Blog

Unspeakable Joy Devotional

December 31st

IMG_5306

Six things I Learned In 2019. First, I learned that I could post a devotional every single day in 2019-that’s 365! I was able to read and study God’s Word even during illness, travel, surgery, barrel racing and a list of other excuses. I literally thought I would not make it past the first month. I’m not a writer, a pastor, a teacher, a student…..and what do I know about the Bible better than anyone else? Remember what Moses said to the Lord…. “O my Lord, I am not eloquent, neither heretofore, nor since thou hast spoken unto thy servant: but I am slow of speech, and of a slow tongue. And the Lord said unto him, Who hath made man’s mouth? Or who maketh the dumb, or deaf, or the seeing, or the blind? Have not I the Lord?” Exodus 4:10-11. Moses wasn’t the only one who doubted God’s call. Many who were chosen to do hard things questioned the Lord, argued with Him, and even ran away.

Second, I learned that I can carry out any task given to me by the Lord. I have to look past what I feel are obstacles and trust in the Lord. It’s easy to step up to God’s calling when the task is easy. But when the Lord draws us out of our comfort zones that is when we wrestle with His assignment. He will always equip us with whatever is needed to carry out His divine purpose. 2 Corinthians 12:9 “And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.”

Third, I learned that just because I read and study God’s Word every day and spend time with Him, life won’t be easy. This past year hasn’t been easy in some areas of my life. And like a lot of you, I have had to cope the loss of friends and family members. Even the loss of a beloved pet. The truth is we can’t know all the reasons why God allows bad things to happen. We live in a world that is marred by sin, so difficulties and disappointments are bound to cross our path. Ask God for discernment to begin to understand why He allowed something to occur. Jeremiah 29:11 “For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the Lord, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end.”

Fourth, I learned that social media can be a dark place and a thief of joy. Social media can be an emotional roller coaster, making us feel terrible. It can make us envious of a friend’s vacation, car, family gadget, or work opportunity; hopeless and angry about the state of the world; or depressed about ourselves. God uniquely fashioned each one of us. Negatively comparing yourself to another person truly is a thief of joy. If you find yourself doing this and being less joyful, then trade the time scrolling for using the gifts God has given you. Stop wishing you were more like someone else. Proverbs 14:30 “A sound heart is the life of the flesh: but envy the rottenness of the bones.” When we are envious, we become discontent and maybe even resentful. It can cause us to dwell on what we do not have instead of what we do.

I also learned that I worry too much about things I can’t control. Guilty again. I cannot scroll through my feeds without daily seeing the face of a missing teenager yet another political outrage, or a young child struggling with some type of horrible illness. Even after stopping to pray, I still feel burdened by what other people are facing. It is not bad to feel burdened, but social media can show us more than we are meant to process.

Fifth, I learned that the Lord calls us all to different types of ministries with different numbers of people. I have to be reminded from time to time that we cannot all be Billy Graham. But if we even bring one soul to salvation, isn’t that worth it? Remembering that point can help us maintain perspective and sustain our joy.

Sixth, I learned the more I read and study God’s Word the more I feel a personal connection to God and He reveals so much to me through His Word. This year the one that sticks out the most is the wise men were not there on the night of Jesus’ birth as manger scenes, Christmas cards and songs depict. It is believed that Jesus may have been close to 2 years old. So Jesus was not necessarily a baby. Therefore Jesus was not in the manger when the wise men met him. Matthew 2:10-11 states that the wise men came into the house: “When they saw the star, they rejoiced with exceeding great joy. And when they were come into the house, they saw the young child with Mary his mother, and fell down, and worshipped him: and when they had opened their treasures, they presented unto him gifts; gold, and frankincense and myrrh.”

I challenge you to write down the things that you learned in 2019. As you being to think about what your New Year’s resolutions might be-losing weight, getting organized, exercising more, eating healthier, and managing finances better-what about making spiritual New Year’s resolutions?

If we want to be successful with our New Year’s resolutions we must seek God’s will. What does God want for our lives? When he convicts, he also equips us to follow through with the plan and have the strength to stick to it.

