Archive for January, 2014

Give your burdens to the Lord, and he will take care of you.” (Psalms 55:22 NLT)

Stress. Just the very word conjures up images of anxiety. While some believe they work better under stress, it actually causes more suffering than we think. From heart disease to worn teeth to sleep deprivation, wrinkles & extra fat, stress is often the devil in many disguises, with side effects that destroy our life.

God knows this. While we stress over what others say about us on Facebook, it was also what early Christians felt as they were about to be released to Nero’s lions; even Jesus had it in the garden as He prayed before being arrested. But God wants you to let Him have it all. How? By having faith that He’ll take care of you & not worrying about outcomes. What will happen will happen.

As you celebrate Friday today, remember that Monday is still around the corner. But the problems you run from this weekend aren’t yours, they now belong to God. Cast it on Him, trust in His outcomes & let yourself be more stress-free! You are loved today!

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For we know how dearly God loves us, because he has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with his love.” (Romans 5:5 NLT)

According to Fox News, researchers excavating unmarked graves at a notorious reform school in the Florida Panhandle said Tuesday that they have retrieved the remains of 55 bodies, nearly double the number originally believed to be buried there over many decades. From 1900 to 2011, many children have died there under questionable circumstances. Could the place of corrective learning become a house of death?

Many institutions have fallen short of their ideal mark. Fraudulent banks to hypocritical churches to dangerous schools, places where we should be able to trust are becoming harder to keep trusting. But God has never failed us! His love still burns bright with passion for EVERYONE, even those that don’t love in return. His record of integrity is spotless & His motives completely pure.

Take time today to do what you were made to do: love God in return for all He’s done. Your worship – whether done in prayer, song, poem or dance – is more beautiful in His sight than any effort of work you could ever do in His name. He loves to be loved! Let Him enjoy yours today!

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[The Church Leaders’] responsibility is to equip God’s people to do his work and build up the church, the body of Christ.” (Ephesians 4:12 NLT)

As a Pastor, I have watched over the years as people come & go through churches, looking for one that fits their criteria. But what is it that we should be looking for? What I want or what God wants for me?

Here’s a few things to consider when looking:
– Do the people make me feel welcome among them?
– Can I sense the presence of the Holy Spirit being active there?
– Does the worship point me to God enthusiastically?
– Are the sermons relevant, clearly understandable & leading me to actively move toward God?
– Do they provide interactive events to engage life with others?
– Do I feel the Lord’s peace prompting me to stay, even if nothing else seems to be what I like?

This is not an exhaustive list at all, but a small checklist of things, plus more, that should be experienced at an alive Church. God made it, so he wants you there! Find yours & start growing! You are loved today!

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You have been believers so long now that you ought to be teaching others. Instead, you need someone to teach you again the basic things about God’s word. You are like babies who need milk and cannot eat solid food.” (Hebrews 5:12 NLT)

According to christianpost.com, an alarming amount of churchgoers & Pastors cannot adequately define “Christian maturity”. Their findings were:

Some defined it as having a relationship with Jesus (21 percent), following rules and being obedient (15 percent), living a moral lifestyle (14 percent), possessing concern about others (13 percent), being involved in spiritual disciplines (13 percent), applying the Bible (12 percent), being spiritual or having belief (8 percent), sharing their faith with others (6 percent), and being involved in church activities (5 percent).
About one-fifth of self-described Christians did not offer an opinion.”

With a lack of understanding comes an ignorance of how we could measure our faith or even know that we are succeeding. The writer of Hebrews saw this, especially in those that had been in church for quite some time, which can still be seen today.

Choose today not to be one of those! Study your Bible! If your Church does not offer a meaningful study, many can be found online or at your local Christian bookstore. You were made to grow & be loved! Keep at it!

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For even Christ didn’t live to please himself. As the Scriptures say, ‘The insults of those who insult you, O God, have fallen on me.'” (Romans 15:3 NLT)

If you really want to see how strong & mature you are in the Christ Life, measure your ability to endure, especially of the things that are unfair. Can you handle being treated badly? Can you hold up while others tear down Christ & the Church? Can you be slandered & still be gracious?

Our sense of justice runs deep in us, yet our response to injustice should never be out of self-anger, but Christ-love. As Deitrich Bohnhoeffer once wrote prior to his martyred death at the hands of the Nazis:

What does it matter if I suffer injustice? Would I not have deserved even worse punishment from God? Must it not be wholesome and conducive to humility for me to learn to bear such petty evils silently and patiently”.

Being a Gracebearer can be difficult. True spiritual maturity is not measured by how we handle easy issues of comfort, but in the difficult areas that cost us much. Let God grow you this week as you meet life head-on with grace! You are loved today!

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Episode 26: Doing Life Right

Posted: January 27, 2014 in Video Devotion
Tags: ,

Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy.” (James 1:2 NLT)

During one particularly turbulent time of life & ministry, I was growing more & more discouraged. Things just seemed to keep getting darker, hopeless. Then one day, someone made a statement that began to change me: “You know, on the other side of every storm are rainbows waiting to be seen”.

No storm of life lasts forever. They serve to make us stronger for the journey. But afterwards, God ALWAYS brings a season of joy & refreshing to follow. They are opportunities for joy to blossom! Tough times only serve to help us appreciate the good that follows!

As you come to church today, come ready to be refreshed. Where God is, darkness can’t be. Friends will gather around to lift up arms of encouragement. Be blessed today to either find your joy or to know that it’s coming, like the inevitable rainbow after a storm! You are loved today!

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