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Heads or Tails?

Looking to God can be a struggle because the world always says ‘yes’; God sometimes says ‘no’.
To face God and accept that your answer may be ‘no’ is painful and very scary. We want a ‘yes’ answer, and we want it quickly; meet World, because he answers with what you want quickly. Why? Because World doesn’t care. He doesn’t care about you or what happens next, he doesn’t even care if you have a story or a future, if you want a quick fix, find World, because that is how he operates.
If you want perfection, look to God.
My mom always says ‘wait for perfect,’ meaning the perfect that God is preparing. My answer? I want the perfect when it comes, but I want the temporary to fill the gaps of waiting.
Stupid? Yep. Bad logic? I know. Not realistic? Absolutely.
And in a few moments of post conversation reflection I see my flaw, or error in judgement I guess would be a better term.
Wait for perfect and accept that your ‘no’ is leading you to that perfect… whatever… whatever it is you seek, wait for it to be perfect. It is easy to say this, I know, but living it means pain at times and struggle at others. If you trip don’t worry about it, confess it and trust God to set back on your path, but keep seeking God and His answers because, painful or not, they are your best option. World is what they call a ‘toxic relationship’, God, the one who cares enough to want best instead of good enough, the one who goes with you and fights for you, (often fighting against World for you, ) He is the fairy tale relationship. He is the Prince, or in this case the King, riding in to give you the life that you need. Oops. That isn’t how the story goes is it? Doesn’t the King give the life you ‘want’? No. This King gives the life you need, but the end of the story is a dream come true when follow the King.

God please guide us to you in your power. Please help us through the pain life sometimes brings and please show us your road for our lives. In Jesus name..amen.

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Blog · Christianity · Devotional · dreams do come true · encouragement · free · Jesus · searching

Victory takes time

Victory takes time

John Millias’ painting ‘Victory oh Lord’

Exodus 17:11

Who remembers Moses having to hold up his hands to God for victory in battle?
Remember? As long as his hands were up God’s people were winning but whenever they were down God’s people would lose.
The battle lasted so long that Aaron and Hur had to come and hold up Moses’ hands because he was exhausted.
If you were Moses’ wouldn’t you be thinking,
‘Anytime now God! I am really losing will power here!’
Yet Moses persevered in Faith and ultimately the battle was won.
We live in a ‘now’ society.
Everything happens quickly, and we expect it to. When my wifi is slow and I have to wait a minute before something will download instead of the 10 seconds it normally takes, I am irritated. I am also an impatient person and am working on that.
You see my point though. Moses waited so long for God to bring victory that his body literally gave out on him; but Moses knew God well and had seen Him do unreal things before, so he kept his Faith and kept his hands raised.
We know God can do unreal things, so why do we doubt Him? Our arms get tired and we lower them. Our praise ceases, our prayer wanes and eventually we give up the fight. Don’t give up the fight! One more time. Don’t give up the fight! God is moving, acting and working! Keep your hands raised high! If you can’t keep them up on your own, seek help. Help from friends, family, your pastor or church, from a devotional or online Christian speaker, find somebody you trust to help hold your hands up with you. God will bring you the victory, just keep reaching up to Him and don’t stop until you see your breakthrough.

Thank you Lord Jesus for being our breakthrough. I pray for whomever is reading this devotional that they find peace and strength and support as they wait for the victory you are bringing. In Jesus name.
Amen

Blog · Christianity · Devotional · encouragement · searching

There ARE going to be empty branches

When I go camping I love having a spot that is surrounded by trees because the trees can feel……almost magical. Have you ever taken note of the delicate work of each branch? Some full of leaves, some of flowers, some bare of anything growing.

What massive, living creations trees are; they don’t think, they don’t feel, but they are still alive.

Imagine, as the tree grows it feels each branch grow out and form flowers, berries, leaves. The tree feels joy, even pride as it reaches toward the sun. Suddenly a branch feels wrong. It feels bare. The tree works hard to grow something, anything from this branch but it remains without addition. The tree tries another branch and finds it also unwilling to yeild. Confused, the tree asks God why some of it’s branches are bare.

God gently replies:

“Not everything you try will grow and succeed. Do not focus on these branches, instead focus on the branches that are blossoming and blooming. Please do not be descouraged by the feeling these leafless branches bring, wait and see what these empty branches add to your life.”

Not everything we try will succeed. Some things we simply cannot do, and some things we are not meant to do; but do not focus on these empty branches. Allow them to be signs that we tried, even if nothing produced from the attempt.

Focus on your growing leaves and flowers, allow them to encourage you to branch out and once again try something new. It might succeed, it might fail, but God is there for us even as we try. And remeber, the best branches to hang a swing from are empty ones.

In other words, focus on your successes and let them encourage you, but do not hate your misadventures because they have a purpose too; and in everything God has a purpose and a reason.

