LLC Weekly Devotionals

Each week a member of LLC offers a short devotional to support you in your walk with Christ.  We hope each week is an encouragement to you and leads you deeper in your relationship with our marvelous, ever loving God.  

Cultivating a heart of gratitude

by larry harrison, crossing community church

11/25/21

"Bless the Lord, O my soul, And all that is within me, bless His holy name. Bless the Lord, O my soul, And forget none of His benefits; Who pardons all your iniquities, Who heals all your diseases; Who redeems your life from the pit, Who crowns you with loving kindness and compassion; Who satisfies your years with good things, So that your youth is renewed like the eagle." (Psalm 103:1-5 NASB)


I don't know about you, but I've always had a problem with forgetting things. Really important things. One time I forgot our wedding anniversary.


One time.


It's a funny thing about humanity: we have a tendency to remember the bad and forget the good. David had that same tendency. So, he wrote a song to remind himself of all the great things God has done for him. And for us. It's actually a conversation with himself about what he needs to remember. Not a bad idea!


When was the last time you had a conversation with yourself? To be reminded of all God has done for you? Cultivating a grateful heart begins with remembering. Make a list of all you have to be grateful for. David's list in Psalm 103 is a great place to begin.

humility

by kevin kline

11/17/21

As we've been announcing for weeks now oh, Pastor John have started a study on humility, every Tuesday night at 6:30 p.m. Last night was my first night to attend and if you haven't been able to join a highly recommend you do.


Part of the conversation last night was discussing what the practical implications of humility is in everyday life. What does that actually look like in the business place in our families and in our communities. And I'm so grateful for the conversation because I think a lot of people have a misunderstanding of what humility actually is.


C.S. Lewis once said, "Humility is not thinking less of yourself, it is thinking of yourself less." it is an attitude of the heart, not merely a display of some outward demeanor. It is a trait that is hard to cultivate, but make no mistake it can be cultivated. To think of others more than you think of yourself takes tremendous foresight and strength. Humility is not being weak and timid but is often found only in the strong and secure.


God has promised to give grace to the humble, while also promising to oppose the proud (Proverbs 3:34; 1 Peter 5:5). That's not an opposition any of us wants. Therefore, if we exalt ourselves, especially at the expense of others, we place ourselves in opposition to God who, if we are His and in His grace (and for our own good), will humble us. But if we humble ourselves, God gives us more grace and exalts us (Luke 14:11).


That is a tremendous truth that I can't wait to explore more on Tuesday nights with my family at Living Legacy. Please join us if you can.

Thankfulness - The Unavoidable Consequence Humility

by mickey haist

11/11/21

As LLC’s Tuesday evening book study is currently reading Andrew Murray’s ‘Humility’, and as we approach Thanksgiving, being thankful, living with a daily disposition of thankfulness, has been on my mind. I connect humility and thankfulness together because I believe that being thankful, daily and even moment-to-moment, is a primary and unavoidable consequence, a fruit, of true humility. As you recognize God to be your holy Creator you will learn humility, and as you learn humility you will become thankful. 

 

And, humility and thankfulness are truths and actions that need to be learned - they don’t just happen because we are saved and are decent people, they are doctrinal ideas that must be studied, understood, and practiced. The well known passage in Paul’s letter to the church at Rome “Claiming to be wise, they became fools” pertains specifically to man neglecting to be thankful to God, his Creator - “even though they knew God, they did not honor Him as God or give thanks, but they became futile in their reasonings, and their senseless hearts were darkened. Claiming to be wise, they became fools”. Terms like “reasoning” and “wise” and “fools” direct us, not to simple inclinations of the heart, but to knowledge and study, to reasoning and wisdom.  

 

In considering thankfulness I fear some may approach this idea with the notion of ‘a simple faith’ that shuns doctrine and theology and study and teaching preferring to ‘just follow Jesus’. Somehow the concepts of humility and thankfulness have become easy for us to detach from knowledge and understanding; ideas like predestination and sanctification have to do with doctrine and theology - while being humble and thankful simply come about when we have a simple childlike faith. But what does Jesus’ call to “become like children” refer to? Is He encouraging us to be simpleminded, is His instruction here that we ought to neglect growing in understanding and be content with being sweet natured? No, all through Scripture we are commanded to know and understand and study, etc. Jesus’ instruction to “become like children” is not a call to be simpleminded, it’s a call for humility - “whoever will humble himself like this child, he is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven”. 

