Focusing our minds on Christ. . .studying His word, drawing tight into a relationship that is unbreakable. This is when His Spirit lives in our minds helping us keep our eyes focused only on Him.
DEVOTION BY Karen Friday POSTED 4/18/2018 12:00:01 AM ON Mark 6:31a NLT
I wear a title in my family, AKA “noise manager.” So, I send out memos, audible and text, to my people requesting they make adjustments to the loudness. Turn down the television. Please lower your voice. Your music’s too loud.
But sometimes I misplace my own remote control in life. When I find myself smack dab in the middle of the world’s noise—among the clamor and racket—I search for an escape. I even want to run away. But where do I go? How can I rise above the noise?
There’s so much noise tugging at my heart these days, twirling in my head. The loudness of it all suffocates the quiet. A gazillion shouting voices. And the words spill out on social media. Rhetoric screams on every street corner suggesting solutions, answers, and opinions.
Like the thump of concert speakers, the world’s rhythm is loud. A rumbling echo replaces the noiseless calm. It spins me into a restless state. And I want to send a memo out to the world. Wishing to do a little shouting of my own from the sidelines. Enough already! Be quiet!
It causes me to search for a volume button to the world . . . to life. If I could just find it and turn the decimals down to nothing—no sound, only hush. Maybe the quiet and calm would come. A stillness my spirit desperately needs. Silence, I want to feel it in my bones.
Christ relayed the importance of a quiet place to His closest followers. After Christ sent the apostles out for ministry work, they came back with a mission report. Still, the crowds pressed in, never leaving them alone. Then Jesus suggested they go off by themselves to a quiet place.
The demands of life often rob us of quiet and soul-restoring time with Jesus Christ. Whether it’s the hustle and bustle of our work day; home life with kids, family, and ministry; or socializing online, Christ calls us to “rest awhile.”
Spend time alone with Christ. It’s the volume button to turn down a noisy world.
(Photo courtesy of pixabay.)
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DEVOTION BY Nancy Beach POSTED 4/11/2018 12:00:01 AM ON Ephesians 2:10 NKJV
We don’t cheer for an apple tree that bears apples. It’s an apple tree; that’s what it does.
Some apples have worms in them, and others spoil because they are left on the tree too long. That doesn’t make the apple tree a failure. The apple tree doesn’t worry about what happens to the fruit it produces. It just keeps producing fruit.
I once dreamed of standing on a big stage in front of crowds of women and sharing the truths of God’s Word. I thought I would be successful and feel good about myself. And God would be impressed with what I was doing for Him.
I didn’t understand what Paul taught. My worth isn’t based on what I do, but who I am. God created each of us in His image—unique and one of a kind. One day, we will stand in the light of His presence. I imagine the room will be so bright, but not the kind of light that makes us squint or gives us a headache. More like a summer sun that fills us with the realization of how God sees us: valuable and precious.
When we give our actions to the world to judge, we set ourselves up for heartache. Crowds turn and fame flees. People’s opinions are just that ... opinions. We don’t need to give them the power to judge our worth based on what we do.
Beauty doesn’t have to be recognized for it to be beautiful. Edgar Allan Poe and Vincent van Gogh both died as failures in their own eyes and the eyes of their peers, but they weren’t. We can release our gifts to the world like dandelion seeds blowing in the wind and be content with wherever the wind takes them.
I don’t need crowds to make me feel worthy. My Father loves me. My value and worth aren’t dependent on what I do, but rather on being fearfully and wonderfully handmade by the King of kings and the Lord of lords.
You were created to do what no one else on this earth can do. Be who you were made to be.
Don’t give others the power to define your success.
DEVOTION BY Nate Stevens POSTED 4/4/2018 12:00:01 AM ON Jeremiah 16:5 TLB
God gives bountiful blessings and favor; yet, He also removes.
When a child disobeys or throws a tantrum, they may end up in time out. Should the behavior or attentiveness not improve, the parents may remove some privileges or favors (toy, television, electronic games). Is their response uncaring, mean, or abusive? Of course not. They are lovingly molding the child’s character toward acceptable behavior.
Job lost everything in one day but then remarked, “The Lord gave, the Lord has taken away.” Far from a nonchalant, flippant comment, the words reflect strength of character and trust in God’s sovereign control while enduring adverse and painful circumstances.
