your daily crossroad

 

But I Really Want This, God . . .

Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths. (Proverbs 3:5-6) 
 
On paper, everything seemed to make perfect sense. There was an opportunity I’d wanted for a long time. In my best estimation, this seemed to line up perfectly with my ministry, my calling and my desires.
 
The only problem was the deep-down knowing it wasn’t my assignment.
 
I’d asked God for this opportunity, but then I had worked tirelessly behind the scenes to make sure I’d get it. This opportunity was the product of my trying really hard, not truly trusting God. And I felt the weight of all my hustle. I was anxious, exhausted and weighed down by an emotion I couldn’t quite understand — dread.
 
It felt so right. It seemed like such a good fit. It made perfect sense when I’d said yes. But the closer the due date came for this opportunity, the more regret I felt. Instead of running in the freedom of being assured God had called me to this, so He’d definitely lead me through it, I felt like I was pushing a boulder uphill.
 
There is a weight to our every want. 
 
And when God says no or not yet, it’s often because He can see what the weight of this want will do. Make no mistake, we will eventually realize what our choices outside of God’s will cost us. 

The truth is, God has expectations for how humanity, whom He created in His image, is to live and act. Yet, sadly, humanity is prone to wander, and this is the repetitive story we see throughout Scripture. Yes, God is in control. But He doesn’t control our choices. God has given responsibility and freedom to humans to choose Him, His way and His best.
 
As I said before, we will eventually realize what our choices outside of God’s will cost us. And that moment of realization leads us right back to what God tried to tell us before we ever made those choices. There isn’t ever a time when God has been wrong.
 
Not ever. And how gracious of God to be patient with us as we learn that lesson over and over. God is trustworthy. Our obedience to God is an indication of whether or not we trust Him.
 
We see this tension between obedience and trust played out with God’s people and the first king who ruled them — Saul. 
 
Saul certainly looked the part of a king. Scripture describes him as both taller and more handsome than any of the other Israelite men. (1 Samuel 9:2
 
The prophet Samuel tried to warn the people of Israel about what they were losing by establishing a human king instead of following God as their one true King. They were displacing God’s best for the weight of their own choice. (1 Samuel 10:17-19; 1 Samuel 12:14-19) They would be held accountable for the choice of a king they would not be able to control. When this king went astray, the people would suffer.
 
And not only would the people suffer, but God would also eventually have to tear the kingdom from Saul’s hands. This king who looked the part would end up letting fear and distrust lead him to walk in disobedience to God. (1 Samuel 15) Because of Saul’s disobedience, God would find another king who was more suited than Saul to lead His people — David. This king was a man after God’s own heart, and his throne would be established forever.
 
How much suffering would the Israelites have avoided if only they had trusted and waited on God? Where are we signing up for suffering, all because we are too often “wise in our own eyes”? (Proverbs 3:7)
 
Oh, sweet friend. I know what it’s like to want something so badly that you feel you would do just about anything to have it. But I also know that sometimes, God lets us push past His better plan to experience the consequences of our headstrong attitude. I have lived with the burden of extreme stress, fear, anxiety and an overwhelming sense of regret … all because I refused to trust God’s timing and His ways.
 
I don’t want that for you. 
 
Let’s trust that God’s plans truly are best. Let’s remember there is a weight to our every want. And let’s choose to live out the easy-to-quote-but-sometimes-hard-to-live reminder of Proverbs 3:5-6, “Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.” 
 
Dear Lord, I am so grateful for Your everlasting love and vision for my life. Help me embrace the fact that Your plans are so much greater than mine. Humble my heart in the moments when I try to maintain control so I can fully serve You. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
 
When I read this devotion it blessed me and I felt it needed to be shared. We all need to be reminded of this today.
 
Have a beautiful and uplifting day in The Lord!
Today’s Reading is Psalm 119:143


In the Midst of Life Struggles: Look Up

I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh my help. My help cometh from the Lord, which made heaven and earth. (Psalm 121:1-2) 

There’s so much in this life we can start to feel anxious about, even when we know God’s truth and believe that He’s in control. It can still be a daily battle in our hearts, in our minds.
 
When we just keep looking all around us, we can easily get defeated. Drained. Impatient. Cynical.
 
We may find ourselves wrestling with worry. Fear might creep in. We lose our focus because we’re so distracted on all the things that can never really give us strength and hope anyway.
 
People won’t ever be the answer for our every need. Money, possessions, or success can’t ever satisfy the void deep inside that only God can fill. This world will never be free of all conflict. The government won’t ever fix all of our problems. It can’t. Because no matter who is President, no matter what we face in this life, God’s still on the throne.
 
5 Reminders of Hope from Psalm 121:
 
“My help cometh from the Lord, which made heaven and earth.” v. 2  He’s All-powerful. God is a mountain mover and Creator of heaven and earth. He’s with us, always. He breathes help and strength into our souls, into our day.
 
