Devotion

Am I Being Selfish?

How many times do you tell yourself, “I’m not going to worry about anything today.”? Then within a matter of possibly seconds your mind starts whirling, the “How will I’s”, the “What if’s,” and the ever popular, “How am I ever…”.

I must admit, as hard as I try and as many times as I go to God and tell Him, “Okay Jesus today is the big day I stop worrying and totally trust you”, I too get these bothersome thoughts.

The Greek word, Merimnao means: to be anxious, to be troubled with cares and to look out for one’s own interests.

Hmm? When we worry about finances, our health, our children’s health and what will become of us in the future, are we being selfish? Should we not worry about these things? Aren’t these all serious worldly ideas to be concerned about every day?

Well, the Bible tells us “No”. Matthew 6:25-32 explains:

“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?  Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life? “And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith? So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them.  

Continuing Matthew 6:33, “But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.”  As believers in Jesus Christ we are to put all our faith and trust in Him everyday for everything.

When we worry we are being selfish and also saying that we do not need the Savior we are claiming we believe in and call our Father. Ouch!

Oh how blessed we are that we have a loving, forgiving, and gracious God!

When those selfish, worrying thoughts start to trickle in there is a way out.

Confess our sins. Pray Psalm 139:23: “Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts.” Tell God exactly what you are worrying about. He already knows, but when we tell Him we feel so much better.

God will forgive us: “I sought the Lord, and he answered me; he delivered me from all my fears.” (Psalm 34:4)

We can be certain that absolutely nothing will ever separate us from our loving Father, who by the way, loved us first! Romans 8:39 reminds us of this Truth: “No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

Finally, we can replace our anxious, worrisome thoughts with praises of thanksgiving from our hearts to our Heavenly Father who we have put ALL our Trust that He IS ALL SUFFICIENT!.

As our verse of the day reminds us, “We will have no fear of bad news OUR HEARTS ARE STEADFAST, TRUSTING IN THE LORD!” (my emphasis!)

Look Up, Let Go, Live Joy!

If you would like to dive deeper into praying, asking God to “Search Me”. I have been reading a fantastic book by Pastor Craig Groeschel titled, “Dangerous Prayers”. Let me just tell you I get nothing for recommending this book. I am currently in a Bible Study that is reading the book and finding the contents so profound and changing my prayer life in amazing ways I wanted to share it with my friends. You can buy the book at any of your favorite book sellers. Here is the Amazon link for you. You can also go to “My Favorite Websites” and buy the book through Proverbs 31. Again, I receive nothing for recommending this book.

Devotion

The Promise of the Faithful is JOY!

Have you ever thought about the relationship between our level of thankfulness and joy? How about the posture of our attitudes, especially during these times of uncertainty?

I have to admit, most of the time I am a positive, glass half full kind of gal. I keep up with my gratitude journal, thanking God for all of the many, many blessings He has provided me. Lately, though, I have felt a bit lagging in the Joy department.

Now when I talk about Joy, I’m not speaking of being happy, like I am happy the sun is shining today or jumping around all giddy because our local grocery store actually had toilet paper on the shelves today. No, Joy is deeper. As Cardinal Timothy Dolan writes in his book, “Who Do You Say I Am”, “Joy is not a hyperpositive mania about everything and seeing the world through rose-colored glasses. That would tend to be very annoying wouldn’t it?” He continues, “By joy, I’m talking about interior peace. This, Saint Paul teaches, gives rise to exterior happiness. Joy gives us freedom but doesn’t make us reckless. True joy won’t get on your nerves.”

I have read this description of joy several times and just let the words, “interior peace” sink into my soul.

Living joy today means we live with inner peace daily.

How do we then obtain this inner peace each day of our lives?

Jesus died a painful death after living a blameless, sinless life so we could be free of our sins. He invites us everyday to wear the clothing of salvation with overabundant joy.

A sure fire way to level up our joy is to fortify it with gratitude. Start each day with an attitude of thankfulness for all God has and will continue to do for us. This type of attitude allows us to live according to God’s will and not our own. We will be more “God-Conscientious” and as we move throughout our day we will turn to Him for more strength.

