No Hope Left?

Sunday, September 23, 2012

"No Hope Left?"

As part of a writing exercise, our BIG writer's group held a fun challenge this month. Using the phrase "no hope left" as the title for a devotion, each member had the opportunity to give their viewpoint on the meaning of hope. 

We invite you to visit our blogs and read our posts by clicking on the links below.
We hope you enjoy reading them, and that they will provide a blessing for you.

In God's love, your BIG Sisters.

Scattering the Stones
No Hope Left

Heart Reflected,
Encouragement of Faith
No Hope Left
Image © A Hunt

A Sudden Glory: A challenge

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Today's post comes from Salina at Heart Reflected & Anita at Scattering the Stones

“You were created to make God recognizable to others

- to show others what God is like.”

Sharon Jaynes, A Sudden Glory, P. 9

Salina and I decided to set ourselves a challenge: To take a quote, and each write a 500 word devotion, using the above quote, from Sharon Jaynes new book - A Sudden Glory, as inspiration.

We both really enjoyed the challenge, and are looking to do more of these within our BIG writer's group.

We invite you to visit our blogs and read our posts. 

We hope you enjoy reading them, and that they will bless you.

Heart Reflected,

Scattering the Stones
Created for His glory: My purpose

Sharon Jaynes highly recommended new book, is available now:
Book details:
A Sudden Glory – God’s Lavish Response & Your Ache For Something More
Sharon Jaynes, Multnomah Books, 2012 Colorado Springs, CO

Anita & Salina

Are you struggling to hear the voice of God?

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Today's post comes from Anita at Scattering the Stones


‘Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place

and get some rest.’

Mark 6:31 NIV

Are you aware of God’s voice throughout the day, or is the noise surrounding you drowning out His voice?

Silence can mean many things to different people; some love it, while others fear it, some fight against it. I am sure that it is no co-incidence that the level of noise has increased, as the separation between God’s ways and the world’s ways, are becoming further apart. Noise clouds judgement, overwhelming the still small voice, causing further confusion.

Is it easier to fill your life with noise, than to be still in silence?

If I asked what you heard right now, what are you hearing?

I am not just talking about the voices from those who need us, calling for our attention, or the noise from traffic, radio, TV, phone …. But also the words we repeat over in our minds, our worries, the words we carry around in our heart, the endless list of things we need to accomplish …

I used to be frightened of silence. Very rarely would I be without some sort of noise in the background. It wouldn’t necessarily be anything I was particularly listening to, but would be an essential tool to prevent me from thinking too much.

In my late teens I went on a long retreat of several weeks; to help me get through a difficult time. It was the first time I had really been on my own, without family and friends. I was broken; in need of God’s healing. Most of the time I felt afraid, in grief and in desperate need of a hug. I would walk around lost. But the retreat centre ministry team knew what I needed. I needed to work it all out with God by my side and Him alone.

‘Serve only the LORD your God and fear him alone.

Obey his commands, listen to his voice, and cling to him.’

Deuteronomy 13:4 NLT

Apart from services, there was very little noise. You could drop a pin at one end of the building, and I expect you would probably hear it at the other.

Though it was extremely hard, I will always cherish that time of great pain, as when I went home, never again would I need to always have background noise. I actually spend most of my time craving silence. Through my time there I learned to truly listen; to me and to God. I began a beautiful journey of discovery, deepening my hunger to hear God’s voice through the noise of this world.

Are you taking the time to listen?

Often when we come before God with our prayers, we ask to hear from our LORD through words of encouragement, help or direction; either through being led to specific scripture or by other means. But when we ask, are we taking the time to listen to His response, His voice?

‘Be still and know that I am God’

Psalm 46:10 NIV

God calls us into His presence, to present our needs before Him, but we also need to remember that it is about relationship.

The Bible is full of people with their requests to God to listen to their prayers, such as -

‘LORD hear my prayer!

Listen to my plea!

Don’t turn away from me in my time of distress.

Bend down and listen, and answer me quickly when I call to you.’

Psalm 102:1-2 NLT

God is waiting for us to listen to His voice.

When we ask Him to be near, He is already there. Like Mary, we need to sit at His feet. (Lk 10:39). We need to go to Him, sit at His precious feet, and bathe in His Holy presence and just listen.

As we grow in our relationship with Jesus, not only do we need to read His word daily, but we also need to take time out to listen, as this pleases our God (Deut 13:18).

Let us crave being still in His Holy presence, to cry ‘Holy, Holy, Holy is the Lord Almighty’ (Isa 6:3) from the depths of our hearts.

‘Come, let us worship and bow down.

Let us kneel before the LORD our maker, for he is our God.

We are the people he watches over, the flock under his care.

If only you would listen to his voice today!

