When There’s No AAA

August 19, 2021 by  
Filed under Daily Devotions, Personal Growth

By Peter Lundell –

My friend, Ron, along with several other men was driving through the African nation of Burundi to meet local people about orphan assistance projects. None of these Americans spoke the language. Their radiator erupted, and steam billowed from the engine.

Ron automatically pulled out his AAA card. But he was in Africa. Then a boy came by with water on his head. Out there, water is a precious commodity for which people commonly walk long distances.

With a hole in the radiator, the car broke down about every two and a half kilometers. Thirty-eight kilometers lay between them and their destination—all of it through rural areas. And AAA was half a world away.

The car broke down twenty-four—yes 24—times. Imagine your car breaking down that many times on one trip. And these guys were doing this for God.

We might ask why God would allow such trouble to people traveling to the other side of the planet to serve Him. Why wouldn’t God provide something else, like a better car? Or why wouldn’t He supernaturally prevent the engine from continual breakdown? Because this problem provided a graphic illustration of something more important: Every single time the car broke down, God provided. Each of those breakdowns happened by a stream, a pond, or as someone generous to give their water was walking by.

Which do you suppose is more important to God: (A) Making our lives easier so that we no longer need Him—and forget about Him. (B) Showing faithfulness in meeting our needs and drawing us closer to Him when we’re in trouble.

You also may have experienced this sort of thing. Think how God works in your life: He loves you so much He’ll let you have trouble. And He’ll meet you in the middle of it.

“My God will meet all your needs according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:19 NIV).

“Father, You are the one who meets my needs. I commit to grow my attitude and trust You rather than get upset when things go badly. Meet me and grow me and draw me closer to You in the midst of my needs.”

Detours

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

By Janet Morris Grimes –

The sun peeked over the trees in an early morning yawn. It’s rays reflected off the lake, blinding me with a gush of wonder. With a gentle breeze, the 75 degrees of September was worth the wait after a long, hot and dry summer with humidity that seemed to weigh me down. I trekked along the paved path that bordered the lake, lost in my own world, singing to music in my ears that no one else could hear.

This was my day to be alone. Well, to be alone with God. With a new job and a recent move, I was overstimulated with too much busyness and needed time to take a breath, which led me to the lake on one of the most perfect days ever created.

I came across a fork in the path. Something I normally would have passed right by, sticking, instead with what I knew and was familiar. But I had just been praying, between the first and second stanza of a NeedtoBreathe song, (my theme for the day) for God to direct my steps. My specific prayer was to make His voice clear above the added noise in my life. I wanted Him to know I was still listening, probably now more than ever.

“Take this path.”

It wasn’t a voice, but rather a command, like an awareness of something I knew beforehand.

I didn’t question it. My reason for coming, after all, was to seek God, and He appeared to be everywhere, so wherever that unknown path led was fine with me.

Soon I was perched on a large, flat rock by the water’s edge, away from the few hikers and bikers that wandered through, at a place I had never noticed before. After writing all my questions for the day, I opened my Bible to the book of Mark, and this is what I found:

“At that time, Jesus came from Nazereth in Galilee and was baptized by John in the Jordan River. Just as Jesus was coming up out of the water, he saw heaven beign torn open and the Spirit descending on him like a dove. And a voice came from heaven, “You are my Son, whom I love; with you I am well pleased. At once the Spirit sent him out into the wilderness…. (Mark 1:9 – 12 NIV).

”Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed” (Mark 1:35 NIV).

I laid back against my newly discovered rock and contemplated how Jesus dealt with all that He was called to do. He took time away from others to refocus, to make sure He understood where God was leading, and to ask questions. My guess is He took many detours throughout His life, as He went where the Spirit led.

And on this perfect day, I was thankful that He had done the same for me.

You Need Clouds

July 30, 2021 by  
Filed under Daily Devotions, Personal Growth

By Donna McCrary –

I walked out on the balcony to listen to the sounds of the ocean and watch the skyline morph from darkness to light. The swollen clouds reflected the last glimmer of moon light. With each passing moment the orange fire ball ascended up behind the clouds. The sky began to dance with hues of soft crimson, amber, sapphire and lavender. The brighter the skyline appeared the darker the clouds turned. Sun rays streaked the blue sky like high beams on a car as their light pierced through the morning. My eyes were captivated by the power of the sun as it surrounded the darkness of the cloud’s shadow. It was a breathtaking site.

The next morning I got up early anticipating the same awe-inspiring painting outside my window. I stepped through the door and was disappointed by the plain blue sky dotted with a big orange ball. As my husband joined me he said, “It is just not as pretty without the clouds. You have to have the clouds.”