“He will not suffer thy foot to be moved: he that keepeth thee will not slumber.” v. 3  He won’t allow us to fall. We may find ourselves on slippery slopes, or the path we’re walking seems to be full of potholes and obstacles. But the God who knows all, knows our way. And even when we stumble, as our eyes are fixed on Him, He will keep our footsteps firm. For He watches over us and never sleeps or slumbers.
 
“The Lord is thy keeper: the Lord is thy shade upon thy right hand.” v. 5  He keeps us, safe, in His care. He protects us like the shade protects from the heat of the day. Why the “right hand?” Because it is known as the hand that works, so we can be assured that whatever He’s given us to do in this life, His covering of protection rests over all of our work and efforts.
 
“The Lord shall preserve thee from all evil: he shall preserve thy soul.” v. 7  He protects us from “all evil,” not some, but “all.” It does not have the final say over our lives. Fear of death, disease, and hardship has lost its sting, for our lives are hidden with Christ in God. No matter who or what we’re rubbing shoulders with each day, God’s power is greater than whatever darkness we might face. For He is the soul-keeper and He holds all of our tomorrows.
 
“The Lord shall preserve thy going out and thy coming in from this time forth, and even for evermore.” v. 8  He watches over us, constantly, His eyes are towards us. He cannot look away from those He loves. He watches our coming and our going, and all in between. He watches over our family and children, even when we cannot see. We do not have to worry, for He strongly supports those whose hearts are His.
 
It often comes down to a choice. Let’s choose, no matter what swirls around us, to set our eyes on God. For if He made all of heaven and earth, surely He has a Sovereign, incredible plan, for you and for me. He knows our way in this journey of life, and He’s a “with us” God. Keep remembering today: Look up. He alone is where our hope is found!
 
Wow! This devotion blessed me today. I pray it blesses you in some way as well. We all struggle with worry, fear and focus but He is able, He is as today’s devotion says, a “with us” God in this journey of life. I pray you are encouraged today to look up! Choose today to set your eyes on God! Amen and Amen! Look Up! 
 
Have a beautiful and uplifting day in The Lord!
 
Today’s Reading is 2 Peter 3:9


Wanting God’s Will in Our Way

And he was withdrawn from them about a stone’s cast, and kneeled down, and prayed, Saying, Father, if thou be willing, remove this cup from me: nevertheless not my will, but thine, be done. (Luke 22:41-42) 


I have to admit that when Jesus’ obedience works for my benefit, it’s easier to accept. 
 
If I’m talking about salvation, I have no problem partaking in His obedience, and I’m overwhelmed with gratitude. But when it comes to a child’s health, or if a young parent’s life hangs in the balance, or when disasters strike the most vulnerable, I want to question God’s methods, timing and plan. 
 
That might sound contemptuous, but haven’t we all wrestled with this question: Why has this bad thing happened to such a good person? 
And I struggle with praying for God’s will to be done. 
 
I’ve offered up prayers asking God for His will to be done, only to later retract them when God’s way doesn’t seem to match my pace, or when His ideas mess up my perfectly crafted plan, or He doesn’t come through the way I anticipate, pray or plead for. I’m often left shaking my head — curious if God missed something along the way. 

Maybe that’s what Martha and Mary thought as their brother lay on his deathbed, and Jesus, aware of Lazarus’ condition, didn’t rush to His friend’s bedside. Perhaps Jairus, whose daughter also lay dying, similarly questioned Jesus’ seeming lack of urgency as He allowed her life to slip away. 
 
The Father’s will and agenda was Jesus’ priority — not seeking others’ approval, not rushing to accomplish more miracles in His limited time on earth. He wasn’t frantically traveling to every village. Unlike many of us, Jesus didn’t fall into the trap of needing to do “all the things.” 

It’s hard to imagine waiting instead of moving, and yet, Jesus often did. He had all the answers, power and ability to turn back time and hold death at bay simultaneously, and yet — He didn’t. Because Jesus was serious when He offered up the prayer, nevertheless not my will, but thine, be done” (Luke 22:42). 
 
How many of our prayers does God answer when we impatiently demand Him to, versus when He deems the time is right? How often does He wait to respond until the moment when His power can be best revealed? How many dreams does God plan to resurrect, perhaps after they’re dead and forgotten, as He’s merely waiting for us to surrender — to stop trying to solve all the problems ourselves? 
 
We ache to have a baby and start our family, but the child God has for us won’t be born for another five years. 

We want a financial blessing, but He wants us to learn stewardship with the little He’s placed in our hands. 
 
We desire influence over the masses, but He points to our home, our neighbors, our workplace — where the recognition will be little, but the fruit will be ripe. 

While God may want to give us all of these things, we expect to tell Him exactly how and when plans should unfold, instead of opening our hands and acknowledging His vantage point is better. 
 
John records Jesus’ words, explaining that “The Son can do nothing of himself, but what he seeth the Father do: for what things soever he doeth, these also doeth the Son likewise” (John 5:19). 
 
