To Run, Or To Win

May 15, 2014 by  
Filed under Daily Devotions

By Michelle Lim –

 

There is no time of day like chore time to bring out the lethargy in children. My children have the whole limp rag act down pat. If getting chores done as slowly as possible brought on a prize, my children would have treasure troves full of them.

I have to admit, I don’t blame them. After all, who really wants to do chores.

Even though chores are a dreaded time of day, they have an important purpose. Learning responsibility and the importance of taking care of things is essential for all of us. Without this skill, our lives fall into squalor and disorganization.

Just because something is good for us, doesn’t mean we want to do it. We might go through the motions just to get by, but our heart isn’t in it.

Getting by is in our nature, even sometimes in our faith walk. We go to church, read our Bibles and pray, but do we stretch our faith and listen for God’s direction to do something new for Him? If it seems to be the same old thing day in and day out, then chances are we are getting by.

Paul talks about this tendency to go through the motions in Corinthians.

“Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one receives the prize? So run that you may obtain it” (1 Corinthians 9:24 ESV).

We need to be more than runners. Do more than get by in our faith walk. We should run to obtain the prize.

Are you going through the motions, or running for the prize?

Prayer:

Lord, help us to remember we are more than just runners getting by in the race of faith. Give us the strength and the courage to run for the prize. Challenge us and helps us reach beyond our comfort zones to allow You to work in amazing ways through our lives. Amen.

 

Invisible Chariots

September 23, 2013 by  
Filed under Daily Devotions

By Michelle Lim –

As a teenager I spent a lot of time at my grandmother’s house looking at pictures and talking about days gone by.

One day we were looking at pictures and discovered a photo of my dad that I will always remember. My grandmother loved pictures of Jesus and she had this wooden carving of Jesus with his hands stretched out mounted on her wall. In the photo it looked like Jesus was laying his hands on my dad as if he were protecting him.

That picture is still a favorite in my family today. It reminded each of us that God is with us and protects us even when we can’t see it.

This picture reminds me of a story in 2 Kings when Elisha’s life is threatened by the Syrians. They were coming to kill Elisha because his wisdom to the King of Israel thwarted the plans of the Syrians.

During the night the king of Syria sent forth spies to look for Elisha. When they found him they surrounded the city. When Elisha and his servants woke in the morning the chariots and horseman surrounded the city.

Elisha’s servant saw the chariots and the force of the Syrians and did what any of us might have done. He panicked. He came to Elisha and asked what they were going to do.
In that moment the servant couldn’t see the hand of God in their situation, but God was right there all along. Elisha asked God to open the servant’s eyes and let him see because those that were on their side were much greater than the Syrians who opposed them. When God opened the eyes of the servant, God’s chariots and army stood with them. They won a great victory that day.

Just like the picture of my dad with Jesus’ hand on his shoulder, Elisha and his servants had God’s hand on them even when they couldn’t see Him. God’s hand rests on our lives too, even when we can’t see it.

“‘Don’t be afraid,’ the prophet answered. ‘Those who are with us are more than those who are with them.’ And Elisha prayed, ‘Open his eyes, Lord, so that he may see.’ Then the Lord opened the servant’s eyes, and he looked and saw the hills full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha” (2 Kings 6:16-17 NIV).

Ice Cream Dilemma

August 14, 2013 by  
Filed under Daily Devotions

By Michelle Lim –

There is nothing more difficult for my five year-old than standing in front of the ice cream counter and being asked to choose a flavor.

Superman ice cream, chocolate, vanilla, strawberry, cookies n’ cream—the list of choices is daunting.

Hands pressed to the glass he looks down at the flavors. “Superman. No, chocolate.”
He wavers back and forth until I finally require an answer.

It struck me the other day how much that sounded like how God feels about our choice to serve Him. He desires from each one of us unwavering faith.

But just like in Bible times it can be a challenging step. Defining moments come in our lives and we often don’t realize their import until they are gone.

In one such moment in the book of 1 Kings the prophet Elijah reminded Israel to be decisive in its faith. At that time the Kingdom of Israel was under the rule of King Ahab, one of the wickedest kings in all of Israel’s history.

The children of Israel were worshiping Baal and other gods right along with the one true God. King Ahab and Queen Jezebel encouraged the evil that continued to happen in the name of various religions.

Elijah issued a challenge to King Ahab to show all of Israel the one true God. King Ahab was to invite all of Israel to see the display on Mount Carmel. Two altars were built, one to Elijah’s God and one to Baal.

