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Monday, November 14, 2011

Twitterland

I have been wondering what @ means before your Twitter name. After Googling Twitter language, I discovered that it precedes your handle or Twitter name/user name, kind of like the days of CB radio.

The pound sign (#) in Twitterland is referred to as a hashtag. It is used in front of a topic which people are discussing. An example of this is: Going skydiving #noregretssummer2011. Twitter search results for “#noregretssummer2011 can be seen by those looking at the same topic.

Twitterland is where you can find the latest things in the news, whether good or bad.

Talking in code and creating cute sayings have become an art today. To many people this can be fun and rather addictive in a race to see who is going to create the new hashtag and if it will go viral?

Imagine Twitter between King David, who had an affair with Bathsheba, and Nathan the prophet.(The name in parenthesis identifies who is “speaking.”)

(@nathantheprophet) visiting @kingdavid telling him a #sadstory about a #badguy
(@kingdavid) whoever the #badguy in the story is, must die. #burningwithanger
(@nathantheprophet) that man is @kingdavid #truestory
(@kingdavid) worst day ever, I have sinned against the Lord #cantsleep.
(@nathantheprophet) @kingdavid the Lord has taken away ur sin. U R not going to die. #goodnews #mercifulGod.
(@kingdavid) #repenting #hardthingtodo #sosorry

Restoring our relationship with God when we have done something wrong takes time and sometimes there are consequences. David’s consequence was that Bathsheba became pregnant and the baby died.

Do you know a person who did something wrong? Could this person be you? Perhaps you or this person has a good heart, but made a mistake. David did something wrong, yet God still loved him and chose his descendents to be in Jesus’ bloodline. God never gives up us. When someone genuinely has a good heart, but screws up anyway, we should give them another chance. We should all be in awe of God’s forgiving merciful heart.

I am in awe of God’s amazing character.

Twitter only allows you to write 140 letters in a message. Thankfully, when we talk to God we can use unlimited words.

Should you enter Twitterland? If you choose to tweet, you will find a whole new world of chatting, updating, networking, laughing, crying and being distracted. More people are entering Twitterland and leaving the texting world. #keepingupwiththetimes @elainejames123

PRAYER: Lord, thank You for Your incredible, merciful heart. I need more of Your heart.

BIBLE VERSE: “When David’s time to die approached, he charged his son Solomon, saying, ‘I’m about to go the way of all the earth, but you—be strong; show what you’re made of! Do what God tells you. Walk in the paths he shows you: Follow the life-map absolutely, keep an eye out for the signposts, his course for life set out in the revelation to Moses; then you’ll get on well in whatever you do and wherever you go’” (1 Kings 1:2 MSG).

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Blockbuster

Do you know what the word blockbuster means? Alpha dictionary.com defines it as: ‘A stunning new and unexpected event or object that generates enormous sales or revenues.‘

When a great movie comes out and generates enormous sales, it is a “Blockbuster” movie.

While doing patient visits at the hospital, I share how God blesses us in so many ways. Whenever I share the blessing of God with others, I always use it in the context of the original definition, which means to be given favor by God. It reminds me of the times Jesus was returning to the Father in heaven and his last moment with the Disciples. Luke tells us in chapter 24 that they were troubled and there were doubts in their minds. They had trouble believing who Jesus was and why he came. But Jesus, in His great mercy opened their minds so they could understand the scriptures. He explained one last time that He came to die, conquer death and extend the grace and love of God to all. Finally he lifted up his hands and blessed them. While he was blessing them, he left them and was taken up into heaven. Then they worshiped him and returned to Jerusalem with great joy. They stayed continually at the temple, praising God.

Sometimes we can have trouble and doubt in our minds and that can block your blessing. What is blocking your blessing? Could it be your inability to believe that Jesus came and by his grace saved you? I thought of the word Blockbuster: The buster of our block is Jesus. We all need, Jesus, he is a “BLOCK BUSTER.”

Jesus opened the minds of the Disciples and left their presence. Yet they returned to their homes with great joy. They experienced supernatural joy! They could not come up with joy on their own strength. Jesus did that for them and he can do that for you! It helped the Disciples to have Jesus right there with them and experience that event. Read His word and Jesus will be there personally to open your mind, explain things and give you great joy. That’s so cool!

Jesus (Blockbuster)-one who brought a stunning event and it generated a lot of enormous revenue. (Revenue=blessing)

PRAYER: Father in heaven open my mind so I can understand the Scriptures.

BIBLE VERSE: “Then Jesus told him, ‘Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.’” (John 20:29 NIV).

Monday, October 24, 2011

Mental Preparation

Mental preparation, as presented by my tennis coach:
“When the stakes are high, I prepare mentally and get in the “zone.” On my way to a tennis match, I believe I will play well. I focus solely on the game, not on other people or the concern that I may play poorly. My attention is only on my racket, the ball, and the court. I typically do not know how the other games are going because I am so focused on my match.

Taking my time and trying to stay composed allows me to think about my strategy. If I allow myself to consider the possibility of a double fault or service error, it usually means it will happen. Before starting my serve, I visualize where it is going, as well as my service motion. I don’t think negatively, as this causes me to focus on all the wrong things. I clear my mind of all clutter, and seek peace, locking in on the ball with intensity. Losing is not an option. It creates disappointment in myself, because I have let my emotions ruin my ability to play well. At times, it even leads to my abusing my racket and/or body. I am very competitive. I lose self-control.”

