Devotions
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March 30, 2017, 8:03 AM

Guilty or Convicted?  



People often say they feel guilty when they have done something wrong. While others say they feel convicted. How do you feel when you've done something wrong? Guilty or convicted? An easy way to figure it out is this: Guilt paralyzes, conviction motivates. When you’re experience guilt, it can feel as if there no way to make amends for the wrong you committed. This is a tactic of the enemy to paralyzes us and keep us in bondage to our sin. Guilt is not from the Holy Spirit. Conviction, on the other hand, is from the Spirit, it motivates us to right the wrong we have committed. The Spirit guides you to the savior, who can save us from our sin.

 

Over the years, I’ve had lots of people ask me if Baptists believe in the ministry of the Holy Spirit. I always answer with a resounding “YES!” Not only do we believe in the ministry of the Holy Spirit, but we recognize that no Christian can live without His guidance. The Holy Spirit is very important in our Christian walk. We need His divine intervention to live in this fallen world. That’s why God gives each believer a Helper, whose job is to produce Christ like character in us. The Holy Spirit guides, counsels, comforts, and protects, to name a few.

 

“Nevertheless I tell you the truth. It is to your advantage that I go away; for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you; but if I depart, I will send Him to you. And when He has come, He will convict the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment” John 16:7-8

 

I love the Holy Spirit. The guidance He gives me to reach out to a friend who is hurting. He gives me the words that falls from my lips when I have no idea what to say to a person in need. He comforts me when I am hurting and no one on this earth can relieve it. But He also convicts me of my sin and dang it, I don't like that. Don't misunderstand me. I love the outcome of conviction but I am just not a fan of the discomfort that goes along with it. But, it's necessary for growth and a changed life. God wants each of us to live a changed life, a life in which we can experience the fullness of his love, a life that glorifies Him. Is the Holy Spirit motivating you to glorify God by making a change in your life? Are you at the end of your rope and feel unable to make it? The enemy will keep you there if you let him. The Holy Spirit will give you the power to make it if you seek it.

 

This is my Prayer: God give me guidance through Your conviction. Jesus forgive me for the sin in my life that I’m still holding on to. Lord help me to overcome the guilt that paralyzes my walk with you. God give me strength to follow the Spirit's lead to make the changes in my life that are need to live a changed life and bring You glory. In Jesus name, Amen.




March 29, 2017, 5:00 AM

It’s hard to relinquish control and surrender our lives, our possessions, and our family to GOD.



Are there parts of your life that you haven't surrendered to God?  Are there areas where you are not allowing Him to lead you, like a relationship, your career, or with your children?   It’s hard to relinquish control and surrender our lives, our possessions, and our family to GOD.  Yet, that’s exactly what he calls us to do!

Then Jesus said to His disciples, “If anyone wants to come with Me, he must deny himself, take up his cross, and follow Me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life because of Me will find it. What will it benefit a man if he gains the whole world yet loses his life? Or what will a man give in exchange for his life? Matthew 16:24-26

If you’ve walked the Christian road for any amount of time, the likelihood that you’ve heard a message preached on the verse above is great. Oftentimes we hear a message that exhorts us to rise above ourselves and live our lives to honor Christ with no regard for what we’ll receive. And we are told that when we take this path we will truly find life.

I remember in the fall of 2009 a big event transpired in my life, just as my plan for my life was just starting to work out, there was a calling from God to surrender. Surrender what, you might ask? Everything and I didn’t know if I wanted to. It was the call to vocational ministry. I didn’t have a desire whatsoever to do that for a living. Volunteering was just fine with me. But, after wrestling with God about it for a few months, and him revealing His call in a mighty way I eventually surrendered. And that was the beginning of me truly finding life.

Travel ahead to 2011 if you will and you’ll find me hearing from God yet again about the direction in my life. Serving in a church that is absolutely on the rocks, starting crumble, and dissolve before my very eyes, God calls me to stay and work things out, and not only that but to lead His people. That encouraged many and frightened plenty. But, I chose to follow God’s direction and literally lose my life. And again, I found it.

During the last several years, God has shown up and brought more blessings than I can comprehend.  Sometimes I just sit and think about how much I’ve been given. I don’t remember the exact day but God spoke to me. I was praying, looking at my life, and asking, “Why me, Lord?” and He replied “you said yes.”  I sat up and realized that I had a choice to make back then. I could have said “no” and kept the life I enjoyed and thought I wanted. Or, I could have said “yes” and received a life that I never could have imagined.  Is God calling you to a new life? What do you say? Yes or no?  

This is my Prayer:  God I surrender all to you my Savior.  I believe that you surrendered everything for me.  Jesus I need Your help to faithfully follow You in all things.  Lord give me the strength and courage I need to say YES to Your calling, whatever it is.  In Jesus name, Amen.




March 28, 2017, 5:00 AM

The best thing I can do is be obedient to speaking and pouring the truth into their lives and then pray.



Do you ever find yourself wanting to “fix” or change someone? Why do we all think we can do that?  Do we think we have the some special power or some master knowledge needed to change a person to be what we want them to be?  We are a very misled group, aren't we?  We think that if we say or do the right things that maybe someone will come to their senses and change.  I have found myself falling into that trap so many times.  As I think back on those times, I remember the feeling of despair I felt and anger when I didn’t see the fruit of my labor or the outcome I desired.  I was focusing on my desires, abilities and actions, and not on God’s.

