Posts Tagged With: devotions

Sonlight

Molly soaking up the sun!My old cat Molly loves to soak up the sun. In the summer months she can be found on the patio, in a flowerbed or on a lounge chair for hours at a time letting the warmth of the sun penetrate her fur. When the cold north winds begin to usher in the below freezing temps of winter she tucks her tail and runs for the warmth of her bed inside. She is a great weather forecaster!

With the slightest rise in temperature, she cautiously pulls herself from the confines of her princess pad and ventures to a spot where the sun is shining. It may only be a small beam on a spot just big enough for her, but she takes full advantage of it. She will stretch out her paws and purr, warming her weary bones until she gets her fill. I notice she never misses an opportunity to get into the light and capture its luxurious warmth.

When the sunbeam fades into dusk, Molly is content to return to her bed indoors until the next opportunity to relish in the light of the sun. During winter’s short days she will be content to grab hold of any ray of light she can, and when summer comes again and she can rejoice in the heat from dawn ‘til dusk every day. She didn’t need lessons for finding sun beams, she instinctively knows to go where the light is.

Winter months can be a difficult time to get through because of the long dark nights and short days. This gloomy atmosphere after the hectic holiday season can pull many into a pit of despair. An excellent remedy for those suffering from the dreary days of winter is to find your own sun beam, and get into the light! Bask in its goodness and enjoy its warmth on your skin. Even in the dead of winter, the sun will find a way to warm its captor, and is a necessary component to good emotional health.

Another element to great emotional wellness is following the SON! John 8:12 says “Then Jesus again spoke to them. Saying, I Am the Light of the world, he who follows Me will not walk in the darkness but will have the Light of life.”

Jesus seems to be saying, “I’m throwing out a beam of light so you can see! Follow me!” It tells me we will have dark and difficult times in life. We need to look for the Light of the world and follow Him so we won’t lose our way!

The Light of the World will never grow dim or burn out, God sent His Son to illuminate our path all the way to eternity. If you’ve grown cold, it could be because you stopped walking! Following Jesus means we are always pursuing Him, and we need to be moving towards the Light! Come on get up and get going, travel into the warmth of the Son, bask in His goodness, enjoy His presence and feel His warmth penetrate your soul.

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A friend called Faith

I have a friend who often uses interesting one- liners to get her point across when communicating. One of the most humorous is “she could worry a wart off of you”. It causes a grin every time. Now, I know what she means by her analogy and I bet you do too. God also has quite a few analogies in His Word and this is one of them. “And who of you by being worried can add a single hour to his life?” Mathew 6:27

It is not at all hard to understand what He is saying in this verse, the visual is clear. However, accomplishing this not worrying thing is hard work in the world we live in. We worry we will not have enough money to pay our bills, we will lose our job, and we will have a long-term illness… I will just stop typing for a moment and let your mind take it from here.

Now that you have your own list, let me suggest that worry is nothing more than fear of the unknown. If you take that one-step further, the fear of the unknown could be considered lack of faith. After all faith defined, is a strong unshakeable belief in something without any proof or evidence. Ouch, did that hurt your feelings as much as it did mine? I don’t like to think of myself lacking faith but if I am constantly walking around in fear worrying about the unknown then my faith is very weak.

Let’s agree together to get rid of this person called Worry and become best friends with Faith.

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Cleanup Project

We have a trash transfer station or dump in our city where items that no longer have a use are disposed of. It is smelly, loud and filthy. The refuse is dumped and a steel plate immediately comes down and begins to compress the garbage, smashing it again and again to be certain it is compacted with as little air space left as possible. More and more unwanted items are spilled and crushed until it is no longer possible to identify anything in this disgusting mess.

This is the vision I get when I think about our human nature and how we handle our own personal battles with our flesh. Our hurt can be so intense and gut wrenching that we find it difficult to cope. We try our best to hide, crush or beat down the memory until it disappears. Much like that trash compactor we push the garbage down trying without success to press it into submission leaving it to rot.

This interesting scenario is really masquerading as unforgiveness. Some of you are probably sitting there saying “I don’t have a problem with forgiveness! I have been wronged and my feelings are hurt. I have a right to feel like this.” While it is true that you may have convinced yourself of the right to feel this way it doesn’t line up with God’s sovereign order of things.

Unforgiveness can be a lifelong spiritual illness that seems to have no remedy. Families tend to teach each other how to do it with perfection. It will take faith and complete trust in your Savior to break free of this vicious way of life. It can become our mission work if we are not careful.

Let’s get this cleanup project started, spring is on the way and God is waiting!

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Set your captive free

Jesus GAVE himself up FOR you. If Jesus wanted to be selfish he could have denied the road to the cross; instead he freely traveled the road to death. He was willing to trust His Father even when things did not look good. He could have gotten defiant like children sometimes do. He could have stomped his foot and said “No, I will go this far but no further!”

This picture of my Savior walking the road to certain doom convicts me when I am tempted to withhold forgiveness from a fellow Christian, co-worker or any person who has wronged me. Jesus held on to what he knew about his Father even when he was tempted, beaten and ridiculed. He decided not to look at the environment around him allowing his emotions to take over. Jesus decided to trust His Father.

Jesus GAVE himself FOR you and for me. God’s Son endured the cross of Calvary where they hung him up to die! He experienced separation from his beloved Father in heaven for us. He GAVE himself FOR us. He FORGAVE us then GAVE his life FOR us.

Doesn’t it seem like a small thing to erase a transgression in light of all we have been offered? Next time you are tempted to hold a person hostage for their sin towards you, won’t you think about Jesus? Release your captive, let them go, you will be glad you did.

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Don’t give up!

