WE CONNECT WITH GOD throughout the day in many ways as we enjoy the beauty of His creation in nature – His landscapes, sunsets, wildlife and foliage. We see Him through our fellowship with those who exhibit God’s love in their lives. Unplanned and unintentional on our part, God reveals Himself to us everyday! Coupled with this glorious revelation, the time we spend in DAILY DEVOTIONS with Him is our intentional connect with God where we receive our daily spiritual nutrition.  Regardless of  life’s many demands, make the commitment to read the Bible each day and spend some time in prayer. Join with me for 15 minutes, reading a few chapters and an encouragement for the day. Subscribe at the right to have devotionals sent to your email or phone. Please freely share them with others who may need encouragement from His Word today.  Cover to cover, the Bible is a great life-changing read!

I Chronicles 10-14 (NLT link) 

Discover His heart:  He welcomes us with outstretched arms when we seek Him first above all others

Aspirin is a good thing.  That little tablet of salicylic acid will take away a headache and soothe back pain; but, of course, it will also burn a hole right through a stomach if taken in excess.  I’m thankful for doctors and medicines, and God uses them so very often to bring healing, but when they are what I run to first when I experience sickness or pain, it’s not a good thing.  At the very mention of His name, I have an instant appointment with the Great Physician, something unheard of with any primary care physician to be sure.  The Great Physician knows my diagnosis even before I call Him and has the perfect solution to each and every problem with no troublesome side effects.  So I’m wondering, why would I not call on Him first? 

@ I Chronicles 10
“So Saul died because he was unfaithful to the Lord. He failed to obey the Lord’s command, and he even consulted a medium instead of asking the Lord for guidance. So the Lord killed him and turned the kingdom over to David son of Jesse.” (13-14)  Help! Mercy, mercy, mercy – I’m so thankful for His mercy today through Jesus.  But because I want to bless Him and bring pleasure to Him, I take to heart the valuable lesson I can learn from the life of Saul.

King Saul lived by the motto, “When all else fails, pray!”  Obviously, God did not like it.  This wasn’t a one-time problem with Saul.  We learn through Scripture that it was a pattern he followed throughout most of his reign.  Occasionally, Saul would call on God to help him as in I Samuel 28, but it was always after he had tried doing things his own way.  It’s difficult to understand why an anointed King of Israel would seek out a witch for direction in his life with all of Heaven at his disposal, an army of angels at the very least.  This thought causes me to question who it is that I run to for help in all of life’s challenges.  Is God always my first response?

A while back I was looking for a very important document that I desperately needed.  I searched for one hour and nine minutes in all the places I thought it would be.  Of course, I realize this doesn’t speak well about my filing/secretarial skills.  Finally, at the end of my rope, I cried out, “God, please help me.”  And He did.  No, I didn’t find the document, which I’m certain is resting in some land fill in the area, but He instantly reminded me of where I could find a duplicate.  Problem solved!

“So there at Hebron, David made a covenant before the Lord with all the elders of Israel. And they anointed him king of Israel, just as the Lord had promised through Samuel… And David became more and more powerful, because the Lord of Heaven’s Armies was with him.” (11:3,9)  I don’t want to be like Saul who asked for God’s help when all else had failed. I want to be like David who made a covenant (Deuteronomy 17:18-20) to follow the Lord in obedience and who sought the Lord at most every turn as we have read throughout Psalms.

Moving Forward:  My motto today is “But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.” (Matthew 6:33)  May He be my first stop in every challenge I face today. 

Tomorrow @ Psalm 99-101

Numbers 5-8 (NLT link) 

Discover His heart: He desires to grant His blessing at our request

God bless you! Blessings to you! May the Lord richly bless you!  These are phrases that we say or write for many different reasons, from a sneeze to a wedding wish.  For many of us, they have become a part of our every day vernacular, and that certainly is not a bad thing.  But I wonder if we really understand the solicitation we are requesting from God on the behalf of the dear one we are addressing.  In light of our scripture today, all I can say is “Bring it on!” 

