Timeline—Part 10 [Devotional]

Going Deeper with the Message:

Compromising With Kids
by: Michelle Lemley

This Sunday, Andrew shared a powerful message about Daniel, and how he trusted that God was in control. He shared one particular quote by D. A. Carson that really spoke to me. It reads:

“People do not drift toward Holiness. Apart from grace-driven effort, people do not gravitate toward godliness, prayer, obedience to Scripture, faith, and delight in the Lord. We drift toward compromise and call it tolerance; we drift toward disobedience and call it freedom; we drift toward superstition and call it faith. We cherish the indiscipline of lost self-control and call it relaxation; we slouch toward prayerlessness and delude ourselves into thinking we have escaped legalism; we slide toward godlessness and convince ourselves we have been liberated.”

Now, I wouldn’t call myself a control freak, per se, but let’s just say I’ve been known to throw internal temper tantrums when things don’t go the way I want them to. I guess that’s where my kids get it. Recently, we’ve been butting heads about bedtime. With school starting next week, we’ve been more conscious of their bedtimes and trying to get them to sleep earlier. We’ve always started getting ready for bed at 7pm, but somehow over the summer we’ve slipped into the habit of starting later and later. It started with a night out when we got home late and they went to bed at 7:30pm. Then they wanted just one more snack, so it was 7:35pm. And so here we are, prepping for school to start, and they’re used to going upstairs at 8pm. What a rude awakening, and what a fight. 

My oldest son is especially frustrated with this turn of events. He’s 10, and wants so badly to be in control of his own schedule. We have had more than one conversation about why mommy and daddy are in charge of keeping him safe and healthy. And bedtime isn’t exactly the easiest time of day for rational discourse. 

And so the line from Carson’s quote, “We drift toward compromise and call it tolerance” has hit especially hard (not that he was pulling any punches with the rest of it). I have found myself drifting toward compromise, telling myself that a little change won’t hurt here and there. But there are some times in my parenting where I need to stand my ground and recognize that, while none of us may like it at the moment, in the long run it’s the right choice. 

Just as these moments are difficult in my house, similar choices can be difficult in my relationship with the Lord. Just as my kids need healthy and firm boundaries to know that they are safe in my care, I also need the reassurance of knowing that my Heavenly Father is in control and that I can trust Him to always be with me through it all. 

And that’s not a place where He will ever compromise.

 

Living out the Message:

Yet Will I Trust Him
By Barb Barnhart

This week, Andrew shared with us about Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. These three men can be seen as the epitome of trust. No matter which way the results from being thrown into the fiery furnace went, they would still trust God. Their response to King Nebuchadnezzar was:

But even if He does not rescue us, we want you as king to know that we will not serve your gods or worship the gold statue you set up.” –Daniel 3:1

Job was another person in scripture that demonstrated trust in the midst of adversity.

“Though he slay me, yet will I trust in Him” –Job 13:15 (KJV)

Two years ago, my brother was diagnosed with Pancreatic Cancer. I got the call on Valentine’s Day of 2019. This was my fiery furnace! I watched my brother, who was physically fit, go from a strong 190 pounds down to a weak 130 pounds in less than five months. All the while, I prayed that God would heal him. His family needed him. I needed him. He was so very sick, unable to eat or do any of the things he had loved. Yet he trusted God. He knew that no matter what happened, He would be with Jesus one day.

This is part of my journey where the statement, “yet will I trust Him” became a question. Yet will I trust Him? My trust was very small and seemingly insignificant. Yet I will trust Him. When my brother passed away in July of 2019, my trust was at a very low point, hanging by a thread. I was angry and sad! My brother needed to be here to see his youngest son, who is on the Autism spectrum, go to Life College at Coastal Carolina University. He was supposed to walk his daughter down the aisle at her wedding. Right now, he should be holding his brand new baby granddaughter. Moment by moment I hold tightly to God’s promises, though I don’t understand. Yet will I trust Him!

This trust I have in my Savior is one that grows as I purposefully believe that He is at work in my life. I cry. I read His Word. I sing His songs of praise. I pray. 

