Author Topic: Devotional  (Read 2062 times)

Pip

  • Administrator
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 4873
    • Touched by Adoption
Re: Devotional
« Reply #30 on: April 20, 2018, 10:07:53 PM »
When You Feel as Though You Just Don’t Matter
Apr 05, 2018 | Sharon Jaynes

Today's Truth

“And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love”  Romans 8:38

Friend to Friend

For years we were joined at the hip. Not a day went by when we didn’t talk on the phone at least once.  But sometimes friendships come unhinged. People. Perspectives change. Purposes change. Passions  change. While nothing went terribly wrong, and no hurtful words were exchanged, the void was vast beyond bridging. I felt tossed away. Discarded. Of little regard. Erased as if I had never been. Worthless.  Perhaps you’ve felt that way at some point in your life. It’s a hard “dis-ease” to define. To put your finger on and say, “Yes, that’s where it hurts.”

For me, it was a niggling ache. A haunting hurt that shot straight through at unexpected times.  Why was I having trouble letting go?

Why were my feet stuck in the sucking mire of memories?

Me the woman who taught others how to leave the past behind. “But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead” (Philippians 3:13 nasb).

Yep. I memorized it. I taught it. I flashed it on the screen in PowerPoint Technicolor.  But there was this.  I was reading a book by Canadian Mark Buchanan, Your God Is Too Safe, and he diagnosed my heart-sickness with one fell swoop of his pen. That “thing” I had been struggling with but couldn’t define. My own deepest heart wounds have been inflicted by people who never set out to hurt me. It was worse. At some point they stopped even caring that what they did would hurt me. I became beside the point. My existence ceased to matter. The importance I believed I occupied in the heart of the other, the place of cherishing I thought was reserved for me turned out to be a myth.  Just as clearly as a physician who delivers a diagnosis would, Mark laid bare the crux of my problem: I became beside the point. My existence ceased to matter. For me, it was the worst kind of pain. A malignancy that spread and gnawed on other areas of my life.  Now that I had a diagnosis, now that the dis-ease had a name, I was faced with a choice. That’s what God does, you know. He doesn’t reveal a soul-sickness just for the sake of revelation, but always to bring healing…repentance…to help make you well. When He reveals an infectious soul-sickness, one you’ve never noticed or could define before, it’s as if He’s saying, “Now is the time.” When He shows you a lie that has become your truth, it’s time to reject that lie and replace it with His truth.  Jesus understands what it feels like to be of “no consequence” to someone (or many someones). Your arrow of pain shoots straight through the heart, comes out the other side, and finds its mark in the pierced hands and feet of Jesus, the pierced side of Jesus, the broken heart of Jesus. “By his wounds we are healed” (Isaiah 53:5).

He gets it. He wants you to let Him take it. Let it go not just into oblivion, but onto Him. Into Him. Here’s what Jesus wants you to know. Here is the truth:  You are of great consequence. You are significant. Your existence will never cease to matter. You have great worth.  Stop and do something for me. Draw a circle. Now draw a dot in the middle of the circle. What do you see?

Did you say “a dot?”

I did when someone asked me the same question.  But look at all that space around the dot! Inside. Outside.  Now think of the all-encompassing love of God. Above you. Beside you. Under you. You couldn’t get away from it if you tried. That’s the space inside the circle and outside the circle. That little tiny dot represents that person or the persons who have hurt you intentionally or unintentionally, the person or persons you’ve allowed to make you feel worthless. Why in the world do we look at the circle and see only the dot?

Why don’t we see the space?

Why in the world do we focus on the one person who has hurt us, or doesn’t care about us, and not on all the people in our lives who do love us?

On the God who loves us?

Here’s what I’m challenging you to do: Stop focusing on the dot. Focus on the space around the dot. The dot is just that a dot! She’s a dot. He’s a dot. God’s love for you, and all the other people in your world who love you including me are the space.

