Day 40

“Whatever you do get wisdom, if it cost you all you have get insight...”

(Proverbs 4:7)

 

Solomon was commended by God for requesting wisdom. This always intrigued me. Of all the other attributes of God, why is wisdom to be praised? In Proverbs we are again and again beseeched to get wisdom. It is called a costly treasure, but do we desire it? I have a two and a half year old who is a master at displaying unwise behavior; it is so easy to see when you do things like: eat dog food, find pleasure in disobedience, and jump on top of your brother. As adults we often walk in foolishness, but we have become masters of hiding or finding excuses for our behavior. Our actions often put our marriages, friendships, finances, reputation, and Lord to shame. Wisdom is something anyone can have. James tells us, “If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him”. We are prideful and think we do not need God’s opinion. In contrast, the wise man builds his house on the Rock, who is Christ. This man asks for wisdom, and then when he receives wisdom he acts! Wake up, God has things He wants us to do! What is God asking you to do? Wisdom cannot be separated from obedience; it should be the very thing that directs every aspect of our life. Don’t be alarmed if in your pursuit of wisdom you find you need to drastically stop and/ or start things; you might find that listening to God’s direction will turn your life upside down, as it has for many others who have answered the call to follow Christ. 

Written by:

Jessica Fitzgerald

Posted on March 7, 2014 .

Day 39

1 John 1:5-9

 

In our B.C. pasts’ Paul tells us that the “God of this world had blinded our minds,” (2 Corinthians 4:4) indicating that apart from His Grace we were utterly helpless to perceive the light. But at the moment of our answer to Christ’s call, “Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but have the light of life” (John 8:12); the Grace of God “delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son.” (Colossians 1:13) Now we are commanded to “cast off the works of darkness and put on the armor of light.” (Romans 13:12) However, 1 John 1:5-9 states that, despite our regeneration, our relationship with God is oftentimes hindered by our fellowship with darkness. And the Bible also teaches, and our experiences affirm, no sin is private, and fellowship with the dark also obstructs our relationship with our families. So what must we do to have light-living families?

 

In 1 John 1:8, John communicates that it all begins with a healthy understanding of our sin in contrast to His Grace. We must realize that our “heart is deceitful and desperately sick” (Jeremiah 17:9), and that we have fallen short of His glory (Romans 3:23). Gospel 101 right? So it’s not if we will sin, but how we react to that sin, and John continues in 1 John 1:9 that for light-living our reaction must be confession. Confession is the first step towards reconciliation, not only in our relationship with God but also in our relationship with our families. Relationships do not require perfection, but they must possess repentance. Initiating repentance restores trust, and provides an atmosphere of transparency, and transparency is actually intimacy (in-to-me-see). Therefore, let us walk in the light, as He is in the light that we may have fellowship with one another. 

Written by:

Andrew & Annie (serving in North Africa)

Posted on March 6, 2014 .

Day 38

"He who is forgiven little, loves little." (Luke 7:47)

 

Jesus arrives by invitation at a local pastor's house named Simon. Given the animosity that the Pharisees felt toward Jesus, we anticipate some confrontation before dinner is over. Even so, what happens next shocks us. While the pastors sit and eat around Simon's table, suddenly "a woman of the city, who was a sinner" comes in unexpected and uninvited. Tension fills the room. Then something scandalous happens.

 

She leans down next to Jesus and begins to kiss His feet. Then tears. A flood of tears - enough to begin to wash off the dust. The religious leaders are outraged. "How could a prophet allow this?" Jesus breaks the heavy silence, "A certain moneylender had two debtors. One owed five hundred denarii, and the other fifty. When they could not pay, he cancelled the debt of both. Now which of them will love him more?" Simon answers, "The one, I suppose, for whom he cancelled the larger debt." Jesus affirms Simon's answer, then adds, "He who is forgiven little, loves little."

 

For those of us who desire to love God more, Jesus has given us the gospel key. Two live wires need to connect in our lives to ignite the flame of our love to God: 1) We are deeply wicked; 2) We are deeply loved. When these two realities click (that we owe God a *massive* debt for sin and that Jesus paid it *all* because of His love) we will love Jesus much! Those who are forgiven much, love much.

