Monday, January 9, 2012

"January 8th": God really is The Man.

This is powerful: God can do what He says He can do precisely because He is who He says He is.

Ok, so I know we are not God. We cannot do all that God can do. But I do believe that we can do what we set our minds and hearts to. And asking for God's help and guidance along the way - we can get it done. Now, on to the main point of this take...

God is GOD.
The beginning.
The end.
He's a no BS kinda guy.
He is who He says He is.

We need to accept that and take it all in! Recognize it! Rejoice in it! We owe it to Him!

Lord, I pray that You guide me in Your ways. Help me to see your unfailing love. You are all. And you know the path of my life. Help me to have full trust in who You are.

"January 7th": Uh Oh...

Well, I knew it was bound to happen more than once. You know what I read something and you know it's just calling out to you. And sometimes it's in such a great way...and others it forces you to recognize your shamefulness. Yep...tonight it's shame...

Like Eve, we want to feel smart, but nothing is more ignorant than choosing man's intelligence over God's.

Well, what's funny about this is that lately I have been on this huge kick about, well honestly, stupid people. My ignorant mind simply can't handle stupid people. And even just writing this, I see the fault and the sin in my way of thinking.

(Wow, these devotions are making me feel awful about myself...but that's why I think this is so great. NOW I see. NOW I can start making those changes.)

So, I read this the first time through and was like, "Duh, yes. We all want to feel smart. Good job messed it up for all of us, but at least you were trying to feel smart. Free will. Go for it." And so what, right? I thrive on being educated, and learning new stuff, and being like a sponge just soaking it all in...and then I realized that is not at all what this passage is saying.


I don't think it's talking about worldly knowledge in the sense of simply just "knowing stuff." It's talking about knowing what is right in the eyes and heart of God and listening to THAT. Doing THAT what is right. Being educated on God and His ways and what we should be doing to live a life like Him. It's simply listening to your inner voice; your spirit - THE spirit that lives inside us all. The Holy Spirit lives within us; if only we looked deep inside ourselves more often and listened to it.

I always thought Eve was such an amazing character in the Bible. I have such a mixed image of her; I think she is beautiful, young. Graceful and innocent. All the "good". And then a part of me gets annoyed with her. She was so naive. Like come on Eve! Why didn't you just trust God? Why didn't you just believe? Why didn't you just listen to your voice? Really? You couldn't have just said,"No," to taking the apple?!

And there it is again. THAT's the main message. We are all like Eve in that sense - we make mistakes. We are faced every single day with hard choices and easy ones. And yet we still mess up. But just think if each time we were faced with a choice - a decision - we stopped for just a little bit longer and took a second to listen to our spirit, the voice inside.

Imagine the difference our world would be if Eve had just stopped and listened to the spirit within.

We, now, have the power to learn from her mistakes.

We can't just listen to "the man" - whatever or whomever that may be. To some it may be sports radio, to some it may be a politician, a celebrity. We can't choose to have false idols who we worship - that is man's intelligence.

We must listen to man upstairs. We should trust in Him more. We should listen to Him more. We should ask more of Him - He wants to help us. He wants us to turn to Him in times of praise and in need. God is all-knowing, so why wouldn't we turn to him; our spirit within ourselves - when looking for answers?

You know...lately in my life and all the drama that's been surrounding me, I got one piece of advice from a few different people. In fact, one of them said to me, "Steph, I cannot offer any advice except for this: As long as you are listening to your heart, and you know what your heart is telling you, then just listen to it. Go with what your heart is saying." And honestly, that was the best piece of advice. I'm listening to my heart. From here on out...God's intelligence. Duh. He knows best.

Imagine the difference our world would be if Eve had just stopped and listened to the spirit within.

Imagine the difference our world would be if Eve had just stopped and listened to the spirit within.

Imagine the difference our world would be if Eve had just stopped and listened to the spirit within.

"January 6th": Reminders

Ah....I always love to be reminded of things...NOT. My stubborn pride keeps me from admitting I'm wrong...even if I truly forgot something. Yes, I know - it's something I need to work on. A lot. What a sin it is to hold on to stubbornness and pride.

(Lord, I pray that you help me to overcome my need to always be right. Help me to open my heart and my eyes to my faults so that I can work on correcting my ways.)

"We are wise to remind one another never to forget who we are and never to forget who we're not."

Sheesh. Beth Moore makes everything sound so easy. :)

Well, I'm going to take this message and go ahead and just do it. I'd love for anyone out there to do the same. As it's up to us to remind one another!

Who we ARE:
we are God's children
we are sinners
we are sinners who have been given another chance
we are perfect in His eyes
we are loved
we are indebted
we are life
we are usually wrong more often than we are right
we are the past, present, and future
we are forgiven
we are given choice

Who we are NOT:
we are not God
we are not perfect
we are not humbled
we are not forced
we are not the way
we are not the answer
we are not defeated

(What's interesting is that it was so easy for me to list all that we ARE, and I had a harder time coming up with things we are NOT. Just sayin'...) God is good.

dang....that didn't go so well...

