Tag Archives: devotions

Daily Devotional Podcasts

28 Oct

As Christians, we know the importance of spending regular time in God’s Word.  Unfortunately, in today’s fast-paced world, finding time alone with our Bible’s isn’t always that easy.  That’s why this week, we’re featuring three helpful podcasts which bring God’s Word to your ears even when your eyes are unavailable!

If you’re looking for an easy daily devotional, why not check out Early Light?  Brought to you courtesy of In Touch Ministries, this brief meditation gives a kick-start to your day with thought-provoking real-life stories and accompanying scripture readings.  At just under five minutes, these devotions are an easy listen with deep impact.  Like a vitamin shot, they’re great for aligning your focus – helping you put God’s Word into action as you head off to school, work, or even a day of play!

Looking for something longer?  Why not check out the Daily Radio Program with Charles Stanley?  These thirty minute sermons are a great way to get centered as you go about your routine.  Join Dr. Stanley as he takes a look at both Scripture and its practical application in the daily lives of believers.  At under 30 minutes, they fit nicely into the school/work commute or even as an accompaniment to your morning bowl of cereal or evening jog!

Want an afternoon pick-me-up?  Then check out Our Daily Bread.  A production of RBC Ministries, these five minute podcasts take a meditative look at Scripture and its relevance in the lives of believers.  Thoughtfully written, these devotions are sure to get you refocused after a long day at school or the office.

With plenty of great content, these podcasts are sure to help you keep your head in the Word… even when you can’t find a place to sit down and read!

The Page Cage

24 Jul

Read: Ecclesiastes 3:1-8

“There is an appointed time for everything.  And there is a time for every event under heaven.”

Ecclesiastes 3:1 NASB

 

Our State House of Representatives had a special office set aside for the pages.  It was an unusually small room (perhaps eight feet by four feet) jam-packed with files and monitors and snacks and backpacks and, for one brief, glimmering moment: pages.  Seventeen of us, as a matter of fact.

It had been a rather slow day and, despite offers to let us leave the Capitol early, we had each elected to stay.  It wasn’t an odd decision given that we were making nearly double minimum wage just for being there, but it did leave us with an important dilemma: just what do with all that spare time.  The committee rooms had been prepared, our errands run, our Representatives prepped and now it was just a group of teenagers left to their own devices.

I don’t remember who suggested it, but someone came up with the idea that it would be fun to see if all of us really could fit into the cramped space affectionately known as “the page cage”.  One by one, we made our way inside, folding ourselves into fetal positions, craning arms, and elevating legs until all of us were cozily tucked away.  It was a poor fit, but it worked – just long enough for the Assistant Sergeant at Arms to wander by and discover the mass of grinning faces peering at her through the door.

While it was fun for a few minutes, I have to admit that I was glad to unfold myself and get out!  I needed space… and so do the activities in our lives.  While it can be tempting to pack our hours as full as possible, the Bible advises against it.  Scripture tells us that seasons in our lives come and go and that there is a time for every activity under the sun.  Instead of trying to jam everything into a few days, weeks, or years, we should allow ourselves the time to enjoy the journey… and to do everything well.

Challenge:  Sit down and take a good, honest look at your schedule.  Are you doing too much?  If so, commit to paring down your activities – giving time to the things that matter right now and letting everything else wait.  There will be time enough in the end!

Kodak Moment

17 Jul

Read: Luke 12:13-34

“The kingdom of heaven is like a treasure hidden in the field, which a man found and hid again; and from joy over it he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field. Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant seeking fine pearls, and upon finding one pearl of great value, he went and sold all that he had and bought it.”

Matthew 13:44-46 NASB

 

My first day working for the Senator was an eventful one, to say the least.  Our Regional Director had been having computer problems for a little over a week and had come into the office on that particular morning to find that her computer had crashed.  Completely.  The result was that, instead of spending the morning training me, she spent most of her time on the phone with the Senate IT tech trying to figure out how to restart the system. At one point, this required that she retrieve the computer’s serial number from her CPU.

This was rather a dilemma, since the CPU was neatly and irretrievable stashed behind her desk.  In order to reach it, she had to clear everything off her desk, moving it into the office’s other nooks and crannies.  Then, to get far enough behind her desk to read the number, she had to lean over the top and flip upside down behind it.  I remember smiling as I watched her standing on her head, talking to the tech (who was privy to the entire process via speaker-phone).

