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 Christy Lindsay POSTED 4/22/2018 12:00:01 AM ON Psalm 69:3 TLB
“Your sister works out like a champion,” an exercise trainer once told my brother.
When I was in college, I aimed for perfection. I studied hard. I exercised six days a week using a StairMaster, lifting weights, and doing two hundred crunches each workout. I highlighted my hair and wore beautiful clothes. I made sure my perfume and lotions’ fragrances blended perfectly. I thought of everything.
My perfectionism wasn’t just about getting good grades or looking pretty though. It was about finding a boyfriend, and it became a consuming obsession. I knew God had chosen my future husband, so I looked everywhere for an attractive man with a gentle spirit—but I couldn’t find him. Not in my college classes. Not at the gym. Not at church. Not at restaurants or grocery stores or anywhere else. I prayed and prayed for God to send me a boyfriend.
In hindsight I think my faith made me unappealing. No teenager or twenty-something wanted that kind of girl. You know, the kind you introduce to your mother. They wanted the kind you have fun with. I was desperately lonely. I made a habit of hugging a stuffed animal at bedtime so I could fall asleep.
That was twenty years ago. Since then I’ve discovered the best way to cope with any type of longing is pouring myself into prayer. The Holy Spirit soothes my burning heart. Jesus said, “I will ask the Father and he will give you another Comforter, and he will never leave you” (John 14:16 TLB).
No matter whom you seek, or whom you have lost, the Holy Spirit will comfort you. Ask God to ease your yearning so you won’t try to satisfy it with something harmful such as alcohol, drugs, pornography, adultery, or fornication.
Take comfort knowing God is always with you. He loves you more than any person could.
(Photo courtesy of pixabay.)
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DEVOTION BY Molly Wade POSTED 4/15/2018 12:00:01 AM ON Isaiah 53:5 NIV
“I can’t find anything wrong,” the neurologist said.
Although the neurologist had multiple diplomas and had performed three MRIs and numerous neurological tests, he couldn’t answer why a forty-six-year-old healthy female had developed sudden inexplicable symptoms: weakness, numbness, and leg pain. And while these symptoms were bearable physically, they were unbearable emotionally. She was a marathon runner.
“We’ll send you to Massachusetts General,” the doctor said. “Or we can perform a muscle biopsy.”
Grasping at medical straws, the doctor tried to comfort his patient as she pushed the tears behind a steel wall. She felt certain a cure would not be found. Future marathon goals would have to be shelved. But she found comfort, knowing that in suffering she was not alone.
Christ was pierced for our transgressions, crushed for our sins. By His wounds, we are healed. He bore the pain of each thorn with tremendous love.
Through Christ’s suffering, we find comfort for our own suffering. Bearing discomfort is difficult but leads to endurance—out of which integrity and character are born.
There is no issue too big or too insurmountable for Christ. Whatever may be troubling your mind, heart, or spirit, lay it at the foot of His cross. Prepare to be enveloped in His unfathomable love and mercy. Rejoice in how deeply you are cherished.
Rest, knowing Christ will meet you with open arms at the finish line.
DEVOTION BY Linda Truesdell POSTED 4/8/2018 12:00:01 AM ON Romans 8:28 NIV
A trip to the grocery store isn’t so simple when we have to load a wheelchair and things like oxygen, medication, and syringes.
I’m often asked to sit with my disabled grandson, Wyatt, while his parents are involved in other activities. His being left behind often sends me to the Land of Could Be.
In the Land of Could Be, Wyatt is walking out the door with his parents with a smile on his face and big blue eyes bright with excitement. In the Land of Could Be, he runs out the school door and stops to play kickball with his friends. Could Be has endless possibilities for a seven-year-old. He could be reading a book to me or sitting up at the table eating supper. Instead, I place another spoonful of his pureed carrots and chicken into his mouth. He smiles around the spoon, and some of the mixture oozes out of his mouth and down his chin.
God has promised to work all of this for good according to His purposes. I confess sometimes the good is not readily apparent to me. What could be good about a little boy not being able to walk or talk? Who spends his days confined to a spot on a couch or in a wheelchair? My imaginary Land of Could Be seems so much better.
Then I remember the radiance of Wyatt’s smile and how he has engaged so many people just by the purity of that smile. I recall how we have drawn closer to God through prayer and how the outcome of those prayers led to Wyatt’s healing from pneumonia and multiple surgeries. In the most impossible way, a little boy who can’t speak manages to tell others about God by his mere presence on earth.
