Thursday, April 30, 2015

A to Z Devotion: Z is for Zeta

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"Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful." Colossians 4:2 (NIV)

Definition of Zeta - a small room or closet in a church.
Dawn's enhanced definition of Zeta - a cozy, place of prayer.

Donna Partow, author of "Becoming the Woman God Wants You to Be", recommends having a dedicated place to pray in your home. Her first one was literally a closet (and not a walk-in one). No one was allowed to bother her when she was in her prayer closet.

I have a "zeta" in my living room that I go to every morning for prayers. It consists of a couch, a blanket, and a little table that holds my Bible, my devotion books, my journal, and pen (oh, and my box of tissues). In the quiet of the morning, I turn the pellet stove on, wrap myself in a blanket, and pray. I can cry out to God without interruptions. It's my own, sacred space.

Do you have a "zeta"?  

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

A to Z Devotion: Y is for Yahweh

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"God said to Moses, "I AM WHO I AM. This is what you are to say to the Israelites: 'I AM has sent me to you.'" Exodus 3:14

Yahweh - A name of the Hebrew God (Variants: Jehovah, Yahveh, Yehowah)

I love the many names of God, each telling us more about who He is. 
Here are a few:

Wonderful Counselor, Almighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace, The Gate, The Light of the World, The Way, The Truth, The Life, The Resurrection, The Good Shepherd, El Elyon (the Most High God), Lord, Abba Father, Potter, Holy God, Immanuel, Savior, Living Water, Master, Teacher, Strong Tower, Holy Spirit, Cornerstone, King of Kings, Lion of the Tribe of Judah, The Lamb, Comforter, The Door, The Vine, Jesus, The Christ, Messiah...

Which is your favorite name for God? Why?

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

A to Z Devotion: X is for Xenagogue

"In the same way, let your light shine before others..." Matthew 5:16 (ESV)

"...they are blind guides. If the blind lead the blind, both will fall into a pit." Matthew 15:14 (NIV)
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Xenagogue -  a guide, someone who conducts strangers.

We, who are Christians, are to be xenagogues to the world. If we keep silent, the lost are left blind and will fall into the pit. But, if we shine Christ's light, the lost will be attracted to Jesus for He is the light of the world. His light is eternal life. If we point people to Him, He will take care of the rest.

Did you have a "xenagogue" that pointed you to Jesus? 

Monday, April 27, 2015

A to Z Devotion: W is for With

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"When you go through deep waters, I will be with you." Isaiah 43:2

On morning a couple of months ago, as I was waking up, I felt God say, "I am with you". Immediately, I became fearful, dreading the day. What was going to happen that I would really need to rely on God to get me through it? Was it something big and scary?

Nothing happened.

I know I shouldn't have been fearful to hear those words. I should have felt comfort and excitement to hear God so clearly. I am thankful, though, for the message. I do know God is with me and He will get me through anything that comes my way. I am thankful I can trust Him to be by my side and to carry me, if needed.

When have you had a moment you knew God was "with" you?

Saturday, April 25, 2015

A to Z Devotion: V is for Voice

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"Long ago, at many times and in many ways, God spoke to our fathers by the prophets, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son..." Hebrews 1:1-2 (ESV)

How do you know for sure that you are hearing God's voice?

That is a question I was having last summer. I thought I was hearing God's voice and that He was revealing things to me, but a friend wanted to know how I knew for sure. Then, God put "Hearing His Voice" by Chris Tiegreen in my path. The devotional shared that we often confuse the still small voice of God with our own thoughts. It went on to say, that as we grow closer in our relationship to God, our thoughts become one with God's, so that it doesn't matter if you know for sure whose voice is whose. 

It makes sense to me, that if the Holy Spirit is in me, that as I grow in my faith, His voice will intertwine with mine. In addition, I know that I should always test what I hear with what I read in the Bible to make sure that it is God speaking, for He speaks only truth, light, and life.

Do you hear God's voice? When and where to you hear it the strongest?

