Growing In Faith Daily

A small step is a giant leap

In growth and faith each day

If this step is your time with God

To read His Word and pray. —Sper

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“Be renewed in the spirit of your mind.” –Ephesians 4:23

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**See Our Daily Bread devotional here.

Changes for Next Year

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.” Jeremiah 29:11-13

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Usually around this time of year, I get all gung-ho and psyched about my plans for change. However, this go around, I’m just way too exhausted for all that (physically, emotionally, and mentally). So, what’s the good news? Well, since I’m already so drained, I simply cannot waste energy “spinning my wheels.” I need not try to get all hyped and pumped up about a dozen things…that I want to drastically change over night!! (Of course, that’s not such an effective approach anyway, huh?! ;-) )

However, I sense the Lord telling me that changes will come this new year…but not because of any personal pep rally concerning New Year’s Resolutions!! No, God has some changes that He wants to take place, but in His timing and in His way. I also realize that this new year, I’m not going to be focused on being BUSY, but instead on being fruitful and productive. (There IS a difference…In fact, it makes all the difference in the world!!)

Well, I don’t pretend to know what next year holds. I don’t have it all figured out. No elaborate plans. Can’t say I don’t even have some concerns, but I do know one thing. I don’t hold the future…God does…and that’s a good thing!

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Well, I’m home alone, and I’m off to grab my guitar. There’s a song I feel the need to sing. It’s called “I Know Who Holds Tomorrow.

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HAPPY NEW YEAR!! -D

I pray you have a year of true peace and joy!

Say Goodbye To Self!

“Say Goodbye To Self”

(By: Janet Chestnut, 10/30/08)

Say goodbye to “Self…”

And from her ways depart.

She cannot rule your life,

when Jesus owns your heart.

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“Self” thinketh she knows best,

and she will fight to win…

But her lack of wisdom…

just leadeth her to sin.

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“Self” seeketh her own gain,

but all she finds is loss.

She wants to have her way…

HE needs to be the boss.

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God calls each one of us

to open up His Word.

Don’t listen to just “Self,”

but let HIS voice be heard.

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So say goodbye to “Self.”

You have to tell her “No!”

You cannot fill her wants…

Her ways have GOT to go!!

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Copyright 2008, Janet Chestnut, Daily Provision

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**Note: Below are links to four of my other poems:

Everlasting Love

Look to Jesus

You Mock What You Don’t Understand

The Dusty Bible

The God Who Holds The Universe…

…is the God who is holding you.

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“What man of you, having an hundred sheep, if he lose one of them, doth not leave the ninety and nine in the wilderness, and go after that which is lost, until he find it? And when he hath found it, he layeth it on his shoulders, rejoicing.” —Luke 15:4-5

“He shall dwell between His shoulders.” —Deuteronomy 33:12

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Last week, I was getting frustrated with myself that I wasn’t more productive. I had so many things I needed and wanted to get done, but I just couldn’t seem to muster up the energy. Of course, after a couple of days, I realized that I had been “fighting” getting sick, and I finally lost that battle. I was sick with a stomach virus and a cold virus there for 2-3 days. I’ll spare you any more details than that.

Well, I was starting to feel soooo run-down physically, that I wasn’t up to doing much of anything. However, I realized that I could NOT ignore the spiritual side. I’ve actually become aware that when I’m down spiritually, everything else starts to fall apart too! You see, when my soul is neglected, I’m bound to become physically ill. When I don’t spend time alone with my Lord, I begin to worry about things again. Then, the stresses of life easily overtake me and quickly take a toll on my body.

Of course, not only does spiritual malnutrition affect me physically, it also affects me mentally and emotionally. Without the constant loving guidance of God’s Word, I’m an easy target for the enemy’s lies. It only becomes that much harder to avoid succumbing to the devil’s taunts, ridicule, and tricks.

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You know, as Christians, we’re on a journey…one that can be perilous and treacherous at times. Often our vision gets hazy, and we can’t see the way. The surroundings are rugged and cruel. With the heavy fog, we can only see the big, scary obstacles right in front of us. We’re not able to see any way around them…They seem unsurmountable.

Each morning, as we set out on the road of life once more, we MUST check in with our “Tour Guide.” He knows the territory…His vision is always clear. Our Guide is also very mighty…He will go before us and be our protector. The “obstacles” are nothing to Him…”mountains” are merely ant hills. Furthermore, He’s not intimidated by or subject in any way to any foe who seeks to harm us or lure us off the right path. He knows the road better than anyone and will never be sidetracked by deceptive bypasses that look like short-cuts.

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Yes, like a little child must cling to his mother when crossing a busy, dangerous street…We must always hold on to our Savior. We must stay close to Him at all times. Sometimes on this difficult journey, He will even have to carry us. However, we need not worry, because His strength will never run out.

Not only does He know how small the obstacles really are (with His help), but He also knows all the many joys that lie ahead, along the way. No matter how hard this road of life may seem at times, there’s always more good times ahead as well. In fact, if we stay close to Him, we can find joy all along the way, even in the “midst of the storms.”