Blog · Christianity · Devotional · encouragement · Jesus

Washing the feet of the traitor

Jesus washed the disciples feet. That means He also washed Judas’ feet.
How often do we feel like not only does one of our friends have a Judas complex, but also like we have been handed a bucket of hot water and a towel so we can wash their feet?
Friends can be fickle, and it is easy to feel betrayed and hurt by them, or to feel that they are just out for themselves, sound familiar? Sounds like Judas to me. We can never experience the pain of complete betrayal like Jesus ( even if it feels like we have) but dishonest, self seeking “friends” are everywhere and most people have gone through some form of frenimies pain; but Jesus still calls us to be there for them, to show them friendship and once in a while to wash their feet. Our God loves humility and what could be more humble of a task than foot washing? Can you smell the sweat ridden sandals? Can you feel the dirt of the road washing off of them and onto you? Perhaps That was Jesus’ point. He was about to wash us clean of all our sins and put them upon His own body, the same way He washed His friend’s feet and let their dirt wash onto His hands. Hands soon to be pierced by nails and hung on a tree. If Jesus could wash Judas’ feet I can wash the feet of my frenimies.

Jesus, please help us to wash the feet of those who hurt us. If for no other reason let us do it to draw closer to you. Amen

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Blog · Christianity · Devotional · encouragement · Jesus

Palms laid before Him

Enter Jerusalem, the city streets are filled with celebrating and cheering as a humble and gentle donkey colt strides down the streets.
Palms are laid at the sweet animal’s feet and a sense of pride wells in the donkey’s heart. He is carrying Jesus, as all animals know Jesus is the king of kings, God’s one and only Son; but the donkey senses sonething, a feeling of pain in the heart of his Lord. The donkey is confused and turns his head to nuzzle the King’s foot, a gentle hand strokes the animal’s neck in response. The donkey stretches hard to see Jesus’ face. The beaming smile is a shock to the donkey because it can sense the sadness within the savior’s heart. All the gentle colt can do is continue to carry his Lord.
The animal saw both joy and sorrow and could not understand, but the joy was love for the King’s people, and the sorrow was knowledge that these people were only a breath away from condemning their King to die; but one small donkey showed his love and carried the weight of the savior as the savior carried the weight of the world.

Jesus was recorded as having great anguish as He neared Jerusalem. Anguish that simple human senses could barely begin to understand. To suffer is one thing, but to know you are about to suffer is another. If we saw the suffering that would come in our lives we as people could not handle it. Jesus knew every bit of His suffering to come and that caused Him greater pain than He would have experienced if it had all been a shock or surprise. Days of waiting are too much to bear, but He bore them for us. The false love of the people must have stung and the lies of Judas must have made His heart sick, but He suffered them all because He loves us. Oh what a love that is, who else could give such love? Who else would? Only Jesus loves us so much.

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Christianity · Devotional · encouragement · free · J.R.R.Tolkien · Jesus · searching

Dragons and kings

God is not like smaug, the great dragon from the Hobbit, where when we come into His lair trembling and say “I had heard stories about you but I did not believe them,” he stands back from us flexing the scales across his chest and blowing a snort of smoke out of his nose he proplaclaims, “and do you now?”
In contrast when we come up to Jesus trembling saying, ” I had heard stories of you my Lord, but I did not believe them.” He looks at us with love and responds, “I know, I have been waiting for you to come and see me for yourself.” Then He hugs us and all our fears and sins and scars melt away and not only do we believe the stories we now know the man they are about and we know He loves us. His gentle embrace following us everywhere we go until we get to live with Him in His kingdom. There is no dragon pride, just the gentle/powerful/all knowing/unending love of a king.

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Christianity · Devotional · encouragement · free · Jesus · searching

Open handed combat

When I was in high school I took basic karate. One of the main things drilled into the class was the fact that karate means open handed combat, which means that our combat is self defense it is not meant as a form of attack. If we apply this technique to life we get a person entering their day open minded to the people around them and empty handed of judgments. When we go out into this world we are stepping onto the mat and as Christians the way we respond to daily jabs and kicks need to be censored according to our teachings. In martial arts your fight technique reflects that of your teacher, in the same way our daily response to life needs to reflect Jesus. We enter the arena holding nothing against the people we will face, we come in open minded to their situation. Picture this. Bright blinding lights, a roaring crowd and a tall battle scarred warrior faces you down as your toe touches the mat, there’s no turning back now. You see that angry face, the deep creases of old battles lost and you gain your opinion of the warrior. They step closer and you step up to them, you don’t yet know what will happen next all you know is this person has been hurt too many times and it is your turn now to decide, do you attack or do you help? Do you reign judgement and add to their scars or do you give compassion and help the scars heal? Your mind open and clear so you can hear from the Holy Spirit and see this person’s needs and you realize all they need is a comforting hand. As the vision fades away; the crowds and the lights dim, you see the warrior in a new way, the way Jesus sees them. We shouldn’t enter the arena to fight we should enter to help; but sometimes in this daily life we Christians forget that we are not here to judge and attack the people around us, we are here to help them and in doing so show them Jesus. That’s the point to open handed combat, coming without prejudices and without judgements so you can help heal this world just as Jesus came without a sword or armor as a gentle baby in a manger.

