Devotions

  • The Story Continues

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    And when Jesus had cried out again in a loud voice, he gave up his spirit.

    At that moment the curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom. The earth shook, the rocks split and the tombs broke open. The bodies of many holy people who had died were raised to life. They came out of the tombs after Jesus’ resurrection and went into the holy city and appeared to many people.

    When the centurion and those with him who were guarding Jesus saw the earthquake and all that had happened, they were terrified, and exclaimed, “Surely he was the Son of God!”

    Many women were there, watching from a distance. They had followed Jesus from Galilee to care for his needs. Among them were Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James and Joseph, and the mother of Zebedee’s sons.

    As evening approached, there came a rich man from Arimathea, named Joseph, who had himself become a disciple of Jesus. Going to Pilate, he asked for Jesus’ body, and Pilate ordered that it be given to him. Joseph took the body, wrapped it in a clean linen cloth, and placed it in his own new tomb that he had cut out of the rock. He rolled a big stone in front of the entrance to the tomb and went away. Mary Magdalene and the other Mary were sitting there opposite the tomb.  Matthew 27:50-61

    Insight

    Rejoice over the fact that you know the story of God’s love and that it doesn’t end on the cross, an advantage those who witnessed firsthand what happened to Jesus did not possess. They were in the dark as the chaos unfolded before their very eyes. Reread today’s passage on the crucifixion of Christ and pay particular attention to how individuals reacted to the events taking place.

    After mocking Him, the soldiers spat on and struck Jesus. Later they divvied out his clothing amongst each other. Simon, a random onlooker, was forced to carry Jesus’ cross.  One has to wonder what was going through Simon’s mind as he lugged the cross up the hills of Golgotha. While Jesus was near death, the crowds and chief priests hurled insult after insult in His direction.

    Even the thieves hanging on the crosses next to Jesus couldn’t resist taking a jab at the vulnerable teacher.  No one could comprehend why Jesus didn’t utilize the power He possessed to free Himself from this predicament.

    And the confusion continued when Jesus gave up His spirit. The earth shook and tombs broke open.  Not being able to comprehend what they were witnessing, terror filled the hearts of those guarding Jesus’ body.

    I can’t even begin to fathom what Jesus’ close friends were thinking. They had given up everything to follow Him, and now He was gone.

    But, this isn’t how the story ends. Three days later Jesus conquered death by rising again.

    Just like those who witnessed Jesus’ death, the picture of the cross strikes a deep chord within all of us. Many don’t know how to react to the Son of God dying on a cross for their sin. The cross evokes feelings of guilt and shame for some while others experience great joy and thankfulness. It speaks to the core of who we are no matter our background.

    Unarguably, the cross stands as the central most significant event in history. It requires our attention. The cross demands we stop and take notice. Everyone must come to grips with what this historic event means to them personally. At some point in everybody’s life, they will confront the reality of the cross.

    The question each one of us needs to ask is: what am I going to do with the cross? Will I embrace it, try to pay it back or ignore it? Will I look upon it with joy or shame? Most importantly, will I lay down my life and let Christ live within me or will I ignore it and keep living for myself?

    I hope that your response to the cross is thanksgiving. When you marvel at something praise erupts from your inner being. You can’t help but give praise to the object of your affection. Praise completes the enjoyment. How would your life look different if the cross and all that it stood for lead you to erupt in praise? What will it take to get you to this point, if you are not already there? We must be able to see the cross for what it is. It is imperative to see God’s righteousness vindicated, our sins forgiven, and that we are His people. This is the purpose of the cross.

    Reflection

    • How does the cross stand as the central most crucial event in history?
    • What have you done with the cross? How has Jesus’ act on the cross influenced and impacted the way you live, love and forgive?

    Prayer

    God, thank you for the beauty of the cross. Your love and grace are consistent and abounding. I rejoice in the gift You’ve given me. Through Your death, I’ve been given life. I want my life to reflect the sacrifice and love seen in the cross. Please open my eyes to all You have done for me. Help me to be grateful for the generosity of grace that You extend to me. In Your name, Jesus. Amen.