Jesus’ radical, continual and humble submission to the ways and will of His Father is the greatest example of what it means to fully obey. What would happen if, when we came to God with our list of requests, we opened our hands and prayed like Jesus did: “not my will, but thine, be done“…? 

Father God, thank You for giving the perfect example of what obedience means — in Jesus. Thank You for His radical gift in surrendering His life in the greatest act of obedience. Help me today to hear and know Your voice and to willingly obey whatever You are asking me — without arguing, begging or trying to convince You that I know what’s best. I want to surrender, to choose obedience, and see Your will be done — instead of my own. In Jesus’ Name, Amen. 

When I read this devotion it blessed me. I pray it blesses you and inspires you to stop and say nevertheless not my will, but thine, be done. 

Have a beautiful and uplifting day in The Lord! 

Today’s Reading is 1 Peter 2:15-16 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 


Stronger Together

And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works: Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching. (Hebrews 10:24-25) 

I had a pastor tell me years ago, “Crystal, you should be in church every time these doors are open.” I remember getting mad at him thinking, “Who does he think he is?!” Well, now I understand. He thought he was my pastor, watching over my soul; he knew my struggles and knew the best place for me to overcome was being consistently around the things and people of God. 
 
I see it now as a pastor that those who struggle the most are inconsistent with church attendance. They are inconsistent with Bible study and prayer group. They are inconsistent with small groups and so they struggle and are up and down in their emotions like a yoyo. 

If you neglect the Body, you become weaker not stronger and are more susceptible to deception and the schemes of Satan. If you are struggling and are constantly up and down, immerse yourself in the things of God. Stop skipping corporate worship, the Word is going forth and you’re missing that time of praise and fellowship when His presence is so strong. Go to Bible Study and prayer group. It’s more important than Monday Night Football. Your faith is more precious than gold!
 
Father, we are not those who walk in darkness, but are children of the Light! Help us walk side by side with our brothers in Christ for we are stronger together! In Jesus’ name.
 
Wow! This devotion blessed me. This very topic has been heavy on my heart lately. It may be a topic that steps all over your toes and you may say as the gal in this devotion said, who do you think you are, but folks, we are living in the last days, more now than ever, the enemy is roaming about seeking who He can devour and as today’s devotion says, If you neglect the Body, you become weaker not stronger and are more susceptible to deception and the schemes of Satan. If you make church a priority, your children, your family will pick up on that, you treat church as if it is simply another activity to take or leave, they will pick up on that as well. Being “too busy” is a myth, people make time for the things that are really important to them. Ask yourself this question today, Is church a priority, do you hit and miss and only attend when it’s convenient? We are stronger together!
 
Have a beautiful and uplifting day in The Lord!
 
Today’s Reading is Joshua 24:15


Give Thanks for All He has Done

Give thanks unto the Lord, call upon his name, make known his deeds among the people. (1 Chronicles 16:8) 

If anything of yours has ever been lost or stolen and then found, your first reaction most likely was thankfulness. Perhaps you were relieved to be reunited with your purse, keys, or phone. However, imagine if what was eventually returned was the symbol of God’s presence, the Ark of the Covenant.
 
After God enabled David and his men to defeat the Philistine army, there was one more important task: they were to bring the Ark of the Covenant to Jerusalem. The Ark was now going to be returned to its rightful home and, for this homecoming, David commits a psalm of thanks to the Lord (vv. 8–36). In this poetic song, David thanks God for the wondrous things He has done for the Israelites with His miracles, His judgments, and decrees (v. 12).
 
It is often easier to give thanks to the Lord for miracles than for judgments, but David reminds us that both are needed and necessary. Fast forward a few generations. During Jesus’ earthly ministry, many people thanked Him for His miracles, but His decrees about Himself made a very different impression on people. His miracles were praised, while His judgments were perceived as threatening.
 
Even today, we are much quicker to thank God for His miracles than for His judgments. Many people prefer gentle lies rather than hard truths. But God has called us to a life of grace and truth. David reminds his people, as well as us, that we ought to thank the Lord for all the wondrous things He has done. Both His miracles and His judgments show God’s presence in our lives. Thankfully, every day God’s Word gracefully speaks truth into your life and mine.
 
Can you name one miracle and one hard truth God has given you? Remembering what God has done in your life is one of the first steps to fill your life with thanks. Like David, be sure to thank the Lord for all the wondrous things He has done. If you have time, compose your own psalm of praise to the Lord.
 
This devotion blessed me. I felt it needed to shared today. God has a great plan for your life, Trust Him. Remember His goodness and Give Thanks for ALL He has done.
 
Have a beautiful and uplifting day in The Lord!
 
