All posts filed under: Devotional

Jacob buying Esau's birthright by Hendrick ter Brugghen (1588-1629) Credit: Wikipedia

Entitled or Loved?

I have always been bothered by the scripture, ‘Jacob have I loved Esau have I hated’ (Malachi 1:2-3/ Romans 9:13). To me that is a really strong statement. After all, how could God hate anyone and yet love the ‘ deceiver’ Jacob? When the twins, Jacob and Esau were born, Jacob was born second, holding onto Esau’s heel. “Afterward his brother came forth, and his hand grasped Esau’s heel; so he was named Jacob (supplanter).” (Genesis 25:26 AMP) Through his life Jacob really wanted Esau’s birthright. He knew the value of the birthright and its blessings. I’m sure you know the story. When opportunity presented itself, Esau sold his birthright to Jacob for a pot of stew. So Jacob the youngest, legally received the birthright, while the bible says Esau despised it (Genesis 25:34). In addition, with the help of his mother Rebekah, Jacob stole the final blessing from his father Isaac, when he was on his deathbed. This blessing was also meant for the eldest son (Genesis 27:27-30). In all honesty, I could never …

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What does surrender to God mean?

Does surrender conjure up images of a criminal giving up his gun and surrendering himself to the police?  For many Christians this is what we envision and it terrifies us. In her article, Winning Through Surrender, Kathy Cordova writes: “For most of us the word surrender has a negative meaning because we think surrender is waving the white flag and giving up.” We consider the spiritual process of surrender with giving up, but spiritual surrender is not about defeat. It is about acceptance, joy and faith.   Spiritual surrender is about a mutual relationship with loving reciprocity between the creator and the creation. It’s about  accepting the gift of salvation and experiencing the joy of a relationship with the God of the universe who  not only loves us but knows us well. I realized that after all these years as a Christian I did not have a healthy perspective of what surrendering to God really meant. I felt that I could never live up to the traditional Christian perception of surrender. I was fully aware of …

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Rock of Ages

These past two weeks, my husband and I spent time with his dad who was in a hospice dying of cancer. Along with other family members, we took turns spending the night with him. We didn’t want him to be alone. For years he had been the rock of his  family and now he needed us. When it was my turn, I prayed for him during the night when I got up to check on him. During the day, I often bent over him as he lay in his hospital bed and told him that he was safe under the shelter of Christ the rock and that living water was springing up in him to eternal life. Many times, I would put my hand firmly on his shoulders, squeeze them and say to him, do you you feel the grip I have on your shoulders?  Then he would nod or blink and I would tell him: “Jesus has a hold on you and He’s not letting go. He is  your rock and the  anchor of …

How God sees us. Credit: Jeremy Brooks/Creative Commons

You are who God says you are

[by Céline Giguère] Despite the turmoil in my life, this morning I woke up happy and praising God that I was alive and able to still serve Him. I was content to be loved by my heavenly Father (daddy) while sipping my coffee and watching my favorite program on TV. I caught the tail-end of a testimony of a young lady, who did not believe that she would succeed in life. Yet, after becoming a Christian, she graduated from Harvard and is now working toward a doctorate in Theology. Like many before, her purpose in life was to declare that God did not exist. People like Frank Morrison (lawyer) and C. S. Lewis (philosopher and writer) and Voltaire (philosopher and writer) did not believe in God. Among these, only the latter did not turn to God.  But on his death-bed, Voltaire admitted that he could not disprove God’s existence. But for the woman, it was the understanding of how God saw her that broke and brought her to a place of rest and transformation in …

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My open heart

Some days, I have to work hard to keep my heart open to people around me. I am reminded of a butterfly opening itself up as it pushes its beautiful wings back and exposing its fragile center and the warmth of its colorful wings. Somedays, I am the butterfly, pushing  back my comparisons, criticisms and expectations of those around me to keep my heart open despite how vulnerable I feel.  These decisions propel me forward and enable me to embrace those around me with more kindness and tolerance. I am learning not to take things so personally. It seems the more sure and secure I become of my identity and value in Christ, the less I need to judge or define others as arrogant, insensitive or rude. I am at peace with myself. I am good with me. “Do not seek revenge or bear a grudge against anyone among your people, but love your neighbor as yourself.  I am the Lord.” (Leviticus 19:18) It is my own insecurities, fears and sometimes victim mentality that creates …

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He makes my feet secure like hind’s feet

“He makes my feet like hinds’ feet (able to stand firmly or make progress on the dangerous heights of testing and trouble; He sets me securely upon my high places.” (Psalm 18:33 AMP) Events beyond my control left me numb from the inside out and feeling like I was the worst person on earth. I took it all so personally. I shouldn’t have but I did. This traumatic event was a trigger revealing that the perception I had of myself (my identity and self-worth) was pretty much reliant on the approval and opinions of my peers. The fear of man ruled my life. All kinds of unresolved issues surfaced during this  time.  It was all out on the table and not a pretty sight. I was desperate to be free of these insecurities and their wounding effect on me emotionally, physically and spiritually. I was open and surrendered myself to the process of inner emotional healing. Over these past years, wise counsel, God’s word and sound principles brought me to a place of confidence and …

Amsterdam, Holland Credit: Werner Kunz/Flickr/Creative Commons

‘Poiema’

