Devotionals Just for Girls
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Devotionals Just for Girls

The Importance of Perseverance

If someone was watching me yesterday, they probably would have thought I was crazy. For three months I had been eyeing some patio furniture to use for my outdoor office. This last week I noticed a huge price drop and I decided to buy it. The only problem was I couldn't find the box with this particular model. Five associates later, one trip to customer service, and one brave employee willing to fetch the display model from the ceiling shelves and there I was ... standing in the parking lot with two chairs and a table that definitely would not fit in my tiny car. At least that's what the sales associate told me. I said I would make it work and that's exactly what I did. 

For twenty minutes I tried different options while my one-year old watched from her car seat. I think even she thought I was crazy. I contemplated all of my options. I could take it all apart if I had a screw driver. I checked the trunk. Nope. I could call my dad who has a van. Maybe he just happens to be in the area and could pick it up for me. Nope. I could leave it at the customer service desk and wait until someone with a truck would pick it up for me...but how am I going to carry this all to the customer service desk with a one-year-old in tow? Nope. Finally, I managed to take the cushions off, stack the chairs, and if I rolled the back window down they only stuck out a little. Next I moved my daughter's car seat and was able to squeeze the table in too. 

All of this resulted in me having a wonderful place to pray and study on my Lanai. I could have given up after the first sales associate told me they couldn't help, or the second one, or the third one. I persevered because I really wanted that patio furniture. Sometimes people give up too soon. 

1 Corthians 16:9 says, "There is a wide-open door for a great work here, although many oppose me." NLT  

It's strange that Paul is talking about how God has opened a door for him AND many oppose him. Sometimes when we are doing God's will, it won't always be easy. Obstacles can get in our way, but we must not give up. This is especially true in prayer. 

In Luke 11:5-9 Jesus is teaching us how to pray. "And he said unto them, Which of you shall have a friend, and shall go unto him at midnight, and say unto him, 'Friend, lend me three loaves; For a friend of mine in his journey is come to me, and I have nothing to set before him?'
       And he from within shall answer and say, 'Trouble me not: the door is now shut, and my children are with me in bed; I cannot rise and give thee.'
       I say unto you, Though he will not rise and give him, because he is his friend, yet because of his importunity he will rise and give him as many as he needeth.
      And I say unto you, Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you."

Moving Across the Ocean

Recently my family made a change ... a big change. We sold our house, two cars, a dune buggy, a boat, a motorcycle, our swimming pool, and almost everything else we owned, except a suitcase of clothes for each family member, our favorite kitchen gadgets and a few picture albums. Then we got on an airplane and moved to our new home in Hawaii! 

About ten years ago I had started praying for this dream to come true, and the Lord has worked in so many wonderful ways throughout our journey. I just wanted to share some of the amazing things He has done:

1) My parents, sister and brother-on-law moved here, making the transition much easier for us.

2) Our house sold in only 12 days on the market in a down economy.

3) At the grocery store, a stranger paid $5 towards my groceries. I stopped at Dutch Bros (a coffee stand) on my way home and was informed my drink was free because a lady from the other window had paid for it. The very next week, the waiter at our favorite Mexican food restaurant told us that another family had paid for our entire bill for our family of five! I prayed and asked the Lord what He was trying to show me, and He impressed it on my heart that we are entering into a season of blessing. (After going through quite a few trials over the past couple of years.)

4) Both of our cars sold to Christians who were willing to let us drive them right up until the day we left. One of the buyers even told me she had been obsessed with searching Craigslist for our exact vehicle. The day I posted it, she had decided to take a break from searching and spend some time in prayer and Bible study. When she checked Craigslist, that is exactly when our ad popped up. 

5) When we had our yard sale, almost every single item sold.

6) We gave most of our pantry items to the church food pantry, but I saved one jar of canned artichokes for a friend of mine. She told me that she had just bought some, but her jar had fallen out of the trunk and broken. 

