Monday, May 30, 2016

Devotion 6.7.16

The baseball world has strange customs built by tradition over time, some recorded in the codes (lengthy) and some unwritten, not recorded or perhaps not spoken, just known.  Former Commissioner Bud Selig decided, about 10 years ago, to not go the path of Fay Vincent, the commissioner before him. Vincent, as you will recall, lost the job when he decided to "re-align" baseball, moving teams in what owners viewed as an arbitrary decision.  His re-alignment stood, but he did not. So, Selig decided the easiest way to make the leagues align evenly (15 teams in each) was to wait for the next sale of a team (the newest owner is the weakest in baseball).  Make the decision a part of the sale.  The Texas Rangers just missed that decision by a hair because the managing partner of the group had been George Bush (president at the time) and the new managing partner was about to be baseball legend Nolan Ryan.  Next up for sale, the Houston Astros, with a computer software magnate about to buy the team (who had bid on the Rangers until Ryan's group was willing to pay off Alex Rodriguez' salary as part of the sale).

Putting the Astros in the American League made little sense because the Milwaukee Brewers had been an American League team until Vincent's re-alignment (Selig was the owner by the way), but the baseball executives had their way.  And it changed the entire discussion about baseball in Texas when it happened.  Before then, you rooted for both teams, symbols of Texas.  The Rangers, the law of the west, and the Astros, the name from "astronaut," the newest pioneer.  We loved both the legends on the Rangers, Nolan Ryan, as well as the Astros, such as Craig Biggio.  But put them in the same league, and same division no less, and you had to choose. In baseball's unwritten rules, you don't root for two teams in the same league.  It dramatically changed the nature of the discussion of baseball in the state.

So, too, the book of Revelation.  We are as a universal faith, the Christian faith, separate on a host of issues, but when the book of Revelation gets inserted  into the discussion, the conversation changes and degrees of separation widen.  In essence, the conversation changes.  What is John saying, symbolically, in this book of mystery?  What does it all mean?  Different denominations (and non-denominations) assign different weight behind the meaning of all the symbolic language and imagery.  Unfortunately, some faiths put a great deal of weight on the last book of the bible rather than remember that it fits into the scope of the 66-book scripture. 

Here are some simple guidelines to follow:

1. Satan lurks on earth.  Peter writes: "Be sober-minded; be watchful.  Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking to devour someone.  Resist him, be firm in your faith, knowing that the same kinds of suffering are being experienced by your brotherhood throughout the world." (1 Peter 5:3)
2. No one knows the hour or the day of Christ's return, so don't listen to someone who says they know the hour and the day of Christ's return.  "But concerning that day and hour, no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father only." (Matthew 24:42)
3. We should act like Christ's return could be right now. "And they devoted themselves to the apostles teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers.  And awe came upon every soul, and many wonders and signs were being done through the apostles." 
4. Our job is clear as disciples of Christ: We are to make disciples.  The disciples in the book of Acts felt as though the end was very close, and they went about their work feverishly making disciples in order to fulfill Christ's command to "Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit." (Matthew 28:19)
5. Regardless of suffering or persecution, we continue in our work, knowing that he is with us.  "And behold, I am with you always." (Matthew 28:20)
6. If we cannot come to an answer by using scripture, we shouldn't create one.  "There are some things that are hard to understand, which the ignorant and unstable twist to their own destruction, as they do with other scripture." (2 Peter 3:16)
7. Because of Christ's suffering and death and resurrection, we are saved by faith.  "He who believes and is baptized will be saved." Mark 16:16
8.  Spoiler alert:  There is nothing to fear because of our salvation, and in the end, God is victorious, as He always has been, is and will be.  "Behold, I am coming soon, bringing my recompense with me, to repay everyone for what he has done.  I am the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning in the end." (Revelation 22:12)

Pray we focus on our lives as Christ's disciples, devoting ourselves to his Word and prayer and worship as we seek to make new disciples through his Spirit.  Pray we understand the suffering that can come with being his follower, but that Christ send his Spirit to us through his Word, through prayer, through our baptism, and through communion - the fellowship of believers, to be strengthened. 

