Tag Archives: Devotion

Surrender

Throwback Thursday is a new feature I’m using to help build some margin into my schedule to pursue other writing ventures. Each Thursday I’ll be bringing you a previously written devotional that still speaks encouragement to us from God’s Word.

White flag. Tap out. Give up. Submit. Yield. Say, “Uncle.” Throw in the towel. Surrender. I don’t know anyone who likes to do it. Surrendering is admitting defeat. It’s embarrassing really. I, like you, don’t like to give up. I don’t like to face defeat. It goes against everything in me. Maybe you’re the same. When all the odds are against you, do you play a theme song to pump you up? Maybe it’s “The Eye of the Tiger” or “This is my Fight Song” or whatever, but when it plays and pumps you up to keep you from surrendering and giving in.

In the prophet Jeremiah’s day, Jerusalem was under siege and there was very little hope. God was pronouncing His judgement against the people who had turned their back on Him. They refused to repent so God was sending them into captivity. The king secretly went to Jeremiah to ask what he should do. Jeremiah told him if he wanted to live, he needed to surrender. In Jeremiah 38:19, the king responded, “But I am afraid to surrender” (NLT). He was too afraid of how he would appear if he surrendered, so he disobeyed and it cost him his freedom.

Romans 8 tells us that the flesh and the spirit are at a constant war with each other. The flesh wants to do things its own way, and the spirit wants us to follow God’s way. For so many Christians, it’s a daily struggle and a guess as to which side will win. As Jesus said in the Garden of Gethsemane, “The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.” More times than not, our flesh wins because we fail to surrender to God’s plan for our lives. Surrender is so foreign to our flesh that we fight against what the spirit is trying to accomplish in our lives.

In Luke 14:33, Jesus put it this way, “Likewise, unless you surrender all to me, giving up all you possess, you cannot be one of my disciples” (TPT). If we truly want to be God’s disciples, we have to be willing to surrender all we have for all He offers. According to Romans 8:13, when we surrender to what the spirit wants, we will live. You and I are given the same choice that the king of Israel had. Don’t make the same mistake he did. Surrender and live.

What is God asking you to surrender today in order to be His disciple?

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Pastor Appreciation

Throwback Thursday is a new feature I’m using to help build some margin into my schedule to pursue other writing ventures. Each Thursday I’ll be bringing you a previously written devotional that still speaks encouragement to us from God’s Word.

October is known for many things. It’s Breast Cancer Awareness Month, Domestic Violence Awareness Month, Liver Awareness Month, Healthy Lung Month, Down Syndrome Awareness Month, Infertility Awareness Month, Spina Bifida Awareness Month, SIDS Awareness Month, Dental Hygiene Month and so many more. It’s also Pastor Appreciation Month. On top of all these other things that you may support, don’t forget to honor your pastor.

I Thessalonians 5:12-13 says, “Honor those who are your leaders in the Lord’s work. They work hard among you and give spiritual guidance. Show them respect and wholehearted love because of their work. (NLT)” Paul knew that being a minister is often thankless work. They give and give, but rarely receive. They don’t do it for the monetary rewards (which usually aren’t much). They do it because when you’re called to serve, nothing else will satisfy.

A simple “Thank you” goes a long way. A card that tells them how they’ve ministered to you works as well. Each of us have different ways we can show appreciation to those who do the Lord’s work. At our church, we showcase a different minister each week. The church shows appreciation through applause and someone makes their favorite dish. It’s a simple way to say thanks and to show our appreciation.

Paul said to honor them which is to show them respect for the work they do. Most church goers don’t see the late night phone calls and texts. They don’t know about the all night hospital visits where they stand next to a family member who needs support. No one stops to think that the same pastor who is there offering support is hurting too as one of their members lays in that bed. They also don’t see the hours of counseling given or the countless prayers that are said on behalf of those in their care. These men and women deserve more honor than we can possibly give.

As we wear our different colored ribbons this month to bring attention to the causes that are near and dear to our heart, don’t forget to give attention to those who give you spiritual guidance. Find ways to say “Thank you” for all they do. Look for opportunities to honor them. They work hard, pray hard and serve hard. A pat on the back or a word of encouragement will put fuel in their tank to keep going. Each of us have been impacted by a minister. It’s time we let them know.

