Author Topic: Devotion  (Read 41 times)

Anon

  • Administrator
  • Newbie
  • *****
  • Posts: 53
  • Karma: +0/-0
    • View Profile
Devotion
« on: June 11, 2018, 08:45:22 PM »
Daring to Rest in this Wild, Busy World
May 15, 2018 | Holley Gerth

Today's Truth

And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus.  Ephesians 2:6

Friend to Friend

The sparrows sing from branches, perhaps telling of love or war, winter ending, hope and the weather. I come to our patio table, the one with the wide khaki umbrella, and take a seat in my favorite woven chair. I  have raspberry tea in front of me, a book in my hand. I am reading Rhythms of Rest by Shelly Miller.  Shelly says rest is a gift, a blessing from the heart of a loving God. And yet even in this moment of quiet I fidget, tap my toes, swing my legs, put a hand up to shield my eyes and search for the red-headed woodpecker tap-tap-tapping like the thoughts in my head.  It’s so easy to be endlessly moving, distracted, slow to settle into peace even on the rare occasions where it’s right in front of us. “How are you?” we’re asked.

“Busy,” we often answer with a sigh.

Yet, perhaps, we also secretly feel a bit of relief. Because surely “busy” must mean we are worthy. We are wanted and useful. But busy doesn’t have to be the boss of us.  “Shame is the fear of being unlovable,” says Shelly.

And to fight this fear we might fidget with another project, hustle for another compliment, raise our hands to shade our eyes and scan the horizon for proof that we’re enough. I have lived this and I am learning to lay it down as one does any addiction. There are still withdrawal symptoms sometimes. Like this afternoon when the glory of creation is all around me and I’m invited to join it, to just be, but instead I only want something productive to do.  In the holy Scriptures I read, “God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus” (Eph. 2:6).

It’s the word seated that echoes in my mind and heart. To be seated is a position of rest and dependence. When it comes to the eternal parts of us, the ones that will outlast all the laundry and the cartons of milk in the refrigerator, the striving is already over.  I think when Jesus said, “It is finished”

He meant it not just about His work but ours too. Oh, yes, of course we will act out of love all our lives. But when it comes to the try-hard treadmill of our own efforts the “off” button has already been pushed. As humans in a busy, broken world we’re forever discovering how to let all of ourselves sit down so that every part of who we are, from our souls to our painted toenails, are in alignment for a bit.  We think when we are working hard and wearing ourselves out that we must be most reflective of heaven. But it seems this is not so. Even when we are in motion on the outside, we can live like we’re sitting down on the inside. In other words, we can place our confidence in knowing we’re loved, chosen, and God is working all things together for our good. What He has done, what He is still doing, can be the “chair” we set our whole selves upon.  The birds call to each other and I wonder again what they’re really saying. Perhaps it is simply this: “God took care of us yesterday. He is taking care of us now. He will take care of us tomorrow.”

And I pray, quietly, that I will live and rest and set myself in the center of this truth too. Like a woman who has found her true home. Like I’m in my favorite woven chair on the patio. Like a sparrow on her nest, singing the story her heart has known all along.
"This is what the Lord says to you: 'Do not be afraid or discouraged because of this vast army. For the battle is not yours, but God's." 2 Chron. 20:15

Anon

  • Administrator
  • Newbie
  • *****
  • Posts: 53
  • Karma: +0/-0
    • View Profile
Re: Devotion
« Reply #1 on: June 11, 2018, 09:22:49 PM »
You are Worth More Than a Herd of Pigs
May 16, 2018 | Sharon Jaynes

Today's Truth

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.  John 3:16

Friend to Friend

An African tribe gathered round to listen to the story of Jesus healing a demon-possessed man recorded in Luke 8:26-33. The ministry, Faith Comes by Hearing, provided the tribe with an audio Bible and a digital  playback unit for them to hear the story in their own language.  Jesus and his disciples sailed to the region of the Gerasenes, which is across the lake from Galilee. When Jesus stepped ashore, he was met by a demon possessed man from the town. For a long time this man had not worn clothes or lived in a house, but had lived in the tombs. When he saw Jesus, he cried out and fell at his feet, shouting at the top of his voice, “What do you want with me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? I beg you, don’t torture me!”

For Jesus had commanded the evil spirit to come out of the man. Many times it had seized him, and though he was chained hand and foot and kept under guard, he had broken his chains and had been driven by the demon into solitary places.  The demons begged Jesus to let them go into the pigs, and he gave them permission. When the demons came out of the man, they went into the pigs, and the herd rushed down the steep bank into the lake and was drowned.  The tribal community was stunned when they heard this story. They knew the value of one pig, much less an entire herd. Why would Jesus do that?

