I Throw Like a Girl

Archive for the ‘devotions’ Category

Hello! Are you still out there?

Posted by Carol on July 13, 2009

Starting this post has been harder for me than I expected. I have started writing it many times in my head, but getting it on to my computer has been a battle.

I’m not sure why, but somehow it seems awkward to re-start a conversation that stopped abruptly a few weeks ago. It feels like running in to an old friend at the grocery store and not being sure what to say.

It’s not for lack of things to say. After all, we packed up our home of ten years in New Jersey, loaded up our car with whatever belongings we needed for a few weeks, our two young adult children and our Shih-tzu and drove across the country non-stop in a little over twenty-four hours to Colorado. If that’s not ripe with blog fodder, nothing is!

And I will tell those stories soon. But first I just wanted to say one thing:

Hi! I’m back and  I have really missed you.

Everyday, I get a devotional emailed to me from Proverbs 31 Ministries. Today’s was especially poignant to me, yet, even if you’ve lived in the same home 30 years, it can apply to you, too.  It’s called SHINE. Go ahead and read it. I’ll be back tomorrow with tales of car sickness, moving vans, and speeding tickets.

I know you can hardly wait! 🙂

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1 Corinthians 13 Christmas Style by Sharon Jaynes

Posted by Carol on December 16, 2008

As fun as it is to deck our halls and share the pictures with all our friends in Bloggsville, when my sweet friend, Pam emailed this to me the other day, I knew this is what I really wanted to share with everyone.  While my decorating skills may need improvement,  I hope that my “1 Corinthians 13 skills” are ever increasing. Be blessed, Carol

If I decorate my house perfectly with lovely plaid bows, strands of twinkling lights, and shiny glass balls, but do not show love to my family – I’m just another decorator.

If I slave away in the kitchen, baking dozens of Christmas cookies, preparing gourmet meals, and arranging a beautifully adorned table at mealtime, but do not show love to my family – I’m just another cook.

If I work at the soup kitchen, carol in the nursing home, and give all that I have to charity, but do not show love to my family – It profits me nothing.

If I trim the spruce with shimmering angels and crocheted snowflakes, attend a myriad of holiday parties, and sing in the choir’s cantata but do not focus on Christ, I have missed the point.

Love stops the cooking to hug the child.

Love sets aside the decorating to kiss the husband.

Love is kind, though harried and tired.

Love doesn’t envy another home that has coordinated Christmas china and table linens.

Love doesn’t yell at the kids to get out of the way.

Love doesn’t give only to those who are able to give in return, but rejoices in giving to those who can’t.

Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, and endures all things.

Love never fails.  Video games will break; pearl necklaces will be lost; golf clubs will rust.  But giving the gift of love will endure.


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The Word of the Day is “Love”

Posted by Carol on December 4, 2008

Love. All day long this word has crossed my path and been on my mind. It started this morning when I was reading my Bible and these verses spoke to me:

Galatians 5:13-15 “You, my brothers, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the sinful nature; rather, serve one another in love. The entire law is summed up in a single command: Love your neighbor as yourself. If you keep on biting and devouring each other, watch out or you will be destroyed by each other.”

Later, as I checked what was going on in Twitter, I saw that Mel had written this:

Sitting in Starbuck’s watching the love of Jesus pour over us all as a homeless man walks in & is unconditionally loved by everyone there.

Then when I looked at the section for today in my One Year Bible, today’s passage included I John 4:7 – Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God.

All these not so subtle reminders caused me to wonder, who do I need to show more love to?

Could it be my husband? Or my teenagers who, if I am honest, are sometimes harder to love than the cute little babies with toothless grins they used to be? Perhaps it is the doctors I work for? Or our patients, some of whom are more lovable than others? Maybe it’s the practitioner in my office with an alternate lifestyle and new age beliefs?

Who needs to see Jesus’ love through me?

The answer is all of the above (and then some).

I once overheard a conversation where someone said that they like Jesus, but Christianity has too many rules. I thought about that conversation for the rest of that day and realized something. Christianity does have a lot of man-made rules, but Jesus only has two. …love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind…and love your neighbor as yourself… Matthew 22:36-40.

Who is Jesus asking you to love today?




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Worship Song Sunday ~ Jeremy Camp – There Will Be A Day Devotional

Posted by Carol on November 2, 2008

Vodpod videos no longer available.

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Believing God ~ Who Am I?

