Friday, March 30, 2012

Devotional Tidbits, March 15-30, 2012

Thursday March 15 – Friday March 30, 2012
Devotional Recap

I have returned from our Route 66 vacation, and will first of all update my Devotional Tidbits on this blog. Soon to follow, I hope, will be my Route 66 update. It was a great trip, and God was with us all the way, keeping us safe, and bringing joy and laughter to our hearts...a good time to be with the family and escape the daily work routine for a week and a half.
The Word for You Today
1. “Draw on His Power within You”
  • Now all glory to God, who is able, through his mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think. (Eph 3:20)
· God knew us before we were born, and there is nothing about us that surprises Him.
· God set us apart to be different…to be used in His service.
· Studying God’s Word will bring the renewal of our minds and instill the life changing power within us.
2. “If You Persist, You Will Prevail”
  • So let’s not get tired of doing what is good. At just the right time we will reap a harvest of blessing if we don’t give up. (Gal 6:9)
· Work according to your standards, not your moods.
· Self-discipline is necessary for success.
· Purpose and persistence leads to success.
3. “Do You Love God’s Word?”
  • Heaven and earth will disappear, but my words will never disappear. (Matt 24:35)
· We have to do more than just respect the Bible, we must read it and practice it.
4. “A Branch and a Bride”
  • “Yes, I am the vine; you are the branches. Those who remain in me, and I in them, will produce much fruit. For apart from me you can do nothing. (John 15:5)
· The branch is continually getting its nutrition from the vine for its growth and survival.
· A marriage consists of open communication and honesty, a tenderness of sharing joys and hurts. God wants that kind of relationship with us.
5. “The Need to Be Accountable”
  • In those days Israel had no king; all the people did whatever seemed right in their own eyes. (Judges 17:6)
· Have a person who is wise and trustworthy to whom you can go to share your struggles and overcome them.
· The philosophy of “don’t tell me what to do” has no checks and balances, and our humanity takes over, leading us into all kinds of addictions and destructive behaviors.
· God offers us a support system by having moral laws to follow as guide lines, and providing people to share accountability with.
6. “How Badly Do You Want It?”
  • “Dear woman,” Jesus said to her, “your faith is great. Your request is granted.” And her daughter was instantly healed. (Matt. 15:28)
7. “Why People Leave the Church”
  • A few days later this younger son packed all his belongings and moved to a distant land, and there he wasted all his money in wild living. (Luke 15:13)
· If God’s love can’t hold you, He won’t force you to be obedient to Him.
· God finds pleasure in willing obedience, not conformance to religious rules.
· Just like the prodigal son, Father God anxiously awaits our return.
· We believe, and we know you are the Holy One of God. (John 6:69)
· People don’t want to follow the rules, but all love relationships require submission and discipline.
· So let’s stop condemning each other. Decide instead to live in such a way that you will not cause another believer to stumble and fall. (Romans 14:13)
· People leave the church because of church members’ attitudes of judgment.
· Critical, callous, and controlling Christians drive people away from the church.
8. “Stop Short-Changing Your Family”
  • Seventy years are given to us!
    Some even live to eighty.
    But even the best years are filled with pain and trouble;
    soon they disappear, and we fly away.
    (Ps. 90:10)
· Is it your priority to spend over time on the job, or hours with your loved ones?
· You need to be in charge of your time, and not let it manage you.
· Sometimes you need to “be” instead of “do”.
9. “Handling Criticism the Right Way
  • Everything in me will celebrate when you speak what is right. (Prov 23:16)
· If the critic is someone you respect, listen to him.
· Learn to laugh at yourself and not be so serious
· Determine if the criticism was meant to help or hut you, and ignore the hurtful kind.
· For God called you to do good, even if it means suffering, just as Christ suffered for you. He is your example, and you must follow in his steps. He never sinned, nor ever deceived anyone. He did not retaliate when he was insulted, nor threaten revenge when he suffered. He left his case in the hands of God, who always judges fairly.
· When you are tired, you are more vulnerable, and the devil knows that. He will take advantage of it, so be cautious of being over sensitive to criticism.
· Jesus Himself was criticized by those who didn’t understand Him or who He was.
· Guard your attitudes...give the criticism to God and walk forward.
· Avoiding a fight is a mark of honor; only fools insist on quarreling. (Prov 20:3)
· What shall we say about such wonderful things as these? If God is for us, who can ever be against us? (Rom 8:31)
· Be like a duck, keep paddling and let the water run off your back.
· It is better to try and fail than not try at all.
· Learn from mistakes, but keep focused on the mission.
· Failures must become building blocks, not road blocks.
· Fly above your critics instead of stooping to their level.
· Let your attitude be one that attracts others, instead of being defensive.
10. “Decisions, Decisions, Decisions”
  • Show me the right path, O Lord; point out the road for me to follow. (Ps 25:4)
· Research the facts
· Pray for guidance
· Get fresh insight through the wisdom of God
· Ask trusted friends
Sparking Gems from the Greek