Here, I present mental preparation for a day:
When the stakes are high, I prepare mentally, as I get in the “zone”. I believe I will do well. My focus is solely on what I have learned, not on other people or the possibility of failing. I don’t think negatively, My purpose and my focus remain on the Lord. I usually don’t know how others are doing because I am focused on my calling. I don’t rush. I try to stay composed. If I even think of a possible screw up, it usually happens. I visualize where I’m being led and His promises. I clear my mind of clutter, seek peace, and stay composed. If I don’t, I will lose confidence, as I allow my emotions to ruin my ability to do well, or abuse my body. I won’t have the self-control needed to refocus.

PRAYER: Father in heaven help me to mentally prepare for each day.

BIBLE VERSE: “Be prepared. You’re up against far more than you can handle on your own. Take all the help you can get, every weapon God has issued, so that when it’s all over but the shouting you’ll still be on your feet” (Ephesians 6:13a, MSG).

Monday, September 26, 2011

Complacency Is Murder

"Because you hated Knowledge
and had nothing to do with the Fear-of-God,
Because you wouldn't take my advice
and brushed aside all my offers to train you,
Well, you've made your bed—now lie in it;
you wanted your own way—now, how do you like it?
Don't you see what happens, you simpletons, you idiots?
Carelessness kills; complacency is murder.
First pay attention to me, and then relax.
Now you can take it easy—you're in good hands." Proverbs 1:29:33 (MSG)

Dear Friend:

Can you breathe a sigh of relief today or are you uneasy regarding life?

Jesus says "first pay attention to me, and then relax. Now you can take it easy-you're in good hands."

Hands of the Almighty or hands of the world?! So many false philosophies out there.

Just do it!
Don't think about it, go with it!
Do what feels good!
You don't like it, dispose of it!
That means disposable marriages, babies, relationships!

What warped philosophies are you following?

When Joseph's brothers were jealous of him they took matters into their own hands. They plotted to dump Joseph down a well. At the last minute they changed their minds and instead sold him as a slave. They covered up their scheme by explaining to their Father that Joseph died, killed by some animal.

That day the brothers lost their "peace of mind." They could not take it easy! They lived with that decisions for many years.

God and only the one true God allowed them to be in agony of their decision for many years. In the end God brought mercy on them and allowed them to be reunited with their brother Joseph. Joseph found a way to forgive the brothers.

Do you have sore feelings about a past situation that your not willing to forgive?
Is it time for you to forgive and set things straight?

Did you notice that I said "God allowed?" God gives us free will.

Do the right thing by seeking Jesus today. "Take it Easy?"

or

Put your head on your pillow at night with "no peace?"

God's rich mercy brought the brothers back together. He may be asking you to bring things back together. God won't stop trying to convince you to heal. He loves you way too much!

PRAYER: Father in heaven give me to courage to do the right things daily. Can you help me with.............. In Jesus name I pray. Amen.

Friday, September 9, 2011

On a Bright Sunny Day

On a bright, sunny day, I was enjoying a bike ride. Like always, I rode from my home to a familiar path and would safely go a couple miles and then head back. But on this day, I took a different trail and entered an unfamiliar path. I came to a steep incline with bushes on each side that made the path extremely narrow.

The only words I could think of were, “Don’t think about it. Just go.” As soon as I focused on the trail, my bike got wobbly and I began to fall. I had to force myself to look down at the trail and say over and over “don’t think about it, just go.”

I was tickled by this reminder from God to not over think things. It was fun to go down that path, hearing from God and trusting Him. I had quite a sense of accomplishment at the end of the trail.

My mind drifted to similar stories in the Bible.

Rahab, the prostitute, was raised hearing of the miraculous stories of the God of the Israelites. Surely, despite all her mistakes, she wanted the Lord to be her God, the God in heaven above and on the earth below, so they promised that they would come back and save her and her family. So, she agreed to hide the spies for Joshua, and she took an oath. “Our lives for your lives!” the men assured her. But, what if she would have thought too much, as she waited for the men to come back to save her and her family? Her guilt and shame could have held her thoughts captive and caused her to flee. Instead she chose to not think about that and focus on anticipating making their God her God. As we now know Jesus came from her bloodline.

What if Peter continued to think too much about identifying with Jesus? Two books of the bible filled with his lessons would have had to be deleted. What if Mary of Bethany would have thought too much about anointing Jesus with expensive oil? She taught us the importance of spending time with Jesus.

So many stories of faith and trust depended on the men and women of the Bible to not think too much. How many times did I miss out on experiencing God because of my thinking too much? How many times have you missed out on God by thinking too much?

AUTHOR QUOTE: Stop thinking too much! It could hinder the work of God.

BIBLE VERSE: “But Joshua spared Rahab the prostitute, with her family and all who belonged to her, because she hid the men Joshua had sent as spies to Jericho-and she lives among the Israelites to this day” (Joshua 6:25 NIV).

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Stirring Up Memories

Clang! Clang! Clang! The spoon hit the edge of the sauce pan as it emptied the tomato paste. Yum! That meant my mom was making spaghetti gravy for a pasta dinner. Yes, we called it gravy some prefer spaghetti sauce. But I am Italian and we call it gravy.

