Sunday, January 31, 2010
"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." Jeremiah 29:11
I remember the first time I heard this verse. It was music to my soul. It was not long after our son Gabe was born and I was uncertain of what our future held. This verse helped me see the light on the horizon during a dark time. It was the light of hope.
When Gabe arrived, we had no prior knowledge that there was anything wrong. The shock of his deformed arms and legs was overwhelming. We had no idea what the future held for our new baby boy. It was frightening.
I have to admit I entertained thoughts that maybe God was punishing me for the sins of my past. I wondered if He was making me suffer through my future.
But this verse in Jeremiah 29 told me that God's plan for me (and for Gabe) was good. He didn't have any plan to harm me. His plan is to give me hope.
Seventeen years after Gabe was born we established our nonprofit organization to help other families walk through the issues and challenges of living with a disability. We named it Gabriel's Foundation of HOPE because God's promises to give us a hope and a future. He has redeemed our story to help other people. Our foundation is secure in Him.
I know now without a shadow of a doubt that God redeems. He takes what the enemy means for evil and shows us how to work it for good.
I hope that whatever you are going through you'll consider the truth that God's plan for you is good. Over and again in the Bible we are reminded of His promises.
Everything we go through is redemptive. God will use it to teach. God will use it to help others.
It is all beyond our comprehension because man does not think like God does. So it is by faith we choose to believe.
I'm so glad this has been my choice. Will you make it yours?
God Bless Your Heart
You can learn more about our nonprofit organization at http://www.gabeshope.org/
The idea for this blog post was taken from the January 31st devotional in "God Calling" edited by A.J. Russell and published by Barbour Publishing. I hope you'll pick up a copy of this encouraging book.
"No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it." 1 Corinthians 10:13
This has been so true in my life. God has been faithful. He doesn't allow me to be tempted beyond what I can bear. He has always been faithful to speak to me but there have been times that the noise of the world made it difficult to hear His directions.
Oh sometimes I heard but chose to ignore it. It was during those times it felt like I was truly at war in my soul.
But God knows how much I can take. He has always pulled me back into His will. It's a matter of whether I want to turn to Him or not.
Over the years I have found that the more time I spend in the Bible and prayer, the more clearly I hear His warning when I'm headed off path. More often than not the Bible study I'm working through hits on an issue I need to hear about at that time in my life. This is when I feel His love and experience Joy and Peace.
It's so cool when that happens.
This devotional also recommends planning a retreat to spend quiet time apart from the distractions that steal my joy. It is on retreat that I get rested and refreshed – physically, mentally and spiritually. This allows me to carry on what God has called me to do. It calms the soul at war with the flesh.
My favorite place to retreat is at my sister Kathy's house. I enjoy fellowship with her and my brother-in-law Denny. I stay in the room downstairs with the big down comforter on a king size bed. There is a desk for me to do my Bible study and writing. At night we sit in the hot tub under the Montana star filled sky.
Oh yeah. And she always bakes me oatmeal chocolate chip cookies.
I think I better go book a ticket. I hope you'll find a place of retreat too.
God Bless Your Heart
The idea for this blog post was taken from the January 30 entry in the "God Calling" devotional edited by A. J. Russell and published by Barbour Publishing.
Friday, January 29, 2010
"If the LORD delights in a man's way, he makes his steps firm;" Psalm 37:23
Lord I really want my steps to be ordered by You. Because I know too well what happens when I choose my own way.
I have learned to trust you absolutely. I know I am not at the mercy of fate. I'm asking that You make straight the path and clear it of the debris that causes me to stumble.
Some of the boulders in my path are pride, selfishness, insecurity and doubt. I'm asking God to bring His Holy bulldozer and clear the road so I can move forward.
I've learned to trust God to clear the path. Sometimes He's waiting patiently for me to get out of the way and to release my road map to Him and ask Him to clear the way.
I've found that trust in Him builds a strong foundation. After all He is the ROCK. His way is rock solid.
When my life is shaken or moved or shifted around, those boulders of my own choices block my progress making it difficult to navigate the road and move in the direction of my hopes and dreams. But His way is sure.
When I put Jesus in the cornerstone of all things in my life, the foundation will not crumble.
If the world begins to shake and I become buried in the rubble of my poor choices, I know I can cry out to Him and He will hear my voice.
Trust me. I've been there. I've been buried under a heap of my own dumb decisions. But then I called out to Him and he grabbed me out of the depths of despair.
As I sit quietly and reflect before the Lord, I can see clearly now when I look to the future of my writing, my marriage, my parenting issues, my friendships and my career. I know what to focus on and You've cleared my thoughts from the debris of confusion. Thanks for clearing the path, Lord.
God Bless Your Heart,
The idea for this blog post was taken from the January 29th devotion in "God Calling" edited by A.J. Russell and published by Barbour Publishing.
Thursday, January 28, 2010
"Yet the LORD longs to be gracious to you; he rises to show you compassion. For the LORD is a God of justice. Blessed are all who wait for him!" Isaiah 30:18
"Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest." Matthew 11:28
God longs to be gracious to You. He is waiting to bless your ambitions to serve others. He gives You the grace to do the job.
Ask the Lord today. How best can I serve?
We tend to think more on how we can BE served by others than on how we can SERVE. I've found that when my focus turns to what I can do for others, God supplies more than I need.
I must examine my ambitions to be sure they will bring me peace. Striving never brings peace or happiness.
But rest in God's plan does.
Think about those worldly ambitions of movie stars or athletes like Brittney Spears, Barry Bonds or Tiger Woods. Compromising themselves, taking steroids, losing their sense of self, seeking happiness in things that don't last – all in an effort to succeed.
They play a very dangerous game with the life God has given them. They end up weary and burdened and deeply disappointed.
But in turning to God we find a whole list of things God is. (quoted from this devotion in the God Calling Book page 38 - January 28)
- Joy of the weary
- Music to the heart
- Health to the sick
- Wealth to the poor
- Food to the hungry
- Home to the wanderer
- Rapture to the jaded
- Love to the lonely
God Bless Your Heart,
The idea for this blog post was taken from the daily devotion in the God Calling book edited by A.J. Russell and published by Barbour Publishing.
Hey! I've added a new gadget - Immediate reaction buttons. Click one. Suggest others in the comments section.
Wednesday, January 27, 2010
Show me your ways, O LORD, teach me your paths. Psalm 25:4
Simon Peter answered him, "Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. John 6:68
Dear Lord, thanks for the reminder that in the height of the storm we can come to You. It was when the storm was at its worst that You spoke. Your word calmed the raging sea.
Lord, speak now to the storms attacking my friends who have sent me prayer requests. Calm the fear. Heal the body and the mind. Restore the turbulent relationship. Bring protection and provision. Speak Your Word and bring peace.
Remember how the disciples thought Jesus had forgotten them because he slept during the storm? They were wrong. He had not forgotten. He had waited for the height of the storm and then he responded.
Why? Perhaps it was then the disciples most realized their need for the joyful dependence on Him. Maybe they were trying on their own and totally forgot they had a Savior in their boat.
When I was in college I nearly drowned in the ocean at Mission Beach, San Diego, CA. I had just learned to body surf and the waves were strong. I was trying to make my way to the beach and I was quickly losing the battle. When the waves were the strongest I called out for help and my cousin Dan heard my desperate plea.
I'll never forget how grateful I was for his muscular arm around my neck as he pulled me to safety.
In the same way, I will never forget how the arms of Jesus rescued me from the raging waves of my selfish choices. In my desperation He heard my call.
