Kinks In My Hose

“And we guarantee it will work!” The only words less believable are, “We are going to lower your taxes!”

Most of us have experienced the frustration of spending good money on a product, only to have it fall short of it’s promised performance?

A wise man once said, “You get what you pay for.” Two years ago I bought a cheap garden hose to use in my back yard. This hose was a pain. When I rolled it up, it developed so many kinks that it folded more than it rolled.

The kinks made the simple job of watering flowers much more difficult than it needed to be. It took longer to get the water flowing through the hose than it took to water the flowers.

The next year I spent the extra money for a hose that was “guaranteed” not to kink. You guessed it, the hose kinked because… of course it did!

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I was convinced that the kinkless hose had worked fine for everyone in the world but me!

It works for everyone but me! Have you ever felt that way about your relationship with God?

  • We believe that prayer only works for select few. Most of us know “that person” who when they ask God for a blessing, God replies, “Here take two!”
  • Or we believe that the good parts of the Bible only apply to highly favored individuals.
  • Have you ever felt that God loves everyone but you? I say that jokingly (but not really).

Deep down we know these things are not true, but sometimes when our lives are filled with kinks, we feel that way!

Three things to remember when your life gets kinked up:

1. God Allows Kinks

Someone once wrote that, “There is nothing in life that touches us, until it has first passed through the hands of God.”

It’s kind of tough to accept, but it’s true, in Christ we can trust that the kinks that are there, are for our good.

If it were not for the kinks in life, would there be a time that we turn to Him alone for guidance, protection or provision?

Without the kinks God allows, our faith would cease to grow!

If we were transparent for a moment, how many times in the last week have your thoughts turned to God without some type of kink being involved?

2. God Uses Kinks

Sometimes God uses the kinks to move His people.

The persecution of the first church in Jerusalem would surely been viewed as a kink. But God used that kink to start a worldwide missions’ movement.

Ultimately, a kink is how we had the opportunity to hear the Gospel!

Many times what we see as trials (kinks), God is using as opportunities to move His plan forward.

3. God Limits The Kinks

God has promised not to let the kinks grow beyond what we can bear (I Corinthians 10:13).

He has also promised that when the floods of life threaten to overwhelm us, that He will be there to walk with us through the floods (Isaiah 43:2).

The kinks we are facing are temporal, they will not last forever. One day we will see and understand their benefit – the hard part of this sentence is – one day.

If God has allowed the kinks, can we trust that He is using them for His good and ours?

In I John 1:5 we read that in God there is “no darkness at all.” This means that as His children we have nothing to fear from God. How different would things be if instead of doubting God because of the kinks, we worked at praising Him for the work He is doing through them?

Kinks2Could we grow in our faith by seeing the kinks as evidence of His love for us as He brings us to trust Him more and more?

We can begin by praising Him for caring enough about us to allow a kink in our life!

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Does God Care How We Do Devotions?

Have you ever just wanted to punch someone in the face for going on and on about how wonderful their morning devotions were?

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It happens to most of us at some point. We get up with the best of intentions only to experience DGS (devotion guilt syndrome). DGS causes us to skip, or feel inadequate about our devotional time. We have heard the what, where, when and how message a million times, yet so often we choose to begin our day unequipped to face it.

Ever been there? Why does the thought of doing devotions seem so daunting to us?

·      Many simply don’t know how to go about it. After all, the thought of coming into the presence of God is an intimidating thing that you would not want to mess up.

·      Others feel like they are not properly equipped. If you are not a pastor how can you begin to understand those sixteen letter theological words and Old English phrases.

·      Some believe that devotions really do not make a difference (and they would be wrong).

·      The big one is, “I JUST DON’T HAVE TIME”, (they also would be wrong).

Just to be transparent, all the illustrations above have been true in my life at one point or another. Two quick thoughts and we will move on:

·      Work at being intentional. Set aside the time each morning (or evening). Set an alarm to get you up early or to remind you that it is time for some God time.

·      Accept the fact that there will be Devo2days that you have, Duhhhh Devotions. There will be mornings that you are exhausted, distracted or you are just not feeling it. Befaithful to push through those days. Those Duhhhh Days will often transform themselves into the best devotions.

One common question is, “What we do for devotions?”

Many people are intimidated by devotions because they feel they need four songs, a three-point message and an offering to be effective.

While everyone has an opinion about how to do devotions, in the end all that matters is that they are meaningful to us!

