Monthly Archives: May, 2015

The River Devotional – May 22nd

“A time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing.” The word embrace, by definition, is: to hold in ones arms, accept readily, or to use eagerly. With the change that is brought about in each new season of life, opportunity is also presented. Solomon understood this opportunity that was brought about during these seasons of life. In Ecclesiastes 3:5 he writes, “a time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing.” As we go along these seasons of life, God will place different opportunities in our path. Some, we will eagerly take on and experience. Then there are other opportunities, that will bring some hardships and take more time. However, with these new opportunities, there is a time to let go. Time to let go of some of those things in the past we embraced. These things could be a job, friends, hobby, you fill in the blank. As we move forward in this new season and grasp onto these new opportunities, it is not always easy to let go. Solomon wrote, “there is a time to refrain from embrace.” Just as we need to trust in God as we eagerly take on these new opportunities and walk through the doors He opens for us, we also need to trust in Him in those opportunities He closes.  Letting go is not easy. Yet, just as we trust Him in those seasons of change, we need to trust Him as He opens and closes those doors of opportunity in our lives.

The River Devotional – May 14th

“Clap along if you know what happiness is to you, because I’m happy.” Happiness, is something that we all long for. It is what everyone in this world is continually searching for… simply to be happy. Now, I am sure that many of you have heard these lyrics from the chart-topping song Happy. There is no doubt that it is a very catchy song, however, these lyrics are not always easy to sing. If we are all honest, every one of us can think of a day or time in our lives where we were not happy. Maybe it was that Friday afternoon at work, when your boss dumps a project on you that needed to be finished by Monday morning. For some, it was that Ford pick-up truck that just carelessly put a dent in your car door. Whatever that day or time may have been, we have all had, and remember them. In 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18, Paul writes, “Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” Honestly, this passage was hard for me to read at first. How are we supposed to be able to rejoice always and be happy, when everything around us seems to be going against us at times? Yet, when I came to the end of the passage, I understood why Paul wrote it. He finishes by writing, “for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” As followers of Christ, our happiness is found in Him. We can try to fill that hole with the things of this world, but they are all just temporary fixes that will only disappoint us and leave us right where we began… unhappy. However, as we follow after His will for our lives, we find true happiness. Happiness that cannot be matched by anything this world has to offer. So, yes, we are always going to have those bad days where we just cannot sing about being happy. Yet, if we remember these three simple truths: rejoice always, pray continually, and give thanks, then we will find that happiness we are searching for. The happiness that can only be found in Christ and following after Him.

The River Devotional – May 6th

Each year, we experience four different seasons here in Michigan: Spring, Summer, Fall, and Winter. The funny thing about those seasons, is the fact that they don’t all last for an equal amount of time. As we all know, tomorrow morning we could wake up with snow on the ground, yet by the afternoon be walking outside in shorts and a t-shirt! In Ecclesiastes 3:1, Solomon writes, “For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven.” Just as the seasons here in Michigan last for different lengths of time, the seasons in our lives do as well. Right now, we are all in a season of life. Some have been in this season for several years and months. Then, there are some who have just entered into a new season and honestly…it’s scary. Change is not easy, but it comes hand-in-hand with each new season. It is during these seasons of change that we need to truly trust in God and the plan He has for us, the plan He has prepared long before we were even created. Being scared is okay, we’re all human, it’s natural to have those feelings. However if we read further, in verse 11 it says, “He has made everything beautiful in its time. Also, he has put eternity into man’s heart, yet so that he cannot find out what God has done from the beginning to the end.” There is great comfort that comes from understanding that God has it figured out. Nothing takes Him by surprise and there is no change that comes without His knowledge. So, as we enter into this new season and as you begin to experience change of various kinds, remember who is in control and the One who has the plan from beginning to end.

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