Tuesday, November 30, 2010

The HOPE HE Gives

From Jeremiah 29:

1 This is the text of the letter that the prophet Jeremiah sent from Jerusalem to the surviving elders among the exiles and to the priests, the prophets and all the other people Nebuchadnezzar had carried into exile from Jerusalem to Babylon.

10 This is what the LORD says: “When seventy years are completed for Babylon, I will come to you and fulfill my good promise to bring you back to this place. 11 For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. 12 Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. 13 You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. 14 I will be found by you,” declares the LORD, “and will bring you back from captivity. I will gather you from all the nations and places where I have banished you,” declares the LORD, “and will bring you back to the place from which I carried you into exile.”

One definition of hope is “to desire something with confident expectation.”

That is what the Christian life is about. In the midst of chaos, turmoil, conflict, sorrow, and all the many other delights of Satan, we have HOPE…that confident expectation that ultimately, because of Jesus Christ, we will have the desires of our heart.

What are the desires of your heart today? Are they in line with what God wants for you? Many times in life we get so caught up in our worldly desires (which tend to be self-centered) that we plow ahead and make plans to satisfy these desires without stopping to seek God’s will (plan) for us. Jeremiah 29:11 is a beautiful reminder of God’s plan for us and the hope His plan offers us.

How do we discover His plan for our life? The answer is found in Verse 13 along with His beautiful promise in verse 14. Seek HIM earnestly every day!  Seek HIM during this season of chaos with the hope HE promises!

Prayer:  Dear God I thank you from the bottom of my heart for the HOPE I have in YOU!

Monday, November 29, 2010

Preparing the Way

From John 1:

6 There was a man sent from God whose name was John. 7 He came as a witness to testify concerning that light, so that through him all might believe. 8 He himself was not the light; he came only as a witness to the light.

15 (John testified concerning him. He cried out, saying, “This is the one I spoke about when I said, ‘He who comes after me has surpassed me because he was before me.’”)

19 Now this was John’s testimony when the Jewish leaders in Jerusalem sent priests and Levites to ask him who he was. 20 He did not fail to confess, but confessed freely, “I am not the Messiah.”

21 They asked him, “Then who are you? Are you Elijah?”  He said, “I am not.”
“Are you the Prophet?” He answered, “No.”

22 Finally they said, “Who are you? Give us an answer to take back to those who sent us. What do you say about yourself?”

23 John replied in the words of Isaiah the prophet, “I am the voice of one calling in the wilderness, ‘Make straight the way for the Lord.’”

24 Now the Pharisees who had been sent 25 questioned him, “Why then do you baptize if you are not the Messiah, nor Elijah, nor the Prophet?”

26 “I baptize with water,” John replied, “but among you stands one you do not know. 27 He is the one who comes after me, the straps of whose sandals I am not worthy to untie.”

John the Baptist’s role in the preparation for Jesus was monumental. Because of his role his life was not an easy one. He was not like those around him. As a matter of fact, if the truth be known, he would probably be considered a “Jesus Freak” in today’s world. In contrast to us, he knew what his role in “the preparation” was. Of course it’s easy for us to say “yeah, but he was commissioned by God to do what he did.” And while that is true, aren’t all Christians commissioned to have a role in the coming of Christ to others? (see Matthew 28: 18-20)

What can we do to prepare the hearts of others for Jesus’ birthday? How about some of these ideas: offer kind words or just a smile to those you come in contact with daily; bring some peace and comfort to those who are stressed by reaching out with encouragement; offer to do something for someone to help lighten their load; compliment someone; hug someone; and I am sure you can add lots of ideas to mine.

Yes, we too, can prepare the hearts of those around us by living Jesus’ words and loving others!

Prayer:  Father, show us how to help others enjoy the true meaning of Christmas this year!

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Advent....A Time of Preparation

Last year on the first Sunday of Advent I decided to pen my own devotional thoughts each day leading up to Christmas Day.  I would like to share them with you, not because I think I can write anything profound.  I want to share them with you in hopes that they might help prepare your hearts for Christmas and that you will have a more meaningful and blessed season because you have taken time to focus on HIM. 

Advent Day I (Isaiah 40)
3 The voice of one crying in the wilderness:  “ Prepare the way of the LORD;
Make straight in the desert a highway for our God.
4 Every valley shall be exalted and every mountain and hill brought low;
The crooked places shall be made straight And the rough places smooth;
5 The glory of the LORD shall be revealed, And all flesh shall see it together;

To prepare...to get ready for...to anticipate...to look forward to......
This is what we do daily.  Whether it is to prepare for our daily routine or prepare for a special event we realize that things go better when we intentionally prepare ourselves for the day ahead.