Aside from unexplained events that occur according to God’s sovereign time and plan, we also know He casts away the desire of the wicked (Proverbs 10:3) but grants the desire of the righteous (Proverbs 10:24). He removes mirth, gladness, and the merriment of weddings (Jeremiah 16:9). He removes and grants favor in response to our disobedience or obedience to His moral standard and life instruction.
However, God is also intimately involved in peeling away not only His favor and benefits but also every crutch, every reliance, every sense of normalcy, and everything that keeps us from obeying and following Him. When I insist on rebelling against or ignoring His moral standard, He begins removing the needs, comforts, and pleasures to which I have grown accustomed. Just as He did in Jeremiah’s time.
In Isaiah 3:1-2, God warned that the result of continued wickedness and rebellion against Him would result in the removal of reserves (stored supplies), provisions (food and water), safety, defense, justice, spiritual insight, future prosperity, wisdom, counsel, experience, integrity, and entertainment.
God also lovingly transforms us to call us to Himself and make us more like Him. When we follow and obey, He grants favor. Should we choose to thumb our nose at Him, He begins a loving removal process to motivate a behavioral and mindset change. With our full attention and genuine desire to follow, His blessings flow anew.
Learn to enjoy God’s giving and taking. He has your best at heart.
DEVOTION BY Joanna Bryan POSTED 3/28/2018 12:00:01 AM ON Isaiah 43:2 NIV
We all have places, things, and people who are like sanctuaries to us.
My friend and I decided to walk a nature trail at our local state park, a place of beauty and peace. We had not gone too far before we found the trail roped off. Refusing to be deterred, we went under the rope and continued, expecting to find a couple of broken boards or small trees down from the recent hurricane.
As we ventured further on the trail, we found it much harder to travel than we expected. The bridge was out in places, large trees were down, and so much debris covered the trail that we couldn’t even tell where the trail was. We got scraped, constantly had to watch our feet for debris and hidden snakes, and even heard a loud, unexplained noise. Our usual sanctuary turned into a place of great fear.
We are supposed to feel safe with our families and friends. We should feel relaxed in our homes, jobs, and churches. But what happens when we don’t? The people we love the most can turn their backs on us. Homes, jobs, and churches can turn into places of deception and fear. Sanctuaries can become places of dread.
The only true sanctuary we have is in God. He is unchanging. We should never place our value on what other people think or the world’s standards. Our true identity is being a child of the King.
Even in the darkest places in our lives, we do not have to worry that God will turn us away. He tells us He will be with us even as we pass through waters or through the fire. We will not be swept away or burned.
When your sanctuary feels violated—and your friends seem more like foes—remember God is always there. It may seem dark, but it’s just because He’s passing by. Eventually, when the storm is over, you will be able to see He was there all the time.
Don’t try to find your sanctuary in the world.
DEVOTION BY Rusty Lang POSTED 3/21/2018 12:00:01 AM ON Jeremiah 7:23 NASB
The stubborn cow would not budge and refused to move through the race when prodded. We finally sent in the trained cattle dog who nipped her ankles just enough to jolt her out of her fear.
The cattle were yarded the previous day for drafting. It was time to wean last year’s calves and separate the steers for fattening. The draft race was narrow. One person stood on the rails at the drafting gate. As the owner made the selection and the cattle moved through, the gate swung either left or right. The breeding cows went straight.
Once the holding yards on both sides filled, the cattle moved into larger yards, finally being driven to their designated paddocks. Later in the year, another draft would select those steers fattened for market.
Working with cattle reflects the seasons in our lives. We each have a purpose. Fresh freedom in God awaits us, but we are often reluctant to move onto our next stage in life. If we obey God’s voice rather than hesitate, things will go well. If we do not obey and walk in our own way, we will go backwards.
Our new season may require leaving the safety of what we have known: parents, locations, church families, ministries, or jobs. We may need to build new relationships or make new alignments for new assignments. Just as calves wean from their mother’s milk and security, we must be willing to obey God’s voice.
God may cause a nip on our ankles by removing a crutch to prod us into our next phase. He does not want us to get stuck in fear. He wants us to go forward.
Choose this day to go forward, accepting the direction of God’s Holy Spirit.