom is love. God is love. ♥ ♥

My Divine Devotions: Life in God’s will

1 John 5:14 We can be confident that he will listen to us whenever we ask him for anything in line with his will. Learning to obey God’s will opens doors that the human mind cannot understand in the natural. But, therein is our human challenge: wanting God’s will. For if wanting God’s will means hardship or unpleasantness, how can our hearts want the will of God? Yet the will of God is perfect for our lives. A life lived in God’s will is the most effective, powerful and peaceful. God’s will allows us to be effective in living a life of purpose. God’s will allows us to live a life that is powerful in our mission fields. God’s will allows us to live a peaceful life amid storms. Want God’s perfect will.

My Divine Devotions: God always makes a way

1 Kings 11:10-15 (NIV) 10 Although he had forbidden Solomon to follow other gods, Solomon did not keep the LORD’s command. 11 So the LORD said to Solomon, “Since this is your attitude and you have not kept my covenant and my decrees, which I commanded you, I will most certainly tear the kingdom away from you and give it to one of your subordinates. 12 Nevertheless, for the sake of David your father, I will not do it during your lifetime. I will tear it out of the hand of your son. 13 Yet I will not tear the whole kingdom from him, but will give him one tribe for the sake of David my servant and for the sake of Jerusalem, which I have chosen.” God stands by his word and always makes a way for us to get out of the situations we create as a result of our disobedience. Parents understand how difficult it is to discipline a child--yet the result of discipline is personal excellence. God’s tenderness is revealed in his love for David and Israel. David was an imperfect man after God’s h

My Divine Devotions: Use your God-given gifts to be the change

Jeremiah 29:11 (The Message) 10-11 This is GOD's Word on the subject: "As soon as Babylon's seventy years are up and not a day before, I'll show up and take care of you as I promised and bring you back home. I know what I'm doing. I have it all planned out—plans to take care of you, not abandon you, plans to give you the future you hope for.” Jeremiah 29:11 (NIV, ©2010) 11 “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” For days I had this verse in my mind, as I’m finalizing my ministry and life plans for 2011. This morning God put the specific book name and verse number in my mind. When God speaks, I’m learning to listen. The message is two-fold: 1) God has a plan to give us a hope and a future and 2) By executing God’s plans we will feel empowered, hopeful and loved by our Creator. Those who trust God have the freedom and sound mind to work out the plans he has

My Divine Devotions: Stability in a chaotic world

1 Kings 8:57 May the LORD our God be with us as he was with our ancestors; may he never leave us nor forsake us. God calls your name in subtle ways throughout your life. However, many of us refuse to open up our hearts to God because we’ve been abandoned by the very people who were supposed to care: Our parents, spouse, children, bosses, friends, business associates…the list is never-ending. God never changes. There was tenderness in his heart for the people of old times (read King Solomon’s incredible story), and there is tenderness in his heart for our parents and for our generation. Move past the chains that make your life miserable. God will never leave you! God planned your life and his love never changes.

My Divine Devotions: My heart ached for God’s goodness and unfailing love

Psalm 23:6 Your goodness and unfailing love will pursue me all the days of my life. After celebrating Christmas, I am feeling overwhelmed by the power of God, the life of Jesus and the limitless, boundless and timeless power of the Holy Spirit. That God would become a vulnerable human baby and live among us to make my life right and change the world – it’s incredible. My brain was unable to understand the extent of God’s goodness during the years I pursued my own selfish plans. Over the years, I felt God tug at my heart strings, but I shut out the connection. Yet God pursued and comforted me as I tripped, fell and got back on my feet over and over again. I led an exceedingly miserable life as I shut God out. People who know me are surprised to hear this because outwardly I have always had everything: family, friends, material possessions, career and a heart that cares about others. Yet my heart ached for unfailing love. On May 2, 2006, God reached out and grabbed my hand to st

My Divine Devotions: The ultimate surrender

December 25, 2010 Luke 1:37 For nothing is impossible with God. What would you do if an angel told you that you would bear the Son of God and that your friend would have a son in her old age? The Bible says that Mary was confused and tried to think of what the angel could mean. In Luke 1:34 Mary asked the angel, “But how can this happen? I am a virgin. " Imagine being engaged and then having this news dropped on you? How easy it would have been to ask for more information and want to know why or to ask a million other questions (and maybe she did), but instead in verse 38 Mary responded, “I am the Lord’s servant. May everything you have said about me come true.” How many of us could be God’s servants under overwhelming circumstances and even more – how many of us welcome unsolicited, uncomfortable situations? Yet a surrendered, servant heart is capable of doing this. Jesus surrendered his power to become a human to make everything possible for us.

