your daily crossroad

 

Friends?

Behold, I have graven thee upon the palms of my hands . . . (Isaiah 49:16)
 
While waiting with my sick children to see a pediatrician, I noticed a face that looked familiar. As she came closer with her two kids in tow, I was pleasantly surprised that I remembered her name and that she was a classmate from back in my secondary-school days. However, what could have been an exciting reunion turned slightly embarrassing when I went over to say hello and she didn’t recognize me or recall my name — even after I introduced myself! I was even more perplexed by this encounter since she is a Facebook “friend” of mine. However, it dawned on me how easily the roles could have been reversed, that I could have been the one who had forgotten her name. This experience reminded me how grateful I am that I have a God who not only calls me friend but whose palms are inscribed with my name. I marvel that while I struggle to recall the name of a few hundred acquaintances and former colleagues, God invites all 7.6 billion people on this earth to be his close friends! My prayer is that I will cultivate a meaningful, personal relationship with God so that I can recognize God’s voice and follow God’s will every day. 
 
Dear God, thank you for loving us and calling us each by name. Amen. 
 
When I read this devotion I was instantly reminded of Luke 12:7, But even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not therefore: ye are of more value than many sparrows. No matter what difficulty your facing today be encouraged, you are more than a friend to God, your name is inscribed in the palm of his hand. Wow! God loves you far more than you can even imagine, what love. Remember today, you are loved more than you will ever know by someone who died to know you. 
 
Have a beautiful and uplifting day in The Lord! 
 
Today’s Reading is Deuteronomy 6:6-7


More than Knowledge

And to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God. (Ephesians 3:19) 
 
When I was in divinity school, I took classes about God, church history, the Bible, Hebrew, and Greek. Seminarians take these classes for three or four years to gain knowledge that will form us and help us be effective ministers when we leave school. People who are seminary-trained are supposed to be prepared when asked to preach or confronted with a difficult question. Paul’s prayer for the Ephesians flies in the face of any efforts we make to know God on our own. He prays that they may be strengthened by the Spirit, and that Christ may dwell in their hearts through faith, not by attaining a special kind of knowledge. Then he prays they may “know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge” (3:19) The strength of the Spirit, Christ dwelling in our hearts, and the love of Christ are gifts that a pastor cannot give. These gifts come only from God through faith, not by our own efforts to achieve a special level of knowledge. God’s love and presence are gifts given freely by God. That’s something worth knowing. 
 
Thank You, God, for the gift of Christ’s love that surpasses knowledge. Amen. 
 
I pray you are not offended by such a devotion. There is nothing wrong with going to school to learn more about God and the scripture and to further your knowledge of God. It’s when we try to know God on our own, as the devotion explains. When I read this devotion it blessed me. I was reminded of Luke 12:12, The Holy Spirit will give you the words to say at the moment when you need them. What you put in will come out, if you put God’s word in, when you need it, The Holy Spirit will give you the words to say in the time of need, it’s The Holy Spirit in you that reaches those who are lost not the amount of knowledge you have attained. Remember to keep Him first, then your knowledge will become useful in winning souls to further His kingdom. It’s about more than just knowledge. 
 
Have a beautiful and uplifting day in The Lord! 
 
Today’s Reading is Romans 15:4 


No Comparison

A sound heart is the life of the flesh: but envy the rottenness of the bones. (Proverbs 14:30) 
 
One of these days I’m going to put it all on Facebook—not just the good stuff!” 
 
My friend Sue’s comment—made casually over lunch with her husband—caused me to laugh out loud and also to think. Social media can be a good thing, helping us stay in touch with and pray for friends across the years and miles. But if we’re not careful, it can also create an unrealistic outlook on life. When much of what we see posted is a “highlight reel” of “the good stuff,” we can be misled into thinking others’ lives are without trouble, and wonder where our own went wrong. 
 
Comparing ourselves with others is a sure recipe for unhappiness. When the disciples compared themselves to each other (see Luke 9:46; 22:24), Jesus quickly discouraged it. Soon after His resurrection, Jesus told Peter how he would suffer for his faith. Peter then turned to John and asked, “Jesus, Lord, and what shall this man do? Jesus saith unto him, If I will that he tarry till I come, what is that to thee? follow thou me” (John 21:21–22). 
 
