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 Kathy Cheek POSTED 12/12/2018 12:00:01 AM ON Isaiah 64:8 NKJV
The clay vase was a wedding gift in 1983—thirty-five years ago—but I enjoy it as much today as I did then. Every time I gaze at it, I am reminded of this verse in Isaiah. But now, O LORD, You are our Father; we are the clay, and You our potter; and all we are the work of Your hand. God is our potter, and we are clay in His hands.
Sometimes we don’t think about it this way, but our lives are continually shaped in the hands of a perfect and holy God. When I stop and consider it, I realize there is no better place to be than in God’s hands and in His will. We can trust Him with what He is building out of our lives. We can trust the direction He takes us—even when it isn’t always clear where we are headed. He carefully and intricately molds us into His image, and day by day we grow to look more like Him.
Making the choice to submit ourselves into the hands of the Potter and let Him work in us the plan and purpose He has ordained for our lives is important. If we resist His leading and working, we obstruct and prolong what He knows is best.
God wants us to embrace His work in us. Doing so gives us the privilege of being vessels of honor for Him. The purpose He has for us is for His purpose in the world. As He shapes our lives into the destiny uniquely designed for us, we can rest assured His goal for us is part of His master plan.
The Potter knows precisely what He is doing. Trust Him to shape something beautiful out of your life.
(Photo courtesy of the author.)
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DEVOTION BY Gina Napoli POSTED 12/5/2018 12:00:01 AM ON 2 Peter 2:1 NIV
The most beautiful pear I had ever seen lay on top of a bushel basket at the market. No blemishes marred its blushed pink and yellow skin.
When I got the fruit home and bit into it, the rotten core collapsed under my teeth. Mealy and blackened, it smelled and tasted like sour wine inside. Part of it dropped to the pavement with a splat. I wondered how something so beautiful could be so nasty inside.
God made us wonderfully and fearfully, beautiful in our own ways. But a person’s beautiful outsides do not necessarily mean they are of solid character, as Peter reminded his readers.
Some are too full of pride to praise God. Others are full of hatred and sin and have hard-boiled shells, causing them to deny the existence of God. Still others think they are God Himself.
Jesus and His disciples warned about false prophets and false teachers. The Bible tells us of the many times Jesus wrangled with the Pharisees in His day. We need to only read current events to see religious groups who misinterpret God’s Word. False teachers are still here.
Ask God for the wisdom to discern His true teachings from the false ones.
(Photo courtesy of pixabay.)
DEVOTION BY Norma Mezoe POSTED 11/28/2018 12:00:01 AM ON Romans 13:1 NIV
Oh, no! Flashing lights coming up fast from behind! That couldn’t be good.
Carol had been grocery shopping and was returning home on a lightly-traveled road. She was only three miles from her small town when she found herself behind a slow moving farm vehicle.
Carol followed the driver for a while because they were in a no-passing zone. Ordinarily, she followed slow-moving vehicles, sometimes for several miles, until she could legally pass. But she could see several miles ahead and the road was completely clear of other vehicles, so she cautiously passed the machinery.
As she pulled back into her lane, she glanced in the rear-view mirror, saw flashing lights, and quickly pulled over to the side of the road. Evidently, the unmarked police car had been following her for quite a while. She handed the policeman her registration and driver’s license and waited while he checked them.
When he returned, he told her he was only giving her a warning but for her to remember not to pass on a double-yellow line—no matter how slowly the vehicle in front was moving.
Probably, there had been other drivers who zipped around the farm machinery and didn’t suffer the consequence, but Carol was caught in the act of disobeying the law.
She had never passed in a no-passing zone, and she vowed never to do so again. It was a hard lesson to learn, but she learned it well. How do I know the details so clearly? Because the story is mine. Carol is my middle name.
Today’s Scripture tells us that everyone must obey the laws of the land. Everyone must submit himself to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. Even more important to Christians is obeying God’s commands. If we do this, then we will obey the laws of our government, unless they contradict God’s law. Take it from one who knows from experience. It’s best to obey the law.
Be willing to let God’s Holy Spirit guide you to make the right decisions.
DEVOTION BY Sheryl M. Baker POSTED 11/21/2018 12:00:01 AM ON Matthew 6:28-29 NIV
“Hmm … let’s see … what shall I wear today?”
I don’t know how many times I’ve spoken those words while peering into the closet at hangers stuffed with clothes. I often spend several minutes each morning trying to decide what to wear.
I had never considered the time spent on the process. Deciding what to wear is only one part of it. There is also shopping for clothes, trying on clothes, and buying clothes. Sometimes this can consume a whole afternoon.
So, what drives us to stuff our closet with clothes? And what’s the big deal anyway?
The world of advertising influences our shopping habits and places a huge emphasis on our appearance. Millions of dollars are spent each year on fashion—all revolving around our looking good. But is this important to God?
Jesus speaks to the crowds about this topic in Matthew’s gospel when He draws their attention to the lilies of the field. The lily’s natural beauty far outshines even King Solomon in all his splendor.
Not long ago, a pastor friend of mine started me thinking about the whole clothes dilemma when he wrote, If I am serious about overcoming the world in the area of fashion, I will stop trying to receive pleasure from my clothing purchases and begin to see them instead as performing a necessary function.
This issue comes down to a matter of mindset. If I change my view of clothes and see them as a functionality instead of a status symbol, I’ll spend less time getting dressed and shopping, which frees up more time for me to spend with God.
God desires time spent with Him. He doesn’t care about our outward appearance but looks at our inner beauty instead. In God’s eyes, we are beautifully dressed no matter what we wear.
Let the fashionista in you decide it's time to revamp your closet.