My Divine Devotions: Christmas memories are in God’s hands

December 24, 2010 Job 12:10 For the life of every living thing is in his hand, and the breath of every human being. The Divine Light of Christ opens up reservoirs of thankfulness and joy to those who accept the restoration and salvation that is offered by God. Christmas lives in the heart of those who realize that the Hand of God has shaped their existence. But it isn’t until we remove the dark lenses that permeate our pre-Christ life that we recognize his divine touch. How about those childhood Christmases when your family was all together? What about those Christmases when grandma did all the cooking and you just showed up? What about those Christmases when extended family and friends arrived unannounced and there was a place at the table? What about those Christmases when your dad arrived late, but he arrived with the biggest and best Christmas presents? Remember the hand of God in your life and thank him for your past, your present and your future. He thought about your me

My Divine Devotions: God is our only place of safety

December 23, 2010 Psalm 91:2 This I declare about the Lord: He alone is my refuge, my place of safety; he is my God, and I trust him. There is power in speaking God’s word to God and to those around us. The Bible contains many Scriptures that say we should ask with faith and we will receive. Our faith enables us to boldly make declarations that are in God’s plans for us. In reading stories of the amazing things that God does for his children, and in just looking over my own life, I know that we can count on God as our refuge in times of great uncertainty and in time of joy. God is our only place of safety. There is absolutely nothing that we could say to God that would surprise him. Unload your burdens and allow the Lord to help you deal with life. Your soul will be lifted and the bond of trust will begin to develop. The Lord yearns for his children to desire an authentic relationship with him that’s centered on trust.  He is your God, turn to him.

My Divine Devotions: When the Holy Spirit speaks

December 22, 2010 Acts 16:6-7 6 Paul and Silas went through the regions of Phrygia and Galatia because the Holy Spirit kept them from speaking the word in the province of Asia. 7 They went to the province of Mysia and tried to enter Bithynia, but the Spirit of Jesus wouldn't allow this. One of the hallmarks of spiritual maturity is the ability to follow the prompting of the Holy Spirit and obey. Obedience brings experiences that we would otherwise never have because they are ordained by God specifically for us in his timing. Paul and Silas were prevented from going to places that were not in God’s plan for them. What an impact this had on the spread of Christianity. When the Holy Spirit speaks instructions into your life, obey. Don’t question, second guess, rationalize or discuss God’s plans with others. Allow God to use your gifts and talents in his divine timing. A truly empowered Christian life begins when we lay down our agenda and allow God to work through us.

My Divine Devotions: Jesus won’t disregard the small and insignificant

December 21, 2010 Isaiah 42:3 (The Message) He won't brush aside the bruised and the hurt and he won't disregard the small and insignificant, but he'll steadily and firmly set things right. In the Old Testament, we get a glimpse of the tenderness of Jesus Christ, and the New Testament paints a vivid picture of the compassionate ministry of the Holy One of God. We see instances of the Lord stopping and giving individual care to the many people who clamored for his attention. The Bible says he felt sorry and he had great compassion for the sick and the sinners. Jesus impacted so many common people – the ones typically left to fend for themselves. One thing is for sure, God will provide justice for the least, the lost and the poor. That segment has a special place in his heart. Those are the people who need our care if we say we are followers of Jesus Christ. Have we championed the underdog? Have we impacted the life of insignificant populations or are we just preachi

My Divine Devotions: The test really is simple

December 20, 2010 Psalm 139:23 Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my thoughts. What would it look like if we humbled ourselves before God and asked him to look deep into our heart? What does your family heart look like? How does the heart you show to your spouse, kids and family look? How’s your heart when it comes to your coworkers, neighbors and the maid who sweeps the floors where you work or study? The only test that counts is the one conducted by God. On a scale of one to 10, where do your thoughts rank? And, are you using God’s criteria or your own? The test really is simple: Love God with all your heart and love others as yourself. God’s grading system is simple: Either we pass or fail. Look deep into my heart, God, and find out everything I am thinking.

