5/1/2022 0 Comments
But Jesus had different thoughts. Matthew, Mark, and Luke all tell us Jesus rebuked the disciples and said to them, “’Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. Truly I tell you, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.' And he took the children in his arms, placed his hands on them and blessed them" (Mark 10:14-15).
I just love that Jesus made time for the children. This shows us his great love. I think this is a call for us to bring our children to Jesus. We need to make sure that we are introducing our children to Jesus even at a young age. It’s not up to the church to teach them about Jesus. We need to be leading them in our homes day in and day out.
This also shows us that the gospel is not meant to be complicated like we sometimes try to make it. It is simple enough for a child to understand and believe. In fact, Jesus said it takes childlike faith to come to Him.
I remember talking to my mom about my son accepting Jesus as his Savior later that day and wondering if he really knew what he was doing at just five years old. She reminded me that we are the ones that make it so difficult. The more we know, the more difficult we try to make it. However, it is simple, childlike faith that brings us close to Him.
Maybe you, like me, have gotten caught up in all the do’s and don'ts, all the rules and requirements. Maybe we need to go back to the basics and come to Christ again like a child.
May we trust Him.
Memory Verse: “Truly I tell you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.” Luke 18:17 NIV
10/24/2021 0 Comments
A Pliable Heart
As I was reading about the plagues this time (I have read and heard this story so many times), God showed me something new. Don’t you just love how He can continually show us new things about a passage we may have read so many times?! I started thinking How often do I do the same thing as Pharaoh? Do I live in that same repetitive cycle? Do I find myself refusing to change?
I started thinking about how I’ve often found myself in a hard place and have prayed to God and said if you will just ___________, I will ______________. God would follow through with His end of the bargain, but often I would just continue on living just like I was before. I might change for a short minute, but would often revert back to my old ways. Maybe I didn’t have that hardened heart like Pharaoh, but I certainly didn’t have a very pliable heart.
However, Pharaoh never prayed to God himself; he asked Moses to do it instead. Pharaoh didn’t know God personally. He knew of Him, but didn’t believe in Him and His powers. But the real difference for us as believers is that unlike Pharaoh and the Israelites, we have the Holy Spirit working in our hearts. Before Jesus went back to heaven He told the disciples He would send the Holy Spirit. John 14:26 says, “But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you.”
The Holy Spirit helps us keep our hearts pliable. The Holy Spirit whispers in our hearts the things we have been taught before and encourages us to get back on the path we have been called. Sometimes it’s easy to look at people in the Bible and think why did it take you so long to figure it out when in reality, if I just look in the mirror, I would see someone else that often takes too long to figure things out. I often have to learn the same lesson over and over. Thank goodness God doesn’t give up on me!
Memory Verse: “I will give them an undivided heart and put a new spirit in them; I will remove from them their heart of stone and give them a heart of flesh.” Ezekiel 11:19 NIV
Jesus did come, and He began teaching the crowds. The boy listened intently, trying to understand His parables. Then he overheard Jesus asking His disciples where they could buy food for the crowd. After laughing, one of the men responded, it would take a year’s salary to buy enough food! Just then, another one of Jesus’ followers began approaching the boy, eyes locked on his basket. He didn’t know what to do! He wasn’t expecting to be noticed. The young man shyly offered his lunch. But He couldn’t imagine how it could feed so many people.
I imagine Jesus knelt down in front of this little boy, because Jesus loved children and valued them as much as He did everyone else. Jesus took the loaves and the fish and gave thanks, and the disciples began to distribute the food to the crowd. Much to the boy’s surprise, there wasn’t only enough food for everyone to eat until filled, but there were also twelve baskets left over! The boy, who had started his day just hoping for a glimpse of Jesus, became a part of His story.
Sometimes I feel a lot like I imagine this young man did: not important enough, talented enough, or (fill in the blank) enough to be used by Jesus. I find myself lowering my expectations, not really expecting to be a part of anything special. Do you ever do this, too?
When I was in high school I heard a song called “Ordinary People.” This song comes to mind every time I read about the boy in the crowds, with the meager lunch basket. The lyrics emphasize the truth that God uses ordinary people to do His extraordinary work. We just have to be willing to give him what we have, no matter how little or insignificant it may be. Jesus takes our “ordinary,” and turns it into much more than we could ever imagine.
