Friday, September 28, 2012

Photo Challenge 7 - Now That You Are Grown Up

Thursday, September 27, 2012

What is a Perfect Gift?

A Devotional by Margot Cioccio

James 1:16-18(NIV1984)
16 Don’t be deceived, my dear brothers. 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

Source: google.com via Margot on Pinterest


It is easy to try and say if God is sovereign, and he is, that he planned everything. He knew or predestined all the things happening around all of our lives. One might feel a bit helpless as if we have no will in it. Might as well just go with the flow and not try to resist the tides that pull at us. 

I believe there are things that God leaves for us to decide. We can choose to follow him or not. When bad things happen to (good) people we want to blame God. Why didn't God step, in we prayed, and that loved one still died. Must be God who's to blame. 

There are a number of forces at work in every situation and while God is not asleep at the wheel, he also does not step in un invited. As I see it the following are the forces at work in and around us. I can't say I've got it fully figured out but I am in the camp that believes one of the primary good gifts God has given us is that of having a free will. 

God: giving good gifts, who is un changing, 
        who makes for us a way to be in right relationship with him.
Self: our desires and tendency to sin, as well as the opportunity to be one who overcomes.
Others: their desires and tendency to sin or to rise above and overcome.
Satin: his ability to meddle and minipulate
Nature: Stoms, Floods, Earthquakes, etc. 
  
So here is the main thought I want you to ponder. What is a perfect gift? 

Was the lion sent to David as a young shepherd gift? Was it an opportunity for him to trust God, to move by faith, to be courageous? It was a terrifying event and could easily be called a trial or even a temptation to fear. In his life because he chose to look to God it became an opportunity to walk in faith and courage and to hone his skills. 

Who am I to say what of the seeming trials in my life are, perhaps they are just gifts in disguise. David went on to be able to stand before the giant Golliath while everyone else hid in fear. He was still a young man, who had just been sent to deliver food to his brothers. Even then he was able to draw upon his past experiences with God who protected him and helped him as a shepherd boy. He had faced a lion and a bear and knew that God was able. He did not have to work up faith in that situation with Golliath, he already had settled in his heart that God was able. He already believed, he had practiced and spent time alone with the Lord. He knew his voice, his heart and his power to deliver or judge.

So that thing, that giant you are facing is it a trial or a gift of opportunity? I believe God will allow you to make that decision. 

Prayer:
Lord, 
We could stand before you and weep and grumble or we could choose to trust you to lead us through the seemingly impossible things that we are facing. We could resign ourselves and throw a pitty party or we could rise up and look to you.  Thank you for the trials that we are facing. Even the things the enemy has meant for our destruction you Lord are able to turn around for our good and for your glory. Help us to look at this trial from a new direction with the anticipation of seeing how you will use it in each of our lives. Even now Lord help us bring to mind the verses to stand on. Help us to push past the fear and doubt to do what is right before you.
 

Please don't forget... the September Giveaway. There is still time for comments or even likes on our facebook page. Here's the link that tells you about the giveaway and how you can be involved. There is a tab at the top of the blog page called September Giveaway.  http://devotionals-margot.blogspot.com/p/september-giveaway.html

Give The Gift of Coaching!
Also... I have a lot of beautiful handmade items like the ones in this photo available in my Artfire shop I love working in mosaics because it reminds me that God takes us in our broken state and his love transforms us and makes us whole and beautiful. There are blog tabs across the top of the Devotional Mosaic Blog Site. If you are reading by e-mail you can get back there by clicking on the post title or following the links in this post. I've put a number of tabs there to give you easy access to other resources that I provide and to my variety of shop featuring my art. As we move closer to the holidays please keep me and my art shops in mind for your gift giving needs. You might even consider giving someone the gift of coaching. I offer life coaching by phone, instant messaging and in person if you are in the Spokane Area. Just click the link under the gift certificate photo.  ~ Margot

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Photo Challenge 6

Prayer: 
Help us to place our confidence in you not in the stuff that fills our medicine cabinets. Thank you that we are fearfully and wonderfully made. Thank you that you love and delight in each of us. Help us to see what you see when we look in the mirror. You see the apple of your eye, your beloved child. You see us through Jesus and you see us as wonderful and perfect. Thank you Lord that you loved us first.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Give Us A King!

A Devotional by Margot Cioccio

1 Samuel 8:6 (NASB)
But the thing was displeasing in the sight of Samuel when they said, 
“Give us a king to judge us.” And Samuel prayed to the Lord.


The Lord does give me opportunity to live transparently and to share with you my struggles and my revelations when I actually see them. So I have often read the stories about Israel and thought, what a bunch of bone heads. They have God doing major miracles right before them and still they want to make a golden cow to worship. Or even guys like Moses, who sees a burning bush can't find the courage and confidence to go speak up for the people and God has to send him his brother Aaron to help him. Theres a story that goes along with today's verse. The people of Israel had the opportunity to see and hear for God themselves but they found Moses to be terrifying when he would come down from the mountain from conversing with God.  They said he should cover his face and they would do what ever God told him. They did not want to seek the Lord for themselves. They wanted an intermediary. So God gave them leaders like Moses and Joshua, and priests like Arron and Samuel. He gave them judges and prophets but still at by the time we get to first Samuel 8 they are demanding a king, they want to be like the rest of the world and have a ruler they could see, and touch and serve. They did not want to use faith to trust that the prophets, priests and judges were leading them rightly according to Gods direction. So they were given kings and in the long line of kings for both Judah and Israel there were very few good Godly kings. Some times when we are being bone heads and we move from seeking and following God to thinking we should demand God give us what we think we need he does, and usually it is to our own detriment.

So recently a lot of things changed in my life, the things that determined for me what I did each day or how I fit in various places, some support structures changed. I found myself feeling like a ship at sea that was no longer held securely to the dock. So I cried out Lord I need a captain, some one who knows how to guide and direct me. I need someone to tell me what I should do, where I should go, thats how you work with just about everyone else I know. Why do I have to be so different. I can be a stubborn bone head at times. So I have gravitated a bit to some of the stronger voices in my life and have used them to help me find direction. God is gracious to allow me to learn things in a hands on kind of way. He's been willing to let me explore an idea and to eventually see that His plan is better.

