Traveling Between Blunders and Blessings

September 19, 2021 by  
Filed under Daily Devotions, Life Topics

By Mollie Bond –

It was the best worst day. I traveled by myself to downtown Chicago for the first time for an interview. I sent out oh-so-many applications and resumes. This was one of two companies that called back. I put on my dry-clean only clothes, prepared my answers, and gave myself pep-talks. While on the elevated train, I got a phone call from the interviewer. They cancelled. I got off at the next stop, and started the train ride into despair.

After the train ride, I still had a 20-minute drive home. While sulking, I didn’t retrieve my paid ticket. I couldn’t get out of the garage. I didn’t have $40 for a new ticket. I kept putting my credit card into the machine, praying for the gate to let me out.

Eventually, a garage employee found me crying. I couldn’t catch my breath to tell my story. She said she’d pay my way out. A single working mom footed my bill. I couldn’t believe it, and instantly felt guilty as a single person. As that gate lifted, my spirits did too. I wanted to take a minute to thank God for this employee.

I pulled into the nearest gas station and prayed. The car jolted when a woman hit my parked car. She recently lost her job and didn’t have money to fix the “fat lip” from a previous accident on her front bumper. It bounced me off my recent rise in spirits. It was the worst of days.

After I quit wallowing, God repaired everything in one swipe. Later I got the job without the interview. I was let out of the gate without paying extra and I never again forgot to grab my paid ticket. The woman who hit me gave me job tips that I passed along to others. The car was not damaged.

Those plans and the pep-talk I gave myself that morning could not have prepared me for that day, yet God made it successful.

QUOTE: “When men have done their worst and finished, it is the time for God to begin. And when God begins He is likely, with one blow, to reverse all that has been done without Him.” F.B. Meyer

“There is no wisdom, no insight, no plan that can succeed against the Lord” (Proverbs 21:30 NIV).

Seasons or Scenery

August 22, 2021 by  
Filed under Daily Devotions, Life Topics

By Mollie Bond –

Seasons or scenery: the top two reasons I move and change jobs. I may move because I need a change of scenery, but mostly it is because I need a change of seasons.

It’s like this—a crew of Muppets comes to a fork in the road. Their decision mimics my decision. The fork the Muppets see, literally is a fork. Great for comedy, but in real life, forks have prongs that hurt, so I’m careful with my choices. I can find a job based on the scenery (where is it?), or I can find a job based on the season (what I’ll be doing).

Two signs in the fork in the road point to two directions. One sign says “move first.” If I choose scenery, it usually requires a move. I risk moving to a town I like and try to job search. I’ll walk into companies in hopes for the impromptu interview.

The other sign says, “job first.” Find the job you like, then move. That risk is to wait where I am (in search of seasons), and pour resumes into the Abyss where my resumes might also see the Abysses’ city dump.

Sometimes I’ve chosen the Abyss. (I’ve heard it’s a nice place in the fall.) Sometimes I’ve waited at my current location. Here’s where my Bible knowledge comes in handy.

God has an opinion. That opinion on whether you go or stay is straightforward. Seek Him, find Him, and then glorify Him. I first will search for Him.

Okay then. The next step after seeking Him is that I’ll find Him. Check. Then glorify Him. I can glorify Him in this scenery or this season. He is close by us no matter where we are in life. He gives us two choices of scenery or seasons so that we will “reach out for Him and find Him” (Acts 17:27). Pray lots, continue to seek Him, find Him, and glorify Him in day-to-day living. As time goes on, the answer will come, and maybe it will be both seasons and scenery.

PRAYER: God, thank You for creating both scenery and seasons. I pray no matter which situation I am in today, that I seek You, find You, and glorify You.

“From one man he made every nation of men, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and he determined the times set for them and the exact places where they should live. God did this so that men would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from each one of us” (Acts 17:26-27 NIV)

Houdini

July 10, 2021 by  
Filed under Daily Devotions, Family

By Mollie Bond –

Granddaughter Joselyn pushed back her hair with chubby hands and huffed. Her grandfather and grandmother tracked Joselyn’s progress as she learned about life. At age three, some things went over her head. But on this night, he had the privilege of explaining death.

Their cat, Houdini, actually died a year earlier. But since that time, little Joselyn came over to their house and asked, “Where is the cat?” Each time, he explained, “I’m sorry, but the cat won’t come back. He has passed on.”

At dinner, it was her chance to pray. As a proud grandfather, he allowed the precious moment to sink into his heart. She began, “God, thank You for food. And when is Grandpa’s cat coming back? Although I don’t think he can. Amen.”

Grandpa turned his thoughts to the man with a possessed son. A man came to Jesus, and asked him to heal his son, if He could. “If I can?” Jesus retorts. The man realized it’s not his faith that needed help, but rather during the times he didn’t believe. The man knew that Jesus had power to do as He pleased. He trusted God, but could his faith support healing a demonized son? Jesus used the occasion to applaud the man’s honesty. Sure, Jesus could heal his son.

