Monday, September 30, 2013

Guest Posting at Whitney Capp's Blog ~ A SerenDIPity Give-Away!

“…a sweet friendship refreshes the soul.” 
Proverbs 27:9

I am honored and humbled to be guest posting at my very adorable, kind and generous friend Whitney Capp's blog - "Speak When Spoken Through"! (That is my favorite blog name ever!) Whitney loves God, His Word, her family and friends. She demonstrates intrinsic contentment in God's plans and timing. Her humor and humility blend together beautifully in such a way that spurs you on in your own walk with the Lord. Thank you, Whitney, for your enthusiasm, joy and friendship. You are a treasure!

You are invited to visit Whitney and be sure to enter to win a copy of my book SerenDIPity - Celebrating Dips, Faith & Friendships!

I hope to see you over at Whit's place!!

Saturday, September 21, 2013

SerenDIPity Saturday

"Seek to show hospitality." ~ Romans 12:13

Hello blog friends! Happy Saturday! I have missed being here with you! Though my heart has been close to His Table For Two, my fingers have been tapping away elsewhere as my book SerenDIPity ~ Celebrating Dips, Faith & Friendship released just last week!!! I would love for you to visit the SerenDIPity site! 

This fun and practical why to and how to book will help you:
  1. Open up your home and heart through hospitality.
  2. Creatively prepare and execute your own SerenDIPity party.
  3. Set the stage for fun, friends, and fellowship.
  4. Learn the ins and outs of hosting fun contests and giveaways.
  5. Prepare savory and sweet dips.
  6. Know what to do after the party and how to reach out with SerenDIPity.
  7. Know what the Bible says about hospitality and fellowship.

Grab a spoon and dip into some free resources!!!

Click here for some free hostess-helpful printables!

Be sure to check back often as we will be having lots of give-aways in the upcoming weeks, including SerenDIPity book give-aways!!!! 

Have a DIPlightful day!!!

“When you have eaten and are satisfied, 
praise the Lord your God…” 
Deuteronomy 8:10

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Divine Appointments and The Finish Line

"I run in the path of Your commands, 
for You have set my heart free."
Psalm 119:32

This is part three of three of a beautiful testimony of God's bountiful goodness to, in and through my sweet friend Nicole.
Part One: A Gift, A Marathon and A Calling
Part Two: A Marathon and Magnificent Blessings

Here's Nicole...

Ever been to a Divine appointment? Well, that Friday was most certainly marked on His calendar since the beginning of time. When we arrived, most people had already arrived and sat down inside. There was no room at a table to fit all 6 of us, so we sat on a small outer deck which fit about 12 people. We were not sitting there 5 minutes when this woman says to Hope. "Do you know how much I'd pay you right now for that (rubber, wide-band, "Made to Love") bracelet?"

We chuckle. 

She goes on.

{Paraphrasing} "No, I'm not kidding. I have looked through our 3 warehouses for one of those. They need a sample of that pink and I don't have any. They keep sending the wrong color. I just need to borrow it." Of course, we offer to give it to her. 

THEN, a man who’s  sitting with her gets up, walks over and places $20 on the table and says, "Find me after the Pasta Party. Make sure we get your address and we'll mail it back in about a month." Then he looks at Hope and says, "Use this at the merchandise table tonight. You are really going to be helping Mr. Toby out. Now, more kids will be able to have those bracelets because of you." (Deep breath) What?!?!?!?! 

Blessing #4. Thank You Lord that you can use a child for Your Glory if even through a bracelet. Oh, and did I mention that Hope bought that $5 bracelet with her own money at a concert we had recently attended? Talk about The Lord rewarding her 100 fold! She even said to me, "Mommy, I only paid $5 for that bracelet and he gave me $20 just to borrow it!"

The rest of the brunch was awesome! Shortly after the bracelet appointment, Amanda (Toby's wife) came out and sat with us. She is a gem! She is one of those people who when you’re talking, you feel like every word is sinking into her soul. She spent a lot of time talking to my kids. They loved her! Then, after a while, TobyMac came and sat with us. We ate together and he chatted with us like one of the family. 

Blessing #5. Yes, even a successful, accomplished artist, and his wife, are our brother and sister in Christ.

