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“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new” (2 Corinthians 5:17, New King James Version).

Some people enjoy taking an old item, sometimes someone else’s castoff, and repurposing it into a lovely item with a new use. Although I’m not the most skilled in doing such things, at times I enjoy the challenge of making an old piece into something more attractive. And so began my project to update an old, scarred buffet. The finish was worn, and there were numerous scratches and dings. Some of the veneer had even pealed off at the bottom. It had definitely seen better days.

Over a long weekend, I sanded, patched, and painted. I invested a lot of hours into making the old piece look almost new. But really, the only thing new was the fancy drawer pulls I purchased. I felt a bit of pride in my efforts when done. The buffet looked so much better than the tired, battered thing it once was. But deep inside–I knew. I knew where every ding had been. I knew the places I’d filled and patched. I knew what was really underneath that new paint. When all was said and done, I still had an old piece of furniture just fancied up a bit.

Working on that buffet made me think about my life and God’s power. His Word tells us when we come to Him and are filled with His Spirit, we aren’t just refurbished. We become a new creation. The dings and scars of our old life are not just hidden; they are completely gone. God has given us a new heart and a new mind. We have new desires and new ambitions. We are headed in a new direction. “All things have become new.”

Satan would like to remind us of those old sins and the scars they left. He enjoys telling us we really aren’t worth much and underneath is still the “old me.” Not true. We can look him in the eye and declare, “I am totally brand new. I am a new creation in Christ and you no longer have control of my life!”

We are not reconditioned. We are brand new!

Prayer: Thank you, Lord, for making me a new creation. My sinful life is gone, and my new life in You has begun. I no longer need to feel ashamed of the old habits, the old sins, the old desires. You have taken them away. You have made all things new in my life, and I am Yours.

Devotion by Mary Loudermilk

“And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength” (Mark 12:30 ESV).

I sat in the rather small seating area of the doctor’s office, waiting for my appointment. I was early and the doctor was late. Although I tried to occupy myself with something I’d brought along, it was difficult not to hear the conversations of other patients. (I’ll confess—I do enjoy people-watching and listening.)

An elderly patient and her son sat near me. I glanced up as their conversation was suddenly punctuated by mom’s insistent voice. “Now when we get in there,” she instructed, “don’t you say a word! I don’t want to do any more than I have to!” Mom apparently was not a compliant patient and she feared the son being a tattletale. I puzzled at her logic. After all, whose health would be affected by hiding pertinent information—the doctor’s or hers?

Her words, “I don’t want to do any more than I have to,” have stayed with me. It’s not just unwilling patients who adopt this philosophy. It’s possible we have fallen into this thought pattern at one time or another. Perhaps it’s a job situation or feeling overwhelmed with things at home. Or—dare I say it—in our service to God. We feel weary and just want to do the minimum to get by. To succeed in anything in life, including serving God, we must embrace the want to attitude.

We often use the expression that we are “living for God.” If we truly live for God, we must go beyond have to and move into the realm of want to. It is impossible to serve God grudgingly or with the attitude that “I’m just doing this because it’s required.” Where is the joy with this attitude? Colossians 3:23 tells us, “Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men” (ESV).

Prayer: Lord, help me to serve You with an attitude of joy and willingness. I want to love and serve You with my whole heart, soul, mind, and strength.

 

Devotion by Mary Loudermilk

“Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, yes, I will help you, I will uphold you with My righteous right hand” (Isaiah 41:10, New King James Version).

One of the unpleasantries of summertime travel is the detours around road repairs. Oh, road repairs are necessary, but who has time to sit in long lines of slow traffic as we work our way around plastic cones and various pieces of construction equipment. Not me!

One summer my route to work was blocked for several weeks as the city replaced a deteriorating bridge. It wasn’t a large bridge and it wasn’t a major thoroughfare, but it was where I needed to travel every day. I could have allowed the detour to start my day with stress. Instead I decided to enjoy the view of the new route. I noticed the bright, blooming flowers surrounding some homes, watched the progress of a house being renovated, and observed the various styles of homes I passed. I turned an unpleasant detour into a pleasant morning routine.

Life sometimes takes detours as well. All will be going smoothly until we suddenly face a barricade across our path. We are forced to divert onto unfamiliar side streets. Our detour may be a serious illness, a job loss, family discord, or other life-disrupting event. It is difficult to see any good coming from the situation, and our stress levels rise. We do not enjoy this new route our life is taking.

We may struggle with the problems life brings and wonder what good can possibly come from them. Perhaps we have faced a situation for a long time and see no end in sight. But on the other side of the detour, we will be able to see God’s hand was sustaining us all the time. As you go through this detour around the “normal” of your life, realize that He is there with you the whole time, guiding your every move.

Prayer: Lord, sometimes life seems so difficult and I can’t see around all the detours and roadblocks along my way. It’s easy for me to feel lost and alone at such times. Thank You for the assurance that I’m really not alone. You are there protecting me and guiding me around each obstacle. You will bring me safely through.

Devotion by Mary Loudermilk