Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Devotional 123 - January Interlude

Psalm 3: 8 Victory comes from You... Your blessings rest on Your people.  Selah (Interlude)

 Psalm 24: 10 Who is the King of glory? The Lord Almighty - He is the King of glory.  Selah

 Psalm 32: 7 For You are my hiding place; You protect me from trouble. You surround me with
 songs of victory.  Selah (Interlude)

ʺThe moment we set ourselves to be quiet and to seek our God in stillness, there is a clamor about us; we remember things we should do, or have forgotten to do; we are disturbed in a hundred ways - anything to break into that Selah.ʺ Amy Carmichael  - Missionary to India

Some commentators on the meaning of Selah, used frequently in the Psalm, say it means to pause and think about. Others say it means praise. Still others have declared it a musical interlude. Whatever the exact use of Selah is, we can be sure God wants us to consider deeply what we have just read in the precious scriptures. Take time to think about and look at Jesus. Take time to praise His name by declaring His goodness and beauty. Sing to Him.

To be sure January for me needs this reminder. No matter how hard I prepare my heart, I always feel a little down when l begin to put away the Christmas decorations. Christmas is over. The excitement of extra family time, extra baking and eating, extra gift giving and receiving... over.

But joy upon joy, the time with Jesus is never over. Time to pause in His Word, to reflect on the great privilege to be in a relationship with the King of kings and the Lord of lords. In the verses above we can pause and praise God for victories, for rest, for protection.

Let us commit ourselves to be quiet and seek our God in stillness. Let us have a daily Selah, a pause, a praise, an interlude.... everyday. It will be our ʺJanuary joyʺ to have a ʺJanuary interludeʺ.

ʺLet us then fill our pauses with praise,... pure adoration, the loving worship of the grateful heart.ʺ 
Amy Carmichael Thou Givest... They Gather

Monday, November 24, 2014

Devotional 122 - Christmas Wonder

The coming of Jesus is more exciting to kids than Santa Claus, IF the adults feel it is and act like it is. I’ve seen this.   John Piper

 More astonishing than a baby in the manger is the truth that this promised baby is the omnipotent Creator of the heavens and the earth!"John MacArthur

"Thanks be to God for his unspeakable gift." 2 Corinthians 9:15

I just knew he was real. I mean I knew it. You know, the big, white bearded, jolly fellow, dressed in red. I knew because every Christmas morning there was a present I had never seen, wrapped in pretty paper I had never seen, under our Christmas tree with my name on it.  And the kicker was, it said "from Santa". It would be a very bad Santa to lie, so it had to be true. Santa was real.

I needed Santa to be real because I needed magic in my young life. I needed a moment when life wasn't about making your bed, eating your breakfast, and racing to school--- hoping I could avoid being teased about my newly permed frizzy hair, or being fearful I would disappoint my teacher by giving the wrong answer.

There were other presents under the tree from Mom and Dad, but it was the one from Santa, all the way from the North Pole, coming quietly while I slept, awaiting me when I opened my eyes in the dark morning hour, that thrilled me.

Then on December 12th, 1959, while walking home from school with a group of older, horrible classmates I heard one say, "I don't believe that baby stuff anymore. You know, SANTA ISN'T REAL."

"Yeah," the others all laughed loudly. "He's not real! Only babies believe in Santa Claus."

My heart was stricken with utter fear, like just mentioning the possibility was being a party to his murder. I had to get away as fast as I could. I ran like a jack rabbit all the way home. I burst into the door holding back tears.

"It's not true! Mom will tell me."

"Oh, those silly children. What do they know?" Mother casually replied.

I realize now, Mother lied because she needed magic and wonder in her life.

What could be more wondrous and magical than to have the attention of God Almighty, the One who created the pink/ purple sunrise I saw yesterday, the One who placed every star in the black sky for my gazing pleasure while I breathed in the crisp air, the One who placed the mountains and the oceans side by side? What is more magical than being raised from the dead to eternal life? What is more wondrous than God being born as a be cuddled and nursed? (Even the powerful demons, though they tried, could not kill the child.) That this child now our Savior is sitting at the right hand of the Father interceding for us? Is this not wonderful?

