Oil For Our Lamps

June 22, 2020 by  
Filed under Daily Devotions, Life Topics

By Cheri Cowell –

Did you know the Bible has a lot to say about procrastination? Like millions of people, as the year begins I set goals for the New Year. I must admit, however, I am bitten by the after Christmas blues, or as some might call them, the having difficulty getting back into the swing of things blues. I easily find ways to put things off, delay acting, and as Webster so harshly nails it on the head, I am negligent. Ouch! So, I decided to go to God’s Word to get a jump-start, or maybe a kick in my pants.

If you need one too, read the Bible verse for today.

In this parable, we get a clear picture of the results of consistent procrastination. It was customary on the wedding day for the bridegroom to go to the bride’s house for the ceremony. Then bride and groom, along with the processional of family and friends, would return to the groom’s house for a feast or banquet, which sometimes lasted a week.

Also of note, Jesus often referred to the gift of the Holy Spirit as oil. When I reread this parable with this information, I began to see how my procrastination was a result of leaning on my own abilities, gifts, and initiative. Instead, if I fill my lamp with His oil, and my spirit with The Spirit and lean on Him to lead my way, the procrastination will turn into productivity. What a great lesson to begin the New Year.

PRAYER: God, show me what You might want me to learn today about procrastination. Thank You for understanding my tendency to procrastinate. Help me to lean more upon You and less upon my own abilities, gifts, and initiative and more on Your Holy Spirit.

BIBLE VERSE: “Then the kingdom of heaven will be comparable to ten virgins, who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom. Five of them were foolish, and five were prudent. For when the foolish took their lamps, they took no oil with them, but the prudent took oil in flasks along with their lamps” (Matthew 25:1-5 read through 13 for whole parable. NASB).

God’s Workout Plan

June 11, 2020 by  
Filed under Daily Devotions, Personal Growth

By Cheri Cowell –

Most of us have some form of health goals for the New Year. It seems that every other commercial on television is about losing weight or getting healthy. I’m told that gym memberships increase by over 60% the first six weeks of the year, but decline to their normal numbers after that. Just this week I heard a fitness expert say we need to spend at least three hours each week on some form of physical exercise, and double that if we want to lose weight. He said that for most people, simply walking more is a good place to start in order to create an exercise habit that will stay with us throughout our lives.

How many of us have similar goals for our spiritual exercise? The goal of living longer, being healthier, and possibly looking better this time next year propels us towards making these lifestyle changes. But what image or goal is going to drive us to make the commitments needed for our spiritual exercise?

Each of us has the job of discovering how we can labor and strive for the kingdom of God. Some of us will labor this year by working on a particular area of weakness, some by surrendering an area of life to God, and still others by seeking more of God’s face and less of His hand.

And what will we get when we do this? We will experience the hope of the Living God, who will give us the desires of our hearts. Strive and labor on God’s workout equipment and He will provide the “body” in Christ you are looking for.

PRAYER: God, thank You for never allowing my work to go unnoticed or unheralded. Help me exercise more consistently on Your workout equipment so I may be all You need me to be in the body of Christ.

“But reject those myths fit only for the godless and gullible, and train yourself for godliness. For “physical exercise has some value, but godliness is valuable in every way. It holds promise for the present life and for the life to come” (1 Timothy 4:7-8 NET).

Where am I Going?

May 11, 2020 by  
Filed under Daily Devotions, Life Topics

By Cheri Cowell –

The first thing I do when I’m going on a trip is decide where I want to go. Come on, you might be saying. That is obvious. I wish it had been more obvious or I wouldn’t have wasted so much of my life trying to go somewhere I didn’t really want to go. I didn’t understand that if my ladder were leaning against the wrong wall, I wouldn’t be where I wanted to be when I got to the top. It wasn’t until recently that I began to ponder the real questions of where I wanted to go. Who did I want to be when I got there? What did my life stand for? Do I have a bigger purpose?

In order for us to prepare for the Advent journey we are taking on our journey to Christmas, we need to decide where we want to end up.

Zechariah lived in Judea at the time of Jesus birth. He and his wife Elizabeth lived an obedient life. They loved God with all their hearts and served Him in the Temple. The Bible calls them “upright in the sight of God.” However, all was not perfect in their lives. They were childless, which in those days was a disgrace. I’m sure they asked the same questions you and I do about what their lives stood for, where they going, and what it all meant? While they wondered, they never wavered in their devotion to God and their desire to be all God wanted them to be. So, when God searched the earth for the parents of John the Baptist, the one who would prepare “the way” for Jesus, He found them…Pure, willing, obedient, and humble.