  • The Party Began

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    So he returned home to his father. And while he was still a long way off, his father saw him coming. Filled with love and compassion, he ran to his son, embraced him, and kissed him. His son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against both heaven and you, and I am no longer worthy of being called your son.’

    But his father said to the servants, ‘Quick! Bring the finest robe in the house and put it on him. Get a ring for his finger and sandals for his feet. And kill the calf we have been fattening. We must celebrate with a feast, for this son of mine was dead and has now returned to life. He was lost, but now he is found.’ So the party began. Luke 15:20-24

    Insight

    Whether we realize it or not, at one time or another, we have found ourselves lost and without hope. In Luke 15, Jesus tells three short stories about the plight of the lost: a lost sheep, a lost coin, and a prodigal son. Reading through these tales, you cannot help but notice the drastic responses and searches that took place to rectify the situation.

    The shepherd left behind the ninety-nine sheep to find his one. The woman went to great lengths to locate her coin. She turned her house upside down looking for that precious coin. The father set his gaze to the horizon in anticipation of his son’s return.

    What occurred when the thing lost was finally found? The shepherd, upon his return with the sheep, called his friends so they could share in the joy of the recovered sheep. The woman and father did the same. Celebration broke out.

    The shepherd, searching woman and hopeful father seem to represent God while the wandering sheep, the silver coin, and prodigal son symbolize us. We think the “one” isn’t insignificant. Quite the contrary. We are not merely lifted on the shoulders of the shepherd or placed in the purse of the woman. The beauty of the Gospel is that when a prodigal returns, all of heaven gathers and rejoices.

    In Jesus’ eyes, being found is equated with repentance. If repentance is being found then being unrepentant must mean being lost. Being found is defined by belonging. The sheep belonged to the shepherd. The coin belonged to the woman. The prodigal son belonged at his father’s side. You belong to God. If you are not where you belong, then you need to turn around. Repentance is the only way to deal with our sin and regret. Repentance isn’t a response to sin, but rather a response to grace.

    The fact that the Bible speaks of being reconciled infers that there is something that separates. To restore us to our original design and deal justly with sin, God sacrificed His son Jesus Christ as a payment for our transgressions. Through Jesus, we are clean, set apart, and no longer are our sins held against us. If this statement overwhelms you, feel free to hit the brakes now and take a moment. Or, maybe you have been found, yet you have lost the marvel of the fact that you belong. Pray and thank God for His grace and mercy. But, don’t stop there. Because you’re reconciled, you carry the message of reconciliation. You are a carrier of grace, and all around you are people in need of it.

    Reflection

    • How does the father’s reaction to his son’s return give us a glimpse into the experience of grace? What are we to make of the father seeing his son even though the son was still “a way off”?

    Prayer

    God, I confess that I’m a prodigal in so many ways. There are places in my heart where I run from You. Help me to turn towards You and trust that a loving Father awaits me with open arms. In Your name, Jesus. Amen.

     

  • The Discipline Of Enjoyment

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    You will show me the way of life,

    granting me the joy of your presence

    and the pleasures of living with you forever.

    Psalm 16:11

    Insight

    What activity causes you to lose all sense of time? What thing do you participate in that recharges your batteries or makes you feel truly alive? What inspires you? When you think of pleasure, what comes to mind?

    Is it traveling, photography, golf or gardening? Does it involve riding the perfect wave, grabbing coffee with a friend, enjoying a great meal or watching a captivating movie? Do you feel renewed with a paintbrush, a hammer or camera in your hand?

    Don’t disregard these questions. They are far from trivial. Neither are they insignificant. Exploring what pleases you won’t lead you down a path to overindulgence. It’s quite the opposite.

    Reflecting on these questions leads to the insight that will protect you from sin. I can sense your hesitation. It seems to go counter-culture to what we tend to hear inside the church. When we feel burned out, at our wit’s end, or disengaged, what is the typical advice handed out?

