8/5/14: Needed: One Huge Dose of Peace

•August 5, 2014 • Leave a Comment

#HeartForTheWord

Whenever I fly, I take work with me. I’m writing this piece on a flight and I have two speaking engagements coming up in five days for which to prepare. The gate attendant told me the flight would not be full, so I was hoping against hope to get a seat beside an empty seat so I could use both trays for my work.

Well, the attendant was right, but I had no seat luck. My husband and I choose mid-plane, aisle seats across from each other and waited for people behind us in the aisle to pass us to choose their spots. Two young women chose the window and middle seats next to me and my husband ended up beside an empty middle seat. The man in the row behind him even ended up alone so he immediately stretched out to almost lie down. To magnify my misery, the gentleman in the seat in front of me reclined his seat as far as it would go, leaving me with even less room. Everyone was sleeping or reading; no one was working except me. No one needed all the room nor the trays but me. Arrrgh!

My atmosphere was being challenged. I needed extra room, my shoulders and wrists were hurting from being cramped into this tight typing position, and others had gotten the seats with the room they didn’t even need. I wanted to cry and was getting a headache. I was frustrated and frankly ticked off. Three and a half prime working hours stretched before me. How was I supposed to think spiritual thoughts and write spiritual things under such conditions?

Once airborne at the proper altitude, I laboriously got my carry-on situated, inserted the earpieces for my iPod® into my ears, and clicked “shuffle” to listen to a variety of my favorite gospel music. As I placed my laptop on my tiny little tray, the song I’ve chosen as my ministry theme song started.

  • “Lord, You are extremely, You’re extremely good.
  • Lord, You are extremely, You’re extremely good.
  • No matter what I’m going through,
  • I just cast my cares on You,
  • ‘Cause Lord You are extremely, You’re extremely good.”

As the song played, I pulled up the devotion on my computer I hadn’t had time to read that morning. Oswald Chambers wrote, “The main thing about Christianity is not the work we do, but the relationship we maintain and the atmosphere produced by that relationship. That is all God asks us to look after, and it is the one thing that is being continually assailed.[1]

God’s goodness, casting cares, not the work, but the atmosphere. Hmmm.

Colossians 3:15-16 sprang to mind. “And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to which also you were called in one body; and be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord” (NKJ). Peace in my heart, thankfulness, and the rich indwelling of the Word are all things that are mine by allowance not bestowal. I have to “let the peace of God rule,” “be thankful,” and “let the word of Christ dwell richly.” God makes these available, but I have to “let” or allow them to be a part of my reality. So I begin to deliberately cast my frustration about my tiny, cramped space onto God’s very ample shoulders. I begin to let God’s peace-atmosphere bubble help me chill out in order to get some of this work done.

I know I’m not alone. Some days nothing goes right, your best laid plans are upset, and you feel frustrated, mistreated, and generally ticked off. Since there’s absolutely nothing you can do about it anyway, begin to worship God for being the peace-giver and then watch as peace takes over. I got this devotion written, didn’t I?

 

P.S. The iPod® just ran out of juice!

____________________________

©2014 Sharon Norris Elliott. Feel free to forward this devotion in its entirety, including this copyright line. Leave comments, ask questions, read past devotions, or subscribe to receive these devotions daily in your e-mail at www.sanewriter.wordpress.com. Also, periodically check in at www.LifeThatMatters.net to see what’s going on in the ministry.

 

Pick up a copy of Sharon’s newest release,

Boomerangs to Arrows: A Godly Guide for Launching Young Adult Children

available from Judson Press (http://www.judsonpress.com/product.cfm?product_id=17387),

at bookstores, and on all major online book buying sites.

Video link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f2JH_gbinMk

Also still available:

Power Suit: The Armor of God Fit for the Feminine Frame

from New Hope Publishers (http://www.newhopedigital.com/2010/08/power-suit/)

 

 

 

[1] Chambers, O. (1986). My utmost for his highest: Selections for the year. Grand Rapids, MI: Oswald Chambers Publications; Marshall Pickering.

