Sunday, March 20, 2011

March Devotional

Audacious Faith

Bob Pierce’s most famous prayer, “Let my heart be broken with the things that break the heart of God,” has formed the basis for World Vision’s work alongside the poor and oppressed around the globe.

Bob Pierce's testimony of faith inspires us to step out of our comfort zone and do whatever we can to be God's Hands extended to poor and marginalized women and children to change the world one child at a time. What a privilege and honor we have in our small way to join this vision. Read what Rich Stearns says in his article below.

By Richard Stearns, President, World Vision U.S.

A risky, costly, reckless endeavor
Sixty years after founder Bob Pierce’s bold, audacious idea, World Vision has become a global organization whose presence in nearly 100 countries has helped change the lives of millions of children across multiple generations.

Bob Pierce’s most famous prayer, “Let my heart be broken with the things that break the heart of God,” has formed the basis for World Vision’s work alongside the poor and oppressed around the globe.

I sometimes wish that Bob Pierce had chosen a name other than World Vision when he founded our organization 60 years ago, in September 1950. If he had chosen a name beginning with an A, we would always be the first charity listed by the media after a natural disaster instead of the last.

But what a name — WORLD Vision. Ironically, Bob Pierce was denied his dream to be an Army chaplain in the 1940s because he had poor vision.

I have often mused over Bob Pierce’s sheer audacity. When he made his first trip to Asia in 1947, he barely had enough money to get to Hawaii, much less all the way to China. And he had to borrow an office from Youth for Christ in Portland, Ore., just to get the ministry started. So you have to love the recklessness of a guy who names his little charity “World Vision.” I think it made God smile.

A foundation that has shaped our identity
For 60 years, World Vision has lived by this risky, costly, and even reckless faith, believing that if we dared to follow Christ by going to the darkest and most dangerous places on earth, God would go before us and “be a lamp unto our feet” as we served the poorest of the poor in His name.

That unwavering conviction has led successive generations at World Vision into the pain of the world. Our courageous staff has faced earthquakes, famines, riots, cyclones, military coups, floods, pandemic diseases, and wars. They have lived among the broken, walked among the homeless, and given comfort to the widow, the orphan, the least, and the lost.

And they have done these things knowing the risk and paying the price but believing that God had called them for the great privilege of serving. Rarely does a year go by that doesn’t cost one or two of our staff their lives — seven have died this year alone.

Because of one man’s vision
That audacious faith of Bob Pierce has always characterized World Vision, and I dare to say it has changed the world for millions of children over the past six decades. That tiny seed planted in Asia in 1950 by one man has now grown into an organization of more than 40,000 men and women on six continents in 97 countries.

More than 3 million children are now assisted by sponsors worldwide, and 100 million people receive help of one kind or another — all because one man had the audacity to believe God and because millions more just like you were willing to join him.

World Vision...I think it still makes God smile.

Monday, February 14, 2011

February Devotional

For God So Loved

For God so loved the world
ThAt He gave
His onLy
ThaT whosoever
believes In Him
Shall Not perish
but have Everlasting life.
John 3:16

May you have a blessed, bounteous, abundant, extraordinary, powerful, complete and joyous life remembering that God loves you so much that He gave His One and Only Son so that if You believe, You will live forever with Him.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

January Devotional Resolute

All of us at one time or another have made resolutions. January is characteristically the time of year when we try to redefine ourselves. Our local gyms see an increase in memberships, Costco places closet organizer and garage shelving on the display floor and athletic trainers’ client lists increase. Have you set a New Year’s Resolution for 2011?

The great news for us as Christians is that we don’t have to wait 365 days to recreate ourselves. “If any man be in Christ, He is a new creation” and Jesus’ unconditional love is “new every morning”. Once Jesus is our Savior, we simply ask Him to forgive us or show us the way that He would have us go or ask Him about what we need to refine or change. He is faithful to answer our prayers and tell us what we need to change and then He empowers us to make those changes to our spirit, mind or body that flow out into our daily lives.

What goals have we set for this next year? This is a good month to reflect on purpose, plan and production. Our purpose is to "love the Lord our God with all our heart and soul and mind" and "seek first His kingdom and His righteousness". Every decision we make and every moment we live should reflect that purpose. He has a "plan for our life for good and not for calamity to give us a future and a hope". All of our plans should be in alignment with His plan for our life. Our production involves laboring in the fields for the harvest of souls into the Kingdom. How many souls have we ushered into the Throne Room?

As we begin 2011 it is fun to talk with friends about the usual goals of reorganizing our garage or our closets or renewing that gym membership so we can begin or increase our workout times and get into shape with a trainer. In addition, let’s begin in 2011 by praying about and pondering our purpose, God’s plan and Kingdom production. Every one of us is created by God "for His good pleasure" and like Jesus, our Perfect Example, we need to be about our Father’s business. Let us be resolute about it.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

December Devotional: Emmanuel

Mary is one of those friends who walks into your heart and takes up residency there. She fills your heart with kindness and care through her deeds, sacrificially giving and finding great joy in doing so. She thrives on being a blessing and doesn’t miss a chance to bake cookies, send a cheery note, or invite you for dinner. Mary is a heart friend. I like that idea of a heart friend.