Psalm 95:6-7 NLT

Let us pray:

Lord I worship You and bow down before Your throne of grace.
Please remove the barriers in my life, to only hear Your voice.
Help me to be still in Your holy presence, to hunger and thirst for Your truth and light.
I want to listen to Your voice; I am sorry for the many times I have not listened, when I have placed my focus upon other things.
May my relationship with You deepen; may there be no need for words, just being.
May my life be refreshed in Your green pastures.
In Your name


Today, I invite you to plan some time to spend purely listening to our Lord. Take your Bible, go where there are little distractions, sit, wait, and be.
I love visiting woodland, a garden, or the coast. Ask God to speak and just listen to what He wants to share with you; nothing about needs, just be, in complete worship of the King of kings.

I hope and pray that you will be abundantly blessed.

Blessings in Him

Anita x

Image by A Hunt  © Scattering The Stones

I run a Christian Ministry called 'Scattering The Stones', sharing God's love through encouragement, prayer and praise. You would be most welcome to join me. If you would like prayer, please feel free to contact me.

He Holds Our Hand

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Today's post is from Dawn at The Most Perfect Gift

“The steps of a man are established by the Lord,
and He delights in his way.
When he falls, he will not be hurled headlong,
because the Lord is the One who holds his hand.”
Psalm 37:23-24

Several years ago, I was walking through the parking lot at work with a friend/colleague. As we were talking, we continued to walk up the pathway to our building. Somehow I stepped down halfway on the sidewalk and halfway on the grass and it launched me forward with such a force! All I can remember was being propelled forward while trying to keep myself from falling flat on my face! Eventually, my legs caught up with the top half of my body and I regained control. I was left feeling quite dazed and all I could do was laugh! You know that uncontrollable laugh were you laugh so hard you begin to cry and your sides hurt so badly?!!? I just love laughing like that and wish it happened more frequently! Anyway, my friend was confused as to what had just happened. She was thinking I did that on purpose! I laughed even harder imagining what I must have looked like!

This past incident came to my mind after I read today's key scripture. I got so excited because I could actually visualize the Lord Almighty right there grabbing my hand and catching me. 

Reading this scripture touched something deep inside me.  It was like I was reading it for the very first time even though  in the Bible, we read all throughout how God is always with us and he will never forsake us. We hear pastors preach it. We encourage our family and friends with this same truth and tell it again and again to our children. But we must remember to not become complacent to what the Word says. 

God is in control of all things. He is the One who establishes our steps and when we trust and surrender all to Him and live our lives according to His will, He delights in us! It's His plan and let’s not forget this and try to get out in front of Him. When we do that, we are not letting Him guide us down the right pathway. Instead, we are saying, “Hey, my way is better or I can’t wait for your direction.” Before we know it, we are so far out ahead of Him.

I can't recall how many times I have said to my boys, "Wait for mommy! Don't get too far ahead, stay where I can see you!" Every time my boys and I walk through a parking lot or cross a street I say, “Hands, hands” and immediately they know to grab a hold of my hand. This way I can lead them safely to the other side. Its the same with our loving Father. He is with us, leading us and when we fall He is there to catch us, to  hold our hand and to guide us. 

Let’s seek Him and trust Him and let Him lead the way!

Dear Heavenly Father,
So many times we try to do things our own way. Forgive us for thinking we can be in control and press it upon our hearts to ask You first in all things in what direction You would like us to take. We praise Your Holy Name just for who You are. As we trust in You, transform us into being more like You.
In Jesus' Name,

Covered by grace

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Today's post comes from Salina at Heart Reflected

'So let us come boldly to the throne of our gracious God. 
There we will receive his mercy, and we will find grace to help us when we need it most.'
(Hebrews 4:16 NLT)

Do you spend a lot of time in the morning trying to pick out something to wear?

Every day we have a decision to make about the kind of clothing we are going to wear.
We shuffle through the different choices in our closets, and for those like me, arrive at an acceptable outfit fairly quickly. What we need to realize though is that we have an opportunity to clothe ourselves in something far greater than physical clothing; we also have the ability to wrap God's grace around us.

'May God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ give you grace and peace.'
(Galatians 1:3 NLT)

Receiving God’s grace doesn't depend on us doing anything to get it. It doesn't require anything at all from us; simply asking for it is enough to receive it. His grace is big enough to cover each and every weakness we have, and it's capable of covering us from head to toe. May we keep this in mind as we decide each day how we are going to dress ourselves.

As we pull our shirt over our head, let's think about His grace covering our arms, our neck, our chest, our stomach. When we place each leg through the legs of our pants, let's feel His grace pouring down every inch of our bodies. Let us step into our shoes with the confidence that His grace will guide our feet with all the strength and stamina needed to carry us safely through the day.

'For God saved us and called us to live a holy life. 
He did this, not because we deserved it, 
but because that was his plan from before the beginning of time—
to show us his grace through Christ Jesus.'
(2 Timothy 1:9 NLT)

When we talk about God's grace, we do so with the understanding that the grace He provides comes from Him and Him alone; His grace works through us. It doesn't rely on our own ability, but God's ability.  When we apply this to our lives it gives us the courage, the power, and the strength to endure anything the world throws at us.