Christianity · Devotional · encouragement · free · Jesus

When the devil comes calling let it be Jesus who answers the door

How often have we felt like the world has delivered a spin kick in the stomach to us and then laughed as we grimaced in pain? Too often I’m sure. We have all been there. Down and almost out, wishing we could crawl from the fight ring of life and curl up in the comforting shadow of the stands where nobody can see us. We close our eyes and try to wish away what we have been dealt, but when we open them the hurt is still there. We blame everything. The world, people, ourselves, even God, but when it comes down to it there’s only one to blame for all misery and that’s the devil. He is knocking at the door to our hearts and our minds waiting for us to open up even just a little, and because we aren’t letting him in he brings a battering ram with him. Victory in such times comes from response. If we let Jesus take over and respond as He would want us to then we win. The devil won’t stay long if it’s Jesus who answers the door. Whenever the hit comes, where ever you are, however it presents it’s self Jesus is right there ready to defend you; He is a loving and jealous God and He is very protective of His people. I know that it’s hard to understand why the pain happens at all but the trying of our Faith produces endurance; sometimes suffering is required of us and it is impossible to understand why a living God would hurt His people, but He isn’t the one hurting us, yes He is allowing it, but He isnt causing it. I once heard a pastor say, “don’t pray away your blessings.” What he meant was if we never suffer than we never get to see God save us. Miracles don’t happen for people who don’t need them. We must put all of what we go through in God’s hands and respond as Jesus would no matter how hard it is because that is how we reach a break through. Whenever the devil comes to the door step back and let Jesus answer He has defeated the devil before.

Christianity · Devotional · encouragement · Jesus

Great Expectations

We have all heard the great expectations sermon; it’s a really great sermon, but do we come truly come with great expectations? Today I had a miracle that actually shocked me. After having the vet out to diagnose my horse’s unexplainable lump as just that an unexplainable lump I started to get serious about my praying for him. To be honest before I found out that the vet had no idea what it was I just figured if God healed him that was fine but if he didn’t the vet would just treat it and it would still be fine, but unlike God the vet doesn’t know all. Today I checked my horse’s lump and it was GONE! There wasn’t even a trace it had been there! If you want to shout a Hallelujah go right ahead because I am still amazed! Oh and did I mention the lump had been there for nearly 4 months? It wasn’t something that was just going to go away. In this life we have so much that we can take care of ourselves because of modern medicine, modern technology, modern this, modern that that we sometimes don’t even bother to seriously pray about things, because if God doesn’t fix them that’s fine we know someone who can. That is the wrong way to think. I can say this because I go there too. I like to think that I seek God first and just go with Him on things but I (as many people do) fall into the solving it myself rut. God can do EVERYTHING! We just need to give Him the chance to take care of things for us, and to truly believe that He can. We don’t want to leave off asking for help until we reach something we truly can not do ourselves, because if we see God taking care of the little things we will most likely have more faith when we need to give Him the bigger things. Another thing I love about God is that I didn’t have to do anything to make this or any other miracle happen. All I did was pray and believe and I saw the unbelievable. I fail constantly and hurt God probably daily, as hard as I try not to my human nature gets in the way of my Christianity at times. I am also a major failure when it comes to being a public witness, my words stick in my throat and I end up saying nothing. Yet despite all these negative qualities of just being me God steps in and holds me when I cry. He still listens when I pray and blesses me with amazing miracles. It is so nice to know that no matter how bad we screw up, No matter how constantly we sin and fail Jesus still loves us. He wants us to do better that’s true and He will help us do better, but He’s still loving us everyday no matter who we are or what we’ve done. Isn’t that the most amazing miracle of all? because it’s that constant, undying, faithful love and ridiculous grace that led our Jesus to die on the cross for our sins, and to rise again three days later. What a miracle!

God I come with great expectations for this and everyday! Thank you for being our constant friend and greatest miracle. Amen.

Christianity · Devotional · encouragement · free · Jesus · searching

Behind the mask

We all have pain in our lives; pain we feel each day, pain that causes us to fall asleep on tear-drenched pillows. The peace is in the fact that the pain won’t last. Jesus hates it when we hurt so He reaches down a hand to hold. Jesus knows the good that will come from our suffering but He will not allow us to suffer to alone; He is always with us. A little while back I had fallen from a rock wall and had landed on my face. Not wanting to go through my day with the big cut down my lip showing I proceeded to cover it with make up, guess what? It almost completely disappeared; on the surface everything seemed to be fine so no one knew the pain behind the makeup. All people use cover-up throughout their lives so that on the outside all looks fine and no body knows what’s going on on the inside, no body but Jesus. Does anyone remember the song ‘don’t cry out loud’? For how many people is this song their life motto? “I’ll be fine, I can stand strong, this is my problem not anyone else’s.” Sound familiar? This life has a way of knocking us back, but Jesus is there so we don’t hit the ground. We fall into His strong arms and like the best friend HE is, who always has our backs, Jesus straightens us up and faces our giants with us. It’s not necessarily a bad thing that we as people don’t feel comfortable sharing our pain with others, but we must never forget that Jesus is sharing our pain with us. He feels it too and understands. He cried alone in the garden so that we will NEVER have to cry alone. As you work at moving through your pain please remember, most of the people around you have pain they are moving through too and that they need you to be gentle with them, just as you need others to be gentle with you.