Friday, November 28, 2008

Don't Give God the Leftovers

Thanksgiving is over. Now we are into the leftovers. They will be good for another day or two but pale in comparison to the feast you had yesterday. Many times that is what people offer God, the leftovers. Leftover time, leftover money, leftover talents. God gave us His best in Jesus Christ and we should offer our very best to Him. I hope as this year draws to an end and we prepare for 2009 we will all re-evaluate our Commitment to God. That we will offer Him our very best, our first fruits. If we do I know He will bless our efforts and 2009 will be our BEST year yet!

Thursday, November 27, 2008

What's For Dinner?

Aren't You Glad You're Not a Turkey?
Happy Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

There's No Place Like Home

(Photo by Corliss Sinclair, CT)
The traditional American dream is home ownership, a house with a white picket fence and climbing roses, a loving family inside. In today’s society, home sales are falling, the divorce rate is climbing, and the rose bush seems to have more thorns than roses. Some American families are more like the Osbornes than the Waltons. Like Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz, we seem to have been caught in a whirlwind that has whisked us away from everything that is safe and familiar. Toto, I don’t think we’re in Kansas anymore.

With the Thanksgiving and Christmas holiday season upon us, we long to return home to our families, however fractured they may be. We dream of warm kitchens, tables spread with good food and plenty of smiles and hugs to go around. We yearn for the true definition of home and family, a place where we are welcomed and loved. In this modern world, is there really still a place like that? Maybe, maybe not. But if we know Christ, we have a home in heaven that is beyond our most fantastic dreams. There is a table spread and a mansion ready. Best of all, there is Someone waiting for us with open arms. We don’t need the power of a fictional wizard to grant our heart’s desire for a real and lasting home. We simply need to “come home to Christ.” Truly, there is no place like home.

“However, as it is written: No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love him.” (1Corinthians 2:9, NIV)

By Hazel King
Copyright 2008

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

It's not About You

Psalm 100:4
Enter His gates with Thanksgiving and His courts with Praise. Give Thanks to Him; bless His name.
As we continue our theme of Thanksgiving this week Psalm 100:4 reminds us to come before God Rejoicing and giving thanks not complaining and grumbling. I am sure God gets plenty of that all year long. So this week let us Praise Him for Who He is , Thank Him for what He has done, Worship Him as the Creator and Sustainer of the Universe. It is not about us this week it is all about Him (actually it is all about God all the time). Share a positive thought with a co-worker today. When you come through the door tonight let your first words be words of Praise not complaints. Smile more. Look for the good in people. Choose your attitude and make sure it is a good one. Some will say oh this is just more of positive attitude philosophy and has nothing to do with God. Really? Then read Philippians 2:14 Do all things without grumbling or complaining. Have a nice Day and, help others to do the same.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Have a Voice of Thanksgiving

This week all the devotionals will be centered around the theme of Thanksgiving. Psalm 26:7 tells us we should have a voice of Thanksgiving and declare all of God's wonders. Many people begin to stress during the Holidays. They focus on all the travel, expense, logistics of who's house to be at for Thanksgiving and Christmas. It can become overwhelming if we are not careful. One of the ways to keep that from happening is to change our focus. So today let's focus on our Blessings. Get a piece of paper. You didn't do it did you. You want to hurry through the devotion and move on. That is part of the problem. Do you have a piece of paper now and something to write with? If so, write down 10 things you are grateful for. You do not have to limit yourself to 10. Share them with your family or a close friend. Focus on the Blessings today. Practice having a Voice of Thanksgiving. Your attitude will rub off on those around you, its contagious. This is only Day 1 of Thanksgiving week it's going to get better and better each day. I am thankful you read this I hope you are.

