DESPERATE… AM I!!! OR IS IT… AM I?

Journal Entry by Gary and Christine Skinner

S – Scripture: Psalm 139:17-18 (The Passion Translation)
“Every single moment You Are thinking of me! How precious and wonderful to consider that You cherish me constantly in Your every thought! O God, Your desires toward me are more than the grains of sand on every shore! When I awake each morning, You’re still with me.”

O - Observation
In our last devotional [When Life Gets Too Much] we wrote of when “the busyness of life overloads our earthly minds and we allow thoughts, ideas, facts and figures to chase themselves in circles inside our heads”. How then can we believe that God would think of “me” when the earth’s population is 7.6677724….. Billion people? It’s inconceivable! Yet, He can, and He does because His word says so, and He can’t tell a lie.

A - Application
The question is, do I believe God is thinking of me right now, in the cacophony of noise that is banging around in my head with the circumstances of life that I am facing today? Or, is it “what is God thinking, letting me face this situation?” It is in these desperate times I “choose” to believe God “You’re still with me.” 

P - Prayer
Lord God Almighty, You calmed the storm when Jesus spoke “Peace, be still!” [Mark 4:39] Calm the storm in my life today. Thank You for being with me each morning as I awake, in Jesus name.

IT’S BEGINNING TO LOOK A LOT LIKE CHRISTMAS

Journal Entry by Jenni James

S – Scripture: 1 Peter 4:11  (NKJV)
If anyone speaks, let him speak as the oracles of God. If anyone ministers, let him do it as with the ability which God supplies, that in all things God may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom belong the glory and the dominion forever and ever. Amen.


O - Observation
Today as I have sat in the office at church I have mentioned how tired I am, how exhausting my last 12 months has been, how I am ready for a holiday (bring it on!!). And then I read this passage “if anyone ministers, let him do it as with the ability which God supplies, that in all things God may be glorified through Jesus Christ” and it reminds me that I have let my eyes slip down from Jesus onto my own issues (again!). It reminds me that when I am weak God is strong, it reminds me that God can supply what we need and that I am to stop trying to do it all on my own. It is so easy to slip back into doing it all in my strength and not in God’s strength and in the abilities He has given to me.


A - Application
As I (we) begin the big run into Christmas, I need to stop, daily take time to be revived by sitting in the presence of the Lord, ask for His strength and remember that everything we are doing is to glorify the name of JESUS!


P - Prayer
Lord Jesus, please, fill me daily with your Holy Spirit, fill me with your love and with your strength. Please remind me that you have given me the ability to do what you have called me to do. I ask that everything I do, especially over this coming Christmas time, I do to glorify your name Jesus that more people will come to know you and accept you as their Saviour. Amen

BACK HOME TO THE FATHER!

Journal Entry by Warren Mortomore

S – Scripture: 1 Peter 3:18 (NLT)
‘Christ also suffered when He died for our sins once for all time. He never sinned, but He died for sinners that He might bring us safely home to God. He suffered physical death, but He was raised to life in the Spirit.’


O - Observation
The one who never sinned died for all sinners, to bring us all back home to our Father


A - Application
Jesus came to bring me back home to my Father, and he has given me, given us, the same ministry.  He died and rose again for all peoples, making a way possible to come home to God, therefore; my role, my ministry, my assignment is to bring Jesus to people in my world and to bring them back home to THEIR Father.


P - Prayer
Jesus, thank you for bringing me back home to My Father, help me to see the people in my world as people who are waiting for someone to bring them back home to their Father, even if they don’t even realize it.

MARATHON NOT A SPRINT

Journal Entry by Lester Salanoa

S – Scripture: Acts 20:24 NIV
However, I consider my life worth nothing to me; my only aim is to finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me—the task of testifying to the good news of God’s grace of the Lord”


O - Observation
Luke writes about the hardships facing the Apostle Paul, who continues to persist through the unrelenting pressures from the religious leaders of the time. Yet Paul (major contributor in spreading the gospel throughout Asia, death threats and imprisonment), resolves to continue in carrying out the mission in spreading the good news of God’s grace with unwavering faith.


