Author Topic: Devotion  (Read 1133 times)

Philippa

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Re: Devotion
« Reply #30 on: April 24, 2018, 10:37:29 pm »
Surrender the Wheel to God
Feb 08, 2018 | Mary Southerland

Today's Truth
Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.   Philippians 4:7

Friend to Friend
My husband, Dan, has battled high blood pressure since we first married over thirty years ago. Hmmm now that I think about it, there just might be a connection there! Nevertheless, for  several years, Dan struggled with an irregular heartbeat, a debilitating condition that drains energy and generally promotes a compelling sense of exhaustion.  Now you need to understand something very important about my husband. Dan Southerland is not accustomed to doing anything short of full speed ahead, so you can imagine his frustration and my concern. Little did I know that the opportunity for fear and worry would escalate to a whole new level when, at 2:30 am on March 15, Dan looked at me and said, “Honey, I think you need to call an ambulance.”

I already had.  Sweat was dripping from his body like rain, followed by waves of excruciating chest pain, dizziness and nausea. The ambulance arrived six minutes after I called and began to work on my now semi-unconscious husband. I heard one paramedic say, “I can’t get a blood pressure reading, pulse or vein.”

Dan gained consciousness for a few seconds to say, “I love you. Go get Danna.”

I knew what he was saying and I was not having it! I climbed up on the bed beside my precious husband and in my kindest, most merciful voice said, “Honey, if you die, I will absolutely kill you! You are not going anywhere! You are staying right here! Do you understand me?”

That declaration certainly grabbed the attention of the paramedics whose heads snapped up to see the lunatic wife in action. I then called for reinforcements. “Danna, get in here,” I yelled to our then 20-year-old daughter who was already dressed and standing behind me.

If her eyes had not been twice their normal size, I would never have known she was terrified. “What’s up, Dad?” she asked.

That’s my girl! The paramedics finally got an IV going and within minutes, Dan was feeling much better.  A quick sidebar: For weeks, I had been telling Dan how much I loved Carrie Underwood’s song, “Jesus Take the Wheel.”

The paramedics lifted Dan onto a stretcher and into the ambulance. Danna said, “Mom, you ride with Dad. I’ll follow you so we will have a car at the hospital.”

As I climbed into the passenger side of the ambulance, the radio was on and the first words I heard were “I can’t do this on my own. Jesus, take the wheel.”

God’s peace settled around my heart and soul like a familiar friend and I celebrated the love of a God who cares enough about His daughter that He played her favorite song at the precise moment she needed to hear it. You see, when the paramedic climbed into the driver’s seat, he said, “I’m sorry, Mrs. Southerland, but we can’t have the radio on during a call.”

I smiled and responded, “I didn’t turn it on. It was on when I got in.”

His eyes said it all. “This woman is nuts!”

But I knew the presence of God was in that ambulance, with my husband, with me, and with whatever we were facing.  Why do we doubt Him?

Why do we worry?

Yes, He is Lord of the Universe, but He is also Shepherd of every valley. He is Love. He is Peace.  Over the next nine days, Dan was in the hospital as they ran tests and inserted a defibrillator. God was with me every step of the way, and He will be there for you, my friend. No matter where you are, no matter how hopeless your circumstances may seem, no matter how deep and dark the pit He is at work in and around you. Just give up and surrender the wheel of your life, trusting Him to make a way where there is no way.

Philippa

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Re: Devotion
« Reply #31 on: April 24, 2018, 10:44:30 pm »
What’s in Your Pocket?
Feb 09, 2018 | Arlene Pellicane

Today's Truth
“By wisdom a house is built, and through understanding it is established; through knowledge its rooms are filled with rare and beautiful treasures.”  Proverbs 24:3-4

