Trust is hard. It’s easy to say there is trust but actually taking the step – making the leap into mid-air without a visible net is the most difficult thing man can do. But with the Spirit of God our leap lands us safe in His palm.
DEVOTION BY Heather Roberts POSTED 2/7/2023 6:00:01 AM ON Isaiah 43:19 NIV
Seeing what God sees isn’t always easy.
We could not see the road—a well-maintained four-lane highway. A torrential downpour obliterated our vision. The semis that passed rocked our van. Blinking emergency lights on other motorists’ cars drove us mad. We were only thirty minutes from home, having driven five hours after a lovely but exhausting vacation. The thought of having to stop made us cringe, but if we couldn’t see where we were going, stopping until the storm passed seemed like the wise thing to do.
Through the prophet Isaiah, God asked His people if they did not perceive the new thing He was doing. Some might say the question merely emphasized His point, which could be true. But I also believe God asks us so we’ll question whether we see His way . . . the new thing.
When we don’t see what God sees, He desires that we ask for wisdom and direction. He doesn’t want us to fake it until we make it. Instead, He wants to fill our journey with His wondrous gifts, which we can only enjoy when we perceive them. Otherwise, we blindly follow the world’s emergency flashing lights that lead to uncertain outcomes.
God wants us to ask for wisdom when we can’t see the road He has provided. He has something specific for us, and it will be glorious. We don’t have to keep our white-knuckle grip on the steering wheel, begging for relief. He is doing a new thing, making a way in our wilderness and streams in our wasteland.
What can you do to help you see what God is doing?
(Photo courtesy of pixabay.)
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DEVOTION BY Martha Hynson POSTED 1/31/2023 6:00:01 AM ON Hebrews 11:39 NLT
When squeezed, the ball should relieve stress.
I have one of those balls. It’s the size and color of a peach, and since I live in Georgia, the color suits. Except when a family member mistook a peach I was about to eat for my stress-relief ball and squeezed it.
Sometimes it’s hard to tell what’s real. When I was a kid, fake fruit was a popular table decoration. The only way to determine if it was genuine was to squeeze it. I had a friend who learned that lesson the hard way when she swallowed a plastic grape.
We are a lot like the fake fruit or stress ball. When circumstances squeeze our lives, they show whether the fruit of the Spirit in us is real. We may fake it when things are going well, but stressful situations show if we’re trusting God.
We live in super-squeezy times. I’m tempted to believe things are worse now than they’ve ever been—until I remember that one of the first four people God created had the actual life squeezed out of him … and by his brother.
The writer of Hebrews memorialized Abel, that brother. Often called Faith’s Hall of Faith, this chapter lists people who trusted God, even when life squeezed them. They gained a good reputation. As they were stoned, sawn in two, and otherwise pulverized, someone watched and took note of their fruit.
God works when we’re squeezed. I used my peach to infuse water, but first, I had to squish it. Similarly, when difficult circumstances press faithful people, they infuse the lives of others with the flavor of Christ.
Jesus told His followers to expect trouble in this world, so I think squeezing is His plan for us until He returns.
But let’s not lose heart. Hebrews 11 ends with a promise: God’s people will be perfect one day. Forget stress-relief balls. Let’s meditate on that truth. It’s sweeter than a Georgia peach.
How do you react when life squeezes you?
DEVOTION BY Karen Huffaker POSTED 1/24/2023 6:00:01 AM ON Joshua 1:6 NASB
She always said, “Keep your chin up.”
Gladys laughed with a raspy voice, followed by a round of high-pitched chuckles. I didn’t mind the cigarette smoke because she always greeted me with a warm smile. Little did I know how our relationship would grow over the years.
I first knew Gladys when I was sixteen when she needed me to drive her to the city for a post-surgery doctor’s appointment. Her family had moved in next door a couple of months before.
Soon, her daughters and I became fast friends, spending many evenings singing along to the Carpenters’ cassette tapes. If I knocked on their door at mealtime, they always pulled up an extra chair for their “OD” (oldest daughter).
My adopted mama always found time for me, and I spent more time at her house than mine. She never judged and was quick to hear and slow to speak. No matter what I was going through—and no matter my emotional ups and downs or disappointments—she was there. She knew the right thing to say and not to say.
Knowing my spirits were low, she often said, “Keep your chin up.” Don’t be down. Don’t let this get the best of you; look up, be strong, and move forward. We support you. Gladys didn’t say all those things, but I knew what she meant.
The night I left home, I gave them all an emotional goodbye, and Gladys gave me a key to their house. “Keep your chin up,” she said. Weeks after I started college, my adopted mama was with me in the college financial aid office, trying to get help for me to stay in school and telling me to keep my chin up. And after I married, moved out of state, had problems, and endured a difficult pregnancy, she sent me letters of encouragement and showed up on my doorstep twice.
God said something similar to Joshua: Be strong and courageous! Do not tremble or be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.
God doesn’t want us to lose heart when we pass through struggles. “Keep your chin up,” He says. Then He assures us He is with us and will be faithful as He encourages us to be strong and courageous.
What are some steps you can take to keep your chin up?
DEVOTION BY Jordan Zuniga POSTED 1/17/2023 6:00:01 AM ON Psalms 23:4 ESV
I’ve been going through a dark valley of homelessness for what seems like the longest time.
When I first became homeless, I resolved to pursue my creative writing ministry anyway. I was concerned about everything I needed to take care of and constantly fretted and feared the what ifs.
Yet as I continued to move forward, I learned God was with me in all situations. Even now, as I keep pushing, I thank and worship God through one of the most challenging seasons I have ever endured.
David was inclined to suffering and persecution. Before becoming king, he was tested by fighting battles for the Lord and by rejection from Israel’s first king.
The mark of a mature Christian is not when we worship and praise God through sunny skies and bright days, with blessings on all that we do.
The genuine mark comes when we worship, rejoice, and place our trust in God when we travel through the valley of the shadow of death. When we feel closed in by the darkness and everything seems to go wrong. Yet we take heart and rejoice anyway. God is faithful through persecution, difficult seasons, and all that we have yet to endure.
Through it all, God is with us, and we should continue to believe and draw close to Him, despite our circumstances and feelings. God wants us to trust Him, not rely on our understanding. We should seek His will in all we do, and He will make our paths straight. When we delight in the Lord, He will grant us our heart’s desires.
How can you draw closer to the Lord, despite the spiritual warfare surrounding you?
DEVOTION BY Emily Marszalek POSTED 1/10/2023 6:00:01 AM ON Matthew 5:16 NIV
Others always benefit when we let God’s light shine.
The word slowly made its rounds to the other employees. I had accepted a new job and submitted my notice to my supervisor. A few days later, I received an unexpected email from the director of an adjacent department. While I did not know her well, we corresponded occasionally, and I had assisted her in troubleshooting several issues. She expressed her regret over my leaving and wished me well. She said, “You are a bright light in your office.”
Her words touched my heart. I had often considered myself low on the totem pole in my workplace since I occupied an entry-level position. Busywork frequently filled my days, and I often questioned whether I made a difference.
The director’s comment reminded me that if I worked on my tasks with all my heart and tried to be kind and helpful, I would positively impact those around me.
Jesus encourages us to let our lights shine before others so they can see our good deeds and praise God. Regardless of our position—doctor, secretary, teacher, student, stay-at-home parent, electrician, retiree—God wants us to shine a bright light for Jesus.
God places us where we are for a purpose. We must commit our hearts to doing a good job, no matter the task. We can let our love, kindness, grace, and dedication shine as a bright light to those around us.
How can you let God’s light shine so others will be drawn to Jesus?