@ Numbers 6:22-26

“Then the Lord said to Moses, ‘Tell Aaron and his sons to bless the people of Israel with this special blessing:’ 

“May the Lord bless you [impart His holiness to you] and protect you [keep you safe every moment of the day and night because He never sleeps, Psalm 121:4].  May the Lord smile on you [place on you His radiant shine so you may reflect His love to you everywhere you go] and be gracious to you [provide compassionate forgiveness for your sin and eternal life with Him even through you may not deserve it].  May the Lord show you His favor [His kindness, support and approval and preferential treatment] and give you peace [a calm, serene state of being regardless of your surroundings that surpasses all understanding].”  Amen!

When we ask the Lord to bless others, we are asking Him to flood their lives with His holiness, protection, smile, grace, favor and peace.  One simple word reflects such great goodness from God when said in His name.  “Whenever Aaron and his sons bless the people of Israel in my name, I myself will bless them.” (27)  Evidently, He’s listening and waiting on our call for Him to bless.  How could we disappoint Him!

Moving Forward: I ask the Lord’s special blessing on His dear ones who are reading these words today.  I understand what that blessing really means, and I know He will respond. 

Tomorrow @ I Chronicles 10-14

I Timothy 4-6 (NLT link) 

Discover His heart: He gives us all the tools we need to run the race for Him

Several years ago my husband, Tom, bought me a great treadmill because I wanted to do some training and get in shape.  Knowing me like he does, he set up a little television and DVD player with remote controls as an incentive to get on it and tread.  The treadmill has served me well.  It has served as an excellent place to hang clothes to dry, stack boxes and collect lots and lots of dust. Obviously, I forgot that I was in training.

@ I Timothy 4
Train yourself to be godly. ‘Physical training is good, but training for godliness is much better, promising benefits in this life and in the life to come.’” (7-8)  What a concept!  Train yourself to be godly because it isn’t going to happen on its own.  Just as it doesn’t help to buy exercise videos and not use them, it doesn’t help to have Bibles and Christian resources in every room of our home and not open them.  Just as it doesn’t help to watch exercise videos while we sit on the couch eating ice cream, it doesn’t help to read the Bible and not apply it to our lives.  Paul is reminding us to really pump it up and do some cardio for our spiritual hearts – we are in training!

Put on your training gear because here is Paul’s workout program.  Remember:  Know pain, know gain!

  1. Exercise until we break a sweat.  “This is why we work hard and continue to suffer, for our hope is in the living God.”(10)  Train hard, every day, don’t give up!
  2. Exercise with authority and determination.  “Don’t let anyone think less of you because you are young.” (12)  The enemy will come around tempting us to believe we can’t make it, we don’t have the goods. Remember Who gives us the authority and ability to train.
  3. Run every day.  “But you, Timothy, are a man of God; so run from all these evil things. Pursue righteousness and a godly life, along with faith, love, perseverance, and gentleness.” (6:11)  Run from evil and run to righteousness – every day.
  4. Exercise obvious abilities – keep them toned. “Do not neglect the spiritual gift you received through the prophecy spoken over you when the elders of the church laid their hands on you.”(14)  Just like any athlete, we will lose the tone of our spiritual muscles when we don’t use them.  Using our gifts and abilities will keep them toned and effective.
  5. Exercise through meditation…and Paul doesn’t mean transcendental or yoga. “Give your complete attention to these matters.”(15)  The best exercise comes through focus and singleness of mind, no distractions.
  6. Exercise in public.  “Throw yourself into your tasks so that everyone will see your progress.” (15)  Nothing encourages us more to press on than someone watching our progress, cheering us on.
  7. Add resistance training to your schedule every day. “Keep a close watch on how you live…stay true to what is right.”(16) “Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.” (James 4:7)  Of course this resistance is most effective when we, last but certainly not least, follow Paul’s final training guideline:
  8. Surrender to the Personal Trainer.  “Submit to God, resist the devil…” (James 4:7)  Our personal trainer, God through His the Holy Spirit, guides and helps us through our weak moments and keeps us on track, “And the Holy Spirit helps us in our weakness. For example, we don’t know what God wants us to pray for. But the Holy Spirit prays for us with groanings that cannot be expressed in words.” (Romans 8:26) Uncertainty in our training program will bring discouragement, defeat and definitely some groaning, but the Holy Spirit will help us in our weakness when we don’t know if we can continue on.

