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Dena Johnson Christian Blog and Commentary

Dena Johnson

Crosswalk.com blogspot for Dena Johnson of Dena's Devos

Father God, as we pause before you, we seek your blessing on our lives. This journey is hard, filled with heartache and pain. We often find ourselves down, wondering how and when you will come to our rescue. We struggle to get our feet under us, to see how our lives will ever come together.

And yet, your Word promises blessings to those of us who believe, to those of us who choose obedience to you and your Word. You promise abundant life to those whose hearts are focused on you, to those who are fully yours.

As we turn our hearts to you, we claim your promises, your blessings that you have stored up for us. We confess our need for you, the reality that we simply can’t do this life without you. We fall at your throne proclaiming our need for the blessings only you can provide.

But blessed is the one who trusts in the Lord, whose confidence is in him. They will be like a tree planted by the water that sends out its roots by the stream. It does not fear when heat comes; its leaves are always green. It has no worries in a year of drought and never fails to bear fruit.” Jeremiah 17:7-8

May we truly trust you. May we cling to your promises. May our confidence truly be in you. Let us plant our roots deep in the things of God so we can withstand the storms of this life, so we may flourish and bear fruit that can only come from you. Let your blessings fall on us as you promise.

Commit to the Lord whatever you do, and he will establish your plans. Proverbs 16:3

Our hearts long to be fully yours, fully committed to you and your ways. Direct our steps as we seek your face. Give us the wisdom and direction to make choices that honor you. And as we make God-honoring decisions, establish our plans. Establish our lives. Bless our journeys.

And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:19

This life is filled with uncertainty. It’s filled with needs and longings. It’s filled with human desires. May we trust you to provide for us from your abundance that we know is ours as children of the One True King. May we see your provision, Jehovah Jireh. May you bless us with the riches of heaven.

For I command you today to love the Lord your God, to walk in obedience to him, and to keep his commands, decrees and laws; then you will live and increase, and the Lord your God will bless you in the land you are entering to possess. Deuteronomy 30:16

Some of us are living in the Promised Land, the land of plenty, the land of redemption. Some of us are still wandering in the wilderness, praying we can possess the full measure of abundance you have promised. May we be faithful to keep your commands and walk in obedience so you will be faithful to keep your promise of increase. Bless the land in which we are living.

Taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is the one who takes refuge in him. Psalm 34:8

I can truly say I’ve tasted your goodness, your love, your faithfulness! I’ve experienced the goodness and grace of my merciful Father. And it is good! So very good! May we all find the delight of experiencing you in the fullness of your beauty. May we all find refuge in you. May we experience the blessing of knowing you deeply and intimately.

How abundant are the good things that you have stored up for those who fear you, that you bestow in the sight of all, on those who take refuge in you. Psalm 31:19

You promise us good things. You promise to pour out blessings in the sight of all, to let your goodness be evident to a world desperately in need of you. May we be the recipients. May we put ourselves in a position to receive, to recognize the blessings that fall from heaven. May we be counted among those who experience your blessings as we hide ourselves in you.

Surely, LORD, you bless the righteous; you surround them with your favor as with a shield. Psalm 5:12

Lord, surround us. Hem us in on every side. Overwhelm us with your favor, with your grace. We pray for your blessings, blessings that can only come from you.

Instead of shame and dishonor, you will enjoy a double share of honor. You will possess a double portion of prosperity in your land, and everlasting joy will be yours. >Isaiah 61:7

You promise a double share of honor, a double portion of prosperity. You promise everlasting joy to those who love you, to those who choose to walk with you. May we be the ones, the ones who find your promises fulfilled. May we find the double blessings that are promised to your children.

May the Lord bless you and protect you. May the Lord smile on you and be gracious to you. May the Lord show you his favor and give you his peace.’ Numbers 6:24-26

Oh Lord, for your blessings we pray. Smile on us. Be gracious to us. Show us your favor. Give us our peace.

And me we find the blessings that come from your greater than anything we could ask or imagine. May we find complete joy and contentment in our relationship with you. You are God, and we need you.

Bless us.

Monday.

The word can strike fear into the hearts of the most courageous person. And this week, Monday hit me HARD.

I woke up with my head pounding, sending waves of nausea throughout my body. I stumbled out of bed and found the ibuprofen, swallowing it and praying for some quick relief. I grabbed a caffeinated beverage hoping the double dose would alleviate my pain.

After about 30 minutes, I gave up on the hope I could get in a good workout and opted for a hot shower. Usually the steam and heat will relax my muscles and provide a dose of relief. But it was not to be today. I was doubled over trying not to vomit.