    Try harder. Read your Bible more. Spend more time in prayer. Share your faith. Get plugged in and volunteer. All great things. All critical pieces to a growing and vibrant walk with God. These are habits we should be engaging in on a consistent basis. However, to offer them up as the ONLY solution to feeling connected to our Creator disregards the other gifts and pleasures He has given us to enjoy. Our answer to feeling refreshed can’t be strictly more work. There has to be more.

    Along with the spiritual disciplines, we must make sure we are also participating in the discipline of enjoyment. God designed us to enjoy and experience pleasure. The longer we go ignoring this wiring in our DNA, the more vulnerable we become to temptation. When joy is in short supply in our lives, our ability to be useful for God decreases while the enticement of sin increases.

    Our heart is a vacuum. If we don’t tend to it, our heart will look for ways to find fulfillment on its own. Starved for joy and pleasure, it will begin to crave desires outside of the context God intended. Since it doesn’t know when it will reencounter pleasure, our hearts go into panic mode. It reaches out for whatever comfort it can experience, regardless of how damaging it is. Trying to make up for feelings of frustration and disillusionment, we settle for impostors and cheap substitutes.

    So, today, take a moment and think about what brings you pleasure and how you can carve out some time in your schedule to practice the discipline of enjoyment? Answering that question might protect your heart in ways you never imagined.

    Reflection

    • What is something that gives you lasting enjoyment? When it comes to this area, what would it look like to engage in the discipline of enjoyment?

    Prayer

    God, thank you for wiring me in the way that You did. There are things in this world that make me feel truly alive. Let me see those things for what they are. Gifts You’ve provided me to enjoy. On top of spending time connecting with You in Your Word and through prayer, may I devote time to the discipline of enjoyment. In Your name, Jesus. Amen.

  • Miss The Point

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    And so, dear brothers and sisters, I plead with you to give your bodies to God because of all he has done for you. Let them be a living and holy sacrifice—the kind he will find acceptable. This is truly the way to worship him. Romans 12:1

    Insight

    It’s possible to obey and follow the rules but entirely miss the point. Any parent knows this to be true. A child can clean up their play area by shoving all their clothes, dolls, legos, and art supplies under the bed. Your little one can share their toy while muttering under their breath how unfair it is. A teenager can make it home before curfew and stomp all the way to their room and slam the door behind them.

    In every example above, they followed the rules and displayed obedience. But, the point of it all flew over their head. Actions fueled by obligation, compliance, or duty rarely, if ever, produce genuine change.

    As a parent, we want our children not just to obey, but to trust there is a purpose behind our commands and that we have their best interest at heart. God is no different.

    He wants us to trust Him because He understands that trust paves the way to obedience and worship. When we obey His truth because we believe His heart, our willingness becomes a response to worth. God doesn’t want compliant robots, but rather trustful children.

    We work to understand not just the rules, but the relationship and the One who is asking us to trust Him. We do this by recognizing that God’s truth is relational. If we remove truth from trust, we reduce it.

    It becomes something less, and we become something less.

    God’s will isn’t about what we accomplish, but rather how we live and who we trust. It involves entering into a way of life that honors Him. Obedience becomes worship when we see His will is worthy of our own.

    Reflection

    • What’s the difference in mindset and attitude between obeying out of compliance and obligation versus obedience fueled by trust?
    • Where are you obeying out of compliance and obligation rather than trust? What is causing this reaction? How can you begin to see your obedience as an act of worship in this area?

    Prayer

    God, may I trust Your heart in all things, even when it might difficult, or I don’t understand where You might be leading me. Let my obedience be a display of my worship and trust in You. Help me to walk with courage and faith. In Your name, Jesus. Amen.

  • Let Me Fix This

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    For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith – and not from yourselves – it is the gift of God, not by works so that no man can boast. Ephesians 2:8-9

    Insight

    During our Invitation To Imagine series, we were challenged to consider what it means that grace and truth make up the fullness of God’s expression of love?

