11/15/14: How to Move Forward

•November 15, 2014 • Leave a Comment

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My favorite sports season is now under way and I love watching my favorite team, the New Orleans Saints, play and win. (No, I don’t live in New Orleans, but as a Christian, shouldn’t the Saints be my favorite team?) Thousands of people spend millions of dollars traveling to games, buying tickets, and purchasing sports apparel, all for the love of the game and a chance to vicariously participate in what will hopefully be a winning season for their team. The goal of every game is to move forward, and I believe we love football so much because it stands as a metaphor for life. We long to get ahead, no matter what obstacles may stand in our way. We all love progress and success; however, the Bible, not the Saints’ playbook, gives us the ultimate answer to the question of how to move forward. Hebrews 10:36 – 11:1 states, “For you have need of endurance (patience), so that after you have done the will of God, you may receive the promise: ‘For yet a little while, and He who is coming will come and will not tarry. Now the just shall live by faith; but if anyone draws back, my soul has no pleasure in him.’  But we are not of those who draw back to perdition, but of those who believe to the saving of the soul. Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen” (NKJ).

Let’s use the game of football as an analogy. First, know how to get to the line of scrimmage, because we will be unable to move forward until we are there. For the believer, the line of scrimmage is where we receive the ball, which is the promise God has for us. Once in possession of God’s promise, our job is to keep moving forward. If we are impatient, we’ll jump off-sides, misread the play, or ignore the quarterback, and fumble. But if we are patient enough to do the will of God first—obeying the plays the Coach (God) has taught us, listening to the specifics detailed by the Quarterback (Jesus), and trusting the Blocker (the Holy Spirit) leading the way—God’s promise will be handed to us. Then it’s our obligation to the whole team to run with what God has given. Then we can move forward. Don’t “draw back.” If we hesitate, we’re liable to be tackled by the enemy. We must just keep our legs moving and faithfully stretch for the goals we are hoping to reach.

Get in the game of life and move forward by patiently doing the will of God. Worship God today as the Play-caller in your life.

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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/)

 

 

11/10/14: Saying the Hard Things

•November 10, 2014 • Leave a Comment

Sometimes, the hard things just have to be said to the ones we love. I remember some years ago hearing the words “tough love” being used to describe the times when, as difficult as it might be to say it, the naked truth must be voiced. If the recipient fails to see the truth, devastating consequences will result. The major problem, however, is that usually, the person in the position to see the truth struggles with how to present the information, and no matter how soft the approach, the one receiving the information rarely takes it with ease. Still it’s clear that the truth must be told. The prayer is that the truth will somehow penetrate the heart, have the necessary impact, and affect the change needed so the negative consequences can be avoided.

In our current cultural climate, though, Satan has so twisted the truth, that bearers of it are labeled as judgmental haters and “phobics”. You had better not speak out contradicting socially acceptable norms. If you dare to do so, be ready for a barrage name-calling and rejection, the likes of which you’ve never seen before. The curious thing is that the same ones lambasting your right to voice your opinions are the ones screaming about allowing them to have the right to voice theirs. Double standard at its best.

God’s word never backs down from cultural norms or socially accepted practices, so neither should we. God’s word boldly proclaims the hard things, and we are under obligation to do the same. The prophet Ezekiel said straight out, “Then the Spirit of the Lord fell upon me and said to me ‘Speak!’” (Ezekiel 11:5 NKJ) And what was the message God had him to proclaim? “I will judge you… And you shall know that I am the Lord; for you have not walked in My statutes nor executed My judgments, but have done according to the customs of the Gentiles which are all around you” Ezekiel 11:11–12 (NKJ).

Yes, God is love, but we must not forget that God is also a God of wrath. One attribute does not cancel out the other. Unless we are living under the blood of Jesus, shunning the ways of the world (with the help of the Holy Spirit), we are heading for doom. God told Ezekiel that those living “according to the customs of the Gentiles which are all around you” are not walking in His statutes. Much that is socially acceptable and culturally “normal” is spiritually, flat-out wrong and sinful. Listen to Hebrews 6:4-6:

  • For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted the heavenly gift, and have become partakers of the Holy Spirit, and have tasted the good word of God and the powers of the age to come, if they fall away, to renew them again to repentance, since they crucify again for themselves the Son of God, and put Him to an open shame (NKJ).

Saying the hard things is never fun and its never easy, but it’s always necessary. Pray that God’s truth, however hard it may be to hear, will be effectively communicated to those we love. Worship God today for the truth of His word that is able to penetrate hearts and pull those we love back from the brink of catastrophe.

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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/)

 

 

 

10/26/14: Are You Smelly?