Why would He allow their entire income to be destroyed?

Many questions stirred among the listeners. Then the wise chief spoke. “Perhaps Jesus is showing us that one human soul is worth more than an entire tribe’s economy.”

I was silenced by his answer. That passage has been mysterious to me for many years, but God revealed the truth to an African chief hearing the story for the very first time. That chief understood just how valuable we are to God.
Do you realize how valuable you are to God?

You are worth so much that He gave His one and only Son just for you.
"This is what the Lord says to you: 'Do not be afraid or discouraged because of this vast army. For the battle is not yours, but God's." 2 Chron. 20:15

Anon

  • Administrator
  • Newbie
  • *****
  • Posts: 53
  • Karma: +0/-0
    • View Profile
Re: Devotion
« Reply #2 on: June 15, 2018, 11:03:23 PM »
Listen Up!
May 22, 2018 | Mary Southerland

Today's Truth

Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry.  James 1:19

Friend to Friend

It had been a very long and extremely hard day. My husband’s grandmother had died, and we had just returned from her funeral. Trying to establish a sense of normality for our two young children, I  unpacked suitcases, started the laundry, and spent some time playing with Jered and Danna. After a dinner during which Dan and I tried to lighten the atmosphere with silly bantering, we got the kids ready for bed.  Dan and Danna headed to her room for one last game of “Pretty, Pretty Princess” before bed. (And let me just say that you have not lived until you have seen Dan Southerland in a tiara and pink plastic earrings!) Jered and I settled in his bedroom to read books, play with his Hot Wheels, and just talk. We prayed together and Jered climbed into bed. I gave him a kiss and a hug and tucked him into a blanket, a nightly ritual of creating a “Jered-ito.”  As I turned on his nightlight and started out of the room, Jered’s question stopped me in my tracks. “Mama, do wrinkles make you die?” he asked.

Ordinarily, I would have dismissed his question as a childish ploy to delay bedtime, but in a rare moment of wisdom as a mom, I sat on the edge of our son’s bed, took his hand and asked, “Son, what do you mean?”

Jered smiled and replied, “Well, Grandmother died and she had sooooooo many wrinkles.”

Dan’s grandmother battled pernicious anemia for many years. The illness itself and the medications she had to take for that condition had left her skin damaged and very wrinkled. “Yes, honey, Grandmother was sick and had a lot of wrinkles. I still don’t understand your question.”

After a moment of silence, Jered said, “Well, at dinner tonight you and daddy were joking about who had the most wrinkles, and I just need to know if wrinkles make you die.”

Wow! Over the years, I have thanked God so many times for the Holy Spirit who prompted me to stop and really listen to our son. We talked for a long time about the fact that wrinkles don’t make you die, but we also talked about the fact that Grandmother Lois was in Heaven and did not have any more wrinkles. And that she was well and no longer in pain. It was one of the most meaningful conversations Jered and I ever had about life and death and the fact that when we know Jesus as our Lord and Savior, we will go to heaven where Grandmother Lois will be waiting for us.  I have had to learn how to listen really listen. For years, I used the time someone was speaking to formulate a clever response. Oh, I looked into their eyes, but I didn’t really see them. I heard their words, but I did not really listen. I failed to hear what was behind the words the hurt and pain or the confusion and questioning heart.  I now work hard to realize that every person God sends my way is really seeking His listening heart at work in and through me.  I try to look for the pain hidden in each word.  I pray for wisdom to respond in a way that will promote restoration and encourage healing.  Listening by definition means “attention, with the intention to understand.” James says we should be “quick to listen and slow to speak” (James 1:19).

Talking is sharing, but listening is caring.  Take a tip from creation. Ears aren’t made to shut, but the mouth is. Put away your sermon, save your advice, and just listen. Sometimes the best gift we can give is a listening ear.  A little girl was eating breakfast with her Daddy. They were on a date spending some special time together. He was telling her how wonderful she was and how proud he was of her. After he had done what he thought was a sufficient job, he picked up his fork and began to eat. His daughter put her hand on his arm and stopped him with these words, “Longer, Daddy, longer.”

He didn’t eat much food that day, but a little girl’s hungry heart was fed because her father was willing to listen.  Are there any hungry hearts in your life that simply need someone to listen?

I am convinced Jesus was an amazing listener. Children loved Him and longed to spend time with Him. Hurting people were drawn to Him. People from every walk of life sought Him out. He always made time to listen to those in need. We need to do the same.
"This is what the Lord says to you: 'Do not be afraid or discouraged because of this vast army. For the battle is not yours, but God's." 2 Chron. 20:15

Anon

  • Administrator
  • Newbie
  • *****
  • Posts: 53
  • Karma: +0/-0
    • View Profile
Re: Devotion
« Reply #3 on: June 16, 2018, 09:02:17 PM »
The All-In Mom
May 23, 2018 | Arlene Pellicane

Today's Truth

I am reminded of your sincere faith, which first lived in your grandmother Lois and in your mother Eunice and, I am persuaded, now lives in you also.  2 Timothy 1:5

Friend to Friend

When my daughter Noelle was three, she would exclaim “I LOVE blueberries!” or “I LOVE tortellini!”

