Thursday, December 30, 2010

Watch Night - Devotions from the Road of Life

"When I was a child, my family attended a small neighborhood church, Grace Baptist Church in New Orleans. We didn’t have a lot in terms of money or pomp, but we had a devoted pastor who worked hard to keep his little flock on track."

For more of this remembrance, click here.

Friday, December 24, 2010

No Room - a Christmas Edition of Devotions from the Road of Life

"And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn." Luke 2:7, King James Version

“No Vacancy.” The sign means good news for an innkeeper, but trouble for a traveler. The situation was no different that first Christmas. Although Luke doesn’t tell us so, I can picture Joseph and Mary trudging from one place to another in growing desperation.

For more on this devotion, click here.

Monday, November 15, 2010

A Song of Thanks, A Hymn of Praise - Devotions from the Road of Life

“And he commanded the people to sit down on the ground: and he took the seven loaves, and gave thanks, and brake, and gave to his disciples to set before them; and they did set them before the people. And they had a few small fishes: and he blessed, and commanded to set them also before them. So they did eat, and were filled: and they took up of the broken meat that was left seven baskets.”  Mark 8:6-9 (King James Version)

We come now, God, to give Thee thanks, and ask
That Thou will show us how to act as one
To share all that which we receive in Thee
With others who have less, or worse yet, none.

Click here for the rest of this Thanksgiving prayer.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

An Elijah Christmas - Devotions from the Road of Life

And Elijah said unto her, Fear not; go and do as thou hast said: but make me thereof a little cake first, and bring it unto me, and after make for thee and for thy son. For thus saith the LORD God of Israel, The barrel of meal shall not waste, neither shall the cruse of oil fail, until the day that the LORD sendeth rain upon the earth. And she went and did according to the saying of Elijah: and she, and he, and her house, did eat many days. And the barrel of meal wasted not, neither did the cruse of oil fail, according to the word of the LORD, which he spake by Elijah. 1 Kings 17: 13-16, King James Version

"One of my favorite Christmas memories comes from the late 1970s. Back then, times were tough and money was tight-a lot like things are today. My husband, my son and I didn’t have a lot, but we had enough to get by, even if there was nothing left over afterward. Christmas was a lot of fun anyway, because I always started planning on December 26 for the next year."

Click here for more of this Christmas memoir.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Smooth the Stumbling Blocks - Devotions from the Road of Life

“Let us not therefore judge one another any more: but judge this rather, that no man put a stumblingblock or an occasion to fall in his brother's way.” Romans 14:13 (King James Version).

Today the US Supreme Court is hearing a case dealing with protesters picketing funerals of deceased military personnel. Members of Westboro Baptist Church of Topeka, KS, were sued for interrupting the funeral of Lance Cpl. Matthew Snyder with protests, stating their belief that “…U.S. deaths in Afghanistan and Iraq are punishment for Americans' immorality, including tolerance of homosexuality and abortion.”(1)...

Click here for more on stumbling blocks.

No Admittance - Devotions from the Road of Life

“I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture. The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly. I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep…I am the good shepherd, and know my sheep, and am known of mine. As the Father knoweth me, even so know I the Father: and I lay down my life for the sheep.” John 10: 9-11, 14-15 (King James Version)

The sign on the door read “No Admittance-Authorized Personnel Only.” As I waited for the saleslady to return from her foray into the forbidden territory of “No Admittance,” I wondered about how often those signs show up...

For more on how to gain admittance, click here.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Made for a Purpose - Devotions from the Road of Life

“I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvellous are thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well. My substance was not hid from thee, when I was made in secret, and curiously wrought in the lowest parts of the earth. Thine eyes did see my substance, yet being unperfect; and in thy book all my members were written, which in continuance were fashioned, when as yet there was none of them. How precious also are thy thoughts unto me, O God! how great is the sum of them!” Psalm 139:14-17, King James Version

I often pause to admire a classically beautiful fountain nearby-an elegantly sculptured young lady bearing a large jar of war. The tipped jar directs water to flow into the upper bowl of the two-tiered receptacle. Serene and lovely, she poses above the bowls. Her hair curls gracefully in careful arrangement, her enigmatic expression frozen in place...