I hope you realize that He isn't sleeping. He's waiting to hear your cry.
God Bless Your Heart,
The idea for this blog post was taken from the January 27 devotional in "God Calling" edited by A.J. Russell and published by Barbour Publishing.
Tuesday, January 26, 2010
Lord, please calm my anxious heart. Stop all else until absolute calm comes.
This is a good word for me today. This season of transition is ruffling the feathers in my empty nest and I'm challenged. This devotional has reminded me that I can leave it all to God by getting calm in His presence. I hope you get a chance to read the whole devotional in the "God Calling" book.
I want to be an open vessel of God's power flowing to me and through me to others who need His blessing. I want to remain calm when storms come so that I can be used to be a channel of God's peace.
I'm reminded of a song I used to sing with Father Lowney at Saint Paul's Church. "Make Me a Channel of Your Peace" was one of the first songs I learned on the guitar.
(Actually, the first songs I ever played in public with my guitar were "One Tin Soldier" and "Last Kiss". I sang them at the school and city talent show. When I was asked to do an encore I only knew these two songs so I had to repeat them. American Idol would have loved to make a spectacle of me!)
Okay – back to the devotional.
The words to this song are a great reminder of what we can do when we keep calm and ask God to use us as an instrument of peace. I pray we will all bring peace in our work, in our family, in our marriage and in our friendships. So here are the words to live and love by.
I'd love to hear about what image this song conjured up for you…
Where there is hatred let me bring your love.
Where there is injury, your pardon, Lord
And where there's doubt, true faith in you.
Oh, Master grant that I may never seek
So much to be consoled as to console
To be understood as to understand
To be loved as to love with all my soul.
Make me a channel of your peace
Where there's despair in life, let me bring hope
Where there is darkness, only light
And where there's sadness, ever joy.
Make me a channel of your peace
It is in pardoning that we are pardoned
In giving to all men that we receive
And in dying that we're born to eternal life.
God Bless Your Heart,
The idea for this blog post came from the book "God Calling" edited by A. J. Russell and published by Barbour publishing.
Monday, January 25, 2010
"Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God's mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God—this is your spiritual act of worship." Romans 12:1
I really want to be used to serve God. This verse reminds me of the importance to take care of my body so I am healthy as I serve.
Unfortunately the way to happiness is sometimes through my lips. Now I've got several pounds of Christmas fudge to remove from my hips before my niece's wedding next month.
So no more fudge for me. It is off on my walk I go.
This devotional also reminds us that "complete surrender of every moment to God is the foundation of happiness; the superstructure is the joy of Communion with Him." P35
So I'm working on surrendering the moment right before that fudge hits my tongue and asking God for the willpower to stop. This self discipline helps firm up my foundation of happiness.
I sure hope there is fudge in heaven.
God Bless Your Heart,
Gigi Devine Murfitt
The idea for this blog post is taken from the January 25 devotion in the God Calling book edited by A. J. Russell and published by Barbour Publishing.
""I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing." John 15:5
Today's devotion is another one full of wisdom and reminders that abiding in Christ is our great reward. I could have written several blog posts from the rich message in this devotion. But I've chosen to focus on the verses in John 15 and how they have touched my life.
Anyone who has been in my home knows that I love grapes. In almost every room you'll see something with grapes in the décor. Many years ago I did a wonderful study by Henry Blackaby titled Experiencing God. We studied many different verses but focused on the Gospel of John, the fifteenth chapter. (I highly recommend this study.) http://www.henryblackaby.com/
This is where Jesus reminds us that we need to remain in the vine to bear any fruit. Once a bunch of grapes is cut from the grape vine, it loses its source of life. After that the grapes will remain fresh for a while, but not for long.
John 15 tells us that we bear much fruit when we remain in the vine. When we cut ourselves off from the vine we lose our power to do God's will.
When we remodeled our kitchen I decided to use a grape theme in my decorating. I did this to remind me of the importance of remaining in the vine. I do this by being connected to a body of believers who will pray for me, make me accountable and teach me God's Word. There is life in being part of a local church.
The fruit of my life comes from my rich relationship with God and through the Holy Spirit's power.
If you read the whole chapter of John 15 it reminds us that without remaining on the vine, the fruit withers and dies. But when we are connected, there is power to ask God for our needs.
Perhaps if the fruit of your life is dry and withered and your needs are not being met, maybe it's time to reconnect to the vine. Find a Body of Christ where you will learn life giving truth from the Bible. Participating in a home fellowship group has sustained me for many years. Many churches have groups for Bible study or special interests. These are friends I know I can count on to pray with me and support me in time of need. Feed your soul with a daily dose of Bible study, prayer and worship and the fruit from your life will be sweet and rich.
This my friend is your great reward – a life that is rich and full of God's mercy and grace.
God Bless Your Heart with His great reward!
Gigi Devine Murfitt
I hope you will read the entire chapter of John 15 and ask for wisdom in how to apply this to your life. Here is a link to a website I use often to study. The link takes you to John 15 in the New International Version translation. There are other translations available on this site as well.
The idea for this blog was taken from the January 24 entry in "God Calling" edited by A.J. Russell and published by Barbour Publishing.
Saturday, January 23, 2010
"He that dwells in the secret place of the most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty." – Psalm 91:1
I am so thankful for the way the Lord has blessed me with a deep desire to be in His presence. My time dwelling in that secret place – Bible and journal open, pen in hand and ready to hear from God -- have sustained me all of these years. It is in God's presence I find strength, power, joy and the rich life God has set before me.
Psalm 91 has become one of my favorites. The whole chapter is encouraging and has comforted me over and again.
Several years ago our home group had Fran Lance come and share with us. She supports an orphanage in Cambodia and is an amazing prayer warrior. She prayed for me that night and read the first part of Psalm 91. Fran encouraged me to continue to spend time with the Lord because he sees me in that dwelling place.
What was really cool about that prayer was that it was the first time I had ever met Fran and she had no idea that I spend time every morning in my Bible and in my journal (in my dwelling place). It was one of those kisses on the cheek from God where He used someone's words to bless my day as He reminded me that He understands my heart.
My dwelling place is usually our comfy family room. I sit in the recliner couch with the fireplace burning. Next to me is a stack of books and several pens. The books include a Kindle, my Bible and my daily journal (God Calling) and my prayer journal.
My prayer journal is a composition notebook like the ones used in English class. This is where I'm recording prayer requests and notes as I read through the One Year Book of Hope by Nancy Guthrie (a highly recommended book). I also use the Kindle to look up different translations of the Bible. My I-pod is nearby for music inspiration.
I cherish this time early in the morning. I sit on one couch and Steve is on the other. It is a wonderful way to start the day. It recharges my spiritual and emotional batteries. It is where the power to "do life" comes. I highly recommend this daily discipline. It is powerful!
I close this blog entry with the words to this favorite Psalm 91. I hope God uses these words penned thousands of years ago to bless your heart today.
will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.
my God, in whom I trust."
and from the deadly pestilence.
and under his wings you will find refuge;
his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart.
nor the arrow that flies by day,
nor the plague that destroys at midday.
ten thousand at your right hand,
but it will not come near you.
and see the punishment of the wicked.
even the LORD, who is my refuge-
no disaster will come near your tent.
to guard you in all your ways;
so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.
you will trample the great lion and the serpent.
I will protect him, for he acknowledges my name.
I will be with him in trouble,
I will deliver him and honor him.
and show him my salvation."
God Bless Your Heart with a long and powerful life!
Gigi Devine Murfitt
The idea for this blog was taken from the January 23 entry in "God Calling" edited by A.J. Russell and published by Barbour Publishing.