My husbands a great guy and at times he will wake up in the night and tell me Margot, the Lord says he's going to do this or that. Or,  "Margot the Lord is going to do this ..." followed by something that I have recently asked the Lord for, that my husband did not know about.  Followed with "I asked him why and he said because you asked for it." On a day to day basis however I have a lot of freedom to make decisions because my husband trusts me to pray and hear from God and do the right thing. 

So here's when we get into trouble. When suddenly life as we have known it changes and we find our selves having to figure out how the new normal works. It is easy in those times to want the easy way, to have someone else tell us what we should do. The other is when God is seemly silent, and does not give us what we want, when we think we should have it and does not tell us what to do as clearly as we would like. There are some things that he waits for us to take a step of faith and to believe what he has told us.  Anyway yesterday after posting From Dreamy to Grumpy, the Lord reminded me of the story of Israel demanding a king. I realized that I need to repent to the Lord for wanting more than His own voice to lead me. I hear him very clearly most of the time. Sometimes he is silent, like when I have offended Him by wanting others to lead me.  I am thankful that he has allowed me to see the error of my ways and to come back to Him and tell Him that He is more than enough.

Sometimes he tells me things that stretch me.  Frequently he will tell me to call someone and when I do I find out that I could not have called at a better time. They needed someone to talk to and did not know who to turn to.  Or he will tell me to go tell someone something and when I do I find out that it was something that no one could have known and that word actually meant something to them. Or when I lay hands on people to pray for them, the Lord tells me what to pray, its like I suddenly just know and they say "how did you know?" I didn't God just prayed through me. He knew. I don't know why the Lord uses me this way. I don't think I'm any more special than anyone else and as you can see, I can be a major bone head at times.  I think the Lord wants to have a close relationship with each and every one of us but I think that most don't really want that. We would rather have our pastor or our husband or our doctor or our boss or our lawyer or the so called experts tell us what we should do. We would run to all those other voices before turning to God and waiting for him to speak to us. Some of us want a gum ball machine God. We put in a dime or a quarter sized prayer and out comes our gum ball answer. Some want Santa God and once a year we make our list of requests and submit it hoping we will get some of the things we want. Others are so guilt ridden and full of fear that they only see God who shakes his finger at them and live in fear of their every sin on mistake because His shoe is going to drop and squish them. Or there is far away God in a space ship who just grows a long beard and observes. I prefer to know him as my Lord, my friend, lover of my soul. My abba daddy, my beloved. My shepherd who gently leads me every day. Lord forgive me.

Prayer:
Dear Lord,
Thank you for your great patience to allow us to gain wisdom. Thank you for turning on the lights when we have been stumbling around blindly in the dark of our own foolishness. Thank you for forgiving us when we have gone astray or thought our convoluted plans were better than yours. Thank you for being our shepherd and leading us by your gentle voice that your sheep learn to know by being around you every day.

Monday, September 24, 2012

From Dreamy To Grumpy

A Devotional by Margot Cioccio

“Therefore, do not throw away your confidence, which has a great reward. For you have need of endurance, so that when you have done the will of God, you may receive what was promised.” Hebrews 10:35-36 NASB


Today is a new Monday of a new week of a year that seems to be racing by. There are days that my feet hit the floor and I know what I am to do and there are other days where I feel lost and directionless. Today has more of a feel of the second type of day. My quiet time has been spent listening to music, and reading a variety of devotionals, praying in the Spirit. I've bound the enemy from distracting and confusing me or from interfering with my communion with the Lord.  I headed over to Bible Gateway to see what the verse of the day might be.  It says, "Therefore, do not throw away your confidence, which has a great reward..." I had a pastor friend who used to say "Therefore, find out what therefore is there for." Something has been said proceeding these words that is important. We need to go back and find out why we should not throw away our confidence. It is easy to have a hope or a dream a calling or a purpose and to lay it aside because we loose our confidence.

I was watching a show on Net Flicks with my family called Once Upon A Time. Its a story of a bunch of fairy tale characters who have forgotten who they really are and have been catapulted by a curse into our world to live out lives of desperation and frustration where they will never be able to find the happiness of fulfilling their purpose and destiny. In the episode we just watched we got a bit of the back story for  dwarf Grumpy from the Snow White. He had been given a name on his 1st birthday and it had been Dreamy. He had dreams of going and exploring the world with his true love. He finds out from his family that Dwarfs work the mines, they don't travel and explore the world, and they don't love. He gives up on his dreams and in his anger and frustration he brakes his pic axe that bears his name and is given a new one. His new name is Grumpy. "Don't throw away your confidence..." It is easy when we give up on a dream or a calling to become depressed and grumpy.
Why have we given up, is it because people around us think we are crazy, or tell us thats never been done and certainly not by some one like you.

To find out why we should have confidence we need to look back in Hebrews 10 to verse 19 -
19 Therefore, brethren, since we have confidence to enter the holy place by the blood of Jesus, 20 by a new and living way which He inaugurated for us through the veil, that is, His flesh, 21 and since we have a great priest over the house of God, 22 let us draw near with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water. 23 Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful; 24 and let us consider how to stimulate one another to love and good deeds, 25 not forsaking our own assembling together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another; and all the more as you see the day drawing near." 

Our confidence is in Jesus, that his blood has cleansed us, that he is our high priest through whom we can draw near to God knowing that he is faithful. I think that it is interesting that we are encourage to stimulate others to love and good deeds. So often we find our selves stepping out to follow a dream or to do something we feel God is calling us to do by faith and all we seem to find in others around us is fear, doubt and negativity.  I gotta tell you that when I give up or falter in pursing something that God has given me to do because of the doubt and negativity of others,  I become grumpy.  I have felt a bit grumpy of late. So I am today trying to back track and determine where I have allowed the direction or opinions of others or the negativity of others to de-rail my faith or purpose in pursuing accomplishing the things God has given or inspired me to do. I need to remember that the things that God is calling and inspiring me to do might not be right for my well meaning friends. There are things that God has given me to hold on and to pray about that I don't understand but to let them go leads to grumpyness. 
I don't like being grumpy and it generally is the result of giving up on something or trying to fit in to  ideals and plans of someone else. 

So today I am re-evaluating because I don't like being grumpy, I far prefer living life by faith, hope and trust in God. If he's given me something to do he will help me figure it out. I prefer living life a bit on the edge of my comfort zone. There are times that I do get tired and in those tired place I do need to rest but to rest is not to stop but a pause. The rests in a piece of music are as important as the notes of the melody. They help create the tension and anticipation that adds to the beauty and the fullness of the music. The song does not end at the rest it simply rests in those places and then moves on again until it reaches its final completion. 

