Time For A Good Soak

January 9, 2020 by  
Filed under Daily Devotions, Personal Growth

By Rosemary Flaaten –

I recently pulled out a familiar cookie recipe, and upon reading through it, discovered that I had previously missed a step. I am used to simply giving the raisins a quick rinse before adding them to the batter, but the recipe actually called for the raisins to soak for an hour. I scoffed at the notion, thinking that raisins are dried fruit and should be simply eaten as dried fruit. But I decided to follow the recipe’s directive and covered the raisins with water and let them soak. The cookies that resulted were incredibly moist and much more flavorful than the previous batches. Soaking the raisins had a profound effect not only on their cleanliness but on their tastiness.

I wonder how often we simply rinse off in Scripture rather than soak in it? Daily reading programs help direct us through the Bible and gain a overall perspective. Serious studying helps us delve into a deepening knowledge. Wherever we are on the scholarly scale, at some point we must move from being a student to being Christ’s disciple, choosing to meditate and soak in God’s Word. Soaking produces heart change.

Jan Johnson, in her book, Savoring God’s Word, describes the difference between typical Bible study and  meditating on Scripture. “When we study, we dissect the text; when we meditate, we savor the text and enter into it. When we study, we ask questions about the text; when we meditate, we let the text ask questions of us. When we study, we read and compare facts and new ways of applying facts; when we meditate we read to let God speak to us in light of the facts already absorbed.”

What is your habit? Do you have a tendency to simply have a quick rinse in Scripture?  Do you dissect, ask questions and compare facts? Or, do you sit and soak in God’s holy words, allowing their truth to seep into your soul. The God-flavors that will then permeate through us and emanate out of us into our world, will be rich and life changing.

Is it time for a good soak?

PRAYER: Lord, May the truth of Your words, soak deep into my soul to make me more like You.

BIBLE VERSE: “Blessed is the man… (who) delights in the law of the Lord, and on his law he meditates day and night.  He is like a tree planted by streams of water which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither” (Psalm 1:1 – 3 NIV).

 

 

 

Talked Into It

December 31, 2019 by  
Filed under Daily Devotions, Personal Growth

By Cynthia Ruchti –

“Whoa! That is…that’s a unique color combination.”

I stood in my friend’s kitchen, trying to stave off the nausea induced by the wild, highly unappetizing faux painting technique on what she called the “accent” wall.

“You don’t like it?” she asked, eyebrows tented.

I used a trick I learned when my kindergartners brought home creative but unrecognizable artwork. “Tell me the story behind this.”

My friend burst into tears. “There’s no story! It’s a disaster! I hate it!”

“We agree then.”

“It’s not just me? It really is horrible?”

“You needed to ask? Jen, those garish colors just aren’t you at all! Who talked you into this?”

She paused for a moment. “The kitchen designer. Not only did she talk me into the circus-tent-in-a-tornado technique, but it cost me more than the glass-tile backsplash!”

Sympathy oozed out of me.

I’d been talked into a few bad ideas before, things I’d regretted a lot more than an accent wall that could be painted over. “Hon, what made you say yes to this? Didn’t the designer show you a sample first?”

“Oh, I saw a sample. Didn’t like it. But I thought I was the wrong one, the uptight one, the person with no taste. So I caved.”

“Love to talk to you more about this, Jen, but could we discuss it in the living room where I’m less likely to lose my lunch?”

Throughout time, God’s people have often been talked into things they knew were dumb ideas, or even spiritually dangerous ideas. No doubt they, like my friend, felt intimidated by the apparent—and false—wisdom or intelligence or good sense of the person insisting, “This is perfect for you. You need to try this—everybody’s doing it. Okay, you can hang onto that faith idea if you insist, but at least don’t let yourself go overboard.”

Regret doesn’t come from listening to God, but from listening to others who talk us into things that go against the wisdom of God.

PRAYER: Father God, I don’t want You to have to ask, “Who talked you into the pursuit of this nonsense?”(Isaiah 57:11—The Message). By Your Spirit, keep my head on straight and my ears tuned only to You.

BIBLE VERSE: “But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure, then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere” James 3:17 NIV.

Fearing Shadows

December 19, 2019 by  
Filed under Daily Devotions, Personal Growth

By Jarrod Spencer –

Light brings good feelings. The sun coming up in the morning reminds us that a new day is dawning. Lights coming back on after they went out due to power failure allows us to feel safe again. You could probably think about other instances where light has made someone feel good.

An additional fact about light is that light causes shadows. My question for you is this: Do you fear shadows? A shadow can easily cause fear, but Author Ruth E. Renkel suggests this about shadows, “Never fear shadows. They simply mean there’s a light somewhere nearby.”

The system of sacrifices in the Old Testament has been referenced to being a “shadow” of what Christ does for us in the New Testament. Based on the inabilities found in the sacrificial system, it would be easy to “fear” them. As the sacrificial system was such a system that required many, many sacrifices to be completed throughout one’s life.

