God Knows How the Chaos Will End

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S – Exodus 3:18-22

O – God was calling Moses to go and rescue his people who were in slavery in Egypt. In these verses, God tells Moses everything that will happen from Pharaoh not listening to him to the people giving them their gold and silver. God already knows everything that’s going to happen. He knows EVERYTHING.

A – God already knows everything that will happen in my life. In the United States. In the world. In our son’s life. He knows the end from the beginning. Does this mean we are robots and have no choice, that God just does what He wants?

No, it means God knows what will happen because He’s Sovereign and He’s all-knowing. He knows what choices we will make.

That’s how well He knows us. I’m free to choose but God knows me so well, He knows what I’ll choose. That’s amazing! He knew in advance every sin I would commit. Every act of selfishness, every moment of pride, every bit of apathy, every weakness and jealousy yet He still chose me! He still loved me! Jesus still died for me. My brain cannot grasp that. He also knows everything that’s going to happen in this country. He’s not surprised by all the chaos and hate. He knew this would happen and He’s already there to pick us up. We can give Him our complete and total trust and accept His perfect peace. As He said to Moses, “But I know…”, He also says to us, “But I know…”

Our part is to keep on trusting and fix our eyes on Jesus.

P – Father, I know you have us in your hands. I believe you already know all that will  happen and you’re already there to carry us through. You already have a plan. You already have the answers to prayer in motion before we pray! You’re so great, our minds just cannot grasp the truth! Please increase my faith. Help me to walk in peace and truth. I trust you LORD. My heart rests in You.

He’s Already There

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One Last Tear

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My mom’s breath began to slow. It was 10 seconds between breaths, then 20, and then 30. There was one last breath. I realized that the first sound I heard on this earth, my mom’s heartbeat, was about to stop. Sobbing, my two sisters and I clung to our mom as a tear rolled down her cheek. Then her spirit was gone. In an instant, her body became an empty shell. As I gripped her hand, it became as lifeless as an empty glove.

One last tear was shed.

Did she cry for her daughters who were hurting? Did she cry at having to say goodbye? Maybe it was a happy tear as the veil was torn away and she saw glory. My sisters and I believe she shed a tear for us. She loved us well and with all her heart. In that moment, it was clear that this body we live in is just temporary housing. When her spirit left, the body was just an empty tent left behind. She wasn’t there anymore.

It had been a difficult ten weeks. From the time my mom first fell and broke her hip and then faced one setback after another. She finally was put on hospice and we sat by her side for a week as her body slowly weakened. Here are some thoughts I meditated on as I sat by her side:

Dying is hard.

Regret is devastating.

Moments are fleeting.

Opportunities pass.

There’s a last time for everything on earth.

Seize the moment.

Love well.

Make eye contact while you can.

Say I love you often.

A person’s tent is just that – a tent not the person.

Jesus conquered death.

Hug while you can.

Grief will not be rushed.

Grief stops time.

Rushing doesn’t improve life.

Trust requires patience.

Trust is shown in a gentle and quiet spirit.

Waiting patiently requires us to stop and be quiet.

Faith is the evidence of things NOT seen. It’s trusting without seeing.

I wrote this as I sat with her that morning:

This is probably the last time I will hold my mama’s hand.

Let me hold your hand one more time.

Feel your touch.

See your face.

I will always love you.

Always have you in my heart.

You’re my mom.

My dear heart.

You loved me fiercely and were always glad to see me.

“Hi sweetheart!”

“Hi Darlin!”

“Love you so much.”

These will echo in my mind.

Soon Mama, you will never have another pain.

Never be lonely again.

You will know everlasting joy and see the face of Jesus!

Strong, stoic, hardworking, determined,

Giving, generous.

Loved by many.

She loved us with a fierce love.

She was so proud of her girls.

She is with Jesus.

Singing, rejoicing and praising.

Free from suffering, pain and loneliness.

Free of guilt, hurt and sorrow.

Life is a mist, a vapor,

a puff of smoke,

a flower that blooms in the morning and dies at night.

Live purposefully.

Live intentionally.

Walk with Jesus.

Follow His voice.

Simplify, listen and just follow.

“As for man, his days are like grass; he flourishes like a flower of the field; for the wind passes over it, and it is gone, and its place knows it no more.” Psalm 103:15-16 (ESV)

“What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes.” James 4:14b (ESV)

“’O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?’ The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.” 1 Corinthians 15:55-57 (ESV)

I originally published this at Internet Cafe Devotions

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Never Thirsty Again

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S – “But whoever drinks of the water that I will give him will never be thirsty again. The water I will give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” John 4:14 (ESV)

O – Jesus said that whoever drinks His water will NEVER be thirsty again. Once we believe in  Him and receive His salvation, we are His forever. He said I will never be thirsty again. I can never lose eternal life once He has granted it. His Spirit lives in me forever..

A/P – Thank you Jesus that I am yours forever! I will never be thirsty again. I will never again be lost in need of salvation. Your promise is true and I believe it. Please use me Lord to share you truth with others.

