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Living by Grace (Devotional)

CHOOSE JOY - Diana C. Derringer

Rejoice in the Lord always.

Philippians 4:4 NIV

“Stage III anaplastic astrocytoma, a malignant brain tumor, too near speech and memory centers to remove surgically.” Those words, addressing my husband’s physical symptoms, began a journey that continues today.

Although initial tests indicated probable non-malignancy, the biopsy revealed an aggressive malignant mass. We shed a few tears, prayed, and tried to sort through the bombardment of feelings. With an average life expectancy of three to five years for this diagnosis, the stages of grief took on a whole new meaning.

Sometimes we felt like yo-yos with an unknown force controlling the string. A false-negative test days before initial treatment gave a brief reprieve, only to be shot down when a follow-up evaluation confirmed the grimmer report.

Through all the ups and downs we’ve learned several valuable life lessons. One stands out from them all: Although we have no control over a number of life’s circumstances, the reaction remains ours to make. In day-to-day life we can see faults in others and withdraw from relationships, or we can be grateful they overlook our bad habits and do the same for them. We can grumble about our jobs and co-workers or be thankful for the opportunity to earn a steady income. We can criticize neighbors or appreciate their willingness to help in time of need. We can focus on material possessions we don’t have, or recall we have sufficient provisions for our needs. We can despair when illness and age make daily life more difficult, or we can face new challenges with determination and make the most of our abilities.

Jesus said by worrying we’d never add a single hour to our life. I firmly believe worry not only shortens our days but deprives us of countless blessings during both our best and hardest times.

We’ve enjoyed over eight years of remission (almost 12 years from initial diagnosis). Of course, we have no guarantee for what the future holds. Who does? Yet, even on our worst days, we rest in the knowledge of God’s love and care.

Regardless of the circumstances, we’ve made our choice. We choose joy! Join us and look to Christ for the joy and strength you need to overcome.


The Eyes of the Lord - by Harriet Michael

Read II Chronicles 16:7-9

“For the eyes of the Lord move to and fro throughout the earth that He may strongly support those whose heart is completely His.”

 II Chronicles 16:9 (NAS)

“It’s like the radar in my airplane!”  With that exclamation and with excitement in his voice, my late father-in-law explained a new verse he had found to his wife.  He enthusiastically continued his explanation, “My plane’s radar constantly sweeps back and forth searching for obstacles and storms in my path as I fly so that I can fly safely.  This verse I found says God’s eyes are like my radar.  They are constantly moving back and forth across the whole earth…searching.   But God’s eyes are not looking for obstacles and storms, they are looking for hearts that love Him and are completely committed to Him.  God searches these out so that He can strongly support them.  Isn’t that amazing?!”

My husband’s father was a pilot.  He flew a small twin engine airplane. Every time he was in his plane, he relied on the radar to accurately find what it was searching for.  When he discovered this verse in the scripture, he immediately related to it.  This became one of his favorite verses.  At one time he had the verse displayed in his office.  His family still associates the verse with him, although he died many years ago.

My late father-in-law was a man whose heart was completely God’s. Do you want to see God’s strong support and faithful help in your life?  This is what II Chronicles 19:9 tell us will happen if ours is one of the hearts found by God’s radar eyes.  How wonderful to have such a heart – one found by God’s searching eyes!

Prayer: Thank you for your promises.  Thank you for the strong support you show people whose hearts are completely yours.  Father, give us hearts for You.  In the name of Christ, Amen.

      Thought for the Day

When God looks into our hearts, He wants to see His reflection.


God Is Ever Faithful!  by Rev. Louise Starrett

Those of us who have reached the point in our lives that is referred to as “The Golden Years” have embarked upon the phase of our life’s journey that takes us to the finish line.  I contend that our perspective determines what we make of our lives.  Personally, I choose to reflect on the lessons I have taken from my experiences.  Many times I have jokingly said, “These golden years are fool’s gold!”  We are suddenly confronted with many changes.  Despite changes that we may not fully welcome, there is one thing I have learned. God is ever faithful. 

I hear the same refrain from many of my friends and relatives who have attained the age of silver hair that we prefer to simplify our lives.  We cherish leisure time with those who fully understand our journey.  It is such a pleasure when our seniors group gathers for games, a picnic or to watch a good, clean movie.  We fully understand the concerns of the one in our group who is troubled over the path an adult child or grandchild has chosen that is leading them in a wrong direction.  We truly rejoice with one another over a financial need that has been met by the Lord. We have come to understand that special time with loved ones is far more valuable than a spotless house.  Ah, how our priorities change with added years.

We do not come to this period in life without having had times of extreme joy and times of extreme sorrow.  We have seen our children and grandchildren grow.  The babies we once held in our arms are now holding their own babies or grandbabies.  Those are the times of great joy.  However, the trials we have faced in life have brought much sorrow on occasion.  Yet, in every circumstance I have seen that God is ever faithful.

It would be wonderful if we had attained every goal we had set in our early years.  However, rarely does that happen.  There was a time that I had the desire to make each of my three girls a quilt, which would certainly have been an act of extreme love.  After quilting a small wall hanging, I knew that was a goal that would never come to fruition.  Although that is a minor buried goal, it helped me understand that I would not live long enough to fulfill all that I had hoped or dreamed.  It is in those times we determine whether we will smile at our failure and go on or dwell upon it and let it bring sadness.  Allowing disappointment to rule destroys joy.  A joyful spirit will be remembered by those we love. 

One desire I hold is that I will leave my children and grandchildren with the knowledge that God never failed me and that my love for Him made me the person I am.  I pray it is an encouragement to them as they face life’s trials.  If each of them knows that God is ever faithful as they go through their lives, I will have attained one of the important goals of my life. If they can know that God brings peace in trial, that He still heals, that He is always the God who provides, that He “never leaves thee nor forsakes thee,” that He is strength in our weakness, that He is filled with mercy and grace, that He is always ready to forgive and that Jesus is always the same they will have absolute understanding that my ultimate goal has been fulfilled.

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