Author Topic: Devotion  (Read 4387 times)

Raven

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Re: Devotion
« Reply #90 on: June 09, 2019, 09:32:12 pm »
Avoiding Burnout
Mar 06, 2019 | Sharon Jaynes

Today's Truth

Then Jesus said, “Let’s go off by ourselves to a quiet place and rest awhile.”  Mark 6:31  Friend to Friend

I sat on the edge of my seat as I watched my son’s first track meet. The crowd was abuzz as moms and dads chatted, waiting for their teens to dash, sprint, or endure the eight laps of the 3200-meter race. But when the  boys lined up for the hurdles event, the visiting stopped and the crowd watched with rapt attention.  Why?

In the hurdles event, the stakes were higher. It became less about who would win, and more about who would gracefully leap and clear the metal roadblocks or tip and topple over the intentional barriers.  Hurdles they are not simply found on the asphalt of track and field but also in the great race called life. As women, we struggle finding balance with our many roles and responsibilities. Our flame of enthusiasm begins to diminish when we are doing more than God intended or when we are doing what God intended, but on our own strength rather than His.  In the Bible we see many who experienced times of burnout. After Jonah’s miraculous delivery from the big fish and prophetic announcement to the people of Nineveh, he sank into a depression and wanted to die. “Now, Lord, take away my life,” he cried. “For it is better for me to die than to live.” (Jonah 4:3).

After Elijah destroyed 850 false prophets and called down fire from heaven that miraculously burned up sacrifices to Baal, the fire in his own life went dim (1 Kings 18-19). And yet, after it was over, he wanted to quit. Elijah prayed, “I have had enough, LORD. Take my life” (1 Kings 19:4).

How do we avoid those same feelings of burnout, even after a great success?

The first step is to realize that it can happen and does happen to the best of us. Burnout is real. We can run out of steam and lose our drive.  What was God’s response to Elijah’s cry to quit?

Let’s take a look at 1 Kings 19. I suggest you pull out your Bible and follow along.

•   He allowed Elijah to sleep (19:5)–rest.
•   He sent an angel to provide food for him to eat (19:5)–refreshment
•   He allowed Elijah to sleep again (19:6)–more rest
•   He sent an angel to provide food for him to eat again (19:7)–refreshment
•   He caused Elijah to ponder what he was doing: “What are you doing here?” (19:9)–reflection
•   He spoke to Elijah personally (19:11)–response
•   He caused Elijah to ponder what he was doing, again. “What are you doing here?” (19:13)–reflection
•   He told Elijah what to do next (19:15)–redirection
•   He showed Elijah whom He had appointed to help him (19:16)–reinforcement

Even Jesus had to take time to rest, refresh, reflect, respond, redirect, and gather reinforcement. The Bible tells us this about Jesus: “Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place where he prayed” (Mark 1:35 NIV).

Early in the morning Jesus went off by Himself and spent time alone with His heavenly Father. Interestingly, Simon and his companion interrupted Jesus’ time of prayer.  “Everyone is looking for you!” they exclaimed. (I’ve been there. I bet you have too.)

The day before, Jesus had healed many men and women. No doubt, the disciples and the townspeople wanted Him to return to perform more miracles. But Jesus had a different idea. ”Let us go somewhere else to the nearby villages so I can preach there also,” He said.  "That is why I have come.”

I love that Jesus said “no” to a good thing so that he could say “yes” to the best thing. That is the bull’s eye to avoiding burnout. But how do you know when to say no?

He prayed.  If you’re feeling a bit burned out today: Consider the following.

•   Rest often. (God rested on the seventh day.)
•   Refresh with proper diet.
•   Re-evaluate priorities and responsibilities on a regular basis (monthly).
•   Relegate and delegate.
•   Review commitments regularly (monthly).
•   Resist saying “yes” to demands and requests that do not line up with what God has called you to do.
•   Resist being ruled by your schedule and allow for divine appointments from God that may not be on your schedule.
•   Remove superfluous activities that interfere with or choke out God’s agenda.
•   Refocus on what God has called you to do rather than what others would like for you to do.
•   Remain in close and constant communion with God.

