Our Value to God = PRICELESS!

Our Value to God = PRICELESS!
"Allow God to place His own values." - A.W. Tozer

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Psalm 139:1-18

“O Lord, You have searched me
And You know me.
You know when I sit and when I rise;
You perceive my thoughts from afar.
You discern my going out and my lying down;
You are familiar with all my ways.
Before a word is on my tongue
You know it completely, O Lord.
You hem me in – behind and before;
You had laid Your hand upon me.
Such knowledge is too wonderful for me.
Too lofty for me to attain.

Where can I go from Your Spirit?
Where can I flee from Your presence?
If I go up to the Heavens, You are there;
If I make my bed in the depths, You are there.
If I rise on the wings on the dawn,
If I settle on the far side of the sea,
Even there Your hand will guide me,
Your right hand will hold me fast.

If I say, ‘Surely the darkness will hide me
And the light become night around me,’
Even the darkness will not be dark to You;
The night will shine like the day,
For darkness is as light to You.

For You created my inmost being;
You knit me together in my mother’s womb.
I praise You because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
Your works are wonderful,
I know that full well.
My frame was not hidden from You
When I was made in the secret place.
When I was woven together in the depths of the earth,
Your eyes saw my unformed body.
All the days ordained for me
Were written in Your book
Before one of them came to be.

How precious to me are Your thoughts, O God!
How vast is the sum of them!
Were I to count them,
They would outnumber the grains of sand.
When I awake,
I am still with You.”

Sometimes we don’t let people get to know us completely because we are afraid they will discover something about us that they won’t like. But God already knows everything about us, even to the number of hairs on our heads (Matthew 10:30), and still He accepts and loves us. God is with us through every situation and every trial – loving, protecting, guiding. He knows and loves us completely.

Isn’t it comforting to know that God knew each of us before He created us? He planned what each of us would look like, who our parents would be, if we would marry, and how many children we would have. Before we could know God, He cared for us. He hid each of us away as a treasure until he brought us to be. God says that He fashioned each of us with awe and wonder.

I pray that when you have days that you are down and feel worthless, remember that God made you. And when He made you, He made you in His own image. Let us see ourselves as valuable as our Maker does. We are His treasure. Never think anything less!!


In Him,

“He Knows My Name” (Artist Unknown)

Why So Stubborn?

Hope everyone had a great weekend! :) Again, I apologize for not being able to write for a couple days. But I am back in town with some great stuff to share with you! The Lord has definitely been working on my heart! Earlier today when I was on my flight home from Virginia, I was reading Exodus. I then came to a phrase that is not anything new, but, for some reason today, struck me with a bit of curiosity. The Bible verse that got me thinking was Exodus 4:21 – “…But I will make him stubborn.” This is when God was talking of how He was planning to harden Pharaoh’s heart. As I said earlier, this is not a new idea, however, I feel I often glance over it so quickly and don’t give it the time and thought it deserves.

A few questions I thought of when I read this were:
Why and when does the Lord stubborn hearts? Then I began to wonder what it would look like if He hardened mine…and if I would notice. How do we allow our own hearts to be hardened? Is this process so subtle that we would not be able to tell a difference once we have tuned out God’s voice completely? It got me thinking that when our hearts are hardened or have become stubborn, we become blind to the will of God.

After doing a bit of research and studying the Bible I came to understand that when the Lord hardened Pharaoh’s heart, it just meant that the Lord strengthened His heart with boldness. I found out that the word “harden” in this particular passage does not hold the same meaning as when we harden our own hearts (as a result of turning away from the will of God). God moved in Pharaoh's heart in such a way that he became exceeding bold; which also may be read as foolishly bold and aggressive. Because of this, Pharaoh challenged even the hand of God, leading to his own destruction. As a result, God hardened (or “strengthened”) Pharaoh’s heart in order for His name to be glorified through the humiliation of Pharaoh.

There is a lot that can be said on this topic, but unfortunately I have limited space so I will just send you a link to a neat story that explains this even better than I could.


It is a bit long so for those who don’t have time here are a few key bullet points:
-People with hard hearts are not mere God-haters or those who rebel against the Lord; even we, as Christians, can develop hard hearts toward the Lord.
- “…Being shocked, amazed, or surprised at a miracle was an indication of a hard heart.”
-A hard heart was initially meant to be a positive thing created by God.
-“A hardened heart dulls a person’s ability to perceive and understand.”
-“ …Whatever you consider, your heart becomes softened toward. Conversely, whatever you fail to consider, your heart becomes hardened to.”

The reason this topic struck my heart today is because I find myself too often focusing on the here and now and the cares of this world rather than Eternal things. When I’m so focused on my life here on earth, I limit God’s spiritual work in my life. So I challenge us all to be more open to the opportunities God has in store for our lives if we are open to His leading. And I pray that we allow God to remove the blinders from our eyes so that we may see His glory!

As always -
Thanks for reading and God bless!
<3 Shannon

Oh and by the way, I have a lot more material and Bible verses on this topic so if anyone is interested in learning more and/or discussing this please let me know, because I’d be more than happy to do what I can to help! :)

“Unveil” by Jeff Deyo
This song is on his playlist. All you need to do is click on the song “Unveil (Album Version)” on this link. Hope you enjoy!!

