Timeless Significance For Every Day
Devotions, Poems & Short Stories
Devotions, Poems & Short Stories
PSALM 1: 1 – 3
Blessed [fortunate, prosperous, and favored by God] is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked [following their advice and example],
Nor stand in the path of sinners,
Nor sit [down to rest] in the seat of scoffers (ridiculers).
But his delight is in the law of the Lord.
And His law [His precepts and teachings] he [habitually] meditates day and night.
And he will be like a tree firmly planted [and fed] by streams of water,
Which yields its fruit in its season;
Its leaf does not wither;
And in whatever he does, he prospers [and comes to maturity].
People and situations may rub you raw—distracting your focus off of purposeful accomplishments. But when the Lord polishes what has been roughened by friction, His reflection shines love and grace to those in need of kindness and those invested in negativity. Susan Marlene, November 2020
Overcomers draw us to their “how”. They encourage because they have been inspired and offer it freely. Is it a matter of vision that super strong individuals are born with that makes all the difference? When they face awful, challenging, and oppressive obstacles which seemingly become stepping stones—is that really fair? Do the rest of us only stop-short with a mix of jealousy and envy as we watch those gifted few arise from the ash heaps? Time after trying times.
Society would have us believe that we are damaged and hindered from the best and brightest that life has to offer. That may be true. We have all been hurt and wounded by life and relationships, but it doesn’t stop there unless you chose it to be so. I may have—you may have—plenty of reasons for stewing in a melting pot of self-pity. But if we open-up and look for a different scenario, well, there are too many beautiful examples to clap our focus on.
Nick Vujicic is a man with a golden life. He has it all, and he is a motivational speaker—one that I’d love to hear and one that you probably would too. This is his quote, “It’s a lie to think you’re not good enough. It’s a lie to think you’re not worth anything.” Taken from Nick Vujicic, Quotes About Life, which you may find at yourmotivationalguru.com.
You could easily say that Nick had a difficult childhood. He was born without limbs. You can well imagine the struggles and obstacles he has faced—no doubt about it. Yet, I saw how he brought his audience to tears. (I actually didn’t hear his talk. I only saw how they responded to him as they were leaving. He was the one comforting them.) He is a man who found that special something that is offered to us all in the face of Jesus Christ.
Jesus makes all life purposeful and exquisite and worth the trying people who disagree and the troubles that are unsurmountable. Only unsurmountable, when you don't have those spiritual and emotional hind’s feet to leap over the rocky crags of difficulty. Submitting our hearts to Jesus to follow Him each day is the element that eludes the strongest of us who demand to do it our way. Our timing. Our fickle last-minute changes.
Jesus said, My yoke is easy, my burden is light. He also claimed that He was the way, the truth, and the light.
I want to be faithful like the ten virgins who when the bridegroom arrived they were ready and had their oil in their lamps. Matthew 25:1-13. How about you?
For He is like a refiner’s fire
And like launderers’ soap
Like fire, like soap? Strange and unique comparisons that is certain. Yet, when the edge of the veil between Heaven and earth is lifted, a revelation of the Savior’s character is provided. He would come to the Jews, and His arrival would be startling…uncomfortable.
He’d not come to be flattered or patronized. Purity upended the recklessly undisciplined wondering hearts of His chosen ones. He couldn’t be ignored. What was He after? He would purge the sons of Levi, like gold and silver. Quite unpleasant dealings for the sons of Levi, but the results would bring an offering in righteousness. He would come near them for judgment. His wittiness against sorcerers, adulterers, perjurers, exploiters of wages, and widows and orphans would be swift.
How can a heart deliver so much, love the unlovable so deeply, and be tireless in their service? Especially when He is rejected, unimportant, and not believed in by multitudes who refuse His grace.
He is God. He is man. His ways are above our ways. Embrace His offering of Himself with jubilant praise. No one could love you better, provide for your triumphant entrance through Heaven’s gates, and rejoice in your talents and personality more. I love the fact that He venerated us so much that He provided a free way to paradise and abundant life—for eternity. He paid the price. He adores us and offers everything of value on the whim that we might nod His way and take His hand. Be His bride.
Father, may our hearts receive all of Jesus's grace and love that we may share Him with others. May we allow His refining fire to separate the dross and purify us like with silver and gold. May we allow His launderers’ soap to make us sparkle in His light and smell like kingdom kids. Amen
Show me Your ways, O Lord; Teach me Your paths.
Isaiah 55: 8-9
8. “For My thoughts are not your thoughts,
Nor are your ways My ways,” declares the Lord.
