A Devotion May Be Someone's Only Bible

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Rise from the Ashes – Cindy Sproles

Rise from the Ashes – Cindy Sproles

For six years sow your fields, and for six years prune your vineyards and gather their crops. But in the seventh year the land is to have a year of sabbath rest, a sabbath to the LORD. Do not sow your fields or prune your vineyards. Leviticus 25:3-4 NIV

Seven years. Gone. Site Not found. Data unattainable. Error 7707.

I was sick as my ministry partner, Eddie, broke the news. “The sites are corrupt. Unrecoverable. We’re working. But this isn’t good. We need a plan to move ahead.”

So began a two-week effort to put a band-aid on the bleeding. The ministry websites were gone and all I could mull over was seven years and two thousand devotions . . . gone.

Eddie and I talked numerous times over the next few days discussing how to proceed when it occurred to me, this is the ministry’s seventh year. Seven. God’s favorite number . . . the one that signifies completion and recognizes rebirth. It is, by all due rights, our year of Jubilee.

I don’t know about you, but Jubilee symbolizes joy and celebration. Not loss. There was little to celebrate in the loss of seven years of ministry. That’s when we agreed – this was our year of rest. We’d been praying God would take this ministry to a higher level. It appeared He was just doing His job. The same job He did after creation and one to which He commanded the children of Israel to adhere.

“Maybe it has to crash and burn before we turn loose enough for God to rebuild,” Eddie said. “The seventh year is the year of forgiveness of debt. The let-it-go year.”

Eddie was right. I’d even mentioned this was our blessed year. Seven!

There’s a method behind God’s seemingly odd madness. His people had worked hard for six years. Their fields were prosperous and the nation thrived. At the end of the year they cleaned the fields, set fire to the rubbish, then spread the ashes. They were instructed to forgive debts, set men free . . . let go and move ahead. Just as God completed His creation on the seventh day, and rested, He demanded it of His children. Time to rest. Time for renewal. And through this time of rest, celebration ensued for the provisions of previous years. The next year, the fields were tilled and planted. Through the ashes, rose new and stronger crops.

It was time to buckle down and let go. Not quit! But let go. So we did. We released the old, crawled from our face to our knees and began to pray. We let go. Forgave the debts that anyone might owe (i.e. promised devotions or help), and we moved ahead. In three days (look at the significance there), God provided the funds for a new and better site. And like a phoenix, this work is rising through the ashes. Rejuvenated.

When God commands you to rest. Do it. Trust Him. After all, He better than anyone knows what can rise after three days. Let go and be renewed.

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Cindy Sproles is an author and speaker. She is the cofounder of Christian Devotions Ministries, the Executive Editor for www.christiandevotions.us and www.inspireafire.com. Cindy serves as the acquisitions editor for SonRise Books and Straight Street Books (imprints of Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas). She travels speaking and teaching at writers conferences and women’s conferences nationwide. Visit Cindy at www.cindysproles.com.

 

 

 

 

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Risefromtheashes

RISE FROM THE ASHES

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Dachshund and Goliath – Mandy Lawrence

Dachshund and Goliath – Mandy Lawrence

For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.  Timothy 1:7 NKJV 

My dachshund, Wilbur, embarrassed me.

Friends had graciously invited me and my husband over for a Memorial Day cookout. “Bring Wilbur. He can play with our greyhound, Vanna.”

So we did. But Wilbur “showed himself ” like never before, growling and nipping at Vanna, making us regret we’d brought him along.

Wibur’s fearlessness and aggression toward a dog ten times his height reminded me of my dachshunds from childhood. Any time they saw the neighborhood Doberman, they would take after him full-throttle and, thankfully, he would disappear into the woods.

The dachshund’s confidence and bravery reminds me of David and Goliath. David looked up at this giant-of-a-man towering over him and declared battle with full confidence. He even refused to wear armor and told Goliath if he came against him to fight, he (David) would attack in the name of the Lord. David ran toward Goliath and killed him with a slingshot and a stone.

Christians need to take a lesson from David—and the dachshund. God wants us to start putting more action behind the beliefs we claim to possess. He wants us to act like we are more than conquerors, and that we can do all things through Christ.

We tend to give up our fights too easily only to consider what we, ourselves, are capable of doing. It’s easy to forget Who we have on our team. There’s no doubt there are mountains in our lives but as Christians, we must never forget God is on our side. That’s way bigger than any and every obstacle we face.

So it’s okay for us to look silly and take on our battles like a dachshund charging at a greyhound or a Doberman … as long our confidence is not in our own abilities, but in our unstoppable, almighty Master. Place your confidence in Christ and He will lead you through the battles.

(Photo courtesy of freedigitalphotos.net & Sira Anamwong)

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Mandy LawrenceMandy Lawrence is a dog-lover who is passionate about the Good News of the Gospel. She has been a nurse for over thirteen years and currently works for Hospice, but believes her true calling is to spread the light of Christ through her writing. She is the author of the newly published book, Wisdom From Wilbur: How My Dog Has Brought Me Closer to God. Mandy lives in North Carolina with her husband, Shane, and their dachshund, Wilbur.

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