“WHAT, ME WORRY?” 3/01/2015 by Dave Boller

“Our Daily Bread” http://odb.org/
The Daily Devotions of Greg Laurie http://www.harvest.org/devotional

“Homily Grits Devotional” http://www.homilygrits.com/

 

Written by Dave Boller for “Working for Christ” @ http://work4christ.wordpress.com

View original @ https://work4christ.wordpress.com/2013/08/

WHAT, ME WORRY?

August 26, 2013

“Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, but few things are needed – or indeed only one. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.” (Luke 10:41-42, NIV)

What Me Worry

“I’ve worked so hard lately, I hope I get a raise pretty soon.”

“We were just assigned a new administrative staff and they seem to be on the warpath, firing some people and just making every else’s lives miserable. I’m really beginning to hate my job.”

“Revenues are down 35%. My company is losing money. There are rumors going around that cuts in staff need to be made pretty soon if we are going to stay afloat.”

Our lives are filled with worries – worries about our jobs, our health, our families, and our finances. It’s human nature to worry. It’s what we do. We convince ourselves that we worry to stay motivated. We believe we worry to stay focused on the important things in life. We worry because everyone else worries. We worry because we don’t know how to stop worrying. Very simply, we are worriers.

Martha worried that there was much to be done around the house when their special guest (Jesus) arrived. She wanted Mary’s help so she appealed to Jesus. His answer to her was, “Stop worrying, Martha. There is nothing more important than trying to get to know the Lord.”

There really isn’t anything more important than spending time with Jesus. The more we get to know Him, the easier it becomes to cast our worries aside. He is the One who brings us peace. We can’t do it without Him. In order to get rid of the worry in our lives, we need to ask the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts and souls so that when a worry appears, we can immediately turn it over to the Lord. The more we turn to Jesus the less we will worry!

I realize this is a lot easier said than done, but like a bad habit – smoking, drinking, a drug addiction, etc. – worry, too, can be conquered. The cure is Jesus! You may need a hundred doses a day, but getting to know Him will be worth the effort!

Jesus is the Cure (2)

“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes?” (Matthew 6:25, NIV)

Work for Christ

Enjoy your day, “Working for Christ”!

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“Taste and See” Evangelism” 2/28/2015 by John Burke, for Outreach Magazine

“Our Daily Bread” http://odb.org
The Daily Devotions of Greg Laurie http://www.harvest.org/devotional
“Homily Grits Devotional” http://www.homilygrits.com

“Taste and See” Evangelism”

By John Burke • November 10, 2009 (for http://www.outreachmagazine.com )

Original post @ http://www.outreachmagazine.com/features/3355-taste-and-see-evangelism.html

Evangelism—even the word has negative connotations for the unconvinced. Though it literally means the telling of “good news,” our approach to evangelism rarely comes across as “good” to those who are not yet following Christ. What if we changed our approach to mirror the pattern I often see Jesus demonstrating in Scripture—an experiential approach, inviting people to “taste and see that the Lord is good”?

In the gospel of John, Jesus issues that invitation to skeptics and believers: “Let anyone who is thirsty come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as Scripture has said, rivers of living water will flow from within them” (John 7:37-38). Did Jesus really mean anyone? Did He really mean the Good News is so good that anyone willing to come and drink can experience a taste of living water? What difference might it make to our evangelistic approach if we believed this?

Maybe the reason we don’t see more people following Christ is that we’ve put ourselves in the way of them coming to God.

Talking to spiritual skeptics, I find Christians often come across as if we’re saying, “Come to us, conform to us, let us convince you to believe what we believe, then pray with me to accept Christ. And then—and only then—God will have anything to do with you.” Is that true? Maybe the reason we don’t see more people following Christ is that we’ve put ourselves in the way of them coming to God. We’ve made them go through us to get to Him. We should listen to James’s admonition to the churches: “We should not make it difficult for the Gentiles who are turning to God” (Acts 15:19).