As I was making my homemade spaghetti gravy and was adding the tomato paste I was reminded of hearing that sound when I was a child. Back in the day when my mom made her gravy early in the morning and the clanging of the spoon hit the edge of the sauce pan it was way too loud. The only benefit to the clanging was that meant dinner would be some kind of pasta and I loved pasta.

As I clang the spoon now it brings good memories of growing up and my mom taking the time to make something homemade. Remembering that makes me smile! Do you have a noise, smell or object that conjures up a good memory? Something you will never forget?

I suspect it worked the same way in Bible times. I find it interesting that many great things happened with Jesus when fish and bread were involved. After He was raised from the dead, Jesus appeared to the disciples. John landed and described this scene: a fire burning of coals with fish on it, and some bread.

When the spoon clanged the pan in my childhood it meant pasta night! When the disciples smelled that fish and saw it cooking on the fire, it meant Jesus was back! Jesus invited them “come and have breakfast.” None of the disciples dared ask him, “Who are you?” They knew it was the Lord.

Why do you think Jesus fed the disciples? Clearly, the disciples were always blessed when they took the time to sit and eat with Jesus. We, too, are always blessed when we spend time with Jesus. Jesus used that time with the disciples to pass a message to us to feed our flock. We can translate that into our own personal journey and spend time together eating with friends or family so we can bring joy and share Christ with them.

At the end of day, when anyone lays his head on a pillow, his basic desire is to feel loved. Showing hospitality is always a great way to demonstrate that love.

Who do you want to include in your next meal?

PRAYER: Jesus, thank You for showing us how important it is to show hospitality. Who is it You are calling me to show Your love?

BIBLE VERSE: “Share with the Lord’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality” (Romans 12:13 NIV).

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Oh, The Thinks You Can Think!

“Lord heal my knee in the powerful name of Jesus, thank you Lord,” boldly I prayed.

I woke up with this constant pain in my knee that made walking difficult. “Last week I did a long bike ride and other activities and I was fine,” I said to myself. “Why all this pain today?”

I caught myself rationalizing, reasoning, imagining and being emotional. The book, Oh, The Thinks You Can Think, by Dr. Seuss comes to mind. It is about the many amazing ‘thinks’ one can think and the endless possibilities and dreams that our imaginations can create.

Talking to myself again, I asked “What’s the point of all this thinking and wasted time?” God has been teaching me for years about the mind and how much time I waste on my thoughts. I have come so far with my thought life and this was just a test. God has trained my brain with discipline. I gladly accepted the discipline years ago when I found myself exhausted at the end of a day and realized I had not even exerted any physical energy. Back then it would have been days before I stopped worrying about aches, pains and thoughts like “something must be seriously wrong with me.”

At some point we need to go further with God and understand just how important what we think affects our walk with God. One day a whisper came: “Read Hebrews 12.” For weeks I read it over and over again. It’s the chapter on God loving us so much he disciplines us. Reading it helped me realize that God the Father loves me so much that he does not want me to stay where I am at. In order for me to move, he needed to correct my thought patterns and emotions. I often think of Paul being disciplined by God and how humble he became. Throughout history and even still today, Paul’s changed life helps others to grow closer to God.

Listening and learning from God has helped me to captivate my thoughts and build my life of obedience into maturity. Quite often, our aches and pains get our attention and stop us from thinking about things that are more important in life. Watch out! Oh, the thinks you can think!

AUTHOR QUOTE: Think about what you are thinking, you may be thinking too much!

BIBLE VERSE: “Therefore, strengthen your feeble arms and weak knees. ‘Make level paths for your feet,’ so that the lame may not be disabled, but rather healed” (Hebrews 12:12-13 NIV).

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Recovering Couch Potato

As I plopped on the couch, my mind raced with the disappointments of the day. I asked myself, “What do I do now? I feel like giving up!”

Have you ever felt like that? Maybe you have asked yourself this same question: “What’s the point of going on?”

It took me a moment, but I stopped. I prayed, “God teach me what to do with this disappointment.”

My next thought was, “You have been reading through the Bible. Continue right where you left off.”

I got my Bible and returned to the couch, opening to the book of Job. My heart almost stopped when I read how Job suffered, yet he said these words, “For I know that my Redeemer lives, and He shall stand at last on the earth. After my skin is destroyed, this I know that in my flesh, I shall see God” (Job 17:25-26 NKJV).

I leapt off the couch to jot down the glorious anthem, that was then playing in my head:
My Redeemer lives, He lives!
I spoke with Him this morning
And He lives
The tomb is empty.

I need to remember Job’s words when I feel sick, afraid, frustrated, disappointed and numb. Those words helped Job put things back into perspective, and they can do the same for me. My priority is to remember who God is, what He did for me on the cross and that He still lives for me today. This was my gentle reminder of why I am here and how life’s circumstances can either take me away from God or bring me closer to Him.

Give God a chance. He is here for you. Don’t plop down on a couch and give up! Maybe today you need to be reassured. Job’s skin was being destroyed. Have you ever felt that way? What seems to be destroying you? Maybe you heard news about a friend making bad decisions, you were turned down for a job, or even worse.

I am here to reassure you that you can become worry/anxiety-free by trusting God and waiting as He, step by step, leads you. If you believe in Jesus, you will see Him face to face one day.

