Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Sitting By

"And it came to pass on a certain day, as he was teaching, that there were Pharisees and doctors of the law sitting by..." Luke 5:17 (KJV)

Sunday afternoon I had opportunity to chat with a very dear friend. Easily, four months had passed since our last conversation, yet after only a few brief minutes of 'catch up' regarding our families, conversation turned to the sharing of God's Word and to truths we were currently applying in our lives. With my Bible open on my lap, she and I traced God's goodness and promises. We talked of the 'new Word' he had spoken into our hearts. We shared doubts and fears. There was no idle chatter. Eternal matters were the topic. Our hearts were burning within us to do more than listen, for living is our lot.

In the verse above we see the posture of passivity. The Pharisees were "sitting by" while Jesus was teaching. Matthew Henry writes, "How many are there in the midst of our assemblies, where the gospel is preached, that do not sit under the Word, but sit by! It is to them as a tale that is told them, not as a message that is sent them; they are willing that we should preach before them, but not that we should preach to them."

Beth Moore questions: "Can you recall a time when you attended a Bible study or church service that profoundly affected a few of the people you were with, while others in attendance were completely unmoved? Like the Pharisees and teachers of the law, sometimes the unaffected can be the most 'religious' people in the room. Could the difference be that they were sitting by rather than sitting under God's Word?"

In Beth's book, "Jesus the One and Only", she encourages the reader to sit under God's mercy instead of sitting by with a critical eye. She writes, "If you will actively engage yourself in every message you hear or read, you will never hear or read another ineffective message."

Where are you positioning yourself? It's not so much a physical location, but a spirit's surrender. Think of the foyer conversation you indulge in at the close of Sunday's sermons. Do your words reflect the passion of one who has longingly sat 'under' the revelation of God's Word or impatiently sat 'by', checking your watch to see the time, oblivious to the miraculous? Words are falling around you, but not within you. Don't be satisfied with less when God wants to give you more. Sitting by makes you an observer. Sitting under makes you a participant.

What Word has He revealed to you that requires action today? Don't be caught 'sitting by'. Do something!

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Tuesday, September 29, 2009

"Mrs. Peter"

“When Jesus arrived at Peter’s house, Peter’s mother-in-law was sick in bed with a high fever.” Matthew 8:14

Peter’s mother-in-law.

Peter was married.

I wonder how “Mrs. Peter” felt about her husband being one of Jesus close companions. I wonder if she ever felt like her husband didn’t give her enough of his time. I wonder if she resented managing the household when he was gone travelling so much. I wonder if she was envious of the time her husband was blessed to spend with the Messiah. I wonder if she was lonely. I wonder if she felt like she lived in a shadow, without even a name. I wonder if she questioned or became angry as he walked away from his fishing business without even talking it over with her. I wonder if she struggled being married to a man in full time ministry. I wonder how she felt as she saw his weaknesses portrayed in his denial of Christ.

I think as wife’s we can go through seasons where it might feel like our husband’s are married to their job…or their sports team…or their tools…or their mother's...or their ministry position and we feel abandoned. I’m sure Peter’s wife was no different than you or I. I’m sure she often had to pray for understanding and patience.

Lord, I pray for those today whose wife or husband has been taken away for a season for whatever reason. Father, may Your presence be with them in a very real way. Grant them an extra measure of Your grace. Lord, where these spouses have been called by You into service, help family members to understand that their acceptance enables their loved one to respond in obedience to You. May we not make that following even more difficult by complaining and accusing. Father let these precious ones know how very much You love them, and that this is Your calling for them today.

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Monday, September 28, 2009


“…everyone is going to him instead of coming to us.” John 3:26

Do you hear the envy and jealousy? My Pastor pointed out this exact same lesson yesterday morning using a different passage of scripture.

In Numbers 11:24-30 Joshua was struggling with the same issues as John’s disciples, when two men came forward and began prophesying in the camp. Joshua said to Moses, “Moses, my lord, restrain them.’ But Moses said to him, ‘Are you jealous for my sake? Would that all the LORD’s people were prophets, that the LORD would put His Spirit upon them!’”

This is crucial to learn. There is no place for petty in God’s Kingdom.

As my Pastor explained, in the secular world we are often promoted to positions of success because others have failed, but this is not so in God’s world. We are a body. When one of us wins, we all win. God is the only one who appoints and removes.

How do you feel when someone else is chosen in an area where you are over-looked? Can you truly rejoice with those who rejoice? It’s hard sometimes.

To put it in perspective a question needs asking. Do you view what you’re doing as your work or God’s work? Who get’s the glory? As my Pastor went on to say, there can be no ego, protection of position, competition or self-promotion. There is only One who should receive any accolades, and it isn’t you or me.

When God is our only real satisfaction, we can be successful whatever we do.

John’s response is so beautiful. “I am filled with joy at his success. He must become greater and greater, and I must become less and less.” John 3:29-30

Lord, I admit to sometimes being insecure about my place in the Kingdom. Father, I invite you to do a new work in my heart. Do not quickly release me from this lesson that You have now repeated two days in a row. May I find my rest in You.

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Sunday, September 27, 2009


“Jesus said to the servants, ‘Fill the jars with water’; so they filled them to the brim.” John 2:7 (NIV)

Brimful obedience always brings brimful blessings.

How full are your “jars”?

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Saturday, September 26, 2009

Eyes to the Skies

“We saw his star as it rose, and we have come to worship him.” Matthew 2:2

The fact that the royal astrologers had to inquire about the little King’s location tells me something. Not everyone saw the star. How do I know this? Why, there would be a mob of people. The magi would not have needed to ask. They could have followed the crowd.

The messenger that hailed Christ’s birth, wasn’t a prophet, but a star. Not a new constellation or a meteor, but a glimmer of light. A star among millions of other stars. What made this star different from all the rest? How come the wise men saw it, but few others did?

