We are part of the plan. He has given us instructions to transform the world. So what will we do with them?


Will you get involved?
Will you sit on the side lines

and miss out
on the incredible plans,
blessings,
and miracles
God wants to do
in and through you.


We each have a responsibility to do, to act, to intercede, to intervene.

God speaks frequently in the Bible of our responsibility to the oppressed, widows, orphans, fatherless and foreigners. He mentions those who are lonely, neglected, forgotten and devalued. He cares deeply for the oppressed and the hungry.

People can be hungry in many ways. They may have plenty of food to eat but be starving to feel valuable. God lifts up those who are bowed down with sorrow; He protects the stranger and upholds the fatherless and the widow. How does He do this? He works through people. He needs committed, submitted, dedicated people who live to meet the needs of others.

So will you be
committed, submitted, dedicated
to meet the needs of others?

Showing love doesn’t have to be some huge miraculous or extravagant things…

Mother Teresa once said, ‘Do not think that love, in order to be genuine, has to be extraordinary. What we need is to love without getting tired.’

God’s desire is that we will abide in Him. We are more than overcomers because of Jesus in our lives. We are more than conquerors because of Jesus. Let’s step up and step in to help those who are just surviving, those who are trying to get by and share the love and blessings of God with them without getting tired.

I have come to understand that many people we encounter daily are just trying to survive until someone rescues them, and that someone could be you or me. Let’s allow God’s love for the hurting and broken to work through us, meeting the needs of those who are hurting spiritually, emotionally, and physically. Let’s love without getting tired.

God wants to use each of us to reach others and to point the way to Him, showing that He loves them and that no matter where they are and no matter what they are going through there is hope. So reach out! So lift up! So speak out! So embrace! So give!

LOVE WITHOUT GETTING TIRED!!!

— Notes from today’s devotional


Loving Without Getting Tired

7 He gives justice to the oppressed
and food to the hungry.
The LORD frees the prisoners.8 The LORD opens the eyes of the blind.
The LORD lifts up those who are weighed down.
The LORD loves the godly.9 The LORD protects the foreigners among us.
He cares for the orphans and widows,
but he frustrates the plans of the wicked.

Psalm 146:7-9

Prayer Starter:

Holy Spirit, empower me to love without getting tired. Give me Your heart for the hurting and the needy and show me how to meet their needs.


Fearful to Fearless

For He Who is almighty has done great things for me–and holy is His name [to be venerated in His purity, majesty and glory]! And His mercy (His compassion and kindness toward the miserable and afflicted) is on those who fear Him with godly reverence, from generation to generation and age to age.

Luke 1:49-50 (AMP)

Biblical Truth:

The idea that God would use us to achieve His will fills us with wonder. His mercy, through Christ, for all generations is worthy of our praise and worship.


Heavenly Father,
I thank You Lord for this new day and for all that will be in it. I praise You Lord for helping me to keep my mind and heart on You so that my thoughts, behavior, and attitude would be good. Help me today Lord as we head to game 1 to keep my life aligned to You. Help me to speak hope and encouragement. Help me to be an example for others to shine Your light in and over the lives of our children and their friends and those participating this week. Lord, help me I pray to be the man of God You have planned and created me to be. Help me Lord to be a light, a beacon, a sign that point people to You. So as I start this day, may my thoughts, words, and deeds all bring You praise, honor, and glory in Jesus’ holy and glorious name. Amen.


Love and Marriage

1 Corinthians 13:1-13

Do everything you do with LOVE and out of LOVE!
Without LOVE what good is it?

1 If I could speak all the languages of earth and of angels, but didn’t love others, I would only be a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal.2 If I had the gift of prophecy, and if I understood all of God’s secret plans and possessed all knowledge, and if I had such faith that I could move mountains, but didn’t love others, I would be nothing.3 If I gave everything I have to the poor and even sacrificed my body, I could boast about it; but if I didn’t love others, I would have gained nothing.

Do you know what LOVE is?
Do you want to know what LOVE is?

4 Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud5 or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged.6 It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out.7 Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance.

What happens when you have the greatest gifts and talents,
but don’t have love or aren’t using them in love?

8 Prophecy and speaking in unknown languages and special knowledge will become useless. But love will last forever!9 Now our knowledge is partial and incomplete, and even the gift of prophecy reveals only part of the whole picture!10 But when the time of perfection comes, these partial things will become useless.

