My Daddy

June 20, 2021 at 6:56 am | Posted in Family, Father's Day | 2 Comments

by Juel A. Fitzgerald

“My daddy knows everything!”  I remember as a small child telling everyone I know.

As I grew up, I learned that my earthly father did not know quite everything, but he knew a lot.  God used him to teach me in the ways I should live and to become a God-fearing woman focused on doing God’s will.  My daddy instructed me on how I should and should not behave.  He directed me on the type of friends I should and should not have.  He encouraged me to use the talents God gave me.  He made it clear what clothes I could and could not wear.  I am surprised he allowed me to wear the miniskirts, the floppy hats, and zany hair dos I used to wear.  He drove me miles to various parts of the country to show me what world he could show me.  He housed me, fed me, and clothed me.  He beat my behind when my behavior was not how it should have been.  My daddy is now eighty-eight years old.  Every Wednesday we have lunch at a restaurant.  We take turns picking the restaurant, praying at the meal, and paying for the meal.  This year in December we will celebrate ten years of these Wednesday dates.  You can read about how it started at “I Don’t Have Time For That!” 

My daddy in heaven does know everything!  Nothing is impossible for Him.  He teaches me in the ways I should live to be a God-fearing woman for His will.  My daddy instructs me on how I should and should not behave.  He directs me on the type of friends I can and can not have.  He encourages me to use the talents He gave me.  He makes it clear what clothes are inappropriate.  He probably cringed or laughed when I wore the miniskirts, the floppy hats, and the zany hair dos.  He takes me to near and faraway places to see His glory.  He disciplines me when I sin.  My daddy is eternal.  He has no beginning or end.  He was here yesterday, today, and will be here tomorrow.  He is with me wherever I go.  He is my provider, protector, comforter, helper, and peacemaker.  He is my daddy who will never leave or forsake me.

Father’s Day is a day to celebrate the men who have been fathers for many.  Being biologically connected is not what makes a father.  Today we give thanks to all fathers who have played a role in the growth physically and spiritually for another.  We give thanks to our Father who saved us from our destructive ways.  May we celebrate our Dad every day and not just today. Because of our Dad we all exist, live, and grow.

Teach me your way, Lord,
    that I may rely on your faithfulness;
give me an undivided heart,
    that I may fear your name.
I will praise you, Lord my God, with all my heart;
    I will glorify your name forever.
For great is your love toward me;
    you have delivered me from the depths,
    from the realm of the dead.  Psalm 86:11-13

(NIV translation)

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©2021 Juel A. Fitzgerald.  You may send this entire devotional to whoever you chose with this copyright line.  Feel free to read any devotionals at http://www.heartemissions.wordpress.com, leave messages or subscribe to receive future postings in your e-mail.

Delayed Obediance

June 15, 2021 at 11:30 am | Posted in Confession, Fear, God is Enough, Repentance | Leave a comment

by Juel A. Fitzgerald

“The word of the Lord came to Jonah son of Amittai: ‘Go to the great city of Nineveh and preach against it, because its wickedness has come up before me.’  But Jonah ran away from the Lord and headed for Tarshish. He went down to Joppa, where he found a ship bound for that port. After paying the fare, he went aboard and sailed for Tarshish to flee from the Lord.”  Jonah 1:1-3.

God gave Jonah specific instructions to tell the city of Nineveh about his plan to destroy the city because of their wickedness.  Jonah did not want to have any parts of that and set sailed in the opposite direction.  During that trip a great storm came up that put all on the ship in peril.  This storm was so bad that all the men on the ship prayed to their gods and wondered who caused this unusual storm.  Eventually, it was determined that Jonah was the culprit. “Then they cried out to the Lord, “Please, Lord, do not let us die for taking this man’s life. Do not hold us accountable for killing an innocent man, for you, Lord, have done as you pleased.” Jonah 1:14. They cried out to Jonah’s God, not theirs before they threw him into the sea.  Once Jonah was ejected from the ship the storm ceased. This caused those men to greatly fear Jonah’s God and they turned to Him with sacrifices and vows of devotion.  This lack of disobedience saved the physical and spiritual life of the men.  God has a wonderful way of taking what was meant for personal sinful desires and turn them into something for our good or for the good of others, especially when He has a bigger plan for us.

