Devotions

Bible studies and connecting with other believers
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Re: Devotions

Postby Emerald » 19pm31America/New_York()

Righty--praying for Kurt and you!
"I don't care if my glass is half full or half empty, I am just thankful to have a glass!"
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Re: Devotions

Postby RightyHeidi » 19pm31America/New_York()

Thanks girls.

Kurt passed away last night. It was inevitable...so I'm glad he was spared ongoing pain. He prayed he would be spared...and his prayers were answered.

He remains...forever in my heart.
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Re: Devotions

Postby Emerald » 20pm31America/New_York()

The Moon

April 2009 I got a new puppy. For the first week, like clockwork, she would wake me up every morning at 3:00am to go potty. I was just grateful she’d rather potty outside than in her bed, so I didn’t mind too much. There was one particular “outing” that was so precious, that I’m still captivated by it.

The night air was crisp and refreshing, the sky was freckled with stars and the moon shone so brightly, illuminating everything around me. I stood there gazing upward at the moon, taking in all its mystery, when suddenly the presence of the Holy Spirit became so strong that I felt myself gasp. It was one of the most incredible “God” moments of my life. I could hear God whispering to me “This is the same moon that Abraham, Isaac and Jacob looked up to. In fact, it’s the same moon that David prayed under when he was hiding in the wilderness. But did you realize this is the very same moon that Jesus Christ saw when He turned His eyes to Heaven?” I have never felt so close to Jesus as I did at that incredible moment.

Psalms 8:3-4 “When I look up into the night skies and see the work of Your fingers – the moon and the stars You have made – I cannot understand how You bother with mere puny man, to pay attention to him.” (TLB)

I have no idea why God would bother with me, or pay attention to me but I sure am thankful He does.

The next time the moon is out, I encourage you to go and take a new look at it. It is the same moon He made in Genesis. Our God, with His very own words spoke in into existence:

Genesis 1:14 “Then God said, ‘Let there be lights in the firmament of the heavens to divide day from night;" (NKJV)

His very hands hung it right where it is:

Genesis 1:16-18 “Then God made two great lights: the greater light to rule the day, and the lesser light to rule the night. He made the stars also. 17God set them in the firmament of the heavens to give light on the earth, 18and to rule over the day and over the night, and to divide the light from the darkness. And God saw that it was good.” (NKJV)

Then just drink it all in that the very people God tells us of in His word looked at its beauty too!
"I don't care if my glass is half full or half empty, I am just thankful to have a glass!"
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Re: Devotions

Postby Mimi2 » 20pm31America/New_York()

Awww, thank you Em. I loved that devotion. I need to feel that presence more than ever.
Ecclesiastes 10:2 (NIV) "The heart of the wise inclines to the right, but the heart of the fool to the left".
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Re: Devotions

Postby Emerald » 23pm31America/New_York()

I have posted some of this on the first page, but I feel it never hurts to read it again and I have elaborated as I pray it will strengthen those of you who are in your own battles:

No One’s Too Small and No Giant’s Too Big


We have all felt small and insignificant, especially when we are compared to others. There have been times when we’ve been teased or put down by family, friends and even complete strangers.

We’ve all been through battles and have come out “beaten, bruised and very sore”.

Sometimes we allow fear to stop us from moving forward, other times, we move forward fearfully.

I can guarantee the devil will tell you “you’re not able”. He will take every opportunity to humiliate and discourage you, and he will laugh at and mock you.

Has the devil ever made you wish you could disappear? He has me! Every time I sang a solo at church, I’d wished the floor would open up and swallow me! (I bet some wished it would have opened up before I sang---LOL)

The devil cannot STAND for God’s people to be confident, happy, loving people so he sets out to plot against us.

1 Peter 5:8 “because your adversary, the devil, walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour.”

Well consider for a moment that God may have you right where you are in order to prepare you mentally, physically and spiritually for victory that lies ahead.

David was the youngest and the smallest of all his brothers. I wouldn’t be a bit surprised if his brothers teased him about his size and his sheep! His family sees him as small and insignificant.

1 Sam 16:11 “Well, yes, there’s the runt. But he’s out tending the sheep.” (TMSG)

I can just see that little fellow out kicking the dirt up, throwing rocks and sticks up in the air. He gets bored and makes himself a sling shot….. He had no idea God had put him where he needed to be to have the time to perfect a skill that would one day save a whole nation. David wasn’t “too small” or “too insignificant” for God to use in a mighty way.

1 Sam 16:13 God said, “ ‘This is the one.’ The Spirit of God entered David like a rush of wind, God vitally empowering him for the rest of his life.” (TMSG)

God needed David out in those fields to prepare him both physically and spiritually using whatever the devil threw at him to train and strengthen him. I just think David had to be terrified the first time he saw a sheep in the mouth of a wild beast! But he certainly didn’t let fear stop him from doing what he had to do. David said “I went out after it.” So if he was afraid, he just did it afraid.

He must have been scratched, bitten, bloody, and certainly bruised and sore after each fight for survival. However, these victories built David’s confidence not only in the Lord, but in himself. David knows and proclaims that it is only by the grace of God he could battle and win against lions and bears. It’s with this confidence he can declare victory even before he faces this battle.

1 Sam 17:37 “The Lord, who delivered me from the paw of the lion and from the paw of the bear, He will deliver me from the hand of this Philistine.” (NKJV)

Look at how many things Saul said to discourage him: “you’re not able”; “you’re too young”; “he’s been fighting for years”. Then to really drive home his point, Saul puts armor that’s way too big on David, probably in attempt to really humiliate him. If all this wasn’t enough, Goliath makes fun of him and of course threatens his life. There had to be a large number of people around during these conversations. In fact, there were two armies. So picture this: Saul’s army probably shaking their heads, hands covering their eyes, wishing they could disappear, while the Philistine army was laughing and making fun of him.

But David didn’t run away, although no one would have blamed him if he had. Instead check out what he did:

1) He said out loud what he was going to do 1 Sam 17:32 "Don't worry about a thing," David told him, "I'll take care of this Philistine!"

2) He spoke boldly of victory 1 Sam 17:46 "Today the Lord will conquer you and I will kill you and cut off your head..." A bit graphic, but it is definitely bold!

3) He "hurried & ran TOWARD" (vs 48-49) Goliath, no hesitation slung 1 stone. He had 5 but that was 4 too many.

John 10:10 “The thief doesn’t come except to steal, kill and destroy. But I have come that they may have life, and have it more abundantly.”

Christ didn’t die so that we could live insignificant, beaten up, bruised, fearful and defeated lives. He died so that we would have better lives. I’m not saying we won’t to feel insignificant, beaten up, bruised, fearful and defeated. I’m just saying there are times when we have to move forward IN SPITE of feeling insignificant, beaten up, bruised, fearful and defeated.

