Tag Archive: God


December 20, 2012
Long Walk Part of Gift
Sharon Jaynes

Today’s Truth
“Magi from the east came to Jerusalem and asked, “Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews?  We saw his star in the east and have come to worship him” (Matthew 2:1-2 NIV).

Friend to Friend
An African boy listened carefully as his teacher explained why Christians give presents to each other on Christmas day. “The gift is an expression of our joy over the birth of Jesus and our friendship for each other,” she said.

When Christmas day came, the boy brought to the teacher a seashell of lustrous beauty. “Where did you ever find such a beautiful shell?” the teacher asked as she gently fingered the gift.

The youth told her that there was only one spot where such extraordinary shells could be found. When he named the place, a certain bay several miles away, the teacher was left speechless.

“Why…why, it’s gorgeous…wonderful, but you shouldn’t have gone all that way to get a gift for me.”

His eyes brightening, the boy answered, “Long walk part of gift.”

I just love that story. During this holiday season, I watch as people scurry about swiping those plastic cards through the credit card machines faster than a speeding bullet. And yet, God has already shown us that the most precious gifts cannot be bought or sold. “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16 NIV).

The magi also knew about the joy of giving. While they gave gold, frankincense, and myrrh to the Christ child, they also gave another gift…a long walk. We don’t know how far the magi traveled, but we do know that it was a distance that took months, perhaps years. Their long walk was part of the gift.

I wonder how far we are willing to go to worship Jesus…to bring our gifts to him. I wonder how far out of the way we will go to praise him. Do we only give to Him when it is convenient or easy? Or do we give what He wants most – a portion of ourselves, our very lives.

I think the little African boy had the right idea. The real gift wasn’t the shell; it was the sacrifice he had to make to give it.

Let’s Pray
Dear God, thank You for the gift You gave us through Your Son, Jesus Christ.  I pray that I will keep gift-giving in perspective this holiday season and give gifts from the heart rather than the pocketbook.  Help me to see that a “long walk,” or a portion of myself, is the greatest gift of all.
In Jesus’ Name,
Amen.

    Pray While Praying

I Will Wait 4U2!

I Will Wait Too

What was I thinking when I stepped from under the covering of His will;

Seeking my own self will under the guise of keeping it real?

Woman after woman, I went through all the while looking for you,

But each encounter left me empty and dead because my life lacked truth.

One woman had your eyes, yet, your transformational power she lacked;

One had your curvaceous hips, but she fell short of your intellect.

There was the one out west, that presented the silhouette of a woman of God,

But she wasn’t you either, her heart not hidden in Christ and purity not kept before the Lord.

Finally the storm shook the core of my being and shifting my paradigm,

I now see through a different lens that you will come to me in God’s time.

So, I will wait for you too!

I will no longer be willing to settle for any impersonator, real shallow but pretending to be greater.

No, I will not receive Delilah as my truth, I will wait on God to deliver me Ruth,

I will wait on you because you will cover my vulnerability with a gentle strength;

I will now recognize you although the shadows have you hid, because a closer look will reveal that you bear my missing rib.

That symbol of my vulnerability that only that one whose heart is hidden in Christ has the power to seal.

You know my weaknesses, but instead of exploiting them, you come along and affirm my identity.

It’s the Christ in you that allows you to see through my weakness and acknowledge my ability.

You understand that even a strong man grows weary in the battle,

So you come and settle my spirit when I become frustrated and embattled.

For me, you are the symbol of God’s truth, this is why I will wait for you too.

This heart I have to cover is for you and you alone,

Trusting it to someone else was foolish; no wonder my house was never a home!

I will wait on you, because you will expect me to caress your soul before I ever touch your body, knowing that something unique is being cultivated.

You will not want a moment of selfish pleasure to rob of us of the forever that God has created.

Before time began, God loved me, and he proved it best at Calvary, but to solidify the point he designed you for just for me.

