I Throw Like a Girl

Posts Tagged ‘devotions’

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! 🙂

Advertisements

Posted in devotions, family | Tagged: , | 5 Comments »

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

Posted in devotions | Tagged: , , , | 1 Comment »

“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.”

 

Posted in but seriously, devotions | Tagged: , , , , | 4 Comments »

I believe I am now banned from the bike shop.

Posted by Carol on March 28, 2008

My husband is an avid biker. Or should I say bicyclist?  What I mean is he likes to ride bikes. A lot. Not the kind with motors, the kind that you have to pedal with your own two legs. 

For the longest time, he only rode mountain bikes.  I use the word bikes because somehow what started out as one bike for hubby in our garage has multiplied to… let’s just say more than one. I don’t know what those bikes do out there in the garage, but I don’t want to know because every time I look out there, it seems we have another bike.

But I’m rambling. 

Dear Hubby has wanted me to join him in his mountain biking adventures.  That’s very kind of him and great in a relationship-building, meaningful-time together kind of way.  There’s only one problem with that idea.  Hubby rides his mountain bike in places where no man has gone before.  He goes over logs, through streams, over and around boulders, and through pricker bushes.  He walks in the door after an afternoon of biking with his buddies with a big smile on his face and blood dripping from more than one location on his body and too many bruises to count.

Then he’ll say, “Carol, you have got to come with me next time.  That was a blast!”

Yeah, I’m convinced. 

Call me crazy, but one of my main goals each day is to keep all my body parts intact.   

Soon, much to his dismay, some of Hubby’s friends realized they were getting older and that it took them longer to recover from all their mountain biking injuries.  But rather than give up biking altogether, they decided to add another dimension to their biking experience.  They bought road bikes.  Dear Hubby was not at all happy.  He felt road bicycling is for wimps.  Or at least for those who like to keep all their blood inside their bodies. 

But Hubby quickly made a discovery.  His buddies who were roadies as well as mountain bikers, developed more stamina and did better at mountain biking than the ones who were not roadies.  Apparently, long uphill climbs on a road bike are very good for developing your leg muscles as well as endurance.

Not one to be left in the dust by his friends (I forgot to mention Hubby is a tad bit competitive),  he soon made the move to the dark side and purchased a used road bike to give it a try. And surprise of all surprises, he liked it.  I also noticed that he would come home from a road ride just as happy, yet without all the cuts and bruises. 

So, the next time he suggested that I take up biking, I said, “Sure, as long as I can get a road bike”.  He agreed and off we went to the nearest bike shop. 

Since Hubby is an experienced biker who does a lot of his own repairs, he is very familiar with bike components and for someone at his level of biking those things do make a difference. But for me, not so much.  I just wanted an entry level road bike that I could get used to and have fun while getting in shape. 

The very friendly sales guy in the bike shop showed me just that. It was an entry level bike just the right size and height.  I was sold.  Hubby was not.  He was unconvinced that I wasn’t picking the bike just because it was purple and affordable.  He wanted me to try one the next level up with a few more bells and whistles.  My mind was already made up, but to make him happy, I agreed to try another bike.

That was my big mistake.

The next bike didn’t fit as well. I felt awkward on it.  The seat was positioned at an angle to put your upper body more forward over the handle bars.  While Hubby and Friendly Sales Guy chatted about all things biking. I decided this was not the bike for me and attempted to remove myself from said bike.  Because of the strangely angled seat, my leg did not clear it all the way while getting off the bike and before I knew it, I and the bike were heading quickly towards the ground.  In my attempt to save myself and my dignity, I put out my left arm to break my fall. 

All I ended up breaking was my left wrist.

A trip to the emergency room confirmed that I would need to be in a cast for the next six weeks.  Since I didn’t end up with the purple bike, I chose a purple cast.  And for a while, I chose to feel very sorry for myself.

This took place on July 9th, 2007.  I wouldn’t be getting the cast off until the later part of August.  During the six weeks I’d be wearing my cast, we already had a vacation to a lake planned, but there would be no swimming or water sports for me.  Doing my usual activities one-handed was extremely frustrating, never mind painful for the first few weeks.  I soon found myself wishing for the time to go by quickly so I could just get this darn cast off and be back to normal.

