Daily Archives: June 7, 2019

June 7 The Basics of Faith

Scripture Reading: Hebrews 11:1–6

Key Verse: Hebrews 11:6

But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.

Until we discover what it means to have faith, we cannot begin to walk by faith. Faith in God is more than just believing He exists; it is living with confidence that He will fulfill all His promises and bring salvation to us. We must discover whether we have placed our faith in God or if we only are wishing His Word is true. As our faith is tested, the true spiritual state of our hearts is revealed.

A situation is presented before us where we can act within our own strength, doing whatever we can to manipulate the outcome, or we can trust in God’s strength, taking our hands off the problem and allowing Him to enter the scene.

As we begin to walk by faith, there will be times when we stumble and fall. However, falling and getting up is part of learning how to walk. Once we get up and dust ourselves off, we take our next step with more wisdom, more strength, more faith.

Walking by faith is a lifestyle, a way in which we conduct ourselves. As God molds and shapes us more into His image, He desires for us to live a life of faith, a life that relies upon Him for everything we need. Paul wrote, “For we walk by faith, not by sight.… Therefore we also have as our ambition, whether at home or absent, to be pleasing to Him” (2 Corinthians 5:7, 9 nasb).

Lord, guide me to that place where I go beyond just believing You are real but, rather, rely on Your wisdom for every detail of my life.[1]

[1] Stanley, C. F. (2006). Pathways to his presence (p. 166). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

June 7 How to Handle Your Burdens

Scripture Reading: Matthew 11:28–30

Key Verse: Psalm 55:22

Cast your burden on the Lord, and He shall sustain you; He shall never permit the righteous to be moved.

When our burdens become unbearable, we can seek to dump them in several places. Perhaps we have a friend who will listen to our problems. Perhaps we can find relief in a brief getaway where we can be refreshed and strengthened. We might even have access to a Christian counselor who can give us solid advice.

But nothing or no one can provide the rest and relief that Jesus can when we come to Him with our burdens. Our Savior has broad shoulders, sturdy hands, and a compassionate heart. He bids us to give Him every grievous or weighty matter.

If you are carrying a burden that has you at the breaking point, come to Jesus in prayer. Don’t worry about the right words; just cry out to God. Tell Him how you feel. Prayer is simply talking with God, and that is what you do to shift your burden to Christ.

Come in childlike faith. Jesus said that He would give His light and easy load in return for your heaviness. Does He lie? Is He being too simplistic?

No. God can sustain you as you trust Him. Focus on His power, and receive His all-sufficient help. He will not let you down. He will not let you fall. Jesus hears your plea. He will lighten your load so that you may persevere.

Master, sometimes it seems as if my burdens are unbearable. Thank You for Your broad shoulders, sturdy hands, and compassionate heart. You exchange my heavy load for Your light and easy burden.[1]

[1] Stanley, C. F. (1999). On holy ground (p. 166). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

I bought my dad a Juul e-cigarette to see if he’d give up his Marlboros. Here’s what happened

Casper LaVito smoking a Juul

Angelica LaVito | CNBC

Casper LaVito smoking a Juul

My dad isn’t much of a texter, but he’s been a smoker for 35 years.

I bought him a Juul in November to see if he would finally stop smoking. Now he texts me every day with progress reports.

“Day 24 new beginning hoorah love dad.”

Cigarettes were always part of my childhood memories with my dad. He was always trying to quit, even eating carrots once to try to mimic the experience of holding a cigarette. That didn’t last.

Casper LaVito, 69, recently cut down to a few cigarettes a day. But doctors say even one a day isn’t healthy.

As a health-care reporter, I’ve written about how hard it is to quit. Roughly 68 percent of adult smokers want to quit and about 55 percent have tried, but only 7.4 percent succeeded, according to federal data collected by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

E-cigarettes are marketed to smokers as a way to satisfy their nicotine fix without all the harm that comes from cigarettes. One e-cigarette maker in particular, Juul, has overtaken the market over the past year. I’ve followed Juul’s rise, as well as the backlash resulting from its wild popularity among teenagers.

I wrote a story about adults who quit smoking by switching to Juul and it got me thinking. What if I bought my dad one? I pitched him the idea and he agreed. I live in New York and he lives in suburban Chicago, so we waited until I was home for Thanksgiving to start our experiment.

At home, I bought him a starter kit. I opened the box to show him how to assemble the device. I read through the four flavors — creme, fruit mint and tobacco — but when I reached fruit, he didn’t want to hear any of the others. Juul has gotten criticized for its kid-friendly fruity flavors, so I was surprised to find my 69-year-old father wanted to try one.

He took his first hit after we charged it. I asked him if now he would throw out the pack of Marlboro Lights he had sitting in his apartment. He said no. He wasn’t totally sold on Juul.

I left the Juul with him, thinking it would collect dust and asking him to send updates.

He called the next day, saying he liked “the e-cigarette.” By Friday, he said he was still lighting a cigarette every day out of habit, taking a drag and putting it out.

Nine days later, he called and proclaimed, “No more cigarettes.”

Then came the texts.

“Day 2 no smokes hoorah love Dad thanks”

“Day 11 going strong love dad”

“Day 16 holy cow unbelievable love dad”

“Special report. Food tastes better”

The journalist in me was skeptical. I would do my own investigation when I went home for Christmas.

Sure enough, he showed up to Christmas Eve with his Juul. After dinner, he pulled out his Juul instead of a cigarette. After our annual carriage ride, he used his Juul. He wasn’t kidding. No more cigarettes.

I asked him what happened. He said after a few days using both, he realized it was stupid. Why use the Juul and still smoke?

My dad’s been perpetually “quitting” for years. I don’t think he would ever truly quit on his own.

It’s now been a month since our experiment began. Dad says he now hasn’t smoked a cigarette in 30 days. It takes him one-and-a-half days to go through a pod. Each pod contains as much nicotine as a pack of cigarettes, meaning he’s consuming more nicotine than he was when he was smoking a few cigarettes every day.

Eventually he says he wants to wean himself off the Juul and free himself from nicotine altogether. For now, he seems happy puffing on his mint Juul pods.

WATCH: How Juul made vaping cool and became an e-cigarette giant