The Blessing Bunch

October 4, 2021 by  
Filed under Daily Devotions, Personal Growth

By Cheri Cowell –

Henry Ward Beecher is quoted as saying “a proud man is seldom a grateful man because he never thinks he gets as much as he deserves”. I struggle with this on a daily basis. My personality is prone to the weakness of pride and I tend to agree with the Apostle Paul that although I know what I want to do, I can’t seem to do it (at least not all of the time). I’ve discovered that pride slips up when I feel unappreciated, unnoticed, overwhelmed, taken advantage of, and self-righteous. All of these are traits of a self-focused person.

Are you like me and need a remedy? If so, God has given us one.

He tells us we should get our eyes off of ourselves and onto our blessings. It is easy for us to let our feelings become hurt, our pride to take over, and for us to demand our own way. When I see that my eyes have moved to myself, I call to God to help me have a just view. He then gently shows me what I am without Him and who I am because of Him. I can then lift someone else up, knowing it won’t cost me, because God has given me my place with Him.

I recently read about a group of people who are called the Blessing Bunch. All of us are called to join this club. We are to turn our eyes from ourselves and on to others, blessing them because we’ve been so richly blessed.

“Love each other like brothers and sisters. Give each other more honor than you want for yourselves” (Romans 12:10 NCV).

PRAYER: Thank You, God, for helping me to take my eyes from myself and to place it on those whom You send my way today. Help me have a just view of myself and to take the oath to join the Blessing Bunch club today.

When Words Count

September 25, 2021 by  
Filed under Daily Devotions, Personal Growth

By Cheri Cowell –

Not too long ago, I went to help new friends move, even though I was really tired. I got there a little late for two reasons: 1) I knew there would be a lot of help, and 2) I really wasn’t looking forward to moving them into their two-story home. Did I mention I was already tired? When I arrived I discovered my first assumption was wrong. There were only a handful of helpers of which only two were men. As I got to work I began to feel somewhat ashamed of my tired outlook because those who had been there on time must have been tired too, yet they weren’t complaining. In fact, it was just the opposite. They were having a good time. I soon learned why everyone was so happy. My friends were so grateful for every box brought in, every piece of furniture that was put in its place, and every bed put together. They said thank you in so many ways, and gushed over our every effort so much so that it was hard not to feel appreciated.

There is a proverb that tells us how precious our words are. This proverb is thought to be referring to a sort of table centerpiece popular at this time. Golden balls were arranged in a handcrafted silver filigree basket that was probably very beautiful and valuable. What a wonderful word picture for what our words are to be: handcrafted (carefully crafted) silver filigree basket (a delicate container) filled with gold balls (a valued ornament or gift).

“The right word at the right time is like precious gold set in silver” (Proverbs 25:11 CEV).

PRAYER: God help me see each situation today as a filigree basket waiting to be filled with precious gold balls of uplifting and encouraging words.

When Thank You is Not Enough

September 14, 2021 by  
Filed under Daily Devotions, Family

By Cheri Cowell –

After the last of the three hurricanes hit Florida in 2004, my husband and I opened our home to our neighbors – a family of seven plus a cat and a dog. Their home was uninhabitable with water damage throughout. They were so appreciative and couldn’t thank us enough. We didn’t see what we did as anything special. In our eyes it was a no-brainer. We had the space, and they had a need we could fill.

Last week I also read the account of a man who was just released from prison after 18 years when DNA evidence proved he was innocent. As I read today’s scripture these two unrelated stories suddenly united to illustrate a question that is difficult for us to comprehend. The question? How do we thank someone who has done something so incredible, so gracious, and for which thank you doesn’t seem to fit?

God has provided that answer for us in the parable below. Like the servant in the parable, we have been given an incredible gift. And like us with our neighbors, God saw our need and without a second thought, He gave what He had, forgiving our debt with His own blood. And like the attorneys who fought for the innocent man, God went to battle with Satan to rescue us from life in prison. How do we repay such a gift? The parable says we are to go and do likewise. We extend that grace to others and give our blessings away.

“When some other officials found out what had happened, they felt sorry for the man who had been put in jail. Then they told the king what had happened. The king called the first official back in and said, “You’re an evil man! When you begged for mercy, I said you did not have to pay back a cent. Don’t you think you should show pity to someone else, as I did to you?” The king was so angry that he ordered the official to be tortured until he could pay back everything he owed. That is how my Father in heaven will treat you, if you don’t forgive each of my followers with all your heart” (Matthew 18:23-35 (33-35 above) CEV)

PRAYER: Thank You Lord for the incredible gift of my debt erased by Your grace. Help me receive that gift by extending the same grace to those around me today.

Clean Desks

September 8, 2021 by  
Filed under Daily Devotions, Personal Growth

Cheri Cowell –

I was always a clean desk person. When I left work at the end of the day I liked leaving it clean and clear so the next day I would come in to a clean desk. Then I heard this little tip. Before leaving your desk for the day, start the next project. Just start it and leave it there on your desk where you left off. When you come back in the morning two things will happen. First, you will notice your brain has worked on the unfinished project while you slept. Second, you’ll know where to begin and will dive right in. This little tip has saved me from my clean-desk-self. God has another tip for the clean-deskers in the parable below.

The house is swept but not washed, and Christ has said, If I wash thee not, thou hast no part with me. The house must be washed, or it has none of Him. Sweeping takes off only the loose dirt, while the sin that besets the sinner is untouched. It is swept from the filth that lies open to the eye of the world, but it is not searched and ransacked for secret filthiness. Here is the note for clean deskers: unless the house is filled with the Holy Spirit and the graces the Spirit brings unclean spirits will simply move right back in.

PRAYER: God, help me to not simply clean my house, but wash it clean through the blood of Jesus. Fill my clean home with Your presence so there is no room left for anyone but You.

“When an impure spirit comes out of a person, it goes through arid places seeking rest and does not find it. Then it says, ‘I will return to the house I left.’ When it arrives, it finds the house swept clean and put in order. Then it goes and takes seven other spirits more wicked than itself, and they go in and live there. And the final condition of that person is worse than the first” (Luke 11:24-26 NIV).

Delayed Gratification

August 12, 2021 by  
Filed under Daily Devotions, Worship

By Cheri Cowell –

Over the last few years America has undergone a shift, and I think it is a good one. We’ve learned to live on less, to embrace delayed gratification, and to count the cost before jumping in. I wish my mother-in-law could see us now (she’s living with Jesus) because the excesses of the 80’s and 90’s bothered her a lot.

She grew up during the depression and understood that all the “stuff” was false security. She practiced delayed gratification and counting the cost. She tought those lessons to her son, my husband. And although we didn’t always heed those lessons, they formed a solid foundation for our thinking so that when Jesus used this same principle in the parable below, we got it. I hope you do, too.

Prior to this passage, Jesus has warned and rebuked the leadership for not walking the talk. However, they still wanted to know, what does following Jesus really require? This parable makes it clear that disciples should count the cost of following Jesus, because success will not come easily. We will suffer, life will be hard, and we’ll need to learn to live on less while delaying our gratification. If we sit down and carefully count these costs, when the bill comes due we won’t be blindsided.

PRAYER: Lord, thank You for counting the cost and then willingly paying that cost for my salvation. Help me not only to count the cost but be willing to delay gratification so the cost will be worth it in the end.

“Suppose one of you wants to build a tower. Won’t you first sit down and estimate the cost to see if you have enough money to complete it? For if you lay the foundation and are not able to finish it, everyone who sees it will ridicule you, saying, ‘This person began to build and wasn’t able to finish’ (Luke 14:28-30 NIV).

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