Author Topic: Daily Devotion  (Read 1945 times)

La Bamba

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Re: Daily Devotion
« Reply #60 on: March 25, 2018, 10:58:19 PM »
Marvelous in My Eyes
Jan 26, 2018 | Arlene Pellicane

Today's Truth

The stone the builders rejected has become the cornerstone; the Lord has done this, and it is marvelous in our eyes. The Lord has done it this very day; let us rejoice today and be glad.  Psalm 118:22-24

Friend to Friend

When I was in elementary school, I wore thick blue eyeglasses. They weren’t very fashionable, but at least I could read the chalkboard.  Decades later, I still need glasses or contact lenses to put the world in focus. These  tools improve my vision dramatically. Yet sight is about more than being able to read letters far away. It can also be about how you perceive God and your life.  Do you see life through the lens of thanks or the lens of dissatisfaction?

The answer to this simple question dramatically changes everything.  If we train our minds to look for God at work and to give thanks, we will find many things to be “marvelous in our eyes.” If we wake up and speak out today’s truth from Psalm 118, “Let us rejoice today and be glad,” we frame the day in a perspective of praise and thanksgiving.

But if we awaken to texts on the phone, news headlines, or to do lists, we’re bound to feel quite dissatisfied before breakfast. If we focus on the problems instead of the Problem Solver, we struggle, unable to see clearly.  Maybe it’s time for a home eye exam that is connected to your heart.  The Apostle Paul prayed that “the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in his holy people” (Ephesians 1:18, NIV).

As you choose to think of the spiritual blessings that belong to you in Christ, you can’t help but be more grateful.  In 1 Peter 2:7, we read Peter quoting today’s truth in Psalm 118:22 saying the cornerstone representing Christ is precious to those who believe, but it’s a stumbling block to those who do not believe. To some, Christ represents life. But to others who don’t believe, He is a rock to trip over, a reason to fall.  Each day, you can live with thanks not because your health is perfect. Not because you have a lot of money in the bank. Not because your vacation is coming.  You can live with thanks and rejoicing because you are saved. The Lord has rescued you from sin. This is a reason to give thanks every day of the year, not just on Thanksgiving.  On darker days when you sense your spiritual eyesight is failing, you can.  Remember where you’ve come from.  Remember how God has answered your prayers.  Remember the promises of God.  Put on the “eyeglasses of thanks” and you will discover many marvels to behold even today.

La Bamba

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Re: Daily Devotion
« Reply #61 on: March 25, 2018, 11:07:00 PM »
Let’s Get This Straight
Jan 29, 2018 | Sharon Jaynes

Today's Truth

For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.  Hebrews 4:12

Friend to Friend

“Dear Sharon,” the letter began, “I found your e-mail on your website. I was searching for some information on what the Bible says about affairs. Somehow I came upon your site. I feel like I am on the verge of  destroying my life. My life with my husband had never been good marginal at best. I find myself working hard on my appearance so other men will notice and desire me. We have four children, and I’m miserable. My husband is in the military and away at boot camp. I’m glad he’s gone.  I am on the verge of having an affair with just about anyone to escape my marriage. I don’t want to look back on my life and think I could have been happy with someone else. I feel like I am trapped in a loveless marriage. I want a divorce.”

Friend, can’t you just see the enemy rubbing his hands together like an anxious fly?

I bet he shuddered when she clicked the SEND button on her computer screen and sent this e-mail to me. “Oh no,” I imagine him saying. “This could ruin everything.”

He knew that I would help her recognize the lie.  When you consider the words in the previous letter, they really aren’t that different from the lies Eve believed in the Garden. God is holding out on me I would be happy if I’m going to take control of this situation.  Rain on the consequences. Anything is better than this.  When I hear stories of women overcome with hopelessness and despair, my heart breaks. This is not what God had in mind when He sent His Son, Jesus Christ, to the earth to die on Calvary’s cross, rise from the darkened tomb, and ascend to heaven from the Mount. This is not what God intended for His bride when He gave her the gift and the power of the Holy Spirit. No, Jesus said, “I have come that they might have life, and have it to the full” (John 10:10).

So what has happened to block the flow of abundant life into the hearts of men and women?

Why are we not living in victory?

Where is the living water?

I believe the flow is blocked because we believe lies rather than the truth.  Robert McGee, author of Search for Significance, wrote, “One of the biggest steps we can take toward consistently glorifying Christ and walking in peace and joy with our heavenly Father is to recognize the deceit which had held us captive. Satan’s lies distort our true perspective, warp our thoughts, and produce painful emotions. If we cannot identify those lies, then it is very likely that we will continue to be defeated by them.”

John 10:10 reveals Jesus’ intention for abundant life and the enemy’s intention to block it. “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they might have life, and have it to the full.”

We have already realized who the real enemy is, and he is doing everything in his power to keep Christians from experiencing the abundant life. His ultimate goal is our utter destruction and his MO is lies.  The Bible says, “For we are not ignorant of his [Satan’s] schemes” (2 Corinthians 2:11 nasb, emphasis added). “Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes”

(Ephesians 6:11, emphasis added). His schemes include a step-by-step progressive plan of one lie that leads to another lie that leads to another lie. He begins small and works his way up to more destructive and disastrous misbeliefs. The way we stop the progression is to do as Barney Fife suggests in The Andy Griffith Show: “Nip it in the bud.” Recognize the lie the moment it enters your mind.  But the only way to recognize a lie is to know the truth. We must know the truth so that when a counterfeit comes along we recognize right away its lack of authenticity.  When someone is training to become a bank teller, he or she is taught how to recognize counterfeit money. However, the instructors do not teach what counterfeit bills look like. Rather, they teach what genuine money looks like. They study the markings, the coloring, and the feel of real money so when the counterfeit comes along, the teller can recognize it.

