By Cheri Cowell –
Priority mail is a great invention. Whatever you can squeeze into that envelope or box, regardless of the weight, is one flat fee.
Did you know God was the originator of Priority Mail? That’s right, he charges the same flat rate no matter what we send His way. No matter how much we stuff in the envelope, no matter how weighty the issues we want Him to deal with, and no matter how important (or unimportant) it is to us, He charges one flat fee.
God then went a step further and paid the fee! So now we can send Him our mail—our prayers, desires, dreams, and disappointments—and know we will receive priority service.
As this Psalm points out, when someone is getting ahead unfairly, don’t fret. Quietly reach for your Priority Mail envelope and place that concern inside. God will receive your mail and will act swiftly. Let that thought bring your heart peace because—rain, sleet, or snow—God is there, waiting to receive your mail.
“Quiet down before God, be prayerful before him. Don’t bother with those who climb the ladder, who elbow their way to the top” (Psalms 37:7 MSG).
Prayer: I never thought of my prayers as being Priority Mail, but that thought makes me smile. The next time I’m tempted to fret, I’ll rush to my prayer box instead.
By Hally Franz –
I spent quality time with our Craftsman a few weeks ago. Though noisy and a bit rough, he has a powerful presence and can get the job done. And, he provides an opportunity for some solace and reflection in the process. No, I’m not referring to an extra-long devotion time with the Father of us all. Nor did I hang-out with a handyman my husband and I happen to have on retainer. We don’t, by the way.
No, I just rode our riding lawn mower for a few hours. Between my husband and sixteen-year-old son, it’s rare that I find a reason to do that. And, while I know mowing gets tedious by summer’s end, the time spent lapping the yard can be quite nice. The lush layer and smell of cut grass, the warm breeze on your face, the roar of the engine extinguishing all other sounds – it leaves you with only your thoughts.
When I was a kid, I ran the riding lawn mower. My father did the trimming and weed-whacking. I remember when he first demonstrated the task. He walked along as I traced the route prepared for me, and, if I missed a blade, he would point and yell “skip.” Methodical in all he did, he trained me well.
As I mowed our yard recently, I occasionally lost focus, so I had to look back to ensure I’d not missed anything along the way. I’d shift in my seat and check over my shoulder to make sure I didn’t leave sprigs and a job undone when my mind drifted.
Most of us try our best to make the right moves as we progress in life. We strive to cover our bases and seize opportunities. We work to maintain focus and attention, so that our misses and missteps along the way are minimal. But, as humans, that doesn’t always happen.
My reliable mowing machine relies on me to execute everything right. That won’t happen 100% of the time, in mowing grass or doing life. However, when it doesn’t, we have the assurance and insurance only He can provide.
If we keep our eyes on Him in our daily lives, we will make better choices. His guidance helps us do that, and, when we do falter and our minds wander, He is there to help us backtrack, retrace, redo or correct any problems we’ve made along the way.
PRAYER: Heavenly Father, direct my steps today and every day, so I might make right choices. May those choices bring opportunities for me to serve and glorify You. And, Father, when I lose my focus on You, please pull me back and help me make right my misdeeds along my way.
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.” (Proverbs 3:5-6 NIV).
By Elaine James –
A song came to mind, “The ants go marching ten by ten hurrah, hurrah! The ants going marching ten by ten hurrah, hurrah! The ants go marching ten by ten the little one stops to say ‘The End’, and they all go marching down to the ground to get out of the rain. Boom, boom, boom!”
All I could do is sing as I cleaned and sprayed my kitchen counter when I was confronted with a whole lot of ants. I wasn’t happy. In fact I was tired. I had been resting from surgery. I was just getting back in the swing of cleaning and this mess was wearing me out.
Before discovering the ants I was on my back porch taking in the blue sky, sipping a good cup of coffee and spending sweet time with God reading his word. Peter greets, “To those who through the righteousness of our God and Savior Jesus Christ have received a faith as precious as ours… For this very reason, make every effort to add … perseverance … For if you posses this quality in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ” (2 Peter 1:1-8 NIV).
