Focusing our minds on Christ. . .studying His word, drawing tight into a relationship that is unbreakable. This is when His Spirit lives in our minds helping us keep our eyes focused only on Him.
DEVOTION BY Susan Paulus POSTED 11/13/2019 12:04:44 PM ON Jeremiah 29:13 NIV
The question cut straight to my heart.
I once attended a training session—and had my “spiritual leader” cover blown. As I progressed through a workbook on how to lead small group studies, I came to the topic of life-controlling issues. The question in the book was “What is a life-controlling issue?" The answer was, “Anything we turn to rather than the Lord.”
The answer hurt because, due to circumstances beyond my control, I had been on what I called a “food rampage.” I have always been a stress eater and given myself permission to handle my stress with food. Others use such things as alcohol, drugs, sex, work, sleep, or exercise.
The prophet Jeremiah says the answer to stress is seeking the Lord with all of our hearts. Never are we told the answer lies in self-chosen stress relievers.
I had to stop my food rampage, admit to myself that my sin was no laughing matter, confess my sin to the Lord, turn my face to the Father, and seek His response. For me, listening is difficult. I am a talker … full of advice. Part of seeking God is reading His Word—words He wrote just for us.
God wants us to confess our stress relievers—the things we turn to before turning to Him. He also wants us to seek Him by spending time renewing our love affair with Him. He is waiting. He is full of forgiveness, mercy, and grace.
Seek God with your whole heart. When you do, you will find Him and all that He is. He promises.
(Photo courtesy of pixabay.)
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DEVOTION BY Marcellus George POSTED 11/6/2019 12:00:01 AM ON Luke 8:23 NASB
Hiking through the canyon was supposed to be fun.
My wife and I had started out in the sunshine, enjoyed a picnic, and followed the river up the canyon. What we hadn’t anticipated were dark clouds that quickly gathered. We headed back to the trailhead and barely made it to the car before the thunderstorm struck.
Jesus promised His followers they would go through rough times. These times would prove they belonged to Him. I am sure this did not sit well with them—and they probably hoped He would provide a cushion for all that life sent their way. After all, wasn’t He the Messiah? They must have doubted this when the storm assaulted their boat. Instead, they witnessed a new kind of power when Jesus calmed the storm—something none of them expected.
Often, I find my plans interrupted by a storm. In my struggle to be flexible, I discover I can’t control many things that invade my life. I have been conditioned to expect that every part of life should have a fairy tale ending where everyone lives happily ever after.
The secret of weathering the storm is to focus on Jesus rather than the circumstances. God wants us to lean into Him, rather than to demand our rights like spoiled children. Then He will make it possible for us to live supernaturally, despite our situation.
The thunderstorm came, blustered its way through the valley, and left that night. In the meantime, I realized life’s trials have a season, and then they leave.
Remember, God provides the only place of stability when life comes crashing down.
DEVOTION BY Ken Ebright POSTED 10/30/2019 12:00:01 AM ON Matthew 25:35 NCV
All she wanted was help.
The elderly woman had gray hair and rode in a wheelchair. She got on the Metro link at the Brentwood Station and rolled herself into the handicap seat in front of me.
A man with earbuds stood near the door. She asked, “Sir, can you help me? I need help getting off at Civic Center Station.” He didn’t respond, so she asked again. He stared into space and ignored her.
As I watched, the Lord changed my poor attitude. I realized I was being just like the man with the earbuds. When we neared her stop, I told her I would help her. I pressed the intercom button and told the train operator that a lady needed extra time to get off. Once I wheeled her off, I asked the security guard to help her get onto the correct bus. Then, I watched the guard wheel her up the ramp and onto bus plaza.
Jesus refers to helping people—all people at all times. Because of our sinful nature, we tend to put our needs first instead of looking out for others. As Christians, when we are confronted with situations as I was, we should step up and help. All this woman wanted was assistance getting off at her station.
Be willing to stop and help someone. When you do, you show the world Christ’s love.
DEVOTION BY Tonya Cotto POSTED 10/23/2019 12:00:01 AM ON Job 1:21 NIV
My grandfather embodied the ideal life.
He married a beautiful woman, had a family, and owned his own home. He dressed impeccably and drove a nice car. On Monday through Friday, he donned a uniform and joined the masses to slaughter cows at the local packing plant. On Sundays, he adorned a three-piece suit, hat, and wing-tipped dress shoes. Going out the door to church, he saturated the air with aftershave lotion and cologne. He was the man who had it all: faith, family, friends, a great job, and good looks.
However, a time came when my grandfather’s life was not as ideal as he had hoped. Life dealt him significant changes and losses. His world turned upside down, and his intimate relationships became disengaged and divided. Life would never be the same for him.
Job was a man who could identify. After losing his family and livelihood, Job stood firm and professed belief in God. Even when his loved ones and friends expressed their dissatisfaction and lack of trust, he held on to his convictions. Job experienced health issues, death, loss of finances, and divided relationships, yet nothing turned him from the love he had for God.
Job understood that having a little or a lot does not affect God’s love for us and should not affect our relationship with Him. Like Job, we have a choice. As life delivers painful blows and turbulent times, we either choose to cling to our faith or walk away.
If we choose faith, we acknowledge that a relationship with the Lord entails more than dressing up and arriving at a building—and that a blessed life is not necessarily one with an overabundance of amenities. We experience the real blessing when we stand firm in our relationship with God—no matter what we face.
When life gets difficult, cling to God.
(Photo courtesy of morguefile.)
DEVOTION BY Phyllis Freeman POSTED 10/16/2019 12:00:01 AM ON John 14:27 KJV
In one episode of the TV program, Touched by an Angel, the main angels on the show taught a newbie angel about life on earth. Later, the newbie angel told her assigned human that people “can leave something behind on this earth when they go to heaven.”
Personally, I’ll leave three children, five grandchildren, and at least seven great-grandchildren behind. I’ve passed along some of my special rings to the granddaughters and some personal treasures to the boys too. But mostly, I want to leave something of eternal value.
When Jesus left the earth, He left promises. He also left behind men with whom He had spent countless hours, teaching them about God’s kingdom. He instructed them in prayer, commissioned them to share His message, and also enriched many generations to come.
My husband and I passed along a love for God and His Word to our children, and they have imparted that love to their children. That will make a difference in their world. Our son, Kent, told someone that “Most mornings when we got up for school, Mom was up and had the Bible and other study books lying on the kitchen table as she studied her Sunday school lesson.” I‘ve given my worn-out red and black Bibles to my granddaughter, Amanda. Hopefully, she will treasure the notes in the margins.
While most parents have a will so their children will inherit certain things, many of us will not have great possessions to bequeath.
We can leave peace. Peace is a quality I hope to leave for my family to pass along. A young teen visited our home a few times and said, “Your home is so peaceful.” We didn’t tolerate drama in our home or negative talk about others.
We can leave an example of giving offerings or to mission causes too. This shows them where our heart and treasure lie.
We can also be intentional about letting our families see us reading the Word, meditating, praying, and sharing God’s truth. My niece’s son said, “If anyone makes it to heaven, it will be my Papaw. He constantly reads his Bible.”
Our families’ future depends on what they believe. Lead by example. Don’t be silent.
Think of creative ways to let your family see what you stand for and how to prepare for their eternal future.