Back in 2003 after having spent the year before reading Sarah Ban Breathnach's book "Simple Abundance" I took her suggestion to heart and wrote my own daily devotional. Each day I took a line or two from one of the various spiritual authors from the last three centuries I was reading and wrote my own thoughts on the subject. I then looked for a scripture that illustrated the truth that had been revealed to me. What follows is the result.

"Our greatest bondage is to have our own way; our greatest freedom is to let God have His way." Warren Wiersbe

Thursday, June 30, 2011

June 30

“The power is God Himself.  ‘Faithful is he that calleth you, who also will do it.’ (1 Thes. 5:24)...We can rest and live.”  Eugenia Price, S.P.S., 6/30

Hannah Whitall Smith says we are given a weapon to fight temptation--the word of God. Jesus met each temptation he faced with the word of God.   This is the “sword of the Spirit” Paul speaks of as part of the “armor of God”.  But the power comes from God.  It is God Himself who does our fighting.  We must remember this in whatever we lay our hands to.   We may have a weapon or a tool with which to fight or work in our hands--but it is God who supplies the power to use it effectively.  I’ve always been one who desires to work efficiently.  I will plan out my errands so that I don’t have to do any back tracking or waste time sitting at a left-turn light.  I will combine activities whenever possible--like listening to the radio while ironing or folding clothes while watching TV.  I’ll even read the newspaper during commercials!  You would think with all this efficiency-mindedness I’d be a prime candidate for God to use!  All He’d have to do is show me the tool and then supply the power.  But no, I all too often insist on supplying the power myself.  Maybe I need to keep reminding myself I’m not on a bicycle, but instead am on a motorbike!

“Stand therefore, having girded your loins with truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and having shod your feet with the equipment of the gospel of peace; besides all these, taking the shield of faith, with which  you quench all the flaming darts of the evil one, And take the helmet of salvation, and sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. Pray at all times in the Spirit...”  Ephesians 6:13-18a

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

June 29

“Praying is being aware of God.  Praying without ceasing is being constantly aware of Him.”  Eugenia Price, S.P.S., 6/29

There were several devotionals today that I could have chosen:  what weapon to use against temptation, how to deal with the big ME, bearing one another’s burdens.  But I keep coming back to Eugenia’s words about praying because it seems to be the umbrella thought for today.  Everything hinges on our relationship with God and as in any good relationship communication must be ongoing.  Prayer is this communication.  The key, though, is the “unceasing” prayer we must maintain with God in order to walk with Him.  We can’t just check in every now and then.  It must be constant.  Eugenia says that this “without ceasing” is a constant awareness of Him.  We don’t have to be in conversation with Him---just aware of Him.  God is at work in us.  His Holy Spirit in us is praying FOR us.  There’s a lot going on in our “hearts”---the place where God resides.  It’s in being aware of this activity that our unceasing prayer takes place.  At any given moment we may be called upon to respond to God’s leading so we must be paying attention.  This awareness keeps us always in tune with God’s voice even while we may be speaking to another person.  This kind of living has nothing to do with “doing”, but rather with “being”---being in a place where we can hear and respond to God.

“Watch and pray that you may not enter into temptation; the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.”  Matthew 26:41

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Power of Kindness Movie

June 28

“Most Christians are quick to claim that God is their first priority.  Yet often their actions reveal that their treasure is not God but things of this world....Ask your friends....your children...to tell you what they think is most important to you.”  H. Blackaby, Experiencing God Day-by-Day, 6/28

I took Blackaby’s advice and asked one of my sons that question.  His first answer was “us”.  As I pressed him with “Is that all?” he added, “God” and “morals”.  I feel good that I passed the test with my son, but would I pass it with friends?  The real test, I think, would be how an acquaintance would answer--the people I see on a regular basis where I shop and do business.  I’m not feeling so confident about how I am perceived there.  In another book I just read the author makes the point that God has given each of us a mission in life and it is the reason we don’t just go to heaven immediately when we are born again.  That mission is to bear witness to Him so that others might be born again.  Every person I come upon who has a need or with whom I have an ongoing relationship is my mission field.  I must be willing and able to be a witness with my life, my words, and my deeds of God’s redeeming love.

“And Jesus came and said to them, ‘All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.  Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, to the close of the age.’”  Matthew 28:19, 20

Monday, June 27, 2011

June 27

“The ‘preacher’, as the author of Ecclesiastes calls himself, tried to solve the problem of earthly happiness.  ‘I sought in my heart,’ he says, ‘till I might see what was good for the sons of men, which they should do under the heaven all the days of their life.’ (2:3)....At the end, in reviewing it all, he was forced to declare that ‘all was vanity and vexation of spirit, and there was no profit under the sun.’ (2:11)”  Hannah Whitall Smith, God is Enough, 6/27

We can easily get caught up in making sure all the bases are covered, all the t’s are crossed and i’s dotted, and that no stone goes unturned in trying to make our lives secure and happy.  There is some validity in this in that it is prudent.  God gives us a mind that we should use in a common sense way, but we must be careful not to make it a god.  Because I’ve been a person like I’ve described I must take Ecclesiastes’ wisdom to heart.  It would seem that the way to do this is to look at the motivation behind the things I do.  Am I doing this so that I can be secure and happy, or am I doing this because God desires me to because it is necessary to achieve His will for my life?  In the end, if I am truly seeking to bring God glory, then all things I do will eventually be to that end.  That is why Jesus was able to sum up the whole law in two sentences.

