United or Divided

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Devotion:’  Psalm 133:1

Remember the song; “United we stand, divided we fall.”  It’s that way in Christendom.  Christians must be united, in order to accomplish God’s kingdom purposes.  We must intentionally desire for His will to be done on earth as it is in heaven.  We must always seek the greater good of Christ’s church, not our will, but His be done, on earth as it is in heaven.

God designed each one of us differently.  Other than the blood that courses through our veins; we each have our own DNA, different voices and looks.  The body of Christ can still be in unity; even with varying personalities and backgrounds.

I’ve seen churches divide over things like carpet color or removing the stained glass windows.  Will either of those; change the lives of people for eternity?  Hardly!

God meant for us to live in unity.  He told us:  “As far as possible, be at peace with all men.”  We are all sinners saved by grace, so we still possess our sin nature.  God is molding us into His image on a daily basis.  How we respond to those God has placed in our lives; depends upon the degree we yield to His indwelling Holy Spirit.

Unity does not come naturally or automatically. It must be worked toward. We must treat others with kindness and respect.  God tells us to prefer one another. Some folks love to create discord more than unity.  It’s hard to dwell in a unity you do not have.

Prayer in Motion:

Lord, may I seek to dwell together in unity with all those You have given me.  May believers all over this world seek to live in unity so the world may know we are Christians.  In Jesus Name.  Amen.

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Present People

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Devotion:  Psalm 46:1-2

While listening to my pastor preach about gaining life as you give it; the thought came rushing through my mind;

                               “Just be present.”

Wholly be engaged with the ones with whom you are speaking. Be:

               …wholly engaged and wholly present.

Jesus promised to be a very present help in trouble.  You may be thinking; “Jesus is in heaven.”  That’s true; however; He also promised if we would “seek first the kingdom of God; all these things shall be added unto us.”  He is with us always, promising to never leave us nor forsake us. Do we live like we believe God is with us; even when fear tries to steal our peace?

Think of a time your heart was racing; full of fear and doubt.  Got it?  Whether it was recent or a long time ago; I’ll bet you haven’t forgotten the circumstances.  It was probably very scary.

No one seeks to be full of fear and dread; no one.  God says anxiety in the heart of a man weighs it down.  God also says, “He is not a God of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.”

You say, “Yes, but He’s God.”  Indeed He is but He’s also fully man.  Our Savior overcame, death, hell and the grave.  He admonishes us to “Be strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might.”  Do not allow fear to place its sharp talons in your heart.  Guard your heart with all diligence, for from it flow the issues of life.

Seek present people who will love you unconditionally and pray for you when you are afraid.  Seek those who will go into battle with you.

Prayer in Motion:

Lord, I ask right now that I will not fear because You are with me.  You are a very present help in trouble.  I believe Your Word when You say, “What time I am afraid, I can trust in You.”  Thank You for Your powerful words. Thank You for being an ever present kind of God. Help me to be a present kind of friend. In Jesus Name.  Amen.

Fight or Flight

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Devotion:  1 Timothy 6:12

While in the front yard playing with my grandchildren in Huntersville; I was talking with his next door neighbors.  All of a sudden we heard a commotion down the street.  We looked up to see what we thought was two dogs rolling around on the sidewalk.

Much to our dismay; it was an english bulldog and a three year old little boy.  We were all mortified.  Loud screaming ensued amongst the children playing there.  All of a sudden I saw the owner of the dog come running across the street to retrieve the dog.

The terrified little boy got up and ran into his house.  I’m not certain the extent of his injuries; however my instinct was to go inflict hurt on his perpetrator.  I got shivers thinking; What if this had been one of my grandchildren?  We did not see anyone driving out; so his injuries must have been of a surface nature.

This child became involved in a fight he wasn’t looking for.  He could only flee when the dog (his attacker) was pulled off of him.

This child was playing on his own territory with a group of older kids.  I’m certain his mom or whoever was inside felt comfortable with him playing in front of his own house.

My almost eight year old grandson frequently rides his bike and plays in that area.  It could have easily been him.  I saw this dog out within minutes after the attack, running back across the street and up the drive way to the same place where he had just attacked the child.  What?

Our enemy prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour.  We must keep watch over our hearts at all times.  You never know when Satan is going to attack.  It can be within your place of comfort, with your family, with other believers.

I pray you and I will know when to fight and when to flee our enemy’s attacks.

Prayer in Motion:

Lord Jesus, may I watch over my heart with all diligence.  I want to be on the alert for my enemy.  May I put on the armor of God on a daily basis.  May I listen for Your voice with the ear of a disciple.  May no weapon formed against me prosper.  In the strong and mighty Name of my Defender and Redeemer, Jesus Christ, I offer up this prayer.  Amen.

 

 

 

What’s Your Style?

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Devotion: Romans 12:2

Styles vary almost as often as people.  With intention, God created us with different personalities; different perspectives and different purposes.  From the time the cells divided in your mother’s womb; God knew not only who you would be; but the path He ordained for you.  My dear reader; Take comfort in the truth of that statement.

Styles change with time.  From hair styles, fashion styles, decorating styles,all the way to our worship styles; we are constantly in the motion of change.

Do your styles change within the seasons of life for which He has ordained for you?  Hopefully.  God doesn’t change; however, we do and we should.  As we grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ; we should be changed by it.  He is the Author and Finisher of our faith.  He is perfecting us.  Although we will never be perfect, until heaven; Jesus exhorts us “to be perfect as our Father in heaven is perfect.”

