The Value of Summer Kids Club

August 13, 2021 by John Stuart

Acts 8:30-31    Then Philip ran up to the chariot and heard the man reading Isaiah the prophet. "Do you understand what you are reading?" Philip asked.


"How can I," he said, "unless someone explains it to me?" So he invited Philip to come up and sit with him.


Some of the most important work in the church’s year is taking place this week. It’s our annual Summer Kids Club and this year’s theme is all about being treasured by God. The kids love the singing, story-telling, crafts and games, and our church is so blessed with many faithful volunteers.


Those volunteers are crucial to passing on our faith to the next generation. Their week-long commitment is a life-long investment in the spirits of our children. Years after the SKC program is over, some of the kids will remember their friends, families, and church workers enjoying the whole experience. Hopefully, it will keep them positively connected to God and the lessons that they learn will give them the godly guidance to help them make good decisions in their lives.


In today’s passage (Acts 8:26-31), the apostle Philip is urged by the Holy Spirit to walk alongside a fellow traveler. The man on horseback is reading a passage from the prophet Isaiah but he does not understand what is written. Philip has been placed there beside him to interpret the writings and tell the Ethiopian about Jesus. The consequences of this conversation will have a profound effect on the travelers and will introduce the Gospel to Africa.


As Christians, we are all called to share our faith and help other people understand who Jesus is. Philip did this for the Ethiopian; our SKC team is doing it for the children. The question we should all be asking ourselves today is this: where will the Spirit place me today to share Christ?


Prayer:  Holy Spirit, thank You for the inspiration that You have given to Christ’s followers throughout the centuries. Thank You for the work of evangelists like Philip and faithful people like Summer Kids Club volunteers. May their ministries plant seeds of faith, which will bear much fruit in the generations to come. In Christ’s Name, we pray. Amen.


Old Age

August 11, 2021 by Frederick Buechner

IT'S NOT, AS THE saying goes, for sissies. There are some lucky ones who little by little slow down to be sure but otherwise go on to the end pretty much as usual. For the majority, however, it's like living in a house that's in increasing need of repairs. The plumbing doesn't work right any more. There are bats in the attic. Cracked and dusty, the windows are hard to see through, and there's a lot of creaking and groaning in bad weather. The exterior could use a coat of paint. And so on. The odd thing is that the person living in the house may feel, humanly speaking, much as always. The eighty-year-old body can be in precarious shape yet the spirit within as full of beans as ever. If that leads senior citizens to think of all the things they'd still love to do but can't anymore, it only makes things worse. But it needn't work that way.


Second childhood commonly means something to steer clear of, but it can also mean something else. It can mean that if your spirit is still more or less intact, one of the benefits of being an old crock is that you can enjoy again something of what it's like being a young squirt. 


Eight-year-olds like eighty-year-olds have lots of things they'd love to do but can't because their bodies aren't up to it, so they learn to play instead. Eighty-year-olds might do well to take notice. They can play at being eighty-year-olds for instance. Stiff knees and hearing aids, memory loss and poor eyesight, are no fun, but there are those who marvelously survive them by somehow managing to see them as, among other things and in spite of all, a little funny.  


Another thing is that if part of the pleasure of being a child the first time round is that you don't have to prove yourself yet, part of the pleasure of being a child the second time round is that you don't have to prove yourself any longer. You can be who you are and say what you feel, and let the chips fall where they may.  


Very young children and very old children also have in common the advantage of being able to sit on the sideline of things. While everybody else is in there jockeying for position and sweating it out, they can lean back, put their feet up, and like the octogenarian King Lear "pray, and sing, and tell old tales, and laugh at gilded butterflies." 


Very young children and very old children also seem to be in touch with something that the rest of the pack has lost track of. There is something bright and still about them at their best, like the sun before breakfast. Both the old and the young get scared sometimes about what lies ahead of them, and with good reason, but you can't help feeling that whatever inner goldenness they're in touch with will see them through in the end. 


-Originally published in Whistling in the Dark

To the Woman Beginning Her Ministry Journey

August 6, 2021 by Jennifer Friesen

Editor's note: This is a CBE 2020 Writing Contest honorable mention. Enjoy!  


I began studying for ministry when I was 34. My youngest child had just started kindergarten, and with a quiet house during the day, I began to dream about a career in ministry. My calling didn’t happen all at once but came to my attention gradually as I became more and more involved in various ministries at my church.


I grew up in an environment that did not encourage women in leadership, so it had never really occurred to me that I might be able to do other things besides teach children. But one day, I looked at our pastor and thought, “I wish I could do what he does. I would love to be a pastor.” And God’s still small voice in my heart replied, “That’s a good idea.”


Four years later, I graduated from seminary with my master’s degree in divinity. I was hired full-time as an associate pastor at the perfect church. Not a church without problems, but the exact kind of church I had hoped to serve: medium-sized, with a staff team of both men and women, supportive of women in leadership, and providentially located in my husband’s hometown. 


It was my dream job, and it still is. I thank God for his gentle prodding that led me out of an uncertain and fearful desire to lead and into this wide-open space where all of God’s gifts to me can be explored, including preaching, teaching, and administration.


I may not have been in ministry very long, but my journey to this point has revealed at least four principles based in Scripture that I think are especially helpful for women entering into church leadership. I hope that my story and my humble advice will encourage and strengthen you.


1. Be confident in your calling and gifting.

1 Corinthians 12:7 says, “Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good.” We know that “each one” includes women, so none of the Spirit-given gifts listed in the rest of the chapter are off-limits to you. If you are a follower of Jesus, then you have gifts that the church needs. It would be detrimental to the common good of the church for you not to develop and use them!  


As a girl, I was painfully self-conscious when speaking in front of a group. I dreaded giving presentations at school and was absolutely mortified if I was required to participate in a skit. And yet, numerous people over the past six years have confirmed my gifting as a preacher and teacher. I feel God’s presence when I preach in a way that I rarely feel at any other time. I can say along with the apostle Paul that I feel compelled to preach (1 Cor. 9:16), despite my nerves. 


When I have scriptural insight to share, it burns within me until I can pass it along to others. In the past, I taught women’s Bible studies and children’s Sunday school to satisfy this urge; now I preach and teach publicly as well. I have seen the positive effects that my preaching has had on others, and the encouragement of my congregation has helped to reassure me that God is using me in this way. 


What ministries have you been involved in that have drawn positive affirmation from others? Allow your Holy Spirit-fueled passion to guide you as you serve him and let the encouragement of other believers confirm your calling and build you up. Whatever your spiritual gift is, use it with confidence, because God has made you competent to serve (2 Cor. 3:4–6).


2. Seek out role models, both male and female.

The apostle Paul also wrote, “Join together in following my example, brothers and sisters, and just as you have us as a model, keep your eyes on those who live as we do” (Phil. 3:17). It is a biblical principle that we should actively seek out and follow older believers who are leading faithfully in their various areas of ministry. Don’t simply watch them but try to learn as much as possible from them: take notes, ask questions, get referrals. Find a mentor.


Although I never saw or heard from a female pastor growing up, there were many female Sunday School teachers, youth leaders, older students, missionaries, and pastors’ wives that I admired and sought to emulate. Later on, as I considered attending seminary, I began reading authors like Barbara Brown Taylor, Jen Hatmaker, Beth Moore, Priscilla Shirer, Sarah Bessey, Rachel Held Evans, Ann Lamott, and Brené Brown, among others. 


From these role models, I learned that it is okay for Christian women to be outspoken, passionate, and even loud. Some are thoughtful, deep thinkers, some champion causes dear to their hearts, but all of them stand confidently for what they believe and teach with authority. None of them are afraid to be smart, nor are they afraid to be completely open, honest, and vulnerable. Their strength has inspired me.


Over time I have met other female pastors, but unfortunately I have not known them well enough to really follow their example in ministry. Even so, I have been so encouraged by the male pastors who have taught me, advised me, and supported me, even if they didn’t know it. I remember once hearing a pastor preach with such passion and conviction that he ended his message in choking sobs. His courageous, Spirit-led display of emotion made me feel that it might be ok for me, a person prone to tears, to cry in public. 


Find role models that you can relate to in some way, regardless of gender. Seek out people who you would like to emulate and pay attention to how they live. Don’t be afraid to develop your gifts by studying the examples of inspiring men and women of faith around you. 


3. Find a senior leader who will have your back.

As a woman in ministry, you may need someone to vouch for you the way that the apostle Paul vouched for his female co-workers. In Romans 16:1–2, we see Paul doing this for Phoebe in his letter to the church in Rome: 


I commend to you our sister Phoebe, a deacon of the church in Cenchreae. I ask you to receive her in the Lord in a way worthy of his people and to give her any help she may need from you, for she has been the benefactor of many people, including me.


Two thousand years later, female leaders still often need other leaders, sometimes even male leaders specifically, to defend and support them to gain credibility. Hopefully the day will come when this is no longer necessary, but that day is not here yet.


In my first year as a pastor, I was meeting with a group of siblings to arrange a memorial service for their aunt. Their mother was elderly and unable to attend the meeting, but she had strong opinions on how her sister’s memory should be honored. When she learned that a woman would be officiating the service, she asked if the senior minister was available instead. I tried to be gracious, but with some internal bitterness I went to ask our senior pastor if he was free on the date they had chosen. He was not, but either way he refused to take on the memorial. What he said to me I will never forget. He said, “The next time someone asks you if the minister is available,” and here he looked me right in the eyes, “tell them you are the minister.” 


I am the minister, and so are you! Find someone who will advocate for you and remind you often that you share authority to preach and teach too.


4. Work to please God, not people.

A verse that constantly challenges me is 1 Thessalonians 2:4: “…we speak as those approved by God to be entrusted with the gospel. We are not trying to please people but God, who tests our hearts.” This verse reminds me that it does not matter if some within the church do not approve of my role as a full-time minister because I am a woman. They may think I ought to be at home more with my children, but apparently that is not what God thinks. 


God led me out of my role as a full-time, homeschooling mother to a new role as a pastor, and he has confirmed this calling. My husband is also completely supportive. The church I serve called me as their pastor and affirms my gifts. It is of no concern to me whether someone else thinks I heard God wrong. I have been entrusted by God with the gospel, and my job is to please him in all that I do. Remember, if God has called you to a certain ministry, then it is to him that you are ultimately accountable. Don’t let the desire to gain people’s approval distract you from his voice and his guidance. 


May God fill you with his Holy Spirit and provide the confidence, role models, defenders, and heavenly focus that you will need. If God is for you, who can be against you (Rom. 8:31)? Go out and serve, knowing that you are fully equipped with his power and authority!


Photo by Thomas Vitali on Unsplash


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Making a Difference through Summer Kids Club (SKC)

Friday, July 23, 2021 by Melita Thomas

Jesus said, "Let the little children come to Me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these." Matthew 19:14


I grew up in the dark ages before SKC had themes. (Maybe you remember those days too.) So I can’t sing you a theme song. I don’t remember any motions. No crafts survived the decades. I can’t even tell you which Bible verses I memorized during SKC. Instead, what remains are the impressions SKC made on me and my burgeoning faith. I remember teachers who loved me and who made learning fun. I remember being excited to go to church. 


These memories are important. These experiences are important—not just for me but for all children. They are the foundational bricks of faith development and built upon year after year. These early impressions are critically important to how a child will feel about God, faith, Jesus, the church, and Christians later in life. It’s an important part of our “spiritual upbringing.”


SKC isn’t just about fun and games (and crafts and snacks). Its primary purpose is to lead people to experience the life-transforming power of the gospel. When viewed through the lens of the gospel, SKC takes on a renewed purpose. If you can volunteer, I strongly encourage you to find a place to serve in your church’s SKC this summer. It is one hundred percent kingdom work!


