Category : Devotion of the Week
Category : Devotion of the Week
“…Being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it onto completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 1:6)
The exercise was to use crayons and draw your life in three panels. Not an artist, this kind of exercise sends me into a cold sweat, but I attempted to put my life on paper using rudimentary drawings.
We were then supposed to explain our storyboard to someone else at our table. To my surprise, the woman I paired up with used the same image on her first panel, a horse. What were the odds of that? I wondered what the horse represented in her life?
As her story began to unfold, she said she grew up in the country, and horses represented happy things. Her childhood was good and horses did not bring back bad memories. She had a very different start in life than I did.
She probably couldn’t tell by my artwork that my first panel also contained a horse. I explained to her that I grew up being afraid of horses, because my grandmother always asked me, “You’re not riding horses are you?” The reason she quizzed me often about that is because she feared I would suffer the same fate as my father, who died of a heart attack while on a horse, playing polo at age 39.
While it wasn’t the horse’s fault, the horse represented the beginning of a dysfunctional childhood, due to my father’s death two months before I was born.
I realized that both my new friend’s and my life began with a horse, but God wove our lives in very different paths from that starting point.
A peaceful beginning vs. a tragic beginning, yet each of us were trying to make a difference by sharing a testimony about our lives.
God has created a different tapestry for each of us, yet our life experiences are woven together to be used for God’s glory. He wants us to be open and honest about the valleys and the mountaintop encounters because both can encourage others.
As you read through the Bible, it is full of honest accounts about people’s lives, the good, the bad and the ugly. Many had a rough start like I did, but by the grace of God and Jesus’ strength, they stood victorious at the end.
Today, the horse represents victory for me. I live in a neighborhood with streets named after horse racing tracks or horse terminology. And every time I turn into my subdivision, two horse heads stare at me as I turn towards my house.
Coincidence? I don’t think so. It is a daily reminder of how far God has brought me from my start.
What beginning did you have? Where are you now? If you had to draw your life in three panels, what would it look like?
“But as for me it, is good to be near God. I have made the Sovereign LORD my refuge; I will tell of all your deeds.” (Psalm 73:28)
I want to start today’s Pearls of Promise devotion with a question.
When did God intersect your life this week?
In my accountability group I attend, we ask “When were you closest to Christ since we last met?”
Unless we reflect on this question, we often miss or dismiss our closest encounters with the risen Lord. They are the intersections, when our lives and God’s spirit touch.
But sometimes we pass through the intersections without a second thought, don’t we?
We miss the God touches because we are not looking for them. or expecting them.
This week, my life was intersected by God. I had prayed for a national radio opportunity to get the word out about our new book, If I Only Had… but nothing had come through yet. However, my co-author, Catherine Weiskopf, and I were scheduled to do an interview with a Denver radio station on Wednesday. The show producer was supposed to call us at 12:30 p.m., but there was no call. 1:00 p.m., still no call. Finally after waiting 45 minutes, I decided to call the station myself to see what happened.
We found out through a computer glitch, our interview was dropped from the schedule. The show hostess apologized for the error, then told me she was also hosting a national radio show now, and would do a story on the book there, instead of on the local show. What seemed like a bad situation, turned out to be great! (Romans 8:28) My prayer for a national opportunity was answered, but not exactly how I imagined! I sat in amazing at how God responded to the prayer so quickly. He intersected my life.
Perhaps God recently answered your prayer in an unusual way or in a manner you would have never dreamed of.
Maybe someone’s personal story touched your heart, and you made a change because of it.
Maybe a friend or relative who was a non-believer accepted Christ because of your witness.
These are all examples of God intersections and it’s important to recognize them when they happened. Often times, they are faith building or life changing.
So today I challenge you to ask God to make you more aware of his presence in your life because he’s nearer than you know. If you do that, it’s doubtful you will ever miss a God intersection again. (LBW)
Today’s guest blogger is Kandi Rose who is an evangelist, author, and TV Host. Kandi knows firsthand the power, love & forgiveness that comes from making a whole heart choice to live for the Lord. She was a former stripper & prostitute who had multiple addictions. Her freedom & new life began when her mother led her to the Lord over the phone in 1984. At that time she owned a strip-o-gram business in the Chicago area, as well as advertising on billboard, radio & TV commercials. This is why God is using her through her TV program, “Addiction Free.” Along with all her guests they encourage others, testifying they too can be forgiven of anything & have a brand new life. She is a credentialed minister through the Assemblies of God.
Her TV talk show, “Addiction Free,” broadcasts on three networks, four times a week to over five million homes.
