Category Archives: Devotions

CHOOSING FAITH OVER FEAR

DO NOT FEAR, FOR I AM WITH YOU

Fear is one of the most paralyzing obstacles we deal with in life. If we’re being completely honest with each other, we all battle with fearful thoughts at times.

Fear can taunt us, but it cannot have any power over us when we are grounded in Christ. I was greatly encouraged in my quest to conquer fear after I had a powerful dream in my sleep last year.

In my dream, I was alone and trying to find my way home late at night after leaving an event. Unintentionally, I took a road that led to the top of a really high mountain. In the midst of the darkness, I could barely see my surroundings, but I kept on driving anyway. Suddenly, I began to get fearful as I realized I had taken the wrong road and I was on the side of a mountain. As I was turning the vehicle around, I could see I had reached the top without even being aware of it. With amazement, I thanked God for helping me make it safely to the top of a huge mountain in the dark. Then I was awakened from my sleep.

In the moments shortly after my dream, I sensed there was a message Christ wanted me to receive. It was as though He was saying: You have no reason to fear the darkness. I am with you. I will help you.

Fear has taunted me at times throughout my life and it has attempted to get me off course, but thankfully it has not succeeded in stopping me from living courageously.

I am determined not to let fear stop me from going after my callings. When I stand face to face with Christ, I want to hear Him say, “Well done, good and faithful servant.” I don’t want Him to wonder why I let fear stop me from doing His will for my life.

Are you battling fears or feeling anxious about the future? Do you have moments when fear paralyzes you or prevents you from doing what you are called to do?

If we continually look to Christ and choose faith over fear, we will be totally free from fear’s grip.

As long as we’re on this earth, we’ll be tempted by fear, but it does not have to control our lives. There are a few strategies that help me overcome fear when it tempts me to give into it.

Praying passionately stops fear dead in its tracks. When I am tempted to give into fearful thoughts, I drop to my knees and pray wholeheartedly until Christ floods my soul with peace.

Meditating on Scripture is a powerful way to conquer anxious thoughts. The Scriptures, especially the Psalms, have helped me mightily through the years. Meditating on the Psalms melts away anxiety and fear. If we are keeping our hearts fixed upon Christ and His Word, fearful thoughts cannot penetrate our minds.

Living a life of repentance breaks the chains of anxiety in our lives. Whenever I am feeling fearful, I ask Jesus if there is something in my life that is allowing unrest in my soul. Christ is always faithful to show me an unrealized sin that needs to be stripped out of my heart. Letting Christ sanctify us is a key factor in getting free from our fears. It’s amazing how peace floods into my soul instantaneously as I repent.

Worshiping in Spirit and in truth opens the door to peace. As we remain in an attitude of worship throughout each day, Christ’s indescribable peace remains within us. Worshiping by singing and listening to anointed songs is a powerful way to conquer fear.

Christ is calling us to go deeper in our relationship with Him so that we can crush fear under our feet and never be affected by it again. The deeper we go with Christ, the more of His glory will be released in our lives. No dark force can stand up against the glory and power of Jesus Christ. With Christ guiding and strengthening us, we have nothing to fear.

‘Do not fear, for I am with you; do not anxiously look about you, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, surely I will help you. Surely I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.’

Isaiah 41:10

May you live fearlessly and step boldly into the destiny Christ has for your life.

As a side note, please forgive me for neglecting to write for my blog lately. Recently, I have been working hard on another writing project. I am pressing forward in my callings and helping build Christ’s kingdom on the earth. I would be so honored if you would subscribe to receive my posts electronically by entering your e-mail address into the box on the right sidebar. Thanks so much to those who have already subscribed.

XOXO,

Amy

THE GREATEST GIFT OF ALL

Because He Lives!!

