Author Topic: Devotion  (Read 572 times)

Philippa

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Re: Devotion
« Reply #15 on: July 17, 2017, 10:19:04 pm »
Tuesday, March 07, 2017   

Ruth: The Persistent Daughter
Sally Clarkson and Joel Clarkson

Today’s Verse Powered by the New Living Translation
“When they came to Bethlehem, the entire town was excited by their arrival. ‘Is it really Naomi?’ the women asked.  ‘Don’t call me Naomi,’ she responded. ‘Instead, call me Mara, for the Almighty has made life very bitter for me. I went away full, but the LORD has brought me home empty. Why call me Naomi when the LORD has caused me to suffer and the Almighty has sent such tragedy upon me?’”  - Ruth 1:19–21

Without warning, everything fell apart. Naomi’s sons, the bulwark of the family after Elimelech’s death, both passed away suddenly, leaving the women of the family on their own. Ruth, swimming in the sea of her grief, looked to her mother-in-law for comfort. But Naomi had changed. Now Naomi was lost, cast behind a veil of mourning.  The hardest thing was the pain Ruth saw in Naomi. She knew her mother-in-law was in anguish. Those first few weeks were a time of suffering with Naomi in her darkness. Finally, Ruth decided to act. She decided it was her responsibility to take care of herself so she could provide for Naomi until her mother-in-law could function again.  Do you feel trapped in the mire of someone else’s depression?

Are the inner mental workings of someone you love confusing and disorienting?

When trying to understand the mental struggles of our family members, it is so easy to allow them to set the tone in our hearts and become filled with confusion and frustration. Sometimes, instead of trying to comprehend or fix their problems, the best thing we can do is to bear with them patiently, praying for their healing, while at the same time pursuing a stable, healthy life of our own.  Sometimes, choosing to be healthy even in the midst of the poor decisions of those around you is the most powerful weapon against chaos. You have the power, given to you by the Holy Spirit, to cling to hope. You have the power to do what is necessary to create spaces that allow you to breathe, be restored, and enjoy life. Today love those who struggle with mental issues by helping yourself so that you can support them in their time of need.

Philippa

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Re: Devotion
« Reply #16 on: July 19, 2017, 10:24:57 pm »
Wednesday, March 08, 2017   

Elijah: The Exhausted Prophet
Sally Clarkson and Joel Clarkson

Today’s Verse Powered by the New Living Translation
“‘Go out and stand before me on the mountain,’ the LORD told him. And as Elijah stood there, the LORD passed by, and a mighty windstorm hit the mountain. It was such a terrible blast that the rocks were torn loose, but the LORD was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake, but the LORD was not in the earthquake. And after the earthquake there was a fire, but the LORD was not in the fire. And after the fire there was the sound of a gentle whisper. When Elijah heard it, he wrapped his face in his cloak and went out and stood at the entrance of the cave.”  - 1 Kings 19:11–13

Elijah had given his whole life into the service of the Lord. He had stood for righteousness in a time of great darkness. Yet no matter his efforts, the tide of disbelief, wickedness, and unfaithfulness rose up like a wave within the people of Israel, crashing down upon him in fury.  On a mountain, after a mighty firestorm, on a gentle breath of wind, Elijah caught a faint whisper. It was God, speaking with a still small voice. Elijah understood; God wanted him to rest. He had been running, wrestling with issues far beyond his control; he had lost perspective, lost hope. In the midst of that senselessness, God wanted to give Elijah the peace that a gentle whisper of assurance brings.  Just like Elijah, we can become so caught up in the difficulties of our lives that we lose perspective and begin to burn out. In those moments, we may feel like nothing can possibly get better. We are tempted to ask why God won’t help us fix things, why he won’t put everything in order for us. It is exactly in those moments that God wants us to be still, not to try to find his will in the storms all around, but instead to rest in his peace. Sometimes in the midst of crisis we need to take a moment to pause and let the Lord minister to us. Sometimes the most godly thing to do is to fight the good fight; at other times the most godly thing to do is to sleep, to receive nourishment through food and drink, and to wait on the Lord instead of struggling to find answers on our own. Let the Lord who is the king over all storms put his peace in your heart today.

Philippa

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Re: Devotion
« Reply #17 on: July 19, 2017, 10:30:08 pm »
Thursday, March 16, 2017   

Discerning Silence
Karen Ehman

Today’s Verse Powered by the New Living Translation
“Too much talk leads to sin. Be sensible and keep your mouth shut.”  - Proverbs 10:19

As the Amplified Bible version of Proverbs 10:19 says, “When there are many words, transgression and offense are unavoidable. But he who controls his lips and keeps thoughtful silence is wise.”