Sometimes I like to write poetry or prose. It is my way of expressing myself and connecting to God. It’s often easier for me to write down what I’m feeling than to speak about it. I suppose one could say this is how God made me, and so writing has remained a fairly constant thread throughout my life. Interestingly, I found out last week the Greek word for poem is ‘poiema’. Well this was new to me! Upon further digging, I also discovered this is the exact word Paul chose to use in Ephesians 2:10 when he said: “For we are His workmanship (poiema), created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.” (NKJV) To think that we are God’s poem, His work of creativity, really highlights this scripture for me. The New Living Translation says, ‘we are His masterpiece’, which brings across how unique He made us all. We are created in His image (Genesis 1:27) and we are His work of art. All we are …

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My Courageous Heart

This year, 2017, I choose to embrace my courageous heart. “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous.  Do not be afraid, do not be discouraged, for the lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” (Joshua 1;9 NIV) I must admit, though, many times, ‘my courageous heart’ just wants to run and hide. Often, when I start doubting myself and my abilities, I reach for my little book of affirmations — my brightly, colored Peacock book — where I have written statements and declarations that I want to make my own. At times, when I find myself battling self-doubt, I have woken up in the middle of the night, sat down on the couch  and opened this little book of truth to reaffirm God’s love,  intentions and perceptions of me. Every time I do this, I come out on the other side with a clarity and deep knowing that God is with me and has not changed His mind on anything concerning my life. My favourite affirmation at the moment is: …

Daily Bread

We all need our daily food to function well in life. But sometimes I think I need my spiritual food even more.  No wonder we pray, ‘give us this day our daily bread’ in the Lord’s Prayer. I really need to pray this often, especially during this busy Christmas season. Interestingly the city named Bethlehem also reminds me of spiritual food.  This is because Bethlehem in Hebrew literally means ‘House of Bread.’ I find it fascinating that Jesus was born in the ‘house of bread’ and he referred to himself as the bread of life: Jesus said to them, ‘I am the bread of life; he who comes to me will not hunger and he who believes in me will not thirst. (John 6:35 NASB) As I take the time to read and meditate on God’s word, I know it will help me keep my focus . He truly is the bread of life and my daily bread. It is really Him I hunger for this Christmas. May He fill all of us to the …

A scene near Hampshire England. Credit: Neil Howard/Flickr/Creative Commons

Encourage Yourself?

I recall someone saying there are times when you can encourage yourself in the Lord. Well, maybe I remembered that, but I sure didn’t feel like doing it. After being sick for a few weeks, I was more into the ‘please pray for me’ mode. Now there is nothing wrong with asking for prayer or talking to someone when going through a hard time. But I know there are also times when I just need to go to God. The Bible says this is what David did when he went through a very discouraging event. At one time David and his men had returned home to Ziglag, where they found it burned, looted and their wives and children taken away by the Amalekites. Because of this David’s men became embittered against their leader: And David was greatly distressed; for the people spoke of stoning him, because the soul of all the people was grieved, every man for his sons and for his daughters: but David encouraged himself in the Lord his God. (1 Samuel 30:6 …

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Meditation: A kind of hush

The other day I was sitting in the car waiting for my mother. Fall was upon us and through the pouring rain, the only real colour to be seen was in the leaves. The rest was mostly grey. Everything seemed so serene and a stillness came over me – a hush if you will. This scripture came to my mind: “But the Lord is in His holy temple; let all the earth hush and keep silence before him” (Habakkuk 2:20) These beautiful ‘hush’ moments usually come without notice, yet just when I need them. The noise and cares of the world can creep in and clutter my soul. Before long I am feeling unsettled and sadly like no one cares. The disciples felt similar emotions one night in a boat when a terrible storm occurred. Jesus was asleep then and the disciples came to him and said, ‘Teacher don’t you care if we drown?’ (Mark 4 :38) The bible says Jesus got up and rebuked the wind and said to the sea, ‘Hush be still’ …

Battling the storm of worry. Photo: R/Flickr/Creative Commons

Have you lost your mind?

Sometime this past summer, I lost my mind. I sensed a cog slipping and I started losing a grip on my thoughts.  They were coming faster — racing through my mind. Fatigue set in and I eventually crashed emotionally, physically and spiritually. Slowly, I had given my thoughts over to the worries of the next day and the next week. I was living in a place and space of constant uncertainty fueled by doubt and fear. Jesus commanded us not to worry about the next day. “So don’t be anxious about tomorrow. God will take care of your tomorrow too. Live one day at a time.” (Matthew 6:34 TLB) We need to learn to live one day at a time. This requires that we stay in the present and not concern ourselves about the future. It does not mean that we don’t plan for the future, but we must not allow the future to flood our thinking. We must simply remind ourselves that we are a child of God and in His care. God will …

The breath of life.

Breath

Have you ever felt the need to slow down and just breath? To let your lungs fill with air and just be totally refreshed? I know I have. The book of Genesis tells us God breathed the very first breath of life into man. ‘The Lord formed man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of the spirit of life and the man became a living being. (Genesis 2:7 Amplified Bible) Isn’t it amazing that God is the source of life and He ‘breathed’ this life into man. In the Old Testament, Job’s friend Elihu said it well: ‘The spirit of God has made me; the breath of the Almighty gives me life. (Job 33:4 NIV) In Hebrew ‘ruach’ is the word for breath, wind or spirit according to Strong’s Dictionary. There is a force in this word, like there is in the wind. This wind can blow (breath) wherever it wills and accomplish what it wants in my life (John 3:8). One day last month it was extremely …