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Inspiring Generations

Summertime Blues

August 21, 2014

And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up. – Galatians 6:9

This is one of my favorite verses. All summer long in the Student Ministry, we have been readying the students to go back to school. You may think that only applies to students, but all of us can get a fresh mindset each day. We have been pouring into students, attending camp, going on mission trips, and serving our community. The goal of all these ministry events is that the students get in the habit during the summer of seeing life through the lens of Christ so that when they get back in the normal routine they apply the same principles.

You may not of attended a camp or mission trip, but you must be ready just the same. If we truly want people to be brought to Christ, we must refresh renew our minds every single morning in prayer, scripture, and time with God.

A Christian’s outlook on life is different. We do not just work or go to school in order to just work or go to school. We are to be influencers in our environments. Everything we do during our normal day should be looked at through the lens of Christ love.

I am guilty of this very same thing. I practice my normal routine every single day. I do the same thing, I talk to the same people, see the same things. It becomes routine that a day will pass on by and I have done nothing with it.  I urge you to look at these opportunities and to leverage the relationships and places you come in contact. Spread a love that is very different from what this world can offer.

My prayer is that the body of Christ, the Church, come alive so that we have an explosion of people coming to Christ just like in the first few chapter of Acts. All because people are beginning to realize who Jesus is, what he did for them, and his love for them.

Personal Application: Think of five people you see on a regular basis that do not know Christ. Begin praying for desperately for them to know Christ and that you may be in the mindset of Christ when you are around them.

Home application: Think of your neighbors around. How can you show the love of Christ by serving them?

This devotional was written by Travis Hogg.

The Full Armor

August 20, 2014

Today, I want to share with you another one of my Trusting God techniques! It’s very simple, but very powerful!  It comes from Ephesians chapter 6.

Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.

So here’s what I do: I actually practice putting on the armor … really! I stand up, I buckle the belt of truth around my waist, I put on the breastplate of righteousness, and I put on the shoes of the gospel of peace. Then I put on the helmet of salvation and take up the shield of faith and the sword of the spirit. Now I’m ready to stand firm!

Check out the rest of the chapter…

And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people.

Personal Application: Try putting on the armor of God! Actually act it out. Then ask God to fill you with His Holy Spirit and stand firm!

Home Application: Share this simple, effective technique with your family. You will be amazed at how much it will help all of you.

So powerful and yet so simple…Put On The Armor Of GOD and PRAY!  Will You?

Today’s devotional by Carla Dillard

Back to School

August 19, 2014

“Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.”  1 Peter 5:7

Can you believe the summer is almost over? School starts very soon, for some even this week. Another summer in the record books … wow!  Pretty sure this is one of the most important times for all of you parents and grandparents to practice and perfect your trusting skills. Here’s why.

When those precious children you love and care for head back to school, I’m confident there are a few things that run through your mind like a broken record:

  • Is their school a good one? The right one for them?
  • Will their teacher do a good job and really understand my child?
  • Will my child make good friends in their class?
  • Will my child be safe?
  • Will they learn at a good pace this year?
  • And probably many more …

What a fabulous time to STOP! And Say,”God, I Trust my Children into your Care!” He is Trustworthy and loves your child even more than you do!

And He alone can:

  • Make every school a great school
  • Equip every teacher to be the best for each child in their classroom
  • Help your child make great friends
  • Keep your child safe and secure
  • Help your child learn and learn well
  • HE ALONE CAN _______. You fill in the blank.

So before your child heads back to school, Trust God with them for an amazing school year! And then THANK HIM! Because He’s Worthy and Faithful! And HE CARES for YOU!

Personal Application: Take a self-examination and see what your trust quotient is. Then, get on your knees and ask God to give you more faith so you can trust Him more!

Home Application: Parents and Grandparents, be honest with the children in your lives. Confess to them that sometimes there are things that bother you where they are concerned. And then share with them your testimony of how God is giving you the strength and faith to trust Him for them and their future. Families sharing stories of God’s activity in their lives is useful and uplifting for all who hear.