9.“For as the heavens are higher than the earth,
So are My ways higher than your ways
And My thoughts higher than your thoughts.
Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.
God Asks You: For 1 week – every day - 2 times a day –
PRAY THIS TO GOD:
Show me Your ways, O Lord; Teach me Your paths.
Use the chart starting with the day you begin on. Put a
Mark each time you say it “that day” so you know you did it.
Start with 2 per day – BUT – you can do as many as you want ! Increase
brings increased harvest to you. When you ask God to: Show you His ways and teach you His paths – EXPECT Him to help you to see, help you to hear, and help you to receive what He shows you, tells you, and gives you!!
This exercise is a doorway into the “The Paths of the Lord”
~~ The Way to Walk beside Him ~~
Marti Holcomb July 2020
I wish to thank my guest blogger and precious friend, Marti Holcomb, for sharing another familiar, simple, and powerful way to connect with
Love you, Marti!
Then the Lord said to Moses, “Behold, the time for you to die is near; call Joshua, and present yourselves at the tent of meeting that I may commission him.” Deuteronomy 31:14a NASB
Anticipation, a touch of nerves, and possibly grief collided inside Moses and Joshua as they responded to the Lord’s direction, ‘present yourselves at the tent of meeting” This was the day that leadership would pass to a younger man. Because of the day Moses disappointed the Lord when the people’s continuous murmuring and unrighteous attitudes pushed hard, and Moses responded by breaking faith with Elohim in their midst, near the waters of Meribah-kadesh, in the wilderness of Zin. Moses hadn’t treated the Lord as holy in Israel’s presence.1 Today Moses would gracefully relinquish his responsibility of leading God’s people to the promised land.
As they stood waiting the Lord appeared in a pillar of cloud—in the tented doorway. I can imagine my body trembling in His presence. Did they feel the same? What did Joshua expect the Lord to say? Maybe something like, you’ll be a great leader. The people will follow what I tell you, and they will build a great nation in the promised land. The land Israel had pursued for forty years.
Instead—they heard the Lord speak of Moses’s death and that Israel would arise and play the harlot with strange gods. Israel would forsake Him and break covenant with Him. This meeting and transferring of leadership sounded less and less like Joshua being commissioned to lead God’s people into the bountiful land chosen by the Creator for His special beloved people. Yet the Lord saw ahead, past their spurning His provision, love, and agreements. Past their unfaithfulness and greed. Moses was told to write a song that would be remembered by the children of Israel as a testimony against them.2 And a long song it was.
Finally, Joshua, the son of Num, is told encouragements that we and probably he had hoped for. Be strong and courageous, for you shall bring the sons of Israel into the land which I swore to them, and I will be with you.3 Those last five words enriched his spirit for what would come! Receiving God’s promise would not be easy. If Joshua hadn’t been of excellent spirit, I’m sure he would have escaped through the tent’s rear flap. Away from the awful disappointments, pain, and betrayal revealed to him about the people he’d lead into the promised land.
Maybe you’ve been working hard for the Lord, for those you love. You’ve been waiting for the clouds to break and shed some light. Perhaps the weight of expectation vs. experience is colliding and teasing you to go the easier path. I used to think that God’s plan brought ease and obvious blessings as I journeyed. Taking God’s promised land was not an arrival of a finished destination for Israel, but a new beginning. One paved with trials because of their own desires for the gift and not the Giver. We do suffer for the faults and failures of others, but the good news is—we don’t travel the path in our own strength. It is the Lord your God who will cross ahead of you; He will destroy these nations before you, and you shall dispossess them. Deuteronomy 31:8
Funny, we may think that we need to be the heavy-lifters in our God-given journey. But scripture doesn’t agree! Time and time again, the Lord clears the way before us so that we may boldly follow with amazement as His power, love, and ability to accomplish His promises prove true each time! May we ask Him for the desire to desire Him more fully in our lives. What a blessing to glorify His name!
1 Deuteronomy 32:51
2 Song of Moses, Deuteronomy 32:1 -43
3 Commissioning of Joshua, Deuteronomy 31:23
What path will you choose?
A man’s pride will bring him low, But the humble in spirit will retain honor.
Pride. Pride can be a sneaky gremlin working mayhem in circumstances and perceptions about our Christian journey. Everything and everyone affects how we grow in the knowledge of the Lord on High. Is He the frighteningly righteous King of Kings, High Priest, or soothing Everlasting Father? And our reactions to calamity are not always predictable. Can you imagine Satan quivering with anticipation, watching intently to observe how his interference and chaos will turn the would-be follower? Or even the seasoned prayer warrior who has been allowed enough success—without much opposition—so that he or she can trip over a bit of pride?
