The Perfect Stone

February 6, 2020 by  
Filed under Daily Devotions, Personal Growth

By Cheri Cowell –

Have you ever watched or participated in building a house? My husband and I own a cabin in the Tennessee mountains, a dream of ours for the first twenty years of our married life. It is on a rental program, so it isn’t like we are moving in next week, but it is still ours. We bought it while it was under construction so we saw it in its unfinished state. Then several months later we saw it in its final state with just the punch list of things to touch up. It is very gratifying to be a part of something in which you can see progress being made. Sometimes progress slows down or halts because a problem is found or something was not done right. In order for the house to stand when it is finished, it needs to be built correctly, each step of the way. God knows a lot about building a house and can show you how.

Stones were an important Old Testament symbol of God and the coming Messiah. The early church understood from this Stone the nation of Israel would rule forever, however, here the term ‘Living’ is added to remind them of the new understanding of the role of Christ the Messiah. The church is described as the new spiritual house, constructed of the living stones of believers who continue the role of priestly people declaring the wonderful works of God and offering our own lives as sacrifices.

PRAYER: God, I praise You for how You perfectly fulfill every detail of the Old Testament teachings. Thank You for being willing to be the capstone that was rejected. Help me stand as a solid rock You can build upon to further Your kingdom.

BIBLE VERSE: “As you come to him, the living Stone—rejected by humans but chosen by God and precious to him—you also, like living stones, are being built into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood, offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ” (1 Peter 2:4-5 NIV).

Incredible Grace

January 20, 2020 by  
Filed under Daily Devotions, Personal Growth

By Cheri Cowell –

With the temperatures climbing like they have been lately, I was reminded of a group of people from an area church who decided to take bottles of ice-cold water to people who were working outside. They thought this simple gift of love and compassion might be a chance to witness and would also be something  “Jesus would do.” Two team members set out on a Saturday with four bottles of water to give away. They were very discouraged after several hours. No one was mowing their lawn, walking their dog, or washing their cars. It was too hot.

Just when they were about to give up they drove by a laundromat and saw two women who looked a little weary from the heat. When they gave them the bottled water they discovered the women were living with their families out of a van parked out back. The two water-bottle-missionaries were able to help this family find shelter and a meal in addition to giving them water. Not the opportunity they thought their day would provide, but it would be what Jesus would do. God desires us to extend grace to the weary.

In the book of Romans, Paul encountered a lot of people who thought they were safe and secure because of their lineage, their wealth, their position in life, their deeds of charity, or their allegiance to Paul. Paul wanted to make it very clear that although the Jews were the chosen people, it wasn’t their heritage that saved them. It was God’s grace. And His grace is given freely to those who deserve it and to those who don’t. If we are to do as Jesus would do, we need to look on the needs of others as an opportunity for us to share grace, especially when those who need it don’t really deserve it.

PRAYER: Thank You, God, for the opportunities You give to share Your grace and love with those around me. Help me broaden my view of those who are in need so that all Your children might come to know Your incredible grace.

BIBLE VERSE: “’I have reserved for myself seven thousand who have not bowed the knee to Baal.’ So too, at the present time there is a remnant chosen by grace. And if by grace, then it cannot be based on works; if it were, grace would no longer be grace” (Romans 11:4-6 NIV).

Justified

January 12, 2020 by  
Filed under Daily Devotions, Life Topics

By Cheri Cowell –

Recently several high profile court cases played themselves out in the media. Emotions were high on both sides, and depending on which media outlet you listened to, when the verdict was pronounced, and justice had prevailed or had done a disservice. I wondered what it must feel like for the victims in each case, and what it must feel like to the accused when the jury finds them not guilty when they are, or guilty when they aren’t. It is difficult to imagine a verdict that is truly just.

According to Scripture, all of us are guilty of sin and deserve the penalty of eternal separation from God. The verdict is in. The judge has pronounced us “guilty as charged,” yet the verdict is not the last word. Jesus Christ is the last word, and His Word changes everything.

As our scripture clearly states, the verdict reads guilty as charged, but the judgment reads justified. In essence, all charges are removed from our records as if they were never there. Legally, it is as if we had never been accused. Our sins are forgiven, our slate wiped clean. Not because of anything we have done, but because of the grace and mercy of the Judge.