What the devil means for evil, God will use for good. (Gen 50:20) God will use the devils “lions and bears” to strengthen our hearts, minds, souls and bodies. We need to acknowledge our problems, speak victory over them then face them head-on without hesitation because we can have confidence God will guide that 1 stone right dead center bulls eye!
"I don't care if my glass is half full or half empty, I am just thankful to have a glass!"
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Re: Devotions

Postby Emerald » 31pm31America/New_York()

The Bathtub

My kids are responsible for cleaning their own bathroom. I’m embarrassed to say I’ve not been very consistent checking up on them. I’d glance in the door, see clothes on the floor, a mess around the sink- the obvious stuff. But a thorough inspection does not happen often enough.

A few days ago, the Holy Spirit put it in me that I needed to really clean their bathroom. I say it was the Holy Spirit because I can assure you my own spirit would never recommend I clean anything.

Eccl 9:10 “Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with your might” (NKJV)
Col 3:23 “And whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men” (NKJV)


Standing in the doorway, I assessed the situation and just shook my head. The sight before me was, to put it nicely very, cluttered. I started with the obvious mess first – clothes in the floor. Once that obstacle was removed, I now had access the vanity and sink. This area wasn’t so bad, fairly unchallenging.

Next was the toilet…. There was some nasty on the outside, but it wasn’t until I lifted the lid that I became very disgruntled. I’ll spare the details, but suffice it to say, the site I saw would make science proud.

By this point I was boiling mad. I had specifically instructed my son to clean this toilet and he just didn’t do it. And I wasn’t too happy with myself - I should have been more diligent with frequent inspections. While he may be 21 years old, he’s still my son and this is still my house so it ultimately comes down to me making sure he’s cleaning the skank out of the toilet.

Alright so the vanity, sink and toilet are now all disinfected, beaming radiantly, and worthy to be used again. It’s now time to slide the tub door open……even though I was still seething from the toilet, I wasn’t finished and couldn’t going to just walk away. Wasting no time, I hastily slid the door open.

I love nothing more than a God moment. I’m always looking and asking for them, especially when something unpleasant has come upon me. I really didn’t expect a God moment cleaning the bathroom, but it sure didn’t hurt to ask right?

I peered into the tub and to my surprise, it wasn’t as bad as I had expected. All that was apparent at first glance was the usual dirty soap scum. Nothing some comet and elbow grease couldn’t handle to reveal the pure white surface hidden underneath.

Leaning over the side of the tub, I began to conquer the task at hand. There is a one to two inch overhang that goes around the tub. I glanced under this overhang and that’s when it happened. I had my “God” moment. Hidden underneath was a coating of black, slimy, infectious mold. Only God could take fungus and turn it into an opportunity for personal growth.

Cleaning the bathroom is just like cleaning out our sinful ways. There are some sin’s that are easier to deal with that others, but it’s the hidden sins that can be the most difficult to admit. These are the infectious, harmful, slimy ones that fester and become destructive if not dealt with. We think if no one can see them, then it’s okay.

Psalms 69:5 “O God You know my foolishness; and my sins are not hidden from You.” (NKJV)

Many times we associate “hidden” sins with things like drugs, alcohol, pornography, marital affairs, etc. However, God just began to show me how much more destructive some emotions are to ourselves and the people around us. He said to me “things that are obvious on the outside – our actions - are much easier to deal with, it’s the emotional sins that become like black, slimy, infectious mold.” So I began to take “inventory” with Him as I was cleaning. I found that I had some jealousy issues that were deep down, so deep that I didn’t even know they were there till He showed me at that moment!

With Clorox, Comet and a heavy duty scrub brush in hand I began to tackle the mold as well as the rest of the tub.

I began spraying the bleach when God said “This bleach is like My blood. It will dissolve the blackness of sin and will make whatever it comes in contact with pure and white. Even when sin blankets over the surface again, you can have the confidence that My blood has protected your soul that lies underneath.”

Rev 7:14-15 “These are the ones who come out of the great tribulation, and washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. Therefore they are before the throne of God, and serve Him day and night in His temple. And He who sits on the throne will dwell among them.” (NKJV)

Comet is an abrasive which by definition means “capable of polishing or cleaning a hard surface, by rubbing and grinding”. God said to me “Comet is like My Word. As it is read and studied, it is ground into your heart so that you can live polished and clean.”

Psalm 119:9-11 “How can a young man cleanse his way? By taking heed according to Your word. With my whole heart I have sought You; Oh, let me not wander from Your commandments! Your word I have hidden in my heart, That I might not sin against You.”

As I held the scrub brush in my hand, God said “just like this brush is used to apply the comet, you must apply My word before it will work. Reading and knowing is only the beginning, but unless it’s applied, it’s just information.” When I gave Him my life, He got all my sins too. So nothing I do or think surprises Him, it only surprises me.

Cleaning the bathroom wasn’t my responsibility, but I did it anyway. The process had the potential to put me in a very foul mood, which is not very productive. So I purposely asked God to give me something to share with others. Instead He showed me I had black, slimy emotions in my heart that He could help me with. I had no idea He’d use the very task I despised to bring me even closer to Him!

I never thought cleaning a bathroom could be such a spiritual experience. It just goes to prove, in every moment, situation, or circumstance, God is talking and teaching. We just have to ask.

Matt 7:8 “For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened.”
"I don't care if my glass is half full or half empty, I am just thankful to have a glass!"
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Re: Devotions

Postby Emerald » 07am30America/New_York()

Crabgrass

Marriage is like a lawn in that what you put into it is what you get out of it:

You have a beautiful lawn that you have nurtured since the day you planted it. Water and fertilizer have deepened the roots so that it flourishes and can withstand many elements.

Proverbs 3:3 “Don’t lose your grip on Love and Loyalty. Tie them around your neck; carve their initials on your heart.”

One day, its obvious crabgrass has taken root. While it’s still a “grass” it spreads out, and if ignored, will creep over everything in its path. Determined to defend what’s yours, you take the necessary steps to stop this weed in its tracks.

Over the years, crabgrass keeps coming back. Some days it feels like no matter what you do, it’s there. Perhaps you get distracted, bored, tired, impatient, or too lazy to put forth the effort. Next thing you know, you’re checking out other lawns.

You think to yourself “I’ll find a new one and I won’t have to deal with pesky crabgrass anymore.” Then it happens! You notice a beautiful yard that has pretty yellow flowers springing up randomly about. They capture your attention, these blooms do, and then you see what appear to be strawberry plants and you really like strawberries!

Proverbs 6:25 “Don’t lustfully fantasize on her beauty, nor be taken in by her bedroom eyes.”

You don’t even realize the lawn you’ve had all these years is just one labor away from becoming more vibrant, healthy and deeply rooted. Nope, you want this new “effortless” yard with “flowers and fruit”.

