The Case of the Missing Dryer

The Case of the Missing Dryer

Proverbs 16:2 (NIV) All a person’s ways seem pure to them, but motives are weighed by the Lord.

Our dryer was in need of repair. The repairman came last week and determined the problem. He would order the parts and return this week to complete the task. Upon arriving home from work, I noticed that the laundry room rug was in the garage and dryer lint everywhere. Opening the door, there was a 100-lb Black Lab where my shiny white dryer used to be kicking up dust with her wagging tail. I called out to the girls, “Where’s my dryer?” They came out laughing. “In the laundry room…” Still giggling as they looked around for it, the two set out in search of the dryer all in jest. No seriously – how does someone remove a major appliance from my house and nobody notice? This is no laughing matter.

We do laundry every single day. The washer and dryer are full service in our house and part of the daily routine. The initial reason for the visit turned into a two-fold repair and it was easier to take it to the shop to complete it rather than try to in the very small and narrow laundry room. My watchful eyes were unavailable when they were leaving so they later called my husband to explain. No big deal right? Maybe not for you but we take our washing, drying and folding very serious around here.

All joking aside, our days are filled with activities, actions and even attitudes based on the motives of our heart. Innocent routines and schedules that can become a priority to us. Perhaps there are certain things that you do on a regular basis that others find a bit excessive. I hear it all the time. Whether it be accusations or excuses, judgment of the life or lifestyle of others based on the motives in our heart. It is important to examine and evaluate our ways to decide how to spend our time. Time is the most valuable commodity that is given. We do not know how much we actually have. It is invaluable because once it is spent and cannot be replenished. The resources in our life are time, talent and treasure. The Lord takes the human heart and weighs its motives not productivity. God doesn’t give to us based on performance but rather obedience. Obedience to God will always produce blessings and promises in our life even if it takes a bit of time.

What does any of this have to do with a clothes dryer? While some people reading this may think the loss of a dryer no big deal, others will be completely offended that the repairmen took it without asking and then some may know the feeling because they are avid launderers, the point is that no matter what we do or do not do in this life – God is weighing the motives of our heart in all things. He is checking our time table for His Timing. He is evaluating our motivation according to His Word. God doesn’t lie or change His Mind. He says that all things are permissible but not all things are beneficial. Perhaps, it we became more intent on examining our heart and motives daily – extra time or different priorities might be for our favor. I didn’t have a dryer last night. I could not continue my evening routine of putting on a load while cooking dinner and tending to it afterwards. Instead, I sat on the front porch rocking, Snapchatting friends, and then talking with the Lord. I rested for a few moments.

Psalm 26:1-3 (NIV) Vindicate me, Lord, for I have led a blameless life; I have trusted in the Lord and have not faltered. Test me, Lord, and try me, examine my heart and my mind; for I have always been mindful of your unfailing love and have lived in reliance on your faithfulness.

The Lord searches our heart for our motives. He evaluates our intentions. He rewards us for our actions. (Jeremiah 17:10) Is it possible to be obedient with the wrong motives? Is it feasible to be right with unjust intentions? Does God reward actions other than obedience? The Lord is looking in the human heart for one thing – love. Every other action must come from the Source of Love that is in us thanks to Jesus Christ. The Holy Spirit is on a mission to produce Christ-like Love in us so that every motive and intention becomes an action based on our sole motivation to love the Lord and others. Ugh.

In our busyness, it is easy to justify good motives and intentions without ever tapping into the prosperity of God given to our soul. We perform hoping to persuade God to move for us but His Desire is to move in us. To change our heart and mind to live in full agreement and harmony with other people. He wants to break our routine to produce new relationship opportunities and increase our sphere of influence. You can be filled with faith and overflowing in anointing yet completely miss God’s Will, His Way and His Blessings in our own rightness.

The psalmist says, “Vindicate me…” which means “Free me”! Are you living a blameless life but are not experiencing the blessings and benefits promised in God’s Word? Do you trust the Lord with limits? When your life does not align with God’s Word, His Will and His Way – it is time for a test. Testing and trials give us an opportunity to examine our heart and mind for breaches. To be mindful of His Love is not enough. We must learn to trust the Lord and depend on Him in full reliance. Our purpose in life is not fulfilled until we are called home. God has placed certain things in our life that take time. Things that will require change in us that takes us out of our comfort zone and destroys complacency. To have them requires us to examine and evaluate our motives and intentions openly and honestly before the Lord and allow Him to point out any offensive way in us without becoming obstinate and offensive. Ouch! Ain’t nobody got time for that… except those who desire to live as one with Christ.

