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Showing posts from November, 2018

Day 5: verses 3 & 4

Brothers and sisters, as an example of patience in the face of suffering, take the prophets who spoke in the name of the Lord. As you know, we count as blessed those who have persevered. You have heard of Job’s perseverance and have seen what the Lord finally brought about. The Lord is full of compassion and mercy. James 5:10‭-‬11 NIV https://bible.com/bible/111/jas.5.10-11.NIV Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. Galatians 6:9 NIV https://bible.com/bible/111/gal.6.9.NIV

Day 5: verses 1 & 2

Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding;  in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.  Do not be wise in your own eyes; fear the Lord and shun evil.  This will bring health to your body and nourishment to your bones. Proverbs 3:5‭-‬8 NIV https://bible.com/bible/111/pro.3.5-8.NIV Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. Romans 12:12 NIV https://bible.com/bible/111/rom.12.12.NIV

THE LAW OF THE HARVEST: Day 5

Your harvest depends on  when  you sow.  The Bible says we will reap at the right time if we don’t grow weary (Galatians 6:9). That means you don’t sow your seeds today and go out tomorrow looking for the harvest. There is a time gap between sowing and reaping, unless God overrides this gap through a miracle. But remember, miracles are not God’s normal way of operating. There’s the sowing season, and then comes harvest season.  So don’t get frustrated if what you are sowing for Jesus today doesn’t come to harvest tomorrow. The key thing to remember is that the season between planting and reaping in God’s harvest doesn’t mean that nothing is happening. He is always at work; sometimes it’s just underneath the soil. So allow a season for reaping knowing that even when God is silent, He is not still. God is after your long-term benefit, not just your short-term pleasure. Do you need help waiting on God? Pray for understanding that He has a plan, even when it’s not visible to our ear

Tutor Your Children For Ministry (from Sunday Sermon)

Written by Robert Barraza Aim:  The aim of this sermon is to encourage, create the thought of the opportunity for the parent to consider teaching, training and preparing their children to practice their faith and to see participation in their faith as a vital expression of life. Believing in Jesus Christ today in our environment involves attending church whenever possible.  Specially, in those important days when He is the emphasis  of all the world, where we need to associate ourselved with Him in worship.  It is truth that attendinh the gathering of the believers to worship, praise and honor of God is important and vital for communicating the message of the cross.  God wants more than just worship, He wants your whole life, resouces and your agenda to focus on His role in your life. A follower of Christ is an individual that has accepted Jesus as their Lord n Savior of their life.  His teaching become the center of the disciples life and attempt to know, understand and apply t

Day 4 - verses 1 -

Now he who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will also supply and increase your store of seed and will enlarge the harvest of your righteousness. You will be enriched in every way so that you can be generous on every occasion, and through us your generosity will result in thanksgiving to God.  This service that you perform is not only supplying the needs of the Lord’s people but is also overflowing in many expressions of thanks to God. Because of the service by which you have proved yourselves, others will praise God for the obedience that accompanies your confession of the gospel of Christ, and for your generosity in sharing with them and with everyone else. 2 Corinthians 9:10‭-‬13 NIV https://bible.com/bible/111/2co.9.10-13.NIV (Written in Red) “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal.  But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thiev

THE LAW OF THE HARVEST: Day 4

Your harvest depends on  where  you sow.  When I brought this message at our church, I sprinkled watermelon seeds on the carpet, telling the people that I wanted watermelons so I was sowing what I wanted to reap. Everyone laughed, or course, because I was violating a fundamental rule of sowing. I was “planting” my watermelon seeds in an environment that was not conducive to their growth. In biblical terms, I was planting good seed in bad soil. You can’t just plant your seed anywhere; you have to plant it in soil that is designed to receive and nourish the seed that is being planted. In the spiritual realm, sowing in good soil is to invest in that which will allow you to legitimately give thanks to God. Paul explained it this way in our text: “Now He who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will supply and multiply your seed for sowing and increase the harvest of your righteousness; you will be enriched in everything for all liberality, which through us is producing thanks

