Fulfilling Vows

Posted August 16th, 2007 by Kent and filed in devotional

When you make a vow to God, do not delay in fulfilling it. He has no pleasure in fools; fulfill your vow.

Ecclesiastes 5:4

Have you ever had a business relationship with someone who made a commitment but later said, “Well, things changed, so I cannot honor our original agreement.” Sometimes this may be the case, but often it is simply an opportunity to avoid fulfilling an agreement. God is big on fulfilling vows. God’s nature is righteousness and truth. You will always see God honor His Word. He expects the same of His people.

God says there are consequences when we do not fulfill our vows. Subsequent Scripture verses reveal the following:

It is better not to vow than to make a vow and not fulfill it. Do not let your mouth lead you into sin. And do not protest to the temple messenger, “My vow was a mistake.” Why should God be angry at what you say and destroy the work of your hands? Much dreaming and many words are meaningless. Therefore stand in awe of God (Ecclesiastes 5:5-7).

God tells us that He will destroy the work of our hands for failure to fulfill vows. That’s pretty strong language. It gives us an indication of how important fulfilling vows is to God. He will not prosper our work if there are unfulfilled vows in our lives

Are there any unfulfilled vows in your life that may be hindering your projects? Vows show up in many areas of our lives-marriages, businesses, personal friendships. Unfulfilled vows in any one of these could be the reason your work may be hindered.

Ask God today if there are any unfulfilled vows in your life. If so, begin today to make them right so that you may be successful in whatever God calls you to do.

by Oz Hillman

Trading Spaces – The Renovation

Posted August 15th, 2007 by Kent and filed in devotional

Continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling for it is God who works in you to will and to act according to his good purpose. Philippians 2:12-13

We work out what by God’s grace and mercy has been worked in at the time of our salvation. We develop what’s been delivered to us through the person and work of Christ. We build on what has been bought by His blood. Look at that phrase, “work out.” In the original language it means “work to full completion”…to develop what one already has…to finish a project. So, what does life change look like? What does the renovation of a heart look like? In short, it looks like work. But it is a different type of work.

This whole process of spiritual renovation starts when we resign and God designs. What if you gave two sets of plans to a builder? That would be chaotic. Yet, a lot of us have a vice grip on our plans and we say, “I know how to design my life. I know how to run my life. I know how to do my marriage, my job, and this or that. Yes, God, I see your plans on the table but I’m going to do what I want to do.” God simply says, “Let go of the vice grip that you have on your plans. Let go. Resign as the designer and let me design your life, because I am The Master Designer. Resign. Fire yourself. You are incapable of knowing your plans. You’re incapable of designing your life by yourself.”

Once we resign and let him design, he brings swatches of fabric into your life and mine. He says, “Here’s a swatch for your relationships. Here’s a swatch for your future. Here’s a swatch for your occupation.” When he shows it to us, oftentimes we think, “I can’t take that. That’s not my color. I don’t understand that. I don’t see that.” But we have got to realize that God sees the whole context of the room, the whole context of our lives. He sees the final result and we have got to trust him. When we let the Designer design our lives “according to his good purpose,” we will stand amazed at the end result of our sanctification, the complete and perfect renovation of our hearts by the power of God’s Spirit.

by Ed Young

God is Faithful!

Posted August 13th, 2007 by Kent and filed in devotional

The steadfast love of the LORD never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. “The LORD is my portion,” says my soul, “therefore I will hope in him.”

–Lamentations 3:22-24

God…is…faithful. Allow me to restate that again. God is faithful! He will do what He says He will do!

And not only is God faithful and reliable, but He is committed to your spiritual growth and maturity. First Thessalonians 5:23-24 says, “Now may the God of peace himself sanctify you completely, and may your whole spirit and soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. He who calls you is faithful; he will surely do it.”

I love that! Because it promises you and me that God is constantly working on us…creatively, constructively, and continually. The Spirit of God is working in your body and in your soul. And His purpose is to make you more like Him!

Remember when you were a teenager and you couldn’t wait to grow up? That’s how we feel sometimes as Christians. We wonder when we will ever grow up. We wonder if we will ever be responsible and obedient in our Christian life. It’s so easy to become frustrated with ourselves!

But we need to remember that God is patient…and that God is persevering. And according to Philippians 1:6, “he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.” When God gets through with you, you’re going to stand complete, perfect in the glory of Jesus Christ. Someday you shall arise in His likeness. Someday you will be like Jesus!

That’s God’s goal in your life and mine…and He will be faithful to perform it!

God is constantly working on you, creatively, constructively, and continually.

by Dr. Jack Graham

A Lesson in Humility

Posted August 11th, 2007 by Kent and filed in devotional

Jesus … made Himself of no reputation … He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross.
Philippians 2:5, 7–8

Deflating inflated egos is so important to God that he offers to help.

