Month: May 2019

Planting Seeds Every Day

Galatians 6:7-10
Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows. Whoever sows to please their flesh, from the flesh will reap destruction; whoever sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life. Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers.

Written by: Robert Watson

We may not realize it, but every single one of us are planting seeds each and every day. Every word, every thought, and every action are seeds that given enough time will grow into something.

Paul reminds us that whatever we are planting will eventually reveal itself. Nothing is hidden from God, and the choices we make each day really do matter.

In light of that, Paul says to continue planting seeds of good for those around us. Even when we are tired or feel weary, he says to us, “Don’t give up!” Over time, our words of encouragement, our kind actions, our seeds of goodness will begin to break through the surface of the soil.

Unafraid Devo 5.10Thought of the day: Who can you do good to today? Do something above and beyond to show God’s love to another person today, and trust God with the results.

Prayer: Father, help me to see an opportunity to do good to another person today. Holy Spirit, guide me to sow seeds that are pleasing to You. Amen.

Immobilizing Fear

John 16:33
“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace.  In this world you will have trouble.  But take heart!  I have overcome the world.”

Written by: Jimmy Leaf

It amazes me how immobilizing fear is. Fear causes us to doubt ourselves and our abilities and forget who is in control. The world tells us time and time again we are not good enough, too weak, too damaged, or perhaps we are just too unworthy. This world is broken and too difficult to accomplish anything on our own. That is the point! We were never meant to go through this world alone and without God. Our souls yearn for the Holy Spirit to guide us into the truth of Jesus’ love.  When you place your faith in Jesus’ infinite love and rely on Him to be your eternal source of strength and peace, you move forward!

When I was asked to completely change not only my life but also my family’s lives six months ago, I was terrified. This was a decision that took the past 15 years of my life and turned it on its side. I began questioning whether I had the ability to do this next step; if I was good enough or if I was too weak. I know that I am not worthy! I prayed intensely and discussed it with my wife. I met with two of my Christian mentors and turned to the Bible for direction. All of the signs kept me pushing forward.

Through the following few months, I had waves of terror and doubt run through my mind. I prayed for God’s continued guidance and for His peace to wash over me. I could feel Him reminding me He was with me. He knew my weaknesses and He gave me a peace that surpassed all understanding.  He brought me through that decision and I believe that He is faithful and just to complete His good work.

As long as you are breathing, Jesus is not done with you and He has a plan for your life. That plan may not be life changing, but in all things, He is wanting you to put your trust in Him and move forward in faith.

Unafraid Devo 5.9Thought of the day: Never allow fear to paralyze you from action. God is always calling you to ministry. Seek wisdom through prayer, mentors, and the Bible to discern God’s calling and move forward. Always remember it is not by your strength that God accomplishes all things, but by His enduring strength and love.

Prayer: Dear God, thank You for Your constant guidance in my life. Please help me to never let fear keep me from accomplishing Your will and remind me constantly You have overcome this world.  Please grant me peace and wisdom. Amen.

Naked and Unafraid

Isaiah 20:2
“at that time, the Lord spoke through Isaiah son of Amoz. He said to him, “Take off the sackcloth from your body and the sandals from your feet.” And he did so, going around stripped and barefoot.

Written by: Shannon Swenson

God asked Isaiah to strip down and walk around naked for three years. It was a sign to the neighboring countries of Israel that they were about to be taken over. Back in that time, it was not uncommon for prisoners to be paraded around naked.

It is hard to understand why God would ask him to do it. Sometimes God asks us to do hard things; things that we find awkward or embarrassing. For us, it will most likely not be walking around naked.

The thing is Isaiah did exactly what God asked him to do. I am pretty sure Isaiah had a million questions about why it had to be that way, but he was obedient and did it anyway. He did what God asked him to do—naked and unafraid.

God asks me to do big, scary things a lot. It is outside of my comfort zone that I grow. It doesn’t always have to feel scary; it can be something that feels hard. It can be something like loving my neighbor when I really just want to let them know how I really feel about the things they do that are annoying. Maybe it’s not driving past the person on the corner with a sign assuming that if I help them they will just go do something wrong or unhealthy with the money. Sound familiar?

Obedience to do the right thing will sometimes initially come at the cost of discomfort and uncertainty, but I know for sure that Jesus walked in those shoes. He did what was right, He was obedient to God’s plan, and He did it willingly.

Even though Jesus was God’s son, He learned obedience from the things He suffered.Hebrews 5:8

The more I practice my faith through obedience, the more obedient I become, and the more God is glorified in the process. You and I are called to respond in obedience either through acting or refraining from acting. It’s not to break us down, but to grow us up.

He modeled obedience through true suffering far more than I “suffer” for loving when it’s hard, holding my tongue, or giving without conditions.

I can be better about obedience, being uncomfortable, or doing the right thing when it feels a bit inconvenient. Maybe I can be okay with being naked and unafraid like Isaiah. Sometimes God is radical about the ways He uses to get our attention and take over where we think we are in control.

Unafraid Devo 5.8Prayer: Father God, thank You that You want us to be naked and unafraid to trust You in all things and in all areas of our lives. Help us to choose to trust and obey You at any cost. Forgive me, forgive us, for whining and dragging our feet when You simply want to build us up into the creations You designed us to be. In Jesus’ name, amen.

Joy and Pain

James 1:2-4

Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.

Written by: Sarah Gauer

I don’t know about you but when I am going through a difficult time, my first reaction is usually not to “consider it pure joy.” Trials are hard! Sometimes we want to give up in the midst of a challenging situation. We want to do things our way rather than submit to God’s will. We want to do whatever we can to avoid a necessary confrontation. We want to soak in the unfairness of our situation.

Most of the time the easiest option is to avoid painful things. We decide to do nothing; to stay right where we are—free of risks, pain, challenges or trials. Sounds good and comfortable, right?

James explains to us that rather than fearing these trials, we can greet them with joyful confidence because of the growth potential on the other side. It doesn’t mean we have to put on a fake happy face when things are hard. It’s about our hopefulness in what God can accomplish in us through the pain. The times when my faith and my character have most been strengthened are when I have taken a risk or let Jesus lead me through a hard time. And those breakthroughs of faith have been beautiful!

Every trial is an opportunity. When we confront a challenge, we have the opportunity to reach out to God, seek His direction, and then get to work doing what He has for us. As we do this, God can teach and grow us in areas we never would have had the chance to experience without first pushing through the tough stuff.

Unafraid Devo 5.7Thought of the day: What trial are you facing today? What would joyful confidence in God’s plan for you look like in this trial?

Prayer: God, thank You for never wasting a hurt. Thank You that I can have joyful confidence in the way You can grow and mature me through ________ if I will trust and follow You. Help me to maintain this perspective as we walk through the pain together. Amen.