Lent devotional 31
God says His eye is on the sparrow. I love this because of the bird He chose to name. He didn’t say peacock or flamingo or eagle, He said sparrow. The most commonly found, plain, tiny bird out there, that is the one God named. I love our sparrows in our yard, they remind me of God’s compassion. I see the extra feathers deep under the top layer of feathers that these small birds fluff up to stay warm, I see the way they come and go in a multitude for protection but once in a while will flit over to the bird feeder alone only to whisk away at the slightest movement from inside the house. I see the way God provides deep branches in the forest around us so that these birds have shelter, I see their courage when defending against a preditor. God equipped these tiny, ordinary birds so that they could do great things to survive. He equipped us in the same way. He gives us answers to the needs we have. He watches over us and lifts us up when we have stumbled. He gives us the abilities to weather all storms and He alone hides us in the shelter of His wings.
You may feel small, plain, one in thousands; but God sees you, His eye is on you and He is taking care of you. You are not ordinary or insignificant, you are loved and cherished, more than you could ever know.
Lent devotional 30
Do not let your giant’s shadow block out the light from the Son- He is there and He knows you and He wants you!
Ah the giants. We see them, hear them and manifest them in our own minds. They are big, ugly and can proliferate into thousands of clones that kill all the good around them. Where do our giants come from? They come from a dark section of your mind that fills you fear and nausea until you can’t think. That section could be caused by what you see in the world around you, or by a life circumstance that has you afraid, it could be because of a lack of faith that God can take care of things, or by lies that you have been told that bang around inside your mind and make you doubt who you are or where you’re at or the goodness of God. But He is good. Your giant may look like a huge oozing mass of all your fears staring down on you ready to destroy you, but God has given you armor. You are protected by His Spirit, by His Salvation, by His Faith, by His Righteousness, by His Truth, by His Readiness. He fills you, He enters your heart and mind and fights for you. Your Goliath cannot defeat you if your eyes and mind are fixed on Jesus. He is there taking care of you. Have Faith in Him and courage because of Him. Don’t let your giant win, no matter how big he may seem, your God is bigger.
Lent devotional 18
I will speak Jesus and the devil will flee because he knows that name and what it means for him.
Darkness is inevitable, there will always be darkness in this world because it is dying. People cling desperately to things that don’t matter, trying to make it feel like they aren’t about to be consumed. But there is a name the darkness knows and flees from. Speak Jesus. The devil will lie to you. He will try to make you feel lost, left behind, confused, worthless. Speak Jesus. He will show you that you are found, accepted, loved, wanted, valued. Jesus is coming back to take us home. The darkness of this world will not haunt us in the presence of Jesus. Where Jesus is there is no fear. He is light. Brilliant light. When this world dies we won’t be with it. Imagine seeing Jesus coming and picking us up in his arms and laughing and smiling, holding us close and saying, ‘come on precious, let’s go home.’
Jesus drives away darkness, present darkness and eternal darkness.
Lent devotional 11
What if I look deep inside and find no gems? What of I’m just a rock? -Whisper of the heart
We all want to be someone special; we all want to be a woman or man whose name is written in the stars, and most of us fear the same thing, we fear that after a lifetime of searching for gems deep inside we will discover that we are just rocks. Plain. Boring. Not special at all.
That fear can manifest itself in our forcing ourselves into a tallent that we don’t really possess. For years I have tried to teach myself how to draw and, as like all things you work at, I have gotten steadily better. I could never make a career of being a painter or drawer, that’s not my talent, but I wanted to see if I could improve myself because I wanted to. But what if I decided that drawing was my special gem inside myself, even though I was not gifted in this type of art? I could spend a lifetime trying to hone a gem that was not there and end up looking back at my life with discouragement. We fear being just a rock when so many others shine so brightly. We don’t want to feel like nothing. But being a bright and shining star doesn’t make those people better than you, just because they get more applause and have the spotlight. Don’t forget, stars are mostly helium and hydrogen, beautiful hot air. Guess what rocks are made out of? Most rocks are made out of microscopic, fused together, crystals. Even a stone slab covered in grafitti on the side of a bridge is filled with gems, they are just too small to see, but they make up the stone’s substance. Don’t fight your whole life trying to become a gemstone in fear of only being a rock, all rocks are gemstones in some way. Be yourself. Be who God created you to be. If He made you a singer then sing, even if it’s only for the Church worship team. If God made you a painter, paint, even if it’s ceilings in a hotel loby. If God made you fast, then run, who knows? You might win the Olympics. Don’t doubt the value of being a rock, and don’t work to written in the stars, just work to be written in God’s book.
