Tag Archives: Devotionals

Ransomed

I was studying John 5 this morning and I read a cross reference that sent me to Isaiah 35. As I read Isaiah 35:10 “and the ransomed of the Lord will return. They will enter Zion with singing; everlasting joy will crown their heads. Gladness and joy will overtake them, and sorrow and sighing will flee away.” It struck me how beautiful that is.

We are the ransomed of the Lord. Sin had taken us but God paid the ransom. God sent Jesus as the price that had to be paid to release us from our captives. A ransom is a price you must pay to someone who took something from you to get something that was yours and you want back.

Knowing that you are something God paid a ransom for should give you everlasting Joy.


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The Glow from the Clouds

I did a sermon on the sermon on the Sermon on the Mount a few weeks ago and In Matthew 5:14 (NIV) “You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. I used an illustration that I thought went over pretty good.

This verse is talking about how Christians should be something that stands out and guides others to Christ. Jesus lives in us and we should reflect Him. People should see Jesus in us. It’s like when you are driving at night. You are in the middle of nowhere. You are lost, turned around, and you don’t know which way you need to go. You come to a stop sign. You look at all the choices of directions you can go. You have no idea which way to turn.

You look up into the sky and you can see a glow in the sky. It is the lights, from the city you are trying to make it to, reflecting off the clouds. You can follow the glow and get where you need to be. This light reflecting off the clouds has showed you what you need to know, to not be lost any more.

We should be those clouds! A lost person trying to figure out which way to turn should see Christ’s light reflecting off of us. We should be the light that shows the direction and stops them from being lost.


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Lovely Monday

What a day last Monday was! I went to bed Sunday night thinking about what a simple day it was going to be. I was getting up and taking my wife’s truck to Jackson to have a noise from the front tire fixed. While there I would be attending an associational meeting to help me get to know the pastor’s in my area. I woke up did some bible study, read some blogs and wrote a little. My wife and kids got up, so I said I was going to take the tire off and make sure it wasn’t something I could fix. (By the way the noise started Wednesday on the way home from church and the truck had been driven only once since then.) As I’m looking at the rotor and brake caliper, my oldest daughter peeks her head around and said, “I’m having trouble with the Jeep.”

I go to see what is wrong and the key is stuck in the ignition. It will not turn and it will not come out. I tell her to take my van and go onto school. I’m messing with the Jeep when I realize my wife has to be at work pretty soon and the tire is still off the truck.

I get the tire on the truck and go in to see if my wife is ready to go, since now I will have to pick up the van so she will have a vehicle to carry my son to the doctor, while I go to my meeting and the shop. I walk in the house and she tells me my Savannah called and said the van would not go any faster than thirty miles per hour. She made it to school but people were honking at her and passing her all the way there.

I have my wife drop me off at the school to get the van and I head home at a little over thirty miles per hour. I Get a quick shower and head back into town. I drop the van off at her work and tell her I’m on my way to Jackson for my meeting. This is a thirty minute drive and I have fifteen minutes left. She tells me the truck got worse after she left the school, but one of her customers recommended a shop in Henderson. I tell her I still have my meeting and it will make it.

A half a mile later I call to tell her the truck isn’t going to make it to Jackson and I need her to pick me up at the shop in Henderson when she takes our son to the doctor. I call my pastor friend in Jackson and inform him that I’m not going to make it because I have had three cars quit all in one morning.

I gave up!

I gave up and quit trying to go where I was going. Why do I tell you all this? Because this is what our lives are like until we come to Jesus. We are trying to go our own way and one thing after another keeps stopping us, but we keep plowing on in our sin as we get further broken down. But we must give up! We must realize we have to stop and ask for help. We have to give our lives to Jesus and he will change our direction. He will take the stress of our broken down lives and fix them. But we have to realize we are not going anywhere first.

Just to finish the story. To top off everything else, the doctors think my son is diabetic. He goes later this week to take a three hour glucose tolerance test to find out for sure. That really isn’t that big of a deal except he has one kidney and high sugar is really hard on the kidneys. Luckily I have faith that all things work for the good of those who love the Lord and are called according to his purpose and I can look at last Monday as God just wanted me to have an Illustration.

May the grace of the Lord be upon you,
MSW


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A Different Kind of Christmas Poem

As Christmas approaches I spend time thinking about the fact that this is the day we use to celebrate the birth of our saviour Jesus Christ. The significance of that never stops overwhelming me. That being that the very God that we rebelled against chose to save us by sending His Son to die for our sins. I also start making plans to spend time with family. As we all sit down to eat and say a prayer of thanks, I can truly see how blessed I am to have a God that loved me so much that He put my punishment on His own Son, and then chose to show me His love by giving me all the blessings in my life that he does.