In silence His birth announcement was given, written in the sky, yet only a handful of others took the time to read it. Only a few were looking for it. Only a few were expecting it.

The wise men saw His star as it rose. They didn't miss a moment of it's appearing. It hadn't been in the sky for days. They were diligently looking and intentionally seeking. Hearts prepared. Eyes wide open.

Father, forgive me for the times I miss seeing You. I confess that sometimes the eyes of my heart fail to see You, the bright and morning Star. My time in Your Word is only an academic assignment and my search for You is in reference books, concordances and dictionaries. Trying to find you in man’s written word, and not the Word. My eyes to the ground and not the sky.

Yet, other times, like the wise men, my heart seeks You earnestly. I look and I search deeply, not wanting even the slightest glimpse of You passing by to go unnoticed. Lord, I long to see You all around me and hear You speak. Let me see You rising in my life. I want to follow You to the manger. I want to kneel in Your presence. I desire to give You gifts fit for a King. Gold for Your deity. Frankincense to worship You. Myrrh for Your sacrificial death.

“Help me to understand that you reveal yourself not to those whose mind is a concordance but to those whose heart is a cathedral.” Ken Gire

Lord, is there a ‘star’ You will have appear before me today that You want me to follow? Father, I’m looking up.

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Friday, September 25, 2009


“Jesus’ parents were amazed at what was being said about him.” Luke 2:33

Last night we received a phone message. While participating in a “Meet the Teacher” event last evening, my sister and her family also attended a school assembly. During the meeting the Music Teacher came forward to share her curriculum for the year. Before she began to address the outline for her class, she excitedly announced that she is so pleased to have a “musical genius” working with her this year. You would have thought Beethoven himself was going to be her assistant the way she went on. The funny thing was, she was speaking about our son. He will be doing a Co-op placement with her beginning this Monday. As we listened to this phone message, we were amazed at the accolades being given our son. Yes, he has accomplished much musically, but we still were amazed at what was being said about him.

I’m sure our surprise paled in comparison to how Mary and Joseph felt as they listened to the words being spoken about their Son. Their admiration and awe was for a Messiah.

Luke 2:11 refers to Jesus as “the Savoir - yes, the Messiah, the Lord…”.

A Savoir to love. A Messiah to worship. A Lord to obey.

Father, I apologize for the many times I have failed to be rightly amazed at Your Son. May I join with those who stand in awe of You.

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Thursday, September 24, 2009


"'For nothing is impossible with God.'" Luke 1:37

Impossible. Not capable of occurring, or being dealt with, or accomplished. Totally unlikely. Something that cannot be done.

Possible. Capable of happening. Something that can be done.

God doesn't know the word "impossible".

Interesting to me that the difference in the spelling that stands in the way are two little letters. I M. I'm. I am the one who often doesn't believe. I am the one who often doesn't trust. I am the one who sees nothing but difficulties ahead. I am the one doubting the possible.

"Limitations are raw material for great expectations from God." (Pastor Rick Baker, December 15, 2002).

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Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Let's Party

“Surely the LORD has done great things! Don’t be afraid, my people. Be glad now and rejoice, for the LORD has done great things.” Joel 2:20b-21

I know someone who is “afraid” of good news. Well, “afraid” might be a little strong, but she is definitely hesitant and anxious to believe good news. She’s one who wants to wait and see the outcome before rejoicing prematurely. It’s like she is afraid to be happy and rejoice in case something happens to steal her joy. It’s so sad really. She lives like at any moment someone is going to come and reverse anything good that happens. She thinks gladness is momentary and fleeting and just offers false hope. She appears wary and sceptical that anything truly miraculous could really occur.

This verse seems to encourage stepping out in faith and celebrating. God wants us to recognize the great things He causes to happen all around us and rejoice. Don’t stifle praise. Yes, circumstances can change in an instant, but if God has done something good, let’s party!!!

The next trial doesn’t negate today’s triumph.

Let’s acknowledge and embrace the joy of seeing God work in our lives.

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Tuesday, September 22, 2009


“Remember…” Nehemiah 5:19, 13:14, 22, 29, 31

My memory certainly isn’t the same as it was years ago. In fact, I’ve resorted to pen and paper most days. In practically every clothing pocket of mine you will find a scrap piece of paper with something written on it. It might be a phone number, a name, a grocery list, a prayer request or an agenda. Something has come to my mind, and rather than forget it, I write it down. I want to remember.

How often have you asked God to remember you? Nehemiah certainly seemed to offer that request several times. Have you ever asked God to remember you in a crisis, or at a time when you felt desperately alone, or when facing health challenges, strained relationships or struggles due to the economic crunch. Do you wish you could write your name and situation on a piece of paper and tuck it in His pocket so that He will remember you?

Asking God to remember, implies the concern that He might forget.

Isaiah 49:15-16 tells us, “I will not forget you! See, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands…”

It is impossible for God to forget us.

However, the opposite is not true. We can forget God. We can go about living each moment of our life with no thought of our Lord and Savoir. We can make decisions without Him. We can choose to neglect Him. We can start our day without thinking of Him.

Maybe I should write His Name on pieces of paper and place them in my pockets so that I will always and forever remember to look for Him throughout each day.

Lord, help me to remember You.

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Monday, September 21, 2009


“The other priests, Levites, and the rest of the Israelites lived wherever their family inheritance was located in any of the towns of Judah.” Nehemiah 11:20

Inheritance. You know what I find incredible? Yesterday not only did I watch a video clip of a Beth Moore study with this title, but my Pastor spoke on a passage from Joshua which also spoke of inheritance.

The Israelites were living in their inheritance. It’s a place of promised, secure rest and blessing. It’s not just yet to be in the future, it’s now. It’s not only a place, it’s a Person.