So let’s grow up and act like adults in love!
Let’s show that we are mature by the way in which we
show and share love with others!

11 When I was a child, I spoke and thought and reasoned as a child. But when I grew up, I put away childish things.12 Now we see things imperfectly, like puzzling reflections in a mirror, but then we will see everything with perfect clarity. All that I know now is partial and incomplete, but then I will know everything completely, just as God now knows me completely.

LOVE IS THE GREATEST!!!

13 Three things will last forever—faith, hope, and love—and the greatest of these is love.

Average isn’t good enough. God is calling us to a higher level so that we can be people who are ready to give a hand up to others. God provides us His view of LOVE so that we know clearly what His will and His plan for how we live is to be.

The word love is used in many different ways. But the One who is Love offers us a clear definition in His Word. This passage challenges us to love up to God’s standard–like we have been loved by Him. This is a tough list for us to live up to impossible really without God’s love flowing in and through us.

Advertisements

How much is it really worth?


If it is really worth it,
then you need to pay for it.
What are you willing to give?
What does your heart say?
Who are you going to bless?


Do you want something cheap or something worth having?

I believe that in God’s economy, nothing cheap is worth having. God gave His only Son to free us, and while we can never equal that sacrifice, we must give back to Him in a way that means something. King David said he would not give God something that cost him nothing. And I have learned that true giving is not giving until I can feel it.

Is it a nice gesture you are wanting or do you want to give into the life of someone else?

Giving away the clothes and household items I’m finished with may be a nice gesture, but it doesn’t equal real giving. Real giving occurs when I give somebody something that I want to keep.

I’m sure you’ve had those testing times when God asks you to give away something you like. But when you consider how He gave His only Son for us because of His love for us, doesn’t that make you want to give of yourself too?

Have you heard it is better to give than to receive? You know why? When you give something and you see the joy and response of the other person or you know the impact it is going to have on someone else’s life doesn’t it fill you up to overflowing to the point you could almost cry? God will prompt you because He knows what everyone needs. So what will you do with the truth, the hope, and the facts God gives you?

The simple truth is this: We must give to be happy, and giving is not true giving if it doesn’t cost us something.

— Notes from today’s devotional


Giving Must Cost You Something

24 But the king replied to Araunah, “No, I insist on buying it, for I will not present burnt offerings to the LORD my God that have cost me nothing.” So David paid him fifty pieces of silver for the threshing floor and the oxen.

2 Samuel 24:24

Prayer Starter:

God, I want my giving to be meaningful. Tell me what and when You want me to give to help or just bless someone else. I want to give to others like You have given Your love to me.


Fearful to Fearless

The angel came to her and said, “Greetings! The Lord has blessed you and is with you.” But Mary was very startled by what the angel said and wondered what this greeting might mean. The angel said to her, “Don’t be afraid, Mary; God has shown you his grace.”

Luke 1:28-30 (NCV)

Biblical Truth:

God’s grace is a special gift that that we do not deserve. No matter who is against us, God is for us, do not surrender to unbelieving fear.


Heavenly Father,
I thank You for this new day. Things are feeling as they should be. I praise You Lord for the good and truth that You pour into my life to counteract the lies of the enemy. Lord, help me today to have a good attitude and a right response. Help me to be the man of God You have called me to be and the husband and father You have called me to be. Lord, with You all things are possible. With You Lord, I know that I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. So Lord, help me to lean on You and not on my own understanding, to put my hope and trust in You. Lord, help me hold onto my faith, for even faith the size of a mustard see is enough to cast mountains into the see. Lord, You are my strength, You are my rock and strong foundation, You are my wisdom and Your Word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path. Lord, may my thoughts, my words, and my actions bring You all the praise, honor, and glory You deserve in Jesus’ name. Amen.


Love and Marriage

Colossians 3:1-19

(my notes on this devotional + quotes from the devotional)

Focus – Aim – Remember – Set your target on the big thing

1 Since you have been raised to new life with Christ, set your sights on the realities of heaven, where Christ sits in the place of honor at God’s right hand.2 Think about the things of heaven, not the things of earth.3 For you died to this life, and your real life is hidden with Christ in God.4 And when Christ, who is your life, is revealed to the whole world, you will share in all his glory.

Is there anything getting in the way? Get rid of it! Avoid it! Stop it!

