We moved these devotions from Page 1, so we could add newer ones to that page. Since all these still have value, we have entered them here for your edification.
Enjoy, and God bless you as you navigate your storms.
Facing Hard Times
Storms can be brutal. Storms are real. Some storms are fierce. Too often, storms can be unrelenting.
Jesus gives us instructions about how to face storms, so that we can still be standing at the end.
In Matthew 7:24-27 (NIV), Jesus talks about obeying His words.
"Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock. But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash."
Building our houses on a rock allows us to live and thrive in the storms, but constructing our houses on sand can leave us crushed and destroyed.
The rock represents people who listen to what Jesus says and act upon what they hear, while the sand describes people who ignore what He says.
We can see that God doesn’t just want us to hear his Word. He wants us to DO His Word. God wants us to hear, accept, and then bear fruit that will change our walk.
Jesus want us to take action so that we gain security, strength, and wisdom from God’s Word. Doing this helps us survive and even thrive in our storms. Therefore, let us strive to do what we know God wants us to do.
Each storm is very distinctive: no other person knows and understands our specific storms. God knows; He loves us and sustains us throughout our lives whatever storms or peaceful times we experience. His word assures us of this. The house on the rock - God’s words - stands!
So, which do we choose?
Adapted from a sermon by Leroy Strain, Associate Pastor, Airway Heights Baptist Church. Used by permission. © Carole Griffitts
I recently read this…
Their ships were tossed to the heavens and plunged again to the depths; the sailors cringed in terror. They reeled and staggered like drunkards and were at their wits’ end. “LORD, help!” they cried in their trouble, and He saved them from their distress. He calmed the storm to a whisper and stilled the waves. What a blessing was that stillness as He brought them safely into harbor! Psalm 107:26-30 (NLT)
Which led me to read this…
And a great windstorm arose, and the waves beat into the boat, so that it was already filling. But He was in the stern, asleep on a pillow. And they awoke Him and said to Him, “Teacher, do You not care that we are perishing?” Then He arose and rebuked the wind, and said to the sea, “Peace, be still!” And the wind ceased and there was a great calm. Mark 4:37-39 (NKJV)
Which led me to this…
Late that night, the disciples were in their boat in the middle of the lake, and Jesus was alone on land. He saw that they were in serious trouble, rowing hard and struggling against the wind and waves. About three o’clock in the morning Jesus came toward them, walking on the water. He intended to go past them, but when they saw Him walking on the water, they cried out in terror, thinking He was a ghost. They were all terrified when they saw Him. But Jesus spoke to them at once. “Don’t be afraid,” He said. “Take courage! I am here!” Then He climbed into the boat, and the wind stopped. They were totally amazed, Mark 6:47-51 (NLT)
Which brought me to this…
How are we doing in our little boat of life—as we sail upon the sea of culture’s changing tide, upon the strong winds of adversity that batter against our sides, upon the coming and going of people’s views and opinions that seek to redirect our course, upon the highs and lows of the world’s pressures and demands that put stress upon our sails, upon the churning waters of rebellion and discontentment that seek to overturn us, upon the undercurrents of opposition and persecution that want to push us back, upon the riptides of the devil’s schemes that want to keep us from advancing, and upon the choppy onslaughts of misunderstanding, misrepresentation and false accusation that want to sink us before arriving on the other shore?
Let’s pray for one another and encourage one another to stay in the boat…and always remember that it is not our boat…it belongs to our Captain. His hands are on the wheel, He has set the course, He has trimmed the sail and knows how to use the winds for good. His compass is true, His bearings are right. The boat won’t sink! He will never abandon His post, and He will safely bring us to the other shore.
Do you find yourself battling against a storm of emotions or opposition that is beating against your soul? Ask your Captain, Jesus, to speak to the storm…He still has the power to quiet the winds and bring calm the storm.
"Used with permission, Roy Lessin, meetmeinthemeadow.com" (This link is no longer active.)
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Thoughts for Holidays
The Greatest Love Story
"For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son,
that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”
John 3:16 (NIV)
God so loved His creation that He wrote the greatest love story ever conceived. John 3:16 is the theme, introduction, body, and ending of this true love story. In self-denying love, God allowed Jesus to come and tell humanity about the Father’s love. The love of God in this passage is agape love. Our Lord is simply making available to everyone the possibility of supernatural love.
The feeling God has for you and me is active, unselfish, strong, and eternally enduring. When anyone is so in love that they give away everything they own to help another person, that’s real, undiluted love. That’s just what God was and is doing in Christ. Because Christ Jesus came, people through Him experience unlimited care and concern. God was so concerned that He gave His only Son: in the sacrifice of Jesus is seen the deep, true, abiding love of God.
The comforting strength of God’s love permeates every part of life. He reaches us in our hardest hurts, most excruciating emotional lows, and highest joys. I’ve seen Him touch suffering people in unending storms of pain. God knows pain because He gave His Son Jesus to absorb all hurt resulting from all the sin done by humanity.
February is the month when people send Valentines to each other – cards telling of love and appreciation. Cards, candy and flowers are meant to express good feelings for special people. Everyone enjoys receiving thoughtful, true expressions of acceptance and friendship.
God has sent a love message to everyone. The message is that He wants you to become more than a casual friend or pleasant acquaintance. The Heavenly Father invites everyone to believe that He sent Jesus to save people from sin. God has given in Jesus the spoken, living message of life and love that is available to all. This outpouring of love from God to you is the greatest Valentine ever available.
Thank you, Father.
© Joe Griffitts, 2016
Fireside Chats: The Yule Log
Your wife shall be like a fruitful vine in the very heart of your house, your children like olive plants all around your table.
Recommended Reading: Deuteronomy 6:4-9
"Yule" was an Old English word for Christmas Day, possibly derived from a Viking word, jól, referring to a 12-day festival. Somewhere, the tradition of cutting a large, hard log to burn in the family fireplace during Christmas -- a Yule log -- became a tradition. And while fewer houses today are built with wood-burning fireplaces, the notion of the family hearth at Christmas is a well-established one. Families gravitate to the warmth and light of the fireplace at Christmas as a place to bind hearts together.
The Bible, of course, doesn't speak of fireplaces or Yule logs, but it does speak of family. Just as the fireplace in the center of the house is a gathering place for families, so should godliness, the Word of God, and the love of Christ be the center of every family -- and especially at Christmas. While a Yule log is temporary and generated by man, the Spirit of God provides permanent warmth and light wherever He is welcomed.
Around a fireplace or in some other way, gather your family and loved ones together this Christmas to bask in the glow of Christmas love that only Christ can give.
©David Jeremiah, Today’s Turning Point with David Jeremiah, Weekend, December 6 & 7, 2014