Friday, November 21, 2008

I Wish You Enough

My daughter Tara sent this to me on the Internet and I thought it was worth sharing.
I Wish You Enough

Recently I overheard a mother and daughter in their last moments together at the airport. They had announced the departure. Standing near the security gate, they hugged and the mother said, 'I love you, and I wish you enough.' The daughter replied, 'Mom, our life together has been more than enough. Your love is allI ever needed. I wish you enough, too, Mom.' They kissed and the daughter left. The mother walked over to the window where I was seated. Standing there I could see she wanted and needed to cry. I tried not to intrude on her privacy, but she welcomed me in by asking, 'Did you ever say good-bye to someone knowing it would be forever?' 'Yes, I have,' I replied. 'Forgive me for asking, but why is this a forever good-bye?'. 'I am old, and she lives so far away. I have challenges ahead and the reality is - the next trip back will be for my funeral,' she said. 'When you were saying good-bye, I heard you say, 'I wish you enough.' May I ask what that means?'She began to smile. 'That's a wish that has been handed down from other generations. My parents used to say it to everyone.' She paused a moment and looked up as if trying to remember it in detail, and she smiled even more. 'When we said, 'I wish you enough, we were wanting the other person to have a life filled with just enough good things to sustain them.' Then turning toward me, she shared the following as if she were reciting it from memory.
I wish you enough sun to keep your attitude bright no matter how gray the day may appear.
I wish you enough rain to appreciate the sun even more.
I wish you enough happiness to keep your spirit alive and everlasting.
I wish you enough pain so that even the smallest of joys in life may appear bigger.
I wish you enough gain to satisfy your wanting.
I wish you enough loss to appreciate all that you possess.
I wish you enough hellos to get you through the final good-bye.
She then began to cry and walked away. They say it takes a minute to find a special person, an hour to appreciate them, a day to love them; but then an entire life to forget them.
I hope you all have a great weekend.
Jeff Nichols

Thursday, November 20, 2008

A Giant CAT-astrophe

One of my favorite stories in the Bible is the story of David and Goliath. You can find it in
I Samuel 17. I believe most of you are familiar with the story. The children of Israel would not go down in the valley to fight Goliath because he was too BIG. David did not hesitate to take him on because he did not look so big to David. It is all a matter of perspective. The children of Israel were looking at Goliath's size in relation to them. David was looking at Goliath's size in relation to God. We all have giants that we face and sometimes they appear to be so large they overwhelm us. But, if we could learn to view our problems as David viewed Goliath life would not be so difficult. Our God is a Great God able to do anything. If we put our faith in our own abilities and resources we often fall short. But if we can change our perspective and put our Faith in God and His resources Miracles can happen. If we would devote as much time to prayer and we do to worry many of Giants would disappear.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

How is Your Week?

Matthew 9:36 And seeing the multitudes, He felt compassion for them, because they were distressed and downcast like sheep without a shepherd.

This week has been difficult so far. Many of my friends are dealing with great loss. People who are close to them have died or are dying. Sometimes it breaks our hearts to watch people go through hard times because we want to help and are not sure what to do. If we could take away their pain and suffering we would but many times all we can do is be there and let them know how much we care. If we feel that way what must it be like for Christ to feel the pain and hurt of people all over the world who are struggling. This verse reminds us that Christ has such compassion. If love is such a great thing then loosing someone we love has to hurt. Jesus compared many of the hurting to sheep without a Shepherd. Without a Shepherd they have no hope. How long do you think these sheep would survive without a shepherd. They wouldn't. The Bible compares us to sheep. It is not a very flattering comparison. Let's face it sheep are just not that smart. They wonder off, get in trouble, can not fend for themselves and are the worst fighters in the animal kingdom. You have never seen a football team with a sheep as a mascot. Sheep strike fear in the hearts of no one . They are very timid, shy, defenseless. Jesus feels great compassion for us. The best decision we can make is to allow Him to be our Shepherd. I hope each one of us can say, like King David, " The Lord is MY Shepherd." I find great comfort in that during times like this week.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Clear Sailing

Anyone can hold the helm when the sea is calm
Publilius Syrus

These two pictures represent the extremes in our lives. Sometimes it is very peaceful and calm and other times we are being tossed about by the storms of life. When the going gets difficult you want someone at the helm who has been there before. Someone who has experience navigating the storms. When the clouds of difficulty and depression begin to gather, when the winds of adversity start to blow, when the waves of financial hardship and broken relationships come crashing down on you make sure you have Christ standing at the helm. He has been there before, knows what to do, never panics, focus on Him and not the storm and you will be OK. I promise.