Jonah was swallowed by a big fish and stayed there three days and nights and spoke a prayer of repentance and praise to the Lord.  He was ready to do what God asked him to (Jonah 2).  Once He was spit out of the fish, he immediately he went to Nineveh after God told him a second time to go there.  He told the people of Niveveh they would be overthrown in forty days.

The king of Nineveh was so convicted by this message that he tore his royal clothes off and put on sack cloth and told his people:

Do not let people or animals, herds or flocks, taste anything; do not let them eat or drink. But let people and animals be covered with sackcloth. Let everyone call urgently on God. Let them give up their evil ways and their violence. Who knows? God may yet relent and with compassion turn from his fierce anger so that we will not perish. Jonah 3:7b-9.

When God saw this, He relented and did not destroy them. Jonah’s obedience saved a whole town while his delayed obedience saved a few. 

This reminds me to obey God immediately.  Anytime I have delayed my response to His command, myself and others suffer negative consequences, or the blessing is not as big as it should have been.  God’s obedience is always difficult, unexpected, and unusual.  It never looks easy, but it always turns out to be miraculous because it enables us to rely on Him and His plan.

(NIV translation)

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©2021 Juel A. Fitzgerald.  You may send this entire devotional to whoever you chose with this copyright line.  Feel free to read any devotionals at http://www.heartemissions.wordpress.com, leave messages or subscribe to receive future postings in your e-mail.

The Mistake

June 6, 2021 at 5:25 am | Posted in Finances, God is Enough, Travel | 3 Comments

by Juel A. Fitzgerald

For thirteen days God sent thirty-three of us to Egypt and United Arab Emirates (UAE) for a vacation in the middle of a pandemic. This trip was originally scheduled for March 2020 but was postponed to March 2021. Due to COVID-19 concerns it was pushed back to May 2021.

God was with us every step of the way and provided us with protection, provision, and His presence in everything we did and saw. We saw Him in nature, people, and favor.

Through our being in Dubai we saw Him bless another. For this trip we were required to have a negative PCR test (corona virus test) to enter Egypt, enter Dubai, and enter USA. Our last swab occurred on our last full day in Dubai. We found out the day before only dirhams, the UAE bills were acceptable. We were all prepared to pay in US dollars or a credit card as we had done in Egypt. So, we had to go to an exchange office to get 200 dirhams for the test. I had exchanged a little more because I had $60 US. It was easier for me to do than exchange $54 and have some change for the 200 dirhams needed. I separated the 200 dirhams and the 15 dirhams I would spend elsewhere. This same day I had lunch and gave the 15 dirhams plus one dollar US to the waitress.

On the day of the PCR test I was swabbed and gave the money to the medical professional. He looked at me and said, “this is not enough.”

What, did they tell us the wrong amount? I thought? “What do you mean ?” I asked.

He held up the fifteen dirhams. Something hit me in the pit of my stomach. Oh my gosh! I accidentally gave the 200 dirhams to the waitress! How am I going to pay for this test?!

“Oh no! I made a terrible mistake!” I quickly relayed my waitress story and that I had no more dirhams.

“You can pay with US bills,” he said.

“What? We were told we had to pay in dirhams and we all ran all over the place making exchanges.” I said while pulling out the money.

“We made an exception for your group.”

Wow! God blessed a stranger because we were in town. We will never know what that woman’s story is and why she needed that money, but God always provides in the most unusual ways.

“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.

Rescued!

May 17, 2021 at 9:03 pm | Posted in Bucket List, Change, God is Enough, God's Schedule, Travel | Leave a comment

by Juel A. Fitzgerald

God put a bucket list dream in my head years ago to see the Great Pyramids of Giza and the Sphinx. Little did I know what He had in store for me.

The tour operator informed us of a special event that will occur on our experience and how it would be wonderful to wear a kaftan, a woman’s dress in the region we will be in. We had the option of waiting until we were there to purchase one or bring one. A friend of my roommate gave her a link to a company who creates these by hand. We both ordered one and prayed they would arrive on time. The one I ordered came within a few days. I was shocked because I did not pay any extra cash for an expeditious delivery. When it arrived, I discovered the length was too long. I needed a seamstress fast! The trip was less than a week away! I posted a picture of myself on Facebook and sent messages by text to friends crying for help.