Christmas, for us today, is a grand reminder that you and I have ever been living in the realm of magic. Santas all cease and die. They come to an end. Our great Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace lives forever! Isaiah 9:6

"Thanks be to God for his unspeakable gift." 2 Corinthians 9:15

"Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, nor have entered into the heart of man the things which God has prepared for those who love Him." 1Corinthians 2:9

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Devotional 121 - Tough As Nails

"...God's decrees are putting iron in our souls..."   Beth Moore

Psalm 119:175 "Invigorate my soul so I can praise you well, use your decrees to put iron in my soul." The Message

Psalm 119:175 "Let my soul live and it shall praise You; and let Your judgments help me."  NKJV

I read about my "tough as nails" brothers and sisters every month when my periodicals arrive...Voice of the Martyrs, Open Doors, and International Christian Concern. I hear the stories of my sisters in Iraq who watch their husbands refuse to deny Christ and are beheaded right in front of them. I read about Kallol, his wife, and his two teen daughters who, this summer, were beaten by Hindus because they had been sharing the gospel with their neighbors and friends. How about this three year old Nigerian boy, Joel, who valued his little Bible so much, that after it was thrown in the fire by Muslim extremists, ran over to scoot it out with a stick, and was thrown into the fire also? He survives and is being helped to recover by Christian medical workers.

These are ones whom God has put iron into their "tough as nails" brothers and sisters. They are all over the world. They are out there and they are here. Let us not forget them! Pray for them! Hebrews 13:3 "Remember the prisoners as if chained with them - those who are mistreated - since you yourselves are in the body also." 

And may we be so invigorated by His word, so enamored with praise for His beauty, His sovereignty, His loving justice, His holiness, that we, too, will be "tough as nails" for Jesus Christ. May God put iron into our souls. May you and I be ready in life or in death to live for Jesus.

" And they overcame Him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, and they did not love their lives to the death."  Revelation 12:11 NKJV

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Devotional 120 - Live Between the Steps

The young man told the professor about his tour of duty in Vietnam, about how he served with a mine detection unit whose job it was to clear territory of mines left by the Viet Cong. He spoke of how he had witnessed some of his buddies blown apart or maimed for life.
I learned to live between the steps,” he said. “I never knew whether the next one would be my last, so I learned to get everything I could out of the moment between when I picked up my foot and when I put it back down again. Every step I took was a whole new world, and I guess I’ve just been that way ever since.” Told by Mark Fox
Uphold my steps in Your path, that my footsteps may not slip.” Psalm 17:5
Direct my steps by Your word...” Psalm 119:133
Does He not see my ways, and count all my steps?” Job 31:4
See the that you walk carefully, not as fools, but as wise, redeeming the time, because the days are evil.” Ephesians 5:15

I want to be like the young soldier above who having seen his buddies blown up because of a misstep on a land mine became sensitive to how he lived his life. He became sensitive to the needs of the people around him. As he walked out his door he looked for ways to serve and protect those in his path.
But I want to go a “step” further (no pun intended). When we go out the door and move about our home or business why not have every step we take be an opportunity to love God more.
As I step out to water the flowers I praise him for His creation. As I step into the car to grocery shop I thank Him for His provision. As you step into the baby's room for a midnight feeding you ponder the strength He has given you to accomplish the task. As you step away from an argument you pray for the one with whom you have conflict. As you step away from your critical spirit you rejoice that His living, refreshing Spirit flows through you.

You see God has numbered our steps so let us learn to get everything we can out of the moment between when we pick our foot up and lay it back down again.

Monday, August 11, 2014

Devotional 119 - Christ in you today!

"...people who would be happy in heaven if Christ were not there, will not be there."  John Piper

Colossians 1:27 God wanted His people throughout the world to know the glorious riches of this mystery-- which is Christ living in you the hope of glory."

