By Judy Davis -
For over 30 years, my friend Janice prayed for her son who was addicted to alcohol. She took him to his first rehabilitation program, bought his first Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) book and went to meetings with him. She visited him in the hospital, rehab programs, and detention centers.
The years have come and gone. Janice has reflected on her son’s past many times. She knows alcoholism and drugs destroy lives. What more can she do? What more can she say?
The only way to arrest alcoholism is total abstinence. It’s up to her son to quit for good. Janice can’t blame anyone but her son. She didn’t cause it, can’t control it, and can’t cure it. There are medications now that can help and she hopes he will call a local hospital or clinic and ask them for assistance. She stressed the importance of him stepping out and getting help. Janice knows in her heart it will take God for her son to be totally healed. He will meet us at our point of need.
God’s Word is powerful! Janice said sitting in His presence reading His Word each morning for years has been the key to overcoming the pain in her heart. She allows the Holy Spirit to help her as she reads the Word.
Reading devotional books and commentaries are not the same. Let go and let God speak to you personally through His Word. He will make the Scripture come alive as He reveals words of wisdom through revelation. As we meditate on what we read, pray to comprehend what God is saying and then submit to His divine direction.
Pray for your children and talk to them about accepting Christ into their lives. Help them to turn their heart towards the light. That light that shines brighter and brighter as we live closer and closer to Christ. Most important we should do all we can to love them through the situation and be there for them.
PRAYER: Father, please help those loved ones facing alcohol, drug, and other addictions to overcome this sin. Please help the parents of those caught in this bondage. Only You can give them peace in the midst of the storm.
“Listen, my son, to your father’s instruction and do not forsake your mother’s teaching. They are a garland to grace your head and a chain to adorn your neck” (Proverbs 1:8-9 NIV).
By Charlotte Riegel -
I had it coming to me. It was not a wise choice to stay up so late reading. Weariness knocked on my door at the usual go-to-bed time but I refused it entrance and kept pushing myself past tired, somewhat like athletes do when they push themselves ‘to the wall’ and then break through it.
It started innocently enough. I thought reading before turning off the light would help me fall asleep faster. It had the opposite effect this time because I was already past the ‘wall’, on the other side of sleep, happily heading into an all-nighter though at the time I did not realize this fact.
At 2:30 a.m., knowing I needed some sleep, I put away the book I was reading, turned off the light, and began tossing and turning. My mind continued to race through what I had just read in an attempt to process and mentally file all the information. Brace yourself, it was not a romance thriller, or an intense Bible Study book. No, it was the 2012 – 2013 Academic Calendar for Rosebud School of the Arts.
I delighted to see the various course options available, pondering if I should take any. The instructor profiles fascinated. And then, the ‘Who’s Who’ section introduced me to various people, beyond staff, that made this organization function.
What? My name is among the ‘who’s who’ of RSA? Well, yes, I had volunteered to become the ‘volunteer coordinator’ for the Art Gallery but never dreamed my name would be included in their publicity!
And the wheels turned, both in my mind and in the clock. Morning came and although I did not feel particularly tired I felt frustrated and grouchy because I knew I should have slept and hadn’t.
As I pulled back the curtains, bright sunshine greeted me. A story I read recently flashed to mind, about personalized license plate messages. Two cars randomly stopped side by side at a red light. One said, ‘SUNZOUT’. The other, ‘GROUCH’.
Prayer: Thank you Lord for a sunny day. I will work at not being grouchy.
“Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus” (1 Thessalonians 5:18 NIV).
By Cheri Cowell -
“Cheri, you must practice what you preach,” my mother would warn me. She recognized my leadership skills and wanted me to know that my words must be backed up with actions. If I preached honesty, I needed to be honest in my own dealings. If I talked about compassion, then I needed to be compassionate in my own life. We hear a lot of “talk” about virtue in the world today, but for all of the talk there is little proof that people are living it out. Jesus warned us about this very thing. But this warning takes a slightly different turn with the scribes and Pharisees. They boasted as much about the goodness of their works as of the orthodoxy of their teaching, and hoped to be justified by them.
Although this is wrong, this scripture was not an indictment on them. This was to warn us about being swayed by those who do not practice what they preach. Jesus says to beware of those who, in the name of God, place heavy burdens on your back while not lifting a finger to do the same things they are demanding of you.
“Then Jesus said to the crowds and to his disciples: ‘The teachers of the law and the Pharisees sit in Moses’ seat. So you must be careful to do everything they tell you. But do not do what they do, for they do not practice what they preach. They tie up heavy, cumbersome loads and put them on other people’s shoulders, but they themselves are not willing to lift a finger to move them’” (Matthew 23:1-4 NIV).