Now at 11, she LOVES penguins. She draws penguins, buys penguins, has penguin themed birthday  parties, and dreams of penguins. It’s obvious by looking in her room or backpack that she really is crazy about that flightless black and white bird.   In the same way I can spot Noelle’s zeal for penguins, I wonder if she can tell I love Jesus. Can she see from my life that I’m an all in mom for Jesus?

Does she know I’m not just a casual fan of Jesus; I’m a die-hard follower?

I believe these questions matter because a mom has incredible influence over the faith of her children.  Consider Timothy in the Bible. Our verse today reveals that Timothy’s faith first lived in his grandmother Lois and his mother Eunice. What a wonderful gift those ladies gave a vibrant faith passed down from generation to generation. Those women shaped Timothy’s spiritual life and he became the protégé of the Apostle Paul who called Timothy his “beloved son” (2 Timothy 1:2).  In Acts 16:1, we are told more about Timothy’s family upbringing. His mother was Jewish and a believer but his father was an unbelieving Greek. Even though Eunice didn’t share Christian faith with her husband, she was able to witness to her son about Jesus. Her transformed life must have made quite an impact on young Timothy.  Lois and Eunice were all-in moms. It reminded me of this illustration I saw at children’s church. If you put just a few drops of food coloring into a gallon of water, slowly but surely that dye works its way through all the water. There’s not a pocket of water that can remain unchanged. In the same way, following Jesus should penetrate and impact every area of life.  We are surrounded by little disciples who are watching us. Whether you have a toddler at your heels or a teen hiding out in the bedroom, they are observing you. Your children are checking to see if what you say matches what you do and who you are. By the way, you don’t have to be a mother to influence the lives of children. As an aunt, friend, Sunday school teacher, or coach, you can make a huge difference in the faith of a child.  Are you letting Jesus into every area of your life?

Is the Holy Spirit free to move wherever He wants, transforming you daily by the renewing of your mind?

There is a warning to the church of Laodicea in Revelation 3:15-16 (NIV), “I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other! So, because you are lukewarm neither hot nor cold I am about to spit you out of my mouth.”

It’s time to be all-in for Jesus. Your children and others in your life are watching to see if your faith is genuine. May others know through our lives that indeed, we do LOVE Jesus!
"This is what the Lord says to you: 'Do not be afraid or discouraged because of this vast army. For the battle is not yours, but God's." 2 Chron. 20:15

Anon

  • Administrator
  • Newbie
  • *****
  • Posts: 53
  • Karma: +0/-0
    • View Profile
Re: Devotion
« Reply #4 on: June 16, 2018, 09:31:00 PM »
If You’ve Messed Up, You’re in Good Company
May 24, 2018 | Sharon Jaynes

Today's Truth

“But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. God chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things and the things that are not to nullify the things that are, so that no one may boast before him”  1 Corinthians 1:28-29

Friend to Friend

Many women are living in silent defeat, comparing themselves to other women who likewise are living in silent defeat. I was one of them. I’m not a good mother. I’m not a good wife. I’m not a good  Christian. I’m not a good witness. I’m not a good housekeeper. I’m not a good decorator. I’m not a good cook. I’m not a good.  One by one the petals fall from the beautiful flower God created us to be. Like ticker tape, our fragmented pieces of confidence scatter over the streets as the parade passes by.  Unfortunately, I wasted many precious years held captive by the Enemy’s lies before I held up my chained hands to God and said, “I’m ready for You to cut me loose.”

Consider this:  Jacob was a liar.  Moses was a stutterer.  David was an adulterer.  Rahab was a prostitute.  Esther was an orphan. Balaam’s donkey was well, a donkey.  And yet God used each one of them to further His kingdom. You’re in good company. See, God doesn’t call us because we are particularly gifted or talented. He uses us because we are obedient and dependent upon Him. He doesn’t call the qualified; He qualifies the called.  Gideon is another one of God’s chosen leaders who argued that he wasn’t good enough. One day he was threshing wheat in a winepress when an angel of the Lord came to him. “The Lord is with you, mighty warrior,” the angel announced (Judges 6:12).

Now, first of all, you don’t thresh wheat in a winepress. You thresh wheat in an open field by throwing it up in the air. The wind blows the chaff away and the grain falls to the ground. So what was Gideon doing in the winepress?