I pondered that idea for a minute and the thought came that Jesus is a heart Friend. Once invited, He takes up residency and fills our hearts with His radiating love that permeates the layers that have separated us from Him melting away fear and hurt and pain. He is gracious to take only the space that we give Him and patiently waits in the drawing room until He is invited into each room. It is because Jesus has been invited into Mary’s heart that Love spills over and permeates people whose lives she touches.

Steven Curtis Chapman wrote a song entitled “Christmas Is All in the Heart” found on The Music of Christmas CD

“Cause Christmas is all in the heart, that's where the feeling starts
And like a fire inside, it touches every part
‘Cause Christmas is all in the heart
And even if no white snow falls, that's all right because
The joy can still be found, wherever you are
Cause Christmas is all, all in the heart

No, it's not in the snow that may or may not fall
And it's not in the gifts around the tree
It's in the love heaven gave, the night our Savior came
And that same love can still be found wherever you are
'Cause Christmas is all in the heart
And the joy can still be found, wherever you are
'Cause Christmas is all, all in the heart
It's all in the heart

Emmanuel. God is with us. That is the message of Christmas. Jesus came as a baby to this earth so that He could live and die and be raised again and through His Holy Spirit reside with us in our hearts. He is our heart Friend who sticks closer than a brother, who comforts and encourages, who calls and empowers. We ask that our hearts would be broken by the things that break the heart of God because He came. Joy to the world!

Friday, November 19, 2010

Thanksgiving 2010

Psalm 103 expresses thanksgiving and praise to the Lord for all his benefits and blessings that he bestows on his people. During this Thanksgiving week, may we remember anew God’s goodness to us and remember his blessings that He showers on us and may we in turn by His Hands extended to the poor and marginalized in our world.

Psalm 103 (New International Version)
1Praise the LORD, my soul; all my inmost being, praise his holy name.
2 Praise the LORD, my soul, and forget not all his benefits—
3 who forgives all your sins and heals all your diseases,
4 who redeems your life from the pit and crowns you with love and compassion,
5 who satisfies your desires with good things so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.
6 The LORD works righteousness and justice for all the oppressed.
7He made known his ways to Moses, his deeds to the people of Israel:
8 The LORD is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, abounding in love.
9 He will not always accuse, nor will he harbor his anger forever;
10 he does not treat us as our sins deserve or repay us according to our iniquities.
11 For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his love for those who fear him;
12 as far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us.
13As a father has compassion on his children, so the LORD has compassion on those who fear him;
14 for he knows how we are formed, he remembers that we are dust.
15 The life of mortals is like grass, they flourish like a flower of the field;
16 the wind blows over it and it is gone, and its place remembers it no more.
17 But from everlasting to everlasting the LORD’s love is with those who fear him, and his righteousness with their children’s children—
18 with those who keep his covenant and remember to obey his precepts.
19The LORD has established his throne in heaven, and his kingdom rules over all.
20 Praise the LORD, you his angels, you mighty ones who do his bidding,who obey his word.
21 Praise the LORD, all his heavenly hosts, you his servants who do his will.
22 Praise the LORD, all his works everywhere in his dominion.
Praise the LORD, my soul.

Friday, October 1, 2010

October Devotional: Change Your Power Source

Change Your Power Source

After a slammed day at work, there I was sitting on my laptop at home trying to catch up on my email and Face book and check my bank accounts before I went to bed. Suddenly quite subtly in the lower right hand corner of my screen in a rectangular box appeared the words “Change your power source”. I was stunned for a few seconds and then I started laughing out loud! Isn’t God amazing? A precise, exact and definite reminder that flashed like neon in my soul! YES! That is exactly what I needed to do. Here I was yet again, doing my life, my day, my evening my way. I was stressed, exhausted and discouraged. Why? For the most part, I was relying on myself and words from “man” to guide and direct me in the hurried and the harried of my life.

Our sweet, tender and kind Lord just popped into my spirit in a way that He knew would capture my attention. By the way, my computer usually gives me a percentage of power remaining in that little rectangular box. I haven’t seen those words before or since. They really got me thinking. So, let me ask three classic journalistic questions: Who is our power source? Where is our power source? What is our power source?