I love SKC because it’s unlike anything else my church does all year. Sure there are back-to-school bashes and fall festivals and other fun events throughout the year, but nothing compares to SKC. There’s something special about coming together for several hours every single day for a week. It’s a highlight of summer and something kids will look back on and remember fondly even when they’re grown. And after a year and a half of being isolated from one another, we all are going to need SKC this year. Kids are ready for it. Parents are ready to send their kids to it. (Can I get an amen from all the moms out there?) We’re all craving community, and SKC is the perfect opportunity to come back together again.


Let me paint you a picture of where we are as the church of 2021. Before the pandemic, we witnessed a big culture shift in church attendance. Thirty years ago, it was pretty common for families to be at church three times per week. Now it’s pretty rare for families to be at church three times a month! With that kind of shift, it becomes more difficult to build relationships at church with children and their families. COVID-19 has only magnified the problem. But during SKC, leaders get two to three hours per day with the same kids for five days straight. That kind of face-to-face, relationship-building time might ordinarily take months to accrue during traditional church programming settings. So serving in SKC has never been more important! Kids need to build healthy relationships with Christian adults outside their immediate family. They need to feel loved, valued, listened to, and safe as part of their healthy physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual development. The relationships formed at SKC can be a part of that. And that’s a huge thing!


SKC is unique in that every aspect is intentionally designed to provide opportunities for age-appropriate evangelism. Every activity, every rotation, every song is specially crafted to fit the point of the day, making it possible for every person the child encounters throughout his/her SKC day to “live out” the gospel in front of him/her. That makes every job important. Snack ladies are no longer “just snack ladies.” Recreation leaders are not just responsible for wearing kids out so that they can sit still and listen longer during Bible study. Each point of engagement becomes an opportunity to talk to a child about what the Bible teaches and about what the Holy Spirit might be saying to him or her. 


I’m so excited to see what God is going to do this summer through SKC! He never fails to show up and show off. I’ve heard stories of entire families coming to faith in Christ as a result of sending their kids to SKC. I’ve seen grandparents saved at a SKC follow up event. I’ve even heard of a church that sent their teenagers to volunteer at the SKC of another church who needed more help—and that entire youth group was saved. I’m telling you, SKC is exciting stuff! Volunteer in yours. Send your kids. Invite your neighbors. You don’t want to miss out on what God is going to do!


What is your VBS story? We’d love to hear it. Share your story by clicking here!


If you have kids in grades 5-7, or know people who do, and would like to register them for our SKC camp in August, click here.


If you'd like to volunteer for WRBC's upcoming SKC, August 9-13, or donate to help provide snacks, please email lisa@whiterockbaptist.ca.

Waiting on the Lord

Friday, July 16, 2021 by Craig Denison

Introduction

Our heavenly Father has made incredible promises to us, his children. And while our God is completely faithful to deliver on his promises, he does not force them on us. He’s promised his nearness, his affections, and an eternal life spent with him. But we have the power to choose our own way. He doesn’t force himself where there’s no space. God’s word won’t have power in our lives if we don’t read it. We won’t hear God effectively if we’re not listening. And we can’t experience his nearness if we constantly fill our lives with other things. So, this week we’re going to talk about different ways we can experience the promises of God so that they might come to full fruition in our lives. May you encounter God powerfully as you grow in fully experiencing the incredible promises of your heavenly Father.


Scripture

“But they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.”

ISAIAH 40:31


Devotional

Throughout Scripture, God gave his people the strength they needed to both sustain them through circumstances and achieve victory over their enemies. We read examples like David defeating Goliath in 1 Samuel 17, Samson defeating the Philistines in Judges 15, and Jesus crushing the power of sin and death on the cross in Matthew 27. Truly, God has promised his people his strength. But the Bible also tells us of a principle for receiving and experiencing God’s strength. Isaiah 40:31 says, “But they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.” Let’s look today at the practice of waiting on God for the purpose of experiencing the strength and endurance God has promised us.

 

Waiting is a practice that seems counterproductive to most of us. In a world where those who act sooner and faster seem to be more successful, the ideas of patience and waiting don’t seem to have a place. But the wisdom of the world is not the wisdom of God. David was a man who was wise in the ways of experiencing God’s promises. He shares with us his insight into receiving God’s strength in Psalm 33:20-22: “Our soul waits for the Lord; he is our help and our shield. For our heart is glad in him, because we trust in his holy name. Let your steadfast love, O Lord, be upon us, even as we hope in you.” God longs to shield you from the attacks of your enemy. He longs to protect you from what would tear you down. But like a shield, he can only protect you if you are willing to stay behind him. He can only help you if you are willing to be helped. You must wait on him. You must allow him to go before you and guide you.

 

David also gives us insight in Psalm 33 on how he was able to so effectively wait on God. He says, “For our heart is glad in him, because we trust in his holy name.” You will only be able to wait on God to the level that you trust him. Look at your own life today. Where do you struggle with running out in front of God? Where do you have a hard time waiting? Where do you lack patience? Trust isn’t simply a matter of the head, but of the heart. To be able to actively trust God, you have to believe he truly has your best interests in mind. You have to believe in your heart that he isn’t asking you to wait just to stress you out, but because he has something better for you in store.

 

To fully experience God’s promises of strength and guidance, you must learn to trust God. You have to be willing to wait on him. God’s guidance and timing are perfect. He knows how to lead you, protect you, and empower you. Trust in your heavenly Father today. Take the example David set and choose to wait on God. It’s in doing so that you will experience victory. It’s in waiting on the Lord that you will “mount up with wings like eagles.” Take time today to place your trust in God. Take time to encounter his love. Let his presence fill you with the longing and ability to wait on him. And live today in response to God’s word by asking for and following the guidance of the Holy Spirit in your life. He has an incredible day in store for you. Simply wait and follow wherever the Spirit leads.


Prayer

1. Take time to rest in God’s presence. Let His presence lay a foundation for you to trust Him. As you spend time with Him in prayer and Bible reading, let His goodness remind you of His character as a good Father.

 

2. Now think about areas of your own life where you have a hard time waiting on God. Where do you lack patience? Where do you feel scared or lacking in trust?

 

3. Ask the Holy Spirit to help you wait on Him today. Ask Him to help you trust and follow Him wherever he would lead you.


“But they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.” Isaiah 40:31


Go...

Following the leading of the Spirit is about your willingness to wait and listen. And waiting and listening starts with encountering the nearness and goodness of your heavenly Father. You aren’t meant to trust in a distant God. You are created to know personally the reality of your God and His love for you, and place your trust in Him as a response. Wait on God today. Grow in your willingness to follow Him wherever He would lead you. The Holy Spirit has the perfect way to guide you. Simply open your heart to Him and listen. So great is God’s love for you that He promises to go before you in every situation. He promises to be your help and shield. Stay behind your God and experience renewed strength for every circumstance you come to today.

 

Extended Reading: Psalm 33 or watch The Bible Project’s video on Psalms.



Are you waiting on God? Is there anything we can pray for you? Let us know by clicking here

At the Heart of Faith

Monday, July 12, 2021 by Craig Denison

Introduction

Hebrews 11:1 says, “Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.” Faith is the undercurrent of everything we do as followers of Jesus. Without faith we lose all that Christ died to give us while here on earth. It is by faith we access the peace, joy, guidance, love, and purpose that comes from restored relationship with our heavenly Father. As we seek an increase in faith in response to God’s faithfulness this week, may you experience a greater depth of intimacy with your living, Almighty, and loving heavenly Father.



Scripture

“That your faith might not rest in the wisdom of men but in the power of God.”

1 CORINTHIANS 2:5



Devotional

As believers living our lives founded on the hope given to us by God, faith is our lifeblood. Without faith we have nothing. Without faith, all sense of purpose, value, and joy in present trials and circumstances scatters as dust in the wind. But with faith we discover a wellspring of life with its origins found in the faithfulness of our Creator God. With faith we experience the effects of promises made to us by our living, loving, active, and trustworthy heavenly Father. With faith the abundant life God desires for us is removed from a shroud of doubt, fear, and hopelessness and becomes our reality. So what’s at the heart of this incredible gift of faith? How do we as children of God access the life-giving fruits of faith?

 

The Bible defines faith as “the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen” (Hebrews 11:1). Hebrews 11 continues in verses 2-7 saying,

 

For by it the people of old received their commendation. By faith we understand that the universe was created by the word of God, so that what is seen was not made out of things that are visible. By faith Abel offered to God a more acceptable sacrifice than Cain, through which he was commended as righteous, God commending him by accepting his gifts. And through his faith, though he died, he still speaks. By faith Enoch was taken up so that he should not see death, and he was not found, because God had taken him. Now before he was taken he was commended as having pleased God. And without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him. By faith Noah, being warned by God concerning events as yet unseen, in reverent fear constructed an ark for the saving of his household. By this he condemned the world and became an heir of the righteousness that comes by faith.

 

Hebrews 11 tells us that faith is simply this: trusting in our God who is completely and altogether faithful. Faith is the natural response to a revelation of God’s faithfulness.

 

We are to live entirely by faith, or entirely in response to God’s faithfulness. Every action, thought, emotion, word, and perspective is meant to be founded on the faithfulness of our heavenly Father. Abel offered a more acceptable sacrifice because he had a greater revelation and trust of God’s faithfulness. Enoch was saved from earthly death because he pleased God with his faith. Hebrews 11:6 makes it abundantly clear: “Without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him.” We are to believe in the reality of God and to trust that he will reward us when we seek him. In other words, we are to live our lives entirely out of the revelation of God’s faithfulness. And Romans 4:20-21 says in reference to Abraham, “No unbelief made him waver concerning the promise of God, but he grew strong in his faith as he gave glory to God, fully convinced that God was able to do what he had promised.” We are to be children convinced of the overwhelming ability of God to move and work in our lives.

 

Where do you lack faith today? What areas of your life have you taken into your own hands? Where are you full of fear, anxiety, depression, or hopelessness today? Know that the path to faith in those areas is paved with fresh revelation of God’s faithfulness. 2 Timothy 2:13 says, “If we are faithless, he remains faithful—for he cannot deny himself.” Your God will always be faithful to you. You can trust him with any problem you are going through. He longs to work in your favor.

 

Seek out a greater understanding of your God’s faithfulness and allow your heart to be transformed. Spend time in prayer meditating on the character of your heavenly Father and allowing the Holy Spirit to do a work in your heart on a level that would fill you with the ability and desire to live entirely in faith.



Prayer

1. Meditate on how Scripture defines faith.

 

“No unbelief made him waver concerning the promise of God, but he grew strong in his faith as he gave glory to God, fully convinced that God was able to do what he had promised.” Romans 4:20-21

 

“That your faith might not rest in the wisdom of men but in the power of God.” 1 Corinthians 2:5

 

“Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.” Hebrews 11:1

 

2. Reflect on any areas in your own life where you struggle with faith. What areas do you seem to live out in your own strength? What anxiety or fear consistently comes against you?

 

3. Meditate on the faithfulness of your heavenly Father. Allow God’s faithfulness to wash away any fear or anxiety you struggle with. Allow his amazing character to fill you with hope, joy, and peace.

 

“If we are faithless, he remains faithful–for he cannot deny himself.” 2 Timothy 2:13

 

“God is faithful, by whom you were called into the fellowship of his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.” 1 Corinthians 1:9

 

“For the word of the Lord is upright, and all his work is done in faithfulness.” Psalm 33:4

 

“Your steadfast love, O Lord, extends to the heavens, your faithfulness to the clouds.” Psalm 36:5



Go...