As for me, my “basket” holds a passion for baking. God has taken that gift and used it to bless and encourage people in time of need. Whatever is in your basket— no matter how seemingly quirky or insignificant— rest assured: God can use it.
Next time you are feeling insignificant or wondering if you even have anything worth offering to God, remember the little boy and his little lunch. He gave it all to Jesus and he turned it into a meal for thousands.
He is waiting today to make much out of our little. Open your hands and your heart and give all you have to Him.
1/10/2021 0 Comments
Glory on Display
Think of a time when nature refreshed your soul. Maybe it was simply overlooking the ocean, maybe it was gazing at something as wondrous as the Grand Canyon, or Niagara Falls.
Just as nature is refreshing to our souls, God’s words are refreshing to our souls as well. God’s words shine His glory, and are trustworthy and true. They bring joy and hope in times of sadness or difficulty. They bring encouragement and life when we may feel helpless or empty. His words give us direction and guidance when we need wisdom. His words are so precious if we just take the time to read them.
As moms, we often have 101 things on our to-do list every day. It feels as though everyone is pulling at us to go in every direction. I know for me that when I allow my busyness to keep me from spending time with God, my words are often more negative and critical and definitely not pleasing to God.
In our memory verse today we are reminded to have words and thoughts that are pleasing to God. The more we spend time in God’s word, the more His glory will pour out of us. This happens by meditating on His word, not just while sitting and reading it, but by being intentional to think on it throughout our day. One simple way I do this is taping verses to my bathroom mirror, where I get ready. Instead of becoming stressed by all the things on my to-do list, I allow His truth to become buried deep within me.
The seeds of God’s Word we are faithful to plant will always produce life and bring refreshment, hope, and wisdom. May we be women who make spending time, not just reading, but thinking on God’s word, a part of our day.Go out and take a walk and meditate on God’s word and His goodness to us displayed through His creation.
9/27/2020 0 Comments
Trust Leads to Obedience
After agonizing over the situation, I realized that I had to give my son up. I had to completely put him in God’s hands, and trust Him to work this out.
In Genesis 22, Abraham was called to make an even bigger sacrifice of his son Isaac. God told Abraham to take Isaac to the region of Moriah to sacrifice him as a burnt offering. I can’t imagine how hard that must have been. Even still, Abraham got up the next morning and took off with Isaac and two of his servants.
When they had enough wood, he told his servants to stay behind and he and Isaac continued on. I can only imagine what must have been going through Abraham’s mind.
Are you sure God?
We waited so many years for him.
You gave me this promised son.
Now I have to give him back again?
Yet Abraham tied Isaac to the altar, in obedience. How must he have felt, staring into his child’s face? Just when he raised the knife, an angel of the Lord stopped him. God provided an alternative sacrifice— a ram in the thicket.
The sacrifice of my son wasn’t nearly as big as the step of obedience God called Abraham to take, but it was still a sacrifice I didn’t want to have to make. Are there times God is asking you to trust Him with a decision with your son or daughter? Are there things you would rather hold onto or try and control?
I received a phone call from my son on Mother’s Day, ten months after he left. He told me he was coming back home. It was the greatest gift I could have received. God had given me my son back just like he did for Abraham.
Like Abraham, God calls us to trust Him with our children. And just like He provided a way out for Abraham, He will provide grace and mercy in your time of need. It may not look like a wayward child returning home, and it likely won’t be in your way or your timing, but we can rest in this unfailing truth: our God is good and trustworthy.
We can walk in obedience knowing our lives and children are in His strong and capable hands.
Devotionals by Author
All Abby McDonald Angi Morrison Anne Say Audra Powers Breanna Faith Spearman Brenna Kurz Brittany Marlow Caroline Hultgren Courtney Filippin Dana Schaefer Danielle Biddy Debbie Burns Heather Kenny Jannetta Cox Jessica Parker Jess Ridgeway Joan Lavori Katelyn Wilson Katie Gibson Kelly Orlowski Kerri Barfield Keryn Stokes Kristen Williamson Laura Pendley Lindsay McNeely Lonette Baity Martha Rudolph Nancy Ehlinger Renee Robinson Saretta Wells Tara McGill Taylor Watkins Tierney Nashleanas Wendy Gerdes