Month: September 2019

A Way Out

1 Corinthians 10:13
No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.

Written by: Jesse Flocken

It is easy for me to think that somehow my situation is unique or complicated. It sort of sounds ridiculous to write it out! But 1 Corinthians 10:13 says that “no temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind.” This means that on any given day, I do not surprise God. Even better, He is faithful and has already provided a way out. He does not let me be tempted beyond what I can bear.

This doesn’t read that God won’t allow me into those situations (that is where boundaries come into play), but instead God says when I do end up there, look for the way out which He has so faithfully set aside. God will provide a way out, and it might require me to be bold, take action, and be confident that He loves and wants to bless me.

930Thought of the day: In what area of your singleness, marriage, or whatever season of life you are in does God want to provide a way out of temptations?

Prayer: Jesus, help me live in a way that others can’t help but see You. Help me look for a way out when I am feeling tempted, so that I can honor You in the way You intended to bless me in my relationships.

Through Our Eyes

Matthew 7:3
“Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye?”

Written by: Tiffany Williford

The world has rapidly changed over the last few decades. We now can get answers to questions on our phones instead of spending time looking through card catalogs at the library. We can access our friends and family with a quick text. There is no need to rotate a telephone dial and hope a friend is home to pick up the call. Before answering machines, I remember calling multiple times until I got an answer otherwise my friends wouldn’t know I called. Today, we can connect to hundreds, thousands, and even millions of people all over the world by logging into our social media accounts.

With all the access and human connection, we have also more access to give and receive criticism. In real time, we can see what a celebrity is wearing and comment on if we like their outfit or not. We can watch a football game and message in a chat room what a bad play the coach made and what play he should have run. We can argue on social media how ridiculous someone else’s opinion is in front of hundreds of others. We can see the amazing and perfect pictures online and judge how great and easy our friend’s life is. I can admit, I sometimes scroll through my social media friends and think how much easier and how much greener the grass looks on the other side. I am sure we all do from time to time, which makes it harder to follow Matthew 7:3.

Merriam-Webster defines a plank as a heavy, thick board. Could you imagine if you really had a heavy thick board in your eye? It sounds painful! With more exposure to more people, it is easy to focus on what others are doing instead of our own lives and problems. As Christians, we should strive to remove judgment of others by putting ourselves into their shoes. We need to extend more mercy and grace.

I’m going to challenge myself to appreciate the color of my grass instead of looking at the greener grass on the other side. I am going to try to look at the whole picture when it comes to people instead of the perspective and story I put together in my head. I am going to try to extend more mercy and grace to others.

Day5Thought of the day: Where are the areas in your life in which you look at the speck of sawdust in someone else’s eye instead of paying attention to yourself?

Prayer: Heavenly Father, I thank You for the life You have given me. Thank You for the challenges I have as well as the blessings. I pray God for You to help me not judge others as well as appreciate what I have. In Jesus’ name, amen.

God Disciplines Those He Loves

Proverbs 27:5-6
Better is open rebuke than hidden love. Faithful are the wounds of a friend; profuse are the kisses of an enemy.

Written by: Marshall King

Have you noticed how often people say, “Why can’t you accept me for who I am?” Or, “Why are you so intolerant?” Everyone longs to be accepted and loved. It seems like over the past 10 years or so, people have become more sensitive, even defensive, when sensitive topics are brought up. The reactions are not surprising from a world-view perspective. From my experience, the reactions are not noticeably different among Christians.

Paul spoke to the Corinthian church on the subject of sexual immorality, greed, drunkenness, and idolatry among people who called themselves a brother or sister in Christ.

1 Corinthians 5:12-13 says, “What business is it of mine to judge those outside the church?  Are you not to judge those inside?  God will judge those outside.  Expel the wicked man from among you.”

It is clear from Paul’s teaching that Christians have no business judging people who are not Christ-followers. That is for God to judge.

Today’s passage from Proverbs encourages believers to confront or rebuke their brother or sister in Christ, in love and truth. Too often, Christians are reluctant to confront their brother or sister in Christ when they are engaged in sinful behavior.