If we follow Paul’s not for wimps training program, we will press on to our goal and become one lean, mean fighting machine for God.  Get on your mark…get set…go!

Moving Forward:  I’m in training today, ready to pump it up, follow the program and become strong and fit for the Kingdom.  I may even get on my treadmill…or not. 

Tomorrow @ Numbers 5-8

John 5-6 (NLT link)

Discover His heart: The One who lives in us will do His work through us

Copycat has never really been considered a term of endearment.  It denotes someone who lacks imagination or independence to the point of copying what others do instead of being original.  An impersonator, on the other hand, is someone who takes that copying to the point of making it difficult to know what is real and what is Memorex.   As the saying goes, “Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.”  Then, there are those who imitate someone else out of sheer respect and admiration, even to the point of adoration – for me, that someone would be Jesus.

@ John 5
“I tell you the truth, the Son can do nothing by Himself. He does only what He sees the Father doing. Whatever the Father does, the Son also does.” (19) Jesus was not a copycat, an impersonator nor a flatterer. No, He was in unity with the Father to the point that it was impossible for Him to do anything else but what the Father did.  He only did what He saw the Father do which lets us know that He was watching the Father’s actions.

“What would Jesus do?” was a popular slogan a few years ago.  We saw bracelets, bumper stickers and t-shirts, but it’s so much more than a slogan to be worn.  A true heart that follows Jesus does so out of adoration and love to the point that it seems impossible to do anything but what He does.  Unlike Jesus, we fail on occasion, but our hearts seek to have unity with Him equal to the unity He has with the Father.  In any given situation when the opportunity is there to fail, we can ask with a sincere heart, “What would Jesus do?” By seeing what He did in scripture, we have a pattern to follow.

How incredible it would be to imitate Him to the point that others would see only Jesus in us.  How incredible it would be to do the works that He did while on earth. Well, actually we can.  “The words I speak are not my own, but my Father who lives in me does his work through me. Just believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me. Or at least believe because of the work you have seen me do. I tell you the truth, anyone who believes in me will do the same works I have done, and even greater works, because I am going to be with the Father.” (John 14:10-12)

Greater works!  It doesn’t matter to me if I’m called a copycat, an impersonator or a flatterer.  I’m going to follow hard after the Lord and do what He does.  Maybe one day someone will find me to be someone very much like Him…be still my heart. 

Moving Forward:  My song today, “I want to be more like you, Jesus.  I want to be more like you. I want to be a vessel that you work through…” (C.Brown) 

Tomorrow @ I Timothy 4-6

Daniel 7-12 (NLT link)

Discover His heart: He hears and answers our prayers

“O our God, hear your servant’s prayer!  Listen as I plead.  For your own sake, Lord, smile again on your desolate sanctuary. O my God, lean down and listen to me. Open your eyes and see our despair.  See how your city—the city that bears your name—lies in ruins. We make this plea, not because we deserve help, but because of your mercy.” (9:17-18)  Daniel’s fervent prayer for his people and for his city of Jerusalem arrests me as I read it, reminding me of the need for continual prayer for my city, for my nation.  Because of Israel’s gross sins, Daniel didn’t ask for undeserved help for His people – he asked for God’s mercy.  I, too, cry for mercy.  Lord, don’t give us what we deserve. 