The New Hope Academy tour was very special. The work that school is doing to break racial and class lines is inspiring. We had the opportunity at the brunch to meet and speak with Paige, the founder of New Hope Academy. She is a treasure whose light for Christ shines brightly and was truly felt by our family. While attending the All School Chapel, there was a verse read. 

Blessing #6. Thank You Lord for the confirmation, through a verse, my theme verse, that
You called us to this journey. Isaiah 40:31 "For those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength, they shall soar like wings on Eagles, they shall run and not grow weary, they shall walk and not grow faint."

The Pasta Party was a delightful time. Delicious food and great fellowship. We took a family picture with TobyMac on the stage at The Franklin Theater,the location of the private Concert that night. Now, the Concert... that wasso much fun! But the Lord was not done blessing my little family quite yet.

Before the concert began, one of the band members was giving away prizes for youngest, oldest etc. Wanna guess? Yep, Hope, at age 7, was the youngest Team Member! She won a (lovely) flat billed hat and drumsticks. 

Blessing #7. Thank Yyou Lord for working out every detail. You see, Mini-Marathoners actually needed to be 8. Way back when I heard The Lord's call to this, after being told "no waivers" on the phone by the Marathon Company, it wasn't 5 minutes later that I was told "yes" in an email.

Wait. I'm not done yet. Rather, The Lord was still not done. Remember I said we raised more than we thought we needed to qualify for the brunch. Well, that also put us into a "hat" for special prizes...a voice mail greeting on your phone by TobyMac, a private pre-concert dinner in the future with TobyMac, and...a marriage cruise. Can you guess? Yes, Bob and I won the
cruise! We were in tears. 

Blessing #8. A marriage cruise! How Lord, is it possible to bless us so exceedingly?

Saturday. Race Day. The weather was less than desirable. 55 degrees with a steady rain, sometimes downpour, windy, and occasional thunder strikes. But, when Ashley and I finally reached the start line, I was overwhelmed to tears. I thanked Him for His faithfulness to see me and my family through some bumps along our training. I thanked Him for every blessing and affirmation He'd given us since arriving (only some of which I've detailed here). I thanked Him for family and friends who joined us in prayer and finance for a greater purpose. I thanked I stepped on that Starting Line because I KNEW He called my little family to that race for reasons and purposes I will never fully comprehend. 

Blessings #9 and beyond. The Lord saw fit to use me and my family to be His hands and feet.

Now what? Well, The Doran Family 4.0 continues to set out for family training sessions and participate in local races. We gear up complete with our Doran 4.0 team t-shirts. Many look on, maybe curious about of uniformity. We smile and greet them as we, or they, pass. I don't know what The Lord has in store for us, but we feel strongly that we are to continue on this course. If you and your family want to join us, let us know. We will keep you posted on the days, times, and places we will train or race. ~ Nicole Doran

If you would like to join Nicole and her family in training and racing, please leave a comment below and she will be in touch with you! Thank you, Nicole, for sharing this amazing testimony of God's goodness! We can't wait to see what He has in store for you and your family!!!!

The Lord will fulfill His purpose for me;
    your steadfast love, O Lord, endures forever.
    Do not forsake the work of your hands.
Psalm 138:8

The Doran kids and the Macs

Saturday, July 20, 2013

A Marathon and Magnificent Blessings!

"The lines have fallen to me in pleasant places;
Yes, I have a good inheritance."
Psalm 16:6 - NKJV

Race Day - The Dorans, Nicole's sister Dot and Nicole's niece Ashley

This is Part Two of Three of my sweet friend Nicole's amazing testimony of how God blessed her through a 40th birthday gift and her family's obedience. Click here to read part one.

It's hard to believe a few months have passed since we arrived safely home to Southeastern Pennsylvania after an richly blessed time in Nashville for the Team Toby Mac at the Nashville Rock-n-Roll Country Music Marathon. Even more astounding is just how the Lord blessed us. When He called us to this journey a few months ago, it was clear that our "reward" would be to attend a Pasta Party, Private Concert, and Finish Line Party with Team TobyMac and Powered by Hope and (maybe) get to talk with TobyMac himself.