He was so terrified of his enemies, the Midianites, that he was hiding. And yet, when the angel of the Lord came to him, he addressed Gideon as “mighty warrior.” No wonder Gideon said, “Pardon me” (6:13,15).

As soon as God called Gideon to greater things, Gideon began making excuses, allowing his insecurities and inadequacies to set limitations in his life. Gideon argued, “How can I save Israel? My clan is the weakest in Manasseh, and I am the least in my family” (6:15).

But God looked beyond Gideon’s insecurities. He knew who Gideon could be if he trusted in God’s power to work through him. Author Renee Swope wrote: “God wasn’t limited by Gideon’s limitations, and He’s not limited by ours either. He didn’t want Gideon to depend on his own strength. God wanted Gideon to depend on His strength. God was going to conquer the Midianites, but He invited Gideon to join Him.”

What about women in the Bible?

When you turn the pages from the Old Testament to the New Testament, you can tell something is going to be different for women. In the Old Testament lineages, women were rarely mentioned. However, in Matthew, the first book of the New Testament, five women are listed in the lineage of Jesus. Of course, Mary, the mother of Jesus, is there a teenage girl from Bethlehem. But who are the other four?

Tamar, who had an incestuous encounter with her father-in-law.  Rahab, who had been a prostitute in Jericho.  Ruth, who was a foreigner from a cursed people group in Moab.  Bathsheba, who had an affair with King David. I’m so glad these women were listed. This shows us we can never go so far away from God that His grace can’t reach in to save us, and then use us. Each of these women would have probably thought they weren’t good enough if they had known how God was going to use them in His kingdom. What a beautiful example of what Paul wrote to the Corinthians:  Brothers and sisters, think of what you were when you were called. Not many of you were wise by human standards; not many were influential; not many were of noble birth. But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. God chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things and the things that are not to nullify the things that are, so that no one may boast before him. It is because of him that you are in Christ Jesus, who has become for us wisdom from God that is, our righteousness, holiness and redemption. Therefore, as it is written: “Let the one who boasts boast in the Lord (1 Corinthians 1:26-31).

No matter what mistakes you’ve made in your past, first of all, know you’re in good company. Secondly, know that God loves using mess-ups who fess up and then step up to do mighty works for Him.
"This is what the Lord says to you: 'Do not be afraid or discouraged because of this vast army. For the battle is not yours, but God's." 2 Chron. 20:15

Anon

  • Administrator
  • Newbie
  • *****
  • Posts: 53
  • Karma: +0/-0
    • View Profile
Re: Devotion
« Reply #5 on: June 27, 2018, 09:55:28 PM »
Keeping Short Books on Sin
Jun 26, 2018 | Mary Southerland

Today's Truth

But if we confess our sins, He will forgive our sins, because we can trust God to do what is right. He will cleanse us from all the wrongs we have done.  1 John 1:9

Friend to Friend

As a little girl, I always looked forward to the first day of summer vacation because it meant two things. First, I did not have to sit in a classroom all day wasting precious brain power trying to  comprehend and learn what I considered to be useless information. Second, I did not have to wear shoes except when I went to church or when my mother handed down the decree, “If you are going with me, you have to wear shoes.”

It had to be a really important errand for me to don even a pair of sandals or flip-flops.  Those first few days of my shoeless adventures were always a painful shock to my tender feet since my “playground” was actually nothing more than a gravel road running beside our house on the edge of town. I played for hours, climbing trees and racing friends up and down that rocky street. At the end of each day, my feet were grimy and filthy, often bruised and sometimes slightly bloody. Even now, I can remember the stinging discomfort inflicted by those razor-sharp rocks during the first few weeks of summer. My pain management was firmly rooted in the knowledge that my feet would soon grow callused and tough. I took comfort in the fact that I would soon be running down that gravel road with little or no pain.  Sin works the same way. The first time we commit a sin it is painful. We are filled with remorse and mourn the fact that we have grieved the heart of God, but regret is not enough when it comes to dealing with sin. Unless we confess and turn away from that sin, we are likely to commit it again. If we allow sin to settle into our life and refuse to confess it, that sin eventually hardens our heart and builds spiritual calluses in our soul. When we become comfortable with our sin, we are walking in enemy territory and setting ourselves up for spiritual failure and discouragement.  The good news is that Jesus understands human frailty. He is well acquainted with temptation and the tactics of Satan. Jesus gave His life as a ransom for us. He paid our sin debt in full.  “But if we confess our sins, He will forgive our sins, because we can trust God to do what is right. He will cleanse us from all the wrongs we have done” (1 John 1:9, NCV).

