Category: <span>thoughts by Idelette McVicker</span>

Through seasons of suffering and loss, when things seem most dark, remember to praise my God, in spite of the circumstances.


Naked I came from my mother’s womb, naked I’ll return to the womb of the earth. God gives, God takes. God’s name be ever blessed.” Job 1:21 (Msg)

Let’s just say Job is not the most popular name on the baby name sites. We like to name our children after the typical heroes, names that can bless them with a future of power and strength. Job’s name is synonymous with suffering and loss. And yet, Job is someone we can hold up as an example of strength, patience, grace, love, friendship with God and the ultimate comeback.

Several years ago, I attended a weekend retreat in the mountains in Taipei. We were organized in groups and had to choose a person from the Bible to represent our table. Our table chose Job. “What?”  I thought, but trusted that God would show up in this seemingly strange choice. The light came on for me when we created a one-sentence mantra to describe our hero. I still remember it:  “Job, a humble, but wealthy man who praised God, in spite of his circumstances.”

Job holds out a life story that, in the end, is noteworthy. He walked through the pain and came out admirable.

Through seasons of suffering and loss, when things seem most dark, do I remember to praise my God, in spite of my circumstances? Job continues to remind me that everything I have is a gift.

Reflect: What are you thankful for today?

by Idelette McVicker
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Further Reading

Depression Story – There is Hope – Merri Ellen Giesbrecht tells her depression story and her story of hope

 Afraid of Being called a ‘Religious Fanatic” – Norm Brown’s story

•  Salvation Explained


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Because He suffered, we can find comfort in the midst of pain and chaos.


He was despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows, and familiar with suffering. Like one from whom men hide their faces he was despised, and we esteemed him not.Isaiah 53:3 (NIV)

How human we are.

How broken is our world.

How incomplete are our relationships.

And yet, in that brokenness and pain, we can come to Jesus and see Him bent over, agonizing in the Garden. He’s been there. He understands. And He provides comfort for those who mourn; He binds up the broken-hearted. He proclaims freedom for the captives.

My deepest comfort can be drawn from Jesus, the man familiar with suffering. He laid down everything He was, every ounce of dignity and honor, to be despised and rejected so we don’t have to carry it. He deserved nothing but glory and yet He chose the simple life of a carpenter and allowed a shameful death on a cross in exchange for Life

My deepest comfort can be drawn from Jesus, the man familiar with suffering. He laid down everything He was, every ounce of dignity and honor, to be despised and rejected so we don’t have to carry it. He deserved nothing but glory and yet He chose the simple life of a carpenter and allowed a shameful death on a cross in exchange for Life

I can draw strength from a God who has experienced every broken human emotion. Because He was despised, I can turn to Him for Love. Because He was rejected, we are accepted. Because He suffered, we can find comfort in the midst of pain and chaos. He took it all upon Himself.

Jesus, Jesus, Jesus! You deserve our unending praise. I am so grateful for what You did on the cross … so grateful. Thank You. Amen.

by Idelette McVicker
Used by Permission


If you have never surrendered your life to Christ, and would like to know Him in the way the author does,  you can start today. Simply say this prayer and your journey with Christ will begin:

Prayer

Lord Jesus, I want to trust you from now on. Thank You for dying on the cross for my sins. I open the door of my life and receive You as my Savior and Lord. Thank You for forgiving my sins and giving me eternal life. Take control of my life. Make me be the person You want me to be. Thank you for enabling me to trust you in these uncertain times. Amen.

Another Sample Prayer:

Dear God, today I bring you my life, my hopes, my dreams, my deepest yearnings … You know me intimately. You knew me even before I was formed in the womb. You called me into this world to do good and live the life I was uniquely and specifically created for. I ask for Courage and Wisdom to live this life–the life of my dreams. Show me where to start and help me be open to hearing your Voice today. I ask for a greater consciousness of your Presence, today and every day of my life. Amen.


If you prayed this prayer we would love to hear from you . If you would like to know God deeper we can connect you with an email mentor and/or send you some great links.


