Bible · Devotional · True Vine

The True Vine

We made it. It’s June! Then my son comes home from a lawn mowing job, looks at me and says, “I miss the cooler weather.” It was just a few days ago I was turning on my electric blanket. Let’s not rush things.

During our last cold snap, we had quite the hail storm… twice… in one day. Our poor plants were shredded. We have a vegetable garden and a flower garden plus a few pots. You can move the pots but the rest, unless you cover them, you pray for the best.

We didn’t cover them. Things came on a little quicker and harder than we expected. But they survived. As a matter of fact, they look great!
Block 3rd
Thinking about how great the flowers look after all they went through, got me thinking about one of my favorite devotionals. Andrew Murray’s “The True Vine.” The devotional is about abiding in the true vine, Jesus.

“I am the true vine.” John 15:1a NASB ’95

Abiding in Jesus is not a passing thing or a one and done thing. John tells us again in the epistle 1 John to abide in Jesus. We can never discern truth if we are not abiding. We cannot grow if we are not abiding. And we abide by knowing His word, by the renewing of our mind (Romans 12:2). 

When you get your own personal hail storm thrown at you, abiding in Jesus is what’s going to see you through. 
Memorial Day

Memorial Day – May we never forget…

Today, may we remember the reason for Memorial Day. May we remember freedom is not free. The freedoms we enjoy in America are ours because of those who laid down their lives for us to have a better life

Below are excerpts from a D. James Kennedy Ministries post about Memorial Day:

“Our first obligation to them and ourselves is plain enough: The United States and the freedom for which it stands, the freedom for which they died, must endure and prosper. Their lives remind us that freedom is not bought cheaply. It has a cost; it imposes a burden. And just as they whom we commemorate were willing to sacrifice, so too must we—in a less final, less heroic way—be willing to give of ourselves.” Ronald Reagan, Memorial Day, 1982, Arlington National Cemetery.

This Memorial Day, we should, if nothing else, thank the Lord for those who laid their lives on the line for us. We enjoy the freedom we enjoy because they shed their blood for us—reminiscent of the freedom the Christian enjoys because the Savior shed His blood for us at Calvary.

Colin Powell said about this holiday: “All of us lead busy lives. We have little time to pause and reflect. But I ask of you: Do not hasten through Memorial Day. Take the time to remember the good souls whose memories are a blessing to you and your family. Take your children to our memorial parks and monuments. Teach them the values that lend meaning to our lives and to the life of our nation. Above all, take the time to honor our fellow Americans who have given their last full measure of devotion to our country and for the freedoms we cherish.”

God bless you!

Bible · Devotional · Trust · Trust in the Lord

One Thing is Certain…

It’s finally warming up where I am even though parts of Colorado are still getting snow. I think we’re done where I am… at least until September.

As the seasons change around us, so is the world around us. There seems to be no stopping it and it looks nothing like it did twelve or eighteen months ago.

Change can be hard. It can be scary. It’s uncertain. I’ve said before we’re not supposed to worry. Jesus commands it. James reiterates it.

But you know what doesn’t change? God. God never ever changes. And that’s something you can be certain of!

“Long ago You established the earth,
and the heavens are the work of Your hands.
They will perish, but You will endure;
all of them will wear out like clothing.
You will change them like a garment,
and they will pass away.
But You are the same,
and Your years will never end.
Your servants’ children will dwell securely,
and their offspring will be established before You.”
Psalm 102: 25-28 HSCB

God has it all in His hand. No reason to be scared, uncertain, or to worry.

None.

“Lift up your eyes to the sky,
Then look to the earth beneath;
For the sky will vanish like smoke,
And the earth will wear out like a garment
And its inhabitants will die in like manner;
But My salvation will be forever,
And My righteousness will not wane.”
Isaiah 51:6 NASB ’95

Bible · Devotional · Trust · Trust and Stress · Trust in the Lord

Stress and Trust

Have you ever thought about how you handle stress? Life is stressful. We live in a stressful time. Everyone handles stress differently. Our triggers are different. Our tolerance levels are different. Our coping is different.

I’m sure I could find someone who loves the same go-to food that I do but our “uncle” cry may come at a different time.

I had an issue crop up and I’ve been actively dealing with it for the last month. It was a change in the service policy regarding my newsletter and one I had no control over. (I tried!)

I may have panicked a bit. But not at first. I thought I had it under control. Me.

I made a plan. It didn’t go as planned. So I abandoned the plan.

I made another plan. It went worse.

I almost went back to the creator of my problem. But, as we know, familiarity breeds contempt (not contentment). But sometimes we think dealing with what we know is easier than pressing on.

But there was a bigger problem. Me! I tend to be a tad impatient. When a problem arises, I want it fixed, now. Then life can move forward. It’s a plan.