God sent Elizabeth from my Bible Study Fellowship class to my rescue the same day of the plea. That night I was in her home as she pinned the dress and talked about her attack plan. She discovered a hidden belt in the piece that helps with the length and she had to run to my house today to solidify what alterations she must make. By this evening, she was back at my house with the completed project. Oh my gosh! God’s timing and expediency is beyond what man is accustomed to. For me to receive this from a foreign country and have it altered within a few days is not normal. It was a supernatural God thing! God’s love for me is always shown in these amazing things He does for me for His purpose.

“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. Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.” Jeremiah 29:11-13.

(NIV translation)

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©2021 Juel A. Fitzgerald.  You may send this entire devotional to whoever you chose with this copyright line.  Feel free to read any devotionals at http://www.heartemissions.wordpress.com, leave messages or subscribe to receive future postings in your e-mail.

Befriended

May 11, 2021 at 9:04 am | Posted in Change, Confession, Forgiveness, Repentance | 1 Comment

by Juel A. Fitzgerald

It has been almost two decades since my anger, hate, and disappointment boiled over against a person.  All connections were tossed aside, and that person was out of my life until recently.  God brought that person back in. 

I thought I had forgiven but I also knew I had not been tested by seeing them.  However, when I heard about them, I felt a certain kind of way that did not feel good or friendly.  Thanks only to God it was not anger, hate, or disappointment, just something I can not explain but did not like.  It was not a holiness of complete forgiveness.  The Holy Spirit revealed that fact and gave me a sense of peace that it was time to release that harmful emotion.  So, I found them on Facebook and friended them.  They immediately accepted where before I was rejected.

I have no idea where this will go.  I only know that through God and His loving and guiding power it will be good for us and those we interact with.  More importantly it solidifies my relationship with my God and His plans for me.

“For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.” Matthew 6:14-15.

(NIV translation)

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©2021 Juel A. Fitzgerald.  You may send this entire devotional to whoever you chose with this copyright line.  Feel free to read any devotionals at http://www.heartemissions.wordpress.com, leave messages or subscribe to receive future postings in your e-mail.

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In the Life

May 3, 2021 at 9:12 am | Posted in COVID-19, Death, God is Enough, Health | 2 Comments

by Juel A. Fitzgerald

Over the weekend my friend’s daughter peacefully slid into the arms of Jesus.  This adult daughter has been ill for several years and many have prayed for her healing.  God answered those prayers in many ways and gave her many opportunities for His glory to shine through her life struggles.

During the past, several weeks it was obvious her time to be with the Lord were coming soon. We all prayed for her not to suffer or linger, yet we also prayed for a miracle that she be healed and have many glorious days before her.  God answered the prayer for her not to suffer or linger.  This woman at Thanksgiving and Christmas time insisted her family all meet despite a pandemic.  She told them she knew these would be her last times with them and she wanted to be together as a family.  They met despite their fear of the virus, and no one was taken ill.

Now the family and those of us who have prayed for her have mixed emotions.  We are elated she is with the Lord and have no more pain, but her family will miss her and those of us who knew her not are praying for the family or are being a source of comfort.

Leaving this earth is part of the life we have been given by God.  This is a journey we are all on whether we want to or not.  It is not something we can avoid.  If we walk on earth with our hand in God’s, we can look forward with eagerness to being with Him eternally.  Let us do all we can to live in the moment for God’s glory as He guides us in our schedules, and we pray big for His will to be done.

For we know that if the earthly tent we live in is destroyed, we have a building from God, an eternal house in heaven, not built by human hands. Meanwhile we groan, longing to be clothed instead with our heavenly dwelling, because when we are clothed, we will not be found naked. For while we are in this tent, we groan and are burdened, because we do not wish to be unclothed but to be clothed instead with our heavenly dwelling, so that what is mortal may be swallowed up by life. Now the one who has fashioned us for this very purpose is God, who has given us the Spirit as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come.

Therefore we are always confident and know that as long as we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord. For we live by faith, not by sight. We are confident, I say, and would prefer to be away from the body and at home with the Lord. So we make it our goal to please him, whether we are at home in the body or away from it. For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each of us may receive what is due us for the things done while in the body, whether good or bad.  2 Corinthians 5:1-10.

 (NIV translation)

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©2021 Juel A. Fitzgerald.  You may send this entire devotional to whoever you chose with this copyright line.  Feel free to read any devotionals at http://www.heartemissions.wordpress.com, leave messages or subscribe to receive future postings in your e-mail.