So it is with Christmas time.  Preparing ourselves helps us enjoy the season more.  That's what Advent is all about.  Advent means "coming" of an important event.  Advent season officially begins on the Sunday closest to November 30th and lasts until Christmas Eve.  It is a time that we should spend in anticipation of the celebration of the coming of our Lord Jesus.  Unfortunately, we usually spend it caught up in the whirlwind of shopping, decorating, partying, etc.  Not that any of those things are wrong by themselves.  But when that is the major focus of the season then we are losing the meaning of Christmas. 

So I invite you to join with me in intentionally preparing for the blessed event of Christmas and the HOPE it brings.  Continuing in Isaiah 40 are some of my favorite verses:

28 Have you not known?  Have you not heard?
The everlasting God, the LORD, The Creator of the ends of the earth,
Neither faints nor is weary.  His understanding is unsearchable.
29 He gives power to the weak, And to those who have no might He increases strength.
30 Even the youths shall faint and be weary, And the young men shall utterly fall,
31 But those who wait on the LORD Shall renew their strength;
They shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary,
They shall walk and not faint.

Prayer:  Thank you God for the HOPE we have in Jesus.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

My Personal Psalm

If you are a frequent reader of my blog you probably figured out that I love the Psalms.  I love how the authors of various chapters beautifully praise the Lord for so many different reasons.  This morning I decided to write my own Psalm.  Though it is not beautifully written like the Psalms we all love, it comes from a heart full of love and gratitude for an indescribably good God.........

My Psalm:

I praise You My God, for WHO You Are.
"Wonderful Couselor, Mighty God,
Prince of Peace, Everlasting Father."
My mind cannot fathom the Wonder of YOU.
There are not words powerful enough
to describe Your Being!
Powerful.......seems weak.
Majestic......seems plain.
It's like trying to describe the air.....
I know it sustains me, but I can't comprehend it!
I just know that without it, I can't exist.
Since I was a child, I have felt You.
I have known since then that You are in me.
Though I have failed you often
I have never, ever felt that You were gone.
You have molded and made me
time and time again,
never even considered throwing me away!
WHO are YOU?
To me, You Are and You Always Will Be...
The One Who loves me Most!

Before we head full force into Christmas, let's finish out this weekend with Thanksgiving inside our hearts and Thanks-living in our outward lives! 

**Note - beginning tomorrow, I will have a daily Advent devotional posted here.  My prayer is that as I share what I wrote from my heart last Advent season, it will help you to have a more blessed Christmas time!  I hope you can tune in!

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Thanksgiving Is Biblical

Psalm 100 (New King James Version)

A Psalm of Thanksgiving.

1 Make a joyful shout to the LORD, all you lands!
2 Serve the LORD with gladness;  Come before His presence with singing.
3 Know that the LORD, He is God;  It is He who has made us, and not we ourselves;
We are His people and the sheep of His pasture.
4 Enter into His gates with thanksgiving,  and into His courts with praise.
Be thankful to Him, and bless His name.  5 For the LORD is good;
His mercy is everlasting,  And His truth endures to all generations.

Psalm 105:1-4 (New Living Translation)

1 Give thanks to the Lord and proclaim his greatness.  Let the whole world know what he has done.  2 Sing to him; yes, sing his praises.  Tell everyone about his wonderful deeds.
3 Exult in his holy name;  rejoice, you who worship the Lord.
4 Search for the Lord and for his strength;  continually seek him.

May the Lord Bless you and yours this Thanksgiving Day as you share your Faith with your Family and have lots of Fun doing it!  Tomorrow we'd better get back to working on our Fitness!

Monday, November 22, 2010

Joy In Your Heart and On Your Face

Last week I talked about meditating on the things of God so that we can grow closer to Him. Today I want to talk about one of the results of that kind of meditation – JOY.

When I was a little girl we sang this song:

I’ve got the joy, joy, joy, joy down in my heart;
Down in my heart, down in my heart.
I’ve got the joy, joy, joy, joy down in my heart;
Down in my heart to stay.

It always made me happy to sing that song and I think now as an adult I probably need to sing that song first thing every morning so that my outward appearance will reflect that joy on my face.

How many times do we catch ourselves frowning and don’t even realize it?

I once heard John Maxwell tell this story about a lady who went shopping with her little girl. The woman was frustrated because of all the crowds and said to her little girl,  “did you see that dirty look that salesman gave me?” The very honest little girl replied, “oh mother, he didn’t give you that look. You had that look when we went in there.!” Funny as that is (especially to hear John Maxwell tell it) it is often too true.

We talk about the joy of being a Christian and yet we walk around with faces that show no joy. I am guilty of this and so today I want to challenge myself as well as you who might be reading this to be aware of the look on our faces today. Let’s exude peace, joy and kindness when we meet others.  As Millie Stamm said, “The joy of the Lord in our hearts is not to be bottled up but is to overflow into our lives so that others may be blessed.”

