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 James Howard POSTED 5/24/2020 6:00:01 AM ON Isaiah 26:3 NKJV
Trusting God has been difficult for me.
I had a father who was in the home, but who never wanted to spend time with me. This led to me being molested and to other things. I sought my dad’s love, but it was not there.
When I came to Christ, I had trust issues. Often, I mirrored God through the relationship I had with my dad—and then believed God didn’t care for me. Many times, I have cried out to God, asking Him to help me see Him not only as my creator but also as my Father. I am learning to trust God more and more as I keep my mind focused on His Word and what He has to say about Himself and His relationship to me as my Father.
The more I keep my mind on God’s grace and mercy, the more I understand that He thinks of me in a different realm than my earthly dad did. God, as My Father, shows me love in many ways—ways I never would have imagined.
Once, I needed money and had no clue where it would come from. I had writings out for review with publishers, but hadn’t heard from them. God showed His provision through a friend who sent money to cover some of my expenses.
As I go through life, I find God’s ways aren’t the ways of people. Although my earthly dad taught me none of the graces and mercies of God, my heavenly Father has shown me I can trust Him as a loving and generous Father.
Ask God to help you trust Him in every life situation.
(Photo courtesy of pixabay.)
(For more devotions, visit Christian Devotions.)
DEVOTION BY Marcia Vogl POSTED 5/17/2020 6:00:01 AM ON Proverbs 4:11 NIV
“We need to learn how to play soccer, not just run around!”
As I watched eleven-year-old boys play soccer, I heard the coach make the statement. My grandson was one of the eager players with inexhaustible energy. Since my own son played as a youngster, the excitement of watching returned. I observed carefully. The referees called the plays, and the game stopped each time an infraction occurred. When the ball went out of bounds, the game stopped. If somebody from our team was at fault, the opposing team gained possession of the ball. They threw the ball in from the boundary line, and play began again with them having the advantage. When the opposing team pushed the ball out of bounds, our team resumed play with the advantage. The team with better playing skills—dribbling, kicking, and blocking—advanced more quickly, and the opportunities for shooting goals increased.
I thought about the coach’s words. Life is learning to play the game, not just runnng around. God gives us a playing field with boundaries, rules, and regulations. He instructs us in wisdom and leads us along straight paths. We can know where our goal is and keep moving toward it. When we go out of bounds or break a rule, the opposition gains advantage over us. We then need to repent. When the opposition goes out of bounds or breaks a rule, we take the advantage by forgiving and getting back in the game.
Opportunities to reach your goal increase with your level of life skills, education, and talents. These equip you to play life on the field God gave you. Don’t just run around.
DEVOTION BY Cindy Sproles POSTED 5/10/2020 6:00:01 AM ON Genesis 2:24 NIV
The job of a mother never ends.
Until our children grow up and have their own children, they never fully grasp that concept. Mothers have a unique bond with their offspring. Nature makes it clear the nurturing instinct never really leaves.
I watched a nature show recently about a mother bear and her three cubs. It was amazing to see her caring instincts when her babies strayed too far or ventured into potentially harmful situations. The mother bear exhibited heightened senses even when she slept. If one cub shifted, her eyes opened, and she scooped them closer to her body—before snuggling back into a semi-rest. As the cubs grew more independent, this momma slowly loosened her grip until she finally allowed them to go their own way. As they did, she stood watch until they were gone. When she could no longer see her cubs, she reared and wailed toward the sky. She wept.
This emotional moment took me back to when I said a final farewell to my youngest son. He’d packed his car, took a last look, and then kissed me goodbye. As his car disappeared, a wail of loss rang through me. Although he wasn’t leaving me to marry, he was grown. The thought of his dependence on me ending sobered me. I could suddenly relate to that momma bear. Proud of this graduation, yet mourning the end of a season.
I’ve entrusted a second son into the hands of a beautiful woman who loves him deeply. I must admit, the moment of giving up that care was no different. A mother’s job is never done. We are instructed to let our sons and daughters mature, leave home, and even marry. To allow the growth of a new relationship and a new family to happen. It’s a new season. I have done my job as a mother. But that doesn’t mean my relationship ends with my child. It simply soars to a new level.