If you are a Christ-follower, think for just a moment of all that is yours in Christ. Jesus death has already made the way for us to claim our inheritance. Have you laid hold of what is yours in Christ? Are you living as one who has limitless supply available to you? Are you embracing the fullness of Christ in your life?

Father, today, I want all of my inheritance. I want to go forward, with courage, and take hold of all You have planned for me. Jesus, I want all of You.

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Sunday, September 20, 2009

A Long Awaited Celebration

"So everyone who had returned from captivity lived in these shelters during the festival, and they were all filled with great joy! The Israelites had not celebrated like this since the days of Joshua son of Nun." Nehemiah 8:17

Times of great joy and celebration.

I had such an occasion today. Cathy, a very dear friend of mine, is adopting a baby girl from China. Her journey began back in January of 2005 and in just a few short weeks she will hold her beautiful daughter in her arms for the first time. A special gathering of close friends met this afternoon to lavish love on her and 'party' as we rejoice in all that the Lord is doing for her. We join in the excited anticipation of meeting sweet little Hannah in less than two months.

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Saturday, September 19, 2009

One Purpose

“…all the people assembled with a unified purpose…” Nehemiah 8:1

I absolutely, positively heart getting together with God’s people!

When I was a little girl, I would literally cry some Sunday evenings if my mom and dad, for whatever reason, decided we’d stay home from church. Maybe it had been a chaotic day, with my dad ministering in a three-church charge in the morning and all we had done was rush from one service to another. My family would arrive home moments before needing to turn around and head out to church, when one of my parents would suggest we stay home. Oh, did that bring on the tears. I did not want to stay home. I wanted to be with the family of God.

This weekend I was so blessed to attend a Beth Moore “Retreat in a Box” at a church I had never been to before, a couple of hours drive west of my home. These women were so welcoming. It can be very unnerving stepping through the doors of a large church building on your own. Every insecurity you’ve ever had comes rushing forward. Will I be accepted? Will anyone talk to me? Will anyone sit with me? Am I dressed appropriately? There was no need for concern here. These gals had their Jesus on!

We were all assembled with a unified purpose. We all deeply desired for God to speak to our hearts. We came with lives open, ready to receive a word from Him. And receive we did!

Father thank You for calling ninety precious daughters of Yours to a place of worship. Thank You for placing in each of us a desire to hear from You and be transformed. Thank You for new friends and for this beautiful assembly of women united with one purpose. You.

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Friday, September 18, 2009


“Then I prayed, ‘Hear us, our God, for we are being mocked. May their scoffing fall back on their own heads, and may they themselves become captives in a foreign land!’” Nehemiah 4:4

As I read this verse of scripture, my head heard another voice. It was that of Richard Gere playing the role of “Ike” in “Runaway Bride”. I don’t know how many of you have seen that movie, but believe it or not, the Lord used this Hollywood production to teach me so many truths.

The verse above had my mind recall the scene at the rehearsal dinner. Toasts were being given to “Maggie”, the bride, played by Julia Roberts, but all of them were sarcastic and cruel. Those speaking thought they were being funny as they highlighted all her flaws in jest, but their words were cutting deep. Ike, the reporter, sees past Maggie’s smile and embarrassment to the pain in her heart. He stands to give his own toast, not to the bride, but to those attending the luau who had been mocking her.

“May you find yourselves the bulls eye of an easy target, may you be publicly flogged for all your bad choices, and may your noses be rubbed in all your mistakes.”

Mocking. Do you know that word is defined as “abusing vocally”? Teasing. Taunting. Ridicule. Treat with contempt. There’s nothing amusing about this derisive language. It is a deliberate action to inflict pain and is usually sourced in envy.

Ike’s desire was similar to Nehemiah’s. He wanted to see the mocker’s brought to shame. Mockery places someone over you as a superior. The speech might be slight and subtle, yet it remains sharp and causes internal bleeding of emotions.

Have you ever been the target of this vicious cruelty? You don’t stand alone. Christ Himself was mocked. Matthew 27:28-29 says, “They stripped him and put a scarlet robe on him, and then twisted together a crown of thorns and set it on his head. They put a staff in his right hand and knelt in front of him and mocked him. ‘Hail, king of the Jews!’ they said.”

Truth can never truly be harmed by mockery. It can be used as a distinguishing tool between fact and fiction.

How did Jesus handle mockery? First He committed it to His Father. 1 Peter 2:23 says, “He did not retaliate when he was insulted, nor threaten revenge when he suffered. He left his case in the hands of God, who always judges fairly.” Christ’s character was visibly seen against a background of mockery.

What would be the opposite of mocking? When mocking someone we are drawing extra attention to them using speech in a negative way. Maybe the opposite would be to ignore them completely. Ignoring what Christ has done for us might cause Him more pain than those who scorned His crucifixion. Neglecting spending time with Him…our silence…may bring more misery than any mocking. Something to consider.

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Thursday, September 17, 2009


“O Lord, please hear my prayer! Listen to the prayers of those of us who delight in honouring you. Please grant me success today by making the king favourable to me. Put it into his heart to be kind to me.” Nehemiah 1:11

I was speaking with a friend just yesterday who is discouraged in her area of ministry at the church she attends. The Lord has placed an idea very clearly on her heart, yet at this point still, the leadership has refused to allow her to make the necessary changes in her ministry area. As I read Nehemiah’s prayer, her situation came to my mind.

Maybe we too know what needs to happen to see God work, but someone is blocking our way. In order to receive what we need, God has to first move their hearts on our behalf. God is able to change the hearts of those in authority over us. He can touch their hearts to bring about the outcome we feel the Lord desires to see. God can grant us favour with those in leadership over us. God’s favour can make the way for my friend to receive a positive response.

