Thorns

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As Spring approached, we found ourselves out in the yard after a long cold winter cleaning up the yard.  Leaves and sticks needed to be picked up, bushes and roses trimmed.  As I trimmed the rose bushes back a little I left a pile of clippings on the driveway.  Our children were coming behind me picking them up and disposing of them for me.  They got ahead of me and before I could warn them they grabbed a pile of thorns.  It caught them off guard, there were tears, tiny scratches and Bandaids (of course). Everyone recovered and we got back to work, but after that they approached each pile with caution and if they saw thorns they used their garden tools to move them instead of their bare hands.

But if you do not drive out the inhabitants of the land, those you allow to remain will become barbs in your eyes and thorns in your sides. They will give you trouble in the land where you will live. And then I will do to you what I plan to do to them. Numbers 33:55-56

In this verse, the thorn for Paul was those who were immoral and wicked.  However, like us, Paul faced many other thorny obstacles (just check out the book of Acts).  What kind of thorn (sin) has recently caught you by surprise? Is it greed, materialism, lust, popularity, dishonesty, or something else? Is is something you have struggled with for years or just recently experienced? Satan knows our weaknesses and if we aren’t approaching God in prayer for protection, the evil one can sneak up on us when we least expect it.  Are you prepared for the next attack? When he throws the next thorn will you have up your shield?

What thorn seems to find a way of creeping into your mind and trying to choke out your trust, faith and security in the Lord? The seed that fell among thorns stands for those who hear, but as they go on their way they are choked by life’s worries, riches and pleasures, and they do not mature. Luke 8:14

Ask for God’s forgiveness and protection.  We can’t handle the thorns without the right tools and only God can provide the right tools to fend off the evil one.  Yes, you will fail sometimes.  The Lord knows I have and I am certain I will many more times in this life.  There may be tears, wounds, and pain, but learn from the failures, the weak moments and the surprise attacks so when you recover, you can move forward and thrive as a child of God.

Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. Ephesians 6:11

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Devotional Now On Sale!

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Well, The Whisper of God devotional is finally complete and on sale!

It has been a long process and I appreciate all the prayers and support from you along the way.

It will not be available on Amazon for two more weeks, but it is available on my eStore.

So for those of you who can’t wait two weeks 🙂 you can buy it today at https://www.createspace.com/3423735.

Please pass the word along to all your friends!

Many thanks & Happy Easter!

On My Knees

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As children, many of us learned to get down on our knees beside the bed and to say prayers. We see the pictures of children in books, on posters or in movies kneeling by their beds to say their nighttime prayers.  If you learned to do this as a child, have you stopped? Up until just a few years ago, I had stopped.

Why do we feel it is no longer necessary to get on our knees before the One who gave His only son to die for us on the cross?  The One who forgives our every sin and has washed us white as snow (Isaiah 1:18). The One who is the Alpha and The Omega, the beginning and the end (Revelation 1:8).

If we would go to God in prayer as if He is present and standing before us (and He is) I have no doubt we would kneel before Him. The Lord is pleased when we humble ourselves before Him.

He guides the humble in what is right and teaches them his way. Psalm 25:9

Because your heart was responsive and you humbled yourself before God when you heard what he spoke against this place and its people, and because you humbled yourself before me and tore your robes and wept in my presence, I have heard you, declares the LORD. 2 Chronicles 34:27

There have been times in my life when I have experienced such goodness and grace from God that I was so overwhelmed my only response was to fall on my knees with a prayer of thanksgiving and praise. This has even happened to me in the middle of the YMCA locker room (thank goodness I was alone or someone may have called 911).

My point is, that we should encounter God on our knees more often.  Not just for the BIG (good & bad) stuff, but more everyday things. He is there. He is mighty.  He is listening.  Humble yourself before Him and experience His awesome and powerful presence in a new way today.

I get on my knees! There I am before the Love that changes me. See I don’t know how, but there’s power when I’m on my knees. (Jaci Velasquez, On My Knees, Chorus)

Unexpected

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We recently sat down to read the bible with our children.  We read 2 Samuel Chapter 6. The purpose was to discuss and teach them about celebrations and how we can celebrate God in everyday life.

David, wearing a linen ephod, danced before the LORD with all his might, while he and the entire house of Israel brought up the ark of the LORD with shouts and the sound of trumpets. 2 Samuel 6:14-15

However, when we finished reading the scriptures, all the kids could focus on was when God struck Uzzah down because he touched the ark of the covenant. So my lesson on celebrating became a lesson in following God’s commandments.  Which is also VERY important – just not what I had in mind.