Day 3: verses 1 & 2

And now, brothers and sisters, we want you to know about the grace that God has given the Macedonian churches. In the midst of a very severe trial, their overflowing joy and their extreme poverty welled up in rich generosity. For I testify that they gave as much as they were able, and even beyond their ability. Entirely on their own, they urgently pleaded with us for the privilege of sharing in this service to the Lord’s people. And they exceeded our expectations: They gave themselves first of all to the Lord, and then by the will of God also to us. 2 Corinthians 8:1‭-‬5 NIV https://bible.com/bible/111/2co.8.1-5.NIV Verse 2:

THE LAW OF THE HARVEST: Day 3

Your harvest depends on  how much  you sow.  Verse 6 of 2 Corinthians 9 says: “He who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and he who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully.” Do you know anyone who wants to do a little bit of work, but take home a big paycheck? People like this want to be highly favored by God. They want a big blessing; they just don’t want to do anything for it.  A farmer knows that if he wants 15 acres of produce, he’d better sow 15 acres of seed. He can’t just throw out a few leftover handfuls of seed after he has eaten all the grain God has provided, and then expect to reap a bountiful harvest.  This is where it gets convicting. Too many people in God’s family want a big payday from heaven when they sow nothing, or very little, in terms of honoring God with the first and best of their resources.  A farmer who sows sparingly isn’t fooling anyone but himself if he thinks he’s in for a bountiful harvest, and the same is true for any believer. That’s wh

Day 2: verses 2 & 3

Whoever sows to please their flesh, from the flesh will reap destruction; whoever sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life. Galatians 6:8 NIV https://bible.com/bible/111/gal.6.8.NIV (Written in Red) Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.” Luke 6:38 NIV https://bible.com/bible/111/luk.6.38.NIV

Day 2: verse 1 (only part of it, its too long) All of Philippians

Therefore, my brothers and sisters, you whom I love and long for, my joy and crown, stand firm in the Lord in this way, dear friends! Philippians 4:1 NIV https://bible.com/bible/111/php.4.1.NIV Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.  Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you. Philippians 4:4‭-‬9 NIV https://bible.com/bible/111/php.4.4-9.NIV Moreover, as you Philippians

THE LAW OF THE HARVEST: Day 2

Your harvest depends on  what  you sow.  This is the simple principle of farming that if you plant apple seeds, you won’t get a pear tree. What you plant has to be predicated on what you want to harvest. That’s why Jesus said in Luke 6:38, “Give, and it will be given to you.” Your need will tell you the kind of seed to plant so that your seed will reproduce after its own kind. The Bible cautions us: “Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, this he will also reap” (Galatians 6:7).  The problem is a lot of people want to sow evil and reap good. So if your sowing is bad, expect to reap bad unless you resow. To access God’s grace in the law of the harvest, you sow what you want to reap.  The apostle Paul made a great promise in Philippians 4:19, which says: “And my God will supply all your needs according to His riches in Christ Jesus.” The phrase “according to” means “in keeping with;” in other words, a supply that is in character with the God who owns it al

Day 1: verse

So I thought it necessary to urge the brothers to visit you in advance and finish the arrangements for the generous gift you had promised. Then it will be ready as a generous gift, not as one grudgingly given.  Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously. 2 Corinthians 9:5‭-‬6 NIV https://bible.com/bible/111/2co.9.5-6.NIV

THE LAW OF THE HARVEST: Day 1 (New 6 day plan)

Your harvest depends on  whether  you sow. 2 Corinthians 9:6 begins with “He who sows.” This may seem obvious; you never hear a farmer say, “I’m hoping to get my harvest first.” But a lot of people come to church asking God to bless them with a harvest from  un sown seeds.  In farming you cannot access a harvest without sowing the seed. Farmer Brown can stand in his field all day and ask Got to bless him with a harvest. But unless Farmer Brown has planted his seed, his prayers will do no good.  So if you have a need the question is, did you plant a seed? Without the seed, it can rain and the sun can shine, but nothing is going to happen because when it comes to experiencing God’s grace, it must be accessed.  Have you sown your seed? If not, where would be a good place to start?

