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...but those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.
"Knock, knock, knocking on Heaven's Door"
Wait! Was that the doorbell? I turn the hair dryer off and wait. Ding Dong! I thought so! Wrapping my wet hair back up in my bath towel, I start for the front of the house just as the hair dryer falls off the counter and onto my bare foot. Ouch! That hurts. I hop on one foot a few steps down the hall before continuing on my mission with a limp. Meanwhile, the doorbell is still sounding. Ding dong! Silence. Ding dong! If a person was counting that would be the third time, and that the fourth. Wow. Three is usually the charm. Someone is a tad impatient up front.
Our house is long and lean, stretched out on a sloping lot on the edge of Lake Providence like a pulled piece of red and white taffy. My and Phil’s bedroom is on one end, the carport door is on the other. Sometimes the halls in between seem to grow longer and longer. I arrive at the door nursing my throbbing big toe just in time to see a car I don’t recognize heading back down the drive. Great, I think to myself. Whoever it was, it occurs to me that chances are they aren’t family, or even close friends for that matter. I know for a fact that if it had been my people wanting in that bad they would’ve been knocking on the front door, and the back, and the side, and possibly even traipsing around to bang on my bedroom window. The thought brings me a smile to my face.
There’s a passage in the Bible about this kind of persistence. Jesus is talking about prayer and He tells us to ask, seek, and knock. I get the idea that the knocking comes when the asking and seeking go answered and the one praying refuses to quit. I wonder how many times I’ve rang God’s doorbell and left just before the door was opened? Like all analogies, we can learn from the similarities but our comparison eventually breaks down. Our Heavenly Father has no problem getting up front on time. However, with respect to the “ask, seek, and knock” passage, it sure sounds like He likes it when we do the family thing. Let’s commit to not letting our impatience cheat us out of His company. Knock a little longer. That same passage says to he who asks it will be given, that he who seeks will find, and to the one who knocks the door shall be opened.
Shellie Rushing Tomlinson is a Jesus loving, humor-gathering author, speaker, and radio host known as The Belle of All Things Southern. Shellie believes "The whole world stops for a story." She lives in Louisiana and stacks her stories up at All Things Southern.com
More of Shellie Rushing Tomlinson: http://www.allthingssouthern.com/
He Makes Your Weakness His Strength -
He said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me. —2 Corinthians 12:9
I asked God for strength that I might achieve. I was made weak that I might learn humbly to obey.
I asked God for health that I might do great things. I was given infirmity that I might do better things.
I asked for riches that I might be happy. I was given poverty that I might be wise.
I asked for power that I might have the praise of men. I was given weakness that I might feel the need of God.
I asked for all things that I might enjoy life. I was given life that I might enjoy all things.
I got nothing I asked for but everything I had hoped for... Almost despite myself my unspoken prayers were answered.
I am among all men most richly blessed.*
An unknown confederate soldier wrote these powerful words. He knew the truth of today's Scripture: It's not what you have but who you know. Paul wrote another thought about weakness that you should know about: "The foolishness of God is wiser than man's wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than man's strength" (1 Corinthians 1:25). Don't be afraid in your weakest moments to lean on the strong and steady arms of your Savior!
1. According to 2 Corinthians 12:9, when might God’s power be best displayed in our lives?
2. What area of weakness can you trust to God today? Remember God can turn our weaknesses into strengths?
*Quoted in When I Relax I Feel Guilty by Tim Hansel (Elgin, IL: David D. Cook, 1979), p. 89.
Jim Burns is President of HomeWord and Executive Director of the HomeWord Center for Youth and Family @ Azusa Pacific University. Jim speaks to thousands of people around the world each year. He has over 1.5 million resources in print in over 25 languages. Jim’s radio broadcast is heard on over 800 stations a day and heard around the world via podcast at HomeWord.com.
Some of his recent books include: Faith Conversations for Families; Teenology: The Art of Raising Great Teenagers, Closer: 52 Devotions to Draw Couples Together, Confident Parenting, The Purity Code and Creating an Intimate Marriage. Jim and his wife, Cathy and their three daughters Christy, Rebecca, and Heidi live in Southern California.
More of Jim Burns: www.homeword.com
THE HIDDEN HAMMER -
And why dost thou not pardon my transgression, and take away mine iniquity? for now shall I sleep in the dust; and thou shalt seek me in the morning, but I shall not be.
The bottom had fallen out of Job's life. All his possessions had been destroyed. His family had been slaughtered, and any hope for a posterity was gone. God had delivered Job into Satan's hand. Those associated with Job could not understand why this had happened. Even his wife counseled him to "curse God and die" (Job 2:9). But Job was fully convinced that if God had permitted this evil to come to him, the evil would ultimately turn to good.
