CcOoNnFfUuSsEeDd?

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

Fathershandsreview
January 5
Daily Bible Reading: Genesis 10-11; Matthew 5:1-16

CcOoNnFfUuSsEeDd?
Devotional Text: Genesis 11:1-9


Here’s a fun group exercise everyone will enjoy. For the next two minutes, each person in the group needs to make up their own language. Think of fun, unique words that no one else will understand. On the count of three, begin speaking to one another in your own language. Give someone directions, tell them how your day went, tell someone how much you love them. Just communicate the best way you can. Now, on the count of one, two, three…..!

Making up words is fun, isn’t it? Did anyone figure out what you were trying to say? Did you understand anyone else? Think of how the room sounded when everyone was talking at once. Chances are it was loud and confusing. That’s exactly what the descendants of Noah heard when God confused their language while they were building a great tower and city. But why confuse their efforts when they were just working to be closer to God?

First, it was always God’s intention that man multiply on the earth (Genesis 8:17). Second, man’s efforts to build a great city and tower were not to glorify God, but are summed up in these words, “Come let us build for ourselves...” (Genesis 11:4).

They were building a great tower to be closer to the heavens, but it was really for their own glorification, not for the glory of God. Our God is mightier and more powerful than anything man can build. That’s why our God had to “come down” (Genesis 11:5) in order to see the highest thing that man could build. God imposed His will and man was forced to scatter abroad. When you begin to delight in your own accomplishments, don’t be confused about who’s in control.
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Are You Happy?

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

StrengthforJourneyreview
January 5
Daily Bible Reading: Genesis 10-11; Matthew 5:1-16

Are You Happy?
Devotional Text: Matthew 5:3-12

What makes you happy? For most folks it has something to do with circumstances; doing the things I enjoy, being treated well by the important people in my life (spouse, friends, co-workers, boss, etc.), success by my favorite sports team, etc. Sometimes the beginning of Jesus’ famous Sermon on the Mount, commonly known as the “Beatitudes,” is reduced to a formula for happiness. Some translations even use the word “happy” instead of “blessed.” It seems as though people would have to radically alter their concept of happiness for that to be a very good expression of what Jesus is getting at.

There is a great difference between being happy (as typically understood) and being blessed by God. For one thing, we are going to have to recognize the greater value of being blessed than being happy. That certainly is not to say there is no happiness in following Jesus. But to be sure, being blessed is not the shallow, finicky happiness that serves as the typical object of people’s pursuits. The “joy of the Lord” (Nehemiah 8:10) remains even in the presence of unpleasant circumstances (note the conditions described in Hebrews 11:32-38).

Blessedness can be found where happiness may not. For instance, God’s blessing is found in poverty of spirit, mourning, and persecution for righteousness’ sake. Also, there may be no “blessedness” where happiness is sought (i.e., pleasure of sin, self-indulgence, works of the flesh, etc.).

Jesus proclaimed the approach of His kingdom (Matthew 4:17). His famous sermon was about life in that kingdom. When He returns one day, He’s going to gather those who are in that kingdom to deliver them over to God (1 Corinthians 15:24). Those people will be identified not as ones who found happiness, but those “blessed of my Father” (Matthew 25:34).
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Sometimes It's Hard

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

StrengthforJourneyreview
January 2
Daily Bible Reading: Genesis 3-4; Matthew 2

Sometimes It’s Hard
Devotional Text: Matthew 2:16-18


A recent survey conducted by a major news magazine has found that 79% of Americans believe in the virgin birth of Jesus. Sure, it would be nice if that number were higher, but it is rather astounding considering the consistent bashing the Bible and Christianity have taken in the mainstream public for many years. Though many aspects of Jesus’ life and teaching have not attained such a high level of acceptance, the accounts of His birth are widely acknowledged (witness the Christmas celebrations each December).

The arrival of Jesus on earth is a story that continues to thrill the human heart. But let’s not be too taken by all of this. Not everyone is excited to hear about Jesus’ arrival. What was good news to the magi (wise men) was troubling news to Herod and turned into very sad news in Bethlehem. The excitement of the birth of the king of the Jews was soon drowned in the tears of “weeping and great mourning.”