The church body is called to speak God’s truth with grace and love among believers. James teaches if anyone among you [believers] wanders from the truth and someone brings him or her back, let him or her know that whoever brings back a sinner from his or her wandering will save his or her soul from [spiritual] death and will cover a multitude of sins (James 5:19-20).  

Day4Thought of the day: Do you find it difficult to discuss sinful behaviors occurring among friends or family members who profess to be Christ-followers? Do you avoid having the difficult conversations in order to maintain your friendship and to avoid conflict? If so, you are not alone. God is ultimately the judge and He disciplines His children out of love when they disobey his commandments and teaching. He prompts us, through His Holy Spirit, to confront or rebuke a fellow believer who is engaged in sinful behaviors with grace, truth and in love. Do you love your friend or family member enough to do what God is prompting you to do?

Prayer: Heavenly Father, I pray that You would give me the wisdom to see what You see and the courage to do what You ask me to do to restore my brother or sister. Help me to communicate the truth with grace and love. Amen.

Even a Girl Like Her…

2 Timothy 2:19
But God’s truth stands firm like a foundation stone with this inscription: “The Lord knows those who are his,” and “All who belong to the Lord must turn away from evil.

Written by: Patty Esposito

I walked into the cafeteria and sat down, waiting to see her. My heart broke for her and the choices she had made. I know her family and their love for Jesus. She was raised in church with a mom and grandparents who greatly love her. What happened?

She walked in with her head down. Her life had been destroyed—turned upside down. She felt alone, confused, and sad. Drugs had taken control of her. She had forsaken the things she had been taught. She knew better but, she had made her choice.

This is so often the case with families today, even in the church. How did we as parents fail in speaking life into our children? Why do our children fight against truth and fall into the traps of the world so easily? Can’t our children be strong to fight against the things the other kids do that are wrong? Is it so hard to say no?

Yes, it is if we fight in our own strength. The enemy is mighty.

Ephesians 6:12 tells us, “For we are not fighting against flesh and blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places.”

If we surrender ourselves to the power of God, we can overcome!

1 John 4:4 says, “But you belong to God, my dear children. You have already won a victory over those people, because the Spirit who lives in you is greater than the spirit who lives in the world.”

Day3Thought of the day: Corrie Ten Boom said, “The Christian who compromises, who has only partly surrendered, will find life really difficult. Nobody can serve two lords.”

Prayer: Heavenly Father, how we need You to help us teach our children the power they have in and through You to fight against the world and the evil one. Help us be Godly examples of Jesus living in and through us. We pray a hedge of protection over our children, their minds, their bodies, and their souls. Thank You, Father God. Amen.

Exposed by the Light

John 3:19-21
This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but people loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that their deeds will be exposed. But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what they have done has been done in the sight of God.

Written by: John Esposito

Several years ago, I worked in an office that had a common trash bin for many of the small businesses in the complex. It was a large container that was picked up by the city about once a week. Over time, trash would accumulate around the trash bin. Pieces of cardboard became wet and soggy and began to mildew. It also started to stink!

So one day, I decided to do my civic duty and started to clean up the trash and debris that had been mounting up. As I pulled away the smelly, molding, and damp cardboard, a group of large roaches began to scurry around! They had been exposed to the light and did not like the clean, fresh air. They were satisfied in their own darkness, and glad to be living in the filth that surrounded them.

The scriptures for today say the same about those who do evil—they fear the true light. Those who allow the “darkness” of their deeds be known to Jesus and ask Him to change their lives have this great Word of encouragement: But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin.” (1 John 1:7)

Day2Thought of the day: We can choose to stay “under the smelly, moldy cardboard” and live in a contaminated environment, or we can call upon our Savior and begin a new life in the wonderful Kingdom of God.

Prayer: God, I praise You for loving me and desiring for me to be with You in Your uncontaminated environment. Help me to learn to put away the things You detest and to walk with You in the ways in which You find delight. Amen.