Earlier in John 7, Jesus addresses those skeptical of his divinity. He says, “Anyone who chooses to do the will of God will find out whether my teaching comes from God or whether I speak on my own” (John 7:17). Over the last 10 years, I’ve watched our church grow up out of the culture to see thousands find faith.

Every few years, we’ve done a 60-day experiment called Soul Revolution, in which we challenge people to stay in continuous connection to God. We tell them to invite skeptical friends and neighbors to do the experiment with them. Even though it’s technically an experiment in “abiding in Christ” for those who know Him, we’ve seen many people find faith as we encourage them “to give as much of yourself as you understand to as much of God and His will as you understand, and see if God doesn’t show up in those 60 days.”

An atheist with his third drunken driving arrest, Brian was sentenced to mandatory recovery. In recovery, someone convinced Brian to just act as if God exists and try to be thankful daily. As he started thanking this God he didn’t believe in for little things, Brian began to see “little coincidences.”

Brian: “I began to believe there must be a God, but I was in no way ready to accept Jesus or any Christian rules. A woman I knew invited me to Gateway around that time. Gateway held a 60-day ‘experiment’ to connect every hour with God. I never made it every hour, but my nightly connection turned into daily multiple connections. And I began to see God at work in my life throughout the day.”

When we try to get people to change their behavior before showing them how to drink the living water that will quench the root thirst, we just spiritually dehydrate them.

For most of us, this shatters our paradigm of how God works. Brian barely believed God existed, was skeptical about Jesus, was still abusing alcohol and was indulging in pornography, and yet as we invited him to experientially discover whether Jesus’ words were true, God drew near to him and he came to believe and trust in Jesus.

Do you believe you can offer the same invitation Jesus did? “If you are thirsty, come to Him and drink.” “If you’re willing to do God’s will, you’ll see that Jesus’ teachings are true.” Do you believe if we can simply get people to be willing to connect with their Creator daily, willing to respond to His will, that God will draw near to them? We’ve seen it happen many times.

Brian: “Walking in [to church], I didn’t know what the rules were. At that point, I knew God existed, but if I’d been hit with a bunch of doctrine or rules, I probably would not have stayed. Hearing an invitation to give as much of yourself as you understand to as much of God as you understand and see what happens—I could do that. I wanted to see something different, but I didn’t have a path to explore that. The invitation to “just be willing” and experiment with trusting God, rather than telling me everything I needed to change in my life gave me permission to keep exploring.”

Think about the way Jesus dealt with the Samaritan woman at the well. With five divorces in her past and now sexually involved with a sixth man who was not her husband, she needed changes in her life. Yet Jesus’ says to her, “If you knew the gift of God and who it is that asks you for a drink, you would have asked Him and He would have given you living water” (John 4:10).

The disciples chaffed at Jesus’ evangelistic approach because in their minds, this Samaritan woman needed to make some drastic lifestyle changes for God to meet and lead her. But Jesus knew her real problem was not her behavior, but her disconnection from God. He offered her the only thing that could change her life—living water. When we try to get people to change their behavior before showing them how to drink the living water that will quench the root thirst, we just spiritually dehydrate them.

That leads to an important question: How do any of us change? How do we help greedy people become generous, divorcing people reconcile, addicted people find freedom, sexually entangled people honor God? Do we need more Bible study, prayer or other disciplines? More church attendance or community? All good things! But …

Jesus said to Martha, who was busy doing lots of good things, “Martha, Martha, you are worried and bothered about so many things, but only one thing is necessary “ (Luke 10:41-42). Jesus tells us Mary was doing the one thing—listening to Him. The way we love God is by listening and responding moment by moment in constant connection to Him.

He knew that this very simple thing is precisely humanity’s problem. Our addiction to self pushes God to the periphery. So on the way to Gethsemane Jesus picks up a branch and says, “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me, and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me, you can do nothing” (John 15:5). You can do nothing? That verse tells me: Stay connected—fruit happens!