AUTHOR QUOTE: Imagine you are standing before the Judge and He has a list of every wrong you ever did, every sin you committed. You know you are guilty, but instead of pronouncing the obvious, you hear these words, “The Defendant is Free.”

BIBLE VERSE: “…for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus” (Romans 3:23-24 NIV).

Heirs

December 29, 2019 by  
Filed under Daily Devotions, Family

By Cheri Cowell –

I have a picture in my kitchen of an older man, possibly a monk, praying over his meal of bread and water. It is not a particularly beautiful picture, but it is a treasure to me, because my grandmother left it to my sister and me. We commented one day during a visit with her that, like the man in the picture, we could envision our grandfather praying over what little he had, whether it was food or possessions.

I’ve heard about people who were left great fortunes by a passing relative, and I often wonder what that would be like. Then I realized that many are left wondering what it would be like to have a possession that means so much because of the sentimental value; more valuable because of the life that person lived.

The Bible tells of a man who receives the most cherished possession a man can leave another. What is it? See for yourself in today’s scripture.

This passage tells of the fulfillment of a covenant with Saul’s son, Jonathan, to honor him as family. As the story goes, Mephibosheth, Saul’s grandson, has not heard of this covenant and is hiding out of fear because he heard that Jonathan is a great warrior. Instead, Mephibosheth was called before the king and given not just the family possessions, but also the honor and dignity earned by his grandfather.

You, too, have received not only an eternal home, as heir to Jesus Christ, but also have inherited the honor and dignity that belongs to Him. This is truly the most cherished possession that could be left to another.

PRAYER: I praise You, God, for Your faithfulness through the generations, and for the covenants You keep because of those who have been faithful throughout the ages. Thank You for making me an heir to Your kingdom, and ask You to help me walk in honor and dignity as I seek ways to invite others to eat at Your table this week.

BIBLE VERSE: “Miphibosheth bowed down and said, ‘What is your servant, that you should notice a dead dog like me?’ Then the king summoned Ziba, Saul’s steward, and said to him, ‘I have given your master’s grandson everything that belonged to Saul and his family. You and your sons and your servants are to farm the land for him and bring in the crops, so that your master’s grandson may be provided for. And Mephibosheth, grandson of your master, will always eat at my table.’ (Now Ziba had fifteen sons and twenty servants.” (2 Samuel 9: 8-10 NIV).

God Power and Light

November 3, 2019 by  
Filed under Daily Devotions, Personal Growth

By Cheri Cowell –

Several years ago we went without power at our Florida home for just a few days during our “hurricane summer.” I didn’t realize how dependent life had become on having electricity until we were forced to live without it. Not only is it the big things like A/C and lights, but it is also the little things, like a night light in the bathroom. Without power our whole lives were turned upside-down.

As Christians we talk about Jesus being our power source, but how many of us really live that way? One woman in the Bible did.

This woman knew in her heart Jesus held the power to heal her, so much so that she knew if she could simply touch the edge of His garment, she would be healed. She also knew touching Him would cause Him to be made unclean in the eyes of the religious rulers. She was afraid her sins would sully Jesus, yet her belief in His power caused her to push through her fears.

When we say Jesus is our source of power, are we really saying we believe He holds the power to cure us from all disease and free us from all bondage? When we are willing to risk it all, and push past our fears, just to touch the hem of His robe, then we will hear Him say, “Go in peace and be free.”

PRAYER: I praise you, God, for the power You hold and Your willingness to restore the power in life by the touch of Your hand. Help me become more bold in reaching out to secure the power for my life that You so freely give.

BIBLE VERSE: “At once, Jesus realized that power had gone out from him. He turned around in the crowd and asked, “Who touched my clothes?” “You see the people crowding against you,” his disciples answered, “and yet you can ask, ‘Who touched me?’ ” But Jesus kept looking around to see who had done it. Then the woman, knowing what had happened to her, came and fell at his feet and, trembling with fear, told him the whole truth. He said to her, “Daughter, your faith has healed you. Go in peace and be freed from your suffering”  (Mark 5:30 – 34 NIV).

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