A little book I’ve been reading by Dave Early entitled, “The 21 Most Effective Prayers of the Bible” asks the following personal questions in regards to Nehemiah’s prayer. “Who needs to grant you favour if you are to carry out your ministry? With whom do you need favour if you are going to be able to follow God’s heart? ‘Grant me favour’ is one prayer we may need to use often. Start praying it now, and see what God can do for you.”

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Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Invisible Hands

“…the gracious hand of the LORD my God was on me.” Ezra 7:28

Lord, I need to feel Your hand upon me.

A hand to wipe away tears. A hand to heal. A hand to mend a broken heart. A hand to remove fears. A hand to comfort. A hand to provide. A hand to shelter from the storm. A hand to correct. A hand to guide. A hand to deliver. A hand to encourage. A hand to hold.

Lord, I need to feel You and know Your presence. I’m looking for Your hand. I’m looking for it in my life as well as those close to me. Shelter me in the hollow and the shadow of Your hands. Engrave me in Your palms. Let me sense Your touch. Circumstances beyond my control…not Yours…have pulled my heart to a place of seeking. My head tells me You are here, but I just need to see Your hand.

Hands that are not too short they cannot save. (Isaiah 59:1) Hands that measure the waters and position the heaven’s in place. (Isaiah 40:12, 48:13) Hands that hold the staff and the rod. (Psalm 23:4) Hands that hold my life and my ways. (Daniel 5:23)

Mighty hands. Saving hands. Powerful hands. Enabling hands. Conquering hands. Nail-pierced hands. Bleeding hands. Loving hands.

Lord, I fall into Your hands.

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Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Divine Insomnia

“That night the king had trouble sleeping…” Esther 6:1

King Xerxes had divine insomnia. The Lord kept the king awake for a purpose. Five years prior Mordecai had foiled the plans of assassins, and the time had come for his reward.

I have often been awakened in the middle of the night and had difficulty returning to sleep. When this happens a question comes to my mind. Lord, did you wake me for a purpose? Is there someone right now who needs prayer? I begin to pray for whoever He brings to my mind.

Other times sleep escapes me because the Lord has tried all day to tell me something, and now in the quietness and darkness of night, He takes His opportunity. My distractions and duties in daylight have ceased. He has my attention. Busyness and noise are no longer drowning out His still small voice. A still small voice that is either still and small in volume, or just sounds still and small because my spiritual ears have grown deaf and I do not recognize it the way I should when activity surrounds me.

The most precious times are when He takes my sleep simply to lavish His love on me. In the silence I hear Him telling me He loves me. Has He spoken these words often throughout the day, but I’ve failed to hear? Oh Father, I don’t want to miss anything You desire to speak to me.

Lord, may I not sleep so soundly that I miss hearing You call my name, “Joy, Joy”

“Speak, Lord, for Your servant is listening.” 1 Samuel 3:9

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Monday, September 14, 2009

A Time Like This

“Who knows if perhaps you were made queen for just such a time as this?” Esther 4:14

You may not have been made “queen”, but you may have been made wife, mother, neighbour, babysitter, teacher, friend, hairdresser, dental hygienist, engineer, writer, speaker, doctor, grocery clerk, librarian, sales girl, unemployed, grandma, single, married, the list is endless, for such a time as this.

A time as this. A defining moment. You have been placed in your circle of influence for such a time as this. You are on the Kingdom calendar, positioned where you are, right now, by the God of the universe, for this very purpose. Your present location is part of your destiny. Will you walk it in obedience or turn away?

Your entire life purpose could be waiting on your response. Everything in your life up until now could have been leading to this exact second. Suddenly does being made “queen” not seem so attractive? Does the crown bring cowardice? We can either watch life or take part in it. Be a spectator or a participant.

A decision awaits. Don’t miss the opportunity.

There is a miracle waiting in this moment.

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Sunday, September 13, 2009

Prisoner of Hope

“Come back to the place of safety, all you prisoners who still have hope!” Zechariah 9:12

Prisoner. A person held against their will. One confined. A person held in involuntary restraint, whether in prison or not.

There are things that hold us captive. Emotions, people, situations that chain our hearts and minds. The binding is strong and we suffocate in cells, shackled to pain and suffering.

God is calling us back to a place of safety. He desires we become prisoners of hope. This is not a prisoner to wishful thinking. Our hope is a reality. A guarantee. Hope is a confident expectation based on God’s promises. It removes doubt, dismisses chance, clings to faith. When there appears to be no possible release, we see a key and believe we won’t be held enslaved forever.

A prisoner of hope is imprisoned for life, to life. They never stop believing that God can. The opportunity for intervention could be at any time. It’s a complete trust in the unseen. At any moment the sound of footsteps approaching their cell could be heard and their hearts could be free of the burden that convicted and desired to sentence them to endless days of worry, disappointment, agony and despair.

When we place our hope in Christ, it is secure because it is in One who never changes. He is certain. Complete security. He is our hope.

"That by two unchangeable things, in which it is impossible for God to lie, we may have strong encouragement, we who have fled for refuge in laying hold of the hope set before us. This hope we have as an anchor of the soul, a hope both steadfast and sure and one which enters within the veil, where Jesus has entered as a forerunner for us, having become a high priest forever according to the order Melchizedek." Hebrews 6:18-20.

A prisoner of hope lives in freedom.

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Saturday, September 12, 2009

A Bowl of Popcorn

Kernels of truth were popping up throughout all of today’s reading. Just like the salty goodness of a bowl of popcorn, I couldn’t stop at just a taste. Please indulge with me today as I share all that the Lord spoke to my heart.