Jesus' grace is sufficient

The Bible makes many references to Jesus' grace. In 2 Corinthians 12:9-10, the Apostle Paul stated that in order to keep him from becoming too arrogant, a thorn of flesh (a messenger of Satan who continually tried to keep him down) was placed in his side. After asking Jesus three different times to remove the thorn, this is what Jesus said to him:

'He answered, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness."'

Paul's reply was:

"Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ's sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong."
(2 Corinthians 12:9-10 NIV)

Jesus' answer "My power is made perfect in weakness" simply blows me away. I know He's perfect, but to think that He might offer some of that perfectness to me through His power and grace is glorious news to me, especially when I'm at my lowest. It makes sense though because it is when I'm at my weakest that I need Him most.

Paul stated that He delighted in insults, hardships, and difficulties. To delight in something means that it gives you pleasure, it causes you happiness. Paul was happy when He was persecuted? It seems hard to believe, but think of the times when being at rock bottom caused you to hold that much harder onto Jesus’ hand.

'Now may our Lord Jesus Christ himself and God our Father, 
who loved us and by his grace gave us eternal comfort and a wonderful hope.'
(2 Thessalonians 2:16 NLT)

When I am weak, then I am strong.
When I am weak, then He is stronger.

God's amazing grace makes us whole; it is more than sufficient for us.

'But by the grace of God I am what I am: 
And his grace which was bestowed upon me was not in vain;
 but I labored more abundantly than they all: 
Yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me.'
(1 Corinthians 15:10)

Yet not I.

Please pray with me:

My life's goal is to use the gift You've given me to finish the job You've chosen for me, and that's to tell others the Good News about Your wonderful saving grace. (Acts 20:24)

Lord, I pray the grace You continually pour out on me will never be given in vain, for Your grace is what makes me who I am. Without it I could not function. I would be worthless, with nothing to look forward to or any reason to live.
Thank You for loving me so much that You believed I was worthy enough to not only receive Your grace, but also Your love, Your promise, and the sacrifice You made for me.

Thank You for the fact that Your grace is sufficient, that it gives me the strength and power I need  to get through the tough times, and brings wonderful hope for when I am stronger.

Thank You for Your Grace.
In Jesus' name I pray,


A Letter of Hope

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

This week's post comes from Kassie of Cypress Ministries  and
Psalm 34:18 (NCV)
The LORD is close to the brokenhearted,
and he saves those whose spirits have been crushed.

The past several days when thinking about preparing for this devotional, it has been on my heart to write a letter of encouragement instead. I don't know who will read this devotional/letter-- I don't really know who this is intended for... but what weighs on my heart is to tell you that there is hope, and to give you encouragement that your life is not over-- that whatever you may be going through, there is another side of this for you. There is MORE for you than what you may be seeing now. God has so much for you, if you will just let Him bring you through it.

In Luke 19, when Zacchaeus wanted to see who this Jesus was, nothing would deter him. Nothing was going to stop him from getting a closer look at this Man who was doing so much for God's people. When he couldn’t see past the crowd, Zacchaeus simply climbed a tree! The wonderful thing in this story is that when Jesus got to this tree he stopped right under it, and looking up, Jesus called for Zacchaeus to come down.  You see, Jesus KNEW that Zacchaeus was up there, but no one had told him this. In the same way Jesus knew where Zacchaeus was, HE KNOWS WHERE YOU ARE NOW.

My friend, whatever you may be facing-- know that God still has a whole nother chapter of your life waiting for you. In the book of Ruth; when Naomi lost her husband, she grieved. Later when she lost her two sons, the pain was so overwhelming that when she went back home, she told people not to call her Naomi anymore as that name meant “happy”. She told people to call her Mara instead, because that name means “sad”. She didn’t understand why the Lord had left her with such sadness. She told her people that she had lost everything; she felt as if she had nothing left. But that wasn’t true. God still had a plan for her. God still had a purpose for her even though she was unaware of it. And God has one for you.

Just like Naomi, your life is more than what you can see right now. God is all knowing and can see so much more than you and me. There was still something Naomi had to do for God. He still had a job for her to do. God had a bigger plan. He also blessed her life again and brought her much joy. As a result of losing her husband and her sons, Naomi went home taking her daughter in-law with her. And by doing so, fulfilled the next needed step in the future of our savior.

You see, God had a plan for Ruth too. She (like Naomi) had lost her husband-- and at a young age. She didn’t understand why either. But God knew. God had a purpose for her, she had a destiny that was to be fulfilled. God needed her to be somewhere. And at some point in time God will need you to be somewhere else too.

We don’t know why God allows certain heartaches in our lives, but He promises that if He allows the pain, then something good will come from it. Even if it is the death of a loved one, the end of a relationship, or the loss of a job-- God will bring new life in place of what is now gone.

