Good Company

July 10, 2020 by  
Filed under Daily Devotions, Family

By Robin J. Steinweg –

“One of my students needs the same things repeated every week,” I said. “It’s like she’s never seen a quarter note before, and she still can’t identify the keys. She’s bright; her parents say she practices, so it must be me. Do any of my words stick with any of my students? What’s the point?” I had lain awake wondering if most of my life had been spent pouring water into a sieve.

My husband, Tom, responded, “How many students have come into our home over the years? Of those few hundred, how many have continued to play or sing—one percent? Two at the most?”

The question kicked me in the stomach. I’d already imagined that if I worked for a large company, Quality Control would’ve handed my head to HR (that’s Human Resources, AKA Heads Rolling) on a tin platter. In Willy Wonka’s factory, I’d have gone down the Bad Egg chute.

“Wait! Hear me,” Tom said. “After years of lessons I don’t play piano anymore, even though I’m a musician. But the impact those lessons had on me will continue to affect my life forever. It’s not just about playing piano. The time you spend with that little girl… you just don’t know. That is priceless.”

My husband isn’t named Thomas—“good company”—for nothing. Those encouraging words have fed me for years. He’s given me an example to live up to. My goal this new year and every year is for my words to be good company, just like my husband, Thomas.

QUOTE: Words are the most powerful thing in the universe…Words are containers. They contain faith, or fear, and they produce after their kind. –Charles Capps

BIBLE VERSE: “To make an apt answer is a joy to a man, and a word in season, how good it is.” (Proverbs 15:23 ESV)!

One-Eighty

June 6, 2020 by  
Filed under Daily Devotions, Life Topics

By Robin J. Steinweg –

I sat at a table in the food court just after Christmas. Three teen girls squeezed in next to me. I found myself included in their conversation whether I chose to be or not.

“My grandma gave me ten measly dollars.”

“That’s better than what I got. At least you get to pick out something you want. I’m stuck with ugly mittens and a hat—that my grandma made.”

I pictured a gray-haired lady in a tattered shawl and fingerless gloves huddled close to her space heater. She ignores the searing pain in her knotted joints as she knits (having gone without lunch for months in order to afford the yarn), smiling wistfully and fondly praying over this granddaughter with every painful stitch.

Manna. In Exodus 16 God’s people were hungry. He sent heavenly food to them with the dew each night. It tasted “like wafers made with honey.” By Numbers 11, they were tired of manna. They whined about it. And then Moses complained about their complaining. God became “exceedingly angry” and sent quail until they were so sick of it, it came out their nostrils.

The third girl spoke up. “I’d be happy for even a hug from my grandma. She died a few months ago.”

The girls got quiet. They got the point.

Not only they: I looked at the brand-new coat I’d planned to replace that day, complaining it wasn’t quite my style. I thanked God for it, took the money I would have spent on a new one, and tucked it into the Salvation Army bucket. Grateful.

PRAYER: Lord, You’ve caused a one-eighty in my perspective and reminded me to be grateful. Thank You!

BIBLE VERSE: “O Lord my God, I will give you thanks forever” (Psalm 30:12b NIV).

The Fruity Faithful

March 6, 2020 by  
Filed under Daily Devotions, Personal Growth

By Robin J. Steinweg –

If the world calls me fruity, it’s an insult. But if God says I’m full of fruit, it means I’m glorifying Him; I’m doing what Christ chose and appointed me to do!

How can I make my life fruitful? A tree can’t force itself to bear fruit. It can only take in light, rain and nutrients. Fruit comes naturally.

Here’s how I can cooperate with God’s design in order to be one of the fruity faithful:
Need—agree with God that I need His Son’s gift of salvation. “We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God” (2 Corinthians 5:20b NIV).

Feed—surround myself with good spiritual growing conditions, especially those that will change my thinking. “…be transformed by the renewing of your mind” (Romans 12:2b NIV).

Seed—the good seed is God’s Word: I can nurture it. “…and humbly accept the word planted in you, which can save you” (James 1:21).

Plead—be in communication with the Lord throughout my day. “Pray continually” (1 Thessalonians 5:17 NIV).

Deed—reading my Bible is good, but I can take it a step further and act on it. “Do not merely listen to the Word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says” (James 1:22 NIV).

Weed—get rid of the things that choke the life out of my growth in Christ. “But now you must rid yourselves of all such things” (Colossians 3:8a).

Freed—I can live bountifully! “It is for freedom that Christ has set us free” (Galations 5:1 NIV).

PRAYER: Lord, I desire to bear fruit that lasts, for Your glory. Thank You that You provide everything I need for this. I choose to feed, seed, plead, deed, weed, be freed—and trust You for the results.

BIBLE VERSE: “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law” (Galatians 5:22-23 NIV).

 

 

Nurture, with Neglect

March 2, 2020 by  
Filed under Daily Devotions, Humorous

By Robin J. Steinweg –

I had no idea I could actually kill with kindness.

See, I have this thing for blue flowers. Not the bluish-tinted purple color that the seed companies name, as if they really are blue. I prefer the honest-to-goodness, true blue flowers, like a summer sky. Heavenly Blue Morning Glories are just that kind of blue. I’ve tried, off and on ,to grow them from seed, but they’ve never gotten large enough to produce blooms.

This year, the local hardware store had some that were vigorous, already climbing up a skinny stake. I carefully brought one home, surrounded by shopping bags, so it wouldn’t tip over. I gave it the best soil. I rejoiced when it resumed its ascent. I babied it, plucked every threatening weed, and fed it regularly.

That was early June. Now it’s September, and you should see it—twelve feet tall; lush, thick leaves that could screen celebrities from paparazzi—but still, nary a bud nor a bloom.

Experienced gardeners shake their heads, already aware of the problem. I finally looked it up online: Why aren’t my morning glories blooming? What did I neglect?

Neglect!

For Morning Glories to produce bodacious, blue blooms, they require poor soil—harsh conditions. Instead, I coddled them with fertilizer the entire summer, denying them what I never imagined they needed.

My heavenly Father, Master Gardener, knows when to feed one of His tender shoots, when to protect it and when to give it a support to climb. He knows that a certain amount of hardship—what could be viewed as neglect, at times—will make His precious vine fulfill its purpose and flower freely.

PRAYER: Lord, the next time I face hardship, help me to remember that Your love for me is unfailing. You know exactly what I need in order to bloom and to bear the fruit of Your Spirit. Help me to be patient and trust You. In the name of Jesus I ask it.

BIBLE VERSE: “Consider it a sheer gift, friends, when tests and challenges come at you from all sides. You know that under pressure, your faith-life is forced into the open and shows its true colors” (James 1:2-3, The Message).

 

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).

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