Sweetpea

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Re: Devotion
« Reply #91 on: June 13, 2019, 09:03:16 pm »
Fear Has a Really Big Mouth
Mar 07, 2019 | Gwen Smith

Today's Truth

Friend to Friend

I often try to quiet fear by pretending it doesn’t exist. Clever  I know. But alas, it does exist and that’s not always a bad thing. To the contrary, it can actually keep us safe in proper context. When my house was struck  by lightning and lit with fire, fear sounded an emotional alarm, insisting that I escape and fast. In this instance, fear was good. It kept me safe.  In many instances, however, fear is not good. I’ve found that while it’s natural to be afraid at times human, even it’s best to not allow feelings of fear to consume and control large spaces of real estate in my heart. In Psalm 56, David handles the intersection of his fear and faith nicely.  In Psalm 56, captured by the Philistines in Gath, and in Psalm 57, hiding in a cave to escape the pursuit of Saul, David sifted through honest feelings of vulnerability and desperation. I imagine his reality was one of shaky hands, pulse raging wild and brows soaked in sweat. Yet fear was silenced as he made the powerful decision to redirect his emotions toward a more productive, more faith-filled response when David chose to trust God.  By choosing to trust God in the hiding and in the chains, David’s fear shifted to faith.  Faith shuts the mouth of fear.  “When I am afraid, I will trust you.” (Psalm 56:3, CSB)

“You yourself have recorded my wanderings. Put my tears in your bottle. Are they not in your book? Then my enemies will retreat on the day when I call. This I know: God is for me.” (Psalm 56:8-9, CSB)

These weren’t just flippant statements or memorized verses. These were sturdy declarations. Deliberate choices made by a deeply determined worshiper. The kind of choices that change and calm a frantic heart. The kind of choices that speak peace to anxiousness. The kind of choices we can make when we’re afraid. The kind of choice we can make when fear screams loud within.  Bring it. Fear is a liar. We can choose faith, knowing God is for us. Decision made.

Willow

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Re: Devotion
« Reply #92 on: June 27, 2019, 09:57:14 pm »
Are You Emotionally Crippled?
Mar 13, 2019 | Sharon Jaynes

Today's Truth

“Woman, you are released [set free] from your infirmity!  (Luke 13:12 AMPC, note added)

Friend to Friend

I was riding down the crowded streets of Mexico City in a cab when I saw her. She measured about four feet high, back curved, bent at the waist at a ninety-degree angle, and fingers gnarled and twisted shut. Like an  upside-down chair, her face was parallel to the dirty sidewalk. Feet. Dirt. Trash. That was her view of the world. She shuffled alongside our car as we inched through the congested traffic. I saw her, but she did not see me. She could not see me. She just saw feet.  Sharon, look at my daughter, God seemed to say. When you read about the woman with the crippled back, never again see her as a character in a story. See her as you see this woman now. Flesh and blood. Real and relevant. My daughter. Your sister.  God reminded me once again that the women we read about in the Bible were real people just like you and me. We must never forget that. Today, let’s look at the woman with the crippled back in Luke 13:10-17. And while we might not be able to relate to being crippled physically, most of us can relate to being crippled emotionally. We see feet people passing by going about their busy lives. We see dirt the mistakes we’ve made through the years. We see trash the pain inflicted on us by others and many times by our own poor decisions.  Jesus said, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls” (Matthew 11:28-29).

Rest for our souls. Isn’t that what we all want?

