I love watching the Olympics. This year it’s inspiring me to keep on exercising and to keep improving my lifestyle choices. But, as a chronically ill person, every step I take is a major milestone. This devotional talks about that and how the Olympics are motivating me right now…blessings! – Bridget Gazlay
“It is God who arms me with strength and makes my way perfect. He makes my feet like the feet of a deer; he enables me to stand on the heights…You broaden the path beneath me so that my ankles do not turn” (2 Samuel 22:33-34, 37).
There is something almost magical about watching the Olympics – I think it’s seeing people exceed beyond the “normal” that’s exciting. You can’t be a spectator and not be inspired to try your own Olympic sport! The thing I like the most is hearing the stories of how these athletes got started – especially those who’ve overcome major obstacles to be where they are today.
For those of us who deal with daily illnesses and health issues, just getting up each day can be a battle. For me, watching the Olympics brings up childhood memories. Back then I was a devoted athlete and even into weight-lifting (could bench almost 150 pounds) – with no sign of any health struggles. Now, I’m lucky if I can do two regular push-ups! When I compare my two worlds, it can be depressing and disappointing.
However, if I continue to dwell on what I don’t have, I’ll never improve or move on from where I’m presently at. When I’m so focused on the past I have no future. I know that’s not what God wants for me!
With God’s help and strength I can do better. I can exceed my normal. I can succeed at my own race. The key is to NOT depend on my own strength, but to depend on God’s strength. My meager power will only get me two regular push-ups. But with God’s strength, I can and will do more than I ever imagined.
Not only do I need to trust God for help, but I need to set realistic expectations for myself. I am probably never going to be a weight-lifter again, but I can continue to build my body strength one push up at a time. I probably won’t ever run a marathon, but I can walk one mile. The best thing I can do is be consistent and to move as I can (however much that may be).
I don’t know about you but watching the Olympics has inspired me to keep on running my own race and to not give up. I pray this for you as well – with God you can be a Christian athlete!
Prayer: Dear God, every step I take is a milestone and I thank You for walking with me during my life-race. Without You I wouldn’t be where I am today. Help me to do more. Help me to endure my race with strength and agility! Amen.
Okay, when you’re chronically ill it can be hard to realize that it’s not all about me…this devotional talks about that. Enjoy – Bridget Gazlay
“Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others” (Philippians 2:3-4).
That hardest thing for me, as a chronically ill person, is to realize “it’s not all about me”. Because most days I’m not feeling well, I expect others to be checking up on me. I expect others to text or call to see how I’m doing. I expect others to do things for me. And when they don’t I think they don’t care or aren’t interested in how I’m doing.
But, in all actuality – most of my friends and family do care. However, they have their own lives to take care of too. They can’t be there for me 100% and their families 100%. They can’t devote their entire life to me and still live their own life.
One of the best things that ever happened to me was becoming a prayer warrior for someone else. I admit my prayer life isn’t what it could be. I wanted to find a way to grow in this area so I decided to pray Scripture for specific friends – daily if I could.
Amazingly God would bring Scripture to mind that fit the situation perfectly. I would then personalize the passage by putting in my friends’ names and what I was praying for. Just finding the particular passage to pray was exciting and taught me tons about prayer and seeing God work through prayer!
What this taught me was that God lifts me up when I lift others up. Loving and caring for other’s needs above my own actually made me feel better. When I wasn’t so focused on my own health and how I was feeling, my outlook on life improved.
Now, when I start to get selfish and feeling like no one cares, I stop and ask God how I can be praying for other people. I see if there is a note or email I could send to someone else to make their day. I see if there is something I can do to lift someone else up! And you know what – I usually feel better afterwards. Amazing!
Prayer: Dear God, it’s so easy to be selfish when I’m ill. Help me to focus on the needs of others too and not just on my own needs. I want to be a blessing to those around me but I need Your help! Amen.
We have far more impact on those around us than we realize. When I came across this passage in 2 Corinthians, it reminded me again how important it is to let God work in our lives. May this devotional encourage you today – Bridget Gazlay
“You yourselves are our letter, written on our hearts, recognized and read by everyone. It is clear that you are Christ’s letter, produced by us, not written with ink but with the Spirit of the living God – not on stone tablets but on tablets that are hearts of flesh.” 2 Corinthians 3:2-3, HCSB
There’s something appealing about receiving an actual “snail mail” letter. Maybe it’s knowing someone took the physical time to write the note. Maybe it’s the fact that it’s more personal than just an email. I think the biggest reason is it’s something that can be kept and re-read over and over again. Eventually emails will be deleted or forgotten. But a personal note can be kept forever. In today’s busy cyber-world we can easily forget the impact a personal letter has on the person receiving it.
