Saturday, August 23, 2008
Day 40 - Sunday, August 24
It has been a wonderful 40 days of prayer. Amen? This is the final installment of our prayer devotionals. I hope that each of you who has read them have been blessed. I know that we have seen changes in some of the people in our congregation. I know I've been blessed by them. A big thank you to all of you who were faithful readers. God Bless You!
Note: This final day has been written by one of our high school girls. She is the granddaughter of our elder/campaign director.
Bible Verse – Ephesians 6:1-3 (NIV)
Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. “Honor your father and mother” – which is the first commandment with a promise – “that it may go well with you and that you may enjoy long life on the earth.”
To put it simply, this is telling us to obey our parents, because they are trying to help us. Children usually have a hard time understanding why their parents are so strict. It took me a long time to see that everything they do for me is in attempt to make me the best person I can be and ultimately get to heaven. It is no coincidence that “Honor your father and mother” is the first commandment. If you can achieve the first one, your parents will help mold you and teach you to keep the rest of them.
Dear Heavenly Father,
Please help me today to be the best person I can be. Help me to listen better to my parents, because I know they are trying to help me be the person you want me to be. I would ask you also to help me be an example to my friends as to how you would have us treat each other and our families. Lord, I ask that you bless all the parents in the world as they are trying to set a good example for their children.
In Christ’s name, Amen.
Additional thoughts... So many kids grow up hating the fact that Mama and Daddy "dragged" them to church. Our preacher loves to say that he did "drugs" when he was a kid... his parents "drug" him to church every Sunday, and his daddy was the preacher! I know our children would sometimes much rather stay home and watch TV than go to church. I do have to admit, though, that my kids do love going to church a lot more than I did when I was their age.
As a parent it is my responsibility to raise my daughters to love the Lord and obey His commands. I just pray that I can have the wisdom to make the right decisions when it comes to raising them.
Friday, August 22, 2008
Day 39 - Saturday, August 23
Note: Here's another installment of two devotionals. These were written by two young men in the congregation. They are such good friends, no wonder they both picked the same verse.
The first young man is an elementary school student. He's perhaps 10 or 11 years old. He is the son of the teen youth minister.
Bible Verse - John 3:16 (NIV)
For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten son that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have everlasting life.
This verse means to me that God loves us so much that He sent Jesus to die for us. If we are baptized and live a faithful Christian life, we will still die, but we have a greater hope of going to Heaven.
We’re thankful for this day and its many blessings. Father, we’re thankful for Your sending Your son, Jesus, to die on the cross so that we can go to Heaven when we die.
In Jesus’ name, Amen.
Note: This second young man is the son of the elementary youth minister. He is 7 years old.
Bible Verse – John 3:16 (NIV)
For God so loved the world that he gave His one and only Son that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.
If God hadn’t sent Jesus, no one on Earth would be able to live a good life. We also couldn’t go to Heaven one day. God must have really loved us a lot to let Jesus come down here.
Thank You for sending Jesus to Earth so that we can come and live with You in Heaven.
Additional Thoughts... We are all going to pass from this physical life. We may die a physical death, or we may be called up when Jesus comes again; but we will all be separated from our physical bodies. The death that I am more concerned about is a spiritual death. That is one death that I do not want to see. If I see that death, I will know that I did not find favor in God's sight. If Jesus had not come to this earth and taken all our sins on Himself, I would most certainly have seen that spiritual death for I am a sinner. BUT, Jesus DID come to this earth. He DID take on our sins. He DID shed His blood to cleanse us. I am thankful, and I am blessed.
Thursday, August 21, 2008
Day 38 - Friday, August 22
Note: The lady who wrote this devotional is the mother of two and the grandmother of 4. She is active in the ladies' events. For some years now, she is a surviver of breast cancer and is an inspiration to those around her.
Bible Verse - Joshua 24:15 (NIV)
… then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve,… But as for me and my household, we will serve the LORD.
As we go through our daily lives, we are faced with decisions. These can be as simple as choosing how we are going to spend our morning – whether sitting and watching game shows or doing something productive that will in some way give glory to our God.
There are many things that can keep us from serving God. It can be things we choose to do or people we choose to spend time with. Having spent the first eight or nine years of our marriage without God in our life, I can not stress enough the importance of having God in your life. Working together to serve God is the best thing you can show your children.
Help us to always choose to serve you instead of choosing other things over you. Help us to realize that You are the giver of all that we have and serving you is an honor.
In Jesus’ name, Amen.
Additional Thoughts... I have to say that I am blessed. I was raised in the church and have never known what it was like to be without God. Even during my college years (when many kids raised in the church decide to "do their own thing"), I was searching out the church in the city where I attended school. In fact, it was at church where I met my husband. I pray that once someone finds Christ that they never turn away from Him. And I pray that my daughters never try to "do their own thing."