“And he said to him, ‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.  This is the great and first commandment.  And a second is like it, You shall love your neighbor as yourself.  On these two commandments depend all the law and the prophets.’” Matthew 22:37-40

Sunday, June 26, 2011

June 26

“Impatience is lack of love in us.  And only by waiting upon God, can we know love.  Love is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Spirit of God, as we are willing to open our hearts to God’s touch.”  Eugenia Price, S.P.S., 6/26

Eugenia’s statement baffles me.  At first glance I cannot comprehend how lack of patience is the same thing as lack of love.  But then she illustrates her point by explaining how each year we wait for the leaves to turn their brilliant fall colors, but the truth is, the color is always there.  We just can’t see them until the leaves stop making so much chlorophyll.  It’s the manufacturing of this green substance that hides the colors from us.  As I think about this I realize that because I’ve been reconciled with God and His Holy Spirit now lives in me, my heart is like those leaves.  When I am impatient I am not trusting my life to God.  And if I am not trusting God I am not loving Him.  Just as I must wait for the beautiful colors to be revealed each year in the leaves, I must be patient and trust God to reveal all that is beautiful in my heart.  He has already placed all the possibilities for my life there.  Now, I must work out my salvation by patiently waiting on Him to act on my behalf.  It’s in responding to His love that my beauty is uncovered for the world to see and enjoy.

“Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, so now, not only as in my presence but much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling; for God is at work in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure.”  Philippians 2:12, 13

Saturday, June 25, 2011

June 25

“...we put our own desires ahead of God’s....He never asks more than a person can manage because He gives the grace and strength to do as they are needed.”  Daily Readings of Quaker Writers, 6/25

When I woke up this morning I started thinking about some long unmet desire that can never be fulfilled at this point in my life.  I don’t know exactly why I began thinking about it other than that God was planning to show me something in my morning devotional reading.  After expressing to my husband that while I believe that God works out all things for our good, I added that I just don’t know what to do with the desire that is still with me.  Then I read the above quote and understood.  My desire in itself was not a bad desire to have, but as long as I put it ahead of God’s desire for me I cannot receive His grace and strength to let the desire go.  I’m sure there are many more desires I’m hanging onto and am putting ahead of God’s desires for me. I must be diligent to keep them in their proper place!  To truly want what God wants is an act of humility, and as we know, God only gives grace to the humble.

“For thus says the high and lofty One who inhabits eternity, whose name is Holy:  ‘I dwell in the high and holy place, and also with him who is of a contrite and humble spirit, to revive the spirit of the humble, and to revive the heart of the contrite.”  Isaiah 57:15

Friday, June 24, 2011

June 24

“The psalmist David declared that all things are God’s servants (Ps. 119:91).....While the Lord does not inaugurate the evil, when that evil is directed against His children, He makes it His ‘servant’ to carry them a blessing.  All things are yours not to trouble you and do you harm but to bless you and do you good.”  Hannah Whitall Smith, God is Enough, 6/24

This is a hard truth.  We all have something we fear and don’t think anything good could possibly come out it.  The big one on the list is losing a child.  And we’ve all heard horror stories on the news of a child being kidnapped.  That is not the time to quote a Bible verse to the parents about the blessing in it for them.  The key is “evil directed against His children.”  If we are a child of God through Jesus Christ, all things become God’s servant.  We may get ourselves into a predicament, or we may be an “innocent bystander,” but in either case God can use it to bring us a blessing.  Many people have had the course of their lives changed by a tragedy.  It’s not that God sent the tragedy, but because we live in a fallen world we can’t escape them.  But they don’t have to defeat us or make our lives not worth living.  God will use it to bring us closer to Him--a far greater blessing than most of us appreciate.

“No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.”  Romans 8:37

Thursday, June 23, 2011

"The Circle of Fire" - Don Miguel Ruiz

Ruiz calls this prayer "The Circle of Fire" because 'circle' represents earth and 'fire' represents spirit.  I decided to include it here because it expresses, for me, what Freedom in Christ is:  "free communion with God with no expectations" which comes through abandonment to God through "gratitude, love, loyalty, and justice". The 'justice' he speaks of must first be applied to ourselves--to not judge ourselves--otherwise our human tendency to punish ourselves gets in the way of everything else and is a denial of the cross of Christ.  He explains further in his chapter, "The Circle of Fire", what each line in this prayer means to him.  May this prayer speak personally to you and be the means by which God opens up your heart fully to Him.

     [Today is] the day of the Lord when the divinity returns to me when living my free will, and with all the power of my spirit I decide to live my life in free communion with God with no expectations
     [Today] I will live my life with gratitude, love, loyalty, and justice beginning with myself and continuing with my brothers and sisters
     [Today] I will respect all creation as the symbol of my love communion with the One who created me to the eternal happiness of humanity

"Prayers - A Communion with our Creator", Don Miguel Ruiz

June 23

“Doubts are a ‘speaking against God’ and are consequently sin.  They are not an infliction, but a rebellion.”  Hannah Whitall Smith, Daily Secrets, 6/23

I’ve always cringed when I’ve heard a Christian express their doubts about God and then say they believe it’s a natural part of being a Christian.  I would always be horrified when they acted as though they had no control over their doubt, and I felt embarrassed for them because it seemed so irreverent.  I’m glad to see that Hannah agrees with me!  But I can’t rejoice for too long because the Holy Spirit is convicting me of my own form of doubt---discontent.  After all, to not live what you say you believe has to be because of doubt.  I might say I’m lazy or impatient by way of explanation for my discontent, but if I’m honest I’d have to say doubt is behind it.  The truth is, if we are hungry, we eat.  We don’t question whether the feeling of hunger is real or not.  It’s the same when things don’t go the way we had hoped.  If we are disappointed, we are betraying what we believed all along--that God has to agree that what WE want is good for us.  When we don’t get it, we question God’s character by being discontented--and that is doubt.  Let us not be hypocrites and claim that we have no doubt then turn around and complain.  Let us instead call upon the Lord in our weakness and ask for His help.

