Devotions

  • Walk With The Wise

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    Whoever scorns instruction will pay for it, but whoever respects a command is rewarded.

    The teaching of the wise is a fountain of life, turning a person from the snares of death.

    Good judgment wins favor, but the way of the unfaithful leads to their destruction.

    All who are prudent act with knowledge, but fools expose their folly.

    A wicked messenger falls into trouble, but a trustworthy envoy brings healing.

    Whoever disregards discipline comes to poverty and shame, but whoever heeds correction is honored.

    A longing fulfilled is sweet to the soul, but fools detest turning from evil.

    Walk with the wise and become wise, for a companion of fools suffers harm. PROVERBS 13:8-20

    Insight

    Solomon speaks to the influence others have on our walk with God. Contained within this single verse are both a promise and a warning that we should take seriously.

    Let’s start with the promise. If you surround yourself with wise people, you will in turn become wise. Throughout the book of Proverbs, Solomon goes into great detail highlighting the differences between the wise, the fool and the scoffer. Time and time again, he highlights the benefits of pursuing wisdom.

    The wise are able to navigate through life with stability and gratitude. They walk with integrity. There is a consistency in their character. But, wise people rarely become wise on their own. They have friends who have the same focus and foundation. Their wisdom rubs off on one another as they pursue a common goal: reflecting Christ in their lives. They are driven by convictions.

    On the flip side, if you surround yourself with fools, their foolishness will eventually rub off on you. When Solomon refers to someone as a fool, he isn’t saying the individual is ignorant. Rather, these individuals are indifferent to the Truth and focused on their own satisfaction. They foolishly believe they know what is best for their life. Their search for fulfillment in all the wrong things causes them to overact to their feelings and circumstances. This only leads to disappointment and regret. Gratitude is nowhere to be found.

    Stop and think for a moment: are these the individuals you want influencing the direction for your life? Do you want their advice and suggestions to guide your footsteps? How are they impacting your ability to be grateful? Today, reflect on who you are letting into your inner circle and giving the ability to influence your heart.

    Reflection

    • Who are influencing the direction of your life?
    • Who do you look to for wisdom and guidance? Why do you look to these individuals for words of wisdom?
    • Would you say you are able to navigate through life with stability and gratitude? Why or why not?

    Prayer

    God, I thank You for the people in my life whose greatest concern is my character. I pray that I would surround myself with people who are pursuing Your heart. Help me to spur others on to experience more of You. In Your name, Jesus. Amen.

  • Bringing Out The Best

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    Use your heads as you live and work among outsiders. Don’t miss a trick. Make the most of every opportunity. Be gracious in your speech. The goal is to bring out the best in others in a conversation, not put them down, not cut them out. Colossians 4:5-6 (The Message)

    Insight

    When we love one another and speak the truth in love, God reveals Himself to others through us and His love is made complete. Our mindset should not be on our needs, our wants or our desires. Instead, we are looking across the table and considering how can we bring the best out of the other person.

    This seems like a lofty goal and it is. Here are a few things to consider when attempting to speak the truth in love:

    • Always consider your audience. The words you speak may compel someone while it doesn’t move the next person. People hear and process things differently and you need to take that into consideration.
    • Before speaking, don’t forget to take the time to listen. Use your ears first and your lips second. Listen actively and with empathy. While you are listening, try to hear how God is moving in the individual’s life.
    • Invite God into your conservation by asking Him to help you discern the truth that is needed for that situation. This begins by surrendering your will to Jesus Christ and making sure your motives are pure for speaking.
    • Since we are called to proclaim God’s Truth, make sure you know what you believe and why. Unfortunately, there are times when we feel we are speaking God’s truth when in fact we are just stating our opinion, sharing our thoughts on a situation or giving advice based on cultural perception.
    • Everything goes back to the relationship. You are not responsible for the individual changing, but God can use you as an agent of change. This requires you to stay connected to the person by coming alongside them in their walk.

