The Journey with Ron Moore
Devotion Text

Daniel 6:21-22

Daniel answered, “May the king live forever! My God sent his angel and he shut the mouths of the lions. They have not hurt me, because I was found innocent in his sight. Nor have I ever done any wrong before you, Your Majesty.”

When you follow God, you’ll have some enemies. Daniel did. Their jealousy led to a scheme to get rid of Daniel once and for all. They wrote an edict that prohibited the worship of God. The king signed the edict into law. I love what happens next.

When Daniel heard about the new law, you know what he did? He went to his home. Went straight upstairs to a room where the windows opened to Jerusalem. He got down on his knees and prayed to his God “just as he had done before.” The rest of the story is a Sunday School favorite. Daniel was thrown into a lions’ den. But God shut the mouth of the hungry lions, and Daniel was lifted from the den without a scratch or wound “because he had trusted in his God.”

This well-known story teaches us about resolved obedience. Daniel was not willing to give in, regardless of the pressure, regardless of the danger. Daniel was committed to obeying God no matter what. But lest you think Daniel was born a man of steel, check out what he was doing when the officials came to arrest him. Daniel was “praying and asking God for help.” It is always God who gives us the strength we need to do what He has called us to do. He gave that strength to Daniel; He will give the same strength to you.

Father, Daniel was human like me. Give me that same strength you gave Daniel. I want to live with the resolve that comes from trusting in You. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Read through the Bible this year:
Today's Reading

 

Join Our Facebook Group

 

 


 

This Week on The Journey Broadcast:

 

Biblical Sexuality

Devotion Text

Psalm 68:19

Praise be to the Lord, to God our Savior, who daily bears our burdens.

In some stretches of life, the burdens are weighty. Sickness, diagnosis, treatments, and recovery produce a tangible load on our souls. Death and grief cloud our hearts and minds with a thick fog. Job loss shocks then discourages. If the new job doesn’t come on our timeline, a wave of “what-if” panic sets in. Challenges with children, strained relationships, delayed dreams, death of dreams, failure, sin . . . the list of heavy burdens continues.

The weighty stretch becomes unbearable when we feel that the load must be carried alone. The situation is always present. We feel the weight with each step. Soon a once overflowing heart is depleted of joy, energy, and desire to keep going.

But . . . “Praise be to the Lord, to God our Savior” . . . we don’t have to carry the things that weigh down the soul! We don’t even have to share the load! We have One who carries every weighty concern that we have stuffed in our backpacks. We have One who walks with us, lives with us, in fact, lives in us! We have One who relieves the pressure, takes away the guilt, gives courage in the face of death, gently blows away the fog of grief, provides us whatever we need to do whatever He calls us to do, and restores a sense of real joy to the broken heart. He is asking you, right now, to stop and lay your burdens down. He desires to pick up the heavy pack and carry it for you. God our Savior is the One who “daily bears our burdens!”

Dear Father, thank You. Thank You for not letting me walk alone. Thank You for not letting me walk with the weight. Thank You for carrying my burdens today. Thank You, in advance, for carrying my burdens tomorrow. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

 

Read through the Bible this year:
Today's Reading

 

Join Our Facebook Group

 

 


 

This Week on The Journey Broadcast:

 

Worshiping God

Marriage is not a casual agreement. It is a covenant made before witnesses and God. Jesus tells us that God is the one who joins the husband and wife together “and what God has joined together let no man separate. Scripture says, “It is better to not to make a vow than to make a vow and not fulfill it” (Ecclesiastes 5:5).

So let’s think about the commitment it takes to keep our vows. I have adapted a good bit of the following from Scott Stanley’s excellent book, The Heart of Commitment.

 

TWO KINDS OF COMMITMENT

  1. Constraint Commitment: The external pressure to stay together. 

Constraint commitment involved the outside forces that compel couples to stay together. They include

  • Social Pressure: If we split up, our family, friends, and community may disapprove.
  • Morality of Divorce: Most Christian couples know that God hates divorce.
  • Children: Parents don’t want to hurt their children by splitting up.
  • Finances: Divorce is expensive and may well alter your lifestyle.
  • Termination Procedure: There are several steps in ending a marriage that take time and money.
  • Alternative Quality: Most people want to be married, even if they don’t want to stay married. There is great concern if others will be interested in them as a future mate.

 

  1. Dedication Commitment: The internal state of devotion to a person.

Dedication commitment is the inner longing of a person to stay in a relationship. It is evidenced by the desire to not only continue in a relationship, but also make personal sacrifices to improve it. Here are some sources of dedication.