Posted by Carol on August 24, 2008

Believing GOD I know I’m a few days late with my Believing God post, but I just wasn’t ready on Thursday, or Friday, and maybe not Saturday, either.  I needed the lesson to marinate in my heart and mind a few more days before I was able to put some coherent thoughts together about it.  Being a little behind on the homework didn’t help either. 🙂 

This week’s lesson was on Believing You Are Who God Says You Are.  There were several “Aha!” moments for me, both while Beth was teaching and in the homework.  But first, here is the short list of who God says we are:

Through Jesus, we are Loved, Blessed, Chosen, Adopted, Accepted, Redeemed (free), and Forgiven!  Can I get an AMEN!?

Several things popped out at me in this lesson.  The first is the definition of the word blameless. That word always tripped me up because I thought it meant perfect.  I know I am not perfect and to be perfect is humanly impossible.  But what it actually means is to not be actively planning and premeditating sin.  To have no sin ruling over us.

Beth Moore explained that, yes, we will sin because we are sinners, but the difference is sinning on purpose with a chance to stop versus a sin that happens as a reaction to something.  I don’t know about you, but I have lost my temper and the words that came out of my mouth most definitely were a sin.  That would be a reactive sin, not premeditated.  There have been times when someone has asked me a question and before I knew it, I had lied about something when the truth would have been just as easy.  That was reactive, not premeditated.  Oh, I have had some premeditated ones, but I’m not spilling them here!

Along those same lines is the difference between the words transgressions and sins found in  Romans 4:7  “Blessed are they  whose transgressions are forgiven, whose sins are covered”. Again, transgressions means a rebellious sin, a willful deviation from the path of righteousness.  Sins simply means sin in general.  There is a difference and I am encouraged because He forgives both kinds of sin, and we do have a say over which kind we partake in.

The biggest “Aha!” moment for me came when Beth had us study Enoch.  He’s the guy who lived to be 365 years old and then God took him.  He just took Enoch to Heaven.  He never had to die.  Enoch is even listed in Hebrews 11 – the Faith Hall of Fame.  His credentials are not as long as Abraham’s or Noah’s.  They are short and sweet,  Enoch pleased God. 

That’s it.  That’s a lot.

He didn’t call fire from Heaven, build an ark, or father a nation.  He simply pleased God. 

And what did Enoch do to please God?  He walked with Him.  The simplicity of it bowls me over.  Maybe it’s my legalistic background, but so many times I feel like a hamster on a wheel running and running and wondering if I am doing enough, saying enough, praying enough, being enough to please God. 

What freedom in knowing that all God asks of us to please Him is to walk with Him!  Just walk.  Yes, walking with God implies fellowship and obedience, but I don’t need to be Billy Graham to please God.  I just need to be me.  That pleases God because He made me and loves me and wants a relationship with me. 

Wow.

St. Augustine once said, “Love God and do as you please.”  At first glance that might look like a ticket to live any old way, even in sin.  However, if we truly love God with all our hearts, then what pleases Him will please us.  We will walk with Him and therefore, please Him.

I know it’s Sunday and I’ve already posted a worship song, but I want to post Who Am I?  by Mercy Me because it fits in with this week’s lesson so well.

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A lost dress, an interesting book, and Believing God

Posted by Carol on August 14, 2008

Believing GOD

Would God go so far as to hide a dress to help one of His children?  Perhaps I should ask it this way, would God do something as simple as hiding a dress to help one of His children?  Because, really, after creating the universe and raising the dead, hiding a dress really is small potatoes.

Yet, doesn’t the question seem a little bit loaded?  Of course He can, one might answer, but that’s not what I asked.  I didn’t ask if He could.  I asked if He would.  Big difference.  This week’s lesson in the Believing God on-line Bible study covers point 2 of our five statement pledge of faith: God can do what He says He can do. I promise, you’ll see how the dress fits into it all before the end of this post.

As well as doing this Bible study, Believing God with Beth Moore, I am reading the book The Barbarian Way by Erwin Raphael McManus.  The subtitle is Unleash the Untamed Faith Within.  It actually goes along nicely with the Bible study.  Hmmm…I wonder if Erwin ever met Beth. 

This is how Amazon sums the book up:

Barbaric Christians see Jesus differently than civilized Christians. They see disciples differently, and they see Christ’s mission differently. The Barbarian Way is a call to escape “civilized” Christianity and become original, powerful, untamed Christians-just as Christ intended.

I think for many people, Christianity equals a guaranteed happily ever after.  And it’s true that there is a happily ever after once we get to Heaven, the problem comes when we expect (or maybe even demand?) the happily ever after here on earth and don’t seem to get it. 

My problem has not so much been believing God can do what He says He can do, but believing that He will do it.  Or perhaps, more honestly, fearing that He won’t do it.  I have been short sighted, not doubting that He can work miracles, but only looking for the miracle that I think is needed.

