I am a addict.

Devotional by Paula Sanders Blackwell

Hello my name is Paula Sanders Blackwell and I’m a recovering addict.

If we are real with ourselves everyone is recovering from something. I am a food addict.

I was completely confused about how I was filling my life with bad food. Food filled my loneliness and it filled my celebrations.

I am also a recovering control freak. All these things I would often try to control but realizing I had no control over anything.

But God…

I discovered the power of prayer. I began to lay my burdens down and guess what? I left them there. I didn’t worry over them anymore. I didn’t stress over the consequences. I just decided one day to give it to God. Many times we go to God in prayer and then worry about it too. I realized I couldn’t do both that was wasting my energy.

The lesson I learned was to take it to the lord in prayer and leave it there. I put it out of my head. I quit sweating myself. My anxiety level decreased.

Today, I do not stress out over many things anymore. I do have to remind myself not to allow people, jobs, money or work to stress me. But it’s a lesson I learned the hard way.

Choose today – you’re either going to pray or stress. I vote to pray.

Lesson learned.

God’s Reminder-

John 14:27 (ESV)
Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.

 

New Start

Devotional by Paula Sanders Blackwell

I love to read. Last year, I got a offer from bookbub, to download a free ebook. There were 6 offers but the last one was the book The Circle maker by Mark Batterson. I had never heard of the book so I read the description and downloaded it.

It has taken me almost a year to get started reading it. I started it but had to focus on writing so I didn’t finish it. A few months ago, I saw a friend’s post on Facebook about her experience reading the book so I decided to finish the book.

If you have never read the book I highly recommend it. It’s changed my entire prayer ministry. I’m praying differently and I’m accessing the power of God in a completely different way.

Pastor Batterson has taught me to circle my thoughts and prayer request for others. My intercessory prayers have been remarkable. And I’ve been waiting on some more answers to my prayers for other people. But what he’s reminded me is to claim the unthinkable prayers.

I’m praying for direction this week. I invite you to read my week 1 devotional from my book again this week. See what I mean and let’s revisit the impossible things that God can do. It’s mid year what blessings have you received this year so far? Let’s keep our miracle list updated.

I’ve learned how to restructure my prayers. I’m having some Jericho moments and I’m watching God work. It’s a wonderful blessing to see him answering my prayers for others. It’s even more beautiful to see him answer my prayers. Lesson learned.

God’s Reminder-

If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you.

John 15:7

Time well spent…

Recently, My step daughter Traci called and during our conversation she mentioned a friend of their family lost their twenty something year daughter in an car accident. I was sad to hear that any parent had to bury their child. But it got me to thinking. When we lose a young person it always seems to affect me differently than an older person. Why is that? I think we see their life cut short as a disservice. We wonder why would God allow them to die at such a young age.

Over the years I have lost friends and asked God why? A few years ago, after a young man in my church suddenly died, I started asking God “Why am I still here?”. For a long time I didn’t get any answers. Then one day I was doing breakfast duty in my school. I noticed a young lady who for some reason came to school everyday with clothes way too tight. Well I finally asked her why her clothes did not fit her. She said “This is all my momma gave me”. I asked her, what size she wore, she didn’t know. At the time, I wore a 16 and she was bigger so I guessed she had to wear a 18.

We checked her jeans they were a size 12, the shirt was too small too, it was a medium. I left work and headed to Walmart to buy some clothes. I explained to the manager what I needed. He offered me a gift card. With my donated funds and the gift card, I was able to buy her some clothes, under garments and a pair of shoes. On my way back to school I heard a voice say “There is still work for you to do”.  There was my answer. The rest of the week I thanked God for answering my prayer. I still had work to do.

Just because a life is cut short does not mean their life didn’t have purpose. The days we are given are precious. I learned a young life still has purpose. They loved, they shared and they mattered. And they made an impact. Youth has nothing to do with living out our purpose. I still have work to do. And if you’re reading this today so do you. Use your time wisely. Ask God” Why am I still here?”.

 

Lesson learned.

 

God’s Reminder-

 

Do not boast about tomorrow,
For you do not know what a day may bring forth.

