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Friday, August 17, 2018

Jesus Reached Out

So another week has come to an end YES! It's FRIDAY! as we begin to reflect on this past week we had to over come some adversity weather it was starting college classes, work or whatever the case may be we ALL were in our emotions so take the time to FORGIVE yourself and reflect n these words of wisdom to guide you into ALL TRUTH with Read: Matthew 14:22–33 Bible in a Year: Psalms 97–99; Romans 16 Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him.—Matthew 14:31 Sometimes life gets busy—classes are hard, work is exhausting, the bathroom needs to be cleaned, and a coffee date is on the day’s schedule. It gets to the point where I force myself to read the Bible for a few minutes a day and tell myself I’ll spend more time with God next week. But it doesn’t take long before I’m distracted, drowning in the day’s tasks, and forget to ask God for help of any kind. When Peter was walking on water toward Jesus, he quickly became distracted by the wind and waves. Like me, he began to sink (Matthew 14:29-30). But as soon as Peter cried out, “immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him” (vv. 30-31). I often feel as if I have to make it up to God after being so busy and distracted that I lose sight of Him. But that’s not how God works. As soon as we turn to Him for help, Jesus reaches out without hesitation. When we’re unsettled by the chaos of life, it’s easy to forget that God is standing in the middle of the storm with us. Jesus asked Peter, “Why did you doubt?” (v. 31). No matter what we’re going through, He is there. He is here. Next to us at that moment, in this moment, ready to reach out and rescue us. —Julie Schwab Lord, help me to turn to You in the midst of my busyness and life’s distractions. Thank You for always being here, ready to catch me. God is waiting for us to turn to Him so He can reach out and help. INSIGHT: The fear-filled disciples who saw Jesus walking on the lake cried out, “It’s a ghost!” (Matthew 14:26). But then they worshipfully acknowledged, “Truly you are the Son of God” (v. 33). In between the collective voices of the disciples, we hear the voices of Jesus and Peter. Following the words of Jesus in verse 27, Peter spoke, “Lord, if it’s you . . . tell me to come to you on the water” (v. 28). At first glance it’s easy to interpret Peter’s “if” as implying uncertainty. An alternate rendering of the word if is since. Given Peter’s actions, it seems to me that this translation makes sense. When Jesus is the one directing us, doubt can yield to confidence. Arthur Jackson

Monday, August 13, 2018

The Gift of Time

We have start the New Week Off in the third week of August so let's continue to be Thankful for God's Grace and Mercy has we journey throughout this week YES! I know it get challenging but continue to put your TRUST in GOD with these words of wisdom Read: Luke 6:37–38 Bible in a Year: Psalms 87–88; Romans 13 A generous person will prosper; whoever refreshes others will be refreshed.—Proverbs 11:25 I headed into the post office in a big hurry. I had a number of things on my to-do list, but as I entered I was frustrated to find a long line backing up all the way to the door. “Hurry up and wait,” I muttered, glancing at my watch. My hand was still on the door when an elderly stranger approached me. “I can’t get this copier to work,” he said, pointing to the machine behind us. “It took my money and I don’t know what to do.” Immediately I knew what God wanted me to do. I stepped out of line and was able to fix the problem in ten minutes. The man thanked me and then left. As I turned to get back in line, it was gone. I walked straight to the service counter. My experience that day reminds me of Jesus’s words: “Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you” (Luke 6:38). My wait seemed shorter because God interrupted my hurry. By turning my eyes to others’ needs and helping me give of my time, He gave me a gift. It’s a lesson I hope to remember, next time I look at my watch. —James Banks Heavenly Father, all of the time I have is in Your hands, a gift from You. Please show me how to use it to bring glory and honor to You. Sometimes our to-do list needs to wait. INSIGHT: Time is a precious commodity that we can waste, spend, or invest. Moses prayed, “Teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom” (Psalm 90:12). In a sense, nothing more clearly requires—or displays—a heart of wisdom than the way we use our time. This may be why Jesus—pressed by the crowds, confronted by the needs around Him, and threatened by the religious establishment—is never described in the Gospels as being in a hurry. Instead, He saw time as having a part in the Father’s purposes. At the wedding feast in Galilee, He said to His mother, “My hour has not yet come” (John 2:4). As He drew ever closer to the cross, however, He saw that time coming to culmination. In John 12:27 He affirmed, “Now my soul is troubled, and what shall I say? ‘Father, save me from this hour’? No, it was for this very reason I came to this hour.” Living wisely is rooted in understanding that our loving Father has a purpose behind our seconds, minutes, hours, and days. Bill Crowder

