Tuesday, January 31, 2012

The Most Popular Verses of 2011

A Devotional by Margot Cioccio

I saw this today and thought it was interesting. Bible Gateway is the on-line Bible that I use most of the time in preparing these devotionals. I can search things in various versions, and they have related resources that I often use when I am studying. It seems they keep track of the verses that people look for and at the end of each year tally them up. So here are the most popular verses for 2011 they say these are pretty much the same top 5 most years but the order varies.

Jeremiah 29:11

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” (NIV)

2. John 3:16

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. (KJV)

3. Philippians 4:13

I can do all things through him who strengthens me. (ESV)

4. Proverbs 3:5-6

Trust in the LORD with all your heart;
don’t rely on your own intelligence.
Know him in all your paths,
and he will keep your ways straight. (CEB)

5. Romans 8:28

We know that all things work together for the good of those who love God: those who are called according to His purpose. (HCSB)

Most of these are very familiar verses you may even have them on a magnet or wall decoration or bumpersticker. I have to wonder why these are the most popular verses of our time? It would seem that people are looking for hope and encouragement. We want to know that God is in control as the world we live in seems to be a crazy, frightening place.  I suppose John 3:16 makes the list because of all the signs at football games. I can imagine people google searching "what is John 3:16" and following the path to Bible Gateway. I just did that search to see what comes up. You get a wikapedia explanation,  http;//bible.cc which I also use because it pulls all the parellel versions at the same time. Then the third on the list is Bible Gateway. After that there is stuff about Tebow who has printed the verse under his eyes. It appears from my photo search that he uses other verses. You gotta wonder how may people have gone searching to see what those verses are.  I'm not much of a football fan, its on in the room during our feeding of the homeless each week. I've heard folks talking about this Tebow guy. I must admit, its a pretty cool use of his public platform - so way to go Tebow.

The other verses are ones that I would pull if I was troubled, or feeling confused, or needed to be reminded that God is working all the crazy stuff in our lives and in the world we live in. I have to wonder do people click the button to read them in contest? Jeremiah 29:11 was written to the exiles from Jerusalem who were in Babylon. The stories of Daniel and his buddies are from this time period. It seems there were false prophets rising up to try and tell the people that they would be back home soon. God clearly is telling them through the prophet Jeremiah in verse 10 that they will be in Babylon for the next 70 years. Pretty much he is telling them you need to make the best of this. In verses 4-8. He is pretty clear that they need to settle and make a life there. They are to pray for the peace of the city where they are exiled "because if it prospers, you too will prosper. So how does this verse apply to us.  Perhaps read in context the message of this verse is more one of except where God has you and make the best of it. Yes his plans for you are good but this hardship that you are in isn't going away anytime soon. In the case of these people it would be their children and grandchildren who would go back in 70 years.  If you were in your 40's and you add 70 years you are going to die in Babylon.
Its hard news to accept but it is better than living with your bags packed thinking any day the tide is going to turn and you will be back to life as it is supposed to be.  There are many examples of the downward path to God's Jeremiah 29:11 type promises. You may be wondering why things are so hard. How can Jeremiah 29:11 be true in light of your present circumstances. So you stand on that verse thinking that if you just have enough faith that everything will change. There is a danger of taking verses out of context. You can make them say what ever you want to hear just like the prophets of that time were telling the folks that everything was going to be ok. Most often there is a long journey to growing Godly character that we must walk through that really only happens as we learn to walk with Jesus through the difficulties and the trials of life.

It is easy to think you just need to slap a popular refrigerator verse on every problem. We want to put a bandaid on things that need major surgery.  Take the Romans 8 popular verse in context. If you go back to verse 18 you get Paul saying that he considers his present sufferings not worth comparing to the glory that is going to be revealed to us. So Paul and the rest of the disciples their lives were not a gory filled walk in the park. They suffered beatings, and ship wrecks, trial, hardships and persecutions. In just about every case they died some horrible death but never denied their faith in Christ. What about you are you along for the bless me Jesus ride or will you endure hardship in His name. So some things to keep in mind about this particular verse. It is written to believers and there is a kind of condition with it. "those who are called according to His purpose" So if you are living life on your own terms this verse may not be doing you much good. The idea is that we get in line with God's plans for our life. Not we stand and stop our feet and quote verses because our way is not working out and we are demanding that God make it all better.  Its time to grow up and get out of diapers, don't just take a verse out of context there is rich stuff to be found if you take the time to search it out.
Even John 3:16 with out the following message of John 3:17-18 you miss a big part of the message. You are already dying in sin. God is not condeming the lost. We are all already dying from the poison of sin. We will die unless we get the needed antidote provided by Jesus. There is nothing we can do on our own that will fix that deadly sin problem. You will not ever get good enough to approach a Holy God on your own.  Jesus is the antidote sent by a loving God to a sick and dying people.

I'll leave you to search out the deeper meaning of the other verses on your own.

Dear Lord,
I pray you make your people hungry for your word. I pray that we would go beyond pat answers and refrigerator verses and beging to really study your word. To find in it the treasures of wisdom and even more so to begin to know your heart. It is the author of the book that we need to come to know. Reveal yourself to us as we read and study your word. Help us to want more than bandaids but that we would desire to know you and to be known by you. Your plans are good but the road to growing character is often long, and at times painful. Thank you that you would be with us in that journey if we would invite you along.

Monday, January 30, 2012

The Anchor of My Soul

A Devotional by Margot Cioccio

Hebrews 6:19 -20  

"This hope we have 
as an anchor of the soul, 
both sure and steadfast, 
and which enters 
the Presence behind the veil,
20 where the forerunner 
has entered for us,  
even Jesus, having become 
High Priest forever 
according to the order 
of Melchizedek."

