Rebecca Duvall

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bananaThe Fruit of the Spirit this week is goodness. I’ve chosen a banana to represent goodness because a banana is a good addition to many things, such as pancakes or oatmeal. People have the choice, multiple times a day, to be a good addition or not so good addition to circumstances throughout their day.

Goodness is the quality of being kind, helpful and honest. When our actions portray these qualities, we are choosing to bring goodness into our situation or circumstance. Other characteristics of goodness are when we strive for moral excellence, act generously or think and do what is right.

Too often, people act in a way that is not good because they let their feelings over ride their common sense. This could cause us to act in an unfriendly way, create white lies or intentionally hinder another in their efforts.

We constantly pray for you, that our God may make you worthy of his calling, and that by his power he may bring to fruition your every desire for goodness and your every deed prompted by faith. 2 Thessalonians 1:11

Isn’t that verse in 2 Thessalonians encouraging? We can ask God to fill others with His goodness. When we feel someone is not being good in a situation, we can pray for God to give them the desire to do the right thing as well as help us see the goodness in this person or situation.

Better yet, we can ask others to pray for us to be filled with His Goodness. We don’t naturally have the desire to be good. Naturally, we want to do what we feel is good for us, which is usually not good for us or anyone else around us. By God’s power, and His power alone, we can be filled with the desire to do what is good, in God’s eyes, in all situations. We still have to act on this desire, but having the desire is half the battle.

I often have a hard time knowing the difference between what is good for me or a situation or circumstance. Others easily sway me, especially when they speak passionately about something. That’s why I lean heavily on the counsel of the Holy Spirit to discern between what I feel is good and how God desires me to portray His goodness. When have you made an effort to show goodness when you felt like acting badly? How do you think that situation would have turned out if you let your feelings run the show?

My prayer for us today ~ Father God, You are good to all, regardless of our circumstances. I pray You would teach us to be good to one another, regardless of how we are feeling, Amen.


Daily Reminder

leaning treeEvery day, when I took my daughter to and from school, I drove down a street that cauesed many scary scenarios to run through my head. It’s a nice stretch of road with country homes on one side and a golf course on the other. The lanes are wide, with a nice open middle turning lane between the two-way traffic.

You might be wondering, how such a simple road could cause so much stress and fear to run through my mind as I drove down it each and every day. Along the side of the road with the golf course, the side I would drive down, three large trees stood leaning over the entire side of the street.

For years I drove up and down this street with no concern. Then, I heard of a tree, off the side of a freeway, not far from us, that fell on a windy day, onto the freeway, crushing a car. I was traumatized by the thought of a life being taken like this. One moment your headed somewhere, with something to do and someone to meet, and the next, your life is gone. No warning what so ever!

Shortly after hearing of this horrifying event, I became aware of the large trees and how far they were leaning over the street. I found myself driving on the far left side when on this particular stretch of road. Often, I found myself getting so upset over the possibility of being crushed by one of the trees, I would become flush and my eyes would tear up.

During the summer, I feared the ground would become dry and cracked, unable to hold up the trees. In the spring and fall, I worried the winds would force one of them over. The stormy days in the winter were the most terrifying. It’s hard to see on dark stormy days, so it could fall, with no warning to try and get out of the way.

Several months ago, at church, we were making a video which I quoted Joshua 1:9

Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.

After running Joshua 1:9 in my head for a few weeks, I decided I was no longer going to let this stretch of road bring me to tears. I was not going to let it terrify me any longer!

The next time I found myself on that stretch of road, I began praying. I thanked God for the beautiful drive and the car I was able to make it in. I thanked Him for the beautiful trees that lined, and leaned over the road. I told God I believed He loved my family and me and knew what was best for us. I told Him I trusted Him with my life. I then began to explain to God my fear of being crushed by the trees and asked Him to protect me from them. I told Him I would prefer not to be crushed by one of the trees, and hoped that no one else would be hurt by one of them, but if it were His will, then so be it. I asked God to remove the trees, but if that wasn’t His will, then please remove my fear of the trees and help me see them as a beautiful creation of His.

Weeks went by, when I realized, I had driven down this street, passing these trees, without giving it a single thought.

