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Daily Devotionals

Reach for Your Heavenly Father
Aug 25, 2016

This week at c|Life, we talked about the fact that during turbulent times we almost always reach for something. We reach for our seat belts in an airplane. If we are walking down the stairs and hit something slippery, we naturally reach for the handrail. During financially turbulent times, we have a tendency to reach for our portfolios. We almost always reach for something when the world gets shaky around us.

When we forget to remember God’s perfect character, as well as how faithful he has been in the past, it’s really easy to reach for the wrong things.

In the book of Jeremiah, God says through his prophet:

for my people have committed two evils:
they have forsaken me,
the fountain of living waters,
and hewed out cisterns for themselves,
broken cisterns that can hold no water.

— Jeremiah 2:13

The truth is that when we turn to something other than our Heavenly Father for support, help, comfort or security, we are turning to something that will never fail to fail us. Like trying to draw water from a broken well that is empty, we find ourselves trying to be helped by something that cannot provide assistance.

I love the way the Psalmist wrote it in Psalm 86:

There is none like you among the gods, O Lord,
nor are there any works like yours.
All the nations you have made shall come
and worship before you, O Lord,
and shall glorify your name.
For you are great and do wondrous things;
you alone are God.
Teach me your way, O LORD,
that I may walk in your truth;
unite my heart to fear your name.
I give thanks to you, O Lord my God, with my whole heart,
and I will glorify your name forever.
For great is your steadfast love toward me;
you have delivered my soul from the depths of Sheol.

— Psalm 86:8-13

As you go through your day today, remind yourself that there is none like God. He stands alone as our provider, redeemer, creator, savior, help, healer and way maker. Remind yourself throughout the day that any thing you reach for other than your Heavenly Father will disappoint you and leave you wanting. Reach for your Heavenly Father today and take refuge in him.

Daily Devotionals

The Sword of the Spirit
Aug 24, 2016

Turbulence is inevitable in our lives. If there were some formula out there for dodging it or for behaving your way around it, all of you rule followers would have surely found a solution. Life just doesn’t work that way.

One of the hardest times in my life happened when I was walking closer to the Lord than any in other season that I can remember. Someone else’s sin nature collided with my life and sent me reeling. The fear that came over me literally put me behind closed doors in my own home, gripped with fear, hiding under my covers. (And this wasn’t even sin of my own doing.) I am saying this because, as hard as we may try, our lives are literally out of our control.

Your company could downsize, and you’re out of work. The pregnancy that you have so carefully protected could be lost. The doctor could call with bad results. A tornado could wreak havoc on your home. And the list goes on and on.

All of these things happen in the blink of an eye and, usually, without any warning.

What do we grab on to in these times? We tend to reach for the quickest fix: the numbing alcohol, or the spouse, or the friend, or the temporary satisfaction of the internet. None of these things can bring us the “peace that passes understanding” (Philippians 4:7). There is only one thing that has proven itself time and time again, and that's the Word of God.

When the enemy comes into our minds and tries to “kill, steal and destroy” (John 10:10) our lives through our thought life, the only way to combat his evil schemes is through Scripture. He cannot stand against it. He has to flee. We must be ready with the sword of the Spirit (Ephesians 6:17) to fight the enemy’s fiery darts. Everything else is temporary and, more often than not, will lead us to an even greater pit than where we started.

I am closing with a list of scriptures for you to hang on to. Choose one, write it down and have it ready for the enemy’s attacks. Be on guard. He is coming. But remember, he has already been defeated. You can overcome. Just pick up the right ammunition!

The LORD is my light and my salvation–whom shall I fear? The LORD is the stronghold of my life — of whom shall I be afraid?
— Psalm 27:1

Look to the LORD and his strength; seek his face always.
— Psalm 105:4

So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.
— Isaiah 41:1

So keep up your courage, men, for I have faith in God that it will happen just as he told me.
— Acts 27:25

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.
— 2 Corinthians 12:9-10

Be on guard. Stand firm in the faith. Be courageous. Be strong.
— 1 Corinthians 16:13

The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not be in want. He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, he restores my soul. He guides me in paths of righteousness for his name’s sake. Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows. Surely goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.
— Psalm 23

Daily Devotionals

The Everlasting Rock
Aug 23, 2016

Whenever I fly, the feeling of turbulence frightens me to the core. My first thought is always, “This plane is about to fall out of the sky!” Then, seconds later, it' i's back to sailing as smooth as could be, like nothing ever happened. I find myself reacting this exact same way towards God sometimes. I freak out in the hard times, clinging to him, but when everything starts going well again, it’s like he never did anything for me during the tough times I just experienced.

