The Measure of Life

The following devotional was taken from "Strength for the Journey" and written by David Deffenbaugh.

StrengthforJourneyreview
May 1
Daily Bible Reading: Judges 8-9; Luke 12:13-34

The Measure of Life
Devotional Text: Luke 12:15


The radio commercial asked, “What is half of Tuesday morning?” and “If a dog traveled into the future and bit his own tail, when would he feel pain?”. The answers were as nonsensical as the questions themselves (“Sunday afternoon” and “yesterday” ). We might feel the same way when we talk about how life is measured. It’s not with a tape measure or with a measuring cup or on a scale. Although, Mary Poppins did have that tape to see how the Banks children (and herself) “measured up.”

The truth is we do measure our lives all the time. Here is how. When is it that we feel good about ourselves and about our lives? When do we feel poorly about the same? It may be when we achieved a success or maybe when we have failed at something. How often, though, is it when get something: a new car, house, computer, set of clubs, dress, etc.? How often do we feel envious (even a little bit) when we see someone with something we wish we had? We think about how happy they must be and how much they have it “together.”

Jesus says, “Beware! Don’t be greedy for what you don’t have. Real life is not measured by how much we own” (New Living Translation). Jesus went on to tell the parable of the rich fool (Luke 12:16-21). The point being that we will all reach a time when we will be separated from our possessions. Jesus asked, “Now who will own what you have prepared?” At that point, if our life has been devoted to obtaining possessions, we will have nothing. Our life will be nothing. Instead, Jesus says we should be “rich toward God.” When we reach that time when we no longer have our possessions, we will have something and our life will have worth. That is how life is measured.
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Don't be a rich fool

The following devotional was taken from "In Our Father's Hands" and written by Tyrel Hatfield.

Fathershandsreview
May 1
Daily Bible Reading Judges 6-7; Luke 12:13-34

Don’t be a rich fool
Devotional Text: Luke 12:13-21


“Hey, you’re not sharing!” “Not fair! You have more than me!” “Why does he get a bigger piece?” “One for you, two for me! Mom! Tell her to be fair!” Does this sound familiar? I’m almost positive that where there is a house with two or more children, these words will be said, if not yelled! Not to worry, kids. This lesson is not just for you, but for us all. In fact this fight is almost as old as time itself, dating back to the days of Abram and Lot (Genesis 13:5-9). Jesus also addressed this problem in Luke chapter 12. Before thousands of people, this request was asked of Jesus. “Teacher, tell my brother to divide the inheritance with me” (Luke 12:13b). Now, what would the easy response have been? “Hey! You better start sharing with your brother or there will be no dinner for you tonight, young man!” Jesus could have easily called the shots, but he chose that moment to teach us all an important lesson: “a man’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions” (Luke 12:15b). Simply put, stop worrying about worldly things and start focusing on heavenly things! Don’t be a rich fool!

The Bible tells us, “The world is passing away, and also its lusts; but the one who does the will of God lives forever” (1 John 2:17). We spend so much time here on earth chasing possessions, and for what? To find that the very thing we’ve been longing for is outdated or broken six months later. The fact is, the things of this world DO NOT LAST (Matthew 6:19-20). Now, is it wrong to own things, save for them, or even have a wish list of things we do not have? No, but those things mustn’t control our lives, either. God must always control our lives. That is not an option. Be obedient to His will - focus on heavenly things.

“But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you” (Matthew 6:33).
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Daily Devotional Book Samples

Greetings!

We are happy to announce that both In Our Father's Hands and Strength for the Journey will be ready to ship December 8. If you have pre-ordered books, we appreciate your support and want you to know that you are our top priority and your books will be shipped to you at the earliest date possible. We have been pressing our printing press for an early completion date, so as to get them to all of you who are eager to review and make a decision regarding the promotion of these books within your home congregations.

Regarding the many inquiries to see samples of the layout regarding these books, we now have two 14 page samples of each book available on our Downloads page. To read these files will require Adobe Acrobat (This is a free program). We pray that these samples will help in your decision.

The family as God designed is our number one priority at Little Acorn. May you be blessed you as you continue to Grow Tall Oaks for God! Thank you for your continued support.

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The Wrong Way to a Lofty Goal

The following devotional was taken from "Strength for the Journey" and written by David Deffenbaugh.

