Knock Knock

April 17, 2021 by  
Filed under Daily Devotions, Personal Growth

By Rosemary Flaaten –

When the Devil comes knocking at your door, simply say, “Jesus, could you get that for me?”

I smiled as I read this quote posted on my Facebook page. Boy is that good advice, but is it scriptural?

There are two passages that match the intent of this slogan. The first is Genesis 4:7 “But if you do not do what is right, sin is crouching at your door; it desires to have you, but you must master it.” The second is 1 Peter 5:8. “Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.”

Temptations abound and my ability to withstand my selfish desires or to dabble with sin does not have the best track record. Some days it feels like sin is incessantly ringing my doorbell. Each time, I am tempted to open the door. You know how hard it is to ignore a ringing doorbell. The urgent and repetitive ‘ding-dong’ eventually gets on one’s nerves. Out of frustration or a caving in of determination, I answer the door.

But what happens when I ask Jesus to answer the door? First, the ringing will stop because the Devil will flee. Scripture assures us that at the name of Jesus every knee will bow (Philippians 2:10) and all evil will dissipate (Luke 10:17) The devil and his evil cronies cannot stand being in the presence of Jesus. Even the mention of His name is enough to win the battle. Imagine if Jesus were the One to fling the door open and adamantly say “GET LOST!!” Can’t you see those demons tripping over themselves to flee the presence of the Holy One.

On the other hand, if I answer the doorbell of temptation, I am apt to try and negotiate or rationalize or just simply hear them out. My intentions may be good but all too easily I can be talked into entertaining the idea, and before I know it, sin has entered my life. Now I am in even greater danger. Resistance is just that much harder once I’ve opened the door and I’m fully entertaining that which I said I would normally not do.

So, next time you are tempted by sin, don’t bother wasting your time negotiating, contemplating or arguing. Simply whisper the name of Jesus and let him answer the call.

PRAYER: Jesus, help me to remember that You are only a breath away and that when I call, You will answer. Thank You for your faithfulness. Thank You for being the Almighty God.

“With the arrival of Jesus, the Messiah, that fateful dilemma is resolved. Those who enter into Christ’s being-here-for-us no longer have to live under a continuous, low-lying black cloud. A new power is in operation. The Spirit of life in Christ, like a strong wind, has magnificently cleared the air, freeing you from a fated lifetime of brutal tyranny at the hands of sin and death” (Romans 8:1-2).

Getting Ahead of God

April 7, 2021 by  
Filed under Daily Devotions, Personal Growth

By Art Fulks –

A commonly known example in the Bible of someone getting ahead of God is found in Genesis 16. Here, Abram and Sarai have been waiting for God to give them a son who will be their family heir and the one through whom the Messiah will come. After waiting for ten years, they agree to use a surragate mother named Hagar, a servant. As a result, they experienced personal strife that still exists in national stuggles today.

Why did they get ahead of God? For many of the same reasons we do today. First, they sensed that God’s timing or lack of action was a sign of His abandonment. Sarai even blamed God. In God’s seeming silence, Abram listened to Sarai’s alternate plan and they both agreed that God needed their help. It does not take much for me to see instances from my own life that directly correlates to their experience.

When we get ahead of God, our relationships with Him and others are strained by our sin. Often, we even blame others for our circumstances. But God pursues and responds by showing up personally and exhibiting grace. Yet His call is for us to repent and return from our detours to trust His plan and timing again.

On my journey, I see three basic steps that generally lead to unpleasant detours. First, I begin to struggle with His timing and get impatient. Then I begin to allow culture to impact me into walking by sight and not be faith. Third, I begin to second-guess God and believe that He needs my help. My experience agrees with the old preacher, Vance Havner, who said, “The detour is always worse than the main road.”

The invention of the GPS has given us new options in a traffic jam. You can always hit the ‘Alternate Route’ button. But I often find that the barrier to free flowing traffic is not as far ahead as I thought. The detour keeps me moving, but with more energy and struggles than if I had stayed on track.

Three questions have helped me discover if I am walking by faith or not. (1) Am I willing to wait for God’s timing? (2) Am I most concerned about God’s glory or my happiness? (3) Am I obeying God’s Word in the process with inner joy and peace?

One of Satan’s greatest tools is the detour…trying to get us to move ahead of God. And one of his greatest lies is telling us that our ‘disobedience detours’ must become the permanent road for the rest of our lives. But God is waiting to help us get back on track.

“And He said, ‘Where have you come from and where are you going?’” (Genesis 16:8a NASB).