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

You Instead Of Me

“Because I’m playing for keeps this time around
I’m in too deep
To think about falling down
And giving up again
I want to live each day just like
It was my last chance to prove
You’re all I have
And that is all I need

This is it, it’s what we’re waiting for!
This is it, it’s all we’re fighting for!
I finally get a chance to show the world
What You have done for me
So let this moment be
You instead of me

Tired and bruised, every broken bone
Reminds me that I’m far from home
And these scars remind me who I am
But You’re the one
the Reason that I run
And I won’t stop until You’re done
You’re the only hope I have

I’ve counted the cost and I know
Everything that really matters is
Everything worth fighting for” - “This Is It (You Instead of Me)” by Jonah33

I included these lyrics tonight because a few phrases caught my attention. The first couple lines that stuck out to me was the part on living each day just like it was his last chance to prove God was all he had. I think this is such a cool way of thinking! It inspires me to consider this when I am going through my day, especially during the most mundane activities. If we would remember that each day, each moment is our chance to prove we are living to glorify and honor God alone and that He is all we need, our lives would look dramatically different!

The chorus is another part of the song that got me thinking. “Let this moment be You instead of me.” Similarly to the other verse I pointed out, when we consciously focus on letting God shine through our lives with each and every moment, things will take a turn for the best! We no longer will be easily angered by a customer’s rude comment, no longer controlled by our road rage, and, most importantly, we will not hesitate to demonstrate unconditional love to those around us.

Last, but not least, the last couple lines reminded me of the Bible passage in Luke 14.

Luke 14:28-30 (New International Version)
28"Suppose one of you wants to build a tower. Will he not first sit down and estimate the cost to see if he has enough money to complete it? 29For if he lays the foundation and is not able to finish it, everyone who sees it will ridicule him, 30saying, 'This fellow began to build and was not able to finish.'

It is so true: That which costs nothing is not worth anything! Living for Christ may cost you your life (figuratively, and possibly literally), but when compared to the opposite (death without Christ), it is not hard to see how it is the only thing really worth fighting for.

I pray that today we will use our lives to bring praise to our Heavenly Father and allow Him to work through us to touch the lives of those around us. God loves as no one else ever can! :)


“This Is It (You Instead Of Me)” by Jonah33
NOTE: This song is a bit hard rock so feel free to check out the other song if this doesn’t interest you :)

“Counted The Cost” by Cory Asbury, IHOP

Monday, February 22, 2010

Let God Do His Job

Tonight I was reading a devotional on contentment and it gave me a revelation that I have been having an anxious heart lately. The problem arises when I don’t yield to God’s leading in my life. Although I desire to trust Him wholeheartedly with my life, sometimes I get impatient when He is teaching me patience. When the Lord is moving at, what I think is, a snail’s pace, I unconsciously decide He needs my help.

This is the biggest mistake because God does not need any help from anyone, including me! When I step in to manipulate the circumstances, my actions are saying, “God, You’re not doing what I think needs to be done, so I’ll help You out.” I have come to realize that it is our “helping God” that leads to an anxious heart.

When we take over and try to control what happens, we take our focus off the One who is in control and put our eyes on our circumstances. As a result, we become anxious and stop trusting that God will do what He says.

1 Timothy 6:15 reminds us, “God…is the blessed Controller of all things, the King over all kings and the Master of all masters.” This is such good news!! God is the One who controls our life and He is the BLESSED Controller. He wants what is best for us so we have no reason to worry! :)

“Contentment is essentially a matter of accepting from God’s hand what He sends because we know that He is good therefore it is good.”

Psalm 16:5 – “Lord, You have assigned me my portion and my cup; You have made my lot secure.”

May we find rest in knowing that God’s hands are holding our lives - And He doesn’t make mistakes :) I pray that the Lord gives us quiet hearts that are content with what He gives.

God bless!
<3 Shannon

“Blessed Assurance” by Third Day
Note: There is more after the audience cheers :)

“Take My Life (And Let It Be)” by Chris Tomlin

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Lessons from Numbers 22

Tonight I was reading Numbers and I found so much to take from the reading. Consequently, I thought it would be a great idea to use one of the lessons I learned for today’s devotional.

The passage starts off with the people of Israel (God’s chosen people) settling in the plains of Moab. Balak, son of Zippor, the Moabite king, knew that the Israelites had conquered the land of the Amorites, so he was terrified that this would also happen to his land. He then sent his men to bring Balaam, son of Beor, to help them out. Balaam was known for his curses and blessings since he obeyed God and allowed the Lord to work through him. Balak’s men bribed Balaam multiple times to come back with them and curse the Israelites. Every time Balaam told them that he would only do as the Lord told him, no matter the offer.

After the third bribe, the Lord instructed Balaam to go with them but to only do what He told him to do. So Balaam saddled his donkey and went with the Moabites. But because Balaam had the wrong intentions (we learn later in Numbers that he was only going with the Moabites for the rewards), the Lord was furious and sent the angel of the Lord to block his way. Because Balaam was blinded by his own interests for the rewards involved, he could not see the angel of the Lord. However, his donkey saw the angel of the Lord so he did all he could do turn away. As a result of the donkey’s disobedience to Balaam, Balaam struck the donkey three times.

The Lord then allowed the donkey to speak. The donkey cried out, “What have I done to you that deserves your beating me these three times?”

This question made me think of our relationship with God. So often we disrespect Him by turning away from Him and following our own paths. Our disobedience is like a “slap in the face” to the Lord. It is as though we are walking away from a loved one during a rough patch in the relationship.

I know it’s a simple lesson but I’d really like to encourage us to ask ourselves what God has done to deserve our disrespect and disobedience. When answering this, think of the other devotionals you have read on His love for us, the grace He offers, and the mercies that our new every day! And, most importantly, think of all God has done for you! I’m sure the list could go on…

May you have a wonderful day in the Lord and cherish the relationship He has offered!

Wishing you all the best,

I couldn’t find this song on YouTube so once you click on the link you just go down to #8 – Embracing the Call and press the play button to the left of #8. Let me know if that doesn’t work!

“Embracing The Call” by The Glorious Unseen
“We expect the best and nothing less from You, but will we embrace the suffering too as part of Your plan for us, O Lord?”