7) Our neighbor who is also a pastor told my husband that he had a word from the Lord that my husband was going to be starting a new chapter in work, before he even knew we were planning a move. My husband ended up getting an excellent job before even leaving the mainland.

8) I was a little nervous about flying by myself with three kids five and under since my husband would be coming a little after us. I told a good friend of mine when my flight was, and she just "happened" to be taking a vacation to Hawaii and had scheduled herself on the same exact flight as us! She agreed to help me with my kids. 

9) We found a house to rent where my husband gets paid to fix it up. 

10) I am able to continue my writing ministry because of God's wonderful provision for me to be a stay-at-home mom/writer, and my husband has been able to continue his ministry of teaching the Bible as opportunities here have been opening up. Maybe even some exciting missions trips in our future. 

If there's something in your life that God has put on your heart, don't be afraid to take a huge risk to follow His leading. I had no idea God would work out every last detail so beautifully on this journey, but having to rely on Him completely has been a wonderful adventure. Step out of your comfort zone today and trust God to work in your life in new and powerful ways. 

Joshua 1:9 "This is my command—be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged. For the LORD your God is with you wherever you go."


Running the Race to Win

I love rewards. When I taught preschool, I used rewards often to motivate positive behavior. Lately, I have been thinking about heavenly rewards ... rewards for completing the life work God has given to each of us specifically. 
 
I believe God has a specific purpose and plan for each one of us. When we are born again, that's the beginning of partnering with God to follow that plan. 

In 1 Corinthians 9:16, Paul says, "Yet preaching the Good News is not something I can boast about. I am compelled by God to do it. How terrible for me if I didn't preach the Good News!" NLT

Paul's calling was to be a preacher. What is your calling? What are you passionate about doing for God? What excites you? 

1 Corinthians 9:24-27 says, "Don't you realize that in a race everyone runs, but only one person gets the prize? So run to win! All athletes are disciplined in their training. They do it to win a prize that will fade away, but we do it for an eternal prize. So I run with purpose in every step. I am not just shadowboxing. I discipline my body like an athlete, training it to do what it should. Otherwise, I fear that after preaching to others I myself might be disqualified." NLT

We often hear about how salvation is a free gift. It's not based on anything we can do to earn it. No amount of good works can ever get you to heaven. 

Ephesians 2:8-10  talks about this. "God saved you by his grace when you believed. And you can't take credit for this; it is a gift from God. Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it. For we are God's masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago." NLT

So, Salvation is a free gift, and after we are born again, we are on a mission here on earth for God ... to do the "good things he planned for us long ago."

Romans 12:11 says, "Never be lazy, but work hard and serve the Lord enthusiastically.*"NLT
Footnote:
* Or but serve the Lord with a zealous spirit; or but let the Spirit excite you as you serve the Lord.

1 Peter 1:17 says, "And remember that the heavenly Father to whom you pray has no favorites. He will judge or reward you according to what you do. So you must live in reverent fear of him during your time as "foreigners in the land." NLT

Let's make sure everything we do is on mission. Let's not try to do "good things" out of obligation or guilt that might distract us from our true calling. Let's instead follow -- with lots of energy and passion -- that specific life calling of God. 


Like Cotton Candy

Cotton candy looks so appealing, but when you take a bite of it, it just vanishes away...and leaves nothing but a sick feeling from too much sugar and food coloring. 

Sometimes, we think we desire something that God calls sin. Satan can trick us into seeing sin as enticing. The truth is...sin almost always leads to the exact opposite of what we desire:

1) We might think we desire to eat an entire tub of ice-cream, but what we really desire is to be a healthy weight. 

2) We might think we want to compromise our purity before marriage, but what we really want is to have a happy fruitful marriage and to be loved in a way that is committed. 

I heard a song recently that talked about being young and having fun in regard to giving up purity. The sad lie is that giving up purity does not lead to fun. It leads to kids living in homes without a loving and devoted mommy and daddy. It leads to women having to be afraid of creepers when they walk to their cars from the grocery store. Imaging how different the world and our society would be if people did not give in to this temptation. 