Good morning, dear sisters, I am sitting here writing instead of packing for our trip to Canada. We will be getting a later start because of it, but wanted to continue to encourage you in the Lord.

Walking into my home last night I felt a little down. I always hear from others that coming back from a high mountain experience often takes you down before rising back up again.

I plopped my luggage down on the kitchen floor and tried to make my brain work at organizing for the next trip. My peaches on the counter were going bad. I had garden tomatoes that needed something done with, laundry to do, a package to wrap for a relative we would see, etc. Then my husband reads a series of texts he had from our daughter (not good).  So I sat down in my comfy chair and turned on the TV. And began to feel like the same-old, same-old person I had always been. I don't want to do anything, I don't want to think anything, I just want to numb myself. And a heavy sadness began to penetrate my heart. Until the Holy Sprit began to pierce it.

"But you still have Me. I am still with you. You still have me, Carol. Your name is still in my book. Doesn't matter if you have to throw those peaches and tomatoes out, you still have your ticket to heaven. It doesn't matter if you give a gift to that newborn baby, you will always be gifted with my grace and mercy. And your daughter's marriage may end in divorce, but my marriage to you will never, ever be dissolved. When this short life is over You will always have Me."

So whatever Satan or God places in your life today YOU STILL HAVE JESUS!

“Do you feel loved by God because you believe he makes much of you, or because you believe he frees you and empowers you to enjoy making much of him?” 
― John Piper

 Christ in you, the hope of glory!!!!

Enjoy your precious Savior today

Monday, July 28, 2014

Devotional 118 - Fasting

"If I am soft to myself and slide comfortably into the vice of self-pity and self-sympathy; if I do not by the grace of God practice fortitude, then I know nothing of Calvary love."
Amy Carmichael      If  
Amy lived for over 50 years in India, died there, without seeing her homeland again. Raised hundreds of babies to adulthood in her orphanage. It was hard, dreary work, with no air conditioning, no running water, no screens on the windows to keep out bugs or tigers. She watched many babies die because there were no life saving drugs. She took no vacations from her work and the last 20 years she spent in bed, in pain, after a back injury.

"...I humbled myself with fasting..."Psalm 35:13

"The Lord is near to those whose hearts are humble..."Psalm 34:18

"How precious is Your lovingkindness, O God!..They are abundantly satisfied with the fullness of Your house, and You give them drink from the river of Your pleasures. For with You is the fountain of life; in Your light we see light."   Psalm 36: 7-9

Reasons for our fast.
1. It humbles us.
2. The Lord is near when we are humbled.
3. We learn to treasure Him more.
4. We become more thankful.
5. It strengthens us. As Amy said, we must by the grace of God practice fortitude.

Endure hardship as a good soldier of Jesus Christ. No one engaged in warfare entangles himself with the affairs of this life..2 Timothy 2: 3,4  When we fast from something we love, in order to be with God, it strengthens us. And each of us need His strength for the task He is laying out for us.

Whatever fast you decide to do is between you and the Lord. But however you are denying yourself, God is better! In all of our fasting may we each be drawn into closer fellowship with the Lord who abundantly satisfies. And may we learn to fight the good fight of faith.

Accompany your fasting with prayer. I pray for you, pray for me. And if we do our fasting days imperfectly, we go to God in prayer seeking forgiveness and He covers all our sins. O, what a great Savior we have!

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Devotional - 117 Stop Fretting

"I can't think. I can't think. My problems are so big they take up all the room in my head and I have no space for you."    Anonymous

"Surrender yourself to the Lord, and wait patiently for him. Do not be preoccupied with an evildoer who succeeds in his way when he carries out his schemes. Let go of anger, and leave rage behind. Do not be preoccupied. It only leads to evil."  Psalm 37: 7, 8   GWT

I read these verses after a distressing phone call from my daughter. I was fretting over and over about her situation. What should I have said or not said? Who is at fault? Is there sin? What verse? What rebuke? How to love like Jesus? My stomach was in knots. I was preoccupied with her, him, me, but not Jesus or others in the body of Christ.

