Tuesday, November 20, 2018

Devotions: Reason for Thanksgiving


I will give thanks to You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
Wonderful are Your works,
And my soul knows it very well.
Psalm 139:14 New American Standard Bible (NASB)

Look at what God has made: the beauty of the world around us, the intricacy of the human body, the vastness of the universe. Everything God makes is wonderful. The things in this life that aren’t wonderful were either not made by God or have been warped by sin in some way. God designed everything to operate smoothly and perfectly, when they don’t it is because of the affects of sin. Yet sin’s influence on us does not deny the wonderful way we are made. He made us with wonder, love, and perfection. We are not perfect now, but we will be one day. He is not disappointed in us for not being perfect. He loves us the way we are, imperfections and all. He made us exactly the way He wants us as we are. He doesn’t want us to diet so we can look like a model, to get surgery to hide imperfections, to hide what isn’t the way we think it should be. He thinks we are wonderful as we are, and deep down we know it too. Unfortunately, we listen too much to what the world says we should be, instead of listening to what our Creator says we should be. Because everything God makes is wonderful, so are you. He made you specially and individually to be His, out of love. Is that not something to be thankful for?











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Monday, November 19, 2018

Are You Thankful for Suffering?


This time of year we often recount what we are thankful for. It is a time of counting our blessings and praising God for what He has done. It is a time of focusing on the good and hoping the bad is far to come. Yet often those who are the loudest at giving thanks now are also the loudest at grumbling about the bad. Is that how it should be? Does that reflect a truly grateful heart?

Thursday, November 15, 2018

Devotions: Loving Proof


By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.
John 13:35 New American Standard Bible (NASB)

The world knows that we are part of the body of Christ if we love each other. This includes making an allowance for others and graciously accepting others’ differences. Love is unselfish and sacrificing. It humbly puts others first. We must treat others in the church this way if we are to be identified with Christ. Otherwise we give the world a false impression of what God is like, and unfortunately that has turned many away. That kind of love is counterintuitive to the world because it is not worldly love, but it is godly love. By loving others that way we are only doing what Christ did. In a godly sense, it is nothing extraordinary, but in a worldly sense it is bazaar. Yet if we behave like the world, we will turn the world away from Christ. We have to be like Christ in order to bring people to Him. When dealing with fellow believers or working out issues in the church, we need to have that kind of love. We need to live in a way that shows others whose we are. Do you have that kind of love? Are you willing to live that way? Ask God to mold you into His likeness, to help you love fellow believers so that all will know you are His.





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Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Devotions: Mutual Help


For if either of them falls, the one will lift up his companion. But woe to the one who falls when there is not another to lift him up.
Ecclesiastes 4:10 New American Standard Bible (NASB)

Many people, especially Americans it seems, try to do life on their own. Pride and distrust are the most common reasons, but neither are healthy or godly. We were created to need each other, to help each other. That is a picture of our relationship with God. We all need God to survive, and our need for each other mirrors that and shows the world a part of what God is like. Many say they don’t need help, they can do it alone, are better off alone. Some feel they are lesser individuals if they accept help. None of these are true though. We all need help, and it takes greater strength to accept help than it does to remain prideful and isolated. We all fall some time. We all experience seasons of difficulty. Those times are much easier to bear if we have someone we can trust to help us through them, than if we try to do it alone. If a person were to fall into a pit out of which they could not climb on their own, they would be stuck if they had no friend to help. Often sin is like that. We need others to keep us accountable. If we don’t eventually anything becomes acceptable and we fall into worse and worse sin, and are then unable to pull ourselves out of it. Do you have someone to help you in difficult times, someone to keep you accountable and on the right path?











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Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Devotions: Fellow Encouragement


Iron sharpens iron,
So one man sharpens another.
Proverbs 27:17 New American Standard Bible (NASB)

We are meant to live in community. God created us to not only be around others, but to need others. Like an ax which is never sharpened, we lose our edge and become dull if we are never around other believers. We need them to keep us sharp, to keep us from growing rusty, to help grind away the rough spots. Ultimately, we were created to be like God, but as humans we begin very unlike Him. Our lives should be dominated by a progression of heavenward growth. In order to do that, however, we need others to help us, sometimes to call out sinful habits, other times to encourage us in our walk, and always to call us higher. Do you allow other believers to speak into your life? Do you seek correction so that you can become more like Christ?









