Finding Where We Don’t Belong

January 17, 2020 by  
Filed under Daily Devotions, Family

By Janet Morris Grimes –

Have you ever played the game of Sudoku?

It’s a logic puzzle that asks you to place the numbers 1 – 9 in each column and box without repeating any number.  It’s challenging, intriguing and rewarding all at the same time.

The funny thing is that in order to find out where the numbers belong, you must first determine where they don’t.  Then, and only then, do you find the correct answers.

Sometimes I think God works with us like that as well.  We ask Him for guidance, but then it seems like we get a bunch of “no – that’s not it” answers.  But, my guess is that God understands that we are just human enough that it takes something like closing a few doors to nudge us out of our comfort zone; to force us to take a different step; to bring us out into the open, where the only choice we have is to depend on Him, and Him alone.

I can’t help but think that God is playing this game of Sudoku with us as He is creating our future. I jokingly told my boss the other day that I had given him a “two year notice,” because we believed we were getting transferred to another state (for my husband’s job with Ford) for the past two years.  For the first year, we thought we were headed to Louisville.  Then there were a few months of Chicago rumors, which even led us to take a trip up there to search for housing.  Then there was Kansas City, and now Dearborn, Michigan.

All of these locations have one thing in common.  They are far away from everyone and every thing we have known and loved for our entire lives.

So what does this mean for my family?

It means that as He is gently showing us where we don’t belong, He is also preparing us for whatever comes next.  And little by little, step by step, as one door after another is closing, God is slowly leading us out into the open, where we have no choice but to depend on Him, and Him alone.

And I’m okay with that.

I suspect that it will be challenging, intriguing and rewarding all at the same time.

PRAYER: Lord, we want nothing apart from Your plan for our lives.  Please reveal that to us clearly, and put obstacles in our path if that path is not from You.  Show us where we belong, even if it means You must first show us where we do not.  We lay our future in your hands. Please give us the strength, and trust, to leave it there.

BIBLE VERSE: “Show me your ways, O LORD, teach me your paths” (Psalms 25:4 NIV).

Prodigal Parties

January 7, 2020 by  
Filed under Daily Devotions, Family

By Art Fulks –

All of us stray at times. It is our nature, as sheep.

When we read the story of the prodigal son in Luke 15, most of us see the story as primarily being about a rebellious son who, at his lowest point, comes back home to find a compassionate, welcoming father. This story displays an incredible picture of the grace and forgiveness of our Heavenly Father, while providing us a wonderful example of family reconciliation.

It would be safe to say that I have heard this text taught at least 20-30 times over the span of my life. But while recently telling this story to a small group of believers, two probing questions were asked. First, what does the story teach us about God? The answers were consistent, that the grace and mercy of our Heavenly Father are overwhelming.

The next question inquired as to our personal identification with the three main characters. Was it the father, the lost son, or the older brother? Everyone in the group agreed that we could identify with the lost son because of periods of personal rebellion. But when we got below the surface, another common theme was revealed. At some time, we all had been the resentful elder brother who would not even attend the homecoming celebration.

At some point in our lives, many of us have felt resentment toward a sibling, parent, spouse, friend, or co-worker who was rebellious, irresponsible, dishonest, or even adversarial. While we had remained faithful and loyal without any great display of appreciation or notice, the rebellious person experienced grace, favor, and even notoriety.

How do you feel when a lost son comes home and is met with compassion? According to the Apostle Paul, we are given a ministry of reconciliation, yet we often find it difficult to accept. Being reminded of the grace God has extended to us personally can really help us to not only forgive others, but also to rejoice when they experience grace.

Have you partied lately with a returning prodigal?

BIBLE VERSE: “But we had to be merry and rejoice, for this brother of yours was dead and has begun to live, and was lost and has been found” (Luke 15: 32 NASB).

Heirs

December 29, 2019 by  
Filed under Daily Devotions, Family

By Cheri Cowell –

I have a picture in my kitchen of an older man, possibly a monk, praying over his meal of bread and water. It is not a particularly beautiful picture, but it is a treasure to me, because my grandmother left it to my sister and me. We commented one day during a visit with her that, like the man in the picture, we could envision our grandfather praying over what little he had, whether it was food or possessions.

I’ve heard about people who were left great fortunes by a passing relative, and I often wonder what that would be like. Then I realized that many are left wondering what it would be like to have a possession that means so much because of the sentimental value; more valuable because of the life that person lived.

The Bible tells of a man who receives the most cherished possession a man can leave another. What is it? See for yourself in today’s scripture.

