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Devotions for Life

A Heart For God

Ponder: Am I a person after God’s own heart?

 Scripture “Rebuke a wise man, and he will love you” (Proverbs 9:8b, NKJV).

 Scripture calls David a man after God’s own heart (Acts 13:22). David certainly had his faults. Sometimes his blunders were colossal! We might think, “I’m glad my sins aren’t as catastrophic as his!” But we would be better served by asking, “Do I have David’s repentant heart?”


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Balance

“God is spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.” (John 4:24 NASU).

Jesus’ conversation with the Samaritan woman at Jacob’s well became a very lively discussion about the right place of worship.  The Samaritans, in general, did not accept the complete Old Testament, but just the first five books of the Law.   You cannot find there that God had selected Jerusalem “to put His name” (Dt. 12:5).  That was revealed in David’s time.


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The Luckiest Man

 “Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials,” (James 1:2).

 Actully, James 1 says we are to be happy in bad times.  How in the world is that possible? 75 years ago, Lou Gehrig stepped to a microphone in Yankee Stadium and gave his famous speech. A man who was afflicted with a fatal disease and announcing his retirement from the game he loved, said he was the “luckiest man on the face of the planet.” How can we do that? How is it even possible to have joy in trials? Gehrig’s speech offers 3 ways we can…

Don’t Make It Worse. Gehrig said folks had been “reading about the bad break I got.” This is a disease that greatly affected him his previous few seasons, had caused him to retire early, and would take his life at only 41. A bad break? Sometimes we dwell on a problem and make it worse. Gehrig was not using worldly wisdom, and neither should we. In the grand scheme of things, what difference do “things” make? His focus was not on his problem. He tried to…

Appreciate Little Things. Gehrig said that for 17 years he had, “never received anything but kindness and encouragement from you fans.” Kindness and encouragement are little things that even professional baseball players cannot buy. Yet, those “little things” are so important in our lives. Sometimes we get so caught up in what we do not have because of a particular problem, that we fail to recognize what we do. Things like love and friendship mean so much. Which is why he also was able to…

Focus On Others. It is so easy for us to wallow in self-pity through difficulties. It is not only unhealthy, it is unproductive. It helps when we can focus on others. Those who serve others are generally the happiest people. Those who appreciate their relationships always consider themselves the most blessed. So, Gehrig talked about his teammates, manager, opponents, family, and wife. All of which he considered blessings greater than the trial he was enduring. We would do well to do the same.

In truth, James is not telling us to be happy because we have a trial. “Encounter” is the same word translated “fell” when the Good Samaritan “fell” among thieves (Lk. 10:30). It is translated “strike” when the ship struck the reef in Acts 27:41. We no more want to go through the trial than the ship wants to hit the rock or the man wanted to be robbed and beaten. Trials, though, are real.

 What we must do is lead our mind to consider the trial in joy: not because of the trial, but because of the end results of endurance and faith it can have on us (James 1:2-4). When we lead our mind to not make the problem worse, to appreciate little things, and to focus on others, we will be able to see the trial in the proper perspective. Then we, as Christians, can certainly echo Lou Gehrig’s closing line, “So I close in saying that I might have been given a bad break, but I’ve got an awful lot to live for.”

 Hymn: “Count Your Blessings”

 Father, help us to face trials and struggles in this life using your wisdom to see them as they truly are. May we focus on the outcome of being able to draw closer to you, knowing that you are with us in times of blessings and difficulties.   In Jesus’s name we pray, Amen.   
 Corey Sawyers, Conifer, CO