This verse was written to believers as an encouragement to deal with sin and a promise that when we do so, God will be faithful to forgive us and clean up the mess that sin has caused. We are not perfect just forgiven. To experience the fullness of God’s forgiveness, we need to keep short books on sin. That means being sensitive to sin and immediately choosing to do something about it. God is serious about sin. We need to be as well.  We must confess sin continually. “Confess” means to agree with and is a present tense verb meaning that we must confess sin frequently and continually.  We must confess sin completely. We commit sins one at a time. We need to confess them one-by-one as well.  We must confess our sin confidently. Once we confess and repent of our sin, we can put it behind us. God is just and fair seeking only one payment for sin. Jesus has already made full and complete payment with His death on the cross.  One of Satan’s favorite tactics is to resurrect buried sin. Wrapping that confessed transgression in his vain taunts and useless accusations, the enemy hauls it back into focus, hoping that guilt will paralyze and imprison a soul set free. Satan can hold us prisoner if we let him. But how often do we believe his empty lies and by doing so, grant him access to that which he has no right?

To break the hold of sin, we can and must stand against the enemy, trusting not in our feelings but in the facts of God’s word. And those facts are unchanging and crystal clear when we confess sin, God forgives it.
"This is what the Lord says to you: 'Do not be afraid or discouraged because of this vast army. For the battle is not yours, but God's." 2 Chron. 20:15

Anon

  • Administrator
  • Newbie
  • *****
  • Posts: 53
  • Karma: +0/-0
    • View Profile
Re: Devotion
« Reply #6 on: July 03, 2018, 08:48:58 PM »
Lift Up Your Eyes
Jul 03, 2018 | Mary Southerland

Today's Truth

So we do not look at what we can see right now, the troubles all around us, but we look forward to the joys in heaven which we have not yet seen. The troubles will soon be over, but the joys to come will last forever.  2 Corinthians 4:18

Friend to Friend

In an effort to escape the brutal summer heat of South Florida, our family headed to the beautiful mountains of North Carolina. We splashed in the icy mountain streams until our hands and feet were  almost numb from the cold and spent as much time outside as we possibly could; trying to soak up the cool, crisp mountain air. The Blue Ridge Parkway was one of our favorite spots for hiking, so we planned a day trip that included exploring a few hiking trails, a picnic, and a visit to the beautiful and historic colonial home of Carl Sandburg.  We woke to discover the beautiful weather of the day before had dissolved into a soupy mix of drizzle and fog. But we were not about to let a little fog and rain deter us from our original plan. We had been vacationing in North Carolina for years and knew that fog is a common occurrence even in the summer. We piled into our van and made our way up the mountain.The closer we got to the Sandburg home, the heavier the fog became. In fact, when we arrived, the fog was so thick we could barely see the walkway leading to the gift shop where we needed to purchase tickets for the tour. We decided we would have to come back another day for the tour, but since we were already at the gift shop, it wouldn’t hurt to do a little browsing.  The shop owner greeted us warmly and asked if we would like to purchase tickets for the guided tour scheduled to leave in an hour. Always the diplomat, I responded, “Are you kidding me? Have you looked outside?”

The owner smiled and said, “Oh, you mean the fog? It will be gone in a little while. Now how many tickets do you need?”

I don’t like pushy salesmen, even when they are sweet and kind and maybe a little near-sighted. “I think we’ll just wait and see if the fog actually lifts,” I responded, convinced that the thick fog would last all day, and resumed my browsing.

I lost track of time and was surprised to hear the owner announce, “The tour is leaving in 15 minutes. This is our final call for tickets.”

I walked out of the gift shop to discover that the fog really was lifting and the skies were actually beginning to clear. I couldn’t believe my eyes! Within minutes, the sun was shining as if the fog had never existed.  It sometimes feels as if the fog of doubt and fear of darkness will never lift from our lives. The promises of God seem to get swallowed up by the problems we face. We want to curse our crisis not praise God in the midst of that crisis. The hurt and pain overwhelm our faith and we lose sight of the fact that this world is not our home and that the troubles we face are only temporary. Lift up your eyes, Girlfriend. Fix your heart and mind on God He is with you.  I lift up my eyes to the mountains where does my help come from?

My help comes from the LORD, the Maker of heaven and earth” (Psalm 121:1-2, NIV).
"This is what the Lord says to you: 'Do not be afraid or discouraged because of this vast army. For the battle is not yours, but God's." 2 Chron. 20:15

Anon

  • Administrator
  • Newbie
  • *****
  • Posts: 53
  • Karma: +0/-0
    • View Profile
Re: Devotion
« Reply #7 on: July 17, 2018, 09:17:51 PM »
The Power of Quiet
Jul 16, 2018 | Gwen Smith

Today's Truth

The LORD is my shepherd, I shall not be in want. He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, he restores my soul.   Psalm 23:1-3

Friend to Friend

There are times when laundry takes over my house. Piles build up, though I try to stay on top of them. Many of the clothes are clean and even folded, but not put away. That tricky put-away-part is always  hard for me.  Then there are the socks. Oh, the socks! They burden me so and cause me to wonder. Does an unseen sock nation exist?