There are mornings when I struggle to find my voice. I feel like a boat a drift and and my mind wanders trying to find the rope that is attached to the anchor of my soul. This morning I was reading from Galatians the Lord seems to lead me there often to remind me that the focus of my life is not based upon doing good things or bad things but simply in believing in Jesus. It is His righteousness not my own that allows me to enter the presence of the Father.  Then I spent some time reading a chapter from The Sacred Romance by John Eldredge. I am reminded by him how lesser stories and lesser lovers all vie for my time and attention. He talks of how when we are not busy doing that we struggle to rest. " I have made my home in you, ____. But you still have other comforters you go to. You must learn to make your home in me."   He goes on to write " It also dawned on me that holiness, surprisingly, also comes not out of doing but out of staying at home, with who and where we are and with who and where God is in us. Indeed, we will only have the courage to leave home and continue to live as pilgrims out on the road if we have some sense that our true home abides within us in the Spirit of Christ and that we can do the same with him. And in the meantime, out of this abiding, Jesus transforms us. Our identity begins to coalesce, not out of doing, but out of living with a good friend for a number of years and simply finding we have become more like him. " (page 166-7)

I am glad God gives me these things to remind me that while I may feel like I am drifting, there is an anchor tied to Him. So in the midst of my morning I have found my voice. The enemy of my soul would like to tell me I have nothing of value to write or say and perhaps he says similar things to you. I suppose on one level it is true because apart from Jesus there is really not much to tell.  Yet of Jesus, I will not be silent. His relationship with me and with you is one of epoch proportions. It is a grand story of a King who would leave his home and journey to find those who had lost their way and were trapped, and chained and tortured by evil masters. Yet He comes and He reaches out to us and says "will you believe, will you take my hand and walk with me. Will you let me transform you, and give your life purpose and meaning and be defined by who you are in me?"  That is a story that I love to tell.  

So I have grouped around in the early morning darkness and found the rope or the chain that is attached to the anchor that reaches beyond this earth to my home in Jesus. It is there that I find rest, it is there that doing stops and simply being and abiding begins.  

Dear Lord, 
Help us to know that the anchor of our soul is secure in you. That when the voices and the clamor of this life try to tell us that we are lost, out of control, drifting or valueless. That we will know that even when you were asleep in the boat with the disciples and the wind and the waves threatened and caused them to become fearful. You were in the boat and you spoke and calmed the storm.  So Lord in your name, and by your authority I speak to those storms and tell them to be still. I speak to myself and I say Be still, know that God is with you, that he is for you, that he will not abandon you. That he loves you and delights to be with you. I pray that His epoch story of love would rise up in you and that the mental and emotional fog would lift and you would be able to feel the sunshine of His love and presence as you walk through this day.   

Friday, January 27, 2012

The Old Violin

A Devotional by Margot Cioccio

Romans 9:21 
Does not the potter have power 
over the clay, 
from the same lump 
to make one vessel for honor 
and another for dishonor?

When I was a older child I remember loving a book of poems that my mother had compiled when she was a older child. In it she had many wonderful poems and she had taken the time to illustrate many of them. I remember loving reading the poems in the book and made my own stabs at making my own book of favorite poems. I found one of them while going through things in storage - I am always surprised when things from the past surface. I know of friends who have lived in the same place in the same house most of their life. I think my family has gypsy blood in it somewhere because for my entire life we moved every 2 years once in a while 3 years. As a result there are not a lot of things that remain from my childhood, so I am surprised when things do surface. In moving I have lost a lot of things, and lost track of people so I am blessed and surprised when they some how surface.

 In that book was a poem called the Old Violin or The Touch of the Master's Hand - by Myra Brooks Welch

'Twas battered and scarred,
And the auctioneer thought it
hardly worth his while
To waste his time on the old violin,
but he held it up with a smile.
"What am I bid, good people", he cried,
"Who starts the bidding for me?"
"One dollar, one dollar, Do I hear two?"
"Two dollars, who makes it three?"
"Three dollars once, three dollars twice, going for three,"
But, No,
From the room far back a gray bearded man
Came forward and picked up the bow,
Then wiping the dust from the old violin
And tightening up the strings,
He played a melody, pure and sweet
As sweet as the angel sings.
The music ceased and the auctioneer
With a voice that was quiet and low,
Said "What now am I bid for this old violin?"
As he held it aloft with its' bow.
"One thousand, one thousand, Do I hear two?"
"Two thousand, Who makes it three?"
"Three thousand once, three thousand twice,
Going and gone", said he.
The audience cheered,
But some of them cried,
"We just don't understand."
"What changed its' worth?"
Swift came the reply.
"The Touch of the Masters Hand."
"And many a man with life out of tune
All battered and bruised with hardship
Is auctioned cheap to a thoughtless crowd
Much like that old violin
A mess of pottage, a glass of wine,
A game and he travels on.
He is going once, he is going twice,
He is going and almost gone.
But the Master comes,
And the foolish crowd never can quite understand,
The worth of a soul and the change that is wrought
By the Touch of the Masters' Hand.

So I'm sure you are wondering what has sent me off in this direction today. Part of it was someone asking me yesterday the difference between a violin and a fiddle. Not much anymore - it is more the difference in the musical style played than differences in the instrument. I am tired this morning and I am struggling to keep my thoughts on a cohesive path. I was thinking about the value of things this morning as I sat on my couch trying to stay awake and trying to pray. Its not been one of my better mornings and my thoughts have mostly wandered. I sat there trying to focus my attention on the Lord, and not doing a very good job of it, while getting distracted by things like the trash did not get taken out for pick up, and I better got do that, which meant finding my shoes and coat. Then I remembered that we are out of coffee and that required a trip down to the store, which required getting dressed and brushing my unruly morning hair. Anyway so I am back from all my distractions and I am again sitting on the couch, a bit more awake at this point. I think this idea has needed some time to percolate and develop before I could sit here and write it. I remind myself that God loves me just as much on this kind of morning as he does on morning when I am more focused and together. I think he is simply glad that I have come to spend time with Him. So I rest in that knowledge.

So my idea was that when I am cutting glass for my mosaic projects it is not the glass that used that changes the price of the finished piece it is often the types of cuts that I use. The back ground rectangle shape I can cut very fast and I don't loose any glass in the process of making that shape. I can cut those on a diagonal and get triangular shapes also very quick to cut and no glass is lost. The tear drops and circles take much more skill, time and glass is lost in creating those shapes. The other thing that is a factor is how small I must work to be able to get the desired details, and how many times I will have to re work an area to get it right. Like the eyes and faces on the Beloved project took a number of tries to get it right. The most dangerous time in this kind of work is not cutting the glass but having to remove glass that has been glued in to place. That is when generally end up cutting myself. It takes both simple and complex shapes to create the finished project.

I read the following quote in one of the Bible Gateway commentaries.