I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. Philippians 4:13

Monday, November 17, 2008

You Never Know What the Next Tide Brings In

The Title of todays devotion is a line from the movie Cast Away starring Tom Hanks. In that movie he is stranded on an island. Each day he goes to the beach and collects things that have washed up overnight. He uses the materials to build a raft. When he found the final piece he needed he said " You never know what the next tide brings in." That is so true. Each day we never know what will happen, good or bad. This weekend I received a call from a friend of mine telling me one of his employees, only 38 years old with a wife and four small children, had been killed in an accident.
As I look at this picture it so peaceful, quiet, and calm, but who knows what the day holds for any of us. As you begin this week take the time to read the 23rd Psalm. It is good to know the Lord is MY Shepherd. He is watching over me to protect, provide, and guide me in the way I should go. Claim that promise today and when the week gets a little hectic come back and look at this picture again and know that the God of Peace is watching over you.

Friday, November 14, 2008

There is a Time for Everything

The passage you see in the picture is from the Bible. It is from the book of Ecclesiastes, chapter 3.
The passage begins by telling us there is a Season and a Time for every Purpose. We are about to enter that Season but there will not be much Time so I am Hoping you do not neglect it's Purpose. What am I talking about you ask? This is the time of the year that things get a little hectic. Two major Holidays close to one another. Thanksgiving and, Christmas followed closely by New Years. Already you are making plans. This year will be a little harder. Money is tight and people are not traveling as much as they were. They can't. Thanksgiving and Christmas usually involve travel and expense. Families and friends getting together to celebrate. Celebrate what? Thanksgiving, a time to reflect and thank God for His Provision and Blessings. A time to stop and reflect on all the things we really have to be thankful for. Make a list. I am sure we would all be surprised at how many things would be on that list. But somewhere in the travel and food preparation there will not be much time for Giving Thanks. Try this...At the thanksgiving meal this year go around the table before you eat and ask each person to just name one thing they are thankful for. I think you will find it will make the meal and the travel and the season a little better. Then of course there is Christmas. A time to celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ our Savior. But, somewhere in the shopping and traveling and buying gifts with money you don't have we will miss the Purpose of it all. Try this....On Christmas morning before all the gifts are opened stop and read the Christmas Story from Luke Chapter 2. It will give the Season much more Purpose if we take the Time. Or you could just rip open the presents because that's what it is really about anyway. By the way can you remember 3 things you received last Christmas? I didn't think so.
Jeff Nichols

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Swimming With My Dad

No, this is not a picture of me and my dad but, it did remind me of when I used to swim (really just ride) on his back. My dad used to swim in college and he was an excellent swimmer. So I would climb on his back and he would take me for laps around the pool. I did not care how deep the water was because I was with my father and he would not let anything happen to me. I am sure this little guy in the picture is thinking the very same thing. The analogy of course is that as long as we are with our Heavenly Father we do not have anything to worry about. For when we are weak He is strong. The only time we get in trouble is when we wonder away from Him and find ourselves in over our heads. Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. He promises He will never leave us or forsake us. So enjoy the ride and stay close to the Father. Later Gator!!!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Don't Let the Upset Outlive the Sunset

