Devotions (Page 4)

Wondering with Others

Understanding comes through good questions. By “wondering” with someone, you discover their heart and soul, their passions and joys, and their struggles and fears. Wondering through good questions is really the primary means by which we truly can understand others. I imagine that if you were to reflect on some of the closest relationships in your life you would find this to be true. We don’t always recall the actual questions we asked, but we remember the thoughts and feelings…

Listening to Others

“When people talk, listen completely. Most people never listen.” — Ernest Hemingway Have you ever experienced someone actually listening to you, not just hearing you? We expect people to hear us when we speak, but it’s often jarring to find someone who listens completely. Rather than finishing your sentences, interrupting, or immediately responding, they leave space for pauses and consideration, reflection and honest questions, seeking to understand. It’s a wonderful feeling. The very act of being listened to can reduce…

Serving Others

Missions is a big part of who we are at First Trinity. Our youth group has been doing mission trips for over 20 years now. We’ve sent mission teams to Haiti for 13 years, plus trips to China, New Orleans, and New Jersey as needs arise. Serving others through mission trips is part of our DNA here. Serving others opens doors for communication. Every time I’ve participated in a mission trip I’ve seen this happen. One example: when our youth…

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…