Saturday, November 17, 2012


"God help me and forgive me for being much more interested in my own good rather than my husband's good, and failing to contribute to my husband's blessing. Lord, how can I respond in such a way as to bind us together in deeper harmony and deeper unity in Jesus Christ? Lord, show me what I can do to make my husband's life as easy and as pleasant as I can."  by Elisabeth Elliot

"Lord, he's your man. He's the one you've given to me—his peculiarities and his personality, you gave me. I'll take it. Help me Lord; show me ways, Lord, to make his life as pleasant and as easy as I can. Now Lord, you work in him the changes You think need to be done. Fulfill your purposes. Help me to remember 'in acceptance lieth peace. ' "(Amy Carmichael)

I was talking to a lady recently who has been struggling with her marriage.  Her husband has cheated on her and she was struggling with forgiving him.  She would "forgive" him, but then he would do it again.  She's frustrated, hurt, angry, bitter, unforgiving.....wanting him to hurt like she does.  My devotions that day had to deal with being a forgiving person! I am still amazed at how God works things in our lives.  So I shared some of this with her.  Unforgiveness is the root of hate.  Ouch! When we are entertaining unforgiving thoughts, they will turn to hate inside of us.  When we make the decision to forgive someone one day does NOT mean we won't have unforgivenss towards them on another day.  Forgiveness is a choice we must make every day....even if we don't feel like!  If we let our emotions dictate how we should forgive others....we never would!!  There are moments when we think there is no possible way to forgive things that were done to us....but with God ALL things are possible!!!  He is the only ONE who can help us. When our minds take off in the direction that it should not go...quote scripture..."whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things." Phil. 4:8.  

I have been praying a hedge around my husband, myself and my children.  There is so much negatives things going on in the world that it is hard sometimes not to be fearful.  Desperation, agonizing guilt, fear of anything....We are many times caught unaware of the devil's attack on our mind.  We believe things that come to mind and get caught up in despair.  I have been trying to sit down and play the piano and sing praises to Jesus.  When I hit fear, despair it takes me a bit to remember what I need to do.  So this is a reminder to me!  "My hope is in the Lord! I will trust in Him, and Him alone!"   

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Grace Doesn't Have to be Perfect to be Good

By Lysa TerKeurst
"Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone." Colossians 4:6 (NIV)
I like this verse. I really do. It interrupts me. It redirects me.
But most of all it challenges me.
And the part that challenges me the most is the "full of grace" part. My conversations should be full of grace. In other words, the bulk of my words should be made up of grace towards the person with whom I'm conversing.
I don't know if you've ever tried this, but it's hard.
The other day I knew I was going to have a challenging day with one of my daughters. It was just one of those days where right from the start, I could tell she was going to push when I wanted to pull. She was going to go when I wanted to pause. She was going to take when I wasn't in the mood to give.
I just knew there was going to be a situation.
So, thinking on this verse, I said to myself, "full of grace Lysa. Absolutely full. Not partial. Not half way. But all the way grace."
With each response, I measured out lavish grace. Not that I didn't correct her, I did. But I did so in calm tones.
I looked for ways to lovingly reassure her. I held her hand. I let her see my pleasure in her through the expressions on my face. And I kept quiet when my nerves were begging me to do otherwise.
I did really well ... for a couple of hours.
And then I lost it. Completely.
I was so discouraged.
But as I think back on it now, that part of it is grace too. I demonstrated the reason I can give grace is because I so desperately need it. I asked for forgiveness and decided to resist my own funk begging me to sit and wallow in my messy humanity.
I dusted myself off, and whispered, "God help me. Please, please help me."
And I took one more step towards the grace I so desperately want to demonstrate.
I don't know who puts "grace" to the test in your life. But how might things be different if just for today you decided to resist the funk and give grace a try with them one more time?
Remember, grace doesn't have to be perfect to be good.
Dear Lord, thank You for Your amazing grace. I hope I show it with every conversation I have today. But when I blow it, thanks for giving me an extra measure of grace. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

