Posts Categorized: devotional

Deflate the Bed and Give Me Life

By Karisa Moore

“The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance” (2 Peter 3:9).

Turning My Page

My bed finally deflated. After three weeks of camping out in the living room, post foot surgery, I made the decision I would brave the stairs to sleep in my bed. I didn’t realize until I determined to press forward into healing how crippled I had become in spirit. Two nasty falls had made me terrified of reinjuring my vulnerable foot. Even when my family attempted to help or push me around in a wheelchair, I would grip the wheel or gripe that they were going too fast. I wanted control of the healing.

But I don’t get to determine how long the bone, tendon, muscles, or skin take to heal. I both need to be actively moving my foot to keep muscle weakness from setting in, and keep weight off it. Time, patience, and a willingness to allow others to provide for me are all necessary. Oh, how restless I become while dependent upon others.

God, I treat you with the same impatience. When I hear another person has given in to despair, I wonder where you are. When my own children wrestle with loss and health issues beyond their comprehension, I grow weary. Do something! I scream. I know you have a perfect plan, but this does not feel perfect. I desperately want to know my two remaining children will survive their physical challenges and thrive in life and faith. I want friends and family to know the compassion and grace of God, and I want the tide of despair in this world to turn.

And God agrees with those desires because at just the right time he entered the world in human form. We were sinners, longing for someone to rescue us from the cycle of destruction we seemed set in. Heal us from our sickness! Deliver my child from demons! Rescue us from oppression. Years and years Israel waited for the Savior and he didn’t come. They poured over scripture, neighboring nations heard of the promised one, and paranoid kings shivered with nightmares of a God greater than themselves. People suffered. Still, he didn’t come.

Just as God knew his one and only son had to be born at the exact time in history for Christianity to spread like fire, he enters our pain and reveals his good, pleasing and perfect will. Do some of us hear the message and reject him? Yes. He is nothing like I expected. He will never fit into my box of preconceived beliefs, but he expands my faith to recognize his will is that none perish. Healing came for all mankind.

https://www.christianitytoday.com/history/people/martyrs/dietrich-bonhoeffer.htmlI may never fully see this side of heaven the result of standing firm in faith when my legs are literally jelly right now. Are you standing in what feels like quicksand? Press into the fullness of God’s good, perfect, and pleasing will. His timing brings us stories like Isaac, Joseph, King David, Ruth, Esther,  the Apostle Paul, Corrie ten Boom, Harriet Tubman, William Wilberforce,  Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Kanye West and my own. Add your story to this list. Be patient in affliction and wait expectantly for God’s will.  Deflate the bed of fear and trust God’s good, perfect, and pleasing will.

Turning Your Page

Do you have a fear you need to deflate? Identify any fear that hinders you from moving forward and embracing life. There are so many heroes of faith. Study the ones in scripture, study the modern-day heroes of faith. Not even one of you is alone in fear, alone in circumstances, and or alone in faith. Take courage that you can stand firm even when your heart feels it can’t.

  • What fears are currently plaguing your life and crippling action? List them on paper and then pick one or two verses addressing fear to meditate on.
  • Observe others who wrestle fear. What actions do they take to move forward, what encourages them?
  • What positive habits do you have, or will you have that are not based upon feeling? Pick a few to do every day without fail. These are nonnegotiable.

Lord, I am paralyzed with fear. Reveal the clear next step and help to stand firm when I feel I cannot go further. Amen

Join our Facebook discussion on fear at 7 pm EST.

We’ll talk about the reality of fear and the weapons we have to fight, protect, and take new ground.

I Cannot Stop the Impact of Evil, But I Can Trust God

“So we say with confidence, “The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid. What can mere mortals do to me? Remember your leaders, who spoke the word of God to you. Consider the outcome of their way of life and imitate their faith. Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever” (Hebrews 13:6-8, NIV).

Sara cradled me as she braced for impact.

I was only a toddler and the seatbelt laws had not yet been implemented. It was News Year Day and my parents were driving back from a party with their friend holding me on her lap in the back seat. As we drove through a four-way stop another car broadsided us sending Sara and I flying against the opposite door. I was safe in her arms, but Sara’s collarbone was broken by the impact.

