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Friday, June 22, 2018

Fellowship with Jesus

We have made it to the end of the week YES! It's FRIDAY! we have also just step into another Season on Yesterday we step into the First Day Of Summer so Welcome into the Second Day Of Summer now that we have enter into this New Season we have also enter into a New Chapter of our lives with these words of wisdom Read: Philippians 3:7–14 Bible in a Year: Esther 6–8; Acts 6 I consider everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord.—Philippians 3:8 I’ll never forget the time I had the privilege of sitting next to Billy Graham at a dinner. I was honored but also somewhat nervous about what would be appropriate to say. I thought it would be an interesting conversation starter to ask what he loved most about his years of ministry. Then I awkwardly started to suggest possible answers. Was it knowing presidents, kings, and queens? Or preaching the gospel to millions of people around the world? Before I had finished offering suggestions, Rev. Graham stopped me. Without hesitation he said, “It has been my fellowship with Jesus. To sense His presence, to glean His wisdom, to have Him guide and direct me—that has been my greatest joy.” I was instantly convicted and challenged. Convicted because I’m not sure that his answer would have been my answer, and challenged because I wanted it to be. That’s what Paul had in mind when he counted his greatest achievements to be of no worth compared to the “surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord” (Philippians 3:8). Think of how rich life would be if Jesus and our fellowship with Him was our highest pursuit. —Joe Stowell Lord, forgive me for chasing after things that matter far less than my fellowship with You. Thank You that You stand ready to enrich my life with Your presence and power. To remain faithful where God has placed you, give Christ first place in your heart. INSIGHT: The apostle Paul’s passion to know Christ and to make Him known to others should guide our lives as well. In Philippians 3:1-14, we see how growing in our knowledge of Christ is mixed with both joy and pain: “I want to know Christ—yes, to know the power of his resurrection and participation in his sufferings” (v. 10). Jesus told us, “In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world” (John 16:33). As we grow in our relationship with Christ we can expect both joy and suffering. How has both joy and suffering deepened your fellowship with Christ? Dennis Fisher

Monday, June 18, 2018

Blessing in the Mess

The weekend has come to the end we are in the third week of June as we start this New Week lets take a moment to reflect on the week ahead with these words of wisdom Read: Genesis 28:10–22 Bible in a Year: Nehemiah 10–11; Acts 4:1–22 He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.—Philippians 1:6 I got myself into this mess, so I’d better get myself out, I sometimes find myself thinking. Although I believe in a God of grace, I’m still prone to act as if His help is available only when I deserve it. God’s first encounter with Jacob is a beautiful illustration of how untrue this is. Jacob had spent a lifetime trying to alter his destiny. He’d been born second at a time when firstborn sons typically received their father’s blessing—believed to guarantee future prosperity. So Jacob decided to do whatever it would take to get his father’s blessing anyway. Eventually, he succeeded—through deceit—obtaining the blessing intended for his brother (Genesis 27:19-29). But the price was a divided family, as Jacob fled from his furious brother (vv. 41-43). As night descended (28:11), Jacob must have felt as far from a life of blessing as ever. But it was there, leaving behind a trail of deception, that Jacob met God. God showed him he didn’t need desperate schemes to be blessed; he already was. His destiny—a purpose far greater than material prosperity (v. 14)—was held securely by the One who would never leave him (v. 15). It was a lesson Jacob would spend his whole life learning. And so will we. No matter how many regrets we carry or how distant God seems, He is still there—gently guiding us out of our mess into His blessing. —Monica Brands Lord, so often we feel trapped by our mistakes, thinking there’s no future left for us. Remind us that you are the God of Jacob, the God who will never give up on Your purposes for us. God never gives up on His love and purposes for our lives.

Friday, June 15, 2018

“Lovable!”

The week has come to an end YES! We have made it to FRIDAY! As we prepare ourselves to Celebrate Father's Day let's take a moment to reflect on these words of wisdom Read: Jeremiah 31:1–6 Bible in a Year: Nehemiah 1–3; Acts 2:1–21 I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with unfailing kindness.—Jeremiah 31:3 “Lovable!” That exclamation came from my daughter as she got ready one morning. I didn’t know what she meant. Then she tapped her shirt, a hand-me-down from a cousin. Across the front was that word: “Lovable.” I gave her a big hug, and she smiled with pure joy. “You are lovable!” I echoed. Her smile grew even bigger, if that was possible, as she skipped away, repeating the word over and over again. I’m hardly a perfect father. But that moment was perfect. In that spontaneous, beautiful interaction, I glimpsed in my girl’s radiant face what receiving unconditional love looked like: It was a portrait of delight. She knew the word on her shirt corresponded completely with how her daddy felt about her. How many of us know in our hearts that we are loved by a Father whose affection for us is limitless? Sometimes we struggle with this truth. The Israelites did. They wondered if their trials meant God no longer loved them. But in Jeremiah 31:3, the prophet reminds them of what God said in the past: “I have loved you with an everlasting love.” We too long for such unconditional love. Yet the wounds, disappointments, and mistakes we experience can make us feel anything but lovable. But God opens His arms—the arms of a perfect Father—and invites us to experience and rest in His love. —Adam Holz Lord, hard things in our lives can tempt us to believe we are unlovable. But You say otherwise. Please help us to receive the life-transforming gift of Your everlasting love for us. No one loves us like our Father. INSIGHT: Much of the book of Jeremiah deals with the prophet’s anguished appeal for God’s people to turn back to Him. Those pleas were ignored, making judgment inevitable. But God’s love is relentless, and in chapters 30-31 Jeremiah gives hope to the remnant who would live through the coming invasion. “The people who survive the sword will find favor in the wilderness,” God said (31:2). This “favor” would show up in ways the scattered survivors likely thought no longer possible. What the invading horde destroyed, God would rebuild, causing the people to “take up [their] timbrels and go out to dance with the joyful” (v. 4). Their farmers would plant fruitful vineyards (v. 5). No longer would watchmen cry out in warning, but would instead call the people to Zion (Jerusalem) for worship (v. 6). When we begin to understand the scope of God’s love, we can accept His correction and learn from it. As we embrace His everlasting love, we find that God’s discipline is for our good and is proof that we are His children (see Hebrews 12:5-7). Do you see God as our gentle and loving heavenly Father? In what ways have you sensed His loving correction? Tim Gustafson

