Giving It Your All

When Working for Him

2 Chronicles 4 18 NIV

1 Kings 7 & 2 Chronicles 4

After the temple was built, Solomon built his palace.  When I read through this, my first thought was that he had his priorities right in building God’s house first, but why did he spend more time building his palace?  It doesn’t directly say, but I can guess from what is missing, that there wasn’t the eager readiness of someone to provide all the materials and laborers for this.  Another reason the commentaries say is because there wasn’t the same sense of urgency in completing the task.  The one for God – utmost importance, need to get this done!  The one for Solomon, they get it done, but the timing isn’t as important.  So that brought my thinking again to priorities as with Proverbs.  Do I put God’s work first?  Do I approach it with a great sense of urgency?  I wish I could say yes, but I don’t think that is often the case.  I need to make sure that how I am choosing to spend my time is lining up with what I say my priorities are.

Then we are back to temple (or if you are reading the 2 Chronicles account, you never left that).  It is talking about the furnishings – again, if it is hard for you to visualize, look up a picture!  It makes reading it easier.

This description is again so specific but speaks to the intricacies of what was being done to prepare the temple of God.  This had to take so much preparation, and then the work that went into all the details was intense too.  This wasn’t being done halfway.  They really were trying to build, to the best of their human abilities, something to truly glorify God.

When we do something for God, do we put our full effort into it?  Or do we just get it done?  When we aren’t excited about something, I think sometimes we just aim to get the task done.  And it may need to be done.  But I don’t think that brings joy to God the way it would if we gave it our all.  God may still be glorified through our work, but for me at least, I don’t feel the same.  If I didn’t put my full effort in, I can tell, even if others can’t.  I want to please God in what I do, and I think He is most pleased when I am putting in 100% effort.

So put your full effort into what you are doing today!  See what kind of difference it makes for you.

 

~Stephanie Fletcher

 

Today’s Bible passage can be read or listened to at https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=1+Kings+7%2C+2+Chronicles+4&version=NIV

Tomorrow’s reading will be 1 Kings 8 and 2 Chronicles 5 as we continue on our 2020 Chronological Bible Reading Plan

Serving with Your Gifts

Luke 19

Luke 19_3a
(This devotion was accidentally sent out earlier this week, but here it it again – on the day we are “supposed” to be reading Luke 19. )
Hey my name is Jesse Allen I am the Youth Pastor at Blood River Church of God in Springfield Louisiana. I am so impressed with our next 7 devotions for the FUEL Bible reading! These next devotions come from Students of the Blood River Church of God Youth Group. The devotions are on Luke 14-20. We are so glad you are able to read them and I pray you may be blessed by them!
 
Hey I am Brian and I love playing football, going fishing and riding atvs.  I’m glad to have an opportunity to talk to you about Luke 19:1-10 As football season started this year, I earned the spot of quarterback. I was excited and knew that it would be a good year. Through a series of unfortunate events, I had to move away for four weeks rights in the middle of the season. When I returned, I was a little like Zacchaeus (and not because I am short – I’m not) because I had to find a way to stand out and earn back the position that had been given to someone else. Zacchaeus had to climb a tree to stand out above the crowd. I had to work harder than everyone else to prove that I deserved the position for the rest of the season. Bryan
 
Hey I am Olivia, I have a younger sister and brother and an older brother. I was born in Indiana but moved to Louisiana in the 3rd grade. I love animals and want to be a vet. I enjoy sports and being active, I am a proud member of the Blood River Church of God family. 
Last summer I got the chance to go on a mission trip to Panama. While I was there we had a VBS program going for the kids. Before the trip I didn’t see how being good with kids could help me serve God and glorify him. As we went through the week more and more kids started coming and that led to more chances to spread and share the Gospel with them. Luke 19:16-19 Is the parable of the Minas and servants. In this parable the Servants use their gifts to increase their minas and they prosper but the one who did nothing got his mina taken away and it was given to the one who had the most. This story focuses on why we should use our gifts to increase God’s kingdom and to serve others so God may be glorified. What are you doing with your gifts to glorify God?  

God Willing

Proverbs 16

Proverbs 16 3 4 NIV

Whenever I tucked him in, I would tell him I’d see him the next time I worked. He’d tell me, “God willing and the creek don’t rise!” He was about 80 years old, living in the nursing home where I worked. He had a lifetime of wisdom and colloquialisms.  I had not heard that phrase before meeting him but immediately appreciated the meaning.

Due to modern transportation infrastructure, rising creeks don’t ruin our plans as often as they used to. However, our lives, no matter how modern, are truly in God’s hands. Proverbs 16: 1, 3, 4, 9 and 33 specifically discuss the plans we make. No matter what we do and what we plan to do, God will ultimately guide these plans or even change them.

Verse 3 is a bit of a struggle for me. I’ve made plans I thought were for God, but they didn’t turn out the way I thought they should. They didn’t succeed, at least not in my mind. But in the very next verse it states that the LORD works out everything for His own ends. Sometimes I clearly see through hindsight how my failed plans served God.