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Return To Me And I Will...

Isaiah 1:1-20
“The children I raised and cared for have turned against Me…No matter what I do for them, they still do not understand…They have despised the Holy One of Israel, cutting themselves off from His help. Why do you continue to invite punishment? Must you rebel forever? Your head is injured, and your heart is sick…Listen to the Lord…Listen to the law of God…’I am sick of your sacrifices,’ says the Lord…’Why do you keep parading through My courts with your sacrifices?...For your hands are covered with the blood of your innocent victims. Wash yourselves and be clean! Let me no longer see your evil deeds. Give up your wicked ways. Learn to do good. Seek justice. Help the oppressed. Defend the orphan. Fight for the rights of widows. Come on now, let us argue this out,’ says the Lord. ‘No matter how deep the stain of your sins, I can remove it. I can make you as clean as freshly fallen snow. Even if you are stained as red as crimson, I can make you as white as wool. If you will only obey Me and let Me help you, then you will have plenty to eat. But if you keep turning away and refuse to listen, you will be destroyed by your enemies.”

The above passage gives us a mere glance at God’s hatred toward sin. Tonight after researching this passage I learned that it took place in Judea. Judea was desolate and their cities burned. As a result, the people of Judea brought sacrifices and offerings in hopes of making amends with God for their disobedience. Although bringing sacrifices and offerings was encouraged in this time, the people of Judea did not have the right heart/intentions behind these actions. Sacrifices and offerings were to be made along with turning away from sin and turning toward the Lord. In this case, the Judeans were not willing to give up their sins so their sacrifices and offerings were meaningless to God.

Similarly to the Judeans’ situation, we must also avoid being “all talk” or “all for show” when it comes to living for Christ. If we are going to claim Christ in our lives, we must be willing to turn from our sinful behaviors, thoughts, etc. and follow Him. Let us do as this passage suggests by washing our blood-stained hands.

To bring a little light into this devotional… There is so much encouragement that can be found in the second part of this passage - When God points out sin in our lives, He tells us how to make things right and that He will be there the whole way to help us get back the intimate relationship we had with Him before we walked away. For a reminder, I am referring to the part that says: “’Come on now, let us argue this out,’ says the Lord. ‘No

Not only does He says we will argue this out together (“let us”), but He promises to make us as clean as freshly fallen snow and as white as wool!! :) What an incentive to live for a higher calling, right?!

Zechariah 1:3 – “Therefore tell the people: This is what the LORD Almighty says: 'Return to Me,' declares the LORD Almighty, 'and I will return to you,' says the LORD Almighty.”

I pray today that we find strength in the Lord to turn from our ways and to turn back to Him. And may we be motivated to pursue the righteousness God has in store for those who love and follow Him!


“Return To Me” by Jason Upton

Not About Me

During a youth service last year, I heard a pastor say, “The hardest thing about the Christian faith is believing and receiving what God says about you vs. what you know about yourself.” I really love this quote because I think it is so true in our lives, including mine!

Every time you TRY to please God, you’ll mess up. That statement may sound discouraging, but I do not say it to make you feel bad about yourself. I mean to say that we are His children NOT because of our behavior. We are God’s children because He loves us enough to allow us this inheritance. And most importantly, He loves us, because He loves us!! The key word here is GRACE!

Grace calls a sinner, a saint! :)

But even though our attempts to please God are destined to fail and we are covered by God’s grace, this does not mean we are not called to follow and obey Him. The road of Christ’s children is narrow but it is the way of faith. In addition, the way of faith is all about believing what Christ has done for you and in you.

The wonderful thing about grace is that it is not about what we can do, but accepting and receiving what Christ has ALREADY done for us. It is a gift – it has nothing to do with us!

Ephesians 2:4-9 – “4But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, 5made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved. 6And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, 7in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus. 8For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— 9not by works, so that no one can boast.”

You will be changed/transformed when you start believing what God thinks about you. May we believe with confidence that we are who God says we are!
Romans 5:8 – “But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”

In Christ,

“Amazing Grace (My Chains Are Gone)” by Chris Tomlin

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Approaching God

Approaching God

I was recently going through old journals/notebooks and came upon some notes from a Christian Conference I went to last year called Battle Cry. Mike Guzzardo was speaking and he talked about how we should distinguish our wants from our needs. He continued to say that when we get what we need (God), it becomes what we want.

Here are some of the other notes I think are worth sharing:
Usually your wants in life come from the unfulfilled need you have for Jesus! (“God-shaped hole” in your heart) Only He can make us whole.

We shouldn’t treat Jesus as a want, because He is a need. See Him as a need and go after Him as you would go after a NEED. You need Him just like you need air! You have to have Him, and when you realize this, everything changes! :) Ultimately, it is our choice whether we treat Jesus as a want or a need, but it does not change the fact that we still DESPERATELY need Him!

John 14:6 – “Jesus answered, "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me."

Food For Thought: The way we view Jesus determines the way we will approach Him. As a result, the way we approach Him is the way we will experience Him in our life. It makes sense, right?!

Deuteronomy 4:29 – “But if from there you seek the LORD your God, you will find him if you look for him with all your heart and with all your soul.”

Ephesians 3:12 - “In Him and through faith in Him we may approach God with freedom and confidence.”

Let us stop pursuing what we want and get what we really need – JESUS! :) May we no longer be enticed by the world’s distractions!

Soli Deo Gloria!
<3 Shannon

“Came To My Rescue” by Hillsong

“Rescue (I Need You, Jesus)” by Desperation Band

And an all-time favorite…
“The More I Seek You” by Kari Jobe

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Today Is A Gift

“This is the day that the Lord has made. Let us rejoice and be glad in it.” – Psalm 118:24

For anyone who grew up in church or attended church a few times, you may recognize this verse from a song sung in church. When I attended a Methodist church as a child, I sung this song quite a bit, however, I did not know at that time that it was also a Bible verse.