Jesus pointed Peter to the best remedy for unhealthy comparisons. When our minds are focused on God and all He’s done for us, self-focused thoughts fall gently away and we long to follow Him. In place of the world’s competitive strain and stress, He gives us His loving presence and peace. Nothing can compare with Him. 
 
How can you use social media in a God-honoring way? How can a real relationship with God keep you from making unhealthy comparisons? 
 
When I read this devotion I felt it was one that needed to be shared many times over. I’m sure we have all had a moment of reflection with regards to comparing someone else’s life with our own and as today’s devotion reminds us, it’s a recipe for unhappiness. 2 Corinthians 10:5 says, Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ. Don’t compare, choose to be a better version of yourself. Comparison is the thief of joy. 
 
Have a beautiful and uplifting day in The Lord! 
 
Today’s Reading is Deuteronomy 30:16 


Following God’s Lead

Except the Lord build the house, they labour in vain that build it . . . (Psalm 127:1) 
 
For months, we on the board of campus ministry were focused on our fundraising auction. As chair of the board, I met frequently with a young woman who had offered to lead our efforts. Then, a month before the event, she said she just couldn’t handle the responsibility and bowed out. After that, the volunteer we had depended upon to manage the decorations had a family emergency and was not able to help after all. My mother went into hospice care, and I became distracted. The week of the event, the auctioneer backed out. As I began to panic, I recalled the story of Gideon. God instructed Gideon to reduce his army in order to show the Israelites that God was delivering the people. Gideon followed God’s instruction and overcame the Midianites. At the board meeting, we realized that God was speaking through our situation. We did not need an army; we needed to refocus on the purpose of the event and depend on God. So we prayed for God to take control. Even though our reservation numbers were bleak, we remained certain that God would provide. Our attendance was much lower than the previous year, yet our income more than doubled. When we listen in prayer and follow God’s lead, God will sustain us. 
 
Remind us, O God, that our plans mean nothing if you are not in them. Amen. 
 
When I read this devotion I was reminded of a powerful saying, little is much when God is in it. No matter what you may be facing, even when things may look bleak, as today’s devotion mentions, remember, God will provide. He will sustain us. Listen in prayer and follow God’s lead. I have been young, and now am old; yet have I not seen the righteous forsaken, nor his seed begging bread (Psalm 37:25). Follow His lead, you will not regret it. 
 
Have a beautiful and uplifting day in The Lord! 
 
Today’s Reading is 2 Timothy 1:7


Quiet Service

But he that is greatest among you shall be your servant. (Matthew 23:11) 
 
When my mom entered a nursing home, I got the chance to observe the many people who care for those who reside there. I remember the first time that I saw Manny. He looked like a tough guy but proved to be quite the opposite. Each day, Manny helps his mother with lunch. He gently and carefully feeds her, one tiny spoonful at a time. I believe that his patience and compassion sustains her more than anything on the lunch plate. Also, I observe aides who work for little money yet show love and concern to patients who are too weak to care for themselves. Some residents cannot even acknowledge their help. The local news sometimes features heroes who perform great service and deserve to be recognized. However, many other people quietly serve those around them day after day in obscurity. They will never make the evening news. I’m sure that they would hardly consider themselves great; yet in their actions, I see people serving as Christ taught us to serve. Their faithful and steadfast service truly makes them what Jesus called “the greatest among you.” 
 
Open our eyes, Lord, to those who serve with patience and grace. Help us to learn from their example so that we may humbly serve those we meet. Amen. 
 
When I first read this devotion I was reminded of the many people in my life who serve with such patience and grace. Just as today’s devotion said, they may never make the evening news and they would hardly consider  themselves great but the example and impact they have made in my life has left footprints and I will never be the same because of who they are as the example they set in my life. Take a moment today and think of those in your life who set such an example, call them,  send them a txt and let them know you see them, express your gratitude for there love, patience, faithfullness, steadfastness and  quiet service or say a prayer for them. It’s those people that make the world even more beautiful. 
 
Have a beautiful and uplifting day in The Lord! 
 
Today’s Reading is James 1:19 


Surrounded by God

As the mountains are round about Jerusalem, so the Lord is round about his people from henceforth even for ever. (Psalm 125:2) 
 
In a busy airport, a young mother struggled alone. Her toddler was in full tantrum mode—screaming, kicking, and refusing to board their plane. Overwhelmed and heavily pregnant, the burdened young mother finally gave up, sinking to the floor in frustration, covering her face, and starting to sob. 
 