Sometimes we have to go through "intermissions" in our lives. A time of waiting between what was and what is to come. And when we come to these intermissions, it is hard to understand why. But sometimes God needs time to heal us and prepare us for what is ahead -- and sometimes it is because God needs to work in someone else and bring them to a point where they are ready to join us. Sometimes God just needs time to work in a situation, or some circumstance, before advancing us into the new He has planned for us. But rest assured God will not forget you in the meantime. He won't set you on some sideline, and forget to bring you back in.

Need an example? Look at Moses; "When Moses was forty years old, he decided to visit his fellow Israelites. He saw one of them being mistreated by an Egyptian, so he went to his defense and avenged him by killing the Egyptian. Moses thought that his own people would realize that God was using him to rescue them, but they did not. The next day Moses came upon two Israelites who were fighting. He tried to reconcile them by saying, 'Men, you are brothers; why do you want to hurt each other?' 

"But the man who was mistreating the other pushed Moses aside and said, 'Who made you ruler and judge over us? Do you want to kill me as you killed the Egyptian yesterday?'  When Moses heard this, he fled to Midian, where he settled as a foreigner and had two sons. (Acts 7:23-29 NIV)

When Moses found himself out in the desert after a life changing incident, he probably thought he was there to stay... But God had other plans for him, in fact Moses' life was far from over, it was just beginning. Moses' duration in the desert was only an "in between time" from where he had been, and what was to come. However those were not wasted years. Far from it actually. My friend, God can multi task! At the same time God was waiting for the right time to come for Him to bring deliverance to His people, God was working in Moses during his stay in the desert. And when the RIGHT TIME came; God brought Moses front and center into the full purpose God had for him.

I love how Acts 7 states "The SAME Moses..." read with me: "Then the Lord said to him, 'Take off your sandals; the place where you are standing is holy ground. I have indeed seen the oppression of my people in Egypt. I have heard their groaning and have come down to set them free. Now come, I will send you back to Egypt.'  "This is the same Moses whom they had rejected with the words, 'Who made you ruler and judge?' He was sent to be their ruler and deliverer by God himself, through the angel who appeared to him in the bush. He led them out of Egypt and did wonders and miraculous signs in Egypt, at the Red Sea and for forty years in the desert. ( Acts 7:33-3 NIV)

God had not changed His mind about Moses. God had chosen Moses long before, and it was this same man (granted older and wiser), that God would bring back for another chance, and the whole second half of his life that was waiting for him. God brought him out, dusted him off and said, "Let's try again." But THIS TIME, it was going to be with the hand of God. You see before, Moses had been called, but he didn't have the anointing, so when he acted, it was in his own strength. But this time, God was ready and God was going with him, so there would be a huge difference!

My friend, SOMETIMES we can have a call on our lives-- something we were born and meant to do; but if God isn't ready and we move ahead, then we go without the anointing and it is in our own strength-- not His. So we have to wait. We have to wait for God to move, and sometimes we have to wait because HE IS WAITING until HE knows everything is ready for Him to move us into what He has called us to do.

God's purposes for Moses didn't change, he simply had to be moved aside until God was ready to bring him forth. Naomi and Ruth's lives were not over because someone had died, God was bringing them into something new. My friend, whatever you are facing, know that God is with you. No matter what has happened, what has died, who has left, or what was lost... God can bring about something new. God WILL fulfill His plans and purposes for you.

My friend, God knows how to bring you through difficult seasons. He knows how to bring you through hurt and heartache. He knows how to bring you through trials, and HE KNOWS HOW to bring you into all He has waiting for you.  Look up-- look out, and know God is watching over you. And His hand will not be held down when He is ready to move you.

Take care, Kassie

Where is God in our suffering?

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Today's post comes from Anita at Scattering the Stones

'And when they suffered, God suffered too;

And the messenger of His presence acted to save them.

Out of enduring love, compassion, and concern,

God Himself rescued them.

Through all those years long ago,

God picked them up and carried them through.'

Isaiah 63:9 (The Voice)

Today, are you tempted to wear a mask to hide your true feelings?

Is it a happy mask? You know the one, where your smile is stapled onto your face, and if you dare move your lips, the sheer weight of the sadness, pain, hopelessness, fear or the guilt you feel in your heart, will end up causing your face to plummet to the ground. If Jesus was to stand before you and look into your eyes, would He see an expression of joy that matched up with your carefully applied smile, or would they tell another story?

Being real with one another 


In a world that encourages us to hide our true feelings, no matter where we are in our relationship with God, sometimes the truth we know in our hearts is affected by how we are feeling. Where we are travellers making our way along the journey set before us, there are many mountains we must climb and valleys to walk through. Sometimes that path can feel like it is littered with potholes of every size. 

Life isn't easy! If it was easy we wouldn't have seen the tears shed by our Saviour, as God came in the form of man, to demonstrate His great love for us.   

'My eyes are swollen with weeping, and I am but a shadow of my former self.'

