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 Kevin Spencer POSTED 2/23/2020 6:00:01 AM ON Ephesians 5:8 NIV
I had a problem.
A Boy Scout weekend camping trip coincided with my Sunday to be acolyte in our church. As a Patrol Leader, I was expected to lead my patrol on the camping trip, as well as be in church that Sunday.
Unable to find a replacement for either duty, I decided to do both jobs. I would take my Scouts on the camping trip, and my dad would get me early that Sunday morning and take me back to do my acolyte thing in church. I had it covered.
But teenage boys aren’t prone to sleep when on a camping weekend away from home. By flashlight, we told ghost stories, talked sports, and discussed the marvelous mysteries of female anatomy until way past midnight.
Before I knew it, the sun was up, and Dad had arrived to pick me up. Once at church, I donned my white acolyte robe. Out I went, walking with pace and reverence to the altar where I lit the candles and then returned to my reserved front pew.
During the first half of the service, we did a lot of standing and singing, so I was reasonably active. But as Rev. Hutchinson launched into the sermon, my eyes slowly shut. My head drifted back to rest on that lonely front pew, and in front of the entire congregation—with my mouth gapped open—I fell sound asleep.
At the end of the sermon, the kind lady sitting behind me gently nudged me awake, and, blinking away the sleep, I quickly woke up enough to extinguish the candles as the service concluded. Later, I learned Rev. Hutchinson had explained to the congregation my double-duty weekend and told them just to let me rest. But at that moment … I was mortified.
I wish I could tell you I learned my lesson that Sunday morning—that never again would I let the bright baubles of the world distract me from learning about God’s Word—but I’ve had to learn it over and over. Wasted hours slip away on television and internet foolishness.
One of these days, I’m going to feel that gentle nudge on my shoulder again, and I’m going to turn and see my Lord. I hope I’m not mortified, again.
Are you ready for the Lord to tap on your shoulder?
(Photo courtesy of pixabay.)
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DEVOTION BY Ken Ebright POSTED 2/16/2020 6:00:01 AM ON Hebrews 13:5 NCV
He slammed the door in my face.
I tried to do everything I could to encourage my dad. I tried to change his focus, pointing out that his present rehab facility was better than the last one he had been in a few years ago. I gave him this Scripture, thinking surely God’s Word would encourage him: I will never leave you: I will never abandon you. It didn’t go over well. He told me to quit preaching.
My eighty-seven-year-old father had undergone hip replacement surgery and was in a nursing home, trying to learn to walk again. He desperately wanted to go back home, but he had to get his strength back first. I think at times, my dad felt as if the Lord had abandoned him. It can feel that way in life when we go through times of darkness.
Sometimes, we don’t understand why we go through difficult times. Trusting God is difficult when things go wrong and all hope seems lost. I felt abandoned when my mom committed suicide and at other times when my faith was tested.
My dad refused to listen and be encouraged that day, but our heavenly Father will always listen to us. He will never leave us because He said he wouldn’t. In this life, we will have difficult times because life this side of heaven will never be easy. But God is always there to guide and comfort us through our horrific circumstances. That is something I look forward to with joy.
Trust that God will never leave you.
DEVOTION BY Christy Adams POSTED 2/9/2020 6:00:01 AM ON 2 Corinthians 1:3 MSG
Our backyard is every little boy’s paradise: a giant pile of dirt.
The bank where we dug the dirt out for our new project was extremely steep. Carter, my oldest, figured out a way to climb up on his own. Everything that big brother does, little brother wants to do too. Daniel, my youngest, desperately tried to climb the steep bank. He fussed and hollered. He pawed and jumped, but he couldn’t climb the bank.
Finally, Carter came from behind and pushed Daniel up. Even though he wasn’t strong enough, Carter kept trying. Slowly, Daniel climbed a little higher. Carter finally wrapped his arms around his little brother and said, “I got you, buddy.” Then he hollered up to me, “Mama, help pull him to the top.” By that point, he was high enough for me to grab his arms and pull him to the top.
