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“But this I call to mind, and therefore I have hope: The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases;
His mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.”
This devotional was written by Leslie Snyder
There is a time to weep and a time to laugh. — Ecclesiastes 3:3a
One of our family’s favorite songs is from the musical, Mary Poppins. “I Love to Laugh” is sprinkled with laughter and often begins a contagious wave of the giggles. The lyrics give a bit of insight into this silly gift of laughter:
When things strike me as funny
I can't hide it inside
And squeak - as the squeakelers do
I've got to let go with a ho-ho-ho...
And a ha-ha-ha...too!
We love to laugh
Loud and long and clear
We love to laugh
So ev'rybody can hear
The more you laugh
The more you fill with glee
And the more the glee
The more we're a merrier we!
It’s getting worse every year.*
Some think that Jesus was always serious, that He never laughed. It is true, that it is never recorded in the gospel accounts that Jesus laughed. Still, Jesus knew the Scriptures. He knew the passage from Ecclesiastes, that there is “a time to laugh.” In Luke, chapter 10, after Jesus has sent out 72 of His followers on a mission and they had returned and given their report, we read, “And he (Jesus) said to them, ‘I was watching Satan fall from heaven like lightning…’ At that time Jesus, full of joy through the Holy Spirit, said, I praise you Father…” In my own mind, I don’t see it a stretch to envision Jesus laughing.
Recent statistics share that laughter peaks at the age of four, meaning that four-year-old children laugh more than they will at any other age. Statistics also reveal the healing power of laughter. Laughter decreases stress, releases natural mood-lifting endorphins, fights off depression, and strengthens the body. It is also a gift from God and music to his ears. So, whether you are four, 40, or 94, or whether you snicker, tee-hee, or enjoy a full-belly laugh, find time today to laugh.
1. How is your sense of humor? When was the last time you had a really good laugh?
2. How does laughter affect your life? How can it serve to strengthen your life as a Christ-follower?
Nehemiah 8:10; Psalm 66:1; Isaiah 55:12; Galatians 5:22
*"I Love to Laugh", lyrics by Sherman & Sherman
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/
"My days are swifter than a weaver's shuttle." - Job 7:6
Men have always had a love affair with speed. The faster they can go--first with horses, then with cars and now with space shuttles--the happier they are. Speed has increased to the point where we have moved from measuring events by the calendar (years, months, weeks) to often measuring them in nanoseconds (one billionth of a second) to reflect how fast things are moving. And what's more, each increase in speed is usually greeted with enthusiasm.
But that was not the case with Job. He bemoaned a speed that most of us are not too thrilled about--the speed with which the days of our lives go by. The fastest object Job had to compare his life to was the shuttle used by a weaver to create a piece of cloth. A skilled weaver could sling the shuttle back and forth at eye-blurring speed. Job's lament was that his days seemed to be going by as quickly as the weaver's shuttle.
The longer we live, the faster our days do seem to go by. Even though 24 hours is still the same, the events of our lives begin to stack up quickly on the history side. At the same time, the future side gets shorter and shorter, and the events of life seem to come more rapidly. This should motivate us to make sure that we diligently invest our time more wisely. As the days speed by like a weaver's shuttle, make sure you accomplish each day what the Lord wants you to do.
If you are putting things off until "someday," stop procrastinating. Do them now. Someday will be here and gone before you know it. The days of your life are being played out as rapidly as the fast-moving weaver's shuttle. Someday the shuttle will be stilled. Don't be caught with work for the Lord left undone.
Make sure when the cloth of your life is finished that no threads are missing.
Dr. Woodrow Kroll served as President and Senior Bible Teacher at Back to the Bible from 1990-2013. Author of more than 50 books, Dr. Kroll's passion is to increase Bible literacy in America by engaging people in the Bible and connecting them with the Author. His clear, incisive teaching of the Word keeps him in demand as a speaker all over the world. - See more at: http://www.backtothebible.org/authors/woodrow-kroll#sthash.7Yrcap6W.dpuf
More of Dr. Woodrow Kroll: http://www.backtothebible.org/devotions
But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart. —Matthew 5:28
I was walking through the Beatitudes with my 9th grade small group, and we came across the dreaded passage (today’s Scripture passage above). After we talked about it a bit, I made what I thought was a bold statement. I said, “I’m just going to assume that all of you guys are struggling with pornography. If you’re not, that’s great! But, I’m going to start with the assumption that it’s a struggle for everyone. Let me know if it’s not a struggle.”
Every one of those guys admitted that pornography is a struggle in some way. Several made commitments to have an accountability program (XXXchurch.com) installed on their computer. A few even listed me as their accountability partner.
Some weeks later, I got an email alert from XXXchurch.com regarding one of the guys in the group, listing the inappropriate sites he had been visiting. I forwarded the email to the boy and wrote, “It looks like Thursday was a difficult day for you. I’m praying for you right now. Let’s get together and talk. I know you can win this battle. I believe in you! I love you.”
