Stand Down

September 11, 2020 by  
Filed under Daily Devotions, Worship

By Elaine James –

The Range Officer yelled out the command “Stand Down!” Upon hearing the command, the men in the target range lowered their weapons. He explained during their training that when he gives the “stand down” order, it does not mean to lay your weapon down. Quite the contrary. When one is in the “stand down” position, he must stay alert. There must be a Range Officer present at all times when the target range is open. It is his responsibility to secure the area and give complete instructions before allowing anyone to practice shooting, so everyone will be safe.

This was described by my friend who had her first target range experience.

This description stimulated my writer’s mind to formulate this analogy comparing God to the range officer. God, our range officer, commanded very similar requests to us in Ephesians six, the section which is entitled, The Protection for Believers, The Armor of God. In this section of the Bible, which is only seven verses long, Paul gives this instruction:

1. Stand against the devil’s schemes.
2. Put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you will be able to stand your ground.
3. After you have done everything stand.
4. Stand firm!

We go through life feeling fearful, anxious, worried or overwhelmed, asking “why is this happening to me?” That question could be answered with a question like “where is your armor of God?” Is it in a pile on the floor? The word of God is the sword of the Spirit; it is either in your hand or lying around collecting dust. It is the only offensive weapon in our armor.

“With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints” (Ephesians 6:18 NIV).
Praying daily and putting on the full armor of God can be likened to going to the target range, having the range officer present and realizing we must never put our weapons down, but “Stand Down” instead.

PRAYER: Dear God, I confess that at times I lay my armor down. Please forgive me. Help me to be reminded that I need to put on the full armor of God daily.

“The Spirit of the Lord will rest on him-the Spirit of wisdom and of understanding, the Spirit of counsel and of power, the Spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the Lord-and he will delight in the fear of the Lord” (Isaiah 11:2-3 NIV).

Showdown

August 17, 2020 by  
Filed under Daily Devotions, Family

by Elaine James –

Do you remember ever watching an old western movie when the showdown was about to occur between the good guy and the bad guy? Usually before the showdown, they agree on where and when they would meet. They then get their guns ready and put them in their holsters.

I woke up one morning, picturing my family and me getting ready for a showdown with the enemy (Satan). We were to meet in front of the sheriff’s office, in an old western town just like in the movies. As we walked out of our house and headed down the street, I spoke out: “This is our ammunition we are bringing with us.”

“Because of the LORD’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail.
They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness” (Lamentations 3:22-23 NIV). Moving forward, my next words were “the grass withers and the flowers fall, but the word of the Lord stands forever” (1Peter 1:24b-25 NIV).

Yet more steps led to “He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; by his wounds you have been healed” (1Peter 2:24 NIV).

I walked a few more steps, saying “Seek first the kingdom and His righteousness and then all things will be given to you as well” (Matthew 6:33).

I continued with “I tell you the truth, anyone who has faith in me will do what I have been doing. He will do even greater than these, because I am going to the Father” (John 14:12 NIV).

One last shout out “Repent, then and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord” (Acts 3:19 NIV).

We were all armed and ready. We won the battle. We were free from worry, anxiety, fears and negative or critical thinking. We will continue to claim the victory because of Jesus.
Be prepared to face the enemy, by arming and protecting yourself with the power and love of Jesus.

PRAYER: Father in heaven, thank You for showing me that we are in a battle but Jesus always wins!

“Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom” (2 Corinthians 3:17 NIV).

Even Toed Ungulate Mammal

July 26, 2020 by  
Filed under Daily Devotions, Humorous

By Elaine James –

While my family and I drove an hour from our house to a popular farm, we made a pact to purchase fresh cider, donuts and produce, and then leave. Our motto is “Get in, get out.” We got out of there so fast we still had sugar on our faces from the donuts!

The next day my daughter approached me with the question “How do you hide an even-toed ungulate mammal, more commonly known as a giraffe?”

I looked puzzled at my daughter, who has a lifelong dream of one day being able to pet a giraffe, and I asked “What?”

She burst into tears and stated “The farm we went to had giraffes back in the field that the public could go and pet!”

I was speechless, yet mustered up the courage to declare, “There is no way we missed that.”
She rebutted quickly, “Ya way, we did!”

That night in bed I pondered “how did we miss out on the chance of seeing those giraffes?” They weren’t hiding, but we were not looking. We had missed the signs that the giraffes were there. I failed to mention that right as we were checking out, there was a section in the gift shop dedicated to all sorts of merchandise with giraffes on it. We bought a sweatshirt. Did one of us slow down and question why were they selling giraffe merchandise?

Jesus is just like those giraffes. He is out in the open and available for us all. Do you slow down and see Him? Do you look at the signs?

