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.
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
1 Kings 19:11-12 The LORD said, “Go out and stand on the mountain in the presence of the LORD, for the LORD is about to pass by.” Then a great and powerful wind tore the mountains apart and shattered the rocks before the LORD, but the LORD was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake, but the LORD was not in the earthquake. After the earthquake came a fire, but the LORD was not in the fire. And after the fire came a gentle whisper.
Let this be a lesson to you. When your pastor reads a scripture that touches your heart, be sure to write down the address. I just spent about 25 minutes trying to locate the above verse in Isaiah. Silly me. This verse isn’t about Isaiah – it’s about Elijah. Duh. Oh well. Continue reading
Philippians 4:6-7 (The Message) Don’t fret or worry. Instead of worrying, pray. Let petitions and praises shape your worries into prayers, letting God know your concerns. Before you know it, a sense of God’s wholeness, everything coming together for good, will come and settle you down. It’s wonderful what happens when Christ displaces worry at the center of your life.
Generally, I’m not a worrier. Unfortunately, there are times in my life when something hits me out of the blue, and with nothing I can do to fix it, and then…I’m can worry with the best of them. The problem becomes a pervasive driving perpetual thought in my mind. I look at it from all directions trying to figure out just how I can alleviate whatever issue I’m struggling with. My daughter loves Winnie-the-Pooh, I feel just like him at times – tapping my head saying “Think, think, think.”. I get frustrated with myself that I cannot (in all my brilliance) figure out how to make it ok. Continue reading
1 Samuel 16:7 But the LORD said to Samuel, “Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The LORD does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.”
How pretty is my heart? These days, we can camouflage our exterior faults easily. Cover that blemish, emphasize our high cheekbones or beautiful eyes. There’s a multi-billion dollar industry dedicated to helping women be as put-together as possible. We have Spanx, push up bras, highlights for our hair and (for the vertically challenged) four inch heels. I spend money every day when I put on my anti-aging moisturizer and eye creme that promises to de-wrinkle and brighten my peepers. All this attention I focus on an exterior that in the long run really doesn’t matter. All the while, the things of eternal importance get forgotten. Continue reading
Psalm 118:24 This is the day the LORD has made; We will rejoice and be glad in it.
Yesterday, I got a horrible migraine at about 4 o’clock in the afternoon. My husband is usually home around 5:30. Those ninety minutes seemed like torture. My daughter wanted me to sing with her, my son was feeling grumpy/tired and whining. I felt like my head was going to explode. I pulled out my phone to call my husband when he wasn’t home at 5:31…and saw an e-mail saying he’d be working late. That he probably wouldn’t be heading out of the office until half past 5. I felt like vomiting. By the time Zack walked in the door at 6:20, I could hardly walk my head hurt so badly. I remember mumbling something and staggering to the blissful black of my bedroom and closing the door. I remember nothing else except about 20 seconds of my husband coming to bed around 11. Then my alarm was going off this morning.
Let’s just say that I wasn’t pleased with how my day ended up yesterday. And, this morning I still have the aching remnants of that headache. I’ll never be able to explain how bad it is for those of you who’ve never had a migraine, my fellow sufferers need no description. I really kind of feel like being grumpy all day because of all I had to get accomplished that just didn’t get done last night. But what am I instructed to do upon opening my Bible this morning? Rejoice and be glad in the day God has made. Super.
Much more often than I’d like to admit, I reach the end of the day with a list of complaints. Rather than focus on the joys of each day, I get caught up in what didn’t go well. I forget that God crafted that day with special purpose for me. In the morning, I don’t think about the promise and possibility of the day ahead, instead concentrating on what tasks need to be completed. Daily we should delight in the wonderful gift of life. We’re not promised tomorrow. Instead of that making us somber, it should make us supremely grateful for the day in front of us. So, I chose to say “Woo-hoo for today!” I can’t wait to see what God has in store for me.
Exodus 33:14 – And He said, “My Presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.”
God gave me a perfect scripture this morning. It is amazing to me that just about every day since I began having a quiet time with the Lord, there has been something I’ve read that seems to be placed in the Bible just for me.
I have been feeling tired the past couple days. No, exhausted is closer. Yesterday afternoon, I was sitting in my daughter’s playroom while she was making me some imaginary food and then suddenly she was leaning over me saying “Mommy are you sleeping?”. I had fallen deeply into sleep sitting up on her very uncomfortable IKEA couch. Yeah. I’m not sure if I’m getting sick, or if the 5am wake-up is getting to me since the past couple days I’ve been late-to-bed. Whatever the reason – I want rest. Voilà! In my devotional this morning, I read a scripture about God’s presence being with me and providing me with the very rest I am aching for. I know I’ve said this before, but how DOES God do that?
More than just sleep, rest has much deeper meaning. It can mean to sit fixed or supported, to be free from anxiety or disturbance, or just to cease from action or motion, to refrain from exertion. God’s rest is a calming influence in my life. To know that He is with me, allows me to lean on His support and not have to use my own power. Resting in His care is relaxing, comforting and peaceful. Sleep is what I think I want, but rest is what I actually need. Life gets crazy and I tend to overbook my days. My proverbial candle is most definitely burning at both ends. God is reminding me today that His rest is an important component of my life, and I need to make time for it.
Colossians 2:4 Devote yourselves to prayer with an alert mind and a thankful heart.
Yesterday evening, I was sitting on the couch with some friends and family having a lovely chat, winding down from a great baby shower. I was tired, dragging after only a few hours sleep, having spent 6 hours baking the previous day. All I wanted to do was lazily listen to the conversation around me and then crawl into bed. Suddenly, I realized the clock in the kitchen said 5:43 — completely energized, I sprang from the couch. “I gotta go!” I yelled behind me, racing from the room. Frantically I located my keys, some shoes and my purse and ran to the car – leaving my family and friends just sitting in my living room – and sped away from my house towards the pharmacy. You see, in all the fuss preparing for a baby shower, I’d forgotten to pick up my birth control pack for the new month, which I needed to start yesterday evening. The pharmacy closes at 6 o’clock.
You may be asking yourself how on earth this story could tie into a devotional? Well, I’ll tell you. Continue reading