I have no memory of the traumatic event, but others do. Sara’s only thought, as she saw the oncoming headlights, protect Karisa. She sacrificed her own body to keep me from harm. I couldn’t stop the evil that occurred that night. I wasn’t even aware of it. The driver of the other car sped off and never seemed to experience justice for hurting us.

Sin has an impact but does not have the final say. For the wages of sin is death (Romans 3:23). Everything in this life is working towards that end, but Jesus came that we may have life and have it to the fullest (John 10:10). His sacrifice on the cross and resurrection has always given the opportunity for an abundant life. The choices are: Come into agreement with death or embrace life.

I hated my life and came into agreement with Satan’s plot by attempting to take my own life. Growing up I accused God of neglecting me and harbored anger towards him for not stopping the evil of abuse in my life. Yes, sin had an impact, but God protected me from the consequences. I now know the only difference between Judas, the betrayer of Jesus and Peter the betrayer of Jesus is, Peter did not take his own life. He turned his page of betrayal to see the resurrection. God built his church on Peter.

God is building his church on me. I thought I was worthless, unredeemable, and God too distant to care about me. God protected my purpose in the loving arms of a woman who bears scars for my sake.

Jesus bears scars for our sake. We may never know all of them, or how deep they are, but he has a mark for every evil done to us and every evil we have done to others.

I am reaching through these next words and cupping your tear-streaked face in my hands and declaring: Your life was purposed since the foundation of the earth. How many times has God redeemed and protected your purpose? He knows you, he created you, and no matter how much evil impacts you he is trustworthy.

I realize I cannot stop the impact of evil, but I can trust God. Yes, evil takes precious things from us, but there is so much more to the story. Don’t stop living it. There is resurrection. There are changed lives. There is hope that does not disappoint. Don’t stop standing firm in the midst of evil. Come to know the one who wins and resurrects every heartache we experience and give crazy, amazing and abundant life.

In the Lion’s Den of Fear

“Now Daniel so distinguished himself among the administrators and the satraps by his exceptional qualities that the king planned to set him over the whole kingdom.” … “So the king gave the order, and they brought Daniel and threw him into the lions’ den. The king said to Daniel, “May your God, whom you serve continually, rescue you!” (Daniel 6:3. 10).

Join me to study fear at my Facebook page: Karisa Lynn Moore

  • How did things change so drastically for Daniel in the matter of 7 verses?
  • Where is God in all of this?
  • How do we respond to fear and drastic changes in our circumstances?

To Know God by Guest Blogger Amy Malcomb

Have you ever completely geeked out over a celebrity? I have.  It was 15 years ago when my husband and I attended a Toby Mac concert.  We were huge DC Talk fans and seeing Toby Mac perform with his new band Diverse City was just as exciting. 

After the concert, he set up a table outside the auditorium to sign autographs.  We didn’t feel like standing in line so we went across the street to Wendy’s and bought some food.  At the last minute, we bought some extra food to give to Toby Mac.  When we returned we only had to wait a few minutes in line before we were able to talk to him.  We gave him the extra food and then had a great conversation about race relations in the church and adopting biracial children.  I think I managed to stay calm during the conversation but afterward, whenever I would talk to anyone about it, I would become overexcited and talk very fast.  Many years later it is kind of embarrassing to think about how I was on cloud nine simply because I had a conversation with a famous Christian musician. 

Oh, and don’t get me started about the fact that I graduated from the same high school as Jennifer Garner.  My kids groan whenever I start to mention it.  They have heard it too many times before. 

Here’s the thing though, Toby Mac and Jennifer Garner are just everyday people, sinners like everyone else.  It is only our culture that has elevated them to the high caste called talented and famous.  And if I can be honest with myself, I know they aren’t above anyone else despite what our culture leads us to believe.  I also know that Jennifer Garner has never met me and has no idea who I am. Likewise, I am fairly certain that Toby Mac does not remember me, the conversation or the meeting.   