Proverbs 7:21 “So she seduced him with her pretty speech, her coaxing and her wheedling, until he yielded to her. He couldn’t resist her flattery”

Before you know it, you have this new lawn. You admire all the pretty blooms and anxiously await those strawberries. Unfortunately the more time spent with it, the more it becomes obvious you don’t have flowers and fruit, you have dandelions and cinquefoil, a.k.a. weeds.

Proverbs 6:27 “Can a man hold fire against his chest and not be burned? Can he walk on hot coals and not blister his feet?”

The blooms become ugly fluffy balls of seed that only thrive in thin lawns and though cinquefoil looks like a strawberry plant, it never ever produces fruit because it only thrives in poor soil. They are both simply weeds with very deep roots. At least with crabgrass what you see is what you get, but with dandelions and cinquefoil all you get is fooled.

Proverbs 6:32-35 “Adultery is a brainless act, soul-destroying, self-destructive; Expect a bloody nose, a black eye, and a reputation ruined for good.”

In Genesis 12, Abraham took Sarah WITH him when God told him to go to a new land; he didn't just up and leave her to pursue new land. Just look at the irreparable damage that was done the minute Abraham committed adultery. Thousands of years later, WE bear the brunt of Ishmael.

As newlyweds, we spend time nurturing and loving each other. But then we get distracted, bored, tired, impatient or lazy and the next thing we know, problems have become like weeds with deep roots, creeping into other areas of our lives. We fail to recognize our marriage may just be one labor away from rising to a new level, becoming more vibrant, healthy and deeply rooted.

Nope, we want a new “effortless yard with flowers and fruit”. We are a “quick-fix” society that would rather rush to the divorce lawyer than to the “weed whacker”. It’s cheaper to gas up the weed whacker.

“When the one man loves the one woman, and the one woman loves the one man, the very angels of Heaven come and sit in the house and sing for joy.” Author Unknown
"I don't care if my glass is half full or half empty, I am just thankful to have a glass!"
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Re: Devotions

Postby Emerald » 14am30America/New_York()

1992

Why is it I never think to thank God for people He brings into my life? I thank Him for those who bless me, I thank Him for those I can bless, but I've never thanked Him just because I know them. I've never considered doing so until just this moment as I write about the year 1992.

Job 42:10-11 “And the Lord restored Job’s losses when he prayed for his friends… all his brothers, sisters, and acquaintances, came to him and ate food with him in his house; and they consoled him and comforted him for all the adversity that the Lord had brought upon him”

March 1992 Karen Smith was the aerobic director for NEGMC’s “Fit-For-Life” fitness center. The gym I had been teaching aerobics at had closed and I had an interview with her for a position in their program. There are really only two things I remember about my meeting with her: one, she hired me (yea!); two, she never stopped smiling. She smiled when she talked, she smiled when she listened.

It wasn’t long after I had been at Fit-For-Life that Karen and her husband, Scott, had decided to take full-time positions with Eagle Ranch. Tears streaming down her face, she smiled as she shared with all of us how they knew God was calling them to do this, and though they were afraid, they were fully trusting in Him and moving forward. This meant she had to leave the gym and her position as the director. I LOVED teaching for Karen, so I cried too [but I wasn’t smiling].

We kept in touch sporadically over the next nine years through various fitness events. In 2001 God opened up another opportunity for me to work with Karen again at a gym in Gainesville while I was preparing to open my own personal training studio. Just as in 1992, she was still smiling.

I opened my business in Flowery Branch in August of that same year, so I left that gym. However, our paths crossed again when our sons ran cross country and played soccer together at Davis Middle School. I will never forget a cross country meet when Kyle, her son, came out of the wooded part of the trail in the lead! I thought Scott had been stung by a bee; he was jumping up and down, flailing his arms, screaming all kinds of happy. He joined in the race with Kyle and ran with him all the way across the finish line! She and I were laughing and cheering them both on! I'm not sure who Karen was more proud of, Kyle or Scott!

December 2007, just a few weeks before Christmas, Karen was diagnosed with stage IV breast cancer. It had metastasized to her bones and was so advanced that it had caused her hip to shatter. Her prognosis was grim. Here it was Christmas time – a time for celebration and joy - but Karen and Scott were faced with telling their three children their mom had cancer.

I was in total shock and deeply affected by her news as well. Though we weren’t “close” friends, she was my friend and I had so much respect for her. The mere mention of her name would bring to mind her smile. I just couldn’t believe she had terminal cancer. Moreover, I couldn’t imagine how difficult it was going to be telling her children, especially at Christmas time. My heart literally ached and many tears flowed as I lifted them up in prayer throughout the holidays.

Just a few days into the New Year, I called Karen to offer my love and let her know I was praying for her. She shared with me the events that had lead up to her diagnosis. The troubling fact was there was no “Houston, we have a problem” until she had a problem! Here’s what I mean: as fitness people, we tend to abuse our bodies at times, so aches and pains are periodically the “norm”, and typically resolve themselves without professional intervention. So when Karen’s hip began to hurt, she didn’t think too much about it. It wasn’t until she could hardly walk that she sought medical attention. Cancer is sheepishly quiet until it has wreaked its havoc, often making it difficult to defeat.

John 10:10 “The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.”

January 4, 2008 I was in my office praying for Karen and her family. My thoughts began like this: “Fortunately for me, breast cancer doesn’t run in my family, so I have nothing to worry about.” (Karen’s mom and sister’s were all survivors) My mind continued to wander “I haven’t been to the doctor in two years. Well, I’ll go in April during spring break, when most of my clients are out of town, so I won’t have to reschedule anyone. I hate having to reschedule people.”

I was settled with waiting until April when what happened next had to be God intervening. I found myself holding the phone and listening to the receptionist at my doctor’s office! “The doctor is out of town the week of spring break” she was saying, “but he has an opening on January 18th if you’d like that one.” A bit puzzled how the phone ended up at my ear yet happy for the opportunity to check this off my “to do list”, I accepted that appointment.

Two weeks later, Friday, February 1, 2008, Mark and I found ourselves telling our own children I had cancer. It is totally by the grace of God and the mere fact that I knew Karen Smith that my diagnosis was made while I was stage I. Karen and I had the same type of cancer too. It was hormone receptor positive, fueled by a protein (HER2-neu in case you’re curious) which made it very aggressive. My oncologist explained it by saying “this protein is an ‘on’ switch telling the cancer cells to ‘go, go, go’ ”

Had I not been so moved by Karen’s situation, I know without a doubt, I wouldn’t have motivated to make that appointment when I did. Knowing her literally saved my life and not waiting until April turned out to be a fateful decision.

Over the next three years we encouraged and comforted each other. I saw her a few times, but mostly our communication was through phone calls and texting. The first thing she’d say to me was “How are YOU doing.” She was still so full of hope and joy, and that was because Karen was determined to live every day for God and her family, not for her circumstances.

Habakkuk 2:4 “but the just shall live by his faith.”