Like the woman with the crippled back, we may have “a spirit of infirmity,” a sickness of the soul. That is an interesting way to explain her illness. More than just a crippled back, her spirit was crippled as well.  Linda Hollies, in her book, Jesus and Those Bodacious Women brings this point home.  “There are many spirits that can cause you to walk around in a bent over state. They might be your color, your gender, your age, your marital state, your family, or they could be abuse, injustice, resentment, oppression, despair, loneliness, your economic state, or even a physical challenge. It makes no difference what has hurt you in the past, it makes no difference how old you were when the trauma affected your life, and it makes no difference what your wealth, position, or status is. For the evil one comes to steal, kill, and destroy and each one of us is a candidate for being bent and bowed.”

Bent and bowed. The weight of the world on our shoulders. Little by little. Day by day. Heaviness too difficult to bear. A spirit of infirmity.  Crippled by shame, fear, pain, disappointment, depression, poverty, insecurity, inferiority, inadequacy, broken dreams. Satan, the one who orchestrates the spirit of infirmity, wants to cripple us into inactivity so that our walk becomes a shuffle. Our voice becomes a whisper. Our vision becomes a blur.  Who put the chains on this woman in the first place?

Jesus said Satan had her bound (Luke 13:16). In reality, all sickness was ushered into the world when Adam and Eve believed Satan’s lie over God’s truth and ate the forbidden fruit.  For the thirty-three years that Jesus walked the earth, He was in a life-and-death struggle with evil. John tells us that the reason Jesus came was to destroy the devil’s work (1 John 3:8). The battleground is the world and humans are the pawns of the evil one. Note the language: “locked up” and “set free.”  This is about much more than physical healing. It is about spiritual freedom. And when Jesus said on the cross, “It is finished,” it was.

Now, because of Jesus’ victory over the enemy through His death and resurrection, we are more than conquerors through faith in Him
Don’t miss this. Jesus said, “Woman, you are set free from your infirmity.”

There are those words again set free. The words paint a picture of chains and manacles falling from a prisoner’s shackled body. Another translation says it this way, “Woman, you are released from your infirmity!” (Luke 13:12 AMPC).

The irons of oppression that held her prisoner to this crippled frame gave way and fell at Jesus’ feet as He unlocked the chains that had her bound.  Jesus came to set us free, and that freedom comes in many forms. Whatever Satan is using to bind you, Jesus came to free you. Free from and free to. I can’t say that enough. For far too long we’ve looked at freedom only in terms of what we are free from. But freedom encompasses so much more than a shedding of chains. Jesus set us free to live the abundant life by being all that He has created us to be and accomplishing all that He has planned for us to do. Setting her straight (literally) was only the beginning for her.

Pip

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Re: Devotion
« Reply #93 on: July 07, 2019, 09:53:15 pm »
Permission to Speak Freely
Mar 14, 2019 | Gwen Smith

Today's Truth

Cast your burden on the Lord, and he will sustain you; he will never allow the righteous to be shaken.   (Psalm 55:22, CSB)

Friend to Friend

I like to filter things. Get the junk out. Keep it pure. I have a filter for water on my counter and on my refrigerator. I replace them regularly. It makes me feel safe.  My fondness for filtering often flows over into the prayers I pray. I search for cleaned up words when I talk to God. Unconsciously believing He’ll like me better if my thoughts, emotions and desires run through a “good-Christian-girl” screen. It makes me feel safe.  Then I see David all up in the mess with God in Psalm 54 and I’m challenged again.  David prays unfiltered. He’s brutally honest with God. In a way I admire but hesitate to emulate. He doesn’t clean up his God-talk. He spills it. Sediment and all. I see this in the Word and my heart breathes.  We can speak freely even when our hearts grind with grit because Jesus is our freedom. We can enter into the dirt of others because He has entered into ours.  It’s good for me to drink filtered water and to filter the words that leave my mouth in conversation, but the words I speak to my Lord don’t need filtering. God can handle my honesty: good, bad and ugly. He needs me to relinquish the ugly in order to transform my heart. There are lessons to be learned in the filtering and un-filtering. In the freedom and in the restraint.  David wrote Psalm 55 in another time of distress.  God, listen to my prayer and do not hide from my plea for help.  2 Pay attention to me and answer me.  I am restless and in turmoil with my complaint, 3 because of the enemy’s words, because of the pressure of the wicked.  For they bring down disaster on me and harass me in anger.  (Psalm 55:1-3, CSB)