Have you ever let your constant stream of words get you in trouble?

I sure have more than once. When we constantly run our motor mouths, we create a situation with a greater chance of saying something that offends or that we’ll later regret. It is nearly unavoidable, as Proverbs 10:19 clearly states. The solution?

It’s found in the latter half of the verse we must seek to control our tongues and instead employ the tool of thoughtful silence. Thoughtful silence doesn’t mean we never speak; it means we need to zip our lips to avoid uttering something we will later wish we could take back. It means we must give careful and prayerful thought to the words we might speak, using discernment to decide if we should speak at all.  Today, let’s not just watch what kind of words roll off our lips; let’s also prudently monitor how many. Constantly running motors whether machine or mouth are prone to malfunction, thereby causing a mighty mess.

Philippa

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Re: Devotion
« Reply #18 on: July 19, 2017, 10:37:47 pm »
Friday, March 17, 2017   

The Grid
Karen Ehman

Today’s Verse Powered by the New Living Translation
“The heart of the godly thinks carefully before speaking; the mouth of the wicked overflows with evil words.”  - Proverbs 15:28

If we are to pursue righteousness, we must heed the advice of Proverbs 15:28: “The heart of the righteous weighs its answers” (NIV).

Notice it says “the heart.” It doesn’t say “the mouth.”  Sometimes it’s too late to avoid damage by the time the words tumble out of our mouths. When I don’t first pause to pray and ponder in my heart, hurtful words may pour out. To avoid causing heartache and even regret, I’ve learned to contemplate words secretly in my heart, which means running my thoughts through the grid of Scripture before I ever let the words escape from my lips. Back and forth. Back and forth. Searching for just the right and righteous fruitful combination.  Are you ready to begin carefully weighing your words today?

The result will be a delightful offering, pleasing to you, to the hearer, and to God.

Philippa

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Re: Devotion
« Reply #19 on: July 19, 2017, 10:41:33 pm »
Monday, March 20, 2017   

Wearied and Dissatisfied
Anne Carlson Kennedy

Today’s Verse Powered by the New Living Translation
“Because I am righteous, I will see you. When I awake, I will see you face to face and be satisfied.”  - Psalm 17:15

There is so much cause for dissatisfaction in the course of one single day. You can try to get a grip on your own life, your own choices and plans, but not having control over anybody else’s life means that we all wander around frustrating others and being frustrated by them. There’s the ruination of the beautiful couch by a mean cat with claws, the breaking of the beautiful hand painted platter by a child who doesn’t know what his right hand nor his left hand is doing, the misunderstanding that’s left a fragile friendship practically shattered. Frustration and woe. Dissatisfaction.  As for me, though, I shall be satisfied. I shall find it enough. And the source, the substance of my satisfaction, will be his likeness; the likeness of the one to whom the psalm is written. Who, in the very image and nature of God, became man so that I, even I, could look into his face and hear his voice and be satisfied.  There wasn’t anything about him that would have made me take a second look. There wasn’t anything in me that recognized or knew enough to know him. But that he called my name, and lifted up my head, and gathered up all the frustration and difficulty into himself. So, I shall be satisfied yet more when I behold him face to face; but I am pretty satisfied now, known as I am, by him and not another.

Philippa

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Re: Devotion
« Reply #20 on: October 06, 2017, 07:45:23 pm »
http://www.ibelieve.com/devotionals/girlfriends-in-god/girlfriends-in-god-may-1-2017.html

May 1, 2017
Closed for Renovations 
Arlene Pellicane

Today’s Truth

By the seventh day God had finished the work he had been doing; so on the seventh day he rested from all his work.  Then God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it he rested from all the work of creating that he had done (Genesis 2:2-3 NIV).

Friend to Friend

Have you ever driven to a store or restaurant only to find a sign on the door reading “Closed for Renovations”? 

What an inconvenience, right? 

But hopefully you were “wowed” at the grand re-opening when you saw the finished product and the improvements made.  Do you ever wish you could have a “Closed for Renovations” sign over your life?

Wouldn’t it be nice to take time out to renovate yourself without any interruptions? 

If only you could stop the texts and hit the pause button on your obligations.  Sure it would be inconvenient, but wouldn’t it be worthwhile? 

Let’s just imagine you have a few days without any responsibilities except focusing on the areas in your personal life that need some tender loving care.  What might your renovations list look like?

