February 22 – Home Sweet Home

frnt_angle_lightboxOur relocation to the country has been a blessing. Maybe I’ll be talking about it for many devos to come. Much of what we know God has asked us to do is continuing without a pause. The surroundings we are in just play a different kind of part in enhancing each day’s work. Here’s a little sample of what I heard from Benjamin, our 4 year-old, tonight.

Mom, why is this bug I caught called a lightning bug?”

 “Well, because he lights up.”

 “Is it because he hates darkness?”

 (Long pause) “Yes, I guess he does his job because he hates the darkness!”

Wow! That little guy just hit me right between the eyes! He lights up because he hates the darkness!! What a beautiful, powerful picture of all that God has given us to do and be in this dark world. We have no idea or clue who or what we are affecting, just by living our everyday lives.

Anytime I watch the combines roll through the fields, I can’t help but get teary. Not just because I love observing the familiar process that breathes hundreds of childhood memories, but because I am seeing first hand an example of ripe and ready fruit getting plucked out of the field and whisked into the harvest truck. Have you noticed lately? Doesn’t the time seem short?

Don’t be weary in well-doing, and most of all, don’t forget what home really is. Let the mission we’ve been given infiltrate our hearts, our actions, and our words, so that through each of our days on this earth, all the rest of the harvest can come home, too.

Jenny 🙂

When the harvest time approached, he sent his servants to the tenants to collect his fruit. Matthew 21:34

 Biblical Meditation: John 14:23 Jesus replied, “If anyone loves me, he will obey my teaching. My Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him.

February 7 – Giving For a Living

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Most people think in terms of money when the word giving is mentioned. However, true generosity involves much more than a few dollars and cents. It is a lifestyle. In history, we find examples of individuals who grasped this reality.

Recently my family came across such a lady. She lived in the 1800’s and exemplified a life of giving. During the Civil War, this little lady decided she would go on to the battlefield and dress the wounds of the fallen soldiers.

She realized that many men could possibly bleed to death in the field from injuries that could be treated, before they could ever get to a hospital. She was denied access by the general several times, but she would not give up! Although the sentiment of the day was that the battlefield was no place for a woman, the commanding officer finally surrendered!

This woman was willing to put her life on the line so that others might live. That is the spirit of generosity. So whether it’s in the form of money, time, or talent, we would all do well to develop such character in our lives. Ask the question before the Lord right now, “What can I give?” As you wait for Him to reveal His will to you, reach out and do something really simple for those right around you—your family!

Here are the five “I Will’s” from the Character First curriculum:

I WILL share what I have with others

I WILL recycle

I WILL not expect anything in return for my generosity

I WILL give of my time and talents

I WILL praise the good I see in others

By the way, this precious, persistent lady was not only known as the “Angel of the Battlefield,” but after the Civil War, she went on to create the American Red Cross. Her name was Clara Barton. What a great example to follow!

Biblical Meditation: Colossians 3:17 And whatever you do [no matter what it is] in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus and in [dependence upon] His Person, giving praise to God the Father through Him.

 

January 31 – What Is “Acceptable?”

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There seems to be two ways to look at most things in life. What we accept and what we don’t. It just boils down to those two options. Whether you are looking at fixing a house, disciplining your children, or detailing your car, it’s important to know what is acceptable to you, preferably based on God’s Word.

I remember a time when you could eat off the floor of my little Honda Accord when I was 18 years old. Well, God has provided a new and better little Accord, but frankly, you couldn’t pay me to eat off the floor now! I have experienced a shift in my priorities!

Take time to decide what is acceptable to you in the important areas of your life. Is it “acceptable” to live in a miserable marriage, or do you have a part to play in fixing it? Is it “acceptable” to raise children who run around crazy and disrespect you? Is it “acceptable” to spin the gerbil wheel for eighty years and miss your God-given purpose?

 Know that what you decide, as it coincides with God’s way of doing things, will literally change what you see and experience. Pray and ask the Father to guide every quality decision and He will help you begin the small changes that must take place in your heart.

Jen 🙂

For as he thinks in his heart, so is he. Proverbs 23:7

 

January 26 – Stay Hungry

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We squint at absolute truth. It is so pure; our minds struggle to contain it.

Truth, real pure truth, does not rely on reason. It doesn’t have to make sense. It is the truth whether it is ever accepted by anyone. Truth need not jockey for a place. Because the truth is the truth, places and people will ultimately be examined under its lens.

When Christ told Nicodemus the truth about the Son of Man (Himself), Nicodemus had no file for it. “The Son of Man must be lifted up; that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life.” But His statement was the truth, nonetheless.

And this Nicodemus, a great teacher of the Jewish people, pondered and wondered on this truth for many mornings and evenings. Maybe he never truly understood it, but yet he continued to stand under the truth-laden messages of Christ until Christ was “lifted up” on the cross. Perhaps then he caught a glimpse. Who knows?

My prayer for us all is that we may so hunger for truth that we become willing to ignore the abundance of what we do know for a sliver of what we cannot comprehend. Because when this occurs, our pursuit of God will take orbit.

And just as I envision it might have been for Nicodemus, Christ will gently develop room within us to contain what often cannot be explained, in order that it might remain. Oh, that we may hunger!

