Saturday, July 18, 2020

By the time you hit the full-head-of-gray-hair stage of life, you’ve known some amazing highs and some really challenging lows. It’s been that season for my family. WHICH season, you ask? Both, all mixed in together. As we anticipate enthusiastically one child’s wedding, we bemoan with sadness the incredible difficulty which lies before the other child. In the midst of it all, we have grappled with chronic health issues that have pushed the limits of our coping while social distancing and wearing masks due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

How does a person NOT lose hope during tumultuous seasons that threaten faith? After plenty of “winters” of life in which I did not suffer well, here are some keys I’ve learned through staying in God’s Word through the hard times:

1. Be still before God, remaining in prayer, and let Him do the heavy lifting. “Be still, and know that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth!” Psalm 46:10 ESV

2. Walk in the Spirit with an attitude of prayer. “for we walk by faith, not by sight.” 2 Corinthians 5:7 ESV. Keep your eyes focused on the eternal things.

3. Seek wise counsel from godly friends or from professionals. This may even include your physician. “Listen to advice and accept instruction, that you may gain wisdom in the future. Many are the plans in the mind of a man, but it is the purpose of the Lord that will stand.”Proverbs‬ ‭19:20-21‬ ‭ESV‬‬.

4. Wait expectantly for the victory that awaits! God’s name WILL be glorified. He WILL complete the good work He started. “And I am sure of this, that He who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Christ.” Philippians 1:6

5.

5. Refuse to let circumstances dictate your mindset and the attitude in which you live. “Only let your manner of life be worthy of the gospel of Christ, so that whether I come and see you or am absent, I may hear of you that you are standing firm in one spirit, with one mind striving side by side for the faith of the gospel,” Philippians 1:27 ESV.

6. Consider it joy that you have been chosen for suffering alongside of Christ. “And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.” Philippians 2:8 ESV

7. Find joy in the ordinary. Flowers in the garden, a playful dog, sunshine on your face, a smiling stranger who waves at you. “Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.” Philippians 4:8.

This battle between flesh and spirit will continue until the day we are fully completed in Christ. Difficulty is NORMAL, so laugh in the crazy. 😎🚦

Friday, June 26, 2020

You’ve been rightfully arrested for [insert crime here, eg DWI, rape, involuntary manslaughter, possession of a controlled substance, tax evasion, etc], and now you stand before the judge who asks, “How do you plead?” Scary stuff, isn’t it?

One day you and I will stand before God in regard to all the ways we’ve missed the mark, sinned, in our thoughts, deeds and words. The judgment of sinners is harsh and eternal, but there is a different type of judgment for those who have believed on the name of Jesus.

For God did not send His Son into the world that He might condemn the world, but that the world might be saved through Him. Anyone who believes in Him is not condemned.
John 3:17-18a HCSB

When you and die believe in the name of Jesus we are saved from sinners’ judgment because God looks at us and says, “This one is Mine!“

God sent his Son…to redeem those so that we might receive the adoption as sons.
Galatians 4:4b-5 HCSB

Even when you and I have blown it by the world standards, even when the judge on the stand in the court room pronounces “guilty” and issues a sentence, if you and I believe in the name of Jesus we are saved from sinners’ judgment and eternal consequences of unbelief. When God calls you and I His sons or daughters through faith in Jesus, we have been adopted by the King of Kings and are heirs together with Jesus, to Heavenly Father’s riches!

So you are no longer a slave, but a son, and if a son, then an heir through God.
Galatians 4:7 HCSB

Being saved does not mean we get a free pass from consequences of breaking the world’s laws.

Better than being pardoned by a judge is being adopted by the father. Author unknown

Are you ready to be set free?🚦

White People. Do Something.

