Ants

June 15, 2019 by  
Filed under Daily Devotions, Life Topics

By Cheri Cowell –

“As boring as watching ants” the saying goes. It is obvious the person who created this saying never watched ants. Have you? They are fascinating. I was weeding the other day and came across an ant bed. As I paused to watch them I was struck by how busy they were, each one doing his or her own job, not caring what the other ants were up to. They seemed to be driven by a natural instinct to forge ahead no matter what obstacles were laid before them. To test this theory, I created a large log barrier in their path, and without missing a step they discovered ways around the obstacle. They continued in their pursuit of food and other things, which they dutifully carried into their home. God wants us to be more like ants, dutifully carrying out our jobs in spite of the obstacles that may come our way.

Proverbs is a collection of writings from the wise men or teachers from the time of Solomon to the time of Hezekiah in 8 B.C. This section is about one of the pet peeves of the wise men: laziness. They believed slothfulness, as it was called, only led to failure and poverty. It was a wise man that would take a lesson from the ants and work hard even if no one was around to see what they were doing.

PRAYER: God, help me become like an ant today, busy at the tasks I am given while leaving the results up to You. No matter what obstacles may come my way; I want to be found busy doing the work of You, heavenly Father, when Your Son returns once again.

“Take a lesson from the ants, you lazybones. Learn from their ways and become wise! Though they have no prince or governor or ruler to make them work, they labor hard all summer, gathering food for the winter” (Proverbs 6:6-8 NLT).

Today’s devotion is by Cheri Cowell, who writes and speaks on topics of Christian discipleship. In addition to her books and articles, you can learn about her speaking ministry and sign up to receive her daily devotional at www.CheriCowell.com/.

First Place

June 12, 2019 by  
Filed under Daily Devotions, Life Topics

By Cheri Cowell –

Now why didn’t I think of that is the question we ask ourselves when we see one of those new inventions that seems so logical it should have been thought of before. We know when we see them the person who patented them will be financially set for life, and we wonder why we didn’t think of it first. I’m talking about things like Velcro, Wet Wipes, and Post-It Notes (how did we ever get along without these things?). Secretly, we go even further by asking God if we will ever get there first. Will we ever be the one with the winning ticket, the big idea, or the first place prize? This yearning to be number one has been placed in us by our heavenly Father, not so we can achieve it here on earth, but so it will point us toward God. In Him we are never last. In Him all of us can have first place.

In Deuteronomy Moses outlines for the Israelites the decision they must make when they enter Canaan: to either fully obey God’s laws and be blessed, or live outside of His laws and be cursed. Verses 1-14 describe a blessed life. Bottom line—when we obey God’s teachings we will be first among many in God’s eyes.

PRAYER: Thank You, God, for Your promise to provide me wealth when I obey Your teachings. I claim Your promises today for prosperity in all the ways You have ordained for me from the beginning of time. Help me to be more faithful in following Your commands, and thank You for giving me first place in Your heart as I make You first place in mine.

“The Lord will give you prosperity in the land he swore to your ancestors to give you, blessing you with many children, numerous livestock, and abundant crops. The Lord will send rain at the proper time from his rich treasury in the heavens and will bless all the work you do. You will lend to many nations, but you will never need to borrow from them. If you listen to these commands of the Lord your God that I am giving you today, and if you carefully obey them, the Lord will make you the head and not the tail, and you will always be on top and never at the bottom” (Deuteronomy 28:11-13 NLT).

Today’s devotion is by Cheri Cowell, who writes and speaks on topics of Christian discipleship. In addition to her books and articles, you can learn about her speaking ministry and sign up to receive her daily devotional at www.CheriCowell.com/.

 

STOP the Merry-Go-Round

June 6, 2019 by  
Filed under Daily Devotions, Life Topics

By Cheri Cowell –

Do you ever find you’re talking to yourself? The saying goes, that it’s okay as long as you don’t answer. Well, I think you should answer, and sometimes with a big and resounding STOP! I’m sure you are familiar with the times when that negative voice within just won’t shut up. It seems you’re on a merry-go-round of negative thoughts and don’t know how to get off. The thoughts just keep coming and you are becoming more and more discouraged and despondent. This is when you need to not just talk to yourself, but instead shout, “STOP, I’m getting off this thing.” That will break the cycle, but then you need to follow with steps in a new direction. If you don’t, you’ll end up back on that thing. Begin talking to yourself and take your mind to a new place. Sounds like pop-psychology and not sound biblical counsel?

King David was battling the feelings of depression when he wrote these words. He fought those feelings by reminding himself to be hopeful. David knew God was faithful and He was bigger than any problem David faced. Yet, those overwhelming feelings of depression and discouragement still enveloped him. David fought back by talking to himself. He told himself to look up; though things were bad he had reason to hold onto hope. He told himself to hold onto that hope by looking expectantly for God to do something, and to praise Him while he was waiting. Doesn’t sound like pop-psychology to me, does it to you?

PRAYER: Thank You for being with me in even the darkest of days. Help me to stop the merry-go-round by clinging to the hope I have in You.

“My tears have been my food day and night, while people say to me all day long,  “Where is your God?” These things I remember as I pour out my soul: how I used to go to the house of God under the protection of the Mighty One with shouts of joy and praise among the festive throng. Why, my soul, are you downcast? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God” (Psalm 42:3-5 NIV).