Today’s Reading is James 1:2-3


God In The MRI

Whither shall I go from thy spirit? or whither shall I flee from thy presence? If I ascend up into heaven, thou art there: if I make my bed in hell, behold, thou art there. (Psalm 139:7-8) 

I had always thought that I was fine with being cramped in enclosed spaces, until the summer of 2011 when I had my first MRI. That’s when I found out that I was wrong; in fact, not just wrong, but very, very wrong. If you’re unfamiliar with an MRI, it is a medical imaging procedure in which the patient is inserted into a tube just large enough for his or her body to slide into. Then (don’t lose me in the fancy medical jargon here), there are a bunch of loud hammering noises, clicks, claps, beeps and a variety of other atonal hubbub. 
 
Initially, the cramped space and the noise didn’t bother me,I actually felt kind of like an astronaut beneath the white lights of the tube. But about ten minutes into the procedure, waves of panic crashed through my body and I cracked. For some reason, albeit irrational, I just couldn’t handle being in that tube any longer. It was a terrible experience. Six months later, I had to get another one and saying no wasn’t an option. 

However, when I went into the machine this time, it was a much different experience. I was nervous again but this time I closed my eyes and prayed. Initially I felt embarrassed before God by my unreasonable fear, but I needed Him, so I told Him that. I prayed about life and fear and everything in between. It was the last place in the world I expected to connect with God, but I did, and it was amazing. He was there.
 
Regardless of my illogical fear and my sporadic conversation with Him, I deeply felt His presence. Afterward, as I drove home, the words of Psalm 139:7-8 came to life for me. Though I hadn’t been at the bottom of the Atlantic or at the top of Mount Everest, God was with me amidst my fear.
 
No matter the place or situation, God is there, available and unbelievably gracious toward us.
 
What I love about this devotion is the reminder that is doesn’t matter the depth of your fear or fears, God is always in the midst of your fears, waiting for you to call out to Him. No matter the fear, big or small, call out to Him, He is never caught off guard to your fears or surprised by them, He is all knowing, but it’s up to us to call out to Him. He is indeed available and unbelievably gracious toward us. What a mighty God we serve. Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness, Isaiah 41:10.
 
Have a beautiful and uplifting day in The Lord!
 
Today’s Reading is Ephesians 1:9-10


The Pathway to Humility

And he humbled thee, and suffered thee to hunger, and fed thee with manna, which thou knewest not, neither did thy fathers know; that he might make thee know that man doth not live by bread only, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of the Lord doth man live. (Deuteronomy 8:3) 
 
A friend of mine who’s a young leader recently confessed to me some discouragement he’d been wrestling through. He’d been working so hard and seen great success, but his leaders gave him no recognition or encouragement. And hardest of all, due to some transitions in the company, he’d been demoted to a lower position.
 
I asked him a seemingly strange question after he poured out his heart to me: “Do you know what the opposite of pride is?”
 
He tilted his head and asked, “Do you think I’m struggling with pride?”
 
I wasn’t trying to imply my young friend was prideful. I was setting the stage to help him see his circumstances through a different lens.
 
So I simply stated, “I believe the opposite of pride is trust in God. Pride begs us to believe it all depends on us. Trusting God requires us to place our dependence on Him. And the pathway that leads us away from pride and into a place of truly trusting God is paved with humility. Humility is never bought at a cheap price. It will always cost us something but will be worth the price we pay.
 
“Might God be using these humbling circumstances to get you to a place of deep and unshakable trust in Him? If God sees big things ahead for you, and I believe He does, then He must remove all hints of pride. Even if pride is but a tiny thorn in your heart now, when you’re given a bigger position with more recognition, that pride grows from a thorn to a dagger with the potential to kill your calling.”
 
In the Old Testament, we see God revealing this same kind of pride-stripping process by feeding the children of Israel manna in the desert for the purpose of humbling them. It was crucial that God prepare them to trust Him as they stepped from the desert into their destined Promised Land.
 
Deuteronomy 8:2 says, And thou shalt remember all the way which the Lord thy God led thee these forty years in the wilderness, to humble thee, and to prove thee, to know what was in thine heart, whether thou wouldest keep his commandments, or no.
 
When I read this devotion I couldn’t shake the truth behind it. I pray you take away this one truth from today’s devotion, Trusting God requires us to place our dependence on Him. And the pathway that leads us away from pride and into a place of truly trusting God is paved with humility.
 
Have a beautiful and uplifting day in The Lord!
 
Today’s Reading is Romans 13:6


Guided By Conscience

For when the Gentiles, which have not the law, do by nature the things contained in the law, these, having not the law, are a law unto themselves: Which shew the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness, and their thoughts the mean while accusing or else excusing one another;) In the day when God shall judge the secrets of men by Jesus Christ according to my gospel. (Romans 2:14-16) 

Human beings are born with a marvelous gift from God—a conscience. Since its warnings can cause discomfort, you perhaps have never thought of it as a blessing. But the Lord had our benefit and protection in mind when He created this internal witness to our moral conduct. By listening to its promptings, we are guarded from making choices that could hurt us or others.
 
