Tag Archives: weather

Do You Belong To God?

1 John 4:4

But you belong to God, my dear children. You have already won a victory over those people, because the Spirit who lives in you is greater than the spirit who lives in the world.

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Knowing Whose You Are Changes Everything

OCTOBER 26, 2016

By:  Tim Tebow, proverbs31.org

“I have set the LORD continually before me; Because He is at my right hand, I will not be shaken.” Psalm 16:8 (NASB)

I remember that night like it was yesterday.

I sat numbed, staring at a powered-off TV, replaying a conversation that aired in real life that morning. One that sucker-punched me to the core.

“We’re letting you go,” said the coaches of the New England Patriots, guys I admired and respected. This wasn’t the first time I’d been cut. It was the third time I was told I couldn’t do what I’d dreamed of doing since I was a little boy — play quarterback.

That night, I stared into blank space pleading with God, “I thought we had this. I thought You had a plan in mind! What’s the deal?”

I had no job. No car. No home. And I didn’t have a clue what the future held.

I’m not saying getting cut multiple times from different NFL football teams is the end of the world or the worst thing that can happen to a person, but it shook my identity quite a bit. And it definitely made me wrestle with doubt about God’s plan and purpose for my life.

You may or may not relate to football, but I bet there was a time, or two, in your life when you faced a storm that turned your world upside down. Maybe a dream you worked so hard to fulfill flopped. Or your once rock-solid marriage starting crumbling. Or the cancer came back. Or something you were positive God put on your heart to do didn’t quite turn out the way you expected.

I’ve learned that in these times of disappointment, failure or loss we need to be grounded in our identity in Jesus Christ. Sometimes we cave into cultural or societal pressure and allow the things of this world to define us — like what we look like, what kind of car is parked in our garage, what title we hold at the office, how much money is in our bank account, our marriage, how well our kids are doing, how many followers or likes we have on social media.

But as Jesus followers, none of these things define us. If they did, each one of us would be left questioning our identity, because let’s be real … the material stuff doesn’t last.

Looks fade. Financial situations change. Jobs come and go, friends and followers, too.

So who are we? Maybe the better question is, Whose are we? We are children of God. We were created by Love, in love and for love. And because we belong to Him, we can endure even the toughest of times. This is what our key verse, Psalm 16:8, tells us, “I have set the LORD continually before me; Because He is at my right hand, I will not be shaken.”

When life throws us curve balls or shatters into tiny bits before our eyes, it’s easy to doubt ourselves, God’s plan, even God Himself. But when we’re hurt, disappointed or frustrated by the negative side of thwarted plans, crushed dreams and painful losses, we can still hold on to God’s truth.

We can set the Lord continually before us. We can choose over and over to trust God and believe He’s still got a plan for our lives, even when we don’t have a clue what that is. We may feel shaken by emotions and circumstances, but we’ll always have Someone to hold on to. Someone who will never, ever let us go.

When you know Whose you are, it changes everything.

Dear Jesus, Thank you that You are my Father and I am Your child. Thank You that I am not defined by the world or by others, but by You. Remind me in times of doubt or confusion that You have a plan and a purpose for my life. And that no matter what comes my way, my faith will stand because You will never let me go. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

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Belonging to God’s Family

By: Peter Borgdorff, today.reframemedia.com

 

Scripture Reading — Ephesians 2:19-22

You are no longer foreigners and strangers, but fellow citizens with God’s people …
Ephesians 2:19 —

The need to belong and to be at home in a community is important for all of us. Not to belong to a community is to experience loneliness. A person may have many acquaintances and be involved in a number of organizations, but that’s not the same thing as knowing the feeling of belonging.

Paul assured the early Christians in Ephesus that being “in Christ” through faith also made them part of the community of God’s people and God’s household.

The same is true for us today. Today God’s household is called the church, the family of God. Every one of us who is a follower of Jesus needs to find a home in the church with other believers in Christ.

That’s not always easy. There may have been times—or even right now—when you have felt like a foreigner or a stranger. Perhaps the church you are now familiar with has not been as welcoming as you would have liked. You may even be tempted to give up on it. But a place in God’s household is God’s gift to you. Being part of a church family is a crucial part of your discipleship.

Even as we find our place in God’s family, we likewise need to be agents of welcoming others. The benefit of belonging to a household is a two-way street. Not only are we ourselves blessed, but we are called to be the instrument in God’s hand to welcome others.

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You Are What You Think

By: Joe Stowell, Strength For The Journey

Jul
06
2019

“For as [a person] thinks in his heart, so is he.” Proverbs 23:7 NKJV

I don’t know about you, but some nights I can’t shut down my mind—it races back through the day, scanning my mental hard drive, opening conversation files, viewing jpegs of people’s faces I’ve encountered, and revisiting deleted messages—some good, some bad. Our minds are like a Pentium processor, a powerful piece of technology. In fact, according to God, how you think is really what makes you, you.

One wise king wrote: “As [a person] thinks in his heart, so is he” (Proverbs 23:7 NKJV). What you think about is a wide-open window to what you really believe, trust in, worry about, and even worship. And not everybody has programmed their minds to think alike. Some think truth is relative. Which means that for them there are no absolute truths, so whatever works is just fine—nothing is ever always right or always wrong. Others think that there is no real truth and that truth comes in many shapes and colors. That’s pluralism—many truths exist, and as long as you don’t make me choke on your truth, I won’t force you to swallow mine.

If there is no truth and there are no absolutes, then everybody can do whatever they want to do—welcome to the party with no rules! But you and I know that, ultimately, thoughts managed by relativistic, pluralistic software lead to a zigzagging, crazy, self-seeking, dead-end life where everybody loses, including you.

Thankfully you don’t need to settle for software that doesn’t deliver what it promised. Jesus said, “I am the way and the truth and the life” (John 14:6), and His Word reboots our thinking to align with the way God thinks about all of life. So, install the truth of God’s Word onto the hard drive of your mind. He’ll scan the files of your thoughts, motives, and attitudes and make them completely new. As Paul said, “Be transformed by the renewing of your mind” (Romans 12:2)!

In case you’re still not convinced, remember that God has warned us, “There is a way that seems right to a man, but in the end it leads to death” (Proverbs 16:25). Just because it seems right, doesn’t make it right. Check every thought by the truth that Jesus offers, and when in doubt search His Word.