But not every time, I’m still working through that. During a particularly hard time in my life, I defeatedly told my aunt that maybe I’d figure out WHY this all happened when I entered the kingdom. Her response was perfect. “And then it won’t matter.” WOW!!! What a gift! What a promise! Our dashed hopes and failed plans will fall away when we see Christ!!! Nothing else will matter!  Reading Revelation 21 makes me tear up with excitement!

In the meantime, God, through the proverbial writers, gives us instructions on the behaviors and plans that destroy (verses 4, 5, 18, 22, 25, 27-30) and the behaviors and plans that build up (verses 6, 8, 10-14, 16, 17, 19, 20, 21, 23, 24, 26, 32, and 32). Plan to build up others and glorify God!

One of the other reasons I appreciated and remembered “God willing and the creek don’t rise,” is because it reminds me of Dr. Joe Martin. Whenever he speaks of his plans, he adds, “God willing.” This is a sincere example of what trusting God with every area of life looks like.

I truly hope to see all of you at FUEL 2020.

God willing and the creek don’t rise!

Maria Knowlton

Serve God With a Good Attitude

I Peter 5

1 Peter 5 2 3 NIV

There is an old Amish proverb that goes something like this:  There are two kinds of leaders: those who are interested in the flock, and those who are interested in the fleece.  In the first part of I Peter 5 there is an admonition given to pastors but it is applicable to all those  who hold leadership roles anywhere.  Leaders are to lead by example.  They are not to be dictators with an accompanying attitude but rather directors who are always directing people in the case of pastors toward Christ, and for other leaders directing people toward the greater vision with a humble attitude.

Peter encourages us and the early believers to honor one another and treat each other respectfully.  Have you ever been around someone who frequently ‘tooted their own horn’?   How annoying is that?  Does it make you want to follow that person’s lead or make you like that person very much?  Think about social media posts you have seen  like this, or maybe even posted yourself.  One Christian leader appropriately called out some posts  as the ‘humble brag’ and targeted how annoying and self-serving  they are.  As Christian brothers and sisters no one should toot their own horn but rather let others give them any due recognition.  Peter reminds us in verse 5 that God hates pride but appreciates true humility.

In serving God with a humble attitude and living a righteous life we can expect to have some opposition.  Opposition can have two effects: either failure, or strength and growth.  In the end of the chapter Peter points out that our adversary the devil  would like to see us fail, and is just waiting to help us to our demise –  but by staying the course God will give us victory.  The admonition for us is to stand firm in our faith and righteousness so that we may glorify God in this life and thus overcome the evil one.

-Merry Peterson

 

 

Worship God with your Heart and Voice

Acts 16 25

Free theme week: Worship
Chapter reading for the day: Acts 16

Singing is usually the first thing that comes to mind when people think of worship.
However, singing is not just some common and mundane practice that believers do
when they gather, say on a Sunday. Actually the Bible teaches that singing praises to
God and Jesus is incredibly powerful and moving and has consequences in the
supernatural realm.
The difference between worship music that is alive and worship music that is dead is
based on two things. 1. The hearts of the music leader and/or band are not in the right
place and they will not be authentic and genuine in their worship. And 2. because their
hearts are far from God, God will not dwell and inhabit their praises meaning the spirit of God will not move in them or through them. Inversely, if the music leader/band’s heart is ready to praise God and solely be devoted to his glory then God will inhabit their
praises, the spirit will be moving, and exciting things will happen. When speaking about
praising God through our voice it is imperative that our heart be in the right place. God
doesn’t want a voice to sing to him. He desires a heart overflowing with love and
worship that manifest in singing praises. There’s a difference.
With that being said we’ll look at Acts 16.22-34. I won’t type out the passage but I’ll
summarize it. In Acts 16 Paul and Silas are in the city of Thyatira. While preaching a
slave girl was following them praising their work. However, she was demon-possessed
and was being a hindrance to their work. Paul cast the demon out of her and her
owner became furious. Paul and Silas were arrested, beaten, and thrown into prison.
Then read what happens next as they are in jail:
“But about midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns of praise to God,
and the prisoners were listening to them; and suddenly there came a great earthquake,
so that the foundations of the prison house were shaken; and immediately all the doors
were opened and everyone’s chains were unfastened.” – Acts 16.25-26
Paul and Silas were singing songs of praise and were praying prayers of praise. Despite
their circumstances, their hearts were solely set on God and praising him. The result
was God caused an earthquake, the inmates were set free, and the jailer and his family
were saved.
Setting aside the circumstances and details of the story, we see two men praise God
wholeheartedly and their worship in the natural realm moves God in the supernatural
realm to affect their current circumstances. We see from this account that singing and
praying can actually move the heart of God. Our worship in the natural can make waves
in the supernatural.
We see the same principle in II Chronicles 20.1-23 (please read). Worship can move
mountains in the supernatural realm. Singing can be a weapon used against the enemy
and dark spiritual forces. Our warfare in the supernatural is waged by singing and praying. Praising God and Jesus with our voice does not have to be mundane and
routine though sometimes it can be. Rather, singing has the ability to make waves in the
supernatural realm, move God, and wage war against the enemy. But this is only
possible with a sold-out heart seeking the glory of God. A heart that praises him in all
circumstances and gives him glory in all seasons of life. That is the kind of worship that
God responds to.