The prophets of Baal tried to call down fire, but their sacrifice remained cold. Elijah had more faith than I could possibly imagine. His faith didn’t waver. He called out to the people of Israel to quit wavering between religions, but to believe and serve only the one true God.

Dousing his sacrifice with water over and over, Elijah ensured that there would be no doubt about the hand of God. God consumed the sacrifice with fire.

When I watched my son try to pick ice cream flavors, I was reminded of how easily we can be distracted by other things in our lives, choosing them almost as if they had God’s place in our lives.

It’s amazing how something as simple as picking ice cream can challenge a heart.

“Elijah came near to all of the people and said, ‘How long will you hesitate between two opinions? If the Lord is God, follow Him; but if Baal, follow him.’ But the people did not answer him a word” (1Kings 18:21 NASB).

Rained Out

July 15, 2013 by  
Filed under Daily Devotions

By Michelle Lim –

This baseball season the weather turbulence has rained and snowed out many of the games. Every day there’s a ball game my two boys look out the window wishing away the clouds.

As much as I love watching my sons’ baseball games, one day last week my emotions were a bit more ambiguous. We had already cheered through three games and attended three practices. Just this once I looked out the window wishing for rain.

My elation as the first plump droplets slapped against my window faded in the disappointment on my son’s faces. I managed to feel a dash of remorse, momentarily.
Just as soon as the remorse passed, all thirty seconds of it, my mind filled with all of the things I could do with the new time.

When I stood at the window wishing for rain, I had to hear the first rain drops before I knew that we’d be rained out. My faith in rain wasn’t that great even though we’d had many of rained out games during the season.

This reminded me of another man’s faith in rain. In 1 Kings 18, God told Elijah to go
present himself to Ahab and God would send rain on the famine ravaged Samaria.

Elijah didn’t look out the window. He just obeyed, knowing that God would do as he
promised. He believed so earnestly that he sent the servant seven times to look for rain
clouds.

When a cloud the size of a man’s fist was all that could be seen he warned everyone to
hurry down from the mountain before the rain stopped them.

What incredible faith that all Elijah had to see was a cloud the size of a man’s fist for him
to know that God had answered.

Oh to have the faith of Elijah in everyday life, believing that God can do anything with the mere suggestion of its possibility. Now, every time I look out the window I remember Elijah and his amazing faith. I look for a fist sized cloud and smile because I know that God can do anything with even such a small hint of His Presence.

Bible Verse: “So Elijah said, ‘Go and tell Ahab, ‘Hitch up your chariot and go down before the rain stops you” 1 Kings 18:44b.

Lessons in Dirt

June 24, 2013 by  
Filed under Daily Devotions

By Michelle Lim –

Our family spends every spring at the baseball field cheering wildly for my sons. Sometimes it seems like infield dirt and stained jerseys are our constant preoccupation. Even though we spend so much time at the diamond, the lessons we learn there are invaluable to life.

Last night one such lesson in the dirt reminded me of the body of Christ and how we journey together. Through the good and the bad seasons of life we need each other along the way.

The game was tied 7-7 and we were in the first inning of overtime. The first pitcher, my son, had gotten close to the full pitch count of 88 that is allowed in his league. So a new pitcher came into the game.

So much was resting on the shoulders of this young pitcher. He was nervous, but so wanted to win one for the team. The fans cheered him on, but more importantly his team cheered him on. First, one ground out to second. Then, two hits that landed runners on first and third. It was crunch time.

He wound up and pitched it right down the middle, strike one. The batter hit the second ball foul. Then came three balls in a row. The fans held their breath. This was the game. The cheers rose until just before the pitch then dead silence.

STRIKE THREE! The batter was out. The pitcher ran to the catcher and flung himself in the air. The dancing made me smile. The sheer joy in that celebrated moment was wonderful. No matter what would have happened in the bottom of the inning, no one could take away that moment of pure joy.

The boys went on to win the game, but that game was won long before. With every practice and affirmative word the boys and coaches said to one another, the more their skill grew. When their back was against the wall, they came out victorious. Not because of one individual, but because of the culture of excellence and encouragement on their team.

That got me thinking about the family of God. Do we have that culture of excellence and encouragement in our faith family? What could you do today that would build up your family so when their backs are against the wall they will have victory?

Bible Verse:

“But encourage one another day after day, as long as it is still called “Today”, so that none of you will be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin” (Hebrews 3:13 NAS).

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