Category : Devotion of the Week
Category : Devotion of the Week
How often do you thank your friends for the role they play in your life?
I confess that I don’t show enough gratitude for the women who God places around me. Even though I love them, my hard charging, get to the point kind of personality sometimes forgets to express enough appreciation for godly girlfriends.
Maybe this is an area where you need to improve. If so, both of us can take a lesson from another strong personality, the apostle Paul. Before he got to the subject matter of almost every letter he wrote, he began with his thankfulness for the people he was addressing.
Paul thanked the Romans for their faith.
He was thankful for the Corinthians because of the grace given them in Christ Jesus.
He thanked the Ephesians and Colossians for their love for all God’s people.
Every time Paul thought of the Philippians, he thanked God for them.
He thanked the Thessalonians for their endurance.
Take a moment to think about your friends. Why, specifically, are you thankful for them?
If you are my friend, today I want you to know I am grateful for you. There is a reason we are in each other’s lives, and I don’t take our connection for granted. You are a present from God, and I absolutely adore you!
But for some of you who I see on a more routine basis, I wanted to specifically thank you for the gift you give me in our friendship (although you are all gifted in many areas), and ask for your forgiveness for not telling you how much I cherish and love you more often.
Deb Ford- My oldest friend-thank you generous, sweet sister for loving me no matter what, and for riding the God wave with me.
Lori Lester- Thank you for your discernment, loyalty, and wisdom, and for being a friend I can relax with. You are also the best cook this side of the Mississippi!
Donna Stevens- Thank you for standing by me through thick and thin, your discernment, and for being a faithful prayer partner. I miss you and God willing, I will visit you in Kentucky in 2016.
Cathy Weiskopf- Thank you for your patience with me, for always giving me the benefit of the doubt, and for being a wonderful writing partner.
Donna Skell- Thanks for your friendship, teaching me how to be a better leader, and for believing that I have value.
Rebecca Carrell, Alane Wynkoop, Marilyn Mansfield, Mary Ann Springer Moore and Cathy Wright- You are the encouragers in my life. I don’t know what I’d do without you. When I’m down, you pick me up. My love language is “Words of Affirmation” so you know how important you are! The four of you are talented, great women of the faith.
Kathy R. Green- I am grateful for your peaceful, gentle spirit. You are someone I want to emulate more.
Amy Kipnes- Thanks for your longtime friendship, counsel, and for keeping the fun alive in my life. I miss our San Antonio shopping excursions!
Cathy Schmidt- Thank you for loving this rather awkward, pudgy child during difficult times. You are one of the reasons I survived adolescence!
All the Beautiful Ladies in my Sunday School Class- You know who you are. I am thankful for your warm hearts, and smiling faces every Sunday morning, as well as your insight into spiritual things. I love you all.
Aurora Ortega Geis and Alma Jimenez Hall- Two women I can talk to about the “things unseen.” So grateful for the wisdom you both possess.
Lara U. and Laura Guerrero Redman- Thank you for allowing me to mentor the two of you because it gives me great joy to see how God is working in your lives! Love you both so much, and think of you as my spiritual daughters.
Elizabeth Hinkel- Thankful for your sound counsel and advice.
Mary Joseph and Ellen Woertink- Thankful for the way you demonstrate Romans 5:3-5.
New Friends Debbie Chiecchi Jackson and Rosemary Legrand- Thankful for both of you. You share a joyful spirit and faith in the Lord beyond measure. You have both embraced me as a new friend, and I want you to know how much I appreciate you both.
New Friend Susie Jennings- Thank you for reminding me that through unconditional obedience “All things are possible with God.”
New Friend Wendy Torres- I am thankful for the way you live out Philippians 4:13. You are a godly inspiration to other single moms.
New Friends Dee Ann Pence Rainwater, Sue Detweiler and Colleen Nunn- You three share my heart for ministering to women. I can’t wait to get to know you better.
And now, in the manner of Paul, the thanksgiving is followed by the central point. When friends appreciate each other, and are generous to each other, whether it’s with love, advice, or material things, it’s an act of thanksgiving to God.
