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Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer.

-Romans 12:12

Is the Tank Full?    

This devotional was written by Elizabeth Cole    

 

…be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage – with great patience and careful instruction. —2 Timothy 4:2b

 

Have you ever noticed that Batman’s Batphone rings at some of the most inopportune times? Once, it was right before his birthday gala. Other times, it’s when he’s exhausted after a long hard day as Bruce Wayne. Despite its unexpectedness, the call never seems to catch him unprepared. He finishes the call, slides down his secret pole into the Batcave, hops into the Batmobile and off he goes. Here’s the thing that gets me: He never has to stop and get gas in that car before he heads off to save the world. Now granted, he’s got Alfred (oh, that we all could have an Alfred…), but if I were Batman, my first stop would invariably have to be the gas station!

 

Seldom in our lives do we get to see what’s coming next. I think about a sister in Christ who is sharing her life with friends in a medical crisis; I think about my daughter’s friend who thought she was just going to spend a day out on her ATV, not in the emergency room with a broken back instead; I think about the friend who, out of the blue, says at dinner, “Something’s missing in my life…”

 

Will we be ready? Are we actively seeking to further understand and gain knowledge of who God is through study and application? Are our spiritual “gas tanks” daily being filled up with the Source of our Power through reading His Word and sharing our hearts with Him through prayer? God is so very kind – He regularly blesses our private time with Him by giving us opportunity to share that very day what we’ve learned from Him in the quiet moments. What a sweet way to anticipate, be ready, keeping our tanks filled up and available to His call… whenever it comes, no Batphone needed! 

 

GOING DEEPER:

1. What would it take for you to be more prepared for the unexpected moments God gives in which you have opportunity to affect another’s life?

 

2. Would you ask God for His divine help in making sure your “tank stays full”?

 

FURTHER READING:

Acts 8:26-40; Acts 16:16-34

This devotional originally appeared in “HomeWord with Jim Burns” on Crosswalk’s Family Devotional section. For more information about HomeWord with Jim Burns devotionals, please visit us online.

More of HomeWord with Jim Burns: http://www.crosswalk.com/devotionals/homeword/

SIT STILL -   

In Lessons on Living


Then she said, "Sit still, my daughter, until you know how the matter will turn out; for the man will not rest until he has concluded the matter this day." - Ruth 3:18

American culture is built around the oft-quoted phrase, "Don't just stand there, do something!" As a result, our lives are filled with busyness. We rush from meeting to meeting. We chauffeur our children from hockey practice to tennis lessons to shopping at the mall. We pull in to the nearest fast-food drive-through, place a quick order, and then we're off again. It's no wonder we can identify with Blaise Pascal, who said, "All the troubles of life come upon us because we refuse to sit quietly."

Naomi knew better. Her advice--sit still, stay quiet--was filled with the wisdom of experience. Ruth had come to Naomi and told her all that took place at the threshing floor. It was obvious to Naomi that God was at work. How things were going to turn out, however, she didn't know. But she did know that this was not the time to rush here and there to find the answer. Instead, it was the time to sit quietly and listen intently for the Lord's response. At the right time, God would bring everything to pass.

When much is at stake, do you have difficulty sitting still? If you will remember to wait patiently, you will see a number of positive things happen. In stillness you'll discover God in new and deeper ways (Ps. 46:10). You'll also be able to hear God when He speaks to you in a still, small voice (1 Kings 19:12). Furthermore, you'll have the wisdom and strength to act when the time is right (Isa. 30:15).

Sit still and let God work in your life. Trust Him to accomplish what is best for you in His own timing. Listen quietly and you will hear His answer.

While you rest, God will work.


- See more at: http://www.backtothebible.org/devotions/sit-still#sthash.9f7Pu8Or.dpuf

Dr. Woodrow Kroll served as President and Senior Bible Teacher at Back to the Bible from 1990-2013. Author of more than 50 books, Dr. Kroll's passion is to increase Bible literacy in America by engaging people in the Bible and connecting them with the Author. His clear, incisive teaching of the Word keeps him in demand as a speaker all over the world. - See more at: http://www.backtothebible.org/authors/woodrow-kroll#sthash.7Yrcap6W.dpuf

More of Dr. Woodrow Kroll: http://www.backtothebible.org/devotions

How Quickly We Forget -  

This devotional was written by Jim Liebelt

Some troublemakers among them wanted better food, and soon all the Israelites began complaining. They said, "We want meat! We remember the fish we ate for free in Egypt. We also had cucumbers, melons, leeks, onions, and garlic. But now we have lost our appetite; we never see anything but this manna!" —Numbers 11:4-6 (NCV)

God used Moses to help free the Israelites from some 400 years of bondage and hard slavery in the land of Egypt. God had supernaturally provided for the Israelites along the way, providing them with manna – a special food – and water. No one went hungry. But, a year into the journey towards the Promised Land, the complaining began about the food. The Israelites wanted meat. They remembered the good old days of the free fish and veggies from the land of Egypt and longed for them. But, in reality, those days were anything but good. They were difficult days of slavery. They were days the Israelites cried out to God for deliverance. The Israelites had quickly forgotten the generations of misery in slavery to the Egyptians.

