Author Topic: Daily Devotion  (Read 1959 times)

Kiwi

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Re: Daily Devotion
« Reply #75 on: June 24, 2018, 10:46:23 PM »
What Beats Fear Every Time
Jun 08, 2018 | Holley Gerth

Today's Truth

There is no fear in love; instead perfect love drives out fear  1 John 4:18

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“I still feel fear. I do. If you were hoping for a perfect, brave, bold, amazing and beautifully clad woman wearing the badged heart of courage I am not your gal. I am gaining ground, but I have miles  to go.” – Kelly Balarie

When I read these words on an ordinary Wednesday morning I got tears in my eyes. Because sometimes what you need is not information; it’s consolation. Sometimes you just need to know you’re not the only one. You need not the “how-to” but the “me too.”

Because you are battle-worn and tender and have already fought as hard as you possibly can for now.  I’ve recently been wrestling with fear again and I feel shame when I fall back into this place. I‘ve written a book about God-sized Dreams, after all. There’s a whole chapter about fear in there. And last fall I released a book called Fiercehearted. It seems I should have wrestled fear to the ground like a wild alligator by now. I should be riding it, one hand on its collar and the other in the air like a cowgirl on a bucking bronco.  I tell myself I should be totally over this by now don’t we all?

But this is not how it is to be human, not how it is to deal with fear. So here is what I’m reminding myself of on this Wednesday morning and what you might need to hear too…  Fear is inevitable, but shame over it is optional. Fear is wired into our very brains, into the most primitive part of us. This is not a mistake on the part of our Maker. It is strategic so that we survive. God knows this and He has compassion, not condemnation, toward our fear. I discovered when He says, “Do not fear” to someone in Scripture it is almost always to someone who is already afraid. It is not a rebuke but a reassurance.

Fear is a message about what matters to us. For example, I feel afraid in social situations where I’m not sure what to do or how to act because I want to love well. I feel fear before a book launches because I really want the message to reach your hearts and make a difference. I value relationships. I value you. Our fear is not weakness; it’s a sign that our hearts are alive and open and risking.  Fear is a Chihuahua that sounds like a Doberman. I first said this in You’re Made for a God-sized Dream and I go back to it over and over again. This pup sits right next to whatever matters most to us and the closer we get to it–a dream, a goal, a person we love the louder fear barks. But here’s the secret: it’s toothless. The worst it can do is scare us away from God’s best for our lives. It has no real power. Face it with faith and it will back down every time.  Love always defeats fear. “There is no fear in love; instead perfect love drives out fear” (1 John 4:18a).

When we’re afraid, it can be easy to come up with our own defense. For me, I think if I can just try harder and do better then I’ll stop being afraid because surely if I’m perfect everyone will like me and all will go well. But this never works. What I really need to know to defeat fear is this: I will be loved no matter what.  Yes, as long as we are on this spinning earth we will experience fear sometimes. But it is not our identity. We are not people of fear. We are people of faith. We are stronger than we know, braver than we feel and loved more than we can even imagine. 

Kiwi

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Re: Daily Devotion
« Reply #76 on: June 24, 2018, 10:57:35 PM »
Let it Go!
Jun 11, 2018 | Mary Southerland

Today's Truth

Yes, my soul, find rest in God; my hope comes from Him.   Psalm 62:5

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As we drove through the scenic mountains of North Carolina, I could feel my soul begin to settle and my spirit grow quiet. It was a welcome feeling one that was a long time coming.   We had been vacationing at Lake Lure since our children were toddlers. Now Jered and Danna are married and have children of their own. And we were about to meet all of them for a whole week of vacation together!

1. Could. Not. Wait.

But I really needed a little time to just be still. To set aside the busy schedule I had just left behind. To reset my heart and mind on the precious lives and legacy about to arrive, yelling “Mimi” as they scampered into my arms. 

Dan and I drove in comfortable silence, occasionally commenting on the beauty of the familiar mountains and rolling valleys. Sweet memories made us laugh as we spotted places we had taken our children when they were young. Now we would take our grandchildren to those same places and make new memories. Yes, it was going to be a great week.  Flowers of every color dotted the hillsides, and I commented on the beauty of the lush green ground cover. Dan said, “Honey, that is Kudzu.”

Whatever Kudzu was, I thought it was beautiful and told him so.  Dan seemed determined to burst my Kudzu bubble, “Honey, Kudzu is nasty and nothing more than a deadly weed. The plant climbs over trees or shrubs and grows so fast that it kills them basically by suffocating them.”

I was not convinced, so I Googled Kudzu. He was right! Kudzu is a menace. According to Wikipedia, Kudzu is a serious invasive plant in the United States. It has been spreading in the southern U.S. at the rate of 150,000 acres annually. Its introduction has produced devastating environmental consequences and has earned the nickname, “The vine that ate the South.”  What?

How could something so beautiful be so deadly?

The Holy Spirit whispered to my weary soul, “Oh, you know how.”

And I did.  I had just spent nine months traveling at break-neck speed speaking, writing, teaching and mentoring all beautiful things. But my schedule had become deadly. I was so tired. So what is a girl using the term “girl” loosely to do?

I am 68 years old, have been diagnosed with scoliosis, and battle clinic depression every day. God works through the amazing doctors He has placed in my life and through the medications and therapies they prescribe. Over the past few years, those doctors have have helped me hone in on what works best. And every one of them is telling me to slow down. So I am.  I am slowing down to sit at His feet this year. Setting new priorities, planting and carefully tending new hedges of protection. I have recruited some people who are not afraid to look me in the eye and say, “Stop it!”

