Looking For the Tears

November 13, 2020 by  
Filed under Daily Devotions, Family

By Cynthia Ruchti –

It wasn’t easy to pull off, but when my two oldest kids were toddlers—Amy (3 ½) and Matt (1)—every Friday my friend and I used their afternoon nap as an opportunity to meet together to pray. With our Bibles open on my dining room table, my friend and I stopped the whirl of homemaking for an hour and focused on praying for our homes, our husbands, our children, our trivial and anything-but-trivial heart concerns.

One afternoon, when the intensity of our love for our children brought tears to our eyes as we bent over our Bibles, I felt a tug on my sleeve. Amy’s nap had ended early that day.

We brought our prayer time to a close so I could attend to my daughter’s little girl needs.

Later that day, I found Amy kneeling on the seat of my chair, her elbows on the table. The thin pages of my Bible rustled like sun-crisped leaves as she turned them.

She knew her alphabet but could read few words other than “No,” “Yes,” “Mom,” “Dad,” “Love.”

“Honey, what are you doing?”

Amy didn’t stop turning pages. “I’m looking for the tears.”

My tears for her on the pages of God’s Word.

“Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.”

My daughter was impressed—as was I—with a life-altering truth: A caring mom turns to God’s Word and leaves her tears there.

PRAYER: Father God, how often have I neglected to impress Your truths on the hearts of my children? Make me ultra-sensitive to those opportune moments. And as the context of that biblical teaching encourages, may they first be impressed on my own heart.

“Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up,” Deuteronomy 6:7 NIV.

Sitting On A Hill

November 1, 2020 by  
Filed under Daily Devotions, Family

By Cheri Cowell –

I just heard a news report that parents and young children are not getting enough sleep. I hope they didn’t pay a lot for that bit of research because you and I could have told them that.

My husband and I require different amounts of sleep. I need so much more than he does, but both of us need our down time. We spend that time in different ways, but just like this sleep study suggested, all of us need renewal time. For us, as Christians, we also need God time. Time we spend alone with Him is precious time. Yes, we are to study and pray, but we also need to just sit and be still. We need to listen, and be renewed. Jesus needed that same thing.

I never paid much attention to this passage until this week when it jumped off the page at me. It is not often used at Easter, and is easy to overlook. Just like our need for quiet time with God is easy to overlook, it would have been easy for Jesus to keep preaching, knowing He only had a few days left. How many times have I said, “I have so much to do before I can rest tonight?” Even Jesus, the Son of God, the Holy One Himself, knew He needed to renew each night.

It’s true. Parents, children, and everyone else in America are not getting enough rest. And every Christian can probably use more time to sit on a hill and be still with God.

PRAYER: I praise You today for the example Jesus gave of what I need to do when feeling overworked, overburdened, and overtired. Help me set aside the big to-do list each night, and to spend a few minutes with You sitting on a hill in stillness.

“Each day Jesus was teaching at the temple, and each evening he went out to spend the night on the hill called the Mount of Olives, and all the people came early in the morning to hear him at the temple” (Luke 21:37-38 NIV).

Not Always a Cake Walk

October 24, 2020 by  
Filed under Daily Devotions, Family

By Hally Franz –

I love Italian Cream Cake. I’ve not made it myself, but Mom still bakes one for me occasionally. I hear it’s not difficult, but involves a lot of steps. I could do it, if I were to take my time and follow the directions exactly. My finished product would likely be just fine.

Some might see parenting in this same light.

My husband’s 4-H aerospace project group is planning to build model airplanes. I am sure they will do quite well with their projects provided they exercise care and diligence. I don’t believe any advanced training is required for that.

Perhaps, parenting is a bit like building a model.

It’s science fair time at my children’s school. They’ve done background research to help understand the experiments they are conducting, and to develop hypotheses based on the research. They anticipate a certain outcome, but only time will tell what the results will be.

Could this be a parenting analogy?

The fact is that we parents want to believe that a simple (or complicated) set of instructions can guide us through the rearing of a happy, successful and Godly child. We bank on the fact that some basic study may be required to prepare for parenthood, but no advanced degrees are required. We optimistically set about the parenting experience anticipating the desired results, feeling confident that things will go as planned.

That isn’t always the truth, though. In most cases, great parents raise great adults. Most of the time, the hours of toil and worry, the tears, the time, the energy and the prayers all pay off. But, just as there are resilient children who become wonderful adults even when they’ve had hard and dysfunctional childhoods, there are kids who seem not to thrive, even under the best circumstances. In both my professional and personal experience, I have known the best of parents who have had much heartache and discouragement along their parenting journeys. It is important to recognize that not all parents are challenged equally.