I chose this topic, because I was recently thinking of something my friend once asked me – “How was your gift?” When I asked what she meant, she explained to me how she views every day as a gift from God. Since then, I have done my best to remind myself of this so that I will not take for granted the time God has given me.

It is so amazing to know that God has graciously blessed us with the breath of life! This gives us more than reason to worship Him and give Him thanks for every day we are alive! After all, He does not owe us a thing! Even so, in God’s infinite love for us, His cup overflows with blessings!

"Yesterday is history. Tomorrow is a mystery. Today is a gift. That's why we call it 'The Present'."
-Eleanor Roosevelt

Every day is a 24-hour gift from God. It is up to us to decide if we’ll waste, spend, or invest it! :) May we use today to bring glory to the Lord and not forget the priceless value of today.

Soli Deo Gloria!
<3 Shannon

“Live For Today” by Natalie Grant

Monday, February 15, 2010

Life Hurts, God Heals

Psalm 147:3 – “He heals the brokenhearted and bandages their wounds.”

I wanted to write a devotional on finding healing in Christ, because I have recently been made aware of many people in my life who are in need of God’s healing hand. Whether you have experienced a broken heart, loss of a loved one, or feel “brokenhearted” as the psalmist describes, we all are in need of the Lord to work in our lives and bring us healing for life’s hurts.

I believe the first step in moving toward healing is to release past hurts. Mark 11:25 instructs us to forgive those we hold a grudge against. The next thing we should do is refocus our minds on the Lord so that our perspectives will change. I once read a book where a man in prison told others he would wake up every morning and encourage himself by saying, "I can either look out these bars at the dirt or I can look up to the sky." Like I have said in previous devotionals, it is all about attitude! What thoughts will we entertain?

Ephesians 3:20 – “…By [God’s] mighty power at work within us, He is able to accomplish infinitely more than we would ever dare to ask or hope.” When we gain this perspective on life, we will be strengthened in the knowledge that we are not in this battle alone. Additionally, we have Someone on our side who already won the fight! :) Lastly, we must receive the comfort the Lord provides. “[God] comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others. When others are troubled, we will be able to give them the same comfort God has given us” (2 Corinthians 1:4).

We can find joy in knowing that Jesus, who had a perfect heart, chose to have it broken for us. He experienced a broken heart in every way (through betrayal, temptation, and loss - Isaiah 53:3; Luke 22:33-34; Matthew 14:10-13). He is our Comforter, Counselor, and Companion who satisfies our heart’s desires.

Today I challenge us to thank Christ for the physical and spiritual pain that He experienced for our benefit. May we humbly approach the throne of God and receive His healing touch.

Soli Deo Gloria!
<3 Shannon

“Healing Hand of God” by Jeremy Camp

Sunday, February 14, 2010

A Misled Path

Proverbs 14:12 – “There is a way that seems right to a man, but in the end it leads to death.”

The way that “seems right” may offer many options and require few sacrifices. Easy choices, however, should make us take a second look. Is this solution attractive because it allows me to be lazy? Because it doesn’t ask me to change my lifestyle? Because there are no moral restraints? The right choice often requires hard work and self-sacrifice. Let us not be enticed by apparent shortcuts that seem right but end in death.

Proverbs 5:23 – “He will die for lack of discipline, led astray by his own great folly.”
Matthew 7:13-14 “Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.”

Something to note from this Bible passages is that some things are not as they seem. First impressions, or even initial assumptions, are not always accurate! I can relate to this in that I am constantly struggling to assume the best in every situation and in every person. This is such a struggle for me, because my initial assumptions are often negative and inaccurate.

I read some great insight in an article relating to this topic: “Let us act like Christians using the Word of God to gain insight and make right decisions! Let us look beyond appearances, as far as we can! Let us study deeper going beyond the first impressions. Let us try to find out, FOR SURE, that which is good. ‘Test all things; hold fast what is good,’ (2 Thessalonians 5:21). ‘Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits, whether they are of God ... because many false prophets have gone out into the world,’ (1 John 4:1).”

The other important idea in this Bible verse (Prov. 14:12) is that God’s wisdom is greater than man’s. Again, a quote from the article I read: “Man sees the appearance ... God can see beyond the appearances. Man has a limited knowledge of the past ... God has a perfect view of the past. Man has limited knowledge of the future ... God has what the Bible calls ‘foreknowledge!’ Man can be affected by prejudice, selfishness, ulterior motives ... God is perfectly impartial and just in all His judgments. Man can be blinded by passion and self-will ... Man can be tempted ... THESE THINGS DO NOT HAPPEN TO GOD !! NOW, WHO HAS THE BETTER VIEW OF THINGS? You see, there is A HIGHER JUDGE ... FAR ABOVE MAN !”  This is such a great reminder of God’s infinite wisdom in our lives!

The next thing we should get from this verse is that just because our intentions are honorable, does not eliminate the consequences. Last quote from article :) “You may be completely convinced that a certain thing is right; you may believe it with all your heart, sincerely having no doubt that this thing is correct ---> BUT IF THIS THING IS A MISTAKE, WITH HORRIBLE CONSEQUENCES .... YOUR SINCERITY AND CERTAINTY WILL NOT STOP THE CONSEQUENCES. Your opinion that the path is right does not make it right. Your sincerity in that erroneous opinion does not exempt you from the consequences!”