Friday, May 29, 2020

How long, Lord, must I call for help and You do not listen or cry out to You about violence and You do not save? Why do You force me to look at injustice? Why do You tolerate wrongdoing? Oppression and violence are right in front of me. Strife is ongoing, and conflict escalates. This is why the law is ineffective and justice never emerges. For the wicked restrict the righteous; therefore, justice comes out perverted.
Habakkuk 1:2-4 HCSB

There is a pandemic in our country that is far worse and more dangerous than COVID-19: Racism. We are seeing the outrage and anguish of the injustices of hundreds of years where white people have perpetrated deliberate acts of egregious, malfeasance against black people, as well as people of other races, while others stood by as accessories to the crimes, doing little or not enough.

NOW is the time. TODAY is the day. It’s time for us to do something. You and me–let’s be the change we are looking for, both through our daily interactions with others different from ourselves and through civic involvement. A few books that may help with personal introspection of your own prejudices:
1. “Me and white supremacy” by Layla Saad
2. “Off the RACE Track: From Color-Blind to Color-Kind” by Steve Simms
3. “White Fragility: Why It’s So Hard for White People to Talk About Racism” by Robin DiAngelo

“If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor. If an elephant has its foot on the tail of a mouse and you say that you are neutral, the mouse will not appreciate your neutrality.” – Desmond Tutu 🚦

StoplightDevotionals #GeorgeFloyd #Racism #WhitePeopleDoSomthing #HealOurCountry #BeTheChange #ManInTheMirror

Wednesday, February 19, 2020

“Give us each day our daily bread.”
‭‭Luke‬ ‭11:3‬ ‭HCSB‬‬

When the Israelites were in the wilderness for 40 years, God provided manna from heaven to feed them each day, allowing them to only take the amount needed for that day. During this 40 year period their clothes never wore out! Before you and I jump to judge them for their complaining when God provided everything they needed, we need to turn our vision inward at our own behaviors. How often do you and I complain there’s nothing to eat when we have a refrigerator full of food, yet the food we have is not the food we are craving? How often do we say we have nothing to wear when in fact we do have clothing, but we want something new?

Whether your cabinets are full or empty, seek Him to fill your void with peace and contentment with what He has already given, and trust He will continue to provide everything you truly need when you need it.

 “I am the bread of life.” ~~Jesus
John 6:48 NIV🚦

#StoplightDevotionals #BreadOfLife #DailyBread #TrustHim #DevotionalsForWomen #ChristianWomen #ChristianBloggers #Devotions

Tuesday, February 18, 2020

“O Lord, God of my salvation, I cry out day and night before you. Let my prayer come before you; incline your ear to my cry! For my soul is full of troubles, and my life draws near to Sheol. I am counted among those who go down to the pit; I am a man who has no strength,”
‭‭Psalms‬ ‭88:1-4‬ ‭ESV‬‬

Its rough to wake first thing in the morning with sadness and dread in your heart. Overwhelming grief zaps our strength and mental abilities. But the God who created emotions understands and longs to comfort us in these seasons of hopelessness. He does not expect us to, “Buck up, butter cup.” Far from it! Rather than abandoning you when you are depressed in spirit like some friends or family, our Heavenly Father waits with arms wide open. Will you take your anguish to Him?🚦

#StoplightDevotionals

Sunday, February 16, 2020

“This is the day the Lord has made. We will rejoice and be glad in it.”
‭‭Psalms‬ ‭118:24‬ ‭NLT‬‬

You know this verse; you’ve sung the song in church seemingly a million times. But this morning you just aren’t feeling it. Perhaps you’ve had little sleep for days on end. Or your marriage is on the rocks. Or you just lost your job and have no idea how you will pay the bills. No matter the reason, there’s no place in God’s Word telling us to only worship in the good times. We look to Him who made heaven and earth and who rescued us from sin for our strength and refuge.