Pip

  • Administrator
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 4873
    • Touched by Adoption
Re: Devotional
« Reply #31 on: May 20, 2018, 06:24:01 PM »
You Can’t Out-Give God!
Apr 19, 2018 | Mary Southerland

Today's Truth
Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened. Which of you, if his son asks for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him. Matthew 7:7-11

Friend to Friend
Dan and I now have six grandchildren and I am in so much trouble. I want to give them everything! I know love is the most important gift I can give them, but I love to give in other ways, too.   I usually have a list of the hottest toys in hand when I go shopping, as was the case the last time I took our daughter-in-law shopping. But I only found half of the items on my list. I was not happy!  When Jodi hugged me and thanked me for the gifts, I looked at her and said, “You are welcome, honey, but it’s not enough!”

Jodi chuckled, but I was serious!  “No, you don’t understand,” I continued. “We have to go shopping again, because I haven’t given the kids enough and my heart is not excited enough yet!”

I know. I am totally ruined.  On the way home, I analyzed my words and my heart.  I fully realize that material things won’t satisfy the deepest needs of our grandchildren. I am totally committed to investing time in their lives in order to help them find Jesus Christ and discover His plan for their lives. I know I can love them in so many ways, but I always want to give them more.  Our Father has the same heart a giving heart when it comes to giving His children good things. The problem is that we don’t really believe that truth.  We tend to measure His love by how much we have done or accomplished or even by what we haven’t done and promise not to do. We are missing the truth that God’s love simply cannot be measured.  God doesn’t love us because we are so lovable.  God loves us because He is love.  One of the most tragic results of our unbelief is an ineffective prayer life. We pray, not really believing God wants to or really will answer those prayers. Jesus addresses this issue in Matthew 7:7-11.  Jesus is teaching about prayer and that the love of God is like the love in the child parent relationship. The son has been out in the fields working all day long. When he gets home, he is starving. His family is seated at the dinner table, and dishes of steaming, delicious food are being passed around. I can almost see that boy’s eyes zeroing in on the food, salivating in anticipation of the meal before him. Then imagine the Father, seeing the hunger of his child, picks up a rock, tosses it to his son and says, “Here! Eat this!”

Jesus is driving home the truth that good fathers want to give their kids good gifts and if this is true of earthly parents (and grandparents), imagine what our Heavenly Parent wants to give us if only we would ask.  No one’s voice sounds sweeter to God than your voice.  Nothing in the universe can keep Him from giving you His full attention when you pray. In fact, He longs to hear your prayer.  Don’t think you have to figure out a way to steal a blessing from God.  Don’t think you have to trick Him into giving up what He would rather keep for Himself.  It is God’s very nature to give to His children. Do not doubt for a moment that He is a giving God with a heart that longs to bless you. God is not only able to answer your prayer, but God wants to answer your prayer. Just ask.

Pip

  • Administrator
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 4873
    • Touched by Adoption
Re: Devotional
« Reply #32 on: June 27, 2018, 07:22:55 PM »
Standing Firm in Our Trials
Jun 19, 2018 | Mary Southerland

Today's Truth

Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial, because when he has stood the test, he will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love Him.   James 1:12

Friend to Friend

Patience is not one of my greatest strengths. In fact, I tend to live each day with a schedule in mind an agenda by which to live that day and several goals I need to meet before the day’s end.  God does have a sense of humor.  I can’t tell you how many times my schedule falls apart, the agenda is completely forgotten, and I have to move today’s goals to tomorrow’s list of things to do. I am learning that when God wants to build a certain quality in my life, He puts me in the opposite circumstance. For example, if God wants me to be more patient, He arranges the hours and minutes of my day in ways that demand patience.  What is patience?

To be patient is to have the ability to endure, but it doesn’t stop there. Patience must also have the capacity to be wronged and not retaliate. In other words, patience is love persevering and love waiting. We are not only to be patient in the way we face difficult situations but in our relationships as well. That just about covers life, doesn’t it?

One of the most powerful Bible passages on patience and perseverance is found in the book of James. “Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial, because when he has stood the test, he will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love Him.”

Do you want to be blessed?

Stand firm in your trial. Do you want to be rewarded?