Why did I mention a mogwai (gremlin)—an evil creature from a movie I’d seen in the 1980s. That creature multiplied—bringing havoc and destruction—in nightmarish speed. Sometimes, distractions or limited understanding can look cute and acceptable, like that pet mogwai. We don’t know the cost of embracing minimal focus and relationship with the Lord, so we ride on fluff. Like I rode on fluff. When I’d started following Jesus, someone complimented me, “You could be a pastor’s wife.” I agreed. Now I laugh. Being a pastor or pastor’s wife is not for the faint of heart.
Joseph’s story from Genesis shows the enduring loyalty and trust needed to purge pride from making its disastrous mark on God-given purpose. Joseph didn’t know why or how long he would have to endure prison. This was a day after day, tough—mundane existence, and Joseph didn’t crumble under its monotony. When God opened that restraining door, He did so quickly and richly rewarded Joseph’s patience. Such trying times benefited him and made Joseph a man of God. He became wise and powerful because Joseph relied on the Lord—his obedience allowed remarkable accomplishments, that saved countless lives. Joseph embraced this amazing perception concerning his brothers’ betrayal, “And as for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good in order to bring about this present result, to preserve many people alive.”
Will you and I see such amazing results happen when we’re faithful to our Savior? If we are patient under fire? Maybe and maybe not. In one of Hannah Whitehall Smith’s books, she shares a similar thought—If God made you a potato, He made you a potato, and you should rejoice in that. I delight in the times that I followed His lead cheerfully and patiently. My regrets are the whining and pleading for change. I know more fully than ever that, We are the clay, and Thou our potter; And all of us are the work of Thy hand. Isaiah 64:8b Our Lord’s results fly in the face of Satan’s pride and deceit, bringing prosperity of spirit and grace to those of even humble circumstances as their eyes are fixed on the Door. Abba Father our Living Water and King of Kings.
And He has said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness”. . . Therefore, I am well content with weakness, with insults, with distresses, with persecutions, with difficulties, for Christ’s sake; for when I am weak, then I am strong.” II Corinthians 12:9-10
I was recently asked this question: Have you ever read through the Bible? I was able to answer, “Yes!” I know for sure that I’ve read through all the way once or twice. Generally speaking, I read and/or listen to scriptures daily. Sometimes full chapters as I play “the WORD of PROMISE, OLD TESTAMENT Audio NKJV Bible while I accomplish the mundane chores of a housewife. I’ve not been great about listening to the Word in order all the way through—year by year. But guess who in our American history achieved this feat—not just one year but year after year—several of our Founding Fathers. (Some who have been falsely accused of being Deist.) Hmmm, something to think about there!
My challenge to you and me: Let's read the scriptures and consider their importance for our everyday relationship with the King of Kings, the Author of our Faith! We have nothing to lose and everything to gain! Are you up for the challenge?
I’m following this scripture listing found on Calvary Chapel’s webpage: https://ccmanitowoc.org/daily-bible-readings/.
Enter His gates with thanksgiving. And His courts with praise. Give thanks to Him and bless His name. Psalms 100:4
Step spritely into the new day dawning. Bumpy country roads, sleek highways, valleys, and mountains topped with snowcaps await your awe. How Father God delighted in creating every crevice and sculptured rock formation, as well as hot sandy deserts, brush-stroked with copious color schemes reflecting off each unique terrain.
Oceans surge with power and life, reflecting its mood with each twist and turn of the weather or spin of the moon. Such stunning sights take our breath away, cause us to stand on tiptoe, and gasp at the immense sheer wonder of His creation. The measure of our fascination and appreciation cannot comprehend His colossal thrill over…our smile…
His ecstasy is not dampened by our limitations for God is JOY, LOVE, and PEACE in the extreme! He experiences the highest, most delightful, undiluted, and uncontaminated thrills over our praise and attention.
We offer so little. Father God bestows so much. Audaciously allow yourself to nearly burst with heart-pounding gratitude for all He has done. For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of the light (for the fruit of light consists in goodness, righteousness, and truth) and find out what pleases the Lord. Ephesians 5:10
Do enter His gates with thanksgiving and His courts with praise, give thanks to Him and praise His name. Sure, we cannot imagine the thrill He experiences, but isn’t it wonderful to
TRY . . .
