Archive | June 2016

God’s Unfailing Love

Even when our pitifully meager reservoir of love and kindness is depleted God’s deep, deep wells never run dry. We can rest and rejoice in the assurance and constancy of His love for us and draw from His well when ours runs dry.

Love never fails. — 1 Corinthians 13:8 NIV God loves you simply because He has chosen to do so. He loves you when you don’t feel lovely. He loves you when no one else loves you. Others may abandon you, divorce you, and ignore you, but God will love you. Always. No matter what. Mya href=’http://www.faithgateway.com/unfailing-love/’ title=’Read more’ …/a

Source: God’s Unfailing Love

The Plow of the Lord

When we began to follow Jesus He never promised we wouldn’t have troubles and trials. However, He did say that we should take heart because He has overcome the world. God’s word also reminds us that as a good Father He disciplines us for our own good. Since He is good, we can take comfort in the fact that anything painful that comes into our lives, whatever the reason it comes, will be put to a positive use to bring forth fruitfulness in our lives.

“When a farmer plows for planting, does he plow continually? — Isaiah 28:24 One day in early summer I walked past a lovely meadow. The grass was as soft, thick, and beautiful as an immense green rug. At one end of the meadow stood a fine old tree that served as a sanctuary for countlessa href=’http://www.faithgateway.com/the-plow-of-the-lord/’ title=’Read more’ …/a

Source: The Plow of the Lord

For Those Who Work Out

I am not into body building, but I do try to work out to keep healthy. For all of you out there that enjoy working out – or even if you don’t – here is a great devotional by J Lee Grady to motivate you as you work out spiritually.

“Six months ago I started a serious fitness plan. I had gained weight, and I was watching guys my age pack on pounds. Because I have some big dreams that will take several more years to achieve, I need to stay healthy and able to travel. So I talked to some friends about their workout routines, joined a gym and changed my eating habits.

The hard work is paying off. I’ve not only lost weight and gained muscle but I’ve learned some valuable spiritual lessons in the process. God speaks to me even while I do planks, sit-ups and bench presses! Here are ten lessons I’ve learned that will help you get fit both physically and spiritually: read more

You Have a Name

In this day and age where everyone is assigned a number for the purpose of identification it’s nice to be called by one’s name. Today’s devotional by Christine Caine reminds us that we find our identity in Christ.

“Why is it so hard to choose first what God says about us? Why do we listen to the voices of others more than his? Labels, insults, attempts to overwhelm and limit and thereby control us—these have no place in the life of the believer. God has freed us.

Finding out I was adopted was a big surprise. I held the papers in my hand and stared at the number put there in place of a name. But then I felt a nudge that I knew came from God: Open my Word to Isaiah 49. It was the voice of my heavenly Father: certain, soothing, strong. I began to read at verse 1: “The Lord has called Me from the womb; from the matrix of my mother he has made mention of my name.” The verse warmed and calmed me. I was not an accident. I was not unwanted. I was not unchosen. God had not left me out, overlooked me, or chosen instead someone more gifted, talented, better looking, or smarter.

I gasped. This was the truth: Before I became read more

 

(c) 2012 Christine Caine Used with Permission christinecaine.com

Trust

MA-image-1-18-16At one time or another we all have either betrayed the trust of another or been betrayed. The wounds caused by these betrayals make it difficult to trust other people with whom we are in relationship – including God, even though He is absolutely trustworthy and faithful. Click on the arrow below to listen to Pastor Marlan’s message on trust.

 

Don’t forget to pop on over to the Publications page to read this week’s bulletin!

Our Forgetful Father

Generally speaking it’s not a positive quality to be forgetful. When a friend forgets an appointment with us or our spouse forgets our birthday it doesn’t feel very nice. However today’s devotional by Max Lucado shows us a very positive aspect of forgetfulness that will bring us great comfort when we remember God forgets.

“As far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us” (Ps. 103:12 NIV).

“You can’t teach a Bible class with your background.” … “You, a missionary?” … “How dare you ask him to come to church. What if he finds out about the time you fell away?” … “Who are you to offer help?”

The ghost spews waspish words of accusation, deafening your ears to the promises of the cross. And it flaunts your failures in your face, blocking your vision of the Son and leaving you the shadow of a doubt.

