DEVOTIONS

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Today’s Truth

There is rejoicing in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents (Luke 15:10 NIV)


 


Friend to Friend


You would think she had just won the lottery the way she was screaming and jumping up and down. In fact, to her she practically had! She’d found her lovey and wanted everyone within hearing distance to celebrate with her.


Gabriella had lost her lovey a few weeks prior. This was a big deal to a four-year old, especially since she’d had the little white and tan bear blanket from the time she was four months old. Lovey comforted her when she was sad or hurting, rode with her on car trips, slept with her during nap and nighttime, and was her most treasured possession.


When her comfy blanket friend went missing, Gabriella was understandably upset. She mentioned it to

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Today’s Truth

The one who calls you is faithful, and he will do it (1 Thessalonians 5:24 NIV).


 


Friend to Friend


God whispered that call to growth over your heart and you were ready, right then. Growth in your faith. Growth in your understanding. Growth in confidence. Growth in a relationship.


Then that thing happened.


A pandemic.


An illness.


An unexpected loss.


A struggle.


So, you asked, “Lord, did I really hear you? How can I grow when things are so hard?”


In today’s verse, Paul is speaking to a church who longs to give everything to Jesus. They are growing, but it feels challenging. They are in a culture that doesn’t appreciate their faith. They are trying to “unlearn” what they’ve always believed to be true. They are in the heart of persecution. Yet Paul assures them that God is faithful. God would be the instrument

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Today’s Truth

Do everything without grumbling or arguing (Philippians 2:14 NIV


 


Friend to Friend


My friend Ellen is a preschool teacher who regularly contends with entitled toddlers and privileged preschoolers who know how to major on some minors and throw down some serious tantrums.


I want the red crayon, but Tommy has it!


I’m not eating this because it has white cheese. I only like yellow cheese.


I want to go first!


I’m allowed. You’re not my boss.


Miss Ellen calls these little escapades “princess problems,” and she does her best to lovingly redirect the heart of each young complainer toward the reality of his or her blessings and toward the virtue of patience, selflessness, kindness, sharing, etc…


Hardly a day goes by that the kingdom of her kiddie classroom isn’t inundated with princess problems. Outbursts are common.

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Today’s Truth

God said to Moses, “I AM WHO I AM. This is what you are to say to the Israelites: ‘I am has sent me to you’” (Exodus 3:14 NIV).


 


Friend to Friend


Do you remember the first Rocky movie? (I just looked it up and there have been eight.) In the very first film about the Italian Stallion, Rocky Balboa falls madly in love with the very demure Adrian who works at a Tropical Fish pet store. Adrian is very intelligent, shy, and cautious. Rocky is, well, none of those things. In one scene, Adrian’s brother, Paulie, asked Rocky what he sees in his sister. Rocky answers, “She’s got gaps, I got gaps. Together we fill gaps.”


But Rocky got it all wrong. Adrian’s got gaps. He’s got gaps. And no person is going to fill those gaps.


Let me put it this way. I’ve got gaps. You’ve got gaps. And no

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Today’s Truth

He replied,... “Truly I tell you, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you” (Matthew 17:20 NIV)


 


Friend to Friend


I am not a quitter! What some might call stubbornness, I prefer to call perseverance – especially when it comes to growing flowers and plants.


We recently downsized and moved to a house with a small wooden deck in the backyard. I took one look at that deck and could almost hear it crying out for beautiful plants spilling over the edges of brightly colored ceramic planters. My stubbornness … uh, perseverance … kicked in, and I thought, “I can do this!”


I headed to the local nursery where they know me. And by “know me” I mean they understand that I can kill just about any living plant known to mankind.


Linda greeted me with a smile. She and I

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Today’s Truth

Now to him who is able to protect you from stumbling and to make you stand in the presence of his glory, without blemish and with great joy, to the only God our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, power, and authority before all time, now and forever (Jude 1:24-25 CSB)


 


Friend to Friend


When my granddaughter Eula was learning to walk, her steps were wobbly. She was all exuberance and no coordination. At the time, the laundry room was irresistibly enticing (something I knew she would outgrow).


I followed her into it one day and she became fascinated by a pair of rain boots. They were several sizes too big but she slid them onto her feet. She also insisted on wearing her bright pink coat. As she tromped around in her borrowed boots, I walked behind her holding the coat’s hood. When she stumbled, she didn’t hit the ground because I held her up. She carried on, not realizing someone was watching out for her, making sure she didn’t fall.


Walking with

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Today’s Truth

But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves (James 1:22 NKJV)


 


Friend to Friend


How many times were the words, “Because I said so!” spoken to you by a parent? I was determined to never say those words to our children. Of course, I failed to keep that commitment.


But I do remember the first time those words slipped out of my mouth! I was shocked. My next thought was how many times has God spoken those words to me?


Hearing the truth is only half the battle. Obeying the truth is where the real battle begins.


Jesus taught about this very thing in the parable of the soils. He compares those who hear the truth but do not act on it as follows:


“When anyone hears the message about the kingdom and does not understand

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Today’s Truth

When you go through deep waters, I will be with you. When you go through rivers of difficulty, you will not drown. When you walk through the fire of oppression, you will not be burned up; the flames will not consume you (Isaiah 43:2 NLT)


 


Friend to Friend 


When I sat at my daughter’s bedside in the hospital, I wondered if life would ever look the same. After going into septic shock, she could only breathe with the help of a ventilator, and our pediatrician warned us that she might not live through the night. I couldn’t imagine life without our spunky five-year-old. I had so many questions and feelings, but in that room, I felt God’s presence thick in the air.


Throughout the next two weeks in the hospital she slowly recovered, coming off the ventilator only to battle a life-threatening blood clot. That was a season when smaller issues like arriving late to an appointment, locking my keys in the car, or feeling weary

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Today’s Truth

“What should we do then?” the crowd asked (Luke 3:10 NIV)


 


Friend to Friend


When my husband and I started our business, we worked non-stop. While our optimism was high, the days were long, and the learning curve was brutal. We’re a few years in now and still a ways away from the business being the well-oiled machine we’d like it to be, but one thing we have going for us is this: we aren’t afraid to ask for help.


We call our corporate office and our business coach regularly, desperate for direction and understanding. What should we do in this payroll situation? What should our employee recertification trainings include? What best practices increase client satisfaction?


Each question we ask is met with answers that bring us greater clarity and direction. We want to

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Today’s Truth

You will show me the way of life, granting me the joy of your presence and the pleasures of living with you forever (Psalm 16:11 NLT).


 


Friend to Friend


On a layover in Dallas, I settled into a seat to enjoy some chocolate frozen yogurt with chocolate-peanut butter candies on top. As I scooped the last bite of my treat, a gentleman sitting next to me asked how long our flight was delayed. I had to listen carefully to understand his Mexican-infused English. After I answered his question, he wanted to keep talking. Now, when one is in the airport, there are lots of topics that people can discuss. Usually, it’s our destination, travel nightmare stories or family. However, this man wanted to talk about something different. He wanted to talk about death.


He grabbed one of the two cell phones sitting in front of him to show

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"We loved you so much that we were delighted to share with you not only the gospel of God but our lives as well…" 1 Thessalonians 2:8