Job's friend Eliphaz expressed surprise that Job, who in the past comforted others, was now giving way to sorrow. His friend wrongly judged that if Job had nothing to be ashamed of, he had no reason to be sorrowful. Theologically he understood misfortune always to be the result of sin. Therefore there was no other explanation than that Job had sinned and the route of escape was not a bitter complaint but a bold confession of sin to receive the fruit of blessing. Understandably Job was offended at the speech of his friend. Eliphaz had magnified Job's complaint and minimized his condition. Just think of it. Life had collapsed around him and Job could think of no specific cause for that. He knew Eliphaz was wrong in his assessment of the situation.
In chapter 7 Job is philosophical about the brevity of life. He knows that the days of man upon the earth are numbered. He likens them to the cloud that is consumed and vanishes away. Since life is so brief and his life is now so filled with anguish, why does Jehovah even bother with Job? Why does He reveal Himself to Job every morning and try him every moment (Job 7:18)? He thought that in his condition, life is worth less than death, and Job desires that "thou shalt seek me in the morning, but I shall not be" (Job 7:21). The blows that God permitted Satan to land on Job appear to have been merciless. His life had been upright and just. How could God allow this to happen?
Samuel Chadwick relates that when he was a boy, he often went to the local blacksmith shop to watch the smithy work. He remembers how the smith would take a large piece of iron and place it in the fire with tongs and then work the bellows to make it white-hot. Then after removing the piece of iron from the fire and laying it upon the anvil, he would take a small hammer and begin to tap on the iron. No sooner would the smith tap the iron with the small hammer than a big man on the other side of the anvil would come crashing down hard with a large sledge hammer, hitting the iron on the exact same spot that the blacksmith had just tapped. Inquisitively, Chadwick once commented to the blacksmith, "You don't do much good with that little hammer, do you?" The gentle blacksmith laughed and replied, "No, my boy, but I show that big fellow where to place the blow."
When the bottom fell out of Job's life and his friends came to comfort him, none of them was aware of all that had transpired in heaven before these calamities began. None of them knew that God had given Satan permission to afflict Job. They were totally unaware that while Satan was pounding away at Job with his unholy sledge hammer, each blow was being carefully guided by a loving Heavenly Father. God would show Satan where he could deliver his blows on Job, just as the blacksmith defined for his large friend where he could hit the iron with his sledge hammer.
If you are today experiencing unjust criticism, undue persecution, or sorrow because love is not returned, please remember that as a child of God you can never be afflicted beyond what God, your loving Heavenly Father, gives him permission to do. God is still in control; and though friends may unrighteously condemn us, as long as we live a life clean before Him, we need not be concerned about what Satan can do to us.
Day by day and with each passing moment,
Strength I find to meet my trials here;
Trusting in my Father's wise bestowment,
I've no cause for worry or for fear,
He whose heart is kind beyond all measure
Gives unto each day what He deems best,
Lovingly, its part of pain and pleasure,
Mingling toil with peace and rest.
Devotional is used with permission from the author. It may be used solely for personal, noncommercial, and informational purposes. Republication or redistribution of this devotional is prohibited.
- See more at: http://www.backtothebible.org/devotions/the-hidden-hammer#sthash.TYohQaE7.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 Are You Remembered?
This devotional was written by Kelly McFadden
Do to others as you would have them do to you.—Luke 6:31
An old classmate approached me at our high school reunion with the dreaded question, “Do you remember me?” He looked familiar, but he wasn’t one of my close friends in high school. “Do you remember what you did?” he then asked. Gulp. I put my brain into overdrive trying to remember. Was I nice? Was I mean? Was I considerate or was I a jerk? Fortunately, he did not give me time to answer. “That day it was raining, my sister and I had gotten in a car accident and you stopped to help us on the side of the road. Everyone else kept driving by, but you stopped. We never forgot that.”
I remember that day. It was a split-second decision to pull the car to the side of the road. But had I been in a hurry or had a car been in my way, I may not have stopped. For the most part, I was a nice and considerate kid, but like many high school students, I had a “too cool” and “it’s all about me” streak as well. When my classmate recounted the story, I felt relief that he wasn’t bringing up a time I had been snotty to him, because I am sure someone could have approached me with that scenario as well.
We all have the ability to treat others well and the ability to treat others like dirt. If you are anything like me, how I react depends on my mood. Sometimes I am friendly and personable with the cashier at the checkout stand and other times I am rolling my eyes at his incompetence. Same situation—it’s just a different day. Or if I get cut off in traffic I sometimes think, “Gee, I hope everything is okay.” But, catch me on a bad day and I am ready to chase you down and give you a piece of my mind. It all depends if I feel like living out my faith that day or not.
How have you been remembered? You have been remembered for who you were in a moment that counted. With this classmate, it just so happens that I am remembered as a nice, caring and considerate person. But I am sure I can find some other classmates who would disagree. I wish I could change it, but the impression has been made. The challenge for you and me is this: do to others as you would have them do unto you each day, not just when you feel like it.
1. What kind of impression do you leave with people you think you may never see again?
2. What can you do to keep yourself in check? How can you make sure you always treat others the way you would like to be treated?
Matthew 7:12; Romans 7:14-25; Philippians 2:1-4
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/