James 1:14-15 says, "Temptation comes from our own desires, which entice us and drag us away.These desires give birth to sinful actions. And when sin is allowed to grow, it gives birth to death."

Cotton candy is like the allure of sin. From a distance, and at first it can seem attractive, but once you have taken a bite of it...there's nothing of value left.

Proverbs 4:18-23 says, "The way of the righteous is like the first gleam of dawn, which shines ever brighter until the full light of day. But the way of the wicked is like total darkness. They have no idea what they are stumbling over.
My child, pay attention to what I say. Listen carefully to my words. Don't lose sight of them. Let them penetrate deep into your heart, for they bring life to those who find them, and healing to their whole body. Guard your heart above all else, for it determines the course of your life."

Why Bad Things Happen (part 1)

God could have created us to be robots who always do the right thing, but He allowed us to choose Him... or side with Satan and the rebellious, fallen angels. Luke 11:23a "Anyone who isn't with me opposes me, and anyone who isn't working with me is actually working against me."

We can see the consequences of man's evil choices, motivated by Satan, all around us. My five year old daughter asked me why a bad guy would shoot himself. "That doesn't make any sense," she said. I had to explain to her that Satan doesn't love his followers. He wants harm for them. Of course, God could intervene and stop all of Satan's followers before they could do any evil, but that would totally eliminate choice. What is God's solution? He sent Jesus to die on the cross to save us from our sins and enable those who give their lives to Him willingly, to live forever in a perfect world. He is planning to completely remake this earth without the curse. There is something in our hearts that craves a peaceful/perfect earth. The Bible says, Psalm 37:11 "But the meek shall inherit the earth, And shall delight themselves in the abundance of peace." 

At the end of the Bible, in Revelation, we see some of what the new earth will be like. I've been to Venice, Italy, with water streets...it is beautiful. I can't wait to see the New Jerusalem. 

Revelation 22:21-22 "Then the angel showed me a river with the water of life, clear as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb. It flowed down the center of the main street. On each side of the river grew a tree of life, bearing twelve crops of fruit, with a fresh crop each month. The leaves were used for medicine to heal the nations."

I so look forward to Jesus' second coming, which will not only bring peace to our hearts but will literally bring peace on earth. 

To learn more about what the Bible actually teaches about a literal heaven, read "Heaven," by Randy Alcorn. 

Can you imagine living in a culture where every single citizen has chosen the King, and the King himself is not selfish, but willingly laid down his life for them? That's the perfect world that awaits a true child of God. 






Why Bad Things Happen (part 2)

Today I had to take my baby to get a shot at the doctor's office. She cried and turned questioning eyes towards me. I might know shots can protect her from life threatening diseases, but at six months old, she can't begin to understand the good that will come out of this trial. She must trust me as I hold her and comfort her, and whisper in her ear, "It's O.K." 

Lately, I've been reading in the Gospel of John. Three of the miracles Jesus performed shed some light on this topic of suffering for me. 

1) Suffering can be a consequence of sin and/or bad choices. In John 5 Jesus heals a man who was paralyzed. He tells the man, "Now you are well; so stop sinning, or something even worse may happen to you." John 5:14. My pastor at the church I grew up in, Jon Courson, used to always say, "Sin is not bad because it is forbidden...it is forbidden because it is bad." 

2) Suffering is sometimes allowed for a bigger purpose. In John 9, Jesus heals a man born blind. His disciples asked Him if the man had sinned or his parents. "'It was not because of his sins or his parents' sins,' Jesus answered. This happened so the power of God could be seen in him. We must quickly carry out the tasks assigned us by the one who sent us. The night is coming, and then no one can work." John 9:3-4 

In John 11, Jesus raises Lazarus from the dead, but first he delayed coming when Lazarus' sisters, Mary and Martha called him. Both Mary and Martha separately accuse Jesus: "Lord, if only you had been here, my brother would not have died." Johm 11:21&32. And later, in verses 33 through 38, Jesus wept, not because Lazarus had died, but because of the people's lack of understanding in His purposes. Eve also doubted God's goodness. It is one of Satan's oldest tactics.  