He prays that God would show him mercy, talks of his sorrows and fears. He asks God to take action, assuring himself that God would, in due time, take care of business.  But I call to God, and the Lord will save me.  17 I complain and groan morning, noon, and night, and he hears my voice.  18 Though many are against me, he will redeem me from my battle unharmed.  (Psalm 55:16-18, CSB)

He comforts himself with the hopes of divine rescue, and then points others to trust the Rescuer. His heart burns with the ache of things not being as they should laments the reality of broken life.  Finally, David assures himself that God will make all wrong right in the end.  Cast your burden on the Lord, and he will sustain you; he will never allow the righteous to be shaken. (Psalm 55:22, CSB)

God lovingly sustains each weary heart that calls to Him, and picks up the heavy end of our burdens to lighten the load.  And He holds tight to His own so they won’t shake.  What a powerful, beautiful, strong picture of His love.  In the shelter of His everlasting arms, we can pray unfiltered, ask hard questions and seek comfort from a God who understands pain, knows all and loves perfectly. We can trust Him.

Pip

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Re: Devotion
« Reply #94 on: July 10, 2019, 11:26:21 pm »
Stop Looking Around
Mar 18, 2019 | Gwen Smith

Today's Truth

Don’t turn to the right or to the left.  (Proverbs 4:27, CSB)

Friend to Friend

Knowing her soul was filled with sorrow, I sent my girlfriend a few texts with links to worship songs, hoping they would cushion her grieving heart with comfort. A while later she responded. Listening and worshiping. I  have death certificates and head stones here, but we know that he has eternal life and the glory of God all around him. For that, I will ever praise the Lord.  The funeral had passed, but the sting of the death was still fresh and fierce. At the hand of a tragic, senseless accident, her young-adult son was gone in an instant. Shockwaves of horror ripped through the community, leaving thousands with a raw reminder of the frailty of life.  One treasure in the darkness of this horrific loss is this: my friend grieves with hope. (1 Thessalonians 4:13) She and her family lament knowing full well that the ashes of death for a believer transition to the perfect beauty of God’s presence.  Faith in Jesus breathes hope. Life eternal.  Faith in riches wealth things of earth breathes hopelessness and death. And sadly, many among us place earthly treasures above the unsearchable greatness of God. The Word speaks directly to this in Psalm 49.  “For all can see that the wise die, that the foolish and the senseless also perish, leaving their wealth to others.” (Psalm 49:10)

It’s said there are two things no one can avoid: death and taxes.  Psalm 49 gets a bit icky by tabling the uncomfortable topic of the unavoidable date we all have with death. The questions that rise in my heart as I read Psalm 49 are ones of trust. Will I trust in my position, my possessions, and myself or will I trust in God?

Will I trust that God really is who His Word says He is?

“People, despite their wealth, do not endure; they are like the beasts that perish. This is the fate of those who trust in themselves, and of their followers, who approve their sayings.” (Psalm 49:12-13)

I’m reminded to stop looking around at the blessings or wealth of others.  “Don’t turn to the right or to the left; keep your feet away from evil.” (Proverbs 4:27)

Ain’t no Uhaul following a hearse, right?

Worldly prosperity versus godly prosperity?

Trust in yourself or trust in God?

As believers, we can trust that God will redeem every ounce of pain when our last day comes. And when that happens, we won’t care anymore about the trappings of this world. We will finally be at peace.  Those who misplace their trust in wealth do not know this hope.  With this in mind, let’s keep our eyes on what matters and live boldly today to share the wonder of grace with all we meet.