Today’s devotion is by Cheri Cowell, who writes and speaks on the deep questions of faith. You can learn about her speaking ministry and sign up to receive her daily devotional at http://www.CheriCowell.com

Do I Have To?

May 31, 2019 by  
Filed under Daily Devotions, Family

By Cheri Cowell –

I don’t know what it is about children, but they all seem to be wired from birth with that same phrase. I’m sure you can hear the whine in that question, and if you are like me, you can picture yourself standing before your parents as you pleaded your case. If our parents let us get away with that too many times, we probably learned the pattern well and carry it with us today. Maybe not in the same tone or with the same childlike flair, but it is still there. Perhaps it looks more like a roll of the eyes, a big sigh, or maybe a digging in of your heels when someone asks you to do something you don’t want to do. Maybe you label such a person as a nagger, without regard to your own shortcomings. I have to admit I am guilty of all these things. Why do we do this and what is our solution? The Bible offers the answer in today’s passage.

Don’t get caught up in the customs of endowments and polygamy presented in this story. Instead, focus on the heart of Jacob. When he was asked what his wages for working on Laban’s land should be, Jacob requested Rachel’s hand in marriage in return for seven years of labor. Do you focus more easily on the work to be done or the reward to be given for work well done? When Jacob discovered he had been tricked, he was angry, and rightfully so. Yet, instead of taking revenge, he agreed to work another seven years to rightfully earn Rachel as his wife. When we are wronged, it is okay to get angry, but then we must decide to make the situation right. If you tend to blame others instead of looking at your own responsibility in the situation, take a lesson from Jacob and fix your eyes on the bigger prize. It will help the decisions you must make a little easier to handle.

PRAYER: Thank You, Lord, for the prize You offer that is bigger than any obstacle I may face here on earth. Help me focus on that heavenly reward and not on the work to be done. Help me acknowledge Jacob’s lesson by allowing myself to get angry when someone has wronged me, but to then quickly turn my eyes toward the reward.

“When morning came, there was Leah! So Jacob said to Laban, ‘What is this you have done to me? I served you for Rachel, didn’t I? Why have you deceived me?’ Laban replied, ‘It is not our custom here to give the younger daughter in marriage before the older one. Finish this daughter’s bridal week; then we will give you the younger one also, in return for another seven years of work.’ And Jacob did so. He finished the week with Leah, and then Laban gave him his daughter Rachel to be his wife. Laban gave his servant Bilhah to his daughter Rachel as her attendant. Jacob made love to Rachel also, and his love for Rachel was greater than his love for Leah. And he worked for Laban another seven years” (Genesis 29:25-30 NIV).

Today’s devotion is by Cheri Cowell, who writes and speaks on topics of Christian discipleship. Her first book, Direction: Discernment for the Decisions of Your Life, is called a biblically grounded no-nonsense approach to decision-making. To order your copy or to learn more about Cheri, visit her website www.CheriCowell.com

Playing Grown-up

By Cheri Cowell –

I remember laughter-filled days playing grown-up with my sister under a tree in the front yard or in a make-believe schoolhouse in our bedroom. With just a sheet or a cardboard box we turned any cozy spot into an imaginary scene of what we thought our world would be like as adults. In our game we took turns being the grown-up, which, of course, was the prized role in our drama. Sometimes the interpretation of that role caused arguments our mother needed to referee.

I’m sure all of us have played some form of this childhood game whether it was dress-up, cowboys and Indians, or tea party with our stuffed animals as guests. Still, many of us know adults who have never grown up. If we have to admit it, sometimes our own behavior would not qualify as very grown up. So, how do we know when we have reached the goal of finally growing up? The writer of Hebrews has a few suggestions in today’s passage.

The Jewish Christians were beginning to question whether following Christ was worth the persecution they received. The Hebrew’s author answered their questions by defining maturity. He told them mature Christians eat the solid food of the Word of God, not just the baby milk or easy stuff. He challenged the Jews who were looking for an easier way, one with fewer restraints, to continue to taste of the Holy Spirit. And like our childhood play repeated over and over, through repetition of godly principles the Hebrews (and you and I) could learn to distinguish good from evil.

PRAYER: Dear God, help me become a more mature Christian, able to eat the meat and potatoes of Your Word. I am hungry for that solid food. I’m willing to hear the things that may be difficult but which will allow me to grow up in You.

“There is much more we would like to say about this, but it is difficult to explain, especially since you are spiritually dull and don’t seem to listen. You have been believers so long now that you ought to be teaching others. Instead, you need someone to teach you again the basic things about God’s word. You are like babies who need milk and cannot eat solid food. For someone who lives on milk is still an infant and doesn’t know how to do what is right. Solid food is for those who are mature, who through training have the skill to recognize the difference between right and wrong” (Hebrews 5:11-14 NLT).

Today’s devotion is by Cheri Cowell, who writes and speaks on topics of Christian discipleship. Her first book, Direction: Discernment for the Decisions of Your Life, is called a biblically grounded no-nonsense approach to decision-making. To order your copy or to learn more about Cheri, visit her website www.CheriCowell.com

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