 

Become A New Creation In Christ

2 Corinthians 5:17

17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come:[a] The old has gone, the new is here!

 

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One of a Kind

By: Gene Markland, cbn1.com

I saw the passing of a famous news reporter become an event covered by all the major news outlets. Her entire professional career was chronicled and displayed for all to see. Her coverage of national and international news became legendary.

Especially remarkable was her assignments to cover no less than 10 United States Presidents. As her fellow journalists gave her accolades, one phrase echoed repeatedly. “She was one of a kind.”

So many unique individuals have come and gone in our lifetime: sports figures, actors, politicians, and explorers, some of whom went to the moon and back. They, the most unique and famous, were all called one of a kind.

Through Bible history, we also learn the stories of other very unique individuals. We discover people such as King David. He was a mighty warrior for God who slew Goliath, the giant enemy of God’s people. God used David to forge a nation, the people of Israel.

David was a man of great spiritual depth and understanding, yet a man of fiery human passion and fallibility. However, he was a man after God’s own heart. He was one of a kind.

Remember the story in the Bible of the woman who brought expensive perfume, her personal fortune, and anointed Jesus by pouring it out over His head? After a disciple chastened her for wasting it all, saying it could have been sold to help the poor, Jesus said that wherever the gospel is preached around the world, her deed would be talked about in her memory. She was one of a kind.

In modern times we have men such as Billy Graham, another one of a kind who brought the gospel of Christ to millions around the world.

Then, of course, there’s Lord Jesus who gave up the splendor of heaven and His life there with Father God to come to earth and become one of us, the son of man. He did this to become the legal sacrifice for our sin. He became our kinsman redeemer.

He took our place on the cross and became sin for us, thereby enabling us to become the righteousness of God in Christ (2 Corinthians 5:21 NIV). Yes, Jesus is one of a kind!

Then there’s you, dear Reader. Yes, you! God’s word says that you are fearfully and wonderfully made, (Psalm 139:14 NIV) formed by Him in your Mother’s womb (Job 31:15 NIV). God doesn’t love you because of what you do. He loves you because of who you are … His child.

Your heavenly Father loves you so much in fact that He gave His only begotten Son that you would be saved and have life everlasting (John 3:16 NIV). He did this because He wants you for Himself. Imagine that! He wants you! He loves you so much that He is absorbed with every detail of your life. Even the number of hairs on your head draws His attention (Luke 12:7 NLT).

Why, you may ask, does God love you so much? Why? Because you are His child and are truly one of a kind!

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Why Your Brand of Unique is Perfect

“Sixty queens there may be, and eighty concubines, and virgins beyond number; but my dove, my perfect one, is unique …” Song of Solomon 6:8-9a (NIV)

I look back at photos of my teenage self with a smile and a shake of my head.

My favorite look was funky. There are pictures of me in costume with a T-shirt held together with safety pins and hair faux-hawked to perfection. Other shots show my penchant for shoes in the colors of the rainbow and a prom dress carefully chosen not to be like anyone else’s. Without shame or fear, I chose what I liked, and I didn’t care if anyone else saw it as a fashion statement or a fiasco. My clothes were a reflection of how I felt about myself — confident and carefree.

When we girls grow into women, however, sometimes we lose confidence and find comparison. Later in my life, there was a phase when I only wanted to be the version of myself that was widely accepted — what everybody else was buying into. I concentrated on blending in, because that seemed like the best way to fit in. I wanted to be the size of other women, to dress like other women, to act like other women. I tried and tried to be just like everyone else, when I’m actually like no one else.

And neither are you!

God is the Creator who made us to enjoy variety, because He loves multiplicity and uniqueness.

Think of this … a utilitarian god would have created just one organism to pollinate flowers. Even though only one is technically needed, our creative, diversity-loving God created over 10 types of organisms including bees, hummingbirds, butterflies and even bats to do the pollinating. Within that group, there are more than 17,000 species of butterflies encompassing every imaginable color, size and shape.

And God was just getting started with the butterflies. When you’re in a crowd today, appreciate the wild beauty of the women around you — straight hair and curly hair. Ebony, mocha, ruddy and ivory skin tones, with every hue between. Wide noses, thin noses and noses turned up at the end like mine. No face or body is the same, because God doesn’t make duplicates.

God created diversity, and He loves diversity. Uniqueness delights our God!

When King Solomon spoke to his love in Scripture, he praised her for being unique in a way that surpassed even queens. Scholars say that these words were written to be a picture of how Jesus, the lover of our soul, sees us individually. Do you hear Him saying to you, “My dove, (fill in your name here)my perfect one is unique …”? (Song of Solomon 6:9a)

I’m not a mass-produced woman, my friend, and neither are you. God labored in hand-crafting each of us, one by one. Perfection as defined by God means that we’re unique. We’re at our closest to perfect when we’re living most fully as the one-of-a-kind woman God made, not when we’re conforming into the sameness the world around us wants to prescribe.

The things that make you different are what make you beautiful. Is it your humor? The gentleness of your spirit? The kindness of your heart? Is it your taste for funky clothes or the way you connect instantly with children? Is it your analytical brain or the music that flows from your fingers? Whatever your special blend is, embrace it.

Let’s live as our most perfectly unique version today. Let’s be our rare, beautiful selves, allowing our creative God to shine His glory through us.

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KEEP YOUR UNIQUENESS

From: christiandevotional.com

TO THE BIBLE: Hebrews 12:1-2
“..Let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.”

LET’S TALK
Jessica came back from school one day, went straight into her room, slammed the door and burst into tears. She felt so dejected because she had been teased by her classmates who were better at sports. She sobbed for a while until her mum came into her room and calmed her down. “Jessy, don’t measure your success by how well others are doing. You’re unique, and the Holy Spirit will show you your gifts, and teach you how to develop them,” she soothed.

Sometimes, there’s the temptation to feel discouraged when it seems others around you are making better progress. Recognise that such feelings are absolutely unnecessary. That someone else is succeeding doesn’t mean you’re failing. The reason many get into unhealthy competitions and strife is their ignorance of this truth. You need to understand that you’re unique, and nobody can do that which God has asked you to do exactly as you would. Therefore, refuse to compare yourself with someone else. Focus on your calling; work on outdoing your past and not someone else. This consciousness will make your life full of rest, because you’ll learn to measure your success through God’s Word.