“If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives to all men generously and without reproaching, and it will be given him.  But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for he who doubts is like a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind.  For that person must not suppose that a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways, will receive anything from the Lord.”  James 1:5-8

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

June 22

“I have been guilty of excusing my lack of faith on the grounds that I was ‘confused’ as to what God really meant....Was it wrong or merely ‘acquired conscience’?”  Eugenia Price, S.P.S., 6/22

Eugenia points out that God has “made a neat little outline for us to follow in order to find out ‘what’s right and what’s wrong’:  1. Do everything you do and say everything you say “in the name of the Lord”;  2. Do everything you do and say everything you say in an attitude of thanksgiving to God.” (Colossians 3:17) A while back there was a lot of merchandising using WWJD (What Would Jesus Do).  By having bracelets and Tee Shirts with those initials we were supposed to be reminded to behave ourselves.  I wonder if it made very much difference?  The world doesn’t seem any better for it.  As I ponder the difference it would make in my life if I did and said everything in the name of the Lord I realize it’s the second point--the attitude of thanksgiving--that really must come first.  If I, under no circumstances, failed to be grateful I’d be halfway there.  I would no longer complain about anything.  I would always have a smile on my face, even when I was tired because I’d be grateful that I had a couch on which to rest.  I’d never feel I lacked anything because I already have so much!  I think, then, I’d be in a position to do and say everything in the name of the Lord because my heart will have been prepared to receive Him.  His nature would become my nature.  I would do what Jesus would do.

“And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.”  Colossians 3:17

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

June 21

“You cannot very well trust in doctrines or plans no matter how much you may believe in them, but you can always trust in the Lord, whether or not you understand His plans or the doctrines concerning Him.”  Hannah Whitall Smith, God is Enough, 6/21

This is an important distinction.  Too often we put our faith in God’s Word and then come away confused and dazed when things don’t work out the way we think they should.  The reason this happens is that God’s Word may not apply to us in any given moment--those verses where God promises something to someone that we want, too.  I know because there have been many times when I felt that what I wanted came under God’s perfect plan for a woman--so since I’m a woman there was no reason for God not to answer the same prayer for me.  Now I understand that it is God Himself that I’m to trust--not His promises or anything else.  God Himself alone is trustworthy and because He is God He knows what is best for me now and in the future.  God did not create me and then drop me off here on Earth to be picked up at the end of my life and carted off to Heaven.  He created me for a relationship with Him in eternity AND right now.  I do not need to understand all the whys and wherefores if I’m trusting God Himself.

“Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not rely on your own insight.”  Proverbs 3:5

Monday, June 20, 2011

Prayer for Humanity - Don Miguel Ruiz

     Today, Lord, help me to deliver the real message of humanity:  the message of joy and love.  Help me to deliver this message to my own mind, to that part of me that is always judging and abusing me.  Let me deliver this message to that part of me that judges other humans.
     Beginning today, help me to free my mind from all the false messages I deliver to myself, to every human, to every life form on this beautiful planet.
     Today, Lord, I will manifest your love in every word I express, in every action I take, so that everything I do becomes a ritual of love for you.  I love you so much that I can see you everywhere.  There is no way you can hide from me because my love will always find you.
     Beginning today, I will respect every creation and treat every creation the way I respect and treat you.  I will see you in the eyes of all humans---behind their masks, behind the images they pretend to be.   I will respect the life that manifests through me, so that every time I see myself in the mirror, I see the beauty of your manifestation.
     Thank you, Lord, for creating me, so that I can perceive the beauty of your manifestation.  Thank you for giving me an emotional body, so that I can be in ecstasy just by feeling your divine presence.  I know that you are my life force, my Creator.  Together we can create the most beautiful dream---a dream of love and peace and joy.  Together we can create heaven on Earth, to the eternal happiness of humanity.  Amen

"Prayers - A Communion with our Creator", Don Miguel Ruiz

June 20

“To yield to God means to belong to God, and to belong to God means to have all his infinite power and infinite love on our side....God always delivers those who, regardless of circumstances or seemings, yield themselves up to His keeping.”  Hannah Whitall Smith, God is Enough, 6/20

So I ask myself, why wouldn’t I want to belong to God?  I guess it’s the same thing when our teenagers act like they don’t want to belong to their families.  They really do, but on their terms.  It’s only once they’ve left home and perhaps even had children of their own that they begin to appreciate their parents.  But even then they don’t like for Mom or Dad to tell them how to run their lives--unless they’ve asked for advice.  It’s the same with God and us.  But it doesn’t have to be.  It’s natural and healthy for children to detach from their parents.  It’s a part of growing up and becoming independent.  But it’s not natural when it comes to God.  We were never meant to be independent of God, but at the same time God gave us free will because He’d already created angels who would do his bidding.  He wanted a relationship with His creation and that could only be achieved by giving us the ability to say no.  But just because we CAN say no doesn’t mean we should.  When will we get that straight?  It’s really sad when you look at our world and see so much suffering.  Lord, may we wake up and realize what belonging to You really means.

“Likewise, my brethren, you have died to the law through the body of Christ, so that you may belong to another, to him who has been raised from the dead in order that we may bear fruit for God.”  Romans 7:4

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Prayer for Gratitude - Don Miguel Ruiz

     Today, Creator of the Universe, my heart is filled with gratitude for the gift of life you have given me.  Thank you for the opportunity to experience this beautiful body and this wonderful mind.
     Today, Lord, I want to express my gratitude for everything I have received from you.  I know the way to say thank you for life is by fully enjoying every moment of my life.  And the only way to enjoy every moment is to love.
     Today, I will express all the love and happiness that exist in my heart.  I will love your creations, I will love myself, and I will love the people who live with me.  I know that life is too short to waste in misery and drama with the people I love.  I will enjoy the presence of the people I love, respecting their choices in life as I respect my own.
     Today, I will graciously receive your gifts by enjoying your gifts, by enjoying the beauty of all your creation.  Help me to be as generous as you are, to share what I have with generosity, just as you share your gifts so generously with me.  Help me to become a master of gratitude, generosity, and love so that I can enjoy all of your creations.
     Today, Lord, help me to manifest my creation as you manifest the universe, to express the beauty of my spirit in the supreme art of the human:  the art of [living] my life.
     Today, Lord, I give you all of my gratitude and love because you have given me life.  Amen

