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 Alisha Scroggins POSTED 4/18/2021 6:00:01 AM ON Mark 5:39 NIV
In room 503, He whispered to me, and my eyes popped open. “It’s time to awaken my child. I am not done with you yet. Your story is just beginning.”
Lying in the hospital bed, motionless. No coloring in the face or frigid hands. Tubes and wires going in all directions. Still, the clamoring of all alarms and carts ceased. Doctors and nurses overflowed into the hallway—solemnly standing with tears pouring down, reflecting on the end gone wrong and the flat white line across the screen.
Mark tells of a little girl's family who mourned with angst and grief over her sickness. In desperation, they went to find Jesus. As Jesus walked with them to their house, a messenger arrived and said she had died.
As the crowd mocked Jesus, doubting His power and word, Jesus, along with a select few disciples and the little girl’s father and mother, went to the girl’s bedside. Jesus held her hand and told her to get up…and she did.
The little girl had no pulse. No evidence of life. Yet by the power of Jesus, her rib cage rose. God spoke a better word, not only to her but also to us. Because of Him, hope resurrects.
Most of us have been in this place. Physically. Mentally. Emotionally. Spiritually. I can relate to this little girl in more ways than one. Dead. Gone. No evidence of return. Still, as we see Jesus’ response, He didn’t even waver.
No marriage is too far gone. No body too broken. No dream is dead. No diagnosis is a death sentence. No finances are beyond reviving. No life is a waste.
Jesus longs to bring to life and awaken even the deepest and darkest of people and places. If not here on earth, for eternity in heaven.
Quiet the chaos and distractions of this world. Take Jesus at His Word and surrender all to Him.
(Photo courtesy of pixabay.)
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DEVOTION BY Martin Wiles POSTED 4/15/2021 6:00:01 AM ON Ecclesiastes 12:7 NLT
I asked them to live as if they were dying.
I remember the middle school years. Occasionally, I thought about dying, but most of the time I focused on living.
During the last nine weeks of the school year, I assigned my middle-school students weekly one-page essays. One topic was “If I Only Had One Day to Live.”
Most of the papers told of selfish pursuits. Going to places they wanted to visit. Buying things they wanted to have. Spending time with friends and family.
Although a few of the papers mentioned confessing sins to God before they died, most made little mention of spiritual things. Only one student captured what I had hoped most of the students would have. She told of how she would tell everyone she met of God’s love and encourage them to trust Christ as their Savior.
As I near retirement age, I know I have more years behind me than in front of me. Death, while an unpleasant subject, is something we must all think about. All of us will die, except for those alive when Jesus returns.
We begin dying the moment we come into this world. Our bodies deteriorate rather than rejuvenate. Regardless of what techniques we use to keep them healthy—exercise, vitamins, medications, rest—our bodies will break down.
The way to live as if we’re dying requires walking by faith. Faith in Christ as our Savior and then faith in Him to guide our lives. We can put off asking Christ to forgive our sins and live with reckless abandonment—as many of my students said they planned to do on their last day—but we may not have a last-minute chance to ask forgiveness before death. Procrastination is risky business.
Jesus offers a much better lifestyle. One He calls abundant life. One where His priorities become our priorities, where His love for others becomes our love for others. One where we let Him guide us as a shepherd guides and cares for His sheep.
When loving God with all our being and others as ourselves becomes our main goal in life, we’ll successfully master living as if we’re dying.
How would you live if you only had one day? Who knows? You just might.
DEVOTION BY Christy Adams POSTED 4/11/2021 6:00:01 AM ON Proverbs 3:5-6 NIV
The weeds were almost as tall as my mower.
It had only been three weeks since I mowed the path. Although I knew a trail existed, it seemed as if I were starting over. I raised the deck on the mower, engaged the blades, and got to work. Often, I had to slow down to make sure I was mowing in the right place. The weeds were so thick, and the way was often questionable. Thankfully, I remembered the way.
The weeds of life often grow quickly like that, covering well-worn paths and familiar roads. Many times during the chaos of this year, I felt lost. Even though I knew my way, I couldn’t see the path. I remember the meme on social media that said, “What you don’t change, you choose.” I chose to allow the weeds to grow for three weeks before I mowed the grass. In the same way, I choose the weeds in front of me when I choose to trust myself instead of God.