 

Great forgiveness from Jesus creates great love for Jesus. When was the last time you were so overcome by the forgiving grace of God that you wept enough tears to wash Jesus' feet? Let's pray for fresh encounters of grace.

Written by:

Mark McAndrew

Posted on March 5, 2014 .

Day 37

Continue steadfastly in prayer, being watchful in it with thanksgiving. At the same time, pray also for us, that God may open to us a door for the word, to declare the mystery of Christ, on account of which I am in prison-that I may make it clear, which is how I ought to speak. (Colossians 4:2-4)

 

Sometimes, we think of prayer as a default option when our plans don’t work out or we face a crisis. In Colossians 4:2-4, Paul encourages the church at Colossae to, “Continue steadfastly in prayer, being watchful in it with thanksgiving.” The presupposition is that prayer for the Christian, like repentance, is a lifestyle. This interpretation is a practical approach towards prayer which Paul consistently teaches in his epistles, “pray without ceasing.” (1 Th. 5:17)

 

So, what does prayer look like in the life of a believer? First, it is focused, persistent, and bold. Remember the story of the widow and the unrighteous judge in Luke 18:1-8? Jesus told us this parable to remind us of the fact, “And will not God give justice to his elect, who cry to him day and night?” There is something to be said for a prayer life that is dependent on God, regardless of our means or circumstances.

 

Secondly, pray for others. In our passage, Paul is asking the church to pray for his ministry that the door would be opened for the gospel. Since it is God who opens the heart, perhaps we should pray fervently not just for missions, but for our families, our neighbors, and our friends.  Ask God to give us the very words to speak “to declare the mystery of Christ.”

 

Finally, prayer is the steadfast, persistent communication with our heavenly Father and not “rocket science.” We need an authentic, broken, and contrite heart to approach Jesus, the Son of God, and our heavenly high priest. “Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” (Hebrews 4:16) So then, we just need to pray. It is a discipline that must be developed; it will not happen overnight.

Written by:

Fred Schuller

Posted on March 4, 2014 .

Day 36

Jesus answered, “I was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.”  But she came and knelt before him, saying, “Lord, help me.”  And he answered, “It is not right to take the children’s bread and throw it to the dogs.”  (Matthew 15:25-26)

 

How would you have responded to Jesus if you had been the Canaanite woman, asking Jesus to cast a demon out of your daughter?  With indignation? “I am not a dog!”  With theology? “You are supposed to love everyone!” With self-righteousness? “I have been a faithful follower.”

 

I am often guilty when I intercede for my family and my loved ones of responding to Jesus in these ways when he seems to be giving my requests the cold shoulder.  I especially throw the self-righteous card on the table.  I don’t use these words, but what I often express is “How can you deny me this request after all I have done for you?“ But my righteousness doesn’t seem to impress God.

 

The Canaanite woman gets it.  Her first words to Jesus in this passage were, “Have mercy on me, O Lord, Son of David.”  Her final response to Jesus was, “Yes, Lord, yet even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their masters’ table.”  She didn’t claim a teaspoonful of her own righteousness; she was just seeking his mercy crumbs.

 

Jesus’ response was “O woman, great is your faith! Be it done for you as you desire.”

 

When we pray for a sick loved one, a wayward child, or a financial crisis, aren’t we really throwing ourselves on God’s mercy?  The Bible tells us in so many places that God is full of mercy.  Great faith involves unrelentingly interceding by asking God to have mercy on us by helping others.

Written by:

Bill Hager (serving in Boston)

Posted on March 3, 2014 .

Day 35

Pure and undefiled religion before God and the Father is this:  to visit orphans and widows in their trouble and to keep oneself unspotted from the world.

(James 1:27)

 

The Greek word for “visit” is episkeptomai which means to show concern for, care for, come to help or look after.  All throughout the Bible we see God’s special concern for orphans.  We see this in orphans such as Moses, Samuel, and Esther and the work He did through them.  In the context around James 1:27, specifically in verses 22 through 25, we see God telling us that we should not just listen to the Word but be doers of it.  In other words, take action, do what it says. 