The older I get and the more I experience the more I'm convinced that nothing happens by chance, which includes every person I meet. February 1, 2008 I became very aware of just how true this was and it wasn’t until then that I thanked God, with every ounce of my being that I knew Karen Smith. The year 1992 turned out to be a pivotal year to getting me where I am today.

This past May Karen’s cancer had progressed to the point that any further treatments would be futile. Friday, June 10, 2011 at 2:45pm Karen lost her battle with cancer, but she ran with endurance her race right into the waiting arms of Jesus.

Hebrews 12:1 “let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith”

She and I had been on the same train, God just stopped it long enough for me to jump off for a while longer. What if in the future God chooses to use me to save someone else’s life? That would be as mind blowing as it was for Him to use Karen to prolong mine. No matter what, I want to run my race smiling as Karen did.

I believe if Karen could speak to her family and friends now, she would say these words from Mark Harris’ song “Wish You Were Here”

I wanted to tell you how closely I've kept the memories of you in my heart
And all of the lifetimes that we've had to share live even though we're apart
But don't cry for me 'Cause I'm finally free

To run with the angels on streets made of gold
To listen to stories of saints new and old
To worship our Maker that's where I'll be when you finally find me

Now don't you be weary cause waiting for you are wonders that you've never known
Just hold on to Jesus, reach out for His hands and one day they'll welcome you home
And that's when you'll be finally free

I wish you were here

And all of the dreams that you treasure will soon come together
And that's when your sorrow will find tomorrow
And you will rise again

To run with the angels on streets made of gold
To listen to stories of saints new and old
To worship our Maker that's where I'll be when you finally find me
"I don't care if my glass is half full or half empty, I am just thankful to have a glass!"
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Re: Devotions

Postby NoBlahMa » 15pm30America/New_York()

((((Emie)))) What a beautiful tribute to your friend. It brought tears to my eyes. So wonderfully said. You are a blessing, my dear.

I am so sorry you have lost a friend. I know you take great comfort in knowing she is woke up from this life cradled in the loving arms of Jesus.
Stay close to anything that makes you glad you're alive-14th C poet, Hafez
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Re: Devotions

Postby Emerald » 20pm30America/New_York()

Faith

Abraham had faith enough to leave his home land in search for the promised land. Genesis 12:4 “So Abram departed as the Lord had spoken to him, and Lot went with him. And Abram was seventy-five years old when he departed from Haran.”

Moses had faith enough to go up against Pharoah and lead Israel out of Egypt
Exodus 5:1 “Afterward Moses and Aaron went in and told Pharaoh, “Thus says the Lord God of Israel: ‘Let My people go, that they may hold a feast to Me in the wilderness.”

I cant even count the number of times Moses’ faith is shown throughout the scriptures….Ex 4:20, Ex 6:30, 7:20, 8:20, 9:1, 9:13, 10:1, and all through the first five books of the Bible

Joshua had the faith to cross the Jordon River as God commanded
Joshua 1:2 “Moses My servant is dead. Now therefore, arise, go over this Jordan, you and all this people, to the land which I am giving to them—the children of Israel.”

Joshua also had faith that when God told him He’d bring down the walls of Jericho if they marched around them seven times a day for seven days.
Joshua 6:16 And the seventh time it happened, when the priests blew the trumpets, that Joshua said to the people: “Shout, for the Lord has given you the city!”

Gideon had faith enough to go up against the Midianites with only 300 men, as God commanded him to.
Judges 7:16 “Then he divided the three hundred men into three companies, and he put a trumpet into every man’s hand, with empty pitchers, and torches inside the pitchers.”

The Bible is full of examples of people having complete and total faith that God was God, He knows all, He does everything for good, His love is never failing and His grace is never ending.

In all the great faiths shown, all were met with reservation. Every single person God called on responded with basically “What? Are you kidding? How?” attitudes. Our doubt that God has things under control goes back to the beginning of time and yet, God still forgives us, and He knows we are going to doubt.

But in the end, we MUST have faith that when life throws a curve ball (cancer, job, divorce, etc) God has it under control and His plan is always the best!

Hebrews 11:6 “But without faith it is impossible to please Him: for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.”

Joshua 23:8 “But you shall hold fast to the LORD your God, as you have done to this day.”

We MUST resolve to hold on to Him no matter the circumstances. Our devotion must be stronger than our fear of the unknown.

He has proven over and over to me that when a trial is over, I am in a better place. I can breathe and say “everything happened just as it was suppose to happen, and PRAISE God for it!”
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Re: Devotions

Postby VoiceOfReason » 22pm30America/New_York()

Thank you Karen, you are an inspiration and I think I can say a role model for all of us.
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Re: Devotions

Postby Emerald » 27pm30America/New_York()

Hope
Hope means believing something good will happen and being optimistic about the future. Everyone who has faith in Christ has the ability to remain hopeful regardless of circumstances. Unfortunately, just because we have this ability, doesn’t mean we always use it. We tend to blame God when it seems like only trouble surrounds our lives rather than blaming the devil because we seem to forget Satan is the source of all evil.

When bad things happen we can either get closer to God or further away from Him. Remember that feeling hopeful means we are in agreement with God, but feeling hopeless means we are in agreement with Satan. And I know Christ didn’t suffer a horrible, painful, grisly, vile death so that we could feel hopeless.

I believe that bad things happen whether we believe in God or not, the difference being those who have placed their faith in Christ have the confidence that all things work for His good.

Gen 50:20 “…but God meant it for good, in order to bring it about as it is this day…” (NKJV)

God used all that happened to Job to bring him to a higher level of righteousness and closer relationship with Him. The key was that Job kept talking to God. He fussed at God, he blamed God, he cried out in despair and he told God he wished he was dead. Job felt hopeless. However, the process of Job actually telling God what was in his heart and mind brought the intimacy of their relationship to a level that was otherwise most likely unachievable. In Job, chapter 42, he tells God “I uttered what I didn’t understand” and he says “Listen, please, and let me speak.”

What Job did, we should do also which is tell God exactly what is in our hearts and minds He knows anyway. When we set in motion the ability to recognize and admit to God when we feel hopeless is when God can bring us out of it. It is at this moment that we can truly see God.

Job 42:5 “I have heard of You by the hearing of the ear, But now my eye sees You.”

If you spend too much time feeling hopeless, defeated, beat up, put down, depressed and discouraged it will become a habit. The good news is habits can be broken! To break this habit you must start expecting God to do something good in your life. You also have to practice desiring for good to happen (hope) and practice resting in complete trust (faith) in all that happens. Practice being grounded (faithful) and remaining optimistic (hopeful). Keep practicing this until it becomes your new habit.

Romans 5:5 “Then, when that happens, we are able to hold our heads high no matter what happens and know that all is well, for we know how clearly God loves us, and we feel this warm love everywhere within us because God has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with His love.” (TLB)

I try to keep a “this too shall pass” attitude during trials and troubles in order to not completely give in to them. This attitude helps me hold on and keeps my focus clear so that the “growth” process can be revealed and I can recognize when things are beginning to turn around for the better. In other words I choose, on purpose, to remain optimistic by focusing on the coming solution, not the current suffering.