    When you speak the truth in love, you recognize transformation takes time to take root in an individual. Your speech should have the ability to move the individual into an appreciation of God’s Truth. In these crucial conversations, accountability must always be met with grace. 

    Reflection

    • Can you think of a time when God used someone to speak the truth in love to get your attention and help form your character?
    • When it comes to the communication suggestions mentioned in today’s passage, where are you challenged the most? Is there someone in your life you need to speak the truth in love to? How can you begin to engage in a crucial conversation with this individual?

    Prayer

    God, as I choose the words I speak help me to think relationship first. May my words compel people towards action, but most importantly towards You and Your love. In Your name, Jesus. Amen.

  • Sheepish

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    “I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me— just as the Father knows me and I know the Father—and I lay down my life for the sheep. I have other sheep that are not of this sheep pen. I must bring them also. They too will listen to my voice, and there shall be one flock and one shepherd. The reason my Father loves me is that I lay down my life—only to take it up again. No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down and authority to take it up again. This command I received from my Father.” John 10:14-18

    Insight

    The imagery of a shepherd tends to get lost on us in our modern world. However, this metaphor would’ve resonated deeply with Jesus’ audience. Not only was this a job present in their culture, the image of a sheep and shepherd were also used throughout the Old Testament. Jesus utilizes this imagery to describe Himself. The job of a shepherd gives us a glimpse into His heart as well as shines light on our human tendencies.

    In a way, these passages should cause two different reactions to well up within us: (1) comfort and (2) humility.

    We are cared for and protected by a God who knows us intimately. Every day the Shepherd makes sure that the needs of His flock are met. The Good Shepherd guides them through danger and rescues them when they’re lost. But, Jesus takes it a step further to a point that would appear crazy to His listeners. This shepherd was willing to lay down His life for some sheep.

    These animals are a dime a dozen. Why go so far as dying for them?

    Indeed, the shepherd’s actions show how valued we are in His eyes. However, think about the implications on what Jesus is saying about us. If He’s our shepherd, than what does that make us? DUMB SHEEP. That’s what we are. Sheep are notoriously stubborn, stupid and helpless.

    We are lost and helpless. Without the protection of a caring shepherd, we startle easily when we are in danger or faced with uncertainty. We can be prideful and think we know the right direction for our lives, but just like sheep, we often don’t see the steep cliff that awaits us on the other end.

    For as clueless as sheep are, there is one thing they do very well: they know their shepherd’s voice. During Jesus’ time, at night shepherds would bring their flock to a common stall with only one gate in and out. All the sheep would spend the evening there, but no shepherd worried about their flock getting mixed up over night. Why?

    When the sheep heard the voice of their shepherd, they’d separate from the rest of the pack and follow his lead. A sheep instinctively knew who his or her shepherd was just by their voice. Even though other shepherds would call to the sheep, they only responded to the call of their owner.

    This is why we must humbly tune our ears and LISTEN to His voice. We must KNOW His voice because there are others who are vying for our attention and affection. Discernment only comes when we immerse ourselves in His Word and surround ourselves with others who are also pursuing God’s heart. Recognizing His voice and His leading enables us to confidently take our next step of faith.

    Reflection

    • Where are you currently being stubborn when it comes to giving something over to God?
    • How does someone become discerning?

    Prayer

    Lord, thank You for being a loving shepherd who guides and protects me. Help me to hear and trust Your voice. Let me see myself as a sheep that is utterly helpless and vulnerable without You. In Your name, Jesus. Amen.

  • Seeking Wisdom

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    When I was a child I spoke as a child, I understood like a child, I thought as a child; but when I became a man, I put away my childish things. 1 Corinthians 13:11

    As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another. Proverbs 27:17 

    Insight

    I can’t recall all of the many words of wisdom provided to me by my father. There were too many. I can tell you that at the age of 16 I thought he was kind of old fashioned and unimaginative. I can also tell you that by age a 26 I felt like a total idiot for not absorbing so much of the godly wisdom that he poured into me.