L. Moody once said, “The best way to show that a stick is crooked is not to argue about it or to spend time denouncing it, but to lay a straight stick alongside it.”

So that’s what we’re going to do. We’re going to lay the straight stick of God’s Word alongside every thought that enters our minds. And then we’re going to make a decision: true or false.  That decision can determine the destiny of your day.

My_little_pony

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Re: Daily Devotion
« Reply #62 on: March 27, 2018, 09:42:11 PM »
Trusting God With Tomorrow
Jan 30, 2018 | Gwen Smith

Today's Truth

The LORD said to him, “Who gave man his mouth? Who makes him deaf or mute? Who gives him sight or makes him blind? Is it not I, the LORD? Now go; I will help you speak and will teach you what to say.”  Exodus 4:11-12

Friend to Friend

On the far side of a desert, high upon the Mountain of God, a voice called out to Moses from within a curious, fiery bush. He had been tending the sheep of his father-in-law’s flock going about his normal day  in day out tasks on the day that God spoke to him from the flames. On the day that God called Moses to a fresh and fiery mission. A mission of deliverance.  Once a noble prince of Egypt with the world at his feet, he had become a lowly shepherd with dust on his sandals. His crown had been traded in for a staff. The palace days were far behind Moses now. He fled them because of what he had done. Glancing to his left and right to be sure that no one would know what he was about to do, Moses took a horrible situation into his own hands and killed a man. He murdered an Egyptian and covered the death with sand.  Fear and shame bombarded his heart so he fled away from his dream filled, royal future to a desert place of humble hiding. The door to his yesterdays was closed. Moses had moved on to a new place. His past was his past and he had no intentions of returning to it. His life was different now. Normal, not noble.  Then God interrupted Moses’ new normal. His plans for Moses were different.  Bigger.  God’s intentions were for freedom the freedom of His people, the Israelites, who were captives slaves to Egypt. God called Moses to face the pains of his past so that the Israelites could face a future of freedom. His plans of emancipation required that Moses obey Him, listen to His voice, follow His instructions and trust Him.  Moses quivered and doubted. He made excuses. He felt unfit and unqualified for such a task. But God met Moses at his doubts. He called him to courage and went on to use Moses as an instrument of deliverance, truth, power and freedom.  Yes Moses made mistakes along the way, but God was powerful in, through and in spite of each one. Through it all, God led as only God can. He led with power. He led with purpose. He led with love. And through Moses, God led His people to a new place of promise and freedom.

On the far side of Charlotte, North Carolina, high upon a mountain in a retreat center, a voice called out to me from within a curious and fiery story. I had been tending to my husband and children, to the laundry and the dishes writing songs and leading worship going about my normal day-in-day-out tasks on the day that God spoke to my heart from the testimony of another woman. On the day that God called me to a fresh and fiery mission. A mission of deliverance.  Once a sold-out, dream-filled God-girl, I had become a grace embracing, yet disqualified-for-anything-big-because-of-what-I-had-done God-girl. My use-me-in-a-big-way-Lord prayers had been traded in for average, can’t-have-a-dream-anymore faith-living. My God-dream days were far behind me. I had fled them because of what I had done in my junior year of college. Glancing to my left and right to be sure that no one would know what I was about to do, I took a stressful situation an unplanned pregnancy into my own hands and killed a baby. I robbed my baby of life when I had an abortion and covered the death of my precious child with sands of compartmentalizing and reason.  Fear and shame bombarded my heart, so I fled away from God away from my dream-filled, royal future to a desert place of heart hiding. After a season of brokenness, God brought me to a place of beauty, forgiveness and healing. I was restored and redeemed by scandalous, merciful grace. Then I closed the heart-door to my yesterdays. I moved on to a new place in Christ. My past was my past and I had no intentions of returning to it or to the God-dreams that swelled my soul as a young, sold-out Jesus lover. My life was different now. Normal, not dream-worthy.  Then God interrupted my new normal. His plans for me were different.  Bigger.  God’s intentions were for freedom the freedom of His people, the women, who were captives slaves to their life-wounds. God called me to face the pains of my past so that my Girlfriends in God might face a future of freedom when they hear my testimony. His plans of emancipation required that I obey Him, listen to His voice, follow His instructions and trust Him.  I quivered and doubted. I made excuses. I felt unfit and unqualified for such a task. But God met me at my doubts. He called me to courage and is using my broken-into-beautiful story as an instrument of deliverance, truth, power and freedom.  Yes I make mistakes along the way, but God is powerful in, through, and in spite of each one. Through each surrendered day, God is leading as only He can. With power with purpose with love. And I pray right now that this story my story will bring you to a new place of promise and freedom through the grace of Jesus Christ.  What fresh and fiery mission is God calling you to trust Him with, friend?

