Articles

  • Tuesday, March 3, 2015 - 1:00am

    Tuesday, March 3, 2015

    Submitted by Andrew Kalemkarian, Noah Team

    Scripture: Hebrews 11:1-3, 13-19

    Today’s Devotion: Faith is forward looking, but often not future planning. Like Abraham, we don’t have a crystal ball telling us specifics about the future. Abraham trusted God to provide a sacrifice  or perhaps, as the writer of Hebrews suggests, to even raise his son  from the dead. But Abraham did not know how. He had assurance by faith that God would provide, but no specific knowledge of the future—only the faith to move forward.

    But how does faith fit into the context of our lives? Or, rather, how does the context of our lives call for this kind of faith? We are “strangers and exiles on the earth” (v. 13b). Forward-looking faith is based on the premise that where we are now—physically and metaphorically—is not our final destination. The story of God’s people in exile from the First Testament is not just an encouragement for us, it is our story.

    Are you seeking a homeland—a better, heavenly country that God has prepared? Or, are you looking backward, longing for a lesser past?

    Prayer: Lord, increase our faith. And, increase our knowledge of you. And, increase our longing for you and the homeland you have prepared for us.

     

    Cathy
  • Monday, March 2, 2015 - 1:00am

    Monday, March 2, 2015

    Submitted by Margaret Orr, College Freshman

    Scripture: Psalm 105:1-11, Genesis 21:1-7, Hebrews 1:8-12

    Today's Devotion: What would you do if I told you to “count your blessings?” You would probably rattle off a list of all the wonderful things God has given you. One of our Scriptures for today deals with the wonderful gift that was Sarah’s answered prayer for a child. I’d like to invite you to think about unanswered prayers. This summer, I was discussing a situation in my life with a favorite teacher from high school. Having had a similar experience, she gave me some advice, and told me to listen to the song Unanswered Prayers by Garth Brooks. While I don’t necessarily believe that unanswered prayers are a thing—rather, they are prayers to which the answer was “no” or “wait”—the message of the song is clear: “Some of God’s greatest gifts are unanswered prayers.”

    Take a few moments and look back at your life. Try to find the “unanswered” prayers: the person who you were head-over-heels in love with but it didn’t work out, the job you wanted that you didn’t get, or even smaller things like the not-so-friendly boss, teacher, classmate, or co-worker whom you have to deal with every day and no matter how hard you pray, you just can’t get along with them. For me, it was not being able to go to my first-choice school because of money. It takes a lot of positive thinking, and it’s not easy, but maybe you’ll start to find the reason that God said “no” or “wait” to that request. For example, the people I’ve met at college and the opportunities I’ve had just in my first semester have made it clear that the University of Delaware is where I’m really supposed to be. The Scriptures today remind us that God is in charge, he has promised to take care of his children, and he keeps his promises – whether the answer  to your prayer is “yes,” “no,” or “wait,” it’s all a part  of God’s plan, and everything will work out in your favor.

    PS - Google Unanswered Prayers and read the lyrics, or listen to it if you enjoy country music. I don’t have the space to write the words here, but it really is a great song.

    Prayer: God, thank you for everything you’ve given me. I pray that I would be able to have the wisdom to find and to be thankful for the “unanswered” prayers in my life. Amen.

     

    Cathy
  • Saturday, February 28, 2015 - 1:00am

    Saturday, February 28, 2015

    Submitted by Tom Jackson, Elder

    Scripture: Genesis 16:7-15

    Today's Devotion: The story of Abram, Sarai, Hagar, Ishmael, and Isaac reminds me of the problems we create for ourselves, and for others, when we lose faith in God’s plan for our lives, or decide to help His plan move along a bit faster. Abram/Abraham is in many ways a great example of basic faith in who God is, and what he will do in our lives. When it came to God’s promise to make him into a great nation and to bless him, Abram and Sarai didn’t seem to quite believe that God could or would give them a son in their advanced age, and chose to help move things along by conceiving a child through Hagar.

    God did promise to bless Hagar and give her many descendants through Ishmael, but at great cost in both the short and long term. Hagar’s pregnancy immediately created division in Abram’s house, and Ishmael was fated to “live in hostility toward all his brothers.”

    How many times do we believe in God in a general sense, but fail to trust him to deal with our specific needs? Do we believe that God has a plan for our lives, that he has the power to carry out this plan, and loves us enough to follow through? Do we trust that God’s plan includes the proper timing for all things, or do we think we need to help move things along by pushing for what we think needs to be done, and on our own time frame? If we really believe that God wants what is best for us, and that he is able to turn his plans into reality, then we need to believe that his timing is best, as well.

    Prayer: Heavenly Father, we thank you for the countless blessings that you have bestowed upon us. You show your love for us in so many ways, and we know that you have a plan for each of our lives. Help us to learn to wait for you to show us what is truly best, instead of being led astray by our own thoughts and desires. We pray this in the name of your son, Jesus the Christ. Amen.

     

    Cathy
  • Friday, February 27, 2015 - 1:00am

    Friday, February 27, 2015

    Submitted by Kate Meehan, Elder

    Scripture: Genesis 16:1-6

    Today's Devotion: In this passage, it is hard not to get a little exasperated with Sarai, Abram’s wife. Although she is barren, she is eager to have a child, so she urges her husband to impregnate Hagar,  her servant. But when he is successful, she is angry with Abram and  Hagar! She says and does cruel and hurtful things to them. What did  she expect would happen?!

    One thing this passage illustrates is the mess, hurt and anguish we may suffer when we refuse to bring our requests to God, then trust and wait on him. Instead, we often take matters into our own hands to get what we want or think we need. Notice that Sarai does not seek the Lord’s guidance and does not ask the Lord for a child, but rather, attempts to skirt God’s will, (“The Lord has kept me from having children,” she says in verse 2 as she conveys her plan to Abram). But God already had a plan to give Abram and Sarai an heir. In the previous chapter, the Lord tells Abram his offspring shall be as numerous as the stars. God’s timing is perfect because he knows all things. Sarai, on the other hand, could not see beyond her circumstances; she could not conceive that God could do more than she could imagine.

    As he did with Abram and Sarai, God has a plan for each one of us—a plan to prosper you and not to harm you. Not only does he know all things, he can do more than we can imagine, and he is in control of all things—even when we feel desperate, scared, alone, or persecuted. Mindful that he is good, all knowing, and all powerful, we can trust in the Lord, and we can be confident that he will hear and will answer.  Entrust your cares, concerns, worries, and weaknesses to the Lord, and then wait patiently for his perfect response.

    Prayer: Perfect and omniscient Lord, you know my particular fear, need, hurt, or situation. I entrust you today with that concern, and truly believe that you will handle it in the best way possible for me. Even if it is tough going, you are here with me, guiding and protecting me, and for that, I am truly grateful. Amen.

     

    Cathy