Devotional

Be Still and Know That I Am God

“Be still and know that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.”  Psalm 46:10

How am I going to get through the week? My garden accuses me of neglect with a crop of weeds. Grapes dried to raisins on the vine before I admitted that I won’t finish canning grape jelly. My employment includes lesson plans and teaching. My exercise regimen and housework is often sidelined in the juggling of my to-do list. I want to spend more time with my family and friends, yet a writing deadline looms later this week. Sometimes, I feel like no matter how much I love what I’m involved in, I’m drowning below the waves of tasks and duties.

Do you feel that way, too? Are your responsibilities weighing you down? You may have an aging parent or children to care for, or someone with an illness may depend on you. Work, or the lack of it, may consume you. Maybe you just learned you are supposed to bring cupcakes for the school function tomorrow.

I have a mug that says, “Be still and know that I am God.” As I read it while I drink my tea, part of me asks, “How?” I’m almost always on the go. Who has time to be still in the mad rush of the week?

Deep down, I think the answer to my drowning life is to learn to faithfully and continually be at rest in the Lord’s presence daily, not just when it fits into my day. A quick reading of a verse or two so I can check off my quiet time with God is not what He desires. He reminds me that He is the source of strength and the One who will fulfill my life. He wants each of us to be in constant communication with Him.

Be still and know that I am God – photo by Kathryn Hughes

Be still – If we want to be still, we need to set aside time to not be running from one duty to another. For me, I have to schedule that, or it either does not occur or is at the final minutes before I head, too late, into bed. Sometimes, my body is motionless, but my mind is chasing after other things. Christian music can help redirect my thoughts. I find journaling about my time with God helps me to focus. In it, I write down what I read from Scripture, and what God is teaching me in it. My prayers may be added to it. How can you be still?

Know that I am God – Knowing who God is and knowing Him personally are two different types of knowledge. We can know our neighbors’ names, but we won’t know them unless we spend time with them. If we want to really know God, we need to spend time with Him in Bible reading and in prayer. We know Him better when we learn what He desires and what He thinks, and when we talk with Him and listen for Him to answer through His Holy Spirit.

God is the eternal being who made us and loves us. He has a perfect plan for each of us – and it isn’t to have us drowning in our responsibilities, for Jesus said He came to give us life abundantly (John 10:10).

Let’s give God our frantic schedules. Let’s find moments throughout the day to just take a deep breath and thank God for it. Let’s practice being quiet in His presence. We can really know God if we set time aside and spend time with Him. Start with five or ten minutes every day, expanding that time with God even longer as being still becomes more natural. Let’s exalt God in our homes and in our lives as we know Him better and become more like Him.  

Thank you, God, for always being available. You are never too busy to spend time with me. Help me to be still and to know you.

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Thank you for joining me and for reading my devotional blogs. They post every other Thursday. Past devotionals are archived for your use.

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Devotional

God is Still Writing My Story

You saw me before I was born. Every day of my life was recorded in your book. Every moment was laid out before a single day had passed. Psalm 139:16 (NLT)

I write historical fiction. I love making up characters. I bring them through lessons in life, whether they be in situations like the children face in The Exciting Adventures of the Trent Twins, such as escaping a cougar attack or problems with a classmate, or major problems such as difficulty trusting God, and the challenges of war time in an inspirational World War II novel I’m working on. Over time, my characters change. They mature, they learn new lessons in life, or they learn how to deal with a situation.  

However, I must always rewrite my work. It is never finished on the first draft, no matter how much I wish it. Sometimes I need a major re-write. When I learned that my England-based American WWII soldier would have been sent to Normandy instead of Italy, I had to throw out chapters of battles in Italy and begin again. Settings had to be changed to reflect his new location. Additional research was required for the changes needed.  

God writes my story. He writes yours, too. I’m glad He doesn’t mess up our storylines. He writes everything perfectly the first time. Oh sure, it may not feel perfect to us, but God sees the beginning and the ending. He uses the problems and situations in our story for our good. He develops our character. As we trust God and learn to obey Him and rely on Him, we grow. We learn from the problems. The Lord doesn’t throw out a few months or years of our lives because we make a mistake. Nothing we do or don’t do is a surprise to Him. God doesn’t need to research as He writes our story. He knows every detail of it from beginning to end.

An author has a purpose for writing, and I believe God has a purpose for writing each of our stories as well. The Lord included many life stories of people in Scripture, and all Scripture is useful for our learning. Through King David’s story we can see part of the purpose God has for our own life stories. We may not sit on earthly thrones or have the same circumstances as David, but we can see truths about God.  