My Divine Devotions: If you seek God, you will find him.

December 19, 2010 1 Chronicles 28:9 Accept the God of your father. Serve him completely and willingly, because the LORD knows what is in everyone's mind. He understands everything you think. If you go to him for help, you will get an answer. But if you turn away from him, he will leave you forever. • Yes, God knows what’s on your mind. • Yes, God understands why things are the way they are in your life. • Yes, God wants you to go to him for help • Yes, God will give you an answer • Yes, God will leave you forever if you decide to turn from him God is waiting to answer all your questions. The real issue is: Are you willing to come to God and have a relationship with him? Are you willing to serve God with all of your heart, soul and mind? Many go to God during the hard times. It doesn’t have to be that way. God understands your daily struggles and your daily triumphs – and he wants to be part of it all. God understands everything you think.

My Divine Devotions: When eternity becomes the prize we crave

December 18, 2010 2 Corinthians 4:6 God said, "Let light shine out of darkness."—(Genesis 1:3) He made his light shine in our hearts. It shows us the light of God's glory in the face of Christ. Make no mistake, evil is in the world. Evil corrupts minds, hearts and changes the destiny of many of the children of God. But no matter how sinful the human heart becomes -- the light of Christ lives in the heart. That light of Christ manifests itself as a deep longing to remove oneself from the pits of life. Whether we dig our own pits or allow others to hurl us into the darkness, the light of Christ has the power to restore and save. When we decide to give up a life of darkness the face of Christ becomes imprinted in our hearts until forever. Once our hearts turn to the light, eternity becomes the prize we crave. Forever becomes eternity.

My Divine Devotions: A love so immense that words cannot describe it

December 17, 2010 Hebrews 4:7 So God again chose a certain day. He named it Today. He did that when he spoke through David a long time later. As it was said earlier, "Listen to his voice today. If you hear it, don't be stubborn." —(Psalm 95:7,8) The choice is ours: light or darkness. What does it take for us to meet and get to know the God who created us? Instead of accepting the love that God freely offers, we choose paths of darkness and moral corruption. Once in the pit, we harden our hearts to the faint cry—like that of the Father who wants to save his child. Spending a lifetime in the pit means that we waste the precious years we’ve been given to live a powerful life in the light and love of Christ Jesus. Why would we choose the darkness? Could it be because we have never been accepted and loved unconditionally? Are we so irretrievably jaded that it would never occur to us that our God is waiting with open arms and a love so immense that words cannot descr

My Divine Devotions: When your soul makes a connection to home

December 16, 2010 ‎1 Peter 1:8 You have not seen Christ, but still you love him. You cannot see him now, but you believe in him. So you are filled with a joy that cannot be explained, a joy full of glory. There is unexplainable joy in the life of a believer who has received restoration from the blood of Christ. The moment your eyes are opened to the great sacrifice made by a God who chose to become a man like the ones he created, your soul makes a connection to home. The formal God from church (or religion) no longer exists. In place of a cold, unreachable god, the real Christ reveals his essence to your soul and a deep bond of salvation is formed. The human decides what to do with that bond of salvation. When one chooses to explore the bond, true Christianity begins. True Christianity begins in knowing that you are a friend of Jesus, a child of God and taught and guided by the Holy Spirit. Our mind relates to the human Jesus and, thus, love, unlike any ever experienced on earth