Lastly, and most importantly, a wrong decision on our part can lead to death. Think of car accidents, overdosing, alcohol poisoning, and many others. But the other death the Bible speaks of Is a spiritual death. When we live for ourselves and selfishly pursue our own interests, we are dead in our sin. However, when we follow the Lord and pursue righteousness, we are made alive in Christ!


This knowledge should cause us to live lives of purpose, while studying God’s Word so that we may know how to fully live! I challenge us today to ask ourselves what pathway we are taking - the one less traveled, yet gives life, or the one with shortcuts and leads to death.

I pray that the Lord will ignite our hearts with a flame that burns for Him and puts in us the desire to remain on His pathway for our lives. May we study God’s Word and apply the knowledge we find in His Truth.

Soli Deo Gloria!
<3 Shannon

“On the Road to Beautiful” by Charlie Hall

Hope everyone has a great week! :)

Saturday, February 13, 2010

The Peace of Christ

As many of you already know, I have been looking for a summer job lately. Since it has been quite difficult, I have become pretty stressed over this dilemma. Many of my close friends have reminded me to take it to the Lord in prayer and to trust that He is in control. Thank you to all who have provided me with encouragement and helpful job suggestions!

Colossians 3:15 – “Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace.”

It is funny, because so often I know this in my head, but find it difficult to practice when times are tough. Even so, today I realized that I haven’t been displaying the peace of Christ that comes with being a child of God as I should. I wanted to write a bit on the peace of God for anyone who, like me, has been stressing over the future or anything else, for that matter. :)

It is evident that because of our lack of peace, we suffer from anxiety, high blood pressure, sleepless nights, inability to accomplish all we should, and more. In regards to these, I get terrible anxiety, that are associated with chest pains, and I sometimes struggle concentrating on school work if I am not at peace. If it’s not obvious, I hope to remind us all how important it is (for our health and day to day activities) to trust in the Lord and find peace in His promises.

John 14:27 – “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.”
The peace of Christ is different from that of the world in that Christ’s peace gives us an intimate, harmonious relationship with our Creator. In addition, those who pursue the peace of Christ spend their efforts looking at Him alone in order to strengthen their relationship with God, which in turn would help them become more understanding, compassionate, and helpful people towards others. This is the meaning of the commandment that Christ gave: “Love one another as I have loved you.”

And to explain more on what God’s peace looks like here is another Bible verse…
Philippians 4:7 - “God's peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.”  His peace guards our hearts AND minds! :)

So my challenge for today is for us to ask ourselves if we are pursuing the peace of the world or the peace Christ offers. May the Lord place in you the desire to pursue the peace He graciously gives us.

Soli Deo Gloria! (Latin: Glory to God alone)
<3 Shannon

“Prince of Peace” by Michael W. Smith
I had to use this song ha – it reminded me of camp! :)

Friday, February 12, 2010

The Other Side

James 4:14 – “What is your life? It is even a vapor.”

This week when I was discussing my long-term goals with my roommates, I was really humbled when one of them told me that they just wanted to continue passionately loving God and living for Him for the rest of their life. She basically told me that she did not want to limit God by making plans of her own. Not to say it is wrong to have goals or plan ahead, but I realized that when we have such specific goals and are pretty set in stone with making these happen, sometimes we end up missing God’s plans for our lives.

I included a devotional below from “Our Daily Bread” that I feel relates to this well:
When someone said to my friend, “See you in a year,” it sounded odd when he replied, “Yes, see you on the other side.” He meant that he’d see him on the other side of a one-year deployment for the US Navy. But because the phrase is often used of heaven, it made me think about the uncertainty of life. I wondered, Who will be here in another year? Who might by then be on the other side—in heaven?

We certainly don’t know what the next year—or hour—will bring. In his epistle, James wrote about this uncertainty. He rebuked the greedy merchants for boasting about what they would do that day, the next day, or even the next year (4:13). Their sin wasn’t that they were making plans; it was forgetting God and arrogantly boasting about those business plans.

James reminded them: “What is your life? It is even a vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes away” (v.14). Commentator Peter Davids says that James was pointing out their foolishness and saying, in essence, “Come now, you who make plans—you don’t even understand how little control you have over life itself.”

No part of life is outside the control of God. So when we make plans, we need to remember, “If the Lord wills, we shall live and do this or that” (v.15). — Anne Cetas

Tomorrow’s plans I do not know,
I only know this minute;
But He will say, “This is the way,
By faith now walk ye in it.” —Ryberg

Write your plans in pencil and let God have the eraser.

This devotional is such a great reminder to give God the steering wheel in this road trip we call life. I pray that we will remember this as we consider our goals in life. And let us ask ourselves how open we are to God changing these plans.

May grace and peace follow you as you follow the Lord!

God bless!
<3 Shannon

“My Savior, My God” by Aaron Shust
“I am not skilled to understand
What God has willed, what God has planned
I only know at His right hand
Stands one who is my Savior”

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Hope For The Hopeless

Last night I was really encouraged and humbled by the hope my friend had through her difficult circumstances. This spurred me to write a devotional on what hope in the Lord looks like – hope that can only be found when we place our trust in the Lord.

Ezra 10:2 – “…but even now there is hope for Israel in spite of this.”
Just like my friend, the Israelites found hope in the Lord despite their circumstances. They lived with the hope that God would forgive and extend mercy on them, even when they made mistakes and turned away from Him.

Not only do we have hope that the Lord will forgive us and show us mercy, but we also can find hope in the knowledge that He will never let the storms of life overcome us. 1 Corinthians 10:13 emphasizes this point - “No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; He will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, He will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it.”

Isaiah 57:10 – “You were wearied with the length of your way, but you did not say, ‘It is hopeless’; you found a new life for your strength, and so you were not faint.”