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Further Reading

•  At the Foot of the Cross  Powerful Poem

•  I Want to Know Him! Christ and his Resurrection Power

•  Salvation Explained


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“This is my body, given for you; do this in remembrance of me.” Luke 22:19 (NIV)


I remember waking up in a narrow twin bed. I was at a women’s retreat: two nights away from home, with time to spend with God in the company of other women. It was still early. I reached for my Bible and opened it to Luke chapter 22. I heard the women in the hallways, getting ready for the day. There was cheerful chatter and noise that can only happen at a women’s retreat where thirty women have to share bathrooms and hairdryers.

I was still reading when the Spirit stopped me in my tracks:

This is my body, given for you;
This is my body, given for you;
This is my body, given for you!

The words rang in my ears as I heard the sound of the women in the background. Thoughts and emotions collided. This is my body given for you. These were members of our church “the Body of Christ” and they too were given to me. I had always thought only of Christ’s physical body and His offering when taking communion. For the first time, I felt the sacred gift in the presence of my fellow members of the Body. These are the people we share our lives with, our community. A gift to everyone who is willing to partake.

By Idelette McVicker
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Photo Credit – Tom Sens ; https://www.flickr.com/photos/riverofgod/
Some Rights Reserved: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nd/2.0/


Further Reading

•  Easter articles

• The Easter Story

•  Salvation Explained


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Jesus’ very act of coming to earth meant exchanging heaven for a human life on earth.


I love that the Son of God didn’t seek out only environments and places to visit worthy of his heavenly identity. After all, his very act of coming meant exchanging heaven for a human life on earth. He deliberately chose simple environments, like a stable, to display the power of the Kingdom of God. For me, his visit to the Pool of Bethesda stands out. It was a place where “a great number of disabled people used to lie, the blind, the lame, the paralyzed.” (John 5:1-3) It struck me that this was probably not the most hygienic place around.

Imagine the smell. Most of these people couldn’t make it to the bathroom on their own. I imagine most regular people didn’t frequent this pool and yet Jesus chose to enter into this humble environment and bring healing.

Who and what do I surround myself with? Which places do I frequent? Is this where Jesus would go? Perhaps it’s time to consider the positions we have created for ourselves and our thoughts about where we belong on this earth, and then, just like Jesus did, let’s lay these down.

Thank You, Jesus, for coming to earth and laying down Your divinity. Today, I lay down any concept of self that excludes me from entering the humble, stinky places where you would hang out. I ask for the grace to walk where You go. Amen.

By Idelette McVicker
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Further Reading

•   A Poem of Hope

•   The Healing – A  poem by Katy Kauffman

•  Salvation Explained


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Our heart can be turned towards many things and even other people.


“Teacher, what good thing must I do to get eternal life?” Matthew 19:16 (NIV)

Devotion speaks to the position of the heart: a heart fully turned to the one we love. God longs to be the recipient of our affection and have our heart.

Who or what is your heart turned towards today?

When Jesus responded to the rich young ruler’s question, he wanted to find out where his heart was. Keeping the commandments is part of devotion to God, but it needs to flow out of a heart that is turned towards God. Jesus made it clear that following the rules alone was not enough. It would be an act of service, dutiful and metallic, but devoid of heart. Until he was willing to turn his heart away from money and towards God, he couldn’t truly follow God.

Our heart can be turned towards many things and even other people. Is there anything you are not willing to bring to the altar? – Your house, your career, your position, your husband, your children, your closet, your bank account, a parent? What do you hold most dear? What do you treasure in your heart?

When God has our heart, He truly has our life.

Thank You, Father, that You are interested in my heart and not necessarily my service. You are my treasure and I want You to have every piece of my heart. Today I lay down everything that holds me from following You with all of my heart. Amen.

By Idelette McVicker
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Further Reading

•  How to Fall in Love with Jesus by Sylvia Gunter

•   Keeping Yourself in God’s Love – even during painful times in your life

•  Salvation Explained


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Lord, you are such a faithful Shepherd. Thank you for leading me in “paths of righteousness,” especially when life seems uncertain.


Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff they comfort me.
Psalm 23: 4
(NIV)

I drove home through thick fog tonight. There have been fog patches around our home and in the area these past two weeks. I hardly ever drive through thick mist without thinking about my relationship with God.  It becomes such a tangible representation of our faith journey through life and how dependent we are on our Guide to lead us every step of the way. How easily I could get caught up in Fear, forgetting what a faithful Shepherd we have. He is a loving God who never changes. He guides us through the foggy times and dances with us when the sun shines. Our Lord is, after all, the Light of the world and He is never far away.

Reflect: Where do you find comfort in times of uncertainty?

Prayer:
Lord, you are such a faithful Shepherd. Thank you for leading me in “paths of righteousness,” especially when life seems uncertain.

by Idelette McVicker
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Further Reading

•   Overflowing with Life!

•   Spiritual Oxygen: Are You Getting Enough?

•  Salvation Explained


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My children often show me the very basics of our humanness.


Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.” Matthew 19:14 (NIV)

My children often show me the very basics of our humanness. The not-yet-redeemed parts: how we are innately selfish, greedy and impatient. They also show me the heavenly parts: how to play and dream. How to move and make up stories. How to love and come in for a cuddle. Children are not afraid of intimacy and adventure. Their hearts are wide open, ready to love, happy to explore. Children are eager to learn; not yet set in their ways.

While most people love babies, not all people tolerate children. And yet, Jesus said: Let the children come. Children interrupt our ideas of perfection. How often I think of heaven as a perfect place where every duck is in a row. But Jesus said, Let the children come. In a way, I have come to think that He says, Come, let’s invite in the chaos. Let’s fling open the skies and let the noise come in. Let’s learn together and play, like the family I meant for us to be. It’ll be fun.

Prayer:
Lord, help me to come to You, like a child. Help me to learn from You, like a child. Help me to be more open to the chaos and noisiness of Life. Help me to see You in these moments. Amen.

By Idelette McVicker
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Further Reading

What is the Father Saying to You?

Open My Eyes

•  Salvation Explained


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Where is my heart today: focused on the news around me or rested in the Savior of the world?


In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world. (This was the first census that took place while Quirinius was governor of Syria.) And everyone went to his own town to register.” Luke 2:1-3

Jesus was born into a world taken up with Caesar Augustus’ census. People were travelling to get to their own towns so they could register. Bethlehem was bustling with activity—all the inns were full—and I’m sure everyone was talking about the census. It shouldn’t surprise me that this is the time God chooses for Jesus to be born into the world. While everyone is focused on the seemingly important events of the day, Jesus, Savior of the world, is born in a manger.

There is so much demanding our attention in the world every day. Elections, climate change, economic fluctuations, war, natural disasters, personal struggles. It is into this atmosphere—this hustle and bustle—that Jesus chooses to be born into again and again. He pierces through our activity and calls us to come and adore Him … to see the wonder of His birth.

Reflect:  How can I invite Jesus into the activities of my day today?

Where is my heart today: focused on the news around me or rested in the Savior of the world?

Jesus, thank You for coming into my very own story and calling me to see You. Today I adore You and I thank You for the wonder of Your birth.

By Idelette McVicker
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Further Reading

Christmas Section
Stories:  Why I Choose God
•  Salvation Explained


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Jesus sees us. Even before anyone sees what we are capable of, He knows us and He sees us.


I saw you under the fig tree before Philip called you.”
John 1: 48

Nathanael didn’t quite believe Philip when he said Jesus of Nazareth was the Messiah. In fact, Nathanael’s response was, “Can anything good come out of Nazareth?” (John 1:46)

When Nathanael checks Jesus out, ‘instead of confronting Nathanael about his unbelief’ Jesus speaks to him about a part of Nathanael’s life that no human would know. He reveals to Nathanael that He, as the Son of God, knows him. “I saw you under the fig tree before Philip called you,” Jesus tells him. To me it says that even before Nathanael started his ministry work, Jesus saw him. Even when no one else knew what Nathanael was capable of, Jesus saw him.

It’s in this instance that Nathanael believes Jesus truly is who Philip said He is.

In the same way, Jesus sees us. Even before anyone sees what we are capable of, He knows us and He sees us.

