Focus Moment – February 2, 2017

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Silence and Centering

“Be still, and know that I am God!- Psalm 46:10

CONFESSION Prayers

Holy and merciful Father, we confess to you and to one another that we have sinned against you by what we have done, and by what we have left undone. We have not loved you with our whole heart, mind, and strength. We have not fully loved our neighbor as ourselves. We have not always had in us the mind of Christ. You alone know how often we grieve you by wasting Your gifts and by wandering from Your ways.  Forgive us and renew in us the grace and strength of Your Holy Spirit. Amen.

PAUSE FOR 2 MINUTES OF SILENCE

And they continued steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, in the breaking of bread, and in prayers. Acts 2:42 (NKJV)

Have you ever wanted something so badly you found yourself giving a wholehearted commitment to obtaining it?  Such was the case for the author of Psalm 119.  He didn’t desire for financial wealth, social prestige, or anything material; what he wanted was the LORD.  He wrote, “With my whole heart I have sought You; Oh, let me not wander from Your commandments!  Your word I have hidden in my heart, That I might not sin against You” (Ps. 119:10-11).

The Psalmist knew for him to seek the Lord with all of his heart would mean he must know God’s word, and to abide in it.  He chose to hide God’s word within his heart, which meant more than simply memorizing it—it would involve living it.   He knew if he applied the Lord’s wisdom, he would also receive the many blessings promised for doing so.

And we can see this was the same heart within the believers of the early church.  We are told,“they continued steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, in the breaking of bread, and in prayers” (Acts 2:42).  They earnestly sought after the Lord with their whole heart by studying His word, and by making sure they were always around other believers who had the same heart to seek the Lord.

I believe the Lord gave us the history of the early church in the book of Acts so we could pattern our lives after these first century believers.  God designed His church to be a place where His Word is proclaimed and explained. Scripture is so much more than words in a book—it is spiritual food for every believer—without it we will cease to grow in our walk with God, and we definitely won’t have success in ministry or in life.  Jesus said if we love Him, we will keep, orabide in His word, and it is a sign that we are His disciples indeed (John 8:31; 14:23).  He also gave a promise for those who keep His word—they would never see or taste (spiritual) death (John 8:51-52).

So if we are to truly love the LORD our God with all of our heart, soul, and mind, then we will find ourselves much like the author of Psalm 119 by hiding God’s word within our heart.  We will find ourselves much like the early church in the book of Acts when we fellowship with other believers.   And we will find ourselves imitating Jesus when we seek to serve others with the abilities and resources God has entrusted to us (cf. Eph. 5:1).

And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works, not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching.  Hebrews 10:24-25 (NKJV)

I want to encourage you to think and pray upon these truths today.

STUDY QUESTION: According to the Scriptures contained within this devotional, what can we learn about fellowshipping with other believers?

PERSONAL INVENTORY: Are you regularly meeting with other believers and studying the word of God?

PRACTICAL APPLICATION: Choose to find other believers to meet with so you can be encouraged and strengthened in your Christian walk, and help others to be encouraged and strengthened as well. 

MAKE THIS YOUR PRAYER TODAY: Father, thank You for guiding me in my Christian walk.  Help me to stay steadfast in meeting with other Christian believers, and to successfully hide Your word deep within my heart so I may abide in it.  In Jesus’ precious name, amen…

Devotional By Scott Wright

2 Minutes of SILENT PRAYER & REFLECTION.

Focus Moment – Jan. 28, 2017

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Silence and Centering

“But the LORD is in his holy temple; let all the earth be silent before him.” (Habakkuk 2:20)

Confession:

Heavenly Father,

we come before Your throne of grace

to confess our sin.

We have been selfish instead of generous;

we have been proud instead of humble;

we have held grudges instead of forgiving;

we have proven over and over again

that we cannot be good enough on our own.

We need more of You, and less of ourselves.

Gracious God, we ask for Your forgiveness

and receive it with joyful hearts. Renew our minds so that we may discern what is good.

Fill us with Your Spirit so that we may be Your witnesses in the world.

