How’s Your Memory?

February 18, 2021 by  
Filed under Daily Devotions, Life Topics

By Rosemary Flaaten –

My personality is such that I tend to live in the moment and dream of the future. I enjoy the friendships of today and am always on the lookout for my next best friend. I revel in that which I’m presently engrossed as well as the opportunities before me.

Unfortunately, my memory of the past is less robust. I have a general recollection of events or people, but details of the past all too often don’t stick to my memory board.

A weak memory muscle can be beneficial. I’m also likely to forget the details of stressful situations or strained relationships and the times I felt embarrassed or ashamed quickly fade. I probably won’t remember people I met who I didn’t like or who brushed me off. The past, rather than remaining detail specific, tends to get put into the blender of my mind and gets chopped up and mixed together.

Thankfully though, I’m also aware that this is a weakness and the negative effect it has on me. I have come to realize that the most acute danger is forgetting the blessings bestowed by God into my life. The Psalmist David directs us to “Praise the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits. (Psalm 103:2 NIV). We are directed to remember every single blessing that God has given us.

For a memory–challenged person like me, this presents a real test that requires discipline. Choosing to start each prayer with thanksgiving helps me focus, even just for a brief second, on the faithfulness of God. Every day I choose to reflect on the multitude of ways God has evidenced His goodness to me. God’s unending grace and love is a blessing that must remain in the forefront of my gratitude. I keep a journal that chronicles the details of what I have learned from the Holy Spirit and Scripture. I daily exercise my ability to recall.

PRAYER: Lord, help me to remember Your faithfulness and out of these memories, may gratitude and praise flow freely.

“Yet this I call to mind and there I have hope: Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for His compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is Thy faithfulness” (Lamentations 3:21 NIV).

Holiness: A Listening Heart

February 17, 2021 by  
Filed under Daily Devotions, Worship

By Carin LeRoy –

Ernest Hemingway once said, “I like to listen. I have learned a great deal from listening carefully. Most people never listen.” Although his life ended in tragedy, as a journalist he recognized the importance of a skill that many of us lack.

Sometimes when my family speaks to me, I realize I didn’t hear what they said because I wasn’t paying attention. How many of us go through seminars, meetings and church services and then can’t remember all that was said because we weren’t engaged mentally? Listening is a skill we all need to improve.

As we continue to learn what a holy life is, another aspect is having a heart that desires to know more and a willingness to listen to God’s instruction. In Luke 10, Mary is a great example of a listening heart. While Jesus was visiting at their home, she chose to sit and listen to Him speak. Martha, on the other hand, was too busy to stop her activity and spend time with Him. She missed out on what God was teaching because she was “too busy.”

How many times do we do the same? Even though Martha was doing good (fixing food for all the guests), God still said, “Mary has chosen what is better.” Mary placed importance on spending time with God. Mary listened because Jesus was speaking, and she knew to listen.

Having a listening heart means we have a desire to learn from and obey God. He wants the best for us but cannot give it if we are distracted or placing more importance on other things

Proverbs 1 says, “whoever listens to me will live in safety and be at ease without fear of harm.” Remember, God has our best interest in mind if we can develop a heart that listens.

PRAYER: Thank You that Your words are truth for my life. Give me a willing and focused heart to hear You when you speak.

“How blessed are those whose actions are blameless, who obey the law of the Lord. How blessed are those who observe his rules, and seek him with all their heart, who, moreover, do no wrong,
but follow in his footsteps. You demand that your precepts be carefully kept. If only I were predisposed to keep your statutes! Then I would not be ashamed, if I were focused on all your commands” (Psalm 119: 1-6 NET).

Unified

February 15, 2021 by  
Filed under Daily Devotions, Personal Growth

By Donna McCrary –

“Get out your Hymnals and turn to page 52 and let’s sing Victory in Jesus,” the man at the front of the crowd announced. His comment was met with a quiet chuckle as everyone in their Sunday best gathered around the side of the river bank for their spring baptism. In unison the crowd’s voices harmonized the lyrics of the song. Without missing a word, I quietly joined the crowd. This song was a favorite in the church that I grew up in. The quaint church I was visiting is very similar to the one from my childhood, wooden pews, hymnals, family oriented, traditional.

As each believer waded into the chilly water proclaiming their new life in Christ I was moved to tears by their heart and passion. From young to old they were sharing their excitement and freedom in Christ. I looked at my husband and whispered, “Unified”. He responded with a smiled and a quiet, “Yes”.

Unified was the name of the band that just rocked the house at our current church. By rocked, I mean flashing lights, thumping drums, smoke machines and a crowd jumping as they raised their hands in praise. The music is not the only difference in the two methods of worship, but one word continued to invade my thoughts – unified.

God’s Word says in 1 Corinthians 12:13, “For we are all baptized by one Spirit into one body – whether Jews or Greeks, slave or free- and we were all given the one Spirit to drink.” We are unified as the body of Christ – the church.

