Tag Archives: devotions

Only One Sane Choice!

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Joshua 1: 9

Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go.

 

As I was drifting off to sleep, God nudged me awake with the idea of this devotion. So up from the bed to my computer I went.

It’s been a rough fifteen months for myself and my husband. It actually started on Christmas day 2011 and we’ve had crisis after crisis since then. The details aren’t important—well, actually they’re very important to me but not to you.

The reality is we’re still going through the crises and we don’t know what the future holds. Things are getting better and God is working in our lives, but we still don’t know and won’t know the outcome of all our “issues” for quite some time. In spite of that, we haven’t stopped smiling, stopped enjoying life, or stopped trusting God.

But guess what?

You don’t know what the future holds either.  You may think you do. You may have all sorts of activities, goals, plans and strategies in place for the next year or even five years. The truth is none of us know what will happen in the next minute, hour, day, week……well, you get the idea.

When faced with that truth, there really is only one sane choice.

TRUST GOD.

Trusting God is the only reasonable choice in an unreasonable world.

God will bring a supernatural peace and joy that confuses the world. We don’t have to understand everything. We don’t have to know the future. All we really need to know is that God loves us and will be with us wherever we go.

Trusting God really is the only sane choice!

UNSEEN BATTLES

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John 16:33

“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.

LIFE IS TOUGH! And then it gets even tougher. Sometimes it seems as if our problems and troubles will never end. And the truth is they might not! Or they might not end the way we want them to.

Disappointments, worries, and problems come. Illnesses happen. Tragedies strike. That’s the reality of the fallen world we live in.

Those are the battles we fight every day in the natural world.

Sometimes we win, sometimes we lose, and sometimes it becomes a wait and see what happens. But there’s another battle going on as well. This battle is much more important than whatever you are experiencing in the natural world.

It’s an UNSEEN BATTLE

The unseen battle is about stealing your faith, hope, trust,  power,  peace, joy, and all the other wonderful gifts God gives us as His heir. Paul says it this way in Ephesians 6:

For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.

 

Paul knew what many of us forget in this modern world. Even though we can’t see the supernatural world, it’s out there and there’s an unseen battle going on. And that’s the battle that counts!

You may not be able to do much about the battle in the physical world. Sometimes, you can and you certainly should do all you can, but there are times, it is what it is and you can’t change it.

But the UNSEEN BATTLE.

God gives us the weapons we need for that battle, but it’s up to us to use them. If we don’t we’ll lose the war. So, what are the weapons for fighting the unseen battle?

Ephesians 6: 13-20

Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand.  Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace.  In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints.

 

As you can see, God has not left you defenseless in the UNSEEN BATTLES, but instead has given you many weapons. They are all important, of course, but it all starts with that shield of faith which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one.

Wow! Did you read that line? Maybe you should read it again:  that shield of faith which YOU can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Did you notice the word I put the emphasis on that time?

YOU can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one! YOU are the one that much activate your faith. YOU are the one that must use your faith.

So, how do you do that? Good question and we’ll  discuss it some more in the next devotion.

SHARING TIME:  What are ways you activate your shield of faith?

GOD’S CREATION

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I’m thrilled to have Staci Stallings as my guest writer today. She is an amazing person. I haven’t met her in person yet but she is a generous, kind, and helpful to me and to other authors. She definitely “loves her neighbors” as Jesus commanded.

She is a Contemporary Christian author and the founder of Grace & Faith Author Connection. Staci has a special surprise for you. She is offering her book To Protect & Serve  FREE ON KINDLE TWO DAYS ONLY!  August 15 & 16.

                        To Protect & Serve

 “I’m taken away to another world, a world I want to be a part of and never leave. Staci’s characters are real with real everyday problems. I love that.

Oh, and the firemen in this story, they’re smokin’ hot! Especially the hero!”

–Debra, Amazon Reviewer

When control freak Lisa Matheson falls for handsome but shy firefighter, Jeff Taylor, it’s possible that life might just be going her way for a change. The only problem is she can’t control of Jeff or the death wish he seems to have…

CLICK HERE FOR FREE BOOK

God’s Creation by Staci Stallings

Psalm 139:14
I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
your works are wonderful, I know that full well.
(NIV Bible)

I’m having issues with my knee.  It started with other issues, but when we got a Wii Balance Board and I found the joy of skateboarding…  Well, that coupled with turning 40 in September just finished off what was already a problem.

