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Devotionals: First I Bow

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Revised Updated

Through Scripture, Prayers,
Verse and Devotionals,
FIRST I BOW, will help you connect
with God and start (or end)
your day on the right note,
knowing God is there,
He cares and He offers
guidance, peace and hope.

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Judge or Joy

Isaiah 35:10 (KJV) And the ransomed of the LORD shall return, and come to Zion with songs and everlasting joy upon their heads: they shall obtain joy and gladness, and sorrow and sighing shall flee away.

Too many think of God as a stern judge ready to pronounce sentencing at the slightest misstep. Yes, God is holy, but He is also the fountain of joy. Scripture is filled with celebrations, dancing and song.

God doesn't want to be our stern judge, but our loving Savior. In return for accepting Jesus' offer to take our place, to allow Him full access into our being, He fills us with joy and peace and hope, because that is His essence.

Want joy? Ask Jesus to make you whole in Him.

1 Peter 1:8-9 (GW) Although you have never seen Christ, you love him. You don’t see him now, but you believe in him. You are extremely happy with joy and praise that can hardly be expressed in words as you obtain the salvation that is the goal of your faith.

(c) 2009, 2016 Carolyn R Scheidies FIRST I BOW pg 92


Below are other devotionals to encourage, challenge and inspire you in your walk of faith. 

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IMPORTANCE OF REFLECTION

But Mary treasured up all these words, pondering in her heart what they might mean. --Luke 2:19 NET

In our rushed, instant culture, how often do we take time to think, meditate, ponder, reflect? Yet God asks us to do just that with admonitions to "Be still...," "Come away," "Think on these things."

We become what we spend time thinking, reading, viewing, interacting with...pondering.

What we spend time filling our minds and lives with has consequences in what we value and how we live. God is love, hope, peace. The more time we take reflecting on God's Word, the more our lives will reflect Him.

How much time am I willing to spend each day reflecting on God's Word in order that my thoughts and life reflect what God values--forgiveness, love...life?

(c) 2014, 16 Carolyn R Scheidies

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WHO/WHAT DO WE CHOOSE?
(c) 2016 Carolyn R Scheidies

But the high priests and elders persuaded the crowds to ask for Barabbas and to demand that Jesus be put to death. So the governor asked them, “Which of the two men do you want me to release for you?”
“Barabbas!” they replied. --Matthew 27:20-21 ISV

Those people choose a murderer over Jesus. Who or what do we choose over the one we claim to serve--family, relationships, work, position, status, striving for wealth or acclaim, some charismatic leader?

What do we put in place of studying God's Word? Do we take time for prayer--communication and listening?

Do we, you, me choose things that don't matter--video games, texting, TV --junk over Jesus? It matters. As in Jesus' day, our choices have consequences. Who do you choose today--Barabbus or Jesus?

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NOT A DEAD GOD
(c) 2016 Carolyn R Scheidies

"I am the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob?
He is not the God of the dead, but of the living." --Matthew 22:32 ISV

Do we truly realize we serve a living Lord who created
us cares about us, and knows us?
Do our words and behavior and choices show our faith is real or do they reveal us
as shallow, self centered and anything
but the Christ followers we claim to be!

Do we read His Word and communicate with Jesus
on a personal level or do we go our own way?
Do we live for "me" or for Jesus-who lives and loves,
is here and cares--today?
Do we know the difference?

God who is Real

Teach me your ways, LORD, that I may walk in your truth; let me wholeheartedly revere your name. -- Psalm 86:11 ISV

Do I truly want to follow the real God of the Bible or only my avatar of Him? It makes all the difference and starts with regular communication with Him, and the studying of His communication with us--the Bible.

Praise
Let everything that breathes praise the LORD. Praise the LORD! --Psalm 150:6 MKJV

Gratitude isn't just for worship, not just for kindnesses offered. God wants gratitude to be a basic value, a habitual attitude. When we bless instead of curse, complement instead of complain, we lift up rather than tear down.

When we anchor our lives in Jesus and make honoring and praising Him a daily habit, we foster an attitude of gratitude that spills out in out other relationships. In having an attitude of gratitude, we bring peace instead of conflict and hope instead of despair.

Most of all we allow God's love to flow.

It Makes a Difference
(c) 2016 Carolyn R Scheidies

Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is fair, whatever is pure, whatever is acceptable, whatever is commendable, if there is anything of excellence and if there is anything praiseworthy—keep thinking about these things. Likewise, keep practicing these things: what you have learned, received, heard, and seen in me. Then the God of peace will be with you. -- Philippians 4:8-9 ISV

What we put in our minds does make a difference. We become what fills our thoughts. God and righteous input leads to thoughts, words and actions that lift up and bring peace and grace. input that grieves God, that are against His Word and harmful to us and others leads to separation from God and all that is good and upright.

