Friday, January 16, 2015

I'm a Bit Stressed

"Let the beloved of the LORD rest secure in him, for he shields him all day long, and the one the LORD loves rests between his shoulders." Deuteronomy 33:12

I confess: I'm a worrier. I didn't used to be but, every year, I get worse.

The washer's making a strange sound - what if it breaks?
I haven't talked to my sister in a week. I hope she's alright.
Do we have enough to retire?
If we do retire, can I stand having my sweet husband home all day, every day?

So, I'm stressed. About silly things. Things I can't change. Things that have a one-in-a-million chance of actually happening.

Can you relate? 

Instead of focusing on the unknowns of tomorrow, we can find peace in the beautiful words in Deuteronomy 33:12

  • Beloved 
  • Rest 
  • Secure 
  • Shield 
We are the Lord's beloved, we can rest in Him - we don't have to be anxious or worried.
We can be secure in Him - He is in control. He's never caught off guard. 
He shields us all day long - every day. He knows what's coming. The silly worries or the serious struggles. He's there.

Next time stress creeps in, rest.

How does the Lord bring rest to your worries?

Tuesday, January 13, 2015


Satisfy us in the morning with your unfailing love, that we may sing for joy and be glad all our days. Psalm 90:14

I always set goals at the beginning of a year. Or I should say, God and I set goals.

As I read Psalm 90 this morning, God brought my eyes to the word satisfy.

Satisfy us with your unfailing love. What would my life be like if being satisfied with God's love was my only goal?

  • I'd love to be with Him.
  • I'd hear His voice more clearly because my mind wouldn't be cluttered with all the things I think I need to be satisfied.
  • I'd serve Him with excitement instead of looking around to see who's watching.

In the morning, no less! Not later in the day when I get around to it. Not when I have nothing better to do. But in the morning. First thing. Not in March when I give up on my own goals. But begin January with Him. Every day, every month, every year.

  • First in my thoughts. 
  • First in my plans.
  • First in my heart.

The rest of the verse describes my life, if my goal is to be satisfied in God alone

I will sing with joy. No griping. No moping (I'm a big moper).No complaining. No pity parties. Just joy.

And my days? What would they be like?

Glad! When was the last time I was glad, happy, excited...


When was the last time God was my all-in-all?

God's message to us is: Be satisfied in Me and all your other goals will be fulfilled.

Now that I think of it, that sounds familiar.

But seek his kingdom, and these things will be given to you as well. Luke 12:31

How can being satisfied in God bring you joy?

Photo credit: MGDbostonslowfoot

Friday, January 9, 2015

5 Keys of F.A.I.T.H

I took this amazing picture the Saturday before Thanksgiving at the Midland, TX, airport.

Roses blooming in the ice.

They're determined, aren't they?
The world around them is frozen.


          Still, they bloom.

We all experience winter. We walk in a hostile world.

How can we bloom when our lives feel frozen?

Find protection in your F...A...I...T...H

Fellowship: Friends insulate you from the cold. Hugs block the wind. 
Words of encouragement soothe you like a sip of hot chocolate.
Prayers surround you like a warm blanket.
Snuggle up!

Therefore, encourage one another and build each other up. 1 Thessalonians 5:11

Armor: It 's ten degrees outside -  you wouldn't think of going
anywhere without your coat...and cap...and scarf...and mittens.
Nothing keeps you warm like the belt of truth, the breastplate of
righteousness, the shield of faith, the helmet of salvation.
Dress to fight the cold!

Finally, be strong in the Lord and in His mighty power. Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil's schemes. Ephesians 6:10-11

Identity: Stand firm in your identity in Christ. 
You are hidden in Christ.
You are inhabited by the Holy Spirit.
The cold cannot penetrate you.
A chill cannot move into your soul.
You are protected from without and sealed from within.

For you did not receive a spirit that makes you a slave again to fear, but you received the Spirit of sonship. And by him we cry, "Abba Father." Romans 8:15

Thankfulness: Say what? It's hard to be thankful when you're shivering.
Remember the times you could feel God's presence. Trust that the
Lord of the spring and summer is alive and active in the winter.
His presence wraps around you like a soft cloak.