David knew that God thought about him and loved him. He had seen God act on his behalf in the past, whether it was deliverance from enemies, or showing David his sin so that David would repent of it. David knew that it was the LORD who would lead him along the path of everlasting life. David desired for God to get the glory.  David elaborated on God’s interest and involvement in his life in Psalm 139:17, 23, 24 (NLT). How precious are your thoughts about me, O God. They cannot be numbered! Search me, O God, and know my heart, test me and know my anxious thoughts. Point out anything in me that offends you, and lead me along the path of everlasting life.

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God is still writing your story and mine. I pray we will be faithful characters, obedient to God. Let’s trust God with every chapter of our lives. He knows our every moment. Let’s grow in godliness, becoming more like Jesus every day as we follow Him.

Read Psalm 139. Meditate on how well you are known by God, the author of your story.   

Thank you, Lord, for being the perfect author. I can trust you to write my story.  Please use me and my story to bring You glory. Amen.

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Thank you for joining me and for reading my devotional blogs.  Blogs post every other Thursday. Past devotionals are archived under Devotionals.

Devotional

Unity, Please!

Therefore I, the prisoner of the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling with which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, being diligent to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.   Ephesians 4:1-3 (NASB20- emphasis mine)

Unity. I crave it.

The news reveals how divided people have become. I’m tired of the fighting between and within political parties; race issues; disrespect for police and other authority; and the Covid-19 pandemic with its isolation, closures, new disease variants, and people battling about mask use and vaccines.

It grieves me that many battles are causing division between followers of Jesus. Instead of being united in Jesus Christ, I’ve read and heard people question the salvation of others because they think differently on issues. It is one thing to become informed, another to bash or shun others who disagree.

Oxford Languages defines unity as “The state of being united or joined as a whole.”

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Followers of Christ Jesus are supposed to dwell together in unity. How can we build unity? Let’s look at the steps given in Ephesians 4:1-3

Walk in a manner worthy of the calling with which you have been called. As believers in Jesus Christ, we are called to be unified with Christ and with each other. We are commanded to share to Gospel of Jesus with others, “make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you…” (Matthew 28:19. 20) In order to walk worthy of our calling, we need to be obedient to Jesus.

With all humility and gentleness…If we want unity, we can’t let our pride get in the way. We need to acknowledge when we are wrong and seek forgiveness. We need to be gentle with others, recognizing that like us, they are on the journey to know Jesus better. Even if we believe we are in the right, we must be humble in spirit and treat each other with respect.

With patience…It seems when we pray for patience that it is then that we have trying situations. But it is in the difficulty that we learn to be patient. When that person who drives us crazy comes up, may we pray and practice listening graciously.

Bearing with one another in love… The Living Bible states this as “making allowance for each other’s faults because of your love.”  If we focus on everything negative about our spouse or child, it makes it hard to love them. We choose to overlook some of these areas because we do love them. Likewise, let’s look at others through love like we want them to do with us.

Being diligent to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace… Are we making every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit? Is being like-minded as Christ more important than the style of worship, or the choices others make for their own medical care? May our love for each other and for God hold, or bind, us together.

Dear Heavenly Father, Please forgive me for focusing on differences instead of on what I have in common with other believers – You. Please forgive me for making my own viewpoint more important than the unity of the Spirit. Help me to be patient, humble, and gentle with others. Help me to make every effort to preserve unity, just as You and Jesus are One.

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Devotional

When Will We See Jesus?

When We Meet Jesus series – Part Three of Three

…as [the disciples] were looking on, [Jesus] was lifted up, and a cloud took him out of their sight. And while they were gazing into heaven as he went, behold, two men stood by them in white robes, and said, “Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking into heaven? This Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will come in the same way as you saw him go into heaven.” Acts 1:9-11 RSV

When will we see Jesus?

I grew up hearing Jesus is coming back someday, I never expected His return may be in my lifetime. In my mind, my life is plotted out until old age and death claim me. Jesus will carry me home.

However, the past several years make me wonder if I may meet Him in the clouds! It seems like so many of the signs predicted to happen before He returns are occurring. Even Israel became a nation again in 1948. No other nation has re-established itself after being eliminated for hundreds of years. I think Jesus is coming back soon!

Jesus is coming with those who have died in Him. Those who have died in Christ will rise first, and then those who are still alive will join them in the air. (I Thessalonians 4) Imagine what that will be like! Flying through the sky with no wings or pixie dust required.  Picture what a crowd there will be as Jesus and His followers from all the years go through the clouds to heaven. 

