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February 6, 2017, 12:00 AM

Monday's Devotional

Good Morning Everyone,

Let's look at James 1:1

"My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials."

Persecution was the most common trial among Jewish believers in James’s time. Today, a trial can be a number of things: the loss of a job, a divorce, trouble with our children, severe financial strain, illness or death in the family, or relational problems over which we seem to have little control. Though our trials may not seem as severe as the persecution of James’s day, note that James does not say "if" we encounter trials, but "when" we encounter trials. And when these trials come, our first strategy, according to James, is to "count it all joy."

To count, or consider, it all joy in the midst of our trials is to respond with a deliberate, intelligent appraisal of our situation. We must learn to look at our situation from God’s perspective and recognize that, though the trial is not a happy experience in itself, it is God’s way of producing something of great value. The word "count" means "to think in terms of the future." James is not saying we are to rejoice over pain, but we are to rejoice because God’s purposes are being accomplished in our lives.

Bro. Paul

February 3, 2017, 12:00 AM

Friday's Devotional

Good Morning Everyone,

Let's look at John 4:35

"Lift up your eyes and look at the fields, for they are already white for harvest!"

Tennessee pastor Robert Shockey doesn’t believe in chance encounters. To him, every contact is an opportunity to evangelize. When he answers the phone, for example, and hears the person on the other end saying, "Sorry, I must have the wrong number," Bob responds: "Maybe not!"

Usually there is a pause on the line, followed by something like, "What do you mean?" That gives Shockey an opening to initiate a conversation about the gospel. He has led more than one person to faith in Christ that way.

Evangelist Billy Graham once answered the phone in his hotel room. The person on the other end asked for so-and-so, and Mr. Graham told him he had the wrong number. There was a pause, and the person said, "You sure sound a lot like Billy Graham."

"This is Billy Graham," replied the evangelist. During the ensuing conversation, the caller gave his life to Christ.

There are opportunities to witness for Christ all around us, some in unexpected places. We are ambassadors for Christ—harvesters—witnesses. Perhaps the Holy Spirit will lead you to someone today who needs a word from the Lord.

Bro. Paul

February 2, 2017, 12:00 AM

Thursday's Devotional

Good Morning Everyone,

Let's look at Psalm 139:13

"For you formed my inward parts; You covered me in my mother’s womb."

God knew you before you were born. He knows the moment when you were conceived. In every phase of development, from that moment on, He is there. The human embryo is not the result of a biological accident. God is aware of the union of the sperm and the egg and the attachment of the embryo to the uterine lining and the development of human life. God formed the inward parts and arranged the genetic structure. God knows about that human life and loves that human life from the very moment of its union.

In every cell of your body there is enough information to recreate your adult person as if no other cell were necessary. And every time that cell divides in the process of your growth, all the information contained in each cell is part of the division. Someone has reasoned that if all of the instructions in the DNA of one cell were written out, it would take 1,000 600-page books to put all that information down. And God put it in a cell that no one can see without magnification. And it’s in every cell of your body. God did it so you would have your identity. You are unique. You are individually precious to God.

Bro. Paul

February 1, 2017, 12:00 AM

Wednesday's Devotional

Good Morning Everyone,

Let's look at John 11:25–26

"Jesus said to her, "I am the resurrection and the Life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live. And whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die.""

The King of kings came into the world humbly. He was born in a stable, His cradle a feed trough. In His thirty-three years of earthly life, He owned no possessions. He had to depend on others to provide for His needs, and He had to borrow everything He used. The stable where He was born was borrowed. He borrowed money to pay His taxes, a boat to stand in and preach, a cross on which to die. Even His tomb was not His own.

But He had a mission that He alone could accomplish: He, the Son of Man, came "to seek and to save that which was lost" (Luke 19:10). He bore our sins "in His own body on the tree" that in the age to come we might have eternal life (1 Peter 2:24, Mark 10:29–30, and John 3:13–17). Of Himself He says, "I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live. And whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die" (John 11:25–26). He "put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself … so Christ was offered once to bear the sins of many.… We have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all" (Hebrews 9:26–10:10).

Bro. Paul

January 31, 2017, 12:00 AM

Tuesday's Devotional

Good Morning Everyone,

Let's look at John 4:23

"The hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for the Father is seeking such to worship Him."

When Lawrence of Arabia was in Paris with some of his Arab friends after World War I, he took them to see the sights of the city. His friends showed little interest in the Louvre, the Arch of Triumph, or Napoleon’s tomb. The thing that really interested them was the faucet in their bathtub. They spent much time turning it on and off; they thought it was wonderful. All they had to do was turn the handle and they could get all the water they wanted.

When they were leaving Paris, Lawrence found them in the bathroom with wrenches, trying to get the faucet off so they could take it with them. "You see," they said, "it is very dry in Arabia. What we need are faucets. If we have them, we will have all the water we want." Lawrence had to explain to them that the effectiveness of the faucet depended on the water system to which it was attached.

Our study of worship reminds us that the effectiveness of all that we do in the church is not to be found in outward activity or service, but in the One who stands behind it. The One whom we serve. The One deserving of our worship.

Bro. Paul

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