One resolution I am making is to take a break from social media. I will be turning off the Facebook app on my phone. I will make a point to speak to people more face to face and spend more time outside enjoying God’s creation. I hope to rekindle and grow my joy. I will keep the Messenger app, where I can be contacted.

I pray that no matter what you or I do this next year, but that in all things we glorify and honor Him. Colossians 3:17 “And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks go God and the Father by him.”

I pray that the New Year is full of great things for each one of you reading this last devotional of 2019. Isaiah 40:31 “But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.”

Give the New Year 2020 your best! And may the Lord renew your strength as you serve Him!

Unspeakable Joy Devotional

December 30th

IMG_5291

A Fresh Beginning. Isaiah 43:19 “Behold, I will do a new thing; now it shall spring forth; shall ye not know it? I will even make a way in the wilderness, and rivers in the desert.”

Every January, millions of people begin their year with New Year’s resolutions. Losing weight, getting organized, exercising more, eating healthier, and managing finances better are some of the most common resolutions. But what about making spiritual New Year’s resolutions?

We make commitments and tell our friends and family on January 1st, only to give it all up by January 3rd. But as humans, our struggles for consistency goes way beyond resolutions. Making commitments we can’t keep runs all through society, back to Biblical times. In the Bible, James spoke of some people who can teach us a valuable lesson about great intentions that aren’t aligned with God’s will:

“Go to now, ye that say, to day or to morrow we will go into such a city, and continue there a year, and buy and sell, and get gain: whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapour, that apparently for a little time, and then vanisheth away. For that ye ought to say, if the Lord will, we shall live, and do this, or that. But now ye rejoice in your boastings: all such rejoicing is evil. Therefore to him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin.” James 4:13-17

Our plans may or may not be God’s plans. If we want to be successful with any New Year’s resolution, we must seek God’s will. By His strength we might lose weight, eat better, or become better stewards of our finances. What does God want for our lives? When he convicts, he also equips us to follow through with the plan. When we know we are following God’s plan, then we have more strength to stick to it, allowing Him to work well beyond our normal January 3rd quitting date.

James 5:7-8 “Be patient therefore, brethren, unto the coming of the Lord. Behold, the husbandman waiteth for the precious fruit of the earth, and hath long patience for it, until he receive the early and latter rain. Be ye also patient; stablish your hearts: for the coming of the Lord draweth nigh.”

The farmer waits patiently for the Lord to bring the growth but it doesn’t mean he sits on his porch doing nothing. The farmer works hard work watering and weeding, repairing equipment, and completing all of the daily chores. When a farmer does what a farmer is supposed to do, God is able to do the things that only He can do. It’s not easy being patient.

God would be honored if we made spiritual resolutions. Read the Bible, get involved in ministry at church, share our faith with friends, make a step of faith that is too big that only God can make it happen. Resolve to represent Him no matter what the cost.

Life is not always easy. Following through on simple commitments can even be difficult when bombarded by every day affairs. In addition, the attack of the evil one will challenge us at every turn. Acts 20:32 “And now brethren, I commend you to God, and to the word of his grace, which is able to build you up, and go give you an inheritance among all them which are sanctified.”

What spiritual New Year’s resolutions will you make in 2020?

Unspeakable Joy Devotional

December 29th

IMG_5289

Get The Power To Go After Your Goals. Proverbs 16:9 says “A man’s heart deviseth his way: but the Lord directeth his steps.”

You get to plan the way you want to live, but only God gives you the power and energy to actually experience transformation. Why? Because God provides the three things you must have to reach your goal and change your life.

You need God’s Spirit to empower you. You need God’s help to make changes you can’t make on your own. It’s not based on willpower. It’s based on God’s power. It’s not based on trying. It’s based on trusting. Zechariah 4:6 says, “Then he answered and spake unto me, saying, this is the word of the Lord unto Zerubbabel, saying, not by might, nor by power, but by my spirit, saith the Lord of hosts.”