"Prayers - A Communion with our Creator", Don Miguel Ruiz

June 19

“In everyday religion there are three things that are always absolutely necessary in the attitude of the soul toward the Lord:  to yield, trust, and obey....To yield something means to give that thing to the care and keeping of another.”  Hannah Whitall Smith, God is Enough, 6/19

It’s clear to me that all I need do when I call upon the Lord is to have an attitude of yieldedness for then I can exercise my trust.  I would think obedience would come naturally at this point.  The reason we have such a hard time obeying is that we do not trust and we do not trust because we have not yielded.  This yielding is the emptying of ourselves so that we can receive God.  I have this image of a bright yellow-orange YIELD sign at the entrance of a highway. Just as I must merge onto the highway at the first available space, I must be willing to accelerate or decelerate into God’s stream of traffic (life).  He will clear the way for me as He sees fit.  I just have to yield until the way is clear.  What we do too often is see that YIELD sign as a STOP sign.  We look at the traffic and become frightened and put on the brakes when we’re supposed to be speeding up in order to merge safely.  Once we come to a complete standstill we’ve lost momentum and merging becomes not only harder but riskier.  Lord, may all the STOP signs of fear become Your YIELD signs!

“And Jesus cried again with a loud voice and yielded up his spirit.” Matthew 27:50 

Saturday, June 18, 2011

June 18

“I can well understand how Paul could say so confidently that he counted all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ (Phil. 3:8).  When once the soul has come to this knowledge, all fear and doubt, and even perplexity are at an end, and perfect peace must of necessity reign undisturbed.  No one can possibly have come to know Christ as He really is without entering into absolute rest.”  Hannah Whitall Smith, God is Enough, 6/18

I broke from my usual routine of going to the grocery store while my son was at his guitar lesson and went to the craft shop to look for artificial lemons.  What I found instead was a better understanding of what love is.  As I walked through the store I met up with a little girl who had been in my Sunday School class and who I had not seen for three years.   I had grown to love her in the two years she was in my class.  When she recognized me her eyes lit up. Her mother and I chatted a few moments and then I was on my way.  This morning as I thought about this chance encounter I realized God was showing me something about love that I had not understood before.  He used this little 9-year-old girl to show me that the love I saw in her eyes was a reflection of the love I had for her.  Because I had loved her so much she couldn’t help but love me back.  What I then realized was if you do not experience love in your heart you will never feel loved.  This is the love you have for others that God places there when your heart is filled with God Himself.  This is that absolute rest that Hannah speaks of.

“We love, because he first loved  us.” 1 John 4:19

Friday, June 17, 2011

Prayer for Love - Don Miguel Ruiz

     Today, Lord, help me to accept myself the way I am, without judgment.  Help me to accept my mind the way it is, with all my emotions, my hopes and dreams, and my unique personality.  Help me to accept my body the way it is, with all its beauty and perfection.
     Today, Lord, clean my mind of emotional poison and self-judgment, so that I can live in peace and love.  Let the love for myself be so strong that I never again reject myself or sabotage my happiness and personal freedom.  Let me love and accept myself without judgment, because when I judge myself, I find myself guilty, and then need to punish myself.  With the power of self-love, let all my relationships be based on love and respect.  Help me to let go of the need to tell others how to think or how to be.  Let me accept the people I love just the way they are, without judgment, because when I judge them and blame them, I find them guilty, and want to punish them.  Help me, Lord, to love everything you create with no conditions, because when I reject your creation, I reject you.
     Today, Lord, help me to start my life over with the power of self-love.  Help me to explore life, to take risks, and to love myself unconditionally.  Let me open my heart to the love that is my birthright so that I can share my love wherever I go.  Amen

"Prayers - A Communion with our Creator", Don Miguel Ruiz

June 17

“Christ is called our Comforter, but how many of us take a commonsense view of this name and really believe that He will not and does not leave us comfortless?....If anyone should call himself our comforter and then run away and hide himself when storms and trials come, we would think that his name of comforter was merely an empty title, and all his promises of comfort would be like idle tales.”  Hannah Whitall Smith, God is Enough, 6/17

Hannah is absolutely right, so why then do we feel comfortless so many times?  Psychologists would have us believe it’s low self-esteem.  Because we don’t esteem ourselves highly enough we refuse God’s comfort.  We may place the reason for our low self-esteem on our parents or others, but we can't escape the fact that the reason we won't allow God to comfort us is because of our pride.  We want so much to be in control of our own lives we refuse help even when we need it desperately.  Some of us will finally accept help when we get low enough.  Others never do and live what I’ve heard coined a “living death”.  They slowly commit suicide by the choices they make until some actually commit the final act of ending their lives by their own hand.  This “living death” doesn’t have to be as drastic as drug abuse.  It can be just wasting away your life in front of the TV set.  It’s anything we do to try to escape life--from experiencing all it’s meant to be.  We can give all sorts of excuses for not stepping out of our complacency that sound legitimate, but ultimately they all come down to wanting to have control over our lives ourselves.  Let us instead call upon the name of God and receive all that He is able to give us.