“All expenses will be paid by the royal treasury.” Ezra 6:4

This verse excited me because just two days ago I read a post written by my friend Zoe. She was sharing how her son has wanted to be a pilot since the age of two. Without sharing all the details, he is currently receiving training, at no cost to him or his family, at over $150,000.00. As far as I can explain, all expenses are being paid by the Royal treasury. The King of Kings has provided a way from His storehouse of blessings. How exciting.


“During the seventy years of exile, when you fasted and mourned in the summer and in early autumn, was it really for me that you were fasting? And even now in your holy festivals, aren’t you eating and drinking just to please yourselves?” Zechariah 7:5-6

*Ouch* God is stepping on my toes again.

I don’t know how many of you read Lysa TerKeurst’s blog, but on Thursday she held a little contest. In honour of her friend Holly’s birthday, the reader was encouraged to go and sprinkle happiness on the life of another and then return to comment on the good deed that had been completed. Knowing Holly, and having already written a post in celebration of her life here, I embraced this challenge with enthusiasm. My goodness, by about 9:30am I already had a list of seven things I had done to make another smile and I had many more ideas in mind.

Driving home from repairing an elderly ladies kitchen floor with Fabric Paint (long story), and mentally chalking up another good deed accomplished, the Lord spoke to my heart. “Joy, why are you doing all of these things today? Is it because you want to win a contest or because you love Me?” (Here’s where my feet began to ache!) I was doing kind things, but for the wrong reason. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord saw my heart. This shouldn’t be a one day effort, but a lifestyle. This needs to be a natural overflow from a heart that is truly His. My love for others must flow from the abundance of His love for me. Getting my motivation in check again.


“They stubbornly turned away and put their fingers in their ears to keep from hearing. They made their hearts as hard as stone, so they could not hear the instructions or the messages that the LORD of Heaven’s Armies had sent them by his Spirit through the earlier prophets. That is why the LORD of Heaven’s Armies was so angry with them. Since they refused to listen when I called to them, I would not listen when they called to me, says the LORD of Heaven’s Armies.” Zechariah 7:11-13

These verses caused me to remember my recent ear problems. I had a blockage that had to be removed by my doctor. It caused a physical hearing loss. What about our spiritual ears? Do they sometimes also need an appointment with the Great Physician? Do we sometimes turn away stubbornly, refusing to listen to what He is speaking to us? These verses tell us that if we put our fingers in our ears, displaying no willingness to listen to God, He does not listen to us. His silence is quieter and more unnerving than any physical deafness. Let’s keep our ears open to hear Him speak to our hearts.


“All this may seem impossible to you now…But is it impossible for me? Says the LORD of Heaven’s Armies.” Zechariah 8:6

What encouragement!!! When I think of my Dad’s situation…the dear one who has turned their back on family, friends and God…Melanie's son Andrew…Susan’s cancer diagnosis…etc, I am reminded that NOTHING is impossible with God. Now that’s a good kernel to chew on!!!


“Be strong and finish the task!” Zechariah 8:9

My friend Elaine reads my unspoken words so well. She knows when I’m getting weary and contemplating surrendering to this daily task. She senses discouragement and immediately speaks words of life into me. Last night I received a message from her that infused me with strength to keep writing. Not only that, but she prayed God’s breath would be all over me today as I opened His Word. I guess we know that prayer was answered.


“Now I will rescue you and make you both a symbol and a source of blessing.” Zechariah 8:13

A symbol and a source. Both the representative and the reservoir. The sign and the supply. I just really liked that thought.


“So don’t be afraid…So don’t be afraid.” Zechariah 8:13,15

This little Much-Afraid needs to hear those words daily. Fear has far too much freedom in my life. God needs to constantly speak these words into my heart. Someday I’m going to truly believe them.


“The traditional fasts and times of mourning you have kept in early summer, midsummer, autumn, and winter are now ended. They will become festivals of joy and celebration…” Zechariah 8:19

Does this verse remind you of another passage of scripture? It did me. Isaiah 61:3, “…bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair.” The replacement of mourning for joy. Always thankful to make that wardrobe exchange.


“I’m determined to go.” Zechariah 8:21

Determined. Devoting full strength and concentration to do something; resolute; strongly motivated; fixed or settled conclusively. Do we even see evidence of that type of commitment today in any area? Far too often when the going gets tough, we go alright. We leave the problem, situation, relationship and show no determination to remain, and with the Lord, work at a solution. Lord, keep my mind, eyes, heart fixed on You, devoted until the finish.


“Please let us walk with you, for we have heard that God is with you.” Zechariah 8:23

Isn’t that beautiful? Can you imagine that request being asked of you? Nothing would delight my heart more and humble me deeper. That someone has heard of my faith in the Lord and desires to walk with me. Is your walk inviting such a request today? Let’s live so that other’s want to spend time as our companions on this journey, not because of anything we have done, but because of Christ in us.

My tummy is full. I’ve feasted well this morning. I trust something has filled your heart with His joy.


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Friday, September 11, 2009

Beginning Again

“Do not despise these small beginnings, for the LORD rejoices to see the work begin…” Zechariah 4:10

Lord, I need a new beginning.

Just over eight months ago my heart was seeking You with great passion. I embraced Your Word each morning with fresh enthusiasm and expected You to speak to me. As time has passed, somewhere along the journey a subtle change began to occur.

God's Word was reduced to routine and became a textbook, replacing His story with history. Opening scripture daily, priding myself on not missing a day, yet missing the One who breathed the Words into being. I’ve been reading about life, but not receiving life. I am drenched in study, yet detached from the Savoir.

I have to confess that although I started this year writing my daily devotional blog posts with a heart to hear Him speak personally to me, somewhere along the line it became more of a daily project than a daily personal time. I went from reading His Word to see Him, know Him and abide with Him, to looking for a choice Word to share to create a great piece of literature. It has gone from the Lord impressing His truth on my heart for the purpose of changing me, to looking at ways to impress others with carefully crafted words. Don't misunderstand, I have still meant everything I've written, but it has somehow taken on a new agenda and as I reach for my Bible every morning, the desire to just see Him is clouded and overshadowed as I search for a phrase or verse that could be turned into a compelling devotional.