Rom 5:2 “He has brought us into this place of highest privilege where we now stand, and we confidently and joyfully look forward to actually becoming all that God has had in mind for us to be.” (TLB)

I also try to remember to thank Him and praise Him now for all the good that is to come.

Rom 4:20-21 “He believed God, for his faith and trust grew even stronger, and he praised God for this blessing even BEFORE it happened. He was completely sure that God was well able to do anything He promised.” (TLB)

Heb 11:1 “Faith is the confident assurance that something we want is going to happen. It is the certainty that what we hope for is waiting for us, even though we cannot see it up ahead.” (TLB)

We must live hopeful for each day, knowing that even when we are cut down we have the ability to rise back up. Even if you have felt hopeless for a long time, with just a glimpse of His mercy, you can feel hopeful again.

Job 14:7-9 “For a tree there is always hope. Chop it down and it still has a chance— its roots can put out fresh sprouts. Even if its roots are old and gnarled, its stump long dormant, at the first whiff of water it comes to life, buds and grows like a sapling.” (TMSG)
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Re: Devotions

Postby Emerald » 06pm31America/New_York()

Fear

Deuteronomy 20:3-4 “Today you are on the verge of battle with your enemies. Do not let your heart faint, do not be afraid, and do not tremble or be terrified because of them; for the Lord your God is He who goes with you, to fight for you against your enemies, to save you.”

When I was about five years old, our family was visiting my grandparents down in Florida. Their house had a large picture window that faced the back yard and the living room sofa faced this window. It was late at night; I was curled up on the couch with my Granny when suddenly that was a banging sound on this window. Staring straight at us was a man with the scariest face I have ever seen in my life - even to this day! He was bald, had a large warped nose, long deep wrinkles, droopy eyes and a sinister mouth. I could hear him growling as he pounded on the window. All I remember after that was screaming and crying hysterically and everyone in the house scrambling for a moment to make sense of it all. Well, it turned out to be my uncle, wearing a very real-looking Halloween mask, playing a prank on us all. I was not amused.

I can think of hundreds more times I have felt that same type of fear, the kind that paralyzes from the inside out. There have been times I’ve been so scared for my children I wanted to vomit. I have also been afraid of being rejected, failure, the known and the unknown. Sometimes my fears have kept me out of harm’s way, other times my fears have held me back from doing something I know God wants me to do. Reality can be scary and things we have no control over can be scary.

I was listening to Joyce Meyer teaching about “The Spirit of Fear” wherein she said “When God says “fear not” He isn’t saying we aren’t allowed to feel afraid”. She went on to explain that He is warning us that fear can control our emotions and decisions. It means sometimes we just have to do stuff while feeling scared. I thought “wow! I’ve never thought of it like that before!” So I decided this topic was worth studying on my own and the Lord placed it on my heart to share what He has revealed to me.

Fear is an emotion that creates a “fight or flight” response - one that God gave us to keep us safe. For example the fear of disappointing someone or consequences of sins can keep us out of trouble. This type is rooted from concern to do right. However prolonged fear causes anxiety and depression, it leads to bitterness, resentment, hurt, insecurity, and an unforgiving spirit.

Most importantly there is a physiological change that occurs in the brain from the extra adrenaline (hormone that helps us respond effectively to short term stress) produced and released as a result of strong emotions like fear, rage, anger. Over time, if these emotions are left uncontrolled, an imbalance occurs which can inhibit our ability to process information correctly. It is this imbalance that gives Satan an open door into our thought process.

Understand this: Satan knows just as much if not more than we do. He knows the biological and the physical changes caused by adrenaline and he uses every opportunity available to get into our lives. He knows that even Christians are vulnerable to fear even to the point it overrides God in our emotions. This is when the devil pounces as the weaker we are the easier it is for him to get a strong hold. Once he has accomplished his goal, he goes on to his next victim and we are left with the consequences. Perhaps this is why the Bible says “fear not” 365 times…..Hmmm

It’s easy to understand being scared of evil but there are additional, perhaps even more vulnerable areas in our lives, where being afraid gives Satan a stronghold. Insecurity is manifested from fear of rejection and/or failure. Satan feeds off insecure people and uses this feeling to keep them isolated, or lead them to compromise or get them to make choices out of desperation. And if he is successful, he leaves behind a person that is depressed, critical, hateful, and/or envious who has no peace. This is because Satan knows that no peace can lead to spiritual death. John 10:10 “The thief’s purpose is to steal, kill and destroy. My purpose is to give life in all its fullness.” (TLB) Since Satan can never have life, he wants to bring as many down with him as possible, especially those who profess faith in Christ.

Judas Iscariot had been accepted into the “elite 12” (my words) by Christ. He was in the “in crowd” (again my words) but he was there for the wrong reasons and he knew it. Judas’ fear of rejection gave the devil an opening to bring about the spirit of insecurity and it was through this spirit that made Judas critical, envious, and selfish. He was driven by greed and rather than change his way of thinking to change his heart, he was controlled by his emotions. (John 12:3-7) All of which led to Judas’ greatest fear becoming reality: he was rejected by the very people he sold out to! (Matt 27:4) And now the devil really had opportunity to torment him which drove him to suicide. (Matt 27:5) The bible tells us over and over what is truly in the heart will come out in actions.

Fear can and will consume if it isn’t controlled. David experienced great fear. Psalm 55:4-5 “My insides are turned inside out; specters of death have me down. I shake with fear; I shudder from head to foot." (TMSG) This same verse from NKJV “Fearfulness and trembling have come upon me, and horror has overwhelmed me.” So how does David handle it? He cries out to God, bears his heart, mind and soul to the Lord. And as he is completely honest with himself and with God, you can see the spirit of fear begin to leave him. Psalm 55:16-17 “As for me, I will call upon God, and the Lord shall save me. Evening and morning and at noon I will pray, and cry aloud, and He shall hear my voice.” Then David tells us it worked! Verse 18 “He has redeemed my soul in peace from the battle that was against me, for there were many against me.” (NKJV)

This is why having an intimate relationship with Christ is so important. This type of intimacy comes from telling Him ALL your thoughts, fears, feelings, even the ugly ones. He knows them anyway, might as well admit them. 2 Sam 22:31“As for God, His way is perfect; the word of the Lord is true. He shields all who hide behind Him.” (TLB)
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Re: Devotions

Postby Emerald » 14pm31America/New_York()

Clueless
I have so many times when I’m clueless as to what to pray for. Sometimes it’s because I’ve have so much to talk to God about I get overwhelmed, other times the situation may be so very difficult I’ll be at a loss for words.

God knows that we face moments in our lives when we have no idea what to pray. He even has us covered for those times our mind is in such a dark place that we can’t pray.

