Devotionals

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Posted 10/22/14 at 4:48 PM | Brittney Moses

A Call to Boldness for Young Believers Full of Faith

http://favim.com/image/458048/

I dont know about you, but Im tired of the world bullying Christians to be silent for the simple fact that its “unreasonable”, misunderstood or contradictory. Its my fear that a generation will shrink back in fear in their classrooms, peer circles, and everyday encounters paralyzed by the opinions of today’s progressive culture. Where “Because I want to and its my life” is accepted as the standard no matter how destructive it may be. Where wisdom is of no value because we’re bombarded with messages through music and media with no substance. That we’ll tip toe around the foundations of our faith and slowly become silent about the things that matter for the sake of avoiding conflict, rejection or even persecution.

But realize that “the servant is no greater than his master”. We have to accept that following Jesus wholeheartedly will always come at a cost. You cannot serve Christ and also serve the god of comfort. So I boldly say: Today and forevermore, choose who you will serve.

Today is the day we stop being ashamed.
Dont be ashamed of your abstinence.
Dont be ashamed of your purity or modesty.
Dont be ashamed of your transformation in Christ.
Dont be ashamed to push for life.
Dont be ashamed to believe Jesus is the way.
Dont be ashamed to believe the Bible is true and says what it means.
As my friend Sue Bohlin says, “Christianity is no more narrow minded than saying 2 + 2 = 4.
If its the truth, its the truth.” FULL POST

Posted 10/22/14 at 3:04 PM | Lori Minutoli

Content With What I Have

Social media had opened the door very wide allowing people to compare lives. It's not a new idea, that's for sure, but it has been made 1000 times easier via images on the Internet. It's something inside of us that desires a connection to something greater than ourselves.

I recently witnessed a person gain great pleasure and self satisfaction when he discovered that a famous musician was using the same guitar that he currently owns. It seemed to elevate his self esteem as pride swelled within him. In a moment he achieved greatness by association.

I have been thinking about that for weeks and realized that many of us do the same thing in all aspects of life. We feel accomplished if we prepare the same meals as great chefs, if we drive the same cars as celebrities, if we wear the latest fashion trends and then see it featured on a program it gives us an internal boost, it validates our worth.

 I created a board on Pinterest entitled "Content With What I Have" as I came to some conclusions to this reality. You see Pinterest is just a bunch of pictures and you pin the ones that you like to your own collections as you would if you ripped them out of magazines and made a dream collage. I soon learned a little bit about myself by noticing trends in my collections. FULL POST

Posted 10/22/14 at 11:45 AM | Christian Post Guest Voices

Give Me This Day

Recently, The Holy Spirit has been opening my eyes to a reality that I had always known, but never truly experienced. And as it so happens, He has used the circumstances of my life to tutor me and teach me this invaluable lesson.

When Jesus taught His disciples to pray, He instructed them to ask their Heavenly Father for enough bread to sustain them for that day. The phrase as most of us have learned it goes..."And give us this day our daily bread."

For Palestinian farmers and peasants who heard these words, they rang true because they were reality. They knew what it was to live from hand to mouth, day by day, with perhaps only a loaf of bread to sustain their bodies and fill their bellies. They didn't stockpile food in pantries, closets and cupboards. Starvation was as close as a failed crop or a draught. FULL POST

Posted 10/22/14 at 11:22 AM | Christian Post Guest Voices

What if Balance is Overrated?

Balance. It’s the buzzword of this generation.

In our hectic lives, everyone is searching for that elusive thing called “balance”, where we feel like we’re living out our priorities, we’re able to get the rest we need, but we’re still being purposeful.

What if the whole idea of finding balance is more like a millstone around your neck than it is a real thing to aim after, though?

Let me explain.

Finding Balance, in and of itself, says that some things must lose.

It says that you have to put less of an emphasis on one thing so that you can put more of an emphasis on something else. To aim for balance is really to aim for a constant series of trade-offs. You decide that this will have to go, that you can’t do this, all so that you can do this.