Let me encourage you to stop with the excuses. I’m living proof that God can free anyone from her shame and use anyone for His purpose.  Step up to the burning bush into God’s presence. Listen to His voice. Obey. Follow. Take courage. Trust Him with your past and with your tomorrows. Allow God’s grace to direct what your mission should look like.  But I have raised you up for this very purpose, that I might show you my power and that my name might be proclaimed in all the earth.  Exodus 9:16, NIV

My_little_pony

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Re: Daily Devotion
« Reply #63 on: March 27, 2018, 09:50:53 PM »
He is All I Need
Jan 31, 2018 | Mary Southerland

Today's Truth

The LORD is my shepherd. I am never in need. He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside peaceful waters. He renews my soul. He guides me along the paths of righteousness for the sake of his name. Even though I walk through the dark valley of death, because you are with me, I fear no harm. Your rod and your staff give me courage. You prepare a banquet for me while my enemies watch. You anoint my head with oil. My cup overflows. Certainly, goodness and mercy will stay close to me all the days of my life, and I will remain in the LORD’s house for days without end.  Psalm 23:1-6

Friend to Friend

Christmas is my favorite time of the year! When our children were younger, a whole set of rules surrounded buying our Christmas tree. It must be purchased on the day after Thanksgiving, and it must be purchased  from the nice man who ran a tree lot just down the street from our house because he had the best Frasier Firs in town.  We all piled into “Old Blue,” my husband’s well-worn truck, and headed for the tree lot two minutes away from our house. When we arrived, my husband and our children fanned out in search of “the tree.” As tradition demanded, my husband, Dan, immediately began muttering, “Bah, humbug” under his breath, but just loud enough for us all to hear.

That was the cue for our daughter, Danna, to begin rolling her eyes and correcting her Scrooge father. Our son, Jered, ignored them both and carried out his steady search in quiet contemplation. He usually spotted “the tree” first. “Found it!” he shouted, which was another verbal tree-finding tradition.

We all gathered to inspect Jered’s find, immediately dismissing it as unworthy, and spreading out once again in search of our tree.  The owners of the tree lot recognized us and understood that there was a non-negotiable Southerland step-by-step process for selecting a tree. They stood back, waiting for the curtain to fall on the tree drama, content in the knowledge that we would eventually buy a tree from them. I considered and dismissed almost every tree on the lot before going back to the first tree Jered picked. Afraid of losing it to another customer, Jered diligently stood guard over his tree until we came to our senses and realized that he, once again, had found the perfect tree. After what we considered a respectable search time, we once again gathered at Jered’s tree, looking for “holes” in the branches, evaluating each side to make sure it would display well and finally, examining the top of the tree to make sure our angel tree-topper would be comfortable there.  The moment of truth arrived when Dan, Danna, and Jered all looked at me and asked, “Well, what do you think, Mom? Is this the one?”

Savoring the moment, I took my time before saying, “Let’s get it!”

I am almost certain I heard applause at this moment, from my family, from other customers, and certainly from the tree man. My husband wrote the check as Jered loaded the tree in Old Blue and we headed home where the Christmas tree stand was ready and waiting. Jered, the hulk football player, unloaded the tree, cut off an inch of the trunk, placed it in the stand, and transported the tree to its new home for the holidays.  The smell was delicious. The needles were green and fresh for about a month, and then, every year, the same sad process begins. Although I faithfully watered the tree, the needles grew more brittle with each passing day. The smell was less powerful and eventually, the limbs began to wither, dry out, and turn brown. Why?

The tree had been separated from its source. The same is true in our lives.  God is our source and there is no life if we are separated from Him. He will meet our every need. Our mate is not our source. Our job is not our source. Our children are not our source. God alone is our source.  As you celebrate the holidays, don’t allow anyone or anything divert your heart and mind from the eternal truth that no matter what you did or did not receive this year, no matter what you gave or were unable to give this year God is your source. And that truth is not seasonal it is eternal.

Shadow Rider

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Re: Daily Devotion
« Reply #64 on: April 17, 2018, 11:48:01 AM »
A Love That Stays
Jan 16, 2018 | Gwen Smith

Today's Truth
I will maintain my love to Him forever, and my covenant with Him will never fail.   Psalm 89:28

Friend to Friend
I took a few pictures the other day with what I call my “big girl camera.” You know, the kind with a lens that adjusts to things near and far, making objects change from blurry to clear with a simple twist. It’s amazing to  look through a viewfinder and watch what is hazy become crisp and clear.  Lately I feel like I need this feature for my soul.  Have you ever felt that way?