Read a book

Pray and fast

Plan for the next three months

Spend some time in silence

Get healthier meals in place

Apologize to a family member

Go on a date night with your husband

Exercise

Give away the clothes I haven’t wore in ten years

Believe it or not, the world will not stop spinning on its axis if you take a short sabbatical for yourself.  Whether it’s a quiet weekend or a six-month period when you don’t volunteer for anything, give yourself permission to rest.

After all, God rested at the end of His work of creation.  The Fourth Commandment instructs us to remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy.  Exodus 20:10 says, “The seventh day is a Sabbath to the Lord your God.  On it you shall not do any work ....”

Later in Exodus 31:13 it reads, “You must observe my Sabbaths.  This will be a sign between me and you for the generations to come, so you may know that I am the Lord, who makes you holy.”

When you take time weekly to renovate your soul, mind and body, you set yourself apart from the world.  The world moves too fast for this kind of inactivity that seems counter-productive.  Yet when you pause to rest and know that He is God, it will fill you up to live more purposefully.   Don’t just wait for “free time” in your life to make renovations.  That free time will never appear unless you create it.  Set aside time for the Lord on Sundays and other days and just watch what God will do.

Philippa

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Re: Devotion
« Reply #21 on: October 06, 2017, 07:58:02 pm »
http://www.ibelieve.com/devotionals/girlfriends-in-god/girlfriends-in-god-may-2-2017.html

May 2, 2017
The Gift of Friendship
Mary Southerland

Today’s Truth

Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken (Ecclesiastes 4:12, NIV).

Friend to Friend

Friendship is the springboard to every other love and the foundation for every healthy relationship. It is a proven fact that lonely people live shorter lives than those who have healthy friendships. Even Jesus needed friends when He walked this earth as a man. In fact, He placed great value on relationships. The Bible tells us Jesus spent much of His time deepening the relationships with a few not the crowd.  God created us to need each other. That truth is never more evident than when we are in pain or struggling with some crisis in life. One of the main factors leading to a two year battle with clinical depression in my life was the absence of replenishing friendships.  As I think back to that time, I am sure many women would have counted themselves as my friend when they were really just acquaintances because that was all I would allow them to be. My pride kept me from admitting I wasn’t Superwoman and that I did need the help of others. My insecurity held me back from reaching out to new friends and cultivating old ones. To admit my need of a friend seemed like a weakness instead of the precious gift God created it to be.  I refused to take the risk of being hurt, rejected or misunderstood. I did not have time to invest in building intimate friendships and was too busy doing the work of God to be a friend. As a result, when the darkness hit, I felt isolated and alone.  Friendship took on an entirely different meaning in my life from that point on. In fact, friends are a great source of strength and encouragement in my life today. Friends fast and pray for me, holding me accountable and confronting me when they see my priorities lining up in the wrong way. Friends make me stop and take time for fun. Friends have taught me to be transparent.  Have I been hurt along the way?

Yes.  Have I been misunderstood?

Yes.  Have the friendships been worth the price?

Absolutely!  The words of Jesus found in John 13:34-35, portray the perfect backdrop for God’s love. "And so I am giving a new commandment to you now love each other just as much as I love you. Your strong love for each other will prove to the world that you are my disciples."

Does the world know we are His disciples by the way we love and relate to each other?   

Chad was a shy, quiet little boy. One day he came home and told his mother he'd like to make a valentine for everyone in his class. Her heart sank. "I wish he wouldn't do that!" she thought.

She had watched the children when they walked home from school. Her Chad was always behind them. They laughed and hung on to each other and talked to each other, but Chad was never included. Still, she decided to go along with her son’s plan. She purchased the paper, glue and crayons and for three whole weeks, night after night, Chad painstakingly made thirty five valentines.  Valentine's Day dawned, and Chad was frantic with excitement! He carefully placed the valentines in a bag, and bolted out the door. His mom decided to bake his favorite cookies because she knew he would be disappointed when he came home from school. It hurt her to think he wouldn't get many valentines maybe none at all. That afternoon she had the cookies and milk on the table.  Finally, when she heard their voices, she looked out the window to see the children laughing and having the best time. As usual, there was Chad in the rear but walking a little faster than usual. She fully expected him to burst into tears as soon as he got inside. His arms were empty. When the door opened, she choked back tears as she said, "Honey, I have some warm cookies and milk for you” but he hardly heard her words.

He just marched right on by, his face glowing, and all he could say was, "Not one! Not a single one."

