Archive for the ‘Daily Devotionals’ Category

1 John 1:1-2:2

We declare to you what was from the beginning—

what we have heard

what we have seen with our eyes

what we have looked at and touched with our hands– concerning the word of life.

This life was revealed, and we have seen it and testify to it, and declare to you, the eternal life that was with the Father and was revealed to us. We declare to you what we have seen and heard so that you also may have fellowship with us; and truly, our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son Jesus Christ.

We are writing these things so that our joy may be complete.

This is the message we have heard from him and proclaim to you, that God is light and in him there is no darkness at all.

If we say that we have fellowship with him while we are walking in darkness, we lie and do not do what is true, but if we walk in the light as he himself is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin.

If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.

If we confess our sins, he who is faithful and just will forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.

My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin. But if anyone does sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous. He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the sins of the whole world.

God always blesses the reading of his word

Great and holy Father, we are your little children. We are unable to truly comprehend, the wonderful and selfless act your son did so that we may be able to fellowship with you.

Thank you. Thank you for the many ways you show your love to us. Thank you for our friends and family. For our many talents. For the opportunity to have a relationship with you.

Father help us to be more like John. Empower us to speak about what we know about you and the love and mercy you have for us.

We have heard your word with our ears. We pray that we will understand it with our hearts.

We have seen your acts of grace and mercy. We pray that we can show the same grace to our brothers and sisters.

We have looked and touched with our hands when we help those who are the least, the lost, and the lonely. We pray that we will recognize the face of Jesus in everyone we meet.

Father, forgive us our failings. Forgive us when we do not hear. When we allow the world’s noise to cloud out your still small voice.

Forgive us when we do not see because we are focused on worldly things that only separate us from you.

Forgive us when we doubt the hands that we are helping are yours because we are distracted by what he is wearing, or saying, or doing, and not what YOU are showing us.

Remind us Lord that you came to save all of us from sin and bring all of us into a personal relationship with you. It is your commandment for us to fellowship with all your people—not just the ones who look, and think and act like we do. Not just our friends from our neighborhood and community, but everyone.

Father, we humbly come to you and ask to hear our cries for our brothers and sisters who are in need of comfort and healing.

We give thanks and rejoice for Elliott’s recovery. We thank you for the comforting and talented hands of all the people who work at Children’s Hospital.

And be with my sister, Melissa as she deals with having to remove her father from life support. Comfort in her loss and give her strength as she faces new challenges.

We pray for our military. For the leaders that they may strive to seek peace. For our soldiers, including Capt. Shane Mason, who are willing to sacrifice themselves to ensure our freedom.

We pray for our homebound members and touch their hearts so they know they are not forgotten.

Father, hear our prayers for our church. We give thanks for the many hands and hearts that serve our church. We pray for our pastors and leaders, that they may be wise and patient with us. We pray for Jarrettown’s many missions and ministries—that you will bless those who are serving and strengthen those who are seeking a place to serve.

We pray that you strengthen our fellowship with our brothers and sisters so that our church can rise up and be an example to all, of the love of Jesus Christ.

Be with our youth and their leaders who are wrapping up their confirmation weekend. We pray that hearts and minds and lives have been changed.

Light our path so that we can proclaim to everyone, that God is light and in him there is no darkness at all.

In you Son’s holy name we pray, Amen.

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Psalm 145:18-19

18 The Lord is near to all who call on him,
to all who call on him in truth.
19 He fulfills the desire of those who fear him;
he also hears their cry and saves them.

These are getting harder. I don’t know if it’s just because I’ve done so many of these or if I’m starting to feel that I’m entirely out of my element. As I’m writing these I’m thinking, “I don’t have any expertise in this! Who in their right mind should follow my spiritual teachings.”

He has risen

He has risen

Lord, I can’t even count correctly. Lent is supposed to be 46 days. Or 40 if you don’t count Sundays. I thought I was writing one a day and several times when I counted, I thought I was up to date. At one point, I think I was even ahead. But now I’m either two days ahead or 4 days behind.

I often wonder if God is near. I know in “theory” he is–but I’m a practical kind of girl and really wonder if God has any tolerance for the more mundane aspects of my life. But David is telling us in this passage that the Lord is near to all who call on Him.

I struggle with the fear aspect of the second verse. I don’t know if I fear God in the classic sense. Fearing God seems very Old Testament. It is more a sense of fear of disappointing Him. I feel that God has given me (and you) so many gifts and talents and to abuse them through apathy, or frustration, or whatever, I’m doing a disservice to God. The Boy is a fabulous comic book writer/artist. When he was younger, he’d made a few comic books that we’d made color copies of and had given out to friends and family. He was fortunate enough in middle school to have been picked to do a comic strip for the school paper. I thought it was fabulous! I would have LOVED an opportunity to have my talents recognized in middle school. Him? Nah. Didn’t want to do it. He said it was stupid and “gay” and he declined. I was so disappointed.