“I look up to the mountains— does my help come from there? My help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth!”
‭‭Psalms‬ ‭121:1-2‬ ‭NLT‬‬

“When you go through deep waters, I will be with you. When you go through rivers of difficulty, you will not drown. When you walk through the fire of oppression, you will not be burned up; the flames will not consume you.”
‭‭Isaiah‬ ‭43:2‬ ‭NLT‬‬

Choose this day to lift your hands in praise and adoration because He lives!🚦 #StoplightDevotionals

Friday, February 14, 2020

“We love because He first loved us. If anyone says, “I love God,” yet hates his brother, he is a liar. For the person who does not love his brother he has seen cannot love the God he has not seen.”
‭‭1 John‬ ‭4:19-20‬ ‭HCSB‬‬

“Love” and “hate” are both action words. If your behavior shows kindness, care, devotion, and sacrifice, then “love” is an apt descriptor. On the other hand, deceitful, self-serving, thoughtless and disrespectful actions can be appropriately described as “hate.”

God showed us how much He loves us by becoming a man for us and suffering a criminal’s death, all so that you and I would be able to have a relationship with our Creator. THAT is love.

What are some ways you can demonstrate love to another human today? 🚦?

#StoplightDevotionals🚦

Thursday, February 13, 2020

“God, You are my God; I eagerly seek You. I thirst for You; my body faints for You in a land that is dry, desolate, and without water.

You satisfy me as with rich food; my mouth will praise You with joyful lips.”

‭‭Psalms‬ ‭63:1, 5‬ ‭HCSB‬‬

You’ve been on the road all day. You ran out of water hours ago, and you barely grabbed a bite of breakfast before heading out this morning. As you pull off the highway your mouth waters as you salivate on thoughts of a big, juicy steak, creamy potatoes, a fresh salad and a giant glass of iced tea. Just think about that dessert menu! Five-layer chocolate cake, Bourbon pecan pie, creme brule’… 

Do you seek God in this way? During the dry, parched seasons do you try to fill the emptiness with controlling your food, whether healthy or not, buying clothes, or decorating and re-decorating your home? Perhaps you escape to HGTV, books, or social media. 

Let God be that escape. Run to Him first thing in the morning to see what He has for you today. Let Him whisper to your heart, breathe life, quench your thirst and fill your hunger with his satisfying Word. During the stress-filled day when you are tempted to seek refuge in pleasures offering only, fleeting comfort take a few moments, instead, to meditate on His message and praise Him for who He is and the amazing things He has done. He invites you to dine with Him at His banquet table today. Will you accept the invitation?🚦

#StoplightDevotionals

Wednesday, February 12, 2020

“Teach us to number our days carefully so that we may develop wisdom in our hearts. Make us rejoice for as many days as You have humbled us, for as many years as we have seen adversity.”

‭‭Psalms‬ ‭90:12, 15‬ ‭HCSB‬‬

“Slowly flow the days…swiftly fly the years,” is the message I sang at a wedding years ago, lines from “Sunrise, Sunset” of “Fiddler On The Roof.” How many times have you heard yourself talking about the day dragging only to later look at photos of days gone by and comment on how time flies?

What would change if you practiced living in the moment you have NOW rather than getting by, waiting impatiently for it to pass? God wants us to find the joy in the middle of our mess. Right here. Right now. Not after you lose ten pounds, the bills are paid off, your health is better. During your hardest season ever seek Him with all your heart, and you WILL find the joy. 🚦

#StoplightDevotionals

Tuesday, February 11, 2020

I cry aloud to God,

aloud to God, and He will hear me.

I sought the Lord in my day of trouble.

My hands were continually lifted up

all night long;

I refused to be comforted.

~Psalms 77:1-2 HCSB

When you are down where do you seek solace? The bottom of a bottle? The latest fashion clothing? A five-star meal?

Why not instead let despair drive you to God? Choosing to seek Yahweh during those times when you least feel His presence will take you to Sanctuary–that place of sacred refuge where the Most Holy dwells. Seek Him continually, pursuing Him vigilantly, and you will find Him. Refuse the cheaper forms of fleeting consolation in favor of Divine Presence that fills the darkest corners of your soul, and in that space your sorrow becomes sacred.

“God is in the sanctuary.” John Darby, theologian

But from there, you will search for the Lord your God, and you will find Him when you seek Him with all your heart and all your soul.

~Deuteronomy 4:29🚦

#StoplightDevotionals