Visitor Devotion

 

 

November 2018: God’s Encouraging Word … when I’m suffering

God’s Encouraging Word … when I’m suffering

Are you familiar with tunnel vision? Someone experiencing tunnel vision can see an object directly ahead, but they often fail to notice what’s around it. Maybe age or injury has robbed them of their peripheral vision. Maybe they grow fatigued during a long drive. Do you know what that’s like?

We’re also prone to tunnel vision when we’re suffering. Face it, we’ve all been there. No one is immune from problems and pain. Everyone experiences hurts or hang-ups. But when we’re hurting, is the bad all we can see? Do we focus on the problem so much that we ignore everything else? We can see no help. No hope. No good. No God. Do you know what that’s like? It’s not a happy place to be.

It can be especially tough as we prepare to enter the holiday season. How can we put on a smile for Thanksgiving and pretend that we are just fine?

No need to pretend. Listen to the psalmist: “My comfort in suffering is this: your promise preserves my life” (Psalm 119:50). Remember how God worked so wonderfully to solve our greatest problem. The burden of sin we could never carry. The consequence of guilt we could never dodge. The sentence of death we could not avoid. So Jesus stepped in for us and shouldered them all. The cross and the tomb—both empty now—mark Jesus’ great victory.

And his victory is your victory. So resist the urge to give in to those feelings of defeat. Don’t shrink back in fear. Don’t separate yourself from others. Don’t become bitter. Don’t give up. Otherwise, you will miss the help God wants to give you.

All around the problem of suffering, God’s help is ready and waiting. Look up and find confidence: “My help comes from the Lord, the maker of heaven and earth” (Psalm 121). Look into God’s word where he promises, “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you” (Hebrews 13:5). Look back and recall how God has helped you through past challenges. Look around and find Christian friends eager to give you a hand and fold hands for you in prayer. Look ahead and see the open heaven God has in store for you through Jesus.

God promises to bring you safely through the tunnel of trouble. Trust his goodness!


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October 2018: God’s Encouraging Word … when I am tired

God’s Encouraging Word … when I am tired

Sleep experts advise getting seven to eight hours of sleep a night.  We need rest for our tired bodies to recuperate. 

Even on the most regular day, life is draining.  The work day is long and the demands are great.  The commute, getting the kids to school, work schedules, meeting deadlines, grocery shopping, getting dinner ready, children’s activities, only to get ready to do it over again the next day.  Getting older doesn’t help matters.  By the time you hit the pillow at night you may feel like a smart device that has only 2% battery life left.

But what do you do when you become tired emotionally?  It’s the exhaustion that comes from strained relationships, heated arguments and being rejected by those from whom you want acceptance.

Then there’s that inner weariness—the kind that no one else knows you have except you. The weariness that comes from the burden of sin and guilt.  It comes when you must live in the brokenness of past mistakes.  When things don’t go so well on any given day, you wonder if God is angry and out to get you.  The earthly consequences of your sins and knowledge of your guilt is…well…spiritually tiring.

God comes to you today with an encouraging word recorded in the book of Isaiah: The LORD is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He will not grow tired or weary, and his understanding no one can fathom. He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak.   

The LORD is the everlasting God.  He is the Creator.  He never gets tired.  He has perfect understanding; he knows what it’s like when you feel tired for any reason at all.  He promises to give strength to you when you’re tired.  The LORD God is Jesus, your Savior.  He took your sins and guilt to the cross and died for you.  It’s a fact!  Jesus took your sins and guilt away from you, buried it all in his tomb, and rose from the dead.  Your sins are forgiven.  That’s rest—rest for your soul.  Talk about strength for the weary!

And don’t forget!  It’s the LORD God who gives the blessing of physical rest too.  It’s been said that a clean conscience is a good pillow.  God gives you this clean conscience in Jesus Christ.  He also provides you with home, food, and bed to become recharged to tackle the new day with all its challenges.  So do it with all the energy and strength that Lord God gives you as his own through faith in Jesus!

