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Reading September 19, 2008

Posted by Theresa Madden in Bible, Devotions/Quiet Time, Faith, God.
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I have been doing so much reading theses last couple of months. The Lord puts those books there that He wants me to read, to glean from. I finished my last book a couple of days ago. Since then I have been searching for the next. I have picked up two different books and they just didn’t feel right at the moment. There is nothing wrong with the books, it’s just that I am searching, seeking the Lord. Part of that is in what He wants me to read. What will help me? We are so blessed with many authors who write words of truth. They are precious nuggets to find. Always, I then go to scripture because God’s Word is where I will find confirmation and clarification.
This morning I was searching my library (bookshelf) and found a book. I picked it up and took it with me to my devotions. When I started reading it, it just didn’t feel right. So I put it down, got up and went back to the library (sounds so much better than bookshelf doesn’t it?) and looked some more. I found it! The next book. I started reading it and just knew that it was the next book the Lord had for me. Isn’t it wonderful how the Spirit guides us? And already there are precious nuggets, drawn from the Word of God – seemingly to be just for me. Our God is like that you know, sharing His heart, His truth, and His love with us – so that we feel His presence, His care just for us. Just knowing in our hearts we are special to HIm.

Psalms 34 September 17, 2008

Posted by Theresa Madden in Bible, Devotions/Quiet Time, Faith, God, Prayer.
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For the last couple of days the Lord has had me in this book of Psalms. I have highlighted my bible with blue representing the promises of God and green representing the conditions of those promises..

These first 3 verses – each day, every day, throughout the day. This is His desire.  Then the following verses kick in, and we grow in His truth. But it starts with praise, prayer, thanksgiving, seeking, giving glory to the rightful one; El Shaddai, All-Sufficient One, Lord God Almighty!

1 I will praise the Lord at all times.
      I will constantly speak his praises.
 2 I will boast only in the Lord;
      let all who are helpless take heart.
 3 Come, let us tell of the Lord’s greatness;
      let us exalt his name together.

 4 I prayed to the Lord, and he answered me.
      He freed me from all my fears
.
 5 Those who look to him for help will be radiant with joy;
      no shadow of shame will darken their faces
.
 6 In my desperation I prayed, and the Lord listened;
      he saved me from all my troubles
.
 7 For the angel of the Lord is a guard;
      he surrounds and defends all
who fear him.

 8 Taste and see that the Lord is good.
      Oh, the joys of those who take refuge in him!
 9 Fear the Lord, you his godly people,
      for those who fear him will have all they need.
 10 Even strong young lions sometimes go hungry,
      but those who trust in the Lord will lack no good thing.

 11 Come, my children, and listen to me,
      and I will teach you to fear the Lord.
 12 Does anyone want to live a life
      that is long and
prosperous?
 13 Then keep your tongue from speaking evil
      and your lips from telling lies!
 14 Turn away from evil and do good.
      Search for peace, and work to maintain it
.

 15 The eyes of the Lord watch over those who do right;
      his ears are open to their cries for help.
 16 But the Lord turns his face against those who do evil;
      he will erase their memory from the earth.
 17 The Lord hears his people when they call to him for help.
      He rescues them from all their troubles.
 18 The Lord is close to the brokenhearted;
      he rescues those whose spirits are crushed
.

 19 The righteous person faces many troubles,
      but the
Lord comes to the rescue each time
.
 20 For the Lord protects the bones of the righteous;
      not one of them is broken!

 21 Calamity will surely overtake the wicked,
      and those who hate the righteous will be punished.
 22 But the Lord will redeem those who serve him.
      No one who takes refuge in him will be condemned.

Today, may you be blessed by these Words of Truth. As you apply them today, He will help you on the journey, on this walk of faith that we are called to.

My Pitcher August 18, 2008

Posted by Theresa Madden in Devotions/Quiet Time, Faith, Feelings, God, Grief, Journal, Love, Prayer, Testimony, Thoughts.
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08/08/08 The day was finally here. The day for my pitcher. Since May I knew that one day I would throw this pitcher to the ground, shatter it, and put it back together again. A picture of my life, and allowing the Lord to put me back together again. In the way He desires, not I.
And if you know anything about me, I am a perfectionist (trying oh so hard not to be). To put that pitcher back together, having cracks show (uneven ones at that), glue bulging out everywhere, and that huge hole! Oh my…
Holding the pitcher in my hands, I was so hesitant to throw it on the ground. Nervous for what the Lord wanted to show me, scared for what He might show me, ready for what He would show me. Deep breath and then I flung it to the ground, CRACK! I can’t really describe well the feelings that followed; relief, calm, peace, expectant, love. But so much more in an inexplicable way.

