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 Robert L. Segress POSTED 1/12/2020 6:00:01 AM ON Matthew 11:28 NKJV
Every new school year was an overwhelming experience in our house.
Raising five active and needy children—in addition to two exhausting careers—often caused my wife and me to remember the picture of a donkey with a too-heavy load. The donkey was lifted off the ground and stuck in the air. Under him were the words, “I can handle it. Just give me a minute.”
We found when we stopped trying to handle being overwhelmed by ourselves and instead put our loads in the Lord’s hands, we discovered peace and relief.
Life has been filled with labor that is often heavy and overwhelming since Adam and Eve experienced unpleasant results from their disobedience in the Garden of Eden. The woman received increased pain and suffering with childbearing. The man had to sweat away his life struggling with “thorns and thistles.” Now that both men and women work to provide for the family, women often deal with thorny jobs also.
Each day pray, “Lord help me.” Today’s verse is often misunderstood. We think it only applies when a person can’t figure out any more answers. But we aren’t to come to God only when we are at the end of our strength and have nowhere else to go.
Another verse is often forgotten in this competitive, fast-paced world: Without Me, you can do nothing. Jesus meant what He said. All good gifts come from God, and that includes our health and strength. We must continually come to Jesus for companionship and help.
Even as small choices determine quality and outcome, choices also determine life and death.
Each day pray, “Lord help me.”
(Photo courtesy of pixabay.)
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DEVOTION BY Joyce McCullough POSTED 1/5/2020 6:00:01 AM ON Philippians 2:14-15MSG
I sometimes had a disrespectful attitude when I was in the seventh grade.
My homeroom teacher often gave unannounced locker checks. On one of these surprise occasions, the teacher told us to file into the hallway and stand by our lockers. I felt confident my locker would pass inspection, so I had no worries. When Mr. Pack reached my locker, I proudly opened the door and quickly caught a few flying papers being held hostage inside. My teacher looked at the disorganized mess and declared, “That’ll be five demerits, young lady.”
Without thinking, I stomped my foot and cried, “No way!”
“Make that ten demerits because of your attitude,” he replied.
“But, Mr. Pack!” I whined.
I was stubborn, but a building didn’t have to fall on me for me to realize my attitude was bad. After losing fifteen points off my deportment (my conduct grade), I closed my mouth and proceeded to clean out my locker.
When Paul wrote to the church at Philippi, he instructed them to have an attitude like Christ’s. He also encouraged them to let others see God working in them.
As Christians, we need to show the world our lives are full of the joy of Christ, not the disgruntlement of ourselves. We need to “provide people with a glimpse of . . . the living God” within us.
I am grateful I outgrew my seventh-grade insolence. As an adult, I can still have an occasional bad attitude. However, I have learned that approaching life with joy, respect, and humility makes me a better person. It also helps me set a better example for others.
Think twice before stomping your foot, grumbling, and complaining about life. Instead, be of good cheer. Be the fresh air that society needs, and let others see God living in you.
Think of one way you can adjust your attitude.
DEVOTION BY Kevin Spencer POSTED 12/29/2019 6:00:01 AM ON Philippians 4:6-7 NIV
"It's cancer," she said. Her voice broke. "It's bad." And then the tears came. "It's not fair,” she cried.
My heart wept with her. She was right—it certainly wasn't fair. If anyone could claim unfairness, it was my friend. Over the last twelve months, she had lost her mother and then her father. Just a few weeks prior to our conversation, she had buried her only surviving sibling—her beloved brother—who had succumbed to an incredibly aggressive and fast-moving cancer.
Now, cancer had her…again. Cancer had already took one bite at her years earlier and had left her body scarred and mutilated as the doctors chopped away at the relentless disease. Now just a few days after her first chemo session, we spoke again on the phone. I could hear in her tremulous voice how far she had fallen. As we talked, a coughing fit seized her, which led to a nose bleed—a relentless consequence of the chemo. Only able to get out a few words between dabs at her bleeding nose, her tears poured out in frustration.