Sometimes we become excited about meeting someone simply because they are famous, rich, powerful, or popular.  Even though in our heart we know they are simply human like us.  We might wonder what it would be like to be friends with them.  We think it would somehow make our lives better if we were to have them around.   

Let me share something astounding with you.    There is someone who is rich, powerful, strong, and wise who desires a relationship with you.   In fact, HE wants more than just a casual friendship or a shallow comradery.  He wants an intimate, loving, no holds barred, kind of relationship.  He wants to not only know about you, but He wants to be known by you.  

Amos 4:13 says this about Him:

He who forms the mountains, 
Creates the wind,
And reveals his thoughts to man,
He who turns dawn to darkness,
And treads the high places of the earth-
The Lord God Almighty is his name.  
It is mind boggling to think about this.

Someone who formed the mountains desires a relationship with you. The one who creates the wind, he reveals his thoughts to man!! (That is, you and me.)   He treads the high places of the earth, causes the sun to rise and set and he reveals his thoughts to man!!!  Talk about having friends in high places, that is a truly powerful friend.

  Jeremiah 33;2-3 says “This is what the Lord says, he who made the earth, the Lord who formed it and established it- the Lord is his name: ‘Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know.”   So yes, the Creator of the world wants us to call out to Him, to seek Him, and to ask Him questions.

Try to grasp the big picture.   He wants to have a relationship with you!  He desires to share things with you.   He also cares about you, though.  Did you know that Jesus said in Matthew 10:30 that his Father knows how many hairs are on your head?  Is it sinking in yet?  He wants to be a part of your life, not just on Sunday morning, but every day, every minute, every second, all the bad parts, all the mundane trivial parts, all the exciting events.   He wants to be there. 

                God in his infinite wisdom though, knew it would be difficult for us as humans to know an abstract being on a deep level. He wanted us to understand that he was a compassionate, powerful, and just God.   And he wanted us to know Him on a profound level.

Philippians 2: 6 explains his solution.   (Jesus)” Who being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped but made himself nothing taking the very nature of a servant being made in human likeness”.   He came to be our Redeemer but he also came that we may know him and understand him better.  He left heaven to walk on this earth for you and me.  He experienced cold, hunger, thirst, cruelty, and temptation in a human body so that you and I might know him fully and so that he could more fully understand us.

                As this Advent season winds down, keep your eyes focused on him.   The next time you feel disconnected from your co-workers at an office party, or feel like the black sheep at a family gathering, or if you just feel anxious or lonely because the holidays aren’t quite what you thought they should be; remember Jesus is a friend that sticks closer than a brother.  Christmas is a celebration of Emmanuel – God with us. 

                Jesus’ greatest desire remains the same as it was 2000 years ago in the crowded town of Bethlehem.  He desires to be with us no matter who we are, what we have done, or where we are.   Praise God! He is with us, He knows us, and He loves us!  That is worthy of a celebration! 

Guest Blog:Pruning Produces Blooms

Amy, a friend from college days is a vibrant, creative, and thoughtful woman who encouraged me quietly in so many ways. It is my pleasure to introduce her today,, as she blooms where God planted her.


By Amy Malcomb

“I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit, he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful” ( John 15:1-2).

I am a middle-aged wife and mother who loves to play in the dirt.   Whether it is building a sandcastle at the beach or planting bulbs in a flower bed; there is something about letting the soft gritty soil run through my fingers that soothes my Irish soul.   Maybe that is not a big confession, but guess who else loves to play in the dirt?  God.  

He formed Adam from the earth, and when Jesus died on the cross, he piled the dirt (sin) of the world onto his shoulders. God sits down in the middle of the craziness of our lives, the joys, the failures, the insecurities, the hopes and dreams, the disappointments (the metaphorical dirt) and be a part of it all.

Last week my friend asked me to meditate on John 15.  She also encouraged me to go outside and enjoy the sunshine more often.  Neither easy to accomplish with small kids.  For a few minutes a day though, I managed to go outside and sit on my front porch and enjoy the sunshine which brought my attention back to the potted plant I had bought a few months before.