Can you let go of your fears and Trust God for your child this school year?

Today’s devotional by Carla Dillard

It’s All Good

August 18, 2014

“God looked over everything he had made; 
 it was so good, so very good!”  Genesis 1:31

In Sunday’s sermon, we were given a beautiful picture of what God requires of us … Trust. Just simple trust. God called Abraham to one of the most difficult tasks, and yet what did Abraham do? He said three words: Here I Am. So simple and yet so full of faith and trust. When God calls you, is that how you answer? I confess that’s not always my first response, but I plan to start practicing it … Here I am, Lord!

How simple could Abraham’s trust really have been? God asked him to sacrifice his only son. The son God promised that through him Abraham and Sarah would be blessed with many offspring? Really God? But Hebrews tells us that Abraham reasoned God could raise the dead, so very simply Abraham trusted God. WOW! What an example of faith! Abraham didn’t fret, wring his hands, worry himself sick. He simply knew there was nothing His God couldn’t do and he trusted Him!

On my desk I have a very simple little saying … one I seemed to be known for and it simply says: It’s All Good! Do I always believe that? Probably not. But it sure helps to have that on my desk as a constant reminder of what God calls me to do: Trust Him enough to be able to always say, It’s All Good! Because really It Is All Good! Right? Because we are not in control, but our Faithful, Loving, Caring HEAVENLY FATHER IS!

Personal and Home Application: What have you been wrestling with that it’s past time to say Here I Am, Lord? Can you deep in your heart say, “I Trust You! It’s all Good?” What can you do to get to that place of Trust? Start now!

What can you do today to start actively Trusting God?

Today’s devotional by Carla Dillard

If God … Then What?

August 15, 2014

“If God will be with me and will watch over me on this journey… then the Lord will be my God.”  Genesis 28:20

There’s a beautiful new movement of God spreading rampantly through women in this world called the IF Gathering … a group of passionate, praying, God-fearing women daring to ask this question of themselves: If God is real, then what? How am I living my life? Does my life reflect that I believe God is real? Do my choices indicate I believe God is real? Do I make decisions based on my faith that God is real?

From their Website we find one of their core values is: CHRIST-CENTERED

Everything we do is grounded in the truth of Christ’s life, death and resurrection.

When was the last time you made a decision based on Christ’s life death and resurrection? That’s the Hope we have in this world! It should greatly impact our thinking, our decision making, our life choices. But does it?

Readers, here’s my statement of faith…

GOD IS REAL!  HE made me, HE loves me, HE cares for me and HE is always there for me!  So press on, join me, and claim His authority in your life! And live in Victory!  Because HE is Real, HE is Alive and HE is Trustworthy!

Personal and Home Application:  At your next family meal, talk about the circumstances each of you is going through in your lives. Then look at them together in light of your knowledge that GOD IS REAL! How do those circumstances look now? Share and give Him glory!

Will you join me in living your life in such a way that everyone around us knows we BELIEVE GOD IS REAL?

Today’s Devotional by Carla Dillard

Simple Trust

August 14, 2014

“…the people feared the Lord and put their trust in Him…”  Exodus 14:31

Well, I’m back!  And look what HE’s given me to write about…again!  Guess HE’s not sure I’m really grasping Simple Trust!  I know I’m repeating myself, but I do Trust YOU GOD!

Trust in the Lord with all your heart …Proverbs 3:5…is my life verse! But even the title of this devo brings up good questions: Is trust really simple? Am I living a life that proves I’m trusting Him?

About 12 years ago, God led me to a life-changing Bible Study called Believing God by Beth Moore. In that powerfully impacting study, I learned Beth’s five-finger statement of faith. I now practice it faithfully, sometimes before my feet ever hit the ground.

It says this:

1. God is who He says He is.

2. God can do what He says He can do.

3. I am who God says I am.

4. I can do all things in Christ (who strengthens me)

5. God’s Word is alive and active in me.

I’M BELIEVING GOD!

