Friday, June 27, 2008

A New Attitude

by Sara Boyer

This Week's Verse: Philippians 2:5, “Your Attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus.” (NIV)

Each of us from time to time has struggles with our children. The Boyer family is no exception. When my daughter Beth was little, it would be the occasional temper tantrum. During the Jr. High years, it was the frequent eye-roll. In High School, it would be a snide remark or disrespectful back-talk. It didn’t happen a lot, but when it did, my response was always, “You need to get a new attitude, Young Lady!”

This comment resulted in one of two reactions. (1) She would humbly close her mouth and listen, or (2) She would turn and stomp off to her room and maybe accentuate her response with a door slam. Anyone who is a parent, guardian, aunt, teacher or mentor can identify with these scenarios. There are times when God’s greatest blessings can be challenging.

As I think back on those times, I wonder if we are that different from the children we know and love. If each of us were given the opportunity to hear God’s audible voice, how many times would He have said, “You need to get a new attitude, Young Lady!” I know I would have heard it thousands of times. I would have heard it when my words tore people down, rather than building them up. I would have heard it when I was selfish or glutinous. I would have heard it when I tried to hide from my responsibility or “tweak” the truth. I would have heard it when I gossiped. The list could go on and on.

Philippians 2:5 reminds us of the attitude we are to strive for—the attitude of Christ Jesus. There are times when having an attitude like Christ is easy. But he doesn’t call us to have His Attitude just when things are easy. He calls us to have His Attitude all of the time. It isn’t easy to love the unlovable, but Jesus would. It isn’t easy to stand up for the truth when the crowd is pulling you the other way, but Jesus would. It isn’t easy to stop the gossip when you’re in a group, but Jesus would.

I think God would say that we can be challenging, but we are so blessed to have Jesus as our Lord and Savior. He loves us just the way we are—even when we need to get a new attitude. He also loves us too much to leave us the way we are.

When the Holy Spirit whispers, “You need to get a new attitude, Young Lady!” What will your response be? Will you (1) Quietly humble yourself before Him and repent, or (2) Turn and stomp off continuing to do things your way?

Father God, help us to strive to have Your Attitude. Let us see the world around us through Your eyes and show Your love and compassion to everyone around us. May we have your attitude not only in word and deed, but also in our hearts. We love you Lord – Amen.

1) Pray for the Holy Spirit to prompt you when your attitude needs to be adjusted. 2) Try to find a Christian accountability partner whom you love and trust to help you. 3) The best way to know the Attitude of Christ Jesus is to study His Word. Take time to be in His Word every day.

Power Verses:
1 Peter 4:1, “Therefore, since Christ suffered in his body, arm yourselves also with the same attitude, because he who suffered in his body is done with sin.” (NIV)
Galatians 5:22-23, “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control….” (NIV)
Matthew 22:37-39, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” (NIV)

Friday, June 20, 2008

Blog manager on vacation. Please check back later for our weekly devotional. :-)

Friday, June 13, 2008

Change BY Love, Transformed TO Love

by Missy Milbourn

This Week's Verse: 1 John 16, 17, “God is love, and all who live in love live in God, and God lives in them. And as we live in God, our love grows more perfect. So we will not be afraid on the day of judgment, but we can face him with confidence because we live like Jesus here in this world.” (NLT)

As I’ve walked with Christ He has changed me in many ways, but there’s one change that stands out above the rest, and that’s the ability to love. The old Melissa Milbourn was compassionate, but not necessarily loving. I loved my friends and family, but didn’t really care that much about anyone outside of my immediate circle, until Jesus.

There are times now when I meet someone and immediately have love for them. There are times when I don’t even know someone personally, but only know OF them, and yet God puts them on my heart, and causes me to love them.

The Apostle John is often referred to as the “Apostle of Love”. In 1 John, he teaches us much about loving God and loving others. However, you might find it interesting that the “Apostle of Love”, wasn’t always so loving either.

In Luke 9:51-56, Jesus was on His way to Jerusalem, when they ran into some people who did not welcome Him. When James and John saw this, they asked, “"Lord, do You want us to command fire to come down from heaven and consume them?" (NASB)

But Jesus turned and rebuked James and John saying, "You do not know what kind of spirit you are of; for the Son of Man did not come to destroy men's lives, but to save them." (Luke 9:55:56, NASB)

In the Gospel of Mark, Jesus had given James and John the nickname “Sons of Thunder”. Many think that it was due to their hot temper, and quickness to judge others (Mark 3:17 and 9:38).
However, because of walking with Jesus, and listening to Jesus, and being obedient to Jesus, John was transformed into the “Apostle of Love” reflecting the very character of Jesus.