Friday, January 22, 2010
Fear not; for I am with you: be not dismayed; for I am God: I will strengthen you; yes, I will help you; yes, I will uphold you with the right hand of my righteousness. – Isaiah 41:10
God is with me – even on the gray days. Living in Seattle those gray days are more numerous than when I lived under the big blue Montana sky or in the Southern sun of Dallas, TX. But whether I'm in a spring-like sunny day or a gray and cloudy one, God is with me.
He is my God. He gives me strength. He helps me and He upholds me with His right hand.
I have other gray "mood" days sometimes too. When I desperately miss someone I love and wish I could spend more time with them. On days when life can just be frustrating. If I focus on the pain I see in the lives of some of my family and friends or open up the newspaper and read about what is going on in the world it can make for a gray day. But whether gray or blue – I thank my God for every day.
One thing that brightens a gray day is when I take time to listen to good worship music. This morning I put my I-Pod on a favorite worship singer -Jonathan Stockstill. The music and the words brighten my day no matter what might be going on in my life.
I hope you can view this YouTube video of Jonathan's Deluge band singing "Worshiping You".
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4L7WgrJNiAw It is truly music to my soul.
When I can choose to be thankful even on the grayest of days, it is training for doing great things for God. No one ever said it would always be sunshiny days. But the most dull and dreary day can still be full of praise.
The day Jesus went to the cross was definitely a dark day. But I'm thankful for Sunday, when the light of His resurrection shined bright. That's why I worship Him on the gray days and the blue days.
God Bless Your Heart,
The idea for this blog post was taken from the January 22 Devotional in the "God Calling" book edited by A. J. Russell and published by Barbour Publishing.
Thursday, January 21, 2010
"Be content with such things as you have: for he has said, I will never leave you, nor forsake you." Hebrews 13:5
Lord, I am grateful for everything You have given to me. Thank you for the reminder that You will never leave me nor forsake me. You are with me even on a crowded day like today – busy with work, a dentist appointment, a walk in the park with my dog, time to write and an evening of catching up with chores at home.
Thank You Lord for the sunshine in the middle of the day as I walked along the trail with worship music in my headphones. It was a beautiful spring like day that brought me joy. Thank you for the phone call with an excited "I love the book" comment from my brother-in-law Denny.
My day was also filled with prayer requests. One friend asked for prayer because her mother-in-law was diagnosed with leukemia. I learned of a childhood friend's battle with cancer. Another friend fell down the stairs and hurt her jaw today. Problems at his work prompted a plea to God asking "why" for another friend going through a very hard time. News that I may need two crowns on cracked teeth gave reason to pray for provision to pay for the treatment.
It was definitely a crowded day. But I am resting in Him. I'm asking Him to comfort my friends with His Everlasting arms that hold us up and give us rest – even on a crowded prayer request filled day. I'm thankful that He is with me and that His Word has power.
Please send me your prayer requests so I can join with you in prayer.
God Bless Your Heart,
The idea for this blog post was taken from the January 21 Devotional in the "God Calling" book edited by A. J. Russell and published by Barbour Publishing.
Wednesday, January 20, 2010
Here is something to think about. When we choose to think on the things of God we are one with Him. I am one with the Lord of the whole universe! That is a thought of high calling.
Over the years I have learned much about the power of my thoughts. I know how much they affect my actions and the outcome of my life. I've chosen to think on the positive side of things all throughout my life.
I'm a glass half full kind of gal.
Oh yes, I do entertain negative thoughts but I quickly disperse them and think about the situation in a more positive light. I can find good in just about anything. It is a gift that has gotten me through some difficult seasons.
I'm sure you can imagine how being afraid has a physical affect on your body. When I'm frightened I get chills up my spine. My stomach has butterflies and I take shallow breaths as my heart pounds out a fast rhythm. My physical body changes because of what my mind is thinking whether or not the object of my fear is a reality.
Our thoughts are very powerful!
When I think negative thoughts about another person it affects the way I treat them. If someone gives me the creeps I stiffen up around them. My eyes watch carefully and I change to a protective posture. I might be quiet around someone who has hurt my feelings if my thoughts focus on the hurt.
There is power in our focus. How about focusing on the promises of God?
When our son Gabe was born I chose to focus on the things that were right rather than what was wrong.
Yes, the reality was that he was missing bones in his arms and his legs were fused crooked with no knee joint. He can't walk like you and me but I always tell him he walks uprightly with the Lord by his side.
Yes, he has tiny pin holes for ear canals which cause a loss of 45% of his hearing ability. But I reminded him that he can still hear the voice of God as he chooses to listen.
Yes, he was not "normal" by the world's standards. But I choose to think on things above and to see Gabe as God does – as fearfully and wonderfully made.
Yes, his day to day life is a challenge in his unusually formed body. But I remind him that he can do all things through Christ who gives him strength.
Even within a few days after he was born I thanked God that his blood returned to normal after having a severely low platelet count. I was grateful that he could see me – there was no blindness. It was amazing that his heart, lungs, brain and other bodily functions were perfectly normal. He was a snuggly boy from day one who gave the best hugs with his tiny little arms. We know that one day God will heal him.
I thank God for the love of my children. I speak life to them. They were set apart to be used by God to change the world. They are part of a chosen generation that God intends to use for His glory. God knows every hair on their head. I challenge them to speak the desires of their heart to God and watch Him fulfill them.
It's amazing how powerful our thoughts and words can be.
I challenge you today – think and speak good things about your family, your job, your marriage and your future! Then you will be at one with God because He thinks you are amazing!
God Bless Your Heart,
The idea for this blog post was taken from the January 20 Devotional in the "God Calling" book compiled by A. J. Russell and published by Barbour Publishing.
Tuesday, January 19, 2010
"Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us." Ephesians 3:20
There are several awesome truths in today's devotional. I hope you get a chance to read it in the "God Calling" book.
I love the truth that God sought after me. He saw what my heart needed before I even cried out to Him. He knew the answer before I realized I had a problem.
God anticipates. He loves us so much. He's not some mean God waiting for us to cry out to Him before He gives us our treasures. Instead he has prepared treasures for us long before we even asked. With joy He anticipates our response to His love.
It's like the beautiful handkerchief I set aside for my sons that was given to me when they were babies. It was stitched together to form a tiny bonnet for them to wear home from the hospital. The hanky had a poem with it about how boys grow up and find a wife. I saved it as a reminder to pray for their future wife. It was then intended to be given to their bride. My daughter-in-laws can then save it in anticipation of giving it to their future children.
There is much thought when I go shopping for a gift for my husband and children. I wonder if they'll love the gift. I can't wait to give it to them. My heart is filled with love as I imagine the joy on their face when they open it.
The love I have for my family is the same kind of love God has for you. He is overjoyed at the very thought of you. It is anticipatory love. I hope you receive it.
God Bless Your Heart,
The idea for this blog post was taken from the January 19 Devotional in the "God Calling" book compiled by A. J. Russell and published by Barbour Publishing.
Monday, January 18, 2010
"Behold the proud, his soul is not upright in him; but the just shall live by his faith." Habakkuk 2:4
"True righteousness before God is linked to genuine faith in God. A proud person relies on self, power, position or accomplishment: a righteous person relies on the Lord." (The Nelson Study Bible Pg 1522)
Pride. Boy did I learn the hard way that relying on self didn't get me very far. Some of the worst decisions I've ever made were made with no trust that God could help me get to where I needed to be. I simply didn't want to believe His way was better so I ignored it.