I realize that I probably took on more of a project than God intended for me to take on. I realize that there are a few loud directional voices in my life. While those voices have a lot of great ideas they are not always ideas for me to run with. The voice that I heed first and foremost needs to be God's voice. At this point I will see this project through with God's help and be more careful about how I determine what projects to take on. 

There is a difference between something that God has already been stirring in my heart that is magnified when added to the ideas and faith of others. That is good, the recent prayer loft project was like that for me. It grew beyond what I originally could see but it was full of life for me. 

The current Octoberfest project was was an idea that, sure I could do. I have lots of experience in arts and crafts shows and organizing people. It has been so far a stressful project for me, and has pushed some old buttons that I will now have to take the time to look at. I know that God will use it for my good but I realize that I tried to take a short cut and rely on other directional voices rather than on Gods alone. Through it God has allowed me to see some things about myself  - for that I am thankful. I'd rather find out those kind of things on a very short term project than in a long term commitment to something. My hope for this project was that it would help create community. In a spiritual sense I need to release it into God's hands and trust him with it. Its not that I am dropping the ball or quitting but I refuse to go through another stressed out grumpy week. I will need to approach it in a different way, I am praying that He will give me wisdom how to proceed. 

Prayer:
Lord, some of us have gotten into doing some good things, that we can do, but are not really called to do at this time. Help us to sort through those things and to be about the things you have called us to really do now. Help us to walk by faith and to do the things that you have given us to do even when we run into the doubt or unbelief of others along the way. Help us dust off the negativity and get back on track. Lord help us to pick up a new, our confidence in you. For we have need of endurance, so that when we have done the will of God, we may receive what was promised.



Friday, September 21, 2012

Your Orienting Reality

A Devotional by Margot Cioccio

A series of paintings I'm still working on.
James 1:12-14 (NASB)
12 Blessed is a man who perseveres under trial; for once he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life which the Lord has promised to those who love Him. 13 Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am being tempted by God”; for God cannot be tempted by evil, and He Himself does not tempt anyone. 14 But each one is tempted when he is carried away and enticed by his own lust.

The other day I came across the idea of one's "orienting reality".  Its a map and compass kind of idea, in which one orients the map with the compass so as to know which way is really North. Here's a quote I found at compassdude.com "A map represents the real world. By orienting a map, you are positioning it so its North is actually pointing North. When you orient a map and know where you are on the map, you can look in a certain direction and see a real landmark and find it on the map."
So I can feel you scratching your head and asking  - ok so where is this going and how does it relate to this verse. 

I at times can feel directionless or feel lost and not know where I should be heading or focusing my time and energy. You may have it all mapped out for you. You get up, go to work, go home and repeat pretty much the same thing every day. For me some days are mapped out but others are a big blank canvas of possibilities. I like it when I'm in the middle of a big project because I can see where I'm heading and know what I'm supposed to be doing. Where I struggle is in the in between's. It is in the in between's that it is really important to have an orienting reality. If you are flying in an airplane or a ship at sea it is really important to know where North really is particularly when there are no land marks by which to orient one's self. One can get lost and head in the wrong direction and find no place to land when you run out of gas.

It is easy when we loose sight of our orienting reality to become tempted to go and do things that lie in the wrong direction. If we are not careful can find our selves at a place of vulnerability because we are tired, confused, depressed or burned out from doing and traveling and have lost sight of where we were going or why we were going in a particular direction. 

So what orients you? How do you decide what way to go? What is the right choice? 

For me Jesus is my true North, and the compass by which I try to orient my life. We endure temptation by staying close to Jesus and knowing his direction for our life. When he becomes our desire we are not as susceptible to be drawn away or enticed by things that would head us in the wrong direction. It is not that I must be so "good" but simply be His. So I ask myself, do my plans and choices draw me to Him or away from Him. Will this choice cause me to rely on him or my on my own independence. For me a temptation is busyness in light of His call for me is to be in His presence. I can go a long way just keeping busy and if I am not careful find myself too tired for the things that He really is calling me to do. It's not that I am advocating doing nothing but I must set my heart and mind in such a ways as to include Him in my daily duties. I have to refrain from chasing after things to do and wait for Him to give me the direction for the next leg of the journey. 

Prayer:
Dear Lord, Help us to each focus on knowing and loving you, and being know and loved by you. Help us to not just run away by keeping busy but to truly seek you to know where we are to put our time and energy. Be our orienting reality, our compass. Help us to quickly realize when we have strayed away from your presence and purposes for our life.  

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Photo Challenge 5

SPIRITUAL PHOTO CHALLENGE
A Devotional by Debbie DeRienzo
Photo: SPIRITUAL PHOTO CHALLENGE 6 AUGUST 2012 
One of the wonderful things about Hawaii is the variety of fresh fruits available that just grow right here.... pineapple from the ground (no... they don't grow from trees), avacado, guava, mango, bananas etc.  Well, my friend Debra introduced me to lychee...It is a tropical and subtropical fruit tree native to southern China, Taiwan and Southeast Asia, and now cultivated here in Hawaii.  So.. looking at this thing made me think of a buckeye from Ohio (where I am from originally).  I figured this thing would taste terrible.... but trusting my friend, I peeled back the hard outside layer.  I uncovered a white fruit with a pit in the middle... (honestly, it looked just like a cow eyeball).  But.... open mouth and insert lychee.  MMMMM.... AMAZING!!!  It tasted delicious!  Good thing I did not judge on outward apperance... i would have missed out!  You know... God is the same way.  in 1 Samuel  16:7 it says that man looks at the outward apperance but the Lord looks at the heart!  So, it doesn't mater what you wear, how the style of your hair is, what clothers you are sporting.... God is looking at your insides.  You  could have tatoos, piercings, tattered clothes and it matters not one bit to God.  He is looking at what comes out of your heart!  Conversely, I have met some individuals that by worldly standards are gorgeous... perfect complexion, best clothes, great hair, perfect smile... then they open their mouth and you hear something quite contrary.  Negative speech, gossip and slander.... just terrible.  But, the ultimate purpose of the devotional today is to not be concerned by outward apperance but to do some introspect and check you heart.  It is what God is looking at.One of the wonderful things about Hawaii is the variety of fresh fruits available that just grow right here.... pineapple from the ground
(no... they don't grow from trees), avacado, guava, mango, ba...
nanas etc. Well, my friend Debra introduced me to lychee...It is a tropical and subtropical fruit tree native to southern China, Taiwan and Southeast Asia, and now cultivated here in Hawaii. So.. looking at this thing made me think of a buckeye from Ohio (where I am from originally). I figured this thing would taste terrible.... but trusting my friend, I peeled back the hard outside layer. I uncovered a white fruit with a pit in the middle... (honestly, it looked just like a cow eyeball). But.... open mouth and insert lychee. MMMMM.... AMAZING!!! It tasted delicious! Good thing I did not judge on outward apperance... I would have missed out! You know... God is the same way. in 1 Samuel 16:7 it says that man looks at the outward apperance but the Lord looks at the heart! So, it doesn't mater what you wear, how the style of your hair is, what clothers you are sporting.... God is looking at your insides. You could have tatoos, piercings, tattered clothes and it matters not one bit to God. He is looking at what comes out of your heart! Conversely, I have met some individuals that by worldly standards are gorgeous... perfect complexion, best clothes, great hair, perfect smile... then they open their mouth and you hear something quite contrary. Negative speech, gossip and slander.... just terrible. But, the ultimate purpose of the devotional today is to not be concerned by outward apperance but to do some introspect and check you heart. It is what God is looking at.