My week has been a bit of a blur and this distracted heart needs a good refocusing. So I turn to the Word of God, and the adjustment begins. A man named Ethan penned psalm 89. He wrote the psalm to celebrate the throne of king David and the prophetic promises God made regarding the eternal nature of Christ’s future reign.  It’s a moving read; full of promise, praise, and wonder. A declaration of God’s holiness and steadfast love that seals the destiny of all who place their faith in Jesus.  I read it and am refocused on the hope of God’s power, righteousness, justice, faithfulness, and strength. I’m reminded that the indescribable and unsearchable Creator of the universe invites you and me, His small, but cherished creation, to walk in the light of His presence (verse 15).  I’m reminded that God is not distant, but near.  That He offers to sustain and strengthen all who are His. That God works through my weakness with power that is perfect and that He hears the cries that rise from haughty human lungs as they breathe His holy name: Father, God, Rock, and Savior.  I will maintain my love to him forever, and my covenant with him will never fail. I will establish his line forever, his throne as long as the heavens endure. “If his sons forsake my law and do not follow my statutes, if they violate my decrees and fail to keep my commands, I will punish their sin with the rod, their iniquity with flogging; but I will not take my love from him, nor will I ever betray my faithfulness. I will not violate my covenant or alter what my lips have uttered. Once for all, I have sworn by my holiness ... (Psalm 89:28-35, emphasis mine)

I read these words these promises from the heart of God and my soul is stirred deeply.  God maintains His love.  His covenant will never fail.  Even when we fail, God does not.   Even when we disobey His commands and run away from all that is good and holy, He loves us. Yes, consequences will be handed out, but His LOVE will remain. When we are faithless, God will not betray His own faithfulness to us. He will not go back on His word on His promise of salvation on His covenant of grace through Jesus.  God swears on His own holiness that the finished work of Jesus is enough. For me. For you. For the remnant of all who’ve been kissed by mercy’s hope.  With a heart that is refocused on clarifying truth and vibrant grace, I turn from my blurry heart haze toward God’s love that remains unfailing for all eternity.

Sweetpea

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Re: Daily Devotion
« Reply #65 on: May 19, 2018, 08:36:55 PM »
Help For a Heart That Worries
Apr 16, 2018 | Gwen Smith

Today's Truth
When I am afraid, I will put my trust in you. Psalm 56:3

Friend to Friend
The prophet Isaiah said, “Surely the arm of the Lord is not too short to save, nor is his ear to dull to hear.” (Isaiah 59:1)

Though I know in my heart this is true, I still sometimes go back and forth between doubt and worry as if  God’s arms are short and his ears are dull. My friend Erica does too.  She came to my door with a package to deliver and a story to share. I signed for the package and we began to catch up. Her kids are grown. Mine are teens. Her daughter just got married. My oldest just went to college. Mama to mama we shared and cared.  “My daughter and her new husband might be moving to Chicago. I have to be honest, Gwen,” she said seriously, “I’m not doing well trusting God with this. I’m struggling with anxiousness and worry.”

I listened and nodded with understanding, knowing full well the strain of worry and anxiety.  Then she perked up and shared a story that went something like this.  God impressed a message on my heart this morning that challenged and convicted me! I just have to tell you about it. I ride motorcycles. Have for years. I love the feeling of being out in the open air. It’s exciting and invigorating. When I ride, I feel vulnerable and alert. It’s risky and requires balance, it’s much more difficult than driving my car, but I ride because it energizes me and makes me feel alive.  This morning I rode my bike to work while it was still dark. I don’t usually do that because the headlight is small, so the light is dim. As I was riding, I began to thank God for allowing me to ride my bike to work. I thanked him for allowing me to feel alive and energized along the way. And as I did, He spoke to my heart. I sensed He was saying, “Erica! This is what I want my relationship with you to be like: exciting, risky, and energizing, like riding your motorcycle! But instead you take your car with me. You want to feel safe. You want to see with brighter headlights. You grasp for more control, by worrying and fretting about things you can do nothing about. In doing so, you miss out on a faith that is alive and energizing a faith that trusts me and takes risks.  She shared that story with tears and conviction in her eyes. We were both moved and challenged. It left me with a fresh longing for deeper faith.  I want to ride.  I want to take risks with the star-breathing, mountain moving, speak through a burning bush, unpredictable, and unsearchable All mighty One!  God does not call us to a safe faith. He does not promise that we will have a clear view of all that lies ahead. He does not promise us simplicity. Instead, God invites us to embrace a vibrant faith that trusts Him. A faith that is alive and energized, in spite of the unsteady unknowns. His arms are not too short to save and His ears are not dull to hear. He is powerful, capable, compassionate, merciful, holy, just, and faithful.  These truths should hush our noisy doubts and calm the anxieties that seek to unnerve us.  God is sovereign and His ways are mysterious.  In the center of all of my questions this one resounds: who better to trust than God?

Myself?

Hardly.  My paycheck?

My medical chart?

My emotions?

I might as well chase the wind.  In contemplating this, I journey back to what the Bible has to say on such things.  “Live by faith, not by sight.” (2 Corinthians 5:7)

“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)
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.”

Is the Lord calling you to trust Him with something or someone today?

Decide to ride.

Sweetpea

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Re: Daily Devotion
« Reply #66 on: May 19, 2018, 08:44:08 PM »
Taming Your Child’s Tongue
Apr 17, 2018 | Guest Writer

Today's Truth
A good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and an evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of.  Luke 6:45

Friend to Friend
“Mooooomy, I want some juuuiiice!”  Whining

“You’re stupid!” Disrespecting

“Tommy’s not doing what you told him to do!” Tattling

“No, I’m not going to clean my room!” Disobeying

“I didn’t take a cookie from the jar!” Lying

What causes a child to speak such tender words as “I love you” and “You’re the best mommy in the world” in one breath and in the next say something terrible?

Before I had children, whenever I thought about my future family, I envisioned happy, well-mannered little darlings who always obeyed. Boy, was I in for a rude awakening. What happened to all my plans for great parenting and well-behaved children?