Suddenly six or seven women travelers, all strangers, formed a circle around the young mother and her child—sharing snacks, water, gentle hugs, and even a nursery song. Their loving circle calmed the mother and child, who then boarded their plane. The other women returned to their seats, not needing to discuss what they had done, but knowing their support had strengthened a young mother exactly when she needed it. 
 
This illustrates a beautiful truth from Psalm 125. “As the mountains surround Jerusalem,” says verse 2, “so the Lord surrounds his people.” The image reminds us how the bustling city of Jerusalem is, indeed, flanked by surrounding hills—among them the Mount of Olives, Mount Zion, and Mount Moriah. 
 
In this same way, God surrounds His people—supporting and standing guard over our souls “both now and for evermore.” Thus, on tough days, look up, “unto the hills,” as the psalmist puts it (Psalm 121:1 kjv). God awaits with strong help, steady hope, and everlasting love. 
 
How have you sensed the Lord surrounding you with His love? Who can you share His love with today? 
 
Lord, when we face tough days, surround our souls with Your comforting love. Amen. 
 
When I read today’s devotion I was reminded of our daily scripture in Colossians, Let the peace of Christ rule in your heart. Allow yourself to be available today to someone who may need a little extra strength and hope. Even if it’s just a listening ear or a helping hand. You never know the impact you can make by showing love and if your the one facing a tough day,  remember your never alone, your surrounded by God. 
 
Have a beautiful and uplifting day in The Lord! 
 
Today’s Reading is Colossians 3:15 


Weeping With Us

Jesus wept. (John 11:35) 
 
One Sunday when I was young, we were challenged to memorize a Bible verse. I searched through my Bible looking for the shortest verse I could find. Bingo! I found John 11:35 which contained only two words! Even I could remember this! Now that I’m older and have stood beside the caskets of family members and loved ones, now that I have wept as they have been lowered into the grave, I think of this verse in a different light. Oh, the love Jesus had for this family! Standing at the burial tomb of Lazarus, tears running down his face, “Jesus wept.” Oh, the love Jesus has for each of us! Even in the most trying times, even when darkness surrounds us, even when death is knocking at our door, there stands Jesus, loving us and weeping with us. 
 
Dear God, thank you for your love and compassion and your constant presence with us. As Jesus taught us, we pray, “Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done, as in heaven, so in earth. Give us day by day our daily bread. And forgive us our sins; for we also forgive every one that is indebted to us. And lead us not into temptation; but deliver us from evil” (Luke 11:2-4, KJV). Amen. 
 
This devotion blessed me. It reminded me of just how real Jesus is. Jesus comforts us with His grace. We may grieve, but not without hope, all because of who He is, a constant in our lives, if we allow Him to be. 
 
Have a beautiful and uplifting day in The Lord! 
 
Today’s Reading is Psalm 91:1


Content Can Be A Daily Battle

I know both how to be abased, and I know how to abound: every where and in all things I am instructed both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me. (Philippians 4:12-13) 
 
I always thought of myself as fairly content. Sure, I’m occasionally curious about what it would be like to have someone else’s level of beauty, talent, wealth or success, but it doesn’t tug me too persistently. 
 
Yet recently sourness has invaded my thoughts in another way. Instead of coveting what someone else has, I dwell on what I once had, once could do, once was, and I contrast that with my new realities and limitations. Self-pity lurks in the space between the things I long for and the reality I live. 
 
It’s hard to stay content when we see others enjoying things that we long for. But perhaps it’s even more difficult to combat the longing for things we did once enjoy and no longer can. Loss is an inevitable part of life. We may face loss of loved ones, loss of jobs, loss of health and abilities. Living in contentment is a daily battle, whether we’re tempted to compare to others, an ideal, or our past circumstances. 
 
During times of significant losses, as I’ve laid down things that were precious to me, I’ve found comfort in remembering that Jesus understands loss. He set aside the glories of heaven to come to earth. Earlier in Philippians we read a description of how He “Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men” (Philippians 2:6–7). 
 
Contentment sounds like such a deceptively mellow, easygoing word. But some days it takes fierce, stubborn courage to walk in it. For any of us facing a painful loss—job, relationship, ability, health, plans, purpose, circumstances—I pray for God to breathe the courage of gratitude into our hearts and keep nudging our focus back to Him. 
 