    In service, Mike discussed the idea that the ways brought to us by the Old Testament were a show of the law. There was right and wrong; a legal system in which you did right or you did wrong, and if you did wrong, it was the end for you. Something needed to change, and God laid a new system on the world – a grace system.

    The New Testament shows us that the old is gone, and the new way, the grace way, brings us hope. You can do right, and you can do wrong, but God’s grace makes all things new and right. This concept serves as a great expression of God’s love, and in fact, shows us that at His core God IS love. The fullness of His love, in essence, says, “Hey, you have this all wrong. Let me fix this for you.”

    We can make a similar comparison when we look at our own lives and the pivotal moments in which we chose grace for ourselves. Just as the new way of grace showed the fullness of His love, when we decide to accept this love we display the fullness of our trust in Him.

    Before God, our lives and our ways just don’t work. There’s a significant piece missing, and we’ve got it all wrong. But Jesus came by our side and says, “Hey, you have this all wrong. Let me fix this for you.” When we accept His grace, and we live our lives trusting and having faith in Him, we get to experience life in the way He intended. The old is gone, and a new life, a new system, is available to ALL of us.

    The ultimate comparison is when we choose to show our acceptance of His grace through baptism. The old (Hey, you have this all wrong) washes away, and the new (Let me fix this for you) replaces it. The legal system of our lives, built on works and performance, gets replaced with His grace system for eternity. We experience the opportunity to live a life that isn’t lived merely based on counting good deeds and getting reprimanded for our mistakes. Instead, we get the life He designed for us; ups, downs, and in-betweens; knowing that His grace is behind us every step of the way.

    Reflection

    • Why is our need for God’s grace so great? Where in your life do you need to accept and trust in God’s grace?
    • How does God’s grace change everything for you?

    Prayer

    God, Your grace is an incredible gift of love. Thank you for giving us new life, in spite of our wrong-doings and where we fall short every day. Help us to show Your grace and love to those who haven’t received it, and to remember that it isn’t about the rules and laws. It’s about You and Your love. Amen.

    PC3 writer Annalee Thomasson wrote today’s devotional.

  • Stuffed Up

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    Rise during the night and cry out. Pour out your hearts like water to the Lord. Lift up your hands to him in prayer, pleading for your children, for in every street they are faint with hunger. Lamentations 2:19

    God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Psalms 46:1

    Insight

    Most folks jump for joy when they hear its the first day of spring. The warmer weather. The longer days of sunlight. I, on the other hand, load up on tissues, throat lozenges, and Benadryl. I brace myself because I know….POLLEN IS COMING.

    As soon as everything becomes coated in yellow dust, my eyes begin to water, and my nose starts to drip. Allergies turn me into an extra for The Walking Dead as my congested head seems separated from the rest of my body.

    The worst part is how all that coughing and sneezing keeps me up at night, preventing me from getting any solid shut-eye. Instead, I toss and turn, utterly restless. Frustration sets in when the elusive state of peace remains just out of my reach.

    Restlessness on a physical level, like when we have allergies, lets us know that something isn’t right with our body. Spiritual restlessness speaks to a disconnect on a heart level.

    Our souls will remain unsettled until we find something worthy of our worship. For some of us, those aches and pains aren’t constant. We can dull the symptoms by utilizing wealth, relationships, hobbies, addictions, etc. At best, it’s a short-sighted distraction capable of only lasting so long.

    When the deeper questions of life creep in or we encounter uncomfortable circumstances, the soul searches for an anchor to provide security. All of these aches are the heart searching for a place to rest. Whether we realize it or not, we are longing for God in those moments. The contentment we seek only comes through an encounter with Christ and His life-changing grace.

