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Post  Admin on Wed 26 Feb 2020, 1:02 am

Date: February 25, 2020 at 2:47 AM

Topic: +DEV+  An Unexpected Test

An Unexpected Test

"By faith Abraham, when God tested him, offered Isaac as a sacrifice. He who had received the promises was about to sacrifice his one and only son."   Hebrews 11:17

Scripture Focus: Hebrews 11

Abraham and Sarah had waited more than 25 years for this boy through whom all God's promises of future offspring were to come. How could the Lord ask Abraham to sacrifice Isaac? Isn't the practice of child sacrifice against His very nature? I doubt Abraham expected a test like this; it was so uncharacteristic of our God. What must have gone through Abraham's mind on that three-day journey as he was obeying God? 

If I had been Isaac's father and was asked where the lamb was, I would have said, "Good question." But through the years of experiencing His faithful provision, Abraham had grown close with the Lord, so close that he knew God had a plan which could be trusted. So when Isaac inquired, Abraham confidently answered, "God will provide" (Genesis 22:8). The Lord will never test us beyond what we can bear (1 Corinthians 10:13). He tested Abraham this way after many years of walking together. 

Abraham had confidence in God because he not only knew of Him, but he also knew the Lord intimately. How well do you know our faithful God?

Insight: "If you wish to know God, you must know his Word." Charles Spurgeon (1834-1892)

If you have prayer requests for anything please email us and we will pray for them.

Please feel free to use this devotional to send on to your friends or share with your church fellowship and Bible study groups.

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Post  Admin on Mon 24 Feb 2020, 2:36 pm

Date: February 24, 2020 at 12:10 AM

Topic: +DEV+  Fleeing Expectations

Fleeing Expectations

"I went away full, but the LORD has brought me back empty... The Lord has afflicted me; the Almighty has brought misfortune upon me."  Ruth 1:21

Scripture Focus: Ruth 1

When Naomi and her husband fled from Israel to Moab, they expected to avoid the anguish a famine would bring. Instead Naomi experienced more heartache than she could have imagined. Both her sons married foreigners, her husband died, and then her sons died also. In her state of insufferable pain, she told the people around her that the Lord had made her life bitter (vs. 12-13). 


If the story had ended there, it would appear to be true. But God did not leave Naomi in her despair. As she returned to Bethlehem, the Lord graciously worked to show His care for her. He was the matchmaker for her daughter-in-law, Ruth, who gave birth to King David's grandfather. This child placed Naomi in an honorable position - in the genealogy of the coming Messiah! Now her friends were exclaiming, "Praise be to the LORD, who this day has not left you" (4:14). 


Is your life marked by emptiness and bitterness?? Do you feel, as Naomi did, that God is to blame? The Lord brought Naomi from sorrow to joy. He is more than able to provide for you as well.


Insight: When the Lord empties our ways in sorrow, it is to fill us in His way of joy.

If you have prayer requests for anything please email us and we will pray for them.

Please feel free to use this devotional to send on to your friends or share with your church fellowship and Bible study groups.

We are in need of Prayer and financial partners,
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Post  Admin on Fri 21 Feb 2020, 8:31 pm

Date: February 21, 2020 at 2:07 AM

Topic: +DEV+  Hope in Him Alone

Hope in Him Alone

"But now, LORD, what do I look for? My hope is in you, Hear my prayer, O LORD, listen to my cry for help." Psalm 39:7, 12 

Scripture Focus: Psalm 39

In the Amplified Bible, the key verse above says, "And now, Lord, what do I wait for and expect? My hope and expectation is in You." The Psalmist is not expecting anything of or from the Lord. His total expectation is that Christ Himself would be present with him. Just experiencing our Savior's presence and knowing Him in a deeper way is the hope and expectancy which will never disappoint. 

What does it mean to hope for the actual person as opposed to hoping for something they will do or give? Those who have a loved one overseas serving in the military or in missions would know what that longing is like. They don't need gifts or acts of service. They just want their loved one back home with them. Even short times when my husband took our kids camping made me long for him to be back. I had no concern for what he looked like or if he brought something to me; I only desired his presence. 

Sometimes we approach the Lord expecting Him to do or give us something. May we be like the psalmist, finding our hope in Him alone.

Insight: "Lord, you are more precious than silver/ ...more costly than gold/ ...more beautiful than diamonds/ and nothing I desire compares with you." (Lynn DeShazo, 1985)

If you have prayer requests for anything please email us and we will pray for them.

Please feel free to use this devotional to send on to your friends or share with your church fellowship and Bible study groups.

