A Facebook Society

April 11, 2021 by  
Filed under Daily Devotions, Life Topics

By Carin LeRoy –

Five years ago at the prompting of a friend, I started a Facebook account and began to collect a list of social friends. It’s been a great way to connect with old college buddies, people who live in other states, and stay connected my children who live out of town. I love to see updates and photos of my family and the special events of others. I just added a great friend from my middle/high years whom I haven’t talked with in over 30 years. People that we can never actually visit, we can communicate and keep up with on Facebook.

It can become a great place to “spy,” brag or vent – not necessarily good virtues. We can post so many updates that it looks like some think their realm of friends is interested in their every move (who cares if you just bought a milkshake at Burger King?). It’s easy to see what mood some are in for the day–happy, mad, depressed, struggling, grieving–just by their posts.

Although I have several hundred friends and make comments on other’s posts, the communication is superficial. It’s a word here or a sentence there as I scroll down the home page. Communication is brief and to the point with no in-depth conversation. I see that as the sign of our busy times: Connect, comment and move on.

How dangerous it can be for us if our times with God are as brief and superficial as a Facebook post! Read a verse, pray and move on? How badly we need extended times of prayer and meditation with the Lord to hear His voice and draw on His strength for this life. Does God just get a token prayer like our friends get a one-sentence comment? With Facebook that might be enough, but it’s not enough for communicating with our Creator. Let’s remember to not let the busyness of our lives crowd out time for nourishing our spiritual life and hearing God speak.

PRAYER: Lord, keep me mindful that spending quality time with You needs to be part of my day. Help me to meditate and reflect on Your word and spend time in real communication with You.

“I recall the old days; I meditate on all You have done; I reflect on Your accomplishments. I spread my hands out to You in prayer; my soul thirsts for You in a parched land,” Psalm 143: 5-6 NET).

History and Heroes

March 25, 2021 by  
Filed under Daily Devotions, Life Topics

By Hally Franz –

I’ve had a history-filled spring. Between my family’s spring break vacation and two school trips, I have seen our nation’s capital and state capitals for both Missouri and Illinois. Over the last four months, I’ve visited homes of George Washington, Robert E. Lee, Abraham Lincoln and Barack Obama. What a blessing it has been to learn about our American heroes and leaders, both past and present.

Conditions around the world and in my own home may make it impossible to visit the places where Jesus was born and where Paul walked. My family and I may never see great pyramids, palaces or temples of Bible times. We can, however, experience many human accomplishments and creations here in this country.

As I write this devotional, we have just returned our American flag to its home in our hall closet. The sun has set on Memorial Day, a holiday that originated in 1868 as a day on which the graves of Civil War soldiers could be decorated. Today, we remember the soldiers who have given their lives to maintain our country’s freedoms. Soon, we will celebrate our hard-won independence on July 4th. And, after the seasons have changed once more, we will recognize members of our military, both living and dead, on Veteran’s Day.

George Washington was a brilliant gardener, valiant soldier and loving adoptive father. Abraham Lincoln prevailed through tremendous personal pain and a controversial term in office. Earl C. Tucker, my grandfather, served in Germany, England and Belgium during World War II. He came home with horrific pictures from concentration camps, and, at the same time, a feeling that most Germans were descent people. Matt was a challenging freshman in my ‘95 Introduction to Business class. He was killed a few years ago while in service to his country.

Heroes, all of them.

Each of these men served; each gave to his country. May we remember those famous and everyday heroes of American history – whether our flags are unfurled and flying or stored safely in a closet.

PRAYER: Mighty and Merciful God, we thank You for all the heroes through the ages – the ones who have been martyred while preaching Your word, as well as those who have given their lives in service to our country.
“And the saying pleased the whole multitude. And they chose Stephen, a man full of faith and the Holy Spirit, and Philip, Prochorus, Nicanor, Timon, Parmenas, and Nicolas, a proselyte from Antioch, whom they set before the apostles; and when they had prayed, they laid hands on them.” (Acts 6:5-6 NKJV).

Digital versus Development

March 21, 2021 by  
Filed under Daily Devotions, Life Topics

By Hally Franz –

Each year around this time, there is a request issued to us parents by my children’s school principal. It’s time to collect the year’s photos for the upcoming awards and graduation program, and the yearbook to be compiled over the summer. Soon, I am ordering 499 prints for a processing total of $90.06

I have a digital camera, and I love it. I am not really a photographer, but anyone can come up with some nice photographic memories in this modern age. I take pictures regularly, but I fail to develop them very often. So, when the annual summons for pictures comes, I clear my “chips” or “disks” for the first time since last year’s picture call.

This round of pictures included two family trips, several 4-H activities, a couple class parties, several school field trips, a Christmas program, my niece’s birthday party and more. Why snap sparingly when you aren’t paying for film?

There are several great things about digital photography. First, we can take as many shots as needed to get the photo just right. If the photograph is out of focus, delete the bad shot and try again. There is no cost or consequence in making the correction and eradicating inferior pictures. It’s simple, and there is no evidence left behind of poorly-centered shots or closed eyes. The process is easy, even more so for young people, who have no fear of technology. Experience isn’t required for relative success.