It’s not exactly an easy psychological process.

What if there’s a better way?

A bunch of very disparate but interesting things have led me to this conclusion. First, I was reading Kathy Peel’s book The Family Manager while staying at a friend’s home recently. Her point is that many housewives are extremely capable when it comes to organizing work or organizing big functions at church, but we can’t seem to organize our homes. The solution? Take what you’re good at and apply those same principles at home. In other words, work to your strengths. FULL POST

Posted 10/22/14 at 10:13 AM | Karen Woodall

Renamed!

A cute little terrier mix puppy arrived at our house last week. She’s about 5 months old and couldn’t be properly taken care of by her previous owner. So being suckers for furry canine faces, we decided to give her a new home and adopt her into our pack. So far, she is getting along with the other dogs, and even our high strung yorkie is enjoying the ‘elevated’ level of puppy activity. The only thing we didn’t like about her was her name, Madeline. It just seemed to be too laid back of a handle for such an active bundle of energy. So, after much debate, we picked a new name for her… one that seems more fitting to who she really is.

You know, God is known for doing the same kind of thing.

Jacob Wrestles - Painting by Rembrandt

The book of Genesis contains a story of the re-branding of a familiar Old Testament figure. At birth, Isaac’s second son was given the name ‘Jacob’, which means “supplanter, schemer, and/or deceiver.” (Gen. 25:24-26) The text from Genesis 27 shows how he lived up to his label by manipulating his brother out of his birthright and then deceiving his father in order to steal his brother’s blessing, effectively robbing him of his inheritance. Then, many years later, Jacob engaged in his famous all-night wrestling match with the Lord (Gen. 32:22-26), but before he ceased his struggle, he demanded a blessing… This time a real blessing and not a stolen one. The Angel of the Lord responded by asking his name. (vs 27) It was then that the father of the future Jewish nation finally stopped pretending to be someone else and admitted who he really was … Jacob … a schemer & a deceiver. The scene culminated with a dramatic name change. No longer to be known as Jacob, his new name would be Israel (vs 28) … which is sometimes translated as “Prince of God.” FULL POST

Posted 10/22/14 at 9:24 AM | Christian Post Guest Voices

When You Don't See Jesus

There are times in your life when you just cannot see Jesus.

The cares and worries you face each day seem to obscure your view of Christ. Sometimes you wonder if He is there at all. Occasionally, you even question if He is real.

You look for Him, wait for Him, cry out to Him, and pray for something...anything...to give you hope. When those times come, know that you are not alone. Every single Christian who is serious about following Jesus wrestles with this reality; we know He is there but sometimes He seems invisible. Consider this...

"In putting everything under Jesus, God left nothing that is not subject to him. Yet at present we do not see everything subject to him." Hebrews 2:8 FULL POST

Posted 10/22/14 at 8:56 AM | Children's Bible Hour

Dumb Ducks

Photo: Flickr/Joanna Bourne - Creative Commons

Alex pointed to some painted wooden ducks on the workbench. "What are you going to do with those?" he asked as his older brother Steve got ready to go duck hunting.

Steve picked up one of the fake ducks. "These are called decoys," he told the younger boy. "No self-respecting duck will come near if he sees me standing around with a gun in my hands. So I hide, but I put these guys out to float on the lake.

From the air, they look real, and when ducks fly overhead, they see them. They say to themselves, If that's a good spot for those ducks to land, it must be a good place for me.' Then down they come. I jump out of my hiding place and before they know it, I've got dinner."

"Humph!" Alex grunted. "What dumb ducks!"

That evening, Alex and Steve watched a football game on TV. During a commercial break, Steve opened a magazine, but he noticed his younger brother intently watching the commercial. Seeing Steve frown at him, Alex shrugged. "Why does Dad think drinking liquor is so bad?" he asked. "The people in that ad look like they're having fun." FULL POST

Posted 10/21/14 at 3:55 PM | Anna Diehl

God’s View of Skin Color

In this world, Satan tries to convince us that different is bad. When we listen to Satan, we find evil pleasure in picking on people who are different than us—especially about differences they can’t change, such as the color of their skin. In this world, there is a whole lot of time and energy being spent trying to prove that some people are inferior to others simply because of their pigmentation. Many souls are taught that God approves of such racism. If you’ve been raised with this kind of teaching, it’s pretty hard to see things from a different perspective. Yet it is important that you ask the Holy Spirit to guide you in this area, for God has a very different view of skin color than we do.