Job 4:6 – “Is not your fear of God your confidence, and the integrity of your ways your hope?”
A question I challenge us to ask ourselves is, “Is my confidence my ‘fear of God?’ [“Fear” as in awe and reverence of God.] Or do I trust in my own knowledge?” Let us re-establish our fear in the Lord so that we may find hope in Him.

Job 11:18 – “And you will feel secure, because there is hope; you will look around and take your rest in security.”

This reminds me of the lyrics from today’s song I posted below:
“There is hope for the helpless
Rest for the weary
Love for the broken heart
There is grace and forgiveness
Mercy and healing
He'll meet you wherever you are
Cry out to Jesus, Cry out to Jesus.”

This week during my Resiliency class, my professor told us a story of a man who had this kind of hope during the Holocaust. My professor explained that it was this hope that helped him survive this traumatic experience.

I encourage us today to go back to the basics and remember the hope we have in the Lord. And may we continue trusting in Him to provide for us in times of need, as well as in times of rejoicing. :)

To God be the glory!
<3 Shannon

“Cry Out To Jesus” by Third Day

“God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth should change and though the mountains slip into the heart of the sea; though its waters roar and foam, though the mountains quake at its swelling pride. Selah. The LORD of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our stronghold. Selah.” - Psalm 46:1-3,7


Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Growing In Grace & Knowledge

2 Peter 3:18 – “Grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.”
This just means we are to continue getting to know the Lord more and more every day. Developing a knowledge of the Lord is so important, so that we can overcome the lies satan feeds us with the Truth that God’s Word provides. Having been in school for over 12 years now, I see the value in learning and educating our minds. Furthermore, if we are to grow in knowledge of academics to become successful financially, shouldn’t we pursue growing in our knowledge of God so that we may become successful spiritually?!

Colossians 1:9-10 “For this reason, since the day we heard about you, we have not stopped praying for you and asking God to fill you with the knowledge of his will through all spiritual wisdom and understanding. And we pray this in order that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and may please Him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God…”

It is good to remember that no matter how mature we are in our faith [ or think we are ;-) ] we’ll always have much room for growth. I love how we can never know it all! There is always something more to learn, or a new experience to go through! :) For instance, this week I researched a lot about what the Book of Acts means when they refer to Baptism in the Holy Spirit. I did this to gain a better appreciation for this concept and, as a result, my faith is increasing. Growing up I had always rushed through those parts that discuss it, not aware that there is so much more to be gained from this idea, so it was very insightful to study this a bit more. But that is a whole new devotional topic on its own that I may get to down the road ;-)

Romans 13:12 – “Let us put on the armor of light.”

If every day we find some way to draw closer to Christ, we will be prepared to stand for Truth in any and all circumstances. In light of this, may we devour God’s Word so that we will be grounded in our faith.

God bless!
<3 Shannon

“I Need You More” by Kim Walker, Bethel Live

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

And There Came A Lion

1 Samuel 17:34 – “And there came a lion.”

Tonight I was really inspired by a devotional I read from “Streams In The Desert” so I’d like to use today’s devotional to share it with you:

It is a source of inspiration and strength for us to remember how the youthful David trusted God. Through his faith in the Lord, he defeated a lion and a bear and later overthrew the mighty Goliath. When the lion came to destroy his flock, it came as a wonderful opportunity for David. If he had faltered and failed, he would have missed God’s opportunity for him and probably would never have been the Lord’s chosen king of Israel.

“And there came a lion.” Normally we think of a lion not as a special blessing from the Lord but only as a reason for alarm. Yet the lion was God’s opportunity in disguise. Every difficulty and every temptation that comes our way, if we receive it correctly, is God’s opportunity.

When a “lion” comes to your life, recognize it as an opportunity from the Lord, no matter how fierce it may outwardly seem. Even the tabernacle of God was covered with badger skins and goat hair. No one would think there would be any glory there, yet the Shechinah glory of God was very evident underneath the covering. May the Lord open our eyes to see Him, even in temptation, trials, dangers, and misfortunes. – C.H.P.

I really liked this devotional because it reminded me what I’m learning in my resiliency class. Rather than seeing trials as problems, let us see them as OPPORTUNITIES! Opportunities for growth! Or another way to see it, challenges that can be overcome! :)

Today I pray that our ears would be open to hearing from the Lord and our eyes would be open to seeing opportunities in disguise. And may we have faith like David!

In Christ,

“Trust” by Kristene Mueller, Jesus Culture

Is That You, God?

John 14:7 “If you really knew Me, you would know My Father as well. From now on, you do know Him and have seen Him."
John 16:13 “But when He, the Spirit of truth, comes, He will guide you into all truth. He will not speak on His own; He will speak only what He hears, and He will tell you what is yet to come.”

The sermon that I referred to in the last devotional (with Louie Giglio) raised an interesting point about “hearing God” so I wanted to include a bit in today’s devotional. He started off talking about how people often say, “I felt God told me to….(fill in the blank).” Louie was making the point that when we study God’s Word and spend time with Him (just like spending time with a friend), we begin to understand how He thinks and how He would respond in particular situations. This, in turn, leads us to sense Him calling us to do or to avoid something when we come to a crossroads.

He compared this idea to close friendships. The point he made in regards to this was that when we are so close to someone and know them pretty well, we start to know their character. As a result, when they are not around, we have an idea of what they would say or do in a given situation.

John 17:3 “Now this is eternal life: that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom You have sent.”

John 10:14,27 “14"I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know Me… 27My sheep listen to My voice; I know them, and they follow Me.”

I encourage us to dig deep into God’s WORD so that we will gain a greater appreciation of who He is and what He stands for. As a result, we will develop a faith that does not waver in the face of trials. And may our knowledge of the Lord increase so greatly that we will begin to sense His voice in a powerful way!

