Author Topic: Devotion  (Read 132 times)

Philippa

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Devotion
« on: March 26, 2017, 10:53:28 pm »
http://www.ibelieve.com/devotionals/girlfriends-in-god/girlfriends-in-god-december-1-2016.html

December 1, 2016
Do I Really Have To?
Gwen Smith

Today’s Truth

If anyone, then, knows the good they ought to do and doesn’t do it, it is sin for them. (James 4:17 NIV)

Friend to Friend

Sometimes doing the right thing is hard. Case in point.  My husband asked if I could run to pick up his dry cleaning while he was on a conference call for work. Sure. So I drove across town, paid, grabbed what they gave me, and then headed home.  “Are my suit pants cleaned too?” Brad asked when I brought the dry cleaning in the house.

“I’m sure they are, honey. I remember seeing them in the bag when I dropped them off.”

I checked. No suit pants.  “There are only shirts here, Brad, but I do remember there being a dark pair of pants in there last week when you gave me the bag!”

“I definitely had pants in there,” he replied. “Can you please call the dry cleaners and find out where they are?”

Sure.  “Hello, mister dry cleaner man. When I dropped my husband’s clothes off last Wednesday there was a pair of suit pants in the bag. I just picked up his laundry a little bit ago and the pants are not with his order. Can you please check on those?”

“Mrs. Smith, our records show that we took in 18 shirts, but no pants. I’m sorry.” He said matter-of-factly.

“Sir,” I responded as my pulse began to rise, “My husband and I both remember there being a pair of his suit pants in the bag when I dropped it off on Wednesday. There must be a mistake and we need to figure this out. Are there any pants around your store that are unaccounted for? The missing suit pants are navy with a thin blue pinstripe.”

“Ma’am,” he began with an abrasive, defensive edge, “we don’t have pants just‘lying around.’ We only took in 18 shirts. Beyond that, I don’t know what to tell you. People think they drop things off all the time, but we very rarely ever lose anything.”

Really?

I was more than agitated at this point. “Well, sir, what I know is this: my husband and I both remember his suit pants being in the bag that I dropped off to you last Wednesday. He can’t wear a suit without pants. This is pretty important. Can you please take my number and call us if and when you find them?”

“Yep. I have your number.” Then he finished with this smug gem, “I don’t expect them to show up, but will call you if they do.”

“Great. Thanks.”

Click.  I was in a tizzy. Brad and I began to discuss the fact that we both knew his pants were in the bag and then a thought came to my mind which took me to the garage. And there, on the floor behind my drivers seat were his navy, pinstriped suit pants. Still dirty and blending in with the dark floor carpet of my car. Ugh! I walked back in the house and updated Brad.  “Do you think you should call and let the dry cleaner know that you found them?” He asked.

Inside I knew I should, but didn’t want to.  “No. I don’t want to. I don’t like him.” I replied childishly.

Almost instantly the Word of God convicted me. “If anyone, then, knows the good they ought to do and doesn’t do it, it is sin for them.” (James 4:17)

Doggone it. I have to call him back.  I reluctantly dialed the number again.  “Hello! Dry cleaning company, how can I help you?”

“Hi. We talked a few minutes ago about my husband’s suit pants, and I am calling back to let you know that I found them in the back floor of my car. They must’ve fallen out of the bag. I’m sorry.”

His voice softened. “Well, thanks for calling back. Most people wouldn’t do that. I appreciate it. Have a good day.”

My brow was still furrowed when I hung up. No halo hovered above my head and my grumpy ‘tude still had a grip on me. Taking that step of obedience meant swallowing my pride and I didn’t like it. I didn’t want to do it. But I know it was required in response to my love for Christ.  Why is it sometimes hard for me to do the right thing?

Why is it hard to WANT to do the right thing sometimes?

I ponder the questions, yet know the answer: because on my own, I’m stubborn and self-seeking. Thankfully, by grace God’s Spirit works within to lead, correct, and guide.  Obedience is a constant battle: my will versus God’s will. It’s a battle that can only be won by surrendering. Jesus said that if we love Him, we will obey Him. (John 14:15, 21,23) Even when and if we don’t want to.