Are sock-soldiers are on a secret mission to destroy my testimony and drive me crazy?

Divide and conquer. That’s what they do! Why can’t socks just behave?

Why can’t they ever stay in pairs, and where am I supposed to put the socks that remain unmatched?

Sigh.  Unmatched socks and folded-but-not-put-away-laundry tie me up in knots. Sometimes days go by before I make the time to put them away. Is it just me?

I’ve come to realize that my days can be a lot like my laundry situation. At times they get piled up with busy. Sabbath gets squeezed out. Now, when I say Sabbath, I mean the priority of sitting before the Lord just to sit with Him quietly expectantly to listen to be restored.  Though I do include God in my days and breathe prayers throughout, when I don’t sit before the Lord and exercise the spiritual discipline of being quiet before God it seems that both old and new burdens can tie my heart into a big frazzled knot.  It had been one of those weeks. Knots. Knots. Knots.  Then I finally remembered the power of quiet. I remembered My Restorer.  As I sat in the cool still of the morning with a hot mug of coffee in my hand and the warming presence of God in my soul, the burdens of my heart began to drift away. Direction came. Joy resounded. Mercy rained. Peace deep peace fell.  The Spirit of God transformed my soul, my thoughts, my goals, and my day. It was as if I had slumbered half the week away. This is where they go. This is where my burdens belong. The old ones that I’ve written about time and time again in my prayer journal and the new ones that are just beginning to unravel from my heart. This is where they go! I just needed to put my continuous stream of life burdens away like the unending piles of laundry. THEN: order, soul order peace, compelling peace joy, divine joy and restoration it all came.  I sat in wonder.  Still.  In His presence.  Convicted of my failure to remember the power of being quiet before the Lord. Of course this is where they go. I knew that. I knew that. Lord, forgive me. Oh, how I’m thankful for your daily mercy showers. I was met in my mess by the Lord my Restorer.  Each of us is invited to experience God as our Restorer. To know the renewal we long for each day. Jesus invited us personally when he said, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light” (Matthew 11:28-30).

When our lives get too busy when the laundry piles up in our homes and the burdens pile up in our hearts we often forget the power of quiet. The power of being still before God. The power of listening, expecting, soul-pouring receiving rest from our Restorer. His presence sorts souls and never leaves an unmatched burden.  His presence never leaves an un-lifted burden.  How great is our God?

Take some time to power-down and be still before Him right now. Remember the power of quiet as you accept the renewal invitation of Jesus and exchange your burdens and knots for His peace and restoration.
"This is what the Lord says to you: 'Do not be afraid or discouraged because of this vast army. For the battle is not yours, but God's." 2 Chron. 20:15

Anon

  • Administrator
  • Newbie
  • *****
  • Posts: 53
  • Karma: +0/-0
    • View Profile
Re: Devotion
« Reply #8 on: July 17, 2018, 09:28:05 PM »
Just How Important is God’s Word?
Jul 17, 2018 | Mary Southerland

Today's Truth

All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives. It straightens us out and teaches us to do what is right. It is God’s way of preparing us in every way, fully equipped for every good thing God wants us to do.   2 Timothy 3:16

Friend to Friend

If we really want to know God, if we really want to understand who and whose we are, the Bible must have the highest place in our lives. We don’t have to be a Bible scholar or have a firm grip on the  Hebrew and Greek languages to know and apply God’s promises. As we read the Bible, the Holy Spirit will give us understanding and teach us how to apply God’s truth.  A disciple is a follower and a student. If we want to follow God and be His disciple, then we must understand the importance of the Bible, love the Word, and spend time in it. I thought I was doing a fair job of loving God’s Word until I was reading through the Old Testament and rammed right into Psalm 119. Within this passage, I discovered a test for us as believers that will help determine the importance we really place on God’s Word. Take this test with me to see if God’s Word has the place in your life that it should have.

•   Is God’s Word more important than food?

Psalm 119:103 “Your promises are sweet to me, sweeter than honey in my mouth” (NCV).

Here the Bible is described as honey and at other places in Scripture as milk or bread. The Bible is our spiritual food. God’s Word sustains and strengthens us just as food sustains and strengthens our physical body. We always find a way to eat, even if we must resort to eating fast food. Do we have the same depth of commitment to our spiritual growth and health as we do to satisfying the hunger pains of our human body?