    I grew up fishing with dad. From the time I can remember anything I remember boats and water. I remember the smell of dad’s coffee, the way the sun felt on my young face, and how impatient I would get in between bites. I also remember getting frustrated as a young boy and complaining to my father of what a poor fisherman I was. His reply: “Son, if you want to be a good fisherman, watch what other fisherman do.” From that point on, I talked to other fisherman, studied their lure selection and retrieval speeds, and mimicked whatever I saw them do that was putting fish on the stringer. The result, I became a pretty good fisherman.

    Dad gave me other advice. Limit your alcohol consumption, treat people with respect, honor your mother, and study the Word. He also gave me incredibly good practical advice. Finish what you start, change your motor oil every three thousand miles, and go to college.

    Some of dad’s advice came naturally to me. I innately wanted to follow it. Others, not so much. I ran with a group of friends who also gave me advice, who wanted to influence me, and to shape my thinking and view of the world. And while their intentions were good, they lacked the salt that my dad’s wisdom had.  The result, is a lot of regret, a lot of lessons learned the hard way, and too much separation from the man God wanted me to be.

    You are the company you keep. Have you ever heard that? Pray about those you surround yourself with. Does that mean that you abdicate your responsibility to love and influence your close friends? Absolutely not. But it does mean that a godly person understands that iron sharpens iron, and that we need to keep our Christ following friends, very, very close to us.

    I do not have a silver bullet that will eliminate all of my bad decisions.  For what it’s worth neither did David, Solomon, or the disciples. We’re all in a battle between heaven and hell, and simply knowing that can frame our decision-making process in a more godly light.

    Author John Eldridge says that “God is a God of process.” I think what he means by that is that a follower of God is on a never-ending pursuit of Him. Every moment can be a longing to learn more, to love Him more, and to understand Him more. Draw near to God; and He will draw close to you (James 4:8). I think if there is a silver bullet, this would probably be it.

    Reflection

    • What action steps will you take going forward that will enable you to make wiser decisions? Who has God placed in your life to speak wisdom to you?

    Prayer

    Lord, keep me in Your company this week.  Please pour Your wisdom into me, and allow this wisdom to become a part of the fabric of who I am. I pray that I learn to listen and adhere to the wise advice of friends, colleagues, and even strangers that You put in my path to shape me into the person You want me to be. I am yours, Father. I seek Your wisdom, Your love, and Your forgiveness today. Amen.

    PC3 writer Jeff Headrick wrote today’s devotional.

  • The Company You Keep

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    Walk with the wise and become wise, for a companion of fools suffers harm. Proverbs 13:20

    Insight

    Over the years our parents, family members, teachers and coaches shared with us words of wisdom about life. Sometimes the advice came out of left field and didn’t make much sense. How could one’s eyes be bigger than their stomach? Would our face really get stuck that way if we didn’t stop with that smirk?

    Yet, peppered in between the random and silly advice, were insightful nuggets that helped us navigate through life. Money doesn’t grow on trees. Treat others like you want to be treated. It’s better to give than receive. If you tell the truth, you don’t have to remember anything.

    If we soaked up every ounce of wisdom they told us, the trajectory of our lives would have been drastically different. Sadly, all of us can think of times when their words went “in one ear and out the other.” Because of this, a lot of heartbreak, confusion, pain, and shame was experienced. Failing to put into practice what we heard is what lead to many of our greatest regrets.

    Take for instance the area of friendships and relationships. Our parents went on and on about avoiding the drama, not falling for peer pressure, and that in order to get a friend, you need to be a friend. They urged us to steer clear of the wrong crowd. We were told that it’s easier for those we hang around with to pull us down than it is for us to pull them up. They asked us whether we would jump off a bridge if our friends did.

    As we attempted to develop our sense of identity, many of their words fell on deaf ears. We shook our heads and then went about our business trying to find the one thing we craved the most: ACCEPTANCE. By nature, we are acceptance magnets and gravitate towards those who accept us and love us. This force is so powerful that if we’re not careful, we were willing to make unwise decisions just to fit in and find our tribe. We exchanged our integrity for whatever acceptance and love we could get our hands on.

