Grow in Grace by Larry Yarrington

7 Therefore, dear friends, since you already know this (that people distort scripture), be on your guard so that you may not be carried away by the error of lawless men and fall from your secure position. 18 But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and forever! Amen. 2 Peter 3:17-18 There are those who parse scripture, by taking it out of context, to fit their own desire for what they want it to say. I do that to some extent when I write these devotionals. But, these devotionals are not intended to be an explanation of scripture as much as how the passage hit me personally. My intention is not to build theology. It is to see what the Lord wants me personally to see and grow from. Yet, I must be careful that I don't so distort scripture as to make my personal use of it, untrue. At other times people just have a grand idea about what is right and wrong and superimpose this idea on scripture and, thereby, distort its meaning in h…

He's still workin' on me by Larry Yarrington

7 Be patient, then, brothers, until the Lord’s coming. See how the farmer waits for the land to yield its valuable crop and how patient he is for the autumn and spring rains. 8 You too, be patient and stand firm, because the Lord’s coming is near. 9 Don’t grumble against each other, brothers, or you will be judged. The Judge is standing at the door! James 5:7-9 I find that when dealing with people, I want to help, I can't develop a time table or make it a project. I have to. first, decide to love them. In order to truly love, I have to find value in them. Not value to me necessarily, but intrinsic value. There is a beauty to every person that can endear them to me. If they become a project to me they become burdensome and I begin to feel worn out by them. This process requires patience, more with some than others, because their beauty is hidden deep within. If people love and treasure me, it is easy. I can be with them all day long without effort. For others, it takes time to dev…

Plant your Pinecones by Jamie Palmesano

Have you ever received a text that tugs at your heart? You read a few lines. And, stop. You are captured by the weight of what was just said. I received a message from a sweet lady who lives in Missouri, but won’t be able to visit Estes Park this year because of COVID. The paragraph that arrested my attention read, “Will you please do me a favor? Next time you are hiking, will you please pick up 4 or 5 pinecones, and mail them to me? I’ll plant them here at my house.” This was such a simple yet profoundly beautiful request to me. It touched me deeply. Earlier in the morning, I had been sitting in the dirt pulling weeds. I thought about how many weeds had grown in my heart. I considered the fallowness of my soil. I reflected on what’s growing in the garden of my life in this season. While my hands were busy attacking the weeds at their roots, as my grandma instilled in me, my mind was processing the words of First and Second Peter streaming through my earbuds. I was rem…

Life is a Trek with Purpose and Meaning - by Larry Yarrington

1 Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. 2 Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. 3 Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart. Hebrews 12:1-3 When I hike, I like to only carry in my backpack what I actually need. An EPI pin because I am extremely allergic to wasp stings, a first aid kit, some energy bars, hiking sticks and water. As I am trekking up the mountain, every additional piece of equipment slows me down. When I take Seenee Mae, I take an additional bottle of water and I notice it. I also find that keeping fixed on the goal is helpful knowing that when I achieve it, the views will be spectacular…

Sacrifice by Larry Yarrington

11 When Christ came as high priest of the good things that are already here, he went through the greater and more perfect tabernacle that is not man-made, that is to say, not a part of this creation.12 He did not enter by means of the blood of goats and calves; but he entered the Most Holy Place once for all by his own blood, having obtained eternal redemption. 13 The blood of goats and bulls and the ashes of a heifer sprinkled on those who are ceremonially unclean sanctify them so that they are outwardly clean. 14 How much more, then, will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself unblemished to God, cleanse our consciences from acts that lead to death, so that we may serve the living God! 15 For this reason Christ is the mediator of a new covenant, that those who are called may receive the promised eternal inheritance–now that he has died as a ransom to set them free from the sins committed under the first covenant. Hebrews 9:11-15 It is very difficult for…

"Do not harden your hearts"

"See to it, brothers, that none of you has a sinful, unbelieving heart that turns away from the living God.  But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called Today, so that none of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness.  We have come to share in Christ if we hold firmly till the end the confidence we had at first.  As has just been said: “Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts as you did in the rebellion.” Hebrews 3:12-15
It is good to have someone close; someone who knows your heart beat, a tone of voice or a look indicating a mood. I am not lost in the Big Ten of sins in any obvious ways. Though in more subtle ways, I violate them daily. But this is the point. The real sin is always what we do in relationship to God. It starts with little doubts and soon it is an unbelieving heart turning away from the living God.
Sometimes I see it in a mood swing caused by something disagreeable in my environment. Or it could be that I am fearful and anxious abo…

People Matter - by Michael Dascoli

Have you ever lived through a personal or family crisis? Can you recall a time when someone(s) stepped in at just the right moment and did something so practical that it seemed to shout, “You are not alone! You matter! We are (I am) here for you”? If you answered yes to any of those questions, can you relate when I say, “Those are life-giving moments”? It’s as if you’re dying of thirst when someone offers you a glass of cool water. Or, you feel like you’re suffocating and someone breathes fresh oxygen into your system.
I remember a time when I was a child that my dad had a heart attack. Our family was already living below the poverty line. Now dad, who was our sole provider, couldn’t work. Oh, the thoughts that raced through my seven-year-old mind as stress in our home was so thick you could cut it with a knife. “Will dad live? What will happen to us should he die? Will Christmas be a sad affair?” Then, one evening, a group of my dad’s buddies showed up unexpectedly at our front doo…