Click here for more.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Praying for My County - A Devotion in Rhyme

We've all sung the words to 'America (My Country, 'Tis of Thee).' Sometimes it doesn't feel as though freedom is ringing from every mountainside anymore. So here is an updated version for today's world.

'My country, ‘tis for thee
Now on my bended knee,
For thee I pray.
Come back to freedom’s start-
Faith at your deepest heart.
May God His strength impart
To thee, I pray.'"

Click here for the rest of the song.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Dead to the World

“For I through the law am dead to the law, that I might live unto God. I am crucified with Christ; nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.” Galatians 2: 19-20 (King James Version)

When my son was a baby, he slept very soundly. My grandmother used to say he was “dead to the world.” And it was true. Once he fell deeply asleep, very little would disturb his slumber.

I recently finished reading a study in Galatians, and I’ve come across the phrase again. This time, though, it’s referring to a lifestyle rather than sleeping styles.

Click here to read the rest of this devotion from the road of life.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Hiding behind the Flag

"See here the bars of red and white,
The field of blue strewn with stars.
But look behind the colored cloth, the simple fabric."

Click here to learn more about what hides behind the flag.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

My Father, My Dad and Me - a devotion for Father's Day

"My father died more than thirty years ago. I have been fatherless for more than half of my life. I still miss him, still grieve that I can't pick up a phone and call him or drive over for a visit. While I rejoice in his salvation, sometimes waiting to see him again seems to take the eternity I know I'll have with him."

To read this devotion from the road of life, click here.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Merciful and Gracious Lord (Number 52 in a series)

Sometimes my mind thinks back to mistakes I’ve made in the past. I can relive those episodes as clearly as though they were happening right then. The pain and shame of those misjudgments weighs heavily on me. I know that if God dealt with me as I deserved from those actions, I would spend all eternity far away from His Presence.

Click here for the rest of the devotion.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Deep Roots (Number 51 in a series)

“Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful. But his delight is in the law of the Lord; and in his law doth he meditate day and night. And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper. The ungodly are not so: but are like the chaff which the wind driveth away.” Psalm 1: 1-4, King James Version

I’ve been gardening as long as I can remember. Indoors, outdoors, flowers, vegetables-it doesn’t matter to me. Getting my hands into soil and watching things grow are activities that make me happy. Along the way, I’ve learned a lot about growing things.

Click here for the rest of the devotion.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Finding Noah's Ark-A devotion (Number 50 in a series)

"How does the possible discovery of Noah's Ark on Mount Ararat make you feel? Does it encourage you? Discourage you? Strengthen your faith?"

Click here for one perspective on the media hype.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

The Song Comes From God - a devotion (number 49 in a series)

“The LORD is my strength and my song; he has become my salvation. He is my God, and I will praise him, my father's God, and I will exalt him.” Exodus 15:2, KJV

One of my favorite gospel songs was written by Bill and Gloria Gaither, God gave the song.” Many of my favorites come from their pens, but this one is especially dear to me.

In the song, they talk about God being the source of the Song and giving the ability to sing that Song in the face of adversity as well as blessing. The opening verse says:

“You ask me why my heart keeps singing,
Why I can sing when things go wrong.
But since I've found the source of music
I just can't help it. God gave the song.”

What a powerful reminder to me in these days when so very much seems to be going wrong! My mother’s deteriorating health, my non-existent finances, catastrophes in the world…finding a bright spot often takes a determined effort. Those are the times when I cling to the Song ever more tightly and let God’s strength and song lift me and keep me singing.

In the same vein, “He Keeps Me Singing” (Luther Bridges, 1884-1948) reminds me that Jesus is the one who keeps me singing no matter where I go. One of my favorite hymns, Babbie Mason recorded a version of it on her album “Timeless” and reminded a new generation of music lovers of the message.

I have discovered that just singing a song of praise will lift my spirits. Is it the action of giving praise or the verbalization of His faithfulness in the lyrics, or a combination of the two that pulls me up? I only know it works.

Next time the world is trying its best to drag you down, lift a song of praise to the Giver of Song. Let His love write the song on your heart and carry you through.

