Adoption (Based on a True Story)

October 18, 2021 by  
Filed under Daily Devotions, Family

By Mollie Bond –

Stacy clamped onto her new adoptive mother and stared as the van gained speed down the mountainside. She didn’t cry as Colombia passed into a memory. She crusted into a stoic two-year-old. She didn’t say goodbye to her birth mother who dropped her off at the orphanage frequently. Then she would return again after a week or two. This time Stacy wouldn’t be at the orphanage.

Stacy couldn’t stop crying. After being in the United States six months, she stopped as quickly as she started. It was as if she put her anguish into a box, and hid the grief for fourteen years.

Now, a shattered Stacy sat with her parents on one side of the table; a representative from the adoption agency sat on the other side. The previous night she and her adoptive parents tried to determine what was best for Stacy’s illegitimate daughter. It came time to sign away her rights.

Stacy’s father began the meeting. “Fourteen years ago, a woman made a difficult choice. She gave her child something she couldn’t provide.” Stacy’s body went rigid with the overwhelming memories. She leaked a tear that became a rush of emotion. This anguish wasn’t satisfied with stuffing the emotions back into the depleted box. This pain refreshed her and her decision. In a moment, Stacy realized that her birth mother loved her, and that her mother did a very brave thing. She also saw the significance of her adopted parents, and their unconditional love because she now felt that same love for her new daughter. Healing began that day. Freedom brought relief from crying.

We too must grieve our former lives and realize we now live a better life under God’s care through adoption. We can welcome freedom and love as we see others being loved. Sometimes giving up circumstances or people frees us, and them, to enjoy a new situation.

Are there changes at work? Is a friend moving? Is there someone unforgiven in your life? Who in your life needs to be released? Give up treasured people so you can receive treasures from others. Hand them over to their adoptive Heavenly Father, who has a much better plan for them than you can provide.

PRAYER: Father, I’m glad You’ve taken me in as Your own. Help me to release those people and situations to You so that they can be taken into Your family. I grieve what I wanted, but know You will give something better in return. Thank You for being my Father.

“For those who are led by the Spirit of God are the children of God” (Romans 8:14 NIV).

Since When Did Laziness Become a Laughing Matter?

October 15, 2021 by  
Filed under Daily Devotions, Humorous

By Cynthia Ruchti –

You’ve noticed too, I’m sure. People joke about how lazy they are. They value “vegging,” the couch-potato kind, not the sweet potato kind. They brag about how long it’s been since they folded laundry, brushing lightly at the wrinkles in their shirt. It was pulled out of the tangle of clothes in the basket. Clean, right?

“Yeah, I didn’t get to the bank in time. Things came up.” They don’t clarify that the “things” were a nap, a snack, and a video game.

What keeps people from getting to their appointments on time? One of two things—doing too much or doing too little.

I lean more toward the “too much” end of the spectrum. I see a five minute window of buffer time and think of two important things I can get done in that window. That often makes me watch the second-hand of the wall clock as I rush up to the desk just before it ticks into place for my appointment time. Not good.

But neither is the world’s obsession with laziness, with doing the minimum necessary at work, at church, at home…just enough to get by.

One of the places where my husband worked developed an incentive program for employees who did their job exceptionally well—a gift card reward. “Great job. Here’s fifty dollars.” “Nice work on that. Here’s a hundred dollars.”

Grateful as we were for the extra money for the family budget, it always struck us as an oddity that “exceptionally well” and “excellent” and “nice work” weren’t expected. They were viewed as so rare as to deserve special recognition.

We don’t have to wonder what God would think of that. He told us. “Whatever you do,” He said through the Apostle Paul, “do it heartily, as unto the Lord.” (reference below)

As I write this, the table of people near me is discussing installing a toilet. “I put in that new toilet and she’s still complaining,” the man said. His friend asked, “How come?” “Oh, it wobbles some.”

I think even toilet installation has to be done heartily, don’t you?

PRAYER: No matter how popular it is, Lord, keep me from ever believing that laziness can be cute. It doesn’t mesh with Your plan for us. Show me where I might be making excuses for not putting my whole heart into something. Laziness is no laughing matter to You. Help me feel the same way.

“Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men,” Colossians 3:23, NIV.

Tickled Pink

October 14, 2021 by  
Filed under Daily Devotions, Life Topics

By Elaine James –

“Do not be anxious about anything but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God” implored Paul. (Philippians 4:6 NIV)

People, when do you know it is time for a haircut?

Believe it or not (don’t make fun of me) I prayed “God I would really like to know from someone I respect if the way I am styling my hair lately is okay. Especially if I should do bangs or no bangs.”

A week later in a coffee shop I meet my friend, who I haven’t seen in a year. She walks in with glee in her voice declares “Elaine, I really like your hair and the way you have grown out your bangs. You look so much younger.” My heart was tickled pink with this quick answer to prayer! She even said I look like a movie star, but I won’t reveal which one.

The next day I told someone this story and their reaction was like “Oh come, on with all the starving people and problems in the world, you think God answered that prayer?”