The Scriptures declaring the faithfulness of God go on and on. All of the earth finds its life as the result of God’s faithfulness to his promises. We live and breathe by the goodness and love of our God. God longs to give you a tangible story of his faithfulness. He longs to work in your life specifically and uniquely. Open up your life to him, ask him for his help, and watch as he works faithfully in your midst. Your God loves you, cares about you, and is for you. May you experience the abundant life only faith can bring you today.

 

Extended Reading: Hebrews 11 or watch The Bible Project’s video on Hebrews.

I Prayed This for You Today

Friday, July 9, 2021 by Danielle Munoz

I've had two prayers on my heart for you from Paul's words to the Thessalonians.

 

The first is this: “May the Lord direct your hearts to the love of God and to the steadfastness of Christ.” 2 Thessalonians 3:5

 

If you're like me, the demands of each day can flash by leaving us without many thoughts of God. 

 

But in the midst of busy days pouring out to those closest to you, God doesn't want you to forget. 

 

He doesn't want you to forget that He so loved you that He sent His perfect, precious, only Son to free you from every shred of sin by His sacrifice. And His love is still alive, moving non-stop as Christ lives in you.

 

He doesn't want you to forget that “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.” Hebrews 13:8

 

Jesus, the humble King of unquenchable compassion and immeasurable grace, is steadfast. 

 

He does not leave you. 

He does not quit His work of sanctification in you. 

He does not fail to keep His Word. 

He does not change His mind about you, His people, and His plan. 

He does not abandon His church. 

 

He is the same Jesus who cleansed the untouchable lepers, who walked upon water, who allowed a repentant, wounded woman to wash His feet, who forgave Peter after his devastating denials, who comforted Mary and Martha and raised Lazarus from the dead. 

 

He is the same Jesus who trekked bloodied and bruised under the weight of cross, being nailed to it in undeserved shame to remove yours. The same Jesus who strode out of the tomb in triumph and offers you the same resurrection.

 

While everything may seem to shift and sway around you, He always remains at the right hand of the Father, advocating for you, praying for you, and preparing to receive His Bride the church for eternal glory.

 

This kind of truth keeps us in a Kingdom-mindset. By directing our attention to His love and His steadfastness throughout each day, we are empowered to press on and see the beauty of His blessings and power of His promises.

 

I leave you with this:

To this end we always pray for you, that our God may make you worthy of his calling and may fulfill every resolve for good and every work of faith by his power, 12 so that the name of our Lord Jesus may be glorified in you, and you in him, according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ." 2 Thessalonians 1:11-12

 

I'm ever thinking of you and praying for you.


How can we pray for you more specifically? Let us know by clicking here.

If you would like to know more about Jesus and His amazing love for us, please let us know by clicking here.

We Were Made for Community

Monday, July 5, 20201 by Randy Freeze

As we learned on Sunday, we all have a small part to play in God's big story. We fellowship with other believers to accomplish God's will on Earth.


All the believers were together and had everything in common. They sold property and possessions to give to anyone who had need. Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved. — Acts 2:44-47

 

Scripture makes it clear through commands, promises, and examples that the Christian life was never intended to be lived alone. Those who have received Christ are now wired through their new spiritual DNA to live in community. We must have a band of believers to walk alongside us, all pointed in the same direction — toward the Father. Only collectively are we the body of Christ. We need each other to help us become like Jesus and consistently model his life.  

 

KEY QUESTION: How do I develop healthy relationships with others?  

 

In Genesis 1 and other Scripture passages, we see the Trinity is, in itself, a community. Three persons — Father, Son, and Holy Spirit — who are so intense and complete in their unity that they make up one essence. We are made in his image to experience this same community. Separate in entity, one in unity. The apostle Paul reminds us of our common bond:  

 

There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to one hope when you were called; one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all. — Ephesians 4:4-6

 

If you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any common sharing in the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and of one mind.

— Philippians 2:1-2

 

As you have read the accounts of Jesus’ calling His disciples at the beginning of His ministry, have you ever thought about His recruitment style? What was His end goal? Since He is God, He could easily have walked down the beach and assembled an army of 12,000 men to overthrow the government. He could have called together 1,200 and given them amazing powers. But He did nothing of the sort. In fact, He didn’t even call 120. Essentially, Jesus formed the very first “small group,” as they’re called in the church today. He launched His ministry with 12 men.

 

He put together a tiny community of very diverse and, frankly, mostly unimpressive followers. Why? Because Jesus wasn’t planning a coup or forming a cult; rather, He was building a community.  

 

He didn’t call those He chose based on résumé, IQ, or brawn. The fact that His original small group formed the church that still lives today shows He chose wisely as He prepared a body of believers to carry out His work — which swept through the known world after His ascension into Heaven.  

 

KEY IDEA: I fellowship with Christians to accomplish God’s purposes in my life, in the life of others, and in the world.  

 

The book of Acts contains a passage that beautifully displays the simple power of community to which we are called, while also highlighting the critical commitment we must make as individuals:  

 

In Joppa there was a disciple named Tabitha (in Greek her name is Dorcas); she was always doing good and helping the poor. About that time she became sick and died, and her body was washed and placed in an upstairs room. Lydda was near Joppa; so when the disciples heard that Peter was in Lydda, they sent two men to him and urged him, “Please come at once!” 

 

Peter went with them, and when he arrived he was taken upstairs to the room. All the widows stood around him, crying and showing him the robes and other clothing that Dorcas had made while she was still with them. 

 

Peter sent them all out of the room; then he got down on his knees and prayed. Turning toward the dead woman, he said, “Tabitha, get up.” She opened her eyes, and seeing Peter she sat up. He took her by the hand and helped her to her feet. Then he called for the believers, especially the widows, and presented her to them alive. This became known all over Joppa, and many people believed in the Lord. — Acts 9:36-42

 

Tabitha was a widow who had become a vital part of the body of believers, as she was “always doing good and helping the poor” — so much so that the people missed her deeply and sent messengers to summon Peter, hoping he could do something. Miraculously, through the power of God, Peter knelt and prayed, and Tabitha came back to life!  

 

It is important to see that the degree to which Tabitha had given her life to biblical community was, in the end, the very motivation of Peter to extend her life. She had made herself so integral to these fellow believers that they wouldn’t take death as the final answer. This account of a widow who lived sacrificially provides inspiration for us to graft ourselves deeply into a body of believers to make this kind of difference.  

 

To properly define biblical community, look no further than the last few syllables in the phrase — “unity.” This is both the point and practice of the concept.  

 

Christ’s vision is that you will become an integral part of His grand body of believers, ushering in His kingdom around the globe by being grafted into the lives of a local body, making a difference right where you are. The ministry you do for a neighbor truly does impact the world as all believers join in obeying Christ. This is a sort of “one for all, and all for one” battle cry.  

 

The practice of biblical community reinforces both our belief in our identity in Christ individually and our belief in the church to, together, be His hands and feet to the world.  

 

KEY APPLICATION: What difference does this make in the way I live?  

 

“You become who you hang out with.” 

 

“Show me your friends, and I’ll show you your future.” 

 

These are just two of a number of catchphrases that describe the impact of those with whom we spend the most time. The book of Proverbs contains many verses that attach the impact of our relationships to the development of our identity.  

 

We fellowship with other believers to keep our relationship with God strong.  

 

Biblical community will, first, keep our vertical connection — our relationship with God — strong. Nothing will hold us accountable and encourage us to follow Jesus quite like other Christ followers. The effect of us joining in the mission to “spur one another on toward love and good deeds” is powerful. (Hebrews 10:24) 

 

We fellowship with other believers to keep our relationships with others strong.  

 

Biblical community is the optimum way to keep our horizontal relationships on the right and righteous path. Fellow Christians can help us strengthen our ties to those in the church and outside the church. We can together encourage and build each other up inside the body, while praying for and challenging each other to reach out to those who don’t know Christ.

 

We fellowship with other believers to accomplish God’s will on earth.  

 

If you were going to rescue a person who had fallen off a steep cliff, you would want to be tied to as many people up on the mountain as possible, supporting you and holding you as you attempt rescue. As we minister and reach out to those outside the community of faith, it is necessary to stay tethered together for optimum success, lest we also fall.  

 

There are days we desperately need a good hug to keep going, and other days we need a swift kick in the pants to get back to where we should be. Friends who love God, and love us for who we are, know exactly when and how to do the right thing for us. In the book of Proverbs, Solomon writes, “Faithful are the wounds of a friend” (Proverbs 27:6 NKJV).  

 

Biblical community is the glue holding us together, through which we have opportunity to grow in favor with God and to keep our relationships right with others. Are you struggling in your relationship with God? Do you find yourself simply wanting to love Him more than you do? Are you finding yourself in continual dysfunction with those around you? Or do you desire to strengthen your relationships to a greater degree? Connecting to, submitting with, and walking alongside brothers and sisters in Christ can get you on the right track, while also keeping you on the path to God’s truth and His will.  


Your Turn

 

We were made for community! We were not made to struggle through life alone. Are you involved in a fellowship of believers who know you, love you, and speak into your life? If not, we'd love for you to join us. Click here to let us know you'd like to learn more about joining our community of believers, or if you would like to learn more about places you can serve.

God's Heart to Meet with Man

Friday, July 2, 2021 by Craig Denison

As we start a new series, "Small Part, Big Story", we want to learn "What is our part in God's plan?" 


God’s heart is to meet with man and today we’ll look at the encouraging story of John on the island of Patmos. Right when we think we’re unusable, a season is too dry or we’re past our prime, God comes and speaks fresh life and vision. If you find yourself like John on Patmos today, I pray God brings a new word of courage and life to you despite your season.


Scripture


“When I saw him, I fell at his feet as though dead. But he laid his right hand on me, saying, ‘Fear not, I am the first and the last, and the living one. I died, and behold I am alive forevermore, and I have the keys of Death and Hades. Write therefore the things that you have seen, those that are and those that are to take place after this.”

REVELATION 1:17-19



Devotional


The story of John receiving the book of Revelation from Jesus brings tears to my eyes. I imagine an isolated, weary, and lonely John on Patmos spending his days waiting until he gets to be with his beloved Jesus again. I imagine his heart yearning just to see his friend and Savior. And suddenly, after years of serving Jesus, he appears to John once again, his Lord and King standing before him, speaking to him that which will be the final words of Scripture. In Revelation 1:12-20, John records Jesus coming to meet with him, saying:


Then I turned to see the voice that was speaking to me, and on turning I saw seven golden lampstands, and in the midst of the lampstands one like a son of man, clothed with a long robe and with a golden sash around his chest. The hairs of his head were white, like white wool, like snow. His eyes were like a flame of fire, his feet were like burnished bronze, refined in a furnace, and his voice was like the roar of many waters. In his right hand he held seven stars, from his mouth came a sharp two-edged sword, and his face was like the sun shining in full strength.


When I saw him, I fell at his feet as though dead. But he laid his right hand on me, saying, “Fear not, I am the first and the last, and the living one. I died, and behold I am alive forevermore, and I have the keys of Death and Hades. Write therefore the things that you have seen, those that are and those that are to take place after this. As for the mystery of the seven stars that you saw in my right hand, and the seven golden lampstands, the seven stars are the angels of the seven churches, and the seven lampstands are the seven churches.”


Imagine the joy and awe in John’s heart as his Rabbi Jesus reveals himself in glory to once again share with him history-altering revelation. Imagine the passion John would feel as his last days, which he thought he would spend alone in exile, are interrupted by a final chapter of kingdom work delivered straight from the mouth of his Savior.


God loves to interrupt the seasons of our lives in which we feel most lost with glorious encounters with him. He loves to repurpose us for incredible kingdom work just where we thought we were most useless. He longs to meet with us and envision us for his plans to bring his kingdom to earth. No matter where you are or how old you are, God has tremendous plans in store for all those who will serve him. There is no work he gives us too small. There is no time in our lives that we are unusable. There is no age in which we are to stop being used by our Savior. Jesus longs to meet with you today and tell you of his plans for salvation. He longs to empower you to do a mighty work for his kingdom. He longs for you to see his kingdom come to earth all the days of your life until you take your final breath here and wake up with him. May you receive and share the revelation Jesus gives you today with a world that desperately needs to know him.