If those in the Old Testament knew that Christ’s death meant never having to sacrifice again, they wouldn’t have “feared” these sacrifices, because those sacrifices simply meant that Christ (i.e. the Light) was somewhere nearby!

May we revel in the idea that we have the Light to “walk in” (I John 1:7) and a “light” to illuminate our path (Psalm 119:105)! So remember not to fear shadows because a light (of comfort) is nearby!

I hope you have a great end of your week!

Walking the lighted path…

PRAYER: Thank You, Father, that You are always nearby. I am eternally grateful that Your Spirit is always with me. Through Your spirit, You are just a prayer away. Father, thank You for being a light in my life and Your Word, a light on my path.

BIBLE VERSE: “The law is only a shadow of the good things that are coming — not the realities themselves. For this reason it can never, by the same sacrifices repeated endlessly year after year, make perfect those who draw near to worship. 2 If it could, would they not have stopped being offered? For the worshipers would have been cleansed once for all, and would no longer have felt guilty for their sins. 3 But those sacrifices are an annual reminder of sins, 4 because it is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins” (Hebrews 10:1-4 NIV).

God’s Ultimate Interest

December 9, 2019 by  
Filed under Daily Devotions, Personal Growth

By Peter Lundell –

I grieve with many others at the triple tragedy in Japan, where I lived for eight years. How does a loving God allow so many people to suffer and die? Though the nuclear problem is man-made, the question is still painful. But we can get a good perspective.

Many people seem to have the idea that God’s purpose is our well-being—or that He is concerned about our happiness. Our happiness is important to us, and we naturally think it’s important to God too. But the Bible doesn’t say much about being happy. And God never promises to make us happy. That’s what heaven is for, and we’re not there yet.

Throughout Scripture God lets, even causes, people to die in astonishing numbers: 14,700 in Numbers 16; 24,000 in Numbers 25; 185,000 in 2 Kings 19; then there’s the Book of Revelation.

But God also says He cares for us and promises to bless us. Jesus came, showed endless compassion, and even died for us.

How do we reconcile those two extremes?

Here is my attempt: Yes, God cares for us and will bless us. But whether we’re blessed or not is secondary. I don’t mean God doesn’t care; He does. I mean our physical well-being is not His main interest. It appears to be secondary to God whether we even live or die. That’s hard to swallow, but both the Bible and the daily news tend to agree.

What’s primary then? Relationship. God is primarily concerned about our being connected with Him. And He will allow all things to happen if it helps to deepen that relationship. Throughout the Bible, God is focused on people turning to Him and growing in that relationship. When someone, anyone, cries out, “God!” He zeros in and says, “Yes? I’m here.”

May the whole world meet Him in its suffering.

PRAYER: Lord, open my eyes to see past hardship, to see You. Whatever I endure, I choose to draw near to You, never apart. And may I be Your witness to help others do the same.”

BIBLE VERSE: “Before I was afflicted I went astray, but now I obey your word. . . . It was good for me to be afflicted so that I might learn your decrees. . . . I know, O LORD, that your laws are righteous, and in faithfulness you have afflicted me” (Psalm 119:67, 71, 75 NIV).

 

Never Too Small

December 1, 2019 by  
Filed under Daily Devotions, Personal Growth

By Jarrod Spencer  –

I remember when I was young and was able to sleep in during the summer – those were good times!  One of the things I also remember during that time of my life was the occasional house fly buzzing around my head. This was annoying. It would land on my nose just long enough for me to be bothered, I would swat it, but it would fly away. I can remember putting the covers over my head just to “protect” myself from this little bitty fly.

It was also during that time that I was going through a rough point of social development in my life.  Having a father as a principal during the adolescent years was not the most enjoyable thing for me.  I wanted to “be something” because I saw practically everyone else as “something” and it was difficult not to envy what they were doing or able to do.

How would “little ol’ me” be able to make any difference at all? But then I heard this quote from an unknown author – “If you think you are too small to make a difference, you’ve never had a mosquito in your bedroom.”

My small, difference maker was not a mosquito but a fly, which was in my bedroom.  Regardless, it made a big difference.  It didn’t allow me to sleep peacefully.  It bothered me greatly.

As I have grown, I realize that small things can make a big difference.  A kind word during a rough day. A small gift can lift up a person just when he needs to know someone cares. A paid check can make someone’s day. An unexpected message sent to someone in need through texting or on their Facebook wall – the possibilities are endless.

Another way to make a difference is to make a change that benefits others. Who do single parents find to babysit? Maybe you, little you, could develop a program to offer single parents a person who will volunteer to watch their children.

You may be one, small person, so how are you going to make a difference?

PRAYER: Dear God, thank You for giving me the strong desire to want to use my individualism to be a benefit to others. Help me see opportunities to be of benefit in the days to come.

BIBLE VERSE: “Your love has given me great joy and encouragement, because you, brother, have refreshed the hearts of the Lord’s people” (Philemon 1:7 NIV).

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