 

True Freedom Comes Through Jesus Christ

Happy 4th Of July, Independence Day.

 

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My Country, ‘Tis of Thee: The Story behind the Song

By: Kenneth W. Osbeck, cbn1.com

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“Men must be governed by God or they will be ruled by tyrants.” — William Penn

Moved deeply by the desire to create a national hymn that would allow the American people to offer praise to God for our wonderful land, a 24-year-old theological student, Samuel Francis Smith, penned these lines on a scrap of paper in less than 30 minutes in 1832. Yet even today many consider My Country, ‘Tis of Thee their favorite patriotic hymn and call it our “unofficial national anthem.”

The easily singable words of the song are matched with a popular international melody used by many nations, including England, where it accompanies “God Save the King/Queen.” The emotionally powerful ideas that Smith expressed had an immediate response. The hymn soon became a national favorite. The stirring tributes to our fatherland in the first three stanzas lead to a worshipful climax of gratefulness to God and a prayer for His continued guidance.

Following his graduation from Harvard and the Andover Theological Seminary, Samuel Smith became an outstanding minister in several Baptist churches in the East. He composed 150 hymns during his 87 years and helped compile the leading Baptist hymnal of his day. He was also editor of a missionary magazine through which he exerted a strong influence in promoting the cause of missions. Later he became the secretary of the Baptist Missionary Union and spent considerable time visiting various foreign fields. Samuel Smith was truly a distinctive representative of both his country and his God.

My country, ’tis of thee, sweet land of liberty, of thee I sing:
Land where my fathers died, land of the pilgrims’ pride,
From ev’ry mountain side let freedom ring!

My native country, thee, land of the noble free, thy name I love:
I love thy rocks and rills, thy woods and templed hills;
My heart with rapture thrills like that above.

Let music swell the breeze, and ring from all the trees sweet freedom’s song:
Let mortal tongues awake, let all that breathe partake;
Let rocks their silence break, the sound prolong.

Our fathers’ God, to Thee, author of liberty, to Thee we sing:
Long may our land be bright with freedom’s holy light;
Protect us by Thy might, great God, our King!

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Prayer for Unity in Our Nation

By Debbie McDaniel, from: Crosswalk.com

“I in them and you in me–so that they may be brought to complete unity. Then the world will know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.” John 17:23

Often in times of greatest need, we may find ourselves giving way to the stress and strain by battling one another, and forgetting who the real enemy is. Harsh words spoken, friendships broken; we choose sides and draw lines. Feelings get hurt. Betrayal runs deep. It gets harder to forgive and keep moving forward. And sometimes we get stuck, right there in the muddy mess of it all.

Yet it’s in those very times of tension and struggle, that we need, more than ever, to come together as one, unified, and strong.

And we can be assured, it’s in those times, that Satan is fighting the hardest. For he knows that’s when we have the greatest potential to make a difference in this world.

He knows that we’re stronger together as we encourage one another on. He’s aware that we’re courageous and brave when we’re covering one another in prayer. He understands that the unity of believers through the power of Jesus Christ, is a force that can’t be reckoned with. For it’s hard to tear apart a cord of three strands, which can’t be easily broken.

That’s why he’s determined to fight harder. And he’s there, in the midst of it all, cheering on the battle. He loves it when we target one another. He laughs at evil, riots, and violence. He gains momentum when we forget that he’s the cause.

Don’t be unaware.

His schemes are cunning and cruel. He’ll twist words and truth, trading them for lies, and stirring up fires.

Let’s say “No more.”

Let’s choose to set aside our differences and look to the greater purpose in this life. To honor Christ as King. We’ll never agree on everything. And that’s never been the goal anyway.

Let’s choose to live out the Truth that says, “Let all that you do be done in love.” 1 Corinthians 16:14

All that you do. All that you say. All that you stand for. Let’s do it with love. For perfect love, which comes from Christ, casts out all fear. And that is what gives us power to move forward, propelled with His strength, surrounded in peace, eyes on the One who gives us breath each day, filled with greater unity in our land.

May God bless us with His peace and unity in our Nation.

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Praying for Your Country

by Inspiration Ministries

I urge that entreaties and prayers…be made on behalf of…all who are in authority, so that we may lead a tranquil and quiet life in all godliness…This is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior. 1 Timothy 2:1-3 NASB

In May 1797, the young American republic faced a possible war with France. Once instrumental in America’s fight for independence, France had become a thorn in their side. Many felt that war was inevitable. But President John Adams was not convinced. Compelled to seek God, he called for a day of fasting and prayer. A recent biographer describes how many people were critical of this call. In fact, Adams “was roundly mocked in the press.”

But believers throughout the country agreed that God was the answer. On the designated day, “the churches were filled.” As people sought God, the crisis diminished and war was averted.

Today our world is filled with wars and rumors of wars and problems that don’t seem to have solutions. There are divisions and clashes of ideas. As in the situation John Adams faced, it is time to turn to prayer and seek God. When we seek Him, some may mock and ridicule. But we must realize that He is our only answer!

Make sure that you are doing your part in this spiritual battle. Follow the direction Paul gave to Timothy and pray for your leaders. Whether or not you agree with their edicts, pray for your local leaders. Pray for your national leaders and the decisions they make. Commit yourself to pray diligently for your country. Seek God. Ask for His help, His wisdom, and His mercy.

Keep Your Treasure Safe In Heaven

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A Collector’s Heaven

By: Joe Stowell, Strength For the Journey

July 3, 2019

“Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth . . . but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven.” Matthew 6:19-20

People love to collect things—from baseball cards to stamps to coins. And while collecting can be a fun hobby, it is sobering to think that once we leave this earth, everything we own becomes part of someone else’s collection. What value would it be to have collected much on earth but little or nothing for eternity?

Jesus had something to say about this. Speaking to His disciples, He said: “Lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal” (Matt. 6:20).

Eternal treasures never lose their worth. They can never be spoiled or stolen. And just think—we can actually stockpile them! How? Through acts of service. Through leading others to Jesus. By being compassionate to those in need. By living according to the will and ways of Jesus. In the gospel of Mark, we read that the Lord tested the rich young ruler’s heart when He asked him to sell all that he had, give it to the poor, and follow Him. The ruler’s response revealed what he really valued (Mark. 10:21-22).

It’s easy to become enamored with earthside stuff, but when you make the choice to follow Jesus, He’ll show you the joy of collecting eternal treasures. Nothing on earth can compare!