Job 17:7 NLT
 Pain is real, suffering is real, you only have to turn the news on the TV or pick up a newspaper, let alone talk to our friends and neigbours to know that many are suffering. I read a powerful post by Beth Moore the other day called - Big Sisters and Little Sisters, this post received almost 1,000 comments! Talking about real life issues, the daily battles that are affecting each of us; the battle in the spiritual realm being felt in daily life. 

One of the enemies fiery arrows and great lies, is to make us feel that we are alone, through whatever we are going through. We often can't see how there may be thousands of others, struggling with similar issues that we do. Sometimes we just don't understand how anyone, including God, can truly know the true extent of how we feel, or worry about how other's will see us.   

'My heart is troubled and restless. Days of suffering torment me.'

Job 30:27 NLT

 When we are tired and our hearts are heavy from the burden of troubles, physical or mental pain, the very act of suffering tears at our heart, tormenting our minds and bodies. With the weight often becoming unbearable; hope often feeling very far away, wondering if we will get through it all. But there is great hope, we need to listen to the voice of our Saviour whispering to us, 'give Me your burdens' (Ps 55:22).
In the middle of the battle, it may feel like God has turned His head in the opposite direction, as though He has closed His ears to our pain; with our prayers seemingly left unanswered. We may be persecuted and struck down, but we will never be abandoned by our God (2 Cor 4:9) . We only have to read the book of Psalms to catch a glimpse of the process of suffering right through to songs of praise of God's glory, in the middle of the writer's darkest hour and the revelation of God's grace.

'I am suffering and in pain. Rescue me, O God, by your saving power.'

Psalm 69:29 NLT
If there has ever been a time that we need to be real with one another, to lift one another up in love as God intended, to our LORD who listens to the cries of our hearts, it is now!

We need one another; Jesus knew this, and demonstrated how real love should be.

Instead of judging and criticising one another, praise for our Saviour needs to be on our lips, reflecting Jesus to one another, as the Holy Spirit prompts us from within.

Nothing can separate us from the love of God (Rom 8:31-39)


When the enemy likes to whisper into our brokeness that we are alone, that no one cares, that we can't get through this fiery trial, we need to speak out the words of truth to one another, that God will never leave us (Heb 13.5).

When we feel despair, not knowing where to turn, we need the body of Christ to shelter, encourage and mourn with us in our sorrow, for we have been adopted into God's family (Eph 1:5) 

When we feel overwhelmed (Ps 55:1-2) our first call should be to the King of Kings. He who has recorded every day of our life (Ps 139:16) and every tear shed (Ps 56:8) in His book. 

When we look to God for help though times of pain we are reminded to read the stories of the prophets in God's word, for strength and encouragement, of how God helped them in their struggles (Jas 5:10).   

In our suffering, God suffers too


The powerful, life changing ministry of Jesus, speaks right into the heart of darkness; that tries to overwhelm us, to press us down and imprison us. Our Saviours light is there, for the enemy's darkness will not be able to extinguish the true light! (Jn 1:5) 

When Jesus was suffering greatly with the knowledge that a friend was about to betray Him, handing Him over to his death, Jesus taught the disciples to love one another (Jn 13:34-35). As Jesus waited in the garden of Gethsemane, asking the disciples to watch and pray with Him (Matt 26.41), He felt alone in His time of need, abandonded by His friends, as their flesh was weak. As Jesus cried out to His Father, He wept, asking for the cup of suffering to be removed for Him, but also wanted the will of God to be completed (Mk 14:36). 

Unless we take off that mask, risk being vulnerable with each other, and reach out to our Christian sisters and brothers, they won't know our need. We are many parts of one body, let us be the Church that God intended without walls, and reach out to those who are in need, providing encouragement and support.   

'So in Christ we who are many form one body, and each member belongs to all the others.'

Romans 12:5 NIV

In our weakness, there is great opportunity to be strong, as we depend on the One who knows our hearts, and everything we go through.   

Power of prayer


Prayer is such an amazing gift! The more I spend time in prayer, the more I fall in love with it. Not only are we able to share our concerns, tears, pain, with our Creator, but it also draws us closer to Him as we present the needs of our brothers and sisters in Christ to God. As we come together at the throne of grace.

Let us be real with one another. Let us pray for one another, and join together in prayer with our shields latched on to one another, keeping our eyes focused on the Author and Perfecter of our Faith (Heb 12:2).   

'He comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others.

When they are troubled, we will be able to give them the same comfort God has given us.'

2 Corinthians 1:4 NLT

Let's pray


Father we come together on our knees for one another,
please help us to be aware of one another's needs. 
May we be aware of the prompting of the Holy Spirit, to pray for one another. 
We praise you for all that you bless us with; we thank you for your mercy, and gift of grace. 
For the sisters and brothers who are suffering, we ask for your love to surround them. 
Where they feel alone, and don't know where to turn, may they know your comfort. 
Where they are in great pain, may they feel your arms wrapped around them and know your healing touch. 
Please raise us up to be your church to one another, to shine brightly for you in the darkness.
In our weakness, may we know your strength. 
We pray for each sister or brother who leaves a prayer need here today, we thank you for each one of them. We join with them, we stand with them in their pain, and present their requests to you as the body of Christ. 
Thank you Lord that you hear our prayers, we pray a blessing on each person who reads this devotion. 
May Your kingdom come, Your will be done. 
In Your name, 

Today I invite you to share a need or if you are not comfortable with that - just your name, as God knows your needs.