Prayer


1. Meditate on God’s heart to meet with you in every season of your life. Allow Scripture to fill you with faith and desire to meet with your King today.


“Call to me and I will answer you, and will tell you great and hidden things that you have not known.” Jeremiah 33:3


“When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth, for he will not speak on his own authority, but whatever he hears he will speak, and he will declare to you the things that are to come.” John 16:13


“Seek the Lord and his strength; seek his presence continually!” 1 Chronicles 16:11


2. Ask the Holy Spirit to fill you afresh today.Open your heart and receive him that you might live empowered to see the kingdom of God come to earth.


3. Ask God what it is He would have you do today. How does He want to use you to advance His kingdom on the earth?


“Your kingdom come, Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.” Matthew 6:10



Go


What an incredible gift that God would choose to use us for His kingdom purposes. You and I can have a real, eternal impact on the earth. No matter what our age or past failures, God longs to use us. And through the coming of the Holy Spirit, we have God dwelling within us. The same God who raised Christ Jesus from the grave, empowered the disciples for miraculous works, and has been at the root of every great spiritual awakening dwells within us. May you allow God to use you in mighty and powerful ways today to spread the gospel of love everywhere you go.



Extended Reading: Matthew 6 or watch The Bible Project’s video on Matthew 1-13.


Who has God put on your heart to share the gospel with? Let us know by clicking here, and we'll join you in prayer for that person.

God's Heart to Meet with Man: Jesus to Us

Monday, June 28, 2021 by Craig Denison

Introduction


Throughout Scripture we see countless examples of God meeting with man and countless lives being transformed as the result. These examples are in Scripture to stir our faith and fill us with a desire to meet with our Creator. When we read about the life of David, we should be filled with a longing to live as he did, centered around meeting with our heavenly Father. When we read about Gideon or Moses, we should long to know our God as they did. When we read about Jesus coming down to us or his heart for the woman caught in adultery, we should respond by pursuing encounters with our Savior. And when we read of Pentecost and Jesus’ second coming, we should seek out the fullness of God’s presence available to us on this earth in preparation for the age that is to come. May your heart be filled with a wholehearted desire to pursue meeting with God this week.



Scripture

“Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall call his name Immanuel’ (which means, God with us).”

MATTHEW 1:23



Devotional

There is no more powerful depiction of God’s love for us than Jesus stepping off his throne to humble himself, take on flesh, and dwell among men. Jesus coming down to us perfectly demonstrated God’s grace and desire to meet with man.

 

Imagine for a minute the sacrifice of Jesus. Prior to coming down to us, he was Spirit, like God the Father and the Holy Spirit. He dwelled everywhere in every point of time. He was in perfect communion with the Father and the Holy Spirit. Jesus gave up the very nature of his existence that we might walk in restored relationship with God. He sacrificed being Spirit that we might simply know God’s love.

 

Jesus was the heart of God perfectly personified. In everything he did, he clearly displayed God’s heart for mercy, grace, justice, redemption, and empowerment for his people. He is the center of all history. All of creation looks to him as King of kings and Lord of lords. Isaiah 9:6 tells us, “For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.”

 

We serve the only King who would lay down his own life for his undeserving, rebellious subjects. We serve the only God who would step down off his throne and humble himself before us, even to the point of death. We serve the God of perfect love who can do nothing that isn’t completely drenched with his affection for us.

 

You can look at the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus and know without a shadow of a doubt that God longs to meet with you. If Jesus would come to earth that you might receive redemption and restored relationship with your heavenly Father, there is no doubt that he will meet you exactly where you are, right now. Jesus’ sacrifice was so powerful that it set you free to live in true communion with God.

 

Ephesians 2:4-7 says,

 

But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved— and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.

 

May you discover what it truly means to be seated in the heavenly places with Christ. May you pursue all the fullness of relationship afforded to you by the powerful sacrifice of Jesus. May his coming to earth demonstrate its power in your life. Take time to fellowship with God today the way Jesus did. Walk as he walked. And experience today the fullness of life that only comes by meeting with your heavenly Father by his grace and love.



Prayer

1. Meditate on God’s desire to meet with you as demonstrated by Jesus coming to earth.

 

“Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall call his name Immanuel’ (which means, God with us).” Matthew 1:23

 

“And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.” John 1:14

 

“Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though He was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, He humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.” Philippians 2:5-8

 

2. Where do you have doubt about experiencing the presence of God? Where do you feel like it is impossible or difficult to encounter your heavenly Father?

 

“For God so loved the world, that He gave his only Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life.” John 3:16

 

3. Align your perspective with the truth of Scripture. Allow Jesus’ coming to fill you with faith and expectation to experience all that He came and died to give you. Take time to press into the heart of God and encounter the depths of His love today.

 

“But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved— and raised us up with Him and seated us with Him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages He might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.” Ephesians 2:4-7



Go...

We as modern-day believers often grow content with so much less than what’s available to us in Christ. We grow content with programs, sermons, worship, and Bible study that’s void of God’s presence. We believe that the Christian life is one solely marked by discipline and moral living rather than transformative encounters with the holiness of God. Pursue the greater things today. Press into the heart of your Creator that you might know how truly near He is. Seek him and discover the wealth of his presence and love that has been available to you all along. Instead of programs about him, may your life be marked by meeting directly with your good and loving Father.


Extended Reading: Philippians 2 or watch The Bible Project’s video on Philippians.


Do you have a personal relationship with God, who loves you so much He sent His only Son to pay the penalty our sins deserve?  If not, and you'd like to learn more, please click here or contact us by clicking here or calling 604-531-2344.

Encountering God Through Thanksgiving

Friday, June 24, 2021 by Craig Denison

Scripture

“Enter His gates with thanksgiving, and His courts with praise! Give thanks to Him; bless His name!”

PSALM 100:4



Devotional

Thanksgiving is a gift given to us by the good and loving nature of our heavenly Father. In and out of every season of life, we have a reason to give thanks because we serve a wholly faithful, good, and loving God. We serve the only King who would lay down His life for His unworthy, rebellious servants. We serve a God perfectly worthy of all the thanksgiving and praise we could possibly give.

 

In using the incredible gift of thanksgiving, we remind ourselves of how truly good our Father is. In thanksgiving, we experience the joy of a proper perspective and have our hearts stirred by the renewing of our minds. Psalm 100:4 says, “Enter His gates with thanksgiving, and His courts with praise! Give thanks to Him; bless His name!” When we come before God with thanksgiving, we seek the face of our Father while grounding ourselves firmly in the truth of His perfect nature. When we begin our days, prayers, worship, reading, and fellowship with a heart of thanksgiving, we live out of a place of faith and reality found in the kingdom of God come to earth.

 

Our God is bigger and better than our circumstances, fears, wounds, misconceptions, and past failures. There is security and joy in declaring the goodness, kindness, loving, and eternal nature of our Father. We dictate the emotions we feel by what we choose to dwell on and believe. Our minds are the battleground for our emotions, actions, and desire to dwell in communion with our good God.

 

Ephesians 5:20 says we are to be “giving thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.” And Psalm 92:1-5 says:

 

It is good to give thanks to the Lord, to sing praises to your name, O Most High; to declare your steadfast love in the morning, and your faithfulness by night, to the music of the lute and the harp, to the melody of the lyre. For you, O Lord, have made me glad by your work; at the works of your hands I sing for joy. How great are your works, O Lord! Your thoughts are very deep!

 

Our hearts become glad when we offer continual thanksgiving. Five minutes of thanksgiving and praise has the power to change the direction of each day. It has the power to stir our hearts and make us open to and aware of God’s will for us in every situation. It fills us with an atmosphere of joy and of the Spirit. And it can greatly assist us in choosing the life of communion with the Father over the pursuits of the world as temptations and situations arise. May you be empowered and filled with transcendent joy as you engage in continual thanksgiving.

 

Take time in prayer to practice thanksgiving and enjoy the fruits of a renewed mind and a heart filled with joy and truth.



Prayer

1. Meditate on the importance of thanksgiving. Allow Scripture to stir up your desire to offer thanksgiving in every season.

 

“Continue steadfastly in prayer, being watchful in it with thanksgiving.” Colossians 4:2

 

“Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all His benefits.” Psalm 103:2

 

“Oh come, let us sing to the Lord; let us make a joyful noise to the rock of our salvation! Let us come into His presence with thanksgiving; let us make a joyful noise to Him with songs of praise!” Psalm 95:1-2

 

2. Take time to give thanks to God. Think about how He sent Jesus to die for you. Think about how faithful He is and always will be. Think about how good heaven will be. Give thanks for any gift He’s given you.

 

“I will praise the name of God with a song; I will magnify Him with thanksgiving. This will please the Lord more than an ox or a bull with horns and hoofs.” Psalm 69:30-31


“We give thanks to you, O God; we give thanks, for Your Name is near. We recount your wondrous deeds.” Psalm 75:1

 

3. How do you feel after taking time to engage in thanksgiving? Have your concerns, desires, and perspectives shifted? Journal about the effects of thanksgiving on your heart and mind.



Go...

We are continually commanded by Scripture to remember the deeds of our God. When the world comes crashing down around us, it’s hard sometimes to remember how faithful God has been and will be. It’s easy to get so wrapped up in the fleeting cares and problems of this life and forget how perfect and never-ending the next life will be. Psalm 103:2 says, “Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all His benefits.” May you be quick to remember the benefits of restored relationship with your heavenly Father today as you take time to bless and thank the Lord for all the wonderful things He’s given you.


Extended Reading: Deuteronomy 8 or watch The Bible Project’s video on Deuteronomy.


What are you thankfulful for? Let us know by clicking here.

Encountering God through Faith

Monday, June 21, 2021 by Craig Denison

Having consistent and transformational encounters with God while on earth is meant to be foundational to the Christian life. Our God has not left us. Through the sacrifice of Jesus, we’ve been filled with the very Spirit of God who longs to reveal to us daily the nearness and love of our heavenly Father. We are never alone. There is nowhere we can flee from the presence of our God. May this week be filled with transformational encounters with the living God as we learn what it is to seek the face of the one who has formed us, knows us, and loves us unconditionally.


Scripture

“And without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him.”

HEBREWS 11:6


Devotional

By faith we come into the throne room of God and have an authentic, transformational encounter with our Creator. By faith we accept the free gift of eternal salvation. By faith we believe we will one day live in heaven with our Father. And it’s by faith that we seek the fullness of relationship available to us on earth.

 

Hebrews 11:6 says, “And without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him.” The Lord longs to reward your seeking him with an abundance of his presence. You can have consistent, transformational encounters with God. But in order to seek God, you must take him at his word. You must believe that he will reward you out of his good pleasure when you come to him with faith.

 

Romans 10:17 says, “So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ.” Faith is simply a response to God’s promises and faithfulness. We can have faith because our God has proven himself wholly faithful. When he says in Revelation 3:20, “Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with me,” he is making a foundational promise to you.

 

The Lord knocks on the door of your heart and longs to meet with you. He is asking you to have the faith to make space in your life, open your heart to him as an act of trust, and meet with him. His presence is fully available to you here. The veil separating us and the presence of God was torn by the power of Jesus’ sacrifice.

 

Hebrews 10:22 says, “Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, with our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water.” I pray that your heart would be filled with the assurance that comes from faith in response to God’s faithfulness. I pray that you would passionately pursue consistent encounters with your loving heavenly Father. I pray that today your faith will be rewarded with the powerful presence of the living God. And I pray that your life will forever be changed in light of how loving and near your Father is to you.