As a minister it is my privilege to perform weddings. I believe it is the second biggest event in a persons life. The first one of course is accepting Christ as our Lord and Savior. At the end of each wedding I share some advice with the couple just before I pronounce them husband and wife. The advice comes from Ephesians 4:26 ..."Do not let the sun go down on your anger." In other words if there is a disagreement don't let the sun set on it and allow the problem to fester overnight. Work it out before going to bed so that when we get up in the morning we can concentrate on that days challenges. Sometimes pride gets the best of us and we don't want to apologize, or say I am sorry. Even if you are in the right it is a good idea to work things out before going to bed. This is also true of friendships and other relationships. Talking through a problem can many times prevent resentment from building. Resentment, if not dealt with, turns to anger and bitterness and even hatred. It is so easy to pick up the phone, turn off the TV, walk across to a neighbors and resolve whatever differences there are before they have time to grow into BIG problems. Its getting darker earlier now, better hurry.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Beware the Little Foxes

In Judges 15:4,5 there is a very interesting little story concerning Samson and some little Foxes. Samson caught 300 foxes and tied their tails together. He then tied torches to their tails and released them into the Philistines grain fields. Such small animals caused such great destruction. We must beware the Little Foxes in our own lives. Small things that become very Big things. An unkind word. A broken promise. Forgetting an anniversary, birthday special event. Not taking the time we should with our children. Communicating with our spouse on a regular basis about more than just logistical household concerns. Missing our daily devotional time. Not praying each day. Little things that can become big things and have devastating consequences. Pay attention to the small details today. They can pay big dividends.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Charting Your Course

(Photo by Corliss Sinclair)

Of all earth’s wonders, the oceans remain one of its greatest mysteries. Scientists are still exploring the depths of the sea and the myriad creatures and plants found there. In truth, there is an entire world under the surface of the water that most of us will never see and cannot imagine. No one but God could create the ocean, set its boundaries, and sustain its tides and waves. The ocean is an awesome exhibit of God’s power and majesty.

When we gaze upon the ocean, it goes on as far as the eye can see, to the horizon and beyond. Yet it is not without end. Waves from the same ocean crash upon the shores of a distant country. If we set sail, like Columbus in 1492, we will eventually reach land provided our boat is seaworthy and the winds are favorable. John Shedd once said, “a ship in harbor is safe—but that is not what ships are built for.” Surfers like to ride the biggest waves, so they head for the ocean when a hurricane is brewing. Why should we desire a haven of rest when we could have the excitement of an ocean crossing? If we remain on shore and gaze across the water, our view will never change. It is only when we launch out into the deep that we experience new adventures.

In the same manner, it is only when we commit ourselves completely to God that we experience the fullness of his power to change our lives. If we allow ourselves to be frightened by the vast unknown or fearful of the obstacles in our path, we miss the joy of the journey. Is God calling you to do a special work for him? If we allow him to chart our course and pilot our vessel, we are assured of his protection and blessing. So go ahead. Push off from the shore. Launch out for God.

“Or take ships as an example. Although they are so large and are driven by strong winds, they are steered by a very small rudder wherever the pilot wants to go” (James 3:4, NIV).

by Hazel King
Copyright 2008

Friday, November 7, 2008

Need a Hug?

Each morning I would walk down the hall of the College where I was teaching and and greet the students on the way to class. One morning I spoke to a girl and said, "How are you doing today?" She immediately burst into tears. I found a nearby vacant office and asked her what was the problem? She proceeded to tell me all the problems in her life and they were extensive. Relationship problems, bad health of her parents, financial worries. I listened and she cried. I then offered to have prayer with her and she went her way. Each day we pass people who are hurting. They may not say anything but behind their smile and polished exterior inside they are struggling. Sometimes they just need someone to listen. You don't have to fix it , just listen. Sometimes they need someone to pray with them. Sometimes they need a hug. Years ago I had a good friend and his wife who were expecting their first child. I received a phone call that they were on the way to the hospital, something was wrong. By the time I got their I found out they had lost the baby. My friend was also in the Ministry. As I entered the hospital room I just walked up to him and could not speak, tears filled my eyes and his. All I could do was hug him and we cried. Sometimes we do not have to quote scripture, have prayer, or explain the theological reasons for everything. Sometimes we just need to let people know we care. So, look for opportunities today to show your concern and love for others. Sometimes the pain is too much to BEAR alone.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Jesus is the Bridge