Romans 8:26 "“And in the same way -by our faith- the Holy Spirit helps us with our daily problems AND in our praying. For we don’t even know what we should pray for, nor how to pray as we should; but the Holy Spirit prays FOR us with such feeling that it cannot be expressed in words." (TLB)

There are many obstacles that interfere with our prayer lives sometimes making it non-existent. Too tired, too busy, both of which I am guilty of. Sometimes when things are going really good I tend to have superficial prayer time at best. I believe the above verse covers me in those times too as it does for all who have a heart for Christ.

8:27 "the Father who knows all hearts knows, of course, what the Spirit is saying as He pleads for us in harmony with God's own will." (TLB)

Another reason I believe the Holy Spirit is praying for me when I don’t pray is because I have had God bless me with people, opportunities and material things, and safety that I didn’t even ask for! I wasn’t praying for a husband when Mark came into my life 26 years ago. I wasn’t praying for new friends as they have come, nor was I praying for a new automobile when Mark surprised me with one for Christmas in 2009. I certainly didn’t have a consistent, intentional prayer life when I was “sowing my wild oats” during my late teens and early twenties, yet the Lord kept me out of harm’s way. I know it wasn’t His will for me to be running in the opposite direction of Him, but it also wasn’t a big shock to Him either.

There’s no account in the Bible of Noah asking for a chance to build an ark, nor does it tell us that Abraham was praying to be the “father of many nations” but God blessed them both with protection, opportunities, and people. I believe that is because the Holy Spirit was in prayer for them since they were faithful to the Lord.

I’ve made so many mistakes as a parent, unintentional ones that I wish I could go back and redo. Since we don’t get “do over’s”, I have to believe that the Holy Spirit has my kids covered in prayer for those times too.

8:28 "we know that all that happens to us is working for our good if we love God and are fitting into His plans."

Prayer is essential for growing our intimate relationship with Jesus so we can’t take the Holy Spirit for granted that He’ll be praying on our behalf, but these three verses certainly have brought me much comfort knowing I don’t have to rely solely on myself!
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Re: Devotions

Postby Mimi2 » 15am31America/New_York()

Em, you just put into words what I couldn't. I don't always know what to pray FOR. I feel guilty if I pray for myself. I have no problem praying for my children, husband or just family and friends in general. I guess I feel like I don't deserve asking for help or healing for myself.

Other times I'm at a complete loss for words. Or am just too tired to think. In those times I really need my friends to pray for me.

My confesssion....I don't take time out of the day to set aside ONLY for prayer. Or reading the Bible. Can you give me some "Hail Mary's". Oops, don't want to offend my Catholic friends.
Ecclesiastes 10:2 (NIV) "The heart of the wise inclines to the right, but the heart of the fool to the left".
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Re: Devotions

Postby Emerald » 15pm31America/New_York()

Mims, I used to feel "selfish" for praying for myself too. Now I just sometimes forget to pray for myself. BUT just read Psalms and how many times David prays for himself and remember God wants us to do the same thing.

In fact, sometimes my entire prayers have been just about me :shhh: - (no snotty comments necessary dd: ) and its been amazing how much better I can actually know for sure when God is talking to me, whether it been in my spirit or through others.
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Re: Devotions

Postby Emerald » 20am31America/New_York()

Be aware how you think of yourself and what you say about yourself. Negative thoughts and words will result in a negative person and positive thoughts and words will result in a positive person. So, even if it is a hard thing to do, speak and think positive about yourself.

Psalms 140:17-18 "How precious it is, Lord, to know You are thinking of me constantly! I can't count how many times a day Your thoughts turn toward me and when I wake You are still thinking of me!"
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Re: Devotions

Postby Emerald » 28am31America/New_York()

Rise Up!

The fall and winter of 1984, while I was a freshman in college, I was completely and totally out of God’s will and living a “party” life. Basically I stayed in, how should I put this…. “an altered state of mind” is an appropriate way to describe it… on pretty much a daily basis. I had no idea at the time that an drugs and alcohol gives the devil a wide open window into a person’s thoughts in an attempt to take over the soul.

The result for me was that I slipped into a deep, dark depression. I’d experienced depression before arising from circumstances, but this was different as it was brought on by emotional turmoil. In other words, I began to think and feel very negatively about myself. I became very insecure and developed an extremely low self-esteem. To make matters worse, my roommate was a beauty queen. When I say “beauty queen”, I mean she had won a crown in a beauty pageant and she was physically flawless. She was the kind of pretty that woke up pretty.

I, however, was not a beauty queen. I didn’t wake up pretty, make-up pretty or dress up pretty. I was known as the “girl with the beautiful roommate”. When the boys came a calling, I’d answer with anticipation but they were always looking for her. This certainly did nothing for my ego. I was so jealous of her, but I also loved her because she was just as pretty on the inside as she was on the outside. She worked tirelessly for many months trying to build up my confidence but unfortunately I had gotten so low that there was nothing left in me to work with.

I tormented myself day and night about my looks. Depression became such a state of mind that it reflected in my personality. As a result, I had very few friends. It seemed like everyone around me had more friends than they could count, yet no matter what I did, people shied away from me. It’s easy to understand why too. I exuded a desperate, neurotic, depressed persona and not many people want to befriend someone like that. I hated people, I hated school and I certainly hated life. This went on for about six months before I finally gave up and resigned myself to being ugly and friendless.

Rom 12:6 “let’s just go ahead and be what we were made to be, without enviously or pridefully comparing ourselves with each other, or trying to be something we aren’t.” (TMSG)

As I reflect upon that time I realize now this resignation was actually the Holy Spirit reclaiming what was rightfully His: me. For me “resigning” meant “accepting” verses “giving up” which meant “no hope”. This is what made it possible for God to begin bringing me out of the darkness. Since I was no longer fighting against myself I no longer exhibited a crummy attitude. I only had three good friends and no boys wanted to be around me, but I was ok with it.

It was now the end of February, 1985 and that’s when it happened. I was sitting alone in the lobby of my dorm, as everyone else was out socializing, and in walked Mark Moody. He was with his best friend who was dating one of my three friends I mentioned earlier.
Mark was tall, dark, and handsome, mature, confident and way out of my league. He had been voted “Best Looking”, “Most Athletic”, “Mr. TCHS” of his high school. He was “the man”. Since guys like him avoided me, I didn’t give him a second thought. Twenty-six years and two kids later, he is still tall, dark, and handsome, mature, confident and way out of my league. Most importantly he is “the man” who loves me unconditionally, and I love him unconditionally.

Prov 31:30 “Charm can be deceptive and beauty doesn’t last, but a woman who fears and reverences God shall be greatly praised.” (TLB)

Everyone goes through periods of depression. Causes include tragedy, circumstances, chemical or hormonal imbalance, and/or living a life outside of God’s will. I’ve experienced every single one of them too. A dark, desolate state of mind is a miserable place to be regardless of what put you there. It becomes can become dangerous according to how long you stay there. If feelings of hopelessness, dejection and/ inadequacy linger too long, your mind becomes vulnerable to Satan’s assault on your emotions. The result is a self-condemning, self-hating, and self-destructing thought process that is extremely difficult to overcome.

