Thursday, May 19, 2016

DAILY DEVO...open your ears to hear

I asked the youth small group class a question last night..."what purpose do our ears have?" What would you say?


I suppose it's good to have a resting place for our glasses or trendy to hang some earrings from but Jesus points out exactly the purpose of our ears...

"And Jesus said, He who has ears to hear, let him hear." (Mark 4:9)


I can't think of any blunter way to say it; Jesus said our ears are for listening, but He knew all so well, that many would not.


I don't know why we don't use our ears to listen more. I suppose if we had a spiritual hearing check-up, we might find that listening is not one of our strong traits...

Immaturity deafens us. "No one wants to be told to listen up!"


Rebellion keeps us from listening. "No one is going to tell me what to do!"


Open wounds keep us from hearing. "The sound of our broken heart is the only sound we can hear."

Most of us can identify that we aren't always using our ears to listen like we should. May we be reminded that until we are willing to crank up the hearing aids and really hear God's voice...then we are not listening!


God gave us ears to hear, so let's listen better.


Wednesday, May 18, 2016

TODAY'S DAILY...respect someone!

People just don't respect one another anymore.


If you were in a fender bender and the other car was at a fault, you'd probably be pretty steamed. Even though no one was hurt, you'd be ready to step out of your car to give a piece of your mind. Until, the driver of the other car steps out and you realize that since the 300 pound, 6'10 driver of that car wasn't hurt , all was well.


Treating others with respect is what we are called to do, not something we do according to a persons size or status.


"Show proper respect to everyone: Love the brotherhood of believers, fear God, honor the king." (1 Peter 2:17)



This scripture says to respect "everyone", and in this case "everyone" means "all people" or simply...EVERYONE! That includes children, our parents, the senior citizens, the sick, the homeless, those placed in authority (even the ones we didn't vote for) and "everyone" also means those folks we just don't like.


Upon careful inspection, I do not see any "if's", "buts" or "unless" in this scripture. In fact, It says to "show proper respect to everyone". (See the period?) There is no condition built in.


Everyone deserves to be treated with respect. Aren't you included in that? You are someone and so am I, so when we lump all the "someone's" together we come up with EVERYONE!


Respect comes in the form of how we treat one another. No one likes to be disrespected, especially God. Respect God and EVERYONE else with your love and honor.


Maybe it will come back around to you if you set the tone of respecting others; start with "everyone" you bump into, no matter what their size, color or status.


Monday, May 16, 2016

TODAY'S DAILY...sarcasm isn't funny!

Sarcasm is not funny. There is a fine line between being funny and sarcasm and let's face it...nothing good comes from sarcasm.

Sarcasm can start out with an innocent joke or comment but too often wit combined with a little sarcasm begins to cut and before you know it, it begins to divide.

Sarcasm brings division and what we need more of is uplifting and unifying words to hold our families, our churches and our marriages together. You will not find peace and restoration in sarcasm.

Jesus drew many to His side, sometimes He used wit to draw them to His truth but NEVER did He dilute His impact by resorting to sarcasm.

"Be loving, be compassionate, be humble. That goes for all of you, no exceptions. No retaliation. No sharp-tongued sarcasm. Instead, bless–that’s your job–to bless. You’ll be a blessing and also get a blessing.” (1 Peter 3:8-9) MSG

Choose your words carefully, choose to be a blessing to someone today. Don't let sarcasm come between you and a blessing!

Thursday, May 12, 2016

DAILY DEVO...put your baggage down

For those who know me, know that I am a “fixer.”   I want to have a plan for everything.  I thrive on having an action plan and if something doesn't seem to be working properly, I wonder how I can fix it?

The thing about being a "fixer" is that God doesn't  call us to be a “fixers,” but rather a “pray-er.”  Philippians 4:6-7 says this...

"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” 

You see, if I stop trying to fix everything on my own and take it to God in prayer, He will hear me and He will fix whatever needs to be fixed, and in the process, He will take away my anxiety and give me peace!  The load I carry will lessen the more I trust Him.

This reminds me of the last time I was at the airport. I had more than one heavy bag, which I checked in so I could freely walk thru the airport and board without the hassle of dragging it around. Once I arrived at my destination, I had a very important decision to make...

Would I pick my heavy baggage back up or would I allow the porter to pick it up for me and carry it?

When we try to control everything, it is like carrying that heavy baggage on our shoulders throughout the airport. God wants to be our porter, but we have to make the decision to allow Him to pick up our baggage and carry it Himself. He doesn't need us to carry it any more.

What will you decide today...pick up your bags or let God carry them?

