A Missing Few Days

No internet meant no devotional blogging for a few days.  In the absence, Chris had his surgery.  It was much more complicated than anticipated and took about 5 hours.  It’s all over now and the recovery is in progress.  He’s already frustrated at sitting around but I’m so grateful the worst is behind us.  At least I hope so.  We wait to see if it is cancer or not but the doctor was very confident it was not.  It will just be nice to know for sure.

The people in our lives are awesome and to see them rally around us with prayers, texts, calls and even a visit in the waiting room from Gramps and Grandma was amazing.  Thank you, Lord, for our people.

Had a profound release today while reading TPDL.  I am always feeling badly that I am not able to influence the unsaved to have a relationship with God.  I am serving in a variety of ways in the Church and I love that.  But I have often diminished that and saw it as second best.  We’ve been focusing on evangelism in church lately and that has increased my desire to reach people for Him but it has also left me feeling like I’m not fulfilling my call to the unsaved.  There are definite ways I can grow in this area.  I am thankful I am in a conversation with Lisa about that now.

For years I have had the name, “My Brother’s Keeper” in my heart.  I saw it as a counseling ministry but since I am not a qualified counselor it was a desire unfulfilled and seemed actually impossible to ever become a reality.  I am thinking now that my entire purpose is just that and I am involved in it now.  With my youth group girls, Sunday School and even my full time job.  I am serving God in the local church and this is highly valuable to Him.  Yes, I am called to share Christ and as God gives me opportunity I pray I’ll be faithful to that.  But… I am so grateful and will stop apologizing that my ministry is mainly with the saved family of God.  This is a privilege and I’m so excited to realize this today.  This is the life He gave me.  That He chose for me even before I was born.  These are the people He has put in my life.  These are my neighbors. This is my home.  This is my church.  These are my youth group girls.  These are my friends.  This is my family.  This is my job. (and when I say “my” I am very aware that none of if it actually MINE but what I mean by that is that He has given them to me to serve Him).  To God be the glory for great things He has done.

Grateful to be “My Brother’s Keeper”.  Lord, you are good.

To balance this God also had me read John 4 today.  I realize that Jesus’ ministry was teaching once he had called his disciples and then He released them to serve Him and do the same.  I also can teach those He has brought in my life and release and prepare them to serve Him well as they grow.  But Jesus also took the time away from His inner circle and met the woman at the well.  His meeting with her was intentional and even though he was tired, hungry and thirsty He was ready to teach and proclaim truth to this woman.  Lord, help me look for those “well moments” and be faithful in what You would have me say to those you bring into my life who do not yet know you.

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Lisa’s Journey

I am really loving the book, “The Purpose Driven Life”.  It’s not a new book but I’ve never read it.  I only chose to read it because of Lisa’s text asking me questions about faith.  I felt compelled to share this book with her which was odd because I have never read it.  I purchased her a copy and a friend gave me one of her extra copies.  We’ve been reading it “together” and I am really enjoying it.  I will need to text her today because it’s been a week or so since I’ve heard how she is doing with it.

I read chpt. 23 today about growth.  It has some great analogies to explain some questions she may or may not have at some point.  It blessed me.  Thinking about how to change your life means changing the way you think was a great place to mediate on today.  “Behind everything you do there is a thought.  Every behavior is motivated by a belief, and every action is prompted by an attitude.”  Lord, let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart acceptable in thy sight..”  I often pray that prayer but I am asking God today to really change my thinking, behaviors, beliefs and actions as He changes me to be more like him. “Christianity is not a religion or a philosophy, but a relationship and a lifestyle.” Lord, let my choices reflect that today.

I also read John 4:1-6 today.  I had Lisa on my mind and I think that all those years ago when God had our paths cross in high school it may have been for this reason.  She is my “woman at the well” currently.  I am stretching Scripture here probably but I can’t help but think that this friendship of 27 years may be leading to something huge for Lisa.  We haven’t talked much about faith but she is very open.  I’m excited to share with her and praying that she is able to formulate the questions she has and trusting God to give me the answers.  But mostly relying on the Holy Spirit to continue calling her and working in her heart.

Lord, I HATE that I’m so rushed today and the above thoughts are rambled.  But I am asking You to continue working on Lisa.  To cleanse my heart and change my “autopilot” to reflect Christian character and choices that glorify You.  

I love you,

Dawn

What is God’s Will?

So often in my life I have been caught up in the idea that when I hit a crossroads and there are two choices to make I must get it right or I won’t have God’s best.  Sometimes there is a clear path and other times there are two great choices to make.  A profound thought today for me was found in chpt 22 of TPDL  “There are many different careers(substitute choices) that could be God’s will for your life.  What God cares most about is that whatever you do, you do it in a Christlike manner”.  He’s about the WHO not the WHAT.  He is developing our character because that’s what we take into eternity with us.  Of course it’s still right and good to pray and ask for direction but instead of being at a standstill, afraid of making the wrong choice, ask Him to make you more like Him whatever you do.  Sometimes God doesn’t let us know clearly “which way is best” because BOTH are fine and He has created us with personalities and allows us to make choices.

