Easter 2017

What I’m Listening to: Down by Marian Hill

Happy Easter! The mini-sister had a good time, though apparently I’m not allowed to buy candy for her Easter egg hunt unsupervised again (157 eggs is apparently overkill for one child). What’s not overkill however is the gourgeous pattern of this dress, I love when contrary seeming colors mesh so well. The brooches add just the right amount of sparkle for a holiday dress. 

In the spirit of Easter, we must be reminded of the words of Mark 16:5-7: 

As they entered the tomb, they saw a young man dressed in a white robe sitting on the right side, and they were alarmed. “Don’t be alarmed,” he said. “You are looking for Jesus the Nazarene, who was crucified. He has risen! He is not here. See the place where they laid him. But go, tell his disciples and Peter, ‘He is going ahead of you into Galilee. There you will see him, just as he told you.’” 

        – Mark 16:5-7 NIV

It can be easy not to notice all of the prophecies that Jesus foretold and then fulfilled simply within the Gospels. Of course the most important is that He would die, and then on the third day, rise again. There is no miracle greater than that. If He can keep that promise to us, He can keep all of His promises; to take care of us and guide us, just as He told us He would. Rejoice, He is risen, He is our faithful Shepard, and we are forgiven! 

Peace and chocolate eggs, 

Kick

Week Four: Grace & Faith

What I’m listening to: Man in Black by Johnny Cash

Welcome back to the fourth and last week of my month long weekly devotional series! As always, if you’re new, be sure to check out my previous posts in the series. The intro post has some additional information about our September of Peace devotionals. 

 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.

                 – John 16:33 (NIV)

God does not want to scare us into inaction. Yes, the world is a hostile, angry place, but we were put here for a reason. In this verse God is letting us know that the peace we desire can be found in Him. He conquered the world, not so that we would never face any obstacles, but rather that we would know that we

 “can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”

              -Philipians 4:13 (NIV)      

So, as we wrap up our September of Peace, I want to take the opportunity to sum up our series as two points. 

1. We live in a shattered world that we can never begin to repair, and we ourselves are shattered because of it. 

2. Our God isn’t asking us to fix it, or ourselves, only that we rely on Him; that He might do miracles both around and through us. 

Prayer Prompt: That we might be as blessed with understanding and guidance as we are with God’s infinite grace and wisdom. We pray for these things not for ourselves, but for His cause, to be able to be used as forces of good in this fallen world. 

Week Three: Strength & Sin

What I’m listening to: Human by The Killers

Welcome back to week three of my month long weekly devotional series! As always, if you’re new, be sure to check out my previous posts in the series. The intro post has some additional information about our September of Peace devotionals. 

Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance.

                          – James 1:2-3 (NIV)

I know that the Bible teaches us many things that may seem to go against the grain of what we have both learned and know it our lives, but this verse is extremely difficult. Endure? Yes. But “pure joy”? That seems crazy. However, as with most things in the Bible, the next verse clarifies. We should rejoice, not because bad things are happening, but because we are becoming better Christians. The benefit of living in a sinful world is becoming a stronger Christian. God has promised to never lead us astray. Anything that the Lord sets in our path He has also set a way through, through Him. It is because of this that we must persevere and attempt to find joy, because God can save us from anything.

With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible. 

                      – Matthew 19:26 (NIV)

Prayer Prompt: That we may find peace in the Lord, even if the world is working against us right now, for we know that His light will shine in the morning.  

Week Two: Rebellion & the World

What I’m Listening To: Forever and Ever, Amen by Randy Travis

Welcome back to week two of my month long weekly devotional series! As always, if you’re new, be sure to check out my previous posts in the series. The intro post has some additional information about our September of Peace devotionals. 

Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, love for the Father is not in them. 

                   ~ 1 John 2:15 (NIV)

That can be a tough pill to swallow, that even loving the world just a little means that we don’t love God. That’s not to say that we can’t like, or enjoy the things of the world; rather that we should be wary to not let them consume us and become our idols. This is made much easier if we remember two things that God tells us. One, that the world hates us because we are not like it. Yes, God makes it explicitly clear in John that the world is not merely unfeeling, but actually despises us. 

