Friday, August 08, 2008
Day 24 - Friday, August 8
Note: Here is another fine public education teacher that we have in our church. (We have so many, I've lost count!) He is also a football coach for the middle school. He has a daughter, a son, and an older step-daughter.
Bible Verse - Matthew 19:16-17 (NKJ)
Now behold, one came and said to Him, “Good Teacher, what good thing shall I do that I may have eternal life?” So He said to him, “Why do you call Me good? No one is good but One, that is, God. But if you want to enter into life, keep the commandments.”
I must admit I enjoy it when someone tells me I’m a good teacher, a good coach, or a good person. I like to hear that. I understand, though, that I am good only because God’s Spirit lives in me and has since I obeyed the Gospel and was buried in baptism several years ago. The fruit of the Spirit (Gal. 5:22) allows me to live my life in a way that glorifies God. I also know that I quench that same Spirit when I fall short of what I should be and sin. We are all guilty of sin (I John 1:8). I’m thankful I serve a forgiving God.
Have Your Spirit to motivate us to seek You each day. We know we are good only because You are good. Help us to know ourselves and give us a glimpse of who You are, so we will be humbled and serve You out of love and gratitude. Thank You for Jesus, and it is in His precious name we pray. Amen.
Additional Thoughts... Our Sunday School teacher told us about a bumper sticker he saw the other day. It read something like this, "God doesn't want Religious Nuts! He wants Spiritual Fruits." How true. I think about some of the people that I've seen "Bible Thumping" out on the corner (especially when I was in college). I wonder if they were doing that more for themselves than for God. Then I think about a very special woman in our congregation. She is very soft-spoken with really not a lot to say. She oozes spiritual fruit! Her late husband was a minister. They had a hand in raising over 60 foster children. She was the "head cook" at the church camp I went to as a kid. She is a true example of the good of God.
Thursday, August 07, 2008
Day 23 - Thursday, August 7
Note: This is another "quiet" gentleman in our congregation. He is not one who is particularly active except to teach the senior saints class and participate in their few activities.
Bible Verse - John 14:1-6 (NIV)
"Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in me. In my Father's house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am. You know the way to the place where I am going."
Thomas said to him, "Lord, we don't know where you are going, so how can we know the way?" Jesus answered, "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”
These verses tell me who to believe and the promise I have received of God and His Son. Through faith and a good fellowship with Jesus, I will come into a good relationship with Him and that will be the way to the Father (verse 6).
Thank you for being the patient and loving God you are. Father, I ask that you forgive me of my sins and that you strengthen me in my weaknesses. I ask that you help me grow closer to you that I may be a better servant in your kingdom. Help me to walk in the Word that the world may see You in me.
In Jesus I pray, Amen.
Additional Thoughts... It is my prayer every day that I will mirror Jesus to others in my life. There are so many days that I don't feel well because I was up late working on church business or up in the middle of the night with a sick child. I don't feel like "being nice." But we should always be a reflection of our Lord to others.
I remember one day way back in college, I was walking across campus and this "weird kid" (black, torn clothes; body piecings... which was not the norm for when I was in school) came up to me and said, "Aren't you one of those Son-shine Kids?" I responded "yes" and wanted to know why. She just wanted to thank me for something that our Christian Student Center had done for the community. I'm glad that I was recognized as being a worker for the Lord. I want every day to be like that one.
Wednesday, August 06, 2008
Day 22 - Wednesday, August 6
Note: The lady who penned this devotional is one of our younger senior saints. She is very studied in the Word. In fact, she is currently working on a Masters Degree in Religion. As a young woman, she was a missionary to foreign countries. She has been a great help to me in editing these devotionals and has also been instrumental in putting together the newsletters for our campaign.
Bible Verse - Joshua 1:9 (NKJ)
Have I not commanded you? Be strong and of good courage; do not be afraid, nor be dismayed, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go.
The great man Moses had died. Joshua had been chosen to replace him. To do what? To lead tens of thousands of God’s people into their Promised Land, fighting for every inch of soil. No small task. But Joshua was a warrior, a brave man, one of the two spies who had encouraged the Israelites to take the Promised Land forty years earlier. Joshua seemed to be a born leader, as well as a chosen leader. So what did God say to him while giving him all his instructions? “Be strong and of good courage…” (1:6). “Only be strong and very courageous…” (1:7). “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and of good courage” (1:18). Sounds like the brave warrior, the chosen leader needed lots of encouragement. And God told Joshua why he could “be strong and very courageous”: “for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go” (1:9).
When I face new situations, or when I just have to keep on keeping on, I need a strength and a courage which does not come to me naturally. I can “be strong and of good courage… because the Lord [my] God is with [me] wherever [I] go.”
Help me to remember that I do not move or breathe in my own strength, but only in the strength and courage which you provide. Through the name of your Son and my Savior, Jesus Christ, I pray. Amen.
Additional Thoughts... So many times we are sitting back doing our own thing and somebody says, "Can you....?" You know, whatever somebody wants you to do. It might be "can you make a meal for someone who just got home from the hospital" or "can you teach a Sunday School class" or "can you take over the communications for our stewardship campaign." Sometimes we don't want to be bothered. Sometimes we say, "I don't think so." But, we need to remember that God will bless us in our taking on the tasks.