Joselyn asked for the cat to come back. Would her faith to allow her to see the cat again? It’s worth asking, even with little faith. Grandpa stifled a laugh, and thanked his granddaughter. In her innocence, she asked for a cat—named Houdini—to come back. This is a miracle yet to happen, but no one shunned the girl for asking.

What do you ask for, but don’t really expect Jesus to do? Jesus healed a possessed son, so He can fulfill your prayer, too. Who knows? Just as the real Houdini escaped chains and straight jackets, maybe Houdini the cat will escape death, based on a little girl’s prayer.

PRAYER: God, I’d like to ask You for a big thing. I want to trust You when I’m up against something big. Would You help me when my faith falters and I’m not sure You can do it? Thank you for the times You do so without me asking.

“A man in the crowd answered, ‘Teacher, I brought you my son, who is possessed by a spirit that has robbed him of speech. It has often thrown him into fire or water to kill him. But if you can do anything, take pity on us and help us.’ “‘If you can”?’ said Jesus. ‘Everything is possible for one who believes.’ Immediately the boy’s father exclaimed, ‘I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!’” (Mark 9:17, 22-24 NIV).

Generations

March 14, 2018 by  
Filed under Daily Devotions

By Mollie Bond –

I listened to a radio program’s promotion touting the latest report on the “Emerging Adults” Generation. The promo added that the beliefs held in this upcoming generation were unbiblical, and expressed concern that the church had no future.

My insides crinkled. I smoothed out my emotions before continuing to work while listening to the radio. Yet again, I stewed, it seemed the elder generation was trying to “fix” the younger generation, implying there was something terribly wrong with them. What gripped me the most was that the show did not have any “Emerging Adults”: no one younger than 50 to give an opinion, good or bad. No one to have a conversation with, to grapple through what was unbiblical. “Emerging Adults” were a study to be done, not people who needed grace and love.

How many times had I judged the older generation before me? Am I condemned to judge the generations after me as less respectful than my own? Will I have conversations to learn why generations swing one way or another, and then use the opportunity to be grace-filled?

God doesn’t bias Himself against one generation or another. God is about people, not studies. He shows his love to a thousand generations. As his daughter, I should learn to do the same.

After listening to the radio ad, I engaged in a conversation through e-mail that lasted for months with another from the Baby Boomer generation. I learned some valuable insights. I allowed the opening of my mind as I took time to listen, with the radio off.

PRAYER: Lord, so much of the time I find myself judging someone for various reasons, but especially their age. I pray I find those moments as opportunities to distribute Your love, and to reflect a desire to keep Your commandments.

“but showing love to a thousand generations of those who love me and keep my commandments” (Exodus 20:6 NIV).

Sitting on the Sidelines

March 8, 2018 by  
Filed under Daily Devotions

By Mollie Bond  –

Sitting on the sidelines is where the ministry took place.

My friend, Leanna, went on a mission trip to Africa as part of the basketball team from a Christian college. They rode in a limo. They played basketball. They were on the national news where they visited. No street preaching, no dramas, no spontaneous worship. They played basketball. “Where’s the suffering for the gospel?” she wondered, “Where is the ministry?”

Leanna and her team visited a closed Muslim country, so some restrictions caused them to focus on what they came to do: play basketball. In the last game the refs were slightly against the Americans. Bad calls gave way to bad attitudes. Leanna was done trying to do ministry and played hard enough that she ended up on the sidelines. While sitting and internally grumbling, she listened to some of her teammates. They were upset, too. Their emotions didn’t come from hatred, but from wanting to play a fair game. The other team noticed.

A player from the other team, who happened to be sitting closest to an American named Tasha, said, “Why aren’t you guys more upset? Why are you not cursing? Why are you acting so nice?” Tasha explained that Jesus affected her team so much that they wanted to be gracious to everyone they met. Jesus had transformed they way they function, even in a game of basketball.

Leanna overheard this, and realized mission trips aren’t about accomplishing a mission. It’s not about saving so many people, or “doing” ministry. It’s about “being” ministry. She said “It’s important to keep in mind my identity in Christ because others are watching when you least expect it.” Ministry isn’t an action; it’s a state of being. Sitting on the sidelines is just as much a ministry as being in the game.

In Galatians 5:22, we’re given the fruits of the Spirit. Some people try to tackle these fruits, doing the work they think will bring ministry. Yet fruits don’t come from force. Hiding your life in Christ will bring fruit. Just like Leanna, who learned that sitting on the sidelines was a ministry to others, we need to sometimes take ourselves out of the game and let the fruit grow naturally.

PRAYER: Dear God, I want to produce fruit. I know that won’t come from me working harder, but from being with you so that it is a natural state of being. Please help me to see my ministry in my daily life.

“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness” (Galatians 5:22 NIV).

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