I Corinthians 4:4-5 (NIV) My conscience is clear, but that does not make me innocent. It is the Lord who judges me. Therefore judge nothing before the appointed time; wait until the Lord comes. He will bring to light what is hidden in darkness and will expose the motives of the heart. At that time each will receive their praise from God.

My mother keeps an impeccable home. It looks as though it is the model home staged for perspective buyers at all times. She has always been that way. I am quite sure it set her into heart palpitations trying to keep up with our family as none of us were committed to the same level of clean. Over the years, I developed better habits and decided to keep a neat home. Yet, when my mother comes for a visit, I am set into a flurry of activity to clean and organize my house. When I visit my daughter, she does the same thing. She attempts to make it acceptable to me. The truth is that my mom doesn’t judge my home according to her standards. When I go to visit my daughter, I am after the chunky little hunk of a grandson not that all her laundry is done and dishes clean. We must be very careful not to judge our life according to others or we will become busy in comparison rather than in our convictions.

My conscious is clear. It doesn’t make me innocent. There will always be someone with higher or lower standards to compare ourselves to in order to feel better or worse about our life. However, the Lord is our judge. He examines our heart for love born of the faith found in Christ that releases all humans from our expectation to invest our entire life in the Hope of Glory – His Name is Jesus. He will bring to light those things hidden in darkness to expose the motives of our heart. His Convictions are not the same as the court of law but based on His Love. His Grace. His Mercy. He delights in mercy. I believe that by investing all our faith, hope and trust in Jesus that we will begin to let others live their life freely as well. It is by cultivating my relationship with Christ that allows me to let go of what I do for Him to become like Him. Lord, help me to evaluate my motives and examine the intentions of my heart today. May I only compare my life and standards to You – Jesus and the love you have placed in me with the grace to fully accept it. Let me live according to Your Standard of Love for others and even myself.

The case of the missing dryer is solved. It will be back in its proper place today ready for service. I am thankful for the mysteries in life that cause us to hear God whisper even in the simplest of things. He is always speaking – but sometimes busyness keeps us from listening and routine too busy to sit and hear.

2 Corinthians 13:5 (NIV) Examine yourselves to see whether you are in the faith; test yourselves. Do you not realize that Christ Jesus is in you—unless, of course, you fail the test?

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To Be Strong – A Devotion

2 Corinthians 12:9-10 (NLT)

Each time he said, “My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.” So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me. That’s why I take pleasure in my weaknesses and in the insults, hardships, persecutions, and troubles that I suffer for Christ. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

 

Many times I have heard the words, “You are fighting a losing battle” which has only caused my stubborn personality and willful self to dig in to press harder. The words are a challenge to my being and inability to lose gracefully. Could it be that is why it is in insults, hardships, persecutions and troubles that in my greatest weakness are the times that I have found strength? Human nature does not like to be wrong or lose. It tells itself “all I do is win” on a perpetual basis in hope it will become victorious. Before Jesus Christ, everyone is an epic failure. Nothing a person ever does amounts to more than nothing outside of the Lord’s Intervention. You may do many good deeds but without faith they are useless endeavors all leading to death and the grave. Nothing in life is pure outside of God even the sweetest innocence is blackened in time. Love is never unconditional or true without God’s take on the matter. It can end without a moment’s notice leaving another shattered and broken heart. Death can steal away loved ones in an instant as those left behind gaze at empty arms. Without hope as an anchor for our soul, there is nothing left. Life indeed becomes a losing battle and you are fighting for nothing. It takes tremendous amounts of grace for a person to one day realize that “when I am weak, then I am strong.” In that moment, you begin to win. Strength fills the emptiness when pride is lost and confidence shattered transforming you from the old creation that was self-sufficient and failing to a New Creation through total dependency who is now victorious.