Because I was having trouble getting around after skateboarding WAAAY too much, I resorted to getting a knee brace.  Now I graduated from college.  I even went back and started on a Master’s Degree.  However, when I opened the knee brace, I quickly realized the deplorable state of my technical understanding.  The knee brace is black.  It’s made of stretchy fabric and SIX straps.  The top three are supposed to go at the top of your knee.  The bottom three… well, at the bottom.

I won’t describe the scene because your imagination can’t be any worse than it was.  The only intelligible thing was the little circle in the middle.  Circle to kneecap.  Got it.  The rest?  Forget it!

As I struggled and struggled with this contraption that was supposed to help, the thought struck me.  To support a knee, man had come up with this marvel.  Whoever came up with it had several real challenges going in.  First it has to bend; therefore, it has to be in two distinctive parts but still be in one piece.  Then there has to be a piece in the front that allows the knee to actually bend.  It has to fit to the leg as it contracts and relaxes.  It has to fit when the leg is bent and when the leg is straight.

This was no small task.

But then think just beyond that about the knee itself.  This joint that most of us don’t even think about until something goes wrong has to bend and straighten, with skin that stretches and straightens with no problem.  The knee when straight must hold up a whole person.  It must bend and hold to lower the person into a chair.  It even allows a person to walk or run–with no thought by the person of how it’s doing that at all.

It does all of that with no straps or anything!

And people say there is no God.

Good grief.  Apparently they’ve never had to use an knee brace.

Oh, and just so we’re clear.  I’m forever and immensely grateful for all those human brains that thought up how to make a brace for a knee, but that is probably just more evidence of my point.

SHARING TIME:  What’s an amazing “invention” that you use?

 

 

Want More Fruit?

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Galatians 5:22-23

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.

 

Most of us have read this verse before. These are the characteristics we strive for as Christians, but come on…some of them are really difficult. How are we supposed to be loving when people are mean to us? How are we supposed to stay in peace when you lost your job and the mortgage is due? And really, who even wants self-control when that chocolate cake is calling your name?

And yet…we are Christians and the Bible does say that these are the outward signs that the Spirit is within us. And since we know that the Spirit is within us because the Bible tells us that.

Acts 2: 38

Peter replied, “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.

That means those fruits are in us, but why can’t we see them?

Because as with all plants, we start with a seed. Then, it’s up to us to nurture that seed allowing it to blossom and to mature. Some of us give up before we see that seed sprout by announcing to anyone who will listen that we don’t have that characteristic. How many times have you heard someone say:

“I can’t help it. I have no self-control.” Or “I’m just a worrier—that’s who I am.” Statements like this don’t nurture the seed. It’s time to begin to nurture the seeds God planted within each of  us. How do we do that?

First, believe you can be loving, joyful, peaceful, patient, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Second, look for opportunities to use the fruit of the Spirit. And thirdly and most importantly, pray, but…

Be careful what you pray for. If you’re praying for more patience, you might just find yourself in all sorts of situations that require patience. That means God’s giving you the opportunities to develop that patience muscle.

Sometimes you’ll be successful and sometimes not.

Don’t be discouraged when you aren’t successful. Instead, understand that your awareness and that seed is beginning to sprout and before long it will blossom into fruit.

SHARING TIME: WHICH OF THE FRUIT OF THE SPIRIT COULD USE A LITTLE MORE NUTURING IN YOUR LIFE?

June is GARDENING MONTH!

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June is here and I don’t know about the rest of the country, but gardening is in full bloom (forgive the pun!) Worries of frost are gone and those that love to garden are smiling as they dig in the dirt. I’m not one of those people but thankfully my husband is since I love homegrown tomatoes.

Anyway, in honor of gardening, we’re going to be exploring The Fruits of The Spirt this month along with others topics related to garden. There are numerous references to agriculture, growing, and gardening in the Bible so we have much to choose from.

To get things going, I’m sharing a poem I wrote and was published in my book, DECEPTION in 2011. If you look closely, you’ll find the fruits of the spirit mentioned. Next time we’ll be digging in the dirt more closely (yes, another pun)

 The Master Gardener

I want a garden of peace and joywhere it matters not

 if the sun shines,

 if the rain falls,

 if the wind blows.

 

My life is a rocky patch of dirt and soil

 filled with pebbles of pain and problems,

filled with weeds of worry and grief,

 filled with rocks of rebellion and wrongdoing.

Nothing good can grow in this rocky patch of mine.

 

But God is the Master Gardener.

He can change this rocky patch to a garden of peace and joy.

 

Let God till the dirt and soil.

