Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Christmas. It's Personal!

Unto you is born this day in the city of David, a Savior which is Christ the Lord. (Luke 2:11)
Sometimes in thinking about peace on a big place like earth and good will to a staggering number like all mankind, we can get lost in the shuffle of how personal  God intended Christmas to be. Jesus is a gift with your personal name written on Him. He came to earth for all humanity, but humanity is made up of individuals. And all that He is and all that He offers was intended to  meet your individual need to be 
forgiven, cherished, cleansed, purposed,
consoled, empowered,  healed, renewed,
 saved, encouraged, avenged, bought back, set free,
 and loved.
Perhaps it's not easy for you to feel like the one for which  the blessing of Christmas was intended. Maybe you feel  more like the slob randomly splashed by default because she happened to be standing in the right vicinity at the right time. But that is not how it is. Unto YOU a child was born, unto YOU a Son was given. Oh, please do not miss the precision with which God's love extends to you!
This season, view the Christmas story through the lens of a movie camera where you were the stolen princess Jesus came to rescue. King Herod was YOUR enemy because it was YOUR salvation Satan tried to prevent when Herod killed those babies.  YOUR salvation was in danger  until  God intervened by speaking to Joseph in a dream  to take YOUR Savior to safety in Egypt.
 This is not to steal any of the glory due Jesus, the centerpiece of Christmas.  But Jesus was not born to die for Nobody. He was born to die for YOU. Without a lovee there is no lover.  Grace is no big deal without someone in need of receiving it. Making Christmas personal delights the heart of God because  the love  boomerangs back to the Giver with gratitude, and the glory due His name overflows! 
Christmas is your story. Hallelujah!  Take it personal because that is the way God gave it. 


Saturday, December 14, 2013

Changes in the Blog

Dear Friends,
First, I wish to say a heart-felt THANK YOU for taking time to read my blog entries each week. It means a lot to me to have your input as I seek to develop my writing.

  This blog is a work in progress. I am still working out the kinks. If you have already subscribed to have new posts come to your email, I want to say a double thanks!

NEWS ALERT:  I am changing the server that delivers those emails to you and I humbly ask that you RESUBSCRIBE in the window marked "Subscribe to DSFW".  The death of the other subscribe button is due in three (3) days, so please take a moment to go to devotionalspaforwomen.blogspot.com and subscribe in the new window if you wish to continue having this blog delivered to your email box.  Thisay only work on a computer, not on your phone.

Also, I have been advised to post later in the week instead of Monday or Tuesday. So I plan to make that change as well. Thursday-Sunday will be my new blog-post days.
  If you have questions about any of the above info or simply wish to say hello, you may email me at ordinerrygirl@gmail.com.

Georgia Pointer

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Frame Someone This Christmas

 "For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost" (Luke 19:10)

I know it sounds illegal at first glance, but please read on.


 You will like it.  I know Jesus will.


When you are in your car this busy Christmas season, the traffic is going to be terrific!


What do you usually do in those long car lines? Fume? Stress? Make a list and check it twice?


I wish to suggest a more productive option.


 FRAME someone.
 Here's how: Glance in your rear view mirror at the person in the car behind you.  Notice how the mirror surrounds their face like a photo frame.  Take a moment to say a quick prayer  for that random individual. Pray they will come to know Jesus, the real meaning of Christmas. 
 God will hear your prayer. I know He will! It is not His will that anyone perish but that all will come to repentance( 2 Peter 2:9).
 You can't always know if the gift you buy  your loved ones will be just right. But you can be sure  Jesus  will LOVE LOVE LOVE your gift of  prayer for that stranger He came to earth to save. 
 You're going to be in the traffic anyway. Why not make it count for eternity?
Go ahead.
 Say Happy Birthday to Jesus as you frame all those  unsuspecting someones this Christmas season.
Merry Christmas!

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Thanksgiving on the Flip Side

Two times this happened.