  • Relationship Agenda: This exists when couples build mission and purpose into their relationship. They plan for the future; in essence, saying that they are committed to be in their spouse’s future.
  • Primacy of Relationship: This is demonstrated by couples making regular times for each other, establishing the priority of dinner together, scheduling dates, and scheduling meetings to work through problems and issues.
  • Couple Identity: This refers to the degree to which a husband and wife view themselves as a team. One way this is demonstrated is when couples use plural pronoun (we, our, us) instead of singular (I, me, mine) in referring to their relationship. Words mean something. They express our hearts. 
  • Satisfaction with Sacrifice: The degree to which the couple takes pleasure in doing things for their spouse’s benefit and enjoyment. 

Dedication and constraint commitment are not mutually exclusive. Dedication commitment increases constraint commitment. And constraint commitment provides a foundation for dedication commitment to grow and flourish. The experiences of a relationship like buying a home together, having children, the death of parents, are significant investments into a relationship that increase both dedication and constraint commitment.

 

At the end of the day, these two types of commitment work like epoxy glue. You need them both to keep your vows…that you made to God.

I have coached a variety of recreational sports in my community. I hate to admit it, but for many years I was a downright jerk. Now, years removed from my coaching “jerkiness,” it’s hard to believe that I took winning so seriously. But I did. Several of us coaches worked hard at beating each other. Somehow we forgot about the kids. At least I did. I wish I could have a “do-over” on those years, but I can’t.

I was very hard on my own children as well. I put so much pressure on them that they were unable to enjoy the sports they loved. My blind spot wake-up call came one day when I berated my daughter for striking out. Here is the story from my side and then my daughter’s side. I wrote mine with Paul’s words in Colossians 3:21 ringing in my head, “Fathers, do not embitter your children, or they will become discouraged.”

 

My Perspective

From the time that I was seven years old, it was drilled into my head. Every coach from 10-and-under to college bellowed the same command, “Don’t take a called third strike! If you strikeout, you had better go down swinging. When you have two strikes, widen your stance, choke up a bit, protect the plate, don’t take anything close. Whatever you do, never watch the third strike go by!” So when I began coaching my kids, I repeated the same instruction.

I will never forget one particular softball game. My oldest daughter Brittany, a fifth grader at the time and a great player, made the last out of the game by taking a called third strike. My insides ignited. After the obligatory handshakes and post-game “great game girls” talk, I walked to the car with Brittany. The very second the doors were shut, I exploded. “What just happened out there?! Why didn’t you swing the bat?! Never, I mean never, take a called third strike. How many times have you heard me say that? You could have pulled that pitch down the right field line. As fast as you are, you could have made it to third easily. We could have won the game! What were you doing?” I stopped to take a breath and then started repeating the questions with a louder voice. Then I saw the tears. My heart sank and I realized how foolish I had been to get so upset with my daughter over a recreational softball game.

Please don’t do what I did. Do not embitter your children. The word “embitter” means to “irritate” or “provoke.” One translation used the word “exasperate.” This continued practice will cause them to lose heart, confidence and respect in you as a father. As fathers, we are called to demonstrate what it means to honor the heavenly Father in all things. As fathers, we are called to build up our children. As fathers, we are called to demonstrate unconditional acceptance and love. Embittered hearts will walk away from God and us.

 

Brittany’s Perspective

The walk back to the car might have been worse than the actual strike out. Check that statement. It was infinitely worse. When I think of bad games, none stick out in my mind like that particular one—my at-bats consisted of nothing but strikeouts and infield pop-flies. Never in my five years of playing had I struck out so much in one game. Usually, I was not one to watch a ball pass by (I was notorious for swinging at the first pitch). During this particular at-bat, I was horrified to hear the umpire—an energetic baseball enthusiast whose “strike” call always made us jump—call “staaariike three! She’s out!” From my left handed batting stance, my dad in his third base coach position was directly in my line of sight. My stomach flip-flopped as I, anxiously glancing up the third base line, saw my dad drop his head. Game over.

I walked numbly to our old gray Honda, dragging my cleated-feet against the pavement, dreading the car ride home. My mom, who had driven separately, passed by on her way to the van. “See you at home,” she said, giving me an empathetic glance and my arm a reassuring squeeze.

“Bye, Mom,” I managed to choke out, while in my head I was screaming, “Please! Ask to take me home! I don’t want to drive home with Dad!” But, unable to read my thoughts, my mom walked away, and I was left to face the terrible silence preceding whatever my dad had to say in response to my “unacceptable” softball behavior. I don’t remember everything he said, but I didn’t cry often as a child. I cried on that car ride home. And then I cried more once I got home. But once I got out of the bathroom (I took a “shower” so that I could sit in the bathroom and cry some more), my dad was right there, waiting to apologize and to console me.