Re-posted from a different blog I wrote in 2012
Blessed is the man who trusts in You! Psalm 84:12
Does anything else really matter compared to the astonishing presence of our Lord? All the upsets, the judgments, the hurry and flurry we experience each day because stressed out or broken individuals seem to influence our moods. Maybe even our choices.
So why do we permit interruptions and demands to hold precedence over our thoughts? Instead, why don't we allow ourselves to enjoy His company?
King David said in Psalms 84:10, "I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God than dwell in the tents of wickedness." Oh yes—at least that, but I genuinely want to be closer to His side. I want to experience Him. The joy of His fellowship and that holy twinkle in His eyes reflecting the sincere love He offers to His own.
Oh, to know when He is pleased or moved by compassion.
To hear His whisper or the roar of His command, which trump all competing sounds--that is the wonder my heart seeks. Father God's words are His love song, and he plays the perfect melody tuned to melt my heart.
Zephaniah 3:17 says, "The Lord your God in your midst, The Mighty One, will save; He will rejoice over you with gladness, He will quiet you with His love, He will rejoice over you with singing.
One does not arrive in the place where His whisper redirects decisions, alters negative thoughts into life-giving encouragement, or prevents disasters unless their attention belongs to the song that He sings. This relationship costs something. The price is laying aside entertainment, busyness, or maybe a meal. Then one has to quiet their mind. We don't have to perch on high craggy mountainsides. Nor do we have to hide in the deepest space we can find in a cave. We only need quiet moments when we can abide in His presence to worship Him in our hearts. To know Him is to trust Him. Will you spend some time and learn how to believe in the King of Kings and Lord of Lords today?
Blessed is the man who trusts in you! Psalms 84:12
I wrote this for our Pens of Praise meeting in May of 2013.
Strange title—yes, I agree. Can we even imagine doing so? And yet, I believe that we do toss tomatoes in our Savior’s direction, more often than we realize. You may wonder how I could write such insulting dribble. Let’s investigate the possibility that this could be a true statement. If we envision ourselves aiming tomatoes at Jesus—and how absurd that is—maybe we can prevent more of the same.
A man’s discretion makes him slow to anger, And it is his glory to pass over a transgression. Proverbs 19:11 NAS
When situations arise, our reaction requires a Christ-like response. (In reality, if we are Christ-followers, we always need to offer a Christ-like attitude, but that need not be said. Right?) The challenge begins when we reason that no one understands how hard and painful and trying this experience feels—thinking that way may not work out for our best interest. Or benefit others. When considering how impossible this person or group of people are, and mixing present and past hurts—well that may hamper the best blessings from gracing our lives. Making the trial rather valueless, at best.
Experience can be a terrific teacher—if one submits to their relationship with the Father. Forgiveness matters—very much—and how good it is for us to inspect just what we are holding on to. Baggage? A rock? An open hand of friendship, or a tomato? The choice is ours. Remember, blessings multiply on all who’s will is bent to receive, when focused on His direction, correction, and joyful overcoming!
Abide in Me, and I in you. As a branch cannot bear fruit of itself unless it abides in the vine, so neither can you unless you abide in Me. John 15:4 NAS
So, when we pass that incorrigible teen with manners that rate in the negative, or an entitled person who feels they are royalty and you are…swamp scum, what will it be?
So, when we pass that incorrigible teen with manners that rate in the negative, or an entitled person who feels they are royalty and you are…swamp scum, what will it be? Shall we cave in to the first reaction that rears up and wants power over our attention? And theirs, no matter how negative? Or shall we leave vengeance and the lesser-degree disciplines in the capable hands of the WONDERFUL COUNSELOR our Immanuel? I’m not saying that justice should be erased, I’m referring to petty slights, rejections, or verbal attacks which have the power to pull us into darkness and isolation by the weight of unforgiveness. I know, it can be tough for a second, a week, or unfortunately longer…but lack of sleep, high blood pressure, and anxiety really don’t equate to time on the beach. The pure action of releasing one’s grip on ugly thoughts and attitudes releases the fragrant beauty of Heaven on earth. Really tough choice? It’s okay, put down the tomatoes and take hold of the hand of our blessed Savior . . . and abide ASAP!
Precious Jesus, thank you for paying for all of our sins by your death on the cross. Help us to remember it wasn’t just our sins you forgave and that to disregard your payment for our offender’s sins would be like tossing tomatoes at your precious sacrifice. May your peace and grace abound in and through us—even to those who offend us. Amen.
Writing devotions puts me in our Father's presence. My heart, mind, and spirit are focused on Him.