Prayer:
Thank you Lord for seeing into our hearts. Thank you for knowing us deeply, often understanding us beyond our own understanding. You see the effects of previous generations, you know what makes us tic and what holds us in chains. Help us to see others with your eyes, to look beyond the exterior and into the heart. 



Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Like Fading Flowers

A Devotional by Margot Ciocco

James 1:9
New International Version 1984 (NIV1984)
The brother in humble circumstances ought to take pride in his high position. 10 But the one who is rich should take pride in his low position, because he will pass away like a wild flower. 11 For the sun rises with scorching heat and withers the plant; its blossom falls and its beauty is destroyed. In the same way, the rich man will fade away even while he goes about his business.

I suppose the test is often felt when the heat is on. People accustomed to weath often do not last long becaue they are un accustomed to lack or depravation. The poor on the other hand have lived and faced the lack of things, position and power. I'm not saying that one needs to be poor or take a vow of poverty like Mother Teresa to be spiritual. I am saying that when we come to Jesus our social standing and wealthy does not give us a particular advantage. You can't buy your way to heaven. I think we will all have to answer what we did for God's glory with the gifts, talents and resources we were given.

I guess this stirs up a concern I have for some who may feel a call of God to do something, but think they will wait till they are successful to pursue that calling. What if someday or success never come. Our economic position should not keep us from pursuing God's call on our life. Usually God requires us to take an initial step of faith. Our lives though seemingly longer than that of a flower are also short. That reference to fading flowers may help us see how fleeting our lives are from God's vantage point. The question remains what will you do with yours. 

My friend Ryan asked three good questions in a class I attended last night and I am passing them along to you to consider. 

What have I done for Christ?

What am I doing for Christ?

What ought I to do for Christ? 

As I write this morning I am reminded of Rich Mullins who's life was cut short in a car accident. He said "Live like you'll die tomorrow. Die knowing you'll live forever, live right.  Love like you'll leave tomorrow, believing love lasts forever, live right" 

I want you to consider those things that you've been meaning to do for God,  but put off waiting for success or some big change or till you've become a better more spiritual person.  None of us knows how long our days will be on this earth. Don't put off something that you could do now, particularly if it something that God has called you to do. Sometimes the things we put off doing are the cause of the log jam in our life. We have not taken that next step of faith and things are piling up because that thing has stopped up the flow of God's Spirit in your life. 

Prayer:
Lord, 
Help us to not make excuses to put off doing those things you have been calling us to do. It may be something big or something very small but we've put it off for any number of reasons. Help us to take care of that thing this week or at least make some forward steps on that journey. Help us to remove the log jams that we have created in our lives because of our lack of faith, our doubt and unbelief or our fear of failure. Help us to take that step of faith to trust you. Help us to not put off doing what we could be doing now.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

The Wet Blanket of Doubt

A Devotional by Margot Cioccio
Worship the Lord in your car or shower too!
James 1:6-8 (NIV1984)
But when he asks, 
he must believe and not doubt, because he who doubts 
is like a wave of the sea, 
blown and tossed by the wind.  
That man should not think 
he will receive anything 
from the Lord;  
he is a double-minded man,  
unstable in all he does.


Our doubting is like a wet blanket on the fire of our faith. God did not intend for us to be tossed about like the waves in our double mindedness and indecision. God is looking for our resolve to believe that He is able to handle our situations. He desires to build a relationship of trust with each of us. To build that trust we must walk through stuff together in a on going relationship. You and I need to know that He will see me through. That kind of trust is built little by little over time as we experience his faithfulness and love in our lives. 

 I may not always know what to do but if I will seek Him, he will help me to figure it out. There are times that I may pray and ask for the wrong things when he has a better plan. At least I am praying and seeking him even if I have things convoluted and confused. I believe he sees and knows when our heart is seeking him even when we don't see the big picture. Even Jesus prayed not my will but yours be done. My will can come up with all kinds of ideas and solutions but in the end what I need is God's plan. If I am seeking him I will find him and he will help me to see what I may not presently be able to see or understand. 

We live in such a fast food, instant gratification society that we too often expect that our God should respond like a gum-ball machine.We want to just put in your prayer and to have our instant answer. Or we think every problem, like a sitcom should be able to be resolved in thirty minutes or less. 
I believe that the Lord has a bigger agenda. He is looking for us to be in a mind to mind,  heart to heart, spirit to Spirit relationship with him. He desires that we would daily walk with Him and bring our prayers and concerns to him as part of a bigger relationship with him. He wants more than just a long litany of requests or the letter to Santa Jesus prayer for all the things I want. In a relationship there is dialoge, it is a two way conversation. I share and pray and I listen and consider. When I see something I should do, I should take the step of faith to be a doer not just a hearer of His word.  In that loving relationship we can be confident He is going to do what is best for us. Trust is hard for some of us, because we have been hurt by the people in our lives who should have nurtured and protected us. We often can see God as that harsh authority figure who was always correcting because we just never seemed to be able to do anything good enough. We might have known rejection or indifference or lived in constant fear and instability. None of us comes to our relationship with the Lord without some brokenness or baggage. We have believed all sorts of lies and half truths and as we sit at the Lord's feet and learn His word and his ways those things get sorted out.