The problem with that thinking was that on Aug. 12 our 18 year old son was leaving for college over 1000 miles away from home. So wishing away my time in my cast was also wishing away the last few weeks with our son at home. In order to  enjoy the last few weeks with our son, I had to accept my cast and actually embrace that time as a sweet time with our family because I knew things were going to change drastically when he left.
That experience taught me that, not only do I not really want a bike, but also that I need to be content in the here and now no matter what my circumstances may be.  So many times I am so looking forward to “the next thing” that I overlook what is right in front of me. Yes, some days are better than others, but they all are a gift from God.
Psalm 118:24 “This is the day the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it!”
.

Posted in Dear Husband, devotions, my "I Love Lucy" moments | Tagged: , , , , , | 6 Comments »

“I pray…so that…”

Posted by Carol on March 4, 2008

This past weekend, I went away to the annual Women’s Retreat with my church.  It was my privilege to lead morning devotions on Sunday.  I thought I’d post the devo here, both to save it as part of my blog, and to share it with whomever might be interested in reading it out there in Blogsville. It is a bit on the wordy side. Sorry.  I had 30 minutes and I talk fast, so I can say a lot in a half an hour.  To save words, I linked to the posts of some of the stories I used in the devo. I realize this is a little dry. Hopefully, it’s better when actually presented.

Ephesians 3:14-21

14) For this reason I kneel before the Father,
15) from whom his whole family in heaven and on earth derives its name.

16) I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being,

17) so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love,

18) may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ,

19) and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.

 20) Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us,
21) to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.

A few weeks ago, I was dealing with some on-going issues with my daughter and her school.  I was very frustrated and confused.  So, I put on my pink fluffy slippers, grabbed a pillow and a blanket, put on some soft Christian music, and spent some time with Jesus on my couch.

I thought back to this past summer when God sent some friends to cheer me up and comfort me just when I needed it. I told Him how sad, and frustrated, and tired I was from dealing with this situation with my daughter.  I told Him that I just needed to know that He loves me.  I know He loves me, but I just needed to “hear” it.  As I prayed and read the Bible, He did give me a reminder of His love by leading me to this passage in Ephesians.

These verses spoke to my heart immediately about how much He loves me.  In verses 17b-19, He said to me, “You have no idea how much I love you. It is beyond your ability and comprehension to understand how much I love you.  But trust ME, I love you.”  And He loves you, too.

That reminder was all I needed that day to be comforted and reassured that He was with me and in control of the situation.  As the following days and weeks passed, those verses stayed in my heart and in my mind. So much so that I decided to really dig deep into God’s Word and study this passage to share as a devotional.

I called this devo “I pray…so that…” because Paul is praying and making a couple requests to God on behalf of the Ephesians and all Christians, so that we might experience the benefits and blessings that come from our new identity in Christ. So let’s look at Ephesians 3: 14-21 together. 

Verse 14 says, “For this reason I kneel before the Father,” – for what reason?  The reason is found in chapter 2 of Ephesians. 

The reason is our salvation.

The reason Paul is praying for us is that our new identity in Christ makes us the dwelling place of God, the all powerful Creator of the universe! He wants us to realize what “benefits” come with our new identity in the family of God.

Paul had two main prayer requests in this passage.  The first one is found in verse 16 – “That out of His glorious riches He may strengthen you with power through His Spirit in your inner being.”

“Out of his glorious riches” – we are talking about the Creator of the universe. For God to give according to the riches of His glory is absolutely staggering because His riches are limitless. But that is the measure Paul asks God to empower the Ephesians and US – out of His limitless riches.

Paul is not asking that God give theses riches to believers, but that He would use these riches that we already possess to strengthen us.

There is a story of an eccentric Englishman who liked to dress like a homeless man every day.  He would go door to door selling razor blades, soap, and shampoo.  Then, at the end of the day, he would return to his beautiful mansion, change into a custom made suit, and have his limo driver take him to an exclusive restaurant in London for dinner.  Some days he would have his private jet fly him to Paris for the evening.  So many Christians live like that man.  We live our everyday lives in spiritual poverty and only occasionally enjoy the riches of His glory that God has given to us.  It is tragic to walk around in the tattered rags of our own inadequacies when we could be living sumptuously in the super-abundance of God’s unspeakable riches.