Always trying to be strong, I managed to get ready for work and head out the door. My eyes weren’t focusing well and I was still in pain, my brain in a fog. After a couple of hours at work, I decided maybe some protein would help.

I walked to my car and headed to Chick-Fil-A. Chicken. A good protein. Surely that would help.

As I turned the corner, I caught my tire on the curb. Curb check. A hard curb check. I didn’t think much about it…until I came out of Chick-Fil-A and saw my flat tire. Completely flat tire. On the rim flat tire.

Did I mention that a week ago I had a flat tire? My sweet husband came to my rescue, changing my flat and taking my car to get new tires. Brand new tires.

And I had just ruined my exactly one-week old tire.

I called my amazing new husband and reminded him how much I loved him…before I told him I was stranded at Chick-Fil-A with a brand-new tire that was now ruined. He, of course, came to my rescue and again changed my flat.

Fortunately, there was a Discount Tire just around the corner, and my brilliant husband had paid for the road hazard warranty (smart man). They replaced my tire for free and sent me on my way.

But my car wouldn’t start.

I went back into the tire shop to ask if they had any problem starting my car (which they didn’t). The repairman came out and attempted to start my car…only to confirm it was dead. Completely dead.

Can we say damsel in distress? Can we say my husband might be regretting his choice at this point? Can we say he might be getting me a Triple A membership for Christmas?

The gentlemen from Discount Tire jump-started my car and sent me around the corner…to Napa Auto Parts. The poor guy at the counter wasn’t quite sure how to take me, but when I finally got the story out, he enjoyed a good laugh…at my expense. He found the right battery, and walked out to my car and installed it.

And my car started right up.

(PSA…when you get your oil changed and they tell you your battery is not holding sufficient charge, I encourage you to handle the situation immediately. Don’t assume your car will just keep starting. Not that I would have done that…)

Yes, it’s been a Monday. At least I can laugh about it. And I can be so thankful for my incredible husband who, without a single complaint, has come to my rescue more in the last two months than any man should need to.

Without a complaint, he changed my tire last week when I pulled into the garage and heard the air leaking. Without a complaint, he traded me cars and took mine for new tires. Without a complaint, he again came and changed my tire today. Without a complaint, he helped me through a dead battery.

But it’s not just the big stuff. Without a complaint, he chauffeurs my kids. Without a complaint, he cooks dinner and cleans house. Without a complaint, he mows the yard. Without a complaint, he does so much for me…for us.

I’ve never experienced a relationship where we truly seek to outdo one another with honor (Romans 12:10). I’ve never experienced a relationship where we truly serve one another with love (Galatians 5:13).

And it’s really kind of fun.

Now, he has his quirks. He likes the toilet paper to go over the roll, and I couldn’t care less. But because of his kindness, I want to put the toilet paper on the roll the way he wants. He wants the sheets put on the bed in a certain way, and I want to put them on the bed the way he wants because I desire to serve him. He has these crazy quirks and OCD compulsions, and I want to do things the way he wants…because he works so hard to make my life better and easier.

And this is what God intended marriage to be.

God has blessed me beyond what I could have imagined. He knew what I needed even when I didn’t. And He blessed me with a man who loves through his words and actions.

He speaks words of encouragement. Even after seven years, I am still getting Good morning gorgeous texts every day. He reminds me of his love and of God’s faithfulness. When my faith is weak, he stands strong to support me. He is Mr. Optimism all the time.

He listens to my words and my heart. We’ve had a few arguments in the last two months since we were married…the first arguments we’ve had since we started dating over a year and a half ago. I can’t say they’ve been fun fights, but in the end he has heard my heart, my fears. I know I can tell him what’s on my heart and trust him with it.

He serves willingly. I’ve never been in trouble for cleaning the kitchen. Or carrying out the trash. Or folding laundry. Until now. I’m constantly reminded that I don’t have to do everything by myself any more. I’m constantly blessed by a man who wants to make my life easier, who wants to love me by serving me.

He encourages me to follow my dreams. Roy wants to see me fulfill my dreams. He’s willing to take on all of the kids and the household responsibilities so I can run off to writing conferences. He wants to see me pour my heart and soul into sharing God’s love with others through my writing and speaking. He wants nothing more than to see me be all God created me to be.

I always knew God would exceed my greatest expectations, that His promises would never fail me. It’s such a fun journey seeing God do what only He can do.

