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 Julie Grenness POSTED 5/4/2021 6:00:01 AM ON Philippians 4:4 NIV
I wake up smiling, planning a day of good intentions.
There is an adage that says, “Life is not meant to be easy.” Hard times can happen to anyone. Years ago, I was broke and homeless, living in a refuge. God showed me the way when a unit I could afford turned up. I noticed an advertisement for a job I could do and found employment. I learned how to provide for myself.
God is my provider. He is always one step ahead of anyone, creating a path. Now, I thank God for the little things, as well as the big things, such as having a home, good health, an online job, enough food, and the bills all sorted. God wakes us for a reason. As I pray, I aim to wake up smiling and spread smiles throughout the day. God has shown me, and any one of us, that there is always hope on the other side of life’s struggles.
Yes, I still ask God why things happen. But I do not get answers straight away. Even in my middle sixties, I am learning to let go and let God. I need to understand that God knows what is best for me and each of us. God sent me the example of Jesus to guide me to grow and to develop my strength of character through any situation I experience.
Through prayer, I have come to believe there is no closure on some things that happen. I must look on the bright side, wake up smiling, and fill my days with positive plans. I hope to grow in grace as I remember the blessing of having been saved by my faith, which leads me to rejoice.
Do you have a good reason to wake up smiling?
(Photo courtesy of pixabay.)
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DEVOTION BY Felicia Ferguson POSTED 4/27/2021 6:00:01 AM ON Psalm 23:6 NIV
Mom grew up visiting her grandparents on the family farm.
Every visit steeped her in familial lore and ancestral heritage. Each piece of furniture in the farmhouse blended her relations’ tales with her youthful escapades, forever bonding them in her memories. The wooden churn her great grandmother used to make butter became a prop in Mom’s college production of Oklahoma. Her mother rescued the cherry wood corner cabinet from a horse barn and restored it. Even the iron mantles gracing the fireplaces could be traced back to their original owners. None of it was fancy, but it was family.
When I was a child, that farmhouse was bulldozed to expand the state road, and, before their deaths, Mom’s parents divvied up the artifacts between Mom and her three siblings. But thanks to my uncle’s distance and Mom and her baby sister’s available space, the middle sister’s home became the repository for most of the furniture and decor. For years, it lived together as a collection, a carefully curated museum of sorts, dedicated to our heritage and the farmhouse that was once Mom’s childhood playground.
Every trip to visit my aunt became a treasured tour of memories. Mom would recount the placement of each item in its original home, recalling scenes and situations that occurred in their presence. With each story, she rebuilt the farmhouse in her mind and in mine.
When my aunt passed, the artifacts were once again distributed among the family, but on a much wider geographic scale. No longer would they be collected together for Mom to savor and remember. For weeks, she grieved not only losing a beloved sister but also losing the farmhouse. Her concept of “home” was fractured.
Until that is, the Holy Spirit whispered to her, “In whose house do you want to live?” Did she want to live in a house founded on God’s promises or one founded on her longings and past? After much soul-searching, Mom chose the promise of an eternal home in heaven and released her grief and the past to God.
We can live in a house built on grief and loss, or, like Mom, rebuild our house over and over. To freely dwell in the house of the Lord, we must release the pain of our past and choose to trust God’s promises.
Are you ready to let go and move on?
DEVOTION BY Peter Caligiuri POSTED 4/20/2021 6:00:01 AM ON Matthew 6:25-26 Phillips
As a native New Englander, I confess that we sometimes laugh at school districts in the South that shut down because of a few inches of snow.
Yet somehow, no matter how many winters we live through, when snow starts falling on our own street, the first thing we say is, “Honey, can you run to the store and pick up milk and eggs?” Despite the logical conclusion that hens will keep on laying and cows will continue to give milk, we go into panic mode.
No matter how tough we pretend to be on the outside, Jesus knows us to the inside of our hearts. No matter how many times He has protected us in times of danger, at the first sign of a storm we act as if He might not take care of us this time around.
Instead of criticizing our fears, Jesus tells us to look at the birds. When I do, I notice that none of them stay up late at night looking for worms for tomorrow’s breakfast. Instead, they tuck their heads under their wings and drift off to sleep. They know that tomorrow will always dawn with all the worms they need.
Whether we worry that there won’t be milk and eggs at the store when the snow melts, or panic buying toilet paper in the pandemic, what matters is whom we trust to take care of us.
In your time of need, look to the same God who is an expert on feeding birds.
DEVOTION BY Anne Hughes POSTED 4/13/2021 6:00:01 AM ON Galatians 6:9 NIV
We grow weary of waiting.
We wait impatiently in long lines at the grocery store or for online orders to arrive. We wait with anxiety for medical test results or for our child to return from the battlefield. We wait with frustration for a cure for COVID19 or for an answer to a prayer for healing. We eagerly await the return of our Savior to take us out of this world of impatience, anxiety, and frustration.
We can’t help but wonder—it’s been over two thousand years since Jesus arose from the grave and returned to heaven—why He hasn’t returned. Perhaps we question whether He will come back as promised. But there is hope because He always fulfills His promises.
Theologians believe the first prophecy about Jesus’ first coming is revealed in Genesis, four thousand years before His birth. Isaiah prophesied about His birth and death seven hundred years prior to His arrival.
The Old Testament presents the basis for the advent of the Messiah. The New Testament shows us how that is fulfilled in the life of Jesus. They both reveal God’s love and mercy. God shows Himself through the entire Scriptures and teaches us to connect with Him through faith, inspiring us to spread the gospel.
Is it such a stretch then, to believe Jesus will come again? Time is of no concern to those whose faith is unshakable. For faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.
While we wait, we must not become discouraged but continue to share the good news with renewed hope. Perhaps we will plant seeds, water them, or shed light on them. In due time, we will reap the harvest of all harvests.
Ask God for strength to keep doing good as you await the coming of Your Lord.
DEVOTION BY Andy Hollifield POSTED 4/6/2021 6:00:01 AM ON 2 Corinthians 12:9 KJV
“You'll never move that rock, Mikey. It's too big.”
Mikey had grown accustomed to hearing the disparaging remark from his friends. Since moving to their home when he was only three, Mikey hated that rock and wanted his dad to move it to make room for a swing set. His dad told him if he could move it, he would buy him one.
From the age of six until he was eighteen, Mikey tried to move the rock, breaking several sledgehammers in the process. Mikey made the varsity football team in ninth grade and also won four state championships as a wrestler. He had gotten strong, trying to move the rock that stood in the way of the swing set he wanted.
On signing day during his senior year, Mikey signed a scholarship letter of intent for a full ride to one of the most prominent football universities in the south. Later, he asked his dad, “Are you ever going to move that rock?”
“Why should I? Look what it did for you,” his dad responded.
“What do you mean?” Mikey asked.
With a grin, his dad explained. “Mikey, since you were six, you've tried to move that rock. You spent countless hours and broke a few hammers along the way. That rock never moved, but it did something for you I never could have. That rock made you strong. You might've hated it, but it made a man out of you. Your hard work, determination, strength, and perseverance all came from that rock. That rock is the reason you're going to college.”
Sometimes the things that hinder us the most mold us into what God wants us to be. The trials we go through breed compassion for others, creating a desire to alleviate their suffering. They make us want to encourage others in their struggles. Those things we don't think we'll ever survive are the things that make us who we are.
Keep pounding the rocks in your life.