Family Quarrels

March 17, 2014 by  
Filed under Daily Devotions

By Carin LeRoy –

Family quarrels are nothing new. They’ve happened for centuries. Unfortunately, conflict among siblings, parents, and relatives are a part of life. How we handle them can either build or break down the relationship. In Genesis 13, we read about Abram (Abraham) and his nephew, Lot. Both men were wealthy with large families, servants and flocks. As they traveled together through the Negev, arguments soon broke out among their herdsmen. Disputes arose between their workers because the land was not able to sustain both of their herds.

As the leader of the family, Abram made a decision.

“So Abram said to Lot, ‘Let’s not have any quarreling between you and me, or between your herders and mine, for we are close relatives. 9 Is not the whole land before you? Let’s part company. If you go to the left, I’ll go to the right; if you go to the right, I’ll go to the left’” (Genesis 13:8-9 NIV).

He decided to let Lot choose first which land he preferred—land to the left or right. Lot took a long look at the land. He saw the fertile well-watered land of the Jordan Valley to the east and chose the best for himself. As leader of the family, Abram had every “right” to choose first, but instead he gave the decision to his nephew. Relationship was more important to him than his position to choose, and resolving the conflict between them was of greater importance. Peace within his family went before his personal rights and desires. He was willing to sacrifice the best of the land for the sake of harmony with his nephew.

Giving up our rights and desires must happen sometimes in order to create peace within the family. Roman 14:19 says, “Let us therefore make every effort to do what leads to peace and to mutual edification” (NIV). We can trust God with the outcome when our “rights” are given away to resolve conflict. Christ gave up his position in heaven to be born as a man to suffer the humiliation of the cross and provide a solution for man’s conflict with God. In our families, sacrifice may be required of us for the sake of harmony. Lot’s selfish decision came back to hurt him later, but God blessed Abram with an incredible promise afterward. We are never the loser when we choose God’s way of peace.

PRAYER: Lord, thank you for my family. When conflict arises, give me a discerning heart to choose how to resolve it—even if that means a sacrifice on my part. Help me to be a leader in creating peace and harmony with those I love the most.

“The LORD said to Abram after Lot had parted from him, ‘Look around from where you are, to the north and south, to the east and west. All the land that you see I will give to you and your offspring forever. I will make your offspring like the dust of the earth, so that if anyone could count the dust, then your offspring could be counted. Go, walk through the length and breadth of the land, for I am giving it to you” (Genesis 13:14-17 NIV).

Prayer Promptings

February 19, 2014 by  
Filed under Daily Devotions

By Carin LeRoy –

Last week my husband was driving home from work during a rainstorm when our SUV tires started slipping on the wet road. Several times going speeds of 40-50 mph, the tires stopped gripping the road and the car started hydroplaning. My husband took the car in the next day to have the more worn tires in the front rotated to the back. New tires weren’t needed yet, so a rotation seemed to be all that was necessary to fix the problem. While the car was on the lift the mechanic said, “Look at these tires. The treads are separating; you definitely need new tires.” One hour and $700 later we sported news tires along with an unexpected expense.

Earlier that week we had driven 800 miles on those same tires in the rain. Yet the car did not hydroplane at higher speeds on the interstate. Later, while telling my daughter the story, she said, “I had this sense all day while you were driving that I needed to pray, and I didn’t relax until I knew you were home.”

Many times in life I have seen God’s hand of protection. Had we hydroplaned on the highway going 70 mph, disastrous results could have followed. The Lord prompting my daughter to pray all day could be what saved us from a terrible accident. James says, “The prayer of a righteous person has great effectiveness” (James 5:16 NET).

Years ago while serving on the mission field, an older godly lady wrote a letter telling us she had prayed all night for us. God would not let her sleep, and her burden for us was heavy. She had a sense that it involved snakes. Weeks later when we received her letter, we couldn’t pinpoint the timing exactly, but we lived in an area with deadly and poisonous death adders. During our years there we had several dangerous encounters with them, yet God always protected us. Her prayers may have made the difference.