PRAYER: Lord, I lift up ______________ (Tell God specifically what is going on in your life.) I give this to you. I am reassured that I shall see you. Knowing this gives me peace. Thank you, thank you. In Jesus name I pray. Amen.

“But I fear, lest somehow, as the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness, so your minds may be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ” (2 Corinthians 11:3 NKJV).

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Dash Days

My mother’s tombstone reads, “August 4, 1936 – June 13, 2009.”
The birth date and death date are important to remember, but what about the dash days? The dash is the mark between the two dates. Jesus was born and died and those dates are celebrated, but his dash days are very important for us to examine.

We know that God is watching us all the time. He sees all of our dash days. Let your mind grasp the reality of that. Say this statement with me: “All our days are numbered and written in His book” (Psalm 139:16 NIV). If God offered to provide for you, in advance, the day you were going to die, would you want to know that date? Maybe your response to God would be, “No, but I would like to live out my days with your guidance.” Maybe your response would be yes, in which case would you upgrade your availability for your loved ones? Perhaps you would take control of your life and if you choose that, then Christ died in vain.

I had an aunt who faced many challenges in life dealing with a severely retarded son and the loss of her husband at a very young age. Her faith helped her to realize that being happy didn’t mean she wouldn’t have problems. It just meant that she chose to be happy anyway. My memory of her singing, joking and always smiling is forever written in my heart. The absence of good destroys us, yet God promises good will come out of things for those who love Him.

The key to fighting for these dash days is summed up in one little word: rest. Think about it. If your children are hungry, sleep deprived or on overload, what is their response to life like? My kids can get pretty ornery.
When Jesus says that he wants to give us rest for our souls, he also states in Matthew 11:29 to “take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble at heart.”

When someone suggests that you get some rest, try to take Jesus’ advice for rest which is “learn from me.” Jesus taught with the attribute of being gentle and humble in heart. Attributes are our evidence of abiding with Christ.

Don’t dash through your life or it will become a blur. Rest, slow down and enjoy your dash days.

PRAYER: Father in heaven you are gentle and humble in heart I want to learn from you. Give me the fight to learn and rest. Thank you for all my dash days.

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls” (Matthew 11:28-29 NIV).

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

A Hairy Situation

“She was flicking her hair in my face and it bothered me, so I cut it.” This was my five-year-old son’s logical, nonchalant response when asked why he cut off an eight-inch lock of Sarah’s hair at school. What a way to start the school year with my son! I found myself dealing with a hysterical mother, a teacher who discovered the evidence in the classroom garbage and a classmate with long blonde hair who had no idea how her hair got cut off. Who really is to blame in the situation? My husband and I sat my son down at the beginning of the school year and had given him the dos and don’ts of school etiquette. I guess we left out the “don’t cut a girl’s hair when she keeps flicking it into your face and it’s bothering you” part!

Dealing with my son was difficult because he was so sincere and honest about what he had done. The furious mom actually asked me how I planned to discipline my son. I was taught to let the punishment fit the crime. My son’s hair was already very short and so I could not cut it off, but he was guilty and needed punished. We did have a good talk with him, and the teacher separated their attached desks and put him on the other side of the room.

This experience reminds me of the story where Mary takes about a pint of expensive perfume; she pours it on Jesus’ feet and wipes His feet with her hair. Judas finds out and asks, “Why wasn’t this perfume sold and the money given to the poor?”

“Leave her alone,” Jesus replied. “You will always have the poor among you but you will not always have Me.” Jesus suggests in this passage to first spend time with Him and then you will know where to use your gifts and money wisely. We can be serving in so many good ways.

Whenever I read this I think of the lesson: good, better, best. We want to give Jesus our best. You would think giving to the poor would be our best. Jesus clearly is teaching the importance of being led by the Spirit.

My son had a “hairy” situation and did not choose wisely but Mary did.

PRAYER: Lord there is so much in life that I want to do. What do You want me to do with my time? Help me to be strong and learn from You.

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls” (Matthew 11:28-29 NIV).

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Looking at the Bright Side of Bird Poop

“Is that bird poop on your back?” I asked my husband who just came back from fishing.

Without hesitation, he replied, “How did that happen? I thought God had my back.”

Let me back up to that morning and explain.

My family and a couple of friends woke up in our beach house to a sunny clear blue sky and the birds were singing. I blurted out “They are worshiping God.” My heart leaped with the reminder from God’s Word, “Praise the Lord—the birds of the air nest by the waters; they sing among the branches.”

“LOL, Mom! You are so funny,” my daughter responded.

This is a teachable moment. God gives these teachable moments. I am not crazy! I need to say what I’m thinking and not lose the moment.

I explained to everyone that day, that when I think of birds, I think of God saying “Elaine, I’ve got your back.” They began laughing at me at this point.

I continued explaining my point by quoting scripture. “Look at the ravens. They don’t plant or harvest or store food in barns, for God feeds them. And you are far more valuable to him than any birds! Can all your worries add a single moment to your life?”

God is telling us not to worry for a second. So when I see a bird it reminds me not to worry, because God has my back.

My hope is that when you hear birds singing you will think about this and remember: “I do not have to worry. I just need to listen to the birds sing and enjoy life. God has my back and He is going with me!”

This lesson reassured my husband that God has his back and he is reminded of this each time he hears the birds sing. Perhaps being pooped on by these birds was simply God sending that message a little stronger and His way of saying “LOL!”

