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 Cindy Sproles POSTED 8/9/2020 6:00:01 AM ON Mark 4:39 NIV
“Rhetoric! That’s all I hear. It’s like a constant bashing inside my head. Over and over. There’s no escaping it. I just want the noise to cease.”
A young girl sat outside the grocery store pressing her hands over her ears. I can remember when I was a child, my grandmother’s favorite phrase was, “These is troubled times, and troubles never cease.”
I could relate to the young girl. She swiped tears. “Honey, are you all right?” I asked.
“All I hear in my head is the news about this stupid virus. It’s relentless. Everywhere I turn. I’m scared to death.”
Easing next to her on the bench, I patted her knee. “The world is never quiet. Today it’s a virus. Yesterday it was how terrible our president is. There is always something. That’s the way the world likes it.”
“I just want quiet.”
“Me too, sweetie. The only place I find that quiet is when I pray.”
It must have been frightening for the disciples, being on a boat in the middle of a horrendous storm. And to think, Jesus slept through it. In fact, He seemed a bit annoyed when the disciples woke Him. Whether it was because they accused Him of not caring or if it was the fear that didn’t seem to matter, Jesus’ question stumped them: “Don’t you have faith?” With that, He calmed the storm.
We live in chaotic times. An uneasiness settles over the world, and the virus isn’t the cause. Faith wanes, and when that happens, the voices of rhetoric grow louder. Fear seeps in, and people grow weak under the pressure. This is what Satan wants—for us to be enthralled in chaos.
With three simple words, Christ calmed a storm. An easy task for Him. What makes us think those same three words can’t still calm? When we trust that God is on the throne and that nothing gets past Him, we really have little to fear. Yet we do.
Close your mind to rhetoric. Take hold of the promise of Jesus and listen to His words. “Quiet. Be still.” Allow Him to fill your heart and mind, and then quiet will set in.
(Photo courtesy of pixabay.)
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DEVOTION BY Andrea Merrell POSTED 8/2/2020 6:00:01 AM ON 2 Corinthians 10:5 TPT
The speaker was not holding my attention. Yawn.
No matter how hard I tried, my mind would not stay focused. The man kept taking rabbit trails, never finding his way back to the main point. I left the meeting, wondering if he even had a point. Time for a nap … or a jolt of caffeine.
We all have a tendency at times to veer off the subject at hand, but the Lord showed me one day how anxious thoughts are much like rabbit trails. Those thoughts branch off in all directions, taking us off course and away from our foundation of trust in the Lord. They steal our peace. The more anxious we become, the further away we travel. We might even find ourselves all the way down the rabbit hole.
We’re told throughout Scripture to be anxious for nothing, to cast all our care on God, and not to fret or faint. We’re also told over and over not to fear. Anxiety causes worry, and worry leads to fear. Fear contains torment. It clouds our thinking and keeps us wandering around on those annoying trails, lost in the woods of doubt and unbelief.
How do we find our way back to that place of peace and rest? By calling on the Lord. A simple “Forgive me, Lord, I trust You” will get us back on the right path.
Don’t allow anxious thoughts to remain in your heart and mind. When they come against you, say what my former pastor used to say: “That’s NOT my thought.” Then capture, like prisoners of war, every thought and insist that it bow in obedience to the Anointed One.
DEVOTION BY Kevin Spencer POSTED 7/26/2020 6:00:01 AM ON Romans 7:15 NIV
As little as a decade ago, I remember our little blue Ford Escape rocking with the sounds of Jimmy Buffett and Radio Margaritaville as Charlotte, Caleb, and I motored down the road.
We sang along to one of Buffett's older, more infamous songs: “Why Don't We…Eat Lunch in School.” Caleb was only six at the time, so the song had to acquire a new title and more innocent lyrics for his young ears. Caleb loved the song, although he was somewhat confused about what the pitchers of beer and the waterbed in the song had to do with “eating lunch at school,” but he sang along anyway. Charlotte and I sang loudly (if not on key) our improvised lyrics whenever Radio Margaritaville played one of the song's many versions.
