Promises, Promises

May 25, 2022 by  
Filed under Daily Devotions

By Elaine James –

Fresh out of bed, I put on my robe and head for my favorite chair. I crack the window open and enjoy the bright sunshine and the sound of a distant woodpecker hard at work. I have a great sense of peace about me, and my head is clearer than usual as I pray and read Scripture. I love days like this. I feel no angst. No distractions. Just rest. Thank You, Lord, for this beautiful moment. I read, “Sustain me, my God, according to your promise, and I will live; do not let my hopes be dashed” (Psalm 119:116 NIV).

The sun is going down. I am once again settled in my chair. My view is filled with blue sky and pink scattered clouds. The window still cracked open and my heart still peaceful. Negative thoughts try to ruffle my feathers, but God is my fortress, and He blocks all attempts. Thank You Lord. From morning to evening, You sustain me. Scripture being fulfilled. Should I be surprised?

“Sustain me, my God, according to your promise, and I will live; do not let my hopes be dashed” (Psalm 119:116 NIV). I love this Word. I love You, Lord.

My greatest hope is that each day the fruit of God’s Spirit will continue to grow in me, bringing glory to my Lord. My end-of-the-day reflection also has me hoping that my family members will continue to grow in the Lord and experience precious restful moments like this. I am forever grateful that God has placed His “hope message” on my heart. I will live. My hopes won’t be dashed. My Father’s promise.

Have you been crushed by the weight of others’ unkept promises? I pray that you will find a secret place to sit and connect with God. To be filled with contentment beyond words. It is God’s pleasure! He looks forward to it! No appointment necessary.

Prayer: I come before You seeking rest for my soul. Right here, right now. Visit me. Fill me with Your promises, so my hopes will not be dashed. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

The Shade of Christ

May 23, 2022 by  
Filed under Daily Devotions

By Cheri Cowell –

On my desk I have one of those flip-card-daily-saying things. I love flipping through it from time to time and am amazed at how many sayings I now incorporate into my conversations. I do not do a good job, however, of looking at it daily. It is not a priority. But, because I’ve used it intermittingly, its sayings have been planted in my mind. Growing up in Sunday school, being in church all of my life, and being involved in Bible study, prayer, and worship every week have had that same cumulative effect on me. My conversations and thoughts are infused with the things of God. The psalmist calls this being “like a tree planted by streams of water” (Psalm 1:3 NIV). What a beautiful image that is for us to carry as we struggle to make God a part of everything we do.

The “law” in this scripture reference does not refer to a legal code but rather to the guidance and instruction of God. The psalmist uses the metaphor of a tree as it symbolized abundant prosperity, productivity, usefulness, and the strength to endure hardships when planted near the living water of the Holy Spirit. The message is clear—like my flip-card sayings, planting God’s Word in your mind will yield deep roots of faith.

“Blessed is the one who does not walk in step with the wicked or stand in the way that sinners take or sit in the company of mockers, but whose delight is in the law of the LORD, and who meditates on his law day and night. That person is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither—whatever they do prospers” (Psalm 1:1-3 NIV).

PRAYER: Thank You, God, for Your laws that are a delight to meditate on day and night, and for providing the Living Water that nourishes my spirit. Help me find ways to infuse my conversations and thoughts with more and more of You so my branches may reach others with the shade of Christ.

The Wedding Wall

May 22, 2022 by  
Filed under Daily Devotions

By Hally Franz –

My grandparents would have been married 80 years this November, and while they didn’t reach that milestone, Grandpa and Grandma did celebrate 69 years of marriage. I always remember what year they were wed, because their 60th anniversary occurred the year my husband, Tim, and I were married. We just celebrated our 20th anniversary.

My aunt has a display of family photos I dearly love. One wall holds 5×7 photographs of every marriage our family has celebrated over the years; only three, which ended, have been removed. My grandparents’ black-and-white photo is at the top. The next row includes photos from the weddings of their four children. Eight of us eleven grandchildren, along with our spouses, fill the third row in full color. And the bottom group consists of wedding ceremonies for five of the 23 great-grandchildren. There are currently five great-great-grandchildren, with more weddings and babies added yearly.

My cousins and I sometimes gather at the photos and laugh at the ever-changing wedding styles. Big hair and bunned hair, full skirts and sheath dresses share the space. Long sleeves and sweetheart necklines evolve over generations to sleeveless and strapless. It’s fun to see how fashions have changed and how our family has grown in eight decades. The wall is a source of family pride.

