Trust is hard. It’s easy to say there is trust but actually taking the step – making the leap into mid-air without a visible net is the most difficult thing man can do. But with the Spirit of God our leap lands us safe in His palm.
DEVOTION BY Jewell Utt POSTED 2/13/2018 12:00:01 AM ON Psalm 145:18 NASB
When something is out of humanity’s control, they turn to God.
During a tribute to our nation, people shared their memories of September 11, 2001. I was amazed that everyone remembered where they were. What I recall is how people flocked to churches. People who didn’t believe in God called out to Him.
One story was about a woman rescued from the rubble of the Twin Towers. In the hours she waited—not knowing if she would live or die—she cried out to Christ. Previously, she had lived her life with no restraint, but as death approached, her perspective changed. She asked God to forgive her self-indulgent ways and send her a sign. She raised her hand through a hole where she saw light. A sense of peace enveloped her. Then a man, whom she would never meet, held her hand until rescue workers arrived.
God hears our cries. He’s also a shield to those who take refuge in Him (Proverbs 30:5). Regardless of where we are in life, we can call upon God.
People are busy. We cannot always depend on friends to answer when we call. But God does. He wants us to call out to Him with sincere hearts, in both good times and bad—and to remember His faithfulness.
When crises are over and time has elapsed, it's important to remember how God met our needs. Most of the stories told at the memorial event were about people’s reactions. The greatest stories recounted how God intervened. Those stories transform lives and impart lasting change.
Tell others the story of how God has worked in your life. Your story can help someone find peace and transformation.
(Photo courtesy of pixabay.)
(For more devotions, visit Christian Devotions.)
DEVOTION BY Lillian Duncan POSTED 2/6/2018 12:00:01 AM ON Philippians 2:12 NIV
A city slicker inherits a farm from a distant relative. He doesn’t have to pay taxes. They were taken care of by his long-lost but generous relative. No one can take the farm from him. He doesn’t have to do anything to get the farm except accept the free gift.
He is excited about his new farm and tells everyone about this wonderful gift, but he’s never been a farmer before and doesn’t know the first thing about farming. He doesn’t know how to use the tools and equipment. He doesn’t know what to plant, when to plant, or how to plant. Even though the farm belongs to him, he doesn’t know how to make the most of it.
The man has a choice. He can enjoy knowing he owns the farm or he can learn how to make the most of it. Either way, the farm belongs to him. Yet if learns how to farm, he can make the farm more fruitful for himself and for others.
Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed—not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence—continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling. I thought salvation was a free gift so that no man could boast, but then I wondered what this verse was talking about. I prayed and asked God to clarify it. As a speech pathologist and a teacher, I know if you can’t explain something to someone else then you probably don’t understand it completely yourself.
Being a Christian is much the same as the city slicker. We can choose to learn how to use our wonderful gift of salvation so that we can become more fruitful for God, so that we can become the person He created us to be, and so that we can complete our puzzle as God intended.
We can also choose to accept the gift but not dig further to understand the true meaning of God’s gift. We won’t be as fruitful—and we may miss many of the blessings God wants to give us—but we are still Christians, no matter what our choice is.
God always gives you a choice. Ask Him to help you choose the best option.
DEVOTION BY Warren Johnson POSTED 1/30/2018 12:00:01 AM ON Mark 4:20 NKJV
Fall changes things: colors, temperatures, futures. Autumn also brings harvest, which reflects these things and more.
Few recognize a harvest as the act of taking a life. As a ’tween, I handpicked potatoes for local farmers. When preparing to harvest tubers, the plant must be killed. This does two significant things: it prevents the tubers from over-maturing, and it forces the plants to wither. The plants decompose, leaving only the spuds when the digging machines bring them to the surface.
When Jesus spoke the parable of the seeds, He demonstrated the principle of agronomy. The disciples wondered at His reasoning, and He explained how those without knowledge may hear of some good thing but how only those who put their knowledge to good use would bear fruit. Perhaps the greatest point Jesus makes is how His organic kingdom works.
Every farmer knows to till the soil and prepare it for planting—modern no-till methods notwithstanding. Also a part of their work is cultivating and watering to ensure the nutrients go to their crop and not to weeds. At the end of the growing cycle—before the plants succumb to disease, mold, and rot—farmers separate the fruit for later use. Or to use the vernacular, harvest it. Some of those seeds don’t go for food, but for planting. The plant multiplies itself by returning to the ground, sprouting, and producing more life.