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Good Habits

Habits are behaviors in our lives that have developed over time. We get them from repeating a behavior, and many times we we do them effortlessly. Habits can be good or bad, and we all have them. We usually know what habits we have, but some of them are in our blind spot and are very obvious to others. The great news for you and I is that if it can be learned, it can be unlearned. We don’t have to keep the habits we have, and we can create new habits in our lives over time.

As Christians, there are certain habits that we should avoid, and there are others that we need to adopt. It’s never easy to create or break ourselves of a habit. I believe that when we invite Jesus to be Lord of our life, He helps us to make those changes in our lives. Even though He lives in us, our flesh is still alive and wants us to do things its way instead. It’s a constant struggle for us to break old habits and to develop new godly ones, but it’s something each of us must work on and do.

Here are some Bible verses regarding habits.

1. For God sees everything you do and his eyes are wide open as he observes every single habit you have.

Proverbs 5:21 TPT

2. So get rid of every filthy habit and all wicked conduct. Submit to God and accept the word that he plants in your hearts, which is able to save you.

James 1:21 GNT

3. Do not be deceived: “Evil company corrupts good habits.”

I Corinthians 15:33 NKJV

4. Let us not give up the habit of meeting together, as some are doing. Instead, let us encourage one another all the more, since you see that the Day of the Lord is coming nearer.

Hebrews 10:25 GNT

5. Everyone sees it. God’s work is the talk of the town. Be glad, good people! Fly to GOD! Good-hearted people, make praise your habit.

Psalm 64:9-10 MSG

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Trusting Our Anchor

One of the things I enjoy doing in my spare time is fishing. There’s something therapeutic about sitting on a boat and casting a line. Many times fish are under brush near shore. After we get the boat close enough, we drop an anchor in the water. When larger boats come cruising through, it creates large waves which can push our boat into the brush hanging over the water, or worse, it can run us into shallow water where there are stumps. While the waves may rock the boat and create some uneasiness, the anchor holds us in place and protects us from more damage.

In the same way, you and I have our hope in God. Life is full of uncertainties and our boat is often tossed about by the waves. There are times where we feel like the boat is going to flip over or that we will run aground. That’s why we need to trust in our anchor of hope. It is our lifeline that connects us to God. It is designed to hold us in place when all these things come through our lives and try to rock our faith. We must learn to trust it more than the waves because waves come and go, but our anchor is firm.

Hebrews 6:19 says, “We have this hope as an anchor for our lives. It is safe and sure, and goes through the curtain of the heavenly temple into the inner sanctuary” (GNT). Think about that image. Our anchor is a direct line to the very presence of God. When it is in use, it is unseen. It is not phased by what’s happening on the surface. When we trust in our anchor, we can have peace in the chaos and uncertainty of life. That hope grounds us in what is true and is eternal, and we will not be moved. If your boat is being rocked right now, grab ahold of that line that is connected to God’s presence and trust Him to hold you until the waters calm down.

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God’s Empathy

One of the greatest pet peeves of parents is when someone who doesn’t have kids tries to tell them how to parent. Usually their response is, “Come back and talk to me after you’ve had your own.” Why? Because how can a person without kids truly understand the struggles of raising a child? They haven’t had to sit up all night with a sick child. They haven’t been asked a hundred times for the same toy. They haven’t felt the embarrassment of their own flesh and blood throwing a holy fit in public. Without them going through those things, parents are less likely to take any advice from them.

One of the purposes of Jesus becoming flesh and blood, beyond dying on the cross, was so that He could understand the human condition. The almighty God took on our frailty so that He could better understand what it is like when we are sick. What it feels like to lose a family member. How hard it is to fight temptation when it comes our way. He went through the entire human experience so He could better empathize with us when we struggle and call out to Him in prayer. He’s not up there telling us to just deal with it. He understands what you and I are going through.

