Of Greater Worth than Gold

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In 1 Timothy 1:5 it says we must love with a sincere faith, which I think means an enduring faith. Our faith is going to be tested, which makes it stronger. In 1 Peter 1:7 it refers to our faith as more precious than gold, which is perishable. The word perishable makes me think of an apple, something that rots quickly and isn’t that important, but gold, that was a form of currency, very important. Also gold isn’t naturally perishable, nothing organic can destroy it, and chemical compounds cannot fully destroy gold. But compared to our faith, gold is meaningless and perishable. 1 Peter 1:7 also says our faith will be tested by fire. To have a strong faith we must go through hardships so we can come out stronger, and by keeping God’s word with us, we can make it through these struggles and have an enduring faith.

-Blair Simon

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How to Have Peace Instead of Anxiety

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Philippians 4:6-7 “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”

My grandma Kenney was widowed in 1946, with 11 children. This was before welfare or food stamps. She had to find a way to support herself and the children. Being a devout Catholic, Theresa found work at the church across the street. Her job was to do the laundry: the church housed 8-10 priests and had daily mass, she was responsible for their laundry and the alter linens. While to some this wasn’t important work she took it very seriously. The same pride she took in starching the alter linens, went into the priest’s boxer shorts!

I knew my grandmother when she was retired, yet she still attended mass as often as she could. Life had been hard, yet she trusted God and his word. She kept her iron and ironing board next to her chair. And on the ironing board was her Bible, and as she talked with visitors, her hand was always on the Bible. To the very end, she brought her needs to God and trusted He would always be there for her.

Take some time to reflect on a person of faith who you admire. Thank God for the example they have provided for you.

-Susan Johnson

Thrive

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Life can be tough, and it can seem like we are facing an uphill climb every day. It can feel like we are going through the motions, and we are just trying to make it to the next weekend, day off, or vacation. We are going through life, and we are just surviving it. I don’t think we were meant to live this way. God wants to live in us and work through us, He wants to give us life. There is an abundance of life in Jesus Christ, one that brings joy, peace, patience, and kindness. We weren’t made to survive – we were made to Thrive.

What does it mean to thrive? When you Thrive in life, you prosper. You grow. You flourish.

Here’s some references of thriving in the Bible:

“I made you thrive like plants of the field. You grew up and matured and became very beautiful. ” -Ezekiel 16:7a

“Not that I speak from want, for I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am. I know how to get along with humble means, and I also know how to live in prosperity; in any and every circumstance I have learned the secret of being filled and going hungry, both of having abundance and suffering need. I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.”

-Philippians 4:11-13

“These things I have spoken to you, so that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world.”

-John 16:33

“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.” -John 10:10

God wants us to have an abundant life. He gives us courage and strength because His Son, Jesus Christ, overcome the world. We are called to thrive like plants in the field! We need to Thrive in our faith and Christian deeds. We need to root ourselves in Christ, and trust God’s plan for our lives. Even when times get tough, we should seek God and point others to God. We should let God be the gardener in our lives and THRIVE.

I don’t know where you are in your walk with Christ. But I do know that our Heavenly Father is calling you to Himself. God is constantly calling you to know Him and to make Him known. Start digging into God’s word and let Him show Himself to you.

Don’t just survive life – Thrive in it.

Brenan Dominguez

Stand Up For Christ

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So far this week, we have discussed topics on having a Christ-centered life, God’s Will vs. our will, why it’s important to worship through singing, and that we all have a purpose. Today we will be discussing the importance of standing up for Christ.

In today’s society, topics such as religion and Christianity are shunned. Some people avoid speaking on the topics and others try to intimidate or harass those who do. This is known as persecution. Christians are being persecuted all over the world. Some even to the point of abuse or death. Christians are being persecuted for worshiping God, believing in Jesus Christ, reading the Bible, or even speaking or practicing the teaching of Christianity.

Do you ever feel uncomfortable mentioning topics about Christianity? Do you feel like you will be in trouble or scrutinized? Those are feelings and thoughts of fear.

“The LORD is for me; I will not fear; What can man do to me?” -Psalm 118:6

“I sought the LORD, and He answered me,

And delivered me from all my fears.”