The mother’s heart sank. Then he added, "I didn't forget one, not a single one!"

When God is in control of our friendships, and when we trust Him with those friendships, we will be better friends and we will have more true friends.

Philippa

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Re: Devotion
« Reply #22 on: October 06, 2017, 09:03:59 pm »
http://www.ibelieve.com/devotionals/girlfriends-in-god/girlfriends-in-god-may-3-2017.html

May 3, 2017
God Has Given You Precious Promises
Sharon Jaynes

Today’s Truth

“His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness,” (2 Pet. 1:3 NIV).

Friend to Friend

Aren’t you excited to know that God has deposited rich blessings and a lavish inheritance into your account?

Tell me, what reason do we have to feel inadequate?

In light of what we have in Christ, I can’t think of a thing. But how do we access these magnificent promises?

Peter says: “Through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness” (2 Pet. 1:3).

The Greeks had several words for the word knowledge. The one used here is epignosis. This is a strengthened form of the word and implies a larger, more thorough, and intimate knowledge. It is not simply knowing something intellectually, but understanding and believing what you know in a personal way.  When Steve and I traveled to Ephesus, a local tour guide took us through the landmarks, ruins, and history of the early church. She knew the facts about Christianity and more about the dates, locations, and nuances of Paul’s visits than we did. When we stopped for lunch, I asked her if it would be okay with her if we asked God to bless our food. She bowed her head with us as we prayed. When she opened her eyes, she said, “Thank you. I’ve never experienced that before.”

This Turkish woman knew about Christianity, but she had no epignosis of Jesus. She knew all about the historical aspects of the religion, but she did not know the One who came to set her free.  Even demons know who Jesus is and they shudder (James 2:19). The devil knows exactly who Jesus is, what He has done, and what He will do in the final days. But the devil does not know Him experientially as Savior and Lord. Paul says that through knowing Jesus intimately, personally, and experientially, we have everything we need precious and magnificent promises.  Like a tiny baby born to be King, most of us have no idea what those great and mighty promises entail, what our rich inheritance contains, or what our spiritual birthright bestows. As we open the pages of God’s Word, He begins to reveal the truth of who you are and what you have as a child of God. And remember, this is not a promise of what you will have one day, but what you have the moment you believe.

These promises are called precious and valuable. I love how the NASB translation refers to them as “magnificent promises” (2 Peter 1:4). The word magnificent means “splendid, lavish, beautiful; as to arouse admiration and wonder.” And, oh, how God’s magnificent, splendid, lavish, and beautiful promises arouse admiration and wonder of who He is and what He does. Oh my goodness, why in the world would I feel inadequate! Thick-headedness and unbelief are my only excuses.  And how does He give us everything we need for life and godliness, how does He dole out the precious promises?

He gives freely. Pours out lavishly. It costs you nothing. It cost Jesus everything.

Philippa

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Re: Devotion
« Reply #23 on: October 28, 2017, 03:53:19 pm »
June 1, 2017
The Freedom of Forgiveness, Part 1
Mary Southerland

Today’s Truth
Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you (Colossians 3:13, NIV).

Friend to Friend

Do you remember the last words of Jesus as He hung on the cross?

“It is finished!”

The most literal translation would be “paid in full.”  I will never forget paying off my very first car loan. After sending in my forty eighth and final payment, I celebrated the fact that I finally owned my bright blue and ever so compact Chevrolet Vega from bumper to bumper. There were those who said you couldn’t drive a Vega you had to wear it. Others described the bright blue color as strangely “unique.” But to me, it was the most beautiful car in the world because it was mine.  Of course I quickly found other places to spend the once allocated car payment and went on with life until the day I opened my mailbox to find the loan papers for my car. Stamped in big red letters across the document were the words, “Paid in full.” I danced a jig right there in my driveway, because I was finally free of that debt.  Part of forgiveness is releasing the person from the debt we think they owe us. Refusing to let go of the hurt and pain someone has caused in our lives will always rob us of our joy. Sometimes the best thing to do is simply let something go and cut our losses instead of allowing the weight of an unpaid debt to deplete our mental and emotional energy. In other words, we can forgive the debt and free ourselves a lesson I am continually learning to apply in my life.  Dan and I decided it was time to sell one of our old junky cars. We had several from which to choose, but this particular car was ancient, ugly and needed a lot of work. In the right mechanical hands and with a whole lot of prayer, it might last a few more years.  A man who worked for the church where Dan pastored said he could fix the car and agreed to buy it. He and Dan worked out the terms. The man was to pay a certain amount each month until the car was paid for. No papers were signed because, after all, it was a business agreement between two ministers.  Some lessons are learned the hard way. Dan gave the man the car title and car keys. The man gave us nothing. Not one penny.  Dan talked with the man several times about making the payments he had agreed to make. He always responded with the promise that he would make a payment soon. “Soon” never came.  I was furious not so much because of the money, although it would certainly have come in very handy but because this man was taking advantage of my husband’s giving heart and ticking me off in the process.  I ranted and fumed for several days until Dan finally said, “Honey, I have decided to forgive the debt on that old car.”

