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Why are you cast down, O my soul, and why are you in turmoil within me? Hope in God; for I shall again praise him, my salvation.
"Knock, knock, knocking on Heaven's Door"
Wait! Was that the doorbell? I turn the hair dryer off and wait. Ding Dong! I thought so! Wrapping my wet hair back up in my bath towel, I start for the front of the house just as the hair dryer falls off the counter and onto my bare foot. Ouch! That hurts. I hop on one foot a few steps down the hall before continuing on my mission with a limp. Meanwhile, the doorbell is still sounding. Ding dong! Silence. Ding dong! If a person was counting that would be the third time, and that the fourth. Wow. Three is usually the charm. Someone is a tad impatient up front.
Our house is long and lean, stretched out on a sloping lot on the edge of Lake Providence like a pulled piece of red and white taffy. My and Phil’s bedroom is on one end, the carport door is on the other. Sometimes the halls in between seem to grow longer and longer. I arrive at the door nursing my throbbing big toe just in time to see a car I don’t recognize heading back down the drive. Great, I think to myself. Whoever it was, it occurs to me that chances are they aren’t family, or even close friends for that matter. I know for a fact that if it had been my people wanting in that bad they would’ve been knocking on the front door, and the back, and the side, and possibly even traipsing around to bang on my bedroom window. The thought brings me a smile to my face.
There’s a passage in the Bible about this kind of persistence. Jesus is talking about prayer and He tells us to ask, seek, and knock. I get the idea that the knocking comes when the asking and seeking go answered and the one praying refuses to quit. I wonder how many times I’ve rang God’s doorbell and left just before the door was opened? Like all analogies, we can learn from the similarities but our comparison eventually breaks down. Our Heavenly Father has no problem getting up front on time. However, with respect to the “ask, seek, and knock” passage, it sure sounds like He likes it when we do the family thing. Let’s commit to not letting our impatience cheat us out of His company. Knock a little longer. That same passage says to he who asks it will be given, that he who seeks will find, and to the one who knocks the door shall be opened.
Shellie Rushing Tomlinson is a Jesus loving, humor-gathering author, speaker, and radio host known as The Belle of All Things Southern. Shellie believes "The whole world stops for a story." She lives in Louisiana and stacks her stories up at All Things Southern.com
More of Shellie Rushing Tomlinson: http://www.allthingssouthern.com/
He Makes Your Weakness His Strength -
He said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me. —2 Corinthians 12:9
I asked God for strength that I might achieve. I was made weak that I might learn humbly to obey.
I asked God for health that I might do great things. I was given infirmity that I might do better things.
I asked for riches that I might be happy. I was given poverty that I might be wise.
I asked for power that I might have the praise of men. I was given weakness that I might feel the need of God.
I asked for all things that I might enjoy life. I was given life that I might enjoy all things.
I got nothing I asked for but everything I had hoped for... Almost despite myself my unspoken prayers were answered.
I am among all men most richly blessed.*
An unknown confederate soldier wrote these powerful words. He knew the truth of today's Scripture: It's not what you have but who you know. Paul wrote another thought about weakness that you should know about: "The foolishness of God is wiser than man's wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than man's strength" (1 Corinthians 1:25). Don't be afraid in your weakest moments to lean on the strong and steady arms of your Savior!
1. According to 2 Corinthians 12:9, when might God’s power be best displayed in our lives?
2. What area of weakness can you trust to God today? Remember God can turn our weaknesses into strengths?
*Quoted in When I Relax I Feel Guilty by Tim Hansel (Elgin, IL: David D. Cook, 1979), p. 89.
Jim Burns is President of HomeWord and Executive Director of the HomeWord Center for Youth and Family @ Azusa Pacific University. Jim speaks to thousands of people around the world each year. He has over 1.5 million resources in print in over 25 languages. Jim’s radio broadcast is heard on over 800 stations a day and heard around the world via podcast at HomeWord.com.
Some of his recent books include: Faith Conversations for Families; Teenology: The Art of Raising Great Teenagers, Closer: 52 Devotions to Draw Couples Together, Confident Parenting, The Purity Code and Creating an Intimate Marriage. Jim and his wife, Cathy and their three daughters Christy, Rebecca, and Heidi live in Southern California.
More of Jim Burns: www.homeword.com
Hurry or Urgency?
