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 Linda Hinton POSTED 2/18/2018 12:00:01 AM ON Psalm 139:24 TLB
The aroma of homemade biscuits baking permeated my grandmother’s home. My taste buds anticipated every delectable bite that would drip with butter and grape jelly long before she removed them from the oven.
One of my memorable cooking experiences with my grandmother, whom I affectionately called Mama, was her preparation for making buttermilk biscuits. She placed a large metal bowl, a silver sifter, and all the ingredients on the counter. Then she filled the sifter and allowed me to sift flour into the bowl.
At the end of the sifting, I saw several hard pieces of flour captured in the sieve. I stared at Mama through widened eyes. I didn’t understand the purpose of sifting and would have innocently dumped the remains into the bowl. Understanding my dilemma, she instructed me to toss the remains into the trash because they were unsuitable for her biscuits.
In David’s psalm, he asked God to point out anything He found that made Him sad. David pursued God’s heart and knew he needed assistance exposing and eliminating sin hidden in his own heart. He determined not to break God’s heart again because he never forgot his past indiscretions. David’s intimate fellowship with God empowered him to request that God take his heart through a sifting process to reveal anything deemed insufficient.
God desires the same from each of us. He wants us to abide in His presence and to offer our heart to Him for inspection. God loves us more than we know, and His plan is not to harm us.
Face your fears and ask God to take your heart through His sifting process.
(Photo courtesy of pixabay.)
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DEVOTION BY Nate Stevens POSTED 2/11/2018 12:00:01 AM ON Mark 2:17 NIV
I hate getting sick.
I once believed if I took care of my body with physical exercise and good health habits it would take care of me in the long run. Now I’m not so sure. No antidotes exist for growing older, unforgiving gravity, and the inevitability of declining physical health.
While sitting at my doctor’s office, I noticed a health advisory poster from the regional healthcare provider. The message was medical in nature, but the depth of the questions and answers took my mind to the spiritual realm.
The poster posed three questions:
In the medical field, sicknesses range from the common cold to a life-threatening illness. Some suffer from chronic or terminal illnesses. These questions are real and lead a person to face his or her health issues and subsequent treatment.
However, the same questions are significant in the spiritual realm. Self discovery in answering them has eternal implications. Honest self-assessment is the key. Even Jesus said He couldn’t help those who didn’t think they had a problem. Denying a spiritual problem solves nothing. Denying the truth doesn’t change it.
Finding accurate and unbiased answers to the spiritual problem is paramount. Imagine a doctor who didn’t want to hurt a patient’s feelings with bad news. Or worse, a timid surgeon. Though truthful answers may be painful, they describe the solution.
Action is also necessary. Acknowledging a spiritual problem and finding an accurate diagnosis are useless unless we submit to the recommended treatment. The world is hurting and doesn’t know why. We need encouragement to apply unfiltered and untarnished truth to our lives.
Believers should let their lights shine to others as they share God’s truth candidly, yet lovingly. We can be Jesus to those around us so they are drawn to His marvelous truth and life.
Be the spiritual treatment for a sick, lost, and dying world.
DEVOTION BY Andrew McNeil POSTED 2/4/2018 12:00:01 AM ON Job 38:2 NLT
I often wonder why bad things happen to good people. How I answer this question often dictates the direction of my spiritual journey. I submit to God’s will, or I rebel.
My older brother was once a healthy and obedient child, but now he is confined to a wheelchair, unable to care for himself. The condition that robbed his vitality has not deprived his mind. I can only imagine the questions that race through his head as he lies immobilized in his bed. Why? Why me? What could I have done differently?
Job asked these same questions as he faced similar sufferings. Job had a blameless and upright nature. He feared God and turned away from evil. Yet he wasn’t immune to suffering. The loss of his family, possessions, and health left him in despair.