VTN Victory Television Network~Little Rock, Arkansas
WHTN Christian Television Network~Nashville, Tennessee
TLN Total Living Network~Chicago, Illinois
Kandi interviews guests whose lives have been set free from various addictions through making a whole heart commitment to Jesus Christ. This is a “Traveling TV show.” Kandi brings her camera equipment to churches & interviews the pastors and his members who have been set free from any habit. She also goes to Christian rehabs & films their staff and students on location.
You can find out more about Kandi’s ministry at: www.kandiroseministries.com
Isa. 61:3 The Garment of Praise
The presence of my enemy was very evident during a very heart breaking time in my life. He orchestrated a crisis that was meant to devastate me, to spiritually wound me from my purpose as an evangelist.
As I walked into the bedroom a sick feeling overtook me. A strange woman was in bed with my husband. I yelled to him, “Who is this?”
She yelled, “Who is she?”
I said, “I am his wife and how long have you been sleeping with my husband?”
Before I was a Christian, the old me would have snatched her up by the hair of the head and beat her while cursing. I did not though and realize it was only because the Holy Spirit was in me now.
As I drove away that morning, the enemy of my soul was present and speaking into my mind thoughts of bitterness and hate. I recognized if I gave into that, I would be a prisoner of his and it would quench the anointing on my life as an evangelist. The Holy Spirit reminded me of the times I committed adultery on my first husband before I was saved, plus all the other sins he forgave me for. The word says if we do not forgive, we cannot be forgiven. So through heart wrenching sobs as I drove away, I outstretched my hand to Heaven and confessed out loud, “I forgive them.”
I went home and as I sat down, the enemy was rejoicing. His plan for bitterness may not have worked, but now plan two was succeeding. Self-pity, isolation and depression were having their way in my mind. I felt I couldn’t go to church and be my joyful self. I am thankful for the Holy Spirit, the Comforter. The scripture, “Greater is he that is in me (the Holy Spirit), than he (Satan) that is in the world” (1 John 4:4) arose deep within me. I had not sat there very long when I felt compelled to get up and get to church. I drove there in a lifeless state of shock, like a robot. I sat in Sunday school with no joy, just a numb feeling. My enemy was still present, tormenting my mind.
My God came to my rescue. When church service started I found myself taking my usual place on the worship team. The angels must have helped me get up, as I felt drained physically, spiritually and mentally.
An amazing thing happened. This once spiritually dead woman came alive. The more I sang and played my tambourine and maracas, the more joy and enthusiasm came. As I listened to the words being sung, the word of God and life sprang back into my soul. The hopelessness was replaced by hope. Heaviness was replaced with joy and peace.
When we praise and worship in the presence of our enemy, he has to flee. You see he wants our worship and when we give it to God, he cannot stand it. His plan is to depress us, but God’s desire is to bless us.
Note: Praise and Worship is one of our greatest tools against our enemy! God did heal my broken heart. It was a process but amazingly the time it took was probably not as long as it could have been because I kept worshipping My God, who I love! My husband did divorce me, but I am happy and content, fulfilling the purpose He has for me.
“I can do everything through him who gives me strength.” “I can do everything through him who gives me strength.” I repeated Philippians 4:13 again and again as I sat in the dentist chair.
Normally, I get through my time in the torture chamber, uh, I mean the dentist’s office, but yesterday was different. With an uncomfortable “retractor” in my mouth that nestled under my nose, a tube in my mouth and allergies causing havoc in my throat, I wasn’t sure I could get through it. A popular airline commercial flashed in my mind, “Wanna get away?” YES. RIGHT NOW.
The dentist asked me, “Are you doing OK?” I shook my head to say “no.” He responded, “Just breathe.”
I want to add a disclaimer, if I have to go to the dentist, I am going to this one. I think he and his staff are the best around, but it didn’t matter how great of a dentist he was, this time, I was not coping. As a panic attack was brewing, I continued to repeat the verse, and tried to be like the Apostle Paul.
When Paul wrote, “I can do everything through him who gives me strength” he was imprisoned in Rome. The word “gives” in the Greek also means “strengthen.” So Paul is saying I can do all things through him (Christ) who strengthens my strength.”
I believe Paul was saying, “I’m a very strong guy and can handle almost anything, but occasionally there’s something even I can’t cope with, and I need God to strengthen my strength.” Isn’t Paul the one who also said, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness” (2 Corinthians 12:9)? In that situation, the mentally strong Paul was battling with a “thorn in his flesh” that he pleaded with God three times to take away. It was probably an illness, but we do not know for sure. All we know is that Paul said it tormented him.
