Devotional: The Power of a Mighty God

“… the One who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world.” 1 John 4:4 HCSB

the-planets-1-1155812 Satria

Despite my efforts to write a devotional every week, I find I keep coming up short. I loose track of the day. I find something else I need to do. I tell myself I can’t think of anything to write.

I’m not trying to make excuses, but sometimes it seems like I have so much to do, I don’t know where to start, so I don’t get started at all. (Does that make me ADD?)

My goal is not to just feed you spiritually, but to feed myself as well. Somehow, I need to overcome this “slump.” The only person who can help me is Jesus Christ.

In the Bible, there is a story about a man named Jonah. God told him to go to Nineveh and preach. He was to tell them that they faced destruction if they didn’t change their ways. Jonah chose to board a boat headed in the opposite direction than where God told him to go. God sent a storm to threaten the ship. The sailors, in an effort to save themselves, tossed their cargo overboard and struggled to row to shore. When they discovered that God sent the storm because of Jonah, they were very afraid.

Jonah told them to throw him overboard and the storm would stop. At first, they refused. The storm continued, so they prayed asking God to not hold their actions against them. Then they tossed Jonah over. Immediately the storm ceased.

The rest of the story continues: Jonah spent three days in the belly of a whale, God caused the whale to be sick and spit Jonah onto dry land, Jonah walked for days preaching repentance, the people repented and were saved.

All those things that happened, demonstrates the power God has over everything. He is all powerful. And His Spirit lives in me. That tells me that, though the devil keeps distracting me, God will bring me back to His work.

I Praise you, Lord God because you have already overcome the world and everything in it. Keep me focused on Your work. I love you.

Devotional: 9 Ways to Help Natural Disaster Victims

What has been is what will be,
and what has been done is what will be done;
there is nothing new under the sun.
Ecclesiastes 1:9

imageLet me first say that I’m not an expert on overcoming things out of our control but in light of the natural disaster that happened here in Louisiana, I thought I would share a few thoughts.

It can feel devastating to some who have lost mementos of memories; pictures of great-great grandparents or baby clothes held onto for grandchildren. It can be hard to move past the effects, but it can be done over time.

There is one thing that may help to remember and that is: “there is nothing new under the sun.” (Ecclesiastes 1:9c HCSB) In the past, there have been floods, fires, hurricanes, tornadoes, and many other natural disasters. This means you are not alone. Someone has been in a similar situation. There are people around you who have a good idea of what you’re going through.

If you know someone who has been through a natural disaster and you want to help but don’t know how, here is a list to consider:

  1. Pray for them.
  2. Pray asking God what He wants you to do.
  3. Go through your closets; yours, your spouse’s, your children’s.
  4. imageIf you have the time and/or ability help clean up, move out, and/or build.
  5. Prepare meals to give away if that’s what you’re good at.
  6. Some churches and organizations put meals together either to be picked up or delivered. You can spend time helping with that.
  7. Care packages could be put together. You could do that on your own or with a group, organization, or church.
  8. Some churches and organizations collected school supplies, cleaning supplies, and bottled water. If you have the means, buy extra of these items to give away.
  9. If your time can’t be given to any of these endeavors, give a donation if you can.

As you can see there are quite a few things that can be done to help. These are only a few of the things that were done here in Louisiana. I have to admit that I’m proud of what I saw my community do. I heard several stories that went beyond the list above.

My favorite story comes from a friend of mine. She and her husband are barbers. Many of their clients are in the military. When the flood waters rose, the military was called as first responders. One of my friend’s customers was videoed rescuing a man by helicopter at the same time his own home was being flooded. He was not able to go check on it until he could be relieved from duty.

When the flood waters receded, my church sent out crews to help clean up homes. My friend put her customer’s name on the list but there were so many homes that it would be a while.
By the end of the week, my friend and her husband were going to help after work, but before the day was over his home was taken care of. Now for my favorite part: when a local bank found out that while he was rescuing others as  his own home flooded, they decided to go clean up his home for him. They did such a thorough job, too. They sanitized the baby’s high chair, cleaned and packed all the dishes, and washed and packed all the clothes.

There is something wonderful in the act of helping and receiving. Everyone benefits.

Lord, I understand that bad things happen beyond my control, but it’s sometimes just the way of things. I believe with all my heart that You don’t want these things to happen, but when they do You will protect me and not let more than I can handle happen.

Devotional: The True Battle

For our battle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the world powers of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavens. This is why you must take up the full armor of God, so that you may be able to resist in the evil day, and having prepared everything, to take your stand. (Ephesians 6:12-13)

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When I read these verses, I am reminded of something that happened in 2 Kings 6, starting in verse 8. It is one of the many stories told about Elisha. He was a great prophet and God did many amazing things through him.

One day, the Aramean king wanted Elisha dead. He sent a massive army. When Elisha’s servant got up that morning, he saw the city surrounded. He was afraid and asked, “What are we to do?” Look at Elisha’s reply:

16Elisha said, “Don’t be afraid, for those who are with us outnumber those who are with them.”

If this prophet had said that to me I hope I would have been comforted, especially after seeing the many things he did. But, apparently, Elisha took his servants concerns very seriously. He prayed for the servant asking God for something specific:

17Then Elisha prayed, “Lord, please open his eyes and let him see.” He looked and saw that the mountain was covered with horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha.

Part of me thinks I would have been freaked out if I looked and saw horses and chariots literally on fire surrounding the army that was surrounding the city. I’m sure I’d find myself on my knees thanking God for being on my side.

The fact is, as a believer in Christ Jesus, I do have God on my side. Does that mean my life will be hunky-dory forever? No, certainly not. As I said last week, we go through trials to make us stronger, but, as a child of God, I have the assurance that God will take care of me and things will work out the way he wants.

Thank you, Lord, for taking care of me even when it doesn’t seem like life is going the way it should. I praise You because You are always in control.