"God has created each of us for a purpose--but our purposes are unique, and some are more outwardly glamorous than others. But in God's eyes, the most important question is not how impressive your purpose is, but whether or not you are allowing God to use you for the purpose He intends for you." 
So to tie all this together from violins to glass cutting to how it relates to the spiritual insight that I hope to convey.  In the case of the old violin, it did not look like much and the crowd could not see its value until the master picked it up and played it. The violin was created to make music but needed to be in the hands of a master for it's purpose to be fulfilled. The same is true of us we may not realize our value or purpose until in the masters hands he some how plays upon our life. 
I was thinking also of diamonds, there are industrial diamonds that are not very pretty but they are very strong and used in industry for drilling and cutting. Then there are the beautiful cut diamonds. The skill of the person cutting them plays a big part in their value and beauty. 
So all this to say that you may feel like God is cutting and pruning your life over and over and that you have been going through much hardship and pressure. Perhaps God is preparing you for some special use and he must cut away the excess to reveil his desired shape in your life. You may feel like that old violin and you may even agree with the estimation of the crowd that you are not of much value. Perhaps it is time to ask the Lord to take you in His hands and to play upon your life.

Thursday, January 26, 2012


A Devotional by Margot Cioccio

How big is your giant hinderance?
Hebrews 12:1

Therefore, since we are surrounded by 
such a great cloud of witnesses, 
let us throw off everything that  hinders 
and the sin that so easily entangles, 
and let us run with perseverance 
the race marked out for us.

There are some things that hinder us from making progress spiritually.
Here are a few bible examples for you to consider.

First there is Lots wife. The place where they live has become so wicked that God has decided its time to wipe them off the map. Abraham pleads with God that if he can find 10 righteous to spare it and with hold the judgement due. God finds only four. Lot and his wife and two daughters. From my reading they are not exactly spiritual giants there story is a bit dicy in places and Lot seems to me to be a pretty carnal minded guy. At one point the whole land is before him and he must choose which way he will go because he and Abraham must part ways. He chooses the most lush and easy lands and heads off to the good life.  I suppose the easy and hard path is another post. For today in this story, Lot and his family are rushed out of town by some angels and told don't look back. Lot's wife is lured by the old life and looks back and does not escape and becomes a pillar of salt. Worldly captivation prevents her escape.  (Ge 19::26) Is there some part of the old life that still tempts and lures you away from the things of God?

Another hinderance is that of David in 1 Samuel 17:39  David is about to face the giant and he goes to the king with his crazy faith. Saul said to David, “Go, and the LORD be with you.”
 38 Then Saul dressed David in his own tunic. He put a coat of armor on him and a bronze helmet on his head. 39 David fastened on his sword over the tunic and tried walking around, because he was not used to them. “I cannot go in these,” he said to Saul, “because I am not used to them.” So he took them off. Ok so he is only briefly hindered here - but there is a lesson to be learned. We are hindered when we attempt to use the things that God has given to another to equip them rather than use what he has given us. Was it the stone that killed the giant or David's faith that God was able? Is God bigger than the giant you are facing?

People who are discouraged can oppose us as they did in the building of the wall of Jerusalem in Nehemiah 4. 10 Meanwhile, the people in Judah said, “The strength of the laborers is giving out, and there is so much rubble that we cannot rebuild the wall.” 11 Also our enemies said, “Before they know it or see us, we will be right there among them and will kill them and put an end to the work.”
 12 Then the Jews who lived near them came and told us ten times over, “Wherever you turn, they will attack us.” 13 Therefore I stationed some of the people behind the lowest points of the wall at the exposed places, posting them by families, with their swords, spears and bows. 14 After I looked things over, I stood up and said to the nobles, the officials and the rest of the people, “Don’t be afraid of them. Remember the Lord, who is great and awesome, and fight for your brothers, your sons and your daughters, your wives and your homes.” When we are discouraged we don't get much done. Nehemiah takes some precautions by posting people in key places and giving them the tools they needed to stand their ground. He speaks to them and reminds them to remember the Lord. If you are fighting discouragement today remember the things God has done before and pray and ask Him to cause courage and faith to rise up in you. Put on the garments of praise for the spirit of heaviness.

In Matthew 13 even Jesus was hindered by the unbelief of the towns folks in his home town of Nazareth. They just could not get past seeing him as Joseph and Marys son.  Some times we have to go beyond the familiar to find people who can see the calling of God on our life. I know when we used to travel and do concerts we were no big deal in our home town but go about 50 miles away and you suddenly became a big deal. Great people of faith that had come to bring the message of God. 

In the story of the rich young ruler it is his possessions that keep him from following Jesus. In our day and age it might be that fancy tv or your computer or all the stuff you've bought on credit and now have to work extra hours to pay off leaving you little or no time for God and kingdom work.

Sometimes our worry and the problems we imagine hinder us. In Mark 16:3-4 Mary and the girls want to go and put spices and anoint the body of Jesus and they worry along the way about how they will move the big stone at the entrance.  Sometimes God has already take care of the problem and we have spent energy worrying that was unnecessary.

Well that should be enough for you to chomp on today. Our verse reminds us to throw those weights and hinderances and the sin that so easily entangles off. Are there thing that are hinderances that you need to deal with? Ask God to help you see them and to help you find the courage to deal with those things. So you can move on in your walk and growth in Him.

Dear Lord,
Help us to see the things that stand between us and more fully following you in your plans and purposes. Help us to examine our lives and deal with the sins that easily entangle us. Help us not go back to the old dead ways and habits but continue to walk in greater freedom in you.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

A Clash of The Teen Culture

Guest Writer Tonia Bryceson

 Guest Writers Rob and Tonia Bryceson 

Tonia is my wonderful friend who pretty much plans and makes sure our homeless feed meals go off each week with out any problems. She plans the meals, buys the food, schedules the workers. I keep telling her she needs to write a book about feeding the multitudes. 

 Pastor Rob Bryceson


Rob Bryceson the pastor of our church wrote the article that follows and I wanted to share it with all of you. 

I am blessed by the spiritual leadership and friendship of both Rob and Tonia. It is a pleasure to serve along side them as we endeavor to reach our corner of the city with the love of Jesus.