To read my full book review of "Hearing His Voice" by Chris Tiegreen, click here.

Friday, April 24, 2015

A to Z Devotion: U is for Urgency

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“But about that day or hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son,but only the Father. As it was in the days of Noah, so it will be at the coming of the Son of Man. For in the days before the flood, people were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, up to the day Noah entered the ark; and they knew nothing about what would happen until the flood came and took them all away. That is how it will be at the coming of the Son of Man. Two men will be in the field; one will be taken and the other left. Two women will be grinding with a hand mill; one will be taken and the other left."
“Therefore keep watch, because you do not know on what day your Lord will come. But understand this: If the owner of the house had known at what time of night the thief was coming, he would have kept watch and would not have let his house be broken into. So you also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him." Matthew 24:36-44

Urgency, or the lack of it, has been on my mind a lot lately. I struggle with this in prayer, for example, thinking I'll pray tomorrow because I am tired. Or, I put off leading a Bible study because, haven't I done enough lately? I have to keep in mind that we are running a race. Today could be my last day in the race. How will I report to God? "Uh, sorry, Father, I felt like resting this year." Or, will I say, "Father, your Word and Spirit led me and I obediently followed you!"

Yes, life is urgent if you are a Christian. What is God urging you to do?

What speaks to you about urgency?

Thursday, April 23, 2015

A to Z Devotion: T is for Today

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"Therefore, as the Holy Spirit says, “Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts as in the rebellion, on the day of testing in the wilderness," Hebrews 3:7-8 (ESV)

I am trying to be expectant every day that I will hear God's voice or see God in the little things of life. I want to be open to experiencing Him. I'll miss Him if I have a hardened heart. 

Today, I caught myself several times getting ready to say  negative things, but I shut my mouth before they popped out. I told my co-worker (a fellow Christian) that I was working on saying only things that were positive and encouraging. I want to be that kind of person, today and everyday.

Lord, soften my heart. Change my behavior into one that is pleasing to you. And, continue to put a guard at my mouth. In Jesus' name. Amen.

What is one thing you want to do change or do today?

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

A to Z Devotion: S is for Speak

"Do not speak evil against one another, brothers..." James 4:11 (ESV)
"Do not grumble against one another, brothers..." James 5:9 (ESV)

I am guilty of "speaking evil". I've talked about people behind their backs. Even as the words came out, I knew I was wrong, but once I start, it is hard to stop. How can I say that I love people if I speak against them and judge? 

Father, help me! I don't want to speak evil. I want to speak life. Help me turn to You in prayer, instead of speaking negatively. Put a guard at my lips. Help me turn negative conversations into positive ones. In the name of Jesus. Amen.

Do you speak life? What helps you resist gossip?

TobyMac - Speak Life

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

A to Z Devotion: R is for Roof

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"And when they could not get near him because of the crowd, they removed the roof above him, and when they had made an opening, they let down the bed on which the paralytic lay." Mark 2:4

And you know what happens next...Jesus performs another miracle, healing the paralytic!

I have a roof story too that includes a miracle. We had some roof work done and the roofer was kind enough to allow us to make payments. We paid the first payment, then I began praying for God to help us get out of this debt and out of all our debt (If we were financially free, then we'd have more money to use when and where God wants/calls). As I prayed, our oldest car came to mind to sell. That evening, a friend of mine mentioned she was looking for an inexpensive, reliable car. Coincidence? No way! After talking to my husband, I called her. She drove it and bought it! 

The car sale would cover 1/2 of what was left on the roofing bill. But, there's more! I looked over the finances. Once. Twice. Three times. I couldn't believe it - we had enough in the checking account to pay the full amount off (and this was not expected). I am sure that God was at work! Whether he had limited our normal credit card spending so that we had extra for the roof or not...I attribute the ability to pay off the debt to Him.

Father, I am thankful that you are in the tiniest details from orchestrating a car sale to balancing my checkbook. From miracles of healing to miracles with numbers, I thank you that you are my God and You are in control of my life and my finances. In Jesus' name. Amen.

