Three Overflows

November 11, 2019 by  
Filed under Daily Devotions, Family

By Robin J. Steinweg –

1. A fizzy hissing in the background crescendos within seconds to a fizzy, hissy crackling. A nasty odor assaults the nostrils before my frantic rush can prevent its cause. It’s not the first time I forgot to set the timer on the stove! Now breakfast is over—over the pot, the burner, the counter, the floor…

2. I see it coming and I leap to prevent it—the action switches to slow motion. My toddler has developed the strength and dexterity to remove the lid from a jar of pickled beets (a feat I have yet to master without benefit of a crowbar). A distant voice (my own) cries, “N-n-n-n-n-n-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o!” I dive (still in slow-mo) like a 275-pound receiver to catch the 12 ounces of Red-Stain-in-a-Bottle before the contents hit the floor. In seconds it, too, is over—over the table, the high chair, the beige carpet and me.

3. Like the jar of pickled beets, I am emptied. I wait. I set no timer. My Bible lies on my lap, still open to the passage I have read. I sense a crescendo of joy bubbling up into awe, gratitude and praise. I don’t rush to prevent it spilling over—over me, under me, around me—I dive deeper. I am a different kind of receiver today. This overflow will result in a sweet fragrance. It can cleanse the deepest stain. No chaos or mess this time.

The Spirit of God fills me to overflowing. In this way, He slakes the thirst, satisfies the hunger and meets the needs of those around me.

PRAYER: Holy Spirit, empty me of myself and fill me to overflowing with Yourself: Your Word, Your way, Your life. Spill out to bless those around me. I ask in Jesus’ name to be a fragrant offering to You.

BIBLE VERSE: “You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. You anoint me with oil; my cup overflows. Surely goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever” (Psalm 23:5-6 NIV).

Next Time, Call for Help

October 5, 2019 by  
Filed under Daily Devotions, Personal Growth

By Robin J. Steinweg –

A boy and his little sister chased down a purse-snatcher at Daytona Beach. The thief, a young woman of twenty, nabbed their mother’s purse and took off with the children in hot pursuit. The ten-year-old girl followed the snatcher into a bathroom and ended up with the purse, while the pilferer ended up in police custody shortly thereafter.

It sounds like a movie script, doesn’t it? I can almost hear kids everywhere cheering and mothers groaning in horror, imagining what might have happened. The children’s own mother said she was proud of them, but told them, “Next time, you call for help!”

Indeed. I wonder if, in the privacy of home, their parents grounded them forever. Still, I can identify with these little heroes. They saw, they conquered. They did it themselves, though everything was stacked against them.

The desire “to do it ourselves” is steeped in us pretty deeply. We assert our independence at a young age. I remember my sons demanding to dress themselves, and coming out in a cacophony of color and patterns, putting everybody’s eyes at peril. We admire the millionaire who started with nothing, the athlete who overcame physical handicaps, and marvel at the log cabin that served as the birthplace for a future president.

We like to do things for ourselves.

What is it that makes me determined to do it on my own?  It might be stubbornness. More likely, it’s simply my old companion, Pride, and his brother Foolishness. “I don’t need to pray about this—I can do it myself.” “Pray? It’s not that bad yet!” “I’m not going to bother God with it; He’s too busy with more important things.” “God helps those who help themselves.”

Pride nudges me and says, “It’ll look great on your resume if you do it alone.”

Foolishness forgets that a God who creates things out of nothing—with just a word— is hardly going to be hindered by time. Busy? Ha!

Wisdom is more likely to say, “God help those who try to help themselves!”

PRAYER: Lord, forgive my stubborn pride and protect me when I go chasing after life without coming to You first. I choose from here on out to chase hard after You instead. You’re with me always, and You know what’s best for me.

” The Lord is near to all who call on Him… He hears their cry and saves them” (Psalm 145:18 – 19 NIV).

 

Mundane Moments or Movie Magic

August 8, 2019 by  
Filed under Daily Devotions, Life Topics

By Robin J. Steinweg –

What if life were reduced to a 90-second movie trailer–the highest moments, best explosions, disasters and funny bits? Would anyone pay money to see it? Would it count for anything?

Let’s see. Born. Dragged by my pony, had to soak the grit off in the tub. Fell in love, married. Hit a deer with the car. Birthed two sons. Gall bladder removed… Wow, even I don’t care to go see it!

So what makes my life count? Certainly not the film-worthy exploits.

I think about what others have done that mattered to me:

*The friend who brought a meal after my dad died—a small thing to her, but huge to me.

*The doctor who, when I was twelve, kindly told me that my wide-set eyes were a sign of beauty—he gave me hope when my peers called me ‘Grubworm’ or ‘Birdlegs.’

*A stranger (a professional musician) who told me in one casual sentence that I was born to make music—and sent me in the direction the Lord wanted me to go.