We might be tempted to wonder how the Israelites could be so ungrateful. God was providing for them. Still, I don’t think we’re much different from them. (If you think we’re different, just imagine eating oatmeal – at every meal – for a year!) It’s easy for us to forget how God has taken care of us in the past. It’s easy to make the past look better than it was and to blame God for what we think we need today – but aren’t getting. There’s an old saying that’s so often true, “Be careful of what you desire, because you just might get it.”

The Israelites grumbled and complained, “We want meat.” So, God gave them meat. It wasn’t in the way they expected or had hoped for. But they got what they asked for. God sent quail into their camp for a whole month. He sent the quail, not as a blessing, but as judgment because they had rejected Him and complained about leaving Egypt. There were quail three-feet deep on the ground all around the camp. A plague broke out in the camp and many people died.

What about you? Have you forgotten the many blessings and provisions God has given you in the past? Do you find yourself grumbling, “What has God done for me lately?” Let’s learn from the example of the Israelites of old. God calls us to be thankful people, people who remember his goodness and trust in Him to provide for our needs.

 

GOING DEEPER:

1. Is there something you want badly and are frustrated that you haven’t gotten it? Take some time to evaluate your desire. What lies behind this desire?

 

2. Make a list of ways God has blessed you and provided for you in the past. Spend time thanking God for these things.

 

FURTHER READING:

Numbers 11; Exodus 3:7-10; 1 Corinthians 10:1-13

This devotional originally appeared in “HomeWord with Jim Burns” on Crosswalk’s Family Devotional section. For more information about HomeWord with Jim Burns devotionals, please visit us online.

More of HomeWord with Jim Burns: http://www.crosswalk.com/devotionals/homeword/

I love to star-gaze, so I bought a telescope to give me a better look into the night sky. In particular, I wanted to see the Seven Sisters – the Pleiades star cluster. Whenever I tried to see them with my eyes alone, they blurred together, so I opted to buy a telescope that would give me higher resolution. The down side was assembling and aligning the telescope; it was almost as confusing as assembling Barbie Dream Houses for my daughters when they were children. After finally getting all the mirrors and lenses in place, however, I still couldn’t get the telescope to operate properly, so I turned to a friend for help. 

“I need your expertise,” I told Pat, an accomplished amateur astronomer. “I followed all the instructions, but I can’t see anything in the sky. What did I do wrong?” Pat checked over the telescope, made a few minor adjustments, and then patiently demonstrated how to line up celestial bodies in my viewfinder. Success! I looked into the eyepiece and there they were, the bright seven stars of the Pleiades shining distinctly in the night. “Take a look,” I said, turning to Pat. But Pat was already observing the same stars…with an old pair of binoculars.

“I do most of my stargazing with these,” he explained, passing them along for me to try. I put them to my eyes and there were the Seven Sisters shining brilliantly in the night, just as distinct as they appeared in my high-tech telescope, but without requiring assembly, alignment and expert assistance. As it turned out, I didn’t have to have a telescope at all to see the Pleiades clearly; just a bit more focus made all the difference. It reminded me that very often, simple is all you really need.

Jesus told his disciples the same thing. In the MSG version of Luke 9:1-3, we read Jesus now called the Twelve and gave them authority and power to deal with all the demons and cure diseases. He commissioned them to preach the news of God’s kingdom and heal the sick. He said, ‘Don’t load yourselves up with equipment. Keep it simple; you are the equipment.’”

I’m going to keep that advice in mind the next time I think I need a host of credentials, or any other special equipment, to speak about Jesus to others. Witnessing to my faith is as simple as opening my mouth and praising my Savior; my experience, my relationship with God is the only equipment I need. Simple is good, especially when you just add a little more focus.

Jan Dunlap is the author of the new suspense novel Heaven’s Gate: Archangels Book I, the bestselling memoir Saved by Gracie: How a Rough-and-tumble Rescue Dog Dragged Me Back to Health, Happiness and God (Authentic Publishing) and the acclaimed Birder Murder Mystery series (North Star Press, Inc.). She holds MA degrees in Theology and English Studies and lives in the Hill Country of Texas where she spends every clear night marveling at the stars and the brilliance of God’s creation. She is a frequent contributor to FaithHappenings.com and welcomes visitors at www.jandunlap.com and on Facebook at her two author pages BirderMurderMama and Archangels.

More of Jan Dunlap: http://www.jandunlap.com/

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