Devotions
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November 3, 2017, 5:00 AM

How has your own childhood impacted the way you view the life and function of a family?



May the Lord make your love increase and overflow for each other and for everyone else, just as ours does for you. May He strengthen your hearts so that you will be blameless and holy in the presence of our God and Father when our Lord Jesus comes with all His holy ones. 1 Thessalonians 3:12-13

 

Game night is a time I always look forward to spending with my family. I love playing board games and even more, I love that my kids still want to hang out with me. We keep the popcorn popping and play classics like Monopoly, Clue, and Trouble. Everyone is laughing and cheering until someone takes a turn and we hear, “That’s not how you play the game.” Now we have to put the game on hold to read over the rules. Once the rules are clarified, we can continue playing our friendly game, well, after the person who had the rule right in the first place does a dance while shouting, “Told ya so. Told ya so,” which leaves the other family member hurt and embarrassed. It feels good to be right, but not at the expense of someone else’s heart getting broken.

 

Pride demands self-gratification where humility lays down its rights entirely. There are several definitions for the word pride, but one that caught my eye read: a feeling of being better than others. You see it’s when we are in the company of others that our humility is truly tested. I’ve witnessed families torn apart over a lack of humility. Refusing to apologize, not admitting when one is wrong, these actions, or lack of, hardens the heart. A family should be a safe place to form a good heart. I say that keeping in mind that not all of us view family as a ‘safe place’. I come from a family that has experienced many brokenesses and I know the heartache that were causes. The truth is there are no perfect families because there are no perfect people.  However, I believe God desires the life of the family to transform us more into the image of Christ.

 

I believe He can take my broken past and redeem it through my own family by how I choose to behave and act. Will I lay my rights aside for something bigger than myself? Will I allow God to use the people I’m around the most to conform me more into His likeness?  Like it or not, my family is who I’m with the most. They see the real me who is smiling and happy to be at church on Sunday, and the real me, who an hour before, was screaming at everyone to hurry up and get ready. They love me with all my flaws which makes me want to be a better husband and father. They help me grow in areas I may have never known I am weak. And they teach me about grace in that I need to not only extend it, but also receive it. How do you respond when a family member has offended you? Are you quick to forgive?  How has your own childhood impacted the way you view the life and function of a family?

 

This is my Prayer: Father God, help me love others as You love me.   Lord keep my heart soft so I may be open to what it is You are doing in me through those who are closest to me.  Jesus help me to trust that You, my redeemer, heal all wounds, past, present, and future using all things for Your glory. In Your name Jesus I pray, Amen.




November 1, 2017, 10:52 PM

Where in your life could you use a promise of God as you wait for Him to work?



May grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord. His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence, by which he has granted to us his precious and very great promises, so that through them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped from the corruption that is in the world because of sinful desire. 2 Peter 1:2-4

 

How do you define a promise? I’m not talking about the promises we make to each other that are fragile and unstable like we are. I’m talking about the promises God makes. His promises are the assurance God gives His people so they can walk by faith while they wait for Him to work. God’s promises are “precious and very great” not just when they become reality, but also while you are anticipating and trusting God to work. When our Heavenly Father tells you He will do something, you can consider it done, even when it hasn’t happened yet. Why is this so important to know? Because there will be times in your life when knowing this and hanging on to His divine promises will be your lifeline. That assurance is the very thing that will help you walk by faith while you wait for Him to work.

 

God’s promises are always powerful, but especially so when you’re having the worst days of your life. Sooner or later, you will pass through difficult circumstances where you have nothing but the promises of God. When life is hard, you may be driven to search the Scriptures for promises with trembling hands and a desperate heart. There is nothing like an overwhelming need to make you want some assurances about what is going to happen in an incredibly dark season. You realize you will able to grope your way to the light if you know God has some hope that will carry you through to the end. That’s what the promises of God are all about. When God gives an assurance, He has the power to follow through. He never says, “Remember that thing I told you I would do? I ran out of time and couldn’t fit it in my schedule.” He told Isaiah, “Is my hand shortened, that it cannot redeem? Or have I no power to deliver?” (Isaiah 50:2). Those are purely rhetorical questions. The answer is a resounding NO!