Too often I went my own way and I found out the hard way which avenue was better.
Mighty deeds are accomplished when I live by faith in God. Not by faith in Gigi. Trusting that God's way is better becomes a necessary weapon in my arsenal against evil. It is the way I overcome the challenges of everyday life. It is a gift God gives me daily. It gets me through the tough times. I simply can't do it on my own. I've tried too many times on my own power. If just doesn't work. So I need to live by faith.
When I turn to God and get to know Him through prayer and Bible reading, my faith grows. And that faith gives me the power to do God's work. Because I want to be used by Him to accomplish His will in this nutty world. Genuine faith goes a long way.
God Bless Your Heart,
The idea for this blog post was taken from the January 18 Devotional in the "God Calling" book compiled by A. J. Russell and published by Barbour Publishing.
Sunday, January 17, 2010
"Trust in the Lord with all of your heart; and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and he shall direct your paths." Proverbs 3:5-6
This is one of the first Bible verses I memorized. It has helped me so many times when I've been going my own way. That's usually when I end up on a detour heading in the wrong direction.
God is rushing to give me what I need in every area of my life. I need to be still and listen so I can learn God's will for me. Then I need to be quick to do it. Trusting Him it is good medicine for worry and fret. His way is SO much better than mine!
I started to worry a bit today. I have to admit that I'm feeling vulnerable now that my Caregivers' Devotions to Go book is actually available for sale. Thinking about people paying to read my stories is rather scary. What if what I wrote doesn't inspire my reader? Will anybody want to read it?
I can easily take a worry detour but God is reminding me to get back on His path of trust.
This morning when I was praying I had a peace come over me about my book. I know that I'm doing what I've been called to do. I'm not going to lean on my own worry or fear about what people might think of what I wrote.
I set a goal many years ago to write this book. I kept checking in and asking God for direction. Over and again I sensed His instruction as I wrote each story. I know I can trust God to use it all for His glory.
I loved the ending of this devotional from the God Calling book. "Persevere, Oh! Persevere. Never lose heart. All is well."
Thanks for the reminder God. I needed it today! I persevered through the publishing of this book. I did not lose heart. And all is well!
God Bless Your Heart,
Caregivers' Devotions to Go can be ordered at my publisher's website at http://www.edmbookstore.com/ in the devotions to go section. I think the book will bless you!
The theme for this blog post was taken from the book "God Calling" by A.J. Russell and published by Barbour Publishing.
Saturday, January 16, 2010
"Behold, I am the Lord, the God of all flesh: is there any thing too hard for me?" Jeremiah 32:27
Drudgery. I looked it up in the dictionary to get a better word picture because drudgery is not a word I commonly use. It means dull, menial, distasteful or hard work. All of those words can be part of our day. God is our friend in the drudgery.
So often we only look for God to appear in the big things in our life. But He is there in the day to day, dull or menial things too. He stands by as a friend in the hard work of every day life. He joins us in the things we need to persevere through. There isn't anything too hard for God. He is God over all.
So hang on. Understand that He cares about every little piece of the puzzle. He's big enough for the hard stuff as well as the small stuff. Spend some time sitting quietly before Him and ask Him to be the Lord of ALL. Ask Him to be your every day friend.
That is where I get my joy. Even when life is hard and there are some things I don't understand. I know that nothing is too difficult for God. He sticks closer than a brother and I trust His plan.
I continue to pray for the people of Haiti as rescue workers attempt to deliver aid. The effects of the earthquake hit closer to home when my son Zane emailed to tell me the sister of one of his college friends died in the rubble of the orphanage where she worked. My heart goes out to the Hightower family of Port Orchard, WA who lost their 22 year old daughter Molly. She was serving a year in Haiti helping the disabled and volunteering at an orphanage. I'm asking the Lord to be Lord over all that their family is going through. Please keep this family in your prayers.
I'm also praying for Chris Sahlman who just arrived in Haiti last week to serve at another orphanage. Thankfully Chris is okay and so are the children he works with. However, they are waiting for aid. He said the hardest part is the smell of death.
Oh God, I pray you will send ministering angels to meet the needs of everyone in Haiti today. Be merciful Oh God. I admit I don't understand it all. But I know You are there to help. Show yourself big. Let beauty come from these ashes – as you promise us in Scripture. (Isaiah 61) Thank You God that You love every one of us and you catch our tears in Your bottle. (Psalm 56:8) I trust in Your everlasting love that never fails. I ask for wisdom and revelation about where best to help. Heal our land Lord Jesus. Amen.
God Bless Your Heart,
The idea for this blog post came from the devotional book "God Calling" by A. J. Russell published by Barbour Publishing.
Friday, January 15, 2010
"Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, all power is given unto me in heaven and in earth." Matthew 28:18
This world is ever changing isn't it? The busy fast paced life can be scary some times. Why do we forget the power of Christ? Has fear or busyness stolen your peace?
Have you ever wondered what would happen if we used the power of Christ every day of our lives? I think we'd relax! I know we'd have peace.
Have NO fear. Don't despair. Change is good when God's in charge of our lives.
Remember that God never changes. He is the same yesterday, today and forever. He's got it covered when everything around us is changing.
Have you ever wondered why you are so busy? Is it perhaps because of fear?
I remember when our son Zane had surgery on his thyroid. He was only fifteen months old. It was scary. I stayed busy at work so I didn't have to deal with my fear as we approached the surgery. Thankfully everything turned out okay but I took no time to relax!
The same thing happened when Gabe was born. Our world was turned upside down and I was afraid of the future. So for a little while I buried myself in work. Steve did too. It was an easy escape in an attempt to make our uncertain times go away. But the reality was that my busyness didn't make it go away. It simply buried it only to resurface again.
In another season of my life that was particularly difficult, my mom was not doing well and I was arranging doctor appointments for her while trying to work full time and take care of our boys. At the same time Gabe needed surgery to repair his deformed ear canal. My sister was struggling and I was trying to get her some help. In the frenzy of trying to stay on top of it all I kept fear at bay by staying busy. Once again I buried my fear in a pile of paperwork.
I heard a great quote the other day by Joyce Meyer related to being busy. Joyce created a meaning for each letter in the word B-U-S-Y. Buried Under Satan's Yoke. That is where I was. I was living under a yoke of bondage.
Then one day a friend took my hand and placed it in the hand of Jesus and I gave him my busyness and my fear! I learned how much easier it was to live under God's power. I started to relax and enjoy life. Peace returned and life was good.
The next time you find yourself feeling too busy, or too afraid I hope you will take some time to relax and let the peace of God wash over you. Give him your burden's and receive His power!
God Bless Your Heart
The idea for this blog post came from the January 15th entry in the God Calling devotional by A. J. Russell published by Barbour Publishing.
I interrupt my daily "God Calling" blog post to share some exciting news about my day! When I arrived at home from work there was a large box on my front door step. I hadn't ordered anything recently so I assumed the box was for Steve. As I put my key in the door I noticed the words "Caregivers' Devotions to Go" in bold letters across the shipping label.
I hurried inside and dropped my bag on the counter. My heart pounded. Our yellow Labrador greeted me with his usual tail-wagging kiss. When I turned back to retrieve the box, Donovan (the lab) was saying (in his excited dog-speak) "What's in the box? Is it a biscuit? What's in the box? Is it a bone? What's in the box? Is it a toy?"
I ripped open the package and retrieved a copy of my book! I danced a jig with Donovan!
YES! It arrived today. It's real! I have a book in PRINT! "Caregivers' Devotions to Go" is here! It's absolutely bright and beautiful and I love it. I saw my name on the cover and opened it to read the first few pages. I cried. This labor of love had finally arrived and I was holding it in my hands!
