Tag…You are It

September 20, 2020 by  
Filed under Daily Devotions, Family

By Art Fulks

One of my favorite movies is ‘Remember the Titans’. It is a story of school integration in Virginia during the early seventies, and how a football team helped shape a new perspective in a divided community. During one game, the star quarterback is injured. As the coach prepares to send in the back-up, he relays a quick story about the loss of his own parents and how he had to unexpectedly step into their role. It must have worked because they won that game and eventually the state title.

Being thrust into leadership unexpectedly does not just happen in athletics. It happens in families, work, ministry, and can happen with nations. No matter how you prepare, it seems like there comes a moment when you wonder if you are ready. But at some point, you hear, ‘Ready or not…Tag…you are it.’

Joshua had been preparing to take over for Moses for forty years. In fact, he and Caleb were the only men left from their generation after standing courageously during the reconnaissance report from spying out the land of Canaan. But imagine what it must have felt like when God tapped him on the shoulder and said it was time.

Moses had gone up to Mount Nebo and then died. The man God had used for decades to lead the nation was suddenly gone. How could Joshua fill his shoes? Would the people follow him? Was he capable? Was he prepared? But then, just as God had spoken to Moses, His words came to the ears of Joshua.

“Moses My servant is dead; now therefore arise, cross this Jordan, you and all this people, to the land which I am giving to them, to the sons of Israel.” (Joshua 1:2) God’s words of commission continued with instruction, promise, and encouragement. Then Joshua responded, not by declaring his own position, but by proclaiming and carrying out the commission he had received from God.

When God places someone in leadership, they need not declare what has already been declared. They need only proclaim the commission to which they have been called and lead the people to carry out that mission for the glory of God.

That may sound like a church scenario. However, I believe that this is God’s model for marriage, family, work, and nations. Joshua was one of two potential, faithful men.

Has He ‘tagged’ you?

Bug Eyes

September 17, 2020 by  
Filed under Daily Devotions, Humorous

By Cheri Cowell –

In the opening scene of the movie It’s a Bug’s Life, Flick and the other ants are in a long line walking single-file in a begrudging task. They are carrying “heavy” crumbs to the mound when a giant leaf comes barreling toward them. Flick is paralyzed with fear as this “giant” obstacle blocks his sight. As he stands there, knees knocking, the lead ant comes to his rescue by saying, “Keep your eyes on me, walk toward me, and don’t panic.” He then guides him and those who are following him around the obstacle so they can rejoin the safety of the line.

Even though we can laugh at the humor, it touches a place in our hearts because, at some point, we have all become paralyzed with fear.

God comes to our rescue by saying ‘keep your eyes on me.’

Paul is writing to Timothy, a young student of the faith, and he is telling him not to allow his youth to make him to be fearful. He is told to be bold and confident, not in his own strength and knowledge, but in Jesus.

When we take our eyes off Jesus, the obstacles that seem to float from the skies and threaten to block out the sun, seem bigger than our ability to handle them. When all we see is the obstacle, we cannot find a way around it and we stand paralyzed in fear. We are like Flick, with knees knocking.

But God is saying to us, “Keep your eyes on me, I know the way, walk towards me, and don’t panic because in me you have enough power, love, and self-discipline to handle anything.”

“For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline” (2 Timothy 1:7 NIV).

PRAYER: Thank You, Lord, for walking with me on my faith journey. Help me learn to keep my eyes fixed on You, and not the obstacles. Please give me Your eyes to replace my ‘bug eyes.’ I praise You for giving me the power, strength, love, and self-discipline to say to any obstacle, “I am not afraid.”

Rules for the Road

September 16, 2020 by  
Filed under Daily Devotions, Personal Growth

By Cheri Cowell –

Have you ever spent time with someone who criticizes and finds fault with everything and everyone around them? It is tiring being with these people.

Perhaps I should say it is tiring if we are working hard to not join them. It is easy if we just chime in, for all of us have a critical spirit by nature.

While walking by someone who is dressed inappropriately, a comment can be made about dressing to attract the wrong kind of attention, then the conversation quickly moves to how the morals of society are going down the drain, and how your mother never would have let you out of the house dressed that way. How easily we use our superior yardstick to judge others. I have often heard it said that we should be careful when pointing a finger at someone because when we do, there are four pointing back at us. Though we may not dress that way, we do many other things that in God’s eyes are just as wrong.

When studying Romans 8:1, it dawned on me I had heard this verse referred to when people were feeling guilt-ridden and needed relief, but I hadn’t really looked at what preceded the ‘therefore.’