Comfort our hearts, that we may know that we have complete redemption by Your grace alone.

In Jesus’ Name we pray. Amen.

PAUSE FOR 2 MINUTES OF SILENCE

It’s true that you should give God your best. You should not reserve the best for yourself but give it to God. The Bible does not urge you to give the leftovers to God for sure. Quite the opposite in fact. You are to love God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength (Mark 12:30, NIV). That means you are not to give God just the best part of yourself. You are to give God your all. Also the parts you’d rather hide and forget they’re there. God wants you. Not just the good parts but also the sad, ugly, and broken parts of you.

 Therefore I urge you, brothers and sisters, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies [dedicating all of yourselves, set apart] as a living sacrifice, holy and well-pleasing to God, which is your rational (logical, intelligent) act of worship. (Romans 12:1, AMP, emphasis added)

Give God your all

It might sound a bit odd that we need to give God also the bad things. But that’s who God is. He mends the broken, transforms the bad, creates beauty from ashes. You are to give God your all and watch what he does with your mess. You will be positively surprised.

There’s not such thing that not good enough in God’s vocabulary. It’s all material for God to perform miracles in your life. So don’t judge yourself. Just give everything to God as a living sacrifice. Ask God to do whatever he pleases with your everything. You can be certain that God will not waste a thing. That’s the beauty of God’s grace.

Let God rule your life

When you give God your all, you allow God work freely in and through your life. And that’s the ultimate best that could ever happen to you. When you let God rule your life, you can just enjoy the ride. Give God your all: the very best, the usual, and the worst. Let God transform you and your life for his glory. You will not regret it.

Gracious God,

Thank you for not wanting the good parts of us,
thank you for taking also the not so good parts of us.
We surrender our all to you, Lord.
Take our very best and our worst and everything between
and create something new and wonderful.
Pour out grace upon grace and transform us to your glory.
In Jesus’ name,
Amen

Q4U: Do you want to give God your all?

2 Minutes of SILENT PRAYER & REFLECTION.

Devotional  by by Mari-Anna Stålnacke

Focus Moment – January 23, 2017

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Silence and Centering

“But the LORD is in his holy temple; let all the earth be silent before him.” (Habakkuk 2:20)

Confession:

Heavenly Father, we come before Your throne of grace to confess our sin.

We have been selfish instead of generous; we have been proud instead of humble;

we have held grudges instead of forgiving; we have proven over and over again that we cannot be good enough on our own.

We need more of You, and less of ourselves. Gracious God, we ask for Your forgiveness and receive it with joyful hearts. Renew our minds so that we may discern what is good.

Fill us with Your Spirit so that we may be Your witnesses in the world.

Comfort our hearts, that we may know that we have complete redemption by Your grace alone.

In Jesus’ Name we pray. Amen.

PAUSE FOR 2 MINUTES OF SILENCE

“You have been believers so long now that you ought to be teaching others. Instead, you need someone to teach you again the basic things about God’s word. You are like babies who need milk and cannot eat solid food” (Hebrews 5:12 NLT, second edition). 

Millions of Christians have grown older without ever growing up; they act as though spiritual growth is automatic. They may have a plan to save for retirement. They may have a plan for sending their kids to college. But they don’t have a strategy for enriching their souls. They leave the single most important facet of human existence to chance!

But a soul doesn’t automatically grow to maturity any more than a baby automatically grows to physical maturity. You need to have a plan for feeding, exercise, education — and especially potty training! — if a child is going to grow up healthy, strong, and mature.

A baby left on its own withers and dies. The same thing is true of your soul. Our world is full of people who have grown older but are still babies when it comes to spiritual maturity.

Spiritual growth is not automatic, even for people who have opened their hearts to Christ. The writer of Hebrews sadly noted, “You have been believers so long now that you ought to be teaching others. Instead, you need someone to teach you again the basic things about God’s word. You are like babies who need milk and cannot eat solid food. For someone who lives on milk is still an infant and doesn’t know how to do what is right. Solid food is for those who are mature, who through training have the skill to recognize the difference between right and wrong” (Hebrews 5:12-14 NLT, second edition).