•   Is God’s Word more important than money?

Psalm 119:72 “Your teachings are worth more to me than thousands of pieces of gold and silver” (NCV).

Spiritual wealth is more important than human wealth. Do we really live as if that statement is true?

I have a friend who is totally committed to God and to serving Him whole-heartedly. My friend is a garbage collector a happy garbage collector. I once asked him why he was so happy in his work. “Mary, I collect garbage to pay the bills. My real passion in life is to share Jesus Christ and to serve Him with joy.”

Do we really live to know and share God’s truths?

•   Is God’s Word more important than sleep?

Psalm 119:147-148 “I wake up early in the morning and cry out. I hope in Your word. I stay awake all night so I can think about your promises” (NCV).

I know. Now God is getting personal. When we start talking about giving up sleep to read and study the Word of God, we are talking radical obedience. Exactly! If we want to experience God’s power in our lives, we have to saturate our lives with His Word.
How did you do?

I will tell you honestly that I failed this test. I have walked with God for many years and I still do not have the hunger and thirst for God’s Word that I should have. If we listen carefully, I believe we can hear God say, “If you really want to get to know me, you have to know my Book.”

Jeremiah 2:32 “Does a maiden forget her jewelry, a bride her wedding ornaments? Yet my people have forgotten me, days without number” (NCV).

Jeremiah did not write these words to the unbeliever but to those of us who call ourselves “disciples” of Jesus Christ. I can hear the sorrow in His words, can’t you? They vividly portray the broken heart of a Father whose children have ignored Him and abandoned His words. I know what it does to me as a parent when my children do not listen to me or when they choose a path that is in direct opposition to one I would have chosen for them. I can only imagine what it does to God’s heart when we go for days and even weeks or months without even picking up the Bible except as an accessory for others to see when attending church. To experience the power of God’s Word, we must make it important in our lives.
"This is what the Lord says to you: 'Do not be afraid or discouraged because of this vast army. For the battle is not yours, but God's." 2 Chron. 20:15

Anon

  • Administrator
  • Newbie
  • *****
  • Posts: 53
  • Karma: +0/-0
    • View Profile
Re: Devotion
« Reply #9 on: July 28, 2018, 07:40:39 PM »
Why Your Redemption Story Isn’t Yours
Jul 26, 2018 | Gwen Smith

Today's Truth

‘Jesus replied, ‘Anyone who loves me will obey my teaching’  John 14:23

Friend to Friend

There is a feature on my cell phone that allows me to decline an incoming call. There are a thousand reasons why I might choose to hit the “decline” button when my phone rings. Sometimes I’m writing  and have a deadline to make. Decline. Sometimes a call comes in when I’m mid-conversation with a friend or when I’m connecting with my family. Decline. At times, true confessions here, I decline a call simply because I don’t have the energy or desire to talk to the person who’s calling me at that moment.  Similarly, there are times in my life when I try to ignore the promptings of the Holy Spirit as if I were declining a cell phone call. Times when I just don’t feel like doing what I know God wants me to do. Times when I don’t want to hear the still small voice that whispers to my soul: “forgive him” “release your anger” “humble yourself and ask for forgiveness” or “focus on my plan for you not on my plan for another person.”

One such time took place several years ago in Tennessee. It was after the final session of a three day ministry event. I was focused and fervent, determined to head home to my husband and three children as quickly as possible. I busied myself wrapping microphone cords, loading products from my resource table, and prepping to leave. While I was mid-busy, a friendly thirty-something woman came up to me with her friend. I was courteous to them, but in a “see you later, girlfriend” kind of way.  Not getting my subtle clues, this woman inquired excitedly about the book I was in the middle of writing. I lifted my head with surprise as she announced, “I can’t wait to read your book! Your enthusiasm for the Lord is so contagious, and I just know you have an amazing testimony!”

Then she and her friend stood there expectantly. Decline.  Okay, feel my pain here. It was day three of a three day event! I was exhausted. I was done. Yet this woman and her friend wanted to hear my testimony. So, I did what any normal fleshy woman would do. I told God, Not now, Lord. I’m going home. I’ve done what I came to do and now I’m going home to my family. I’m tired, slightly grumpy, definitely hungry, and done. I can’t tell these girls about my abortion right now! Nope. Not going to go there. Please don’t ask me to!  So I looked up at these two sweet women and, with a forced smile, said, “Yeah, I’ve got a doozy of a story, but don’t we all?

Thank God for grace.  There! Now they should leave me alone, I thought.  But God kept nudging my heart. Tell them, Gwen.  Before I had a chance to continue my dialog with the Lord, another couple of women came to join our conversation. I was so not amused.  God, are You kidding me?