He is the fuel for our Joy.

He can and will bring the inner peace, Joy, we so desire and want. It is also His desire for us. As 1 Thessalonians 5:18 reminds us, “give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”

What are you thankful for today? I can’t be more thankful for an amazing God who loves me unconditionally, forgives me of my sins, strengthens me when I am weak, all when I am not deserving.

Oh, and not to forget an amazing mom who talked me off the ledge today during a little break down. Listing your home during the Covid-19 can be a bit overwhelming, as if selling a home during “normal” circumstances isn’t stressful enough! I know God’s got this too if I just remember to:

Look up, Let Go, and Live Joy! And start and end each day with Thanksgiving.

Devotion

I Am Yours

What a blessing it is to be alive today in Christ! A blessing to know that I am not my own, that I am His.

I often get caught up in my own little world doing my own projects and forget that exorbitant blessing. Going about my day, even in the midst of this pandemic of the Covid-19, my tiny universe is moving right along. The plans my husband and I have made for our future seem to be on track, even though the “market” is in a weird state of flux. Our children appear to be adjusting just fine to home schooling (a bit bored, but aren’t we all), and I have all the time in the world to clean and disinfect my house. Life is good.

But is it so good I need not remember every day whose I am? That I can do all things in my own strength, will, and way?

Uh, no. the answer to all those questions is a big fat no.

Everyday I need to wake up remembering whose I am. I am not my own, I belong to my Savior, Jesus Christ.

I need to remember that not every day has been easy. There were and will be days of struggle, despair, and heartbreak again. Aren’t these the times we usually always remember to cry out to Jesus for His strength and support.

For me, those are the days I am most likely to remember whose I am. I cry out to Jesus. And I can tell you when I do, on those days when my heart is aching the most, I always find peace. It may not be instantly, but the peace and answers always come. God’s blessings show up one way or another.

So I ask myself, if only I would call out to Jesus and let Him know “I am not mine Jesus, I am Yours” on the good days, how much better could those days be?

I need Jesus everyday!

Today’s verse reminds me that He is the creator of All. He is in control 365 days of the year. He will lead us down straight paths when we let him know we are not our own, we are His.

Look Up, Let Go, Live Joy!

Side Note: I am blessed to be living in an area of the country that has not been a “Hot Spot” for Covid-19. My prayers daily go out to those of you living in the areas where this virus has hit the hardest. I pray for those who have lost loved ones and could not be there with them during their last minutes. I want you to know your loved ones were not alone. Jesus was with them. You may not find comfort in this today as your heart is hurting, but just call out to Jesus, He will heal you and bring you peace.

Devotion

All For Us

Today is a day to be still for just a few minutes. Breath in the overwhelming blessings we have because of the sufferings Jesus endured for us to conquer death forever.

Heavenly Father,

Help us never to take God’s amazing gift of love on our behalf for granted. Help us daily to be mindful of the cost that was paid. Forgive us, Father, as we easily get distracted and busy in our daily lives and are not fully aware of what Jesus’ death on the cross has freely given to us. Eternal Life.

We praise you Lord, that by the wounds you suffered we are healed. We give thanks to you that sin and death are no more and your Power, Love, and Might are forever.

In Jesus Name, Amen.

Look Up, Let Go, Live Joy!

Devotion, Verse of the Day

Amazing Love

Today, this Thursday before Easter is Maundy Thursday. It is the day known to Christians as the day Jesus ate His Last Supper with his Disciples, washed their feet, and gave them a New Commandment to “Love one another, just as I have loved you.” John 13:34

What does this new commandment mean for us today?

Jesus loves everyone and He made the greatest sacrifice to give us Salvation, an incredible gift that secures us from the penalty that we deserve. As our verse tells us today, “He died for us while we were still sinners.” Jesus gained nothing from loving us, but we gained everything.

Today on this Maundy Thursday, I am taking time to meditate on the command Jesus’ spoke to his disciples in that upper room. The room he humbled himself to wash their feet. The King of Kings, served those He loved.

How can we be better servants for our Savior? How can we better carry our his command to Love others as he has loved us?