I also love John the Baptist quote, “He must increase, I must decrease”.  Whatever I do…let this be the cry of my heart.  Whatever choice I make, let Him be exalted and seen by those He brings into my life.  Keep me from anything that would hinder Your work in me and through me.

As I sat today in this house that God has allowed us to have, listening to the sounds of pouring rain, enjoying coffee and reading, I am filled with such contentment and joy.  This house was one of those choices where it wasn’t perfectly clear what we should do.  It was a desire…but not a definite clear path.  I’m grateful He allowed it and worked out all the details for us.  My prayer then was, “God, put us wherever you can use us best.”  We now live in Trumbull with a whole new set of neighbors who don’t know You.  Lord, Please use us to reach them for you.  And thank you that you allow us to serve you at Calvary Church.  Be glorified in us and through us. 

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Church Unity and John 3

I love my church.  We’ve come through a few churches and while none have been perfect, each one has been perfect for us for that season of our lives.

Reading TPDL and chapter 21 is talking about church unity.  Several great points.  I’m keeping this book as it’s a great resource for many different issues.  My main point today for myself is summed up in this sentence, “Let’s agree to use all our energy in getting along with each other.  Help others with encouraging words; don’t drag them down by finding fault.”  Because I’m so bad at confrontation, I don’t usually tear people down to their face.  I’m better at the encouraging words part of that.  But, that being said, there are times when someone’s personality or convictions get on my nerves and if I sense that I can “vent” or share my frustrations with someone who has the same opinion I run off at the mouth.  This is SIN!

Lord, forgive me and help me to be mindful of the words I say.  If you want me to correct someone because of something YOU want corrected, help me be bold.  Thank you for the many different personalities you have brought into my life and grant me patience to love them even if their personality is not something that I am drawn to.

“Coincidentally” as I finished that and opened the Bible I am reading John 3 beginning in chapter 16 which sums up the reason for my above prayer.  Because God so loved THE WORLD (not just those I find easy to get along with)….  It is because of Christ that I am part of the family of God.   But by the grace of God I would be a lost sinner bound for hell.  Who am to judge another?

Lord, thank you that it is You who “chose to give us different personalities, backgrounds, races and preferences, so we should value and enjoy those differences, not merely tolerate them.”  Lord give me patience with those who differ from me.  I am not one to judge based on any outward appearance usually but I know that there are those who “get on my nerves and I am quick to criticize just because they were created with different personalities than I.  I recognize that there are some that will never be “my favorites” but I need to let that go and love them because they are your children.  I’m feeling very humbled right now.  Seriously…who am I?  Lord, forgive me and help me to grow.

John 3: My Favorite Chapter

John chapter 3 will always have significance for me.

I can remember childhood days of sitting in my top bunk with my Bible, which was like a foreign language to me, trying to read it.  None of it made any sense but I had deep desire (which I now recognize as the Holy Spirit’s prompting) to read it and understand it.  As time when on, the old Bible became less and less important because it didn’t make sense and life got busy.

Fast forward to young adult years when going through some struggles and being sure I was destined for hell because of some bad choices I began to search again by reading The Word.  I distinctly remember reading in John 3:3 and hearing the phrase, “born again” for the first time.  My heart stirred within me.  “What does that even mean?” became a heart felt cry.  I asked people..  I got no answers other than, “You’re a good girl.  You’ll be fine!”  I was so frustrated because the only thing I knew for sure was that I was NOT a “good girl”.  I remember thinking, “I don’t know what born-again means, but if that’s what I need to ‘see the kingdom of God’ I better find out and take care of that.  If I don’t know what it even means, it must not be something I am.”  It had to be a personal decision that I had not yet made.

Fast forward to a few years later when attending a Baptist church on our street, things began to make sense.  I went forward during an invitation and yielded my life to Him that day.  There are so many more details about that whole experience but that’s for another time.

Today, I sit in gratitude that John chapter 3 is in the Bible and loved reading it again today.  I can’t wait to meet Nicodemus and thank him that even though it was in the dark of night in secret that he asked questions I needed answers to.

I am currently reading “The Purpose Driven Life” and today’s reading was about restoring relationships.  I don’t know of any that I need restoration at this point but I’m sure that will come.  Thinking of a friend who really needs reconciliation in her family.  Praying for her.  Since she is the one who gave me this book, I want to talk to her about chapter 20 today.  Just to remind her that God has a plan and great way to make sure we have done all we can in the process of restoring relationships.

Thank you, Lord, for today.  Thank you, Lord, for Your Word.