When I was a junior in high school, my best friend died tragically in a car accident. I still remember showing up late because there was a detour due to the accident. Something was wrong. The students were still all outside, but they were not talking. It was eerily quiet. That's when I saw her brother crying, and something inside of me just knew. I started to cry and so I turned to walk to the restroom. That's when I heard someone scream into the payphone the tragic news that my friend was dead. It didn't seem real at first. I think we were all in shock. She loved the Lord with all of her heart. She had shown me what it looked like to make God the center of everything, and she had been so full of life...Now, looking back, I can see how much good God has brought from her life and death. Many, many kids committed to Jesus after her death, and many more decided to go into the ministry because of her. My first book is dedicated to her as well. God can use what Satan means for evil and bring about good. Romans 8:28 "And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to [His] purpose."

James 1:2-4 says, "Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing."

I have lost three babies...two through miscarriage, and one stillborn at seven months. When the news came back from her ultrasound results, it was not good. We were told something was wrong with our baby. Over the course of the next couple of months, we learned that our baby had Triploidy, a rare chromosome abnormality which meant that our baby would not survive. The specialist recommended that I abort our baby. I firmly told him I would not. So, for the next several months, I had to go into my doctor every week...waiting for the heartbeat to stop. Everywhere I went, people would ask me when I was due etc. It was a very difficult time in my life, but the strength and peace that God gave to me was amazing. He seemed so close, and my faith was proven rock solid...something I wouldn't have know unless it was tested. My baby was stillborn on February 14...Valentines Day. I named her Aliyah Charis. Charis means "Grace" in Greek. God was with me through it all, holding my hand...and now, ten years later, He has blessed me with three more healthy and beautiful babies. Trusting God isn't always easy when we don't understand why things happen the way they do, but if we will chose to trust in Him, we are guaranteed a happily ever after that makes any movie ending pale in comparison. 











Trusting God's Will

Some people are afraid of giving their lives completely over to God. They think that if they do, He will make them miserable. 

Romans 12:1-2 says, "And so, dear brothers and sisters, I plead with you to give your bodies to God because of all he has done for you. Let them be a living and holy sacrifice--the kind he will find acceptable. This is truly the way to worship him. Don't copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God's will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.

Interesting...if we give ourselves to God as a living sacrifice--holding nothing back--He actually changes the way we think...and His will is GOOD, PLEASING AND PERFECT. 

Psalm 37:4 says, "Delight yourself in the LORD and he will give you the desires of your heart." 

The key is loving God first, and He changes our desires into Godly ones. Don't follow the example of someone who seems to be miserable in their service to God, chances are, that person is not really following God's will for their lives.

God's will is always good, pleasing and perfect, but that doesn't mean it is without trials. It means that the person who is walking in total surrender to God will enjoy serving Him and the plans He has for their life will be like a dream come true. 

I love the movie Soul Surfer, the true story of Bethany Hamilton, a girl who lost her arm during a shark attack while surfing. God used her tragedy to showcase His strength in her and answered her very specific prayer about using her life. His will for her also included fulfilling her dream to become a pro surfer. 

Serving God is a wonderful adventure, and He has a specific purpose for each of our lives.  I am so blessed to have parents who modeled God's goodness to me. They always had my best interest in mind, and I knew that I could trust them because of their love for me. That kind of trust in God's goodness and love for us is what motivates us to hope even when our circumstances might seem bleak. 

Living Like a Missionary

I've been thinking a lot lately about the difference between the missionary life, and the lives of the rest of us back home. How would my life be different if I was a missionary? 

The first thing that comes to my mind is that I would be totally dependent on God...in everything. Every aspect of my life would be devoted to Him 100%.  My focus would be on how I could best use my resources and my time for God's purposes and my calling. Every day I would filter everything through that title: missionary. 