Now, honestly. Do you think God sent that ghost? Do you think GodDoes-God-Forgive-and-Forget_620 is the voice that reminds you of the putridness of your past? Do you think God was teasing when he said, “I will remember your sins no more”? Was he exaggerating when he said he would cast our sins as far as the east is from the west? Do you actually believe he would make a statement like “I will not hold their iniquities against them” and then rub our noses in them whenever we ask for help?

Of course you don’t. You and I just need an occasional reminder of God’s nature, his forgetful nature. To love conditionally is against God’s nature. Just as it’s against your nature to eat trees and against mine to grow wings, it’s against God’s nature to remember forgiven sins.

You see, God is either the God of perfect grace … or he is not God. Grace forgets. Period. He who is perfect love cannot hold grudges. If he does, then he isn’t perfect love. And if he isn’t perfect love, you might as well put this book down and go fishing because both of us are chasing fairy tales.

But I believe in his loving forgetfulness. And I believe he has a graciously terrible memory.

Think about this. If he didn’t forget, how could we pray? How could we sing to him? How could we dare enter into his presence if the moment he saw us he remembered all our pitiful past? How could we enter his throne room wearing the rags of our selfishness and gluttony? We couldn’t.

And we don’t. Read this powerful passage from Paul’s letter to the Galatians and watch your pulse rate. You’re in for a thrill. “For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ” (Gal.3:27 RSC).

You read it right. We have “put on” Christ. When God looks at us he doesn’t see us; he sees Christ. We “wear” him. We are hidden in him; we are covered by him. As the song says, “Dressed in his righteousness alone, faultless to stand before the throne.”

Presumptuous, you say? Sacrilegious? It would be if it were my idea. But it isn’t; it’s his. We are presumptuous not when we marvel at his grace, but when we reject it. And we’re sacrilegious not when we claim his forgiveness, but when we allow the haunting sins of yesterday to convince us that God forgives but he doesn’t forget.

Do yourself a favor. Purge your cellar. Exorcise your basement. Take the Roman nails of Calvary and board up the door.

And remember … he forgot.”

(c) 2016 Max Lucado Used with Permission maxlucado.com

First Love

Today’s devotional by Christine Caine urges us to take stock of our hearts and make sure that we don’t stray from our first love. This is an important message probably now more than ever. This world has grown more and more wicked and we need to return with our whole hearts to our first love and make sure we remain there.

 I know your industry and activities, laborious toil and trouble, and your patient endurance, and how you cannot tolerate wicked [men] and have tested and critically appraised those who call [themselves] apostles (special messengers of Christ) and yet are not, and have found them to be impostors and liars.I know you are enduring patiently and are bearing up for My name’s sake, and you have not fainted or become exhausted or grown weary.But I have this [one charge to make] against you: that you have left (abandoned) the love that you had at first [you have deserted Me, your first love]. Rev 2:2-4 AMP

“When we are in love, we will do anything to be with the person who has captured our heart. In fact, we not only long to be with them but also would literally do anything for them. Many of us begin our relationship with God like this. Overwhelmed with a revelation of his love, grace, and mercy, there is nothing that we wouldn’t do to try to please him. Our earnest desire is to be with him and become like him.

Yet it is only by continually strengthening our spiritual heart muscle that we will be able to sustain this kind of passionate commitment to God for the duration of our Christian walk. In the same way that a natural relationship left alone will just fizzle out and eventually die, so too will our relationship with God.

In order to ensure that our love for God will not grow cold, we must proactively “keep [our] heart with all diligence, for out of it spring the issues of life” (Prov. 4:23). If we do not guard this core muscle, it will begin to weaken, and the very things that we once did wholeheartedly will eventually become nothing more than religious burdens.

If we want the life of God to flow freely within our hearts, we must never allow anything to hinder the passion that we have for the Lord and his people. If we fail to care for our spiritual heart and neglect its health, we will never possess the spiritual strength we need to love God with all our hearts. Jesus taught us, “The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly” (John 10:10). By guarding our spiritual hearts, we ensure that the enemy has no access and is therefore unable to steal the abundant life that Jesus came to give us.

Point to Ponder

Does your spiritual life lack passion? Do you feel like you are just going through the motions of being a Christian? If so, it’s possible that you have left your first love. This doesn’t happen all at once. But gradually we let the cares of life crowd out the joy of our salvation. The good news is that you don’t have to stay there. Jesus told the Christians at Ephesus to go back and recapture those loving feelings. You can too.”