In our Soul Revolution experiment, we asked everyone to set a watch to beep every 60 minutes to interrupt our habit of ignoring God throughout most of our day. And for 60 days, we used the watch beep as a reminder that God is there and wants to lead us if we are willing. Nearly 4,000 people have done our 60-60 experiment, and the results for those who went all out have been astounding. We’ve heard stories of Jesus bringing stagnant, long-time believers to life, addicts finding freedom, gay and straight people committing to honor God sexually, marriages healed. And we witnessed many people like Brian find faith in Christ and experience fruit.

Brian: “What is this fruit that we hear of in John 15:1-8? As I experimented with staying connected, I experienced peace and joy as a way of life—probably the biggest gift of all. Fruit is also a former porn addict who now sees the beauty of a woman’s soul rather than just a selfish thrill. Fruit is a hunger to read the entire New Testament after that first 60-60 and coming to a conviction on my own about sex outside of marriage. I found Jesus’ view of women changing my view to see them as valuable, spiritual creatures to honor. Fruit is a former alcohol abuser who no longer needs the crutch. Fruit is coming to a church with a few thousand people and having it feel small because I have learned to know and know in community rather than isolate. Fruit is walking up to a homeless gathering and no longer seeing the “scum of the earth” but rather seeing beautiful souls just struggling with life and teaching me about compassion. Fruit is being able to go on for hours about all the ways God has guided me, walked with me. I experienced Jesus’ words as Truth: He remained in me when I chose to remain in Him.”

Four years later, Brian leads his own small group and invites other atheists to “taste and see that the Lord is good”!

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“Jesus Doesn’t Love You Like That” 2/27/2015 by Jonathan Parnell for Desiringgod.org

“Our Daily Bread” http://odb.org
The Daily Devotions of Greg Laurie http://www.harvest.org/devotional
“Homily Grits Devotional” http://www.homilygrits.com

 

Jesus Doesn’t Love You Like That

October 20, 2013
by Jonathan Parnell for http://www.Desiringgod.org

Topic: The Gospel

Original post @ http://www.desiringgod.org/articles/jesus-doesn-t-love-you-like-that

Jesus Doesn’t Love You Like That
Either Jesus died to save his church or he didn’t. There isn’t a third option.

Either he gave himself up for his bride, as Ephesians 5:25 tells us, or he died to create the possibility of her salvation that depends upon the skills of human decision-making.

Are we dead in our sins, as Ephesians 2:1–3 says, or are we slightly impaired? Are we “far from the peaceful shore” or are we gone, sunken to the bottom of the ocean with no chance of resuscitation? Does God toss us a floatation device, or does he raise us from the dead?

Was the cross of Christ a triumph over sin and evil, as Colossians 2:14–15 says, or was it just a nice first-move? Is Jesus victorious for the sake of his church, or did he spot us a few points? Did he suffer at Golgotha to demonstrate God’s grace to sinners, or was it a presentation of sorta-kinda-maybe hope for those smart enough to understand?

Did Jesus drain the dregs of God’s wrath meant for his people, or did he merely mute original sin and leave the destiny of our eternal souls in our own hands?

How we answer these questions has everything to do with what we think about our sin and the glory of Jesus, and therefore, it gets at the heart of the gospel.

What makes the gospel good news? Is it only the potential to be saved, which would grossly miscalculate human ability and undermine the blood of Jesus, or is it the declaration, “It is finished!” — that Jesus has demolished every obstacle that keeps his people from everlasting joy in God?

The Bible is clear. The gospel is God’s work, God’s victory. “He does everything, first to last, that is involved in bringing man from death in sin to life in glory: he plans, achieves and communicates redemption, calls and keeps, justifies, sanctifies, glorifies” (Packer, Quest for Godliness, 130). And here is where we see his love — the kind that breaks through the sternest soul in sovereign power to save. The love of Jesus is sin-crushing, serpent-stomping, death-defying, people-purchasing love.

Softly and tenderly tip-toeing around the doors of our heart, giving his life to give us a chance, crossing his fingers that we will invite him into our lives . . .
no, Jesus doesn’t love us like that.