You have to have clouds! That was a spiritual truth that penetrated deep into my heart that morning. This year has been filled with many clouds.

The words cancer, no job, leukemia, divorce, death, debt, car wrecks, broken bones seem to constantly consume my thoughts and prayers lately. Like so many others, my family and friends have experienced many worries, trials and struggles. Each of us seem to be facing problems that have no quick solutions, health issues that have no easy cures, financial burdens that seem to grow instead of shrink. Even though I have been praying about these issues they, at times, feel heavy, overwhelming and exhausting. Even to the point that I have cried out to the Son, “Why?” even sarcastically screamed, “Really?”

I took some time that morning to reflect on the dark clouds over the past year and discovered the many ways the clouds have painted a beautiful picture of God’s grace, mercy, healing power, strength and love in my life. I looked up at the plain blue sky, smiled and started praising God for the clouds.

Just like the magnificent sunrise needed the dark clouds to paint a beautiful picture in the sky, our lives need the dark clouds of burdens and trials so the Son can shine around us and captivate the eyes of others.

PRAYER: God, today bring on the clouds! May my heart and mind be willing to experience the clouds so Your glory can shine around me. Help me find my strength and peace in You during the trials.

“In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed (1 Peter 1:6-7).

Fear Not

July 21, 2021 by  
Filed under Daily Devotions, Personal Growth

By Cheri Cowell –

This summer we hosted a tour for a few family and friends of one of our favorite national parks—Yellowstone. One brave friend joined us in spite of her very real fear of heights. Even seeing the ledge to a canyon at a distance made her knees buckle. The first few days she stayed several car lengths safely from any railing. But with the reassuring arm of my husband and words of encouragment from everyone, she little-by-little found her way to the railings of even the deepest canyons.

Her fears were still very real and the canyons were still as freightening as they had been at the beginning of the trip. Yet, by the end of the week she was courageously standing near the ledge.

God knows all about conquering fear. He has some advice for those of us facing real fears in the book of Deuteronomy.

Moses, the fearless leader, was stepping down. The Israelites were standing at the entrance to the Promised Land that was filled with enemy nations. They had every reason to fear. The enemy was huge, ruthless, and all logic told them their chances at winning were slim.

What enemies are you facing right now? Your fear might be justified. But the Lord has a word of encouragment for you…Be strong and courageous for the Lord your God goes with you.

PRAYER: Thank You, God, for being bigger and mightier than any enemy I am facing. Give me the strength and courage to stand near the ledge in spite of my fears, and to trust that You are with me.

“Be strong and courageous. Do not fear or be in dread of them, for it is the LORD your God who goes with you. He will not leave you or forsake you” (Deuteronomy 31:6 NIV).

The Best in the World

By Jarrod Spencer –

As the 30th Summer Olympic Games drew to a close, I had some remorse. It is always fun to see the “best in the world” come together to compete in the various sports that make up the Summer Olympic Games. Some sports gain more attention than others; some are iconic.

Through the years there have been Nadia Comaneci, Mary Lou Retton, Edwin Moses, Carl Lewis, the “Dream Team” of 1992, Mark Spitz, Florence Griffith-Joyner to name a few.

One “Cinderella” athlete this year was in women’s gymnastics, Gabby Douglas. She helped lead her team to gold in the team competition and won individual gold in the “all around.” Her story is unique. Four years ago, she mentioned that she wanted to be in the Olympics in 2012. She also wanted to be with the coach of 2008 Gold Medalist Shawn Johnson. Gabby said that it looked like Shawn and her coach were having fun, also stating that Shawn’s coach seemed to push her more than she’s been pushed before.

In order for her to have the coach she wanted, she had to go away from her home in Virginia to West Des Moines, Iowa. This meant leaving her family to go live with a sponsor family. She went through highs and lows during her time of training in a seemingly uncomfortable situation. She even wanted to quit and go back home. I know she’s glad now she didn’t!

I want us to think about how many times we may be put into an uncomfortable situation when it comes to sharing our faith. That doesn’t mean simply inviting someone to church. Maybe someone is struggling in life and we don’t know if we should say “Let’s pray” or “I’ll be praying” because we don’t know how they will respond. Imagine what the outcome might be if you would “go for the gold.” I challenge you to work through any areas of discomfort and follow through with what you might be passing up.

PRAYER: Thank You, Father for how you work in our lives to make us potential “winners” in the Kingdom. May we work through our uncomfortable tendencies and “go for the gold” for You.

“But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me” (II Corinthians 12:9 NIV).

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