This devotional was written by Robin Dugall
immediately coming up out of the water, He (Jesus) saw the heavens opening…and
immediately the Spirit impelled Him to go out into the wilderness…and
immediately they left their nets…and immediately He called them…
— Mark 1:10, 12, 18, 20 (NASB)
one would debate that we live in a world that is filled with hurry. We hurry
here and there at a frantic pace. Think through your own life for a few
moments. Are you in such a rush through your day that you hardly accomplish
anything? Is your time with your kids filled more with “headlines” than with deep,
meaningful conversations? Was your most intimate time with your spouse the last
time you said “I love you” over your cell phone? When was the last time you had
some time just to talk with one of your closest friends? Do you even have close
friends? Is hurry a problem in your life?
the Gospel of Mark, Jesus seems to be in a hurry. In one chapter alone, the
word, “immediately” is used over nine different times. In fact, throughout the
Gospel of Mark, it appears that Jesus is on the run through all sorts of events
and relationships. Still, do not make the mistake of assuming Jesus was in a
hurry. He wasn’t. For Jesus, there was a difference between hurry and urgency.
Jesus felt urgency for things that were important. He knew His priorities; He
knew why He was on earth; He knew the ministry that He had initiated and how it
was going to change people’s lives. He may have sensed urgency about the things
of the Kingdom of God, but He did not hurry through life. He still had time for
deep, personal relationships and life events that led to the changing of human
calls us to a sense of urgency, not hurry. We need to be clear about how God
put us together with special gifts, talents, abilities and how He wants us to
use those abilities to His glory. God calls us to deep relationships that add
value to our lives. There are people, situations, circumstances and events that
urgently need our full and complete attention. To hurry through them will only
contribute to a feeling of futility and meaninglessness.
intentionally strive to be aware of the significance of every moment and every
person God brings across your path. This awareness of urgency can lead us to a
place where God will use us in powerful ways.
1. Do you suffer from hurry sickness? What does this “illness” do to your life? What is God calling you to do about it?
What relationships or circumstances need your most urgent attention?
Matthew 6:25-33; Revelation 1:3; Revelation 2:1-7; Psalm 18
This devotional originally appeared in “HomeWord with Jim Burns” on Crosswalk’s Family Devotional section. For more information about HomeWord with Jim Burns devotionals, please visit us online.
More of HomeWord with Jim Burns: http://www.crosswalk.com/devotionals/homeword/
DESPERATE DAYS -
"But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him." - Hebrews 11:6
The faith for desperate days.
The Bible is full of such days. Its record is made up of them, its songs are inspired by them, its prophecy is concerned with them, and its revelation has come through them.
The desperate days are the stepping-stones in the path of light. They seem to have been God's opportunity and man's school of wisdom.
There is a story of an Old Testament love feast in Psalm 107, and in every story of deliverance the point of desperation gave God His chance. The "wit's end" of desperation was the beginning of God's power. Recall the promise of seed as the stars of heaven, and as the sands of the sea, to a couple as good as dead. Read again the story of the Red Sea and its deliverance, and of Jordan with its ark standing mid-stream. Study once more the prayers of Asa, Jehoshaphat, and Hezekiah, when they were sore pressed and knew not what to do. Go over the history of Nehemiah, Daniel, Hosea, and Habakkuk. Stand with awe in the darkness of Gethsemane, and linger by the grave in Joseph's garden through those terrible days. Call the witnesses of the early Church, and ask the apostles the story of their desperate days.
Desperation is better than despair.
Faith did not make our desperate days. Its work is to sustain and solve them. The only alternative to a desperate faith is despair, and faith holds on and prevails.
There is no more heroic example of desperate faith than that of the three Hebrew children. The situation was desperate, but they answered bravely, "Our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning, fiery furnace; and he will deliver us out of thine hand, O king. But if not, be it known unto thee, O king, that we will not serve thy gods, nor worship the golden image which thou hast set up." I like that, "but if not !"
I have only space to mention Gethsemane. Ponder deeply its "Nevertheless." "If it is possible...nevertheless!" Deep darkness had settled upon the soul of our Lord. Trust meant anguish unto blood and darkness to the descent of hell--Nevertheless! Nevertheless!!
Now get your hymn book and sing your favorite hymn of desperate faith. --Rev. S. Chadwick
"When obstacles and trials seem
Like prison walls to be,
I do the little I can do
And leave the rest to Thee.
"And when there seems no chance, no change,
From grief can set me free,
Hope finds its strength in helplessness,
And calmly waits for Thee."
The public domain version of this classic devotional is the unabridged edition of Streams in the Desert.
- See more at: http://www.backtothebible.org/devotions/desperate-days#sthash.2dAeUFeR.dpuf
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