What Will Things Look Like in 2022?

October 12, 2021 by  
Filed under Daily Devotions, Worship

By Jarrod Spencer –

Some things in life I think will never change, especially when living in the moment. However, other things, over the years, have seemed to change. Like a child, who seems to grow faster when I am not around him. Things in life seem to change more when you look back on their progress.

Film for cameras is one of those things that have changed drastically over the past ten years. The change is that you practically cannot find film in an average store. There simply is not a market for it anymore. Cameras have gone to digital formats and trying to find film is virtually impossible in the average department store.

Recently I saw a rerun where someone received a gift of a “filmed” camera for a Christmas gift. This scene started me to think about how film was something which seemed timeless. However, it did have its time.

What about some other things in life that have been around for years? What about tires for our vehicles? Will there ever be something that is just as comfortable but maybe doesn’t need any air to maintain a level for a good ride. Also one that has a lot more wear on them? Could they not be made out of rubber but, rather, a chemical mixture to create the substance? You may think “No, we’ll always have tires.” I think that, too. But I also thought we’d always have film in cameras.

What will the differences in the churches look like in 2022? Will there be much of a change in some of the churches by that time? Will songbooks or Bibles be practically useless? Will some churches go back to house church only or “sit at home and watch on your computer?” Will we become more casual or go back to more dressed up? Whatever does happen will affect the way we share our faith with others. Ponder it…what will be the trend in 2022?…it will be interesting to find out!

Prayer: Father, we are but specks in Your world. We do not know what the future holds, only You do. May we submit to what Your future holds. We look forward to the future knowing You’re in control.

“Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever” (Hebrews 13:8 NIV).

Wash Versus Soak

October 5, 2021 by  
Filed under Daily Devotions, Worship

By Rosemary Flaaten –

I have a favorite cookie recipe that’s loaded with oatmeal and raisins. If made correctly the tasty morsels come out chewy and rich, perfect with a glass of ice cold milk. My usual method involves soaking the raisins in hot water for a couple of hours so that they are plump and juicy. The last time I made them I was in a rush and so just measured out the one cup, quickly washed them and then dumped them into the batter. Surely soaking wasn’t that important to the quality of the final product?

Haste makes waste. The cookies, although they had the same ingredients were not supple and chewy. I discovered the hard way that the extra moisture that came from soaking the raisins was critical to the cookies successful finish.

Jan Johnson in her book Savoring God’s Word describes the difference between typical Bible study and a type of Bible meditation where we soak in the 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.”

Do we just wash in Scripture or do we soak? Do we sit with a verse and allow its truths to seep deep into our minds and hearts, creating a supple hunger for more of God. Or do, we feverishly plough through our daily reading plans, simply making our Bible reading an item to be checked off?

Scripture is living and active, and was given to us so that the Holy Spirit would judge the thoughts and attitudes of our heart. It is meant to illuminate our shortcomings and our need for God. Its corrects and challenges. It soothes and breathes. It ushers in peace. It enlivens joy.

Soaking is not done on the run. Soaking requires stillness. Soaking produces change.

PRAYER: Lord, help me to slow down and to soak in Your Word so that its truths may penetrate my heart and produce a life that resembles Yours.

“For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart” (Hebrews 4:12 NIV).

Not Being in the “In Crowd”

September 26, 2021 by  
Filed under Daily Devotions, Worship

By Jarrod Spencer –

The “in crowd” is that imaginary group that haunts almost everyone at one point in his life. We all want to be “somebody” in society. We want to be accepted by people. Maybe not all of them, but someone. This especially holds true when it comes to our peers. Of course, as children, when we start to experience this initial desire, we know our parents love us and think we’re important, but the desire goes beyond that. We are wanting to grasp on to “independency” and that means being “me” in a group of others.

I received a comment on my blog last week about my sermon, entitled “Rejected,” that started a few thoughts. One of the thoughts went to Jesus being on the cross. I was thinking how He must have felt; not only because He was not in the “in crowd” at this point in His life, but also that His own Father was rejecting Him. To make matters worse, the rejection came by, in essence, His Father choosing others over Him!

I don’t know of any children who, when feeling a sense of misery, would like to have their parents take the side of a peer over themselves. Can you imagine how you would feel if you knew you were being mistreated and your parents chose “the other person” over you? Maybe for some of you, that has been the case, of which you can relate. Or the person taking sides may have been an adult friend (i.e. teacher, coach, neighbor) or even a peer who chose someone else over you.

