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 Denise Jenkins POSTED 3/19/2019 12:00:01 AM ON Genesis 3:6 NIV
After a tiring day at work, I love sitting down to an evening meal with my four-year-old grandson.
Riley is quite the entertainment. Like most four year olds, he will do anything to distract me from trying to get him to eat or try something different. One day as he squirmed in his chair, I fixed his plate, putting a spoonful of each food group on it.
“Riley, I want you to try these peas. They are good for you,” I said.
Without a blink or hesitation, he dropped his head, then looked up at me, and said, “Boys don’t like peas!”
As we finished our meal, I pondered how sometimes we do the same with our heavenly Father. He lays something in front of us and says, “This is good for you, and this is the plan I have for you.” But we say, “No, I don’t like this. It’s not what I wanted.”
God gave Adam and Eve all they needed—His very best. Good land and good food. The Garden of Eden was perfectly prepared. Eve, however, was deceived by Satan. He led her to believe God hadn’t done enough. She needed more. He led her to doubt what God had said about the tree of knowledge of good and evil. She questioned God’s goodness and love.
Eve was defeated because she listened to Satan’s lies and walked in disobedience. She forgot God’s promises and provisions. Because she did, the consequences for her and Adam’s sin were great. Their perfect life and world were forever changed.
In Riley’s little mind, he could not comprehend why I wanted him to eat something disgusting. What he did not understand was that I wanted him to eat healthy and try new foods. My intentions were good, and the benefits were even better.
God desires to give us His best. He wants us to trust and believe what He tells us in His Word. He loves us enough to show us His truth.
Trust our great God to always give you what is good.
(Photo courtesy of pixabay.)
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DEVOTION BY Susan Hoekstra POSTED 3/12/2019 12:00:01 AM ON Ephesian 5:19 NIV
Going to a hospital is something I try to avoid, even if I’m visiting someone I love.
Perhaps it’s because I spent a good deal of my childhood impatiently sitting in green leather chairs in hospital waiting rooms while my handicapped father battled heart problems and Berger’s disease. Then he died. For me, hospitals trigger unhappy memories.
Yet on one sunny fall day, feeling a little apprehensive, I went with my husband to visit his mom. A beautiful, eighty-seven-year-old missionary’s child, Sunday school teacher, mother to four boys, grandmother, and great grandmother, she lingered at the hospital, connected to multiple tubes. Weak and frail, her heart issues and dementia—combined with a recent fall—were cause for concern. Although her spirits seemed better than most days, hearing her ask the same questions repeatedly left us at a loss.
As the awkward silence ebbed and flowed, my husband played music for her. What a glorious transformation. A smile came to her face as he shared “What a Friend We Have in Jesus.” “Great Is Thy Faithfulness” made her eyes sparkle as she remembered each word, even some in Arabic. As we sang together, music became the right medicine for our aching souls.
Hymns invite the spirit, generate peace, and give glory to God. The truths found in the words can elevate us to spiritual places much bigger than memory centers. Worship becomes supernatural.
God delights in worship and uses music to elevate. As a teardrop of joy fell from the corner of mom’s eye and we sang from our hearts to the Lord together, music allowed us to witness one of the most loving and transformational moments of our lives. When all is said and done, that's worth remembering.
Let music take you into God’s presence.
DEVOTION BY Ken Barnes POSTED 3/5/2019 12:00:01 AM ON Psalm 131:1 NASB
Who would have thought I had lofty eyes?
I once worked for a Christian organization. Another leader and I vied for the same position. He was chosen over me. The attitudes this brought to the surface in my life were eye-opening. I alternated between being envious of the other leader and being down on myself as a failure. I got up one morning angry with others and the next mad at myself. I could not get beyond the feeling that I deserved this position. I suffered from a bad case of lofty eyes.
Whether or not you are proud, you will be accused of being so. David’s brother said he was proud (1 Samuel 17:28 NLT), yet David knew the condition of his heart. He could have remained in the sheepfolds or rise to be a king. Lofty eyes always stem from a proud heart.
