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 7/25/2021 6:00:01 AM ON Isaiah 65:5 NLT
My stomach roiled. An uncontrollable retch erupted, and the dry heaves had me again.
Had I not already been on my knees, the retching would have driven me there. I was on the floor of our sparkling new, renovated bathroom, surrounded by smeared feces. The smell of the pine cleaner, ammonia, and chlorine weren’t enough to cover the smell. And they did nothing for the sight, the awful sight, of the condition of our new bathroom.
My poor 93-year-old father-in-law was having a bad day. Physically healthy for his age, Father Kirby had Alzheimer’s. And like most semi-advanced Alzheimer’s patients, he had an episode of incontinence every once in a while. Like today. And this one was a doozy.
Evidently, he had realized his ‘uh-oh” and gone to the bathroom to try and clean up. But unfortunately, he only succeeded in smearing it virtually everywhere. Eventually, he must have forgotten what he was doing and wandered out of the bathroom. I discovered him a few minutes later, or rather my nostrils did, and I promptly hustled him into a hot bath. But that still left the bathroom to clean.
So here I was, on my knees, scrubbing the bathroom. Between violent retches, I asked God for help. I thought maybe he would close my nostrils or still my stomach to help me get through this, but instead, something else happened. He showed me Sin. In a sudden revelation, I realized this was how sin looked to God. All sin, from harmless white lies to mass murder, carries this awful, terrible stench to God.
I had never thought about sin like this. Of course, I knew my past and continuing sins, but they were always sort of an abstract concept. Here was sin as God saw it, up close and personal…and awful. And as I pondered this, I noticed a few minutes later that I had finished cleaning the bathroom without realizing it.
My life has been a series of lessons, some harder than others. Thank You, Father, for using this opportunity to teach me and for Your revelation. But it would certainly be okay if we didn’t have to repeat this one.
Do you see sin as God does?
(Photo courtesy of pixabay.)
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DEVOTION BY Darrell Waters POSTED 7/18/2021 6:00:01 AM ON Romans 5:3 KJV
I once had a lot of trouble with my computer.
I had owned it for six months when one day I received an error message when I tried to open a Word document—the program I use to write my devotions. I couldn’t get rid of the message, nor could I type anything into the document.
My dad enlisted a man from another country to help him fix it. As they worked, my dad and the man talked to each other about the Lord. Hearing my dad talk to someone about the Lord made having computer problems worth it.
Paul must have prayed for patience because he said we should glory in tribulation. I do not think he meant he enjoyed being beaten with rods or that he wanted to experience it a second time. He just knew God was going to get glory from his experience if Paul had the right attitude despite his circumstances.
We need to mimic Paul. Although we don’t need to thank God for everything, we need to remember that He controls every situation in our lives if we belong to Him and allow Him to have full control. My dad did this with the man who fixed my computer and with others on the phone as he tried to enlist help.
Although we don’t have to ask God to give us patience, we should ask God to remind us to have the right attitude in all our trials, which means to have His joy in all circumstances.
Ask God to give you opportunities to witness about His love and to be patient as you do.
DEVOTION BY Earle Readett POSTED 7/11/2021 6:00:01 AM ON Genesis 4:9 NLT
I dread the day I will lose my brother.
My brother is four years older. Growing up, he was always there for me. We made up games together. Our imaginations had no limit. We collected baseball cards. We played army with friends in the neighborhood and romped in the woods nearby. He taught me everything I know about baseball, football, and basketball. As young adults, we played softball and basketball. Now, being older, we play golf together.
As an ordained minister, I had the honor to marry him and his wife. We have always had a good relationship, and I always try to let him know how much I love him. I cannot imagine my brother not being near when we need each other.
Cain and Abel had a different relationship as brothers. Animosity existed between them. So much so that Cain killed Abel over petty jealousy. I can’t comprehend this.
My brother and I were raised to love and respect each other. I am my brother’s keeper. I should have his welfare close to my heart. But I should have the welfare of others close to my heart also.
Jesus says we should love our neighbors as we love ourselves. We can love everyone through the love that God has shown us. After all, we are not perfect, yet God loves us unconditionally. Sometimes, loving others is hard, but doing so is what God tells us to do.
Ask God to help you love others as He does you.