 

One way Christians can care for orphans today is through foster care.  There are approximately 400,000 children in foster care in the U.S.  An estimated 7,000 of these are in Georgia.  A common perspective regarding those in foster care is that it would be too difficult to see them go; however, as James 4:14-15 notes, our life is like a vapor and we are to follow God’s will. 

 

We would like to encourage our church to please pray and ask God how we could all care for orphans in need like fostering, supporting families that do, prayer, visiting them, being a mentor, sharing God’s truth, speaking up for them, showing compassion, and providing for their needs.  We know the special concern God has for orphans.  He expects us to care for them so let’s be doers of His Word and find ways to help them, letting them see the light of Jesus through us and ultimately the hope of salvation in Christ.  Would you please pray and see how God could use you to help these precious children?

Written by:

Steve & Jill Archie

Posted on March 2, 2014 .

Day 34

“But when you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.”

(Matthew 6:6)

 

One of the greatest privileges we have in prayer is that we have a Father who waits for us when we pray.  Jesus is our teacher in prayer.  When we go to the secret place to meet with God, He is there waiting for us.  God wants to be near us and spend time with us.  We don’t have to be afraid that God will not be there or that He will hide His face from us.  Jesus reminds us that our Father is already there ahead of us, waiting for us to arrive, and when we do, the Father will reward us. 

 

God is a God who rewards us with good things in prayer, most notably His presence.  When we come to the Father in our secret place we have the privilege to commune with the Holy One.  It is in this secret place where God teaches us that ‘we love because He loved us first.’  This love that we come to know and experience changes us from the inside.  To know this love is the reward God has for us in the secret place.

 

Today go to a private place where you can be with God.  Go there and fellowship with Him.  He is waiting on you.   

Written by:

Ash Blanton

Posted on March 1, 2014 .

Day 33

Colossians 3:23 says, “whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord not for men.”

 

In this verse Paul challenges that “heartily” is to be the posture and attitude expected of those who call themselves Christ-followers.  The word we use more often around here is “wholehearted.” It is fascinating to me that the Apostle was writing this verse to servants encouraging them in their attitudes as they served their masters.  Did you catch that?  Servants, or slaves.  If slaves were required to display an excellent attitude, how much more would be expected of us?  We all experience incredible freedoms! None of us are servants.  On the contrary, most of have great material wealth and we want for nothing.  Yet many struggle to live their lives “wholehearted, as for the Lord not for men.”

 

This quote from Charles Swindoll summarizes it well:

 

“The longer I love, the more I realize the impact of attitude on life. Attitude, to me, is more important than facts. It is more important than the past, than education, than money, than circumstances, than failures, than successes, than what other people think or say or do. It is more important than appearance, giftedness, or skill. It will make or break a company, a church, or home. The remarkable thing is we have a choice every day regarding the attitude we will embrace for that day. We cannot change our past. We cannot change the fact that people will act in a certain way. We cannot change the inevitable. The only thing we can do is play on the one string we have, and that is our attitude.  I am convinced that life is 10% what happens to me and 90% how I react to it. And so it is with you...we are in charge of our attitudes.” 

Written by:

Jason Dominey

Posted on February 28, 2014 .

Day 32

“God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth.” (John 4:24)

 

Here, Jesus clearly lays out what He requires in our private and corporate worship of Him, worshipping in spirit and truth. Jesus isn’t primarily concerned about our image, clothes, buildings, or any of the other things we preoccupy ourselves with upon gathering in His name.  Jesus is concerned that we worship him in spirit and truth, with the right motivation and the right information.

 

To worship God in spirit is to worship from the heart, not merely going through the motions while inwardly being a dry desert.  It requires us to lay all our idols, cares, and burdens at the foot of the cross and treasure God alone with all that is within us.  It is more than simply outward motions and acts of worship, but rather it’s worshipping God with our hearts.  But Jesus not only desires heartfelt worship, he desires truthful worship.

