The Perfect Stone

February 6, 2020 by  
Filed under Daily Devotions, Personal Growth

By Cheri Cowell –

Have you ever watched or participated in building a house? My husband and I own a cabin in the Tennessee mountains, a dream of ours for the first twenty years of our married life. It is on a rental program, so it isn’t like we are moving in next week, but it is still ours. We bought it while it was under construction so we saw it in its unfinished state. Then several months later we saw it in its final state with just the punch list of things to touch up. It is very gratifying to be a part of something in which you can see progress being made. Sometimes progress slows down or halts because a problem is found or something was not done right. In order for the house to stand when it is finished, it needs to be built correctly, each step of the way. God knows a lot about building a house and can show you how.

Stones were an important Old Testament symbol of God and the coming Messiah. The early church understood from this Stone the nation of Israel would rule forever, however, here the term ‘Living’ is added to remind them of the new understanding of the role of Christ the Messiah. The church is described as the new spiritual house, constructed of the living stones of believers who continue the role of priestly people declaring the wonderful works of God and offering our own lives as sacrifices.

PRAYER: God, I praise You for how You perfectly fulfill every detail of the Old Testament teachings. Thank You for being willing to be the capstone that was rejected. Help me stand as a solid rock You can build upon to further Your kingdom.

BIBLE VERSE: “As you come to him, the living Stone—rejected by humans but chosen by God and precious to him—you also, like living stones, are being built into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood, offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ” (1 Peter 2:4-5 NIV).

Striking a Balance

February 4, 2020 by  
Filed under Daily Devotions, Family

By Hally Franz –

Have you been accused of being a “helicopter mom”? I have – by my husband. I am not sure whether to feel complimented or assaulted. Since I like to look on the positive side of things, I am going with the idea that he was totally admiring my parenting style.

In caring for our kids, we moms often move handily through the roles of body guard, private investigator, personal tutor, fashion police, counselor and cop. Sometimes, we manage several of those in a single conversation!

Dads approach things a little differently. Most moms have horror stories about what’s happened when children have been left in dad’s charge. Children have been seen in public looking disheveled and in frightening wardrobe combinations. Homework folders have been left unchecked and schedules have gone awry. Scary scenarios! When I have challenged my husband’s level of supervision, he has shamelessly responded that “no one died.” He was right, of course, but that wasn’t exactly the standard I was hoping for.

Dads and moms have different perspectives on child-rearing. We protect and nurture our children differently. While moms may hold too tightly, dads may fail to attend to what their children are saying and doing. Perhaps that’s one reason children need two parents; we do parenting better when moms and dads balance and compliment one another.

Our Heavenly Father knows just how much guidance we need at any given time. He alone provides the perfect balance of protection over us, along with the freedom that allows us to respond or not to His desires for us. And, He will help us do the same as parents when we seek His counsel in prayer.

PRAYER: Heavenly Father, thank You for being the best parent. Thank You for knowing precisely how to protect, comfort, advise and convict us when needed. We pray that You will help parents as we seek to do likewise for the children You have blessed us with.

“But let all who take refuge in you be glad; let them ever sing for joy. Spread your protection over them, that those who love your name may rejoice in you” (Psalm5:11NIV).

Hysterical Society

February 2, 2020 by  
Filed under Daily Devotions, Humorous

By Cynthia Ruchti –

Our local historical society stays busy resurrecting bits of history, restoring ancient artifacts, and maintaining a charming museum that draws more traffic than one would think for a small town.

The walls and displays and collections in the museum reveal a past, now invisible.

At one time, along the jaundiced-sounding, but intriguing, Yellow River, flourished a loud, but productive, lumber industry. It was so many years ago that no one alive today has sawdust on their shoes. A significant pottery business thrived, too, sometime in history. Fire destroyed most of the two-story buildings in town, twice, if I remember correctly. And out here where I live, eight miles from town, another village existed with a railroad interchange, or so the story goes. There’s no evidence in the landscape or the neighborhood. We can’t even see a dent where railroad ties must have been. But the historical society knows. And they’ll get the details right.

