Daily Devotionals

Mere Humans

1 Corinthians 3:3 NIV “You are still worldly. For since there is jealousy and quarreling among you, are you not worldly? Are you not acting like mere humans?”

Jealousy is a big thing in my house right now. Two members of my family are always grabbing things out of each other’s hands—I’ve even seen one of them pull the other one out of a chair, just so they could sit in it.

No, it’s not me and my husband…it’s my two year old and almost one year old. That shouldn’t really surprise anyone. Toddlers are notoriously selfish. But each of us acts on jealousy in more subtle ways. We might not grab and push, but we sure complain and argue!

Paul reminded the church at Corinth that jealousy and fighting were signs of their sinful nature. But we don’t have to continue that way; we don’t have to act like “mere humans.” The good news for Christians is that “you are of Christ, and Christ is of God.” I Corinthians 3:23b

-Kevi

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Even Though

Psalm 23:1-5 NASB “The LORD is my shepherd, I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside quiet waters. He restores my soul; He guides me in the paths of righteousness For His name’s sake.

Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I fear no evil, for You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; You have anointed my head with oil; My cup overflows.”

So verses 1-3 sound pretty good to me: “I shall not want,” “green pastures,” and “quiet waters.” That’s what I’m always asking God for: a trouble-free, peaceful life.  But in the same Psalm as “green pastures” is “the valley of the shadow of death.” Not what I had in mind.

Sometimes God leads me to peace, and sometimes God leads me through troubles. I wish I knew why we have to have both seasons in our lives, but all I can do is praise Him for letting my cup overflow in peace and in trouble.

Lord, give me the wisdom to praise you when I’m at peace, and the strength to praise you when I face trouble.

-Kevi

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Think About It

Philippians 4:8 NASB  Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things.

Recently I’ve cut a lot of foods out of my diet, because my daughter was diagnosed with several food allergies. This means I can’t have some of my very favorite foods. The best advice I’ve read about changing your diet is this: “Don’t think about what you can’t have, think about all the things you can have!”

My sinful nature wants to dwell on the negative, but Paul encourages us to dwell on the positive. If we dwell (meditate, focus, think, etc.) on the things of Christ, then we will become more like Him. And I want to be more like Him!

-Kevi

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An Example

Philippians 3:17 (NIV) “Join together in following my example, brothers and sisters, and just as you have us as a model, keep your eyes on those who live as we do.”

I grew up with a father who had no problem making dinner, doing the laundry, cleaning the bathroom, or whatever else needed to be done around the house. He still took care of the yard and the cars (including mine), and was just generally a model of responsibility and servanthood towards his family. So when Taylor and I started dating in college, I took note that he liked to cook, and that his room was tidy while his roommates’ rooms were not. He didn’t expect his mom to do his laundry when he went home for the weekend, and he changed his own oil in his car.

Because my dad modeled responsibility and servanthood, I recognized it in my future husband. Because my dad was a caring husband and a devoted father, I sought out those qualities in a mate. Because my dad followed Christ, I knew it was important that my husband put Christ first in his life.

Happy Father’s Day, Dad, thank you for your example!

-Kevi

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My Daddy Was a Preacher but...He Wasn't Perfect!

I was privileged to be raised in a Christian home. Our parents were married for 26 years before our dad passed away in August of 1990. Dad and Mom took us on family vacations each year during the summer. We went to the lake on Saturdays. Dad played football or baseball in the front yard with my brother. He taught us how to ride our bikes and threw snowballs with us when we had snow. He treated our mom like a queen and taught us how to treat our spouses. We were fortunate enough to see our dad show affection to our mom and in turn show affection to each of his children. Our dad was saved while serving our country in the Air Force while attending chapel services.  A few years after dad was discharged from the military, he went to work at Tinker Air Force Base. Our dad worked full time while he attended Hillsdale Free Will Baptist College in the evenings. He was an associate pastor for several years. He taught Sunday school, Bible studies in our small groups at home, and on breaks at work.  Our dad would get up early on Sunday mornings to get ready for his Sunday school class and would start singing gospel songs to wake us up (we didn’t always appreciate his singing in the mornings!).  Dad witnessed to our neighbors and invited folks to church on a regular basis.  He and mom picked up our friends for church if their parents didn’t attend. He prayed and fasted for his siblings that were not serving God during his lunch breaks at work for years! He never stopped inviting his siblings to church although they would sometimes get frustrated with him. I remember one time that one of the siblings asked him if he would stop with the invitations? Dad simply replied, “No, not until I see your heart right with the Lord and you attending church.” 

