Author Topic: Devotional  (Read 4327 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)

Pip

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Re: Devotional
« Reply #47 on: November 22, 2019, 08:03:54 PM »
https://proverbs31.org/read/devotions/full-post/2019/11/11/an-overwhelming-presence

An Overwhelming Presence
November 11, 2019

“And he said, ‘My presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.’” Exodus 33:14 (CSB)

Overwhelmed. We all know this feeling. A few definitions include, “to bury or drown beneath a huge mass, defeat completely, give too much of a thing to (someone); inundate.”

This used to be my constant state of being. The weighted feeling of life, the persistent pressure. The inundation of it all, oftentimes pressing down so intensely it was difficult to breathe. Maybe you can relate?

As a child, life came at my family pretty fast and heavy. I quickly learned to sift through it, manage it and tuck it away. As I became an adult, being overwhelmed was a part of my everyday. I had learned how to cope through the feeling. I knew what to do and became my own coach when needed.  If my heart was overwhelmed, I suppressed the feeling because who has time to deal with a defeated heart?

If my mind was overwhelmed, I made myself busy. If I could just forget why I was overwhelmed, ignore it somehow, it would be fine. I ended up adding on to my overwhelmed mind and heart with more doing.  If I were physically overwhelmed with the doing, I would just tell myself it was a part of life to feel this way. I would excuse this feeling as part of my responsibility as someone who gets things done.  All of this was a sign of an overwhelmed soul in deep need of a loving God.  In the midst of one of my most challenging seasons, I learned His overwhelming presence was where my weary soul would find refuge and rest. With Emmanuel, God with us, I would encounter the peace and wisdom a tired soul required.  The most common Hebrew term for "presence" in the Bible is panim, which is also translated “to face," implying a close and personal encounter with the Lord. Closeness with the Father a face-to-face encounter with the King of kings that brought His overwhelming love to an underwhelmed people.   I used to believe His presence wasn’t an ever-present help. That rest wasn’t something promised in our day-to-day. This may be how you’ve felt as well that His presence isn’t tangible and therefore out of reach when life seems out-of-control. But His presence is real, and we experience it through our trusting that He is a good God, that He is God with us.  In the Old Testament, God told Moses His presence would be with Moses as he was sent into a mission that was hard but holy: “And he said, ‘My presence will go with you, and I will give you rest’” (Exodus 33:14).

Moses was to find his rest in God’s presence. This is where his overwhelmed soul met God’s overwhelming love and faithfulness. The same presence is given to us through Christ Jesus He gives us access to abundant life through trusting and resting in His love for us.  A desire to rely on our doing versus God’s faithfulness will diminish our experience of God’s presence. God, however, doesn’t want us to live led by the rush of life. Instead, He’s inviting us to trust in His overwhelming presence to guide us.  As we move through our day and invite Him into the spaces that need Him so desperately, let us remember that as we draw near to our God, we are inviting His presence to guide us with love.  This is abundant life: God with us, a mighty and overwhelming presence.

Heavenly Father, thank You that Your overwhelming presence of love not only follows us but is with us. Lord, we ask that in the times when life tries to overwhelm us, we would be reminded that You, Father, are the very thing that brings light and calm to the dark and heavy. Help us to remember that Your presence holds the power for us to keep going, and we will trust You in it. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

TRUTH FOR TODAY

Jeremiah 29:13, “You will seek me and find me when you search for me with all your heart.” (CSB)

Psalm 16:11, “You reveal the path of life to me; in your presence is abundant joy; at your right hand are eternal pleasures.” (CSB)