Daily Devotional

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

sbaker : November 25, 2015 4:00 am

Give Thanks

Sara Thompson

“Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; his love endures forever….Let them give thanks to the Lord for his unfailing love and his wonderful deeds for men, for he satisfies the thirsty and fills the hungry with good things.” Psalm 107:1, 8 & 9

Many years ago when I was a child, in preparation for Thanksgiving, my mom instructed my siblings and I to look up as many verses as we could that related to giving thanks to God. There was a small bribe involved to motivate our participation, but I admire her heart in wanting our young hearts to be tuned in to gratitude toward God.

Psalm 107 tells of parts of Israel’s history with God. Throughout the psalm, the author reminds us to give thanks to God as we remember his good deeds and his rescue after rebellion and distress. He is faithful to us and his love is enduring. He satisfies us.

Thanksgiving is a good time of the year to pause and reflect on God’s goodness, provision, and love. Whether we look at the history of our own personal lives or the larger story of history, we can see God’s hand at work and how wonderful he his.

What are you thankful to God for this Thanksgiving? Spend some time talking with him about that today?

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Monday, November 23, 2015

sbaker : November 23, 2015 7:38 am

Shout with Joy!

Nicki Green

“Shout with joy to the Lord, all the earth! Worship the Lord with gladness. Come before him, singing with joy. Acknowledge that the Lord is God! He made us, and we are his. We are his people, the sheep of his pasture. Enter his gates with thanksgiving; go into his courts with praise. Give thanks to him and praise his name. For the Lord is good. His unfailing love continues forever, and his faithfulness continues to each generation.” Psalm 100 NLT

Do you remember a time in your life when you had no worries in life? No bills to pay, no commitments to make and no responsibilities for others? Maybe this question takes you back to your childhood when all you worried about was getting to stay up past bedtime! For most children, parents take care of providing food, shelter, clothing and anything a child would need. This is how we should feel about our heavenly Father. We should have a confident dependence on God because He is good and promises to take care of all of our needs.

If you find yourself filled with worry, burdens or complaints, recite Psalm 100. Acknowledge that the Lord is God. Do you willingly and joyfully enter into God’s presence or are you in a season where you’re just going through the motions of following Jesus and relying on yourself?

As we enter Thanksgiving week, may you be filled with joy, gladness, and thanksgiving! Enter your Good Shepherd’s court with praise! Give thanks to God because He is good.

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Saturday, November 21, 2015

sbaker : November 21, 2015 4:00 am

“Sow your seed in the morning, and at evening let not your hands be idle, for you do not know which will succeed, whether this or that, or whether both will do equally well.” Ecclesiastes 11:6

The only way we can come to terms with reality – is by trusting God, regardless. No ifs, ands, or buts. If I am a farmer and God allows a flood to come and wash away my crops or God chooses to give me the beautiful season rains and a bumper crop, I trust Him and I give Him praise. If I am in industry or some profession and someone throws me a curve and God allows my whole world to be reversed, I trust Him and I give Him praise. I take life as it occurs. I don’t waste time in the pit of doubt. Nor do I worry over crop failures and strikeouts.

We can’t wait for conditions to be perfect. Nor can we wait for things to be free of all risks – absolutely free, absolutely safe. Instead of protecting ourselves, we have to release ourselves. Instead of hoarding, we are to give and invest. Instead of drifting, we are to pursue life. Instead of doubting, we are to courageously trust.

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Friday, November 20, 2015

sbaker : November 20, 2015 4:00 am

Speed bumps

Karen Norris

Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. James 1:2-3 ESV

Typically, I am not easily annoyed, but one thing that I really don’t like is speed bumps. I don’t like to drive down roads that have them. They jerk my car around and slow me down. I understand that protecting the residents on the street by slowing traffic is the purpose of speed bumps. I also realize that even though they are a pain to me they are a blessing to the people in the neighborhood. I still don’t like them, but I get their purpose.

This may be a stretch, but perhaps we can look at trials and tests as spiritual speed bumps. These small and large bumps in our road may be annoying, but no doubt they are serving a bigger purpose. They may be teaching us to persevere, or to grow our faith. Maybe God is slowing us down to protect us or others.

Once you get over some of the bumps in your life take time to look back and see how God was working in your trials. Count it all joy that you were worth testing and stretching and remember that God was molding you in the journey. We still don’t like them, but we can see how and where we have grown and be thankful for their purpose.