We are done here!  But He kept nudging.  So I finally conceded and shared my testimony with the six women who had gathered to speak to me. Within minutes, two of the six were crying. They’d had abortions as well and for years had lived under the weight of shame. We instantly became a bonded band of blubbering sisters. The story of my redemption from brokenness and the beauty of healing I found in Christ had become a tool in the hands of God that afternoon.  What had once been a wound became a weapon but only because I accepted the call. (Even if it did take me a while to concede.)  Jesus told his disciples that if they loved Him, they would obey His commands and His teachings (John 14:15-27). A simple if-then statement. If you love me, then you will obey. He also told them that when He returned to the Father in heaven, He would send the Holy Spirit to teach, to guide in truth, to convict of sin and to remind believers of what Jesus taught (John 16:7-14). To help us. To empower us.  The Spirit of God lives within every Christ follower. He equips us for each task as we yield to His leading. When God prompts us to do something on His behalf, He is faithful to lead the way and to bless our obedience for His own glory. It’s all about His glory. He simply wants our willingness and our obedience.  Friend, God’s plans need to be our plans even if His plans seem to “interrupt” our plans. Let’s be women who accept His call. Are you willing today?
"This is what the Lord says to you: 'Do not be afraid or discouraged because of this vast army. For the battle is not yours, but God's." 2 Chron. 20:15

Anon

  • Administrator
  • Newbie
  • *****
  • Posts: 53
  • Karma: +0/-0
    • View Profile
Re: Devotion
« Reply #10 on: August 07, 2018, 09:39:48 PM »
Always Remember This One Truth
Aug 06, 2018 | Gwen Smith

Today's Truth

But when I am afraid, I will put my trust in you.  Psalm 56:3

Friend to Friend

Each day brings fresh possibilities and opportunities for us to trust God. As I think of what lies ahead today I’m reminded of a trust lesson God taught me long ago.  Our arms were braided across each other’s and our hands were locked tightly. As the young girl stood on the tall tree stump above us she looked over her shoulder and saw with her eyes that our formation was tight…that we were ready for her. She heard with her ears that we would catch her that we would not let her get hurt. Yet the fear that screamed in her head told her not to do it. Not to fall backwards.  Her legs shook and lips quivered. Other campers had gone before her. She and her cabin mates had successfully caught each one. But this camper hesitated allowing the looming possibilities of failure and pain to paralyze her from action. The risks just seemed too great.  She trembled.  We encouraged.  She cried.  We encouraged.  Then, finally, with determination in her heart, she took the plunge. She fell straight backwards onto the safety net of our arms. We bent low to the ground giving way to her fall and caught her with cheers of excitement.  She did it!  As her trembling legs regained their confidence, she stood tall and beamed from ear to ear realizing that she had faced her fear. Joy was felt from heart to heart as each of us rejoiced with her. Mission accomplished.  Early in the day, we had trekked across the campgrounds to the “Trust Fall station” as a group of counselors and campers who didn’t have a shared experience among us, an unconnected strand of strangers. Now our wooded team-building time had come to an end and we left the trust fall station having bonded deeply as a group of new girlfriends prepared for a fresh journey of fun and adventure.  Each of us took turns at the trust fall that day. We all faced a set of scary circumstances and were forced to work through our doubts, tremblings and fears. As a result, we learned valuable lessons and strengthened our relationships.  Since my days of being a camp counselor, I’ve faced many scary life trust falls: financial trials, relationship strains, relocations, sick loved ones, loss and difficult family matters. I’ve trembled and I’ve cried. I’ve been paralyzed by “what ifs” and “whys.” We all go through difficult seasons and trials; times when we want to see the invisible arms of the One who says He will catch us; times when we are afraid to fall into them.  Wherever you go and whatever you face, God is with you yesterday, today and forever. He bids us to live by faith, not by sight (2 Corinthians 5:7). He wants us to trust Him. He catches us when we trust fall, when we live by faith. And to encourage us along the way, He spurs us on by sending a cloud of witnesses who testify of His faithfulness. “Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us” (Hebrews 12:1).

Today, whether you identify with the shaky young camper on the trust fall stump or with the cabin mates who were filled with encouragement for another, God wants you to trust Him… right where you are. It might be scary. Tears might be shed. But God is faithful and can be trusted.  Like the Psalmist, let’s choose to say, “But when I am afraid, I will put my trust in you. I praise God for what he has promised. I trust in God, so why should I be afraid?” (Psalm 56:3-4)

When we trust fall from our struggles into the faithful arms of God, we are freed from the fears that paralyze us. Trust Him today, friend. I’m cheering for you.
"This is what the Lord says to you: 'Do not be afraid or discouraged because of this vast army. For the battle is not yours, but God's." 2 Chron. 20:15