Devotionals

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Posted 4/24/14 at 1:10 AM | Bindings: Reflections on Faith, Life, and Good Books

I Can - I Just Don’t Always Know I Can

We’ve probably all done those kinds of things. You know, the things that cause us to bang the palm of our hand against our forehead and utter out-loud “Stupid, stupid, stupid.” It is self analysis of our own previously performed inane actions. That particular morning I was already running late. I had to take my grandson to daycare and then get to the office in time for an early morning meeting. It was winter time and bitterly cold that morning. Of course, this year that could be late April. The other day someone said they had been singing, “I’m Dreaming of a White Easter.”

Anyway, I had gone out to warm up my truck before we headed out. I went back into the house for one final cup of coffee and another episode of Thomas the Train. I bundled Drew up in his warm winter coat and hat and we headed for the rear passenger side of the truck where his car seat was located. I pulled on the door handle and immediately had that sick in the pit of my stomach feeling. My first thought and hope was that the passenger doors were locked but the driver’s door was not. My first thought was incorrect and my hope melted like an Alabama snow. There I stood in the freezing cold, with my then three year old grandson, locked out of my truck. I told Drew I would take him back inside the house while I figured out what to do but guess what. You are a good guesser, aren’t you? I had indeed locked the house door behind me and you already know where that key was too. Once upon a time, long, long ago, I had a spare house key hidden outside for such occasions. Unfortunately, on the last such occasion the spare key had not made its way back to its hiding place. FULL POST

Posted 4/23/14 at 11:59 AM | Victoria Osteen

Rest and Regroup!

Photo: Flickr/Joe Shlabotnik - Creative Commons

One day a few years back, I was moving a large wall mirror in our house. Joel wasn't around, so I decided I would take care of it myself. I grabbed hold of that mirror and started to move it. However, I didn't realize it was going to be as heavy as it was. I knew exactly where I was taking it and was almost there when the mirror began to feel really heavy and I was concerned that I was going to drop it. I thought, "I'm struggling so much. I can't believe it's this heavy!" But I just kept pressing on.

I was close to where I was going and didn't want to give up. But then something inside of me said, "Well, why don't you just put it down for a minute and rest and regroup." What a novel idea! So I set the mirror down, repositioned my hands, and took a deep breath. Very quickly, I started to feel a whole lot better. So I picked up that mirror again with my renewed strength and kept heading to where I was going. FULL POST

Posted 4/23/14 at 9:24 AM | Children's Bible Hour

Door to Heaven

Photo: Flickr/Michel Filion - Creative Commons

"Mom, may I go hike the nature trails with Jon?" Max asked.

"Sure," Mom agreed. "Maybe you'll be able to tell him about Jesus again."

"Maybe," Max replied. "He's a good kid, Mom, but he thinks it doesn't matter much what you believe as long as you live right and do good."

"That's too bad," said Mom. "Nobody's goodness is good enough to enter into God's presence. There's only one way to God, and that's through His Son, Jesus Christ. Jesus is called the door, you know--not a door, but the door."

"Yeah," said Max, "but Jon doesn't believe that. I'll try to tell him again."

Max went to meet Jon, and the boys rode their bikes to the state park where there were several nature trails. They parked the bikes in the parking lot, went through the entrance gate, and began their hike. FULL POST

Posted 4/22/14 at 9:39 AM | Children's Bible Hour

Crash Lesson

Photo: Flickr/Garrette - Creative Commons

"Mom!" screamed Brock, running toward her car. A truck had hit it as she began the turn into their driveway. "Please, God!" prayed Brock as he approached the driver's side. "Please let Mom be okay."

As Brock opened the car door, his mom gave him a shaky smile. "I'm all right," she assured him, stepping out of the car. "Everything is okay, Brock."

The truck driver got out, and he was uninjured, too. Brock gave a huge sigh of relief. That was too close, he thought, and he quietly breathed a prayer of thanks to God as his mom and the driver took care of reporting to the police and other necessary details.

Every once in a while during the rest of that day, Brock gave his mother a hug and said, "I love you, Mom."

"I love you too, Brock," she replied with a smile.

That night, as Mom was tucking him into bed, Brock hugged her again. "Mom, when I saw that car hit you, I was so scared!" he told her. "I guess I thought you'd always be here, but today I was scared you were hurt--and could even die." FULL POST

Posted 4/21/14 at 9:26 AM | Children's Bible Hour

Clean-up Day

Cleaning the beach
Photo: Flickr/Charles Kremenak - Creative Commons

Kevin's dad sat in his easy chair reading the local newspaper. "I see that our city is going to celebrate Earth Day tomorrow," he said.

"Yeah." Kevin looked up from his book. "Mom mentioned that earlier today."

"The paper says the city will be planting trees, and it has also organized a Clean-up the Beach Day,'" said Dad. "Volunteers are needed to walk along the beach and pick up any trash they find. Our family can help with that."

"Yuck!" exclaimed Kevin. "Sounds like too much work!"

Mom looked up with a frown. "Remember what happened last winter to your bicycle?" she asked.

"Don't remind me!" exclaimed Kevin. "I'm trying to forget!"

But Mom went on reminding him. "You left it lying under a bush behind the garage, and by the time the snow melted, it was all rusted," she said. "We trusted you to take care of it. We told you if you didn't, we wouldn't buy you a new one." FULL POST

Posted 4/20/14 at 10:40 PM | Bindings: Reflections on Faith, Life, and Good Books

Coconut Cake and the Cross

I enjoy when someone does something nice by giving me something – usually. Occasionally someone has offered me a gift that I didn’t exactly want to accept. I pastored a church once located directly in front of a series of duplex apartments. Several church members lived in that complex so after having visited there numerous times through the years I came to know most of the residents. Some of them were quite colorful characters.

