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“Fear of man will prove to be a snare, but whoever trusts in the Lord is kept safe.” 

-Proverbs 29:25

Prayer Changes Things -  

I needed to make a bank deposit late one Friday, so I drove through the drive-up window lane. The teller was a young woman with whom I’d become friends. We exchanged greetings. She processed my transaction. I thanked her, tossed the envelope in my purse, and returned home.

Later that evening I retrieved the envelope, removed the cash, and read the receipt. I counted the bills, checked the receipt, and counted again. One hundred dollars was missing. I checked the work and the cash once more, but no matter how many times I recounted, the hundred just wasn’t there.

Not knowing how banks handle these things, I wondered how I could prove I hadn’t taken the cash out of the envelope and then claimed it was missing. I didn’t want to jeopardize the  teller’s job because of a mistake.

The next morning I trekked back to the bank, praying as I went. “Please let this be resolved easily. Let your spirit reign. A hundred dollars is not worth a problem.“

God met me at the door. The same teller from the night before was working inside at the counter. I waited for her and handed her the envelope. “Did you work the drive-up last night?”

“I did.”  She opened the envelope. As if I’d just handed her the winnings from a state lottery, she broke into smiles.                                                                                                                   

“Oh, thank you for coming in! I couldn’t find my mistake last night and I was going to spend part of my afternoon today looking for it.”  She counted the cash, marked the receipt, and handed me the hundred dollar bill. “You saved me a whole lot of work today. I’m sorry you had to come back.”

In Matthew 7:7a, Jesus says, “Ask and it will be given to  you.” That doesn’t mean God has suddenly become a magic wand. We are exhorted to pray continually, humbly making our requests known. Prayer is how we communicate our needs to God. How he answers is up to him.

Are you concerned about finances? Tell him. 

Does the upcoming election have you worried? Read the platforms and pray God will show you what choice is best. 

Do you have lost family members? Uphold them before the throne of God. 

Nothing we bring before our Lord is unworthy of his time. He wants to direct our lives. Guidance can’t be done without a willing and needy heart.

Patricia Lee, an author from Oregon, loves to write and read contemporary fiction. Her blog is a reflection of her desire to help people who are struggling with faith issues discover a God who loves them and wants the very best for them. 

More of Patricia Lee: www.authorpatricialee.net/blog/

The Problem of Familiarity -  

This devotional was written by Jim Liebelt


We must pay more careful attention, therefore, to what we have heard, so that we do not drift away. —Hebrews 2:1


“Do not pass.” I don’t remember seeing that sign before. This time, I noticed it—and it looks like the sign has been there for a long while. Apparently, the sign has become so familiar to me that it blended into the scenery. It had lost its meaning. Yet, this time I noticed. It’s there for a good purpose. The sign is posted to warn drivers that on this particular slow curve to the left, passing another car would be dangerous. Frankly, I’ve been tempted on more than one occasion to pass another car on that very stretch of road.


Perhaps I’m taking this too seriously, but it bothered me when I realized that I don’t usually notice the sign. What other signs and other warnings am I ignoring? Familiarity can cause complacency that puts me in danger.


The problem of familiarity can also affect our spiritual lives. I am reminded that there are many familiar warnings in the Bible. Purposeful warnings. Good warnings. Warnings like “Don’t commit adultery,” “Don’t show favoritism,” and “Don’t repay evil for evil.” God, in his infinite wisdom and goodness, instructs us through the Bible that there are things in life we need to avoid. He does this not because He wants to contain our behavior for His own amusement or control, but rather because He loves us and warns us for our own benefit. His warnings are real warnings about real dangers.


How often have we, as Christians, been tempted to ignore (or have ignored) God’s warnings because they have simply become too familiar? Can it be that we read right by them without thinking about their meaning? I’m guilty of this. How about you?


The next time you read a Biblical command or warning, don’t let familiarity get the best of you. Think about it. Consider its purpose. Act on it.



1. How has familiarity with Biblical warnings affected your life?


2. Are there behaviors in your life that you know violate clear Biblical warnings?  If so, think through the purpose of those Biblical warnings. Why does God warn against these behaviors? What benefit does God intend by giving these warnings?



