Saturday, August 02, 2008
Day 19 - Sunday, August 3
Note: In our 40 days of prayer, we actually have 43 prayer devotionals. So, I had to combine some. This is one of those days.
The first devotional is from one of the senior saints in our congregation. She is a gem of a lady. When we were renovating the house, she was here faithfully helping us paint.
The second devotional is from one of our youth. He is son of our building committee leader and is only like 6 or 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.
Jesus came into this world knowing what was going to happen to him, but he came anyway and died for my sins. He arose and sits in heaven interceding for me.
Thank you for the gift of Thy Son and my Savior. Because of Jesus, I can live in Heaven forever with You and Jesus.
Bible Verse - Luke 24:1-3, 6a (NIV)
On the first day of the week, very early in the morning, the women took the spices they had prepared and went to the tomb. They found the stone rolled away from the tomb, but when they entered, they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus.
He is not here; he has risen!
C. was asked which scripture was his favorite. This is what he selected.
“The greatest event ever!”
Thank you for raising Jesus from the dead.
Additional Thoughts.... Have you ever thought about what our lives would be like if Jesus had chosen to come down off the cross? He pleaded with God in the Garden to take away His burden. He knew the pain that He would suffer... not just the physical pain, but the emotional and spiritual pain of being separated from His Father. When Jesus took on the sins of the world, God had to turn away from Him. God cannot be in the presence of sin. Jesus felt the pain of separation from God, and He does not want us to live an eternity without Him. That is why He died on the cross and became the sacrifice that covers all of our sins. The best thing we can do in our lives to thank Jesus for His sacrifice and try to do what He would have done on this earth. Go and tell a friend about what Jesus has done for you today. Don't let them spend an eternity without Him.
Saturday, August 02, 2008
Day 18 - Saturday, August 2
Note: The man who wrote this devotional is a elementary school teacher. He and his wife have adopted two little girls, sisters that they adopted at two different times (different biological fathers). He is very soft spoken and very thoughtful.
Bible Verse - Psalms 27:1 (KJV)
The LORD is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? the LORD is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?
I remember riding home with my mom from my grandmother’s house when I was a young boy. My mother told me that I was going to have to feed the dog when I got home. It would not have been a problem except that it was dark outside. I asked my mom if the nighttime was the same as the daytime except for the light. She assured me that it was.
When God created the world, he made both day and night. God’s creation was perfect, so Adam and Eve had nothing to fear from the darkness. That changed when sin entered the world. Movie makers have frightened us for years with scary movies that take place in darkness. The darkness holds in its grasp the element of the unknown.
Christians need not fear the dark for their salvation comes from the light of God. In his magnificent presence darkness cannot exist. He is the eternal source of strength to any who will but accept his grace. What task is too great for us when God is providing our strength? What fear can overcome us when God is our caretaker?
Give us the wisdom to see your precious light. Help us to place worry and fear behind us in our daily walk. Allow us to place our vanity aside and accept your strength and guidance.
In Jesus’ name, Amen.
Additional thoughts... I have to admit that I am one of those people who is fearful of those things that are in the dark. I have no problem with darkness itself. I love to sit outside on a summer night and stare at the stars in the dark sky. But when I'm walking to my car in a parking lot at night, I always have this suspicion that someone is going to jump out from behind something and attack me. No, I've never been attacked in such a way; but I've always had that fear. Like Mr. M.O. said, " Movie makers have frightened us." Many times that I am in such a situation, I sing a gospel song in my head. "Amazing Grace how sweet the sound..." or "Jesus, Jesus, Jesus.... there's just something about that name..." It helps me to sing. Singing reminds me that God is always with me. So, "Precious Lord, take my hand, lead me on, let me stand, I am tired, I am weak, I am worn. Thru the storm, thru the night, lead me on to the light, take my hand, Precious Lord, lead me home." Let us all remember when times in our lives are dark, that God is always there to provide the light we need.
Thursday, July 31, 2008
Day 17 - Friday, August 1
Note: This gentleman is one of the quiet behind the scenes kind of guys. He doesn't teach class, but he certainly can make some great comments.
Bible Verse - John 16:33 (NKJ)
These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.”
I love this scripture so much because I do find peace in the Lord, in a world that is filled with tribulation. In my alone time - my prayer time, I find a peace and comfort that can come from no other place. It also reminds me as it says in the scripture, “he has overcome the world.” The world that we live in at the present is insignificant in the larger scheme of things.
My most precious and loving heavenly Father,
Thank you for the peace that I find in you and your son Jesus. Thank you for the place I can go and be away from this world’s tribulation and chaos and find a calm that no other place can provide. Thank you for your written word that teaches me that I can be of good cheer because this world has been overcome and because of your love and your grace a home in heaven awaits me. Please help me and give me strength to share with others the peace that can only be found through you.
These things I ask in Jesus’ name, Amen.
