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).

Shock Absorbers

March 29, 2020 by  
Filed under Daily Devotions, Life Topics

By Cheri Cowell –

I grew up in Florida, not far from the beach. One of my favorite teenage memories is of the day a friend bought a dune buggy. Now most of you probably know what a dune buggy is, but for those who don’t, it has a Volkswagen chassis and a jeep body with roll bars. It is made for riding over the sand dunes – fast. And that we did.

When my friend showed up at the house to pick me and a girlfriend up, he pointed out all of the features of his new “girl.” “…and look at these babies,” he said, pointing to these huge tube-like things connected to the wheels. I later learned that those “babies” were the shock absorbers. Without the shock absorbers taking the beating for us, we wouldn’t have had as much fun as we did riding the dunes. God calls us to be His “babies,” his shock absorbers in the world.

To receive a blow and not pass it on takes great strength. God asks us to do just that. We are to absorb the blows others send our way, not in our own strength, but because of the One we are connected to. Because of our relationship to God, we can take the blows and transfer the force to Him. This is how God expects us to repay evil with good, to give to everyone who asks, especially those who don’t deserve it, and to love others as we would like to be loved…even when they aren’t so loveable.

PRAYER: Thank You God for being the shock absorber for me, transferring my sins onto Your Son so I might be free. Help me to, likewise, be Your shock absorbers so others might come to know the freedom of forgiveness.

BIBLE VERSE: “Give to everyone who asks you, and if anyone takes what belongs to you, do not demand it back. Do to others as you would have them do to you” (Luke 6:30-31 NIV).

Seeds of Faith

March 13, 2020 by  
Filed under Daily Devotions, Family

By Cheri Cowell –

In my jewelry box is a tarnished and not-very-beautiful piece of jewelry. If someone broke into my home, they wouldn’t consider this a valuable treasure. But it is to me. It is a tiny mustard seed in a tiny glass ball on an inexpensive chain. The chain is too small to fit around my neck, yet I keep it to remind me of the lesson it brought. On the day of my confirmation, my grandfather gave it to me after sharing Jesus’ parable of the mustard seed. He told me that even with a small amount of faith, I had enough faith to become all God wanted me to be. Later, in my turbulent teenage years I needed that promise. That necklace was a tangible reminder that regardless of how small my faith seemed, it was enough.

The mustard seed is the smallest of all seeds yet produces one of the largest trees in the Middle East. Like that seed, our faith is worthless unless the Father feeds it. When we come to Jesus in our alone time He feeds us. In the quiet, He can explain unspeakable things and help us to do, be, and have all He has ordained for us. In that stillness, God turns our mustard seeds into giant trees of faith.

PRAYER: I praise You, God, for the gift of faith. Help me believe that the little amount of faith I hold is enough to help me become what You have planned for me since the beginning of time. Help me to set aside time to be quiet and listen for all the things You want to show me.

BIBLE VERSE: “Again he said, ‘What shall we say the kingdom of God is like, or what parable shall we use to describe it? It is like a mustard seed, which is the smallest of all seeds on earth. Yet when planted, it grows and becomes the largest of all garden plants, with such big branches that the birds can perch in its shade’” (Mark 4:30-34  NIV).

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