So practice it with me…use each finger and then at the end point to yourself on the word I’m, then point to heaven when saying Believing God. How does that feel? How do those statements of faith resonate with you? Are you BELIEVING GOD? AM I? DO WE REALLY TRUST HIM?  Keep practicing…….

Personal and Home Application: Practice the statement of faith out loud and for real.  Let each statement of truth resonate deep into your core. Say it as often as you need so that you BELIEVE IT! And then put your TRUST in HIM!

How can you exercise Simple Trust in your life today?

Today’s devotional by Carla Dillard

Ladder theology

August 13, 2014

“You can enter God’s Kingdom only through the narrow gate. The highway to hell is broad, and its gate is wide for the many who choose that way.  But the gateway to life is very narrow and the road is difficult, and only a few ever find it.   Matthew 7:13-14 (NLT)

 

A ladder is a great tool to get up to places that are out of our reach.  It takes effort to get the ladder out of its place of storage, carry it in its bulky form, and get it balanced in a way that will support you as you begin a step by step ascent to the top.  Occasionally, I will find that I did all of that only to see that when I reached the top of the ladder, what I was going after was still out of reach because I didn’t put the ladder in the correct spot to begin with.

If all of your life was a ladder, wouldn’t it be sad if at the end of your life you realized that eternal life was still out of reach because you put the ladder in the wrong place?  Eternal life is not a guessing game.  God has made it clear to the entire world that He loves us and sent Jesus to take away our sin and insure our place with Him in heaven forever.

Where is your ladder?  Is it set up in trying to be good?  Is it set up trying to earn God’s favor?  Is it set up trying to go to church and be a helper there?  All those are good things, but if that is your idea of how to have and eternally remain in a relationship with God you have your ladder in the wrong place.

Today’s passage reminds us that the way is narrow, or we could say that there is only one place that putting your ladder will allow you to experience life.  The interesting thing is that if you put your ladder in the right place, your climbing has a different purpose.  You are climbing because of what Christ did for you, not to earn His favor.  If your ladder is anywhere else, you will find that all you are doing is trying to earn your place with God, which is an impossible task.

Talk to the Lord today about this.  If He shows you that you are trusting what Christ did to take away your sin, then celebrate that and share it with someone today.  If He reveals to you that you have been trusting your efforts to perform and trying to earn His favor, stop climbing.  Move the ladder today to the narrow spot where you…

a) admit you are a sinner,

b) believe that Jesus alone can take away your sin and qualify you for eternal life, and

c) ask Jesus to forgive you of your sins, and commit to live for Him as a response to all He has done for you.

Personal Application-  Have you asked Jesus to forgive you of ALL your sins and have you committed to live your life for Him?  If not, why not pray and do it today?  If you do, please let us know through the comment section of today’s devo.  We would LOVE to celebrate this with you.

Home Application-  You have probably taught someone in your home to throw a ball or how to play a board game, but have you ever talked to them about how to tell someone about Jesus?  Use today’s devo to teach those in your home something that will last forever!

Who will be in heaven because you shared the message of Jesus with them?

Devotional by Jeff Humphrey

 

Give a Clue

August 12, 2014

“And you will recognize him by this sign: You will find a baby wrapped snugly in strips of cloth, lying in a manger.”   Luke 2:12 (NLT)

        

On the night Jesus was born, the angels came to let the shepherds know the good and joyful news that the Savior… the Messiah… the Lord had been born.  They followed that information with a clue about where they could find the baby and see all this for themselves.  This Savior/Messiah/Lord would be wrapped in strips of cloth and he would be lying in an animal shelter.

Without that clue, where would you have probably looked to find the baby?  In the temple?  In an important religious leader’s home?  In a palace or nice home?  Where in the world be a worthy place for the Lord of the Universe to be born.

Today’s passage is a reminder that sometimes people don’t know where to look for the Lord.  Just because the Lord can keep the universe in perfect order doesn’t mean He won’t be found in a moment of personal chaos.  Just because the Lord can heal any disease doesn’t mean He won’t be found in someone’s illness.  Just because He knows everything past, present and future doesn’t mean He won’t be found in the midst of seemingly unanswerable questions.

