Friday, March 25, 2011
This week's verse: Isaiah 58:11, "The Lord will guide you always; he will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land and will strengthen your frame. You will be like a well-watered garden, like a spring whose water will never fail." (NIV)
As I sat to write this devotion, I thought "spring" (even though this monstrous weather we are having is anything but). As I typed "spring" at biblegateway.com to find some verses to go with my devotion, I was amazed with more what I saw spring as.
Spring - a sense of renewal; a season of growth
Spring - a natural flow of ground water
to Spring - moving forward by leaps and bounds
Sprang - produce or disclose suddenly or unexpectadly
Then I thought of the cross.
We celebrate Easter during Spring because Spring gives everyone a sense of renewal. Everything is fresh and new - the world becomes alive again.
The waters begin to move - and the springs are flowing over with water.
To Spring forward with leaps and bounds - to move past winter's blaws and bounce towards something fresh, something new, something warm.
Jesus Sprang the news on his disciples that He was the Chosen One. He would be crucified by those who once cheered for him to come to Jerusalem. Then, he would shock the world for generations to come by rising from the ground. The temple's curtain was torn from top to bottom, yet the Temple (Jesus himself) would rise just as Jesus had promised.
Little did the disciples know that Jesus' references to spring water meant eternal life. John 4:14 states, "but whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life." (NIV)
Jesus is Spring. Spring is Jesus.
I love this time of year!
Dear Lord, thank you for the different seasons you give us here on Earth, as well as the different seasons in our lives. You amaze us in all of your glory. In Jesus' Name, Amen.
Application: Make a list of your five most favorite things of Spring - and then promise yourself to enjoy them each day from now until Easter.
Revelation 7:17, "For the lamb on the throne will be their shepherd. He will lead them to springs of life-giving water and God will wipe every tear from their eyes." (NLT)
Isaiah 61:11, "As surely as seeds sprout and grow, the Sovereign Lord will save his people, And all the nations will praise him." (Good News Translation)
Romans 15:12, "And in another place Isaiah said, 'The heir to David's throne will come, and he will rule over the Gentiles. They will place their hope in him."' (NLT)
Friday, March 18, 2011
By Bethany Lashbrook
This Week's Verse: James 5:7, "Be patient, then, brothers and sisters, until the Lord’s coming. See how the farmer waits for the land to yield its valuable crop, patiently waiting for the autumn and spring rains." (NIV)
Devotion: This week I was with a group of my dearly loved friends and we were all just “spent”. Have you ever used that word to describe your situation? We were exhausted, tired, frustrated and maybe even a little bit angry. Why had we gotten together for years to pray for situations that were still the same and maybe even worse than when we had started praying? Why hadn’t the Lord heard our cries and listened and answered these specific dilemmas we had prayed about? And then, amidst our tears, right in the middle of our desperate situation, one of my friends read Psalm 13 from The Message.
Long enough, God— you've ignored me long enough.
I've looked at the back of your head
long enough. Long enough
I've carried this ton of trouble,
lived with a stomach full of pain.
Long enough my arrogant enemies
have looked down their noses at me.
Take a good look at me, God, my God;
I want to look life in the eye,
So no enemy can get the best of me
or laugh when I fall on my face.
I've thrown myself headlong into your arms—
I'm celebrating your rescue.
I'm singing at the top of my lungs,
I'm so full of answered prayers.
Then, with tears in each of our eyes we thanked the Lord for the answered prayers. No, they aren’t answered today, but they will be answered. For today, we can all rejoice that we let God know how it had been ‘long enough’ for each of us. Yet, we are rejoicing with him because he rescued us from the pain. He held us as we cried.
Lord, thank you for letting us be upset, aggravated, mad, and even frustrated. It is so wonderful that we can be honest with you and let you know how we have had it with our problems. Thank you, in advance, for the answered prayers. Thank you for helping us give our problems to you when we are so desperate to solve them ourselves. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Application: Be honest today in your prayers to the Lord. He knows our thoughts anyway, but to say them out loud is a relief!