There are so many things that happen in our lives that CAN keep us from serving our God, but none of those things MUST keep us away from our God. Even when unpreventable things keep us from coming together with the body at the appointed times, we can come to the Lord ourselves. We can seek out other Christians with whom to commune. One of our men works swing shifts and must work every other Sunday morning during services. He and other men "of like mind" (not just the same name on the building) come together in communion with our Lord. When we go on vacation, we try to make sure we leave after service on Sunday and come back before next Sunday's service. When we are away, we try and find a church to meet with. It's all a choice! What will your decision be?
Thursday, August 21, 2008
Day 37 - Thursday, August 21
Note: The lady who penned this devotional is the wife of our elder who is the director of our stewardship campaign. She is a retired nurse who volunteers with the American Red Cross.
Bible Verse - II Chronicles 7:14-15 (KJV)
If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land. Now mine eyes shall be open, and mine ears attent unto the prayer that is made in this place.
Our prayers are the most powerful asset we have. Our shepherds have committed us to 40 days of prayer for the success of our Faith and Fellowship campaign. Let our minds go back to the days of old to God’s promises to Solomon (II Chron. 7:14-15).
During World War II, an advisor to Winston Churchill organized a group of people who would drop what they were doing every night at a prescribed hour for one minute to collectively pray for the safety of England, for her people, and for peace. This had an amazing effect as bombing stopped.
Our Heavenly Father,
As we pray, let us humble ourselves and ask for the success of the many efforts that are being put into this campaign by many people for the growth of our Faith and Fellowship in our congregation here as well as worldwide. We pray for your guidance in making our Family Life Center a reality and an asset to your church for many years to come.
In Christ’s name, Amen.
Additional Thoughts... This 40 days of prayer devotional guide is the result of our stewardship campaign which we entitled "Faith and Fellowship." I have been a member of this congregation for about 7 years. The one thing that I hear over and over from new people who come here is that our congregation is a loving, friendly bunch of people. I don't think anyone can come in our doors and not have at least 10 people welcome them to the service. And isn't that what God wants? We are all one body. There aren't a bunch of little bodies of Christ. There is ONE body. All Christians make up that body. It shouldn't matter what name is on the sign outside the building. It is people who obey His commands who make up the body of Christ. And how do we communicate with our Lord? Through Prayer!
Wednesday, August 20, 2008
Please, accept my apologies for being tardy with the posts. No excuses... I just simply forgot to post.
Day 35 - Tuesday, August 19
Note: This devotional was written by a really sweet young lady. She is in her mid to late 20's. She and her husband have been married for about 5 years. She did not start going to church until she met her husband.
Bible Verse - I Corinthians 13:4-8 (NKJ)
Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails. But whether there are prophecies, they will fail; whether there are tongues, they will cease; whether there is knowledge, it will vanish away.
This passage means so much to me and encourages me to strive and push to be the kind of wife, daughter, and friend I want to be. I think that the Lord has these qualities for me and that I should do the same! Receiving grace from Him allows me to carry on and share with others.
Each day please give me patience and help me do more right than wrong by the end of the day!
Additional Thoughts... We can say and do so many things as Christians; but when it comes down to it, I think we all want "to do more right than wrong by the end of the day." Shouldn't we always be asking ourselves the age-old question, "What Would Jesus Do?" (WWJD?)
Note: The writer of today's devotional is a mother of two nearly grown daughters. One is set to graduate college and the other is starting college this fall. She is an English and French teacher at our county high school. She was a teacher there when I was in school. It is funny sometimes to call her by her first name now instead of Mrs. B.
Bible Verse - Hebrews 13:5-6 (NIV)
Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, "Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you." So we say with confidence, "The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid. What can man do to me?"
What empowering words! In these stressful and uncertain times, these words comfort me so much. Our country is stretched militarily. Our economy is shaky, and most people are feeling the crunch of high fuel costs, which have, in turn, affected the cost of food and other goods. Some have even lost their homes due to flooding or foreclosure. We get wrapped up in these troubles and forget to focus on the most important thing: God is on our side! He is watching out for us! If He is our helper, how can we not succeed? This should give us the confidence to face anything that lies ahead. Money is not our strength; God is! He is beside us all the way! Earthly troubles cannot touch us where God lives.
Thank you for your words of encouragement. Sometimes I get depressed about not having enough money to pay off bills or send my children to college or help others as I would like. These verses help me to realize that I should be content with what you give me, that I deserve nothing, and that I should concentrate on being a good steward of what I have been given. I know that you will take care of me. I feel your power, and I am so glad that you are helping me, even when I don’t take the time to realize it.
Additional Thoughts... Do you ever wonder why God doesn't entrust you with more money that what you have? I certainly do! We see people who make millions and sometimes billions and we wonder, "What does God see in them that he doesn' t see in me?" I think back to the parable of the three workers who are entrusted with their master's talents. One was given 5, one was given 2, and one was given only 1. When the master returned the ones who were given 5 and 2 doubled their money, but the one who was only given one talent hid it and returned to his master only what he was given. I sometimes wonder where I really am in that line-up. I want to be the good servant who uses my talents for the good of my master. Where do you stand?
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