Let's be on our knees for one another, and seek the face of our God together.   

Anita x

Image © Nita Joy Designs

I want to be a lemon drizzle cake

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Today's post comes from Salina at Heart Reflected

Have you ever found a recipe that you knew before making it, was going to be good?

I made the most delicious lemon cake last week; in fact it was so good I made it twice. The best part about the cake wasn't that it came from the United Kingdom; it was the lemon sugar glaze found on top and inside. When added to the top of the cake, the glaze drizzles down the sides and settles around the bottom in a magnificent sugar puddle. In order to get the glaze inside the cake though, you have to poke lots of holes on the surface and wait for the glaze to slowly seep in.

To properly enjoy a piece of cake this good, you must take your time and eat each bite as though it might be your last. Therefore, as I slowly savored each and every morsel, I was better able to appreciate the flavor of the cake, and how the sugar glaze mixed so deliciously with it. Before long, I was close to finishing the final bite. As I sat there contemplating a little bit of everything, I came to the measured realization that I wanted to live my life exactly like the lemon drizzle cake I was eating

May my life always be an open vessel for God

I want everything about myself to be an open vessel for God. I want Him to have daily access to my every thought, dream, and fear. I want to be so saturated with His Spirit that if you cut me open you would see that He had seeped into every single pore. 

'Show me the right path, O LORD; point out the road for me to follow.'

Psalm 25:4  NLT

As I walk along life's path, I plan to look ahead and see Him leading the way.  No matter what barrier might stand before me, I will step aside and allow Him to take care of it in His time, in His way.

So today Lord, I'm asking to see and feel You like never before; let me see Your glory shining down and surrounding me from head to foot.  As Your touch reaches out to embrace my soul, I lay my heart open before You. I want to experience it beating for You, as though it was the very first time.

'Honor the LORD for the glory of his name. Worship the LORD in the splendor of his holiness.'

Psalm 29: 2 NLT

I want for no other, for Your splendor envelopes me and refuses to let go. I sense Your love and presence everywhere around me, the way the wind rustles the leaves on the trees, the way the clouds blend so seamlessly into the brilliant blue of the sky, and how my heart still skips a beat when my husband puts His arms around me to give me a hug.

I'm in awe of the grace You so freely and without reservation grant to me. If given a choice, I would choose You over and over again. I would follow You to the ends of the earth and step off knowing that no matter how far I fell, or how scary it might be, You will always be there to catch me.

'The Lord lives! Praise to my Rock! May the God of my salvation be exalted!'

Psalm 18:46 NLT

How could I ever deny You praise, for You alone are worthy, not only of my praise, but of my total allegiance. How could I ever turn my back on You and walk away, for Your hand is the one I cling to when everything else seems to be so far out of reach.  How could I ever forget to thank You, for You are the giver of great gifts, the One who sustains me.

You have been there through every tear, all my pain, and every circumstance that's ever befallen me. You are the Way, the Truth, and my Life; no other god will ever come before You, no other god will ever receive Your praise. 

Father, I'm pledging my entire life to You; I don't want to hold anything back. You've given me all without ever asking for anything from me, so today I want to return my all to You. Thank You for the gift of love, for the gift of salvation, and for the gift of eternal life.

I love You,


Lemon drizzle cake recipe

photo credit - Salina Thomas Gibson

Roots That Run Deep

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Today's post comes from Dawn at The Most Perfect Gift

I love sitting on the swing on my front porch in the cool of the summer morning. There is something about the early morning that brings hope and peace to my soul. Perhaps its the promise of a new day, the starting over and God's mercy for another chance to get right what I didn't the day before. 

Many times my boys will come out and ask me what am I doing? I say, "I'm praying or talking to God." 

It is in these times where I feel God's love so much I just want to cry. His love and faithfulness is beyond my understanding and all I can do is praise and thank Him. He is my portion and my cup runneth over. 

This morning as I was sitting in my favorite place, a group of boys from the high school track team ran past my house. One by one I wondered, do you know Jesus? I asked God to bless each and every one of these boys and prayed that they know Him. I wondered where are their roots and how deep do they go? My thoughts turned to my own boys. Will their roots run deep so they can stay strong in the Lord all the days of their lives? 
I was reminded of a message a guest speaker spoke at my church a few weeks ago. Her message was on exactly just that. We must have strong roots that run deep so when trials come we may bend, but we will not break. We need to be so rooted in Him and His Word that we are able to walk through the storm with Jesus Christ and declare victory when we get to the other side. 

