Monday, December 31, 2007

Empty out the old to allow God!

I had so much to draw from in my scripture reading and devotion this morning! It has been such a rich year for me spiritually and I graciously thank my God for that. Daily we are called to empty ourselves of our past (Phil 3:12-14) whether painful or successful (pride?). Are we not also called to empty ourselves from our wants and desires so that we can make room for God in our life? He doesn't give us more than we can handle and He desires for us to have a servants heart for Him, to be secure in Him: Psalms 16:5 (NIV) "LORD, you have assigned me my portion and my cup; you have made my lot secure". Is there not comfort and peace in that no matter where we go, no matter what road we are called to travel, God is there with us? He will see that as we enter into this New Year, trusting fully in Him, that "we will be able to anything through Him who will give us His strength" (Philippians 4:13) and "He will meet all our needs according to His riches" (Philippians 4:19). In Him we can enter into this New Year content and secure.
I am so excited about what God plans to do in and through me for 2008! We are called to be willing.We are called to empty ourselves of our past (the pain and/or successes) and of our future wants so that He can use us. Use 2 Corinthians 1:3-5 "All praise to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. God is our merciful Father and the source of all comfort. He comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others. When they are troubled, we will be able to give them the same comfort God has given us. For the more we suffer for Christ, the more God will shower us with his comfort through Christ" to motivate you to move from your past and into this New Year to be used By God.
I received a small gift yesterday from a member of our Sunday school class my husband leads. On the cover was the following inscription which I give to you today. May it bless you as it blessed me!
Just think, you're here not by chance,
but by God's choosing.
His hand formed you and made you the person you are.
He compares you to no one else-
you are one of a kind.
You lack nothing that His grace can't give you.
He has allowed you to be here at this time in history
to fulfill His special purpose for this generation.
~Roy Lessin
What do you hope to accomplish for God in this New Year? What do you hope God will accomplish in you this New Year?
Summing it all up, friends,
I'd say you'll do best by filling your minds
and meditating on things true, noble, reputable, authentic, compelling, gracious—
the best, not the worst; the beautiful, not the ugly; things to praise, not things to curse.
Put into practice what you learned from (God), what you heard and saw and realized.
Do that, and God, who makes everything work together,
will work you into his most excellent harmonies.
~Philippians 4:8&9 (The Message)
In His Graces~Pamela

Saturday, December 29, 2007


Outside of Christmas and summer breaks (I teach at a local college), I really have to work in time to read. I love reading books that help strengthen and motivate me. My goal this Christmas break was to strip the wallpaper in two of our bathrooms and re-paint. It hasn't happen yet. Something always seems to get in the way, whether its the kids schedule or the illnesses we have had to endure. I have taken time out to read this break however, and I picked up Sharon Jaynes new book "The Power of a Women's Words" while shopping the after Christmas sales. I was drawn to the book and hesitant at the same time. I know this a weak area in my life.
Our words build up and/or cut down-we know that all too well. Last night I was reading the chapter 'The power of a women's words to her husband'. I love my husband passionately and we are so blessed in our marriage with each other and with Christ in our relationship. We are able to compliment each other and we cherish what we have found together spiritually, emotionally and physically. Of course I would like to be more perfect for him as I would like to be more perfect for my God. The chapter referenced giving our husbands our "BEST"-to BLESS, to EDIFY, to SHARE, and to TOUCH. Is this not true in all our relationships...with our Lord, our spouses, our children, those we love? Is that not the example Christ gave us in His ministry while here walking this earth?
I want to know Christ better, to share in His power and model His grace and forgiveness. All else is lost-nothing. I want to BLESS, to EDIFY, to SHARE, and to TOUCH the lives He puts in front of me, especially my husband and our girls, our extended family and my faith community and ministry and those whose path I might cross.
I once thought these things were valuable,
but now I consider them worthless because of what Christ has done.
Yes, everything else is worthless when compared with the infinite value
of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have discarded everything else,
counting it all as garbage, so that I could gain Christ and become one with him.
I no longer count on my own righteousness through obeying the law;
rather, I become righteous through faith in Christ.
For God’s way of making us right with himself depends on faith.
I want to know Christ and experience the mighty power that raised him from the dead.
I want to suffer with him, sharing in his death, so that one way or another
I will experience the resurrection from the dead! ~Phil. 3:7-11
In what ways do you practice being your "BEST"?
Go out and bless those around you today-live as Christ lived. BEST!
In His Graces~Pamela

Friday, December 28, 2007

It's a God Thing!

