One Minute Devotional September 16th

Worry?

There’s nothing more quieting than to just sit and look out over the lushness of God’s creation. It’s good to just get away and think. And, no matter what the season, if you’re patient God will unfold before you all of the majesty of His creation.

If you’re very quiet you might even hear the birds begin to serenade you with their song. Notice that they go about their business without a single sign of worry or concern, for God has provided all that they need.

Why is it that unlike these birds, we spend so much time worrying about what we can’t control when everything that we need is close at hand. God takes care of the least of His creatures so doesn’t it stand to reason that He will take care of you as well.

Scripture: Matt. 6:25-34

Your thoughts?

One Minute Devotional September 02

Gifts from God

Your kids are God’s gifts to you – even when at times, they seem more like a curse than a gift. In our youth, they brought great joy into our lives as infants and toddlers. As we’ve aged, we’ve experienced a great sense of satisfaction as we watched them encounter and then overcome the challenges in their lives. In our older years they bring a sense of security, knowing that now, they are there to care for us.

This can only happen, however, when we love them as God loves us – unconditionally, from their first day to our last.

Will they break your heart at times? You had better believe that they will. But just as quickly, they can mend that tear with nothing more than a kiss and a hug. We are blessed by these gifts, so take care of them, appreciate them, and love them unconditionally.

Scripture: Psalm 127

Your thoughts?

Weekly Devotional 02.18.2018

Show me Your ways, O LORD:

Teach me Your paths.

(Psalm 25:4)

What do you do in those times where it seems like you’re lost and don’t know what to do next or where to turn for help? Everyone has a favorite aunt or uncle or friend to whom they can turn for advice, but what do you do when that advice doesn’t solve the problem?

You could take a trip to the local mall and peruse the self-help section of a bookstore. There on the shelves, you’ll find numerous books whose authors are ready to teach you how to handle your problem; perhaps even how to solve it in terms of the world’s values.

Unless you’re just looking to go to the mall, there is a better place to look for guidance and advice, however. The psalmist tells us to look to God, specifically to His Word found only in the Bible. There you will find instruction on how to handle your problem as well as how to avoid becoming lost in the first place.

What using God’s word to lead us out of our confusion does, that the self-help approach doesn’t necessarily do, is ensure that the path that we take out of our troubles honors Him, not man.

So, the next time you’re lost and don’t know where to turn, save yourself some gas money and spend time with God. Find a “secret place” (Matthew 6:6) that is quiet and talk with Him; then, then listen for Him to respond.

Heavenly Father, when I am lost and don’t know where to turn send Your Holy Spirit to guide me back to where I need to be. Speak to me via Your Word. Help me to see and understand where the Holy Spirit is taking me as He works according to Your Word. In Jesus’ name, AMEN.

Weekly Devotional 02.11.2018

Therefore, since we have this ministry, as we have received mercy, we do not lose heart.  (2 Cor. 4:1)
When life takes a turn for the worse and everything seems to be going wrong, how do you handle it?

Odds are that by the time you figure out what’s gone wrong, you’ll just have to ride it out until the situation reverses itself. The good news, however, is that you’re not alone in dealing with whatever is happening, for God has had mercy on you and has sent the Holy Spirit to walk with you, to ride out the storm with you.

You may be living with the consequences of a problem that you’ve created or, be just suffering the consequences of what someone else has done that is affecting you. No matter the cause, Paul in this passage from 2nd Corinthians is telling you not to lose heart; not to let your faith weaken as you suffer.

You may, or may not, possess the skills to address the crisis. If you don’t then there are others available to you that do. Skills or not, it is your faith, however, that will allow you to weather the storm.

When trouble strikes the difference in how the faithful as opposed to the unfaithful handle it is significant. Both suffer, however, the faithful one knows that he, or she, is not alone for the Holy Spirit walks along side. Even though there is suffering, there is also peace knowing that God forgives. For the unfaithful – there is only loneliness.

Heavenly Father, at times I am under the stress of problems in my life. Walk with me and guide me through those problems according to Your will for me. Restore a sense of peace to me as together we walk through the difficulty and help me to see the problem and correct it in a manner that honors You. In Jesus’ name, AMEN.