And then Psalm 37 gives me comfort and guidance and a way back to peace and a home that has room for others. Look at the formula.
Vs. 3 "Trust in the Lord..." He is good. He is sovereign. He has a plan. He is love.
          "...and do good things."  Keep praying for others and doing acts of service. Don't hole up in your little dark house of problems, but continue to press outward and upward.
          "Live in the land and feed on His faithfulness."  Remember Christ came so that you might have life and have it abundantly. So stay right where you are. Don't run away. You can count on Christ to take care of things. You do not have to fret.
Vs. 4 "Be happy with the Lord..." GWT  "Delight yourself also in the Lord..." NKJV  Be preoccupied with Christ and His love for you and His all-sufficiency to take care of your problems. He desires your joy to be complete in Him in spite of your circumstances. As you delight in the most important thing the problems fade to their rightful place. Keep the main thing , the main thing.
Vs. 7, 8 "Surrender" and "wait". Let it go! Give it to God! Every time your mind starts to fill up with worry, say out loud, "God, this is Yours." Surrender it and wait for God to work.

So before our week is over I have a hunch each of us will have an attack in some way. We will feel like we have no energy for anything or anyone else but our own problems, but there is always a way out. Turn your eyes upward, our hope is in Him.

I am praying for my children and their spouses but I am not preoccupied or consumed with them only. The Lord keeps reminding me where my focus should be. Be encouraged, delight in Him!!!

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Devotional 116 - Eyes of Hope

"If I do not look with eyes of hope on all in whom there is even a
 faint beginning, as our Lord did, when just after His disciples
 had wrangled about which of them should be accounted the
 greatest, He softened His rebuke with those heart-melting 
words, 'You are they which have continued with Me in My
 temptations,' then I know nothing of Calvary love.   
 If   Amy Carmichael, missionary to India for fifty years

Psalm 131 "O Lord, my heart is not conceited. My eyes 
do not look down on others. I am not involved in
 things too big or too difficult for me. Instead,
 I have kept my soul calm and quiet. 
My soul is content as a weaned child 
is content in its mother's arms. Israel,
 put your hope in the Lord now and forever."

Let us look with hope at all who God places in our path.

Sometimes I catch myself saying about some blood-bought saint: 
"Oh, they will never change."

Well, who died and made me God? That should not come out of my
 mouth. That is God's department and when I start to make decisions
 like that I am involving myself with things too big for me. I am
 conceited and looking down on others.

Let us take comfort and rest in our Savior that we do not have to
 change the women we serve. We have to serve the women  and 
Christ does the changing.

We put our hope in God and live today contentedly like a child
 in her mother's arms.

Be a child today! See with hope-filled eyes. Be a child today!

DEVOTIONAL 115 - With Your God

Choosing to live a life apart from God is a commitment to sin.”
Bible commentary

Micah 6: 8 “He has shown you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly WITH YOUR GOD?”

As my friend pointed out on this sung and oft read verse from Micah, we always emphasize just, merciful, humble living and gloss over the three very important words: “with your God”.

God must be in our right living. God must be in our kindness. God must be in my humility. When I exhibit good character without relying and trusting in my good and great Savior I miss the point. The point being, that only when I look at Jesus can I practice justice rightly; only when I look at Christ's mercy can I practice mercy correctly, only as I see the humility of Christ will I be able to live humbly.

All of our lives, whether good or bad, if lived apart from the intimate fellowship of God will be lived selfishly and will not meet the requirement of God.

And we will miss out on the joy. Psalm 16:11 “In Your presence is fullness of joy; at Your right hand are pleasures forevermore.” He demands “with your God” in everything because He knows He is our joy! His presence brings us pleasure!

Today let us remember He is with us. Let us serve and love and yes, give Biblical rebuke with our great God and Savior guiding us.