 If I am walking closely with the Lord he can show me things I may not see. He can also help me to see things I really need and helps me to want what He wants. If we are not in an abiding in Him relationship, we are often tossed about by our own ideas and our desires, fears and doubts. To be unwavering or held securely in his love we must be in a relationship where trust is being built. 

One of the things that I do is I remind myself that he was there for me in previous times of need and he will be with me in my present concerns.  I can look back and realize that a lot of the time His solutions came in ways I did not expect or even think of. So I remember that it is His will not mine but even to be able to pray that way one needs to have built some level of trust. Sometimes his answer is no and I have to trust that he knows what is best. It may even be a good thing that he is asking me to lay down because he has another plan for me. 

Prayer:
Lord, We don't want to be wet blankets that put out faith in our own lives or in the live of others. We want to fan the flames of faith and burn brightly for your glory. Lord where we are being double minded help us to seek you for your direction and help us remember as we take a step of faith to make a decision to act that you will be with us. Thank you that as we move by faith you will be there to help us adjust and fine tune, but until we make a decision you wait. Until we invite you into the decision you will not step in and we will continue to try to sort thing out on our own faulty means.


Monday, September 17, 2012

Hidden Wisdom

A Devotional by Margot Cioccio


Part of the Nautical Prayer Loft Installation by Margot
James 1:5
New International Version 1984 (NIV1984)
If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him.

James is a great place to find tips and tools for going through trials and temptations. We find our selves at "Wisdom".

To start with, there is a difference between wisdom and knowledge. Knowledge (the more you know) comes from education, books, training. Wisdom comes from God. Psalm 111:10 tells us when we  gain a realization of the fear or reverence of the Lord - we have at that point found the beginning of wisdom. 

Solomon, who became ruler of Israel at a young age prayed and asked, not for treasure, land, riches or power. He asked instead in 1 Kings 3:9 for wisdom,  a discerning heart to govern God's people and to be able to distinguish between right and wrong. God was so pleased that he not only gave him wisdom, he gave him treasure, land, riches and power too. 

In 1 King 4:29 it says that God gave Solomon wisdom and very great insight, and a breadth of understanding. Heres my favorite part he gave it as "measureless as the sand on the sea shore."

I have in the past prayed for God's wisdom in particular situations, and when I originally wrote this devotional in my journal about five years ago I was moved to ask God for wisdom to understand His word so that I could apply it better to my life and so that I would be able to share His wisdom with other through my songs, writing, speaking and in the course of my daily life. I wrote in that journal these words. "For so long I have struggled to have a daily devotional time. I would struggle to find time, when I did it was hit and miss."  I have come a long long way from that point. My quiet time in the morning has become a regular part of my daily life.  There was a point about five years ago when I realized the shabby condition of my spiritual life. For far too long I had been living on old bread and the crumbs from the tables of others. I decided to pick up my own spoon and fork begin to feed myself on God's word and at the table of his presence. 

I have to say that that I have discovered that asking for wisdom is a lot like asking for patience. God is gracious to grant you opportunities to gain His wisdom. He does not generally just download it into your brain like in the Matrix. It comes from the stuff you walk through with him on a daily basis. Those opportunities are often a harder than you think and seem to come when you reach the end of your own means, and no one you know, knows what to tell you to do. The self help books don't have the answers and the so called experts have no advice to share. In those times I have found I have to press in to God and ask him to help me. Much like in the story of Hagar who finds herself out in the desert crying and thinking she will soon watch her young son die of dehydration. She sets him in the shade under a small bush and cries out to God and he shows her a near by well that in her distress she had not seen. God did not "poof" put a well there he it was there all along and Hagar just could not see it in her emotional distress. When she finally turned to God he showed her where it was. 

Maybe if you stopped running from this person to that person trying to find someone to tell you what you should do, and went directly to God for yourself you would find that he would show you the answer. Too often he is our last resort and we could have saved ourself a lot or grief if we had gone to him first.

Go to God and ask Him to show you the way
Colossians 2:2-3 (NIV1984)
My purpose is that they may be encouraged in heart and united in love, so that they may have the full riches of complete understanding, in order that they may know the mystery of God, namely, Christ, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.

Do you see the word hidden in the verse above? The treasures of wisdom and knowledge are hidden in Christ. You need his help to see them. You get his help when you spend time with him.




Friday, September 14, 2012

Profiting from Trials

A Devotional by Margot Cioccio

(Here's another from the old journal of mine that I found while cleaning this week.)

James 1:2-4 (NKJV)
My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing. 

You hear people joke from time to time in Christian circles and say things like "Don't ask God for patience." It's clear they have discovered that asking for patiences comes along with a series of trials that will work to produce patience and perseverance in us. 
Sometimes it is having to wait for an answer to a prayer. Sometimes it is having to put up with difficult people. Sometimes we make a big mess due to poor choices or sin and it takes a while to clean it up and often time to learn to deal with the consequences. In any case joy is not based on circumstances. Joy is a gift and is always available to us in Jesus. 
 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18  
 Rejoice always,  pray without ceasing,  in everything give thanks; 
for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.


I think the tendency when going through difficult times and trials is that we become completely focused and wrapped up in them. Its like all we can see is the giant problem. It is in those times we need to turn our eyes to Jesus.  "Walk closely with me Lord, anoint me with your joy. " I am convinced that if we find the secret of possessing His joy than we will walk through trials and we will gain patience. I think if we focus on being or becoming patient we will be frustrated. Patience is the result of joy, thankfulness and abiding prayer. It is in and thorough difficulties that we are afforded the opportunity to learn to trust and to look to Jesus and know him more intimately.  I have found that I can focus on the problem and be critical and discouraged. Or I can focus on the stuff that is working and be thankful and in so doing I am demonstrating that I trust God's timing and ability to deal with the things that are not working.

Joy is a gift, thankfulness the attitude that I choose. Abiding prayer is the privilege of being in relationship with Jesus. If we have joy, thankfulness and abiding prayer we will find we are able to be patient. Maybe it is knowing that we are not alone. That Jesus is active and present in my circumstance. I suppose also that often in trials there has been sin either in creating the trial or in how we have chosen to deal with it. I have discovered that sin does separate us from God. Our shame and guilt can become a massive barrier that keeps us from His presence. Confess your sins quickly. Don't put off taking the time to talk to God about what is going on in your heart - he already knows but he waits for you to be willing to share it with him.  