The treasures of earth do not last,
But God has prepared us a place
Where someday with Him we will dwell,
Enjoying the riches of grace.  —Branon

Hold tightly to what is eternal and loosely to what is temporal.

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The Final Say

By: Lynn Cowell, Proverbs 31.com

“A good person produces good things from the treasury of a good heart, and an evil person produces evil things from the treasury of an evil heart. What you say flows from what is in your heart.” Luke 6:45 (NLT)

You can still hear them today: words spoken by a teacher, parent or coach. Someone who should have spoken good, kind and encouraging words, but didn’t.

For me, those words were “too loud.”

My report cards carried some combination of “talks too much” and “needs to be quiet.” In fact, my fifth grade teacher moved my desk to within arm’s reach of his own to try to get this accomplished. How embarrassing!

In junior high, I chose a Christian school. However, since my behavior didn’t change, neither did the reports. I was put on probation for insubordination … yes, for talking! If I didn’t change, I was getting kicked out! If only they had a vision for what I would do for a living one day — become a speaker — how could they have encouraged me?

Watching those “other” girls, the ones who seemed to be naturally gentle, quiet and self-controlled, I longed to be like them. If only I were different. Those thoughts lingered, as I believed I couldn’t change. It was just the way I was wired.

Maybe you have had thoughts created by words spoken to you, spoken over you. Powerful words from those who could have developed your potential. They could have used their words to draw good out.

But that’s not what happened.

I wondered as I read Abigail’s story, how she overcame negative words.

First Samuel 25:3 introduces us to a very wealthy couple: “The man’s name was Nabal, and his wife’s name, Abigail. The woman was intelligent and beautiful, but the man, a Calebite, was harsh and evil in his dealings” (HCSB).

We might think that rich plus ravishing should equal the real deal. But we can doubt that this was true, because if Nabal “was crude and mean in all his dealings” (as the NLT version describes him), most likely that would have included Abigail.

In this chapter, David and his troop of 600 are in the desert. He heard wealthy Nabal lived nearby, so he sends 10 men to request food. Without being asked, David’s men had been protecting Nabal’s flocks, and they were hungry. Nabal rudely responds — essentially saying, “No.”

Upon hearing this reply, David headed toward Nabal’s estate to teach him a lesson. When Abigail hears trouble is brewing, she gathers some gifts and gets moving. “When Abigail saw David, she quickly got off her donkey and bowed low before him.She fell at his feet and said, ‘I accept all blame in this matter, my lord …’” (1 Samuel 25:23-24, NLT).

Are you as stunned as I am? This woman, who would have felt the brunt of Nabal’s pride and insecurity, takes the blame when she deserves none of it. Out of her mouth flows humility and wisdom, saving her entire family.

Abigail responded like a woman who knew who she was: a woman with God-esteem, not a woman who was afraid to speak her mind after years of marriage to her “crude and mean” husband. (Please note that her response never excuses verbal or physical abuse from someone.)

Why did Abigail display unshakable confidence when facing this harrowing situation?

Luke 6:45 reveals the secret:

“A good person produces good things from the treasury of a good heart, and an evil person produces evil things from the treasury of an evil heart. What you say flows from what is in your heart.”

In your heart.

If we look at the words which flowed from Abigail’s mouth, we can see how she stored up a treasury of good in her heart, for good is what flowed. Whatever words Nabal may have spoken to her, she did not let her heart hang on to those words.

Abigail teaches us this truth: God’s confidence flows from our mouth when we fill our heart and mind with God’s truth.

Our God has the final say on who we are. His words are what we will treasure in our heart.

Holy Spirit, empower me to treasure Your words about who I am over all others. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

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Streams in the Desert

By: L. B. Cowman

Doth the plowman plow all day to sow? (Isa. 28:24).

One day in early summer I walked past a beautiful meadow. The grass was as soft and thick and fine as an immense green Oriental rug. In one corner stood a fine old tree, a sanctuary for numberless wild birds; the crisp, sweet air was full of their happy songs. Two cows lay in the shade, the very picture of content. Down by the roadside the saucy dandelion mingled his gold with the royal purple of the wild violet. I leaned against the fence for a long time, feasting my hungry eyes, and thinking in my soul that God never made a fairer spot than my lovely meadow.

The next day I passed that way again, and lo! the hand of the despoiler had been there. A plowman and his great plow, now standing idle in the furrow, had in a day wrought a terrible havoc. Instead of the green grass there was turned up to view the ugly, bare, brown earth; instead of the singing birds there were only a few hens industriously scratching for worms. Gone were the dandelion and the pretty violet. I said in my grief, “How could any one spoil a thing so fair?”

Then my eyes were opened by some unseen hand, and I saw a vision, a vision of a field of ripe corn ready for the harvest. I could see the giant, heavily laden stalks in the autumn sun; I could almost hear the music of the wind as it would sweep across the golden tassels. And before I was aware, the brown earth took on a splendor it had not had the day before.

Oh, that we might always catch the vision of an abundant harvest, when the great Master Plowman comes, as He often does, and furrows through our very souls, uprooting and turning under that which we thought most fair, and leaving for our tortured gaze only the bare and the unbeautiful.
–Selected

Why should I start at the plough of my Lord, that maketh the deep furrows on my soul? I know He is no idle husbandman, He purposeth a crop.
–Samuel Rutherford

Daydreaming About Heaven

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Daydreaming about Heaven

By: Pauline Hylton, cbn1.com

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“When the others heard this, they stopped objecting and began praising God. They said, ‘We can see that God has also given the Gentiles the privilege of repenting of their sins and receiving eternal life.’” Acts 11:18 (NLT)

My pastor in Florida is Jewish. One Sunday, he looked out at his congregation of 30 plus years and said, “You look at me and wonder how I could be saved. I look out at you and wonder how you could be saved!”

He has a point. The gospel was given to the Jews. They never fathomed it could be offered to the Gentiles.

Until it was.

The good news of salvation through Jesus Christ is offered to all.

Sometimes, without even realizing it, I think something like, They don’t deserve salvation. Or, They could never be saved.

That is when I forget the passage in Romans 5:10 that states,

“For since our friendship with God was restored by the death of his Son while we were still his enemies, we will certainly be saved through the life of his Son.” (NLT)

I was an enemy of Christ. Running from Him.

Until He saved me.

