Archive for the ‘Devotionals’ Category

The Easter Dress

For you created my inmost being, you knit me together in my mother’s womb . . . I am fearfully and wonderfully made;” (Psa. 139:13, 14)).

“Here, let’s try these two dresses on,” I tried to coax.

“But I don’t like green and the other is too scratchy.”

We were shopping for an Easter dress and were no closer to finding one that we both agreed upon than when we first began. What happened to the little girl who didn’t care what color the dress was as long as it “twirled” when she spun around? And when did she start noticing the fabric of a dress?

Something was going on and I was not adjusting. For years I simply picked out the dress I liked and brought it home. Sure, the last couple of years I began to notice a change, but I thought it was cute that my daughter wanted to help pick out a dress. She always ended up with my choice but I thought it was because she and I had the same taste. And why not we were mother and daughter, but here we were, searching for her eighth Easter dress and things were not going as smoothly as in the past.

“What about this one? It looks so pretty on you. We can get a bow for your ponytail.”

With downcast eyes she whispered, “I don’t want to wear my hair up, I want to wear it down.”

Okay, so I can deal with the hair, but I still wanted the dress so gently I said, “We will worry about your hair later, what do you think about the dress?”

With no thought to her comment she told me it was too frilly and that she didn’t like lace. Too frilly . . . an Easter dress with no frills and no lace, why I couldn’t imagine. What was next to go? Patton leather shoes?

Before I could take the other dress off the hanger she had one I didn’t even see her bring into the dressing room. Not to cause another scene, I left her alone. I watched her pull the plain beige dress with blue flowers over her head and adjust the front so the dainty buttons were in a straight line. She tilted her head and smiled at her reflection in the mirror.

“Mom, this is the one I want,” she announced proudly.

I began to try and talk her out of it when I noticed her eyes glistening with fresh tears. As I looked into her dark beautiful brown eyes, I heard her softly ask, “Do you not think what I like is pretty?”

Oh my, I was taken back with the realization that this child before me was not me, but her own person – the person God created her to be. God quickly spoke to the Spirit within me and reminded me that my daughter was fearfully and wonderfully made and woven by Him in my womb.

With tears in my own eyes I reached out for this one that God had created and as I held her close I apologized. Never again would I try and change who God had created her to be.

Dear Lord,

Help me to see my child as you see her. Help me to be aware that as she grows, she is following the desires that You placed in her and becoming the woman that You intended her to be. Yes, she is wonderfully made and I thank you for knitting this beautiful child in me.

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Downloading

Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith” (Heb. 10:22).

I am a writer. I finally admit the obvious. I have submitted articles and devotions, I have had some devotionals accepted, and I am now waiting for my first published article or devotional. It is a new and exciting journey I am on right now – reading, learning, writing, re-writing, submitting, and waiting. I have prepared myself for most of these things, however the one thing I didn’t plan on was thoughts and ideas downloading into my mind and heart at all times of the day (and night.)

Since I work at a computer most of the day and am very familiar with downloading. I know I always have an option – click to download now or click to download later. Now if I can find a way to click download later in my mind and heart. But would I really use it? No way, I can’t wait to see what the Lord is going to download next. I am anxious to receive the truths He wants to reveal about Himself, the mysteries He wants to explain, or the promises He wants to point out. I want to be reminded of the conversations I recently heard, a real-life drama I witnessed, or a humorous situation I experienced so I can share with others how God is immersed in our lives if we will only take notice.

In downloading, God not only downloads thoughts, ideas, or truths, mysteries, and promises, He downloads information about who He is, what He did for us, and what He has planned for us. He downloads the love He has as a Father, the sacrifice of His Son Jesus, and the power that is available to us through the Holy Spirit. He downloads correction, rebukes, instructions, along with guidance and direction.

God is always downloading into our hearts, but to receive these downloads we must first have our computers on – our hearts have to be open to Him and be willing to listen and receive what He is whispering to us. Then you have an option to save or not. This is something that is in our control. If we allow Him to download into our hearts, are we willing to SAVE what we receive? It may not always be what we want to hear, but it will always be for our good.