    Now, there are some who believe the allure of peer pressure lessens as we grow older. The influence our friendships and relationships have on the person we are becoming is minimal now as adults. But, it’s simply not true. The same truth that went “in one ear and out the other” is just as relevant and just as true today.

    Scripture and science show us time and time again that our connection points form and mold us. They can take their toll on our heart as well as make it come alive. We are the sum of the people we surround ourselves with. Quite simply, our friends will determine the quality and direction of our lives.

    Because this is true, we must pause and determine the direction of the influence. What connections are causing chaos? Who is dragging us down? Which relationships are having a negative effect on our attitude, actions, and perspective? Where are we looking for acceptance in all the wrong places? How can we cut off this influence? On the flip side, what relationships are helping us flourish? Who in our lives spurs us on to pursue God’s heart? What connections cause you to gain confidence in our character? How can we tap into these relationships and up the influence they have in our lives?

    We must choose our friends wisely. We can’t let this important truth go “in one ear and out the other.”

    Reflection

    • How are your relationships and friendships shaping the person you are becoming?

    Prayer

    God, help me to stop and take an inventory on the people who have influence in my life. Shine light on the connection points that are inhibiting my growth. Bring to mind those relationships that encourage and spur me on in my walk with You. Open my eyes to the reality that I am accepted and loved by You unconditionally. Rather than running to others for that need to be fulfilled, may I rest securely in Your love. In Your name, Jesus. Amen.

  • Exception To The Rule

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    Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you. Ephesians 4:29-32

    Insight

    It amazes me how inserting a simple word into a sentence can drastically alter its impact. Oh, how we wish the author, the Apostle Paul, put an out clause when it comes to our anger. If we were the writer of this passage, we’d rewrite it completely. Our version would read something like this:

    “Get rid of some of the bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander. Love those who are lovable, but cling to the malice you have for those that caused you pain. Be kind and compassionate to those who deserve it, forgiving others on your own terms, because, after all, the forgiveness Christ extended to you was less than those individuals who caused you scars.”

    Unfortunately, God didn’t give us a red pen to make corrections. Instead, Paul charges us to get rid of ALL bitterness, rage and anger. There are no exceptions, fine print or loopholes. Every single emotion that divides and damages our relationships we are told to tackle head on. The Greek term Paul uses for ‘get rid of’ can be translated to mean to ‘remove, separate yourself from.’ In this passage, Paul draws a line in the sand when it comes to those emotions that destroy relationships. He is speaking of those places and situations that have remained off limits for far too long.

    Now, I know what you are thinking, because I’m wondering the same thing. Is this charge by Paul even possible? Can you truly get rid of A-L-L anger? And even if it is truly possible, shouldn’t there be some exceptions to the rule? Because it seems impossible, this command often goes “in one ear and out the other.”

    Just like you, I have a few stories I can rattle off about past hurts and letdowns. I can point to wounds and scars that still sting to this day. And, chances are good, if you listened to my tale and I listened to yours, we’d feel completely justified in our anger and bitter responses to situations we had no control over. We’d pat each other on the back and say, “you are right……you are owed something.”

    Very few of us possess the strength and courage to instead challenge our perspective and suggest forgiving those who have caused us pain. And, we would never dare suggest that we are viewing life as a victim.

    But, the reality is that’s exactly what I’m doing. When I take on the victim role, I lead the conversation with justifications and excuses. My story becomes my crutch that prevents me from truly walking in freedom. It’s what I use to rationalize and excuse not only my behavior, but my heart set as well. Since I can explain everything away, I don’t need to change or take responsibility for my response, or lack thereof. I can just sit back and continue to stew over my rage. The only action that is required on my part is making sure the other person pays for the deeds done against me.

