Ranting and Raving

June 6, 2021 by  
Filed under Daily Devotions, Life Topics

By Elaine James –

She was ranting and raving. “This can’t happen! My house will not be worth anything. If this goes through I will be staring at walls five feet from my house. This could cause my house to be flooded even more. I must go fight city hall, this just can’t happen!”

As her blood pressure went up, I prayed “Oh Lord, what can I say to help this woman?” She has battled a severe illness in the past and she doesn’t need this stress now. Really none of us do. Neighbors were complaining that she was saying things that were not true.

“I will be praying for you,” I promised.

She stopped. A look of shock came over her. “Well…..I, I, I” the words slurred out of her mouth. She knows Jesus. We have talked about Him before.

I was reminded of the words I read just this morning in Deuteronomy 28 “If you fully obey the Lord your God and carefully follow all his commands I give you today, the Lord your God will set you high above all the nations on earth. All these blessings will come upon you if you obey the Lord your God; you will be blessed in the city and be blessed in the country” (Deuteronomy 28:1-3 NIV).

“Come here and give me a hug,” I uttered as I opened my arms to her. As I embraced her, she sniffled. Tears began flowing down both our cheeks. I whispered “You are God’s child. He will not let you go. He loves you! Whatever the outcome, He always promises to be there for you. And getting all worked up can’t be good for your health.”

Maybe you too have been ranting and raving about something. Sometimes the pressures from life cause you to worry and be fearful of the future. It can be too much to handle. As a result, things come out of our mouth that should not.

Has this happened to you?

Thankfully, I had just visited with my Savior! Otherwise I probably would have been tempted to rant and rave along with her.

PRAYER: Father in heaven, I have been so worried about______. Help me to stop. I want to be able to give this to You. Forgive me for ranting and raving. Thank You for blessing me with the ability to give this to You today. In Jesus name I pray. Amen.

Get a Grip

May 27, 2021 by  
Filed under Daily Devotions, Life Topics

By Elaine James –

I like this! “Send me some more like this and we can probably do an e-book,” the editor stated.

I was so excited, so I took the next months to edit and rewrite all 31 devotions. That moment of truth had come for the manuscript was just an “enter” away on my computer. I said a prayer “Lord may these writings bless others and may You get all the glory.”

On January 2nd of this past year, I received in my inbox an e-mail from my Editor. I breathed deeply and opened it. It stated “Elaine, our board passed on your Devotions proposal.” They went on to give a statement of what they were looking for and some suggestions to my future writings.

My son writes music for songs. He has experienced rejection too. It is not easy.

What do you do when you experience rejection? After you’ve put everything you have into a project, but still feel as if you are not moving forward.

Stop. Step back. Take a deep breath. And pray!

Sometimes, I beg God to show me what is going on. Am I off track? Am I doing the wrong thing?

But I know God has brought me to this point.

Have you been praying for your own journey? Then why would God steer you the wrong way?

There are the right people out there who will appreciate you and your work. Just wait! Wait until God shows you. Don’t believe any other words. Trust God, who placed you on this path.

Maybe it is time to just praise and worship God and stop making requests as to how He should respond. Just spend time with Him. Relax, God is not done yet!

Be wise. Continue, and praise the Lord in all circumstances.

“Praise the LORD, my soul; all my inmost being, praise his holy name. Praise the LORD, my soul” (Psalm 103:1-2b).

Back to School Believer

May 17, 2021 by  
Filed under Daily Devotions, Life Topics

By Art Fulks –

Our congregation has been active in serving our schools collectively and last year, we were blessed to be a part of seeing many students receive Christ on campus. It was the most joyful year of school as a parent or pastor that I have ever experienced.

Statistics suggest over 90% of all who trust Christ do so before age eighteen. Our typical strategy has been promoting programs at church through which we hope to see life transformation. But four years ago, I stopped by the principal’s office and simply asked how I could help him personally and if I could pray for him.

Four years later, I still battle with the same attitude that suggests that I pay taxes for the school to serve my child. That may be true. But my approach should be different.

Let me share a few examples of my struggles.

We have four children. Two will be in college this fall, one in high school and one in middle school. But, with no student in the middle school, would I still be willing to serve and build relationships with students and faculty? With no child in the high school band, would I still provide snacks during summer camp? Although our son finished his senior season, would I still volunteer at a fundraiser for next year’s team? Would I help stack chairs on my child’s last day at the elementary school?