How could I look down on someone else because they are a different culture or color?

I like to imagine what heaven will be like. I especially like to think about the music. I have a feeling we will be shocked by it. Of course, “The Hallelujah Chorus” will be there. Along with “The Old Rugged Cross”. But I tend to think there will be African music accompanied only by a drum—perhaps from the 15th century.

Or a tiny chorus with no rhyme, sung by a saint who sat alone in a dark prison cell awaiting execution. We have probably never heard of them, but we will in heaven.

And when we gather for worship there, it will be like Revelation 7:9,

“After this I saw a vast crowd, too great to count, from every nation and tribe and people and language, standing in front of the throne and before the Lamb. They were clothed in white robes and held palm branches in their hands.” (NLT)

That will be marvelous.

Lord, help me never to look down on others or think I am better. Thank You that while I was Your enemy, You saved me!

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Streams In The Desert

By: L.B. Cowman

When thou goest, thy way shall be opened up before thee step by step (Proverbs 4:12, free translation).

The Lord never builds a bridge of faith except under the feet of the faith-filled traveler. If He builds the bridge a rod ahead, it would not be a bridge of faith. That which is of sight is not of faith.

There is a self-opening gate which is sometimes used in country roads. It stands fast and firm across the road as a traveler approaches it. If he stops before he gets to it, it will not open. But if he will drive right at it, his wagon wheels press the springs below the roadway, and the gate swings back to let him through. He must push right on at the closed gate, or it will continue to be closed.

This illustrates the way to pass every barrier on the road of duty. Whether it is a river, a gate, or a mountain, all the child of Jesus has to do is to go for it. If it is a river, it will dry up when you put your feet in its waters. If it is a gate, it will fly open when you are near enough to it, and are still pushing on. If it is a mountain, it will be lifted up and cast into a sea when you come squarely up, without flinching, to where you thought it was.

Is there a great barrier across your path of duty just now? Just go for it, in the name of the Lord, and it won’t be there.
–Henry Clay Trumbull

We sit and weep in vain. The voice of the Almighty said, “Up and onward forevermore.” Let us move on and step out boldly, though it be into the night, and we can scarcely see the way. The path will open, as we progress, like the trail through the forest, or the Alpine pass, which discloses but a few rods of its length from any single point of view.

Press on! If necessary, we will find even the pillar of cloud and fire to mark our journey through the wilderness. There are guides and wayside inns along the road. We will find food, clothes and friends at every stage of the journey, and as Rutherford so quaintly says: “However matters go, the worst will be a tired traveler and a joyful and sweet welcome home.”

I’m going by the upper road, for that
still holds the sun,
I’m climbing through night’s pastures where
the starry rivers run:
If you should think to seek me in my
old dark abode,
You’ll find this writing on the door,
“He’s on the Upper Road.” 

–Selected

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His Living Word

From: Biblegateway.com

Matthew 5:13 ERV: “You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its taste, it cannot be made salty again. Salt is useless if it loses its salty taste. It will be thrown out where people will just walk on it.”

What is salt? Salt is a crystalline compound that occurs as a mineral and is used primarily in food preparation. It both seasons food and preserves food. Jesus used “salt” as a metaphor for the way His disciples should relate to the world. As a seasoning for the world, the disciples of Jesus would transform the world into something good that would please the Lord. As a preservative for the world, the disciples of Jesus would preserve what is still good in the world from further corruption.

If, however, salt loses its taste, which could actually happen to the salt of Palestine, then it cannot fulfill its seasoning and preservative functions. With respect to the disciples of Jesus, this would mean that they have lost their spiritual distinctiveness and vigor and are no longer capable of transforming the world into something that God finds pleasing. It would also mean that they are no longer capable of preserving whatever is still good in the world from further corruption.

Salt that has lost its distinctive properties is, as a consequence, useless in food preparation. When the salt of Palestine lost its saltiness, it was thrown out into the streets where it was trodden under foot. With respect to the disciples of Jesus, this would mean that they are useless as a transformative and preservative force in the world. As such, their ultimate destination is to be thrown out of the church of Jesus Christ and the Kingdom of God. Instead of being lifted up and being made to shine like stars forever and ever as will the true disciples of Jesus (Daniel 12:3), such false disciples will be cast down and treated with utter contempt in hell.

As Christians, we are supposed to be the salt of the earth; we are supposed to be a transformative and preservative force in the world. Today, go forth as the true salt of the world. Within the sphere God has placed you, large or small, transform what needs transforming and preserve what needs preserving.

Rescue The Spiritually lost

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Operation Rescue

By: Joe Stowell, Strength For The Journey

“The Lord knows how to rescue godly men from trials.” 2 Peter 2:9

I recall counseling a woman who had just come to know Christ. She was interested in becoming God’s kind of woman, so we were studying passages of Scripture that had to do with what a biblical wife is like and talking about the whole matter of gracious cooperation with her husband’s leadership. She came to me one day and said, “Pastor, I’ve got a major problem. I have been saving up my money for a dining room set. I love the one my mother-in-law has, and I’m looking for something just like it. After I’ve gone through the used furniture ads in the paper, my husband and I drive around and look at them. But he doesn’t seem to be real interested. He’s so insensitive. We’ve been to a couple of places where I really liked the furniture, but he just says, ‘No, I don’t like those. And besides, it’s my money.’ He couldn’t care less what kind of furniture we have in the house. He doesn’t know if we have French Provincial or Early Salvation Army! He’s basically interested in his newspaper, easy chair, and the TV.”

A couple of weeks later she came back and said, “You’re not going to believe this, but my mother-in-law called me and said that she had bought a brand-new dining room set and wanted to know if I wanted hers.”

God does not always work like that. But it’s clear that when we submit to doing things His way and wait on His timing, we’ll get a chance to see how He works. And while shopping for furniture with an uncooperative spouse doesn’t exactly qualify as a trial, the principle of waiting for God to work in our difficulty remains an important part of dealing with difficulty.

King David understood this. He knew that he was to be the next king of Israel. Rather than staging a dramatic takeover, he faithfully served in the army and played his harp in the palace to soothe King Saul’s stress. Things were going great until Saul developed an insane jealousy that drove him to try to kill David. When David was being hunted by Saul, he found himself in a cold cave crying out to God, “How long, O Lord? Will You forget me forever? How long will You hide Your face from me? How long shall I take counsel in my soul, having sorrow in my heart all the day? How long will my enemy be exalted over me?” (Psalm 13:1-2 NASB).