A beautiful expression of love divine, intertwined in your smile and inextricably bound to your gait. No wonder my heart now demands that I wait.

No, I will no longer be impressed by poor impressions of you, with no depth and no follow through,

I will not be pulled in by the cunning and subtle misrepresentations of truth.

I will wait for you too!

I will wait for the one that has the virtue of Ruth and the wisdom of Naomi, A woman whose heart searches my very being and understands me because she was designed by God to know me.

I will wait for that woman that has the insight of Rehab and the honor of Hanah, the boldness of Deborah and the patience of Sarah.

I will wait for the one who has the regal presence of Esther, designed to be the king’s queen and equipped to be all that the king needs.

I will wait for that one that has the generous spirit of Abigail, the praying spirit of Priscilla and the audacity of Jael.

Yes my queen, I will wait for you too. I will wait to honor you and all that you are. I will wait to cover you in mind, in spirit, and heart.

My heart senses your presence nearby, our spirits being drawn together by the one on high.

If you are not here by tomorrow or even next week, do not become frenetic or unglued, you see my love, no hurry, I will wait for you too!

~ Dr. Rick Wallace

November 21, 2012

Sharon Jaynes

Today’s Truth
Jesus said, “Come to me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from me, for my yoke is easy and my burden is light,” – (Matthew 11:28-230 NIV).

Friend to Friend
Here’s a question. Do you think obedience to God is easy or hard? Hmmm. Obedience may seem hard at first, but in reality, obedience is the easy way. It is difficult to cope with the messes we get into when we don’t obey. The consequences of sin are hard to deal with. Think about the times you have disobeyed or turned your back on God. What were the results? Easy? Hard?

Satan will try and convince you that obedience is much too hard, that it carries too high a price, but he will never tell you the cost of not obeying God. He will never tell you the glory moments you will forfeit by refusing or ignoring God’s invitation to join Him.

Practicing Acts 17:28 (In him we live and move and have our being.) will never lead to sin. When we wrangle from God’s embrace and set out on our own, that’s when we get in trouble. God isn’t telling us to obey to make life difficult. God wants us to obey to make life less difficult. The end result of obedience is the blessed way…smooth moves.

Jesus said, “Come to me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from me, for my yoke is easy and my burden is light,” (Matthew 11:28-30). The yoke is simply a farmer’s understanding of the divine dance of obedience. When two oxen are yoked together, they move as one—walking in tandem to the bidding of the master. Usually, an older, more experienced animal is yoked with a young upstart. The apprentice ox learns from the more seasoned ox as they walk along tethered together. If the younger animal tries to surge ahead, the yoke chokes at his neck and slows him down. If he lags behind, the yoke chafes at his neck and prods him to hurry along.

And what does Jesus say about this yoke? It is not hard. It is not difficult. It is not heavy. It is easy. It is light. Being yoked to Jesus actually makes life much simpler…smoother…more peace-filled.

God said to the people of Israel: “If only you had paid attention to my commands, your peace would have been like a river, your righteousness like the waves of the sea.” (Isaiah 48:18). A river flows unhindered over rocks and boulders as it moves from one place to the next. It flows around them, over them, and past them—all the while smoothing rough edges. A river doesn’t strive to get from one place to another. It simply flows. That is the glory life of living and moving and having our being in Christ. We simply flow with a sacred inner calmness. Sometimes circumstances will be like tumultuous white-capped rapids, other times like a lazy gentle stream. But the life in union with Jesus keeps flowing. Moving forward. And in the journey, we catch glimpses of sudden glory in the scenery as we move between life’s banks.

Obedience is so much more than following a list of do’s and don’ts. Practicing religion rather than enjoying a love relationship with Jesus is like trying to plow the field alone. It will exhaust you rather than energize you. You will feel like a martyr and then wonder why others around you seem to be so joyful in their calling. Obedience because of our love relationship energizes our lives. Obedience out of a sense of duty or law drains. Always drains.