A - Application
What a great encouragement we have through the life of the Apostle Paul, that if we would make ourselves available for God to convict our hearts just as he did Paul, who knows what can happen!? 

Paul lived his Christian life with utter conviction of the power of Jesus and literally committed his entire life to God's cause, and he could not have stayed on the course through all his hardships unless he was completely consumed and compelled by the love of God that he gave all he had to tell the world of Jesus.

2 Corinthians 12:9 Jesus say’s “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness”.

Jesus is the perfecter of our faith!


P - Prayer
Jesus, may you continue to compel our hearts with your overwhelming love to the point where we have no choice but to tell everyone about you, because if you are for us then who can be against us.

As we get to know you more and more, may we be bold enough to strike up conversations about your love because if the “worst case scenario” is that people would tell us to go away, then I am willing because you did not die on a cross, half naked and beaten beyond recognition so that I may be fearful that my feelings get hurt. Jesus you are everything.

WHAT DO YOU SAY?

Journal Entry by Bec Tobar

S – Scripture: Psalm 122:1-2 (AMP)
I was glad when they said to me, “Let us go to the house of the Lord”


O - Observation
You get the feeling as you read this psalm that you couldn’t wipe the smile off his face when they told him it was time to go to God’s house.
He was glad.
Make no mistake…
It was a habit for him. 
It was a tradition for him. 
But he hadn’t lost the joy and wonder he felt when he came to God’s house.
So much so, that he sang joyfully on his “ascent” to the house.


A - Application
What do I feel or say when my family or friends say, “Let’s go to the house of the Lord”?
I don’t want to get so familiar with the gathering of God’s people that I miss the wonder.
The wonder that God chooses to meet us.
The wonder that people from all different walks and stages of life CHOOSE to be together.
That amongst our gathering can be found great hope for the broken, celebration for the joyous and a home for all.
So I have great expectation that BECAUSE the King is among us, you just never know what God will do.
His power is unmatched, and He loves to meet His people.
And I never want to miss that.
Get excited, Sunday is coming!


P - Prayer
Father, thank you that we can come to your house. 
We will rejoice and be glad in You. 
Meet us tomorrow as we gather together to lift your name.

NOTHING WRONG WITH DOING GOOD

Journal Entry by Paul Davila

S – Scripture: Titus 3:14  (NIV)
“Our people must learn to devote themselves to doing what is good, in order to provide for urgent needs and not live unproductive lives.”


O - Observation
As I read through the three short chapters of the book of Titus, the word “good” appeared many times. Below are the other places it appears in this short letter:

1:8 one who loves what is good 

1:16 disobedient and unfit for doing anything good. 

2:3 teach what is good 

2:7 In everything set them an example by doing what is good. 

2:14 eager to do what is good. 

3:1 to be ready to do whatever is good 

3:8 those who have trusted in God may be careful to devote themselves to doing what is good

Paul is making it clear to Titus as he teaches the churches he is overseeing, the importance for a believer to be actively doing good. It should be part and parcel with the lifestyle of those who profess faith. 

Paul also explains that salvation is not based on good works as he says in Titus 3:4-5  “But when the kindness and love of God our Saviour appeared, he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy.”


A - Application
We don’t do good to gain salvation of rewards points with God – we are called to do good to demonstrate to one another and the world who it is we are serving and living for. 
In the Alpha commentary, they make the comment that in today’s society, the word “do-gooder” is used in a derogatory manner. This is so true. They put a negative spin and connotation to the term, yet doing good is something we are called to do. As Paul encourages, it’s learned behaviour that we need to devote ourselves to. Jesus went about doing good – so should we.  


P - Prayer
Lord thank you firstly that it is by grace that we are saved. Thank you for your mercies which are new every morning. Would you help me to be proactive in doing good to others as you instructed us to do. Open my eyes to see opportunities to do good today, I pray in Jesus name. 