Additional Thoughts... You know the advice that many older ladies tell you when you get pregnant (or guys, when your wife gets pregnant) or when you have little ones, "Choose your battles." I know there would be so much more peace in my house if I did pick my battles better. Someone once said to me, "Is this something that will matter 5 years from now? If not, it isn't worth losing sleep over." Living the Christian life is one of those things that will matter in 5 years. If you know someone who isn't living the Christian life, pray for them.
Thursday, July 31, 2008
Day 16 - Thursday, July 31
Note: This gentleman is one of our elders. He is a very soft spoken man who always has a smile, a polite word, and a hug for all.
Bible Verse - Mark 12:28-31 (NIV)
One of the teachers of the law came and heard them debating. Noticing that Jesus had given them a good answer, he asked him, "Of all the commandments, which is the most important?" "The most important one," answered Jesus, "is this: 'Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.' The second is this: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.' There is no commandment greater than these."
In life we are surrounded by many distractions each day. This is not necessarily bad as many of these distractions involve our family, our church family, our friends and neighbors, our associates in our workplaces and others we come in contact with. In addition, we are all too busy in today’s world. We must take time to dwell on and love God in prayer and take time to love our neighbors enough to influence everyone we come in contact with to want to love the Lord as well by submitting to His Word.
God and Father who art in Heaven,
Help me to be focused on what is really important. Help me to seek your love and blessings by being honest in admitting my weaknesses and seeking your help in overcoming them. Help me to be aware of people’s need for your salvation and blessing, by saying words of encouragement to lead them to find out who you are and why they desperately need you. May you help me to be who you want me to be.
In Christ’s name, Amen.
Additional Thoughts... As was mentioned in a previous blog's comments, there are so many things that get in our way that keep us from listening. "Everyone is 'plugged in', hooked up or charged to something."
We need to stop focusing on ourselves and start focusing on others. So many people around us have needs that we could meet if we'd just open our eyes to see and open our ears to listen.
Our Honduras mission team gave a report tonight of their trip to El Sauce. On their trip two years ago, they saw a "lady" lurking around but never participating as a recipient of their mission work. They found out that she was a prostitute. When they went back this year, they found out that she had left that life and become a Christian. The mission team two years ago had planted a seed that God used to change this woman's life. We never know what kind of influence we can make on someone, so we should always be on guard and continue to focus on the important things of living the Christian life.
Tuesday, July 29, 2008
Day 15 - Wednesday, July 30
Note: The writer of this devotional is a high school English teacher, mom of 2, and wife of the part-time teen youth minister.
Bible Verse - Isaiah 48:17 (TLB)
I am the Lord, your God, who teaches you what is best for you, who directs you in the way you should go.
Recently I had the opportunity to attend a women’s conference with a group of ladies from several different churches. My friend Nancy was the pilot for the journey, driving a group of six women in her car. She did a great job getting us to St. Louis, with a little help from her GPS.
Not having a GPS in my own vehicle, I marveled at the handiness of this piece of equipment. All we had to do was program our destination and a calm, soothing voice would direct our every turn. It even told us how many feet we had to go until the next turn. We only had to follow its directions, and we would be at our hotel in no time.
This system worked well until we were stopped by a closed road. No matter what we did, we just couldn’t follow the directions given. Every time we “chose” not to go where we were instructed, the GPS would say, “Recalculating” and give us a new set of directions based on our lack of listening.
As I sat in the middle seat, I was struck by the similarities between God and the GPS. God knows the direction he wants us to take in life. The Lord says he teaches us what is best for us and directs us in the way we should go. But, because we are disobedient children, we don’t always choose to listen to what He is telling us. We go off on our own path and do our own thing.
I think that it is during those times, when we aren’t listening, stumbling blocks are littering our paths and we aren’t doing what God wants us to do, that He says “Recalculate” like our own personal GPS and makes a new path for us. He promises he will watch over us. All we need to do is to listen to his directions.
What a blessing it is for us to know that no matter what roadblocks we are faced with, or how much “construction” makes us detour from our intended path, if we remain faithful to God and do our best to follow His instructions for us, that one day, we will reach Heaven, our ultimate destination.
You alone know the path that you want us to take. You know that we are stubborn and want to do things our own way. Thank you for directing us, even when we don’t know that we are lost. Help us to be still and listen for your guiding word to help us make the choices that you want us to make. Help us to always look to you and to seek your will instead of our own. Thank you for loving us and for caring for us, your disobedient children.
Additional Thoughts: I'm one of those people who is the last to get in on the new technologies. My twin sister, however, is one of the first. She already has a GPS. We used it on our trip to Paducah in May for our birthday. It worked great. It took us from the Red Lobster right to our hotel.
In paralleling the GPS to our lives, I guess we could say that when our paths are clear that we are living the way God wants us to. But I would also point out that when we are doing God's Will that this is the prime time that Satan is doing his best to derail us. He, Satan, will put obstacles in our paths. Yes, sometimes these obstacles are made by us; but other times, Satan will drop bombs on us to take our focus off of God. So, keep your eye on the goal. You may have to take a detour to get there; but if you continue to walk the path that God puts before you, you can always walk around the potholes.
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