I received this email yesterday and it just reminded me that while I will be sitting in a warm house with loved ones, many will be sitting in a cold desert far from their families. They are there because they chose to protect our country. To put their lives on the line for me, and be away from their families on this day because of thier love for a country where we are still allowed to worship God freely. It doesn’t matter how you feel about war, our leaders, or this country if you are an american you should respect these men for the sacrifices they make.

So say a prayer for them. Pray that they are safe. Pray that their families are safe and taken care of. Pray that they know Jesus and are willing to introduce Him to their fellow soldiers who do not. If they do not know Jesus, Pray that He will reveal Himself them. Lastly thank God for these men and the sacrifices they are making. It’s men who who made these same sacrifices that allow us to worship God freely.

To all the men and women who serve thank you and may God bless you.

soldier

The embers glowed softly, and in their dim light,
I gazed round the room and I cherished the sight.
My wife was asleep, her head on my chest,
My son beside me, angelic in rest.
Outside the snow fell, a blanket of white,
Transforming the yard to a winter delight.

The sparkling lights in the tree I believe,
Completed the magic that was Christmas Eve.
My eyelids were heavy, my breathing was deep,
Secure and surrounded by love I would sleep.
In perfect contentment, or so it would seem,
So I slumbered, perhaps I started to dream.

The sound wasn’t loud, and it wasn’t too near,
But I opened my eyes when it tickled my ear.
Perhaps just a cough, I didn’t quite know, Then the
Sure sound of footsteps outside in the snow.
My soul gave a tremble, I struggled to hear,
And I crept to the door just to see who was near.

Standing out in the cold and the dark of the night,
A lone figure stood, his face weary and tight.
A soldier, I puzzled, some twenty years old,
Perhaps a Marine, huddled here in the cold.
Alone in the dark, he looked up and smiled,
Standing watch over me, and my wife and my child.

“What are you doing?” I asked without fear,
“Come in this moment, it’s freezing out here!
Put down your pack, brush the snow from your sleeve,
You should be at home on a cold Christmas Eve!”
For barely a moment I saw his eyes shift,
Away from the cold and the snow blown in drifts.

To the window that danced with a warm fire’s light
Then he sighed and he said “Its really all right,
I’m out here by choice. I’m here every night.”
“It’s my duty to stand at the front of the line,
That separates you from the darkest of times.

No one had to ask or beg or implore me,
I’m proud to stand here like my fathers before me.
My Gramps died at ‘Pearl on a day in December,”
Then he sighed, “That’s a Christmas ‘Gram always remembers.”
My dad stood his watch in the jungles of ‘Nam’,
And now it is my turn and so, here I am.

I’ve not seen my own son in more than a while,
But my wife sends me pictures, he’s sure got her smile.
Then he bent and he carefully pulled from his bag,
The red, white, and blue… An American flag.
I can live through the cold and the being alone,
Away from my family, my house and my home.

I can stand at my post through the rain and the sleet,
I can sleep in a foxhole with little to eat.
I can carry the weight of killing another,
Or lay down my life with my sister and brother…
Who stand at the front against any and all,
To ensure for all time that this flag will not fall..”

”  So go back inside,” he said, “harbor no fright,
Your family is waiting and I’ll be all right.”
“But isn’t there something I can do, at the least,
“Give you money,” I asked, “or prepare you a feast?
It seems all too little for all that you’ve done,
For being away from your wife and your son.”

Then his eye welled a tear that held no regret,
“Just tell us you love us, and never forget.
To fight for our rights back at home while we’re gone,
To stand your own watch, no matter how long.
For when we come home, either standing or dead,
To know you remember we fought and we bled.
Is payment enough, and with that we will trust,
That we mattered to you as you mattered to us..”

PLEASE, would you do me the kind favor of sending this to as many
People as you can? Christmas will be coming soon and some credit is due to our
U.S service men and women for our being able to celebrate these
Festivities. Let’s try in this small way to pay a tiny bit of what we owe. Make people stop and think of our heroes, living and dead, who sacrificed themselves for us.