Our Creator LOVES variety. He simply can’t get enough of it. Look around at the natural world He created. Birds and bugs, flowers and trees—everywhere we look we see an explosion of differences. No two leaves are exactly alike. No two snowflakes are exactly alike. God has created a million variables—such as color, texture, size, shape and sound—and He gets endless enjoyment out of coming up with new and different combinations. Human beings are no exception to this rule. Small noses, flat noses, large noses, curved noses—God has an endless variety of noses at His disposal. When He put you together, He selected just the one that He wanted you to have. Then He decided on the shape, color, and position of your eyes. Your hair was another set of decisions—thickness, color, curl and rate of growth. When it came to choosing your skin color—well, He thoroughly enjoyed that moment. Should He paint you a deep, rich brown or make you as black as the night sky? Should He choose a light creamy shade or a soft tan? Whatever He chose for you, He finds it very beautiful and satisfying to look at. God loves skin colors—the more the merrier. He loves variety. He likes to look down at His world and see all of His perfect colors swirling about together. Different is exciting to God. Different is never a reason to pick on someone. Different is something to celebrate. FULL POST

Posted 10/21/14 at 3:44 PM | Anna Diehl

Proving Your Sincerity to God

You never need to try to prove anything to God. He already knows everything about you. The only reason Satan can sucker us into feeling like we need to prove how much we love God, or how sorry we are for sinning, is because he gets us to forget that God does not have human limitations. Humans can’t see into your heart. If I say that you can trust me to watch over your house while you’re away on a trip, you have to take my word for it. If your house has a lot of valuables in it, you’re not going to be comfortable with blindly trusting what I say about myself. You’re going to want to see some hard evidence that my character is as good as I claim. The only way humans can prove the sincerity of their words is by the way they behave. If you see me acting trustworthy in other situations, you’ll be more likely to trust me yourself. But even if all your friends highly recommend me and say that they’ve all had positive experiences with me taking care of their expensive things, you’ll still feel a little nervous handing me your house keys. This is because we’ve learned that humans are inconsistent and full of surprises. A man is an honest employee for many years, and then he’s suddenly caught stealing money from the company. No matter how consistently people’s actions back up their words, we still feel a measure of distrust because we know that we can’t see into their actual hearts. FULL POST

Posted 10/21/14 at 3:24 PM | Anna Diehl

Comparing Trials

On this earth, everyone has trials. God chooses to work through pain down here. We can’t help wishing He had chosen a different plan, but in the end we have to submit to His will. It is His will that we grow and mature through suffering. He has arranged things so that getting everything we want in life actually ends up having a detrimental effect on us. If life is too easy, luxurious, and comfortable, we end up being spoiled, shallow, entitled brats who think that the world owes us endless favors. But when life has just the right amount of difficulty in it, and if we follow God’s lead in how we respond to the trials that come our way, we end up maturing into loving, merciful, compassionate souls who draw others closer to Christ. Best of all, we end up closer to God Himself, for many important aspects of His Character can’t be understood without pain.

We only understand that God is merciful because of the way He has responded to sinners. We only understand He is compassionate because of the way He responds to the hurting. Take away all sin and pain, and there is no understanding these qualities or many others. When we stop to think about it, everything we love most about God, and all the things that make us feel most secure with Him are impossible to understand apart from a context of pain. To really know our God, we must know suffering. This doesn’t mean our life has to be ALL suffering, as some extremists try to say. On the contrary, there is plenty of room for joy, peace, and blessings. But suffering must also be in the mix, and that suffering comes in many forms. FULL POST

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