Losing Fear

By Jarrod Spencer –

It lurks around, a g-force, always present and more powerful than gravity, keeping you down. It is fear. It lurks even in the daylight. It doesn’t have to jump out to scare you anymore; you’re already past that point. You know it is there. It has encompassed you to the point that you think about it throughout the day.

What causes this fear for you? Would you like to be free of that fear? Would you like to be fearless?

To identify the possible fears that many people share would be a writing that would be way too long. But, all fears have similarities. They consume. They errode common sense thinking.

Jesus’ followers also were afraid when the storm came while they were on the water. They exclaimed in panic, “Lord save us!” Similarly, in a loud voice, since it was in the midst of the storm, Jesus replied, “Why are you afraid, you of little faith?!”

In the midst of your storms, times of panic, or times of desperation Jesus is calling these same words out to you.

Perhaps we can use this section of text to help us conquer our own fears. First, make a list to identify your fears. Writing them down may make it easier to visualize, which may make it easier to confront and overcome.

Secondly, remember that as the thunder roars, Jesus snores. Imagine trying to sleep on a hammock while it was being tossed back and forth. I don’t know if the storm was that rough, but Jesus was able to sleep in the midst of it. I find value in the fact that He was able to sleep, which should bring peace to me in my storms, knowing that I can “sleep” as well.

Thirdly, you’re not just a “number.” We are so valuable to God that He knows the numbers of hairs on our head and our worth is greater than the sparrow (Matthew 10:31). God finds so much value in you that He gave up His son for you.

Finally, Jesus is always available. He is on call “24/7”. So, “do not let your hearts be troubled” (John 14:1-3) and take advantage of that availability whenever you feel fear weighing you down.

PRAYER: Father, thank You for calming the storms in my life.

BIBLE VERSE: “Then he got into the boat and his disciples followed him. Suddenly a furious storm came up on the lake, so that the waves swept over the boat. But Jesus was sleeping. The disciples went and woke him, saying, “Lord, save us! We’re going to drown!” He replied, “You of little faith, why are you so afraid?” Then he got up and rebuked the winds and the waves, and it was completely calm. The men were amazed and asked, “What kind of man is this? Even the winds and the waves obey him!” (Matthew 8:23-25 NIV).

Gettin’ Schooled on Faith

June 29, 2020 by  
Filed under Daily Devotions, Family

By Hally Franz –

I am now down to one semester left. My baby boy, my eldest child is one semester away from completing elementary school. We have been tormented by a big decision for several months. While he has attended a wonderful Christian school since kindergarten, that school goes no further, and we must now determine where he will go to high school.

My husband and I have spoken with our son about this numerous times, but I think both the males in my life have become exhausted by my examination of the problem. By now, I think they’ve checked out and are leaving it up to me.

There is so much to consider. Do we go public or private? What’s the distance from home, how much will tuition and gas cost, are there extra-curricular options, and which school has the best quality of education? Where do his friends attend? Will he resist peer pressure, and what about a Christian environment?

Recently, a good friend of mine gave me a pocket-sized spiral notebook. We had been talking about the habit of memorizing scripture, and I commented that I needed to make that a priority. So, she had written a few of her favorites in the notebook and given it to me for my own. I began writing verses I liked a few months ago, and I revisited these today in a few minutes of study.

I came across one that I had written from the Book of Joshua. It was just the one that I needed to be reminded of now that I am in the midst of this school decision. Isn’t it funny how God has a way of doing that? He brings us the piece of information we need when we need it, if we take the time to ask. Sometimes, my minister seems to be talking directly to me, because his messages seem so timely. He may not be aware of it, but our God is.

We parents have to invest time and energy into the decisions we make about our children. We must take our jobs seriously. However, we can also be assured that God is working with us. We’re not alone in our parenting efforts, nor are our children ever alone, either. Even if I’m unsure about my son’s high school, I know this to be true, because the Bible tells me so.

PRAYER: Heavenly Father, guide my children’s steps wherever they may go each day. Be my partner in parenting, so that these children will grow to be servants of You.

BIBLE VERSE: “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go.” (Joshua 1:9).

Super Christian Status

June 25, 2020 by  
Filed under Daily Devotions, Humorous

By Donna McCrary –

This is the year! The right time for a clean slate, a fresh beginning, a “re-do” on all the failed attempts from last year at reaching my most desired accomplishment – Super Christian status.

Go ahead. Join me in my fist-pumping-face-smacking-pep-rally as I set my sights on this amazing accomplishment. I know I can do this! I have reviewed and updated my failed action items list from last year. I made it more realistic and added a few activities that will definitely secure my nomination for Super Christian status. One final review as the new year approaches:

Read through the Bible in a year
Get up before the rooster crows to spend thirty minutes praying for my needs, desires, the sick and dying
Attend a weekly small group on Sunday morning and Wednesday night
Attend worship on Sunday morning and evening
Attend a women’s conference mid-year for a pick me up
Volunteer for VBS, two mission trips, choir, and Ladies Night Coordinator
I will leave salvation tracts on the table for my waitress (this should confirm my nomination)

Super Christian Award you are all mine this year!!