PRAYER: Lord thank You for having my back today. Thank You for Your love today. Each day I get up help me to remember this message and know that I am loved by the Creator of all things. Forgive me for worry and busyness and leaving You out of my day. I want You to be with me all the way.

“Praise the Lord, everything he has created, everything in all His kingdom. Let all that I am praise the Lord” (Psalm 103:22 NIV).

Friday, May 13, 2011

Impression

Dear Friend:

If I gave you some colored ink pads, stamps and some paper I would bet you could not help yourself to take them and make some impressions on the paper. You would get those creative juices going and make something for someone. I think just about any of us have those childhood memories of our chances to play with stamps.

As a child we pulled up our sleeves making an impression on paper with our stamps. Making a decision with our minds to create a masterpiece that would be permanent, usually designed for our moms. Peter was a teacher suggesting to his students to make an impression. Take the tools Jesus showed us to be holy. Don’t make a mess with your life as a child could make a mess with ink and get it all over others. Don’t be sloppy and rush to get the art project done. It will end up being just ok instead of blazingly good! If you rushed through a project your mom would say hesitantly “oh honey that’s nice.”

Making a lasting impression needs thought and consideration. Jesus wants to open His arms one day and say without hesitation “you had a life full of energy and blazing with holiness because you chose to make a permanent impression with your life.”

So roll up your sleeves, put your mind in gear, be totally ready to receive the gift that's coming when Jesus arrives. Don't lazily slip back into those old grooves of evil, doing just what you feel like doing. You didn't know any better then; you do now. As obedient children, let yourselves be pulled into a way of life shaped by God's life, a life energetic and blazing with holiness. God said, "I am holy; you be holy."(1 Peter 1:13-16 (The Message))

PRAYER: Lord help me to make a lasting impression with my life. In Jesus name I pray. Amen.

Stamping,
Elaine

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Rubik's Cube

Rubik’s cube was invented in 1974 by Hungarian sculptor Erno Rubik. Although it is widely reported that the Cube was built as a teaching tool to help his students understand 3D objects, his actual purpose was solving the structural problem of moving the parts independently without the entire mechanism falling apart.

As a professor of architecture, Erno Rubik invented the little toy for his purpose of teaching and it ended up going all over the world and has sold over 350 million.

In the scriptures David spoke to his son saying “And you, my son Solomon, acknowledge the God of your father, and serve him with wholehearted devotion and with a willing mind, for the Lord searches every heart and understands every motive behind the thoughts. If you seek him, he will be found by you; but if you forsake him, he will reject you forever” (1 Chronicles 28:9)

Reading this verse what stuck out was the words “willing mind.” What does it take to have a willing mind and wholehearted devotion? It is a committed choice that our focus with our mind will be on the Father. I was trying to compare that to something and the thing that came to my mind is a Rubik’s cube and how in order to complete the puzzle and get all the colors in order one needs to focus. Think about it, when you do any sort of mind puzzle you focus 100% taking all the distractions of life out of your mind and put it on the puzzle.

David was commissioning Solomon to build the Lord’s temple. He was saying what God says to each of us that the work He has for each our lives will take a willing mind and then he asks us are you cooperating with Him?

If your mind is thinking negative thoughts about your day or circumstances, what do you choose to with those thoughts? Do you just continue to think them or do you choose to focus on God and invite him into the situation. By praying prayers of thanksgiving, rejoicing, praising and petitions you allow God to renew your mind and this is your spiritual act of worship. With this kind of intentional focus on God you will experience freedom from thoughts and eventually the right timing for solutions to circumstances.

Rubik’s cube can give you temporary relief from your thoughts but God can give you everlasting relief of peace to be able to renew your mind.

Let’s Pray: Today I praise you and thank you for….. and I need help with….. I choose to focus on you and give these thoughts to you. Thank you for peace, I wait on you. In Jesus name.

So here's what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life—your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life—and place it before God as an offering. Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for him. Don't become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You'll be changed from the inside out. Readily recognize what he wants from you, and quickly respond to it. Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to its level of immaturity, God brings the best out of you, develops well-formed maturity in you. (Romans 12:1-2 MSG)

Friday, April 22, 2011

Dangerous Criminal

Dear Friend:
At a crime or disaster scene affecting large numbers of people, multiple jurisdictions, or broad geographic areas, many police agencies may be involved by mutual aid agreements. For example, the United States Federal Protective Service responded to the Hurricane Katrina natural disaster.

May 7: State police Lt. Carl Anderson, with a fellow investigator, escort Drew Peterson into District 5 State Police headquarters in Bolingbrook.

Upon my own investigation of how many officials go to pick-up a criminal or respond on a crime scene, I found the two previous stories. If there is proof of criminal activity by a person or persons, protection is called in for security reasons.

The arrest of Jesus says this “so Judas came to the grove, guiding a detachment of soldiers and some officials from the chief priests and Pharisees. They were carrying torches, lanterns and weapons. A detachment is a group of three hundred to six hundred Roman soldiers.