8/2/14: Ain’t Too Proud To Beg

•August 2, 2014 • 1 Comment

#HeartForTheWord

In 1966, the musical group known as The Temptations recorded a catchy love song entitled “Ain’t Too Proud to Beg.” Topping the Billboard R & B Chart for eight consecutive weeks, David Ruffin led the song, crooning with the group about a wife or girlfriend who wanted to leave for some reason. The lyrics reveal that they will plead, cry, and even sleep on her doorstep all night long, whatever it takes to keep her from walking away. “Please don’t leave me,” they sing because they “ain’t too proud to beg.”

Although the tables are turned a little bit in the book of Joel, God is pleading the same thing to His people. However, God is not the source of the problem; we are. We’re the ones who have neglected to realize what we have in Him. Still, it is God who is pleading, “Please don’t leave me.” Joel 2:11-12 says, “The LORD gives voice before His army, for His camp is very great; for strong is the One who executes His word. For the day of the LORD is great and very terrible; who can endure it? ‘Now, therefore,’ says the LORD, ‘Turn to Me with all your heart, with fasting, with weeping, and with mourning’” (NKJ).

God knows what’s coming, and He wants us close to Him. Only by being in His arms of safety can we be assured of having everything we could ever need.

So today, perhaps you have moved a bit away from the Lord in some areas of your life, or maybe you find yourself feeling quite distant from Him. Either way, simply turn and run back. He’s waiting with open arms. The prophet goes on in verse 13 to invite you by saying, “So rend your heart, and not your garments; return to the LORD your God, for He is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and of great kindness; and He relents from doing harm.”

God wants you to be His even if you’re thinking of walking out and leaving Him behind. Worship God today for being the pleader who ain’t too proud to beg for your return.

____________________________

©2014 Sharon Norris Elliott. Feel free to forward this devotion in its entirety, including this copyright line. Leave comments, ask questions, read past devotions, or subscribe to receive these devotions daily in your e-mail at www.sanewriter.wordpress.com. Also, periodically check in at www.LifeThatMatters.net to see what’s going on in the ministry.

 

Pick up a copy of Sharon’s newest release,

Boomerangs to Arrows: A Godly Guide for Launching Young Adult Children

available from Judson Press (http://www.judsonpress.com/product.cfm?product_id=17387),

at bookstores, and on all major online book buying sites.

Video link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f2JH_gbinMk

Also still available:

Power Suit: The Armor of God Fit for the Feminine Frame

from New Hope Publishers (http://www.newhopedigital.com/2010/08/power-suit/)

 

8/1/14: Healer of the Sick

•August 1, 2014 • 1 Comment

#HeartForTheWord

James, our Lord’s brother, knew all about Jesus both as his natural relative and as the Savior. The unique perspective James gives in his epistle shows Jesus’ ways to be quite practical. When speaking of prayer, James says, “Is anyone among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord. And the prayer of faith will save the sick, and the Lord will raise him up. And if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven. Confess your trespasses to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much” James 5:14-16 (NKJ).

Simply put, James tells us that when we’re sick, we ought to go to God in prayer and we ought to take others with us. Once we ask in the name of the Lord, the Lord will move on behalf of the one needing help. How encouraging and how practical!

Over and over again while traveling around with Jesus, James saw this played out. People were sick; they went to Jesus. Some were so sick that they couldn’t get to Jesus on their own, so their parents or friends either took them or sought Jesus out on their behalf. No matter what the illness—physical, spiritual, or mental—the result was the same; taking the problem to Jesus meant He made a difference in the life of the sick person.

Are you hurting? Go to Jesus with the problem and take some friends along. Do you know people who are hurting? Take them to Jesus or go to Him on their behalf. Don’t give up. Be encouraged with the knowledge that your prayers as one of God’s righteous ones are extremely effective. In other words, God is listening. He hears. He touches. He heals. Worship God today as Healer of the Sick.

