Have You Been Redeemed Like A Shelter Pet?

Have You Been Redeemed Like A Shelter Pet?

Several years ago I visited a local animal shelter with the intention of finding a dog to take home with me.  I had a very specific dog in mind and scoured the Internet to see if any were available on the shelter’s website.  I found the breed I was looking for and decided to go check it out.  When I got to the shelter the dog I came to see was as disinterested in me as an animal could be.  It wasn’t really the dog I had in mind either, and I was looking for something quite specific.  My intention was to find a boxer that was full blooded and that had a white coat.  After I put the disinterested mix-breed dog back into its kennel a friend of mine came around the corner with the perfect dog.  I immediately fell in love with him and have him to this day.  He was the most energetic and loving white boxer I had ever seen and we hit it off immediately.    This animal knew that he had been bought with a price and paid me back in his love and loyalty to me.

Did you know that Jesus Christ bought you with a price?  Isaiah 44:22 says I have swept away your offenses like a cloud, your sins like the morning mist. Return to me, for I have redeemed you.  I don’t know what caused my furry friend to end up in the shelter, but had I not intervened and redeemed him, his future would have certainly ended in his untimely demise.  The same is true for us as followers of Jesus Christ.  Had Jesus not stepped into history and intervened on our behalf redeeming us from our sins, we would most certainly die in our sins.  Jesus purchases us with a price, redeems us and we are required to pay him back with our loyalty, devotion, love and obedience.  Just like with my dog, this isn’t a hard thing when you know your master loves you and chose you specifically.  Have you been redeemed like a shelter pet?

Screen shot 2014-03-13 at 11.09.17 AM

If you liked this devotional be sure to pick up a copy of "Whispers In The Woods" to have a collection of 52 similar devotionals for your spiritual growth and encouragement.  Click HERE to order a copy!

Do You Live Like A Snapping Turtle?

DO YOU LIVE LIKE A SNAPPING TURTLE? Snapping turtles (Chelydra serpentina) are large and aggressive turtles found in murky muddy water. They, like their surroundings, have somewhat of a dirty personality. They are quick to attack when threatened, hence the name, “snapping” turtle. These guys will feed on just about anything from plants to animals to carrion. If they can put it in their mouths they will eat it. They have a nasty disposition, live in nasty surroundings and eat nasty food. Does this seem like a theme with people you know? People can become a product of their environment and only feed their spirit with garbage and murk and what goes in must come out.

Snapping turtles spend so much time in the mud that they even look like mud; they in many ways have conformed to the world around them and are as dirty as the mud holes they live in. It says in Romans 12:2 “Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will."

If you liked this devotional be sure to pick up a copy of "Whispers In The Woods" to have a collection of 52 similar devotionals for your spiritual growth and encouragement.  Click HERE to order a copy!

Do You Carry The Light Inside You?

Do you carry the light inside of you? As believers in Christ we are called to be the light of the world like it speaks of in Matthew 5:14-16. If Christ is in fact inside of us then we should proclaim his name and let that light shine in this dark world. Look at the firefly, or as we call them in the south, Lightening bugs. They are set apart and different from other insects because they, like Christ followers, carry the light inside of them. So as summer darkness creeps in you can see the flashing beauty of these tiny bugs. Amid the blackness there is light. No matter how dark it is outside when these little guys flash it illuminates the darkness. 

That is how we as Christians should be in this dark world. Our individual lights for Christ may be the only things shining out amid the darkness that surrounds us. So when you see these little light wielding creations give thanks to God for the light he has bestowed upon us as believers and let that light shine for him. 

If you liked this devotional be sure to pick up a copy of "Whispers In The Woods" to have a collection of 52 similar devotionals for your spiritual growth and encouragement.  Click HERE to order a copy!

Blind Like A Bat?

Although a bat has pretty good eyesight, contrary to popular belief, they do not rely on their eyes to capture their prey.  A bat operates in a nocturnal world and uses a process called echolocation to track down their in flight meals.  Echolocation is essentially mammalian sonar and is basically a signal sent out and returned that helps them hone in on their objective.  As Christ followers we live by faith and not by sight just like it says in 2 Corinthians 5:7.  So when you think of how a bat finds its way in the dark think about how we pray and send signals to God.  The more we pray the easier it is to find our way.  

If you liked this devotional be sure to pick up a copy of "Whispers In The Woods" to have a collection of 52 similar devotionals for your spiritual growth and encouragement.  Click HERE to order a copy!

Are you full of bugs?

Are you full of bugs? Recently while walking near a trail in the woods I kicked open a rotting pine log to see if anyone was living inside.  Much to my surprise I found tons of termites, it was absolutely teeming with the little guys!  In that moment I had the thought that just as this tree had to die for these termites to have life we too must die to ourselves so that Christ can be fully alive inside of us.  A tree has to either be sick or dead for termites to really infest it like this and it makes sense even in the spiritual because we must first be aware that we are sick with our own sin and then die to it before Christ can truly infest our core.  Just like the termites made a dead tree teem with life on the inside, Christ can make a dead human alive with his redemptive grace.  Are you willing to lay down your life so that Christ can live in you?  Are you full of Bugs?

If you liked this devotional be sure to pick up a copy of "Whispers In The Woods" to have a collection of 52 similar devotionals for your spiritual growth and encouragement.  Click HERE to order a copy!

Are You Calm In The Storm?

Are You Calm in The Storm?  

Have you ever noticed that storms are exciting when you know they are coming but if one catches you off guard it is an almost entirely different experience?  I remember thinking this one-day as I walked in the woods and saw storm clouds coming.  I knew this one was approaching and wanted to watch it.  I was anxiously awaiting the claps of thunder and flashes of lightening.  It was exciting to me to see the cumulonimbus clouds get bigger and blacker.  I was prepared for this storm and because of that it seemed different than if I were caught off guard.