Why I Walk

April 26, 2021 at 9:43 pm | Posted in Health, Holy Spirit, Why I ... | Leave a comment

by Juel A. Fitzgerald

Losing weight sent my feet to the pavement.  Then those feet found they liked to walk for long periods of time.  Those feet love to climb hills, but they hate downhills.  Those feet walked alone at first.  Then those feet found other feet to walk with.  Those feet love to walk along side of other feet.

For ten years those feet walked miles in training, in races, and just because.  Now those feet walk for reasons of health and to walk with other feet. Walking tones up muscles, exercises the heart and lungs, helps with circulation, exercises the joints which are made to move, and so much more in maintaining a healthy body.

Walking is more than about health.  It is about being in God’s nature with someone.  Walking increases endorphins in the body and removes inhibitions in relationships.  Through walking the walker is transparent, at peace, and content.  As least I am.  With my walker friends, intimate conversations about our lives are laid bare.  Sitting at a table instead of walking provides a natural wall we hide our lives behind.  Walking tears down that wall and our lives spill out whether we want to or not. 

I walk for the Holy Spirit that dwells inside me.  This body is not mine but a temple for the Holy Spirit to reside in, guide, and inform.  With a healthy body from walking and clean nourishment, the Holy Spirit is at peace as it works.  With an unhealthy body the Holy Spirit is aggrieved as it works.  Walking is easy; it can happen any time and anywhere.  No heavy equipment is needed other than a pair of tennis shoes that caress the foot and not harm.

My dad is eighty-eight years old.  He is still driving, living in his own home, and in sound mind.  He walked miles as a letter carrier. He stays on the move. Being in motion helps keeps our body in motion with sharp minds.  Aging is not fun, but we have the power to keep it from progressing faster than it ought.  God has plans for all of us for His divine purpose. He has used many physically mature people to do great things for Him.  Let us all be focused on doing whatever it takes to keep ourselves physically and spiritually fit for God’s glory to shine through.

“Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies.”  I Corinthians 6:19-20.

 (NIV translation)

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©2021 Juel A. Fitzgerald.  You may send this entire devotional to whoever you chose with this copyright line.  Feel free to read any devotionals at http://www.heartemissions.wordpress.com, leave messages or subscribe to receive future postings in your e-mail.

Life to the Full

April 19, 2021 at 7:10 pm | Posted in God's Schedule | 2 Comments

by Juel A. Fitzgerald

I love it when God’s schedule works out better than mine.

A strange sound occasionally hit my ears from the front end of my car.  It came and went, and I could never tell when or why this sound came.  It was unfamiliar, random, and grew louder over time.  Today I took it to the shop at 7:30 a.m.  The plan was to drop it off and get a rental car because I needed to be somewhere.

God’s plan was different.  There were no rental cars to be had.  I thought I had reserved one, but apparently there was a miscommunication.  So, I decided to wait.  While sitting there I prayed the cost of the repair to be less than $500 and that the labor would be done in time for my walk with Elaine in Garfield Heights Reservation.  This was the only reason I needed the car.  Everything else on my schedule I can do at home.

Since this was supposed to be a quick trip, I came with only a small purse.  My husband graciously brought me a book, prayer journal, my full purse and breakfast.  During my wait I prayed through my once-a-week prayer journal, and talked and prayed with Angela on the phone. 

Elaine had a meeting and she was not sure when her meeting would end. God enabled us to arrive at the park at the same time.  We could not have orchestrated that on our own.  We walked and talked for one and a half miles under partly blue skies and temperatures in the high fifties during her lunch break.

After our walk I kept walking and went into Cleveland Metroparks volunteer mode.  I walked to get in more miles and serve at the same time.  I walked to a place in the park where restoration is occurring.  I took pictures of the designated spot and uploaded it to the park.  The park is recording the changes that are happening in this area and I volunteer to help take those shots.  As I was walking back to the car, the Holy Spirit reminded me I had a 1:30 p.m. allergy shots appointment.  I picked up the pace, jumped in the car, drove to the doctor, and made it with ten minutes to spare. The rest of the afternoon was as planned without the back-to-back interactions. 

The car bill was $482.77 for the replacement of front end right and left pads and rotors, oil change, and tire rotation.  That sound was unlike any brake issues I had before.  The sound did not happen when I applied the brake but when it wanted to, therefore, I was surprised it was a brake issue.  God answered my prayer for the budgeted amount and delivered me to Elaine in time.

Life with God is always full and on time.  It is never dull, and we never know how it is going to end until it is done.  Thanks only to walking with God we need not worry while we are in the middle of whatever He is doing on our behalf.  All we need do is follow and let Him handle the details.