Father remove my desire for big. May I not despise small beginnings. Start a new work within me today. May I open Your Word with only one desire - to see You. Lord, help me come expectantly. Father, I long to hear You speak. Change me each morning. Lord, I want to follow hard after You.

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Thursday, September 10, 2009

The Appointed Time

“But it will make no difference, for the end will come at the appointed time.” Daniel 11:27

I am a worrier. A pain there. An ache here. A tingling feeling. My heart races or skips a beat. All these symptoms send me into instant panic. I over think and over analyze, consumed with self-awareness. Hearing stories of others suddenly diagnosed with cancer, brain aneurisms, heart disease or stroke scares the living daylights out of me, especially if these dear ones are approximately my age. I live anxious of sudden physical changes and magnify every perceived sensation. I do not run to the Doctors, but I inwardly live with the concern that subjective evidence is indicating something isn’t right. What a lot of wasted worry.

The end will come at the appointed time. The Psalmist tells us that God knows the number of our days before one of them came to be. His Word tells me that He formed me and knows me full well. My times are in His hands. Whether it’s the appointed time for the end of life, end of a trial or end of the day, it comes at the exact moment that God has already ordained. My fear makes no difference to my dying, but greatly affects my living.

Father, help me to trust You. Give me wisdom and discernment to know when to pursue a physical concern, but also help me not to focus on and react to each and every one that are just part of the natural aging process. Exchange my fear for faith and my thoughts of self with thoughts of ministering to others. Lord, guard my mind and let me rest in knowing You, the Great Physician, are caring for me.

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Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Exile / Two Songs

Two scripture passages spoke deeply to my heart today. After debating which to write about, I settled on both. May the Lord use them to minister to you today.

“…returned from exile.” Ezra 2:2, 36, 40, 43, 55

Returned from exile. Sometimes it’s the exile who appreciates home more than those already on the inside. The desire is different. The longing more intense. Those on the inside can become complacent or critical, but the exile returning has a fresh appreciation.

There are those who are exiled by force, and those exiled by choice. A self-imposed exile, often during desert times, pulls us away and isolates us from God and others. Alone was never God’s design.

Whether the exile is by deportation or personal decision, there is separation. Distance divides. The disconnect isn’t just physical. In fact, quite often location isn’t the issue. Hearts go into exile. Walls are built. Defences strong. Exile becomes a protection.

Someone very dear to me is choosing a life of exile. Cutting all ties with friends, family and God, they are turning their back on everything and everyone. Each day another step is taken in the wrong direction. Their mind is held captive by evil. Only God can return this prisoner of darkness. The situation looks impossible right now. Praying that someday they too will be returned from exile. Father, turn this runaway toward home.


"The joyful shouting and weeping mingled together in a loud noise that could be heard far in the distance." Ezra 3:13

In just a few days we will welcome Fall - although to look outside the window as I type this now, at flowers blooming and feel the warmth of the sun, it's hard to believe that cooler weather is actually on the horizon. Seasons in our world flow one to another. Our calendar each year records the first day of Winter, Spring, Summer and Fall. Each one begins on a designated day, coming expected, unchanging and predictable. The seasons in our life are not as reliable. We experience spring's freshness, summer's warmth and rest, autumn's cool winds and winter's harsher climate at any time of the year. We can even live with the elements of two seasons running parallel across our lives at the same time.

The other morning I was awakened by the sound of nature outside my window. Two birds were welcoming the day. The little songbird's melody was breathtaking. The trills this little bird sang as he cascaded up and down octaves was a glorious song of celebration. Yet, joining in this duet was the mournful cooing of a dove. How sad this song appeared in comparison. Both were singing the song the Lord had given them. One sounded as if it was overflowing from sheer joy, the other offering a sacrifice of praise through pain.

How often in my life two songs are being played. I'm rejoicing because of God's goodness in one area, yet fearful and doubting in another. It's like looking outside right now and knowing summer is here, yet feeling approaching winter winds on my heart. Summer's joy is bridled by winter's pain. What I know to be true in my head, yet only seeing the reality of circumstances surrounding me. Living in the now and the not yet. Having the joy of one situation clouded by the trials and hardships of another. One brings laughter, the other tears.

I think of laughter as a gift. I often rejoice in laughter, yet hide my tears. Tears, too, are a gift from God. They do not go unnoticed by Him. Both are wordless emotions that express so much. I read recently that tears caused by laughter are very different than tears caused by sorrow. Their composition is different. Tears caused by sorrow matter so much to God that they even have a different consistency than "happy tears". That's how He designed us.

Ken Gire writes, "The closest communion with God comes, I believe, through the sacrament of tears. Just as grapes are crushed to make wine and grain to make bread, so the elements of this sacrament come from the crushing experiences of life."

It's so hard being caught in the middle of one piece of music. The treble part is victorious and lilting, while the bass accompaniment lingers long, low and harsh. Inside, my emotions are torn. The arms of my heart are stretched out. Each one is being pulled in the opposite direction. A battle is being fought. Joyful shouting and weeping mingled together. The journey of life brings the Road to Emmaus, but also the Via Dolorosa. Two paths. Two seasons. Both leading to the same Savior.

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Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Blessed Assurance

“The moment you began praying, a command was given. And now I am here to tell you what it was, for you are very precious to God.” Daniel 9:23

Oh Father, thank You. Thank You for this blessed assurance. After yesterday’s confusion comes today’s confidence. Lord, You have heard our cries. An answer is in place. We are not forgotten. A command has been given. Your response was immediate, but the fulfillment is still to come. Lord, help us trust between the cry and the completion. May Your presence fill the gap between our prayer and Your plan and purpose. Thank You for reminding me how precious I am to You. Thank You for the breath of encouragement Your Word has provided today. Oh, how I love You Lord.