Now I know I’m not God by ANY stretch but comparing God to parenting is the only thing I can wrap my head around. Here was my wonderful, talented son being recognized and given a fabulous opportunity and he WAS TURNING IT DOWN!!!

I worry when I don’t write that God is feeling just like I did. He’s up there thinking, “I gave her all this talent and she’s just wasting it!” That’s the fear that I have for God.

But I can rejoice (and you can too) in that God hears our cries and saves us. He wraps His arms around us and comforts us. Verse 17 confirms His love:

17 The LORD is righteous in all his ways
and loving toward all he has made.

As our time of Lent comes to a close and we get to rejoice in the coming Easter, remember all that God has given us. He has sacrificed His most precious Son that we might have a relationship with Him.

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Mark 12:30-31

30 “‘And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ 31 The second is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.”

To me, this is basically the entire point of the Bible broken down into two scriptures. Get rid of the 10 Commandments. Forget about the scriptures in Leviticus. The begats don’t matter. If all Christians practiced these two commandments, the world would be a much better place. Consider how we would be obligated to behave as if we loved God with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength. Think about it–could we allow people to starve? to go without medical care? to have unsafe drinking water? to sleep knowing the bonuses the bank executives got? to watch someone lose a house? We haven’t even gotten to the second commandment and we are starting to squirm.

Aren’t we tasked with serving the least of our brothers?

Actually though, I think the second verse is potentially more damning. Love your neighbor as yourself? I’m guessing it isn’t the dysfunctional, self-deprecating, therapy-seeking, guilt-filled love that I’m still working on, eh? Didn’t think so. Projecting my lack of self-esteem onto some of the PTA moms who live in my neighborhood might be very therapeutic. I’m looking at YOU, Demers. I’m done with how put together you are, pulling up to the school in your nice, shiny car. If you don’t stop making the rest of us look so inadequate…okay, you can stop laughing, I can’t even type it with a straight face.

No, I’m guessing that isn’t the type of love I’m supposed to display. But I do think that God doesn’t want me gossiping about my neighbor. Or stealing from her. Or saying hateful things. I’m guessing I need to do everything I can to lift my neighbor up–to meet her needs, to make sure that she is able to shine in the best light.

Isn’t that what I want for myself?

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Matthew 6:24

24 “No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money.”

Now that I’ve changed the name on some of my images, my view count has dropped off significantly. Apparently sushi is a very popular search term and some of my images are particularly appetizing. Changing their names to “notAnInterestingImage.jpg” and “WhyDontYouReadMyBlog.jpg” aren’t as attractive search words. Go figure.

You should be reading this blog

SomethingGraphic. wordpress.com is the best blog ever!

Maybe this should be an image on every page.

I’ve just started taking a non-fiction writing class. You know what–everyone is a writer. And when I was talking at dinner about writing (AKA getting published) someone else said how they wanted to be published too. Seems you can’t throw a book without hitting a writer.

All day I am constantly torn between writing something that isn’t work related, doing work that actually pays and making sure that the kids receive the proper amount of love and affection. Not that The Boy wants love and affection–he just wants access to Comic Life. But The Girl and The Baby are still a little dependent on me. I know that won’t last forever, so I am really conflicted when The Baby cries, “I want my Mommy!” At the end of the day, I often feel that I haven’t satisfied any masters–my writing remains undone; my work doesn’t measure up; and the kids think their mother is attached to a computer 24/7.

When Jesus was speaking about money versus God, I don’t necessarily think he was actually referring to money. I think he’s talking about the material world and the spiritual world. You can’t live in both worlds. So how do I do this when I have to live in the material world. I can’t float through the world not worrying about money or work. I can’t roll around in the grass with the kids and plan that God will take care of me. I have to be in the material world.

I need to learn to live in a world as though I am a tourist. God wants me to enjoy this stay, but to realize that I’m NOT STAYING. If my focus is on what God wants for me, everything should fall into place. When I’m struggling with priorities I need to consider what is going to count in the long run.

Do I know the ultimate balance for all of this? Of course not! It’s 11pm and I’m writing. I have class tomorrow and I haven’t done my reading. But I’m trying.

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Psalm 4:8

8 In peace I will both lie down and sleep;
for you alone, O Lord, make me dwell in safety.

I imagine David making this musical arrangement complete with electric guitar, bass and keyboard. He probably had some backup singers to accompany him during the interludes. And a sax–you can’t forget the sax.

This psalm was written as a song–a celebration to God and in honor of his greatness.

At the same time, it is also a song for us, a song meant to give us comfort and remind us of the peace that God offers us.

I love watching The Baby sleep. She is so content, so unafraid. So unlike me. As adults, we realize that there are indeed, things that go bump in the night. There are scarier things than the monster under the bed. But The Baby doesn’t have anything inside her to fear. She knows that all her needs will be met. She sleeps the sleep of angels. The Boy and The Girl are getting older–they are losing some of that faith. They are learning to be afraid.