“Then he said to them all: “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me.” Luke 9:23.

(NIV translation)

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©2021 Juel A. Fitzgerald.  You may send this entire devotional to whoever you chose with this copyright line.  Feel free to read any devotionals at http://www.heartemissions.wordpress.com, leave messages or subscribe to receive future postings in your e-mail.

New Kinda Walk

April 13, 2021 at 4:31 pm | Posted in Change, Health | Leave a comment

by Juel A. Fitzgerald

Every week on Sunday or Monday, the Holy Spirit prompts me to write about something. (I know it is Tuesday.) Most of the time I do not have a clue what I am going to write about until the day of.  God, however, always knows.  Other times God places me in challenging situations, and He tells me to write about that while I am in the challenge, not after it is resolved.  In those challenges I can see more of Him and share that with others.

Yesterday I walked eight miles with my friend Beth.  I have not walked eight miles in about eleven months due to my inability to breath due to eosinophilic asthma and recovery from pneumonia in my left lung.  The eight miles and other miles walked during these last few weeks have been beyond what I could imagine I could do.  No coughing, gasping, or low oxygen level.  I am not like my old self, I am better.  A few days ago, for the first time ever, my watch showed an one hundred percent oxygen level.  I have not felt this good since 2018.

I am also smelling up a storm!  My sense of smell has been off for at least eleven years, most of the time I could not smell at all.  Now I am smelling things I have never smelled before or forgot how they smell.  Everything in life has a smell whether we smell it or not.  I remember writing a devotional about this in “Aromas! Aromas! Everywhere Aromas!”.  However this time it is different and I pray I do not return to having a lack of smell. 

Praises to God!  He is moving me in a direction to be used for His divine purpose through healing and revelation of His step-by-step plan for me. 

“But what can I say? He has spoken to me, and he himself has done this. I will walk humbly all my years because of this anguish of my soul. Lord, by such things people live; and my spirit finds life in them too. You restored me to health and let me live.  Surely it was for my benefit that I suffered such anguish.” Isaiah 38:15-16a.

 (NIV translation)

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©2021 Juel A. Fitzgerald.  You may send this entire devotional to whoever you chose with this copyright line.  Feel free to read any devotionals at http://www.heartemissions.wordpress.com, leave messages or subscribe to receive future postings in your e-mail.

After the Cross

April 5, 2021 at 5:14 pm | Posted in Change, Confession, Easter, God is Enough | Leave a comment

by Juel A. Fitzgerald

It is the day after Easter.  The celebration of Jesus’ death, burial and resurrection is past.  But is it?  Easter like Christmas comes once a year.  Both are celebrated dates even though the actual dates of Jesus birth, death, and resurrection are not told in the Bible. 

The celebration is over, now what?  Do we return to our regular lives on Monday doing what we did before Friday?  Do we return to having lack of compassion for people who irate us?  Do we return to telling falsehoods to help us look good?  Do we steal, fuss, and cuss?  Do we belittle, mock, and hate?  Do we shine the spotlight of attention on ourselves?  Do we whine, groan, and complain?  Do we hold grudges, slander, and envy?  Do we take revenge, gossip, and deceive?  Do we worry, overspend, and are self-reliant?  Do we overeat, refuse to exercise, and drink and smoke until intoxicated?

What is our daily focus?  Are we focused on following God’s will for us even when it is not fun?   How do we respond after Jesus lived thirty-three years in human form, died an excruciating death, laid in a tomb for three days, and rose from the dead for us to live eternally with Him?  Meeting and knowing the living Jesus changes lives. How eager are we to meet daily with Jesus through His Word and prayer?  How eager are we to behave godly even when we are angry?  How eager are we to confess to another and repent?    How eager are we to remove secrets in our lives?  How eager are we to follow Jesus’ commands?  How eager are we to stand up for Jesus in public?  How obvious is it to everyone and Jesus that we walk with Him every day of the year, not just on Easter?

“For Christ’s love compels us, because we are convinced that one died for all, and therefore all died. And he died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised again.” 2 Corinthians 5:14-15.

 (NIV translation)

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©2021 Juel A. Fitzgerald.  You may send this entire devotional to whoever you chose with this copyright line.  Feel free to read any devotionals at http://www.heartemissions.wordpress.com, leave messages or subscribe to receive future postings in your e-mail.

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