IN CONTROL

Journal Entry by Melissa Semeri

S – Scripture: Genesis 41: 41-57 (NIV) 
41 So Pharaoh said to Joseph, “I hereby put you in charge of the whole land of Egypt.” 42 Then Pharaoh took his signet ring from his finger and put it on Joseph’s finger. He dressed him in robes of fine linen and put a gold chain around his neck. 43 He had him ride in a chariot as his second-in-command,[a] and people shouted before him, “Make way[b]!” Thus he put him in charge of the whole land of Egypt.

44 Then Pharaoh said to Joseph, “I am Pharaoh, but without your word no one will lift hand or foot in all Egypt.” 45 Pharaoh gave Joseph the name Zaphenath-Paneah and gave him Asenath daughter of Potiphera, priest of On,[c] to be his wife. And Joseph went throughout the land of Egypt.

46 Joseph was thirty years old when he entered the service of Pharaoh king of Egypt. And Joseph went out from Pharaoh’s presence and traveled throughout Egypt. 47 During the seven years of abundance the land produced plentifully. 48 Joseph collected all the food produced in those seven years of abundance in Egypt and stored it in the cities. In each city he put the food grown in the fields surrounding it. 49 Joseph stored up huge quantities of grain, like the sand of the sea; it was so much that he stopped keeping records because it was beyond measure.

50 Before the years of famine came, two sons were born to Joseph by Asenath daughter of Potiphera, priest of On. 51 Joseph named his firstborn Manasseh[d] and said, “It is because God has made me forget all my trouble and all my father’s household.” 52 The second son he named Ephraim[e] and said, “It is because God has made me fruitful in the land of my suffering.”

53 The seven years of abundance in Egypt came to an end, 54 and the seven years of famine began, just as Joseph had said. There was famine in all the other lands, but in the whole land of Egypt there was food. 55 When all Egypt began to feel the famine, the people cried to Pharaoh for food. Then Pharaoh told all the Egyptians, “Go to Joseph and do what he tells you.”

56 When the famine had spread over the whole country, Joseph opened all the storehouses and sold grain to the Egyptians, for the famine was severe throughout Egypt. 57 And all the world came to Egypt to buy grain from Joseph, because the famine was severe everywhere



O - Observation
Joseph experienced a lot of trauma early in his life - brothers selling him into slavery, spending time in prison. He trusted God with the parts of his life he couldn't control and just did what he could do to the best of his ability - worked hard for his master, Potiphar; managed the prison for the warden; interpreted dreams for his fellow prisoners. He didn't try to escape slavery or prison; give up his identity and integrity; resent and hate the ungrateful cupbearer; or develop a victim mentality.


A - Application
Trust God with the parts of your life that are out of your control and just do the best that you can with a good attitude knowing He's in control.


P - Prayer
Father you direct our path, you know what's ahead and are with us, every step. Help us not to manipulate what we can't control but focus on what we can, leaving the rest to you. 

CHECK UP

Journal Entry by Geoff Allen

S – Scripture: 1 Timothy 6:11 (The Message)
But you, Timothy, man of God: Run for your life from all this.  Pursue a righteous life—a life of wonder, faith, love, steadiness, courtesy.  Run hard and fast in the faith. Seize the eternal life, the life you were called to, the life you so fervently embraced in the presence of so many witnesses.


O - Observation
What wonderful encouragement Paul was giving to Timothy?  Telling him to run from the traps of life and encouraging him in his faith.  There is nothing of complacency here.  He is telling him to run from things and to run hard and fast pursuing his faith, to seize eternal life.  He was already a leader in the faith, a pastor but Paul obviously felt he needed this encouragement.


A - Application
How much more do we need to be active in our faith pursuit whether it is in the avoidance of those things which deflect us or are intended to trap us; or actively pursuing our faith and encouraging others in their walk.  What a great self-check-up? Do you need to break free and run after Jesus? be inspired.