Religion operates on a “works of the law” principle: “I obey God, therefore, I am accepted by God.” Relationship operates on the gospel of grace principle: “I am accepted by God through the finished work of Jesus, therefore I obey—because I love and trust Him.”  We’re going to talk more about that in the next chapter. This is important to understand because until we grasp the difference, we will never experience the joy of living and moving and having our being in Christ.

Obedience is aresponse to love. Jesus said, “If anyone loves me, he will obey my teaching. My Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him. He who does not love me will not obey my teaching,” (John 14:23-24).

Sometimes relinquishing control and following Jesus’ lead through obedience can feel uncertain or awkward, like when your dance partner leads you into a new move for the very first time. But each time you say yes to God, a new passion and peace flows through your veins until eventually, hopefully, a total transfusion of Christ-centered living replaces self-centered stubbornness. Intimacy becomes sweeter. Passion grows stronger. Glory moments become easier to see. Unique glory moments…selected especially for you.

Let’s Pray
Dear Lord, thank You for loving me enough to provide boundaries in which to experience the abundant life. Help me to obey You quickly and fully, so that I can experience all that You have for me. I don’t want to miss a single blessing because I’ve chosen to walk through the wrong door.
In Jesus’ Name,
Amen.

Support Rick Wallace Ministries

November 5, 2012
Be My Portion, Part 2
Gwen Smith

Today’s Truth
“The Lord is my portion,” says my soul, “therefore I will hope in Him” – (Lamentations 3:24, ESV).

Friend to Friend
I sometimes run to God as if He’s a celestial Wal-Mart purposed to satisfy my every want. Change my family. Fix my job problem, God. Do it my way! Instead of leaning in to hear the whispered will of the Lord, I selfishly shout my will, my desires and my demands. Lord, give me relief from life-pressures instead of giving me strength to endure them. When I’m desperate to fill my mega-sized heart-cart with things that I want, I rob myself of what really matters: the pursuit of God and the blessings found in Him alone.

The truth is that even those of us who are Jesus-girls, you know… good Christian women who strive each day to live for Christ… continually sin and wallow in the shallow, unsatisfying waters of discontentment. We tell God what we’d like Him to do for us so we can be happy and then expect Him to intervene in ways that suit us. We blur the lines between our wants and our needs – between our plans and God’s plans.

In part one of this devotion, we were reminded to rest in God. We looked at His care of the sparrows, considered that God loves us even more than he does the birds of the air, and were challenged not to worry. Today, we focus on prioritizing God above all else. Matthew 6:33 instructs us to seek God first: to look to Him as our Ultimate. Our Portion. But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. (Matthew 6:33, ESV)

David modeled this beautifully when he called out to God in the midst of trouble and recognized Him as being enough. I cry to you, O Lord; I say, “You are my refuge, my portion in the land of the living” (Psalm 142:5). In Psalm 119, the psalmist recognizes God as his portion and takes the moment of surrender a step further by tethering his satisfaction with obedience. You are my portion, O Lord; I have promised to obey your words. I have soughtyour face with all my heart; be gracious to meaccording to your promise (Psalm 119:57-58).

Life is unpredictable. There will always be days that we want to yell, C’mon, God! Throw me a bone here! I could use a little help, please! It is not a bad thing to call to God in the midst of our struggles. In fact, we should! We must! The big game changer, however, is not God’s presents – but His presence. Refuge from our circumstances and contentment in the midst of them is found in the center of our surrender.