    However, restlessness isn’t reserved solely for those who are searching for hope. As believers, we can experience unsettled and confusing times. We feel fidgety due to mistaking non-stop worrying with praying. It might stem from feeling convicted over our actions and the Holy Spirit speaking into those places. Then, there as those times when God won’t allow us to let something go because He’s placed it purposefully on our heart. He wants us to display courage, take a step faith or move us into a new season.

    And finally, restlessness reminds us this place isn’t our home. We live in a broken world. The intimacy and connection to Christ we might feel right now pales in comparison to what we will experience later on. It simply serves as a glimpse into something more glorious.

    When you find yourself toss and turning, pay attention and take note. God uses our restlessness to bring us closer to Him and awaken us to our need for His grace and direction in our lives.

    Reflection

    • Where are you experiencing restlessness? What causes you to be uneasy or unsettled in this place?
    • What do you believe God might be trying to teach you through these feelings?

    Prayer

    God, let me find contentment in You, and You alone. Help me to address those places where my heart is restless. Give me the insight to know what is driving these feelings and let me look to You for wisdom and security. In Your name, Jesus. Amen.

  • What We Don’t Deserve

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    We will not be influenced when people try to trick us with lies so clever they sound like the truth. Instead, we will speak the truth in love, growing in every way more like Christ, who is the head of His body, the church. Ephesians 4:14-15 

    From his abundance we have all received one gracious blessing after another. John 1:16

    Insight

    Karma. It’s a word our culture has been throwing around a lot lately. If a car speeds past us on the highway at 90 mph, and then a few miles down the road we see that same car pulled over by cop, we smugly think, “Ha, bad karma.” On the other hand, it’s “good karma” when we hear stories of people who live selflessly and then one day win the lottery.

    Karma is a fun word to say and it sounds spiritual. But I submit to you that karma’s got nothing on grace.

    I’ve been learning a little about karma in a Bible study called World Religions From a Christian Perspective. Karma is a Buddhist belief that the good you do comes back to you as good, and the bad you do comes back as bad. Every action has a reaction either in this life or in the next life (Buddhism teaches reincarnation), with the ultimate goal of ceasing to exist as an individual.

    Make a mistake? Too bad. Karma can’t erase sins; it just keeps a running tally. Your only hope is in your own efforts, which of course are imperfect, thus the necessity for multiple lives.

    There are some similarities between karma and biblical truth. The book of Proverbs has lots of examples of bad actions leading to punishment, and good actions to rewards. Galatians 6:7 is the “reap what you sow” verse: “Don’t be misled—you cannot mock the justice of God. You will always harvest what you plant.” Yes, our actions have consequences. But while our good works point others to God and earn us rewards in heaven, they cannot save us. Only the work of Christ on the cross can do that.

    By grace through faith in Christ, our sins are forgiven, the Holy Spirit transforms us, and we receive eternal life with God. None of which we, as sinners, have coming to us.

    With karma, we get what we deserve. With grace, we get what we don’t deserve.

    For years I sprinkled the word karma into conversations. But now that I realize that karma isn’t biblical truth, and it actually falls way short of the grace upon grace that God offers.

    Reflection

    • List the gifts you’ve received by God’s grace. What would your life be like if you made this list daily, either in your mind or on paper? 

    Prayer

    Dear Father in Heaven, You are the Word made flesh. Help us to understand who You are through Your dear Son, who represents You in every way. Help us to live under Your grace, which is vastly superior to other human-made systems of trying to understand life. Show us how to wrap truth in grace in all of our words, actions, and relationships. Amen.

    PC3 writer Katy Davis wrote today’s devotional.

  • Look Up

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    They who dwell in the ends of the earth stand in awe of Your signs; You make the dawn and the sunset shout for joy. Psalm 65:8

    I have heard all about you, Lord.
    I am filled with awe by your amazing works.
    In this time of our deep need, help us again as you did in years gone by.
    And in your anger, remember your mercy. Habakkuk 3:2

    Insight

    During my junior year of college, I had the opportunity to travel to Ireland on a cross-cultural trip. Everything about this experience was a treasure: the people were welcoming, the history was rich, and the food made my belly oh so happy.