Heaven touches us and stays in our hearts the moment we truly realize what Christ has done for us on the cross. We do not have to wait until after we leave our earthly bodies to begin experiencing Christ’s eternal gifts. Eternity begins when we surrender to Christ and allow Him to turn the hard things of life into something amazingly beautiful.

Yesterday, as I was strolling through Gibbs Gardens with my friend who recently lost her beloved mom, I thought of the anchor we have in Christ. The stunning beauty in the gardens reminded me of Christ and His redemptive love. There was an overwhelming sense of Christ’s resurrection power as I gazed at the splendor of the Japanese maple trees.

Japanese Garden at Gibbs Gardens

Christ died an agonizing death so that we can live abundantly, free of condemnation and guilt. He died so that we can live in a heavenly state of mind with eternal peace through every trial and loss. Jesus said, “I came that they might have life, and have it abundantly.”

Christ’s love is all we need to make it through this life victoriously.

Christ’s gift of love restores us and heals us. His love is the balm to the oozing wounds in our souls after a loved one passes on. His love restores hurting relationships and rebuilds broken lives. Christ makes even the hardest days remarkable, simply because He is with us.

Whatever you are going through at this moment, be encouraged and know that it is not too big for Christ. The same power that raised Jesus back to life will resurrect you and your situation as you turn to Him and have faith.

Our constant pursuit of Christ and our surrendered prayers move the Lord’s heart to work powerfully on our behalf. Our relinquished lives open the door to God’s glory and the heavenly realm overcomes the darkness around us.

Once we have tasted of Christ’s glory, there is no dark force that can defeat us or bring us down. He is life. He is everything. His love is the greatest gift of all.

Beloved Jesus,

We adore You and we are in awe of the sacrifice You made for us. Thank You for paying the penalty for all of our sins. Thank You for giving Your life so that we can live freely and eternally. Help us to receive all the gifts You have for our lives and help us to live as recipients of Your amazing grace every day. Help us to share Your love with those around us and invite others into a life-giving relationship with You. We love You with all our hearts and we pray in Your name, Christ. Amen.

Grace and peace to you,

Amy

A SIDE NOTE – I would be so blessed and honored if you would subscribe to receive the posts electronically by entering your e-mail address into the box on the right sidebar.

I hope you enjoy this powerful song by Elevation Worship. Shout out to our King!

 

RESTING IN THE LOVE OF CHRIST

LORD, LET US DRAW NEAR TO YOU

The sunbeams were softly touching my face while I was sitting outside early in the morning. The birds were serenading me with beautiful songs as I was slowly and intentionally breathing in the cool air. There were drops of dew on the flowers and plants reminding me of the refreshment that comes in communing with Christ. His love enveloped my soul and the presence of the Lord beckoned me to draw close to Him.

In my heart, it was as though Christ was speaking these words, “Arise, My love and come into My arms. You have stolen My heart, My bride. Let My love wash over you and let Me be the only desire of your soul. Let Me sweep you away into My embrace and carry you into heavenly places.”

After a morning of stillness, I was refreshed once again by the love of Christ and ready for a new day of living in Him.

There is no other love as perfect as the love of Christ. Though we may seek to find pleasure and rejuvenation in other places, only Christ’s love can satisfy us and refresh us. Jesus promises us if we come to Him when we are weary, we will find rest for our souls (Matthew 11:28-30).

May we seek to draw closer to Christ’s heart and let His love renew our spirits every day.

 Beloved Jesus,

Thank You for refreshing our souls with Your love. Thank You for the beauty You have given us through song birds that sing and flowers that bloom. Help us to draw near to You every day. Let us carry this message of Your beautiful love to a broken world that so desperately needs You. We love You and are waiting for Your return. We pray in Your name, Christ. Amen.

“You have captured my heart, my treasure, my bride. You hold it hostage with one glance of your eyes, with a single jewel of your necklace.”

Song of Solomon 4:9

Grace and peace to you,

Amy

This devotion is a piece I wrote in 2012.

