Devo: Will You Choose to Sink or Swim in Trusting God?

My husband and son frolicking in a pool.

My husband and son frolicking in a pool.


A devotional thought for summer.
**
‘And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.’ Philippians 2:8 New American Standard Bible

When my kids were small, I took them to swim lessons. Trained instructors demonstrated how to perform each stroke. But there was something my kids didn’t know about their instructors. They were also certified life guards. Before my kids got in the water, their instructors were prepared to save them from drowning, if needed. A simple demonstration of how to swim wouldn’t be much help to someone who was drowning.

We’re all swimmers in the Sea of Life. In the beginning we dip our toes in the water. Then we get braver and venture out further. We may even try to swim to the other side of the pool.

Suddenly we reach the middle and feel scared. Temptation, worry, and doubt drag us down. We yell for help.

Jesus, our Lifeguard, quickly swims to our side. He secures us next to his body and delivers us safely to the edge of the pool.

It wasn’t enough that Jesus gave us an example of how to live. He became our Savior by dying on the cross. He showed us that we could trust Him with our lives.

God, thank you for allowing your Son to die on the cross so that we might have life. His obedience and love for us are overwhelming. Help us to be worthy of His love. Amen.

Friendship to Go!

Tulips offer hope for renewal as does our Christian faith in God for a better future!

Tulips offer hope for renewal as does our Christian faith in God for a better future!

And He came to the disciples and found them sleeping and said to Peter, “So you men could not keep watch with Me for one hour?” (Matthew 26:40)

If there had been coffee shops during Jesus’ time, I’m convinced He would have taken one look at the sleepy faces of Peter, James, and John at Gethsemane and said, “Hey, you guys, I’m going to need your support in the next several hours. You look like you could use help holding your heads up. Let’s go to the Bohemian Bean in Jerusalem and order super-large caramel lattes with caffeine to go!”

Unfortunately, the disciples had no legal artificial stimulant to keep them awake. As a result, they fell asleep three times, even after Jesus implored them to stay awake. Thus, they lost valuable time with their best friend during the most difficult night of His life.

My tendency is to point at those men and ask, “How could you disappoint Jesus so?” Then I see three fingers pointing back at me and ask myself, ‘How many times have I disappointed Jesus?’

Now, wherever I am, morning or night, I talk to God, You see, He’s my best friend and I’ve failed him in the past, but He’s given me a second chance. Now we have a lot of lost time to make up for!

Prayer: God, You are patient with us beyond measure. You know we are weak and tired and don’t deserve Your patience or grace, but You extend them anyway. Give us wisdom to know when a circumstance needs our full attention for Your sake.

Christian Devotion — In the Midst of Fear

Image

I wrote this devotion after reading a diary kept by a friend during a hiking trip to Europe. From that same diary I wrote two other stories – both religious — about Sharon’s thoughts and feelings during her travels. All were published with her permission and I gave her copies of the published articles. I hope this blesses you and teaches you to trust in God.

 

** 

 

While backpacking alone through Europe, Sharon, an American, had to board a boat in Northern Ireland that would take her to Scotland. Hostile glances from the other passengers came her way as she stood in line to pay the fare. Sharon realized that because she was a stranger and traveling by herself, the people in the country saw her as a threat. For the first time on her 21-day journey, she began to feel afraid for her safety.

 

Sharon sent an urgent plea heavenward. “Lord, please take care of me in this place full of strangers. Show me You are beside me, watching over me.’

 

When it was time to pay the fare, the white-haired captain of the boat asked Sharon, “Where’re you headed, Miss?”

 

“Scotland,” she replied.

 

“That would be the third stop for you, Miss.” Sharon nodded and moved to the side.

Once at sea, the boat’s engine made a deep chug-chugging sound that filled the air around the boat and carried out over the waves. The captain’s deep voice could be heard clearly above the noise: “If you’re a-wantin’ Scotland, it’s the third stop. Ya’ don’t be a-wantin’ the first or second stop, but the third stop for Scotland.” Every few minutes, he repeated the announcement, looking around at all the passengers and smiling in a friendly manner.

 

After two or three similar announcements, Sharon caught on. As the only American on board, she was obviously the only one who needed a reminder. Sharon tried to maintain an outward look of calm, even though her nerves felt frayed. Would the other passengers grow angry with the captain’s attention towards her?

 

When Sharon looked around, the faces of the crowd surprised her. Instead of frowns, people smiled. A few people chuckled as their heads swiveled between her and the captain. Sharon relaxed, more relieved than she wanted to admit, that the earlier tension was gone, dissolved under the captain’s care.

 

Once the boat arrived in Scotland, Sharon gathered her belongings and stood in line to disembark. She thanked the elderly captain for his help. His ruddy face revealed gentle understanding as he wished her a safe trip.

 

Sharon also thanked God for His help. Never again would she doubt His care for her in a tension-filled situation.

 

The End

 

What’s In Your Bag?

My purse is always stuffed with supplies for my family and a book to read!

My purse is always stuffed with supplies for my family and a book to read!


“…Provide purses for yourselves that will not wear out, a treasure in heaven that will never fail, where no thief comes near and no moth destroys. Luke 12:33

**
It scared the wits out of me for years. ”They knock your feet right out from under you,” said one friend. “Don’t walk in alone,” advised another. “Go with a gang.”

Each fall a certain manufacturer of colorful, stylish cloth handbags, backpacks, luggage, and coin purses, conducts an outlet sale at a location close to my home. This event attracts hundreds of thousands of shoppers each year looking for deals.

