Faith is a vital role in the family unit. It draws us together. Holds us tight. Binds us with the ties of God. Keeping faith in our families secures the values of Christ are embedded in our children
DEVOTION BY Patricia Van Gorder POSTED 10/17/2021 6:00:01 AM ON Matthew 9:37 NASB
Autumn slips into southern California with less fanfare than most parts of the country.
But when it arrives, it brings chilly mornings and evenings—and the time for long pants and sweatshirts. During autumn, I bask in childhood memories of the Colorado Mountains—deciduous trees aflame with color, displaying their spectacular autumn dress. Days can be warm and deceptively summer-like, followed by a sudden dusting of snow overnight. The abrupt temperature changes can set off a tidal wave of color among the aspen trees, creating the most colorful displays of the season.
When I was a child, our family lived on a five-acre farm on the outskirts of town. As the days grew cooler and shorter, everyone was expected to gather the crops we had tended all summer. The tedious hours of weeding, watering, and hoeing brought an abundant crop. Our garden was lush with tomatoes, corn, beets, green beans, and many more vegetable varieties—enough to feed our large family in the winter. We all knew when the crops were ready, we had to harvest.
When Jesus looked at the crowds of people around Him, He saw into their hearts. He felt compassion for them because they were distressed and dispirited, like sheep without a shepherd. He referred to those hopeless, hurting people as a field ripe for harvesting and urged His disciples to pray for workers to send into His harvest.
We can be those workers, bringing comfort to the hurting. We may think someone we know is not ready to believe. While we can't see into people's hearts to know who will respond to the gospel, God knows. We should be a harvester—a witness for Christ.
The crops are ready. Head to the fields. It’s harvest time.
(Photo courtesy of pixabay.)
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DEVOTION BY Darrell Waters POSTED 10/10/2021 6:00:01 AM ON Genesis 3:13 KJV
When I was either four or five years old, my dad decided to teach me how to crank up the car.
Although I’m legally blind, my parents still treated me as normally as possible. One Sunday night after the church service, my mother had taken me to the car, but left her keys on the dashboard. Big mistake!
The car key wasn’t as easy to notice as they are now—they were the same size as the rest of the keys—but somehow I found it. I thought I could turn it on and off like a regular switch, but for some reason, it didn’t turn off that easily. It cranked up and started rolling backward away from the building.
Fortunately, a lady rescued me. When mamma got me home that night—need I say more—I got what I deserved and was never allowed to crank the car again.
Did the Devil make me do that? No, but he sure helped me out a lot. I’m not joking about sin although I have been funny.
God gave Adam and Eve that choice. Although Eve was deceived in the sin, she was too busy talking to the Devil. She listened with interest to what he said. Adam was also spiritually lazy. He didn’t do his part. God had told him to “keep” the garden, which I believe meant keep the Devil out.
The Devil tempts us to do things, but he can’t make us do anything. The Lord defeated our sins on the cross so we can overcome him. We have a choice to do right or wrong.
We who have the Lord in our lives should be sensitive to the Holy Spirit every day to keep us from sinning.
Ask God to help you do your part to overcome sin daily so others can see God in your life.
DEVOTION BY Andy Hollifield POSTED 10/3/2021 6:00:01 AM ON 1 Kings 17:12 KJV
A woodpile starts with only one stick.
My parents’ first house wasn't a house at all, but a converted garage. It was one room without plumbing. That's what you call "roughing it." They didn't have two nickels to rub together.
But something must've taken for them. When Dad passed away after he and Mom had been married for almost forty-five years, they had four grown kids and five grandkids. They owned their two-story home—a long way from the little place they started in. Dad had even owned his own business. Those things were worth more than money.
Often, we're prone to make the same mistakes as adults that we made in our early years. We think we must have everything at once. By doing so, we can put ourselves in dire financial straits, which can leave us bankrupt with worry.
Several people were "poor as dirt" until God blessed them with more than riches. A widow saw her meal and oil sustained because she obeyed and made Elijah a cake. Another widow—who was about to have her sons taken as bondservants to pay her debts—saw God let her little pot of oil flow abundantly so she could sell it, pay off her debts, and provide a living for them. Many were poor in health but were healed and became rich in Christ. It takes more than being penniless to be poor and more than wealth to be rich.