Ephesians 6:14-15

New Living Translation (NLT)
Stand your ground, putting on the belt of truth and the body armor of God’s righteousness. For shoes, put on the peace that comes from the Good News so that you will be fully prepared.
· The peace of God is a protective agent against the devil…it helps you to keep marching forward and not be hurt by negative events.
· The peace of God holds you in place when satan tries to push you around.
· The peace of God allows you to step out in faith and keep marching forward.

Hebrews 6:12

New Living Translation (NLT)
Then you will not become spiritually dull and indifferent. Instead, you will follow the example of those who are going to inherit God’s promises because of their faith and endurance.
· “follow the example” – imitate, think, act, walk like the one your are following
· Observe people of faith, and behave like them, imitate their faith and patience

2 Timothy 2:2

New Living Translation (NLT)
You have heard me teach things that have been confirmed by many reliable witnesses. Now teach these truths to other trustworthy people who will be able to pass them on to others.
· Do not focus on the failure of others who have let you down. Search for new relationships so that you may continue using your gifts for God’s glory.

1 Timothy 1:6

New Living Translation (NLT)
But some people have missed this whole point. They have turned away from these things and spend their time in meaningless discussions.
· A pig-headed attitude ruins progress.
· “turned away from” – a medical term meaning a bone out of joint, which is a major source of paint and irritation to the whole body
· A person has to decide on his own to repent and become a joy to those around him.
· Stay open-minded and correctable, and have a humble spirit.

1 Corinthians 15:58

New Living Translation (NLT)
So, my dear brothers and sisters, be strong and immovable. Always work enthusiastically for the Lord, for you know that nothing you do for the Lord is ever useless.
· “immovable” – not easily shaken, not changeable, unbending in character, having an attitude that is grounded, established, rock-solid, stable
· You must be tougher than the problems you will face to survive and see your dream realized
· All great achievers share the attitude of being dependable, stable, constant, and unyielding in the face of challenge
· Satan will try to trip you up when you try to accomplish things for the Lord, using other people in many ways to discourage you; so you must be committed to accomplishing the task God has called you to do.
· Have a non-negotiable attitude of absolute determination to accomplish the tasks before you.

Hebrews 10:23

New Living Translation (NLT)
Let us hold tightly without wavering to the hope we affirm, for God can be trusted to keep his promise.
· “hold tightly” – to embrace something tightly
· Never stop believing and pursing your God-given dream – hold tight and refuse to let go.

1 Corinthians 14:40

New Living Translation (NLT)
But be sure that everything is done properly and in order.
· “order” – in a fitting way, well planned, organized, respectful, polite, well-mannered
· Our manner of worship is not based on type of worship, but manner – respectful, well planned…what is the intent and motivation?
· God cares more about our hearts than our style of worship…we must have an open, pure heart.
· We must learn to appreciate all the “flavors” of worship…the variety.

2 Timothy 1:3

New Living Translation (NLT)
Timothy, I thank God for you—the God I serve with a clear conscience, just as my ancestors did. Night and day I constantly remember you in my prayers.
· Pray fervently for others, erecting “statues” in haven for that person, as a reminder to God of that person’s needs.
· Even after the praying person dies, his prayers live on because prayers are permanent and ever lasting.

