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“Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.”
Greenhouse Cats -
Eddie and Otis live in our greenhouse. A pair of bonded brothers, their job is to catch mice; but since we don’t have any mice, the boys get to spend most of their days lounging under the ferns, or rubbing against human legs that enter their domain. Life is easy for our greenhouse cats, and I have to admit, some days I’m envious of their contentment.
Yet, when I reflect on our cats’ happy existence, I can’t ignore the fact that we humans often choose to be discontent. We compare ourselves to others, which can breed envy or pride. We ignore the simple riches we already have – health, family, friends, faith – and feel there is ‘more’ to life than we are already experiencing. We are impatient with the ‘right now’ in our life and become obsessed with the ‘next’ thing, or we rush through the present on our way to that nebulous future we expect to be ‘better.’
No wonder we humans feel restless: we won’t let ourselves savor where we are, who we are, right here and now. Unlike my greenhouse cats that have no mice to chase - and are just as happy, anyway – we humans keep thinking we have to keep moving to avoid discontent in our lives. What would we do if we stopped?
Here’s an answer to that question:
This is the day which the Lord hath made; we will rejoice and be glad in it.” Psalm 118:24
Rejoice. Be aware. Be present. Be thankful. Be content.
Move over, Eddie and Otis. I like your style.
Jan Dunlap is the author of the new suspense novel Heaven’s Gate: Archangels Book I, the bestselling memoir Saved by Gracie: How a Rough-and-tumble Rescue Dog Dragged Me Back to Health, Happiness and God (Authentic Publishing) and the acclaimed Birder Murder Mystery series (North Star Press, Inc.). She holds MA degrees in Theology and English Studies and lives in the Hill Country of Texas where she spends every clear night marveling at the stars and the brilliance of God’s creation. She is a frequent contributor to FaithHappenings.com and welcomes visitors at www.jandunlap.com and on Facebook at her two author pages BirderMurderMama and Archangels.
More of Jan Dunlap: http://www.jandunlap.com/
Without Fear -
by Ron Moore
Who is going to harm you if you are eager to do good? But even if you should suffer for what is right, you are blessed. "Do not fear what they fear; do not be frightened." - 1 Peter 3:13-14
In today's verses, Peter quotes from Isaiah the prophet. It is helpful to place this quote in context. Isaiah wrote:
The LORD spoke to me with his strong hand upon me, warning me not to follow the way of this people. He said: "Do not call conspiracy everything that these people call conspiracy; do not fear what they fear, and do not dread it. The LORD Almighty is the one you are to regard as holy, he is the one you are to fear, he is the one you are to dread" (Isaiah 8:11-13).
It is easy for us to get caught up in the fears of the world. We can obsess over everything from the government to the economy. If there is not something today to get us riled up, we borrow from the unknowns of tomorrow. We live in a day when people, even believers, live in fear.
But as followers of Christ, we are not to buy into the fears of the world. We are not to "fear what they fear." Our focus is to be on the Lord Almighty, the One who is holy. If we are going to obsess over something it should be the fear of displeasing the eternal God, for "he is the one you are to fear, he is the one you are to dread."
Father, each one of us has a limited amount of time on this earth and a limited amount of energy. May we invest our time and energy on the things that count for eternity. Help us to not buy into the fears of the world. Help us, instead, to honor and obey You. In Jesus' name. Amen.
This originally appeared here and is shared with permission.
Devotions.org, a division of Back to Bible has a daily source of devotions to keep you in touch with God and His word, written by some of today's top authors and Bible teachers. Browse the variety of resources completely on their website.
More of Devotions.Org: http://www.backtothebible.org/devotions
Then Sarai said to Abram, "My wrong be upon you! I gave my maid into your embrace; and when she saw that she had conceived, I became despised in her eyes. The Lord judge between you and me." So Abram said to Sarai, "Indeed your maid is in your hand; do to her as you please." And when Sarai dealt harshly with her, she fled from her presence. - Genesis 16:5-6
Who's in Charge?
A writer for the Chicago Tribune observed, "Americans crave leadership, but what is it?" According to an expert he quoted, a leader has "a moral compass, a set of core beliefs, a firmness that is not authoritarian, strong powers of persuasion in articulating a vision, and a self-effacing manner." Those qualities are not only scarce in the workplace, they're often lacking in the home as well.
In many respects, Abraham was a great leader, but apparently he wasn't strong enough to do what was right in his own household. At a time when Sarah needed a strong hand to guide her through a fit of jealousy, Abraham failed. He abdicated his role as the leader of his home and a grave injustice was committed as a result.