Trust in the Lord forever, for the Lord God is an everlasting rock.
— Isaiah 26:4

Trusting in the Lord forever seems like a simple enough task for those that believe Jesus came and died for our sins. Of course it's easy to trust in him forever — we'll get to spend forever with him in heaven. But what we forget to do is trust in him during this time, our time on earth, when things are going up and down. When life is turbulent.

Being a follower of Jesus doesn’t require being perfect — just ask his 12 closest friends that he trusted during his time here on earth. They were the baddest of the bad guys during their time. One of his own friends, Peter, denied Jesus when times got really rough. How are we supposed to be good at this when a guy that watched him perform miracles every day wasn’t even good at it?

What God wants from us during the bad times, the good times and the great times is to realize that we need a savior, not a partner to come back to every once in awhile when we feel it's convenient. When we're engaged in a partnership with God, that allows us to to think we have control over the good situations, and we will just reach for him in the bad. We will put him on the throne of our lives when it's convenient or beneficial to us.

Randy was preaching at Rockwall on Sunday, and spoke to the cheap substitutes that we run for, the substitutes that we feel can replace the grace and love that Jesus gave us so many years ago. A substitute can look like a lot of different things to each person. It could be an addiction that creeps itself back into your life. It could be relying on your husband or wife to give you true happiness. It could be allowing your children — and all the activities that come along with them — to dictate your day to day. Whatever it is for you, God wants you to trust him with turning that away. Trusting God isn’t going to make life easy, or take away the messy, hurtful times, but it does give you the eternal hope of trusting in the Lord forever.

What is the cheap substitute that you keep running to during the turbulence?

Do you treat God as your savior or just as a partner, running along beside you?

Turbulent times will come and go, but the Lord God is an everlasting rock.

Daily Devotionals

Jesus Is Always Better
Aug 22, 2016

Nobody is ever exempt from facing hard times. In fact, you may be trudging through a difficult time right now. Whether you’re a Christ-follower or not, you have a choice: to choose Jesus or to choose a temporary substitute. When it comes down to it, I believe most of us would probably admit that we know Jesus is always the better choice. Yet, somehow, we still have a problem choosing him first.

I once heard a pastor say something like, “If you don’t enjoy sinning, then you aren’t doing it right.” He’s totally right. While sin can’t ever bring true joy or lasting satisfaction, it can sometimes satisfy us momentarily. And, while some of us may have experienced the sufficiency of Christ and the joy and satisfaction that only he can bring, sin still has a way of causing us to doubt whether we should choose Jesus first.

For some of us, choosing sin over Jesus isn’t the main thing that trips us up every time we face hardship. Sometimes we choose good things over Jesus, which isn’t actually a good thing. Some people cling to work or to relationships. Some people cling to church, or even to serving. Some people cling to their kids or to their reputations. While none of those things are bad things, they are the wrong things to cling to for satisfaction — especially during turbulent times.

Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst.”
— John 6:35

For he satisfies the longing soul, and the hungry soul he fills with good things.
— Psalm 107:9

The afflicted shall eat and be satisfied; those who seek him shall praise the Lord! May your hearts live forever!
— Psalm 22:26

In your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.
— Psalm 16:11

Jesus is better. Always. Jesus is steady, and with him we cannot be shaken — if we cling to him. Cling to Jesus at all times. Be it during a silly argument or while grieving the loss of a loved one, cling to him. Not only will you glorify your father in heaven, you will also be truly satisfied.

Daily Devotionals

Excited to Share
Aug 19, 2016

My son is starting first grade this year. I pick him up in the afternoons, and one of my favorite things is to see what he is excited to tell me happened that day. Some pickups are met with more excitement than others, but he always has something he wants to share with me. Something about that day meant enough for him to want to tell me.

This past Sunday, we looked at why we do missions, and the importance of sharing the gospel with others. Do you share it at all? When was the last time you told someone about Jesus? If you do share with someone, is it because you feel you have to?

As believers, we have freedom in Christ and eternal life, and that is something we should be excited to tell others about. I know this is nothing you haven't heard before, but reminders are good. We are loved by our Savior, and we should have a desire to share that with others, so they too can know that same love.

Some believers probably feel they don’t have enough knowledge or don’t know what to say. Some do not think they have time or opportunity. I know I’ve had similar thoughts, but I pray we always come back to how blessed we are that someone shared the gospel with us. Whether it was a friend, pastor, family member or someone else, we heard about Jesus, and that is not something we should keep to ourselves.

And he said to them, “Go into all the world and proclaim the gospel to the whole creation."
—Mark 16:15

Declare his glory among the nations, his marvelous works among all the peoples!
— Psalm 96:3

"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, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”
— Matthew 28:19-20

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All day, every day, an invisible war rages around you. A devoted, devilish enemy seeks to wreak havoc on everything that matters to you. The enemy always fails miserably ...

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