We are united by our faith in Jesus Christ birth, life and death on the cross. We are united by the Holy Spirit that lives inside of us. We are united by an eternal destination in heaven. There are so many things that unite us as a body of believers.

Would the world see the church in a different light if we started living as a unified body of Christ followers?

Just asking…

PRAYER: “Thank you God for Your Spirit. May a deep passion and desire begin in me to stand united in the truth of Your Word with other believers so others will know You. ”

“My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in Me through their message, that all of them may be one, Father, just as You are in Me and I am in You. May they also be in Us so that the world may believe that You have sent Me. I have given them the glory that You gave Me, that they may be one as We are one: I in them and You in Me. May they be brought to complete unity to let the world know that You sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me” (John 17:20-23 NIV).

No Bingo in June

February 12, 2021 by  
Filed under Daily Devotions, Family

By Hally Franz –

Did you ever wonder how much money is spent on weddings each year? More precisely, have you pondered how much is spent during the month of June on weddings? I don’t have the answers, but we all know it’s a chunk of change. Weddings are big business!

There are the dresses, the décor, the music and the venues. There are meals, pictures, attendant gifts, flowers and party favors. Some weddings include themes, and some even become part of reality television. While current trends in weddings may be a retailer’s dream, I hope that this year’s June weddings fill life-long dreams for the couples who walk down the aisle (or, the beach, brick road or garden path).

I know a very special June bride. She is the daughter of a dear friend, and she was a great babysitter for my children when they were small. In fact, my 10-year-old daughter, Rosaline, has been asked to be a junior bridesmaid for Jessica, and she is super excited. We had a shower for Jess a few weeks ago. I was remembering the shower, and it occurred to me that there is a certain discord in one of the games that we played that day. I called it Bridal Bingo.

Bingo is a game of chance. It requires no work, preparation or special set of skills or characteristics. Isn’t that the reverse of marriage! Successful marriage is very much related to the work that the partners put into it. And, most definitely, there should be some preparations made prior to the wedding day. Aside from the actual planning of the event, couples must prepare by talking through issues they’ll face as a married couple. They should consider the lifestyle they want for their family including where they will live and worship, whether they will have or adopt children, work and leisure questions, and a host of other concerns. Addressing those topics takes time and energy. Aside from work and planning, successful marriages are built by two partners who demonstrate maturity, generosity, kindness and caring toward one another. Marriage isn’t for the poorly prepared or ill-tempered.

No, indeed! Weddings may be big business, but marriages ought not to be risky business. As for my special June bride, I have every confidence that she and her husband-to-be have taken time to lay a foundation for a successful marriage, as well as an awesome wedding day.

PRAYER: Merciful and Mighty Father, bless this year’s brides and grooms with the qualities of wisdom and kindness, commitment and caring as they begin their lives together, so that their unions may bring honor and glory to You.

“With all lowliness and gentleness, with longsuffering, bearing with one another in love, endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace” (Ephesians 4:2-3 NKJV).

Sky Mall and the Things We Buy

February 10, 2021 by  
Filed under Daily Devotions, Humorous

By Peter Lundell –

On a recent flight I browsed the Sky Mall catalog, which exists to showcase things every satisfied person ought to have. My favorites:

A showerhead that lights up with different colors, which “can feel as enjoyable and relaxing as being in a spa.” Oh, really?

A toilet seat with a sensor that automatically raises and lowers the seat and lid, because “some men have a hard time remembering to put the toilet seat down after use.” Humph. Men.

The world’s largest CD storage towers that can hold my “2,262 CDs” or “936 DVDs.” But there are only 365 days in a year.                                                                                                                            

A cherry wood luxury showcase for my “24 watches. Over 4 million sold world-wide.” Guess I should have one too—after I buy another 23 watches.

A portable staircase to help my older dog get onto its favorite bed or sofa. (So I don’t have to lift my pet.) Lucky me.

Then there are the skeleton gnomes (midget skeletons with red caps), along with statuary of zombies, and replicas of King Tut’s Egyptian Throne and the Peeing Boy of Brussels. How inspiring.

Oh, how happy I would be if I owned all these things. How happy many people seem to think they will be.

By design, our consumer culture keeps adults thinking and buying like insatiable children.

Then Jesus comes along and tells us to give things up, even our lives. Who would want to follow Him? Seriously, Jesus is not attractive to materialists—which is one reason so many reconfigure Jesus as a palatable religious icon in their own image.

Yet the human heart—whatever it believes—still yearns for something deeper and more enduring. No one can adequately fill the vacuum inside it except the God who put it there in the first place.

So, how filled is your vacuum?

PRAYER: Lord, keep my heart on Your Kingdom, my eyes on the unseen, my mind on the eternal. And let me not be seduced by the allure of possessions.

“If you want to be perfect, go, sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me” (Matthew 19:21 NIV).

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