Dad was diagnosed with stage 4 Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma just before he turned 46 years old. To say the least, we were all in shock! He took chemotherapy and radiation treatments, he fought and went into remission for a while. I remember one day dad was over at my house and he told me that he would have dreams that he had little soldiers in his body (his immune system) fighting the enemy (the cancer). He would wake up in a cold sweat because some days the soldiers would win and some days the enemy would win. He knew that God was working in his body to heal him and he never stopped believing in God’s healing power! But, he asked me to let our family and friends know that he never gave up and that he was growing tired.  I guess I knew that day that God was choosing to take our daddy home to heaven.  The last week Dad was in the hospital will forever be engraved in my memory. Our family held vigil at the hospital. We took turns sleeping and only went home to take a quick shower and head back up to the hospital. Our mom was exhausted from taking care of dad for the two and a half years he was ill. Aunts, uncles, cousins, friends and other family came by and prayed for him.  That last night, a couple of our cousins sat in the room with dad and me and sang some of his favorite gospel songs to him. I had the opportunity to tell dad that it was ok to let go and go home to be with the Lord and our other family members that had gone home before.  As we stood in the room those last few moments of his life, we noticed his fingertips were turning blue as his respirations began to slow down. Our Aunt Lola is a nurse and she grabbed a stethoscope from one of the nurses there at the hospital: Dad’s heartbeat was very slow. We called the other family members in that were in the hallway resting or had gone home and told them that it was time. As we stood there, I watched my daddy take his last breath and then go home to be with his Lord and Savior. It was the most beautiful yet saddest thing I’ve ever experienced.

I’ve told this story to tell you all this: our dad was human. Sometimes he sinned; sometimes he said things or did things he regretted later. But, he never stopped loving his family and he never stopped having faith in our precious Lord. Because of him, I’m the person I am today. Yes, he was a preacher but he wasn’t perfect, he was human.

Daddy, I’m thinking of you as your birthday and Father’s Day are approaching and I will always love you. I cannot wait until I see you one day in heaven and we have the opportunity to worship the Father together! Thank you Daddy for all that you did and everything you sacrificed for your children: Debbie, Daniel, Denise and I.

2 Timothy 4:7-8 (NIV) I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day—and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing.

-Dana Bateman

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Let Go

Luke 9:61-62 (NASB) Another also said, “I will follow You, Lord; but first permit me to say good-bye to those at home.” But Jesus said to him, “No one, after putting his hand to the plow and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God.”

My husband and I are trying to get our daughter to take her first few steps, but she isn’t quite ready to really walk. She is strong enough, but when it’s time to let go…well, she’s not sure she wants to!

Jesus spoke to many would-be disciples who weren’t quite ready to let go. Whether it was the rich young ruler who wouldn’t let go of his money (Mark 10:21) or the three different people mentioned in Luke 9:57-62 who weren’t ready to give up their comfortable home or family, we all have things we hold onto.

Just as our job as parents is to teach our daughter to let go (to bring about growth), God the Father wants us to let go to bring about spiritual growth.

I wonder what I’m holding on to so tightly?

-Kevi

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Remembering: Bobby Lee

Remembering: Bobby Lee

Written May 2011

Matthew 26:13 (KJV) "Verily I say unto you, Wheresoever this gospel shall be preached in the whole world, [there] shall also this, that this woman hath done, be told for a memorial of her."

This lady gave an expensive gift to her Precious Lord and she was criticized for it.  That could have been sold and helped the poor, that could have... But Jesus said, let's tell what she has done wherever the Gospel message is preached as a memorial to her.

“Bobby Lee” answered the call to preach as a teenager and even pastored a church of over 200 people before the age of 20. He decided that he needed more education so he loaded up his family and moved to Tennessee to attend Free Will Baptist Bible College. While attending Bible College he pastored a rural church and commuted to college. This almost cost him his life when he and his best friend were involved in a head-on collision. Were it not for a lady working at a nearby motel who wrapped his head in a towel perfectly, he probably would have died at the scene.

“Bobby Lee” was a gifted orator who loved to preach on the cross of our Lord Jesus.  I remember hearing him many times, but when he preached on the cross, it seemed like the hair always stood up on the back of my neck.  “Bobby Lee” always dressed like a preacher and represented his calling well. One well known pastor commented, “anyone would be proud to call Bob their pastor!”

“Brother Bob” was a man of God who believed what Paul the apostle said was true: “For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God.” 1 Corinthians 1:18 (KJV) “For after that in the wisdom of God the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe.” 1 Corinthians 1:21 (KJV)

I  guess I appreciate “remembering” Papaw Bob the guy that loved and found joy in my daughters, Papaw Bob, the guy that loved His wife Ann, and Papaw Bob that gave permission to a guy over 36 years ago (at the Moore Del Rancho) to marry his daughter, Denise Leanne.

