Month: May 2019

Be Strong and Courageous

2 Chronicles 32:6-8, 20-21
He appointed military officers over the people and assembled them before him in the square at the city gate and encouraged them with these words: “Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or discouraged because of the king of Assyria and the vast army with him, for there is a greater power with us than with him. With him is only the arm of flesh, but with us is the Lord our God to help us and to fight our battles.” And the people gained confidence from what Hezekiah the king of Judah said. King Hezekiah and the prophet Isaiah son of Amoz cried out in prayer to heaven about this. And the Lord sent an angel, who annihilated all the fighting men and the commanders and officers in the camp of the Assyrian king.

Written by: Larry Van Laar

Be strong and courageous? Seriously?!

Have you ever opened up your Bible and read a passage about something incredible, miraculous, or just completely unbelievable? Often when we read these kinds of passages with extraordinary characters, we move on and simply assign them in our minds as, “Well, these are Bible people. These kinds of extraordinary events happened all the time.” We often forget these were real human beings with the same fears and insecurities we wrestle with today.

Maybe this is why there are more than 400 verses in scripture that exhort us to be strong, courageous, and unafraid. Just like us, characters in scripture would often forget they serve an all-powerful God; a God that cares and loves them. They constantly had to be reminded. In the passage above, we read that the nation of Assyria was laid siege to Juda and was about to invade Jerusalem. The Jewish people were terrified, and for good reason. Assyria was known to be the most ruthless, savage, and terrifying nation the world had ever seen. Their evil reputation was well deserved. Yet in the midst of this, we see King Hezekiah do two things: 1) put a battle plan together, and 2) encourage his men to be strong and courageous because their God would deliver them—and God did.

Unafraid Devo 5.6Thought of the day: Are you living today with fear and concern for the future? If so, remember that you that you serve a great and powerful God. He is the alpha and omega, and the beginning and the end. Apart from Him, there is no God. Everything under Heaven belongs to Him. He has searched you and knows you. He is pleased with you and knows you by name. He takes great delight in you. He will never leave you or forsake you. He will watch over you wherever you go. Therefore, be strong and courageous, for nothing is impossible with God. Make your battle plan and walk with the Lord through it all.

Prayer: God, lead me through the waters of uncertainty. Help me to face the fears that well up from within me. Give me courage. Give me wisdom and guide my feet as I move forward. Amen.

A Step into the Unknown

2 Timothy 1:7
For God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.

Written by: Michael Burgard

Stepping into a season of the unknown can be one of the scariest things we can face. As humans, our natural instinct is either fight or flight. When we know what is about to come next, good or bad, we are able to decide if we want to put our arms up and defend ourselves or run for our lives. Our reaction is to seek safety and comfort. When we are comfortable, we feel like we are in control. You could say we like to see every move ahead of time on the chest board. But too often as a follower of Jesus, I have found myself being put into vulnerable situations I didn’t want to be in because I decided to step out in faith.

Everywhere you go, every step you take, and every move you make, He is with you. As cliché as this sounds, it’s the absolute truth. When you declared with your heart and accepted Jesus as your Savior, you received the Holy Spirit.

You, however, are not in the realm of the flesh but are in the realm of the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God lives in you. – Romans 8:9

The Spirit of God lives and dwells in each of us no matter where we are or what we are facing. The challenge is to decide if in every situation you are going to lean on your own understanding or on your relationship with Jesus.

Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight. – Proverbs 3:5-6.

Wherever you are, whether your current season of life has been full of great celebrations or it feels like you’re going through a season of not knowing what is next, God is with you.

Unafraid Devo 5.3Thought of the day: Has there ever been a season of life when you thought you were in full control and tried to face every challenge on your own?

Prayer: Start your prayer with “God, I know I love You and I know I need You. But I struggle with ________. Please help you give you control of ____________.”

Saving Faith

Ephesians 2:8-10
For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.

Written by: Brett Humphrey

In 2006, we adopted our daughter from China. She was seven at the time. Before the adoption, we did all the work. We paid all the expenses, traveled to China to get her, and welcomed her into our family with open arms. The only thing our daughter had to do was say she wanted to be adopted. That’s it! She only had to accept the adoption. We did all the rest. Even though she had never been to the United States and had never had a forever family, she had enough faith to accept the adoption and all of the things that would come with being part of our family. She didn’t have to do anything to earn a place in our hearts and family. She just had to say yes.

It’s the same with Jesus. He has already done all of the work for us by dying for us on the cross. When we say yes to Him, we accept the gift He has for us and all that comes with it. This isn’t a gift we have to earn. We don’t deserve it, but He is willing to freely give it to us anyway.

Our salvation through Jesus is by God’s grace alone. We can’t work harder to make God love us more. We can’t brag about how much we have done so Jesus would save us. We can only accept the gift He has for us and then have the faith to believe He has done everything so we can live for Him. When we stop thinking we have to earn God’s love, we can start having a true relationship with Him.

Unafraid Devo 5.2Thought of the day: Jesus paid a price He didn’t owe to pay a price we couldn’t pay. 

Prayer: Jesus, please help me learn how to live by faith in You. Please help me realize this when I slip into thinking I that need to earn Your love.  I want to follow You each day, so I can learn how to love God and love others in everything I do so I can have a deeper relationship with You. Amen.

A Yes Face

Hebrews 10:24-25
And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.

Written by: Cheri Teeter

During Thomas Jefferson’s presidency he and a group of travelers were crossing a river that had overflowed its banks. Each man crossed on horseback fighting for his life. A lone traveler watched the group traverse the treacherous river and then asked President Jefferson to take him across. The President agreed without hesitation, the man climbed on, and the two made it safely to the other side of the river where somebody asked him: “Why did you select the President to ask this favor?” The man was shocked, admitting he had no idea it was the President of the United States who had carried him safely across. “All I know,” he said, “is that on some of your faces was written the answer ‘no’ and on his was the answer ‘yes.’ His was a ‘yes’ face.”

Throughout my life and faith journey I have encountered some amazing people with a “yes” face.

A smile, kind words, or encouragement go a long way in a tough time.

All of them remind me of His truths and love for me—strengthening my faith in Him.

Unafraid Devo 5.1Thought of the day: Was there ever a moment or time of need that someone offered you a “yes face” that helped to strengthen your faith?

Prayer: Heavenly Father, thank You for Your caring provision for all my needs. Thank You for creating the Church to be Your hands and feet to our hurting world. I ask Your forgiveness for those times I’ve neglected to show Your love. Please help me be more loving and to see needs that I can meet. In Jesus’ name, amen.