5 So put to death the sinful, earthly things lurking within you. Have nothing to do with sexual immorality, impurity, lust, and evil desires. Don’t be greedy, for a greedy person is an idolater, worshiping the things of this world.6 Because of these sins, the anger of God is coming.7 You used to do these things when your life was still part of this world.8 But now is the time to get rid of anger, rage, malicious behavior, slander, and dirty language.9 Don’t lie to each other, for you have stripped off your old sinful nature and all its wicked deeds.10 Put on your new nature, and be renewed as you learn to know your Creator and become like him.11 In this new life, it doesn’t matter if you are a Jew or a Gentile, circumcised or uncircumcised, barbaric, uncivilized, slave, or free. Christ is all that matters, and he lives in all of us.

We were chosen. We aren’t perfect so we need to make allowances for others too. Let peace rule our hearts and minds.

12 Since God chose you to be the holy people he loves, you must clothe yourselves with tenderhearted mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience.13 Make allowance for each other’s faults, and forgive anyone who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others.14 Above all, clothe yourselves with love, which binds us all together in perfect harmony.15 And let the peace that comes from Christ rule in your hearts. For as members of one body you are called to live in peace. And always be thankful.

Take time. Spend time. Make time. Be filled up to overflowing with the love, hope, truth, wisdom, strength, courage, boldness that comes from spending time with God and in His Word.

16 Let the message about Christ, in all its richness, fill your lives. Teach and counsel each other with all the wisdom he gives. Sing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs to God with thankful hearts.17 And whatever you do or say, do it as a representative of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through him to God the Father.

As a couple do you know what each one is to do?

18 Wives, submit to your husbands, as is fitting for those who belong to the Lord.

19 Husbands, love your wives and never treat them harshly.

Do you want to be a good spouse? Do you want a healthy marriage? Do you know what you need to get rid of? Do you know what you need to put on?

Your old self won’t be nearly as good of a spouse as your new self. This passage challenges us to set aside the poor behaviors that always get in the way of a healthy marriage and put on the character of Christ. Although it makes it sound as easy as putting on a coat, read it aloud together and listen for that one sinful trait that is the hardest for you to get rid of and the one godly trait that is the hardest to clothe yourself in. Confess the ways you’ve failed to put on godly character and ask your spouse to forgive you. Pray together that God will give you the determination to put His character on again and again every day.

Do you know how much you are loved?


God loves you so much – by nature He is rich in mercy and gave Jesus that we could be saved. We are saved by grace through faith in Jesus.

Do you understand the language of love? Are you speaking your language or the language of the person you are trying to speak love to? You might be speaking it and due to translation it isn’t being noticed. Consider what you can do and say so that it is in their love language.


Feeling down? Feeling discouraged?
Remember! Remind yourself the nature of God’s love!!

Sometimes when life gets discouraging, the best thing we can do is remind ourselves of the nature of God’s love.

One of the most beautiful things the Bible says is that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us (see Romans 5:8). He did not wait for us to deserve His love. He loves us unconditionally. To be honest, that’s hard for many of us to comprehend because we are so accustomed to having to earn everything in life.

God’s love is HUGE! God’s love is GREAT!! God’s love is UNCONDITIONAL!!

Because of His great, wonderful and intense love for us, God poured His life out for us freely. That is revolutionary love, real, revolutionary love that gives itself away because it can never be satisfied doing anything less.

It is God’s unconditional love that draws us to Him, His amazing grace that erases our sin, and His powerful sacrifice that makes a way for us to enter His presence. His love will never quit, never give up, and never leave you. Whenever you feel down or depressed, remember the great love that God has for you

God’s love never fails,
never gives up,
never runs out on me!!!

— Notes from today’s devotional


The Nature of God’s Love

4 But God is so rich in mercy, and he loved us so much,5 that even though we were dead because of our sins, he gave us life when he raised Christ from the dead. (It is only by God’s grace that you have been saved!)

Ephesians 2:4-5

Prayer Starter:

God, Your love overwhelms me. Even when I don’t feel like it, I know that Your love never quits. You gave Your all for me, and I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that You love me.


Fearful to Fearless

But the angel said to him: “Do not be afraid, Zechariah; your prayer has been heard. Your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you are to give him the name John.”

Luke 1:13 (NIV)

Biblical Truth:

We are comforted in knowing that our prayers are always heard.