 Though I love gardening, we haven’t lived anywhere that I could garden for the last few years.   My current residence has a backyard and a small flowerbed in the front.  So, of course, I started planting things right away.  Between my kids and the crazy Florida weather, my endeavors were not going well.

My petunia with beautiful pink and white blossoms and a blueberry bush survived for more than a few weeks.  Then Florida was hit by heavy rain.  Pretty soon my pretty pink flower looked sick and I worried that it might not make it.  Likewise, my blueberry bush was not doing well.  It started turning brown all over.  I thought the blueberry bush was not that bad though, so I left it alone. 

The petunia looked even worse after a few more days, so I made one last-ditch effort to save it. I plucked dead blossoms, and broke off the dead branches and stems.  I kept hoping that I wasn’t doing more harm than good. The flower was about 1/3 the size it started with.  Did I help or hurt my lovely flower?

 Fast forward to about a week later; the blueberry bush died, and I threw it away.  My pretty pink petunia lived and flourished. I am a lot like that flower. God is the Master Gardener.  He knows exactly what the unhealthy (sinful) parts are.  Thankfully he does not guess at what works.  He knows exactly what to do about them.  He sees a beautiful flower beneath what needs to be removed. He trims away laziness, selfishness, and pride.   He knows the circumstances and people that will prune the sinful parts. It can be very unpleasant, even painful at times.  I know He is doing it for my good.  I know if I submit to His gardening, I will bear more fruit for Him. 

Hebrews 12:11 says that “No discipline seems pleasant at the time but painful. Later, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.” So, the next time you are feeling frustrated and questioning your circumstances, remember stay close to the Father.  He is the Master Gardener.  The pruning process may not be much fun, but rest assured He is creating something magnificent.  Happy Gardening!

When God Hits the Pause Button in Our Faith

“There remains, then, a Sabbath-rest for the people of God; for anyone who enters God’s rest also rests from their works, just as God did from his. Let us, therefore, make every effort to enter that rest, so that no one will perish by following their example of disobedience” (Hebrews 4:9-12).

God stopped me in my tracks a few months ago. Absence may or may not cause the heart to grow fonder with you readers of Turning the Page on Suicide, but God will do what he sets out to do, with or without my help. I’d rather be a part of his plan, which became clearer, once I stopped banging my head against the wall I thought was writer’s block. God put a flaming sword in my path (see Balaam’s Donkey for more information), I found peace in the silencing of my very busy keys. God has been my muse this whole journey, but somewhere along the journey, I slipped into doing rather than being a witness to you.

In this time of stepping back, God is giving me rest, reminding me of where my help comes from and opening my eyes to new possibilities. “Dream bigger,” he tells me. Just even saying those words gives me delightful goosebumps. The Holy Spirit and I are in constant conversations and he is teaching me to rest in him.

The pause button isn’t the end, but a chance for the refreshment of our spirit, a course correction, or getting new marching orders so that we can fulfill God’s purpose For me it has been a little of all the above. I sat with God, meditating on scripture and studying his character in Ezekiel. He is showing me his justice on a deeper level. He has given me a childlike faith as I play in nature with my camera. And I grow closer to my husband and children through fuller presence and prayer.

Adventures have included speaking to a women’s retreat two weeks ago and a writer/speaker conference this past weekend. God is pouring into me and preparing me for some demanding things that will take a discipline of spirit I lack. These past few months (again, once I stopped beating my writing into submission) is such a sweet and refreshing time. I feel established and rooted in love.

God will always correct, train, and prepare those who stay within His will. Have you hit a perceived wall? Sit there, not in a pout, but in submission. God, what do you want to teach me? Who should I connect with? Run through your spiritual checklist:

  • Am I in the word?
  • Who am I allowing to speak life into me?
  • Do I listen to the Spirit’s counsel?
  • Am I witnessing for the gain of my audience or my own affirmation?