KEEPING FOCUSED ON THE THINGS THAT MATTER MOST

jesus-we-look-to-you

After spending too much time reading articles about do-it-yourself projects, a thought came bursting into my head: “I’m done! I’m done with wasting time on trivial things.” A zealous determination rose up in my spirit like I’ve never had before.

In the previous months, I had spent so much of my time on repainting walls and restoring furniture instead of working on the things I knew God desired for me to do.

Creating beauty in my home and inviting people over for meals are two of my greatest passions. Creating a pretty home is not a bad thing, but it can be a burdensome thing if it begins stealing my focus away from eternal things.

Over and over again, the Lord has reminded me of the words in James 4:14: “You do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes.

In the blink of an eye, our time of passing through this earth is over. Do I really want to be known for being the “Home Project Expert” when I’m gone? No. I want to be remembered mainly for the love and encouragement I’ve sewn into lives.

How do we stay focused on eternal things when there are so many mundane things tugging at our minds? I think we sometimes need to reassess our priorities. That’s what I had to do. I had to stop reading decorating blogs and stop watching decorating shows. Those things were just feeding my desire to do more projects.

To be completely clear, I’m not saying I will never do another project around my house. I’m sure I will tackle a home project again in the future, but I’ve chosen not to make it a high priority.

After resetting my priorities, I don’t feel the pressure to rip down the bathroom wallpaper that’s nearly two decades old. One hundred years from now, whether or not I updated my bathroom will not matter.

Our relationships with people and with Christ will matter eternally. The time we spend seeking to find God’s assignments for each of our lives and the time spent helping others will be what lasts forever.

What new thing is Christ calling you to do that will have an eternal impact? Are you called to work with elderly people, start a ministry for foster children, or use your gift of music to uplift people?

Will you join me in seeking wholeheartedly to know Christ’s heart better and go passionately after the things that will have an eternal impact? Whatever it is any of us are called to do, Christ will give us faith and help us to stay focused on what matters most as we keep our eyes focused fully upon Him.

Let us keep our eyes fixed on Jesus, on whom our faith depends from beginning to end.” Hebrews 12:2

REMEMBERING 9-11-2001

we-will-never-forget

I will never forget the morning of September 11, 2001. I was home with my four-year-old son when the phone rang. I answered the call and I gasped when Michael began telling me what had happened in New York City. In a state of shock, I listened to news reporters tell story after story about the loss and tragedy that happened in New York, Washington D.C. and Pennsylvania.

Five days later, I sat in a church that didn’t seem to have a vacant seat. People were afraid and they wanted to hear assuring words. I remember the sense of urgency I was feeling during that season. At the time, I did not have the spiritual maturity to realize that my prayers could have actually prevented such a tragedy. It was all I could do to pray and trust Christ to take care of my own family’s needs.

Now, I have the maturity to realize my prayers matter. I have seen enough supernatural intervention in my family’s life to know Christ can change a nation, and He will change it if we pray and trust Him to do it.

My confidence in Christ has grown through the years as I have cried out to Him in prayer and studied the Scriptures. As I’ve sought for answers in the Bible, there are verses that have stood out more than others. God speaks to me the most when I read an entire chapter of the Bible at one sitting. The words make more sense to me when I read in larger segments instead of reading a few verses here and there.

In 2005, I was reading the book of Zechariah and was inspired by Zechariah’s words about the rebuilding of the temple in Jerusalem. There were many verses that stood out to me, but one practically jumped off the page while I was reading. As I read the words in Zechariah 9:8, it was as though God was telling me that He would protect me and never again let a marauding force overrun my family. I have shared this verse with friends time and time again. It has become a defining verse in my life.

zechariah-9-verse-8

A dark force tried to destroy my life, and it came mighty close to destroying me. But Jesus came to my rescue as I cried out to Him. Now, I stand boldly on the truth of God’s Word and believe He is all I need and all this country needs.

