Knock Knock

April 17, 2021 by  
Filed under Daily Devotions, Personal Growth

By Rosemary Flaaten –

When the Devil comes knocking at your door, simply say, “Jesus, could you get that for me?”

I smiled as I read this quote posted on my Facebook page. Boy is that good advice, but is it scriptural?

There are two passages that match the intent of this slogan. The first is Genesis 4:7 “But if you do not do what is right, sin is crouching at your door; it desires to have you, but you must master it.” The second is 1 Peter 5:8. “Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.”

Temptations abound and my ability to withstand my selfish desires or to dabble with sin does not have the best track record. Some days it feels like sin is incessantly ringing my doorbell. Each time, I am tempted to open the door. You know how hard it is to ignore a ringing doorbell. The urgent and repetitive ‘ding-dong’ eventually gets on one’s nerves. Out of frustration or a caving in of determination, I answer the door.

But what happens when I ask Jesus to answer the door? First, the ringing will stop because the Devil will flee. Scripture assures us that at the name of Jesus every knee will bow (Philippians 2:10) and all evil will dissipate (Luke 10:17) The devil and his evil cronies cannot stand being in the presence of Jesus. Even the mention of His name is enough to win the battle. Imagine if Jesus were the One to fling the door open and adamantly say “GET LOST!!” Can’t you see those demons tripping over themselves to flee the presence of the Holy One.

On the other hand, if I answer the doorbell of temptation, I am apt to try and negotiate or rationalize or just simply hear them out. My intentions may be good but all too easily I can be talked into entertaining the idea, and before I know it, sin has entered my life. Now I am in even greater danger. Resistance is just that much harder once I’ve opened the door and I’m fully entertaining that which I said I would normally not do.

So, next time you are tempted by sin, don’t bother wasting your time negotiating, contemplating or arguing. Simply whisper the name of Jesus and let him answer the call.

PRAYER: Jesus, help me to remember that You are only a breath away and that when I call, You will answer. Thank You for your faithfulness. Thank You for being the Almighty God.

“With the arrival of Jesus, the Messiah, that fateful dilemma is resolved. Those who enter into Christ’s being-here-for-us no longer have to live under a continuous, low-lying black cloud. A new power is in operation. The Spirit of life in Christ, like a strong wind, has magnificently cleared the air, freeing you from a fated lifetime of brutal tyranny at the hands of sin and death” (Romans 8:1-2).

A Grrrr-eat Attitude

March 28, 2021 by  
Filed under Daily Devotions, Personal Growth

By Rosemary Flaaten –

Imagine if the only things you had today were those which you were grateful for yesterday.

If this were to become a reality in my life, what would I have left today? Would I have a house, car, a bureau full of clothes? Would I still have my husband and three children? Would any of my friends remain? Would I even be able to stand or would I be a shrivelled-up hollow of a woman because I had not been grateful for my health? Would I have a relationship with Jesus, my Savior or have taken that for granted as well?

Thankfully this was just a posting on Facebook and not a reality I need to worry about, but it does cause reason for pause. I go about each day interacting with people and accomplishing the tasks before me. But how often do I include a thankful spirit or an expression of gratitude in my daily routine? Has gratitude become a way of life or just an occasional blimp when something extraordinary occurs?

Scripture abounds with both examples and admonishment to be thankful for everything. Gratitude is to overflow from us. Overflow—that would be the antithesis of the dribble that comes from my heart.

Gratitude is a grrrr-eat attitude. Its choosing to see the blessing in the little things and the extraordinary. It’s expressing thankfulness for the easy and the hard. Its relishing the time we have with people rather than taking them for granted. Its accepting others for who they are, instead of wishing them to be different. Gratitude changes our inward perspective to one that is other-focused, forgiving and kind.

Choose to live today as if this Facebook posting were the gospel truth. Start each day with gratitude. Look for people and events to be thankful for at every turn in the day. End the day with whispers of appreciation for all that has transpired. Watch how it changes your heart and ultimately your world.

PRAYER: Thank You for life, love and opportunity. Thank You for strength and health. Thank You for each hardship and challenge. Thank You for each blessing. Thank You for You.

“Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus” (I Thessalonians 5:16 – 18 NIV).

A Crippling Fear

March 16, 2021 by  
Filed under Daily Devotions, Family

By Rosemary Flaaten –

Relaying my family’s medical history is like reciting a death wish – Heart Disease, Diabetes, high blood pressure and Alzheimer’s disease. But the one that fills my heart with the greatest fear is Alzheimer’s. My mom started showing signs of this mind-robbing disease in her early 50’s. That’s way too young to forget how to balance your checkbook or to pick up your daughter from piano lessons. As an adolescent, I experienced up close and personal the effects of this disease; not just on my mother, but on our whole family.

