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 Sara Cormany POSTED 1/23/2022 6:00:01 AM ON Psalm 40:2 NIV
A few years ago, I waddled into our local friendly farmstead with my daughter and two-year-old son, knowing it might be a recipe for disaster.
Armed with sunscreen, a heap of ambition, and an expanding pregnant belly, we walked through its gates in the hope we could call the day lovely. And it was … until it happened.
I watched my son stroll into the barn, equipped with a giant tube slide. I planted myself at the bottom and waited for his smiling face to appear. I waited and waited. Suddenly panic set in. Where was he? Did someone take him? Did he run away with a rogue cow? I wondered.
I looked everywhere. I even looked inside the bunny exhibit by the barn. But I will never know why I didn’t look at the construction site to the barn's left. It was a two-year-old boy's dream, complete with yellow warning tape, a mud lake, and drying cement. It was not until I saw a crowd gathering in front of the yellow tape that I saw my son—smack dab in the middle of the mud lake, yelling loudly with tears streaming down his face. A MESS!
Once we were safely inside our minivan and had pulled away from our adventure, something hit me. How many times has my heavenly Father pulled me out of the mud?
When I saw my boy, I was overjoyed. I didn't think about the mud all over me. I didn't care what others thought. I didn't even mind that the cleaning-up process got messier before it improved. I just knew I had to rescue him because he was mine.
How much more precious to know I am God’s? He doesn't care if I am covered in dirt. He doesn't care what others think. He is willing to rescue me, even through the muck, the mire, and the messy clean-up. I am His and He is mine—mud and all.
While we often lose our way in the messiness of suffering, we can take heart, knowing God will always come to our rescue.
When has God rescued you from the muck and the mire of life?
(Photo courtesy of pixabay.)
(For more devotions, visit Christian Devotions.)
DEVOTION BY Shaunaugh Turner POSTED 1/16/2022 6:00:01 AM ON Isaiah 55:10-11 NIV
Although I grew up in a rural county—where on a windy day one could smell the natural made all-purpose fertilizer of cows—I am very much a city girl with not even a tiny green thumb or any farming experience.
As the rain and the snow come down from heaven…so is my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it. I was a bit surprised when reading this passage about tilling the soil. God’s Word is like seeds that sprout and grow if planted and cared for under the right conditions. We must allow God’s Word to take root so the fruit can flourish. The condition of the heart (or the soil) the seed falls on can delay production, but God is patient enough to see that His seeds produce fruit.
God consistently tills the soil of our hearts, so the seeds will grow and flourish. Tilling means turning the ground over and breaking it up so organic matter can mix into it. That live matter controls the weeds, breaks up crusted soil, and loosens up small areas for planting.
Just as the rain and snow serve a purpose, so does God’s Word. God sends reminders of His Word so its purpose will be accomplished. God reminds us of the condition of our hearts (soil) and evokes us to make the necessary changes so we can receive it and prosper.
When you receive the organic matter in the form of God’s Word, revelations, encouragements, and prophecies, till the soil of your heart so you can reap your harvest.
DEVOTION BY Diana Derringer POSTED 1/9/2022 6:00:01 AM ON John 10:28 NIV
December 10, 2009 was a challenging day.
Although we don’t know the exact sequence of the events, my husband fell, got a deep cut on his head, and received a severe brain injury. He also suffered a heart attack and probable stroke, in addition to significant oxygen deprivation when his heart and lungs stopped functioning.
That experience, and the days that followed, magnified my gratitude for the miracle of life and those who promote, sustain, and enhance it.
I’m thankful for:
I’m thankful beyond words that twenty-four hours after our crisis, with his respirator removed, my husband breathed on his own, tracked motion and sounds with his eyes, and squeezed our hands in response to questions. I’m thankful that within forty-eight hours, he sat up and talked. I’m thankful that staff in three hospitals continued to provide tests, treatment, and therapy but also openly acknowledged the miracle of his survival.
I’m most thankful for the ultimate Provider of all healing and the Giver of life—not only physical but also eternal for those who accept the gift available through Jesus’ sacrificial death. Because of all He did, does now, and will do in the future, when we take that inevitable step from this life to the next, we need not fear. The same God who walks with us every step of this present life will welcome us into the next with open arms of love.