Spiritual growth doesn’t just happen. You have to have a plan!

Talk It Over

  • Where do you want to be a year from now spiritually?
  • What is your plan for reaching that goal?
  • What is the next step you need to take in your spiritual growth? How can you start using your gifts to serve the Body of Christ?

 2 Minutes of SILENT PRAYER & REFLECTION.

Devotional By Rick Warren  

Focus Moment Jan. 19, 2017

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Silence and Centering

“But the LORD is in his holy temple; let all the earth be silent before him.” (Habakkuk 2:20)

Confession:

Gracious and loving God, we come into your presence asking for your forgiveness.  Forgive us for aspirations that never get translated into action and for promises that we have not kept.

Forgive us for having good intentions that were not fulfilled and for the good deeds that we never got around to doing. Grant us a new vision and help us to move from intention to action.  Help us, Lord, to keep our eyes on you and to be faithful in all that we say and do.  In Christ’s Name we pray. Amen.

PAUSE FOR 2 MINUTES OF SILENCE

“If you love me, you will do the things I command. 16 I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper. He will give you this Helper to be with you forever. 17 The Helper is the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him because it does not see him or know him. But you know him. He lives with you and he will be in you.18 “I will not leave you all alone like orphans. I will come back to you. – John 14:15-18

There is nothing better than a good set of written directions to guide you to your desired destination—that is, unless you have a GPS.  And so it is with the Word of God, as it is our written directions to get us to His desired destination.  And if the Bible is the written direction by which we can reach our goal, then the Holy Spirit is our GPS—helping us pinpoint our every move to perfection.

We are told in 2 Timothy 3:16-17 that, “All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work” (our written directions). And John 14:16 confirms the Holy Spirit is our personal GPS for living righteously.

But when the Spirit of truth comes he will lead you into all truth. He will not speak his own words. He will speak only what he hears and will tell you what is to come. – John 16:13

It is the job of the Holy Spirit to make us Jesus-conscious, instead of being, self-conscious as the world teaches us to be. When we are Jesus conscious, we have a strong desire to live a Christ-centered life, rather than a self-centered one.   Most of us don’t make great passengers, because we tend to like to take the steering wheel of our own lives and plot our own course.  Even when we do decide to allow Jesus to take the wheel, we often become a virtual backseat driver of sorts—attempting to change God’s divine course, by replacing it with our poor directions.

 I really don’t think God desires for us to take our hands off of the steering wheel, but rather simply follow His perfect directions.  To do this we must have a good understanding of where His directions are directing us, and to do this we must be reading our Bibles daily.  As we do, the Holy Spirit can remind us of what Jesus has taught us (John 14:26). Let’s face it, we wouldn’t take off to any other important destination without knowing the best way to get there—why should living the Christian life be any less important?

STUDY QUESTION: According to the Scriptures contained within this devotional, what promises has Jesus regarding the Holy Spirit given us?

PERSONAL INVENTORY: Are you willing to allow the Holy Spirit to lead you in every decision?  Are you willing to fully submit to God’s ways of living?

PRACTICAL APPLICATION: Take time when making your choices this week.  Stop and ask God to show you how He would want you to handle everything you face?

Prayer:

Father, thank You for giving me the Holy Spirit to guide and direct me in all my ways. I am sorry for those times I have chosen not to seek or listen to His leading, but instead, I have foolishly chosen to do things my way.  I confess I need You to guide me Lord, as I choose to follow You this day.  In Jesus’ precious name, amen…

2 Minutes of SILENT PRAYER & REFLECTION.

Devotional By Scott Wright

Focus Moment – Jan. 16, 2017

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Silence and Centering

“Be still, and know that I am God!- Psalm 46:10

Confession:

Gracious and loving God, we come into Your presence asking for Your forgiveness.  Forgive us for aspirations that never get translated into action and for promises that we have not kept.

Forgive us for having good intentions that were not fulfilled and for the good deeds that we never got around to doing. Grant us a new vision and help us to move from intention to action.

Help us, Lord, to keep our eyes on You and to be faithful in all that we say and do. In Christ’s Name we pray. Amen.

