Encouraging, uplifting , positive thoughts rooted in the love of the Lord Jesus Christ!

Category Archives: Devotional

[Personal note:  Thank you for your patience over the last few months.  I resolved not to blog out of ‘duty’ and lately I had to give myself permission to miss posting without feeling guilty.   God bless you as you read. May you experience showers of blessings today! ]

“As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.   As the rain and the snow come down from heaven, and do not return to it without watering the earth and making it bud and flourish,  so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater,  so is my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.  Isaiah 55:9-11

While driving one day, I noticed what appeared to be dust coming rapidly towards me.  I contemplated pulling over, but before I could make a decision, my thoughts were shattered by the sound of heavy raindrops on the roof of the car.  At that point, I realized I had to pull over as visibility was now  very low,  but in a matter of seconds I had driven through the sheet of rain, and was now on the other side with not so much as a drop of water on the road surface!

In relating my puzzling experience to a friend, it occurred to me how much this situation represents what often happens in our lives. We often come across intense situations that take us by surprise, but soon they are over and we walk on to new experiences.  Sometimes the deluge is painful and hard to bear, but at other times, we partake in intense showers of blessings that we wish would last forever.  As we endure the showers for gain or pain, we are often so caught up in the moment that we are not always aware of how quickly these showers pass, yet the showers will not end until their purpose is achieved.

Thunderstorms are said to occur when the air gets very hot, or very cold. The showers appear at times to be inconvenient, but they serve the purpose of stabilizing the atmosphere.  God’s thoughts are higher than ours. We may not always understand the reason behind the sudden changes around us, but we can rest in the knowledge that no experience is wasted, and that our times and seasons are still in His hands.

Inventory/Introspection:  Do I find it easy to depend on God to walk me through the sudden downpours?

Personal Application:  I may not always know whether joy or pain await me, but I have the assurance that times and seasons are in my Father’s hands, and that He will be with me each step of the way.

Father, we are grateful that Your plans are perfect! Rain is necessary for growth and life, but too much or too little rain can have devastating effects.  Help us to be mindful of the times and seasons, and to trust that You have our best interest at heart whether You send showers of rain or allow intervals of pain. We trust Your hand.

Your Word says we should give thanks for everything  (Ephesians 5:15-20). We are thankful for the times when the storms pass quickly, and we barely catch a glimpse of them in our rear-view mirrors. We are also thankful for the times when You cause the storms to linger a while, because we know You are with us, and You will never leave us to walk alone. We trust Your guidance.

Help us to see You in our circumstances and to live knowing that You are more than able to see us through whatever we come across.  As You make the changes necessary to stabilize our situations, may we be quick to surrender our will to You and to give You the glory and praise, regardless. We trust Your love.

Amen

Blessings,

ann

 

Toni R  (c)

Except where indicated, Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.”

© Anthonette Anderson and Tonirand’s Blog, 2012. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Anthonette Anderson and Tonirand’s blog with appropriate and specific direction to the original content. 

 

 

 

 

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1 In the land of Uz there lived a man whose name was Job. This man was blameless and upright; he feared God and shunned evil. ..

18 – 22 While he was still speaking, another also came and said, “Your sons and daughters were eating and drinking wine in their oldest brother’s house, and suddenly a great wind came from across the wilderness and struck the four corners of the house, and it fell on the young people, and they are dead; and I alone have escaped to tell you!”

Then Job arose, tore his robe, and shaved his head; and he fell to the ground and worshiped. 21 And he said:  “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, And naked shall I return there. The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away; Blessed be the name of the Lord.

In all this Job did not sin nor charge God with wrong.   Job 1 -22

Job is often cited when we face difficult situations. The Bible says “Job was blameless and upright”, yet Job lived through one of  the most painful experiences as recorded in the Bible.  Losing his children was the last in a series of disasters, yet the Bible records that Job’s response was to worship!  Despite  all he endured, Job maintained that his “Redeemer lives”, and he lived in expectation that God would deliver him.

When we are in the midst of joy and prosperity, it is easy to sing “Blessed be Your name.”  In the midst of our awful trials and life-altering testings, we don’t always want to hear that “God is in control”, or ‘God knows best”, and that we should give thanks in and for everything.  Our natural inclination is often to go with our feelings, instead of willing ourselves to look at our situation from God’s perspective …

It is often easier for us to believe for others than it is to believe for ourselves. Perhaps today you are in a low place and you need someone to believe for you. Perhaps you are on the mountaintop and celebrating what God has done in your life. Wherever we are today, our awesome, amazing God is standing right beside us.  May we never forget this when life changes come, and may we always remember “The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away; Blessed be the name of the Lord.”

Inventory/Introspection: How can my daily living demonstrate my belief that  “The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away; Blessed be the name of the Lord” ?