The Lord and I spent most of the day together out on the back patio, talking, listening, learning, reading, writing. It took hours to glue the pitcher back together. I started out really smashing the pieces together hard so the seams wouldn’t show. I don’t think I was listening. Gradually, as the imperfections continued to be blatantly obvious the Lord showed me that the pitcher would not be the same size. Using hot glue, no way that was going to happen. The harder I tried to make one seam meld perfectly together, the larger the opposing seam would get. Anyway back to learning…I realized the pitcher would be slightly larger and that was okay.
So, back by the handle is where I started, and it was going to be perfectly put back together. Oh, that would be according to my perfection. So already it was a mess – because that is what my human perfection is, a mess. You can see that the closer I got to completion (the front center/spout section) the larger the seams got.
It’s like my life, trying so hard to help God when there is no need to. HE is able, I just need to be available, willing, lead-able, and teachable.

The biggest lesson of all? The huge hole in the side…I found the large top piece and thought I would snug it right in there, I knew there was one below but I was sure it would go right in later. So, I snugged that big one in. Then I really looked at the hole…and thought, ‘oops’. I found the piece that went there and spent the next 1/2 hour trying to make it fit. Oh did I try, and finally I thought I would just sort of push it in as much as I could which was about 1mm and then glue around the edges for protection…U.G.L.Y. Man was it ugly, it looked like this huge disgusting growth. Well, stubborn that I am, I left it on until the pitcher was completed…I thought it was telling me something. And it was, only not what I thought. I tried to reason that it was a picture of the bumps and turns, that I’m not perfect, everyone else knows I’m not perfect and I’m bumpy and rough sometimes. The big ugly bump has smooth edges now with all the glue surrounding it. Even in the bumps God loves me. Really? The only part of that whole scenario that is true is the very last line ‘Even in the bumps God loves me.’

What was the Lord telling me? Again, I was using my own strength, my own desires to make it fit where it no longer belonged. I cannot move forward in my relationship with God when I try so hard. I cannot do what He has called me to do if I am still holding on to something else. I had to remove it, and so for the next hour I struggled to pry it off. Have you ever noticed how hard it is to remove something in our lives we know does not belong there? It takes perseverance, the strong desire to place the will of God before my will. It takes time. When I finally got it off, the relief and sense of well-being was almost tangible. And it was the end of my struggle with God, of me trying to be where I wanted to be. I thought it was the right place, and for a time it was. Maybe it will be again. Only the Lord knows, and I am content.

What happened to the piece of pottery that I pried off? I thought I would keep in in the bottom of the pitcher, as a symbol of my surrender to God. Of His lordship. I cleaned up everything and placed my pitcher on the table. About an hour later I thought ‘Oh, I need to look at the pitcher.’ I picked up the pitcher and immediately looked inside for the ‘symbolic’ piece. It wasn’t there. Panic! Where could it be? I must have accidentally thrown it away. As it thought I’ll go find it, another voice came to me. Not audibly, but in my spirit. ‘Do you think it was really an accident that it was thrown away?’ And I realized it was not, it was the Lord’s purpose. His will that I not hold on to it. He knew I would look at the shard, pick it up and think of what I gave up, desire to have it back, maybe even try to place it in the hole every now and again. He wants me to remember the sweet surrender, the filling of my heart, mind and spirit with Him. His love, His forgiveness, His mercy, and His grace. He wants me to look at the hole and see Him, see His love pouring out. So, in the trash it remained.

Cracks of all different sizes, some almost hidden, others large. This world has hold of us in many ways, as we have hold of it. Some is held tightly, some loosely. I believe for me the smaller cracks are the things I gave up willingly, easily for the Lord. The larger cracks…those that I struggled more with. And the huge hole? A turning point in my life. Where does it lead? I don’t know. But He does and I will follow, in His time.

Lord, only you know the deepest recesses of my heart. Only you know if there are any more ‘shards’ needing removed. I pray Lord that this process would not hurt anyone else. Change is most always painful in one way or another – but in doing Your will it is so worth it. I have learned You are so much better, living in Your will, walking the path that only I can walk.

Where did this journey with My Pitcher begin? Here, with Angie Smith.

Where will this journey end with My Pitcher? When Jesus returns for his bridegroom – all who have acknowledged Him as the Risen King, the One True God, ALL who have asked Jesus into their hearts. Kneeling at my Saviors feet, praising Him for all eternity, thanking Him for all He has done for me. Good times, bad times. Yes, even the trials, the sorrows, for without them I would not be able to see how much He truly loves me. Flawed…yet made whole in Christ.

p.s. My pitcher sets in my family room. I look at it often. I pick it up and thank the Lord for His great love. It goes to my table with me when I go outside in the mornings to spend time with the Jesus. Sometimes the light of a candle shines through the cracks, through the hole. Again I am reminded, the more He works in me, the more shards or cracks there are, the more His light will shine through me. From every angle Lord, let Your light shine!

p.p.s. Just before I threw it I looked at the bottom, it said ‘English Staffordshire China’, and briefly thought “I can’t break this!” Then the thought came to me, ‘What better to break?’ Aren’t we to give our best?