Monday, June 11, 2018

Advice from My Father

So has we start the New Week in the second week of June just take a moment to reflect on How God Grace and Mercy has substance you through the ups and downs of life even when you begin to reflect on some of the decision you have made weather it be right or wrong, How has the Father God come through for you on so many occasion here are some words of wisdom to help guide you through the rest of the week with Read: Proverbs 3:1–7 Bible in a Year: Ezra 1–2; John 19:23–42 Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding.—Proverbs 3:5 After being laid off from an editorial job, I prayed, asking for God to help me find a new one. But when weeks went by and nothing came of my attempts at networking and filling out applications, I began to pout. “Don’t You know how important it is that I have a job?” I asked God, my arms folded in protest at my seemingly unanswered prayer. When I talked to my father, who had often reminded me about believing God’s promises, about my job situation, he said, “I want you to get to the point where you trust what God says.” My father’s advice reminds me of Proverbs 3, which includes wise advice from a parent to a beloved child. This familiar passage was especially applicable to my situation: “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight” (Proverbs 3:5-6). To “make . . . paths straight” means God will guide us toward His goals for our growth. His ultimate goal is that I become more like Him. This does not mean that the paths He chooses will be easy. But I can choose to trust that His direction and timing are ultimately for my good. Are you waiting on God for an answer? Choose to draw near to Him and trust that He will guide you. —Linda Washington Lord, thank You for guiding and caring for us every step of the way. Help us to trust in You daily. Your Father in heaven knows what’s best for you. INSIGHT: The first nine chapters of Proverbs don’t follow the same format (pithy sayings; poetry couplets) that the rest of the book follows. The beginning chapters are a father’s encouragement to his son. The father tells his son of the benefits of wisdom, of its ability to make life more pleasant and fulfilling. Wisdom and folly are personified and invite the young man to pursue them. But why is this important? It seems obvious that wisdom is better than folly, so why go to such lengths to convince a child of the need to pursue wisdom? The answer is experiential. You see, folly is the easier of the two, the more natural. As we read chapters 10-31, we see what the better choice is. But folly is far simpler to choose—it seems hardwired into us. Whether it’s a harsh word, a selfish action, or self-indulgence, folly is always ready to embrace us. That’s why the father takes such time to encourage his son to pursue wisdom. Wisdom isn’t restricted to big decisions, however; we need it for every action we take and every word we speak. How can we pursue wisdom today? J.R. Hudberg

Friday, June 8, 2018

Faces

The week has come to an end YES! we have made it to FRIDAY! as we take a moment to reflect over this week have a moment of Gratitude to have made it through this rough week with these words of wisdom Read: Galatians 5:22–26 Bible in a Year: 2 Chronicles 30–31; John 18:1–18 We all, who with unveiled faces contemplate the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory.—2 Corinthians 3:18 When our granddaughter Sarah was very young, she explained to me what happens when you die: “Only your face goes to heaven, not your body. You get a new body, but keep the same face.” Sarah’s concept of our eternal state was a child’s understanding, of course, but she did grasp an essential truth. In a sense, our faces are a visible reflection of the invisible soul. My mother used to say that an angry look might someday freeze on my face. She was wiser than she knew. A worried brow, an angry set to our mouths, a sly look in our eyes may reveal a miserable soul. On the other hand, kind eyes, a gentle look, a warm and welcoming smile—despite wrinkles, blemishes, and other disfigurements—become the marks of inner transformation. We can’t do much about the faces we were born with, but we can do something about the kind of person we’re growing into. We can pray for humility, patience, kindness, tolerance, gratefulness, forgiveness, peace, and love (Galatians 5:22-26). By God’s grace, and in His time, may you and I grow toward an inner resemblance to our Lord, a likeness reflected in a kind, old face. Thus, as English poet John Donne (1572-1631) said, age becomes “loveliest at the latest day.” —David H. Roper Lord Jesus, I want to be more like You each day. Help me to cooperate with the work You want to do in my heart. There’s nothing like the beauty of a loving heart. INSIGHT: Policemen, firemen, doctors, and nurses put on clothes that distinctively identify them. What about the Christian? What distinguishes us as followers of Jesus? Paul tells us to “clothe [ourselves] with the Lord Jesus Christ” (Romans 13:14). Earlier in Romans Paul says, God “predestined [us] to be conformed to the image of his Son” (8:29). It was God’s intention when He saved us that we would become like His Son. Our spiritual transformation is a process, however (2 Corinthians 3:18). The Holy Spirit works in us to increasingly make us more like Christ (1 John 3:2). To be like Jesus is “to be like God—truly righteous and holy” (Ephesians 4:24 nlt). Our transformation will only be fully completed at the second coming of Christ (1 Corinthians 15:49-53). As you reflect on your spiritual transformation since coming to Jesus, in what areas have you seen growth? Can others say, “I can see Christ in you”? K. T. Sim