I think I'll remember January 15th for the rest of my life! (I probably will since I have a strange memory for dates!) J
I called Steve and shared the good news. I emailed my publisher at Extreme Diva Media to thank them for the book. Then I called my sister Kathy since she contributed two devotionals to this book. My prayer partner Karen received the next call and we laughed about God's timing and purpose in all of this!
We had a marketplace ministry banquet for our church tonight so Steve grabbed a few copies to share the good news. Pastor Gini Smith was the first person I gave a copy. She has been such a blessing to me and a wonderful care giver to thousands!
Fawn – a beautiful woman who sat next to me at dinner asked if she could buy one when Steve showed the book to everyone at our table. (He is so proud of me – and I am thankful for all the time he has given me to write.) Although I wanted to gift this copy to my new friend, she insisted on paying me. Thanks for being my first buyer! Steve gave his other copy to our friend Dottie.
It was a joyous day and I'm excited to share this book with you. You can order it at my publisher's website at http://www.edmbookstore.com/ or on my website at http://www.gigimurfitt.com/. If you already pre-ordered it you should be receiving your copies in the mail over the next week.
Thank you so much for supporting me with this, my first book! It is so exciting for me and I hope you enjoy it!
Signing off as a newly PUBLISHED Author!
Gigi Murfitt, Author
Caregivers' Devotions to Go ©2010
Thursday, January 14, 2010
When I have chosen to walk with God there is a profound sense of security. The Holy Spirit comes into my life and the result of his work is mighty and marvelous.
But too often I've chosen to go my own selfish ways. My thoughts, words and actions are all selfish. I ignore the prompting of the Holy Spirit to lead and guide my day. It can be a real struggle. There is no peace or joy. I've been down some pretty painful detours. Been There. Done that. And now I'm writing a book about it!
When I choose to die to my own selfish ways on a daily basis, everything just seems to work out. I move out of the way and God moves in. He gives me the grace for the day and just enough light for the path I'm on. Even in the midst of the struggles I have joy. Even when I don't understand it all I have peace.
Sometimes all the things in this world are hard to understand. It's a very weird place. But daily God can give us the power to be victorious in this time and place. When I walk with Him and listen for His voice and obey His commands, I get to see how glorious his teachings are. They are unbelievably mighty and marvelous.
Dying to yourself is worth it because "every blow to self is used to shape the real, eternal, imperishable you." (P24) We are being shaped for eternity. Some days I just can't wait for heaven. But I've got work to do here on earth.
Have a wonderful self-less day.
God Bless Your Heart
The idea for this blog post came from page 24 of "God Calling" by A. J. Russell published by Barbour Publishing.
Happy Birthday to my niece Chelsea Beckwith who turns the big 2-0 today. No longer a teen Chelsea. We love you. God's Blessing sent your way!
Wednesday, January 13, 2010
My heart is heavy today as I pray for the people of Haiti after the devastating earthquake rocked their world. But I am touched that today's devotional reminded me to cast my care upon God. He does care.
My son Zane's former youth pastor Steve Cecil and the team of people from Beautiful Child ministry left Haiti just hours before the quake on Tuesday. I am grateful they arrived home safely.
But one of their team members, Chris Sahlman, is still there. He stayed to help at the orphanage they support. The orphans are living in a field because their home was destroyed. But thankfully the kids are okay. Chris is there being God's hands and feet to continue helping where he can. I pray for ministering angels - those friends unseen sent by God to help in this time of need.
Please take the time to give where you can in the relief efforts. Check out this news story for more information: http://www.fox47.com/newsroom/top_stories/videos/vid_800.shtml or go to the church's website at http://www.thejourneycommunity.com/ to learn how you can help be that ministering angel and give in whatever way you can.
My friend Karen Kingsbury (http://www.karenkingsbury.com/) asked for prayer today for her adopted son Josh's birth mom who lives in Haiti. They have not heard from her today. Please pray that she is okay. Please also lift up a prayer for Josh as this young teen processes this news of the earthquake. Karen lists several relief agency websites on her website too.
Things like this are difficult to understand but we must not despair. We should be a channel of helpfulness in whatever way possible. Pray. Give. Hope.
I pray that I will be sharing miracle stories on my blog - even in the midst of the tragedy. We do not understand. But we know the One who does.
God Bless Your Heart
(This year I am blogging through a great devotional book titled "God Calling" by A.J. Russell, published by Barbour Publishing. I encourage you to pick up a copy and work through each day's message on your own.)
Tuesday, January 12, 2010
"In everything give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you." 1 Thessalonians 5:18
Today I'm thankful for trials because they have made me more flexible. Flexibility is important in our mind as well as our body. I've never been very flexible in my body and often have back pain because I don't stretch my muscles after exercise. Stretching indeed makes me more flexible and it is good for me.
God has used the trials in my life to stretch my faith. We all go through trials and sometimes they really hurt. If you haven't faced a trial you just might be dead. Life is full of trials. Our parents will age and die. A sibling might get sick. Relationships often go wrong. Divorce happens at breakneck speed. Jobs are lost. Financial difficulties arise. Children are born with disabilities. Marriage is not easy. Family members make poor choices. I could fill up this blog with a list of trials.
When things are hard I reach for God's hand rather than trying to do it on my own. For me, these trials have been fertile ground for God's seed to grow. In the midst of tough times I learn from the Bible, pray with friends and fellowship with other believers who can lift me up when I'm weary. I never have to go through it alone.
Lately it seems my prayer journal is loaded with prayers requests from people who are going through tough times. The enemy of our souls is in a full blown attack on our marriages and our children. Several of my friends are dealing with difficult issues involving their children's life choices. Parenting is definitely not for wimps. It is full of trials. But God is asking us to give thanks even in the middle of these struggles.
When I pray with my friends I give thanks for the things I believe God will do in the lives of these families. I don't dwell on the trial but I believe for the victory. I am reminded of the incredible power of Jesus which helps us triumph over every issue in our life. While giving thanks, the focus shifts and hope arises.
What trial are you thankful for today? Do you need me to pray with you for something going on in your life? I hope you'll share it so we can thank God together and believe in hope that God will work it out for good.
God Bless Your Heart,
The idea for this blog came from the "God Calling" book by A. J. Russell published by Barbour Publishing.
Monday, January 11, 2010
"And the sheep follow him: for they know his voice." John 10:4
This particular devotion is chock full of wonderful things to ponder. I hope you have a chance to pick up a copy of "God Calling" by A.J. Russell (Published by Barbour Publishing) so you can work through each day's message on your own. I work through a devotion in my journal in the morning and let it simmer all day long while I work and play. Then in the evening I write my blog post.
I've found that I really hear from God on things I'm working through when I spend time meditating on it during the day. I'm a thinker. I mull things over in my brain before I am willing to talk about them. It drives my husband crazy because he's always wondering what I'm thinking. But I find it best to spend time thinking and meditating before I formulate a comment or opinion. Otherwise I speak too soon and get myself in trouble. My foot doesn't taste very good when I have to open my mouth and insert it.
With such a rich devotion today I had a hard time choosing what to blog about. I've come up with a bullet list of things so you can take them and meditate on them on your own.
- God has unlimited stores for my needs.
- Seek God's Truth and you will find it.
- Even in silence God is present and speaking to you.
- Jesus is the light of the world. Sometimes he gives you just enough light for the day.
- When we get to heaven we will get the whole revelation of everything that went on in our lives. Rest in knowing that.