 

2 Corinthians 10:3-5 (NLT)

We are human, but we don’t wage war as humans do. We use God’s mighty weapons, not worldly weapons, to knock down the strongholds of human reasoning and to destroy false arguments. We destroy every proud obstacle that keeps people from knowing God. We capture their rebellious thoughts and teach them to obey Christ.  

 

The biggest obstacle to empowerment in the Body of Christ is human reasoning. It places a hold on supernatural strength by choosing self-sufficiency. Such empowerment gives God an out. Those who temper faith with human strength have a fallback position should God decide to do something different or if He changes His Mind. God does not change His Mind. He remains the same forever. People change their minds. They are never the same day after day. The only consistency that can be found in life is through Jesus Christ. So human reasoning gets in the way of believers accessing God’s Strength. God has mighty weapons used to tear down the “strong-holds” in your life. But be warned that they are very different than what you think they should be and found hidden in His Word. I Corinthians 10:12-13 gives insight for the believer today who is feeling strong. If “you” are strong, actually you will fall soon. It is human reasoning that boasts of its own strength. God’s Strength is found in faithfulness, dependency, humility and love. All these sound like weak traits, however, they all allow for more of God in your life. The more God you can cram into day-to-day life the more powerful you will become as righteousness overtakes your entire existence. Suddenly, no weapon formed against you will prosper (Isaiah 54:17) as you become a servant of the Lord grounded and rooted by faith in His Presence.

 

I Corinthians 16:14 (NLT)

Be on guard. Stand firm in the faith. Be courageous. Be strong. And do everything with love.

 

Faith is required to be strong. It cannot move around stepping up and moving down each day but must be steadfast and immovable planted in the Word of God. You must guard this position. Faith is in the unseen so the enemy let’s you see many things in order to cause one to waver. But those who remain faithful will access God’s Strength. Abraham is a perfect example of strength revealed by faith. Romans 4:19-21 tells usAbraham’s faith did not weaken, even though, at about 100 years of age, he figured his body was as good as dead—and so was Sarah’s womb. Abraham never wavered in believing God’s promise. In fact, his faith grew stronger, and in this he brought glory to God. He was fully convinced that God is able to do whatever he promises.” Is time running out? Is every fiber of your being ready to give up and quit? Is there no possible way for you to get out of this? Well, get ready. Those who remain faithful in the midst of no logical conclusion and absolutely no possible sign of victory are about to win. Faith in God requires total dependency. You cannot trust God fully if there is any other hope in your life. If you place confidence in personal ability, faith has moved from God. It is in that moment that He becomes the foundation of your faith and all confidence moved from self to God that we become ready to receive God’s Power. All glory and honor belong to the Lord. We must be moved out of the way to receive in order to keep it that way. The sooner you step on faith and remain there, the sooner courage and strength will follow. Confidence is built on faith and powered by strength. In human weakness and faulty reasoning, faith is abused. When it is placed in the Lord, He will never let you down.

 

I Corinthians 1:8-9 (NLT)

He will keep you strong to the end so that you will be free from all blame on the day when our Lord Jesus Christ returns. God will do this, for he is faithful to do what he says, and he has invited you into partnership with his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.

 

Innocence is required to be strong. You must remain innocent. He will keep you strong to the end in order to be free of blame on the Day of Redemption. How do we do that when sin condemned us in the first place? We remain innocent by not being subject to sin. Removing those things through faithful obedience that the Lord finds offensive in our life gives God room to move in our life through His Spirit. Human reasoning tells us that walking close to the line in life is okay and that little white lies pass through undetected by God but nothing could be further from the truth. Every sin ever committed is seen by God. No matter how small we may feel they are including inconsequential and even sometimes necessary they are all contrary to the Word of God. By growing in the Knowledge of God by studying His Word and communicating with God through prayer and listening for His Word, we are made acutely aware of the sin in our life. By submitting them all to Jesus Christ through humble repentance, it is then that our sin becomes undetectable by God. (Psalm 103:12) In a state of childlike innocence, the overwhelming love and protection of the Father overtakes us empowering His Children. Proverbs 2:7-9 promises that God will actually give you common sense regarding His Plan for your life and you will know which way to go in your innocence. He will show you. God will actually lead you. How do I do such a thing when I am prone to sin? “Do everything without complaining and arguing, so that no one can criticize you. Live clean, innocent lives as children of God, shining like bright lights in a world full of crooked and perverse people. Hold firmly to the word of life.”  God does not gain glory from pointing out your sin and insufficiency. He is glorified when you see the things the Lord has identified and strive to remove them from your life by the Power of His Spirit holding firm to God’s Word that is full of His Promises and Truth. You will begin to see yourself as a Child of God and more importantly act like one claiming Kingdom Promises and Protection now rather than when Jesus comes back. You will find strength in the innocence of being a Child of the King.