A Clash of the Teen Culture

  On Sunday January 22nd, a group of high school students associated with Mt. Spokane High School’s Young Life program came down to our church to help cook and serve a meal to the homeless.
These students were fantastic workers and were totally taken back by how kind and thankful the homeless population turned out to be. Salvation Army had recently dropped off a bunch of blankets for us to distribute so we put one brave young man to work walking through the crowd and asking who needed a blanket. He beamed as he felt the pleasure of God distributing the needed goods. Afterward he said that he felt both elated and troubled. “It was great to be able to help and I could tell they really appreciated it, but it also felt so small. Like a single blanket wasn’t much compared with all the need they really had”. We agreed, but many times that’s where it starts; the food and the blanket build trust, the trust builds confidence, which leads to an invitation to deeper talk, and many times that deeper talk leads us to Jesus.
The Young Life leaders were all former or current students at Whitworth University, dedicating their lives to making a difference in the youth culture around them. Usually they gathered to build relationships, have some recreation, study the Bible, or talk about Christian ethics. This particular day they chose to add a service project for the poor to their schedule. They found us through a connection with Young Life from Ione, who have been coming down for month’s now.
The students and their leaders came out after serving the food and sat among the homeless, talking and sharing stories and learning what they could of life for those on the edges of society.
The most touching moment came when two young runaway girls who are
fellow students from a different high school, came through the line to get a meal. The two runaways had come to our meal last week for the first time and felt bold enough to attend church earlier that morning. They had been kicked out of the last church they tried to visit when the wandered over to the lost and found table and rummaged through the apparel left there. It was a huge step for them to try church again. One of them informed us that they wanted to keep coming to church. “I went to your prayer loft area during the service and asked God to come into me and take over” she said, “And you know what? I really felt him! It was like he was right there with me and I could feel his warmth and love. I’ve never felt that ever before in my life”, she beamed.
We couldn’t help but notice the contrast of youth culture. On one side of the counter stood high school students deeply loved by their families, living in secure homes, planning on going to college, active in after school activities, offering their service to others out of their affluence and privilege. On the other side, two high school runaways, neglected and abused by their families, fighting to stay in school, living in poverty and hunger, comforting their own pain with drugs or alcohol, gratefully accepted the meal and scurried off into the gym to eat.  Both saying later – “I felt God here today”!

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Lead Me

A Devotional by Margot Cioccio

Can you see what is around that corner?
Psalm 143:10 
Teach me to do your will, 
for you are my God; 
may your good Spirit 
lead me on level ground.

 How does God teach us? I have come to see it to be a on going process. Sometimes I am not even aware of what God is teaching me until at some future point I look back. He has taught me his faithfulness through many trials and I have learned to trust him as he has, time after time, made a graceful way through a difficult situation. I have learned of his kindness through his people who desire to know and follow him whole heartedly. I have learned character, his purpose, his desires as I have spent time in His word, and in prayer. I have learned to be led by the Holy Spirit to respond to that nudge that say don't go that way, or speak this over the person you are praying for.  I have learned to stand on the word, to stand my ground, to stand against the enemy's of unbelief, doubt, fear by looking to the Lord and allowing him to dress me in spiritual armor. He has set up situations and circumstances to allow me to practice and to use the gifts that he has given me. I have learned of his compassion and forgiveness when I have been hurt, or made some poor choices. I have learned patience by not getting what I want the instant that I want it but by having to stand, hope, trust and know that God will provide in His time.

I think of the people who train for more extreme sports. They practice and practice to learn a new trick or a new routine. I watch my son Cai who loves to learn new skills. He will spend hours and days doing the same thing over and over until he can do that particular skill and it appears effortless. It looks to those who out of context see him do that trick as if he is just gifted. They don't see the hours that have been spent to master that skill.  You may have heard about the 10000 Rule "This is the idea that it takes approximately 10000 hours of deliberate practice to master a skill. For instance, it would take 10 years of practicing 3 hours a day to become a master in your subject. It would take approximately 5 years of full-time employment to become proficient in your field. Simply work out how many hours you have already achieved and calculate how far you need to go. You should be aiming for 10000 hours."

Well I'm not one to actually count hours but I can see that the things that I have become proficient or even appear gifted in are all things that I have spent time working on. I remember when I was in high school that in my art classes there were people who were better than me at various skills but their self doubt would get in the way and many gave up. I knew that I might not be the best at a particular skill but I had learned how to work hard, I have learned how to ride a wave of inspiration when you find one. I've learned how to not give up when things are hard.

I can apply all of those things to walking with the Lord and being led by the Spirit. The more time and practice I apply to the gifts he has given me, to his word, to prayer, to our relationship the stronger and more proficient those things become.

So I guess my question to you is how are you spending your time. Are you practicing the things you want to become good at. If you want to know the Word, then you must be found reading, and studying, it, putting it to practice every day.  I look around and it is easy to get swept up in the mind numbing activities of our culture. I'm not sure that spending 10000 hours watching tv or playing computer games are doing much to hone any skills that will really pay off. On the contrary you watch enough sit coms you will begin to believe that all of life's problems should be able to be resolved in a half hour and you will feel frustrated when you find your own take longer to solve. Not to mention what are the messages that you are taking in - do they really line up with the truth of the word? How will you feel about standing before God, when he asks you what did you do with the time, talents and treasures I gave you. Will you find yourself scratching your head and realizing that maybe you spent to much time planting virtual crops playing farm town when you might have spent that time in some better way developing lasting fruit in your life.

Being led by the Lord starts with wanting His will, His way and trusting that if we seek Him, the word says we will find Him. The more we spend time in the word the more we begin to know what is important to God and the more we begin to see His character and are able to develop in the ways of the kingdom. It is easer to pray in agreement with the Word when we have spent the time to find out what the word says on a particular subject.

Please don't think that I am saying there is no place for entertainment in the life of a believer. What I am saying is don't get caught up by things that numb and dull you to the point that you no longer care. There is time enough in each day to accomplish those things that are your priorities you may have to take a look and see how you are really spending your time so that you can go back and make adjustments that better reflect your goals and desires.

One last thing perhaps if you look at the struggle you are currently facing from the perspective of "What is God training or perfecting in me though this experience" it will help you to meet it more as a challenge to over come through which you will gain some necessary skill or understanding. Turn it around and thank God for that thing it was facing a lion and a bear that caused David to be able to have the confidence in God to be able to face Golliath the giant. It was facing that giant that got him noticed by the king. It was the battles that he fought that helped convince the people of the land of his leadership skills. But the journey from shepherd boy to great king was long. It was long for Joseph from favored son to slave, to prisoner to 2nd in command of the supper power of his day. You may not yet be able to see why God has lead you along the path you have traveled. Don't give up - perhaps it is time to go around that blind corner or turn the page to the next chapter of God amazing work in your life. 