We are in need of Prayer and financial partners,
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Post  Admin on Thu 20 Feb 2020, 10:35 pm

Date: February 20, 2020 at 1:14 AM
Topic: +DEV+  Unexpected Blessing

Unexpected Blessing

"Elijah said to her, Don't be afraid. Go home and do as you have said. But first make a small cake of bread for me from what you have and bring it to me."   1 Kings 17:13

Scripture Focus: 1 Kings 17

This was not what the widow expected. Since she had run out of food, she was planning to eat her last meal with her son, knowing death awaited her. Yet when Elijah asked her to feed him first, she stepped out in faith and obediently gave him her last food. God then opened the storehouse of supplies so the widow and her son would never go hungry again (vs. 16). 

Hudson Taylor, the great mid to late-1800s British missionary to China, wrote of a similar experience in his autobiography. He was asked to help a family in need, but was down to his last coin. Wishing he could divide it to help them, the Lord prompted him to give it all. This not only left him broke, but also without knowledge of where money would come from any time soon. The next day an unexpected letter arrived containing 20 times the amount he had given away the night before! Give willingly to others. Watch and see how the Lord brings about unexpected blessings. 

A step of faith in obedience is a fearful thing, but God delights that we trust in Him to provide.

Insight: As you give of yourself to others, remember the most unexpected blessing of all: that your Savior gave Himself-every ounce of His life-for you!

If you have prayer requests for anything please email us and we will pray for them.

Please feel free to use this devotional to send on to your friends or share with your church fellowship and Bible study groups.

We are in need of Prayer and financial partners,
If you would like to become a prayer partner and or a financial partner with monthly or one time gifts.
A freewill offering to Restoration Ministry may be made via PayPal at our web site:    http://www.rollanet.org/~restore/donations.htm


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Post  Admin on Wed 19 Feb 2020, 9:37 pm

An Unexpected Outcome

"So the king gave the order, and they brought Daniel and threw him into the lions' den. The king said to Daniel, May your God, whom you serve continually, rescue you!"   Daniel 6:16

Scripture Focus: Daniel Date: February 19, 2020 at 2:18 AM

Topic: +DEV+  An Unexpected Outcome

An Unexpected Outcome

"So the king gave the order, and they brought Daniel and threw him into the lions' den. The king said to Daniel, May your God, whom you serve continually, rescue you!"   Daniel 6:16

Scripture Focus: Daniel 6

What did the unbelieving king expect when he ordered Daniel into a lions' den? He recognized something special about Daniel's character and abilities and really didn't want to lose him. But the decree was set; there was no changing it. So Daniel would die, as King Darius expected. It's interesting to see that early the next morning this same king went to the lions' den and called out to Daniel before he could even see him. 

The ruler of a nation who had no relationship with God was exhibiting expectant faith! Over the years, Darius must have seen the many times Daniel had trusted his faithful God. Now he believed Daniel's God would save him. The Lord did indeed come to the rescue. And the pagan king praised Him (v. 26). Daniel's life surely had pointed the king to God. Your own life may do the same for a person you think is unlikely to ever put his faith in Jesus. 

I hope someone might see something in my life which would point them to the Lord. God was able to turn a king's heart. He is still changing hearts today.

Insight: "Gracious Spirit, dwell with me; I myself would gracious be; And with words that help and heal; Would Thy life in mine reveal." (Thomas T. Lynch, 1855)

If you have prayer requests for anything please email us and we will pray for them.

Please feel free to use this devotional to send on to your friends or share with your church fellowship and Bible study groups.

We are in need of Prayer and financial partners,
If you would like to become a prayer partner and or a financial partner with monthly or one time gifts.
A freewill offering to Restoration Ministry may be made via PayPal at our web site:    http://www.rollanet.org/~restore/donations.htm

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Post  Admin on Tue 18 Feb 2020, 5:59 pm

Date: February 18, 2020 at 3:15 AM

Topic: +DEV+  Unexpected Encounter

Unexpected Encounter

"Joseph said to his brothers, 'I am Joseph! Is my father still living?' But his brothers were not able to answer him, because they were terrified at his presence."  Genesis 45:3

Scripture Focus: Genesis 45

When they had sold him into slavery, Joseph's brothers never expected to see him again. Years later, as they bowed before the Egyptian leader, they couldn't imagine him to be their brother. As a boy, Joseph had seen this day in a dream, but his brothers didn't remember the dream, nor had they ever taken it seriously. So when Joseph revealed himself, they were terrified. 

A reunion that should have brought joy brought horror. Unexpectedly coming face to face with a broken relationship is difficult. Whether it was the result of a misunderstanding or a wrongdoing, when someone from the past suddenly appears, it can be unsettling. If you've known what that is like, now put yourself in the place of Joseph's brothers! God loves us too much to allow brokenness to fester. He heals our relationships. In the case of Joseph, through repentance and forgiveness, they became a family again, even recognizing God's hand in it for their good (vs. 7). 