The last is crucial as a writer and follower of Jesus Christ. Knowing that God is well pleased in me matters far more than any other voice in my life. Where do you garner praise? Lean into God’s love for you and if he is hitting the pause button, realize he is preparing you for exceedingly great things.

Love,

Karisa

Owning Our Quirks, Not Our Sin

I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us. For the creation waits in eager expectation for the children of God to be revealed. For the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the freedom and glory of the children of God.” (Romans 8: 18-21 NIV)

Turning My Page

When asking for Orange Juice, but what comes out of your mouth is Ketchup . . . own it!

This morning I was struggling to shake off the grog of another night of dysfunctional sleep. My husband graciously supplied my request and plopped down the ketchup bottle in front of me.

While everyone laughed, I took the bottle of ketchup and poured myself a tall glass. My family’s laughter turned to gags of horror as I downed a tall, refreshingly cold, and tangy glass of fresh-squeezed ketchup.

We are all broken. Bound to flub something. The skinny ones, the stocky ones, the tired,  the well-rested, the weak, and the strong. These slip-ups, that once sent me reeling and shutting down from humanity because “once again I said the wrong thing”, are absolutely nothing compared to the glory that is being revealed in me!

I’m a mystery-loving, creative, artistic, encouraging writer, and a deep feeler of the world! I take my mistakes way too seriously and must practice laughter.

I notice that many of us who wrestle with despair don’t easily laugh at ourselves. And laughter is truly good medicine. Laughter often snaps our soul out of its spiral down to the pit and brings us back to the reality that there really are good things happening in our lives. Mistakes of speech, or practice, or discovery, are like play-dough. Roll them out and make something new.

The only thing to truly humble ourselves and learn to address is the sin in our lives. If our mistakes don’t separate us from the love of God, then own it! God very much has a sense of humor. I think he probably had a deep belly laugh over my antics this morning After all, he did create the Platypus.

Turning Your Page

 

 

Broken Butterflies Cover (9)

Surrender is not a wound rendering your wings useless, but the gift from God, lifting you to His highest purpose.

Opressed but not Hopless!

The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me; because the LORD hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek; he hath sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound;To proclaim the acceptable year of the LORD, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all that mourn;To console those who mourn in Zion, To give them beauty for ashes, The oil of joy for mourning, The garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; That they may be called trees of righteousness, The planting of the LORD, that He may be glorified.”

Isaiah 61:1-4, KJV

Feeling attacked today! My entire family awoke with some sort of physical ailment, my husband’s the most serious. What is it about our family that makes the enemy is so oppressive? Is that I’m talking to you? Is it that we are taking a stand against his demonic forces? Is he that threatened by hope, by you readers turning your own pages!?

If Satan (he who shall not be named), the enemy of all that God has created can grasp us in the pit of despair, especially our children, what chain reaction does he cause? As I study depression I realize that there are many examples of men and women who chose to offer hope. Abraham Lincoln suffered from debilitating headaches, depression, abuse experienced as a child, and incredible loss. Yet he chose to turn his page again and again. He said,

A tendency to melancholy . . . let it be observed, is a misfortune not a fault.”

Winston Churchill, who also struggled with despair, called his depression a “black dog”.

We are in a dangerous place when we turn from fighting for life to assisting death. Death will come, none of us can stop that, but as I drove home the other night, with the darkest of thoughts hounding my broken heart, a single thought shimmered in my darkness. What does living do, that death does not? Living means my children smile another day, living means I write these words to you and offer hope in the midst of your darkest moments. Living means I shout from whatever platform that I am given. “I will not quit!”

So I turn the page.

Today is hard, but you, Lord give me enough to be present with my husband and children. To comfort them, to bind their wounds, and offer hope to those plagued by darkness. There is a declaration that needs to be spoken, a painting that needs its artist, a war against Satan’s forces that needs to be won by an army that won’t quit, and a soul that needs hope when all seems lost. You, reader, are that person. Keep turning your page.

Suicide & Prevention Hotline

National Suicide Hotline

If you or a loved one are in immediate danger, call the National Suicide Lifeline at 988 or go to the website at https://988lifeline.org/