LCDR Jeff Giles, SC, USN
30th Naval Construction Regiment
OIC, Logistics Cell One
Al Taqqadum, Iraq


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The Storms of Life

man cryingIn Mark 4:35-41 we have the narrative of Jesus calming the storm. Jesus and his disciples are crossing the Sea of Galilee. It’s evening and the wind starts to pick up. The disciples are in the middle of this lake, It’s dark and the wind is howling. Everytime the boat comes down from one wave another wave crashes over and fills it with water. The boat is slowly sinking.Several of these men are professional fishermen. They have grown up on the water, so for them to be scared means there is truly a reason they need to be. They know the boat is going to sink and they will drown.

Let’s stop and put ourselves in their shoes. It’s dark, you are in the middle of a large body of water and you know you are about to die and then you look at the back of the boat and there lies your leader, the guy in charge and he is sleeping like a baby. Just like the captain in Jonah 1:6 you are thinking, “What are you doing, get up and pray!”

Jesus stands and says, “Peace, be still!” (KJV) Everything stops! The waves immediately settle down, the wind quietens and quits blowing. Jesus looks at you and asks, “Why are you afraid, do you still have not have faith?”

And today we stand in the same boat with that same question lingering in the air, “Why are you afraid, do you still not have faith?” Jesus promises to take care of us through all the storms in our lives.(Matthew 11:28) he tells us not to worry, that God takes care of all the birds of the air and are we not more important to Him than the birds.(Matthew 6:25-34) Sometimes it may seem like Jesus is sleeping and not there at all. But He is and He is just waiting on us to show faith and call on Him. So when your world seems to be spiraling out of control, the storms of life are making you feel as if you are sinking, just remember that Jesus does care and listen for Him to say “Peace, be still.”
MSW


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Mary’s Song

marysong

Luke 1:46-55

As we read through Luke we see that Gabriel came and told Mary that God had chosen her to be the one that would birth the child promised by Isaiah.(Isaiah 7:14). When Mary heard this news she was excited and told Gabriel, “Yes let this happen as you have said.”  Then she burst into song.

Now picture Mary a young virgin betrothed to a man, when all of a sudden she is called by God to serve Him in an extraordinary way. She is actually going to carry the Son of God in her womb. While she could have questioned her future and argued with God like Moses did at the burning bush(Exodus 4:13), she didn’t. Think about this for a minute, an unwed teenager pregnant, but not by the one she is engaged to in a time when you would be stoned for such.

Mary never doubted God she said I’ll do this! Then she burst into song. Never mind the persecution she was about to face, she was singing out of joy. Oh that we could all worship God in that way. Mary says my soul glorifies and my spirit rejoices in God. This is deep felt worship. She feels she is about to burst at her seems in her love for God.

He has looked down at this poor girl and set her to be something special something that generations from now will look at her and say, “Wow what was it like to raise the Son of God? What was it like to know that out of all the women in the history of the world God chose you for this special task?” Then she says “Yes I realize what great things you have done for me God, and you are holy, merciful, and powerful. You always look at for those who love you.”

Mary was so thankful that God had become her savior and was blessing her that she couldn’t control her excitement. God has blessed us in that same way. He has sent his spirit to live in us. This should make us feel like bursting at the seams it should make us feel like we are going to explode if we don’t let the world know how excited we are. So this Christmas season think about Mary’s song and how God has looked down at you His humble servant and done great things for you in His holy name and that name is Jesus. The reason for the season.

MSW


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Providing From Nothing

widow_shares_her_last_cake_with_elishaAs I was reading through 1 Kings 17 I noticed something interesting. Elijah prophecies a drought and God tells him to go to the brook of Cherith. There God feeds Elijah by ravens that bring him food and he drinks from the brook. Well eventually the brook dried up and God commands Elijah to go to Zarephath where a widow will take care of him.

Elijah arrives and finds the widow gathering wood for a cook fire. She is planning on making bread with the last bit of flour and oil she has. This is to be the special last meal she is preparing for her and her son and then she knows they will die of starvation. He asks her for water and then bread. Now look at what happens in 1 Kings 17:12-13

And she said, “As the Lord your God lives, I have nothing baked, only a handful of flour in a jar and a little oil in a jug. And now I am gathering a couple of sticks that I may go in and prepare it for myself and my son, that we may eat it and die.”
And Elijah said to her, “Do not fear; go and do as you have said. But first make me a little cake of it and bring it to me, and afterward make something for yourself and your son

Now let’s look at what is going on. He tells the woman, first not to fear. Now remember she knows this is a man of God because God told Elijah He had already commanded her to feed the one He sent. She knows that she only has enough food for this one meal and now at God’s commandment she has to give it to Elijah. But he is comforting her and reminding her that the Lord is her God too and he will take care of her.