Jesus is the Rock - by Larry Yarrington

"This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers. 17 If anyone has material possessions and sees his brother in need but has no pity on him, how can the love of God be in him? 18 Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth. 19 This then is how we know that we belong to the truth, and how we set our hearts at rest in his presence 20 whenever our hearts condemn us. For God is greater than our hearts, and he knows everything. 21 Dear friends, if our hearts do not condemn us, we have confidence before God 22 and receive from him anything we ask, because we obey his commands and do what pleases him. 23 And this is his command: to believe in the name of his Son, Jesus Christ, and to love one another as he commanded us. 24 Those who obey his commands live in him, and he in them. And this is how we know that he lives in us: We know it by the Spirit he gave us." 1 John…

Turn your eyes upon Jesus - by Larry Yarrington

7 "Dear children, do not let anyone lead you astray. He who does what is right is righteous, just as he is righteous. 8 He who does what is sinful is of the devil, because the devil has been sinning from the beginning. The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the devil’s work. 9 No one who is born of God will continue to sin, because God’s seed remains in him; he cannot go on sinning, because he has been born of God. 10 This is how we know who the children of God are and who the children of the devil are: Anyone who does not do what is right is not a child of God; nor is anyone who does not love his brother". 1 John 3:7-10 According to John, the primary sin is in seeking a solution to sin that is different than what God provided. Jesus came to save us from our sinful (prideful) nature, which is the work of a fallen angel. The devil, we are told elsewhere, goes about trying to destroy lives. If he can make a wreck of me, it is likely that I will influence others alo…

My Old Leather Verse Pack - by Rick Grigsby


Stand Alone - by Susan Yarrington

We hiked a local trail in our small community yesterday.  We have hiked and observed these TALL aspens in all  four seasons. This particular aspen was 50+ yards from others of similar size, but this one stood out to me.... against the blue skies and green pines.  It STOOD ALONE. Actually... it doesn't STAND ALONE...because a little known fact for those who live elsewhere... where aspens don't aspens are one of the largest organisms on earth.  You can not see it from above ground.... but every aspen tree is a part of a HUGE underground 'community'.  Their root systems are intertwined with one another.   If I carelessly dig one aspen might very well damage the other aspens who share the same 'neighborhood'. This reminded me of us humans... who share a home, neighborhood or city.  We might believe we STAND ALONE..but we really don't.  We are interconnected....even us introverts!  We are to protect ourselves and others from this tragic COVID …

We Place Our Hope Not in this Life - by Carly Mainland

Sunday night it was said that this is likely going to be one of the saddest weeks in American history. Our Pearl Harbor, our 9-11 moment. I can’t fully explain what yesterday was like, the weight I felt, the emotion of it all. The only thing I can equate it to is a grief that has been a part of our family for a few years. Because the thing about Pearl Harbor and 9-11 is that no one was prepared, each event came by surprise for most people, and death is like that sometimes. Suddenly in a moment it is in your lap and there was absolutely no time to prepare for it’s arrival. Like a car accident or a heart attack. But sometimes we receive a warning… sometimes it comes after days, weeks, months or years of anticipation. You see, several years ago we found out that my mother-in-law has Alzheimers. We knew for years that something was wrong, but when the diagnosis came there was a cold hard reality to face. There was finally a name, a label for the issue itself, the things we’d been noticin…

Keep Calm and Carry On - by Cheryl Grigsby

Keep Calm and Carry On - A Strategy
Something many of us have learned during this crisis is that too much cortisol, a stress hormone, is not good for us.It can weaken our immune system which we want to stay really strong, especially now.I just love it when science catches up with Scripture!
Be still and know that I am God. Ps. 46:10 Cast all your anxiety upon Him because He cares for you. I Peter 5:7 The Lord will fight for you while you keep silent. Ex. 14:14 Be anxious for nothing, fear not, fear not, fear not.MANY references.
The deeper our knowledge of God, the deeper our trust will grow.
Trusting God, casting all your anxiety on Him is a very healthy thing to do, physically and spiritually.

Don’t worry, be happy?Great.How do I do that??
I’d like to suggest a daily discipline that might help:

Get a notepad, a pen, and your Bible.Go to the Psalms and read.Make a list of everything you read that tells you (1) who God is and (2) what God does.  His character and His actions.  You may want to m…

Praise the Lord - by Larry Yarrington

This from Psalm 149: "Praise the Lord. Sing to the Lord a new song, his praise in the assembly of the saints." The question is, how new is your song? Probably as new as your growth in the Lord. I ask myself, how well do I know the Lord? Is my understanding of Him greater today than it was a few days or even years ago? In part, I have to read about Him from the Bible daily. It is His desire to reveal Himself to me everyday as our relationship goes deeper. As I read, I open myself to what the Lord might be saying to me; something new that I didn't know about Him yesterday. As I understand His heart, I grow in my knowledge of just how much He loves and cares for me. Don't all relationships stay intimate and joyful when we decide to be open and transparent with one another? Everyday I learn a little more how to have a joy filled relationship with my wife. It takes transparency in her part, but it also takes searching on my part. Why should it be different with God? I am…

My Hope in Him Alone - by Carly Mainland

I will not place my hope:
In temperatures on the thermometer.
In certain items on the grocery store shelf.
Nor my ability to predict tomorrow or next month.
I will not place my hope or security in my emotional stability or my children’s behavior, nor the presence of certain comforts I’m still able to enjoy.
I place my hope in Him alone.
The unchanging, ever present, loving God, who is available and active. Who knows my yesterdays and tomorrows and has secured eternity for me.
I will fix my gaze on Him again and again.
He never fails, even as my own vision may, He never does. 🌡
This little one has had a fever on and off over the past few days. In these crazy times we have no other option but to assume it could be covid-19 and totally quarantine for two weeks.
Honestly, the constant changes and roller coaster of emotions of the last few weeks has started to feel like the new normal- and we’re finding peace in the Lord. Grateful for the incredible reality of His body’s love a…