StrengthforJourneyreview
April 1
Daily Bible Reading: Psalms 38-39; Proverbs 8:12-21

The Wrong Way to a Lofty Goal
Devotional Text: Psalm 39:1-2


“Shoot for the moon…’cause even if you miss you’ll end up in the stars” (Les Brown). In other words, set your sights high, because even if you don’t quite achieve it, you will have accomplished more than you otherwise could have. If we only do that which we already know we can successfully achieve, we’ll never grow beyond where we are right now. As Christians, our sights are to be set on “the measure of the stature which belongs to the fullness of Christ” (Eph. 4:13). That’s mighty high; but anything less is too low.

So this Psalm begins with a stated goal of not sinning with one’s tongue. That is a noble and appropriate goal and as challenging a one as a person can have. The tongue is a “restless evil and full of deadly poison” (James 3:8). Great challenge notwithstanding, any less of a goal is too little.

The Psalm, though, talks about the wrong way to pursue that goal; that was to say nothing. In the presence of wicked, nothing was said. True, that prevented sin from being committed by saying something wrong, but it also prevented good from being done too. God’s intent is that we control our tongues. We do that by refraining from saying the wrong things, but not by refraining from saying anything.

The very next Psalm says, “I will not restrain my lips” (40:9). But what if with those lips one falters and sins? That’s possible; but this time they are not restrained so that God is praised. “I have not hidden Your righteousness…I have spoken of your faithfulness…I have not concealed Your lovingkindness” (40:10).

You cannot reach a goal by doing nothing. A ship is safe while it’s in the harbor, but that’s not what ships are made for. We won’t say the wrong thing if we say nothing, but that’s not what our tongues were made for. Striving to not sin with your tongue and failing to praise God in the process, is not moving positively toward the goal.
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Hide and Seek

The following devotional was taken from "In Our Father's Hands" and written by Justin Hatfield.

Fathershandsreview
April 1
Daily Bible Reading: Psalms 38-39; Proverbs 8:12-21

Hide and seek
Devotional Text: Proverbs 8:17


The person in the other room begins counting to ten loudly. ONE, you run to the next room. TWO, you don’t like what you find here so you move on. THREE, you run to your bedroom. FOUR, it’s too dark in here, it won’t work. FIVE, running to Mom and Dad’s room, you notice the coat closet. SIX, open the door and yes! There might be enough room. SEVEN, you squeeze into the back, past all the old shoes. EIGHT, you reach out and close the door. NINE, you try to get real still so you don’t make any noise. TEN, you hear them say, “Ready or not here I come!” This is the most exciting part! Hearing them out there, searching around for you in all the wrong places. Are you in the bedroom, NO. Are you in the bathroom, NO. And then finally: Are you in the CLOSET? THERE YOU ARE!!

By far the most exciting part about playing hide and seek is being found. You wait and wait for them to find you and when they do, it is the greatest thing in the world. Because we all really want to be found, don’t we? God is exactly the same way. He waits for us to find Him. He loves us with all His heart and wants us to find Him. God tells us that if we look for him long enough, if we look for him hard enough, we will find Him. And when we do He will bless us beyond our imaginations!

“Ask, and it shall be given to you; seek, and you shall find; knock, and it shall be opened to you” (Matthew 7:7).
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A little leaven

The following devotional was taken from "In Our Father's Hands" and written by Tyrel Hatfield.

Fathershandsreview
March 1
Daily Bible Reading: Leviticus 20 – 21; Galatians 4:21-5:12

A little leaven
Devotional Text: Galatians 5:9
Items you’ll need: One jar of yeast, One loaf of bread

(Parents: Set the loaf of bread in front of your kids, hold up the jar of yeast.) I’m holding in my hand a jar of yeast, one of the ingredients that is used to make this loaf of bread. Can anyone tell me what this ingredient does for this loaf? That’s right! It makes it rise! It gives the loaf of bread its size! Now, how much yeast do you think it takes to make a loaf of bread this size? (Parents: Measure out a tsp. and pour it into the palm of your hand.) It takes about this much. Can you believe it? I want you to know the Bible, teaches us this same lesson, only it applies the meaning to the people in our lives. Paul says, in our devotional text today, “A little leaven leavens the whole lump of dough” (Galatians 5:9). He says that to make a point to the church, be on the lookout for those who would seek to divide us.