“The LORD is near to all who call upon him, to all who call upon him in truth,” Psalm 145:18

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Prayer for Forgiveness - Don Miguel Ruiz

     Today, Creator, grant me the courage and the will to forgive the people I love the most.  Help me to forgive every injustice I feel in my mind, and to love other people unconditionally.  I know the only way to heal all the pain in my heart is through forgiveness.  
     Today, Creator, strengthen my will to forgive everyone who has hurt me, even if I believe the offense is unforgivable.  I know that forgiveness is an act of self-love.  Help me to love myself so much that I forgive every offense.  Let me choose forgiveness because I don't want to suffer every time I remember the offense.
     Today, Creator, help me to heal all the guilt in my heart by accepting the forgiveness of everyone I have hurt in my life.  Help me to sincerely recognize the mistakes I have made out of ignorance, and give me the wisdom and determination to refrain from making the same mistakes.  I know that love and forgiveness will transform every relationship in the most positive way.  Thank you, Creator, for giving me the capacity to love and forgive.  
     Today, I open my heart to love and forgiveness so that I can share my love without fear.  Today I will enjoy a reunion with the people I love the most.  Amen

"Prayers - A Communion with our Creator", Don Miguel Ruiz

June 16

“It is often hard to sit still when we see our friends mismanaging matters and making what we think of as dreadful blunders.  But the divine order is for each one of us to do our own business and to refrain from meddling with the business of anyone else.”  Hannah Whitall Smith, Daily Secrets, 6/16

Why is this a “divine order”?  Paul makes this admonishment to the church in Thessalonica (1 Thessalonians 4:10-11), but is it for us as well?  If the business involves matters that are subject to one’s own preferences, then certainly we are not to make it our business to meddle.  But, unfortunately, we can find some “sin” label to attach to some affairs and therefore feel it our duty to get involved in correcting the situation.  Trying to weed through one’s own motives can get tricky, and it would seem it best to abstain altogether from minding other people’s affairs.  This is something I need to learn.  It’s not easy to just stop doing it, so I think that is why God has closed several doors to me.  I’ve been kept from this temptation in many instances and given only a small arena in which to learn how to discern when I should get involved and when I should not.  There are times God wants us to help another, but it is only those times that HE wants us to help.  The other times we are actually meddling in God’s plans for that person!

“So in the present case I tell you, keep away from these men and let them alone; for if this plan or this undertaking is of men, it will fail; but if it is of God, you will not be able to overthrow them.  You might even be found opposing God!”  Acts 5:38, 39

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Prayer for Truth - Don Miguel Ruiz

     Today, Creator, I ask you to open my eyes and open my heart so that I can recover the truth about my life.  Help me to resist the temptation to believe the lies that repress the expression of my life and my love.  Give me the strength to resist the temptation to believe the lies of others that only create emotional poison in my heart.
     Today, Creator, let me see what is, not what I want to see.  Let me hear what is, not what I want to hear.  Help me to recover my awareness so that I can see you in everything I perceive with my eyes, with my ears, with all my senses.  Let me perceive with eyes of love so that I find you wherever I go and see you in everything you create.  Help me to see you in every cell of my body, in every emotion of my mind, in every person I meet.  Let me see you in the rain, in the flowers, in the water, in the fire, in the animals, and in the butterflies.  You are everywhere, and I am one with you.  Let me be aware of this truth.    
     Today, let everything I do and say be an expression of the beauty in my heart.  Let me be aware of the beauty and perfection in everything you create, so that I can live in eternal love with you.  Thank you, Creator, for the power to create a dream of heaven where everything is possible.  Beginning today, I will use the power of my love to create a masterpiece of art--my own life.  Amen

"Prayers - A Communion with our Creator", Don Miguel Ruiz

June 15

“Contrary to the often heard interpretation, by which followers of the “moonlight and roses” cults go about trying to declare that all things are true, honest, just, pure, lovely and of good report, Paul is being almost brutally realistic here.  Christianity deals entirely with reality.”  Eugenia Price, S.P.S., 6/15

Eugenia is referring to Philippians 4:8 in which Paul says “whatsoever things are....”  I was stunned to realize I was guilty of glossing over the “whatsoever” in this verse.  In fact, what stands out in my mind is that every time I’ve read that verse I’ve been peeved with having to reiterate that word with each attribute....whatsoever....are honest...whatsoever...are just.....I wanted to just list the items one after another.  No wonder Paul repeats the “whatsoever” every time.  He didn’t want us to miss his point!  Pain and suffering are a part of this world and we can’t make them go away by pretending they don’t exist or by medicating ourselves in some way so that we don’t feel the effects.  Instead we are to concentrate on “whatsoever” IS true, whatsoever IS honest, whatsoever IS just, whatsoever IS pure, whatsoever IS lovely, and whatsoever IS of good report.  By doing so we will be focusing on God who is all these things.  It is there we will be kept in perfect peace.

“Finally, brethren, whatsoever is true, whatsoever is honorable, whatsoever is just, whatsoever is pure, whatsoever is lovely, whatsoever is gracious, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.  What you have learned and received and heard and see in me, do; and the God of peace will be with you.”  Philippians 4:8, 9

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

June 14

“Too often we try to keep our own hearts and minds in a peaceful condition.  Quite naturally, we usually fail...Human hearts and minds, always sensitive to pain and humiliation and scorn, cannot keep themselves peaceful.  They must be kept....supernaturally by God Himself.”  Eugenia Price, S.P.S., 6/14

The only way we can have the peace of God is to have God Himself.  God is peace.  And the only way we can love as God loves is to have God Himself for God is love.  All of God’s attributes are ours for the having, but we must take Him in the process.  Too often we only want what He has to offer and not Him.  I can only think this is because of our original sin--our desire to have control over our own destiny.  We want to decide what and when and where and how.  But we are God’s creation and who are we to tell God how to run His show?!  It’s in recognizing this and humbling ourselves that we are saved from our own flesh’s attempt to usurp God.  It is in receiving Christ’s spirit that we are enabled to live this humbled life.  And it is in living a humbled life that we will be one with God and therefore experience His peace--a peace that cannot be disturbed.