    I think by playing the victim I’m punishing the other individual when in actuality, I’m the one trapped in my own prison. The key to unlocking my cell is visible and at my disposal. But, when I look at the word inscribed on it I cringe. It’s the last thing I want to do. Every part of me resists this response. I don’t want to submit to God’s authority in this area. Yet, the key sits there every moment of every day.

    FORGIVENESS

    Forgiveness is what allows us to love those who haven’t loved us back. Forgiveness is what enables me to extend compassion to those who were uncompassionate to me. Forgiveness is the key to letting go of my anger. It’s the only cure for the freedom I so desperately desire.

    My story may explain my behavior, but it never excuses my actions. I’ve got to write a better story. One where my story collides with God’s forgiveness and it shapes my response to the world. I don’t want to tell a story of a victim who is trapped in their past. There is nothing courageous about that tale. True courage is found in my ability to forgive.

    Only you know those situations where you are resistant to write a different story of your past. Today, when you ponder those areas, ask yourself: whom do I trust? Do I trust God with this pain? Do I trust God with these scars and wounds? This is why the truth that God’s word is living and active, found in Hebrews 4:12,13 is so important. You must allow God to do the delicate surgery to separate between joint and marrow, soul and spirit.  By giving God access to your heart you are able to see its true state. It’s through this encounter where God can finally form and shape your heart and lead you to the path of forgiveness.

    Reflection

    • Who are you struggling to forgive? How is this influencing your anger and your approach to this relationship?

    Prayer

    God, may I not use my past to justify my anger. May I not attempt to justify my behavior or excuse my bitterness. Remind me of the forgiveness You’ve extended to me. Give me the courage to write a different story founded on forgiveness. In Your name, Jesus. Amen.

     

  • Open-Minded

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    When I first came to you, dear brothers and sisters, I didnt use lofty words and impressive wisdom to tell you Gods secret plan. For I decided that while I was with you I would forget everything except Jesus Christ, the one who was crucified. 1 Corinthians 2:1-2

    But while knowledge makes us feel important, it is love that strengthens the church. Anyone who claims to know all the answers doesnt really know very much. But the person who loves God is the one whom God recognizes. 1 Corinthians 8:1-3

    Insight

    I was in a yoga class a couple weeks ago. Before we started, I was telling the lady next to me that I enjoyed the exercise, but as a Christian I don’t subscribe to the new-age beliefs that the teacher shares during class. The lady smiled condescendingly and said, “Maybe you can be open-minded. All religions work together.”

    Class started before I could offer a defensive retort like, “Well, you can be so open-minded that your brain falls out!”

    Mike Ashcraft has been talking to us about knowledge that puffs us up versus love that builds up (1 Corinthians 8:1). I had just met this lady, and if I had launched into a lecture right then, I would have lost her. Perhaps God is giving me time to earn the right to speak truth to her later by loving her in the present. I pray that as I am friendly to her, God will give me another chance to share the freeing, saving truth of the cross.

    After all, it wasn’t that long ago that I had wrapped myself in the world’s prideful lies that made it easy to dismiss the fact that I needed a Savior:

    • “There are many paths to God.”
    • “People who do more good than bad will wind up in heaven.”
    • “Jesus may be real for you, but not for me.”
    • “Sin is a made-up concept used to make me feel guilty.”
    • “There is no absolute truth.” (Which, by the way, is an absolute statement!)

    Isn’t the point of being open-minded so we can wrap our brains around the truth when we see it and hold on tight? Our brains are given to us to awaken our hearts; otherwise what difference is there between humans and computers?

    When I finally dug deeper into Christianity, I discovered that the meaning and purpose I was searching for is only found in the context of my relationship with God. Loving Him with all my heart, mind, soul and strength and loving others as myself are God’s commands that allow me to be part of His plan to reconcile the world to Himself (2 Corinthians 5:11-20). What a privilege that is. 

    Reflection

    • What lies have you believed about God in the past?
    • As you get to know Him better through His Word, what truths have you discovered?
    • How has living for Christ affected your relationships with people around you?