My three teenage sisters and I were home alone one night.  I have no idea what possessed her, but one of my siblings  looked out the back window. It was pitch dark back there, and she saw two eyes looking back at her.  A man was peeking in at us!


 Blood curdling scream…


 man ran and jumped the fence...


 we called the police...


 never found him.


 Another time-- same scenario-- this time a knock at the front door.


"Who is it?"


No answer.


Louder, "Who's there?"


Still no  answer.


We look out the window next to the door.  The knocker or knockers were careful to stand  close enough  to the door  to be out of sight. They hoped to entice us to open the door to see who they were.

Looking back, I realize it was probably one or more of the men who loitered at a house down the street. They knew our parents were not home. They hoped we young girls would open the door if they didn't answer us. I shudder to think what could have happened. One locked door stood between us and years of scars-spiritual, emotional, and sexual ones.


God is good.


Maybe this year has been a hard one for you.


 Someone wisely said that if you are upset about all the bad that happened this year, thank God for all that didn't.


 The enemy desires to steal, kill, and destroy (John 10:10). He jiggles the door handles of every evil possibility to see which ones will open. Some did, but PRAISE THE LIVING GOD, others were  locked!


 Like the front and back doors at our house, God stood between you and all the negatives that could have entered your life but didn't.


It is good to thank God for all His  blessings, for the good He let in.

He truly is the one "who shuts and no one opens." (Revelation 3:7)
When you finish thanking Him for all the good He's brought into your life, thank Him again from the flip side of what He kept away.



Talk About It: Sometimes when we have "near misses," it's like the enemy got a toe in the door but then God kicked him out and bolted the door. What nearly opened doors did God in His mercy close for you this year?

Monday, November 18, 2013

Got Faith Like Turnip Greens?


Thanksgiving time reminds me of turnip greens.


 Mama would bring home "a whole mess" of them, and we girls gathered around  to pick them. I recall as a child thinking there was no way all those greens would fit in the pot. But once she put them in the boiling water (along with some fabulous ham hock) those greens would cook down to a fraction of their original size. A garbage bag full of greens would yield  about a stockpot full.

 Turnip greens are like faith.

 You think you have a lot till the hot water of hard times hits.

 What you have left is the true size of your faith.

 I am sad to say that my faith too often cooks down to a small bit. Thank God we only need faith the size of a grain of mustard seed to move a mountain, right?


It's natural to believe big when times are good. But how do we keep our faith from cooking down when trouble comes?

 It helps to realize that God never shrinks. Our faith is only as good as the size of our God.

When I feel my faith wilting, I run to  Scriptures like Jeremiah 32:27,   "Behold, I am the Lord, the God of all flesh; is anything too difficult for me?"


Numbers 23:19, "God is not a man that He should lie, nor a son of man that He should change His mind. Has He said, and will He not do it? Or has He spoken, and will He not make it good?"


Hard times come to test our faith. Don't let yours cook down to nothing. Remind yourself of your God who never shrinks and pass the turnip greens!


Talk About It: What Bible verses do you cling to when your faith is wilting?

Monday, November 11, 2013

Don't Forget Your Underwear: The Most Overlooked Piece of the Armor of God

     "Put on the whole armor of God…."  Ephesians 6:11


If you are fighting with the devil, you better not forget your underwear.


 The apostle Paul said to put on the WHOLE armor of God so you can stand against the schemes of the devil. If you are at all familiar with spiritual warfare, you know about Ephesians 6, verses 11 and following.  God  lists the pieces of powerful  armor every soldier needs to fight and win.  Are you wearing it all?


The breastplate of righteousness?-Check.


Helmet of salvation?-Got it.


Sword of the Spirit and shield of faith?-Wouldn't dream of  leaving home without them.


Belt of truth?- Yep! 


Shoes of the preparation of the Gospel of Peace?- mmh-hmm!


Ready for battle?- Not quite.


