THE JOURNEY CONTINUES: JAN. 15, 2021

Today’s devotional message hit me right in my heart. It tied well into the scripture reading also as I continue through II Chronicles. In the scripture reading, chapter 25, Amaziah assembled the men of Judah for war. He paid Israel 100 talents of silver for 100,000 of their mighty men to join them. A man of God came to Amaziah saying God was not in the decision to pay Israel to join them and send them home. The king asked about the 100 talents he’d already paid them? The man of God’s response was, “The Lord is able to give you much more than this.”

The devotional message today talked of God’s “currency”. This currency is God’s promises through His Word. The author of the devotional writes that when we bring one of God’s scripture promises to Him it is like bringing Him a check to cash that He wrote himself to us. He goes onto say that God loves cashing His Own checks. It means we are relying on Him.

No matter what our need/s are, God wants us to bring them to Him rather than trying to address them on our own without turning to Him. Joshua 23:14 says, “You know with all your heart and soul that not one of all the good promises the Lord your God gave you has failed. Every promise has been fulfilled; not one has failed.” Relying on God’s promises and bringing them to Him to cash them in is such a good reminder for me. To serve God well, I want to come to Him first before I take any step on my own.

THE JOURNEY CONTINUES: JAN. 14, 2021

My scripture reading this morning gave me insights that I’ve been seeking for several days now. I’ve written about keeping my eyes off of man and onto God. Today I was reminded of a step of praise I should have never forgotten. That is the praise of singing to God. In II Chronicles 20, King Jehoshaphat was brought to battle by the Moabites, Ammonites and the Meunites. These armies joined forces to come against Judah. King Jehoshaphat had the people join him in fasting and he prayed. He was then told by a prophet the following: “The Lord says this to you. ‘Be not afraid or dismayed at this great multitude; for the battle is not yours, but God’s’.”

Being reminded that a battle we think we face is not ours, but God’s, is a tremendous lift of spirit. Jehoshaphat’s response to the prophet’s message was appointing singers to sing to the Lord and praise Him as they went out before the army singing, “Give thanks to the Lord, for His mercy and loving-kindness endure forever!” The army of Judah didn’t have to even raise a weapon for the attacking army turned to fight one another completely destroying themselves.

I love to sing and I especially love to sing praise songs to Jesus. What a great reminder today’s scripture is for me. I sure don’t know the outcome of our country’s present state, but I do know I will praise God in song all during this time!

THE JOURNEY CONTINUES: JAN. 13, 2021

This morning I was having a difficult time starting my journaling with a meaningful praise. I had been in a couple of settings yesterday where the topic of our nation’s political plight was being discussed. It had a lot of consternation expressed for which I wasn’t ready to respond so I mostly listened. I find it very hard to believe the state of our nation is as ugly as the far left and the far right describe. Internally I want to wait this out so we can get back to a better calm.

As I was journaling and attempting to praise God, I found myself unable to find anything praiseworthy about this present plight. But, God then reminded me that I could never praise Him by looking at man and what man can do. I must look to Him and Believe what He can do. I instantly was able to express my praise once I got my eyes off of man and his ways and began to look at God and His Ways.

As I was reading my devotional its message hit right on the head what I needed to read. “We must be able to ‘mount up with wings like eagles'” (Isaiah 40:31). Yes, we cannot begin to see God’s View when we look to man only. Along with this however is what the devotional went on to read, “The power of the saint lies in the coming down and in the living that is done in the valley. Paul says, ‘I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me'” (Philippians 4:13).

Right now I know that God is wanting me to keep my mind and heart focused on Him. Along with this I know He is wanting me to help others do the same as we are “living in the valley”. I don’t want to disregard this present state for I know that is not a Godly action. Instead, while we are in this, I want to believe and trust my God for what He has in store, for He is Almighty. God uses all things to His honor and glory as we turn to Him. He is not surprised by any of this.

THE JOURNEY CONTINUES: JAN. 12, 2021

Today I was startled (once again) by the consistent alignment of message the devotionals I use and the scripture I read had with my journaling. I keep a post-it note on my journaling page with the word PRAISE written on it. This is to remind me to start my day praising God. I specifically want to work on praising God for what I don’t know or see–things to come. I then thank Him for things I do see and know where His handiwork is evident. In my journaling I had written down some things for which I couldn’t see an outcome of hope. Some of them related to needs represented on my prayer list I keep. Well, God in His Faithfulness simply did what He is known for–shedding LIGHT.

