Tuesday, August 12, 2008
Day 29 - Wednesday, August 13
Note: The writer of this devotional is the wife of another one of our elders. She is the mother of three boys. She had a little girl that died just after birth. Their oldest boy has mental issues and he still lives with them. She is a very patient, spiritual woman.
Bible Verse - Psalms 127:3 (NIV)
Sons are a heritage from the LORD, children a reward from him.
God has blessed me richly with three loving sons. Just as any loving parent, I desire to be a part of their lives and have them in my presence. It has been a delight to watch them grow into adulthood and to see them make wise decisions. Just as I have made some bad choices, I’m sure they have too; but as I desire to see my sons continue to serve God, I pray my life can be a life lived with the love of all people the way I love my children.
You know that my love for my children is immeasurable. Help me to remember the love you had for your son and the love he had for you in his obedience. May I always be thankful for this precious gift.
By Your Grace, Amen.
Additional thoughts...God gives us so many blessings in our children. We truly know how God must love us when we have children of our own. I know that some of you may have not yet had, or maybe never will have children; but I'm sure that you have nieces and nephews that you would do anything for. God had a Son who would do anything for us, and He did. He died on the cross for our sins.
Tuesday, August 12, 2008
Day 28 - Tuesday, August 12
Note: The lady who wrote this devotional is the wife of one of our elders. She is active in our children's ministry. She and her husband have two daughters and 4 grandchildren (and one on the way.)
Bible Verse - Psalms 23 (NCV)
The Lord is my shepherd; I have everything I need. He lets me rest in green pastures. He leads me to calm water. He gives me new strength. He leads me on paths that are right
for the good of his name. Even if I walk through a very dark valley, I will not be afraid, because you are with me. Your rod and your shepherd's staff comfort me. You prepare a meal for me in front of my enemies. You pour oil of blessing on my head; you fill my cup to overflowing. Surely your goodness and love will be with me all my life, and I will live in the house of the Lord forever.
This Psalm reminds me that God is my Comforter. He is always with me, even on my darkest days. It doesn’t matter how alone I feel, God is always there waiting for me to turn to Him. He always provides for my needs; and when I am with Him, I have a calm assurance that my best friend is at my side.
We praise you and thank you for always being there, for never leaving us alone. We thank you for your comfort, and we pray that all who now find themselves in a valley of darkness will turn to you for the comfort only you can give.
Additional Thoughts... Many of us may have learned this verse as, "The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not want..." and so forth. No matter how we learned the words, the meaning is the same. God is there for us. He makes sure that we have everything that we NEED!
This past weekend we had our 24 hour prayer vigil at the church building. Each hour for one hour, we met to pray together. Unfortunately,my daughter and I were the only ones to show for the 11:00 am hour of prayer that was set aside for women only which I was to facilitate. Even though I was the only one praying (my daughter didn't want to), I know that God heard my prayers. I know that the Holy Spirit spoke to God through me. I was so touched by the requests of our body that I was moved to tears many times through the hour. I pray that each and every one of us can have conversations with God that are so moving.
Sunday, August 10, 2008
Day 27 - Monday, August 11
Note: This gentleman has been hired as the part-time youth minister along with his wife for our youth younger than 6th grade. However, he (as a deacon) and his wife have been doing the job without pay for several years. He is a high school music teacher and band director. He is a remarkable trumpet player and has been on a world-wide tour with a symphonic troupe.
Bible Verse - Romans 8:28 (NIV)
And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.
Sometimes problems arise. They can be health, financial, family, spiritual, or any number of categories that affect our peace of mind. Too often this has an effect on our faith as well. We look to ourselves for the answer. “If I can just do this” or “If I can figure out the solution, then it will be alright.” “I can fix it by myself.” We forget God’s role in our problems.
Whether times are good or bad for us, God is always working on our behalf. It is only our shortsightedness that prevents us from realizing His plan. If we believe this verse to be true, then what do we have to worry about? We should take comfort in the knowledge that our Father is always looking after our best interests.
I pray that You will help me to have faith in You in times of trial. I want to see Your plan in my life every day. Take my worry and my fears and replace them with the understanding that You love me and are taking care of me. I want to trust in You more. Father, help me to do that each day, whether good or bad.
In Jesus’ name, Amen.
Additional Thoughts... It is so easy to say, "Okay God, I trust you to do what is best for me." But, do we really believe it? We want to carry our own burdens on our backs. Only when we get broken down do we say, "Okay God, I really need you now!" We need to trust God with all things.