Pride tends to make us jealous of those above us and causes us to show disdain for those under us. Lofty eyes motivate us to look to our position in life for acceptance. To derive our value, we compare our performance with that of others.
Our hearts have a tendency towards vanity like a baby seeks its mother’s breasts. David described himself as a weaned child. He had a quieted soul because he did not strive for a station in life that was higher or lower than God had chosen for him.
The most significant people in this life often to do not recognize their greatness, which is a distinct characteristic of humility. David realized his own limitations. This may have been the key to his child-like dependence on God.
A haughty look is a product of a proud heart. Through my experience, the Lord ridded me of some pride in my heart. Unlike me, David knew the accusations about his pride were false because he felt no need to strive for authority. We all have the tendency for pride in our hearts, but David shows us we can be weaned from it.
Let God wean you of whatever needs to be removed from your life.
DEVOTION BY Tamela Turbeville POSTED 2/26/2019 12:00:01 AM ON Ephesians 2:8-9 ESV
I knelt in the kitchen of our tiny rental house.
Weeping, I leaned on a red ice chest where I kept milk for my children. We needed a refrigerator, but I had no hope one would come. Through poor choices, I had lost everything and alienated my family. Covered in shame and regret, I felt worthless and unlovable—and now I needed a refrigerator. I had nowhere to turn, so I prayed and cried, “Look at me, God! Help me.”
Something happened. Instead of asking for relief from my appliance problems, I begged God to help me or take me. At that moment, “He drew me up from the pit of destruction, out of the miry bog, and set my feet upon a rock” (Psalm 40:2). Days later, a neighbor gave us a refrigerator.
With my feet on a path of restoration, I wanted to prove to God His restoration was not a mistake. I said “Yes” to every spiritual request from Bible study to children’s ministry. Busyness entered my life. I worked to keep God’s love.
The harder I tried to earn and keep what was given as a gift, the more elusive it became. My head told me that to keep God’s love I had to do good works. I was saying, “Look at me, God. Look what I’m doing.” But quickly, I became exhausted. My strength wilted and withered. The joy of redemption became the bitterness of busyness.
Salvation is a gift from God through faith in Jesus. Nothing we do can pay the price of our sin. The price was paid through the sacrifice of God’s only Son, Jesus, who lived a perfect life and then paid the penalty for our sins.
I prayed for deliverance. This time I heard God’s voice answer, “Stop striving. Look at me, your God.” He was telling me to end my doing and to focus on Him. God doesn’t ask for hard work and busyness. He says, “Look to me.”
As God’s child, rest in the assurance that nothing will separate you from God’s everlasting love.
DEVOTION BY Marcellus George POSTED 2/19/2019 12:00:01 AM ON 1 Peter 5:8 KJV
Jake was a ten-year-old German shepherd who loved to wander.
The huge field by the school was Jake’s domain, and all the students loved him. But Jake had the habit, when given the opportunity, to go beyond the school field in search of another dog.
Once, days passed. Jake had disappeared. The people at the school searched for him, asking neighbors if they had seen him. Before long, they discovered Jake in a rabbit trap. His leg had been injured, so they took him to the vet.
As I think about Jake, I realize how often I wander from God and how little it takes for Satan to lure me. At such times, I don’t even think about Satan or the consequences of my sin.
David had a similar experience when he impulsively committed adultery with Bathsheba—something he later regretted (Psalm 51:3-4). All it took was a small temptation to make him sin, and suddenly he was trapped. He tried to evade the consequences by calling Uriah back from the battle, but when that backfired, David tried to cover up his sin by having him killed in the line of combat.
Peter says we are easily trapped because we have a cunning enemy. Satan is like a lion who wants to devour us. Once he traps us, we become easy prey and seek counterfeit ways to cover up what we have done. We lie, and then tell another lie about our first lie.
All the while, God waits for us to admit the truth about what we have done. He searches for us when we go AWOL, just as He did with Adam and Eve. Like Jake, someone has to release us from our trap. The bitter truth about my sins needs to come out in order for God to release me.
If you long for freedom, run to God for help. Ask Him to free you from your trap.