 

I had to come to an understanding that I am no match for the power of God.  I whole heartedly believe in speaking and pouring the truth in someone's life.  I believe God put people in our lives for that purpose and that the Holy Spirit prompts us to those people He has put in our path.  But even if I do that it still doesn't guarantee that they will change. I have to remember that it’s not up to me, only God can change that person.  The best thing I can do is be obedient to speaking and pouring the truth into their lives and then pray. “Afterward, when Jesus was alone in the house with his disciples, they asked him, “Why couldn’t we cast out that evil spirit?” Jesus replied, “This kind can be cast out only by prayer.” Mark 9:28-29

 

Recently I was reminded this in my church’s Sunday evening Bible study, when God put some people on my heart to pray for that I had given up on.  I had shared the gospel and poured in to this person’s life years ago only to not see my desired outcome.  So for years, I hadn’t been praying for them.  So I asked God what He would have me pray and He showed me.  This person’s heart seem to be a little on the hard side.  They thought they had it all together and there was nothing wrong with their life or life style. So I prayed for brokenness, for them to see a need for God, and for them to develop a hatred for their sin.  I prayed that God would forgive them and give them a new heart and a new spirit. “I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; I will take the heart of stone out of your flesh and give you a heart of flesh.” Ezekiel 36:26

 

I give praises to God, because I've seen amazing results in that person’s life.  But quite frankly, I should be praising Him all the time. Because I know that even if I never see my desired transformation in people lives, I know He will see His. 

 

This is my Prayer:  God show me the areas of my life where I am trying to take over Your job.  Jesus show me how to love people where they are and how to pray them to where You want them to be. Lord help me to be obedient to speak and pour truth into their lives and then pray for Your desired outcome.  God teach me to praise for the transformation You are providing in our lives.  In Jesus name, Amen.




March 27, 2017, 5:00 AM

Mercy is meant to be shared!



Do you find it difficult to “let things go” when someone has hurt or offended you?  When I was young, I often played the game Mercy. It’s a simple game really. You and your opponent take both of your hands and intertwine them with each other’s. You then proceed to bend them back trying to inflict the most pain to your opponent to “win the game”. When it starts to hurt beyond what you can handle, you merely yell, “Mercy!” and your opponent stops. Whoever yells “Mercy!” first is the loser.

 

That’s what the world wants us to believe that if we need mercy then we are losers and less than.  When in fact we are far from losers, because we have victory through mercy.  Not only was Christ’s sacrifice on the cross full of grace, but also full of mercy! We deserved that cross, not Jesus. "But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” Romans 5:8 Webster defines mercy as this: compassion shown to an offender.   We are the offenders, not Him. But God showed us his amazing compassion when He gave us Himself for us instead of giving us what we deserve.


Do you have a hard time extending mercy in situations where you've been extended mercy to? We often judge others by their actions but ourselves by our intentions.  We sometimes are quick to accept mercy from God and are slow in extending that mercy to others. Like those times where we hoard our resources because we’ve forgotten what it was like to be in need and times as simple as not allowing a car to merge into our lane on the highway when we were just extended the same act by another kind driver. “So speak and so do as those who will be judged by the law of liberty. For judgment is without mercy to the one who has shown no mercy. Mercy triumphs over judgment.” James 2:12-13

 

The mercy of God is more than our finite minds will ever be able to comprehend. We will never understand how the Creator of the Universe sent his son to this broken world in order to redeem mankind. We will never truly grasp how wide and high and deep the love of God is while we are here on this earth. But even though we don’t fully get it, it doesn’t mean we can’t receive it with open arms, rest in our eternal security through Christ’s death on the cross, and share it with those who need it extended to their lives.  I believe that when we really receive mercy and see that we don’t deserve it that it’s a gift from God, we can then extend that same mercy to others.

This is my Prayer: God show me where I need to show mercy to others. Lord reveal to me just how much mercy You have shown me through my life and where I would be without it.  Jesus thank You for loving me and having mercy on me, for give Your life for mine.  God help me each day to believe in Your mercy, to receive it, and to share with those who need it.  In Jesus name, Amen.




March 26, 2017, 5:00 AM

Follow or Guard your heart, the choice is yours!



Do you find yourself following your heart on a regular basis? What usually happens when you do?  We hear the phrase “follow your heart” almost daily.  The Bible actually says that we are to guard our heart, not follow it. “Guard your heart with all diligence, For out of it spring the issues of life.” Proverbs 4:23 The Hebrew word for "spring" in that verse means "goings out, going forth." Meaning that basically what is in our heart is where our life will lead.  

 

You see when we follow our hearts we are basically just following our misguided feelings.  Our feelings, aka the “heart”, lead us into situations simply because it feels right especially when sin enters the equation. The sinful nature of our heart can also cause us to make wrong decisions just because it feels good. Decisions like having that affair, stealing that money, and doing those drugs, because they feel good and if it feels good has to right, right?   

 

“I have hidden your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you.” Psalm 119:11 We have to be careful to compare what our hearts are leading us to do with what the Word of God and His spirit are telling us to do.  And as the saying goes “The Holy Spirit will not lead you where the Word of God can’t keep you”.  If we make following our hearts a daily practice it will only yield pain, disappointment.

 

When it comes to making decisions in our lives that honor God, consider getting God’s opinion first before just “following your heart.” By following God’s word and living by the guidance of the Holy Spirit, you can guard your heart which will yield joy and peace.  “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God;  and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.”  Philippians 4:6-7

 

This is my Prayer:  God help me to guard my heart.  Lord help me overcome my emotions and follow Your leading and not my own feelings.  Jesus give me a heart like Yours, so that I will be able to follow Your word and Your will.  Lord teach me to make decisions that honor and glorify You.  In Jesus name, Amen.


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