Why Become a Member?

Soul Care/Family & Marriage Care

“Beloved, now we are children of God; and it has not yet been revealed what we shall be, but we know that when He is revealed, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is.”

-1 John 3:2

SURRENDER IN FAITH -  

BY MARY WILDER TILESTON

In Joy and Strength

Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it unto me according to thy word. - LUKE 1:38

OH, let my thought, my actions, and my will

Obedient solely to Thy impulse move,

My heart and senses keep Thou blameless still,

Fixed and absorbed in Thine unbounded love.

Thy praying, teaching, striving, in my heart,

Let me not quench, nor make Thee to depart. 

GERHARD TERSTEEGEN


WE can see plainly how her ready self-surrender in faith, in trust, to her unknown, her mysterious destiny; how her instant expression of entire self-oblation to the Divine Will, to all that she was called to be and to do, to bear all that might in the future be required of her, is a constant witness of the mind that ought to animate and pervade the whole action of the soul. Life, if true, should be always the offering up of what we are, to do our best for Him who has called us. The responsibilities, the ventures, the conscious obligations which press on the soul, with all their conditions and unknown possibilities, supply the question that is to be solved; but the true response is the result of a habit formed through countless, nameless acts of conscientious obedience, which by use have become the bright and cheerful exercise of the one purpose of giving its best and purest to One most fully loved. 

T. T. CARTER


This is a public domain version of Joy and Strength.

- See more at: http://www.backtothebible.org/devotions/surrender-in-faith#sthash.fSqo9fKm.dpuf

Devotions.org, a division of Back to Bible has a daily source of devotions to keep you in touch with God and His word, written by some of today's top authors and Bible teachers. Browse the variety of resources completely on their website. 

More of Devotions.Org: http://www.backtothebible.org/devotions

BLESSED ENEMY -  

In Lessons on Living

Then Ahab said to Elijah, "Have you found me, O my enemy?" And he answered, "I have found you, because you have sold yourself to do evil in the sight of the Lord: 'Behold, I will bring calamity on you. I will take away your posterity, and will cut off from Ahab every male in Israel, both bond and free. I will make your house like the house of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, and like the house of Baasha the son of Ahijah, because of the provocation with which you have provoked Me to anger, and made Israel sin.'" - 1 Kings 21:20-22

Those who might be called our enemies can actually do us great service. Socrates noted that every man needs a faithful friend and a bitter enemy?the one to advise him, and the other to make him look about him. Benjamin Franklin said, "Love your enemies, for they tell you your faults." And the Greek philosopher Antisthenes admonished, "Pay attention to your enemies, for they are the first to discover your mistakes."

Elijah could have helped King Ahab to discover his mistakes, if the king would have permitted him to do so. Ahab was surrounded by false prophets who were telling him only what they thought he wanted to hear. His wife, Jezebel, was leading him down the path of destruction by her zealous attempt to establish Baal worship in Israel. Elijah was his only hope, but the king dismissed him because he was an "enemy."

If a Christian is living for the Lord, he will have enemies. This will not be because he has cultivated them; it's simply the natural response of the world to the Gospel. But such a situation can be turned to our advantage. The Lord can use even our enemies to accomplish His will in our lives.

If you have an enemy, listen to him or her carefully. See if underneath their bitterness or anger there might not be a grain of truth in their complaint with you. Enemies often identify our faults much better than our friends do. Why not try listening to them? It may in the long run make you more Christlike.

Cherish your enemies; they may be blessings in disguise.


- See more at: http://www.backtothebible.org/devotions/blessed-enemy#sthash.ytvSRPml.dpuf

Dr. Woodrow Kroll served as President and Senior Bible Teacher at Back to the Bible from 1990-2013. Author of more than 50 books, Dr. Kroll's passion is to increase Bible literacy in America by engaging people in the Bible and connecting them with the Author. His clear, incisive teaching of the Word keeps him in demand as a speaker all over the world. - See more at: http://www.backtothebible.org/authors/woodrow-kroll#sthash.7Yrcap6W.dpuf

More of Dr. Woodrow Kroll: http://www.backtothebible.org/devotions

I’m Not Moving -   

This devotional was written by Jim Liebelt

 

Why do you call me “Lord, Lord,” and do not do what I say? —Luke 6:46

 

It was a sunny, and unusually warm autumn Sunday afternoon, so I thought I would take advantage of it by going fishing on a local river. As I took the dirt-road cutoff that would take me near my favorite fishing spot, I rounded a bend in the road and slammed on my truck’s brakes.

 

There, in the middle of the road, was a woman lying on a blanket, working on her tan. I was both taken by surprise, and quite relieved that the truck had stopped without running the woman over. When the dust from my sudden stop had cleared, I got out of my truck, and approached the woman.

 

Me (fairly calm given the situation): What are you doing?!

Her (startled and angry): What does it look like I’m doing?!

Me: You are lying in the middle of the road.

Her: So?!

Me: I don’t think it’s a great idea to lie in the middle of a road. I could have run you over!

Her: [Bleep] you. I’m not moving!

Me [sarcastically]: Okay. Have a nice day!

 

I got back into my truck and backed it down the road until I found a safe place to park.