David penned these words in Psalm 16:

7 I will praise the LORD, who counsels me; even at night my heart instructs me.
8 I keep my eyes always on the LORD. With him at my right hand, I will not be shaken.
9 Therefore my heart is glad and my tongue rejoices; my body also will rest secure,
10 because you will not abandon me to the realm of the dead, nor will you let your faithful one see decay.
11 You make known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence,
with eternal pleasures at your right hand.

Have a JOY-Full day!

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Why God is Sooooo Good

Continuing in Psalm 103 and understanding not only what God has done for us but WHY he does for us:

7 He revealed his character to Moses and his deeds to the people of Israel.
8 The Lord is compassionate and merciful, slow to get angry and filled with unfailing love.
9 He will not constantly accuse us, nor remain angry forever.
10 He does not punish us for all our sins; he does not deal harshly with us, as we deserve.
11 For his unfailing love toward those who fear him is as great as the height of the heavens above the earth.
12 He has removed our sins as far from us as the east is from the west.
13 The Lord is like a father to his children, tender and compassionate to those who fear him.
14 For he knows how weak we are;  he remembers we are only dust.
15 Our days on earth are like grass; like wildflowers, we bloom and die.
16 The wind blows, and we are gone— as though we had never been here.
17 But the love of the Lord remains forever with those who fear him.

So, there is the WHY of it.   He does good things for us because of His character.  He is compassionate, merciful, patient, and His love never fails! 

Now, how should we respond?  By praising Him from the depths of our being every day in every way.  That is Thanks-Living.  Praise the Lord, O my soul!

Friday, November 19, 2010

Good Reasons to Praise Him

As we are entering the official Thanksgiving week, we may do a lot of reflecting on the reasons we have to be thankful.  We may even be praising God more than usual during this season.  That is wonderful.  That is why I love Thanksgiving more than any other holiday.  There is no "hoopla" surrounding it, nothing artificial really.  Most of us Americans have caught on to what Thanksgiving is really all about.  It's the one holiday that most people slow down for.

Today I read Psalm 103 and realized that this chapter in the Bible gives us all the right reasons to be thanking and praising God - ALL year long.  Today I want to share the first five verses with you and meditate on WHAT He does for us.

1 Praise the LORD, O my soul;  all my inmost being, praise his holy name.
2 Praise the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits—
3 who forgives all your sins and heals all your diseases,
4 who redeems your life from the pit and crowns you with love and compassion,
5 who satisfies your desires with good things so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.

Today we can thank Him for WHAT He does for us.  Tomorrow we will mediatate on WHY He does wonderful things for us.

BTW - I am sooooooo thankful for you!

Monday, November 15, 2010

Feeling Thankful for No Broken Bones!

One minute I was merrily prancing down the steps from the CAC on my way to the ROC and the next minute I am sailing through the air for what seemed like a long time before I hit right elbow and hip first on the blacktop driveway. It took me a few seconds to get my wits about me and sit myself up. My left hand, right elbow and hip were hurting pretty badly. I sat there for a few minutes before I decided to see if I could get up. I wasn’t sure if I had broken anything or not, at that point. Fortunately, standing up was not a problem and other than a severe injury to my pride (I had a small audience) I don’t think I broke anything. Praise the Lord! As the day has gone on though I am becoming more and more aware of various different joints and muscles in my body. I went to my chiropractor hoping to ward off what promises to be a painful tomorrow.

I went ahead and did my exercise class and it didn’t seem to bother me. But then I went back to my office and sat down at my desk and it has been downhill ever since. What I really want to do is soak in a hot whirlpool tub but my chiropractor said that wouldn’t help the inflammation that was setting up. He suggested ice for my sore spots. Trouble is, I would have to soak in a tub of ice because for now everything hurts!

This just emphasizes what we all know…it only takes a split second to have an accident that can radically change our life! Hopefully, and I am optimistic, this will not have any long lasting after effects. Really if I had to warn myself about not letting it happen again I don’t know what I would say, other than be careful when you wear your ecco slip-on shoes. They must have ultra sole grips because I think my sole caught and acted as a brake which sent my body in mid-air. One thing I did remind myself about though is that I probably need to be going over my fall-recovery sessions with my Energizers more often!

Well, enough whining. Just thought I would share my “exciting” day with you. Hope your day has not been so “moving!”  I am truly thankful that a sore body seems to be all I am dealing with because when I hit the pavement I thought it was going to be much worse!