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Monday, September 7, 2009

Restrained, Released, Remaining

“The army of heaven was restrained from responding to this rebellion.” Daniel 8:12

Lord, why? Times when evil appears to prosper and flourish. All things good and right seem denied. We question, where is God and why is He allowing satan to go unchecked? Doesn’t the Lord see our suffering and pain? Doesn’t He hear our prayers and cries for intervention? Why is the army of heaven restrained from responding on our behalf?

I wish I had an answer. The truth is, I don’t know. I have, now and again, been blessed with hindsight when a trial is over and enjoyed the gift of seeing how God used a certain situation to glorify Himself. Other times, not so much. At the end all I see is confusion, bewilderment and pain, yet the truth of God’s Word tells me that this too is working out somehow for my good and His glory.

There are just so many things right now to which I am saying, “Lord, where are You?” I mean, I know His presence is with me, that is not what I am doubting and questioning. But, Lord, where are You working in these circumstances? Why must these dear ones endure so much? Lord, You tell us You won’t give us more than we can bear, and that with the burdens, if we remain yoked with You, You will bring Your strength to carry us, but how much more Lord…how much more? Oh that You would loose the army of heaven to conquer our foe and let us see the victory that is ours through Your Son. We know eventual victory is promised and we trust You Lord, but how we long to see You overcome in these situations promptly.

Yet, maybe the victory right now will not come through positive answered prayer or the removal of rebellion, but by remaining faithful.

Lord, will You come alongside these precious ones right now who are weighed down, discouraged and despaired and let them feel You, shoulder to shoulder? Will you whisper in their ears that they are not alone, abandoned or forgotten? Father, strengthen their faith. One especially is fairly new in their walk with You. Lord hold this dear one so close that they feel Your heartache for them and heartbeat in them. Lord, may they not give up. Surround them with Your presence. May we who are soldiers in Your army here on earth, rally around them and offer the support and help we can. Maybe heaven’s army is restrained because there are those of us here You want to release and use in answering their prayers. Father show us what we can do today to be part of Your relief and rescue mission as these dear ones wait for the rebellion to end.

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Sunday, September 6, 2009

With You

“And from that day the name of the city will be ‘The LORD Is There’”.

Yahweh Shammah. The LORD is there.

There. Here. With you. Wherever you are. Wherever you need Him to be.

He will never leave us or forsake us.

He is with you.

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Saturday, September 5, 2009

Special Possession

“…I alone am their special possession.” Ezekiel 44:28

If you had to suddenly leave your house quickly, what would you grab to take with you as you hurried away? I’ve heard many people respond to this question with the word, “photos”. Irreplaceable moments captured on film. Home videos are also treasured keepsakes. Wedding rings. Your Bible. The one that is marked and underlined with dog-eared corners. Pages speaking of journey’s through joy and tears, chronicling your walk with the Lord and the relationship that has grown over time. All these, priceless items, that fill your heart with love. However, if you know Christ as your Saviour and Lord, you already take your most “special possession” with you as you leave.

Do you see Him as your most special possession? Do you realize that nothing else you own or will ever acquire can even come close to being as valuable to you as He already is right now? He is your “pearl of great price”. Do you treasure Him as such? Do you hear Him saying as He did to the priests, “I alone am her special possession”?

It was 14 years ago today my son made a decision to ask the Lord to be his special possession. We are celebrating his spiritual birthday today and thanking the Lord for all He is doing in his life.

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Friday, September 4, 2009

Minister To

“The room beside the south inner gate is for the priests in charge of the altar - the descendants of Zadok - for they alone of all the Levites may approach the LORD to minister to him.” Ezekiel 40:46

Receiving her phone call and invitation to lunch, I had a preconceived idea how our visit would go. I knew she was going through a difficult time and I had often provided a listening ear in the past. Can you imagine my surprise when we sat down, and after ordering our meal, she turned to me and said, “What’s on your heart today?” She wanted to listen to me. She desired to minister to my heart.

The verse above speaks of the descendants of Zadok who approached the LORD to minister to Him. Do you ever think about ministering to God’s heart? Would you even know how? Not ministering for Him, or with Him or in Him, but to Him.

My mind drifts to the passage in Matthew 25:31-46. We minister to the Lord when we feed the hungry, give water to the thirsty, clothe the naked and visit those in prison. When we share His love with others we are ministering to Him.

How will you minister to His heart today?

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Thursday, September 3, 2009

Signs and Wonders

“I want you to know about the miraculous signs and wonders the Most High has performed for me.” Daniel 4:2

In recent writings I have shared the miraculous story surrounding my birth (Aug 14), as well as the account of God’s miraculous provision as I stepped out in faith and trusted Him (July 13). As I ponder other signs and wonders the Lord has performed for me, I think aback to a high school gym exam.

I am not athletic at all. The only reason I was in this physical education class was because it was mandatory. The day had come to be examined on a piece of gym equipment, either the uneven bars, the “horse” or the beam. Although class time had been given to create a routine on the apparatus of my choice, I hadn’t had the courage to attempt even touching one of them. I don’t know what made me thing the beam would be easiest, but when my name was called, I walked towards it hesitantly.

Saying a quick prayer, somehow I managed to hoist myself up and I suddenly found I was standing at the end of this very narrow piece of wood, several feet off the ground. I was to walk it’s length three times, attempting different moves before dismounting. To this day I can’t tell you what I did. An unseen force carried me and held my feet from slipping. According to my friends who congratulated me afterwards, I even did a couple of little jumps! I didn’t receive a glowing mark, but I did meet the requirements for a passing grade. I really believe that day marked another miraculous wonder.