I am sure that God still has work to do in my life because my first response to each of these opportunities was not positive. It is certainly easier to convince myself to serve when it benefits my child or to give their teacher a positive perception of our child/family. But He is challenging me to look for opportunities that would reap no personal benefits. I need to consider serving to give people a better perception of my God. That is my calling as a follower of Christ, to reflect Him to the world so that they might know Him.

A new school year is about to start and I am excited to see what God will do. Will He allow me to engage in new partnerships and relationship for the Kingdom? Who’s life will He change?

I know that He will continue to change me. It’s back to school, Believer!

“Just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many” (Matthew 20:28 NASB)

The Father’s Heart

May 7, 2021 by  
Filed under Daily Devotions, Life Topics

By Peter Lundell –

Our dog recently ran away. My daughter and I love Angel, our little Yorkie, as if she were our baby. So we were grief-stricken when we could not find her.

I prayed and prayed she would be found and returned. Then the call came!

When we went to the house and the person brought Angel to us, I felt overwhelmed with joy.
But Angel was more interested in the owner’s dogs. When I held her, she seemed to think nothing of it, as if simply going home after a day’s adventure. She was oblivious to what she had done, how troubled we were, and how happy we were to get her back.

She couldn’t understand; she’s a dog.

Then it struck me. So many of us are like her. Even I have been like her.

Countless people, including you and me, have been separated from God—and thought nothing of it. We couldn’t understand. We’re human, not God. We’re as oblivious as Angel the dog.

And all the while God aches for his lost ones to come to him.

I could feel the Father’s heart as Jesus expressed in Luke 15 with the parables of the lost sheep, lost coin, and lost son. The Father searches for the one lost, longing for return. And when the lost one is found, God, the angels, and those in heaven rejoice over every person who comes to faith.

When we get right with God, we might say a prayer and feel good. But like the dog, we have little idea of the immensity of what’s happened or how heaven rejoices over us.

If I could feel strongly about a four-legged animal, imagine how the Creator and Lover of our Souls feels about us. It overwhelms me.

May you also be overwhelmed at feeling God’s heart.

PRAYER: “My heavenly Father, I have caused You both grieving and rejoicing. May I feel Your heart, how You’ve grieved over me when I’ve gone astray and how You’ve rejoiced over me when I’ve come into Your arms.”

“While he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him. The son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son.’ But the father said to his servants, ‘Quick! Bring the best robe and put it on him. Put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. Bring the fattened calf and kill it. Let’s have a feast and celebrate. For this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’ So they began to celebrate” (Luke 15:20–23 NIV).

Skywriters

April 29, 2021 by  
Filed under Daily Devotions, Life Topics

By Cheri Cowell –

I have always enjoyed watching skywriting planes. How many of us have stopped in the middle of an important errand to watch one of these planes in action? We are in awe of the skill the pilot must have, and admire the years of training this must take. We are curious as to how this is done and what kind of person would go into this type of a job. But most of all, we just want to know what the sky-writer is going to say. Is it an advertisement, a political comment, or possibly a proposal? We want to know, so we stand there with our eyes squinting to block out the sun, staring into the sky waiting for the plane to write enough of the letters that we can figure it out.

The Pharisees were looking for a sign from heaven to tell them that this man, Jesus, was really the Messiah. The problem was that all the letters had been spelled out for them and they still didn’t get it.

Jesus had just performed one of his greatest miracles, the feeding of the five thousand. I love Jesus’ response to the Pharisees’ request: He sighed deeply. You can just imagine how dumbfounded He must have been at their lack of vision. His rhetorical question is one that still applies to our generation as well. How many of us want a sign from God before we will fully surrender? How many of us are still staring into the sky long after all of the letters J – E – S – U – S – has been spelled out?

PRAYER: Thank You, God, for giving me eyes to see You in ways that are difficult for others. Forgive me for sometimes needing more before I am willing to take steps of faith. Help me see more fully the ways in which You are writing in my life.

“The Pharisees came and began to question Jesus. To test him, they asked him for a sign from heaven. He sighed deeply and said, “Why does this generation ask for a sign? Truly I tell you, no sign will be given to it.” Then he left them, got back into the boat and crossed to the other side” (Mark 8:11-13 NIV).

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