It may sound silly, but I am so glad I get to be back with the schools today in person. I’m sure there is work that can be done virtually just as effectively as when it is done in the traditional setting. But, teaching is so much more than providing information for students to know. The relationship one has with them inspires learning, the mode of instruction can give clarity when one can see that misunderstanding is in the way of learning, and so much more. On-line, it is so difficult for all of this to take place for the many students who are not motivated sitting behind a computer screen. So, I’m glad to be back.
Oswald Chamber’s devotional: My Utmost for the Highest, said something today which I needed to be reminded and it tied to yesterday’s message. Obedience to God’s leadership is a must for us Christians if our relationship is to grow. Along with this, Oswald clarifies that God’s Holy Spirit within us cannot do His Work if our will is not surrendered to God’s leadership. We may want to serve God, but we want to define how that is done far too often. God, on the other hand, has a determined plan for our service to Him. It is through The Holy Spirit that we know this as He speaks to us. He is silent however until we surrender our will. This is the genuine meaning of sanctification–surrender of our will each and every day and each and every moment within the day. When we are fully surrendered, God then speaks to His Spirit within us as they know each other well and we get to be part of it. Wow, what a privilege!
This morning God gave me a big surprise. As I was to begin my devotions I was prompted to first take a look at the COVID status for the two counties where I do consulting. The one where I spend the most time has moved out of red which restricted me from being physically present. This means that tomorrow I can return in person. When I was writing this blog yesterday, part of what I was addressing was about having to do the work virtual rather than in person. Once I addressed my “will”, God changed the status so I actually can now be present. I just had to stop and give thanks. It is so humbling to watch how God works and to get to be part of it.
So much came out of today’s devotional time continuing down the path of total surrender to God–sanctification. In II Chronicles 30-32 Hezekiah’s years of leadership are described. He is said to be one of the very few leaders of Judah sold out to God in the same manner as King David. However, as his greatness grew and was rewarded he became proud. He became very sick and almost died, but during this time he repented of his pride and recommitted himself to God’s Ways.
In Celebrate Recovery we have accountability partners/sponsors. These people are to hold us accountable to our commitments. One of these commitments is our faithful walk with God each and every day. If we give in to our pride it pulls us away from God’s leading and our actions quickly tell without us knowing it. However, a good accountability partner can see this and his role is to then confront us. I’m sure we all have our moments, but as we grow in our commitment to Jesus Christ, the quicker we respond in turning it around just as King Hezekiah did.
Have you ever wondered what sanctification was actually like? When I was in my youth it was talked about a good deal in church services and especially in revival services. My devotional today brought the message out clearly. Is my will fully surrendered to the will of Christ Jesus? Do I still decide what for Jesus I will do or am I willing to say yes to all that Christ Jesus asks?
The Chronicle books of the Bible tell of the kings of Israel and Judah. You find that the kings who are sold out to God’s leadership are rewarded for this–winning battles, becoming prosperous, country follows well and so on. It is easy to read through the two Chronicle books and acknowledge the “good” kings and shake your head at the “bad” ones. It is not so easy to look at oneself and see where I submit fully to the leading of Jesus Christ in my life–being sanctified.
Yesterday was a different kind of day. Several things came up in the morning unexpectedly. In each case I needed to spend time to support them. I found myself not wanting to do the work needed in the way it was needing to be done. This morning I have been confronted with the question–Am I willing to do the work only if I can do so my way? I know the answer is, no. However, I fight the internal battle of my will. The work needs to be done regardless in order for it to move forward.
It is spiritually healthy to step back and take a look at all of this. Whether the work is spiritual or secular, I want to do it in response to Jesus Christ’s leadership. My attitude is not to get in the way if it is only about “will”. In each case my will wants to stop the work because it is uncomfortable doing it in the fashion needed. So, I commit to Jesus this morning to do what I need to do trusting Him for the outcome.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.