I love it when my devotional readings and scripture reading match up-it's a God thing! Last night I had my two youngest sharing the stomach flu. Before the second one had come down with it I escaped to my readings as I couldn't find sleep. I am reading an older book I bought years ago but am just now getting to (it's a God thing!). The book is "Becoming a Vessel God Can Use" by Donna Partow (published 1996). Boy did I need this readings last night! In my own church while setting up for our youth night I was again confronted with "my label" that others impose on me from my past mistakes. I laid in bed for a while holding my sleeping sick child pondering how I could carry two labels-one of sin and one of a women after God's own heart?
In my reading last night I was humbly reminded that I should not desire for others to see me and say "What a remarkable Christian women" but instead be able to reflect "What a remarkable God she must serve. If God can work through her past, maybe He can work through mine also". I was reminded I am not defined by other 's standards but by God's standards and His view of what He has brought me to! I am the clay. He is the potter. It is my job to yield to His work in my life. It's a God thing!
In this book, Donna describes the 'God-thing' as "the distance between where you started and where you are today". I describe it as redemptive grace! Then my readings this morning had me in Philippians chapter two. So though my mind is tired from a lack of sleep, my heart is open and listening to God's word. "Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit but in humility consider others better then yourself" (vs 3). I empty myself of me so that my "attitude would be the same as that of Christ Jesus" (vs 5), so that I made be filled with God's grace and be conformed more and more to Christ character. And that I, God's servant, would be "obedient" (vs 7&8) and glorify my Lord . In humble adoration I place my dependence on my God to "work in me to will and to act according to His good purpose" (vs 14). I borrow from the author's writing and leave you with this very vital thought: "No matter who you are or what mistakes you've made, the most important thing you can know about yourself is whether or not you have encounter Christ."

What did it take to make Jesus real to you?

In His Graces~Pamela

Thursday, December 27, 2007

I am in chains for Christ

I slept in this morning-not sure why-except it is Christmas break for me and I can. I love rising with the sun and spending my mornings in God's word and with my cup of coffee. This last week I have been able to spend 2 hours each morning reading and meditating and I will miss this when this break is over. I am feeling rushed this morning but God again reminded me in one of my readings (Becoming a Vessel God Can Use by Donna Partow) that I need to memorize scripture. It's not enough to get into God's word but you have to let Gods word get into you so that you can be used of Him. That is my hearts desire. After the pit that I came out of, Satan daily reminds me that I am not worthy to be used of God but God keeps proving to me over and over that He is using me and will continue to use me despite my failures.
I love reading and learning about the characters in the Bible God has used. They were not perfect in their actions or words but they had one thing in common-they had a willing heart for God-Look at David, Rahab, Paul, Moses, just to name a few. This morning I read from Philippians chapter one and was drawn to Paul's words "I am in chains for Christ" (vs 13b) and "For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain" (vs 21). Paul was being detained-literally imprisoned and yet he still was able to keep focused on God and fulfill God's plan-despite his past or his current circumstances! It made me think on life today and those things that chain us and bind us.
Do you find yourself bound by something from your past or something within your present? I have learned as I crawled out of the pit of my past through the ladder of God's grace that even it could "serve to advance the gospel" (vs 12). And so I say "yes Lord-use me, use my past, my labels, no matter how painful it is. I chose it then but I now choose You". Do you know this also? As Paul wrote in verses 7 (NLT): "So it is right that I should feel as I do about all of you, for you have a special place in my heart. You share with me the special favor of God, both in my imprisonment and in defending and confirming the truth of the Good News". Do you share in the FAVOR OF GOD'S GRACES? Do you know this amazing and redemptive grace that allows one to live in union with Christ, to arise from brokenness and walk in His joy? "I am in chains for Christ" and it is because of this I can now serve Him with a more dedicated and sincere heart and so can you. If this is you then let's barrow Paul's words from verses 9-11 as our prayer today...."And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless until the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ—to the glory and praise of God.

