Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Day 206 My Consolation

And I will walk among you, and will be your God, and you shall be my people. Leviticus 26:12

Oh Lord, come near and be with us in our daily trials and tribulation. Come walk with us so we can feel you close.

Be with us in our joys and laughter.

Be our comfort and our guide.

Help us be strong.

Did you know that Jesus finds comfort in hanging out with you? Did you realize that you are one of his "peeps"?

Take a walk today and invite God to join you.

You will be a joy in His heart.

And you are a joy in mine. God bless your heart today.



The theme for this blog post came from the July 27 devotional in God Calling by AJ Russell

Day 197 Walk Humbly

Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. Philippians 2:3

I want so badly to walk humbly and to consider others better than me. I love to encourage people and I try not to be selfish.

But I have to admit that selfish ambition and vain conceit have reared their ugly heads in my life. They show up as a fear of what others will say about me and have caused me to do things I never dreamed.

In this season of writing I'm working on the story of my college years. Wow, that was thirty years ago. Where has the time gone?

I saw a pattern in my journals as I captured my story. More often than not I was worried about what others were thinking and I was not honest with my true feelings. I wanted people to like me so I did what they wanted me to do. I lost my voice.

In the process I also lost a sense of self worth which didn't help when I was in relationship with controlling and insecure people. And boy was I confused!

I've been spending a lot of time with the Lord lately trying to gain some understanding of what I have lost because I didn't speak up when I should have. I'm trying to regain my voice which was stiffled in a crowd of noise called a large family.

I'm learning to stand tall and be honest with myself and with others. It has taken thirty years but I'm getting there.

I'm so very thankful that God drew me in to a close relationship with Him. He has given me a community of people who seek the best for me. I am encouraged by the authenticity of our relationships.

I have to tell you that writing this book has been a humbling experience. Especially as I write it with an honest heart hoping that someone out there might learn from my story. I really want my reader to learn how much God loves them – even when they haven't always done it right.

So thankful for God's grace today.

God Bless your humble heart.



The idea for this blog post came from the July 18 devotional in God Calling by AJ Russell.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Day 195 Refuge

For in the day of trouble he will keep me safe in his dwelling; he will hide me in the shelter of his tabernacle and set me high upon a rock. Psalm 27:5

There have been seasons of my life where I have spent more time in the Lord's secret place – simply enjoying the fact that I know God loves me and I can trust Him. It is my refuge.

I had lunch with my precious friend Cheryl today. She encourages me to laugh and let the joy in my heart flow when sometimes life circumstances tamp it down. It is good to have a friend like that to share the secrets in your heart.

I trust she will take my concerns in prayer to the throne room of God's heart. Our friendship is a safe place of refuge.

We also had dinner with our good friends Marty and Jeanne. We have journeyed together through the process of transitions in life and we can laugh and cry over the challenges that come with transition.

There is safety in having good friends I can trust.

But I know my safest place is in the strong tower of God where I am guarded. There is nothing that will prevail against His strength.

God bless you with a safe dwelling in the Lord's high tower.



The idea for this blog post came from the July 16 entry in the God Calling book by AJ Russell.

Day 194 Songs on the Way

You are my hiding place; you will protect me from trouble and surround me with songs of deliverance. Psalm 32:7

Protect me from trouble Lord. Give me a new song in my heart. Help me hear your directions for my life.

This devotion brought several people to mind today
  • My son Gabe: At times his life is lonely. Much like the lives of the disciples when they were alone in the dark and friendless. Even in their struggle, their singing never stopped.
  • My friend Marty: For this talented songwriter I'm asking the Lord to send new songs his way. The world needs to hear more of his music.
  • My friends Karen and Murray: I'm asking for a new song in their heart while they transition and wait for the right job to come their way. Bring them a job soon, Lord.
  • My niece Melissa as the doctors try to understand her recent health issues. I pray for her to find her safe hiding place in Jesus.
I'm praying for you too. I'm asking for a touch from the Lord today. He can be our hiding place in times of trouble.