Where does this find you today?

Is there anything that you know you should do, but haven’t done?

Philippa

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Re: Devotion
« Reply #1 on: March 26, 2017, 11:05:07 pm »
http://www.ibelieve.com/devotionals/girlfriends-in-god/girlfriends-in-god-january-2-2017.html

January 2, 2017
Sweet Mercy
Logan Wolfram

Today’s Truth

The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; His mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. ‘The Lord is my portion,’ says my soul, therefore I will hope in Him’ (Lamentations 3:22-24).

Friend to Friend

So we did sort of a crazy thing recently. You know though when sometimes the crazy thing somehow feels like it just might be the most right and necessary thing?

In our home we have been in the thick of some intentional and hard parenting lately. We had to clear a bedroom of all its contents twice in a week. One of our boys in particular has thrown some pretty nuclear fits here lately, and this momma is slap worn out! And even though my husband and I have thankfully been on the same page with it all, it can still be so easy to get worn out and defeated.  We have sought wise counsel, begun reading some good books, and prayed, and cried, and ALL. THE. THINGS.  After one particularly hard day though, the very next morning the Lord gave us new mercies as He is so graciously in the habit of doing! (Lamentations 3:23) We decided that some one on one quality time was in order to be hyper intentional with loving on our little guy and reaching his heart.  We spent family time together in the morning and then my husband and I split up to each take a boy on a date. I got our littlest because we agreed he needed alone time with me the most. After grabbing a burger and meandering through a bookstore, we were on our way home to play Legos. In an effort to avoid holiday traffic, we went a back way home and came to a stop sign right across the street from the Humane Society.  "Hey, wanna go pet puppies?" I asked him, thinking he would say no since he was pretty focused on the Lego plan, but instead I got an enthusiastic YES!

In we went. We held every puppy there and were happily leaving when my tender-hearted little fella suddenly said "Let's go see the grown up dogs, they probably need love since no one wants them."

Because our agenda was his for the deciding, we turned around and went to the adult dog section. The loud barking and jumping dogs in a row of kennels set my heart racing into the fat burn zone on my Fitbit, but we started at one end and made our way down the long row. Just as we reached the end, we looked down to see a sweet little white dog with brown spots on her face and a pink nose just sitting there not barking or jumping. As soon as my son went over to her kennel she rubbed up against his hand and began to lick him. He stayed there squatted down and petting her for probably five minutes or so. There was something about her and something about him with her.  "Ok let's go" I said after awhile.

"Mom, we should take her outside so she can get some fresh air and she doesn't have anyone to pet on her, and she is so sweet."

Of course you know now what we did.  The moment we went outside, this little dog crawled into my son’s lap and didn’t move for no less than 20 minutes. After awhile, a family with three kids came out and pointed at this cuddly little white dog curled up on my boy. "If you're adopting today please consider her. She is super sweet," I said as I motioned the mother to take the leash.

My son looked at me and reluctantly let them lead her away to play. He wouldn't leave though. He kept watching her and she kept walking back towards him. "You guys need this dog,” I said in an effort to convince the other mom. “We already have 2 dogs and hadn’t planned on another one until our old one passes on.”

Hudson looked up at me and fat tears welled up behind the frames of his glasses. "Whatcha thinking Buddy?" I asked.

"I'm afraid they will want her, but I feel like she is supposed to be my dog and I just feel really super sad about that."

He was calm but sad. No fit, no frustration, no entitlement or trying to get his way like we’d been dealing with before just sure and sad.  The other mom handed him back the leash and said, "Oh, we just started looking and have a lot to do before we get a dog this will be our first one ever. Besides, for some reason I think maybe she is supposed to be yours."

Something in my spirit said she was right. It was as if the heart of the Father for my son was being exhibited to him in this snuggly little dog. I called my husband, who brought our other son to meet her, and all the while this little dog followed Hudson and sat in his lap and licked his face.  “Lord, I wasn't planning this today! But it feels like it has your hand all over it.”

