Berakah!

Our daily devotional is a re-post with permission from Words Of Hope. Come view our website at www.clintonave.org.

Berakah!

By Linda R. Rubingh on June 6, 2022

Read: 2 Chronicles 20:1-30

Give thanks to the LORD, for his steadfast love endures forever. (v. 21)

When God calls us to “Go!” the enemy will attack, because he lives to hinder God’s advancing kingdom. King Jehoshaphat was “devoted to the ways of the LORD,” and was turning the hearts of the people back to the Lord (2 Chron. 17:6 NIV). Then not one or two but three armies joined forces and prepared to attack the kingdom of Judah.

What was Jehoshaphat’s strategy against this vast enemy? Two essential moves that remain to this day the best response to any attacks we may face as we go. First, Jehoshaphat proclaimed a communal gathering to fast and pray: “We have no power to face this vast army . . . our eyes are on you” (2 Chron. 20:12 NIV). He positioned God’s people rightly, looking first to the Lord for help.

Second, the king put the worship leaders out first when facing the enemy. They sang and praised God—berakah in Hebrew—for the splendor of his holiness. As they were worshipping the LORD the three armies turned and destroyed one another. When Judah arrived to battle, their enemy was already destroyed!

Whatever battle we have in front of us, we can first position ourselves rightly, seeking God. Then, simply worship the Lord for who he is. No matter the size or length of the battle, we will, in life and in death, “stand firm and see the deliverance the LORD will give” (v. 17 NIV). —Linda R. Rubingh

As you prayberakah! the Lord for the splendor of his holiness.

Whatever It Takes

Our daily devotional is a re-post with permission from Words Of Hope. Come view our website at www.clintonave.org.

Whatever It Takes

By Linda R. Rubingh on June 5, 2022

Read: Acts 9:19-25

But his disciples took him by night and let him down through an opening in the wall, lowering him in a basket. (v. 25)

I don’t know what kind of basket Saul had to get into that night. There’s a good chance it smelled like fish and creaked loudly with its heavier than usual cargo. It may have bumped the hard wall on its way down, causing Saul and his friends to hold their breath. Would the basket and rope hold? Would the Jewish leaders catch them? They were seething and wanted the traitor Saul dead.

Yet there was Saul, previously a Pharisee of Pharisees, in the dead of night, literally hanging by some threads of rope, in a smelly, creaky basket, because Jesus said, “Go!”

When God calls us to go, we can wind up in some pretty precarious situations, utterly in God’s hands. But that’s the point. Complete dependence allows us to experience God’s incredible presence and provision as we go. Saul’s hardships for the gospel were serious, but ultimately secondary compared to his life in Christ. Saul’s response to “Go!” was “Whatever it takes.” Even if it meant hanging in a basket, in the dead of night.

When we say, “Whatever it takes,” in response to God’s call, we’re utterly in God’s hands. And that’s the absolute best place to be. —Linda R. Rubingh

As you pray, ask God for the strength to say, “Whatever it takes, Lord.”

Yes, Lord

Our daily devotional is a re-post with permission from Words Of Hope. Come view our website at www.clintonave.org.

Yes, Lord

By Linda R. Rubingh on June 4, 2022

Read: Acts 9:10-19

But the Lord said to him, “Go, for he is a chosen instrument of mine . . .” So Ananias departed. (vv. 15-17)

We drove on Communipaw Avenue, heading into the heart of the city. It was a bitter, rainy November day. Deep dread washed over me as I absorbed the signs of urban blight we saw everywhere. My husband and I were there to discern if God wanted us in this particular city to start our ministry. “I cannot do this Lord,” I said silently. “No, you can’t,” he answered, “but I can. Is anything too hard for me?” After that conversation, I could say “Yes, Lord,” to his call to go.

Ananias’ conversation with Jesus wasn’t going well. Jesus had just told Ananias to go find Saul—who was in Damascus to arrest Ananias and any other believers—and pray for him! Obedience meant arrest and likely death. What happened to Ananias, between verses 16 and 17, that enabled him to go?

Ananias loved Jesus and even reasoned with him in the middle of a vision! But most of all, Ananias knew Jesus as Lord. When Jesus said, “Go,” the second time, he obeyed because he’d already said, “Yes, Lord, you can ask anything of me.”

There were two “go” miracles in Damascus long ago. The first was what happened to Saul of Tarsus on that road. The second was what happened to Ananias, in the space between verses 16 and 17. —Linda R. Rubingh

As you pray, ask God to help you say, “Yes, Lord.”

Unexpected Provision

Our daily devotional is a re-post with permission from Words Of Hope. Come view our website at www.clintonave.org.

Friday, June 3, 2022

Unexpected Provision


Read: Joshua 2

For the LORD your God, he is God in the heavens above and on the earth beneath. (v. 11)

When Joshua and the Israelites are given the “go” from God to take possession of the promised land, two spies head to Jericho. They find shelter in Rahab’s home. I wonder who was more surprised—Rahab or the spies—at this unexpected arrangement! Rahab’s house was embedded in the great city wall, and therefore strategically placed for the spies’ exact purpose. God chose a Gentile, a woman, known to be in prostitution, as the provider of safety and help.