But can you rely on your conscience to offer guidance about all decisions?  God made the conscience to act as an alarm system to warn and protect us from sin. However, many of our choices are not moral issues, so we need an even more reliable source for direction.
 
That’s why the Lord has provided believers with the Holy Spirit, who accurately leads us in any kind of decision we must make. He not only works through the conscience to make us aware of sin, but He also helps us choose between good and best. As we listen to His voice and heed His warnings, He purifies and sharpens our conscience so that it aligns more precisely with the Word and will of God.
 
One problem is that the conscience has the capacity to be shaped by our responses. When we repeatedly reject or ignore its promptings, we can damage its dependability, and then sins that should bother us might not even register. But heeding its warnings make it sharper and more sensitive, protecting us even more effectively. Knowing this, let’s ask for the Holy Spirit to give us wisdom and discernment so we will heed the promptings of our conscience.
 
This devotion blessed me. What an incredible reminder. I pray it encourages you to ask as today’s devotion encourages, ask the Holy Spirit to give you wisdom and discernment to heed the prompting of your conscience. Keep your mind stayed on Him. 
 
Have a beautiful and uplifting day in The Lord!
 
Today’s Reading is 2 Corinthians 3:6


The Best Revenge

And his brethren also went and fell down before his face; and they said, Behold, we be thy servants. And Joseph said unto them, Fear not: for am I in the place of God? But as for you, ye thought evil against me; but God meant it unto good, to bring to pass, as it is this day, to save much people alive. (Genesis 50:18-20) 
 
“Success is the best revenge.”
 
Maybe you’ve heard this saying a time or two. Long ago, my tender 13-year-old heart unwittingly latched onto it. A difficult move and change of schools had left me feeling lost and holding a backpack full of rejection.
 
So my youthful, wounded heart adopted a “performance mentality” in an effort to remedy the pain. I will prove myself through success. I will work hard and gain the approval of everyone. I will earn my way back by trying to be perfect.
 
The result? Years of exhaustion in the three-ring circus show called “something to prove.” Years of sprinting from one thing to the next, searching for the thing to set right all my past rejections.
 
But no amount of acceptance in my present soothed the rejection of my past. No achievement settled the score as I’d hoped. Still the enemy whispered in my ear: Not good enough.
 
I wonder if you too have worn the accusing labels of rejected and not good enough. Or maybe the enemy waves another insidious banner over you:
 
Inferior.
 
Unlovable.
 
Shameful.
 
Nothing to offer.
 
Like me, the sting of that label sent you on a subconscious journey to avenge the wrong done to you.
 
Maybe the bite of “unlovable” hurled you into the grueling task of people-pleasing. Maybe you fell short in the eyes of a parent and thus committed to proving yourself, no matter the cost. Or perhaps you lived a childhood where ends strained to meet each month, creating a false inferiority in your soul that you’ve tried to soothe with a big house or posh wardrobe.
 
But I’m guessing your efforts, like mine, have fallen impossibly short. Still a haunting emptiness in your soul remains and beckons you toward the next achievement to heal your hurt.
 
In Genesis, we read about Joseph, a man who experienced enough pain in his youth to last a lifetime. But after being enslaved and unjustly imprisoned for years, God led Joseph into a position of great power, authority and fame.
 
He even had the unique opportunity to lord his success over the very ones who started his painful journey — his own brothers. If success is the best revenge, then Joseph’s revenge came to him on a silver platter!
 
And yet, in today’s key verse, we see the heart of a man who pointed not to his achievements, but to God’s sovereign, redeeming hand: 
 
“And his brethren also went and fell down before his face; and they said, Behold, we be thy servants. And Joseph said unto them, Fear not: for am I in the place of God? But as for you, ye thought evil against me; but God meant it unto good, to bring to pass, as it is this day, to save much people alive” (Genesis 50:18-20). 

Joseph understood his healing didn’t arise from success, but rather from the redeeming work of God, flipping the script on the enemy’s treacherous plans. Joseph gave voice to the poignant truth that his enslavement ended up being the very thing that freed his community and family from famine and death.
 
Like Joseph, our aching souls can also cling to the truth that sometimes there is great purpose in our pain. We may never get back what’s been taken from us, but God is in the business of redeeming lost things.
 
Dear one, you don’t have to waste any more time spinning your wheels, grasping to obtain the next thing to make you whole. Nothing in your future can heal the wounds of your past. Only Jesus can do that.
 
The world may preach that success is the best revenge, but the truth for us, sweet sister? Redemption is the best revenge.
 
Today, may we set our gaze squarely on the God who transforms our pain from a fiery arrow meant to take us out into a blazing beacon of His goodness and provision.
 
Heavenly Father, thank You for being a God who redeems our pain. Draw our seeking hearts away from lesser things and straight into Your healing hands. Redeem what we’ve lost, that we might bring You glory and walk with joy into all the good things You have for us. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
 
This blessed me. What truth! I pray you are also blessed in some way by this devotion. We all have a story, one that God knows everything about and He will redeem our pain when we seek Him first. Walk with joy today.
 
