Using What You Have

August 2, 2021 by  
Filed under Daily Devotions, Life Topics

By Jarrod Spencer –

I love, love, love being able to do things that I am talented in and passionate about. I tend to put a lot of mental time on things that would fall into that category. Sometimes it is my sermon, sometimes an art project, or sometimes it is a speaking project. All these things I love to do and when I get an itch for an idea, I just run with it.

The above areas are some of the things that I have been blessed with talent and competency, to various degrees. One of the running themes in all of the areas are creativity. I like to be creative.

Another thing I like about spending my time doing anything that would fall into those categories is that it generally benefits others. I believe that when we are doing things that will benefit someone, in the end, it is definitely worth the time spent.

On the contrary, if you are doing something that doesn’t benefit others then it may not be worth the time spent. There are very few tasks that cannot be used to benefit others. Helping someone out makes me feel good and think my talents are worthwhile.

We all have things we like to do which can benefit others. What is it that you can do? Can you help someone move, cook/bake, crochet, cross-stitch, draw, paint, carpentry, tutor, etc.?

Whatever you have, use it…so that it may benefit others and glorify God!

PRAYER: Father, thank You for giving me the talents that I have. There have been many open doors to use these talents, especially when I offer them to others rather than keeping them back for myself. You have opened door after door to let me use my talents. I can see how not burying the talents helps to multiply them.

“After a long time the master of those servants returned and settled accounts with them. The man who had received five bags of gold brought the other five. ‘Master,’ he said, ‘you entrusted me with five bags of gold. See, I have gained five more’” (Matthew 25:19-20 NIV).

How Do You Worship?

August 1, 2021 by  
Filed under Daily Devotions, Worship

By Janet Morris Grimes –

In a recent discussion about styles of worship, a friend told me that he and another member of his church are touring the area, visiting churches of all denominations that are experiencing extended periods of growth to find some common denominators.

What they found is this: a church that loves God first and people second is a church that draws others in. They aren’t focused on numbers and size, but by focusing on the needs of the people in their community, growth happens as a natural by-product of the love they dish out. At one church they visited, they had a moment where everyone prayed for someone that needed Christ by name.

The church where I am a member in Antioch, Tennessee is a perfect example. The building is likely to be as full of people on a weekday than during Sunday services. With outreach programs that teach English to non-English speaking people, serve the children of the inner city, serve the children of our own congregation, serve those recovering from addictions and teaching beginner Bible classes for those who are curious, each night of the week is filled with a new group that may not normally set foot in a Christian church for any other reason. With meals and a warm place to take a shower and sleep for the homeless during the cold fall and winter seasons, assistance with cleanup and meals following a massive flood in our area, and a coat drive for families in the neighborhood, our church has become known not for the building, but for the smiling and accepting faces people find when they walk in the doors for any reason.

When these people arrive, they see something that intrigues them enough to return. They see a love for families like their own, and they see enough to make them ask questions about Jesus.

Church growth has little to do with styles of worship. As it turns out, it may have more to do with the One who is being worshiped. Where Jesus is present, others are drawn in, like a city on a hill.

QUOTE: “Worship changes the worshiper into the image of the One being worshiped.” Jack Hayford.

“You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden” (Matthew 5:14 NIV)

You Need Clouds

July 30, 2021 by  
Filed under Daily Devotions, Personal Growth

By Donna McCrary –

I walked out on the balcony to listen to the sounds of the ocean and watch the skyline morph from darkness to light. The swollen clouds reflected the last glimmer of moon light. With each passing moment the orange fire ball ascended up behind the clouds. The sky began to dance with hues of soft crimson, amber, sapphire and lavender. The brighter the skyline appeared the darker the clouds turned. Sun rays streaked the blue sky like high beams on a car as their light pierced through the morning. My eyes were captivated by the power of the sun as it surrounded the darkness of the cloud’s shadow. It was a breathtaking site.

The next morning I got up early anticipating the same awe-inspiring painting outside my window. I stepped through the door and was disappointed by the plain blue sky dotted with a big orange ball. As my husband joined me he said, “It is just not as pretty without the clouds. You have to have the clouds.”

You have to have clouds! That was a spiritual truth that penetrated deep into my heart that morning. This year has been filled with many clouds.

The words cancer, no job, leukemia, divorce, death, debt, car wrecks, broken bones seem to constantly consume my thoughts and prayers lately. Like so many others, my family and friends have experienced many worries, trials and struggles. Each of us seem to be facing problems that have no quick solutions, health issues that have no easy cures, financial burdens that seem to grow instead of shrink. Even though I have been praying about these issues they, at times, feel heavy, overwhelming and exhausting. Even to the point that I have cried out to the Son, “Why?” even sarcastically screamed, “Really?”