This passage tells of the fulfillment of a covenant with Saul’s son, Jonathan, to honor him as family. As the story goes, Mephibosheth, Saul’s grandson, has not heard of this covenant and is hiding out of fear because he heard that Jonathan is a great warrior. Instead, Mephibosheth was called before the king and given not just the family possessions, but also the honor and dignity earned by his grandfather.

You, too, have received not only an eternal home, as heir to Jesus Christ, but also have inherited the honor and dignity that belongs to Him. This is truly the most cherished possession that could be left to another.

PRAYER: I praise You, God, for Your faithfulness through the generations, and for the covenants You keep because of those who have been faithful throughout the ages. Thank You for making me an heir to Your kingdom, and ask You to help me walk in honor and dignity as I seek ways to invite others to eat at Your table this week.

BIBLE VERSE: “Miphibosheth bowed down and said, ‘What is your servant, that you should notice a dead dog like me?’ Then the king summoned Ziba, Saul’s steward, and said to him, ‘I have given your master’s grandson everything that belonged to Saul and his family. You and your sons and your servants are to farm the land for him and bring in the crops, so that your master’s grandson may be provided for. And Mephibosheth, grandson of your master, will always eat at my table.’ (Now Ziba had fifteen sons and twenty servants.” (2 Samuel 9: 8-10 NIV).

Da-Da Fix It

December 16, 2019 by  
Filed under Daily Devotions, Family

By Susan Dollyhigh –

“Broke,” my grandson, Drew, said as he held up his red Matchbox car in one hand and a set of wheels in another. I watched as a frown furrowed Drew’s forehead while he turned the car over and tried to snap the wheels back into place.

With all of the manual dexterity of a two-year-old, Drew worked to replace the wheels on the underside of his small car. But, it soon became evident, even to Drew, that this problem was too difficult for him. I expected Drew to become frustrated, perhaps cry or maybe even throw his toy down, but he walked over and calmly placed it on the coffee table; looked over at Amy, his mama, and said, “Da-Da fix it.”

Drew left his broken car on the table and turned around to play with something else.

“Whenever something breaks,” Amy said, “Drew just puts it down and says, ‘Da-Da fix it.’ He thinks his Daddy can fix anything.”

I have many things in life that I hold up and say, “Broke.” Relationships, finances, health – “broke.”  A frown furrows my forehead while I try to put the pieces of my life back together.

With all the spiritual maturity of my fifty-four years, I work to fix my problems until it becomes evident that they are too difficult for me. Unlike Drew, sometimes I do become frustrated, cry and even throw up my hands in despair.

Yet the Lord tells us to give him our broken pieces; to place them at the foot of the cross, walk away, and have enough faith to say, my Heavenly Father will fix it. I know He can fix anything.

PRAYER: Heavenly Father, thank You for loving us and hearing us when we cry out to You. Thank You for being close to us when we are brokenhearted. Thank You for the promise of delivering us from all our troubles.

BIBLE VERSE: “The righteous cry out, and the LORD hears them; he delivers them from all their troubles. The LORD is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit. The righteous person may have many troubles, but the LORD delivers him from them all” (Psalm 34:17 – 19 NIV).

 

Walking in Daddy’s Shoes

December 8, 2019 by  
Filed under Daily Devotions, Family

By Susan Dollyhigh –

Drew, my two-year-old grandson, wobbled into the living room with his daddy’s size eleven gray Nikes on his small feet. I watched as Drew held up his short arms for balance while his toothpick-looking legs shuffled one large shoe in front of the other. Beneath his blonde curls, his smiling face said, “Look at me, I’m walking in my Daddy’s shoes.”

Like most small boys, Drew wants to walk like his Daddy walks, talk like his Daddy talks, and mimic his every action. My son, Eric watched Drew struggle, stumble and even almost fall as he made his way across the room. But Eric never took his eyes off of Drew; he was ready to catch him if he fell. Drew finished his journey, and stood in front of his proud Daddy where he heard, “Good job, Drew!”

Major decisions, financial concerns, and family problems sometimes leave me feeling like I’m wobbling through life while trying to shuffle through problems that are way too big for me.

Yet, like Drew, I want to walk like my Father walks, talk like my Father talks, and mimic His every action. I know my Heavenly Father is watching as I struggle, stumble, and sometimes almost fall. But He never takes His eyes off of me; He is ready to catch me if I fall. So, I need to put a smile on my face, shuffle along, and focus on my Father. Someday, when I complete my journey here on earth, and stand before my Him, I hope I too will hear, “Good job!”

PRAYER: Father, I know my help comes from You, the Maker of heaven and earth. Thank You for keeping me from all harm and watching over my life.

BIBLE VERSE: “He will not let your foot slip – he who watches over you will not slumber; indeed, he who watches over Israel will neither slumber nor sleep” (Psalms 121:3-4 NIV).

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