@ Daniel 10
Most of us have experienced occasions when we pray desperately for a need, but the answer doesn’t come.  Sometimes we feel disconnected from God because of unforgiveness or sin in our lives that seems to block the flow of communication with Him.  Other times our answers are delayed because of God’s testing; and in these moments, our faith is stretched as we grow to trust Him more.  We even have been known to pray amiss, and God cannot answer our prayer.  We learn that Daniel experienced a delay in his answered prayer for yet another reason.

The heavenly visitor said to Daniel, “Don’t be afraid, Daniel. Since the first day you began to pray for understanding and to humble yourself before your God, your request has been heard in heaven. I have come in answer to your prayer. But for twenty-one days the spirit prince of the kingdom of Persia blocked my way…Now I am here to explain what will happen to your people in the future, for this vision concerns a time yet to come.” (12-14)  Twenty-one days…interesting to note that Daniel had been fasting for twenty-one days.

We know Daniel was a man who completely trusted God and whose prayer life was remarkable.  Once again he proved his faithfulness to God by steadfast prayer and fasting until the answer came.  Little did he know that the answer came immediately but was hindered by the enemy, and likewise, we don’t know when the answers to our prayers have been hindered by the enemy.  We are encouraged by our reading today to dare to be a Daniel and pray through the hindrances until the answer comes!

“For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places.” (Ephesians 6:10)  The good news is that we are not fighting alone.  Like Daniel, we have the heavenly hosts in our army fighting in the heavenlies on our behalf.

When we experience a delay in answers to our prayers, we’re challenged to examine our hearts to know we are free from unforgiveness.  We are challenged to pray according to God’s will and pray that He will remove our desire for anything that is not His will.  Then, whether the delay is a testing or a hindrance, we can pray with tenacity for the answer.  “The earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power and produces wonderful results.” (James 5:16)  The answer’s on the way!

Moving Forward:  Encouraged by Daniel’s prayer of mercy for his people, I will pray in earnest for my nation and God’s mercy for us.  And for the many challenges I face today, I’ll pray according to His will until the answers come – they’re on the way! 

Tomorrow @ John 5-6

Proverbs 17-18 (NLT link) 

Discover His heart: He is our place of safety in the time of trouble

@ Proverbs 18
Most everyone has faced at least one moment in life on the verge of an accident, fall or catastrophe.  If not, I trust your insurance premium is low because you deserve it!  I faced one of those moments several years ago while driving my little black Volkswagen bug, the first model.  This is important to note in that it really wasn’t much bigger than I was.  As I was making a left turn from a dead stop, a full-size van ran the stoplight, crossed in front of me and the front of my little car collided with the rear end of the big van.  Save yourself the headache of trying to figure out how it all happened and just trust me that it did. I just hate the sound of crunching metal, especially when it’s mine.

Although time seemed to hang in space as my life flashed before me, it all happened in just a split second.  There wasn’t time to brace myself, phone a friend or recite the 23rd Psalm.  The only thing I had time to do was to say “Jesus.”  And He answered.  It was at the moment when I said His name that the left rear end of that van broke through my windshield and ended up where my head should have been from the impact.  Instead of flying forward, I was glued to my seat as if a supernatural airbag had filled the space and I couldn’t move.

Never was the scripture that I had memorized as a five year old and quoted over and over more precious and more real to me than at that moment, “The name of the Lord is a strong tower; The righteous run to it and are safe.” (10, NKJV)  At the time of crisis, I ran to the only name that could help me, to Someone who knew me, and it was as if He lifted me high above the scene, safe and secure.  Proverbs goes on to say, “The rich think of their wealth as a strong defense; they imagine it to be a high wall of safety.” (11)  How foolish they are!  At the moment of impact, the biggest bank account on the planet could not have done for me what the name of Jesus accomplished in a split second.

Before the police arrived, I managed to get out of my totaled bug and went in a nearby home to call my husband.  When I returned to my car, I heard a young policeman ask a bystander as he walked up to the car, “Well, have you seen any movement in the car?  Anyone alive?”  To his amazement, I ran over to him yelling, “Here I am, here I am.”  Not a scratch on me.  What a miracle!  To Him be all praise and glory.