What a beautiful setting. But, what if you had to walk across this bridge? Could you do it? What if the bridge was not there and you had to jump across, could you make it? This bridge is a great picture of the divide between God and man. There is no way we could jump across. How can we get to heaven? Jesus said He was the Way in John 14:6. He does not send us across according to that passage He comes and gets us and walks us across. Psalm 23 also tells us God is with us in the Valleys of life also. It is all about trust. There was a man who had dropped his watch down a well and he was trying to retrieve it. He asked a young boy if he could tie a rope around him and lower him into the well to get the watch. He told the lad he would give him a hundred dollars to do it. The boy replied that he would do it and then took off running. The man yelled, "where are you going?" The boy shouted back, "I am going to get my father to hold the rope." Our heavenly Father will not let us fall. He will be with us in the valleys and in the difficult places of life. Who do you trust to walk you through it all?

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

God Bless America

2 Chronicles 7:14 (New International Version)
14 if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land.
This is what Bible Scholars refer to as a Covenant Verse. A Covenant is also an Agreement, Contract, Testament, It is an "IF"....."Then" relationship. If my people will do these things Then here is what I will do, replies God. This is good advice for America. As Christians we should pray, seek God , and turn from our wicked ways. Most folks want God's Blessings while ignoring God's requirements. This is also good advice for individuals. If we expect God to act in our lives we must give Him more than lip service we must give Him Life Service. There is no better time than now to enter into a Covenant relationship with God. If you do, then you will begin to experience God's leadership and plan for your life.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Looking for Leadership, Truth, a Real Change. Then Look to the Cross

By the time you read my devotion tomorrow morning we will have elected a new President of the United States. Some of you will be very happy that your candidate won and others will be disappointed their candidate lost. I must tell you I am pretty disappointed with the whole process this year. Not just the Presidential Race but all the races I have witnessed. I would estimate that 9 out of 10 TV ads I watched told me nothing about what the candidate stood for but just negative information about their opponent. The one thing I am confident in is that no matter who wins today God is still on His throne and in charge of the Universe. No matter how much change we are promised God will be the same yesterday, today, and forever. That if I need to find truth I will always be able to find it in God's Word. If I need real Wisdom all I have to do is ask God for it. If I am seeking real leadership I do not have to look any further than the man who gave His life for me and you on a Cross 2000 years ago. If I want peace I will turn to the Prince of Peace. If I want hope for the future I will turn to one who gives us a future, and a hope.We have heard so many empty temporary promises that will fade as soon as these candidates have won their elections. I am glad we have a God who will be faithful to all of His promises now and forever. I don't know who you trust but I do not have to look any further than our national motto which appears on every U.S. coin..... "In God We Trust." Proverbs 3:5,6 Trust in the Lord with all your heart, And do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He will make your paths straight. So no matter who occupies the White House God still occupies the Great White throne. Remember to pray for our leaders and may God Bless America.

Monday, November 3, 2008


There is a weather alert radio in my office that issues a warning when severe weather approaches the area. The system is tested on a weekly basis, causing the radio to emit a series of very loud beeps. The test is always on Wednesday, it is always between 11:00-11:30 a.m., and I am always surprised. Go figure.

Like the radio test that startles me every Wednesday, we are sometimes surprised by the storms that occur in our lives. God isn’t. We may quake and cower in the face of such natural disasters as the illness or death of a loved one, divorce, or financial crises, but God is never caught by surprise. Jesus slept in the bottom of the boat while a sudden storm raged on the Sea of Galilee. When the disciples panicked and woke him, he simply said, “Peace, be still.” His words calmed not only the wind and waves but the disciples’ fears.

When life’s trials catch you unaware, remember the words of Jesus and rest in the knowledge that he is with you and will see you through the storm.

By Hazel King
Copyright 2008