“Before” Still Gives You A Choice

June 4, 2020 by  
Filed under Daily Devotions, Worship

By Jarrod Spencer –

If you are like me, you’ve probably had many moments where you either knew or felt that you shouldn’t have said something, could have said something differently, or wonder if someone took it wrong what you said. These are not fun moments. They can aggravate you like a rock in your shoe. You think about it, worry about it, and want to fix the situation.

Though easier said than done, there are some ways we can prevent that feeling. It comes from a poem titled “Before You”, by William Arthur Ward…

Before you speak, listen.
Before you write, think.
Before you spend, earn.
Before you invest, investigate.
Before you criticize, wait.
Before you pray, forgive.
Before you quit, try.
Before you retire, save.
Before you die, give.

Not all of these are situations where you make a mistake and have to go back to correct it. However, they are some simple, everyday, applicable phrases to help us through some situations in life. Some of them may impact you more than others. Some may make you really look within. Some might be what you wish someone else would keep in mind.

“Before” is a powerful word that says things are at the fork in the road. “After” is when you chose to take a path. “After” is no turning back; “before” is when the option of taking another route is possible.

Try to put the “Before You” tool in your pocket to pull out at the many opportune times that will come about in your lifetime.

PRAYER: Father, help me to listen, think, earn, investigate, wait, forgive, try, save, and give as I go through life.

BIBLE VERSE: “The LORD said, “Go out and stand on the mountain in the presence of the LORD, for the LORD is about to pass by.” Then a great and powerful wind tore the mountains apart and shattered the rocks before the LORD, but the LORD was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake, but the LORD was not in the earthquake. After the earthquake came a fire, but the LORD was not in the fire. And after the fire came a gentle whisper. When Elijah heard it, he pulled his cloak over his face and went out and stood at the mouth of the cave. Then a voice said to him, “What are you doing here, Elijah?’” (I Kings 19:11-13 NIV).

Celebrating a Cancelled Christmas

May 24, 2020 by  
Filed under Daily Devotions, Worship

By Elaine James –

Have you ever come across three words that you thought were so simple, but ended up meaning so much?

Last year my husband announced to our family “I am cancelling Christmas.”A question came to mind: “Does that mean we are cancelling the true meaning of Christmas, too?”

The only words that my husband and I had on our minds as Christmas approached was “our family needs alone time and the only way we felt we could accomplish that would be to get away.”

As any baseball lover knows, at the end of the World Series, the MVP gets asked the question, “You have just won the World Series. What are you going to do next?” The MVP always answers “I’m going to Disney World!”

When we asked my baseball loving husband “Where are we going for Christmas?” he answered: “We’re going to Disney World!’

Twenty six years of family tradition were cancelled, replaced with airline tickets, a house rental and a rented van. With a sketchy itinerary, my husband, our four kids, daughter-in-law, girlfriend and I headed to Florida for a Christmas vacation. On the plane, I prayed “Lord, please don’t let us forget the true meaning of Christmas.”

We arrived in Orlando, got our rental car and proceeded to our rented house, but our GPS misguided us and we ended up lost in a town called Celebration, designed by Walt Disney.

We corrected our directions and navigated our way to the entrance of our rental home, in a neighborhood called Legacy Park. The directions instructed us to enter and find the subdivision called The Retreat.

Stop!

Did you catch those three names of those places? I get the chills thinking that my husband just made random reservations, never realizing the name of the neighborhood or subdivision we would be staying in.

It was truly three divine words. A message from God! We were called to celebrate, have a retreat and leave a legacy.” We celebrated the birth of our Lord in a little town called Celebration, which just so happens to have adorned their town with several nativity scenes. We retreated from our busy lives, which gave us time as a family to reunite, cry from laughter and love one another. We left a legacy with our kids celebrating the true meaning of Christmas.

I have come to realize that sometimes 3 simple words may not be so simple, after all.

PRAYER:  Lord, thank You for mercy. Help us to find more ways to celebrate, retreat and leave Your legacy.

BIBLE VERSE:  “Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness” (Lamentations 3:22-23 NIV).

 

Whatever

May 7, 2020 by  
Filed under Daily Devotions, Worship

By Rosemary Flaaten

What is on today’s to-do list? Is it to put the finishing touches on the big presentation? Is it to clean up a lingering mess in the storeroom? Is it to grade papers? Is it to get to your exercise class? Is it to have lunch with your daughter? Our lives are full of tasks, some menial and routine, others extra special. Whatever the task you will tackle today, God has gifted you with this opportunity for a purpose, and His directive is for you to do your work in such a way that it glorifies Him.

It doesn’t matter if you are a teacher, plumber, corporate executive, child care attendant, nurse, computer programmer or salesperson, God has called us to do our work to the best of our ability. Usually if we do our work well there is affirmation that comes our way. We may even get paid for the work we do. But momentary compensation, affirmation or esteem should not be our primary purpose for our work. The Apostle Paul instructs us that “Whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.” (1 Corinthians 10:31 NIV)

Synonyms for the word “whatever” include all, everything, and encompassing. The “whatever” in this scripture is not just talking about the ministry you lead at your church, the Sunday School class you teach or the shut-ins you visit on the weekend. Rather, it encompasses everything we do –working, driving, eating, sleeping, chatting, and exercising. Everything is an act of worship and should be done so that God is glorified, uplifted and extolled.

