Got Milk. Need Meat?

by Lori Hynson 

For someone who lives on milk is still an infant and doesn’t know how to do what is right. Solid food is for those who are mature, who through training have the skill to recognize the difference between right and wrong.                                                  Hebrews 5:13-14  (NLT)

 Pediatrician visits with my kids always included measuring their progress on a growth chart. From birth, their height, weight, food intake, and motor skills were recorded to ensure good progress.

If so inclined, God could chart our spiritual progress in much the same way. When we accept Jesus, God delivers us once again as newborn spirits, feeding and nourishing us in His Word as we begin to grow and mature, first on milk, and later on meat as we grow in Him.

In my family of “sort of” believers, we only attended church for weddings, funerals and, inexplicably, to have our babies Christened.

When I was just out of high school, a teen pregnancy and shotgun wedding made me strive to prove I could still be a somebody. I ran myself ragged for years to prove my superior abilities, convinced this would win the approval I craved.

When 9/11 happened, I decided church might not be a bad idea. Besides, since I wanted to sing gospel, I could multitask! In super fashion I joined a church, accepted Jesus, and was baptized because I thought you were “supposed to.”

My chart may have announced my new birth at age 47, but my growth would be stunted for the next four years. I now had a pencil mark drawn on God’s doorframe, but nothing else about me or my lifestyle changed. The new me was born, but my old self-y self refused to move out. Forget feeding on milk. I survived on prenatal vitamins.

Four years later, when a storm blew into my life, I tried, as usual, to fix the situation on my own. When that failed, I prayed for God to approve my plans but got no response. When I finally found myself in the worst trouble I’d ever faced, God grabbed His spiritual forceps and delivered me. Helpless. Wailing. And flat on my face.

Now that He had my attention, God told me it was time for self-y me to get lost and to find Him instead. Trust in Him alone. I agreed, and God began to feed me His milk. But in order for me to grow higher and deeper, it was time to start solid food. Time to open wide!

I read, and He fed. He showed me the worldly lies in my life that had to go—like believing that I could rely on myself alone in life, or that I could control my circumstances. He countered the lies with His Truths. He carried away the me-things and filled me with desire for more Him-things.

At last I moved from milk to solid, life-giving meat. In the last decade, I’ve grown in spiritual height, weight, and depth, reaching ever more for the Jesus in me.

Hebrews 5:13-14 tells us that the solid food we find in God’s Word is the nourishment that supplies the depth to know right from wrong, according to His standards. Too bad the malnourished me didn’t recognize that I needed a whole lot more meat a whole lot sooner. The knowledge gained by mature me could have spared immature me a whole lot of pain.

Has your spiritual growth been stunted by sticking to the easy-to-swallow milk of God? Like me, maybe you haven’t noticed that you’ve stopped thriving on a diet of just milk. We might believe we’ve already reached our growth destination, or we’re simply stumped as to how to get there.

Got milk? Need meat.

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Got Milk. Need Meat? – insight from Lori Hynson on @AriseDailyDevo (Click to Tweet)

Lori HynsonAbout the author: Lori Hynson is a Recovering SuperGalaholic, author, speaker, Bible teacher, and singer. Her life ministry is to encourage women to recognize and be healed of their self-imposed SuperGal burdens, to find God’s abundant peace and contentment through His Word, and embrace the freedom they can experience daily in their new life in Christ.

Lori’s book, SuperGal vs. God, is the story of a woman who was convinced she could control everything life threw her way. Until she couldn’t fix the one thing that mattered most. A Bible study/book club guide on the truths in this story is also available.

Lori and her husband have five children, thirteen grandchildren, and enjoy living near Valley Forge, PA with their cats Wednesday and Natasha.

Join the conversation: How do you get real meat into you?

A GPS Story

by Terri Clark @TerriClarkTCM

Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path. Psalm 119:105 NIV

Since Global Positioning Systems (GPS), have become so common, nearly everyone has one in their phone or built into their car. These systems are so sophisticated; the nice lady’s voice can guide you to just about anywhere. And if you accidentally take a wrong turn or exit, it’s okay, she’ll just recalculate and guide you around to the correct road and back onto the right path again.

My friend Paula and her sister were on a road trip in Maine. Her sister drove, and Paula navigated with the help of her phone’s GPS. They were driving at night and didn’t want to try to add the hotel as a destination in the dark, so they decided to use both of their phones. Paula set her sister’s phone with the directions through the city, then set her own phone with the hotel directions. The first GPS successfully directed them all the way through the city. Paula then switched phones, activating her phone’s GPS for the pre-set directions to their hotel.

After passing through the city, the lady in the phone directed them to take the exit, so they did. Paula thought it weird that they would be exiting so soon, because the picture on her GPS said the turn was still another mile and a half down the road—but they obediently followed to oral directions.

