Archive for January, 2012

You, Lord, are forgiving and good, abounding in love to all who call to you.”
Psalm 86:5 NIV  

So why do some of us have so much trouble accepting God’s love and forgiveness?

Perhaps it’s because a seed of shame was planted in humanity’s soul when Adam and Eve disobeyed God in the Garden of Eden. That seed has the potential to keep us separated from God’s love and forgiveness, especially when watered and fertilized by sternness and abuse.

Dear Lord, pull up that root of shame that has flourished for so long in my heart. Teach me how to see myself as lovable and valuable to You so that I may be able to forgive myself when I fail and accept your love and forgiveness as well. Amen.


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Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love.” Ephesians 4:2 NIV  

A woman walked into a psychologist’s office, full of anger about her marriage and her life, After listening to the woman for a few minutes he shocked her with his question. “How much of the problem is your husband’s and how much is yours?

She thought about it and replied that about 75% of the problems in her marriage were her husband’s responsibility. Inwardly, she felt vindicated believing this counselor understood her pain..

He looked at her with compassion and said, “Are you willing to work on your 25% of the problems and see what will happen? You can’t change your husband, but if you’re willing, God can help you to change.”

Knowing she could no longer live with the painful anger and depression inside, she agreed to work with God and her counselor on her 25% of the marriage problems. Through her counseling sessions and in her private devotions, she experienced the patience and compassion of a loving Father-God.

As she took responsibility for her issues, she began to react  with more patience. and compassion toward her husband.  Her anger didn’t flare up as often and things flowed more smoothly between them. She began to find good things to comment about in her day-to-day dealings with him.

One day she walked into her counselor’s office and stated, “I’m beginning to think that  the percentages were reversed. Seventy-five percent of the trouble in our marriage was with me. God has helped me and what a difference it has made between my husband and I.”

Sometimes the person we most need to be patient and compassionate toward is ourselves before we can learn how to be compassionate toward others.

Lord, check my heart today. Help me to be patient and compassionate toward myself  as I struggle to take responsibility for my outward physical and inner emotional life – to be a healthier, happier person in you. And as I learn to care about myself, help me to extend that same care to others. Amen.

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” Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all your strength.”  Ecclesiastes 9:10 a  New Life Version (NLV)

Want to give to missions or help in some way, but don’t know how?

The A-21 Campaign, an organization that helps victims of human trafficking and sex slavery offers these 21 ways to help :

1. Write a letter to a trafficking survivor.
2. Save your change for missions
3. Talk about missions organizations on your social media sites
4. Educate yourself about trafficking or other problems the missionaries face in the areas where they work (Check out their online resources)
5. Intern with a missions organization or write to the organization and find out if there is any way they can use your particular talents.
6. Be a walking billboard – advertise missions organizations on your tee-shirts or purchase items made. Why not? we “advertise” everything else????
7. Give gifts to those in need
8. Pray!
9. Use your talents to spread the word – Write, Sing, Make a short video, etc.
10. Keep informed about the areas of your missions interest by subscribing to newsletters, reading newspapers, etc.
11. Start an awareness group to help others get involved and to pray together
12.Hhost a get-together to promote your missions cause
13. Never work alone – two can do more than one person.
14. Become an activist – stand up for the rights of trafficking victims
15. Fast one day per month
16. Partner with corporate sponsors for seasonal promotions.
17. Forward videos by your missions organization (Why not? We forward everything else!)
18. Link with local people or organizations to work for missions at a grass-roots level
19.Invest “sweat equity” into missions – Put together a fund raising event or make something to sell for missions
20. Don’t buy products made by modern day slave labor
21. Be part of the solution – ask god to show you what you have in your hands that you can do for missions!

This list was created specifically by the A-21 Campaign for their organization, but the truth is, most of these things can apply to any missions organization you want to support.  The big thing is to get out there and DO something!

I am currently selling my novel about Rahab to raise money for several missions organizations dealing with victims of  human trafficking. But I also love to sew and have lots of free fabric which came from my mother-in-law’s stash. It makes the most wonderful dolls which I can now sell for missions. I’ll be posting an ad soon to let people know where they can get these dolls.

So What has God given you to do?  Give it all you’ve got today!

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Finally, my friends, keep your minds on whatever is true, pure, right, holy, friendly, and proper. Don’t ever stop thinking about what is truly worthwhile and worthy of praise.” Philippians 4:8 CEV

Do you see the glass half full or half empty?

