e-book Running the Race with God: 366 Inspiring Daily Devotionals for Victorious Christian Living

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She left as a frightened and unsure teenager, and came home a blessed and trusting young woman. God had used Elizabeth in her life. And, the mutual encounter had been by divine appointment.

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Has He strategically placed you together with someone He wants to bless? Perhaps He has placed you with someone in unusual, but similar, circumstances? Look beyond your own age group. Rejoice that God engineers such encounters for you. He is the same God who arranged the blessing and strengthening of two of His choice servants. He can do the same for you! To me, praise and worship stem from a mindset that understands to Whom we belong and also understands His greatness and power.

We worship because God is worthy of our worship.

And, we praise Him for His attributes and those universal benefits we receive from His magnificent grace and power. To give thanks, however, brings praise to a personal level. Has your heart ever felt cold and indifferent when you came to God in prayer? Certainly none of us can claim that we always come to God with the totality of our heart, mind, soul, and strength, even though He requires that of us.

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May I suggest that, when you feel distant from your Lord, you consider beginning your prayer time with a round of thanksgiving. This idea has come to me through two passages of scripture. The first comes from Romans Here the writer describes the wrath of God against wickedness, and the steps to the decline of evil in a person. The very first step downward in this list of sins is a lack of thanksgiving. Romans As you read the rest of the first chapter o Romans, you recognize with me that the sin only gets darker and deeper. You can find the other passage in which I read this kind of progression in Psalm From there on, the list includes: rebellion, discontent, jealousy, idolatry, unbelief, apostasy, insurrection, and accommodation to the culture around them.

This represents quite a list of terrible sins. But, please take note that not remembering the Lord and His goodness with thanksgiving first started them down the wrong path. During this Thanksgiving week, I invite you to rediscover with me the wonderful way in which giving thanks provides the key that opens the gate, allows us to come into the very presence of our Lord, and allows us to experience anew His sweet Spirit.

Recently I received a thank-you note from a young bride for whose wedding I played the organ.

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She commented that everyone kept saying what a dramatic entrance she had made at the wedding. I did nothing out of the ordinary for her, because I always prepare the bridal professional with a fanfare and loud flourishes.

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Her note has me thinking about the great Wedding of the Lamb mentioned in Revelation , which I quoted at the beginning of this blog post. Many times in Scripture, the Bride is regarded as the church prepared for her groom, Christ Himself. Such a fuss over the bride!

It would seem that with Christ as the groom, the focus should be on Him. Yet here Scripture says that she has made herself ready in fine linen, bright and clean. Nothing is spoken of the Groom. Psalm 45 is a wedding song. In verse 15, the bride is described as wearing gold and embroidered garments. She and her companions are:. Something of the symbolism of Christ and His church has been lost in modern wedding ceremonies.

In fact, like in the wedding ceremony I referred to earlier, there was neither prayer nor mention of Christ. No wonder this young bride was a bit surprised at her role in the wedding drama. Oh yes, the money and time and dreaming that young girls spend on that perfect dress still exists, but the real meaning of such a dress has been lost. Recently I read of the Greek Orthodox tradition of crowns in their wedding ceremony. After the marriage ceremony, the crowns are typically displayed in a case above the bed as a constant reminder of the holy state of marriage.

The Apostle Paul also speaks of this symbolism in his letter found in Ephesians Yes, Christ has chosen to put the emphasis on the Bride.

He chose her, bought her with His own blood, brought her to a relationship with Himself, and waits to present her to the Heavenly Hosts and all creation. I wonder what the music will sound like when we are presented to Him in the Heavenly Kingdom? Will it be dramatic?

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I would imagine it will!! Yes, I rushed right by it without thinking. This word has caused many Christians to scratch their heads and just move on to more understandable English text. The interlude, in music, creates a space between other things, like acts in an opera. In church music, the interlude gives worshipers the opportunity to pray and settle their thinking between other elements of a worship service.

I like to think of it as the instrumental music between sung hymns or anthems. Some have found value in a once-a-year retreat alone where she can spend the entire time focusing on God to nourish the soul. I purposefully allow extra time to consider what God is saying about this new page of life. I think we bring pleasure to God when we take the time to be thankful, or to turn over a new leaf, or to listen to Him instead of hurrying before Him and making requests.

What a beautiful way to grow in our understanding and appreciation of all that God is and wants of us!

Running the Race with God: 366 Inspiring Daily Devotionals for Victorious Christian Living

I admire Abraham. Scripture does tell us in Genesis 12, that God called him and told him to leave his country, his people and his family and go to a land God would reveal. He was seventy-five years old, established in Haran with a large accumulation of possessions. From the day he left Haran, he never had a permanent home again. We all crave stability and the comfort of home. Yes, I admire Abraham.


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He obeyed God and set out in faith, not knowing where he was going. He did not have the provision of the Scriptures we have, the richness of the Psalms to encourage him, the stories of other heroes of faith we see in Hebrews God commended him for good reason. Moses, probably also an old man, penned Psalm 90 which begins:. Even if we have a sense of home and stability in our lives, we must remember that God never meant us to completely settle here.

I may lose, and lose, and lose—people, place, position, possessions, but not my portion. We tend to take our comfort, our joy, our stability, our sense of well-being and balance from these things. Back in , a study called the Holmes-Rahe Life Stress Inventory identified the top ten stressors they found. The list included:.

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The human race has never been without stress. Stress and loss pretty much sum up the human condition under the rule of sin. Why does God allow this to happen? I would purport God uses such losses to drive us to Him alone. He wants to be our portion; that which we feed upon, that which gives us nourishment and delights us. He who fed the Israelites in the wilderness for forty years on manna can feed us with everything we need. Yes, the manna gave these people a temporary provision while they waited to taste the full bounty of the Promised Land, but he gave them enough as recorded in Exodus From this we see our need to learn contentment and rejoice in the portion God gives us.

Whether your portion today is a wafer of manna or a feast of the finest foods, praise God that HE is your portion and HE is enough. This phrase came to mind last summer when I spent an evening with my graduating class for our 50th high school reunion. We have just come way too far. Or, we look back to see how drastically different we lived without Christ in our youth to our days of walking with Him faithfully now.