Friday, August 11, 2017
When the going gets tough. I know you are already saying or singing the rest.. the tough get going. When many of Jesus' followers deserted him, he asked the question to his 12 disciples, "Do you wish to go away as well?" While many of them may have felt like running, they knew their best option was to stick with Jesus. We don't always make the best decisions in life. Sometimes we fall in with the wrong crowd, follow some bad advice, or simply make the worst choices. We typically don't intend to do that, but it seems we've missed the mark somewhere. I cant' tell you how often I've gone past something I was looking for and just simply could not see it. Many people are searching for something to fill a void in their lives, but they've focused on the wrong things. What if you are the only "Jesus" that someone sees today? Lord, let me never forget that you are our ONLY hope.
Then Jesus turned to the Twelve and asked, "Are you also going to leave?" Simon Peter replied, "Lord, to whom would we go? You have the words that give eternal life.
Thursday, August 10, 2017
In trouble. We raise our children to recognize trouble before it becomes a disaster. Especially when they are little, it is often a difficult and long-term learning period. As adults, however, we don't always recognize trouble when it first appears. Sure, it may seem harmless enough. We think we can handle it, but too often we fail miserably. When we were little, our parents or care-givers were there to either steer us away or help clean up the mess. Grownups have learned the hard way that they must often clean up their own messes. Sure, we can get help from others, but often we don't recognize the trouble in time, or the assistance is too late. We must rely on God to be our refuge when we need protection from the danger, and strength from Him to help recognize when trouble is at hand. Lord, you are a very present help when I'm in trouble.
For the choir director. A Psalm of the sons of Korah, set to Alamoth. A Song. God is our refuge and strength, A very present help in trouble.
Wednesday, August 9, 2017
Not forgotten. Perhaps the saddest feeling is that no one cares, or everyone has forgotten about you. We keep mementos and errect monuments for those who have passed - a way of remembering them. One of the most heartbreaking conversations I had was with a former coworker who told me, "I wished I had known that people cared about me before I left." Our schedules often keep us from telling or showing others just how much they mean to us. When we feel alone, we sometimes feel abandoned even by God. He reassures us that we are most certainly not forgotten. Lord, thank you for never forgetting about me.
Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies? Yet not one of them is forgotten by God. Indeed, the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Don't be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.
Tuesday, August 8, 2017
What gift? Who doesn't love receiving a gift? I didn't particularly care for the Christmas gift exchange we had at work because it was "expected" that you would give something. But I do miss those gifts that were homemade and sincerely from the heart. With that said, gifts are something special. Someone thought enough to make or purchase it, even if you have no idea what the item is or how to use it. The woman at the well nearly missed out on the most precious gift of all - living water. She was already apprehensive because Jesus, a Jew, was asking her, a Samaritan woman, for water. I wonder how often we miss God's gifts because we don't recognize them as a gift? Lord, help me to always recognize the blessings and gifts you have for me.
Jesus answered and said to her, "If you knew the gift of God, and who it is who says to you, 'Give Me a drink,' you would have asked Him, and He would have given you living water."
Monday, August 7, 2017
Who will save us? Most of us have watched enough television to recognize a super hero. We create imaginary beings that we hope will swoop down at the last moment and save us from whatever disaster we've encountered. It's fun to watch little ones dress up with a cape, pretending to save the day. But in reality, these beings don't really exist. When times get tough, we must dig our feet in, make decisions and move forward. It's not easy. While it is good to get advice from well-meaning friends, family and our support group, they truly don't know what is best for us. There is only one - the LORD, who can truly save us. Lord, let me never fail to recognize that you truly are my Savior.
For the LORD is our judge, the LORD is our lawgiver, the LORD is our king; it is he who will save us.
Friday, August 4, 2017
Watch out! My husband loves to sit on our front porch - to him it is relaxing. For me, it is a reminder of work that needs done (trim bushes, sweep porch, pull weeds, etc.), so I don't sit out there as much. While sitting out there, however, it does make one more alert to what is going on in the neighborhood. I could have used his info sooner, as apparently I missed the earlier-than-normal arrival of our mail carrier. We pass an accident while driving and it reminds us to stay alert as we go on our way. We can also be spiritually distracted by the things that seem innocent enough. Our worries can become so spiritually overwhelming that God's blessings can be missed. Yes, most of us have good intentions, but if we allow these things to make us unaware, what happens if Christ returns at that very moment? Lord, help me to keep alert and stay prepared for whatever happens.
"Watch out! Don't let your hearts be dulled by carousing and drunkenness, and by the worries of this life. Don't let that day catch you unaware, like a trap. For that day will come upon everyone living on the earth. Keep alert at all times. And pray that you might be strong enough to escape these coming horrors and stand before the Son of Man."
Thursday, August 3, 2017
Whom to trust? As I read David Jeremiah's Turning Point devotion, he discusses how David sought refuge among the Philistines when he was being chased by the armies of King Saul. At the time, he felt as if there was nowhere else to go. In Psalm 20, David talks about trusting in chariots and horses, which would have been a quick way out of the mess. When in fact, he learned that trusting in God was a much better solution, even if it means staying put. It's good to listen to advice from someone we trust, but our ultimate counsel should come from God. Lord, whenever I am unsure about how to handle a situation, show me the right way - I trust in you.
Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the LORD our God.
Wednesday, August 2, 2017
Be a doer. Continuing with the story of Rahab, Joshua 2 records that she did not merely listen to what God had to say, but she obeyed and changed her course of life forever. First of all, she didn't deny that the spies entered her house, but she hid them and instead encouraged the king's men to hurry and find them (I think they went that way!). She believed in the power of the Lord and requested that the lives of she and her family be spared. There were conditions to be met. She must gather her family into her house and tie a scarlet cord in the window. In addition, she must not tell anyone what was going on. We must obey God's commands, even if it means something as insignificant as tying a certain color ribbon in the window. Obedience is adding feet onto your faith. Lord, let me be a doer, not just a listener.
But don't just listen to God's word. You must do what it says. Otherwise, you are only fooling yourselves.
Tuesday, August 1, 2017
That woman? We often overlook parts of the bible that might offend or embarrass us. Sometimes we just don't understand or perhaps agree with scripture. Take Rahab for instance. Why would God save such a woman (and her family) with her lifestyle? How could God have used her to help conquer the city of Jericho? Now if we were in charge, we would have selected someone a little more religious or at minimum, one a little less inappropriate to make the point. So why did God put her story, and others like her, in scripture? Take a look at Matthew 1 and you will see that Rahab is a part of Jesus' genealogy. Whoa! You weren't expecting that, were you? Perhaps God is trying to show us that He is bigger than any sin we've committed or lifestyle we've chosen. What is in our past is far less important than who is currently in control of our heart. Lord, help me to remember that it's not who we are that matters, but who YOU are.
By faith the prostitute Rahab, because she welcomed the spies, was not killed with those who were disobedient.