By Cheri Cowell –
DNA evidence is causing some who believed in the death penalty to revisit their convictions. Because of this remarkable technology, many who were on death row have been exonerated. No one wants to put an innocent person to death, but what if blood evidence was used to exonerate a guilty person? That wouldn’t be fair, but that is exactly what Christ did for you and me.
Our sinful natures condemn us from the beginning. There is no possibility to prove our innocence, so we are condemned to death. While sitting on death row, we hear these words, “not guilty, set free.” When we ask how this could be, we are told that blood evidence was found that set the record straight. We know we are guilty; our sins rightly convict us. So how could this be? Then the words ring forth this truth: Someone else gave His blood; and in fact, the sins of the world were found in it.
PRAYER: Thank You for taking not only my sins but also all of the sins of the world upon Yourself so that all who trust You may be set free. As I think about the precious, innocent blood that was shed and how that evidence removed me from death row, exonerating me from all condemnation, I am filled with awe. Help me to walk tall today as a free man or woman in Christ, my Savior.
“There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the life-giving Spirit in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and death. For God achieved what the law could not do because it was weakened through the flesh. By sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and concerning sin, He condemned sin in the flesh, so that the righteous requirement of the law may be fulfilled in us, who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit” (Romans 8:1-4, NET).
Today’s devotion is by Cheri Cowell, who writes and speaks on topics of Christian discipleship. In addition to her books and articles, you can learn about her speaking ministry and sign up to receive her daily devotional www.CheriCowell.com
By Kathy Carlton Willis –
I couldn’t believe my eyes as I witnessed five deer running across the church parking lot in Taylor, Michigan. They moved with grace as if there wasn’t a care in the world. I stopped in my tracks to watch them. My mind flashed back to my childhood when Dad allowed us to go with him to prepare a country place for deer hunting. I never liked the thought of killing Bambi, but I loved being surrounded by the autumn scenery. We kicked through piles of golden leaves while other trees still blazed with color. Fallen leaves became forts as we transformed into armies at war. Imagination was the game of the day.
To this day, autumn is one of my favorite seasons, when trees seem to be sun-kissed with balls of fire. Intense reds and burnished gold paint the skylines. The air is crisp and the sun sets early. I can’t wait until next month, when the ground will be blanketed with fallen leaves.
Just as leaves fall down in autumn, we should naturally fall down before our Lord. We might as well practice for what we will be doing in Heaven! One praise song describes that day: “We fall down, we lay our crown at the feet of Jesus. The greatness of His mercy and love at the feet of Jesus…”
Today, thinking about the greatness of God’s mercy leads me to fall down before His face. And while I’m falling before His face, I will thank Him for this coming fall season. I’ve fallen, and I won’t get up until I know I’ve met with God!
We have learned in this world, to not fall for anything or we will get kicked while we are down. Instead, we need to surrender our independent spirits and learn to put our faith in God alone.
AUTHOR QUOTE: What will you fall for?
“As the hart [deer] panteth after the water brooks, so panteth my soul after thee, O God” (Psalm 42:1, KJV).
Today’s devotion is by Kathy Carlton Willis, wife to Russ, member of Christian Humor Writers, editor, publicist and a certified CLASSeminars speaker. Kathy Carlton Willis Communications encompasses her many passions. Learn more about how she reflects Christ as she shines the spotlight on others at: http://kcwcomm.blogspot.com/ or http://www.kathycarltonwillis.com/.
By Rhonda Rhea –
My 17 year old is the youngest of five kids. That means that he’s suffered a lot of wedgies through the years. But hey, I figure that’ll give him stories he can tell his kids. Some parents tell their children of the hardships of walking to and from school in the 12-foot snow—uphill both ways. My Daniel? He’ll be able to tell his children that he spent several years suffering through underwear with no waistbands. My friend Janet said he could call his life story, “Wedgie Tales.”
It’s a good reminder that tough situations, like waistbands, will come and go. The real question is, how will we respond? And will we allow those difficulties to defeat us or will we allow them to strengthen us? Will we rest in our Heavenly Father’s presence, seeing life from his eternal perspective? Or will we try to squirm out of those difficulties and make it through them on our own, pouting, whining, sputtering and blaming all along the way?
Stories of grace under pressure are so much more fun to pass on to our children. Those stories will even answer a lot of their questions about life and how we should live it. It will even set a pattern for them to follow. Now there’s a legacy.
In the Amplified version of 2 Corinthians 4:16-17 we read, “Therefore we do not become discouraged, utterly spiritless, exhausted, and wearied out through fear. Though the outer man is progressively decaying and wasting away, yet our inner self is being progressively renewed day after day. For our light, momentary affliction, this slight distress of the passing hour, is ever more and more abundantly preparing and producing and achieving for us an everlasting weight of glory, beyond all measure, excessively surpassing all comparisons and all calculations, a vast and transcendent glory and blessedness never to cease!”
