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First Pres Joliet

A Daily Devotional from our faith community @ firstpresjoliet.org

Month

November 2015

Tough Times and Trust

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“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.”
‭‭Proverbs‬ ‭3:5-6‬ ‭NIV‬‬
http://bible.com/111/pro.3.5-6.

Tough times, anxious moments, scary seasons…are best navigated through trust; trust in One greater than us.  Today build on your trust in the Lord.

Tell God how tough, anxious, and scary life is for you.  Share whatever weighs you down and see what Jesus will do. Lean on him.  Trust and let go of some things.

Listen, learn, and do what the Lord wants.

Agrarian Metaphors

Luke 8:1-14

Try to be honest with yourself, what kind of soil are you?  It seems for me that being good soil is a choice I make every morning.  When I fail to do that, the thorns creep in.

When words make no sense

Dear ones, this past week has been a very emotionally charged week for me. As I am writing this blog my family back home, is saying goodbye to my Aunt Valy, a person so loving and carrying that will always remind me of the good that is in this world. This week I had seen people around me breaking in tears because of someone dear to them is no more, or that someone is in hospital for something unexpected. This week I had seen the world cry and enter in a state of shock when Paris has become the target of terror and destruction. This week I was reminded once again that people all around me suffer because of injustice and prejudice. Picture of migrants children In Europe are filling the news outlets as the world debates its future.

And it is at this point where it seems like words, even words that speak faith and hope, make no more sense. So while I will continue to encourage you to reach out to those around you, and give them a big hug, or show how much they mean to you, I also want to remind you that times like this also bring out the best of who we are. In these times, our prayers become open arms to those around us, in these time our prayers change focus from us to those in need, in times like this tears and unspoken words become the silent prayers that knock at the gates of heaven.

It is at at these times that we hang on to the Hope Of the World, to The one that Gave His All so we can know grace. It is in these times that we remember Jesus’s words:

John 16:33 “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”

Be blessed and be strong, and may God’s peace engulf your heart.

Bo M.

Blessed…..

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How do you care for others?  How have others cared for you?

Today’s Passage:  “Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy.” (Matthew 5:7)

Devotional Thought:  When I think about the word “mercy”, the first thing that comes to mind is our SERVANT values…specifically, Empathy.  Empathy and mercy have a common grounding in compassion.  But it is more than just an idea of compassion…it is giving of ourselves generously to care for others.  Generously giving to those inside the congregation and to those outside…to those whom we know and to those we don’t.  Empathy/mercy is not about a surge of emotion…it is about intentional kindness…  Maybe you’ve taken a meal to someone in need or maybe someone has brought you a meal – for no other reason than generosity in your heart.  We are SERVANTS of Jesus Christ…followers of Christ who do, not for the sake of doing, but doing because it is your foundational attitude of life – it is who you are.  And God shows mercy because of who he is.  We are to be compassionate just as God is compassionate…hear the words of the psalmist: The Lord is merciful and compassionate, very patient, and full of faithful love.  The Lord is good to everyone and everything; God’s compassion extends, to all his handiwork!”  Let us, in turn live lives of generous mercy/empathy towards all as SERVANTS of Jesus Christ.

 

 

Creation is Calling Out…

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Psalm 148 (NIV)

Psalm 148 (The Message)

The Creation, the spectacular stars, sun, moon, mountains and more are calling out to us to acknowledge God!  They utter no words yet in all their wonder and majesty they speak of the One who created them and all things.  They praise God.

“Let them praise the name of God—
it’s the only Name worth praising.
His radiance exceeds anything in earth and sky;
he’s built a monument—his very own people!” (Ps. 148:13-14)

Just as the physical creation “praises the name of God-” so we too in these verses (13-14) are called to “praise” and “exalt” God.

Today, take time to look at the world created by the Lord and give thanks to God.  And remember, we are also called to care for the creation which the Lord has given and called good.  What can you do this weekend to express your gratitude and tend what God has created?

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Work it out.

1 Corinthians 6:4-8

As we’ve studied 1st Corinthians in Youth Group a few things have become clear to me: 1. We’re going to disagree and have disputes. 2.  That’s okay. 3. How we handle these problems is a reflection of our maturity as Christians and our unity in Christ.

Will you make a Christian out of me?

Acts 26:28 The Message (MSG)
28 But Agrippa did answer: “Keep this up much longer and you’ll make a Christian out of me!”

The past few days have been intriguing, to say the least, for me as a Christ follower. In part because the social media told me that as a Christian I cannot enjoy my favorite brew anymore, because the cup it comes in lacks Christmas symbols. And then of course I got to witness the many opinions of many of my friends, waging a fine rhetoric war on the meaning of the cup or the lack of it.

And it is at that point that I asked myself the following question: What makes me a Christian? If I was standing before King Agrippa would my passion for Christ, my desire to reach out and bring the good news of the gospel or my life’s testimony, would any of that convince the king to consider who Christ is?

I would encourage you to consider the following verses as a prayer and maybe as a compass for the coming few weeks, and may the Lord bless you richly.

John 13:35 The Message (MSG)
34-35 “Let me give you a new command: Love one another. In the same way I loved you, you love one another. This is how everyone will recognize that you are my disciples—when they see the love you have for each other.”

Be blessed,

Bo M.

Blessed…

Blessed

What do you think about when you go into the kitchen to get a drink of water?  How about an evening snack from the refrigerator?

Today’s Passage:  “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.” (Matthew 5:6)

Devotional Thought:  We who live in a world in which we can turn on the tap whenever we want water and are able to be confident in finding a snack in the fridge…the experience of hunger and thirst is foreign.  This is one level for which we can understand this passage.  But…thirst is also an image for spiritual longing as seen in passages like Psalm 42:1-2, “As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul . . . thirsts for . . . God.”  We seek to live our lives and live in God’s will knowing that one day we will know the ultimate promise in his great return.  A promise that will fully satisfy all those who have hungered and thirsted. We were created for God and nothing short of his presence satisfies.

 

 

Growing; Putting On & Putting Off

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Colossians 3:1-11(NIV)

Colossians 3:12-17 (NIV)

Growing and maturing as a follower of Jesus has to do with leaving some things behind us and setting our sights on some things ahead.  It’s saying goodbye to the old life and saying yes to the new life.  It’s about a new vision for living; Jesus’ vision. Here in Colossians we are asked to Put Off, that is put to death some things in our life.  Why this?  It’s so we can Put On better things that give life.  It’s about Putting On the life of Jesus each and every day just as put on our clothes each day.  We are asked to let God work in and through us as the Holy Spirit guides us, renews us, and strengthens us.

Here’s the work of Putting Off:  5 Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry. 6 Because of these, the wrath of God is coming. 7 You used to walk in these ways, in the life you once lived. 8 But now you must also rid yourselves of all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language from your lips.

Here’s the effort of Putting On A Better Way of Life: 12 Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. 13 Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. 14 And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.

And here’s what all of this Putting Off and Putting On is for: 17 And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.

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