After reading this devotion I was reminded of the raw reality that we all struggle with contentment from time to time, we are flesh, no one is perfect but what I was also reminded of is how good Jesus is, He chose me. He set aside the glories of heaven for you and me. I would encourage you in those moments of discontentment that you stop and remind yourself of His goodness. Keep your mind stayed on Him, Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee (Isaiah 26:3). You are courageous, walk with gratitude in your heart today. 
 
Have a beautiful and uplifting day in The Lord! 
 
Today’s Reading is Galatians 6:9


Practice Being Thankful

Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. (Philippians 4:6) 
 
This verse tells us to not be anxious about anything. That often seems like a pretty difficult. You might see lots of bad things going on in the world.  Or feel that you’re under too much stress at work or school. Even in the middle of all of these things, God tells us to not be anxious. 
 
How is that possible? How can you go through life without being anxious? The rest of this verse tells us how to do it. We are to do two things:
  • Pray.
  • Be thankful.
When we choose being thankful, it changes our perspective on the situation. Instead of being stressed out about how demanding your job is, you can be thankful that you have a job. Instead of stressing about whether you’re going to meet the right person to marry, you can be thankful that you’re single and get to spend more of your free time getting to know God. In many cases, being thankful can turn your anxiety around. It’s hard to be anxious when you’re thankful. 
 
Today choose to put aside your anxiety and choose to practice being thankful. You’ll find that as you become thankful, it’s hard to be anxious. 
 
I confess, Lord, that I so often prefer worry over prayer and being thankful. Thank you that you invite me to cast all my cares upon you. I pray that I may learn to do that with a heart of continual thanksgiving. Amen. 
 
This devotion blessed me today. Let us be reminded today that as we practice being thankful the result is peace. The peace of God that passes all understanding will keep our hearts and minds in Christ Jesus. Not my will but thine be done.  
 
Have a beautiful and uplifting day in The Lord! 
 
Today’s Reading is Isaiah 40:28 


Responding With Compassion (When You’d Rather Not)

Thou drewest near in the day that I called upon thee: thou saidst, Fear not. O Lord, thou hast pleaded the causes of my soul; thou hast redeemed my life. O Lord, thou hast seen my wrong: judge thou my cause. (Lamentations 3:57-59) 
 
I would like to tell you I responded by taking the high road and was a model of maturity. But to be honest, I became slightly unhinged. 
 
Years ago, an old colleague accused me of gossiping behind her back. It wasn’t a soft accusation, either; it was bitter, hurtful and destructive. She sent me vicious messages on social media and began attacking my reputation. 
 
This was the first time I’d experienced a false accusation, my first time being blamed for something I was entirely innocent of doing, and the first time my name was dragged through the mud. 
 
I actually typed up about 25 versions of vicious retorts (which thankfully the Lord nudged me to delete before sending). I vented for days, cried, lost sleep. I made up imaginary conversations with this woman, including all of the witty things I would say to put her in her proper place. Then I enacted these conversations … aloud … in my car … by myself … like the dignified woman of God that I am. 
 
This continued until I realized how much power I was giving this injustice. I was allowing it to steal my joy, creativity, thought life, prayer life and disposition. On top of it all, I completely lost perspective. In my mind, I turned this woman into a villain, rather than a human being who was likely walking through some hardship herself. 
 
I neglected to feel or show compassion, refusing to see her as a woman created in the image of God, who needs Jesus as much as I do, who needs her pain alleviated just like anyone else. 
 
The book of Lamentations resonates with me, because in it, we find Jeremiah crying out to God on behalf of people who have continually rejected, ridiculed and rebuked him. 
 
Jeremiah’s laments are rugged and oh so real. But somehow, in the midst of his raw pain, he still chooses to show compassion to the same folks who push him away. 
 
Instead of nursing a wounded ego, Jeremiah focuses outward, passionately advocating for his nation. The prophet laments the pain of others while continually surrendering his own fear, worry and suffering to the Lord. 
 
Jeremiah never succumbs to the burning urge to defend his personal reputation (nor for that matter, have ridiculous imaginary conversations in his car).
 
Whatever relational difficulty you’re facing right now, you can adopt the same attitude as Jeremiah, which says, “Do not fear. God is near. He will take up my case. God’s got this.” 
 