Do you ever feel prompted to pray? Does it become a nagging feeling in your heart and a burden in the day or night? Then pray. Even if it makes no sense, God must be desiring your prayers. Don’t ignore His voice. Whatever God has placed on your heart, pray until that burden subsides. God loves to involve us in His plans and purposes, and prayer is one of the important ways He engages us. Perhaps my daughter’s prayers saved us from a tragic accident. We won’t know this side of heaven, yet I believe we will be surprised to know all the ways God has used prayers to thwart evil, and to protect and help us. Let’s be diligent to heed the promptings of God when He asks us to pray.

PRAYER: Lord, teach me to pray. Give me the desire to pray more and to obey the promptings You place on my heart. Give me the diligence and understanding to heed Your voice in prayer when You speak.

QUOTE: “Prayer is God’s settled and singular condition to move ahead His Son’s kingdom. Therefore, the believer who is the most highly skilled in prayer will do the most for God. Men are to pray—to pray for the advance of God’s cause. The one who can wield the power of prayer is the strong one, the holy one, in Christ’s kingdom. He is one of God’s heroes, God’s saints, God’s servants, God’s agents. “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and it will be opened for you,” (Matthew 7:7 NET). The strongest one in Christ’s kingdom is he who can knock the best, and the secret of success in Christ’s kingdom is the ability to pray,” E.M. Bounds in Prayer.

2014 Resolutions

January 5, 2014 by  
Filed under Daily Devotions

By Carin LeRoy –

I’m not good at New Year’s resolutions. Taking off those extra pounds, exercising five times each week, or getting up at 5:30 a.m. each day are resolutions that will get lost in my own excuses. Instead, I’ve learned that self-discipline and moderation are spiritual goals that need adjustments in my own life.

When we consider resolutions, let’s think about some spiritual goals for 2014. I’m sure God is not as worried about the few extra pounds we might carry as He is about our desire for more self-discipline in our lives. Where does our heart lie in our relationship with Him? It is easy to let our heart drift from the goals and desires that God may have for us. The world and its pleasures can creep in and take precedence unless we are diligent to examine ourselves spiritually.

What do we cling to in life, or what has a hold on us? Is it comfort, financial stability or prestige? Do we long for pleasure and entertainment? Do we focus on having the latest gadget or clothing style? What desires do we have that are without worth in view of eternity? Many goals seem good, but can still carry us away from God’s priorities.

The prophet Jonah reminds us that it is easy to lose sight of God’s goals and go our own way. The transparency of his heart is evident as we read his story. His obstinance in running from God and his fear to obey God’s command and go to Nineveh is apparent. We see Jonah’s selfishness and resentment against a people God wanted to reach. His walking away from God’s direct command is shocking. With a change of heart he declared, “Those who cling to worthless idols turn away from God’s love for them” (Jonah 2:8 NIV).
Anything that takes precedence over God is an idol, and we all have them. As David did, let us pray to God, “Examine me, and probe my thoughts! Test me, and know my concerns! See if there is any idolatrous tendency in me, and lead me in the reliable ancient path” (Psalm 139: 23-24 NET). Let’s ponder our New Year’s resolutions in view of a God who passionately loves us and desires our love and obedience in return.
PRAYER: Thank you for your love and faithfulness and for another year to serve You. Help me, Lord, to see where You desire change in my life. Show me what eternal values to invest in this year, and help me to evaluate where I should place my priorities.

“But carefully obey the commands and instructions Moses the Lord’s servant gave you. Love the Lord your God, follow all his instructions, obey his commands, be loyal to him, and serve him with all your heart and being” (Joshua 22:5 NET).

Inhibiting His Voice

December 20, 2013 by  
Filed under Daily Devotions

By Carin LeRoy –

Three years ago my Dad passed away. After almost 60 years of marriage, my mother went through a painful grief process. She had known my Dad since she was 15, so his absence was felt in every area of her life. The loss seemed unbearable as she struggled without my father. Sorrow would strike at any moment—talking with friends, walking in a store, sitting in church, alone at night—and tears would overtake her. She lost interest in things she loved, and heartache kept her from experiencing joy in life. Grief and sorrow took away her ability to function in a normal capacity.

As believers, we are given the Holy Spirit on the day of our salvation. The work of the Holy Spirit in our life helps us, brings comfort, warns, guides, and gives us power to live the Christian life. In Ephesians 4:30 we are told, “And do not bring sorrow to God’s Holy Spirit by the way you live. Remember, he has identified you as his own, guaranteeing that you will be saved on the day of redemption” (NLT). Ignoring the Spirit’s promptings inhibits Him from speaking to us. Disregarding His voice doesn’t allow Him to work in our lives preventing Him from functioning in His intended capacity. That grieves Him. He desires to guide and protect us from the harmful effects of sin and use us for God’s glory.