[bctt tweet=”Don’t develop devotions that are meaningful to others, develop something meaningful for you.” username=”michaelkduff”]

Let me share three quick devotion hacks for those with a crazy lifestyle.

1.     A Devotional Book

There are hundreds of resources out there that can spark your morning devotions. Most of us over 30 have encountered books like “Our Daily Bread” and “Days of Praise” which are still available today.

A daily devotional book that is set up for each day of the year is a great tool. I would suggest a book written in contemporary English for morning devotions because it requires less concentration on unfamiliar words. Remember, some mornings you will have the Duhhhh’s.

I am currently using Paul David Tripp’s book “New Morning Mercies“. Each day can be read in about 10 minutes and then it connects you to a related Scripture. It is an excellent resource.

2.   YouVersion

If you find yourself doing devotions on the fly (we know it happens) the YouVersion app is a valuable resource to have on your smart phone or tablet.

Devo4YouVersion provides many different Bible reading plans in many different versions of the Bible.

One added bonus is that many of the Bible versions can be listened to during drive time or at the gym. What’s wrong with strengthening body and soul at the same time?

3.     Social Media

While social media can have its negative side, it can also be a tremendous resource for devotional blogs, podcasts and webpages.

Many of these sites can set a spark that will get you into your Bible or listen to while getting ready for work.
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Some of these are “non-traditional”, but again the intent is not to develop devotions that are meaningful to others, but to develop something that works for and is meaningful for you.

Anything that will bring you closer to God on a daily basis is a great thing. The most important part of daily devotions is just doing it!

If this has been helpful to you, please share it with a friend. If you have a resource to add to the list above, please share it in the comments section of this page!

Practicing The Presence Of God

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Isaiah chapter six opens with one of the most astounding statements in Scripture as we find Isaiah is literally standing in the presence of God!

Isaiah 6:1 In the year that king Uzziah died I saw also the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up, and his train filled the temple.

Verse two quickly whisks our attention away to the details of the story.

It’s important for us to know about the wings of the seraphim, the doorposts shaking, and the smoke in the temple. It’s all too incredible!

Did we mention that Isaiah is standing in the presence of God!

The scene continues to unfold as Isaiah interacts with an angel. Again more details, was it one of the angel’s from above the throne or was it another angel, what did the coal represent theologically?

By the way, Isaiah is standing in the presence of God!

And we can’t forget some of the most recognized words in Christianity, “Who will go?” “Here am I Lord send me!”
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Oh and did we mention; Isaiah is standing in the presence of God?

We have to wonder, how many of the struggles we face in life come from the fact that we are so concerned with the details of life, that we miss the presence of God in our lives?

Are we more awestruck by the angel, the smoke and the coal, than we are with the thought of being in His presence?

We devour the theological or biblical truths to be gained, but they are useless without His presence!

The most troubling part of this story is that as Christians, we live our lives in the presence of God, yet we seldom experience His presence.

Three things from this story that can distract us from the presence of God in our lives.

1.     Our Present

Our focus on the details of Isaiah’s story should serve as a warning to us. It is very easy to get so distracted by the external circumstances of our lives, that we overlook the work that God is wanting to do within us.

It would be so much easier if God’s presence was an app we could download. But if our desire is to be in God’s presence, it will require the full attention of our presence.

We must look past our present if we are to experience God’s presence.

2.     Our Past

P2Isaiah was sure he was doomed! He understood that what came out his lips was a reflection of what was in his sinful heart. He was basically saying, “I’m a sinner! There is no way I can survive being in the presence of God!”

Our past tells us that we are not worthy to be in the presence of God, and on our own, we are not. But because of what Christ did, we are! In Christ, we have been cleansed!

Romans 8:1 There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.

We don’t have to fear being in God’s presence and we never will!

3.     Our Purpose

Sometimes we don’t sense God’s presence because we are avoiding it. We don’t want to hear what God has to say.

Most of us have experienced a time when our plans and God’s plans didn’t match up. While God’s calling and purpose in our lives cannot be ignored, we can do a pretty good job of avoiding it.

So many people have used Isaiah’s response to portray a great step of faith, but if Isaiah is witnessing the power and presence of God, how else is he going to respond?

When we are aware of the power and presence of God in our lives, obedience is the natural response to that presence.

The details of that day didn’t distract Isaiah. He was focused on one thing; he was in the presence of God! It’s not difficult to pay attention at a time like that.

How many of the details in our day to day lives distract us from the presence of God that dwells within us?

Write down three things that are distracting you from His presence today. Ask God to help you set them aside for a while so that you can enjoy His presence!