Carter trying to lift his younger brother up pictures what Christians should do. There are people all around us who are stuck in deep holes or messy dirt. We need to do everything within our power to come alongside them—or even push them from behind—and say, “Hey, I got you, buddy.” We may not be able to lift them all the way up, but a little boost may be enough to get them off the bottom and into the reach of Jesus who waits at the top. Although we aren’t the saviors, we can be the lifeline God uses to get others to the Savior.
Look around for opportunities to come alongside others, wrap your arms around them, and say, “I got you, buddy.”
DEVOTION BY Andy Hollifield POSTED 2/2/2020 6:00:01 AM ON Luke 12:24 KJV
A flash of lighting in the dark often terrifies children.
I expected Sam, my oldest grandson, to be scared too. On one of his overnight stays, I laid out a foam mattress, along with blankets, on the living room floor for him. Then I put a sleeping bag and blanket beside it for me. We had an indoor campout.
As we lay in the dark, I thought of a time twenty years before when I lay awake listening for my son Tyler to breathe. As I lay beside my grandson, I saw lightning flash periodically, casting quick shadows in the dark room. I thought of how Sam wasn't concerned in the least with the weather outside. I also thought of how he hadn't given a thought to whether he would be warm and comfortable or even fed or safe. When he finally closed his eyes and drifted off to sleep, I was sure none of these thoughts entered his little mind.
I also thought about how our heavenly Father desires for us to depend on Him. He wants us to trust Him completely, as Sam did me. To trust to the point where our care and provision never cross our mind. He also wants us to be so sure of His care that the storm around us doesn’t faze us, no matter how dark and scary the shadows might be. He wants us to lie next to Him and close our eyes in total peace, knowing we are safe from all harm.
Doing so is a great testimony of God’s care for us. For Him to have our total trust and dependence brings the same satisfaction to His heart as Sam's complete and unquestioning faith did to mine.
Take the necessary steps so you can have complete faith in your heavenly Father's care.
DEVOTION BY Kevin Spencer POSTED 1/26/2020 6:00:01 AM ON Deuteronomy 31:8 NIV
My alarm rang me awake at 4:45 in the morning.
Had there been a snooze, I would have slapped it, but this was 1970, and my clock was a wind-up Big Ben with no snooze button. So I turned the alarm off and urged my thirteen-year-old body out of my warm bed and into my clothes.
Waiting for me seven blocks away near Winston-Salem’s Baptist Hospital were fifty editions of the Winston-Salem Journal newspaper. I was a paperboy, and my job was to deliver those papers to the front stoops and porches of the houses on my route. So I dressed and padded my way quietly down through the house to the garage. Gathering up my trusty ten-speed, I eased the garage door open … and stopped in wonder. The world was white with snow.
This was a first. I had never delivered papers in the snow before, but I rolled my bike out and lowered the garage door. Snow fell hard, but only an inch or so had accumulated. I had no trouble traversing the seven blocks to my papers. By the time I had them rolled and in my shoulder bag, another couple of inches had fallen.
An hour later, I was in trouble. Slogging through ever-deepening snow, I was soaked. My canvas sneakers were wet and my toboggan cap sodden. I had opened my coat to cover the papers, and now I felt ice-coated and was shivering uncontrollably.
Suddenly, headlights flashed over me, and a car horn sounded. I turned and saw the most welcome sight in the world: our car with Dad at the wheel. Observing the weather when he arose, he had wrestled the snow chains onto the car and come to my rescue. Together, we finished the paper route. With the heat on high and my bicycle in the trunk, I was sound asleep by the time we got home.
My Father in heaven lovingly watches over me, just as my earthly dad did. When the going gets beyond my ability to handle, He has proven over and over He will be there. He holds me in His hand, and I have rested there in peaceful gratitude more than once.
If you are slogging on a hopelessly torturous path with no end in sight, give it to God. Rest in Him. His love will never let you down.