Not everyone is glad to hear that Jesus has come. To those who love the darkness rather than the light, to those who would love their lives rather than loose them, to those whose treasures are on earth rather than heaven, news of Jesus arrival is not well received.

Blessedness, joy, and peace are all part of the Christian experience, but there is a hard side as well. Jesus talked about his followers being hated, insulted, ostracized and persecuted (Matthew 10:22; Luke 6:22; Matthew 5:10-11). We should not pursue the former and be surprised when we find the latter as well. If all we want from our faith is pleasantness and tranquility, following Jesus will be a bitter disappointment. It is not this life, but the next, that promises “joy inexpressible” and “an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison” (1 Peter 1:8; 2 Corinthians 4:18).
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Building Character

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

Fathershandsreview
March 9
Daily Bible Reading: Numbers 5 – 6; Romans 5

Building character
Devotional Text: Romans 5:3,4


I’ve learned many lessons in my short time on earth. I’ve learned that stove tops will burn you when turned on, I’ve learned that trash does not take itself out, and I’ve learned that “cuttin’ wood” builds character. “Building my character” seemed to be my dad’s favorite pastime. He would wait and take his vacation time when my brothers and I were out of school on fall break so we could all go “cut wood.” Our father was a sick man with a sick sense of humor. “Why do we have to cut wood?” we would bellyache. “Because it builds character!” was always his response. Builds character? How was “cuttin’ wood” going to build character?! But never-the-less, “cuttin’ wood” was much better that a “whippin’ and cuttin’ wood”, so I always made the right decision.

As much as it kills me to admit it, dad was right. Those miserable fall breaks spent “cuttin’ wood” did build character. They assisted in shaping the person I am today. When we are placed in situations like this we can learn many things from it. I learned the value of hard work, endurance, and submission to my father’s will. I even learned how to handle an axe. In view of the discipline and submission I learned from my father, how much more should I submit to my Heavenly Father? Listen to Hebrews 12:9, “Furthermore, we had earthly fathers to discipline us, and we respected them; shall we not much rather be subject to the Father of spirits, and live?” Our earthly parents are parents of our bodies, but God is the author of our spiritual life. Through events and trials in our lives, he molds and makes us. And how we respond to these events reveals our character. When faced with events in my life that don’t fit my agenda, I need to remind myself who’s in charge. (Read devotional text) So next time your parents give you a job you’re not happy with, just be happy and think, “I’m building character!”
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A Need to Escape

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

StrengthforJourneyreview
December 1
Bible Reading Schedule: Ezekiel 46-48; 2 Peter 1

A Need to Escape
Devotional Text: 2 Peter 1:4


How likely is it that a person will escape danger if they are unaware the danger exists? Pretty slight, huh? And what if that person actually views as good that which is in reality a danger? This is precisely the scenario regarding man’s spiritual condition living in this world. Peter says that corruption is in this world and that it must be escaped. Wouldn’t corruption be obvious to all and easily avoided? The problem is that this corruption is “by lust.” That is, by our fleshly desire. The fundamental struggle of human existence is between the flesh and the spirit. They are “in opposition to one another” (Gal. 5:17). Fleshly lusts “wage war against the soul” (1 Pet. 2:11).

The world preaches indulgence. God teaches self-control. When we embrace the corruption that is in the world by lust we have befriended the world and thus become God’s enemy (James 4:4). When we embrace the world, we love it and therefore are without God’s love (1 John 2:15).

So, in order to escape, we’ve got to be “partakers of the divine nature.” That sounds like an awfully tall order. But the fact is Peter explains how this happens: when we are diligent to supply moral excellence to our faith, and to that, knowledge, and to that, self-control, and so on (2 Pet. 1:5-7). In that way, we are able to make sure we are both fruitful and useful (v. 8).

Ironic isn’t it? People embracing what needs to be escaped and people loving what makes them God’s enemy?
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The rooster will not crow

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

Fathershandsreview
November 1
Daily Bible Reading: Jeremiah 37-38; John 13:18-38

The rooster will not crow
Devotional Text: John 13:36-38


In the old mystery spy movies, the characters were always saying cryptic things like, “The sun eats the stinky cheese.” Or you might hear a mysterious man in the shadows say, “If you’re looking for Sam, you’ll have to watch for the white canary to carry the lizard over the pepperoni gate.” None of what they said ever made any sense. You were always trying to figure out what was going on. Jesus, at times, said some things that were just as puzzling.