"Bobby Lee”" was proud of his family and he never got over the fact that God’s grace transformed them and anyone else who would place their trust in Him (Jesus).

Dear Jesus, this is Dennis and I’m a’thanking you for me a’thinking of Bobby Lee Ketchum, Your Servant.

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Remembering: Grandma's Firstborn

John 3:16 (NASB) “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.”

I’ve spent the last few days remembering my Uncle Dwain: thinking about him as I knew him, and hearing stories and memories from other family members. He was quiet and reserved like many of the Carikers (if Bro. Dennis is the only Cariker you know, you may think that was a joke, but it’s the truth!). But Uncle Dwain didn’t need a lot of words to let you know he was proud of you and that he cared about you. That’s how I felt, and it was echoed by so many others.

Grandma Cariker had 16 kids and Uncle Dwain was the oldest, her firstborn. But as I was reflecting on his life, I couldn’t help but think about that sweet time when he wasn’t the first, or the oldest, but he was the only: Joy’s sweet baby boy, born on Christmas Day. How she must have loved and cherished her only begotten son that Christmas Day!

God called Jesus “His only begotten Son,” to emphasize how much He loves and cherishes each one of us, enough that He would send Jesus to save us! Please don’t dismiss such a gift!

“For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him.” John 3:17 (NASB)

-Kevi

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Remembering: Chuck Shaw from Brooken

Written May 2011

Matthew 26:13 (KJV) "Verily I say unto you, Wheresoever this gospel shall be preached in the whole world, [there] shall also this, that this woman hath done, be told for a memorial of her."

This lady gave an expensive gift to her Precious Lord and she was criticized for it.  That could have been sold and helped the poor, that could have... But Jesus said, let's tell what she has done wherever the Gospel message is preached as a memorial to her.

Chuck Shaw, was the kindest, most gentle soul you could ever meet.  He went to meet his Savior at the young age of 50.  My sister Ruth (who is definitely not adopted) was only 45 years old at the time he left earth to go to heaven.

Chuck had a Mach 1 Mustang when they first married and he let me drive it when I was 16. (I said he was nice, I didn't say he used good judgment.)  When I was attending Bible college I went to Tulsa one weekend with my car barely running.  To this day I don't remember why but he and some others got my car and fixed everything on it, plus paid for all of it.

The pastor of his church once challenged the congregation to go one year without missing a service: he did it, except the last Wednesday night, he couldn't stand the thought of being bragged on. 

According to his children he was a great dad. To illustrate:  his son Jarred tells of the time he called his dad at work to tell him he couldn't mow the yard because the lawn mower wouldn't start. His reply, “That's OK son, don't worry about it, but if I get it started, you're getting a whipping!”

Chuck lived for the Lord, loved his family and his church; he was a faithful man. Today and throughout eternity he is enjoying the presence of his Lord Jesus.

Lord, this is Dennis. Thank you for remembering Chuck Shaw.

Micah 6:8 is a picture of Chuck: "He hath shewed thee, O man, what is good; and what doth the LORD require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God?" Micah 6:8 (KJV)

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Remembering: Mac the Methodist

Matthew 26:13 (KJV) "Verily I say unto you, Wheresoever this gospel shall be preached in the whole world, [there] shall also this, that this woman hath done, be told for a memorial of her."

This lady gave an expensive gift to her Precious Lord and she was criticized for it.  That could have been sold and helped the poor, that could have... But Jesus said, let's tell what she has done wherever the Gospel message is preached as a memorial to her.

Several years ago (I’m guessing about 14) I decided to walk around my neighborhood and pray for the people in each house. I also asked God each day before I left the house to help me meet people and to help me be a blessing to those who were lost and to those who were saved. In less than six weeks I met 68 of my neighbors without ever knocking on one door!

The absolute nicest person I met while walking was Mac. Mac was married to Ann and they attended the Methodist church in Norman. They just loved their church and she so enjoyed singing in the choir. They also had the best pastor (according to them) and it just so happened that I knew him well.

Through the last few years I have had the awesome privilege of praying with them on many occasions in their home. Mac loved my jokes so you can see why I liked him so much. Just a few months ago Mac went to heaven, (yes, I think there are a few Free Will Baptists that will make it there too) and I miss him.

I miss “Mac the Methodist” the nicest guy in The Rock Creek Polo Club addition. Because of his Faith in “our” Lord he’s living it up with Jesus these days!

Lord Jesus, this is Dennis, thanks for the Godly people You have placed in my life.

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