Have a beautiful and uplifting day in The Lord!
 
Today’s Reading is Ephesians 1:18


What To Do With Halloween?

And having spoiled principalities and powers, he made a shew of them openly, triumphing over them in it. (Colossians 2:15) 
 
Halloween. It’s a time of year when the air gets crisper, the days get shorter, and for many young Americans, the excitement grows in anticipation of shouting, “Trick or Treat?”
 
Many Christians refuse to participate in Halloween. Some are wary of its pagan origins, others of its dark, ghoulish imagery; some are concerned for the safety of their children. Still other Christians choose to partake of the festivities, whether participating in school activities, neighborhood trick-or-treating, or a Halloween alternative, such as Trunk or Treat at their church or another venue.
 
The name “Halloween” comes from the All Saints Day celebration of the early Christian church, a day set aside for the solemn remembrance of the martyrs. “All Hallows Eve,” the evening before All Saints Day, began the time of remembrance. “All Hallows Eve” was eventually contracted to “Hallow-e’en,” which became “Halloween.” 
 
The question is, “How should Christians respond to Halloween? Is it irresponsible for parents to let their children trick-or-treat? What about Christians who refuse any kind of participation during the season; are they overreacting?”
 
Whatever level of Halloween participation you choose, remember that Halloween provides the Christian with the opportunity to show AND share the gospel of Jesus Christ. It’s a message that is holy, set apart from the world; it’s a message that is the very mercy of a forgiving God. What better time of the year is there to share such a message than Halloween?
 
After I read this devotion I felt it was worth sharing for such a day. I pray after reading todays devotion I can leave you with this. Jesus Christ is Lord–and we celebrate HIM every day! However you choose to celebrate or not to celebrate, may HE be the honoring factor in every decision!
 
Have a beautiful and uplifting day in The Lord!
Today’s Reading is 1 Peter 5:8-9


Writing About God

Thus speaketh the Lord God of Israel, saying, Write thee all the words that I have spoken unto thee in a book. (Jeremiah 30:2) 
 
The Old Testament is a written record of God’s work in the lives of the Israelites. We are deeply indebted to the writers of the Bible—their records show us the great work that God has done for humanity. We can follow in the footsteps of the Biblical authors by journaling what God has done in our lives. 
 
Journaling can be an amazing part of how you connect to God. Keep a record of how God moves in your life, and over time, you will see how intimately God is involved. Then, one day, you will read with awe the testimony God has written on the pages of your life. 

What a simple but powerful devotion. I am always amazed at how God’s word has basic instructions to lead and guide every aspect of our lives. I remember a time in my life when I would journal a lot and I’ve looked back and seen just as today’s devotion says, I read with awe the testimony God has written on the pages of my life. I am going to start journaling again. I pray this devotion inspires you to take the time and start journaling what God has done in your life.
 
Have a beautiful and uplifting day in The Lord!
Today’s Reading is Ephesians 2:8-9


Obey Fast

I thought on my ways, and turned my feet unto thy testimonies. I made haste, and delayed not to keep thy commandments. (Psalm 119:59-60) 
 
When God said, “Let there be light,” the universe sprang into existence. 
 
So what is God speaking in your life, family, or church right now? And are you obeying as quickly as the universe did?! 

Finish this statement:
 
“God is calling me to _______.”
 
What was your answer?
 
Whatever it is, are you going to obey him fast?
 
In today’s verses, the psalmist described a key life pattern we should each adopt:
  1. Observe your life
  2. Turn to God’s word
  3. Obey as fast as you can
Imagine your life if you started living in this simple way today. (Some of you already do!) 
 
Can you imagine the impact your life could have for the kingdom?
 
The best part is, when we understand who is speaking to us, it is a joyful thing to obey.
 
He is the God who spoke the universe into existence…
 
Who commanded the sun to shine…
 
Who set the earth spinning…
 
When God speaks, his incredible will comes to pass. So what is his will for you today?
 
Will you look to his word as your source of truth and obey as fast as you can?
 
I was blessed by this devotion today. I pray it inspires you to ask yourself that very question, what is God calling me to do, what is His will for my life? I love this, what if, instead of a scramble for our personal comfort, our lives looked like a mad dash for obedience. Remember today, when God speaks glorious things happen. Amen and Amen.
 
Have a beautiful and uplifting day in The Lord!
Today’s Reading is Romans 12:1


You Are Worth More

Fear ye not therefore, ye are of more value than many sparrows. (Matthew 10:31)

As a little girl, I never felt I was worth very much.

I always felt I wasn’t pretty enough, smart enough or good enough. I sensed my parents tolerated me but certainly didn’t delight in me. And if your own parents couldn’t love you, then who could?

