Devotionals

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Posted 5/21/15 at 6:43 PM | June Samuel

The Christian, The Church is to be the Silencer - Not the Silenced

We are saved unto good works. For we – the believers in Jesus Christ are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them. Ephesians 2:10. We are not created for the gospel. We are commissioned to go and preach the gospel. We are not created to protest. We are commanded to love. We are created for good works.

The early Church got the message. The Lord Jesus when He was here on earth went about doing good. The disciples now apostles witnessed those good works. Upon the Day of Pentecost the Apostles understood they were to do as their Master had done. Do good works. Acts 2:44-47; 4:34 -37 tells us of their good works. “They distributed to each as anyone had need.” Verse 35. Today, there are many Christian organizations and churches that do good works. Some of their good works are giving food, providing clothing , educating and caring for the poor and underprivileged. Some of these organizations assist in disaster areas. It is not only those organizations that should engage in good works, but each local church and every individual Christian should also do good works.

Some of us have heard so often that salvation is not given through good works. For by grace we are saved. We know we cannot earn salvation through good works. Good works, therefore, have been minimized in our thinking to our detriment and to the detriment of the local church. We have recited Ephesians 2:8 and 9 and have stopped there instead of continuing onto verse 10. God prepared before hand – before the foundation of the world that we should live a lifestyle of good works. FULL POST

Posted 5/21/15 at 1:32 AM | Ramona Tucker

The Sunday Ole Fred Walked the Aisle

The first time I saw Fred I thought surely he must have been on his last leg. He was so thin I could count his ribs. He stood in our front yard but I had no idea where he had come from or what he wanted. When I called to him he ran like he had been shot from a cannon. Fred was the name I gave him but I later learned his real name. Fred was a flea and tick ridden brown hound.

I was in my final year of seminary in New Orleans but also served as pastor of Rock Springs Baptist Church. Rock Springs was twelve miles from anywhere. Actually it was twelve miles from Butler, Alabama, but it was out in the middle of nowhere. Obviously, many people believed our neck of the woods was the perfect place to bid farewell to the animals they no longer wanted. It was there where we met Fred. Judging from his looks, I figured he was a stray that someone had dropped off for an extended stay with us. After that first encounter, Fred returned to visit every weekend. I threw him bread when he came but he only allowed me to get so close each time before he bolted. I have always loved dogs so winning the trust of that hound dog became my mission. At the end of the school year Jean and I moved to the house at the church for the summer. This allowed me to see Fred more often and I continued to throw him bread each time he came. Little by little he came closer until one day he finally came close enough for me to touch him. One pat on the tip of his nose and he was off to the races. The day finally came when allowed me to stroke his head without him bolting. After a few times he either decided he liked the petting or maybe it was simply the bread he liked. Eventually he came to me when I didn’t have bread. Before the summer was over ole Fred stayed at my house most of the time. He followed me all over the yard. I found out later that Fred belonged to my neighbor down the road and his real name was Hank. I think he liked the name Fred better and evidently he liked our bread better than his owner’s starvation and obvious mistreatment. His owner told someone, “That preacher has done went and stole my dog.” FULL POST

Posted 5/18/15 at 2:00 AM | Ramona Tucker

The Usurping of Grandma’s Knee

Perhaps it was your mother or father, a great aunt or uncle, or your grandma or grandpa that outlined, modeled, and enforced a code of civility in your childhood. He or she made certain that you knew the line not to cross when interacting with others. Whether your words were in casual conversation, on the phone, or in a letter, you were held to a high standard for word choice and tone. Never say anything in a letter that you wouldn’t say in person. Look people in the eye when you are talking to them and vice versa. Treat people like you want to be treated. Look for the good in others. Slow to anger and slow to believe gossip. Watch your mouth. Those standards meant the difference between a person of good character or the lack thereof, good manners or none at all, and striving for behavior befitting a person of faith. So said Grandma.

Then you became an adult and childhood monitors for manners and speech became passé. You could do as you wish and endure an occasional twinge of guilt until even that small shame faded into the past. You had children and grandchildren. Sometimes words came out of your grandchildren’s mouths that resurrected those old twinges, but that’s the way things are these days, you told yourself. Then you got your hands on a computer, a cell phone, a tablet or an Ipad. Soon social media and messaging became part of your daily routine. It was odd at first, not engaging with people face to face, but what amazing advantages technology offered. FULL POST

Posted 5/13/15 at 11:39 AM | Daniella Whyte

You Are Always on His Mind


"How precious are your thoughts about me, O God. They cannot be numbered! I can't even count them; they outnumber the grains of sand!" -Psalm 139:17-18 (NLT)

Have you ever considered what God thinks about? Do you want to know what is on His mind? The Bible tells us that God is always thinking about us and His thoughts about us are precious and beautiful. He thinks of us constantly. It is comforting to know that we were created by a God who always has us on His mind. FULL POST

Posted 5/7/15 at 1:59 AM | Ramona Tucker

Too Busy for Your Spouse?

Sunday School teacher. Children's choir leader. Crisis Pregnancy volunteer. Rescue Mission board member. Prayer group leader. Ladies' Bible Study on Tuesdays. Bible Study Fellowship. Praise team.

Sound like good things to be involved in, right? Well, yes and no.

Each of the above activities has tremendous potential to further God's kingdom, but if pursued at the expense of one's marriage, they can be deadly. Few of us stop to think how Satan can use even godly things to deceive us and get us off track at times. I (Chuck) have counseled believers who have crippled or destroyed their marital relationships because they were TOO heavily involved at church. Some have even been swept away in extramarital affairs because somewhere along the way they crossed the line of just being "brother and sister" in Christ to being "something more." Needy people with no boundaries, guidelines, or priorities, caught off-guard.