“Since therefore the children share in flesh and blood, he himself likewise partook of the same nature, that through death he might destroy him who has the power of death, that is, the devil, and deliver all those who through fear of death were subject to lifelong bondage.”  Hebrews 2:14, 15

Monday, June 13, 2011

June 13

“It would never do for the health of our bodies to be careful of our food on Sundays only, paying no regard to what we eat the rest of the week.  Similarly, it is idiotic to expect our souls to thrive if they are provided with suitable food on Sundays alone and are left to feed on ashes throughout the other days of the week.”  Hannah Whitall Smith, God is Enough, 6/13

Hannah says it’s not that we think about Christ every second of the day, which would not only be impossible but ill-advised, but that “it must be the thought Christ would think were He placed in our circumstances”.  This reminds me of the “Jesus glasses” I felt I needed years ago when I was first learning about the Christ-centered life. I felt if I could see things the way He saw them I could then act like Him.  I wish it were so simple.  My Jesus glasses didn’t allow for my willfulness.  That’s why we must “feed on Jesus”.  We must nourish our whole selves with the Bread of Life and in doing so be transformed into people that God can work through.  Just like we must eat healthy food and care for our bodies in other ways, we must feed our spiritual body with that which is of God.  Going to the world for our needs is like eating junk food.  It may fill us up and satisfy us for the moment, but it doesn’t nourish us.  In order to become who God created us to be we must be fed by Him.

“And as they were eating, he took bread, and blessed, and broke it, and gave it to them, and said, ‘Take; this is my body.’  And he took a cup, and when he had given thanks he gave it to them, and they all drank of it.  And he said to them, ‘This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many.”  Mark 14:22-24

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Nichole Nordeman - "Just As I Am"

June 12

“Have I learned to be content in Christ in the midst of anything?...We can learn.  Paul did not have a ‘corner on the market’ of the obedient heart.  Anyone can obey God.  Even the weakest among us.  Particularly the weakest among us, according to Paul.”  Eugenia Price, S.P.S., 6/12

Because I’m a “recovering perfectionist” I can always find something to be unhappy about.  I stopped calling myself a perfectionist the day I decided it wasn’t working for me.  Now I’m a recovering perfectionist.  It’s no longer my driving force, but because it was for so long, I can slip back into it quite easily.  They say that addiction to alcohol can be overcome easier than an addiction to food because you can totally abstain from alcohol while you can’t totally abstain from food.  I find addiction to perfectionism falls into the category of food because perfectionism presents itself in all facets of one’s life.  In order to abstain from perfectionism I’d have to abstain from life!  So God showed me this morning just how silly I can be.  I suddenly could see that I am not only discontented about some of the situations in my life I am discontented with being discontented!  It was in that revelation that I saw God’s solution.  I have to learn to be content even with being discontented.  As long as I fight being discontented I’m feeding it.  I have to take the fuel off the fire.  I can do that by learning to be content in ALL things--even with myself, just as I am, because it’s then that God’s grace can do its work in me.

“...but God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise, God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong, God chose what is low and despised in the world, even things that are not, to bring to nothing things that are, so that no human being might boast in the presence of God.”  1 Corinthians 1:27-29

Saturday, June 11, 2011

June 11

“Perhaps we do not like our providential surroundings...we are always thinking we could be better Christians if only our circumstances were different...Our souls ‘loathe the light food’ of God’s providing; and we question, as the Israelites did, whether God is really able to provide the spiritual food necessary for us in the ‘wilderness’ where He has placed us.  The ‘wrath of God’ is only another name for the inevitable results of our own bad actions.  God’s wrath is never, as human wrath generally is, an arbitrary condition of His mind, resulting from His displeasure at being crossed.”  Hannah Whitall Smith, God is Enough, 6/11

These words have prompted me to write a letter to a friend with whom I’ve not spoken in three months.  I confessed to her that the rift that I created was because of this very thing---my thinking I needed a friend who was more spiritual.  I wrote her, “I felt I needed you to be on the same page in order to help me stay on the page.”  I’d taken matters into my own hands and tried to convince her along in my own strength.  I did not leave it to God.  Yes, I’d spoken the Truth to her, but “I” was in it.  After three months of no communication I realize now that if God had been in it, it would have born some fruit by now.  “But it has,” are the words coming into my mind right now.  The fruit has been in my life, though.  God has used it to show me the results of my taking matters into my own hands.  I’ve had to suffer the results--the guilty feelings of causing my friend to feel betrayed.  In addition, I’ve not had a friend these past three months with whom to share all the troubles I’ve gone through.  God, I once again hand my spiritual growth over to You.  I shall partake of whatever you give me.

“...yet not what I will, but what thou wilt.” Mark 14:36b

Friday, June 10, 2011

June 10

“Like corrupt executives, Israel’s King Ahab was a rich and powerful person who got in trouble because he surrounded himself with advisers who told him the lies he wanted to hear rather than the truth he needed to know.  His friends led him to a tragic dead end.”  Our Daily Bread, Julie Link, 6/10

“Friends” can do that--lead us astray.  Sometimes in our need to feel accepted and to belong we will hang out with people who aren’t good for us.  Teenagers are notorious for doing this.  But adults can be just as guilty.  Our friends may not lead us into drugs, alcohol, or any number of other vices, but they can lead us away from God.  We may find ourselves joining in some juicy gossip, complaining about our husbands or children after we’ve listened to their complaints, overspending because we’re envious of the things they’ve bought when they really couldn’t afford it either....the list goes on and on.  But there is an even more subtle danger that we must be careful about with the friends we allow into our lives:  not trusting God.  If those whom we count as a friend do not love the Lord and seek to follow Him we are in danger of becoming complacent ourselves.  We may begin to relax our standards or in fear of losing our friend we may not hold them accountable for their sins.  In the end, we’d be better off not having an earthly friend if having a friend interferes with our relationship with our heavenly friend.