Maybe this is why Jesus tells us to have the faith of a child–a young child. Open, ready, accepting. If we had that kind of faith, we would realize that the Lord lets us dwell in safety.

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Hebrews 4:12

12 For the word of God is alive and powerful. It is sharper than the sharpest two-edged sword, cutting between soul and spirit, between joint and marrow. It exposes our innermost thoughts and desires.

I think this verse is meant to comfort me through all the entries I’ve made over the last 34 days. Some of the verses made me quite uncomfortable.  I feel like I either don’t have the knowledge to relate to the verse properly or I don’t agree with what the verse says. It does cut between my soul and spirit. I feel like there is a dilemma between my head and my heart. Does everything in the Bible still apply to today?

We were even talking about this in church on Sunday. The sermon was about how God had punished someone more severely than we would have expected. Basically, He killed them because they lied. Pretty severe, eh. So is that Bible story telling me that if I lie, God might strike me dead? You have to admit, there are some pretty conflicting stories that we have to wrestle with. It can challenge our faith–especially when those who are unchurched challenge us on specific Bible verses. I’ve found that interesting over the years–someone who isn’t a Christian picks out one verse from the Bible and says, “I can’t be a Christian because the Bible says ‘such and such.'”

As I’ve said in the past, I think that the Bible is like an onion. It has layers. His word is alive and powerful in all of us. I think as we deal with our fellow man, we need to be aware of how God wants us to represent him. Do we want to be like Westboro Baptist Church? Or someone full of hellfire and brimstone? Someone condemning or tolerant? What is our desire to show others who our God truly is?

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Philippians 2:3

3 Don’t be selfish; don’t try to impress others. Be humble, thinking of others as better than yourselves.

Paul and Timothy are writing to the Philippians, telling them how Jesus has both blessed their lives and what expectations Christ now has for these fellow Christians.

The chapter begin, “Is there any encouragement from belonging to Christ? Any comfort from his love? Any fellowship together in the Spirit? Are your hearts tender and compassionate? 2 Then make me truly happy by agreeing wholeheartedly with each other, loving one another, and working together with one mind and purpose.

Doesn’t that sound wonderful? Working together with one mind and purpose? Agreeing with each other? Lord, in my house, two people equal three opinions. Half the time, I don’t agree with myself. And RARELY do we agree wholeheartedly. More than likely, someone caught me at a weak moment and I didn’t have the chance to think things through all the way.

As for our key verse–how much nicer my house would be if we DID follow Philippians 2:3. Children are inherently selfish. We are just starting the two’s with The Baby and let me tell you, she knows ALL about possessions. Everything is her’s. What’s the joke? If it’s her’s, it’s her’s. If it’s your’s, it’s her’s. If she gave it to you and now wants it back, it’s her’s.

She still starts off cute enough. If you actually say “no” she will first look up with you with her big eyes and say, “Pwese….” If the possessor of the item doesn’t immediately relinquish the desired item, the high pitched scream results. It makes your ears bleed and causes dogs to cower under decks and beds. If, in your agony, you actually grab the desired item even tighter (out of uncontrollable muscle spasms) The Baby will then throw herself on the floor and begin to convulse. Once you can no longer stand the tears and thrashing and decide to actually give the item to The Baby she immediately stands up, kisses your cheek and says, “Tan-q,” without another thought. Oh, she really is that good.

On the other hand, The Baby is as good with sharing as she is with possessing. She can have food in her mouth and if you ask her for a bite, she will fish out the half chewed mass and hand it too you. One thing I love about this age is that she is exactly who she is. She hasn’t learned to act a certain way, or make people think she is a certain type of person. She is who she is. The Girl used to be that way, but once she turned 9 or ten, she suddenly started caring about what other people thought about her. Was she pretty enough? Smart enough? Did the pants make her butt look big (WHERE did she get that one?!) Suddenly, she wanted to impress people. The problem with that is, you start changing who you are in order to find favor in other people’s eyes.

As for humbleness–that is one of the hardest ideas to wrap my mind around. We are always trying to teach our children and give our children a strong sense of self. We want them to be confident that they can achieve whatever they put their minds to. So how to we also teach humbleness. I think it has to do with how they react to their accomplishments. Are they quiet in their confidence or do they need to let everyone know what they did?

We are not so different from our children. We want what we want when we want it. Our  temper tantrums look different than The Baby’s. We are sneakier and more subtle–employing the silent treatment and other underhanded methods. The portion we want to share is only what is left over after we’ve had our fill. I’m trying to teach my children that it isn’t a sacrifice if you aren’t giving something up–if you don’t give while left wanting. It is also a lesson I’m trying to learn myself.

Ultimately, we need to realize that we–and everyone around us– are constantly works in progress. Like our children, we are God’s children. And we have much to learn.

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