Pip

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Re: Devotion
« Reply #95 on: July 10, 2019, 11:40:24 pm »
A Winner in God’s Eyes
Mar 19, 2019 | Mary Southerland

Today's Truth

I am the vine, and you are the branches. If any remain in me and I remain in them, they produce much fruit. But without me they can do nothing.  (John 15:5, NCV)

Friend to Friend

Who says dreams don’t come true?

My son grew up with one dream in mind to play college football. That dream came true. Jered was the starting fullback on his college football team thanks to an academic and  football scholarship. (Of course, I taught him everything he knew!) When college football scouts from all over the country began to recruit Jered, I discovered it was quite a process. Football scouts keep track of the statistics on high school players, watching certain ones for three and four years. College coaches show up at high school games to talk with high school coaches and watch their potential players in action. Letters start filling the mail box along with promotional material for their college football programs. Then the phone calls begin.  When the players are high school seniors, the process becomes even more intense. The college scouts request game film highlights, academic transcripts, detailed applications and teacher recommendations. They meet with the high school players themselves, inviting them to visit the college campus for a weekend. After months of “courting,” the final phase begins. The students narrow down their college choices as the college scouts do the same. At some point, each one makes a choice and the dance is over. During the entire process, both the college recruiter and the student athlete have one thing in mind making the best choice because both want to be on a winning team. Life is much the same.  If I were running the world, I would assemble a team of winners, choosing the smartest, brightest, most experienced, most talented, wealthiest and most successful as members of my team. But there is a God and, thankfully, I am not Him.  God has written a different plan for the most important invasion of all time. It is the plan of invading Satan’s territory Earth and retaking it under the banner of His son, Jesus Christ. And just look at His choice of recruits for the job the weak, the poor, the broken and sick, the lonely and defeated. God chose the most ordinary people to accomplish the most extraordinary deeds.  Why would God choose flawed people to do His most important work?

The answer is a very simple and yet profound spiritual principle.  God’s power shows up best in broken people.  Do you want to be used by God?

I have good news. God wants to use you. In fact, He will use you because that is His plan and has been all along. When we pray for the Lord to use us, we are asking Him to do something He already wants to do. Perhaps our prayer should be, “Lord, make me usable.”

Only He can fully prepare us for service. It is not our ability that the Father is concerned with it is our availability. Today, celebrate the truth that God chose you for His team and even now is preparing you for the game of life.

Charlie

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Re: Devotion
« Reply #96 on: August 06, 2019, 08:21:03 pm »
Our God of Second Chances
Apr 03, 2019 | Sharon Jaynes

Today's Truth

“But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him.”  Luke 15:20 NIV

Friend to Friend

Perhaps one of the most memorable and heart-touching stories of grace and forgiveness is recorded in Luke 15. It’s what we’ve come to know as the Story of the Prodigal Son. This young man demanded his inheritance while his  father was still alive, spent it all on riotous living, and found himself dirty, destitute, and despairing. As despicable as pigs were to Jews, this young man took a job taking care of pigs and eating their food just to stay alive. But then he had an epiphany.  “When he came to his senses, he said, ‘How many of my father’s hired men have food to spare, and here I am starving to death. I will set out and go back to my father and say to him: Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son; make me like one of your hired men.’ So he got up and went to his father” (Luke 15:17-20).

And where was his father?

He was panning the horizon, hoping for a sign that his boy might return home. Don’t let the depth of that sentence pass you by. The father was PANNING the horizon. Looking. Waiting. Praying.  It is easy to think that God is dispassionately sitting on his throne just waiting for us to come groveling back to him. That’s not the picture Jesus paints at all. The father was panning the horizon. Searching. Pacing. Expectant. That’s how much your heavenly father loves you. There’s nothing passive about it.  While “he was still a long way off” (verse 20), the father spotted his son on the horizon. Filled with compassion, he picked up the edges of his robe and ran. He didn’t wait for his son to come to him, grovel at his feet, and beg for forgiveness. No, as soon as the father caught a glimpse of his son, he dashed toward his boy, smothered him with kisses, and welcomed him home.  If you remember, not everyone was happy when the prodigal son returned. His big brother resented the fact that he got another chance. And you know what?