P - Prayer
Father God help me to run from those things set to distract me and to pursue you more and more.  Help me be an encourager of others and be active in my faith.

MY PROMISE KEEPER

Journal Entry by Grant Schofield

S – Scripture: Psalm 119:25 - Passion Translation
Lord, I’m fading away. I’m discouraged and lying in the dust; revive me by your word, just like you promised you would.


O - Observation
We all face low points in our lives. Some seasons are harder to traverse than others, yet this scripture highlights a choice that we have to make. Do we allow the trials to overwhelm us, do we give up hope? No, we revive our mind, spirit and heart by the word. All throughout scripture we have the promises of God. Promises that he will renew our strength (Isaiah 40:31), that he will fight for you (Exodus 14:4), and he takes us by the hand so we don’t have to fear (Isaiah 41:13).


A - Application
This is the hard part. My initial response when I face trials is not to reflect on the word of God. His promises aren’t the first things to come flooding into my thoughts at the onset of discouragement. But what I know is even when it’s not my first response, I know He’s there. Calling me, reminding me of scriptures I’ve planted in my heart, bringing back to remembrance the times He’s proven Himself faithful in the past. He’s a God who never leaves us nor forsakes us. He’s a God who loves us and is for us and He’s a God that will continually be your strength, strong tower and comforter.


P - Prayer
Father, allow me to train my thoughts to seek you first in times of discouragement. Quicken my patterns to be guided by you and allow my focus to be fixed on you when trials come, knowing you will help me through every situation that comes my way. Amen.

A GOOD AND JUST GOD

Journal Entry by Sara Gebran

S – Scripture: PSALMS 111:7-8 (NLT)
“All he does is just and good, and all his commandments are trustworthy. They are forever true, to be obeyed faithfully and with integrity.”


O - Observation
This verse reminds me that everything the Lord does is just and good, no matter what the situation or circumstance, he is VERY trustworthy and would never disappoint regardless!!


A - Application
When I find myself questioning Gods plans and actions regarding things or circumstances I need to remind myself that he is Just and good! And he can be trusted, he is forever faithful and true!! I have no reason to doubt him. Even when I find myself doubting or questioning I should not feel as though I have failed, but go back to what is true  and redirect my thoughts to the word. I need to faithfully obey him with integrity and  humility, after all he paid the ultimate price for me by giving up his life so that I can have life in him.


P - Prayer
Dear heavenly father I thank you for giving your up life for me so that I might live, help me to obey your commandments faithfully and  with integrity, remind me Lord that when I am weak you are my strength and without you I can do nothing!! Help me to hear your voice and follow you I pray in your name. Amen.

JESUS IS FOR ALL

Journal Entry by Ethan Mortomore

S – Scripture: 1 Timothy 1:15 - ESV
“The saying is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am the foremost.”


O - Observation
Paul, In his writing to Timothy in chapter 1, seeks to encourage him to stay on the path Paul has set him on, warning him against false teaching and teachers; as Timothy helps the church in Ephesus. Paul then goes on to write that Jesus came to save sinners, who He is the worst of all (“Public Proof Number One as the message translation puts it). He never shies away from his past, but rather uses it to glorify Christ and how Jesus is using him in spreading the gospel. Christ came for Sinners is trustworthy and of full acceptance, for Christ came to save and transform all.


A - Application
Our response, as would have been Timothy’s, is to be encouraged by Paul’s words, and challenged to go after those who do not yet know Christ as their Saviour. We may not have the false teachings today that the first century church faced in regards to the gospel, however we live in a time where anything and everything seeks to grab our attention and sway our beliefs. Christ did not come to simply make our lives comfortable, but He died so that all may live eternally. Our commission as the Church is to spread the Gospel and Jesus’ love and sacrifice for all; regardless of who they are, or our past.