How we think about things really does determine how we react. If we see the negative in  situations or circumstances we will react with worry, fear, disgust,anger, bitterness  or despair. How we look at the people around us will ultimately determine how we treat them.

Sure, we can work at developing positive thinking, but that really isn’t enough – especially if we are only putting a Band-aid® on our true feelings about the circumstances and people around us. Eventually the negative thoughts will spill out or we will become exhausted and ill from covering them up with positive thoughts.

We really need to develop “praiseful thinking.” God is the only constant in our lives who is true, pure, right, holy, friendly and proper; the only one who is truly worthy of praise. When we focus our thoughts on Him and on our relationship with Him, the negative people,  situations and circumstances become opportunities for God to do amazing things. We live with hope and anticipation rather than worry or fear. We can love others because He loves us.

Lord, help me to focus my heart and mind on You and to develop “praiseful thinking!” Amen.

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“Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.” Matthew 7:7-8 NIV

If God is all-powerful, all-knowing and all-seeing, then why should we need to ask Him for the things we need?

You know what? God does know what we need before we ask or even realize we need it. He knows what is best for us, even when we don’t. But He waits for us to ask Him for our needs before answering for many reasons.

1. Asking fosters trust.

When an infant cries and its parents respond in a timely and consistent fashion, a bond of trust develops.  In the same way, we learn to trust God when we cry to Him and He meets our needs. If I don’t ask, I never learn to trust Him.

2. Asking fosters our personal growth.

I chuckle when my daughter tells her kids to “use their words” when they want something. Most of the time she understands their gestures or childish grunts, but by making them articulate what they need, she helps them to grow in their communication skills.

Often we don’t know what we really want or need from God. We react emotionally to circumstances, people or pain rather than responding to God’s presence in our lives. “Using our words” helps us work through the strong emotions to an understanding of what we really need from our heavenly Father. We grow up in Him.

3. Asking keeps the lines of communication open with God.

Little children go through a “Why?” phase, constantly asking questions. Then they hit puberty and suddenly their parents don’t know anything at all. Thankfully, they outgrown that phase too and as adults they come to appreciate their parents’ wisdom.  They begin asking the more honest questions on their hearts which fosters a deeper relationship based on mutual respect, trust and love. And so it is between us and our heavenly Father.

Lord, help me to trust you enough to ask the raw, innermost, honest questions of my heart. Amen.

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“If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.”  James 1:5 NIV.

How many times have you cried out to God saying, “Help me God! Show me what to do.”

Been there done that more times than I can count. And each time, God gave me the answers I needed. No – He didn’t  always write the answers on a wall in plain English – “Go here. Do this, Talk to that person.” But He ALWAYS gave the necessary wisdom to figure out the answers.

Wisdom is like the old Chinese proverb which says, “Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a  lifetime.” God wants us to learn to be spiritual problem solvers – critical thinkers  – rather than marionettes.

In order to do that, God gives us practical knowledge to suit our situation. Knowledge comes from  book learning (especially His  word), lessons learned from our previous experiences, the examples of others, godly advice as well as by watching the world around us..

Another component of wisdom is insight gained from understanding human nature and how others relate to us. Lastly, wisdom entails good judgment or common sense as we apply the knowledge we’ve gained to our situations.

One more thing about wisdom – it is meant to be shared. God invented mentoring. LOL! He has a neat way of interweaving our lives with those around us so that they they cry out for wisdom, we are part of His plan to teach it to them. Gotta love Him!

Lord teach me wisdom today. Amen.

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“Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance.” James 1:2-3 NIV

There comes a point in each trial or crisis – a rock-bottom place –  when we are forced to make a decision. We decide either to let the trial defeat us or to let it better us.

If we succumb to the pain of the crisis, bitterness begins to grow in our hearts, eventually darkening our spirits. But a decision to fight back against the trial brings hope and even a glimmer of joy.

Salvation is a good example of this. Did you know that 99% of Christians accepted Christ during a moment of crisis or great trial? Think back to when you first made the decision to accept Christ.

When we make the decision to let trials change us / grow us, we begin to experience a sense of our Heavenly Father with us He is the bright spot in the midst of the pain and grief. He begins to massage our hearts with the oil of gladness with a sweet aroma that permeates even the most difficult circumstances.

The events or circumstances around us might not change, but our hearts and attitudes do – we experience the joy of relationship with Christ in the midst of our sorrows.

Father, whenever I am going through a crisis in my life, help me to choose to reach out to your healing, hope and joy. Help me to cling to that hope and joy no matter how long it takes to get through the trial. Amen!

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