 

2 Peter 1:3-4 tells us, “His divine power . . . has granted to us his precious and very great promises . . .” Then the apostle tells us why God gives us promises: “. . . so that through them you may become partakers of the divine nature”. God wants you to become increasingly like His Son Jesus, and He uses His promises to help you get there! The very idea that God commits Himself to do anything is incredible. He doesn’t have to bind Himself to you in any way. He’s God—completely above and beyond us all. As part of His creation, you are in no position to hold Him to anything; He owes you nothing. Yet God flat out promises to do some things—for you. In fact, given certain circumstances, He has already told you what He will do! That’s amazing. What promises do you hang on to as you walk by faith? Where in your life could you use a promise of God as you wait for Him to work?

 

This is my Prayer: Father God, thank You for Your promises, those I know and those I have yet to learn. Thank You Lord for being a promiser, for being the God who always keeps Your Word and that I never have to wonder if You are faithful. Jesus I only have to open my eyes to continuously see ways You are faithful. By Your Spirit, remind me of the promises You have given on which I am can rest today, tomorrow, and for eternity. In Jesus’ name, amen.




November 1, 2017, 5:00 AM

How are you influencing the next generation?



But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have become convinced of, because you know those from whom you learned it, and how from infancy you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. 2 Timothy 3:14-15

 

Being a night owl I often waste countless hours mindlessly flipping channels. For whatever reason, I’m a sucker for infomercials. At the beginning, I scoff at the product, but eventually I find myself wondering if this magical product will solve of all my problems, both big and small. I’m embarrassed to admit but I’ve purchased a product or two only to have buyer’s remorse. These products never live up to their claims. Take for instance, those magical towels that are supposed to be the most absorbent things in the world and supposedly have the ability to clean up a spill in an instant. With all apologizes to Billy Mays and the Sham Wow guy, there isn’t anything more absorbent than the mind of my children. The Brawny Man looks scrawny in comparison to their ability to soak things up.

 

My youngest son is a mini-me. His spirit animal is a parrot because he mimics EVERYTHING I say. It’s like I have my own personal microphone set to echo mode. But none of my kids are unique in this aspect. Every child possesses an uncanny ability to soak up all that is around them. They watch, study, and take in everything we do. I’ll admit that sometimes knowing I have my own personal voice recorder is amusing. However, my children’s absorbent capabilities also have an ugly side. These are the moments when I see how they mimic my mannerisms and tone of voice. Or even more convicting, when one of them calls me out on my behavior by recalling something I said or did months ago. Even though I gave little thought to this previous exchange, it served as a defining moment for them.

 

Once a thought or experience gets sucked up in their brain vacuum it is near to impossible to get that little bugger unstuck. I guess the saying is true that kids are like sponges, which means as we have to be careful about the things we let them absorb. This focus and intention is required not only for parents, but other family members, teachers, coaches, neighbors or any adult who has influence in their lives. Regardless of whether you are a parent or not, there is someone younger looking up to you. Each one of us has more influence than we can even imagine or comprehend. Our kids are impressionable, but we often don’t consider what impression we are leaving on them. How are we influencing the next generation? What are they soaking up through our words, actions and mindset? How are you leaving your mark on those that come after you?

 

This is my Prayer: Father God, help me to realize that my words, actions, and attitudes influence others, especially those younger than me. Lord let me not take the influence I’ve been given lightly, but rather set an example to follow. Jesus when people look to me may they see You in everything that I do. In Your name, Jesus. Amen.




October 31, 2017, 5:00 AM

What struggles are you dealing with when it comes to your family?



And you also were included in Christ when you heard the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation. When you believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God’s possession—to the praise of his glory. Ephesians 1:13-14

 

The family is one of the most central concepts of humanity, but it’s also one of the greatest sources of frustration, disappointment and shame. These emotions happen for a variety of different reasons. For some it’s a bad experience growing up. For others, it involves friction with being married or single. Throw in the pressure of kids on parents or parents on kids and you can understand why many of us view the family as maddening. This doesn’t even touch upon the devastation of divorce, blended families, infidelity and abuse. Even though we believe the family is important, we are well aware that the family is imperfect. Some of us are disappointed with our spouse.  Some of us are disappointed with our parents. Some of us are disappointed with our kids. Some of us are disappointed that we’re still single. Some of us are disappointed with yourselves.