This may seem plausible when all is going well, your coworkers are picking up their share of the work, your boss is congenial and you feel confident in your abilities. It takes a much greater commitment to see the opportunities to glorify God when the project list is too long, your employees are threatening mutiny and your friend just screamed at you. Glorifying God in all we do is not dependent on situations. It is to occur in spite of our situations.

What are you tempted to do poorly or exclude from your “whatever” list?

PRAYER: Help me this day to choose to glorify You in all that I do – from the menial to the meaningful.

BIBLE VERSE: “Whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.” (1 Corinthians 10:31 NIV)

Portion Control

April 15, 2020 by  
Filed under Daily Devotions, Worship

By Janet Morris Grimes –

Portion. I tend to think of it an individual serving. An allotment. The perfect amount. No more or no less than what I need.

Where food is concerned, especially during the holidays, my portions increase in size;  not because I need them, but rather, because the opportunity is there. There is much more to choose from, enticing trays of my favorites, beckoning me to pack on a few holiday pounds.

Clearly, it is in the best interest of my thighs to keep my food portions under control.

In the dictionary, ‘portion’ is defined in many different ways:

Portion – a part of a whole. A share.

Portion – an inheritance. The part of an estate that goes to the next of kin.

Portion – (as a verb) to divide out. This term is used often in worship songs and throughout the Bible. Each time, it takes on a different meaning.

Inheritance – “To you, I give the land of Canaan as the portion you will inherit” (Psalm 105:11 NIV)

Divide out – “She gets up while it is still night, and provides portions for her family” (Proverbs 31:15 NIV)

A piece – “This is your lot, the portion I have decreed for you…” (Jeremiah 13:25 NIV)

But it was in the oft overlooked book of Lamentations that I found my favorite use of this word.

“I say to myself, ‘The Lord is my portion, therefore I shall wait for him” (Lamentations 3:24).

Whatever I need on this day, God offers the perfect amount of it. He brings no more or no less than what I crave. He divides out my piece of Him in daily doses. He alone is my inheritance, and that is more than enough for me.

And in return, I am also His portion. A small piece of His whole, for I am nothing on my own. He tells me that I am more than enough for Him, and I find that quite comforting.

This much I know for sure, as I still sometimes struggle with portion control in everything from the size of my home to the amount of money in our account. He has gone to prepare a place for me. And it will be perfect in size, I am sure.

PRAYER: Dear God, Forgive me for the times that I yearn for more than what I need. Help me to rest in You. Your love and provision are more than enough for me and my family. I trust You and Your timing, for You have more than proven Your faithfulness to me. Therefore, I will wait for You.

 

 

 

Alleluia; All Is Well

April 7, 2020 by  
Filed under Daily Devotions, Worship

By Elaine James –

Is all well?

The Alleluia chanted before the Gospel is proclaimed in the liturgies of the various Christian liturgical rites. Alleluia will be solemnly chanted at other times also, usually in conjunction with Psalms. Singing the Praise of the Lord or Alleluia is a way of lifting up our voices to sing “all is well.”

Did you know that love walked amongst us?

This by far is the most epic news ever recorded on this earth.

The Word came to walk amongst us; there were eyewitnesses who recorded it!

Do you believe that?

Take a moment and think about the Word of life that breathed life into you. Jesus came to Earth,as man.

Some say the past is in the past. He is not here now. He may not be here now, but that does not stop me from thinking about Him now! Jesus said he must leave so the Holy Spirit can come rest inside of us. That means that love still walks amongst us.

How could, should, would that make your life different?

It must make our lives different. Does that reality bring you to tears?  Tears of joy flow from me. The knowledge of Jesus is so lofty to attain. I ache inside to see Him. The Spirit of God exists, and that is satisfying. The Spirit dwells in me, and He reveals Himself to me. Alleluia!

Loneliness grips me at times. Asking for love to walk with me, at those moments, is powerful. On my own, loving others is not easy. Seems that I can’t make anyone happy! Some reject this love, unable to feel it.

This is hard to grasp. The apostles were also confused that love walked among them, especially after Jesus died. Then, when he reappeared, they panicked and wondered, “Is this Jesus?” In the end, God touched them, blessed them and too, their doubt and fear away, sent the Holy Spirit to walk with them; within them.

We can’t live life in our own strength. We weren’t designed that way.

Jesus is love that walks amongst you. Think about it, receive it.

Give that Spirit-led love to others and allow God to use you!

Feel the love. All is well. Alleluia!

PRAYER:  Love walks with me; touch me. In Jesus name.

BIBLE VERSE: “When he had led them out to the vicinity of Bethany, he lifted up his hands and blessed them” (Luk 24:50 (NIV).

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