Day 10: verses

You, God, are my God, earnestly I seek you; I thirst for you, my whole being longs for you, in a dry and parched land where there is no water. Psalm 63:1 NIV https://bible.com/bible/111/psa.63.1.NIV On the last and greatest day of the festival, Jesus stood and said in a loud voice, “Let anyone who is thirsty come to me and drink. John 7:37 NIV https://bible.com/bible/111/jhn.7.37.NIV

ALL THINGS NEW: Day 10

What does it mean to “thirst” for God? Why has the concept of Jesus as “living water” so massively saturated the Church? Our longing for intimacy with the person of Jesus is often articulated poetically as a longing for a basic, life-sustaining element: water.  Water sustains life. Humans, animals, even plants and single-celled organisms all flock to water, because without it, they’ll only make it a few days before life can’t be sustained. It is so basic and deep of a need that, in times of crisis and drought, it becomes a resource we war over.  Jesus is the ultimate Living Water because He is eternal—he never runs out! There is no drought, no crisis with Jesus. He is a steady, always-at-full-capacity source of life. What temporal things have you directly or indirectly looked to for life? When the wells of your heart run dry, go to Jesus and drink. His love, His strength, His wisdom, and His peace will never run out, are always there so you can take, drink and live. 

Day 9: verses

The Lord your God, who is going before you, will fight for you, as he did for you in Egypt, before your very eyes, Deuteronomy 1:30 NIV https://bible.com/bible/111/deu.1.30.NIV And having disarmed the powers and authorities, he made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross. Colossians 2:15 NIV https://bible.com/bible/111/col.2.15.NIV I saw heaven standing open and there before me was a white horse, whose rider is called Faithful and True. With justice he judges and wages war. His eyes are like blazing fire, and on his head are many crowns. He has a name written on him that no one knows but he himself. He is dressed in a robe dipped in blood, and his name is the Word of God. The armies of heaven were following him, riding on white horses and dressed in fine linen, white and clean. Coming out of his mouth is a sharp sword with which to strike down the nations. “He will rule them with an iron scepter.” He treads the winepress of the fury of the wrath of God Al

ALL THINGS NEW: Day 9

Our culture worships strength. Superhero movies paint a picture of men and women who fight and win because they’re strong enough, smart enough, powerful enough. The Olympics, beauty pageants, singing competitions—we adore those that seem unable to be stopped, that are practically flawless and that live the mantra “You can do it!” What happens when we  can’t  do it? In our darkest moments, in our lack, in our perceived defeat—we aren’t superheroes. We aren’t beauty queens or medalists or the next American Idol. We’re depressed. We’re behind on rent. We’re brokenhearted. We’re sick.  The beauty of a life in the merciful shade of Jesus is that  our strength matters little . Our ultimate purpose—to worship—is an indication of our only weapon. In the proclamation of the strength of our God, there is power. He goes before us. He conquers our enemies. He rides in on a white horse when we need Him most and pieces the fragile parts of us back together. Jesus Christ is simultaneously the fi

Day 16: verses

The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit. Psalm 34:18 NIV https://bible.com/bible/111/psa.34.18.NIV The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me, because the Lord has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners,  to proclaim the year of the Lord ’s favor and the day of vengeance of our God, to comfort all who mourn,  and provide for those who grieve in Zion— to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of joy instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair. They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the Lord for the display of his splendor. Isaiah 61:1‭-‬3 NIV https://bible.com/bible/111/isa.61.1-3.NIV

ALL THINGS NEW: Day 8

Imagine yourself as a vase, handmade and sculpted to perfection. Then imagine it being thrown to the ground with much force. What is it now? Broken and shattered, each piece a symbol of damage done. Suddenly, in comes God. He takes every piece and puts you back together, no pieces missing. He makes you as good as new through His love.  There is something special about your brokenness--you can see the love God has for you and know that, even if you’re shattered, He’s there with you. No matter how substantial your brokenness may seem, there is nothing that Jesus cannot fix, cannot restore and cannot overcome.  When He puts you back together, everything is made new.  Jesus is near, no matter how you feel. Hold onto the promises that all His plans are good for you, He trades your ashes in for beauty and He makes all things new!    

