Today is one of my grandson’s 18th birthday. I hate being away for this great occasion, but we will all celebrate it together on Sunday. He is a great young man and I am honored to call him my grandson. Happy Birthday Hayden!
Tonight is our kickoff for Celebrate Recovery. It is the start of our 14th year. This is the first kickoff I will have missed. I got a message from my granddaughter who is working the youth program for Celebrate Recovery this year. She and her boyfriend will do this together. Her message is that he is sick and doesn’t want to expose it to anyone. I should be prepared for these attacks knowing Satan hates this ministry. So this morning I put it in God’s Hands. Only He is able to address this evil with His Purity and Light. Tonight will be a time of God being blessed and honored. Satan never wins when he has to face God’s Love and Light.
Today I will walk into the schools which God has given to me to give assistance here in Montana. I was informed last night about the needs for which some are deeply rooted. However, there is no gardener like God for uprooting weeds. I look forward to be a gardening assistant today. There is nothing any prettier than a well-groomed, productive garden. That is what God intended for each of our schools to be!
Today as I awoke I did so with gloom and dread at my door. I’m leaving today to work with the district in Montana and I am going alone–driving 3 hours on my own with google maps and working with a new group of people addressing with them what needs to be improved. Along with that, I’m leaving here at home some issues I wish were in a healthier place. So, as I began my journaling I told God I was battling all of this and I was then reminded to surrender it. As I started my devotional reading it was all about fear being a sin and it needs to be replaced with faith. Lastly, as I began my scripture reading in John 14, Jesus is telling the disciples how important it is to have faith in what He is teaching them. There would be a good deal of trouble awaiting them, but to never fear it, face it with FAITH!
All of a sudden my fears were replaced with anticipation. I could see this person walking into this new district accompanied with a Savior, a Lord and Master who is Faithful to the end. He is the Light needed to know how to move forward with the work at hand. I also saw that as I leave this morning I am doing so with the Hands of Jesus already surrounding the ones I love taking care of every detail. At this point I saw the fear I’ve known all of my life as an ugly sin. I recognized it, rejected it and God has replaced it with a deep appreciation and love for Him and a confidence that I can go where He leads me confident I am not abandoning home for He is already my home’s Protector and Savior.
Wow, all of this is a new reality for which I am most grateful! God has moved this reality from my head to my heart. God is LOVE! He wants so much for us to recognize this and today I am awake to it far more than I have ever been. To GOD be all Glory!
My devotional, Bible reading today was John 13. In this chapter Jesus prepares to wash the disciples feet. As He was preparing to do this He was also telling the disciples why He was going to do this. Then, He added they should do this for one another.
I’ve always read this in past as a genuine showing of love from Jesus to His disciples. Today, when I read this I had this picture flash through my mind of Christ preparing to wash my own feet. I quickly got rid of the picture but I kept sensing The Holy Spirit’s nudge to return to it. I finally stopped reading and asked Christ to show me what I needed to face. The filth of my past journey has my feet too dirty. Let me do the washing, I told Him. But, He simply said He was taking care of that filth. That is what love does–My Love. It was then that I relented to letting Christ wash my feet. What a humbling, yet loving experience this is.
I don’t know about you, but this awoke in me the beauty of God’s Love for each of us. There are so many things we are willing to do for someone else, but helping one with their ugly sinfulness is the purest form of love. This is just what Christ has done and He is asking us to do this for one another.
The book of John is called the Love Book. This is one of those tremendous examples of why it is called this.
Today is the birthday of my oldest living brother. He turns 85 today. His wife is very focused on their role of keeping our family united and connected. I love them for this. Happy birthday Herb!
The journey through the weekend has been tough. Strife is never easy to work through or to witness when ones are close to you. As I brought this to Jesus this morning in my journaling He immediately reminded me that it is these times He uses to His honor and glory. I just need to release all of it to His Work and not try to make it my own. My role is to first and foremost keep my eyes on Him. He is the Healer and Restorer to Health. I have witnessed this so many times, but today I needed the reminder again. I do love how faithful and true our Lord Jesus is!
The book of John is often called the book of Jesus’ Love. There is something about John and his makeup which allowed him to connect to the love of Jesus early on. His book highlights the Love of Jesus like no other does. He is the writer who uses the term–“Jesus wept” when Jesus was addressing Lazarus’ family when Jesus was about to restore him to life. It is such a tender moment when one sheds tears over one he loves. It brings out a connection between Jesus and man that is rarely seen. He loves His creation and sheds tears over our agony. He is our GREAT HEALER and RESTORER TO HEALTH! How I Praise Him!
Satan wants to steal, kill and destroy. As I read this in today’s scripture reading I had to take some time and reflect on this truth. It is one of the fundamental truths which man, being influenced by Satan’s schemes, doesn’t even want to admit exists at all. There are so many lies I held onto for so long in my life due to the fears planted in me from abuse. Today I recognize them and the source of them. I can now reject them and replace them with the truths of God’s Word. One of these truths is that Satan not only exists, but he solely exists to do all he can to destroy the beauty of walking with God and having Jesus as our Savior and Lord.
