Don’t strive for perfection in family devotions, strive for consistency. As you train up your children each day, remember the goal: We want our kids to know that God is at the center of the family. Kids won’t necessarily remember whether family devotions were perfect, but they will remember that they were important.
In April 1932, something that was previously thought impossible happened. In a Cambridge laboratory, two men, John Cockcroft and Ernest Walton, split the atom and paved the way for the creation of the nuclear bomb. It was then that the world discovered something that is just as true in the spiritual world as it is in nuclear physics; the greatest release of power does not come by making bigger bombs, but by making changes on the smallest level. In nuclear science it came from splitting one of the smallest things in the world, the atom. In life, the biggest changes come from renewing our minds.
This Christmas season, perhaps you are believing for a miracle in your life. You may be praying for a loved one to come home for Christmas, for a financial miracle in your life, or healing from a physical or mental health issue. Looking at Mary’s incredible faith in giving birth to Jesus, we too can catch a glimpse of steps we can take to receive a miracle from God.
It doesn’t matter how you start. It matters how you finish. You may be sensing God turning the heat up on things in your life He wants to purify you from. Like David, you can say the same prayer and allow the flux of His get rid of toxic thoughts and bad behavior. “Search me, O God, and know my heart… Point out anything in me that offends you…”
“Earth has no sorrow that Heaven cannot heal.” How true was that statement in 1861 when Thomas Moore wrote them, and how true it is now 160 years later. Since Moore penned those words, there has been two world wars (with numerous intermittent regional wars in between), epidemics and pandemics, economic recessions and depressions, and countless environmental disasters.
When we recognize that God’s grace is freely given to all that will accept it irrelevant of their status, seniority or standards, we can choose to be grateful for what God is doing in the lives of others instead of comparing it with what we have. When it comes time to receive the wage of eternal life, we can rejoice that God’s kindness surrounds those who have served him for decades and those who have served him for one year. Both receive the gift of eternal life. And it is that celebration of the grace of God in other’s lives that I believe can unlock the things that you are believing for and break you free from the trap of comparison.
You may be in a place where you feel like you are in captivity to a career that is going nowhere, in bondage to a toxic relationship or stuck in a never-ending cycle of depression, fear and anxiety. But just as God had a plan for His people in bondage in Babylon, He has a plan for you. His plan is not to harm you but to prosper you and give you an expected end. You may be asking, “how do I discover that plan?” The answer is found in serving others.
In Ron Howard’s 1995 Academy Award winning movie Apollo 13, famed NASA flight director Gene Kranz has the iconic line, “Failure is not an option.” This line is quoted in other movies and books, its blasted in sports arenas hyping up their fans before a game and its invoked in countless speeches. Yet for how powerful the quote is, for many, failure is all too real. Whether we look at history, our own experiences, and even the Bible, disappointment is something we will have to walk through.