PRAYER: Thank You, God, for being a God who is who He says He is, who does what He asks us to do, and who sets the example for us to follow—not only in word but in deed. Help me recognize those who are not practing what they preach so I won’t be swayed by their boasting.
By Hally Franz –
Today marks the fourth snow day local children have had this year; in fact, it is the fourth they’ve had since President’s Day in February. Yesterday set records for the most snowfall in one day in our area, and we are nearing the end of March.
Therefore, much of the conversation in recent days has gone something like this… “I like snow at Christmas and over our holiday break. I don’t like it when I am thinking about spring.” “This cold, dreary weather is growing tiresome and depressing. I need some sun!” “Now, the end of the school year is extended!”
Then, reluctantly, after our complaining, we acknowledge that… “It is beautiful.” “We can certainly use the moisture after a couple of very dry years.” “We will still get out of school pretty early.”
Recently I had what seemed at the time like an especially bad week. My computer crashed, and I lost all the information on my hard drive. I had my annual visit to the dermatologist so she could check my light, freckly skin. Though my last few visits had gone fine, this time she found two spots of concern on my back and removed them with simple “punch-cuts.” That was fun! Then, we learned that my son’s FFA contest schedule over spring break would cause him to miss our family vacation.
I was grumbling and complaining about these things, and it took some time for me to step back and recognize what I should have throughout that week. My thinking should have gone more like this… “How blessed we are in this day and age to have gadgets that make our work and life so simple. I can handle a slight blip in the radar.” “I’m thankful for good insurance and access to doctors who can fix potential problems before they become serious health concerns.” “My kids have opportunities to do so many awesome things.”
My minister spoke recently about the complaining of the Israelites while in the desert, as recorded in Exodus 16. No matter what our condition, we humans are prone to complaining. Even the most positive among us will occasionally forget to be grateful, instead grumbling about our circumstances.
Philippians 2:14-15 are verses my daughter’s school has made her own, and I’ve always liked them. My challenge is to always live them.
PRAYER: Most Righteous God, while my worldly ways may cause me to complain, may Your word remind me not to grumble, but exercise gratefulness instead.
“Do everything without grumbling or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure, “children of God without fault in a warped and crooked generation.” Then you will shine among them like stars in the sky” (Philippians 2:14-15 NIV).
By Hally Franz –
Oh, to be a kid in 2013! Without going into sad speeches about the summers of yesteryear, I will simply say that today’s kids have access to countless exciting activities to fill their summers. There is no reason for boredom when our communities and churches offer so many things to do. Even elementary students attending summer school enjoy specially-designed curriculum to offer as much fun as they do study. Every class and camp has a theme; every adventure and outing is designed to please.
It is at this time each year that I finalize summer calendars for my own kids. My son, now in high school, has an agenda of his own, but my daughter still works with mom to decide what she’ll do over break.
When I mentioned Bible camp to her recently, she reminded me about the girl drama she had at camp two years ago. Those don’t seem to go together, do they? Girl drama at Bible camp? I remembered my sister and I arriving to pick up my niece and daughter, and I recalled the reports from the cabin counselors.
Our girls had become friends with two other girls, who were unrelated BFF’s. The four paired off throughout the week and were doing well. Until, something triggered a conflict. I don’t recall the issue, except that it was insignificant. Soon the foursome split according to their original loyalties, and a verbal brawl ensued. The teen counselors relayed the events to us, and we were mortified. We scolded our girls, but they seemed to be beyond the ordeal by then.
I know this particular camp is a great program, and Roz may well attend this year. I believe that most of the kids attending camp are from Christian families, and they are all probably fine children. However, I also had to recognize that they are little girl humans. That means they are immature and haven’t entirely figured out how to behave yet. They are girls, and they just like a little drama now and then (That may be precisely why I was reminded of this event when the issue came up). And, they are human – fallible and sinful humans.
Perhaps, Bible camp is exactly what Roz needs this year. Now, two years later, she is more mature and may get along perfectly.
Now, what shall we do about drama camp?
PRAYER: Heavenly Father, help me to choose for my children activities and endeavors that will enrich their lives, causing them to be educated and involved citizens, loyal and loving friends, and faithful followers and witnesses for You.
“Dear brothers and sisters, don’t be childish in your understanding of these things. Be innocent as babies when it comes to evil, but be mature in understanding matters of this kind” (1 Corinthians 14:20 NLT).