Today in the class Mending the Soul we step into the chapter on Powerlessness and Deadness. As men, the author says, we have to step out of denial so we can recognize the lies of Satan. He wants us to hide our past so he can keep us trapped in it. He is the author of powerlessness and deadness and our hiding. As we come together today I pray for The Holy Spirit’s presence and the Strength of Jesus Christ Himself to be so present that we not only face this ugliness, but continue to do so once we leave the room. It is easy, I know all too well, to face it in group and deny it as soon as I walk out of the room living each day in the denial of my past. I did this far too long. Today, I want to walk only in the Light of God’s Truth praying this Light will help others to do the same.
As I saw today’s date at the beginning of my devotion I instantly was reminded of this horrific day 20 years ago. Tragedy united our country for a time when this happened. I remember well the newspaper heading following this event. It said that the churches across our nation were filled with folks. It is good to remember that man is not made to understand all that transpires here on earth. We are limited in our understanding no matter how much we wish to be in control of “all things”.
As I read In John 8 today, Jesus is talking to the ones in the temple telling them about His direct connection to God. They question it, doubt it and eventually condemn Him for this. It sounds so much like us today. The tragedies of today are not bringing folks to look beyond themselves to see God. Jesus tells us these days are coming when man will no longer seek God, but will seek themselves. I pray we will awaken to the truth about ourselves–insufficient without God our Creator. In so doing we will turn to our Creator and seek Him fully.
Tonight our quartet along with a trio is singing for an event where 150 or so people will be gathered. As I was praying this morning I asked God how He would bring all of these folks together and have unity for a moment? His response was immediate–“Have them praise Me.” The lady who hosts these events does so for the very sake of praising God. She also makes it a point to have unbelievers invited so they can experience praising God and hear a message of surrendering one’s life to God.
There is so much division in our country today–even among Christians. I prayed that tonight as we glorify Jesus in song, there will be a unity of spirit. Satan wants to divide and destroy, but we all know he is a defeated foe. Today and tonight–GOD Reigns!
I wrote yesterday about a young man I was to meet with last night. The meeting took place and I was astounded. He is a young man 19 years of age. His mom and her fiancé were with him. I didn’t know I’d be meeting with the three of them but we went ahead and and I was amazed watching God work through this. It was very obvious The Holy Spirit had been at work. How many 19 year old men want to see a counselor? Very few! However, this one wants to. I texted the counselor I like so well as I got home and they are setting their appointment today. I rejoice in seeing God’s Kingdom Work taking place. The counselor also informed me that the man I’d met with the night before had also made contact so they would be starting too.
Today in my scripture reading of John 7, Christ is challenging the followers to recognize Him as the Bread of Life. He had just fed the 5000 the day before and now He is telling them to not worry about man’s food, but trust Him as the Bread of Life. Reading God’s Word a couple thousand years after it was written is far easier to understand than hearing it for the first time as these followers did. I wonder how I would receive this message if I were one of them? All I can say is that I’m so grateful that I have been able to recognize Jesus as my One True God. He is my Savior, Redeemer, Friend and Leader.
Last night the young man’s mom text me thanking me for taking the time to meet with them. I hadn’t even thought about that. For me, I was completing what Jesus had asked and the Joy of watching Him work is the greatest thanks of all–another life now seeing the Light of Jesus!
Sometimes I awaken in the night and am seemingly wide awake. There seems to be no apparent reason for it, it just happens. Last night was one of those times. This morning I asked Jesus if there were a reason for this and I was surprised by the response. He said He rejoices in our times of communion, when I seek Him and pray for whatever He puts on my heart. I was instantly humbled and joyous to think that the King of the universe rejoices spending time with me?? My word, I hope I never sleep again if that is the case! I don’t mean to make light of this and diminish the value of this message. I know this is all true, I just so often forget it is true also for me. What a joy it is to be reminded by Jesus Himself that He desires time with each of us.
One of the things I prayed about in my awake time was for a young man I’m meeting with tonight. I’ve been asked by one of our pastors to meet with him regarding a recent event where he made some pretty poor decisions. I wanted to hear what God had to say about my role in the meeting. He shed Light on it as I meditated on this. Our God is so Amazing and so Intimate all at the same time. What a humble honor it is to serve Him each and every day.
Yesterday morning I went to see my prayer warrior. It had been over a month since we’d spent time together. What was to be an hour turned into two. She diligently prays for our men in the class Mending the Soul. As I began to tell her about the issues they were facing I simply became overwhelmed myself. It was as though I was sitting in my old chair with my counselor/therapist facing my own demons all over again. I didn’t realize I was carrying such weight for them. I needed to let it go and I did so. I must admit it is overwhelming at times to hear your own story from another knowing the grief they will need to come through to find the victory on the other side. Yet, I wouldn’t want it any other way for that path through the grief is so cleansing as well as freeing. I must remember to rejoice in the grief knowing the grief is the proof of stepping out of denial and facing the reality of abuse and its effects.
The day will come when these men will be using their own story for the help of another. God is like that. He knows how to take our ugly past and turn it into a pathway to peace for another who is ready to face their own struggle. How good God is!