God desires reconciliation. After all, He gave His only Son to purchase it for you.

Insight: "And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose." (Romans 8:28)

If you have prayer requests for anything please email us and we will pray for them.

Please feel free to use this devotional to send on to your friends or share with your church fellowship and Bible study groups.

We are in need of Prayer and financial partners,
If you would like to become a prayer partner and or a financial partner with monthly or one time gifts.
A freewill offering to Restoration Ministry may be made via PayPal at our web site:    http://www.rollanet.org/~restore/donations.htm

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Post  Admin on Sat 15 Feb 2020, 9:57 pm

HOME COOKING WITH A TWIST

Maureen invited her neighbors, Pat and Ted, over for dinner.  They had helped with some gardening projects, and this was her way of saying more than thank you.  She wanted to cook her famous recipe for southern spare ribs-the ones everyone talked about. 
That afternoon, before her company arrived, she dusted the furniture, tidied the bathrooms, vacuumed the carpets, and set the table.  She even used her best china and the silverware her mother had left her.  Maureen wanter her friends to know how much they mattered to her.  What would she do without such good people to help her out when she was in need?

At Four O’clock sharp, Maureen took the baby back ribs out of the refrigerator, laid them in a glass baking dish, and seasoned them with salt and pepper and a squirt of lemon juice to give them just the right bite.  Then she pulled out a bottle of barbecue sauce.  She didn’t have her glasses handy so she couldn’t read the label; she relied on the shape of the container to tell what was in it.  She had used this sauce so often before, she knew the bottle by feel.

Maureen poured the liquid over the ribs, then smoothed it just right with a spatula so every rib was generously covered. She carefully placed the glass pan in the oven and set the timer.  While the ribs cooked she prepared a salad and vegetable and heated the dinner rolls in the bread warmer.

At five-thirty the doorbell rang, and Maureen hurried to answer it.  She greeted Pat and Ted and ushered them into the living room.  “Thank you for having us,” said Pat.  “This is a real treat after a long day at work.”
Ted agreed.  “I’ve been looking forward to this meal ever since you invited us,” he said.  “I hear you’re famous for baby back ribs.  And I understand your sauce is the best.”

After a round of fruit punch and a plate of crackers and cheese, Maureen invited them to the table.  She set the platter of ribs, the bowl of Vegetables, and the warm rolls on the serving cart..  Then she tossed the salad with a light vinaigrette dressing. 

Ted went right for the ribs.  “May I use my fingers?” He asked.
“Be my guest,” said Maureen.  “People have told me my ribs are finger-licking’ good!  Let me know what you think,” she added, laughing.

Ted took a bite, then looked up, his eyes wide.  He seemed at a loss for words.
“Is anything wrong?” Asked Maureen, her heart pounding.
“No, no.  Everything’s fine,” said Ted.  “Maybe it’s this cold I’’m trying to kick.  It seems to have affected my taste buds..  I could swear the ribs are covered in chocolate sauce.”

Maureen rushed from the table to the trash container in the kitchen.  This time she put on her glasses first.  Sure enough.  The empty container which she thought had held her famous barbecue sauce said in plain English:  Hershey’s Chocolate Sauce.

Maureen felt like a wimp!  But she didn’t let on.  Instead she took a deep breath and made the best of an embarrassing moment.  “If you think my ribs are great,” she said, “wait till you see what I have for dessert - ice cream sundaes topped with barbecue sauce!”
From the little book called “GETTIN’ OLD AIN’T FOR WIMPS” by Karen O’Connor pgs. 215-217


Reflection 
Dear Lord, it’s funny - but it’s also kind of scary
When we start doing things we’ve never done before!
At times like this I’m grateful for a sense of humor.
It might take a minute for me to laugh at myself,
But I feel better when I do.
It seems I need a good dose of humility each day
As much as I need my daily vitamins!
~~
With humility comes wisdom.
~Proverbs 11:2~
✝
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Post  Admin on Fri 14 Feb 2020, 9:33 pm

Date: February 14, 2020 at 12:05 AM

Topic: +DEV+  What Do You Expect?

What Do You Expect?

"In the morning, O LORD, you hear my voice; in the morning I lay my requests before you and wait in expectation."  Psalm 5:3

Scripture Focus: G

Expectations wrongly placed can lead to real disappointment. In the vineyard parable, some of the workers left content with their pay while others grumbled about it. It came down to what they had expected to take home in their pockets. I've known about great expectations. By homeschooling our daughters, I figured they would become spiritual giants. 

But by the time our oldest was 12, I was facing real discouragement. Our family was not what I had expected it would be. Thankfully, God never gives up and did what I could never do-He transformed each of our hearts in wondrous ways. Placing my expectations on our family and myself ended in discouragement. But putting my hope in the Lord showed me that He does more than I could ever ask. 