We love because He first loved us. 1John 4:19

Friday, July 18, 2014

Devotional 114 - Too Much Of Me

"If you center on anything but God, you suffer a loss of identity. Your identity will be fragile and insecure, because it's based on the things you center your life on. It's based on human approval. It's based on how well you perform."  Timothy Keller  King's Cross

John 3:30 "He must increase in importance, while I must decrease in importance." GWT

What a privilege to serve one another and other women. It gets our eyes off ourselves...usually.

We can serve in such a way that I am glorified and looked up to. I can be driven to serve you because I need people to like me and I have learned that is a very acceptable way to get affirmation. Do good and you look good.

God sees it all and knows our hearts. So on occasion He will remove the "Me" in our passionate pursuit of service by bringing in the hard person to serve, or the complaining person, or the person you can never do enough for or do it right.

It is then, that our eyes must look heavenward and say: "Lord Jesus, apart from You I can do no good thing. Your life must shine brighter. I must decrease, You must increase."

When our lives are centered on Christ we can serve without human approval.

Serve the Lord your God today... "with joy and gladness of heart."   Deuteronomy 28:47

Devotional 113-The Ministry of Presence

“Ah. I smiled. I'm not really here to keep you from freaking out. I'm here to be with you while you freak out, or grieve or laugh or suffer or sing. It is a ministry of presence. It is showing up with a loving heart.” 
― Kate Braestrup, Here If You Need Me: A True Story

Matthew 27:55 "There were also many women there, looking on from a distance, who had followed Jesus from Galilee, ministering to Him."

Luke 8:1-3 "Soon afterward Jesus went through cities and villages, proclaiming and bringing the good news...And the twelve were with Him, and also some women who...provided for them out of their means."

I love that women are mentioned as being followers of Jesus and going with Him from village to village. They did not teach and preach, but they gave a ministry of presence.

Some had been healed of demons. Some had been healed from illness. All had been offered love, and this love compelled them to follow and serve.

Notice the scripture says they ministered to Jesus, they provided for Him and His disciples out of their own means. They loved Him as they served Him. And this is why we serve.

So even when you give a little one a cup of cold water, you serve our Savior (Matthew 10:42) Or when you wash the dirty feet of your children, you serve our Savior. Or when you go without sleep, or toss and turn on an uncomfortable bed to be present with women at a retreat, you serve our Savior. When you clean the house or cook a meal, you serve the Savior. When you give honest, hard work to your boss, you serve the Savior.

May Christ give you eyes to see all of life as an opportunity to be present with our Lord in whatever task you are about today. I pray you will sense His loving presence with you at all times.

How privileged we are to serve each other and to pray for one another. May God grant you peace and make His face to shine upon you.

Devotional 112 - I Am His And He Is Mine

"Hush, Dorothy," whispered the Tiger; "you'll ruin my reputation if you are not more discreet. It isn't what we are, but what folks think we are, that counts in this world."             
  L. Frank Baum  The Road To Oz 

Colossians 1:27 ...Christ in you , the hope of glory.  NKJV

Colossians 1:27  For it has pleased God to tell His people that the riches and glory of Christ are for you Gentiles, too. For this is the secret: Christ lives in you, and this is your assurance that you will share in His glory.  NLT

Good morning, dear ladies, beloved in the Lord, who are willing to serve the Savior, in spite of our glaring weaknesses.

We are all weak when it comes to living the Christ-centered life. We are all afraid to let our guard down, because, after all, as Tiger said, it's what folks think of us that counts in this world. But what does the Bible say about you?

Christ lives in you! That is who you are! You are a Christ carrier! And that is the most important thing about you. That is what we want to bring to others whom we serve. We want to give them Jesus. We want to live freely in Christ so others can also live freely in Christ.

It's not what folks think you are that counts, but what you are for eternity. You are to live in His forgiveness.  Christ in you, the hope of glory.

Thank God that you no longer have to be a people-pleasing driven person.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Devotional 111 - Serve

 Someone said, “The most important four words in a marriage are, ‘I’ll do the dishes.'"    Mark fox, author and pastor

Mark 10: 45 For even I, the Son of Man, came here not to be served but to serve others, and to give my life as a ransom for many.

