Today is Throwback Thursday. Click here to rekindle the conversation we began five years ago. Photo courtesy of Tobias Leeger.
Today's pastoral care devotional scripture is Psalm 70:4. You are probably going through a big situation today in your life. It may be sickness, debt, job loss, a family problem, or something else. God is bigger than what you are going through. If you compare your problem, however big it is, to God, God is bigger, a lot bigger. God is magnified. God is bigger than cancer. God is bigger than bankruptcy. God is bigger than divorce. God is bigger than addiction. Does God's magnitude mean that our problems are going away today? I don't know the answer to that question. But I do know that God is bigger, a lot bigger, than my understanding. I also know that the best course of action in life is to look at our problems through the lens of a magnified God. Will you magnify the Lord with me today? Can we exalt His name together? As we do, we will see our mountain-sized problems become little hills. Photo courtesy of Robert Levy.
Today's pastoral care devotional scripture is Proverbs 10:22. A lady told me, "Pastor, the Lord blessed me with a new car!" I was happy for her and excited that she finally had some dependable transportation. But then I made a mistake. I asked, "How does it feel to have a new car and no payments?" She answered, "Oh I have payments." I should have kept quiet, but further asked, "Didn't you say that God blessed you with a new car?" Maybe I see things differently. I believe that blessings are blessings, period. No strings attached. No fine print. Wise King Solomon teaches us that God's blessings are sorrow-free. To me, 60 or 72 monthly car payments are sorrow producers. When God truly blesses you with a new car, He will not bless you with a payment book. Look for God's real blessings today. Also, encourage those around you to think before speaking. Photo courtesy of DPImage Capturing.
Today's pastoral care devotional scripture is 1 Samuel 9:20-21. In our text, the prophet Samuel is letting Saul know that he is about to become the first king of Israel. Saul is shocked. He does not feel qualified. Saul believes that there are already three huge strikes against him: his tribe, his family, and himself. Well... God does not have a "three strikes, you're out" policy. In fact, the very clear teaching of scripture is that God usually chooses the unqualified. (See 1 Corinthians 1:26-31 and 2 Corinthians 3:5-6.) As you and I begin a new week, let's remember that God has qualified and equipped us. Others may not see it. That's their problem, not yours. Through Yeshua, we can do all things. Let's do them.... even if it's Monday! Photo courtesy of Kaigani Turner.
Click here to rekindle the lively discussion that we began two years ago. Photo courtesy of Daniel Oines.
Today's pastoral care devotional scripture is Joel 1:12. In our scripture, things are at their very worst. The people in our text have had everything attacked by palmerworms. What the palmerworms left, the locusts came behind and devoured. What the locusts left, the cankerworms have gobbled up. What the cankerworms have left, the caterpillars have consumed. Life can be like that. Problem upon problem and loss after loss. However, the worst loss is the loss of joy. "Your joy no man taketh from you" (John 16:22). When joy leaves a person's life, it is not because it was stolen. Joy leaves when it is relinquished. Joy is never forcefully removed; it is willingly released. How terribly sad. My father passed away at the very young age of 56. All of his life was marked by health problems. One problem my father did not have was a problem with joy. My dad loved to laugh and, even more, he loved to make others laugh. He had a great sense of humor. As a kid, I could always find my father. I just listened for the laughter, and there he was. During his many hospital stays, my father would always make his doctors and nurses laugh. On one particular bright sunny day, Dad was in the hospital. A nurse came in and said, "Mr. Turner, you have such a beautiful view from your room!" Dad, pointing to a particular building, said, "You're absolutely right... if you enjoy looking at a funeral home!" There can be joy in every situation. How? First, you have to embrace the truth that joy is already present. SEcond, you have to let joy do its natural work. And, third, you have to decide and determine to not let anyone or anything take your joy. When a thief steals your joy, you are also culpable. Photo courtesy of Lotus Carroll.
Today's pastoral care devotional scripture is Psalm 11:1-2. As the Psalmist found himself in a very difficult situation, those around him pointed out all the reasons why he should want to take flight. In fact, they encouraged him to "fly away." You may be in a similar situation. You may be seeing all the reasons to "hit the road." You may have people close to you encouraging you that it would be for your betterment to leave. But.... Your trusting relationship with God is telling you something else. He is telling you to keep your feet on the ground. And... You, just like the Psalmist, know that this is just a test. (See Psalm 11:5.) Most tests are not fun and most of them are not easy. However, they are necessary. Without testing, you cannot be taken to the next level. Sometimes the test is all about seeing if we have what it takes to stay. Other times, the test is about seeing if we are just being stubborn and will not move. Deep down inside each of us, we know what kind of test it is. Just because the eagle has wings doesn't mean that it's always time to fly. Photo courtesy of Brad Tutterow.
Today's pastoral care devotional scripture is Song of Solomon 8:7. I am one of those kind of husbands that believe housework should be shared by both spouses. Cooking, cleaning, laundry, etc., are not solely the woman's responsibility. That being said, the past seven days, I haven't felt well. As a result, I haven't washed a dish. I haven't laundered any clothes. I have not made the bed. I have brought bedding into the living room, to the sofa, and left it there. I haven't made any of our meals. (I have been through the drive-thru a couple of times, though!) The list of what I have not done the last seven days, as a husband, is endless. But... my wife's love for me has not changed. True love is not performance based. True love flows from the giver. "Nothing separates us from the love of God" (Romans 8:38-39). As we begin a new work week, let's commit to be people of true love, like Yeshua. Let's have a love that burns intensely regardless of what waters are thrown upon it. Many waters cannot quench love. Even Mondays cannot put out the flames of a love fueled by God. Photo courtesy of Michael Kappel.
Today's pastoral care devotional scripture is 1 Peter 1:6. Simon Peter reminds us that our trials are only for "a little while." I have a very interesting problem with my car. Occasionally, it will not start. My mechanic has looked at it and believes that the problem is the ignition, the computer, both, or something in between. Just when he is about to find the problem, the car starts. My mechanic tells me that I can start replacing parts until the problem is resolved. The least expensive part is $300. He also gave me a Plan B. He told me that when the car doesn't start, just wait ten minutes. So far, the "wait ten minutes" plan has worked. In life, many of our problems are like my car's problem: temporal. I tend to panic when a problem surfaces. Do you? Simon Peter is encouraging us to not panic, but rather exercise patience. Whatever you are going through is only for "a little while." What you are worried about, may all be resolved "in a little while." Be encouraged. We can all wait ten minutes, can't we? Photo courtesy of readerwalker.
Today's pastoral care devotional scripture is 2 Thessalonians 3:6-13. As soon as God formed man from the dust of the ground, He put him to work. We were made to work. In a perfect world, people work. As we face another week, let's face and embrace the concept of work. Not only is work a must for most people, it is also a means of expressing ourselves. Who we are on the inside is made known by what we do. Back in my grocery store employment days, a co-worker said, "They are going to get minimum work for minimum pay." A few days later, this young man was getting "no pay" because he was "no longer needed" in the store. When a person enters into a personal relationship with God, he or she steps into a new life that is made of doing new work and new works. (See Ephesians 2:8-10.) As much as you and I would like to kick back and relax, we are designed to work. Our scripture reminds us that there is a big difference between being busy and being productive. Happy Monday! Photo courtesy of Brian Auer.
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