Yes, those events were fun and rewarding! But even more were the abundant and incomprehensible blessings we received. Truly, I am still not sure if we were called "to bless" or "to be blessed" because THAT is what we experienced! For a few short days, we experienced a slice of heaven, and the love of Christ was poured out on us like no other time in our lives, by brothers and sisters in Christ, and by Christ himself. It was one of those times that words can never really give justice to all the little details that added up to one huge blessing after another. Our Lord met us there...fully and completely affirming His calling to us to "run".

The Starting Line

We arrived late Wednesday morning after a safe and peaceful overnight drive. We were unable to check-in to the hotel so we spent some time at the Opry Hotel and sightseeing in the Opry Complex. On the way to the complex we received an email from Team TobyMac: 

"Congratulations! You are fundraising Rock Stars. 
You've qualified for the private Brunch."

(Deep breath) WHAT?!?!?!?! We thought we needed to raise $4000 to qualify for this event. Nope, less! As of that moment we had raised $3500. 

Blessing #1. We would be able to attend a small Brunch on Friday (about 50 people from our team) which TobyMac and his Wife (Amanda) would host and spend time talking with each of us.

Thursday was our expo visit and race packet pick-up day. We picked up our packets and proceeded to browse the expo. I had wanted to look into compression sleeves for my lower legs since I'd been having the issues with shin splints. The manager of the booth suggested I go with a full compression sock instead (after seeing my lovely varicose veins). 

Blessing #2. These would prove to be the best gear purchase I've made thus far. You see, if you’ve ever been to Nashville, then you know that Tennessee is rolling hills. Hills equal tough on shin splints. I finished the ½ with no pain…Praise God!

Thursday night, while ironing clothing for Friday's events, the door to my room opens and in walk my niece, and unofficial coach, Ashley! (Deep breath) What?!?!?!? She had registered weeks before to run with my my pace! Wow! She is a three-time tri-athlete, and she would humble herself to a slower pace with her dear 'ol aunt! 

Blessing #3. I could have run alone, but I didn't have to. Thank you Lord!

Blessing #4. My sister, Dot, decided to join us in the race as she celebrated her 50th birthday! She ran with Bob and the kids.

On Friday we were scheduled for the brunch, New Hope Academy Tour, the Pasta Party, and the Team TobyMac Concert.....

Visit again soon for Part Three of Three of Nicole's testimony!

Friday, July 5, 2013

A Gift, A Marathon and A Calling

The Doran Family 
Bob (Dad), Nicole (Mom) Jacob and Hope

I invited my sweet friend, Nicole, back to share with you an amazing testimony of a gift God put in heart for her 40th birthday. Little did she know the surprises God had in store for she and her family as she unwrapped the gift...and unwrapped...and unwrapped...

Here is the first part of Nicole's story. 

When my husband, Bob, asked me what I wanted for my 40th Birthday in March, I had a hard time coming up with an answer. A party? A trip? A special gift? Those ideas were nice, but I wanted some different, something with eternal value. 

After thinking about it and praying about it for a while, I knew!  How about WE ALL TRAIN TOGETHER for the ST. JUDE COUNTRY MUSIC MARATHON and JOIN TEAM TOBY MAC AND POWERED BY HOPE! What better gift could Bob, and our children give to me than to literally carve out family time to work together to reach a GOAL with an ETERNAL PURPOSE! A gift we could all give to others.

We set a goal, planned our course and trained for months together as a family.

Our goal? Me: Half Marathon. Bob, Jacob, & Hope: Mini-Marathon.

Our purpose? To raise scholarship funds for a private, Christian school, which is changing lives in the great name of Jesus Christ by reaching out to, and providing scholarship monies, for low income families.

“The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’" - Matthew 25:40

Meet The Doran Family 4.0:

Picture Taken in February 2013 while training

Nicole: Anyone who know me, knows that for the greater portion of my then-39 years, I have been a Classical Ballet and Modern Dancer, Instructor, and Movement Specialist. In March 2013, The Lord upgraded me to a 4.0 (the big 40), a term coined by my dear cousin Megan, an avid runner and athlete. This half marathon was my first training, and race... ever ... except for gym class in elementary school! I was very excited!!!!

"But those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; They will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint." - Isaiah 40:31

Bob: Awesome husband, partner, and man of God! When I asked him if he would do this with me, he enthusiastically replied... "if that's what you want ... yes!!" I don't know too many men who get up at 5:00 AM, get home at 6:00 PM, and drive 60 miles round trip daily for work, who would have replied in such a way. His answer showed me his immense love and support by which I was tremendously blessed. He made time to train alone and with our children our family.