I took some time that morning to reflect on the dark clouds over the past year and discovered the many ways the clouds have painted a beautiful picture of God’s grace, mercy, healing power, strength and love in my life. I looked up at the plain blue sky, smiled and started praising God for the clouds.

Just like the magnificent sunrise needed the dark clouds to paint a beautiful picture in the sky, our lives need the dark clouds of burdens and trials so the Son can shine around us and captivate the eyes of others.

PRAYER: God, today bring on the clouds! May my heart and mind be willing to experience the clouds so Your glory can shine around me. Help me find my strength and peace in You during the trials.

“In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed (1 Peter 1:6-7).

Stranger Danger

July 27, 2021 by  
Filed under Daily Devotions, Family

By Cheri Cowell –

My sister and I rode our bicyles all over our small town as we were growing up. I say small because the downtown was only two blocks long. It was a time when two little girls could safely ride all over town until darkness fell. Although it was safe, now that we are aware, we’d probably have identified the man at the top of the hill where we liked to bike as a sexual preditor. He was creepy, was always talking to us and inviting us to sit with him in his carport. Thankfully, we never did.

Jesus knows about stranger danger.

In Jesus’ time a shepherd would lay his body across the entrance to the walled sheep pen at night. His body acted as a gate. He knew by touch whether an animal was one of his sheep or an imposter. with his own body he was the protector of his sheep. In the other direction, sheep also knew who was the True Shepherd and who the stranger was by listening for the shepherd’s voice. We, like sheep, can sense danger and listen to the inner voice of the Holy Spirit to protect us. The True Shepherd has used His own body to protect us from harm. He has indeed laid down his life for His sheep.

PRAYER: Thank You Jesus for being my True Shepherd whose voice can help me detect stranger danger. Help me stay safely in the sheepfold where I am protected as one of Your precious sheep.

“Very truly I tell you Pharisees, anyone who does not enter the sheep pen by the gate, but climbs in by some other way, is a thief and a robber. The one who enters by the gate is the shepherd of the sheep. The gatekeeper opens the gate for him, and the sheep listen to his voice. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. When he has brought out all his own, he goes on ahead of them, and his sheep follow him because they know his voice. But they will never follow a stranger; in fact, they will run away from him because they do not recognize a stranger’s voice.” Jesus used this figure of speech, but the Pharisees did not understand what he was telling them” (John 10:1-6 NIV).

Killer Carpet

July 25, 2021 by  
Filed under Daily Devotions, Humorous

By Janet Morris Grimes –

“Here. I will lift up this bunk bed, and you unroll the carpet underneath.” I knew when I uttered those words that our method would never work, but there were only the two of us, and it had to be done.

My oldest daughter and I were in the process of helping my youngest daughter move into her dorm for her first semester of college. The furniture was already in place. Even the clothes in the drawers. But we discovered the well-hidden truck that sold rolls of carpet nearby, and decided that carpet was what the room lacked.

The problem, first and foremost, was that the smallest roll of carpet was still too large for the room. Secondly, the brand new furniture was rather heavy. But perhaps because we were a bit loopy from too many trips up the stairs and the late night packing party from the previous night, we were determined to make it work.

In a perfect world, the room would be empty, then the carpet installed, then the furniture placed on top of it. But we weren’t in a perfect world. We were in a dorm room with pre-existing furniture and the hallways too crowded with others moving in to move anything out there.

So, with a borrowed box cutter, we started the process and quickly proved that we had no carpeting experience. It was too heavy to push or pull more than an inch at a time, and ripped out the majority of our fingernails within the first couple of minutes. Thankfully, the left-behind nail particles blended in with the carpet, so we moved on.

There was no place to put the drawers but on the bunk beds, making them even heavier. Inch by inch, we scooted the carpet underneath and cut around the odd shaped column that protruded from the wall. We nearly severed an arm at the elbow, ripped a shirt, and laughed until we cried, but soon, the floor was mostly covered and the crooked parts remained hidden.

Mission accomplished. Until we tried to open the closet door.

Only then did we discover that the carpet was too thick. The door and the floor could not coexist peacefully with the carpet in between them.

So, out came the box cutter and we cut a huge square out in a spot that could never be hidden.

And our shoddy work is now obvious to everyone who enters.

There is something to be said for doing things in the proper order with careful planning in advance. Those who choose to do otherwise pay the consequences.

Lesson learned and still recovering.

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