I prayed in my heart as I watched my kids with the dog. I didn't want another puppy to train, and while Hudson has been asking for a "little snuggly dog" for probably a year, this wasn’t the plan for now.  We couldn’t ignore the fact that this dog was 7 months old, already sits on command, is maybe 15 pounds, and white with brown spots. She was kind of everything we all wanted eventually. His timing is so often different than ours though.  "Well, we need to find a new name," I told my son.

He didn't even pause to think about it. My normally contemplative kid just had a name immediately. "Her name is Sugar mom because she is white like sugar and also super sweet."

And that was that. We brought her home. And I keep having this feeling that something about this little dog is just what this little boy might need. Something in my heart keeps saying that this part of this particular day was about new mercies for all of us and seeing the Lord loving us all in the ways only He knows.  So maybe we aren't so crazy. I'd like to think maybe we are just learning to look and listen to what the Lord could have even in the unexpected and unplanned pieces of life.  Perhaps when the Lord says that His mercies are new each morning, He means that His methods are too if we will be open enough to see them.

Philippa

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Re: Devotion
« Reply #2 on: April 12, 2017, 11:39:18 am »
http://www.ibelieve.com/devotionals/girlfriends-in-god/the-spiritual-fixer-upper-girlfriends-in-god-january-12-2017.html

January 12, 2017
The Spiritual Fixer-Upper
Mary Southerland

Today’s Truth

Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you (Colossians 3:13, NIV).

Friend to Friend

I promised myself that I would never buy a house that was a “fixer upper.” I don’t like fixing things. I want everything to be fixed before I move in. But there I was buying a town house that needed so much work even the realtor couldn’t believe my husband and I wanted to buy it. Why didn’t someone stop me?

No one did, so the sale was made and we went to work. Actually, my son and husband went to work while I went crazy.  I had no idea how horrible the process of remodeling could be. Layer after layer of dirt, grime, stains and ugliness was stripped away. Rotten kitchen cabinets were torn from the walls and rusty appliances were replaced. We basically gutted the whole place and rebuilt it while living in it. I was not happy!  I will never forget the day I woke up to see a toilet sitting at the foot of our bed. That was the moment I resolved to never set foot in another house that required so much work. I am so thankful God does not feel that way about me.  Honestly, I often wonder why God doesn’t just demolish the old me and build a new one. Then He did just that through a two year battle with clinical depression. While sitting at the bottom of that dark and slimy pit, the Father lovingly stripped away old fears and insecurities. From the walls of my heart, He tore the rotten attitudes, undisciplined thoughts and unholy desires that had walked me to the edge of my pit then pushed me in. He replaced rusty old dreams with new ones and basically gutted my life to build a new one, a better one, and a stronger one. Part of that new life was forgiveness. God taught me how to forgive myself so I could then forgive others.  Because forgiveness is so important, it only stands to reason there are roadblocks that can hinder our willingness to forgive. We must make the commitment to identify and remove each one.

Selfishness

Selfishness shouts, “I have been hurt. It is so unfair. I have rights!”

What I am really saying is that how I feel about the hurt is more important than forgiving the hurt.

Pride

Pride cries, “Look at what they have done to me. Don’t they realize who I am?”

To receive or give forgiveness requires humility.

Low self-esteem

Some of us have built an entire identity around a hurt. The attention we gain from the wrong we have suffered defines who we are. We cherish the pain and refuse to relinquish it for the sake of forgiveness.

Blindness

We may be blind to the fact that we have not forgiven a hurt. We have convinced ourselves that we really have forgiven the one who hurt us by going through the motions and saying the right words without really dealing with the pain. All we have done is dig a hole and bury the pain. As long as hurt is buried alive, it will keep resurrecting itself in our life, but when the hurt is dealt with and forgiveness is given, the pain is buried dead and it stays dead.