My Divine Devotions: I faint with longing to enter the courts of the Lord

December 15, 2010 Psalm 84:1-2 1 How lovely is your dwelling place, O Lord of Heaven’s Armies. 2 I long, yes, I faint with longing to enter the courts of the Lord. With my whole being, body and soul, I will shout joyfully to the living God. God takes you to levels of knowledge so that when you are prepared, you may experience his presence and power in ways that are not understood by those who have not experienced God. His presence is majestic, it’s powerful and it’s available to all who thirst for him. Preachers may preach and teachers may teach about the power of God, but when you enter the earthly courts of the Lord of Heaven’s Armies you are keenly aware of a magnificent, ethereal power. That power is love. That power is what sets Christianity apart from other religions or spiritual doctrines. The everlasting light and presence of a very real God is the gift our Heavenly Father bestows to us while we live. But wait, there’s more! What about the courts of heaven? How utterl

My Divine Devotions: Loving: right here, right now

December 14, 2010 John 1:14 So the Word [Jesus Christ] became human and made his home among us. He was full of unfailing love and faithfulness. How daunting to give up the life of a king to make yourself vulnerable to the treacherous human beings you created. It sounds like a high-stakes video game. God made a hard choice: give up Jesus to save us or not. Not only was Jesus born in humble circumstances, but he was also hunted by those who wanted to take his life. Yet through all the persecution, Jesus remained a friend and comforter to those who were touched by his ministry. The Scripture describes him as being full of love that never fails even through the storms of his earthly life. Not only did Jesus love, but he was also faithful. Imagine being faithful to someone who would rather see you hang on a cross? In being the example to follow, Christ displayed the characteristics of the human heart that are available to God’s children. Knowing the heart of our Savior allows us to

My Divine Devotions: The heart of a servant

December 13, 2010 Luke 22:27 (NLT) Normally the master sits at the table and is served by his servants. But not here! For I am your servant. Jesus Christ led by example. On the night before he would hang from a cross to fulfill God’s plan for redemption of mankind, Christ spent time with his disciples. He deeply cared for these souls who left everything behind to follow him. Instead of desiring to be served by them, he chose to honor them. The other Gospels describe how Jesus washed the feet of the disciples. We honor God for everything he has done for us when we become the servants of our family, friends and those in need of God’s tender care. Approach everyone knowing that they need to know the compassion and great love that only Christ provides. In serving others with our God-given gifts and abilities, we become sensitive to the Holy Spirit’s work through our lives. It’s in devoted, selfless servanthood that we begin to understand the extent of God’s love and his perfect p

My Divine Devotions: Grace for the last

December 12, 2010 1 Peter 5:5 All of you, put on a spirit that is free of pride toward each other as if it were your clothes. Scripture says: “God opposes those who are proud. But he gives grace to those who are not." Not only are we to be happy about the things that God does for others, which we secretly covet in our own hearts, it goes further -- into our relationships with each other. We must strip that last wall that prevents us from experiencing Christian love toward all. There can’t be an exception in the way we treat each other. It matters how we treat others. Take great care before a word leaves your mouth and remember that each one of us was uniquely created and therefore valued by God. A demeaning remark made sarcastically or even in fun is not acceptable. We must guard the hearts of those around us as if they were made of fine glass that’s easily shattered. As we walk in the power of last, God changes the vile thoughts and words that once freely flowed -- until

My Divine Devotions: Walking in the power of last

December 11, 2010 Psalm 18:27 You rescue those who are humble, but you humiliate the proud. Hard lessons in learning how to be humble are not quickly forgotten. Humble and proud simply cannot coexist, they are mutually exclusive. It’s such a high pleasure to be number one and to have to last word, but neither option fits the person who desires to be a follower of Christ. To follow Christ you go the extra mile, you do the least popular job willingly, you wash the feet of your enemies and, most importantly, you don’t discuss the work you do for the Lord. You willingly watch others being promoted, make more money or get married while you cheer them on and bite your tongue. Bringing the tongue in line with heart requires a high degree of selflessness. Our lifelong goal is to expand our hearts in appreciation of the things that God does for others regardless of our own circumstances. Those who learn to be humble are able to walk in the fullness of the purpose for which they were c