Then there was the definitive day in the eleventh grade that took my self-worth to an all-time low. I can still remember what I was wearing: lavender bell-bottom low-rise jeans, a bubble knit short-sleeve top, Dr. Scholl’s wooden sandals, and a blue bandanna tied around my head of long, oily hair that I hadn’t had time to wash that morning. This was acceptable attire when I was in high school, except for the days when a special awards or recognition assembly was held.

In homeroom that morning, the principal announced over the intercom that an unscheduled assembly would take place at 11 a.m. to recognize students being inducted into the National Honor Society. That’s when I understood why so many of my friends were dressed a notch above the norm. Their parents had received the secretive congratulatory call the night before and made sure their kids had washed their hair and left the frayed jeans in the drawer.

Some 400 teens found seats in the darkened auditorium. The principal made a speech of commendation from the podium and then said, “Will the following students come forward when your name is called to receive a certificate and a candle to be lit by last year’s inductees?”

The principal called each name, and I watched several of my friends walk across the immense stage. Then, to my horror and surprise, my name was called. Why didn’t my parents warn me, I thought. I look horrible — and I did.

When the houselights went up, I panned the back of the room where proud parents snapped pictures and pointed out their progeny to others standing on tiptoe to catch a glimpse. My parents were not among them — they never were.

I later discovered that my dad had received the call from the school the night before but forgot to tell my mom. Even though they both worked across the street from the school, they didn’t come to the ceremony. In my mind, their absence confirmed what I’d suspected for the past 17 years. I’m just not worth the trouble.

I didn’t care about the certificate or the principal’s accolades. What I really wanted to know was that I had value to the two people who mattered most.

Perhaps you’ve had painful experiences in the past that left you feeling worthless. Jesus wants you to know you have great value. He gave His life so that you would!

“Are not two sparrows sold for a farthing? and one of them shall not fall on the ground without your Father. But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear ye not therefore, ye are of more value than many sparrows (Matthew 10:29-31).

In other words …

You are worth more than the money in your bank account.

You are worth more than the number of friends you have on Facebook.

You are worth more than the number of followers on your Twitter account.

You are worth more than the number of meetings and appointments on your calendar.

You are worth more than your successes or failures.

You are worth more than your level of education.

You are worth more than the price tags in your closet.

You are worth more than your accomplishments or lack of them.

You are worth more than many sparrows.

It took many years, but finally I took hold of Jesus’ words: You are worth more. That’s what Jesus wants you to know today.

Oh, Lord, help me to really get this. I’ve spent so much of my life feeling like I’m not good enough. Help me see that because of the finished work of Jesus on the cross and His Spirit in me, I am enough. Help me see I have great worth as a child of God and image-bearer of my Heavenly Father. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

This devotion brought tears to my eyes. I pray it opens someone’s eyes to know and see there worth, to know that they are enough. Remember today, you are worth more to Jesus.

Have a beautiful and uplifting day in The Lord!

Today’s Reading is 1 Peter 1:24-25



Standing in Daddy’s Strength

 

The Lord is my strength and my shield; my heart trusted in him, and I am helped: therefore my heart greatly rejoiceth; and with my song will I praise him. (Psalm 28:7)

 

It was years ago when my firstborn traipsed through a muddy pumpkin field in search of the perfect pumpkin, but I can picture him now. Wrapped in a fuzzy yellow sweatshirt and an ornery grin, he moved up and down the rows of tangled vines and inspected the bulging orange fruit.

 

I’d already made it clear we were leaving with just one, so he stooped to consider the shape and texture, the width and height of every pumpkin that caught his eye.

 

He wiggled them and slapped them, sniffed them and studied them. Finally, he gave a Goliath-sized gourd a gentle kick and stared at me with an expectant grin. “I want this one, Mom!”

 

Weigh it, then pay it! the sign posted on the edge of the pumpkin field had declared.

One look at Goliath, and I knew I didn’t have enough money in my pocket to pay for my son’s pumpkin of choice.

 

But before I could voice my objection, a coverall-clad farmer sauntered to our side. “I’ll give you that pumpkin for free if you can carry it,” he said to my boy with a conspiratorial wink.

 

My little one nodded, then wrapped his spindly arms around the pumpkin’s massive middle and tried to lift it out of the dirt. He grunted and heaved. Heaved and grunted, but that pumpkin wouldn’t budge.

 

Finally, my preschooler plopped on the ground beside that giant gourd, and I braced myself for the angry wails that were sure to follow.

 

Much to my surprise, there were no tears or tantrums, just an honest admission: “I’m not strong enough to carry this,” my boy told the kind-eyed farmer.

 

The old pumpkin grower rubbed his silver beard and held my son’s earnest gaze. “Sorry about that, young man …” he said.

 

“It’s okay,” my 4-year-old replied with a confident smile. “My daddy’s really strong.”

 

A sing-song chuckle erupted from the farmer’s lips, and I laughed with relief when I realized that my son hadn’t stayed stuck on what he couldn’t do. Instead, he allowed his weakness to remind him of what his daddy could do.