Stand firm in that tough circumstance. Be patient because patience really does pay off.  God promises blessings and rewards to those who persevere and stand firm in hard times, but the reason we can stand firm is because He loves us unconditionally and promises to walk with us through every dark moment life will bring.  Nothing touches our life that does not pass through God’s hand, with His permission.  Remember the Bible story of the man named Job?

Job was a faithful servant of God, strong in his faith and unwavering in his obedience to God. Satan didn’t like it. In fact, he went to God and asked permission to test Job. I love that truth! The devil had to go to God like an errand boy to get permission to touch His child, Job. Satan was convinced that if Job lost everything God had given him his health, his family, and his possessions if Job lost everything, he would curse God and follow Satan. God told the serpent to give it his best shot, convinced that Job would persevere. Satan stripped Job of his health, his possessions, his wealth and his family everything Job held dear. Job stood firm.  Every trial must come through His love; but every trial has a purpose. Every pain has a purpose, every ordeal contains a seed of victory, and there is a promise for every problem you and I will ever face. The psalmist writes, “The LORD is my strength, my shield from every danger. I trust in Him with all my heart. He helps me, and my heart is filled with joy” (Psalm 28:7).

Patience pays off in many ways, but one of the greatest rewards of patience is joy. Joy is a deeply rooted confidence that God is in control. Warren Wiersbe writes, “When God permits His children to go through the furnace, He keeps His eye on the clock and His hand on the thermostat!”

God will never let us face more than we can handle with His help. Hebrews 12:12 says it so well: “So take a new grip with your tired hands and stand firm on your shaky legs.”

I have been there, done that and can relate to a weary heart and shaky legs. Can’t you?

No matter where you are today, where you have been, or what you are facing tomorrow, be patient, knowing your God will strengthen you to stand firm.

Pip

  • Administrator
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 4873
    • Touched by Adoption
Re: Devotional
« Reply #33 on: June 27, 2018, 07:58:18 PM »
When You Need to Tear Down a Path and Put Up a Fence
Jun 20, 2018 | Sharon Jaynes

Today's Truth

If your right eye causes you to sin, tear it out and throw it away.  Matthew 5:29

Friend to Friend

How’s that for an encouraging verse! Jesus said it, so let’s talk about it a minute.  One Sunday my pastor had to do some housekeepin’ fussin’ at our congregation before he started his  sermon. It was a “visitors, close your ears” moment as Jimmy interrupted the service for an important message from our neighbors.  See, right beside our church property is a city park. On Sundays, when our parking lot is full, we tend to use the city parking lot for our overflow parking. The only problem is the folks going to the city park don’t like it that those daggum church people are taking their parking spaces.  It is not nice of us. Really. I’m sorry. I’ve done it too.  And while our sweet pastor calmly asked the congregation, once again, to stop parking in the city parking lot (he didn’t yell, but I bet he wanted to), folks still do it.  As soon as Jimmy finished his announcement and began his sermon, God had a sermon just for me. He wasn’t finished with me and the forbidden parking lot issue. That’s what happens when you make a path or keep a path open, He seemed to say. You’re going to walk down it eventually.  See, although we’ve been warned, scolded, and pleaded with not to park next door, a little path is situated through the bushes, from the city park’s parking lot to our church’s parking lot. The bushes are trimmed on both sides, cobblestones are carefully placed, and a nice little bit of concrete forms a gently curving sidewalk. Someone keeps the bushes clipped and the grass maintained. The breezeway almost beckons us (me) to break the rules.  Now let’s go down a different path. Let’s call the path sin, or maybe it’s just a bad habit you say you can’t help indulging in. Let’s say you’ve decided that once and for all you are not going to park yourself in the parking lot of that behavior.  You’re not going to stop by Dunkin’ Donuts and eat a half dozen chocolate covered donuts in one sitting.  You are not going to sleep with that boyfriend ever again!  You’re not going to date that guy you know is bad for you ever again.  You’re not going to look at that website.  You’re not going to flirt with the married guy in the next cubicle.  You’re not going to gossip about other people.  You’re not going to drink alcohol because you know you have a problem.  You’re not going to _______________.  Hundreds of vices could be put in that last sentence. But then there’s a nice little path you’ve kept open just in case. You wouldn’t call it “just in case.” You wouldn’t say it out loud.  The guy’s number is still in your contacts list on your smartphone.  You still think about what that guy in the next cubicle would like when you get dressed for work in the morning.  You still pull up that website when you hope God isn’t looking.  You still pull up a chair when someone begins to gossip.  You still take the route home from work that goes right by Dunkin’ Donuts.  You keep a bottle in the cabinet just for company.  The path beckons you. And as long as you keep the breezeway open, you’ll probably breeze right through it eventually. The answer?

