Wednesday, December 25, 2019

The best gift EVER!

Thank you for following my weekly devotionals this year.  It is a spiritual discipline for me to write these each week, and I appreciate that you are following my journey.

I'm looking forward to a great year with you in 2020.

As we focus on the best gift ever, 
I hope you will have a blessed day with your family!

For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.   Isaiah 9:6 King James Version (KJV)

Merry Christmas!

Wednesday, December 18, 2019

Time to Fast!

I know what you’re thinking.  Has she lost her mind?  What in the world is she thinking--talking about fasting the week before Christmas?  And--my answer is, what better time to talk about the self-discipline of fasting?  
When King David and Bathsheba’s newborn son was slipping away, this is the first time in scripture that fasting was recorded.  David abstained from food in an attempt to change God’s mind about the life of his child.  Even though he fasted, the baby still died.
There are many reasons that will cause a person to fast.  It could be for revival, the salvation of a loved one, protection, health, or demonic activity.  
Jesus said, “When you fast…”  His words imply that it is something we should all do.
In 2 Chronicles 20:2-3, King Josaphaphat was facing a crisis of war in his nation.  The first thing he chose to do was call the whole nation to fast.
Messengers arrived and reported to Jehoshaphat, “A huge army is attacking you from the other side of the Dead Sea…Jehoshaphat was afraid, so he decided to seek the Lord’s advice. He decreed that all Judah should observe a fast.  2 Chronicles 20:2-3 (NET)
Remember, when you fast, it is not a promise that all your prayers will be answered as you wish them to be, but it is a promise that you will have a focused time each day to concentrate your attention on the Lord.  
Fasting will help you remember your need and dependence on the Lord.  Each time you feel the pangs of hunger it’s a reminder to reach out to the Lord.  Each hunger pain will serve as a reminder that we should all be hungering after God.  
In one week, it will be Christmas but shortly following this day of feasting we all become highly focused on our health.  Let's take that time to look at our spiritual health as well.
Time to fast!
If you are considering fasting, take a moment to educate yourself on the subject.  There are a number of excellent books to guide you through the process.  

Wednesday, December 11, 2019

It's The Giving Season

Christmas is known as the season of giving. Much of our giving at Christmas time is expected.  I wouldn't dream of not giving my children or grandchildren gifts on their birthdays or at Christmas time.  That has become a built-in part of who I am.  

But when I give unexpectedly, things get fun.   In most cases, the person receiving the gift is excited by the surprise. 

A few weeks ago, I had the privilege of giving a surprise gift to my stepmom who has dementia.  This past summer, she and my father moved back to Michigan to be near my sisters and me for the next stage of their lives.  My stepmom didn’t remember that she had given all her jewelry and jewelry box to her daughter before moving up north.  She was asking what had happened to her things and we tried to explain, but she would soon forget. 

My sisters and I decided to go through our jewelry boxes to give her some items we thought she’d enjoy.  Then a friend had a floor style jewelry box that she was giving away.  So we picked up the jewelry box and delivered it to my stepmom along with a number of necklaces, bracelets, and pins.  

We were each taken by surprise at her joy when she received these things.  When my step-mom asked us to set the jewelry box up in the living room instead of the bedroom, we knew she was blessed by our gift.  She took joy in looking at the jewelry box.  She was giddy with excitement, which in turn blessed us.

There is something about giving that blesses both the person giving and the person receiving.  

Give to the Lord the glory due His name; 
bring an offering and come before Him, 
bow down to the Lord in holy array.  
1 Chronicle 16:29 

Although this verse is not a traditional Christmas verse, it provoked my thinking about this being the Giving Season

Chapter 16 of 1 Chronicle is a chapter of praise and thanksgiving, David is reminding the people, yet again, to tell of the greatness of God—give him what He is due.  It is a reminder for us to tell others and tell the Lord how you feel about Him.  It is due Him.

When we bring an offering to the Lord, it’s not that we are bringing something to God that He is in desperate need of, but rather, an acknowledgment to Him that everything we possess belongs to Him.  

The gift I gave to my stepmom didn’t cost me anything yet still, the one who received it was so very grateful.

Give to the Lord the glory due His name and don’t forget to bring an offering.  And you don't have to be like me.  Your gifts to the Lord should cost you something. 

After all, It's The Giving Season!

Wednesday, December 4, 2019

The Winning Team

Many years ago, I was a camp counselor for elementary girls at our church campgrounds.  My group of twelve girls went crazy for a camp competition to find these toy army men that were hidden all over the campgrounds. 
Or it is possible that I may have totally surrendered to my competitive spirit and drove those girls like a team of mules.  
In truth, the camp director later said that he had never had a team search with so much enthusiasm.  At the end of the camp, he gave me one of the army men as a souvenir   That was when I realized, I may have gone a bit overboard. 

A sense of power took over me as I worked with my team to collect those army men.  The first one, then the second and so on until our team had the most men.  I remember checking in with the director throughout the week to be sure we were winning.  Something powerful was taking place in me each time the director reinforced to me that my team was in first place.  

Me and my campers walked around that campground like a team of winners.  We had the most army men.  We knew it and all the other campers knew it too.  

Our team was fearless, smart and victorious.  On the closing day of camp, when the camp director announced that our team won, we went crazy with excitement.  

There is something empowering about being on the winning team.  

In 2 Kings 6:16, (MEV) Elisha said this, “Do not be afraid, for there are more with us than with them.”

In this Bible story, the army of Aram came to capture Elisha.   His servant was afraid because they were grossly outnumbered by their enemy.  Elisha prayed for the Lord to open the eyes of his servant.  Then the servant was able to see what Elisha saw.  The hills were full of horses and chariots of fire. (6:17) 

Initially, the servant of Elisha didn't realize that he was on the winning team, and he was fearful.   Then when his eyes were opened, he became aware of what team he really was on.  

The same is true for us, we need only open our eyes to the knowledge that we are on heaven’s winning team, and we have the power of the forces of heaven behind us.

Whatever fears you may be facing today, may these words resonate with you, There are more with us than with them.  As Believers, we have the dominion and power of Heaven on our side. 

We are on the winning team.

Book Release

    The Journals of Tori Drake Click on the book cover to order on Amazon. Book Review: I consumed this book in three days. Although it was ...