Monday, December 31, 2012

Dirty Dishes Devotions

I felt that I was supposed to make a blog of these devotions. Of course, I second guessed that and waited. Some day I will get to a place where I obey quickly, at least I hope so. Anyway, I started the blog yesterday and am going back and adding the previous devotions right now. There will probably be some new ones too. It is supposed to be devotions for women, any women, but I guess men can read them too. So far there hasn't been many that focus just on being a woman. :)

Follow the link below:

Saturday, December 29, 2012

2012 - The Year

At the start of each new year I pray for a word, a phrase, and knowing of what they year means. 2011 was the year of obedience. That year resulted in me going on my first mission trip and many steps outside of my comfort zone. 2012 was The Year. That is a pretty overwhelming thought isn't it!

The Year. The Year for what? I thought maybe something major, a major life change event. Um, nope. I was waiting all year for some big dramatic change to take place. But nothing happened. Well, something happened but it wasn't what I thought.

The changes that have taken place this year have been gradual and internal. I cannot point to one event or date when these changes happened, but I do know that there has been change. I have found that I have used my voice more this year, more of what God has spoken to me, not just repeating what others have said. Not only have I been writing posts for this blog, but I have also done a few devotional type writings and made a group on Facebook to read them. They are often like these posts, I only write them when God has given me something to write about. He speaks a verse to me whether in my quiet time, I read it in another book, or I hear someone else make reference to it. These verses lend me to thinking about how they relate to my life and He gives me a couple paragraphs or so to write about them.

Another way He has changed me is that I have written a few short stories all along a common theme. I don't know if these will ever be seen by others or not, but I have enjoyed writing them. I believe these stories are from God because the words just flow out of me as I type them. I can't seem to just stop and come back to them later. I have to finish writing the story. I even wrote one once that was obviously my own creation and I knew it. He didn't let my mind rest from that story until I went back to it and completely rewrote it. When that story was done I knew it was no longer my story, but rather the one He told me to write.

Other internal changes include being separated by God for a time of preparation. I am an introvert by nature and have tried not to do the separate-myself-thing because I would much rather do that then but myself into the mist of others. This separation has been different. I don't know how to explain it, but I know that it has been. Now what exactly He is preparing me for I do not know, but I do treasure this time He has been preparing me.

Even with there being this time of separation I have made new friendships and deeper friendships with others that I have known. I have never had lots of friends at any given time. I have no problem with having just one or two good friends. It is nice to have some new ones developing. I have found that I have been able to open up more with them as well.

So there are only two full days left in 2012 and I still expect some things to happen to make the The Year. But it's been a good year that if nothing else changes inside of me in these two days I will be content with what He has done n 2012. And in three days I will be asking for a new new word, phrase, or knowing for 2013. I'm pretty excited about that too.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Wanting Someone Else to do the Work

Yesterday I was out with a friend for dinner. We talked for a couple of hours and she made me think, a lot.

One of the things she made me realize was that I want someone else to do all the work. I like getting the dream, the vision, but I am fearful of carrying it out. I feel like so many people in the Bible, like Moses or Gideon. They heard from God, but they didn't think they could do what God called them to do. Now, I am not saying I am Moses or Gideon, or that God is calling me to do anything like He asked them to do. Just wanted that to be clear.

Even so, I want someone else to come along and do what God has told me to do. I do not think I am capable of doing it. Well, I'm not. Moses wasn't either. The thing I have learned from him is that even though he didn't feel up to the huge tasks God had him to do, he knew how to do them. No, he didn't know the "how" of leading the Israelites. He knew that the only way to lead them was to spend time, intimate time, with the Lord God Almighty.

Anyway as I was saying, I really want someone to come along and be the one who will take the lead in what I think God is telling me to do. I would be so okay with that. I have no problem with being in the background. But is it because God made me to be a background person (which isn't bad, background people are needed to get stuff done!) or is it because of fear? Um, let me think about that for about a second...yeah, it's the fear choice.

I realized that I have been doing this very same thing for years, many years. I have been avoiding doing what He has asked of me most of my life because of fear. I want that to stop. I need that to stop. I want all that God has for me and that means I need to stop waiting for someone else to do what God is asking me to do. I need to spend time with Him so that I can. It isn't about just white knuckling it. It is all about trusting Him to do what He will do through me. It is about spending time with Him and learning to walk in His strength, especially when I'm feeling weak, fearful, and incompetent.

So, now that I know, I need to start doing what He is asking me to do. It's time to get to work!

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

The Only Book Worth Reading

I love to read! I love historical fiction. I love to read stories with real characters, people who are flawed and real. I love to read books about God. I love to read books about characters in the Bible. I love to read books, period.

Sometimes when I read a book a phrase or even an entire chapter will mean something to me. Sometimes it will be an eye opener for me. Sometimes it will make me stop and think. Sometimes it will make me stop and pray. Sometimes it will make me cry. Sometimes it will make me laugh. The best times are when it drives me to Scripture.

You see none of the many books that I love to read are really worth reading in comparison to the one book that is. The Bible. All the books in the world put together are not worth even a small fraction of the Bible. I can't imagine people who do not read it thinking that the book that they just finished, talk about with their friends, or reread over and over again is so amazing. If they just opened up the book, the inspired Word of God, they would realize their favorite is in no way comparable.

What I really don't get, is how people who do read the Bible turn to other books for quotes about God rather than use His book for their quotes.I'm not talking about the occasional quoting of other books. I have done that. I mean when people use other books as if they are the Word is what I don't get. It is the only book that has ever been written and ever will be written that is Truth about who God is and what He says to and about us.

