🌷Spring Break! 💐

It is Spring Break here for us, so I will be taking the week off from doing the published devotions. (Still doing my private time in the Word-hope you are too!)  This year has clearly been a year of changes in schedule as can be seen by the more sporadic postings of the devotions. I am praying to see what God would have me do in this area, but for now, taking this week off and we will see what next week holds for postings!

Hope everyone had a restful Easter and is enjoying some spring weather!

~Holly

What did you do today?

In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven. ~Matt. 5:16 (esv)

Remember this verse I used last devotion? Let’s think about it again, and while doing that,  list 3 things that you did today below…

1. _____________________________

2. _____________________________

3. _____________________________

-Put an asterisk beside the numbers for the things above that required you use a gift of yours.
-Circle the items that were things done for another person or helped them.

If any of the items above have an asterisk and circle, you have been productive in God’s eyes. Today, Mrs. K. shared an article (see link-don’t be deterred by the title either!) that was a huge encouragement to me in terms of what true productivity is. It highlights that in God’s eyes, we are truly “productive” when we are using our gifts for the good of others and to God’s glory. This means, that texting a friend or praying for them, may, at times, be of more heavenly value than zeroing out our email inbox or earning gobs of money. It means sitting on the couch to just talk with your kids instead of cutting the grass is truly more important sometimes. Talking to our grandmother is of more value than spending that same time cleaning our room. It changes the value of everything.  Read the Bible and consider what God is really calling us to do to glorify Him. Let’s be productive!

✅  What are 3 of your gifts, strengths or natural skills you can clearly identify or others say you have that you enjoy using or doing?

 

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Why are we here?

In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven. ~Matt. 5:16 (esv)

Why did God create human beings?  Think about your answer BEFORE reading any further!

Did He create us because He wanted to fellowship with us? Was it because he felt creation was not complete without us?  Did He need us? No, not at all. God is self-sufficient and needs absolutely nothing. He is complete, satisfied and without need in the triune without us. Every single thing He created is for his glory, including us. We are here to bring him glory. The plan of salvation was planned all along ultimately to bring God glory. The Bible fully supports this.

This truth is put forth and explained much further in the book, The Explicit Gospel by Matt Chandler, which I just started reading. (Thanks Mercer’s for the recommendation!)  This has been very eye opening to me as I process this.  It helps me understand much more clearly when things happen to look from a viewpoint of “God has allowed this for some reason that will ultimately bring Him glory.” If you are interested in checking out the book, I have attached an amazon link with the picture.

✅  Can you think of a time in your life when you did something that may have brought glory to God or pointed others to him?

✅  What does it look like practically for someone or something to bring glory to God?

Conversations

Examine yourselves to see whether you are in the faith; test yourselves. Do you not realize that Christ Jesus is in you–unless, of course, you fail the test? ~ 2 Cor. 13:5

Last year I was able to get together with a group of friends I had not seen in a while. It was  really fun time, but one thing struck me about our time together: the conversation was different. When I talk with my family or close friends-it never takes long for the conversation to turn to a current spiritual struggle, an enlightening podcast or a great Christian book we heard about. There is almost always something “God-related”  brought up. Those things did not come up in this conversation. The interesting part is, we all would have called ourselves “Christians”-but the evidence was lacking. I have thought about this time and time again.

When God is a vital part of our life-it should “leak” out in some way. Everyone involved grew up in Christian homes but a stranger observing would have never known. Some heart wellsprings were not spouting “God”.  I realized this is a good way to examine ourselves, as Paul encourages us to do. Look back on our most recent texts or conversations with friends or family who call themselves believers. Does God quickly come into the conversation in one way or another, or do things go on naturally without the existence of God at all? If the second is the case, it is time to step back and consider where our heart truly lies. For additional reading  for those interested, I am attaching a link to our conversation related specifically to immoral joking.

✅  When you were last together with your friends, what were the topics of conversation? What were you excited about, anxious to tell or show in regards to pics, videos, podcasts, new shows, etc?

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Marriage

Therefore what God has joined together, let not man separate. ~Mark 10:9 (NKJV)

Today is our 24th anniversary! I am very thankful for every year of our marriage that God has given us. As I have thought about the past 24 years, I was thinking what an important part “unselfishness” plays in making a marriage work and one that glorifies God. I have a long way to go with this, but my husband models unselfishness on a daily basis towards me and I can’t begin to tell you how that alone makes marriage a joy.  Most books you may find or read out there will talk about “meeting each others needs” or being “soul mates”. These are both lies. We will NEVER meet all our spouses needs as two sinful human beings. That idea sets us up for failure. When I hear the term soulmate used, it is really just an excuse for an adulterous relationship in too many cases. I don’t see God recommending we find our “soulmate” anywhere in the Bible. What He does say is that our marriages are to be examples to the world of the relationship between Christ and the church. This is unconditional love. This is giving 100% when your spouse gives 0%. This is what I pray God helps me do every day. Recently my friend Jona forwarded an article on marriage that I found reinforced the importance of unselfishness as well as other areas that can help strengthen a biblical marriage. So in celebration of our marriage, I share this article with you. Enjoy!

✅  What do you think is a key part to honoring God in a marriage?

✅  What do you see the world saying is the key to a “good” marriage? Is there any biblical truth to the worlds idea?

