Goin’ Fishing

May 9, 2021 by  
Filed under Daily Devotions, Humorous

By Susan Dollyhigh –

“I’m going fishin’, Nana,” KK, my three-year-old granddaughter said.

I smiled to myself as KK walked out of the kitchen where I stood washing dishes. How cute. I imagined KK casting out an imaginary fishing line and reeling in her plastic fish. Suddenly, my smile vanished as I recalled some of KK’s previous escapades. With sudsy water dripping from my hands, I dashed down the hall to the bathroom, all the while envisioning the tub overflowing with water and plastic fish.

Instead, I saw KK slowly emerging into the hallway – from the den. As she walked toward me, she cautiously placed one small foot down and then the other. In one hand she held a paper cup while her other hand covered the top. Upon reaching me, KK removed her hand from the cup and said, “Look Nana, I caught a fish.”

Peering into the cup of sloshing water, I recognized a fish that had been kidnapped, or fishnapped, from its home in the aquarium. KK was serious about her fishing. She never intended to use a make-believe fishing pole to catch plastic fish.

KK was determined to catch real fish.

Simon and Andrew were fishermen casting their nets into the lake when Jesus came along. These two men were serious about their fishing. They were using nets and catching “real fish.” Yet Jesus told them he had a more important fishing assignment for them – to be fishers of men. What did they do? They immediately dropped their nets and followed Jesus.

Even today, Jesus calls us to do the same. Do we hear His voice saying, “Come, and follow me.”? Are we willing to leave behind our busyness as Simon and Andrew did? Are we willing to share the good news of Jesus Christ with a lost and hurting world? Are we willing to be serious fishers of men?

PRAYER: Father in Heaven, please open our ears to hear Your voice. Please open our eyes to see the lost and hurting in our world. Please help us to be obedient and lay aside our busyness so we can be fishers of men.

“As Jesus walked beside the Sea of Galilee, he saw Simon and his brother Andrew casting a net into the lake, for they were fishermen. “Come, follow me,” Jesus said, “and I will make you fishers of men.” At once they left their nets and followed him” (Mark 1:16-18 NIV).

The Father’s Heart

May 7, 2021 by  
Filed under Daily Devotions, Life Topics

By Peter Lundell –

Our dog recently ran away. My daughter and I love Angel, our little Yorkie, as if she were our baby. So we were grief-stricken when we could not find her.

I prayed and prayed she would be found and returned. Then the call came!

When we went to the house and the person brought Angel to us, I felt overwhelmed with joy.
But Angel was more interested in the owner’s dogs. When I held her, she seemed to think nothing of it, as if simply going home after a day’s adventure. She was oblivious to what she had done, how troubled we were, and how happy we were to get her back.

She couldn’t understand; she’s a dog.

Then it struck me. So many of us are like her. Even I have been like her.

Countless people, including you and me, have been separated from God—and thought nothing of it. We couldn’t understand. We’re human, not God. We’re as oblivious as Angel the dog.

And all the while God aches for his lost ones to come to him.

I could feel the Father’s heart as Jesus expressed in Luke 15 with the parables of the lost sheep, lost coin, and lost son. The Father searches for the one lost, longing for return. And when the lost one is found, God, the angels, and those in heaven rejoice over every person who comes to faith.

When we get right with God, we might say a prayer and feel good. But like the dog, we have little idea of the immensity of what’s happened or how heaven rejoices over us.

If I could feel strongly about a four-legged animal, imagine how the Creator and Lover of our Souls feels about us. It overwhelms me.

May you also be overwhelmed at feeling God’s heart.

PRAYER: “My heavenly Father, I have caused You both grieving and rejoicing. May I feel Your heart, how You’ve grieved over me when I’ve gone astray and how You’ve rejoiced over me when I’ve come into Your arms.”

“While he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him. The son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son.’ But the father said to his servants, ‘Quick! Bring the best robe and put it on him. Put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. Bring the fattened calf and kill it. Let’s have a feast and celebrate. For this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’ So they began to celebrate” (Luke 15:20–23 NIV).

Little Jason

May 6, 2021 by  
Filed under Daily Devotions, Worship

By Carin LeRoy –

Years ago when teaching Kindergarten, I had the cutest little boy in my class. Jason was a lovable little guy and would walk into class and say, “Mrs. LeRoy, I love you!” His smile was contagious, but he had a big problem. He couldn’t sit still. His constant wiggles and lack of attention provided many distractions for the other children in the class. Some days I needed to send him out to sit in the office so the other students could concentrate. As he would walk down the hall to sit in the office, he would turn to me and say, “But Mrs. LeRoy, I’ll be good! I’ll be good!” As hard as he tried he couldn’t sit still. He wanted to learn, but his mind wouldn’t let him.

That reminds me of our lives as believers. God commands us to live holy lives, but we stumble along trying to meet God’s standard of godly living and many times fall short. Even the apostle Paul said, “For what I do is not the good I want to do” (Romans 7: 19 NIV). He saw the sinful nature at war with our desire to please and follow God. It is a struggle we all have to face. We are much like little Jason as we continually try hard, but often fail to get it right.

