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SCHEDULE AN APPOINTMENT

Appointment-with-GodThere are times I willfully elect to shoulder the burdens of others in prayer. It is in those private conversations with God that I sense the nearness of His overwhelming presence.

For most of us, life is a whirlwind and just to fit work, sleep and meals into our life is a major feat. When kids, school activities, and homework are added to the mix plus family time and household chores, we begin to operate in crisis mode.

I work from home and moments of solitude are difficult to fit into my day. There is a continual entourage of workers, delivery people and grandkids in and out my doors at all times. It takes commitment to find quiet time to read God’s Word and pray amidst all the chaos that surrounds me; but, I know a spiritual appointment is necessary if I want to live a balanced life.

My dad was a pastor. It wasn’t uncommon to find him in his office with a notepad next to his open Bible in preparation for a Sunday sermon. A pile of books sat on his desk and he would occasionally pull one from the stack and highlight a portion of text and then flip to a page in his well-marked Bible. There were other times I would find the door to my dad’s office closed and I knew not to enter; he was having a private conversation with God.

In my youth, I didn’t understand why my dad had so many office appointments with God; now, as an adult, I know why. Those appointments with God were scheduled out of love for the salvation of others, his family and a spiritual renewal to fulfill his duties as a pastor. I’m certain there were times my dad wanted to do other things, but he knew to cancel appointments with God would be detrimental to his spiritual well-being.

The day my dad took his last breath I was overwhelmed with emotions of grief and joy. Grief for my loss, but also joy for the many people this man of God had touched in his lifetime. I was thankful for his lifelong office appointments with God. He showed me, by example, those private appointments with God are critical to our spiritual well-being.

When was the last time you scheduled a private office appointment with God?

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TAKING INVENTORY OF ‘STUFF’

movingI will be moving a portion of my business to Washington State next month. In preparation, workers have been sorting, counting and boxing inventory for the transition. I liken it to a major spring cleaning project as we sort through ‘stuff’ my business has accumulated through the years.

We must sync the task to the arrival of the moving truck. As luck would have it, it happens to be one of the hottest and most humid weeks of the year. Even though the workers complain of the heat, they willingly wipe the sweat from their faces so we can get the job done.

There is another moving day in the not so far future; the destination is Heaven. In preparation I am sorting through all the ‘stuff’ my soul has accumulated over the years. I am amazed at what a deep clean of the soul uncovers. Hidden in the cobwebs of my past was bitterness and a unforgiving spirit about failed relationships.

When we allow the Holy Spirit to search our soul, an accurate inventory is revealed. Hidden things are brought to light; broken parts discarded or repaired; all the unnecessary ‘stuff’ we hoarded gets buried beneath the cross.

Does your soul need a deep cleaning by the Holy Spirit?

There is a limit to how much ‘stuff’ I can take in the moving truck headed to Washington State. There is also a limit to how much ‘stuff’ I can take with me to Heaven. Bitterness, anger, hatred, unforgiveness and envy are things that keep my soul weighted to this earth; as does jealousy, deceit and selfishness.

“When angry, do not sin; do not ever let your wrath (your exasperation, your fury or indignation) last until the sun goes down. Leave no [such] room or foothold for the devil [give no opportunity to him].”
Ephesians 4:26-27

If you want your soul to take flight to Heaven then pack it with love, peace, understanding, forgiveness and hope. Allow the Holy Spirit to shine a search light into all the nooks and crannies of your soul and rid you of the ‘stuff’ that keeps you weighted down.

You can harbor and hoard things in your soul and be grounded at touch-off; or, lighten your load to ensure an upward departure.

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WT* IS WRONG WITH PEOPLE

Jesus_cross_dies02

We are horrified and shocked by the beheading, crucifixions, executions and torture in the Middle East. It’s time we sit at the feet of our crucified Lord and intercede for the future of mankind.

Here is a recent post by Chicks on the Right about the beheading of James Foley to which I would like to reply. It’s a rather long post but I had much to say. You may not agree with my point of view and that’s OK. It’s my point of view and isn’t up for debate. If your point of view is in opposition to mine, write about it on your own blog.

WT* IS WRONG WITH PEOPLE! (Yes, it’s a strong language title, but worthy to this post.)

We have taken God out of everything and in doing so given an open invitation for the Prince of Darkness to become a ruling power on Earth. If there was ever a time to believe in Jesus, the Son of God, the Redeemer of this world, it is now.

“How dreadful it will be in those days for pregnant women and nursing mothers! There will be great distress in the land and wrath against this people. They will fall by the sword and will be taken as prisoners to all the nations. Jerusalem will be trampled on by the Gentiles until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled.” Luke 21:23-24
“And you will be objects of universal hatred because you are called by my name; but he who holds out to the End–he will be saved.” Matthew 10:22

I think we can all agree that the United States is faced with universal hatred and people are falling by the sword all around us. Wake up America, the Prince of Darkness is waging a battle for your soul; for our nation. Even if you don’t believe in God’s prophetic Word, Satan does. He knows the return of Jesus is very near and he roams the earth like a wild lion to claim souls for eternal destruction.