Dear Lord, Thank you that you order our steps and your Word illuminates our path. Help us to make time to know you, help us to want to see things from your perspective. Help us to want your will and your ways. Help us put aside things that suck up time and distract or numb us from wanting the things of your kingdom. Go before us today, lead us by your Holy Spirit. Show us the way through, when the road seems dark, and the path uncertain or even appears impossible. You are the God who leads your people - help us to be your people who listen for your instruction and obey and follow you willingly.


Monday, January 23, 2012


A Devotional by Margot Ciocco

An amazing team of young people that helped with the Feed.
Psalm 71:3
Be my strong refuge,
         To which I may resort continually;
         You have given the 
commandment to save me,
         For You are my rock and my fortress. 

What I want to look at today is the part of the verse that say "to which I may resort continually".  Psalm 71 is accredited to David although there are some who say it might have been the prophet Jeremiah. In most cases it is considered to have been written by someone who was not up in years. Check out verse 9 Do not cast me off in the time of old age; Do not forsake me when my strength fails. If you are young you still feel pretty invincible and the idea of your strength failing is really not a part of your thoughts. As one gets older and your physical body begins to decline you have to find ways to do things that were in your youth not even an issues. At 50 I don't really think of myself as old but I can look back at my younger years and see how my own body is not what it once was. I get very tired of needing reader glasses just to see the words in my large print bible. One of the things that has grown stronger as I have walked with the Lord and grown older are the habits that I have developed though years of practicing. Things like practicing to look to God rather that to get turned inside out with worry. To choose to be thankful over being bitter, and ungrateful. To choose to be in the word and to know the many stories and verses that apply to various situations are things that have paid off and continue to pay off in my life.  I am able to look back at the mighty acts of God in my own life. The many many time when the situation appeared hopeless and yet God in some amazing way came through. I have practiced standing in faith, and prayer I have gone through my share of trials and known the presence and care of God in those seasons. At age 21 when I became a believer I did not have the benefit of being raised in a christian home. I did not know any of the stories that we teach to children in Sunday school. I am ever thankful for the handful of believing friends that came along side me and answer my questions and helped model for me the walk of a believer. God put in me a hunger for His word and the importance of fellowship with other believers, and I have grown to value prayer and need to be found at the feet of Jesus.  I look for opportunities to pay that gift forward to others who are young in the Lord.

Actually when I first came to notice Psalm 71 it was because there was a word in it that I did not know. In verse 7 I did not know the meaning of the word "portent"

Psalm 71:7 NIV I have become like a portent to many, but you are my strong refuge.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Easily Distracted

A Devotional by Margot Cioccio
Take Forgiveness!
Luke 10:40 

But Martha was distracted with much serving, 
and she approached Him and said, “Lord, do 
You not care that my sister has left me to serve 
alone? Therefore tell her to help me.”

Its interesting the things that distract us from sitting at the Lords feet and hearing what he has to say. For Martha it was serving and being the perfect hostess. She was doing good things and even following the cultural and even a biblical mandate to be hospitable.

So this morning I have gotten a wee bit distracted from my quiet time. First by face book - I was just going to check in for a second but then got a private message from a friend in India and another from a friend in Ohio. Both great folks to talk with and maybe it was the Holy Spirit that sent me over there so I could some how bless and encourage them. More than likely it was just me being distracted. Whatever the case it is fortunate that we have a snow day today and I can roll my quiet time forward a bit.  I may even be a bit distracted by needing to get this post written. So I think I will pause on this and go sit at the Lord's feet for a bit and then come back and finish up -
You would not even notice if I didn't tell you. Oh and if you are thinking I am some super christian that has it all together - think again. I am easily distracted.

So I am thinking about my tendency towards being a bit driven. I always feel there is a lot that I should be accomplishing for the Lord. To some how be leaving a legacy for others to follow. I think there is a fine line between being led by the Spirit to do those things and being driven to keep busy because I want to avoid dealing with the broken places. Sometimes, not always, being busy is my escape from having to face things that I know Jesus wants to deal with. He is very patient with me.

So this morning He sent me to read Matthew Henry's devotional in a book called Grant Me Wisdom. The January 20th passage looks at Galatians 3:2-3  This only I want to learn from you: Did you receive the Spirit by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith? 3 Are you so foolish? Having begun in the Spirit, are you now being made perfect by the flesh?

There were, back in that day a bunch of folks that were trying to be super Christians by adding to their faith works of the law. If they could become religious enough - pray enough, do enough good deeds or works, study enough, serve enough they would some how rank themselves higher in God's eyes and in his favor. Sadly the more they leaned towards legalism and works the farther they moved from the truth of the gospel. It is an easy trap to fall into. 

Micah 6:8 simplifies things even for those still in his time living under the law a few hundred years  before God sent Jesus. "He has shown you, O man, what is good; And what does the LORD require of you But to do justly, To love mercy, And to walk humbly with your God?"

So here is my point the Lord may be calling you to do and accomplish various things. He may be training you in spiritual disciplines, to spend more time in prayer, to fast, to study the word. Those are all good things to add to your life. My caution is to be careful that you think by becoming a "super Christian" that you will better justify yourself before the Lord.  Keep in mind that our righteousness is like filthy rags before a Holy God. It is easy for those of us who struggle with being performance oriented to slip into Spiritual workism.  I have to really watch this myself.
 I can go a long way on my own strength and will and then realize all this stuff I am doing and have spinning is my own busyness. I know the Lord shakes his head at me and says  like he did to Martha "Margot Margot, you are worried and troubled about many things. 42 But one thing is needed, and Mary has chosen that good part, which will not be taken away from her.”    

Ok so what was the one thing that Mary managed to get right? To find out we need to go back a bit in the story.  39 And she had a sister called Mary, who also sat at Jesus’feet and heard His word.
Ahh come on - I can hear you saying it - it can't be that simple.
She was found to be sitting with the lover of her soul. Listening to his every word as if it was amazing and transforming. Everything came to a halt when Jesus arrived that day at her home. Nothing mattered except being with him.

The Lord says to the church at Ephesus in Revelation 2:3-5
3 and you have persevered and have patience, and have labored for My name’s sake and have not become weary. 4 Nevertheless I have this against you, that you have left your first love. 5 Remember therefore from where you have fallen; repent and do the first works, or else I will come to you quickly and remove your lampstand from its place—unless you repent.

Yikes they are doing all kinds of good things and they have not given up when things became hard but oops their motivation got messed up and they lost their first love.  They were not doing and living out of a thankfulness and love for the Lord. Ouch and Jesus calls them on it and says they need to repent.