*Curly-haired, three-year-old Jamie, who hugged my neck the first and only time I met him while waiting in line to see E.T. at a theater—and completely rearranged my heart about wanting a child.

Do these people know that their small, ordinary investments were used by God to change my life?

AUTHOR QUOTE: It’s not the events that create movie magic that matter. It’s the mundane moments—even unintentional acts—performed for others daily, in the name of Christ.

“I tell you the truth, anyone who gives you a cup of water in My name because you belong to Christ will certainly not lose his reward” (Mark 9:41 NIV).

A440 for Harmony

August 5, 2019 by  
Filed under Daily Devotions, Personal Growth

By Robin J. Steinweg –

Picture eight to twelve beginning guitar students seated in a circle. I’m teaching my very first group class. They try to tune their instruments all at once. Feeding time at the zoo produces no greater cacophony.

Obviously, this doesn’t work. Their ears aren’t developed enough to tell whether they have a string on pitch or not. Mine is. So I decide to tune each guitar myself. I set my instrument to perfect A440 (the industry standard of 440 vibrations per second for the A above Middle C). I grab the guitar to my left and get it exactly like mine. The next guitar is adjusted to the one I just finished, and so on, until they’re all completed. I have the students play a G chord together. Yikes! It sounds terrible. As careful as I’ve been, they’re still not in tune with each other. What happened? I keep working at it. This one’s right on with that. Now that one’s good with the previous one. I have them play a chord again. Nasty. Finally I figure I’ll use my own guitar as the master. It works! When aligned with the one, all of them are in perfect harmony.

Isn’t it like our God to build spiritual truths into the very physics of the earth? A hundred instruments tuned to each other will not be in accord. But a hundred instruments in unison with one instrument will match up perfectly with each other.

In the same way, God’s children, hearts duplicating those around them, will be in discord. But if our hearts are attuned to the A440 of God’s Spirit, we’ll be in flawless harmony with one another.

PRAYER: Lord, You are the perfect Master I want to be in tune with. Don’t let me conform to others, but let me be transformed by the renewing of my mind—by reading Your Word and spending time in Your presence.

“Therefore be imitators of God as dear children. And walk in love, as Christ also has loved us and given Himself for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling aroma” (Ephesians 5:1-2 NIV).

Hemmed In, Wisconsin to Texas

July 20, 2019 by  
Filed under Daily Devotions, Life Topics

By Robin J. Steinweg –

I blew through the days like a tumbleweed in a windstorm. Rehearsals and a choir concert for my second-born son were added to my full workweek. After the concert, I packed for my first-ever flight. My husband drove me in the wee hours of the morning to an airport five hours from home, the only flight that would get me to our firstborn son’s graduation.

Before my husband had driven halfway home, I landed a thousand miles away in Dallas, deaf due to air pressure. My son’s friends picked me up and got me to the auditorium fifteen minutes late. David was on stage with the praise band. I hadn’t seen him since Christmas, and I wept for joy. Then time suspended as I entered into worship.

It resumed in the congestion afterward, when David introduced me to more friends at the reception. I had my first meal since the quick PB&J I’d swallowed the day before.

David’s car took us homeward into an electric storm that covered the south of Oklahoma.

Around midnight we found a motel and slept a few hours.

Next afternoon we got as far as Liberty, Missouri, when BAM! The left front tire exploded. David rassled the car to the two-foot shoulder. We unloaded the trunk, picking hoards of local spiders off as we searched for jack and spare. I watched cars race past, barely missing us, and it began to dawn on me through the fog of shock that this was dangerous. As I shrank from speeding traffic, a pickup was forced into the ditch to our right. I called 911. Three squad cars responded, the officers standing in harm’s way to protect us as we waited for a tow. By evening we’d heard enough stories about that corner to be grateful we were still alive.

Home looked good the next afternoon.

Interesting contrasts in two short days. From ground level to 37,000 feet. From hearing to not hearing. From 50 degrees to 94 degrees. From North to South. From harried rushing to timeless worship. From steady, driven activity to sitting in a cramped car for two days. From the safety of an enclosed vehicle to the vulnerability of standing a couple of feet from hurtling metal.

Yet an unseen Hand hemmed us in. We were—and are—enveloped in His love and care.

PRAYER: Lord, whether my life is defined by unending change or unending sameness, You are present. Whether the pace is frenetic or flat, You are near. From my conception You have watched over me. Even to my gray hairs and old age, You’ll carry me. Bless You.

“You hem me in—behind and before; You have laid Your hand upon me … Where can I go from Your Spirit? Where can I flee from Your presence? If I go up to the heavens, You are there; if I make my bed in the depths, You are there. If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea, even there Your hand will guide me, Your right hand will hold me fast” (Psalm 139:5, 7-10 NIV).

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