It’s easy to become arrogant about parenting if we find our offspring have matured into contented Christian adults. Some children, young or old, may spend their entire lives in search of peace. Like the Prodigal Son and King Nebuchadnezzar, some of our children must learn lessons the hard way. In any case, those child challenges are loved as much as the low-maintenance ones.

And, blessed be those resilient parents.

PRAYER: Merciful Father of us all, please give Christian parents encouragement and hope when we face challenges in child-rearing. As You have loved those who are slow to learn, help us to love our children unconditionally, to have patience, and to gain peace throughout the process, even when there is heartache and disappointment.

“For this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found. So they began to celebrate.” (Luke 15:24 NIV).

Kairos Moments

October 14, 2020 by  
Filed under Daily Devotions, Family

By Janet Morris Grimes –

Sometimes, you come across a moment so powerful, so potentially life-changing, you have no choice but to let it simmer; taking time to replay it in your mind, letting it sink in to absorb as much as the memory as possible.

It is as if you are aware of some sort of predestination to be at that place, at that precise time, with that particular group of people. Moments such as these are known as “Kairos” moments, defined as the “right time” for something to happen. These moments make it clear that we are a part of something much bigger than ourselves. We are following a path carved out before us, and our role is to simply follow it.

And I am grateful, further strengthened by the fact that what happens with each day of my life beyond my control. All I can do is believe and reach higher; taking advantage of the opportunities God sends my way, rather than lamenting those opportunities that he does not.

This is the way God intended it to be. He wants us to let Him do the work while we rest in the “shadow of His wings.” He wants us to think bigger, take more chances, and be bold enough to go further than we ever dreamed possible.

He is never surprised by our predicaments, overwhelmed by our circumstances, nor worried about our future. He is the God of “what if?” and “why not?” With God, there are no impossibilities. No accidents. Nothing is out of reach.

Understanding that God is in control in our lives is the key to finding peace and rest. Follow His path, embracing each opportunity with trust and dependence on Him, and you might just experience something so powerful, you have no choice but to sit and let it simmer: the ‘Kairos’ moments of the abundant life that He promised.

PRAYER: Dear Father, thank You for caring more about our future than even we do. Thank You for doing what is best for us eternally, even when we can’t see past our present circumstances. Make our paths straight before us, and give us the strength to follow. Reveal Your power in ways only we can understand. And teach us to enjoy your ‘Kairos’ moments.

“Therefore judge nothing before the appointed time; wait until the Lord comes. He will bring to light what is hidden in darkness and will expose the motives of the heart. At that time, each will receive their praise from God” (I Corinthians 4:5 NIV).

Thank Goodness for Mercy

October 3, 2020 by  
Filed under Daily Devotions, Family

By Susan Dollyhigh –

Moca, my miniature dachshund, spent a week in the animal hospital recovering from pancreatitis. Afterwards, when I took Moca to the vet for a check-up, Dr. Brinegar asked,
“What’s going on with Moca?”

“Moca ate a baby bird,” I said.

Dr. Brinegar looked first at Moca and then at me. “I am an avian veterinarian, and I love birds,” he said.

I looked at Moca and thought; Puppy, you could be in big trouble. The man who holds your life in his hands loves birds. And he knows you ate one.

The vet’s knowing that Moca brought this illness upon herself by ending the life of an innocent baby bird could have impacted Dr. Brinegar’s compassion for my poor puppy. His mercy level could have plummeted upon hearing the dreadful news.

But it didn’t.

Dr. Brinegar spoke tenderly to the guilty puppy. He gently examined her belly. I think he cared…but he just didn’t judge what sin had gotten Moca into her predicament; he wanted to heal her and restore her to her loved ones.

Thank goodness for mercy.

Aren’t we glad that the One who holds our life in His hands has mercy on us?

King David, whom God referred to as a man after His own heart, cried out to God for mercy after a time of great sin in his life. King David committed adultery with Bathsheba and had her husband killed in battle. The child born of this affair died, and King David was a heartbroken man for a time.

But King David knew his healing could only come from God and he cried, “Have mercy on me, O God, according to your unfailing love; according to your great compassion, blot out my transgressions.”

When we, like King David, go to God and confess whatever sin has gotten us into a predicament, thankfully, the details do not affect the amount of compassion God has for us. His mercy level does not plummet upon hearing the dreadful news.

God speaks tenderly to our guilty spirit. He gently examines our heart. Regardless of the sin that has gotten us into our predicament, Our Father wants to heal us and restore us to a right relationship with Him.

Thank goodness for mercy.

PRAYER: Dear God, thank You for mercy, and unfailing love that You have for us.

I said, “O LORD, have mercy on me; heal me, for I have sinned against you” (Psalm 41:4 NIV).

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