On one particular occasion Jesus said something to Peter that not only puzzled him, but probably hurt him a little as well. Jesus had said, “Where I go, you cannot follow Me now; but you will follow later” (John 13:36). Peter, not understanding what Jesus meant replied, “Lord, why can I not follow You right now? I will lay down my life for you” (John 13:37).

Jesus’ reply was very confusing. “Will you lay down your life for Me? Truly, truly, I say to you, a rooster will not crow until you deny Me three times” (John 13:38). What did that mean? You can imagine that Peter was hurt and confused by Jesus predicting Peter’s denial. Why did Jesus think Peter would deny him? Had Peter ever done anything to suggest he was not loyal to Christ? We all make mistakes. Jesus knew that Peter in a moment of weakness would deny Him. It could be that Jesus told Peter what would happen so that when it did Peter would realize his mistake and learn from it.


Discussion for the family:
How can we learn from our mistakes?
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A Word from the Lord

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

StrengthforJourneyreview
November 1
Bible Reading Schedule: Jeremiah 37-38; John 13:18-38

A Word From the Lord
Devotional Text: Jeremiah 37:17


It was troubling times for God’s people. Their beloved Jerusalem had been under attack from the Babylonians. A brief reprieve followed when the Egyptians diverted the attention of the attacking army. Jeremiah took the opportunity to leave the city to tend to some business. He didn’t make it far. He was arrested as he left Jerusalem, accused of treason, beaten, and thrown in a dungeon.

Surprisingly, the king intervened. Zedekiah removed Jeremiah from his bondage and brought him to the palace. There, in a secret meeting, the king asked the man of God, “Is there a word from the Lord?”

The king knew these were desperate times. He knew Babylon’s attention would soon fully return to Jerusalem. He knew they were in trouble. And now he wanted to know what the Lord had to say. The problem was that God had had something to say for a long time. There seemed to be little interest in hearing what that was until it was too late. When God speaks and we consistently refuse to listen, the time will come when we will speak to Him, and He will not listen to us (Zech. 7:13).

“Why doesn’t God say something?” “Why doesn’t God do something?” These are not unusual reactions to the mess that is our world today. The fact is, God has said something and He has done something. If we’re asking today, “Is there a word from the Lord?” the answer is the same that Jeremiah gave to Zedekiah: “There is!” Only, we may not like that word any more than the king then did. God has spoken (Heb. 1:1-2).
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Charge it

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

Fathershandsreview
October 1
Daily Bible Reading: Isaiah 33-35; Philemon

Charge it
Devotional Text: Philemon 1:17-18


I was walking behind my parents. Dad was off to the side checking out the sales on the two liters of soda, while Mom was up ahead with the cart busily selecting items from the shelves and checking them off her list. Having been excluded from this absurd ritual known as “Grocery Shopping,” I was completely bored. To amuse myself I began poking holes in packages of hamburger meat in the display case. (To this day I don’t exactly know WHY I thought this would be a good idea.) Mom, wondering what I was doing, turned around and my hamburger package destroying days came to a screeching halt. Too late, the damage had been done. Ten packs of thoroughly poked hamburger meat lay before me.

I couldn’t afford to pay for all of that meat, so my parents paid it for me. My wrong was charged to my parents. In Paul’s letter to Philemon he writes about Onesimus, “if he has wronged you in any way or owes you anything, charge that to my account” (Philemon 1:18). Amazingly, Paul says he wants to be charged for wrong things that Onesimus has done. Like my parents, Paul is willing to pay the price for something he didn’t do. Does this attitude remind you of anyone? Exactly! Christ has done the same thing for us!