“When Jesus saw His ministry drawing huge crowds, He climbed a hillside. Those who were apprenticed to Him, the committed, climbed with Him. Arriving at a quiet place, He sat down and taught His climbing companions.” Matthew 5:1-2 (MSG) Jesus often directed the people to sit down in a quiet place. Do you sit down in a quiet place to learn? If not, this is a New Year, make it a priority.

Just as the even-toed ungulate mammal is believed to be spotted easily, so is our Lord Jesus Christ. Both, when spotted, are a blessing!

PRAYER: Jesus, help me to see You. Forgive me for I am having trouble sitting down and being quiet.

BIBLE VERSE: “And He directed the people to sit down on the grass.” (Matthew 14:19a NIV)

Epic

July 4, 2020 by  
Filed under Daily Devotions, Life Topics

by Elaine James –

“The last Harry Potter movie was epic,” my 16-year-old daughter blurted out. Almost daily I hear someone saying the word “epic.” I have noticed young people like using the word “epic” quite often. Daily we have stuff to deal with and sometimes we may even say our moments are bigger than big, so we refer to it as “epic.”

Elijah had an epic encounter with the Lord. He followed God’s very detailed orders to deal with Ahab and his false prophets and it was successful. The result was that Ahab’s wife Jezebel did not like what Elijah did so her anger rose up with vengeance. It scared Elijah, so he ran for his life, saying “”I have had enough, LORD, take my life; I am no better than my ancestors.”

Isn’t this exactly what is going on today in our world? Things seem hopeless. The mind tricks people in to believing things are so bad that they want to die. Suicide rates with our teens are rising in great numbers. Why? Because the lie going through their mind is “There’s no way to resolve this.”

In an “epic” moment, we need an “epic” hero. Elijah’s all knowing hero, God, rescues him in a gentle, loving way. God starts by letting Elijah rest and fills him with food. Quickly, Elijah gains tremendous strength and is able to do something not many of us could do. He travels by foot 40 days and 40 nights. Wow!

Are you amazed at what God can do for you? We can be empty, out of strength and filled with worry yet God steps in and creates an “epic” ending to a situation. Our “epic” hero.

Get up and eat! I can give you strength! –GOD

QUOTE: Anxiety does not empty tomorrow of its sorrows, but only empties today of its strength.” – Charles Spurgeon (Maybe when I am lacking strength, it’s because I am not lacking worries.)

BIBLE VERSE: “The angel of the LORD came back a second time and touched him and said, “Get up and eat, for the journey is too much for you.” So he got up and ate and drank. Strengthened by that food, he traveled forty days and forty nights until he reached Horeb, the mountain of God. There he went into a cave and spent the night” (1 Kings 19:7-9 NIV).

Celebrating a Cancelled Christmas

May 24, 2020 by  
Filed under Daily Devotions, Worship

By Elaine James –

Have you ever come across three words that you thought were so simple, but ended up meaning so much?

Last year my husband announced to our family “I am cancelling Christmas.”A question came to mind: “Does that mean we are cancelling the true meaning of Christmas, too?”

The only words that my husband and I had on our minds as Christmas approached was “our family needs alone time and the only way we felt we could accomplish that would be to get away.”

As any baseball lover knows, at the end of the World Series, the MVP gets asked the question, “You have just won the World Series. What are you going to do next?” The MVP always answers “I’m going to Disney World!”

When we asked my baseball loving husband “Where are we going for Christmas?” he answered: “We’re going to Disney World!’

Twenty six years of family tradition were cancelled, replaced with airline tickets, a house rental and a rented van. With a sketchy itinerary, my husband, our four kids, daughter-in-law, girlfriend and I headed to Florida for a Christmas vacation. On the plane, I prayed “Lord, please don’t let us forget the true meaning of Christmas.”

We arrived in Orlando, got our rental car and proceeded to our rented house, but our GPS misguided us and we ended up lost in a town called Celebration, designed by Walt Disney.

We corrected our directions and navigated our way to the entrance of our rental home, in a neighborhood called Legacy Park. The directions instructed us to enter and find the subdivision called The Retreat.

Stop!

Did you catch those three names of those places? I get the chills thinking that my husband just made random reservations, never realizing the name of the neighborhood or subdivision we would be staying in.

It was truly three divine words. A message from God! We were called to celebrate, have a retreat and leave a legacy.” We celebrated the birth of our Lord in a little town called Celebration, which just so happens to have adorned their town with several nativity scenes. We retreated from our busy lives, which gave us time as a family to reunite, cry from laughter and love one another. We left a legacy with our kids celebrating the true meaning of Christmas.

I have come to realize that sometimes 3 simple words may not be so simple, after all.

PRAYER:  Lord, thank You for mercy. Help us to find more ways to celebrate, retreat and leave Your legacy.

BIBLE VERSE:  “Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness” (Lamentations 3:22-23 NIV).

 

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