 

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Quiet Time

But grow in the grace and the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.  ~ 2 Peter 3:18

Were Sodom and Gemorrah married? Who preached the Sermon on the Mount? Some people say yes, they were married and that Billy Graham taught the Sermon on the Mount. Maybe you are one of those people. Something is wrong with our biblical knowledge, or lack thereof today. Statistics show that even people who have gone through Christian school, church and grown up in a Christian family are often lacking in biblical, foundational knowledge. Part of the reason is that many of us “do” our quiet time looking for how the Bible applies to us. The Bible is not about us-it is about God. The Bible is given so we can know God. The more we know God, the more that knowledge of Him can change our view of self and transform our mind. Recently I heard a wonderful podcast on “How your quiet time should change you”. That is where I got the questions above. I couldn’t resist sharing it here. Jen Wilken gives some very solid
wisdom on what the purpose of a quiet time is. She gives suggestions on
how our quiet time can be a time where we are learning foundational truths. PLEASE don’t be put off that it is a woman. Her recommendations are applicable to all of us, male or female. God wants us in His Word for sure. It is to be our daily bread. It is not dessert or a side dish. May we all dig in to the main dish of the Word and be fully nourished by it every day.

✅  What are you currently doing in your Quiet Time and how regular is it?

✅  Did you know the right answers to the questions above? Do you think it matters?  (correct answers: Sodom and Gemorrah were cities and Jesus preached the Sermon on the Mount)

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Don’t Give Up!

Give us this day our daily bread.  ~ Matt. 6:11 (esv)

Today is March 23rd. Did you by chance start the year with intentions to “Read through the Bible in a Year”? How is that coming? Are you on track? Behind? Did you already give up and quit?

I just wanted to write and encourage you (anyone) to not be discouraged. DO NOT give up. God never set a time limit. He has never ever said “You have to read through the Bible in a year”. His instruction is to stay in His Word. It doesn’t matter how long it takes you or if you are using a method or not. It only matters that you are reading it and that you are taking in the daily bread needed to supply you and I for the day. If Satan is trying to convince you that since you are “2 months behind” or whatever it may be, you should just give up-don’t believe the lie. That is what it is. A  lie. He is trying to deceive you to keep you from getting the life-sustaining nourishment of God’s word. Pick that Bible

back up, keep at it and be faithful. Take your time and never give up!
There is no time limit to God’s Word.

✅  What did you read or study in the Bible this morning or last night?

✅  Wonder why you give up on Bible reading? Check out this article and see some of the other lies Satan will try to use on you and I and recognize them for what they are: lies.

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Don’t Lie to Yourself…

Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee. ~Ps. 119:11 (KJV)

H ow long did it take you to get dressed and ready this morning?  _____ minutes. How much time did you spend on your phone OR watching a show OR working out today? Write the number of minutes here: _____ DO NOT PROCEED FURTHER UNTIL YOU HAVE WRITTEN A NUMBER.

Ok, now, take the verse above, go into a room and time how long it takes you to memorize the verse above. Really. DO THIS NOW ( or as soon as you can). How long did it take:  ______ minutes.

My point? We need to be honest. It is not that we do not have time to memorize Scripture, we just choose not to.  We all have the time. It is less than 15 minutes to memorize 1 verse. Less than it takes us to take a shower and dry off or put on our makeup. The fact is we either don’t think it is important, we don’t care that God has commanded it or we don’t care about disobeying God. One thing I do know for sure: It is NOT that we do not have time.

✅  If you are not currently memorizing any Scripture, be honest, and determine what the true reason is. 

✅  Choose a verse to memorize this week and pray for God to remind you to be faithful and obedient as a follower of Christ.

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Holiness = Happiness?

He has saved us and called us to a holy life—not because of anything we have done but because of his own purpose and grace. ~2 Tim. 1:9

Our best efforts to keep commandments don’t make God look great-they only make us look “moral.” What do you think about that? I know it grabbed my attention. I heard it today on a 2 minute video clip of John Piper titled  “Holiness is the Fight for Happiness.” I think if you offer most people an easy way to be “happy,” they would jump at the chance. I think if you say happiness is tied to holiness, they would turn around and walk the other way. Needless to say, John Piper’s insight is well worth considering. Click the link below to hear the whole clip and see what you think.
LINK: Holiness is the fight for Happiness

✅  What is the difference between a person who is morally good and a Christian?

✅  Do you ever feel like you are just fighting the battle at the level of “deeds” all the time? What is the solution?

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“Whatcha Watchin’?”

I will not set before my eyes anything that is worthless.  ~Ps. 101:3a (esv)

I was at a parenting panel last night at church. One item discussed was what we let our children watch and discernment in viewing. One question suggested we have our children consider before watching a show is “What is the main message and it is true?” in comparison to what God tells us. This is a very good question. It also made me think of the bigger question;  How do you and I decide what we will and will not watch in general? Do we really care? Do we care because we think someone else (parent/spouse) will “disapprove” or do we care because we want to make sure we are not stepping into sin or grieving God? These things are our personal decisions. As parents, what are we watching ourselves? If we wouldn’t want our children watching them, why are we? As children growing into adulthood, these are your decisions-or soon will be. How are you deciding? Is it  what your friends want or by the standard God has set? These decisions do matter.

If you are looking for a good place to start to review things you are interested in watching, I have listed 2 below.  Both of these sites show the content in areas like: sex/nudity, violence, language, alcohol/drugs, occult, etc. The tools are out there. The choice to care and use these tools is ours.

✅  For MOVIES:  imdb.com parent guide. Search the movie title, then find the parent review.

✅  For network/netflix SERIES: commonsensemedia.org

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