My life has been filled with divine interventions. Times when the Lord has decided to show His power to me, in me and through me. I’m sure the Lord has acted on your behalf many times as well. Are you sharing His story? I’d be encouraged to read of His miraculous power demonstrated to you.

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Wednesday, September 2, 2009

One Word Reputation

“These men had a great reputation as mighty warriors and leaders of their clans.” 1 Chronicles 5:24

Reputation. Notoriety for some particular characteristic. The general estimation that the public has for a person. A social evaluation. How you are known, e.g. coward, clever, funny etc…

These men had a great reputation as mighty warriors and leaders. WOW! Walking down the street, heads must have turned as they passed by. Reminds me of the verse in Proverbs 31 that speaks of the husband of this virtuous woman as being well known in the city gates. He had a good reputation.

Years ago I sent an e-mail to several close friends asking them to describe me in one word. Their answers were revealing. I feel they were an honest reflection, but it was an eye-opening exercise as well. How we are seen vs. how we’d like to be known. Sometimes they can be polar opposites.

Regardless of all the adjectives and nouns that could be used in describing my character, more than anything I want others to see Jesus in me. I pray people would forget my name, but remember His. Would I be labelled as a witness? Am I accused of being an ambassador for Jesus Christ?

On her CD entitled, “Freedom”, Mandisa sings a song called, “The Definition of Me”. The lyrics in the chorus say:

“I want the One that you can’t see
To be the definition of me…
I want the truth that I believe
To be the definition of me.”

What one word would Jesus use to describe me?

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Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Ignoring the Fire Alarm

“When the watchman sees the enemy coming, he sounds the alarm to warn the people. Then if those who hear the alarm refuse to take action, it is their own fault if they die. They heard the alarm but ignored it, so the responsibility is theirs. If they had listened to the warnings, they could have saved their lives.” Ezekiel 33:3-5

Watching the news last night I heard the broadcaster warning the people in California to evacuate due to the raging fires that have doubled in size during the past 24 hours. They were reporting that although many cautions had been delivered, still five people had refused to leave and were now trapped. They did not heed the warning.

Several times I have been in a Mall when the fire alarm rings. It always amazes me all the people who carry on as if that siren isn’t even sounding. They ignore it completely. Even the sales clerks don’t bat an eye.

I remember watching the news one evening and being shocked to see the response of some people in regards to Hurricane Ike. Despite warnings and recommendations to head for safety, there were those who voluntarily chose to remain behind and ride out the storm. Grant you, I'm not a 'storm girl', but if the experts are advising evacuation, well, my suitcase would be packed in minutes and I'd be gone. There is no way I would tempt the forecast, baiting it to be proven wrong or wanting to be hailed as a brave survivor. The residents are knowledgeable of the approaching storm, yet they are responding in foolishness. No way would I knowingly place myself in dangers I?

Danger is anything that makes you liable to loss pain or injury. Do I sometimes choose to walk paths of peril? Do words I decide to say cause pain? Do activities I partake in hurt others? I make some dangerous choices every day. I know they aren't God-honouring, yet I carry on regardless, allowing emotions, instead of truth, to guide my way. You may respond, 'At least they are not life threatening', but that's not true. God's Word says that the power of life and death is in the tongue. My destructive words can kill.

I heard a story once of a suicide note that was found. It simply read, "They said...." Apparently this young person could no longer face the cruelty and accusations that tore at her heart in silence. The childhood rhyme is only half true. Sticks and stones may break our bones, but names do hurt us. Do not allow your mouth to be a weapon of Satan, leaving a trail of devastation greater than any force of nature.

Temptation lures in many areas, and I succumb. The winds that blow with gale force strength can demolish my character and beat upon the lives of others. A decision to follow Christ down a safe street is abandoned to indulge in a thoroughfare of trouble. Why? Because it feels good? Because I think my actions are justified? Because I have my 'rights'? Because it satisfies some sick sense of self vindication? The results of not heeding the Spirit's prompting can range from personal feelings of guilt and failure, to loss of relationships and disappointing God.

There's another path that results in even greater danger and that is a roadway walked in rebellion. Refusing to acknowledge that God is God. One day at His return it will be too late to change direction. No one knows the day, the hour or the time of Christ's reappearing. Unlike predicting the land fall of severe weather, Christ will come again like a thief in the night. Scripture warns of the gradual, increasing winds of wars and rumour of wars, giving opportunity for decisions to be made now. Those who choose to laugh in the face of approaching apocalypse, not ignorant of the truth, but ignoring it's severity, will find themselves tormented in a state of frantic confusion.

God implores, today, while you hear His voice, respond. (Hebrews 3:7-8) Do not harden your hearts. Do not reply in foolishness, believing you alone will be exempt from devastation. There will come a day when all will be judged, both the living and the dead. (1 Peter 4:5)

When warnings are adhered to, lives are spared. May this be a warning for eternity today. If you are not prepared for the sudden evacuation from earth to heaven, a decision today can change your life forever. Christ is the Eye of the storm. He is the calm in the center of life's chaos. Turn to him today. Like those who remain behind when warnings of approaching disaster are given, it is the fool who has said in their heart there is no God (Psalm 14:1). Let’s also be used to pull the alarm ourselves when we see smoke rising in the lives of others.

**Please know that my heart goes out to any who lost life in the wake of Hurricane Ike or the fires in California. It is not my intent to sound calous or insensitive to those who lost friends and family in these disasters. Please forgive me if any of my words have sounded harsh and uncaring. I realize there were some who remained behind serving as agents of rescue and protection. I just see a parallel between those who took a risk to stay behind, shown on the news broadcast I watched, laughing in the face of danger and those who are risking eternity by the choices they are making today. My desire is to be an agent of rescue as well.

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