The Journey to Porcelain

By Jarrod Spencer –

When I was studying art in college, I had to take a pottery class. It was a medium of art I had never had the privilege of working with. To say the least, it was difficult. I improved my skills throughout the semester, but did not come close to “having a handle” on this art form.

I remember being a bit frustrated when I would go to “paint” my pots and not know what colors were going to appear. Some colors will appear a different color as when they go through the extreme heat of the kiln.

Mildred White Struven shares this thought: “A clay pot sitting in the sun will always be a clay pot. It has to go though the white heat of the furnace to become porcelain.”

As life hands each one of us our fair share of challenges, we may forget what we can become by going through the heat, because of those challenges. Sometimes life can be tough and cause us to experience heat like that from the sun. And our goal is never to come out on the other side so hard that we are no longer flexible. Still, in order for us to be molded and reshaped, we are required to go through the deep heat of the furnace.

It is only through the heat in the furnace that the clay can become porcelain.

PRAYER: Father, may I always be moldable, never becoming so hard that You cannot work with me.

“Yet you, LORD, are our Father. We are the clay, you are the potter; we are all the work of your hand” (Isaiah 64:8 NIV).

A Grrrr-eat Attitude

March 28, 2021 by  
Filed under Daily Devotions, Personal Growth

By Rosemary Flaaten –

Imagine if the only things you had today were those which you were grateful for yesterday.

If this were to become a reality in my life, what would I have left today? Would I have a house, car, a bureau full of clothes? Would I still have my husband and three children? Would any of my friends remain? Would I even be able to stand or would I be a shrivelled-up hollow of a woman because I had not been grateful for my health? Would I have a relationship with Jesus, my Savior or have taken that for granted as well?

Thankfully this was just a posting on Facebook and not a reality I need to worry about, but it does cause reason for pause. I go about each day interacting with people and accomplishing the tasks before me. But how often do I include a thankful spirit or an expression of gratitude in my daily routine? Has gratitude become a way of life or just an occasional blimp when something extraordinary occurs?

Scripture abounds with both examples and admonishment to be thankful for everything. Gratitude is to overflow from us. Overflow—that would be the antithesis of the dribble that comes from my heart.

Gratitude is a grrrr-eat attitude. Its choosing to see the blessing in the little things and the extraordinary. It’s expressing thankfulness for the easy and the hard. Its relishing the time we have with people rather than taking them for granted. Its accepting others for who they are, instead of wishing them to be different. Gratitude changes our inward perspective to one that is other-focused, forgiving and kind.

Choose to live today as if this Facebook posting were the gospel truth. Start each day with gratitude. Look for people and events to be thankful for at every turn in the day. End the day with whispers of appreciation for all that has transpired. Watch how it changes your heart and ultimately your world.

PRAYER: Thank You for life, love and opportunity. Thank You for strength and health. Thank You for each hardship and challenge. Thank You for each blessing. Thank You for You.

“Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus” (I Thessalonians 5:16 – 18 NIV).

A View From Above

By Jarrod Spencer –

Recently I had the opportunity to take a trip halfway across the United States by air. Several years had gone by since I had flown. On this trip, I had a window seat each way. On the initial flight, I could see down to the ground. I couldn’t help but notice how small everything looked from that altitude.

I don’t know how high we were flying above sea level, but I knew it was well above 10,000 feet because at that height they turn on the Wi-Fi.

As I am looking out the window and noticing how small things were, I couldn’t see a single person who was outside. They were simply too small. This made me wonder that if I cannot see them, of what importance are they?

Of course, everyone has value and I was thinking sarcastically. I was trying to put myself in God’s position as I was looking down. If I couldn’t see anyone, He could. He can see each and every one of us, no matter if we are outside or inside. He cares for us from our “nose to our toes.” As simple as that seems, it is a powerful motivator. Having someone care for us, fully and wholly, is what each one of us craves.

Just because I could not see people from that distance doesn’t mean they didn’t exist. In all actuality, they do exist. They existed in droves and each person was important. They are important to God. You were one of those I couldn’t see. You are one of those people who are important to God.

Enjoy life by knowing you are not a “number” and greatly matter to God. I know it gives me goose bumps! May you have a new spring in your step by knowing you matter to God!

PRAYER: Loving Father, thank You for making me such a priority in your “day.” May I never forget how important I am to You. Thanks for making me important!

“‘For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,’ declares the LORD. ‘As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts” (Isaiah 55:8-9 NIV).

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