“Put no trust in a neighbor, have no confidence in a friend;...But as for me, I will look to the LORD, I will wait for the God of my salvation; my God will hear me.”  Micah 7:5a, 7    

Thursday, June 9, 2011

June 9

“The day of knowledge will dawn for us when we come to the point of implicitly believing God!  It must be understood, however, that this knowledge will come to us not as a feeling but as a perception.”  Hannah Whitall Smith, God is Enough, 6/9

To perceive is to become aware of.  Yesterday I felt down, but I was aware that it would pass.  It always does.  So I “laid low” being careful not to “share” my feelings with anyone else.  I had already “shared” too much with someone on a day I wasn’t feeling so great and now I felt I’d made a mess of the situation.  But then, those are just my feelings.  I really don’t know how the other person has perceived what has happened.  They’d already gotten one thing wrong because they hadn’t asked--they’d made an assumption.  I’ve turned this over to the Lord and have asked Him to clear up the matter.  I have no idea if I’m to make the first move or if the other person will.  For now I will wait.  All I can do is keep my heart open and trust that the Lord will work through it at the appropriate time.  This morning I heard a story on the radio about a man who’d taken in a mentally-challenged man for a short time when his own family wouldn’t have him.  Many years later the two were placed in the same nursing home.  Now the younger man looked after the feeble old man.  As I listened I became aware of the assurance I have from God that He will always look after me.  This was not a feeling.  It was something I perceived and it’s far greater than any feeling I could possibly have.

“This is why I speak to them in parables, because seeing they do not see, and hearing they do not hear, nor do they understand.”  Matthew 13:13

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

June 8

“...if you will this day ‘put yourself at the feet’ of that person who is so difficult for you even to think about, you will find,.... you actually feel your faith grow....Bow your stiff neck to her or to him and then thank God in your heart for the closer look you’ve just been given into His heart.”  Eugenia Price, S.P.S., 6/8

I wondered how submitting myself to another in this way would give me a closer look into God’s heart, but then I remembered how Jesus called the people of his day stiff-necked.  And then I saw Him hanging on the cross for those same people.  This is the glimpse into God’s heart I am meant to see.  Whenever I refuse to put myself at the feet of a person I’m feeling stiff-necked toward I must remember that Christ submitted Himself to pain and suffering for stiff-necked me.  And I must submit myself to stiff-necked people as well.  Eugenia also points out that we can’t do it on our own and that God didn’t intend for us to.  It’s not a matter of our mustering up the fortitude to do it.  It’s a matter of  relying on His Holy Spirit in us.  In fact, if we would just submit ourselves to Him completely, I’m sure we’d “find it in our hearts” to submit ourselves totally to others.  Lord, I can feel the muscles in my neck relaxing already.

“You stiff-necked people, uncircumcised in heart and ears, you always resist the Holy Spirit.”  Acts 7:51a

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

June 7

“When the apostle Paul encouraged the believers in Corinth to help the Christians in Jerusalem, he promised them that if they would sow generously, they would reap a generous return from God.  The truth holds life-changing potential for us.  If we invest everything we have in our relationship with God, we will experience the full dimensions of being children of God.”  H. Blackaby, Experiencing God Day-by-Day, 6/7

This “investment” is what the exchanged life is all about. When you go to a foreign country you exchange your country’s currency for their currency.  When we enter the Kingdom of God through Jesus Christ we must exchange our earthly currency for heavenly currency; otherwise, we’ll live an impoverished life in our new home.  I didn’t do this.  Instead, as I’ve traveled through the Kingdom of God since my salvation I’ve used my earthly currency--my self-sufficiency--to sustain my life.  It’s always cost me more, though, because of the different valuation.  And I depleted my purse quickly.  I had to work extra hard to replenish my currency--but since I couldn’t earn heavenly currency I just ended up with more earthly currency.   Occasionally I’d find a “bank” and exchanged my earthly currency for heavenly currency because I’d seen something that I could only get with heavenly currency.  It was always worth the effort, but these “banks” were few and far between.  I finally came to realize that in order for us to travel freely through the Kingdom of God we really must exchange all our old currency for the new currency as soon as we arrive.  It’s only then that we will experience the full dimension of being a citizen of God’s Kingdom.

“And Jesus said to his disciples, ‘Truly, I say to you, it will be hard for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven.’” Matthew 19:23

Monday, June 6, 2011

June 6

“We must set aside our own wisdom and righteousness in order that Christ may be made wisdom and righteousness and sanctification for us.  Thus if I want righteousness of any kind I must not try to lay up a store of it within myself, but must draw my supplies of righteousness, moment by moment, from the Lord.”  Hannah Whitall Smith, Daily Secrets,6/6

Lord, if someone had sat me down and looked me in the eye when I was yet a child and said these words to me, would it have made a difference?  Would I have been saved from a life of trying to be perfect?  Or would I have dismissed their wisdom as pie-in-the-sky unobtainable?  Would it have been so foreign to me that I would have thought them misdirected or even crazy?  Or would I, in my stubbornness, just have refused the idea because then I couldn’t be Lord of my own life?  But what about now?  Now I know better yet I find excuses to hang on to my own righteousness, my own wisdom.  After all, I’ve spent a lifetime acquiring it!!  I’m sitting here thinking about the clutter in my basement and attic---out with the old, in with the new is what is running through my mind.  I can never have room for the new if I hang on to the old.  I guess it’s that in-between period where there might be emptiness--the unknown--that keeps me from doing it.  We’ve been giving a lot of our old belongings to our son for his new house.  It feels good to put it to use while acquiring newly freed-up space in my home.  Is that what I need to do, Lord, with my old way of life?  Chalk it up to experience that has brought me to today?  In Your economy nothing is wasted.