My Divine Devotions: My soul thirsts for God

Psalm 63:1 O God, you are my God; earnestly I seek you; my soul thirsts for you... New friendships allow us to go through the process of discovering how the other person fits in our lives. The people in my “angel circle” are important in my life because they are the people  I can trust and who know the real me - and vice versa. Getting to know and love the people in our lives is a delicate balancing art. The process of getting to know God is the same. We can know God intimately and have an awareness of his presence by opening all parts of our heart to him. Christians begin a life-long adventure of knowing God once we accept the forgiveness of sins and acknowledge that Jesus Christ came to earth to die for our sins. Our desire to ask the Lord to live in our heart must be sincere because getting to know and love God is a life-changing process. As it is in getting to know and love our friends, we also decide what level of intimacy we want with God. We can relate to him only on Sun

My Divine Devotions: You can be joyful in troubled times

Romans 12:12 (NCV) Be joyful because you have hope. Be patient when trouble comes, and pray at all times. God changed the way I viewed life. For many years I wore a mask of perfection. I acted as if everything was just fine. But my soul was troubled. I found myself trying to escape the reality of my life. Perhaps my greatest challenge was dealing with the aloneness I felt most of my life even as I was surrounded by a very loving extended family. I saw the right doctors (counselors, etc.) and I even took the right medications and I always made myself think the right thoughts. :) But it wasn’t until I fell into the arms of God completely that I found out the definition of true joy. Now I am able to feel a great sense of calmness and a steady dose of pure joy each day. I probably feel the same way in dreams because I no longer have nightmares. Instead, I live with a great sense of eternity which translates into joy for me. I value my human life as I never did before. I'm not i

My Divine Devotions: Your heart will find God

Deuteronomy 4:29 If you search for him with all your heart and soul, you will find him. I believe that we are born with the desire to know the God who created us. I searched for God throughout my life, but I didn't connect to him until later. Some people are born with a connection to the Lord that is life-long. I firmly believe that being in a church-going, religious family doesn't ensure that you will find God. Some search for God and find him, but others have fruitless searches that can turn them toward misguided spirituality. But God promises that if we search for him with all our heart, we will find him. Whatever experience you have had, you can be certain that the God of the universe has a good plan for your life and that he doesn't want you to give up or be discouraged. What does it take to search for God and find him? It took a serious medical diagnosis and the fear in my child's eyes for me to see the hand of God. I finally gave up the need to control my

My Divine Devotions: Imprinted in the heart of God

December 7, 2010 Psalm 105:8 (NLV) He has remembered His agreement forever, the promise He made to last through a thousand families-to-come. Psalm 105:8 (AMP) He is [earnestly] mindful of His covenant and forever it is imprinted on His heart, the word which He commanded and established to a thousand generations… Each January I go back to the beginning of the Bible and I’m always fascinated about the way in which God has kept the covenants He has made with humanity since the time of Noah, Abraham and Jacob. God’s love for his creations is bottomless and never-ending. It’s amazing that God Almighty puts up with our imperfections, our sins and our questioning minds. God asks that we love him and follow his laws. Throughout the history of the world, people have faced consequences due to their lack of obedience. But God always makes a way out of the darkness. The Lord forgives when we repent. Time and time again we see God giving us the things we really want. He gave Sarah a baby.

My Divine Devotions: Wisdom is a gift from God

Proverbs 9:10 If you really want to become wise, you must begin by having respect for the LORD. To know the Holy One is to gain understanding. I remember thinking how wise I was at the tender age of 17. I wondered how it was possible that my parents and grandparents knew so little about life. So I smile when I hear teenagers (and older people, too) brag about how much they know or how wise they are. Age has nothing to do with wisdom. Your background, life experiences and your education cannot provide wisdom. We don’t become wise by having multiple degrees – and we especially do not become wise by having theology, religion or philosophy degrees. Don’t think because you are savvy that you are wise. Wisdom is a gift from God given to us regardless of our age. Your child may have more wisdom than you will ever understand. Or your grandparent may have accumulated a lifetime of wisdom. One thing I know for sure – the Bible opened up the gates of wisdom in my life as I surrendered to