What miracle roof-top moment have you had?

Monday, April 20, 2015

A to Z Devotion: Q is for Quab

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"Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it." Proverbs 22:6

A Quab can be an unfledged bird or something unfinished or immature (my post's focus).

Children and youth are near and dear to my heart. Their sweet spirits need nurtured and cared for. They need to know the love of Christ. If we don't tell them, who will? Half of Americans who accept Christ do so before the age 13. After age 18, the numbers of those who become Christians drop drastically.

Besides needing love and Jesus, they need guidance and a listening ear. Some need food, clothes, or a home. Won't you consider getting involved in the life of a child today? Here are some ideas.

--YMCA programs
--Boys & Girls Club
--Church Children and Youth ministries

--children and youth choirs and praise band
--free music lessons
--adoption or foster care
--teaching a skill at your local library or community center (art, gardening, wood-working, cooking, sport, financial skills for teens, drama, book club, reading to children, etc.)

--Sponsor a child
--work with homeless shelter families
--Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts
--Camp Counselor
--free babysitting for new parents

Do you work or volunteer with children or youth? Do you have a sweet story to share?

Saturday, April 18, 2015

A to Z Devotion: P is for Prayer

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"O Jehovah, God of my salvation, I have wept before you day and night. Now hear my prayers; oh, listen to my cry..." Psalm 88: 1-2 (TLB)

In the book "Grave Robber", Mark Batterson wrote about a man who was persistent to do something he believed in (pass a bill that would scramble porn channels). Not only did he pray about it around the Capitol seven times, he went to talk to every legislator to get his proposal added to the bill and just when he thought he was defeated, he heard God speak, "Are you doing this or Me?".  (His proposal did get added!)

Mark Batterson says that our prayers don't cause miracles, but they are a catalyst. 

After I read that section, I put the book down and went to prayer. I had not been praying with passion lately for the things on my heart. Pouring out prayers day and night and crying out to God -- I want to do that! The things I am praying about need urgency and passion! I don't want to be complacent. When I go to work, I work hard. When I plan an event, I plan down to every detail. I should be the same in my prayers if I believe in God and what He can do.

Lord, help me to pray with passion, to weep before you day and night, to cry out to you. Hear my prayers and respond. In Jesus' name. Amen.

Do you believe in persistent prayer?

Friday, April 17, 2015

A to Z Devotion: O is for Open

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"Then he opened their minds to understand the Scriptures," Luke 24:45 (ESV)

I am a youth volunteer and we recently had our annual high school retreat. I had some of the same girls in my group this year as last. A few of the girls last year were not really interested in the devotions and lessons -- they were there for the fun. But, I wanted more for them this year. So, I got up early each morning of the retreat and prayed alone in the chapel for these girls. I prayed that they would grow deeper in their relationship with Jesus, that they would "get" the lessons, and that they would make their faith their own.

And then, God worked. In every discussion, the girls had profound things to say. They committed to working on specific things that would bring them closer to God. They had grown so much in one year! I am so thankful, because several of the girls are seniors and this will be their last year in our youth group.

Father, continue to grow these precious girls. Help us also, to grow spiritually. Open our spiritual eyes, ears, and hearts to know you and to follow you. In Jesus' name. Amen.

When were your eyes opened to Jesus or to a lesson He wanted to teach you?

Thursday, April 16, 2015

A to Z Devotion: N is for Nascent

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"Though it is the smallest of all seeds, yet when it grows, it is the largest of garden plants and becomes a tree, so that the birds come and perch in its branches." Matthew 13:32

Nascent - (adj) just coming into existence and beginning to display signs of future potential. 

This Scripture verse and vocabulary word sum up my early faith. In high school and as a young adult, I believed in Jesus, but my faith was so tiny, like a mustard seed. It was resting in good soil, waiting for God to water and nurture it at the appropriate time. I admit that I was sometimes a stubborn plant, refusing to grow, but I always turned back to the light. 