Many times God will ask us to do something and we feel fear. I’m not able we will say. I don’t have the money or the time or it is all I have. But God is telling us not to fear. He knows it is all we have. He knows we are not capable. Did God not know that Moses was a poor speaker when he called him or that Gideon was the weakest of a weak family? Yet God used both of those men to accomplish His goals. When God asks us to do something we should not fear for if God has planned it for us, it can’t fail.

Next he tells her take care of me first. He is saying everything is alright, you know what God expects you to do so go and do it. Sometimes it’s hard to put the needs of others ahead of our own needs. Sometimes we think that are problems are so big that we can’t worry about someone else’s. But God tells us to provide for others and he will provide for us. Just as this woman was providing for Elijah he provided for her because God’s blessing came through him.

And last he tells her to take the rest and make her and her son something. She just told him that she has only enough for one meal and he tells her make you something with the extra. When we take care of the needs of others God will make sure and take care of ours.

Just picture for a minute a stranger shows up and asks you to fix him a sandwich. You tell this stranger you only have enough bread for one sandwich and you and your son were about to eat it. The man tells you “That’s nice, but fix me mine first, then go and make you and your son a couple.”

You would look at the man like he was crazy. “Uh, excuse me. I said I have enough for one sandwich and there are three of us. Are you not listening?” So you go in the house grumbling and complaining and you take out two slices of bread and make a sandwich thinking to yourself great all that’s left in the bag of bread are the end pieces that I have to split. After giving the sandwich to the stranger you go back inside and pull out four slices of bread and notice that all that’s left now are the two end pieces. That’s when it occurs to you that those four pieces weren’t in there a minute ago.

God will always provide for those who serve him!

What gets me here is God took someone who had next to nothing and asked that they give it away so that He could provide for them. If the widow had chosen to ignore Elijah and cook her and her son their last meal they would have died, but her willingness to answer God’s call and sacrifice all that she had allowed her to live and provide for Elijah to live.

This is what happened with us. God chose to give up His only Son. His and the Son’s sacrifice allowed Jesus to live and provided for us to live. As we reflect on what Jesus did for us and see how God provided for this widow when she was willing to give all she had to someone else, we should be ready to sacrifice for the plans God has for us.
MSW


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Wiser than Solomon

WiseSolomonAs I was reading the bible this morning I came across 2 Chronicles 8:11 Solomon moved Pharaoh’s daughter up from the city of David to the palace he had built for her, for he said, “my wife must not live in the palace of King David of Israel, for the places where the ark of the LORD has entered are holy.” This caught my attention because this immediately follows a heartfelt prayer where Solomon dedicated the temple, a prayer where Solomon had even said that foreigners will come and direct their prayers toward this temple. Then he pleads that God listens and answers those prayers. (1 Kings 8:41-43) But he is married to someone that he knows will not pray to God, and instead of trying to get her closer to God he decides to move her farther away.

Solomon loves God but he was willing to move away from God to keep worldly people near him. Think about that for a minute. Solomon says I can’t get my wife to grow closer to God so I will move farther from Him. How many of us make decisions like this? The world (our spouse, girlfriend, boyfriend, coworkers, boss whatever it may be for you) does not want to come to know Jesus so we push Jesus aside to fit in with them.

For example you take your family out to eat and you are sitting down and the waitress brings you your food. You look over and there is someone you work with. You know that atheist that loves to make fun of how silly Jesus freaks are. If you and your family pray here, in this public place, in front of him, you will never here the end of it at work. So you smile at your wife and say “Lets eat.” You think to yourself Jesus understands that I can’t pray right now. I’ll say a prayer tonight and pray for my coworker. But you are forgetting that Jesus said you would be persecuted (Matthew 5:11)

The problem is that when we are willing to hide our beliefs or act differently around non Christians we risk forgetting who our Lord is. Solomon was the wisest man ever, but when Solomon became old the World (his wives) made him forget who his Lord was (1 Kings 11:4).