As soon as they took the exit, the lady guided them around and back onto the highway. Once on the highway, she told them to take the exit again—and they did. Then again, as soon as they exited, they were guided back onto the highway. It happened three times. On the fourth time, as her sister was obediently about to get back on, Paula shouted, “Don’t do it! Just pull into this gas station, so we can see where we are!”

Once under the light, Paula could see her sister’s phone in her lap, right under the one she was holding. She had forgotten to end the navigation to the town after passing through it, so the first GPS kept trying to take them back to the city. The two GPS’s had the exact same voice; they thought they were both coming from the phone in her hand.

The competing voices had them driving in circles.

I don’t know about you, but I’ve had competing voices trying to take me in circles as well. Sometimes we all just need some clear guidance. It might be in relationship choices, work related decisions, or family matters. Sometimes it’s hard to tell which voice to listen to and which way to go. There are a lot of voices coming at us at the same time and they can all sound pretty convincing.

In order to get on the right road, I’ve had to get into the light of God’s Word. The Bible is God’s GPS (God’s Positioning System). Psalm 119:105 NIV says; “Thy Word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.” God’s Word is His voice, and it brings clarity. When you’re in need of guidance, no matter what your situation, He has the answer.

I don’t mean to sound trite, but if we are Christ Followers, so we need to follow Him—learn of Him and have His heart for His people. We do that by listening to His voice and following His instructions. He will never lead us astray. So, today, switch off the conflicting voices, get out God’s Word, His GPS, and listen to the only voice who will lead you in the right direction to a blessed life.

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A GPS Story – encouragement and insight from @TerriClarkTCM on @AriseDailyDevo (Click to Tweet)

Terri ClarkAbout the author: Terri Clark works with women to prepare and equip them to receive God and the blessings He wants to produce in their lives. She began to answer God’s call on her life in 1994 and has since impacted women all over the world with His news of salvation, edification, and healing.

Her book, Fanning the Flame: Reigniting Your Faith in God, identifies and addresses the issues which most affect a believer’s spiritual flame: the busyness of life, Christian service, pride, and worldly temptations. Join her in this pilgrimage and reignite your spiritual lamp with a fresh, empowering faith–a faith that will stand through a time of testing.

Join the conversation: What voices are trying to get your attention?

The Sacred Word

by Nan Corbitt Allen

Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path. (Psalm 119: 105 NIV)

It was another time—a time when the reading of scripture and prayer were not only permissible but encouraged in the public school. Miss Mary Dell Ard was my fourth-grade teacher, and she was an old-fashioned schoolmarm. Never married, she dedicated her life to teaching children. She called every student “precious,” even though she may be at the same time applying the rod to the child’s backside. (That was permissible and encouraged in those times as well.) Every morning our teacher would read from the Bible, and hers was so overused that she had to hold it together with a substantial rubber band.

One of the few times she embarrassed me by reprimanding me in front of the class was a morning after I had been assigned to take the lunch money to the cafeteria. I had left the room after the Pledge of Allegiance and had re-entered while she was still reading from the Bible. My desk was a mere two steps from the classroom door, and so when I re-entered, I went directly and sat down.

Big mistake. I had forgotten that it was a sacrilege to move about at all during the reading of the Word. The rule: If one enters a room as the Bible is read aloud, one must stand perfectly straight and still until the end of the reading and throughout the following prayer. This was the law, and I never broke it again. Because of this lesson, I still feel the need to be reverent and still whenever the Word is read.

Psalm 119 is a LONG song included in the psalter. No one knows who wrote it, but some believe that it was a priest from Old Testament times. The entire 176 verses are dedicated to the importance and sanctity of God’s Word. The synonyms the psalmist uses for the Word are precepts, laws, decrees, and statutes. The Word is described as eternal, firm, and enduring. This lyric emphasizes that God’s Word is for direction, for teaching, for understanding. It is mostly addressed to God, so it is functionally a prayer. The writer commits to obeying it, hiding in his heart, meditating on it, and delighting in it.

I’m sorry to admit that I haven’t always done this regarding the Word. I’ve read it and believed it most of my life, but have I always consulted it when I needed instruction or consolation? No.

Verse 28 says, “My soul is weary with sorrow: strengthen me according to your word…”  In times of sorrow and frustration, the Bible is often the last place we want to go for help. Why? “[We] have strayed like a lost sheep…” (Psalm 119: 176) Most of the time, the Word will tell us things we don’t want to hear:  trust Himobey Him, and surrender to Him. When we’re suffering, often we don’t want to do any of those things.

When I resist the instruction of the Word, I remember Miss Ard and how she taught me that the Bible is sacred, worthy of my respect, and my go-to for everything I need.