God wants all of us to love each other, care for one another, and be a church that works together. But sometimes people don’t act that way. Sometimes people act grouchy, ugly, and can say mean things, even at church. God wants us to know that grouchy attitudes affect the whole church just like a little bit of yeast can affect the whole loaf of bread. We should always be careful to act the way Jesus would want us to, by loving our neighbor (Galatians 5:14), and by treating others the way we would want to be treated (Luke 6:31).

Discussion for the family:
What should our attitude be to those who are grouchy?
(We should love them. Luke 6:28)

Can we, by our good attitudes, affect those around us?
(Sure we can! We must! Matthew 5:13-16)

How can we be a good example to others?
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A Excellent Question

The following devotional was taken from "Strength for the Journey" and written by David Deffenbaugh.

StrengthforJourneyreview
March 1
Daily Bible Reading Schedule: Leviticus 20-21; Galatians 4:21-5:12

An Excellent Question
Devotional Text: Galatians 4:30


Where should one go for advice, direction, and instruction? Finding someone who knows what they are talking about is a good objective. When traveling in a strange town and needing directions to a local site, pulling into a convenience store to ask a clerk may be sufficient to get good information. But that would not be an advisable source for financial or medical advice. Where one goes to get advice very much depends on the nature of the advice needed.

What about things spiritual? What about religion? What about faith in God and Jesus Christ? Believe it or not, there are a number of potential sources for advice: family, friends, tradition, clergy, theologians. Some of these are very willing but maybe not the most reliable sources. The question posed by Paul is excellent advice itself, “But what do the Scriptures say?” The Bible is a reliable guide. Its guidance and instruction is from God. “Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path” (Psa. 119:105).

The thing about advice and directions is that they are only as good as far as we are willing to follow them. The directions given by the convenience store clerk may be 100% right, but if I fail to follow them, I will not find my destination. So, part of this issue is whether or not we actually want to accomplish, achieve, or obtain what God has in mind. That’s what His word is all about. Or, are we more interested in pleasing our family and peers? Fitting in with others? Feeling good about ourself? There’s nothing inherently wrong with those things, but they’re not always consistent with God’s will either.

So, the bottom line here, then, is if one isn’t interested most in God’s will, it really doesn’t matter what the Scriptures say.
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Daily Devotionals

The following devotionals were taken from "Strength for the Journey" & "In Our Father's Hands." Check back each week to read a new devotional. Book(s) can be pre-ordered at Little Acorn's online store.

The following devotional was taken from
"Strength for the Journey" and written by David Deffenbaugh.

StrengthforJourneyreview
February 1
Daily Bible Reading: Exodus 9-10; Matthew 21:33-22:14

A Wedding Rejection
Devotional Text: Matthew 22:1-14


We’ve all heard stories of brides and even grooms being left at the altar. Perhaps it is that since a wedding is among the most significant occasions of acceptance, that rejection in that setting is so dramatic. In Jesus’ parable of the wedding feast, we’re met with wedding customs different than our own. But the rejections on this joyous occasion are no less striking. The guests originally invited to the wedding reject the call to come when the wedding day arrived. The father of the groom rejects those same guests in rather dramatic, and violent, fashion. A spontaneous and gracious invitation to previously uninvited persons resulted in a full wedding hall. Both the evil and the good responded. This is a remarkable turn of events. Jesus said this parable, like so many of His, was to teach the nature of the kingdom of heaven (Matthew 22:2).

God’s gracious invitation to all humanity to participate in the joys of His kingdom, as depicted in this parable of a wedding feast, is not without its own rejection. The king rejected a guest who had come to the wedding to enjoy its pleasures, but had refused to wear a provided wedding garment. In that day more than just the attendants were provided with appropriate clothing for the wedding. Here was someone who presumed to enjoy what the king provided (a wedding feast) without submitting to the king’s terms (wearing the supplied wedding clothes). That person was rejected.

The message is pretty straightforward. If we wish to enjoy the blessings and privileges God provides, it will only be on His terms. Therefore, we cannot presume to come to God on our own terms. It is His or nothing at all. Despite our culture’s message and emphasis, we are not the measure of all things and we are not the final arbiter. We comply to God’s wishes, not He to ours. Simple enough.

The following devotional was taken from "In Our Father's Hands" and written by Tyrel Hatfield.