There will be those who resent the fact that we get another chance as well.  “Big brother won’t mind if you come back as long as you hang your head and wear your shame. But when God has the audacity to give you a little dignity back and you dare lift your radiant face to heaven in liberated praise, big brother may be appalled!  It’s pride that can’t celebrate with a prodigal-come-home. Folks who won’t celebrate are still kidding themselves into thinking they did something right to be loved by their Father.”11

I say, let him be appalled. Nothing makes some people angrier than grace. Big brother is invited to the party too, and it’s his decision whether or not he wants to join in the celebration. I’m just glad he’s not the one in charge.  Jesus was telling this story to a group of Pharisees while others also listened in. The typical question asked when telling this story is, are you the prodigal son or the big brother. But here’s where I want you to hang your hat today. Jesus loved both. The prodigal and the big brother. The sinner and the Pharisee. You and me. He pans the horizon looking for all to come to Him. And when we do He says: Let the party begin!

Charlie

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Re: Devotion
« Reply #97 on: August 06, 2019, 08:33:36 pm »
Get Over Yourself, Already!
Apr 04, 2019 | Gwen Smith

Today's Truth

Jabez called upon the God of Israel, saying, “Oh that you would bless me and enlarge my border...”  1 Chronicles 4:10 ESV

Friend to Friend

Years ago I worked with a woman in Nashville named Cindy. She was a no-nonsense publisher for a major music company. Each month she listened to the songs I wrote and gave honest, constructive feedback that required this  songwriter-chick to have thick skin and wear big-girl-panties. She was salt and light to me in the work place, but not in ways that I expected or necessarily appreciated at the time.  I didn’t always love what she had to say.  Total honesty?

She. Scared. Me. Silly.  I wrestled with her strong, bristly opinions while at the same time grew from the pruning of her wise, professional words. She challenged me toward greater excellence and she wasn’t afraid to speak difficult words of truth.  One thing I will never forget: as she listened to the new songs I wrote, she regularly insisted that I was a “worship leader/worship writer” instead of a Contemporary Christian Music (CCM) writer/artist. Drove me bananas because I was SURE I was a CCM writer/artist.  Over the years, Cindy and I became friends and eventually, I came to realize that she was right. I am a worship leader and worship writer. And it’s not only who I am, it’s who I always was. Even when I didn’t know it and insisted otherwise.  Cindy died in her early fifties.  Cancer stole her from us.  A few nights before she went on to be with the Lord, a large group of Nashville’s finest songwriters gathered at her bedside to celebrate her life that was salty and bright for Jesus. To thank her for her impact, share stories, and sacredly sing her to the other side of glory. A knot held my throat captive as I watched the gathering online via video. What a legacy. Cindy poured wisdom into so many people, she said and did things that caused others to think big thoughts about God, and spurred them on toward excellence.  She lived a life of influence because she was intentional about being salt and light in my life and in the lives of many others.  I want to die like that.  I want to live like that.  Don’t you?

In the Bible, a man named Jabez asked God for all the influence God would give him. Jabez called upon the God of Israel, saying, “Oh that you would bless me and enlarge my border, and that your hand might be with me, and that you would keep me from harm so that it might not bring me pain!” And God granted what he asked” (1 Chronicles 4:10).

Jabez wanted to live with impact to the max.  He pleaded to be a difference maker. I’m right there with him.  We all have influence. The question is will we use our influence to sway our friends toward an awesome movie or will we influence them toward our awesome God?

Will we choose to live in a way that causes our unbelieving neighbor or co-worker to want to hear more about Jesus?

Will we teach a young wife to understand how to respect her husband, or help a young mom realize that God is honored when she nurtures her demanding, thankless children?

Will we help the weary parent of a prodigal see that her child’s rebellion is not her failure and not her child’s final faith chapter?