Job 36:15, “But by means of their suffering, he rescues those who suffer. For he gets their attention through adversity.” (NLT)
Galatians 5:22, “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness…” (NIV)
1 Kings 8:28, “Can it be that God will actually move into our neighborhood? Why, the cosmos itself isn't large enough to give you breathing room, let alone this Temple I've built. Even so, I'm bold to ask: Pay attention to these my prayers, both intercessory and personal, O God, my God." (MSG)
Friday, March 11, 2011
By Bethany Lashbrook
This week’s verse: Revelation 1:3, “Blessed is the one who reads aloud the words of this prophecy, and blessed are those who hear it and take to heart what is written in it, because the time is near.” (NIV)
“All we have is time”. “What time is it”? “I just don’t have enough time!”
Have you ever said any of these? We live in a society totally focused on two things: time, or money. Lately, it’s not so much the money that is bugging me but the time (it has to be one or the other, it seems).
Jesus talked about time because he understood his time was short here on Earth. John records him saying, “I am with you for only a short time, and then I am going to the one who sent me. (7:33, NIV) Jesus knew that time spent needed to me more focused on quality not quantity.
In Ecclesiastes 9:12, it says “People can never predict when hard times might come. Like fish in a net or birds in a trap, people are caught by sudden tragedy.” (NIV) This is true for all of us.
Sometimes, I find myself so rushed, I forget about the time I need for simple things. Time for a bubble bath sure helps me de-stress at night. Time kneeling before the Lord sure helps my problems seems miniscule compared to problems I could be facing. Time playing, listening, and talking with my children and husband ensure a happy, healthy day for them as well as for me! Time reading the bible helps me to remember simple instructions given to us from our Father.
Matthew records in 24:36, “But about that day or hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.” (NIV) Am I ready for this? Am I ready for the time that Jesus is returning? Have I spent my time here on Earth so when the day comes, I will say “yes, Father – it is time, and I am ready!”
Dear Father, help us to remember time is precious. Even though it seems we never have enough of it, help us to learn to use it properly and always for you. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Matthew 4:17, “From that time on Jesus began to preach, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near.” (NIV)
James 5:7, “Dear brothers and sisters, be patient as you wait for the Lord’s return. Consider the farmers who patiently wait for the rains in the fall and in the spring. They eagerly look for the valuable harvest to ripen.” (NLT)
Daniel 11:36, “The king will do as he pleases. He will exalt and magnify himself above every god and will say unheard-of things against the God of gods. He will be successful until the time of wrath is completed, for what has been determined must take place.” (NIV)
Friday, March 4, 2011
This Week’s Verse:
Matthew 6: 25-34 "Do Not Worry"
"Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life? “And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith? So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own."
Why do I worry? I know God is taking care of me. I know He will always take care of me and my family. Even when bad things happen, God is still there for me. To comfort me, give me peace, and bring me through to the other side of whatever it is I am going through. No matter what, God promises He is always there.
So, why do I lose sleep over what has happened during the day, about my children, or a decision I feel is hanging over my head? Because I am human. I have to ask for forgiveness everyday, and for God's guidance. I have to ask Him to take control, and take away my worries. I have to turn everything over to Him.
As it says in John 10, "no one" can take us away from our Father's hand!! That is powerful! No matter what He is holding us in his hand. God's got us! We have to have faith, assurance about what we do not see, that He is there and always will be.
Lord, Give us faith, so that we may count on you to protect us and get us through each day without worry. Help us to obey you, and to not worry about anything.
Applications: Even though turmoil is going on all around us, God is in control. He is the Creator and can do anything, so we should not fear....anything. Seek first His kingdom, and all these things (whatever you need) will be given to you.
John 10:27-30, "My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one will snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all; no one can snatch them out of my Father’s hand. I and the Father are one.” (NIV)
Hebrews 11:1, "Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see."
Deuteronomy 31:6, "Be strong and of good courage, do not fear nor be afraid of them; for the LORD your God, He is the One who goes with you. He will not leave you nor forsake you." (NKJV)
"God is our refuge and strength,
an ever-present help in trouble.
Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way
and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea,
though its waters roar and foam
and the mountains quake with their surging.
There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God,
the holy place where the Most High dwells.
God is within her, she will not fall;
God will help her at break of day.
Nations are in uproar, kingdoms fall;
he lifts his voice, the earth melts." (NIV)