Like David, when we feel that God has forgotten us we are prone to plan our own escape. We say, “I know what I’ll do. I’ll—no, that won’t work. Here’s what I’ll do—no, I don’t think that will work either.” It’s the total despair of seeming to be locked in with no apparent way out.

Take courage. God already knows how He is going to deliver you. In fact, He is in the business of making ways of escape! Peter assures us, “the Lord knows how to rescue godly men from trials” (2 Peter 2:9). So you can count on it: When you are faithful and patient through trouble, God will, in His time, exercise options of deliverance that are far beyond what you ever dreamed!

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Seeing is not believing, but believing is seeing

By: Charles Spurgeon

‘Whom having not seen, ye love; in whom, though now ye see him not, yet believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory.’ 1 Peter 1:8

Suggested Further Reading: John 20:19–31

Carnal people will imagine that if there could be something to touch or smell they should get on, but mere believing and loving are too hard for them. Yet such thought is not reasonable, and I can show you so. Occasionally one meets with an illiterate working man who will say to those whose occupation is mental, ‘I work hard for my living,’ insinuating that the mind-worker does not work at all. Yet I ask any man who is engaged in a mental pursuit, whether he does not know that mental work is quite as real work—and some of us think more so—as working with the hand or the arm. The thing is mental, but is none the less real. Just transfer that thought. Coming into contact with Christ by touch looks to most people to be most real; that is because their animal nature is uppermost; coming into contact with Jesus by the spirit seems to them to be unreal, only because they know nothing of spiritual things. Mere animal men will often say, ‘I can understand the headache, I can understand the pain of having a leg cut off;’ but the pain of injured affection, or of receiving ingratitude from a trusted friend, this is by the rough mind thought to be no pain at all. ‘Oh,’ says he, ‘I could put up with that.’ But I ask you who have minds, is there any pain more real than mental pain? Is it not the sharpest when the iron enters into the soul? Just so the mental operation—for it is a mental operation—of coming into contact with Christ by loving him and trusting him is the most real thing in all the world, and no one will think it unreal who has once exercised it.

For meditation: Unlike Thomas we cannot touch the Lord to bolster our faith (John 20:27–29). Claiming that unscriptural religious acts are not articles of faith but visual aids to faith is carnal, not spiritual, in both origin and outcome (John 3:6). Finding it ‘helpful’ to confess sins to a human ‘priest’ ignores the existence of the Great High Priest in heaven who makes such a go-between surplus to requirements (Hebrews 4:14,168:1).

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MATTHEW 14:30-31 – WALKING IN FAITH

From: shortdailydevotions.com

But when he saw the wind, he was afraid, and beginning to sink he cried out, “Lord, save me.” Jesus immediately reached out his hand and took hold of him, saying to him, “O you of little faith, why did you doubt?” (Matthew 14:30-31 ESV)

We have all dreamt of doing something great for God. These dreams might involve some form of sacrifice or great leap of faith. We see others around us who have sold everything to follow Jesus as a missionary in some far corner of the world and view them as a person of great faith. We maybe even aspire to be like them.

Consider this, if we had been sitting in that boat with Peter, we would have thought he was brimming with faith as he began to climb out of the boat and walk toward Jesus. But suddenly, something even stranger happened and Peter began to sink.That courage and faith he had in Jesus was getting smaller as he saw the wind and the waves getting bigger.

A true measure of a person’s faith then is not just the first step of their faith journey, but the subsequent steps thereafter. We deal with this every time we get excited about something, starting any given project only to stop halfway through because it was much more difficult than anticipated. The same thing happens when we believe Jesus would have us do something. We start doing it and it doesn’t turn out like we thought it would, or the ministry isn’t immediately growing, we begin to sink, losing faith in and sight of Jesus. What we must realize is that if Jesus has called us to make a first step, then he will provide a path for each step toward him after that.

Where is Jesus calling you to walk in faith?

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Streams in the Desert – July 1

By: L. B. Cowman

Times have changed, but life’s hard times haven’t

And blessed is she who believed that what was spoken to her by the Lord would be fulfilled. (Luke 1:45)

My words shall be fulfilled in their season (their fixed appointed time) (Greek, Luke 1:20).

There shall be a performance of those things
That loving heart hath waited long to see;
Those words shall be fulfilled to which she clings,
Because her God hath promised faithfully;
And, knowing Him, she ne’er can doubt His Word;
“He speaks and it is done.” The mighty Lord!

There shall be a performance of those things,
O burdened heart, rest ever in His care;
In quietness beneath His shadowing wings
Await the answer to thy longing prayer.
When thou hast “cast thy care,” the heart then sings,
There shall be a performance of those things.

There shall be a performance of those things,
O tired heart, believe and wait and pray;
At eventide the peaceful vesper rings,
Though cloud and rain and storm have filled the day.
Faith pierces through the mist of doubt that bars
The coming night sometimes, and finds the stars.

There shall be a performance of those things,
O trusting heart, the Lord to thee hath told;
Let Faith and Hope arise, and plume their wings,
And soar towards the sunrise clouds of gold;
The portals of the rosy dawn swing wide,
Revealing joys the darkening night did hide.

—Bessie Porter

Matthew Henry says: “We must depend upon the performance of the promise, when all the ways leading up to it are shut up. ’For all the promises of God in him are yea (yes), and in him Amen (so be it), unto the glory of God by us.’ (2 Cor. 1:20).

They Have Seen A Great Light

 

 The people kwho walked in darkness

have seen a great light;

those who dwelt in a land of ldeep darkness,

on them has light shone.


16  vthe people dwelling in darkness

have seen a great light,

and for those dwelling in the region and wshadow of death,

on them a light has dawned.


18 rto open their eyes, so that they may turn from darkness to light and from sthe power of Satan to God, that they may receive tforgiveness of sins and ua place among those who are sanctified vby faith in me.


I Am the Light of the World

12 lAgain Jesus spoke to them, saying, mI am the light of the world. Whoevernfollows me will not owalk in darkness, but will have the light of life.

 
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When the Lights Go Out

By: Paul Linzey, cbn1.com

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It was Friday night, we’d gone out for dinner and barely made it back into the garage before the downpour.