It all begins with a choice.  If we want to be women of impact, we need to live with our eyes wide open to God-opportunities.  We need to get beyond our own agendas and move in the direction of HIS agenda.  It is not about doing more of what you are already doing it is about listening to the whispers of Jesus in the middle of the grocery store, or at the nail salon, or in your cubicle, in the next pew, in your living room, or classroom.  Being a woman of impact is not about doing more each day, it’s about living to be led by Jesus with the days you’re given.  It all begins with a choice.  If we want to be women of impact, we need to live with our eyes wide open to God-opportunities. We do that when we get beyond our own agendas and ask God what HIS agenda is. Let’s ask God to bless us and enlarge the borders of our influence for Him today!

Pip

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Re: Devotion
« Reply #98 on: August 07, 2019, 08:08:57 pm »
The Gift of Giving Part 1
Apr 05, 2019 | Mary Southerland

Today's Truth

Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.  Luke 6:38, NIV

Friend to Friend

My requirements for a car are simple and few. It has to run. And it has to have both air and heat. I don’t like car payments. Cars are not my “thing.”  onsequently, we have bought many used cars and have even been given a few  cars over the years. We drive them until they die. And then God provides another car.  A year ago, the car I was driving died. Since it was the beginning of summer and Dan was scheduled to have a month sabbatical in addition to his month of study and vacation time, we decided to wait on making a car decision. We could make it a few months with one car or in our case, one truck.  I had one last speaking engagement to do for a friend, but since the event was within driving distance, we decided to combine it with a trip to Texas to visit family. It was one of those events the Lord told me to do for free. The church was small, and the friend was starting a women’s ministry in a small Kansas town that had literally been blown away by tornadoes several years earlier. I really wanted to help and encourage her in any way that I could.  The plan was simple. Dan and I would drive his truck to Wichita, Kansas and fly to Texas to visit family for several days. We would then fly back to Wichita and drive to Greensburg for my event and then drive home. Simple right?

Not so much.  When we got to the Dallas airport, we discovered that our flight to Wichita was booked for 10:00 pm instead of 10:00 am. You need to know that my husband has booked hundreds of flights over the years and never made that mistake. Since I had to be in Greensburg that night, we rented a car and drove to Wichita where we turned in the rental car and climbed in Dan’s truck.  About an hour down the road, the air in Dan’s truck went out. It was a hot summer’s day. The temperature in Dan’s truck began to climb. When it reached 92 degrees, I began to boil.  I am already calculating how much this “free” event is costing. Yes, I am very human. I have severe back problems. We had already stopped twice between Dallas and Wichita to buy giant bags of frozen peas. They really do work well as ice packs. So my back is killing me, I am sweating like crazy, and well let’s just say that I am not a happy camper at this point of our “free” event trip.  We found an auto parts store in a small town and decided to see if they could help us. It is 4:50 pm on Friday afternoon. Maybe all the truck needs is Freon! The store owner comes out, raises the truck hood, shakes his head and says, “Freon is not gonna fix that!”

Evidently some belt had shredded which meant some rocker arm had frozen. As I said, cars are not my “thing.”  With a smile, he said, “Pull her around back, and we will see what we can do.”

I am thinking he can’t do much. The store is about the size of my kitchen and sits in a town in the middle of nowhere. I am such a giant of faith!  But I did manage to eek out a prayer, “Lord, please send angels with the parts we need!”

Only a few minutes had passed before the store owner came walking toward us with a grin on his face. As he blew the dust off of two boxes, he said, “Well, what do you know? I do have those parts.”

God came through!  And then the whispers of the enemy also came through. I could only imagine how much the parts and labor would cost. The expenses for this “free” event continued to add up. A rental car two giant bags of peas and the now repaired air conditioner on Dan’s truck.  When the parts were installed and we were ready to leave, the store owner handed Dan the bill. A look of surprise or maybe shock covered Dan’s face. I couldn’t bear to ask until we got in the truck and drove away.  “How much was it, honey?” I asked.