 

Humility breeds thankfulness, and both are learned doctrinal truths, they are not natural conditions of being human or being Christian. The demon instructor in C.S. Lewis’ ‘The Screwtape Letters’ cautions his novice student “once your patient (the Christian) begins to think, you’ve lost him” . . . this is why Paul admonishes us to “be wise in what is good, and innocent in what is evil”. And Paul’s charge that “they did not honor Him as God or give thanks, but they became futile in their reasonings”, his call for humility, was written by a man who began his letter by saying “First, I thank my God through Jesus Christ”. First - all the profundity we find in Paul’s writing, he is first thankful.

 

Being “wise” doesn’t just happen, to ‘just follow Jesus’ means ongoing, deliberate, vigorous study - not everyone is called to be a theologian, a teacher, a scholar - but we are all called to be students, disciples, and wisdom takes learning, wisdom has to do with knowing and understanding and then living and doing. And true wisdom is expressed most beautifully and irrefutable in humility and thankfulness. 

when god speaks, do you listen?

by pastor jon weigel

11/3/2021

“...Eli realized that the Lord was calling the boy. 9 So Eli told Samuel, “Go and lie down, and if he calls you, say, ‘Speak, Lord, for your servant is listening.’” So Samuel went and lay down in his place. 10 The Lord came and stood there, calling as at the other times, “Samuel! Samuel! Then Samuel said, “Speak, for your servant is listening.” 


1 Samuel 3:8-10


There is this story in 1 Samuel 3 where a young boy is called by God. One night, God speaks to him, but the boy doesn’t recognize God’s voice. Thinking it is his teacher’s voice, he goes to the teacher and asks what he needs. The teacher tells the boy to return to his bed and go back to sleep. This happens three times. On the third time, the teacher realizes that it is God calling the boy, so the teacher directs him to respond to the voice by saying, “Yes, Lord, your servant is listening.”  


I love this story for many reasons, but one is the boy’s example to me of the progressive nature of spiritual growth. His recognition of God’s voice wasn’t instantaneous. It took some work and the support of others, but eventually, he learned to hear God’s voice. In a similar way, I’ve recently sensed God nudging me to listen for his voice. And when I hear it, to respond in obedience. 


Last week, I received an email from a man I had never met who said he was from New Jersey and wanted to offer me free tickets to a concert. It was one of those situations that we tell our kids to avoid: delete the email and move on! Yet, there was something about it that just seemed…right. After some discussion, Dottie and I decided to step out and say “Speak, for your servant is listening.” I wrote the man back, and we accepted his invitation to dinner and the concert. And guess what? Our hosts weren’t criminals looking to take advantage of us, but were genuine believers who were seeking to please the Lord by stepping out and blessing strangers. In the end, their obedience blessed our family, and our obedience blessed them. What a beautiful design! 


Honestly, my success in this regard has been spotty at best. Too often my obedience pales in comparison to my insubordination. But that’s part of the beauty of the design: God’s mercy and grace provide an atmosphere where both our successes and failures can be used to progressively direct us toward fuller expressions of obedience. His patience affords us the grace and provides the environment to fail and try again, continually stumbling forward toward a more complete obedience to our Savior.  


Renew your strength

by Ron windle

10/28/21

Isaiah 40:30-31 (HCSB) Youths may faint and grow weary, and young men stumble and fall, but those who trust in the Lord will renew their strength; they will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary; they will walk and not faint.

 

Have you ever struggle in your Christian life and reached what seemed to be an impasse. It is not uncommon. Isaiah gives us a solution it is grace. Isaiah 40:31 is an Old Testament statement of GRACE. Trust what God is doing for you not what you are doing for God. Isaiah gives us a great analogy of this in the eagle.


When young eagles are learning to fly they start in the nest by flapping their wings, then jumping from one spot to another and then by jumping from the nest to a limb or rock near the nest while flapping their wings . When they are ready to fly the parent leads them out of the nest and on to the wind. If the young eagle has difficulty and begins to fall the parent will soar up beneath the young and the wind flowing over the wings of the parent will lift the young one up and allow them to regain their flight. So it is with you as you trust in or wait on the Lord.