Mark 8:34 If any of you wants to be my follower, you must put aside your selfish ambition, shoulder your cross, and follow me.

I was asked by a friend what I loved about my husband. Besides his love for Christ, one thing that came to mind was a little broken Christmas ornament. I found it last Christmas in the bottom of the box broken in three places. It was inexpensive, but our daughter had made it as a child. I hate to fix things. I would rather buy new, but how do you buy "new" a child's work.

I laid it on a plate in the kitchen and there it sat for weeks even after the holidays were over. Then one morning I woke up and found it on the counter all glued back together. My husband had taken the time to tediously glue the small parts back together. He had served me and I felt loved. And, yes, he offers to do the dishes on occasion.

Doesn't our Lord demonstrate a serving, giving heart towards us over and over. So He asks us to do likewise for one another. Let us put aside our selfish ambition and think of others needs. Let us serve the Lord with joy and gladness of heart. 

What can you do today that demonstrates a love for your husband or child or neighbor? Let us thank God every day for saving us by giving His life as a ransom for ours.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Devotional 110-My Heart, An Idol

"A good thing that becomes the primary thing immediately becomes an immoral thing."      Pulling Back the Shades      by Gresh and Slattery

Ezekiel 14: 6-8 "...Thus says the Lord God: Repent, turn away from your idols...Anyone who separates himself from Me and sets up his idols in his heart...I will set My face against that man...Then you shall know that I am the Lord."

How many times a day I break the first commandment: "You shall have no other gods before Me." Exodus 20:3. In many ways we all break this commandment.

 My heart serves me, loves me, prefers me before all others. I try to cover it up from you by serving you, loving you, preferring you; but God sees that it is still about me. I have an idol and it is me!

I am the statue of gold that I want everyone to praise and look at fondly, and say nice things about me. When I make a noticeable blunder that can not be hidden from you like speaking out of turn in a group gathering, or feeding a baby food that she is allergic to, I mope around for days.

When I mope or worry, or refuse to forgive, I am saying I am more important than needs, my wishes, my will. I am separating myself from God, and God won't have it. 

He is in the business of revealing our hearts to us, our little "idol-making factory" hearts. He will do what He must to turn our hearts back to Him, because only in Him will we find our joy and safety and peace. Even if He must set His face against us, it is only that we might know Him as Lord of our hearts.

Once we recognize our "me idol" worship we must immediately repent, turn away from self and come running to Christ. His grace never fails and is freshly available moment by moment.

Timothy Keller, author and pastor, said an idol is anything that absorbs your heart and imagination more than God. What absorbs your heart these days? May God help us all to have no other gods before Him.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Devotional 109 "No Good Feel" Day

"David, writer of the Psalms, did not tiptoe around God out of fear that God would...hold his thoughts against him. David whined, fussed, and praised, depending on how he felt and what his circumstances were."  Tell Me Everything by Marilyn Meberg

"Unless the Lord had helped me, I would soon have settled in the silence of the grave. I cried out, 'I am slipping!' But Your unfailing love, O Lord,supported me."  Psalm 94: 17, 18.

The month of April was busy for me, as I am sure it was for many of you. But after a few nights of restless sleep, I woke up one morning feeling drained and depressed. I am prone to higher bouts of introspection and I tend to worry more when I am tired.

Do you suppose Jesus had days like that? He was tired, John 4:6. He was hungry, Matthew 4:2. He wept, John 11:35. How did He stay focused? How did He fight fear or depression? Jesus, both fully God and fully man went to the Father often. Early in the morning while it was still dark He went alone to pray, Mark 1:35. He prayed all night, Luke 6:12. In Luke 18:1 Jesus said.."men always ought to pray and not lose heart." Hours before  His death He knelt down and prayed. Being in agony, He prayed more earnestly. What does the scripture tell us? "Then an angel appeared to Him from heaven, strengthening Him." Luke 22:43

So on my "no good feel" day I pushed my legs out of bed, sat up, moaned, and said to myself: "I do not feel like it, I am achy, and mentally miserable, but I will spend time in Your Word, I will speak to you. I will be honest about the weights chained around my heart. With the help of Your Holy Spirit, I will, I will.  Because what you and I need on those blue days is to be strengthened and renewed by God.