Our lives are a lot like that. People look at us every day and can see whether or not God is living in us. People notice if our actions are the same as what we’re saying. What’s in our hearts is easily visible to the outside world and will be read over and over again (even if we don’t want it to be).
Our lifestyle itself is a huge example to those around us. In a sense our lives are “letters” about God that others can see. It is especially important to live out our Christian lives at home, at work, and at church (not just at church either). When we remember that others see our lives as letters from God – that will help keep our focus where it needs to be – on God!
My prayer for you is that your life will also be an open letter to those around you – may your life encourage others to seek out Christ! May your Christian impact spur you to continue on in your endurance and service to others!
Several years ago this devotional was published in the Grand Haven Tribune in honor of my father, Al Gazlay. May it be a good reminder to you today – that no matter what your family life is like (or lack thereof), we have a wonderful Heavenly Father! Blessings – Bridget Gazlay
“Listen, my son, to your father’s instruction and do not forsake your mother’s teaching. They will be a garland to grace your head and a chain to adorn your neck.” (Proverbs 1:8-9, NIV)
There are so many names for God mentioned in Scripture: The Creator, The Holy One, Lord – we could go on and on. As you read through the Bible you see that the names of God are used differently by each main character – depending on the situation, formality, or custom. “Father” is usually what I use when referring to Him.
I began to wonder why it is I always seem to think of God-the-Father first before any other name. I think it’s because I got to see a glimpse of God in my earthly father. As a young girl I looked up to my father to keep me safe, to provide for me, and to teach me life’s lessons.
I know that not everyone grows up that way. Here on earth, our family ties may be lacking or non-existent. But, there IS someone who loves us unconditionally. There IS someone who is there with us every step of the way. There IS someone who will never hurt us or let us down. We DO have a loving Father in God, even if we never experience that physically.
God loves us so much more than any earthly parent could even try to love us – so much that He was willing to send his only son Jesus to die on the cross for us so that our sin would be wiped away. Because of that love we can now have a relationship with God and not be separated from Him.
This Father’s Day, don’t forget to celebrate the ultimate Father – God! And if you want to learn to be the best father you can be, spend some time in Scripture and in prayer and as you let God work in your heart, you’ll become the best person you can be!
** This devotional is dedicated to my father Al Gazlay!
There are many days I wonder, “How can God still use me?” But He does and often in ways I am totally humbled by! This devotional talks about that and the people God uses – you and I! Blessings – Bridget Gazlay
“But the LORD said to Samuel, ‘Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The LORD does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.’” 1 Samuel 16:7, HCSB
Scripture is full of examples of ordinary, every-day people God used in mighty ways. Noah, Abraham, Joseph, Elijah, Moses, Rahab, King David, Mary, Peter, Paul – we could go on and on with examples, not to mention all the Saints and martyrs we’ve had over the years. So what is it that makes these people so special?
Well, the first thing is they all were open to God’s leading. Some even had instances of brokenness, and despair. Sometimes we don’t look up until we’re at the very bottom, with nowhere else to go. Second, they obeyed God’s commands, whatever that might be. And thirdly, they gave God the glory.
I love that God chooses to use ordinary, hurting people for His purposes. When God uses us weak and insecure people, His glory is seen more abundantly. When we admit our weaknesses and inabilities, that’s often the times God gives us His ability, His strength, His wisdom! Even when stumbling blocks or detours pop up, those are circumstances God can use to direct us to the place we’re supposed to be. (Think of poor Joseph and all he went through, probably thinking over those 13 years that he was on the wrong track, that God had forgotten him…but of course God didn’t forget Joseph at all.)
I am still awed at how God works in my own life. I am so humbled and grateful for His mercy and grace, that’s for sure! All this to say that God can and will work through your life, no matter the circumstances or hurdles in your way!