Prayer

1. Meditate on the importance of drawing near to God in faith.

 

“And without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him.” Hebrews 11:6

 

“And whatever you ask in prayer, you will receive, if you have faith.” Matthew 21:22

 

2. Come before the throne of your God in faith that he will shepherd you into an encounter with his love.

 

“Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, with our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water.” Hebrews 10:22

 

“Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with me.” Revelation 3:20

 

3. Rest in the presence of your heavenly Father. Allow his love to lay a foundation of grace, joy, peace, and purpose in your heart.

 

“You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart.” Jeremiah 29:13



Go...

May Psalm 139:7-12 fill your heart with faith to experience the nearness of your Father:

Where shall I go from your Spirit? Or where shall I flee from your presence? If I ascend to heaven, you are there! If I make my bed in Sheol, you are there! If I take the wings of the morning and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea, even there your hand shall lead me, and your right hand shall hold me. If I say, “Surely the darkness shall cover me, and the light about me be night,” even the darkness is not dark to you; the night is bright as the day, for darkness is as light with you.

 

Extended Reading: Psalm 139 or watch The Bible Project’s video on Psalms.

How to Make Father's Day Unforgettable

Friday, June 18, 2021 by Paige & Kristin

Father-love is irreplaceable.


Whether we’re celebrating our dads, stepdads, brothers, sons or other father figures in our lives, these men need to hear what a difference their love makes.


1 Thessalonians 5:11reminds us to “encourage one another and build each other up,” and Father’s Day is a chance for us to do just that. Lift those dads up; celebrate their unique calling; remind them how much they’re appreciated every single day. The job of an earthly father is to model the love and ways of our Heavenly Father. That’s a high calling! Let’s join together this Father’s Day and make a concentrated effort to recognize the hard work it takes to be a good and Godly dad.


If you’re looking for ways to bless a special dad or two this year, read on for some practical, heartfelt ways to make his day unforgettable:


Prayer:


Prayer is a simple gift you can offer anytime, anywhere for the men in your life. Spend a little time on Father’s Day thanking God for the blessing of their presence; pray for their strength and guidance. Ask Him for the ability to see and celebrate the good in them, offer them grace in their brokenness, and encouragement for the daily journey.


Experience:


A memory made together is a gift that can last a lifetime. Consider treating Dad to something he’s never done. Take him on a special trip (even a short road-trip!) to a new place, or surprise him with a unique experience – skydiving, horseback riding, canoeing, bird-watching. Plan a weekend outing to a local event you’ve always wanted to try. Sometimes there are memories waiting to be made right in your own backyard.


Messages on the Mirror, in His Car, Nightstand, etc: 


We’ve put together the following messages to Dad in a free printable {download here}. Simply download, print off, cut out, write a personal message on the back and tape onto his bathroom mirror (or hide in his car, by his nightstand, or even next to his workout equipment). Who knows? Maybe it will become a habit to find something to thank him for every day!


1: Thank you for giving your all at work and at home.


“Work willingly at whatever you do, as though you were working for the Lord rather than for people.” Colossians 3:23 NLT


2: Thank you for making sure we have everything we need.


“Which of you, if your son asks for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!” Matthew 7:9-11 NIV


3: Thank you for leading our family in the ways of the Lord.


“But as for me and my household, we will serve the LORD.” Joshua 24:15 NIV


4: Thank you for teaching us about Jesus.


“Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord.” Ephesians 6:4 NIV


5: Thank you for making our home a place we want to be.


“By wisdom a house is built, and through understanding it is established; through knowledge its rooms are filled with rare and beautiful treasures.” Proverbs 24:3-4 NIV


6: Dad, thank you for showing us how to fight hard and finish well.


“I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.” 2 Timothy 4:7 NIV


7: Dad, thank you for helping us up when we fall.


“Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor: If either of them falls down, one can help the other up.” Ecclesiastes 4:9-10 NIV


8: Thank you for believing in us and for being our #1 fan.


“Jesus looked at them and said, ‘With man this is impossible, but not with God; all things are possible with God.’” Mark 10:27 NIV


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What does he love to do? If he’s a sports guy, plan a day around one of his favorite things: a fishing trip, golf outing or baseball game. Maybe he’s a movie watcher – how about a family movie marathon with his favorite theater treats? An outdoorsman might love a sunset hike, canoe float or bike ride. An indoors-man may enjoy some quiet time with the family. Pull out some favorite old board games and have a tournament; plan a few surprise video calls with far-away family members; head to his favorite coffee shop for a leisurely afternoon together.


Gathering (make sure to follow government guidelines):


Get your favorite dads and their families together for a good old-fashioned celebration – a homemade meal or potluck, lawn games and maybe even some water balloon fun (because boys will be boys!)  Take over the grill and let the dads kick back. It may be an opportunity to not only bless the men you are related to, but to reach out to others who may not have a place to be on Father’s Day. God’s heart for those on the outside is clear – we are called to welcome them in, and we’re blessed each time we open our homes and our hearts.


Remembering:


We’ve all had to say goodbye to good men in our lives, and Father’s Day can be a time to honor their memory. Proverbs 10:7 CSB says: “The memory of the righteous is blessed.” Spend some time reflecting on the legacy they’ve left – how did they show the love of Christ? What did they teach us about being men of God, and how can we pass that wisdom along to those following in their footsteps today? Consider writing a note of encouragement to one of the men in your life who’s building a lasting legacy. Remind him that the choices he’s making today and the time he’s taking to pour into his children (the little ones and the grown ones!) will impact generations to come.


How are you celebrating the men in your life? Let us know by clicking here.

Living Without Offense

Monday, June 14, 2021 by Craig Denison

Introduction

Loving others is one of the most important and difficult commands Jesus gave us. We are a messy, broken, needy, and sinful people. We constantly deal with our own wounds and those of others. Because there is no perfect person, the foundation for loving others must be based outside of the merit or worth of others. The foundation for love must come from the God who is love. As believers we must be constantly tapped into the love and grace of our heavenly Father so that we can love others selflessly and powerfully. May you receive the love of your Father and be empowered to love others this week as we look to grow in our obedience of Jesus’ command to love people.



Scripture

“Good sense makes one slow to anger, and it is his glory to overlook an offense.”

PROVERBS 19:11


Devotional

Taking offense allows others to dictate your emotions and thereby your quality of life. When we allow the expressions of brokenness in others to affect us, we take our minds off of the ways of heaven and place them on the ways of the world. If we are to effectively live in obedience to the second greatest commandment of loving others, we must allow God to transform us into those who live without offense.

 

When someone wrongs me, I instantly feel a need for justice and fairness rise within me. I feel as if I inherently have the right to be angry or even to exact revenge for the wrong they committed. Offense stirs up feelings of insecurity, pride, anger, and frustration that I will do just about anything to rid myself of. But when I look at Scripture, I see Jesus modeling the exact opposite reaction to offense.

 

Matthew 27 is filled with wrongs done to Jesus. As seen in his betrayal, the freeing of the murderer Barabbas, the floggings, a crown of thorns, carrying of the cross, the mocking by the soldiers and thief, and his eventual death, Jesus had more right to take offense and exact revenge than any human in all of history. But Jesus saw past all the offense to the heart of those who wronged him. He saw past the hard, aggressive, and angry exteriors to the wounded places of the soul and found within him the strength, love, and courage to pray, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do” (Luke 23:34). In the face of the worst offenses and injustices, Jesus chose to offer grace, mercy, forgiveness, and compassion.

 

Jesus lived his life free from offense and therefore was freed to love others. His ability to look past expressions of brokenness to the hurts beneath the surface empowered him to live with joy, passion, love, and purpose. Leviticus 19:18 says, “You shall not take vengeance or bear a grudge against the sons of your own people, but you shall love your neighbor as yourself: I am the Lord.” If we are to fulfill the command of Scripture, we must look to Jesus as our model and live without offense. We must choose grace over revenge and compassion over worldly justice.

 

You have the ability to choose how you will respond to others. Your emotions and actions do not have to be dictated by the sinful acts of others. Choose to pursue love and humility over vengeance and anger. Allow the Lord to highlight and heal any wounds and insecurities that cause you to respond poorly to offense as you enter into prayer.



Prayer

1. Meditate on Scripture’s command to live without offense. Reflect on Jesus’ response to offense and elevate him as your model for living.

 

“Good sense makes one slow to anger, and it is his glory to overlook an offense.” Proverbs 19:11

 

“When he was reviled, he did not revile in return; when he suffered, he did not threaten, but continued entrusting himself to him who judges justly.” 1 Peter 2:23

 

“Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.” Philippians 2:3-8

 

2. What insecurities or wounds cause you to respond to offense in ways other than those of Jesus? What’s at the core of your offense? What’s keeping you from fully loving others?

 

“Do not take to heart all the things that people say, lest you hear your servant cursing you. Your heart knows that many times you yourself have cursed others.” Ecclesiastes 7:21-22

 

3. Ask the Holy Spirit to help you look past acts of brokenness to the heart of those who offend you. Ask him to heal your own brokenness and transform you into a person who loves others well.

 

“Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.” Ephesians 4:32

 

“So then let us pursue what makes for peace and for mutual upbuilding.” Romans 14:19

 

“With all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.” Ephesians 4:2-3



Go...

What would your life be like if you were free from offense? How much more consistently would you experience peace and joy? If God commands you to choose humility and compassion over offense, it must be a far better way to live. Vengeance, anger, and frustration will only rob you of the abundant life God intends for you, whereas humility and compassion will fill you with the very power and grace of God himself. May you be a child with the heart of the Father and love others with his love today.


Extended Reading: Matthew 27 or watch The Bible Project’s video on Matthew 14-28.


Let us know your thoughts or comments by clicking here.

The Simplicity of Grace

Friday, June 11, 2021 by Craig Denison

Scripture

But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace toward me was not in vain. On the contrary, I worked harder than any of them, though it was not I, but the grace of God that is with me.”

1 CORINTHIANS 15:10



Devotional

Grace is a glorious commodity of heaven that can only be received and experienced in surrender to the will and love of our heavenly Father. Our world is unable to offer grace because it is in a constant state of need, and grace can only be offered from a place of true wholeness and love. In utter completeness, our God is able to offer us grace because he needs nothing from us in return. He requires nothing of us, so he offers us everything apart from any ability or inherent value we possess.

 

Grace comprises the core of the Christian foundation. It’s God’s grace that drove him to send his Son as payment for our sins. It’s through grace that we enter into the fullness of restored relationship with our good Father. It’s through grace that we receive forgiveness for our sins. And it’s in the simplicity of grace that we are transformed into the very image of our Savior.

 

I find myself continually missing out on all that God’s grace offers me. I retreat into a lifestyle of works where I try to earn what God has already given me. I work for the love of my heavenly Father and others, vying for affection rather than receiving the ceaseless love of God for me. I strive and work for holiness and righteousness instead of simply aligning myself with the new nature of freedom God has offered me in grace.

 

1 Corinthians 15:10 says, “By the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace toward me was not in vain.” Can you say today that you are what you are by the grace of God? Is your life marked by and founded on God’s limitless supply of grace? Are your emotions, perspectives, pursuits, and relationships founded on the notion that God loves you simply because he loves you? Have you found total security and rest in the loving embrace of a God who longs to fill you, sustain you, bless you, provide for you, and love you simply because it’s his desire?

 

Allow God to fill you with a fresh revelation of his grace today. Come before him with an open heart, and allow the truth of his unceasing and grace-filled love wash through you. Allow him to cast out any fear, toil, or burden that is keeping you from the abundant life available to you. Spend time in prayer being transformed by the simplicity of grace.