In his book "Dependence Upon the Lord" K.P. Yohannan gives several guidelines for determining whether or not someone is depending on God. One of them really stood out to me:

Page 33 "When your bank account is full, do you just dish out money for anything, whenever it is wanted or needed? Or do you take the time to pray and seek God, waiting upon Him to speak to you and show you how to handle the resources He has given you? By always looking to Him, even in the good times, we show that our lives are fully dependent upon Him and Him alone." 

The Bible teaches through the parable of the talents found in Matthew 25 that to those who use well what they have been given, more will be given to them.

I loved the time I spent at a small orphanage in Mexico. Being on the mission field is so amazing, so peaceful, so refreshing. My question is, can I live here in the United States and still keep my focus 100% on God's kingdom like a missionary? I'm planning to try. I'm excited to embark on this adventure and see where it takes me. 








True Abundant Life

I love the line from the cartoon, The Incredibles, at the end when the mole pops out of the ground and says, "I wage war on peace and happiness!" For some reason it is so out of the blue that it makes me laugh every time. 

The thing is, I feel like I want to wage war on two things too. Not peace and happiness, but legalism and selfishness. 

The Bible says in Matthew 7:13 "You can enter God's Kingdom only through the narrow gate. The highway to hell is broad, and its gate is wide for the many who choose that way."

Matthew 16:24-25 "Then Jesus said to His disciples, "If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me. For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it."

There's two extremes I have noticed. Some believers have gotten down the "deny yourself and take up your cross" part really well, but they don't seem to understand about the adventure of following Jesus, or the abundantly wonderful life that He offers. They don't have any joy in their lives. They come across legalistic and prudish. They usually get burned out, and they turn people off to God. 

The other extreme is the people who want the abundant life and blessings from God without denying themselves at all. They are the ones who heap up riches on this earth for themselves, ignoring the needs of others. Not thinking about how God might ask them to sacrifice in order to help feed a starving orphan etc. There's even whole churches with this mentality, spending all of their money on themselves instead of investing in eternity through reaching out. Giving in the New Testament usually focused on helping believers in another area or helping the poor. 

Let's be those who walk on the perfect, narrow path. Those who deny ourselves in order to gain the true adventure filled life God intends for us, fulfilling our purpose on earth of being His body. 



Don't be a Flabby Christian

In my last post, I talked about how the Bible compares the Christian life to a race. The Bible also teaches that Christians are part of the body of Christ (1Corinthians 12:27). We work together to accomplish God's plans. Ephesians 2:10 says, "For we are God's masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago." Isn't it exciting to think that God has specific good works planned for us to do? Have you ever wondered what those works are? If you're not sure about it, talk with God. He will show you. 

There is much work to be done, but sometimes as Christians, we can let ourselves get flabby. It is so easy to get distracted living in a country of plenty. It is so easy to focus on ourselves only, and not on the reason God has blessed us in the first place...so we can pass that love and blessing on to others. I have experienced visiting third world countries where people literally lived in cardboard houses, yet they were spiritually wealthy. The best part is that when we are doing what God has created us to do, nothing can compare with that kind of abundant and fulfilling life. 

1 Timothy 7b-8
"Exercise yourself toward godliness. For bodily exercise profits a little, but godliness is profitable for all things, having promise of the life that now is and of that which is to come." 

I just finished reading the book Kisses from Katie . What an inspiring story about a girl who lives out every day following God's call on her life. The following is a video about the author, a young woman who found the good works God had planned for her. She was senior class president at her school and homecoming queen before embarking on this exciting adventure.  

You need Flash Player in order to view this.
Kisses from Katie.mp4
Introduction to Katie Davis' new book, Kisses from Katie, due out Fall 2011. Published by Howard Books, a division of Simon and Schuster. Video produced by Point 3 Media. Special thanks to SpeakUp Pro...


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