Our society needs strong leaders everywhere, but nowhere more than in the home. God established an order for the family that made it normative for the man to be the leader when present. The apostle Paul says, "For the husband is head of the wife . . . . Therefore, just as the church is subject to Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in everything" (Eph. 5:23-24; cf. 1 Cor. 11:3).
God's design for the family is not popular in today's culture, but it's still God's design. Men, take seriously your role as the head of the home. Know the core values God wants for your family and see that they are established. Wives, let your husband be the leader. Support him in his leadership and respect his authority. When we do what is right in the home, the nation will follow.
Leadership in the home is an issue of obedience, not equality.
This devotion is shared with permission from where it appeared here.
Dr. Woodrow Kroll served as President and Senior Bible Teacher at Back to the Bible from 1990-2013. Author of more than 50 books, Dr. Kroll's passion is to increase Bible literacy in America by engaging people in the Bible and connecting them with the Author. His clear, incisive teaching of the Word keeps him in demand as a speaker all over the world. - See more at: http://www.backtothebible.org/authors/woodrow-kroll#sthash.7Yrcap6W.dpuf
More of Dr. Woodrow Kroll: http://www.backtothebible.org/devotions
Dreamers such as you and me often forget or even ignore the benefits that waiting can usher into the equation of life. Waiting makes us stronger … waiting changes people’s hearts and minds … waiting purifies the dream … waiting shapes the dream into something more beautiful than it could ever be on its own.
If you are a dreamer … remind yourself today that time is on your side! The period known as “the waiting room” will do a strengthening, healing and rejuvenating work in your life if you allow it to do so!
Rather than choosing to embrace discouragement as a necessary member of your circle of friends … how about setting an achievable goal today? There are people who need a kind and loving e-mail from you … there are friends and family members who would deeply appreciate your prayers … there are items that can be checked off your “to-do” list even when the biggest dream of your life may seem illusive.
When the deepest dreams of your heart seem out of reach and discouragement is filling every cell of your being, do something that you can accomplish! Do something that is possible in this very moment!
Go for a walk … call a friend … go to a conference … give a donation … read your Bible … clean out a closet … plant some flowers … bake some bread for your neighbor … ask a friend to have coffee with you … buy a gift … volunteer to teach Sunday School … have a family over for dinner … reconnect with a childhood friend … buy a new devotional and give it away … smile at a stranger …
The list is endless of all the things that you can indeed accomplish while you are waiting for your dreams to come true!
Don’t allow discouragement to paralyze your soul or to press “pause” on your ability to minister or on your deep desire to encourage others. Discouragement and encouragement don’t get along well … as a matter of fact I have recently discovered that discouragement and encouragement are often mutually exclusive! Imagine that!
Discouragement and encouragement are like the Hatfields and McCoys … they try to shoot each other down with each other’s opposing intentions and opinions.
I’ll side with encouragement any day of the year! I choose encouragement over despair and depression anytime … anyplace … anywhere!
And, finally, you will find a mega-dose of encouragement in the Word of God. If you are battling discouragement today, simply open your Bible and allow the Holy Spirit to speak to your troubled soul.
One of my favorite verses has always been this one:
“For I know the plans that I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for calamity; to give you a future and a hope.” – Jeremiah 29:11
If you need more than one dose of biblical encouragement, how about this one?
“Surely there is a future and your hope will not be cut off.” – Proverbs 23:18
Are you especially desperate today and you are just thirsting for God’s opinion on your life? You’ve come to the right place! Linger in this verse for a minute or two …
“I will make an everlasting covenant with them that I will not turn away from them, to do them good.. I will rejoice over them to do them good and will faithfully plant them in this land with all My heart and with all My soul.” – Jeremiah 32:40a and 41
O.K. … I can’t let you go without one more word of encouragement for you from the Bible! Because the truth is … I need it as much as you do!
“Return to the stronghold, O prisoners who have the hope: this very day I am declaring that I will restore double to you.” – Zechariah 9:12
Be encouraged today, my friend! You are not forgotten! Keep dreaming … keep praying … keep hoping … keep believing! God and I are cheering you on!
This originally appeared here and is shared with the author's permission.
Carol is an author and popular speaker at women's conferences and retreats, where she teaches the Word of God with great joy and enthusiasm. She hosts a daily radio program called, "Defiant Joy Radio", has written 5 books - "The Rooms of a Woman's Heart", "Defiant Joy!", "Holy Estrogen!", "No More Ordinary!" (which hit several of Amazon's best seller lists), and her most recent, “Refined … Finding Joy In the Fires of Life!”. She has also written several devotionals for the popular Bible app, YouVersion. She is the mom of 5 grown children, Marmee to 6 grandchildren and is married to her college sweetheart.
More of Carol McLeod: http://www.justjoyministries.com/