There was Ms. Virgie. She kept a rubber snake in the corner of her living room to “scare away mice.” Across the lawn from her apartment lived Mr. Daniels. He became a Christian and joined our church at the tender age of eighty. Between the two of them lived Mr. Jones. Mr. Jones did not attend our church but almost every time he saw me visiting in the neighborhood he came to visit me. He lived by himself and cooked his own meals. Since he lived alone he often cooked more than he needed so he graciously shared with his neighbors. Many of them said he was a pretty good cook. Periodically he brought me some of his leftovers. I always tried to be gracious but there was one small matter that bothered me. Mr. Jones didn’t appear to be the cleanest fellow I had met. My biggest problem was his love of snuff; the old style powdered tobacco in a can. Mr. Jones dipped, dripped, and drooled. He usually had a good three or four day growth of beard. His whiskers were shiny white except below the corners of his snuff filled lower lip. More than once, I witnessed him wipe snuff from his chin with his bare hand.

One day while I visited Mr. Daniels, Mr. Jones came to see me. With a fresh lip full of snuff he said, “Preacha, do you like coconut cake?” Without giving his question proper thought I answered, “Oh yes sir, I love coconut cake.” He grinned and said, “Well you sit right tight. I just baked a fresh one this morning and I’ll be back in a second.” I nervously protested with a “No that’s not necessary.” I watched as he headed out the door. A few minutes later he returned with my cake – resting directly in the palm of his hand. He placed it my hand and said “Here you go Preacha, I cut you a big ole piece!” As graciously and sincerely as I could I said, “Thank you Mr. Jones. I’m not hungry now so I will take this home with me.” I did exactly what I said; I took it home with me. My golden retriever couldn’t have cared less if that big piece of sweet coconut cake was clean or not. She swallowed the whole thing in one gulp. FULL POST

Posted 4/18/14 at 6:24 PM | Justin Buzzard

Seven Mile Jesus

Fritz von Uhde's painting Walking to Emmaus.

On a Friday afternoon Jesus was taken from the cross, dead.

On Sunday afternoon he walked seven miles to Emmaus.

Jesus is alive!

The man who was betrayed, beaten, mocked, crucified, and laid in a tomb is now hiking the seven miles to Emmaus. Nothing can beat Jesus.

Happy Easter.

Posted 4/18/14 at 11:22 AM | Victoria Osteen

Good Friday

A cross on Good Friday
Photo: Flickr/Jackie - Creative Commons

This weekend, we celebrate the resurrection of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. I'm so thankful that God sent His Son to earth to pay for our sins and open the way for us to live in eternity with Him.

The scripture says in 2 Corinthians 5:21 that "God made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God in Christ." See, we can't be righteous on our own. Our actions can never be good enough to earn God's acceptance. But righteousness isn't about what we do; it's about what Jesus did. Over 2000 years ago, He paid the price for our sin and shame so that we could have access to God's throne of Grace! He died so that we could live. He conquered death, hell and the grave so that we could have everlasting life! That's why today is known as Good Friday. Jesus was beaten, bruised and sacrificed for us. We didn't deserve it. We didn't earn it. We can only receive His love and eternal life as a gift. He displayed His indescribable goodness when He gave His life for us! FULL POST

Posted 4/18/14 at 11:13 AM | Joel Osteen

Stay Connected to His Resurrection Power

Photo: Chris Tsangarides - CC

In John 11:25, Jesus said, "I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in Me shall never die."

What an amazing and simplistic promise. We don't have to work to earn salvation. We don't have to strive to be "good enough." All we have to do is believe in Jesus—who He is and what He did for us on the cross over 2,000 years ago.

When we believe in Jesus, we experience His resurrection life. His power flows through us, and our spirit becomes born again. We become alive. In the same way, anything that you place "in Him" becomes alive. He is the source of life, and when you place your hope in Him, your hope becomes alive. When you place your trust in Him, your trust becomes alive. When you place your dreams in Him, your dreams become alive. That's why John tells us in scripture to remain in Him like a branch remains connected to a vine because when we stay connected to Him, we stay connected to His resurrection power. FULL POST

Posted 4/18/14 at 8:49 AM | Children's Bible Hour

Have To? Or Want To?

Photo: Phil and Pam - Creative Commons
Chemotherapy

Kelly hurried to catch up with her best friend. "Jenny, wait up," she called. "What's the big hurry? For days now you haven't had time to hang out or talk or anything."

"I know, but since my mom is sick, I need to get on home," Jenny replied. "She really needs my help. She's having chemotherapy to stop the cancer, but it makes her so tired."

"I'm sorry," said Kelly. "I just miss you and all the fun we used to have." She paused."Don't you hate having all that extra work?" Kelly asked. "It must be really hard for you. I know I'd hate doing so many chores!"

Jenny was stunned by Kelly's remark. "My mom is really sick, Kelly," Jenny emphasized. Tears pooled in her eyes and overflowed as she attempted to stifle a sob. "Mom has been there to take care of me my whole life. Now I want to be there for her and take care of her and do everything I can to make it easier for her. She's been the best mom ever, and I'm afraid of losing her to this awful cancer." FULL POST

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