In 1948 A.W. Tozer said, "True faith is never found alone; it is always accompanied by expectation. The man who believes the promises of God expects to see them fulfilled. Where there is no expectation, there is no faith." Lay your requests before God each new morning and wait expectantly for Him.

Insight: We'll never be disappointed when our expectation is in the Lord "who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine" (Ephesians 3:20).

If you have prayer requests for anything please email us and we will pray for them.

Please feel free to use this devotional to send on to your friends or share with your church fellowship and Bible study groups.

We are in need of Prayer and financial partners,
If you would like to become a prayer partner and or a financial partner with monthly or one time gifts.
A freewill offering to Restoration Ministry may be made via PayPal at our web site:    http://www.rollanet.org/~restore/donations.htm


Michael D. Inman
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Post  Admin on Thu 13 Feb 2020, 11:37 pm

Date: February 13, 2020 at 12:19 AM

Topic: +DEV+  Island Expectations

Island Expectations

"God saw all that he had made, and it was very good. And there was evening and there was morning-the sixth day."  Genesis 1:31

Scripture Focus: Genesis 1

Imagine you're on your vacation of a lifetime. You're about to relax on a beautiful island paradise. While soaking in the sun on the beach, the last thing you expect is the tsunami headed your way. God made Earth like an island paradise in this vast universe, intending Adam and Eve to love life with Him. Before they disobeyed and brought sin into the world, daily life was a picture of perfect unity with God and each other. 

There was no pain, no conflict, no illness, and no death. Then the tsunami of sin came, and life was changed forever. Ever since then, our expectations in life have been turned upside down. Maybe you're facing the storms of unemployment, broken relationships, or sudden loss. What can you do when paradise turns to disaster? Turn to the Lord, the only One who can carry you through the hurricanes of life. Though the first sin brought grave consequences, God gave the promise of deliverance through a Savior. 

Jesus promises to be with you (see Matthew 28:20), even in the eye of life's storms. 

Insight: A life of trust in Christ allows us to live with great expectations, even in the storms of life.

If you have prayer requests for anything please email us and we will pray for them.

Please feel free to use this devotional to send on to your friends or share with your church fellowship and Bible study groups.

We are in need of Prayer and financial partners,
If you would like to become a prayer partner and or a financial partner with monthly or one time gifts.
A freewill offering to Restoration Ministry may be made via PayPal at our web site:    http://www.rollanet.org/~restore/donations.htm

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Post  Admin on Tue 11 Feb 2020, 10:59 pm

Date: February 10, 2020 at 11:26 PM

Topic: +DEV+  The Best Gift

The Best Gift

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

Scripture Focus: Ephesians 2

I became a believer at 7 years of age while on the farm. For those years I'd wandered in darkness, lost and prideful, and a bully at school. My parents “drug” me to church every Sunday, and one day I HEARD the Word of God.. By faith I believed in Jesus. Faith in itself does not save anyone. People put faith in all sorts of things: jobs, spouses, bank accounts, religions.. 

When the Bible speaks of faith, it is always referring to faith in Jesus Christ, the One who lived a righteous life for us and satisfied God's wrath on the cross. Faith is what unites us to Jesus and His work on our behalf. It's like the cord that connects an appliance to electricity. We "plug in" to all the benefits God has for us in Jesus. Therefore, you ought to be overwhelmed with joy today! Your faith is a gift from God. It was not born out of some deep well within you. 

Rather, like a package delivered to your doorstep, God in His immeasurable grace has given this life-changing gift to you. Rejoice for the faith given to you in Christ. It's the best gift you'll ever receive.

Insight: "Never try to arouse faith from within, Leave your heart, and look into the face of Christ." (Andrew Murray, 1828-1917)

If you have prayer requests for anything please email us and we will pray for them.

Please feel free to use this devotional to send on to your friends or share with your church fellowship and Bible study groups.

We are in need of Prayer and financial partners,
If you would like to become a prayer partner and or a financial partner with monthly or one time gifts.
A freewill offering to Restoration Ministry may be made via PayPal at our web site:    http://www.rollanet.org/~restore/donations.htm

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Post  Admin on Mon 10 Feb 2020, 12:25 pm

Joy in our Justification

"Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit of life set me free from the law of sin and death."   Romans 8:1-2

Scripture Focus: Romans 8

The defendant stands before the judge. His actions are examined against the law. If found guilty, he will be punished. If he is innocent, he goes free. We are all familiar with this process. Have you ever thought of your relationship to God in those terms? You should! Scripture is clear that we have broken God's Law and fallen short of His glory (see Romans 3:23). 

