Luke 1:17 For with God, nothing will be impossible.
Do I really believe that? The Bible says it. Plain as day. It is all possible. Anything you can dream or imagine is within the realm of possibility with God. It might seem crazy. You may think there’s just no way it will happen, but NOTHING is out of the question.
This week, I received a huge lesson in trusting God for what seems impossible. A person I thought would never see Jesus for the loving Savior He is, came to know Him in a personal way. This man has been on the receiving end of desperate pleading prayers for 30 years. Right up to the day before I learned of his salvation, I would have told you there was no way. His heart seemed impenetrable. His mind totally closed off to the things of the Lord. And yet, God was able to reach him and touch him in an amazingly mighty way. I’m particularly thankful for God’s grace and mercy in this life because, it was my grandfather (Poppa). I visited him a couple times this week and am overwhelmed by that change God’s peace has brought to his demeanor. He is a new person. Incredibly soft and sweet in the midst of severe pain – with a graciousness I have never witnessed in him before.
It has made me reconsider the limitations I put on God. The box I keep Him in seems so small in light of such an obvious transformation in a life previously so lost. I think the problem is, we assume God is restrained by our own weaknesses. I am too tired, emotionally drained, physically weak to really accomplish the things I want to each day, and I place those same limitations on the Lord. How can He have the time and energy to deal with all the world’s issues, and still take an active role in my little life? Isn’t He exhausted? If, in all my mental prowess and debating skills, I am unable to make someone see the logic of following God’s plan instead of their own, how will God reach their mind and heart? Even in my prayers, I’m trying to ask or tell God how I think things should work out, rather than relying on Him to direct me in His perfect will and plan.
The incredible reality is, our Lord is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine. Even when we think we’ve figured out the “best-case-scenario”, God’s end-game is always far better. I need to start allowing myself to open up the box and let God be free to do His work in my life, and through me into other lives.
Psalm 37:4 Delight yourself also in the Lord. And He shall give you the desires of your heart.
For years my mother has been pleading with me to have a daily quiet time with God. Many times, I shrugged off her requests in irritation. I would get extremely annoyed at her insistence that my walk with the Lord needed to be deeper than church on Sundays. Carving out twenty, thirty or forty minutes of my precious time each day just didn’t seem worth it to me. I was doing alright. I was saved wasn’t I? Why didn’t she just let me be?
In my dozen years as an “adult”, I have learned lessons the hard way. Without a real relationship with God, decisions have been consistently made based on what I thought, felt or desired at any given moment. Raised in the church, I prayed for things often, but only lately have I realized that I couldn’t possibly have actually heard God when waiting for direction. I mean, I had no idea what His voice sounded like. I’d never spent any time with Him, so how could I possibly expect to discern His prompting apart from my own ideas about things? Ultimately, I’m pretty sure it’s been my way, not God’s that my life has been lived. Continue reading
Luke 10:42 But one thing is needed, and Mary has chosen that good part, which will not be taken away from her.”
So, it’s time to fess up. I haven’t done my devotional time in 4 days. The week prior to that was very hit or miss. I have all the normal excuses. My kids have been sick, I’ve been sick. Too much crammed into the day. Going to bed late. House is a mess. Errands to run. Ultimately, I just haven’t been making time in my day to spend with God.
The first line in my devotional today was “Trust me enough to spend ample time with Me, pushing back the demands of the day.” Um, yeah. Good to know the Lord is still paying attention in my life. Could there be a more perfect “welcome back”? I love the feeling that swept over me as I read the passage in Luke about Mary choosing time with the Lord. It was like God was saying to me, “I’ve missed you. Thanks for coming to see me again.”. Like an old friend, no matter how much time passes between visits, you pick right back up where you left off. I feel like God has been sitting, waiting for me to be with Him, wanting my company, but willing to wait for me to make the time.
It’s really so comforting to be in His presence and know that He’s not waiting with a stern lecture about how long it’s been. At the same time, I feel very convicted about allowing so many things to fill up the space I had previously reserved for the Lord. Dishes, laundry, workouts, bills, kids bathed/dressed etc. As much as I have to do, none of it should be more important than my time in His word. Placing God’s time ahead of all else starts my day in the right perspective. Which can only lead to properly prioritizing the rest of my daily activities. So today is a new start, a fresh clean slate. I’m back to making God first. I’m sure the laundry will still be there after my quiet time.
Numbers 6:24-26 The Lord bless you and keep you: The Lord make His face shine upon you. And be gracious to you. The Lord lift up His countenance upon you, And give you peace.
A lovely blessing for this, the end of another work week. Like so many passages I’ve read in the last month, I’ve heard these verses from various pulpits, pastors and other people in my life, but never read it myself in the Bible. It is a nice feeling to read such familiar words, and see them in a new light as God opens His word to me. Continue reading
I haven’t blogged my devotional in a while. Partly because I had a rough week and wasn’t in the word much (maybe that’s why my week was so rough?). But also because I’ve started a reading plan that includes more than just a couple verses picked out to support a devotional book. The plan I’m doing now includes several (gasp!) chapters of the Bible per day. Also, right now it’s got me in Exodus and Acts. Let me tell you, Exodus can be pretty tedious. I know God has things to show me, even in a book that’s pretty full of very specific instructions on building things that seem to have no application in my life. It’s been kind of a struggle to pull anything out that I feel like writing about.