Whose side are you on? As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord!

The beheading of James Foley was a sickening and gruesome display of the pure evil of satanic forces that can inhabit the souls of mankind. In the simplest terms, I liken it to the good guy/bad guy war games played by my grandkids. There are the only two options. You either stand with God or with the enemy; there is no middle ground in spiritual warfare. The dividing line is made clear by scripture; you either believe Jesus died on the cross to redeem you from sin and accept His salvation, or you don’t. But Christians aren’t beheading, mutilating and killing people that do not believe in Jesus, the Son of God.

Muslin extremists don’t care if you are a Christian, atheist, Buddhist, Scientologist or any other known religion of the world. They have only one mission and that is for mankind to worship and submit to the laws of Allah. The words spoken by the executioner in the video of James Foley clearly stated that this execution was done on behalf of ALL Muslims, not just extremists.

The ISIS conversion fear campaign has become more widespread and now includes grotesque killings, mutilations, rape, crucifixions and living burials in the name of Allah. There are peace-loving Muslims living in my community, but as ISIS more aggressively infiltrates the Western World, and they will, that could change how we perceive Muslims within our communities.

If an extremist confronts my muslin neighbor with a sword and is told to kill a Christian or die, I’m fairly certain it would be my head on the chopping block. Think it will never come to that? Think again. Look no further than the mayhem in Ferguson to understand how quick a mob can increase in numbers when they believe they have a justified cause.

The catalytic reaction to exterminate Christians has been set in place; the only thing missing is the base and I believe muslin extremists are the base. Through fear tactics they will begin to fuel the acceptance of a ‘New World Order under Allah’; all in the name of worldwide peace, of course.

So to those who say the GOP should salute Obama’s handling of Iraq, I say this:
Obama is subject to God’s prophetic Word and it is Jehovah who will ultimately determine the outcome of the current situation in Iraq. I rest in the assurance that God is in control and the President and all other government officials are pawns on God’s playing board.

It is time for Christians in the Western world to cry out to in prayer on behalf of our country and also those Christians being persecuted for their faith. No one understands persecution, torture and death more than Jesus. If you are not sure how to prayer for our nation and the world situation, I offer this prayer:


And God said:
“If my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land.” (2 Chronicles 7:14)

Almighty and Eternal Father, we thank you for the inspiration and courage you gave to the founding fathers of our nation to establish a land where your principles and laws would guide us. You have provided for this nation mightily with every good thing but we have squandered your gifts and turned away from your laws and principles. Forgive us Lord. We acknowledge we have sinned against you and one another in every conceivable way.  We deserve your just punishment but plead for your mercy. (Nehemiah1: 4-11)

Grant us, the people of our nation, the grace to turn from our sins and return to you that we might be healed.  We ask this in the name of Jesus Christ, your Son and our Savior.
Amen

God is faithful to His Word and shall accomplish that which He has spoken.
(Isaiah 55:11)

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HOW TO OUTSMART A SQUIRREL

peskysquirrelI jumped from my chair as I heard something crash to the ground outside my office window. My eyes followed a long strand of twine being dragged across the deck by a small squirrel. He had gnawed through the twine that held my wine bottle vases in place along the upper deck rails. The crashing sound was the bottle as it hit the concrete below.

I shouted out, “Get out of here and don’t you even think about coming back!” The critter scurried off and I resumed my office work. It wasn’t long before I heard another bottle drop from the deck and then another.

“You’ve got to be kidding me,” I muttered under my breath. This squirrel was on a mission of destruction and my decoupage wine vases were like soldiers under attack. I had spent countless hours decorating these bottles and this squirrel was showing total disrespect; and for what, a piece of gnarly twine?

The pesky little squirrel had declared war and I was not to be defeated. As he proudly perched next to his latest victory our eyes locked. “You are going down,” I said. With a ball of wadded twine in his mouth he made unidentifiable vocal noises and ran in a westward direction.

Squirrel was making a very comfortable, luxurious and rent free condo at my expense. A building permit or squatter rights had never been granted. This infringement had to be stopped and I had a hot game plan to make it happen.

I mixed my hot pepper concoction on the stove and put it into a spray bottle. “Taste this, you little squatter,” I said as I sprayed the twine with the fiery jalapeno mixture. Did it work? You bet. Squirrel discovered a whole new meaning to the term squatter rights.

You might be wondering what all this has to do with a devotional blog; let me share.

Every day our enemy, Satan, is on a mission to seek and destroy our life. He continually gnaws on the very thing that secures us to God; our faith and he makes every effort to claim squatter rights to our soul. He is determined to break the ties that bind us to God’s grace and finds great pleasure when we fall.

When the enemy starts to gnaws at your life, take action and apply God’s fiery concoction of His Holy Spirit peppered with the Word of God. Satan is defeated when you apply God’s Word to your heart and mind.

As for the pesky little squirrel, I haven’t seen him since he tasted my fiery concoction. I guess he decided to not come back for seconds.

