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

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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.

Why Have Struggles

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He took him outside and said, “Look at the sky and count the stars, if you are able to count them.” Then He said to him, “Your offspring will be that numerous.” (Genesis 15:5 HCSB)

“Let it go.”

“What will be will be.”

“It will all work out in the end.”

Have you ever had anyone say these things to you? Do you say this to others? I have to answer yes to both questions.

I know these phrases are meant to be helpful and they are. But, I’m going to be honest and admit that a small part of me find it aggravating. So, I have to ask myself “Why?” The answer; because that small part of me doesn’t want to “Let it go.” I’m afraid what will be isn’t what I want it to be, and it works out all wrong.

Really, those phrases sound like we are leaving it all up to chance. Or, that it all depend on destiny. As a Christian, I don’t believe in chance, luck, or destiny. I believe God has a perfect plan for me but gives me the choice to choice the plan as He has written or to make my own. The problem with me is this; I am not perfect and my plan isn’t going to be as good as His.

So, when I let worry in and I don’t want to “Let it go,” what am I really telling God? The answer: I don’t trust You to work it out and I am impatient for Your promises.

But, why is life such a struggle sometimes?

In Genesis 15, God promised Abram (later renamed Abraham) that he would have offspring as numerous as the stars. Abram and his wife, Sarai, (later renamed Sarah) didn’t have any children at the time. Abram questioned God, but He promised that his descendants would one day own the land from “the brook of Egypt to the Euphrates River.”

What is interesting is that God tells Abram that he will have more descendants than he can count, but they will spend 400 years in slavery. He was given a promise and was told the struggle that would occur before the promise would be fulfilled.

All he had to focus on was the promise. Yet, he and his wife had to wait for the promise despite not having any kids. Sometimes the waiting is the struggle.

Sarai got impatient. She had a slave named Hagar. She talked Abram in taking her slave as a wife so she could have a family through her slave. Abram did. When Hagar discovered she was pregnant she was disrespectful to Sarai. In turn, Sarai complained to her husband and said, “You are responsible for my suffering!” (Genesis 16:5 HCSB) I find that so hilarious. She was the one who talked him into it but now blamed him.

In the end, Sarai had her son when she was about 90 years old and Abram was 100. It’s hard when we want things to happen now, but sometimes for the promises to be fulfilled, we have to experience the struggles. The struggles make us grow up. We learn from them and become wiser. I’m not sure if Sarai learned anything from the experience but I have. I learned that I need to wait on the Lord and to never doubt. His promises always happen.

Lord, help me to be patient. To work at doing your will and trust that it will work out the way you want. Thank you for the best plan for my life.

Devotional: Room For Christ

IMG_1772 (2)While they were there, the time came for her to give birth. Then she gave birth to her firstborn Son, and she wrapped Him snugly in cloth and laid Him in a feeding trough — because there was no room for them at the lodging place. (Luke 2:6-7 HCSB)

When my kids were still toddlers and I was a stay-at-home mom, I was able to get all my Christmas shopping done before Thanksgiving. I liked doing it too because something would always come up and I would have to get one or two last minute gifts.

Then I joined the workforce and I found myself rushing the last two weeks before the kids got out of school trying to get Christmas done.

But, I don’t really want Christmas to be done. What I really mean is; I want to have the presents buying, presents wrapping, tree decorating, and hot chocolate ready so I can sit on the couch, watch a Christmas movie and anticipate my family’s happy faces as they open their presents.

But is that what Christmas really is about? What have I done to ensure that I haven’t left out Christ in Christmas? Where have I made room for Him?

In Deuteronomy 6:4-9, Moses told the Israelites that “the Lord our God, the Lord is One.” He goes on to say, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength.” Moses tells them to let these word be on your heart. He told them to repeat those words to their children. He said to talk about it everywhere they went, to write it as a sign on their hand, a symbol on their forehead, and write it on the door frame of their house and on their gates.

Yes, I am almost quoting word for word what the Bible says in those verses because I can’t say it any better. I can only explain what I believe it means. I do believe that Moses was being very literal, but I think some of it can also be taken figuratively.

I believe you should literally talk to kids, your family, friends, and anyone you meet about Jesus Christ. It’s not always easy, but asking God for help can making it a little bit easier.

Figuratively speaking, I think it’s okay to wear jewelry that represents Christ. I say okay, only because I don’t wear a lot of jewelry. I think it’s also good to wear clothes that represent Jesus. As a matter of fact, I find it encouraging when I see a complete stranger with a t-shirt that says something good about Christ. You know, something like “He’s the reason for the Season.”

So, what I’ve tried to do to make room for Christ, is to put up a miniature Christmas tree and a little people manger scene in my classroom. When my kids still believed in Santa, I told them they would get a gift from my husband and me, but Santa was only going to give them three gifts because baby Jesus only received three gifts.

Every year my church does a big Christmas production. Since I sing in the choir, I’ve been involved in it for more years than I can remember. My kids have sung in it when they have been in the children’s choir and youth choir. My youngest was also a wise man’s attendant for three years in a row. This year he is too tall.

I want to encourage you to find ways to make room for Christ. Whether that is to put a Christmas wreath on your door, only put Christ related ornaments on your Christmas tree, or find some way to help in your church’s Christmas production.

What have you done to keep Christ in Christmas?

Lord, thank You for this time of year when we can celebrate the coming of Jesus Christ, the Messiah. Help us to make room for Him in our lives, but not to just make room for Him, but to have Him there as a part of our lives during this special season and every day of our lives. Forgive us when we have failed in this and show us what we can do to change.

She wrapped Him snugly in cloth and laid Him in a feeding trough — because there was no room for them at the lodging place. (Luke 2:7 HCSB). Tweet This.

I want the presents buying, wrapping & decorating done so I can drink hot chocolate, watch a Christmas movie & await my family’s happy faces. Tweet This.