When the power went off, I was writing at my computer and my wife was reading an e-book on her tablet. The plan was to watch a movie a little later, but there we were with no electricity, no lights, no internet, and no television.

“What do we do now?” she asked.

I reached into the desk drawer for the flashlight that doubles as a cell phone power source, plugged in my phone, and turned on the mobile hotspot so we could maintain internet connection. Then I walked over to the kitchen pantry where we keep two battery-operated camping lanterns, pulled one out, and placed it on the kitchen counter, where its light sprayed throughout the kitchen, dining room, and living room. Not a lot, but enough.

For the next hour, rain poured from the sky as if God had picked up the Atlantic Ocean and was dumping it on us. Linda took the lantern over to the couch to read; my laptop had plenty of charge for me to finish the work I was doing.

Although the rest of the house was dark, and the temperature grew warmer because the air conditioner was off, we didn’t have a crisis when the lights went out. During the previous weekend, we had checked the batteries in those emergency lamps and charged my mobile power back-up. Because we were ready, there was no emergency when the storm caused a blackout. We didn’t panic and there wasn’t a crisis.

The same can be true if something terrible happens and life itself comes to an end. If we’ve taken time to prepare in advance, even death isn’t a crisis, and we don’t have to panic.

In Philippians 1:21 the Apostle writes, “to live is Christ, and to die is gain.” That doesn’t sound like a man who is afraid of the dark or of death. He was prepared for whatever might happen.

Job is another who had a deep confidence when facing the storms of life. Despite all the pain and ugliness that he faced, he still declared, “I know that my Redeemer lives.” Job 19:25

When the lights finally came back on, we watched an old Alfred Hitchcock movie starring James Stewart and Doris Day. It was a lovely evening—despite the storm raging on the outside.

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 Streams In The Desert

By: L. B. Cowman

“There was silence, and I heard a still voice” (Job 4:16, margin).

A score of years ago, a friend placed in my hand a book called True Peace. It was an old mediaeval message, and it had but one thought–that God was waiting in the depths of my being to talk to me if I would only get still enough to hear His voice.

I thought this would be a very easy matter, and so began to get still. But I had no sooner commenced than a perfect pandemonium of voices reached my ears, a thousand clamoring notes from without and within, until I could hear nothing but their noise and din. Some were my own voices, my own questions, some my very prayers. Others were suggestions of the tempter and the voices from the world’s turmoil.

In every direction I was pulled and pushed and greeted with noisy acclamations and unspeakable unrest. It seemed necessary for me to listen to some of them and to answer some of them; but God said, “Be still, and know that I am God.” Then came the conflict of thoughts for tomorrow, and its duties and cares; but God said, “Be still.”

And as I listened, and slowly learned to obey, and shut my ears to every sound, I found after a while that when the other voices ceased, or I ceased to hear them, there was a still small voice in the depths of my being that began to speak with an inexpressible tenderness, power and comfort.

As I listened, it became to me the voice of prayer, the voice of wisdom, the voice of duty, and I did not need to think so hard, or pray so hard, or trust so hard; but that “still small voice” of the Holy Spirit in my heart was God’s prayer in my secret soul, was God’s answer to all my questions, was God’s life and strength for soul and body, and became the substance of all knowledge, and all prayer and all blessing: for it was the living GOD Himself as my life, my all.

It is thus that our spirit drinks in the life of our risen Lord, and we go forth to life’s conflicts and duties like a flower that has drunk in, through the shades of night, the cool and crystal drops of dew. But as dew never falls on a stormy night, go the dews of His grace never come to the restless soul.
–A. B. Simpson

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Men chosen—fallen angels rejected

By: Charles Spurgeon

“Verily he took not on him the nature of angels; but he took on him the seed of Abraham.” Hebrews 2:16

Suggested Further Reading: 2 Peter 2:4-9

Adam broke the covenant of works; he touched the accursed fruit, and in that day he fell. Ah! What a fall was there! Then you, and I, and all of us fell down, while cursed sin triumphed over us; there were no men that stood; there were some angels that stood, but no men, for the fall of Adam was the fall of our entire race. After one portion of the angels had fallen, it pleased God to stamp their doom, and make it fast and firm; but when man fell, it did not so please God; he had threatened to punish him, but in his infinite mercy he made some the object of his special affection, for whom he provided a precious remedy, and secured it by the blood of his everlasting Son. These are the persons whom we call the elect; and those whom he has left to perish, perish on account of their own sins, most justly, to the praise of his glorious justice. Now, here you notice divine sovereignty; sovereignty, that God chose to put both men and angels on the footing of their free-will, sovereignty, in that he chose to punish all the fallen angels with utter destruction; sovereignty, in that he chose to reprieve, and grant an eternal pardon to a number, whom no man can number, selected out of men, who shall infallibly be found before his right hand above. My text mentions this great fact, for when properly translated it reads thus:- “He took not up angels, but he took on him the seed of Abraham.”

For meditation: The Lord Jesus Christ witnessed Satan’s expulsion from Heaven, and as surely guarantees the believer’s entrance into Heaven (Luke 10:18,20).

Contentment Is Found In Christ Alone

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The Hot Shot Café

By: Joe Stowell, Strength For The Journey

“I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances.” Philippians 4:11

The Hot Shot Café in Asheville, North Carolina, is where the locals used to hang out for good old home cooking. Several years ago, I had the chance to eat there. The meal was delicious, and as I was paying my bill, I noticed a shelf full of shiny new Hot Shot Café mugs. It may sound weird, but I love heavy porcelain mugs with nifty logos. Over the years I have collected so many you would think I have enough, but at the time I thought I needed just one more. It was a compulsion I couldn’t resist. So, I forked over a few extra bills and left with the mug.

If it were only about the mugs in our lives—or the teddy bears, CDs, or shoes—it wouldn’t really be a big deal. The thing is, it’s about more than that. It’s about this inner dynamic where we need just one morething all the time. The technophile needs the fastest computer processor; the fashionista must have the latest open-toe sandals; the car enthusiast yearns for the perfect low-profile tires.

I think the issue behind our constant craving for more and more, for the latest and greatest, is contentment. It is easy to let our longings for possessions, relationships, and experiences shape our lives. The danger is, when we’re constantly on the hunt for the next thing, our life circumstances become pumped up with importance, while our Bibles collect dust on the shelf.

