Shock Absorbers

March 29, 2020 by  
Filed under Daily Devotions, Life Topics

By Cheri Cowell –

I grew up in Florida, not far from the beach. One of my favorite teenage memories is of the day a friend bought a dune buggy. Now most of you probably know what a dune buggy is, but for those who don’t, it has a Volkswagen chassis and a jeep body with roll bars. It is made for riding over the sand dunes – fast. And that we did.

When my friend showed up at the house to pick me and a girlfriend up, he pointed out all of the features of his new “girl.” “…and look at these babies,” he said, pointing to these huge tube-like things connected to the wheels. I later learned that those “babies” were the shock absorbers. Without the shock absorbers taking the beating for us, we wouldn’t have had as much fun as we did riding the dunes. God calls us to be His “babies,” his shock absorbers in the world.

To receive a blow and not pass it on takes great strength. God asks us to do just that. We are to absorb the blows others send our way, not in our own strength, but because of the One we are connected to. Because of our relationship to God, we can take the blows and transfer the force to Him. This is how God expects us to repay evil with good, to give to everyone who asks, especially those who don’t deserve it, and to love others as we would like to be loved…even when they aren’t so loveable.

PRAYER: Thank You God for being the shock absorber for me, transferring my sins onto Your Son so I might be free. Help me to, likewise, be Your shock absorbers so others might come to know the freedom of forgiveness.

BIBLE VERSE: “Give to everyone who asks you, and if anyone takes what belongs to you, do not demand it back. Do to others as you would have them do to you” (Luke 6:30-31 NIV).

The Bouncing Spider

March 19, 2020 by  
Filed under Daily Devotions, Life Topics

By Peter Lundell

Under the front eaves of my house, a spider web stretches seven feet from the roof gutter to the bushes below. At the center of this engineering marvel hunches the spider. The little bugger is about the size of my fingernail—and it bounces.

If I blow on the spider or reach close, the thing jiggles itself violently up and down. The whole web vibrates. On one hand, it seems to be a natural defense mechanism designed to scare off a predator. On the other hand, the jiggling web is more likely to catch something.

The spider doesn’t skitter away. It doesn’t hide. Even after the web was destroyed, the next day the spider was rebuilding.

This bouncing spider inspires me. Despite the fact that I am 10,000 times bigger than it is, it still defies me. And it takes a stand (or bounce). Sure, it’s acting on instinct rather than rational thought, but even that’s part of the inspiration.

I think of all the things that threaten or scare me. What threatens or scares you?

Too often we freak out because we think so much about the threat that we don’t instinctively take a stand based on who we are and what God has promised us.

He has promised to provide for us, protect us, and strengthen us. And when God’s plan really is for us to suffer, He is there with us, guiding us in His purpose.

Some of God’s greatest truths are seen in the natural world and its creatures—great or small. Take a lesson from the bouncing spider. When you feel threatened or scared, don’t skitter and hide. Take your stand (or bounce if you like). The Bible is full of promises, many of which we haven’t experienced as we could, perhaps because we’ve skittered and hid.

How might you take a stand today?

BIBLE VERSE: “God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.
Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with their surging.”
(Psalm 46:1-3 NIV).

PRAYER: “Lord, You are the foundation of my strength and courage. I commit to make my stand (and bounce if need be) on this issue: ____________________ . . . .”

This Toll Booth is Closed

March 9, 2020 by  
Filed under Daily Devotions, Life Topics

By Cynthia Ruchti –

Each hash mark on the highway ticked off another few inches of a very long road trip. My friend and I made use of every moment, brainstorming new projects, talking about the latest antics of our drama queen and king grandchildren, proposing answers to the national debt crisis, and discussing the intricacies of nuclear physics. Come to think of it, we didn’t get to the last two subjects.

Fully engaged in what is always stimulating conversation with this dear heart-friend, we barely noticed the scenery flying by. My friend drove and I took notes when we landed on a plot solution for a new book or a recipe for slow cooker pork chops. The designated recording secretary for our road trip’s discussions, I filled a small notebook, writing in the margins, flipping pages for a new rabbit trail subject that caught our attention.

Aware of every nuance of thought and the joy of having time to talk out things we’d only been able to hint at when separated by too many miles, neither of us noticed when my friend pulled into a toll booth with a red X overhead.

Three other toll booths boasted bright green Xs. They were open for business. We, however, were stuck in a closed lane with no way out except to brave the oncoming toll traffic and back out, against the flow of racing, unforgiving steel.