Be smarter than Solomon and do not let the world shape who you are by moving you away from Jesus. Cling to Jesus and say lets show the world who You are!
MSW


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As Jesus Sees

woman_at_the_wellAugust is here! Time for children to head off to school and time for our revival, plus this year there will be a revival for the youth. Another busy month where it’s easy to get caught up in all we have going on and forget about others. So what can we do to prepare ourselves for this busy month?
First the most important thing we can do is pray. Before we can pray we need to prepare ourselves for prayer. Start by taking a minute a looking at people the way God looks at them. Think back through your day. Think of everyone you have met today. How did you see them?
What do you know about them? What problems are they having? What good things do they have going on in their life? Often I’m so busy with my life that I forget to take a minute and look at people as Jesus would.
When Jesus sat down at the well(John 4:6-29) with the Samarian woman He didn’t look at her like the Jews or even his own disciple did. The Samarians were hated by the Jews. The Samarians worshipped God but they also worshipped idols. In the apocryphal book of Sirach we can see in the words of a Jew exactly how they felt about the Samarians. Sirach 50:25-26 There be two manner of nations which my heart abhorreth, and the third is no nation: They that sit upon the mountain of Samaria, and they that dwell among the Philistines, and that foolish people that dwell in Sichem.
Plus this woman had multiple adulterous affairs; a good Jew would never defile himself by speaking to her. But Jesus looked past all this and spoke and asked for water. Jesus spoke kindly and lovingly to her. Jesus told her that He was the deliverer. Thanks to Jesus not looking at her with condemnation and hate she came to know Jesus and brought others to Him. This is how we should look at God’s people. With love!

MSW


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Lord Prop Us Up

I received this in an email yesterday and thought I would share it here

Every time I am asked to pray, I think of the old deacon who always prayed, ‘Lord, prop us up on our leanin’ side.’ After hearing him pray that prayer many times, someone asked him why he prayed that prayer so fervently.

He answered, ‘Well sir, you see, it’s like this… I got an old barn out back. It’s been there a long time; it’s withstood a lot of weather; it’s gone through a lot of storms, and it’s stood for many years.

It’s still standing. But one day I noticed it was leaning to one side a bit.

So I went and got some pine poles and propped it up on its leaning side so it wouldn’t fall.

Then I got to thinking about that and how much I was like that old barn. I’ve been around a long time.

I’ve withstood a lot of life’s storms. I’ve withstood a lot of bad weather in life, I’ve withstood a lot of hard times, and I’m still standing too. But I find myself leaning to one side from time to time, so I like to ask the Lord to prop us up on our leaning side, ’cause I figure a lot of us get to leaning at times.

Sometimes we get to leaning toward anger, leaning toward bitterness, leaning toward hatred, leaning toward cussing, leaning toward a lot of things that we shouldn’t . So we need to pray, ‘Lord, prop us up on our leaning side, so we will stand straight and tall again, to glorify the Lord. ”

It’s so wonderful that we have Jesus to lean on.


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God’s Forgiveness

My daughter has a Barlow Girl’s CD with a song on it called I Need You To Love Me. It starts off “Why are You still here with me, didn’t You see what I’ve done?” Wow that is so true. I know in my past I’ve asked God how can You still love me. I went through a rough time in my life were I was angry at God. After I got over my anger, I spent several years feeling that because I had abandoned God .He wouldn’t take me back. When I started back to church I had to fight the demons of my past. Just as Satan used Paul’s Guilt over the stoning of Stephen. Acts 7:54-68; 8:1 He used my guilt to keep me from going back to God. I prayed about it and asked God how could He feel I was worthy of the price His Son had paid. All he told me was to get ready. I didn’t understand what he meant. How am I supposed to get ready? What am I supposed to get ready for?
I picked up my Bible and started reading. I had heard the Bible stories as a child. I had even tried reading the Bible before. Like most people when they start begatting I begot bored. This time I prayed first. Lord I want to read your word. I want to understand it. I want answers. As I read I realized no matter what I had done God still loved me. He had been there all along waiting for me to return to him. My sin was washed as clean as snow. Isaiah 1:18 God gave me so many examples of His love and forgiveness. Jacob stealing his brother’s birth right.Genessis 27 how he wrestled with God. Genesis 32:24-29 and how he stood by and did nothing as his sons massacred a village.Genesis34:25-30(Old Jacob sure knows how to make someone feel good about theirself.) God still blessed him. God speaks of David with Pride. Acts 13:22( I give this example but God used David as the standard to measure all kings from this point on) Yet we know David committed adultery 2 samiuel 11:4 and arranged a murder 2 samuel 11:14-15 to hide the fact. But when we read Chronicles God has forgotten about it. Why did He forget? David went to Him in Sincere Prayer. Psalm 51 He confessed his sin and asked the Lord to blot out his transgressions. That’s all we have to do. The day I got down on my knees and told the Lord these are the things I’ve done please forgive me. Immediately I felt as if a bag of rocks had been taken off my back. A few years later I’m doing a church newsletter working with the children and youth of our Church, and now doing this blog in the hopes that I might help someone else.

MSW


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