Hope Men's Ministry

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Devotion 5.27.16

Taunt Babe Ruth in a World Series game and what do you get?  His bat, pointing to the outfield in Wrigley Field, pronouncing the location of the homerun he's about to hit.  Sure enough, Babe knocked the ball out for a homerun in a series the Yankees would win.  The crowd, probably around 60,000 people saw the famous moment in baseball, and years later, when asked, about 400,000 people said they were there at the game to see the famous shot.

Let's take that mathematical formula to Little League (the expansion model created by me as I write this) and the notion of every child gets a trophy.  Who wins in Little League?  Is it the team that comes in first or is it the team that struggles through the year, whose coaches were enthusiastic and kept the boys engaged in the game despite long odds, yet in the end, even in defeat, learned the joys of playing and playing the game of baseball specifically?  .  As many opposed to the idea of "each child gets a trophy" speak, they speak in terms of their own childhood in which they only got a trophy for winning.  As I hear them, I am reminded of the number of people who claim to have seen the homerun Ruth hit, because they all claim to have been winners and on winning teams.  I've yet to hear any of them say, "I was on a team that stunk and we didn't get a trophy."  Mathematically, someone had to come in last, but I've yet to hear that claim in a substantive discussion on the subject.

Set aside the debate for a moment and think of this.  How will we respond when we learn that the reward of salvation is for everyone, regardless of any measure of faith we place here on earth?  Christ explains this in Matthew 20 when he shares a parable about laborers in a vineyard.  Those who came early in the morning to work are paid the same as those who were hired later in the day.  Christ explains that the master of the vineyard, Christ, says to the workers who complain, "Friend, I am doing you no wrong.  Did you not agree with me for a denarius? Take what belongs to you and go.  I choose to give to this last worker as I give to you.  Am I not allowed to do what I choose with what belongs to me? Or do you begrudge my generosity? So, the last will be first and the first will be last."

We receive grace with a measure of humility, gaining salvation for absolutely nothing we do.  As we bow before Christ, we humbly receive the grace he gives us, and we acknowledge this grace is open to all, regardless of when they received it, how much work they did on Christ's behalf in our eyes, or how hard they played on the field of play called life.  In other words, salvation is contrary to everything we understand in our earthly lives.

We give thanks for the grace Christ provides and we are also thankful that we receive this grace freely and not because of our own works.

Hope Men's Ministry

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Devotion 5.26.16

Hiking the Lighthouse Trail at Palo Duro Canyon yesterday, I came across a large group of high schoolers and their guides as I neared the end of my morning journey.  One young girl was staring at her android talking to the girl next to her and exclaimed, "I got a signal!"  I took the android from her, threw it to the ground, and smashed it with a stone and said, "There, I just did you a favor."  I then continued with my walk.

Perhaps I exaggerate a bit.  I walked past her when she said it and just noted the comment and continued walking, but I heard her begin to tell the other young lady about what she was reading on Facebook.  The truth is we make fun of such things as the fixation to technology, but what is more likely to hold a child's attention, a hike of some six miles to an ancient geological formation or a post of some kids posing silly?  And, if it is that important, take such things up from the kids or bar them from the activity.  Perhaps even suggest that a stand alone camera will be necessary if they want pictures to post later, or that you as the adult will bring one.

The fact of the matter is that getting away from the world and retreating in order to sharpen one's mind isn't just a good idea, it is necessary.  David spent time alone in the desert and going from land to land escaping Saul's wrath prior to his ascension to king (1 Samuel).  Christ spent time in the desert alone "to be tempted" prior to his ministry (Matthew).  Paul talks about his time with Jesus in the desert after his conversion (Galatians).  What do these things teach us?

Alone time with God, allowing God to "sharpen us" (Proverbs 27) is needed.  God prepares us for the battles of this life as is demonstrated in these accounts.  David was made ready to be king.  Christ was readied for his ministry.  Paul was as well.  Essentially, we are taught to turn to him in prayer asking for his guidance.  He ministers to us through his Word, sending his Spirit to strengthen us.  He teaches us his ways as opposed to our own as we spend time in reflection.  Finally, he prepares our minds because of the time we have had with him as well as our hearts.

Where do you go to retreat with Christ, to hear his Word and to sharpen your mind for the battles of this life?  Pray that you are given that time so needed as we deal with the issues that face us as men in a world filled with temptations that take us away from our roles as husbands, fathers, brothers, friends, and disciples in this world.