____________________________

©2014 Sharon Norris Elliott. Feel free to forward this devotion in its entirety, including this copyright line. Leave comments, ask questions, read past devotions, or subscribe to receive these devotions daily in your e-mail at www.sanewriter.wordpress.com. Also, periodically check in at www.LifeThatMatters.net to see what’s going on in the ministry.

 

Pick up a copy of Sharon’s newest release,

Boomerangs to Arrows: A Godly Guide for Launching Young Adult Children

available from Judson Press (http://www.judsonpress.com/product.cfm?product_id=17387),

at bookstores, and on all major online book buying sites.

Video link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f2JH_gbinMk

Also still available:

Power Suit: The Armor of God Fit for the Feminine Frame

from New Hope Publishers (http://www.newhopedigital.com/2010/08/power-suit/)

 

 

7/31/14: The Real Transformer

•July 31, 2014 • 3 Comments

#HeartForTheWord

Second Corinthians 5:17, a very familiar verse to many Christians, says, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.” We normally see this as a verse discussing the point of our salvation or baptism. We read it to say, “When we come to Christ, we are made new.” But look again. This verse is not only speaking about some point in our past. It says, “If anyone is in Christ.” In other words, as we live in Christ, we are new, present tense. In the same manner in which mercies are new every morning, we too are new moment by moment, as we live in Christ.

Jesus, the God man, lives outside of time; we live in it. What He caused to happen in eternity past, we experience along the timeline of our life span. The original Creator of all things (see John 1:3), Jesus has neither lost that creative ability, nor has He stopped using it. So, when Second Corinthians 5:17 says, “all things have become new,” we must realize that this is speaking of the creative ability of Jesus, the One who originally created everything in the first place.

So when we can’t see our way out of an impossible situation; find our way out of a toxic relationship; or fight our way out of misplaced, entrenched beliefs; we can turn our “dark formless void” (see Genesis 1:2) over to the Creator/Re-creator. Knowing His power, ability, and willingness to help us, how incredibly ridiculous of us to believe even for a second that Jesus cannot still make all things new. As long as the outcome remains consistent with His character, it’s just plain silly to talk about any situation that God can’t completely transform. Worship God today as the transformer.

____________________________

©2014 Sharon Norris Elliott. Feel free to forward this devotion in its entirety, including this copyright line. Leave comments, ask questions, read past devotions, or subscribe to receive these devotions daily in your e-mail at www.sanewriter.wordpress.com. Also, periodically check in at www.LifeThatMatters.net to see what’s going on in the ministry.

 

Pick up a copy of Sharon’s newest release,

Boomerangs to Arrows: A Godly Guide for Launching Young Adult Children

available from Judson Press (http://www.judsonpress.com/product.cfm?product_id=17387),

at bookstores, and on all major online book buying sites.

Video link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f2JH_gbinMk

Also still available:

Power Suit: The Armor of God Fit for the Feminine Frame

from New Hope Publishers (http://www.newhopedigital.com/2010/08/power-suit/)

 

 

7/30/14: God’s Answers

•July 30, 2014 • 1 Comment

#HeartForTheWord

Consider some scenarios about conversations with my toddlers:

  • If they would ask me to let them play with a buzz saw, I would obviously say, “No.” No explanation would be necessary; they wouldn’t understand it anyway. My negative response would just have to be sufficient because of my authority and what I know about the tragic outcome of granting their request.
  • If they asked to drive the car, I’d say, “Not yet.” My more mature knowledge would answer in that way because I know one day they will have grown into the ability to drive and I will then be able to let them do so.
  • If they were to ask me to drive near Disneyland so they could look at it, I may say, “Hold on, I have something better,” and then actually purchase tickets and take them in to enjoy the Happiest Place on Earth all day.
  • If they were to ask me for more vegetables and less sweets, I would eagerly and quickly give them exactly what they asked for. Why? Because they would be asking for something that was in accordance with my will for them.