Waistbands? Here today, wedgied away tomorrow. But we’re to be focused on the things that are eternal—the unseen blessedness that never ceases. Verse 18 says, “Since we consider and look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen; for the things that are visible are temporal, brief and fleeting, but the things that are invisible are deathless and everlasting” (2 Corinthians 4:18, AMP).
I’m fighting the urge to mention the fact that it says that the visible things are “brief.” Yeah, I’m totally leaving that one alone. But those invisible things? According to this passage, they’re everlasting! Maybe not ever-elastic. But everlasting and completely deathless, for sure. And ultimately, in our own personal “everlasting,” every question in this life, every why we’ve ever asked, will be answered in the most satisfying, resounding eternal-amen of an answer.
Pondering our everlasting, deathless future gives us an entirely different perspective on the momentary suffering. Even though here in the present there will still be questions left temporarily hanging. Incidentally, among those unanswered questions, there’s still this one: Would you call a person with no waistbands left a “Wedge-etarian”?
Rhonda Rhea is a radio personality, conference speaker, humor columnist and author of seven books, including High Heels in High Places and her newest book, Whatsoever Things Are Lovely: Must-Have Accessories for God’s Perfect Peace. You can find out more at www.RhondaRhea.org.
By James Pence –
If I were to ask you to recite the most frequently quoted Bible verse, you probably would answer, “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life” (John 3:16, KJV).
But what if I asked you to name the most frequently quoted and least believed Bible verse?
There might be some debate on this one, but I think that the following verse is the prime candidate: “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose” (Romans 8:28, KJV).
We love to quote that verse to other people when they are faced with trials or tragedies. However, when we’re the ones who are hurting, that’s usually the last verse we want to hear.
Some of that is understandable. When we are in the midst of deep grief, often our emotions are so jumbled up that we can’t think rationally. All we know is that we are hurting and we can’t see any good that can come from our pain.
But often, even when we have moved out of the initial shock of grief, we still ask the question: “God, why?”
When we look at a trial or tragedy and say, “How could God let this happen?” we are acting in unbelief. Worse than that, we are accusing God of wrongdoing. Such a question assumes that somehow God has promised that nothing bad will happen to us.
But God never made such a promise.
What He did promise was that if we love Him and are called according to His purpose, He would work everything together for our good.
If we believe that, the question, “Why, God?” becomes moot. The proper response is, “Yes, Lord. I don’t understand what’s happening right now, but I know that You do. And I will trust You and rest in Your wisdom, goodness, and sovereign love.”
What are you trusting God for today?
PRAYER: Father, please help me to trust You in life’s hard times and—even though I don’t understand what You are doing—to remember that You are working everything together for my good.
“And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose” (Romans 8:28, KJV).
Today’s devotion is by James H. Pence. James is an author, speaker, singer, and gospel chalk artist, but prefers to be known as a follower of Jesus Christ and storyteller. To learn more about James and how he draws the stories of your heart, visit his Web site at: www.jamespence.com.
By Robin J. Steinweg –
Is it possible these days to raise a happy, well-adjusted family? When our boys were little, we listened faithfully to Dr. James Dobson’s Focus on the Family program. We learned a lot and developed confidence in the advice we heard. One day he mentioned a poll taken of successful Christian families. Something they all had in common: camping.
Without hesitating, we scoured garage sales and thrift stores for equipment. We borrowed How-To books from the library, and collected recipes for campfire meals. We found an available site at a state park and loaded the car till the bumper scraped the driveway.
My husband had never camped in his life. I had fond memories of camping as a young child. The rain, the long soggy treks to the outhouse, the lake leeches attached to my sister’s legs, the mosquitoes carrying me off. How could I describe such delights to my uninitiated family? I didn’t. They could experience it for themselves.
The book of Proverbs tells us wisdom will protect us, wisdom is supreme—so get it, if it costs all you have. Wisdom might come through God’s Word, or sometimes He plants it within us. But then there are the times He allows us to walk through an experience to develop our wisdom muscle. Guess how He chose to do it in our case?
I should have seen it coming. A husband who dislikes the unexpected, a son who believed he had a future in entymology, a toddler who believed every insect was a scorpion, and me with allergy-induced asthma. A thin sheet of canvas wasn’t a proper filter from ragweed that spread pollen like guests showering rice on newlyweds. Nor did it filter the whoops of drunken neighbors starting their weekend early.
By the time we folded up our sodden tent (of course it rained) we were only on speaking terms with our sons. We got over it eventually, and learned some valuable lessons: it’s wonderful to have programs like Focus on the Family to teach good parenting skills, but it’s a good idea to check with God before jumping into things. What works for other families may not be God’s best for yours.
Yes, it is possible to raise a happy, well-adjusted family these days. But leave camping for campers!
AUTHOR QUOTE: The family that camps together may end up soaked and ornery.
“Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men” (1 Corinthians 1:25a, KJV).
Today’s devotion is by Robin J. Steinweg. Robin’s life might be described using the game Twister: the colored dots are all occupied, limbs intertwine (hopefully not to the point of tangling), and you never know which dot the arrow will point to next, but it sure is fun getting there!