Zechariah 1:4; 2 Timothy 2:15; 3:16; 2 Peter 1:12-19

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/

Pursuing God -  


But if from there you seek the Lord your God, you will find him if you seek him with all your heart and with all your soul. —Deuteronomy 4:29


When I first started dating my wife, Cathy, she asked me if I like to dance. Without thinking I immediately shot back, “Yes!” Of course, I had no clue how to dance. The closest thing I had to a dance move was fielding a ground ball at a baseball game and falling. But that didn’t matter. The amazing Cathy Guiso was asking me about dancing, and I responded out of desire. She could have asked me if I liked putting jalapeno juice in my eyes, and I would have said, “Absolutely! It’s one of my favorite eye drops.” Because I desired to know this beautiful woman, I began to pursue things that didn’t come naturally to me, and I began to pursue her…all the way to marriage. It’s amazing what desire will do!


I love the word pursue because it communicates action. Without desire, pursuing God is reduced to obligation rather than willful obedience. And a life of religious obligation yields spiritual apathy, performance-based religion, and a compartmentalized faith. But when we have genuine desire, we want to be close to God. We’ll do anything to reach Him. Jesus responded to this type of desire—people interrupted Him, yelled out to Him, touched Him as He passed by, barged in on Him, and crashed through the ceiling to get to Him. In short, they pursued Him. Our own desire for Him can cause us to act in the very same ways. People wanted Jesus, and He did not disappoint them. He won’t disappoint you either when He sees that your heart is filled with desire for Him. God cares much more about our desire to connect with Him than any sort of competence in connecting. God can see right through any incompetence to a heart that’s tangled and untidy but longing for Him. He loves a heart—any heart—that is filled with desire.


Talking to God, listening to Him, reading the Bible, and reflecting on His greatness may not come naturally, but pursue these things, because in so doing, you will be pursuing God. You are valuable to Him, and He wants to be intimate with you. Pursue Him!



1. If you truly desire to pursue God, why is it so often difficult?


2. What is the difference between obligation and obedience when it comes to spending time with God?



Leviticus 20:7-8; Psalm 119:2; Hebrews 11:6

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

You Are God’s Pumpkin - 

This devotional was written by Kelly McFadden


God has united you with Christ Jesus. For our benefit God made him to be wisdom itself. Christ made us right with God; he made us pure and holy, and he freed us from sin. Therefore, as the Scriptures say, “If you boast, boast only about the Lord.” —1 Corinthians 1:30-31 (NLT)


For most of the country, the crisp cool air of autumn is upon us. A sure sign of autumn is that Christmas decorations are popping up everywhere in retail stores. Halloween costumes and disguises are selling out in stores as trick-or-treaters are ready to take over the streets. A popular symbol of both harvest time and Halloween is the pumpkin. I was thinking recently that being a Christian is a lot like being a pumpkin. Perhaps you are visualizing this orange, round vegetable and wondering how you could ever be compared to one of these squashes! Simply put, like a child chooses a pumpkin to carve and mold an image upon, so God carves and molds His own unique design in you.


The Scriptures tell us that the Lord chooses us. He lifts us up and washes the dirt from our skin. Then he opens us, connecting deep inside to scoop out all the slimy, yucky stuff, including seeds of doubt, spite, lies, and fear. Then He carves a new creation, and makes our faces shine by putting His light inside for all to see.


Sometimes I feel like I don’t want my light to shine because I am ashamed of a thought or action or pattern in my life. I try to hide the light Christ has put in me, and blend in with the crowd. What I forget is that when God carved me, created me, and gave me His Son, I no longer had to count on my own strength. I can count on the Lord’s. It is He who washes me clean; it is He who gives me a spirit of strength and perseverance; it is He who makes me pure; it is He who frees me from sin; and it is He who gives me hope. When I realize that my part of the equation is to rely on His strength and power, then I can do as Scriptures say, and shine His light through the power of the Holy Spirit.


What starts as an everyday squash turns into a lantern of light. What starts as an everyday person turns into a beacon of hope for all to see. Through our union with Christ, we are given the light and wisdom of the Holy Spirit who enters and dwells in our lives. It is He who picked you out and carved you just the way He wants you. So make sure you keep your lantern lit for all to see.



1. What sins are in your life that you need to release and allow the Lord to scoop out for you?


2. Each time you see a pumpkin this autumn, think through why it is so important for you to be a vessel of light representing our Lord.



Psalm 19:7-10; Colossians 2:3

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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