Our prayers are never ignored, nor do they go unanswered. When it comes to prayer, we have a tendency to forget that “no,” “not yet,” and “hold on for something better,” are also answers. 1 John 5:14-15 is pretty clear, “Now this is the confidence that we have in Him, that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. And if we know that He hears us, whatever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we have asked of Him” (NKJ). God fulfills for us those things we ask in accordance with His will for us. When we ask for stuff He doesn’t want for us, He says, “No.” At other times, He has to let us grow, or He has something better in mind.

Prayer is more about getting into God’s head than about convincing God that He should do what’s in our hearts. He already knows what we think and what we want, but He’s ultimately concerned with what we need. When we pray, let’s be about the business of finding out what God wants for us in every situation of life. Once we know His outlook on a subject, our prayer-confidence meter will soar. Not only will we be patient with God and His timing, we’ll spend much less time asking for what we want, and much more time asking for what He wants for us. And God’s answers are always right. Worship God today for being the prayer-answerer regardless of what answer He gives.

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©2014 Sharon Norris Elliott. Feel free to forward this devotion in its entirety, including this copyright line. Leave comments, ask questions, read past devotions, or subscribe to receive these devotions daily in your e-mail at www.sanewriter.wordpress.com. Also, periodically check in at www.LifeThatMatters.net to see what’s going on in the ministry.

 

Pick up a copy of Sharon’s newest release,

Boomerangs to Arrows: A Godly Guide for Launching Young Adult Children

available from Judson Press (http://www.judsonpress.com/product.cfm?product_id=17387),

at bookstores, and on all major online book buying sites.

Video link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f2JH_gbinMk

Also still available:

Power Suit: The Armor of God Fit for the Feminine Frame

from New Hope Publishers (http://www.newhopedigital.com/2010/08/power-suit/)

 

 

7/29/14: Never Forget

•July 29, 2014 • 1 Comment

#HeartForTheWord

I attended a women’s conference recently and one of the songs we sang during the opening worship was an old spiritual I hadn’t heard in a long time.

  • Jesus, I’ll never forget what You’ve done for me.
  • Jesus, I’ll never forget how You set me free.
  • Jesus, I’ll never forget how You brought me out.
  • Jesus, I’ll never forget, no, never.

This chorus came back to my mind as I read of King Hezekiah and his son Manasseh, yet another couple of kings who forgot what God had done when they trusted God. Hezekiah had a long history of victories thanks to his submission to God, but for a short time, “Hezekiah did not repay according to the favor shown him, for his heart was lifted up; therefore wrath was looming over him and over Judah and Jerusalem” Second Chronicles 32:25 (NKJ). Thankfully, he soon “humbled himself for the pride of his heart, he and the inhabitants of Jerusalem, so that the wrath of the Lord did not come upon them in the days of Hezekiah” Second Chronicles 32:26.

Although Manasseh was just 12 years old when his dad died and he became king, his advisors must have reminded him of the spiritual legacy of trust in God passed down to him. Nevertheless, Manasseh forgot all the blessings God had reigned on Jerusalem because of their obedience. He “rebuilt the high places which Hezekiah his father had broken down; he raised up altars for the Baals, and made wooden images; and he worshiped all the host of heaven[a] and served them. He also built altars in the house of the Lord… built altars for all the host of heaven… caused his sons to pass through the fire… practiced soothsaying, used witchcraft and sorcery, and consulted mediums and spiritists. He did much evil in the sight of the Lord, to provoke Him to anger” Second Chronicles 33:3-6. Manasseh’s lapse of memory regarding the God he should have obeyed led to his capture by the captains of the army of the king of Assyria. Hardship tends to jog the memory so “when he was in affliction, he implored the Lord his God, and humbled himself greatly before the God of his fathers, and prayed to Him; and He received his entreaty, heard his supplication, and brought him back to Jerusalem into his kingdom. Then Manasseh knew that the Lord was God” Second Chronicles 33:12-13.

