Devotionals

What Did I Do?

 

 

WHY-I’ve read the book of Job a couple times. It’s a good reminder of what trust in God looks like. We are told that God let Satan test Job. Satan thought if extremely bad things happened to Job, Job would denounce his faith in God. So a collapsing building killed all of Job’s children, all his livestock was taken by raiders, and Job was inflicted with painful sores all over his body. Yet, Job stayed true to God. He questioned God, but did not lose his faith in Him. Job’s friends thought Job must have done something really terrible for God to punish him like this.

Then Job said, “To God belong wisdom and power; counsel and understanding are His.”   ( Job 12:13)   Job didn’t know why these things happened to him, but he trusted God.

Many times we can’t make sense of things when we are hit with struggles and bad times. Like Job’s friends we ask “why?” or “what did I do to deserve this?”. We can’t find a reason.

But, God has a reason. He is in control. Maybe the situation is to make us stronger. Perhaps we’ve closed our eyes and He wants to open them again. Or maybe our relationship with Him has faded and He wants us to come back to Him.

Whatever the reason, we need to remember everything is in God’s hands. He definitely has a purpose in mind when He sends things our way – good or bad. Stay close to Him. Lean on Him. Put your faith and trust in Him. God is faithful and He will get you through every circumstance.

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What Are You Waiting For?

procrastination

I am a procrastinator. In fact I procrastinated posting this devotional.  I wrote it last week but I’m just getting around to posting it today. I also procrastinate doing things that are out of my comfort zone. I will put things off until I absolutely have to do it or it’s convenient for me.

King Solomon gave us these words in Ecclesiastes 11:4,  “Whoever watches the wind will not plant; whoever looks at the clouds will not reap.”

Solomon is talking about procrastination. We have the tendency to wait for the perfect time to do things, like share the Gospel with others. We might have someone in mind we want to share Christ with, but it never seems like the right time to do it.

If we are waiting for the perfect moment, forget it. We can tell ourselves all day, “I need to talk with him/her but now is not the right time.” There will never be a “right time”. We must do it now. There might not be another opportunity. We don’t want to wait until it’s too late.

Are you waiting to share the Gospel with someone who needs to hear it?  Or maybe you are seeking Christ and keep putting off asking someone about Him. DON’T PROCRASTINATE! Reach out now. Who knows, this may be the last chance you have.

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Are You Prepared For Your Toughest Battle?

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Two armies face each other for battle. One army has guns. The other army has tanks and bombs. Which army is going to win?

We are in a battle. We’re facing the army of Satan every day. Satan’s army has all sorts of fire power ; super-natural power we mere humans cannot defend against. 1 Peter 1:24 says, “All men are like grass, and all their glory is like the flowers of the field; the grass withers and the flowers falls.”  If we are as fragile as grass and flowers how can we possibly stand up to the forces of Satan?  The answer is in 1 Peter 1:25, “but the Word of the Lord stands forever.”

In Ephesians 6 Paul lists the pieces of the armor God has given us. Then in verse 17 he states the only weapon we need, “Take the helmet of Salvation and THE SWORD OF THE SPIRIT WHICH IS THE WORD OF GOD.”

Satan has no power over the Word of God. We have a mighty sword at our disposal. Nothing Satan throws at us is a match to the Word of the Lord. By giving us the Bible, God has given us the most powerful weapon to use in our battle. Satan has no comeback, no defense against the truth found in Scripture.

However, we must be trained to use this weapon. It won’t do us any good to just have the Bible in our hands. When we go up against Satan we have to know what’s in the Bible. We cannot be ignorant. The Word of God is the ultimate weapon. It is our job to learn how to use it.

How often do you read the Bible?  Have you committed any verses to memory? All of us will be attacked by Satan at many points in our lives. Now is a good time to dig into God’s Word on a regular basis so you are prepared to fight when Satan attacks.

 

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It’s Examination Time

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There is a verse in Lamentations that jumped out for me today. It’s Lamentations 3:40 – “Let us examine our ways and test them, and let us return to the Lord.”

I try to live my life the way Jesus wants me to, but I fall short. I live in my own little world, not thinking about the global picture. I’m a coward when it comes to telling someone face to face about Jesus. I’m afraid to be bold and stand up when my faith is threatened. I need to examine my ways and see where I can change.