Like wedding fashions and families, marriages evolve over time. Looking back, I can recall trials and triumphs Tim and I have experienced over the years.

Growing our family was a struggle, but eventually we experienced the joys of having a biological son and bringing home a beautiful adopted daughter. Tim recently celebrated thirty years of employment with his company, and he has supported me in my various endeavors outside and inside our home. There have been losses and times of turmoil – some years and memories better than others.

We’ve grown a lot in our faith since 1993, and our Heavenly Father has been with us during our most difficult and joyous times. If He had not, we may not have reached this anniversary.

So, what will the next twenty years bring? More photos added to my aunt’s wedding wall? No doubt. Perhaps a return to sleeves? I hope. Grandchildren? Not during the first ten, please. New goals and dreams? Of course. The comfort that each day we share will be because of Him, shared by Him, governed by Him, and blessed by Him. Absolutely!

PRAYER: Gracious God, thank You for the gift of marriage! Help us make each day count as a couple, enjoying our relationship while serving You in our home, church and community.

“Give to the LORD, O families of the peoples, Give to the LORD glory and strength.” (1 Chronicles 16:28 NKJV).

Everybody Loves…

May 20, 2022 by  
Filed under Daily Devotions

By Elaine James –

…. Raymond. Do you know the show Everybody Loves Raymond? If so, then you have seen Raymond blurt out something to Deborah and right away you think, “Oh no! He shouldn’t have said that!”

My husband had one of those moments. He said it, and he could not take it back. I immediately put up my defense. He’s not going to get away with that. I’m going to make him pay. At that moment, I was making his lunch. The thought came to me, I just won’t give him lunch.

Then a whispering, sweet voice said, “Elaine, have you ever said anything wrong?”

If I have to be honest, yes.

“Have I forgiven you and given you grace?”

Yes, Lord, you have.

“If My grace is sufficient for you, then my grace is sufficient for your husband. Can you make him the lunch for me?”

With you, Lord, I can do it. Without you, Lord, I want to ……

I made the sandwich. My mind and heart were battling the whole time. I will throw the sandwich at him. Honestly! I can make this sandwich and serve it with Christ. I made the lunch and gave it to my unsuspecting man. I got to thinking, I can really only do this because of God’s grace. I didn’t deserve what my husband said, but I chose to give him grace.

Have you ever felt that way toward anyone? When the whisper of God speaks, sometimes I ignore it and do not listen. It is hard at times.

“Those who are dominated by the sinful nature think about sinful things, but those who are controlled by the Holy Spirit think about things that please the Spirit” (Romans 8:5 NLT).

I did have revengeful thoughts. My insides hurt. I did not want to serve, but when I finally did, I felt really good inside. I was able to move on. Only God can do that for me, and for you. What do you do with your revengeful thoughts?

Let’s Pray: Father, sinful things sometimes dominate within me. Help me to stop and listen to You. Forgive me for the times I have not listened. I want to please You. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Holy Glasses

May 18, 2022 by  
Filed under Daily Devotions

By Cheri Cowell –

One of the little frustrations of life occurs for me when I get my hair cut. When the hairdresser has finished cutting my hair, he hands me a mirror so I can see the back. But I can’t see a thing until I pull my glasses from under the cape and put them on. The mirror won’t do me any good without my glasses. We, as Christians, are like the person sitting in a salon chair, being handed a mirror from God, who says to us, “Look and see what great things I have done.” We strain to see what He is talking about, but often we miss it. Why? We need to put our glasses on.

You and I sit in God’s salon chair day after day, inviting Him to remake us in His image. He tells us great things, and hands us a mirror so we can see into the heart where His great work is being done. But we don’t see anything. He points the mirror toward others so we might see and thus believe the promises for ourselves, yet still we can’t see. Then He gently whispers in our ears, “Put on your glasses.” We pick up the Word of God and through that lens we begin to see and discern the heart of God. The living and active Word of God helps us to see things we cannot begin to see on our own.

“For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart” (Hebrews 4:12 NIV).

PRAYER: I praise You, God, for the living and active Word we have been given. Give me eyes to see, through the reading and studying of Your Word, what You are doing in my life and in the lives of others around me this week.

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