Yes, I believe God can do what He says He can do.  He heals the sick, He restores marriages, He saves souls, He mends broken hearts, and oh, so much more.  My disconnect has been what to believe when He says No. No to the outcome we’ve been praying for in the suffering of a family member.  No to the job offer when the severence pay is about to run out. No acceptance letter to the college close to home. No to solving our crisis at home right now.  And while I’ve never been one to get angry at God, the “no’s” have caused me a lot of confusion and fear over my lack of answers.

Both Erwin in The Barbarian Way and Beth in Believing God made reference to the plight of John the Baptist.  As you may know, John was Jesus’ cousin who was born six months before Him.  John was not your typical guy next door.  He lived in the wilderness, dressed in animal skins, ate bugs, and preached the coming of the Messiah.  John witnessed the Holy Spirit descending on Jesus like a dove with the voice of God proclaiming, “This is my beloved Son, in Whom I am well pleased” after he had the privilege of baptising Jesus, the Messiah.

John the Baptist boldly proclaimed Jesus to be the Lamb of God and he correctly believed that to be true.  Yet,  when John was in prison he sent one of his disciples to ask Jesus if He really was the One they were expecting or should they look for someone else to be the Messiah. 

What caused this doubt and fear?  Jesus wasn’t responding to John’s situation the way he expected the Savior to.  He expected to be, well, saved after all.

But that was not God’s plan for John.  John’s work here on earth was finished and he soon would be given a front row seat in Heaven to see the rest of redemption’s story fulfilled.  Yet, before his death, Jesus’ message to John was, “Blessed is the man who does not fall away because of Me”.  Jesus encouraged John and He encourages us to not lose faith when He doesn’t work things out the way we think they should work out.

As Beth says in this week’s lesson, sometimes prayers are answered with a “no” so God can grant a greater “yes”. 

So where does the dress come into play you may be wondering?  While it seems I have been focusing on God notgranting a miracle when we need one, the missing dress is one small miracle God allowed me to be part of this week.  And it happend right after I watched this week’s lesson on miracles.  I was home alone at the time.

After the lesson, I wanted to get my clothes ready for work the next day.  There was a certain dress I wanted to wear.  My daughter had tried it on but it didn’t fit (well, duh, she’s a size 2 and I am not, what was she thinking?) and told me she had left it in her closet.  So off I went to dear daughter’s closet to retrieve my large, but cute, dress.  Only, there was no such dress in her closet, or my closet, or hubby’s closet, or college son’s closet (thank goodness) or anywhere in my house. As I searched for the dress, I found something very important.  I believe it will be a big help in the crisis my family is going through.  I would not have come across this if I were not looking for my dress and I believe God caused the dress to be lost for this reason.  And no, I still have not found the dress. 

From this week’s lesson, I have learned that while God is still in the business of performing miracles, and often does, the most common ones seem to be the work He does inside our hearts.  But I also believe that He delights in us asking Him for ANYTHING in faith.  Ask Him for a miracle, open your eyes and be careful you don’t miss it.  You may be looking for one thing, but He may hide a dress so you can find something else. 

Big Blessings,

 

 

 

 

.

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Do you believe it?

Posted by Carol on July 18, 2008

Just a quick post before I’m off to work for the day…

I just finished week 1 of Beth Moore’s Bible Study “Believing God” and already I have learned so much.  Throughout the study, she wants us to memorize 5 main points that she will cover throughout the lessons.  I’m going to share them with you this morning for you to ponder all day.

1.  God is Who He says He is.

2. God can do what He says He can do.

3. I am who God says I am.

4. I can do all things through Christ.

5. God’s Word is active and alive in me.

Do you believe it?

And as my friend Sylane would ask, “What are you going to do about it?”

Blessings,

 

.

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Thoughts from a Costa Rican Beach Chair

Posted by Carol on June 9, 2008

If you want to skip all my nonsense and just get to the point of this post, jump to the 5th paragraph. 🙂

I wasn’t sure if I would have internet access here in Costa Rica, but lo and behold our hotel not only has access, but it’s wireless, too!  Whoo Hoo!  Dear Hubby brought his work laptop, so I hijacked it for a little while to post on my blog. 

I have taken a bunch of pictures and since I forgot to bring the little dohickey thing I use to get the pics off my camera onto the computer, I’m going to have to wait until we get home to post them.  I thought I’d wait until then to tell you all the stuff I’ve been up to the past few days since pictures will do a better job of describing what it’s been like that I could do with just my words.

But there is a purpose to this post that I wanted to share with you.

(I almost said “y’all” – which goes to show that I read a lot of blogs by Southern ladies.  I am most certainly a Northerner.  I have even been known to use the word “wicked” to describe something, as in “wicked hot” and also the word “honkin” like “honkin’  big”.  Very New Englandish, if I do say so.)