Just as Moses lifted up the snake in the desert, so the Son of Man must be lifted up, that everyone who believes in him may have eternal life. John 3:14-15

Biblical Meditation: Psalm 119:160 The sum of Your word is truth [the total of the full meaning of all Your individual precepts]; and every one of Your righteous decrees endures forever.

 

January 20 – Let the Game Come to You

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Often we try so hard to figure out the how’s and why’s. And that is what’s so hard to “unlearn.” The good Lord has promised, confirmed, and reiterated time and time again His will and intent when it comes to meeting our needs.

But stop just a second and consider: Did you eat today? Most of us did. And if we were in dire need, many of us have answers waiting in the wings. Truth of the matter is, the lot of us shudder at the thought of leanness.

And yet the very thing we are afraid of is the very thing that will set us freer than we’ve ever been.

Here’s a slice of my personal experience on the matter. If you let go, your needs will be met and come to you, as you need them and when you need them…maybe even at the eleventh hour and fifty-ninth minute!

There is a force at work (the economists call it supply and demand) but its undercover name is trust and obey. When you have nothing to depend on but Him, He becomes all you will ever need.

 Cast your bread upon the waters. For you will find it after many days. Ecclesiastes 11:1

 Biblical Meditation: Philippians 4:19 My God shall meet all of your needs according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus.

January 18 – Signs and Seasons

 

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It is undeniable. There are signs all around. Some are man-made and others are God-engraved.

From the lakes, mountains, caves and canals, all it takes is a willing eye to see and agree there is a Somebody behind the scene doing great things. But even beyond that, look at the modern and not-so-modern discoveries of mankind.

How about heart transplants? Look at how easily we get from one place to the next, locally and internationally? The Internet? I log on and think, “Oh, the places we can go!” These are signs in our midst telling us more than we often take time to comprehend.

It is not for me to determine what the sun or the moon is saying to you today, nor do I encourage an actual conversation with them. But depending on the “season” you are experiencing, either of them can be a confirming voice of insight for you.

This is why it is tantamount that you and I pursue an active dialogue with the Father concerning such matters. The world has never failed to have its fair share of “spin doctors” when it comes to signs. Yet, when it comes to understanding what you should or should not do as it pertains to God’s will for you, misreading the seasons and the signs that accompany them can be costly.

If you read this and quickly realize you missed a sign a ways back down the road of life, don’t spend time fretting and regretting. Humbly acknowledge and admit the fact to God and yourself. Then ask Him to get you turned around in the right direction.

Trust me, I have had my fair share of ditches and detours, and I can tell you, the speed and precision by which the Father can curb and correct misdirection is out of this world. And He often turns any mess we make into a message as a sign for future seasons on down the road!

 Then God said, “Let there be lights in the firmament of the heavens to divide the day from the night; and let them be for signs and seasons, and for days and years; and let them be for lights in the firmament of the heavens to give light on the earth;” and it was so. Genesis 1:14-15 NKJV

Biblical Meditation: Isaiah 30:21 Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, “This is the way; walk in it.”

January 12 – So What About the Son?

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January 12 – So What About the Son?

 Most conflicts, when it comes to religious beliefs, do not ensue around the existence of God. In my estimation, there are more who agree than disagree.

The issue often has to do with the Son of God who is traditionally presented as both God and man. Quite frankly, the whole idea totally messes with people. This is probably because the concept just doesn’t make logical sense.

I don’t know about you, but in my lifetime, there haven’t been very many immaculate conceptions . . .none, as a matter of fact.

So that leaves little to no data for a comparative analysis. And although there is substantial room for an exhaustive debate over the birth and belonging of the Son of God in history, time has taught me that the long-range benefits of debating arguments are not worth the time.

Basic belief, on the other hand, is worth discussing. Everyone was born with an innocent child-like faith. That is why all of us trusted mom, dad, granny and whoever else to change our dirty diaper!

There is no way we would have made it past day one on planet earth without a trusting belief system. And unless something or somebody damages our “believer,” issues with the Son of God are non-existent.

But the sad, sick reality is that the world is full of “belief bashers” who wreak havoc on the young and innocent. When adulthood arrives, if they can’t see it, feel it, or explain it, then in their minds, it doesn’t exist. That is why we have a world overrun with people who are bitter toward God, all in the name of self-preservation.

Struggling with the authenticity of the Son of God is pretty normal and to those who do struggle, I don’t blame them. But I do challenge them to pursue and answer. Get to the bottom of the matter, don’t get stuck in a rut; life’s too short. Either the Son of God is real or He’s not.

So here are three things I encourage anyone to do if they truly want to settle the issue once and for all:

1) Pray-Ask God to make it clear if the Son is really the only way to Him, if He truly died on a cross for the sins of the world, if He is alive right now with God in heaven, and if He is really coming back to earth again to rule, reign and judge the hearts of men.

2) Read- The Gospel of John in the Bible is a great place to start. If there is any validity to the claims of the Christ, the Son of God, John will bring it to light.

3) Observe- Like you’ve never done before, pay attention to your surroundings. Look for unique handprints. Stop taking breath, branches, and babies for granted. Open your eyes without preconceived intellectual notions. And keep a journal close by because I am certain you’ll want to record what you discover!

 He was in the world, and the world was made through Him, and the world did not know Him.

John 1:10 NKJV

 Biblical Meditation: Hebrews 13:8 Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.