Weekly Devotional 02.04.2018

And He was preaching in their synagogues throughout all Galilee, and casting out demons.  (Mark 1:39)
When was the last time that you preached the Word of God? Most will probably say never, but is that really true?

What does it mean to “preach.” Is it something that just a pastor does on any given Sunday morning from the pulpit or is there more to it? Is it work delegated solely to a pastor, or is there more to it?

Preaching is the sharing of God’s Word with His children and it can take a number of forms. The most common, of course, is the sermon delivered by a pastor but this is not the only form that it can take.

Most of us preach at various times but don’t recognize it as preaching. It can be as simple as a quiet presence or a soft touch or a kind word that says that I care about you and so does God. We are preaching when we share a cup of coffee with another and just listen when another needs to talk. It happens when you share your thoughts concerning a Bible verse during a Bible study when you’d rather be silent.

Knowing that “preaching” comes in many forms, what’s your answer to the question – when was the last time that you preached the Word of God?

Heavenly Father, use me to minister to the needs of others by sharing Your Word. Give me the ability to see those opportunities to do so. Guide me to know what to do and when to do it so that another can know the peace that only You can bring. In Jesus’ name, AMEN.

 

Weekly Devotional 01.14.2017

Behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us, that we should be called children of God! Therefore the world does not know us, because it did not know Him. 1 John 3:1
We are known by a number of titles over our lifetime. We begin as “cute baby (insert your name here)” and go on from there. Over a lifetime we can hold a number of “titles” often overlapping one another: husband, father, wife, mother, Grandpa, President, and so forth.

Some of these titles describe what we are while others may describe who we are. The one thing that most have in common is that they are bestowed upon us by someone else; rarely can we bestow a title upon ourselves.

There are also those titles that we carried as a child that have stayed with us as adults – sometimes to our dislike. Most of the time we outgrow one title and grow into another one as we progress through life.

There is one title, however, that has been bestowed upon you and that will stay with you from birth to death, and beyond. God has endowed you with the title “a child of God.”

To be honest, it’s not always easy to live up to it as we struggle with the temptations and demands that the world makes on us. But even in our struggle, we never are stripped of the title that God has given us because His love for us never falters.

Heavenly Father, I’m honored and humbled to be known as Your child. Help me to live up to that title in a manner that brings glory and honor to You. In Jesus’ name, AMEN.

Weekly Devotional 01.08.2018

I write to you, little children,

  Because your sins are forgiven you for His name’s sake.

1 John 2:12

Sometimes we get so wrapped up in the activities of living that we lose sight of the guiding principles of life and of our true identity. This passage from the apostle John’s letter to the Church speaks to this.

Most, if not all, of us at times get so caught up with living that we lose sight of who and what we are. We wear so many “hats”, often at the same time, that our true identity gets lost in the shuffle.

Its easy to lose track of the one identity that should never get lost – the children of God. Of all of the roles that define who and what we are, this one is truly the most important. It is this one identity that defines all others in a manner that reflects God’s will for us.

God has bestowed this title upon you because it marks you as one unconditionally loved by Him. When you are steeped in His love you become the father, mother, husband, wife, son, daughter and everything else that you are in a manner that gives glory and honor to Him.

So, wear the “hats” that you need to wear but don’t forget that you are first before everything else, a loved child of God. One so loved that He willingly sacrificed His only begotten Son so that you could be with Him for all of eternity.

Heavenly Father, my life is so busy at times that I sometimes lose sight of the one relationship that guides everything else; I lose sight of the fact that I am Your child. I get so busy sorting out who and what I should be now that I forget to base my actions on being Your child. When I lose my way during these times, guide me back to where I should be as Your child. In Jesus’ name, AMEN.

Weekly Devotional 11.26.2017

Then they also will answer Him, saying, ‘Lord when did we see You hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not minister to You?’ the He will answer them, saying, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to Me.’ (Matthew 25:44-45)

It’s easy to get seduced into thinking that God only sees the “big” things that are done in His name. The truth is that while “big” acts are important and do get noticed it is often the little actions that we do in serving one another that carry the most weight.