A month or two later, while driving my regular route in the morning, I noticed trucks pulled up on the curb near the trees with orange cones around them. I was curious what they were doing, but didn’t think much about it. Later that day, while driving back around in the afternoon, I could see the trucks were still there, but the large leaning trees were not. One small tree that leaned toward the street, by not over it, remained.

psalm 55-22

Now, as I drive down this street, I am reminded of God’s goodness and His faithfulness. God cares deeply for us, and the little things matters to Him as much as they matter to us.

My prayer for us today ~ Father God, thank You for the ways You care for us. I pray we would seek You, thank You and praise You more often throughout each day, Amen.

Is The Grass Greener?

greener grassHave you ever felt like everyone had ‘more’ or ‘better’ than you? My husband and I have, and were recently about to go down a path that we thought would be beneficial to our family. We felt it was a financial move we needed to make so our family would be better off. I even made the comment to someone, “We need to look out for our family, because no one else will”.

I have to say, I am extremely thankful for Jesus and what He did for me, and you, on the cross. His death on the cross, gave me, and you, direct access to God and the help of the Holy Spirit while hear on earth. When I say direct access, I mean through prayer. We can take all of our questions, concerns or comments, no matter how small or large, to God. We can ask Him for guidance or help with anything! Believing He will answer us. Isn’t that awesome?

Prayer is exactly what my husband and I did as we were mentally preparing for the move we thought we needed to make. I can honestly say, my prayer, which was for clear direction this was His will, not our own, was answered, but not in the way I expected. I was expecting a simple sign, any sign that would show us whether or not He wished for us to stay or go. Instead, I felt conviction. A very uncomfortable conviction.

As I’ve mentioned before, I’ve been studying the life of Moses in the BSF (Bible Study Fellowship) group I’m in. We continually read how the Israelites grumbled and complained over and over again to God. They were thirsty, they were hungry, they didn’t want to do things God’s way, they wanted different food, they didn’t like who God appointed as their leaders, and a few others I’m not mentioning.

As I prayed and worked on this study, God showed me how we’re acting in a way similar to the Israelites. Us thinking we needed to move ourselves to a different place so we could give our family more, was telling God we were not happy with what He had given us. God brought to mind when the Israelites complained the manna was no longer desirable and they wanted quail. God gave them the quail, but so much that they became sick from it. What they thought they needed, they didn’t, and God knew it. What God was giving them was sufficient. What they thought they needed only made them sick. (Numbers 11)

In this weeks BSF study (Numbers 20) Moses and Aaron lose the blessing of leading God’s people into the promised land filled with milk and honey. Moses and Aaron failed to trust God and honor him as holy. When I read this verse, Number 20:12, I became very sad for Moses and Aaron. They had done so much and had dealt with a lot. Then I thought, how could they be so stupid? Why couldn’t they keep it together just a little longer? They were so close!

As I was beginning to get angry with Moses and Aaron, I realized I was acting just as bad as they were, and probably much worse. We were complaining about where God had placed us, as if we could possibly know better. I suddenly felt ashamed and embarrassed of even thinking we knew better than God, what was best for our family or that we could go out and get it on our own. God loves our family and us more than we could imagine or comprehend. God has exactly what we need. We couldn’t possibly get anything better than what He has for us. The last thing we want is to lose a blessing God has planned for our family.

Be still Psalm 46 10

When my husband and I began talking about the blessings we have received from God, I became overwhelmed, seeing God as omniscient and powerful. I realized God has provided my husband and I with a unique life so we’re able to serve Him. We went through a few trials to get here, but I can see how it’s all to be used for God’s glory. We must simply trust and serve as He leads. I find it hard, at times, to be content when the world around me tells me I need more or better. The Lord has blessed my family and I with much. Will you please pray for my husband and I? Please pray that we would remember to be thankful for all we have and act accordingly. Also, that we would look to God for all our needs and desires trusting He will provide.

To answer the question in the title of this post ‘Is the grass greener?’, I strongly believe ‘no’ is the correct conclusion. No matter where you are or what you have, you will experience trials in your life. Some small, with little effort needed to get through. Others can be, and probably will be, life changers that will take everything you’ve got, emotionally, mentally and sometimes even physically. Trust God has you exactly where He needs you and let Him use you right where you are for His glory. Let Him bless you so you can be a blessing to those around you.

My prayer for us today ~ Father God, thank you for all you give us, even though we are not deserving. I pray we would act in a way that shows others we trust You and see You as holy, Amen.

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