When we don’t change our routine to include exercise, we choose to remain unhealthy. When we don’t change our eating habits, we choose to gain weight. When we don’t read the instructions, we choose to make a mistake. When we don’t stop a habit, we choose an addiction. And when we make excuses for where we are in life, we choose to remain stuck.
The weeds may cover the path, but God can help us remember the way. Why not change whom you trust, stop leaning on your own understanding, and let God lead you through.
DEVOTION BY Cindy Sproles POSTED 4/4/2021 6:00:01 AM ON 1 Peter 1:3 NIV
Easter at church was scary for my disabled son.
As a child, he saw the flannel graph pictures of Jesus being dragged to Calvary and hung on a cross. He saw the pictures of Mary mourning at the foot of a bloody wooden crucifix. The pictures frightened him.
We dreaded Easter when our son was young. The weeks before Resurrection Sunday were filled with nightmares and frightening thoughts. No amount of chocolate Easter bunnies or colored eggs helped soothe his fear. Our son has a form of mental retardation, and with that comes a certain lack of understanding. It sometimes makes something truthful, like the sacrifice of Christ, very difficult for him to grasp.
I worried about his eternal life, doubting he would understand baptism or sin enough to repent or accept Jesus into his life. Until a wonderful man spoke at a church we attended when our son was eleven. He talked about the mercy in the sacrifice of Jesus and how God understands all those who do not.
After the service, I pulled the man to the side and asked if that mercy carried over to a child who didn’t understand? He reminded me my job was to continually expose my son to God. To instill the love of Christ into him. “God understands and knows how He made every individual. His mercy is greater than anything we can imagine.”
When Chase turned thirty, we attended a different church. He came to me one day and asked what he had to do to be a member of that church. I took him to our minister who loving drew him a picture and described sin, repentance, Jesus’ death, and the resurrection in a way I had never heard. When he was done, he asked, “Well, does this make sense?”
Chase nodded and replied, “I guess I need to be baptized.” And that night, at age thirty, he was baptized. That day he came to peace with Easter, and now when he watches the resurrection story, he wipes a tear away.
When you think others could not possibly understand, remember in his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. You too will be at peace with Easter.
DEVOTION BY Kevin Spencer POSTED 3/28/2021 6:00:01 AM ON Matthew 4:4 NIV
The whirling, fluttering kaleidoscope of colors around our birdfeeder was impressive.
Scarlet Cardinals, Blue jays, Goldfinches, Red-headed Woodpeckers, and a menagerie of other songbirds all flocked to the bird feeder in our front yard. Business at the feeder was busier than usual because we had been nearly a week below freezing. The four-inch cover of snow and ice didn’t help the birds either. Natural food was scarce.
Watching them interact fascinated me. In normal times, some of the larger birds, especially the male Cardinals, are territorial. They camp out on the feeder, claiming it as their own. Only their mates—roly-poly brown female cardinals, fat with eggs—can get near the food. They gorge themselves on the seeds of sunflower, safflower, thistle, flax, and corn. Eventually, they get their fill and grudgingly allow other birds at the feast.
However, on this day, with freezing temperatures and snow cover, all the birds had adopted a live-and-let-live attitude to the free food. They hovered and fluttered and waited their turn, diving for an open space at the feeder as soon as one became available. The bare trees in our front yard seemed alive with colorful birds, inching closer to the feeder by hopping from limb to limb.
Also watching the show were our cats Fritz and Chipmunk. They, too, seemed to have adopted a casual attitude toward the birds. They contented themselves with watching the activity. They lay curled on the wicker chairs by the firepit where a couple of logs burned slowly, keeping them warm. Only when a bird flew too close to the porch did they chitter a cat’s frustration warning: “Don’t make me get up from here. You won’t like it if I have to get up.”
For Christians, too, a spiritual winter is fast approaching. Even now, the temperature is dropping, and the clouds, heavy with snow, drop lower and lower. The signs are everywhere. The abundant nourishment we have used to feed our spiritual selves vanishes at an alarming rate, and we find ourselves in an increasingly hostile world. We are strangers in a strange land.
Even so, we still have the delightful nourishment, the “feeder” our Father in heaven has provided. We have His wonderful Word, the Bible, our roadmap to Him that He so graciously has given us.
Eat up! Gorge yourselves on His words of love and grace. Eat, now, while the manna is here...because the winter of our Christianity is coming.