 

Worshipping God in truth demands an understanding of His written word.  God desires us to be rooted in truth when we come into His presence, not being tossed around like a ship at sea, but rather, anchored in sound theology.  Jesus is stating that he not only wants our hearts to adore him, but he also wants us to have a full and right understanding of him.

 

Jesus requires both spirit and truth in our worship.  Worshipping only in spirit opens us up to false teachings and, ultimately, counterfeit worship, while worshipping only in truth turns us into a Pharisee.  Let us pray that God would turn our hearts and affections towards Him, and that a right understanding of his word would drive us to our knees in worship. This alone is what Jesus desires and deserves.

Written by:

Ryan Millar

Posted on February 27, 2014 .

Day 31

Do you ever wonder where some of your thoughts come from? One of the best visuals for helping me understand this question came from watching the play the Screwtape letters written by C. S. Lewis. In the play, demons are sent out by Satan to talk to, entice, and distract Christians. As I was watching, the Lord really opened my eyes to see how the enemy seeks to destroy us. John 10:10 says, “The enemy comes to steal and kill and destroy, But He has come to bring us life and life abundant.” So daily, some of those crazy and random thoughts that pop into our heads are often times coming from Satan and are meant for our destruction. They can be lies about the way people feel about us, the way the future is going to work out, or you fill in the blank for the next one...

 

Every day that we wake up, we are in a battle. Scripture tells us about the spiritual battle that is going on around us and the need for us to be aware of what is going on in Ephesians 6.  One of the verses that has helped me the most in dealing with taking control of my thoughts is 2 Corinthians 10:5. It simply says that we demolish arguments and pretensions of the enemy by taking our thoughts captive and making them obedient to Christ. As I began to meditate upon this scripture, take my thoughts captive, and rejecting the ones that were lies, life begin to change for me. I began to be able to recognize the lies more clearly and when they came I began to reject them and say, “no” in the name of Jesus. There is a battle going on every day, a battle for our souls, and the enemy wants to take you out. But the God that we serve is much, much bigger and through His strength, His power we can win the battle! So much of that battle begins with taking our thoughts captive! So today when thoughts come into your head that are irrational, hurtful, or outright lies say “no” to them in the name of Jesus! Take every thought captive that comes into your head today and make it obedient to Christ.

Written by:

Jon Messarra

Posted on February 26, 2014 .

Day 30

Hearing that Jesus had silenced the Sadducees, the Pharisees got together. One of them, an expert in the law, tested him with this question: “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?” Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment.  And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’  All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.” (Matthew 22:34-40)

 

Believing that they could outsmart and trap Jesus, the Pharisees came up with a question that in their minds was unanswerable.  The Old Testament law was deep and wide.  How could you ever pinpoint the most important command? Yet Jesus’ answer is simultaneously simple and profound: Love God. Love people.

 

Loving God is the ultimate pursuit of our life.  So how do we love God?  Lets take a closer look at what it means to “love” as the word is used in these verses.

 

1. Love: to act passionately, intensely. Love is a verb in this sense. Love is active, so that in every possible way we move for and towards the object of our affection.

2. Love: to be completely at rest, satisfied.  This would mean that you would be simply content in God.

{C}3.  Love: a fixed admiration.  Love that does not change but is diligently focused.

 

Make this your prayer today: God help me to love you with all of my heart, from my inmost being.  With all of my emotions, may I love you.  With all of my soul, with all of my life, may I love you.  Grant me a willing heart to give up all for your sake.  With my heart, soul, and mind say, “I love you.”  I wholeheartedly look to you, the One who first loved me.  

Written by:

Joel Shinpoch

Posted on February 25, 2014 .

Day 29

Prayer is God’s chosen means of getting HIS will done on earth.  It is the way He keeps us connected to Him, aware of our need for Him, fostering intimacy with Him.  Surely it is beyond our ability to comprehend, but prayer is the key that unlocks the door of His power.  Mysterious, but true.

 

It is always God who moves and acts to answer our petitions, but sometimes He calls us to be part of His answer.  Let’s consider Nehemiah 4:9 – “But we prayed to our God, and because of them we set up a guard against them day and night.”  In this passage, we see God’s people rebuilding the wall around Jerusalem which had long been devastated by her enemies.  They were excited and hopeful about their future, but threats by outsiders quickly discouraged them.  In verse 9, we see Nehemiah’s response.