Sinning is our failure to obey that Law, and its punishment is death (see Romans 6:23). In God's court, we do not stand a chance, but for one thing: the Judge is on our side! Our sweetest joy is that our Judge sent His own Son, Jesus, into the courtroom to present His perfect record of law-keeping on our behalf. Instead of being convicted on all charges, we were set free. Truly, we rejoice that there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ. 

Not only do we have the perfect advocate and judge, but we also have the perfect Savior. Our joy increases because while we walked out of the courtroom exonerated, He handed Himself over to be led to the cross.

Insight: "Embrace in one act the two truths-thine own sin, and God's infinite mercy in Jesus Christ." (Alexander MacLaren, 1902)

If you have prayer requests for anything please email us and we will pray for them.

Please feel free to use this devotional to send on to your friends or share with your church fellowship and Bible study groups.

We are in need of Prayer and financial partners,
If you would like to become a prayer partner and or a financial partner with monthly or one time gifts.
A freewill offering to Restoration Ministry may be made via PayPal at our web site:    http://www.rollanet.org/~restore/donations.htm

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Post  Admin on Fri 07 Feb 2020, 10:16 pm

Date: February 7, 2020 at 1:37 AM

Topic: +DEV+  Different but the Same

Different but the Same

"After this I looked and there before me was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language, standing before the throne and in front of the Lamb."  Revelation 7:9
Scripture Focus: Revelation 7

Young children are taught to differentiate things and combine things. Odd numbers are different than even numbers, reds go with reds, squares go with squares. Even into adulthood we operate with patterns governing our choices, whether we recognize it or not. We choose clothing, houses, cars, and entertainment following after the patterns we see in others. Unfortunately, we have not always appreciated differences. 

A faulty calculation (that "same" is good and "different" is bad) has taken root in many of our hearts. This view is a joy killer. God has made each one of us in His image. The incomprehensible variations of the people of this world reflect or hint at the magnificence of our Creator. Humanity is an expression of the grandeur of God, not a display of hierarchy. Perhaps heaven will look something like the opening ceremonies of the Olympics, with people from every nation and in a stunning array of colors and sizes. 

We'll all be widely different, yet joined together in the most important thing: Jesus Christ!

Insight: Earth has 196 countries with 7,000 languages and some 7,000 cultures. You'll spend eternity with someone from each. Find the joy of God in the different!

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Post  Admin on Fri 07 Feb 2020, 12:45 am

The Joy of Thankfulness

So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live in him, rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness."  Colossians 2:6-7

Scripture Focus: Colossians 2

There are hundreds of books and articles promising a path to happiness. Some writers say that thankfulness is the key. Not a bad principle. It's biblical, after all. And we do have much to be thankful for. But where does true, lasting happiness come from? Like many secular authors, many of us have missed the point. 

Thankfulness that is rooted in Jesus alone leads to real and enduring happiness. Without knowing toward whom your gratitude is directed, you will only find yourself frustrated and aimless in life. It's a great idea to be a thankful person, but until that gratitude is rooted in Christ, it falls flat. We may hold fast to a "glass is half full" mentality. Sometimes, however, the glass is just plain empty, licked dry by cancer or homelessness or depression. 

Remember that God "has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing" (Ephesians 1:3) in Jesus. When you know this to be true, you will always find reasons to be thankful to God. And that's gratitude which leads to true and forever happiness.

Insight: "Jesus + Nothing = Everything" (Tullian Tchividjian, 2011)

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Post  Admin on Thu 06 Feb 2020, 12:25 am

Date: February 5, 2020 at 1:36 AM

Topic: +DEV+  Martyr for Christ

Martyr for Christ#

"Remember what I spoke to you: No servant is greater than his master. If they persecuted me, they will persecute you also. If they obeyed my teaching, they will obey you also."  John 15:20

Scripture Focus: John 15

Dr. Rowland Taylor was an Anglican pastor in the 1500s when the Protestant church was being persecuted. Despite threats of imprisonment and even death, Dr. Taylor continued to preach the gospel. Soon his enemies were on their way, and his friends begged him to escape for his life. He refused. Arrested and tried, he was sentenced to death by execution. Dr. Taylor and the guards journeyed to the execution spot at the top of a hill with his English village in sight. One guard asked how he was doing. He replied, "Well, God be praised, Never better, for I now know I am almost home. I have not more than two more miles to go, and I am at my Father's house!" 
Once he arrived there, he was chained to a stake and set afire. Accounts of Dr. Taylor's death record him walking up to the stake and kissing it, placing his own back there, folding his hands in front of him, and remaining calm and trusting to the end. Amazing! Christians are those who know the joy of the Lord, and their martyrs know that even death cannot disrupt it.

