Too Good To Be True

February 2, 2023 by  
Filed under Daily Devotions

By Cheri Cowell –  

If it sounds too good to be true, we are told, it probably is. This is a great truth to live by as it protects us from falling prey to untrue advertising, unscrupulous contractors, and false promises.

On the other hand, if we make this a cornerstone of our interplay with the world we risk becoming skeptics who never believe anything. We risk losing our ability to suspend disbelief in order to hold only to the explainable. This is the opposite of faith. Faith requires that we set aside this “rule” of protection and make room for that which is simply too good to be true—forgiveness of sins and the resurrection.

David had no proof; only belief in what seemed too good to be true. Yet, David chose to cling to the promise of forgiveness (remember, he murdered a man, committed adultery, and then lied to cover it all up) and the hope of resurrection for his son whom God had taken because of this. Sadly, the prophets foretold of many others who would choose not to suspend their belief in what they understood—they would never believe. Thus they would never see. Only those with the eyes of faith can hope to see.

“Therefore, my friends, I want you to know that through Jesus the forgiveness of sins is proclaimed to you. Through him everyone who believes is set free from every sin, a justification you were not able to obtain under the law of Moses” (Acts 13:38-39 NIV).

Prayer: Thank You Lord being too good while also being true. Help me suspend my need for protection and joyfully abandon myself to that which seems too good to be true—forgiveness of all sins and a resurrection life.

The Twist

January 27, 2023 by  
Filed under Daily Devotions

By Cheri Cowell –  

Call it good parenting. Call it bribery. But all of us have done it. We have several more errands to run and the children are getting restless. So, we offer to take them to the park, stop for Happy Meals, or allow them to choose the movie that night “if you will help me get these last few errands done.” If you will…then I will… God uses this same parenting technique with us, but His comes with a twist.

II Chronicles 7:14 is often quoted to make the point that God set up this “if you will do this (humble yourselves and turn from evil)” then God will forgive and heal the land. Some say that because we have not humbled ourselves and turned from evil, God is withholding His forgiveness and blessing.

What this explanation leaves out is that throughout history we’ve repeatedly not held up our end of the bargain, and yet, God still sent Jesus. Jesus is the twist. He rewrites this parenting technique to say, “even if you don’t. . . I will still forgive and shower you with blessings”.
“. . . if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land” (2 Chronicles 7:14 NIV).

Prayer: God I praise You for being the ultimate parent who, although maintaining the “if you will” goal, steps in with a twist—the twist of grace. Help me see Your grace as the reason to fulfill my end of the bargain.

Triggering God

January 24, 2023 by  
Filed under Daily Devotions

By Cheri Cowell – 

Triggers can be both good and bad. From psychology we’ve learned even a gesture or the tone in someone’s voice can trigger a memory and a reaction. Some of those are good, like the memory of a loved one. On the other hand, some of those memories cause pain or anger. The worst triggers are the ones we don’t yet recognize. They’re the things which send us reeling or raging.

God has triggers. The Bible tells us that how we live our lives toward others, whether freely giving and open or stingy and closed, trigger God. Often the workplace rewards stinginess, but God’s Word makes it clear He is triggered to bless those who give spontaneously without regard for the cost. He will bless those who freely give to others in all their work, in all their ventures, and in all they do.

“Give freely and spontaneously. Don’t have a stingy heart. The way you handle matters like this triggers GOD, your God’s, blessing in everything you do, all your work and ventures” (Deuteronomy 15:10 MSG).

Prayer: Lord, I know I grumble about the difficult job I have. Help me to turn my frown into a smile by doing that job as if I were doing it for you.

God’s Sleep Aid

January 22, 2023 by  
Filed under Daily Devotions

By Cheri Cowell –  

We are a nation of insomniacs. This conclusion comes from a recent survey showing how many Americans are taking some form of sleep aid. Advice abounds for non-medication solutions. From forming a bedtime routine to removing the television from the bedroom and lowering the temperature, there is a long list of things one can try. If you’ve worked through this list and are still tossing and turning, perhaps it is time to look for an underlying reason.

God’s sleep advice doesn’t begin when we are readying for bed, but rather at the start of the day. We are to order our steps to walk uprightly, to walk in such a way that we can hold our heads high. When we walk this way we can rest assured that as our heads hit the pillows and our minds review the steps of the day, we will be at peace. God’s sleep aid will help us fall into peaceful sleep because our waking steps were godly.

“He enters into peace; They rest in their beds, Each one who walked in his upright way” (Isaiah 57:2 NASB).

Prayer: May my steps throughout the day bring peaceful sleep when I lay down at night.

Blame Game

January 20, 2023 by  
Filed under Daily Devotions

By Cheri Cowell – 

The devil gets a lot of blame. ‘The devil made me do it’ is a common refrain. Some people say this teasingly, but they don’t really believe it. However, some truly believe Satan is to blame because he is the ruler of this world. He tempts, he snares, he sets traps, and he is indeed conniving. On the other hand, some blame God. They say if God is all-powerful and nothing happens without His approval, then God is ultimately to blame when things go wrong.

Humans make plans and they make choices; that is true. It is also true that the devil is the ruler of this world, and God is the Ruler of All. But the Bible also makes it clear that if men and woman plan evil steps, God will turn them over to those evil ways. Likewise, if they choose the ways of God, God will order their steps and bless their efforts.

“People may make plans in their minds, but the LORD decides what they will do” (Proverbs 16:9 NCV).

Prayer: God, forgive me for playing the blame game when things go wrong. May the plans I make be ones that bring blessings from You.

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