 

If we’re really honest, our families just kind of happened to us. We don’t really have a firm grasp on what they are or why they matter. The ideal picture we have of the family is a fairytale that leads to frustration. Things don’t get wrapped up in thirty minutes with everybody happy and the problems solved like they do in the sitcoms. The condition of the family has changed over time. Kids are growing up in a different culture than the one we were raised in. The cultural understanding has morphed more than we know. Cultural acceptance hasn’t brought wholeness to the family, but neither has the church’s rejection of those families who are different and who might be struggling. The church has fought hard for the restoration and reclamation of the family. Unfortunately, they’ve also lost sight of another important element, which is the redemption of the family.

 

The reality is that we cannot just wish these issues away or pretend they don’t exist because the struggle is real. To ignore it would force people and families to wrestle with things on their own. This can’t happen because the worst possible way to struggle is alone. As believers, we have to take a deep breath, lay our limited perspective on the table, and take a step back to address the issues plaguing the family. What would it look like to make things right? Almost instinctively, our minds go back to the way things were. So, we try, fail, and feel guilty. Our efforts pour forth out of the guilt we feel. We hope that if we can just do some things it will make up for what we’ve done or what has been done to us. Yet, this will never work. The way of redemption requires us to let go of demanding things work out.

 

The danger of disappointment is that we long to go back. The danger of fulfillment is that we long for things to stay same. We can’t be bogged down with the past and it is a losing battle trying to freeze time. There is only one direction we must set our gaze towards and that is forward. God is always working towards redemption. But, redemption doesn’t necessarily look like the way things looked before. We will not find a new story for our family until we let go of the old one.  What struggles are you dealing with when it comes to your family? Who knows about these struggles? How can God begin to write a new story for your family?

 

This is my Prayer: Father God, rather than trying to rewrite my family story on my own, let me remember that You are a God of redemption. Lord I can’t change the past and I’m incapable of freezing time, but I know You hold the hope for my future.  Jesus help me to let go of my old story and pick up the new story You are writing.  In Your name, Jesus. Amen.




October 30, 2017, 5:00 AM

What will you choose - God’s love or the pigsty the world calls life?



But the father said to his servants, “Bring quickly the best robe, and put it on him, and put a ring on his hand, and shoes on his feet. And bring the fattened calf and kill it, and let us eat and celebrate. For this my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found.” And they began to celebrate. —Luke 15:22-24

 

The story of the prodigal son has a great ending. The father is so fired up. Can you picture the tears streaming down his face as he runs to meet his son on the road and welcome him home? Imagine the smile that doesn’t go away. Follow his almost frantic orders for the servants to clean up the son, put a new outfit on him, and cook a feast for the coming home party. Can you put yourself in the place of that father? Have you been in that son’s muddy and worn-out sandals? That incredible and undeserved love is how God feels about you. No matter where you have been or what you have done God loves you like the prodigal’s father loved him. Life will never really turn around until you accept that reality.

 

He loves you with an everlasting love beyond what words can describe. But you have to choose it, you need to act on it. Like the prodigal son, we have to get out of the pigsty and come home. The Father is waiting for you. He is watching for you. He is longing for you. Life will only make sense when you are in His embrace. No one can make this choice for you. Will you receive God’s love for you or will you turn away? The prodigal repented in the pigsty and his journey home was an act of repentance. But faced with his father’s unexpected welcome, his final choice had to be to receive his father’s unconditional love. He couldn’t buy back or earn back his father’s acceptance; he had to receive his father’s love as a priceless gift. That’s the same choice our heavenly Father tenderly offers us.

 

You didn’t earn His love and don’t deserve it any more than the prodigal did. Best of all, you don’t need to. This love comes from God Himself, who paid for your sin through the death of His Son Jesus on the cross. Now He waits for your response. It’s time to come home. Choose to receive God’s love for you. That choice will change your life. What will you choose - God’s love or the pigsty the world calls life?

 

This is my Pray: Father God, thank You for loving me. I realize I may emphasize wanting to feel that love instead of settling the matter by faith and accepting the fact that You love me whether I feel it or not. Lord forgive my moments of doubt and remind me that You continue to love me even then. Jesus thank You that Your love never fails. Please let me live within that truth this day. In Your name Jesus, amen.


Page 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45 46 47 48 49 50 51 52 53 54 55 56 57 58   Entries 31-35 of 286