John 15:7

New Living Translation (NLT)
But if you remain in me and my words remain in you, you may ask for anything you want, and it will be granted!
· “ask” – adamant in requesting – expecting the request to be fulfilled

Ephesians 6:14

New Living Translation (NLT)
Stand your ground, putting on the belt of truth and the body armor of God’s righteousness.
· The “belt” holds the other weapons together; for the Christian the belt is the Word of God – the truth.
· When the Word of God is central in my life, I will e an effective Christian.
· When God’s Word dominates my thinking, I have peace when the enemy tried to attack me.

Romans 16:20

New Living Translation (NLT)
The God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet. May the grace of our Lord Jesus be with you.
· “crush” – trampling on the devil so he is beyond recognition
· The enemy has not authority to control me.

Matthew 25:19

New Living Translation (NLT)
After a long time their master returned from his trip and called them to give an account of how they had used his money.
· Everyone will give an account for his life on judgment day.
· Live knowing you must answer for what you do.
· Live to please Jesus so there is no fear when you must stand before Him for review.

1 Corinthians 9:24

New Living Translation (NLT)
Don’t you realize that in a race everyone runs, but only one person gets the prize? So run to win!
· Each of us have a designated race to run.
· We only accomplish winning by discipline, being in balance and being totally committed to the race.
· We are in the race of faith, and the crowds look on to see how we are doing.
· We must run our race in such a way that others are encouraged to join us in pursuing their own destiny for God.
· Those who run the race have one thought…to cross the finish line…they are focused on that.
· To win the race, we must remove the distractions and keep our eyes on the prize of completing the race faithfully, and accomplishing God’s plan for our lives.

2 Timothy 2:5

New Living Translation (NLT)
And athletes cannot win the prize unless they follow the rules.
· Tough times tests our commitment and reveals who we are.
· Give God all you have and never stop until the task is completed.

Romans 8:26

New Living Translation (NLT)
And the Holy Spirit helps us in our weakness. For example, we don’t know what God wants us to pray for. But the Holy Spirit prays for us with groanings that cannot be expressed in words.
· The Holy Spirit is our rescuer/deliverer. He sees our dilemma/need, and He initiates assistance to help us.
· We must ask the Holy Spirit to help us, as He is always standing by, ready to assist us.
· The Holy Spirit helps us to overcome our problems and situations, and we can be more than a conqueror with Him in control.

1 Thessalonians 2:4

New Living Translation (NLT)
For we speak as messengers approved by God to be entrusted with the Good News. Our purpose is to please God, not people. He alone examines the motives of our hearts.
· God refines us through our waiting periods, so that we may mature and be established

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Route 66 - The State of California

