Steps of Grace

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“The Sovereign LORD is my strength; he makes my feet like the feet of a deer, he enables me to tread on the heights.” – Habakkuk 3:19

Yesterday, I saw six deer walk down my driveway towards the house. They were beautiful with their naturally graceful movements. Of course, this was until Charlie, my lab, got wind of them. Then we had an immediate exodus in all directions. It’s amazing how fast and high they can move when they need to get away especially in a wooded area like where we live.

God gives us strength to maneuver as we need to in times of distress or in service. We often wonder how we made it through a situation or in helping someone. When we realize that God is the supplier of all we need, we can be thankful for the gracefulness bestowed upon us.

Prayer: Thank you, Lord, for watching over me so carefully. Every step is monitored by you. Your love for me is shown in the power and direction you give me daily. I pray that I can always be grateful for the grace you show me.

Lift up your face

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As she kept on praying to the LORD, Eli observed her mouth. Hannah was praying in her heart, and her lips were moving but her voice was not heard. Eli thought she was drunk and said to her, “How long are you going to stay drunk? Put away your wine.”

“Not so, my lord,” Hannah replied, “I am a woman who is deeply troubled. I have not been drinking wine or beer; I was pouring out my soul to the LORD. Do not take your servant for a wicked woman; I have been praying here out of my great anguish and grief.”

Eli answered, “Go in peace, and may the God of Israel grant you what you have asked of him.”

She said, “May your servant find favor in your eyes.” Then she went her way and ate something, and her face was no longer downcast. – 1 Samuel 1:12-18

Have you ever had that experience of praying and fully trusting God with the answer? It is truly uplifting. You can be free from the burden of your request because God always answers prayer…always. Perhaps not the way we would like at times, but trusting God that his answer is the best.

The next time you pray about something that is heavy on your heart, be encouraged by remembering the promises of God’s love for you. Find a favorite verse and memorize it so that it will always be with you when you need it.

Prayer: Our Father, I do thank you for prayer. It is such a wonderful gift and forgive me when I take it for granted. I trust you with the answers to my prayers. Amen

Faith Tip: Pray and trust God. Lift up your eyes to the mountains where your help will come from (Psalm 121).

Life’s priorities

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Now Deborah, a prophet, the wife of Lappidoth, was leading Israel at that time. – Judges 4:4

Priorities are a constant challenge to have set in our lives. What or who do we give our attention and energy to? Many women have families and careers and want to live an abundant life as promised by Jesus. I believe this verse gives insight to how we are to prioritize.

Deborah was first described as a prophet. Her relationship and service to God comes first. Next, she was a wife which shows the importance of family. Last, it describes her as a leader, or a judge, of Israel. This is her job. While all three of these aspects of life are important, it is good to have it in mind what is most important—God. This doesn’t mean to become overburdened with ministry activities, but it does mean to actively seek the Lord and build on that relationship. Interestingly, it seems that when the relationship with the Lord is growing, the rest of the priorities in life simply fall into place a lot easier as wise choices are made through the guidance of the Holy Spirit.

Prayer: Lord, I thank you for the direction you give in your word for my life. I pray that I continually seek you to set my life in line with your will. Amen

Faith Tip: Consider your priorities today.

Supersizing today

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One of the teachers of the law came and heard them debating. Noticing that Jesus had given them a good answer, he asked him, “Of all the commandments, which is the most important?”

“The most important one,” answered Jesus, “is this: ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.”

“Well said, teacher,” the man replied. “You are right in saying that God is one and there is no other but him. To love him with all your heart, with all your understanding and with all your strength, and to love your neighbor as yourself is more important than all burnt offerings and sacrifices.”

When Jesus saw that he had answered wisely, he said to him, “You are not far from the kingdom of God.” And from then on no one dared ask him any more questions (Mark 12:28-34).

Today if you are reading this devotion, you have been given a special gift of another 24 hours—another day. Think about what you will do with this gift. We want to make sure that we don’t waste gifts, so we put a little thought in its use.

For me, I will be going out for breakfast, running some errands, mentoring a student, doing some writing, answering emails, and so on. The day I have been given today will easily fill up, and I am sure yours will, too. So what is most important for us to do today? Jesus says to love God with all you are and to love your neighbor as yourself. These very important commands (yes, they are definite) can be done in all we do through our day. Our special God assignments are already lined up and waiting for us today. Enjoy and be blessed!

Prayer: I thank you, Lord, for this day where I can truly rejoice in it because you are there. I pray that I fulfill the kingdom assignments you have for me today to your glory. Amen

Faith Tip: Look over your schedule for today and apply the most important commands to it all.

Sacrificing to the wrong god

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For they have forsaken me and made this a place of foreign gods; they have burned sacrifices in it to gods that neither they nor their fathers nor the kings of Judah ever knew, and they have filled this place with the blood of the innocent. They have built the high places of Baal to burn their sons in the fire as offerings to Baal—something I did not command or mention, nor did it enter my mind. (Jeremiah 19:4-5)

Thinking he was doing the right thing by making a sacrifice to Baal, the young father placed his young son on the wood. His son was his most precious gift he could give to the god he worshipped.

We hate to think that this kind of sacrifice actually happened, but it did. It didn’t have to happen, but by refusing to listen to God, they listened to the voices of the gods they followed. It was not God’s plan.

Today there are sacrifices made by us to other gods we follow that we most likely don’t realize. The gods of wealth, happiness, popularity, prestige, and more are always very hungry for our sacrifices to them. What do we give them that God “did not command or mention, nor did it enter ‘his’ mind.” When we give our time, energy and resources to things that God did not plan, we are sacrificing to these gods and there is a price to pay. The parents who burned their children to Baal lost them. Although it’s not as graphic, we may lose time, energy and resources for our children and they may be affected by it. Contentment is lost if we continue to feed the god of wealth and popularity.

It’s important to know what God wants, which is for our best. He loves us dearly and is saddened when we turn to the other gods. Seek God for the best.

Prayer: Lord, I pray that I can give my time, energy and resources to the things you have planned for me. That is where I will find peace and contentment. Amen

Faith tip: Pray through your activities and plans today for direction and guidance.