When we as Christians live like that Englishman and don’t live like Whose we truly are, individual Christians suffer, the church suffers, and the world suffers.  You might think that is a drastic statement to make, but to whom was the Great Commission given?

Us.

If we are walking around living in our own inadequacies rather than in the power of the Holy Spirit, how effective are we going to be making disciples of all nations?

These next two verses have been called “the bookends of faith”.  John 15:5b says, “Apart from me, you can do nothing”. Yet Philippians 4:13 says, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me”.  A person living apart from God may accomplish a lot by the world’s standards, but it is nothing compared to “all things” they might have accomplished if they had allowed Christ to do it through them.

Here is the reason for Paul’s first prayer request in verse 17 – He prayed for us to be strengthened by the power of the Holy Spirit “so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith”.

When we are living in the Spirit, then Christ can truly dwell in our hearts.  You might be sitting there saying, “What? Christ is alreading living in my heart”.  And you’d be correct; He is – if you are a Christian.  But Paul is not talking about salvation here.  He knows that all Christians have the Holy Spirit within them.  That is the reason he is praying for the Ephesians in the first place.  He is talking about allowing Christ to truly dwell in our hearts.  That is sanctification or the process that starts at salvation to make us more like Christ.

The Greek word here has the same idea as to dwell in a home.  It means not simply being inside the house of our heart, but being AT HOME there.  The difference is treating Christ like a welcomed guest in our heart versus the ruler and owner of His home – our heart.

How much reign does Christ have in our hearts?  Is He free to move right in and take over? Or are there places and parts of our hearts and lives that we would rather keep to ourselves?  When we keep parts of our hearts to ourselves, we limit the power of the Holy Spirit in our lives.  We need to ask God to examine our hearts and to show us what we need to get rid of or add to make Christ be truly at home there.  He begins this work in us at salvation, but His goal is to make us like Jesus by changing us from the inside out.

Being make strong inwardly by God’s Spirit, and allowing Christ to be at home in our hearts, leads to love that is incomprehensible.  This is the second prayer request Paul prayed for us.

Look at verse 17b – this is supernatural love and is beyond human understanding.  It is a paradox that we are to “know” something that surpasses knowledge.

We are to be rooted and grounded in love – love is our foundation.  When we have this foundation established, not that we are perfect, but we submit to the fact that we are commanded to love one another and we realize that loving each other – even the unlovely – is an act of obedience to Christ, then we may have the power to comprehend the love of God.  To love the Lord our God with all our hearts, souls, and minds, and to love our neighbor as our-self is the greatest commandment.

Christ’s love takes us beyond human knowledge, because it is from an infinitely higher source.  Love is the supernatural attitude of the Christian because love is the nature of Christ.  Love is the main identifier the world has to tell that we are Christians.  Jesus said, “By this will all men know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” John 13:35

And the reason for this request? “So that – you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.” (verse 19)  If love is the very nature of Christ, then Paul prayed that at the least, we would be filled with the love of Christ.

To even grasp the magnitude of this truth, we must think of every attribute and characteristic of God.  Think of the fruit of the Spirit, think of His power and majesty.  John McArthur said, “This is a small picture of what God wants to do for His children.  His supreme goal is to make us like Himself by filling us with Himself, with all that He is and has”.

Therefore, to be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God means to be totally dominated by Him.

If we are filled with rage, rage is dominating our words, thoughts, and actions.  If we are filled with worry, then we are being dominated by worrisome thoughts.  And if we are filled with the Spirit, then we will be dominated by Him.  Whatever we allow ourselves to be filled with will dominate us.

Verses 20-21 are probably very familiar to us.  They are often used as a benediction at the end of church services.

When the Holy Spirit has empowered us, Christ has indwelt us, love has mastered us, and God has filled us with His own fullness – or dominated us, then He is able to do immeasurably more (or as the KJV says, exceedingly, abundantly more) than we can ask or think.

Until these conditions are met, God’s working in us is limited and we are living in our own inadequacies instead of His power.  When they are met, His working in us is unlimited. 

How do we best meet these conditions so we can be used to the fullest?

