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Digging Deep in the Word {Devotionals that I Love}

Digging Deep in the Word {Devotionals that I Love}

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When I see this photo many, many memories flood my mind- my heart even. I can see girls running in and out of the cabins. I can hear the bell ringing for free time to begin and smell the pine trees. But my favorite memories at this camp were made when it was quiet and still.

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The Voice of One Speaking

The Voice of One Speaking

he heard the voice

The Isrealites have been numbered “according to the word of the Lord.” They have set up the tabernacle exactly as the Lord commanded. They then bring their offerings and sacrifices to the Lord. After all this is completed Moses enters the tabernacle specifically to speak to the Lord. And what happens? Moses hears the voice of one speaking unto him from off the mercy seat. (Numbers 7).

When was the last time you heard the voice the of the Lord speaking to you? When was the last time you specifically went to the Lord to hear from Him? I noticed Moses first followed God’s commands. He numbered the people and set up princes among tribes. He followed God’s plan to make the tabernacle. Then after the sacrifices were given he went into the tabernacle to speak with the Lord. Before we go to the Lord we must make sure we are right with the Lord. If we are not right with the Lord our prayers WILL BE HINDERED.

Then when he was right with the Lord Moses went into the tabernacle. I view this as sort of a prayer closet or war room. Take the time to go to the Lord. A time free of distractions. A time for the Lord.

Then hear the voice of One speaking. Hear from the Lord today.

Lessons from my Mop and Pail

Lessons from my Mop and Pail

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I am sitting in my dining room enjoying the smell of a freshly cleaned floor. Lemony freshness. After weeks of needing a good scrub down I finally made time for it today and got it done. I am so glad I did. It wasn’t easy, though. I started around 9 AM in the kitchen and dining room. I moved everything out of there then swept, used the swiffer duster, then got on my hands and knees (reminds me of college!) and started scrubbing the floor with my hot, soapy rag. Kids came in and out to help. They’d stay for a little while then they’d get bored and go play again.

By 10:15 I was done the kitchen and dining room so we took a break and went to the park, came back for lunch then the kids were off to bed for their naps. I got right to it and repeated the same process in the living room. All the furniture was pulled out. I swept, swiffered, then mopped. As I mopped I noticed marks on the walls so I’d give them a quick wipe and continue on with the floor. Finally, at 2 PM I am done. That was hard work and it took all day. I used to do this every week. When I did it that way it only took an hour or so to do all the rooms. As I was doing this I started to think how this day can be applied to my life spiritually.

Our hearts, like my floor, need a good scrub down every now and then. “Create in me a clean heart, O God…” (Psalm 51:10)  This takes work. There is no quick fix. I am not speaking of our salvation, that is a gift from God and only requires us to accept the gift. I am speaking to the Christian who is not right with God. The Christian who has things in his/her life that do not honor the Lord. It takes time to clean up that heart. Don’t lose hope just because you aren’t seeing results as quickly as you’d like to see them.

There may be others who seem on fire for the Lord, like my little ones who were so excited to come in and help me mop. But they quickly lost interest and went on to do something more interesting. We can’t let those around us affect how we serve the Lord. Man will always fail us. We need to continue on even if no one wants to join us.

Sometimes while we are focusing on the area in our lives that the Lord wants us to change He will allow us to see another “spot on the wall” that needs some fixing. Work on it and continue on. Don’t get sidetracked from the ultimate goal of having a clean heart before God.

This needs to be done often. As sinners, we cannot expect our hearts to stay clean without continually going before the Lord and asking Him to search our hearts. My floor is so much easier to clean when I do it on a regular basis. When I go weeks without mopping it takes so much more work to get it clean again. Don’t let your heart go weeks without being cleaned and don’t ignore the Spirit when He is trying to tell you that your heart needs cleaned.

Finally, how do I go about cleaning up my heart? Psalm 139:23-24 says Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts: And see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.”

Ask God to show you where your heart needs some cleaning then make an effort to clean it up.  Maybe it means getting rid of some music that doesn’t honor God. Maybe it means getting rid of some movies. Maybe it means getting rid of some friends. Maybe it means stepping back from some hobbies to make sure God is first place in your life. God will show you what needs cleaned up in your life. Remember, you can’t do this on your own. You need to ask the Lord to help you in this.

P.S. This can also be applied to our lives physically. If you have set out to get fit or eat right remember it takes time, you can’t rely on others to do it for you, don’t get stuck on one area, and to evaluate your workouts/meal plan often. And as always, ask God to help you do it!

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Do Him Good

Do Him Good

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I have always admired the Proverbs 31 woman. As a young woman then as a young wife I have studied her and aspired to be like her. I always wonder what it would be like to be that awesome of a woman. Strong, creative, wise, godly, giving, kind. She is the whole package. One verse that I claimed years ago is ” She will do him good and not evil all the days of her life” Proverbs 31:12. This is, of course, speaking how she will treat her husband. I decided years ago that I would do my best to never do Shane evil. I don’t talk negatively about him to others…no one. Up until just recently I really thought that by doing that (or not doing that, I guess) I was fulfilling this verse.

