VotD: August 2, 2013

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Verse

“The Spirit of the Lord, the Eternal, is on me. The Lord has appointed me for a special purpose. He has anointed me to bring good news to the poor. He has sent me to repair broken hearts, and to declare to those who are held captive and bound in prison, ‘Be free from your imprisonment!’ He has sent me to announce the year of jubilee, the season of the Eternal’s favor: for our enemies it will be a day of God’s wrath; for those who mourn it will be a time of comfort.”

— Isaiah 61:1-2

Thoughts

Jesus read this passage at a synagogue in Nazareth to describe his ministry (see Luke 4). He came to preach good news, to bind up, to bring deliverance, to offer release, to proclaim grace, and to offer comfort. If Jesus has sent us into the world as the Father sent him (John 20:21-23), shouldn’t we be going the same?

Prayer

Through the power and wisdom of your Spirit, who longs to powerfully work in me, please open my eyes, dear LORD, to help me see those you put in my path with whom you want me to share your grace, deliverance, and comfort. In Jesus’ name I ask this. Amen.

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VotD: August 1, 2013

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I know it’s late, but here it is!

Verse

“Therefore, now no condemnation awaits those who are living in Jesus the Anointed, the Liberating King, because when you live in the Anointed One, Jesus, a new law takes effect. The law of the Spirit of life breathes into you and liberates you from the law of sin and death.”

— Romans 8:1-2

Thoughts

“You are mine! My righteousness and glory are yours! Enter into your Father’s eternal reward!” If we are in Christ, we don’t face judgment, only welcome, with God our Father! His Spirit lives in us. His grace has set us free from the power of sin and death. His Son has paid the price for our sins. We are children of God!

Prayer

I praise you, loving and gracious Father, for your mercy and grace. Your steadfast and redeeming love never ceases. Your mercies are endless. Your love is new and fresh every morning as your Spirit fills my life and your hope revives me to face another day. Thank you! In Jesus’ name I praise you. Amen.

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VotD: July 31, 2013

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Verse

“You are my shelter, O Eternal One — my soul’s sanctuary! Shield me from shame; rescue me by your righteousness.”

— Psalm 31:1

Thoughts

When all the clutter is stripped away, what is your real hope? When you push aside the diplomas, awards, accolades, and honors, what is the basis of your significance? Only one source for hope and only one basis of significance is trustworthy. Only One — the LORD God — endures forever! Only our Father in heaven guarantees that our life is significant. So let’s place our hope in the LORD and have him be our refuge!

Prayer

O LORD, God and Redeemer of our Fathers, Keeper of your many promises, thank you for allowing me to place my hope, my future, and my significance in your hands. Give me the courage and the confidence to know that you will not let me be put to shame, but will share with me your righteousness on that day I stand in your presence. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.

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VotD: July 30, 2013

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Verse

“If you judge other people, then you will find that you, too, are being judged. Indeed, you will be judged by the very standards to which you hold other people.”

— Matthew 7:1-2

Thoughts

Are you judgmental? Do you assume you can judge the intent of another person’s heart? Are you critical and negative about the actions of others? Jesus wants us all to realize that we cannot know the motivations of someone’s heart. When we are unfairly harsh or bitingly critical in our judgment of others, we are setting the standard by which God will judge us. I don’t know about you, but I’m not willing to exchange God’s grace for my unreasonable harshness. I’m going work harder at viewing others with mercy and grace.

Prayer

Dear God, please forgive me for being unfairly harsh and critical in my assessment of others. Thank you for being so rich and free with your mercy and grace lavished on me in Jesus. Please help me to be more gracious and merciful in the way I assess the intent and motivation of my fellow brothers and sisters in Christ. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.

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Today’s Sunday Sermon

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Today has been sort of a bummer. I headed off to church with a heavy heart, expecting it to lift my spirits. Our pastor always manages to throw in funny anecdotes that tie into the message…and there was one kind of. But before that, we were informed that a church member’s two year old grandson had sleep walked into the pool last night and he has gone to be with God. This news is just heartbreaking and I ask that you, although you do not know his family, please pray for them during this trying time. And if you do not pray, please keep them in your thoughts.