 


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September 2018: God’s Encouraging Word … when I’m worried

God’s Encouraging Word … when I’m worried

Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you. – 1 Peter 5:7

Erma Bombeck once told about Donald.  Donald was worrying about going to school.  Here is how he expressed his anxieties: “My name is Donald.  I don’t know anything.  


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August 2018: God’s Encouraging Word … when I am frightened

“Do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” – Isaiah 41:10

Soon, students and teachers will be headed back to the classroom. Some students will be getting on a bus for the first time, some will be away from Mom and Dad for the first time, or they are headed to a new school and a new classroom.  Many of those children will be very anxious.  The other side of that classroom door is completely unknown.  The worst could possibly happen.  They will wonder if they can even do it!


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July 2018: God’s Encouraging Word … when I am insecure

God’s Encouraging Word … when I am insecure

What is the strongest building in your neighborhood?  I’m guessing that many people have never even thought about it, but if you live in a trailer home in tornado alley or near an ocean where hurricanes can strike, you’ve probably considered that question many times.  When a tornado approaches or a hurricane, being in a building that you know is constructed to withstand the worst, provides a sense of security in the chaos of a storm. 


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June 2018: God’s Encouraging Word … when I am overwhelmed

God’s Encouraging Word … when I am overwhelmed

It’s finally summer. Plans have been made for months. The kids are out of school. Vacations are right around the corner, but rest and relaxation are the farthest thing from my mind. Do you have any idea how much I need to accomplish? My list grows by the day no matter how many things I check off. I feel like I’m swimming. I wish I could give something away, but I can’t.


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May 2018: God’s Encouraging Word … when I feel hopeless

I was staring up through the water at my dad, my uncle, and their friend. I could hear them talking and laughing. I can remember flailing my arms and legs. I tried to scream but water rushed into my lungs. I sank further and further down. I was drowning and I felt utterly hopeless.


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April 2018: God’s encouraging Word … when I deal with death

God’s encouraging Word … when I deal with death

Everyday tragedy bombards you. The world news scene is constantly flooded with horrible stories. Another bombing, another mass shooting, and another natural disaster fill your newsfeed. This sad and frustrating news isn’t just out there. It’s personal. A co-worker is diagnosed with a terminal illness. A close friend dies. You’re attending the funeral of a family member.

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March 2018: God’s Encouraging Word … when I am burdened with guilt

God’s Encouraging Word … when I am burdened with guilt

What she had done in the past weighed heavily on her conscience.  She was living under the soul-crushing conviction that the death of her nine-year-old daughter was God paying her back for her sins.


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February 2018 God’s Encouraging Word … when I am lonely

God’s Encouraging Word when I am lonely
Shortly after we were married, my wife and I planned a trip to Spain.  In order to take advantage of some frequent-flyer miles, I decided to travel there a few days early by myself.  Being young and naïve, I figured I could learn enough Spanish on the plane to get by and then find a place to stay when I got there.  The flight was pleasant and we landed safely.  However, by the time I got my luggage and figured out how to take the Metro into central Madrid, it was already getting late.  After several hours of wandering around the city, I began to realize that 1) my Spanish was unintelligible, 2) I was not in the safest part of town, 3) It was very difficult to find anyone who spoke English, and 4) I needed a place to sleep.  Finally, at around one o’clock in the morning I found a hotel manager who spoke enough English to get me a room that was about the size of a closet.

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2018 – January

God’s Encouraging Word … when I am fearful about the future

2018 is here.  For some, it’s scary how quickly 2017 disappeared.  For others, they can’t wait to turn the page because this is the year they plan to graduate or perhaps get married.  In either case, however, who of us knows what 2018 will bring? In all seriousness, who of us knows what tomorrow will bring? 


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October 2017 – Holy Communion

Holy Communion

The Lord Jesus, on the night he was betrayed, took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and said, “This is my body, which is for you; do this in remembrance of me.” In the same way, after supper he took the cup, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood; do this, whenever you drink it, in remembrance of me.” – 1 Corinthians 11:23-25

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