"Therefore as you have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him, having been firmly rooted and now being built up in Him and established in your faith, just as you were instructed, and overflowing with gratitude." Colossians 2:6-7 NASB

Many times I have thought I wish I had tunnel vision and all I could see was Jesus. This way nothing in this world could distract me from keeping my eyes fixed on Him.

I love the words from the hymn, Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus

“Turn your eyes upon Jesus,
Look full in His wonderful face,
And the things of earth will grow strangely dim,
In the light of His Glory and Grace.”

As Christ followers we need to feed ourselves daily with His word and encourage and build each other up. As the body of Christ let’s not be weak, but strong with roots that run deep.  Are you with me?

Heavenly Father,
We come before You today, Lord with praise and thanksgiving in our hearts for who You are. Help us to keep our eyes fixed on You and not on the things of this world. You are our hope, our salvation and our shield. Renew our spirits, Lord that we may be obedient in reading Your word and getting closer to You so that our roots are deeply planted. Help us to stand strong during the storms of our lives that we may glorify You.
In Jesus' Name,

God Desires Your Heart ©

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Today's post comes from Starla at Keepin It Real
When I read the bible, it really comes alive and speaks to my heart.  Even the Old Testament (which I used to think was very boring) until I started reading during alone time with God.  I try to spend quiet time with God in the mornings.  I begin with prayer, thanking God for waking me up.  Then I pray for my family and friends and I finally pray for myself.  I ask God to open my eyes and ears to reveal what He wants me to learn.

I was recently reading Matthew chapter 9 and verse 13 jumped out at me:

"But go and learn what this means:  "I desire compassion, and not sacrifice, for I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners."

I continued to the next verse but I wasn't able to go any further.  I felt God telling me to GO back to verse 13 and DO exactly as it says.  (Ok, I hear you Lord)

The beginning of verse 13 says "But go (don't wait) and learn (don't ignore) what this means.  

Jesus was talking to the Pharisees who were questioning why He was dining with tax collectors and sinners.   Matthew was a tax collector and tax collectors made their money by taxing people for everything they could think of and were often pretty wealthy.  For tax collectors greed was the name of the game.

Sounds like the IRS to me.   Boy do I have some personal stories to tell about them.......

I desire compassion (sympathy for others distress and the desire to alleviate it), and not sacrifice (precious offering),
Hosea 6:6...For I delight (take pleasure) in loyalty (faith) rather than sacrifice, And in knowledge of God rather than burnt offerings.
Mark is not those who are healthy who need a physician, but those who are sick, I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners.
Luke 5:31, is not those who are well who need a physician, but those who are sick.  I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.
1 Timothy 1:15...Jesus Christ came into the world to save sinners

Psalm 50:8  I do not reprove (convict) you for your sacrifices, And your burnt offerings are continually before me NASB study note.....God does not reprove them for failing to bring their offerings (v8) but for bringing them with the motive of trying to make the God who owns everything dependent on their generosity.

He elaborates more in the following verses from Psalms 50
10....for every beast of the forest is mine 11.....And everything that moves in the field is mine  12 If I were hungry I would not tell you, for the world is mine and ALL it contains. (I love that part.  I feel Him saying, "No need for dead animals, PLEASE") 14 Offer to God a sacrifice of thanksgiving.....  (Just say THANK YOU!!  And mean it of course)

My best summation of these verses is that God desires your heart more than anything else.  That is the only thing you can truly give to Him.  Everything else already belongs to Him.  Be loyal and understand His will for your life.  God takes pleasure in your loyalty and knowledge of Him.  Your gratefulness and thankfulness is very precious to Him.  God is more eager to bless us than we are to receive His blessings.

Obey God's will and put it into action by learning, seeking, reproving, defending and pleading.
Learn to do good;
Seek justice,
Reprove the ruthless,
Defend the orphan,
Plead for the widow.
Isaiah 1:11

Have you given Him your heart?  I mean have you truly given your heart to God? 

From my heart and spirit to yours, ©

Starla Danielle Espinoza

Scripture from the New American Standard Bible (NASB)

What's your motive?

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Today's post comes from Anita at Scattering the Stones

'Create in me a clean heart, O God,

and renew a steadfast spirit within me.'

Psalm 51:10 NASB ®

As I prayed for God to lead me to share His message for this post today, I was inspired by the book that my husband and I are re-reading together at the moment; 'Improving Your Serve' by Charles R. Swindoll. Charles looks at the call from our Saviour, to lead an unselfish life; to have a servant's heart. His book is led by his search to understand the following verse -

'For even the Son of Man did not come to be served,

but to serve, and to give his life a ransom for many.'

Mark 10:45 NIV

If you stopped and truly considered your heart, would you say your focus was on pleasing people or God?
I dearly want to have a servant's heart; to follow Jesus in how He lived in this world with a pure heart; His whole motive was to glorify His Father, and I want to do the same.