The stick turned blue. Twice.  In short order I became the mom who was consistently taken aback when her kids spoke foolishly, whether it was in the form of whining, lying, or talking back. With an expression of shock, I would ask, “Why do you act like that?”

After a closer look at the Word of God, I realized I was asking the wrong question.  Jesus explained, “For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of” (Matthew 12:34).

In other words, there is merit to the old saying, “What’s down in the well comes up in the bucket.”

Our sin does not begin with our mouths; it begins with our hearts. I slowly learned to quit asking, “Why does my child sin?” and began to ask myself, “When my child sins, how might I point him to the fact that he is a sinner in need of a savior? How might I help him understand and live in the power of the Gospel?”

Through much prayer and searching the Bible, I found that having a three-step plan of action for getting to the heart of behavior, reproving children biblically, and training children in righteousness can make a positive difference in how we respond to a child’s need for correction.

Step 1: Getting to the Heart of Behavior
A wise parent will learn to move beyond the words of her child by addressing the issues of the heart. After all, if the heart is reached, the behavior will take care of itself. Jesus set the ultimate example for how to probe the heart of another in order to draw out what lies within. When dealing with sinners, Jesus did not shake his finger at their faces and tell them what they were doing wrong. Instead, He would ask thought-provoking questions in such a way that the person to whom he was talking had to take his focus off of the circumstances around him and onto the sin in his own heart. Heart-probing questions cause children to evaluate themselves, which helps them recognize their need for Christ.

Step 2: Reproving Your Child Biblically
In Matthew 18:15 God commands that we reprove those who are caught in sin. A biblical reproof exposes wrong by shedding light where there is darkness. Fortunately, God has faithfully provided us with all that we need to speak wisdom and truth into the hearts of our children. We need not look any further than the infallible Word of God. Once we have determined the issue of the heart that drives the outward behavior, we can then address the offense in accordance with Scripture.

Step 3: Training Your Child in Righteousness
It is never enough to tell kids what not to do; we must teach them what to do. In the book of Ephesians we are told to put off the old self and to put on the new self (4:22). Teaching children to “put off” wrong behavior comes naturally for parents, mainly because we find wrong behavior unpleasant, but the key to successful parenting is found in training them in righteousness. It is equally important, if not more important, that we teach our kids to replace what is wrong with what is right.

Sweetpea

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Re: Daily Devotion
« Reply #67 on: May 19, 2018, 09:02:31 PM »
Making It Right
Apr 18, 2018 | Arlene Pellicane

Today's Truth
“Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation and leaves no regret, but worldly sorrow brings death.” 2 Corinthians 7:10

Friend to Friend
I went to get a snack from my refrigerator and as I opened the door, the plastic jar of mayonnaise fell out. I put the mayonnaise back in the same spot, grabbed my snack and quickly shut the door.  A few hours later, I returned to the refrigerator and guess what happened?

The mayonnaise fell out again but this time, the top cracked and mayonnaise splattered on the floor. As I cleaned up the mess, I wondered, “Why didn’t I move the mayonnaise to a different spot before?”

I knew it was going to fall out again.  My little mayonnaise incident reminded me of how it’s easier to just get on with life and perhaps continue in sin than to change. It required effort to find another spot in the fridge for the mayonnaise and I was in a hurry. But eventually, there would be a price to pay for my neglect.  Sin starts out small. It advances stealthily in increments. For example, most people never intend to have an affair. It just starts with a conversation in the break room with a co-worker. You bump into each other a few days later and before you know it, you’re looking forward to your next encounter. You might choose to carpool to a work event after all, there will be other people in the car. Then you decide to grab a cup of coffee together.  Right when we sense we’ve crossed the line into sin, we must stop and express sorrow to God. If we continue on our course of sin, we will experience the sorrow of the world which leads to death. There’s a different kind of sorrow that’s much better godly sorrow. Today’s verse says godly sorrow brings repentance a change that leads to salvation and leaves no regret.  Repentance is preceded by sorrow. When we sin, we ought to feel distress. We can pray “Lord make me sensitive and aware when I sin against You.”

These kinds of prayers can help us avoid many collisions caused by sin, leading to a heart full of regret.  God stands ready to pour out His grace on us. Christ died so our sin won’t wreck us. It can instead of the opposite effect. 2 Corinthians 7:11 (NLT) continues to say “Just see what this godly sorrow produced in you! Such earnestness, such concern to clear yourselves, such indignation, such alarm, such longing to see me, such zeal, and such a readiness to punish wrong. You showed that you have done everything necessary to make things right.”

You can make things right before God and with others. It begins with humility, godly sorrow and repentance.

The Hobbit

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Re: Daily Devotion
« Reply #68 on: June 09, 2018, 07:53:08 PM »
It’s Such a Mystery
May 07, 2018 | Gwen Smith

Today's Truth
The eternal God is your refuge, and his everlasting arms are under you.   Deuteronomy 33:27

Friend to Friend
My curiosity begs to understand life. My mind longs for logic. I am not overly fond of ungraspable concepts. When I was a child I asked a million questions. Why is the sky blue?

Are angels all men?

Why do bad things happen?

Why can’t we send my brussel sprouts to the starving children in Africa? Who created God?