I was totally caught off guard with the ants. In a flash I was itchy and crabby. It took quite a while to clean and the heaviness was not lifting. I contacted a friend who was clear headed. She had me pray “by the weapons God has given to me and by the power of the Holy Spirit in Jesus name I take authority over every belief system, high thing and thought that keeps me blinded from the truth. I capture and demolish that in Jesus name. Thank You, Lord, for your help. Amen.”
I doubted that spending time with God would give me energy for today. That is a lie. I had a bump in the road. I did exactly what God asks; persevere. On any given day one of my children could need me more than usual. They may come to me constantly. I would keep opening arms and comforting them. I was needy.
Instead of pouting like our children tend to when trouble brews we need to pause for prayer. Realize God is there 24/7/365. It was “The End” for those ants but not for me.
By Carin LeRoy –
Last week while watching my grandchildren play and ride their bikes outside, a man in the complex where they lived started a conversation with me. When he learned my husband and I had been missionaries, he began to talk about God. Sharing a little of his life history, he told me he had been homeless several times and struggled with addictions. He wanted to talk about spiritual things and hear my thoughts. He felt he was bound by His lifestyle and choices, and it was clear he desired life to be different.
As we talked about God, the Bible, and life, I struggled to find what might best speak to His heart. Several times in the conversation the Lord brought several verses to mind, so I shared those with him. Although he was familiar with the Bible, I challenged him to read the book of John again and claim a few specific promises for himself. At the end, he thanked me for talking with him and said, “Pray for me.”
Although I felt inadequate for the conversation, it is our responsibility as Christians to share with others when the Lord gives us opportunity. The lost are searching, and we have God’s truth that will set them free and change their lives.
The Holy Spirit will guide us as we talk with others, but we must also be diligent. God wants every Believer to be prepared to answer questions about our faith in Christ. Be ready and study God’s word.
The memorization of Scripture will help equip us. Paul instructs us to, “Make every effort to present yourself before God as a proven worker who does not need to be ashamed, teaching the message of truth accurately” (2 Timothy 2:15 NET). Let’s remember how important it is to know God’s word and memorize verses that will help us witness to others.
PRAYER: Father, help me to be diligent to study Your word and memorize Scripture. Give me opportunities to witness to those who do not know You. Guide me when I have an opportunity to speak about You.
“…I am sending you to open their eyes so that they turn from darkness to light and from the power of Satan to God, so that they may receive forgiveness of sins and a share among those who are sanctified by faith in me” (Acts 26:17-18 NET).
By Mary Sefzik –
Mosquitos—one of the most annoying summertime pests. They can make a meal off of you before you have time to devour your slice of juicy watermelon. By the end of the evening your legs are covered with those tell-tale itchy welts—summertime souvenirs. The constant urge to scratch becomes all-consuming. The more you scratch the hotter and redder those bites become. You question whether an evening outside was worth the itchy aftermath.
Some people are like mosquitos. They lite, they bite, and they leave you to deal with the after effects. They barge into your life uninvited spouting a slew of stinging remarks.
“You’ll never get it right.”
“That’s the worst thing I’ve ever heard.”
“You can’t do this job.”
Then they leave and go about the rest of their day as if nothing ever happened. But you are left with a big red welt of emotional hurt—damaged pride, less confidence in your abilities, fear of trying something new because that stinging reminder makes you believe you’ll just fail. Again.
You may go about the rest of your day with a smile on your face but the red welt from the mosquito encounter lingers just below the surface. The temptation to scratch the bite by replaying the venomous comments in your mind is all-consuming. The next time you encounter that person you’re ready. When they bite, you swat back with unkind words of your own.
How should you handle the mosquito people in your life? Like the insects, they are unavoidable. Just as you can protect yourself from the insect variety by wearing bug repellent, there are some methods you can use to lessen the sting of the bites from the people variety.
When a mosquito person is fast approaching instead of getting your swatting hand ready, shield yourself from the stings by saying a quick prayer. “Lord, control my tongue and help me take the good to heart and not let the bad ruin my day.”
After the encounter, doctor the sting by quoting scripture. “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters” (Colossians 3:23 NIV), or “‘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).
Keep in mind God has a plan for every creature He creates—even the mosquitos.
Prayer: Be Lord of my tongue today and help my words be constructive instead of stinging. Teach me to handle criticism in a way which honors You.