P - Prayer
Jesus we thank you for pursuing us, and showing us mercy, when we did nothing to deserve it. May we ever be about your business and spreading the good news of the Gospel to all; to be the church in and outside of a Sunday. May we not let our past hold us back from the future you have called us too. We thank you, and we love you. Amen

MY HERO

Journal Entry by Geoff Allen

S – Scripture: Psalm 109:21-22 (TPT)
But now, O Yahweh-God, make yourself real to me like you promised me you would.  Because of your constant love and your heart-melting kindness, come be my hero and deliver me! I’m so broken, needy and hurting. My heart is pierced through and I’m so wounded. I’m slipping down a dark slope, shaken to the core, and helpless.


O - Observation
I don’t think David can get much more real and relevant to us today.  We all go through these times to different degrees and it affects us all so differently.  Some of us hide our emotions away and others are the exact opposite wearing their brokenness out in the open.


A - Application
We develop coping mechanisms to deal with these things some of them are great and some not so good. I know I just tend to go quiet and try and find God’s peace in it all, but sometimes it’s not so easy and doesn’t happen right away.   I love the way David finished the psalm “For you stand right next to the broken ones as their saving hero to rescue them from all their accusers!”


P - Prayer
I pray for all those right now who are feeling like David did right here, dealing with some really tough times in their lives.  I pray that they would find the peace of God as they hand their circumstances to you and find that you are standing right next to them and you are their saving hero there to rescue them.

HOW TO STILL LIFE'S STORMS

Journal Entry by John and Jann Rice

S – Scripture: Psalm 107:25-32 (TPT)
When God spoke he stirred up a storm, lifting high the waves with hurricane winds. Ships were tossed by swelling sea, rising to the sky, then dropping down to the depths reeling like a drunkards, spinning like tops, everyone at their wits end until every sailor despaired of life cringing in terror, Then we cried out, "Lord help us rescue us " and He did, God stilled the storm, calmed the waters & hushed the hurricane winds to only a whisper, we were so relieved so glad as he guided us safely to harbour in a quite haven. So lift your hands & give thanks to God for His marvellous kindness & for His miracles of mercy for those He loves, let us exalt Him on high & lift up our praise in public, let all the people & leaders of nations know how great & wonderful is Yahweh our God.


O - Observation
This passage gives us a graphic description of life's storms & the perils we encounter, as we are impacted by these situations we cry out to the Lord who stills the storm & guides us to a safe haven. With thankful hearts & raised hands give thanks & praise for His miracles of mercy how wonderful is Yahweh our God.


A - Application
Life's journey has many storms to confront, overcome, & avoid, but in it all we can call out to our God who loves us & showers His miracles of mercy on His children to bring us to a place of safety. This brings a response of thankfulness & praise to declare how great & wonderful is our God "Yahweh"


P - Prayer
Dear heavenly Father I thank you that my path is known to you , so it is with confidence that I trust you to carry me through the storms of life, I give you thanks & praise for your great love , mercy & deliverance each step I take , one day at a time. Amen

HILARIOUS GIVING

Journal Entry by Geoff Allen

S – Scripture: 2 Corinthians 9:7 (TPT)
Let giving flow from your heart, not from a sense of religious duty. Let it spring up freely from the joy of giving – all because God loves hilarious generosity.


O - Observation
Other versions talk about a cheerful giver or giving cheerfully. The Message Bible says” God loves it when the giver delights in the giving.”


A - Application
I have walked through a number of life’s circumstances – when I have had enough, when I have struggled to pay bills and put food on the table, having to sell a car and use my feet and public transport for two years and then something like the GFC (global financial crisis) happens when you think your finally through some of these things.   My experience is that God is faithful through it all. I get a kick out of giving financially whether it be to the church in my tithes or in other areas and of course my service to others endeavoring to be the hands of Jesus to others (not always succeeding). I am so thankful that God first- gave, he gave his grace, his Son, his love.


P - Prayer
I love you Lord, thank you for all you have done for me and my family. Thank you for all that you are. Thank you for your generosity in giving your son as a ransom for me. Let my giving spring up simply from the joy of giving.