- Today's marching orders are all you need. God gives you the strength for today. Come back tomorrow for more strength. Day by day.
- Don't let the babble of the world crowd out God's voice.
- You have been hurt. God sees the pain. He leaves the scar as a reminder. God likes to use scarred lives.
- Don't freak if you are being disciplined. It's inevitable.
- Trust God always. Never rebel.
My favorite quote from this devotion brought tears to my eyes. "The trust given to Me (the Lord) today, takes away the ache of rejection of My love, that I suffered on earth, and have suffered through the ages. "I died for you, My children, and could ye treat Me so?" (P21 God Calling by A.J. Russell)
I have to ask. Do I treat Him like I know He died for me? Oh God forgive me when I take your sacrifice for granted. Let me never forget the ache of love.
God Bless Your Heart,
My friend Karen recently gave me the words to an amazing song by Sara Groves. It came to me at the perfect time to minister to my heart as I work through the transition to the empty nest – where this mamma bird misses her baby birdies a whole bunch – and Steve and I are learning a whole new language as we work it all out. The song is on Sara Grove's "Add to The Beauty" CD. The song title is "When It Was Over". I encourage you to download the song on iTunes. The chorus is my favorite:
Love wash over a multitude of things.
Love wash over a multitude of things.
Jesus save us from a multitude of things.
Make us whole.
There is a love that never fails
There is a healing that always prevails
There is a hope that whispers it loud
A promise to wait while we're working it out
So come with your love and wash over us.
Oh life is so much fun when God's love washes over me! Thanks Karen, this song ministered to my heart more than you know!
The idea for this blog was taken from the book "God Calling" by A.J. Russell published by Barbour Publishing. I've been blogging each day as I work through this devotional book. I highly recommend you purchase a copy for you and one for a friend.
PS. For those of you who get an email of my blog forgive me if you get multiple posts. I'm trying to work out some issues with spacing and I think it might be sending it out again. If you have ideas on how to stop this please let me know! And accept my apology if you receive more than one email.
Sunday, January 10, 2010
"I have come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly." John 10:10
Abundant life. Plentiful. Copious. Rich. Isn't it what we all want? How many different ways do we try to achieve abundant life on our own? Jesus came for the very reason to give it to us – as a free gift. Free to those who will open it. Free to those who believe. There is nothing I want more than to know that my loved ones live abundant lives because Christ has come into their world and influenced them.
God came to me. When I gave my life to Him he gave me eternal life. This life altered my whole existence. Even the words I speak and the influences I have were affected when God came near. Everything has an eternal impact as it springs from Christ in me. I need to be careful what I do and what I say because it could change a life forever. Every person I meet can be influenced for eternity.
Wow, that's a weighty thought isn't it? But it's true. The Gospel of Grace is available to all. And how we love one another brings Grace on the scene. I want to live a life of influence every single day of my life. So I think I'll continue to walk in grace. How about you?
As we begin a new week I pray grace and peace over your life. I pray you will ask the Lord to use you powerfully to influence one person tomorrow. I'd love it if you would share with a comment on my blog that one person God put in your path.
Have a blessed week. God bless your heart!
PS – Sending a shout out to my friend Julie Anderson. We celebrated at her 50th birthday party tonight with an award ceremony. (Her actually birthday was in December but that gets all mixed up with Christmas so her kids held her party tonight. Good thinking!) All of her friends and family spoke highly of her ability to make people laugh and to be a loyal friend. Happy Birthday Julie – I celebrate you.
(The idea for this blog was taken from the book "God Calling" by A.J. Russell published by Barbour Publishing)
Saturday, January 9, 2010
"Rest in the Lord, and wait patiently for him." Psalm 37:7
"Let patience have her perfect work." P19 (God Calling Devotional for January 9th) One of my gifts is patience. I guess I learned it growing up as the eighth of ten children. I'm at the bottom of the ladder so I often had to wait my turn. Our son Gabe is one of the most patient people I've ever met. Because of his short arms, it takes him longer to do basic daily tasks like getting dressed or putting toothpaste on his toothbrush. But he always exhibits patience even in times when he struggles to get a shirt buttoned or a light turned off. He inspires me!
Another quote I chose from today's devotional is "Never think things overwhelming." P19 (God Calling) Never? Really? Okay, so if I truly believe that all things are possible and God is with me then why do I sometimes get overwhelmed? He knows what I can bear without a strain. God would not ask me to do something that could destroy me.
What causes me to be overwhelmed? When my plate is too full perhaps I am serving another master instead of God. Is my master my job? The next book? The demanding schedules of my children? Someone else's expectations? The opinion of man? Taking on a load I was not intended to bear? All of these things can produce strain. I try to avoid being overwhelmed.
I was at lunch the other day with my friend Cheryl. I was giving her an update on the status of my Caregivers' Devotions to Go book. I filled her in on my current involvement in the Northwest Christian Writer's Association (www.nwchristianwriters.org) and Northwest Ministry Conference www.MinistryConference.org We discussed the status of Gabe's book and chatted about her interview with him. She encouraged me and gave me ideas about what to do next. At the end of our lunch she took a deep breath and said, "Gigi, just listening to everything you have going on in your life exhausts me." How do you do it all?
God did not intend for me to be overwhelmed so I take all of my activities to Him every day. Often times when I'm doing my morning devotions I'll take time to prioritize and change things around a bit. That is when I rest in the Lord's plan.
Right now I don't feel overwhelmed with everything on my plate. But if I start to feel the strain then maybe it's time I examine my motives and adjust my activities. How about you? Are you overwhelmed?
God Bless Your heart!
The idea for this blog post came from the daily devotional in a book titled "God Calling" by A. J. Russell. It was published by Barbour publishing.
Friday, January 8, 2010
"They that trust in the Lord shall be as mount Zion, which cannot be removed, but abideth for ever." Psalm 125:1
I thought the title of this devotional was rather strange. Love Bangs the Door. But what it said to me was that sometimes when the door bangs shut on something in my life, it is the love of God closing it so He can open a different way for me. Paul learned the lesson of the closed door when he said "our light affliction, which but for a moment, works for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory." (P18 God Calling) Sometimes the trials we face are nothing compared to the plan God has in store for using it for His glory.
"Life with God is not immunity from difficulties, but peace in difficulties." When I read today's message I immediately thought of my mom. In the midst of some harsh difficulties she had peace. Most of the time. As she got older her peace turned to anxiousness. What caused the change?
After many conversations with her I believe at some point she stopped trusting that God promised to work it all out for good. Fear crept in. She lost her joy when she focused on what was wrong rather than what was right.
Focusing on the negative gets us in trouble every time. I'm not saying we should ignore the challenges as if they don't exist. But I believe when we trust the acceptance of God's will for us we have peace and joy and we will not be moved.
In my own life I've had seasons where I started to lose hope. Just recently I received word that an agent chose not to represent me. Sure I was disappointed but it's not the end of the world. I will not lose heart. By faith I choose to trust that God is for me and not against me. God will make a way where there seems to be no way. Over and again I believe that all things work together for good (Romans 8:28) I ask every day what my next move will be. I listen quietly for the next door to open as I continue to write with hope.
God Bless your heart. Have a great weekend!
Thursday, January 7, 2010
"Be still and know that I am God." Psalm 46:10
Be still and wait. That's what I've been hearing over and again these past few months. I sense there are wonders in my life unfolding while I wait and ask God for wisdom. I'm waiting and praying about several things. Which book should I make my priority? Should I take another writing class? Am I supposed to go to the writer's conference in February? How can Steve and I celebrate our twenty-fifth wedding anniversary in June? Should I facilitate the Bible study that has been on my heart? I don't understand what is going on in our nation, Lord. What can I do to help?
