Tulips can remind us of God’s promise of renewed lives.
If my people who are called by my name will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and I will forgive their sin and heal their land. 2 Chronicles 7:14
As a 10-year-old child, Joe thought life was one long struggle.
For five years his parents had moved their 14 children throughout the United States picking fruits and vegetables. One-room cabins with no heat or indoor plumbing, located in camps on the wrong side of town, offered shelter, but no safety or comfort. In these camps Joe saw violence and corruption. He asked God for a safer place to live, but nothing changed. Joe learned to trust no one.
Then a friend invited Joe to attend an evangelistic crusade at the high school football field. Joe didn’t want to go, but he gave in. There he heard the preacher say that Christ could make a difference in a person’s life if he surrendered his will to God.
Tough Joe made my way down to the front and accepted Jesus Christ as my Savior. He had arrived at the meeting with hate and anger, but left with peace. God had changed his life.
Today, Joe tells people that God can use them if they will surrender their will to His. That is a big statement, coming from someone who used to think God didn’t listen to poor kids.
God, help me to remember there are lost souls who just need to hear the Word of God spoken to them once for them to turn to You. Help me to show people what You can do for them if they will surrender their lives to You.
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.
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?
For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God. Ephesians 2:8
If you’re blessed to care for a toddler or preschooler, take advantage of opportunities to have fun with books while demonstrating a biblical theme.
Here’s an idea for implementing an activity, a Christian value and the reading of a nursery rhyme—Humpty Dumpty.
Place one hard-boiled egg, facial tissues, cotton balls, and bubble wrap in four resealable plastic bags and seal. Position each bag on a table or shelf. Ask your child to predict which, if any, of the eggs will crack when she pushes it off and it hits the floor. Allow her to push them one at a time and observe which shells cracked.
Talk: “Often we do or say things that are hurtful to other people. Every time we ‘fall down’ by saying or doing something mean, God is there to pick us up. The Bible tells us in Ephesians 2: 8 that grace is God’s gift to us. When we believe in and accept God’s love, we can ask for forgiveness from Him and the person we hurt.”
Pray with your child: God, please forgive us for when we choose to do the wrong thing. We don’t want to hurt You or other people. Help us to love You and other people.
Photo by Dave Reusser
I will bring them back and they will live in the midst of Jerusalem; and they shall be My people, and I will be their God in truth and righteousness. Zechariah 8:8
When Peggy’s missionary husband was killed by a Philippine jeepney, she grieved. In the Philippines the person who causes a death is imprisoned until the matter is resolved. Peggy knew the driver’s family would go hungry without his income. Despite her pain, she asked a church member to go to the police station to have the jeepney driver released.
The next night during her husband’s viewing the jeepney driver arrived to thank Peggy for her thoughtfulness. She told him she did not blame him for her husband’s death and that she hoped he would come to know Jesus Christ as His Savior.
The next Sunday the man arrived at church with his family. His wife and mother sobbed their gratitude to Peggy. Each Sunday following the jeepney driver brought his family and friends to church in the same vehicle that had killed Peggy’s husband. A few weeks later, they all accepted Jesus Christ as their Savior.
Despite intense sorrow, Peggy forgave the driver who had caused her husband’s death. This, in turn, enabled him to understand the love of Jesus.
When God forgave the people of Jerusalem, they turned from sin and idolatry to live in peace and honesty. God gave us the supreme example of forgiveness when He allowed Jesus Christ to die for our sins.
Forgiveness gives people a second chance in life. Is there someone to whom you need to give a second chance?
Prayer: Heavenly Father, the need to forgive is not a natural instinct. Thank you for providing examples for us to follow to accomplish Your will. Thank you for forgiving us daily. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
God’s promises never fail.
In the morning, O LORD, you hear my voice;
in the morning I lay my requests before you
and wait in expectation. Psalm 5:3
A few years ago, I read a book that purported to explain how successful people attained wealth, health, and happiness. The book said the Law of Attraction had enabled people for centuries to secure the way of life most deemed preferable – living well with a healthy body and many assets. But the book’s premise was a challenge. Just by thinking of having good health I could cast off my back problems and headaches? Just by acting confident I could write a best-seller?
For a short while I believed this concept—then gave it up. Nothing had changed in my life. Worse, I felt foolish for thinking a simple book could do what God had already shown me over the course of my life – He would care for my daily needs and forgive me for my sins.
This passage reminds us each day to talk to God about our needs, then wait confidently for Him to act. That is the Law of Attraction for every believer.
Prayer: God, forgive us for looking to others for help and comfort for our troubles. We know You are the ultimate caregiver.
Awake, my glory!
Awake, harp and lyre!
I will awaken the dawn.
Photo by Dave Reusser.
Do you feel full of gratitude upon awaking in the morning or do you wonder how you will get through the day?
My friend, Shirley, didn’t like hearing the birds sing in the morning. She knew if birds were singing, she had gotten drunk during the night. Shirley was an alcoholic. When a jail chaplain introduced Shirley to Jesus Christ, she accepted Him as her Savior.
Shirley attended Bible studies and drug and alcohol classes, eventually kicking her substance-abuse habits. After her release, Shirley found a job where she was promoted twice. Shirley also received an award from her church for excelling in active participation.
Now, instead of hating to hear the birds sing, Shirley feels like singing with them. “I wake up to a new life in Jesus,” she says.
In Ps 57:8 the Psalmist awakens his soul and instruments that they in turn may awaken the morning and the world may be filled with testimony.
Ask God to make each day a fresh experience in trusting Him.
Taken at my brother-in-law’s garden 2013
‘Do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others.’ (Philippians 2:4, New American Standard Bible)
Paul gripped the jail cell’s window bars and looked outside despairingly. He hadn’t meant to get caught selling cocaine. Now he was in prison for who knows how long. He had been studying to be a spiritual medium and figured he’d use the time in jail to learn more about psychic phenomena. The next time his mom called he’d ask her to bring his psychic materials.
Paul looked up and saw two inmates staring at him. One held out his hand. “We wanted to introduce ourselves,” he said. The men began talking to Paul. When they found out his interest in spiritualism, one said he’d once been interested in the same thing. “Then I met Jesus Christ,” he said. He told Paul about accepting Jesus Christ as his savior. Paul listened. He began meeting with the men at a Bible study led by a jail volunteer. While in jail, Paul became a Christian. After his release, Paul married, became a business owner, and a deacon at his church.
Paul’s friends in jail went out of their way to befriend him and lead him to Christ. They could have spent their time reading a Bible or praying. Instead, they put their own needs aside to help someone else.
This is a true story about a man I interviewed for a story in a jail chaplaincy newsletter. The name has been changed, but the miracle is true. Are you brave enough to tell others about God’s love? I have to pray for courage most of the time. Here’s what I say:
Prayer: Lord, I don’t know who or what you want me to minister to today, but I’m sure you will give me an opportunity to do so. Please help me to put aside my own plans and do and say exactly what You want. Amen
Let me know if your witnessing to others has brought them to Christ. I love these kinds of stories! God bless.