I had my devotions on the beach this morning and what a difference a change of scenery can make.  As I was reading and praying with the crashing of the waves as my background music, and views of the beautiful Costa Rican mountains and rainforests all around me, the words to the song “I Will Lift My Eyes” by Bebo Norman came to mind.

“I will lift my eyes to the Maker of the mountains I can’t climb. I will lift my eyes to the Calmer of the oceans raging wild.  I will lift my eyes to the Healer of the hurts I hold inside. I will lift my eyes to You.”

And as I was sitting there in my terry cloth towel covered beach chair,  speaking to the Creator of those beautiful mountains all around me, the One who spoke the waves crashing nearby into exsistence, suddenly my problems and worries seemed so small in comparison. 

If I truly believe that God is who He says He is, the Almighty Creator of the universe, the I Am of the Scriptures, then why do I waste my time worrying?

God and I had a good talk about that this morning as I turned all my cares over to Him.  I asked Him to use the very same omnipotence that He used to create this world to make some changes in my life and the lives of my family.  As Christians, so many times we don’t remember that we have access to His power through the Holy Spirit that lives in our hearts (Gal. 3:14-21)  I know that He will work His will in our lives and my job is to trust Him and obey.

“The Heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of His hands.” Psalm 19:1

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Praying God’s Word

Posted by Carol on May 19, 2008

In the situation that my family is going through right now, I find myself praying constantly.  Not a bad thing to do, right?  We are actually told in Scripture to pray without ceasing. However, I seem to be saying the same things over and over.  Very often it is just “Help!”  Not too deep a thought.  And I don’t want my prayers to ever be just vain repetitions. I began to be convicted that I needed to pray in a way that I had never prayed before, to have a more meaningful communion with God.

As I was reading the Bible today, my daily reading included Psalm 115-116.  In those verses the writer compares the Living God to idols made by man’s hands.  The idols have eyes but don’t see, ears that don’t hear, and lips that don’t speak.  But OUR God is a living God, He hears us, sees us, and speaks to us. And He deserves all glory because of His love and faithfulness to us. He not only loves us and is faithful to us, but he is “our help and our shield”.

It was then that I said, “Lord, I need you to be my help and my shield through this situation”.  And I began praying through the Scriptures of chapters 115-116 of Psalms.  Suddenly, my prayers seemed to come alive and I was communing with our Living God.  My prayers were not just “arrow prayers” shot up in desparation (there is a time and a place for those, too), but I was communicating to God, praying back to Him the words he gave David to describe how he was feeling when he was in a desperate place and God delivered him. I did take some poetic license to change the words to fit my circumstances, since I can tell you that no one is trying to hunt me down and kill me like Saul was David.

I know this is not a new concept.  I believe Beth Moore has written a whole book about praying the Scriptures. I would encourage you to incorporate praying God’s Word into your prayer life. It might open up a whole new way for you to communicate with God.

Psalm 116:1-6 (The Message)

1-6 I love God because he listened to me, listened as I begged for mercy.
   He listened so intently
      as I laid out my case before him.
   Death stared me in the face,
      hell was hard on my heels.
   Up against it, I didn’t know which way to turn;
      then I called out to God for help:
   “Please, God!” I cried out.
      “Save my life!”
   God is gracious—it is he who makes things right,
      our most compassionate God.
   God takes the side of the helpless;
      when I was at the end of my rope, he saved me.

Blessings,

Carol

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“Don’t be afraid; just believe.”

Posted by Carol on April 8, 2008

 Mark 5:36b

These are the words Jesus spoke to a man whose daughter lay dying at home in her bed.  The man had sought Jesus out to beg Him to heal his precious child.  Just as word came that the girl had died, Jesus ignored what they said and told the man “Don’t be afraid; just believe.”

As a parent, I can only imagine how that man felt at that moment.  He had a choice to make.  He could look at the reality that his child was dead and let his heart fall further and further into despair.  Or he could look at Jesus and accept His invitation not to be afraid and believe.

Jesus offers us the same choice every day as we live our lives in this fallen world.  We can look around us and see the reality that bad things do happen.  People get sick and sometimes die way too young.  Husbands get laid off. Wives have miscarriages.  Engagements get called off.  Friends betray us.  Teenagers make poor choices.

Jesus was able to tell the the man not to be afraid in spite of the fact that the girl had died because He knew what He was going to do.  He knew that before the end of that day, He was going to raise the man’s daughter from the dead. Jesus knew the end of the story.

He knows the end of our story, too.  He knows that for the Christian, death has already been conquered.  He knows that Jeremiah 29:11 is still in the Bible. “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and future.”

So even though last week I wrote a post about how much I worry about my children,  I can choose to believe my Jesus when he tells me “don’t be afraid.”

 

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