Despite the proximity, I had avoided attending the outlet sale. Every woman knows being stampeded by female shoppers looking for good deals is 10 times worse than being stampeded by male shoppers looking for good deals! However, last year I decided to attend and purchase items for Christmas presents. I left a note at home, so if the other shoppers trampled me to death, my husband would know where to find me.

Needless to say, I survived. The experience was even somewhat pleasant. Customers shopped companionably beside each other with no fighting over a particular handbag.

While walking to my car after making my purchases, I wondered about the fuss. Jesus warned against obsessing over items that have no eternal significance and which would eventually wear out. Why did he mention purses in particular? Was it because He knew women would love them for centuries to come?

Prayer: You know my wants and desires so well, Father. Please help me to control my spending habits so they honor you.

Pie Crust Promises

For His lovingkindness is great toward us, And the truth of the LORD is everlasting. Praise]the LORD!
Psalm 117: 2
Many of us will eat pie for Thanksgiving this year. This devo features not just the pie but pie crust. Please remember to thank God for everything in your life, even the difficult parts. I’m working on these areas of thankfulness and it’s a challenge but worth it. Happy Thanksgiving!

Pie crust breaks easily; not so God's promises.

Pie crust breaks easily; not so God’s promises.

In the movie “Mary Poppins” two lonely children become enthralled with their new nursemaid. One night after a particularly exciting day they implore her, “Promise you’ll never leave us!”

For all of her zany actions Mary Poppins replies wisely, “That’s a pie crust promise –-easily made, easily broken.”

People crave stability. Unfortunately most of us have had to deal with vows that crumbled: a business partner absconds with company funds; a spouse decides he/she is happier living with someone else. Even the government seems to renege on its laws.

Christians can rest assured that God’s promises won’t ‘fall apart’. He will never desert us (Hebrews 13:5). His lovingkindness is everlasting (Psalm 107:1).

Memorize Psalm 117. Then, when you’re given a ‘pie crust promise’, you can say with the psalmist: “Praise the Lord, all nations: Laud Him, all peoples! For his lovingkindness is great toward us. And the truth of the Lord is everlasting. Praise the Lord!”

What are you thankful for this Thanksgiving?

The End

Child-Like Praise

“Out of the mouth of babes and sucklings hast thou ordained strength because of thine enemies.” Psalm 8:2

Spending time with children can teach us about God.

Spending time with children can teach us about God.

Our family had trekked around San Francisco for five days and my legs felt like lead. My husband was tired too, but he had wanted us to hike Muir Woods before going home.
Our 11- and 13-year-olds didn’t want to go up yet another hill. Wondering how to keep everyone happy, I glanced at our youngest.
Eight-year-old Lindsay was brandishing a walking stick like a baton. “Thanks for tuning in to the Lunge Lindsay Aerobics Class,” she announced. “Today we’ll hike to the top of this mountain. Put one foot in front of the other, folks, and follow me!” She turned around and began climbing. The rest of us laughed and followed. Today, several years later, we still chuckle about how she got our family to climb that mountain together.

Children can lead us in behavior that praises God. God approved of our family activity that day because He established the family unit to love and honor each other. How can a child teach you to praise God today?

Prayer: God, thank you for children to point us to you. Help us listen to them to know you more. Amen.

Small Churches Offer Opportunities to Love Jesus

 

 

My sister and I ready for church as preschoolers.

My sister and I ready for church as preschoolers.

Climbing big steps to enter a brick building through heavy wooden doors may not sound like something a five-year-old would enjoy, but I couldn’t wait to go inside!

 

My Sunday school teacher, Miss Winnie, had big teeth, lots of white hair, and a funny voice that sounded like she spoke through a tunnel. She greeted us each week with a smile. Then she taught us to pray and helped us put our quarters in the offering cup. She taught us songs like “His Name Is Wonderful” and stories from the Bible. I loved her.

 

After Sunday School, we children marched upstairs to sit with our parents for church. And I do mean “marched.” Every week, the pianist played “Onward Christian Soldiers” to introduce the preaching service. I always pretended to be a soldier, picking up my legs like I’d seen soldiers do on TV. My bent arms swung up and down to the beat like a human metronome as we walked up the aisle into the sanctuary.

 

After finding my parents, my sister Lyn and I would squeeze into the pew with them. That’s when the fun ended. For one long hour we had to sit until the preacher quit talking. Lyn and I passed the time making up games with the hymn books.

 

Sometimes Lyn and I “volunteered”, via our mother, to sing a duet for the congregation. Since we were the only children whose mother owned a piano, we were “volunteered” often.

 

Our favorite song was “Let the Sun Shine in.” Mom dressed us in matching frocks with white gloves and hats. I liked wearing a hat because if we didn’t, Mom curled our hair on wicked wiry rollers the night before. It was impossible to sleep on them. Ouch!

 

 

 

In summer our small church overflowed with children and fun during a week-long vacation Bible School. My favorite activity was playing with Miss Winnie’s child-size  tambourine and little drum. Rat a tat tat!  Miss Winnie allowed me to play it daily.

 

After recreation time, we’d have cookies and Kool-Aid. We could eat as many cookies as we wanted, something I never got to do at home.

 

My family attended this small church until I was eight years old. Then my parents decided we needed to attend a large church with a youth minister. Our current church did not have a youth minister.

So our family transferred our membership to a larger congregation in town. I continued attending there as a teenager and met my husband there. We were married there and have raised our own children in this church. We pray they will continue to lead godly lives.

 

My life was blessed by both churches, large and small. My kids have never had a taste of what it was like to attend a small church. In some ways I wish they could have. I want them to see that large churches don’t always have the advantages. A church’s size doesn’t matter when it comes to its members loving God. White-haired Sunday School teachers with big smiles and cozy Sunday School room can exist anywhere.

 

The End