Devotions (Page 4)

What is My Purpose

One of the things I’m most looking forward to about having a house is collecting tools and learning how to use them. I have a lot of learning (and probably frustration) ahead of me as I begin working on more and more complex projects. One of things I’ve learned about building  is the importance of using the right tool in the right way. You can often get the job done with the wrong tool, but it takes excessive amounts of…

Where Did I Come From?

I remember doing a project in grade school where we explored where we came from. We talked with parents and grandparents to figure out what countries our ancestors were from, when they came to the United States, traditions that have been passed down, and things like that. I hadn’t really known much of this information prior to doing the project. I thought it was interesting to learn a little bit about where my family came from, but it ultimately did…

Hold On

I have always struggled with Jacob. Here I am, trying to teach my children about the fruits of the Spirit, about the Beatitudes, about the golden rule. And then I read about Jacob. Jacob steals his father Isaac’s blessing from his twin brother Esau by tricking Isaac. Esau, of course, is very angry, and Jacob flees to escape his brother’s wrath. Later in life, Jacob has twelve sons, and it is well-known that Joseph was his favorite. Jacob gave Joseph…

Pure in Heart

Many people were affected by a recent water scare here in Western New York. There was an issue with the water supply being unsafe to drink. Some boiled water for drinking while others turned to bottled water or filled containers in a neighboring town that wasn’t affected. It’s interesting to see the widespread impact that occurs when a water source gets contaminated. It only takes a little bit, but the whole supply becomes virtually worthless for sustaining life. The same…

Blessed Are the Merciful

We usually like it when people get what they deserve. Someone who works hard deserves to be paid accordingly. People who are well-educated deserve the respect that comes with their degree. The friend who has gone out of their way to help you deserves to be appreciated and thanked. We like when good people get what they deserve, but we also like it sometimes when people who aren’t good get what they deserve. Break the law? You deserve to go…

Blessed Are Those Who Desire Righteousness

We don’t eat out very often these days, so it’s always a shock to my system when we do eat out more than a special occasion here or there. Case in point: we eat out (or carry out) a lot more on vacation or when moving. It should come as no surprise that I don’t feel right after going from a mostly healthy diet to …shall we say less healthy diet of pizza and fast food? What you eat obviously…

Fathers, Pastor Your Family

Parents have a tough job. Raising children is very rewarding, but it’s also very demanding. There aren’t really any breaks when your kids are awake, and precious few when they are sleeping. They notice everything you do and say, learning how to act and speak, so you’re always trying to put your best foot forward. In addition to all the normal responsibilities, there’s also the charge to bring them up to know the Lord. As a father, I especially feel…

The Habit of Celebration

We recently purchased a home in the area. It’s been a long, 3-year journey to get to this point, lined with disappointment and missed opportunities. It was grueling as we’d spend half a year looking at houses, then take a break for six months before starting again. Several houses looked great, only to slip away because someone offered more than us or inspections didn’t pan out. Other houses could have worked for our family, but we’d have to put lots…

The Habit of Confession

There’s a story in the Old Testament about Nehemiah, a great man of God. He was an Israelite living in exile, serving King Artaxerxes as cupbearer. One day, God called him back to Jerusalem to rebuild the city. Nehemiah asked permission from the king and was granted not only leave to go, but resources to accomplish the work. Once he arrived, he surveyed the damage. Nehemiah knew that the first step to rebuilding was clearing the rubble of the destroyed…

The Habit of Solitude

Have you ever had one of those days where things are just crazy? I’m not just talking busy, but over the moon, pull your hair out crazy? You move from one thing to the next to the next to the next without stopping. But it’s not just the transitions from one event to another—the events or meetings or classes or whatever are crazy too! Sometimes, when I’m having one of those days, I just need to stop for a moment…