It’s sad to admit, but this was me several years ago. As a Life Coach, I appreciate the value of setting goals and taking action. But for me, the Super Christian status became more valuable than the Most Valuable. I was putting more emphasis on the action items than on the One I was doing the action for. I was wrapped up in the mentality of checking it off the list.

Last year, when I was reviewing and preparing for my fist-pumping-face-smacking-pep-rally I realized how much focus I had placed on “religious activities.” I was becoming a modern-day Pharisee. I went through the emotions and actions of being a Christian but I didn’t have a relationship with Christ.

This realization gave me new direction. I put my goals and action items aside. Don’t get me wrong! I still attended worship, read my Bible, and prayed, but I didn’t check it off as a strategic action item when I finished. I simply enjoyed the moments spent with my Father! I discovered I didn’t need an action plan to reach Super Christian status, because now I deeply desire to experience the One that loves me and that alone drives all the necessary action steps.

PRAYER: “God, forgive me for making my goals and aspirations my god. Help me this year to spend time with You so I can experience Your love and friendship daily.”

BIBLE VERSE: “This is what the Lord says: The wise must not boast in his wisdom; the mighty must not boast in his might; the rich must not boast in his riches. But the one who boasts should boast in this, that he understands and knows ME- that I am the Lord, showing faithful love, justice, and righteousness on the earth, for I delight in these things. [This is] the Lords’ declaration.” (Jeremiah 9:23-24)

Oil For Our Lamps

June 22, 2020 by  
Filed under Daily Devotions, Life Topics

By Cheri Cowell –

Did you know the Bible has a lot to say about procrastination? Like millions of people, as the year begins I set goals for the New Year. I must admit, however, I am bitten by the after Christmas blues, or as some might call them, the having difficulty getting back into the swing of things blues. I easily find ways to put things off, delay acting, and as Webster so harshly nails it on the head, I am negligent. Ouch! So, I decided to go to God’s Word to get a jump-start, or maybe a kick in my pants.

If you need one too, read the Bible verse for today.

In this parable, we get a clear picture of the results of consistent procrastination. It was customary on the wedding day for the bridegroom to go to the bride’s house for the ceremony. Then bride and groom, along with the processional of family and friends, would return to the groom’s house for a feast or banquet, which sometimes lasted a week.

Also of note, Jesus often referred to the gift of the Holy Spirit as oil. When I reread this parable with this information, I began to see how my procrastination was a result of leaning on my own abilities, gifts, and initiative. Instead, if I fill my lamp with His oil, and my spirit with The Spirit and lean on Him to lead my way, the procrastination will turn into productivity. What a great lesson to begin the New Year.

PRAYER: God, show me what You might want me to learn today about procrastination. Thank You for understanding my tendency to procrastinate. Help me to lean more upon You and less upon my own abilities, gifts, and initiative and more on Your Holy Spirit.

BIBLE VERSE: “Then the kingdom of heaven will be comparable to ten virgins, who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom. Five of them were foolish, and five were prudent. For when the foolish took their lamps, they took no oil with them, but the prudent took oil in flasks along with their lamps” (Matthew 25:1-5 read through 13 for whole parable. NASB).

Seeing through Trees

June 20, 2020 by  
Filed under Daily Devotions, Worship

By Peter Lundell –

Paralleling my mother’s apartment is a thick stand of trees. Summer grows an impenetrable green. Autumn drops the leaves to uncover winter skeletons of branches through which I see all houses on the other side. Spring buds restart the cycle.

The cycle helps me overcome temptation. Through the sameness of daily life and annual events, I’m tempted to feel a sense of permanence, as if the people I know will always be there and the things I do, I will continue to do. But behind the appearance of sameness lurks an ending. Always.

Children feel as if their parents will always be there to watch over them. Adults feel as if they’ll go to work at the same place for eternity. Meeting relatives or old friends feels as if they’ll always be there next season, and that I will too. For thousands of years people have probably felt the same way. But there always lurks an ending.

Most of us prefer permanence and sameness to change. We like familiar, predictable, and comfortable. But permanence and sameness are temporary, even illusory. So I’ve started to resist that sense of permanence, the feeling of sameness. To do so, I must willfully embrace change and accept that no one and nothing will be around forever.

And when I do that, I live better.

A sense of permanence and sameness lulls a person into a daze that can cloud life for decades. Change and the cycles of life are often challenging or agonizing. But embracing change—as Ecclesiastes 3:1 says, “There is a time for everything”—prepares us for the difficulties.

And that wakes us up to live more fully here and now. Our hearts embrace and our minds understand God’s hand in life.

And our eyes just might discover our path into eternity.

PRAYER: “Father, open my eyes to see through the things in my life that seem so permanent, so the same. Enable me to see beyond them, where You will take me. I trust You to enable me to face whatever I must.”

BIBLE VERSE: “Teach us to number our days aright, that we may gain a heart of wisdom” (Psalm 90:12, NIV).

« Previous PageNext Page »