You need God’s Word to guide you. The Bible is the owner’s manual for life. The more you read it, study it, memorize it, and meditate on it, the more successful and fulfilled you’re going to be in life.

When Joshua was given the great dream of taking over the Promised Land-a goal that would take him the rest of his life-God spoke these words to him: “This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success.” Joshua 1:8

You need God’s people to support you. You will not be able to reach your goals on your own. It takes a team to fulfill a dream!

A crowd can’t support you, but a small group can. The people in your small group know when you’re sick, when you’re having a tough time, when you need a break. You can share your goals and successes and failures, and they will rejoice with you and encourage you to keep going. You’re going to need that when you make the right kind of goals and pursue them wholeheartedly. (R Warren)

Ecclesiates 4:12 says, “And if one prevail against him, two shall withstand him; and a threefold cord is not quickly broken.”

Dear Lord, thank you for today.  Thank you for the inspiration you give me to dream and to set goals for myself.  I submit each and every goal to you.  May my goals reflect your will for my life and may they glorify you.  I pray for others who have goals and dreams that they desire to see happen.  May you also equip them to reach those precious desires.  Fill us with your awesome purpose in Jesus name AMEN!

Unspeakable Joy Devotional

December 28th

 

IMG_5284

It’s Just Another New Year. While listening to the radio I heard Barry Manilow sing a song I had not heard before. It was “It’s Just Another New Year’s Eve.” Immediately my spirit questioned that statement. You see, in just a few days it will be New Year’s Day. Perhaps there are many people who look at each year as “just another year.” Not me.

It is good to look back at the previous year to see the many experiences, good and bad, we have faced. We must believe they are stepping stones in our lives that help us grow. Certainly, it is important for us to learn from our past and to incorporate the wisdom we have obtained to help us in the future. No matter the situation, the Lord is with us. He will lead and guide us as we seek Him. Isaiah 59:11 teaches us “We roar all like bears, and mourn sore like doves: we look for judgment, but there is none; for salvation, but it is far off from us.”

Now as we look into the New Year we can look with fresh eyes filled with faith, trust, and hope. Psalm 39:7 states “And now, Lord, what wait I for? My hope is in thee.” Also the Word says in Psalm 25:5 “Lead me in thy trust, and teach me: for thou art the God of my salvation; on thee do I wait all the day.”

Barry Manilow may feel that New Year is just another day or each New Year is the same as the previous one, but our thoughts should be of expectation for what the Lord has for us. Whether it is a need for a better job, increase in finances, healing in our bodies, salvation of loved ones, a new home or car, or whatever your need may be.

Like myself, maybe you have cried out the Lord for help and then heard His words “Who have you blessed lately?” This is a clear message for me to give to others even with my lack so I too could be blessed. It’s a kingdom principle to give and it will be given to you. Luke 6:38 “Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom. For with the same measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured to you again.”

Our lives will be full of blessings in the New Year as we trust God, share His love with those around us, and walk into each new day with great confidence of God’s faithfulness. Lamentations 3:22-23 “It is of the Lord’s mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not. They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness.” (M Noebel)

 

 

 

Unspeakable Joy Devotional

December 27th

IMG_5283

Prayer For A New Year.

Our Father and our God, as we stand at the beginning of this new year we confess our need of Your presence and Your guidance as we face the future.

We each have our hopes and expectations for the year that is ahead of us-but You alone know what it holds for us, and only You can give us the strength and the wisdom we will need to meet its challenges. So help us to humbly put our hands into Your hand, and to trust You and to seek Your will for our lives during this coming year.

In the midst of life’s uncertainties in the days ahead, assure us of the certainty of Your unchanging love.

In the midst of life’s inevitable disappointments and heartaches, help us to turn to You for the stability and comfort we will need.

In the midst of life’s temptations and the pull of our stubborn self-will, help us not to lose our way but to have the courage to do what is right in Your sight, regardless of the cost.