I wanted answers.  I still do.  Give me a story that grabs my attention at the beginning. Fill it with intrigue. Throw in some high conflict and drama in the middle and then catch the bad guys, tie up the loose ends and call it done. Cue the applause. Bring down the curtain. But don’t even think about leaving me hanging and certainly don’t ask me to tune in next week for the missing story pieces.  Now that you are clued in on a bit of my “crazy,” you can imagine how I reacted as a youngster when the concept of infinity was introduced in math class. Suit me up for a straight jacket and take me to a rubber room. I thought my math teacher was nuts. You mean I’m supposed to comprehend, work with, and accept something that has no beginning and no ending?

Really?

That’s not neat. It’s not simple. It makes my brain hurt to even think about it!  Pure frustration, packaged in a sideways figure eight.  A mind-maddening math mystery.  Infinity.  Once I rose above the psychological drama-trauma of this new math concept, I figured out how to solve problems with infinity: even though I couldn’t fully wrap my brain around it. I completed my homework assignments and passed the tests without so much as running my fingernails down the chalkboard in a defiant, adolescent tantrum of revolt. Miracle.  There are a few characteristics of God that I find difficult to grasp. As you may have guessed, His eternal nature is one. It’s not easy to understand. As much as my inner four-year-old would like it to, the Bible does not begin with once upon a time, and it does not end with and they all lived happily ever after. The love saga of God, written in crimson by Christ, is a mystery that began before the dawn of time and goes on forever.  God’s existence defies space, matter and time. It transcends it!  Let what Scripture has to say about His eternal nature blow your mind for a minute.  Behold, God is great, and we know him not; the number of his years is unsearchable. (Job 36:26)

Have you not known?

Have you not heard?

The LORD is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He does not faint or grow weary; his understanding is unsearchable. (Isaiah 40:28)

God is God. He is great. Unsearchable!  There is no one like Him, not one. Not now. Not ever.  He is uniquely and mysteriously eternal.  He is El Olam: The Everlasting God, El meaning “mighty one,” Olam meaning world, universe, everlasting time or space. His existence cannot be featured on a timeline because it does not come neatly packaged with a clearly defined beginning and ending. In fact, He is the Beginning and the End the Alpha and Omega the First and the Last.  There is no one like the God of Israel. He rides across the heavens to help you, across the skies in majestic splendor. The eternal God is your refuge, and his everlasting arms are under you. (Deuteronomy 33:26-27a)

I would guess that, like me, you love the thought of God as your refuge. My heart completely resonates with the concept of His everlasting arms beneath me. Holding me. Protecting me. Guiding me. Do I fully understand it?

Not at all but it sure does help me to accept the concept of God’s eternal nature. More than that, it helps me to embrace His infinite nature.  When we allow the One who is beyond space, matter and time into our space, matter and time, we position ourselves to experience El Olam as a refuge for all eternity.  You and I run out of energy. We grow weary. We lose heart. God never does. The Everlasting God does not faint or grow weary and when we call out to Him, He renews our strength and revives our hope.  Yeah. I’m the girl who wants life to make sense, but I’ve been learning that there are some things in life that we just need to accept, rather than understand. Things we need to take at face value at faith value. For me, this is one of them.  I worship El Olam who was and is and is to come. Infinite Grace. And I’m grateful that on the day my lungs exhale my final earthly breath and my eyes lift to see Jesus face to face, all my questions will be not only satisfied, but also forgotten. Not just for a moment, but for all eternity.

The Hobbit

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Re: Daily Devotion
« Reply #69 on: June 09, 2018, 08:03:13 PM »
Run from Sin!
May 08, 2018 | Mary Southerland

Today's Truth
Don't turn off the road of goodness; keep away from evil paths.  Proverbs 4:27

Friend to Friend
At the close of the sermon, a church member came forward to speak with the pastor. He was very upset because of the sin in his life and his blatant disobedience to God. With tears streaming down his face, the  repentant man took the pastor’s hand to confess that his life was full of sin, but what came out was, “My sin is full of life.”

I can relate.  I don’t know about you, but my sin is definitely “full of life.” I am always amused but also saddened by people who think that just because I am in full-time ministry, I am holier than they are, better than they are, or don’t have to battle sin like they do. Just ask my family. They will blow that theory right out of the water. The fact is that as long as I live in this fallen world and sport this frail humanity, I will wrestle with sin.  However, I have refined several tactics for dealing with my sinful nature. Rationalization is one of my personal favorites. And there is always the handy comparison ploy measuring my sin against the sin of another. At times, I subscribe to the popular “bury it and hope it will go away” tactic. The reality is that nothing satisfies the payment sin demands except the blood of Jesus Christ and my response to His sacrifice in true unadulterated repentance on my face before my Holy God.  When we turn our lives over to God, He sets our feet on the right path. But to stay on that path requires a continual choice to run from sin. With our flawed choices, we take side trips, create detours, and wind up on the wrong road headed in the wrong direction.  Solomon warns us to stay away from evil paths. “Don’t turn off the road of goodness; keep away from evil paths” (Proverbs 4:27, NLT).

“Keep away” literally means “to turn aside or drag from.” In other words, when we see sin or even the opportunity to sin, we should turn around and run in the opposite direction. We should “drag ourselves” away from sin. What do we do instead?