Reading these accounts, the connection between trust and blessing is clear: trust God, win in life; forget God, lose in life. If you know the tune of the song above, sing it whenever you are tempted to turn from God and do things your way. (If you don’t know the tune, make one up.) God has proven Himself over and over again in the pages of Scripture and in the lives of His saints past and present. What He’s done for others, He’ll do for you. Remember that and worship God today for being the memory jogger.

____________________________

©2014 Sharon Norris Elliott. Feel free to forward this devotion in its entirety, including this copyright line. Leave comments, ask questions, read past devotions, or subscribe to receive these devotions daily in your e-mail at www.sanewriter.wordpress.com. Also, periodically check in at www.LifeThatMatters.net to see what’s going on in the ministry.

 

Pick up a copy of Sharon’s newest release,

Boomerangs to Arrows: A Godly Guide for Launching Young Adult Children

available from Judson Press (http://www.judsonpress.com/product.cfm?product_id=17387),

at bookstores, and on all major online book buying sites.

Video link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f2JH_gbinMk

Also still available:

Power Suit: The Armor of God Fit for the Feminine Frame

from New Hope Publishers (http://www.newhopedigital.com/2010/08/power-suit/)

7/28/14: It’s Never Too Late

•July 28, 2014 • Leave a Comment

#HeartForTheWord

When Hezekiah was king, he encouraged and led all of Israel and Judah to turn completely back to the Lord starting with keeping the Passover. Since this hadn’t been done in such a long time, he had to postpone the celebration for one month because there weren’t enough priests who had been properly consecrated to take care of all the offerings. Also, there needed to be enough time for all the people to travel to Jerusalem who wanted to come to the feast (see 2 Chronicles 30:3). Then, once the Passover started, it was discovered that all the people had not properly sanctified themselves “yet they ate the Passover contrary to what was written” Second Chronicles 30:18.

We’re in the Old Testament reading this account, and we tend to see the God of the Old Testament as harsh and unyielding, but we’re delightfully surprised to find in this story that that is not the case. Second Chronicles 30:18b-20 says, “But Hezekiah prayed for them, saying, ‘May the good Lord provide atonement for everyone who prepares his heart to seek God, the Lord God of his fathers, though he is not cleansed according to the purification of the sanctuary.’ And the Lord listened to Hezekiah and healed the people” (NKJ).

It may have been a long time since you prayed, attended church, or even thought about God. You might feel like you don’t even know how to approach God now, and you might figure that too much water has passed under the bridge for you to even try. Be encouraged. Stop thinking that way. The Passover under King Hezekiah was a month late, the priests had to hurry to get ready, and the people didn’t even know how to sanctify themselves properly, but God looked past all that because they had prepared their hearts to seek God.

It’s never too late to turn to God. It may seem like the wrong time, you feel like you’re at the wrong place, and you come with perhaps the wrong approach, none of those things matter. Your heart wants God and He can see that through all the “wrongs.”

Worship Him today for being the welcoming arms always ready to take you in.

____________________________

©2014 Sharon Norris Elliott. Feel free to forward this devotion in its entirety, including this copyright line. Leave comments, ask questions, read past devotions, or subscribe to receive these devotions daily in your e-mail at www.sanewriter.wordpress.com. Also, periodically check in at www.LifeThatMatters.net to see what’s going on in the ministry.

 

Pick up a copy of Sharon’s newest release,

Boomerangs to Arrows: A Godly Guide for Launching Young Adult Children

available from Judson Press (http://www.judsonpress.com/product.cfm?product_id=17387),

at bookstores, and on all major online book buying sites.

Video link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f2JH_gbinMk

Also still available:

Power Suit: The Armor of God Fit for the Feminine Frame

from New Hope Publishers (http://www.newhopedigital.com/2010/08/power-suit/)

 
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