CLEAR MINDS AND CLEAR PURPOSE

Journal Entry by Jared Lawson

S – Scripture: Job 42:2 (ESV)
I know you can do all things and that no purpose of yours can be thwarted.


O - Observation
When considering what Job has just been through it is hard to fathom how these words came out of his mouth. He had lost everything in a day, had his friends come and give him ill advice and even his own wife said to him “curse God and die (Job 2:9).” Yet, he received a visit from God and everything became clear. Even in his chaos and confusion he was still able to udder that God is all powerful and his purposes will always win through.


A - Application
When I think about how to apply this verse I find it hard not to think about our current political climate. It is easy to spread your opinion and be angry when we see what’s happening, ‘a change of PM again, seriously?!’. It may be tempting to feel fearful when we see the state of our world with disaster after disaster but I know my God can do all things and his good purposes can not be thwarted. This needs to be my mind’s resting place. 
 


P - Prayer
Heavenly Father, I thank you that you are the good God and your purposes are good. You can not be thwarted and there is nothing you can not to do. Help that thought to be my mind’s default setting, when it starts to waver draw my mind to trust in your unfailing love. Thank you that you turn all things for God. I love you and trust you. In Jesus name, Amen.

LOVE AND KINDNESS

Journal Entry by Jenni James

S - Scripture 1 Corinthians 16:13 &14 The Passion Translation
Remember to stay alert and hold firmly to all that you believe. Be mighty and full of courage. Let love and kindness be the motivation behind all that you do.


O - Observation
Sometimes I wish it were easier being a Christian. I wish that all my family and friends both understood and agreed with my beliefs, I wish that society as a whole would be in love with Jesus, that they would understand who He is and what He stands for. Why? Because Jesus is amazing! He is life changing! Because nothing is ever the same once you know Him. While many of my family and friends know Jesus and are amazing role models and a source of inspiration to me, there are some who don’t know him (yet!!). There are some who even attack Jesus and Christianity particularly on social media, and I feel it deeply. Somehow an attack on Jesus feels like an attack on me, and it is easy to get my back up and want to have a ‘strong word’ back. Thank God for the Word and the guidance it gives me. Paul tells us to hold firmly to what we believe, to be mighty and courageous, no matter what others think or say. He follows that up with something amazing, let love and kindness be the motivation behind everything we do! So even if we feel under attack for what we believe, our response is to be love and kindness.


A - Application
In this day and age trolling on social media (attacking others in order to inflame a situation or cause discord) is extreme! So what do we do when we are criticized for our thoughts or beliefs, our love for Jesus? Paul tells us the exact answer, stand firm, hold onto all that we believe, and to respond with love and kindness. Attacking back never shows the love of Jesus. In love and kindness we can talk to others of our beliefs and in love and kindness we can respond to insults that come our way.


P - Prayer
Father God, I love you, I desire you more and more. Help me to be strong when I feel criticized for my beliefs. Let me show others around me your love and your kindness, guide my words, action and even my thoughts. Fill me with your Holy Spirit, give me great courage. In the name of Jesus Christ MY Lord. Amen
 

BENEFIT OF OTHERS

Journal Entry by Warren Mortomore

S - Scripture 1 Corinthians 12:7 (NLT)“A spiritual gift is given to each of us as a means of helping the entire church”


O - Observation
The previous verses tell us there are different kinds of spiritual gifts, but the same Holy Spirit who is the source of them all. Each of us at salvation have been given a spiritual gift – a gift that God gives us for the benefit of others


A - ApplicationI do not compare what I have with someone else. I just use who has made me to be along with the gifting’s and talents he has placed in my life, first to glorify Jesus, and secondly for the benefit of helping the entire church.
They have not been given to praise me, look how good I am but to help others.
That also tells me that I need to be planted in his house, his church so that I am benefiting others. We all need to give away what God has placed within us.


P - Prayer
Lord, thank you for the gifts You have placed within me. Help me not to keep them to myself but to use what you have given me to benefit and help others. In doing so I will flourish and bear fruit – and in bearing fruit – glorify my Father in Heaven. 