Insight: "He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain that which he cannot lose." (Jim Elliot, 1949)
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Post  Admin on Tue 04 Feb 2020, 11:46 pm

Date: February 4, 2020 at 2:18 AM

Topic: +DEV+  A Father Who Cares

A Father Who Cares

"My son, do not make light of the Lord's discipline, and do not lose heart when he rebukes you, because the Lord disciplines those he loves, and he punishes everyone he accepts as a son."  Hebrews 12:5-6

Scripture Focus: Hebrews 12

Joe was in a bad motorcycle accident and lost his leg. He lay in his hospital bed asking God, "Why?" Tragedies are hard to understand. Was it simply a consequence of living in a fallen world? Did one tragedy actually save him from a worse one? Theologian D.A. Carson reminds us that our finite brains cannot understand how God can do "thousands of things, even millions of things" through one event. 

In any of these painful situations, it is not wrong to ask if God is disciplining us. Might He be disciplining us like a father correcting his child? Perhaps Joe needed to admit he drove recklessly and without concern for others. In Joe's running from the Lord, this life-changing event could cause him to return. We don't know the circumstances behind every heartbreak, but we need to realize that God sometimes works in these ways. 

Godly discipline whose aim is to restore may be foreign to you. But friends, rejoice in it. God disciplines those He loves, never in a fit of anger, but always as an expression of love.


Insight: As a blacksmith forms the hot metal with a hammer, so God the Father uses discipline to form us to be more like His Son.
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Post  Admin on Mon 03 Feb 2020, 10:52 pm

Date: February 3, 2020 at 12:29 AM

Topic: +DEV+  The Joy of Humility

The Joy of Humility

"He guides the humble in what is right and teaches them his way. All the ways of the LORD are loving and faithful."  Psalm 25:9-10a

Scripture Focus: Psalm 25

Of all the ways for us to describe Jesus, perhaps the hardest character trait of His for us to follow is humility. That's because our pride gets in the way every time. Even when we manage to walk in humility for a while, we often grow proud about doing so! The Greatest One left us an example of humility. Philippians 2 tells us that Jesus, "being in very nature God, made himself nothing." He became a man who "humbled himself and became obedient to death-even death on a cross!" 

Though we are commanded to be humble (1 Peter 5:6), it's not my intent to give you another rule for holy living. Rather, I want you to see the abundance of joy that comes by walking in humility. When we do so, our minds rest on Jesus' redemption which reconciled us to God. We don't feel obligated to prove our worth; God already calls us His children (see John 1:12), and we are joyfully satisfied. 

Humble people are full of joy because it frees them from focusing on themselves so they can love others. While pride sabotages joy, humility opens the door to it.

Insight: "There is something in humility which strangely exalts the heart." (Augustine, c. A.D. 397-400)

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Post  Admin on Fri 31 Jan 2020, 10:25 pm

Date: January 31, 2020 at 12:41 AM

Topic: +DEV+  Ready to Work

Ready to Work

"Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good."  1 Corinthians 12:7

Scripture Focus: 1 Corinthians 12

A pastor friend of mine would say to new members joining the church, "God has brought you to us because you have something we need." I wondered why he said that until I came across 1 Corinthians 12:18. Here Paul teaches that "God has arranged the parts in the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be," all working together for the same thing. 

In this passage Paul is talking about the various gifts God has given each of us for the benefit of the church. The list is large, containing leadership, service, giving, mercy, wisdom, teaching, administration, and hospitality, to name a few. God has given you a divine gift, maybe even multiple gifts! Don't just call it natural talent; these gifts were distributed to you by the Holy Spirit "for the common good"! Remember the excitement of contributing to a win on a football team, or lending your voice in a choir, or being a part of a successful business deal with your co-workers? 

God has great work for you to do. Find your gift and experience the joy in it.

Insight: "If others don't use their gifts, you get cheated, and if you don't use your gifts, they get cheated." (Rick Warren, 2002)

If you have prayer requests for anything please email us and we will pray for them.

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Post  Admin on Thu 30 Jan 2020, 5:59 pm

Date: January 30, 2020 at 2:03 AM

Topic: +DEV+  Beautiful Bride; Messy Church

Beautiful Bride; Messy Church

"But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light."  1 Peter 2:9

Scripture Focus: 1 Peter 2

The church will not always be the nicest place you visit. One man confessed, "I am a Christian but haven't stepped into a church in five years." His reasoning was simple: "Churches are full of hypocrites. People gossip and fight, and yet they say they love Jesus. I'm not going to a place like that." Maybe you may feel the same way. 

I can assure you if you go to church long enough, you will see that those inside are far from perfect. But I also can assure you that church is not a gathering of the holy. In fact, it is a hospital for sinners. The Apostle Paul calls himself "the worst" sinner of all (1 Timothy 1:15) and openly describes his ongoing struggle with sin. Yet he still rejoices in his salvation, saying, "Thanks be to God- through Jesus Christ our Lord" (Romans 7:25)! A pastor's wife once said, "Church is messy, and it can be ugly at times, but it's the Bride of Christ." As we seek to be more like Him, our hope is not in our progress. 