Prayer: Father, I praise You for all You do in our lives. I thank You for using people to help aid in Your work, when You could just as easily do all the work Yourself. Continue to lead us through any roadblocks along the way. Encourage our hearts when we’re down; refresh our spirits when we’re anxious; and revitalize our minds when we’re fatigued. Amen
Sometimes life can be so busy and loud that’s it hard to discern God’s voice. Young Samuel had the same problem at first but as he continued to hear and obey God, listening for God became easier and easier. This devotional talks about that in my own life. Enjoy – Bridget Gazlay
“Now Samuel did not yet know the LORD: The word of the LORD had not yet been revealed to him….The LORD came and stood there, calling as at the other times, ‘Samuel! Samuel!’ Then Samuel said, ‘Speak, for your servant is listening.’…The LORD was with Samuel as he grew up, and he let none of his words fall to the ground.” 1 Samuel 3:7, 10, 19, NIV
This particular passage of Scripture talks about when Samuel was first called by God. He was so inexperienced with God that Samuel didn’t even know it was God calling him! Boy, do I feel like that sometimes as I have trouble discerning God’s voice in the midst of all my life activities. Or, it could be that I have my own idea of what I feel God’s calling is on my life and I’m not willing to listen. The latter is probably what happens more often in my case.
For years I thought God was opening doors for me to use my art as a way of ministry of some sort, but things just weren’t working out. Art is good and creative and God certainly can use it, but it’s not where God works the most in my life; God works the most through my writing. So, after much sadness and reluctance, I gave that dream to God. Since that time I’ve been working on my writing much more and I’ve seen God work much more!
The joy, peace, and excitement is back in my life. I still do work on my art once in a while (as God miraculously gave me that talent), but I don’t let that overtake what God has called me to do – which is use my writing to help encourage and uplift others. Maybe God will use a combination of my art/writing someday -which would be great- but until then I’ll focus on where I see God working the most.
Hang on to whatever dream or calling God has given you – whether it be being a Godly parent, serving others, being a pastor, being a teacher, or being a Godly administrator. Being reminded of your overall vision will help you make it through those trying times!
Prayer: Dear God, I know you’ve called us to some mighty work. As a potter molds and shapes his clay, Dear Lord, mold and shape us into the Christian people you’d have us to be. Remind us of the vision you’ve given to us so we can carry on in the days ahead. Amen
I’ve had so many ups and downs physically (and emotionally) lately – it’s good to know that God is the one who sustains me! He’s the one who gives me energy and strength for each new day. This devotional talks about that…may it bless you – Bridget Gazlay
“Because of the LORD’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness….The LORD is good to those whose hope is in him, to the one who seeks him; it is good to wait quietly for the salvation of the LORD” (Lamentations 3:22-23, 25-26).
I love this passage as it’s such a good reminder that no matter how badly today goes (or how terribly we feel today), His mercies are new every morning. How refreshing to know that while I am resting and sleeping God is working behind the scenes to prepare me for the next day! Because of God’s faithfulness we truly can wake up renewed and ready to face another day. (Thank you God!)
I don’t know about you, but I sure have a hard time waiting “quietly” though. For some reason I’ve read this passage many times but I never quite got the “quiet” part. Waiting quietly has a totally different meaning than just waiting “patiently”. Waiting quietly implies that we are to put our full trust in God and let His peace reign in our hearts WHILE we wait for His deliverance (as it’s not in our strength that we rest, it’s in His strength that we rest).
This passage really hit me – how often do I try to do things in my own strength, instead of His?? How often do I lean upon my own talents and gifting instead of upon God’s mighty power? Even as I write this, I’m exhausted from a bad headache and ready for bed, and yet God inspires me to write about this beautiful passage of Scripture (in the middle of verses about God’s discipline I might add). I am continually awed at how God works in my life. If I had tried to write in my own strength it probably wouldn’t have happened today.
But that’s the exciting part – when we admit that we can’t do something, that’s when God shows us HE can! When we quietly rest in God’s hands, that’s when we see Him work. Friends may you be encouraged, renewed and at peace as you put your trust in God!
Prayer: I praise You because Your never-ending mercies are wonderful and new every morning. Help me to put my hope and trust in You as I wait quietly for Your deliverance. I know You are good to those who wait on You and so I eagerly lean upon Your strength. Amen.
Tears are a part of life and even if they are shed in private, God sees each and every one. This devotional talks about that. If you’ve shed some tears recently, may this minister to you! Blessings – Bridget Gazlay
“Record my lament; list my tears on your scroll – are they not in your record?” (Psalm 56:8)
I love watching someone’s tears being wiped away by a loving parent, relative or friend. That interaction is so precious. Maybe it’s seeing the concern and care taken to collect each and every tear. Maybe it’s knowing someone else cares so much about you they will gladly wipe away your tears that stirs my heart. Whatever the reason, it’s an emotional scene for sure.