Keep short accounts with God. Be quick to repent or to forgive. He is willing to forgive you and be with you through the trials and circumstances that you are presently facing. We get into trouble when we let sin keep us from God. We become easy targets for the enemy during those times. Some people stop going to church when they have messed up or sinned. They don't feel they are good enough to go to church and be in God's presence. The truth is that when things are a mess we need is when we most need God and to be around people who will love us and point us back to Jesus. We need to be reminded that he accepts us and waits for us to invite him to help us. His kindness leads us to repentance. Often it is his kindness shown through his people. 

Prayer: 
Lord help us to be people who will love others when they are struggling. Help us to be people who will pray and speak the truth in a loving way. Let the word convict and your people be your agents of love, grace and mercy. Thank you Lord for the trials that are producing patience and perseverance in our lives. Help us to experience your joy as our strength, to choose to be thankful and to abide with you in prayer. Help us to know you more intimately as a result of the journey we are on and the things we are presently facing.
 

Thursday, September 13, 2012

James the Bondservant

A Devotional by Margot Cioccio

James 1:1 (NIV1984)
James, a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ,
To the twelve tribes scattered among the nations: Greetings.

This is the organized version  - it was much worse.
My completed hallway project.
Yesterday I cleaned and organized our hallway. We have it lined on one side with shelves filled with books, school supplies, kitchen things. Its kind of the catch all area for our very small house. So yesterday I took everything off the shelves and had it all over the kitchen and living room. I did not have the heart to take pictures of the big mess. I am grateful that my children both pitched in to help. We moved all the shelves to sweep under and behind them. Then put about half of everything back. The rest is waiting in the garage to go to Goodwill. In my little cleaning adventure I came across a journal filled with little daily devotionals I had written about five years ago.  So I thought I would get them added to this growing collection of devotionals

James The Bondservant

I was reading a novel based in the middle ages recently. In it I came across a term that I was unfamiliar with. There were in that time women hermits who were called anchoress'.  I don't know why they were given that name any more than why they call men hermits. Hermits remind me of hermit carbs living alone in their own little shell. Anchoress makes me think of Jesus being our anchor beyond the veil. I will need to research this more. The I like the idea of a bondservant or an anchoress, being one who is securely united with Christ who has anchored or chained themselves to him.

Take a look at the starting sentence in the verse above from the book of James. James is telling us who he is. He's not James bishop of somewhere, or James the brick maker's son, just James, or even little Jim.  He introduces himself as Jame, a servant of Christ. In some translations it uses the word bondservant. Bondservants are people who are not forced into slavery or servanthood. They are those who freely choose to be a servant in this case James has chosen to be a bondservant to God and to Jesus Christ.  It makes me recall the Moravians a group of christians who would sell them selves into slavery so they could reach certain un reached people groups for Jesus. They were a pretty radical bunch back in the day.

We too, must realize that God will not force us to serve or him, or to choose his way over our own. He wants us to of our own will, choose him and his way. In doing that we begin our journey of becoming all that he desires for us. James could have started this letter in many ways just as you can start your day in many ways. Like James make a point to remember your voluntary choice to position yourself with Christ. Let that guide you as you make choices and decisions today. Ask the question, am I doing what my loving master would want? Am I representing him in a good way? When people see me today will they see him?

Prayer: 
Lord, Help us to remember that no one has forced us to choose to follow you. We have come to you because you first loved us. You have accepted us in our broken and fallen state but you never leave us in that place. Thank you for the work of healing and cleansing that you are doing in our life even though at times it is a painful process. Help us to remember that we serve and represent you as we go through this day.  Give us wisdom to make wise decisions and choices today.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Rejoice

A Devotional by Margot Cioccio

 “Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!” 
Philippians 4:4

I can get myself stuck in the idea that when I am struggling or wrestling with something that I have something to say. When things in my life are at rest or peaceful I find myself thinking "Where's the adventure or the story in that?" This week if I have struggled it has been in what to write about. I realize that in one week I finished a major project for our prayer loft. I'm not sure how it came together as fast as it did. I suppose most of the other things I was working on were put on hold and every free moment went to things that needed done to creating the Nautical Theme for this installment of the prayer loft. There were a lot of other things that I did not work on - that I will need to get back to working on. I suppose in I am feeling that oddness of having completed a big project. I had a very focused week of creating. The goal was clear and the vision in my head was broken down into the steps I needed to accomplish to make the whole thing happen so that others could experience the project.

Running or working on a project is the easy part for me - the other side of the finish line is hard for me. I'm not real good at celebrating or resting and I feel sort of directionless and don't know what the next project will be. I realize that resting and celebrating and watching others experience the thing that formerly only existed in my head is also important. Its funny, people have only had one week to experience the Nautical Prayer Loft and my mind is already thinking about the one that I need to have done for December 5th for the Advent season. The challenge with the new one is that I need to include others in the process. That will be exciting to try and involve some other creative folks.
We even talked in staff meeting about starting a Creative Arts Worship Group to work together to create inspring worship elements for our services. Sounds like fun. I suppose it is a different kind of creating for me one that the focus is not me creating something, but me gathering and encouraging others to take part in the process of creating things that will help others worship God. We want to become our own expressions of worship not just be copying what every other church is doing. What would God create and express through each of us if we allowed him to really use the gifts and talents that he has given us. If we took the time to seek him, and know him and spend time at his feet, what would spring forth from that place of delighting in him.

Its funny this whole ship and nautical theme has been something I have been living for a number of months. I've felt like God has shifted or released a number of the mooring lines. I have felt the tossing of the waves more. So I have been experiencing the Lord's guidance as the lighthouse that points the way and warns me of dangerous unseen rocks. I have looked to him to be my compass or my true North. I have come to him with my life and asked him to be the captain who steers the wheel and turns the ship where He would have it go. So now in looking back I can see how this whole thing as been brewing and stewing in me over the past several months. I will say to you like I have said many times before that creativity and fruitfulness comes from abiding in Him. Apart from him we can't do much of anything.