    Prayer

    Dear Father in Heaven, the world is full of vague, fluffy lies meant to distract us from the only truth that leads to a meaningful life here on earth and eternal life in heaven with You. Fill our hearts and minds with the truth of Your Son, who came here to rescue us from the sin we inherited from Adam. In Christ’s holy name we pray. Amen.

    PC3 writer Katy Davis wrote today’s devotional.

  • Displayed In Obedience

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    Now among those who went up to worship at the feast were some Greeks. So these came to Philip, who was from Bethsaida in Galilee, and asked him, “Sir, we wish to see Jesus.”  Philip went and told Andrew; Andrew and Philip went and told Jesus. And Jesus answered them, “The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified. Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit. Whoever loves his life loses it, and whoever hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life. If anyone serves me, he must follow me; and where I am, there will my servant be also. If anyone serves me, the Father will honor him. John 12:20-26

    Insight

    Self-denial isn’t resigning one’s self to a life of misery and drudgery. The opposite is true. Dying to ourselves and living for Christ is where true joy, security and purpose are found. But, this requires work and intention on our part.

    It entails counting the cost of following Christ (Luke 14:28). We do this by exposing the areas of our heart where we are chasing comfort and convenience above all else. It necessitates being honest about the line items on our personal agenda we don’t want to scratch out. It means slowing down long enough to reflect and ponder. It begins with possessing the courage to push through comfort’s charm and head towards the specific purpose God has for our life, which leads towards a place of refinement, inconvenience and stretching.

    The apostle Paul urges us to “work out YOUR salvation with fear and trembling” (Philippians 2:12). Once again, not a very comforting or convenient statement. Now, don’t confuse these words for a charge to earn spiritual merit badges through good works. Remember, God’s grace is a free gift.

    You can’t earn something that is given to you with no strings attached. So, what Paul is telling the believers in the church of Philippi, as well as us, is to put into action God’s saving work in YOUR own life. The way you go about your day should serve as a response to being loved.

    Working out your salvation entails ruthless personal reflection, listening to the promptings of the Holy Spirit and clarifying your calling. It means possessing a willingness to say to God, “Yes, Lord I will obey….now what’s the question? I’m going to follow you wherever you lead. I’m going to trust you with who I am becoming. I am going to submit my ways to You.”

    Christ calls each one of us to die to ourselves and pick up our cross. This is a universal command, but one that gets displayed in obedience in a variety of different ways.

    Jesus calls us to follow Him (John 12:26), and following Him means, first and foremost, to die.  To lay down our desires.  To lay down our hopes and dreams.  To put aside anything other than full devotion to Him and His plan for our lives.  To be willing to part with the things that we so easily cling onto for life and to say to God, “I’m willing to lay them down if it means I can be used by You to bring You glory and bear fruit so that others may know You as God.”

    We shouldn’t overvalue comfort when we count the cost of being a disciple.  Instead, we have to choose our calling over our comfort. Clarifying your sacrifice will make room for your purpose and your calling to become clear. The time has come to put the work in so you can articulate what YOUR cross is.

    Reflection

    • In what situations do you need to drop your agenda and pick up your cross and follow Christ?

    Prayer

    God, I want to stop overvaluing comfort when I count the cost of being a disciple and following You. I want to do the work necessary to articulate my cross. Instead of comfort, may I confidently deny myself knowing that You will use this sacrifice to make an impact. In Your name, Jesus. Amen. 

  • Awaken

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    “The most important one,” answered Jesus, “is this: ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.” Mark 12:29-31

    Insight

    In our minds, we create “truths” that determine our direction and influence our perspective. They are often rooted in our desire to experience freedom, peace and hope. Chasing after those things, and proving to others they are true, becomes our agenda and purpose. They are so powerful they don’t even need to be verbalized to control our mindset and lay claim to our heart.

    Often, they begin with the word IF. As in, if I get married, then I will finally be happy. If I had more money, then I would feel more secure. If humanity could all agree on my side of the issue, then there would be unity.