It's in Jesus' perfect redemptive work on our behalf, work that has made us beautiful.

Insight: "But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us." (Romans 5:8)

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Post  Admin on Tue 28 Jan 2020, 11:14 pm

Date: January 28, 2020 at 12:14 AM

Topic: +DEV+  A Sweet Sound

A Sweet Sound

"Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom, and as you sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God."  Colossians 3:16

Scripture Focus: Colossians 3

After a stressful day at work, you pack up, exit the office, walk across the parking lot, and get into your car. What's the first thing you do? Chances are you turn on the radio. Music is powerful. The right song can reduce stress and have us singing in no time. We use music to celebrate, to learn, to mourn, to soothe, and to entertain. 

Have you ever considered that music, a language spoken the whole world over, was God's idea? He gave it to us for our enjoyment and His glory. The Bible itself is filled with so many references to music that it is hard to count them all. Some figure music is mentioned 1,150 times or more in Scripture. There we find the words to songs God's people sang in triumph and joy, in agony and desperation. 

We're given the lyrics of songs the saints will sing in heaven. Clearly, God delights in music. We not only have a Savior who rescues us from our sin, but He also gives us music to refresh the soul. "Sing for joy to the LORD; let us shout aloud to the Rock of our Salvation" (Psalm 95:1).

INSIGHT: "Music is one of the fairest and most glorious gifts of God, it removes from the heart the weight of sorrow." (Martin Luther, 1483-1546)

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Post  Admin on Mon 27 Jan 2020, 9:23 pm

Date: January 27, 2020 at 12:21 AM

Topic: +DEV+  Sharpening Tools

Sharpening Tools

"Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know the testing of your faith develops perseverance."  James 1:2-3

Scripture Focus: James 1

Former Navy SEAL Commander Jocko Willink used one word to respond to bad news: "Good." When they did not get the gear they needed, he said, "Good." About the broken GPS system, he replied, "Good." Willink saw what others did not: that these were opportunities for growth. 

These challenges were chances to learn how to do more with less and sharpen their navigational skills. We typically do not think like this. I know I do not! But it hints at a biblical truth. Trials are a reason for joy. They bring us to the end of ourselves and to the feet of Jesus. They give us opportunities to mature and grow in faith. They're good. When we enter the valley of darkness-work dilemmas, health issues, money troubles, family problems-but are carried through by faith on the back of Jesus, are we not more confident in our Redeemer and the mercy of God the next time we face a trial? Yes. 


This is not to say trials are fun or painless. But we can and should rejoice knowing our hardships and sorrows are being used for good (see Romans 8:28).

Insight: "Trials keep us trusting; they burn away our self-confidence and drive us to our Savior." (Edmund P. Clowney, 1988)

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Post  Admin on Fri 24 Jan 2020, 10:35 pm

Date: January 24, 2020 at 2:51 AM

Topic: +DEV+  New Grace Every Morning

New Grace Every Morning

"Because of the LORD's great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness."  Lamentations 3:22-23

Scripture Focus: Lamentations 3

Few things are more disheartening than a well-known and beloved pastor "falling from grace" because of adultery. These former pastors are often removed, criticized, and written off. Many of them limp away quietly into the valley of the shadow of death. But is this how it has to be? 

After his affair with Bathsheba, David was convicted of his sin but also was convinced of God's unfailing grace. He cried out in faith, "Restore to me the joy of your salvation" (Psalm 51:12). You see, in God's economy when we fall, His grace is elevated! Each of us will reach a point in our lives where because of sin-any sin-we may feel hopeless and unforgivable. But that's not the truth. In that moment, remember God's amazing grace. 

Remember the cross of Christ where that sin was paid for in full. One pastor who knows what it is like to "fall from grace" realized the saying "fall from grace" actually isn't true at all. He wrote, "Welcome to the valley of the shadow of death, thank God grace reigns here" (Tullian Tchividjian, 2015). It will for you, too.

Insight: "Life is heavy. Pain is real. Consequences hurt. Brokenness is hard. But Grace abounds." (Tullian Tchividjian, 2015)

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Post  Admin on Thu 23 Jan 2020, 11:10 pm

Date: January 23, 2020 at 1:29 AM

Topic: +DEV+  Stronger Than Satan

Stronger Than Satan

"And having disarmed the powers and authorities, he made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross."  Colossians 2:15

Scripture Focus: Colossians 2

I like thriller movies. I like the suspense. Will the good guy defeat the bad guy, or will evil win out? Directors indulge in this theme because we live in a world where good guys often are defeated by bad guys. The corrupt and powerful can run over the upright and honest. That's real life. 