Mother’s Day allows a mom time to reflect on when she once nestled her babies in that special place. It’s the crowning moment when we can step back and bask in the pride of the men and women they’ve become. They will always be our babies, so we continue to pray for them and offer guidance and direction when needed.
As a mother, you’ve successfully completed the task entrusted to you. Never stop praying, never stop loving, and never stop being grateful for the moments you share with them. God has blessed you with children—the jewel in your crown.
DEVOTION BY Anna Gregory POSTED 5/3/2020 6:00:01 AM ON 1 Samuel 16:7 NKJV
Stepping into the house for lunch, I went to the fridge and grasped the bowl I wanted to heat.
Opening the door to the microwave, I observed a plate with squiggly black-looking loops. Knowing my five sons, I thought, They have microwaved worms. Yuck!
Seconds later, my oldest son stepped into the room. “Oh, I forgot that.”
I stared at him. “What is it?”
“Oh, that’s my macaroni and cheese. Maybe a little overdone, huh?”
As I gazed at the blackened macaroni, I sighed. “How long did you set it for?”
“Yeah, I always put extra time, then come back and check on it. I forgot to come back and check.”
I have found that things are not always what I think they are. Samuel discovered this when God sent him to anoint a new king for Israel. He looked at the outward appearance of Jessie’s sons, but God looked at David’s heart.
All of us have looked at someone and wondered why they act or talk as they do. Or why they dress as they do. Sometimes people I meet seem super annoying while others appear overly quiet. Maybe they’ve had hard times or don’t have enough money to dress better. Perhaps they are afraid to speak, as I used to be. Occasionally, I’ve had to step back from people because of the evil surrounding them.
I’ve learned to ask God to help me look below the surface and find the real person inside. Not always easy. God’s Word tells me to look deeply and watch people’s actions. In this way, I can truly and carefully observe them. God allows me to see the spirit and actions of those I meet.
Listening, watching, and talking to people allows me to express God’s love for them. If I listen and observe closely, I find God opens my eyes to truly see others.
Ask God to help you see people as He sees them.
DEVOTION BY Kevin Spencer POSTED 4/26/2020 6:00:01 AM ON Romans 7:15 NLT
The three of us—Charlotte, Caleb, and I—stood covered in Tennessee mud and stretched wearily.
We discovered later we were also covered in Tennessee seed ticks. At best, they itch furiously and must be tweezered off some pretty sensitive (and embarrassing) places. At worst, they can carry Lyme Disease or Powhassen virus. But currently, those sicknesses would have to stand in line to have a shot at killing us, so I'm not particularly worried.
Our newly created garden—hacked out of our stubborn Tennessee ridgetop soil (they don't call it Rocky Top for nothing)—stood before us. Seedlings lined up in rows like good little soldiers: tomatoes, cherry tomatoes, cucumbers, bell peppers, banana peppers, and sweet potatoes snuggled in the ground. In other rows where seeds had been planted, little flags marked what they would be: pumpkin, watermelon, carrots, lettuce, and Italian sage.
Fist-sized white Tennessee limestone rocks—hundreds of them, maybe thousands—piled up as borders for the plant beds, courtesy of the limestone bedrock that underlies the soil in these parts. And each one had to be hoed, raked, or plucked from the planting beds. I think they replicate at night like aliens from a cheap science fiction novel.
My heart, like Paul’s, compares to the soil of our garden. Big things don’t impede my spiritual growth ...well, not usually. However, I have had my moments. Mostly, it is those dadgum fist-sized rocks that constantly trip me up.
And those are the rocks I'm continually digging out of my heart’s spiritual garden. Little things, like my mind wandering while I'm in my morning reading of the Word. Little things, like a lack of patience and quickness of temper. Little things, like an unclean word that slips past my tongue in a moment of exasperation. Little things, like more than a passing appreciation of a woman's beauty and figure. Little things, like a small “harmless” white lie told in a social situation.
Little things. Those small rocks of sin in my spiritual garden. Every day, I try to pry them out of my heart. And even though each day brings more, thank Jesus, I can give the ones I dig out to my Lord. I suspect I'll be raking rocks out of my heart until the day I get called home.
Take a moment each day to give your rocks to the Lord.