-Psalm 34:4

We should not let fear overcome us. We should put our faith in God and He will take care of us. He will definitely take care of us if we are glorifying Him, sharing His Word, and standing up for His Son, Jesus Christ. God wants us to stand firm in our faith and proclaim the message of the Gospel.

“And Jesus came up and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” -Matthew 28:19

“Be on the alert, stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong. Let all that you do be done in love.” -1 Corinthians 16:13-14

“Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me.” -John 14:6

By proclaiming the Gospel message and sharing our faith we are standing up for Christ. Jesus Christ is the way, the truth, and the life. No one goes to the Father except through Him. We need Jesus in our lives. We need to follow Him. We need Him as our friend.

We need to stand up for Him. I love the hymn titled “Stand Up, Stand Up for Jesus.”

The first verse sings “Stand Up, stand up for Jesus, Ye soldiers of the cross; Lift high His royal banner, It must not suffer loss; From victory unto victory His army shall He lead, Till every foe is vanquished and Christ is Lord indeed.”

The last verse ends with “To him that overcometh A crown of life shall be; He with the King of glory Shall reign eternally.”

Do you want to reign and live with Jesus Christ eternally in the Kingdom of God? I know I sure do!

We need to stand up for Christ now, so we can stand with Christ in His Father’s Kingdom which will be established on earth.

Today I encourage you to not fret, worry, or live in fear. God is for us. Jesus Christ died for us. And now we need to live for Him! Share the Gospel message, live a life that represents Jesus, and stand up for Christ!

-Brenan Dominguez

Devoured by a Lion

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1 Peter 5

So far this week, we have looked at the physical healing of a blind man and the mental healing of a demon possessed man. Today we’re going to look at emotional healing.

Let’s start by looking at verse 8. It says that the Devil, our enemy, is hunting for someone to devour. How many of you have ever felt like you’ve been devoured? I’m sure none of you have ever been eaten by a lion, but I don’t think that’s what this verse is talking about. This verse is talking about being devoured by the world, by our obligations, by our worries. I know I have felt absolutely overwhelmed by my school work, pressures from my friend groups and parents. If you want to talk about being overwhelmed, just look at Jesus’ life.

In verse 5 it mentions the sufferings of Jesus. We know that Jesus had the burdens of the entire world placed on him. That puts our problems into perspective a little, doesn’t it? While we worry about who we’re going to eat lunch with tomorrow, He was worrying about being betrayed by one of his closest friends. While we worry if we’ll be able to play on our school’s basketball team, He was worrying about being sentenced to death by the world that he was supposed to save.

I don’t draw attention to this to diminish our feelings, but it is important to put things in a proper context and to humble ourselves. In verse 6, it says that we need to humble ourselves so that we can be exalted at the proper time. Sometimes it feels like we are being devoured for so long without receiving any help from our God. We think that no one knows how much we are suffering under the stress of our worries and we doubt that God cares. But God does care, and you are not alone. We need to be firm in our faith that God will heal all of us of our emotional pain (vs 9).

Here’s the beautiful part of this chapter: it feels like we must wait forever to receive emotional healing, but God promises us right here in verse 10 that He will personally restore, establish, strengthen and support us after we have suffered. He will heal us.

Today I’m going to leave you with some additional verses. Just read them and soak in all they promise.

Revelation 21:4

Psalm 147:3

John 14:27

Psalm 34:17-20

Matthew 11:28

Psalm 34:19

 

-Nathaniel Johnson

More Letters for You

 

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God’s Word has so much wisdom, teaching and blessing for us today.  We are not so different from the early church and the words that God gave the writers of the New Testament letters still very much apply to us today.  If God were to send a letter to you today –  which of His New Testament letters would he send to you?   Don’t forget to read God’s Mail to you today!

Today we will be looking at the 8 books called the General Epistles (or Letters) which make up the 4th division of New Testament books.   There is a lot of wisdom in these books.

Hebrews – Jesus is Better than…Anything!