——————————————————————————–

Related resources:

From Heaven He Came and Sought Her: Definite Atonement in Historical, Biblical, Theological, and Pastoral Perspective (November 30, 2013)

Limited Atonement (“What We Believe About the Five Points of Calvinism”)

New Course on Calvinism from John Piper

Jonathan Parnell (@jonathanparnell) is a writer and content strategist at Desiring God, and is the lead planter of Cities Church in Minneapolis–Saint Paul, where he lives with his wife, Melissa, and their four children. He is also the co-author of How to Stay Christian in Seminary.

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“Jesus Take The Wheel” 2/26/2015 by Christina B de Guia

“Our Daily Bread” http://odb.org
The Daily Devotions of Greg Laurie http://www.harvest.org/devotional
“Homily Grits Devotional” http://www.homilygrits.com

 

Written by Christina B de Guia @ http://momentswiththelord.wordpress.com/

Original post @  https://momentswiththelord.wordpress.com/2015/02/21/jesus-take-the-wheel/

Jesus Take The Wheel

Feb21  by Christina B de Guia

Jesus, take the wheel

Take it from my hands

Cause I can’t do this on my own

I’m letting go

So give me one more chance

To save me from this road I’m on

Jesus, take the wheel

Love to sing this song and since I am now assigned in Transport Department, I got inspired to share this to you.

Who is the driver of your spiritual journey? You or God?

piZap_1424495463175

In every journey or road trip, it is important that drivers have good map and reliable GPS to get into their destination. Before departing, some drivers may feel some anxiety. They worry about the unknown detours or the dangerous intersections that lie ahead and should be avoided.

From the book of Pastor Rick Warren, he said there that the best way he can define “meekness” is this: Let go, and let God. How do you let go and let God? First, you have to make Jesus the manager of your life. The problem is, we usually want to be the manager of our own lives, and so we argue and disagree with God. We think we know what’s best. The reason you’re under a lot of stress is that you’re constantly fighting God in your mind — “I know God says to do this but I want to do that instead!”

Every morning when you wake up, you have a decision to make: Who’s going to be in charge of your life? Who’s going to be in control — you or God? Who’s going to call the shots — you or God? Every day, moment by moment, you are making that decision. When you choose to make yourself the manager of your own life, it causes conflict, confusion, and stress.

Jesus says in Matthew 16:24, “Anyone who intends to come with me has to let me lead. You’re not in the driver’s seat; I am” (MSG).

Here’s what Christians tend to do: When we become believers in Christ, we give him the driver’s seat and then promptly hop into the backseat and become backseat drivers. We’re constantly giving him “advice,” like, “No, turn this way. Stop. Wait. Faster! I want to go that way. I want to see that sight.” Your life doesn’t look very pretty when you’re trying to lead with God at the same time. You just need to let God be God and make Jesus the manager of your life.

In his book, “Reflections for Ragamuffins,“ Brennan Manning writes, “You will trust God only as much as you love Him.” You will also only love God as much as you trust Him. As you drive along your journey in life, you’ll find that confidence in God’s love is always coupled with trust. As I said, this means letting Him drive. When love and trust are combined, they are a like a match to faith. They will set your confidence on fire so that you can ride anywhere that God is taking you without fear.

Are you convinced that allowing God to drive is best? If so, I challenge you to let God take the wheel. Granted, this can be hard, especially when life is tough and you’re not sure where the road may lead. However, moment by moment, if you choose to trust Him; if you let go, you’ll find peace, rest, contentment, communication and love filling you up. You’ll also stay out of the emotional and spiritual ditch in your relationship with God—and you’ll get to sit in the passenger’s seat and enjoy that refreshing drink. Could there be anything better?

Are you ready to let God drive you to the next destination on your spiritual journey?