Rahab the outsider, is God’s unexpected provision, declaring her faith in God: “for the LORD your God, he is God in the heavens above and on the earth beneath” (v. 11). God wants every tribe, language, people and nation included in his great redemption story.

Early in my career, I worked in a ministry serving women in prostitution. My office was located where those suffering with addictions, mental illness, and prostitution felt most “at home.” One morning, I arrived to find an elderly man passed out in my doorway, covered in vomit and urine. I was paralyzed. “Jesus, help me! I can’t help this man on my own,” I prayed. Right then, a woman in prostitution and a mentally impaired man walked up and carried the man to the health clinic next door. God’s unexpected, strategic, and inclusive provision. —Linda R. Rubingh

As you pray, ask the Lord for eyes to see his unexpected provision as you go.

Take Nothing for Your Journey

Our daily devotional is a re-post with permission from Words Of Hope. Come view our website at www.clintonave.org.

Take Nothing for Your Journey

By Linda R. Rubingh on June 2, 2022

Read: Luke 9:1-6

And he said to them, “Take nothing for your journey, no staff, nor bag, nor bread, nor money; and do not have two tunics.” (v. 3)

Making sure you have everything you need before you go somewhere is one of those universal skills we rely on. I want my son to remember to pack his running spikes for practice as he heads out to school, or the tow truck driver rescuing me to have all the right tools packed.

This tendency to want to be completely prepared can actually keep us from saying yes to the “go” of God when it comes. Whether it’s making a tiny heart-move toward forgiveness, or changing careers and crossing an ocean, questions about having everything we need can stop us from going. We wonder, “Will I be safe? Do I have the right gifts or skills for this? Where will the needed finances come from? Will I have everything I need?

“Take nothing for your journey” means that we who love Jesus already have everything we need, in him. No matter what kind of “go” Jesus calls us to, He is our King of kings and Lord of lords, our risen and victorious Savior. And he is Jehovah Jireh, God our provider, who calls us. He will be for us everything we need as we go. —Linda R. Rubingh

As you pray, remember you can “go” because Jesus your Good Shepherd sends you, and will supply your every need.

God’s Nature is Go

Our daily devotional is a re-post with permission from Words Of Hope. Come view our website at www.clintonave.org.

God’s Nature is Go

By Linda R. Rubingh on June 1, 2022

Read: Matthew 28:16-20

Go therefore and make disciples of all nations. (v. 19)

From Genesis to Revelation, there is an ever-present call from God to “Go!” Abraham, Moses, Ruth, Esther, Daniel, Jonah, Mary, Paul, and uncountable others have all heard and heeded God’s bidding to “go.” And at the center of this “go” is Jesus, who left heaven on the greatest go-mission of all time, becoming flesh and blood in order to rescue us, the children he loves.

In the Gospels, Jesus himself was constantly “on the go,” bringing the fullness of God’s Jubilee, and teaching others to joyfully go and do the same. He instructed the woman who anointed his feet with oil and the centurion with the sick servant to “go.” In parables, he revealed God’s nature as one who sacrificially goes in search of a lost sheep, a lost coin, or a lost son. And in exquisite fulfillment of his go-mission, Jesus himself went to a cross to win our lives back for us.

Then—hallelujah!—after swallowing up death in victory, our resurrected Lord gave the “Go!” command to his disciples: “‘Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, even so I am sending you’” (John 20:21).

God’s nature is “go.” As God’s people, we lose our core identity and purpose when we lose the habit of doing the same. But we’re at our best, individually and together, as we receive the power of the Holy Spirit, and we go. —Linda R. Rubingh

As you pray, ask the Lord to fill you with the Holy Spirit and show you your next “Go!” assignment.

  God Causes the Grass to Grow

Our daily devotional is a re-post with permission from Words Of Hope. Come view our website at www.clintonave.org.

God Causes the Grass to Grow

By Tammy DeRuyter on May 31, 2022

Read: Psalm 104:1-15

You cause the grass to grow for the livestock and plants for man to cultivate. (v. 14)

Summer had changed into fall. Months had passed from that fateful day in May, and as I slowly rode my bicycle along the jutted, pockmarked bike path, evidence of the flood remained starkly visible. A refrigerator still lay smashed into a large oak tree. A porch, long separated from its former house, now lay nestled and abandoned in wild-growing shrubbery. Here a rooftop on the forest ground, there a picnic table hanging precipitously from a treetop.

Yet in the midst of chaos, I saw it! There it was! New grass growing between the rungs of a partially buried ladder. A flower shooting its welcoming golden head through the twisted heap of asphalt. And animal tracks from the forest creatures clearly enjoying the bountiful meal from the massive, up-ended tree.

