Fresh Start Devotionals

Make it Happen “Above anything else, I hate to lose.” (Jackie Robinson) On April 15, 1947, Robinson made it to the “show.” He became the first black man to wear a Major League uniform, destroying the color barrier in professional sports. In his first season with the Brooklyn Dodgers, he hit.297, sent 12 over the fence, and lead the league with 29 steals. He was also the National League Rookie of the year. Two years later they named him the National League’s Most Valuable Player and he won the batting title with a.342 average. 1949 was his first of six appearances in the All-Star game. During his ten years with the Dodgers, he helped them reach the World Series six times. Robinson had a career batting average of.311 and was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1962, his first year of eligibility. Did you also know that Jackie Robinson was court-martialed from the Army and that he dropped out of College? Failure need not be fatal. Great men accomplish great things even when they suffer great setbacks and disappointments. “Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, 14 I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.” Philip. 3:13–14 What failures do you need to put behind you? What sins do you need to confess? What actions do you need to take to give yourself the best possible chance to succeed this week? Take a moment to dedicate this week to God’s glory, then get off your seat and onto your feet and make it happen! Jim L. Wilson, Fresh Start Devotionals (Fresno, CA: Willow City Press, 2009).

Amazing Grace : 366 Inspiring Hymn Stories for Daily Devotions

March 23 THERE SHALL BE SHOWERS OF BLESSING Daniel W. Whittle, 1840–1901 I will send down showers in season; there will be showers of blessing. (Ezekiel 34:26) How disheartening it is to see a once fertile field that has been rendered hardened and useless by a drought. Land that was intended to produce a rich harvest for its owner lies barren and lifeless. As Christians, God desires that our lives bear much fruit for Him. But the soil of our hearts must be right if we want the seeds of righteousness to grow. The parable of the sower in Matthew 13 teaches that it is possible to have four different kinds of soil in our lives: An unconcerned soil, a shallow soil, a polluted soil, and a good soil—one that responds and produces a bountiful harvest. At times many Christians feel as though they are in a spiritual drought. God seems removed. Spiritual activities are just routine business. Prayer and Bible reading become monotonous. Christian friends seem critical and irritating. We feel that life is really a valley of dry bones (Ezekiel 37:1–4). Then we cry out to God for a fresh outpouring of His grace, not just drops of mercy but showers of blessing. And soon the answer comes—perhaps in the form of a Scripture passage, a sermon, a song, an encouraging remark, a new insight. Our souls revive and we are once again able to “raise a harvest of righteousness” (James 3:18). “There Will Be Showers of Blessing” was the product of one of the outstanding gospel duos of the past century, Major Daniel Whittle, the evangelist, and musician James McGranahan. Together these two traveled extensively for a number of years in a very successful evangelism ministry. They also collaborated on a number of popular gospel songs still widely used today. This hymn first appeared in Gospel Hymns No. 4, 1883. “There shall be showers of blessing”—this is the promise of love; there shall be seasons refreshing, sent from the Savior above. “There shall be showers of blessing”—precious reviving again; over the hills and the valleys sound of abundance of rain. “There shall be showers of blessing”—send them upon us, O Lord; grant to us now a refreshing; come and now honor Thy Word. “There shall be showers of blessing”—O that today they might fall, now as to God we’re confessing, now as on Jesus we call! Chorus: Showers of blessing, showers of blessing we need; mercy drops round us are falling, but for the showers we plead. For Today: Genesis 12:3; Deuteronomy 7:13; Psalm 72:6; 1 Peter 1:3 If perhaps you should feel “spiritually dry,” first reflect on the condition of the soil of your heart. Then claim God’s promise for “showers of blessing.” Sing as you go Kenneth W. Osbeck, Amazing Grace : 366 Inspiring Hymn Stories for Daily Devotions (Grand Rapids, Mich.: Kregel Publications, 1990). 94.