Unless otherwise noted, all devotions are written by Lois Lang. Recently retired, Lois spends much of her time with her grandchildren and is a freelance contributing writer for jennifercadamore.com. I know that because of her love for the Lord and study of the Word, you will be blessed by the insights she shares!
--By Lois Lang
Ecclesiastes 10:10a...If the axe is dull and he does not sharpen its edge, then he [he who splits logs] must exert more strength.
Solomon was a pretty smart fellow. God really answered his prayer for wisdom! His one-liners hit the mark time after time. Some of his admonitions are God-given revelation, but most seem to be just plain common sense. For example, the truism above--the duller the axe, the harder it is and the more energy it takes to split logs. Doable, but more difficult.
A memory just popped into my head. Please allow me to share it with you. My father was a farmer, who began farming back in the late 1930’s. A lot of the field work was done by hand. When it was time to harvest wheat or corn, he took his large scythe to the fields and started cutting. But he also took a sharpening stone. Every so often he would stop and run the stone along the blade of the scythe to keep it sharp. That made the cutting a lot easier.
The wisdom of Solomon’s advice, as well as the memory of my dad, resonated with me. No, I don’t do much log-splitting or corn-cutting. But it goes beyond axes or scythes or cutting wood or wheat. What I saw in this was that if I stay “sharp,” whatever I’m doing is much easier to do. Sure, I can clean house or cook a meal, but if I am rested and prepared (sharp), those tasks can be done much more easily. I think it works the same way with life. I can muddle my way through day to day even if I’m not sharp. But if I am “sharp”--staying in God’s Word, following His leading, worshipping, fellowshipping with His people, praying--life gets a whole lot easier.
I don’t know about you, but I don’t like to work any harder than I have to. So it’s time for me to sharpen my axe and keep the honing stone handy.
Heavenly Father, thank You for the wisdom You gave Solomon, who passed it along to us. It’s as real and fresh today as it was when You first inspired it. Thank You for Your Word, which is “living and active and sharper than two-edged sword.” Please help us in our efforts to remain sharp. We pray in the Name of Jesus, the Word Made Flesh. Amen.
Psalm 37:1-8, 34...Fret not yourself because of evildoers, be not envious toward wrongdoers. For they will wither quickly like the grass, and fade like the green herb. Trust in the Lord, and do good; dwell in the land and cultivate faithfulness. Delight yourself in the Lord; and He will give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the Lord, trust also in Him, and He will do it. And He will bring forth your righteousness as the light, and your judgment as the noonday. Rest in the Lord and wait patiently for Him; fret not yourself because of him who prospers in his way, because of the man who carries out wicked schemes. Cease from anger, and forsake wrath; fret not yourself, it leads only to evildoing. Wait for the Lord, and keep His way, and He will exalt you to inherit the land; when the wicked are cut off, you will see it.
Psalm 37, a Psalm of David, gives a basic course in living a godly life. Here is a quick summary:
- Trust in the Lord. (Good one to start with!)
- Do good.
- Cultivate faithfulness.
- Delight yourself in the Lord. (Another good one!)
- Commit your way to the Lord.
- Trust in Him. (This must be important, for him to repeat it.)
- Rest in the Lord.
- Fret not yourself.
- Cease from anger.
- Fret not yourself. (Again!)
- Wait for the Lord.
- Keep His way.
And what is the result of following all the above directives? Verses 39 and 40 tell us. “But the salvation of the righteous is from the Lord; He is their strength in time of trouble. And the Lord helps them, and delivers them; He delivers them from the wicked, and saves them, because they take refuge in Him.”
Lord, thank You for giving us ways to please You. And thank You for the reassurance that, no matter what is going on around us, You are ready and willing to handle it. All You ask is that we trust You and love You. That’s easy, Lord--You have proven Yourself trustworthy and entirely lovely. We praise You with mind, body, soul, and strength. We pray in the Name of Jesus, the Author and Perfecter of our faith. Amen.
--by Amanda Figgins
Psalms 5:11-12 “But let all who take refuge in you rejoice; let them sing joyful praises forever. Spread your protection over them, that all who love your name may be filled with joy. For you bless the godly, O Lord; you surround them with your shield of love.”
Has anyone made you feel worthless or unhappy? I think we have all fallen into that trap at one time or another.
Navigating life has its ups and downs, and at times we take some life events too serious. A lot of times friends and family can help us through the roller coaster ride of life, but sometimes we let them jolt our ride to a stop. All it takes is a simple phone call from a family member saying you’re not a good enough Christian or close enough to God…Or a friend who no longer wants to continue a friendship because of a misunderstanding or the outcome of a situation isn’t what he/she wanted. It’s amazing how we can dwell on situations like these and let them steal our joy and possibly harden our hearts towards others.
Through these tough times, when words and actions can hurt so bad, we must remember to keep our focus on God. Our true joy does not come from earthly possessions or our family and friends, but from God. During these challenging times in life we must remember to take refuge in God’s protection and let Him heal our hearts with His love, mercy, and grace.
Dear God – Thank you for your everlasting love. Protect us throughout life’s ups and downs, and protect our hearts as we face challenging situations with others. We ask that you help us to stay focused on You as You are our only source of true joy. In Jesus’ name we pray, Amen.
--by Amanda Figgins
Proverbs 15:3…“The Lord is watching everywhere, keeping an eye on both the evil and good.”
Have you felt the brush of the devil on your skin? I definitely say I have…
In high school, a good friend of mine at the time had a sleep over with a bunch of girls. Although I didn’t know the other girls well, I still went hoping to have a great adventure with little sleep (of course). As was typical for me, I was reserved from the others and did not participate in most everything they deemed as fun. The one activity that I remember so clearly from that night was the Ouija Board. As I had heard bad things about the “game,” I decided – once again – to sit this one out. I was raised in a strong faith family and I was not about to purposely step into what was possibly Satan’s territory.
As this spooky game advanced, and I was the only one in the group not participating, I felt colder and colder along with a random swirling breeze around me. This wasn’t a constant breeze, or a window was open breeze, but more of a “something brushed against me” and a light drafty breeze. I mentioned how I was feeling and asked for a blanket – no one else felt the drafty breeze, and everyone was warm.
Throughout the game, one other girl decided to quit playing for a brief time. She also got extremely cold and felt what I was experiencing, which made her thrust herself back into the game. As for me, I was frozen, didn’t feel well, and fell asleep on the couch wrapped up in a warm blanket.
I knew what I felt around me that night was not right, but no matter what tricks Satan tried on me they didn’t work. With God as my guide and defender, I knew that Satan truly couldn’t touch me. He may have tried to scare me, but I want no parts of anything that would make me feel that bad in order for me to join in his games. As I wrapped up in that blanket, I knew I was also wrapped up in God’s love and protection. He would never make me feel bad!
We must always be vigilant for any games Satan may try to use to entrap us. We must also remember that in any situation, even when facing evil, God is watching over us and will protect us against all things bad.
Dear God - We thank you for your constant and unfailing protection, love, guidance, and grace that we often times don’t deserve. We ask that you continue to guide us in making the right choices as You help us navigate life, and ask for forgiveness in those times when we did not fully seek You or did not make the right decisions. We pray that Your continued grace will fall upon us as we try to follow You better. In Jesus’ name we pray, Amen.