“Rest in the LORD and wait patiently for Him.” Psalm 37:7a NASB

I prayed about my problem and then I jumped right in to fix it. And a month later, it’s fixed. No thanks to me and my impatience.

How we handle stress, a lot of the time, only adds to the stress.

“Trust in Him at all times, O people.” Psalm 62:8a NASB

We shouldn’t even get to the “uncle” cry if we trust in the Lord. But when we do get there, because we will, hopefully that “uncle” cry, gets us back to Him, where we can rest and wait patiently.

So, I’ve found a newsletter service I’m thrilled with and if I’d had been patient, this problem would have been resolved two weeks ago . . .

Please don’t stress about being stressed. Take some time to stop and pray and wait.

“I waited patiently for the LORD;And He inclined to me and heard my cry.”
Psalm 40:1 NASB

Bible · Devotional · Grace

Grace is Enough for Today!

Recently, I was in Cheyenne, WY for a homeschool conference last week. It was time well spent but I was very glad to come home!

One of the big takeaways was grace. God gives us the grace to do what He has called us to do. He didn’t make a mistake when He called us (or where He called us).

“And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.” Romans 8:38 NASB ’95

And just because He’s given us His grace (which is truly remarkable and totally undeserving), doesn’t mean what He’s called us to do will be without challenges. But we have this promise to cling to:

“‘Do not fear, for I am with you; Do not anxiously look about you, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, surely I will help you, Surely I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.'” Isaiah 41:10 NASB ’95

Hold on to that when things get tough and doubt creeps in about the very thing God has called you to!

“And my God will supply all your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:19 NASB ’95

Bible · Devotional · Gifted by God

How are you gifted?

As we look around, we can see so many of God’s gifts. The beautiful spring – singing birds, blooming flowers, warmer days. But what about the gifts God gives to us? Have you ever thought about how you are gifted?

Sometimes that’s a hard question to answer. Sometimes the answer looks different in different situations (even though it’s usually the same core gift). Some think our gifts change. Maybe. I believe they mature as we grow. But God can do whatever He wants with how He’s gifted us.

“As each one has received a special gift, employ it in serving one another as good stewards of the multifaceted grace of God.” 1 Peter 4:10 NASB

So, are you using your gift? What does it mean to use your gift? Look that up on the internet and you might walk away feeling pretty depressed or defeated. So don’t do that. I don’t want you to be depressed or feel defeated.

If you’re a mom (for example), that’s the season you’re in. You’ll apply your gift there (along with other places as well). You don’t have to be serving in a country overseas or leading a giant ministry. Will God call some to serve is countries overseas? Yes. Or give some a giant ministry? He can. But if that’s not you, it doesn’t mean your gift is of any less value or importance.

When I lived in Northern Arizona, I was the Women’s Ministry Leader for our church. I taught Bible studies and planned events for the ladies. Now my ministry and Bible students are my boys. I don’t think either one is more or less valuable to God. Okay, truth time, I’m a little more attached to my boys, but to God, no matter the audience He gives me, my gift is the same. It’s one of the reasons I started writing and why my newsletter is more of a devotional style (which I hope brings encouragement and inspiration).

Same basic gifting, different expressions. No complaining here, I’m enjoying it all!

What about you? How are you gifted? Are you using it where God has you?

“And He gave some as apostles, and some as prophets, and some as evangelists, and some as pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of service, to the building up of the body of Christ.” Ephesians 4:11-12 NASB

Bless someone with your gifting, because you’ll end up being the who is blessed!

 “For behold, the winter is past,
The rain is over and gone.
The flowers have already appeared in the land;
The time has arrived for pruning the vines,
And the voice of the turtledove has been heard in our land.”
Song of Solomon 2:11-12 NASB

Bible · Devotional · Don't Worry · Scripture

How can good come from worry?

In the previous blog, I said you can’t worry and hope at the same time. They don’t go together and were never meant to. We say we know God has whatever is fretting us. We say we hope. We say we trust. But we keep on worrying.

I also said we had to get out of our head and put our eyes on Christ. Period. And I said to get in the Word and pray. Talk to God. Do it as often as you need!

None of that’s changed.

But, can good come out of your worry?

  • What if when you worry, before you let it ruin your day, you took it to God?
  • What if before you get to the point of no return, before it becomes a festering consumption of thoughts, you took it to God?
  • What if when you took it to God, you asked what you could do about your worry?
  • What if when you took it to God, you asked Him what He wanted you to do about it (and you obeyed)?
  • What if when you took it to God, you asked Him what you could learn from it so you could be more like His Son?

“We are destroying arguments and all arrogance raised against the knowledge of God, and we are taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ” 2 Corinthians 10:5 NASB

We can worry and not even realize it. We are that good. But we don’t have to hang on to it. We can confess it, we can seek God’s council, and we can obey whatever He has for us.