Hebrews 4:15 says, “This High Priest of ours understands our weaknesses, for he faced all of the same testings we do, yet he did not sin” (NLT). Think about that. He understands what you’re going through because He took the time to leave the role of creator to become the created. You and I can now go to Him with confidence in prayer asking for advice, seeking wisdom and looking for answers because He knows what you’re talking about. He’s experienced it and can now empathize with us. Whatever His answer is to our prayers, it’s based on His experiences and on what is best for our future.

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Trusting His Plan

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve told my son to get ready, and then, before he gets ready, he asks, “Where are we going?” I usually tell him, “It doesn’t matter. I said to get ready, so get ready.” Instead of quickly obeying, he constantly wants to know all the info before doing anything. As a parent, it can be frustrating. There are things he needs to know, and there are things he doesn’t need to know. I simply want him to obey when asked to do something instead of questioning everything I tell him to do.

Even though I know these frustrations as a parent, when the shoe is on the other foot, I act the same way. How many times had God told me to get ready or to go somewhere, and I want to know all the details before I do anything? There’s also those times where I know where He’s leading me, but I want to know all the steps first. It’s like I’m my own child when God is the father telling me to do things. I wonder how frustrated He gets at our questioning and inactivity while He’s waiting for our obedience.

Proverbs 20:24 says, “The Lord directs our steps, so why try to understand everything along the way?” (NLT) As children of God, we need to understand there are things we need to know, and things we don’t. God knows everything we are about to do, and how He wants it done. Since the beginning of time, all He has asked is that we would simply trust Him. He’s looking for our obedience without having to understand everything. We need to have enough faith to trust His will, His plan and His directions without questioning them. Simple obedience yields eternal benefits. Just like the old song says, “Trust and obey for there’s no other way.”

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The Prince Of Wholeness

Throwback Thursday is a new feature I’m using to help build some margin into my schedule to pursue other writing ventures. Each Thursday I’ll be bringing you a previously written devotional that still speaks encouragement to us from God’s Word.

One of the names of God that I love is Jehovah Shalom. I began to dig deeper into the word “Shalom” to see what all it means. I know it means “peace” and that it is often used as a greeting in Israel, but one of the other meanings for the word is “completeness” or “whole”. I found that very interesting. So I went back to Isaiah 9:6 where it says Jesus will be called Wonderful, Counsellor, the Mighty God, the Everlasting Father and the Prince of Peace. I switched to the Message version of the Bible and there it called Him the Prince of Wholeness.

My mind raced, “How had I missed that?” I’m not sure how I’ve read that a hundred times and have heard the word shalom over and over and never saw that He is the Prince of Wholeness. We all need peace in our lives so much that we focus on that part of “shalom”, but rarely go deeper into its meaning. We don’t look beyond the surface, but we need to. We need to dig deeper to find something like this because we all need it.

I’ve had my life shattered and broken. When I look back at that period in my life, I see myself laying on a foundation in the pouring rain. There is debris of what was my life laying all around. There is nothing that is salvageable. That is there is nothing I can salvage. But here, in this scripture, I see a God who can take the broken pieces of my life and make me whole again. I see a Prince who is not content with leaving me broken and unprotected. He wants me to be whole.

He wants you to be whole too. When you’re broken like that, you think that all is lost. You feel that no one cares and the world is dark all around you. You can’t see the future because you can’t imagine a future you’d want to be in. There is no light of hope to guide you. You take each breath as it comes. Each second of the clock ticks in slow motion, and survival is your only instinct. You aren’t worried about tomorrow because you’re focused on surviving today. Yes, even in that moment of your life, He is the Prince of Wholeness.

God is able to take you from that broken place in your life to a place of Wholeness. Completeness. Rebuilding. Becoming stronger and better. He is the God of creation and He can create a new beginning for you. It’s not something that happens over night. A masterpiece is not painted in a day. A mansion is not built over night. Your life is more complex and worth more to Him than anything else in all of creation. You may struggle with feelings of unworthiness or worthlessness, but you are worthy and you are priceless. You are worth rebuilding to Him. You are worth being made whole. Don’t give up. Invite the Prince of Wholeness to come in today and to complete the work which He began in you.

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