“So also David pronounces a blessing upon the man to whom God reckons righteousness apart from works.” Romans 4:6

Sunday, June 5, 2011

June 5

“The test Christ gave by which the reality of His oneness with the Father was to be known, was that He did the work of the Father; and I know no other test for us now.”  Hannah Whitall Smith, God is Enough, 6/5

“Take time to look past your actions to what lies behind them.  Ask God to show you what He sees when He examines your motives.”  H. Blackaby, Experiencing God Day-by-Day, 6/5

I see these two quotes as going hand-in-hand because, outwardly, we could appear to be doing the work of the Father.  It’s too easy to become “religious”--to be “faithful” in our service to God’s cause--in our own strength.  The real test comes when things don’t go the way we thought they should.  At least, this is my test.  I’ll seemingly start out working for the Lord and only find out later I was working for myself.  I find this out when I suffer disappointment, anger, frustration, hopelessness.  So when Hannah reminds us that Christ did the work of the Father she was referring to His completed work--work He’d seen to the end according to God’s plan.  Too often I do not finish well because my hidden motive of serving self has been the driving force.  I am learning now that in order for my motive to be pure and for my work to be of the Father, I must let my only desire be the desire to do God’s Will.  He will do the rest.

“I delight to do thy will, O my God; thy law is within my heart.”  Psalm 40:8

Saturday, June 4, 2011

June 4

“[To do God’s will] may not seem sweet at the time we are obeying.  Surely the nails which bored into Jesus’ hands on the Cross were not ‘sweet’.  But He had agreed with the Father in the garden.  He was in the will of God as He hung on the Cross, and that was enough.”  Eugenia Price, S.P.S., 6/4

As I read this morning in the midst of a struggle I was having I suddenly got a clear picture of my problem.  I was struggling because I’d abdicated my control over something God had given me control over---my thoughts and my actions.  In doing so I’d found myself trying to control something I’d not been given control over---someone else's thoughts and actions.  No wonder I feel crazy at times.  It’s like trying to pick up a chair while you’re sitting in it when all you have to do is get out of it and then you can pick it up quite easily.  So I made a phone call and wrote an e-mail and my whole mood changed.  I’d done what I could and the rest now is in God’s Hands.  In fact, I realized that if I would just take control over the things I have control over I wouldn’t be trying to grab control of God’s area of control.  From now on I’m going to ask myself what it is I can do in that moment to make a difference.  If there isn’t anything, then I know I’ve entered God’s territory and agree with Him that this is His Will for me.  He promises to always be with me.  I can trust Him to comfort me and to guide me.

“Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is.”  Ephesians 5:17

Friday, June 3, 2011

June 3

“To repent means to stop going one direction, to turn around completely, and to go the opposite way....Repentance indicates a decisive change, not merely a wishful resolution.”  H. Blackaby, Experiencing God Day-by-Day, 6/3

The keyword is “decisive”.  For those of us who have a difficult time making decisions this presents a problem.  To make a decision is to make up one’s mind.  This is my problem, too.  To make up my mind requires that I let go of some other way of thinking.  I’m a saver by nature--at least it feels like my nature.  My house and life betray me!  I use to think that once my mother passed on (a saver big time) I would no longer feel compelled to save everything I ever owned--from pieces of paper to furniture.  When she was alive I could “hear” her reasons in my head for not throwing this or that away.  But even though she is no longer with me in body, she is still with me in thought, and I continue to keep things for “just in case”.  When I get to the point of feeling totally inundated I make what I call a decision to clean out the clutter.  But I rarely get rid of very much.  Likewise, my repentance often proves to be wishful thinking rather than a true changing of my mind about things.  Before we can act differently we have to think differently, otherwise our thoughts will sabotage our new way of doing things.  I realize now that it is fear that keeps me from changing my mind.  I’ve grown comfortable with the way I think even though it’s not “working” for me.  Lord, I know that I can only find true comfort in You.  May I make the right decision today about that and not change my mind!

“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all Comfort...”  1 Corinthians 1:3

Thursday, June 2, 2011

June 2

“Although it is true that the Holy Spirit indwells the believer, it is equally true that unless the believer knows it and lives in the power of it, it is to him as though it were not....[Christ’s] power, however, is not manifested until, intelligently and voluntarily, the believer ceases from his own life and accepts Christ’s life in its place.”  Hannah Whitall Smith, God is Enough, 6/2

My frustration has been my inability to find others who understand what Hannah is saying and striving to live that kind of life.  This ceasing from your own life so that you can live Christ’s life is a concept few understand.   What people do instead is try to emulate Christ while continuing to live their own lives.  No wonder we struggle so!  Only the most adept can do that and then not for very long because it is very wearing.  I know because I’ve tried.  This frustration I feel is another indication of my need to let go of looking at other people and instead focus only on Christ.  It is what He has intended all along.  He’ll do the “worrying” about everyone else.  I just need to make sure I’m being obedient to His life within me.  When I do this I’ve conquered several problems at once:  my pride, my need to be in control, my fear, my anger, my sorrow....the list can go on and on.  The life of Christ is simple.   It’s just not easy because I keep getting in the way!

“Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, which you have from God?  You are not your own; you were bought with a price.  So glorify God in your body.”  1 Corinthians 6:19, 20

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

June 1

“Then came Pentecost, and these same disciples came to know Christ as inwardly revealed, as one in union with them, their very indwelling life...One will alone animated them, and that was His will.  One interest alone was dear to them, and that was His.  They were made one with Him.”  Hannah Whitall Smith, God is Enough, 6/1

Grasping this idea of being One with God is difficult if you have no clue to who God is.  I think this is why so few seem to achieve this concept.....we attempt to grasp it in order to achieve it when that was not God’s plan at all.  God makes us one with Him.  We can’t think ourselves into that oneness.  We cannot really know who God is until we’ve been made one with Him.  We’re always getting the cart before the horse!  At Pentecost the disciples were baptized with fire.  They did not baptize themselves....they were baptized by the Holy Spirit.  God had a plan for them and therefore baptized them with His Spirit so that they could carry out His plan for them.  He will do the same for us when we acknowledge His residence in us.  But then we must let go of the reins so that the “horse” can get before the “cart”!

“But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria and to the end of the earth.”  Acts 1:8