Personal Application:  I will trust God with my circumstances, believing that “blessed be the name of the Lord” can become my automatic response in any situation.

Father, You are all we need – even though we don’t always know it! We are thankful that nothing in our lives is an accident or a mistake, and that we never come across anything that You are not aware of! Blessed be Your name!

Life sometimes goes in a direction we did not anticipate, and often we don’t understand where we need to go, but we are thankful that we can place our lives in Your hands, knowing that You have it all under control. Blessed be Your name!

Job  rested in the knowledge  that nothing gets by You. May we know and understand that You are the same God that visited Job , and the comfort that You gave to Him is available to us. We will rest in Your peace.  Blessed be Your name!!

It is so much easier to praise You when life is great and plans are unfolding as we desire.  At other times, not so much… Today we stand alongside those who have lost and are in pain, and we celebrate the good that You have done in their lives. We are thankful that whatever You do is done in love, and we do declare “ Blessed be Your name!!

 

Amen

Blessings,

ann

 

Toni R

(c)

Except where indicated, Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.”

© Anthonette Anderson and Tonirand’s Blog, 2012. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Anthonette Anderson and Tonirand’s blog with appropriate and specific direction to the original content. 

 

 


“When an impure spirit comes out of a person, it goes through arid places seeking rest and does not find it. Then it says, ‘I will return to the house I left.’ When it arrives, it finds the house swept clean and put in order. Then it goes and takes seven other spirits more wicked than itself, and they go in and live there. And the final condition of that person is worse than the first.” St Luke 11 : 24-26

A qualified wildlife expert explained that it is very hard to keep certain homes free of squirrels in the attic. He explained that squirrels develop a strong attachment to their home, and even when they are driven out, or physically removed from their home, they are quite capable of finding their way back to what is familiar and comfortable.  He explained that the best way to keep squirrels out is to install a one-way door so that once the squirrels leave, they are unable to re-enter their nesting area. They may  move-on and try to find somewhere else to live, but every now and then, they will check back to see if their old home is still available.  We may not be able to stop them from checking, but we can make sure there is no way for them to get back inside.

In St. Luke 11: 14-28  Jesus drove out the demon from a man who was mute, and left us a few pointers as to how we can keep our lives clean.  Jesus explained that when an evil spirit has been driven out, it goes through dry places trying to find somewhere else to rest. Having not found a place, “impure spirit” will return to its old house – with company “more wicked” than itself, placing the individual in a worse position than its previous state.  We may not be able to stop impure spirits from checking for vacancy, but if we allow God to fill our hearts and lives, then we certainly leave no room for them to return.

What is the state of our house today? Is the Holy Spirit fully in-charge? Or have we left doors and windows open to attract undesirable company?

Inventory/Introspection: Is God’s seal evident in my heart?

Personal Application:  It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery. ( Galatians 5:21)

Father, we are so thankful for Calvary and the Path to Salvation. We are grateful that you offer us the opportunity of Eternal Life, and we do not take it for granted!

We ask that You would walk through our lives today. We pray that You would fix all the cracks and holes in our hearts that may provide a foothold for the enemy. May our lives bring You glory as we live as those who have been bought with the blood of Jesus Christ. May we choose to be set-apart as You have called us.

We are thankful that nothing that we do can ever take  Your love away from us, but may we always remember the sacrifice that  Jesus gave to make us your sons and daughters.

May you be the sole occupant of our hearts.

Amen

Blessings,

ann

Toni R

(c)

Except where indicated, Scripture taken from THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

© Anthonette Anderson and Tonirand’s Blog, 2012. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Anthonette Anderson and Tonirand’s blog with appropriate and specific direction to the original content. 


Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will. Romans 12:1-2

For most of my Christian life, I have heard Romans 12:1-1 taught from a position of sexual purity, but today God opened my eyes to another view. As we contemplate sacrifices and the importance of presenting sacrifices that are without blemish, let us think in terms of how we can make decisions that can make our sacrifices less than pleasing to God.

According to Strong’s Complete Word Study Concordance, the word for sacrifice in Romans 12:1 is thusia, and in this context it means “of service, obedience, praise offered to God, an offering, oblation (offering to God)”. For many of us who are in ministry, we often take on and do as much as we can for the Kingdom of God. We often wholeheartedly serve in different ministry areas, yet we hardly plan for time-off to physically rest and rejuvenate the bodies that He has given us – the same bodies that we are to present ‘holy and pleasing to God’.

I have been told that in any organization, there are always three types of individuals:

  1.   Those who always take on more than their fair share of work,
  2.   Those who will do just enough to get by.
  3.   Those who can be counted on to ‘pick-up the slack’ where others fall short

It is not uncommon to find these individuals in churches.

