My Weakness is His Strength

September 10, 2020 by  
Filed under Daily Devotions, Personal Growth

By Donna McCrary –

“Mom, why are you crying? What is wrong with your voice?” These are not the words I wanted to hear as I exited the church platform.

It was a simple invitation to an upcoming women’s event at my church – a basic two minute date-time-and-place announcement. As I sat down at my seat my daughter’s innocent questions only added more injury to my already crushed speaking ego. I was nervous and overwhelmed with panic during the two minute announcement. My face was flush with a red glow from the “flight or fight” adrenaline rush. I was positive my pounding heart echoed over my cracking voice. Yes, it was that bad! Once I regained my composure and my breath, I made a silent vow to never again hear my voice crackling across any sound system.

Normally, I choose not to re-visit this awkward moment in my speaking career but today as I read this verse I chuckled. “But he (Jesus) said to me, My grace is sufficient for you, for My power is made perfect in weakness” (2 Corinthians 2:9). I have a weakness. My flight response is much stronger than my fight when it comes to standing on a stage. Public speaking is one of the highest ranking fears and I second that motion!

I have kept my vow to never hear my quivering voice over any loud speaker again. It has taken many days on my knees claiming every “fear not” and “speak boldly” scripture I can find to overcome this fear. To be truly honest, when I take my place on stage before any speaking event I am still the red-faced-heart-pounding-quivering-voice person. The difference is I now accept my weakness and allow the Holy Spirit to speak through me. I am always amazed at how nervous I feel right up to the moment when I am handed a microphone. Then and only then do I feel the calming Spirit settle my nerves.

After speaking events and retreats when individuals from the audience share compliments like, “You are natural on stage,” “You have such a way with words,” “You are a great speaker,” I graciously and humbly say thank you. I know my biggest weakness has become one of my favorite strengths because Christ’s “power has been made perfect in me.”

PRAYER: “Father, I thank You for creating me with weakness so I can fully comprehend Your strength and power. May You always be visible in my words and actions, both on and off the stage.”

“But He said to me, My grace is sufficient for you, for My power is made perfect in weakness” (2 Corinthians 12:9 NLT).

Waging War on Immorality

September 9, 2020 by  
Filed under Daily Devotions, Family

By Hally Franz –

“War Horse” is Steven Spielberg’s recent movie. It is based on Michael Morpurgo’s young adult novel by the same name. Set during World War I, the movie tells the story of a miraculous horse and the boy who raised him. My family saw the movie shortly after the new year began, and we ranked it among other really fine horse movies. Have you ever noticed that there are some awesome movies about horses and football? “Secretariat”, “Dreamer”, “Rudy”, “Remember the Titans” and “Facing the Giants” – good flicks!

This is not a movie review, but seeing “War Horse” did make me realize how very accustomed we are to seeing sights of war. Both of my children, ages 14 and 10, quickly recognize battles from The Civil War, The Revolutionary War or World War II. My son is able to determine from the garb and weapons whether he’s seeing a scene from Korea, Vietnam or Iraq. Most kids can. This is because the images are so prevalent in our movies and media today.

It may not be a bad thing that kids see these scenes from history. They represent the truth of our country and are more meaningful than the graphic violence that is depicted on television nightly. However, it would be nice if our youth were also able to see images of people doing battle with internal forces of evil.

Would they be able to identify a person in crisis? Would our kids know what it looks like when human beings face difficult choices between right and wrong, good and evil? There don’t seem to be many of those situations on TV. Sitcoms are filled with characters who exhibit very little moral character. Questions of right and wrong seem not to be on their radar at all. Characters portray lifestyles involving sex without love or marriage, as well as drug and alcohol use. Consequences or consciences rarely come into consideration. “Reality” shows are just as bad.

Nightly viewing once included dramas like “The Waltons” and “Highway to Heaven”. Comedies were clever and kind, rather than uncreative and crass. While today, people behaving badly can gain celebrity status through reality programming, variety shows once highlighted the real talents of big name celebrities.

There are some exceptions, and, at the risk of sounding terribly old, I am grateful for the stations now running television classics and the few networks geared toward family viewing.

PRAYER: Almighty God, illuminate for our children the struggles they may encounter as they live in this sinful world. While the world provides little instruction, enable them to face the battles between good and evil, right and wrong with wisdom and discernment.

“Everyone has heard about your obedience, so I rejoice because of you; but I want you to be wise about what is good, and innocent about what is evil.” (Romans 16:19).

Vulnerable to Love

September 5, 2020 by  
Filed under Daily Devotions, Humorous

By Cheri Cowell –

If you are alive on this planet, there is a good chance you have been betrayed at least once in your life. If we count all the little betrayals, or instances of being treated unfairly, I am sure you would be unable to count them on your fingers and toes. A common reaction from teens I’ve counseled over the years is to say, “I’m just never going to let someone do that to me again.” And so they wall themselves off, believing that if they never let someone get close to them again, then they can protect their hearts. I’m afraid that we, as adults, do the same thing. Although we’re much more sophisticated about it, many of us have decided that being vulnerable makes us targets so we put up walls, act tough, and back away when intimacy is required.