"Let us run with endurance the race 
God has set before us." Hebrews 12:1

Jacob: Incredibly funny and dynamic 9-year old, whose favorite Bible story is "The Good Samaritan". He aggressively entered into his training with a heart for the kids.

"Jesus replied: 'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.'" - Matthew 22:37-39

Hope: Abundantly thoughtful and sweet 7 year-old, who is noted to regularly say, "You never know..." This mini-marathon was just the first step for Hope toward organizing a kids triathlon for children to raise money toward foundations of their choice.

"'For I know the plans I have for you,' declares the Lord, 'plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.'" - Jeremiah 29:11

If you told me, prior to January 2013, that I was going to complete a half marathon, and that my husband and kids would train too, I'd have laughed. THE LORD called us to this. He equipped us. He prepared us. He saw His work through to completion. 

So, if I can do it... if we can do it... then so can you. He may not call you to run a marathon, but He will call you to something. And, it may seem like He's asking you to do the impossible. But truly, if He calls you, and if you are obedient, He WILL provide for your every need to accomplish His works prepared for you.

Please visit me for part two of this post when I share with you that AMAZING miracles and gifts God unwrapped for our family as we followed His lead in this unexpected journey. ~ Nicole Doran

Monday, May 6, 2013

The Invitation ~ For Whoever

"Come, all you who are thirsty, come to the waters; 
and you who have no money, come, buy and eat! 
Come, buy wine and milk without money and without cost. 
Why spend money on what is not bread, 
and your labor on what does not satisfy?
Listen, listen to me, and eat what is good,
and your soul will delight in the richest of fare."
Isaiah 55:1-2

A few years ago, I was planning a a surprise gathering for my husband for a birthday and as a send-off on his dream-come-true trip to tour the Holy Land in Israel. I had prayerfully planned the guest list many months before the event, and the invitations were mailed about a month before the date of the party. Our families and Jim's dearest friends were invited. These friendships spanned from a few years to 20 years. And Jim and his cousin, John, have been friends their whole lives...almost 45 years at the time.

About a week before the surprise party, the Lord put it on my heart to invite another couple. I had been building a friendship with the wife for several months, but Jim and the husband were just beginning a friendship. However, I saw a mutual respect and "connection" in this growing friendship and I knew in my heart that Jim would be blessed by having this couple at his surprise party. In Chuck Swindoll's book "Koinonia", he talks about how vibrant fellowship can bring forth new friendships. That was what God is doing at that time.

With the invitations having been mailed weeks prior, I called my girlfriend personally. I shared my heart honestly with her and told her that the invitation, albeit late, was meant to bless and honor them. I told her I knew Jim would be delighted if they were there. I did not want them to be insulted that they had not received a written invitation weeks before. Truly, I wanted to bless them and also bless Jim at his party by having them there.
My girlfriend's response blessed my heart. Her reply was, as I expected, enthusiastic, gracious and understanding. She was so thankful for the invitation regardless of the timing. She said, "You'll never know how much this invitation blessed me today!"

Tears of thankfulness to the Lord rolled down my cheeks. "Thank you, Lord. Thank you for putting this on my heart and that they were blessed just by the invitation."

Isn't that the way? Isn't is just a blessing to receive an invitation? It says, "You are loved. You are valued. You are included." 

A fact of life is that we are not all invited to everything, nor can we be, and we can't invite everyone to our gatherings either. It's just not possible. Grown-ups understand that, even though at times it can still hurt. And God's timing is always amazing as I have had opportunity to walk with each of our children through these painful "I was not invited to that party" lessons of life that give us the privilege of building godly character. 
There is one invitation that is extended to all of us to which we can all RSVP with an enthusiastic and committed "YES"! Our Host is the King of Kings. This invitation from our Savior to believe in Him and receive forgiveness of sin and eternal life is an open invitation, and everyone is on the guest list! That is so exciting! "Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, but whoever rejects the Son will not see life..." John 3:36 
"Whoever". An open invitation. The most significant, meaningful, life-giving and important invitation you'll ever receive. You are loved. You are valued. You are included.