“I think this is a Kodak moment,” I said with a grin.

“It had better not be,” she threatened, “or your six month review won’t be pretty.”

As complex as computers are, my boss’ situation was really quite a simple one.  She had something she needed (a computer that worked) and she was willing to do whatever was necessary to get it (hanging upside down behind her desk)… even if it looked a little silly.

Unfortunately, many times, we as Christians are more concerned with what we look like, than with what we need.  Scripture tells us that we should take care when it comes to setting our priorities.  While it is pleasant to have the respect of others, if that becomes our primary focus, we will lose what really matters: the approval of God.

Challenge:  The next time you find yourself asking what others will think, take a moment to ask what God thinks.  Then, act upon the latter.  The rewards will be far beyond what you can imagine!

Just So You Know

24 Apr

Read: Ephesians 4:1-32

“I gave you milk, not solid food, for you were not yet ready for it.  Indeed, you are still not ready.  You are still worldly.”

1 Corinthians 3:2-3a NIV

 

I picked up the phone and tucked it between my shoulder and my ear as I began sorting the paperwork management had left on our desk.  “Nursery, this is Anna.”

“This is one of your customers.  My name doesn’t matter,” replied the woman on the other end.  (I was rather taken aback by the spy-like response.)  “I was just calling to let you know that I have a bunch of peach trees that are just giving me a bumper crop this year!”

Smiling, I leaned back in my chair.  “I’m glad to hear that.”

“Yes, well, I wanted you to know because years ago, someone out there informed me that peach trees don’t grow from peach seeds.  I wanted you all to know in case you’re laboring under some mistaken idea that they don’t, that they do!”

“Well, yes ma’am, peach trees do grow from peach seeds.”  I frowned, puzzling over which employee could have made such an elementary mistake.

“Well, someone told me that they don’t and I just wanted to make certain that you don’t go on giving out misinformation to your customers.”  With that, she hung up.

I laughed as I returned the phone to the wall, imagining how the conversation might actually have gone:

“I just planted some peach pits and I need to know what I need to do to get them to grow,” my customer could have explained.

“You probably won’t be able to.  It’s difficult to get a peach tree to thrive in our climate and growing one from seed is next to impossible.  Besides, pollination will affect the variety of peach that grows from the seed.  It may not have the same quality as the peach from which it came,” my imaginary employee would have replied, clearly sympathetic, but less than hopeful.

Either way, the question would not have been one of peach trees growing from peach seeds, but of whether it was possible to grow such a tree successfully in our area.  Unfortunately, the Corinthian church wasn’t much different.  Paul had given them clear instructions regarding God’s plan for His people.  But just as my customer had failed to remember her early botany lessons, the Corinthians had failed to recall the Apostle’s spiritual lessons.  Instead of adding virtue to their salvation, they continued in sin… and the Apostle found himself repeating what should have been quite clear.  The problem wasn’t one of understanding how salvation was obtained (through the seeds of faith), but of nurturing it properly as it grew.

Challenge:  Are you nurturing your faith properly?  This week, take time to prayerfully consider how you are (or aren’t) growing in Christ.  Then, commit to creating the proper environment for your faith to thrive!

That’s 30% Off

17 Apr

Read: Matthew 18:7-11

“So then every one of us shall give account of himself to God.  Let us not therefore judge one another any more: but judge this rather that no man put a stumbling block or an occasion to fall in his brother’s way.”

Romans 14:12-13 KJV

 

My time in retail has afforded me the unique “privilege” of meeting at least a few customers who seem to think that illiteracy is a prerequisite for holding a job as a cashier.  It’s almost as if they assume that since you’re working a minimum wage, blue collar job, you must have dropped out of high school before your junior year.

I’ll admit that it doesn’t take long to grow irritated when an already busy day is punctuated by such customers.  Handing me a clearly marked discount tag, then proceeding to tell me what the tag says isn’t the best way to make a friend… nor is staring at my computer monitor and criticizing every price reduction it displays.

While occasionally, such a customer does catch something that the cashier or the computer missed, more often than not, they succeed only in holding up an already packed line.  I can’t count the times that a customer has complained about product pricing only to discover that the computer (and the cashier operating it) is a better mathematician than they are.  (For example, 30% off an $80 product is not $50!)

It is a strange thing, but often, we as Christians make the same mistake with each other that customers so frequently make with cashiers.  We catch a fellow believer in what we perceive to be a failure (at least by our own calculations) and immediately set about correcting them.