In this passage from Matthew, Jesus is speaking to each one of us about just this idea. Nowhere in the list of acts that He mentions is there anything that could be called “big.” The things that He mentions are the little acts of ministry that are one-on-one. These are the acts that allow us to touch the soul of another as we meet their need.

These small, individual acts that He lists in this passage are important. However, the true weight of this list is not in the list itself, but in His response when He is asked when one of the actions was done for Him. Jesus puts the lesson clearly in front of us when He says, “Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to Me.”

Do the little things that we do in serving others get noticed and are they important? Absolutely they do and they are! Your words of comfort, that loving touch, your quiet presence – they are acts that serve Him by serving another.

So, the next time the opportunity to serve the need of another presents itself, don’t pass it up. You may just be touching Jesus and not even know it.

Heavenly Father, help me to see and respond to the little acts of service when they are before me. Guide me so that my hands, my touch, and my words are Yours. Act through me, Father as I serve my brother or sister. In Jesus’ name, AMEN.

Weekly Devotional 11.20.2017

 

For God did not appoint us to wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ, who died for us, that whether we wake or sleep, we should live together with Him. (1 Thessalonians 5:9-10)
It seems that there are those times when it feels like the wrath of the entire world is being directed solely at us. Someone in the world is angry at us and they are not the least bit shy in letting us know about it.

There are other times, however, when instead of being the recipient of the wrath of others we are the issuers of it. We lose sight of the fact that we are a child of God and unleash the wrath of our anger on someone else; knowing full well that this is not how God wants us to behave.

Life is not always fair and as such, we cannot control how others behave toward us. We are often the receivers of someone else’s anger just because we are in the wrong place at the wrong time.

We can control how we behave, however. When we live with Christ at the center of our life our words are those that bring comfort and peace to others, not anguish, more anger, and anything but peace. It’s when we forget (ignore) His presence in our life that we all-too-often find ourselves spewing wrath on another when we should be doing just the opposite.

Until that day when Jesus comes again, how do you want to live? Do you want to be known by Him for your words of wrath or your words of comfort to others? Your choice.

Heavenly Father, help me to live with Jesus at the center of my life. Guard me against the wrath of the world that I be calm in my response and that I not return wrath for wrath. Guide me so that my words are not those of wrath but of comfort that build up rather than tear down. In Jesus’ name, AMEN

Weekly Devotional 11/12/2017

But I don’t want you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning those who have fallen asleep, lest you sorrow as others who have not hope. (1 Thessalonians 4:13)
Over a lifetime, most of us will attend far too many funerals. We will gather with family, or friends, to pay our respects; trying to come up with words of comfort that while politely received are generally not really heard by the survivors that remain behind.

In spite of the slide show of the deceased’s life that plays over and over in the background, we’ll wonder what kind of life the deceased really had. We wonder whether he, or she, was satisfied with life or not, happy or not, surrounded by friends or lonely, or something altogether different.

In our own way each of us will feel the sorrow in our heart that comes from the passing of a beloved family member or friend. Yet, Paul in his letter to the Christians in Thessalonica tells us to be careful of the type of sorrow that we feel. He tells these Christians not to sorrow as one without hope.

He reminds us that for the world, the non-believers, death is the final act; there is nothing beyond but the decay of the body. The person is gone never to be seen again. Death just leaves a loneliness that can never be satisfied.

He is reminding them, and us, that death is not the final act of life. Rather, it is the gateway into an eternal life filled with peace and joy that comes when we collect on the promise that God made to His children. No longer is the departed one beset with the problems that were a part of living on this side of death. Suffering is no more; replaced by the peace and joy of being with the Father and the Son.

For the Christian who has lost a fellow brother or sister we will see the one called home again. Yes, we will know grief but it will one day be replaced by the love that we will experience when we are once again united with our brother or sister.

Father, I do grieve the loss of my family members, my friends, my brothers and sisters. Guide me through my grief to come to know peace that only You can provide. I look forward to the day when we will be reunited in Your presence. Until then, comfort me so that I can comfort others who are also grieving. In the name of my Lord and Savior Jesus, AMEN.