So what’s the connection point between our longings and His provision? Perhaps the better question is not what but who? The late pastor and theologian Charles Spurgeon said it this way, “It is not ‘The Lord is partly my portion,’ nor ‘The Lord is in my portion’; but He Himself makes up the sum total of my soul’s inheritance. Within the circumference of that circle lies all that we possess or desire. The Lord is my portion. Not His grace merely, nor His love, nor His covenant, but Yahweh himself.”[i]

Once again, Spurgeon hits the nail on the head. We are distracted cravers when we expect our people, places and things to fill our hearts as only God can. God loves us so much. Why do we forget this all the time? His plan is perfect and we can trust Him. He knows our needs and desires. When we seek Him as the answer instead of for the answer, God enables us to rest in confidence that He’s working on our behalf and in our best interest, to bring glory to Himself through our lives.

Set your list of wants aside today and seek God. Go before Him with a heart of worship and adoration. Get lost in His presence. Remember His mercy. Relish His grace. Love Him. Seek Him. Choose Him as your Portion.

Let’s Pray
Dear Lord, Please be my Portion. Forgive me for the times when I seek Your blessings before I seek Your heart. You are all I need. In Jesus’s name I pray, amen.

October 22, 20l2
Set Free
Sharon Jaynes

Today’s Truth
“You will know the truth, and the truth will set you free,” (John 8:32 NIV).

Friend to Friend
For fifteen years, Leeanne was emotionally and verbally abused by her mother. Every day she heard that she was a stupid worthless failure. Her mother told her that she was “ugly” and “fat” and “not good enough.” “No man will ever want you,” she scorned.

Leeanne grew up afraid of women and hating herself. “Why can’t I be different?” she wondered.  She believed her mother’s estimation of her and lived in defeat. Leeanne grabbed attention any way she could, and by the time she was twenty-three, she had three abortions on her medical record. The guilt and shame of those abortions compounded her feelings of worthlessness.

But something amazing happened to Leeanne when she was twenty-four. She accepted Jesus as her Lord and Savior and became a new creation. She knew that God forgave her the moment she asked – totally and completely. However, Satan continued to remind her of the terrible mistakes of her past.  How could I have killed my children?  What would my friends think if they knew the truth? I can never let anyone know about my past. Some things are simply unforgivable in human eyes.

Leeanne met and married a wonderful Christian man. They began their life of ministry as he pastored a church in a small community. God blessed them with three wonderful children, but still the shame of her past lingered.

“I felt so unworthy of my husband’s love,” she said. “I felt I wasn’t good enough to be his wife.  I never told him about my past. It was a secret that weighed me down.”

Leeanne went to a women’s retreat and picked up one of my books, Your Scars are Beautiful to God.  For the first time, she began to heal from the wounds her mother had inflicted on her little girl heart.  She realized that is was Satan who continued to taunt her with those lies and make her feel as if they were true. Then she did something that really made the enemy mad.  She forgave her mother. Even though her mother had since died, she forgave her as if she were standing before her that very day.

Leeanne imagined Jesus erasing away all her faults, especially the ones that her mother had so maliciously written on the chalkboard of her mind. “All gone,” she said. “I’m set free.”

But there was one more step to Leeanne’s freedom. See, as long as she kept her past a secret, she would never be totally free. “I prayed all day and night for the courage to tell my husband about the three abortions, and I finally did. No one in the world knew about the abortions but me.  I had to tell my husband the secret so Satan could not use it against me any longer.”

“Finally, I did it. I told him the truth. But he did not react the way I imagined he would. He held me in his arms and cried. ‘I can’t believe you have held on to this for so long alone,’ he said.”

Leeanne went on to say…

“I am no longer shameful. I am pure.”

“I am no longer ugly. I am beautiful.”

“I am no longer unlovable. I am dearly loved.”

Leeanne recognized the lies. Leeanne rejected the lies. Leeanne replaced the lies with truth. She is now walking in the truth as a holy, chosen, dearly loved, child of God.

Let’s Pray
Dear LORD,   thank You for setting me free from condemnation.  Thank you for Your grace – receiving the gift I don’t deserve, and for mercy – not receiving the punishment I do deserve.  Thank You for making me a new creation in Christ – pure, holy, cleansed.
In Jesus’ Name,
Amen.

At Your Word

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