Unleashed Imagination

January 10, 2021 by  
Filed under Daily Devotions, Humorous

By Jarrod Spencer –

One question every American child is asked sometime during childhood is “What do you want to be when you grow up?” Some will state the occupation of a parent. Others may aspire to be a sports star, an actor/actress, or another type of celebrity. What was your answer when you were a child?

Why didn’t we make it to that goal? I think that part of the problem lies in this quote from William Arthur Ward, “Nothing limits achievement like small thinking; nothing expands possibilities like unleashed imagination.”

At some point, either you or someone very close to you will start to limit your achievement(s) by thinking small. In the movie “Rudy,” there is the transitional scene where the main character, who happens to be the baby of the family, says “Someday, I’m going to play football for Notre Dame.” Laughter and doubt comes forth. “Yeah right” are the thoughts. This small thinking and the many obstacles in life didn’t stop him from making his dream come true. If you saw the movie, you cheered along with him when he accomplished his goal.

What small thinking has limited your possibilities? Financial, doubt, fear, whispers from your conscience, life going in a different direction, jeers, faded passion? Why not determine where you are and reroute your direction so you can still expand the possibilities? Don’t let things stop you, just use the obstacles as opportunities to be re-routed. Imagination is absent of boundaries. Let yourself dream, and then begin to see how you can get from where you are to where you hope to be!

Don’t think small, maybe one day you’ll get to “play for Notre Dame” too!

PRAYER: Father, may I see where Your leading me and not be obstructed by any difficulties that may come my way. You have great plans for me and I look forward to living those plans out as time continues.

“The LORD has done great things for us, and we are filled with joy” (Psalm 126:3 NIV).

The Joy of Pulling Weeds

December 28, 2020 by  
Filed under Daily Devotions, Humorous

By Hally Franz –

It made the list of the more notorious chores that my sister and I were charged with as kids. Dumping the “slop” in the ditch at the edge of the woods was always fun, as was assisting my father when he plucked ticks off the dogs and dropped the swollen vermin into a jar of gasoline. What girl doesn’t love that sort of thing? Not! While those were foul tasks, perhaps our least favorite was pulling weeds.

When spring arrived and weeds sprung up, Ellen and I were expected to spend time most days pulling weeds. Maintenance is important when dealing with weeds; they can pop up fast and take over. Twenty minutes was typically the expectation. But twenty minutes passed quickly if we were lying out in the sun or talking on the phone—not so for weed-pulling.

In my teenage opinion, it was a gross task; however, it was not without satisfaction. My father was particularly pleased when he saw the pile of purged weeds grow big. “I love to see a big pile of weeds,” he’d say. A productive session of weed reduction always resulted in kudos from him, and we liked that, even if we didn’t admit it.

Sometimes, pile size was more about chance than effort. Some weeds are easier to extract than others. Often the ones that spread like vines pull easily, and single ones stand far more solid, contrary to conventional weed wisdom.

Fast forward thirty years, and I have a husband who fights his war on weeds with poison rather than pulling. My children will tell their own stories one day. They call him “Rambo” when armed with the weed killer. Reminiscent of Sly Stallone returning to Vietnam to bring home the American soldiers, with weapons strapped on his back, my husband ventures outside with his chemical warfare and spray gun to eliminate the enemy.

Do we attack the spiritual weeds in our lives with the same gusto that we do those in our yards? When we find that an unkind attitude or some bad behavior has sprung up within us, do we exert energy to combat them? And, do we strive to keep our hearts clean from ugly, unwanted intruders that are not part of Christ’s original design? Whether our own spiritual challenges are easy or present bigger battles, we should always be ready to face them, confident in the strength that He provides. What great satisfaction there is in that!

“In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one.” (Ephesians 6:16 NIV).

PRAYER: Heavenly Father, help me be aware of spiritual weeds that pop up in my heart and life, and give me strength to aggressively fight them, so that others can see Your work within me.

Self-Destruct Burgers

December 18, 2020 by  
Filed under Daily Devotions, Humorous

By Peter Lundell –

Recently a man suffered a heart attack while eating in a restaurant called—and I’m not making this up—“Heart Attack Grill.” No surprise that it can be found in Las Vegas.

The man was eating a “Triple Bypass Burger,” not to be confused with the even larger “Quadruple Bypass Burger.” People actually eat these burgers with three and four huge meat patties each. The slogan of this place is, “Taste Worth Dying For.”