Day 7: verses

“The God who made the world and everything in it is the Lord of heaven and earth and does not live in temples built by human hands. And he is not served by human hands, as if he needed anything. Rather, he himself gives everyone life and breath and everything else. From one man he made all the nations, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and he marked out their appointed times in history and the boundaries of their lands. God did this so that they would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from any one of us. ‘For in him we live and move and have our being.’ As some of your own poets have said, ‘We are his offspring.’ Acts 17:24‭-‬28 NIV https://bible.com/bible/111/act.17.24-28.NIV Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; 1 Corinthians 6:19 NIV https://bible.com/bible/111/1co.6.19.NIV (In Red) And I will ask the Father, and he will give you a

ALL THINGS NEW: Day 7

The God of the Universe lives in you.  Think about that for a moment--the King of Kings, the Uncreated One who created everything- His presence lives in YOU! Whether or not you can see Him, hear Him, recognize Him; He is there. His Spirit is promised to you by Jesus. But why would God want to live in us? He already has all of Heaven and Earth as His throne!   Why us? From the beginning of time, God’s desire has been communion with humanity. We see this depicted in the Garden of Eden: God walked and talked with Adam and Eve. It was only after they sinned that THEY hid from God. And HE sought them out! You may feel far from God, but know this: He loves you and wants to walk and talk with you today!  Today, let’s choose to work, study, serve, rest, and simply  be  knowing that everything we do is worship to God! He gave everything for relationship with us. May we walk so closely with Jesus that  He  is the focus when we walk into a room, so that our very lives announce, “He’s here!

Day 6: verses

(Written in Red) “You must be on your guard. You will be handed over to the local councils and flogged in the synagogues. On account of me you will stand before governors and kings as witnesses to them.  And the gospel must first be preached to all nations.  Whenever you are arrested and brought to trial, do not worry beforehand about what to say. Just say whatever is given you at the time, for it is not you speaking, but the Holy Spirit.   “Brother will betray brother to death, and a father his child. Children will rebel against their parents and have them put to death.  Everyone will hate you because of me, but the one who stands firm to the end will be saved. Mark 13:9‭-‬13 NIV https://bible.com/bible/111/mrk.13.9-13.NIV Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. 2 Corinthians 3:17 NIV https://bible.com/bible/111/2co.3.17.NIV

ALL THINGS NEW: Day 6

In the Gospels, Jesus taught His disciples how to pray. During his lesson, He uttered a very interesting phrase: “Your Kingdom come.”   This is a very bold and revolutionary phrase. Jesus was telling the disciples to pray with authority that God’s kingdom be manifested HERE. This idea was a radical one, because, from the fall of Man up until Jesus came, authority over the Earth belonged to the kingdom of darkness. This kingdom’s sole purpose was to lie, steal from and kill every glimpse of Heaven that it saw. It attacked and still attacks health, financial prosperity, strong relationships, joy, peace and every good thing.  Though the kingdom of darkness is still present, it has been utterly defeated by Jesus Christ! With this as a reality, the phrase “Your kingdom come” sounds more like a war cry then a simple prayer. When we ask for Heaven to come, Heaven comes! And what happens when Heaven comes? Freedom comes! Healing comes! ALL the realities of Heaven come flooding down to e

Day 5: verses

Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away. Mark 13:31 NIV https://bible.com/bible/111/mrk.13.31.NIV In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. John 1:1 NIV https://bible.com/bible/111/jhn.1.1.NIV This is what the Lord says— your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel: “I am the Lord your God, who teaches you what is best for you, who directs you in the way you should go. Isaiah 48:17 NIV https://bible.com/bible/111/isa.48.17.NIV For no matter how many promises God has made, they are “Yes” in Christ. And so through him the “Amen” is spoken by us to the glory of God. 2 Corinthians 1:20 NIV https://bible.com/bible/111/2co.1.20.NIV

ALL THINGS NEW: Day 5

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Do you remind yourself to be thankful for what you have? Take a moment today and begin making a list of all that you are thankful for. You might just be surprised at how much you're truly blessed with. 

