Friday, January 28, 2011

Talking Donkey

By Bethany Lashbrook

This Week’s Verse: Numbers 22:28, “Then the LORD opened the donkey’s mouth, and it said to Balaam, ‘What have I done to you to make you beat me these three times?’” (NIV)

Devotion:Christians get a “bad” rap for not having a very fun life. Nonbelievers sometimes think that if we take out drunkenness, foolishness, partying all night, and hating our enemies, what could be fun in life?

I’ll tell you what I think is fun – talking donkeys. The bible is so full of interesting stories it keeps my children amused and keeps me engrossed. I think that living God’s way makes our life more exhilarating.

Along with talking donkeys we get Noah and his ark that survives the largest earthly flood, Daniel who made it safely out of the lion’s den, and shadrach meshach and abednego, who withstand fires so hot we would all die in seconds. And this is all in the Old Testament!

In the New Testament, we get to see Jesus born in a manger, Jesus die on the cross, and Jesus rise from the ground. We also see Paul and many others live the life Jesus asked us to live – and sacrifice their own life for it!

Contrary to what others may think, I believe this Christian life is pretty exciting. Although, I have yet to listen to a talking donkey or build an ark that sustains the harshest weather – I do have some pretty extraordinary life moments that could shake anyone’s mind! Don’t we all!

Dear Father, help us to remember our lives are exciting just because we follow you! Guide and direct us in all you do. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Applications: What is your favorite exciting bible story? Reread it this week to your children, your significant other, or just by yourself and marvel in God’s work in your own life!

Power Verses:

Daniel 616, “So the king gave the order, and they brought Daniel and threw him into the lions’ den. The king said to Daniel, “May your God, whom you serve continually, rescue you!” (NIV)

Acts 26:29, “Paul replied, “Whether quickly or not, I pray to God that both you and everyone here in this audience might become the same as I am, except for these chains.” (NLT)

Romans 13:13, “Let us behave decently, as in the daytime, not in carousing and drunkenness, not in sexual immorality and debauchery, not in dissension and jealousy.” (NIV)

Friday, January 21, 2011

Simple Prayer

By Bethany Lashbrook

This Week’s Verse: Jeremiah 29:12, “In those days when you pray, I will listen.” (NLT)

Devotion: Sometimes during my quiet time with the Lord, when I bow my head to pray, either the words out of my mouth or the thought prayers in my head are truly wonderful. The Holy Spirit leads me so beautifully.

Then, I go to my Mother’s Prayer Group – and we pray out loud. I stutter, speak short words and stumble all over the place. Why is that?

I try not to worry about it much because I know the Lord knows what I am trying to say – even when the words don’t come out right.

Jesus provided specific instruction on how to pray. He says in Matthew, “And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be hard because of their many words. Do not be like them for your Father knows what you need before you ask him. This, then, is how you should pray:

‘Our Father in heaven,

hallowed be your name,

your kingdom come,

your will be done

on earth as it is in heaven.

Give us today our daily bread.

Forgive us our debts

As we also have forgiven our


And lead us not into temptation,

But deliver us from the evil one.’ (6:6-13, NIV)

This is so simple and beautiful. And perfect.

Lord, help me to revive my prayer time. Help me to remember the instructions you gave us in your word. Thank you for your son Jesus and for the Holy Spirit within us. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Applications: Having trouble praying? Go to and type in ‘prayer’. Wow – lots of others have had similar situations that you and I have!

Power Verses:

Isaiah 63:7 [Praise and Prayer], “I will tell of the kindnesses of the LORD, the deeds for which he is to be praised, according to all the LORD has done for us—yes, the many good things he has done for Israel, according to his compassion and many kindnesses.”

Acts 20:36, “And when he [Paul] had said these things, he knelt down and prayed with them all.” (NKJV)

Hebrews 13:18, “Pray for us, for our conscience is clear and we want to live honorably in everything we do.” (NLT)

Friday, January 14, 2011

Carry Each Other

By Bethany Lashbrook

This Week’s Verse: Galatians 6:2 “Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.” (NIV)

Devotion: Clint and I have been blessed with friends since we have moved back to Marshall. We have been a part of a Sunday school class now for 3 years. We have been in several small groups and have met with our church family on lots of occasions outside of church. We have come to treasure these friendships we have built with others through the years.