Just as God sent the angels to give a clue to the shepherds, He sends us into the world to give a clue to a hurting humanity that needs Him so desperately.  Our understanding that God doesn’t take every problem away but promises to be with us in the problem and sustain us through the problem is a clue we need to be willing to share.  Your willingness to share scripture and your testimony of God’s activity in your life is the best way to do this.  When we help replace what people think God is like with the truth of who He really is, people are more likely to look for Him and find Him.

Personal and Home Application-  Talk to the Lord today about your willingness to share what you know about the Lord with others.  Ask God to help you be willing to share truth with those who need to look for God and find Him.  Keep talking to those in your home about this too!

Who needs a clue about Jesus that you need to deliver to?

Devotional by Jeff Humphrey

Be Where You Are…

August 11, 2014

Acts 17:26-27 (NIV)
From one man he made every nation of men, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and he determined the times set for them and the exact places where they should live.  God did this so that men would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from each one of us.

         

One day Paul was sharing the good news about Jesus Christ with a group of influential people in Athens.  Today’s passage is one of the points he made about the sovereignty of God.

If you really believe that this statement is true, then it is no accident that we are occupying planet earth at this time and that there is a purpose for us being here.  That purpose is that we would come to know God and help others to know Him too.  You might have been a surprise to your parents, but you were no surprise to God.

The exact place that you would live was important to God as well.  If God has placed you in a city then you are part of His plan to reveal Him to that city.  You will never be a strong witness for Christ in your city if you don’t believe God has a strong purpose for your being there and embracing it with passion.  If you are willing to embrace this, you will do whatever it takes to make God known.

Personal Application-   Are you passionately appreciative of the place God has placed you to live?  Are you seeking to meet people and use your influence to introduce them to Christ?  Do you spend your time complaining to God about all the things you don’t like about the city and people you share residence with?   Ask God to forgive you for the times you have forgotten that the time and place you have been called to live are to accomplish His greater purpose of making God known.

Home Application-  Your love for the place that God has you is contagious to those in your home.  The first way we can lead our home to fall in love with where God has us is by praying about where He has us.  Pray with your family.  Thank God for not only where you are, but for what He is going to do IN you and THROUGH you there.

What dreams do you have about God transforming your city or your workplace?

Devotional by Jeff Humphrey

Making a Global Impact Usually Begins at Home

August 8, 2014

“No, go back to your family, and tell them everything God has done for you.” So he went all through the town proclaiming the great things Jesus had done for him.   Luke 8:39 (NLT)

If you are a Christian who wants God to use you to make a difference globally, never forget that your home and your family are also part of the planet you are called to reach.  There are Christians that would raise hundreds of dollars to impact someone who lived in a remote village on the other side of the planet, yet won’t make the time to sit and talk to a family member who is living a life that is leading to tragedy and destruction.  There are Christians who would spend the money to buy technology enabling them to share their testimony with people far away, but never spend the time sharing their testimony with those they work with every day.

In today’s passage, a man whose life Jesus had miraculously changed asked if he could travel with Jesus in His missionary journeying.  The man would have been a great testimony for Jesus to have near, showing people everywhere living proof that Jesus was more powerful than multitudes of demons who had invaded this man until Jesus told them to leave.  Yet Jesus knew that the greatest and first group of people that needed to be impacted by this man were the people who had known him best through all the years he had been a terror to them.  This man, by going home, could impact many as people who knew him best saw the different life he now had because of Jesus.

PERSONAL APPLICATION-  Do the people you live with and work with really know how much Jesus means to you?  Can they see your life changing and with that change do they know that Jesus Christ is the reason for that changing.  God will give you opportunities to make a global difference and you should make the most of those opportunities.  But more regularly you will have the opportunity to sit with your family and your co-workers to make a global difference.

HOME APPLICATION- Talk with the Lord about the impact that you need to be making at home.  Ask Him to remove the fear, timidity, pride, and pretense that prevents many Christians from making a difference with those that know them best.

Who is the last person you talked to about Jesus?

Devotional by Jeff Humphrey

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