Then Jesus addressed the mob: "What is this—coming out after me with swords and clubs as if I were a dangerous criminal? Day after day I have been sitting in the Temple teaching, and you never so much as lifted a hand against me. You've done it this way to confirm and fulfill the prophetic writings." Then all the disciples cut and ran. (Matthew 26:55 MSG)

Matthew wrote fifteen times in the Scriptures stating everything that occurred must be fulfulled and it happened this way. As the agony progressed from Jesus’ arrest, trial and crucifixion everything was fulfilled.

Why am I telling you all this? We deserve complete protection from guilty criminals. The people and officials of Jesus’ time totally misunderstood Jesus by treating Him as a dangerous criminal, when He only ever showed signs of peace and humbleness. We did not deserve God’s plan of salvation. Our sin deserves death. But our loving God saw it differently and gave His son up to death so that we can be freed from our sins and eternal separation from God. Jesus was treated worse than our criminals today but yet He gave up His life freely for you without even an argument. Jesus has nothing but true love always for you!

Prayer: Father in heaven I did not deserve Jesus’ act of love toward me. Yet He fulfilled God’s will. Thank you for this great act of forgiveness. Amen.

It was fulfilled with the greatest act of love,
Elaine

Friday, April 15, 2011

Good Mood Food

“You’re right” was my daughters quick response when I asked “ I guess you don’t want to be in a good mood then?”

My 17 year old daughter had just gotten home from school and that was the end of the conversation that took place. Prior to her coming home I happened to drive by an Arby’s and it’s sign out front said “Try our new cinnamon bites, The Good Mood Food.” Found out that Arby’s launched on February 28, 2011 a Good Mood Food advertisement. Here is a sample of their sing-a-long jingle, www.youtube.com/watch?v=Gzz0wY2Vobk . The new Outside-in Cinnamon Bites; try them for $1.00. My mind created its own sing-a-long jingle deciding if I should “try them.”

It is three o’clock
I can’t block
the monster in my brain
I feel insane
cause my tummy
is a bit rumbly
I am falling
For this calling
I have To have a bite
Of that sugary delight.
It was a sign
I will be fine
I won’t whine
Isn’t this worth the fight
For the good food mood, right?
THE END

Then I attempted to bring my daughter down with me on this cheat by asking the question “don’t you want to try some “Good Mood Food?”

“It looks like a Totino Pizza Roll,” she said.

The ad says “light and flaky bite size pastry with warm cinnamon cream cheese filling all on the inside,” I replied.

All she could say was, “Gross!”

After laughing with my daughter, I tasted it and decided that I did not like the cinnamon bite.

I heard a whisper inside me saying, “God is the true good mood food.”

Do you use food in your life as an idol? If you fasted would it free up your mind?
I fasted recently and discovered that I think about food too much. God and I are working this out. Do you feel comforted by food? This is a message that God wants to talk to many about. The power we think food can have.

So many choices for “Good Mood Food” we need to pray. God satisfies!

PRAYER: Father in heaven so many choices today, help me to put you first. You alone can give me a good mood. Thank you Father for providing and help with daily needs.

I will be fully satisfied as with the richest of foods; with singing lips my mouth will praise you. (Psalm 63:5 NIV)
Blessings,
Elaine

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Throw in the Towel

So do not throw away your confidence; it will be richly rewarded. (Hebrew 10:35 NIV)

Dear Friend:

I googled the idiom, throw in the towel, often used in the boxing world where a trainer ends a fight. Simply put- give up in the face of defeat of lacking hope, admit defeat.

Do you feel like throwing in the towel regarding your life? Not meaning you would end it, but just give up. Making decisions for business ventures, schedules, disciplining children, household finances, Easter plans and all relationships. I am exhausted just typing this list and thinking about all the work that goes into each of these. All different circumstances vying for your attention. Each thing from the list above requires consistency, boundaries, and setting limits. Throwing in the towel or giving up is pretty understandable when times get hard.

Let’s address throwing in the towel, shall we? Towels that are dirty get thrown into the washing machine with some soap and fresh spring scent softener. I love them just out of the dryer when they are warm, filled with a fresh aroma and fluffy ready to be used again.

Just like our towels needed a little cleaning and then they are fresh and like new, we need some time with God to get fresh perspective. Here is some help, the next verse in Hebrews says “You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what he has promised.”

What is holding you back from wanting to persevere and receive the promise? Be honest. Tell God about it and then wait, just wait for God to work some fresh ideas of how to move forward.

So don’t throw in the towel, chose to spend more time with God instead!

Let’s pray:
Father in Heaven help me not to throw away my faith, but hold true to you. Thank you. In Jesus name I pray. Amen.

Shalom,
Elaine

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Vexed

Dear Friend:

Are you vexed to the point that you’re saying “this dream is never going to happen?”
Or maybe so vexed that you are saying “I will never lose this weight, never stop smoking, never stop drinking, never stop being angry, never have a good relationship with my mom, dad, sister, brother, friend, co-worker, or boss….”

Samson had promised God he would not tell anyone about where his strength came from, including his wife Delilah. Samson’s enemies wanted very much to find out where his secret strength came from. So they approached Delilah and offered her money to find out his secret. Delilah, day after day, was relentless trying to get the secret out of Samson. Finally Samson was worn down and the bible says “Samson was vexed to death.”

Vexed-irritate, annoyed. He gave in and told and ultimately ended up dead.
We can get so vexed that we give up! Is that your temptation?
Jesus tells the apostles before he goes to the cross ““Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.”

