Renovation – A Step of Faith

June 1, 2020 by  
Filed under Daily Devotions, Family

By Aubrey Spencer –

Before we moved from Illinois to Kansas a few years ago, we spent time fixing up our starter home for the purpose of selling it. We knew that in order to get the best result, renovation was inevitable. Our time frame was short and our project list was extremely long. In a matter of weeks, we painted the entire outside of our house and hung new shutters. We removed carpeting, tile, and a banister from our front porch. Then we sanded, grinded, and painted the concrete on both the porch and the adjoining flowerbeds. And if that wasn’t enough, we took on the job of all jobs – the bathroom! We needed to re-do that little bathroom for a long time, but once we began the renovation process, we realized why we had put if off for so long. What a nightmare! At one point (and I have pictures to remind myself of the craziness) the room was down to the studs in half the room and debris was everywhere. We made countless trips to the home improvement store – thirty miles away – to get more supplies. Water was turned off for days – which was problematic seeing as how that was our only bathroom. And our son Oliver, who was only a baby at that time, had to learn to nap through the mighty hum of the shop vac.

The renovation was crazy, but all for a purpose. We were moving on, stepping out of our boat towards a new opportunity for Him.

Sometimes, it seems that “stepping out in faith” is a lot like our remodeling. Messy. Confusing. Stressful. Hard work. Scary. But all the effort is worth it when the outcome is revealed. Peace. Joy. Excitement. Beauty. It may be downright frightening to let the Master Builder hammer away a new life/opportunity/outlook for you. But, I believe that He has a remarkable masterpiece waiting at the end of the renovation.

PRAYER: Lord, although the process is rarely easy, I thank You for continually renovating my heart and mind and life. You amaze me constantly with how You create such beauty and peace out of chaos and confusion. Help me to remember that the next time I find myself “under construction.”

BIBLE VERSE: “Yet, O Lord, you are our Father. We are the clay, you are the potter; we are all the work of your hand” (Isaiah 64:8 NIV).

Too Busy to Open our Bibles?

May 18, 2020 by  
Filed under Daily Devotions, Family

By Janet Morris Grimes –

How old were you when you first realized that Christmas was about Jesus, and not Santa Claus?

As a child, it was difficult to focus on anything other than Santa, and how could I possibly understand the correlation between the two. As an adult, I still struggle at times to focus on Jesus. From the twinkling lights, the television commercials that tease of all things extravagant, my internal ‘to-do’ list that constantly reminds me of what is left to be done, I fail to remember why I am doing it to start with.

I add to my calendar an appointment to be at church on Christmas Eve for the annual candlelight service. And I go, probably because our family has made a tradition of it, and those few, precious moments together on the church pew remind me of years gone by, when they were babies, trying to keep their hair and fingers away from the dancing flames. I countdown the moments that we can be still, and together, side by side at the fireplace. I crave the excitement of Christmas morning, and surprises, and hugs from loved ones not seen often enough.

It could be that I’ve grown to worship our traditions, more than finding a way to marvel at the way the birth of Christ truly changed the world.

To be honest, I find it hard to worship at Christmas.

Satan probably loves that; the way he can manipulate something that is supposed to be about Christ into something that keeps us from Him. Are we too busy to open our Bibles to recall why we bring gifts to those we love? Are we victims of the PR Campaign of the latest gadget that everyone else is getting?

My goal for this Christmas is to focus on what matters, long after the season is over.

BIBLE VERSE: “My people will live in peaceful dwelling places, in secure homes, in undisturbed places of rest” (Isaiah 32:18 NIV).

PRAYER: Dear God, show us where we belong here on earth. Establish places for us to dwell that are indeed peaceful and honor You at all times. And thank You for creating a place for us in eternity.

No Vacancy

April 30, 2020 by  
Filed under Daily Devotions, Faith, Family

By Cheri Cowell –

Early in our marriage, Randy and I had driven to the North Carolina Mountains for a camping vacation. We always went on these trips during the off-season because it was cheaper, and we were young (and poor) college students. While our peers were heading to the beaches, we were heading to the mountains. On one particular trip we learned a big lesson. Because it was off-season we headed home believing we would stop somewhere along the way at a motel whenever we got tired.

The hot shower after camping all weekend sounded really good, too. What we didn’t realize was it was also a big race and bike week along the eastern U.S. There were no vacancies anywhere to be found. We were so tired that we ended up spending the night in our car at a rest stop (until a policeman tapped on our window- that is another story). Now, we weren’t supposed to register for the government in the morning, and I wasn’t pregnant, but we were tired. We needed a place to stay, and there was no room for us anywhere. No room at the inn, just like the Christ child.