In Isaiah 40:31 the Hebrew word for wait (KJV) or trust (HCSB) is kaw-vaw' which means to look for, hope, expect, to trust in. To trust in the Lord, is not a stationary event but an active event much like the eagle learning to fly. As we trust the Lord HE will renew out strength. The Hebrew word for renew is khaw-laf'which means to hasten away, to spring up or to sprout and the word for strength is ko'akh which means power or might. Trusting the Lord or waiting upon the Lord initiates Gods grace in us resulting in our ability to perform Gods task in our life.


As we grow in Christ Jesus we will have periods where we don't see much growth or accomplishment then by His grace we have a spurt of growth and maturity. Paul puts it this way in Philippians 4:12 I know both how to have a little, and I know how to have a lot. In any and all circumstances I have learned the secret [of being content]-whether well-fed or hungry, whether in abundance or in need.


Don't give up!!! Continue to "trust in the Lord" and He "will renew your strength; you will soar on wings like eagles; you will run and not grow weary; you will walk and not faint" (Emphasis mine.)

attitude of gratitude

by connie madden

10/20/21

Fall always brings to mind harvest and plenty, gratitude and thanksgiving.  For me it is a good reminder of the countless ways that (Bob and) I have been blessed.  I have always been aware of being blessed with material things as well as being blessed with the love of a large family and also with many true friendships.  I’ve been a grateful person; appreciating my marriage, the gift of two healthy children, a warm home, etc. But in 2007 I was diagnosed with stage 2 breast cancer and found myself learning a whole new level of gratitude.

  

As I sat in the chair, hooked up to an IV pumping chemotherapy into a surgically placed port in my chest, I had lots of time to think. I decided to journal.  As I looked around at the other cancer patients, I thought “why me?”.  Not why did I get cancer?, but why was I so fortunate to be so much healthier than those around me?…so many of them were visibly suffering and in pain. I was not.  Even as I became bald,  I was blessed to have a daughter and friends throw a “hat shower” for me and we made a party of it! 

  

I found myself appreciating EVERYTHING in a new way. And the more I journaled, my writings became lists of things I was (and still am!) grateful for. 


Facing my mortality head on helped me to prioritize what is truly important in a new, more poignant way. I became thankful and grateful in a new and deeper way. I started reading about thankfulness, gratitude and praise and filling my mind with verses that addressed those topics. One of my favorites then and now is Philippians 4:13

“I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” Now that’s a blessing …. Christ strengthens me!!!  

  

A few of the other verses that were (and are) meaningful to me are as follows:


Psalm 145:18  “When the peace of Christ rules in our hearts, thankfulness overflows. Even in the darkest of times, we can praise God for his love, his sovereignty, and his promise to be near when we call.”


1Thessalonians 5:16-18  “Rejoice always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”


Psalm 100:4-5  Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name. For the Lord is good and his love endures forever; his faithfulness through all generations.”

  

Our Bibles are packed with verses about praise thanksgiving and gratitude.  I believe it is how we are to live. Two of the fruits of the Spirit, goodness and kindness flow from us as we practice living with an attitude of gratitude.  Try making a gratitude list sometime.  It can put a smile on your face and you’ll find yourself thankfully giving!

all together now

by patti mccorkle

10/13/2021

When I wrote my first devotional, I did not include a title so Jackie asked me to come up with one. I had some difficulty with that initially, but I enjoy that thought process now. So, when I decided my topic weeks ago, I had yet to devise a title. Then I thought about my Life is Good t-shirt, a bunch of asparagus with the statement: “All Together Now.”. It’s a simple message, delivered by some asparagus, closely standing together in a bunch. When I first bought the shirt, I thought it was kind of an odd thing to put on a t-shirt, and maybe it is. But I probably have thought more about this saying than anything that I have ever read on a t-shirt. Sometimes it reminds me of asparagus. But usually it reminds me of being together with other people, like my family. We have experienced some difficult times lately. There have been times in the past year and a half when I approached my computer with great anxiety, with slight tremor as I tap the buttons to find out the results of tests. Initially, I did this by myself, somehow thinking that it would be better if I looked by myself. But that is a lie of Satan – doing life alone is not what God intends for us. I found out that when my family was with me, as we looked together for those results, that I could face the unknown better, that it is not good for man to be alone. Solomon said: Tw are better than one, because they have a good reward for their toil. For if they fall, one will lift up his fellow. But woe to him who is alone when he falls and has not another to lift him up! Again, if two lie together, they keep warm, but how can one keep warm alone? And though a man might prevail against one who is alone, two will withstand him – a threefold cord is not quickly broken. Ecclesiastes 4:7-12


