Are You Growing Up To Be A Scoundrel Someday?

November 19, 2012 by  
Filed under Daily Devotions, Family

By Michelle Lim –

A few weeks ago my family cruised through town in our mini van on the way to church. Okay, so you can’t really cruise in a mini van, but we can always remember our imaginary jaguar.

All of us were packed in and relieved that the Sunday morning dress-up drama hadn’t eaten us whole. If you are a parent, you know exactly what I mean. If not, well, blissful ignorance can be a good thing.

The typical morning chatter filled the van until my seven-year-old told my four year old, “I think you just might grow up to be a scoundrel someday.”

My seven-year-old beamed while trying out last week’s school vocabulary lesson that included the word scoundrel. He had noticed my younger son’s grumpy disposition that sent him headlong into mischief that morning.

I concentrated on the horizon and covered my smile with my hand. Kids say the funniest things. But then I thought about a great truth wrapped up in seven-year-old terms.

Our day to day choices build the framework for who we become. Each choice matters. Each behavior has a consequence, whether good or bad. Each action makes up a brush stroke on the tapestry of our lives.

My seven-year-old understood that his younger brother’s behavior could form a pattern that, should he choose to continue to follow it, would make him grow up to be a scoundrel someday.

Thankfully as parents we have many years to help our children grow up to be God-serving adults. But we can’t take these small moments for granted. Consistency and loving discipline are a must.

What about our Christian walk? Bad habits and behaviors are not unique to children. We must choose to live a Godly life. If not, may we hear the truth in the words of a seven-year-old.

Are you growing up to be a scoundrel someday?

QUOTE: A child who does not think about what happens around him and is content with living without wondering whether he lives honestly is like a man who lives from a scoundrel’s work and is on the road to being a scoundrel. ~Jose Marti

“Because we belong to the day, we must live decent lives for all to see. Don’t participate in the darkness of wild parties and drunkenness, or in sexual promiscuity and immoral living, or in quarreling and jealousy” (Romans 13:13 NLT)

Surprise Sally

November 12, 2012 by  
Filed under Daily Devotions, Family

By Susan Dollyhigh –

“Eating words has never given me indigestion, and I never felt discomfort in my abdomen after I chewed and swallowed,” Winston Churchill once said.

I have to agree. Some of the sweetest words I’ve ever eaten were, “I will never have a dog live in my house.”

God spoke to my heart in July 1996, and this non-puppy person had an overwhelming desire to surprise my son, Eric, with a Basset Hound on his 15th birthday. We chose Sally from a litter of ten adorable puppies who tripped all over their ears as they ran and played that sunny, summer day. We brought that trembling puppy home with us, and my maternal instincts kicked in. I held Sally close to soothe and comfort her, and surprisingly felt my heart being soothed and comforted in return. Looking into brown puppy eyes, I discovered what I’d missed over the years by not having a pet to love, and a pet to love me.

Sally was the wonderful distraction my family needed as my beautiful daughter, Emily, dwindled away from us and into an eating disorder. We tried to maintain our lives through counseling sessions, doctor’s visits, and extended hospital stays. But the days were long and dark as Emily’s condition deteriorated. Sally, with her heart-shaped spot, loved and comforted us through those difficult days that turned into weeks and then months and then years.

Many changes occurred in our lives over the next twelve years. But this dog, who I thought was for my son, turned out to be my faithful companion. Sally eased the adjustment as our family moved across the country. She stayed close by as my children left home for college. Sally comforted me through many long and sleepless nights after my mother passed. She helped me transition as we moved back to North Carolina where she lived out her last years. Sally taught me how to love in a way that I never had before.

Sadly, the day came when Sally had taught me all that I was supposed to learn from her. When the vet picked up Sally’s lifeless paw, placed it on the ink pad, and then pressed it to the keepsake paper, my heart ached and tears streamed down my cheeks. But I knew Sally had left this earth having fulfilled her mission. Sally left her paw print on my heart, and taught me many lessons on unconditional love.

QUOTE: A pet is someone who listens with their heart, speaks with a look, and teaches with love. (Seen in vet’s office)

“Ask the animals, and they will teach you…In God’s hand is the life of every creature, and the breath of all mankind” (Job 12:7 and10).

When Thank You is Not Enough

November 5, 2012 by  
Filed under Daily Devotions, Family

By Cheri Cowell –

After the last of the three hurricanes hit Florida in 2004, my husband and I opened our home to our neighbors – a family of seven plus a cat and a dog. Their home was uninhabitable with water damage throughout. They were so appreciative and couldn’t thank us enough. We didn’t see what we did as anything special. In our eyes it was a no-brainer. We had the space, and they had a need we could fill.

Last week I also read the account of a man who was just released from prison after 18 years when DNA evidence proved he was innocent. As I read today’s scripture these two unrelated stories suddenly united to illustrate a question that is difficult for us to comprehend. The question? How do we thank someone who has done something so incredible, so gracious, and for which thank you doesn’t seem to fit?

God has provided that answer for us in the parable below. Like the servant in the parable, we have been given an incredible gift. And like us with our neighbors, God saw our need and without a second thought, He gave what He had, forgiving our debt with His own blood. And like the attorneys who fought for the innocent man, God went to battle with Satan to rescue us from life in prison. How do we repay such a gift? The parable says we are to go and do likewise. We extend that grace to others and give our blessings away.