 

They prayed.  Oh, yes, they prayed.  Many times before, they had witnessed God’s intervention in their lives.  They knew that He was their source, their refuge in times of trouble.  And it was to Him they turned. 

 

But we also see that Nehemiah understood that they were part of His answer.  They didn’t only pray; they stood guard against invaders, equipped with swords and spears and shields, ready to protect the wall from attack.  They stood on the truth of God’s provision – verse 20 says “Our God will fight for us” – but they also knew they had a part to play – verse 16 says  “From that day on, half of my servants worked on construction, and half held the spears, shields, bows, and coats of mail.”

 

So, as we pray, crying out to God for His deliverance from our problems, let’s consider if perhaps He would have us be part of the answer.  If our need is financial, maybe He wants us to take an extra job for a while.  If we are burdened by a relationship, it could be that He directs us to initiate reconciliation or maybe it’s fasting,  or giving to meet someone else’s need, or stepping out of our comfort zone to serve.  Or….let’s just ask Him and see! 

Written by:

Suzanne Chambers

Posted on February 24, 2014 .

Day 28

An angel of God found her beside a spring in the desert; it was the spring on the road to Shur. He said, “Hagar, maid of Sarai, what are you doing here?” She answered God by name, praying to the God who spoke to her, “You’re the God who sees me! Yes! He saw me; and then I saw Him!” (Genesis 16:7-8, 13)

 

For most people, desert seasons have represented the places of preparation or testing… places where we don’t want to linger. Hagar, a single mom, was desperate to leave what she felt like was a hopeless situation. Rather than remain in an abusive environment, she chose her only option:  a risky journey on the desert road. Hagar was helpless, broken, and alone, or so she thought.  At just the moment when it seemed that all hope was lost, God broke through. Even though she was not looking for Him, God found Hagar in the midst of her messy life. El Roi, the God Who Sees me, came to her rescue and called her by name.

 

I have wondered if Hagar ever thought, “How did I get here, in this condition, alone in this desert place?” When I became a single mom over six years ago, I desperately needed to know that God was with me.  As with Hagar, my story was unfolding in a way that I had never dreamed it would. At that very place, in the rubble of my brokenness, I faced an unexpected encounter with God.  When confronted by my inability to hold together my fractured life in my own strength, I arrived at the point of complete surrender to God, His love, and His plan for my life.  As I finally hit rock bottom, I realized that I was never, never, never alone. God had always been with me. And there, in the middle of my desert journey, I was changed. Suddenly, my eyes were opened and I could see. I became a new creation and began to transform into the woman that He had always intended for me to be. He had seen every tear and heartache. He cared for me with an infinite love that I previously did not truly believe existed. With open eyes, I recognized Truth, His love changed me, and deep soul healing began. I was never the same.

Written by:

Jennie Armstrong

Posted on February 23, 2014 .

Day 27

“Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they?” (Matthew 6:26)

 

Promises. Promises are delicate. They can be a source of trust yet easily broken. They can forge lasting relationships, but if mistreated can create resentment in our hearts. They can be a solid rock or tossed around as the waves.

 

Jesus makes promises. We know many of them because they have been told in church since we can remember. They deal with love, faith, hope, insert next best moralistic virtue. Still one area we ignore is anxiety.

 

For most, our futures are far from being written. We worry about the future and what awaits us next. What school should I attend? Who will I marry? What job will I have? Will God bless my family? How will I manage to keep enduring these trials? Others may think this stage of anxiety about the future has past. Still we even look back and worry. Did I make the right choice? What kind of impact have I made? Have I wasted what God has granted me? Did I do what I promised I would?

 

Jesus' promises: “Don't worry. Rest in who I AM. I care for the birds, the flowers, the earth that I am constantly upholding by my Word, the universe that I hold in my palm. You can't add anything to yourself so trust me.” God is who He says He is. He is bound to this promise by His nature and character. That gives hope. That brings peace. Knowing that the King of the universe is big enough to keep His promise yet intimate enough to care. All we need is to seek first His kingdom and righteousness!