What about you - have you lost sight of your first love. What is motivating and moving you currently is it a drive to be good enough, to be a super good Christian, to become spiritual enough to be acceptable enough in your own eyes to stand before a Holy God.   Dude.... you are heading the wrong way. Time to make that u-turn back to the feet of Jesus.

Jesus asks for us to believe in Him. He sends us the Holy Spirit to lead us and guide us. He does prepare wonderful things for us to do and invites him to join Him in serving and reaching out to others with His love. He does not want us to ever loose our love relationship with Him.

Has yours faded a bit, have you become busy and distracted?
Lord help us to see where our motivations are off and help us to get back to the center of that love relationship with you. That relationship that is not based upon our merit or goodness. When everything in us cries out that we are not good enough, clean enough, holy enough, Christian enough, faithful enough, committed enough, strong enough, together enough .....
Remember that Jesus is more than enough and He loves you and wants to be part of everything that you are part of. He wants your heart, your mind, your body, the whole you, the good, the bad, and even the grey areas. He accepts you, and loves you. He loves me and helps reel me in when I get too busy and loose sight of what is really important. He needs to be the main thing. "Keep the main thing, the main thing" a wise leader named DL Browning used to say as he would hold up one finger and point towards heaven. Is Jesus your main thing? Maybe there are some things that are sitting on the throne of your life that are crowding Jesus from His rightful place of Lord, King, First Love in your life.

Lord help us to examine our lives and our motivations and to make sure we are not over complicating being in love with you. Help us see where we are adding "works" to try and shore up our feelings of un worthiness, or feelings of not ___ enough. Help us to find our center in you. Allow your love to so saturate us that in whatever your Spirit leads us to do today it would be part of that great dance of love between the Father, The Son, and the Holy Spirit. Thank you Lord that you invite us to be part of all that you are. Heal us and set us free in you to enjoy your presence and to walk in it step by step as you move us along in your plans and purposes.

I leave you with a song that ministers to me. I found someone on youtube doing a nice job of it. If you are reading by e-mail - click the blue title to enjoy the video of this song. It kind of recaps the heart of what I am saying today - simply accept what Jesus has already done for you. Stop striving and relax in His presence and allow him to simply love you.

  Take Forgiveness.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Snow - And God's Protection

A Devotional by Margot Cioccio

This was yesterday -  
Romans 2:4 
Or do you show contempt 
for the riches of his kindness, 
tolerance and patience, 
not realizing that 
God's kindness leads you
toward repentance?

This is today and it is still snowing pretty hard.

Yesterdays it snowed and snowed and of course it was my busy drive all over the place day. So what started out as manageable became more difficult as the day progressed. I was not able to get up the hill to the last of my students and struggled to make it home on the country roads. I remember going side ways down one hill and praying that I would some how not slide off into the deep ditches on either side. I'm a pretty good driver in the snow, but my car is not as winterized as it could be and its tires need replacing and don't have much tread. Anyway I try to include the Lord through out my day but going down that hill and in some of the other scary moments I was asking the Lord to send big angels to keep us on the road. I kept talking to my kids and saying today we are having no wrecks, or visiting any ditches. I'm happy to say we made it home safely. 

So the unseen world... Do I really believe that God would send angels to help me get home safely?

Matthew 10:18 “See that you do not despise one of these little ones. For I tell you that their angels in heaven always see the face of my Father in heaven." Well this is Jesus talking and saying that little children have angels that are in close contact with the Father in heaven. 

Acts 27:23-24 (NKJV)
23 For there stood by me this night an angel of the God to whom I belong and whom I serve, 24 saying, ‘Do not be afraid, Paul; you must be brought before Caesar; and indeed God has granted you all those who sail with you.’

So heres a verse where Paul had an angel stand by him all night in a storm at sea and gave him a message of what would happen. I hear you saying it (yeah but Paul was special - he was the apostle to the gentiles.... right?) I will remind you of Romans 2:11 "For God does not show favoritism". If that is not enough remember in James 2:1-13  how we are not to show personal favoritism. We are all on equal footing with God, and He unconditionally loves us and has sent Jesus to pay the price of the sin for each and everyone of us. We may not all take advantage of the things that He provides for us through Jesus, or the kingdom resources that are at our disposal believers and as His beloved children. 
He however has provided and we too often leave his gifts on the table un wrapped and may not even realize they are there waiting to be noticed. 

Psalm 91:11 "For he will command his angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways;" Is yet another assurance from my Bible that God will command his angels. So how do I know He will command them in my situation? I believe that John 14:13 says 12 “Most assuredly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do he will do also; and greater works than these he will do, because I go to My Father. 13 And whatever you ask in My name, that I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. 14 If you ask anything in My name, I will do it."  It ends with the words if you ask. How do I know that God will help me? I know because I asked. I did not put a lot of conditions on how he might help me. I did ask for big angels to keep me on the road and to see me safely home.
I suppose you could just say I was lucky, or am a good snow driver, or the roads were not really all that bad. One can always explain away the unseen world. It requires a bit of faith to believe that there is anything beyond what we can touch and see with our physical senses.  But heres the rub... the bible says there are angels, the bible talks of a unseen spiritual realm or dimension. I try to not approach my bible like the smorgasbord, picking and choosing only my favorites and what is convient and easy to eat.  I may not understand everything it has to say on every subject.  James 4:2 says 2 You lust and do not have. You murder and covet and cannot obtain. You fight and war. Yet you do not have because you do not ask." So my part is to ask, God does not just butt in un-invited. I guess I have come to a place of having gotten beyond my self reliance and to realize my weakness and on going need of the Lord and His daily intervention and involvement in my life. So I have on going discussions with him, I bring him the big stuff and the daily little seemly insignificant stuff.

So my question to you is are you first, a believer in Jesus - have you invited him to be in your life?
Are you brining your needs before him and believing that he is able and willing to answer.
Sometimes his answer is no or not now. Do you truly believe that God is for you and not against you?

I do believe that God is for me, that nothing can separate me from His love. I believe his love extends to my care and protection. That is not to say that I won't face difficulties, hardships and trials of various kinds. The Bible is pretty clear that we will have those kinds of things to face, but it also says that Jesus has sent the Holy Spirit to comfort and to lead us and the Lord will be with us in those difficult things. Philippians 4:19 says, “But my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus.”  It says all not some of my needs in this passage. I may not get everything I want and I may not always understand what I really need but I can be assured that the Lord does, and that it is His desire to provide and supply those things in order to accomplish his purposes in and through my life.