Of course, the greatest rejoicing comes at the journey’s end…a time at which we will definitely know it was all worth it!! We will spend our days praising our Savior forevermore…the One who led us safely Home.

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Ask the Savior to help you,
Comfort, strengthen, and keep you;
He is willing to aid you—
He will carry you through. —Palmer

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**This devotional was inspired by “Our Daily Bread,” and you may also read it here.

A Joyful Noise?– *Updated*

Today, the kiddos got to try out their new tin whistles for the first time. They just started their six weeks of music class with Mrs. Donna. Although I’m glad the kids are so excited, I must say, tin whistles aren’t exactly “headache friendly.” ;-)

This new experience for my children takes me back quite a few years. You see, my husband and I both played the clarinet for 7 yrs. through middle and high school. While my kids were testing their instruments today, I received a glimpse of what my parents experienced when I was a kid. During my evening practices at home, my clarinet and I usually found ourselves outside on the carport. My parents were happier that way…though the neighborhood pets…not so much. ;-) While I squeaked out “notes” on my instrument of torture, everywhere around, there were dogs howling in protest…expressing their great displeasure. (Poor dogs couldn’t catch a break either. Just one street up from my house, lived 2 more clarinet players and a flutist, to boot! -D )

Unfortunately, it actually took me the full seven years of Band to become a half-way decent clarinet player. Even though I love music, and I’m a pretty good singer, the clarinet was just not my forte. …And no, believe me, I’m not being hard on myself…just honest! -D While my husband Scott was consistently one of the best…I was…well…NOT!

But, ya know what? As I ponder these memories, I’m struck with an interesting and wonderful revelation. At our own appointed times, when each of the saved reach Heaven, we will witness glorious, majestic music…Like none we’ve ever heard before. As we sing beautiful praises to our King forevermore, there will be no howls of protest! All that we’ll hear for eternity, will be but “a joyful noise!”

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  • Psalms 95:1 KJV

    O come , let us sing unto the LORD: let us make a joyful noise to the rock of our salvation.

  • Psalms 98:4 KJV

    Make a joyful noise unto the LORD, all the earth: make a loud noise , and rejoice , and sing praise.

  • Psalms 98:6 KJV

    With trumpets and sound of cornet make a joyful noise before the LORD, the King.

What I Need Most

Well, as usual, I find what I need most is a good quiet time with the Lord (see previous post). Today, the key verse in “Our Daily Bread” says:

“Walk circumspectly, not as fools but as wise, redeeming the time, because the days are evil.” —Ephesians 5:15-16

The ending caption reads:

When you find time on your hands, put them together in prayer.

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Well, not that I often have a lot of time on my hands. It seems there’s always plenty I could be doing. However, the last couple of mornings, the kids have slept in a little later since it’s turned colder. They must have slept especially well last night…all snug in their warm, little beds. This morning, once they got up, they actually dressed promptly. Before long, Sarah was bundled up in a coat, hat, and gloves and asking if she and Kerry could go outside. [ O.k., how could I argue with that?! I wasn’t moving too fast this morning, and I certainly don’t get much quiet time to myself nowadays! Besides, that IS one of the major perks of homeschooling…having a flexible schedule! ]

Anyway, with this “extra time on my hands,” how would I spend it? Was sitting down to reading the Bible the FIRST thing I did? Well, quite honestly…”No,” but that’s what I always NEED to do foremost! You know, it’s quite often a great indicator when we don’t feel like opening God’s Word…Well, that’s when we definitely need to more than ever!! [ Why should we EVER go by feelings anyway? I mean, talk about fickle, unreliable, and deceiving!! ]

With the mood I woke up in this morning, what better message could I have read? What better use of time is there than spending time in God’s Word and prayer? Yes, my friend, the flesh is still weak, but HE is strong. When we feel we don’t have the strength to face the day, we haven’t yet tapped into our greatest source of strength!

Wait and, in waiting, listen for His leading;

Be strong, thy strength for every day is stored.

Go forth in faith, and let thine heart take courage;

There is no disappointment with the Lord. –Anon.

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**To read today’s devotional from “Our Daily Bread” in its entirety, you may click here.

Is it Thursday?

O.k., no it’s not…I know, it’s Friday. However, I’m posting my Thankful Thursday today! (Shall I dare?! -D ) Well, truth is, I wasn’t able to yesterday, but I must post this! I truly look forward to participating in TT every week, because I enjoy recalling my many blessings, and it’s good for me too! For you see, how can I help but thank and praise the Lord for all He has done…And how can I help but rejoice and be glad when I realize all the blessings that I’ve been given?! -)

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Be glad in the LORD, and rejoice, ye righteous: and shout for joy, all ye that are upright in heart.” Psalms 32:11

“I will sing unto the LORD as long as I live: I will sing praise to my God while I have my being. My meditation of him shall be sweet: I will be glad in the LORD.” Psalms 104:33-34

A merry heart maketh a cheerful countenance: but by sorrow of the heart the spirit is broken.” Proverbs 15:13

“Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise: be thankful unto him, and bless his name. For the LORD is good; his mercy is everlasting; and his truth endureth to all generations.”Psalms 100:4-5

“After this I beheld, and, lo, a great multitude, which no man could number, of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues, stood before the throne, and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, and palms in their hands; And cried with a loud voice, saying, Salvation to our God which sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb. And all the angels stood round about the throne, and about the elders and the four beasts, and fell before the throne on their faces, and worshipped God, Saying, Amen: Blessing, and glory, and wisdom, and thanksgiving, and honour, and power, and might, be unto our God for ever and ever. Amen.” Revelation 7:9-12

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I’m thankful to God:

–for the really nice day we had as a family on Sat.

