Focusing our minds on Christ. . .studying His word, drawing tight into a relationship that is unbreakable. This is when His Spirit lives in our minds helping us keep our eyes focused only on Him.
DEVOTION BY Marcellus George POSTED 3/25/2020 6:00:01 AM ON 2 Peter 3:18 ESV
Attending my college class reunion gave me a surprise.
As I walked into the room, people with white hair (or no hair at all) greeted me. In spite of the obvious physical changes, I was surprised to see how little people had otherwise changed.
Christians mixed in with non-Christians, and I was thankful for the witness of their lives over the years. Observing the actions and conversations of the non-Christians made me wonder about how I had or hadn’t changed.
I realized God was working on me in certain areas, but in other areas I still had plenty of room to grow. I thought about the shopping lists of character qualities in the Bible I am supposed to develop. The Bible labels the process as sanctification. Why had I made so little progress?
Little of sanctification results from my own efforts. God puts me in situations and hardships so that I have to rely on His grace. Grace is the antonym of human effort and sufficiency. Life is truly a school of hard knocks. I often resist God’s grace in my responses because I want to feel as though I do things myself.
As I looked around the room, successful men who had lifted themselves up by their own bootstraps surrounded me. Perhaps they did not recognize a day would come when all they had worked for would not suffice in the eyes of a heavenly Father. I decided right then to live the rest of my life growing in God’s grace.
What are some ways you can grow in God’s grace?
(Photo courtesy of pixabay.)
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DEVOTION BY Cindy Sproles POSTED 3/18/2020 6:00:01 AM ON Revelation 21:2 NIV
I've never experienced the church like this until Tim became ill.
There have always been love and welcoming arms, but to truly experience the Church Christ envisioned—wow. Doing so is the most amazingly simple, yet complex, thing ever. I liken it to a beehive or an ant colony where every need is seen and nothing goes undone. A month out from surgery, and the worker bees still make their way to our door. Even when we said, “We're good,” the bees said, “Nope, you still need.” And their work continues.
I know Christ is looking down with a huge smile. He must nod in approval as His children do His bidding … listen to His call. It is true and abiding kindness.
When John penned his vision of heaven, he spoke of the church as a bride beautifully dressed and waiting for her husband. What an amazing picture to paint. The church clad in the joyful beauty of a bride, and Christ as her husband. His word picture was the best way he could gather his descriptive thoughts of all the church is. After centuries of preparing for the most exciting day of her life, this bride stood in all her glory waiting to be taken in arms.
We daily experience THE CHURCH at our house as the stream of workers who care and nurture to the glory of the King keep coming. God has put an extremely simple, yet utterly complex plan in place. It’s perfect.
I once spoke to our minister on the phone and said, “We’ve seen the true church at work.”
He sighed into the phone and replied, “And she’s a beautiful bride, isn’t she?”
Indeed, she is. If I were to wonder what it means to be fully loved in Christ, it would be through the actions of His bride as she prepares for her wedding day. Everything has been lovingly cared for and put in place. Her preparations were set in play by her obedience and willingness to do as He bid, as He taught, and as He loved. And it was all “good.” She is ready.
Prepare your heart. Be ready for the day the groom comes for His bride. You will not want to miss the celebration.
DEVOTION BY Norma Mezoe POSTED 3/11/2020 6:00:01 AM ON Romans 5:8 NIV
I couldn’t believe the text message. It was nothing like the usual messages from family and friends.
A week earlier, someone texted me from a number I didn’t recognize. I texted back, telling them they had reached a wrong number and thinking that would be the end of it. But I received another message from the same phone number—a vulgar and disgusting message. I thought about what I should do and finally came up with a message I believed was inspired.
I texted: “Wrong number. Jesus loves you.” I wish I could have seen the surprise on the person’s face who texted me when they read my message. Hopefully, it caused the sender to reflect on their lifestyle and created a desire in them to know more about this Jesus who loved them.
