Mental Preparation

February 10, 2020 by  
Filed under Daily Devotions, Life Topics

By Elaine James –

Mental preparation, as presented by my tennis coach:
“When the stakes are high, I prepare mentally and get in the “zone.” On my way to a tennis match, I believe I will play well. I focus solely on the game, not on other people or the concern that I may play poorly. My attention is only on my racket, the ball, and the court. I typically do not know how the other games are going because I am so focused on my match.

Taking my time and trying to stay composed allows me to think about my strategy. If I allow myself to consider the possibility of a double fault or service error, it usually means it will happen. Before starting my serve, I visualize where it is going, as well as my service motion. I don’t think negatively, as this causes me to focus on all the wrong things. I clear my mind of all clutter, and seek peace, locking in on the ball with intensity. Losing is not an option. It creates disappointment in myself, because I have let my emotions ruin my ability to play well. At times, it even leads to my abusing my racket and/or body. I am very competitive. I lose self-control.”

Here, I present mental preparation for a day:
When the stakes are high, I prepare mentally, as I get in the “zone”. I believe I will do well. My focus is solely on what I have learned, not on other people or the possibility of failing. I don’t think negatively, My purpose and my focus remain on the Lord. I usually don’t know how others are doing because I am focused on my calling. I don’t rush. I try to stay composed. If I even think of a possible screw up, it usually happens. I visualize where I’m being led and His promises. I clear my mind of clutter, seek peace, and stay composed. If I don’t, I will lose confidence, as I allow my emotions to ruin my ability to do well, or abuse my body. I won’t have the self-control needed to refocus.

PRAYER: Father in heaven help me to mentally prepare for each day.

BIBLE VERSE: “Be prepared. You’re up against far more than you can handle on your own. Take all the help you can get, every weapon God has issued, so that when it’s all over but the shouting you’ll still be on your feet” (Ephesians 6:13a, MSG).




The Privilege of Giving

January 31, 2020 by  
Filed under Daily Devotions, Life Topics

By Carin LeRoy –

Years ago, when we were missionaries returning home for a furlough with our three children, we planned to live in upstate New York, near our sponsoring church. Coming from a tropical climate, we only had summer clothing and nothing for a cold, northern winter. Unknown to us, a lady from our church had taken it upon herself to shop at yard sales for sweaters and other warm clothes for our children. She arrived with several bags of clothes; in the bags were beautiful sweaters, coats, mittens, etc, for them to wear. What a blessing it was that this sweet lady was concerned enough to do something so kind for us. That winter, the kids had all they needed to stay warm.

Several years ago, I knew an abandoned single mom that was struggling to pay rent and keep food on the table for her three children. A couple decided they wanted to help by taking this young mother shopping every week to buy her groceries, diapers and formula. For a year and a half, this couple paid for her shopping until she no longer needed the help. Through this generous couple, help was given during a difficult time. What a blessing they were to someone in need.

We see an example of generosity toward others in 2 Corinthians, Chapter 8 by the Macedonian churches. “…Their extreme poverty welled up in rich generosity. For I testify that they gave as much as they were able, and even beyond their ability” (verses 2-3).  Verse 5 says that they gave themselves “first to the Lord.” In their giving, they wanted to serve the Lord.

In these bad economic times, there are many around us that need our help. Whether we offer that help in a monetary way or through the gift of time, there is something that each of us can do to help someone. Perhaps we can babysit for a single mother, cut an elderly person’s lawn, or find another way to volunteer. We might have the ability to buy groceries or give financially.

The Macedonians gave because they viewed it as a “privilege of sharing in this service to the saints,” (verse 3). To them, it was not a burden, but a joy to share. It should be ours, too. If you see someone in need today, consider it a privilege to help.

PRAYER: Lord, give me a heart that is willing to give to others. Help me to see that generosity toward others is a privilege and way to serve You.

BIBLE VERSE: “But just as you excel in everything–in faith, in speech, in knowledge, in complete earnestness and in your love for us–see that you also excel in this grace of giving” (2Corinthians 8:7).


January 12, 2020 by  
Filed under Daily Devotions, Life Topics

By Cheri Cowell –

Recently several high profile court cases played themselves out in the media. Emotions were high on both sides, and depending on which media outlet you listened to, when the verdict was pronounced, and justice had prevailed or had done a disservice. I wondered what it must feel like for the victims in each case, and what it must feel like to the accused when the jury finds them not guilty when they are, or guilty when they aren’t. It is difficult to imagine a verdict that is truly just.