Our entire bodies are to be presented to God – our entire bodies and all we do whether we sleep, eat, rest, work … whatever we do needs to be a living sacrifice. There is no doubt that there is much to be done, especially in these last days. Sometimes it is hard to walk away, but are we doing the right thing when we overcommit and under-rest? If we are tired and worn-out from doing what we believe to be the work of God, are we able to offer ‘true and proper worship’?

Sometimes a simple ‘I am sorry, but I cannot take this on’, will leave more room in our day to spend time with our Papa, or simply to rest. While we acknowledge that God is more than able to sustain us through what He has called us to do, we also acknowledge that God Himself rested. Jesus told us to come and rest in Him. Rest is important in the life of a Christian.

May God grant us clear revelation so we know when to step forward.  May He also give us the wisdom and understanding to know when to step back and allow others to move forward, and may we find peace in the moments we choose to let go.

What God has ordained must be fulfilled – we need not worry that if we can’t do what needs to be done, then it won’t be done at all.

We are called to present our bodies as living sacrifices. We are not to conform to the expectations of the world, but to experience transformation that comes from having our minds renewed, then (we) “will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will. When we know His will we can walk in His will, accomplishing what He has called us to do with the bodies He has given us.

Inventory / Introspection: How can I make sure my body is always presented to God as a living sacrifice? 

Personal Application:  Scheduling time away from ‘frontline’ ministry does not mean I am not offering a sacrifice that is pleasing to God.

Dear Father, we give you thanks for the bodies you have given to us. We know that we are ‘fearfully and wonderfully made!’

We confess that we don’t often treat our bodies the way we should. Please forgive us for the times we have neglected meaningful rest and meals and other ‘transgressions’ as we hurry about doing what we understand needs to be taken care of.  Help us to honestly weigh our schedules, and to make the right decisions when work needs to be done.

Eating well, resting well, and working smart are ways in which we can keep our bodies in ‘living sacrifice’ mode. Help us to make the decisions that enable us to offer worship that would give You the greatest glory.

Amen.

Blessings,
ann


Toni R
(c)
Except where indicated, Scripture taken from THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

© Anthonette Anderson and Tonirand’s Blog, 2012. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Anthonette Anderson and Tonirand’s blog with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.  


Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor: 10 If either of them falls down, one can help the other up. But pity anyone who falls and has no one to help them up. 11 Also, if two lie down together, they will keep warm.  But how can one keep warm alone? 12 Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken. Ecclesiastes 4:9-12

A flock of about fifty geese hunkered down on a football field was a very unusual sight for me, so to satisfy my curiosity, I asked my colleague why the birds just sat there, as if they were immobilized and motionless. He responded that due to the high winds in the atmosphere above our level, the geese knew to remain on the field until the storm had passed; otherwise they could be blown way off course; become separated from their travelling partners; or even lose their lives. With the long flight to southern parts, and the way in which geese depend on each other in the flight routine, one mistake could result in a lost goose, and one lost goose could bring an end to the team.

The support of the flock is as important to the one goose, as the support of one goose is important to the flock. Serving God in isolation may seem the answer sometimes, but is serving by one’s self God’s design for His children?

Sometimes we feel strong enough to make it on our own, but it is much easier to snap one twig than a whole bundle of twigs. As the Bible aptly puts it, a cord of three strands is not easily broken…. When we are all grounded it is easier to stay together and support each other, but the one who has no one to support and encourage may lose his way.

Our Father is able to keep us in and through every storm. He takes care of swallows, and geese and us, His children. If geese do not fly into a storm, why should we?

Inventory / Introspection  Have I taken care to hunker down and hide under His wings when He shows me warning signs of storms ahead?  

Personal Application: My loving Father is able to keep me through the storms of life, but He also calls me to safety in Him.

Dear Father, we are grateful for your protection. You equip geese with what they need to ride out a storm, and wait until it is safe to fly. In the same way, we have the Comforter to lead and guide us if we choose to listen and obey. Help us to be on the watch for the warning signs You give us, and to be careful to walk where You lead.  When it’s time to hide under Your wings, may we run to You without hesitation. When it is time to soar, may we rise with the wind of the Holy Spirit.

I am told that when geese fly, they rotate the leadership position when the leader gets tired.  Geese know that the roles they play are not constant throughout the journey. Help us to remember that. Sometimes we will lead, other times we will follow, but we support and encourage each other to the glory of your name.

Storms and changes will come, but you remain steadfast and certain. Geese know not to fly into a storm… may we never knowingly run into danger either.

Amen.

Blessings,
ann
Toni R
(c)
Except where indicated, Scripture taken from THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
© Anthonette Anderson and Tonirand’s Blog, 2012. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Anthonette Anderson and Tonirand’s blog with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.  


…“My son, do not make light of the Lord’s discipline,  and do not lose heart when he rebukes you, because the Lord disciplines the one he loves,  and he chastens everyone he accepts as his son.”  Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as his children. For what children are not disciplined by their father? If you are not disciplined—and everyone undergoes discipline—then you are not legitimate, not true sons and daughters at all.

