I woke up this morning the same way I went to bed...stiff and sore. I dragged myself down the stairs trying not to say anything with each step I took. My workout did this...it's a good hurt they say. Anyway... my mood isn't the best because of the pain I feel. I grab my coffee and sit in my cozy chair with the dog at my feet and open up my devotional. This is what I get to towards the end of today's reading. Jesus served and He did it with His heart right. I served up pancakes this morning with a side of attitude because I hurt. Mind you - I served it up AFTER I read my devotional. Jesus served with His heart right. He didn't feel that He needed a reward or applause. He just did what He had to do.
"The work we do is only our love for Jesus in action." ~Mother Theresa
So, yeah - I need to get my heart right, push up my sleeves and serve with my eyes on Him. Because "to love is Christ." ~Phil. 1:20
I push the gate door open and immediately see this shape in the snow. I say to my hubby, "Aww! Look it's a heart! Give me your phone!" (Maybe I should have sprinkled a little please at the end of that. Sorry Hubby!) I had to get a picture because that's what I do. Every time I would walk past it I would step over it - careful not to trample on it. Then when I shut the gate I remembered a conversation my daughter and I had. It was about the gate to our heart and how we can choose to let things in or not. We could let fear in by just leaving that door wide open or we could stop and fight with the Word of God. We decided that we would let God stand at the door of our hearts. He would be our Gate Keeper. Who do you want standing at the front of your gate? Fear? Anxiety? The enemy? Or God?
But Moses pleaded with the Lord,
“O Lord, I’m not very good with words. I never have been, and I’m not
now, even though you have spoken to me. I get tongue-tied, and my words
Then the Lord
asked Moses, “Who makes a person’s mouth? Who decides whether people
speak or do not speak, hear or do not hear, see or do not see? Is it not
I, the Lord?Now go! I will be with you as you speak, and I will instruct you in what to say.”
But Moses again pleaded, “Lord, please! Send anyone else.”
Then the Lord
became angry with Moses. “All right,” he said. “What about your
brother, Aaron the Levite? I know he speaks well. And look! He is on his
way to meet you now. He will be delighted to see you.Talk
to him, and put the words in his mouth. I will be with both of you as
you speak, and I will instruct you both in what to do.Aaron
will be your spokesman to the people. He will be your mouthpiece, and
you will stand in the place of God for him, telling him what to say.And take your shepherd’s staff with you, and use it to perform the miraculous signs I have shown you.”
~Exodus 4:10-17 (NLT)
Ever let your insecurities be the boss of you? I have. I love this conversation with Moses and God. He is pleading with God and God says, "Hey, who made your mouth?" God made him slow to speak and not very good with words but guess what...He provided a way for Moses. He used him anyway and provided a way for Moses and his insecurities. He never leaves and will always provide a way.
I'm only 5 feet tall and have always been small. My nickname in school
was "Short-T" and sometimes I feel like my faith can carry that
nickname. I can doubt more than I care to admit. Today's scripture talks
about this tiny mustard seed...some say that if you blink you will miss
it because it is so small. Yet, Jesus talks about the power of this
seed. Plant it and watch it push against the earth. The power of God in
this tiny seed is the same power in little ole' me and you! It doesn't
matter our size - it only matters that we believe in the size of our
God. He says, "Give it to me and watch me do something with it!" So
whatever that mountain is standing in front of you...give your little to
Him and watch Him do something.
"Be careful what you think, because your thoughts run your life."
To follow Jesus we must think like Him. We need to be
willing to give up things and be prepared for the battle. To be
changed...we need to fight daily to keep our eyes on Him. He fought for
us and He is worth the fight. "If people want to follow Me, they must
give up the things they want...it is worthless to have the whole world
if they lose their souls." ~Jesus. What is your soul worth to you?
*preaching to myself*
Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. ~Colossians 3:2 (NIV)
Every single day - I have to choose to set my mind. I have to choose to look for the good. I have to choose to see things from His perspective and not mine. That's hard. "In every great crisis – let it bring out the greatness of Christ in you." ~Ann Voskamp
“You, Lord, keep my lamp burning; my God turns my darkness into light.” ~Psalm 18:28
My heart hurts for a friend and her children this morning. I went to bed asking God for His healing peace and comfort for them. I don't understand why but I know that He is good...He doesn't change...and His promises stay. He can take our anger and our questions while He holds us tight and provides for each day.
"Be strong. Take courage. Don’t be intimidated. Don’t give them a second thought because God, your God, is striding ahead of you. He’s right there with you. He won’t let you down; he won’t leave you.” ~Deuteronomy 31:6 (MSG)
"We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, sure and strong. It enters behind the curtain in the Most Holy Place in heaven." ~Hebrews 6:19 (NCV)
Sometimes I can put my hope in other people, things, position, etc. I'm all over the place...being tossed around from thing to thing. This never works - oh maybe temporally I feel like it does. Today, instead of putting my hope in the things that can't bring me lasting hope...I need to anchor myself to Jesus.
"I'm on the throne, stop holding on and just be held." ~Casting Crowns - Just Be Held
One of my favorite things at our church is our worship band. The music sets the tone of my soul. It brings the chaos of my day to a still. It brings me closer to God. It brings me in like a warm cozy blanket on a blustery cold day. It can turn my hardness into complete liquid...like an ice cube in hot water. It's a big hug and huge exhale to my week. Music has the power to change our mood and God has the power to change our hearts. He's a good and perfect Father. Turn some music on and let it warm you.