The boy replied back saying, “I was having a more serious problem than I really admitted. It was really pretty bad until I got the accountability software. Now that I have it, I find myself on websites that are as close to porn as it gets without being porn by its core definition. Thank you again so much for showing me this software. I’m trying very hard to get out of the habit. It’s literally like withdrawals from an addiction.”
Pornography is insidious. Its lure is powerful, and its addictive capacity is a bottomless pit. These days, with porn just a mouse click away, there’s never been greater access to such a destructive evil. Everyone is vulnerable, from teens to parents to Christian leaders. One survey found that 87% of men admit to using porn in the past month. Another study set out to research the affects of porn on men compared to those who had never viewed it. When researchers couldn’t find any men who had not viewed porn, the study was abandoned!
The Scriptures warn us (with good reason!) to flee immorality. No good thing will ever come to your life, relationships, marriage, family, or ministry from exposure to pornography.
If you haven’t been caught in porn’s snare, wonderful! Keep doing what you are doing and know that everyone, even you, is vulnerable. If you have been ensnared by porn, let me encourage (and challenge) you: involvement with pornography isn’t the unpardonable sin. Do your best to flee. God wants to help you. Use accountability tools. Talk to someone. Help is available. Get help. And let me tell you, as I told the guy in my small group, I know you can win this battle. I believe in you!
1. To what extent has pornography influenced your life?
2. What practical steps do you need to take to guard your life and your family from the insidious snare of pornography?
1 Corinthians 6:18; Colossians 3:5; Philippians 4:8
DOUG FIELDS is the senior director of the HomeWord Center for Youth and Family at Azusa Pacific University and the co-founder of Downloadyouthministry.com. Doug has been a youth and teaching pastor at Mariners Church and Saddleback Church for 30 years and has authored more than fifty books. He is a passionate speaker reaching thousands of leaders, teenagers, and parents every year. Doug resides with his wife and three children in Southern California.
More of Doug Fields: www.homeword.com
BY MRS. CHARLES COWMAN
"He putteth forth his own sheep." - John10:4
Oh, this is bitter work for Him and us--bitter for us to go, but equally bitter for Him to cause us pain; yet it must be done. It would not be conducive to our true welfare to stay always in one happy and comfortable lot. He therefore puts us forth. The fold is deserted, that the sheep may wander over the bracing mountain slope. The laborers must be thrust out into the harvest, else the golden grain would spoil.
Take heart! it could not be better to stay when He determines otherwise; and if the loving hand of our Lord puts us forth, it must be well. On, in His name, to green pastures and still waters and mountain heights! He goeth before thee. Whatever awaits us is encountered first by Him. Faith's eye can always discern His majestic presence in front; and when that cannot be seen, it is dangerous to move forward. Bind this comfort to your heart, that the Savior has tried for Himself all the experiences through which He asks you to pass; and He would not ask you to pass through them unless He was sure that they were not too difficult for your feet, or too trying for your strength.
This is the Blessed Life--not anxious to see far in front, nor careful about the next step, not eager to choose the path, nor weighted with the heavy responsibilities of the future, but quietly following behind the Shepherd, one step at a time.
Dark is the sky! and veiled the unknown morrowl
Dark is life's way, for night is not yet o'er;
The longed-for glimpse I may not meanwhile borrow;
But, this I know, HE GOETH ON BEFORE.
Dangers are nigh! and fears my mind are shaking;
Heart seems to dread what life may hold in store;
But I am His--He knows the way I'm taking,
More blessed still--HE GOETH ON BEFORE.
Doubts cast their weird, unwelcome shadows o'er me,
Doubts that life's best--life's choicest things are o'er;
What but His Word can strengthen, can restore me,
And this blest fact; that still HE GOES BEFORE.
HE GOES BEFORE! Be this my consolation!
He goes before! On this my heart would dwell!
He goes before! This guarantees salvation!
HE GOES BEFORE! And therefore all is well.
--J. D. Smith
The Oriental shepherd was always ahead of his sheep. He was down in front. Any attack upon them had to take him into account. Now God is down in front. He is in the tomorrows. It is tomorrow that fills men with dread. God is there already. All the tomorrows of our life have to pass Him before they can get to us. --F. B. M.
"God is in every tomorrow,
Therefore I live for today,
Certain of finding at sunrise,
Guidance and strength for the way;
Power for each moment of weakness,
Hope for each moment of pain,
Comfort for every sorrow,
Sunshine and joy after rain."
The public domain version of this classic devotional is the unabridged edition of Streams in the Desert.
Devotions.org, a division of Back to Bible has a daily source of devotions to keep you in touch with God and His word, written by some of today's top authors and Bible teachers. Browse the variety of resources completely on their website.
More of Devotions.Org: http://www.backtothebible.org/devotions