    But, nothing compared to the scenic landscape: The Cliffs of Moher, Ring of Kerry, The Giant’s Causeway, Killarney, Coral Beach in Galway, just to name a few. From the brilliant green hills and dramatic cliffs to the magnificent castles and charming villages, the Emerald Isle serves as one of the most beautiful places in the world.

    A picture from the trip used to sit on an end table in my bedroom. I know it sounds cliché, but the photo doesn’t do the view justice. It fails to capture the beauty that took my breath away almost twenty years ago. My memory escapes me regarding the specific location of the snapshot, but I can recall very vividly taking in that view for the first time.

    Being a chronic worrier who tends to overthink things, I had a lot on my mind and heart that day. In an attempt to process what I was thinking and feeling, I separated myself from our school group. Lost in my little world, I headed up a side trail and eventually sat down with my head in my hands. Something prompted me with these words, “You’ve spent too much time looking down…the time has come to look up.”

    And when I did just that and noticed the beauty before me, I began to weep – tears of joy, tears of relief, tears of thankfulness. I stood in awe of a God who not only created this view but created me. If He put so much effort and time to carve out the cliffs, splash color on the hills, and hold back the power of the sea by utilizing sand, I realized He cared for me as well.

    Just like the photo I took that day has faded over time, so has my tendency to carve out moments to marvel at God. “Life” often wins out. In our hyper-competitive, super-driven culture, taking the time to be still, worship, and stand in awe of God seems counterproductive.

    But, it’s the exact opposite. We’re wired to worship, and when we fail to do so, we aren’t living by our design. The chase for fulfillment, security, and purpose isn’t found in the hustle and bustle of this world, but rather in those moments of wonder and reflection.

    They reframe our perspective about who is indeed in control. They reminded us of the care and intention He took in forming us. They provide peace and rest in the chaos. They enlarge our view of our Creator and confirm that He alone is worthy of our worship. They encourage us to stop being consumed by our tiny kingdom and start living for something more significant than ourselves.

    Even though the world He created screams His name, it doesn’t take a picturesque scene to marvel at Him. As we go about our day, opportunities to worship and stand in awe are all around us. All we have to do is pay attention. Wonder always leads to worship.

    Reflection

    • When was the last time you had an awe-inspiring moment that made you say, “WOW!” and caused you to worship God? How did this experience expand your view of Him as well as influence your heart?
    • How can you ensure having “awe” moments are a priority throughout your days?

    Prayer

    God, I’m left speechless when I consider the work of Your hands. You are an artist like no other. Open my eyes to the beauty of Your creation. Help me to see You in everything around me. Let me worship You as a response to these moments of wonder. In Your name, Jesus. Amen.

  • The Full Life

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    The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full. John 10:10 

    Insight

    Every single day we witness tragedy and heartbreak. We tune into the news or open up social media and we are bombarded with headlines reminding us we are in a broken and hurting world. We might not have a crystal clear picture of what we were meant to be as a people and a nation, but we can all agree that our present state is far from ideal.

    Missing the mark goes deeper than just us collectively as a nation. It is something we are confronted with on a personal level. In John 10, Jesus makes a bold promise that He came so that we may not only have a life but life to the fullest. Yet, many of us fail to experience this reality. A full life isn’t the words we would use to describe our days.

    We react to this tension in a host of different ways. For some, they attempt to mask and hide their struggles. They avoid weakness and vulnerability at all costs. Try harder and don’t let anyone see you sweat becomes their mantra. They use their perceived power to put other people in their place so they can grasp on to a pseudo version of significance. Arrogance tries to distract the audience away from the insecurities that are lurking deep down inside. They puff out their chest, tie on their Superman cape and pretend nothing that comes their way will ultimately be their kryptonite leading to a downfall.