We could go shopping, or watch a good movie, or have lunch with our girlfriends, or any number of things to make ourselves feel better. But what we really need is time with our Savior, Jesus, who understands our humanity and comforts as only God can do.

And comfort me He did that dreary morning in April. He has to do it for us over and over again. Yet He never grows tired or weary of giving us new perspectives, lavishing His love on us, and enabling us to accomplish His will. His mercies are new every morning.

Are you having a "no good feel" day? Go to God!

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Devotional 108 God Overrules

"A person wills an action, an event is triggered by natural causes, or Satan shows his hand ---yet God overrules."     New King James Commentary regarding Proverbs 16:33.

Proverbs 16:33  "We may throw the dice, but the Lord determines how they will fall."

Last week  Emil de Leon won $45,000 on Wheel of Fortune. His win was so unusual that he was on the national news. Pat Sajak, the host of the show, said it was the most amazing solve in his 30 years on the show.

Emil had to solve this puzzle with only this much information:  NE_    _ _ _ _    _ _ _ _ _ . The first thing that came out of his mouth was NEW BABY BUGGY. That was it! The crowd went wild and Pat Sajak had a moment of stunned silence.

Now if you google this you will find a bunch of conversation trying to explain how he could guess this with so little information. I remember immediately thinking "God gave him the answer." And this verse came to mind in Proverbs that even the throw of the dice is controlled by God.

"Can anything happen without the Lord's permission? Is it not the Most High who helps one and harms another?" Lamentations 3: 37, 38

No one can cause an event to happen if the Lord has not already  designed to use it for good and ordained the outcome to glorify His name. Failure,  success,  marriage,  divorce, unplanned children, planned children who never come, death, disability, war, peace, presidents and dictators, on and it all God still rules!

Hard to grasp! But nothing comes to pass apart from God's decree. So Emil won not so much because he was a brain with letters or pure luck, but because there is a God in heaven who rules and does His pleasure in the world.

In your life He has ordained this day for your good and His glory.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Devotional 107 Wonderful Sovereignty

"All things that come to pass in this world ultimately come about through the sovereign agency of God Himself."  R. C. Sproul  

Colossians 1:16 (Msg)"For everything, absolutely everything, above and below, visible and invisible,...everything got started in Him and finds its purpose in Him." 

In spite of illness and death in our congregation, inspite of the economy and family troubles, inspite of stress on the job or worries in the home, we are still in God's hands. His sovereign rule covers us even now.

My husband"s parents died one day apart at the age of 94. They died in their own bed with family at their side. They died God's way in His timing. But this summer a relative of mine buried their still born son. He, also, died God's way in God's timing. God is in charge. Nothing escapes Him. Nothing surprises Him. All by His hand, all with a purpose.

The wind is His. It blows where He tells it to. The clouds float by in the exact numbers He directs. The sun gives its light on cloudy days as well as cloudless, by His decree.

When Romans 11:36  states that "of Him and through Him and to Him are all things" it is confirming that there is not one subatomic particle barreling through space but by the design and purpose of God. God created it, caused it, and sustains it. That tiny particle has a purpose. And so do you! This day for you has been planned by the God of love.

 As R.C. Sproul put it in his commentary on Romans. "We need to embrace this because the great joy of the Christian is to know that all things are in God's hands and are being used by Him for His purposes, regardless of the causal means He uses to bring about whatsoever He pleases."

"Oh, what a wonderful God we have! How great are His riches and wisdom and knowledge! How impossible it is for us to understand His decisions and His methods!"  Romans 11: 33 NLT