With love and prayers,

“Jesus Calling” by 33 Miles

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Yesterday, Today, and Forever

Hi everyone! So glad to be back home and writing you all again! :) This weekend I went to St. Louis for a campus visit at Covenant Theological Seminary. During one of my interviews, the Admissions Director, asked me how I have coped with hurts in the past. I told her that the only thing that ever gets me through the most difficult times is knowing that God is always there and He never changes. I just wanted to share this with you today, because I feel it is so easy to forget this Truth when the hard times come.

Genesis 31:3 – “…and I will be with you.”
God says this to Jacob after telling him to move to his relative’s land. Just as He was with Jacob when he was alive, God is also with us in every circumstance we face in life.

2 Timothy 2:13 – “…if we are faithless, He will remain faithful, for He cannot disown Himself.”
How great is it that even when we turn our backs on the Lord, He never moves a step away from us?! I heard a really great analogy yesterday (I think from a sermon by Louie Giglio) about a man and a woman. While they were dating, they would drive around in the guy’s truck and he would have one hand on the steering wheel and the other on the back of the girl’s seat so she could rest her head on his shoulder. Through the years, the woman in the relationship began to move further away from the man (emotionally and literally, in the truck). Even so, the man never moved from his spot. Louie compared this to how we relate to God. There are times in our faith when we will turn away from God through our disobedience, but God never moves away from us. He is always there waiting for us to come back. I can’t imagine a greater love than this! :)

James 1:17 – “Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.”  another recollection of how God remains the same

I was reminded of another great Truth last night while I was listening to Louie Giglio. He talked about how we often go to God, crying for answers (wisdom, guidance, etc.) as a last resort. After discussing this with my mom, she reminded me that I had written on this for a devotional a few weeks ago and admitted to doing this with God. As I continue to work on this - and ask for your prayers, grace, and patience with me  - I challenge this group to do this as well: Continue to go to God in the good times and bad times, during your mundane activities and exciting activities, and for big decisions as well as “trivial” decisions. (God sees no decision of ours as trivial!)

James 4:8 – “Draw near to the Lord, and He will draw near to you.”

Isaiah 40:28-31 (New King James Version)
28 Have you not known?
Have you not heard?
The everlasting God, the LORD,
The Creator of the ends of the earth,
Neither faints nor is weary.
His understanding is unsearchable.
29 He gives power to the weak,
And to those who have no might He increases strength.
30 Even the youths shall faint and be weary,
And the young men shall utterly fall,
31 But those who wait on the LORD
Shall renew their strength;
They shall mount up with wings like eagles,
They shall run and not be weary,
They shall walk and not faint.”

Hebrews 13:8 – “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.” I love this verse!! It ties into today’s song perfectly!!

Let us rejoice in the knowledge that the Lord is always here for us and that His love for us is never shaken! :)

With love and prayers,

“Yesterday, Today, and Forever” by Vicky Beeching

Other Bible references: Matthew 28:20; Numbers 23:19; Psalm 48:14

Thursday, February 4, 2010



Last night I was going through some things in my room and cleaning up a bit when I came across an interesting bookmark. It is titled, “A Guide For An Hour of Prayer.” At first glance I didn’t think too much of it but I proceeded to read it and found some neat bullet points. The bullet points were names of God in a different language, which I just found out is Hebrew. I’ve never written about the names of God in regards to the Hebrew terms so I thought today would be a perfect time to start! :)

After searching Google for the phrase, “Jehovah TSIDKENU,” I noticed Jeremiah was a common passage that popped up. After researching a bit I came to Jeremiah 23:6 – “In his days Judah shall be saved, and Israel shall dwell safely: and this is the name whereby he shall be called, THE LORD OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS."

This passage is saying that the Lord alone is our righteousness and that apart from Him, we cannot be righteous. (No amount of “good deeds” could ever get us to this place of righteousness. This is why Christ had to die on the Cross for us. He made us righteous in the Lord’s sight!) I love this idea, because it shows how loving and gracious our God really is! He knew that time and time again we would disobey Him and yet He loved us enough to make us righteous in His sight! (Check out the book of Hosea if you’re interested in learning more about this idea!) Also, Jesus, who had no sin became sin FOR US! (see 2 Corinthians 5:21)

C.H. Spurgeon has a great message that discusses this and how we wear Christ’s righteousness:

“…Christ in His life was so righteous, that we may say of the life, taken as a vehicle, that it is righteousness itself. Christ is the law incarnate Understand me. He lived out the law of God to the very full... In Scripture, Christ's righteousness is compared to fair white linen; then I am, if I wear it, without spot. It is compared to wrought gold; then I am, if I wear it, dignified and beautiful, and worthy to sit at the wedding feast of the King of kings. It is compared, in the parable of the prodigal son, to the best robe; then I wear a better robe than angels have, full they have not the best; but I, poor prodigal, once clothed in rage, companion to the nobility of the style,—I, fresh from the husks that swine do eat, am nevertheless clothed in the best robe, and am so accepted in the Beloved.”  We are His Beloved! :) (see Song of Solomon 6:3)

Spurgeon continues: “Moreover, it is also everlasting righteousness. Oh! this is, perhaps, the fairest point of it—that the robe be shall never be worn out; no thread of it shall ever give way. It shall never hang in tatters upon the sinner's back. He shall live, and even though it were a Methusaleh's life, the robe shall be as if it were woven yesterday. He shall pass through the stream of death, and the black stream shall not foul it. He shall climb the hills of heaven, and the angels shall wonder what this whiteness is which the sinner wears, and think that some new star is coming up from earth to thine in heaven. He shall wear it among principalities and powers, and find himself no whit inferior to them all. Cherubic garments and seraphic mantles shall not be so lordly so priestly, so divine, as this robe of righteousness this everlasting perfection which Christ has wrought out, and brought in and given to all his people. Glory unto thee, O Jesus, glory unto thee! Unto thee be hallels for ever; Hallelu—jah! Thou art you—"Jehovah, the Lord our righteousness." It’s truly beautiful, isn’t it?!