Psalm 69:17-18 “Don’t look the other way; your servant can’t take it. I’m in trouble. Answer right now! Come close, God; get me out of here. Rescue me from this deathtrap.” (TMSG)

Happiness is restored after a tragedy as time begins to heal your heart.

Jer 31:13 “For I will turn their mourning to joy, will comfort them, and make them rejoice rather than sorrow”. (NKJV)

A depressed state resulting from circumstances will improve as those improve.

Prov 13:12 “Hope deferred makes the heart sick; but when dreams come true at last there is life and joy.”
(TLB)

However, if you’re depressed because of “stinking thinking” then your only resolve is to change how you think. The problem being when you think a certain way for too long, it becomes familiar and we all tend to gravitate towards things which are familiar even if it’s bad. This gives the devil some very powerful ammunition for keeping a stonghold. He will manipulate familiarity to drag you to an even lower state of mind. He will convince you to do things you wouldn’t otherwise do, compromise in ways you’d never think possible.

Matt 27:5 “Then he threw down the pieces of silver in the temple and departed, and went and hanged himself.” (NKJV)

I believe the Lord knew I was too low to bring myself up so He brought Mark into my life at the exact moment I needed him. I have a little plaque, which I may have mentioned previously, but it’s worth repeating: “God has a solution planned before we even know we have a problem.” I had no way of knowing before my freshman year of college just how low I would plummet, but God knew.

Psalm 23:4 “Even when walking through the dark valley of death I will not be afraid, for You are close beside me, guarding, guiding all the way.” (TLB)

The Lord put someone in my life who unknowingly lifted me back up; however, since I “thought” my way into darkness I bore the responsibility for “thinking” my way out of darkness. This means, even to this day, I have to think positive thoughts on purpose. For every imperfection, I have to, on purpose, find perfection. If I can’t find anything positive then I amuse myself by saying “God made me in His image so He must be as funny looking as me.”

Prov 23:7 “For as he thinks in his heart, so is he.” (NKJV)

I also had to distance myself from the people who had the ability to have a negative impact on me and this included my roommate. Though she did absolutely nothing wrong and was one of my three friends, being around her made me feel completely inferior. Once my confidence was restored, I was able to be around her and not feel unattractive.

It has taken me a very long time to realize that everyone sees people and things differently and what one may find unattractive another will find beautiful.

Eccl 3:11 “True, God made everything beautiful in itself and in its time” (TMSG)

I have so much more to share about my own personal struggles with depression as this was just the “tip of the iceberg”. My prayer is that anyone who may be struggling with emotional turmoil will find some comfort knowing you are not alone and that there is hope and your joy can be restored. I am living proof that you can be secure, confident and happy again.
"I don't care if my glass is half full or half empty, I am just thankful to have a glass!"
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Re: Devotions

Postby Rosemary44 » 28am31America/New_York()

I like happy endings to stories such as yours, Em. I hear them all the time. My cousin had a beaut. Too long to go into, but God sent as he usually does if we're paying attention. If we paid attention, it usually does have a happy ending.
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Re: Devotions

Postby Emerald » 05am31America/New_York()

Rise Up By Blessing Others

I have so much more to share about my own personal struggles and triumph over depression, but I wanted to share one of the many “tools” God has given us to enable us to overcome depression. It’s the mere act of blessing someone else.

Christmas mornings I find myself so excited to watch everyone open their gifts, I have actually forgotten to open my own. I have a harder time falling asleep on Christmas Eve than my children do because I can’t WAIT to see their faces. This is especially true for those gifts that are unexpected.

Just as we are all uplifted by giving on Christmas, we can be renewed every day in the same way.

2 Cor 9:7 “So let each one give as he purposes in his heart, not grudgingly or of necessity; for God loves a cheerful giver. “ (NKJV)

What you can do is look for someone to bless today. Go out of your way to find someone to be really nice to. It can be as simple as encouraging someone with a compliment or as complicated as only God can do. Do it without expecting anything in return and no strings attached.

Gal 6:9-10 “And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart. Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us to do good to all, especially to those who are of the household of faith.” (NKJV)

Ask God to put someone in your path today to bless, even someone whom you’ve never met before.

Heb 13:2 “Don’t forget to be kind to strangers, for some who have done this have entertained angels without realizing it!” (TLB)

Don’t tell anyone else what you did or who you did it for so you aren’t tempted to take the glory. God will give you an opportunity to share it as a part of your testimony at the appropriate time.

Phil 2:3-4 “Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself. Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others.” (NKJV)

Resist thinking “What about me?” “No one ever blesses me” or “I'm too tired, busy, or poor”.

Phil 2:4 “Don’t just think about your own affairs, but be interested in others too, and in what they are doing.” (TLB)

Be especially conscience of using “I'm under attack too” as an excuse. However, if you do feel left out, slighted, tired, busy or poor, or if you are under attack and you still find someone else to encourage or bless, Satan can no longer contain you and God can move you forward.


Heb 13:5-6 “Stay away from the love of money [things of earthly value]; be satisfied with what you have [every blessing]. For God has said ‘I will never, never fail [neglect] you nor forsake [abandon] you.’ That is why we can say without doubt or fear, ‘The Lord is my Helper* and I am not afraid of anything that mere man can do to me.’”
(TLB)

*Helper – makes it easier for someone by offering services, financial or material aid; assists to move in a specific direction; relieve the symptoms of an ailment; someone who cannot or could not avoid assisting someone. (That’s a powerful word!)

Want to really shake up He!!? Do something good for someone who doesn’t deserve it, someone who has hurt you or someone you just don’t like! You might just find yourself with a new friend!

Acts 16:27 “Suddenly there was a great earthquake, so that the foundations of the prison were shaken; and immediately all the doors were open and everyone’s chains were loosed.” (NKJV)
"I don't care if my glass is half full or half empty, I am just thankful to have a glass!"
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Re: Devotions

Postby RightyHeidi » 05am31America/New_York()

THANKS AUNTIE EM!
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Re: Devotions

Postby Mimi2 » 05pm31America/New_York()

Very good devotion, Em.

Have you ever had anyone to tell you, don't take away my blessing? I have. It's often hard to take "help" from another person without wanting to "pay" them back. I have a friend who said, don't take away my blessing and it has become one of my group of friends' motto.