I am blessed to have an “All Together Now” life. Both my family and Wayne’s family are very close, not only in relationship to each other, but geographically. We actively participate in each other’s lives, get together often, and pray for each other. Wayne and I are blessed to work for a small company where everyone knows each other, everyone helps each other, and in tough times, we pray together. At the start of the pandemic, our CEO frequently emailed Psalm 91 to the whole staff. Every company

newsletter contains Psalm 91, even our new t-shirts have Psalm 91 written on the back. A co-worker recently passed away. At least daily since then, someone emails the entire staff a prayer, a Bible verse, a Christian message of hope and support. God has blessed me with a church family that understands the value of fellowship and as we grow closer as a family, we grow closer to Him.


Jesus showed us how to live this way when He walked the earth. There were times when He was “alone” to pray but we know He actually was not alone. Mostly, He spent time with His Apostles and followers. The early church spent much time together, devoting themselves to the apostles’ teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers. And all who believed were together and had all things in common, described in Acts Chapter 2. While this does not mean that our salvation is dependent on one another, it does mean that God gave us relationship to stand together in this life so that He can be properly glorified. Fellowship is doing life together to fulfill God’s will. Nobody can do it alone. How blessed we are to live this life all together.

Willing submission and god is always on time.

by ramona davis

10/6/2021

As many of you know I lead a Women’s Bible Study at my community (Londonderry Village in Palmyra). On September 13 we resumed our studies for our 2021-2022 season. After an unusual 2020-2021 study year we looked forward to being together again. That unusual year included no classes because of lockdowns; then class with limited size that included social distancing and face masks, hand sanitation upon entry, strict registration and attendance (to be able to tract who had been together in the room i case someone tested positive for Covid-19). On September 13 we began with a return to the pre-Covid seating arrangement (facing one another, we were seated close together), name cards visible to other class members, no more need of registration and checking attendance for tracking purposes; masks were still required. As the women arrived I could see the joy on their faces as we returned to a ‘near normal’ arrangement of seating. On September 14 our Director of Activities called me aside to let me know because of ‘tick-up’ of Covid case Independent Living we would be returning to the Covid way of seating. I saw surprise on the women’s faces as they entered the room on September 27 to once again be seated at individual small tables 6 feet apart. Now instead of seeing another class member’s face they only saw the backs of heads. My response to all of this was to say to God, ‘Please make all of this stop! Lord, folks who live in Independent Living are 99 % vaccinated. Why is this social distancing ‘stuff’ reinstated? Are we on our way to Lockdowns again? I know You are Sovereign and in control. You can change this to ‘free’ us.” PAUSE...


Go with me for my lesson prep for class on September 27. Look over my shoulder as I study the word ‘begotten’ as used in Hebrews 5:5 (quoted from Psalm 2:7). “You are My Son, Today I have begotten You”. While studying I read that begotten has nothing to do with procreation. It has everything to do with a “unique”, “one of a kind’ relationship between God, the Father and God, the Son. It is the relationship where the Son willingly submits to the Father’s will. The perfect plan of salvation included the death of Jesus. Jesus willingly submitted to the full cup of the wrath of God against sin being poured out during His agony that began in the Garden of Gethsemane as He prayed and ended with death on the cross. Jesus’ resurrection proved that His agony and death did pay the full price that sin demands. (The wages of sin is death. Romans 6:23)


Now, let’s go back to my prayer concerning Covid and restrictions. I can affirm these two facts: God  IS IN CONTROL  and restrictions have been​ reinstated. Will I learn from Jesus’ example to willingly submit to God’s will in this situation in my life? Will I do it as James 1:2,3 states: “Consider it all joy when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance”?

I return to pray and my prayer remains so self- focused, “Lord, I do willingly submit to Your will concerning Covid restrictions. No more negative words about the restrictions. Could Your will be to remove the restrictions... soon?” Without knowing it, a dear friend put my prayer in proper perspective. We were both engaged in a phone messaging chat about a totally unrelated topic but her comment fit my situation and reframed my thinking about when God should act. Her words were, “God is always on time.”