Hope Men's Ministry

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Devotion 5.18.16

One of my favorite commercials currently running is the "Settlers" series (ATT).  You know the ones, the family living the life of "settlers" in the middle of a modern neighborhood, the gist of which is that people who stay with cable "settle." I guess if the people who use cable are "settlers" then I was in a very primitive world on a black and white television with rabbit ears, boosted by foil (which didn't work).  The entertainment in the primitive system was my dad banging on the side, spending more time on his feet attempting to get the "perfect" black and white fuzzy picture.  Of course the black and white was premier technology because dad had nothing but radio after he was about 18 years old.  That was an era known as "cave drawings."

Yet here we are now.  Which do you use?  Cable, satellite, or move to the internet-based system watching internet channels like Netflix or Amazon Prime or some other?  The options, the choices, the headaches.  I have been told children adapt and move swiftly into technologies.  Maybe, but they adapt them to no real purpose other than it is the next piece of technology.  Having worked in education, every vendor who came through your door presented their technology as the next great solution to your problem.  I once looked at one throwing the "solution" word around and asked, "What problems do I have that you're solving?"

I think there is wisdom that comes from having traveled through the different eras.  The mind has been taught to solve problems in the methods that today's apps will use.  The apps may work more quickly and be more efficient, but a trained mind can also understand if the apps solution is viable.

This new frontier provides "solutions" as well in faith.  You can find a website or app that provide God's Word, devotions, solutions to family, marriage, and other life issues.  You can find people purporting why their teachings are wise and true.  In essence, they want you to listen and perhaps choose them as your "solution."  Do we have the wisdom necessary to discern if those solutions are built on solid scriptural truths?

We just confirmed 16 youth in the foundations of their faith, our faith.  The "solutions," if not already posing themselves to them, will.  These solutions, tests, are not from outside the faith, but they are from people presenting themselves as credible, who may sound credible, from "inside" the Christian faith.  My own came when I left the womb of my home and went to college, a good college, where we took theology classes from learned and credible people, who began to teach about myths on the bible, historical analysis of the bible, and the possibility that scripture was not necessarily the true Word of God.  Scripture, it turned out, was written by men and it had a purpose when it was written, but those rules and stories applied then.  Our job is to see how to filter those stories and determine what is relevant now.  That was overwhelming for an 18-year-old new to the discipline of "theology."

Paul writes, "Indeed, all who desire to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted, while evil people and imposters will go on from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived.  But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have firmly believed, knowing from whom you have learned it and how from childhood you have been acquainted with the sacred writings, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus.  All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work." (1 Timothy 3)

Tips:  Pray for wisdom when we or those we love are tested.  Pray for guidance, including from someone you respect.  Teach your children to learn the source and determine if it is trusted as well.  Learn to test the teaching.  Is it embedded in God's Word and supported by Scripture in its entirety?  Teach your loved ones how to discern between what is a hoax and what is the truth and seek that wisdom from those you respect and trust.

Hope Men's Ministry

Monday, May 16, 2016

Devotion 5.17.16

Texas Ranger fans are feeling a sense of satisfaction right now.  Toronto Blue Jay Juan Bautiste hit a homerun last season in the playoffs, and he immediately broke a few unwritten rules in baseball by flipping his bat and standing at the plate as he watched it go out (bad form).  The team the Bluejays were playing was Texas.  Fast forward to Sunday and the same Bautiste is on first base against the Rangers after being hit by a pitch (some say in retaliation for the bat toss last October), and he slid past the base on a grounder to attempt to break up the double play.  That the new rule put into place to protect the short-stop or second basemen might come into play became moot when the Rangers second baseman Roughned Odor threw an errant ball to first base, turned, and proceeded to land a clean haymaker right into the left jaw of Bautiste that knocked his glasses and cap off and caused Bautiste to stumble and turn to get away from another possible blow.  Ranger fans applauded the move on social media and in the park.  Now baseball will sort through a certain punishment for all players involved in the subsequent bench clearing, but it was a moment to behold.

It was reminiscent of another Ranger by the name of Nolan Ryan when the 46-year-old hit Robin Ventura with a pitch. Ventura, a third baseman for the Chicago White Sox, stood for a second mulling over his options, started a move toward first base, and then turned, paused, and then charged the mound.  Ryan squared off on the mound and stood and waited as he curled an arm around Ventura calf-roping style and pummeled him with his free hand.  Ranger fans and Nolan Ryan fans stood with tears in their eyes and fists pumping in the air. 

