Bouncing Back: Devotional

As many of you know Kelly writes devotionals for HomeWord, today I received this one in my inbox.  I’m not sure when she wrote it but it’s very timely considering economic environment.

Bouncing Back 
This devotional was written by Kelly McFadden 

Timely advice is lovely, like golden apples in a silver basket.
— Proverbs 25:11 (NLT)

As a junior in high school, I was devastated when I was cut from the top volleyball team and sent to the second team.  I felt disappointed, embarrassed and dejected.  That evening, I spoke with a friend who passed on these words of wisdom, “It’s not how far you fall, but how high you bounce back that matters.”  I wrote the quote on my mirror and committed to doing my best for this new team, instead of sulking over my personal loss.  Instead of continuing to fall and spiral, I committed to bounce back.

What I learned that day is that what happens to me in life doesn’t count as much as how I react to those things.  I had a choice the day I was cut from the team: I could wallow in misery and quit the team, or I could choose to fight through my circumstances and work hard to improve.  Each day, choices like these present themselves.  When people are cruel, I can choose to accept their apology or let my bitterness grow.  When I am treated unfairly, I can vengefully plot a way to get even, or I can seek the Lord’s wisdom and demonstrate patience as He shows me what to do.  When I am fired from a job, I can learn from why things did not work or I can blame everyone else around me for my misfortune and never learn, grow or change.  When I am congratulated for a job well done, I can either pat myself on the back or thank the Lord for providing me with the skills to succeed.

Life throws different circumstances our way every day, both good and bad.  Wherever you are in your life, it is important to remember that people are watching and looking to see how you are living your life.  You will long be remembered, not only for what happened to you in your life, but for how you handled life’s circumstances. When those circumstances cause you to fall, I challenge you to bounce back!

To comment on today’s devotional, click here.

GOING DEEPER:

1. Think about a time in your life when you have reacted well to a disappointing circumstance and another time when you have reacted poorly.  Why do you think you reacted the way you did in those circumstances?

2. Why are our reactions as Christians so important?  How can you help make sure you are someone who bounces back?
FURTHER READING

James 5:10-11; Ephesians 5:6-9; Titus 2:6-8

Romans Study

Below are the beginnings of my notes on a 6 week Romans Study. More content coming.
A 6 part study on the Book of Romans

I. The Foundations of a Christian’s Faith

  • Reading: Romans 1:1-17; for a PDF with these verses in the NIV, NASB, and NLT click here
  • Research: Listen to Tom Nelson’s sermon on Romans 1:1-7 – Faith’s Foundations – recorded 10/08/2006. Click here and download.
  • Questions

Continue reading

Make It Beautiful

This devotional was written by Kelly McFadden and appeared on HomeWord’s daily devotional

For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place. When I was woven together in the depths of the earth, your eyes saw my unformed body. All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.—Psalm 139:13-16

In November of last year, a young girl named Courtney suddenly passed away a few days before her 20th birthday due to complications from a bone marrow transplant. I never met or knew this radiant young woman, but her story has touched me deeply. The family’s online journal tells a story of grief, confusion, courage and, above all, thankfulness, faith and love. Below is an excerpt Courtney’s mom wrote in the journal five days after, as she put it, her youngest daughter earned her wings.

“I have spent much of the past 24 hours looking back on Courtney’s life and the view of her life that I was lucky enough to get a glimpse of. As a very young girl, Courtney was really a Mama’s girl, always by my side – she truly was my baby…When I first learned that Courtney had cancer in Sept. 2000, I thought to myself, she is such a little girl – so fragile. I wasn’t sure that she could handle what she was about to be forced to. But I was wrong, she was so strong – she never asked why, she never felt sorry for herself – not in 2000 and not in 2006. She accepted her life and made it beautiful…As a mom, who is mourning her daughter, I know that Courtney would want me to pass along a few words of advice. Love your children (and family) like there is no tomorrow – hug them tighter, smile at them brighter and be sure to tell them you love them as often as you can.”

SOURCE: Family blog

Each person was made special, delicately woven by his or her Maker. God makes no mistake and knows the plans He has for us and our bodies. One of the beauties of this family’s journal is that they understand this. Courtney’s family knows that God has a plan for her even when her body, that He created, got too weak and sick to be here. The family misses her terribly, but they know she served God’s purpose on earth and they’re thankful for the gift of their time with her.

Courtney was a girl who never felt sorry for herself and accepted her life and made it beautiful. None of us has the promise of tomorrow. You do have this promise: You have a Maker who made no mistake in how He created you. He made you the right size, shape, temperament and personality. My suggestion? Make sure you are making your life beautiful using what God gave you, like Courtney did.

GOING DEEPER:
1. You have been given the exact right genetic make-up. How can you use what God has given you to make your life beautiful, no matter the circumstance?

2. Who in your life do you need to hug a little tighter?

FURTHER READING:
Ephesians 2:10; Philippians 4:13-14; James 4:14-15

Free Hugs


This devotional was written by Kelly McFadden and appeared on HomeWord’s daily devotional Jan 4, 2007.

Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving.—Colossians 3:23-24

In September of 2006, a video was released on the popular Internet site YouTube. The video took place in a walking mall in Sydney, Australia and showed a man, known as “Juan Mann,” holding a sign offering “Free Hugs.” As you watch the video, you see person after person walk by and ignore this hugger. In fact, at one point the police make him stop. People eventually warm up to the man and the video ends with many people approaching him for a hug. Months after the video’s release, nearly 7 million people have viewed it; all over the world, “Free Hug” campaigns are being held as a way to give a gift with no expectation in return.

Mann simply did this because he felt that sometimes people just need a hug to feel better. In fact, the first woman who stopped for a hug shared that that very morning, which was the year anniversary of her daughter’s death, her dog had died. All she needed this day when she felt so alone was a hug. And there was Mann to give it to her, freely.

I remember as a kid being challenged to do one nice thing for someone every day without expecting anything in return. Sometimes it is hard to do something for someone else unless you know you will get a “thank you” or a pat on the back or the favor returned. The Lord calls us to a different standard. We are to work with all our heart for an audience of one, God alone. We are not to work and toil for the approval or applause of man. We are to serve and give out of purity and thankfulness of heart.

What have you done lately for someone else without expectation of anything in return?

GOING DEEPER:
1. What can you do today for somebody else?

2. With whom do you work or interact who needs a hug in the form of grace or encouragement or understanding or help? Perhaps you should extend that to them this week.

FURTHER READING:
Leviticus 19:18; Proverbs 16:3; 1 Thessalonians 5:11

Shifting the Dial

written by Kelly McFadden
For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” — Matthew 11:30

Dr. Don Schoendorfer, founder of Free Wheelchair Mission, put his Ph.D. in mechanical engineering to work by creating a simple, sturdy and inexpensive wheelchair for those in need around the world.

Bob Campbell, real-estate entrepreneur, teamed with his local church, offering business knowledge to build partnerships between numerous organizations to help create a program for emancipated youth to get the education and stability they need.

Andrea Wherry loved to bake cakes. She baked unique and personalized cakes for homeless children on their birthdays, giving them a special day to remember. Her simple act created a birthday ministry to needy children in her community.

The problems of this world can feel overwhelming and out of reach when we read the news or look around us. There are difficult issues that seem beyond our ability to help or do anything. Have confidence in this: God did not call you to be what you aren’t or to do what you cannot. While you will not be asked to fix all the problems around you, you are called to use the gifts He gave you to serve others.

There are challenges and difficulties when we partner with Christ in this life; however, Jesus reminds us in this verse that His yoke is easy compared to the alternative. He will never give you more than you can bear. While the yoke is a labor tool for oxen, it is a shared tool. The weight will never fall on your shoulders alone. In fact, your primary partner is the Lord. It is He who carries the weight of the burden for you.

Although the world’s problems seem insurmountable, God does not ask us to fix anything. He asks us to use our unique mixture of gifts and talents to shift the dial from despair to hope. Each time you do the work God has set before you, you are a part of His great plan in bringing hope to a hurting world. Search your heart and see what gifts and tools the Lord has given you to be able to reach out and help others.

Life’s Road Map…


As some of you know I write devotionals for HomeWord.com. This one felt as if it fit in with this page, so I thought I would post it here…

Life’s Road Map

“Open my eyes that I may see wonderful things in your law. I am a stranger on earth; do not hide your commands from me.” — Psalm 119:18-19

With bus routes, maps, directions in hand, we were ready to go to England. We stepped off the plane in Heathrow and joined the crowd moving towards customs. The signs then sent us to platform B to rent our car. It was easy. Everything was exactly where the signs pointed, bags arrived and we were off. We were out of the airport within 30 minutes of landing.
We hopped into our rental car and were on our way. Since we were in England, a sign on the dashboard pointed to the left reminding us what side of the road to drive on. We followed the red highway line straight from London to Oxford. From there, we sought out the well-marked signs and route markers to navigate through the city, arriving at our final destination. We made it easily.

I can’t imagine what our travels would have been like if my husband and I had ignored the map or street signs. It probably would have taken us twice as long to arrive, or perhaps we would have given up looking and stayed where we were. It surprises me that there are times I don’t ask for directions or carry a map when I am traveling. There is wisdom found from following a route guide and knowing which way to turn. If I can have this understanding with something as simple as traveling to a new city, why do I often ignore the road map for my life? Sometimes I forget I am a stranger in this world. As Christians, our home is the Kingdom of God.

God gives us a wonderful gift of the Bible to act as a road map through our journey of life. The Bible points out the best route to take during our life travels, helping us avoid bumps, bruises, and obstacles along the way. The first step to using this map is to admit you need one. Like the psalmist realized, we are strangers in this land. Without our map, the Bible, we are destined to wander aimlessly and possibly miss the great destination the Lord has for us. If we use the Bible as our guide, we will be headed in the right direction with assurance of where we are going and a life God wants for us. A life filled with the fruit of the Spirit and with fulfillment. A life that leads you to experience all God has offered.