Route 66 – The State of California
California dreaming has been on almost all of our minds at some time or other. Certainly the Beach Boys of the 60’s made it sound like the place to be, where all the action was.
That’s also what the folks in Oklahoma thought as they loaded up everything they owned on an old beat up pickup truck, hoping to leave the dust hole behind and head to the state of flowering trees and mountains, and majestic beauty, not to mention the allurement of the Pacific Ocean. Many never it made it that far, losing their lives along the way. Others crossed the barren and dry lands of New Mexico and Arizona, only to arrive in California, still a desert. Yet, there are those who made it. They found their pot of gold, and that enticement of the lucky few caused many Americans to head west…California or bust!
Many people associate California with being the place where technology speeds ahead, a land of many new innovative ideas, and many diverse ways of life. It’s also the place where movies are made because of it’s year round climate, lots of sunshine, and variety of terrain, let alone creative genius. As far as the terrain, take Mount Whitney, the second tallest mountain in the United States, is only 90 miles away from Death Valley, the lowest point in all of the Western Hemisphere.
Gold was discovered out here in 1848, and California became the 31st state in 1850 The capital of California is Sacramento. By 1962 it was the second most populated state in the union. It has also been a land of disastrous earthquakes, from 1906 when San Francisco was almost completely destroyed, to 1994, when 22,000 people were left homeless in Los Angeles.
There are a couple of scenic ways to traverse the length of California. The scenic coastline runs 1,264 miles along the ocean. The Pacific Crest Trail stretches 2,650 miles from Mexico to Canada, with most of it being in California. With its vast terrain, recreational opportunities are wide open: surfing, kayaking, scuba diving, hiking and backpacking, mountain biking, skiing, snowboarding, fishing, golfing…the list is endless.
Route 66’s very purpose was to connect the roadways to the west from Lake Michigan, with California being the last state to conquer. After traveling 320 miles across this state, the Mother Road ends at the Santa Monica Pier, where the Pacific Ocean takes over from there. Crossing the Colorado River, the division between Arizona and California, was the clue that the end of America’s Main Street was ahead, even though there was another 100 miles of desert to cross. Passing through Needles, one of the hottest places on record, on up to Barstow, where things started getting a little more active because of the railroad passing through, down to San Bernardino, which sits in the largest county of the United States (from the Arizona state line to the beginning of Greater LA), you finally enter the gateway to the Southern California Coastline. At the Santa Monica Pier, you can walk off into the sunset, right into the ocean.
Another city of interest is Pasadena, known to us as home of the Rose Bowl. This city actually started having games, like foot races, burro races, tug of war, back in the 1890’s. They got the idea to have a parade, which soon became known as the Tournament of Roses, and then they decided to add a football game to the festivities in 1902…and the rest is history.
Disneyland was the destination of many vacationers that headed to California. Today there is also Disney California Adventure. Opening in June of 2012 is a new section called “Cars Land”, which is in part a recreated Hollywood when Walt Disney first moved out there in the 1920’s, and secondly it is designed with the 2006 movie “Cars” as it’s fashion plate. There are many characters and place in “Cars” stemming from Route 66 icons. I want to see the movie, and then I want to take my granddaughters to Disney California Adventure. I think it’s going to be a cool place!! Just another way to Get my Kicks on Route 66!!

March 12-14, 2012 - Devotional Highlights

March 12-14, 2012 – Devotional Highlights

The Word for You Today

  1. “Don’t Be a Fool” (3)

· Without acknowledging Jesus Christ as your Savior and Lord of your life, you die a fool’s death, for you will miss heaven and all the riches that could have been yours

  1. “The Law of Consequence”

· Do not be deceived…a man reaps what he sows. (Gal 6:7)

· Your choices determine your harvest

· Your choices have a ripple effect on others

· You can be forgiven, but you still pay the consequence

  1. “Hold Up Your Pastor’s Hands”

· I will give you shepherds according to my heart.” (Jer 3:15)

· Over 50% of those in ministry leave within 10 years due to discouragement

· Encourage your pastor every chance you get

Sparkling Gems

I Corinthians 15:58

So, my dear brothers and sisters, be strong and immovable. Always work enthusiastically for the Lord, for you know that nothing you do for the Lord is ever useless.

  • “immovable” – firm and steady, support structure, unbendable, unbreakable, solid foundation, totally reliable
  • God wants us to be like a rock – sturdy, steadfast, able to hold things together, for others are depending on us
  • Lord, forgive my weaknesses and help me to become stable like a rock, strong and reliable…the person you want me to be. Help me to be a pillar that others can come to, lean on, trust.

2 Timothy 2:1

Timothy, my dear son, be strong through the grace that God gives you in Christ Jesus.

  • God’s grace is never depleted, and it’s free
  • God’s grace make His power, His strength, available to us

Hebrews 10:35

So do not throw away this confident trust in the Lord. Remember the great reward it brings you!

  • “great reward” – a reimbursement for something you paid out of your own expense to complete the job
  • “confident” – boldness in speaking out for what you think or believe
  • God will reward your faithfulness, for He sees it all and keeps account

Sunday, March 11, 2012

March 5-11, 2012 Devotional Highlights

March 5 – 11, 2012

Devotional Highlights

The Word for You Today:

  1. “Mighty Men and Women of God” (3)

· Understand the value of strong relationships and unity

· We need accountability to one another

  1. “Discipleship”

· Whoever does not bear his cross…cannot be my disciple.” (Luke 14:27)

· We must die to self-indulgence, self-interest, and self-promotion

· Ask yourself before each action, attitude, or word, “Is this pleasing to God?”