Christ has taken the blame for us. We’ve messed up and poked holes in the hamburger of life, but Christ is the one who is paying for it and He has done so willingly. Why do you think my parents paid for all of that hamburger meat for me? Why do you think Paul was willing to take responsibility for Onesimus’ wrongs? Why did Christ pay the ultimate price for so many people? The answer is the same, because of love. Love is the reason that Christ has looked at our sins, yours and mine, and said “Charge it, to MY account.”
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“Having Loved This Present World”

The following devotional was taken from "Strength for the Journey" and written by Bill McFarland.

StrengthforJourneyreview
October 1
Daily Bible Reading: Isaiah 33-35; Philemon

“Having Loved This Present World”
Devotional Text: Philemon 20-24


One of the tragic characters of the New Testament is Demas. There are three references to him in Paul’s letters, but those three statements have a story to tell. In the first instance Paul included Demas in a list which he called “my fellow workers” (Philemon 24). In the next reference he was simply “Demas” (Col. 4:14). On the third mention the imprisoned Apostle said, “Demas, having loved this present world, has deserted me” (2 Tim. 4:10).

The story of Demas is the sad history of a worker for the Lord who was led astray by his love for this material world. Every servant of the Lord should learn some lasting lessons from him.

Love for the world will cause one to forsake the Lord. By “the world” we do not mean mankind nor God’s creation, but the way of life which leaves God out. John defined all that is in the world as “the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the boastful pride of life” (I Jn. 2:16). No wonder the apostle wrote, “Do not love the world nor the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him” (I Jn. 2:15).

The love of the world captures people gradually. Demas had evidently not caved in to materialism all of a sudden. Paul’s statements paint the picture of one who drifted away step by step. He was first Demas the fellow worker, then Demas, then Demas who loved the world. Worldliness has a way of creeping up on us.

The danger is real, no matter how diligent one has been. The tug of the world is so powerful that it captured Demas even though he had been a fellow worker with Apostle Paul.

The love of the present world will disappoint. There is something better to love. Let us set our affections on things above.
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The School of Wisdom

The following devotional was taken from "Strength for the Journey" and written by Bill McFarland.

StrengthforJourneyreview
September 1
Daily Bible Reading: Job 25-28; 2 Corinthians 12:11-13:14

The School of Wisdom
Devotional Text: Job 28:12-28


“But where can wisdom be found? And where is the place of understanding” (Job 28:12)?

Wisdom is the ability to discern between good and evil. It is the kind of understanding which can apply knowledge to the situations of life and make right choices. It is therefore the principal requirement for successful living. Wisdom should be first on our “get” list.

The fear of the Lord is reverence for God as the controlling motive in life. It is deep, humble gratitude for the mercy of God. It is awe at His perfect holiness and almighty power. It is respect for His infinite presence and knowledge. It is a wholesome dread of displeasing Him. Godly fear has been described as “love upon its knees.” Such a disposition is a summary of the whole duty of man. It’s what life is all about.

No wonder the scriptures so often remind us that godly fear is the beginning of wisdom. Right choices in life are made from an overriding desire to honor God, not merely from education. As Job concluded, “Behold, the fear of the Lord, that is wisdom; and to depart from evil is undersanding” (Job 28:28).

The school of wisdom is one from which we never graduate. The basic course is reverence. The lessons are the knowledge of God, the humbling of self, accepting instruction, and turning away from evil. And the highest honor is staying in school.

“Behold the fear of the Lord, that is wisdom, and to depart from evil is understanding” (Job 28:28).
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Do you pass the TEST?

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

Fathershandsreview
September 1
Daily Bible Reading: Job 25-28; 2 Corinthians 12:11-13:14

Do you pass the TEST?
Devotional Text: 2 Corinthians 13:5-7


Imagine that you are sitting at your desk in a classroom at school. All around you fellow students are getting their notebooks out and putting away their book bags. The class clown is busily making walrus noises while sticking two pencils under his upper lip for tusks. All in all, you figure it’s business as usual for your class. Things are shaping up to be rather normal, but you suddenly notice what none of the other students have seen so far. Your teacher, at her desk, is quietly pulling out stacks of white paper stapled together. Your breath catches in your chest, surely it can’t be! You would have remembered! Before you can pull your notes out for a last look, your teacher announces, “Alright class! Put away your notes and books, it’s time for…a TEST!”