Father, thank You for the song You put in our hearts, for being the source of all we need. Please accept our songs of praise as a gift of love to You.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Saint Patrick - a devotion (Number 48 in a Series)

“Go ye therefore, and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them into the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit: teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I commanded you: and lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world.” Matthew 28: 19-20, American Standard Version

Today is known as “St. Patrick’s Day,” represented with playful leprechauns and crowds of shamrocks. People will celebrate with green rivers and green beer; overindulge on corned beef and cabbage. In some ways, the celebration has become larger than the message (and isn’t that just so typical of human beings).

We celebrate Patrick as an icon of all things Irish, yet he was not Irish by birth. We represent the day with mythical beings, yet Patrick brought the truth to the Irish people and supplanted mythological tyrants with the facts of the Living Lord. We serve food and drink aplenty to celebrate, yet Patrick began his life in Ireland as a slave with many of life’s comforts lacking.

Stop for a moment and ponder Patrick’s life. Escaped from slavery, he returned to those who enslaved him with the message of God’s love. He followed God’s instruction to leave behind the world of his birth and bring the message to a raw and heathen people. We remember him for his sacrifice of self to serve others (and he wasn’t serving green beer).

As a person of (admittedly partial) Irish descent, I am touched by this day. Because of Patrick, Christianity spread through Ireland. He allowed himself to be the tool used by God to share Truth with a people wandering in pagan darkness. We will never know this side of heaven what blessings came to those people because Patrick was willing to heed the call.

Father, thank You for loving us enough to send Patrick to my distant ancestors. Help me to always remember the day is a celebration of Your goodness toward humanity and Your provision for our salvation. And give me courage to answer Your call to take the message to others as Patrick did.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Writing the Truth (Number 47 in a Series)

“That which hath been is that which shall be; and that which hath been done is that which shall be done: and there is no new thing under the sun. Is there a thing whereof it may be said, See, this is new? it hath been long ago, in the ages which were before us. There is no remembrance of the former generations; neither shall there be any remembrance of the latter generations that are to come, among those that shall come after.” Ecclesiastes 1:9-11, American Standard Version

Why should a Christian writer write? We are cautioned against changing or adding anything to the Scriptures (Revelation 22), so what can we offer? Why bother? I think the reason speaks to us here in Ecclesiastes: although nothing is new here on earth, we humans forget.

As Christian writers, our task is to refresh the memory of our readers with what is in God’s Word. The truth there is powerful enough, exciting enough, eternal enough without us adding to or changing the meaning of it. We only have to retell in it in a way that directs the reader back to the Author of All.

Many ways lie at our disposal. Take a look at Liz Curtis Higgs. She uses a reframing of the Bible truth to tell the story set in a different time, a different land. The truth doesn’t alter, only the faces and the attire of the characters. Read one of her historical novels and find how little human nature has changed through the centuries.

Another avenue involves building around a basic Bible truth and weaving a different story from the threads. This method compels us to face God’s law and love. In the hands of master writers like DiAnn Mills and James Scott Bell, the pattern of the cloth reveals action, suspense and adventure.

Jerry Jenkins and Tim LaHaye collaborated on the powerful ‘Left Behind’ series and put modern faces on John’s Revelation. As readers, we can understand the teachings there more thoroughly through the rousing stories they wrote. They’ve collaborated on other works as well as published solo works.

Michelle Medlock Adams applies her skills in writing children’s books. No age limit exists for Christian readership and she brings truths to little hearts in words they can understand.

The examples represent only a few of the inspirations for people like me-Christians who hope to spread God’s Word through our writing. They write to shine the light of God’s Word on the daily path of their readers.

We fledgling authors can look at them and follow their course. Whether we write fiction or study guides, treatises or devotionals, we can write to glorify Him who gave us the words. Write for publication, write for your church bulletin or write encouraging notes to those around you, but write.

Visit your local Christian store for more ways to find God’s truth in today’s world. If you have a desire to write for Him, Google “Christian writing conference” for an abundance of resources on the local and national level. (I can attest as to the wonderful environment of Write-to-Publish in Wheaton, IL.) You’ll find learning and support.

Father, we thank You for the powerful tool of words. Help us to use them to Your glory. Show us where and how to reach others for you. And thank you for the inspiration of successful Christian authors who teach us ways to spread your word in many formats.