What song do you need in your heart today? Ask the Lord and He will give you a song of deliverance.

God Bless your heart with song.


The idea for this blog post came from the July 15 entry in God Calling by AJ Russell

Day 196 Peace be Still

He replied, "You of little faith, why are you so afraid?" Then he got up and rebuked the winds and the waves, and it was completely calm. Matthew 8:26

I'm passing through another storm. It is called transition.

In this empty nest (that now has one little bird back home) I'm rediscovering myself and my husband, Steve. Sometimes the winds howl and it's rather scary. Other times it's peaceful and calm.

I wonder what storm you find stirring up your life?
  • Health issues?
  • Financial woes?
  • Relationship challenges?
  • Unemployment?
  • Home repair needs both physical and emotional?
  • Transition?

Jesus is in your boat.

He will be with you as you pass through the storm. His power in you through the Holy Spirit is enough to rebuke the wind and wave tossing you about.

God Bless your heart with peace. Be still.



The idea for this blog came from the July 17 devotional in God Calling by AJ Russell.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Day 193 True Success

Every place that the sole of your foot will tread upon I have given you, as I said to Moses. Joshua 1:3

I want to be sure that every place I set my foot is where God wants me to be. I spend time with Him praying, studying the Bible and listening so I know where next to set my foot.

I've already taken detours from the path of God's will and stepped out of line. Let me tell you it is NOT fun.

This week I'm writing the section of my book about the stormy season of my journey. I'm retelling the story of my college life through my late twenties.

As I write the story my heart swells. I remember how God was there with me through the roller coaster ride of life. He wasn't sitting up in heaven pointing a judgmental finger at me. He was with me encouraging me to get off of the wild ride because He had a better plan. But the noise of the world prevented me from hearing His voice. He picked me up when I fell.

I have some scars from a few harsh detours. But now these scars are reminders of how gracious God is and how He never left me. He redeemed these years and set my foot on the path again.

Oh Lord, Thank you that you have kept me and protected me.

When my life is surrendered to the One who loves me more than I will ever know, I find true success.

My prayer for you today is that God shows you the steps to take toward the success He has planned for you.

God Bless your heart with true success.



The idea for this blog came from the July 14 entry in the devotional book God Calling by AJ Russell published by Barbour Publishing.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Day 188 Painful Preparation

Beloved, do not think it strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened to you; but rejoice to the extent that you partake of Christ's sufferings, that when His glory is revealed, you may also be glad with exceeding joy. 1 Peter 4:12-13

Sometimes it is difficult to understand the things that happen in our lives.

Why are there hurting people?

Why are babies born with disabilities?

Why is there sickness and disease?

Why didn't you get that job?

Why were you chosen in the lay off?

The "Whys" can drive one crazy.

When our son Gabe was born with multiple congenital birth defects the "why" questions swirled through my mind like a tornado.

I learned from a letter I received from my friend Dianne Bratz that it really is best to trust and give my "why" questions to the one who replies "Be still and know that I am God."

I realized early on that God gives me the grace to handle everything that comes my way. I may not understand why it is so but I receive the mercy and grace from God to handle it. He gets me through every trial.

I can't do it on my own.

I think back through the past twenty years of raising our Gabriel. I know that everything that has happened in my life has been used by God as preparation for the work He has laid before me.

Our nonprofit ministry – Gabriel's Foundation of HOPE - to families dealing with disability would not have been created if not for our personal experience with disability. I learned from my mom's disability that resulted from a high school accident. I learned from my brother Bob who was born 70% deaf. I've grown up with a compassionate heart for those who suffer. My own suffering is helping others through my ministry and my writing.


I pray today that you will let God use the fiery trial you face as preparation for the work He has in store for you to serve others through your story.

I pray today that we will bring Glory to Christ as we choose to seek Him for the grace to carry on. He'll give you the power to overcome the trials as you trust and obey.