    Each IF/THEN statement is based upon what we think will handle the affections of our souls. Yet, no matter how hard we might push for them to be true, they always leave us disappointed. They collapse under the pressure because they weren’t designed to be the source of our hope.

    Truth doesn’t set us free so that we can do whatever we want. In fact, that is no freedom at all. If we’re not careful, we can use that freedom and still be enslaved through our self-absorption.

    This doesn’t lead to freedom, but rather frustration and futility. Why is this case? Because everything finds its meaning and purpose within the context of its relationship to God. Apart from Him nothing makes sense. The only foundation strong enough to support the weight of our desires is God’s truth. Our lives were created in the image of God to demonstrate His compelling beauty and the greatness of His love.

    Freeing truth compels us to love. We demonstrate our understanding of God’s truth when we give our lives away. The way in which we do this flows from our relationship with our Creator and our willingness to stay connected to Him. Rather than a principle or an issue, truth is always found in the context of a relationship.

    Human beings are designed to relate to one another in the context of love. Whoever loves is known by God and it is this knowing that serves as the source for which we love others. The heart is the source of love while the soul and mind are instruments of love. Our hearts must be awakened to live and to love. Our minds are useful to that end.

    Reflection

    • Lust, envy, anger, comparison, pride, jealousy, indifference, complacency, etc. Where do you need to dig deeper into the truth to expose the state of your heart? How can you utilize your mind to awaken your heart to love when it comes to this issue?

    Prayer

    God, I desire to be drawn to Your truth in such a way that it is forged into my character and heart. Help me to trust that everything I desire and hope for finds its meaning and purpose in You. May I transform my mind in order to awaken my heart to Your will. In Your name, Jesus. Amen.

     

  • Losing Control

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    So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. Isaiah 41:10

    The Lord your God is with you, the Mighty Warrior who saves. He will take great delight in you; in His love He will no longer rebuke you, but will rejoice over you with singing. Zephaniah 3:17

    Insight

    Being a mom is such a joy! You start out with this tiny human who happens to look like you, and slowly (but also quickly) you end up with grown adults who are living the life you taught them to live. Along the way there are these fascinating times of watching them physically grow, learn new concepts, and achieve new things. It’s incredible, and rewarding, and there is no bigger blessing.

    But also some days your husband leaves for work with a full belly, and a hot cup of coffee, and a cheery smile. And you are left with one toddler screaming with an ear infection, the other throwing everyone’s breakfast on the floor, one dog peeing on the carpet, the doorbell ringing, the car alarm going off; all while you have your own head in the kitchen sink because you’re eight weeks pregnant so your mornings are pretty much all about vomit. And it’s in this moment when you’re thinking Come, Lord. take me home… that He reminds you – you are not in control.

    It is on these days, when you are laughing because it’s all you’ve got; and you’re raising the white flags, that you toss your hands into the air – and you praise Him. It’s a real good thing that this life isn’t actually up to me; because it would all go down in flames every single day. Instead, I can sing praises that HE is in control, and I can give it all to Him. We are more capable than we think, when we trust God, and let Him help us carry our load. I can be a leader in my family when I trust God to first lead me.

    So when it all hits the fan, remember Isaiah 41:10. So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.

    You don’t have to fear your life spinning out of control; He is with you. You don’t have to wonder if you’re strong enough to handle what’s next; He is. And when you can’t even stand on your own two feet, He will hold you up. You don’t even need to understand why you feel like you’re drowning in the ocean waves. All that matters is that you let Him be the captain of your ship.

    Reflection

    • Where in your life do you need to toss your hands in the air, let go of your control, and praise Him?
    • When it takes a village, who do you turn to? Have you praised Him for your village lately?

    Prayer

    God, during those moments that don’t make sense, that test my limits, that make me want to quit, may I instead praise You. Remind me that You are in control of my circumstances, even when it doesn’t seem that way. Give me the boldness to trust You with every step I take. In Your name, Jesus. Amen. 

    PC3 writer Annalee Thomasson wrote today’s devotional.