We flirt with sin.  We want to be delivered from temptation but would really like to keep in touch.  We pray for God to “lead us not into temptation” and then deliberately place ourselves in its path.  In our arrogance, we think we can handle sin and the temptation to sin on our own. That very attitude is an open invitation for the enemy, daring him to take his best shot.  My husband was the pastor of Flamingo Road Church in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, for many years. A man of great wisdom, Dan was adamant about the fact that neither he nor his staff should ever put themselves in a situation that flirted with sin or made it easier to sin. (He learned that truth from Billy Graham, a man who was never alone with a woman who was not his wife, sister, or daughter.) Solid wooden office doors were replaced with glass doors. No pastor was allowed to meet with a woman for any reason unless one of the other staff members was present. A staff counselor was hired to handle anyone needing more than one counseling session. The staff often went to lunch following their regular Tuesday morning staff meeting, and even though the restaurant was literally across the street from the church, no man was allowed to ride alone with a woman. Sound ridiculous?

Seem absurd?

Not at all! Dan simply refused to provide extra ammunition for the enemy. The bottom line is that it’s foolish and dangerous to flirt with sin.  There is no holding pattern for believers, nor can we live in a neutral state. We are either going forward or sliding backward. We are either being renewed or allowing ourselves to be consumed. Do not relinquish any more life territory to the enemy. Run from sin!

coco pops

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Re: Daily Devotion
« Reply #70 on: June 09, 2018, 09:06:18 PM »
You’ve Got the Power
May 09, 2018 | Sharon Jaynes

Today's Truth
“His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness”  2 Peter 1:3

Friend to Friend
Can I remind you of an important truth?

Here goes.  If you have made Jesus the Lord of your life, you have the power of the Holy Spirit living in you and working through you. Jesus said, “You will receive power when  the Holy Spirit comes on you” (Acts 1:8).

You have God’s incomparably great power at your disposal. “That power is the same as the mighty strength he exerted when he raised Christ from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms” (Ephesians 1:19-20).

The same power that raised Jesus from the dead is at work within us?

Yep. The same power.  So many Christians are trying to earn what they already have. You are already enough because of the finished work of Jesus and His spirit in you.  Jesus said, “I tell you the truth [Don’t you just love it when He says that?], anyone who believes in me will do the same works I have done, and even greater works, because I am going to be with the Father” (John 14:12 nlt).

What does going to the Father have to do with the power we receive?

Because once Jesus went to the Father after his death and resurrection, the Holy Spirit came to take up residence in believers. “If you love me, keep my commands. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever the Spirit of truth.” (John 14:15-17).

Take a glove, for example. A glove is powerless sitting on a bedside table. But put your hand in the glove and it can do many things: play the piano, paint a picture, scrub a floor, plant a garden. But is that the glove or the hand in the glove doing the work?

Of course, it is the latter.  You and I are nothing more than gloves powerless on our own, yet powerful when filled with the Spirit. The glove can’t do anything if it is merely near the hand. It must be filled with the hand, controlled by the hand. And it is the same for us. We have power to do everything God has called us to do when we are filled with the power of the Holy Spirit.  When you hear the lie “I’m not good enough” weaseling its way into your mind, reject the lie and replace it with this truth: “His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness” (2 Peter 1:3).

Another translation says it this way: “For His divine power has bestowed on us [absolutely] everything necessary for [a dynamic spiritual] life and godliness, through true and personal knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and excellence” (amp).

A confident woman is one who walks in faith, knowing she is a holy, chosen, redeemed, dearly loved child of God, empowered by the Holy Spirit, equipped by her Maker, and enveloped in Jesus Christ. And that is you!

coco pops

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Re: Daily Devotion
« Reply #71 on: June 09, 2018, 10:03:07 PM »
The Problem With Trusting Broken Cisterns
May 10, 2018 | Gwen Smith

Today's Truth
‘Even now,’ declares the LORD, ‘return to me with all your heart, with fasting and weeping and mourning.” Rend your heart and not your garments. Return to the LORD your God, for he is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and abounding in love...’   Joel 2:12-13

Friend to Friend
Jeremiah was just a youngster when he came to know God and began to work for Him as a prophet. He endured year after year of hard times, frustrating people, and complicated disappointments. His message  was one that called the people of Jerusalem God’s chosen people to turn away from the idols that they had been worshiping and back toward the one, true God.  Let me say it straight: God was miffed at the nation of Israel and He sent Jeremiah to let them know. He had every reason to be angry! He had given the children of Abraham a sacred covenant, a promised future, delivery from oppression, and His tabernacled presence, yet they turned their backs on Him. Continually. They doubted His exclusivity and they set their attentions and affections on things other than God. They worshiped idols made of wood and stone. Powerless and worthless. In Jeremiah 2:13, God said of his people: “They have forsaken me, the spring of living water, and have dug their own cisterns, broken cisterns that cannot hold water.”

Pastor Greg Laurie describes it this way: “A cistern is a large well or pool carved in a rock. A broken cistern has sprung a leak and can’t hold water. God is saying, “If you go out there to the world and drink from that well, it is not going to satisfy you.”

It sets my mind to wonder.  Why would anyone place her trust in the unstable, un-powerful, unfulfilling things of earth when she can place her trust in a stable, powerful, satisfying God?

Seems like such a no-brainer yet, don’t you and I do that all the time?