The exact opposite experience took place on the ocean one day when we were unwittingly under a small craft advisory and the 6-8 foot swells were swamping our extremely small boat.  I remember thinking I was going to die and trying to ascertain the best way to jump if the boat began to capsize.  “Okay, if the bubbles go up I swim that way to the surface,” these were things that flashed through my mind during this unexpected storm.  Almost in a moment, Jesus made himself known to me as I was praying silently on the bow of the boat and reminded me to focus on him.

How many times do we let the storms of life take control when Jesus has full power and authority to calm the wind and waves in our lives?  Although the waves didn’t get any smaller and our boat didn’t feel any more sea-worthy, I felt peace.  Once my focus shifted from the storm and my situation back to Jesus my whole outlook changed.  I was prepared once again to enjoy the storm and be excited for the adventure because Jesus was in full control.  This experience really made Mark 4:35-41 come alive to me.  Our focus needs to constantly be on Jesus.  Are you calm in the storm?

 

If you liked this devotional be sure to pick up a copy of "Whispers In The Woods" to have a collection of 52 similar devotionals for your spiritual growth and encouragement.  Click HERE to order a copy!

Jellyfish Don't Have Backbones, Do You?

Jellyfish Don’t Have Backbones, Do You?  

 

Have you ever really looked at the nature and body type of a jellyfish?  They are what’s called an invertebrate, which simply means they have no backbone.  How many times do we as believers operate more like invertebrates with no backbone in the face of spiritual adversity?   Jesus is calling us to stand up for him and loudly proclaim our faith, not just the things that are comfortable and easy to digest.  Matthew 11:12 says From the days of John the Baptist until now, the kingdom of heaven has been forcefully advancing, and forceful men lay hold of it.” 

            If you have seen a jellyfish in it’s own environment it moves effortlessly and if approached it will sting you with its tentacles.  Once it washes up on shore, out of it’s comfort zone, it no longer has much of a defense and will ultimately die in the sun.  They just don’t have the ability to stand up and walk back into the sea; their tentacles are good for quick defense but useless for moving on land.  Jesus is calling us to be less like jellyfish and more like men such as John the Baptist.  We need to be willing to take the Kingdom of Heaven by force and stand up for Christ both in and out of our element.  Christ made us vertebrates (with backbones) in His image, let’s start acting like it!

 

If you liked this devotional be sure to pick up a copy of "Whispers In The Woods" to have a collection of 52 similar devotionals for your spiritual growth and encouragement.  Click HERE to order a copy!

Have You Been Set Free Like A Wild Horse?

Have You Been Set Free Like A Wild Horse? Have you ever seen a truly wild horse?  Recently I was privileged enough to see a group of wild horses in the Outer Banks of NC and it struck me that their freedom is what sets them apart from captive horses.  Jesus came to liberate us from sin and death and a life with him is one that is truly free.  Captive horses live within small parameters and are often oblivious to what a life of true freedom even looks like.  Galatians 5:1 says “It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.”

 When the Spanish ran aground in the 16th and 17th centuries along the North Carolina coast the first thing to go were the heavy horses that they carried from Spain.  How often is our freedom in Christ the first thing to go when we are ran aground by life’s circumstances?  The horses went from a life of captive slavery to one of complete freedom in a matter of moments as they scrambled to swim to the shore.  It seems representative of our walk with Christ in that sometimes it takes a push of tragedy or even just a moment of helplessness to regain our freedom in Christ and remember that he has set us free.

If you liked this devotional be sure to pick up a copy of "Whispers In The Woods" to have a collection of 52 similar devotionals for your spiritual growth and encouragement.  Click HERE to order a copy!

Do You Buzz Like A Mosquito?

Have you ever felt that annoying buzz of a mosquito around your ears that could only symbolize an itching fit later?  They seem to serve as a warning for things to come and mostly a warning of potential discomfort.  How many times do we as Christians buzz around to people who find us annoying, only to be uncomfortable later when the gospel message isn’t fully received.  A mosquito brings life to those smart enough to feed on them.  Bats, tadpoles, small lizards and a slew of other organisms see the mosquito in a much different light than we do.  Just like the person who needs to be fed the buzz of the real Gospel needs that life giving sustenance.  So even though a mosquito is annoying to most and often gets swatted, it has a purpose and so do you. (Mark 15:16) If you liked this devotional be sure to pick up a copy of "Whispers In The Woods" to have a collection of 52 similar devotionals for your spiritual growth and encouragement.  Click HERE to order a copy!

Do You Have Faith Like a Frog?

Do you have faith like a frog?  

         Did you know that some frogs take care of their babies?  The male Blue Jeans Dart Frog (Dendrobates pumilio) actually carries his babies on his back to deposit them in suitable habitats, like the funnels of bromeliad plants.  He does this because, as a loving father should, he cares how his children will grow up.  Do you know that our heavenly father does the same thing?  He cares how we will grow up and helps to place us in the right habitat so that we will be able to grow up and do His will.  Do you have faith like a frog?  Do you believe that the Father has got you taken care of? 

       Just like in the case of baby Blue Jeans frogs, we must rely on the knowledge of the father, have faith the he has our best interest at heart, and hold on for the ride.  If this little frog cares for his children, think about how much more our heavenly father cares about us.  So I will ask you again, do you have faith like a frog?  (Matthew 6:25-34)

 

 If you liked this devotional be sure to pick up a copy of "Whispers In The Woods" to have a collection of 52 similar devotionals for your spiritual growth and encouragement.  Click HERE to order a copy!

 

Stan Lake—Catching Creation