If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you. 

                      ~ John 15:19 (NIV)

Two, that not only has God chosen us out of the world, but that we are actually not of the world the same that He is not. 

They are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. 

                     ~ John 17:16 (ESV)

It is because of our likeness to God that the world does not like us. Why should we love anything that hates us for being like our Saviour? Therefore, we should rebel against the world, and turn to God, that the world might be pushed away from us through the love of Christ. 

Prayer Prompt: That we might be granted the strength to turn away from the Faustian offers the world attempts to bribe us with, and instead turn our face toward our Redeemer and the promise of Heaven. 

Week One: Sin & Mercy

What I’m Listening to: Only Daddy That’ll Walk the Line by Waylon Jennings

Welcome to week one of my September of Peace! (And a happy Labor Day Weekend as well). 

It can be easy to think of ourselves as “good people”. We donate to charity, we try to be nice, hey, we even paid for the person behind us at Starbucks one time. This is dangerous thinking. In Romans, the Bible teaches us that

“For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.”

                            – Romans 3:23

Now I hear you, you’re saying that you thought yourself a good person, but not like God-level good. Just, you know, better than average maybe. Definitely better than some. This is the heart of that dangerous territory. We can never save ourselves; Isaiah reminds us of this in this passage. 

All of us have become like one that is unclean, and all our righteous acts are like filthy rags; we all shrivel up like a leaf, and like the wind our sins sweep us away. 

                   – Isaiah 64:6

Think about that. Not only are we all horribly unrighteous, but our good deeds are useless in the face of our immeasurable sin. What should we do in the face of these (rather harsh) facts? Well, thankfully the Lord has the answer to that too. 

Whoever conceals their sins does not prosper, but the one who confesses and renounces them finds mercy.

                         – Proverbs 28:13

The truth is, we are all innately sinful, but God’s not asking us to fix ourselves, He’s just asking us to be honest. Like a tinker, he can fix anything; but only if we give it to Him to patch and heal. We will always be sinful, but if we allow the Lord into our life we will also be sinless. 

Prayer: May the Lord help me to not attempt to fix my sin myself, but instead be honest about it in the face of His immeasurable mercy. 

September of Peace

What I’m Listening To: Daddy Sang Bass by Johnny Cash

Your suspicions are correct. Every Sunday for the month of September I’ll be doing a short devotional. Each will tie in with the larger message of why the world, and the trials that we face during our time in it, present us with the opportunity to become better Christians, not worse. As for the name? I’m calling it ‘September of Peace’ because September is a month of relative quiet, a sanctuary between the end of summer and the beginning of the holidays. I hope that you will follow along with me on this journey as we attempt to find peace in the Lord this (pre) holiday season.

Peace (literally)

KJ

Advent Day 24

What I’m listening to: The Twelve Days Of Christmas by Ray Conniff

Welcome to Day 24 our Advent series! I can’t believe today is our last day!!If you’re up to speed, congrats(!), if not, be sure to check out the previous posts. The first one explains a little more about the series. Now for today’s verses from Luke. 

“This child is destined to cause the falling and rising of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be spoken against, 35 so that the thoughts of many hearts will be revealed.”

                     Luke 2:34-35 (NIV)

It can be easy to feel like nobody, even God, understands us. However, here in Luke we are shown that the Lord does know our hearts, and can fufill the desires within them. Everyone, deep down, has similar true desires; love, acceptance and success are all common. Jesus came to Earth to fufill two of those needs. We have a Savior who both loves us without end and accepts us even though we are sinners. What could be a better present? I certainly can’t think of one. Merry Christmas and praise the Lord. 

Prayer Prompt: This Christmas take a moment to thank the Lord for all that He’s done, but especially for sending His Son to Earth all those years ago to fufill your heart’s hopes.