Friend to Friend
One afternoon, I was going through the laundry, checking all the pockets before loading the washing machine. I found something I had never found before in one my kid’s pant pockets: silly  putty. I was very relieved I didn’t find out what that sticky, bouncy, elastic substance would do to the other clothes in the wash!  Another item pulled out of my pocket made me smile. It was a receipt for puppy toys. We had just got our first pet, a cute brown dog who was getting bigger by the second. I pulled play money from my daughter’s pocket from church. These colorful bucks were earned by bringing a Bible or offering.  In each pocket, I found evidence of where we had been, what we had done, and what we valued enough to keep (or what we forgot to throw away!). In the hidden, quiet place of the laundry room, I sorted the items. Silly putty would go back to my child. Play money and doggie toy receipt went to the trash.  You know, sometimes we need to check the “pockets” of our lives in a quiet place. What would the evidence found in our purses and homes say about our faith?

Is there anything we’re holding on to that should be thrown away?

Perhaps it’s a grudge or insecurity.  Are there places we are going or activities we’re involved with that aren’t healthy for us?

What do our receipts say about our financial stewardship?

Perhaps we could use a few moments today to de-clutter our pockets, asking God for wisdom for life. The true way to a beautiful home isn’t found in an interior decorating magazine or purchasing lovely furniture on credit. Today’s verses from Proverbs 24 tell us that rare and beautiful treasures are results of living with wisdom, understanding, and knowledge.  King Solomon asked God for wisdom; for a discerning heart to distinguish between right and wrong (1 Kings 3:9). Likewise, we can ask God for carefulness and shrewdness to manage the daily matters of our lives.  Pay attention to the details of your life because they are shaping your life’s story. Maybe your phone is taking too much prominence, your treasured possession in your pocket or purse. We don’t want to build our lives on technology, but on Christ alone.  Take time to empty out your pockets, making sure there isn’t anything hidden in your life which needs to be surrendered to God. Throw away what ensnares you and extra clutter that weighs you down. Build your home on wisdom, understanding, and knowledge. And always remove the silly putty before you do the laundry!

Twiglet

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Re: Devotion
« Reply #32 on: April 29, 2018, 06:12:20 pm »
3 Simple Questions: How to Make a Godly Decision
Feb 12, 2018 | Kelly Balarie

Today's Truth
Am I now trying to win the approval of human beings, or of God? Or am I trying to please people? If I were still trying to please people, I would not be a servant of Christ.  Galatians 1:10

Friend to Friend
My husband said to me, “Kelly, you need to be more straightforward with people. Answer with an outright ‘no’ when you know you need to say ‘no.’”

I mulled over his words, considering them.  He had a good point. I have a hard time saying no. I want to make everyone happy. I don’t want to let people down. My central goal is to leave them encouraged.  And to avoid feeling unlikable. To avoid dealing with those awful residual icky feelings of knowing a person may not want me anymore, think highly of me, or desire to be my friend. Or worst yet, they talk behind my back and form some kind of club that hates me. The idea of all this hurts enough to live a life that rapidly throws out a yes.  Even the idea of it horribly stresses me out.  Are you like me? Do you say “yes” when you have an inkling the right answer is “no?”

Why?

Underneath your altruistic, save-the-world, love-on-every man, give-your-whole-life-over goal, what are you seeking?

Do you want to appear the do-it-all woman?

Do you want people to know you are capable?

Do you not want to look weak?

Do you hope to never let anyone down?

Do you believe God has called you to do everything?

Do you cringe at the idea of not being liked?

“Am I now trying to win the approval of human beings, or of God? Or am I trying to please people? If I were still trying to please people, I would not be a servant of Christ.” (Galatians 1:10)

This verse teaches us: Our goal is not to be loved by man, but to love God first and foremost. We can’t easily pursue God’s mission when we’re caught in the web of everyone else’s approval. The only approval we need is the approval of Christ Jesus. Just as many men disliked Jesus, there will be many times when we are disliked too. The value of Christian life is not how liked we are; it is how loved by Jesus we are.  With these foundational truths in our pocket, we can ask God 3 things when making a decision:

1.  Are you calling me to do this?
Consider: Our immediate and half-hearted action plan may prohibit God’s perfect and powerful plan. It may be another’s gifts that are meant to be used for this unique situation, not ours. Sometimes our best strategy is to move out of the way, so God can move in.