Paul said in 2 Corinthians 9:12-13: “This service that you perform is not only supplying the needs of the Lord’s people but is also overflowing in many expressions of thanks to God. Because of the service by which you have proved yourselves, others will praise God for the obedience that accompanies your confession of the gospel of Christ, and for your generosity in sharing with them and with everyone else.” This passage was about the importance of taking care of new believers’ material needs, but I think it can apply to taking care of other needs as well. The need could be spiritual or emotional.
Who are you thankful for? Who needs to hear that today? When you give to your friends unconditionally, you are thanking God for the gift of friendship at the same time. What’s stopping you from thanking him in this way today?
What is the one household cleaning job that you despise more than any other? Hands down, mine is cleaning my closet, but like it or not, twice a year, I have to hunker down, pull everything out, and evaluate whether it goes back in again.
There are numerous reasons why I dislike this job. It’s takes time (sometimes three days), it’s tedious, and I’m allergic to dust mites, so I am always sick after I finish. However, the end product makes it worthwhile, as I can once again walk in my closet without tripping over something, and know where everything is.
Before I began this mammoth task yesterday, I prayed that God would help me do it, because organizing a closet is not my natural tendency. I can now see the floor, which is good progress going into day two.
Sometimes, it’s also wise to clean out our spiritual closet. It makes sense. We clean our homes where we reside. Meanwhile, our bodies are the temple of God, so why wouldn’t we occasionally do an internal reorganizing to make them more desirable to live in?
Without attention, our spiritual closets can get cluttered, and full of activities that need reevaluating. Lay everything in your life on the table, and ask God “Am I where you want me?” “Is there anything you want to take out of my life?” Then it’s important to ask the more difficult questions: “What about me personally? LORD, how do you want me to change? Are my ways pleasing to you, or is there something that needs reviewing and revising?”
Cleaning a closet can be a worship experience. I play praise music while I am tossing clothes and shoes out the door. I also spend the time praying for others, and for guidance in situations I don’t know how to handle.
When I’m done, I don’t just want my closet to be clean, I want my heart clean. When I tidy up my closet, I go into the corners where dust has gathered, then sweep and mop it away. Sometimes we lock things away so deep in our hearts that it takes an intentional cleaning to find what’s not right in us.
We should pray Psalm 51:10, “Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me” but when we ask God to clean our spiritual closet, go a step further and ask, “What in my heart is not pure? Where am I not steadfast?” He’ll usually show us.
We should want our service to the Lord to be in the center of his will. When there is opposition in ministry, ask God, “Is this the enemy, are you moving me, or is there something I need to change about myself?” I personally have a desire to be a righteous woman, and I know God will not bless my path, if it isn’t totally surrendered to him.
With the holidays upon us, you may be in cleaning mode as well. However, this year consider multi-tasking by doing a spiritual cleaning at the same time. Then as you feel better about the work you’ve done in your home, you’ll also be pleased with the cleaning that’s taken place in God’s holy temple, YOU! (LBW)
Evangelist Cynthia Diggs, a native of Las Vegas, Nevada, is the daughter of the late Pastor James and First Lady Odessa Diggs, and from birth, she was set apart to serve God in a great way.
She was licensed and ordained to preach the gospel under the leadership of her spiritual father, Pastor Denny D. Davis. Since she has been a member of St. John Church, she has served in the music ministry; including praise and worship and an associate minister. She also served as a facilitator to the Victorious Disciples Ministry; a one year mentoring program teaching women biblical principles, how to become disciple makers birthed from her first lady. Cynthia has a strong passion for the singles, youth and women’s ministries and teaches all from her own personal experiences.
She is the Founder of Cyndi4RealMinistries…Realistic Expectations about Life. This ministry teaches one how to expect positive results when dealing with negative situations and still “Keep it real” in truth. She lives by the philosophy that “Truth is the key to deliverance”. Under the umbrella of this ministry are several components.
She is the founder of her own mentorship program entitled M.A.G.I.C…Men-tees Accepting God’s Inevitable Call. She is devoted to teaching women how to walk in the area that God has uniquely called them to according to the word of God, daily disciplines, and serving God’s people.
Evangelist Diggs is now hosting and facilitating “Women in Ministry” quarterly workshop classes to edify, educate, enlighten and empower women that serve in any capacity of ministry. This is not only a mandate from God but is truly a passion for Evangelist Diggs as she truly has the heart to teach others relevant information to aid them along the path of their God given assignment. She spent 8 years as a private school teacher and holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Elementary Education. She has received a great background in theological studies from the St. John Bible Institute.