 

“But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.” (Matthew 6:33)

Written by:

Brian Elder

Posted on February 22, 2014 .

Day 26

I thank God, whom I serve with a clear conscience as my forefathers did, when I constantly remember you in my prayers night and day.  Remembering your tears, I long to see you so that I may be filled with joy, clearly recalling your sincere faith that first lived in your grandmother Lois, then in your mother Eunice, and that I am convinced is in you also. 

(2 Timothy 1:3-5)

 

A middle school mathematics teacher can easily get caught up with instructing students in areas such as solving multi-step equations, graphing linear inequalities, and solving word problems.  The teacher may even get credit for the students’ growth and successes as they meet or exceed standards.  The reality is that a group of elementary math teachers established a foundation with number sense and basic computation.      

 

When Paul thought about Timothy, his child in the faith, he knew who deserved a tip of the hat.  Due recognition was given to Timothy’s grandmother, Lois, and his mom, Eunice.  Both had communicated a faith in God to their grandson and son.

 

As Christians, we have a great opportunity to continue the godly heritage that preceded us or establish a new godly line.  Like the elementary teacher who diligently laid a strong foundation for years of future success, a Spirit-filled life will point future generations toward a sincere faith in the One who is worthy of all praise.  

Written by:

Randy & Felecia Cain

Posted on February 21, 2014 .

Day 25

“The Lord is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, abounding in love.  He will not always accuse, nor will he harbor his anger forever; he does not treat us as our sins deserve or repay us according to our iniquities”. 

(Psalm 103:8-10)

 

A few days after our grandson Brayden was born, the doctors told us that he had a rare lung condition, due to a malformation of his lung, and that he would need surgery to remove one of the lobes.  Our family had been blessed with good health and we’d never had to face such a serious situation.  Often, when things like that happen, we start asking God questions about why He allowed this, or maybe we ask what we did to cause it.  It seems natural to think we must have done something to cause the problem.  I know that we struggled through those questions.  I don’t minimize the effect that our sin has on our lives and the lives of others, but this situation made us realize that those kinds of questions are counterproductive and are often a way for Satan to separate us from our Lord at the time we need him most.  The Lord used these verses from Psalms and others to remind us that He is not out to hurt us, but He’s waiting to show us His love and compassion.  When we began to see this and started trusting the Lord, we were able to feel His peace and assurance that He is always there for us.  No matter what your situation, we implore you to turn to the Lord.  Even though none of us deserve His love or compassion, He’s waiting to pour them out on us.  

Written by:

Mike and Pam Ratti

Posted on February 20, 2014 .

Day 24

Do you remember the whimsical animal sculptures that local artists displayed around town several years ago?  Some pieces are still around. Recycled car bumpers, rear-view mirrors, license plates, and exhaust pipes have been cleverly bent and twisted until piles of seemingly useless junk become barking dogs, swooping eagles, and coiled snakes.  Some folks like them; some don’t.  For me, the sculptures always make me smile- not because they are creative or quirky but rather because they remind me of the way our Holy Father deals with the junk in our lives- if we only let Him.

 

Christians are hardly immune to the debris that this fallen world delivers.  The junk that we often face can be hurtful, confusing, and just plain hard.  The enemy’s attacks are real, and Satan loves to heap mounds of challenges upon us.  The effects of peer pressure, feelings of failure, and the wreckage of addiction can burden even the best of families and can create mounds of bitterness, discouragement, and doubt.   It is not a question of if we will face the rubbish of the world but rather a question of how we will handle it when it piles up in our lives.  

 

 We do have a choice about how we deal with life’s junk.  We can choose to keep it, pile it up, and drag it through our lives; or we can choose to trust our Loving Father to make something really cool out of it.  While unbelievers struggle in relentless cycles of hopelessness, we can choose to trust that our Father is in control.   No matter how hopeless or useless life’s challenges appear, we can faithfully surrender the piles and depend on The Master Artist to transform our junk and us.  He has twisted addicts into counselors, altered grievers into comforters, and transformed the lost into leaders.  He can do the same for us.