We all hate tests, they’re no fun whatsoever, but they serve a purpose. We take tests to tell us whether or not we’ve learned something. In school they test our knowledge, but in the Bible we find a different sort of test. The Apostle Paul says that there is a test each of us should take on a regular basis - is Jesus Christ in us?

(Read devotional text) Paul encourages us to examine ourselves to see whether or not we are doing the right thing. When we stop and look at our lives and how we are living we should be able to see whether or not we are letting Christ lead us along. How often you take this test is up to you. However, the more we test ourselves, the better Christians we will be. Take a moment and think about the decisions you’ve made lately. Is it clear that Christ is in you? Do you pass the test?
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Happy New Year!

Happy New Year!

First of all, let us start by saying thanks. Your support and kind words has given us tremendous encouragement over the past year. We want to continue this year to provide the Lord's Church and His families useful material in raising Godly children. Our resolve at Little Acorn is more clear than ever - To strengthen the Lord's Church by strengthening the family. May God bless your efforts to grow tall oaks for Him!

Daily Devotional Books:
The special pricing for churches made available through the end of December are no longer being advertised. However, we will honor those discounts for any church still working on an order. Please mention the December rates when ordering.

New discounted pricing is now available on an ongoing basis. Click here for details.

Vacation Bible School:
Our new Vacation Bible School theme for 2008 is "Righteous Roundup." Team up with “Danny Doo-Right” this summer to learn about being righteous. Your children will hear lessons on...
Day one: “Obedience: Story of Abraham”
Day two: “Fruitfulness: Story of Dorcas”
Day three: “Prayer: Daniel in the Lion’s Den”
Day four: “Compassion: Story of the Good Samaritan”
Take advantage the great material you have come to expect through our VBS material - great Biblical lessons, puppet shows, crafts, games, skits, clip art, promotional material, decoration ideas, and templates.
Packaged together on one CD-ROM for only $99.

NOTE: Our page highlighting
Righteous Roundup is still under construction. Please be patient with us, we are working to have full details about this material up in two to three weeks.

Check out our other great VBS themes!
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Hezekiah's speech

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

Fathershandsreview
August 1
Daily Bible Reading: 2 Chronicles 27-29; Mark 15:1-41

Hezekiah’s speech
Devotional Text: 2 Chronicles 29:9-11


God is NOT happy. He is not happy with his chosen leaders. He is not happy with is chosen people - Israel. This is not a good thing. Why isn’t God happy? God isn’t happy for the same reason He ever becomes displeased or angry - His people are sinning. It goes further than just sinning. They are actively turning their backs on Him. They have been sacrificing to and worshipping other gods. The king of Israel, King Ahaz is not following God’s will or keeping His commands. Then Hezekiah steps in.

King Ahaz dies as a result of God’s anger and his son Hezekiah rules in his place. Unlike daddy dearest, Hezekiah knows the importance of doing God’s will. The very first thing he does when he comes to power is call in all of the priests for a meeting. He then delivers a speech to them designed to motivate them to get the people back on track with God.

(Read devotional text) He ends his rallying speech by saying that our forefathers messed up, they turned away from God and put our nation out of favor with God. They’ve caused our people to be put in prison and we are going to fix it NOW! Hezekiah makes it known to the priests that he intends to turn things around by making a new covenant or pact with God. He calls on the priests to remember that they have been chosen by God to be ministers to Him and to the people. Because of Hezekiah’s dedication and love of God, the priests are inspired and the people once again turn back to God.


Discussion for the family:
What caused God to be unhappy with His people?
Do the same reasons today cause God to be unhappy with us?
What can we do to remain in favor with God?
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God and Pain

The following devotional was taken from "Strength for the Journey" and written by Bill McFarland.

StrengthforJourneyreview
August 1
Daily Bible Reading: 2 Chronicles 27-29; Mark 15:1-41

God and Pain
Devotional Text: Mark 15:22-24, 33-34


In his book The Cross of Christ, John Stott wrote, “I could never myself believe in God, if it were not for the cross …. In the real world of pain, how could one worship a God who is immune to it? … He laid aside His immunity to pain. He entered our world of flesh and blood, tears and death. He suffered for us. Our sufferings become more manageable in the light of His.” (p. 335, 336)

The problem of pain is, and always has been, a severe challenge to faith. God does not offer a detailed defense of Himself nor an explanation of His rule over a world where suffering exists. He does offer his Son to redeem us from it.