Everyone says that the person you need to believe in you is yourself. That is sweet but is it true? Maybe for some people. I recently have realized that having others believe in you is an amazing motivator. If no one else thinks you can do it that doesn’t mean you should give up, it simply means that no one else gets your vision. That said, the people around me have always been really supportive. I mean, I’ve dealt with haters, but the people who matter, my friends, my family, especially my parents, have always been supportive, even when that support is a critique or correction to push what I am doing into a better place. Because I know that they support and believe in me then I can take them at their word and not be too offended when that word stings a little. Knowing that when you doubt yourself someone else feels that you can keep going forward is amazing. You all knew that I was rounding this back to this statement so here it is. God believes in you more than anyone else can. He sees EVERYTHING about you. He gave you your gifts and talents, He gave you your drive and He believes that you can do it because He knows that He can do it and He will be forward guard for your every step.
Don’t give up! Your father believes in you!
Lent devotional 7
My mother and I have a saying, ‘I can’t fix all of it, all I can do is what is infront of me at the moment.’ We say it often because it is hard to follow through with. We get our heads so attached to everything all around us that we can’t even begin to focus on what we have to do at the moment, then nothing gets done and we get frustrated. There were many women in the Bible who did amazing things for God, by doing what was right infront of her to do at the moment. She couldn’t fix everything that was happening around her, but God gave her a role to play that led to the solution of the big problem. If she had gotten caught up in the big picture and couldn’t focus on what she was supposed to do, nothing would have changed. In Esther’s case it was a dinner party that led to the King knowing that he was being swindled into killing all of Esther’s people. All she had to do was what she knew how to do, give a party, God caused everything else to fall into place. For Mary, it was to wash the feet of Jesus with her hair and thus fulfill a prophecy. For Mary Slessor it was to go to country she had never seen to help people she had never met, to stop the killing of twins, to forward woman’s rights to live and receive medical care despite the teaching of their ancestors that these woman had no value. All she could do was be the powerful woman she was and do what she saw infront of her to do.
We get caught up in our own heads that we forget that God has that big, scary big picture in His hands and all He wants is for us to do our best at the task He has given us, then He wants us to let go and give everything over to Him.
Civered by His feathers
Covered by His feathers.
Recentally I watched ‘After Earth’. The scene that caught my mind and caused me to cry was of course the scene with the eagle. I think she was an eagle at least. When she takes the boy and hides him from the overtaking sudden earth freeze, then he wakes up to find she has died because she covered him with her body to save him. It reminded me of the stories my grandpa tells of times on his farm as a boy, several times he witnessed a mother bird cover her babies with her feathers and fend off fire, rattle snakes, even large cats, sometimes dying in the process, but her babies always came away unharmed because of her sacrificial love. There is a reason God says He covers us with His feathers and shelters us with his wings (Psalm 91:4)
Because the wings of a protecting parent are warm and strong and secure, even when stretched out to cover their young to protect them from a death that the parent takes willingly in their place, the wings never fail to be a safe place of hiding. Find shelter in His wings dear fledglings, they will always be there to shelter you, they took pain and death for you before, don’t ever doubt that they love you enough to sheild you again.
Lent devotional 3
Once there was a young man sitting with his youth group, a new girl was brought to the group, she was introduced and then sat down next to the man. She said nothing, but played with her hair as the youth pastor talked. When the group was asked for responses to the lesson everyone joined in, except the new girl. Later the man took the opportunity of a snack break to speak to the girl. He asked her the basics, where are you from? What’s your name? So on. When she mentioned her dad was a soldier, the man inquired to what her mom did, was she a stay at home mom or did she have a different job someplace in the city. The girl blushed and pulled on her hair. Her mom had left them when she was born, the doctor had said that she might have brain damage and that her father had convinced her mom to have her anyway, but after her mom had left because she didn’t want the baby.