Paul has just written his famous words, “For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate.” He explains that his body is still a slave to the human desires he was born with (including a critical nature), yet he is now a member of a new kingdom with different rules. Jesus came along and said He knew we couldn’t keep all the rules, and that keeping rules was not the point. The new rule is to love others as yourself and love Him with all our hearts, minds, and souls.

When we do this, we desire to do what is right, and we have the power within us in the form of the Holy Spirit to do it – most of the time.

PRAYER: Thank You, God, for Your new kingdom with the new way of seeing the old rules. Help keep my heart, mind, and soul focused on You so I may give others the grace that has been freely given to me.

“Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit who gives life has set you free from the law of sin and death” (Romans 8:1-2 NIV).

Thanks for Your Support

September 13, 2020 by  
Filed under Daily Devotions, Life Topics

By Cynthia Ruchti —

Am I making Jesus’ job harder or easier?

The Bible tells us about women who landed in the pages of Scripture because they did everything in their power to ease His load. Jesus and His disciples incurred expenses as they traveled. Food. Lodging. Soap. Clothing. Sandals. More sandals.

Joanna and Susannah and the other unnamed but appreciated women provided for Jesus and His friends from their own resources. They believed in Him and the message He taught, so they removed obstacles to free Jesus to do the work God called Him to do here on earth.

Is that what I do?

Do I more often remove obstacles or do I get in His way? Do I help His cause or hurt it? Am I looking for ways to refresh Him, or do I exhaust Him with whining?

Can you picture the scene in biblical times? As Jesus crosses the threshold of Susannah’s home and is greeted with, “Sit! Sit! Eat something. Eat! You’re thin as a rail. What do You need, Jesus? Joanna! Bring water! Now, tell us, how are things going? Good? Do you have enough camel jerky and figs for the next leg of your trip? Joanna, bring that new outer coat you made. This one Jesus is wearing is too worn to keep out a whisper, much less a stiff wind. How are you doing for cash, Jesus? No, we insist. Take it! Oh, Joanna, He has a blister from those new sandals we gave him. Run and get a Band-Aid, will you?”

Am I that attentive to making His job easier?

Lord God, please reveal new ways that I can assist You in carrying out Your kingdom plans today in the lives of those around me, dear to me, near me. I want to be counted among those who are listed on Your “support staff.”

BIBLE VERSE: “Jesus went on through towns and villages, preaching and bringing the good news (the Gospel)…and the Twelve were with Him. And also some women…: Mary, called Magdalene…; and Joanna…; and Susanna; and many others, who ministered to and provided for Him and them out of their property and personal belongings” (Luke 8:1-3 (Amplified Bible).

Stand Down

September 11, 2020 by  
Filed under Daily Devotions, Worship

By Elaine James –

The Range Officer yelled out the command “Stand Down!” Upon hearing the command, the men in the target range lowered their weapons. He explained during their training that when he gives the “stand down” order, it does not mean to lay your weapon down. Quite the contrary. When one is in the “stand down” position, he must stay alert. There must be a Range Officer present at all times when the target range is open. It is his responsibility to secure the area and give complete instructions before allowing anyone to practice shooting, so everyone will be safe.

This was described by my friend who had her first target range experience.

This description stimulated my writer’s mind to formulate this analogy comparing God to the range officer. God, our range officer, commanded very similar requests to us in Ephesians six, the section which is entitled, The Protection for Believers, The Armor of God. In this section of the Bible, which is only seven verses long, Paul gives this instruction:

1. Stand against the devil’s schemes.
2. Put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you will be able to stand your ground.
3. After you have done everything stand.
4. Stand firm!

We go through life feeling fearful, anxious, worried or overwhelmed, asking “why is this happening to me?” That question could be answered with a question like “where is your armor of God?” Is it in a pile on the floor? The word of God is the sword of the Spirit; it is either in your hand or lying around collecting dust. It is the only offensive weapon in our armor.

“With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints” (Ephesians 6:18 NIV).
Praying daily and putting on the full armor of God can be likened to going to the target range, having the range officer present and realizing we must never put our weapons down, but “Stand Down” instead.

PRAYER: Dear God, I confess that at times I lay my armor down. Please forgive me. Help me to be reminded that I need to put on the full armor of God daily.

“The Spirit of the Lord will rest on him-the Spirit of wisdom and of understanding, the Spirit of counsel and of power, the Spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the Lord-and he will delight in the fear of the Lord” (Isaiah 11:2-3 NIV).

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