Recent Written Devotions 2022
Dare to be different. by Kathy Schreiner
Try to imagine 350 women gathering together on an extremely hot, humid weekend. Some of them stayed in unconditioned dorm rooms because they had come from hundreds of miles away. They stood in a long line, outside, in the blazing sun, waiting to get their meals twice a day. They walked from one building to another in the stifling heat to attend workshops, breakout sessions and round table discussions. Some used canes or walkers. Some walked fast. Some were teenagers while some had been collecting Social Security for many years. There were mothers, widows, wives, daughters, singles, and yet they were one in mission. They paid to do this.
Now the kicker…they did this for the sole reason of learning to serve and reach out to others in new, innovative and loving ways. I had the privilege of being one of those women. What did we want to reach out to other people with? The love of Jesus!
In this sinful world where we constantly hear about the worst in humanity, I joined with women who chose to follow the directive of their Savior; to show the love of Jesus not only to those who are like them but more importantly, to those who are different than them.
Our current culture seems obsessed with pointing out our differences rather than trying to unite us under a commonality. When we look deeply, we will find many things in common with people who seem different from us.
Unfortunately, one thing all humanity has in common is SIN. Sin, the ugly thing that unites us is also the thing that divides us. Sin, the cause of everything that is wrong in the world.
This brings us to another thing that unites us, our need for a Savior from sin. God has taken care of this by sending His only Son Jesus to die in our place to pay the debt we could never pay. However, not everyone "knows" Jesus and what He did for them.
The women attending this conference heeded the call of Jesus to share what they know to be true, that Jesus is the ONE. The One who won us for Himself!
Jesus gave us the task of telling others what we know about Him, including those who do not look like us. Who do not share the same culture, food and traditions. Those who Jesus loves and gave His life for. It can be both scary and exhilarating to get out of your comfort zone to share with others. A suggestion, start with a smile for those you see as different from yourself and see where it takes you.
"Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Soon and of the Holy Spirit." (Matthew 28:19 NIV)
Ew! by Karen Maio
The email from the monitoring agency reported another sex offender had moved into the area. Ew! Disgusted, I hit “delete”.
An evening reflection on my day brought to mind a lack of patience, an unkind word spoken in anger, an envious heart at another’s blessings…yep, I messed up, but not nearly as badly as that new neighbor, right? Wrong. God created us to love him and others perfectly and any failure to do so is like breaking all of God’s commands. “For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles in just one point is guilty of breaking all of it…“ (James 2:10 NIV) In that respect, I had to humbly admit that the man and I were both equal offenders. Each sin was a damnable rebellion against God’s will.
Thankfully, for the repentant believer in Jesus, we know that by his perfect life, death on the cross, and resurrection, we are forgiven. “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9 NIV)
If we grow careless about our sins and continue in them or excuse them instead of turning to our Savior, that’s when we may be in danger of losing our faith. In that respect, one who continues in willful anger or persistent envy would be more in danger of losing her faith than a repentant refraining sex offender. It is not about worse sins but what we do after we sin. Run to Jesus our Savior!
Jesus, forgive all our sins through your grace. Give us strength to live according to your will. Amen
Wildflowers, an audio devotion by April Cooper
I have always loved wildflowers. Always. And, this year, I planted my very first wildflower garden! The seeds began to spring into action, and within a few short weeks there were blooms! As I write this, I am looking out of the window directly at my wildflower garden. There is a tremendous amount of greenery, and yet the randomly placed blooms immediately catch my eye. The flowers are all various colors, shapes and sizes. Each is equally beautiful. Why do I love wildflowers so much? It is simple. They produce beauty in the midst of a seemingly uncontrolled environment.
In life, sometimes things can feel tangled, messy and like they have spiraled totally out of control. But, friends, guess what? God is always, I repeat, always in control. Beauty, blessings, miracles and answered prayers still happen daily. One of my favorite scriptures states: “Do not be afraid or discouraged, for the LORD will personally go ahead of you. He will be with you; he will neither fail you nor abandon you”. (Deuteronomy 31:8 NLT)
This scripture means God is most certainly with us at the exact moment things seem unsettled and challenging, or have no perceived outlook for things to get better. But, He is right there. He knew that particular day was coming, and He already knew how the day would end. And, He is there to walk with you throughout it all. Every single minute of it. Beauty can still bloom through the roughest of times, if you continuously seek God’s face.
The next time you see a wildflower garden, remember that God has been, is, and always will be with you. In recognizing that, the blooms (aka blessings) should immediately catch your eye. They will be all colors, shapes and sizes, and each will be equally beautiful.
Prayer: Lord, I thank you for being Sovereign. Thank you for your abundant blessings. Thank you for being in control, and thank you that according to your word, you cause everything to work together for the good for those of us who love you, and are called according to your purpose for us. Thank you for never leaving our side during the good or hard times. And thank you for allowing blessings in the midst of it all. In your Son, Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.
Video & Photo by April Cooper