When you accept this invitation, ask for His forgiveness and receive Jesus into your heart, He washes away your sin and you receive eternal life immediately. What is eternal life? This is John 17:3"Now this is eternal life: that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent." Knowing the only true God. Intimately knowing Him.

This sacred invitation has been delivered to us through God's son, Jesus. And when you accept this invitation, you receive an eternity in heaven!

"Now we know that if the earthly tent 
we live in is destroyed, we have a building from God, 
an eternal house in heaven, not built by human hands." 
2 Corinthians 5:7

God's Word is a treasure just filled with His truths about knowing Him, eternal life with Him, and an eternity in the kingdom of heaven. If you have happened upon this blog and desire to RSVP to His invitation to know Him, please click here for more information. And if you need a Bible, let me know ( As you open His treasure of Truth, you will find that His Word alone satisfies the hungry and thirsty. (Psalm 107:9)

My girlfriend and her husband replied "yes" to my invitation. They were enthusiastic. They were thankful. They were delighted to be there, and we were delighted to have them. And after the surprise party, my husband said to me "The guest list was perfect." 
God's guest list is perfect, too, and it includes YOU! You are invited. He beckons you to "Come". Without Jesus, we are all lame, blind and poor. Amazingly, He invites us to feast at His table forever! If you haven't already, we pray you will accept His invitation. His love is perfect. His will give you strength to walk, eyes to see and make your heart rich in His love.
"But when you give a banquet, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind, and you will be blessed." Luke 14:13

"And Mephibosheth lived in Jerusalem, because he always ate at the king's table, and he was crippled in both feet."
2 Samuel 9:13

Then the angel said to me, "Write: 'Blessed are those who are invited to the wedding supper of the Lamb!' " And he added, "These are the true words of God." Revelation 19:9

Thursday, May 2, 2013

A Table For Two - Table Testimony

You prepare a table before me
in the presence of my enemies. 
You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows. 
Surely goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, 
and I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever.”
Psalm 23:5-6 (NIV)

Our family loves Ocean City, NJ, and we are excited when we are able to vacation there.  In 2008 and 2009, we rented our friends' shore house on Asbury Avenue.  As I was packing for our beach vacation in the Summer or 2009, I silently prayed to the Lord and shared a wish with Him. “Lord, I’d really like to have a special place to have my morning quiet time with You at the shore house this year. You know how I like to spread out a little for my quiet time and study time. Last summer at the shore, I used the kitchen table every day, which was dandy. Yet it would be wonderful to have a special little spot where I can spread my Bible, books and journals out, and not have to put everything away when I am done every morning. Just a little wish, Lord. Thanks.”

After whispering my prayer to the Lord, I continued packing and kept the wish as a treasure between me and the Lord.

When we arrived at the shore house, my husband, Jim, took the first of many heavy loads up to the house while I was organizing our children and gathering as many things in my arms as I could carry. When Jim came back down he enthusiastically said, “Honey, there is a new table in the family room that is perfect for morning quiet times.” What?  I had not even shared my prayer with Jim at that point, but he was excited about the table and knew it would be a perfect spot for my morning devotions. 

Wow, Lord, thank you! I was so thankful to the Lord for remembering my prayer. The surprise addition of this furniture at the shore house was a treasured spot for me to meet with and seek the Lord each day.

I then shared with Jim about my prayer for a table.  He was amazed at God's goodness and His specific answer to my prayer for a table.  Jim reminded me that God would move a mountain for us to dwell with Him.  Preparing a table was a pleasure for the Carpenter.  (Jim also asked me if I could pray for a jet ski for the following summer's vacation!)  

A few days into our vacation, I called my sweet girlfriend, Tricia, who owned the house with her husband to see how she was feeling as she had been ill. Toward the end of our phone conversation, I mentioned the table to her saying, “By the way, we love the table you put in the family room of the house. It’s perfect for morning quiet time with the Lord!”

“What table?” Tricia asked.

“You know, the table between the fire place and the front door. It’s just perfect for devotions and studying the Bible.”

“We didn’t put a table there.”

“Yes, you did.”

“No, we didn’t.” 

She paused momentarily and then asked me to hold on. Then she called to her tween daughter to inquire. Her daughter confirmed ~ no, they hadn’t put a table in their shore home.
The "Table For Two" at the shore house - Summer 2009

I took a picture of the table with my cell phone and texted it to my friend. Her reply: She had never seen the table before. She double-checked with her husband, the realtor and cleaning woman (the small handful of people who had key access to their shore home). Nothing. Nobody knew about the table or how it got there.

