1. Susan Schmidt

    Carrying a Cross

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    “Are you tired of carrying that cross yet?” said a woman playing Mary, mother of Jesus.

    Our team was presenting a drama during a church service and this was the last service of the day and we were waiting for our cue. The man playing Jesus had carried the cross up the aisle several times already and though it wasn’t particularly heavy, the weight of it was beginning to wear on him.

    Pondering these words it occurred to me that each of us is carrying a cross, or burden, of one kind or another. A cross that we’re not willing to set down at the feet of Jesus. Some of us carry a smaller cross so we either believe that we can carry it on our own, or that it’s too small to “bother” the Father. But this type of cross can become heavy.  Others will carry a large cross and will continue to buckle under its weight until being crushed completely.

    Why do we do this? Do we think it’s too small to take to the Father? Or is it so large that we think that there is no way out so we continue to carry the weight ourselves?

    Psalm 145:14 tells us – The Lord helps the fallen and lifts those bent beneath their loads.

    And in Matthew 12:28-30 – Then Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light.”

    Whatever burden you may be carrying, take it to the Father today.

    Father,

    Thank You for your unfailing love and that You love us so deeply that You want us to bring everything to You. As I go through my day today, may You remind me of those burdens that I may be carrying so that I may bring them to You. You are the almighty, everlasting One and nothing is impossible for You. May I give you glory and praise today. Thank You for the many blessings that You have poured over me already. May Your love be reflected through me to those with whom I come into contact.

    In Jesus’ Name,

    Amen!

  2. Susan Schmidt

    Are You a Peter or John?

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    3Peter and the other disciple started out for the tomb. They were both running, but the other disciple outran Peter and reached the tomb first. He stooped and looked in and saw the linen wrappings lying there, but he didn’t go in. Then Simon Peter arrived and went inside. He also noticed the linen wrappings lying there, while the cloth that had covered Jesus’ head was folded up and lying apart from the other wrappings. Then the disciple who had reached the tomb first also went in, and he saw and believed— for until then they still hadn’t understood the Scriptures that said Jesus must rise from the dead. 10 Then they went home. – John 20:3-10 (NLT)

    This portion of the scripture begins when Mary Magdalen went to Jesus’ tomb and found that the stone had been rolled away. She ran and found Peter and John, who then ran for the tomb. As you read the passage, you see that John arrived at the tomb first, but rather than going in he stops and looks into the tomb. Peter – the impetuous disciple – arrives and promptly enters the tomb. He didn’t stop first to see what, if anything, was inside but rushes right into the tomb.

    Who are you like – Peter or John? Do you rush into your time with the Father headfirst? Or are you more like John, more deliberate and cautious? There are advantages to both and I would probably classify myself as being more like John. But oh to be like Peter sometimes! To rush in and anticipate what the Lord is going to do. To have that fire burning to spend time with the Father and then to rush without hesitating to do as He asks me to do.

    Now that I’m more aware of my tendencies, may I sometimes act like Peter rushing in to do what the Lord asks me to do.

    Father,

    Thank You for the lessons that You provide to us in Your word. May Your Holy Spirit be with me as I read Your word and apply it to my life. May I be obedient to You in doing what You ask me to do, and going where You ask me to go. May You continue to work through me in whatever way You choose.

    In Jesus’ Name,

    Amen!

  3. Susan Schmidt

    Big Dreams

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    Now all glory to God, who is able, through his mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think. – Ephesians 3:20 (NLT)

    Every day I read devotionals from various sources and this past week I read two on having big dreams. Most of the time I can read my devotionals and walk away and forget them, but for some reason these have stuck with me.

    Our God can do much, much more than we can think or imagine, so why do we tend to shy away from asking Him for our big dreams? Could it be that we’re afraid that He won’t answer us – or maybe we’re afraid that He will. For if He does answer us, what might He ask of me?

    What’s your big dream? What is it that you have longed for, but haven’t asked Him?

    In John 16:24 Jesus tells us, “You haven’t done this before. Ask, using my name, and you will receive, and you will have abundant joy.” Did you see that? He says abundant joy. I believe that this will happen for us when we pray what His will is for us.

    My big dream has been with me for some time now, but the timing hasn’t been His timing. That’s not to say that I don’t think of it and plan for it, but I’m waiting on His timing otherwise it’s not going to happen. Several years ago I attended a Beth Moore event and something that she said took root in me and the Holy Spirit gave me inspiration for a book or series of books. It will take time for research and then the writing, but it’s something that I anticipate with great joy.

    This morning I woke and had the undeniable urge to write. In my quiet time with the Father, I believe that He’s told me to write these blog posts for now and that this will lead to something else.