I waited patiently until she wrestled her sobs under control. The crying wasn't really her; I knew. She was a strong woman, but her past year would have brought the strongest person to tears. Of course, the tears brought on more bleeding from her nose. After a few heroic breaths, she finally brought everything under control, and we continued our conversation.
She asked what I was doing. I told her I was writing this devotion.
"Will you do me a favor?" she asked.
"Of course," I replied.
"Will you tell them to be grateful for what they have today? Will you tell them to look around at the family they still have with them…at the health they enjoy…and be grateful for what they have? Because it can all be gone in the blink of an eye."
“You just did, my dear friend. You just did.” And she did what Paul enjoined all of us to do.
What are you thankful for as this year slips to a close and slides into 2020? What can you thank God for as the New Year dawns?
DEVOTION BY Andy Hollifield POSTED 12/22/2019 6:00:01 AM ON Proverbs 18:24 KJV
My “Merry Christmas” brought a strange look.
My accent is so thick that I don't have to go beyond our local supermarket or Wal-Mart for people to listen and grin when I talk.
When I visited Minnesota in the summer of 2016, I spoke to random people just because I knew my southern accent would get looks and begin conversations. After I had gotten the look, I asked, "Would you believe I'm a local?" Of course, everyone says, "No," and the conversation turns to where I am from. While in Minnesota, I had the opportunity to tell them about the new Baptist churches we were working on. When I said the number one word that Northerners want to know if Southerners really say, "Y'all," everyone gave a good belly laugh.
I bet you have already smiled at least once. Maybe even laughed at the thoughts of a Southerner ordering at McDonald's in Minnesota or Illinois.
We can be friendly and wish everyone we see a “Merry Christmas,” along with giving them a big smile. Not only will it help them, but it will also make us feel pretty good too. When we wish people Merry Christmas, they might pay more attention to the calendar. And it will brighten someone's day, if only for a moment.
We all need those escapes from reality that come from an unexpected greeting or someone using good manners and being polite. Good laughs and trips down memory lane are also helpful. We might be surprised at how many witnessing opportunities a greeting to a stranger might bring.
God wants us to be full of joy so the world can see Christ's love in our lives. We might even get to tell someone what Christmas is really about.
Try saying Merry Christmas to someone today.
DEVOTION BY Diane Virginia POSTED 12/15/2019 6:00:01 AM ON Psalm 149:1b KJV
Shoppers hurried into the mall to escape the winter winds.
One man ambled towards the entrance, methodically tapping his cane. He pulled a flute from his tattered jacket and played Christmas melodies. Passersby scarcely noticed him. A mother dropped a coin in the overturned hat. A teenager handed him a water bottle. It was my chance to talk to him.
“Excuse me, sir, but why do you play?”
“Does anybody ever take your money? You wouldn’t know seeing as ...”
“I sees them with me ears. They can have me coins. I play ’cause I want ’em to have a song in they’s heart like I’s got in mine.”
As the flutist played “Mary’s Song,” I felt a warmth erase the wind that whipped onto the sidewalk from the nearby alley.
I learned something that day. Although the gentleman was blind and poor, the song of the Lord residing within gave him a joy no one could take. Rather than worrying about his circumstances, he focused on expressing the song within his heart.
Like the flutist, Mary had a song in her heart no one could steal. Her song, “The Magnificat,” declared her faith. She sang about her surprise to learn God had chosen her to birth the Savior. She glimpsed the impact of Christ’s birth—that it would bless generations. Expectantly, she sang about God’s sovereignty.
Mary reminds me of the flutist. She knew she’d have a difficult journey, but she kept a song in her heart when challenges came. As gossip mongers publicized her premarital pregnancy, she kept singing. When she and Joseph fled from wicked King Herod, I imagine Mary whispered lullabies into her child’s ears. As her Son lay upon the cross, beaten and dying a horrible death with His blood pooling at her bended knees, I am certain Mary had at least one chord from her Spirit-song residing within her wounded soul. But when Jesus arose, the whole world sang, as did Mary.
Christmas is a time to resurrect the song of the Lord that He’s placed within you. Listen closely. The Great Flutist has written a melody on the recesses of your heart.