ALL THINGS NEW: verses

Better is one day in your courts than a thousand elsewhere; I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God than dwell in the tents of the wicked. Psalm 84:10 NIV https://bible.com/bible/111/psa.84.10.NIV As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for you, my God. Psalm 42:1 NIV https://bible.com/bible/111/psa.42.1.NIV

ALL THINGS NEW: Day 4

There are moments in our lives when we decide to get closer to God--to step in His presence and receive the fullness of who He is. There are moments when all we want is to be with Him, when we feel our spirit hungry and thirsty for him. The King David used to describe these moments very well;  “As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for you my God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God.” (Psalm 42:1-2)  We were made to immerse ourselves in God’s presence and dwell with Him.   In order to receive the fullness of what God wants us to receive and reach the places that God directs us toward, we must be willing to give up ourselves. We may feel insufficient or insecure at first—we’re not reliant on our own resources anymore, we no longer have all the answers. What we come to realize, however, is that all the strength and knowledge that we thought we had kept us from receiving God fully.   King David was known as “a man after the heart of God,” but the Bible also

ALL THINGS NEW: Day 3 & verse

The blood of Jesus speaks a better word over our lives than the word of our sin and the curse of our deserved death. Because of what Jesus has done for us on the cross, we now face redemption instead of wrath and mercy instead of judgment. Verse: In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace Ephesians 1:7 NIV https://bible.com/bible/111/eph.1.7.NIV Our boast and our song as Christians should never be about a thing we have done to earn right standing with God. Instead, our boast and our song should always be about the wonders of the love and the mercy of God. His love was shown to us through the shedding of the blood of His precious Son, Jesus! Hallelujah--because of Him our sins are washed away and we can now stand boldly before God, clean and unashamed.

ALL THINGS NEW: verse

But thanks be to God, who always leads us as captives in Christ’s triumphal procession and uses us to spread the aroma of the knowledge of him everywhere. 2 Corinthians 2:14 NIV https://bible.com/bible/111/2co.2.14.NIV

ALL THINGS NEW: Day 2

Our lives are to be a living celebration of the good things God has done. If we could be totally honest and examine our lives we know without a doubt that every victory, every triumph and every good thing that we have comes from His hand!   As celebrate the goodness of God through our spoken and physical testimony,  we allow others to experience and hear the Good News: That God truly  is  rich in love and that He is for us and not against us. He is a merciful God that desires to bestow favor and redemption to those who hearken to His voice. Are you sharing and living out loud a life that celebrates and brags on the goodness of God?

ALL THINGS NEW: verse

your kingdom come,  your will be done,  on earth as it is in heaven. Matthew 6:10 NIV https://bible.com/bible/111/mat.6.10.NIV

ALL THINGS NEW: Day 1 (10 day reading plan)

What things make up the Kingdom of Heaven? And what exists in Heaven that does not exist on Earth? These questions can really stretch our faith to believe for more.   We are not here on Earth to build our own personal Kingdoms. As children of God, we are here to build an everlasting Kingdom that is not our own, but our Father’s. God has lent His Kingdom to us to steward and spread with the help of the Holy Spirit.   As Jesus illustrated in His parables, the Lord is returning soon and each one of us will give an account of what we have stewarded in the Kingdom of God. Are you helping steward the Kingdom of God today? Is your life a living sacrifice and a reflection of God’s Word? Ask the Holy Spirit to reveal these things to you today.