  1. “The Word for Worrywarts”

· Worry robs us of joy

· Don’t allow working for the Lord to be more important than a relationship with the Lord

· My attitude is more important than my actions

  1. “Be Nurturing”

· Love each other as I have loved you. (John 15:12)

· We are most influenced by people who make us feel good about ourselves

· We must believe in others, listen to others, and love others unconditionally to give them hope

· People don’t need critics, they need cheerleaders

· Encouragement outweighs correction

· Anxiety in the heart of man cause depression, but a good word makes it glad. (Prov 12:25)

  1. “Spiritual Landmarks”

· Yet I still dare to hope when I remember this: 22 The faithful love of the LORD never ends! His mercies never cease. Great is his faithfulness; his mercies begin afresh each morning. (Lam 3:21-23)

· Create “markers” of God’s faithfulness in your life to remind yourself of His goodness to you in the past to help you through the present

  1. “Don’t Be A Fool”

· The Fool has said in his heart, “There is no God.” (Ps 14:1)

· Without a God, you become your own God, self-pride…you are the highest power…you get to make the rules

· Proof God exists:

· Creation – has God’s DNA; shows His power, His hand

· Calvary – His love/His heart

· Conscience – everyone is born with one

· Someday, if there is a God, everyone will stand before Him, accountable for his own life

  1. “Don’t Be a Fool” (2)

· You fool, this night your soul shall be required of you. (Luke 12:20)

· When you only take care of your physical body, which only lives 70-80 years, and neglect your soul, which will live forever in heaven or hell, God calls you a fool

· Be always ready to stand before God, for one day you will

Sparkling Gems:

Revelation 3:16: But since you are like lukewarm water, neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth!

  • “spit” – vomit something distasteful and disgusting
  • Repent of your lukewarmness, and become passionate about the things of God
  • We must be a source of spiritual refreshment to those around us

Ephesians 5:1: Imitate God, therefore, in everything you do, because you are his dear children.

  • “imitate” – model after, act like
  • We must decide to act like God in everything we do
  • I must lay aside my unsanctified emotions, thoughts, feelings, and behaviors, and start acting more and more like Jesus
  • We must try to see things from God’s perspective, think like Him, and act like Him
  • Help me, Father, to change my way of thinking, and to seek my confidence from You

James 4:5: What do you think the Scriptures mean when they say that the spirit God has placed within us is filled with envy?

  • The Holy Spirit is extremely upset when we give our attention to the world
  • Make the Holy Spirit a top priority, and guard your relationship with Him – live to please Him

2 Thessalonians 1:7: And God will provide rest for you who are being persecuted and also for us when the Lord Jesus appears from heaven. He will come with his mighty angels,

  • “persecuted” – going through difficult events, heavy pressure
  • “rest” – relax, let up, find relief
  • Take time away from your problems, a time for recreation and relaxation, a time to be refreshed and renewed

2 Timothy 3:1: You should know this, Timothy, that in the last days there will be very difficult times.

  • “know” – mandatory recognition, understanding
  • “last” – the ultimate end of a thing, final
  • “difficult” – perilous, hard to bear, wild and vicious, dangerous, high risk
  • The Holy Spirit wants God’s people to be spiritually aware and ready to help others when the end of the age is here
  • We must protect our minds by the Word of God and be prepared to protect our family and others by the power of God
  • God has chosen us to live in such a time as this, and will enable us to stand firm and minister to others who are hurting

James 1:2-4: Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing.

  • “endurance” – holding one’s ground no matter how difficult the challenge, hanging in there, never giving up, refusing to surrender
  • It isn’t a matter of if you win the battle, but when
  • Whatever you are going through, it will change – so be patient, hang in there no matter what

Romans 12:3: Because of the privilege and authority God has given me, I give each of you this warning: Don’t think you are better than you really are. Be honest in your evaluation of yourselves, measuring yourselves by the faith God has given us.

  • Wise leaders recognize their abilities and their limitations
  • God wants teams…everyone using their gifts together
  • People are placed in our lives as blessings. They have gifts in areas we are weak, and God sends them to bless us when they use those gifts. Likewise, we have gifts they do not have and they need us, so we bless them.