We love it.  It gets our blood flowing and gets us charged.  It's real Old Testament.  David v Goliath.  A real "eye for an eye" moment. Or is it? Leviticus gives a glimpse of Gospel love when God instructs, "You shall not take vengeance or bear a grudge against the sons of our own people, but you shall love our neighbor as yourself: I am the Lord." (19:18)  Christ reminds us of God's role in vengeance as opposed to ours:  "You have heard it said, 'An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.'  But I say to you, Do not resist the one who is evil.  But if anyone slaps you on the right check, turn to him the other also.  And if anyone would sue you and take your tunic, let him have our cloak as well." (Matthew 5:38 - 40)

So, what to make of all this?  Our sinful nature is clearly going to take matters into our own hand, even with the warnings from God and Christ. The danger is that our sinful nature cannot deliver righteous justice that God will deliver.  We pray that we use discernment and wisdom via God's Word when a situation presents itself.  We pray we measure our words and our actions.  We pray for our own legal and justice system that it deliver earthly justice in a measured way according to the laws, but we ask that we resist taking even our law into our own hands if the outcome is to yield to evil and sin.

Hope Men's Ministry

Devotion 5.16.16

Last Sunday (two Sundays ago),  we had a young man and his wife visit our church as we look for a youth leader.  His background is from the Midwest (Minnesota) and west coast (Oregon), so he was immersed in the culture of Texas, West Texas, for the first time.  I was officially immersed in the West Texas culture in 2000, so my memories are still fresh coming from a foreign land (Houston) to this part of the state and learning about the culture here.  During a Sunday presentation, the potential candidate was talking about what competes with our youths' time, and he got the typical answers like school events and outside activities like youth sports.  I'm not certain, but I believe I heard an audible gasp when the young man said, "Football won't get you into heaven."  I'm almost certain the parents covered their children's ears and ran out from the room when he said that.  Well, okay, maybe I'm exaggerating a tad bit.  We did interview a potential youth leader.

In all seriousness, our church did confirm 16 young men and women last Sunday (yesterday).  As our pastor noted, this confirmation is not to be confused with "graduation," implying that in one ceremony, we note a passage that means there is a new step in life after the ceremony.  In confirmation, we "confirm" that these youth have learned about the foundations of faith, in addition to the teachings of the Lutheran faith (really both the same), as well as speaking to the impact these teachings have on them as Christians. 

However, confirmation is not a graduation.  Once confirmed, these young men and women continue in their faith walk.  The challenge, however, is to navigate their faith through the competitions the young man asked about the previous Sunday.  In fact, these competitions will become more challenging and the temptations only greater, especially as they move out from under the wings of mom and dad.

What are the competitions in your life?  What things challenge your faith and your time to observe, devote in Word and prayer, and spend time in service to Christ through our daily walk with our fellow man?  Paul writes this: "Forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus." (Philippians 3:13 - 14). 

Pray that we focus on that upward call in Christ Jesus.  Pray that we not allow life's "competitions" take us away from our walk in Christ.  Pray for these young men and women who gave a public witness to their faith through their Confirmation yesterday.

Hope Men's Ministry

Thursday, May 12, 2016

Devotion 5.13.16

When I speak of banks, what comes to your mind?  Place to put your money.  Place to invest money.  Some banks you may invest in if they are publicly owned and traded.  Place to borrow for a house one day perhaps.  Or a car.  Or a small loan to get some necessary things via your signature.  For our farmers, the bank is a life-blood (and probably a source of aggravation).

I went to photograph our architectural firm's most recent structure in our fair city, Happy State Bank (for those of you who are local, the one on Quaker and 98th).  Beautiful building in every facet of the word "beauty." 

Yet what struck me as I walked in was the cornerstone, which read:  "Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal.  For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also." (Matthew 6:19 - 21)

That caused a double-take.  A place built for exactly that, storing up our treasures on earth, reminding us that they are not storing our true treasure. 

Pray that we know what our true treasure is and that we know where it is located.

Hope Men's Ministry

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Devotion 5.11.16

The artisan craftsman model of production is one that provides for one main specialist who has apprentices beneath him to produce the product.  Most famously, if you knew this or remember it, Ben Franklin was an apprentice to his brother in a print shop (which in technical terms at that time was nothing more than an indentured servant - a slave).  That model bears a reputation of quality and craftsmanship, but it is painfully slow.  Order a gun today, and you will get it in a year or so.

