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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Handout (04/14/11)

TITLE: An Ever Present Help in Trouble
By Janet Richey


One of the things I love about my daughter's church softball league is that good sportsmanship is normal and expected. At one game, the first baseman was quite literally knocked off her feet by the batter trying to get to first base on time. Then, quite naturally, the somewhat over-zealous batter reached her hand out to help the first baseman to her feet. The simple gesture warmed me from the inside out, and left a permanent impression on me.

The sign for “help” in American Sign Language is both hands out, one hand pushing the other upwards. I think that there are times throughout our day, everyday, that God is standing there with his hand out, waiting for us to reach up and grab hold of his strength. More often than not, it's in ways we wouldn't expect.

Many years ago, before I met my husband, I was in an engagement that I knew wasn't right. I stayed in it way longer than I should have out of guilt and fear of disappointing not only my fiance', but my parents as well, since the wedding plans were well under way. About that time, I started going back to church after a long hiatus. At the end of service one Sunday, the last song was sung, and I found myself glued to the pew, tears streaming down my face. I was sure that the sermon I just heard was written for me. The pastor came up to me, and after a few words of introduction he said, “Crying is the most natural thing to do in a church”. That day, I made the decision to break up the engagement. That episode was God, in the form of Pastor Noel, reaching his hand out, lifting me up.

Romans 10:21 reads “But concerning Israel he says “All day long I have stretched out my hands to an disobedient and obstinate people.” Aren't we a lot like those stubborn Israelites? We don't deserve it, but in His intoxicating grace God wants to help us, disobedience and all. Besides just asking for his help, we need to open our hearts to receive it, totally trusting in Him.

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Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 04/22/11
This is a nice devotion. I liked how you used personal stories to make your point.

I think you could expand each story a bit and have three nice devotions. Sometimes that is hard to do because in your mind you linked the events together.

I used to do that and was told to give more details to each individual piece and I found that I could make them better by separating.

You have a great knack for writing and drawing the reader in. When the reader wants to know more, you know you're on the right track.:)
diana kay04/26/11
great devotional. you write with great feeling and it is very apt to use personal experiences to illustrate spiritual truth. i also agree with the other persons comments that going in more depth to one scenario might be another way of tackling this....but the variety of illustrations from different parts of daily life is also good :-).