–for my Sunday School class, choir practice, and Bible discussion this past Sun.

–for my allergies easing off, cooler weather, less humidity, etc. I’m thankful that I was able to do some yard-work again…I could breathe!!

–for CC (Classical Conversations–the new homeschool program we’re doing this year). I’m thankful for the first meeting yesterday (the New Parent Orientation Mtg.).

–for the miracle the Lord performed for my family and I yesterday! I’m thankful that He got the kids and I to the meeting safely and on time! You see, the following factors make it a miracle to me:

–I have no sense of direction, no confidence with finding my way to a new place, and I tend to panic when I miss a turn or something (if I don’t rely on Him).

–I easily get lost, even when I have good and correct directions.

–The directions I had printed off the internet were incorrect (the last 3 steps were all wrong!)

–I’m easily distracted, which doesn’t help with finding my way, and I had both kids with me (constantly asking me when we would be there!)

–I actually remembered to bring the CC director’s phone #’s with me! (The way my memory is lately, that is a real surprise!)

–I actually made note of major landmarks along the way AND even recalled them later! (It’s a long story, but this helped me immensely when asking for help later.)

–I was in a town that I was totally unfamiliar with (I can get lost in my own town…sad, but true!)

–I had my cell-phone with me, however, unfortunately, when I tried to use it I had run out of minutes and couldn’t make any calls!! Ugh!! (I had lost track of how many minutes I had left on my “pay as you go” phone.) …I admit, I wanted to panic. However, instead, I “listened” to the Lord when He told me not to worry and that He had a plan.

–I was led out of what seemed like “the middle of nowhere” to a major road with a public place (Ace Hardware) in which to ask for directions and/or call my friend. (I truly believe the Lord led me straight there.)

Annnyway…right on time…at 2:00 on the dot, I arrived at my destination for the CC mtg.!! -)

–for Him keeping the kids and I safe and from having a car accident yesterday afternoon. We were on our way home from the mtg., when we had kind of a close call. I had just come off an entrance ramp to the highway, and I needed to merge over into the lane to the left of me, before mine ran out. However, even though I was up to speed, the driver directly beside me refused to let me over. Therefore, I was forced to run along the side of the road for a moment (which was rough and uneven), until I could safely merge. (I admit that at first, my reaction to that particular driver was neither nice nor pretty! However, I’m thankful that the Lord convicted my heart and reminded me to pray for that person.)

–for His reassurance concerning homeschooling.

–for His guidance and discernment concerning some health and medication issues.

–for His guidance and wisdom concerning some financial matters. He has recently given me some gentle reminders, slight reprimands, and loving nudging. I thank Him for His help with a couple of recent, small financial decisions. I thank God for His continual provision and care of us.

–for Kerry’s reading time today. On his own, without even being asked, he sounded out and read today’s Bible verse. He also read to me from his current book without any fuss, fits, crying, or tantrums! Woo-hoo!! -) (Let’s just say that Kerry’s not always a compliant, eager, or even willing participant! -D It’s not that he’s not ready developmentally, that he can’t do it, etc. No, with Kerry, it’s more about control, and he likes to show just how VERY stubborn he can be! However, little Kerry’s discovering that he can’t “out-do” Daddy on the stubborn thing! ;-) )

–for answered prayer and a praise report today. Aubrey from our church had a very serious six hour surgery today. He came through it doing well, and all 3 bypasses were successful.

–for God’s unending and unchanging forgiveness, mercy, grace, and LOVE. This past week, I read a great devotional about His love in Our Daily Bread. There was an excellent point made that not only do we need to experience God’s love in order to truly love others, but we also need to be motivated through our love for Christ, not others. We cannot “stay the course” in serving others if we try to make our love for them be our motivation. As the devotional mentions, when Jesus told Peter to feed His sheep, “Jesus did not ask Peter if he loved His sheep, but if he loved Him.” The writer continues by stating:

“Affection for God’s people in itself will not sustain us. His sheep can be unresponsive, unappreciative, and harshly critical of our efforts to love and to serve them. In the end, we will find ourselves defeated and discouraged. The “love of Christ”—our love for Him—is the only sufficient motivation that will enable us to stay the course, to continue to feed the flock of God. Thus Jesus asks you and me, “Do you love Me? Feed My sheep.–David H. Roper

**Note: To read this devotional in its entirety, you may click here.

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**For more Thankful Thursday posts and participants, please visit Iris @ Sting My Heart.