I would like to think that Jesus was saying, in His mind, “It’s Okay, Father, I understand why You are choosing them over Me.” But then I also want to think that Jesus was human and in the midst of suffering, His “realness” set in and He wanted to be rescued. Maybe He was thinking, “Let’s get this situation over with.” There were probably lots of thoughts going through His head, that we will never know about while on earth.

Though He wasn’t in the “in crowd” at that moment, I am more-than-grateful for His willingness to be in the “out crowd” for me and my sins!

PRAYER: Father, thank You for understanding me and loving me no matter what “crowd” I am in. With You I will always be in the “in crowd.”

“Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith and in purity” (I Timothy 4:12 NIV).

Beauty from Water and Sand

September 18, 2021 by  
Filed under Daily Devotions, Worship

By Peter Lundell –

Beauty rises from consistent, mundane effort. I saw this when I had the privilege of hiking “The Narrows” in Zion National Park, perhaps among the world’s greatest hikes. It’s a “slot canyon,” which gets as narrow as 15-20 feet, and in which the swirling walls rise vertically, and even cantilever, to where they are in some places only 10 feet apart. Most of the time the path is the river.

Even in the upper reaches of the canyon, the water is an opaque tan. It looks somewhat ugly and in need of cleaning. But it has always been opaque tan from the sand and dirt washing down.

My shoes were constantly catching sand and small bits of rock. Whenever I cupped my hands in the water, I received a watery sand blast.

This continuous heavy erosion into the river is exactly what made the incredible canyon in the first place. And elsewhere on a larger scale, we get the Grand Canyon. Beauty rises from continuous mundane erosion.

Look at anything in life, whether something you admire or that you yourself have done. Look at a person who has a mature and admirable character, or someone who has accomplished remarkable things. These are like the amazing canyons of the natural world. They happen through relentless consistency and work that may seem painfully mundane. But the result is astonishing beauty or achievement.

Is there an area in your life where you are doing this? I encourage you to keep it up. Do you have the potential—if you did the daily, mundane work—to create a thing of beauty or be a person of more noble character? I believe every one of us does.

PRAYER: Lord, may I learn from the world You have given me to see purpose even in the small things I do, to be patient and never give up in doing what You have called me to do and being who You have created me to be.

“Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows. The one who sows to please his sinful nature, from that nature will reap destruction; the one who sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life. Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up” (Galatians 6:7-9 NIV).

“It Is Finished.”

August 29, 2021 by  
Filed under Daily Devotions, Worship

By Janet Morris Grimes –

“To-Do List”

Go to grocery
Get hair cut
Get dog’s hair cut
Orthodontist
Get oil changed
Clean out car
Clean house from where I cleaned out car
Buy stamps
Mail rent check, but not too early
Pay bills online
Document that I paid bills online
Buy wedding gifts
Get estimates on roof replacement
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There aren’t many days I can completely cross anything off my list. Done. Finished in a way that I never have to give it any further thought.

Instead, my life seems to be run by a series of unfinished business. Ongoing appointments at the orthodontist, bills that keep showing up, unexpected expenses on the house that never stop, maintenance issues on our vehicles. The list goes on and on, and on the rare occasion that I do actually get to mark something off it, it creeps back in a few weeks later.

It’s enough to make me wonder if I ever accomplish anything at all. Is anything ever finished?

It is also enough to make the words of Jesus as He hung from the cross resonate even more. The book of John shares it like this:

”Later, knowing that everything had now been finished, and so that Scripture would be fulfilled, Jesus said, “I am thirsty.” 29 A jar of wine vinegar was there, so they soaked a sponge in it, put the sponge on a stalk of the hyssop plant, and lifted it to Jesus’ lips. 30 When he had received the drink, Jesus said, “It is finished.” With that, he bowed his head and gave up his spirit” (John 19:28 – 30 NIV).

Jesus had completed his purpose. Done. Completely finished. He was afraid, but He did it anyway. He begged for God to find another way to compensate for our sins, but when He understood that we could never be reunited with our Father except through Him, He gave up His Spirit. Long before Jesus hung from the cross, He made the decision and the commitment.

And it is finished.

PRAYER: Dear Jesus, Thank You for finishing what You started. Thank You for loving us enough to sacrifice everything. Thank You for the peace that comes in knowing that it is completely finished.

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