Friday, June 25, 2010

School Bus Devotions

For whosoever shall be ashamed of me and of my words, of him the Son of man will be ashamed, when he shall come in his own glory, and in his Father's, and of the holy angels. Luke 9:26 (KJV)

A school bus is a wonderful place to learn. One spring morning, I wanted to tell the children what a wonderful Creator we have, so I pointed out the beautiful flowering pink and white trees that lined the streets. I explained that trees are the only creations God made that grow as long as they live. I gave them an example of the tallest, oldest trees in the world, the mighty Sequoias in California.

Suddenly, a fifth grade boy sitting in the back of the bus raised his hand and stood up. "Miss Evelyn," he said, "we're not supposed to talk about God or say His name on the bus or in school."

"I know you think that, but actually, it's not true," I replied. "Don't you say 'God bless you' when someone sneezes?"

He paused and his eyes lit up in acknowledgement. "Oh...yeah." he responded with a smile. Then he sat down in a perfectly quiet bus that held fifty-five listening children.

Children absorb everything around them. Impressions and fallacies about God seep into their brains and are interpreted as fact. It is wise, therefore, to always speak truth to them.

Father, may Your children never be ashamed to speak Your Name and profess love for You and Your Son, Jesus. May they also think of You every spring when the trees bloom with color. Amen

(c) 2010
E. Bonnie Ryan

Friday, June 18, 2010

The Power of Words

Speaking the truth in love. Ephesians 4:15a (KJV)

Why do words hold so much power? They capture our imaginations, inspire, encourage, bring laughter, and strengthen our spirits. But their power does not stop there. Words also hurt, discourage, divide, tear down, and destroy.

Nathaniel Hawthorne described them well: “Words—so innocent and powerless as they are, as standing in a dictionary, how potent for good and evil they become in the hands of one who knows how to combine them.”

As a writer it is easy for me to take words for granted, focused on finding just the right ones; but I need to remember that guarding my pen is equivalent to guarding my tongue. It is easy to write “truth” in the name of “righteousness,” but if I do not temper that truth with love, I could be misrepresenting the heart of God, inadvertently lying about His character to the reader, isolating them from even wanting to know God. Satan can take it from there, whispering his words that sow bitterness and hate.

Jesus spoke powerful words as He hung dying so that we could live. He said, “Father, forgive them.” There was no hate, no “getting them back,” no guile—He spoke the truth in love. They didn’t know what they were doing. Those few words have impacted eternity in millions of hearts.

Now it is my turn—to build up and edify, love the brethren, and turn the other cheek when necessary. It is time for me to speak and write the truth in love.

Thank You, Father, for Your amazing Word: that we can still read it today, and that it will stand forever. Help us to guard our tongues and pens, heeding Your instruction to communicate with love.

© 2010 Katherine A. Fuller

Friday, June 11, 2010

Elbow Grease
Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path. (Psalm 119:105 NIV)

As a first grade teacher, I realized that little hands cover sneezes, and little fingers wind up in noses and other unsanitary places. Germs can easily pass to classroom surfaces and eventually to other children. In an effort to improve hygiene, I presented lessons on how sickness can spread. I stressed the importance of proper hand washing. Every few weeks, I would have the students wipe there desktops with sanitizer and a paper towel.

During one of our desk cleaning times, six-year-old Michael came to me and said, “I can’t get the pencil marks off my desk.”

“Well,” I said, “I guess you could try using a little more elbow grease.”

He nodded his head and went back to work.

A few minutes later, I noticed Michael with his head down on the desk crying. “Michael,” I said, “what’s the matter?”

“I can’t find the elbow grease,” he answered.

I comforted him, explaining about figurative language, and told him elbow grease could be found in his own elbow.

Michael needed to use “elbow grease” to complete the job. In the same way, when our gracious God gives us assignments to complete for His Kingdom, He expects us to use some of our own “elbow grease.” We are also blessed with directions from God’s word, the Bible, and the power of the Holy Spirit providing the abilities and gifts to accomplish God’s desire in our lives.

Dear Lord, help us to learn Your Word and hide it in our hearts and minds, so that when You call on us, we are equipped, with the help of your Holy Spirit, to carry out Your will.

© Christy Struben 2010

Friday, June 4, 2010

Shattered Lives

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11 NIV

I was married for 34 years to a man I loved very much. We raised three sons together and lived in lovely homes in many different states. We shared ministry opportunities in Alaska and Kazakhstan. For many years, it appeared to others that we had a wonderful life. My world came crashing down when he divorced me. My dream of a Christian marriage that would last a lifetime shattered.

In Genesis we read about Joseph’s shattered dreams. His brothers sold him into slavery and lied to their father. He ended up in prison because Potifer’s wife falsely accused him.

God had different plans for Joseph’s life and for mine. Joseph reconciled with his brothers many years later, and reassured them saying, “You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives.” (Genesis 50:20b NIV). Just as Joseph reunited with his family, I reunited with my sons, grandchildren and daughter-in-law. I help in a divorce ministry to comfort others and to repair broken lives. God is healing my broken heart.

God can bring good out of the tragic circumstances in our lives. He knows the plans He has for our lives and He knows what is best for us. He sometimes replaces our old dreams with new hopes for a better future.

Dear Father, I know You love me, and I can trust You for the future. Thank You for new hopes and dreams. In Jesus Name, Amen.

© 2010 Diane E. Hussey