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

DAILY DEVO...disappointment can't always be overcome

Disappointment is never something easy to deal with. Currently, I am sorting thru some disappointment that has popped up in my life that has no rhyme or reason but nevertheless, it is still disappointment. It is the kind of disappointment that you can't do anything about.

Our hope for you is unshaken, for we know that as you share in our sufferings, you will also share in our comfort. (2 Corinthians 1:7)
 
I suppose we've all been there. Perhaps a letter of rejection, or a job promotion lost or that person we put on a pedestal all of a sudden falls. I think that disappointment can be more devastating than tragedy. It is true in my case anyway. The tragedy that I once felt doesn't even compare to the disappointment that came after the tragedy.
 
God's Word says that we are to REJOICE in our sufferings. Being glad and jumping up and down is probably not the first thought I have when disappointment comes my way. In fact, when I get seriously wounded with disappointment, I usually shut myself off; I become withdrawn and just try to work things out with God about my circumstance. There's not usually alot of singing and shouting going on.
 
So what is a person to do when disappointment comes their way? After all, we are not alone, look at the early disciples; even Paul had his share of disappointment...
 
More than that, we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God's love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us. – Romans 5:3-5
Sometimes disappointment cannot be overcome at all, we can only just endure it. In these kind of moments, it is important to remember that we have hope on our side. Our hope is in Christ’s love, our hope is for better days to come, our hope is in knowing God can bring something good from our disappointments.
 
This disappointment I am encountering seems pretty big; but compared to the size of God's shoulders, it is nothing. God isn't shocked by it, in fact, He is counting on me to endure to the end and come out better.
 
What does your disappointment look like? Is it making you BETTER or BITTER? Choose well.
 
BLESSINGS. Laurie
 
 

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

DAILY DEVO...put your net down

If you have ever gone fishing, you understand the need for a net. When I was a young girl, my uncle was a avid fisherman and he would take me out in the boat with him many times. He taught me a thing or two about fishing.


The net was an important tool to have, especially when in the boat, it helped you catch the ones that tried to get away. This reminds me of what Jesus said...


"Come follow Me. I will make you fishers of men." (Matthew 4:19)


The first two brothers that Jesus met while looking for a group of followers to help Him were working on the shore, casting their nets out, like they did every day. He invited these fishermen to lay down THEIR nets and follow Him to cast a different kind of net.


Later, Jesus encountered two more brothers who were mending their nets in their boats and they too laid their nets down to follow Him. Eventually, there were 12 men in all that laid down their tools of trade to follow Jesus.


I don't know what kind of trade you are involved in, or what kind of tool helps you accomplish your day to day tasks. Perhaps it is a calculator, or a tractor, or a computer, or a camera. Sometimes the nets that Jesus is asking you and me to lay down is not literally a net, after all, not all of us are fishermen? Or are we?


When you and I accept Christ as our Savior, we become followers of Christ and when we follow Him, He said He would make US fishers of men! I'm not saying that we all need to quit our jobs today but I am suggesting that we look at the nets that we carry.


Some of us haven't learned to lay down our nets and pick up the Cross (God's net) to win those around us. Too many fish are trying to swim away. Isn't it time we lay it all down and follow Christ and accomplish the task He laid down for us to do...to become fishers of men.


Take a moment to look at where you are casting your net ...may we not let another soul swim away.


Monday, May 9, 2016

TODAY'S DAILY...The promises of God remain

The other day, after the rain, I saw a rainbow. I don't know if you saw it. Perhaps you were busy going about your business and overlooked it. I  have been guilty of that ... I spot the rainbow in the sky after a storm but just keep going, not stopping to reflect on exactly what the rainbow represents.


But the other day, I DID stop and I DID reflect on the promise that God gave thru His rainbow; that no matter what storms may come my way that His Word and His promises remain sure. It is easy to say that we believe and trust in God’s promises when everything is going smoothly for us, but much more difficult when we are facing hardships and stresses in our lives.


Corrie Ten Boom used to liken our lives to a tapestry, woven with many different colored threads. We can only see the underside, which often looks tangled and knotted, but God can see the upper side in which all the threads blend together to make a perfect picture.


For those of you who may be going through difficult and stressful times, may I encourage you today that God’s promises are sure. It is not easy to hold on to those promises when life is hard and dark, but God says, ‘I know the plans I have for you, plans to prosper you and not to harm you’, (Jeremiah 29:11), and ‘I will never leave you, nor forsake you’. (Hebrews 13: 5b).


"A bruised reed He will not break and a dimly burning wick He will not quench’ (Matthew 12:20).


Take this promise that God says to you and know when you are going thru difficulties that "a bruised reed will not break" and "a dimly burning wick will not be quenched."


There is a silver lining in every rainbow and every tapestry has its twisted threads but we just have to see the hand of God and believe it!