Pain

Forgiveness is spiritual surgery. It exposes old hurts that have never completely healed. We can move, change jobs, change churches, change friends or even change families, but until we yank up the root of bitterness and kill it with forgiveness, we will live with unresolved pain.

Ignorance

Maybe we don’t know how to forgive someone because are under the impression that forgiveness is an emotion or feeling. True forgiveness is a choice a deliberate choice to release the person who has hurt us from the pain they have caused. We can stop forgiving others when God stops forgiving us.   

We need to identify and eliminate the roadblocks to forgiveness so God can set us free, heal our pain, and make us more like Him. Now that is a remodeling job I would welcome.

Philippa

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Re: Devotion
« Reply #3 on: April 26, 2017, 05:45:59 pm »
Monday, January 23, 2017   

His Creation
Mary DeMuth

Today’s Verse Powered by the New Living Translation
“God saved you by his grace when you believed. And you can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God. Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it. For we are God's masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus so that we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.”  - Ephesians 2:8–10

I used to love it when my kids created something how they stood, back erect, reciting their stories or sharing their masterpieces. There is beauty in the way they reveled in their creation.  Just like my kids (and maybe just like you), I rejoice in what I create. It’s an inbred trait, imparted when God breathed life into us. He is creative and his children are too. We enjoy showing off what we’ve made.  So is it any surprise that God is proud of his creation us?

That he looks from heaven, happy that he fashioned us just so?

We are his works of art, sent to a world that is dying and needy and artless. God rejoices over us and celebrates his creation.  It’s also important to remember that your worth is not based on what you create. Instead, the work you do on this earth is the direct result of your worth found in the God who created you. Not only that, but the Spirit of the living God has adopted you into his family through the finished work of Jesus Christ. You are God’s child, dearly loved, fully settled in your worth. Just as parents are proud of their children, God is proud of you.

Philippa

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Re: Devotion
« Reply #4 on: April 26, 2017, 05:51:57 pm »
Tuesday, January 24, 2017   

Chosen Anyway
Mary DeMuth

Today’s Verse Powered by the New Living Translation
“Instead, God chose things the world considers foolish in order to shame those who think they are wise. And he chose things that are powerless to shame those who are powerful. God chose things despised by the world, things counted as nothing at all, and used them to bring to nothing what the world considers important.”  - 1 Corinthians 1:27–28

My father was a literary genius, and that genius ultimately led to his demise. At ten years old, I didn’t know how to sort through the abandonment, bewilderment, or the loneliness that came with an enigmatic father’s death. Adolescence came sooner than I knew how to cope, so my journals became my confidant, the place I shared my angst and how desperately I wanted to take my life.  I’m grateful Jesus read those journals of a girl hell bent on leaving earth. I’m grateful that he chose to reveal himself to me in the tenth grade. My writing, after meeting Jesus, reflected something my words reflect today: complete bewilderment that Jesus would pursue the likes of me.  I resonate with today’s passage. I was unwise, weak, despised. But God chose me anyway and he chooses you, too. He transformed me from a fatherless girl who felt utterly worthless into a woman whose soul felt its worth. When I think of how close I came to death, to giving in to my unsettling upbringing, to becoming someone I didn't want to become, I shudder. Any beauty, joy, healing, anything worthy tucked deep inside me is the handiwork of God Almighty the true genius in my life, my good Father.  I am thankful I'm no genius. But in a strange way, I feel something of beauty coming out of the ashes of my father's death. In a way, I represent the redemption of his writing. By God's grace, I've become a word artist for the sake of helping others understand the God who chooses us, and that has made all the difference.