 

Proverbs 27:1

Give Thanks

The Bible says “Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.
I’m sure I’m not the only person who has struggled with giving thanks during difficult times. The thing is when we focus on the problem and not the solution we are essentially saying that our problem is too big for our God. And that’s simply not true.
I had to reprogram my brain to submit everything to God. It’s not just the big things it’s the little things too.
My husband and I have been praying about a problem we both realize is very delicate. My husband’s natural response is to always protect me. So he wants to battle it out with anyone he feels isn’t treating me with love. I completely understand he’s a wonderful husband who doesn’t want to see his wife hurt.
My husband is also former marine he’s use to fighting. His natural instinct is to just fight to the end. My suggestion was to do nothing about the situation because I saw no good coming from a confrontation.
So he wants to have it out and I do not. Here’s the dilemma.
So he suggested we think and pray about it a few days. I agreed to pray a few more days for some other options. Well after praying a few days about the situation he came back to me and said he agreed the only course of action was prayer.
Now of course he rolled his eyes at me a few days because he knew I was right!
It’s hard to go against your natural response. But it’s necessary…
We can’t change people; no matter how much we might want. The truth is you can’t change anybody. God is the only person who can change. So there’s no need to frustrate yourself into believing they are going to change simply because it’s the right thing to do. They may never change. And we have to accept that’s their choice. It’s a lesson we learned.
Our reminder text today is –
Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.
1 Thessalonians 5:18

Friday Thoughts

My Friday thoughts…
I have sung this song many times. But for some reason these last couple of months the song has brought on new meaning.
The truth is you don’t know my struggles or my pain. You don’t know my tears. And I don’t know your pain either.
I don’t wear perfume because I’m allergic to most of it. But I can imagine breaking open a bottle of natural oils to wash Jesus’s feet. Mary did this as a thank you to Jesus. This was her thank you note to him.
There are so many things to thank him for. My list is long. I want to thank him for sending me rest when I needed it. For drying my tears, and for restoring my soul. I want to pour on him my praise from my Alabaster box.

The room grew still
As she made her way to Jesus
She stumbles through the tears that made her blind
She felt such pain
Some spoke in anger
Heard folks whisper
There’s no place here for her kind
Still on she came
Through the shame that flushed her face
Until at last, she knelt before His feet
And though she spoke no words
Everything she said was heard
As she poured her love for the Master
From her box of alabaster
And I’ve come to pour
My praise on Him
Like oil from Mary’s alabaster box
Don’t be angry if I wash his feet with my tears
And I dry them with my hair
You weren’t there the night He found me
You did not feel what I felt
When he wrapped his love all around me and
You don’t know the cost of the oil
In my alabaster box
I can’t forget the way life used to be
I was a prisoner to the sin that had me bound
And I spent my days
Poured my life without measure
Into a little treasure box
I’d thought I’d found
Until the day when Jesus came to me
And healed my soul
With the wonder of His touch
So now I’m giving back to Him
All the praise He’s worthy of
I’ve been forgiven
And that’s why
I love Him so much
And I’ve come to pour
My praise on Him
Like oil from Mary’s alabaster box
Don’t be angry if I wash his feet with my tears
And dry them with my hair (my hair)
You weren’t there the night Jesus found me
You did not feel what I felt
When He wrapped his loving arms around me and
You don’t know the cost of the oil
Oh, you don’t know the cost of my praise
You don’t know the cost of the oil
In my alabaster box

Trust Devotional

( I woke up with this on my mind)
‘Tis so sweet to trust in Jesus,
Just to take Him at His Word
Just to rest upon His promise,
Just to know, “Thus saith the Lord!”
Jesus, Jesus, how I trust Him!
How I’ve proved Him o’er and o’er
Jesus, Jesus, precious Jesus!
Oh, for grace to trust Him more!
I’m so glad I learned to trust Him,
Precious Jesus, Savior, Friend
And I know that He is with me,
Will be with me to the end.
Oh, how sweet to trust in Jesus,
Just to trust His cleansing blood
And in simple faith to plunge me
‘Neath the healing, cleansing flood!
Yes, ’tis sweet to trust in Jesus,
Just from sin and self to cease
Just from Jesus simply taking
Life and rest, and joy and peace.

Many of us wake up each day and trust that we will have breath in our bodies. The truth is none of us have been promised a new day. We just assume it will come. I recently saw a Facebook post asking folks how far ahead they plan. I was amazed that some said a year, while others said only a few months. But honestly none of us are promised to be here tomorrow. We all lay our trust in God that he will give us more days to plan. But we don’t know if that will happen. The song says Jesus how I trust him, how I prove him, God gives us proof daily that we can trust his word. He has never disappointed nor has he forsaken us. If you wake up and read this devotional be grateful for this day. It wasn’t promised. Lesson learned.

Our reminder text is-
Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go into such and such a town and spend a year there and trade and make a profit”— yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes. Instead you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we will live and do this or that.” As it is, you boast in your arrogance. All such boasting is evil. So whoever knows the right thing to do and fails to do it, for him it is sin.
James 4:13-17