Friday, August 10, 2018

A Hopeful Lament

Here we are at the end of another week YES! It is FRIDAY! so let take the time and the moment to just reflect on the Goodness of God with these words of wisdom Read: Lamentations 3:49–58 Bible in a Year: Psalms 79–80; Romans 11:1–18 I called on your name, Lord, from the depths of the pit.—Lamentations 3:55 To visit Clifton Heritage National Park in Nassau, Bahamas, is to revisit a tragic era in history. Where the land meets the water, stone steps lead up a cliff. Slaves brought to the Bahamas by ship in the eighteenth century would ascend these steps, often leaving family behind and entering a life of inhumane treatment. At the top, there is a memorial to those slaves. Cedar trees have been carved into the shapes of women looking out to sea toward the homeland and family members they’ve lost. Each sculpture is scarred with marks of the slave captain’s whip. These sculptures of women mourning what they’ve lost remind me of the importance of recognizing the injustices and broken systems in the world, and lamenting them. Lamenting does not mean that we are without hope; rather, it’s a way of being honest with God. It should be a familiar posture for Christians; about forty percent of the Psalms are psalms of lament, and in the book of Lamentations, God’s people cry out to Him after their city has been destroyed by invaders (3:55). Lament is a legitimate response to the reality of suffering, and it engages God in the context of pain and trouble. Ultimately, lament is hopeful: when we lament what is not right, we call ourselves and others to be active in seeking change. And that’s why the sculpture garden in Nassau has been named “Genesis”—the place of lament is recognized as the place of new beginnings. —Amy Peterson We can trust God to bring something new out of our seasons of lament. INSIGHT: The prophet Jeremiah had prophesied for over forty years to a disobedient, disbelieving Judah (627-580 bc). Now in five emotionally charged “funeral laments” he writes as an eyewitness, lamenting the destruction and devastation of Jerusalem, the temple, and the people as they are forcefully exiled to Babylon. He includes the reasons why God would use the Babylonians to discipline His idolatrous people (Lamentations 1:5-8; see 1 Kings 9:6-9; Jeremiah 2:11-13, 18:15-17). For two years the Babylonians besieged Jerusalem. Jeremiah witnessed the uncensored horrors of war (2 Kings 25:1-4; Jeremiah 52:12-27; Lamentations 2:20; 4:10). But he also wrote of hope in the midst of despair (3:21-33) and of the restoration that would come (5:19-22). Jeremiah reminded the Jewish people that the Lord, who has judged Judah rightly for her sins, is the Lord of hope (3:21, 24-25), compassion (v. 22), faithfulness (v. 23), and salvation (v. 26). Jeremiah calls the people to repent and to trust in the goodness of God (vv. 25-26; 5:21). “Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation,” says the apostle Paul (2 Corinthians 7:10). How has this been true in your own life? K. T. Sim

Monday, August 6, 2018

The Joy of Giving

So here we are in the second week of August as we start this New Week take a moment to reflect on these word of wisdom to uide you throughout the rest of the week with Read: 1 Thessalonians 5:12–24 Bible in a Year: Psalms 70–71; Romans 8:22–39 Encourage the disheartened, help the weak, be patient with everyone.—1 Thessalonians 5:14 It was a dreary week. I had been feeling lethargic and listless, although I couldn’t figure out why. Near the end of the week, I found out that an aunt had kidney failure. I knew I had to visit her—but to be honest, I felt like postponing the visit. Still, I made my way to her place, where we had dinner, chatted, and prayed together. An hour later, I left her home feeling upbeat for the first time in days. Focusing on someone else rather than myself had somehow improved my mood. Psychologists have found that the act of giving can produce satisfaction, which comes when the giver sees the recipient’s gratitude. Some experts even believe that humans are wired to be generous! Perhaps that’s why Paul, when encouraging the church in Thessalonica to build up their faith community, urged them to “help the weak” (1 Thessalonians 5:14). Earlier, he had also cited Jesus’s words, “It is more blessed to give than to receive” (Acts 20:35). While this was said in the context of giving financially, it applies as well to the giving of time and effort. When we give, we get an insight into how God feels. We understand why He’s so delighted to give us His love, and we share in His joy and the satisfaction of blessing others. I think I’ll be visiting my aunt again soon. —Leslie Koh Father, You have made me to give to others just as You have given to me. Teach me to give so that I can truly reflect Your character and be more like You today. The giver is the greatest recipient. INSIGHT: Do you ever feel that you’re always on the giving end? Or do you feel you’re always taking and receiving—with nothing to offer others but your own neediness? Take another look at Paul’s words to the Thessalonians. See if you can hear the wisdom of someone who knows there’s a time to give and a time to receive. If you sense that you’re receiving more than your fair share of help, does Paul give you any idea about what you have to give even while receiving? Can you see that in acknowledging graciously the hard work of those who are caring for you, God can actually use you to encourage them? If you seem to be giving to the point of exhaustion, see if you can hear any gentle wisdom here for yourself. Mart DeHaan