But life isn’t digital. When we or our children make a mistake, we can’t just delete bad tries and go on. If our focus becomes unclear and distorted, lasting impressions will remain in our memories and the minds of those around us. Sometimes those bad “images” cause us very real problems, possibly costing time and work to repair. Learning to make each shot in life takes maturity and experience. It’s a process of development far more than a process of trial-and-error. And, it isn’t always possible to keep trying until we get it right; sometimes, we have only one shot.

We must teach our young people to be cautious in their actions and prudent about their choices, seeking advice of their parents, family and church members, and Heavenly Father. In a digital world, let’s remember to teach our young people that real life isn’t always that way.

PRAYER: Heavenly Father, help today’s parents impress upon our children the seriousness of the choices they face each day. As we demonstrate patience and understanding toward our young people, help us also to encourage discernment as they approach each day in our digital society.

“Folly is joy to him who is destitute of discernment, But a man of understanding walks uprightly” (Proverbs 15:21 NKJV).

The $1,500 House

March 11, 2021 by  
Filed under Daily Devotions, Life Topics

By Cheri Cowell –

While on vacation in Georgia, Randy and I toured the Habitat For Humanity Global Village & Discovery Center in Americus. If you have not done this, it is worth the trip. The self-guided tour first took us through a typical third-world slum. Shanty after shanty showed us how millions of people around the world live. We couldn’t help but be moved by what we saw. Following this display were examples of Habitat houses from around the world- New Guinea, Africa, Asia, Mexico. Outside each little house a sign told us how much that house cost to build- $1500-$3500 was all it took to move a family from the slums to a home of their own.

How many families could we rescue if each family in the U.S. sponsored one home?

God definitely views our wealth differently than we do.

The Bible has a lot to say about accumulating wealth. And, not all of it is negative. How we use our wealth is the point of most of Jesus’ teachings.

Planning for retirement is big business in the U.S. All of us should be planning for our later years, but Jesus is saying it is about more than just gathering assets. Yes, we should take care of our families and our own needs, but hoarding wealth is not what makes us rich. When we take the blessings we’ve been given and share with those who are in need––perhaps building a $1,500 house––then we are truly wealthy.

“And he told them this parable: ‘The ground of a certain rich man yielded an abundant harvest. He thought to himself, “What shall I do? I have no place to store my crops.” Then he said, “This is what I’ll do. I will tear down my barns and build bigger ones, and there I will store my surplus grain. And I’ll say to myself, ‘You have plenty of grain laid up for many years. Take life easy; eat, drink and be merry.”’ ‘But God said to him, “You fool! This very night your life will be demanded from you. Then who will get what you have prepared for yourself?” ‘This is how it will be with whoever stores up things for themselves but is not rich toward God’ (Luke 12:16-21 NIV).

PRAYER: God, I praise You for the surplus in my life. Help me see my wealth as an opportunity to bless others in the name of Jesus Christ.

For more information on the Habitat for Humanity Global Village visit http://www.habitat.org

Daddy, Daddy, I want to See

March 2, 2021 by  
Filed under Daily Devotions, Life Topics

By Cheri Cowell –

Don’t you just love to see the joy on a child’s face as he is lifted up on his daddy’s shoulders? As he rides safe and secure on his father’s back, he can see things he was unable to see before. “Daddy, Daddy, pick me up. I want to see,” the child pleads until her father lifts her high over his head and onto his strong shoulders. Often the dads will point out things of importance as they walk along together. There is beauty in watching their relationship grow. The child is completely dependent on his father for his security. What a wonderful picture of what we can have when we say to our Heavenly Father, “Daddy, Daddy, lift me up high so I can see.”

When we ask, He will give us what we desire.

Luke shares the story of the beggar, who was a societal outcast in Jesus’ day. When Jesus came near the blind beggar, he boldly cried out to Him. Jesus said it was the man’s faith that allowed him to see, that allowed Jesus to lift him up.

We, too, can cry out to Jesus to lift us up when we are down, to give us eyes to see the world as He does, and to see those who are in need of God’s touch. When Jesus lifts us up, our focus is lifted from the earthly things to the things that really matter: people easily overlooked, creation too magnificent to miss, relationships that need mending, needs we can meet, and so many things we can pray for.

God is waiting for each of us to say today, “Daddy, daddy, lift me up high so I can see.”

PRAYER: Thank You, God, for hearing the cries of Your children and for lifting me up high on Your strong shoulders so I can see the things You want me to see.

“And he cried out, ‘Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!’ And those who were in front rebuked him, telling him to be silent. But he cried out all the more, ‘Son of David, have mercy on me!’ And Jesus stopped and commanded him to be brought to him. And when he came near, he asked him, ‘What do you want me to do for you?’ He said, ‘Lord, let me recover my sight.’ And Jesus said to him, ‘Recover your sight; your faith has made you well’ (Luke 18:35-43 ESV).

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