Read it, cherish it, and embrace its truth.

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The Sacred Word – encouragement from Nan Corbitt Allen on @AriseDailyDevo (Click to Tweet)

Nan Corbitt AllenAbout the author: Nan Corbitt Allen has written over 100 published dramatic musicals, sketchbooks, and collections in collaboration with Dennis Allen, her husband of 40 years. A three-time Dove Award winner, Nan’s lyrics and dramas have been performed around the world. Dennis and Nan have sold almost 3 million choral books.

Nan and Dennis live in Cleveland, GA where she teaches English and Creative Writing at Truett McConnell University. They have two grown sons and two beautiful grandchildren.

Nan’s book, Small Potatoes @ the Piggly Wiggly, is a collection of devotionals that reveal the great impact seemingly insignificant, routine experiences can have in our lives. She describes what she learned of God’s providence and wisdom while growing up in the Deep South in the 1950’s and 60’s.

Join the conversation: What does God’s Word mean to you?

Run Where Jesus Walked

by Michele McCarthy

My husband and I just returned from literally running uphill both ways where Jesus walked.

Following His footsteps required going low, beneath the current city level. Once we went low, the rest of the trip was uphill, no matter where we went! Israel is an urban mound sitting on top and old, older and finally the oldest of empires. Layers of ancient civilizations are unearthed daily as Tel (a hill with ruins within) upon Tel are explored by archaeologists. The search is ongoing day in and day out.

Up to this point, there has never been an ancient relic that has contradicted one word of Scripture. Excavating truth is a full-time business in that part of the world.

The last day of our trip we participated in an archaeological dig. Under the guidance of professionals, we sifted through buckets of dirt scooped from a street in the time of King David. Totally surreal!

Talk about the best treasure hunt EVER. I was like a kid in a candy store. We dumped small bucket contents in a box sifter, rinsed off centuries-old debris, and scavenged for ancient artifacts.

There were pottery shards, tile pieces, and several tiny bones. We turned up a small nail—the kind the Romans had on the bottom of their shoes to grip the ground. Clearly the earliest use of cleats ever!

I found a small chunk of a stone jar.

Stone, during the time of Jesus, was considered insusceptible to impurity. Stone containers were used for ritual washing. Every Jewish household would’ve had a stone vessel. Those same stone jars were used for the miracle at the Cana wedding. Even though every find stays in Israel for copious study, I smile, thinking my find could be from an important event in the time of Jesus or David.

I could have stayed all day looking through the dirt, but we headed to the airport. I wondered if I’d ever come back, perhaps as a volunteer at a dig. What a remarkable experience feeling the soil upholding Bible stories literally sliding through my fingers.

Visiting Israel was to open the Bible and step inside. Miles of desert, stone relics, the Red Sea, a 2000-year old fishing boat, the Sea of Galilee, baptism in the Jordan, and the empty tomb seared upon my heart. All sights I’ll now recall as I read the Word. The mass of history found beneath the topsoil of Israel boggles my mind. Scientists dig and dig and dig by hand until they reach Biblical time levels.

We have possession of the inspired Word of Almighty God. Do we realize the fortune we hold? Stories, songs, history—truth literally resting atop our hands. Am I as diligent to dig into God’s Word? To study it, and put the pieces together until it makes a whole?

“For the word of God is living and effective and sharper than any double-edged sword, penetrating as far as the separation of soul and spirit, joints and marrow. It is able to judge the ideas and thoughts of the heart” (Hebrews 4:12 HCSB).

Those centuries-old pieces of glass, nails, and stones will likely end up in a museum, proving the validity of the Bible. We can hold truth in our hands. We can have a relationship with Jesus that roars authentic louder than any historical object ever will.

But the word of the Lord endures forever. 1 Peter 1:25 NIV

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Run Where Jesus Walked – insight on #FollowingGod from Michele McCarthy on @AriseDailyDevo (Click to Tweet)

michele mccarthyAbout the author: Michele McCarthy is married and a mom to two sons and Gigi to five adorable grandchildren. She is a Texas Christian University graduate with a degree in Education. She attended Lifestyle Christianity University in Watauga, Texas. Michele is a co-founder of LWT (Living Write Texas), a Christian writing group for women. She loves, reading, painting, all things witty, and hot fudge sundaes.

Michele’s book Daddy and Me, is the story of the unconditional love of the Father. It is a reminder of how important and influential our words are to children. In Daddy and Me, daddy’s form is left to the imagination. Every child is free to picture their own daddy and most importantly their heavenly Father. The Father who loves them perfectly, without reserve no matter what, while gently holding each child in His hand.

Join the conversation: What truth from God’s Word are you holding in your heart today?