In the storms of life, when the enemy’s agenda is in full force, run to the strong tower of safety.  David had been there time and time again and understood God’s place of safety when he wrote, “Lead me to the towering rock of safety, for you are my safe refuge, a fortress where my enemies cannot reach me.” (Psalm 61:3)  I am living proof, dear friends, that He’s as close as the mention of His name. 

Moving Forward: No matter what I face today, trials or simply a desire to be near Him, He’s as close as the mention of His name…Jesus!

Tomorrow @ Daniel 7-12

Psalms 96-98 (NLT link) 

Discover His heart: He is great and worthy of all praise! 

@ Psalm 96
Sing a new song to the Lord!”(1)  One dimension of this verse has come to life today in our church services and worship music.  Creative young souls are writing songs filled with a heart of love for the Lord, and I enjoy their expressions, their rhythm and their passion.  Their anointed songs are new and represent their understanding of who God is as well as their experience with Him. But then, I also enjoy the old songs of the church, the hymns and gospel songs of long ago when creative young souls wrote songs filled with a heart of love for the Lord.  The new songs and the old are all wonderful testimonies of God’s presence in our lives.

However, I believe the writer is not really intending new to mean a song that is different or newly written, but more so one that is a fresh and up-to-the-minute response to God’s goodness and greatness in our lives.  It may be a newly written song or an old one, but regardless, it is a song that is fresh from our hearts to Him.  Sometimes when He displays His power and majesty in my life, it causes me to burst out with a spontaneous new song that no one has ever sung before, fresh from my heart.  It’s for His ears only and that’s probably a good thing.

When a new song is vibrant in our hearts and minds, the Psalm goes on to tell us what to do with it, “Each day proclaim the good news that He saves. Publish His glorious deeds among the nationsTell everyone about the amazing things He does.  Great is the Lord! He is most worthy of praise!”(2-3) 

Each day

1) proclaim – publicly state or make known

2) publish – print, distribute, circulate, announce

3) tell – inform, advise, enlighten.

Share about His salvation and the amazing things He does with everyone, everywhere. How are we going to do that along with all our other responsibilities?  If the song is there, the fresh song, we will find a way!

For 40 plus years, my friends Jim and Della found a way to share their song with at least one person every day, everywhere they went.  Jim was quite the rascal before he found the Lord, and he never forgot the freedom that came to his bound-up soul the day he accepted Jesus as his Savior.  He always teared up when he shared his 40 year-old-song because it was fresh in his heart, and he wanted everyone to experience it.  Jim and Della led hundreds of people to the Lord by sharing their song each day, one soul at a time, everywhere they went.  If the song is fresh, we will find a way to share it.

“Publish His glorious deeds among the nations.  Tell everyone about the amazing things He does.” (3)  If God has allowed us the privilege, and I do mean privilege, of going on a mission’s trip or outreach, we understand the great need, the great opportunity and the great sacrifice of sharing our song to the nations.  For most, the going and telling the nations each day is impossible, but God has appointed those to serve as our representatives, our hands and feet if you will, to go to the nations – our missionaries.

Because their song is fresh and up-to-the-minute, our representatives leave family, friends and comforts to go share the good news of His salvation and good deeds with everyone, every day.  Their tools include Bibles, books and lessons that our monies publish or announce through wonderful mission’s groups like Wycliffe, Life Publishers (Book of Hope) and Light for the Lost.  Our missionaries represent new songs proclaimed, published and told to the nations every day!

If our song is new, fresh and up-to-the-minute, we can’t help but share the good news of God’s salvation and greatness with those we meet each day.  And if our song is new, fresh and up-to-the-minute, we can’t help but support our representatives who take our song to the nations.  It’s time to sing a new song!

Moving Forward:  The song is new and fresh today – I can’t help but sing!

Tomorrow @ Proverbs 17-18

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