While it isn’t inappropriate to do so, there are times when our calculations are far from correct.  Instead of being a help, we become a hindrance and a source of stumbling for someone who already was following the Spirit’s lead.  Like my customers, we would be better off double checking our “figures” before informing others of their shortcomings.  When we do, we’re sure to be both a help and a friend!

Challenge:  This week, concentrate on removing stumbling blocks rather than erecting them.

 

Tulip Elves

10 Apr

Read: Psalm 91:1-16

“For He will give His angels charge concerning you; to guard you in all your ways.  They will bear you up in their hands, that you do not strike your foot against a stone.”

Psalm 91:11-12 NASB

It seems that many folks simply don’t enjoy playing in the dirt as much as I do.  They find planting to be the least exciting part of the entire gardening process and are more than ready to hand the task over to any party who seems even vaguely willing to take it on.  For this reason, I wasn’t at all surprised one afternoon when a gentleman came through my line looking for just such a helper.

“You wouldn’t want to come home and plant these for me?” he asked rather hopefully as he plopped several tulip bulb filled paper sacks onto the counter.

“I’m afraid I can’t,” I replied, smiling apologetically. “But I do have good news!  These are special magic tulip bulbs.  If you set them outside overnight, when you come out in the morning, they’ll have planted themselves!”

“You mean the tulip elves come and plant them for you?” the lady behind him asked.

I grinned.  “Exactly!”

While “Tulip Elves”, tiny invisible creatures which sneak in and plant your bulbs in the wee-small hours of the morning are only fanciful beings, there are some invisible beings spoken of in Scripture who work things greatly to our benefit.  These beings are the angels.

Far from being a figment of our imaginations, angels are very real creatures, both ancient and powerful.  While they may not plant our tulips for us, they serve a much more important purpose as God’s servants.  And the good that they do us as His followers is immense.

It is their task to carry out God’s will concerning those who belong to Him and we may rest assured that they are busy watching out for us at all times!  That’s better than a Tulip Elf in anybody’s book!

Challenge: The next time you feel frightened, anxious, or concerned take your problems to God.  He is watching and will send His angels to guard and protect you!

I Did You a Favor

6 Feb

Read: 1 Samuel 15:10-26

“Does the Lord delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices as much as in obeying the voice of the Lord?  To obey is better than sacrifice, and to heed is better than the fat of rams.”

1 Samuel 15:22 NIV

 

A co-worker of mine had decided to do me a favor.  Whether it was out of the goodness of her heart or not, I don’t really know.  What I do know is that the task she took on was one which regularly belonged to me and, seeing no sign of its accomplishment when I sat down at my desk, I set about completing it just as I did every morning.

I was nearly finished when my coworker walked past my desk for the tenth time and, looking down at the now nearly finished stack of paperwork declared, “Oh, I already did that!”

There was nothing to do but laugh.  I thanked her and jested that she owed me one for having allowed me to sit there and complete work which had already been accomplished.  (To this day, I don’t know why she failed to tell me what she’d done.)

Much to my surprise, her expression changed to one of affront. “No I don’t!  You owe me!”  Despite the fact that her favor hadn’t actually been a favor, she had tried and now her position was being made clear:  help or no help, I was in her debt.

 King Saul once performed a similar “favor” for the prophet Samuel and, sadly, it didn’t turn out much better.  Having been instructed to refrain from going into battle until Samuel had made the appropriate sacrifice, Saul had waited.  And waited.  And waited.

When Samuel didn’t come, he did the most rational thing he could think of: he offered the sacrifice himself, then proceeded to conquer the enemy.

Samuel’s response, however, was less than grateful.  Saul had been so eager to do good that He had broken God’s law!  God would rather have seen Saul go into battle without the sacrifice than disobey Him and make the offering!

 Like my coworker and King Saul, we sometimes find ourselves tempted to do “favors” both for others and for God.  Yet not all favors are helpful… or wise.  As Christians, we must be careful not to get ahead of ourselves, but to prayerfully consider each action in light of God’s Word. Our Master is far more interested in seeing a task done properly than in seeing it accomplished quickly.  And our interests ought to mirror His!

Challenge:  The next time you find yourself seeking a short-cut or a way to speed up the work being accomplished, take a step back and pray.  Only proceed once you’re certain that your “favor” really will honor God and be a help to others!

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