In my time spent with God, He speaks in the silence. Not in an audible voice – but a knowing in my heart. A sense of peace calms my anxious heart over an issue or idea I'm waiting about. I have confidence that as I listen and wait, He will give me wisdom to do what is right. In those quiet moments, God sometimes drops a thought into my heart. I meditate on it and ask if I should share the thought with someone else. I record these thoughts and prayers in my journal.
When I share it in a conversation, an email or a card, I pray a similar prayer to the one spoken in this devotional for today in the "God Calling" book. I pray Lord, let each word or thought be like a pearl that I can drop into the secret place of that person's heart. I pray that in some hour of need the recipient finds the treasure and for the first time realizes its value. (P17 God Calling)
It is so cool when I watch God work that way. I might get a note or an email from the recipient telling me the message was exactly what they needed at that moment.
I was talking to my niece Meghan Goodheart Bailey today. She called to chat about a Bible study she would like to facilitate. Several months ago in a quiet moment with God, she sensed that she was supposed to help the women in her church work through a study of God's Word. She waited. She studied. She talked to the director of women's ministry. God confirmed by sending another woman to encourage her decision.
After much prayer and research she is ready to share what God has put on her heart. I have a feeling that the study she facilitates will be that pearl God drops in the secret place of one of those women. In a time of great need, she will find a treasure. God will reveal its value. A life will be changed. Thanks Meghan – I'm really proud of your courage to step into a new place of leadership. Remember that the Holy Spirit will equip you with everything you need. Spend time in that quiet place and listen. Be still and know that He is God.
God Bless Your Heart.
(The idea for this blog post came from the book titled God Calling compiled by A. J. Russell, January 7. This book is published by Barbour Publishing.)
Wednesday, January 6, 2010
"Study to show thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth." 2 Timothy 2:15
This journal was penned in England 1932 so the Bible translation used is the King James Version. I like the "thee" and "thou" and "needeth" forms of the word but I also wanted to see how this verse read in a few of a more modern translations.
The NIV says: "Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a workman who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth."
So how do we present ourselves "sharp and ready" to do God's work? I believe the tools to sharpen us are the disciplines of reading the Bible, praying and obedience.
What dulls our ability to correctly handle the word of truth? Prayerlessness. It seems to be the word most heard in these troubling times. Why is it that one of the most effective tools God gives us is something we choose not to sharpen? I've committed to pray more with Steve as we transition into our empty nest that can sometimes be a bit prickly.
The work God has set before me is to pray and study my Bible. To train and discipline myself so that I'm sharp and ready to serve God and go where He asks me to. I'm committed to this discipline of prayer and study. The door will open. God continuously reminds me that I need not fear. He has cared for me. He has protected me. He has given me hope.
How is your prayer life? I challenge you to take your burden to God today in prayer. Gather with a friend or two and share one another's prayer requests. It will be a powerful sharp tool in the toolbox of life.
God Bless Your Heart!
End note: I'm sending a shout out to my brother Bob Devine and my friend Dottie Moffitt today on their birthday. I pray blessings on you both!
This devotional idea was taken from page 16 of the "God Calling" book written in 1932 and published by Barbour Publishing in 1952.
Tuesday, January 5, 2010
"Commit thy way unto the Lord; trust also in him, and he shall bring it to pass." Psalm 37:5
Holy Spirit Come. I commit this day unto You. Let me rest in your presence which brings me peace. This flowing river of prayer during my morning quiet times cleanses all the irritants of my day away. I'm trying not to listen to my negative voice which sometimes distracts me. I want to rest in God's power. Thank you, Lord, for blessing this day.
Whenever I read something that seems like a "coincidence" of God it reminds me that He is near me and He understands everything going on in my life. It feels like a kiss on the cheek from God through the Holy Spirit. I felt a sweet kiss today as I read this devotional from the "God Calling" book. It is a rather scattered devotional message covering many different topics but there were a few things that touched my heart and made it to my journal.
One thing that jumped out at me was the command to "hope all the time". I like that idea of hope--all the time. One of the books I am writing is titled "Hope in Hard Times". It encourages the same thing. No matter what is going on in your life hope will see you through. In this book I share how my family held on to hope during some difficult seasons of life.
I share about hope for my mom when she was left a widow with ten young children. Hope carried mom through her crippling accident that happened in her senior year of high school. You'll read how hope helped me and Steve after our son Gabe was born with severe congenital birth defects. I hung on to hope for dear life when I found I had taken a detour down the wrong path on the road of life. When my circumstances were disappointing I still found hope.
While I continue to work on the chapters of this book it is exciting to go back through my journals and find hope written all over the stories of my life. My prayer is that God will use it to bring hope to my reader too.
This morning I also wrote in my journal about a few other things from today's devotional. The two listeners who wrote this book are encouraging us not to worry about poverty. Growing up in a family of ten kids with a single mom taught me much about poverty. The main thing I learned was that God always provided. And even though we didn't have much money, mom always fed a few extra kids at the table. She was a very giving person. Even during lean times, giving to others was her way of life. I want to live like that too.
This devotional reminded us that when we do have money we are not to hoard it – but to pass it on. God is asking us to let our gifts, talents and money flow out. He's asking us to pass it on. I am committed to giving. I love it. And God has blessed me because I enjoy giving. It is the law of discipleship.
This season of my writing I plan to continue giving of this talent God has granted me as I pass it on in this blog and in my articles and books that get published. I'm committing my writing to the Lord and asking Him to help me pass it on.
I challenge you today – if you are holding on to any gifts, talents or money please give some of it away today. Let me know what happens when you do.
God Bless your heart!
The idea for this blog post came from the devotional for January 5th in the book titled "God Calling" compiled by A.J. Russell and published by Barbour Publishing.
Monday, January 4, 2010
Today's verse is Matthew 11:28 "Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest." This is one of my favorite verses. It is timely as I begin a new year.
Do not plan – what a funny idea at the beginning of a new year when everyone is setting New Year's resolutions. I've been plannings out my goals for the coming year. But I think God wants me to remember that His plan is so much better than any plan I might design. I think I'll check with Him before I finalize any of my plans.
I was thinking about my life the other day. It turned out different than I had planned. I went to college and earned a degree in Business Administration with emphasis in Accounting. I studied and passed the CPA exam. My plan was to head up the corporate ladder and remain on top as a "big wig" for a large firm. But God had a different plan. He changed my heart and rearranged my priorities.
Now I work part time and enjoy freedom from corporate hassles. The three-letter CPA (Certified Public Accountant) acronym that once followed my name on a business card now has a totally different meaning for me – Cherished, Precious and Adored. These three words might not add a few digits to my paycheck but I like them all the same.
My original plan also included having a large family. I thought I'd have at least five children. I loved growing up in a family of ten children. But God had a different plan and prepared the way for me to be the mother of two wonderful boys. This gives me more time to spend on the issues of our special needs son, Gabe. I also have more time to write as we transition to an empty nest.
God's plan has proven to be so much better because I have to admit that sometimes my plans become my burdens. Plans for better health, financial improvements, writing goals for books or newsletters all carry a burden to finish the goal I set. God is asking me to give my plan to Him one day at a time.
I'll ask the Holy Spirit on a daily basis about the plan for that day. I have a feeling that the best part of my plan is to spend more time with Him. And I know He will give me rest.