“In your loving kindness scatter my enemies, and destroy all those that afflict my soul; for I am your servant.” Psalms 143:12

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CHRISTIAN TAILGATERS

tailgateI am an opinionated woman, with strong moral, political and religious beliefs. Imagine that! I bet you are shocked.

When close friends and family members share opposing views, it’s OK; I take no offense (unless you are a member of some extreme group who behead and kill for religious differences). It is refreshing when views and opinions are not in agreement with mine because it indicates you have likely taken time to investigate the facts to form your own opinion.

It annoys me when individuals tailgate on the opinion of others while they contently sip on a cocktail of misinformation. Certainly we all know at least one friend or family member who embraces all things posted, written or shared online (or offline) about a topic they know nothing about.

Anyone can form an opinion, but the ability to defend that opinion is what separates a tailgater from a player. Without a solid defense of facts, you will never enter the playing field.

The news media has a monopoly on the information they feed to us. Sadly, we form our opinions based on constant news feeds influenced and purchased by those with a political agenda. If you disagree with that, you have your head buried in the sand and you should probably keep it there.

We are at the mercy of the media and their power to exacerbate or diminish newscasts at will (or under the direction of higher powers). It becomes difficult to seek the truth with so many hidden agendas. Perhaps this is what has given birth to a generation of ‘informational tailgaters’; Christians included.

So how do we find truth amidst all the news hype being presented 24/7, hidden political agendas and deception thrown in our face daily? For me, the starting point is the BIBLE because it offers hope, not just for today, but for eternity. Even more importantly, God’s Word makes us accountable to a higher power who rules with truth and grace.

Christian tailgaters will never enter God’s playing field until they align their views and opinions to God’s Word rather than the popular opinions and views of today’s world. The only way to do that is to read and research the Book of Truth. Only then will you know when you are listening to the Voice of Truth.

“The sum of your word is truth, and every one of your righteous rules endures forever.” Psalm 119:160

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REPURPOSED FOR LIGHT

DRILLBITI listened to the sound of the diamond drill bit as it edged its way through the porcelain saucer. The drill bit had a mind of its own and would quickly jump out of position if the right amount of pressure wasn’t applied at just the perfect angle. To make it even more complicated, this particular bit type required a constant stream of water to keep it from overheating as I drilled.

It was time-consuming to drill each hole needed to create the teacup and saucer lamp base I hoped to create from old china purchased at a flea market. The local glass company quoted a cost of ten dollars for each drilled hole. “Drilling into porcelain china is risky,” said the owner, “it takes two people ten minutes and we can’t guarantee against breakage.”

There were seven china pieces that needed holes for the lamp cord; $70 was more than I wanted to spend on a $4 flea market find. “I can do this myself!” But as I listened to the drill bit grind into the glazed porcelain, I wondered if I had possibly underestimated the skill level of this project. Maybe I needed the guidance and help of someone who had done this before.

I patiently continued to give the drill bit a water bath as it bored its way through the center of the saucer. Before long, the saucer spun around like a carousal gone mad and a circular opening was revealed. When I threaded the electrical cord through the hole, it was a perfect fit.

Jesus is the diamond drill bit in our life and we are the porcelain china into which he makes an opening to house the electrical cord (His Word) to light our darkness. He is skilled in the amount of pressure to apply to prevent breakage and He knows when it’s time to refresh our souls with cool water.

God’s workmanship is slow and steady as He re-purposes us for something greater. Whether you are a fine piece of porcelain china or a flea market find, the Master longs to water us with His Word and make us into something new.

Are you willing to let God pick up His diamond drill bit and make an opening in your heart? God stands ready to thread a cord of light into that opening and keep you from walking in a path of darkness.

 

“Your word is a lamp to my feet, and a light to my path.”
Psalms 119:105

“Then spoke Jesus again to them, saying, I am the light of the world: he that follows me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.”
John 8:11

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INSECURITIES

insecurities_by_seekeroftheholysporkI battle with feelings of insecurities; maybe you do too. Those times when you compare yourself to others and in doing so, experience a dignity crushing, self-reducing kind of insignificance. It’s not exactly a pity-party but close to it. When we compare our accomplishments, personality traits, work skills or creative talents to another; we reduce our value in the sight of God, the creator of all things.

Those close to me are surprised to find I am not always as confident as I might appear. My outgoing personality and creative pursuits paint a picture of complete self-confidence in all that I do. Not true! I fight daily against feelings of inadequacy and insecurities.

What has helped me most is knowledge of who I am in Christ Jesus. Simply put, I belong to God and am loved by God. I am a resident and citizen of something greater than my insecurities, past and inadequacies. The only validation of my self-worth comes from above.

All of our failures, inabilities and comparisons are buried at the cross. Everyone is significant through the eyes of God; He views our imperfections much differently than we do. God sees our insecurities as opportunities to grow us spiritually. Through our inadequacies, He reveals grace is made perfect in our weakness.

“My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” II Corinthians 12: 9-10

When we see ourselves through the eyes of the world, we may seem insignificant. When we see ourselves through the eyes of God, we understand we were purchased by the blood of His son, Jesus and are more than conquerors.