Bug Eyes

September 17, 2020 by  
Filed under Daily Devotions, Humorous

By Cheri Cowell –

In the opening scene of the movie It’s a Bug’s Life, Flick and the other ants are in a long line walking single-file in a begrudging task. They are carrying “heavy” crumbs to the mound when a giant leaf comes barreling toward them. Flick is paralyzed with fear as this “giant” obstacle blocks his sight. As he stands there, knees knocking, the lead ant comes to his rescue by saying, “Keep your eyes on me, walk toward me, and don’t panic.” He then guides him and those who are following him around the obstacle so they can rejoin the safety of the line.

Even though we can laugh at the humor, it touches a place in our hearts because, at some point, we have all become paralyzed with fear.

God comes to our rescue by saying ‘keep your eyes on me.’

Paul is writing to Timothy, a young student of the faith, and he is telling him not to allow his youth to make him to be fearful. He is told to be bold and confident, not in his own strength and knowledge, but in Jesus.

When we take our eyes off Jesus, the obstacles that seem to float from the skies and threaten to block out the sun, seem bigger than our ability to handle them. When all we see is the obstacle, we cannot find a way around it and we stand paralyzed in fear. We are like Flick, with knees knocking.

But God is saying to us, “Keep your eyes on me, I know the way, walk towards me, and don’t panic because in me you have enough power, love, and self-discipline to handle anything.”

“For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline” (2 Timothy 1:7 NIV).

PRAYER: Thank You, Lord, for walking with me on my faith journey. Help me learn to keep my eyes fixed on You, and not the obstacles. Please give me Your eyes to replace my ‘bug eyes.’ I praise You for giving me the power, strength, love, and self-discipline to say to any obstacle, “I am not afraid.”

Rules for the Road

September 16, 2020 by  
Filed under Daily Devotions, Personal Growth

By Cheri Cowell –

Have you ever spent time with someone who criticizes and finds fault with everything and everyone around them? It is tiring being with these people.

Perhaps I should say it is tiring if we are working hard to not join them. It is easy if we just chime in, for all of us have a critical spirit by nature.

While walking by someone who is dressed inappropriately, a comment can be made about dressing to attract the wrong kind of attention, then the conversation quickly moves to how the morals of society are going down the drain, and how your mother never would have let you out of the house dressed that way. How easily we use our superior yardstick to judge others. I have often heard it said that we should be careful when pointing a finger at someone because when we do, there are four pointing back at us. Though we may not dress that way, we do many other things that in God’s eyes are just as wrong.

When studying Romans 8:1, it dawned on me I had heard this verse referred to when people were feeling guilt-ridden and needed relief, but I hadn’t really looked at what preceded the ‘therefore.’

Paul has just written his famous words, “For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate.” He explains that his body is still a slave to the human desires he was born with (including a critical nature), yet he is now a member of a new kingdom with different rules. Jesus came along and said He knew we couldn’t keep all the rules, and that keeping rules was not the point. The new rule is to love others as yourself and love Him with all our hearts, minds, and souls.

When we do this, we desire to do what is right, and we have the power within us in the form of the Holy Spirit to do it – most of the time.

PRAYER: Thank You, God, for Your new kingdom with the new way of seeing the old rules. Help keep my heart, mind, and soul focused on You so I may give others the grace that has been freely given to me.

“Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit who gives life has set you free from the law of sin and death” (Romans 8:1-2 NIV).

Vulnerable to Love

September 5, 2020 by  
Filed under Daily Devotions, Humorous

By Cheri Cowell –

If you are alive on this planet, there is a good chance you have been betrayed at least once in your life. If we count all the little betrayals, or instances of being treated unfairly, I am sure you would be unable to count them on your fingers and toes. A common reaction from teens I’ve counseled over the years is to say, “I’m just never going to let someone do that to me again.” And so they wall themselves off, believing that if they never let someone get close to them again, then they can protect their hearts. I’m afraid that we, as adults, do the same thing. Although we’re much more sophisticated about it, many of us have decided that being vulnerable makes us targets so we put up walls, act tough, and back away when intimacy is required.

But God has shown us a better way.