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Thursday, November 19, 2015

sbaker : November 19, 2015 4:00 am

“Righteous Hair”

Charlie Welke

Gray hair is a crown of glory; it is gained in a righteous life.  -Proverbs 16.31

I have been getting a lot of grief regarding my new hairstyle. The top-knot/man-bun is quite polarizing. It’s remarkable how much of a first impression your hair can make.

This got me reflecting on hair stories from the Bible. The most famous hair has to belong to Samson and his powerful locks. Leviticus includes a few laws about how to maintain your hair. There are some good-looking father-son combo’s – like Jacob and Joseph, David and Absalom. But then there are some odd hair references as well – Esau’s body being covered by it, and who knows what John the Baptist looked like coming out of the wilderness.

The New Testament apostles, Peter and Paul, tell ladies in churches how they should do their hair. Jesus had a unique hair encounter when a woman decided to anoint his feet and washed them with her hair. Jesus also tells his followers that they can’t change their hair (Mt 5.36), not one hair of their head will perish (Lk 21.18), and that each of their hairs is numbered (Mt 10.30).

But my favorite hair reference was the one in Proverbs.

So much emphasis in our day and age is about feeling young, looking young, and pretending to be young. This proverb suggests that gray hair is a reward. Agedness is a mark of honor. There was a part in the We Speak study that asked us if we thought that our culture “over-esteems youth while under-esteeming the elderly.” This struck a chord in our small group composed of mostly 30-somethings raising kids that are mostly under 5.

Do an inventory of the aged in your life. Where is the gray hair in your world (it might be when you look in the mirror)? Spend some time today thanking God for their (and your own) stories; and, if you’re feeling bold, let them know how much they mean to you.

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Wednesday, November 18, 2015

sbaker : November 18, 2015 4:00 am


Sara Thompson

“Praise the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits – who forgives all your sins and heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from the pit and crowns you with love and compassion, who satisfies your desires with good things so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.” Psalm 103:2-5 (NIV)

This is one of my favorite Psalms. It reminds us of the source of our satisfaction. Satisfaction. We don’t use that word very much. But we do hunger and thirst and strive to fill ourselves up….not just with food and drink, but anything that makes us feel significant, worthwhile, or accepted. And while God has given us good things in life to enjoy, they cannot fill our soul’s longing the way God can. That is why we make our relationship with him first in our lives. He fills us first and all other things fall into their proper perspective and place.

What happens when we don’t let God be the source of our worth? Through the prophet Jeremiah, God tells us that it is like trying to hold water with a broken container…we try filling ourselves up, but nothing remains or is satisfied. Jeremiah 2:13 says, “My people have committed two sins: They have forsaken me [God], the spring of living water, and have dug their own cisterns, broken cisterns that cannot hold water.” Filling up a broken cistern leads to constant striving. Filling up on God leads to a heart of praise.

Psalm 103 says, “forget not…” What helps you remember who God really is? What keeps you close with him?

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Tuesday, November 17, 2015

sbaker : November 17, 2015 4:00 am

“Pray like this, ‘Our Father who is in heaven, hallowed be your name.”  Matthew 6:9

Jason Sniff

The name of Jesus is above all other names in this world. There will be a day when everything is righted. There will be no more tears, no more death, no more mourning or pain. All of these things will pass. The name of Jesus prevails. Nothing can stop Him. Revelation 5:8 says, “Holy, Holy, Holy is the Lord God Almighty, who was and is and is to come!”

It is fitting then, that the first phrase in the Lord’s Prayer summons us to lift up His name, to keep his name holy, to set it apart. As Christ-followers, regardless of what is happening in the world around us, we are called to lift up the name of Jesus. When we do this, our souls are renewed, things begin to change internally, and we are ready to see and act in a Christ-following way.

Simply put, everything changes when we lift up the name of Jesus.

As you pray today, begin by lifting up the name of Jesus. Spend time adoring and giving praise for who He is and what He has done.

Psalm 145:1-3 says, “I will extol you my God and King, and bless your name forever and ever. Every day I will bless you and praise your name forever and ever. Great is the Lord and greatly to be praised, and his greatness is unsearchable.”

May we treat the name of Jesus as Holy in every part of our lives.

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