I think this lack of boldness has effected Christians throughout the U.S. We have been silent and have sat back watching our nation slowly disintegrate. What’s happened to the Christian values this country was founded on? How long are we going to wait before we examine our ways and test them?

It is definitely time for us as individuals and as a nation to return to the Lord. God has never stopped loving us. He is faithful forever. But I’m sure we have made Him sad.

I, for one, don’t like knowing that I am causing God’s sadness. Instead He should be rejoicing over what His children are doing.

Are you willing to examine your ways and test them? Then what are you going to start doing differently to return to the Lord?

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Is Surrender Always A Negative Action?

4-5-15 new cross at church

 

When we think of the word “surrender” we usually think of giving up to an enemy or have a feeling of defeat if we can’t do something the way it’s supposed to be done.

However, there is a time when surrendering is a positive action. It’s dealing with our relationship with God. In order for that relationship to grow and for us to be tuned in to God’s plan for us we first need to surrender ourselves to Him.

Look at the story of Jonah. God wanted Jonah to preach in Ninevah. But Jonah refused to go because the people of Ninevah were so evil. Instead he boarded a ship going in the opposite direction. A major storm began, threatening to tear the ship apart. The crew wondered why this was happening. Jonah realized God sent the storm because Jonah disobeyed. So Jonah told the men to throw him into the sea, which they did, and the storm stopped immediately. Jonah was then swallowed by a great fish and was inside it for three days. During that time Jonah surrendered himself to God. (see Jonah 2)

While in the fish Jonah prayed to God. At the end of his prayer he said, “But I, with a song of thanksgiving, will sacrifice to You. What I have vowed I will make good. Salvation comes from the Lord.”  Jonah 2:9

The fish spat Jonah out and he did go to Ninevah. Because of his preaching the people of Ninevah “turned from their evil ways” and cried out to God. (Jonah 3)

Surrendering to God is not admitting defeat in a negative way. It’s the beginning of a new life with God, which is so much better than a life without Him.

Are you seeking something that’s missing from your life,but you don’t know what it is? Surrender to God. He is that “something” which is missing.

Do you know God but have strayed from Him? Surrender to Him and He’ll help you get back on the right track.

Is “surrender” a negative word? It’s not when you are surrendering to God, opening yourself up to a new relationship with Him.

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I don’t know about you, but the last few weeks for me were full of busyness. Now it’s time to get back to normal. The fun Christmas gatherings with family and friends are history. The new year has begun. Decorations are put away (or soon will be). Now what?

One of the gifts I received from my daughter was a desk calendar. Each page has a different Scripture verse. I have decided to not only to read the verse each day, but to also read the entire chapter where the verse is found. Today’s verse is in Psalm 46, however when I read the whole Psalm another verse popped out for me.

“Be still and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.”   Psalm 46:10

We live hectic lives, but we need to take time to just be still and listen to what God has to say. Sometimes it might not feel like it, but God IS in control. And there will be a time when every knee will bow before Him.

Now that 2017 has begun it is a good time to look at your relationship with God and His Son, Jesus Christ. Maybe you don’t know Him yet, but are seeking. Maybe you already have a relationship with Him, but you want it to grow stronger. Be still and listen for His words to speak to you through the Holy Spirit.

I have put my new calendar on my coffee table right next to my computer so I won’t forget to stop and focus on God for a while each day.  I want 2017 to be the year my relationship with Him grows.

How about you?  Is this a good time to either begin or continue your journey with God?Think of some way you can set out reminders so that each day you will spend some time to be still and know God.

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What To Do When Life Piles Up

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Everyone of us goes through times in our lives when everywhere we turn something needs to be done. And many of those things have limited time frames in which they have to be done. You need to take Sally to piano lessons, Joe to tennis, then both to swim class. In the midst of that you forgot to go shopping so there’s nothing for dinner. Throw a crisis into the mix and you’re sure you are going to lose your mind.

Stop for a moment. Read what Paul wrote to the Philippians: “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:6-7)

Life will keep happening. Things will pile up. We’ll have moments when we don’t know which way to turn.

  •  Tell God about it.
  •  Then take a deep breath. We still have to do all the things, but we can approach them with a calm heart and clear mind.
  •  Prioritize. Look at what can be done tomorrow when the schedule is not so full.
  •  Order pizza for dinner.