When we let the passion to consume crowd out the contentment we have in Christ, the result is an endless chase for the proverbial carrot on a stick. Since we can never have “enough” of what we crave, the emptiness makes us vulnerable to aloneness, and that leads us to sacrifice ourselves on the altar of the “next big thing” only to find that we still aren’t satisfied. Jesus alone gives the power to live a life where inner contentment abounds, regardless of our circumstances.

In 2 Corinthians 11:16-33, Paul listed some of his life circumstances. He was beaten with whips and rods, stoned, and shipwrecked three times. He survived a night and a day in the open sea, rivers, bandits, his own countrymen, Gentiles, and false brothers. He had often gone without sleep, food, water, clothing, or heat. And, he lived every day with concern for the churches he planted. He doesn’t even mention the fact that he wrote most of the New Testament from a jail cell!

Despite all of this, Paul wrote these words in the last chapter of Philippians. “I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation” (Philippians 4:11-12).

What was Paul’s secret for contented living? I’ll tell you what it wasn’t. It wasn’t his mug collection and certainly not his life circumstances. It was his deep awareness of the supernatural presence of Christ in his life, and an abiding sense of all that Jesus alone provided for him.

The next time you’re at a place like the Hot Shot Café, or wherever it is that you’re tempted to reach for “just one more thing,” remember that Christ alone provides the relaxing peace of contentment. Having Him, we have it all!

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Hatred without cause

By: Charles Spurgeon

“They hated me without a cause.” John 15:25

Suggested Further Reading: 1 Peter 4:12-19

Take care, if the world does hate you, that it hates you without a cause. If the world is to oppose you, it is of no use making the world oppose you. This world is bitter enough, without my putting vinegar in it. Some people seem to fancy the world will persecute them; therefore, they put themselves into a fighting posture, as if they invited persecutions. Now, I do not see any good in doing that. Do not try and make other people dislike you. Really, the opposition some people meet with is not for righteousness’ sake, but for their own sin’s sake, or their own nasty temper’s sake. Many a Christian lives in a house—a Christian servant girl perhaps; she says she is persecuted for righteousness’ sake. But she is of a bad disposition; she sometimes speaks sharp, and then her mistress reproves her. That is not being persecuted for righteousness’ sake. There is another, a merchant in the city, perhaps; he is not looked upon with much esteem. He says he is persecuted for righteousness’ sake; whereas, it is because he did not keep a bargain some time ago. Another man says he is persecuted for righteousness’ sake; but he goes about assuming authority over everybody, and now and then persons turn round and reproach him. Look to it, Christian people, that if you are persecuted, it is for righteousness’ sake; for if you get any persecution yourself you must keep it yourself. The persecutions you bring on yourself for your own sins, Christ has nothing to do with them; they are chastisements on you. They hated Christ without a cause; then fear not to be hated. They hated Christ without a cause; then court not to be hated, and give the world no cause for it.

For meditation: The apostle Paul knew what suffering for Christ’s sake really means (2 Corinthians 11:23-27). It was something he avoided when he could appeal to the law, (Acts 22:25-29) and he did not pretend to be persecuted when he brought trouble upon himself (Acts 23:1-5).

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Finding Christ Between The Calm and The Crisis

By: Jasmine Williams

“But Elijah said to her, ‘Don’t be afraid! Go ahead and do just what you’ve said, but make a little bread for me first. Then use what’s left to prepare a meal for yourself and your son.’” 1 Kings 17:13 (NLT)

Another morning trudging out of bed with an unfinished to-do list still haunting me from two days ago, I manage to stop hitting the snooze button and begin my day, hoping it will be more productive than yesterday.

The sounds of toy blocks clicking together and little feet running through the kitchen tell me all three kids are up and hungry. Here we go, I think, anticipating another fast-paced morning.

Guilt creeps in when I tell myself I should’ve gotten up an hour earlier to spend time with God and enjoy coffee with my husband.

Then suddenly, just before I let those feelings define my mood, I’m reminded of the mother in 1 Kings 17:13 who was asked to put God first — in a much more desperate situation. Amidst a drought, with only enough food left for one more meal, she was asked to feed the man of God first. Imagine her thoughts … How could I possibly feed him first, when we’re in need as well?

Perhaps you’ve never had to make such a decision about food, but how about your time, feeling like you have zero extra minutes to spare? With all that’s going on today, how could I possibly spend time with God first?

It can seem challenging to grow in your relationship with Christ when life is so demanding. As Elijah instructed, though, “… do just what you’ve said, but make a little bread for me first” (1 Kings 17:13b). God isn’t asking us to abandon our responsibilities. He just wants a little time with us first. That can be morning, midday or evening. “First” is a posture of the heart, not a time of the day.

Just as the woman was abundantly blessed after obeying Elijah’s request, we’ll be so enriched when we push through the fear of not having enough time and just give God our best. Some days that’s tougher than others, so here are three ideas to help set your gaze on the Father when you only have a few minutes (and sometimes less!) between the calm and the chaos:

  1. Start with Scripture. For whatever season of life you’re in right now, there’s a verse that will speak to your needs. Find that verse, and put it on your nightstand or bathroom mirror (or any place you’ll see regularly). Psalm 1:2 instructs us to meditate on God’s Word day and night. When the moment isn’t long enough to fully dive in, even just a snippet of God’s Word can give us the courage we need to walk in grace and love.
  2. Prepare beforehand. Before going to bed at night (or before you leave for the day if you have time with God in the evenings), place a journal, a pen, and your Bible nearby. Sometimes I don’t use any of these as I make my way from my blanket to my bathroom, but having them within arm’s reach gives me the freedom to jot down any prayer topics or Scriptures that come to mind before a million other thoughts do. You can revisit them later when you have a moment to yourself.
  3. Worship and declare. When there’s not a lot of time, I try to find a quiet place to simply worship God and express gratitude. In a brief prayer, we can strengthen ourselves in the Lord, like David did in 1 Samuel 30:6. We can speak life over our day and declare peace over our homes. Take just a minute to partner with God and proclaim victory for your loved ones as you each begin the day!

Connecting with God, even for just a moment, can make all the difference in your spirit. Whether that’s early in the morning or during a lunch break, give Him a little time “first,” and be encouraged for what the day may bring.

Lord, I know when I connect with You, You give me godly energy to keep going. You’ve entrusted me with certain responsibilities, and I’m better at them when I’m closer to You. Help me prioritize You in my life every day. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.