Temptation of the World

Our world is changing. In some cases it is changing for the better. In other cases, it isn’t. In Romans, the apostle Paul tells us not to model ourselves after this world. To me, that means two things: one, there are things about this world which are not healthy for us as Christians; and two, there is a model we need to be following which is, spiritually, more healthy for us. List one or two things in your life which may model what society is teaching which may not be healthy for you. Imagine Jesus sitting with you. What do you think Jesus would say to you about those practices or thoughts?

Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. After fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry. The tempter came to him and said, “If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread.”
Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.’”
Then the devil took him to the holy city and had him stand on the highest point of the temple. “If you are the Son of God,” he said, “throw yourself down. For it is written:
He will command his angels concerning you,
and they will lift you up in their hands,
so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.’”
Jesus answered him, “It is also written: ‘Do not put the Lord your God to the test.’”
Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their splendour “All this I will give you,” he said, “if you will bow down and worship me.”
Jesus said to him, “Away from me, Satan! For it is written: ‘Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only.’[e]
Then the devil left him, and angels came and attended him.
-Matthew 4:1-11

Jesus was tempted. It is not wrong or sinful to be tempted. It depends upon how we react to those temptations. Jesus uses scripture each time to combat the tempter and his wicked ways. Imagine Jesus continuing to talk with you. Again, remember He loves you and, according to Jeremiah 29:11, “For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the LORD, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.'” What strength or words would He give you to combat the temptations you are facing? Read 2 Timothy 3:14-17 if you need help.

 

John 17:20-26

Happy Easter!

God’s grace is amazing, unfathomable, and, simply put, huge. As a people with flaws, how do we receive it? How do we learn to accept that all of our mistakes are wiped clean by God’s sacrifice? Take a minute to think about that God, the one that created our entire existence, the one that sent His Son to die for us. God’s Son… It is hard to comprehend that our sin, our lies, our junk was wiped clean because we were chosen by God.

Read John 17:20-26.

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You have been chosen to be shown this amazing love. As long as you accept Christ in your heart, grace will overcome your sins. Please pray for those who are struggling with accepting grace from past sins. Pray for those you haven’t forgiven, that you are given an example through grace of how to forgive.

Prayers from the Haitians

These prayers come from a book of Haitian prayers called God is No Stranger.

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Although we lack a dress to wear to church, lack food at home, and have only two cents in our pockets, the grace of God is enough. With this grace, we are rich.

Lord,
Once I saw a woman dying. The doctor took the blood from another person’s arm and put it in the lady, and she lived. This morning, we ask you do this for us, but don’t let the leeches of sin suck us dry again.

Oh Lord,
Make You and me like coffee and milk. Mixed together we can never be separated.

Father,
They say that I am poor. Thank you, Father. May I also be poor in spirit, that I may inherit the kingdom of God.

Life without Jesus is a sewing machine come unthreaded. You pass over but you sew nothing.

Lord,
I know my garden doesn’t grow or produce unless I work it and visit it. So, please Lord, work and visit the garden of my heart. I want to produce for you.

Jesus, our brother,
We lie in front of you on our bellies as we wait for You as a big brother to teach us. Your words are to us a mirror, a powdering, and perfuming. Help us rise up with a fresh bath and go out among the world this week.

Fellowship

It will soon be Easter. On that day, we will stand together remembering the One who lived, died, and rose for us. This is the climax of history, the focal point of God’s saving works. He is risen! He is risen indeed!

But then what? What are we to do? Where are we to go? To whom can we turn?…this is where the Church comes in. We are part of something bigger than ourselves. We are the Church. We are the ‘now what’ and the place we go. We look to one another, united in Christ by the Holy Spirit. We fellowship together, live our lives together, share our possessions together. We are the body. We are the Temple. We are family. We show up on Sundays, Wednesdays, whatever days we gather for worship, and shake hands and say hello. Then we go home, we go to work or school or elsewhere, we go about our lives until we come back together again.

But fellowship is not just Sunday mornings or Wednesday nights; fellowship is sharing our whole lives together in living out God’s mission and proclaiming the Gospel. Fellowship is not just when we get together to eat; it is opening our lives to one another. Fellowship is having each others’ backs and supporting one another through the good and the bad. Fellowship asks more of us than coming to worship or going to Bible study. Fellowship is about opening up the entirety of our lives to one another and about walking together in faith and love.