I am already sensing some radical changes on the horizon.  Cutting back on my travel schedule.  Taking a year off from teaching Bible Study just a year.  Learning to be more creative in the way I mentor women.  Staying home.  Creating margins.  Beginning a new ministry that will still allow me to interact with women across the world without packing a bag and getting on a plane.  Cutting away the Kudzu.  And so excited to plant new seeds new dreams that the Father will grow. Not my seeds, you see. They are His alone and will not be a burden. In fact, they will be replenishing and energizing. When we work and serve within our gifting, God empowers and gives us everything we need to do what He created and calls us to do.  Yep! Taking my hands off. Letting go. Resting in Him. No ambition and absolutely no hope for worldly gain or fame. Wow! The freedom that comes from that place is startling.  How about you?

Do you need to stop and just breathe?

Today is the day. Take the time to sit at His feet and ask Him not anyone else ask the Father what His plan is for your life. Let go of everything that does not fit that plan. Then rise to your feet and do it.

Philippa

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Re: Daily Devotion
« Reply #77 on: July 06, 2018, 09:38:55 PM »
Choices Determine Destinies
Jul 04, 2018 | Sharon Jaynes

Today's Truth

‘Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things.  Matthew 25:21

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One day Jesus told a parable to a group of listeners. We’ve come to know it as the Parable of the Talents, but it is really more the Parable of the Three Choices. Jesus was explaining what the kingdom  of heaven would be like in common terms.  For it is just like a man about to go on a journey, who called his own slaves and entrusted his possessions to them. To one he gave five talents, to another, two, and to another, one, each according to his own ability; and he went on his journey. Immediately the one who had received the five talents went and traded with them, and gained five more talents. In the same manner the one who had received the two talents gained two more. But he who received the one talent went away, and dug a hole in the ground and hid his master’s money. (Matthew 25:14-18)  When the master returned home, he was well please with the two servants who had invested and doubled their talents, but he was furious with the one who hid his one talent in the ground.  ‘You wicked, lazy slave, you knew that I reap where I did not sow and gather where I scattered no seed. Then you ought to have put my money in the bank, and on my arrival I would have received my money back with interest. Therefore take away the talent from him, and give it to the one who has the ten talents’ (Matt. 25:26).

This story gives me chills every time I read it. For you see, God has given each and every one of us gifts gifts that He has purposed for us to use, invest, and multiply. And I’m not just talking about money, but gifts in our inner being. He has given you talents and abilities that He expects you to use to further the kingdom and minister to others.  So what kept the servant with one talent from doing so?

Fear. Giving into fear prevented him from investing what he had. I think the master would have been more pleased if the servant had said, “Lord, I invested the talent and unfortunately lost it all.”

At least he would have tried. At least he would have made some effort. But the master saw him as evil and lazy.  Fear makes us lazy. Think about that a minute. A fearful person does little.  Moving forward despite the fear gets the spiritual couch potato out from under the afghan and into the life she was meant to live.  So here’s what I want us to think about today: Are we investing the gifts and talents that God has given us, or are we hiding them because of fear.  I don’t know about you, but I want to invest all I have and live bold. We’re going to pick back up on this in my next devotion, but for now, let’s ponder which servant we want to be.

La Bamba

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Re: Daily Devotion
« Reply #78 on: July 06, 2018, 09:53:49 PM »
A Different Kind of Gratitude
Jul 05, 2018 | Holley Gerth

Today's Truth

Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good! His faithful love endures forever.  Psalm 106:1

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The sky outside is a dense, soaked grey today. It reminds me of earlier this year when my husband and I watched from our living room window as menacing clouds rose up in the distance then  stretched their fingers tentatively toward the ground. We live in tornado country and we don’t take such sights lightly. Flipping on the television, we heard the weatherman telling us to find a safe place as he pointed to splotches of red on the map. We went to our designated spot and took a moment to pray as the tree limbs began to sway outside.  The dark masses soon gave way to brilliant blue again. The wind quieted, and we stepped back into the rhythm of our routine.  It was not until hours later as I curled up in my cozy bed under a pile of warm blankets that it occurred to me to say “thank you” to God for what didn’t happen that day.  I mentally scrolled through the list of other disasters I’d narrowly missed in life. The bad-news boy I had a huge crush on as a teenager. The suspicious test results that worried the doctor but turned out to be nothing at all. The countless times I’ve asked God to keep my husband safe as he headed out for a bike ride and then watched him walk back through the door sweaty and smiling hours later.  And, yes, I understand that even if the storm wreaks havoc, the unwelcome diagnosis comes, or the heart gets broken we are still to say thanks. I have experienced firsthand the mysterious, hard beauty that can come from tears and ashes. But the place where I seem to most often miss an opportunity to be grateful is when everything turns out fine and I just go on my merry way.  God invites us to say thanks then, too. First, simply because He is worthy of it. “Give thanks to the Lord for He is good” (Psalm 106:1).

What He prevents in our lives is just as full of gifts as what He allows.  Also, this kind of gratitude can cure so much of our discontent. When I think of how I could be suddenly homeless after a storm, I smile a bit more at the roof over my head and don’t notice that stain in the carpet as much. When I recognize I might be in the hospital instead of sitting in a little coffee shop with my computer, it puts that envy-provoking picture on social media into proper perspective. When I think of all the turns my story could have taken, the rocky patches in the road of my relationships don’t seem quite as much like boulders.  I want to remember to express my appreciation for all that’s right in front of me many provisions, memories being made, dear friends and family. But I also want to thank God for all that isn’t there, for what could have been if things had gone another way or even if I had always gotten my way.  Yes, gratitude is about what we can see. But I’m learning it’s also about what, thankfully, will never be.