He can change the weeds of worry to wisdom.

He can change the pebbles of pain to compassion.

He can change the rocks of rebellion to a spirit of submission.

 

God is the Master Gardener.

He can change that rocky patch to a garden of peace and joy.

 

Let the Holy Spirit sow the seeds.

He can plant the seeds of forgiveness, mercy, and grace.

He can plant the seeds of goodness, kindness, and faithfulness.

He can plant the seeds of patience, tolerance, and self- control.

 

God is the Master Gardener.

He can change that rocky patch to a garden of peace and joy.

 

Let Jesus share the fruits of His labor.

He will give you guidance.

He will give you love and fellowship.

He will give you a friend who never leaves.

 

God is the Master Gardener.

He can change that rocky patch to a garden of peace and joy.

 

I found a garden of peace and joy

where it matters not

 if the sun shines, the rain falls

 or the wind blows.

God is the Master Gardener.

This Poem is copyrighted @2011 from DECEPTION (Harbourlight Books)

SHARING TIME: Do you like gardening? If so, what do you like about it. Or are you like me and hate gardening? Why don’t you like it? For me, I hate getting dirt under my fingernails, but I love the outcome of gardening, flowers and fresh veggies!

What Did the Father Do While the Son Was Lost?

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It is my plan to have guest authors provide devotions on a semi-regular basis so you don’t get too tired of me.  Today’s guest author is Sherri Wilson Johnson who grew up as a PK (Preacher’s Kid) northwest of Atlanta. She is a former homeschooling mother, writer and speaker who loves to share her life with others. To learn more about Sherri, visit: http://sherriwilsonjohnson.com

What Did the Father Do While the Son Was Lost?

By Sherri Wilson Johnson

In Luke 15:11-32, we read the story of the son who wanted his share of his inheritance early. Not long after he gets his inheritance, he gathers his things and takes off for adventure. He squanders it while living wildly.

Guess what happens next?

He becomes destitute and has to feed the pigs to make a living. It doesn’t take him long to realize his father’s servants are better off than he is. He returns home and asks for his father’s forgiveness. He is willing to be a servant at this point.

What does the father do?

He throws a huge party and welcomes his son home. The older brother is jealous but the father explains to him the importance of welcoming back the stray son who once was lost but now is found.

This parable makes us think about the gratefulness of the wayward son, the mercy of the father, and also the resentment of the brother. We understand that the younger brother was off squandering his inheritance and spending his time with prostitutes while the older brother was faithful and worked hard all day in the fields.

But what did the father do while the son was gone? Did he sit paralyzed with worry and stress over where that son was? The Bible doesn’t tell us. But I imagine he carried on with his work because he knew that the family farm would turn to ruin if he didn’t.

How do we act when someone strays? Do we allow our fears and worries to keep us from continuing the Father’s work? Do we shrivel up and die while we wait for this person to return to the faith? No!

We all have work to do. God has given us a task specifically assigned to us in order for His work to be carried out. Although the vast majority will turn away from the Lord, Proverbs 22:6 tells us that when a child is trained in the way of the Lord, he will return to it. While we wait, we work faithfully and when they return, we rejoice!

SHARING TIME: For you parents out there, how do you cope with a wayward child?

Powering Up With God’s Word

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Matthew 24:35

 Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my Words shall not pass away.

2 Timothy 3:16-17

Every Holy Writing which comes from God is of profit for teaching, for training, for guiding, for education in righteousness: So that the man of God may be complete, trained and made ready for every good work.

 

Athletes power up with energy bars. Employees power up by turning on their computers. New parents use power naps (hopefully). How do Christians power up? In a number of ways, but certainly one of the most important is by God’s Word.

The Bible tells us to renew our minds. And one way to do that is by making Bible study part of your daily routine. Notice, I didn’t say Bible reading—you can read and read and read and still not renew your mind.

On the other hand, if you read only one verse, but focus on it all day, think (meditate) about it, memorize it, and most importantly apply it to your life. That can change your life. Renewing your mind comes from thinking about –meditating on God’s Word. And obeying it.

Luke 11:28

He replied, blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and obey it.

And that’s the purpose of Powering Up…With God’s Word. To share nuggets of wisdom straight from God’s Word to your ears (and eyes) to help reenergize us in this energy=draining world.

This isn’t just a devotion. I want it to be an interactice place to share our thoughts, ideas, and struggles.

Question: Have you been struggling with a specific issue in your life and if so, do you have a Bible verse you’ve found helpful?