But God has shown us a better way.

For God so loved…He gave. He gave knowing we would reject. He gave knowing we would not believe. He gave in spite of our sin. He gave knowing one of His own would betray and another would deny even knowing Him. He gave until He bled. He gave until it was gone. He gave it all so we might have it all. He gave so we might know how to give and how to love. He was vulnerable to love and that is what it means to love. Yes, we will be hurt, but it is also the only way we will ever know the depth of true love.

So, every time someone annoys you today, every time a driver cuts you off or someone makes a nasty comment, every time you remember the pain someone has caused you—say to yourself, “For God so loved the world…He gave.” Then act in accordance with that love.

PRAYER I thank You, Lord, for giving when You knew it would cost you everything. Help me to focus more on the giving of love and less on how much it will cost me. Help me to be vulnerable enough to experience the true depth of love.

“This is how much God loved the world: He gave his Son, his one and only Son. And this is why: so that no one need be destroyed; by believing in him, anyone can have a whole and lasting life. God didn’t go to all the trouble of sending his Son merely to point an accusing finger, telling the world how bad it was. He came to help, to put the world right again. Anyone who trusts in him is acquitted; anyone who refuses to trust him has long since been under the death sentence without knowing it. And why? Because of that person’s failure to believe in the one-of-a-kind Son of God when introduced to him” (John 3:16-17 The Message).

Big Ship, Small Helm

September 4, 2020 by  
Filed under Daily Devotions, Life Topics

By Peter Lundell –

Picture yourself on a cruise ship three football fields long, that weighs 137,308 gross tons, and carries 5020 passengers and crew—a floating city.

A window looks onto the control room of this behemoth. In the center is a high-tech control console and, like every large boat, it also has a helm with a wheel to steer the ship manually. I could hardly believe what I saw; the wheel that turns this monster ship is barely 12 inches in diameter—smaller than the one on your car. Yes, it’s power steering. And the captain used it to steer the ship through coral reefs off the shore of Bermuda.

When I look around, I see small things that direct huge things. Electronic chips control cars and planes. Leaders direct national governments and international corporations. Your three-pound brain directs rest of your body.

In James 3:3–12, it tells how a small rudder steers a ship, a bit in a horse’s mouth directs it, and a spark sets a forest on fire. He writes how our tongues can praise God or curse people. The tongue can express great good or cause great harm.

Small things direct big things. Sometimes seemingly small decisions or habits can result in life-changing directions or influence on others, both for good or bad. Have you made a seemingly small decision, a seemingly small mistake, or practiced a seemingly small habit or discipline that led to big results? Have you ever said something that caused another person great joy or great pain?

A small wheel steers a big ship. It’s also true with your tongue, your money, your relationships, your career, and with your salvation and eternal life.

Remember the bigness of small things.

PRAYER: Lord, keep me mindful of small things that direct big things. May I always remember. And may I always be wise.

“When we put bits into the mouths of horses to make them obey us, we can turn the whole animal. Or take ships as an example. Although they are so large and are driven by strong winds, they are steered by a very small rudder wherever the pilot wants to go. Likewise the tongue is a small part of the body, but it makes great boasts. Consider what a great forest is set on fire by a small spark” (James 3:3–5, NIV).

Who’s Listening?

September 2, 2020 by  
Filed under Daily Devotions, Worship

By Rosemary Flaaten  –

Listening for God’s voice sometimes feels like searching for the proverbial needle in a haystack. We’ve been told He’s out there. We may even experienced His work in our lives, but at times, when we desire a direct answer on an important matter, the phone line to heaven seems to be out of order. We quickly assume that the trouble is on God’s end. We’re looking for His help. We’re all ears.

But are we? What does it really mean to hear from God?

I have a daughter who loves to talk. She communicates brilliantly about the details of her day. The problem is not in her speaking but in my lagging ability to listen. As my daughter talks, my mind ends up on rabbit trails and before I can stop myself, I have that far-away gaze. She knows she has lost me. To be truly attentive to her, I have to stop talking and stop thinking about what I’m going to say next or how I can correct or encourage her. I have to put aside my agenda, and simply listen.

When it comes to connecting with God, I’m just like my daughter. I like to talk to God and tell Him all about what I did, what I am desiring and what He should do about it. The breakdown in our communication lies not my unwillingness to talk. Nor does His mind wander when I’m talking to Him. God is present and listening.

The breakdown in our communication is not God’s inability, or unwillingness, to speak but rather my construed expectations of how He ought to interact with me. I long to have Him appear in a burning bush or send writing on the wall or even sit face to face like He did with His disciples. It seldom happens this way. God communes with us at the spiritual level. His Spirit speaks to our hearts and minds not in an audible voice but through the awakening of our mind and heart to His movement in our lives. This demands stillness and intimacy.

PRAYER: O Lord, teach me to recognize the gentle movement of Your whisper.

“When you call on me, when you come and pray to me, I’ll listen. When you come looking for me, you’ll find me. Yes, when you get serious about finding me and want it more than anything else, I’ll make sure you’re not disappointed” (Jeremiah 29:12-14 MSG).

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