Let’s pray: Father in heaven my flesh is weak I want to give up on………….. Help me. In Jesus name. Amen.

You don’t have to give up on things; God gave you a spirit to help.

Love from Above,
Elaine

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Bright Light

Dear Friend:

Recently I was sitting at a funeral service and the pastor said every time he does a service he is overjoyed when he recites the words “heaven and earth are filled with your glory.”


GLORY=Bright Light around the head of a saint.

He is overjoyed because he knows he is worshiping his holy God here on earth and as he worships he feels a resounding union with heaven where all of the departed are simultaneously worshiping in the presence of God.

Pause and say these words “holy, holy, holy Lord God Almighty” and picture heaven singing those words with you?

I chose to picture my mom who is absent from the body and home with the Lord and in unity we are worshipping the one we love, our Father in heaven.

When my friend died recently l called a mutual friend who moved away and told him she had passed and his response was “I will miss her but I am happy for her.” Immediately I thought of the scripture in Thessalonians saying “we do not grieve like the rest of mankind, who have no hope.” It is so true! We celebrate life and trust His plan.
The day before my friend died I asked a friend to pray with me and she prayed these words “God if her work is truly done here on earth Lord then let your will be done.” I never thought to pray that. In the funeral service the sister of the deceased said “I was questioning all month is my sisters work done here Lord?” We never know, but it certainly is a comforting prayer that only God knows how to answer.

Pray with me: Father in heaven my time is your hands help me to understand here on earth your glory. I sing praises and thanksgiving to you today. In Jesus name I pray. Amen


I Thessalonians 4:13 Brothers and sisters, we do not want you to be uninformed about those who sleep in death, so that you do not grieve like the rest of mankind, who have no hope.


Pause, picture heaven singing with you and be a bright light.

Lighting it up!
Elaine

Monday, February 7, 2011

CONQUERING THE TOWER OF TERROR

Dear Friend,

Have you gone on the ride at Disney called The Tower of Terror? I reflect on the time when I was standing in the line, asking myself “why I am I doing this?

I can tell you that I look at the evidence: others went on and got off and didn’t die, faint or get sick! Based on that, I decided I can do this and I have to experience this. Of course, then I have the bragging rights to say “I survived The Tower of Terror.” I actually laughed myself through it.

When the movie The Passion of the Christ was out, while waiting in line, I knew people who chose not to go see it. Looking at the people leaving the theater, I was left anticipating and asking myself “why I am I doing this?” I looked at the evidence: others were leaving the theater in total silence and even crying. In this case I decided I must witness this myself.

As I watched the movie, I was filled with agony as Jesus’ torture went on and on. Only God could survive such torture. Anne Graham Lotz was quoted as saying “many want to say the Romans killed Jesus, the Jews, or the government. But our magnificent Jesus gave up his last breath and refused to breath anymore. He chose to die for us!

Do you know about James, the half brother of Jesus? He did not want part of the adventure of Jesus at first. He refused the evidence and stories. He was his own person. Then James got in line for the ride of his life after he experienced the journey of Jesus’ death. He wanted the challenge. He wrote the powerful book of James in the Bible that teaches us how to live the Christian life.

The Tower of Terror taught me to conquer my fears. The Passion of the Christ brought me the profound truth to embrace Christ and understand what He did for me. James learned the same things and from it, ended up writing with the approach of being very direct with us. If James was living today, I believe his words to us would be: “Slow down, sit down, quiet down, learn, love and live like Jesus Christ.”

Do you avoid facing the challenges James wrote to us about living the Christian life? Why not get in line and confront this challenge and you will experience the exhilarating accomplished feeling I did which was new life with Christ.

PRAYER: Heavenly Father, please help me experience more of you in my life as I face everyday challenges.

Come near to God and he will come near to you. Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. (James 4:8 NIV)

Challenge accepted,
Elaine

Friday, January 28, 2011

Monkey Chatter

Matthew 17:5
while he was still speaking, a bright cloud covered them, and a voice from the cloud said, “This is my Son, whom I love; with Him I am well pleased. Listen to him!”

Dear Friend:

Picture going to the zoo and visiting the monkeys that are caged, aren’t they always loud and chattering? You can’t think straight. I heard a therapist recently tell a client “You have to stop the monkey chatter in your mind.”The same thing can happen in our minds so we must find a way to block that “monkey chatter.”
We need a buffer to block out any distractions from our circumstances, electronics and busyness.

Jesus took Peter, James and John up high on a mountain to be alone. Jesus was getting them away from the monkey chatter. Do you have trouble with the monkey chatter in your head? If yes, maybe you’re asking, what can I do about it?
First we must find a place to be alone. You don’t have to be all alone; in this case Jesus led the four of them to a quiet place.

When we gather to be alone it is essential to pray. Remember you’re in the presence of God and finally be willing to listen. What is holding you back from meeting with God regularly? Monkey chatter can include all the excuses as to why, where and how you will meet with God. Do you have a place? Do you have some people who would meet with you? If not, who can you think of that would? Start picturing in your mind your place, time and with whom you will meet.

You know if you have a commute to work maybe right in your car is the place and time. I have a good daily devotional that is less than a minute. I can start my car sit, read and then go. As I drive you can put praise music on and think about what you just read. Good praise music talks about God and how wonderful He is and also invites you to be more like Him. Here is a song I love.

http://www.toddballardmusic.com/

Click on #4 Sacredly Holding (listen to them all but I really like #4)
What an experience Peter, James and John had. Don’t you wish you could have been there? I think it would have been awesome! Monkey chatter in our heads can become a bad habit but the good news is its reversible.