Fake or Follower: verses

Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal. 2 Corinthians 4:16‭-‬18 NIV https://bible.com/bible/111/2co.4.16-18.NIV But whatever were gains to me I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. What is more, I consider everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them garbage, that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ—the righteousness that comes from God on the basis of faith. I want to know Christ—yes, to know the power of his resurrection and participation in his sufferings, becoming like him in

Fake or Follower: Day 7 (last day)

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Living Toward Eternity Sometimes, breakthroughs don’t come unless we first seek an eternal perspective. Such was the case when I needed to confront the agitation I had placed under the surface of my life. It left me vulnerable and afraid. I’d gone into self-protection mode with anger as my shield. I knew I needed a trusted voice whose faith was mature, so I asked my mom to help during this time. As we prayed and read Psalm 91:1-4 together, I broke agreement with what I feared, knowing the enemy had set a snare but believing God was my deliverer. In doing so, I leaned into eternity—into truth, love, and God’s faithfulness. My mom reminded me that faith is a day-in, day-out choice of the eternal and to live in such a way that our lives here on earth align with our divine inheritance. She spoke with confidence to me that following Jesus is trusting that every Word of God is true, healing, and transformative. Having my mom through this time was an invaluable gift to me—to both of us

Fake or Follower: verse

They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. Everyone was filled with awe at the many wonders and signs performed by the apostles. 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 2:42‭-‬47 NIV https://bible.com/bible/111/act.2.42-47.NIV

Fake or Follower: Day 6

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Healing and Transformation in Community Deep down we all desire community no matter how we’re wired—introvert, extrovert, or a mix of the two.  A place where we are accepted and loved for who we are in all our imperfections and yet still called higher and challenged to repent, forgive, and live the life we’re destined for. A place where we can celebrate marriages, births, and job promotions as well as mourn death, loss, and pain—together. This longing almost makes no sense. On the one hand, some of our most painful and wounding relationships have been in the context of community. On the other hand, some of our greatest moments have come from being in loving community in which we have found acceptance, love, healing, redemption, and restoration.  So why is genuine community something we long for and at times vehemently avoid? We are created in the very image of God, sealed with His divine imprint, and the image of God in its triune nature is the very essence of community: our G

Fake or Follower: verse 2 (very long)

When Paul and his companions had passed through Amphipolis and Apollonia, they came to Thessalonica, where there was a Jewish synagogue. As was his custom, Paul went into the synagogue, and on three Sabbath days he reasoned with them from the Scriptures, explaining and proving that the Messiah had to suffer and rise from the dead. “This Jesus I am proclaiming to you is the Messiah,” he said. Some of the Jews were persuaded and joined Paul and Silas, as did a large number of God-fearing Greeks and quite a few prominent women.  But other Jews were jealous; so they rounded up some bad characters from the marketplace, formed a mob and started a riot in the city. They rushed to Jason’s house in search of Paul and Silas in order to bring them out to the crowd.  But when they did not find them, they dragged Jason and some other believers before the city officials, shouting: “These men who have caused trouble all over the world have now come here, and Jason has welcomed them into his house. Th

Fake or Follower: verse 1

Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in the Spirit and in truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks.  God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in the Spirit and in truth.” John 4:23‭-‬24 NIV https://bible.com/bible/111/jhn.4.23-24.NIV

Fake or Follower: Day 5

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Misplaced Worship What competes with our worship of God? Is it our misplaced worship of self, position, or others? We all have the propensity to substitute our affections for a counterfeit; however, when we do, we forgo the joy of embracing the truth we’re actually longing for.  In Acts 17, Paul was in Athens waiting for Timothy and Silas to come and join him. While he was waiting, he became aware of the culture of the city and “was greatly distressed to see that the city was full of idols” (v. 16). He didn’t take this moment to criticize, degrade, and judge the city; he used their idol worship as an entry point for the gospel. The Athenians spent a large portion of their lives talking about and listening to the latest ideas and philosophies, and Paul took advantage of that habit to bring them the gospel. And once he had their attention, he brought his point home: the unknown God they worshiped was, in fact, the God who made the world and sent His only Son to rescue them! Life

Fake or Follower: verse 2

The Lord is exalted, for he dwells on high; he will fill Zion with his justice and righteousness. Isaiah 33:5 NIV https://bible.com/bible/111/isa.33.5.NIV

Fake or Follower: verse 1 (Matthew 5)