Jesus sees you. He has been with you, watching you, walking with you. He has seen the pain, the struggle, the depth of your desire. He also sees you today, where you are working, where you live and where you love. Jesus sees you and He is wanting to draw ever closer as you spend your life in Him.

Reflect:
Jesus, where did You see me?

Prayer:
Thank You for seeing me today, Jesus. You see me. You see me. I am right here. Thank You, Amen.

by Idelette McVicker
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Further Reading

Spiritual Oxygen: Are You Getting Enough?

Learning to Listen – by Max Lucado

•  Salvation Explained


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God knows the depths of our possibility, the depths of our potential. God knows the depths of our capacity and the depths of our destiny.


Your name is no longer Jacob. From now on it is Israel (God-Wrestler); you’ve wrestled with God and you’ve come through.” Genesis 32:28 (Msg)

The story of Jacob speaks to me of someone desperate for a deep, deep blessing from God. Jacob wanted it so much that he was willing to wrestle with God through the night. He wasn’t about to let up and, in fact, said, “I’m not letting you go until you bless me.” Genesis 32:26 (Msg)

Jacob had a deep need to be restored at the core of his person. There are depths in each of us that only God knows. He wants to go there with each of us. He wants to bless us in the deepest place. He wants to meet us at the core of our being.

God knows the depths of our possibility, the depths of our potential. God knows the depths of our capacity and the depths of our destiny. Jacob was more than a dreamer. He was willing to wrestle with (even) God to get his blessing.

Reflect:
– What is your deepest need today?
– What are you willing to wrestle for?

Dear Father, Thank You that Your perfect love means You desire to bless us. You want to meet us in our deepest places and bless us at the core of our being. Meet me there, today, Lord. I need Your blessing. I love You. Amen.

By Idelette McVicker
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Further Reading

•  Hope for the Hopeless

•  A Passion for Helping Others – Business leader, Ken Kolek, talks about putting others first and how this affects his business dealings.

•  Salvation Explained


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“Lord, Teach Us to Pray.” Luke 11:1


Leonard Sweet recently wrote (on Twitter):

When my mother died, I set her Bible on a table and let it open itself. Psalm 91, to my surprise. Where does your Bible open itself?”

I decided to take the fun challenge and let my Bible open by itself. It’s a small Bible because I like to carry it in my purse, so honestly it kept falling over. Finally it opened to Luke 11. Jesus’ teaching on prayer. I read it with fresh eyes. I was struck by verse 8:

“I tell you, though he will not get up and give him the bread because he is his friend, yet because of the man’s boldness he will get up and give him as much as he needs.

Jesus prescribes boldness in our asking. How do I approach God – Am I asking for the world? Am I stepping out in faith, asking for the miraculous? Once I have aligned my heart with God’s purposes, God wants to work through His children as we pray. God wants us to ask for brokenness to be restored, slavery to end, abuse to stop, mountains to move.

Today, let us align our hearts with His and be bold in our asking.

Father, we want Your Kingdom to come on earth as it is in heaven. Today, help me direct my prayers in such a way that Your Kingdom will come through me.

By Idelette McVicker
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Further Reading

•  How did Jesus Pray?
•  Intercessory Prayer Story
•  Salvation Explained


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As they pass through the Valley of Baca, they make it a place of springs.” Psalm 84:6 (NIV)

Our faith isn’t made only for the mountaintop experiences.

Sometimes we pass through dry seasons and valleys in our journey. It is in the valley that we discover what our faith is made of. Can it survive when we have to walk it out, day by day, even when the height of experience attained on the mountain is merely a memory?

When the Israelites left Egypt, they were thrilled to move into the promise of a better future. But they had scarcely left, or they began to complain. They’d forgotten God’s faithfulness and provision and they had lost sight of the promise. When God gives us a promise, rarely are we transported there instantly. We always need to walk it out. It is in the journey that character is revealed and built. We all need to pass through the valley. What makes the difference, however, is how we pass through. Our heart attitude determines whether we spend 40 days or 40 years in the desert.

Where are you at in your journey?

How are you turning your valley into a place of springs? May you always find the treasure of Jesus in the midst of your own valley.