Of all her life accomplishments, Evangelist Cynthia Diggs would like the world to know her as a woman of God that understands that, “No matter what you are faced with, you can make it if you have Christ on your side!”
Psalms 91:1 has proven to be the foundation of her life. As she abides in the secret place of The Most High God, He also abides in her. To date, she has shared the word of God in various cities, states and countries. Most recently, she was given the opportunity to minister the word of God in Ontario, Canada! She is comfortably using her influential voice to speak to many audiences all over the world as she inspires others through real, transparent messages of hope through the word of God. She resides in Dallas, TX. Stay connected at www.cynthiadiggs.com
“There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens: a time to be born and a time to die, a time to plant and a time to uproot, a time to kill and a time to heal, a time to tear down and a time to build, a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance, a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them, a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing, a time to search and a time to give up, a time to keep and a time to throw away, a time to tear and a time to mend, a time to be silent and a time to speak, a time to love and a time to hate, a time for war and a time for peace” (Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 NIV).
Have you ever found yourself asking, “What is going on in this season?” Not understanding where you are or even how you got there? Our God given life purpose is fulfilled through phases or “seasons” that help us to get to THAT particular place. When we feel bombarded, confused, distraught, hopeless, overlooked, overwhelmed, tired and weary, we are usually in the RIGHT season to be used by God!
The Bible gives so many scenarios of Jesus passing by or going through a certain place to in order to fulfill purpose. Jesus never went to the wrong person. He never went at the wrong time. He always knew what to do and when to do it. Our job is to follow His lead so that we may receive in order to lead effectively and efficiently. Seasons are indicators that dictate to us the direction to our destiny. How we handle the input in each season will determine our ultimate outcome!
Therefore, Jehovah Himself will give YOU men a sign: “Look! The maiden herself will actually become pregnant, and she is giving birth to a son, and she will certainly call His name Immanuel” (Isaiah 7:14). Jesus was born in the right season…When Jesus was born; it was indeed the “fullness of time”. (Galatians 4:4-5). It is no different with you and me. We cannot do anything leading to our God given purpose until it is the proper time. God promised us seasons to indicate “the order of nature”.
But did you know that every person goes through four seasons as well? Did you know that every church goes through four seasons? Did you know that your marriage goes through seasons? Seasons affect all of us and everything we do.
King Solomon was considered a very wise man and what made him so wise was the fact that he understood nothing remains the same. And so it is the same for us, even as women; we must understand the season we are in and proceed accordingly. Seasons dictate our actions and our moods for we relate much better with everyone when the season or seasoning is right. King Solomon teaches us in this passage of scripture that there is a time for every season, seasons change and we must adapt to each one. Knowing what is going on in each and responding the correct way will actually help us to get to the next one a lot easier.
Although sometimes we may be in a season of crying, it will at some point change to laughter. At some point we are celebrating life and then later, we are mourning deaths. There’s a season to plant and then later receive what was planted. Once we understand that nothing remains the same, we can grow or rather; “Bloom where we are planted!” Seasons come and seasons go so for that alone, there is no reason to despise where you are today. Just remember to embrace the season you are in and watch God cultivate you right where you are. Everything that is needed at that appropriate time will be given as the earth produces what’s necessary.
Do we not know that we are God’s human creation and all we have to do is wait for the seasons to change? Not only will all of the basic necessities be there when we arrive, but our own Lord and Savior Jesus Christ will meet us there as well. Since God is always there, all we have to do is embrace the space we occupy. Don’t get too comfortable where you are, this season will change!
A new friend leaned over and whispered, “I have a word for you.” I told the woman I was going to Israel in a few weeks, and she obviously heard something from above about my trip. But we were listening to a speaker at Bible study, so having a conversation right then was not appropriate.
I waited in anticipation for the message, and could hardly concentrate on the speaker. At the next break she finally shared, “You are supposed to know the Host has invited you to Israel, and he has something for you there.”
THE Host? I knew what she meant. God is oftentimes referred to as the “Lord of Hosts” in the Old Testament. The “Lord of Hosts” is another name for God that refers to his reign as King of all Heaven and Earth.
