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 Macy Johnson POSTED 9/17/2023 6:00:01 AM ON Matthew 13:30 NIV
Spring had sprung in our yard, and I found myself living with weeds.
From a distance, the front lawn appeared immaculate, but up close was another story. Crabgrass, Dallisgrass, and other uninvited plants took hold and basked in the sun, alongside our struggling Bermuda grass.
My master gardener husband reminded me that weeds are not bad in and of themselves. Unwelcome vegetation to one horticulturist may be preferred blossoms to another. Many of the stunning, flowering plants in butterfly gardens grow wild on prairies, uncultivated—unwanted by some but coveted by others.
I like to yank suckers off our yard’s wax myrtles, Ligustrum, crape myrtles, and flowering peach trees. These tiny spurts of greenery on the elegant wooden stalks pilfer the plants. They are not weeds but still steal sun, water, and nutrients from the beautiful, leafy upper growth.
Life is crowded with weeds and our own life-sprouts that can pull us away from our heavenly Father. They appear as people, entertainment, tasks, and infinite lists. But God calls us to thrive among the weeds, not attach to them, because He will take them away one day.
I plan to pluck out the weeds that grow in my mind and heart and hand them over to the Master Gardener to be burned so I can worship and serve daily in His garden without limit. I hope you will too.
What weeds do you need to eliminate?
(photo courtesy of pixabay.com.)
(For more devotions, visit Christian Devotions.)
DEVOTION BY Emily Marszalek POSTED 9/10/2023 6:00:01 AM ON Exodus 2:24 NIV
God, why won’t You answer me? Are You even listening? Are You there?
If you’re anything like me, you’ve asked these questions. Perhaps you’ve repeatedly prayed and cried out to God about a particular matter. Maybe for healing. Maybe for provision when you’re having a hard time making ends meet. Maybe for guidance during a difficult decision. And perhaps it felt like God didn’t answer . . . like God didn’t hear. Maybe you’ve even gone through periods where prayer seems like a colossal waste of time.
Enslaved by the Egyptians for four hundred years, the Israelites had a rough time. They likely cried out to God daily, begging Him to free them from servitude and fulfill His promise to Abraham. But in slavery, they remained—suffering, crying out to God, and feeling abandoned and ignored.
And guess what? God heard and remembered His covenant with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. He looked down on His people, was concerned, and intervened. Enter Moses.
Sometimes, prayer feels pointless. Nothing happens. Nothing changes. But God does hear our prayers. And He does care. Even Jesus spent many days and nights in prayer, and if Jesus recognized the power of prayer, we should too.
While God’s timing may not be our timing nor our understanding His understanding, we can be confident He does hear our prayers. Our job is to remain faithful and trust that He will provide and answer our every cry in His perfect timing. Our prayers are not in vain.
How can you be more confident that God will answer your prayers?
DEVOTION BY Elmie van der Lith POSTED 9/3/2023 6:00:01 AM ON 1 Corinthians 13:4 NIV
Love is patient, but teaching patience . . . well, you need patience to do that.
I was in children’s ministry for over twenty years. Whenever someone decided to do a lesson on patience, it always ended in disaster. It was a test for everyone’s patience . . . every time.
My children were present with every teaching. I think they showed the worst example of everyone there. It kept me on my toes and knees. Patience sounds like a foreign word for anyone with a toddler or a teenager. As a mother of two boys and one girl, I sometimes felt as if they were looking for new ways to test mine daily.
If we struggle with patience, how do we teach it to our kids? We begin with ourselves and daily time with God. Kids do what we do, so we must model the virtue first. If we spend time with God, He will work through His Holy Spirit and grow our patience. Only then can we teach our kids its importance.
A toddler kicking and screaming because they want something immediately does not demonstrate patience. Instead of tolerating tantrums, we can use them to teach our children. God does not give us everything we want on every occasion we ask. He knows better. We must listen to His guidance so that we can teach patience to others.