    The exact opposite of these individuals are those who respond by wallowing in the pond of their own self-pity. This response can be very easily confused with humility when in actuality it is just low self-esteem and an inferiority complex in disguise. The world is out to get them. From their perspective, joy, fulfillment, and purpose aren’t in the cards for them. Rather than strength, they suffer. The glass isn’t just half empty, it is cracked and leaking.

    When overcompensating and suffering fails to lead to a full life, people lose hope and feel like they are out of options. Why try, when nothing seems to work? As a result, they withdraw. They disconnect from the world and those around them. Even though there is breath in their lungs, they aren’t living. They medicate and numb their pain away. Playing it safe by not trying ensures they will never fail.

    This begs the question: why are we so far from where we are meant to be? Why is it so hard to live that full life? And, where is fullness found? The fullness we crave comes from being both strong and weak. It involves confronting our arrogance as well as those moments of self-condemnation. Life to the full is being fully alive, having the courage to be weak, and being connected to our human purpose while at the same time participating in the glory of God.

    We spend so much of our energy agonizing over the ways we don’t measure up and fall short of everyone else’s standard. Most of us are trying to get God’s attention in ways that don’t even matter to Him. Focusing on who we are not is getting in the way of who God wants us to be. We must remind ourselves that God had a purpose for our life long before anyone else had an opinion about it.

    Reflection

    • Where do you need to be strong enough to risk, even if it means coming face-to-face with failure? Where do you need to be vulnerable enough to display your weakness?

    Prayer

    God, may I look to You, and to You only, for a life fulfilled. Help me to embrace my weakness, but not be defined by it. Allow me to have the courage and strength to risk and take steps of faith. Let me vulnerable to you and others. In Your name, Jesus. Amen.

  • A Choice To Be Made

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    Faith shows the reality of what we hope for; it is the evidence of things we cannot see. Through their faith, the people in days of old earned a good reputation. Hebrews 11:1-2

    All these people earned a good reputation because of their faith, yet none of them received all that God had promised. For God had something better in mind for us, so that they would not reach perfection without us. Hebrews 11:39-40

    Insight

    When we let comfort and convenience overpower our willingness to step into the unknown, we choose to sit on the sidelines. If our eyes focus solely on whether our tiny, individual kingdom is comfortable, we will miss out on opportunities to be used by God. There is an incredible cost associated with making this decision.

    To tell a great story with our life, we must choose calling over convenience.

    The life and meaning we desire take root when we sacrifice for something bigger than ourselves. God’s vision for the person we are becoming has little to do with our peace and pleasure. It gives little regard to our comfort and convenience.

    No epic Bible stories exist about a man or woman who settled for comfort. The people God utilized were those willing to be inconvenienced and sacrifice their needs and wants for a greater good. Nowhere is this better exemplified than in Hebrews 11.

    This passage, often dubbed “The Hall of Faith,” mentions individuals driven by faith and convictions who refused to settle for comfort. They trusted in God’s character as well as His promises.

    Imagine for a second if they took the easy route and chose convenience instead. Noah wouldn’t have built an ark in the middle of the barren land. Abraham would have missed the opportunity to see God’s promise fulfilled in Isaac. Moses and the Israelites would have never left Egypt or crossed the Red Sea.

    This list doesn’t even mention those from the New Testament who exhibited incredible faith – people like the apostle Paul, Peter, John and the rest of the disciples. If they settled for security, the early church, along with the life-changing message of the Gospel, would never have dispersed to the ends of the world.

    They did answer the call, and many heard their radical message of God’s unconditional love and forgiveness. In the face of fiery opposition, they spoke of God taking on human form, being vulnerable, and willingly dying on a cross to bridge the divide that our sin created. This message has been changing the world ever since.

    Reflection

    • What type of story are you telling with your life? Where does faith make an appearance in your story?

    Prayer

    God, I want to tell a great story with my life. I want my days to count, which won’t occur if I’m consumed with making a name for myself. Help me to live for something bigger than my glory. May Your name be praised by the way I live my life. In Your name, Jesus. Amen.