Thank you, Father for your tender gardening care of me. Amen.

If you could describe your faith by using something found in nature (plant, animal, mineral, etc.), what would it by and why?

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

A to Z Devotion: M is for Miracles

"For sure, I tell you, whoever puts his trust in Me can do the things I am doing. He will do even greater things than these because I am going to the Father." John 14:12 (NLV)

I can't stop talking about "Miracle on Voodoo Mountain" and all the miracles God is doing through the faithful steps of Megan Boudreaux. She left Louisiana to follow God when He called her to Haiti. She had no plan, just faith. She was 24 years old and in just three years she has built a school, a medical clinic, and soon a church. God has provided the money, wisdom, and courage. He has healed. He is saving children...all because Megan was faithful to follow Him.

If you'd like to read more. Here is my book review, Megan's blog, Megan's organization Respire Haiti.

What great thing could God do through you? What miracle have you experienced?

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

A to Z Devotion: L is for Live

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"As for the proud one, his soul is not right in him. But the one who is right and good will live by his faith." Habakkuk 2:4 (NLV)

What does it mean to "live by faith"? 

For me, it means living for God and under his authority and power. It means relying on Him for everything, in surrender and humility. It means stepping out in faith to do things I am afraid to do, but that God would like.

In The Book of Numbers it says that Moses was a humble man, that he was more humble than anyone else on earth and that because of that, God spoke to him face-to-face, not like to a prophet through visions and dreams, but face-to-face. Because of his humility, he lived by faith.

I want to live by faith. I want to trust in God to accomplishing great things through me. 

Francis Chan says that living by faith is stepping out of your comfort zone to allow God to work. He tells of a time in college where he went on the streets and started talking to people about God and how that was way out of his comfort zone. He says that those were some of the best memories of his life.

Do you want to live by faith? What's one thing you could do that would put you out of your comfort zone, so you could totally rely on God to work through you? It could be something small, like visiting a neighbor you don't know well.

Monday, April 13, 2015

A to Z Devotion: K is for Kebbie

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"He will tend his flock like a shepherd; he will gather the lambs in his arms; he will carry them in his bosom, and gently lead those that are with young." Isaiah 40:11 (ESV)

A kebbie is a shepherd's crook, which is used by shepherds even today to navigate uneven terrain. The curved horn of the crook enables the shepherd to catch a sheep or goat that is straying from the herd and also to direct the herd to a particular path. (from 

John 10:11 tells us that Jesus is the good shepherd and that he lays down his life for his sheep. As our good shepherd, Jesus keeps us on the path using His Holy Spirit inside us, His Word and His voice (through prayer and through others, to us). His kebbie or crook guides us and helps us so we don't get lost.

And if we do get lost, He will find us. He promises.

"...for he has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” Hebrews 13:5

Do you have a story of straying from the path? How did Jesus bring you or a friend back?

Saturday, April 11, 2015

A to Z Devotion: J is for Jesus

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"Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me." John 14:5 (NIV)

Our Sunday School class did Francis Chan's study on "Crazy Love". One of our activities was to write an epitaph for how we hope to be remembered. 

Here is mine:

Death is not the end for I am alive in Christ Jesus.
Praising Him, heart overflowing with love
Humble & Weak, yet Bold & Strong in Him
A servant, a follower, stepping out in faith
"Faith without works is dead." from James 2:14-26

If you could meet Jesus face to face right now, what would you say to Him? What's the biggest change that Jesus has brought about in you?

Friday, April 10, 2015

A to Z Devotion: I is for Idol

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"You shall have no other gods before me. You shall not make for yourself an idol in the form of anything in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the waters below." Exodus 20:3-4 (NIV)

I have been reading "Becoming the Woman God Wants You to Be" by Donna Partow. It's a 90-Day self-study that goes over all sorts of topics for women. Day 61 struck me. The author said to purify your house and get rid of anything in it that would be offensive to God. Then she mentioned that some tourist items bought in other countries were actually foreign idols. Immediately, two necklaces that my daughter had bought in Puerto Rico came to mind. One was an owl and the other was like a sun face and had hieroglyphics on it.