Dan smiled and said, “About a fourth of what I expected it to cost.”

We drove in silence for a few minutes basking in the perfect provision of God for every need of our lives even when our faith is pitifully small. You just can’t out-give God.  Don’t miss the rest of the story in my next devotion. As my Mama used to say, it is a “humdinger!”

Pip

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Re: Devotion
« Reply #99 on: August 07, 2019, 08:29:32 pm »
The Gift of Giving Part 2
Apr 08, 2019 | Mary Southerland

Today's Truth

I will provide for their needs before they ask, and I will help them while they are still asking for help.   Isaiah 65:24, NCV

Friend to Friend

Despite a very shaky start, the weekend could not have gone any better! (If you have not read yesterday’s devotion, stop where you are. Go back and read it now!)  Dan and I finally made it to Greensburg for my speaking event and checked into our hotel only to discover that the air conditioning in our room did not work.

1.   Did. Not. Care.
I was so tired that I literally climbed into bed and pleaded with my sweet husband to just deal with it. He did. I vaguely remember the maintenance man kicking the air conditioning unit in our room, and the unit coming to life. Go God!  And God was all over the event from beginning to end. I totally forgot about my hurting back the minute I began to speak. Every time I gave an invitation, women flooded the aisles. I talked and prayed with woman after woman all seeking God and His power to redeem, heal, and restore. It was an amazing day!  I even managed to forget about the fact that this “free” event had gouged an unexpected hole in our finances. I shakily chose to trust God.  The next day I spoke for the church where my friend and her husband pastor. I noticed her look of concern when I hobbled in and assured her that I would be fine. I then turned to Dan and quietly pleaded, “Do you have a sermon in your pocket?”

He smiled and said, “You’ve got this, honey.”

I did not care for his faith in me at that moment. But when I got up to speak, God did indeed come through again. It was a precious service and a time of eternal business with God.  On the way home, Dan and I talked and laughed about the whole weekend from the minute we stepped up to the airport counter to the air going out in his truck and that funny little auto parts store. We then celebrated all that God had done in the lives of the people who came to hear His Word and were forever changed through His power.  “Oh, did you check your money pouch?” Dan asked.

I had honestly not even thought about it. I had only brought a minimum number of books and CDs to sell and really did not expect much.
And that was my problem my pitiful expectations my meager faith.  We serve a God who can do a whole lot when we expect Him to. When I counted the money, I could not believe it. We had just enough to cover all of our expenses for the whole weekend! We partied all the way home!  But there is more.  When we got home, pulled in our driveway, and opened the garage door, Dan said, “Uh, honey, I think you need to go in the garage.”

Now that was strange. Dan had just told me to stay put while he unloaded the truck and opened the door. Yes I had a frozen bag of peas that still had a little life left in it. But I got out of the truck and went in the garage and promptly started screaming!  There sat a 2004 silver Honda Pilot. The car was in mint condition. The dealership papers said it had new tires, a new transmission, and a new timing belt. The car was a lease and had been perfectly maintained. And it had a third row big enough for all of our grandchildren!  The note on the windshield said it was a gift from the men in Dan’s fireside group. Three months earlier, they had noticed the absence of my old car and asked Dan about it. That’s all.  And now the note read, “It is unacceptable for our pastor’s wife to not have a car. We want you to know how much we love you.”

And there were no names except for the one man who had to title the car. I had no idea who to thank.  Oh, but I did.  My Father had worked through the willing hearts of some precious men to meet a need in my life. So I named the car Gracie. And every time I get behind the wheel of Gracie, I am reminded that no matter how hard we try, we simply cannot out-give God.  I want to live my life with open hands, dusty feet, calloused knees, and rolled-up sleeves. I want to be a generous giver. I may not have much money, but I can give what I have. I can give my time and energy my love and concern a listening ear and a caring heart. I can give my life.