The differences between Father God’s downloads and computer downloads is simple – no mass downloads. His downloads are designed uniquely for each of us, sent only to us, and has a special name on it. We don’t know the name yet, but one day we will. “ I will also give him a white stone with a new name written on it, known only to him who receives it” (Rev. 2:17).

Front and Center

“. . . You will find him if you look for him with all your heart . . .” (Deut. 4:29).

The little girl ran out on the platform with her hands holding up the hem of her dress as if she were waiting to take a bow. She tiptoed, half skipped, tiptoed again, and then bounced until she reached her appointed spot. The dancers then came together in a circle of white.

It was the annual children’s program and all the dancers began to move keeping a watchful eye on each other, all but the little girl who tiptoed, half skipped, tiptoed and bounced. She kept looking toward my section. She would twirl then look towards the left side, row 4. All the girls raised their hands gracefully then dropped to the floor, arms stretched forward and heads bent down. All except for one who was looking towards the left side, row 4. She kept holding up her head, stretching to look over her shoulder and smiling.

I was so curious that I finally looked to my right near row 4 and found the object of the girl’s attention, her mother. She was waving her hand up and down, trying to encourage her daughter to keep her head down. The girls got back up, made a few more turns and exited the platform. Some were skipping, some running, all except one who was trailing behind and looking towards the left side, row 4.

I sat there smiling until the Lord spoke to my heart in such an endearing way. “Daughter, I want you to look for Me as you dance.”

I thought of all the times I have busily gone about doing what I thought was important and never once stopped to see if He was there with me. I have danced through life, going through the motions, running in circles and not once looking up to acknowledge His presence.

Now I try to make a conscience effort to look for the Lord as I go through my dance called life. Whether I tiptoe, half skip, or bounce I look towards the left side, row 4. The amazing thing is that I never find Him on row 4 – He is always front and center, His gaze only on me.

Stand Your Ground

Therefore put on the full armor of God so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground . . .” (Eph. 6:13).

God is in the process of raising up mighty warriors. He has not called us to be defeated, but has given us everything we need to be victorious. He has also given us a will, so I want to encourage you to:

Put the buckle of truth around your waist,
Put your breastplate of righteousness over your heart;
Fit your feet with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace;
Take the shield of faith which will help you extinguish ALL the flaming arrows the enemy sends your way;
Take the helmet of salvation and put it over your head to protect your mind from untruths;
Take the sword of the spirit – God’s Word – and hide it in your heart. Be ready to speak His Word at any time.
Pray! Communicate with the commander of this army, our mighty commander, Jesus Christ!

Do this daily and you will be able to SUCCESSFULLY “Stand your Ground.”

God Has Our Back

You hem me in ­– behind and before; you have laid your hand upon me.” Psa. 139:7.

I was stuck, paralyzed with fear. I had gone as far as I could while carrying a 30-pound backpack, walking on blistered feet, and fighting scratched arms and hands. But I had to move . . . I could not stay. Terrified, I looked at my options. Ahead of me—the side of a rock that I had to scale. Behind me—the grove of tree limbs and roots that hid the drop off I knew was waiting below. The other hikers in the group were either ahead of me coaxing me upward, or behind me encouraging me onward. I was truly stuck and fear had its grip on me.

I have often thought of the terrifying time I experienced on the side of that mountain many years ago; holding on to the spindly seedling with my foot forced in the crack of a rock, while looking at the drop behind and the steep climb before me. At the time I had no choice but to put my confidence in the other hikers.  Since that experience I have learned that in life we may have mountains before us we must climb. Sometimes in the middle of the climb, we find ourselves stuck, paralyzed with fear. We have gone too far to turn back, but what is ahead is even more frightening. The fear and anguish can become so great we just stop moving. But no peace can be found while hanging on the side of a mountain in total fear.

After much help and encouragement from the more experienced hikers, I did climb to the top of that mountain. Since then I have endured a variety of “mountain” experiences, however, the peace that comes from knowing God is with me and that He has His hand on me helps keep the fear away. Next time you find yourself stuck on the side of a mountain paralyzed with fear, remember, God not only has your back, He has you completely hemmed in—He is behind you, and before you. And if you rest in this fact, and are very still, you may actually feel His hand as He lays it upon you.