It is unknown who wrote the book of Hebrews, though some suggest it may have been Paul.  It was written to remind and convince the Jewish Christians that Jesus is the Messiah.  It appears the Jewish Christians had already endured much persecution for their faith in Jesus – perhaps rejection by their Jewish family and friends who didn’t accept Jesus as the Messiah.  Some were rethinking their commitment to Jesus and were thinking of returning to their Jewish roots and Old Testament law.  The author of Hebrews was writing to show that Jesus is superior to the prophets, angels, Moses, the priests and the whole Old Testament law.  Jesus is the NEW high priest who made the ultimate, perfect sacrifice so we could enter a new and living covenant with God.  The book was written to encourage the Jewish Christians to not give up, to persevere in their new faith and to “hold unswervingly to the hope we profess for he who promised is faithful.” (10:23).

James – Faith in Action

This book was written by James, the brother of Jesus and a leader of the early church in Jerusalem.  The five short chapters that make up the book of James are sometimes compared to the Old Testament book of Proverbs because it contains so much wisdom.  In this letter, James teaches several short sermons on how to live a Christian life on a daily basis.  Over half of the verses contain a command or instruction for Christian brothers and sisters – such as “If any of you lacks wisdom he should ask God,” and, “Everyone should be quick to listen and slow to speak and slow to become angry.”  James stresses the importance of LIVING out your faith – with actions consistent with your Christian faith.  It is not enough to say you are a Christian and you love God and your neighbor.  You must DO it daily.  If Hebrews tells us WHY to become a Christian (because Jesus is better than…), then James is where we learn HOW to be a Christian.

1st & 2nd Peter – Stand Against Trouble

Written by Simon Peter, one of the disciple who, with his brother Andrew, left his nets to follow Jesus.  Peter was far from perfect (denied Jesus 3 times), but he would be the ROCK on which the church would be built – and we see that taking place in the book of Acts.  In 1st Peter he is writing to encourage the church that is being persecuted by the Roman Empire.  He writes, “Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.  Be self-controlled and alert.  Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.  Resist him, standing firm in the faith.”  (1 Peter 5:7,8).  We would be wise to remember and live by these words as well.

1st, 2nd & 3rd John – This is Love

Written by John, the disciple and close friend to Jesus who also wrote the gospel of John.  In the 5 chapters of 1st John, the word ‘love’ is used 35 times and it also reoccurs in the next two letters several times as well.  The “beloved disciple” John, writes of God’s love, and our love for God – as well as our love for our brothers and sisters.  John emphasizes that in order to love God we must obey his commands – which means loving others.

Jude – Beware of False Teachers

Written by Jude who identifies himself as James’ brother (perhaps making him also Jesus’ half-brother).  It would just about be quicker , and no doubt much better, to read Jude’s book of 24 verses than to read my overview.  He says he would have liked to write about salvation available to all believers, but instead he felt the need to warn the church of the importance of testing those in the church to see if they are saying or doing anything contrary to God’s Word.  He writes of immoral men using God’s grace as a license for follow their own evil desires.  He likens them to the residents of Sodom and Gomorrah, and says a similar fate awaits them.  He urges the church to remain true to their faith and to “snatch others from the fire” (verse 23).

 

God’s got a lot to say to you because He loves you and wants to see you in His Kingdom – more on that tomorrow!

 

Don’t Let it Sit Unread in Your Mailbox!

-Marcia Railton

Do Not Be Deceived

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This chapter talks about the coming of the Lord Jesus. It tells us not to be alarmed by others saying that the day of the Lord has already come. We are not to be deceived. This chapter mentions several things that need to happen before Jesus returns.

  • Rebellion occurs
  • The man of lawlessness will be revealed; he will set himself up in God’s temple and proclaim he is God.

When the lawless one is revealed, the Lord Jesus will overthrow him with the breath of his mouth and destroy him. Satan will display counterfeit miracles, signs and wonders to try to deceive us all. We need to be ready.  We need to anchor ourselves in the word of God, watching for these things. Stand strong in your faith and do not be deceived. I am going to end this devotional with verses 16-17:

May our Lord Jesus Christ himself and God our Father, who loved us and by his grace gave us eternal encouragement and good hope, encourage your hearts and strengthen you in every good deed and word.

 

Tomorrow we will talk about 2nd Thessalonians 3.

 

Many Blessing,

~The Ransom’s