Those were some intense softball years. We can look back on those years and laugh at the ridiculous level of intensity, but up through the seventh grade, recreational softball was competitive—to put it lightly. Winning was king, and I remember feeling discouraged on many counts when I felt like I had let my dad down. Softball was more nerve-racking than fun. I was always nervous that I would mess up and disappoint my dad. Don’t get me wrong. My dad was a great coach. He was great at teaching the fundamentals, knew fun drills, and was enjoyable to be around. But when the subject of bitterness comes up, those softball years always re-surface. I’m really not bitter about it now, but Colossians 3:21 brings up a good point. I think that becoming “embittered,” or to be made to feel troubled or distressed, is something that a lot of children struggle with.

No matter your age, when one feels like he has not lived up to his parents’ expectations—not gotten the grades, made the cut, landed the job—it can be really discouraging. And while I think having high expectations for your children is completely justifiable (after all, they’re your kids, you should want the very best for them!), loving us (not necessarily “tough love!”) through our failures is vital for our emotional well-being.

I have never—not even for a tenth of a second—doubted that my dad loves me, but that didn’t stop me from feeling anxious before softball games. I can’t tell you how many times my dad has asked me to forgive him for his years of ultra-competitive softball coaching. And I’m totally over it (it’s great to have something to hold over his head, though!!). But since realizing his mixed-up priorities, my dad has been nothing but encouraging in my various sports endeavors. He wasn’t my coach while I played in high school, but I always enjoyed having him at my games! If I’m discouraged, he’s always there to support me. In the seventh grade, the last year he coached my team, we won the championship.

Winning the championship should have been exciting, but once again, I was in tears on the way home. This time I disappointed in my own performance. But to this day, my dad still reminds me of the vital role I played in those games. Without my parents’ support through my years of softball, various sports, and other activities, I don’t know where I’d be! It might sound strange, but I really think that going through those years of intensity, and then realizing that we had our eyes on the wrong prize, created a stronger bond between us. We were both able to grow as a result of seeing how our priorities were out of whack, and I think we’re closer because of it.

One summer, I had the chance to help my dad coach my younger sister’s third and fourth grade softball team. Getting to coach alongside Dad was a blast, and it’s so fun to see how laid back he’s become (youngest child syndrome). On multiple occasions, after playing against a team with an intense coach, we would laugh most of the way home, the conversation usually starting off with, “Who did that coach in the purple shirt remind you of?”

 

I wish I could say that was the last time I blew it with my children. I have had to go to each one of them more than once to ask for forgiveness as well as asking forgiveness from my Father. That event happened over a decade ago, and by God’s grace, Brittany and I have a great relationship. She even has a touch of my sarcastic humor. And sometimes right out of the blue she’ll say, “Hey, Dad, do you remember that time you made me cry in the car after that softball game?” Then she lets out her patented chuckle.

Psalm 68:15-19  

Mount Bashan, majestic mountain, Mount Bashan, rugged mountain, why gaze in envy, you rugged mountain, at the mountain where God chooses to reign, where the LORD himself will dwell forever? The chariots of God are tens of thousands and thousands of thousands; the Lord has come from Sinai into his sanctuary. When you ascended on high, you took many captives; you received gifts from people, even from the rebellious —that you, LORD God, might dwell there. Praise be to the Lord, to God our Savior, who daily bears our burdens.

In some stretches of life the burdens are weighty. Sickness, tests, treatments, and recovery produce a tangible load on our souls. Death and grief cloud our hearts and minds with a thick fog. Job loss shocks, then angers, then discourages. If the new job doesn’t come on our timeline, panic sets in. Challenges with children, strained relationships, delayed dreams, death of dreams, failures, sin…the list of heavy burdens is long.  

The weighty stretch becomes unbearable when we feel that the load must be carried alone. Each step is heavy. The heart is depleted of joy, energy, and desire to keep going.

But…”Praise be to the Lord, to God our Savior”…we don’t have to carry the things that weigh down the soul! We don’t even have to share the load! We have One who carries every weighty concern. We have One who relieves the pressures, takes away the guilt, infuses courage, and gently blows away the fog of grief. He restores a sense of real joy to the broken heart. God our Savior is the One who “daily bears our burdens”!

Dear Father, thank You for Your constant presence and help. Thank You for carrying my burdens today…and tomorrow. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Prayer

Do you need prayer?

Email prayer@ronmoore.org.

LISTEN TO THE JOURNEY ON WORD-FM


Every weekday at
11:30 AM

RON’S SERMONS

Categories