Those words are such sad words. No vacancy. No room for one more. How many of us have filled our lives to the brim? We have filled our lives (and those of our children) with so much that if God wanted to come visit for just an hour, there would be no room. Our hearts are filled with so many things that call our attention, demand our love, and cause us heartache, that when He desires to fill us with His love and peace- there is no room. The innkeepers were too busy making money; after all it was tax season. They were too busy with life to make room for the King. May we take a lesson from the innkeepers this week and make room for Him.

BIBLE VERSE: “So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child. While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no guest room available for them.” (Luke 2:4-7).

PRAYER: Thank You for finding room in my heart to make Yourself a home. Help me keep the clutter out of the way so You feel free to fill my heart with more of Your peace and love. Help me make more room for You this Christmas.

Could God Do That in Our Family?

April 28, 2020 by  
Filed under Daily Devotions, Faith, Family

By Art Fulks –

A friend recently said it may have been the most difficult year he has ever experienced. This seems a resounding theme with many, including myself. As we approach the year’s end and reflect, we can
often get lost in the narrowness of our personal journey. For perspective, God directed me to a unique text.

As I looked for a fresh approach to the Christmas story this year, I came to Matthew chapter one. My eyes went immediately to the subtitle at verse eighteen, “The Conception and Birth of Jesus”. As I read, the Holy Spirit reminded me of 2 Timothy 3:16, that ‘all Scripture is inspired and profitable.’

It is possible that the most unread Scriptures are the genealogies. But repenting and refocusing, I returned to verse one, “The book of the genealogy of Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham.” I was so excited that I could not wait to continue. (Just kidding.) Certainly this was not a great attitude. But what I knew about God’s Word allowed me to continue. And He did something incredible in my heart.

As I came to each name, God seemed to make me pause and ponder the life of that individual. Some experienced significant tragedy and failure. For sure, many lived through years more difficult than my own. Most had no ‘Red Sea parting’ experiences. Some lived in dark days where the hand of God was not evident at all. Most were ordinary people, Jews and Gentiles, men and women.

However, verse sixteen confirms that God was at work in the good and bad to accomplish His redemptive plan. He was bringing about the birth of His only Son. Jesus Christ was born of a virgin, lived a life we could not live, died to pay a debt we could not pay, and rose from the dead to secure an eternal victory we could not win.

I know my family will not be used to bring about the birth of another Savior this Christmas. Jesus is the One and only. But could God use the ups and downs of this year to bring about the realization of the Gospel in the life of someone this Christmas, allowing my life and my family to be part of His redemptive plan? With all my heart I believe this to be true. Could God do that in your family? Certainly!

BIBLE VERSE: “…and to Jacob was born Joseph the husband of Mary, by whom was born Jesus, who is called Christ.” (Matthew 1:16 NASB)

The Little Things Do Count: Integrity

April 12, 2020 by  
Filed under Daily Devotions, Family

By Carin LeRoy –

Recently I went through a drive-thru and ordered lunch. When the clerk handed my food to me, I said, “You returned too much change.” Then I handed him the extra money. Surprised he said, “Wow, Ma’am, thank you very much.” Only after I called it to his attention did he realize his mistake. It would have been easy to drive away with the extra money. Certainly, over the years, I have been shortchanged on poorly prepared or missing food. No one would have known, and I would have $5.00 more in my pocket.

But God would have known. Doesn’t that matter?

Do our lives display integrity? The world has influenced God’s people in many ways: Are we diligent at work, or are we a slacker? We inform the clerk if we’ve
been short-changed, but do we return it when given too much? Do office
supplies end up at home and we fail to return them?  Have we called in sick when we really plan a day off? Do we borrow a book or item from a friend and never return it? Do we make a habit at work to check Facebook throughout the day or text family and friends?

In a culture that chooses to think nothing of these indiscretions, have we, as believers, lost our sense of integrity that the little things do count? In the Old Testament, we see a description of Job as “blameless and upright; he feared God and shunned evil,” (Job 1: 1 NIV). It wasn’t that Job was without sin, but his life was marked by honor and truth. He lived his life by God’s standards, not man’s. People in the community couldn’t fault how he lived his life. He was loved and respected. His fear of God kept him reaching for the highest standard.

A person of true character is the person who chooses to do right, even when no one is looking. It is a life is ruled by integrity and fear of God. His standards are high – even if it goes against cultural norms. Let’s be people of integrity as we live our lives, not only because others are watching but because we have a God that desires us to be blameless and upright people.

PRAYER: Lord, make me a person of integrity. Let my life be marked by character even in the small things I encounter each day. Keep me mindful that I don’t live by cultural norms but by the standards You have set forth in Your Word.

BIBLE VERSE: “My feet have closely followed His steps; I have kept to His way without turning aside. I have not departed from the commands of His lips; I have treasured the words of His mouth more than my daily bread” (Job 23: 11,12 NIV).

 

 

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