If it seems like we’re gathering sticks and don't have two nickels to rub together, we can take heart rather than giving up. Those are the perfect times to watch God work. Today's sticks may become tomorrow's woodpile. God created this earth from nothing by just speaking a word. He can still make something from our nothing.
When you're gathering sticks, don't lose hope. Just wait for a word from the Lord.
DEVOTION BY Kevin Spencer POSTED 9/26/2021 6:00:01 AM ON Luke 8:24 NIV
I live on a battlefield.
Every autumn and spring, howling arctic cold fronts barreling down out of the Canadian Rockies meet up with moisture-laden tropical lows coming up from the Gulf of Mexico, and they have it out right over our heads here in Middle Tennessee. This meteorological battle usually results in severe tornado-producing thunderstorms.
Once, the local television stations preempted their regular programming to cover the latest round of supercell thunderstorms to march overhead. I really didn't need them to tell me that. The sight of my BBQ grill and cheap lawn chairs doing cartwheels across the lawn told me all I needed to know about the weather conditions outside.
Weather forecasters insisted I needed to be in my "safe place" immediately and that the dangerous storm was bearing down right where I lived. The problem with their advice was that our humble little wood-frame house had no safe place. There is no basement and only one completely interior space—a small, cramped linen closet. We live in a rural wooded area. No close neighbors. Outside, marble-size hail battered the windows and roof. I began to worry.
Then, my eyes fell to my grandson's illustrated Teen Bible. We had been reading the Easter story earlier, and the open book was still on my desk. This particular page had an illustration of Jesus' empty tomb on Easter morning. And there, I realized, was my safe place.
My safe place was in that empty tomb, right there, in the heart of Christ. And what it represented was Christ's victory over death. That should have been imprinted on my heart. God should not have had to remind me. Somewhere between the howling wind and the pounding hail, I took my eyes off Him. But He never let me out of His sight, nor out of His heart.
The story doesn't have a happy ending. Oh, the storm passed over our home without incident, and my family was safe. But it touched down as an F4 tornado just a few miles east, snuffing out lives and injuring scores of people. I prayed for those people, even as I thanked God for keeping us and our home safe. And I hope that the next time the sky darkens, He won't have to gently remind me that I am nestled deeply in His heart. Something I should already know.
Do you know Him? Does He have to remind you?
DEVOTION BY Joe Walton POSTED 9/19/2021 6:00:01 AM ON Numbers 32:23b NIV
I can still taste the homemade strawberry jam, frozen in an empty Cool Whip container.
Using spoons as our make-shift chisels, my brother and I hunkered in a corner of the barn to enjoy our bounty. We knew we shouldn’t have stolen the jam from Mom’s freezer, but nothing makes thieves of little boys as quickly as sweets.
Sadly, unlike strawberry fields, strawberry jam doesn’t last forever. So, we planned our end game. After hiding the container in some hay and washing the jam off our faces, we reasoned with each other: “Who could possibly find out?” Answer: Dad. Somehow, it hadn’t occurred to us that at least one of our parents also used the barn. We paid dearly for that jam.
Sin always has consequences. It can take various forms, but ultimately it boils down to unbelief. Throughout the Old Testament, the Israelites doubted what God had told them. God warned the tribes of Reuben and Gad what would happen if they did not keep their oath to defend their fellow Israelites. Their sin would not go unnoticed. A just and righteous God cannot allow sin to go unpunished.
Despite our best efforts, we cannot keep anything from God. He not only sees our sinful actions but also knows the hidden motivations of our hearts. This knowledge should lead us to two conclusions. First, it should deter us from disobeying God. Our illusions of secrecy dissolve before an all-knowing God. Second, we should confess our sins and seek God’s forgiveness. We can’t hide our sin, so we shouldn’t try.
Are you hiding something? Jesus has already paid for it. Confess it to Him and receive His forgiveness.