Now if I could learn to be a nice as you. :angl:
Ecclesiastes 10:2 (NIV) "The heart of the wise inclines to the right, but the heart of the fool to the left".
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Re: Devotions

Postby Emerald » 16pm31America/New_York()

I havent had anyone say that to me, but I've heard it said before and I try to remember that, but like you, I find it difficult not to want to do something in return.
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Re: Devotions

Postby Emerald » 16pm31America/New_York()

Changing Gears

In 1986, Mark bought a Ford Thunderbird turbo coupe with manual transmission. Candy apple red, ground effects kit, and a wing on the rear made it a real head turner. This car was beautiful and it was his “pride and joy”. I had never driven a stick shift before and I really, really wanted to drive this car. So, I asked Mark to teach me and to my amazement, he agreed.

I must preface this experience by explaining a little something about Mark. Mark loves his vehicles. He baby’s them inside and out. There is only one “appropriate and acceptable” way to wash, wax, Amor All, and shine. Trust me when I say this, he KNOWS if one does not adhere to these established rules. In addition, he has this built in radar that causes his heart rate to increase the closer he gets to even the tiniest micro-abrasion in the paint. It’s almost like you can hear it sounding off: “Beep……Beep…..Beep…BEep…BEep..BEep..BEEp.BEEp.BEEp.BEEPBEEPBEEPBEEPBEEP”. It’s truly an amazing skill this man was born with and I don’t think he can turn it off. You can draw to your own conclusion as to how he feels about care and treatment for what’s under the hood.

I sat in the driver’s seat with Mark in the passenger’s seat and he explained the basics: clutch, gear shifter, and how the brakes and gas pedal worked in conjunction with the two. It sounded simple enough, so I was ready to give it a whirl. I cranked up this precious driving machine and it quickly became obvious that Mark’s desire to teach was not equal to his level of patience. Since he “told” me how it all worked, I should be able to just take off and drive, right? Wrong. He had given me plenty of verbal instruction but the only way I could make it all work was to put those instructions into action. It was going to take diligent practice without outside interference and I had to do this all by myself. So I kicked him out of the car.

I began building a “one-on-one” relationship with this T-bird and it was quick to let me know when I wasn’t correctly applying the information I had been given. If I tried to change gears without fully applying the clutch, this horrible, grinding noise would resonate from under the hood causing a feverish chill to run down one’s spine. Improper timing between releasing the clutch and pressing the gas apparently stalls the engine. And trying to move into a higher gear without enough RPM’s caused this poor car to lug pitifully. I truly wish I could have avoided all of the above, but I suppose the only way I could truly appreciate how good it felt when I was executing correctly was to know how bad it felt when I was not.

I finally maneuvered successfully around the parking lot, so I decided it was only fitting to take these newly acquired skills out on the open road. I ventured from the apartment complex to the Kroger across the street. As my confidence was building, my distance increased, and as my distance increased my skills improved and as my skills improved my excitement rose. That was until…… I encountered a red light…... on top of a hill.

No one has truly mastered the art of driving a stick shift until they can successfully master the art of starting off on a hill without rolling backwards into the vehicle behind them. And those who have never driven a stick shift cannot truly appreciate the amount of fear associated with this task.

Picture this scene if you can: I'm driving Marks brand new, shiny candy apple red, 5 in the floor, 9th generation “Aero Bird”, which he loves more than life itself. At the top of a short but very steep hill is a street light that turns red just as I approach, so running through it was, unfortunately, not a viable option. “Perhaps no one will come up behind me” I thought hopefully, only to have this hope squashed within seconds. I was, after all, on Jimmy Carter Blvd, the most heavily traveled road in the universe. This very inconsiderate driver got as close to my rear bumper, I mean, Mark’s rear bumper, as he could, leaving me to draw to the conclusion it must be Satan himself.

I got that sick feeling in the bottom of my stomach. All I could picture was me rolling back into this person’s car, Mark having a fit that even Yosemite Sam could appreciate, our courtship would end, life would be over and I would die. But PRAISE THE LORD, the Holy Ghost showed up just as this light turned green and His hand created a barrier between Mark’s car and Satan’s car, and IT catapulted me forward into wide open highway!

It wasn’t long before I was gallivanting all over the place. I learned how to skip gears, down shift to slow down rather than braking, and cruise to a stop in neutral rather than riding the clutch. One day, I arrived at my destination and it dawned on me that I hadn’t even consciously been aware of changing gears, starting on hills, or even the route I took. It was now all second nature to me and performed sub-consciously by me.

And this “revelation” is the point to this whole story. How amazing it is when we can apply God’s word so wholeheartedly in our lives that it becomes second nature to make Godly choices and live sub-consciously Godly lives. Most importantly how much more we can truly appreciate knowing all the junk we go through really is working for our good if we love Him and are trying to do His will.

Rom 8:28 “And we know that all that happens to us is working for our good if we love God and are fitting into His plans.” (TLB)

The word “clutch” has several meanings one being “a pedal operating a mechanism that connects and disconnects the engine from the transmission”. The more familiar I am with how it works and feels, the more successful I am with driving this type of vehicle.

Likewise, God’s Word is my “pedal” and prayer is my “mechanism”. If I know what the Bible says and I talk with the Lord, He will help me know how to appropriately apply His word. Then my heart can engage my “transmission” (thoughts) and connect me to His “engine” (Spirit). But if I don’t spend any time in His word and in prayer, then I’ll be disconnected from Him and the result will be a “grinding’, “stalling”, and “lugging” life in which nothing works.

Gal 5:25 “If we are living now by the Holy Spirit’s power, let us follow the Holy Spirit’s leading in every part of our lives.” (TLB)

It’s true we need guidance from our preachers and Sunday school teachers, but our “one-on-one” relationship is each one’s individual responsibility. We just have to get in the driver’s seat and practice and practice until it becomes second nature and buried in our sub-conscience to live as we should.

Gal 6:4 “Let everyone be sure he is doing his very best, for then he will have the personal satisfaction of work well done, and won't need to compare himself with someone else.” (TLB)
The word “clutch” also means to grasp or seize something tightly and eagerly. Once we become His, we are forever in His clutch.

John 10:26 “And I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; neither shall anyone snatch them out of My hand.” (NKJV)

This is why for those times we find ourselves on a steep hill and in danger of rolling backwards, we have the assurance that the Holy Ghost WILL show up before the light turns green and He WILL catapult us out of our troubles.


Isa 41:13 “For I, the LORD your God, will hold your right hand, saying to you, ‘Fear not, I will help you.’” (NKJV)
"I don't care if my glass is half full or half empty, I am just thankful to have a glass!"
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Re: Devotions

Postby Mimi2 » 17am31America/New_York()

That was beautiful, Em. What a great comparison to the scriptures you quoted. You have truly been given a gift.

John 10:28-30 have always been comforting scriptures for me. If you don't mind I'll post all three. If you do mind...too bad!

28 And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand. 29 My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father's hand. 30 I and my Father are one.

In fact, I like reading the parable when Jesus was speaking about the sheep following his voice.
Ecclesiastes 10:2 (NIV) "The heart of the wise inclines to the right, but the heart of the fool to the left".

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