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 Susan Hoekstra POSTED 1/21/2020 6:00:01 AM ON Psalm 102:1-2 NIV
During one season of my life, my husband and I lived in two different cities.
Each weekend, he traveled home two hours each way without complaint. My job was intense, and I found myself exhausted. One of the ways I processed the stress was “venting.” Each weekend when he arrived, I vented about my dissatisfaction with the job. Although he patiently listened, after several months, I realized how negative I had become.
When one Friday came and my husband arrived, I began my usual rant. However, this time before I started, I pulled out a timer and set it for twenty minutes. I allowed myself time to vent, but once the timer went off, I didn’t bring up the subject of work again the rest of the weekend. Twenty minutes flew by quickly, but I stopped. Later, when I was tempted to vent about work, God gently whispered, “Bring it to me.”
God encourages us to cry out to Him for help. Grief, sorrow, and dissatisfaction are expressed as poems in the book of Lamentations, and David cries out to God continually in Psalms.
God wants to hear from us. He knows the details of our situation and even has the power to do something about it. Putting a simple timer on venting taught me to pick my battles, exercise self-control, and focus on gratefulness. A more fervent prayer life and connection with God resulted.
Musician Michael Card said, “We all carry deep within ourselves a pressurized reservoir of tears. It takes only the right key at the right time to unlock them. In God’s perfect time, these tears can be released to form a healing flood. That’s the beauty and the mystery of the prayer of lament.”
When you need to cry out, go to God first.
(Photo courtesy of pixabay.)
(For more devotions, visit Christian Devotions.)
DEVOTION BY Christy Adams POSTED 1/14/2020 6:00:01 AM ON Matthew 11:28-30 NASB
Everyone had taken a seat.
As my mom walked the pan of lasagna to the table, the disposable pan began to bend. My mom realized what was happening. She shifted, reached, and tried to catch the pan without burning herself, but it was too late. Our lunch landed upside down in the middle of the kitchen floor.
Mom froze. What was she going to feed her family? I could see the look of devastation spread across her face. My husband, on the other hand, looked over at me, smiled, and said, “We got this!”
Jumping up simultaneously, I grabbed a thin, flexible cutting board and carefully slid it under the upside down lasagna as my husband held the pan in place. Together, we lifted it off the floor and set it—still upside down—on a cookie sheet and gently removed the pan from the lasagna. It wasn’t pretty, but lunch was saved.
Slowly, my mom moved from her frozen state back into the new reality of a salvaged lunch. As we were eating (all but the bottom layer, of course), I thought about how our lives are like this lasagna. Sometimes, we bend when life gets too hot and before we know it, we splatter face down on the floor. We freeze in place and can’t figure out what to do next.
That’s when God swoops in and says, “I got this.” He slides His strong arms underneath us and carefully plops us back to life. No matter what shape we are in, we are still His. He can still use us, and we still serve a purpose. We might not appear real pretty and might look like a mess that’s falling apart, but God wants us just as we are, mess and all.
When I’m a lasagna slinger, Jesus swoops in and becomes the ultimate Lasagna Saver. Splattered, scattered, tired, weary or worn—God still wants us to come to Him.
Hand over your burden to God. His yoke is easy and His burden is so much lighter.
DEVOTION BY Marcellus George POSTED 1/7/2020 6:00:01 AM ON Jude 1:25 ESV
I enjoy travel, but I dread jet lag.
Jet lag is the body’s resistance to a change in time zones when flying east or west. It leaves me tired when I should be awake and awake when I should be sleeping. As the years pass, I find my body takes longer to recover from jet lag.
Knowing God is timeless comforts me. He is the One who is the same yesterday, today, and forever—meaning He is unaffected by our time and that He exists from eternity past to eternity future. As a result, He does not change with time as we do. I am also cheered by knowing that, as the Creator of time, He has a time planned for everything He does.