    As I’m beginning to pursue my big dream, I hope that not only will you travel with me in this new adventure, but that you will begin to pursue your own big dream as well. Each journey begins with the first step. Step out with me in faith as we follow the Father’s lead.

  4. Susan Schmidt

    Ask For Instructions

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    Jesus sent Peter and John ahead and said, “Go and prepare the Passover meal, so we can eat it together.”

    “Where do you want us to prepare it?” they asked him. – Luke 22:8-9

    This passage of Scripture tells us that Jesus was preparing for the Last Supper. What struck me was Jesus telling them to go and prepare and rather than just running off to do what they thought they needed to do, they first asked Him where they should go.

    How many times do we know the Lord is sending us off to do His work and we just rush off without first asking Him for instructions? The disciples had been with Jesus for a number of years and they knew that He would have a plan, so they simply asked Him.

    As we read further through the following verses, we see that Jesus gave them specific instructions on what they were to do. And it’s no surprise that they found everything as He had said.

    May we also learn this lesson: To ask the Lord first and wait for His response before we go rushing ahead.

    Father, Thank You for Your word and the lessons that You teach us. May I also ask You for instructions before I go rushing off to do Your work. May I also be still to listen so that I may follow your instructions fully. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

  5. Susan Schmidt

    Let Me Carry You

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    Picture yourself as we walk along. We are beside the water and you are tired from this journey. I pick you up and carry you in my arms. For I am strong and mighty and I comfort my children when they need comforting. I carry you gently and wipe your tears. Hear the waves as they continually come to the shore. The birds play in the surf and the wind caresses your face. As easily as I carry you, I carry your burdens and your dreams. Rest against Me as I walk along.

    Do not look behind you for that journey is past. The waves erase your footsteps. As these steps are erased, this shows you that you cannot go back and try to retrace them for that time is now gone.

    You look ahead of us down the shoreline and you cannot see the end. This is the path ahead of you and while you cannot see the end, I see each step of the journey ahead of you. Rest for a while as I carry you. Lay against Me and know that I am the Lord God of all and that nothing is impossible with Me.

    For as I created the oceans and set their boundaries, so I also know the details of your life. My child, My arms are strong and I will not drop you or let you fall. Rest in Me and let Me carry you now. Don’t let your hope dissipate nor your hope be crushed. For I am the God of hope and as I lift You, I lift up your spirit.

    You will soon laugh and rejoice with Me as we walk along the sand tog

  6. Susan Schmidt

    Tears In a Bottle

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    You keep track of all my sorrows.You have collected all my tears in your bottle. You have recorded each one in your book. – Psalm 56:8 (NLT)

    This year brought me some unexpected sadness and I’ve cried many tears. What a loving Father we have…He has caught every one of those tears and put them in a bottle. Not only that, He has recorded why those tears were shed. Perhaps when I finally see Him, we will sit together as we go through His book and review those times of tears of joy and sadness. It will be then that I’ll see how His loving hand was on me and comforting me through each of those moments – when we are together in a place where there are no more tears or sadness. Thank You, Father, for your loving care and mercy.

    Father God,

    Your care for me during times of sorrow warms my heart. You are such a loving Father full of compassion – beyond my finite understanding. I anticipate the time when I can see how Your loving hand was over me during my time here on earth. I bless You, Father. Praise to You Lord! Praise You, Jesus! Hallelujah!

    In Jesus’ Name, Amen

  7. Susan Schmidt

    Meet Him In the Morning

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    “Listen to my voice in the morning, Lord.

    Each morning I bring my requests to you and wait expectantly.” – Psalm 5:3 (NLT)

    Do you meet with God in the morning before the busyness of the day? My journal time used to be in the evenings, but I now include my prayer time in the morning. Why? As the day goes on my mind becomes more “cluttered” with the busyness of the day and I find it more difficult to focus on my time with the Lord. Mark 1:35 tells us “Before daybreak the next morning, Jesus got up and went out to an isolated place to pray.” (NLT) How can we do any less?

    Father God,

    Thank You for this special time of day when You and I can meet together to share before the day begins. Thank You for bending down to listen to me as I talk with You. You are such a loving Father and I am blessed to know that You are with me now and throughout my day. I ask for Your guidance and direction as I go through this day, and that Your creativity flows through me. May my to do list become Yours, and may I be a help to those who cross my path today for I’ll know that You have sent them my way. I praise You, Lord, for Who You are and I thank You for the blessings that You have sent to me. May Your will be done in my life today.

    In Jesus’ name, Amen

  8. Susan Schmidt

    Are You a Good Steward?