“As a matter of fact I do,” I retorted. I know the attributes of God. Having a personal relationship with Jesus is intimate and as He wants to delight in me. I have seen Him do it in small ways and big. I have seen God answer a friend’s prayer who was craving apple pie. That day someone dropped off an apple pie! God is everywhere and He can take care of all at the same time. That is the mystery and sovereignty of God.

To help alleviate stress/anxiety I memorized Psalm 139. I had this person read part of it out loud “You have searched me, Lord, and you know me. You know when I sit and when I rise; You perceive my thoughts from afar. You discern my going out and my lying down; You are familiar with all my ways. Before a word is on my tongue You, Lord, know it completely” (Psalm 139:1-4 NIV).

I told this person that God, from the first page of the Bible till the end, has shown Himself to many in unique ways. Gideon is a great example. He prayed asking God to allow a test; he took wool fleece, if there is dew only on the fleece and all the ground is dry, then I will know that You will save Israel. That is exactly what happened. But Gideon doubted and asked again; this time make the fleece dry and the ground covered with dew. God did it. And God also saved Israel.

Do you pray to God about everything? Maybe you have something you need to pray about now.

On a side note, Google “Do I need a haircut or not?” You will find a whole gamut of answers.

Wow! Praying made it a whole lot easier than googling and wondering.

PRAYER: Father in Heaven, I want to have a deeper relationship with you. I pray _________. Thank You for being there for me. In Jesus name, Amen.

What Will Things Look Like in 2022?

October 12, 2021 by  
Filed under Daily Devotions, Worship

By Jarrod Spencer –

Some things in life I think will never change, especially when living in the moment. However, other things, over the years, have seemed to change. Like a child, who seems to grow faster when I am not around him. Things in life seem to change more when you look back on their progress.

Film for cameras is one of those things that have changed drastically over the past ten years. The change is that you practically cannot find film in an average store. There simply is not a market for it anymore. Cameras have gone to digital formats and trying to find film is virtually impossible in the average department store.

Recently I saw a rerun where someone received a gift of a “filmed” camera for a Christmas gift. This scene started me to think about how film was something which seemed timeless. However, it did have its time.

What about some other things in life that have been around for years? What about tires for our vehicles? Will there ever be something that is just as comfortable but maybe doesn’t need any air to maintain a level for a good ride. Also one that has a lot more wear on them? Could they not be made out of rubber but, rather, a chemical mixture to create the substance? You may think “No, we’ll always have tires.” I think that, too. But I also thought we’d always have film in cameras.

What will the differences in the churches look like in 2022? Will there be much of a change in some of the churches by that time? Will songbooks or Bibles be practically useless? Will some churches go back to house church only or “sit at home and watch on your computer?” Will we become more casual or go back to more dressed up? Whatever does happen will affect the way we share our faith with others. Ponder it…what will be the trend in 2022?…it will be interesting to find out!

Prayer: Father, we are but specks in Your world. We do not know what the future holds, only You do. May we submit to what Your future holds. We look forward to the future knowing You’re in control.

“Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever” (Hebrews 13:8 NIV).

One Good Turn Deserves a Chihuahua Bite

October 11, 2021 by  
Filed under Daily Devotions, Personal Growth

By Hally Franz –

One recent rainy day I headed home after taking my kids to school, and crossed paths with my friend at our subdivision’s entrance. She was on her way out, but had stopped for a wet and ragged canine in the middle of the street. The little guy wasn’t budging, and she was on a schedule, so I agreed to take him and try to return him to his owner.

His build and form were that of a Chihuahua. I scooped up his sopping, shivering body and returned home. Once home, I checked his tags and secured him in a warm kennel. Recognizing the name on the tags (a benefit of life in a small town), I started making calls. It turned out that “Paco” had changed owners, and the tags didn’t reflect the new owner information – a slight complication.

As the morning progressed, I released Paco for a potty break. After a lap or two around the yard, I turned to find the dog morsel nowhere in sight. Panicking, I called for him and discovered Paco at my back door. By now, though, Paco was not as cold and vulnerable, and his saucy nature had surfaced. When I attempted to pick him up, he spun around and bit me squarely on the hand. Paco was now testing my patience!

The rest of the day included veterinarian calls to ensure Paco’s shots were current, another disappearing act on his part, more yelling and searching in the rain, and an eventual safe return home for my feisty friend. While Paco didn’t make my day pleasant, I was glad things turned out okay for him and his owner.

Sometimes helping animals and people isn’t easy. Sometimes, it isn’t appreciated. There are times when those whom we reach out to help, feed or simply give a preverbal lift, return the favor by biting us in the hand. Like a child who ignores parental advice, some individuals make it hard for others to help them. They are unpleasant, ungrateful or unable to recognize what might be good for them.

God doesn’t tell us helping and serving others is easy. In fact, we know it often is not. Further, we often make it difficult for our Father to help us. Perhaps we should show grace to those who don’t readily and thankfully accept our gestures of goodwill. Certainly, the Lord has done the same for us.

PRAYER: Gracious God, instill in me the desire to serve others, and, in doing so, You, even when it is inconvenient and unnoticed, burdensome and without thanks. Inspire me to resist walking away when someone is in need, but be glad to help in the opportunities You provide.

“But do not forget to do good and to share, for with such sacrifices God is well pleased.” (Hebrews 13:16 NKJV).

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