God is never late, even when we think He is. He understands better than we do the purpose of His actions. He never has to make time for people, because He already has time to spend with us. Since God is outside of time, He is patient when we are not. One of the primary purposes of His patience is to give all people the opportunity to receive Jesus Christ as their Savior. He desires everyone to be saved.
Thankfully, my body eventually adjusts to the east-west time zone changes. I look at this ability to adapt as one of the miracles of travel. But I realize that one day my time on earth will be over, and I will be in the presence of my Lord. And the best part about that is that time zone differences between God and me won’t exist.
Trust God to be in your right time zone at the right time.
DEVOTION BY Sally Ferguson POSTED 12/31/2019 6:00:01 AM ON Numbers 6:24-26 NKJV
Mom, Dad, and little sis wept.
Boarding my plane to Atlanta, I witnessed a family saying goodbye to their young son. They chatted happily, shared pictures on their phones, and sipped slushies from an airport restaurant. Mom, Dad, and sister all wore “Army” t-shirts.
Two other friends completed the ensemble. I assumed they were all traveling together, until the hugs began. The young man held on to each of his family members so tightly that I thought they would burst. Then, the time came to say goodbye to the friends. At first, they gave a fist bump. But not satisfied, they ended with a warm bear hug.
Entering military status is not a solitary event. Families are enlisted in long weeks of separation and unknowns. Friends yearn for news. Jobs wait to be filled by others. No matter what kind of glorious life the public relations committee promotes for enlistment, sacrifice still comes.
To Jordan and your family, thank you for your service. And to all who have put their goodbyes on the table.
I am reminded of the Lord’s blessing through Moses. Numbers records the Lord’s own desire to be in a relationship that is life-giving. His presence goes with us in dark times and good times. And He offers sustaining grace to carry us onward.
Moms release children again each September as the school season begins. Managers release projects as they delegate and appropriate tasks. Hospice workers release patients at the end of their care.
Goodbyes are a part of life. Relationships, jobs, dream homes, goals. Regardless, the Lord offers peace. Look to Him for grace, and submit to His path for your days ahead.
Remember, God will never walk out on you. He will travel with you wherever you go.
DEVOTION BY Martin Wiles POSTED 12/24/2019 6:00:01 AM ON Luke 24:16 NLT
The news stung like a hornet against bare skin.
For thirteen years, my wife and I had celebrated Christmas with our two children on Christmas day. We considered it a sacred tradition—and thought they did, too. We loved watching them—and later their children—open gifts we had purchased. Then, we got the news.
Around the middle of November, our daughter texted to let us know she was rearranging the Christmas calendar. She would not celebrate Christmas with us on Christmas day. Going from house to house was just too hectic. She wanted Christmas day to be just her and her boys. The news crushed us, but we understood how hard it was on her. We would have to face unexpected Christmas changes.
That’s when I suggested a change of my own. Since neither of our children would visit on Christmas day, we would head to our favorite place: the Great Smokey Mountains. Pigeon Forge to be exact.
Jewish believers also encountered an unexpected change in the first century. The birth of the Messiah didn’t happen the way many expected. He didn’t arrive on a white horse to run off their Roman oppressors. Rather, He was birthed to a young unmarried teenager and in a cave manger. Many didn’t recognize Him because of this unexpected change. A change for them, but not for God.
The holiday season often brings changes we don’t expect—or want. A loved one passes away during the year, and we have to celebrate without them. An empty place resides at the table. An accident causes debilitating injuries and changes the way we celebrate the holidays. A child moves away to college or takes a job in a state far away. Perhaps even overseas. Arguments occur. Tempers flare. Anger and misunderstandings erupt. Unforgiveness sneaks in. The doctor says the “C” word.
The only constant about change is that change is always constant, whether we enjoy it or not. We often can’t prevent it, but we can adapt and move on. Which is what my wife and I did.
Whether or not you enjoy the changes Christmas may throw your way, remember the real reason for the celebration: Jesus’ birth and our salvation. Let the joy of that event overshadow any other pain you may face. And have a Merry Christmas!