Grace …..I mean Frances

Sunday, November 14, 2010


When you think of Yoga, you think of meditation. Usually people conjure up thoughts of mystic thoughts and humming. But meditation to a Christian is much more personal and spiritual than humming. Meditation can be defined as reflection; contemplation; thinking over; considering spiritual matters. As Christians our meditation is about the things of God, His Holiness, His Word, etc. It is more than just reading the Bible, God’s Holy Word. It is thinking deeply upon it, inhaling it, making it a part of our hearts and minds. The more we do this, the more we can begin to inherit the “mind of Christ.” Not, that we can ever get close to that, but we can get closer. I find that the more I dwell on Him the easier it is to stay focused on what He desires for my life. It is easier to live in the world and not become “worldly.” As a Christian, one of most frustrating things for me is to realize I have let myself blend in too much. Not that I want to be so set apart that I am perceived as pious or self-righteous. I don’t ever want that because I am a just a sinner who has been saved by grace through the blood of Jesus. I just want to let the light of my salvation spew forth joy so that those I come in contact with will want that too. Taking time to meditate on His Word and His Will helps me to get closer to that goal. So, let’s all take some time today to meditate. No humming or focusing on ourselves as being our own God in control of our own destiny. Rather, reading a portion of God’s Word and then thinking deeply upon how that can grow us closer to Him.   Happy meditating!

Psalm 1 (New King James Version)

1 Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly,
Nor stands in the path of sinners, nor sits in the seat of the scornful;
2 But his delight is in the law of the LORD, and in His law he meditates day and night.
3 He shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water,
That brings forth its fruit in its season,
Whose leaf also shall not wither;
And whatever he does shall prosper.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Remembering Veterans and My Daddy

Today is Veteran’s Day and I would like to say thank you to all the Veterans, both living and dead. It is mind boggling to think of all the sacrifices these men and women of our armed forces have made for us. Thanks to all of them, those who died fighting for our freedoms as well as those who survived. To those that never had to go into actual combat, thanks for being willing to do so! As a person who tries to avoid as much conflict as possible, I can’t even fathom what you gave up for our country. So today I salute you all and thank you from the bottom of my heart! Here is a picture of my Dad in his WWII army uniform. He and many of his generation (i.e. my Uncle Harrison Green and my good friend Chester Scott) told me stories that instilled so much respect for our servicemen in my heart. Thanks Daddy!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Sterotyping Fitness

Today I was talking with someone who made a remark like this:  "she doesn't really look very fit because she is pretty big."  I replied that you can't judge a person's fitness level by size alone.  I know a lot of very thin people who aren't fit and I know some bigger people who are toned and in good physical shape. 

This got me to thinking about how the "world view" influences people so much.  The world tends to taut "skinny" people (the size 0's & 2's etc.) as the goal to reach for.  I even saw a commercial once where someone said "I used to be a size 10 and now I am a size 4!)  When in the world has it become abnormal to be a size 10? 

You know, God made so many different body types and I think He pretty much knows what he is doing.  Take me, for instance.  My body type is technically an ectomorph.  That is a long, slender person who does not build muscle easily.  Well, I can tell you that is true.  I have been working at it for 30+ years and have never looked muscular.  My boys used to make fun of me when I was working out with weights.  They would say, "give it up Mom." (ha-ha!)  Oddly enough, the one who said it the most inherited my "Green" body type and he doesn't build muscle easily either!

I say all this just to encourage people to take the body they have and do the best you can with it.  None of us, skinny or fat, need to over indulge ourselves with food that is not good for us or become couch potatoes.  God expects us to take care of ourselves.  I just wish everyone would realize at an early age how very important this is.  I hear of so much early onset high blood pressures and cholesterol levels.  I just wish everyone would find something active to do that they like and stick with it until they realize how much better they feel.  Looking better will then come too, but that is not the bottom line. 

Work out for health and I think you will be pleased with the looks part.  Appreciate the body God has given you and don't go to extremes either way. 

From Psalm 139 we read:
13 You made all the delicate, inner parts of my body and knit me together in my mother’s womb.
14 Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex!  Your workmanship is marvelous—how well I know it.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

The Race Isn't Over Yet!

Well, the elections are over. The races have been run and the winners have been declared. Whether the candidates we supported won or not, we now need to bathe the winners in prayer as they begin their new journeys of leadership. They will face a lot of tough challenges and will certainly need our prayers.

How appropriate on the day the elections are held that my daily devotion talked about running a race. However, it was not a political race that we can’t identify with. The race I am talking about is the “race of our lives.”

     “Let us run with patience the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith.” Hebrews 12 1c, 2a

The author of my devotional reading for yesterday said this:

“Christians, we are in a race – the race of  life. The goal of our race is Jesus Christ Himself. ………..The Author is with us at the beginning of the race; the Finisher will be there to greet us at the end of it. The success of our race depends on the direction of our eyes."*

In order for us to win this race we must keep ourselves conditioned. We can do that by spending time in prayer, reading God’s Word, attending church and surrounding ourselves with other runners who are striving for the same goal we are and by focusing on our coach, Jesus. As Paul said in Phillipians 12: 14,

“I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.

Let’s all keep training for this “race of life!”

          * from Meditation Moments by Millie Stamm, Zondervan Publ, 1967