Un…Im… June 3, 2008

Posted by Theresa Madden in Bible, Devotions/Quiet Time, Faith, Feelings, God, Love, Prayer, Thoughts.
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In my devotions this morning, in my journaling/prayer I was writing the words “cover us all in Your unending, unfathomable love”. And I thought, “How many times does our mind take us to the negative side of those words beginning with “un” and “im”?” Uninspired, unfathomable, immovable, unbelief, impossible.

With Christ we should be looking at the positive. Looking for Christ in every situation.

Uninspired – Colossians 3:16 (NIV) Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom, and as you sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God.

Unfathomable – Who does great things, unfathomable, and wondrous works without number.

Immovable – 1 Corinthians 15:58 (NLT) So, my dear brothers and sisters, be strong and immovable. Always work enthusiastically for the Lord, for you know that nothing you do for the Lord is ever useless.

Unbelief – Mark 9:23-24 (NLT) “What do you mean if I can?”Jesus asked. “Anything is possible if a person believes.” The father instantly cried out, “I do believe, but help me overcome my unbelief!”

Impossible – Genesis 11:6 (NLT) “Look!” he said. “The people are united, and they all speak the same language. After this, nothing they set out to do will be impossible for them!” Luke 1:37 (NLT) For nothing is impossible with God. ”

Do you have any words that trigger you? Words that you associate with the splendor of the Lord?

What does Quiet Time mean? May 30, 2008

Posted by Theresa Madden in Bible, Devotions/Quiet Time, Faith, Feelings, God, Journal, Love, Prayer, Thoughts.
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This whole thought process started here with Cathi and Tawny so I’ll wait while you catch up.

Waiting…

Waiting…

Back yet? Okay.

Quiet time for someone like me (rules, rules, rules – even implied rules) starts with having to have the house quiet, that includes people, electronic media, you get it – quiet. Time – mere moments do not count, it has to be at least a 1/2 hour or I’ve shorted God. So from the get-go, I’m distracted. For me – Devotions is much better. I am devoting myself to God.

Therein lies my quandry, yes I am devoting myself to God for that period of time. Isn’t He though devoting Himself to me also? I know that my Lord is always devoted to me, ALWAYS. But still, the purpose (for me) is two way communication…I want to hear from God as well as talk with Him.

Devotions – from the Greek word “sebasma” means, object of worship.

We were talking about communicating…communicate comes from the Greek word “sugkoinoneo” (pronounced= soong-koy-no-neh-o) meaning to share in company with, i.e. co-participate in:-communicate (have fellowship) with, be partaker of.

I don’t know about you, but l love the definition of communicate. I don’t think we could coin sugkoinoneo as “the” new word for quiet time or devotions.

What do you think? What word comes to mind when you think of your time spent with the Lord?

What if… May 25, 2008

Posted by Theresa Madden in Bible, Devotions/Quiet Time, Faith, Family, Feelings, Friends, God, Love, Ministry, Prayer, Testimony, Thoughts.
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…you knew you only had 30 Days to Live? You’ve been hearing about this sermon series here and here. They are available to listen to here, and I highly recommend them.

This morning, oh it was a good message! Passion for living…something the Lord has been talking over with me the last few months. But really what I want to talk about today is our time to live. We are asked the question “What would you do in you knew you only had 30 days to live”?

Would you spend more time on things that matter? What is it that matters? God’s Word and people. Those are the only 2 things that will last, everything else will pass away. A legacy of caring, laughing, loving those most dear to us. We cannot stop there though, we must care for and love those He places in our path. We are able to do that by spending time in His Word, learning to be more like Him and letting Him love through us.

What we don’t get is that “our days are numbered“. His Word tells us so in Psa 39:4 “LORD, remind me how brief my time on earth will be. Remind me that my days are numbered, and that my life is fleeing away. (NLT) He knows the very moment we will breath our last on this earth. It could even be today. Have I left a legacy of love? Have I spent time learning more about this wonderful God I serve? This God who will not ask me to do anything He hasn’t already done.

I can turn it around even and say “Does my loved one know before he/she dies how very much I love them, how very much God loves them”? What if they go before me? We cannot live a life of regret. We must live today. Seek forgiveness for mistakes we made yesterday, accept that forgiveness and live today. Don’t worry about tomorrow – that is just as big a trap. I will lose today!

Just because I do not know that I have a specific number of days to live doesn’t mean that I shouldn’t live like I do. Does that make sense? Live like I have 30. And if I should live beyond that thirty days? Thank the Lord for more time. And then live it again! 30 days by 30 days, if that is what it takes to keep me passionate and focused on Jesus. His love, His sacrifice, His servants heart.

Help me Father to live today as You have asked me to. Passionate in all I do and think and feel. Guide me as I step out and take that risk. You have said You are always with me. When I step out in faith You are there to guide me in the path You have chosen just for me. Help me to take the time to show those most dear to me how very much I love them, how very special they are, to me and to God. Help me to reflect your love and mercy to those around me, those I know and those I don’t. Help me to always remember, I am the one most in need of Your grace and mercy. For Your glory, in the power of Your Name – no other, Jesus….Amen.