DEVOTION BY Cindy Sproles POSTED 7/4/2021 6:00:01 AM ON 2 Corinthians 3:17 NSV
I sorted through family photos–the ones Mom kept in an old album in a drawer that showed a snaggle-toothed little girl swinging on a homemade swing when the world seemed carefree.
As I looked through the yellowed pages of the albums, what caught my attention was the pictures of Dad. He never seemed to smile. If anything, it was a half-hearted smirk. What I remembered was a dad that seemed happy on the outside but sad on the inside.
Then I found the source. An album of Dad’s days in the Army. He lied about his age to get into the Army, entering a year sooner than he should have. Within weeks, he was shipped out to do hand-to-hand battle in the Pacific Theatre during World War II. At seventeen, he was a gunnery sergeant, making decisions no seventeen-year-old should have to make and many times determining the lives of others. Dad suffered from PTSD and, sadly enough back in those days, the men who survived the battles suffered in silence when they returned home.
One year, my brother framed Dad’s medals as a gift. Dad smiled, thanked him, and then said, “You could buy these on the streets in the Philippines. There’s no pride in the freedom.” He was referring to the fact that locals would steal personal items off the bodies of dead soldiers and sell them on the streets. Anyone could buy a medal and claim to be a hero. It broke Dad’s heart.
Freedom had no meaning.
Paul wanted the people to know that through Christ the veil of the old law was lifted, and this new covenant of life was available to everyone. He reminded them the Spirit of Christ was with them and with that…so is freedom. What a message of hope. What a promise.
Dad came home from the war broken in many ways. His hurt stemmed not from his physical wounds but from the wounds of his heart. Was it worth the lives of his friends to know freedom was unappreciated–had no meaning?
Christ fought the earthly battle. Some might say He failed–Christ died. But we know it wasn’t a failure, for through that death we gained freedom. The promise stands strong.
This Fourth of July, remember the sacrifices, earthly and spiritually, that have been fought so you might have freedom.
Note to our American Veterans and currently serving men and women. Thank you for your service. Though the world seems to take for granted your sacrifice, never believe the lie. Your service, your time, and your sacrifice have great meaning. Thank you.
DEVOTION BY Kevin Spencer POSTED 6/27/2021 6:00:01 AM ON Psalm 23:4 NIV
God picks up Brenda Jean White.
He picks her up and places her on a small, carpeted landing in a stairwell just outside her office.
It is May 25th, 2011, in Sedalia, Missouri, at 12:59 p.m. Tornado sirens are sounding off and on all morning. Still, the weather remains an uneventful, dreary gray at Don's Truck Towing in Sedalia. This is where Brenda works as an office clerk. She and her fellow assistants work in a double-wide trailer that serves as the office for Don's—an office connected to Don's main building by an enclosed stairwell.
As the tornado siren howls again, Brenda glances outside. The weather has changed. Darkness seems to engulf the trees whipping back and forth. Brenda and her fellow workers decide to go down to the main building where it is safer. As they rush down the enclosed stairwell, they try to close the door behind them. It won't close. Something unseen and terrible holds it open. The tornado.
Brenda records the next seconds as a series of mental snapshots. The ceiling is obliterated. Wood paneling peels up the walls leaving trembling bare studs. Geodetic shapes swirl around and around in the dark. Through the window, she sees her car—here one minute, then gone. And then she sees IT. A twirling roaring monstrosity … Satan's carrousel. And it is right outside the window. Brenda prays, "Jesus, save us."
Brenda doesn't pray out of panic. Instead, she prays as a daughter of God. She is a Christian who has a tremendous heart for God and who lives and works her faith. And God is there. He picks Brenda up and lays her gently down on the carpeted landing. His warm peace covers her, and from the safety of His hand, she watches her world disintegrate around her. It was, she says, "The hand of God" holding her on that landing. The stairs tear away above her. She feels a tug at her elbow and realizes her pocketbook is being sucked away. She grasps it harder and fights against the winds that clutch at her and threaten to strip away her clothing.
And then it is over.
Brenda's ears are filled with dirt, and she has a souvenir from the paint shop next door. Green paint has sandblasted through her clothes onto her body. But she and her coworkers are safe.
Brenda Jean White knew where her shelter lay in a time of trouble. Without thinking, she prayed, and God answered. A lifetime of worship, of studying the Word, and of walking and talking with Christ prepared her for this single moment of terror.
When terror strikes you, will you be prepared? Lean on God, always.