Friday, August 3, 2018

To My Dear Friend

We have step out of the seventh month of the New Year which was July now we are moving forward and have entered into the Eighth month of the new year Welcome to August as we have come to the end of the week lets take a moment to reflect on a New Season and a New Chapter that we are going to begin with these words of wisdom Read: 3 John Bible in a Year: Psalms 63–65; Romans 6 The elder, to my dear friend Gaius, whom I love in the truth.—3 John 1 What the apostle John did for his friend Gaius in the first century is a dying art in the twenty-first century. John wrote him a letter. One writer for the New York Times, Catherine Field, said, “Letter-writing is among our most ancient of arts. Think of letters and the mind falls on Paul of Tarsus,” for example. And we can add the apostle John. In his letter to Gaius, John included hopes for good health of body and soul, an encouraging word about Gaius’s faithfulness, and a note about his love for the church. John also spoke of a problem in the church, which he promised to address individually later. And he wrote of the value of doing good things for God’s glory. All in all, it was an encouraging and challenging letter to his friend. Digital communication may mean letter-writing on paper is fading away, but this shouldn’t stop us from encouraging others. Paul wrote letters of encouragement on parchment; we can encourage others in a variety of ways. The key is not the way we encourage others, but that we take a moment to let others know we care for them in Jesus’s name! Think of the encouragement Gaius experienced when he opened John’s letter. Could we similarly shine God’s love on our friends with a thoughtful note or an uplifting call? —Dave Branon Lord, help us know how to encourage others who need a spiritual boost from us. Encouraging words bring hope to the human spirit.

Monday, July 30, 2018

Overcoming Challenges

The weekend has come to an end and with only two days left in July before we step in to the Next chapter and the next season of our lives take a moment to just reflect on ALL that has transpired this whole month of July so as we start this New Week take these words of wisdom to heart with Read: Nehemiah 6:1–9, 15 Bible in a Year: Psalms 51–53; Romans 2 So the wall was completed on the twenty-fifth of Elul, in fifty-two days.—Nehemiah 6:15 We gathered monthly to hold one another accountable to our individual goals. My friend Mary wanted to reupholster the seats of her dining room chairs before the year’s end. At our November meeting she wittily reported her progress from October: “It took ten months and two hours to recover my chairs.” After months of not being able to obtain the materials required, or find the quiet hours away from her demanding job and her toddler’s needs, the project took merely two hours of committed work to finish. The Lord called Nehemiah to a far greater project: to bring restoration to Jerusalem after its walls had lain in ruin for 150 years (Nehemiah 2:3-5, 12). As he led the people in the labor, they experienced mockery, attacks, distraction, and temptation to sin (4:3, 8; 6:10-12). Yet God equipped them to stand firm—resolute in their efforts—completing a daunting task in just fifty-two days. Overcoming such challenges requires much more than a personal desire or goal; Nehemiah was driven by an understanding that God appointed him to the task. His sense of purpose invigorated the people to follow his leadership despite incredible opposition. When God charges us with a task—whether to repair a relationship or share what He’s done in our lives—He gives us whatever skills and strength are necessary to continue in our effort to do what He’s asked, no matter what challenges come our way. —Kirsten Holmberg Lord, please equip me with Your strength to persevere and finish the tasks You’ve given me. May my labors bring You glory. God equips us to overcome obstacles and complete the tasks He’s given us to do. INSIGHT: What kinds of challenges have you faced? How has God helped you to overcome them? For further study on the book of Nehemiah, see christianuniversity.org/OT220.

Friday, July 27, 2018

Lavish Expressions of Love

So here we are wrapping up the fourth week of July YES! We have made it to the end of the week it's FRIDAY! lets take a moment to reflect on these words of wisdom on how to be more generous as followers of Christ with Read: 2 Corinthians 9:6–15 Bible in a Year: Psalms 43–45; Acts 27:27–44 You will be enriched in every way so that you can be generous on every occasion.—2 Corinthians 9:11 On our wedding anniversary, my husband, Alan, gives me a large bouquet of fresh flowers. When he lost his job during a corporate restructure, I didn’t expect this extravagant display of devotion to continue. But on our nineteenth anniversary, the color-splashed blossoms greeted me from their spot on our dining room table. Because he valued continuing this annual tradition, Alan saved some money each month to ensure he’d have enough for this personal show of affection. My husband’s careful planning exhibited exuberant generosity, similar to what Paul encouraged when he addressed the Corinthian believers. The apostle complimented the church for their intentional and enthusiastic offerings (2 Corinthians 9:2, 5), reminding them that God delights in generous and cheerful givers (vv. 6-7). After all, no one gives more than our loving Provider, who’s always ready to supply all we need (vv. 8-10). We can be generous in all kinds of giving, caring for one another because the Lord meets all of our material, emotional, and spiritual needs (v. 11). As we give, we can express our gratitude for all God has given us. We can even motivate others to praise the Lord and give from all God has given them (vv. 12-13). Openhanded giving, a lavish expression of love and gratitude, can demonstrate our confidence in God’s provision for all His people. —Xochitl Dixon Lord, please help us trust Your abundant love and generosity, so we can give to others as You so faithfully give to us. Generous giving displays courageous confidence in God’s loving and faithful provision. INSIGHT: Paul reminds us that God provides for us so we can bless others (2 Corinthians 9:6-8). He quotes Psalm 112:9 to encourage generosity: “[The righteous] share freely and give generously to the poor. Their good deeds will be remembered forever” (nlt). In what ways can you practice cheerful, generous giving this week? K. T. Sim