I am at that point right now. Two years ago when my grandmother had to either move in with someone or go to a nursing home, we bought a duplex, renovated it, and put a "for sale by owner" sign in the yard of our little 2 bedroom house. I "knew" that God would not let us down. I "knew" that He would bring us a buyer to give us the price we wanted. Well, we are still trying to sell that little house. I've been through wanes of faith. I wonder if God is really looking at what I need. We've used all our savings and have been living off credit. I wonder sometimes, "Is God really listening to my prayers?" I'm still praying, but I know that for some reason God is waiting. Maybe it is not the right time for us to sell. Maybe there is someone who needs the little house to call their own. I don't know His reasons and I know that he WILL bring us a buyer... in His own time, I just wish He would hurry up!
Sunday, August 10, 2008
Day 26 - Sunday, August 10
Note: This day is special to me. There are two entries in today's devotional, but the first one is my older daughter's. She is 8 years old. Everything about this verse was orchestrated by her. She picked the verse. She wrote the thoughts, and she wrote the prayer. Quite frankly, I thought I was going to have to help her when she told me she wanted to write one. But, she pleasantly surprised me.
The second devotional was written by a lady who hasn't been a member of our church family for very long. She and her husband moved here to retire. She is very quiet and doesn't really do a whole lot. But, I am thankful to her for her willingness to write a devotional for us to consider in prayer.
Bible Verse - John 11:25-26a (ICB)
Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will have life even if he dies. And he who lives and believes in me will never die.”
When we believe and do things that God says, we will go to Heaven. And, we will see golden streets and buildings that have our names on them.
Please help me do the things that you tell me to do.
Bible Verse - John 14:15 (NIV)
If you love me, you will obey what I command.
If I love you Lord, I will obey what you have commanded of me.
Please help me, Lord, to obey your commandments so that I can receive the crown of life.
Additional Thoughts... What will Heaven be like? You hear questions like that from children... Why is the sky blue? What makes water? etc. etc. But when it comes down to it, "What WILL Heaven be like?" We are told in the Bible that Heaven will have no hunger (Revelations 7:16). There will be no night there (Revelations 21:25). There will be no sorrow (Revelations 21:4). I can imagine that there would be streets covered in gold and open fields with golden wheat. I envision God sitting in on a golden throne with light shining from Him so brightly that we cannot help but look to him... like moths drawn to a candle. I can hear us singing praises to Him, calling out to Him in gratitude for all He has done for us.
"What will Heaven be like?" We won't really know until we get there. Our human minds have no concept of the beauty of Heaven. We just know that Jesus said this, "In my Father's house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you." (John 14:2) He has gone there to prepare a place for us all if we only believe. We must obey the commands He gives in His Word in order to receive the crown of life that He has waiting for us in Heaven.
Saturday, August 09, 2008
Day 25 - Saturday, August 9
Note: This gentleman came to us a few years ago "just passing through" with his family. He had been transferred from a chain outlet store to their location here to train to be a manager. He was supposed to have moved on after a year, but they kept him here. He is now one of our deacons. He and his wife (who's devotional has already been posted) have three children and one grandchild.
Bible Verse - John 13:34-35 (NIV)
A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.
I know this church has a lot of members that love one another, but there is a long way to go. I have been a member here for over four years, and there are still people that I don’t know. I am sure that is my fault, but I still don’t know what to do about it. When we have small classes on Sunday night or when we’ve had classes on Wednesday night (His Needs, Her Needs), or the class we just had (First Place), that type of atmosphere is where you get to know people better. In every one of those types of classes you get to know every member better and you also build a love for that person. I hope and pray there will be more classroom Bible studies. We have a new mission statement and that’s what should be our blueprint on how and what we need to do to show our love to each other.
I pray, O Lord, that when people look at us they know we are your disciples by the love we show each other and all the people we come in contact with every day. I also pray, dear God, that I can get to know every person who goes to our little church and they can get to know my family and me as well. I pray also God that we can have more classroom settings where we can get to know each other in a way that shows how much we really love each other. By doing this, we are really showing how much we love YOU.
Additional Thoughts... "LOVE ONE ANOTHER" It is such a basic command if you think about it. "LOVE ONE ANOTHER" It seems really easy to do. I love my parents. I love my siblings. I love my husband. I love my kids. I love my church family. Do I love my neighbor? Do I love the bully kid at school? Do I love the guy who just cut me off and flipped me the finger? According to God's Word, we are to "love one another." I know of lots of people that I don't have the warm fuzzies for, but I still care in a way about their well being. I still pray for God to work in their lives so they can be blessed.
I think that if we all followed that command that the world would be a better place to live. If we cared about how the homeless man feels or how the mom with 8 kids keeps her sanity or how the dad who works two jobs trying to make ends meet can get any sleep at night, we'd do something about it. No, maybe we cannot give the homeless man a place to stay, but we could make his cold nights a little warmer by giving him a warm coat. We could give the mom a day shopping... by herself. Or, we could anonymously leave a bag of groceries on the doorstep of the dad who is working hard to put food on the table. We could do all that and more... if we "love one another."
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