We cannot continue to play with fire and not get burned--physically, emotionally and spirituality. Do I think on good things--which starts with what I feed my mind?

Not a Walk in the Park

(c) 2015 Carolyn R Scheidies

You greatly rejoice in this (salvation), even though you have to suffer various kinds of trials for a little while,... 1 Peter 1:7

Christianity isn’t for wimps. God never promised an easy life. He does promise His presence, provision, protection and, most of all, His peace through whatever storms enter our lives. It means that no matter what we go through, He is there, He suffers with us, and His presence makes a difference in ultimate outcome--whether that is life here or in eternity. Only Christ brings comfort rather than despair and hope in the darkness. It seems easy to give up and blame God when our world is rocked and things don’t go as “I” think they should.

We turn away from Him when we need Him the most. For He is the only one who is always there fighting with and for us. In both sorrow and joy, He is there. He knows. How can I not turn toward and trust the One who created me, who keeps me grounded in reality and who is there ready to reach out when I turn to Him?

Best Thing We Can Do For Our Kids

Rock-solid security is found in the fear of the LORD, and within it one’s children find refuge. --Proverbs 14:26 ISV

The best thing we can do for our children is to make Christ our center and foundation. Life is treacherous enough. What we can best show our kids is where and how to know true security, which is found only in Christ.

Using Discernment in Sharing

In the multitude of words there is no lack of disobedience, but he who restrains his lips does wisely.--Proverbs 10:19 NHEB

We live at a time in which we share constantly. We share good news and bad. We share intimate details of our lives. We pass on gossip and tidbits of, often, inaccurate information with little thought to truth. Elections are won and lost on distortions and outright lies.

Yet, God cautions us. The wise person knows when to keep his/her own counsel, knows when to keep information private. This person also learns to listen, go beyond shallow gossip, even of the media, to discern truth.

Am I wise and discerning, or do I run ahead of God's leading, spilling my mind senselessly and making life decisions on shallow grounds?

The mouth of the righteous brings forth wisdom, but the perverse tongue will be cut off. --Proverbs 10:31 NHEB

Standing

Remain alert. Keep standing firm in your faith. Keep on being courageous and strong.-- 1Corinthians 16:13 ISV

Most don't walk away from God all at once. There are little choices along the way. Usually based on unresolved issues for which God is blamed. Instead of trusting, one stops reading the Bible or starts intellectualizing the message within. Distance grows and praying no longer seems to have value. Finally, a person stands alone with no relationship to God, and with a heart that is hurt and empty. 

We don't need to go that route. It does mean we need to stay alert and stand firm in faith even when we don't understand. It means not making those small choices that put a barrier between us and God and to resolve issues instead of avoiding them. It is coming to God for answers instead of walking away and shutting Him it out. It is spending more time with Him, not less with one sincere question--show me, Lord.

We can stand strong, but only in Him.

Two-way Communication 

When I called out, you answered me; you strengthened me.-- Psalm 138:3 ISV

The big difference with the Christian faith and religion is that Jesus is not some far off capricious being who must be placated or begged for attention. He is not found in images or icons--and strictly forbids them. 

Jesus is our loving, caring Creator who is here and near. He desires not the relationship of lowly minion to master, which is what we are, but the relationship of student to mentor, friend to friend. He desires a relationship with two-way communication. 

This means that throwing out commands and demands are not going to engender a positive response anymore than it does with our family and friends here. Prayer is sharing, asking, worshiping...and listening. As we listen through his Word or that still small voice--He speaks. As we listen, He answers the deepest needs of our being. And, as we listen and follow His guidance, we are strength for life's journey. 

The Hunger Within

 Jesus told them, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never become hungry, and whoever believes in me will never become thirsty. --John 6:35 ISV

There is an empty place, like a hungry stomach, inside each of us that needs to be filled. Many fill this void with family, friends, work or religion and the striving to be good or to be sombody.

̉thers fill this void with alcohol, drugs or sex. None of these things satisfy the deepest longings of our hearts or stops the hunger. We were created not just for ritual, but for a personal relationship with our Creator. We hunger to know and be known, To know someone is there who truly cares. Jesus is that Someone.

He satisfies the deepest longings of our hearts. But we must come, learn of Him and ask Him to fill that hungry place with His love. Is my faith mere form that leads to am empty life or is my life full and rich with Him?

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© 2002-2017 By Carolyn R. Scheidies--All rights reserved.
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