So as great as other books are it is the only book that truly is worth reading.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Positioning Yourself in the Face of Death

I was up early this morning, very early around 3, and I needed to read my Bible. I needed to because my thoughts were focused on something that was making me angry, and 3AM is too early to be up and fretting. I realized I needed to take the focus off my thoughts and onto His Word.

I have been reread Esther for the millionth time (I love Esther!). I wanted to read a chapter at a time and really focus on what that chapter was teaching me.Well, that was fine until 3AM and I ended up starting on chapter 4 and read through chapter 10. Not that these are long chapters but I barely stopped between them to think on anything. Even so, I did pause and think after reading one part.

"Three days later Esther dressed in her royal robes and took up a position in the inner court of the palace in front of the king’s throne room. The king was on his throne facing the entrance. When he noticed Queen Esther standing in the court, he was pleased to see her; the king extended the gold scepter in his hand. Esther approached and touched the tip of the scepter." Esther 5:1-3

This is where I stopped, focusing on the word "position". God positioned Esther as queen. We know that
the former queen hurt the manly pride of the king and he sent her away. (Seriously, next time you read Esther notice how easily Xerxes is swayed by drink and the influence of people talking in his ear.) He needed a new wife and God positioned Esther to be that queen.

When Haman plots to kill all the Jews Esther is exactly where she needs to be. She is in the palace. She is the queen. She was chosen by the king in a contest with 1000s of other women.She was positioned just right. Even so, she had to step out of her fear to live up to "such a time as this".

Esther cannot just pop into the throne room and talk to the king. Going before the king when you haven't been called for can result in death. She had to face death and position herself to save her people. She took up a position where the king could see her. She took up a position that could lead to her death or the salvation of her people.

We have been positioned by God to be right in the place that we are in. He has done the ultimate positioning of us, but we also need to step out of fear and position ourselves. There will be times in our lives, maybe you are there right now, where God is asking you to step out and position yourself to do something. That something could be huge and life changing for others. It could be small, or seemingly small, and not effect many. Regardless of how big it is you need to do it.

If you are gripped by fear of death you need to step out into the position He is calling you to. That death is probably not literal. It may be a possible death of your reputation in certain people's eyes. It may be a possible death in relationships. It could be any kind of possible death. But remember Esther positioning herself did not lead to her death. It led to the salvation of her people. It did lead to the death of an evil man. Your stepping out into a position God has created for you can only lead to life.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

How To Get Life, Abundant Life

I have been writing devotions for a little over a month on a group I started on Facebook. It's not everyday, not yet, but I hope it will get there. Last night I was in bed when He gave me a message to write. I tried to just go to bed, I was tired, but I knew I needed to get up and write it. It was as much for me as it will be for whoever needed to read it.

I have been wondering about taking it farther than a FB group. I think it might need to become a blog of its own. I considered adding it to this one, but this blog and those devotions are different and I think need to take different avenues. So I need to work on setting up another blog. In the meantime I really feel last night's devotion needs to be shared here today. I hope it speaks to someone as much as it did me.

How To Get Life, Abundant Life

December 8, 2012

“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.” John 10:10

Satan comes into our lives for one reason and one reason only. He comes to destroy our relationship with God. Sometimes He tries to destroy it even before we have come to have a relationship with Him. Sometimes that doesn’t work and we are saved by Christ and then he tries t separate us from Him.

He will use any and all tricks in the book to either steal our relationship with God. Or kill our relationship with God. Or destroy our relationship with God. He will use fear, anxiety, loss, torture, shame, abuse, and on and on.

When he does we have a choice. We can let fear bind us up or we can come to Jesus. We can let anxiety make question everything and do nothing or we can come to Jesus. We can let loss eat away at us and cause bitterness or we can come to Jesus. We can let torture turn us into those who seek revenge or we can come to Jesus. We can let shame make us hide ourselves or we can come to Jesus. We can let abuse make us believe we deserve it or we can come to Jesus.

We often have no choice over what happens to us, but we have a choice to stop the thief from taking from us the one thing that we desperately need. We can choose to come to Jesus and let Him have all of it. See He already took all of it upon Himself anyway. He took it at the cross. See He’s seen that and done that and defeated that already. When we bring it all, and I mean it all to Jesus, we have that life and have it abundantly that He talks about in John 10:10.

I have always wondered “how do I really get that?” I think He’s told me. I have to give Him every stole, dead, and destroyed thing that Satan has messed with and He will take it. If He takes, and He will, then what am I left with? Life and it is abundant!

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Not Sure How to Help

For the last couple of weeks I have felt inadequate. This feeling of inadequacy comes from not knowing how to help someone else. Someone who has become a good friend recently gave her heart over to Jesus. I was beyond happy for her. I had been praying for her for a few years and having that prayer answered was amazing.

Not long after this happened it appeared that a major hope was being answered for her. I was excited for her. I hoped it all would work out and increase her faith and relationship with God. Then it all went wrong.

I don't know how to help. I have prayed for her. I have given her things. I have even laughed with her. But I don't know how to help her deal with her feelings toward God.

I know that she is having trouble with this. I pray that she will turn to Him. I pray that she will realize that He didn't do this to her, He didn't abandon her. I want to tell her it's okay to let Him know exactly how she is feeling toward Him. Even if she's angry with Him, she can tell Him. He can take it. I feel inadequate to help her know that He is the comfort she is seeking.

I will continue to pray. I know He answers. He won't make her turn to Him. He won't force Himself on her. It has to be her who turns to Him. I pray that she will hear His voice because He is still talking to her. I pray that she will find that He is the answer even to the hardest, most heart wrenching troubles she may face.