Prayer

1. Meditate on the principles of grace. How does it work? Where does it come from? How can you experience it? Allow God’s word to lay a foundation of grace by which you live.

 

But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace toward me was not in vain. On the contrary, I worked harder than any of them, though it was not I, but the grace of God that is with me.” 1 Corinthians 15:10

 

For through the law I died to the law, so that I might live to God. I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. I do not nullify the grace of God, for if righteousness were through the law, then Christ died for no purpose.” Galatians 2:19-21

 

2. In what ways are you living a works based life? Where do you need a fresh vision for living by grace?

 

3. Ask the Holy Spirit to give you a fresh vision for how deeply God’s grace goes in any and every circumstance you face. Ask him to fill you with a fresh revelation of how deeply he loves you regardless of what you do. Allow him to lead you into a lifestyle of living by grace in every pursuit, relationship, thought, and perspective.



Go...

Living in response to God’s love rather than working to earn it changes everything. It eliminates the pressures of this world that are founded upon personal success in every area of life. It frees us to live joyfully and satisfied rather than incomplete and in a constant state of want. May you make time throughout your day today to receive a fresh revelation of grace. May you discover through grace the life Jesus died to freely give. May you discover how wonderful it is to be loved by a God who requires nothing of you before he gives you everything.


Extended Reading: Ephesians 2 or watch The Bible Project’s video on Ephesians.


If you would like to learn more about God's amazing grace, please read more here, or let us know by clicking here. We'd love to hear from you.

The Simple Truth of Freedom

Monday, June 7, 2021 by Craig Denison

Scripture

“Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.”

2 CORINTHIANS 3:17


Devotional

2 Corinthians 3:18 says, “Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.” Freedom from sin is not something we pay for with our own blood, sweat, and tears. It is not bought by any measure of human strength or will, but by the precious and powerful blood of Jesus Christ. Scripture tells clearly of the pervasive and liberating effects of Jesus’ death for all those who come to believe in him and claim him as Lord. May we be children freed from the bonds of slavery Christ died to set us free from.

 

Romans 8:1-4 says,

 

"There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death. For God has done what the law, weakened by the flesh, could not do. By sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin, he condemned sin in the flesh, in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit."

 

With the filling of the Spirit came a new law, a new covenant by which the chains of sin are broken. We are no longer condemned to live under the tyranny of sin, but rather freed to live under the new law of the Spirit. And “where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.”

 

The simple truth of Scripture in regards to sin is that freedom is ours through Christ Jesus. To experience true freedom from sin is to simply live in light of the powerful infilling of the Holy Spirit and the living and active word of God’s truth about you. Romans 6:6, 18 and 22 say, “We know that our old self was crucified with him in order that the body of sin might be brought to nothing, so that we would no longer be enslaved to sin . . . . And, having been set free from sin, have become slaves of righteousness . . . . Now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves of God, the fruit you get leads to sanctification and its end, eternal life.”

 

You are a slave of this world no longer. Your past does not define you. The future before you is one of peace, joy, and freedom in the Spirit. God has incredible plans in store for you that far surpass simply overcoming sin. Jesus died to give you abundant life here in which freedom and love are your portion, not habitual sin and destruction.

 

Renew your mind to the law of the Spirit to which you now belong as you spend time in prayer.



Prayer

1. Meditate on the freedom available to you through the death of Christ and infilling of the Holy Spirit. Allow Scripture to renew your mind and change your perspective on sin and freedom.

 

We know that our old self was crucified with him in order that the body of sin might be brought to nothing, so that we would no longer be enslaved to sin.” Romans 6:6

 

Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.” 2 Corinthians 3:17

 

There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death. For God has done what the law, weakened by the flesh, could not do. By sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin, he condemned sin in the flesh, in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.” Romans 8:1-4

 

2. What sin seems to continually entangle you? What victory do you feel the enemy has over you?

 

3. Ask the Holy Spirit to fill you with his perspective in regards to your sin. Ask him to show you the path to freedom. View your sin through the lens of Scripture and put it in its proper place.

 

And, having been set free from sin, have become slaves of righteousness.” Romans 6:18

 

But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves of God, the fruit you get leads to sanctification and its end, eternal life.” Romans 6:22

 

In the same way we also, when we were children, were enslaved to the elementary principles of the world. But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons. And because you are sons, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, ‘Abba! Father!’ So you are no longer a slave, but a son, and if a son, then an heir through God.” Galatians 4:3-7



Go...

James 5:16 says, “Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working.” The act of confessing our sin to one another is powerful in experiencing the freedom available to us. Everything the devil does is in the shadows and is marked by deception. When we confess our sin, we bring it into the light, expose the lies, and are able to better see the destructive plans of the enemy. It’s in the light that we experience the freedom available to us. May you be filled with courage to expose your sin and walk in the freedom of righteousness today.


Extended Reading: Romans 8 or watch The Bible Project’s video on Romans 5-16.


How can we pray for you today? Let us know by clicking here.

The Discipline of Simplicity

Friday, June 4, 2021 by Craig Denison

Introduction

The Christian life is meant to be marked by simplicity. Jesus summed up our purpose with two statements: love God and love people. But in our humanity we have made complex what God designed to be peaceful, purposeful, and simple. A. W. Tozer remarks in The Pursuit of God, “Every age has its own characteristics. Right now we are in an age of religious complexity. The simplicity which is in Christ is rarely found among us. In its stead are programs, methods, organizations and a world of nervous activities which occupy time and attention but can never satisfy the longing of the heart. The shallowness of our inner experience, the hollowness of our worship, and that servile imitation of the world which marks our promotional methods all testify that we in this day, know God only imperfectly, and the peace of God scarcely at all. If we would find God amid all the religious externals, we must first determine to find Him, and then proceed in the way of simplicity.” May we discover the peace and joy that come from pursuing a simple Christianity this week.


Scripture

“For our boast is this, the testimony of our conscience, that we behaved in the world with simplicity and godly sincerity, not by earthly wisdom but by the grace of God, and supremely so toward you.” 1 CORINTHIANS 1:12


Devotional

Often, we are kept from living lives marked by the joy and peace of our heavenly Father because of our continual pursuit for more. Humanity’s first sin was pursuing more than God intended for us, and the enemy continues to entice us with that temptation today. A core value of the world is more: more money, more fame, more friends, more success, more happiness, more possessions, more of anything, because we feel dissatisfied with our lives. We are constantly grabbing for that which will never fully satisfy in the present or lead us to a lifestyle of continual satisfaction.

 

Paul writes in 2 Corinthians 1:12, “For our boast is this, the testimony of our conscience, that we behaved in the world with simplicity and godly sincerity, not by earthly wisdom but by the grace of God, and supremely so toward you.” Simplicity is a God-given discipline that prunes the dead branches of waste that effectually deplete us of the energy, time, and provision with which God has blessed us. When we make the decision to stop pursuing more, we step in line with the Spirit and place our trust and faith in God rather than our own understanding.

 

You see, at the core of a continual pursuit for more is a lack of faith in God’s goodness. If we truly believed God provides all we need, we would never step outside his provision and strive for more. Adam and Eve questioned God’s goodness and thereby brought the destructive nature of sin into humanity. They decided for themselves what was enough rather than trusting God to know what was best for them.

 

Our own forbidden fruit takes on all sorts of forms. We work our fingers to the bone for a taste of greater success all the while forgetting who it is we are to work for in the first place. We take God-given financial provision and waste it on worldly pleasures rather than investing it into that which will actually satisfy us. We take what we receive from God and use it to finance self-indulgence rather than sharing it with those whom God wanted to use us to bless from the beginning. And we take the valuable resource of time and waste it on pursuits that were never God’s intention to begin with.

 

We desperately need transformation and training in the discipline of simplicity. In order to experience joy and peace that transcends circumstances and position ourselves through faithfulness to receive more of what God longs to give, we must offer our time, energy, and money to God and follow the guidance of his Spirit and word.

 

Matthew 6:21 says, “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” Take time in guided prayer placing all your treasure in the only place that can offer you eternal investment: with your heavenly Father.



Prayer

1. Meditate on the importance of simplicity and the destructive pursuit of more.

 

No servant can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money.” Luke 16:13

 

Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is.” Ephesians 5:15-17

 

2. Reflect on areas of your life that are not marked by simplicity. Ask the Spirit to convict you of anything you need to get rid of. It’s incredibly important to note the difference between guilt and conviction. Conviction from the Spirit is always done in love and will always bring you inner peace and joy as you follow through in obedience.

 

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.” Galatians 5:22-23

 

3. Commit to ending the pursuit of more by trusting in the provision and goodness of your heavenly Father. Place your trust in Him alone and ask Him to guide you into a lifestyle of simplicity.

 

Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.” Matthew 6:31-33

 

For our boast is this, the testimony of our conscience, that we behaved in the world with simplicity and godly sincerity, not by earthly wisdom but by the grace of God, and supremely so toward you.” 2 Corinthians 1:12



Go...

God has different plans for each of His children. He intends for some to live in poverty with absolutely no possessions, while others He wants to bless in abundance that they may have the privilege of co-laboring with Him in blessing others. Scripture is clear that our God gives good and perfect gifts. He loves to bless His children. To live simply, we just need to live in continual relationship with the Holy Spirit and allow Him to show us what gifts are from Him and whether they are for our benefit or pleasure or to give away to others. May you find greater depths of peace as you grow in trusting God and following the perfect and abundant leadership of the Holy Spirit.


Extended Reading: 2 Corinthians 1 or watch The Bible Project’s video on 2 Corinthians.

Love Based Obedience

Monday, May 31, 2021 by Craig Denison

Introduction

1 Corinthians 13:13 says, “So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love.” The greatest of all aspects of the Christian life is love. Love is to be at the foundation of all we do, all we are, and all we hold on to. If we focus on love and allow the Holy Spirit to strip everything else away, what will be left is a life of blessed simplicity rooted in face-to-face relationship with our heavenly Father. As we spend time this week looking at the simplicity of love, I pray that all the weighty, frivolous things of the world that rob you of an abundant life fall away in light of the glorious goodness of God’s unconditional and wholly available love for you.


Scripture

Whoever has My commandments and keeps them, he it is who loves Me. And he who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and manifest Myself to him.

JOHN 14:21


Devotional

For much of my life I feared the thought of obedience, especially to the almighty, all-knowing, and all-powerful Creator of the universe. I couldn’t seem to find a way to consistently choose Him over myself. I couldn’t seem to be able to live for His affections over those of the world. As hard as I would try in various seasons, I just couldn’t be obedient.

 

What I didn’t realize about God’s command to be obedient was the process by which I could grow in obedience. God will take our obedience however He can get it because He wants us to enjoy the incredible fruits of His perfect will, but His desire is always to love us to a place that our obedience would be a natural overflow of our love for Him. He longs for us to live a lifestyle of love-based obedience.

 

John 14:15 says very simply, “If you love me, you will keep my commandments.” Jesus’ words here are a promise. If we truly love Him, we will keep His commandments. If we truly have love in our hearts, we can’t help but be obedient to Him. I long to grow to the place where I am so in love with Jesus that I long to choose Him in every situation. I long to be a servant so in love with my King that I would die for Him or anyone else He asked me to.

 

The love of God is so real, so powerful, and so transformational that it can mold and shape us into people who no longer live for this temporal world but seek first an everlasting, invisible kingdom. If we will simply be people who let God love us in every moment, we will naturally be people who are obedient to God’s perfect will for us.

 

Romans 6:17-18 says, “But thanks be to God, that you who were once slaves of sin have become obedient from the heart to the standard of teaching to which you were committed, and, having been set free from sin, have become slaves of righteousness.” Through the powerful sacrifice of Jesus, you have been transformed into a person who has gained freedom from the law of sin. You are now enslaved to a lifestyle of right living whereby you obey your King out of devotion to Him.