Heavenly Father,
I thank You Lord for this new day and all that will take place in it. I thank You Lord for the reminders of who I am and who I am supposed to be. I thank You Lord for a great wife and great children, great friends and a great extended family. Help me Lord to keep my focus on the top things, keeping first things first and completing the work You have given me to do. Help me Lord to be the husband my wife needs. Help me Lord to be the father my children need. Help me to be the son my parents need. Help me to be the brother my sister needs. Help me Lord to be the man of God You have called me to be so that in every thought, every action, and every word, Lord You will receive all the praise, the honor, and the glory in Jesus’ glorious name. Amen.


Love and Marriage

Ephesians 5:21-33

Relationship

Why?

  • Out of reverence for Christ
  • It was the way it was planned to be.

31 As the Scriptures say, “A man leaves his father and mother and is joined to his wife, and the two are united into one.”32 This is a great mystery, but it is an illustration of the way Christ and the church are one.33 So again I say, each man must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband.

  • He wants to set expectations and roles so that we know how to make life work best. He didn’t want to squelch our freedom.
  • We are to love, respect, and submit in alignment to God’s thinking, not the world’s contemporary thinking or practices
  • Trust in the One who instituted marriage for He knows how to make a marriage thrive.

How?

Wives…

  • in the same way you would to the Lord
  • God setup marriage the same way He setup the church
    • Husband is the head of the marriage as Jesus is the head of the church
    • As the church submits to Jesus, so wives should submit to their husbands

Husbands…

  • in the same way that Jesus loved the church
    • He gave up His life for the church in order to make her holy and clean, washed by the cleansing of God’s word
    • He did this so that He could present her to himself as a  glorious church without a spot or wrinkle, without any blemish, rather she would be presented as holy and without fault.
  • So love your wife in the same way!! The two become one at marriage and so it isn’t an us or them, but it is always us.
    • By showing your love to your wife, you are showing that you love yourself
    • So you need to feed, nurture, and care for your wife just as Christ cares for the church
    • We are members of His body.

What’s Next?

After you read this passage out loud together, talk about the part that is the most difficult for you to understand or to put into practice. Pray together that God will lead each of you to fill the role He has chosen for you in a way that brings glory to Him and honor to your spouse.

Forgiveness is the strongest key to freedom.


I still remember driving when 7×70 was playing and it broke my heart that the reason for my pain and bitterness was due to not forgiving others. I still remember the weight lifted off my shoulders as I forgave them. I remember the next thing that came to mind as I finished was, “as you forgive others, so I will forgive you”. I remember asking God to forgive me for I had felt the prompting for a while but resentment and bitterness that I wouldn’t let go of kept me from doing what God wanted. It has provided me with a testimony I get to share with many others who are feeling down or depressed, angry or untrusting and how forgiveness provides us with freedom, it is more about us and less about them. Hurting people hurt people.

FORGIVENESS WAS THE KEY TO MY TRANSFORMED LIFE AND MY FREEDOM TO MOVE ON TO WHAT GOD HAD NEXT FOR ME.


Learn to Forgive Like Jesus

34 Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they don’t know what they are doing.” And the soldiers gambled for his clothes by throwing dice.

Luke 24:34

Prayer Starter:

Lord, when people hurt me, help me to see past my own pain and see their pain. Help me to love and forgive like Jesus.


Ever been in a situation where something happened to you that was so bad? Do you realize that God’s desire is for us to forgive so that we don’t carry the burden or the weight of that incident? LOVE  and do as God does and wants us to do.

…a teenager who was drinking and caused an accident that killed a man’s wife and child. The man knew God wanted him to forgive the young man who caused the accident, and through much prayer he was able to let the love of God flow through him.

That man knew how to forgive like Jesus. He understood that this young man was also hurt himself and needed healing.

Hurting people hurt people. We need to look beyond the incident, beyond the circumstance and into the heart. Consider how we should respond in LOVE.

When people hurt us, we should learn to look at what people have done to themselves instead of just looking at what they have done to us. Usually, when a person hurts someone else, he’s probably hurting himself at least as much and is suffering some fallout as a result. That’s why, as He hung on the cross in agony, Jesus said of His murderers, ‘Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.’