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    For everything there is a season, a time for every activity under heaven. – Ecclesiastes 3:1 (NLT)

    My pastor had a powerful message on stewardship. In part of the message he spoke about being good stewards of what God has given us. He has given us everything – money, jobs, a car, a home, talents and skills. OK, I knew that. What struck me, though, was that we are also to be good stewards of our time. Uh oh. Hadn’t thought about that one before. I’m self-employed and my clients pay me for my time, so through my work day I am extremely aware of my time and how it’s being spent. But my “off” time is another matter. Am I being a good steward of my time? How am I using it? Am I watching mindless TV or have I spent some of that time reading the Word and learning more about my Father? Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 tells us that for everything there is a season. May this season of my life be a time that I will use wisely.

    Father God,

    You are the Alpha and the Omega – the beginning and end of time. Thank You for making me aware that I need to be a good steward of my time. I ask that You give me discernment today that I would use my time wisely, and would know those things that need to be done today and those that can wait for another day. Show me, Father, how to use my time wisely. Be with me during this season of my life that I may use my time to talk with You and to spend more time learning about You. Thank You for being such a loving Father and for showing me in Your gentle way that You want to spend more time with me.

    In Jesus’ name, Amen

  9. Susan Schmidt

    Be Still….

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    “Be still and know that I am God!” – Psalm 46:10

    You’ll note that the verse in Psalms ends in an exclamation point. The Lord is emphasizing to us that we need to be still before Him. When was the last time that you were still before God? Have you ever tried to sit with no noise for just five minutes and to quiet your mind? It’s very difficult – at least it was for me – to try to be still for even a short period of time. Last week I prayed aloud to the Father about my hopes, fears, expectations and to ask His advice on a path that I feel He is opening for me. As I asked Him to speak to me and then I sat quietly and waited to hear from Him, words came to mind that I wrote down:  all my heart, obey, love, follow His path, know Him, trust, serve, depend on Him, and pray. My devotions recently have been teaching me that prayer is not a monologue, it’s a conversation with the Creator – the One who loves me and is my Father. I’m trying to learn to listen for His voice. Won’t you join me?

    “for he is our God. We are the people he watches over, the flock under his care. If only you would listen to his voice today!” – Psalm 95:7

    Father God,

    Thank You for Your teachings and for showing me that I need to be still before You and to listen for Your voice. Please continue to teach me not only how to pray, but how to be still. Thank You for Your wisdom, Your guidance, Your patience, but most of all Your unending love. May Your will be done in my life.

    In Jesus’ Name,

    Amen

  10. Susan Schmidt

    Friends of Faith

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    Seeing their faith, Jesus said to the paralyzed man, “My child, your sins are forgiven.” – Mark 2:5 (NLT)

    The story of the paraplegic man is told in Mark 2:1-12. Can you picture it? Four men hear about the Master healing the sick, blind and disabled so they put their friend on a mat and carry him to see Jesus (Mark 2:3). The passage doesn’t say that they were friends, but I like to think that it was friends who carried him to Jesus. Can you just imagine the four of them talking and believing that Jesus could heal their friend? But how to get him there…..so they put him on a mat and carry him to see Jesus. What did they talk about on their walk? They arrive where Jesus is preaching only to find such a crowd that they can’t get their friend close enough for Jesus to touch him. These enterprising friends carry him to the roof where they dig a hole in the roof and lower him down to Jesus. You’ll note that it wasn’t necessarily the faith of the paralyzed man that healed him – the scripture says, “Seeing their faith…” – so it may have been the faith of the friends that helped to heal him. We’re later told in this passage that Jesus told the man to “Stand up, pick up your mat, and go home!” (Mark 2:11) This man experienced a healing because he had friends who carried him to meet Jesus. Friends who had the faith to know that Jesus would heal their friend and who made the time to help a friend. Imagine the celebration that these friends had! I can picture them laughing and dancing along the road as their friend walked with them.

    Do you have friends of faith? Friends who stand with you in prayer and who carry you when you need their help? Are you a friend of faith? I am blessed to have “friends of faith” and it’s my prayer that I’m a friend of faith to them as well.

    Father God,

    Thank You for blessing me with wonderful friends of faith – friends who are with me in times of grief as well as in times of joy. Thank You for providing me with friends whose loving arms embrace me and who hold my hand in prayer. You have sent these wonderful, special people into my life and I will be eternally grateful. Father, I ask that You help me to be a friend of faith to them as well. May You use my arms to embrace them when they need to feel Your love, or to speak a word of encouragement at a time when they need it most. You are a God of love, and may Your love flow through me to those friends You have placed into my life.

    In Jesus’ name,

    Amen

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