Faith is a vital role in the family unit. It draws us together. Holds us tight. Binds us with the ties of God. Keeping faith in our families secures the values of Christ are embedded in our children
DEVOTION BY Josh Clevenger POSTED 10/21/2018 12:00:01 AM ON Romans 8:26 NKJV
The greatest frustration I have is my desire to be right, even when I’m clearly wrong.
I am a young pastor. The greatest tool I have in ministry is the ability to see my weaknesses and let God show me where I need His guidance. I stand before people weekly, teaching God’s Word. I see the spiritual development in people that surpasses my own influence. I try to influence people for a predetermined outcome, but I often turn off my ability to be used by God when I attempt to influence a situation I have no power to change.
Marriages are strained when one person tries to turn their spouse into a reflection they have predetermined as acceptable. We are taught in higher learning that there is a path for success, but paths lead to many destinations. We have no control over when we arrive at this predetermined place. Control is only an illusion of human pride.
The key to success in God’s kingdom is different than temporary success in the world. When we admit weakness, we open an avenue for the Lord to lead us to our specific place of victory. God has a detailed plan that covers every detail and every moment of our lives—a plan that spans from our first breath to our last.
When we admit weakness in judgement and decision making, it gives us strength in the Lord. When we don’t, we struggle with a problem we were never meant to handle. God created us for rest and peace in Him.
When you are weak, the Lord’s strength is seen in your life. Be strong in the Lord and weak in yourself.
(Photo courtesy of morguefile.)
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DEVOTION BY Cindy Sproles POSTED 10/14/2018 12:00:01 AM ON Psalm 62:1 NIV
I was worn out—physically and spiritually.
Days earlier I’d told my ministry partner, “I feel like I’m in a desert. I can see an oasis within arm’s reach, but it’s like someone nailed one foot deep into the sand and all I can do is walk in circles.”
Just like everyone else, I juggled multiple tasks: women’s ministry, travel, teaching, writing, caring for my family. All the “stuff” of the world had me staked down into the sand and walking in circles. Very tiring circles.
I was exactly where the world wanted me . . . in Christian overload. It happens to many of us involved in church. The 80% of the work is done by 20% of the people. I loved the work I did, especially at church. It was a joy to do my part to grow the kingdom.
So when my hair literally began to fall out, my blood pressure rose, and I found myself pacing the floor at all hours of the night, something had to go. After a visit to the doctor and a few blood tests that proved normal, the doctor gave me a sheet of paper filled with squares.
“I want you to write down everything you do.”
I smiled and asked how long I had to complete the task. He didn’t laugh, but gave me 24 hours.
I filled out the paper and quickly found myself carrying tasks over to a new sheet. It only took one page to realize how much busy work I was doing. Busy work that wasn’t productive to the kingdom. The busyness drained me physically and spiritually.
The writer of the psalm hit the nail on the head. Rest is found in God. We simply need to learn to find our solace there. When we become fully dependent on Him, rest is not far behind. Not just our physical rest, but a balm for our soul.
I released much of my busyness to become healthier. It was hard, but what made it successful was grasping hold of my Father in heaven so He could pare down and refine my work. When I made real space for the relationship with Christ, the “rest” came. The world calls us to overdo, but the palmist teaches us to find rest in the Lord.
Truly, our rest is found in Christ. Reach out to Him and take hold.
(Photo courtesy of pixabay.)
DEVOTION BY Robert L. Segress POSTED 10/7/2018 12:00:01 AM ON John 15:5 NKJV
I have been met with a smirky little smile several times when I have quoted, “Without Me you can do nothing.”
Sitting in my office one day, interviewing a couple a pastor had referred, I made a wrong assumption. Since they were Christians, I thought we must be on the same page about our need for Jesus’ strength if we were going to accomplish good things. The couple had a broken relationship that lacked warmth and friendship. The husband was an “I don’t need anyone” type of guy. This attitude left the wife feeling unneeded, and their problems spiraled from that lack of being needed.
The husband had written a book and was having it published in the near future. I was happy for him and mentioned the Lord’s gracious help. He didn’t want to hear about Jesus. He felt he had done the good things of life by himself and was as proud as a peacock. Thus, his smirky smile.