“In the time of Herod king of Judea there was a priest named Zechariah, who belonged to the priestly division of Abijah; his wife Elizabeth was also a descendant of Aaron.  Both of them were righteous in the sight of God, observing all the Lord’s commands and decrees blamelessly” (Luke 1:5-6 NIV).

PRAYER: This is my prayer; that when God combs the earth looking for the next vessel to do His work in His world, He will find me “upright in the sight of God.”

THOUGHT: What path do you have your life on? What wall is your ladder leaning against? Ask God to help you make Him become your purpose.

No Vacancy

April 30, 2020 by  
Filed under Daily Devotions, Faith, Family

By Cheri Cowell –

Early in our marriage, Randy and I had driven to the North Carolina Mountains for a camping vacation. We always went on these trips during the off-season because it was cheaper, and we were young (and poor) college students. While our peers were heading to the beaches, we were heading to the mountains. On one particular trip we learned a big lesson. Because it was off-season we headed home believing we would stop somewhere along the way at a motel whenever we got tired.

The hot shower after camping all weekend sounded really good, too. What we didn’t realize was it was also a big race and bike week along the eastern U.S. There were no vacancies anywhere to be found. We were so tired that we ended up spending the night in our car at a rest stop (until a policeman tapped on our window- that is another story). Now, we weren’t supposed to register for the government in the morning, and I wasn’t pregnant, but we were tired. We needed a place to stay, and there was no room for us anywhere. No room at the inn, just like the Christ child.

Those words are such sad words. No vacancy. No room for one more. How many of us have filled our lives to the brim? We have filled our lives (and those of our children) with so much that if God wanted to come visit for just an hour, there would be no room. Our hearts are filled with so many things that call our attention, demand our love, and cause us heartache, that when He desires to fill us with His love and peace- there is no room. The innkeepers were too busy making money; after all it was tax season. They were too busy with life to make room for the King. May we take a lesson from the innkeepers this week and make room for Him.

BIBLE VERSE: “So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child. While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no guest room available for them.” (Luke 2:4-7).

PRAYER: Thank You for finding room in my heart to make Yourself a home. Help me keep the clutter out of the way so You feel free to fill my heart with more of Your peace and love. Help me make more room for You this Christmas.

Listening for the Call

April 9, 2020 by  
Filed under Daily Devotions, Humorous

By Cheri Cowell –

It never fails. When we are upstairs and the phone rings, it is always downstairs. And, you guessed it, when it rings and we’re downstairs, it is always upstairs. We should set up a video camera to film us when the phone rings. We are so funny, running around looking under things, behind things, and shouting to others, “Where is it?” We bought one of those cordless two-phone systems thinking it would be easier to have one always where we needed it. But it never seems to be where we need it. Sometimes the phone is hidden so well that we’ve had to use the locator button on the base, which rings and rings until we eventually find it. I must admit, if it is in some strange location it was probably my fault.

In Palestine, they shared a tradition of presenting ten silver coins to their women as a gift when they were married. Those coins not only offered monetary value, they also held sentimental value. So, if one was lost and later found, there would be much rejoicing. God feels the same way about us. It doesn’t matter the reason for you and I being lost in God’s eye. He will turn the world upside down looking for us, and then throw a party when we are found.

Unlike the phones in our house, none of us are ever misplaced. We may drift away, turn our back on God, or reject Him in anger, but our Father always knows where we are. He purposefully pursues us and calls out to us until we answer the call. Then when we return, as this parable tells us, not only does God rejoice, but all of heaven throws a party.

PRAYER: I praise You, God, for pursuing me with fervency when I am lost. Help me hear Your call when I am in unfamiliar surroundings. Help me to always rejoice with the angels when one lost soul hears His or Her Father’s call.

BIBLE VERSE: “Or suppose a woman has ten silver coins and loses one. Doesn’t she light a lamp, sweep the house and search carefully until she finds it? And when she finds it, she calls her friends and neighbors together and says, ‘Rejoice with me; I have found my lost coin.’ In the same way, I tell you, there is rejoicing in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents” (Luke 15:8-10 NIV).

Next Page »