One Good Turn Deserves a Chihuahua Bite

October 11, 2021 by  
Filed under Daily Devotions, Personal Growth

By Hally Franz –

One recent rainy day I headed home after taking my kids to school, and crossed paths with my friend at our subdivision’s entrance. She was on her way out, but had stopped for a wet and ragged canine in the middle of the street. The little guy wasn’t budging, and she was on a schedule, so I agreed to take him and try to return him to his owner.

His build and form were that of a Chihuahua. I scooped up his sopping, shivering body and returned home. Once home, I checked his tags and secured him in a warm kennel. Recognizing the name on the tags (a benefit of life in a small town), I started making calls. It turned out that “Paco” had changed owners, and the tags didn’t reflect the new owner information – a slight complication.

As the morning progressed, I released Paco for a potty break. After a lap or two around the yard, I turned to find the dog morsel nowhere in sight. Panicking, I called for him and discovered Paco at my back door. By now, though, Paco was not as cold and vulnerable, and his saucy nature had surfaced. When I attempted to pick him up, he spun around and bit me squarely on the hand. Paco was now testing my patience!

The rest of the day included veterinarian calls to ensure Paco’s shots were current, another disappearing act on his part, more yelling and searching in the rain, and an eventual safe return home for my feisty friend. While Paco didn’t make my day pleasant, I was glad things turned out okay for him and his owner.

Sometimes helping animals and people isn’t easy. Sometimes, it isn’t appreciated. There are times when those whom we reach out to help, feed or simply give a preverbal lift, return the favor by biting us in the hand. Like a child who ignores parental advice, some individuals make it hard for others to help them. They are unpleasant, ungrateful or unable to recognize what might be good for them.

God doesn’t tell us helping and serving others is easy. In fact, we know it often is not. Further, we often make it difficult for our Father to help us. Perhaps we should show grace to those who don’t readily and thankfully accept our gestures of goodwill. Certainly, the Lord has done the same for us.

PRAYER: Gracious God, instill in me the desire to serve others, and, in doing so, You, even when it is inconvenient and unnoticed, burdensome and without thanks. Inspire me to resist walking away when someone is in need, but be glad to help in the opportunities You provide.

“But do not forget to do good and to share, for with such sacrifices God is well pleased.” (Hebrews 13:16 NKJV).

The Blessing Bunch

October 4, 2021 by  
Filed under Daily Devotions, Personal Growth

By Cheri Cowell –

Henry Ward Beecher is quoted as saying “a proud man is seldom a grateful man because he never thinks he gets as much as he deserves”. I struggle with this on a daily basis. My personality is prone to the weakness of pride and I tend to agree with the Apostle Paul that although I know what I want to do, I can’t seem to do it (at least not all of the time). I’ve discovered that pride slips up when I feel unappreciated, unnoticed, overwhelmed, taken advantage of, and self-righteous. All of these are traits of a self-focused person.

Are you like me and need a remedy? If so, God has given us one.

He tells us we should get our eyes off of ourselves and onto our blessings. It is easy for us to let our feelings become hurt, our pride to take over, and for us to demand our own way. When I see that my eyes have moved to myself, I call to God to help me have a just view. He then gently shows me what I am without Him and who I am because of Him. I can then lift someone else up, knowing it won’t cost me, because God has given me my place with Him.

I recently read about a group of people who are called the Blessing Bunch. All of us are called to join this club. We are to turn our eyes from ourselves and on to others, blessing them because we’ve been so richly blessed.

“Love each other like brothers and sisters. Give each other more honor than you want for yourselves” (Romans 12:10 NCV).

PRAYER: Thank You, God, for helping me to take my eyes from myself and to place it on those whom You send my way today. Help me have a just view of myself and to take the oath to join the Blessing Bunch club today.

When Words Count

September 25, 2021 by  
Filed under Daily Devotions, Personal Growth

By Cheri Cowell –

Not too long ago, I went to help new friends move, even though I was really tired. I got there a little late for two reasons: 1) I knew there would be a lot of help, and 2) I really wasn’t looking forward to moving them into their two-story home. Did I mention I was already tired? When I arrived I discovered my first assumption was wrong. There were only a handful of helpers of which only two were men. As I got to work I began to feel somewhat ashamed of my tired outlook because those who had been there on time must have been tired too, yet they weren’t complaining. In fact, it was just the opposite. They were having a good time. I soon learned why everyone was so happy. My friends were so grateful for every box brought in, every piece of furniture that was put in its place, and every bed put together. They said thank you in so many ways, and gushed over our every effort so much so that it was hard not to feel appreciated.

