Devotionals

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Posted 3/23/15 at 1:25 AM | Ramona Tucker

Billy Bob Goes to Ole Miss

Well actually Billy Bob didn’t go to school at Ole Miss but he was close. Nearby might be a better way to describe it. Not long ago I was invited to do a program of humor and music as my character Billy Bob Bohannon at First Baptist Church in Oxford, Mississippi. The large downtown church is located only about a half dozen blocks from the edge of the University of Mississippi. Truthfully, that is about as close as I or Billy Bob has ever come to going to Ole Miss.

I arrived early to set up. Among the instruments Billy Bob plays is a rare electric guitar. Did I mention that it was custom crafted from a wooden commode seat? Because it has a Fender guitar pickup and Fender pick guard I call it a Fender Flush. Others have called it a Commode-caster and a Seat-tar.

I had everything set up and perfectly placed on the stage. Left of center I had placed my banjo and mandolin in their stands. On the right stood my six string acoustic guitar and on that far outside end, for all to see and enjoy, stood the Seat-tar. FULL POST

Posted 3/20/15 at 5:07 AM | Wayne Nall

Jump Start Your Devotional Life! Part 1

This is the third article in a series on devotional life. If you would like to start at the beginning, click here.

 I recently had dinner with a Christian friend who shared with me his struggles with his devotional life. I asked him how he was doing in his time with the Lord. In reply, he showed me his "verse of the day" on his phone. He stated, "I read the verse that comes up on my phone, pray for my son, pray for my day, and that's about it." He courageously shared with me that he knows that there is more to devotional life than this, but he can't seem to get there.

 I encouraged him first of all that it is God's mercy that he realizes there is more to it than this perfunctory "cross it off the list" type of devotions. I'm afraid many Christians go for years thinking they can pray for a minute or two in the morning, read a verse, and be off on their way, thinking somehow that they had "performed their duty." There is so much more available to us than this! If we think of devotions as a "duty", we really are missing it. My friend got this. He was asking for help, and I commended him for this. I shared with him a few things that have helped me in my devotional life, and I'd like to pass them on to you here as well. FULL POST

Posted 3/19/15 at 2:07 PM | Carolyn Henderson

Breathing the Same Air as God

Diaphanous inspirational original oil painting of woman in Grand Canyon by Steve Henderson, licensed prints at Great Big Canvas, Art.com, AllPosters.com, Amazon.com, and Framed Canvas Art
Steve Henderson Fine Art
When we think of God, we frequently think of the cosmos, the mountains, or high places, but His very breath is in a place we frequently overlook -- mingled with that of His precious children. Diaphanous, by Steve Henderson.

In our latter days of church attendance, we encountered the Michael W. Smith song, "Breathe," in which the lyrics state,

"This is the air I breathe.

"This is the air I breathe.

"Your holy presence living in me."

The chorus says,

"And I am desperate for you.

"And I am lost without you."

The words, set to a haunting melody, impacted me, and in the time subsequent I have often stopped to observe my breathing, with each respiration thinking, "You and I, Father, are sharing the same breath. And I only take that breath because you give it to me." FULL POST

Posted 3/17/15 at 12:29 PM | Carolyn Henderson

Your Name Matters to God

Midday Tea inspirational original oil painting of 1940s nostalgia woman in vintage dining room by Steve Henderson
Steve Henderson Fine Art
God calls all of His children by our names, in such a way that we can hear His voice and know that He wants us to join Him. Midday Tea, original oil painting by Steve Henderson.

It's embarrassing how many names I know, of people I've never met.

As the product of my generation, I spent many hours after school watching an assortment of eminently forgettable TV shows, only they must not be that forgettable since I can sing the intro songs, as well as give the names of the people who played the various characters.