Charles R. Swindoll said -
'When Jesus took the time to explain His reason for coming among us, He was simple and direct:
to serve and to give. Not to be served. Not to grab the spotlight in the center ring.
Not to make a name or attract attention or become successful or famous or powerful or idolized.
No, quite frankly, that stuff turned Him off.' p11
When we look at the Psalm 51:10 verse, David was asking God to help create within him, a clean, pure heart; from something that was unclean, separated from God. As a part of his desire for a clean heart, his prayer was also for his spirit to remain steadfast - firm, grounded on the truth; to resist temptation.

It is only when we come to God and present ourselves before Him, that our hearts will be renewed; where our old self dies and we are made into a new creation (2 Cor 5:17), because of the power of the cross and ultimate sacrifice of our Saviour. As we open our hearts to be cleansed by the power of the Holy Spirit, our heart's desire, emotions, feelings, motives, begin a new journey to be made right, through our relationship with our Jesus.

In everything we do, we need to examine our motives.

'People may be pure in their own eyes, but the Lord examines their motives.'

Proverbs 16:2 NLT

As I contemplate on this verse, I am compelled to ask the Lord to show me anything that is not of Him, in my heart -

'Put me on trial, Lord, and cross-examine me. Test my motives and my heart.'

Psalm 26:2 NLT

Is God asking you to make a stand for Him, that would be unpopular in the world's eyes?
As we search for His will for our lives, He asks us to love one another, as Jesus showed us (2 Jn 1:6). When we seek the face of our God, we need to consider what is truly behind our prayers. Are we seeking His will and whatever that entails, or are we purely looking for a comfortable life? In our humaness, we hope to have a life free of troubles, we may be weary from pain whether physical, or emotional, but when we take up the cross and focus on what God wants, our prayers will be in-line with the life Jesus calls us to, as a part of His perfect plan.

As I read through the book of James, this verse sprung from the pages -

'Remember, it is a sin to know what you ought to do and then not do it.'

James 4:17 NLT

To seek a true servant's heart as demonstrated by the ministry of Jesus, looking for earthly rewards isn't an option; if we seek friendship with the world we become enemies of God (Jas 4:4). We need to listen and obey the commands of our Creator.

'God opposes the proud but favours the humble.'

James 4:6 NLT

When we serve, our focus should not be about looking for a pat on the back from others. God wants us to draw close to Him; as in this He will draw close to us (Jas 4:8). When we humble ourselves before Him, He lifts us up (Jas 4:10).

Lysa Terkeurst said -
'I finally realized that things like my circumstances or what other people think don't define me. Instead, I could tie my happiness to the reality of who my heavenly Father says I am.' P126
In our transparency, in how we deal with life day by day and choose to honour His name in all circumstances, the opinion of the world will no longer matter, as all we will desire, is God's opinion.

In our journey towards servanthood in Christ, there will be pain along the way, people will not always see what we do, we may well be forgotten by others, we will probably find ourselves being placed to oneside or put down, but our God - El Roi, sees everything; as His eyes searches for His faithful people (2 Ch 16:9).

The King of Kings provides us with all that we need; let us allow the peace of Christ to rule our hearts (Col 3:15). He will counsel and instruct us (Ps 16:8). He hears our distress and answers our prayers (Ps 118:5). He will give us strength to resist temptation (Jas 4:7) and His grace is sufficient for us in our weakness (2 Cor 12).

As Charles R Swindoll had a card with the words 'What's your motive?' written on it to help him look at everything he did, thought, prayed and said, I think I will join him and make a card for myself. For when others seek to put me down for what God has placed on my heart, all that should matter is what He thinks of me. When I feel myself slipping, I am reminded to give my burdens to my heavenly Father, and know that He will take care of me (Ps 55:22). When God tells me to do something, I need to do it, without thought being given to what people will think of me.

My hope is to have a pure, clean, servant's heart; for my motives to be in-line with my Father's will. I will praise Him for all the days of my life and worship Him.

Please join me today in handing over anything that is not of God in our lives, as we hunger and thirst after His will.

'For we speak as messengers approved by God to be entrusted with the Good News.

Our purpose is to please God, not people.

He alone examines the motives of our hearts.'

1 Thess 2:4 NLT
Let's pray
Father I come before you today, please examine and test my heart.
If there is anything that is not of you, please help me to work through this with you.
I ask for your forgiveness, for the things I have put before you.
My desire is for a clean, steadfast heart that stands firm on your promises.
Please help me to look at my motives, in everything I do.
May my life bring glory to your Holy name, for you are El Roi - God who sees all.
Help me to not lean on my own understanding and the approval of others, but to follow your commands that are pleasing to you.
Open my eyes, unclutter my heart, for I want to listen to the whispers of Your heart.
Please show me Your will, open the doors for me to go through, to spread Your Good News.
In Jesus' name

Anita x    



Author: Charles R. Swindoll, Book: Improving Your Serve, Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton 1991. Page 11

Author: Lysa Terkeurst, Book: Made to Crave Devotional, Publisher: Zondervan 2011, Page 126

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB and NLT

Image: © Nita Joy Designs