WHEN LIFE GETS TOO MUCH

Journal Entry by Gary and Christine Skinner

S - Scripture Psalm 94:19 (The Passion Translation)
“Whenever my busy thoughts were out of control, the soothing comfort of Your presence calmed me down and overwhelmed me with delight.”


O - Observation
Sometimes the busyness of life overloads our earthly minds and we allow thoughts, ideas, facts and figures to chase themselves in circles inside our heads. THERE’S NO GOOD END RESULT!  The swirl of events, and noise of self-chatter is overwhelming.


A - Application
BUT Jesus promised us peace, and in the quiet of God’s presence He can calm the raging storms. 
God is like a circuit breaker. He can flip the switch and cut the power to the surging, raging thoughts that swirl around our minds. He can pour in peace.  We need to give Him permission to do so.


P - Prayer
God, we call out to You in the midst of our busyness and ask You to calm and take control of those thoughts that would drown us.

STIRRING

Journal Entry by Esther Lawson

S - Scripture  Ezra 1:1 (NLT)
‬‬In the first year of King Cyrus of Persia, the Lord fulfilled the prophecy he had given through Jeremiah. He stirred the heart of Cyrus to put this proclamation in writing and to send it throughout his kingdom


O - Observation
The book of Ezra begins in this way. This seems like a fairly ordinary verse but the phrase ‘He (God) stirred the heart of Cyrus’ caught my attention. As I read, I saw the phrase repeated in Ezra 1:5 ‘Then God stirred the hearts of the priests and Levites and the leaders of the tribes of Judah and Benjamin to go to Jerusalem to rebuild the Temple of the Lord’. The proclamation mentioned in verse 1 released the Jews to go and rebuild the Temple. In chapter 2, there is a list of those who returned after being given considerable gifts of silver, gold and livestock by those remaining behind including the King


A - Application
Without going to deep into the history, the long and short of it is this: good things happen when we listen to the God-stirrings within our hearts. When we act on what He has told us, promised us, whispered to us and stirred within us we become agents of change. Easier said than done sometimes. Knowing what God is saying to us requires that we be close to Him, to know Him. In Psalm 27:8 we find this verse ‘My heart has heard you say “Come and talk with me.” My heart responds, “Lord, I am coming”.’ I love this verse. It’s a reminder of a simple, wooing and uncomplicated faith.


P - Prayer
God, thank you that you always want to speak to us. Help us to respond like the psalmist ‘Lord I am coming’ so that we can hear your voice. Attune our hearts to your voice and help us to be obedient to the stirring of our hearts for your purpose and glory. Amen. 
 

STAYING GRAFTED IN

Journal Entry by Geoff Allen

S - Scripture   Romans 11:23-24 (The Message)
‬‬
Make sure you stay alert to these qualities of gentle kindness and ruthless severity that exist side by side in God—ruthless with the deadwood, gentle with the grafted shoot. But don’t presume on this gentleness. The moment you become deadwood, you’re out of there.


O - Observation
I am so thankful that I am planted at HopePoint where I see firsthand the grace of God working through not only our leadership but through so many in our congregation in so many ways. I think that over the years there have been periods in my life where I have felt like deadwood. But the fellowship and encouragement that I get from our church family at HopePoint has meant life to me. I love it that later in this chapter it says that God can do miracle grafts and put us back in. There is hope for all.


A - Application
It’s our choice I guess whether we are in the river of life that flows out of the grace of God and no matter our circumstances focus on Him and stay attached to Him so that the Grace and Love of God not only flows into us but flows out from our lives. I thank God that ‘Gods gifts and God’s call are under full warranty---never cancelled, never rescinded (Rom 11:29)


P - Prayer
Help me no matter my circumstances to stay in fellowship and allow the Holy Spirit to work in me drawing me closer and closer to you, and allow your grace and love to flow from my heart to those around me. I don’t want to be deadwood that is of no value and is pruned off the tree.