My two devotional messages were as though they were written by the same person with the same topic. It centered around keeping our eyes lifted up to Jesus for God sees everyone of us thorugh Jesus Christ. He also sees every need thorugh the blood of Jesus which He shed for our sins. Then I began to read in II Chronicles about the warring which was taking place after Israel split into two nations: Judah and Israel. Judah was much smaller with only two of the 12 tribes of Israel. However, the size of the country and the number of the people didn’t matter. What mattered was the dedication of the country to God. Judah’s leader recognized their inability to fight against the enemy and he gave this inability to God. God honored this obedience and the enemy was defeated by God’s taking control of the battle.

There is no need of man for which God doesn’t know. He waits for us to recognize our inability to handle it on our own and reject the idea we are losers as His children. He wants us to replace our inability with HIS STRENGTH by looking only to Him with our battle. The Light He sheds will show us the steps to take when we look up. Today I took the needs on my prayer list to God looking up to Him and I praised God for what only HE can do with each of them.

THE JOURNEY CONTINUES: JAN. 11, 2021

Yesterday was going to be one of those days I thought would be a whirlwind. It was to start with worship team practice @ 8:00 am, church and then step study. Following step study would be our monthly Celebrate Recovery Leadership mtg where I was doing a training. Following that I was coming home to fix a dinner for a grandson visit and by the time that ended, it would be bedtime. Well, most of the day happened as planned except when I got home my grandson asked if he could change to next week? I told him the meal would be better then because grandma would be home. He thought that was good!

As today begins I am going to the three schools I typically work with each week. My going there cannot be to work with them but to leave a card and a treat for them. I’ve been pondering how I could be meaningful for any place when I’m 80 miles away and cannot be physically present. It was suggested to me that encouragement is always a plus when one is in the dead of winter along with the present day difficulties. I’d been asking God what would be an appropriate “lift of spirits” and so that is what I’m taking out.

God, every once in a while, does things which lifts our spirits to Him. That happened for me this morning when I received a text message with an uplifting song attached. I pray the gift will do the same for the three staffs. God does have a way of showing up at just the right time. I pray this will be today for some folks.

THE JOURNEY CONTINUES: JAN. 10, 2021

I always read my previous day’s blog ahead of writing today’s. As I did so this morning I noticed that my sis had a “reality lady” rather than a “realty lady”. I laughed when I saw that. I do proofread before publishing each day, however I’ve always been told one cannot proofread one’s own writing for exactness. One has in his head the intent of the message and reads for that (unintentionally) rather than for what it actually says. I hope any reader will forgive these mistakes and can glean the message intended.

Yesterday I had a good friend tell me how troubled he is regarding our nation and its dividedness. He said he just couldn’t see what God was doing in spite of his desperate and relentless prayers. I shared that he wasn’t alone in his feelings and thinking. I told him that God had indicated to me my need to praise Him rather than question Him. Praise indicates that I trust what God is doing in spite of what I can see or hear. He looked at me and said that was exactly what he too needed to hear. He told me thanks again a couple hours later when we were departing. Praise is a powerful key to staying in touch with what God plans rather than what we plan.

This morning as I journaled I didn’t even realize how I was questioning God until He reminded me to look up and see Him. I was wondering how I was to step in and give assistance to an issue from yesterday. I had journaled asking God for insights as to what I was to do in response to it. Instead of giving me a response for my actions directed to the problem, He reminded me that He is the answer and I once again needed to let Him take it and my role is to praise Him ahead of time that He is doing just that.

I am really into a learning curve right now regarding how much I need to learn about PRAISE.

THE JOURNEY CONTINUES: JAN. 9, 2021

I haven’t mentioned my sis for a while. I’m referencing the one who had a stroke following Thanksgiving. Each and everyday that we talk I am overwhelmed with the level of change she is making. Some of this change has to do with physical strength and others have to do with lifestyle changes. In all areas she is making healthy choices honoring all that her doctors are telling her and her older son who is assisting her as he is with her each and every day. These are things like walking a mile with her each morning, readying her home for selling (even painting the entire home) and so, so much more. Bonnie has always been a very giving person. Now is the time God is allowing her to receive the giving of others and she is accepting it graciously. All of this makes me so thankful!