1.  Spend time daily in God’s Word and in prayer.

2.  Really let Christ dwell in your heart. Let Him move in and take over.  Ask Him to do some housecleaning. 

3. Love – receive God’s love and share it with others.

4. Be filled with the Spirit and let Him dominate!

When by our yieldedness God is able to do exceedingly, abundantly more than we can ask or think, then He is truly glorified.

Amen,

Carol

Posted in devotions | Tagged: , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Max Lucado on “Self-Control”

Posted by Carol on February 5, 2008

Well, kids, we are on our last fruit of the Spirit as told by Max Lucado.  He’s done a great job, I must say.  Self-control is something we try to teach our children, yet seem to struggle with ourselves or, maybe it’s just me.  I think God added “self-control” to the list of spiritual fruit because He knew all about PMS. If only I remembered this handy fruit before I opened my mouth many days, life would be less complicated!

 “I Choose Self-Control…

I am a spiritual being…

After this body is dead,  my spirit will soar.

I refuse to let what will rot, rule the eternal.

I choose self-control.  I will be drunk only by joy.

I will be impassioned only by my faith.

I will be influenced only by God.

I will be taught only by Christ.

I choose self-control.” 

 

“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.” Galatians 5:22-23

I have a friend who taught her kids to recite the Fruit of the Spirit when they are angry rather than counting to 10.  What a good idea!

Blessings,

Carol

Posted in devotions, Uncategorized | Tagged: , , , , | Comments Off on Max Lucado on “Self-Control”

Max Lucado on “Gentleness”

Posted by Carol on January 20, 2008

“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.” Galatians 5:22-23

Boy, I could have used this reminder yesterday.  I am usually a pretty quiet, easy-going person, but yesterday, I was just u-g-l-y!  We have a lot of stressful things going on in our family right now and I didn’t handle it very well at all yesterday.  I have asked my family for forgiveness and they graciously gave it to me. I asked forgiveness from God who always forgives and and is always gracious and loving with us.  So today is a new day – same problems, new day – but I am leaning more on Jesus today to help me through without the ugliness of yesterday.  Later I will be posting about one of the things that has me down, but it’s nothing that a puppy can’t fix 😉 . Now here’s Max:

“I Choose Gentleness…

Nothing is won by force.  I choose to be gentle.

If I raise my voice, may it be only in praise.

If I clench my fist, may it be only in prayer.

If I make a demand, may it be only of myself.”

Blessings,

Carol

Posted in devotions, Uncategorized | Tagged: , , , | Comments Off on Max Lucado on “Gentleness”

Max Lucado on “Faithfulness”

Posted by Carol on January 15, 2008

How ironic that today’s Fruit of the Spirit is “faithfulness” as I was debating whether or not to continue on with all the Fruit.  But as I sit here wearing my husband’s third place medallion from the She’s Got Game 2008 Tournament trying to imagine what it would have been like not to have been tied for dead last, I realize that I must finish what I started.  Besides, Max Lucado is a very wise man and we would do well to follow his lead in allowing the Holy Spirit to control our actions.

“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self control.” Galatians 5:22-23

“I Choose Faithfulness…

Today I will keep my promises.

My debtors will not regret their trust.  My associates

will not question my word.  My spouse will not

question my love.  And my children will never fear

that their parent will not come home.”

Blessings,

Carol

Posted in devotions | Tagged: , , , | Comments Off on Max Lucado on “Faithfulness”

Max Lucado on “Goodness”

Posted by Carol on January 11, 2008

“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self control.” Galatians 5:22-23

“I Choose Goodness…

I will go without a dollar

before I take a dishonest one. I will be overlooked

before I will boast. I will confess before I will

accuse. I choose goodness.”

Posted in devotions | Tagged: , , , | 3 Comments »

Max Lucado on “Kindness”

Posted by Carol on January 8, 2008

I am continuing on with Max Lucado’s writings on the Fruit of the Spirit because I love the way he describes what living out the Fruit of the Spirit looks like. My prayer is that I may portray the Fruit of the Spirit each day in my life. ~Carol

“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self control.” Galatians 5:22-23

“I Choose Kindness…

I will be kind to the poor, for they are alone.

Kind to the rich, for they are afraid. And kind to

the unkind, for such is how God has treated me.”

Posted in devotions, Uncategorized | Tagged: , , , | Comments Off on Max Lucado on “Kindness”