Check out the new reading plan for SOAP 2017!  (A plan to read through the Bible in 2017)

 

 

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Walk With God

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S –   “Enoch walked with God, and was not, for God took him.”  Genesis 5:24

By faith Enoch was taken up so that he should not see death, and he was not found, because God had taken him. Now before he was taken he was commended as having pleased God.” Hebrews 11:5

“…Noah walked with God.” Genesis 6:9b  “But Noah found favor in the eyes of the LORD.” v. 8

O – Both Noah and Enoch “walked with God” and both found favor in His eyes. God was pleased with them. Why? Because they walked with Him. They fellowshipped with Him. They had a relationship with God. Their faith pleased God.

A – Am I walking with God? Yes, I believe in Him, I believe His word, I know He is real, and my heart belongs to Him. But do I walk with Him or do I go my merry way? Do I do what is convenient, easy or fits my mood or do I follow the leading of His Spirit even if it is inconvenient, painful or requires sacrifice?

Walk with. Follow. He leads. I walk with Him but I turn when He turns. I stop when He stops. He sets the pace.

P – Jesus, I want to follow you this way. I want to turn from setting my own pace and stopping when I want. Dear Spirit, help me yield. Help me listen and follow.

My word for 2017: FOLLOW

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Fiction That Gives Hope

Jennifer Slattery writes fiction that’s entertaining and keeps me turning the pages but at the same time manages to teach me about God’s grace and challenges me to reach out to those around me who are hurting.

    Restoring Love is a follow-up to Jennifer’s first novel, Beyond I Do. Restoring Love shows us what happens to Ainsley’s mom, Angela several years after the events in the first book. Angela is a woman who has made lots of mistakes in her life and had stopped believing her own life could be redeemed until she sees the grace and forgiveness her daughter shows her. As Angela moves on to find a new start, God opens doors for her to show that same grace to Bianca, a struggling mom who lives across the street. With her husband in jail, a rebellious teenage daughter and two challenging young sons, her life is in crisis.

Will Angela be able to give Bianca the same kind of help she herself once desperately needed? And what about Mitch? Why has God allowed this man into her life? Why would any decent man be interested in her ever again? With her history of promiscuity, abortion and manipulation of others, she feels unworthy of love. This story makes me wonder how many people around me are hurting in ways I can’t imagine and who around me needs a word of encouragement or for someone to be willing to give sacrificially. Restoring Love is a love story, a redemption story, a story of hope, a challenge to forgive and a picture of what Jesus meant when He said others would know His followers by their love.

If you want a book that goes beyond being escapist fiction and has the potential to change lives, I highly recommend Restoring Love.

And don’t forget to read Ainsley’s story in Beyond I Do!

Find more about Jennifer Slattery and her other books here:

Jennifer Slattery Lives Out Loud

Jennifer on Amazon

 

 

 

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First Christmas in Heaven

I wrote this when my father-in-law spent his first Christmas in heaven in 2007. Today my mom will spend her first Christmas there. I miss her and wish I could just have one small glimpse of her joy.

I love you mom!

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Christmas in heaven.

Can you imagine?

Not just celebrating the babe in the manger,

but falling at the feet of the King of Kings.

 

Not just viewing dozens of Crèches

made of every conceivable material

but being in the presence of the Holy One,

Immanuel,

Jesus Christ Lord of Lords,

The Great I AM!

What a glorious celebration!

 

Our little “celebrations” are barely

even shadows of the eternal celebration in heaven.

 

To think that our loved ones

are experiencing the full meaning of Christmas

for the first time.

 

God with us!

 

They are now in His presence for all of eternity.

The full joy of Christmas

with none of the negative effects caused by sin.

Pure joy unmarred by selfishness, worry, stress,

materialism or worldly distractions.

 

Can’t you see them worshipping before the throne?

 

Filled with the joy of heaven.

Free from the sorrows of earth.

 

Living the meaning of Christmas.

 

We love you.

Keep celebrating and one day

we will worship there together, forever!

Susan Aken   Christmas 2007

“For God loved the world so much that he gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life.” John 3:16 (NLT)

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Help Me!

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S – “But when the Helper comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth, who proceeds from the Father, he will bear witness about me.” John 15:26 (ESV)

“ Nevertheless, I tell you the truth: it is to your advantage that I go away, for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you. But if I go, I will send him to you.” John 16:7

“When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth, for he will not speak on his own authority, but whatever he hears he will speak, and he will declare to you the things that are to come. He will glorify me…” John 16:13-14

O – Helper, comforter, advocate. Called to one’s side. One who pleads another’s cause before a judge. An intercessor. The Holy Spirit was sent to help us. To be by our side, to come to our defense. He intercedes for  us. He guides us to truth. He teaches us and helps us remember truth.

A – I need to rely on my Helper. He is right there. He is real. He is always there.

P – Please guide me Holy Spirit. Help me to walk with Jesus. Help me to glorify His name. I rely on you.

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