Let’s pray: Father help me to find time to be alone with you. In Jesus name. Amen
Stop the Monkey Chatter.
Elaine

Elaine James | Create Your Badge

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Showdown

Dear Friend:

Do you remember ever watching an old western movie when the showdown was about to happen between the good guy and bad guy? Usually before the showdown they agree where they will meet and the time. Then they get their guns ready and put them in their holsters.

I woke up one morning picturing in my mind me and my family getting ready for a showdown with the enemy (satan). We were to meet on a street in an old western town just like the movies show it and meet right in front of the sheriff’s office. As we walked out of our house and headed down the street to the meeting place I spoke out “this is our ammunition we are bringing with us:

His compassions never fail; his mercy is new every morning.”(Paraphrased from Lamentations 3:22-23)

Moving forward my next words was “the grass withers and the flowers fall, but the word of the Lord stands forever.” (1Peter 1:24b-25 NIV)

Yet more steps led to “He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; by his wounds you have been healed.” (1Peter 2:24 NIV)

Steps more “seek first the kingdom and His righteousness and then all things will be given to you as well.” (Matthew 6:33)

Kept walking saying “I tell you the truth, anyone who has faith in me will do what I have been doing. He will do even greater than these, because I am going to the Father.” (John 14:12 NIV)

One last verse “repent, then and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord.” (Acts 3:19 NIV)

We were all armed and ready. We won the battle. We were free from worry, anxiety, fears and negative critical thinking. We will continue to claim the victory because of Jesus.

PRAYER: Father in heaven thank you for showing me that we are in a battle but Jesus always wins!

Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. (2 Corinthians 3:17 NIV)

Free,
Elaine

Monday, January 17, 2011

Large Love

Dear Friend:

I got a text the other day from my Dad that said this “Large love Dad.”
I have gotten text from my Dad and they usually say “Love you God bless you Dad.”
So when I saw the word “Large” I was thinking how sweet he really wants to communicate His love to me. My heart kind of skipped a beat with delight.
Then I wondered “did anyone else in the family get this message?”, because it has been in the past where he sends out mass texts to everyone, including grandchildren.

My mind has drifted since that text and I ask “wouldn’t it be cool to have gotten a text from God with the same message?” How precious!
When I read the bible I find many times God has expressed His love to me. Do I read them with such joy and really receive it like I did this text message? Do you?
Ok confession time. After all of this thinking and anticipation of writing you this message I remember the day before I texted my Dad asking him what size t-shirt does he wear? Thus, the response he texted me “large love Dad.” LOL!
We just experienced God’s love and passion for his people when He brought the baby Jesus into the world in a manger in Bethlehem. Oh what a precious message, God parted with His son and gave Him to us. That’s large love! Let the message reside in your heart 24/7/365.

Psalm 36:5 God's love is meteoric, his loyalty astronomic, His purpose titanic, his verdicts oceanic. Yet in his largeness nothing gets lost; Not a man, not a mouse, slips through the cracks.

Love from above,
Elaine

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Celebrating A Cancelled Christmas

Have you ever come across three words that you thought were so simple, but ended up meaning so much?

Three months ago my husband announced to our family “I am cancelling Christmas.”A question came to mind: “Does that mean we are cancelling the true meaning of Christmas too?”

This past year, the only words that my and husband and I had on our minds when we thought of Christmas approaching, was “our family needs alone time and the only way we felt we could accomplish that would be to get away.”

As any baseball lover knows, at the end of the World Series, the MVP always gets asked the question from a reporter “Rob James you have just won the World Series. What are you going to do next?” The MVP always answers “I’m going to Disneyworld!”

When we asked my baseball loving husband “Where are we going for Christmas?” he answered: “We’re going to Disneyworld!”

Twenty six years of family tradition was cancelled with airline tickets, a house rental and a rented van. With a sketchy itinerary, my husband, our four kids, daughter-in-law, girlfriend and I headed off to Florida for a Christmas vacation. On the plane I prayed “Lord, please don’t let us forget the true meaning of Christmas.”

We arrived in Orlando, got our rental car and proceeded to our rented house, but our GPS misguided us and we ended up lost in a town called Celebration, designed by Disney.

We corrected our directions and navigated our way to the entrance of our rental home neighborhood called Legacy Park. The directions instructed us to enter and find the subdivision called The Retreat.

Stop! Family time was awesome!

Did you catch those three names of the places? I get the chills thinking that my husband just made random reservations never realizing the name of the neighborhood or subdivision we would be staying in.

It was truly three divine words. A message from God! We were called to celebrate, have a retreat and leave a legacy.” We celebrated the birth of our Lord in a little town called Celebration, which just so happens to have adorned their town with several nativity scenes. We retreated from our busy lives which gave us time as a family to reunite, cry from laughter and love one another. We left a legacy with our kids celebrating the true meaning of Christmas.

I have come to realize that sometimes 3 simple words may not be so simple!
PRAYER: Lord, thank you for mercy. Help us to find more ways to celebrate, retreat and leave your legacy.
Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail.
They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. (Lamentations 3:22-23NIV)