There is a proverb that tells us how precious our words are. This proverb is thought to be referring to a sort of table centerpiece popular at this time. Golden balls were arranged in a handcrafted silver filigree basket that was probably very beautiful and valuable. What a wonderful word picture for what our words are to be: handcrafted (carefully crafted) silver filigree basket (a delicate container) filled with gold balls (a valued ornament or gift).

“The right word at the right time is like precious gold set in silver” (Proverbs 25:11 CEV).

PRAYER: God help me see each situation today as a filigree basket waiting to be filled with precious gold balls of uplifting and encouraging words.

A Thorough Housecleaning

September 16, 2021 by  
Filed under Daily Devotions, Personal Growth

By Rosemary Flaaten –

The mocha cheesecake had served its purpose. Our dinner guests had exclaimed about its silky texture and rich coffee and chocolate flavor. But now the last half sat on the third shelf of my refrigerator. Every time I opened the frig door it seemed to call my name and lure me in for just one more bite. By the end of the weekend, the majority of that cake had made its way from the third shelf onto my muffin top.

During this same weekend I was reading the book of Joshua where the Israelite’s fearsome leader gives his final charge. Joshua knew the Israelite’s propensity to allow their hearts to wander away from the true God and that they were at greatest risk of doing this by allowing the subtle infiltration and acceptance of other gods. His admonition? “Throw away the foreign gods that are among you and yield your hearts to the Lord, the God of Israel.” (Joshua 24:23)

I was quick to congratulate myself that I didn’t have any god statues in my house. But, as I licked the remaining crumb of cheesecake from the corner of my mouth, I was reminded that gods are anything we idolize and give our devotion. I had to admit that that cheesecake had a hold on me. That weekend I had given my devotion to a mixture of cream cheese, coffee and sugar and in doing so I had not upheld my commitment to God to eat healthily and disciplined.

So the choice lay before me. My frugal upbringing reasoned that it would be wasteful to throw out anything edible. “Keep it. Someone else in the family might want it”. But as I stood before the refrigerator, I knew I had to act on the Holy Spirit’s prompting from Joshua’s words, “Throw away the foreign gods among you.” Oh, the freedom my spirit felt when the last of that cheesecake made its way down the garbage disposal. It was gone and I was no longer held captive by an idol in my midst.

Do you have any idols that linger, pulling at your desire and causing you to stumble? Be ruthless. Nothing is worth taking the risk of allowing our hearts to be pulled away from our one true God. Do a thorough housecleaning today.

PRAYER: Help me to be strong and courageous to rout the idols from my life.

“But be very careful to keep the commandment and the law that Moses the servant of the Lord gave you: to love the Lord your God, to walk in obedience to him, to keep his commands, to hold fast to him and to serve him with all your heart and with all your soul” (Joshua 22:5 NIV)

Clean Desks

September 8, 2021 by  
Filed under Daily Devotions, Personal Growth

Cheri Cowell –

I was always a clean desk person. When I left work at the end of the day I liked leaving it clean and clear so the next day I would come in to a clean desk. Then I heard this little tip. Before leaving your desk for the day, start the next project. Just start it and leave it there on your desk where you left off. When you come back in the morning two things will happen. First, you will notice your brain has worked on the unfinished project while you slept. Second, you’ll know where to begin and will dive right in. This little tip has saved me from my clean-desk-self. God has another tip for the clean-deskers in the parable below.

The house is swept but not washed, and Christ has said, If I wash thee not, thou hast no part with me. The house must be washed, or it has none of Him. Sweeping takes off only the loose dirt, while the sin that besets the sinner is untouched. It is swept from the filth that lies open to the eye of the world, but it is not searched and ransacked for secret filthiness. Here is the note for clean deskers: unless the house is filled with the Holy Spirit and the graces the Spirit brings unclean spirits will simply move right back in.

PRAYER: God, help me to not simply clean my house, but wash it clean through the blood of Jesus. Fill my clean home with Your presence so there is no room left for anyone but You.

“When an impure spirit comes out of a person, it goes through arid places seeking rest and does not find it. Then it says, ‘I will return to the house I left.’ When it arrives, it finds the house swept clean and put in order. Then it goes and takes seven other spirits more wicked than itself, and they go in and live there. And the final condition of that person is worse than the first” (Luke 11:24-26 NIV).

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