Monday, June 4, 2018

Open My Eyes

The weekend has come to an end let's just start this New week with these words of wisdom to help guide us through the rest of this week with Read: John 14:23–31 Bible in a Year: 2 Chronicles 21–22; John 14 The Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things.—John 14:26 The first time I went to the gorgeous Chora Church in Istanbul, I was able to figure out some Bible stories from the Byzantine frescos and mosaics on the ceiling. But there was much I missed. The second time, however, I had a guide. He pointed to all the details I had previously missed, and suddenly everything made perfect sense! The first aisle, for instance, depicted the life of Jesus as recorded in the gospel of Luke. Sometimes when we read the Bible we understand the basic stories, but what about the connections—those details that weave Scripture into the one perfect story? We have Bible commentaries and study tools, yes, but we also need a guide—someone to open our eyes and help us see the wonders of God’s written revelation. Our guide is the Holy Spirit who teaches us “all things” (John 14:26). Paul wrote that He explains “spiritual realities with Spirit-taught words” (1 Corinthians 2:13). How wonderful to have the Author of the Book to show us the wonders of it! God has not only given us His written Word and His revelation but He also helps us to understand it and learn from it. So let us pray with the psalmist, saying, “Open my eyes that I may see wonderful things in your law” (Psalm 119:18). —Keila Ochoa Dear Lord, as I read Your Word, open my eyes that I may discover the wonders of Your revelation. Study more at basics.christianuniversity.org/courses/SF105. We need God in order to understand Scripture. INSIGHT: Did you do connect-the-dot puzzles as a child? When Jesus spoke in John 14:23-31 about giving His Spirit to show His disciples all they needed to know, they couldn’t yet see the picture. What He said about love, obedience, and the Spirit who would help them put it all together were still just words. Imagine what it was like to be one of Jesus’s disciples for whom what He was saying was such a mystery and a puzzle on that Passover night. Then the Spirit came and began to reveal truth. Think about how the Spirit is now, through the Scriptures, connecting the dots for you. Mart DeHaan

Friday, June 1, 2018

Stop

So here we are it's the end of the week YES! it is FRIDAY! we have step over into the 6th month of the New Year WELCOME to the month of June with these words of wisdom Read: Psalm 46 Bible in a Year: 2 Chronicles 15–16; John 12:27–50 Be still, and know that I am God.—Psalm 46:10 My friend and I sat in the sand, near the ever-rhythmic ocean. As the sun sank in the distance, wave after wave curled, paused and then rippled toward our extended toes, stopping just short each time. “I love the ocean,” she smiled. “It moves so I don’t have to.” What a thought! So many of us struggle to stop. We do, do, do and go, go, go, somehow afraid that if we cease our efforts we will cease to be. Or that by stopping we will expose ourselves to the ever-present realities we work to keep at bay. In Psalm 46:8-9, God flexes His omnipotent muscles, putting His power on display. “Come and see what the Lord has done . . . . He makes wars cease to the ends of the earth. He breaks the bow and shatters the spear; he burns the shields with fire.” God is a busy God, who works to create calm within the chaos of our days. And then in verse 10 we read, “Be still, and know that I am God.” Of course it’s possible to know God while running here and there. But the psalmist’s invitation to cease striving beckons us into a different kind of knowing. A knowing that we can stop—and still be—because God never stops. A knowing that it is God’s power that gives us ultimate value, protection, and peace. —Elisa Morgan Dear God, help me to find my rest in You. We rest well when we’re in the loving arms and perfect will of God. INSIGHT: Psalm 46 has been a source of encouragement to many over the years—including reformer Martin Luther. In fact, he based the classic hymn “A Mighty Fortress Is Our God” on this psalm. During times of struggle “when terribly discouraged, he would turn to his co-worker, Philipp Melanchthon, and say, ‘Come, Philipp, let us sing the forty-sixth Psalm’” (Ligonier Ministries, Luther and the Psalms: His Solace and Strength). This mighty fortress describes the God of strength who is our refuge. And He is also the God who calls us to find our rest in Him. In the New Testament, Jesus personalized that rest when He said, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28). In the midst of the cares and despairs of life, we can stop, be still, and find refuge in God. Bill Crowder