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Introducing the Cast

God instructs me to cast all my care upon Him, all my worry, thoughts and passions, because He cares for me (1 Peter 5:7}.

When trying to get rid of a pesky, harmful, or useless thought, I know there’s a problem. When I try not to think about something, I think about it even more, like worrying. Worry is defined as being consumed by thinking of doing something about which I can do nothing effective, mainly because I don’t tap into God’s wisdom.

I need to take into account the goodness God has poured into my mind and flesh. 

Kent is interim director of music at Church of Our Savior and teaches music at Loretta Elementary School in Mandarin. See more devotions here.

Up in Arms

The altar call came and a young lady came forward for prayer. The prayer team was called up. My friend Lisa went up to the young lady and, after listening to her with God’s Spirit for a bit, Lisa began to pray for her, then Lisa attempted to encourage the troubled girl to loosen the girl’s stiff folded arms. After several attempts, Lisa eventually got the troubled gal to place her hands against Lisa’s, then Lisa began to move the paired hands up and down until the hurting girl was able to lift her hands to the Lord on her own.

As the young woman let go of the iron hold on her crossed arms, she opened up emotionally and began to release her pent-up feelings. Finally, as she reached to heaven, she completely unleashed her death-grip of control into deep weeping. She gave her situation fully to Jehovah Rapha our Healer, the only One who can heal her and remedy her circumstance. She received mercy from her Comforter and Counselor.

Raising our hands in praise to God and opening up to Him is just that important!

Dance, Dance Baby

At a church youth group dance during my first youth director gig, the Soul Train lines formed, guys in one line, girls in the other. We paired up one couple at a time and danced down the middle. I knew I couldn’t dance, but I tried my hardest to be cool when my turn came. Unfortunately, my previous efforts as a youth pastor to be funny made my attempt to move rhythmically and look cool result in an inordinate amount of laughter, which I never forgot, vowing inwardly never to try to dance seriously again.

This worked for a few years until my fiancée told me we were going to six dance lessons to learn how to feature the choreography at our wedding. Three hundred sixty dollars and six weeks later, I don’t know if I was smooth, but I got through it, and I didn’t drop her.

Now I dance and move like crazy, some just to embarrass my family and my students, some just because I feel it, and some even as I sense the presence of God’s Spirit. The arms and legs moving through the thickness of God’s Spirit lets me soak Him in—His comfort and peace, His love and healing.

No Post Boxes Needed

 I had to ask myself some very serious questions about my trust in God, and my involvement in praise. Maybe you have experienced this also.

To whom am I singing Praise? Who am I worshiping? Am I afraid to speak to God? Am I uncomfortable singing directly to my Father? He’s right here in the room with me. I don’t need to mail Him a postcard or send a memo. When Father God is present, why ignore Him? I aim my words to Him.

Instead of “He is worthy,” why not “You are worthy”? “Our God is an awesome God” can be changed to “You, God, are the Awesome God.” That makes more sense. Isn’t that more like real praise? I replace just talking and singing about The Almighty One with talking and singing to Him.

I praise YouYou are worthyI sing to You! I honor and bless You, Father. You are Almighty! You are Healer and HealthYou are my ProviderYou dwell in me. Your love overwhelms meI worship You. You are right and holy in all Your ways! You are BeautifulThank You for lavishing Your love on me!

Kent is interim director of music at Church of Our Savior and teaches music at Loretta Elementary School in Mandarin. See more devotions here.

Sticky Notes and the Holy Spirit

 Where is it I come in contact with God? I look towards the Bible–where’s my burning bush, my wilderness, my “away from the crowds”? Where can I go to hear my Father’s voice? I stop and take a moment to think about my places of stillness, and where I can add more.

I drive forty minutes to work every day, in part, over a three-mile bridge. As I reached that bridge over and over, something began stirring in my spirit to stop my regular train of thought, turn off the radio, and remember God. Not that I was trying to ignore the Lover of my soul from the wakeup alarm’s buzzer to the time I got to the bridge, but at this point I specifically turned everything off, even Christian music, to just listen to Abba.

Letting God reveal prayer closets is so important. They really do exist …what’s coming to your mind right now?

Some prayer closets are formed by leaving sticky note reminders in strategic places like the bathroom mirror, door jamb, dashboard, inside books and planners, and even on computer screens, to remind me to be still. I set reminders on electronic devices. Then I become aware of the Holy Spirit’s presence as I praise Him, and center on His comfort and impartations.

How would a girl feel when she knows a guy’s there, but is intentionally ignoring her, especially when she tries to talk to him, comfort him, and bring wisdom, provision, and healing to him? Is that how I treat God as He’s desiring to talk to me?

A brilliant inspiration helping me develop purpose and practicality in the prayer closet is another in the series of Kendrick Brothers’ movie box office toppers ,War Room. Check it out!

Kent is interim director of music at Church of Our Savior and teaches music at Loretta Elementary School in Mandarin. See more devotions here.

Permission To Step Out Of Your Routines

Occasionally, teachers, as well as others in stressful jobs, take what we call a mental health day, considering the stresses involved in the school environment and administration’s expectations, as well as the school’s routines, customs, and unique community.

We’re expected to conceptually teach each standard with the annual changes coming from state test data, reaching every student in their own culture and set of experiences while handling each misbehavior using documentation, time out, parent phone calls, referrals, while remaining entertaining to the rest of the class throughout.

A person’s attempt to do all of that can be overwhelming and disconcerting, and cause great stress. 

Every once in a while, I take a day off and just let all that stuff slide by without me. Yes, when I go back, I’m going to have to straighten out the things the students get away with on the substitute. I may even lose a little time with them, but for my sanity I stop, remove myself from “the monster,” realize it’s going to move on with or without me, and I become still. I regroup, refocus, straighten my priorities, and step back in, very similar to a prayer closet.

Kent Staples, interim music director at Church of Our Savior, teaches music at Loretta Elementary School in Mandarin.