I am coming up on my 6th anniversary of being married to Shane. So by now I pretty much know everything there is to know about being married. What? You don’t believe me? Okay, you’re right. I know squat. Every time I think I am getting the hang of being a good, godly wife something else comes along to prove me wrong. But here is one thing that I have learned: not doing my husband evil is not enough. I MUST also do him good.

What is doing him good? Well, the opposite of doing him evil, right? This involves my attitude and thoughts toward him (because remember, even the thought of foolishness is sin.) This involves my (quick plug your ears-or eyes) submitting to him. Yes, I believe that God meant that command when He said it. And, no, I don’t find it offensive. I find it difficult at times…but so is child birth and for some reason I keep doing that.

But what if we went beyond our normal duties of being a “good wife?” What if I purposely tried to be a blessing to my husband? At the back of my notebook I have a list titled “Ways to Bless My Husband.” I wrote a growing list of little things I can do to be a blessing to my husband. I challenge you to make a list and watch it grow. Oh, and actually do the things on the list 😉 I challenge you today to not only do your husband no evil, but purposely do him good.

“What if my husband doesn’t treat me right?”

Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good.” Romans 12:21

“I don’t think I can do him good all the time.”

“For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure.” Philippians 2:13

“He doesn’t recognize or praise me when I do him good.”

” Whether therefore ye eat or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God.” I Corinthians 10:31

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This post has been linked up to Faith Filled Fridays

Because He First Loved Me

Because He First Loved Me

I remember as a child we used to always sing in the car. One song that I remember the most is my mom or dad would sing, “oh Sandy, do you love Jesus?” I would reply, “Oh yes I love Jesus.” They’d sing, “Tell me why you love Jesus.” And I’d answer, “Because He first loved me.”

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I grew up knowing that God loves me. I grew up knowing that He died on the cross for me and because of this I am to love Him, too. I am so thankful to have been taught the Bible at a young age. But sometimes, when you never know what it is like to not have something, you don’t realize what you do have. There are wonderful Bible verses like, “But commendeth His love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” (Romans 10:9) This verse is so powerful stating that God loved me when I was against Him! I was His enemy and yet He died for me! But I can’t tell you how many times I have just skimmed over this verse. I already have it memorized so I don’t need to pay attention to it when I read it. And because we skim over it we miss out on the truth of that verse- that God first loved me. He doesn’t demand a love in return. He did this for us before we loved Him.

When you come to the realization that you are doomed for hell because of your sin it should bring awful grief and heartbreak.  I always teach my Sunday School class that as a sinner, I had a problem. I had sinned against God. My sin isn’t allowed in heaven. My sins would keep me from ever entering heaven. That’s the problem. But God, seeing my problem, offered a solution. He gave His Son to die and take on my sin. He would take away my sin! So, I have my sin as the problem and Christ as the solution. When I learn what God has done for me, that’s where that love begins. Then I need to make a decision: Take God’s free gift, believe in His Son and what He has done for me. Or continue on with my sin. When I accepted God’s gift of salvation- I remember that moment- I felt that deep, amazing love for God.

Now, 14 years later, why do I not feel that same amazing love for God that I felt that night at camp? Has God’s love changed? Of course not. Like the church of Ephesus, I have left my first love. I stopped dwelling on how amazing God is and on the love He showed for me when He gave me salvation. That’s my fault. I can’t say that it’s because I have a home now that I need to keep clean, or kids that take up so much of my attention. I can’t blame it on my being too busy in church ministries or facebook or anything else.

God’s command in Deuteronomy hasn’t changed: And thou shalt Love the Lord thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might. Deuteronomy 6:5. 

Consider now what you can do or change in your life in order to put God first again. How can you be dwelling on God and His love more? What will cause you to feel for God that love you felt when you accepted His great gift of salvation?

Are you hungry?

Are you hungry?

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Some days are very hectic. I wake up with William around 7:15 and we go for a run together. By the time we get back the girls are starting to wake and I am rushing around making sure everyone has something to eat. We kiss Shane goodbye and we are busy getting dressed, making beds, and doing some morning chores. By 10 I realize something…I am very hungry. I typically get too busy to eat any breakfast until I am feeling quite weak and very cranky. Have you heard the term “hangry”? That’s me at 10:00…when hunger turns to anger. I then stop everything, tell the kids to play by themselves for a bit and I make myself some breakfast. This all could have been avoided if I had just taken the time to eat breakfast earlier.

John 6:35 says, “And Jesus said unto them, I am the bread of life:he that cometh to me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on me shall never thirst.” 

I love noticing promises in the Bible. It’s something I always look for and mark when I see them. Here I see a wonderful promise: “he that cometh to me shall never hunger.” Why then are Christians hungering? Why do we feel malnourished in our walk with the Lord. Why do we feel like we don’t have that fullness that we once had? Has God not kept His promise? Of course, that is not the case. “HE THAT COMETH TO ME shall never hunger.” We have stopped going to Him! We need to be in His Word every day. Every day we need spiritual nourishment that only God can give.

Just like if I don’t eat my breakfast in the morning I turn into a weak, hungry, angry mom if we don’t go to the Lord each day we turn into weak, hungry, angry Christians. God’s promise is still true and God is still faithful. We need to cash in on His promise and go to Him.

“Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you:”

Matthew 7:7