Today I encourage us to really think about our identity in Christ and allow this to move us to wholeheartedly pursue and follow the Lord. May this realization capture our hearts so much that we can’t help but live a life that is worthy of wearing this white, untouched robe! :)

To God be the glory!
<3 Shannon

Other Bible References: Psalms 11; 15; 32; 45; 62

“Beauty For Ashes” by Shane and Shane

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

It’s All For Him

Matthew 25:14-30 (The Parable of the Talents)
"Again, it will be like a man going on a journey, who called his servants and entrusted his property to them. 15To one he gave five talents[a] of money, to another two talents, and to another one talent, each according to his ability. Then he went on his journey. 16The man who had received the five talents went at once and put his money to work and gained five more. 17So also, the one with the two talents gained two more. 18But the man who had received the one talent went off, dug a hole in the ground and hid his master's money.
19"After a long time the master of those servants returned and settled accounts with them. 20The man who had received the five talents brought the other five. 'Master,' he said, 'you entrusted me with five talents. See, I have gained five more.'
21"His master replied, 'Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master's happiness!'
22"The man with the two talents also came. 'Master,' he said, 'you entrusted me with two talents; see, I have gained two more.'
23"His master replied, 'Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master's happiness!'
24"Then the man who had received the one talent came. 'Master,' he said, 'I knew that you are a hard man, harvesting where you have not sown and gathering where you have not scattered seed. 25So I was afraid and went out and hid your talent in the ground. See, here is what belongs to you.'
26"His master replied, 'You wicked, lazy servant! So you knew that I harvest where I have not sown and gather where I have not scattered seed? 27Well then, you should have put my money on deposit with the bankers, so that when I returned I would have received it back with interest.
28" 'Take the talent from him and give it to the one who has the ten talents. 29For everyone who has will be given more, and he will have an abundance. Whoever does not have, even what he has will be taken from him. 30And throw that worthless servant outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.'

God gives us time, gifts, and other resources (according to our abilities), and He expects us to invest them wisely until He returns. He wants us to be responsible and use well what He has given us. The issue this passage is trying to convey is not dealing with how much we have, but rather how well we use what we have.

Jesus is coming back. This means we are to use our time, talents, and treasures diligently in order to serve God completely in whatever we do. For a few people, that may mean changing professions. For most of us, however, it means doing our daily work out of love for God.

If God truly is our Master, we must obey willingly. Our time, abilities, and money aren’t ours in the first place – we are caretakers, not owners. When we ignore, squander, or abuse what we are given, we are disobeying God and we deserve our consequences.

May we always be good stewards of the gifts the Lord has blessed us with so that on the day of judgment we will find joy in hearing God say, “Well done, good and faithful servant!”

In Christ,

“I Exalt Thee” by Chris Quilala/Jesus Culture
For those who don’t like slow songs, it picks up at 4 mins :)

Other Bible reference: Luke 19:11-27 (The Parable of the Ten Minas = about 3 months’ wages)

Have a great day!!

Monday, February 1, 2010

From The Inside Out

Last Thursday my friend and I did yoga. She messaged me the next day and we both commented on how sore we were. She then suggested that I do a devotional on how we need strength not only on the outside, to keep our bodies healthy for God, but also to keep us strong on the inside. I thought it was a great idea so that’s the theme for today! :)

In regards to physical strength…
1 Corinthians 6:19-20 – “19Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; 20you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your body.”

As God’s followers, we are to exercise and eat right so that we may be healthy on the inside and outside. Furthermore, when we are physically healthy, we are able to serve Him best. Romans 12:1 says that we are to present out bodies to God as “a living sacrifice.” By remaining in good health, we present ourselves as more capable instruments to be used by Him.

In addition, by submitting our bodies to God’s Word, we demonstrate that the Christian faith is holistic (meaning that there is no part of our lives to which it does not relate). By showing that we value physical health, we stand in agreement that the Lord wants His people to devote all of their being to Him (Deuteronomy 6:5). We must remember that we are not serving ourselves, but rather our Heavenly Father.

Personally, I know I have much work to do in this area (for instance, exercising more regularly and eating a bit healthier). I’m guessing this concept was #1 on many people’s New Year’s Resolutions this year. It is easy to forget that our bodies are not our own, but the Lord’s treasures. He has given them to us as a gift.

Now I ask us… What is the best way to express gratitude for a gift?...
Make the most of the gift!

Now for inner strength…
A few devotionals ago we discussed this so I will just remind you of the main theme – We need strength beyond ourselves in order to live for the Lord, as we are called to do. We cannot do it on our own.
Psalm 37:39 – “The salvation of the righteous comes from the LORD; He is their stronghold in time of trouble.”

Psalm 18:2 – “The LORD is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer; my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge. He is my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.”
Faith in, and obedience to God, leads to physical, mental, and spiritual health.

So let us be encouraged to start getting healthier (with our mind, body, and spirit). As a result, we will be strong for the Lord – on the inside AND out! :)

God bless!
<3 Shannon
“From The Inside Out” by Hillsong United

Other Bible references for today’s message:
1 Timothy 4:7-8 – “...train yourself to be godly. For physical training is of some value, but godliness has value for all things, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come.”

Proverbs 3:5-8 – “Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight. Do not be wise in your own eyes; fear the LORD and shun evil. This will bring health to your body and nourishment to your bones.”