Well, I decided not to, and my anger grew.  The Lord and I wrestled with what I had come to call “the stolen car” for days. I seriously doubt that the man that now had our car gave it much thought, but my heart filled with bitterness toward him.  My joy was gone and I wanted it back! I did not want to forgive this man. I certainly did not feel like forgiving him, but I realized that forgiveness always hinges on a choice. It is a choice to obey God and allow Him to balance the scales of justice in His own way and in His own timing. When we choose to forgive, we will be set free.

Philippa

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Re: Devotion
« Reply #24 on: October 28, 2017, 04:03:45 pm »
https://www.ibelieve.com/devotionals/girlfriends-in-god/girlfriends-in-god-june-2-2017.html

June 2, 2017
The Freedom of Forgiveness, Part 2
Mary Southerland

Today’s Truth

Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you (Colossians 3:13, NIV).

Friend to Friend

Part of forgiveness is releasing the person from the debt we think they owe us. Sometimes the best thing to do is simply let something go and cut our losses instead of allowing the weight of an unpaid debt deplete our mental and emotional energy. In other words, we can forgive the debt and free ourselves a lesson I am continually learning to apply in my life.  Dan and I decided it was time to sell one of our old junky cars. A man who worked for the church where Dan pastored agreed to buy it. He and Dan worked out the terms none of which the man kept. When Dan said he had decided to forgive the debt and just let the man have the car. I was not happy.  (If you missed my last devotion, take a few minutes to go back and read it.)  A few weeks later, the man quit his job at the church and went to work for a nearby grocery store my grocery store. I soon learned that God has a sense of humor because almost every time I went to the store, the man was there. And every time I saw him, anger consumed my heart. I finally realized that this whole car situation was robbing my life of joy until the day I joined my husband in his decision to give the man the car. It was the only thing I could do if I wanted peace.  I created a mental scene of driving to the grocery store, handing the car keys to the man and saying, “Merry Christmas! Enjoy your new car.”

It wasn’t Christmas, and the car was far from new, but the plan worked. I forgave the debt in my heart and let it go.  The most amazing thing happened! I was the one set free. From that day on, every time I saw the man, I waved and smiled. He began avoiding me, unable to look me in the eyes.  God does have a sense of humor. A few weeks later, I saw the man driving a different car and learned from one of his co-workers that “his old car just up and died.”

Enough said.  Forgiving the debt is a deliberate choice that is made by an act of your will. You may not feel forgiving. It doesn’t matter. Just do it and many times the feelings will follow that choice other times they won’t. Feelings are irrelevant, but obedience is crucial. Do not base the validity of what you are doing on how you feel. Make the choice to forgive and then obey.   Someone once said: “We put our resentments in cold storage and then pull the switch to let them thaw out again. Our grudges are taken out to the lake of prayer to drown them and we end up giving them a swimming lesson. How often have we torn up the canceled note but hang on to the wastebasket that holds the pieces? This is not to say that human forgiveness does not occur; only that it is rare and that much that passes for forgiveness is often not so at all.”

God is the One who heals painful memories. Forgiveness puts us in the correct posture for Him to do so in our lives. As I wrestled with the choice to forgive, I learned several life-changing truths:

If we make the choice to forgive, God will supply the forgiveness.  There should be no limit to our forgiveness because there is no limit to His.  Forgiveness is not a feeling or an emotion. Forgiveness is a deliberate choice.  Forgiveness is our greatest need and God’s greatest gift.  While we cannot change the past, we can change our response to the past and dictate the power it has over us. If our greatest need had been information, God would have sent an educator. If our greatest need had been technology, God would have sent a scientist, but because our greatest need was and is forgiveness, God sent a Savior, Jesus Christ, who is calling us all to a higher place, a place of forgiveness. The choice is ours to make. Today, we can choose freedom by choosing to forgive.