PAUSE FOR 2 MINUTES OF SILENCE

Revelation 7:9-10

Then I looked, and there was a great number of people. There were so many people that no one could count them. They were from every nation, tribe, people, and language of the earth. They were all standing before the throne and before the Lamb. They wore white robes and had palm branches in their hands. 10 They were shouting in a loud voice, “Salvation belongs to our God, who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb.”

God’s heart is big and includes all the ethnic and racial groups in the world. Revelation 7:9-10 pictures an amazing scene when Christ returns to the earth.

This passage gives us a great deal of helpful information about heaven. First, note the number of the redeemed. There is a vast crowd before the throne, so huge that it defies human calculation.

Second, note the variety of the redeemed. There are saints from every nation, tribe, people and language group. Third, note the posture of the redeemed. They are before the throne of God, standing like an army before its Commander in Chief. Fourth, note the appearance of the redeemed. They wear white robes, a symbol of purity, and they hold palm branches, a sign of victory. Fifth, note the song of the redeemed. They sing about salvation that comes from God and from the Lamb. What a picture this is. The saints are redeemed and rejoicing. As Tony Campolo says, if you want to get ready for heaven, go to choir practice!

I think the Apostle John was struck by the immense size of the throng. What do we learn by pondering that unnumbered multitude? Certainly it teaches us that God will not be defeated. There will be no empty thrones in heaven. God will not be satisfied with a handful in heaven while the devil gets the majority. What kind of salvation would that be? Many will be saved.

Many from every nation! God has a quota and the quota will be met. This ought to teach us something about the power of the gospel, about the greatness of God’s heart, and the universality of the church. In this scene we have the end to all sectarianism, the end to all pessimism, and the end to evangelistic discouragement. It’s easy for us to say “Us four and no more” as if somehow sinners are so evil they can’t be saved nowadays. Away with all such poor-meism and unbelief!

I realize that as we look at the cultural decline around us, it’s tempting to conclude that the bad guys are winning. They aren’t. God keeps score in his own way. And even when it looks like he’s losing, he’s not. He only appears to be trailing. But in the end, God wins. And he wins big. There will be more people in heaven than we have dreamed possible because our God is greater than our limited imagination.

This picture of a vast multitude also teaches us that in the end every barrier that separates us will be swept away. Every prejudice will be gone. Every bit of human strife will be left behind and partisan bickering will simply be forgotten. What a good day that will be when all God’s children will meet together around the throne.

 By Ray Stedman

Three key questions to ask as we prayerfully read the scriptures: 

  1. How am I to daily live?
  2. How am I daily living?
  3. What changes or growth do I need to make?

 2 Minutes of SILENT PRAYER & REFLECTION.

 

 

Focus Moment – Jan. 11, 2017

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Silence and Centering

“But the LORD is in his holy temple; let all the earth be silent before him.” (Habakkuk 2:20)

Confession:

God of all mercy, you have marked us as your own; you have given us a new identity and made us part of the body of Christ. In doing so, you have called us to rise to new life and to live together in community. However, we have not been faithful to your call. We have forged our own identity and held to destructive habits. We confess we have failed to welcome others, broken bonds we have had with brothers and sisters, and served ourselves more than you. Forgive us, we pray, for the sake of Christ our Savior. Amen.

PAUSE FOR 2 MINUTES OF SILENCE

“By contrast, the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Against such things there is no law.” Galatians 5:22-23

“God give me patience and give it to me NOW!” Have you ever found yourself impatient with God asking Him in prayer to adhere to your timeframe? God does not answer to us and His timeframe is not ours. Through His inaction, God encourages us to develop patience. Patience is not passive. We don’t just wait for patience to fill us, we need to actively work on it “….and let us run with patience the race that is set before us…” (Heb 12:1). Runners practice constantly to improve their speed, their endurance, their wind and their form. The same is true of patience, we can’t just sit back and wait for God to fill us with that virtue. We are told in Colossians to grow “…in the knowledge of God, being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience…”.

