Cross

 

 







 



Devotionals for Women

 

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[Photo of someone walking on gravel]


In Step

“Since we live by the Spirit, let
us keep in step with the Spirit.”
—Galatians 5:25

“Zip-a-Dee-Doo-Dah…”

I could hear him coming down the hallway past my classroom one morning, quietly singing the words to this familiar Disney song. I laughed to myself because Aaron, true to his methodical self, sang it at least half as fast as its common tempo, and he slid along the wall as he slowly made his way to his classroom—never in a hurry, and in his own inner imaginative world.

Conversely, Ellie always ran to her classroom, ignoring clearly stated hallway rules and oft repeated warnings. She had things to do, places to go, people to see!

Do we not act like these children with our Heavenly Father? We seem to either drag along when we know He wants us to do something for Him, or we get so far ahead of Him, thinking we know where He wants us to go, that we run forward without His specific direction. Scripture gives us examples of both kinds of people who thought they “walked” with the Lord.

The slow goer, Moses, argued with God that he wasn’t eloquent enough for the assignment He was given. (Exodus 4:10) He revealed his doubts that anyone would listen to him, and tried to wiggle out of the role God had for him to speak to the Israelites in Egypt. (Exodus 4:1). He dragged his feet at God’s call.

Then we read about Sarai, Abraham’s barren wife, who thought God had decided not to act in giving Abraham a son, so she would take up the task herself by giving Abraham her servant girl. (Genesis 16). What trouble she brought on her household, and the world by that act of running ahead of God.

Neither the doubtful hangers-back nor the presumptive racers walk with the Lord properly. He wants us to walk by faith, and that means staying close to Him. Pray the following with serious intention today:

Lord, keep me walking so closely with you today in faith that I neither get ahead of you nor linger behind. May your voice be clear to me as I listen, and may my steps be in line with your will. May we walk together this day. Amen.

—Posted: Monday, November 13, 2017

 

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[Photo of a lone male fan standing at a sports event]


Team Spirit

“And let us consider how we may spur one another
on toward love and good deeds. Let us not give
up meeting together, as some are in the habit of
doing, but let us encourage one another—
and all the more as you see the Day approaching.”
—Hebrews 10:24-25

An illustration that Pastor Max Lucado uses reminds me of a very important Christian principle. He tells the story of being in Boston for a conference and deciding to take in a Celtics basketball game. They were playing his favorite team, the San Antonio Spurs.

Max found himself standing and cheering alone when “his” team did well, and upon doing so, received stares from the Boston fans around him. A few minutes later, as he stood to cheer, he noticed another Spurs fan across the aisle. When Max stood, he stood. When Max cheered, he cheered. They were united by a common love and purpose.

That story reminded me of the day in my public school teaching career, when, feeling very much alone in my faith, I met a Christian teacher’s assistant who had playground duty with me. We bolstered each other in our faith during those days, and formed a prayer relationship as well.

Soon, that twosome grew to three or four others, and then, a few years later, I became involved with a Christian organization that encourages Christian teachers to live as “salt” and “light”—following the admonition of Jesus in the Sermon on the Mount, as recorded in Matthew 5:13-16. What an encouragement we became to each other.

Jesus meant the Church to not only exist to give us a place to worship and minister to others, but to also as a place of community and fellowship. We need a place to expose our wounds from the week to the balm of caring brothers and sisters. We need a place where we can hear the encouragement of God’s work in the lives of others, in order to encourage our own faith. We must not miss out on this important, regularly attended event each week!

Max Lucado puts it like this:

All week you cheer for the visiting team. You applaud the success of the One the world opposes. You stand when everyone sits and sit when everyone stands.

At some point you need support. You need to be with folks who cheer when you do. You need what the Bible calls fellowship. And you need it every week. After all, you can only go so long before you think about joining the crowd.1

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1 Lucado, Max. When God Whispers Your Name. Nashville, TN: W. Publishing Group. Copyright by Max Lucado, 1994, 1999. pg. 140.

—Posted: Monday, November 6, 2017

 

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[Photo of infinity symbol


Beyond

“No one is like you, O Lord; you are great,
and your name is mighty in power …
Among all the wise men of the nations and in
all their kingdoms, there is no one like you.”
—Jeremiah 10:6-7

Sometimes I hear people questioning to what the “Beyond” in the chain store Bed, Bath and Beyond® refers. But, it got me thinking about that English word, and two Scripture passages containing it.

Perhaps the first passage came to me in an especially difficult time. From 2 Corinthians 1:8, I recalled:

We were under great pressure, far beyond our ability to endure, so that we despaired even of life.

Many will say that God never gives us any burdens we can’t bear alone. I’m not so sure. He wants to grow us to the point in which we have no strength left in ourselves, so that He can show us His mighty power at work in and for us. When we run out of our ability to endure, we can count on His power to take over.

I know this because I read about this power in the Apostle Paul’s words found in Ephesians 3:20-21 (NASB):

Now to Him who is able to do exceeding abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works within us, to Him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations forever and ever. Amen.

Our God gives us trials beyond our abilities to endure so that He can do what goes abundantly beyond all that we could even imagine!

In response, I repeat to you from a contemporary hymn:1

O God beyond all praising,
    we worship you today
And sing the love amazing
    that songs cannot repay;
For we can only wonder
    at every gift you send,
At blessings without number
    and mercies without end;
We lift our hearts before you
    and wait upon your word,
We honor and adore you,
    our great and mighty Lord.

The only thing we can do when God shows His “beyondness” over our weakness is to offer Him our thanks and praise in such a way that honors His wonderful name. Amen and Hallelujah!

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1 Perry, Michael. O God Beyond All Praising. Carol Stream, Illinois: Hope Publishing Co., 1982.

—Posted: Monday, October 30, 2017

 

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[Photo of a hydrangea]


Clusters of Mercy

“Have mercy on me, O God, have mercy on
me, for in you my soul takes refuge.”
—Psalm 57:1

One prayer we can always pray and know God will answer is, “Lord, have mercy.” In reading Charles Haddon Spurgeon, that great preacher of the 1800s, I came across a devotional that opened up the word “mercy” to me. The definition reminds me of my hydrangea bushes.

When you look at the bush from a distance, you see the clusters of flowers that look like pom-poms, but when you take the time to look up close, you see tiny petals that make up the smaller flowers within the larger blooms. According to Spurgeon, God’s mercy resembles the hydrangea. Perhaps we have to come to the place where we see our need for God’s mercy up close before we truly realize the beauty, power, and depth of it.

Spurgeon first reminds us that the mercy of the Lord is a tender mercy coming from the gentle, loving touch of God. It is a great mercy. Like God Himself, His mercy shows His infinite bigness. God’s mercy is undeserved mercy. We have no right to it. This mercy is also rich mercy. It has efficacy for all our wounds.

God’s mercy is manifold mercy. Here we see the cluster of multitude blessings. God’s mercy is abounding mercy. We can never exhaust it. It is unfailing mercy. God always gives it to us and it will never leave us.1

As Psalm 23:6 tells us:

Surely goodness and mercy shall follow thee all the days of thy life.

Why would we not call for mercy? We can never live beyond the beauty and breadth of it. When you come to the end of your own resources and those of everyone you know, remember that God makes His mercy available to you. And, His mercy will never fail.

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1 Spurgeon, Charles H., Morning and Evening. McLean, VA: MacDonald Publishing Co., Public Domain. p. 588.

—Posted: Monday, October 23, 2017