2 Corinthians 9:8 And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work.

I guess my hope or challenge to you today is to look at the areas of lack in your life and check to make sure you have indeed asked God to help you and to provide for you in that area.  Sometimes we don't have because we have not asked, perhaps we think our needs are to trivial to bother God with. He delights to be invited to be fully part of every detail of our lives. The other side of the coin is that you may be asking out of wrong motives, in which case it might be wise to search your heart and to make sure you are walking and living as Jesus would have his beloved Children walk and live in thankfulness as representatives of His Kingdom. I'm not suggesting you get all legalistic, you know if you are bending towards the Lord or if you are resisting him in your life and doing life on your own terms. God sees and knows and waits for you to get honest with yourself and with him. He waits for you to get to the end of your self reliance and pride and to realize that you need him, like you need the air that you breathe.  Sometimes we simply need to stand in faith and know that God's answer is on its way. There are stories of God's provision being delayed as a result of a spiritual battle in the un seen angelic realms.  I know if you press into the Holy Spirit and take the time to listen He will lead and guide you and help you know the next steps that God has for you.

Dear Lord,
Thank you for your protection and provision today and every day. I thank you that you cause the sun to shine on the just and the un just. Help us today to trust you and to see the things that you have simply been waiting for us to ask you to provide and the places where you are patiently waiting for us to realize we need you. I thank you that your mercies are new every morning and that it is your kindness that leads us to repentance. I ask for your hand of favor to be upon those reading today and that you will move in their lives in wonderful and astounding ways.


Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Let My Life Song Sing To You

A Devotional by Margot Cioccio

Ephesians 5:19

Speaking to yourselves 
in psalms and hymns and 
spiritual songs, singing 
and making melody 
in your heart to the Lord:

Wednesdays are my music day. I start bright and early with my own piano lesson. Then I teach 5 guitar lessons.  I really enjoy Wednesdays and getting to share the joy of music with others. My lessons are all very different. One family likes me to teach using praise, worship and hymns, one of my other students likes the Beatles, Simon and Garfunkle, James Taylor and other early 80's musicians. One is a mom with a house full of kids who wants songs to sing with her kids. So today we had her 2 youngest dancing along to "Every Move I Make".  There are lots of guitar players out there that are much more skilled than I am but I have found that those players generally have not patience to teach students. My strength lies in the love of music and in my patience to help beginners get through the pain of building callous and learning to make your fingers cooperate. I used to bring songs each week for my students but any more I am having them find songs they want to work on and print them in one of the keys they are able to play. We always go through the songs and fix them to make them work for that student and their current skill level. I think one of the other things that sets me appart is the ability to teach a student to play and sing. We often will work on the vocals as much as the guitar skills.

So my point in writing this is not about a big advertizement for me and the lessons that I teach. It is more about the value of music.  The verse above is a reminder to me as is Colossians 3:16 Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.

Me and My Daddy
For me when I really want to memorize a passage of scripture I put it to music. The stuff that goes into my brain as music some how remains. I can remember all the verses to songs from when I was three and sat with my daddy at the piano, telling him to play this song. I think that it is interesting that music has been one of the strongest connections between me and my dad and I think it is also one of the strongest connections that I feel between me and my heavenly father. So I am thankful that my parents both in their own way shared with me the gift and the joy of music. It has added a richness to my life that I feel a responsibility  to pass on to others. My oldest is in his room teaching himself to play the ukulele, he also plays guitar and piano. My youngest really enjoys piano and wants to build a marimba. I don't know if they will ever make their living from music but I hope it continues to bring them joy through out their lives no matter what they decide to grow up and be.

When they were younger I tried to explain to them that God put them in a music/ art/ tech family. Some kids are born into sports families, science or math or out doors nature loving families. There are lots of kinds of ways that families express themselves. Ours is more along the creative lines. Which does not mean we don't enjoy some of those other things but we seem to be more defined by all things creative.

I look around and I see that God loves music to inspire musicians, and birds to sing, and the sounds of the winds. He paints with sunsets and flowers. The word says if we don't praise Him the very rocks will cry out. The bible tells us to sing a new song to the Lord. I think the Lord loves for us to express our devotion to him in little songs and to make melodies in our heart to praise him. I don't think the Lord cares weather or not you can carry a tune in a bucket or not. Perhaps your expressions of musical praise are limited to the shower. Sing on!

 Well I wrote everything above some previous Wednesday. Today I've gotten up early for my quiet time with the Lord which some times includes writing this blog post. Recently I got back in touch with my first piano teacher and best friend from about 30 years ago. I was a new believer and new in town at the time and was singing in a choir of which she was the director. My aunt sort of encouraged us to become friends and we became pretty inseparable. I wrote songs and I remember teaching my friend all my little song writing tricks - she was much more skilled at music than I but had never tried song writing. Which to me was amazing - I can hear stuff in my head and am limited by my skill level to be able to fully express it. We at one point created a music group we called Faith Walk and did concerts at coffee houses and for various church groups. She reminded me how in one concert I had carefully hand written out all our original songs and put the chords in using a red sharpe marker. The place we were singing had stage lights and the lights cancelled out the red ink on the paper and she remembers being very frustrated because she really needed the chords. I guess I had most of them memorized. I had completely forgotten about that memory. Anyway we both got married and life has a way of hurling people off in different directions and somewhere along the line we lost track of each other. Turns out we had both gone through some very painful stuff at about the same time but both thought because of our brokenness and failed marriages that the other would not understand or want to be contacted. Funny how the enemy or our own low self esteem can keep us from the very people who would know us in a deep enough way to support us through a difficult time. I'm not about to give the enemy much credit and will allow most of it to fall under the realm of God's providence. I can also admit that I'm not sure I would have been ready to be found much sooner. There is a lot of the past I just could not deal with and chose to leave it behind and to try to move forward as best as I could with out some of the people who had most deeply touched my life.  I have to trust that this is God's timing is perfect and he knows exactly what we need and when we need it.