While this is sad, what is even sadder is that I am not alone, and a whole new generation of children is wasting away hours in front of a screen, learning a whole new crop of forgettable names and eminently forgettable TV shows and movies. FULL POST

Posted 3/16/15 at 1:05 AM | Ramona Tucker

A Call for Even the Most Unlikely to Obey

Judging from the Bible, God can call almost anybody to a task. We understand why he might call an Isaiah. This prophet was educated and perhaps connected to Judah’s royal house.

Of course, God also called Amos to be a prophet. Amos was a laborer, working with fig trees.

Then there was Abraham, too old, one would think. Or Jeremiah, who supposed himself too young.

He called rough fishermen and the scholarly Saul/Paul. He called Deborah and Anna, women in an age which tended to relegate the important work to men.

God called people who didn’t want to be called, like Jonah. He called Hosea, who had married a woman of ill repute.

What is important is not their status in life. What is important is that they obeyed God’s call (after first running away, in Jonah’s case).

Jesus once told a story about two sons. One said he wasn’t going to obey his father and work in the vineyard; He later changed his mind and went to work. The other said he would do as his father asked, but he never went to the vineyard. Which one them, Jesus asked, did the will of his father? “The one who obeyed,” Jesus’ hearers answered. FULL POST

Posted 3/14/15 at 9:44 AM | Diane Castro

Irresistible Grace

jmdavenport.blogspot.com

Recently I have been discussing Calvinism with some folks on another forum. I believe that Calvinism has much to offer to our understanding of the nature and attributes and works of God.

The major doctrines of Calvinism are often summed up in the acronym TULIP. Lately I have been meditating on God’s grace, so today I would like to look at the “I” doctrine—Irresistible Grace. Here are some explanations of Irresistible Grace:

Irresistible grace does not mean that God’s grace is incapable of being resisted. Indeed, we are capable of resisting God’s grace, and we do resist it. The idea is that God’s grace is so powerful that it has the capacity to overcome our natural resistance to it. It is not that the Holy Spirit drags people kicking and screaming to Christ against their wills. The Holy Spirit changes the inclination and disposition of our wills, so that whereas we were previously unwilling to embrace Christ, now we are willing, and more than willing. Indeed, we aren’t dragged to Christ, we run to Christ, and we embrace Him joyfully because the Spirit has changed our hearts.
—R. C. Sproul
FULL POST

Posted 3/13/15 at 1:41 PM | Wayne Nall

The Greatest Single Ingredient Of A Successful Prayer Life

This is the second in a series of articles on devotional life. You can read the first article "Why Pray?" here.

 Like any good habit, developing a successful prayer life takes effort. Rembrandt didn't just wake up one morning and paint the Mona Lisa. Michael Jordan didn't decide one day to play basketball, and the next day was signed by the Chicago Bulls. Yet, the big difference in worldly successes and being a successful person of prayer is that it takes no special talent to pray. IQ doesn't matter. Physical dexterity means nothing. But what does matter is that prayer is made and made habitually.

 There are many ingredient that make up a successful prayer life, some of which I hope to share in future articles. Yet, there is one ingredient which I believe stands out above all others. Without it, there is no chance that your prayer life will in any way be satisfactory to you or to God. With it, you can and should have a vibrant prayer life. What is this all-important key? FULL POST

Posted 3/13/15 at 1:25 AM | Ramona Tucker

Hey You Left Your Headlights On

Billy Bob Bohannon went and bought himself a new truck. He had been driving an old ragged out Ford Exploder that had over 300,000 miles on it. After all those years and miles his Exploder exploded. The only reason it didn’t have more miles was because the odometer broke a couple of years ago. He splurged on his new truck and even got a few extra features that he had not had before. He got the normal features like power windows, seats, and door locks. He got what he considered to be the really important features like a CD player. When the salesmen told him it came with a CD changer, ole Billy Bob being the kidder he is, said, “You mean they don’t put 8 track players in them anymore?” When the salesman demonstrated some of the special features to Billy Bob he showed him the headlamp switch. He turned the knob all the way to the right and explained, “This is how you turn your lights on and off manually. One click to your left and your lights will come on and turn off automatically.” Billy Bob looked at him and said, “Seriously? Why does anyone need lights that come on and go off by themselves? That’s not the same as having to get up and walk across the living room to change the television. The light switch is right there within arm’s reach. Maybe somebody caught that Carpet Tunnel Syndrome from twisting the light knob too many times. The salesman snickered and said, “I think you mean Carpel Tunnel.” Billy Bob asked, “Well will that lazy boy light switch dim the lights automatically too?” The salesman answered, “No sir, Mr. Bohannon, but you don’t have to stomp that little metal button in the floor anymore.” FULL POST