I’m still in Exodus, but after an experience at the gym this morning, I viewed God’s detailed instructions a little differently. I pulled a circuit routine off SELF magazine’s website yesterday from renowned trainer Jillian Michaels. She has been a HUGE motivational presence in my weight loss journey of the last two years. Today was the first time I actually attempted one of her workouts though. I have experienced great success working out on my own, but as I’m trying to get into a bikini for my cruise in three weeks, I figured a little Jillian might be just the extra boost I needed. Goodness, it was intense. Each of the moves in her workout was completely foreign to me. I was drenched in sweat within about 5 minutes. Halfway through, I actually felt like throwing up. I am a pretty fit person, I spend about 10 hours a week at the gym and I work myself out pretty hard. But this routine was different. I was out of my comfort zone entirely. Having never done these moves before, I had no idea if I actually would be able to perform them. Every time I felt like quitting however, I imagined if Jillian were there with me. Encouraging me in her sweet nice way to keep going. For those of you unfamiliar with Jillian’s training style, this might help you understand. Oh yeah. She doesn’t mess around. I don’t agree with her choice of language (obviously) but she has the ability to push people to where they need to be. Her workout was beyond hard, but it was specific and when I felt like I couldn’t do it, I leaned back on my knowledge that Jillian doesn’t ask people to do more than her experience tells her they can achieve. Somehow, I made it through the workout.
After showering, still physically reeling from my sweat-session, I sat down to do my devotional today. Suddenly, God’s instructions to His people in Exodus were fascinating. Back in the day, God didn’t pull any punches. He was very particular about what His people were supposed to be doing. And He didn’t take it too well when they didn’t do 100% of what He asked of them. Kind of like Jillian’s workout today. And, even more so than a great trainer would, God asks us to stretch ourselves beyond what we think we can accomplish, but always has our best interest in mind. The Lord’s life workouts are not easy. They are not comfortable and many times they leave us exhausted and hungry for a rest. Today when my muscles were shaking, burning and aching for relief from the pounding I was putting them through, I trusted the instructions of a woman I have never met. But I struggle to follow God’s direction in my life. Why is that? He loves me. He wants what’s best for me. My trust in Him should be completely unconditional. No matter what happens in my life, how difficult the situation is I need to remember that God is there for me, and never asks more of me than He knows I can handle. Just like Jillian.
(you’ll never use Manwich again)
- 1 pound lean ground beef
- 1/4 cup chopped onion
- 1/4 cup chopped green bell pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon yellow mustard
- 3/4 cup ketchup
- 3 teaspoons brown sugar
- salt to taste
- ground black pepper to taste
- In a medium skillet over medium heat, brown the ground beef, onion, and green pepper; drain off liquids.
- Stir in the garlic powder, mustard, ketchup, and brown sugar; mix thoroughly. Reduce heat, and simmer for 30 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.
Is there a more classic meal than sloppy joes? I think not. This quick at-home creation kicks the canned variety’s behind. It’s awesome.
Yet I am always with you;
you hold me by my right hand.
You guide me with your counsel,
and afterward you will take me into glory.
In my walk with God, I tend to leave Him in the dust as I jump ahead to my next big plan. The picture in this Psalm this morning reminded me of when I walk in a parking lot with my three-year old, Madison. I’m trying to get from the car to whatever building we’re heading for, she wants to jump over bumps on the ground, talk about the parking stripes and stop to look at a leaf. It’s very difficult to hold her hand (my other, occupied by her little brother) as she leaps off the ground suddenly over an invisible “bump”, quickens her pace to see something amazing just ahead or suddenly stops completely mid-stride to examine the ground. In the midst of all her little activities however, she never lets go of my hand. Even as the world around completely distracts her from the task we’re accomplishing, she understands the safety represented in keeping her little fingers entwined with mine. Continue reading
Trust in the Lord with all your heart.
And lean not on your own understanding:
In all your ways acknowledge Him.
And He shall direct your paths.
First – sorry for the break from my devotional blog yesterday. I woke up late, so had to squeeze my Bible time in to the kids nap time…you mom’s need no further explanation. Suffice it to say, I wasn’t so much waiting on the Lord yesterday as just trying to get thru it before the munchkins were back awake.
Today is a different story. I saw the impact my lack of quiet time had on my day yesterday. Let’s not do that again, ok Tonya?
This morning, I’m back to an exhortation to trust God. Again. Fitting, since my trust is so easily placed in other things. Like cookies. Let me elaborate.
“Come, all you who are thirsty,
come to the waters;
and you who have no money,
come, buy and eat!
Come, buy wine and milk
without money and without cost.
Why spend money on what is not bread,
and your labor on what does not satisfy?
Listen, listen to me, and eat what is good,
and your soul will delight in the richest of fare.
God is just amazing to me. Each morning for the past three weeks, I have sat quietly before Him. Prior to reading my Bible, I pray that He would lead me to the scripture He would speak to me through. Continue reading
A couple weeks ago, one of the gals at my MOPS table invited me to a couponing class with her. She is a self-proclaimed “crazy coupon lady” who doesn’t purchase things without a coupon. She gets most of her groceries at a huge discount, free – or sometimes even makes money back on the deal. I have never used coupons. Just kind of figured I didn’t have time for it…or, I guess that my time was worth more than the coupons were going to save me. I really haven’t even ever shopped the local ads. If I’m feeling really on top of things, I make a list of meals I’m planning to prepare for the week and then go get the stuff. Usually though, I hit the grocery store on my way home from the gym – pick up a few things for dinner and then repeat a couple times a week. I know this is not the best way to run my grocery shopping, and as a stay-at-home mom, feel like a total underachiever in this area. Continue reading