Its interesting to me that in the process of restoration with people from our past. There are things that need to be repented of and forgiven to really have a deep relationship that can move forward. Even then not all relationships can be returned to the place of closeness they once held in our lives. Life keeps moving and we all make choices that carry us in different directions some of those obstacles can be overcome others must be left in the hands of the Lord.  This friend lives in Ohio which is a very long way from Washington so who knows when we might ever find our self in close enough proximity to sit and work on music together or do stuff together. There is the phone skype and facebook which does make keeping in touch with people very easy.  I have been blessed that some folks from the past have popped up on the facebook landscape and some of them I talk to almost daily. I have two young women who were in a youth group I led.  It is amazing to be knowing them as grown ups and to see them walking strongly in their faith.  I think it is no accident that God has allowed this friendship to re-surface at this time. I'm pretty sure there is some pain and brokenness in both of us that will be much easier to walk through with a friend. Perhaps even there is a greater destiny and calling and God is regathering significant relationships from the past for some purpose. I am always amazed how God in his perfect timing can bring along the right people that in that moment can un-lock things that may have been put on hold, or need a specific kind of encouragement to cause to happen. These blog posts that I am writing are the result of the encouragement of another friend from very long ago, who saw something in my writing that I could not see myself.

So what is the point of my post today - the verse is about speaking to one another is
Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody 
in your heart to the Lord:  Hmmm in the New King James version of the verse it says "speak to one another". I suppose it is a good idea to speak to yourself and to one another in songs, hymns and spiritual songs.  I am going to try and tie this all together. In talking to my friend from Ohio it is interesting to me that neither of us has done any song writing in a long while. I think sometimes we can loose our voice due to disappointment, confusion, loss, hardship, guilt, shame. Those things can steal the song from our hearts and yet God says in our verse today that we should sing to ourselves and to one another. I believe it builds up our Spiritual self. There is something powerful in the singing of psalms (right from the word) hymns (songs written through the years by other believers) and spiritual songs (the stuff the Holy Spirit inspires in you).  You may not be all that musical but I think God wants to give you a melody in your heart today. Take a simple verse that jumps out at you or is one that you are standing on and put it to a melody and sing it to yourself as you go through your day. I myself will make a point to put something to the melody of my heart today and sing it to myself. Sometimes it takes people from the past to help us see that we laid down something important that it is time to pick up again.  For me it is time to pick up songwriting again.

Dear Lord, you are the one who directs the steps of the righteous. It is no accident the people you bring across our paths at various times in our life. You know the whole script and you move people around according to your plans and purposes. I pray for trust to arise and for those who have lost their voice to find it again. Help them to see that the journey they have been on may have been hard but there are others who will be encouraged by the greater depth, openness and honesty that their life songs will now contain. I pray Lord for your specific anointing to flow out in this moment to stir up the gifts that you have put in each one reading in what ever form the may take. Let each one go forth as a blessing and bring a smile to your face Lord as they move in faith and obedience to the leading of your Holy Spirit.

PS. Just in case you think this does not apply to you because you are not musical I want to end with this song from Casting Crowns. I pray your life song will bring a smile to the heart of the Lord today.
Be blessed beloved one - the Lord loves you and created you, and wired you specifically to bring Him pleasure. What ever you do - do it for His glory today.  Of course if you are reading by e-mail click on the blue title to get back to the site to be encouraged by this video.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Jesus Come

A Devotional by Margot Cioccio

1 Thessalonians 3:13
May he strengthen your hearts so that you will be blameless and holy in the presence of our God and Father when our Lord Jesus comes with all his holy ones.

I spent a long time this morning recording a song by Evan Wicham called Jesus Come. I wanted to do something a little different than I have done before. I wanted to combine it with the reading of one of the blessings from the book Blessing your Spirit by Sylvia Gunter and Arthur Burk. I have begun to read those blessings out loud to myself. There are places in my spirit that need to be healed and part of that healing is to begin to speak the truth to myself. So in one of my trips to the Spokane Healing Rooms for prayer the team had prayed one of the blessings from that book over me. They really did not know anything about my situation but that day it was what my spirit needed to hear. I finally had a little extra money to go and get myself a copy of the book. I'm not saying they have the corner on Blessing but they have been profoundly speaking to me. So today I wanted to pass a little of that on to you. So if you are reading by e-mail you will have to click on the title and go back to the site to experience this "Blessing" I have combined music, worship, the spoken word, and images of some of my mosaic art. My hope is that it will minister to you in a deep way.  I know the Lord has been speaking to me about doing my own prayers and blessings over a music bed of some sort. If I get really brave I may include my own songs, and music beds and my own prayers and blessings. I guess I am not fully at that point yet and so in some ways this is kind of a for shadowing of what I would like to do. I suppose you could pray for me that God would help me figure it out and would send me some musical help. I am working on writing and arranging in my piano lessons but I have so far to go and my projects seem very simple compared to what I can hear in my head or could even begin to play. I suppose it is a musical work in progress. In the mean time I am practicing and working on various skills needed to do some of the things I would like to be able to do. Then again it may be that God has just not brought all the players to the table. Perhaps he will send others with similar visions to work with me at some point. Anyway I hope you enjoy it and that it blesses you and inspires you.

Lord, I pray that this little rough project will bless all those who take the time to listen to it. I pray it will carry upon it the power of your healing anointing and that it would reach deeply in to hearts and minds and speak to those places in each listeners spirit to be able to more fully receive your love in greater fullness. I pray that your Sprit would rest upon it in a mighty and profound way. That lives would be touched and changed through my little steps of faith and obedience.

Monday, January 16, 2012

A Day To Process

A Devotional by Margot Cioccio

Thought I would make this one short today and take the holiday to kind of regroup and process.
I wanted to attach a link to yesterday's sermon it spoke a lot to the places in our lives where things have happened and that part of our development has been stunted.  I myself am kind of taking today to process through my own areas where I have gotten stuck.  I hope you will take the time to go and check it out and that you would grant me a day off. I'll see you back here tomorrow.   http://www.fccspokane.org/2012/01/sunday-01-15-2012/ 
I think that this has been a message that has impacted me in a deep way and hearing it will help you understand the things I am likely to write this week.   The message is by Pastor Rob Bryceson of Spokane First Covenant Church. He titled it Everyone Wants Freedom.

Dear Lord,
I lift before you those who are visiting this page. I pray that you would minister to them through the sermon link. I know it has challenged me to go back and look at some of the stuck places in my own life.
I pray you will help us all to move forward and to find the courage to face some of those broken, damaged, painful places. I pray Lord that you will bless those reading with a renewed sense of understanding your plan and unique design and purpose for their life. 

God's Original and Final Intent part 5

This is my final paper for The International Healing Rooms School of Transformation in Spokane Washington. Its is very long paper so I ...