The prophet Isaiah encountered the Lord of Hosts, and it was almost more than a human could take:
“In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord sitting on a throne, high and lifted up, and the train of His robe filled the temple. Above it stood seraphim; each one had six wings: with two he covered his face, with two he covered his feet and with two he flew. And one cried to another and said: ‘Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts; the whole earth is full of His glory!” And the posts of the door were shaken by the voice of him who cried out, and the house was filled with smoke. So I said: “Woe is me, for I am undone! Because I am a man of unclean lips, And I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips; For my eyes have seen the King, The Lord of hosts” (Isaiah 6:1-4 NKJV).
If Isaiah had unclean lips, what are mine? The word that comes to mind is “unworthy.”
So how does one prepare to meet the Host? I believe through much prayer, study, and anticipation of what is to come.
Where will it happen? I looked over my itinerary. Will it be at the Mount of Beatitudes? The Sea of Galilee? The Western Wall?
That’s not for me to know, but I have a feeling it will be in the least likely of places. As you remember, Jesus revealed himself to two men on a dusty road to Emmaus. He reached out to a Samaritan woman at a water well. He called Zacchaeus down from a tree. I want to have my eyes wide open, looking for His glory at every turn.
I’ve been told countless times that I will not be the same after this trip to Israel. Perhaps you’ve already been to the Holy Land, and understand the statement.
How could you be after being entertained by the Lord of Hosts in his House? So with less than three weeks and counting, I am humbly asking God to prepare me to be a grateful houseguest and student. I don’t want to miss anything he has to say to me now, or in the land of his chosen ones.
There is a river whose streams shall make glad the city of God, The holy place of the tabernacle of the Most High. God is in the midst of her, she shall not be moved; God shall help her, just at the break of dawn.The nations raged, the kingdoms were moved; He uttered His voice, the earth melted. The Lord of hosts is with us; The God of Jacob is our refuge. Selah (Isaiah 46: 4-7). (LBW)
“Dear friend, do not imitate what is evil but what is good” (3 John 11).
“Give.” That was my word from God for 2014 so I did. For the first time in my life, I became a servant to other ministries, rather than a leader, and I have to confess, it was not natural for me. From working registration at an event to greeting people at doors, I was giving of my time and energy, and becoming disciplined at doing what was good. I even began to like serving.
I had to also break a bad habit of receiving, rather than serving. I had to learn how to reach out to others because no one was knocking down my door to befriend me. When I was in television, and a public figure, people came to me. I did not have to put out much effort. I also received the fringe benefits of public status: free tickets to the Spurs games, invitations to play in celebrity golf tournaments, and better seats at events. I never had to go after anything, except a good story.
However, standing back and waiting to be served is not how Jesus did it. Jesus had the status, but didn’t flaunt it, and while he had people come to him, he also went to where the people were. According to Philippians 2:7, even though he was equal with God, he “made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant.”
Sometimes serving, and doing good does not come naturally to a person. That’s why in 3 John 11, John tells his friend Gaius, to “imitate” good. The word imitate means: “to follow in action or manner; to make a copy of; reproduce closely.” We have to imitate good until it becomes our nature, and I can’t think of a better person to imitate than Jesus.
John Wesley said, “Do all the good you can, by all the means you can, in all the ways you can, in all the places you can, at all the times you can, to all the people you can, as long as ever you can.”
We have to ask ourselves, and God, “Am I doing good? If not, where can I do good?”
2 Thessalonians 3:13 encourages us to never tire of doing good. Occasionally doing a lot of good can burn us out, because we don’t always receive good in return. We have to remember that we won’t necessarily see our good-girl rewards on this side of heaven, so keep at it!
Does serving and doing good come naturally to you? If not, imitate what is good. Study the teachings of Jesus. Learn how to be a servant.
As 2014 comes to a close, I know my word for the year, “give” will carry over. By giving, instead of leading, or receiving, the Lord has opened up a whole new ministry world, and has provided friends I would have never met, had I not given of my time. Instead of waiting for ministries to come to me, I will continue to go to where I am called and say, “How can I help? What can I give?”
Doing good no longer seems unnatural anymore, but it took Jesus changing me for that to happen.
My “imitation” was transformed into “inclination.”
What about you? Does doing good come natural to you? If not, how can you imitate good? Ask the Lord to show you. He will be faithful to do that. (LBW)