He helped me. I recently spent a week on a book tour. We saw long lines and crowded stores. One person after another complimented me. For three days I bathed in the river of praise. I began to believe the accolades. All these people can’t be wrong. I must be God’s gift to readers. My chest puffed so much I could hardly see where to autograph the books. Why, had I been born two thousand years earlier, we might read the gospels of Matthew, Max, Luke, and John. About the time I wondered if the Bible needed another epistle, God shot an arrow of humility in my direction.

We were running late for an evening book signing, late because the afternoon signing had seen such long lines. We expected the same at the next store. Concerned, we phoned ahead. “We are running behind. Tell all the people we’ll arrive soon.”

“No need to hurry,” the store manager assured.

“What about the people?”

“Neither one seems to be in a hurry.”

Neither one?

By the time we reached the store, thankfully, the crowd of two people had tripled to six. We had scheduled two hours for the signing; I needed ten minutes.

Self-conscious about sitting alone at the table, I peppered the last person with questions. We talked about her parents, school, Social Security number, favorite birthday party. Against my pleadings, she had to go. So I sat alone at the table. Big stack of Lucado books, no one in line.

I asked the store manager, “Did you advertise?”

“We did. More than usual.” She walked off.

The next time she passed I asked, “Had other signings?”

“Yes, usually we have a great response,” and kept going.

I signed all the books at my table. I signed all the Lucado books on the shelves. I signed Tom Clancy and John Grisham books. Finally a customer came to the table. “You write books?” he asked, picking up the new one.

“I do. Want me to sign it?”

“No thanks,” he answered and left.

God hit his target. Lest I forget, my daily reading the next morning had this passage: “Do not be wise in your own eyes” (Prov. 3:7).

When you’re full of yourself, God can’t fill you.

But when you empty yourself, God has a useful vessel.

by Max Lucado

Good News To A Weary Soul

Posted August 10th, 2007 by Kent and filed in devotional

Like cold water to a weary soul, so is good news from a distant land.
Proverbs 25:25

A dear lady in my church has been facing tremendous trials. Her son is a diabetic… and was facing leg amputation below the knee. She is a cancer survivor and they found a troubling spot during her regular check up. We have been praying for her.

She emailed me this week with a tremendous note of praise. The doctors had told her that additional testing revealed that her son was not going to have to lose his leg after all… and her spot was nothing but a test abnormality. She was clear and her son was going to get better. Talk about some good news!! WOW!! Chuck Swindoll believes that the greatest human emotion is RELIEF. My friend is surely feeling great relief as a result of the good news and the Lord’s powerful response to our prayers.

GOOD NEWS FOR TODAY

Are you in need of some good news today? Are you facing some giant problems of your own – health problems or marriage problems or emotional problems or family problems or financial problems? Does it seem, perhaps, that God is a million miles away in your greatest hour of need? Do you feel that He has forgotten you? We often feel like that in times of need… but rest assured, He is as near to you as the shirt on your back and has not forgotten you for one second.

The Prophet Zephaniah reminds us of one of the greatest truths our minds can entertain, “The LORD your God is with you, He is mighty to save. He will take great delight in you, He will quiet you with His love, He will rejoice over you with singing” (Zeph. 3:17). What an awesome verse!! What good news from a distant land!! Let’s look at this verse more closely to see what God is saying:

1. God has not forgotten us or abandoned us. He is with us in our trouble.

2. God is mighty to save and deliver and turn the water of our mountainous problem into the wine of His miraculous provision. Nothing is too difficult for Him.

3. God really does love us and care for us. As hard as it may seem to believe, He really does think the world of you and me. He loves us enough that when we were yet sinners, He willingly gave His own Son on the cross to pay our sin debt and prove His great and unconditional love for us. You and I can rest and relax in the knowledge of His love. You see, all may hate me (obviously not all hate me, some are probably neutral), but the One who counts the most loves me with an unchanging, everlasting love.

4. God is so excited about you and me that He breaks into a song of rejoicing. Did you know that your day began with God singing over you with great joy and delight? As amazing as that statement may seem, it is 100% true for every blood-bought child of the King.

REGARDLESS
Regardless of what you are facing today… regardless of what has come into your life that the devil is trying to use to steal your joy and peace, remember the truth from Zephaniah.

You and I have great cause for rejoicing. The King of the universe, the One who can do all things, is our Daddy who loves us, cares for us and takes great delight in us. If we will simply walk in His light and keep our eyes on Him, we can be assured of His miraculous provision and take great comfort in His unfailing love.

Now that is good news to a weary soul!

Love,

Jeff Schreve
Pastor