For those of us going through hard situations, tough physical challenges or tight finances, tears can be a regular occurrence. When I read this passage, the tenderness expressed by David here made me shed some tears. Several other versions say it this way, “You Yourself have recorded my wanderings. Put my tears in Your bottle. Are they not in Your records?” (HCSB) To me, this is a reminder that God sees every one of our tears; He collects them so not one will be forgotten or missed. Essentially, God is saying He grieves right alongside us. When we are hurting and sad, He is hurting and sad. When we are happy, He is happy. He is the truest Friend we’ll ever have.
Wow, what a loving picture of God’s affection toward us. It encourages me greatly to know that God cares that much about me to collect my tears in His bottle! Know that whatever you are going through God DOES see you and mourns along with you. Let your tears fall onto His hands; He cares so much about you (1 Peter 5:7).
Prayer: Dear God, Your love and compassion touches me greatly. My soul takes comfort in knowing you collect each and every one of my tears. Thank you for never letting me go through something alone. Amen.
My newly acquired basket of pansies inspired this devotional – I hope it touches you like it did me! – Blessings always, Bridget Gazlay
“As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for you, O God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. When can I go and meet with God?” (Psalm 42:1-2)
I received a hanging basket full of beautiful pansies as a gift. I’m not the best with plants so I watch them carefully. I have to say I’m amazed at their resilience. I only water them at night and by the time I get home they are pretty droopy and lifeless. But, as soon as I give them a little water within minutes they perk right up and look as good as new.
That is such a good illustration of what Christ does for us – He is our living water. He gives us love, life, and purpose. It doesn’t matter what is going on in our lives or how much we think we messed up, God can help us. Even if you are brokenhearted, lifeless, and disillusioned, God can restore your soul.
I am reminded of Psalm 42:1 – about thirsting for God (“As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for you, O God.”). Do I thirst for the living God like that? Do I look to Him for the living water I need to endure each day? If you find yourself getting a little down and droopy, are you trying to provide your own nourishment? Are you trying to work out everything on your own?
If you find yourself in this boat- turn to God today! Let God fill you with His Spirit. Let Him lift up your heart and refresh your mind! May God alone quench your thirst!
Prayer: Dear God, I admit I tend to do a lot of things in my own strength instead of leaning on You. Help me to recognize this thirst within my soul as only quenchable by Your love. Thank You for always working in my life, even if I do not see it. Amen
I don’t know about you, but there are times I feel stuck where I’m at – especially physically. I recently wrote about that (and Chinese finger traps!). Enjoy – Bridget Gazlay
“’For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the LORD, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future’” (Jeremiah 29:11).
When I was a kid I received a Chinese finger puzzle from another child. I was so overjoyed at receiving this wonderful gift. In case you aren’t familiar with this present, its other name is called, “Chinese Finger TRAP”. It’s a cylindrical tube that you put your index fingers into. The only problem is once your fingers are in there you’re stuck. If you try to pull them out the tube gets tighter. Some present! I was terrified my fingers were going to be stuck forever! Sometime later another child showed me the secret of getting them out –what a relief.
It’s easy to feel like that Chinese finger trap when we’re in a place we don’t want to be. This could be in our finances, work, health, schooling, or family. When things aren’t going to way we’d planned we can feel like there’s no hope, no future. We may even wonder how we can get out of the mess we’re in.
This is what happened to the Israelites when they were exiled for 70 years for refusing to turn to God. If you don’t continue reading you’d think it was over the Israelites. But, that isn’t the case. God tells them to continue on in their life – to make the most of where they are at because in 70 years God would restore them to their rightful place. He reminded them that He was with them, even during those many years in captivity.
What a good reminder – no matter what we are enduring presently, we aren’t stuck. God will provide a way out for us; He will restore us to our rightful places. We can have hope for our future, just like the Israelites. I hope this is encouraging to you today.
Prayer: Dear God, I admit I do feel stuck sometimes and feel I will never get out of the place I’m in. But, Your Word tells us otherwise – that You do have a plan for us and that You will be with us every step of the way. Thank You for Your grace and mercy! Amen.
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