God Bless your heart with a vision of how God will use you to help someone who may benefit from your life story.



The theme for this blog came from the July 7 entry in the God Calling book by AJ Russell.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Day 184 Spiritual Fullness

As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for you, O God. Psalm 42:1

The heartsick can be satisfied. The faint can be healed. The weary can be rested in the fullness of Christ.

Where else can we go but to God when we seek to be satisfied?

As a deer longs for a water brook to quench its thirst, so our thirsty soul longs after God.

I remember when the words to this Scripture came alive in my heart. I was playing guitar on the song team at a Walk to Emmaus retreat. I definitely do not consider myself a good singer. I can carry a tune and I can strum a guitar – that's about it. But I really enjoyed participating as a member of this song team.

The team leader asked me to sing a solo of the popular song "As the Deer" penned by Martin J. Nystrom.

I was vaguely familiar with the song but I learned to love its words and sound. I practiced several times hoping I'd sound decent. The song team leader helped me mark my sheet music to clue me when to breath. I was so nervous I was holding my breath. I certainly didn't want to pass out on the altar at the church.

We were in an old Methodist church with beautiful stained glass windows. The sound of the organ and guitars filled the room. After several rehearsals of the song I was ready. "As the Deer" was on the agenda for the afternoon session.

We moved into the talk room where we heard from pastors and lay people who shared their stories and encouragement. Before each talk the speaker chose a favorite song. One of the pastors asked us to sing "As the Deer".

The song leader looked at me and said, "Gigi, you're on."

"But wait! My song sheet with my notes is in the sanctuary. I can't do it without those breathing notes. I'll sound terrible in this tiny room."

"Just pray and ask God to help. You'll do just fine."

"Turn in your song books to 'As the Deer'. Gigi will sing the first verse and we'll join in on the chorus." She began to play the piano.

My voice cracked and I got through the first verse. I looked at the banner on the wall.

There was a white cross with a colorful crown leaning on the cross bar. Below the cross big letters spelled out the theme of the weekend "Our God is an Awesome God."

I got to the verse that said "You are my friend and you are my brother, even though You are a King."

The cross reminded me of the sacrifice. The crown reminded me of the royalty of our Awesome God who loves me as a friend. I'm a child of God and He is my brother.

The reality of it all swept over me and I burst into tears right in the middle of the song. I couldn't go on.

The song team leader took over and invited the whole group to join in song. We worshipped for a long time and it was beautiful.

Every time I hear that song I'm taken back to that weekend.

Several years later my husband and I became best friends with Marty and Jeanne Nystrom. Marty wrote that song during a time in his life when he was seeking spiritual fullness. He was on a twenty-one day fast when the words and music flowed on the piano keys. It was so cool how God used it to touch my heart at that retreat.

We all hunger and thirst for the things of God. I pray today that you realize He is a King and You are His brother. Drink deeply in this truth.

God Bless your heart with fullness of spirit.



The idea for this blog post came from the July 3 devotional entry in the God Calling book by AJ Russell.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Day 182 Attack Fear

And Moses said…Fear not, stand still, and see the salvation of the Lord, which He will show you today.” Exodus 14:13

Life simply presents itself with issues that can cause fear if we let it take hold.

The economy brings fear of losing our investments.

Our health issues bring fear of major illness.

Job concerns bring fear of cutbacks.

Family relationships bring fear of rejection or hurt feelings.

What sorrow or difficulty brings fear to your heart?

I have a solution for you.

God’s Word encourages us to stand still. We can trust God to help us remain calm in the midst of the storm.

Laughter and Love – two great weapons against fear.

As we face the challenges of the day, how can we sharpen our weapons of warfare against fear?

Just like Jesus, we can use the Sword of the Spirit – the Word of God. Taking Scripture and speaking it aloud to our fear will make it turn tail and run.

God Bless Your Heart with Love and Laughter



The idea for this blog was taken from the July 1 God Calling book by AJ Russell