Easter Weekend and Monday Morning

Had a great Easter weekend.  It was probably one of my favorites ever as far as Easter goes.  When the kids were younger it was fun to see them look for eggs and spend time with family but as they have gotten older it’s been different every year.  I missed having Jenny home this year but she said she was having a relaxing day with friends at school.

From Thursday night’s Maundy Thursday service through Good Friday and then Easter, church was fantastic!  For Easter we chose to stay home and invited Charles for dinner.  Grandma and Grandpa came over too and so did Nancy.  We played games on the porch with Charles and it was fun.  Chris was “off” yesterday (Easter).  He’s upset about bills and money and just tired of our constant money struggles.  I hate that it was hard yesterday for him.  He just seemed edgy all day and I was sad for him.  I know he misses our home in Ansonia.  I know he moved here for me and my job.  He rushes home after every service embarrassed that we live on property.  He tries to hide it…but I know it’s there.  I feel so torn and sad about that.  I’m so happy here and absolutely love my job.  I know this is for a season and not our end destination.   I’m just praying he can find joy here.  He says he’s happy and I  know for the most part, he is.  But seeing him miss the other house makes me feel terrible.
It’s becoming easier and easier to picture Charles as part of our family and I’m praying that God will bring he and Becky together at His perfect time.  And patience for me as I wait.  They really are perfect for each other.

Christopher is powering through with some nasty poison ivy but I think he had a good day as well.  He’s a funny kid and I’m grateful for who he is.

Peter gave Calvary staff the day off today.  I’m looking forward to relaxing and getting some things done around here.  Including grocery shopping. Weather is perfect.

I finished my Lysa T book.  It was good.  I also read John 2.   In Lysa’s book my favorite line today was on page 209 at the bottom where it talks about Prov. 29:18 and the difference between vision and revelation.  “Vision is something people produce; revelation is something people receive.  Leaders can dream up a vision, but they cannot discover God’s will.  God must reveal it.”  I like that.

God reveal Yourself to me in new ways every day.  Show me Your will.  Let me not be caught up in my own “visions” of what I think should be.

In John, I was struck by how the disciples saw Jesus do things, heard him speak and God used those things to remind them of who Jesus was and what He said when he died and was resurrected.  In their time of need…he reminded them of Scripture.

God, may your word fill my every need as I know it has the power to do.  Bring it to my mind at exactly the moment I need it.  Help me to be a good student of Your Word so that Your Spirit can bring it to my heart and mind at the perfect time.

I also loved the end of John 2 talking about how no one needed to explain what was in man’s heart to Jesus..  He already knows.  Yikes and Yay at the same time.  Scary to think how well he knows me and a blessing to know he loves me anyway.

Lord, I know I can’t hide anything from You.  And I’m grateful that you love me in spite of the junk in me.  Forgive me, Lord.  Cleanse me.  Create in me a clean heart and renew a right spirit in me.  Be blessed and pleased by me today.

Good Friday

Good Friday picWords like “Hope” and “Peace” are used at Christmas but without the Resurrection they would have no meaning.  Hallelujah.  But first I stop to consider the Cross and all that took place that day so long ago on a mount called Golgatha.

I decided to read about Good Friday in all the Gospels this morning.  I started in Matthew.  I can’t get over the mocking and beatings and how He willingly gave His life.  In the midst of all the chaos, at any moment, He could have said, “Enough!” and proved to those who were there who He was once and for all.  But then the purpose for the entire day would be lost in a moment.  Would have been a “cool miracle” for those there but that would have been it.  Thank you Jesus for your Willing Necessary Sacrifice.  And thank you for the Promise that brings.  I also was stuck in Matthew on the bodies being resurrected.  I’m not sure exactly what all that means and will have to look into that more.

In Mark I pause to think about how when Jesus was accused by Pilate about being the King of the Jews, he answered that he was.  But when accused by the crowd of many other things he answered nothing.  Because none of it was true.  Again.. The willingness to silently stand  there and be accused.  Wow.  I love that.  I’m also struck by the people so blessed to “help” him.  Joseph of Arimathea, Simon of Cyrene (even if he wasn’t a believer he was chosen to help carry the Cross).  The contrast between that and the crowds yelling for him to be crucified.  When Pilate asked what evil Jesus had done all they yelled was crucify him.  There minds were made up.  And yet….He loved, was silent, and submitted for me (us, yes..but I’ve been thinking about how personal He is lately so I’m choosing to focus on that).

Luke has so many things I could park on.  Sadly, time is not allowing that today.  I type these notes to help me remember what I read.  I’m still amazed that he only answered the questions having to do with being the Son of God.  I also am struck by Joseph again.  Luke states that he was a “good and righteous man who had not consented…”  That character is a huge contrast to the crowds yelling crucify Him.  Of course I want to be like that..or like Simon even but I know that I probably wouldn’t have.  I would have been in the crowd because I am such a people pleaser.  I wish I wasn’t and I’m asking God to help me in that area.

Off to work…I’ll have to read John later.

I love Good Friday at Calvary.