 Notice in verse  18, Paul adds one more important piece of armor we tend to overlook. Prayer.


"And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. "


 He was pretty thorough about the how and when of prayer, don't you agree?  If prayer is to be done on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests, it must be a pretty important piece of armor to put on every day...just like underwear.


Why is prayer like  underwear? Both provide comfort and protection.


  You can go out dressed to the hilt, but without your underwear, you are uncomfortable and unprotected. Everything else does not fit quite the way it should. Without prayer, the discomfort of fear and worry can set in.  You are exposed to the chafing effects of discouragement because communication with the Father is not there to protect you.


  You need prayer if you are going to win, Warrior Princess!


So before you go out into the world today to fight whatever battles Satan  has on his  roster for you, put on the full armor of God so you can win. 


Don't forget your underwear!


Talk About It: In what way does prayer comfort and protect you throughout your day?

Monday, November 4, 2013

It's Time to Stop Yawning!

Hebrews 11
Adventure. Don't you crave it?
 Is it possible to have real adventure as a follower of Jesus Christ? Or is it all just quiet prayers, submissive service, and meek conformity to a dull idea of biblical womanhood?

Adventure happens when you encounter something you did not expect...
 ...where the outcome is uncertain, and a task calls upon every ounce of strength you can muster...
...where the stakes are high, but the reward is even higher. 
Can a Christian woman experience such a life without violating her femininity and her love for God?

In fact, I dare say that if your walk with Christ makes you yawn, it's not His fault. The saints in Hebrews 11 experienced joy, heartache, and amazing miracles, but no one would describe their life as a yawn. By faith, they obeyed God and lived a life of amazing adventure.
 Could it be He has called you to walk the wild and scary road of obedience, but you responded by handing Him a dog-eared profile of a woman who has credentials YOU don't possess? Is it possible you sculpted a more beautiful, higher educated,  more experienced, and all around non-you  woman and told God to ask HER instead?

God calls every believer to a life of adventure. What other protagonist has the devil himself as her nemesis? Is there any other heroine who has the super-powers of the Holy Spirit for doing great exploits? 
 What other life of adventure can be more exciting than rescuing real people from a literal hell?
 What heart would not beat wildly at doing something she was afraid to do but didn't dare not do for love of Someone Else?
Dear Sister, the Christian life is a swashbuckling, mind-blowing, lionhearted life. Are you not living it?
If not, may I suggest you tear up that dog-eared list of excuses you gave God last time He told you to do something that scared you to death?
 That ideal, more qualified woman you sculpted is lying in a pebbly heap. What happened to her? God blew her to smitherines. He doesn't do perfect people, especially not ones we construct. He uses real people like  you.
Can you see it? It's His great big hand reaching for you. Will you take it? He is still inviting you to show, in your own unique way, what the life of a Warrior Princess looks like. 
Stop the yawning and step up. Your adventure with Him awaits!

Talk About It: Is there an adventure God is calling you to embrace?

Monday, October 28, 2013

Are You Guilty of Profiling?

"Not that we are competent in ourselves to claim anything for ourselves, but our competence comes from God." 2Cor. 3:5


  I'll never forget the time I got a letter asking me to pray about going on a mission trip overseas. I tossed the letter in the trash immediately. I thought, "God is not calling me to go. I just know it!" 

Several weeks later, the director of our mission group asked if I'd prayed about the trip. I said I had not. He asked why  not. "Because I have no money to go."

 The wise leader gently answered, "My experience has been that if God wants you to go, He will provide the means to get there."

 I knew this was true. But I had other reasons for not considering the call. I had an idea in my head of the kinds of people who do those kinds of things. They are usually white, wealthy, young, and either married to a person who also has a call to foreign missions or single with a call to missions from the womb. None of that was true of me. So, no, God was NOT calling me to go on a trip like that.

Do you see what I was doing? I was guilty of profiling myself right out of a call from God.   

