Month: January 2020

20/20 Vision

1 Corinthians 13:12-13
We don’t yet see things clearly. We’re squinting in a fog, peering through a mist. But it won’t be long before the weather clears and the sun shines bright! We’ll see it all then; see it all as clearly as God sees us, knowing him directly just as he knows us! But for right now, until that completeness, we have three things to do to lead us toward that consummation: Trust steadily in God, hope unswervingly, love extravagantly. And the best of the three is love.

Written by: Tiffany Williford

2020 is the start of a new year, but it is also the start of a new decade. When I think of 2020, it makes me think of vision: looking forward and looking clearly. With clear vision, what kind of possibilities can we create for this year and decade? When I was younger, I had 20/20 vision. Slowly over the years and especially this last year, I have noticed my vision declining. I might need to wear glasses at some point soon, but I have been putting it off. Instead, I squint when I am looking at a far sign or small lettering on the TV. Things have gradually changed over time from my perfect vision. I realized I can’t get my 20/20 vision back physically without the assistance of glasses or Lasik. According to our scripture today, I can get my 20/20 vision spiritually.

For 2020 and this decade, I am going to trust steadily in God, hope unswervingly, and love extravagantly. Happy New Year!

WTD-1.10Thought of the day: How can you incorporate trust steadily in God, hope unswervingly, and love extravagantly in your life this year?

Prayer: Father God, thank You for a new day, a new year, and a new decade. I pray Lord for You to help me in seeing clearly what You have for me this year. I pray that You will lead me down the right path and give me clear eyes to see. I pray Lord for discernment and to clearly be able to hear Your word. In Jesus’ name, amen.

Try vs. Trust

2 Corinthians 12:9-10
But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.  That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

Written by: Laura Le Blanc

In the fall of 2018, I took a nasty spill at work. It was just like you see in the cartoons. My feet came out from under me and I landed on my back. It was not at all funny. I suffered tremendous pain and physical limitations. I could no longer do basic things without help. I spent months in physical therapy, but the pain persisted. No matter how hard I tried, I was powerless to change my situation.

In the summer of 2019, I was scheduled to speak at a Christian camp for girls in the foster care system. I knew God was calling me to do this, but I had no idea how I could physically pull it off.  I had to trust God for supernatural power to sustain me. I showed up at the camp and God showed up too! Not only did the Holy Spirit do a mighty work in those girls, but He also performed a miraculous work in me as well. The pain was lifted that weekend and my body began to heal.

Humility is the key to receiving God’s grace in your life. When you acknowledge your insufficiency and depend on Him, God pours out His power knowing He will receive all glory and credit due to Him. When you are at your weakest, God is at His strongest. Trying is all about relying on your own strength. But trusting is about leaning into God for His strength. Trying will leave you frustrated, discouraged, and weary. But trusting in God will bring you peace, hope, and rest.

WTD-Devotional1.9Thought of the day: In what areas of your life do you need to stop trying and start trusting God? What would it look like for you to humble yourself before God? Reflect on a time God did a mighty work in your life that only He can take credit for.

Prayer: Heavenly Father, I need You. Life is full of adversity and I cannot face it on my own.  Help me to lean into You for strength. Give me power through Your Spirit to overcome. May I stop trying and start trusting You. Thank You that You are with me and You uphold me with Your righteous right hand. I am so grateful that Your grace is sufficient for me. Amen.

Strength to Lift a Tank

James 1:22
But don’t just listen to God’s word. You must do what it says. Otherwise, you are only fooling yourselves.

Written by: Kyle Stanforth

I once had a friend whose workout goal was to “lift a tank” by the end of the year. Tanks weigh about 65 tons. That is 130,000 pounds! How did he do it? A steady habit of diet and exercise. By the way, he didn’t lift it all at once. Whatever he lifted during the day he would subtract from the total. If he lifted 100 pounds 3 times, he would subtract 300 pounds from the total. When he did four 25-pound curls, that would add another hundred. Then after many workouts throughout the year, he had lifted a tank.

In the next few weeks we will be talking about being ready to fight and being strong enough to do battle. Much like my workout friend, I don’t think strength is always measured in a single event. Often it comes from consistent diet and exercise. We should be regularly feeding ourselves with a steady diet of God’s word and then exercising by applying what we have learned.

A common Bible study method asks you two questions after you have read a passage. The first question is, “What did this passage mean?” This question dives into what is going on in the passage. This allows you to dive into the history, what was going on at the time and also what was exactly being said. The second question is “How does this apply to me?” or “What should I do about this?” We don’t study the Bible just to gain knowledge. We study to gain knowledge, so we know how to live our lives in light of what we’ve learned.