Probably most of us have heard “When life hands you lemons, make lemonade.” The X-rated message didn’t make me happy, but I believe I turned it into something positive. I’m a firm believer in Romans 8:28: “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.”
I’ve seen this verse fulfilled in my life many times. I know God can take something bad and turn it into something good for the Christian who commits their life to God. Perhaps God will use the message I sent and point the person to salvation and eternal life.
Use your words and actions to point others to a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.
DEVOTION BY Andrea Merrell POSTED 3/4/2020 6:00:01 AM ON Colossians 2:13 TPT
The typewriter has become a relic. A white elephant. Something that belongs in a museum, much like the old rotary telephones.
Even though some of us cut our typing teeth on these manual monstrosities, we love our PCs and laptops and are not planning to pull our typewriters out of the attic any time soon. We certainly don’t miss carbon paper, erasers, messy ribbons, or starting from scratch when a mistake is beyond correction.
Oh, how we cherish the delete button. Make a typo, hit delete. Change your mind, hit delete. Need to start all over, hit delete and you suddenly have a fresh, blank page waiting to be filled.
Wouldn’t it be great if life were that easy? Say the wrong word, hit delete. Hurt someone’s feelings, hit delete. React in anger, hit delete. Need to make a fresh start with a friend or family member? Delete, delete, delete. Maybe we could have our own personal Groundhog Day where we live the day over and over until we get it perfect.
Unfortunately, it doesn’t work that way. We have to be careful how we behave, what we say, and how we conduct our lives. The Bible encourages us to think before we speak and to choose our words wisely.
I’ve learned the hard way that hateful words spoken out of frustration and anger cannot be retrieved. My heart has been broken many times as both the giver and receiver of harsh words. They leave a definite and lasting impression. No matter how much we regret an action, the seed has already been sown. The old adage about sticks and stones is far from true. Words do hurt, and they can cause a lifetime of pain.
The good news for us is that God does have a delete button. When we mess up and miss the mark, God forgives, cleanses, and forgets. In fact, Colossians says, He erased it all—our sins, our stained soul—he deleted it all and they cannot be retrieved (2:13 TPT).
God wipes the slate clean and gives us the opportunity to start over—again and again and again. All we have to do is ask. Now, that’s technology at its finest.
Have you asked God to hit the delete button for you? It only takes a split second to say “Lord, forgive me,” so give it a try. You’ll be glad you did.
DEVOTION BY Ken Barnes POSTED 2/26/2020 6:00:01 AM ON 2 Timothy 4:7 NKJV
Some will finish the race well; others will not.
Cliff Young, a sixty-one-year-old farmer from Australia, entered the 544-mile inaugural Sydney to Melbourne Ultramarathon Race in 1983. He showed up for the race wearing overalls, a white t-shirt, and work boots. The other runners wore promotional running attire. They laughed and made fun of him.
Cliff ran at a deliberate pace. At the end of the first day, he was well behind the pack. What he did not know was that the other runners stopped at the end of the first day and slept for six hours. Cliff kept running.
At the end of the race on the fifth day, no one laughed. Cliff won the race with a ten-hour lead. When asked how he trained for the marathon, he said he had once run for three days straight chasing and herding his sheep. The key to his success was to keep running when the other runners stopped to rest.
The apostle Paul lived well, ran well, and finished well. He instructed his young disciple Timothy to be a soldier and not to get entangled in the affairs of this world (2 Timothy 2:4).
We can learn a lot from Cliff Young. His whole life prepared him for this race. As Christians, preparation is the key to finishing well. Early every morning, when others are asleep, we can rise to feast on God’s Word and bask in His presence. We can have the mindset of a soldier, not a tourist.
God has called us to a battle, not a picnic. We need to put on the armor of God because our conflict is with the enemy of our souls. When others are distracted by the cares of this world, we can get on our knees and pray for a sick and dying world.
Like Cliff Young, when others quit, we must keep running. When the race seems long and hard, fix your eyes on the prize: the Lord Jesus. He is just across the finish line.
Fight the good fight, finish the race, and keep the faith.