The undeserved compassion God has shown us in Jesus can empower us to follow Jeremiah’s example and show others — especially those who haven’t earned it — that same supernatural compassion. 
 
It’s unlikely I’ll ever become BFFs with my accuser. In fact, one way I protect my heart is to maintain healthy boundaries with her. Still, I can choose compassion for her and ask God to open my eyes to her pain. I can pray for her and lament with her. 
 
And I can have hope that somehow, God’s giant, compassionate love is enough to uphold both our causes. 
 
If you’re hurting today, remember this truth: God draws near to those who call on Him. (James 4:8) He removes our fear. He invades the most difficult situations with His unstoppable hope. God is at work renewing all things — even our relational pain. And He mercifully transforms us in the midst of these trials. 
 
God sings a louder song than any difficulty we face — a song of renewal, restoration and never-failing compassion. 
 
Dear God, I praise You for Your compassion. Thank You for being near when I feel brokenhearted. I confess sometimes I’m tempted to give into pettiness or fear when I’m offended. Grant me the grace and strength to have compassion on all those around me and walk without fear, trusting that You take up my cause. Thank You for seeing me and singing Your louder song over the noise of my pain. In Jesus’ Name, Amen. 
 
This devotion blessed me so very much. I pray it blesses you and provokes you to see things a bit differently when dealing with pain and injustice. Remember, God invades the most difficult of situations with His unstoppable hope. 
 
Have a beautiful and uplifting day in The Lord! 
 
Today’s Reading is Proverbs 17:9


He is Able

Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us. (Ephesians 3:20) 
 
Think of your most extravagant thought and then try to think of something way beyond your wildest dreams. Even if you have a vivid imagination, there will still be a limit to what you are able to comprehend.  
 
However, your Father does not have the same limitations that you have. He says that He is able to do immeasurably MORE than anything that you could ask or imagine. The sky is the limit as far as He is concerned. He knows no earthly barriers or boundaries that will keep Him from fulfilling the best plans and purposes for His children. 
 
We can choose to live our lives in the confines of our own natural understanding and perceived limitations, or we can choose to believe what God has promised for us. That He is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine according to His power that is at work within us! 
 
Our Father is the biggest, strongest and most wonderful Dad in the universe and He has promised that He is able to do exceedingly, abundantly, above all that we ask or imagine! 
 
Father, I know that You love me and You have a plan for me that is immeasurably more than I could ever possibly imagine. Thank You for giving me Your precious Holy Spirit who is at work in me to fulfill all that You have purposed for me. Help me to believe You for greater things in my life than my own human limitations can comprehend. In the name of Your beloved Son Jesus I pray, AMEN. 
 
Have a beautiful and uplifting day in The Lord! 
 
Today’s Reading is 1 John 2:15-16


Remain Faithful

Thus saith the Lord; Cursed be the man that trusteth in man, and maketh flesh his arm, and whose heart departeth from the Lord. For he shall be like the heath in the desert, and shall not see when good cometh; but shall inhabit the parched places in the wilderness, in a salt land and not inhabited. Blessed is the man that trusteth in the Lord, and whose hope the Lord is. For he shall be as a tree planted by the waters, and that spreadeth out her roots by the river, and shall not see when heat cometh, but her leaf shall be green; and shall not be careful in the year of drought, neither shall cease from yielding fruit. The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it? I the Lord search the heart, I try the reins, even to give every man according to his ways, and according to the fruit of his doings (Jeremiah 17:5-10).  
 
Jeremiah was tasked with a pretty unpopular project: Confront the Israelites of their sin, and warn them about their crumbling future if they kept worshiping false gods. 
 
Unfortunately, no one wanted to listen to anything Jeremiah had to say. Year after year, Jeremiah reminded them of the God who saved them from Egypt and even parted the sea for their exile, but they didn’t care; in fact, they just grew more annoyed. They weren’t interested in hearing about their sin, and they decided it was best to return to practices and gods of Egypt anyway. 
 
But for 40 years, Jeremiah preached the same message: Return to God, put your confidence in Him, and you’ll experience His grace. He could’ve just been talking to a brick wall though, because no one took him seriously and not one person changed course. 
 
