Wednesday, January 31, 2018

"Awake, O sleeper, rise up from the dead, and Christ will give you light." Ephesians 5:14 (NLT)

We must keep our spiritual standard of living high, and beware of evil pervasiveness because the days we are living are difficult. Paul is most likely quoting a hymn in this verse, and his tone is direct and longing to see a difference in lives through the submission to the Light of Christ.

It's scary bringing dead things in your life into the light so Jesus can heal you. We have dead stuff in our lives and don't even know that what is dark is dead. It's essential that we understand not all that starts in darkness is bad. Before creation was spoken into existence, there was darkness, but then God created life and it was good. When Jesus was laid in the tomb, it was dark, but even in the darkness, His resurrection was being birthed. In this case, Paul is talking about...

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

"Then Jesus said to his disciples, “If any of you wants to be my follower, you must give up your own way, take up your cross, and follow me. If you try to hang on to your life, you will lose it. But if you give up your life for my sake, you will save it. And what do you benefit if you gain the whole world but lose your own soul? Is anything worth more than your soul? Matthew 16:24-26 (NLT)

What a question, “Is anything worth more than your soul?” I think we would reflexively answer,  "No way!" The truth is our words rarely tell the whole story of what we value. I have learned over time that words are down on the last of things we should use to measure what we love. In fact, Jesus says it this way, “Wherever your treasure is, there the desires of your heart will also be.”

What does Jesus mean by that statement? First, we have to define treasure. Treasure is a va...

Monday, January 29, 2018

"I will never leave you, I will never forsake you." - Hebrews 13:5 (NIV)

This time of year we live in a place where it’s so dark out, and we are affected by light in our lives. Just recently a 27-year-old girl in our area tried to commit suicide, but in her attempt, she was rescued. I wonder what type of darkness was following her around, attacking her at every corner, and when she decided she couldn’t escape it. I remember some of the dark points in my life. When you feel like the day is never going to end, and everything is against you, but no one sees it but you.

My bigger problem was that there wasn’t enough light in my life. All I could see was darkness, and honestly, that's sometimes all I wanted to see.(darkness) The weather, our friends, our parents, and school, all have more influence on us then we realize. Meanwhile, God is somewhere lost in the pictu...

Friday, January 26, 2018

"Since we have been united with Him in his death (Cross provides forgiveness and right standing with God), we will also be raised to life as he was. We know that our old sinful selves were crucified with Christ so that sin might lose its power in our lives. We are no longer slaves to sin. For when we died with Christ (saved) we were set free from the power of sin… So you also should consider yourselves to be dead to the power of sin and alive to God through Christ Jesus." (Emphasis Mine) Romans 6:5-7, 11 (NLT)

When you gave your life to Jesus, by no longer choosing to do life your way but His (repentance and being united with Jesus in His death), you received His life through salvation. The Holy Spirit came into your heart and made you a new creation in Him. Since your old self died with Jesus and your new self possesses Jesus’ life, you are set free from sin’...

Thursday, January 25, 2018

"So the trouble is not with the law, for it is spiritual and good. The trouble is with me, for I am all too human, a slave to sin. I don’t really understand myself, for I want to do what is right, but I don’t do it. Instead, I do what I hate. So I am not the one doing wrong; it is sin living in me that does it… I want to do what is good, but I don’t. I don’t want to do what is wrong, but I do it anyway. But if I do what I don’t want to do, I am not really the one doing wrong; it is sin living in me that does it." Romans 7:14-17, 19-20 (NLT)

You can totally hear Paul’s frustration over his failure to conquer sin in his life. He almost sounds like Charlie Brown at the end there… “I just can’t do it! AAUGH!!!” 

Here is what Paul is saying - I know that sin is real because I am in conflict with it all the time. I am aware of my desires to do good and to do God’s wi...

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path. - Psalm 119:105 (NIV)

How often do you find yourself searching for light? If you stare at darkness it is easy to find light. Life can be dark and our response to uncomfortable darkness is usually prayer. If your in trouble or need help passing a test just start praying. The first question I ask people when they are having troubles in their life is how much time our you sending with God? 

Now I don't want to focus on God being our reaction after a poor action, but the focus today is the word of God. How much time are you sending in it? God’s word is the living word and it provides light to see where you are and where you are going. We have all walked around our bedrooms or a room in our house trying to navigate the dark. We usually run into something, knock something over, or stub a toe. Darkness makes it hard...

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

“Why are you so angry?” the Lord asked Cain. “Why do you look so dejected? You will be accepted if you do what is right. But if you refuse to do what is right, then watch out! Sin is crouching at the door, eager to control you. But you must subdue it and be its master.” 

Genesis 4:6-7 (NLT)

Notice what God said to Cain about the nature of sin. He talked about it like it had a mind like it was a person. He said it was, “crouching, right at the door, eager to control…” That sounds just like sin, doesn’t it? Sometimes it just sneaks up on us when we least expect it and gets us. 

You know, When you lost your cool and said that terrible thing you regret; Or when you planned on going to the party and not drinking; When you started dating and said, I am going to stay pure until I am married. 

God told Cain to control it (sin) and to master it. We find out just one...

Monday, January 22, 2018

Sow for yourselves righteousness; reap steadfast love; break up your fallow ground, for it is the time to seek the LORD, that he may come and rain righteousness upon you. - Hosea 10:12 (ESV)

The ground Hosea envisions our plowed fields that are no longer weed-covered, stony, or hard, but instead, they are ready for planting. They are prepared for the work of God. Let’s take one step back before we break ground.

There is ground in our lives that is yet to be tended to by the Makers hands, and today we need to turn that ground over to Him. What the untouched spiritual fields of our lives need, is not just to be broken up, but they need a starting place. To be exposed to God's sunlight and to God's free air, to be influenced by God’s light and warmth, and the dew and soft showers of His grace.

We always want to put the plow to the ground immediately, but God is say...

Friday, January 19, 2018

“That is why we never give up. Though our bodies are dying (contrary to the things of God and decaying, ), our spirits are being renewed every day.” Emphasis mine. 2 Corinthians 4:16 (NLT)

Our bodies are fallen and decaying. They will never cooperate with us in serving and loving Jesus. Our flesh will never desire to do the things of God. But we have been given God’s Holy Spirit and the ability to be renewed (grow) more and more into the image and likeness of Jesus. 

We are renewed by devoting ourselves to Jesus - His Word - having conversations with Him (praying) - hanging with other believers - going to church - youth group - finding opportunities to serve others -  and sharing what Jesus has done in our lives.

Devote yourself to Jesus and you will experience His renewing power.

Living for Jesus is not easy. With Jesus' help we need to persevere. To quote the g...

Thursday, January 18, 2018

"Looking at the man, Jesus felt genuine love for him. “There is still one thing you haven’t done,” he told him. “Go and sell all your possessions and give the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.” At this the man’s face fell, and he went away sad, for he had many possessions." Mark 10:21-22 (NLT)

The person in our verse is a rich young man who (in our devotional from 2 days ago) asked Jesus what he needed to "do" to inherit eternal life. 

Jesus meets him and those in the crowd right where they are. He helps them, and especially the young man, test this idea that good works (doing) obtain eternal life. So Jesus begins to ask him some questions about his own goodness as it regards keeping the commandments. 

The man’s answer is actually surprising, “I’ve obeyed all these commandments since I was young.” I love what it says...

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We believe the only life worth living is the “uncommon” life that results from having a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.  We encourage our youth to experience this life through a daily time with Jesus,  worship, ministry, and prayer.

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