 

I Peter 5:5-7 (NLT)

In the same way, you younger men must accept the authority of the elders. And all of you, serve each other in humility, for “God opposes the proud but favors the humble.” So humble yourselves under the mighty power of God, and at the right time he will lift you up in honor. Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about you.

 

Humility is required to be strong. Human reasoning detests the word “humility” and much prefers “pride” any day. The biggest concern in humility is the fear that one will be forgotten in their humbled state. Facedown forever never being lifted up and if this life is all you are counting on then you are probably right. But for those who seek entrance to the Kingdom of God, humility is the strength needed to remain in righteousness. Humility forsakes all human strength, which definitely pales in comparison to an All-Powerful God, to receive the love and care of the Lord. It is the realization that “yes, I am fighting a losing battle”. It is a declaration that God “I want to win!” God is going to lift you up. His Word says that He will. So what are you worried about. Humble yourself before God. Give up pride, it is completely overrated and live your life for Jesus Christ. Give Him every single worry and care that you thought you could handle because you cannot! Worry is a prideful response that places more faith in you than God. Give every single worry to the Lord and live in humble service to God. You will be strong, unshakeable and immovable. Grounded in the hope, faith and love of God you will not be disappointed. He promised!

 

2 Corinthians 4:7-9 (NLT)

We now have this light shining in our hearts, but we ourselves are like fragile clay jars containing this great treasure.This makes it clear that our great power is from God, not from ourselves. We are pressed on every side by troubles, but we are not crushed. We are perplexed, but not driven to despair. We are hunted down, but never abandoned by God. We get knocked down, but we are not destroyed.

 

Brokenness is required to be strong. Seems like a total contradiction in terms, however; every person reading these words are dying at this very moment. Death is inescapable. It begins to deteriorate the body from the moment of birth. Self-preservation is futile. God wants to pour His Glory and Strength into your body. You have nothing to lose. You have everything to gain. His Strength allows us to be faithful, righteous and holy. Our strength is faithfulness, unrighteous and sinful not to mention failing at this very moment. What does God desire more than sacrifice? Psalm 51:17 says,”The sacrifice you desire is a broken spirit. You will not reject a broken and repentant heart.” Well, now that doesn’t make any sense when we consider that God promises to restore His People and make them complete unless you consider that to fix you God must allow you to be broken. If you are holding together all the frail and fragile pieces of your life making it work, God will not wrestle them away. You have to allow your heart to be broken and your spirit (will and emotions) to be poured out to make room for God. (Lamentations 2:11) Psalm 34:17-18 reveals God’s Promise when it says that “The LORD hears his people when they call to him for help. He rescues them from all their troubles. The LORD is close to the brokenhearted; he rescues those whose spirits are crushed.”  You want God’s Strength today or more importantly do you “need” His Wonder-Working Power? It is found in brokenness. Pouring out all of us and making more room for God in our life will yield tremendous results as His Glory shines from within. You just have to make room for His Strength to overtake you!

 

Psalm 63:6-8 (NLT)

I lie awake thinking of you, meditating on you through the night. Because you are my helper, I sing for joy in the shadow of your wings. I cling to you; your strong right hand holds me securely.

 

You want a powerful mind – meditate on Jesus and His Power. You want to stand strong – remain faithfully in the Presence of God living in holiness and innocence preserving righteousness in your life through the Power of His Spirit. Above all else use every bit of your strength to cling to Jesus Christ. In this humble position, God will use His Strong Right Hand to hold you securely. In this place, all of God’s Strength and Power is yours for disposition in your life as you are a Child of the Light living in faithful obedience. You will be strong. You will not be crushed or destroyed. Death has no hold on you! You are not just going to make it! You are going to win!