When I was younger, Jimmy Buffett provided the soundtrack to my life. Before Buffett, it was The Beatles, both collectively and separately. But my second year at Montreat College, I discovered Margaritaville and was hooked. I spent the next twenty years chasing the “false echoes” of pirates, beaches, boats, bars, frozen concoctions, blonde strangers, and those funny cigarettes with the funky smells and spontaneously quick glows. I followed them almost to my ruin.
False echoes are what your local TV weather forecaster will professionally call "virga," while pointing at some colored blob on their $40 million radar. That colored blob is supposed to mean precipitation, but since it isn't actually raining, anywhere, the smiling blonde forecaster explains this by calling it virga. That means the $40 million radar has had what my grandson Caleb would enthusiastically call a “brain fart.”
I still feel those occasional false echoes from my earlier life. We all do. Memories of past sins whisper seductively. Even Paul (the apostle, not the Beatle) felt them. He said, “I don't understand myself at all, for I really want to do what is right, but I don't do it. Instead, I do the thing I hate.” Corrie Ten Boom called them “echoes of the past.”
Paul also has an answer. He tells us, “Thank God! The answer is in Jesus Christ, our Lord.” Jesus is the true echo of our loving Father. Jesus freed us from our past.
Keep your heart and mind on Jesus, and let those false echoes sweep over you and back into the dust from which they came.
DEVOTION BY Tonya Cotto POSTED 7/19/2020 6:00:01 AM ON Ecclesiastes 3:1 NIV
Parents spend so much energy running their homes.
The chores, activities, and schedules are relentless—our time spent more like an administrative assistant than being engaged in life. The thrill-less endeavors of keeping a tidy house, shuttling to events, and providing meal services can leave us lifeless and searching for a source of happiness and enjoyment.
Lost in the daily grind of life, we find ourselves on a path of monotony and escapism. Our efforts turn from happily serving our Lord, family, and friends to finding ways to fill that eternal hole of emptiness.
Inapproprate thoughts, attitudes, and actions temporarily fill the void. Left on our own, work, drinking, drugs, sports, social media, church, clubs, and people become the center of our universe.
Thankfully, God reminds us there is a time for everything. Parenthood may be grueling at times, but God has designed it to be fruitful and lifegiving. It is God’s gift to us to find joy in even the most repetitive tasks. Picking up the same toy five times in one day may not be enjoyable, but the opportunity to teach our children is rewarding.
Parenting can be equally grueling and rewarding. Either way, we must take the opportunity to look for the blessing that comes along with the season. We just might find the moment God ordained for us to experince blessings such as we’ve never imagined.
Ask the Lord to help you see the blessing in the season of life you are currently in.
DEVOTION BY Heather Roberts POSTED 7/12/2020 6:00:01 AM ON Proverbs 18:10 NIV
My temperature plummeted, and my blood pressure soared—then crashed.
Frantic, muffled voices surrounded me. I could not make out their meaning, but I knew I was in trouble. At the birth of our twins, my husband, John, ran between the bedside of his semiconscious wife and his children in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit. The doctors asked him to leave as one boy crashed and they attempted resuscitation. My son later required intubation. No one should have to see their child with a tube down their throat.
At this point, John found a location devoid of people, fell on the floor, and begged for the life of his wife and children. Desperately, he pleaded to Jesus as his Savior and Protector. That day, John needed a place of safety—somewhere to turn.
Jesus stands available to us in times of tragedy and in our everyday lives. We can rely on Him not only for salvation but also for strength. He is our Lord and our Protector.
I don’t know what would have happened to my husband’s heart if he had not fallen into the arms of his Strong Tower. God rescued four people that day. The road ahead held many challenges, but this dramatic testimony of God’s provision bolstered our strength.
Sometimes, we hold on to other things that prevent us from running to God. Or we run but drag our feet along the way.
Release whatever you need so you can rest in God and receive His protection. Allow Him to be the sovereign God He is.