And in the midst of our daily preoccupations and pursuits, open our eyes to the sorrows and injustices of our hurting world, and help to respond with compassion and sacrifice to those who are friendless and in need. May our constant prayer be that of the ancient Psalmist: “Teach me, O Lord, to follow your decrees; then I will keep them to the end.” Psalm 119:33

We pray for our nation and its leaders during these difficult times, and for all those who are seeking to bring peace and justice to our dangerous and troubled world. We pray especially for Your protection on all those who serve in our armed forces, and we thank You for their commitment to defend our freedoms, even at the cost of their own lives. Be with their families also, and assure them of Your love and concern for them.

Bring our divided nation together, and give us a greater vision of what You would have us to be. Your world reminds us that “Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord.” Psalm 33:12

As we look back over this past year we thank You for Your goodness to us-far beyond what we have deserved. May we never presume on Your past goodness or forget all Your mercies to us, but may they instead lead us to repentance, and to a new commitment to make You the foundation and center of our lives this year.

And so, our Father, we thank You for the promise and hope of this new year, and we look forward to it with expectancy and faith. This I ask in the name of our Lord and Savior, who by His death and resurrection has given us hope both for this world and the world to come. Amen. (Graham)

Unspeakable Joy Devotional

December 26th

IMG_5268

Trust His Timing. Psalm 31:15 “My times are in thy hand: deliver me from the hand of mine enemies, and from them that persecute me.”

One thing I’ve learned is that God doesn’t always work on our timetable. In fact, He rarely does. But in a single moment, God can change your life! All throughout Scripture, we see examples of how God was working behind the scenes and instantly turned things around for His people. Scripture tells us He is the same yesterday, today and forever, which means if He did it for them, He can instantly turn things around for you, too!

You may be going through some difficulty today, but be encouraged because your times are in God’s hands, Trust that He has your best interest at heart. He wants to pour out His favor. He wants to take you further than you dreamed possible and work in your life in ways beyond what you have ever imagined. And while you’re waiting, don’t try to figure everything out. That’s only going to frustrate you.

Let this truth sink down into your heart today. Resist discouragement by speaking His Word over your future. Keep standing, keep hoping and keep believing because He is working behind the scenes. Have faith because your times are in His hands, and He will lead you in the life of victory He has for you!

Father, today I humbly come before You giving You all that I am. I trust that my times are in Your hands. I trust that You are working things out in my favor. I set my focus on You knowing that You are working things out for my good in Jesus’ name. Amen. (Osteen)

Unspeakable Joy Devotional

December 25th

IMG_5176

What Do You Expect? Habakkuk 1:5 “Behold ye among the heathen, and regard, and wonder marvelously: for I will work a work in your days which ye will not believe, though it be told you.”

Let’s worship the God who still does wonders. He has not stopped working. He still has plans. As we look to the New Year, let our prayers be the same as Habakkuk 3:2 which says: “O Lord, I have heard thy speech, and was afraid: O Lord, revive thy work in the midst of the years, in the midst of the years make known; in wrath remember mercy.”

Don’t limit God to what He has done in the past, he delights to do new things. This year, except Him to. In Isaiah 43:18-21, He tells us: “Remember ye not the former things, neither consider the things of old. Behold, I will do a new thing: now it shall spring forth; shall ye not know it? I will even make a way in the wilderness, and rivers in the desert. The beast of the field shall honour me, the dragons and the owls: because I give waters in the wilderness, and rivers in the desert, to give drink to my people, my chosen. This people have I formed for myself; they shall shew forth my praise.”

Did you get that? He formed you for Himself so you may praise Him! Oh, put the past behind you and walk with Him. If you’ve been walking in a weary place, let Him lead you beside still waters. If your way has been rocky, let Him make the rough places smooth. If this past year has been one of your most blessed, don’t think He’s run out of good gifts! Lay the New Year before Him and say, “Not my will, but Thine.”

Matthew 6:9-12 “After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven, hallowed by thy name. Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.” Pray the Lord’s Prayer aloud, meaning every word. Ask the Lord to let His will be done on earth and in your life. Ask Him to meet your needs this New Year and to protect you and your family from temptation and to deliver you through trials. Thank Him for His faithfulness and praise Him for the wonderful works He’s done, as well as those He’s yet to do.