Daily Devotional – 7/10/18 “How accurate is your reaction?”

We see the news stories, we read the social media post and we even hear about what happened to someone we know and reaction is usually what you would have said or done. But how accurate is your reaction? I mean, how do you know what you would do in a situation, you’ve never been in? How do you know how you’d react, if you’ve never come face to face with danger? Don’t you know fear has the power to paralyze you? I get it. The bible says God does not give us a spirit of fear but baby flesh is something else. All you have to do is get woken up, in the middle of the night by a strange sound or let someone walk up on you when you aren’t paying attention or have a gun stuck in your face. You don’t know how you’ll respond so stop speculating on what you’d do in a situation if you’ve never been in it. Stop offering your advice on something you know nothing about. In other words, hush! Because it is easy to say what you would do, when you are on the outside looking in. But how accurate is your reaction? Sure, you’ve experienced grief but you can’t tell a mother, who has lost her only child, how it feels when you haven’t. Losing a parent is different from losing a sibling, losing a sibling is different from losing a spouse and losing a spouse is different from losing a child. Grief is grief but there are different levels and if you haven’t experienced, firsthand, what someone is going through, HUSH!

Yes, it’s easy to say you’d leave an abusive spouse if you have never come face to face with a monster who looks like your husband or wife. Of course, you can say how fast you’d leave somebody who cheats on you, if you’ve never been cheated on by a man or woman who you love with all of you and willing to give another chance. It’s easy to say how you’d deal with someone who has mental issues until that person is a brother, mother, sister or father. You can say, you’d walk away from a fight until it’s your life on the line. You just don’t know how you’d react. Maybe you will react differently and maybe you will not but you don’t know until you’re faced with the same situation. So, please, stop judging people who have made decisions you might not have made. Your faith may be stronger and wider than theirs. However, the bible says in Romans 14:1, “As for the one who is weak in faith, welcome him, but not to quarrel over opinions.” Do not make people feel bad over the choice they had to make while in the middle of a situation. Do not judge folk over what they did when anger was consuming them. Do not condemn those who make a mistake. Bible says in Romans 15:1, “We who are strong have an obligation to bear with the failings of the weak, and not to please ourselves.” And if what I’ve shared isn’t enough, just remember this … It may be me today but it could be you tomorrow so be mindful of how you react to my reaction.

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Daily Devotional – 7/9/18 “God’s Garage!”

A friend posed a question to Facebook yesterday asking, “Why are you really going to church?” I replied as honest as I knew how because I can remember, just a few years ago, when I was going to church but church wasn’t in me. I was going through the motions of looking religious because it was what I was used too but I was leaving worship with everything but religion. I would get up on Sunday and dress the part but I wasn’t living it. I’d sing in the choir and serve in positions but there was nothing genuine about my praise. Now though, my thoughts and actions have changed. It didn’t happen overnight and neither am I perfect but I had to change. Why? Because I wasn’t being true to me, let’s not even talk about what I was doing to God. But then one day, I woke up tired of suffering and playing. Now, today, when I go to church; I treat it as my routine checkup in God’s Garage. See, I have come to realize that going to worship is like going to a mechanic’s shop and unlike getting your oil changed every 3000 miles, it’s getting your oil renewed every 8640 minutes. Yea, going to worship is to make sure you have the right amount of ‘living water’ so you don’t overheat. Going to worship is checking to make sure all of your parts are working properly so you don’t give out, on your way. And going to worship, allows you to fellowship with others who may not be in pristine condition like you are. You know how you sit in the dealership’s waiting area? Worship is God’s Garage waiting area. While you’re there, you can chat with others who are there.

When you do, you may find somebody who is at their wit’s end and you can offer hope. You may connect with somebody who is fearful of the work that is needed to get them right but you can offer hope because you know the mechanic personally and you can testify of His work ethic. You may even talk to somebody who is thinking about changing their mechanic but you can offer hope because you’ve been where they are and walked in their shoes. You can offer hope because you’ve been utilizing this mechanic’s shop for a while and His work speaks for itself. Why do I go to church? To make sure my oil isn’t low and if it is, to get it topped off. Why do I go to church? To make sure everything is at the level it should be in order to work effectively. Why do I go to church? To give hope to somebody who may be struggling with paying what it cost to the mechanic. This is why God’s Garage poster of ‘Please Come Again’ says, “And so, dear brothers and sisters, we can boldly enter heaven’s Most Holy Place because of the blood of Jesus. By his death Jesus opened a new and life-giving way through the curtain into the Most Holy Place. And since we have a great High Priest who rules over God’s house, let us go right into the presence of God with sincere hearts fully trusting him. For our guilty consciences have been sprinkled with Christ’s blood to make us clean, and our bodies have been washed with pure water. Let us hold tightly without wavering to the hope we affirm, for God can be trusted to keep his promise. Let us think of ways to motivate one another to acts of love and good works. And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another, especially now that the day of his return is drawing near (Hebrews 10:19-25).”