It was a sad story. But not all sad. Her father loved her and raised her by himself and she was cherished by him. But she still felt unwanted and thrown away because of her mother’s choices. She then blushed again. She hadn’t meant to say all that to this stranger. The man smiled gently. He cast around with his eyes until he found a stone and a piece of wood. ‘Let me show you something.’ He said. Then he sat down and the girl sat with him. ‘Open your hands.’ She opened her hands and cupped them together. Then he used the sharp edge of the Stone to cut away at the wood causing shards of wood to fall into the girl’s hands. The man continued to whittle away, to the best of his abilities, with the stone until he had a rough-hewn image of a bird. Then he looked at the girl and said, ‘ do you know what you hold in your hands?’ The girl shook her head. ‘If we were going to build a fire to roast marshmallows, or just wanted to keep warm, or any other reason we might have to build a fire we would use those as our base to get the fire going and to help it heat up. Those are valuble shards of wood called kindling.’ The man paused, ‘now, we aren’t going to build a fire, so we just need to throw those shards away, you could just drop them here in the grass, they aren’t sharp so there’s no worry.’ The girl drop the shards. Then she looked at the man. The man smiled again, ‘ don’t worry, those pieces of wood we have no need for won’t go to waste. Birds and mice, even insects will come and use the shards to build their homes. What we saw as trash and worthless, someone else we’ll see as a valued gift. But the animals each will only take as much as they need, they will leave the rest behind for someone else. What they discard and don’t want the next animal coming will find used for.’ The girl smiled softly, knowing what he meant. ‘So,’ she started quietly, ‘what one person may see as worthless or trash, another might see as a gift of great worth.’
The man nodded, ‘Don’t doubt your value because of someone else’s view of you. Ot wasn’t the fault of the wood chips that we didn’t see them as useful, it was us who were to blame for leaving them behind. It also won’t be their fault if several animals pass them by not realizing their value. Someday, someone will want them when they find them and will cherish them.’
The girl smiled. ‘Jesus always sees my value.’
‘Yes.’ The man stated, ‘and so do others, including myself. Just beleive in who God calls you to be. His.’
No strings attached with God
We as humans tend to put contingincies on everything. I will come if…. I will do that if…. even with God we tell Him we can do a certain thing for Him if….. please feel free to place your own excuses in the if blank, I have put my excuses in there in my mind. But God comes to you with no strings attached. He loves you unconditionally, He desires your presence as a parent desires to be near their child or a friend to be with their friend, God has no strings attached. He just wants you. You might say, “but He wants me to go to Church and pay tithes and spend time in prayer, those are strings attached.” No, God does not need you to do these things for Him to love you, He needs you to do these things so you learn to love Him and trust Him more. If you sinned right this second and in the same instant fell down and cried out to God do you think He would ignore you? No. He would come to your side anyway, because He loves you.
God requires things of us so we can go to Heaven, that is true, but He requires nothing of us for His love.
Everyone talks about taking a leap of faith, just jump and see what happens. There is nothing necessarily wrong with that, in fact if you feel God drawing you into something and it seems crazy it may very well take a leap of faith to go where you are being led. The part we forget is that a leap signifies a fall. You aren’t going to jump and discover you can fly, you will begin to be taken by gravity eventually and that can be scary. The rush of air as it tears at your skin and is deafening your ears, the knowledge that the ground will hurt when you hit it and suddenly you stop trusting that God is going to catch you when you reach where He is waiting and you start to flap, trying to catch something- anything that will stop your decent until finally your hand grabs a ledge and you pull yourself up onto that ledge, catch your breath and look around. The ledge is nice, it’s safe, you could stay on this ledge happily and now you feel that maybe the ledge was God’s plan after all, not the foggy abyss below you. Too many of us take the leap of faith only to wind up catching ourselves on a ledge, if God wanted you there He would have put you there Himself, but you grabbed for that ledge, you clawed your way up there. A true leap of faith means wrapping your hands around your body and falling until God catches you, but now you are comfortable where you have caught yourself, so what do you do? Do you feel called to fall again and leave your ledge? Does your faith yearn to move past where you mind says you should stay? Maybe then it’s time to jump again, and this time, keep your hands in your pockets and let God catch you and put you where He wants you.