In Jewish tradition, a couple gets married under a chuppah. A chuppah symbolizes the home that the couple will build together. Clint and I have this saying when we know we want to keep something between us. We say “let’s keep this under the chuppah”. That way, we know not even our closest friends should know about it. We want it to be sacred - just between God and us.

But, one thing as a woman I have learned is to “hide” our imperfections from our friends. Now, I know I don’t need to “air our laundry” so to say, but it wouldn’t hurt for me to be more honest either. I tend to think that having it all together is very Christian. When in fact, NOT having it all together is more honorable.

Who am I trying to impress by trying to keep it all together? Big deal that I can work outside the home, make supper in the evenings, and keep a drill sergeants schedule! Most of the women reading this do it too! Keeping a clean home isn’t earning me brownie points with God nor is it helping my anxiety levels either!

I forget sometimes that the Lord has told us to carry each other’s burdens. I forget that the reason we become a church family is to hold each other up.

This week, I am asking you all to carry a burden for me. It’s simple yet weighs me down, especially in the winter. Yet, I cannot ask you to carry a burden for me unless you let me carry one for you. Luke records that Jesus says, “And you experts in the law, woe to you, because you load people down with burdens they can hardly carry, and you yourselves will not lift one finger to help them (11:46, NIV). Well, I want to lift a finger for you. So here it goes:

In the winter, most evenings I want to curl up in a ball and sleep all night. Not having sunlight really affects my behavior. I have no ambition whatsoever to do ANYTHING! It’s incredible how different I am from the summer months to the winter months. It affects my friendships and my family life. This year, thankfully, it started early and seems to be ending early too! I dread winters because it happens every year. I have no control - only faith that God will get me through.

So there you have it. Would you like to take a load off your shoulders too?

Dear Lord, thank you so much for our church families. Thank you for the many parts of the church that make it whole! Help us to love the church as you do. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Applications: Would you like me (us) to carry a burden for you? You can ask us through commenting on this blog either anonymously or using your name. Either way, know that I (we) will be praying for you!

Power Verses:

Proverbs 12:9, “Better to be ordinary and work for a living than act important and starve in the process.” (MSG)

Psalm 68:19, “Praise the Lord; praise God our savior! For each day he carries us in his arms.” (NLT)

1 John 4:11, “Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. “(NKJV)

Friday, January 7, 2011


By Charity Pence

This Week’s Verse: Exodus 23: 22-23, “But if you indeed obey His voice and do all that I speak, then I will be an enemy to your enemies and an adversary to your adversaries. For my Angel will go before you.” (NKJV)

Devotion: Recently, I had an idea to do something and I brought it up to my husband. When he did not respond, I asked him what he thought. His reply was that I was going to do whatever I wanted so it did not matter what he thought. I am ashamed to admit he has said that to me before. His words really bothered me this time, though. However, I was not bothered by him speaking those words to me. I know he would agree that for the most part, we are very good at discussing things and making decisions together. I have never had a problem with authority either so why was I bothered?

Then a question formed in my mind. Do I do that to God? Do I ask Him what I should do and then do what I want regardless of what God tells me? My answer shamed me even more. Deuteronomy 5:29 says, “Oh that there were such a heart in them, that they would fear me, and keep all my commandments always, that it might be well with them, and with their children forever.” This verse assures me that I am to obey God. So why is it so hard to do what He commands?

We know in our heart when God is trying to teach us something. I have long felt that God has been trying to teach me obedience. God would tell me to do something and I would always say in return, “Why?” or “That doesn’t make sense.” What He was telling me to do seemed so trivial that I could not help but wonder what the point was. I would like to give you an example.

Something that God has made me do repeatedly is change hangers when I am putting laundry away. I would put a shirt on a hanger and God would tell me to take the shirt off and use a different hanger. (In case you are wondering, I have never actually heard a voice so I am not crazy, I do not think. But feel free to laugh if you would like!)