Maybe you are still waiting for your knight in shining armor who will come rescue you when you have a flat tire or a dead battery or another flat tire. Maybe you are still waiting for the one who will love you in words and in actions. Maybe you are beginning to wonder if God’s promises really will come to pass.

Keep waiting. Keep hoping. Keep praying. You never know when God will reveal His full plan. And it’s so worth the wait.

 

 

Today, I Choose

My heart has been shattered into a million tiny fragments over and over the last few weeks.

I’ve watched so much pain in this community, in my own home. I’ve shed thousands of tears, unable to control my own emotions. I’ve rallied all of my strength to fight for my child, to do what’s best for her.

But it’s been a difficult week filled with deep emotions.

I woke this morning, still unable to control the tears that robbed me of my joy yesterday. I tried. God knows how hard I tried. But the dam broke and the tears—the sobs—consumed me, consumed my thoughts, consumed my emotions. I was overwhelmed.

I feel as if my daughter’s life has been robbed by her illness. I feel as if I’m watching my brilliant, funny daughter who is so full of promise and life and potential and beauty slip away and become someone else, a stranger inhabiting her body. There are definitely still glimpses of the powerhouse I’ve known for 13 years, but the changes are now undeniable.

And It breaks my heart.

To see her struggle in areas that have always come so easily. To see her desire to be so normal when we have to be vigilant about sleep and stress. To see the effect the medications have on her personality. To wonder when the next seizure will overtake her.

Some days it’s more than I can handle.

This morning, I climbed out of bed, still reeling from the day we had yesterday, still reeling from the overwhelming emotions of fighting for my girl. As I read my Bible, I was reminded of the importance of worship in the midst of the crises of this life.

In that moment, I chose

I chose to focus my heart and mind on my Savior.

I chose to trust in the character of God when I can’t see the future.

I chose to remember the faithfulness of God throughout my life.

I chose to cast my cares on Him because He cares for us.

I chose to release my daughter, her future, to the One who knows her and loves her even more than I do.

I chose to walk by faith and not by sight.

I wish I could tell you it’s easy to trust God…but it’s not. It’s easier when we are in the habit of trusting Him, of releasing our fears and worries to Him. It’s easier when we are consistently seeking His face, His voice. It’s easier when our hearts and minds are abiding in Him. But I’m not sure it’s ever easy in this life we live on this earth.

And perhaps it’s even harder when you have to choose to trust Him with your child.

Despite consistency in the word and a deepening prayer life over the last few weeks, I’ve been seriously shaken in the last few days. Peace doesn’t just happen. I don’t just wake up and am automatically overcome by joy unspeakable. I can’t just shake off the fear and the doubts that seek to overtake my life.

Instead, I must choose.

I must choose His Word. His Word is my weapon, my double-edged sword. His Word is the very breath of my life. His Word is the powerful force that I use daily to refocus, to remind me that He is faithful.

His Word tells of His character, of His never-ending mercies. His Word reminds me of His goodness and grace. His Word is a love letter to me, telling me how much He loves me and my daughter, of the great plans He has for us.

His Word is my lifeline that keeps me anchored to Him, the firm foundation upon which I stand.

I must choose to be transformed by the renewing of my mind. As I read His Word, I must let it penetrate my mind. That’s where the transformation starts.

Philippians reminds us to think on things that are lovely and noble and true and right and excellent and praiseworthy. It’s in changing the way we think that we find His peace that surpasses our own understanding guarding our hearts and minds, changing our entire outlook on life.

Have you ever caught yourself spiraling down a negative path with your thoughts? Have you ever stopped and begun to meditate on the Word of God, on His truths? It’s amazing the change that takes place when we choose to focus our minds on God instead of on our troubles. His Word is powerful.

I must choose to focus on Him in worship. Worship is a sure way of changing our hearts and our minds, of replacing the fears with faith.

There are times my heart doesn’t want to worship, but when I choose to turn my heart to Him it brings about a change. It changes my outlook on life. It softens my heart. It turns my heart to Him and helps me refocus on the goodness of God instead of the circumstances of my life.

I must choose to believe He is bigger than anything we face. Even when we turn our hearts and minds to Him through worship and the Word of God, sometimes our fears still overwhelm us. It’s in those moments we must choose to believe. Believe He is always good. Believe He is in control. Believe He sees our fears and holds us in His hands. Believe He is able, He is willing. Believe He has truly overcome all things.

In this life, we face all types of trials and tribulations, heartache and pain. But greater is He who is in us than He who is in the world. He has overcome by the blood of the Lamb and the word of His testimony.

Will you choose with me today?