January 9th - so I'm behind. No excuses Steph...I need to do much better with this. However, in my defense I had an awesome weekend and honestly spent so much time with a great person that my mind was on other enjoying my happiness...Still, though, no excuses...I should have taken the time to do this....Since I have a few days to catch up on, I will probably keep these somewhat short...

January 5th states: "Nothing on Earth compares to the strength God is willing to interject into the lives caught in the act of believing."

I feel like this is simple: Believe - truly believe - and see the good God will do in your life. I have seen the good He does in my life when I fully immersed in my time with the Lord. I have witnessed a positive change in my attitude, actions, thoughts, behaviors, etc. when I am fully conscious of prayer and God. So, why then do I always put this second? Why is it so hard for me to put this - prayer, devotion, church - to put it first on my to-do list...instead of, "if I get to it"?

I do think, however, that it takes a lot for people to recognize the good God has given us in our lives. So often do we shout out in prayer when we are in need, or angry. But God also gives us minute signs and "interjections" when we are not even looking. THAT's what we need to realize...

..."Please help me overcome my own unbelief, Lord, so I can start taking You at Your word. ...I pray that the eyes of my heart may be enlightened in order that I may know the hope to which you have called me..."

I pray for you all that you also strive each day to simply believe

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Still on schedule - in a HUGE way - January 4, 2012

Today was a rough began as one of those mornings where everything just seemed to not go your way...and to top it off, once I got to work I realized I stepped in dog poop. Yay. The day continued to get worse and worse with feelings of sadness and worry with the major life changes that I soon will face. Throughout the day, however, I received many "pick-me-ups" from co-workers and friends. While I felt reassurance and some hope, the fears and sadness kept haunting me.

And then I read my devotional for the day.

My God is huge and my God is able. If I don't get what I ask Him for, I know I'll get something bigger.

Steph. Snap out of it. Trust in Him. So you had a bad day. We all do. Get over it.

I know that is much easier said than done and I know that what I realized by reading today's message has really nothing to do with what the message means...but...even just seeing, reading, hearing those words in my mind, a sense of calmness came over me.

I know God is huge. I know God is able of anything and everything. However, once again, I need to trust Him. I may not get what I ask for, but God knows my plan. And His plan is much better than I can even imagine; it's so much bigger than me.

....I'm really finding the good in doing these devotions. After a rough day, a sad day, reading this truly eases my mind. I'm considering doing them in the morning so I can hope / try to carry the message with me throughout the day. I love this sense of peace I have been gaining.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

On schedule - January 3 - Exactly what I needed tonight!

Can't say much on tonight's message other than WOW. I love times like these when I know God is hearing me and answering my prayers.

Patience to wait does not come from suffering long for what we lack but from sitting long in what we have.


I was just telling a good friend last night how badly I need to learn patience. I am the most impatient person - ever!

My life has been on a rocky road lately - and without boring you all with those details - you just need to know the following: I've been faced with a hard choice to make. Two roads. One road will be very hard, but will lead to sharing with someone in my faith, happiness and love. The other road, well, that will lead me nowhere, but keep my stable life. It will be right where I am currently; not happy, not fulfilled, and not sharing the joy of Christ with anyone close to me, but "ok". So, I've decided to take the harder road - that will reap more benefit in the long run. But I'll tell you what - it took me a long time to decide which road to take.

For a long time I thought I was being patient in my suffering for what I lacked - in my unhappy home life, I lacked love and joy and God. I thought if I just waited it out and see what would just fall into place. It's "good enough" so just let it be. I was being patient in my suffering for what I did not have.

But wow. WOW. I totally see this, my situation, in a different light now. A light that is shining down on me with warmth and love and arms wide open welcoming me. I've been patiently waiting, sitting long in what I DO have. What I DO have is a mediocre life. There is no abuse, no lies, a new house, a great job. But I've realized all that I am missing...after a year of unhappiness, I've realized that it's all been worth it to sit here patiently in what I DO have, what I AM living...if the end result is what I think is going to come to fruition. Waiting patiently (at the time, I was not patient, but I see now that I had to let it run its own course), unhappily, sad, scared,'s all worth it. Because I trust that in the end God will lead me down the correct path. And I know He is already working His magic because He has brought someone into my life who shares the same desires in growing with Christ as I do. This is something that I have never had before in my life - and something that I have realized over the last few years - that I must have, that I need in my life.

Thank you God. Thank you for letting me open this book tonight and read this. Thank you for speaking to my heart tonight. Thank you for being YOU and working in mysterious ways in my life. :)

I'm doing exactly what I said I was not going to do and type out some of the prayer for today's devotion. It's just that these words spoke to me and I could not say it better if I tried.

The Lord will do great things for me, and I will be filled with joy. I will sow in tears, then I will reap with songs of joy...

...Please help me be willing to sow the seed of Your Word and to water it with my tears, believing You in the midst of my pain. If I do, You will be faithful to fill me with joy again. You will faithfully bring a harvest forth from my life. My suffering will not be in vain.