What's weird is that when my daughter first showed them to me in P.R., after she bought them, I had a feeling of evil about them. I pushed that out of my mind, at the time, thinking that was superstitious and ridiculous, but after reading this section of the book, I realize the feeling might be real.

I talked to my daughter and we decided together to throw the necklaces out. In doing so, I think we honored God.

What do you think about this? Have you ever thought of offending God with things in your house (music, books, art, jewelry, clothing, etc.)?

Thursday, April 9, 2015

A to Z Devotion: H is for Healing

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"The Lord sustains them on their sickbed and restores them from their bed of illness." Psalm 41:3 (NIV)

When I found out that my father-in-law will need a hip replacement due to severe arthritis, I began praying. I soon felt like God was telling me that He will heal him completely and he will not need the surgery. I've heard from God before, but never about healing.

I am still praying, weeks later, as my father-in-law is now having one medical problem after another. Job comes to mind. I hope Gary does not have to suffer like Job did, but I know that God can restore him and I believe He His timing.

Do you have a story of God's healing?

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

A to Z Devotion: G is for Give

Used by gfa permission
"Then the King will say, ‘For sure, I tell you, because you did it to one of the least of My brothers, you have done it to Me.’" Matthew 25:40 (NLV)

Several years ago, we decided to give some of our money to sponsor a child. We chose a little girl, named Summan, in India (through Gospel for Asia (gfa)). Every year we got an updated picture and many letters from her.

Recently, I felt burdened to sponsor another girl, so I began looking through the children's pictures. After what seemed like hours, I narrowed the choice down to to four and my husband said, "Oh, just pick one." 

But, I couldn't. I wanted them all. My daughter agreed, we needed to sponsor them all.

So, now I have seven beautiful girls:
My own daughter, G.
Summan, now graduated from gfa's Bridge of Hope Program

Neha (our newest and youngest sponsored child)

I call them "my girls". I have all their photos and names on my kitchen wall. My husband joked that one day I will fill the entire wall with girls. I laughed and said that was my secret plan, all along. He said, "I know" in a serious and loving way. He knows they are on my heart.

Do you sponsor a child? If so, tell me about him or her!

If you are interested in looking into sponsoring a child, take a look at Gospel for Asia. 100% of your money goes directly to the care of your sponsored child.

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

A to Z Devotion: F is for Freedom

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" set free from its bondage...and obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God." Romans 8:21 (ESV)

"...let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us" Hebrews 12:1 (ESV)

You've heard of compulsive nail-biters. I was a compulsive nail-picker. I've been that way all my life, unable to stop picking at my nails (picking them almost to the quick). The compulsion got so bad, that as I did other things like typing, praying, or reading, all I could think about was when I could pick my nails again.

A year ago, I started to pray to be healed from this, but the break-through came on January 18. I was reading "Becoming the Woman God Wants You to Be" by Donna Partow and the lesson was about confessing secret sin. As I prayed, God brought my nail-picking to mind. In earnest, I confessed it as sin and asked Him to take it away, to release me from it's stronghold - I did not want to be consumed by it any longer. 

And then, I felt God answer my prayer! Healing came over me. Tears poured from my eyes in gratitude as I felt freed from the compulsion. 

It has been over two months now and I haven't picked my nails or even had the desire to. I have heard of people being healed by Jesus from drug addiction --I feel like that. When I look down at my beautiful nails, I am so thankful to God for blessing me in this way.

And now I come to an unfamiliar nails are getting too long and I'm going to have to cut them. Praise be to God! 

Have you been freed or healed from a particular sin, habit, or sickness?