The other thing that I have around me are people like my pastor who, will talk with me about the crazy ideas in my head and help me to affirm that God is wanting something done. People who will say here's an idea take it and run with it and see what God will do through you. Its a mutual kind of thing when we act as a sounding boards for one another and affirm the gifts and callings in each others lives.  There are times when my role is behind the scenes, when I am more instrumental in fanning the flames, and encouraging. I won't be the one in the lime light or the one that others will turn to and say hey great job. This project I do get to be that person but in that place I want to recognize others who helped me. My youngest son spent the afternoon cutting out letters and helping me hang them on the wall. My family puts up with my whirlwind of my projects and helps with the other chores and things around the house so that I may focus on a project. My husband was willing to come home from a long week of work and help me with the big ladders to hang the flags for the project. I have wonderful friends like Nicole and Tonia who were around on the day when I was doing the finishing touches were gracious enough to come in countless times to see how this little change looked. They added in their voice, of yes that works, I love it, or no, there's something missing, you need something more. I realize that I am very blessed to be surrounded by some wonderful people.  Those mentioned are the ones that were around in my week of creating but there are so many others who have encouraged me in the previous months while this project has been stewing. I did not even know that it was stewing. I have just seen the Lord help me to understand his leading in recent months through nautical ideas. There have been many people who have encouraged and prayed for me. Some like my friend Ryan or Lisa who actually notice when I'm having a difficult day and take a moment to stop me and ask if I'm ok. I have facebook and blog friends who will respond to things I write and extended family that is wonderfully supportive.
I have plenty of reasons to be thankful and to rejoice.

It is important to rejoice and to remember those who have contributed, often with out even realizing that their word, or brief kindness has made a difference.

I need to wrap this up, I have music lessons and a busy day ahead of me.

Prayer:
Lord, bless and encourage these readers. Help them to draw nearer to you. I pray that they would see your creativity spill out in their own lives, through the particular gifts that you have given to them. I pray that you would cause them to be life giving people and to be surrounded by life giving leaders and people who will build them up rather than tear them down. I pray you will create life and community around them that brings glory to your name. 




 

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Spiritual Photo Challenge 4

Photo: SPIRITUAL PHOTO CHALLENGE: 5 AUgust 2012
Yesterday the kiddos and I made our very first tye-dyed clothing!  This was the result.  SO COOL!!!!  We had fun and these are the kinds of clothes we LOVE wearing!!!
When you look at the shirt you see many different colors obviously.  If the shirt were just one color, the effect of the shirt would be lost and certainly not as dynamic as it is.  the same goes for the body of Christ.  ONE BODY... MANY PARTS.  This is a great reminder for me.  I AM NOT super woman.  I can NOT do it all (although I try.. I fail miserably).  God  did not bless me with certain gifts.  I can not cook for one!  I try to be creative but I am such a health nut raw fruits and veggies are good enough for me and the kids love simple turkey sandwiches and such.  Spending hours in the kitchen and for clean up is not something I enjoy.  To some it is a passion and to others not so much.  that is OK.  i can not compare myself to those that make great gourmet stuff... that is just not my gift!   But I can be very creative in other areas like art, muisic, etc.  Some men/women are amazing at organizing.... some are great at child discipline and raising, some are fabulous at mechanics and fixing stuff up around the house, others are not but are good at teaching.  God like diversity... He made us ALL unique.  So todays challenge is embrace who God made you to be.  So what if you are not LIKE someone else or good at what he/she is good at.  It is ALL good!!!  Don't compare yourself, use your gifts to bless someone today.  We are a colorful bunch..... and that makes life SO fun!!!



A Devotional by
my friend Debbie DeRienzo

 Yesterday the kiddos and I made our very first tye-dyed clothing!
This was the result. SO COOL!!!! We had fun and these are the kinds of clothes we LOVE wearing!!!
When you look at the shirt you see many different colors obviously. If the shirt were just one color, the effect of the shirt would be lost and certainly not as dynamic as it is. the same goes for the body of Christ. ONE BODY... MANY PARTS. This is a great reminder for me. I AM NOT super woman. I can NOT do it all (although I try.. I fail miserably). God did not bless me with certain gifts. I can not cook for one! I try to be creative but I am such a health nut raw fruits and veggies are good enough for me and the kids love simple turkey sandwiches and such. Spending hours in the kitchen and for clean up is not something I enjoy. To some it is a passion and to others not so much. That is OK. I can not compare myself to those that make great gourmet stuff... that is just not my gift! But I can be very creative in other areas like art, music, etc. Some men/women are amazing at organizing.... some are great at child discipline and raising, some are fabulous at mechanics and fixing stuff up around the house, others are not, but are good at teaching. God likes diversity... He made us ALL unique. So todays challenge is embrace who God made you to be. So what if you are not LIKE someone else or good at what he/she is good at. It is ALL good!!! Don't compare yourself, use your gifts to bless someone today. We are a colorful bunch..... and that makes life SO fun!!!
Prayer: Lord help us each embrace who you have made us to be. If some have not yet discovered thier Spiritual gifts please help them. Give them people who will help affirm the gifts in their life. I pray that you would make each one aware of opportunities to use and develop their gifts for some kindgom purpose. Help each reader to be aware of the gifts of others around them, so they may in some way encourage and fan the flames in the life of another.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Help Feed The Homeless

A Devotional by Margot Cioccio

Proverbs 21:13
If a man shuts his ears to the cry of the poor, he too will cry out and not be answered.

If you have been following this blog for any length of time you will already know I am very involved in helping the homeless each week.  Just about every week we serve a quality meal to the homeless at our church that is as good as any I would feed my own family or often what I would serve if we were having company. We are a little struggling inner city church. Many of the people in our service are very poor and unable to give a financial offering and give by taking the time to vacuum or empty trash or pull weeds as their offering. In our Sunday service we have in attendance about 75 people most weeks. In the afternoon we serve a meal and have between 150 and 200 homeless and poor folks who come to our meals each week. Some times we are able to do other things like provide socks, or backpacks, sometimes a length of plastic. We have groups from other churches and organizations who come in to help cook and serve and most of our donations come from people like you who want to help but have no opportunity in their own churches. If you would like to send a donation to help feed the homeless I've put a button on my site on the top left side or follow this link to make a donation to help First Covenant Church feed and help the homeless. https://www.paypal.com/cgi-bin/webscr?cmd=_s-xclick&hosted_button_id=E2R88A48KP6YQ
Also here is a link to our web site: http://www.fccspokane.org/

Here's one of my favorite video take one stories about how a bit of plastic sheet helped some folks.    (If you are following by e-mail you need to click the post title to come back to the Devotional site to see it. Its a good one so don't miss it. )


Proverbs 28:27
He who gives to the poor will lack nothing, but he who closes his eyes to them receives many curses.