To add onto this, I have come to the realization that I am not going to be able to keep my horse. I maybe have two or three more years with him and, if he hasn’t passed on by then (he is 19, but in great shape; I wouldn’t be surprised if he lived into his 30’s), then I am going to have to give him up. Mind you, I have had J.R. since I was 13…so that’s 9 years. I went into ownership with the intentions of keeping him for his entire life, but if I want to pursue life as a missionary I just can’t afford him. And it breaks my heart. I do have maybe three more years with him, so you might tell me not to worry about this right now, but I can’t help it. I don’t know anyone [who would want him] that I would trust giving him to. He is my baby. In a perfect world, I would give him to a friend I thoroughly trust who can give him the care and attention he deserves and updates me on him a few times a month and would let me come see him. That’s what I would love for him…but unfortunately I don’t know that person. I have three years to find them though! If you or someone you know fits this description (and wouldn’t mind building a friendship for a few years and would eventually want a horse) please comment below.

Now, onto what this post is supposed to be about:

The Message

“I’m not just talking theory. There is urgency in all this. If you’re apathetic and complacent, you’ll miss the moment of opportunity. You should be wide awake and on your toes like servants who are waiting for their master to return from a big wedding reception. They’ll have their shoes on and their lamps lit so they can open the door for him as soon as he arrives home. How fortunate those servants will be when the master knocks and they open the door immediately! You know what the master will do? He’ll put on an apron, sit them down at the kitchen table, and he’ll serve them a midnight snack. The later he comes home — whether it’s at midnight or even later, just before dawn — the more fortunate the alert servants will be.

In contrast, imagine a complacent, apathetic household manager whose house gets robbed. If he had been aware that thieves were waiting in the bushes and what hour they were coming, [he would have watched and] he never would have left the house! I’m trying to tell you that these are times for alertness, times requiring a sense of urgency and intensity, because like the master in the first story or the thief in the second, the Son of Man shows up by surprise.”

— Luke 13:35-40

The Sermon

The past few sermons have been about service. We must be open and eager to serve and follow God and serve others. When we turn away from God and decide to pave our own paths, we become blind to opportunities to serve others and spread the Word. If we serve Him with all of our heart and if we serve those around us, not only will we play a part in saving souls, we will be greatly rewarded and He will serve us in return. So if you find that you have pulled away from Christ and rejected His path, I call you to just circle back around and follow Him, because in serving Him there will be great eternal reward. Rejecting Him will lead to eternal regret.

Prayer Requests

If you have any prayer requests, please comment with them below. You can be as specific or vague as you want, and I will pray for you and submit your requests to my Lifegroup on Thursday.

VotD: July 28, 2013

Verse

“For the highest God above, who is and always will be, the only One who is holy has this to say: I live in the high and holy place, yet I am with the low, the weak, and the humble. I renew their vitality and revive their strength.”

– Isaiah 57:15

Thoughts

Jesus’ coming to earth is not inconsistent with the God who reveals himself in the Old Testament. God is high and holy. God is righteous and majestic. However, God loves people, especially people who come to him knowing that they need his love and grace. To those who seek him with passion and reverence, God brings revival that touches the spirit and heart.

Prayer

Holy and Righteous Father, thank you for loving me and coming to save me in Jesus. Father, I do come humbly to you asking that you fill me with your Spirit in a more powerful way and revive my heart and stir my spirit to work for your glory in my life today. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.

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VotD | July 27, 2013

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Verse

“Why is it that you see the dust in your brother’s or sister’s eye, but you can’t see what is in your own eye? Don’t ignore the wooden plank in your eye, while you criticize the speck of dust in your brother’s eyelashes. That type of criticism and judgement is a sham! Remove the plank from your own eye, and then perhaps you will be able to see clearly how to help your brother flush out his sawdust.”
– Matthew 7:3-5

Thoughts

Finding fault in someone else is so easy for most of us. Finding fault in ourselves is much trickier. Jesus reminds us that we must deal with the shortcomings and sins in our own lives before we start telling others how to live. Seems pretty simple, doesn’t it? But we all know it isn’t.

Prayer

Father, please forgive me when I am severe, harsh, and judgmental toward others. I know there are problems in my own life that need the work of your Holy Spirit. I confess that there are routine sins that I find myself excusing more and more. Please, dear LORD, forgive my sin and empower me to move beyond it. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.

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