Monday, May 7, 2012

But I Have A Right to be Angry

"Understand this, my dear brothers and sisters: You must all be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to get angry. Human anger does not produce the righteousness God desires." James 1:19-20 (NLT)
I had been lied to, betrayed and hurt. I was angry, and thought I had every right to be.
Day after day, anger crushed my desire to forgive. Although I had asked God to fill my heart with mercy, my mental list of reasons I should be mad kept overriding my empty prayers.
It was as if voices in my head were arguing with each other. One tried to convince me I was correct in feeling angry; the other tried to persuade me that mercy was the right choice.
For months, the loudest voice was the one that aligned with my damaged emotions, and unfortunately the one I listened to. Yes, I have a right to be angry. Anyone would agree.
Listening to the voice of bitterness and unforgiveness, I started lashing out in my actions with impatience and unkindness. Oh, I could play the good-Christian-girl for a while, masking my feelings. But if something was said or done to trigger my suppressed hurt, hostility and resentment would catapult to the surface.
Reading our key verse from James one morning, I felt God urging me to realize the misleading direction my emotions were taking me, and damage they were doing. I couldn't help but notice how it says "everyone" should be slow to speak and slow to anger.
This truth from God's Word left no room for my excuses or righteous indignation, even though I felt like my anger was justified for being wronged. And then a few verses later, I read James 1:22: "Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says" (NIV).
I knew that from a worldly perspective, I had every right to be angry. But from God's perspective, my anger was adding to the sin of the situation. My unforgiveness was keeping me from living out the reality of the Gospel in my own life—by extending the same mercy and forgiveness God has given me through Jesus.
Through the words of James, God softened my heart, making me aware that although I said I'd forgiven this person with my words, I had not forgiven with my heart and it was time to do so and move on.
In every area of life, including managing our most powerful emotions, God tells us to be quick to listen (to Him and others), slow to speak and slow to become angry. As we apply these practices in our relationships, we become 'doers' of His Word, not just 'hearers' and that leads to the righteousness God desires in each of us.
Dear Lord, please forgive me for harboring anger in my heart. Equip me with a supernatural ability to forgive those who have hurt me and to guard my heart when old emotions threaten to surface. Strip my heart of anger and replace it with joy. Thank You for Your mercy. Help me be more merciful because of You. In Jesus' Name, Amen.
by Tracie Miles

Saturday, April 21, 2012

By Lynn Cowell "Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows." James 1:17 (NIV)
Several years ago ... okay, many, many years ago ... my parents gave me a unique keychain with a key to their car. I loved it! That key represented freedom and independence. Exactly what I was craving as a teenager. It was the right gift at the right time.
If my parents had given me that gift when I was six, it would have been strange and inappropriate. I would've wondered what it was for and how to use it. My parents knew what to give and when to give it.
In James 1:17 we're told that God our Father gives good gifts to us, His children. Not only does He give good gifts, but He knows perfectly what to give and when to give it. His gifts are not spur of the moment because He forgot a special day was on the way. His gifts are all about perfect timing.
When I was five, I couldn't reach my jacket hanging up just above the cement steps leading to our basement. I called out for help, but I didn't trust those who loved me would come and do what I needed when I wanted it. A tumble down those steps produced a black eye that stayed a long time.
Many of us are asking God for help. We're crying out for something we need. The question is, can we wait patiently, trusting that His timing is perfect? Can we believe He has our best in mind and is working on our behalf?
Sometimes we grow impatient. We want what we want and we want it now. So we make the mistake of trying to get it by ourselves.
Is there one thing you feel if you could have it, your life would be complete? If you could just have that job at that pay, life would be so much better. If God would just open your womb, the emptiness would finally be gone. If He would just heal your broken, cold marriage, your heart would be joyful. Are you tempted, like me, to get that thing any way you can, even with the possibility you could end up with way more than a black eye?
There are times when He seems to answer "no" or at least "not now." It is here, where our desires intersect His will, that we have to trust the Father knows best and every gift comes from Him. Every time,in His time, the gift is good and perfect.
I've seen God's perfect gifts in my life as I've waited on Him. Waited on Him for a husband. Waited on Him to open doors for ministry. Waited on Him to draw my kids to Himself. Let's keep our eyes on His history of faithfulness in our lives as we wait for His good and perfect gifts.
Dear Lord, waiting on You is so hard! My heart wants to get things moving, step up and take action. Help me to always bring my desires to You, knowing that You always have my best at heart. In Jesus' Name, Amen.