My friend was mortified that she’d missed the big red X. Closed. It had happened so fast, as everything does on a superhighway. We laughed about it after the problem was resolved. But today, as I remember that moment of realization that we’d missed the warning and driven straight into a dead end because we were momentarily distracted, I wonder how many other times in life that’s happened to me.

PRAYER: Lord God, don’t let my attention waver from the signs You place all around me, the warning signs, the dead end signs, the bridge out warnings, the flashing lights that can keep me from veering off course if I just pay attention. I don’t want to get caught in a relationship or emotional or spiritual place with no easy way out.

BIBLE VERSE: “The LORD says, ‘I will guide you along the best pathway for your life. I will advise you and watch over you,’” (Psalm 32:8 NLT).

Battles of the Earth and Spirit

February 29, 2020 by  
Filed under Daily Devotions, Life Topics

By Peter Lundell –

The battles of this world often depict what goes on in the spiritual battles we cannot see.

For six months, the opposition movement in Libya has struggled against Kaddafi. For decades people in Libya endured his regime, which glorified him, benefitted the people just enough to keep most quiet, and executed those who dared oppose him. When people saw hope in the overthrow of neighboring Tunisia’s dictator, then Egypt’s, they rebelled.

Similarly, people often find hope for personal transformation when they see the victories of others.

The Libyan struggle was harder than most people expected. Early on, the Libyan rebels didn’t know how to fight, but learned as they went. NATO helped by bombing Kaddafi’s instillations, but didn’t send troops. For a long time the battle stood at a stalemate. Breakthroughs started in the unlikely corners of the mountains to the south. The war brought blood and grief, freedom and jubilation.

Similarly, unseen spiritual battles go on around us. Some are simple; others are long and agonizing. We may not know what to do, but learn as we go. God intervenes, but maybe not as much as we’d like—He makes us fight. Battles may stalemate. Breakthroughs sometimes come from unlikely places. We experience both grief and jubilation.

Some battles are disguised behind personalities and conflicts, beliefs and mindsets, maybe sicknesses or addictions, accidents or events. Some people imagine spiritual battles that really aren’t; others don’t acknowledge battles that really are.

If you or a loved one faces a spiritual battle, take heart from those rebels who didn’t give up against the oppressor of Libya. And take heart from God’s promise in 2 Thessalonians. 3:3, discussing our battles against the oppressor of the human race: “The Lord is faithful, and he will strengthen and protect you from the evil one.”

PRAYER: Lord, You are my hope and victory, even when days are dark or heavy. I choose to trust You and be faithful in my battles. Strengthen me and uphold me.

BIBLE VERSE: “So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God.

I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand” (Isaiah 41:10 NIV).

Cookie Cutters and Uniqueness

February 20, 2020 by  
Filed under Daily Devotions, Life Topics

By Peter Lundell –

“You must Tweet. You must Facebook. You must blog. You must use this system,” went the list. Do all these things and, in my case, I would sell lots of books. Jump into the cookie-cutter solution of what worked for someone else and must now work for me. If I didn’t, I’d miss out—and I wouldn’t want that, would I?

Last time I checked, I was a full-fledged human being, not a clone.

If I’m a pastor, I must use these ten business principles and my church will grow. If I’m in business, I must use church principles and my business will be healthy. If I don’t like commuting to work, join this multi-level marketing, and I’ll make easy money.

Somebody, please show me the exit.

I’ve lived long enough to figure out that in any life endeavor, some people will make it big, most will not, and others will be in between. Results will be less than what some claim but more than what others claim. One size, or method, never fits all. And no market of any kind will equally reward every competitor.

But people never tire of telling others how one size (their own size) fits all. And there will always be a crowd that follows.

God, on the other hand, created us to be unique. I’m not saying we shouldn’t cooperate or listen to good advice. We should, instead, discern how it fits. Most people who make breakthroughs or impact others in any area of life know what to follow and what to ignore. And they do things according to the way God created them. They aren’t afraid of being unique. Unique is always different from others—otherwise it’s not unique.

How are you unique? And how has God created you to bless others in a unique way?

PRAYER: Father in heaven, open my eyes to wisdom of how I am uniquely created to serve You. Open my heart to courage for pursuing Your plan.

BIBLE VERSE: “Bring my sons from afar and my daughters from the ends of the earth—everyone who is called by my name, whom I created for my glory, whom I formed and made” (Isaiah 43:6b–7 NIV).

 

 

 

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