•October 25, 2014 • 1 Comment

#AHeartForTheWord

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When we think of someone being smelly, we usually think of a person having an unfavorable odor. Perhaps you recall an individual who passed by you recently who had just been out exercising and you smelled their sweaty attire. Maybe you scrunch your face up as you call to mind the time you walked past a homeless person whose clothes reeked of stale urine. Or you may remember the middle-school boy who got carried away with his dad’s cologne before attending his first school dance.

But then there are the pleasant smells. A fragrant rose, coffee brewing in the morning, bacon sizzling in the skillet, fried chicken, and freshly baked bread are among my top favorite scents. We tend to smile when our preferred aromas are in the air. According to smithsonianmag.com, “Airborne molecules that elicit a reaction in a member of the same species are called pheromones,” and “people perceive all sorts of interesting things about one another through olfaction [smell].”

I have heard it said that smell is an extremely powerful memory trigger as well. Upon getting a whiff of a particular perfume, you might remember the name of that most loved (or most hated) schoolteacher of whom you haven’t thought in years. Every time you get your oil changed you could think of your dad because the smells of the auto mechanic’s shop trigger visions of him in the garage working on an old engine. And what would Thanksgiving and Christmas be like without the blended aromas of all your childhood favorites wafting from the kitchen and making your mouth water?

God’s word has something to say about how we smell. In the Contemporary English Version (CEV) of the Bible, Second Corinthians 2:15a says, “In fact, God thinks of us as a perfume that brings Christ to everyone.” Since we smell like someone we’ve been close to, like someone we have rubbed up against, we carry the scent of Christ to those with whom we come in contact. So the question is: are you smelly? Worship God today for being so pungent with His grace that it gets all over us, so much so that others “smell” and react to Him when they get close to us.

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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/)

 

 

9/10/14: Alive Again

•September 10, 2014 • Leave a Comment

091014: Alive Again

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            Lots of people ask for proof that God is real and that Jesus is who He says He is. The proof is the resurrection and the empty tomb. After all the resurrection talk started back in the first century, all anyone needed to do was produce the dead body of Jesus, and this whole Christianity business would have been squashed. But no crucified, dead body could ever be found because God had indeed raised Jesus. Life went back into that body. Paul writes:

  • “…that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures, and that He was seen by Cephas, then by the twelve. After that He was seen by over five hundred brethren at once, of whom the greater part remain to the present, but some have fallen asleep. After that He was seen by James, then by all the apostles. Then last of all He was seen by me also…” 2 Corinthians 15:3-8 (NKJ).

          In any court case, credible eyewitness testimony is key to solving the case. It can be extremely difficult to get people’s stories it jive. But in the case of the resurrection of Jesus, the testimony of Peter (Cephas), the rest of the apostles (the inner circle of the twelve), over 500 other followers (the brethren), James, and then Paul himself, all corroborated. All these eyewitnesses saw the resurrected Christ.

        Jesus is alive, and His life proves the existence and reality of God.

       God continues today to breathe life into dead situations. Let Him breathe His life into the deadness you are facing, and then worship Him for being the Life-giver.

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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/)

 

 

9/8/14: Proof

•September 8, 2014 • Leave a Comment

#HeartForTheWord

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            One way to prove that two things are the same is by observing the actions of both. For example, if two cups are filled with a clear substance and one proves to be acid that eats through a piece of wood, pour the substance from the other cup onto the same piece of wood to see if it does the same thing. If the second substance eats through the wood in the same way, it’s safe to assume that the second substance is also acid.

            So it is with God and Jesus. One proof that they are the same is that they can do the same things. In Psalm 104, the Psalmist declares that “the waters stood above the mountains. At Your rebuke they fled; at the voice of Your thunder they hastened away…You have set a boundary that they may not pass over, that they may not return to cover the earth.” In other words, God can control water; water obeys Him.

           Now let’s test the other cup. Matthew 8:26 says, “But He (Jesus) said to them (the disciples), ‘Why are you fearful, O you of little faith?’ Then He arose and rebuked the winds and the sea, and there was a great calm.” Not only do we see here that the waters obeyed Jesus’ command, but they acted differently when He was around. In John 6:19, the water holds Him up as He walks on it, and in John chapter 2, it blushes at His word and turns into wine.

          Dealing with the elements (like water) is but one example proving that both God the Father and God the Son can perform the same feats. Indeed, They are one in the same. And They have not changed. They continue to walk on the impossible and calm the irrational issues that confront us. Worship God today for being the water-walker and storm-stiller.

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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/)

 

 

 

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.

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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/)

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.

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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/)

 

 
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