• Devotions

    The One

    As I settled into bed, I felt a sense of peace.

    Jonathan was curled up watching Netflix.

    Daniel reclined in his chair playing Madden on his Xbox.

    My husband had already dozed off beside me.

    There is no better feeling than this.

    Joy.

    Everyone was home.

    It’s just not the same when one of them is missing.

    Just knowing they are all in my presence is everything.

    Our heavenly Father feels the same way about us.

    His ultimate goal is to have all of His children in His presence.

    And when we leave this place, He wants us all to come home.

    That is why even if one of us is missing, it is just not the same.

    Even if ninety nine are present, He still pursues the one.

    “Then Jesus told them this parable:  “Suppose one of you has a hundred sheep and loses one of them. Doesn’t he leave the ninety-nine in the open country and go after the lost sheep until he finds it? And when he finds it, he joyfully puts it on his shoulders and goes home. Then he calls his friends and neighbors together and says, ‘Rejoice with me; I have found my lost sheep.’  I tell you that in the same way there will be more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who do not need to repent.”  Luke 15: 3-7 NIV

    Don’t miss this, friends.

    Our Creator rejoices when one of His lost sheep comes home.

    “And when he finds it, he joyfully puts it on his shoulders and goes home.”

    Joy.

    That is what our heavenly Father feels when all of His children are together.

    You.

    Me.

    The ninety-nine.

    And the one.

  • Devotions

    First Thoughts

    My first steps in the morning are typically toward a large cup of black coffee.

    My first thoughts of the day?

    Well, I would like to say that everyday they rise up to Him with a song of praise or a prayer of gratitude.

    But honestly, that is not everyday.

    And especially these times, when school openings, business closings and the physical and mental health of those around me is constantly in question, my first thoughts tend to be all over the place.

    Maybe you are in that season, too.

    Some days these thoughts swirl around in my mind like a cyclone, picking up anything it can scoop up in its grasp.

    The neverending saturation of news, others opinions, and general chaos loom around me before I have had my first sip of motivation for the day, twisting my first thoughts away from Him.

    So each morning, before I put my feet on the floor and head towards the coffee pot, I need to make a choice.

    Where will my first thoughts go today?

    Friends, as easy as it sounds to choose door number one or door number two, I can say with complete honesty I struggle with this daily.

    My worries and fears sometimes get the better of me.

    And yet, when I choose to let my first thoughts rise to Him, my days always go exceedingly better.

    My perspective of what lies ahead changes.

    I am no longer focused on the world, but on His promises.

    Here are a few verses that help me stay grounded and not swept up in the cyclone of despair.

    1. “He remembers His covenant forever, the promise that He made, for a thousand generations.” 1 Chronicles 16:15 NIV    

    Our God is a covenant keeping God.  The promises He made to His people thousands of years ago still covers you and me today.

    1. “My comfort in my suffering is this: Your promise preserves my life.” Psalms 119:50 NIV God sees us as we struggle.  He knows our daily challenges.  And yet it is our relationship with the Almighty and His promises to be with His people that reminds us we are never alone in our suffering.
    1. “The Lord Himself goes before you and will be with you.  He will never leave you nor forsake you.  Do not be afraid, do not be discouraged.” Deuteronomy 31:8 NIV 

    Most of us are worried about what lies ahead.  But our heavenly Father goes before us.  If He is already in the days ahead, we can embrace the promise that He is waiting there for us and preparing the way.

    What verses give you grounding?

    Focus on these words.

    Let them penetrate your heart and your mind.

    My prayer is that your first thoughts rise to the One who gave us life.

    Could that be your prayer for me as well?

    Less worry, more peace.

    Not our perspective, but His promises.

    “Look to the Lord and his strength;

        seek his face always.”  1 Chronicles 16:11 NIV

    May each of us find strength in Him today.

    Amen.