The industrial model came to be, and of course, in order to ensure quality, the model bore scrutiny by none other than the Germans (who else?).  That's where we meet Max Weber, a philosopher, sociologist, and theologian.  Weber is the creator of what we now commonly referred to as "a bureaucracy" which he referred to as the "legal-rational model."  His concern was ensuring a sense of efficiency and quality in the industrial model, so his model included specialized positions, an administrative system to assure a systematic approach to recruiting, retaining, and promoting workers, rules for work to provide order and discipline, and other things. 

Now that you know that, you may be more supportive of bureaucracy since a "German" originated it (but don't get too high and mighty, remember, Germans gave us Marxism, and psychoanalysis...).  Interestingly, we use the word "bureaucracy" today as a synonym with government, but that is hardly true or the case.  It originated in an industrial model and still thrives in the private sector today (as well as the public sector).  We even find bureaucracy in the church which is good in some ways (coordinating funds and work in areas like missions, church planting, hospitals, adoption agencies, and other such works) and in some not so good ways.  The negative view of bureaucracy comes from a perception (believed or in actual fact) of non-responsiveness.

How is the church "bureaucratic" in a negative sense?  In scripture, we see Christ heal on more than one occasion on the Sabbath.  In Luke 13, he's teaching, and "...there was a woman who had a disabling spirit for eighteen years.  She was bent over and could not fully straighten herself.  When Jesus saw her, he called her over and said to her, 'Woman, you are freed from your disability.' And he laid his hands on her, and immediately she was made straight, and she glorified God.  But the ruler of the synagogue, indignant because Jesus had healed on the Sabbath, said to the people, 'There are six days in which work ought to be done.  Come on those days and be healed, and not on the Sabbath day."

When do we do that in the same way?  When do we use rules, meant for good, as a stumbling block to exert our own will or influence?  When do we twist rules meant to provide a rational process only to block someone and entangle them in red tape?

Pray that we serve God through his Spirit and work in the spirit of his Word.  Pray that we use neither his Word nor our earthly rules to exert power or influence over something and that we are not "stiff-necked" or "hypocrites" by our own actions.  In the end, we know God's Will will be done, but pray that we constantly seek his will in our lives.

Hope Men's Ministry

Devotion 5.10.16

In a recent biography of George H.W. Bush, author Jon Meachum covers Bush's time as the Republican Party National Chair, an office he held under Richard Nixon and through the Watergate investigation.  During a cabinet meeting August 6, 1974 cabinet meeting, Nixon came in late.  "Nixon looked terrible," Meachum noted.  The investigation was taking its toll, and some of his cabinet, including Bush and new Vice-President Gerald Ford had stated in absolute terms of Nixon's innocence which had just been erased by the findings of tapes and information on those tapes.

Meachum notes that Nixon came into the room proceeded to start the meeting by saying, "I would like to discuss the most important issue confronting the nation, and confronting us internationally too - inflation." The room was silent.  Bush noted it was visibly awkward.  Finally, VP Ford spoke, "Mr. President, with your indulgence, I have something to say." After being told to speak by Nixon, Ford made some introductory remarks about Nixon and his family, and then said, "I wish to emphasize that had I known what has been disclosed in reference to Watergate in the last twenty-four hours, I would have not made a number of the statements I made either as Minority Leader or Vice-President... I will have no further comment on the issue because I'm a party in interest.  I'm sure there will be impeachment in the House.  I can't predict the Senate outcome."

Speaking the truth to the president of the United States. You can say what you like about this time in our history, but what Ford did took true courage.  He basically told the president to quit acting like president and realize what you are facing.  He basically said, "Your time here appears to be over."

True courage, speaking the truth to a person's face, in respect and perhaps out of love (in this case, perhaps love of country), even if it is something that person doesn't want to hear.  Scripture has such stories too.  One of my favorite is Nathan confronting David after his adultery with Bathsheba which led to a baby which led to the murder of Bathsheba's husband and the eventual death of the baby. Nathan tells a story of a wealthy man who takes the lamb of a poor man to serve to a guest, saying that the poor man loved the lamb as one of his own among his family.  David rose in anger, "As the Lord lives, the man who has done this deserves to die, and he shall restore the lamb fourfold, because he did this thing, and because he had no pity!"