Moses did it.  God called him to go to Egypt and  tell Pharaoh to unhand God's people. Immediately Moses took inventory of his inadequacies. He was not a good speaker, he didn't have charisma or social pull  which meant no one would listen to him. (Exodus 4:10)

 Jeremiah did it. He said he didn't have enough experience or public speaking skills. (Jeremiah 1:6)

Gideon did it. He assumed God never called the runt of the litter to do anything big for Him. (Judges 6:15)

 We all do it. We have an idea of the characteristics (usually positive ones) God requires for a specific task. Then we measure our own characteristics (usually negative ones) against those positive ones. Then we stamp "APPLICATION DENIED" on ourselves before ever giving God a chance to give us His perspective.               

                                                                    God Says To Stop It

 Here is good news: The only profile God wants  you to fit  is possession of an obedient heart. He doesn't need anything else. He fills in the gaps and it is oh so wonderful the way He does!  (more on that in my next blog)

So please stop profiling and just start obeying. Profiling  puts locks on the doors God wants you to walk through. Obedience picks those locks and lets the adventures begin!


Talk About It: In what way might you be guilty of profiling yourself out of a call from God?

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Two Snobs For A Crown


"Who redeems your life from the pit, Who crowns you with lovingkindness and compassion" Psalm 103:4
I was new at the church. I knew how important it was to connect with other Christians. Imagine my delight when a woman who had been greeting me warmly week after week invited me to her home. She was refreshingly transparent about her past struggles and what God had done to bring healing to her wounded heart. I reciprocated by sharing some recent struggles that brought about unprecedented spiritual  growth.

My heart exclaimed, " I have found a friend!"

Like the gradual exchange of wee-hour darkness for  morning light, I noticed a nagging change in this new friendship. The questions about where I lived  and my husband's job title seemed harmless at first. She was just gathering facts any person would ask in  getting to know me, right?  But then came the coolness, the slights, and the condescending evaluations of  my clothing. There was even a thinly veiled remark about my body weight in front of a group of women.  Back then,  I had a predisposition that was too eager to give people the benefit of a doubt. "She didn't mean it the way she said it...don't be so touchy," I told myself.  But in short time, the phone calls stopped, and I wondered what I had done to deserve the dumping.

 Months later, I again encountered what I thought to be a new friendship. Warm smiles were a welcome sight in a room full of strangers. Time passed. One day, in an attempt to make conversation, I mentioned that we had  a mutual friend. Then it happened. I had been trained  never to show shock at what comes out of a person's mouth, but this time my eyes would not cooperate. They blinked then bucked,  stunned at what she said.  She was embarrassed that anyone know she even knew me. I tucked the hurt away and put on a brave face.

I tried to shake off those two encounters, but depression set in anyway.  I was surprised how emotionally devastating this felt. I  interviewed myself," Why does this hurt so much?" Ah, it was because the misery had a familiar flavor.  In slide-show fashion, the memories of past  rejection based on superficial things  glided across the screen of my mind.


 I didn't want to feel this way anymore. I was shocked to realize the depth of my sorrow was not what the snobs  believed about me.  No, the tragedy was that I agreed with their assessment of my worth.  How sick! I knew it was wrong, but how  to change? I needed to settle this issue once and for all.  I embarked on a biblical journey in search of my identity.  What I found changed my life. Here is a snippet of what I found.  In a voice so tender it could only be His Spirit, God whispered to my heart, 

You are complete in Me (Colossians 2:10).

You are an heir of God and a joint- heir with Jesus Christ (Romans 8:17).

I rejoice over you with singing (Zephaniah 3:17).

I have called you by name, you are Mine(Isaiah 43:1).

You were not bought with silver or gold,  you were paid for with royal blood (1Peter 1:18-19).

You are My  masterpiece, created to accomplish something important on God's to-do list (Ephesians 2:10).