What are some steps you can take to develop more patience?
DEVOTION BY Kevin Spencer POSTED 8/27/2023 6:00:01 AM ON Psalm 119:9–11 ESV
Out here in the boondocks of Middle Tennessee, about an hour south of Nashville, options for Internet access are minimal.
In the twenty years we’ve been here, we have tried all the options available, with varying degrees of success. By far, our most recent provider has been the best, who offered what they called “wireless direct internet.” This service was presented based on a line-of-sight capability with one of their cell towers. This we had. In fact, the tower stood in plain view just a half mile away, one ridge over. Most of our neighbors quickly signed up for this service as well.
The trouble began one morning just about a month ago. As was my daily routine, I poured myself a cup of coffee, sat at my desk, turned my computer on, and pulled my Bible down for my daily reading while it booted up. When I finished reading and turned to the computer, those ominous words greeted me on the screen: “No Internet Connection.”
In addition to no email or social media, I have two reasonably popular web pages requiring daily administration and maintenance. Our household was lost and in Internet withdrawal. Several calls for service yielded absolutely zero results. And then, five days later, the cell tower simply disappeared. One minute it was there; the next minute it wasn’t. Today, a month later, it has not returned. Neither has our Internet service from that provider. (Although we did get a bill for the month of supposed service they neglected to provide.)
We have now made other Internet arrangements and discovered a new option that is even better and cheaper than what we had. God is good!
However, for these past few weeks, we have learned exactly how much the Internet has invaded and ingrained itself in our daily lives. To suddenly be without it was a shock to the system.
It made me wonder what it would be like to suddenly not have access to another essential support system: the love and truth of the Word of God. While we know of the Bible’s ban around the world in Muslim and Communist countries, did you know it has also been banned here in the United States? Yep, a Utah school district has banned the Bible from its libraries.
What worries me even more than the outright banning of the Bible, is the subtle altering of the Word by clever artificial intelligence programs. These AI programs have already begun to produce Bibles that change the message of pure loving truth to one that supports particular false agendas.
It has become imperative for me to get the Word of God indelibly in my heart. Bible study, which I admit has not always been one of my highest priorities, has taken on a new urgency. The day is coming when what’s ingrained in my heart and mind may be the only place I can find the true Word of God.
Is the Word of God safely ingrained in your heart?
DEVOTION BY Mary Achee POSTED 8/20/2023 6:00:01 AM ON Proverbs 22:6 KJV
I never dreamed how God would answer my prayer.
When my baby girl left for college, I prayed a special prayer for her, asking Jesus to let me know when I needed to pray for her and to protect and keep her close to Him.
Through the years, I received sudden thoughts to pray for her—when I washed dishes or stood in a line at the grocery store. I just knew my daughter needed prayer at that minute. Sometimes I was awakened in the middle of the night and could hear her calling my name as if she were trying to awaken me. So, I would get on my knees and pray for her, and within a day or two, I found out she had needed my prayer.
Sometimes her needs were simple, such as when taking a college test. At other times, she was in danger. One afternoon, I felt an impulse to pray for her. She lived in another state with a time difference of two hours, but I prayed, and two hours later, the accident happened. She had lost her footing and fallen down a slope in her backyard. Had she hit the huge boulder in front of her, she would have died. But her fiancé yelled, and my daughter turned her body away from the boulder. Although she broke her shoulder and received a few cuts, she lived.
My daughter also has an uncanny connection with me. When she senses something is wrong with me, she phones and discovers she is right. This kind of connection can only come from Jesus. We talk about Jesus often. She has stayed close to Him and reminds me to keep the faith.
Jesus always answers our prayers, typically in ways beyond what we imagine or hope for. If we teach our children Christian principles, we will give them values that will govern their decisions as they move into adulthood.
Make it a habit to pray for your children regularly. And ask Jesus to let you know when they need a special prayer.