We have a natural tendency to question suffering. In Job chapter 38, God answers Job’s questions—and ours—even though we might have difficulty accepting it. God tells Job He is in control and that Job doesn’t need to understand the reasons for his suffering. If Job cannot comprehend the foresight it took to create the earth, then he cannot comprehend the foresight it took to order his life. Although Job doubts God’s providence, he brings these doubts to God in prayer. He refused to curse God for his sufferings and is later rewarded for his faithfulness.
God puts us all through tests of faith. Our job is not to question them but rather to remain faithful and trust in an all-loving and all-powerful God.
Let God stretch your trust level through your trials.
DEVOTION BY Kevin Spencer POSTED 1/28/2018 12:00:01 AM ON Matthew 2:1-2 NKJV
Recently, a close friend and dear sister set out on her own path of faith.
Her path is one only she can see from the vantage point of her unique personal situation. It isn't a path all of us could understand, nor, I suspect, were meant to. The path is for her and her alone.
The Wise Men, or Magi, were learned men . . . men of knowledge of their generation and place. For centuries, since the time of Daniel, their order had watched for a sign in the sky. And finally, it was there. The Star of the Savior of mankind shone brightly. Imagining the joy they must have felt is impossible.
Far to the West, in the small hamlet of Bethlehem in the land of the Jews, a baby had been born to a virgin. He would be known by many names, but to these waiting, watching, and joyous Wise Men he was King, Savior, and Lord of all Mankind. They immediately began to prepare for their journey to the West to find and honor Him.
The Wise Men knew the path they were to take, but to those outside their order, their preparations must have seemed bizarre. To all the drivers, guards, and others who made up the caravan that brought the Magi and their gifts to the newborn King, this months-long journey probably made no sense at all.
Like the Wise Men from the Orient, my friend alone knows the meaning of the star guiding her. I will miss her a lot. But her star is guiding her on a different path than we had imagined a year ago. And I respect that. I have to let her go . . . just as a lot of us have to let people go.
Safe travels, my sister. Follow your star. You will always have my prayers, my love, and my unquestioning support.
“May the Lord bless you and protect you. May the Lord smile on you and be gracious to you. May the Lord show you His favor and give you His peace.”
Pray for those God leads on different paths.
DEVOTION BY Nate Stevens POSTED 1/21/2018 12:00:01 AM ON Song of Solomon 8:7 KJV
As I watched the devastating flood waters of Hurricane Harvey surge through Houston and the surrounding areas, I was horrified by their powerful, damaging, and unforgiving effects. Human attempts against such force seem feeble—and usually are futile.
As I considered the devastation, God brought Scriptures to mind related to flooding waters. Song of Solomon 8:7 shows the power of love. In the intimacy of marriage, passionate, burning love can withstand attempts to quench it. This correlation signifies the power love holds over those consumed by it.
Isaiah 59:19 reflects a spiritual reference to flooding waters: “When the enemy comes in like a flood, the Spirit of the Lord will lift up a standard against him.” Our enemy is powerful—a roaring, rushing torrent with intent to steal, kill, and destroy. He rushes about with deceit, distraction, and destruction. Just like flood waters, he values nothing nor does he play favorites or give anyone a break.
And yet we can withstand the enemy’s malicious tide. The impenetrable, non-eroding seawall of the Spirit of the Lord takes precedence and power over Satan and his nasty attempts. When Satan tries to erode our faith, we rest and trust in the Spirit of the Lord. When his flood waters swell, we find safety under God’s almighty wings. But just like an earthly flood, recognizing the flood warnings and immediately seeking shelter is critical.
Jesus is the standard raised against our enemy. He is love and lovingly gave His life as a ransom for us. His yoke is easy and His burden is light. He is a fountain springing up within us, never a destroying flood. His banner over us is love. He is our shelter.
God gives His conquering power of love over spiritual flooding. If we wonder whether any flood can dampen, quench, or separate us from the source of our love, the answer is found in Romans 8:38-39: Never!
Hurricanes may blow and flood waters may rise, but your safety lies behind the seawall of God’s never-ending love.