I am often surprised at how such little things as a new pair of socks or a piece of plastic, or a listening ear can mean so much to someone with so little. I know that it is hard for some people to get past the idea that these people made their mistakes and now are having to pay the consequences. That is so counter to how Jesus operates. You made your mistakes and have reaped the consequences yet if you call out to Jesus he comes and meets you right where you are today. He helps you take your broken messed up life and turn it around for his glory. He shows us un deserved favor, and mercy that we have done nothing to earn. He calls us to be his agents of mercy and justice in the world. He did not leave us here just to have goose bump services, he left us here to be salt, that preserves and light that drives away the darkness. Our little corner of the world should, as we grow up in him and exhibit is character and model how his kingdom works, begin to be transformed.
 
So here's a small thing that you could do today no matter where you are in the world. If you have a facebook page or would create a facebook page you could vote in a poll for your favorite charity. Parker Toyota has a facebook poll and will be giving away $8000 dollars to the first place winner as well as prizes for 2-4th places.  We have made it to the top 10 and last I checked we were in 6th place. Winning any of the cash prizes would help us feed a lot of folks. Please spread the word.

So here's what you do. 
Click this link to go to Parker Toyota page. 
https://www.facebook.com/#!/parkertoyota
Scroll down the page to find the poll.
Click see more to find First Covenant Church on the list.
Click the button to vote. You should see your profile photo show up on that line when you vote.
Then if you could ask your facebook friends or post a note on your facebook or twitter asking your friends to vote  for First Covenant that would be really awesome 

You can be anywhere in the world and still vote - so thank you for helping us by voting and by spreading the word to feed the homeless.
Helping our homeless friends be able to vote.

Sunday at our meal we had a table full of laptops and I helped homeless folks vote for First Covenant Church on the Parker Toyota facebook poll. Some had facebook pages and others we helped to set them up so they could vote.

Prayer:
Lord, help us remember that you call us to "go", to reach out to others, to be your hands and feet. To bring your light and justice into the world we live in. Help us to stop being couch potatoes for Jesus and to be about making a difference in the lives of so many who need to see your love in action.

Friday, September 7, 2012

I saw and angel in the marble...

A Devotional by Margot Cioccio
Creating the Nautical Installation in our Prayer Loft has been my project this week. 

Psalm 93:3-4
The ocean is roaring, Lord!
    The sea is pounding hard.
Its mighty waves are majestic,
    but you are more majestic,
    and you rule over all.


John 3:8
Only God’s Spirit gives new life. The Spirit is like the
wind that blows wherever it wants to. You can hear the wind, but you don’t know where it comes from or where it is going.





This has been the bulk of what I have worked on this week. I still have a few things left to do but all in all it is good to go for Sunday's service at Spokane First Covenant Church. This all started from a painting idea that I started to work on thinking I would make some small changes to the art in our prayer loft.  During staff meeting on Tuesday my pastor started talking about boat sails coming out of the wall. That launched us in to discussing all the things that could be done with a Nautical theme. I got a working budget and headed to the basement first to see what we already had that I could use. Then I was off to Hobby Lobby and found wonderful things and got most of them at half off.
So you see the lighthouse area that reminds us that the Lord is the light that illuminates our darkness. He guides us on our journey and he warns us of dangers along the way.  In this area there is a treasure chest that has gems with promise verse references and a bible is there so you can look them up to see what God is saying to you through them. 

The next area pictured is the globes where you can pray for the nations of the world that God's love and light would penetrate into the lives of their people. One could also pray for the place in the world where believers are undergoing persecution for their faith in Jesus. 

The scrolls of blessing is my favorite part. I took passages from a book called Daily Spirit Blessings and rolled them into scrolls that people can take with them and read aloud to them selves during the week. There is power in what we speak and we need to speak the truth to our selves. 

Candles can be lit as a reminder of our prayers rising before the Lord.

The Helms Wheel is a place where one can go and pray for God's guidance and direction. 

Not pictured is an area where you can write a prayer or a confession and then toss it into the big boat hull as a act of faith - like casting your nets to the other side of the boat. I you write a confession of sin or are repenting or forgiving someone you might think of the hull as the sea of God's mercy and forgetfulness. He forgets our sins as far as the East is from the West.

I'm excited by how fast this project came together and I am delighted with how it has turned out. When I do these kind of projects they have a frame work of an idea but a lot depends on the things that I find as I gather and shop for supplies.  My pastor asked if I got the idea for how to do the ships from Pinterest and the answer is no - I just set to building it with the things that were available then added to those things.  I am convinced that it is part of my spiritual gifting because I can't tell you how I know what to do. I have a idea in my head and I work to make it visible to others.
   “In every block of marble I see a statue as plain as though it stood before me, shape and perfect in attitude and action. I have only to hew away the rough walls that imprison the lovely apparition to reveal it to the other eyes as mine see it.”~ Michelangelo

 

“I saw the angel in the marble and carved until I set him free.” ~ Michelangelo


Tuesday afternoon I had the whole area torn apart and was cutting wood and hammering nails to get the hull shaped. It took 12 yards of muslin, some boards in the basement and other odds and ends that I found on my gathering trip on Tuesday. 

Wednesday I got the sail hung on old banner poles I found in the basement. 
I then painted the hull and headed for home where I worked on rolling 200 little scrolls. 

Thursday I did all the arranging and made signs for each area to help people understand how to experience God in each area. 

Friday - I will be putting the verse above on the walls and I have some pinion flags on ropes that still need to be hung. I suppose I better also get the bulletin and power point slides done for Sunday's service.

Saturday - I hope to be home relaxing or maybe finishing the painting that started this whole Nautical direction. I don't think I will be using them in the prayer loft.  Perhaps the Lord has some other plan for them. I think my vison was just a bit too small and God opened my eyes to his bigger plan for transforming the prayer loft. He does that with our lives as well. We invite him in to work on this one little area that is causing us problems and before you know it he's got a whole spiritual house make over going on. I think that I took the step of faith to move in a direction and to choose the colors and God saw my faith and breathed upon it.

Prayer: 
Dear Lord, 
Yes, The ocean is roaring, and the sea is pounding hard.  
It may appear that you are sleeping in the boat and unaware of the storm that has risen around us.
Ah the waves are mighty, majestic and even terrifying but you are more awesome in your power and in your love and you rule over all. Lord help us to know you in the storm and help us to be quiet to hear your voice as you speak peace over our lives.