© 2010 Mary Beth Magee

Other Resources:

Chris Fabry - collaborated with Jerry Jenkins on a Left Behind series for kids as well as many of his own solo works

Debbie Fuller Thomas

Mary deMuth

Max Lucado

Jane Rubietta

Cecil B. Murphey

Debbie Macomber

Ann Downing

Don’t be afraid to Google the name of your favorite Christian author to find their webpage. I’ve given you some of my favorites for your convenience. None of the authors asked to be listed or gave any compensation for my reference to them. They are simply people I respect and admire.
Feel free to add your favorites in the comments field.

Friday, February 19, 2010

The Taste of Honey (Number 46 in a series)

“How sweet are thy words unto my taste! yea, sweeter than honey to my mouth! Through thy precepts I get understanding: therefore I hate every false way. Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.” Psalm 119:103-105, KJV

Most of us know the last part of this passage very well. It is a beloved memory verse. I remember saying it during daily assembly for Vacation Bible School as part of the pledge of allegiance to the Bible. The rest of the passage caught me by surprise.

I was reading my way to verse 105 to get the punctuation correct for a lighthouse project I was doing. Surely I’ve read this chapter in its entirety before. After all, I’ve been through several “through the Bible in a year” reading plans and Bible studies based on the Psalms. Yet this time it struck me with fresh impact.

Sweeter than the taste of honey! What a way to describe God’s Word. When the news is filled with bitter information, when the people we encounter offer acid comments, how wonderful to taste the sweetness of His Words, the wealth of His Promises. All sorts of artificial sweeteners exist out there, fake sweetness with no nutritive value. God’s Word is the sweetness of Truth, the nourishment our soul craves.

When was the last time you tasted the sweetness of God’s Word? Beyond the printed page, there are audio Bibles, emailed devotions, internet Bible sites. I’ve seen advertisements for the Bible on DVD to read on your television. We are blessed to live in a world where technology can be used to deliver God’s Word in many ways. Find a way that works for you and use it. Feed daily on His teachings.

Father, thank you for the sweetness of Your Word, for the soul-feeding goodness You offer us there. Keep us always hungry for more of Your teachings. Lead us to the table of learning that we may draw closer to You through Your words.

©2010 Mary Beth Magee

Monday, January 25, 2010

A Caregiver's Prayer (Number 45 in a series)

"And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me." Matthew 25:40 (KJV).

I'm fighting my share of battles these days as I watch my mother decline. Even when she is at her most hurtful and demanding, I must remind myself that I am not only caring for her; I am caring for Jesus through her. I don't always succeed as well as I desire.

For my fellow caregivers everywhere, as well as myself, I offer this prayer.

A Caregiver’s Prayer

Heavenly Father,

Today I look on a face I love without the person I love behind it. Today I seek to provide my loved one’s needs, not knowing if I am even recognized. Today I move one day closer to “Farewell.”

Please help me to remember the heart and soul now hidden from me. Remind me when I don’t have a name in my loved one’s eyes that I have a name in You. Give me strength to do what I must do to provide nourishment and comfort, even when I must do battle with a seeming stranger to do so. Give me patience with the lack of recognition and understanding, with the presence of confusion and fear.

Father, give me cognizance of those flashes of the one who used to be, that I may rejoice in a moment’s gift. Give me kindness when the stranger returns. Please remind me that the odd behavior of one I once knew so well comes not from the heart but from the condition now presenting itself.

Make my touch gentle, my voice soft, my thoughts loving. Help me to fight the demons of exhaustion, frustration and depression so that I may overcome them in Your mighty Name.

When I grow discouraged, Father, please lift me up. When I grow impatient, please slow me down. Help me at all times to be Your hands and feet to the one who is drawing ever nearer to Your Throne. Remind me that what I do here, I do to Your glory and as though I do it for You, as well. Remind me to praise you for the opportunity to serve. So many don't get the chance to say "Good-bye," much less show their love through providing care.

Each time I leave the bedside, remind me to say “I love you.” This may be the moment when my loved one understands. It may be the last chance I have to say it. It will always be a reminder, even in my darkest moments.

And, dear Father, when the time comes to let go, please remind me that we will meet again in Your presence. Comfort me with Your care. Let me hold to the good memories until the day we have the opportunity to make perfect ones, in Your paradise.

In the name of Your Precious Son Jesus I ask these things,

Copyright 2010 Mary Beth Magee