Dear Lord, I feel like I’m ready to go crazy. There’s so much to do and not enough time to do it. Please calm my racing spirit. Clear my mind so I can sort things out. Help me take that deep breath so I can carry on with life. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

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Don’t Dwell On The Past – Look Ahead To The Future

2015 is done. There were good and bad times for me. My oldest grandchild got her driver’s license. My youngest had his first birthday. I received the news that another grandchild is on the way. My daughter got a teaching job she loves. My son got his Associates Degree and a job offer. The not so good times included an uncle and a cousin going to be with the Lord. My hot water tank sprung a leak. I found out I owed $400 to the IRS that I was not expecting.

I’m sure every one of you reading this can make your own list of events (good and bad) which took place in 2015. God has something to say to us about looking back:

“Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past.”    Isaiah 43:18

God does not want us to focus on what might have been or the mistakes we’ve made in 2015. Instead He tells us to have a fresh look at what’s ahead:

“See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the desert and streams in the wasteland.”    Isaiah 43:19

Therefore, look at 2016 as a new start. God has plans for all of us. I’m not saying to expect everything to be rosy. We will still have our struggles. But we can prepare ourselves with a new vitality and hope of things to come from God.

Make it your New Year resolution to be more open to God’s leading for opportunities and to cling to Him during difficult times. It’s a new year, a fresh beginning. Make sure this resolution is one you will keep throughout all of 2016.

HAPPY NEW YEAR!

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Bees and Salvation

BeesWhile washing my hair I heard the kids yelling outside. That was not unusual so I continued what I was doing. Then the yelling progressed to screaming and I knew something was wrong. I wrapped a towel around my head and rushed outside. The sight horrified me. My son had whacked a beehive with a long branch. Underneath stood my daughter literally covered with bees. I pulled the towel off my head and began using it to get the bees off of her. I wasn’t worried about getting stung. My whole attention was to save my daughter. I saw her in trouble and didn’t care what pain it might cause me. I had to save her.

God looked down and saw that mankind was in trouble. Our sinful nature was leading us to death. Something had to be done.

“For God did not appoint us to suffer wrath but to receive salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ. He died for us so that, whether we are awake or asleep, we may live together with Him.”   I Thessalonians 5:9-10

Jesus suffered on the cross and gave His life willingly so we would not have to feel the wrath of God. We were dying in our sins. Jesus died instead, therefore giving us life eternal. He jumped in to save us without dwelling on what that action would cost Him.

As parents we protect our children no matter what happens. We’ll do everything in our power to save them regardless of the consequence to us. We make sacrifices so they can have a good life.

Jesus made the ultimate sacrifice for us. He suffered torment and death to save us. The result – He rose again and we are given the opportunity to accept the gift of life He freely gives. He saved us.

Have you accepted this gift of salvation from Jesus Christ? Have you experienced being lifted out of the trouble and utter helplessness sin causes? Now is the time to open your heart to Jesus and let Him save you.

(The result of our bee experience – I ended up with at least three bee stings, which I didn’t feel until later. We couldn’t tell if my daughter was stung. She survived with no physical or emotional affects.)

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Worry, Worry, Worry – What Good Does It Do?

Lake MI 1In two years I will be the age to retire with “full” Social Security. The problem is the amount of money I’ll be getting is around half what I’m bringing home now through work. I will be able to add about $200 from my 403b each month, but that still is not the take-home pay I’m used to.

I worry about needing to down-size. I worry about how much rent will I be able to afford. On top of that add on insurance premiums, utilities, groceries, etc. It is getting more difficult for me to deal with yard work and snow shoveling so I need to go someplace where someone else does those things.  But will I have enough money to make the move?  Will I have to still work at least part-time to make ends meet?

Worry, Worry,Worry

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”    Philippians 4:6-7

The Apostle Paul is telling us we are not to worry. Instead we are to bring those worries to God. What does worrying get us anyway?

“Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?”    Matthew 6:27   (words spoken by Jesus)

Worrying gives us nothing but stress, headaches, and ulcers. None of us need those things.

What we need to do is put those worries into God’s hands. Then we should concentrate on what we can do today. None of us have a clue what will happen tomorrow or in two years. For me that means I can work on decreasing my bills and spending, and I can start weeding through my stuff, getting rid of what I don’t need or haven’t used in years. One day at a time.

What is causing you anxiety? Have you brought it to God? Begin with Him, then do what you can each day trusting that He will give you peace regarding the rest.

Worry and anxiety vs Peace from God.  What sounds right to you?

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