Sure we do.  We dig our own cisterns, broken cisterns, and expect them to satisfy our thirst and bring us contentment. We drink from the broken cisterns of materialism, position, wealth, popularity, stuff, relationships, rules and religion. We have faulty expectations that our kids, spouses and friends are meant to satisfy our heart needs. The ultimate broken cistern, however, is our pursuit of purpose in life via things of this earth.  We were created to pursue God.  We were created to know God to be satisfied in Him and Him alone.  To worship Him and Him alone.  Oh, you and I are such a thirsty gaggle of girlfriends, aren’t we?

Even as believers, we deal with emptiness and bow to idols other than God. We place our faith in the economy, in our financial situations, in our health, in our employment status, politics, marital status, and our relationships. When they fail or fumble we fall apart and no wonder! They are all broken cisterns and were never meant to be our source of hope or satisfaction!  Friend, we need to turn away from our broken cisterns and turn toward the springs of living water. From stagnant waters to the Living Water. The Bible tells us that confession is the path to the spring of living water. When we eliminate the things that clutter our faith the broken things we trust in and place our faith in the resurrection power of Jesus Christ, God’s heart swells with mercy, compassion and grace toward us. He forgives and strengthens us.  Who or what are you trusting in today?

Where are you soul drinking from: broken cisterns or springs of living water?

When Jeremiah was preparing to take God’s message of repentance to Jerusalem, God spoke confidence and promise to his shaking heart. Let these words speak confidence to your heart today, friend. God’s promise to Jeremiah is valid to you and me when we turn away from the broken cisterns of this world and place our trust in Him. “I am with you and will rescue you, declares the Lord.” (Jeremiah 1:19b).

Jesus is the Living Water our souls are parched for (John 4:13-14). “Jesus stood and said in a loud voice, “Let anyone who is thirsty come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as Scripture has said, rivers of living water will flow from within them” (John 7:37-38).

This was such an important invitation Jesus said it in a LOUD VOICE. Did you catch that?

Do you hear it in your heart right now?

Say with the psalmist: “As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for you, my God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God.” (Psalm 42:1-2a).

Go to Jesus today. Confess. Believe. Drink. Be satisfied.

coco pops

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Re: Daily Devotion
« Reply #72 on: June 09, 2018, 10:18:06 PM »
Sometimes I Struggle with Anger
May 11, 2018 | Wendy Speake

Today's Truth
Fools vent their anger, but the wise quietly hold it back.  Proverbs 29:11

Friend to Friend
There are plenty of things, little things and big things, everyday ordinary things, that can set me off and cause me to lose my temper. I know it’s not Godly. And I’d like to keep quiet rather than blab about it publically here on the internet, but then who’s going to start this conversation?

Perhaps you’ve been waiting for an invitation to talk it through, one weary heart to another.  I’ll go first: I wasn’t raised in an angry home, maybe you were. I’d never even been yelled at once. But then I gave birth to my third child, and it was as though every calm, kind place deep within me suddenly broke. Snap. The baby didn’t do anything wrong. He didn’t deserve my frustrated tears. And his two big brothers were just busy being toddlers. It wasn’t their fault that I lost my footing each time they lost their shoes. I was simply overwhelmed and exhausted, with a messy house and a husband who traveled for work.  My anger surprised me.  Thankfully, almost immediately, from the pit of my postpartum haze, Bible verses that I never needed before, but were hidden in my heart just the same, came to mind and challenged my emotional behavior. Proverbs 29:11, likely memorized in Sunday School when I was just a child, reminded me that “Fools vent their anger, but the wise quietly hold it back.” I realized that God didn’t tell me I wasn’t allowed to feel all my emotions, as my hormones shifted, and my husband traveled for work. But He did tell me what to do with my exasperated feelings I was to quietly hold them back.  Shoving them down to fester into bitterness, or simmer like lava just beneath the surface, didn’t help me either. I had to learn to process my feelings prayerfully, as I held them back wisely. Psalm 4:4 in the English Standard Version of the Bible instructed me, “Be angry, and do not sin; ponder in your own hearts on your beds, and be silent. Selah.”

Pondering, meditating, and pausing to consider my feelings, became a Spiritual discipline for me. Crying and confessing each time the Lord convicted me, wasn’t enough. Change wasn’t happening just because I felt bad about my anger. I had to actually sit myself down (in a mommy time-out) and get silent. I had to listen. I had to “Selah.”  Selah is the poetic Greek word used in the Psalms to denote a holy pause. Selah instructs the reader to “stop and consider.” God was telling me to stop, in the quiet of my private bedroom, there upon my bed, and consider wise and calm, loving and gentle ways that I wanted to talk to my children, my neighbors, my husband, and my Mother-in-law even when I was tired and spread too thin. And the more I considered my feelings and my life, the wiser I got. I learned to say no to volunteering in the nursery at church on Sunday mornings, for this busy season. I learned to take my social media apps off of my phone, because they distracted me and didn’t help my emotional stability. I also learned, again, how desperately I needed to abide in God’s Word, so that His Word would continue to abide in me.  All this, and so much more, I learned when I held back my anger and got real quiet upon my bed. God didn’t tell me that I couldn’t feel angry, but He did say I wasn’t to vent my anger. Slowly, gently, He’s transforming my heart and home.