9/2/14: The Need for Mercy

•September 2, 2014 • Leave a Comment

 

Whenever I think of mercy, I think of two things. On the one hand, the word “mercy” conjures up the picture of a guilty person who has been arrested for a crime he was caught doing red-handed. There’s no way to wiggle out of the truth and he’s standing in front of the judge’s bench about to be sentenced. If the judge looks on this criminal and says, “Not guilty, you’re free to go,” mercy was just granted.

The other picture I see when I think of mercy is that of Jesus Christ on the cross, suffering and dying to satisfy God’s wrath that would otherwise be poured out on me. You see, Jesus took my sin onto Himself and when He was nailed to the cross, so was my sin. Now when God, the righteous Judge, looks at me standing before His bench, He sees that Jesus served my sentence already and says, “Not guilty, you’re free to go.”

Psalm 103:10-14 captures the idea of God’s mercy:

“He has not dealt with us according to our sins,

Nor punished us according to our iniquities.

For as the heavens are high above the earth,

So great is His mercy toward those who fear Him;

                  As far as the east is from the west,

So far has He removed our transgressions from us.

                  As a father pities his children,

So the Lord pities those who fear Him.

                  For He knows our frame;

He remembers that we are dust.”

Mercy means “not getting what we justly deserve. ”Many of us may not want to admit it, but the truth is we all need God’s mercy. If God dealt with us according to our sins and iniquities, doling out what we justly deserve, we’d all be in a heap of trouble. Thankfully, just like a loving father who pities his children, God pities us, knowing we’re flawed, yet letting our flaws and failures be swallowed up by His great love for us. Our response to so great a love can be nothing less than total devotion, praise, and obedience. Worship God today for being merciful.

____________________________

©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/)

September 1, 2014: Life Will Work Out

•September 1, 2014 • 1 Comment

#HeartForTheWord

Besides being a classic love story, what we read about Ruth in the Bible is an uplifting reminder that where we were born and the bad things that happen to us in the past are no indicators of what God can do with us in the present and future. Ruth was from a family line considered cursed. (The Moabites were descendents of the incestuous relationship between Lot and one of his daughters, see Genesis 19:36-37.) Then she became a widow at an early age and had no children through which to secure an inheritance. But none of that mattered to God. What mattered to God was her heart, which was sold out to Him. After all was said and done, Ruth caught the attention of the most eligible bachelor in town, he fell in love with her and married her, and she became the great-grandmother of King David, directly in the line, which led to our Savior!

Isaiah 26:3 says, “You will keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on You, because he trusts in You.” Stay committed to following God. No matter where you come from or what you’ve been through, a heart sold out to Him is what matters. Don’t worry. Be at peace. Life will work out. Worship God today for having divine foresight that sees past the awful present and is able to carry you into an awesome future.

____________________________

©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/)

 

August 30, 2014: Need Some Reassurance?

•August 30, 2014 • Leave a Comment

#HeartForTheWord

 In Judges, chapter 6, the Angel of the Lord appears to Gideon to tell him he is the next judge chosen to deliver Israel, this time from the oppression of the Midianites. Not understanding why he, the least in a small family, would be chosen, Gideon asked the Lord for some reassurance. First, the Lord consumes food with fire, then He allows dew to fall on the fleece only the first time, and then on the ground and not on the fleece the second time(see verses 21 and 36-40).

I was a little puzzled by this, not by the signs themselves, but by Jesus’ reaction in the New Testament when He was asked by the Pharisees to show a sign. His reaction then was, “A wicked and adulterous generation asks for a miraculous sign!” Matthew 12:39 NIV. Why was it wicked for the Pharisees to ask for a sign but okay for Gideon?

I think the answer lies in the heart of the one asking the question. You see, the Pharisees were asking for a sign in order to believe; Gideon was asking because of his belief. Gideon’s heart beat for God and he wanted to be sure he was moving in obedience. Our loving heavenly Father has no problem reassuring us that we are really hearing from Him, but woe to those of us who know we hear and still do not move and obey. The Pharisees simply wanted to see some magic; their hearts were twisted to only hate Him no matter what they saw. Gideon was poised to obey.

What do we do with the voice of God when we hear it? Worship God today for being the One who reassures.

____________________________

©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/)

 

8/28/14: A Word About Good Thing

•August 29, 2014 • Leave a Comment

#HeartForTheWord

By the end of Joshua, chapter 21, all of the children of Israel had taken possession of the land God had promised to their forefathers. Verse 45 says, “Not a word failed of any good thing which the Lord had spoken to the house of Israel. All came to pass.” This reminded me of another verse. Psalm 84:11 ends by saying, “…no good thing will He withhold from those who walk uprightly.” Here are other verses about a “good thing”…

  • Ps 34:10 The young lions lack and suffer hunger; but those who seek the LORD shall not lack any good thing
  • Ps 92:1 It is a good thing to give thanks unto the LORD, and to sing praises unto thy name, O most High: (KJV)
  • Prov 18:22 He who finds a wife finds a good thing, and obtains favor from the LORD.
  • Jer 33:14-15 ‘Behold, the days are coming,’ says the LORD, ‘that I will perform that good thing which I have promised to the house of Israel and to the house of Judah: ‘In those days and at that time I will cause to grow up to David a Branch of righteousness; he shall execute judgment and righteousness in the earth.
  • Phile 1:6 …that the sharing of your faith may become effective by the acknowledgment of every good thing which is in you in Christ Jesus.
  • Heb 13:9 Be not carried about with divers and strange doctrines. For it is a good thing that the heart be established with grace; not with meats, which have not profited them that have been occupied therein. (KJV)

Since God created us all with individuality, the “good thing” He supplies to me may not be the same as the “good thing” He supplies to you, but that’s okay. To me, a good thing is yet another great book idea; to you, a good thing might be a hike in a lovely forest. Either way, the good thing supplied by God is His pleasure. He’s a loving Father.

Worship God today for at least one “good thing” in our lives, whatever it may be.

 

(Unless otherwise noted, verses are taken from NKJ.)

____________________________

©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/)

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

•August 5, 2014 • 1 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/)

 

 

 
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