 

I’ll admit that I was frustrated. Sure, there are certainly times when people ought to take a stand, regardless of the consequences. But, I didn’t feel that this qualified as a great example, for either one of us. To me, it was a moment of stubbornness and will, and while the woman didn’t back down, I did.

 

This experience caused me to reflect on all of the times when I know there are things that God is asking of me, and I, in effect, say to Him, “I’m not moving!” Yes, I want all of the good things that God has for my life, but I want life to be easy. When it becomes uncomfortable and difficult to obey, too often, I turn stubborn.

 

In one way or another, we all have these stubborn moments with God. No person is immune from them. The question becomes, how can we minimize the times when we won’t budge? I don’t know the complete answer. I wish that I did. “Just say yes to God, whatever the circumstance,” is the right answer, but most of us already know this, and still struggle in carrying it out.

 

The long journey toward consistently saying yes to God is found in taking small steps. Perhaps the first small step is in the realization that taking the easy road in life rarely takes you where you want to go, nor leads you to becoming the person God wants to make you into. Obedience to God is not always easy, but whatever pain it brings, it also reaps the benefit of molding us more completely into the image of Jesus.

 

Today, take some small step when you find your first response to God is to say, “I’m not moving!” Get up off the road, pick up your blanket, and walk toward Jesus.

 

GOING DEEPER:

1. Reflect on your life. In what situations are you most likely to say to God, “I’m not moving!”

 

2. How do you feel that saying no to God has affected your journey as a Christ-follower? How has saying yes to God affected your journey as a Christ-follower?

 

FURTHER READING:

Romans 6:16; 1 Peter 1:6-7; 14-15; 1 John 5:1-5

This devotional originally appeared in “HomeWord with Jim Burns” on Crosswalk’s Family Devotional section. For more information about HomeWord with Jim Burns devotionals, please visit us online.

More of HomeWord with Jim Burns: http://www.crosswalk.com/devotionals/homeword/

Just Because -  

If you ask Gracie if she has any siblings she’ll tell you she has a sister in college. This sister happens to be her God-sister, Brie, the daughter of our best friends and Grace’s God-parents. Brie is one of the most amazing young women I have in my life. I’ve known her since she was five. Brie was 12 when I was pregnant with Grace and I remember her telling her mother: “I love the Gills so much that I feel just like I’m having a sister!” In spite of the 12-year gap, you’ll find no more loyal pair of sisters- paired not by blood, but by bonds much stronger, the bond of Christ, who’s unconditional love is the love we were meant to mirror.

Jesus tells us: “Love one another as I have loved you.” A love with no strings attached.

For Valentine’s Day Grace’s teacher had the students choose someone and list out: “Ten Reasons Why I Love You.” Grace chose Brie. Among the reasons she listed were: “You are fun” “You are a crafty artist” “You are smart” and “Your hugs.” But as I looked at the list the one that struck my heart most was number 7 on her list:

“I love you.”

Do you see the utter unconditional nature of that statement? “I love you because… I LOVE YOU!”  It reminded me immediately of echoes of the Gospel.

In essence, God says to us in every moment with each breath: “I love you because I love you. It’s not anything that you’ve done to earn it. It’s not your deeds, your appearance or your success that make me love you. I just do… just because you are mine.”

He calls us children:

Behold what manner of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God. And that is what we are! (1 John 3:1)

If you are a parent, you know the wave that washes over you the moment you hear the news that you’re expecting a child. I remember in Labor and Delivery class listening to one beautiful woman as she caressed her plump belly saying: “I just love him so much already….” I remember thinking- “How true! Me too! And I have not even met her yet!”

I understand the truth of this analogy of God as Father can be hard for some. I have watched many a friend struggle with being outright rejected by a parent, and that pain is utterly devastating. But in the midst of that pain, there is one hope, and only one. No parent is perfect, save one- Your Father in Heaven- and His love IS utterly unconditional. No matter what situation exists with your earthly parents, The Lord of the Universe is your One True Father. The Lord says: “I knew you before I formed you in the womb; I set you apart for me before you were born;” (Jeremiah 1:5)

King David writes of his amazement at God’s creative power of love in Psalm 139:

For you created my inmost being;

you knit me together in my mother’s womb.

I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;

your works are wonderful,

I know that full well. (Psalm 139: 13-14)

He knit you together in your mother’s womb and saw you in the secret place- before your own parents even knew you existed. He is the Father who loved you- just because, and He calls you His precious child.

The Spirit Himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children. (Romans 8:16)

 



This is an excerpt from its original appearance here and is shared with the author's permission.

Monica is her husband’s adoring wife, her little girl’s “Mama,” a crazy dog lover, and everyday falling more deeply in love with the Lord! In September of 2008 the Gills were blessed with a fifth tiny addition to the family (this time a baby instead of a puppy!) Grace is an ever-present wonder and a constant source of joy. Monica has been an active Bible teacher, writer and speaker for women's ministry and youth for twenty years. She loves to combat every challenge of life with this truth: Jesus is the answer! Jesus is always the answer!

 You can find Monica at www.lifewithgrace.net or contact her at monica@lifewithgrace.net

More of Monica Gill: www.lifewithgrace.net

FaithHappenings Blogs