When they came to the threshing floor of Nacon, Uzzah reached out and took hold of the ark of God, because the oxen stumbled. The LORD’s anger burned against Uzzah because of his irreverent act; therefore God struck him down and he died there beside the ark of God. 2 Samuel 6:6-7

At the time, I laughed at God’s sense of humor, His ability to keep me on my toes and His tender way of reminding me that He is in charge – NOT me.  But, when I woke up at 3:33 a.m. with this on my heart.  I had to get up and write down what God was whispering in my ear.

Every night before I go to bed, I make a list of my schedule for the following day and place it on top of my children’s lunch boxes. I don’t pray the evening before about God’s plan for my day, I simply write down everything that is on my calendar.  Why do I wait until the morning to pray to God about how I want to serve Him and accomplish His will for the day? Shouldn’t I do that before I make out my list? How can I have room for God’s plan when I have already filled my day with items from my own agenda?

I think there are two answers to the question above.  One, God can use what is on OUR agenda to do His will.  If a pedicure is on my to-do list, there is not doubt He will place the person who needs a “Word” from the Lord beside me in the massage chair.  On the other hand, sometimes He alters my plans with a sick child, a flat tire, road construction or some other annoying last-minute situation that He uses to His glory.

The point is that my job is to serve my Lord and Savior!  Yes, many times it is a lesson or circumstance that is unexpected that brings about His glory, but when He shines – He truly Shines. The question is . . .  how will you respond to the unexpected? Will you decide to sit on the sidelines and pout or will you see the unexpected as an opportunity to make God’s glory shine?

Chain Reaction

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Recently, my children where playing with some dominoes on the kitchen table.  They had created a long line of them and were planning on finishing it before a sudden movement started the chain reaction.  Time seemed to stand still as they watched their hard work come to an end before they were ready.  Their eyes wide open for what seemed like minutes instead of seconds and a loud “Ohhhhhhh!” at the end. They started over and finally got the end result they were looking for.

domino effect
n.  A cumulative effect produced when one event sets off a chain of similar events (taken from dictionary.com)

It is so easy to get stuck in a chain reaction of sin, anger, grief, guilt or other destructive stronghold.  One lie leads to another, one glance turns into an inappropriate conversation, one word yelled in anger can lead to guilt.  It only takes one event or word to start a chain reaction of other devastating circumstances.  Many times, before we realize what happened we are standing there, mouth wide open, wondering how it every got this far.

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, 2 Corinthians 1:3

If this has been your pattern, I  urge to turn towards God. It is only through his power and grace you stop the ripple effect of these damaging strongholds. Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come. (2 Corinthians 5:17)

Even if all seems lost and there seems to be no way back, God is waiting to offer you a second chance.  He is a God of new life.  He wants to give you the opportunity to create a chain reaction of kindness, love, obedience and forgiveness in your life that spills out onto those you come in contact with.

For you were like sheep going astray, but now you have returned to the Shepherd and Overseer of your souls. 1 Peter 2:25

Footstool

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Exalt the LORD our God and worship at his footstool; he is holy. Psalm 99:5

It started when I was a little girl. I put my Daddy on a pedestal when I was six.  I started puting boyfriends on pedestals when I was sixteen and mentors on pedestals when I was twenty-six.  Thankfully, now that I am approaching forty I can say the only person I have on a pedestal is my Father in Heaven.

These people in my life certainly didn’t ask to be put on a pedestal.  How unfair of me to place them there.  No one can live up to the expectations I had created for them. There was no place for them to go but down. God is the only one who can live up to perfect expectations.  He is the only Almighty (Psalm 91:1), Beloved Son (Matthew 3:16-17) , Light of the World (John 8:12), Deliverer (2 Samuel 22:2), Comforter (Jeremiah 8:18), Shield (Psalm 3:3), Bread of Life  (John 6:35) . . .there should only be one Teacher (Matthew 12:38) that we place up on a pedestal and worship at His feet.

Don’t let people do that to you, put you on a pedestal like that. You all have a single Teacher, and you are all classmates. Don’t set people up as experts over your life, letting them tell you what to do. Save that authority for God; let him tell you what to do. No one else should carry the title of ‘Father’; you have only one Father, and he’s in heaven. And don’t let people maneuver you into taking charge of them. There is only one Life-Leader for you and them—Christ. Matthew 23:8 (The Message)

I encourage you to take a close look at yourself and those in your life today.  Ask God to reveal any relationships that may be unhealthy because you have placed to much priority on that particular person.  Is there someone you count on more than Him?  Don’t forget to look closely at yourself.  As sinners we love to take control and seize the opportunity to place our own plans and ideas before God’s.

It is important not to place others on a pedestal, but just as important not to allow others to place you on one and even more important – don’t place yourself on one.

Because you’re acting like a god, pretending to be a god, I’m giving fair warning: I’m bringing strangers down on you, the most vicious of all nations.  They’ll bring you down from your self-made pedestal and bury you in the deep blue sea. Ezekiel 28:6 & 8 (The Message)