As we surrender ourselves to Christ, as we spend time in His presence, we too begin to reflect His character, and the Word tells us that God is love. I know that I have not yet been made perfect in this “love” arena, but I notice a definite change in my heart, due to the manifestation of God’s love in my life.

Father, help me to surrender myself wholly to you, so that I more accurately reflect Your loving character. In Jesus Name, Amen.

Where are you in the “love” process? Do a quick analysis of your own heart. Consider this question, am I quick to judge others, or quick to love others? In the past when you have been judged, did that draw you closer to that person, or drive you away from that person. In the past, when you have been loved, did that draw you closer to that person, or away from that person.

Power Verses:
1 Peter 1:22,
“Now that you’ve cleaned up your lives by following the truth, love one another as if your lives depended on it.” (MSG)
1 John 3:14, “We know that we have passed from death to life, because we love our brothers.” (NIV)
1 John 4:7, “Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. (NIV)

Friday, June 6, 2008

Cleaning House

by Kathy Lay

This Week's Verse: Psalm 51:7, “Purify me from my sins, and I will be clean; wash me, and I will be whiter than snow.” (NLT)

I was recently caught up in a whirlwind of cleaning. Company was coming and many, many weeks of mere “surface cleaning” (shuffling clutter and occasionally dusting and vacuuming) had culminated in what was now a monumental job. If I was going to do some really necessary “deep” cleaning, I was going to have to address a few things I’d overlooked or simply lived with for awhile.

Like cob webs! How do I not notice them on a day to day basis, but I really see them when someone is coming over and I look around the house through the eyes of a visitor?

Or like our stairs. I go up and down our dark carpeted stairs many times each day. But I don’t even see the lint, crumbs, and various other matter that collects on them until I know someone outside our family will be climbing them. And then I’m mortified.

When I finally expend a little elbow grease though and really get them looking good, I notice EVERY little piece of whatever shows up on them! Dirty? What’s one more little mud-clump? But clean? Don’t you dare go up those stairs with those shoes on!

That’s the way it is with our spiritual lives too. Just a tiny speck of sin may accumulate daily and then before you realize it, you’ve ridden a slippery slope into a massive nasty junk pile! And when we feel that grimy, what’s one more little stain? It will take a Holy Visitor stopping by to help us actually see the mess we’ve made.

The good news is He’ll help us clean it up too.

Matthew 12: 43-45 refers to a housecleaning incident gone bad: “When an unclean spirit goes out of a man, he goes through dry places, seeking rest, and finds none. Then he says, ‘I will return to my house from which I came.’ And when he comes, he finds it empty, swept, and put in order. Then he goes and takes with him seven other spirits more wicked than himself, and they enter and dwell there; and the last state of that man is worse than the first. So shall it also be with this wicked generation.” (NKJV)

Yikes! How do we prevent our house from ending up in even worse condition? We have to fill it up! The unclean spirit was able to reclaim the residence with his buddies because it was EMPTY. What we have to do is invite the Holy Spirit in to take up residence instead.

Equipped with God’s power and awash with the Spirit’s cleansing light, we begin to not only notice every little speck of dirt or stain, but we want rid of them. We’re able to deal with them sooner so they don’t accumulate and overpower us. We begin to desire not just a superficial once-over rinse, but a deep, purging, lasting cleanse.

When we allow ourselves to be rinsed out daily in His Word, we become clean and pure before God once again. Hallelujah!

As far as housework and never-ending cleaning goes, it sure helps when the whole family pitches in. And as far as keeping our temples clean--Praise God!--we have the Spirit of the Creator living in us to help.

Father, thank you for your indwelling. Your presence leads us to the truth and guides us away from the grit and squalor of a sinful path. And yet even when we do “make a mess” of things You willingly help us to clean it up. Thank You for that grace and for Your never-ending mercies. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

What sins have you lived with for so long that you may have a hard time even noticing them? Ask God to help you do some housecleaning.

Power Verses:
Philippians 2:15
, “…so that no one can criticize you. Live clean, innocent lives as children of God, shining like bright lights in a world full of crooked and perverse people. (NLT)
1 John 1:7, “But if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin.” (NKJV)
Titus 3:5, “He saved us because of his mercy, and not because of any good things that we have done. God washed us by the power of the Holy Spirit. He gave us new birth and a fresh beginning.(CEV)