My Divine Devotions: God helps you endure your trials

December 5, 2010 Isaiah 40:29 He gives power to those who are tired and worn out; he offers strength to the weak. I’m always in awe when God makes me aware of how much he cares for his children. Today I entered the room of a patient I had ministered to last January. Almost one year later, she remembered me and thanked the Lord as I walked up to the bedside to greet her. She said that my showing up in her room was God’s way of giving her peace. She was having a tough, emotional day dealing with her diagnosis. I don’t know what the future holds for her, but I do know this: She needed to know that God cares for her. At her weakest moment she wanted to give up, but I showed up to let her know that God cares and that he has not forgotten her. Throughout history God has shown up to see his creations through trials and tribulations - whether those trials were self-imposed or caused by others. God is at our side and many times the way he lets us know that he cares is through the loving

My Divine Devotions: Fill your mind with God

Colossians 3:2 (NLT) Let heaven fill your thoughts. Do not think only about things down here on earth. I believe that we are successful in life if we accomplish the things that we set our mind to do. Since I can remember, I’ve always been goal-oriented and driven. I come from a family of talented and compassionate people, so I have high expectations of myself. I’ve done many of the things that I set out to do. Many things I have not completed on the time table that I had envisioned. But one thing I know, there’s a difference in being driven by your own inner “smarts” or conscience or drive, whatever you want to call it, to being driven by the power of the Living God. Now that I am focused on eternity and now that I know the power of the Holy Spirit, I am more driven than ever – but it’s a drive to do God’s will and purpose for my life. Deep in my soul, I’ve always known there was big plan for my life and I connected to that plan when I decided to live in God’s will. Now my mind

My Divine Devotions: God hears your call

Psalm 145:18 The LORD is near to all who call on Him, yes, to all who call on him sincerely. On May 2, 2006, I gave up trying to do life my own way and cried out to God while I was standing in front of a mirror. All of a sudden, my eyes came alive; it was as if I was looking through the windows of my soul. I knew something had happened -- that a higher power had heard my cry: “Oh my God, I am so scared, please help me!” God revealed himself to me in a powerful way that sacred day, and my life changed forever. But I can honestly say that I searched for God for many years, I read the Bible and took classes, but it wasn’t until that day that he became real for me. I had prayed the prayer of salvation so many times but it never “worked.” I come from a family of people who had deep, personal relationships with Jesus Christ, but before that day in 2006, I only knew God by the book. I have no doubt that God has always been on my journey as I look over my amazing life, but I didn’t ackn

My Divine Devotions: Tell your children about God

Psalm 145:4-5,7 Parents will praise your works to their children. They will tell about your mighty acts. 5 They will speak about your glorious majesty. I will spend time thinking about your miracles. 7 They will celebrate your great goodness. They will sing with joy about your holy acts. My precious grandmother has been on my mind today because my prayer focus today is for my mother. How can I thank the God of the universe enough for the fire he created in my grandmother when she came to know him personally? Most of us know of God, but my grandmother knew Him in such a wonderful way. When the Lord touched her heart, her life was radically changed. I learned from grandmother many of the spiritual practices that have benefited me greatly. She awakened each day at 5 a.m. to be with the Lord. She praised, gave thanks and then lifted the names of her children and grandchildren to the Lord. She spoke to God about everything and anything -- all day long. She impacted many people with he

My Divine Devotions: Have the Attitude of Christ

Philippians 2:1-5 NLT 1 Is there any encouragement from belonging to Christ? Any comfort from his love? Any fellowship together in the Spirit? Are your hearts tender and compassionate? 2 Then make me truly happy by agreeing wholeheartedly with each other, loving one another, and working together with one mind and purpose. 3 Don’t be selfish; don’t try to impress others. Be humble, thinking of others as better than yourselves. 4 Don’t look out only for your own interests, but take an interest in others, too. 5 You must have the same attitude that Christ Jesus had. Oh, how I want to know the heart of God and to do his will in every way. Is it possible to have a truly tender and compassionate heart toward those I consider unlovable? One mind and purpose sounds like a good strategy, but it depends on who it is…    I want to put myself last and not worry about impressing others, but instead I announce my name to the world when I walk into a room. I understand that one can learn much by