Remove the path. Put up a fence with no gate.  Remove the contact.  Change the job.  Get rid of your computer.  Take a different route home from work.  Remove the bottle.  Make the path impassable, implausible, and impossible to take, and put up a gateless fence instead. Jesus said, if your eye causes you to sin, pluck it out (Matthew 5:29). That’s pretty dramatic. I’m not telling you to pluck out your eye, and Jesus wasn’t saying that either, not literally. But He was telling us to remove the cause of the temptation. Remove the path. Put up a fence.  Do you need to put up a fence where you now have a path?

I erected a fence the moment I pressed the send button when I told this story about the pastor’s sermon in a blog post. As soon as I had told someone about my parking dilemma, I never parked in the city parking lot again. Just telling someone about the struggle often helps with accountability. And you don’t have to do it alone. You have the power of the Holy Spirit working in you and through you. Don’t believe the devil for one second when he says you’re helpless and hopeless to act any differently than you are today.

Pip

  • Administrator
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 4873
    • Touched by Adoption
Re: Devotional
« Reply #34 on: July 02, 2018, 08:38:03 PM »
Unlocking the Power of Praise
Jun 29, 2018 | Rachel Wojo

Today's Truth

Through Jesus, therefore, let us continually offer to God a sacrifice of praise the fruit of lips that openly profess his name.  Hebrews 13:15

Friend to Friend

My 21-year-old daughter, Taylor, stares at me as she sits propped up in her hospital bed. Not many young adults would ask for a hospital bed in their room, but she hasn’t been able to ask me for anything in 15 years. I attempt to read the communication in her eyes and will her body language to reveal her needs and desires. She’s been a front line disease fighter since birth and since age 4, we’ve faced the eventual outcome of no cure and no treatment. My thoughts turn to prayer, an instinctive reflex I’ve cultivated for all these years, but somehow, I can only be silent.  Though I can find no words in the moment, I long for God’s presence. Just as my girl will move her leg over to touch mine so she can simply know that I am here, so I find myself seeking moments to be still and know that He is God and yes, He is here. I remind myself that prayer begins with praise. Our Father who art in Heaven, hallowed be Your Name.  How do I find words to praise God when my child, my heart existing outside my body, is suffering?

Limbs that once ran everywhere have withered down to skin and bone. Hands that once grabbed with lightning speed can barely hold a sippy cup to her mouth. Voice box that once chimed “Mom-my” is lost, never to be returned on this earth. Though together we’ve practiced gratitude day after day, frankly, we are running out of things to be thankful for.  But Jesus didn’t begin His prayer with thanksgiving. And the praise didn’t begin with things God has given. Nor did it begin with God’s work. Jesus first reminded God of Who He is. With this epiphany, the prayer that I couldn’t begin starts to form as I grip my girl’s hand. Just as Jesus began his prayer with words of adoration, so my prayer reflex is stimulated to follow his model.  Praise is the most powerful tool in our prayer arsenal. Through Jesus, therefore, let us continually offer to God a sacrifice of praise the fruit of lips that openly profess his name. (Hebrews 13:15, NIV) As today’s truth explains, the blood of Jesus sacrificed on the cross provides our direct access to God. As a result, we are privileged to enter the presence of our Father and whisper praises directly to Him!  When we stand before the Almighty God, we come as we are. It doesn’t mean we have a complete understanding of His work in our lives. It simply means our hearts are trusting and believing Him to be the ever-present, never changing God who loves us beyond our comprehension.  When we can’t find praise in our hearts because we don’t understand what God is doing, we can always praise God for Who He is. He is the God Who never changes and has loved us since the beginning of time. Praise Him!