In today’s world, hybrids exist. These seeds will not produce other fruit and multiply. New seeds must be bought to obtain an increase. It’s a shortcut based on convenience and a perceived gain.
Jesus suggests giving up our own life to follow Him. What He seems to say is that the harvest is at hand. By giving up the life we think we need, we permit Him to groom us for His use. Our spirit flourishes, our seeds reproduce, and our bounty expands exponentially.
The world tells us there are shortcuts to accomplishing God’s aim. Don’t succumb to that process and end up with a short-term gain. During the season of harvest, think about what needs to die so you can live an abundant life.
DEVOTION BY Cortney Farmer POSTED 1/23/2018 12:00:01 AM ON Ruth 1:16 NIV
Letting go. I struggle with the concept almost daily.
Practicing faithfulness is always easier when it requires little discipline or sacrifice. When God calls me to use my innate gifts to glorify Him, I am in. Host a dinner to enjoy fellowship with neighbors? Lead a Bible study? Volunteer in my community? My knee-jerk, inherent response is always, "Yep, absolutely! Where do I sign up?" I'm great at modeling devotion to God's calling when my primal instinct kicks in for an intuitive "faith layup."
But things get more challenging when there is a perceived cost to my faithfulness. Stretch beyond my comfort zone? Ignore my fears? Surrender control? Sometimes, in those moments, if I don't listen with intention, it's easy for my loyalty language to morph from, “Here am I. Send me,” to, "Not just yet. Maybe tomorrow. Do I have to?"
At first glance, the book of Ruth may seem like Scripture that focuses almost entirely on a younger woman's steadfast loyalty to her mother-in-law. And on many levels, that's true. Ruth demonstrates continuous and unwavering devotion to Naomi, a choice that results in both burdens and blessings for these women. However, as we dig a bit deeper, we realize the book isn't just about faithfulness. Ruth teaches us that true loyalty sometimes means coming to terms with letting go.
Ruth's allegiance to Naomi falls into another category entirely. To follow her mother-in-law faithfully, Ruth had to let go. Ruth’s pledge isn't an empty future promise; it's an oath pledged and executed in that very moment. It's her resolute commitment to let go of her country, her people, her customs, and her gods. Ruth's spiritual act of release, of staying true to her calling regardless of its price, and of greeting her new destiny with an open heart and hands enables both women to share in God's grace and goodness.
We often must let go of things to heed God's plan. We must pray to hear God's calling with discernment and to have the strength to follow His purpose, even when faced with discomfort, uncertainty, and adversity.
Be willing to sacrifice everything in the name of faithfulness and loyalty to God's will.
DEVOTION BY Patricia Frost POSTED 1/16/2018 12:00:01 AM ON Psalm 139:16 NIV
I was born to be a teacher.
As a young child, I gathered all my dolls and teddy bears and sat them in rows in front of me. I stood in front of them and pretended to teach. But before I spoke, I took a scarf and covered my head. My mother said she had no idea where this came from. Although we attended church on Sundays, no woman covered her head.
My little sister, Sharon, was born when I was in second grade. As soon as she was old enough, I taught her the alphabet, science, and geography. By the time she was in first grade, she already knew everything in the curriculum. All her teachers thought she was brilliant.
While I was in high school, I attended a youth camp where, for the first time in my life, I heard a foreign missionary, Rhoda Kauffman, speak. She was a teacher in Pakistan. Each night she talked about her work and showed slides. And every evening I heard God say, “Pat, this is how I want to use your life.”
When I went home and told my father God had called me into international missions, he responded, “Oh, no! God wouldn’t do that!” Cold water poured on my excitement, but his reaction did not stop me from believing God was calling me to overseas missions.
Through the years of high school, university, and seminary, God’s call persisted and became my goal. My parents grew accustomed to the idea and embraced God’s will for my life. After my first term of five years in Amman, Jordan, I returned to the States for a furlough and had many opportunities to speak and show my slides in churches, schools, and service organizations.
Once, when Mother was with me, she saw a picture of me with a scarf on my head as I was teaching, standing in front of rows of women with heads covered. By my parents’ expressions and comments, I could tell they were proud of their first-born daughter.
God has something special for each of us to do with our lives. When He lets us know how He wants to use us, He provides all we need and prepares us for the mission. Nothing is more gratifying than following the Lord’s plan for your life.
Don’t neglect what God is calling you to do.