In our humanness, we want everything in life to measure up to what we see as good, but God’s definition of good forces us to look at things from His perspective. Serving a meal to a disabled child and holding his hand is what Jesus would have me do. I may not understand exactly why this happened to Wyatt, but I know the definition of love took on new meaning when we were called to take care of him. And that is good.
Trust God to bring good from what appears bad in your life.
DEVOTION BY Cindy Sproles POSTED 4/1/2018 12:00:01 AM ON 1 Thessalonians 5:15 NIV
It was sheer and utter chaos. Memories of the 60s resonated. I was a six-year-old child, hiding behind the couch as Dad watched the news.
Anti-war riots, Viet Nam body counts, and racial unrest scared me to death. When would the rhetoric make its way to our rather peaceful, mountain existence?
Rioters chanted, “Peace not war! Love not hate!” Yet fighting and destruction followed their chants. I didn’t understand how people could scream love but throw rocks at policemen. The signals sent over the airwaves were confusing and frightening.
Today is no different. The news shows the same chants ... the same hate-ridden actions. And I’m still frightened. I’m frightened for my grandson and our grandbaby-in-waiting. Fear is nothing I want them to feel.
Paul saw much of the same thing when he penned his letter to the Thessalonians. He understood what chaos could do to the body of believers, so he urged them to remain peaceful, never paying back wrong for wrong. He could have coined the phrase, “two wrongs don’t make a right.” Paul knew vengeance led to retaliation, and retaliation led to chaos. His entire letter encouraged them to make right and good decisions, to rejoice always, and to pray continually. No one knew better than Paul about the hardships and temptations they would experience. He’d lived through them himself, and he wanted them to know—as hard as it was to be the bigger, better person—that the rewards of their efforts would be greater.
The world has changed little since Paul meandered the rocky paths from town to town preaching God’s word. These days we have stints of peace when the rhetoric eases, but then Satan gets a foothold and things whirl out of control again. Anger, selfishness, and entitlement wreak havoc. The “all about me” attitude breeds unrest and greed. And for me ... the memories of the 60s resonate again.
As much as I’d like to hide behind the couch, I have no need to fear. We have hope in the resurrection of Christ. That in and of itself takes the sting out of the chaos away. Despite what seems to be our inevitable desire to self-destruction, Jesus sacrificed that we might be saved. He took on the battle for us, fought it, and won. Choose to walk away from the rhetoric. Don’t subject yourself to payback and hate. Rather, strive for the good. His sacrifice was not not in vain.
This Easter, remember the sacrifice made for you. There is peace in the rhetoric and His name is Jesus
(Photo courtesy of pixabay.)
DEVOTION BY Kevin Spencer POSTED 3/25/2018 12:00:01 AM ON Ecclesiastes 3:1 NIV
Last year at about this time, I sat and jubilantly waited for my father to answer my call. It was tradition.
For thirty-five years, whenever North Carolina won the National Championship in men's college basketball, I called my Dad. No matter where I was, or what time of night, if Carolina won it all, my Dad (UNC '52) waited for my call, and we celebrated together.
There had been four of these wonderfully special calls over the years: 1982, 1993, 2005, and 2009. The 1993 call I made from prison. (You'll forgive me if I don't elaborate on exactly how I managed that.) That night, Dad was at his apartment in the Springmoor Retirement Community in Raleigh, North Carolina.
No answer. Thinking I had misdialed, I hung up and redialed. Ever since I was a little boy, my father and I had suffered through the ACC and NCAA Basketball Tournaments together. Either watching on TV or huddling by the radio, together we tried to will the Tar Heels to the National Championship. Somehow throughout the 60's and 70's, there would always be another team slightly better or luckier. And Dad and I would commiserate together. Finally, in 1982, Dad and I were able to joyously celebrate, as we had three additional times over the years.
The phone continued to ring, until finally … sadly … I hung it up. Three months later, my brother and I moved our father into the Alzheimer's Wing at Springmoor. The disease had progressed that fast. In just a few months, Dad lost his hold on the present and slipped into the past where he now lives out his days. Should Carolina win it all again, it somehow won't ever be the same. There will be no more calls.
Our Father tells us through his Word that to everything there is a season. For all things, there is a time to live, and a time to die. In the blink of an eye, a season can change. It does not matter if we are ready for the change; the change is inexorably coming. We are the last generation before the return of our Lord Jesus. Our particular season is moving—second, by minute, by hour to its conclusion.
Our season is ending; a glorious new season is waiting to dawn. Are you ready?