You bet he was discouraged. Not only did his friends avoid him, but he never married, didn’t have children, and people dodged him walking down the street. Although Jeremiah was God’s chosen prophet, it’s safe to say his life wasn’t a very glamorous life, and he often felt unused and his work unfruitful. Yet God had called him to this mission specifically, and there was a purpose beyond what he could see—God just asked him to remain faithful and keep preaching His message. 
 
We may have friends and family who don’t yet know Christ and aren’t interested in hearing about our faith. But as unpopular as the topic may be, God has still tasked His people to share the Good News—and as unglamorous and lonely as it may be, God is asking you, “Will you remain faithful to me? Will you remain faithful to your call?” 
 
If our answer is yes, we can look forward to the day when we meet Jesus face to face and hear Him say, “Well done, my good and faithful servant!” 
 
Lord, it’s not always easy to share about the Gospel—some people don’t want to talk about sin, others don’t feel the need for a Savior, and there are some who just have a bad taste in their mouth about church and Christians. But as hard as it was for Jeremiah to stay true to the course and preach your message, he did it and you rewarded him. May I remain faithful to you, and even when it’s unpopular, rise up to share the Good News with those in my world. Amen. 
 
Wow, what a powerful devotion. I was touched by this today. When God calls you, remain faithful, no matter what it may look like, there is a purpose beyond what you can see. I don’t know about you but my answer is Yes Lord, I will remain faithful! 
 
Have a beautiful and uplifting day in The Lord! 
 
Today’s Reading is Jeremiah 17:10


His Strength in Your Weakness

And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me (2 Corinthians 12:9).  
 
I didn’t have an easy childhood. I came from a home that was broken many, many times over. But I can look back on my past today and instead of moaning about it, I can say, “I went through that, and now I can comfort others.” It has become a tool to help others. 
 
I wouldn’t want to go through that again, of course. Nor would I want anyone else to go through the same thing. But I’m thankful that God can take my past and use it for His glory today. I’m thankful that He can take that hardship and use it for His glory. He can do the same for you. 
 
Maybe at this time in your life, you’re going through some hard times, and you’re wondering why. God will use it. It’s hard to believe now. But just remember that it won’t last forever. 
 
As 1 Peter 1:6–7 says, “Wherein ye greatly rejoice, though now for a season, if need be, ye are in heaviness through manifold temptations: That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ). Trials don’t last forever. 
 
I’m reminded of a sign posted at the end of an airport runway that reads, “Keep moving. If you stop, you are in danger and a danger to those who are flying.” 
 
You can take that same statement and apply it to the Christian life. Keep moving. Don’t give up. Don’t abandon hope. You are going to get through that valley in your life. There will be an even greater mountaintop beyond it, with great lessons you have learned as God demonstrated His strength in your weakness. 
 
Have a beautiful and uplifting day in The Lord! 
 
Today’s Reading is 1 John 4:10


Perfect Love

Herein is our love made perfect, that we may have boldness in the day of judgment: because as he is, so are we in this world. (1 John 4:17) 
 
As children, we all dream about happily ever after. We pine away waiting for the knight on the white horse or daydream about love that is never anything less than perfect. When you think of perfect love, who do you think of? While many of you probably said Cinderella and Prince Charming; when I think of perfect love, my thoughts turn to Adam and Eve.
 
Kind of a bad choice for “perfect love” you might say; but Adam and Eve, while best known for the single worst mistake in history, were still the first couple ever made for each other in the literal and spiritual sense. God made Eve especially for Adam. She was made for him and from him. Their relationship was God’s handiwork and despite the whole apple thing, they created quite the life together. 
 
Just like many love stories today, I have never turned a pumpkin into a carriage and my husband has never trotted in on a white horse to save me from some wicked queen. However, I have turned lemons into lemonade many days and he makes the cutest neigh when he gives our kids piggyback rides around the front lawn. We bicker from time to time. We don’t go dancing on Friday nights or awake every morning to breakfast in bed. He snores. I nag. He watches too much Sports Center and I watch too much Lifetime. But while we two are far from perfect, we love each other perfectly. God created our marriage in His perfect manner, in His perfect way … as only He can do. 
 
God tells us in 1 John 4:12 (KJV), 
 
“If we love one another, God dwelleth in us, and his love is perfected in us.” 
 
So, even though Adam and Eve were the epitomes of imperfection, even though Adam probably forgot to take out the trash and Eve probably forgot to wash his leaf now and then, their imperfection was made perfect in their love for one another. No matter how flawed they were, their marriage was created in perfect love because the Master created it and He dwelt within the midst. 
 