Philippa

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Re: Devotion
« Reply #5 on: May 13, 2017, 06:32:46 pm »
Tuesday, January 24, 2017   

Chosen Anyway
Mary DeMuth

Today’s Verse Powered by the New Living Translation
“Instead, God chose things the world considers foolish in order to shame those who think they are wise. And he chose things that are powerless to shame those who are powerful. God chose things despised by the world, things counted as nothing at all, and used them to bring to nothing what the world considers important.”  - 1 Corinthians 1:27–28

My father was a literary genius, and that genius ultimately led to his demise. At ten years old, I didn’t know how to sort through the abandonment, bewilderment, or the loneliness that came with an enigmatic father’s death. Adolescence came sooner than I knew how to cope, so my journals became my confidant, the place I shared my angst and how desperately I wanted to take my life.  I’m grateful Jesus read those journals of a girl hell bent on leaving earth. I’m grateful that he chose to reveal himself to me in the tenth grade. My writing, after meeting Jesus, reflected something my words reflect today: complete bewilderment that Jesus would pursue the likes of me.  I resonate with today’s passage. I was unwise, weak, despised. But God chose me anyway and he chooses you, too. He transformed me from a fatherless girl who felt utterly worthless into a woman whose soul felt its worth. When I think of how close I came to death, to giving in to my unsettling upbringing, to becoming someone I didn't want to become, I shudder. Any beauty, joy, healing, anything worthy tucked deep inside me is the handiwork of God Almighty the true genius in my life, my good Father.  I am thankful I'm no genius. But in a strange way, I feel something of beauty coming out of the ashes of my father's death. In a way, I represent the redemption of his writing. By God's grace, I've become a word artist for the sake of helping others understand the God who chooses us, and that has made all the difference.
« Last Edit: May 13, 2017, 08:08:46 pm by Philippa »

Philippa

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Re: Devotion
« Reply #6 on: May 13, 2017, 08:22:35 pm »
Monday, January 23, 2017   

His Creation
Mary DeMuth

Today’s Verse Powered by the New Living Translation
“God saved you by his grace when you believed. And you can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God. Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it. For we are God's masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus so that we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.”  - Ephesians 2:8–10

I used to love it when my kids created something how they stood, back erect, reciting their stories or sharing their masterpieces. There is beauty in the way they reveled in their creation.  Just like my kids (and maybe just like you), I rejoice in what I create. It’s an inbred trait, imparted when God breathed life into us. He is creative and his children are too. We enjoy showing off what we’ve made.  So is it any surprise that God is proud of his creation us?

That he looks from heaven, happy that he fashioned us just so?

We are his works of art, sent to a world that is dying and needy and artless. God rejoices over us and celebrates his creation.  It’s also important to remember that your worth is not based on what you create. Instead, the work you do on this earth is the direct result of your worth found in the God who created you. Not only that, but the Spirit of the living God has adopted you into his family through the finished work of Jesus Christ. You are God’s child, dearly loved, fully settled in your worth. Just as parents are proud of their children, God is proud of you.

Philippa

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Re: Devotion
« Reply #7 on: May 13, 2017, 08:38:03 pm »
Friday, January 20, 2017   

When the Answer is No
Vaneetha Rendall Risner

Today’s Verse Powered by the New Living Translation
“Trust in the LORD with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding.”  - Proverbs 3:5

Jesus finally relinquishes his will to God’s. When denied his desire, Jesus accepts the decision completely. He stumbles to his execution without murmur or complaint.  This kind of relinquishment isn’t easy for me. When I keep God at a distance, I can stay detached, without expectations. But if I draw near to him, even when I truly believe he can change the situation, I may nevertheless start to clutch at the outcome I want. I might verbalize “Your will be done,” but I’m white-knuckling my own will. God often has to pry my fingers off my desired outcome. I’ve often been devastated when he tells me no, but as I submit to his will in those situations even with disappointment and tears he assures me he’s working for my good.  I see only part of the picture. He has a purpose in his denials.  The Father said no to the Son. And that no brought about the greatest good in all of history. God is not capricious. If he says no to our requests, he has a reason perhaps 10,000. We may never know the reasons in this life, but one day we’ll see them all. For now, we must trust that his refusals are always his mercies to us.  And now as we wait, still struggling to make sense of the storms in our lives, let us pray as our Savior did. Let us draw near to God, believe he can change our situation, boldly ask him for what we need, and submit our will to his.  Our Father’s plans are always perfect. They will always be for our good and his glory.