Their front doors have big signs that say, “Caution! This establishment is bad for your health.” And they really bring in the customers. The owner of the place, whom they call “Doc,” wears a doctor’s white coat with a stethoscope around his neck. And the waitresses, whom they call “nurses,” are dressed like sexy nurses. Customers can even wear patients’ hospital gowns while they eat. If you weigh more than 350 pounds, you eat for free.

When the guy had his cardiac arrest, others thought it was a publicity stunt and snapped photos. The man is reportedly recovering, thankfully.

This place gives a new level of meaning to the idea of destroying yourself.

What drives us to self-destruction? Beyond the Heart Attack Grill, there’s smoking, drinking, drugs, or any addiction. Or how about socially accepted habits like chugging soda, eating unhealthy foods full of fat, sugar, and chemicals, then wallowing for hours in front of the T.V. Some self-destructive habits are less noticeable, like overworking and overspending.

If I’ve made you mad, well, sorry.

If we have a grasp of how our bodies are living temples of God’s Holy Spirit, or if we have a vision for a purposeful reason to live, we’ll tend to take good care of our bodies.

What are your self-destructive tendencies?

And what vision or reason to live leads you to care of yourself?

PRAYER: Lord, I am a living, walking temple of Your Spirit. And in You I have a reason to live and worship You and bless others in Your name. Lead me to honor You by taking good care of myself through all the days I live to serve You.

“Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your body” (1 Cor. 6:19-20, NIV).

Counterfeit Cheeseburgers

December 6, 2020 by  
Filed under Daily Devotions, Humorous

By Robin J. Steinweg –

I served uncooked cheeseburgers to my students. Don’t panic—the bun was two vanilla wafers brushed with light corn syrup and sprinkled with sesame seeds. The meat was a chocolate mint cookie. Red and yellow frosting looked like ketchup and cheese. I added lettuce: green-colored coconut flakes. The burgers turned out a little smaller (and rounder!) than White Castle burgers. If I’d photographed one on a doll’s tea plate, it would’ve looked just like the real thing. But if I were to write up a nutrition chart for it, it would be sadly lacking in the minimum daily requirements for anything at all.

Sure, it would taste good and give me a sugar high, but in the end it would let me down. Hard.

This world offers advice that looks appealing, feels good or has an appearance of truth—but the truth is, it can be as empty as sugar calories. But it looks so real; how can we tell the difference?

If you’ve ever eaten a real cheeseburger, you’d know the moment you saw my candy version that there’s no meat. That’s the trick: get to know the genuine article, and immediately you’ll recognize the fake. And if you’re inexperienced, you’d know it as soon as you tasted it.

Study the Bible and when an untruth pops up, you’ll see it for what it is.

PRAYER: Lord, I ask You to help me to become so familiar with Your voice and Your ways that I recognize instantly anything that is not from You. Thank You.

“Dear friends, do not believe everyone who claims to speak by the Spirit. You must test them to see if the spirit they have comes from God. For there are many false prophets in the world” (1 John 4:1 NLT).

Hungry for Something Chocolate

November 19, 2020 by  
Filed under Daily Devotions, Humorous

By Jarrod Spencer –

On occasion, my schedule will allow me to take my four-year-old to work with me for a couple of hours. These occasions will generally be in the morning before lunch during weeks which I am ahead of schedule. During one of those “ahead of schedule” weeks, I was completing my preparation for a new sermon series by placing a compilation consisting of 30 pieces of paper, tiled to make one big picture, on the wall in the auditorium.

While I worked, I set up a movie for my son to watch in one of the classrooms at our church. During that time, he made several trips to my office to tell me about something that just happened, to play with something in my office, or just ask for some M&Ms I have on my desk.

It was nearing lunch time and he came to me in the auditorium. He asked for some M&Ms. But nearing lunchtime, I said “no.”

He responded, “I really want some, I’m hungry for something chocolate.”

His sincerity and vocabulary made me laugh.

Upon reflection, I considered that when we are hungry for or craving something, we know it will really hit the spot to eat that item. Maybe it is food or something you drink. Either way, we simply anticipate the moment that we receive it so that moment can be savored.

That same day, we were expecting our new “single cup coffee maker.” It was a name-brand and I could not wait to try the coffee. Once I did, it really lived up to its branding, and I looked forward to the next cup.

The same is true for God. When we experience special moments with Him, we crave similar moments. We look forward to the next encounter. As my son had experienced the good taste of chocolate and wanted more, so we should want more of God once we experience Him and His goodness.

PRAYER: Father, thank You for being so tasty that I simply crave You. You are an amazing God and please use me to Your glory as I continue to look forward to our next encounter to help people know more about You.

“Taste and see that the LORD is good; blessed is the one who takes refuge in him” (Psalm 34:8 NIV)

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