We are living in dark times, and it’s obvious our nation is in danger. However, the Lord is teaching me to trust Him more and I am choosing to trust Him with our country. Will you please join me in praying faithfully for God to keep His hand upon this nation?

Let us never forget what happened on September 11, 2001. Let us remember to pray passionately for our cities, our communities, and our nation.

Father,

Thank You for Your never-ending mercy and grace. Help us to never forget the heroes of this country and help us remember the ones who lost their lives on September 11, 2001. Please keep Your hand upon the United States and let us be an undivided nation. We repent from our complacency and ask You to bless and protect America. Please keep watch over us and never again let a marauding force overrun our country. Let our nation be a strong and mighty group of united people. Let us return to You wholeheartedly and help us trust You to restore our nation to what You desire for it to be. I pray in Christ’s name. Amen.

“But I will encamp at my temple to guard it against marauding forces. Never again will an oppressor overrun my people, for now I am keeping watch.”

Zechariah 9:8

 

BE STILL AND TRUST CHRIST

THE LORD WILL FIGHT FOR YOU

It was nineteen years ago when I hit rock bottom and needed Christ to pull me out of a pit of doubt. With many questions in my heart about God’s goodness, my faith began growing strong again as my family prayed for me and friends encouraged me not to lose hope.

In March of 1997 while we were at church, a friend of ours approached Michael and shared a Scripture with us. He told us to read Exodus 14:14. I wrote the words in my journal: “The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still.”

From that dark season in my life, I began a quest to really understand what it means to be still and trust God.

Through my journey and over two decades of discovering how to trust Christ, my prayers changed from pitiful petitions to a confidence in the God of the universe to guide me and fight for me. I learned to be still and listen for God’s voice in my heart.

It was in the listening and stillness that I began to hear the voice of God guiding me and leading me to the abundant life that Christ promises (John 10:10).

In my younger years, my own stubbornness and inability to discern God’s voice led to so much heartache in my life. It was not God’s fault. It was my own responsibility for not seeking to know and hear God better.

John 10:27 says: “My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me.” Jesus is the Good Shepherd and He guides those who will listen for His voice.

Once I began hearing God clearly in my spirit, everything in my life turned around. With my renewed faith, I began praying bold prayers not only for myself, but for my loved ones and for the entire world.

It’s obvious this world is in great need of Christ’s healing power. The recent tragedies in Orlando, Germany, Turkey, and the horrific things that have been happening right here in my community are heartbreaking. However, I refuse to let these tragedies deflate my faith.

Are you in the midst of a painful battle? My heart is filled with compassion for you and I have been praying passionately for the prayer requests that have been flooding my inbox.

No matter what you are facing today, it’s not too big for God. Be still and let Christ do the fighting for you. Place your faith in the One who has the power to heal and restore.

Father,

I am in awe of Your goodness. Thank You for Your healing love. Please strengthen all those who are in the midst of hard battles. Let them be still and trust You to fight for them. Let them know You are a good Father and You have good plans for their lives. Strengthen them today and let them feel Your presence strongly while they wait for a miracle to unfold. I pray in Christ’s name. Amen.

Will you come to the altar and release your problems to Jesus?

 

RESTING IN THE STEADINESS OF CHRIST’S LOVE

Jesus Never Changes

Look at the beautiful sky,” I said enthusiastically. I was in awe as I was telling my husband to look behind us and see the beauty of the sunset. Michael and I were walking at a park near our house where we often see the sun going down in the evenings.

The splendor in the sky reminded me of the steadfastness of the Lord. I love how the patterns in the earth are tangible signs of God’s never-changing character. Every single day the sun rises and then the sun sets during the latter part of the day. Every day the earth rotates and the cycle repeats itself again and again. This alone is enough evidence that God is a good Father—our provider and comforter.

In this world that seems to be falling apart, we can count on Christ for stability.