Now when Jesus saw the crowds, he went up on a mountainside and sat down. His disciples came to him, and he began to teach them. He said:   “Blessed are the poor in spirit,  for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.   Blessed are those who mourn,  for they will be comforted.   Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness,  for they will be filled.   Blessed are the merciful,  for they will be shown mercy.   Blessed are the pure in heart,  for they will see God.   Blessed are the peacemakers,  for they will be called children of God.   Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness,  for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.   “Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me.  Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.   “You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty agai

Fake or Follower: Day 4

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Crowd Pleaser or Mountain Climber It’s impossible to halfheartedly follow Jesus. The Sermon on the Mount reveals this truth to us.  In Scripture, mountains are sacred spaces where revelation and transformation take place. In Old Testament times, it was believed that mountains were closer to God, who “dwells on high” (Isaiah 33:5), but now He dwells in our hearts.  In the New Testament, Jesus appointed the twelve disciples on top of a mountain and set the stage for the transfiguration before Peter, James, and John. Jesus even prayed on the Mount of Olives before surrendering His life for us. Mountains serve as significant spaces—places where we meet with Jesus. Places away from crowds.  Sometimes, as we walk with Jesus, he takes us into a mountain experience—not a mystical mountain top experience—but a time of seclusion and attention where heart change takes place. Our relationship with Jesus searches our belief systems and heart motives in order to bring about inward and outward

Fake or Follower: verses

This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. 1 John 4:9 NIV https://bible.com/bible/111/1jn.4.9.NIV And so we know and rely on the love God has for us. God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them. 1 John 4:16 NIV https://bible.com/bible/111/1jn.4.16.NIV

Fake or Follower: Day 3

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All You Need Is Love As followers of Jesus, we walk in a crazy dichotomy when it comes to love. On one hand, we begin to understand our own biases and experiences we bring when pondering love. On the other hand, we grow in awareness of the beautiful reality that we are wired for love, connection, and affection. God, as our Creator, made us to remain in relationship and unending union with Him, and He is the very Being of love. This brings me to a very important point:  We don’t get to define love; it defines us.  Love comes from God. God is love. Jesus demonstrated love through sacrifice. To be clear, we are all from God whether we acknowledge it or not. There is a Creator over all of the created, yet not all of creation acknowledges Him—yet. Remember, Jesus said, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me” (John 14:6). When we love one another, the very character and nature of God is seen in us—we become love for others. Thi

Fake or Follower: verses

“Come now, let us settle the matter,” says the Lord . “Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red as crimson, they shall be like wool. Isaiah 1:18 NIV https://bible.com/bible/111/isa.1.18.NIV He is the one we proclaim, admonishing and teaching everyone with all wisdom, so that we may present everyone fully mature in Christ. To this end I strenuously contend with all the energy Christ so powerfully works in me. Colossians 1:28‭-‬29 NIV https://bible.com/bible/111/col.1.28-29.NIV

Fake or Follower: Day 2

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Refuse to Fake It In some ways, we relegate the Christian life to a moment of conversion. A common temptation that follows our turning from our own lordship and placing ourselves under God’s authority, is that we shape our understanding of Christianity through our own lenses.  We too easily become a consumer of the Christian life and shape it by our own terms. We look for a church that meets our needs and attend as regularly as possible, but if that church stops meeting our needs or offends us, we go and find another one. Ask yourself,  since when did the church become all about us? Following Jesus is a choice that requires us to lay down our lives and pursue Him daily but not out of a loveless obedience. We follow Him from the place of full confidence that we are so loved, our lives were worth dying for.  As a result, we are saved and reconciled back to our created purpose, and then we willingly lay down our lives for others. When the good news of the gospel becomes a genuine r

Fake or Follower: verses

The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.” Deuteronomy 31:8 NIV https://bible.com/bible/111/deu.31.8.NIV And whoever does not carry their cross and follow me cannot be my disciple.   “Suppose one of you wants to build a tower. Won’t you first sit down and estimate the cost to see if you have enough money to complete it?  For if you lay the foundation and are not able to finish it, everyone who sees it will ridicule you, Luke 14:27‭-‬29 NIV https://bible.com/bible/111/luk.14.27-29.NIV