Devoted to preserving historical accuracy, they’ll inform me who was mayor when the first fire raged and how many times the physical therapy building changed hands before its current use—from mechanic’s shop to general store to fabric shop (that one I remember) to—Was there something between the fabric shop and physical therapy?

The historical society could tell me.

As respected as are the members of the historical society, I’ve sometimes wondered how popular a hysterical society would be. They’d laugh hysterically over the antics of the locals. They’d tell hysterical stories about the time the semi-trailer full of cheese broke down outside of town and the community youth group saved the day by rewrapping the cheese, earning enough money to keep the ministry going for another few months.

The laughing kind of hysterical society would gain a quick reputation…for preserving and restoring old joy.

In the book of Proverbs, we’re reminded about God’s thoughts on laughter. “Laughter doeth good,” He said, “like medicine.”

“Laughter doeth” is a nice historical and hysterical way of putting it, isn’t it?

PRAYER: Lord God, I sometimes act as if serious thoughts are the only valuable thoughts. But You told us it’s not only good and worthwhile but medicinal, healing, to laugh. Forgive me for the times I pushed laughter aside as a waste of time. Help me recall the history of the hysterical You’ve woven throughout life and find ways to give others the gift of laughter.

“A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones” Proverbs 17:22, NIV.

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).

Lord, I Need Something Today

January 30, 2020 by  
Filed under Daily Devotions, Worship

By Susan Dollyhigh –

I prayed myself out of bed that morning. It seemed I’d existed on prayer for the past two years. A broken foot only forecasted the brokenness that was to follow. Broken marriage. Broken business. Broken finances. Broken me.

“I’m trying to hold on, Lord,” I prayed as I pulled on an old pair of jeans, “but I need You to give me something today.” I couldn’t believe I’d just prayed such a selfish prayer.

“I’m sorry, Lord. You have been my Sustainer. It’s just that I’m so weary, so worn out…”

I had an errand to run, so I drove downtown. As I parked my car, I saw Scottie walking towards me in typical fashion; head down, plaid, wool jacket hanging askew over slumped shoulders and worn-out tennis shoes shuffling under the tattered hem of brown polyester pants.

I stepped out of my car. “Hello, Scottie.”

“Got some money so I can get me some lunch?” Scottie mumbled.

“Where would you like to eat today?”

“Barney’s,” Scottie replied.

“Well, come on, we’ll go to Barney’s.” I slowed my pace to match Scottie’s as we walked the short distance to the sandwich shop.

I pulled the glass door open for Scottie to walk in. Scottie sat down at a table, removed the napkin wrapped around the silverware, gave it a shake and tucked it into the front of his wrinkled shirt.

I walked over to the waitress, “I’m buying Scottie’s lunch today.”

People in our town take care of Scottie, and I could tell the waitress had done this routine before.

“What can I get for you today, Scottie?” the waitress asked.

“Cheeseburger, French fries, and pop.”

The waitress walked back over to me. “He ordered his usual, it’s $5.00.”

I pulled a bill from my wallet, gave it to the waitress, and turned to leave. When I walked by Scottie, he stuck out his gnarly hand and took mine. “Thank you,” he said.

I squeezed his hand in return. “You are welcome, Scottie. God bless you.”

Tears filled my eyes, yet I felt my heart swell. Isn’t it just like our Father to bless us by allowing us to be a blessing to someone else?

I walked to my car with my heart full of praise and thanked God saying, I asked you to give me something today. I didn’t know what I needed or even what I was asking for, but You knew just what I needed and sent Scottie to bless my heart.

PRAYER: Lord, thank You for Your great love and compassions. They are new every morning. Great is Your faithfulness, Lord unto me.

BIBLE VERSE: “Because of the LORD’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness” (Lamentations 3:22-23 NIV).

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