"But you just don't understand. He actually listens to me. My husband never does that. How can something that feels so right be so wrong?" one wife and church member of twenty years laments.

"I don't know how it happened. We were just spending so many hours practicing with the praise team. We were just sort of thrown together. I love the way she laughs, and sings, and loves the Lord with all her heart. We were meant to be together from the beginning. I made a mistake when I married my wife," another long time church attendee offers excuses. FULL POST

Posted 5/4/15 at 12:23 AM | Ramona Tucker

Does this Look Funny on Me?

I should have known this was bound to happen sooner or later but I was totally unprepared when it did. I simply could not believe my eyes. Now I find myself in quite a dilemma, and honestly, I don’t know what to do.

I was a teenager in the seventies. We sure thought our clothes back then were cool but now, I certainly don’t know why. While I still think our bell bottom blue jeans were pretty cool, most everything else was hideous. I had button down shirts that had collars that were long enough to poke out somebody’s eye. The cuffs must have been six inches long and had at least six buttons. I owned a sports coat during college days that would knock both eyes out and leave them lying on the floor. That thing was beige with huge orange, brown, and white plaid squares. My red, white, and blue platform shoes from the bicentennial year have been long gone but I still have that lovely sports coat. For a reason that I didn’t understand until thirteen years ago, I kept that thing all those years. It hung in the back of my closet simply waiting for its reappearance. FULL POST

Posted 4/28/15 at 8:21 AM | selwyn perry

What's in a day?

WHAT'S IN A DAY?
The clouds building up on the skyline. The colours of the autumn leaves in the garden where I walk. Flowers of late autumn, deep purple, bright red; petals like hands clasped in prayer. What's in a day that I can't take away and keep in my room where the fire burns brightly and the pictures on the wall keep watch over the hearth?
As shadows lengthen and the moon rises, the dark line of the hills merge with the sky.
Sleep comes easily.

Do not, in a day, let your mind be the depository of the worlds charms or miseries, the glamour or gloom of fallen stars, or the newsreel pouring out phenomenal matters of state. Let your mind be kept like the inside of a temple, which it is, (1 Corinthians 6:19) and let nothing enter that does not do so reverently, so that whatsoever things are pure and holy may find peace and joy there. (Philippians 4:8) Blot out the street, the market and the TV screen's sensations and let your mind dwell in God's daily presence within, and in flowers, trees, birds and skies without.

I have for too long lived in the swamp of media stench. This year I made a decision to live more like a stranger in the world, one who passes through the towns and cities and out of them like Lot out of Sodom. I am not a consumer and life is not a product to be bought or watched on a screen. Life is too precious to be treated like a murky pond.

Posted 4/27/15 at 1:34 AM | Ramona Tucker

A Kid with Kids for Rent

When I was a kid I did not get an allowance. My parents did not believe in them. I greatly believed in them but obviously I was not a skilled persuader. My dad owned a business where he sold coal, building supplies, hardware, and snacks. I shoveled coal, stocked shelves, loaded and unloaded merchandize, and ate snacks. I couldn’t bear the thought of a paying customer getting a stale candy bar so I sacrificially and internally disposed of the older snacks. Not only did I not get an allowance but I didn’t get paid for work I did for dad (except for stale candy bars). Occasionally I complained about not getting paid for all the hard labor I so diligently performed. Okay, maybe not as hard as I diligently remember. Dad answered my complaints with reminders that he fed me, clothed me, and provided me shelter. I needed other things, important things, like fishing and sports equipment, records, and model cars. As I grew older, I began to look for better paying jobs – make that paying jobs. FULL POST

Posted 4/24/15 at 2:29 PM | Diane Castro

Let Us Run with Perseverance

It was a tough day to run a marathon—raw and rainy and windy—but thousands of incredible athletes did it in Boston on April 20, 2015. 30,000 runners—30,000 stories of hardship and endurance and spirit. Here are a few of their stories:

Fourteen years ago, Laura Joyce of Minnesota ran the Boston Marathon. That weekend, she met Nate Davis, whose family has been close to ours since he was five years old. Nate and Laura fell in love, got married, had two babies (the second one just a year ago), trained like crazy, and came back from their home in California to run Boston together this year. I was thrilled to be able to give both of them their medals.

Laura at the finish line--with a big smile even though she is frozen to the bone!
Giving Nate his medal

Thousands of runners do the Marathon to honor someone special or raise money for a cause. Members of Team MR8, including actor Sean Astin and women’s wheelchair winner Tatyana McFadden, ran in memory of eight-year-old Marathon bombing victim Martin Richard, to promote his message of peace and raise money for charitable causes. Tom Feller, son of my high school classmate Deborah Morrison Feller, ran the marathon again this year to raise money for a school for kids with autism. Jessica Brovold ran for Home Away Boston, which provides housing for families with seriously ill children. Her own little daughter Kallie was diagnosed with a brain tumor when she was four years old, and Home Away Boston provided housing for the family when they came from South Dakota to get treatment for Kallie in Boston. FULL POST

Posted 4/21/15 at 3:22 AM | selwyn perry

By your word I am blessed

BY YOUR WORD I AM BLESSED

How fresh are your words to my heart;
They are like the first day of Spring
In a wintery place,
Where cold and bitter winds
Have made bleak the tall proud trees
And lifeless ground.

Trees, leaves and flowers announce your word
Of Spring song and feathery flight,
Of movement in the air
Fanned by warmer winds,
And softer light.

By your word my heart rejoices
And by them I am refreshed
And made glad,
For by your word my lot is lighter
And my cares are less
So I am blessed.

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