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Immediately he spoke to them and said, 'Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.'

-Mark 6:50

Power Struggle -  

This devotional was written by Kelly McFadden

 

But 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 weakness so that Christ’s power may rest on me. — 2 Corinthians 12:8

 

Hanging in the Louvre Museum in France is an enormous painting called, “Coronation of Josephine.” This painting represents the royal celebration of the crowning of both Josephine and Napoleon. Adorned in velvet red robes, the ceremony called for Pope Pius VII to crown Napoleon as the emperor of France. However, rumors say that as the Pope held the crown to place it on the head of the new emperor, Napoleon grabbed the crown from the Pope’s hands and crowned himself. It is believed Napoleon did this to show he would not be subservient to the church.

 

Often in our Christian lives, we take the authority from God and crown ourselves as rulers of our own lives. Instead of putting God on the throne, we enthrone ourselves. Perhaps you report to church once a week, pray before meals, and sometimes sneak in a bedtime prayer before you fall asleep. But is Jesus really the Lord of your life? Do you seek his strength in all you do, or is that an afterthought? Do you make a decision hoping the Lord is taking notes, or do you look to Him first, asking for His guidance?

 

When you lose your focus on Christ and consider yourself the center of your universe, you are out of order. The stronger you think you are, the weaker you become. Don’t be like Napoleon who pretended he was working with the Pope and then at the last minute, snatched the authority and crowned himself. It is imperative to be a servant of Christ, the greatest servant who ever lived!

 

As the Apostle Paul wrote to the Corinthians: we have greater strength when we realize our weakness and rely on Christ.

 

GOING DEEPER:

1. What are ways you crown yourself?

 

2. How can you make sure Jesus sits on the throne in your life? Why is this essential?

 

FURTHER READING:

Matthew 10:39; Romans 6:10; 1 Timothy 6:15

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/

SOMEONE IS WATCHING -  

In Lessons on Living

Lot also, who went with Abram, had flocks and herds and tents. Now the land was not able to support them, that they might dwell together, for their possessions were so great. . . . And there was strife between the herdsmen of Abram's livestock and the herdsmen of Lot's livestock. The Canaanites and the Perizzites then dwelt in the land. - Genesis 13:5-7

Whether we know it or not, people are watching us. One day as a woman was crossing the street at London Station, an old man stopped her. He said, "Excuse me, Ma'am, but I want to thank you." She looked surprised and asked, "Thank me?" He replied, "Yes'm. I used to be a ticket collector, and whenever you went by you always gave me a cheerful smile and a good morning. I knew that smile must come from inside somewhere. Then one morning I saw a little Bible in your hand. So I bought one, too, and I found Jesus."

Abraham was also very conscious that he was being watched. Problems had developed between his nephew, Lot, and himself. They came to possess so many sheep and cattle between them that the land was not able to support them all. It reached the point where the herdsmen of Abraham and the herdsmen of Lot began to quarrel over the best grazing lands. All the while, the Canaanites and the Perizzites, who lived in the land as well, were watching. Abraham knew that he represented Yahweh, the Lord God of heaven, before these pagan families. As a result, he immediately sought a way to bring peace to the situation.

Neither your church family nor your personal family are immune from problems. But how you choose to deal with those problems can encourage or hinder others who are watching. Your actions can even influence their eternal destiny. Always choose the way of peace. Let the God of peace rule not only in your heart but in all your relationships.

A family at peace is the best witness to the Lord of Peace.

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

Pest Control -  

This devotional was written by Jim Liebelt

 

Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me. Do not cast me from your presence or take your Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me. —Psalm 51:10-12

 

I noticed the hole in my flowerbed one late-August afternoon. I passed by without giving it much thought. The next week I noticed two holes. I decided whatever was digging the holes must just be passing through. A month later, there were more holes. But with the winter cold and stormy weather approaching, I was certain the diggers would move along.

 

Winter came and after a January snowstorm, when the snow had melted, I noticed large lengths of my front lawn next to the flowerbed had been torn up. Finally, I had reached my limit.

 

I called a local pest control company. A worker came to my home and promptly declared, “You’ve got rats.”

 

I’ve got to say that I was angry. I’m not a huge fan of rats. But I really wasn’t mad at them. It’s not likely that I could have prevented them from attempting to migrate from the greenbelt behind my home. I was mad at myself! Back in the lazy days of summer, when I first noticed the signs that something was amiss, I did nothing. I purposely did nothing.