Fathershandsreview
February 1
Daily Bible Reading: Exodus 9–10; Matthew 21:33-22:14

The chosen few
Devotional Text: Matthew 22:1-14


Picture yourself at a school gym. Several kids are standing before the class surveying everyone. “Bobby,” one of them calls out. A kid named Bobby runs over to the other side. “Oh, pick me! Pick me!” you mutter under your breath. “Susan!” A little girl with long curly hair skips over to the other side. There’s not much time now. If they don’t pick you, it will be too late. You wait, longing to hear your name. You anxiously watch a short little kid in braces as his gaze moves from person to person. He smiles, laughs, then shakes his head at the many attempts from others to win his vote. Finally his eyes rest on you! Could this be it? Will you be the last one picked? The anticipation is killing you. His gaze moves on. “Oh no!” you say, “he’s not going to pick me!” Then with a flash he looks back at you and says your name! You’ve been chosen!

After waiting anxiously for so long, when we finally hear our name, we are so excited! We feel appreciated, validated, loved, admired and respected. Isn’t it a great feeling to be chosen? You bet it is! We would do just about anything to be chosen.

Did you know that God calls all of us to his team, but Jesus says in Matthew 22:14, “few are chosen.” Why? Why would He call us all to him and then not chose us? That’s easy to answer. There are a couple of conditions that must be met for us to be chosen. First, we must be willing to accept the invitation. If we do not accept, we won’t be chosen. Second, those who accept the invitation must then live by God’s word (Hebrews 12:14-17). If they don’t, then they, too, will be rejected. You have been offered the invitation. Will you accept it? Will you live by the word of God? If so, then you too can be among the chosen few!
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Daily Devotionals

The following devotionals were taken from "Strength for the Journey" & "In Our Father's Hands." Check back each week to read a new devotional. Book(s) can be pre-ordered at Little Acorn's online store.

The following devotional was taken from "Strength for the Journey" and written by David Deffenbaugh.

StrengthforJourneyreview
January 1
Daily Bible Reading: Genesis 1-2; Matthew 1

Beginning to the End
Devotional Text: Genesis 1:1


Today marks many beginnings; this is the beginning of a book, it’s the beginning of a new year, the beginning of a new resolution (to read God’s word every day), and reading the beginning of the Bible. That is a lot of beginnings.

We know from experience that a beginning, no matter how good or well intentioned, does not guarantee a successful end. It is also true that no successful end can be reached without a beginning. A well-known proverb suggests that a journey of a thousand miles begins with one step. The question is: What is that journey? What is the destination toward which the beginning step is being taken today? Is it a journey to achieve an objective, to read through the Bible in a year? Is it a journey to alleviate the guilt of not reading the Bible like you should? Is it a journey to gain someone’s approval (spouse, parent, peer)?

This journey should be to come nearer to the heart of God. Other motivations may have led to the first step on this journey, but will they also lead to the second, third, fiftieth, and 365th steps? Even if one were to read and meditate on God’s word every day of this year, the journey would have only begun. It’s not measured by a calendar, but by a life. Only a destination so grand, so magnificent, so lofty as the heart of God will move us to such heights; every day, a little closer; every day, a little nearer; every day as we meet God in His word.

“For the eyes of the LORD move to and fro throughout the earth that He may strongly support those whose heart is completely His” (2 Chronicles 16:9).

The following devotional was taken from "In Our Father's Hands" and written by Tyrel Hatfield.

Fathershandsreview
January 1
Daily Bible Reading: Genesis 1-2; Matthew 1

Humble beginnings
Devotional Text: Matthew 1:18-25


Close your eyes, and imagine you are living over 2,000 years ago. Your clothes are different, your shoes are different, and you have a donkey in the stable out back. You are the owner and keeper of an inn located in a little town called Bethlehem.

One dark, windy night, a young couple knocks on your door and asks you for a room. “I have no rooms available,” you tell them. Then you notice the young woman is pregnant. You feel sorry for the couple, and you offer to let them stay in your stable. Later you learn the young woman had her baby, not just any baby: the child was Christ the Savior, God’s Son. “Oh, no,” you say. “Had I only known, I would have given you my room. I would have thrown a party in your honor!”

When you start to seek praise and honor for your accomplishments, or believe you haven’t received the recognition you deserve, just remember this: Jesus, who is God’s Son, our Lord of Lords, our mighty King, ruler of everything, and was with God from the beginning (John 1:1-4), didn’t come to this earth for praise and glory. He didn’t come with trumpets sounding. The red carpet was not rolled out. He came quietly and humbly, placed in a manger, fleeing from danger – not to receive recognition, but to die on a cross for our sins.

“She will bear a Son; and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins” (Matthew 1:21).
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