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Monday, November 12, 2018

Do You Fret Because of Evil?


In a world full of sin and injustice, it is easy to fall into worry, to wonder what will happen, to be distressed over the seeming success of the wicked and ruin of the righteous. Why does God seem to ignore injustice? Why do those who cheat and lie seem to never get caught? Why do the good suffer while the bad get away Scott-free? Questions like these can cause one to fret and lead to other questions like: does God care? Is He really good? Is He really in control?

Thursday, November 8, 2018

Devotions: Making an Allowance for Others


Therefore let us not judge one another anymore, but rather determine this not to put an obstacle or a stumbling block in a brother’s way.
Romans 14:13 New American Standard Bible (NASB)

Our differences and preferences should not be a cause for division. Instead of pridefully insisting that our way is best or right, we need to humbly allow for differences and be willing to make way for others. We need to put on humility and put away our selfishness. We need to love rather than judge. What is even more important that all of this is to be aware of others’ differences and be sure that we don’t do something that will cause them to stumble. Perhaps someone in your church is a recovering alcoholic. Perhaps you have the conviction that it is alright for you to drink. You have the choice to either live in your freedom or give it up while you are around them. This goes way beyond worship preferences. What is a matter of liberty to you could be a matter of sin to another. Your influence and example in drinking could cause serious problems for the other person. It could cause them to return to drinking and a life style that is ungodly. We need to be conscious of others, to be sensitive to them and live in a way to not offend or cause problems for them. We need to put others first and be willing to give up our “rights” for their sake. That is real love.





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Wednesday, November 7, 2018

Devotions: Dealing with Differences


So then we pursue the things which make for peace and the building up of one another.
Romans 14:19 New American Standard Bible (NASB)

This chapter begins with Paul talking about not judging other Christians in the way they serve God, namely for what they will or won’t eat or drink, but this can apply to anything that is a matter of conscience or preference. Some think it is alright for Christians to drink alcohol, some think not. Some think we should stick to hymns during church, some like the newer worship songs. The list is endless. What is important is that in our convictions and preferences we pursue peace above all. Everyone is different, not everyone will have the same views. That is why there are so many kinds of churches, so that we can accommodate everyone. But within the church, we need to strive for peace and unity, for building others up instead of tearing them down. Our church could be facing this issue very soon. Our senior pastor is retiring, but it doesn’t matter who the new pastor is, things will change. We have the choice of facing that change with acceptance and grace, or with rejection and criticism. We can work toward peace and unity, humbly giving up our own personal preferences and desire to be right, or we can put up a fight and tear down ways that we don’t like. We need to have this attitude in mind when dealing with fellow believers: to accept them as they are, to not judge what is different, and to put others first. We need to make God and others higher priorities than ourselves. I pray that this is the dominant attitude of our church.




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Tuesday, November 6, 2018

Devotions: Worthy Service


Let no one look down on your youthfulness, but rather in speech, conduct, love, faith and purity, show yourself an example of those who believe.
1 Timothy 4:12 New American Standard Bible (NASB)

Simply put, don’t let anyone put you down or discredit you because of your age. Let the proof of your calling and worth be in what you say, what you do, your love, faith and purity. Basically, be an example of godly conduct to those around you. This goes for everyone. It doesn’t matter how old we are, or what our credentials are, our worth is in Christ. Regardless of who we are, or what our background is, we should be living examples of what it means to be a Christian. We should be “Christ on earth.” People will put us down regardless of what we do. We can’t let that deter us, or keep us bound, but by living like Christ, being that example, we are removing any validity from their condemnation. We need to stand firm in God’s love and calling and live in a manner worthy of Him.







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Monday, November 5, 2018

Can You be Your Own Boss?


Who is your boss? Not everyone has an employer, either because they don’t work or they work for themselves. Not everyone is a child living in a parent’s home. If we don’t fit in to one of these categories, who is our boss? Is it possible to truly be your own boss and not be under anyone’s authority?