The husband didn’t realize the truth of what Jesus said about vines, branches, and fruit. He didn’t realize that without Jesus, God’s children can bear no lasting kingdom fruit. I don’t think he cared. All a peacock wants is to spread his tail and strut.
JUST ONE THING: Billy Graham said many times that the greatest pleasure he had during his long and blessed life was his daily sweet and restful personal relationship with Jesus. Jesus was everything to him.
JUST ONE THING BLESSINGS BRING: Facing each new day with the guarantee of a productive day lying ahead is a treasure. What would the world give to have a guarantee that each new day would be successful? Many would give all they own, but often they don’t desire to possess a humble attitude before God. A branch that rests in union with its vine is productive.
Keep things simple. Remember, just one thing is all you need: abiding in Christ. You are guaranteed to produce kingdom fruit.
DEVOTION BY Kevin Spencer POSTED 9/30/2018 12:00:01 AM ON Mark 4:39 NLT
August 28th. That’s when she first came to the attention of those guys down in Miami who work for the National Hurricane Center. As they peered over their meteorological charts for West Africa, they spotted an elongated trough of low pressure called a “tropical wave.”
The year for hurricanes had been quiet so far. Not every friendly little tropical wave gets to grow up to be a hurricane. Lots of factors will influence that low pressure. Wind shear, cool currents, and long dry plumes of dust off the Sahara can keep a hurricane just a bad thunderstorm.
However, our little buddy had none of these factors impeding it, and it popped off the continent of Africa and crouched over the Cape Verde Islands in the far eastern Atlantic. Here, the men at the NHC gave it a name: Tropical Depression Six. Behind the scenes here in the states, they began passing the word: “Watch this one.”
It didn’t take long for Tropical Depression Six to become Hurricane Florence—or for Hurricane Florence’s eventual landfall to be the immediate topic of conversation, primarily if you lived in the ever-narrowing-cone between Norfolk, Virginia, and Charleston, South Carolina. As Flo swirled her skirts up to a Category 4, evacuations commenced in the expected impact zone.
Included in these were mandatory evacuations were my younger brother David, and his wife, Linda. They joined the line of refugees heading west, finally stopping in Raleigh. On September 10th, Flo was a roaring Category 4 with one-minute sustained winds of 140 mph and taking aim at southeastern North Carolina.
Then, something remarkable happened. A small prayer came across my desk via the Internet that utilized Jesus words to the storm on the Sea of Galilee: “Silence!” “Be Still!” I sent that prayer to my brother and his church. Posting it online, it was picked up and shared in ever-increasing numbers. We could just picture thousands of Carolinians praying Jesus’ words.
And you know what? Hurricane Florence degraded in strength. Within forty-eight hours, she was a weak category 1 and was barely a hurricane at landfall. The flood waters came up to the bottom of the storm door on my brother’s house, but did not get inside. As bad as Flo was, she could have been several times worse.
Even in the most extreme emergency, God will hear our prayers. He listens, He acts, and He loves.
DEVOTION BY Kelly Basham POSTED 9/23/2018 12:00:01 AM ON Psalm 34:1 CSB
I remember thinking, I want to be like her.
As a twelve-year-old girl, the beauty radiating from the woman behind me mesmerized me. With hands held high and a joyful smile on her face, she swayed back and forth in a dance-like motion. I knew staring wasn't polite, but I couldn't take my eyes off her. Curiosity made me wonder what it was that led her to rejoice. Never in my life had I witnessed someone praise the Lord so passionately in church. She was joyful, unbound, wild, and free.
Twenty-five years have passed since I watched that woman, but I still remember it as if it were yesterday. Even now, my flesh begs me to wonder what brought about her praise. The truth is I will never know—this side of heaven—what the story was behind the woman's vibrant display of worship. It could have been anything.
Not knowing the reason behind the woman’s praise reminds me I don’t have to be circumstantially motivated to praise the Lord. Circumstances can change quickly—from pleasant to painful in a matter of minutes. Praising the Lord when things seem bleak is difficult. Praising Him when things are good is easier.
I will bless the LORD at all times; his praise will always be on my lips. This verse encourages us not only to praise the Lord in the good times but also to praise Him all the time.
Despite what may be going on in our lives, one thing is sure: God doesn’t change. We can count on Him to be merciful, good, kind, gracious, and loving. These truths alone are motivation enough for His praise to forever be on our lips.
Praise the Lord every day. You have a reason.