"Christ is the Great Burden Bearer. You cannot bear His load and He only expects you to carry a little day-share." (p14 God Calling)
I hope you will give God your plans today. God Bless Your Heart.
The idea for this blog post was taken from my journal entry in a wonderful book titled God Calling published by Barbour Publishing ©1950.
Sunday, January 3, 2010
Be not afraid, God will help you wait patiently.
We are all waiting for something aren't we? I'm patiently waiting to see my first book Caregivers' Devotions to Go in print. Sometimes it is a difficult wait but I'm reminded that God will help me wait. His timing is perfect and He knows the day it needs to be completed.
I've been waiting on the Lord for nineteen years to know and understand if His plan is to heal my son Gabe's unusually formed body. I hear stories of incredible healings happening all over the world and I wonder as I wait if God's plan is for Gabe to hear without hearing aids and walk with straight legs and reach with long arms. In my waiting I have learned to trust that God is in control and He will open the way. I gladly accept His plan - whatever it is.
Many people all over the world are waiting and wondering if they will be the next person laid off at work. Thousands wait in unemployment lines each day. Others wait by the phone for a call regarding a job possiblity. When you trust that God will open the way the wait is easy.
My niece Katy is waiting patiently counting the days until her February wedding. Shannon and Trisha are both waiting the birth of new babies. Allyson is planning and waiting for her October wedding. These are exciting waiting times with anticipation of new love and new life. Trust in God's sovereignty over their lives makes the wait full of peace.
Many are waiting for an answer to a long ago prayer wondering if God heard. He did. He hears. He loves. He helps. He fights. He wins. He has a plan. We must gladly accept the plan and wait - because the way WILL open.
What are you waiting for?
This day's devotion resonated in my heart because I love to send cards, notes, Facebook messages or emails to encourage loved ones. Earlier this year I started to pen-pal with one of my great-nieces and it has been much fun to send letters through the mail each week. I have several friends names set as encouragement reminders in my calendar. I try to remember birthdays, anniversaries or other special occasions with a quick note, call or email.
I have found that encouraging others benefits me too. It brings the person I encourage love, laughter, courage, faith and hope. It brings me joy. I've found that when I'm feeling bummed out, writing a card or note to a friend lifts my spirits.
I like the idea of the arm of love reaching out to encourage others. This is a timely message since I have felt somewhat downcast this past year. Oh sweet Jesus - Thank You for the reminder that You, Oh God, will strengthen my heart as I wait on You and as I take time to encourage others.
Lord I want to love and to laugh and beckon others to faith and courage. Lord God I cast my burdens upon you and I know You will sustain me. Show me another whom you have called me to encourage that I may share Your love with them and bring them joy!
One of the activities of Gabriel's Foundation of HOPE - our nonprofit organization is to encourage individuals and families affected by disabilities. Loneliness is a common issue in this community and a simple card brightens a lonely heart. For a $5 donation you can help us encourage the people we meet through our foundation. http://www.GabesHope.org/shop/
So today I close this blog ready to go write out a couple of cards to some friends in need of some joy. I hope you will join me in taking time to write a note or a card. It will bring you much joy to extend the arm of love. Just ask God to give you a name or two - He is faithful to call to mind those who need some joy.
The idea for this blog post came from the January 2nd devotional entry in the book "God Calling" by A.J. Russell and the two anonymous listeners who wrote down this message in 1932. This book is published by Barbour Publishing
Saturday, January 2, 2010
It is already January 2, 2010 so I have a bit of catching up to do so forgive me for several blog posts in one day. I challenge you to join me in this journey of journaling the ways God speaks to you through this message written in 1932 and published in many formats over the years. I give credit for the idea each day to the anonymous writer's of "God Calling" and to A.J. Russell who compiled their writings into this amazing book. The copy I'm using is published by Barbour Publishing - Copyright 1952 by Arthur James Ltd., Evesham, UK.
Day 1 Between the Years
Lord I want to face the year before me unafraid. I know I can't do it without your help. This devotional reminds me to not dwell on my past. Because I am a writer who focuses on recording my days, it's easy for me to remember my past. There are many days I'd rather forget.
God is asking me not to DWELL on my past but to take it all to Him and understand His mercy and His grace. The past helps develop our character and allows us to learn and grow. It can be the fertilizer for change. But we must not remain there.
I am committed in 2010 to focus on the positive things of life. The world sees things negative and depressing. But God holds my year in His hands and each day I will trust in His guidance. God has reminded me that one day at a time He will provide me with wisdom and strength for the journey.
I challenge you to bury your fears and failures and go forward in a new joy filled life. For me, I am committed to not dwell on my past mistakes but to look forward to walking hand in hand with my ear leaned in to hear God's call for direction in my next step. I commit to forgive myself and others. I commit to remove any unkindness or bitterness or dislikes or resentments toward others. I commit to take one day at a time and start it with God as my focus.
This is going to be a bright and shiny year! I can feel it in my heart. I can see it as God illuminates the light of life. After all He IS the light of the world!
I'm excited to share my plan for this blog in the new year. I hope you'll join me in the journey I'm about to begin.
I've kept a journal since I was sixteen years old. I have stacks of them. There are years I kept my notes on a calendar or in a spiral notebook. Other years I wrote in an English composition notebook - those are my favorite - they are sturdy and cheap. I'm often given beautiful journals as a gift. I wish I could say I have a journal that covers every day of every year but I don't.
Some years I was not living a life worth journaling about. Other years I took the time to write each day but those journals were lost in a move. But the memories are still there so I occasionally go back in my mind and heart and recreate a lost journal time.
I see God's hand all over my life - even in the years I'd rather not write about. He was there. He always is. I simply needed to open my eyes and see His hand reaching out to me.
I bought myself a cool journal to keep my daily notes for 2010. It is a beautifully leather bound gold journal with the title "God Calling" and it was compiled and published by A.J. Russell in 1952. The daily musings were written in 1932 by two women who wish to remain anonymous. During a difficult time in their lives wracked with loneliness, sickness and poverty, God called.
He spoke to them as they sat quietly and prayed each day. He reminded them that He was with them always. The encounters filled them with courage and joy - even in the midst of their struggles. He inspired them with the promises of the future. He gave them hope.
God can do that! He has proven to me over and over that He will never leave me or forsake me. Day by day I'm reminded as I read the Bible and write in my journal -- he knows my pain and my path. He sends people into my life to encourage me along the way. And when I choose to ignore His direction, He stays close and is there to catch my tears.
My journals are full of wonderful times and difficult seasons of my life - but the one thing that is constant is God's hand reached out to show me the way. It's a matter of whether I chose to grab it or go my own way.
I've decided to blog my way through this "God Calling" journal. As a writer it challenges me to write every day and share it with my readers. As a devoted journal keeper it provides me a new way to track my journey. I can't wait!
My hope is to encourage you - my blog follower - as I share my responses to each day's message out of this "God Calling" book. These two anonymous women penned this book long before I was born. But the cool thing is how much it applies to 2010 or any year for that matter.
God's message is for yesterday, today, tomorrow and always. His Word is sharper than a double edged sword. It is alive and living and applies to our every day struggles.
So join me in 2010 as I work my way through "God Calling". I hope to encourage you along the way. Feel free to interact and leave comments. I hope you will share my blog with loved ones so where two or more are gathered we'll all hear what God wants to speak to us. If you wish to purchase your own copy of this beautiful book it is available in different formats. I purchased this golden journal from the bookstore at my church and I also found it at http://www.christianbook.com/.
I hear His call -- I best get going and start on day 1 of the journal of my journey through "God Calling". God Bless Your Heart!