But we did know.

God remembered my prayer.

The Master Carpenter prepared a table for me. He met me there. He encouraged and blessed my heart remarkably. He spoke His love and acceptance to my heart in a way I will always remember. He made my cup overflow. His goodness and love follow us. 

Before we left the shore house at the end of our week’s vacation, I stood at the table with my hands on it. I prayed for all the people who had sat there before me and for those who will sit there in the future. I prayed they would meet with God there, that it would be a special place for them as well. I prayed also they would inquire of Him, be watchful for His answers and give Him joyous thanksgiving.

In March 2011, as I drove up to our home on my birthday after picking our children up from school, a breathtaking gift was on our porch.  A beautiful re-gift.  A precious gift first given to me by the Lord and then given again to me by my girlfriend and her husband.  They surprised me on my birthday by giving me the table from their shore house.  His table.  Hushed and humbled by His love, His table for two now sits in our living room...inviting us to dine with Him in His Word each day.  ("A Sweet Drink From The Saucer")

The table is set. He has prepared a table for you.  He longs to dine with you at His table.  Join the Master Carpenter.  Listen to Him, eat what is good and let your soul delight itself in His abundance.
"Why do you spend money for what is not bread,
And your wages for what does not satisfy?
Listen carefully to Me, and eat what is good,
And let your soul delight itself in abundance."
Isaiah 55:2

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Will You Trust Me?

I am honored to have my sweet friend Nicole Doran guest post today at His Table For Two. Nicole is a breath of fresh air. Every time I see her I feel a little lighter and my heart feels brighter. She refreshes the hearts of the saints. Truly. " have refreshed the hearts of the saints." (Philemon 1:7)

I am excited that she will refresh your heart in Christ today, too! 

"...refresh my heart in Christ."
Philemon 1:20
Here's Nicole....

Nicole, Bob and their sweet cherubs

I am truly humbled and blessed to be guest writing for His Table For Two. Sharon is a treasure in Christ, and she has been a blessing in my life. I pray this entry, and all others so carefully transcribed, finds Him meeting you right where you are. ~ Nicole

"Will You Trust Me?"

Have you ever felt like a turtle without its shell? Did you know without its shell, a turtle cannot survive? 

Have you ever felt so backed into a corner that you couldn't see the way out? 

Have you ever felt like you were buried with fear? 

I have felt these things from time to time, and more so recently, as I look at the state of our world. 

Why am I telling you this? Because, I want to tell you what The Lord asked me. He asked, "Will you trust Me?"

"But may the God of all grace, who called us to His eternal glory
by Christ Jesus, after you have suffered a while,
perfect, establish, strengthen, and settle you."
- 1 Peter 5:10

"Will you trust Me?" Well, Lord, of course I trust You; You are in control, but...

"Will you trust Me?" Well, Lord, of course I trust You; You have a plan, but...

"Will you trust Me?" Well, Lord, of course I trust You; You foresaw all of this, but...

"Will you trust Me?" Well, Lord, of course I trust You; You love me, but...

Is any of this familiar to you?

"For I know the thoughts that I think toward you...
thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope."
- Jeremiah 29:11

Hmmm, "For I know the thoughts I have toward give you a future and a hope, not to harm you." What does that mean? Does that mean that we will never experience trials? Does that mean that we will never go through valleys? Does that mean life will always be simple? 

Put simply, no.'s the Good News...He is with us...through all of it! When we are like the turtle, when we are riddled with fear, when we feel cornered... He is there!

"Where can I go from Your Spirit? Or where can I flee from Your presence?
If I ascend into heaven, You are there; If I make my bed in hell, behold, You are there.
If I take the wings of the morning, And dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea,
Even there Your hand shall lead me, And Your right hand shall hold me."
- Psalm 139: 7-10

Ok, so He's always with us. Then why do we feel these ways sometimes? Some will say it's condemnation from the enemy. Others will say it's sin which separates us from communion with God. Still others will suggest it's a test of faith. 

We may hear that it's conviction from The Holy Spirit. Or maybe we are told it's a season of being "stretched". 