Will you also accept God’s gift?
DEVOTION BY Cindy Sproles POSTED 1/2/2022 6:00:01 AM ON Numbers 6:24-26 NIV
New. That’s what jumps out at me on New Year’s Eve. Do over. Start fresh. Second chance. Brand new.
I’ve never been a party bug. For me, staying up on New Year’s Eve is torture. All that hoopla just to watch a ball fall. I know, call me boring, but I find no celebration in a once-a-year New Year’s Eve event when I receive the gift of a do-over daily.
What does that mean? Well, I suppose you must dig into my heart for that one, but it seems to me when I open my eyes each morning, I’m blessed with a new day . . . a new beginning . . . a do-over. I get the celebration in New York City, and around the world for that fact, but aren’t we given something special every day?
There was a time when I looked forward to the new year, citing things would be better in the days to come, but the truth is, life is still happening. Nothing has changed. Covid still covers the world like a dark cloud. Thousands still die, men still fight wars, politics is still dishonest. The world hasn’t changed.
The psalmist made an important point when he said of God in Psalm 98: “For he has done marvelous things.” God doesn’t just do “new” at the beginning of the year. He does new and marvelous things every day.
We classify January first as the start of something new, and maybe for some, it does draw a line in the sand that constitutes change. As for me, I am blessed daily by the loving forgiveness of a Father who knows me well. One who knows my imperfections yet chooses to let me start each day anew.
This God, our Abba Father, stands with His arms extended, offering us renewal in Him all the time. All we must do is say yes. I am happy to share in the joy of a new year, but not because it’s a new year. Rather, it’s another day of opportunity to meet face-to-face with Abba Father and know I’ll find peace in the breath of His ways.
I wish you a happy new year—not with capital letters, but with this blessing of a new day given to you by a Father who loves you.
“The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make his face shine on you and be gracious to you; the Lord turn his face toward you and give you peace.”
May you be blessed in 2022.
DEVOTION BY Kevin Spencer POSTED 12/26/2021 6:00:01 AM ON Matthew 2:1-2 NIV
While nearly all Christmas Nativity scenes picture the “We Three Kings of Orient are…” hanging out with Mary and Joseph and the infant Jesus in Bethlehem, this isn’t true.
Not to say there weren’t kings or Magi at the birth of Jesus. There could have been. I wasn’t there, so I wouldn’t know. But the three kings of history didn’t show up until later in the story—not in Bethlehem, but at Joseph and Mary’s house in Nazareth.
Jesus was nearly two years old when the Magi finally found him by following the star. The Star went before them, leading them. And it led them to Nazareth. This wasn’t a natural comet, star, or planetary alignment. They don’t move like that. It was not a natural phenomenon; it was spiritual.
Now the Magi did bring gifts. Oh yes, they brought gifts. Perhaps a better word would be “treasure.” A whole storehouse of treasure. And what did they bring? Gold, a lot of gold. The Greek word for gold that Matthew uses is “chrusos,” plural, meaning many gifts of gold, profound wealth. In fact, millions of dollars’ worth of gold, which was the custom of the day to honor a new king. And they were seeking the King of Kings, so we can be pretty sure what they brought was a magnificent sum.
They also brought frankincense, which just so happened to be the chief fragrance used in worship in the Temple in Jerusalem. It was very expensive—the Frankincense tree didn’t even grow in Israel. It had to be imported from Sheba and Arabia. It was the fragrance of kings.
And the Magi also brought myrrh, a very costly perfume. And like frankincense, myrrh is obtained from a tree that doesn’t grow in Israel. Interestingly, and prophetically enough, it was also used as an antiseptic and for embalming.
Gold for a King, frankincense for a Priest, and myrrh, prophesying Jesus’ death. The frankincense and myrrh were, in fact, more valuable than the gold.
The Magi spent their whole lives studying the prophecies concerning the coming of the King of Kings…the Messiah…the Christ…just to be ready when He appeared. And then they spent years seeking Him after they knew He had arrived. And my word, how they honored Him when they found Him.
Yesterday we celebrated the first coming of Christ. His Second Coming looms before us like the predawn light in the East before the rising of the sun.
Are you seeking Christ today with the heart of the Magi who sought Him two thousand years ago?