Fortunately, it's not the case when it comes to the ultimate pitting of good and evil: Jesus verses Satan. They do not have an equal chance of victory. Satan is a created being, and the governing principle of all created things is that they are subject to the Creator. That includes Satan. In Job 1, Satan had to present himself before the Lord and could not act without His consent. 

Jesus Christ conquered Satan on the cross, and it is our joy knowing we are His and that "neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus" (Romans 8:38-39). Furthermore, we have the joy of knowing the end of the story. No suspense. Christ is Victor!
Insight: When the Bible says every knee will bow before Jesus, that means everyone, with no exceptions. Jesus stands alone as King!

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Post  Admin on Wed 22 Jan 2020, 10:36 pm

Date: January 22, 2020 at 12:06 AM

Topic: +DEV+  Strength to Persevere

Strength to Persevere

"Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already been made perfect, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me."  Philippians 3:12

Scripture Focus: Philippians 3

Bill came home one night feeling defeated. He had dreamed of being a writer for The New York Times and achieved his goal through hard work, but things quickly changed. Journalism was challenging, competitive, and gave little chance of success. For a long time he kept pushing through and working harder, but finally he quit. 

A year earlier he had become a Christian, but on the evening of the day he left his job, he began to worry that he would fail with God, too. Have you felt like that? With a past full of abandoned dreams and a Christian walk littered with failures, we may doubt whether we really have what it takes to keep following Jesus. 

Friends, Christianity is unlike anything else in the world. Rejoice in knowing that it does not depend on your faithfulness but on Christ's. Paul, with his faults and failures, could press on because he knew that Jesus first took hold of him like a mother lion who takes hold of her cub in her mouth. Today keep going by faith, knowing that Jesus will never let you go.

INSIGHT: "Being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus." (Philippians 1:6)

If you have prayer requests for anything please email us and we will pray for them.

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Post  Admin on Tue 21 Jan 2020, 6:37 pm

Date: January 21, 2020 at 2:09 AM
Topic: +DEV+  Lover of the Lowly
Lover of the Lowly

"The Samaritan woman said to him, You are a Jew and I am a Samaritan woman. How can you ask me for a drink? (For Jews do not associate with Samaritans.)"  John 4:9
Scripture Focus: John 4

Last summer A friend took his boys to a crystal-clear lake. They spent the day knee-deep in water searching for rocks. There were millions of them, yet they hunted tirelessly for the best, shiniest, smoothest, or most unique. Together they determined which were the best of the best. Those alone were the rocks they took home. 

This reminds me a little of how many of us live. We search for the best friends, the coolest phones, the trendiest t-shirts, and on and on. Yet God is different. Paul tells us that God chooses the "foolish things," the "weak things," "the lowly things of this world" (1 Corinthians 1:27-28). It is to them He sent His Son Jesus to love, and ultimately to give His life as a ransom. 

In this broken world's eyes, you may be the wrong color, you may not be the right size, you may have the wrong clothing. Simply put, people may not choose you. But know this: our Heavenly Father is a lover of the lowly. Therefore, praise God, because there is hope for you and for me who truly are precious in His sight.

Insight: "For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother's womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made." (Psalm 139:14-15)

If you have prayer requests for anything please email us and we will pray for them.
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Post  Admin on Mon 20 Jan 2020, 7:12 pm

Date: January 19, 2020 at 10:35 PM

Topic: +DEV+  Forgiveness

Forgiveness

"Blessed is he whose transgressions are forgiven, whose sins are covered."  Psalm 32:1

Scripture Focus: Psalm 32

I have a hang-up with writing. I cannot even begin until everything is just right: Den situated, desk laid out, emails checked, coffee cup filled. Then "Ahhh, peace!" And I am ready to start. Maybe for you the dishwasher must be empty, the Diet Coke in the fridge, the morning workout completed, and then you can take on the day. 

Unfortunately, the "ahhh" moments we've won for ourselves pass away. Yet in reality, peace is available to us every minute of every day for the rest of our lives because we've been forgiven by God through Jesus. With Jesus Christ on the throne of our lives, there is no moment when we are outside the saving grace of God. Paul tells us in Romans, "There is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus" (8:1). 

This true peace is available. One day we'll be welcomed into heaven not because we made anything perfect and got it all in order. It will be because Jesus went to great lengths on our behalf to live a perfect life and die a perfect death for our sins on the cross.

Insight: Rejoice in your everlasting "ahhh" moment. For the Lord is good and forgiving, abounding in steadfast love to all who call upon Him (see Psalm 86:5).

If you have prayer requests for anything please email us and we will pray for them.

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