I realized I had been picked by the Prince of Peace, but was walking around like a ragged Cinderella! No more! Those truths were Neosporin to my cut- up soul!

But it was not easy to keep those truths in mind. When I asked the Lord to give me a way to remember, He gave me this: a crown. Since I am the daughter of The King, I could imagine a crown on my head. Nobody else could see it, but God said it was there.  I started to walk around aware of it on my head. I started to smile brighter  when I met people, joy began to shine in my eyes, and I walked with my head held high-- not in arrogance, but in gratitude for the validation God gave me. I was worth something to Someone, and it had nothing to do with what I wore, where I lived, or what I had. I had exchanged the opinions of two snobs for a crown.
 I will wear it the rest of my life.
Talk About It: How about you? Are you wearing your crown?




Monday, October 14, 2013

Do You Have Three Eyes?

"Without weakening in his faith, he faced the fact that his body was as good as dead--since he was about a hundred years old--and that Sara's womb was also dead. Yet He did not waver through unbelief regarding the promise of God but was strengthened in his faith and gave glory to God, being fully persuaded that God had power to do what He had promised. " Romans 4:19-21
My heartbeat speeds up every time I read the passage above.
Everyone one loves a story where the  underdog  triumphs over incredible odds. I have noticed that overcomers use their two natural eyes to look at the bare naked facts. They don't dabble in denial and tell themselves they don't see what is staring back at them. But while they view the facts with their natural eyes, they also  have a third eye, the eye of faith.

 Do you have three eyes?
 People call us crazy, pie-in-the sky Pollyanna's because of our third eye. They think we are not living in reality. But we are more realistic than the pessimists because we know once God has said a thing, it is as real as if it already happened. We remember that God sees the past,  present, and future simultaneously.  Humanly speaking, it's like seeing yourself as a baby in one room (that's the past), your present age in the next room, and you living in what God has promised just one door down. Because God cannot lie, what He has promised has already happened. You're just not in that room yet.

 What has God promised that you are tempted to doubt? Resist the temptation to look at your present circumstances only with your natural eyes. 

Maybe your third eye is getting blurry? Is your faith faltering? Verse 19 says that Abraham was strengthened in his faith. Where did his faith find its strength? In the power of God! You don't have to muster up faith if it's faith in God because God's promises are backed up by who He is!
 If your third eye is getting blurry, you may be looking too long at the circumstance and not enough at the One who is greater than your circumstance.
Maybe the exercise below can strengthen your third eye if it is growing weak. 
Put your name in place of Abraham's and your circumstance in place of his and see what happens!
Without weakening in her faith, (your name) faced the fact that (insert your facts here).  Yet she did not waver through unbelief regarding the promise of God but was strengthened in her faith...being fully persuaded that God had power to do what He had promised.


Talk About It:  Share what your third eye sees that is just one door down. Or what promise has God made that has already been fulfilled? It may encourage the rest of us who are still waiting.

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Are You a Gideon-ite?

"My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness."  (2 Cor. 12:9)

Don't you love Gideon? His honesty about how he saw himself and why he believed God picked the wrong man is refreshing. Can you relate to him? Have you noticed that whenever God calls someone to do something, they tend to point out the weaknesses that disqualify them for the task? Do you tend to do that? I think we all default to that way of thinking. After all, this is GOD  calling us.  When the Almighty is calling you for duty, you'd better have yourself together, right? But wait, isn't God the One who knows everything? (The answer is yes) So if He knows everything, then He has to know your weaknesses when He calls you.


 Could it be that He calls you because of your weakness and not in spite of it? God wants to use your life to glorify Him. Sometimes He gets more glory through your weakness than your strength .

