Weekday Devotionals

Devotional written by Eric Nidiffer

Verse: …And yet some of you are trying to kill me because there’s no room in your hearts for my message.  John 8:37b NLT

Thoughts: Four years ago, in a moment of complete insanity or great compromise I yielded to our family getting a dog. In a moment of weakness Teddie became an addition to the Nidiffer family and my life has never been the same since. Now, I know it may sound cold and harsh for me to say it this way, but you must know this dog. He can be completely still and content, but the moment I get on an important conference call the dog decides to come unhinged and the barking can be heard from miles around. It never fails, if the kids or Brenda need him still, he is the perfect puppy, but for me he waits, glances back my way, and then unleashes fury. So it is fair to say he and I don’t always see eye to eye.

But as any Nidiffer, Teddie loves to eat, even to the point where he will steal food from your plate when you turn your head, he catches you in a vulnerable situation and/or your snack is left unattended. However, on family dinner nights when we are all gathered around the table you start to see his head bobbing up and down at random spots of the table trying to see if anyone is going to share just a small little morsel of their dinner with him. He will visit each and every one of us individually just hoping and waiting to find the weak spot of cuteness and then capitalize on it for a portion of whatever we are enjoying that night.

Now, when we are all hungry the dog often comes around with his begging for a merciful food dropping, yet he finds none. In those moments he adds a little whimpering to it, and of course I tell him to hush. This invokes sympathy from the kids or Brenda and the dog ends up with food. Even though the dog often gets food, it has occurred to me it is always the left-over food, or the parts we feel guilty letting go to waste once we are full. Rarely, if ever do I recall us sitting down and calling the dog to come and get the best part of our dinner. The opposite is actual the case, we feed ourselves first, make sure we get enough, and then we pass the scraps or remains to the dog.

As I processed Pastor Pete’s message from Sunday and the verse in John 8 it became clear to me how often I do this in my relationship with Jesus. Now I am not comparing Jesus and Teddie, quite the opposite actually if I was to make a comparison, but I am saying, just as I throw scraps and leftovers to my dog, I often do the exact same thing to God. If my needs are met, and my bills are paid, and my hobbies are all accounted for I have no problem being generous to those God calls me to help out. If I have my schedule under control and my plans aren’t hindered, then I would be happy to carve some time out for Ministry. It sounds terrible to type that out, or to speak it out but it is often the reality.

We love serving God by serving others as long as it doesn’t interfere too much with our plans, and if it does, we say “Surely God is not asking me to give….” fill in the blank. The truth is God sent His Son Jesus into the world to pay the ultimate price for our sins. His own Son had to die an excruciating death so you and I could be eternally free, but for some reason we think a request to give, serve or inconvenience our schedules a bit is God asking too much of us? It feels as crazy to type, as it does to think. If God asked Jesus for everything, then why would we not expect Him ask the same from us. It becomes critical in our lives as growing Disciples of Jesus Christ we learn to give Him the first and best part of our lives. The first part of our finances, the first part of our day, the best of everything and never the leftovers and scraps of our lives. We must make room for His activity by putting Him first in everything we think, say and do as He is worthy of it all.

Application: Be honest with yourself and take an account of your thoughts, actions and relationships. Are you giving God the best of everything or the scraps/leftovers in your life? I encourage you to think about things you need to give up, walk away from, say No to, or change in your life which will allow you to make room for all God wants to do in and through you!

Love you all,
Pastor Eric




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