The Lord is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in him, and I am helped. My heart leaps for joy and I will give thanks to him in song. 
Psalm 28:7

Hope: total confidence in God's character. He is faithful.
He is power. He is truth.
He is the flame that glows within you.
Comfort flows from trusting Him.

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. 
Romans 15:13

With FAITH, you will bloom in the ice!

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Put God Inbetween

Put God between you and your foe. Streams in the Desert, January 5

A couple years ago, a friend and I went to one of my favorite places, the zoo. We were oohing and ahhing over a baby elephant when someone's cell phone rang. What happened next was beautiful. Three elephants ran over and surrounded the startled baby. This memory came to mind when I read my devotion yesterday morning.

The adult elephants put themselves between the baby and the danger.

When something frightening enters our world, how does God respond?

When troubles loom, will He surround me and protect me? Will He stand guard between me and the problem to prevent it from harming me? All my life experience tells me that, although He might intervene, the vast majority of the time He allows the situation to occur.

Then what does this sentence mean: Put God between you and your foe?

The key is in this question: who or what is our foe?
  • Is my empty bank account my foe?
  • What about your sick child – is the illness your foe?
  • A broken down car?
  • A struggling marriage?
Are these situations our foes? Are our circumstances our enemies? The answer is found in Philippians 4:7

And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:7

The peace of God…will guard our hearts and minds.

In any situation, our enemies are the things that attack our hearts and minds.
  • Fear
  • Hopelessness
  • Despair
  • Anger
  • Bitterness
  • Helplessness
We can call on God to stand between us and the foes that assault us. His peace, promises, and power surround our hearts and protect us from the enemies that try to weaken our faith and trust.

Our Father promises that, when we call on Him, He will come.

He won’t hear and just stand by.

He won’t ignore us.

He will COME.

My help comes from the LORD, the Maker of heaven and earth. Psalm 121:2

Are you facing enemies in your heart and mind? Call upon the Lord!

When have you called the Lord to bring His peace to surround your heart?

Photo credit: Kenn W Kiser via

Friday, January 2, 2015

Can I Have a Word?

But as for you, continue in what you have learned. 2 Timothy 3:14

I don’t do New Year’s resolutions, I do words.

Or, I should say, one word.

Beginning several weeks before New Year’s Day, I ask God what He wants me to learn in the coming year. That’s a dangerous question. The conversation goes something like this:

Lord, what word do I need to focus on this year? Hmm…I don’t like that word. That’s too hard and I might actually have to change. Yes, I know You’re the Boss. How about Chocolate? That’s a good word. No? Well, OK. We’ll go with Your word.”

These are my words for the past few years: 
  • 2012 – Contentment
  • 2013 – Contentment (I’m stubborn)
  • 2014 – Discipline

So here we are at 2015. God chose the word and I eventually gave in.

The word (drum roll, please) – Intentional

Yes, Intentional.

Merriam-Webster dictionary defines it as “done in a way that is planned.”
On purpose, deliberate. Determined to follow God's plan.

I've spent the past three years learning about choices.
I have to choose to be content. I have to choose to be disciplined.

I have to be intentional.

Contentment can be drowned out by the noise of a difficult day.

Discipline can hide behind a thousand excuses.

I have to be intentional in my attitudes and actions to follow His guidance and to be obedient.

So, in 2015, I will work on being intentional.

I will choose to be content. I’ll intentionally focus on the blessings God gives me each day.

I will choose to be disciplined. I’ll intentionally ask for God’s guidance and for the desire to follow Him.

One hour at a time; one day at a time.
  • Intentional to worship Him and be quiet before Him.
  • Intentional to rest when He calls me to rest.
  • Intentional to love my family.
  • Intentional to write when He gives me words.
  • Intentional to meet the goals He sets before me.

I have to choose to be Intentional.

It might take me all year – maybe next year too!

Spend time with God and ask Him what to focus on in 2015.
Can it be summed up in a word?

 If you have a focus and would like a free picture or graphic to represent that word or short phrase, contact Traci Michele