In His Graces~Pamela

Wednesday, December 26, 2007


My scripture reading today had me in Galatians 4 and I felt the spirit leading me back to verse 18: "It is fine to be zealous, provided the purpose is good, and to be so always and not just when I am with you". The word zealous is an adjective and means 'actively and unreservedly enthusiastic'. I felt the spirits nudge to dwell on this verse and ask myself, as Paul was asking the new testament church, what am I zealous about? My goal, my purpose this new year is to get to know God more, to Love Him more and where is God most revealed but in the scripture? Though I have grown up a Christian and am quite familiar with my faith, I have learned there is so much more to be gained. Faithful time spent daily in Bible study and prayer over the last 4 years has made me only hunger for more. But I have to honestly ask myself, am I truly zealous for my God-'always and not just when I am in my quiet time'?
Our family blended almost three years ago and we started a family tradition to have a birthday cake for Jesus each Christmas and to give Him a gift from our heart. We write this gift on a small card, seal it in an envelope and place it in a Christmas tin can to be viewed the following year. It was humbling to open the card and see what I had given my Lord the previous year. I seem to come up short. Last year I vowed to spend more time in his word (I did and have had a year of amazing spiritual growth and renewal) but I also vowed to memorize His word more. Ouch. I failed in this one. I have a scripture jar in which I place those verses that have special meaning from my Bible study in. The purpose of the scripture jar is to reflect back on these verses later. I place scripture throughout my house or on my car visor or work bulletin board next to my desk from time to time when I need to be reminded of it's significance in my life. But it's not enough. One learns to hear God's voice by knowing Him and His word and what better way to hear the Lord then through scripture memorization. When you are faced with something and scriputre comes to your mind at that time-that is the Holy Spirit at work for you-God's voice. I want to hear His voice daily and in all things! As I wrote out my hearts gift to Christ this year I didn't repeat the vow of scripture memorization (partly because I am afraid of failure again), but I do hunger and thirst after His word and I hope to overcome this failure this year!
What are you zealous about? Is it the kids? Scrapbooking? Your ministry? Your job? Can you get vulnerable enough as I did this morning to ask yourself how zealous you are in your walk with God? Does your relationship with your Lord show enthusiasm throughout the whole day or just in your quiet time? Are you a Sunday morning Christian or a women who seeks God with her whole heart and in all her day?
Lord, forgive us when we do not place you first in our life,
when we fail to call on You in all situations-good or bad,
when we do not spend time with you
in your word, in prayer and in silence
so that we are equipped to hear Your voice.
Fill us with Your joy and peace as we learn to trust in You
so that we may overflow with hope
by the power of the Holy Spirit (Romans 15:13).
Guard and protect our heart, our mind, our words,
and be manifested and glorified in our actions this day. Amen
In His Graces~Pamela

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

God's amazing character

In my readings this Christmas morning I am drawn from the manger to God's greatness. Beth Moore in her book 'Praying God's Word Day by Day' wrote for today "The divine dilemma: two loves-one for the world, one for His only son. And one demanded the sacrifice of the other". Does it not humble your heart to try and comprehend how great the love of God is for us in sending Jesus to be born for our eternal salvation? He loved us so much and desires for all of us to be with Him forever. Do we honor Him for this sacrifice? Do we acknowledge His greatness daily as we are so blessed by His grace?
I grew up in a strict southern Baptist faith. There were many "laws" in which one had to live to follow a Christian walk-similar to the laws Paul talked about in Galatians 3. Like Paul, I have learned that God's laws are to be lived by faith and with a genuine heart to honor God, not just merely in action to fulfill a duty. The manger, cold and bare as it was, was filled with so much love and warmth for what our Creater, our Provider had planned for us. The manger represents God's provision of grace and speaks of His tenderness and mercy. May we honor His greatness today and everyday in humble awe and reverence that He would cared that much for us. I leave you with Philippians 2:5-11(NLT) :
You must have the same attitude that Christ Jesus had.
Though He was God,
he did not think of equality with God as something to cling to.
Instead, He gave up his divine privileges; He took the humble position of a slave
and was born as a human being. When He appeared in human form,
He humbled himself in obedience to God and died a criminal’s death on a cross.
Therefore, God elevated him to the place of highest honor
and gave him the name above all other names,
that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow,
in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord,
to the glory of God the Father.
With Christ as our example, may our hearts prayer of humbled obedience be reflected daily!
In His graces~Pamela

Monday, December 24, 2007

Mary's Heart

26In the sixth month, God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a town in Galilee, 27to a virgin pledged to be married to a man named Joseph, a descendant of David. The virgin's name was Mary. 28The angel went to her and said, "Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you."
29Mary was greatly troubled at his words and wondered what kind of greeting this might be. 30But the angel said to her, "Do not be afraid, Mary, you have found favor with God. 31You will be with child and give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus. 32He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, 33and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever; his kingdom will never end."
34"How will this be," Mary asked the angel, "since I am a virgin?"
35The angel answered, "The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the holy one to be born will be called[
a] the Son of God. 36Even Elizabeth your relative is going to have a child in her old age, and she who was said to be barren is in her sixth month. 37For nothing is impossible with God."
38"I am the Lord's servant," Mary answered. "May it be to me as you have said." Then the angel left her.

~Luke 1:26-38

How can we but not reflect on the heart on this young women chosen by God because of her faith and commitment to Him. May we all humble ourselves today and vow to live for Christ as Mary did with a heart that said "May it be to me as You have said". Lord, my prayer to you today is that I will honor you as your servant and I will too pray that it will be for me as You will. I am willing to be made willing. I am opening my heart, mind and ears to your presence and to your voice today. Today I again say "Yes Lord" to whatever you have instore for me.
In His Graces~Pamela

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Need I say more for today?