In the passage from James, he asked us not to just consume knowledge (diet), but also be “doers” (exercise). Both are very important and if done consistently, it will make us strong for the fight ahead.

WTD-Devotional1.8Thought of the day: A personal fitness trainer always uses a diet and exercise plan. They don’t just “wing it.” If you read these devotionals daily, you already spend some time of each day to reflect on God and His word. If you don’t read the devotionals daily, start this new habit today.

Prayer: God, I thank You for Your Word. It is alive and it is truth. I pray for a clear understanding of Your truth and what You may have me do. I pray for wisdom and discernment in understanding Your word and courage to do what You have asked me to do. Amen.

In the Name of the Lord

I Samuel 17:45
David replied to the Philistine, “You come to me with sword, spear, and javelin, but I come to you in the name of the Lord of Heaven’s Armies—the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied.   

Written by: Patty Esposito

I can just picture David. He was a shepherd boy too young to fight in the army, yet he was determined to go face to face with a giant. Was he crazy? Wasn’t he filled with fear? Everyone else was! Every other soldier ran when taunted by the giant named Goliath.

King Saul had David suit up with his own armor (I Samuel 17:38-40), but David knew he couldn’t fight with these items. They were not made for him and they would weigh him down. David knew what he must do. That’s when he picked up the five smooth stones, grabbed his sling, and headed to face a giant he knew he could only defeat in the power of the Lord. That’s where David’s strength, power, and total trust was… in God Himself.

You know the rest of the story…David ran toward Goliath instead of running away from him as all of the other soldiers did. Then David reached into his bag and pulled out one stone, which was the one that struck Goliath’s temple and took him down. David defeated the giant.

If David had gone in King Saul’s armor, he would have been bogged down and unable to move quickly. He could have tripped or fallen from the weight of it all. He would not have been properly fit for battle.

This is the same for us. When we try to fight our battles in our own strength or in someone else’s armor that was not fit for us, we will struggle and be defeated every time. But with the strength of God’s armor, His belt of truth, breastplate of righteousness, feet fitted with the gospel of peace, shield of faith, helmet of salvation and sword of the Spirit that were all designed and created perfectly for each one of us, we can go into our battles ready to win.

WTD-Devotional1.7Thought of the day: Put your armor on and ask the Lord to help you be ready for the attacks that will come at you during your day. See what the Lord will do for you, as He did for David, when you trust Him, think on Him, and pray throughout your day to Him.

Prayer: Heavenly Father, You are the armor I need to defeat the battles that come my way. Help me each day to suit up with Your armor so that in the middle of the storm I can sing louder and louder as I watch hope arise. I need Your strength and power infused in and through me, Lord, to help me come out on the other side victorious. Keep me fitted in Your perfect armor, I pray. Amen.

Take Courage!

Joshua 1:6-9 
Be strong and courageous, because you will lead these people to inherit the land I swore to their ancestors to give them. “Be strong and very courageous. Be careful to obey all the law my servant Moses gave you; do not turn from it to the right or to the left, that you may be successful wherever you go.  Keep this Book of the Law always on your lips; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful. Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.

Written by: John Esposito

There is a common theme in the warriors God chooses for His battles: trust and courage.

God chose Joshua to lead the people into the promised land after the death of Moses. In the verses above, He commanded Joshua three times to be strong and courageous. This didn’t mean there was no fear in the situation. The presence of fear was overcome through trusting God would do the fighting and the confidence God had already secured the victory.

Likewise, another strong and courageous warrior David, who was a shepherd at this time, had an immense trust God had already delivered the giant Philistine into the hands of Israel. That gave him the confidence to be strong and courageous. “The Lord who rescued me from the paw of the lion and the paw of the bear will rescue me from the hand of this Philistine.” 1 Samuel 17:37

In Judges 4, the prophet Deborah was leading Israel at that time. She too showed her trust and courage when the Lord had commanded her to overcome Sisera: ‘”Certainly I will go with you,’ said Deborah. …for the Lord will deliver Sisera into the hands of a woman.'” Judges 4:9

We can take courage to move forward whatever battles we encounter, even when fear is present! Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.” Deuteronomy 31:6

WTD-Devotional1.6Thought of the day: God does not send out those to fight His battles without the promise to be with them and the assurance He has already secured the victory! If we know His truth, have an unfettered trust in Him and know that in the presence of fear we can have courage, we too can be His warriors!

Prayer: God, I praise Your victorious name! Help me to develop the kind of unfettered trust that grows into the kind of courage to overcome the very real and present fear and results in the confidence of your already guaranteed victory. Thank You God. Amen.