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Ministry Moments Blog
A devotion by Byron Reiner, ABCS Program Administrator & Leader Care Facilitator - Northern/Northwest Region
Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing. – James 1:2-4
Joy, we all want it! We all want it on our terms. So, we try to get it on our terms.
These verses begin with the word “consider.” What does it mean to consider? It means to take into account, reckon, compute, calculate, take an inventory, reason, regard and think on.
What does considering allow us to do in these verses? It slows us down to consider part of the construction of the sentences, recognizing that joy is the theme. We recognize that through trials joy is produced. We come to know that the testing of your faith produces endurance. We learn that through endurance you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.
Suffering is the call nobody wants! We can let it produce bitterness, anguish and pain, or we can recognize that it is a necessary calling in producing joy!
A devotion by Elaine Gaston, ABCS Program Administrator - Southwest Region
Daniel answered and said, Blessed be the name of God for ever and ever: for wisdom and might are his: And he changeth the times and the seasons: he removeth kings, and setteth up kings: he giveth wisdom unto the wise, and knowledge to them that know understanding. - Daniel 2:20-21
During the last few months we have been bombarded from both sides of the aisles telling us what we want and what we need. Everyone has an opinion and usually begins with “At the end of the day….”
“At the end of the day all America wants is…..”
“At the end of the day all the working class people need….”
“At the end of the day the average American just wants…..”
I was thinking about that “at the end of the day” comment and God reminded me of this verse in Daniel. I already know two things that will happen “at the end of the day” because He has promised them in His Word!
The first is - Heaven is waiting for me. No matter what happens here on this earth or who is in office or who is not, I have Heaven waiting for me!
Number two is - God is in charge of the devil and someday God will take care of him. I don’t have to worry about it. No matter how much havoc he stirs up here on earth in the end God will take care of him for good!
Many things in this world is uncertain but I can rest assured that I have God and “at the end of the day” that God is still in control and God is still ruler over all. He knows what is going on even when I don’t.
This verse has brought me great comfort in the past few months. I am glad that I have the same God as Daniel. He’s the one that makes seasons come and go. God is the one at the helm and “at the end of the day” I can rest totally in him.
A devotion by Roger Daniels, New Life Counseling Vice President
“’Come now, and let us reason together,’ says the Lord.” - Isaiah 1:18
As one who is trained in the art of listening . . . and who makes his living as a counselor by it, it pains me to see how much listening actually goes on, . . . or not. Mostly not.
All around me (and I don’t believe I’m imagining things) it appears that people are just shouting at each other, trying their best to either ensure they are heard, or more likely, to drown out the shouts of those with opposing viewpoints. It’s evident in the families with whom I counsel, it was present in the churches I’ve served through the years, and it’s become epidemic in cities and towns across our country.
Many years ago, the psychologist M. Scott Peck offered, “True listening, . . . is always a manifestation of love.” Several decades ago, Dietrich Bonhoffer wrote, “Many people are looking for an ear that will listen. They do not find it among Christians, because Christians are talking when they should be listening. He who no longer listens to his brother (or sister) will soon no longer be listening to God either.”
It’s been my conviction, that as family members, church members, and even citizens of the same nation, we have much more in common than what seems to separate us. We just don’t take the time and effort to discover those things. We are too busy, I suppose, trying to talk when we could be listening.
The prophet Isaiah, in ancient Israel, received a word from God and spoke that word to his hearers. “’Come now, and let us reason together,’ says the Lord.” (Isaiah 1:18) These words, profound in the 8th century B.C., seem just as applicable in our 21st century world.
While I realize I can do little to sway this influence on the national scale, I can affect the circles in which I run. Here are some thoughts about how I can contribute:
Please join me by practicing these in your daily encounters.
A devotion by Nichole Tamburstuen, Statewide Director for Arms of Love Foster Care & Program Administrator - Central Region
In addition to all, taking up the shield of faith with which you will be able to extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. - Ephesians 6:16
Paul gives us an amazing analogy of the shield of faith in this scripture. It is to activate faith, it’s where we walk forward into what we know God will do and trust God to do. It’s what we hope, and know to be truth without seeing it. (Hebrews 11:1)
Throughout scripture, Gods shows us that when giving a blessing, he first asks for us to participate in an action to which then he gives the blessing. There are times our struggle either within ourselves or our situation, can keep us from taking up this shield of faith that Paul speaks about. It’s the inner struggle, often we are not even aware of its deceptions. Careful not to be so trapped in the battle of struggles like insecurity, doubt, fear, guilt… things that the evil one sends our way as “flaming arrows” to distract us from that act of faith, living out our calling. Create habits that condition your heart to look at things above, fix your focus on a capable magnificent God and walk in the truth of that God.
A few weekends ago we were on our way to what felt like the 10th soccer game of the weekend. My husband was telling the girls to close their eyes, picture stopping the ball, shooting the ball, picture your moves to help you actualize your victory -plan out what moves you're going to make and how it feels to complete your winning play. This is a great way we as Christians can prepare to see ourselves enacting our faith. We get the privilege of when stepping out in obedience, partnering with God, to experience His earthly blessings. Visualize yourself victorious fighting your battles of doubt, fear, shame or whatever it may be… stepping into it as if the win has already happened, knowing our God is “faith-full” and this is why you can live a faith filled life.
For by grace you have been saved through faith: and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God. - Ephesians 2:8
A devotion by Matt Gaston, Leader Care Facilitator - Eastern Region
“The merciful man does good for his own soul, but he who is cruel troubles his own flesh” Proverbs 11:17
The sentence “help I’ve fallen and I can’t get up” as you know comes from a product commercial concerning seniors who have the potential of falling when they are alone and so they need to wear an electronic device so that if they do fall someone can come to their rescue. The sentence now has become comical and has also become a joke somewhat. We hear it often in our daily routines of life. I am sure all of us have used this sentence in pun.
But from a spiritual sense this sentence is not comical one wee bit. God’s people fail on a regular basis and they sometimes get isolated from other believers because of their failure. They have fallen and yes they may not know how to get up again. They hurt and they feel they have betrayed the Lord so greatly that they don’t deserve another chance. The Story of the Prodigal Son depicts God the Father expressing Mercy and Forgiveness within the Family. The fallen son is uplifted and restored by a merciful father. It’s interesting the other son in the family expressed cruelty to his fallen brother which broke the father’s heart.
The Parable about the Good Samaritan is all about Mercy & Compassion for those outside the Family. God does not forget those who show mercy to others! God looks upon the poor and needy both physically and spiritually. He calls out to us as His disciples, go to the fallen and lift them up. Show My Mercy and show My Compassion, and yes, place it upon to those who you feel don’t deserve it.
Mercy is good for the Soul! I like that!