“Jesus Take The Wheel”, sung by by Carrie Underwood:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NcR8N_v0ymQ

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“Alive When Dead!” 2/25/2015 by Mary Hall-Rayford

“Our Daily Bread” http://odb.org
The Daily Devotions of Greg Laurie http://www.harvest.org/devotional
“Homily Grits Devotional” http://www.homilygrits.com

 

Written by Mary Hall-Rayford @ https://maryhallrayford.wordpress.com/

Original post @ https://maryhallrayford.wordpress.com/2015/02/21/alive-when-dead/

Alive When Dead!

“But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved.” (Ephesians 2:4,5 NIV)

People have written books about the walking dead, made movies about the walking dead, the zombies who were dead brought back to life, the vampires who were immortalized though dead, and yet all these created terror in the hearts of those who knew they were dead.

When we were the walking dead because of our sins due to lack of knowledge, God’s love for us was so great, that He came and took upon Himself our spiritually dead lives and quickened us to become alive–not as a terror to people, but as a testimony of His grace and mercy. What a difference!

Most Believers should be able to make a distinction in their lives between what their lives were like Before Christ and what their lives are like After Christ. I call this my–BC time and my AC time. In my BC time, I thought I was living–doing what I wanted to do, without much regard or consideration to others–especially those who attempted to tell me anything about The Word. However, when I reached the bottom of the pit (my Damascus Road), and could no longer enjoy the simple things I loved to do–buying new books, I had no other book in my house but the Bible and my love of reading motivated me to read it, not a great desire to understand it was God’s Word.

I read on the bus going to work, during my breaks, on the way home and at home during my leisure time. The more I read, the more I felt something changing in my life. The more I felt the change, the more I wanted to change, until eventually, I reached the stage of my life where God could speak to my heart and I heard and understood and obeyed. Hallelujah! I had no idea that I had been the walking dead until I understood the life that God wanted me to live!

While I understand the reticence that some may have in accepting The Bible as God’s Word, I encourage all to re-think where their lives are and know that if there is even the slightest possibility that “you are the walking dead” because of a life lived in opposition to God, get into His Word and enjoy the newness of life that He has planned.

There is nothing like knowing “the better life” that God has for us. Know that provision has been made for us to be “alive when dead” with Christ Jesus because of God’s mercy and grace and now is the time for us to receive it and be glad!

I am so thankful for the BC time because it gives me greater appreciation for my AC time–living life with Christ in the midst is so much better than living without Him.

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“Praise, Thanksgiving, and Worship” 2/24/2015 by Nancy Ruegg

“Our Daily Bread” http://odb.org
The Daily Devotions of Greg Laurie http://www.harvest.org/devotional
“Homily Grits Devotional” http://www.homilygrits.com

 

Written by Nancy Ruegg @ http://nancyaruegg.com

View original post @ http://nancyaruegg.com/2015/02/19/praise-thanksgiving-and-worship/

Praise, Thanksgiving, and Worship

February 19, 2015 by Nancy Ruegg

praise-band-300x225

The drummer begins a snappy, energizing beat.

The guitarists add moving chords.

The keyboard player joins with a compelling melody and attention-grabbing harmony.

Then the leader of the band enthusiastically proclaims, “This is the day the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it! Please stand and join me as we praise and worship our awesome God!”

It’s a familiar scene for those who attend a contemporary or blended worship service.

Have you ever wondered why we are invited to praise and worship? Aren’t the two words just synonyms for each other?

That’s what I thought for a long time. Then a worship leader explained that the upbeat praise songs we sing first are designed to help us focus on God instead of the many mind-distractions vying for attention.

After a time of praise, he said, we are more receptive to the quieter, more reverent songs of worship. He likened our musical journey to the movement of Bible time worshipers, from the outer courts of the temple to the inner court.

Since then, I’ve learned more insights into the difference between praise and worship. For example:

Praise is an expression of approval and admiration, exalting God for who he is. We praise him for his wonderful attributes, like love, wisdom, power, and holiness. He is certainly worthy of every word of praise we can offer (Psalm 18:3).