For God so loved…He gave. He gave knowing we would reject. He gave knowing we would not believe. He gave in spite of our sin. He gave knowing one of His own would betray and another would deny even knowing Him. He gave until He bled. He gave until it was gone. He gave it all so we might have it all. He gave so we might know how to give and how to love. He was vulnerable to love and that is what it means to love. Yes, we will be hurt, but it is also the only way we will ever know the depth of true love.

So, every time someone annoys you today, every time a driver cuts you off or someone makes a nasty comment, every time you remember the pain someone has caused you—say to yourself, “For God so loved the world…He gave.” Then act in accordance with that love.

PRAYER I thank You, Lord, for giving when You knew it would cost you everything. Help me to focus more on the giving of love and less on how much it will cost me. Help me to be vulnerable enough to experience the true depth of love.

“This is how much God loved the world: He gave his Son, his one and only Son. And this is why: so that no one need be destroyed; by believing in him, anyone can have a whole and lasting life. God didn’t go to all the trouble of sending his Son merely to point an accusing finger, telling the world how bad it was. He came to help, to put the world right again. Anyone who trusts in him is acquitted; anyone who refuses to trust him has long since been under the death sentence without knowing it. And why? Because of that person’s failure to believe in the one-of-a-kind Son of God when introduced to him” (John 3:16-17 The Message).

United in Love

August 31, 2020 by  
Filed under Daily Devotions, Family

By Cheri Cowell –

To celebrate our twentieth wedding anniversary, my husband planned this wonderful trip retracing our honeymoon journey along the Blue Ridge Parkway. As we meandered along the mountaintop we leafed through the pages of our photo album, reminiscing about the things we saw and did, and the carefree abandonment in which we approached life. One of my anniversary gifts to Randy was a recording of the love songs sung at our wedding and of our dating years. It was so much fun to remember the past and realize how far God has brought us. We remembered the tough times, the trying times, and the tender moments of those early years. Each evening and each morning we thanked God for the years He’s given us, and the years yet to come. True love is not always easy, but when genuine love is united with God’s love, that unity is a beacon drawing others to the One who is Love.

While this passage is offered as part of Christ’s prayer for His disciples and for all those who follow in their footsteps, we can also see how those who are united in married love share this same goal. Our loves: marriage, family, and brothers and sisters in Christ are to be a window into heaven. May our loves be that beacon for Him.

PRAYER: Thank You, God, for the loves in my life, for the way You show Your love through the relationships You’ve given. Help me focus more on the blessings my relationships bring than on the difficulties of becoming and staying united in love.

“I in them and you in me, that they may become perfectly one, so that the world may know that you sent me and loved them even as you loved me” (John 17:23 ESV).

We’re Having Triplets!!!

August 3, 2020 by  
Filed under Daily Devotions, Humorous

By Cheri Cowell –

We have triplets!!! My husband and I are proud parents of three baby mockingbirds. I’m sure that sometime in your life you have experienced the joy of watching the maternal care of one of God’s creatures. There is no training camp, no apprentice program, and no how-to baby book for these moms, yet they seem to know what to do.

I have heard many mothers say that something happened to them when their baby was placed in their arms for the first time. They didn’t have all of the answers, and especially the first time moms were afraid they would do something wrong. Yet, they instinctively knew their main role: to love and care for that child with a depth of love that can only be described as unconditional.

In the book of I John, John was an older man when he wrote boldly of begetting and birth in the passage listed below. He tells of the intimate relationship between Christ, God the Father, and the Christian. He explains that the “seed” of God’s nature is placed within each believer allowing that seed to be nurtured until it becomes a mature tree in the likeness of God. Verse 1 tells us who we are- God’s child, verse 2 tells us we are becoming reflections of God; verses 16-18 shows us how we are to respond to the gift of God’s love. Love is an action, not a feeling, and He wants us to learn from God’s love how to sacrificially love others.

PRAYER: Thank You for being my Heavenly Father, for showing me Your great love on a daily basis through the gifts of my relationships. I Praise You for placing the seed within me that allows me to become more like You every day. Help me learn from Your example how to love more sacrificially and more unconditionally today and every day.

“See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know him. Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when Christ appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is. All who have this hope in him purify themselves, just as he is pure. This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters. If anyone has material possessions and sees a brother or sister in need but has no pity on them, how can the love of God be in that person? Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth” (1 John 3:1-3, 16-18 NIV).

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