 

Psalm 118:15-17 (NLT)

Songs of joy and victory are sung in the camp of the godly. The strong right arm of the LORD has done glorious things! The strong right arm of the LORD is raised in triumph. The strong right arm of the LORD has done glorious things! I will not die; instead, I will live to tell what the LORD has done.

To Kill a Sparrow – A Devotion

Matthew 10:28-31 (NLT)

“Don’t be afraid of those who want to kill your body; they cannot touch your soul. Fear only God, who can destroy both soul and body in hell.What is the price of two sparrows—one copper coin? But not a single sparrow can fall to the ground without your Father knowing it. And the very hairs on your head are all numbered. So don’t be afraid; you are more valuable to God than a whole flock of sparrows.”

 

“To Kill a Mockingbird” is a classic novel of innocence lost. Written by Harper Lee in 1960, it was an instant success winning the Pulitzer Prize and securing its place in American literature. It was transformed into an Oscar-winning film in 1962. “To Kill a Mockingbird” tells the sad story of innocence succumbing to the evil in this world. This world is no stranger to the darkness of evil. The mockingbird represents “innocence.” It must be protected. “Mockingbirds don’t do one thing but…sing their hearts out for us. That’s why it’s a sin to kill a mockingbird.” One of the most famous quotes from this familiar tale holds a deeper truth and meaning for those who love Jesus. We were created in the image of God to bring Him glory. Pure from the inside out, humans were placed in the garden with complete dominion to reign over the creatures and world God had created while living in a relationship with Him. Evil was not in God’s Plan for mankind. Humanity invited it in. By doing so, good and evil remain at odds in the earth today. A constant challenge of righteousness for those who seek God and long to remain in His Presence, salvation restores man’s innocence with God. But it is satan’s profound pleasure to attempt to destroy it each day. Many will choose evil today because it is quite popular and disguised as harmless fun. Innocence lost is a travesty to the Kingdom of God and should be preserved at all costs.

 

The preservation of your soul is holiness. It is regarding your mind, soul and body as God does. God sees you as a priceless treasure worth the life of His Only Son, Jesus Christ to preserve. You must begin to see yourself the way that the Lord does to value your life as a possession of God. “Not a single sparrow can fall to the ground without your Father knowing it.” Recently, we found a baby squirrel that had wandered into the pool. As we scooped its lifeless body out of the water, it made us sad that it had died a senseless death. We had compassion for this tiny creature. Great measures have been taken to secure the pool and property surrounding it to insure that no children wander into danger or harm’s way as a result. Why? We value our children. We do not want anything bad to happen to them. Our Heavenly Father created all that we know and see. All the animals exist because of Him. Family pets become a intricate member of our group dearly loved and mourned when lost. But there is no animal that will ever compare to our love for our children. God loves you with such intensity. He has instructed us and built safety barriers to protect His Kids from evil, yet it would seem that too many times we are intent in finding trouble and getting into it. To live in holiness is to respect the boundaries God put in place as protection for His Precious Ones. Maybe it is the concept of value and worth that humanity struggles with. I assure you that there is nothing you have done or will ever do that will make God not love you and desire you to the fullest. You are precious to God today. Grab hold of it. Do not let go of this one thought as you venture in the day. You are His Child and the Lord earnestly longs for to protect you in a world full of dangerous choices. Will you all it?

 

Psalm 55:22 (NLT)

Give your burdens to the Lord and he will take care of you. He will not permit the godly to slip and fall.

 

