Author Topic: Devotional  (Read 3986 times)

Pip

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Re: Devotional
« Reply #45 on: August 07, 2019, 08:30:31 PM »
The Gift of Giving Part 2
Apr 08, 2019 | Mary Southerland

Today's Truth

I will provide for their needs before they ask, and I will help them while they are still asking for help.   Isaiah 65:24, NCV

Friend to Friend

Despite a very shaky start, the weekend could not have gone any better! (If you have not read yesterday’s devotion, stop where you are. Go back and read it now!)  Dan and I finally made it to Greensburg for my speaking event and checked into our hotel only to discover that the air conditioning in our room did not work.

1.   Did. Not. Care.
I was so tired that I literally climbed into bed and pleaded with my sweet husband to just deal with it. He did. I vaguely remember the maintenance man kicking the air conditioning unit in our room, and the unit coming to life. Go God!  And God was all over the event from beginning to end. I totally forgot about my hurting back the minute I began to speak. Every time I gave an invitation, women flooded the aisles. I talked and prayed with woman after woman all seeking God and His power to redeem, heal, and restore. It was an amazing day!  I even managed to forget about the fact that this “free” event had gouged an unexpected hole in our finances. I shakily chose to trust God.  The next day I spoke for the church where my friend and her husband pastor. I noticed her look of concern when I hobbled in and assured her that I would be fine. I then turned to Dan and quietly pleaded, “Do you have a sermon in your pocket?”

He smiled and said, “You’ve got this, honey.”

I did not care for his faith in me at that moment. But when I got up to speak, God did indeed come through again. It was a precious service and a time of eternal business with God.  On the way home, Dan and I talked and laughed about the whole weekend from the minute we stepped up to the airport counter to the air going out in his truck and that funny little auto parts store. We then celebrated all that God had done in the lives of the people who came to hear His Word and were forever changed through His power.  “Oh, did you check your money pouch?” Dan asked.

I had honestly not even thought about it. I had only brought a minimum number of books and CDs to sell and really did not expect much.
And that was my problem my pitiful expectations my meager faith.  We serve a God who can do a whole lot when we expect Him to. When I counted the money, I could not believe it. We had just enough to cover all of our expenses for the whole weekend! We partied all the way home!  But there is more.  When we got home, pulled in our driveway, and opened the garage door, Dan said, “Uh, honey, I think you need to go in the garage.”

Now that was strange. Dan had just told me to stay put while he unloaded the truck and opened the door. Yes I had a frozen bag of peas that still had a little life left in it. But I got out of the truck and went in the garage and promptly started screaming!  There sat a 2004 silver Honda Pilot. The car was in mint condition. The dealership papers said it had new tires, a new transmission, and a new timing belt. The car was a lease and had been perfectly maintained. And it had a third row big enough for all of our grandchildren!  The note on the windshield said it was a gift from the men in Dan’s fireside group. Three months earlier, they had noticed the absence of my old car and asked Dan about it. That’s all.  And now the note read, “It is unacceptable for our pastor’s wife to not have a car. We want you to know how much we love you.”

And there were no names except for the one man who had to title the car. I had no idea who to thank.  Oh, but I did.  My Father had worked through the willing hearts of some precious men to meet a need in my life. So I named the car Gracie. And every time I get behind the wheel of Gracie, I am reminded that no matter how hard we try, we simply cannot out-give God.  I want to live my life with open hands, dusty feet, calloused knees, and rolled-up sleeves. I want to be a generous giver. I may not have much money, but I can give what I have. I can give my time and energy my love and concern a listening ear and a caring heart. I can give my life.

Pip

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Re: Devotional
« Reply #46 on: October 29, 2019, 09:49:09 PM »
https://proverbs31.org/read/devotions/full-post/2019/10/29/no-matter-what

“Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength.” Deuteronomy 6:5 (NIV)

I remember the day Art and I settled in our hearts we would choose to trust God’s love for us and pursue a relationship with Him, no matter what.  We were in the hospital with our middle daughter who was 6 weeks old. She had seemed a perfectly healthy baby until an allergic reaction landed us in the intensive care unit. The doctors told us on the fourth day of our visit that Ashley needed emergency surgery, and they did not expect her to survive.  They gave us five minutes to tell our baby goodbye.  My heart was shattered.  I so desperately wanted to scoop her up and run out of the hospital. I wanted to somehow breathe my life into hers. I wanted to take her place. I could handle my own death so much easier than the death of my child. Art prayed over Ashley, we both said our goodbyes, and then, with tears streaming down our faces, we let her go.  When Art took me outside to the hospital parking lot, I collapsed into his arms. He gently cupped my face in his hands and reminded me Ashley was God’s child to give and His to take back.  “Lysa, God loves Ashley even more than we do,” he gently told me. “We must trust His plan.”

Art then asked me to do something, and it changed my whole perspective on my relationship with God. “We have to get it settled in our hearts that we will love and trust God no matter the outcome of Ashley’s surgery,” he said.

At first, I resented Art’s desire to trust God in this way. I feared it might give the impression it was alright for Him to take Ashley.  With all my being, I wanted to hold on to my child and refuse God. Yet, though I was heartbroken, I also felt God’s compassion. I felt Him drawing me close and pouring out His tender mercy. God knew firsthand the pain we were feeling because He’d felt it Himself. I knew I ultimately had no ability to control my child’s future.  With tears pouring from our eyes, Art and I released our sweet Ashley to the Lord and promised to love and trust Him no matter what.  It was as if the more I fell into God’s arms, the less the pain of the moment seared my heart. Feeling the power of God took away the fear of the unknown. I stopped thinking about the what-if scenarios and let my soul simply say, OK. God, in this minute I choose rest with You. I will not let my mind go to the minutes that are coming. I will simply be in this moment and face it with peace.  That day we settled our love for God not just for this situation, but for all time. Though we did not feel at all happy, a gentle covering of unexplainable calm settled over our hearts. Knowing that the One who loved Ashley.  The end of this chapter of Ashley’s life was miraculous, and we are so grateful. Though the doctors can’t explain how, she made a full recovery. Who can understand why God answers prayer the way He does?

I’ve lived the devastating other side of situations like this where my little sister didn't recover, and we stood at her grave, helpless and heartbroken.  But both situations have taught me that no matter God’s answer, our hearts can be settled to trust and love Him. I don't have to understand; I just have to trust. This kind of total surrender brings about a depth of peace and relationship with God you can’t get any other way. It all stems from living out today’s key verse, loving God “with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength” (Deuteronomy 6:5b).

Nothing in life is certain. Circumstances roll in and out like the ocean’s tide. And the unknown can sometimes seem so frightening.  We can’t stop or control things that roll our way any more than we can stop the water’s edge.  But we can make the minute-by-minute choice to let our souls rest in God.

Dear Lord, I want to love You with all my heart, all my soul and all my strength like Your Word instructs. Teach me how to give up the control I try to maintain as I experience uncertainties and hard times. Help me trust You, no matter what comes my way. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

TRUTH FOR TODAY

Psalm 62:8, “Trust in him at all times, you people; pour out your hearts to him, for God is our refuge.” (NIV)