Don’t stress over living up to the fairytale. Your love story, no matter how simple or how elaborate, was designed by God. He perfected it. He wrote it. He even illustrated it and signed his name on your copy. He’s the author and the finisher. (Hebrews 12:2) 
 
Happily ever after doesn’t always come with ball gowns and white horses. Most of the time, it comes with sweat pants and minivans. But that’s ok, because if it comes from God, it’s perfect and nothing less. 
 
This devotion blessed me today. What a reminder on a day such as today, Valentines Day. My husband and I have a saying we love, every love story is beautiful but ours is my favorite. Today, be reminded of the love you share with those in your life, build a life you love with Christ as the center and you will see despite what your happily ever after looks like, it’s perfect and nothing less. 
 
Have a beautiful and uplifting day in The Lord! 
 
Today’s Reading is John 13:34-35


Oh. No. She. Didn’t!

And above all things have fervent charity among yourselves: for charity shall cover the multitude of sins. (1 Peter 4:8) 
 
People use all kinds of expressions to describe being upset or offended. Such as “That flew all over me” or “Well, I never!” Another expression that comes to mind is “Oh no she didn’t.” For example … 
 
When someone takes credit for your big idea. Oh no she didn’t. 
 
When someone passes the blame on to you. Oh no she didn’t. 
 
When someone gives you a backhanded compliment. (“Your hair looks so much better since you had it cut.”) Oh. No. She. Didn’t! 
 
From little offenses to major ones, it’s easy to get our feelings hurt when we perceive someone has wronged us. Whether or not we have cause to be offended, when we take offense, our relationships can suffer. It’s as if we develop relational blind spots. 
 
As hard as it is to admit, sometimes I’m easily offended. It’s easy to blame others when we get hurt, but the truth is, we have control over our emotions. And I can choose whether to feel offended. 
 
I’ve learned to consider honestly whether I’m easily offended by asking the following questions:
  • Do you find that your feelings are frequently hurt?
  • Have people told you they feel as if they have to walk on eggshells around you?
  • Are you constantly feeling annoyed?
  • Do you frequently expect someone to apologize?
  • Are you constantly repeating the words, “You hurt my feelings”?
Much like forgiveness is a choice, not being easily offended is also a choice. 
 
There was a time when I had to make this choice at work. I was looking forward to a new hire coming on board. Unfortunately from day one, she made comments toward me that left me feeling … well, offended. 
 
As a result of both her actions and my response, we frequently butted heads, causing our team to be less cohesive than it could have been. One day, I learned that this woman had recently been injured. In that moment, I had to make a decision. Was I willing to extend grace to her despite how she had treated me? The choice was clear. 
 
So, a colleague and I scrambled to take care of some things for her, and we picked up the slack during her recovery. A short while later, my boss asked me why I had helped this woman, despite the way she had treated me. 
 
“Because love covers a multitude of sins,” I replied. This answer comes from 1 Peter 4:8. The Amplified Bible explains that this means love forgives and disregards the offenses of others. 
 
While I had every reason to be offended, the Lord impressed upon my heart that I had an opportunity to be kind. As a result, the relationship improved so that it was more professional. I extended grace to her, treating her how I would want to be treated. I worked hard to let go of the offenses and integrate the words of 1 Peter 4:8 into my life. And it worked! 
 
Jesus’ love through the cross has covered a multitude of our sins. Allow His grace to overflow out of that excess to those in your life who offend you, and choose to turn your “Oh no she didn’t!” into “Oh yes He did!” 
 
Dear Lord, I’m sorry for how I’ve offended others. I ask that You reveal to me if there’s anyone I need to make peace with. At the same time, show me when and how to let go of offenses against me. Help me learn to be a better spouse, neighbor and friend. And when someone offends me, enable me to give that person grace in the same way You’ve shown me grace. May I respond in a way that helps, rather than harms, my relationships. In Jesus’ Name, Amen. 
 
Wow! This devotion blessed me so very much and I pray it too has blessed you in some way. What an incredible reminder for all of us, we can all be so easily offended from time to time but today you can choose to make a change for the good. Ask yourself, am I easily offended?  
 
Have a beautiful and uplifting day in The Lord! 
 
Today’s Reading is Philippians 2:3