There are many sparrows that live in the trees along the property line to our home. They casually bounce along the fence line as if it were a wide open road and then effortlessly fly off. It would seem they do not have a care in the world. There is also a big fat “Tom” cat named “Big Moe” who prowls along the wooded lot that is adjacent. He is waiting for an unsuspecting creature to light across his path to pounce on it and present it to his owners as an offering. It seems that just about the time “Big Moe” is close to capturing his prey, a stick will snap or crackle will betray his hiding place and the little birds will fly away. God sees each sparrow and God knows Big Moe. God has provided for the sparrows and there is no burden or care in them. They are not predators but rely on the Most High for their provision. They do not fear death but live in wariness of opposition. As people walk through life, it is not along the wide path created by faith in God and righteousness but tenuously between good and evil as if there is indecision. We maintain the heavy burden of sin in the midst of overflowing forgiveness and grace making it very difficult to walk out our Christian faith. However, those who commit all their burdens and care to the Lord will instantly become light in step as God maintains our position. He will not permit those who choose godliness to slip and fall. Instead of the fence of mediocrity that is subject to the potshots of your enemy, you can walk in confidence. Godly confidence comes through wisdom and knowledge of God that produces faith strong enough to carry your burdens and lighten your load in life so that you may walk in righteousness through Jesus Christ. Give your burdens, cares, regret and shame to Jesus today. Lighten the load. Your innocence will be restored and righteousness attainable.

 

Psalm 91:5-7 (NLT)

Do not be afraid of the terrors of the night, nor the arrow that flies in the day. Do not dread the disease that stalks in darkness, nor the disaster that strikes at midday. Though a thousand fall at your side, though ten thousand are dying around you, these evils will not touch you.

 

There is a constant battle for your attention between good and evil. God longs to show you His Goodness while evil longs to pluck you from it. Evil has many strong arm tactics that produce worry, fear and dread in the life of believers who have not become firmly established in God’s Righteousness through His Word and a thriving relationship with Jesus Christ. If evil can get your attention, it can take hold of your heart. Focus is essential to righteousness. Why is righteousness important? Faith requires that God’s People remain right standing with God. Sin cannot dominate the space between the Lord and His People. Evil cannot be a veil of the Light. You must fight to remain in His Presence. God will be your strength when fighting the good fight of faith. Any other battle is futile. Your strength will fail. Your wisdom crumble. But for those who love Jesus and are committed to a life of holiness (removing every evil thing from between you and God) – no evils can touch you! It doesn’t mean you will not see them or they will not frighten you from time to time but evil has no power or authority in your life. It cannot prevail and never wins.

 

Proverbs 10:9 (NLT)

People with integrity walk safely, but those who follow crooked paths will slip and fall.

 

Integrity is crucial to your safety in the midst of good and evil. Living a life of duplicity will not work. You must be the same person in the Light as you are in the dark. God sees you every second of your life because He never takes His Eyes off His Children. You are too valuable and important to ever leave His Sight. He is not watching for your failure but working to keep you safe. Integrity is not perfection. It is simple honestly between you and the Lord. Are you putting forth an honest effort to live a life of purity? It is never too late to be pure. Salvation washes away every sin you have ever committed and grace is available when you mess up again. As a born-again, Child of God, you can live in holiness before God no matter how many times you mess up. You just keep striving to be closer to God. Your outstretched hands cannot be ignored by a Loving Father who longs to spend Eternity with you. Keep trying. Never give up. Walk in integrity. Integrity is not only good moral character and honesty but it also means to strive for wholeness. God will make you whole as you begin to submit every part of your life to Him.

 

Psalm 145:13-18 (NLT)

For your kingdom is an everlasting kingdom. You rule throughout all generations. The Lord always keeps his promises; he is gracious in all he does. The Lord helps the fallen and lifts those bent beneath their loads. The eyes of all look to you in hope; you give them their food as they need it. When you open your hand, you satisfy the hunger and thirst of every living thing. The Lord is righteous in everything he does; he is filled with kindness. The Lord is close to all who call on him, yes, to all who call on him in truth.

 

God has many promises where you are concerned. He longs for your innocence so that His Children can take full advantage of the benefits of His Kingdom long before reaching Eternity. Good and evil will fight to the death when satan and his throng are cast into hell and Jesus claims His Bride. Innocence is the quality of His Bride. We must strive to maintain innocence in this dark and dirty place. Sparrows were made to live in the sky and treetops. Danger prevails when they are on the ground. God has called us to a place that is higher than the earth in which we live. It is His Presence. Filled with mercy and goodness, it is our refuge. Choose to live there and escape the darkness of this world. Rightly divide good and evil in your life. Run from darkness and live in the Light. Look to the Lord, He will be your hope. He will satisfy those who hunger and thirst for righteousness. Innocence will prevail in the midst of evil for those who choose to live for God daily in His Presence.