"Because you believe I can make you see again, it will happen." ~Jesus
Believe He always provides. The impossible is possible with the Great I AM. A leader of the synagogue believed that if Jesus would lay His hand on his daughter...she would live again. The bleeding woman believed that if she could just touch His clothes she would be healed. They believed that He could turn their impossible around. Believe today...that whatever your impossible situation is - is possible with Jesus because He says, "Nothing is impossible." Believe...come to Him and He will make it happen.
"But God shows his great love for us in this way: Christ died for us while we were still sinners." ~Romans 5:8 (NCV)
We may make mistakes...we will make mistakes...but we aren't a mistake. We may think that we need to clean ourselves up before we can come to Him; however, He says, "Come as you are." He extends grace after grace after grace - let's open our clinched fists to Him and accept His love. We have been adopted by God - mess and all.
My devotional states that the "People Want to Follow Jesus" and I think, "How many times have I said I want to follow You but first..." In Matthew 8:21 a man tells Jesus, "Lord, first let me go and bury my father." Seems like a legit request to me? Right? But I think Jesus knew what the real reason was with this guys statement. And I think He knows my real reason for my statements. "Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and don't depend on your own understanding..." (Proverbs 3:5) That's part of my problem...I try to understand it all. I'm in my own way. Obedience and faith - that's what it all comes down to for me. Jesus says that your business is life, not death. Pursuing Him = life. He warns us that it won't be comfy here on earth but in heaven it will be. So today, keep turning to Him - keep pursuing the Light because He never stops coming for you...for me.
Testing testing...1 - 2 - 3. Can you hear me? There is so much noise in
our world today and sometimes the biggest noise that can drown Him out
is me! If we are in a crowd and I yell for my kids - they hear my voice
and know it's me. They know I'm close by. Why then is it so hard to
hear Jesus? We've got to lean in...read His word...listen to worship
music..and sometimes He speaks through other people. I'd like to hear a
big voice saying, "Michelle, do this!" That might freak me out a bit
though. ;) Let's train our ears to always hear His voice - no matter how loud the world is.
I have had the pleasure of listening to Lysa speak a number of times,
have been taught by her, sat next to her during a lunch, laughed with
her and hugged by her. She is an amazing teacher and woman of God. If
you need a bible study - come take this one! You won't be disappointed! Click the link below to sign up!
“After seven days Noah again sent out the
dove from the boat,and that
evening it came back to him with a fresh olive leaf in its mouth. Then Noah
knew that the ground was almost dry.” ~Genesis 8:10-11 (NCV)
Today was the first day back to routines and schedules after
2 weeks off. I woke up not really ready for it to begin. It’s been a while
since I’ve felt like that after a break. I've been known to scream (I mean, speak with great emotion) from the top of the stairs, "Two more days people and it's back to school!" AND...I've been known to put the Christmas tree away fairly quickly! This year...Christmas is slowly being put away –
the two trees are still up and will be put away this weekend. But as we enter back into our crazy mess of a schedule...the
glow and warmth of the light bring us comfort...it’s like an olive leaf...letting us know that it will all be okay and to just keep our focus on Him.
"She looks forward to the future with joy." ~Proverbs 31:25 (NCV)
The Future's so bright…I gotta wear shades!Remember that song by Timbuk 3 back in the
80s? For whatever reason, this song popped into my head when I read this verse.
“She looks forward to the future with joy.” -This woman to me sounds brave and bold. I
haven’t always looked forward to my future – in fact the faster time slips
through my fingers the more anxious I tend to get, especially with my children.
I was flipping through the 2015 calendars the other day thinking,
“Wow that was last February? It seems like last month!” Time goes so fast…in a blink!
I’m trying to look forward to the future – to tomorrow – to today
– knowing that all things are from Him and through Him and to Him. I really am
aiming to do it with Him, His strength and His joy.
Standing boldly with The Light… my future is
bright with Him and I can look forward to that with JOY!
My word for this year is JOY. Too many times I've let someone or something steal my joy - can you relate? There is only One person who will never disappoint and He is the only One that can bring us joy. Every time I come to Him - I am planting seeds with the hope and trust that He will bring the harvest.
Invest in Him and He gives me joy. Invest in Him and He gives me strength. Time spent with Him is never wasted time. He pours into me and I'm able to pour out to those around me - especially those that need me.
What about you? Are you willing to invest in the One that brings great joy? Ann Voskamp says, "The feeling of joy begins with the action of thankfulness."
Does the enemy know how to steal our joy and our strength or what? A daily battle, yes, but one worth fighting. There is always something to be thankful for.
Invest time with Him + Giving thanks = JOY
"For the joy of the Lord is your strength." ~Nehemiah 8:10
2016 - Day 1! Go ahead and turn the page because a new chapter begins today! Just do today with eyes locked on Him.
He is my Strength. He is my Peace - The Prince of Peace. As long as my gaze stays focused in on Him - then I can do all the hard things...all the mundane things - ALL the things in front of me - through Him who gives me strength. Praying for more of Him. More of His goodness. More of His grace and mercy. More of His JOY. More of His love on this day 1 of 2016.
"Do not be shaped by this
world; instead be changed within by a new way of thinking. Then you will
be able to decide what God wants for you; you will know what is good
and pleasing to him and what is perfect." ~Romans 12:2 (NCV)