Has there ever been a time that you wondered if God was giving up on you? Philippians 1:6 says: For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus. In other words, if you are a believer in Christ, He will not let you down. He will continue to refine that good work He has started in you until the day of Christ Jesus. His intention will be to stir in you the desire to discipline yourself to follow after Christ, no matter the cost.

Will you have days of despair, discouragement and depression? Yes, of course! It is necessary to feel the pressure, and the natural inclination for most humans will be to give up, throw in the towel or return to the old habits. Don’t despair, He is only showing you how helpless you are without Him. What a joy to know that He won’t let any of us down and will come to our rescue right when we think all is lost. He is faithful. If God is for us who can be against us? He will finish what He starts!

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Joshua or not

Have I not commanded you? Be strong and of good courage; do not be afraid, nor be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go. (Joshua 1:9) Ok, if God needs to say “DO NOT be afraid or dismayed” then there must have been a good reason to believe that Joshua was going to feel that way very soon! As I read this scripture and meditated on it I wondered “Am I sure what dismayed means?” Definitely not a word I hear often. I also noticed that different words that we get use to reading or saying in scripture are no longer considered everyday words in the 21st century.

I am a fan of the Webster’s dictionary in the hard copy if you know what I mean. I love to look up words and ponder their meanings. We can all expand our vocabulary every day if we want to. It just seems that we no longer have the want to. We just read over words thinking we grasp their meaning without really knowing how to define it completely. (Youngest daughter are you listening?)

So, let’s see what this word “dismayed” really means or meant in context to this scripture. Dismay implies that one is at a loss as to how to deal about something. Specifically for this passage it means, a sudden disappointment or sudden loss of courage. At the beginning of the passage God asks Joshua a question. “Have I not commanded you?” My paraphrase would be “Haven’t I already told you this?” I am giving you a warning that what you are about to see or experience is not exactly what you were thinking and it might cause you to suddenly lose your courage and become afraid and disappointed.” God was letting Joshua know in advance that he might be coming up against something that would create a deep despair and a sudden urge to give up! Joshua would need to remain strong and hold onto his courage.

Well, I can’t imagine why Joshua would be afraid; I mean becoming the leader of 2 million people and then crossing the Jordan River with them to the long awaited Promised Land. No problem, right? This new job was going to require great faith and Joshua was going to want to quit. The good news is that God says He will be with Joshua wherever he sends him.

I love this scripture; I keep it close so I can remind myself that God is with me and I can’t do any of this without HIM and I don’t need to be afraid. Life is a series of sudden disappointments, fears and frustrations that can really make us wonder what we are doing here. What I believe God was really trying to do was build a trust relationship between Himself and Joshua. If Joshua could learn to rely on God completely during those moments of extreme fear or when he became dismayed they could be great companions. Joshua would then become a vessel through which God could do great works for His kingdom. Joshua did learn it but God had to remind him a few more times to be strong and hold onto his courage. I think I have been Joshua a time or two how about you?

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THE WORD

John 1:1- In the beginning was the WORD, and the WORD was with God, and Word was God. Therein lays the simplest vocabulary the New Testament has to offer. Yet, this short sentence provokes deep thought about the WORD.

It is amazing how God had John pen these words to illustrate the completeness of His WORD. The WORD has always been in existence. The WORD has walked among us; The WORD is now complete in its written form and free to communicate to us through God, Jesus Christ and The Holy Spirit.

That is indeed a lot to consider from the simplest vocabulary. God has provided us not only, His Son’s death and resurrection to cover our sins but the person of Holy Spirit to dwell within if we believe in Him causing a communion that testifies to us thereby allowing The WORD to do the work God intended it to do.

Sometimes the simplest things can be the hardest. All of us would do well to return to the beginning and review our elementary truths from time to time. They are filled with power and truth giving us strength for every day. In the beginning was the WORD and it still is….

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Don’t lose your focus

My daughter loves to shop.  The shinier and glitzier the item the bubblier she becomes.  She can be on an errand to get a necessary household item and be whisked away by the brightly colored tops swinging to and fro on the mannequins.  It is amazing to me how she can be so easily distracted by these garments that literally seem to be calling to her as she walks by.

Eve was much the same way when she was in the garden on that fateful day when sin entered our world.  She was so taken by the lovely fruit that we can only assume was bright and shiny that all her mind could do was focus on the fruit.  It was beautiful and she wanted it.  Once attracted, she began to rationalize why she should have it.  She began to listen to the serpent tell her what she deserved and her pride got the best of her. She took the fruit, ate it and gave it to her husband.

We are all like Eve.  Sin tempts us with its beauty.  It is often so enticing we are not able to see anything else. Satan is a master craftsman and uses our senses to lure us into things that appear fun and harmless.  Our pride and selfishness is usually the driving force behind our desires. Once we are snared he can, over time, devour us much like an animal caught in a trap.

Next time you are lured, pulled or distracted by something in the world try to ask yourself if this is what God wants for you.  Question your motives and search your heart for a pride problem.   His Word says He will provide a way out of temptation.  (1 Corinthians 10:13)   Next time, just ask Him for help.

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God’s Glory

Have you ever stopped to consider the “glory of God?”  Several scriptures paint an incredible picture of what it looks like.  Luke 2:9 – And an angel of the Lord suddenly stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them; and they were terribly frightened.  The angel of the Lord came to the shepherds in the night and suddenly it was not dark.  The glory of God illuminates, it invades the darkest recesses of our lives causing our soul to erupt in joy when God’s Glory is released.

Revelation 21:23 – And the city has no need of the sun or of the moon to shine on it, for the glory of God has illumined it, and its lamp is the Lamb.

Just for today, just for a moment, turn your face towards Jesus and let Him be your lamp.  Let Him push the darkness out, watch Him cause all things to pale in comparison and let your soul rejoice in His glory!

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