So as I approach this same time of life as my mother’s battle began, I am having to beat back the fear “what if early onset Alzheimer’s is my fate?” In my darker moments. I challenge myself to remember the billboard slogan I read five miles back on the freeway and I test myself to see if I can recite the names of all my neighbours. Focusing on the fear prompts me to exercise my brain, but it also cripples my soul. Fear has a shrivelling effect. My focus becomes narcissistic as I pull in to protect myself from the horrible future my mind exaggerates. Fear takes me out of the present and suspends me in a future that is warped with shadowy unknowns.

Enter God. “My eyes are fixed on you, O Sovereign Lord; in You I take refuge” (Psalm 141:8). “Do not lose heart or be afraid when rumors are heard in the land (Jeremiah 51:46). “Do not be afraid. Do not be discouraged (Deuteronomy 1:21). There are close to one hundred commandments in God’s Word to not be afraid.

When I am trusting God to hold me in the palm of His hand and protect my future, my fear dissipates. Fear is the antithesis of trust. Trust and fear cannot coexist. When I feel the rising tide of anxiety, I must take heed and pursue greater faith. God knows and holds my future. He will never leave me now or in the future.

PRAYER: Father, protect my mind from fear of the future and instead replace it with trust in Your ever present faithfulness.

“ For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future” (Jeremiah 29:11 NIV).

How’s Your Memory?

February 18, 2021 by  
Filed under Daily Devotions, Life Topics

By Rosemary Flaaten –

My personality is such that I tend to live in the moment and dream of the future. I enjoy the friendships of today and am always on the lookout for my next best friend. I revel in that which I’m presently engrossed as well as the opportunities before me.

Unfortunately, my memory of the past is less robust. I have a general recollection of events or people, but details of the past all too often don’t stick to my memory board.

A weak memory muscle can be beneficial. I’m also likely to forget the details of stressful situations or strained relationships and the times I felt embarrassed or ashamed quickly fade. I probably won’t remember people I met who I didn’t like or who brushed me off. The past, rather than remaining detail specific, tends to get put into the blender of my mind and gets chopped up and mixed together.

Thankfully though, I’m also aware that this is a weakness and the negative effect it has on me. I have come to realize that the most acute danger is forgetting the blessings bestowed by God into my life. The Psalmist David directs us to “Praise the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits. (Psalm 103:2 NIV). We are directed to remember every single blessing that God has given us.

For a memory–challenged person like me, this presents a real test that requires discipline. Choosing to start each prayer with thanksgiving helps me focus, even just for a brief second, on the faithfulness of God. Every day I choose to reflect on the multitude of ways God has evidenced His goodness to me. God’s unending grace and love is a blessing that must remain in the forefront of my gratitude. I keep a journal that chronicles the details of what I have learned from the Holy Spirit and Scripture. I daily exercise my ability to recall.

PRAYER: Lord, help me to remember Your faithfulness and out of these memories, may gratitude and praise flow freely.

“Yet this I call to mind and there I have hope: Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for His compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is Thy faithfulness” (Lamentations 3:21 NIV).

Too Much Baggage

January 22, 2021 by  
Filed under Daily Devotions, Humorous

By Rosemary Flaaten –

“I’m sorry you have more baggage than is allowed with this ticket.” These words, spoken by the airline employee, sent my mind racing. What would I leave behind? I surveyed the suitcases bulging with books and new purchases. Suddenly the term “carry-on” took on a whole new meaning as I envisioned going into the restroom to slip on another layer of sweaters, change my flats to boots and fill up my briefcase in hopes of falling within the allotted baggage allowance.

“Baggage” can refer to the suitcases we take on trains, but it also is a quasi-psychological term that refers to the emotional things that encumber us. It is our baggage that restricts our freedom, progress, development or adaptability. Let me retell a story from 1 Samuel 8 & 9 that attests to the ongoing struggle with baggage in our lives.

“We want a King!” demanded the Israelites. So, God gave them the desires of their hearts and chose Saul whose view of himself was, “I’m only a Benjamite, from the smallest of Israel’s tribes and from the most insignificant in the tribe at that.”

One would think that Saul, having been chosen by the most highly respected Prophet of the day, having been told that he was to become a leader for the people, and having experienced such personal transformation, would move into this new role with enthusiasm. Unfortunately, it didn’t happen that way!

The people were assembled. The crown was ready. Saul’s name has been called, but where was he? Samuel can’t find him and so enquires of God. God’s response should stop each one of us in our tracks. God finds Saul, the man He has chosen and equipped to become king, “hidden among the baggage.” Saul’s sense of inferiority, based on his heritage, became baggage that impeded his movement into the role God had for him.

What baggage are you carrying around? How are your present circumstances constrained because of a habitual warped view of yourself? Are you carrying so much baggage from your past that you cannot take hold of the new opportunities God is bringing your way?

Learn to travel lightly.

PRAYER: Lord, help me see myself as You see me and to let go of the past.

“Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 3:14 NIV).

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