Just as my mom’s sorrow prevented her from functioning normally in daily life, we can also prevent the Holy Spirit from ministering in our lives. If we continue in sin ignoring the voice of the Holy Spirit, we grieve Him and marginalize God. We are admonished to “live as children of light.” Allowing the Holy Spirit to speak to us and reveal himself in our lives brings God glory. May we live the Christian life as God intended.

PRAYER: Thank You, Lord, that Your Holy Spirit guides, comforts, warns and empowers me to live the Christian life. Help me not to grieve Your spirit by choosing to sin, but give me the strength to live the Christian life as God intended.

“And do not bring sorrow to God’s Holy Spirit by the way you live. Remember, he has identified you as his own, guaranteeing that you will be saved on the day of redemption. Get rid of all bitterness, rage, anger, harsh words, and slander, as well as all types of evil behavior. Instead, be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you. Imitate God, therefore, in everything you do, because you are his dear children. Live a life filled with love, following the example of Christ. He loved us and offered himself as a sacrifice for us, a pleasing aroma to God. Let there be no sexual immorality, impurity, or greed among you. Such sins have no place among God’s people. Obscene stories, foolish talk, and coarse jokes—these are not for you. Instead, let there be thankfulness to God. You can be sure that no immoral, impure, or greedy person will inherit the Kingdom of Christ and of God. For a greedy person is an idolater, worshiping the things of this world” (Ephesians 4:30-5:5 NLT).

Never Doubt Obedience

June 5, 2013 by  
Filed under Daily Devotions

By Carin Leroy –

My three-year-old grandson and his family visited recently, and his Mom was trying to get him potty-trained. Since I had a bowl of gumdrops up high, she bribed him with, “If you use the potty, I’ll give you a candy.” As he eyed the colored sweetness, he understood that if he accomplished what Mommy asked that he would get a reward. It wasn’t long before he started tearing off clothes and heading to the bathroom.

He returned with his little hand out saying, “Candy?”

Sure enough, he would get the promised treat. He learned that obeying and accomplishing a certain task provided a promised reward.

Just as my young grandson was learning the benefits of obedience, we can also be assured that when we listen and obey God’s voice that we will also be blessed.

An example of faith and obedience bringing personal blessing was David. As a young man, he was anointed to be king by the prophet Samuel (I Samuel 16). But instead, he was met with hardships for many years. Yet his choice to have faith and obedience did eventually bring him the kingship of Israel.

Many in the Bible were personally blessed because of obedience:

• Mary’s obedience meant she was the mother of Jesus.
• The widow saved her son from slavery when she obeyed the prophet by collecting many jars and filling them with the last of her oil (II Kings 4).
• Abraham became the father of a nation because he obeyed God when He said, “Go to a land I will show you” (Genesis 12).
• The disciples caught a huge net of fish because they obeyed Christ’s command to cast the net once more (John 21).
• The man born blind received his sight when he listened to Christ and washed the clay off his eyes in the Pool of Siloam (John 9).

Charles Spurgeon once said, “Love is the chief jewel in the bracelet of obedience.” Obedience will flow from a heart that truly loves God. Blessing will follow. We may not understand or see instant results (just like young David), but we can trust we will be blessed, too. Not only do we gain the benefit of growth and maturity in our spiritual life, but we reap the outcome of that step of faith to obey. Never doubt what your obedience to God will accomplish.

PRAYER: Lord, give me a heart that obeys because of a true love for You. Remove any rebellion in my life, so that I can fulfill the purpose that You have for me. Help me not to doubt what my obedience to You will accomplish.

“How blessed are those whose actions are blameless, who obey the law of the Lord. How blessed are those who observe His rules, and seek Him with all their heart, who, moreover, do no wrong, but follow in His footsteps. You demand that your precepts be carefully kept. If only I were predisposed to keep Your statutes! Then I would not be ashamed, if I were focused on all your commands…With all my heart I seek You. Do not allow me to stray from Your commands!” (Psalm 119:1–6, 10 NET).

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