I remember the dental van coming to my public elementary school once a year when I was child. They would always show a film about proper dental care and send us home with a new toothbrush and some pink tablets that dissolved in our mouth.  The pills were the most fun part because after brushing, we sucked on the tablets  to see where we missed brushing. The goal was to have no pink showing, but as kids, we took delight in seeing how pink our teeth and tongue turned. Could it be that when your heavenly daddy decides how he wants to be glorified in your life, He looks for the pink spots where your weakness is most pronounced? You see your pink spots as reasons God should choose someone else, but God sees those same flaws as places to apply His grace and bring glory to Himself.   He applies His power in those places, and it becomes obvious He is the one doing great things through you.

The apostle Paul declared that because Christ's power would rest on him, he would rather boast in his weakness.  I know it's kind of uncomfortable to think of your weakness in this way. You'd rather it was not there. But since it is a part of your beautiful yet imperfect self, why not let God re-purpose it? Take relief in knowing God does not need your perfection to call you to do something significant.


 Read about what God did through Gideon, the youngest family member of the smallest tribe(Judges 7). Wouldn't it be exciting if God used you in a great way too? Your imperfections don't disqualify you, they make you a prime candidate for God to be in the spotlight. In a way, they make you a Gideon-ite. Embrace your inner Gideon, Dear Sister! Sometimes it's not your strengths but the pink spots on your resume' that incite God to call you up for service.

 Talk About It

What weakness comes to mind most often when you tell yourself someone else would be a better choice?

Monday, September 30, 2013

God Says It's Time to Forgive Yourself

 You did it. You let yourself down. Worse, you let God down when you committed that sin you never thought yourself capable of… you just can’t seem to get past it. Like walking on a foot that didn’t heal right, you feel pain everytime you remember what you did. If someone else had done what you did, you might find it easier to forgive them, but you cannot seem to extend the same grace to yourself. You may even know that God forgave you the moment you asked, but you cannot stop holding yourself hostage to your own sin. I struggled with this same issue until I realized that forgiving myself was just as much an act of obedience to God as forgiving other offenders.

                         “Forgive as the Lord forgave you.” -Colossians 3:13b
Why do you forgive OTHERS? Because the One who calls the shots in your life says you are to forgive. It really is an act of the will, a choice to open the Grudge Cage and let the offender go free. Maybe you have unlocked that cage for a lot of people who have hurt you. Why then, is it OK to lock YOU in that same cage?

It’s not OK.

It is an offense to the One who sets captives free. You are a part of the world God so loved and gave His only Son for, so for you to call “unforgiven” she whom God calls “forgiven” is to disrespect and contradict Him. It even suggests that your sin is so much worse than anybody else’s and undeserving of forgiveness. That’s pride, My Dear Sister. Besides, who said anything about deserving? If you deserved forgiveness, it wouldn’t be grace but a payment in exchange for a service rendered. Your sins cost blood, they already have been paid for in full, so why make extra payments?
I know, I know. You say it’s hard to forgive yourself because what you did was so terrible. Well, God agrees with you. You have taken the first step by agreeing with God about the ugliness of your sin. It’s called confession. But then He moves on from that and so must you. If His desire was for you to stew in a pot of your own boiling, He would not have bothered with the cross. His plan was to do a jail break for your soul so you could get on with the business of glorifying Him. How are you bringing Him glory by flogging yourself with unforgiveness? Martyrdom is not a good look on you, especially since Jesus did it so much better than you (gentle smile here). By His stripes you are healed. It is for freedom that Christ set you free. As a woman who has been where you are, on the authority of God’s word, I am standing on the outside of the cage and pleading with you to come out. The freedom and purpose are so wonderful out here!
So, What Do You Say? 
Maybe these words can help get you started: Dear Father, forgive me for the pride, disrespect, and disobedience of not forgiving myself. I have mistreated the woman you love so much and that woman is me. Right now, as an act of obedience to you I forgive (say your full name) for (name those specific offenses). Help me to love myself the way you love me… because you love me.  
Now what?

Let’s talk: Have you decided to stop mistreating the one God loves? If so, what specific way have you been mistreating and punishing yourself that ends today?

You are invited to leave a comment below.