Do you have something tormenting you right now? Is your strength waning?
God did not remove the torment from Paul because he wanted to keep the apostle from being “conceited.” God knew Paul’s independent nature and forced Paul to lean on him. He didn’t want him to get a superiority complex because of his strength, so he let him be weak at times to know he needed Christ’s strength.
You may consider yourself a strong person, but maybe you are going through something that has zapped your strength. It could be disease, a relationship issue or a death in the family. I have found it is only through the strength of Christ we can get through these things, for when we are weak, he is strong (2 Corinthians 12:10).
Do you need Christ’s strength today?
Meanwhile, back at the torture chamber, you might be wondering if I got through my dental appointment. Yes, as I continued to repeat, “I can do everything through him who gives me strength” I believe God slowed my breathing down and gave me what I needed to finish out the appointment. I apologized to my patient dentist and his assistant afterwards, embarrassed by my lack of coping. They were gracious.
But even this strong girl gets weak at times, and it’s a reminder I cannot make it through life without the strength of Christ. He is the one who helps me through the worst of situations. He is the reason I can face what each day has to bring. When I just “wanna get away” he provides what I need to stay planted.
Today, I am rejoicing about Christ’s strength, and thankful for dentists, because without them, I wouldn’t be able to smile. (LBW)
“Which of you, if your son asks for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him! (John 7:9-11)
Two weeks ago, I prayed a bold prayer while driving in my car. I asked for the Lord to provide a way for me to visit Israel. I’ve always wanted to go, but for some reason, it hasn’t worked out. Years ago, I was scheduled to go on a trip, but the State Department cancelled it because conditions were not favorable for travel there.
I have numerous reasons for desiring to go. Although I did not know him because he died before I was born, my father was Jewish. I also didn’t know anything about my Jewish ancestry until I came across a cousin’s genealogical research of my Jewish ancestors, the Adler family. I found out my great-great grandfather, Joseph Adler, traveled to the United States from Baden, Germany to Chicago, Illinois where he opened up a clothing business. I saw photos of cousins with yamakas on. I saw the family tree, and a new understanding of my Jewish family opened up.
More importantly, I longed to go to Israel to walk where Jesus walked, to see the sites of so many miracles, and to place a prayer in the Wailing Wall, now called the Western Wall. It was a desire of my heart.
So on Thursday of this week, I listened to the testimony of an area Messianic Jewish Rabbi. Not only was I fascinated by how he came to Christ, his transformation happened in my hometown of San Antonio! I thought that was cool. Afterwards, I told him what a great job he did and shared that his testimony was especially meaningful because of the San Antonio and Jewish connection.
It was then he asked me, “How many times have you been to Israel?”
I sheepishly answered, “I’ve never been.”
He replied, “I think it should be a requirement for everyone in ministry to go to Israel. I am taking a group of pastors to Israel in December and there’s still room. Do you want to go?”
Did I want to go? ABSOLUTELY! But I was worried about the cost. He told me the amount, and it seemed too good to be true. But then the Rabbi told me the price was slashed because it was a group of pastors going, who might bring their own tours back to Israel one day.
I thought, Is God answering my prayers already?
I had one more hurdle to cross before I knew this was meant to be. My husband had to approve. I asked the Rabbi to pray about this, and I prayed that my husband would say yes.
Those who know me, know I am a straight shooter, so I prayed and called my husband on the way home. I needed to know yay or nay right away. When I called him, and told him about the opportunity, which would now be my Christmas and birthday present, he didn’t ask questions, he didn’t say he’d think about it, he said “OK.”
“What?” I didn’t have to justify the trip. I didn’t have to fight for it. I didn’t have to explain how I was going to pay for it. Just, “yes?”
It was a sign from God. This is my time to go back to the homeland of my people. This is the time to understand more fully what I read in the Word, and what I teach about to women. This was a blessing from my husband, and is a good and precious gift from my Father in Heaven.
When I opened up my email that night, there was an email from the Rabbi saying, “Israel is calling.”
I write this post with tears streaming from my face because I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that Israel is calling, and the timing is right. I wait with anticipation for what the Lord will teach me in the land of his chosen ones.
Do you pray boldly for the desires of your heart? If not, what’s stopping you? If your requests are within God’s plan for your life, he is ready and willing to give you, his child, a beautiful gift from above.
“Let them thank the LORD for his steadfast love, for his wondrous works to the children of man!” (Psalm 107:31)