My dear friend, Kathy Howard, has written an absolutely wonderful devotion and it is my privilege to share an excerpt from it with you today.
I remember a couple years ago when she told me this devotion was on her heart. A devotion for the hurting, the broken, the baffled and the bewildered. Those who have walked through difficult places in their lives…those who know that in this world, we will have trouble.
That’s you. And that’s me.
It’s my honor to highly recommend God Is My Refuge as a must read devotional. Be encouraged, sweet friends. Be challenged. Be still and know that He is God…that no matter what you are going through or where you have been…God is your refuge.
GOD IS MY REFUGE
12 WEEKS OF DEVOTIONS AND SCRIPTURE MEMORY FOR TROUBLED TIMES
Week Six: Broken Relationships
No Relationship Is an Island
Read: Hebrews 12:14–15 Weekly memory verse: Hebrews 12:14
One of my all-time favorite movies is Cast Away. Tom Hanks played the role of Chuck Noland, a FedEx systems engineer. During a business trip, Chuck narrowly survived a plane crash and washed ashore on a deserted tropical island. Before he finally found a way to make it back to civilization, Chuck spent four years completely alone, with no human interaction of any kind.
Complete isolation like this is only possible if you are the lone castaway on a deserted island. The rest of us are constantly connected to other people. Although the depths of our relationships range from superficial to intimate, no relationship exists in isolation from the others. The quality of one relationship affects all the others. For instance, an argument with one friend alters our mood and emotions, impacting our interaction with the next friend we encounter.
Today’s Scripture shows us how our relationship with God directly affects all other relationships. A close, obedient relationship with God fosters holiness in our lives. When we live holy lives—lives devoted to God—we will be different from the world and its ways, and so will our relationships.
The world tells us to put ourselves first. God commands us to love each other and meet their needs. The world tells us to revenge wrongs done to us. God commands us to forgive like God has forgiven us and to get rid of all bitterness.
Are you struggling in one or more relationships? Regardless of the issue or who is at fault, the first step in improving any relationship is to check the quality of our relationship with God.
Reflect and Apply
Take a moment to evaluate your relationships. In the space below, list those in which you need God’s help and direction.
Now check the quality of your relationship with God. Can you see ways that distance from God and disobedience have affected your relationships with others?
Reflect on the grace God has shown in your life. (For instance, God pursues a relationship with you, he offers undeserved forgiveness, and he promises his constant presence.) How can remembering what God has done for you help you to extend grace to others?
Ask God to help you see the relationship issues in your life with his eyes. Ask him to show you any sin you need to confess regarding the way you have interacted with these individuals.
Commit to memorize Hebrews 12:14 to internalize the truth that the quality of your relationship with God affects all other relationships.
- Read the verse in your favorite translation.
- Rewrite the verse in your own words at the bottom of this page.
- Write the verse and reference on a card for your memory system.
- Read Hebrews 12:14 out loud three times.
- Pull out the memory verse cards for Psalm 46:1 and Matthew 6:33. If possible, recite them without looking at the cards. Use the anchor words or the front of the card only if necessary.
Kathy Howard helps women live an unshakeable faith for life by encouraging them to stand firm on our rock-solid God no matter the circumstances of life. Kathy, who has a Masters in Christians Education, has been teaching the Bible for over 20 years. Kathy served on a church staff in Midland, Texas for the five years until her family’s move to the Houston area. Kathy and her husband have three children, a son-in-law, and one precious grandbaby. Find out about her books and speaking ministry and get discipleship tools and leader helps at her website: www.kathyhoward.org.