-Jacob Rohrer

Worship is Not a Song

Romans 12 1 (1)

THEME WEEK BREAK – WORSHIP .  (Next Sunday we will continue with our chapter by chapter New Testament devotions in the book of Romans)

Today’s Reading – Romans 12

The topic for this week’s devotion is one that God has been teaching me about for the last few years. That is the topic of worship. This is an immensely broad topic with many details and facets to it. But don’t worry, given the devotion format of this I will keep it concise, streamlined, and bring out only essential points. With that being said, I pray this will broaden our understanding of worship and convict us to live a more consecrated worshipful life for God and Jesus and live the best life God has for us!

What is worship? From what I read in the Bible and what God has taught me, worship is having the right heart condition that loves him and desires him to be glorified in every aspect of our life. Equally important is the understanding that biblical worship is worship that engages that whole person. This brings me to making a critical point. If you forget everything else or don’t read the rest of these devotions remember this: WORSHIP IS NOT A SONG IT IS A LIFESTYLE. Biblical worship engages the body, mind, heart, and soul. God desires his people to worship him and Jesus with everything they are in every aspect of their existence with the right heart condition motivating it all. This is what I believe biblical worship is.

Two foundational verses that speak to this topic are Deuteronomy 6.5 and Romans 12.1-2 (all bible quotations will come from the NASB) :

Deuteronomy 6.5:

“You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might”

Romans 12.1-2:

“Therefore, I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship. And do not be conformed to this world but be transformed by the renewing of your mind so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable, and perfect.”

Take a moment to examine your understanding of worship. Do you think of worship as just a song or prayer? Do you worship God and Jesus with every aspect of your existence? Something I forgot to mention at the beginning was why should this matter at all? God has created us to worship him. Worship is central and essential in a believer’s life and walk. To live the best possible life God has for us in this lifetime is inextricably tied to worship.

-Jacob Rohrer

 

About Jacob: Jacob is an assistant pastor and worship pastor at Lawrenceville church of God. Currently he is engaged and will be getting married this June.

Who I Am

l jones mon

“But by God’s grace I am what I am, and His grace towards me was not ineffective…”

1 Corinthians 15:10

 

It is easy for us to focus on our inequities. It is easy to dwell on our shortcomings, failures, and insecurities. The truth is the world thrives on the failures of others. One’s shortcoming is another’s gain. The world tells us to find our worth in relationships, friendships, and our careers.

 

But, the truth is that we weren’t created to find sufficiency in any of these things. We were created to glorify God and follow in the footsteps of his Son, Jesus Christ.

 

I know it sounds cliché, but we can only find our true worth in God. He is the only one who looks at us, can count the hairs on our head, wipe the tears from our eyes, and see us for what we are actually worth.

 

We are who we are. God created each of us in a unique, precious way that should be celebrated. None of us are perfect. And, all of us will fail. But, it is important to realize that even though we haven’t earned it, the God we serve will give us grace and favor.

 

This week, we are going to dive into what it means to find empowerment and confidence in God. Because, when it comes down to it, we cannot experience true joy without him.

 

-Leslie Jones

Flawed – Intro by Lacey Dunn

Ro3

Happy Monday everyone! Today, you are getting two awesome posts from Lacey Dunn!

Sometimes, we don’t know why God uses characters in the Bible. But, when we look at the people’s lives in the Bible, as well as our own, we can recognize how God can work in the flawed lives of everyone to make them into something beautiful and glorifying to him. Check out Lacey’s introduction in the video below:

 

The memory verse for this week is Romans 3:23-24.

For our email followers, click through this link to view the video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DxaNnsSsNlI&feature=youtu.be

 

But I Want What I Want! (Judges 12-15)

Tuesday, October 4

samson-pic
Shelby Upton
In Judges 12-15 Samson is set apart before birth to be a man of God and his mother remained faithful in the Lord’s instruction. In the following account of his life there are some really strange stories–mostly including animals… the lion, the bees, the foxes, the donkey. Need I go on?
I see Samson’s actions and read and I can’t help but wonder–what was he thinking? You were set apart by God and you are running around doing ridiculous things! At the heart of many of these acts I think Samson’s passion and pride get the best of him.  When Samson sees the Philistine woman in spite of his parent’s suggestion and the fact that she didn’t share his faith he says “I want her!” and gets her.
He thinks he is sooo clever and comes up with a riddle to taunt the Philistines which does nothing but stir up trouble. In these accounts I see Samson using his strength and cunning to serve his own passions and agendas–not to glorify God. Even though the Spirit of the Lord was on Samson to serve God’s purposes I can’t help but come back to Samson’s impulsive selfishness.
God’s blessing does not give us the right to use the gifts he has given us for our own amusement or to do things that go outside of his laws.  What God has given us needs to be used to glorify him in righteousness. Although Samson did some pretty awesome things we need to continue to focus on using our God given gifts to bless God in humility with his direction.