 

And there on that pumpkin-dotted hilltop, it struck me. That’s all God asks of His children, too.

 

God doesn’t expect us to stir up our own strength or multiply our own might. He doesn’t command us to conquer our challenges alone or give up when we face our gaps. He invites us to seek His with-ness in our weakness and enlist His extravagance in our lack.

 

Scripture reminds us that our strength is found in Christ, (Philippians 4:13) and our might comes from our Maker (Psalm 24:8).

 

Perhaps that’s why, in today’s key verse, we find King David singing with confidence when it seems he’ll soon be sunk.

 

“The Lord is my strength and my shield; my heart trusted in him, and I am helped: therefore my heart greatly rejoiceth; and with my song will I praise him.” (Psalm 28:7)

 

And centuries later, we discover the Apostle Paul echoing the same sentiment from a stinky prison cell, where he declares:

 

“Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ’s sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong. (2 Corinthians 12:10) 

 

King David and the Apostle Paul understood what you and I would be wise to remember: Our weaknesses can set the stage for God’s strength.

 

Our lack can pave the way for His provision.

Our gaps can be windows to His glory.

Our “not enough” can make room for His “exceeding abundantly” (Ephesians 3:20).

 

Friends, when we truly understand this radical truth, something amazing happens.

We become less concerned about what we can’t do and more convinced of what God can do.

 

Where we once felt frustration, we find freedom. Where we once felt discouragement, we find hope. Where we once felt frailty, we find strength.

 

And just like Paul, David, and a 4-year-old I once knew, we discover that our weaknesses aren’t fatal when we have a Daddy who’s faithful … and really, really strong.

 

Dear Jesus, I want to know You as my strong Father. Teach me how to live in the freedom of Your strength rather than in the frustration of my shortcomings. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

 

What a beautiful devotion. I pray it encourages and reminds you today to live in the freedom of His strength rather than our own. Amen! I love this! Be encouraged today. 

 

Have a beautiful and uplifting day in The Lord! 

 

Today’s Reading is Ephesians 5:19-20



Seeing Jesus in Others

Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, and fed thee? or thirsty, and gave thee drink? When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and clothed thee? Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee? And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me. (Matthew 25:37-40) 
 
When I rush through life I tend to see sin in others, not my Savior Jesus. If I first look for someone’s imperfections, I jettison the joy of immediately loving them like they were the Lord. Jesus explains in His parable—the counterintuitive claim of feeding, clothing, visiting the sick and those in prison, are all a reflection of caring for Christ, “You did it for me”. What a loving lens! Prayerfully, I am able to see others like Jesus—beautiful, precious and worthy of my love.
 
I find myself from time to time thinking poorly about another, and frankly at times I get downright angry at someone’s insensitivity toward me or someone I care about. Only when I pray for them am I prepared to love them like the Lord loves them. I have to ask myself, though I have been hurt by this person, how by the power of the Holy Spirit can I look beyond my hurt to the healing their heart needs. In Jesus’ name, I can pray for wholeness of soul for both of us. My posture of prayer prepares me to let go of my hang ups and lift up a needy soul in love.
 
When I pray for people hard to love, it’s hard not to love them. Love sees Jesus in others.
 
From Catherine of Siena, Letters:
 
The soul will want to be on fire with love for God, forgetting itself like a person in love does. People who are in love forget themselves entirely. They have no time for staring at their navels. Instead, they’re totally absorbed in the object of their love. Love has the power to make lover and beloved join in heart and mind. What one loves, the other loves. They are one. I’ve noticed that whenever we love or really want something (whether this is something useful or something merely bringing us joy or pleasure), we don’t care what insult, injury, or trouble we must go through to get it. In fact, we’re so intent on getting what we want, we hardly even notice how hard we are working to get it. Now that’s love!
 
Who do you know who is hard to love? Look at him with eyes of compassion and concern. He may still be stuck in a crazy cycle of hurt from a childhood trauma that fuels his unhealthy emotions. Look for the Lord in his life: his smile, his good deed, his helpful work. Or, she may lack the love of her earthly father—needy and hungry for connection. See your Savior in her life: her wise words, her intuitive sense, her relational skills. Love looks for the best—it sees Jesus. 
 
Be not forgetful to entertain strangers: for thereby some have entertained angels unawares” (Hebrews 13:2). 
 
Heavenly Father, give me loving eyes to see You at work in the heart of those who cross my path, in Jesus’ name, Amen.
 
Wow, I was so moved by this devotion that I had to share it. Just the other day I seen something and it said, Our job is to love others without stopping to inquire whether or not they are worthy. May this be at the forefront of our minds when we find it hard to love. I needed to be reminded of this today and my prayer is that someone is encouraged to “Look at him or her with eyes of compassion and concern”. Everyone you meet is fighting a battle you know nothing about, be kind, always.
 
Have a beautiful and uplifting day in The Lord!
 
Today’s Reading is Proverbs 9:10