But we can also praise people for their attributes. Even the family dog earns praise for being a good boy or girl! Praise is relatively easy to give. It costs us nothing except a little thoughtfulness and a little time.

A close relative of praise is thanksgiving. Just as we praise God for who he is, we express gratitude for what he does.

Worship, on the other hand, is exclusive. God is the only One worthy of our worship (Luke 4:8).

The word, worship, comes to us from Old English: weorth (worth) and scipe (ship). When we express our awe, love, and respect to God, we are proclaiming his worth to us.

True worship also includes humility, honesty, and surrender (John 4:24; Psalm 119:7):

  • Humility as we recognize God’s supremacy,
  • Honesty as we confess our inadequacy and sin,
  • Surrender as we relinquish our wills to his all-wise control.

Worship also draws us closer to God (Psalm 145:18), which is not just for Sunday mornings. Worship (as well as praise and thanksgiving) is designed by God to permeate our every day lives.

It’s as if praise, worship, and thanksgiving are tributaries, streaming together to form one great river. Three becoming one. Not like a braid, with three plaits woven side-by-side but still separate entities. No–a blending together into a whole, the parts no longer distinguishable.

Praise from a worshipful heart—one that is characterized by humility, honesty, and surrender—is the most sincere.

Thanksgiving that celebrates God’s goodness in his actions and praises God’s greatness of character, is the most complete.

Worship that includes sincere praise and complete gratitude is the most beautiful.

* * * * * * * * * *

Every day, Lord, you manifest your greatness to me. May I be quick to offer you praise, thanksgiving, and worship, because you are worthy of no less. And thank you for the gift of worship, for the overwhelming privilege of basking in your glorious and holy Light.

(Photo credit: http://www.blog.nextlevelworship.com.)

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“The “A” Word” 2/23/2015 by Robert VanHoose

“Our Daily Bread” http://odb.org
The Daily Devotions of Greg Laurie http://www.harvest.org/devotional
“Homily Grits Devotional” http://www.homilygrits.com

 

Written by the wise 82+ yr old Robert VanHoose @ http://www.homilygrits.com

Read Romans 12:1-2,

Psalm 90

The “A” Word

“God alone made it possible for you to be in Christ Jesus. For our benefit God made Christ to be wisdom itself. He is the one who made us acceptable to God.” 1 Corinthians 1:30 NLT

Acceptance is one of the basic motivators of life. In human terms, we will go to almost any extreme to be received with pleasure and approval by our parents, family, and peers.

The positive reinforcement we receive from acceptance is a tonic that stimulates us to do more and more of the things that earn this approval, and hopefully, less and less of the things that are not acceptable to those whose acceptance we seek.

When the affirmation of acceptance is not received within the home, family, or friends through positive means, we sometimes go seeking it in all the wrong places, often with disastrous results.

A positive self-image is acquired by receiving ourselves with pleasure and approval. It is a good thing to feel good about ourselves, and to be secure about who we are and where we are going–when it is from a Divine perspective.

Divine acceptance is another basic need of everyone. Like it or not, security and our peace is never going to be complete, unless we receive the positive reinforcement from a right relationship with God through faith in Jesus Christ.

God “desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.” (1 Timothy 2:3-4.) God’s acceptance is no longer based on our obedience to the law, but on the obedience of Jesus Christ.

By virtue of our faith in Jesus Christ, we become unconditionally loved, forever forgiven, and totally accepted by God. We receive the positive reinforcement of becoming joint heirs with Christ, and receive the power of the indwelling Spirit of God. What a tonic this is!

Father, thank You for the acceptance I have in You, and the peace and joy that this brings. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

“And may the Lord our God show us his approval.” (Psalm 90:17)

“And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.” (Romans 12:2 – NKJV)

P.S. (From bruce) Here is a link for this most important days writing, about how God’s grace is received to become a Christian in God’s eyes; through understanding and obeying the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ, after first being drawn in by God…John 6:44… http://godsmanforever.wordpress.com/2013/07/11/gods-group-thoughts-for-7112013-the-truth-about-sin/

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