...You will restore me and make me strong, firm, and steadfast after I have suffered a little while.

I'm so ready to shed tears, to weep, to hurt.

Because I trust that in end, God will restore me and make me strong, firm, and steadfast.

I pray that anyone reading this who is going through a rough time right now...put all your trust in Him. Lay it on Him. He wants us to. He wants to be there for us and do good things in our lives. I know it's hard to trust someone whom we cannot physically see, or talk to, or touch...believe me, I know that! It takes time...I'm not even completely there yet...I'm still striving for put everything in God's hands instead of trying to figure it out on my own...but know this: Rough times comes. We will all hurt. Cry. Be mad. Get angry. Cry some more. Ask, "why", or "why me", or "why now"?

...But in the end...God makes it work. It will all work out. In time. Just trust Him. Be patient in what you have.

January 2; Conquerors

Well, I'm not doing so well with my resolution seeing as though I'm already a day behind. However, I think I found my new favorite way to relax, pray, and think. I filled up my bathtub with sea salt and bubble bath. I lit a candle, had a nice glass of red wine, and just relaxed. was my own little spa...

Best of all, I was alone in a relaxing setting and I began reading my devotions for the last two days. I had no other distractions around me so I was really able to think and pray about what was given to me today.

He who is unconvinced of God's forgiving love is unconvinced that He is more than a conqueror. here's my take on this...if you don't believe all of God's glory; all that He is, you don't fully understand or "get" God and who He is. Now, after my initial thoughts, I knew there had to be more to this. So, being the English major that I am and loving the etymology of words, I looked up the word conqueror.

My computer dictionary states the following definitions of the word:
successfully overcome (a problem or weakness) climb (a mountain) successfully gain the love, admiration, or respect of (a person or group of people)
It's this last definition, the one that I usually don't consider the word to mean, that makes the most sense. When I think of a person who conquers something - I think of them defeating something. When I think of something that can be conquered - I think of something that can be defeated. I never considered the last definition!
Wow, how much more the above phrase hits me now! He who is unconvinced of God's forgiving love is unconvinced that He is more than a conqueror.
We cannot just think of God as sending his one and only son to us in order to gain love, admiration, and respect. Of course that was part of it - duh. But it is so much more. SO much more. What God does and who God something unconceivable. We as mere humans cannot understand Him. We can try - and that's what He wants us to do. We can believe - and that's what He wants us to do. But we will never be able to fully understand or get the multitude of who God is. But we do need to convince ourselves that He is All.
We must know, believe, and trust God's forgiveness. For all that we do. We are so far from being perfect; we sin even we don't think we are sinning. If we do not believe that God is all forgiving, we will never believe that He is more. If we do not convince ourselves that God is everything; we will never even begin to win that battle.
Tonight, I pray that I can learn to accept this. It's hard to imagine something - someone - so omnipotent, so omniscient, who is all-forgiving...and yet He is even more than that. While it's hard to imagine that, I need to know that it does exist.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

January 1st - A New Year, a new journey

I've decided to really focus on my faith this year and so I'm using a book by Beth Moore to help me along the way. I received this book as a gift a few years ago when I lived in Michigan and I turn to it every now and then. My goal is that this year I will use it every day and allow it to become not just something on my "to-do" list, but rather a necessity in my life. The book is called, Praying God's Word Day by Day; a Year of Devotional Prayer. Each day has a thoughtful little quote or phrase at the top of the page, followed by a prayer for that day. I've decided to type out whatever is written at the top of the page, and reflect on it. The prayers, while they are great, are sometimes long - and I feel like reflecting on what the prayer is about will be more meaningful.

Please pray that this new endeavor is successful for me!

Today's "top of the page" reads: "The giant step in the walk of faith is the one we take when we decide God no longer is a part of our lives. He is our life."

Goodness this sounds so easy. "Just make God your life." It's one of the hardest concepts and ideas that I have had to realize and learn on my journey with Christ. I pray each day that I can find the will to do this. I mean, let's face it, real life takes over our lives! Jobs, family, friends, other obligations we make for ourselves. But what about the REAL obligation we have in our lives? The REAL obligation we have to God? Why is it that we don't make God our entire life? Why is it so hard? I feel that it's because if it were easy to make God our life - well, then what would be the point? Easy things are just that...easy! They don't take effort, and will power. Easy things in life are simple; not complex. They are sometimes shallow and boring.

God is everything BUT those things: He isn't easy to understand. He wants us to WANT to know and understand Him. Knowing God takes effort! Knowing God takes time and will. God is NOT simple - he is totally complex! He is ALL; everything. God is the last one to be considered shallow! And above all, God isn't boring!

So, looking back....this first year passage is perfect. What a way to start this new year; by taking that giant step. I declare today, January 1, 2012 MY day. MY day when I have decided to do all that I can to make God my life - not just a part of it - but all of it.

I pray that each of you reading this has a great new year full of love, joy, peace, and above all - full of His presence.