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When will Jesus come?

No one knows. The disciples asked Jesus, “What will be the sign of your coming and the close of the age?” Jesus gave to them signs to look for (false Christs and false prophets, persecution of Christ’s followers, wars, famines, and earthquakes), and called them the beginning of birth-pangs. Jesus foretold His coming, including a trumpet call when He will gather His elect from one end of heaven to the other. We have signs, but not the time. (Matthew 24, Mark 13) Watch, therefore, for you do not know on what day your Lord is coming. Therefore you also must be ready: for the Son of man is coming at an hour you do not expect. Matthew 24: 42, 44 RSV

Some people believe that the Church will be taken away in the rapture before the seven-year Tribulation shown to the Apostle John in Revelation. Others think it will occur at Mid-Tribulation after the first three and a half years, while others say it will be after the Tribulation. I will not try to convince you of one over another.

Our salvation does not hinge on which viewpoint a person holds of the timing of Jesus’ return.

What is important is that we expect Jesus to come, and that we are ready for Him to do so. Time has passed and that means we are closer to Jesus’ return than before. We must not allow ourselves to be deceived into thinking Jesus is not coming, nor fall for the tricks of false prophets and people claiming to be Christ. Neither should we be so busy looking for His return that we fail to obey His commands.

As Jesus went up in the clouds He left final instructions: “You shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be My witnesses…” (Acts 1:8) Let’s pray for the Lord to open an opportunity to witness to someone this week. Perhaps someone jumps into your mind. We don’t share Jesus alone; the Holy Spirit will empower us and give us the words.

Let’s be ready for Jesus to return. Let’s help others be ready, too.

Jesus, I want my friends and family to know You. Help me to share You with them. Amen.  

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Thank you for joining me and for reading my devotional blogs.  Blogs post every other Thursday. Past devotionals can be found in the Devotional archive.

Devotional

Here Comes the Groom!

When We Meet Jesus series – Part Two of Three

There is more than enough room in my Father’s home. If this were not so, would I have told you that I am going to prepare a place for you? When everything is ready, I will come and get you, so that you will always be with me where I am. John 14:2, 3 NLT

My husband, Cliff, and I met and dated during our time attending Cal Poly State University in San Luis Obispo, California.  After our graduations, I returned to Southern California, and Cliff took a job in Northern California. We spent 19 months in a long-distance relationship, rarely seeing each other. We maintained our relationship through letters and late night telephone calls, not yet having the internet or cell phones.

We were eager to get married and share our lives together in the same place. When it was finally the right time, I packed my belongings for my move, bought my white lace dress, and we planned the wedding. Cliff provided a place for us to live. He came, we wed, and he took me home with him.   

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In the Jewish culture of Jesus’ time, a bridegroom would prepare a home for his bride. When his father decided the home was finished, the groom went to his bride’s parents’ home and took her home with him. The bride had to be ready. Imagine her packing clothes and household items for her new home. Carefully woven blankets and hand-sewn pillows may be tucked into a box or basket. She didn’t know exactly when the groom would come for her, but she wisely planned so she would be prepared when he came.

Believers in Jesus are called The Church, and also The Bride of Christ. What a wonderful picture Jesus shared with His followers when He told them He was preparing a place for them and for those of us who follow Him now. We don’t know what those rooms or mansions look like, but knowing our Creator, they will be beautiful! He is preparing for His Bride! The book of Revelation describes heaven with gates of pearl and streets of gold.

Jesus will come for us at the right time and bring us home with Him. Our long-distance relationship will be over and we will always be with Him. We can be assured of that because Jesus told us so!  

Like the bride prepared for her groom, let’s be prepared for our being with Jesus. How can we do that?

  • Have a personal relationship with Jesus. Is He the Lord in my life? Is He your Lord?
  • Confess sin and ask for God’s forgiveness.
  • Communicate with Jesus through reading God’s love letters in His Word, and through prayer.
  • Live life in obedience to God.
  • Watch for Him! We don’t know the day or the hour Jesus is coming; Jesus said only His Father knew (Matthew 24:36, 25:13), but I believe we are in the end times and Jesus will return soon.

Our Groom is coming! Be ready!

Dear Jesus, Thank you for preparing a place for me with You in heaven. I marvel that You love me enough to want me with You forever, and that Your love included sacrificing Yourself to rescue me from sin. Such love is beyond my understanding. Thank you. I love You. Help me love You more every day. Amen.

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Thank you for joining me and for reading my devotional blogs.  Blogs post every other Thursday. Past devotionals can be found in the Devotional archive.