Jesus has set an incredible example and has set the bar high for us to aim for. As the Olympic games are at hand, many have trained hard to be able to compete. Their coaches have set the bar for them, but now it is in their hands to execute. Jesus provided His Word and His examples, so now let’s execute in the power of the Holy  Spirit in a way that will glorify God and show others that we are His children.

That’s incredible forgiveness. Let that inspire you today. We all need to seek to forgive like Jesus.

— Notes from today’s devotional


Fearful to Fearless

He said, “Don’t be afraid. I know you’re looking for Jesus the Nazarene, the One they nailed on the cross. He’s been raised up; he’s here no longer. You can see for yourselves that the place is empty. Now—on your way. Tell his disciples and Peter that he is going on ahead of you to Galilee. You’ll see him there, exactly as he said.”

Mark 16:6-7 (MSG)

Biblical Truth:

Do not dwell on sorrowful times or things of the past, but rejoice and believe in what is ahead. Remember that Christ goes before us to prepare a way.


Chronological

Day 389 of 365

(completed)


Heavenly Father,
I thank You Lord for this new day and for all that will be in it. I praise You Lord for Your Word that speaks truth, hope, life, and love into my life. Lord as we start this day and I reflect on the power of forgiveness and our divine encounter as I drove to get my taxes done and even before I got there, You had transformed my mind, my heart, and my life by removing and cleansing me of the bitterness, the anger, and the imageI was holding onto rather than giving it all into Your hands as I did in that car ride. Lord, even the spell check realizes we are to forgive since imageisn’t a word and displays on my screen like
image. Help others today Lord who are struggling with depression, anger, bitterness, distrust, and many other issues that are being caused by holding onto things You want us to let go of like I had to learn after months of pain and sadness to let go of image. Lord, may You be glorified today and may Your Word resonate around the World to help so many find the peace, the hope, the joy, and the love that comes from a living relationship with You. FORGIVENESS IS THE KEY! And Lord may every thought, word, and action I do today bring You all the praise, the honor, and the glory in Jesus’ name. Amen.

Do you realize how much you are worth it? More than words can ever express!!


Many people don’t realize how important or valued they are. You need to realize that your worth and value to God is infinite!

…the devil works very hard to make people feel devalued and worthless, but we can neutralize the effect of his lies and insinuations by building up, encouraging and edifying people.

It’s a spiritual battle that we need to fight. Want to know how to get started?

One way to do this is with a sincere compliment, which is one of the most valuable gifts in this world. Offering a sincere compliment may seem like a small thing, but it gives tremendous strength to people who feel insecure or like they don’t matter much.

Set goals! Develop good habits in the area of encouraging others! Joyce challenged herself and so should we.

I challenged myself to compliment at least three people each day. I recommend that you do something similar to help you become an aggressive encourager.

So if you know God values you, become an encourager. If you don’t know this, God’s love for you is infinite, He will never leave you nor forsake you, turn to Him, open the door of your heart to Him and He will help get things all straightened out because He is and has been knocking to get in there for a long time. Do you know why? YOU MATTER TO GOD!!!

The Bible says that God adopts as His children those who feel abandoned. Let’s find those people and strive to build them up, making them feel valuable. Let’s let them know that God loves them.

— Notes from today’s devotional


Let People Know They’re Infinitely Valuable

10 Even if my father and mother abandon me,
the LORD will hold me close.

Psalm 27:10

Prayer Starter:

Holy Spirit, show me the people who don’t know that God loves them as His own children. Bring me across their path so that I can encourage them and make them feel valuable.


Fearful to Fearless

For the Good News must first be preached to all nations. But when you are arrested and stand trial, don’t worry in advance about what to say. Just say what God tells you at that time, for it is not you who will be speaking, but the Holy Spirit.

Mark 13:10-11 (NLT)

Biblical Truth:

As a follower of Christ we have access to divine guidance, so that in serving Him we can count on the care and wisdom of the Holy Spirit to guide us.


Chronological


Heavenly Father,
Help me to find and speak life and love and hope into the those You have surrounded me with who need to put their hope and trust in You. I thank You so much for this day and for the incredible blessings You have brought into my life including the answer about remaining in our home. It is a great relief and I pray Lord that You will help me to get the refi done in a way that will provide additional relief and opportunities for me to be and do the things You are calling me to do. Lord, in all we say and do, may You receive the praise, the honor, and the glory. Prepare us I pray for the days and weeks ahead so that we can be and become the people You are calling and developing us into in Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.