 

“But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed.” (2 Corinthians 3:18)

 

“And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.“ (Romans 8:28)

Written by:

Donna Hill

Posted on February 19, 2014 .

Day 23

The steps of a man are ordered by the LORD, and He delights in his way.  Though he falls. He will not be hurled headlong, because the LORD is the one who holds his hand.

(Psalm 37:23-24)

 

The Day The Lord Smiled at Me

 

In December many years ago, I was at a point of change in my life's work.  As I read the Christmas story, I watched as the wise men were directed by the scriptures and wise counsel from others concerning their pathway searching for the Child - a great pattern for seeking direction in my life. 

 

But the greatest peace one evening came when I said "Jesus smiled at me".   As I read Psalm 37:23-24, it became apparent that ultimately God orders, directs, and guides our steps into the plans He has founded.  He  delights in  the plans He has for us.  He looks into the future and smiles about His plans for me, so I can look into that future with joy and peace.  

 

But life happens!  What if I fall or fail?  God is the One who holds our hand.  Just as a small child is led and gripped by his parent's hand, God will not let us fall headlong.  His grip will keep us from destruction.   Skinned knees and bad bumps happen!  God picks us up and keeps us on the path He has founded for us.

Written by:

Lat & Linda Heard 

Posted on February 18, 2014 .

Day 22

He is above all things and in Him all things hold together.

(Colossians 1:17)

 

Have you ever looked into the door of your junk room and thought, “there is absolutely no way I am going to get all of this clean and organized?” Me too. As a single, 26 year old woman, I can certainly say life over the last few years has felt that way. There is still a lot of life to figure out in front of me. There is a past to sort through, too; lots of junk accumulated that needed to go into the trash. Sometimes we think “what if I need that again?“ You won’t. The tasks placed before me seem to get bigger and more overwhelming as I get older, but nothing new or better is going to fit until I clean out the junk. It may take a while but the Lord will help. He continues to make me more capable through His power to tackle bigger tasks. Cleaning out is not always easy or fun, but the Lord is above all things and will help you. Take this time to reflect on what needs to be cleaned out in order for the new and better to fit into your life. The God of the universe, the Christ of the cross, the Spirit of Pentecost is yours! Let him clean you out and fill you up. He wants good for you. There are bigger, better things in store than the old garbage you so desperately hold onto. There is work for the waiting and freedom in forgiveness. He IS above all things and brings all things together. Regardless of how impossible your next step may seem or how unclear the strategy of accomplishing it, God is big enough to guide you through one step at a time. Because despite the impossibility of the task, we serve the One who makes impossible things happen!

Written by:

Jacki Hill

Posted on February 17, 2014 .

Day 21

Reading: Revelation 3:1-6

 

“Wake Up”

 

Are you “that person”…you know, the one that can sleep through an explosion at a nitroglycerin plant? If you aren’t that person, my guess is that you can visualize the face of someone who fits the description. Maybe it’s a spouse or a teenager in your house, possibly a college roommate or even an old friend. This person comes to mind because you have tried to wake them up before. You were the wake up call that you found to be as impossible as nailing Jell-o to a tree.

 

In Revelation 3, we read that the Church in Sardis is in need of a wake up call. The wake up call that Jesus is referring to in this passage is a rebuke of their spiritual alertness. The Lord acknowledges their works and even recognizes the reputation that they have of being alive, but in His eyes He sees them as being on life support.

 

Out of love, Jesus reminds the Church at Sardis to hold onto the message of grace that they have heard, and to repent of their sins. And while Jesus warns them that refusing to wake up will result in His judgment on the Church, He has hope that revival can take place because of a few genuine believers within the Church.

 

Lord, may WFBC be a church that has a reputation for being alive in Christ. May we not forget the message of grace and that it is ALL about YOU, Jesus. May we be sensitive to the leading of the Holy Spirit on a daily basis. Lord, show me areas in my life where I need a wake up call. Examine my heart and show me how I can demonstrate your love. 

Written by:

Scott Carson

Posted on February 16, 2014 .