God is constantly bringing forth richness in the midst of ruin; creation is ever springing forth from chaos; and new life is often birthed from that which seems to be lifeless. The Tittabawassee River has now returned to its natural size. Where two lakes used to be, vast swaths of brown mud are quickly filling in with wild greenery.

“May the glory of the LORD endure forever; may the LORD rejoice in his works” (v. 31). Despite the unexpected, the destructive and even the horrific, may we remember that the grass will always grow again. —Tammy DeRuyter

As you pray, ask him for eyes to see, sometimes even in the midst of destruction and despair, the wondrous beauty of our world!

The Midland Miracle

Our daily devotional is a re-post with permission from Words Of Hope. Come view our website at www.clintonave.org.

The Midland Miracle

By Tammy DeRuyter on May 30, 2022

Read: Psalm 71:8-22

O God, do not forsake me, until I proclaim your might to another generation. (v. 18)

On May 19, 2020, two separate, long-neglected dam structures buckled under the cumulative weight of heavy rains. Wixom Lake drained within an hour, quickly followed by Sanford Lake, sending water surging downstream. In its wake, it left approximately 2,500 damaged or destroyed homes and businesses, plus lost cars, ruined parks, and broken dreams. In all, a $200 million infrastructure tab was left behind along with thousands of sorrowful hearts. Yet not a single person died.

David had lived through wars while many of his comrades fell by the sword. Psalm 78 records how he remembered God’s faithfulness in each season of life from his youth to old age. Danger still lurked, however. He had recently learned that his own son, Absalom, was plotting a violent betrayal. David might not survive. In recognizing this, he proclaimed the goodness of God and declared that he would continue to share God’s stories, praises, and glory as long as his breath remained.

In Midland, Sanford, and the surrounding communities, 11,000 people evacuated thanks to technology and well-coordinated, skillful assistance from various emergency personnel. In the end, every affected person survived the floodwaters. A miracle or simply wise human intervention? The answer doesn’t matter: praise God anyway! In a catastrophic flood not a single soul was lost, and for this we give thanks and proclaim his name! —Tammy DeRuyter

As you pray, thank him for life, your life, and praise his glorious name!

Christmas in October!

Our daily devotional is a re-post with permission from Words Of Hope. Come view our website at www.clintonave.org.

Christmas in October!

By Tammy DeRuyter on May 29, 2022

Read: Numbers 15:37-41

And it shall be a tassel for you to look at and remember all the commandments of the LORD. (v. 39)

Betty’s father had hand-carved the ornate and detailed nativity set, finishing the Holy Family only a few months before he died. Every December, the family took turns carefully setting it up in various formations across the fireplace mantle. That eight-piece heirloom had been a family treasure. Now it was gone.

While Christmas decor is hardly considered an essential element for sustaining life, it nevertheless serves to remind us of people and things we value: memories, family, and even more so, our faith. Nativity scenes, angels, wrapping paper . . . all of it, for thousands of people, had washed away in the toxic, tepid waters. One church decided to address this situation: “If you were flooded and lost all your Christmas decorations, free replacements today in Sanford. Artificial trees, linen, stockings, candles . . . all new items.”

Why would they do this? Because remembering and celebrating our faith is not only cultural, it’s biblical. The Israelites were not asked, they were commanded to sew a tassel upon their garment. Why? As a visual reminder of God and his commandments so that they, God’s chosen people, would remember who they were and to whom they belonged. For modern-day believers, Christmas and all its physical trappings affords us the same opportunity: to display a tangible and physical memorial to our faith in Jesus. —Tammy DeRuyter

As you pray, ask him to show you visual reminders of our faith and that he is the Lord our God.

Food for the Body and Soul

Our daily devotional is a re-post with permission from Words Of Hope. Come view our website at www.clintonave.org.

Food for the Body and Soul

By Tammy DeRuyter on May 28, 2022

Read: Matthew 25:31-46

Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me. (v. 40)

The first car arrived early and waited. By 5:00 p.m., the line of vehicles stretched beyond sight. They came because once again, Angela, a local attorney with a huge heart, had arranged for dinner.

“Hey! How are you guys doing? Three bags for the blue Buick!” she called out, turning around to the waiting volunteers. “Four for this one and the next car needs two!” So began the next 20 minutes as 150 to 200 meals on any given night were distributed, rapid fire, to displaced flood victims.

Twice a week for almost six months, she obtained restaurant donations for food, organized an ever-changing group of volunteers to assemble and distribute meals. Personally knowing the community was an advantage. More often than not, Angela knew the vehicle occupants and meal numbers without having to ask. Instead, she quickly inquired as to how they were doing and what other needs they had. She’d “look into it.” Just to know that someone cared was enough to fill their soul even as they were handed food for their bodies.

Was anyone ever turned away? No. Angela saw a desperate need in the midst of her flood-ravaged community and met it. No questions asked. She fed the hungry more than 5,000 meals. Scripture tells us that in this act, she also fed the Lord. Imagine his response. —Tammy DeRuyter

As you pray, ask God for opportunities to serve your neighbors and in doing so serve him too.

The Friendly Church