2.  Am I doing this out of love?
If it’s absent of love, it is worthless.
“If I do not have love, I gain nothing.” (1 Corinthians 13:3)

3.   Am I wise to wait on this?
If we don’t have clarity, there’s validity in waiting. Pray. Seek. Ask. Repeat. By faith, believe God has our way.
Jesus is “The Way.” And no matter how you answer “yes” or “no,” he always loves you. Always. And He’s prepared to help, guide and lead you in all of your ways.

Twiglet

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Re: Devotion
« Reply #33 on: April 29, 2018, 06:34:06 pm »
At Home in God’s Love
Feb 16, 2018 | Mary Southerland

Today's Truth
I’ve loved you the way my Father has loved Me. Make yourselves at home in My love   John 15:9

Friend to Friend
Our twin grandchildren were born on December 2. Their mom and dad go out of their way to make their birthday special since it is so close to Christmas. But Jodi wanted to make this year’s birthday  celebration extra-special since Lelia and Jaydan were turning 10 the first double-digit birthday!  Jodi and Jered sectioned off half of their basement garage for games like hot potato, beanbag toss, and the old fashioned game of Gossip. Thankfully, the weather co-operated. It was a gorgeous day with fresh, crisp autumn air, clear blue skies, and just the hint of a breeze. The kids played soccer, football, and even one or two games of Red Rover until we remembered why we should not play it any more. It is painful!  Nearly all of the kids in Lelia and Jaydan’s school class came. It was delicious chaos for two hours. After all of the children left, it was family time time for us to give Jaydan and Lelia our presents. I could tell Jaydan was especially excited as everyone gathered in the living room to witness the unveiling of the long-awaited birthday gifts. Jaydan has developed a love for Legos and knows his Mimi and Papa delight in feeding that love. He was definitely hoping for a Lego set of some kind.  When Jaydan started to pick up the present we bought him, his mom said, “Jay, why don’t you save that one for last?”

Jaydan looked at us and grinned. He then began to open the rest of his gifts, hugging his little brother and sisters, thanking them for their gifts. He reached for our gift and then oh, yes he did he shook it! When he heard the rattle sound he had come to love so well, he put one fist in the air and said, “Yes! It’s Legos! Thank you, Mimi and Papa!”

Yes, the gift was a Lego set, but Jaydan had no idea that it was the Lego Ice Tank he had been wanting for months. When he saw the box, Jaydan’s mouth fell open and he said, “I can’t believe it!”

We got some great hugs from Jaydan for those Legos! But I was surprised when Jaydan’s little four-year-old brother, Mo James, gave me a big hug and said, “Thank you, Mimi!”

I didn’t understand. “Mo, what are you thanking me for?” I asked.

With a sweet smile he said, “For giving my brother such a great gift!”

And a little bit of heaven melted my heart, filling my soul with wonder. I just sat still for a moment, letting the profound truth taught by a child take root.  Mo had not received any presents.  Mo was far too young to play with the Legos Jay had received.  Mo just realized how happy our gift had made his brother and wanted to thank us for giving it to him.  When was the last time you celebrated the success of someone in your life instead of coveting that success?

If we want to live a life full of joy, we must learn to love each other the way Jesus loves us. That is the best kind of love. Jesus said so in John 15:11-12, “I’ve told you these things for a purpose: that My joy might be your joy, and your joy wholly mature. This is my command: Love one another the way I loved you. This is the very best way to love (The Message).

Jesus spent the first part of the John 15 describing the love God has for us. He wants us to be at home in that love to revel in it every minute of every day. God’s love only sees the best in others no judgment. When we are at home in God’s love, we become a safe place for those who are hurting and broken, those who are lonely and misunderstood.  Today, I encourage you to surrender to God’s fathomless love for you. Don’t try to understand it. Don’t try to earn it. Don’t try to justify it. It is a gift one you can truly celebrate and one in which you can make yourself at home.