And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love. No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 8:38-39

In His Graces~Pamela

Saturday, December 22, 2007

He's my cup of coffee each morning...

I can't imagine not starting my mornings without first spending time with my Lord. My first cup of coffee doesn't taste the same without Him there. I imagine that even after I am gone from this earth, Christ and I will carry on our relationship, with a cup of coffee and blessed conversations, only in His heavenly realm verses at my red paisley chair. It is in this spiritual space I have created for my Lord and I that I can read and meditate on His goodness, His greatness, power, glory, majesty and splender (I Chronicles 29:11-Yours, O LORD, is the greatness and the power and the glory and the majesty and the splendor, for everything in heaven and earth is yours. Yours, O LORD, is the kingdom; you are exalted as head over all.). I am in awe of you in my Life Lord!
In my quiet time this morning, my hearts song, my morning joy is found in an old familiar Psalms, chapter 63, verses 1-5 (The Message). As David did when he wrote this, I lift it up in prayer and committment from my heart to the God of my redemptive grace and love:

O God, you are my God; I earnestly search for you.

My soul thirsts for you; my whole body longs for you

in this parched and weary land where there is no water.

I have seen you in your sanctuary and gazed upon your power and glory.

Your unfailing love is better than life itself; how I praise you!

I will praise you as long as I live, lifting up my hands to you in prayer.

You satisfy me more than the richest feast. I will praise you with songs of joy.

I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live but Christ lives in me (Gal. 2:20). By faith may I love today all those that I come across, especially the unlovable. My I wear the grace that God has so lovenly and graciously given me. May I serve and minister as I have been called to do.

My Joy comes from the Lord...where do you find your joy? Amidst all the holiday bustle, family gatherings, and work commitments-can you see beyond the chaos and find joy? Can you daily set aside the business of your life, the ashes of your past, the pain you are required to live in, to find the joy that is so freely given from Christ? Search for Him in the scriptures and spiritual readings, mediate on His words and then you can live in His joy, His peace, and His comfort, dispite all that surrounds you. Give yourself the gift of joy today. He is calling you to it!

In His Graces~Pamela

Friday, December 21, 2007

Thought for the New Year

As I started 2007, I found myself finally freed from the pit I had been in. It was a gruling journey but well worth the pain and struggle as I now rest in the arms and graces of my Savior. entering 2007, my life verse was Psalms 40: 1-3 "I waited patiently for the Lord to help me, and he turned to me and heard my cry. He lifted me out of the pit of despair, out of the mud and the mire. He set my feet on solid ground and steadied me as I walked along. He has given me a new song to sing, a hymn of praise to our God. Many will see what he has done and be amazed. They will put their trust in the Lord." (NLT). I do have a new song in my heart and a testimony to share. As I read through my prayer journals over this past year I am amazed at how God has molded and changed me into a women who is humbled enough to say "Yes Lord, use me, all my scars and labels, not for my validation but for your glory".
As I think about the 2008 year, He has reminded me in Revelation 1: 5b-6: To him who loves us and has freed us from our sins by his blood, and has made us to be a kingdom and priests to serve his God and Father—to him be glory and power for ever and ever! Amen." that I am forgiven, free to serve Him, called to bring Him glory for His kingdon work. For 2008, I claim Isaiah 61: 1-3 for my life verse. I have heard His voice and felt His promptings. From my brokenness I can share God's forgiveness and redemptive grace to those who are hurting or find themself in a "pit" of their own dispair. God has replaced my ashes with a spiritual beauty that can only come from Him. He has given me a joy that allows me to carry my past, my "lables", and live in the peace of His redemptive graces. I can stand strong as I depend on Christ and walk in God-confidence (rather than self-confidence), knowing there is no limit to what He can do in and through me and being willing to be used by Him.
The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is upon me,
for the Lord has anointed me to bring good news to the poor.
He has sent me to comfort the brokenhearted
and to proclaim that captives will be released
and prisoners will be freed.
He has sent me to tell those who mourn
that the time of the Lord’s favor has come,
and with it, the day of God’s anger against their enemies.
To all who mourn in Israel, He will give a crown of beauty for ashes,
a joyous blessing instead of mourning,
festive praise instead of despair.
In their righteousness, they will be like great oaks
that the Lord has planted for his own glory.
~Isaiah 61: 1-3
May I serve and honor Him well in this New Year and for what He has called me to. It is my prayer to live daily with a "Yes Lord" attitude in heart, mind, and action and to be used, scars and all, to bring others to the redemptive graces I have found in Christ. May I stand strong and magnify His name as I serve those He places in my life. It is my desire to love the Lord more with each new day for I am His!
In His Graces~Pamela