Today's devotionals

Long Devotional for Women:


Kramer -  

This devotional was written by Linda Vujnov   

 

For great is his love toward us, and the faithfulness of the Lord endures forever. Praise the Lord. —Psalm 117:2

 

Kramer lived a reckless life before we met him. His evenings were consumed with dodging unbalanced toddlers desperate to grab his fur, escaping coyotes during late night searches for shelter, and eating meals scavenged from overturned food containers, I imagine. He has always been too ashamed to share the details. When he arrived at the animal shelter, he was underweight at 10 pounds and his enormous under bite and duck footed paws made him undesirable. Since he needed a family, and our teenage son is a sap for the unsightly, we brought Kramer home. I needed more coaxing after our initial encounter though. His bad teeth and irritable growl at the moment I tried to pick him up reinforced my decision to keep my distance. “I do not like him,” I announced. “He is too small, and he’s ugly.” My criticisms cut through the heart of our youngest child, but the dog’s psyche was unharmed. I’ve been known to carelessly speak my mind.

 

Kramer immediately accepted our family and made a home for himself atop our couch cushion that offered a perfect view of the threatening, outside world. Although he hated being picked up, he stole every opportunity to settle into any available lap and sleep away the day, and surprisingly, I was beginning to like him.

 

As we grew accustomed to each other, his faults began to expose themselves. His unnerving habit of “marking” his territory all over the house quickly became a nuisance especially after we had the carpets cleaned and he found it necessary to repeat the marking process. After fits of frustration from cleaning and sanitizing, I would settle in an overstuffed chair and Kramer would curl up in my lap, breathe a heavy sigh, and steal my heart again. Overlooking this annoying practice was almost instantaneous since his affection was so abundant. I was instantly reminded of God’s unrelenting love for me and the fact that He is never disappointed with my behaviors. God knows my mess ups and mistakes before they happen. He is in no way surprised by my missteps or misgivings.

 

God saw every sin before it was committed and yet sent His Son as a sacrifice; a replacement for our unsightly sin. His love for us runs deep and his affection stretches wide. So jump up, heave a sigh, and curl up in the lap of your wonderful Savior. Christ, too, takes pleasure in our affection for Him for we are His beloved.

 

Kramer continues to annoy me, but thankfully for him, I have a short memory.

 

GOING DEEPER:

1. What keeps you from accepting God’s love and forgiveness?

 

2. How can you show affection for God today?

 

FURTHER READING:

Romans 8:38-39; Ephesians 3:18-19


This devotional originally appeared in “HomeWord with Jim Burns” on Crosswalk’s Family Devotional section. For more information about HomeWord with Jim Burns devotionals, please visit us online.

More of HomeWord with Jim Burns: http://www.crosswalk.com/devotionals/homeword/

Long Devotional for Men:


Integrity: The Lost Art of Following Through -  

This devotional was written by Jim Liebelt

 

Simply let your ‘Yes’ be ‘Yes,’ and your ‘No’ be ‘No’; anything beyond this comes from the evil one. —Matthew 5:37

 

Most of us have recent examples where we’ve observed the truth in the phrase “Talk is cheap.” For example when my wife and I moved into a new home, it was a year filled with promises from vendors and contractors who rarely followed through on their word without some kind of nagging or pressure from us. It seems our society is filled with people who have lost the art of following through on promises they have made.

 

It would be nice if we could say that Christians are immune from the “talk is cheap” phenomenon, but we aren’t. I see it happen within our ranks all of the time. More indicting, the truth is that I’m just as guilty. Perhaps I’ve snuggled up too close (once again!) to our culture and have been unintentionally influenced by it – but I find that I promise more often than I deliver. While not intentionally lying, from “I’ll pray for you” to “I’ll help you with that project,” I’ve delivered verbal assurances where I haven’t thought seriously enough about the actual follow-through. Looking back, it’s embarrassing, and I honestly want to do better.

 

Some may observe, “Everyone does it – we don’t mean to do it – it’s harmless.” For the most part, that observation is likely accurate. Most lapses in following through do not rise to the level of life or death issues; however, I believe that as Christ-followers, we are held to a higher standard. The Scriptures make it clear that integrity, honesty, and following through on our promises are important to our own souls and to our relationships. While words are important, actions do speak louder. Our actions reveal more about our faith than all of the words we can muster. As such, I’m not suggesting that we stop making promises to protect ourselves from lying. I’m suggesting that we honor God by acting on what we promise.

 

I know that I won’t always be perfect in this area from here on out, but my goal is to intentionally think more about following though – in the very moment I commit to something – and to remind myself that too often my own talk is cheap. Today, I encourage you to do the same.

 

GOING DEEPER:

1. Think of a recent time when a person or company didn’t deliver on a promise to you. How did you react? What difference did it make in your perception of that person/company?

 

2. Evaluate whether or not you need to admit that too often your talk is cheap. Ask God to help you be a person of your word.

 

FURTHER READING:

Proverbs 10:9, 13:3, 14:23, 19:20; 2 Corinthians 9:2-5


This devotional originally appeared in “HomeWord with Jim Burns” on Crosswalk’s Family Devotional section. For more information about HomeWord with Jim Burns devotionals, please visit us online.

More of HomeWord with Jim Burns: http://www.crosswalk.com/devotionals/homeword/


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