When we first become a Christian; we have aspirations to never sin again. God’s Word makes these three declarations: “We all sin and fall short of the glory of God.”  “There is none righteous, no not one.”  “If we confess our sin; He is faithful and just to forgive us our sin and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”

It’s a daily process to ask the Lord to search our hearts to see if there be any wicked way in us.  When the Spirit of the Living God reveals any sin of thought or intention; confess it right then and ask Him to forgive you.  “He will forgive and remove your sin from you, “as far as the east is from the west” and here’s the amazing part…”and remember it no more.”  Our all knowing God wipes the slate clean.  We get a do over and our style of living changes.

Prayer in Motion:

Lord Jesus, I want my style to line up with Your perfect will for my life.  I want to be about my Father’s business.  Change me from the inside out. Give me Your transformation.  In Jesus Name.  Amen

 

 

Established Routine

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Devotion:  Luke 6:38

God asks us to do all things decently and in order.  Many of you can say; “I’ve got this. I’ve always been that way.”  Some of us know; “We fall short of that mandate.”  An established routine  or schedule helps you keep things decent and in order.

Question.  Can we let go of our routine long enough to meet the need of another person; to pray with them, to comfort them, to visit them, in their hour of need?   It’s hard to do because then you are behind in your plans.

                                     Another question:

Is what you are doing more important than taking time to minister to that person who is hurting?  I know we can’t meet the needs of every single person; however; I submit to you…

… if you will take time to minister to the one God has for you: “God will multiply your time.”  …”pressed down, shaken together and running over, God will lay it in your lap.”

I admit; I have many great intentions, for which I fail to follow through.  Again, I fall short.  I know many of you do not.  This is my confession.  There are books written about, “Just saying no.” As Lisa Tyrkhurst wrote; “We must give our best yes.”  Our best.

That is part of the equation of the established routine; knowing when to say yes and when to say no.  In this critical path method, borrowing a construction phrase; there must be a balance between making yourself available and keeping an established routine.

God, help us to give of our time to establish your kingdom purposes.  We want to do all things decently and in order; while balancing our ministry to others.  Both are important to our Lord.

Prayer in Motion:

Lord Jesus, may I accomplish Your kingdom purposes in my life.  Above all else; I want to be a good steward of the time You have given me.  More than anything; I want to please You.  In Jesus Name.  Amen

 

 

Neglecting God’s Word

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Devotion:  Jeremiah 15:16

Charles Spurgeon said; “Most of our fears come out from the neglect of God’s Word.”  I believe that statement from the bottom of my heart.  Lack of trust in God produces great fear.  If we haven’t been in God’s Word on a regular basis; we become dis-trusting that He will do what He says He will do.  We forget to rely upon His promises that are yes and amen.

We seek comfort from all the wrong places: television, magazines; the internet and material possessions.  None of those bring comfort like the Word of God.  Every time I read it; I am refreshed; comforted and encouraged.  It is His Word that equips us for whatever trial we might be facing at the time.

I will never get over the power and strength that comes from God’s Word.  It brings conviction and comfort all at the same time.  No person can ever do what His Word can do for us.  We gain new strength on a daily basis from its deep, abiding truth .

God’s Word was written with you and me in mind.  He knew the challenges we would face in this world and exhorted us not to fear the trials and tribulation that would come; for He overcame.

“God is not a God of fear but of power and of love and of a sound mind.”  He promised to keep in perfect peace, those whose minds are stayed on Christ.  How can we have the mind of Christ?  By hiding His Word in our heart so that we might not sin against Him.

When will we get the association between the neglect of God’s Word and the subsequent fears and anxieties pouring into our lives?   God says anxiety in the heart of a man weighs it down but a good word makes it glad.  I can think of no word better than God’s Word.

Prayer in Motion:

Lord, please forgive me for times I have neglected Your Word.  Those are the times I truly have become the most fearful.  God help me remember to keep my eyes fixed upon You Jesus.  Thank You for all the great and mighty things You have done for me.  I love You LORD!  In Jesus Name.  Amen.

Expecting

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Devotion:  Luke 6:35

Your parents taught you to have a grateful heart.  The Bible says; “Give thanks to the LORD for He is good.”  Churches all over the world have said together; “God is good, all the time and all the time, God is good.”  Expecting goodness from people is engrained in our DNA.  We expect to be treated the way we treat others; however…

                      …it doesn’t always happen that way.

The Bible also says; “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”  When they don’t; we can become altogether dis-enchanted with the human race.  If we allow our feelings to rule; We will shrink back from the blessing of obeying today’s verse. God knew giving out kindness to the unkind would be difficult and that’s why these verses are strategically placed in His Word.

We are innately selfish; so these are hard words to absorb into our souls.  The ungrateful people God has placed in your life; are there for a reason.  It’s for ” training in righteousness.”

Let’s face it; it’s easy to be kind to those who are kind to us. Here’s the kicker:  God’s character is kindness.  It was His kindness that led us to repentance.  Your kindness may lead others to accept Jesus in their hearts.

Kindness is number five in the list of the fruit of the Spirit. Kindness comes out of love, the number one fruit.  This kind of love is developed only through the power and strength of God’s Holy Spirit.  (loving your enemies)

Your expectancy can only be placed in the Lord Jesus Christ. We love people without condition.  It’s the same way Jesus loves us.  Do we grieve His Spirit?  Yes, when we sin.  We all sin and fall short of the glory of God.  There are none righteous, no not one.  The only difference in us and the lost souls is the indwelling Holy Spirit given to us at the time of our salvation.

Go out today and “be kind to one another; tender hearted forgiving one another; even as God for Christ’s sake has forgiven you.”

Prayer in Motion:

Lord Jesus, HELP me to be kind to everyone.  My flesh is weak; however, my strength comes from You.  May I let go of my fleshly expectations.  Help me to act and react the way You would act and react.  In Jesus Name.  Amen