Archive | January 2016

Redefining Good

Good. The definition of good seems like a no brainer, right? Everyone knows what good means. Today’s devotional, reposted from Max Lucado,  asks us to consider the possibility that just maybe our human definition doesn’t quite hit the real definition squarely on the head.

Let God Define Good

“God at times permits tragedies. He permits the ground to grow dry and stalks to grow bare. He allows Satan to unleash mayhem. But he doesn’t allow Satan to triumph. Isn’t this the promise of Romans 8:28: “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” (NIV)? God promises to render beauty out of “all things,” not “each thing.” The isolated events may be evil, but the ultimate culmination is good.

We see small examples of this in our own lives. When you sip on a cup of coffee and say, “This is good,” what are you saying? The plastic bag that contains the beans is good? The beans themselves are good? Hot water is good? A coffee filter is good? No, none of these. Good happens when the ingredients work together: the bag opened, the beans ground into powder, the water heated to the right temperature. It is the collective cooperation of the elements that creates good.

Nothing in the Bible would cause us to call a famine good or a heart attack good or a terrorist attack good. These are terrible calamities, born out of a fallen earth. Yet every message in the Bible, especially the story of Joseph, compels us to believe that God will mix them with other ingredients and bring good out of them.

But we must let God define ‘good.’ Our definition includes health, comfort, and recognition. His definition? In the case of his Son, Jesus Christ, the good life consisted of struggles, storms, and death. But God worked it all together for the greatest of good: his glory and our salvation.”

(c) 2016 Max Lucado Used with permission  All Rights Reserved  maxlucado.com 

Fast Track

Today’s devotional, reposted from Christine Caine’s blog, is short, sweet, and to the point, reminding us that we can trust God to get us where we need to be when we need to be there.

 

“These are the words of him who is holy and true … What he opens no one can shut, and what he shuts no one can open” (Revelation 3:7).

“You only have a short amount of time on this earth.

But as long as your heart is toward God, He can fast track anything. His Word says that He can open doors that no man can shut – promotion does not come from the north, south, east or west; it comes from God. And if God wants to set you somewhere at a specific time and place, He’ll do it.

Today, you need to know that if God has marketed you, you don’t need to be marketed by man. You don’t need to come up with the greatest marketing campaign, because you’ve got the God of the universe on your side. He’s got the best GPS, and He knows where to find you when He wants to elevate you and put you in a specific place.

Choose to trust in Him alone and you will end up in the perfect place at the perfect time!”

Encouragement for Parents and Grandparents

If you have kids or grandkids and have ever felt painfully aware of your shortcomings as a parent/grandparent then this devotional, reposted from Rebecca Barlow Jordan, will encourage your heart.

“Every parent or grandparent is concerned about making wise decisions. Are we giving our kids the right training? Fear may try to consume us. Are they being bullied? Are they safe enough? We all want our kids to “turn out right.”

At one time or another, we parents or grandparents may think we’re not doing “enough” to prepare our kids for life. Deep down we may feel inadequate. We may not feel skilled or talented or creative. Sometimes we even start comparing ourselves to other parents or grandparents, which totally makes us feel worse.

If you are a parent or grandparent, here are four things to remember that might encourage you as you prepare your kids for life:

Encouragement for Parents and Grandparents: Four Things to Remember

  1. God’s bigness is not limited by our smallness.

    In fact, His power shows up best in our weakness and inadequacies (2 Corinthians 12:9). God uses the little things we do and say for our children. I love the story in the Bible about the little boy who gave his small lunch of five loaves of bread and two fishes. Small boy. Small lunch. But he gave what he had. Jesus took it and fed 5000 men, plus women and children with that simple lunch (See John 6:5-13, Matthew 14:15-21). What am I saying? Think about the mom who probably fixed that boy’s lunch. It was a small gesture. I’m sure she had no idea how God would use read more

(c) 2016 Rebecca Barlow Jordan  Used with Permission All Rights Reserved  http://www.rebeccabarlowjordan.com 

Friend of God

When I was in school I sat in a room with 40-50 other students for a semester or more, but when the final exam was finished and I walked out  the door I didn’t know most of those other people any better than when we first began the friendinitial class. I think that is probably the experience of most people – unless you  happen to be an extrovert who never met a stranger. I could recognize their faces – most of them – and know who they were by sight, but because I didn’t make the effort to talk to and interact with most of those other students I never got to truly know them enough to become friends. In Genesis we are told that Abraham was a “friend of God”. How do you suppose he got that title? What did he do to have God call him friend? Click on the arrow below to listen to Pastor Marlan’s message about becoming a friend of God.

 

Sunday JCC welcomed Carl Kancir as the new Men’s Ministry leader.

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Don’t forget to pop on over to the publications page to view this week’s bulletin.

Liars, Liars, Pants on Fire

If you’ve ever felt like giving up you need to read this devotional reposted from Holley Gerth. Then pick yourself up and continue to press forward to victory.

 

“The hard pavement feels like a punch with every step. The hill’s steepness taunts me and tries to steal my breath. But what really tempts me to quit are the accusations that follow me: “You’re going so slow. You’re not doing a good job. This must be your worst effort ever.”running-uphill-2-sm

I always believed doubts and discouragement like that until I discovered something: I would finish my “terrible” run only to discover my time had gotten faster. Huh.

Then I started looking closer at other times in my life when negative thoughts tried to trip me up and I found the same principle applied. In the moments when we want to give up, when we feel weak and exhausted, when we think we can’t do it…we’re often getting stronger.

We’re not tired because we’re failing; we’re tired because we’re fighting.

We’re not weary because we’re weak; we’re weary because we’re winning a hard battle.

We’re not struggling because we’re quitters: we’re struggling because we’re refusing to give up.

So I’m slowly learning to respond differently. When those unwelcome thoughts show up (and, yep, they still do) I try to tell myself something like, “This must mean I’m running harder and faster than ever before—it just doesn’t feel like it right now.”

Let’s not allow ourselves to be convinced we should give up because we think we’re not doing well enough. Instead let’s recognize the strain and pain for what they are—signs of growth. Resistance usually means we are breaking through what has held us back and pushing with all our might toward what God has for us.

“One thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus” (Php. 3:13-14).

In the place between what is comfortable and what feels like it may kill us is where we become all we’re created to be.

I complete my run and, sure enough, my time has gotten a bit better. I’m not taking that victory lightly. I’ve earned every teeth-gritting second of it. I’m covered in sweat, smell terrible and probably looked about as graceful as a crazed monkey by my last step. But I didn’t quit. And I didn’t keel over. In this world, that’s the best we can do some days.

The crowd of accusers, doubters and discouragers is finally silent and now it’s my turn to speak. I face the path behind me and declare to all the lies that tried to stop me, “I’m stronger than I seem.”

Then I turn on my heels and walk away.

I’ve won for today.”

(c) 2016 Holley Gerth Used with Permission All Rights Reserved  http://holleygerth.com/negative-thoughts-liars/

 

 

Water Walking

rsz_walk_on_water2The term “water walking” often conjures up visions of senior citizens getting their daily aerobic exercise in the pool at a water park like H2Oasis. However, this is not that. The water walking in Sunday’s message has nothing to do with aerobics and everything to do with faith. Click on the arrow below to listen to Pastor Marlan’s message based on the story of Peter’s water walking experience in the middle of a storm.

 

Don’t forget to click on the publications page and scroll down to access this week’s bulletin!