We wish pain were gone. Some day it will be. In the meantime, we are strengthened by remembering what was accomplished when Christ suffered for sins. A writer unknown to me imagined God’s response to man’s cry for pain to be taken away:


Then answered the Lord to the cry of the world,
“Shall I take away pain,
And with it the power of the soul to endure,
Made strong by the strain?
Shall I take away pity that knits heart to heart,
And sacrifice high?
Will you lose all your heroes that lift from the fire
White brows to the sky?
Shall I take away love that redeems with a price,
And smiles with your loss?
Can you spare from your life that would cling unto mine
The Christ on His Cross?”

No, we can’t. He has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows. He was wounded for our transgressions, crushed for our iniquities, and chastised for our peace. With His stripes we are healed. Some things are accomplished through suffering that can’t be done any other way.

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Pure in heart

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

Fathershandsreview
July 1
Daily Bible Reading: Psalm 73-74; Proverbs 15:19-16:4

Pure in heart
Devotional Text: Psalm 73:1


In our devotional text the Psalmist writes, “Surely God is good to Israel, to those who are pure in heart” (Psalm 73:1)! God is a wonderful and awesome God, capable of anything we can imagine and more. The psalm says that our almighty and powerful God is good to those who are pure in heart. Everyone WANTS God to be good to them, but what does the Bible say we have to be in order for that to happen? That’s right; it says that we have to be pure in heart. What does it mean to be pure in heart?

Yesterday we talked about people knowing we are God’s children by our actions. Do you think if we only do the right thing and say the right things that will be enough for God? Sometimes we think we can “fool” God into thinking we are good Christians. People see what we do, but God sees into our hearts. We cannot fool God into thinking we are good people.

Being pure in heart means that you say and do everything for a reason. Not because you want to look good, or be thought of as a good person, but because you ARE a GOOD PERSON. Our reasoning for being good is not so that others will think we are “good.” Our reasoning is because we love God and WANT to do the right thing. God will be good and bless those of us who are doing the right thing because that is what is in our hearts. That’s what it means to be pure in heart.
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Whom Have I In Heaven?

The following devotional was taken from "Strength for the Journey" and written by Bill McFarland.

StrengthforJourneyreview
July 1
Daily Bible Reading: Psalms 73-74; Proverbs 15:19-16:4

Whom Have I In Heaven?
Devotional Text: Psalm 73:25


Loneliness and doubt seem to run together. Elijah, weary and afraid, came to the cave at Horeb thinking his zeal for the Lord had not made much difference. He felt that he was all alone (I Kings 19:9, 10).

John the Baptist found himself in danger and alone in Herod’s prison – not exactly the reward for courageous service which might have been expected. He wondered, “Is Jesus the one, or should I be looking for someone else?” (Matt. 14:3, 4; 11:3).

And, the singer of our Psalm looked around at how well the wicked seemed to be doing, comparing their ease with his own struggles. He began to doubt whether his efforts to keep a pure heart and clean hands were worth it (v. 13, 14). A sense of extreme loneliness must have begun to settle over him.

But there has always been an answer to this slippery slope of doubt. It is realizing that someone is for you, working with you. God gave Elijah a coworker to go with him. Jesus sent John the reassurance that he was at work. And the issue was resolved for our singer when he thought, “Whom have I in heaven but You?” His doubt was overcome by a deepened conviction that nothing on earth compares with having the God of heaven as one’s strength and portion (v. 26). His loneliness was relieved by the nearness of God (v. 28).

We also have someone in heaven. He appears before the face of God for us (Heb. 9:24). He is our Advocate with the Father (I Jn. 2:1). He intercedes for us at the right hand of God (Rom. 8:34). Today, whatever our circumstances, let us say with the singer:

“Nevertheless I am continually with You; You have taken hold of my right hand. With Your counsel you will guide me, And afterward receive me to glory” (Psalm 73:23, 24).
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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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