By Idelette McVicker
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Further Reading

•  Struggles, Despair -Articles
•  They Say I’m Nothing, but I’m Something A poem
•  Salvation Explained

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But Lord,’ Gideon asked, ‘How can I save Israel? My clan is the weakest in Manasseh and I am the least in my family.’ The Lord answered, ‘I will be with you …’” Judges 6:15

How often do I look within or to another before I look up? Gideon looked at where he came from. He looked at his own accomplishments and his personal sense of identity, trying to establish whether he was equipped for the task, but God had a different answer: “I will be with you,” God told Gideon.

Sometimes, living in our fearlessly independent society, we forget that we don’t have to rely on self. We don’t need the perfect credentials to walk in the call God has for us.

Instead, we are partnered with the God of the Universe who promises: “I will be with you.” It’s the promise of Emmanuel—God with us. We don’t have to do it alone. We can look up and fix our eyes on this God who can do “immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us …”

Thank you, Lord, that You are my partner and my strength. Thank You for the promise that You will be with me as I set out to do what You are calling me to today. Amen.

By Idelette McVicker
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Further Reading

•   Broken but Made Beautiful
•  Alone But Not Lonely
•  Salvation Explained

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You’re blessed when you’re content with just who you are, no more, no less. That’s the moment you find yourselves proud owners of everything that can’t be bought.” Matthew 5:5 (MSG)

Contentment. According to Merriam-Webster’s dictionary, to be contented is “feeling or showing satisfaction with one’s possessions, status, or situation.” This past summer I watched neighbors buy luxury SUV’s and new furniture and paint their homes. Some have elaborate play structures in their backyards; others are constantly remodelling. For the first time in my life, I had to come face to face with the notion of “keeping up with the Jones’s.” At the same time, I’ve  read Raising Kids for True Greatness by Dr. Tim Kimmel.

My inner world felt turbulent as I grappled with my own notions of success. How do I define a successful life? Is that really what God calls me to? Instead, Kimmel suggests, we follow in Jesus’ footsteps and aim for true greatness. It’s still hard when you watch what feels like an entire neighborhood marching to a different drummer. Recently I caught a snippet of a radio broadcast on our local Christian station. One of the speakers shared how his children were constantly saying, “It’s not fair.” He challenged them through the parable of the workers in the vineyard (Matthew 20) to realize that when we compare our lives with others, we lose our contentment. Instead we focus on what we have and turn our hearts to gratitude. “Comparison ruins contentment,” he added. That’s exactly what I needed to hear. In our home, we have decided to follow Jesus and follow the beat of His heart. What a relief not to have to live up to any other expectations.

Reflection:

– What moves you out of your place of contentment?
– What are you grateful for today?

Dear Lord, Thank You that You are my shepherd and I have everything I need. Your love covers me, lifts me and fills me. Today, again, I choose to dance to the beat of Your heart. I love You, Amen.

By Idelette McVicker
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Further Reading

•  A Thought about Gratitude
•  If He Closes One Door, He Opens Another!
•  Salvation Explained

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“I know the greatness of the Lord -that our Lord is greater than any other god.”  Psalm 135:5 (NLT)

Dictionary.com defines “devotion” as “profound dedication; consecration” and “earnest attachment to a cause, person, etc.”  We know that devotion is our 24/7 way of being with God. At the same time, setting aside consecrated time daily to spend with God is my act of devotion; of showing God my profound dedication to Him. It is not a matter of habit or religious duty, but rather it flows out of love.

During this time before our Lord, our Heavenly Father becomes the central focus of our devotion. We worship Him, and only Him. We can come, not only because we love God, but also because we know that God loves us unconditionally. We can come without our armor. We can come expectant and with our hearts opened up to Him. From this central place of devotion, we can move out into the rest of the day, pointing our life towards our King.

What brings you today to spend time with our Lord?

Dear Father, I am devoted to You. May I center my day around You today, so that I can walk in the great Love You have for me.

By Idelette McVicker
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Further Reading

•  What is the Father Saying to You?
•  Serving the Lord Wholeheartedly
•  Salvation Explained

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