 

Take time in prayer today to receive the transformational love of your heavenly Father. Allow His love to lay a foundation on which you pursue wholehearted obedience. May you be filled with affection for your King today as you receive the wealth of unconditional love He has for you.



Prayer

1. Open your heart to God to allow Him to come in and love you. Ask Him to guide you into a powerful encounter with His love today. Ask Him to make you aware of His nearness and heart for you.

 

And to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.” Ephesians 3:19

 

2. Meditate on verses about obedience. Ask the Holy Spirit to transform you into a person who obeys God’s commands out of love for Him.

 

Whoever has My commandments and keeps them, He it is who loves Me. And he who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and manifest Myself to him.” John 14:21

 

Jesus answered him, ‘If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word, and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our home with him.'” John 14:23

 

3. Commit yourself to obey God’s commands out of trust and affection for Him. Choose to serve Him and those He’s placed in your life. Ask Him to fill you with a desire to do His will that your obedience wouldn’t take debate but rather be a seamless action flowing from the love He’s placed within you.

 

But the word is very near you. It is in your mouth and in your heart, so that you can do it.” Deuteronomy 30:14

 

Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children. And walk In love, as Christ loved us and gave Himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.” Ephesians 5:1-2



Go...

Imagine how blessed our lives would be if we lived in total obedience to the will of God. Imagine the impact we would leave on this world. Imagine the wealth of heavenly reward we would have for all eternity. How wonderful is the heart of our heavenly Father that He would love us into a place of obedience to Him, and then reward us and others for it! Our obedience is solely based on accepting His grace, and yet He loves to bless us through it. Praise be to our loving heavenly Father for the incredible life He’s given us at such a great cost. May we love Him in all we do.


Extended Reading: John 14-15 or watch The Bible Project’s video on John 13-21.


How can we pray for you today? Let us know by clicking here.

His Love Has Set Us Free

Friday, May 28, 2021 by Craig Denison

Introduction

1 Corinthians 13:13 says, “So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love.” The greatest of all aspects of the Christian life is love. Love is to be at the foundation of all we do, all we are, and all we hold on to. If we focus on love and allow the Holy Spirit to strip everything else away, what will be left is a life of blessed simplicity rooted in face-to-face relationship with our heavenly Father. As we spend time looking at the simplicity of love, I pray that all the weighty, frivolous things of the world that rob you of an abundant life fall away in light of the glorious goodness of God’s unconditional and wholly available love for you.


Scripture

There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death. For God has done what the law, weakened by the flesh, could not do.” ROMANS 8:1-3


Devotional

What does it look like to be totally free in Christ Jesus? What does it look like to live in the world, but be free from the constraints, demands, burdens, and stresses of living for the world? Scripture proclaims to us a life more abundant, purposeful, and free than what I am now experiencing. The Holy Spirit quietly but clearly beckons me to choose Him throughout my day that I might know what it is to live in constant communion with Him. God clearly has a plan for us far greater than anything we have yet experienced. And He longs for today to be a day marked by the freedom of life that only comes through a transformational encounter with His presence, truth, and love.

 

God’s love has set us free from everything that would entangle us to this world. His love sets us free emotionally, spiritually, and practically. His love broke the chains of sin and depravity as Jesus breathed His last breath on the cross. His love broke through to earth as He tore the veil from top to bottom signifying the availability of His presence for all. His love broke through in each of our lives as we said yes to crowning Him King and accepted His free gift of eternal relationship with Him. And His love breaks through every morning as surely as the sun rises, declaring to us the availability of a day filled with His nearness and love.

 

Scripture says in Romans 7:4, “Likewise, my brothers, you also have died to the law through the body of Christ, so that you may belong to another, to Him who has been raised from the dead, in order that we may bear fruit for God.” And in Galatians 5:22-23, Scripture says, “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.” God longs for our lives to be marked by the presence of the Holy Spirit. He longs for us to bear His fruit that we might enjoy all that restored relationship with Him affords us.

 

Romans 8:1-3 says, “There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death. For God has done what the law, weakened by the flesh, could not do.” God’s love has set us free from “the law of sin and death” that we might live by the law of “the Spirit of life.” His love has made a way for us to be fully known and fully loved. But the choice is still ours today. Will we submit ourselves to this new law marked by the fruit of His presence, or will we choose to resubmit ourselves to the law of this world as if the death of Christ was for nothing? Choose abundant life today by opening your heart and experiencing the nearness of the Holy Spirit.


Prayer

1. Meditate on the freedom of life available to you through Christ. Allow Scripture to stir up your faith and desire to live differently today.

 

Live as people who are free, not using your freedom as a cover-up for evil, but living as servants of God.” 1 Peter 2:16

 

For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery.” Galatians 5:1

 

2. Where have you been choosing the law of the world over the law of freedom? Where have you been living for the things of the world instead of choosing life in the Spirit of God?

 

There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death. For God has done what the law, weakened by the flesh, could not do.” Romans 8:1-3

 

3. Ask the Holy Spirit to help you submit yourself fully to “the law of the Spirit of life.” Ask Him to reveal His nearness that you might know His love today. Take time to rest in His presence and bear the fruit of communing with Him.

 

Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.” 2 Corinthians 3:17

 

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.” Galatians 5:22-23


Go...

What would it be like to live free from condemnation as Romans 8:1 tells us? What would it be like to live free from the burden of man’s opinion that we could simply enjoy how God feels about us? May the Lord help you today to experience the life that comes only by choosing freedom. May He guide you into a lifestyle of continual encounters with His love. May your days be marked by the fruit of knowing Him personally. And may you exhibit to the world how wonderful it is to know and experience restored relationship with the Lord of all.


Extended Reading: Galatians 5 or watch The Bible Project’s video on Galatians.


Have you been set free from the burdens of this world? Would you like to be set free? Do you have a personal relationship with the Creator of the Universe who loves you so much He sent His only Son to die in your place for the wrong things you have done? If you would like to know more, please click here for contact us at comments@whiterockbaptist.ca or 604-531-2344. We'd love to hear from you!

All He Asks of Us is Love

Tuesday, May 25, 2021 by Craig Denison

Introduction


1 Corinthians 13:13 says, “So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love.” The greatest of all aspects of the Christian life is love. Love is to be at the foundation of all we do, all we are, and all we hold on to. If we focus on love and allow the Holy Spirit to strip everything else away, what will be left is a life of blessed simplicity rooted in face-to-face relationship with our heavenly Father. As we spend time this week looking at the simplicity of love, I pray that all the weighty, frivolous things of the world that rob you of an abundant life fall away in light of the glorious goodness of God’s unconditional and wholly available love for you.



Scripture

So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love.” 1 CORINTHIANS 13:13


Devotional

One of the most life-giving, transformational truths of the gospel is that of everything we have to offer God, of everything in this life we have to give, he most desires our love. To love God is all-encompassing. Colossians 3:14 says, “And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony.” To love God is to pursue a life of wholehearted devotion to a King who is wholeheartedly devoted to us. To love God is to place ourselves in this never-ending, blessed cycle of giving and receiving limitless love.

 

The simple truth that God simply wants our love frees us from frivolous pursuits. It frees us from systems and practices that are rooted in “should” rather than true desire. God will take us however he can get us. He’ll take us if all we have to give is a belief that we should serve him or be with him. But he never desires to keep us in that place. He longs to love each of us to such a level that we would live and serve him out of a place of full devotion as the natural response to his overwhelming affections for us.

 

1 John 4:16 says, “So we have come to know and to believe the love that God has for us. God is love, and whoever abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him.” Allow 1 John 4:16 to create an image in your mind for a second. Picture what it would be like to truly abide in God and have him abide in you. Ask the Holy Spirit to give you a vision of what that would be like. What would everyday life look like if you were to truly abide in God and have him abiding in you?

 

So great is God’s love for us that he makes himself available for us to abide in him. So great are his affections for us that we could have him abiding in us. If we will pursue love above all else, we will discover a wellspring of simplicity and life rooted in wholehearted devotion to the God of love.

 

Cast off all other pursuits today in light of God’s call to love. Cast off the striving and tireless work of doing life rooted in the “should” and let God love you to a place of love-based obedience. Find rest today in the truth that God is simply after your heart. Open up to him and receive his vast affections. 1 Corinthians 16:14 says, “Let all that you do be done in love.” May you abide in the heart of your heavenly Father and allow him to come in and meet with you that all you do today might be done in love.



Prayer

1. Meditate on the call of God to love. Allow Scripture to fill you with a wholehearted desire to love God in all you do.

 

You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself.” Luke 10:27

 

So we have come to know and to believe the love that God has for us. God is love, and whoever abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him.” 1 John 4:16

 

2. Ask the Holy Spirit to fill you with a fresh revelation of God’s love for you. Receive the love of God and allow it to cast out all fear and reservation.

 

There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love.” 1 John 4:18

 

3. Respond to the affections of God with your own. Tell God how you feel in his presence. Thank him for all that he’s done for you. Enter into the cycle of giving and receiving affection.

 

We love because he first loved us.” 1 John 4:19



Go...

This cycle of giving and receiving affection is really just a picture of what it is to worship. As we allow God to love us, our natural response will be to love him in return because we are created for worship. As we receive his love we will naturally love him and others. For a long time I pictured worship as this time where I had to drum up affection for God that I honestly didn’t feel. God never asks us to fake it. He never wants worship that isn’t truly from our hearts. He knows we need his love to love him in return. If you find yourself emptied of affection for him and others today, take time to simply let him love you so that you can live wholeheartedly today.


Extended Reading: 1 Corinthians 13 or watch The Bible Project’s video on 1 Corinthians.


How can we pray for you today? let us know by clicking here.

Love-based Simplicity

Friday, May 21, 2021 by Craig Denison

As you fix your eyes on Jesus today, may you find that the weight of the world falls away. And may you choose the path of simplicity and love going forward living out in joy and peace. 


Scripture

“And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony.” COLOSSIANS 3:14


Devotional

God’s command to love affords us a life of simplicity that can only be found in His kingdom come to earth. Colossians 3:14 says, “And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony.” Christianity is a simple religion. Jesus said that all of God’s commandments can be summed up with one word: love. Galatians 5:14 says, “For the whole law is fulfilled in one word: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.'” How is it then that our spirituality often feels so complex and difficult? How is that we have a hard time experiencing the simplicity our faith affords us?


Complexity in Christianity finds its root in the attempt to live for both the world and God. Jesus makes it clear in Matthew 6:24, “No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money.” Loving God and people is simple. There is only one right choice before us in all that we do. Complexity enters into our lives as soon as we try and juggle living for the world and living for God. There is a fence between this world and God’s kingdom too high to straddle. It is impossible to put one foot in God’s kingdom while keeping a foot in the world.


God longs for you and me to make our first action every day to serve and love Him alone. He longs to guide us into the incredible, abundant life that comes from seeking His kingdom above all else. 1 John 2:15-17 tells us, “Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world—the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride of life—is not from the Father but is from the world. And the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever.” You cannot have both love for the world and love for your heavenly Father. This world is at enmity with God (James 4:4). It is set against Him and His ways. But you and I have been given a choice by the powerful sacrifice of Jesus. We’ve been given a real, available option to serve and love the eternal, Almighty God.


It’s time for the bride of Christ to end its affair with the world. It’s time for us to let God love us and in response live for Him alone. It’s time for us to “lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us” (Hebrews 12:1). Choose today the simplicity of love. Serve God alone. And discover a life far greater than anything you could experience outside of living for God above all else.


Prayer

1. Meditate on the impossibility of loving God and the world. Allow Scripture to fill you with a desire to seek God first today in all that you do.