In a time that’s filled with uncertainties, we can rest in the steadiness of Christ’s love. Jesus never changes. He is the same today and always.

Lord,

Thank You for never changing. No matter what is happening in our lives we can always count on You to be there to listen, to comfort, and to love us without limits. Your love melts stress away. Your love turns sadness into joy. Your love is simply marvelous. Help us spread Your love to those who are mourning. Please, Lord, be with the people in France today in the midst of their pain. Heal and protect the people who are hurting. Surround them with Your presence and be their never-ending source of comfort. I pray in Your name, Christ. Amen.

“Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.”

Hebrews 13:8

Photo Credit: My husband captured the picture during one of our walks.

OUR UTTER DEPENDENCE ON GOD

Lord, We Need You

A couple of days ago while I was praying in the quiet of the morning, I pondered the needs of my loved ones and the problems in the world at large. As I was lifting up my petitions to the Lord in prayer, my mind shifted to the lack of rain in our area. I remembered the dried-up field of crops I saw the day before while driving through North Georgia. It had been weeks since it rained at my house.

My unenthusiastic prayers for rain in the previous days had gone unanswered, but fervor rose up in my spirit and I began to beg the Lord for abundant rain.

Lord, we need rain so badly. Please, please let it rain today.

Something had shifted in my mind while I was praying. I truly believed it would rain that day. About thirty minutes later—while I was lying still and praying—a big boom of thunder seemed to come out of nowhere. I jumped up to look out the window and saw that it was pouring rain.

I was in awe and rejoicing in my soul over what had happened. To the skeptic, it would appear to be a coincidence, but to a person of faith it was an answered prayer.

I have experienced countless answered prayers, but this was a phenomenon I don’t ever remember experiencing. God was encouraging me in an extraordinary way by bringing rain in the midst of my prayer time.

I was reminded of what Christ said about prayer and faith (Matthew 21:21-22).

“Truly I say to you, if you have faith and do not doubt, you will not only do what was done to the fig tree, but even if you say to this mountain, ‘Be taken up and cast into the sea,’ it will happen. “And all things you ask in prayer, believing, you will receive.”

In those moments, I thought about the fact that we need God for the very breath we breathe and for the food that sustains us. If we have no rain, things begin to die and there is no life.

In our human strength, it’s easy to believe we can sail through life without true dependence on our Creator. The moment we realize we are utterly dependent on God, we begin to pray big prayers and see His power working in our lives in the most amazing ways.

Father,

Thank You for caring about every single detail in our lives. Thank You for sending rain when we need it. Thank You for hearing our prayers and answering them in miraculous ways. Teach us to depend on You more every day. Let us trust You with every ounce of our being. Let us walk in faith every moment of every day. I pray in Christ’s name. Amen.

“I will send you rain in its season, and the ground will yield its crops and the trees their fruit.”

Leviticus 26:4

 “You sent abundant rain, O God, to refresh the weary land.”

 Psalm 68:9   

Photo Credit: My husband captured the picture of my hydrangea flowers shortly after the beautiful rain came on Tuesday morning.

 

LOVING AS CHRIST LOVES

Love One Another

My heart is deeply saddened for the people in Orlando who lost their loved ones in such a tragic way. It’s hard to fathom a senseless act of terror on the lives of beautiful people.

On the day I heard the devastating news, my mind was far from being focused on the haters in the world. I tend to stay focused on the good in people. With compassion, I pondered the tragedy and wondered why the Pulse Nightclub in Orlando was targeted. A conversation with my family jolted me into the reality of a world where some people hate other people because of lifestyle choices and other differences.

From the moment I thought about the horrible devastation in Orlando, my strongest prayer has been for the families of the victims to be comforted and lavished in love.

Sadly, during past tragedies, I’ve heard about people who have said and done the cruelest things in the name of Christ. That must grieve the Lord’s heart more than anything else.

Someone who truly knows Christ will walk in love toward all people.