Sometimes I would obey. Sometimes I would refuse. Why did it matter what hanger I used? After many, many lessons, I finally realized this: if I cannot do something as small and insignificant as change a hanger without questioning God, how can God expect me to do something bigger? After all, the purpose of obedience is to do as told without questioning. In 1 Samuel 15:23, Samuel tells Saul, “For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry. Because you have rejected the word of the Lord, He also has rejected you from being king.” Disobedience to God has some pretty harsh consequences. Thankfully, God has not given up on me and continues to give me lessons.

Dear Heavenly Father, please forgive me for the times I have refused to obey Your voice. Continue to shape me so that I am willing to do Your will. Help me to understand the consequences of being obedient and the consequences of being disobedient. Thank you for not giving up on me. I love You, Lord. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Applications: God desires for us to respond to His voice alone. This week, make it a point to recognize when God is giving you the opportunity to be obedient.

Power Verses:

Deuteronomy 6:18, “And you shall do what is right and good in the sight of the Lord, that it may be well with you, and that you may go in and possess the good land of which the Lord swore to your fathers.” (NKJV)

Amos 5:4, “For thus saith the Lord unto the house of Israel, seek ye me, and ye shall live.” (KJV)

Psalm 32:8, “I will instruct thee and teach thee in the way which thou shalt go: I will guide thee with mine eye.” (KJV)

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Compassion 101

by Kathy Lay

This Week’s Verse: Luke 6:36, “You must be compassionate, just as your Father is compassionate.”(NLT)

Devotion: The loud meow was unmistakable. Great! Another stray cat to deal with. I told the kids not to even think about feeding it or showing it any attention so that it would move on its merry way. After all, we did not have time to deal with an unwanted visitor right now.

And the thing was pitiful! Matted hair, a tail that had been partially bobbed by who knows what, and an annoying, constant meow did nothing to win our favor. I felt pangs of guilt for not showing the thing some affection, but why encourage it to stay?

That was Tuesday evening. By Wednesday morning, the kids and I heard it as we bolted out the door to get to work and school, but we didn’t see it anywhere. Pulling out of the driveway, I muttered, “Gee, I wonder if it’s stuck somewhere since it didn’t come out.”

When we got home that evening, the meows were still loud. Strangely, they were coming from one of my over-sized flower pots. The cat was lying inside, clearly dying, and crying out because he could hear us nearby.

I lost it. I begged Shane to end its misery and then held a flashlight while he dug its final resting place. The full weight of my earlier lack of compassion hit me and I can’t remember a time when I’ve felt more like a wretch. That cat had come to us to die and I had withheld love in its final hours.

I sobbed to the cat I was sorry and I sobbed to God that I was sorry I hadn’t shown tenderness to “the least of these.” I’d already felt that was the lesson God was impressing and its conviction was almost unbearable.

Back in the house afterwards, Shane shared he’d come to the same conclusion—that God was showing us that we get so wrapped up in our busy lives that we become hardened or at least apathetic to those in need. To those who come to us for maybe nothing more than a kind word or a little love.

We both feel that God wanted our eyes fully opened to this fact because there are people all around us—maybe even the “undesirable”—who He does not want us to brush aside. Jesus showed compassion, especially to the sick and rejected, and we are to do the same. Did I already know that? Yes. Did I practice it? Sadly, no.

Lesson learned.

Now God, help me to put this lesson into action. Do I know without a doubt that Your will is always to show love, even when it’s inconvenient? Yes! But Lord, putting it into action is so difficult and I need Your strength and resolve to be obedient in this command to love and be compassionate to others. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.


Keep your eyes open for the ones God places in front of you who need compassion and love.

Power Verses:

Mark 1:41, “Moved with compassion, Jesus reached out and touched him. ‘I am willing,’ he said. ‘Be healed!’”(NLT).

Luke 10:33, “Then a despised Samaritan came along, and when he saw the man, he felt compassion for him”(NLT).

Phillipians 2:1, “[ Have the Attitude of Christ ] Is there any encouragement from belonging to Christ? Any comfort from his love? Any fellowship together in the Spirit? Are your hearts tender and compassionate?”(NLT)