God gives us enough grace. Period. For today. For the trial or temptation. For the worry. But don’t turn that grace into a license to sin. It’s not. We can use His grace for our obedience. That means seeking Him out and asking Him what we do with our worry after we give it to Him.

  • What can you learn?
  • What’s going to make you more like Jesus?
  • How do you not worry next time (or worry less)?
  • Do you need to act quicker?
  • Is something a trigger for your worry? (Parents of teens are nodding, YES!)

“Therefore we have been buried with Him through baptism into death, so that as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life.” Romans 6:4 NASB

And remember, God is always willing, able, and ready to take whatever worry you have to give.

 “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him will not perish, but have eternal life.” John 3:16 NASB

Bible · Devotional · Don't Worry · Scripture

Encouragement NOT to Worry

Who doesn’t worry about something? I think it’s human to worry. Human. Not spiritual. Ouch.

God tells over and over in His Word not to worry. In today’s vernacular, He says, “I’ve got this.” There is a very well known passage where Jesus says DO NOT BE WORRIED (Matthew 6:25-34). And yes, I used all caps because I can see Him raising His voice so everyone hears Him.

But we don’t listen.

I don’t know a Christian around that isn’t familiar with Paul’s epistle to the Philippians. Or how about the Psalms? Like Psalm 23. There’s one everyone pretty much knows. And there’s so much more. God says it to us in so many ways, too.

When you worry, listen for God’s nudge not to worry. Worry robs your joy and peace of mind. Worry distracts you from God. Worry causes chaos. God is not a God of chaos.

I love Psalm 25. Psalm 25 is a prayer for protection, guidance, and pardon. Verse 1 (NASB) says, “To You, O LORD, I lift up my soul.”

A number of years ago, when we lived in Arizona and were foster parents, we had a very tough case. At the time, I was reading from an early HCSB edition and it translated that verse, “LORD, I turn my hope to you.” I love that!

How can you worry if your hope is on the LORD? True hope, not worry hope.

True hope is worship. True hope is trust. “O, my God, in You I trust.” Psalm 25:2 (NASB). See why I love this Psalm?

But what is worry hope? Worry hope is not hope. You can’t worry and hope at the same time. They don’t go together and were never meant to. We try though. We say we know God has whatever is fretting us. We say we hope. We say we trust. But we keep on worrying.

We have to get out of our head and put our eyes on Christ. Period. Either we believe or we don’t.

If you have to remind yourself a hundred times to stop worrying, then do it.

Get in the Word and pray! Talk to God. Is there any better place to be?

“In You, O LORD, I have taken refuge.” Psalm 31:1 NASB

Bible · Devotional · Scripture

Nothing can change the Word of God

At the beginning of Spring, you can almost see the flowers blooming- you want to see them blooming. Thoughts of those flowers blooming, while hoping for the snow to melt, gives us something to look forward to.

As believers, we have something more to look forward to (no matter how upside down this world gets)! One of my favorite, favorite, favorite verses in the Bible is:

“And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away.”
Revelation 21:4 NKJV

No matter what the news says or what society says, they can’t change the Word of God. We know it stands F-O-R-E-V-E-R.

“The grass withers, the flower fades,
But the word of our God stands forever.”
Isaiah 40:8 NASB

We can look forward to no more death or sorrow or crying or pain. No more!

There isn’t a believer on earth that can’t rejoice over that promise and praise God for His plans for His people, His church!

Take heart, God isn’t done.

“Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.” John 14:27 NKJV

Bible · Devotional · Seeing the Good

Seeing the good when it’s hard

Sometimes in life it’s hard to see God at work or the even the upside to things. But, there is still good we can find.

A child’s giggle. A neighbor’s wave. Love from family.

And any small act of kindness that we can give has to power to turn someone’s day around. That small act of kindness not only blesses the receiver, it blesses us too. “So, as those who have been chosen of God, holy and beloved, put on a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience;” Colossians 3:12 (NASB)

Kindness is birthed from love. “But love your enemies and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return; and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High; for He Himself is kind to ungrateful and evil people.” Luke 6:35 (NASB)

It’s not always easy to be kind. And Jesus never said we would have it easy in this life. But God says, “…And what does the LORD require of you but to do justice, to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?” Micah 6:8 (NASB)

As we watch the news this week – pray. Pray for everyone and everything God brings to mind. Remember, He is in control. In this world that seems to be going crazier and crazier, He’s there. He knows. And He’s not surprised.

Remember what Joseph said to his brothers after their father Jacob died. They thought Joseph was going to seek revenge now that Jacob was gone. “As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good in order to bring about this present result, to keep many people alive.” Genesis 50:20 (NASB)

Trust the Lord, show an act of kindness, and rest in the fact you can trust that God has a purpose in and for our crazy world.

“and you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength. The second is this: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. There is no other commandment greater than these.” Mark 12:30-31 (NASB)