“When some other officials found out what had happened, they felt sorry for the man who had been put in jail. Then they told the king what had happened. The king called the first official back in and said, “You’re an evil man! When you begged for mercy, I said you did not have to pay back a cent. Don’t you think you should show pity to someone else, as I did to you?” The king was so angry that he ordered the official to be tortured until he could pay back everything he owed. That is how my Father in heaven will treat you, if you don’t forgive each of my followers with all your heart” (Matthew 18:23-35 (33-35 above) CEV)

PRAYER: Thank You Lord for the incredible gift of my debt erased by Your grace. Help me receive that gift by extending the same grace to those around me today.

Pause for 4.2 seconds

October 29, 2012 by  
Filed under Daily Devotions, Family

By Elaine James –

I love going boating, but struggle with seasickness. I popped two Dramamine in my mouth and washed them down with a glass of water to go on a fishing adventure with my husband on Lake Michigan. He assured me that he checked the weather report and that the lake was safe. I have heard horror stories that have ended in deaths on that lake. With a good weather report and a beautiful day, I was ready to go.

We started out in calm waters until we hit the breaking wall and the waves were large but there were no white caps so it seemed safe. I was peaceful as I gazed at the beautiful sky, sun and other scenery. It was so quiet. A verse popped into my head “Absent from the body is to be present with the Lord.” Still a complete calmness came over me. With no fear in me I was inquiring of God “Is this a forecast of what is to come? Is it going to be over for me and my husband?” I remained calm, with no fear. The words danced in my head and was almost like a song “To be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord.”

Silence was broken with my husband hollering “Get the net, I’ve got a big one on the line” I was struggling with it. I yelled, “How in the world are we going to get that fish in the net?” I knew if we lost the fish, I would be held responsible. The fish flipped in the boat, but I felt gross! We had to get back quick before I lost my lunch. We returned safely and celebrated an eighteen pound salmon, his biggest catch ever at that location. Later, he tweeted a picture of the fish and referred to me as ‘Lainey my #goodluckcharm.’ Yah, I like that!

When we got home, my daughter blurted out that I was talking too much and asked me “Mom can you slow down and pause for like 4.2 seconds?”

I have always wanted to ask that same question.

Can you pause for 4.2 seconds to receive this effective word? Pausing for a few seconds to peacefully remember that this life is grand at times but the time in eternity will even be superior.

Will I be ready? I answered that on the lake as calm as can be. Yes.

I have spent many years memorizing and studying God’s word. Moments like this fishing experience (not the seasick part) help me to appreciate how the Holy Spirit can whisper to me in just 4.2 seconds.

PRAYER: Father in Heaven, thank You for continually giving me a message and helping me to welcome it into my life. Truly Lord I am a follower of You and I am aware that You are exercising the words in me and giving me superhuman power. In Jesus name I pray, Amen

“And we also [especially] thank God continually for this, that when you received the message of God [which you heard] from us, you welcomed it not as the word of [mere] men, but as it truly is, the Word of God, which is effectually at work in you who believe (exercising its superhuman power in those who adhere to and trust in and rely on it]” (1 Thessalonians 2:13 Amplified Bible).

Me ‘Firt’! (aka Me First!)

October 22, 2012 by  
Filed under Daily Devotions, Family

By Jarrod Spencer –

I would like to go so far as to say “everyone does it” but there are probably some exceptions to the rule. What everyone likely does at sometime in their young life is to strive for independence and meaning. Ava, our two-year old is well into that stage of life. Whenever I want her and her older brother, Oliver, to do something, she will often say “Me firt!” She wants to do the task that I am allowing or assigning first. There are times in which Oliver may want to look at something, for example, she pipes in with “Me firt, Oliver!” She wants meaning in her life and would like to have independence. She also exercises that desire by not wanting to have her hand held when we are in parking lots.

Why is it that she wants to be first? What is it that she does not want to be after Oliver? I am not talking about a scientific or clinical reason, but more of an intellectual reason. She has a great desire to let her abilities be known and has already learned that first is “good.” We may race up the stairs and see who “wins.” They may be in a “race” to be buckled first to get the “buckle badge” (something invisible that simply affirms I’m proud of their obedience). They want to outdo one another and are driven to do that at this stage in their life.

As we go about life as a Christian, what drives us? Are we driven to try to be “first?” When we are challenged by a thought or song, do we seek to be the first to go out and do something? Are we driven to be “firt?” Or are we simply letting it go in one ear and out the other? Are we not caring if we’re first or last in the challenge?

As you read this, may you be inspired to go out and see what you can do for God. We are not in competition with one another, but sometimes if we felt like “I’m going to get to someone you know first” then you may be inspired and motivated rather than just letting it pass. So, who will it be this week? When hearing a challenge, who will be the one to say, “Me firt!”?

PRAYER: Father, thank You for giving us two wonderful children. It is a great privilege to be called “Daddy” and to see these young people grow up. I thank You for the opportunity to have these two precious gifts from you, if only for a short time, later to be returned back to You. I ask that You help lead me in the guidance for the direction they should go.

“For you know that we dealt with each of you as a father deals with his own children, encouraging, comforting and urging you to live lives worthy of God, who calls you into his kingdom and glory” (I Thessalonians 2:11-12 NIV).

« Previous PageNext Page »