Category - Devotion

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Sabbath Rest & the Zoo
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Perfect Imperfection
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Expecting Nothing in Return
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Following Instructions
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God Only Gave

Sabbath Rest & the Zoo

Last month, in the heat of July, we took an almost-seven-year-old to the zoo to celebrate her upcoming birthday. We also brought her friend. Kevin, myself, two seven-year olds, and 95 degree weather – what could go wrong?

We really had a very nice day. Every thirty minutes, I handed out Dixie cups and poured cold water into them and made everyone drink. Every hour or so, we reached an exhibit with an indoor/air conditioned element. So I forced the girls to sit for 5 minutes at a time and rest. (Pro tip – the animals of the night exhibit is a FANTASTIC place to have a long, cool rest!)

It was extremely difficult to convince the girls to sit on their bottoms and rest their legs. Which was super ironic because leading up to the mandatory “5-minute-rest-period” they were complaining about how tired their legs were! I used lots of apple slices, pretzels, and gummy snacks to convince them to take a few minutes to stop and sit still.

We had a great day at the zoo and I didn’t think much of our rest periods again.

Until Sunday. Our now-officially-seven-year-old was restless and complaining about how quiet and boring our house became on Sundays. She just wanted to run around and play. So I attempted to explain the concept of Sabbath rest.

God has ordained a day for us to rest and reflect on everything He has done and is doing in our lives. We do our best to resist our emails accounts and phone notifications so that we can spend a day resting from the busyness of the week.

At the zoo, I asked the girls to rest quite often when I knew we had a long walk to the next set of exhibits. I knew that they would need the extra energy in their legs and food in their bellies. Even though they complained about being forced to sit and do nothing, I knew it was important so I remained firm. We had to rest.

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Perfect Imperfection

“Yes!” I triumphantly pulled an over sized book out of the free bin – full page pictures of animals and descriptions about them! I love finding free books at McKay’s. So often, they make terrific gifts! I had even found a perfectly good game of Candy Land. All the pieces were there, the box was just torn up a bit. Not a problem for me.

In my excitement, I had scattered my free findings across the sidewalk. A man came walking quickly around the corner and had to stop quickly to avoid tripping over my pile.

“I’m so sorry! Let me move them!” I quickly said.

“No. Leave them. You’re perfect.”

I stared at this complete stranger, a man my father’s age. He smiled at me.

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Expecting Nothing in Return

It was camping day at school and all the kids were supposed to bring a flashlight. Our kid didn’t have one so I let her borrow mine. At the bus stop, I took a moment to explain to her the importance of taking care of someone else’s stuff when you are borrowing it. That means you have to bring it back exactly as it is. You cannot throw it around or draw on it. It’s not yours. And if it gets broken or lost, you have to replace it.

I gave that little speech in part because the concept of borrowing is hard to understand when you’re six. You think, it’s in my hand’s so it must be mine. I also chose this moment to teach this lesson because, well, to be real honest, I really liked that flashlight. It’s the perfect size to fit in my purse. It’s a beautiful blue color and it has LED lights. I wanted it returned to me in good shape. I was happy to lend it out, as long as I could be assured that it would return unharmed.

This past Sunday, our middle school girl’s class had a lesson on the topic, “Love Your Enemies.” The passage came from Luke 6:27-36.

And I must admit – I felt a good eye roll coming on as I sighed and thought, “Yeah, yeah, yeah. Love your enemies. Got it.” It was as if the Devil wanted me to shut my mind down before approaching Scripture. This passage is extremely familiar to me so I felt my mind drifting as I read along…

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Following Instructions

I never realized how many rules our house has. When it was just my husband and me, the rules were unspoken. We picked up our shoes from the living room and put them in our closet, flushed the toilet after using it, wore jackets when it was cold outside, and so on. But when a child was added to our household, suddenly it seemed our home overflowed with rules. The unspoken rules were spoken, written, and posted on the wall. Even rules I never thought to create were repeatedly enforced.

The rules keep us safe and keep us sane (okay, maybe they just keep me sane – by my sanity is crucial to the continuance of our safe household!) Rules teach us to obey authority figures, make decisions, and experience both the negative and positive results of our choices.

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God Only Gave

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Our six year old’s first memory verse for the Awana program at church was the first verse, to our knowledge, that she’s ever read.

For God so loved the world that He only gave His Son that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have an eternal life. John 3:16

That’s how she recited it to me for a week. It was so close to being accurate. Read it again if you just skimmed through it. What was her big mistake?

God only gave His Son! She had no idea why this placement of the word “only” changed the meaning so drastically. Because God didn’t just only give His Son. He gave His only Son!

The Lord of this universe sacrificed His dearly loved Son so that we would have a way back into a right relationship with Him! Now that’s love!

When I love, I don’t usually love perfectly. I love the way my child memorized the verse. I only give part of myself. I only do enough to be convincing some days. Rarely do I give up everything of myself.

Praise the Lord that His love shines brightly through the verse of John 3:16. It’s one that I am far too often tempted to skim over since I’m confident in my knowledge of it. But God used this moment last week to remind me that His word is still active and living. Even in a verse that I’ve known my entire life He is able to draw me closer to Himself.

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