… 11 No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.  Hebrews 12: 5 (excerpt)-11

 Those who disregard discipline despise themselves, but the one who heeds correction gains understanding. Proverbs 15:32

The difference between discipline, correction and punishment may not always be apparent, so many times when the opportunities for discipline and correction presented themselves, we may, out of fear, run in the other direction, intent at not suffering one more blow. Our Father’s discipline is different. When God disciplines His children, it is so that we can become better and develop into what He wants us to become. His hand toward us is a hand of love, even if we endure pain while going through the process.

Paul wrote that he had learned be content in whichever state he finds himself. I don’t know many like Paul, but when we rely on God to take us what we need to go through, we will find our discipline journey to be much more bearable than when we face correction because of our own unwise choices.

As believers, there will be times when we don’t want to take the path He lays out, but it is important for us to bear the following in mind:

·         Discipline is a part of our growth process

·         If we are not disciplined, we are not legitimate children

·         Discipline is unpleasant, but yields righteousness and peace

·         Correction brings understanding

Discipline in the life of the believer is inevitable. We have to face it if we choose to walk with Him.

Inventory/Introspection: Inventory/Introspection: What is my genuine response to God’s discipline?

Personal Application:   If I disregard discipline, I despise myself, but if I heed correction, I gain understanding. (Proverbs 15:32)

Father, I do not always look forward to, nor do I enjoy discipline. If I could survive without discipline, I would likely take that option, but I know this is not your design for my life.   

I am thankful that Your discipline is bound up in love, and that Your actions towards me are to help me to live the life that will glorify You. As painful as my life experiences may be, You are aware of all that concerns me, and You have my best interest at heart.

I have not yet learned how to be content in any situation, but I know that I can get there with Your love. Help me to view my life from the lens of a loving Father Who only wants what is best for His children. Help me to understand that by allowing You to mold and break and shape me, I am moving closer to experiencing what it feels like to be totally sold out to You.

I will trust You to lead me in the path that will bring “a harvest of righteousness and peace.

Amen.

Blessings,
ann


Toni R
(c)
Except where indicated, Scripture taken from THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
© Anthonette Anderson and Tonirand’s Blog, 2012. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Anthonette Anderson and Tonirand’s blog with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.  .

 


“…See to it that you complete the ministry you have received in the Lord”  Colosians 4:17

This verse seemed to pop off the page as I neared the end of Paul’s letter to the Colossian brethren. This was the second last line in this epistle, and although the words were written as a note to Archippus, we can apply this to our own walk with Christ.  Our ministry may seem different from those around us, but as  Paul outlined gifts and ministries in 1 Corinthians 12, he took care to note in verse 11 that “all these are the work of one and the same Spirit, and He distributes them to each one just as He determines.” Each ministry is important to the building of the Kingdom of God.

We do not always understand why God asks us to do what He asks us to do, but when we are sold out fully to Him, we can walk where He leads us knowing full well that we are not walking alone. Sometimes fulfilling our ministries become more challenging than we anticipated, but if God has given us a ministry, then He will give us what we need to accomplish it. Some days may be easier to navigate than others, but thankfully for us, we serve a God who never changes.

Others may look at us and wonder why we do what we do. Sometimes the questions we are asked may cause us hurt and discomfort even as we try to explain why we remain in our positions, but when we know that we are doing the will of the Lord, we find renewed strength in knowing that we are pleasing Him. Our focus should be to do His will and only His will as we look forward to hearing Him say “well done.”

Keep working towards completing the ministry He has given you. It will be more than worth it.

Inventory/Introspection:  What has God asked me to do? What is trying to prevent me from carrying out the ministry that He has given to me?

Personal Application:   If I truly believe that God equips those He has called, then I am confident that He will give me what I need to accomplish what He has given me to do.

Father, You are amazing! We are so thankful for the fact that You chose to involve us in leading others to You, and we are grateful for the part You allow us to play. May Your name be glorified as we work on fulfilling what You have called us to do. We fully expect that obstacles and trials will come, but we are also fully confident that You are able to complete what You have started in us (Philippians 1:6).  

On our own we are bound to fail, but in You we aremore than conquerors!’ (Romans 8:37). May we trust You enough to seek You when we feel we cannot fulfil what You have asked us to do.

Give us the right words to respond to those who may ridicule or question the paths we have chosen to follow with You, knowing that ‘our labour is not in vain.’ It is our desire to do only what glorifies You.

Amen.

Blessings,
ann
Toni R
(c)
Except where indicated, Scripture taken from THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
© Anthonette Anderson and Tonirand’s Blog, 2012. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Anthonette Anderson and Tonirand’s blog with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.