 

This is also a good reminder about our spiritual lives. It’s easy in the busyness of life to become complacent in nurturing our spiritual health. Perhaps we notice that we’re drifting a bit spiritually. Perhaps we notice subtle changes in our character, desires, or behaviors. But too often, we ignore the warning signs, and purposely do nothing. Then, one day, we look up and notice that rats have taken up residence in our hearts.

 

It’s fortunate that there are preventative measures for rat infestation, both of the rodent and spiritual varieties. And in both cases, they involve proactive awareness and action on our parts.

 

There are no more rats currently living in my yard or garage. But I know they live just down the hill. Today, I’m in rat-prevention-mode. I’ve got bait stations placed around the property and traps in my garage. Each week I routinely survey the landscape to check for new holes. Once a quarter, my pest control guy inspects the surroundings for any evidence of rodents. So far – so good.

 

In the realm of spiritual pest control, preventative measures are also plentiful. We can be on the lookout for spiritual drifting. We can regularly survey our hearts, read the Bible, repent, and pray. We can worship and fellowship with other believers and ask trusted friends to be accountability partners with us. When we know something isn’t right, we can cry out to the Lord seeking His strength, forgiveness, wisdom, and healing.

 

Let me encourage you today to enter spiritual-rat-prevention-mode. When it comes to guarding your spiritual health, the old adage still rings true, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.”

 

GOING DEEPER:

1. What do you feel is the most likely threat to your spiritual health? What preventative measures can you take?

 

2. Find a Bible verse (or verses) to memorize that can serve as a “preventative measure” in your life.

 

FURTHER READING:

Hebrews 12:1-3; Romans 6:10-14; 2 Corinthians 7:1

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/

Power Breaks - 

This devotional was written by Linda Vujnov

 

Then Jesus said, “Did I not tell you that if you believe, you will see the glory of God?” —John 11:40

 

Hundreds of times I have heard the story of Lazarus. Alright, hundreds may be a slight exaggeration. In the first Bible I owned the colored picture associated with the story of Lazarus showed a dead guy lying in bed and his sister, Mary, weeping next to him. Martha, his other sister, is wearing her angry face and is shaking her fist at heaven. The exact details of the drawing are blurry. I was seven.

 

As the story goes, when Jesus finally arrives to tend to Lazarus, he is dead and buried in a tomb. Upset by his late arrival, Martha says to Jesus, ‘If you had been here, my brother would not have died. But I know that even now God will give you whatever you ask.’" There is a hint of hope in Martha’s tone, yet she is still unsure and not very happy with tardy Jesus.

 

The sisters are unsure about Jesus’ plans. This I find amazing. The women are standing with Jesus in the flesh, the same Jesus who walked on water and fed 5,000 people with a smattering of fish and loaves of bread, yet they still doubt that He is capable of making a dead guy stand up and walk.

 

When they arrive at the tomb, Jesus says, “Take away the stone.” At this point I’m pretty sure I would have enough faith to say, “I’m on it Jesus!” knowing that Jesus, Son of God, was standing right there ready to do a miracle. However, Martha replies, “But Lord, by this time there is a bad odor, for he has been there four days.” Really Martha? Really? You are worried about the odor? As if Jesus was going to reply, “Oh gosh Martha, that’s true. What was I thinking?” Where was her confidence in who Jesus is, the Son of God, the miracle worker? Had she forgotten all that Jesus had done?

 

Truthfully, I am no different than Martha. How many times have I worried about the odor instead of doing what I was asked to do? Why don’t I have complete confidence in God’s power at all times and for all things?

 

God’s power is something I should not take lightly. When I choose to “move the stone away,” He is able to do mighty acts of grace on my behalf.

 

In the end, Jesus performed a miracle, and Lazarus walked out of the tomb without a stench. Not only was he filled with thankfulness, but after four days of fasting, he no doubt had an unquenchable craving for a Chick-Fil-A sandwich and waffle fries.

 

GOING DEEPER:

1. In what area of your life do you currently need God’s power?

 

2. How does knowing about God’s power give you freedom to surrender your struggles to Him?

FURTHER READING:

Psalm 68:28, Jeremiah 10:6

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/

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