What do I say? Yes. Yes. Yes. Yes. And, Yes.

Yes?...Yes. It is not for me to say which of these are true for someone else at any given time.  That is only for The Lord to say. 

What I CAN say, is that all of these have been true for me in my Christian walk. And ultimately, where do I wind up? On my knees, seeking His face and praising Him for His grace, His glory, and His love for this doubting, ungrateful, sinner. He alone can only truly know the heart of His children. It is to our hearts that He speaks His truth...softly, gently, clearly and lovingly in a language He knows we will understand.

"And He said to me, My grace is sufficient for you:
for My strength is made perfect in weakness.
Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities,
that the power of Christ may rest on me." -2 Cor. 12:9

I will glory in my infirmities? Yes. Because it is during those times that we are drawn closer to Him. It is during those times that we come to know more of His nature. It is during those times that we come to understand how much He loves us and how perfect His plans are for us. And even more, it is during those times that we learn just how strong or weak our trust in Him and our love for Him are. Then we become aware of the cover of His shadow, and the comfort of His rod, and the guidance of His staff.

And we realize: we never lost our shell. He was always covering our circumstance.

He is the way out of the corner if we just follow His lead.

He tells us 365 times in His Word "fear not..." as He extends His hand for us to walk with Him.

Let's trust the Shepherd together. ~ Nicole

"The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.
He makes me to lie down in green pastures;
He leads me beside the still waters.
He restores my soul;
He leads me in the paths of righteousness
For His name’s sake.
Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil; For You are with me;
Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.
You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies;
You anoint my head with oil; My cup runs over.
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me
All the days of my life;
And I will dwell in the house of the Lord Forever."
- Psalm 23

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Resolution or Transformation

"'Resolve to honor My name,' 
says the LORD Almighty."
Malachi 2:2

"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 12:12

A new year! A time for reflection and for looking ahead for growth and change.  Lasting and fruitful change. Transformation. That can only come through the perfect Word of God. "Every word of God is flawless..." Proverbs 30:5

Transformation. A surrendered heart pursuing holiness. A willingness to yield to the bittersweet process of purification through the washing of the water of the Word. "...offer yourselves as slaves to righteousness leading to holiness." Romans 6:19

Resolutions can tend to be self-centered. Resolutions often are about me, my strength and my commitment. Transformation is Christ-centered. Transformation comes from the renewing of our minds by the washing of the water of God's Word. We surrender and yield to the work of the Holy Spirit in our lives and allow His transformation to take place in our lives through the Truth of God's Word. And WOW...He transforms us into His image! "You have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator." Col. 3:10

"And we all, who with unveiled faces contemplate the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into His image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit." 2 Cor. 3:18

"Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me."  Psalm 51:10 

The condition of my heart before the Lord moment-by-moment is most important to me. God creates a pure heart in us. God renews a steadfast spirit in us. My responsibility is to keep my heart before Him in humility. I want to always have a teachable heart. I want to be willing to be broken."The LORD is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit." Psalm 34:18  
"Every time we open the Word of God, it should be for the purpose of being broken." - Nancy Leigh DeMoss
“I live in a high and holy place, but also with the one who is contrite and lowly in spirit, to revive the spirit of the lowly and to revive the heart of the contrite." Isaiah 57:15

As I daily surrender my heart to His truth, He creates a pure heart in me and transforms my heart to be more like His. Wow! That sure is humbling and awesome.

If we resolve to do anything this year, let's resolve to honor His name and be  transformed by His Word. "...'resolve to honor My name,' says the LORD Almighty." Malachi 2:2   This resolve is too lofty for me to attain on my own.  Only by HIS grace and Word can it be so.  His divine power gives us everything we need for life and godliness. (2 Peter 1:3)  Thank You, Lord. 

"I delight in Your decrees; I will not neglect Your word."
Psalm 119:16

Your Devotional Journal

Saying Grace ~ Bring your heart to God in prayer.

Your Portion ~ Where has God met you in His Word today?

Nourishment ~ How does God want to mold and change my heart?

Second Helpings ~ How does God want me to be a doer of His Word today?

Time for Dessert ~ What can I go and share with others today?

"You shall eat in plenty and be satisfied,
and praise the name of the LORD your God,
Who has dealt wondrously with you..."
Joel 2:26