Who is our power source? Is it God or self? When self is our power source, there is no peace and absolutely no grace. There is stress and strife. We feel trapped and without hope. This happens in degrees as it begins small and grows and can end in despair and hopelessness. By contrast, when God is our power source there is freedom and we find peace and grace; there is hope and boldness and courage. When we take His yoke upon us it is light. There is no strain, no stress. God goes before us. The way is straight. Let’s let God be our power source today remembering that “The earth is the Lord’s and everything in it” (I Cor. 10:26)

Where is our power source? Are we “in” the world or “of” the world? Jesus said that we are to be in the world, but not of the world in. John 8:23 But he continued, "You are from below; I am from above. You are of this world; I am not of this world.” Jesus came into the world but he never was of the world. He as our example remained the perfect Son of God by not being tainted by the world. So what does it look like to be of the world? The way of the world, the trends of the day are what we adhere to rather than God’s way. Matthew 6:33 asks us “What good is it for a man to gain the whole world, and yet lose or forfeit his very self (Luke 9:25) or his soul?” (Matt. 16:26) We are reminded in Matthew 6:33 to seek first the Kingdom of God and all these things shall be added unto us. We are to follow Jesus in His example to be in the world and not of it.
What is our power source? Is it the truth from God’s Word or is it information from man’s words? Do we listen to what people say through their philosophies and beliefs that are contrary to the Word? Do we know the Word of God enough to keep us from being deceived? Do we hide God’s Word in our hearts so that we do not sin against Him? His Word is a light to our feet and a lamp to our path (Ps.119:1015). Whose report will we believe about our health and our finances and our hope? We will not find the truth in New York’s Best Sellers or on a TV weekly “sit com”. We won’t find the truth in the Wall Street Journal or Time magazine. What are we putting into our minds to undergird us so we don’t fall? God’s Word is to be what we read and hide deep in our hearts so that in real time our motivations and actions line up with what His Word says.

As we go about our day this week, let’s think about our power source. Who is our power source? Is it God or self? Where is out power source? Are we “in” the world but not “of” the world? What is our power source? Is it God’s Word or man’s words? I am so grateful that God loves me so much that He is willing to communicate with me where I am even if it’s on my computer! Let’s ask Him to show us how to keep Him as our power source this week and always.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Sept. Devotional: Ponder Anew What the Almighty Can Do!

Ponder Anew What The Almighty Can Do!
The tyranny of the urgent seems to drive most of our lives in America. We are constantly trying to beat the clock to that next appointment, meet that next deadline, and even make that green light! We rush around as if what was happening in our lives and what needed to be done was the most urgent thing in the universe. How do we gain perspective? Years ago when I was under the hammer of the urgent, I would check myself with another phrase, “Consider the universe”.

This phrase would set me into a sequence toward calm. I trained my mind to stop and visualize the universe and then take my visualization from the universe to our solar system and then to planet Earth. By then I had at least stopped gulping my coffee and began to consider the North American Continent and then the United States of America.Continuing my progression from magnanimous to small next I would consider the State of Colorado where I was living then the city (Denver), the street, the building, the floor, the office and finally the desk that I was occupying.By going from the inconceivably huge to my tiny space it helped me to realize that my stressors were small in comparison.The picture of the universe that I kept on my desk was my reminder that my current frustration or task was not urgent enough to rob me of my peace.

I often wonder what God thinks of us as we scurry about with our urgent. I wonder what He thinks of my 15 hour work days or my endless lists of things that must get done. Actually, I don’t wonder at all. His Word is very clear on what is urgent and it isn’t my lists and my 15 hour work days. Things that are urgent to Jesus are loving Him with all my heart, soul and mind and seeking first His kingdom and His righteousness because He promises that “all these things will be added unto those” who follow His Word. His urgency is to help the poor and needy, to bring comfort to the comfortless, and to proclaim the Good News in a world where good news is scarce.When I face next Monday, my prayer is that God’s urgency will prevail.

Will you join me in making that your prayer? May we ponder anew what the Almighty can do if we but let Him. I challenge us to look at what is urgent in our lives. If it isn’t what God finds urgent, may we break the tyranny of it. May we take His yoke upon ourselves and learn of Him for his yoke is easy, without urgency, without tyranny and it definitely leads to peace.

Psalm 150:2
Praise Him for his acts of power; praise Him for his surpassing greatness.

Praise to the Lord Almighty (All verses)
Joachim Neander 1680

Praise to the Lord, the Almighty, the King of creation!
O my soul, praise Him, for He is thy health and salvation!
All ye who hear, now to His temple draw near;
Praise Him in glad adoration.

Praise to the Lord, who over all things so wondrously reigneth,
Shelters thee under His wings, yea, so gently sustaineth!
Hast thou not seen how thy desires ever have been
Granted in what He ordaineth?

Praise to the Lord, who hath fearfully, wondrously, made thee;
Health hath vouchsafed and, when heedlessly falling, hath stayed thee.
What need or grief ever hath failed of relief?
Wings of His mercy did shade thee.

Praise to the Lord, who doth prosper thy work and defend thee;
Surely His goodness and mercy here daily attend thee.
Ponder anew what the Almighty can do,
If with His love He befriend thee.

Praise to the Lord, who, when tempests their warfare are waging,
Who, when the elements madly around thee are raging,
Biddeth them cease, turneth their fury to peace,
Whirlwinds and waters assuaging.

Praise to the Lord, who, when darkness of sin is abounding,
Who, when the godless do triumph, all virtue confounding,
Sheddeth His light, chaseth the horrors of night,
Saints with His mercy surrounding.

Praise to the Lord, O let all that is in me adore Him!
All that hath life and breath, come now with praises before Him.
Let the Amen sound from His people again,
Gladly for aye we adore Him.