I’ve been writing about PRAISE of late. Who would think of praising God for a stroke your sis had? Well, I haven’t told God I am grateful Bonnie had a stroke. However, what I praise God about is the way He has used this physical ailment to help not only her, but so many others who have been influenced by what they’ve witnessed with her going through this time. Her son told her yesterday that he has learned to pray and give thanks to God during this time. Other close friends to her have told her similar things. Even the realty lady was witnessed to in regards to how God is working and told Bonnie this. PRAISE is powerful! I do praise my Heavenly Father for His loving kindness and His thoroughness as well as His relentlessness in bringing His children to Him.

THE JOURNEY CONTINUES: JAN. 8, 2021

As this journey continues so does my learning about how critical it is to have Jesus at the forefront of each day’s walk. The last couple of days I’ve addressed what Jesus is pointing out about my need to praise Him. As I’m practicing this periodically throughout the day I find that praise is much more of an expression for trust, faith, hope–those things for which we have not seen or touched. Giving thanks is much more tied to things which have completed themselves or things which have begun and are on the right track. My personal awakening in this has been the reality that “I thank” far more than “I praise”.

My growing up years were ones of much abuse. I understand now that my brother’s sexual abuse/use of me stemmed back to the fact I was kind to him. There is a gene in my blood line which has little kindness in it and instead is judgmental and critical. This was from my father’s lineage. My other brothers were critical of this brother so he chose me. He use to tell me at times when there wasn’t abuse taking place that he liked that I was nice to him. The critical side of my father would label me as needing to have my spirit broken so I’d be tough and my interests would be more like a “man”–competitive, mechanical, sports-minded, etc. Somehow in all of this I learned to quit hoping. Instead, I would thank if something actually took place which was good.

Today God is teaching me that my past is GONE. This new creation can praise knowing who my ONE TRUE GOD is. He is praiseworthy for no matter the strife of the day, I can praise God in it. There is nothing which man does which God cannot use in His toolbox if we turn it over to Him. Last night in Celebrate Recovery this became true once again. Two new men were present. Both of them stated how grateful they were to hear other men talk openly about the very things they thought they could never mention out loud. One of the men’s topic was childhood sexual abuse. GOD IS AMAZING!

THE JOURNEY CONTINUES: JAN. 7, 2021

Little did I know as I wrote yesterday’s blog that I would be challenged to praise God as I watched the actions of Americans in our capitol city and listened/watched the intense strife within our country. I went to bed knowing I was going to praise God and I closed my eyes praising Him, but feeling distraught as I did. This morning as I was journaling and asked Jesus what He wanted me to know from Him for today, He indicated that when my eyes drift to man I am going to see strife. The more our nation and other nations turn away from God and look unto themselves for answers, the more strife will be evident. Keeping my eyes on Jesus is the only way to continue to see a picture of a beautiful today and tomorrow. Everything about man is temporary in the flesh. I can praise God as I look up to Jesus and keep my eyes fixed on Him rather than man. This may become more and more difficult, but difficult or not, my eyes are going to look up!

PS–In yesterday’s blog I wrote that the name of the song was “Praise Him”. It’s correct title is “Praise the Lord”. My apologies!

THE JOURNEY CONTINUES: JAN. 6, 2021

The message of today for me is praise. As I’ve been reading through I Chronicles I find so much evidence of David giving praise to God. As I go through my journal I find that I am good at giving thanks to God, but I am not nearly as good at praising Him. These are two different actions and praise isn’t nearly as good for me. Years ago I read the book, The Language of Love which outlined praise as one of the love languages. I’ve always enjoyed but hated hearing praise because I didn’t know what to do with it. My dad would say I was “big headed” if I were praised and I never wanted to be arrogant so I learned to deflect praise rather than accept it. I’m better at receiving it today (a little) but I need to grow in giving it.

Joyce Meyers writes at one point that God asks us to praise Him and in so doing it releases His Power to stay focused on Him during our day. I really appreciated this message because when I do praise it takes my eyes away from anything I’m focused on and puts them on God Himself. So, today I’m going to be working on praising God throughout my day. Instead of fretting when I’m up against something, I’ll praise God.

About 40 years ago there was a song that hit the gospel trail called, Praise Him. The first verse said, “When you’re up against a struggle that shatters all your dreams, and your hopes have been cruelly crushed by Satan’s manifested schemes, and you feel the urge within you to submit to earthly fears, don’t let the faith your standing in seem to disappear. Praise the Lord–He can work through those who praise Him–Praise the Lord!” The song goes on, but this message is what I want to keep in my head as I pursue Praising God today–one day at a time, one moment at a time.