Fake or Follower: Day 1

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What Really Matters to You? Loss draws a line in the sand for many of us. One of the most important questions we find ourselves asking in the face of loss is, “What really matters?” When my Australian-born husband’s mom, Jenny, received the difficult diagnosis of an inoperable brain tumor, we were devastated. She was young and beautiful and we needed her presence in our lives and the lives of our children. In the middle of the yearlong battle that our family walked through, I was beginning to write the words you hold in your hands. Inspiration at this time came from a very sobering, still place:  If I were to die in a year’s time, what letter would I want to write to my children, the church, and the generations to come? What would I want to leave with them? As quickly as I had the thought, the answer came—I would want them to know the difference between a life lived faking it with a hollow religion, obligation, mediocrity, people pleasing, and rule following and a life lived p

THE CONSEQUENCES OF ANGER: verse

And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Ephesians 4:30 NIV https://bible.com/bible/111/eph.4.30.NIV

THE CONSEQUENCES OF ANGER: Day 7 (last day)

The Impact of Anger on God Can a person’s anger affect God? Most definitely. Through the years, I’ve become increasingly amazed at how many people believe that God has no emotions and that their behavior does not prompt an emotional response in Him. The truth is that what we say and do causes God to rejoice or to grieve. And bad anger does not please our heavenly Father. So the Bible warns us, “Do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God” (Eph. 4:30). Anger hinders the work He has called us to do. It is a roadblock to experiencing God’s love, faith, hope, joy, and peace in our lives. The witness of a constantly angry person who identifies Jesus Christ as Savior tends to fall on deaf ears. Any message of the Father’s lovingkindness tends to be viewed with suspicion. And our anger can hinder the work God desires to do in the life of another person. Finally, anger will hinder God’s blessings in our lives. Sin separates us from the Father and prevents us from receiving His best. Anger ca

THE CONSEQUENCES OF ANGER: verse

Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you. Ephesians 4:31‭-‬32 NIV https://bible.com/bible/111/eph.4.31-32.NIV

THE CONSEQUENCES OF ANGER: Day 6

Anger & Your Relationships Anger always affects your relationships, especially with those who matter most to you. The greater your anger, the greater the potential for long-lasting negative impact. It simply isn’t possible to work in harmony with another person, set goals, or accomplish anything if one or both people in a relationship harbor anger. A marriage will suffer greatly if it’s present. Anger disrupts family life and interferes with parent-child relationships. A work group will not be as productive or creative if one or more members is angry. A church will not minister effectively if it’s filled with angry people. A man argued with me one day, saying, “My anger doesn’t hurt anyone. If they get hurt, it’s because they choose to be hurt. If they don’t want to hear my angry words, they can walk away.” That isn’t really a valid argument. No one can totally tune out another person’s tirade. You may choose not to take to heart the other person’s anger. But you cannot avoi

THE CONSEQUENCES OF ANGER: verses

for he is the kind of person who is always thinking about the cost. “Eat and drink,” he says to you, but his heart is not with you. Proverbs 23:7 NIV https://bible.com/bible/111/pro.23.7.NIV Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will. Romans 12:2 NIV https://bible.com/bible/111/rom.12.2.NIV

THE CONSEQUENCES OF ANGER: Day 5

Anger & Your Thoughts Long-lasting anger changes the way a person thinks. It invariably becomes part of one’s thought processes. We’ve all seen it happen or experienced it personally. When we’re angry with someone, we often find it difficult to stay focused. We struggle to come up with creative ideas and at times find ourselves unable to maintain a high level of output. When we’re angry with someone or at something, we often find our thoughts wandering off task to what we could’ve said or done differently. An ancient Jewish proverb reads: “Anger deprives a sage of his wisdom, a prophet of his vision.” I have no doubt as to the truth of this statement. Anger produces a double mind. A person’s concentration can linger on his or her anger and the incidents that gave rise to it, even as they attempt to focus on the work and responsibilities of any given day. Very little mental energy is left for creativity, innovation, or processing information in the light of God’s Word. In short