According to Scripture, all of us are guilty of sin and deserve the penalty of eternal separation from God. The verdict is in. The judge has pronounced us “guilty as charged,” yet the verdict is not the last word. Jesus Christ is the last word, and His Word changes everything.

As our scripture clearly states, the verdict reads guilty as charged, but the judgment reads justified. In essence, all charges are removed from our records as if they were never there. Legally, it is as if we had never been accused. Our sins are forgiven, our slate wiped clean. Not because of anything we have done, but because of the grace and mercy of the Judge.

AUTHOR QUOTE: Imagine you are standing before the Judge and He has a list of every wrong you ever did, every sin you committed. You know you are guilty, but instead of pronouncing the obvious, you hear these words, “The Defendant is Free.”

BIBLE VERSE: “…for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus” (Romans 3:23-24 NIV).

Patience at the Pumps

January 3, 2020 by  
Filed under Daily Devotions, Life Topics

By Jarrod Spencer –

What will a guy do to save a little at the gas pumps?

I know what this guy will do; he will endure the worst gas pump situation ever to save 12 cents per gallon.

We were on our way home from a vacation and needed to fill up with gasoline. I noticed that most of the gas stations had raised their prices, except for one. The price difference was great enough to cause me to stop there.

The station appeared quite reputable – company, appearance, etc. The problem: the gas pump halted with every 10 – 15 cents worth of gas that I pumped.

I pulled the handle; it ran for a few seconds, then clicked to a stop. I adjusted the angle of the pump. Agin. Pull. Run. Stop. Readjust angle. Pull again – same result. Pull. Stop. Pull. Stop.

After approximately 30 stops, resulting in only $3.00 worth of gasoline, I thought it was the individual pump. I went in to pay my $3.00 and explained that I was moving to another. Different pump, but the exact same result.

I wish I knew how much time I spent at that gas station. It took a lot of patience for me and my family. We finally surrendered once I thought I had enough gasoline to make it home. When I paid, I told the manager that I would probably never come back again, due to this enormous inconvenience. I wasn’t mad at the company, just those particular gas pumps.

As I tried to find the perfect balance of trigger flow and pump angle, I couldn’t help but laugh in the middle of my frustration. It taught me to be patient, especially when situations are outside of my control.

This is something I learned, once again, as I struggled to be patient at the pumps.

PRAYER: Father, there are virtues in life that I want, but would rather not go through the effort to improve them. Patience is one such virtue, and I need it often. May moments like these strengthen my virtue of patience. Stay with me and guide me in this education process.

BIBLE VERSE: “Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience” (Colossians 3:12 NIV).

A Life beyond Nonsense

December 23, 2019 by  
Filed under Daily Devotions, Life Topics

By Peter Lundell –

On Wednesday, July 27, 2011, a giant among Christians died of old age after a tremendously fruitful life. John Stott was an unassuming English pastor and scholar who wrote fifty books, mesmerized people with his preaching, and was one of the main influencers of how evangelical leaders, missionaries, and most believers understand and act on what the Bible tells us. He embraced, taught, and led Christians worldwide. His impact infinitely surpassed his fame. And that was fine with him.

After he died, AOL news carried typical headline stories like, “Princess Kate Wears the Same Dress Twice,” “Hollywood Starlet Shows off Curves in New Bikini,” “Watch What Happens When Man Encounters Dog—Shocking!” And the only death they were interested in was that of a troubled rock star.

Yet many large newspapers had the intelligence to run articles on John Stott, describing how he led the rise of global evangelism. In God’s eyes, nothing is more important than that.

Unlike reputable news sources, the superficial “news” on many Internet and other media outlets ignores that which is substantive in favor of that which is titillating. It’s always before our eyes, and it never stops.

So it’s left to each of us to purposely look beyond the nonsense and seek what’s truly meaningful and important. What’s meaningful and important are found in eternal realities and how they affect the lives we live.

I encourage you to deliberately go against the current, all the time. When you deliberately practice ignoring nonsense and seeking substance, you may be surprised at how distinctive you become.

PRAYER: “Lord, may I not succumb to the relentless nonsense that fills this world. Give me vision to see what is truly important and eternal. I chose to live distinctively as a follower of Christ.”

BIBLE VERSE: “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will find it. What good will it be for a man if he gains the whole world, yet forfeits his soul? Or what can a man give in exchange for his soul? For the Son of Man is going to come in his Father’s glory with his angels, and then he will reward each person according to what he has done” Matthew 16:24–27 NIV).

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