Nathan then says to David, "You are the man!"  Nathan then speaks to David sternly stating all God has done for David, Israel, and David's punishment.  David looks at Nathan and says, "I have sinned against the Lord." Nathan responds by saying, "The Lord also has put away your sin; you shall not die." (2 Samuel 12)

As brothers in Christ, do we have the ability to speak the truth to one another?  There is a difference between saying what you think or believe, but speaking the truth, in Christ's love, to a brother in Christ?  Pray that we do have that ability to speak boldly, proclaiming Christ's truth and love.

Hope Men's Ministry

Sunday, May 8, 2016

Devotion 5.9.16

Being an educator, we were privileged (and I mean that sincerely) to participate in routine professional development.  One such session was from a psychologist who talked about the development of children and the growing phenomenon at that time of single-parent households.  What causes them and what impact does it have on the child?  It depends on what happened to the family to render it a one-parent household, she said.  Divorce  can be one cause.  Loss of a parent can be a cause (death).  Yet those kinds of losses, according to her, can be something a child can recover from.  The number one problem for children is abandonment.  Mom or dad just left, leaving no forwarding number or address.  Devastating impact, she said.

So, I was talking to a friend who is a step-dad last week and telling him I admired him for the role he has taken by stepping up to the plate and becoming Dad to these kids.  I am impressed, I noted, that they have now begun to call you dad.  I mentioned the psychologist's remarks, and asked him, whatever happened to biological dad?  We try to include him, but he doesn't get involved, he said.  He then said, "You know, his dad abandoned him when he was a kid."  I looked and just said, "Proves the point then."  He nodded.

We acknowledge our moms and celebrate Mother's Day.  Mothers are significant in our lives.  We read in Psalm 139 that we are knit together in our mother's womb, where God breathes life into us.  They guide us and are our first teachers.  Yet never keep our eyes off the tremendous role and responsibility we serve as fathers.  God's Word makes our role clear.  Spiritual lead of the household.  Primary instructor of children's faith.  Provider.  And just how, men, are we doing?

I can think of the many times I rationalized my importance in other things to justify neglecting my main role given by God, husband and father.  The writer of Hebrews notes, "For what son is there whom his father does not discipline (teach, instruct, shape, guide, reward and punish)?  If you are left without discipline, in which all have participated, then you are illegitimate children and not sons. Besides this, we have had earthly fathers who disciplined us and we respected them.  Shall we not much more  be subject to the Father of spirits and live.  For they disciplined us for a short time as it seemed best to them, but he disciplines us for our good...." (Hebrews 12:7 - 10)

We pray God shape us, discipline us, to the be the men of God he expects us to be.  That we be the husband and father which he has spelled out for us in his Word.  We thank God for this role and ask God to equip us to lead and guide our families as fathers.

Hope Men's Ministry

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Devotion 5.5.16

"Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord, whose trust is in the Lord.  He is like a tree planted by water, that sends out its roots by the stream, and does not fear when heat comes, for its leaves remain green, and is not anxious in the year of drought, for it does not cease to bear fruit"
Jeremiah 17:11

"I can do all things through him who gives me strength." Philippians 4:13

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Devotion 5.4.16

"The apostles returned to Jesus and told him all that they had done and taught. And he said to them, 'Come away by yourselves to a desolate place and rest for awhile.'" Mark 6:30 - 31

Monday, May 2, 2016

Devotion 5.3.16

"For behold, I create new heavens and new earth, and the former things shall not be remembered or come into mind.  But be glad and rejoice forever in that which I create; for behold, I create a new Jerusalem to be a joy, and her people to be a gladness.  They shall build houses and inhabit them; they shall plant vineyards and eat their fruit." Isaiah 65:17 - 18; 21

"Behold, I am making all things new." Revelation 21:5

Sunday, May 1, 2016

Devotion 5.2.16

Bloom Where You Are Planted

"Each one should remain in the condition in which he was called.  Were you a slave when called? Do not be concerned about it. (But if you can gain your freedom, avail yourself of the opportunity.) For he who was called in the Lord as a slave is a freedman of the Lord.  Likewise he who was free when called is a slave of Christ.  You were bought with a price; do not become slaves of men.  So, brothers, in whatever condition each was called, there let him remain with God.  (1 Corinthians 7:20-24)