I’ve often wondered where the years have taken Jason in life. By now he would be a matured adult, and those wiggles would have disappeared. In a similar way, as we mature in Christ and become sensitive to His guidance, we learn to keep those sinful desires under control.

Charles Stanley says, “Every believer is indwelt by God’s Spirit, but the extent of His rule is determined by the Christian’s freedom to comply.” It’s our choice whether we will let God have control or give in to those desires. Let’s choose to live a life that is dependent upon the power of God.

PRAYER: Lord, thank You that I have Your Spirit to guide me and prompt me as I walk through life. Thank You that I can depend on Your power to live an obedient life. Help me to learn to be sensitive to Your leading each day.

“Those who live according to the sinful nature have their minds set on what that nature desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires. The mind of sinful man is death, but the mind controlled by the Spirit is life and peace” (Romans 8: 5, 6 NIV).

I Love a Parade

By Cheri Cowell –

I love a parade. I love the excitement that builds as you wait along the parade route for the police car’s sirens signaling the start of the big event. I love the clowns, the floats, the antique cars, the equestrian units, and of course, the bands.

For many people the bands are the highlight of the parade, but for me the highlight has to be the children. There is something magical about a parade to a child. With every passing band, float, or clown a child’s eyes fill with wonder and awe.

That same childlike awe and wonder is what the prophet Isaiah was trying to stir in us as he wrote about Christ’s coming. When you hear these words does your spine tingle and your eyes fill with wonder and awe at the thought of such a spectacle?

In studying this passage, it is interesting to note the darkness and gloominess of chapter 59 that gives way to the Light in chapter 60. In this chapter Isaiah calls on the people of Israel to “look up” from their sad situations and “see” the Light piercing the darkness. What a great image for those of us in the midst of our own “sad situation.” This implies that even though the Light is currently filling the earth some of us could actually miss it if our eyes are cast downward.

Where are your eyes focused today? Are they focused down on all that is wrong, or up where God’s light pierces the darkness?

PRAYER: Lord, God, how I long for Your return. Excitedly I await the trumpet sounds signaling Your entry, and ask that in the meantime You help me to keep my eyes lifted up away from everyday struggles and toward You and Your kingdom. I wait for the beginning of the Grand Parade.

“Arise, shine, for your light has come, and the glory of the Lord rises upon you. See, darkness covers the earth and thick darkness is over the peoples, but the Lord rises upon you and his glory appears over you” (Isaiah 60:1-2 NIV).

Sunday Inspiration

May 3, 2021 by  
Filed under Daily Devotions, Family

By Hally Franz –

A vibrant and beautiful spring season, middle-school kids and pop culture, good song lyrics and travel—these are a few of my inspirational things. Here’s your challenge for the day. Try singing that like Julie Andrews would have as she romped around a bedroom wrapped in drapes or flitted around Austria. I couldn’t get it quite right.

Who doesn’t savor blooms bursting forth with color and smell, like those we enjoyed during this year’s exceptional spring? How refreshing is a change of scenery? Are we not thankful for ballads that bring tears to our eyes? Young teens are full of entertaining comments, and the entertainment industry never fails to shock. These often provide things to write about. However, when these usually reliable arenas of material fail me, I can count on Sunday service for some good food for thought or a message to chew on.

This past Sunday our minister, LaMar, introduced his lesson on Acts 14 with some comments about the wonder of a child. He reminded us how toddlers find cardboard boxes and cords just as interesting as high-dollar toys and giant stuffed animals. And, he shared an experience he had in India as a young adult. He observed a young person hold a Bible with pure unadulterated excitement and joy that may never be seen in our country, where we take our Bibles for granted.

As we grow older, things that once seemed exciting become ordinary, places once grand become small. When we talk about the “eyes of a child,” we feel melancholy, because we know our adult eyes often fail to appreciate what we see or even recognize what is in our presence. Once those childhood days of discovery are behind us, we can’t get them back, but we can pray that God will help us see each day anew with a grateful and inspired heart.

Honestly, there are those dreary days when my own kids annoy me, and the outside world is just discouraging. I can’t travel more than a few times each year, and some days there isn’t anything I enjoy on the airwaves. On Sunday mornings, though, it is hard to leave worship without a feeling of hope. His word, well-written and artfully-delivered truths, and the fellowship of brothers and sisters in Christ; these are a few of my most wonderful blessings.

PRAYER: Heavenly Father, help me always appreciate the wonder in Your creation, and remind me daily that the greatest inspirations come in Your Word, readily and freely available to me whenever I may need it.

“Seek the LORD, and his strength: seek his face evermore. Remember his marvellous works that he hath done; his wonders, and the judgments of his mouth; O ye seed of Abraham his servant, ye children of Jacob his chosen” (Psalm 105:4-6 KJV).

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