Monday, April 6, 2015

A to Z Devotion: E is for Eating

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"So, whether you eat or drink..., do all to the glory of God." 1 Corinthians 10:31 (NIV)

"Daniel determined within himself not to become defiled by the king's menu of rich foods or by the king's wine, so he requested permission from the chief officer not to defile himself." Daniel 1:8 (ISV)

I came down with Shingles in mid-March and a friend told me about foods to avoid and foods to eat when you have Shingles. So, of course I wanted to get over Shingles as soon as possible, so I cut out chocolate, sugar, and peanut butter and began a diet high in veggies, eggs, yogurt, and fruits. I also began taking lysine supplements. I think the combination helped with the severity and duration.

This experience, though, has helped get me more focused on what I put into my body, even when I am well. Some foods promote healing, while others promote disease. 

Father, Help me to think before eating, help me to choose healthy foods that glorify You and do not defile my body. In Jesus' name. Amen. 

Have you ever had to go on a special diet? What did you learn?

Saturday, April 4, 2015

A to Z Devotion: D is for Devotion

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"And he answered, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself.” Luke 10:27

Devotion - love, loyalty, enthusiasm for God, worship, prayers

I admit that I was not always devoted to God. I have believed in Jesus my whole life, but I didn't really know or follow Him. It wasn't until our church did 40 Days of Purpose that I started to understand and do God's will. Clumsily, like a child, I started with church skits and then co-led several women's retreats. Later, I directed plays, and more recently I've been leading Bible studies and writing devotions. God has taught me through each experience, using one to build on another. I am amazed at God's tender, patient teaching!

God continues to work in me, pushing me to love more and to step out in faith more. I am still a work in progress, but because of God's faithfulness and love, I am devoted to Him.

"We love him, because he first loved us." 1 John 4:19

Father, draw me ever closer. Let my devotion show. Let others see You in me.  In Jesus' name. Amen.

What does devotion to God mean to you?

Friday, April 3, 2015

A to Z Devotion: C is for Confidence

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"For the LORD will be your confidence and will keep your foot from being caught." Proverbs 3:26

Our youth pastor shared this story from his childhood church camp days. He saw a squirrel running and jumping from tree to tree and he thought, "What makes the squirrel so confident? Does it know that God made it to jump? Is that why it's not afraid to do what it was made to do?" Then he thought, "Where do I get my confidence from? Why don't I live the life God created me to live with confidence?"

Does this story speak to you about self-confidence vs. God-confidence? How? Is there a time when you were nudged by God to step out in faith?

Thursday, April 2, 2015

A to Z Devotion: B is for Beauty

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"Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised." Proverbs 31:30

I am not a froufrou, high-maintenance woman. I'm more an outdoorsy-sneakers-ponytail-and-ballcap-type who doesn't mind hard work and digging in the dirt, so beauty and feminine wiles have never played a major role in my life. 

So, what speaks to me most from Proverbs 31:30 is that what is endearing and beautiful to God is "a woman who fears the LORD". Devoting myself to the Lord, revering Him, loving Him with all my heart, trusting in Him, obeying and submitting to Him, relying on Him for all things -- these are praise-worthy...these things make me beautiful.
What does "beauty" mean to you?

Added bonus: Beautiful Things by Gungor


Wednesday, April 1, 2015

A to Z Devotion: A is for Article

"God said to Moses: I am the eternal God." Exodus 3:14 (TLB)
" he explained it to them. “I am the Gate for the sheep,” he said." John 10:7 (TLB)

"Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, “I am the light of the world." John 8:12 (TLB)

“I am the Good Shepherd." John 10:11 (TLB) 

"Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life." John 11:25 (NIV)

"Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life." John 14:6 (NIV) -- "An article is a kind of adjective which is always used with and gives some information about a noun. There are only two articles a and the, but they are used very often and are important for using English accurately."

At our recent youth retreat, our pastor talked about several of the names for Jesus, but what struck me the most was the article "the". The Bible doesn't call Jesus "a" light or "a" life. It calls Him "the". That one, tiny, insignificant article tells who Jesus is. It shows his holiness, his power, his characteristics, his love, and his saving grace. Who knew the word "the" could be so powerful and telling? 

Which "the" description of Jesus speaks to you today?