Here are a few ideas that came to mind:

Pray for those who have harmed us and pray blessings over them.

Check on our elderly neighbors during this time of having to shelter in place.

Call or Facetime family, friends, and relatives you haven’t spoken to in some time.

Donate to a food pantry or organization that provides for the needy, veterans, or homeless.

Donate to a charity of your choice.

Whatever it is, let’s just shine Jesus’ light of love to everyone!

Look Up, Let Go, Live Joy!

Devotion

Hosanna!

I was just sitting this morning reminiscing of Palm Sundays of my youth. In Sunday School we would make crosses out of palm leaves. Walking into service we would be handed a FULL palm branch (as a little person that was a big deal! wink wink), which may have been taken away at some point during the service for being used as inappropriately to annoy my sisters. Ah, what nostalgic memories.

For the past several weeks most of the country and myself included have been going to church via the internet. I’ll admit it’s not the same as being in our church homes with our church families, however one of the most wonderful qualities of our Lord is that he is Omnipresent. He is always everywhere.

God’s word tells us:

Job 34:21 (ESV) “For his eyes are on the ways of a man and he sees all his steps.”

Jeremiah 23:24 (ESV) “Can a man hide himself in secret places so that I cannot see him? declares the Lord. Do I not fill heaven and earth? declares the Lord.”

Matthew 18:20 (ESV) “For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I among them.”

So even though right now we are mandated to our homes to worship we are not alone. The news may make us feel like we are living in very dark times, but we are not alone. People are out of jobs right now, but they are not alone. The doctors, nurses, and all health care workers on the front lines are not alone. The sick are not alone. The grieving are not alone.

This Holy Week let’s make a joyful noise from our homes shouting “Hosanna!” expressing our adoration and praise for our Savior Jesus. Knowing that His death on the cross saved us from our sins forever can be a wellspring of Joy everyday. Let’s have faith and trust in our Savior to know that He is with us, we are not alone.

“And the crowds that went before him and that followed him were shouting:

“Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord! Hosanna in the highest!” (Matthew 21:9 ESV)

Devotion

Looking Up and Letting Go, For Real

I have taken a little time away from my devotional writing to pray and ask God what His plans are for me and Living Joy Today. It has become quite clear, with the Covid-19 Pandemic or Coronavirus and the wide- spread panic it is causing so many, I feel God is calling me to write words of encouragement. HIS WORDS of Truth, Hope, and Love.

As Isaiah 41:10 tells us, “FEAR NOT, for I AM WITH YOU;
    be NOT dismayed, for I AM your God;
I WILL STRENGTHEN you, I WILL HELP you,
    I will UPHOLD you with my RIGHTEOUS RIGHT HAND. (my emphasis)

Yes, this is a scary time in our country, but we don’t need to panic and on the other end we don’t need to take a laissez- faire attitude either. We simply need to come together as children of God, “One Nation Under God” and heed the messages of our leaders.

As Followers of Christ, we need to have faith in God’s word when He tells us in Philippians 4:19 “And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus.” God is going to make sure we all have what we need during this time. As His children we need to set the example not to hoard medical supplies that our medical facilities need in order to help the truly sick. We need not hoard the food, cleaning supplies, and toilet paper in our stores. God will supply when we Look up, Let Go, and have faith in His word. For real.

Psalm 37:4 Reminds us, “Take delight in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart.”

Precious Friend, I invite you to join me in praying for our world, our country, and our communities as we are all affected by this invisible virus. I pray for the anxiety to be released. Your word tells us, “Do not fear, for your are with us.” Father I pray that as “One Nation Under God” we will lift our eyes to you, trusting in you, knowing you are in control and You will strengthen us all.

I lift up our Government leaders, all who are working in our hospitals and first responders who are taking care of the sick. I ask Father, that you will keep them well. I pray for the scientists of the world that a vaccine and treatment for Covid-19 will be discovered soon and released, as well as treatments for other illnesses we currently do not have treatments or cures. Father in your Holy Name I pray, Amen.

Over the next few weeks, I will be posting a verse of the day. It is my hope to share God’s love, light, and truth during these anxious and concerning times.

Look Up, Let Go, Live Joy! For Real!