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Friday, September 6, 2013

BETWEEN A ROCK AND A HARD PLACE

September 5, 2013 by  
Filed under Daily Devotions
By Elaine James -
Have you ever been between a rock and a hard place? You know, when you’re faced with a choice between two unsatisfactory options. Aron Ralston was trapped in Blue John Canyon desert in Utah where he was forced to amputate his own right arm with a dull multi-tool in order to free himself after his arm became trapped by a boulder. His choice was to die or lose his arm. What an unbelievable story.
My rock and hard place is pale compared to what Aron suffered. Yet, I quickly get emotional about decisions. Thoughts monopolize my day. I try to self-talk myself into not thinking about my circumstances. I get stuck. It becomes a challenge I ask “How can I stop thinking of this?” I pray, then pray, then pray.
One day this scripture was my consolation “The Spirit of the Sovereign LORD is on me, because the LORD has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners, to proclaim the year of the LORD’s favor and the day of vengeance of our God, to comfort all who mourn, and provide for those who grieve in Zion—to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of joy instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair. They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the LORD For the display of his splendor” (Isaiah 61:1-3 NIV).
Jesus’ M.O. gives me perspective and it becomes my M.O. Next I read, “Arise, Jerusalem! Let your light shine for all to see. For the glory of the LORD rises to shine on you” (Isaiah 60:1 NLT) and “At the right time, I, the LORD, will make it happen” (Isaiah 60:22 NLT).
When I read the words “The Lord, will make it happen”, I felt assured that some outcome will happen. I just have to wait. What will I do while I wait? I start by praying and reading scripture then I do whatever comes next…my laundry, cleaning out a closet and so on…
“It’s going to be okay, hang in there!” That’s what I wish someone would say to me, instead of “just wait.” My dilemma is 8 years in the running. Joseph’s was over 20. Abraham’s was over 90. What do you do when you are between a rock and a hard place?
PRAYER: Lord as I wait on You for answers to prayer help guard my heart and mind. You live in me and anointed me. Heal me and send me as the Father has sent You. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.

GLUE

August 19, 2013 by  
Filed under Daily Devotions
By Elaine James -
“Faith, get on your mat!” I yelled at the dog.
She ran to her mat, sat down and looked at me with those puppy eyes as if she was saying, “Look, I’m in my safe zone. You can’t touch me now.”
Did you play “it” or “tag” as a kid? To play the game, someone had to be “it” and the one important thing you needed to know was the location of “glue” which is your safe zone. Glue was the spot you touched or hung onto so you couldn’t get tagged by “it.” You’re out if you get tagged. You win if you don’t get tagged.
That is what I thought of in that moment when I stared at the dog. She was in her safe zone.
I have played the game as a child. The game is different as an adult. My mind is the playground where instead of getting tagged by kids, I get tagged by the evil one. He catches me and I am out; it feels like I am inundated with all sorts of negative thoughts. As a child after I got tagged I was out. I liken being “out” to not feeling secure in life. When I’m insecure others’ comments, betrayals, stubbornness, impatience, bad moods…make me feel out! The Holy Spirit reminds me to go to the B.I.B.L.E, which can be an acronym for “Basic Instructions Before Leaving Earth.” I run to God, I get glued, and then I am in a safe zone where I cannot get tagged.
When I awake at night and my mind is racing I focus on Him because He alone calms my racing thoughts. My approach is to acknowledge God by practicing the presence of Him. I do this by singing a hymn, praising, thanking, and praying to Him. I know the power of praying scripture and I find that this is the perfect time to pray for others too.
“The LORD Almighty is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress” (Psalm 46:11 NIV). At one point in my life I focused on this verse and asked myself if God is my fortress, what would it be like to be in God’s fortress? I let my mind wander further. What would it look like, who would be allowed in? I feel physically safe and that can be attributed to the Lord. This verse was my safe zone and I was stuck to God.
With all that said, I look at my darling dog with my puppy eyes and bark back “I’m glued to Jesus. He’s my free zone and you can’t bother me.”
Warning: The devil’s version of “it” still exists. Don’t be caught in the game. Stay glued in your safe zone, a place you can stick to Him!
Prayer: Lord Almighty help me to remember You are with me; You are my fortress. I want to stay glued to You and be in Your safe zone. Teach me. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

I SMILE, YOU SMILE

August 2, 2013 by  
Filed under Daily Devotions
By Elaine James -
“Sweet niblets!” I screamed, screeching to a startling halt on my bike. I almost raced by and missed the glorious display of God’s beauty. “Imagine that! It appears to be snowing in the summer.” Have you ever seen a Catalpa tree? If not, Google it. A Catalpa tree is full of sweet smelling blossoms. I love it!
Let me rewind to the beginning of my day. I left for a bike ride with much on my mind. I was processing. Or maybe over-processing. Over-thinking. Thinking too much. Wasting time. When will I learn? I slammed on my brakes and focused on the blossoms. I allowed myself to enjoy nature. That helped me to just appreciate the NOW. I took a deep breath and told myself “God is in control.” This is what matters now. Taking in the moment. Appreciating what God gave me. A glimpse of heaven through His creation. It turned my day around. I went from “Elaine’s world” to “God’s world.” That is a good thing.
Friend, do you understand what I am telling you? Each day is a new day and new opportunity to smile and appreciate even the smallest of things, like a blossom. I nodded and said “Hi” to someone and that felt good inside of me. I smile, you smile. (I am singing a Justin Bieber song at this point.). It brings peace throughout my whole being.
“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead” (1 Peter 1:3 NIV).
New birth means strength from God to: love the unlovable, to have a deeper awareness, to see good in others, to stop saying “I can’t” when you can through Christ. You are a new creation in Christ; the old is gone. This knowledge can help you stop being impatient, unkind, uncaring and be more like Christ.
I pray that you enjoy this season realizing you have been given a new birth. From my heart to your heart I smile, saying “Hi, how are you doing? Have a nice day!” You smile!
Prayer: Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In your great mercy You have given me new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. Thank you. Help me to understand this new birth for daily living. In Jesus’ name. Amen.