It is now that I need fellowship the most. For the past six years, I have been actively seeking God’s call on my life-to be an orphan care worker in Haiti fulltime. For the past year, I have been looking for enough financial support to finally achieve this. Today, I regret to share that I am no longer being pursued for my dream position and the position God has put on my life. I do not often ask others so blatantly for emotional support, and it is strange for me to do so. But today, I need a fellowship of believers and friends that will have my back and support me in this time.

And know this: I will not give up on achieving God’s will on my life. He has called me to the orphan. He has called me to Haiti. He has called me, and I have said, “Here I am!” One day, I will make it. One day, I will rejoice in what God has done to get myself there. One day, I will understand why He says “No” to getting me there right now. One day, I will share with the Haitian orphan why we celebrate Easter, why we celebrate Christmas, why we celebrate God’s love.

Today, I may not have all the answers. Today, I may be questioning a lot of stuff in my life, especially the past six years. Today, the past six years feel like a failure. Today, I say, “Your will be done!” whether I understand it or not.

Remember what the father does in the parable of the prodigal? The father does not rub his son’s face in his failures. The father does not magnify his mistakes. The father does not say to him, “I told you so.” The father does not tell him how dirty he is, how smelly he is, how bad his life has become; he already knows this. The son does not need reminded; he needs welcomed back in a joyous way. And so his dad pulls out all the stops, and says to the son that, in that town, in that community, “this son of mine is getting a block party-not because he deserves it-because he’s my son.” Today, I come to you as the prodigal son. Today, I need fellowship. I need welcomed home.

I conclude by saying this: in no way do I have bad feelings towards the ministry or towards anybody with whom I met as a potential supporter. The executive leadership has been very supportive in this decision and they are helping me with the logistics of my transition. The funds that I had raised will remain with the organization, as this is their policy and will be used to help support other areas of the ministry. This is an incredible ministry and you can rest assured whatever donations were made will be used in the best possible way to provide orphan care. It is my hope that I can work with the ministry as often as I possibly can-they are by far the BEST mission organization I’ve ever worked with. In fact, with a portion of the donated funds, I will be travelling to Haiti. It is my hope that those who supported me financially this time will consider joining me when the time comes to get myself there according to God’s timing.

Thank you to the ministry for being there in many ways: Beth, Todd, Corrie, John, Jason, Jeff, Janice, Brent, Anna, Dan, Holly, Matt, Julie, David, Jayne to name a few. The staff as a whole has been pouring so much into me in the past year that I felt included, accepted, loved. Thank you to all of my one-time donation givers. Thank you to my annual supporters. Thank you to my monthly supporters. Thank you for all the fellowship I’ve been a part of these past many years.

This is not the end!

We Were Not There

We were not there in the beginning when God said, “Let there be light” and there was. There was land, life, and people like us. It seems so long ago. It seems so hard to believe.

We were not there with the disciples-two feet from God-as Jesus was serving: washing feet, raising the dead, healing the lame and blind. We were not there to see him. We were not there to hear the words from his mouth. It was hard for those two feet away from Jesus to believe. How much harder it is for us!

Oh, to be two feet from God today, watching as lives are transformed, experiencing unconditional love, being made whole from the inside out, living in the paradise that was part of the original plan. If only we could see God.

Look up! Look around! You ARE two feet from God. Jesus is at work around you, in you, through you.

Open your eyes and see! God is here!

Open your ears and hear! God is here!

Open your heart to love and be loved! God is here!

Open yourself to God! God is here!

Attitude in Adversity

There is an old saying that goes “attitude determines altitude.” In other words, a positive, faith-filled attitude will cause you to rise higher in life, but a negative, self-critical attitude will only drag you down.

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When we face adversity, our attitude affects the outcome. Are we going to treat people right when we are being mistreated? Are we going to stay full of joy even when the bottom falls out? So many people get all bent out of shape and start complaining when things don’t go their way, but that attitude only closes the door to God’s miracle-working power. The Bible says that faith is what pleases God. Understand that He is trying to work on your life. He is trying to prepare you for something better, but you have to stay on His side. You have to stand strong and fight the good fight of faith!

If you are going through a difficult time today, I encourage you to keep an attitude of faith and expectancy. Start thanking God for bringing you trough to the other side, even before you see where that other side is. As you stand strong, you will rise higher. You will come out stronger and wiser. You will continue moving forward in the abundant life God has for you!