Jesus had a supernatural amount of patience in the Garden of Gethsemane because He knew what was going to happen the next day. That’s why He asked His Father to “…take this cup from me…” (Luke 22:42). He knew the pain and suffering He would bear, yet He patiently endured. Our pain and suffering will never be as much as Jesus’ yet God expects us to bear up so that through our suffering we would be like Jesus who through “…his faith was made complete by what he did”. (James 2:22). So continue to run the race that God has set before you knowing that it won’t always be easy and your patience will be tested. But in the end you will wear the winner’s crown of glory.

Prayer 
Lord, there are days when my Patience is not what it should be, on those days and in those times, fill me with Your Spirit…and Your Patience. Amen

Three key questions to ask as we prayerfully read the scriptures: 

  1. How am I to daily live?
  2. How am I daily living?
  3. What changes or growth do I need to make?

 2 Minutes of SILENT PRAYER & REFLECTION.

 

 

Momento Focus – 1/6/17

devostt

Silencio y centraje

“Estad quietos y sabed que yo soy Dios!- Salmo 46:10

Confesión:

Señor, capturado de nuevo por las exigencias del mundo y nuestras propias inseguridades, nos enfrentamos a un nuevo año, buscando por nuestra fuerza. La Navidad nos recuerda de la alegría de Cristo, pero todavía somos sólo humanos. Queremos cambiar nuestras vidas en este nuevo año, pero parece que cuanto más se intente al menos podemos producir el cambio que buscamos. Nos perdone que buscan la transformación fuera de la gracia. Admitimos que no podemos gestionar nuestras propias vidas, somos impotentes sobre nuestros problemas. Hacemos un llamamiento a vuestra fuerza, mucho más allá de nuestras propias, para restaurar, entregar y nos traen a la gloriosa libertad de los hijos de Dios.

Una pausa de 2 minutos de silencio

“Por el contrario, el fruto del Espíritu es amor, gozo, paz, paciencia, benignidad, bondad, fidelidad, mansedumbre, templanza. Contra tales cosas no hay ley.” Gálatas 5:22-23

Prefieres ser feliz o alegre? La felicidad y la alegría son profundamente diferentes. La felicidad es una emoción mundana, mientras que la alegría es un estado que recibe del Espíritu Santo. Usted puede ser feliz, porque de cosas buenas que le suceden, pero sólo puede ser llenado con el gozo del Espíritu Santo, al permitir que el Espíritu obra en vosotros… incluso cuando las cosas no salen de la manera que usted desea. Jesús “…Quien por el gozo puesto delante de él sufrió la cruz, menospreciando el oprobio, y se sentó a la diestra del trono de Dios” (Hebreos 12:2) se encuentra la alegría en la cruz porque no se sentía bien o era algo que quería experimentar, sino porque el resultado final – nuestra salvación y su regreso a la diestra de Dios Padre. Y el don de la alegría a través de dificultad no fue relegado a Jesús.

Como Pablo escribió a la iglesia de Tesalónica “…para recibir la palabra en medio de muchas tribulaciones, con la alegría del Espíritu Santo” (1 Ts 1:6). Alegría no es dada a nosotros exclusivamente cuando vamos a través de pruebas y tribulaciones. “El Dios de esperanza os llene de todo gozo y paz en el creer, para que por el poder del Espíritu Santo puede rebosar de esperanza” (Rm 15, 13). Alegría trasciende nuestro mundo. La alegría es dado libremente a aquellos que confían en el Señor. La alegría es la comunión con Dios como el Espíritu Santo. Estás permitiendo al Espíritu Santo que le regalo con alegría?

Oración 
Padre, Hijo y Espíritu Santo, nos llene de su alegría, de manera que podamos mostrar al mundo que su alegría trasciende la felicidad momentánea del mundo ofrece. Amén

Tres preguntas clave para nosotros como lectura orante de las escrituras: 

  1. ¿Cómo voy a vivir diariamente?
  2. Cómo soy la vida diaria?
  3. ¿Qué cambios o crecimiento ¿Tengo que hacer?

2 minutos de silencio a la oración y la reflexión.