We know by reading the Bible (John 13:34-35) that Christ said: “Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”

Jesus did not say: Love people when their beliefs and lifestyles are the same as ours. He did not say to love people when they do what we think they should do. He simply said: “Love your neighbor as yourself.”

Christ has called us to love purely and unconditionally. It is by God’s amazing love and grace that people will be drawn to a relationship with Jesus Christ.

Our generation is living in an unprecedented time of hatred. Many have turned away from God because they don’t know that His true nature is love. God is love. (1 John 4:8).

It’s heartbreaking to watch someone choose hate over love and commit such a horrid act as the one in Orlando. I find peace and comfort in the one thing I am certain of: Jesus loves us deeply.

Our minds cannot comprehend how deep Christ’s love is. It is perfect. It is indescribable.

His love comforts.

His love heals.

His love redeems.

His love restores.

His love is enough to conquer anything. Evil may be increasing on the earth, but love overpowers it all. As we love one another as Christ loves us, that’s when we will see the world begin to change.

“Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God.” 1 John 4:7

“The Lord is compassionate and gracious; slow to anger, abounding in love.” Psalm 103:8

 “He does not treat us as our sins deserve or repay us according to our iniquities.” Psalm 103:10

The Scripture verses were taken from the New International Bible.

Father,

I lift up every person who was impacted by the tragedy in Orlando. I know You are filled with compassion for those families. I ask You to comfort them in their sorrows. Fill them with the hope and knowledge of Your eternal love. Keep them in the palm of Your hand and fill the hole in their hearts with Your love and peace. Bring an abundance of beauty to replace the pain. I pray in Christ’s name. Amen.

Photo Credit: My husband captured the photo on the beautiful island of Molokai, Hawaii.

REDEEMED BY CHRIST’S LOVE

029

The sun was slowly slipping behind the horizon while I was driving through the beautiful North Georgia Mountains. As I approached the top of a hill, I saw the most breathtaking view surrounding me. The beauty of the sky and the magnificent view of the spectacular mountains enthralled my soul.

While I was breathing in the beauty, Christ’s presence came to me so powerfully that I felt an inexpressible sense of God’s love. Captivated by the love I felt, I remembered the prayer that Paul prayed for the Ephesians: “I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ.”

In my heart, it was as though God was saying: My love for you is higher and wider and more magnificent than these beautiful mountains.

With a feeling of awe, I meditated on His perfect love and my spirit soared in His presence. Heaven touched me and drew me close to the heart of God.

In this crazy world, it’s very easy to be in a big hurry and miss the awareness of God’s love. The responsibilities of life can easily rob us of the quietness we need.

Jesus is waiting for each one of us to stop what we’re doing and find the rest we need from the hectic pace of life. Christ beckons us to open our hearts to Him and bask in His love. We don’t have to be driving through marvelous scenery to feel God’s presence. As we practice stillness and prayer, we become more aware of Christ’s love for us.

As we’re celebrating the resurrection of the Lord, it’s a good time to contemplate what the cross really means. Christ died and rose again so that we could live abundantly in His grace.

Because of the cross we no longer need to feel shame or guilt when we mess up. When we stumble, we can simply stand up and ask God to help us begin again. If righteousness could be gained in our own strength, then Christ died for nothing.

We are redeemed by Christ’s love. His love paid it all. Jesus said. “It is finished.”

His love paid the penalty for our sins. This is good news that ought to be shouted joyfully to the world.

Beloved Jesus,

Our hearts long to have more of You. Help us to see and feel how great Your love is. Help us to rest in Your presence continually. We love You. Amen.

“Is it not clear to you that to go back to that old rule-keeping, peer-pleasing religion would be an abandonment of everything personal and free in my relationship with God? I refuse to do that, to repudiate God’s grace. If a living relationship with God could come by rule-keeping, then Christ died unnecessarily.”

 — Galatians 2: 21 (The Message)