You adulterous people! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God.” James 4:4


No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money.” Matthew 6:24


2. How have you been in friendship with the world? In what ways are you trying to serve two masters?


Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.” Romans 12:2


3. Confess any sin of pursuing the world to God and receiveHis forgiveness and love. God has total grace for us in our sin. All He wants is to guide us to a life more filled with His presence, love, and purpose. Don’t wallow in your sin. Receive God’s gift of forgiveness and choose to live differently.


“If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” 1 John 1:9


Do you have a relationship with God who is able to give us an abundant life filled  with peace, love and joy? If not, and you would like to connect with someone to learn more, please let us know by clicking here or reading more about how to have a personal relationships with God by clicking here.

The Joy of a Love-based Life

Monday, May 17, 2021 by Craig Denison

Scripture

“Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice.” PHILIPPIANS 4:4


Devotional

In God we have access to the fullness of joy. In Psalm 16:11 David says to God, “You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.” God has set out for us all a path to the fullness of joy found only in his presence, and that path is marked by love. We can have joy in and out of every season because God never stops loving us.


When we base our lives on the love of God rather than the thoughts, perspectives, and pursuits of the world, we position ourselves to live filled with the joy that comes solely through relationship with the Holy Spirit. Romans 14:17 says, “For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking but of righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.” We have been ransomed from the ways of this world and brought into the kingdom of our heavenly Father. And in this kingdom we discover a wealth of joy found in the Spirit of God dwelling with us.


The Holy Spirit longs to make us a joyful people. He longs to lead us away from that which will steal our joy and guide us to green pastures and still waters. But a choice remains constantly before us. Will we choose the stress, burdens, and insecurities of this world or will we follow God into a more abundant life of his joy-filled presence? We have a very real enemy tempting us every day to choose a world that will never fulfill us. While we may not be his any longer, he will do whatever he can to rob us of the abundant life afforded us by the powerful sacrifice of Jesus. But 1 John 4:4 tells us, “Little children, you are from God and have overcome them, for he who is in you is greater than he who is in the world.”


The Holy Spirit dwelling within us is perfectly capable of guiding us away from the temptations of the enemy and toward the joy that can only be found in living for God’s kingdom. If we will choose today to be loved by God and love Him in return, we will undoubtedly be filled with joy. Joy is a consistent symptom of seeking first the kingdom of God because His kingdom is marked by joy.


Philippians 4:4 says, “Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice.” I pray that your life will be marked by rejoicing today. I pray that you will so encounter the love of God that you are filled with joy in all you do. Choose today to base your life on the unconditional love of your heavenly Father. Choose to love Him and others in all you do in response to the wealth of affections He has for you. Experience His love today and be filled with inexpressible joy.


Take time in prayer to encounter God’s presence, commit your day to the wholehearted pursuit of love, and receive the joy available to you in God’s kingdom.


If you would like to have a relationship with this loving God we talk about, and be filled with the love, joy and peace He provides, please click here to learn more.


Prayer

1. Ask God to make you aware of His nearness. Rest in the joy and that comes with it.


You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.” Psalm 16:11


You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart.” Jeremiah 29:13


2. Commit yourself to pursuing love today in all you do. Ask the Holy Spirit to help you love God and people with your thoughts, actions, emotions and words.


Let all that you do be done in love.” 1 Corinthians 16:14


A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” John 13:34-35


3. Receive the joy of the Holy Spirit. Ask Him to bear the fruit of joy in your heart, work and relationships. Ask Him to transform you into a person marked by joy.


For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking but of righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.” Romans 14:17


How can we pray for you today? Let us know by clicking here.

His Love Pursues Us

Friday, May 14, 2021 by Craig Dennison

We all long to be loved. There is ONE who loves us more than anyone else in the entire world.


1 Corinthians 13:13 says, “So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love.” The greatest of all aspects of the Christian life is love. Love is to be at the foundation of all we do, all we are, and all we hold on to. If we focus on love and allow the Holy Spirit to strip everything else away, what will be left is a life of blessed simplicity rooted in face-to-face relationship with our heavenly Father. As we spend time this week looking at the simplicity of love, I pray that all the weighty, frivolous things of the world that rob you of an abundant life fall away in light of the glorious goodness of God’s unconditional and wholly available love for you.


Scripture

“We love because He first loved us.” 1 JOHN 4:19


Devotional

The fact that we are pursued by the Creator of the universe is an unfathomable truth perfectly illustrating the amazing love our heavenly Father has for us. Ephesians 2:8 says, “For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God.” Those of us who have believed in and accepted the free gift of salvation have been lifted out of the world’s foundation of works-based living and ushered into a new standard of grace. By grace alone we have wonderful, restored relationship with the God who passionately pursues us in every season of life. And by grace alone our lives are now based on the unconditional love of our good Father.

 

1 John 4:8 says, “Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love.” All that God does is love because it is His very nature. Every word of Scripture was authored because He loves us. Every good thing we have in life is only available to us because He loves us. The fact that you and I have air in our lungs is a miraculous demonstration of God’s overwhelming faithfulness. The fact that we can enter into such a depth of relationship with a perfect, holy God reveals His heart to pursue us.

 

Revelation 3:20 says, “Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with me.” This passage in Revelation is God’s word to the lukewarm church in Laodicea. God doesn’t just knock on the doors of hearts already filled with passion for Him. He doesn’t just knock on the doors of the lost. He knocks on the doors of the hearts that are in desperate need of inner revival through His tangible, powerful love. He knocks on the doors of the hearts whose flame has been squelched by the cares and stresses of this world that He might come and reignite passionate communion between our spirit and the Holy Spirit.

 

The God of heaven and earth is passionately pursuing you right now. No matter how close you are to Him, He is knocking on the door of your heart, asking to come in and meet with you once again. He’s not knocking just to fix you. He’s not knocking just to make you do something for Him. He simply wants to meet with you. He simply wants to love you.

 

How you respond to the passionate pursuit of God is totally up to you. There is grace for you today to seek the face of your heavenly Father. There is grace to open up your heart and accept the wonderful gift of encountering God’s presence. There is grace to know and experience the depths of God’s love for you. The question before you is simply this: will you choose today to let God love you?



Prayer

1. Meditate on the heart of your heavenly Father to pursue you in love.

 

“Can a woman forget her nursing child, that she should have no compassion on the son of her womb? Even these may forget, yet I will not forget you.” Isaiah 49:15

 

“In this is love, not that we have loved God but that He loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.” 1 John 4:10

 

“I have loved you with an everlasting love; therefore I have continued my faithfulness to you.” Jeremiah 31:3

 

2. Open up your heart to your loving Father. Ask Him to reveal His nearness and love. Ask Him to reveal His presence that you might spend time truly meeting with Him today.

 

“Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with me.” Revelation 3:20

 

“But from there you will seek the Lord your God and you will find him, if you search after him with all your heart and with all your soul.” Deuteronomy 4:29

 

3. Take time to simply let God love you. Open up the places of your heart that are broken, wounded, and cause you pain. Confess any sins that are holding you back from walking in the fullness of relationship available to you. Don’t move on from God’s presence until you feel He has done the work He desires to do today.



Go...

Taking time to sit in the presence of God and simply receive His love is foundational to every other aspect of Christianity. All of eternity is simply about being with our Creator. It’s all about allowing God to love us and giving Him our hearts in return. May Ephesians 3:14-19 stir your heart to truly seek a revelatory knowledge of God’s love for you.

 

For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named, that according to the riches of His glory He may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith—that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.

 

Extended Reading: John 15 or watch The Bible Project’s video on John 13-21.


Do you know this awesome Heavenly Father who loves YOU so much? You can find out more by clicking here or contacting us here.


God Encourages Us

Monday, May 10, 2021 by Craig Dennison

Introduction

There is no better father than Creator God. He formed us and knows us. He provides for us, loves us unconditionally, and longs for real, life-giving relationship with us. He runs out to meet us in our sin, clothes us with new identity, and restores to us the abundant life He has always planned for us. As we spend time looking at the father heart of God, may a fresh revelation of His love for you guide you into greater depths of relationship with your heavenly Father.


Scripture

“What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?” ROMANS 8:31


Devotional

Our God is the great encourager. He takes the weak and makes them strong. He takes the hopeless and transforms them into beacons of eternal salvation. He takes the broken and heals them with His love. And He takes the doubting and fills them with powerful encouragement from on high.

 

Our heavenly Father longs to give you confidence today. He longs to encourage you to accomplish the incredible calling for which you were created. As we look today at a powerful story of God’s encouragement, may your heart be filled with a longing and passion to seek out the entirety of God’s perfect plans for you. Judges 6:12-18 says,

 

And the angel of the Lord appeared to [Gideon] and said to him, “The Lord is with you, O mighty man of valor.” And Gideon said to him, “Please, sir, if the Lord is with us, why then has all this happened to us? And where are all His wonderful deeds that our fathers recounted to us, saying, ‘Did not the Lord bring us up from Egypt?’ But now the Lord has forsaken us and given us into the hand of Midian.” And the Lord turned to him and said, “Go in this might of yours and save Israel from the hand of Midian; do not I send you?” And he said to Him, “Please, Lord, how can I save Israel? Behold, my clan is the weakest in Manasseh, and I am the least in my father’s house.” And the Lord said to him, “But I will be with you, and you shall strike the Midianites as one man.” And he said to Him, “If now I have found favor in your eyes, then show me a sign that it is you who speak with me. Please do not depart from here until I come to you and bring out my present and set it before you.” And He said, “I will stay till you return.”

 

God calls Gideon a mighty man of valor prior to any mighty actions Gideon had done. He commands Gideon to go out in the might to which he was called and accomplish the very work for which he was created. And when Gideon responds by asking God for a sign, God obliges him and remains with grace and mercy.

 

God is calling you to a life of eternal significance. He’s calling you to a life that matters. There is no weak tool in the hands of God. And there is no small calling in His perfect plans. You were created to live a life that changes the world. You were created for a destiny that draws the lost back into the fold of our heavenly Father. But in order to accomplish the life to which you were called you will need courage. You will need time spent in God’s presence being filled with His encouragement.

 

God is calling you a mighty man or woman of valor. He is speaking strength over you. He is near to you, ready and able to empower you. Take time in prayer to hear the voice of your heavenly Father. Allow his Spirit to speak to your spirit. Allow Him to encourage you in His love. And follow His voice in faith that you might be used in greater ways than you could ever imagine.


Prayer

1. Meditate on God’s desire to encourage you. Allow Scripture to fill you with the truth about the life God intends for you.

 

“But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.” 1 Peter 2:9

 

“But the saints of the Most High shall receive the kingdom and possess the kingdom forever, forever and ever.” Daniel 7:18

 

“For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.” Jeremiah 29:11

 

2. Where do you need courage to pursue the life to which God has called you? What is God calling you to today that seems impossible? What has God spoken over you in the past that fear has crippled you from pursuing?

 

3. Allow God to fill you with courage. Open your heart to Him and ask Him to empower you and fill you with His love. Rest in His nearness. Allow Scripture to fill you with faith to pursue to the fullest whatever God asks you to do.

 

“Wait for the Lord; be strong, and let your heart take courage; wait for the Lord!” Psalm 27:14

 

“What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?” Romans 8:31

 

“For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.” Ephesians 2:10



Go...

Don’t settle for a life of mediocrity today. God has a plan and purpose for everything you do. He longs to turn your relationships, job, finances, and passions into good works of eternal significance. His calling will satisfy your heart like nothing else. And the empowerment of His Spirit for His plans will transform you into a passionate, effective, and loving man or woman of valor. May you pursue wholeheartedly the life to which you have been called by your loving heavenly Father.


Extended Reading: Judges 6 or watch The Bible Project’s video on Judges.


What is God calling you to today? Let us know by clicking here.

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