Posted 3/9/15 at 1:02 AM | Ramona Tucker

When Life Gives You Snow, Make Snow-cream

Every state in the union has had snow this winter except one. No, it is not Hawaii. Snow on top of The Big Island’s Mauna Kea (at 13,796 feet) is not uncommon. Florida has not had snow. Alabama has but we haven’t seen any of the white stuff down in Opelika/Auburn. The kid in me stills enjoys seeing a little snow – I did say a “little.” There is not enough kid in me to want to live in Boston. I grew up in the north but not quite that far. Okay, I grew up in northern Alabama; northeast Alabama to be exact. While we rarely had large snowfalls, we usually enjoyed a few school free days each winter. Of course that can happen simply because of a forecast of snow. Northern Alabama had snow several times this winter while we had none. Depending on your opinion, that may or may not have been a good thing.

If you enjoy snowmen, snowballs, snow-cream, the beauty of fresh fallen snow, or sliding down a hill, then you probably like snow. If you don’t like any of those, don’t have a hill or a sled, then perhaps rain is fine. As a kid, I didn’t have a sled but I had a great hill. Patton’s Pond had a big earthen dam across one end. The back side of the dam was a long sloping hill that ended at the edge of my family’s property. When it snowed we slid down that hill on anything that would slide. That included cardboard boxes, a Radio Flyer wagon without its wheels, and an old car hood. We even tried a few things that didn’t slide so well. We discovered that a number two wash tub doesn’t make a good sled or boat (that’s another story). One winter we made ourselves a great sled. Coca-Cola had given my Dad a sign to put in front of his business. The top of the sign was a large, round, red piece of metal with the Coca-Cola logo painted on it in white. Eventually someone ran off the road and knocked down dad’s sign. My buddies and I removed a few screws and took that big round top off and apart. That left us with two bowls that were about four feet in diameter. We cut pieces of thick rubber from an old truck tire inner-tube and bolted them to our makeshift sleds for handles. We enjoyed our homemade sleds for years until one summer someone had the bright idea to use them for boats. We quickly realized that they slid much better than they floated! FULL POST

Posted 3/9/15 at 12:51 AM | Diane Castro

A Googolplex of Grace

Charles Schulz

Many years ago, while writing features for a children’s math book, I learned that the term googol had been invented by a nine-year-old boy in 1938. Milton Sirotta was the nephew of Edward Kasner, an American mathematician. Kasner was looking for a name for a very large number—1 followed by one hundred zeroes—and young Milton came up with googol. This number is inconceivably huge—10 to the hundredth power, vastly more than the number of atoms in the universe.

When I think of all the sin in our world, its magnitude seems to be like a googol—so immense that it staggers the imagination. Sin has overwhelmed and engulfed our world to an extent that is incomprehensible to the human mind. Thinking of the magnitude of sin and our complete inability to conquer it can lead one to despair.

BUT where sin abounded, grace did much more abound! (Rom. 5:20)

The magnitude of God’s grace is like a googolplex—10 to the googol power, the number 1 followed by a googol of zeroes. A googolplex absolutely dwarfs a googol into nothingness, just as God’s grace is powerful enough to dwarf sin into nothingness. If you have trouble wrapping your head around a googol, you can’t even begin to fathom a googolplex, just as we can’t even begin to plumb the depths of the immeasurable grace of God. FULL POST

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