When I took that meal to the lady with the "lost" husband and three kids, it did my heart good. When I taught that first Sunday School class and the kids all gave me a hug that next Sunday, I thought "what a great reward." When I told our elders that I'd "do whatever they needed" with this stewardship campaign, I didn't realize that I'd have so much responsibility and so much work. But, I've been so greatly blessed by doing it.
Like Joshua, sometimes you have to be told to "be strong and of good courage." He was a brave warrior, but he had some insecurities about his ability to lead. He trusted God and became a strong leader for his people. So, be strong and of good courage. Take a chance and do something for His service that you feel is a stretch for yourself.
Tuesday, August 05, 2008
Day 21 - Tuesday, August 5
Note: The writer of this devotional is the son of our elder who is our stewardship campaign director. He and his wife have two teenage children, one young man who is going to West Point and one young lady. He is a small business owner and substitute teacher in our local high school.
Bible Verse – Ephesians 6:4 (NIV)
Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord.
Exasperate is defined as to make very annoyed, angry, infuriate, or aggravate. While we as parents sometimes get to the point with our children that we may not really care if we anger them with our words or actions, we should think twice about our actions. Many times especially with younger children and teenagers we become frustrated when we cannot get our point across or they do not want to do what we say. I would say this is natural for them to want to become more independent and think for themselves. As parents we know many pitfalls they will encounter, but it is very difficult to make them understand. (Did you listen to your parents? sometimes/ not always) Many times these pitfalls and hardships are things they will just need to endure themselves to understand. I take from this verse that we are being told to raise and instruct our children with encouragement, patience, love, forgiving grace and understanding. “Because I said” may be the answer sometimes, but a patient explanation will certainly have a greater long term effect. This is certainly not an easy job, but that is why God gave us an instruction book and a large church family to help.
Help me this day to give my children the love, patience, and understanding they deserve. Make me understand and remember the love and understanding you have shown me so many times in my life. Father, show me the way to guide my children in the way you would have them go. Make me always aware that I have a very important job which is to raise my children to become the type of people you would have them to be. Help me to reflect your word in my life.
Thank you for being the father you are. Thank you for sending your son for my sins.
In Christ’s name I pray, Amen.
Additional thoughts... Growing up was kind of a double sided coin for me. My mother was a wonderful, caring, loving woman who would do just about anything for anybody. She was an encourager, a teacher, a comforter... among so many things. She is the reason that I chose to be a stay-at-home-mom. My dad, on the other hand, was a strict disciplinarian. There were five of us kids and if one of us got a spanking (most of the time with a leather razor strap), we all did... whether we deserved it or not. His answer was always "well, if you didn't do you, you probably thought about it." I grew up fearing my father and didn't grow have the true understanding of what God our Father is really like.
I must learn to take the good merits of how I was raised and use them with my children. Do I always have patience with my girls and my nephews? Certainly not. I wish that I did. I'm trying. Do I always show them the "disciplinarian" and never show them how much I love them or tell them how much I love them? Certainly not because I know how that feels. I want my children to grow up knowing that God our Father is a loving and kind God. But, I also want them to know that He is not a Father that will accept everything. He has plans for His children, and we should listen and obey His commands to reap the gifts that He has for us.
Monday, August 04, 2008
Day 20 - Monday, August 4
Note: The gentleman who wrote this devotional is one of our elders. He has such a gentle heart and it shows. He served in Vietnam during the conflict. And though he drives tractor trailers for a living, you'd never guess it by looking at him. He has such a gentle spirit that he is very easily moved to show emotion.
Bible Verse - Psalms 139:13-16 (NAS)
For Thou didst form my inward parts; Thou didst weave me in my mother’s womb. I will give thanks to Thee, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; wonderful are Thy works, and my soul knows it very well. My frame was not hidden from Thee, when I was made in secret, and skillfully wrought in the depths of the earth. Thine eyes have seen my unformed substance; and in Thy book they were all written. The days that were ordained for me; when as yet there was not one of them.
What is it that God does not know about us? NOTHING!! God knows everything about me. He made me body, mind, and soul. We were made by Him to glorify Him. This passage reminds me of who I can call on to lift me up physically, mentally, and spiritually. He knows my abilities and limitations and gives me strength to live each day that He has ordained for me.
I acknowledge that You are my creator, and in that You know everything about me, even to the hair on my head. Father, remind me of this daily. Remind me that I belong to You and You are there in all my needs, wants and concerns. Father I bring them to You. I am grateful to call You Father, because of Jesus and what He has done for me. Help me to search myself and change what needs to be changed so that I can be what You intended for me to be.
In Jesus' Precious Name, I pray Amen.
Additional Thoughts... It is amazing to think that God knew us even before we were conceived. He knows us so well that He knows every hair on our heads. How can we not want to serve a god who wants to know us and has known us from the beginning. He knows what we need. He will provide... in His own time.
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