I know that everyone has had or will have a fiery furnace time in their lives. We each must decide how to hold onto the trust we have in Jesus. It is a blessing to know that as we walk through the furnace of our despair, we are not alone. God is with us. Caring for us. Protecting us. Loving us. You can decide…

YET WILL I TRUST HIM!

Real Life Webinar

Real Life Webinar

You’re invited to the Real Life webinar! Our hope is that you’ll find these discussions about real life topics helpful, and discover practical ways to apply this information and advice to your life. We’re here to find real solutions to real problems.

__________________

On Thursday, September 30th, we are looking to find freedom from anxiety. Anxiety is something that we all experience, but when it becomes debilitating, what should we do? A panel of professionals will gather online to give advice and guidance on practical ways to address anxiety.

No registration or sign in is required, and you can watch from the comfort of your home.

Host: Jim Matuga
Panelists: Al Kasprowicz, Travis Watson, Jen Randall Reyes

[View More Info Here]

Date

Thursday, September 30th

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Time

7–7:45PM

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Watch

Timeline—Part 9 [Devotional]

Going Deeper with the Message:

The Soft Whisper
by: Barb Barnhart

Life is fair! NOT!

This has never been a true statement. Life is not fair. We live in a sinful world that is out of bounds and in chaos. We may even say that it mirrors the time of Elijah. On Sunday, Andrew shared with us that during the time when Elijah was the prophet of God, the people were “shouting at nothing.” The Kingdom of Israel was far from God, worshiping Baal. 

Elijah’s job was to bring God’s message to the people in order to get their attention and bring them back to Him. These were not messages of “rainbows and butterflies.” They were filled with truth from a broken-hearted God to His beloved people, who chose to turn away from Him. Elijah had a huge responsibility on his shoulders.

Like us, holding tightly to God’s message and going against the norms of society, Elijah got discouraged. God’s Word is not sugar-coated. We are given glimpses of both the successes and the failures of those who served the Lord. Though God had faithfully taken care of Elijah there were still times of discouragement.  

Elijah’s obedience to God brought the anger of Queen Jezebel. She proceeded to threaten Elijah’s life. He became afraid! He ran! Does this sound familiar? How often do we run from the problem? I have found that running often leads me to a place of despair. Despair overcame Elijah and he sought to give up completely.  

God had other plans! He provided for Elijah then sent him on a journey to hope. Hope was found in a solitary, quiet place.  In 1 Kings 19:10-18, we find God reaching out to Elijah.

“At that moment, the Lord passed by. A great and mighty wind was tearing at the mountains and was shattering cliffs before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake. 12 After the earthquake there was a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire. And after the fire there was a voice, a soft whisper.13 When Elijah heard it, he wrapped his face in his mantle and went out and stood at the entrance of the cave.

Suddenly, a voice came to him and said, “What are you doing here, Elijah?””

In the midst of your life do you allow God the time and place to speak to you? God will come to you. Listen! He is in a soft whisper with the plan for your life, to bring hope!

 

Timeline—Part 8 [Devotional]

Going Deeper with the Message:

Struck Down, But Not Destroyed
by: Michelle Lemley

This week, Pastor Josh brought to us the story of David, whose incredible life can teach us so much about a relationship with the Lord. From his battle with Goliath to his crowning as king of Israel, his life had many shining moments. But what stands out most to me are the mentions of his failings, and his willingness to lament, repent, and turn it all over to God.

Several years ago, my mother was diagnosed with ovarian cancer. It was sudden and unexpected and it rocked my faith in a way I had never experienced. This beautiful, healthy, Godly woman couldn’t be allowed to suffer like that. I found myself turning away from God and everything else, retreating to a quiet place inside myself where I could deny what doctors and my own eyes were telling me.

But Mom took a different approach. Her faith seemed to multiply. She took every setback with a sigh, a moment of lament, and then she turned to the Lord. The example of her faith has brought me peace and awe, and after years and treatments and hair loss and pain, she is still a shining example to me in her relationship with the Lord.

I believe that a relationship with God begins to grow when we have a true relationship with ourselves. We must be willing to consider our own faults and failures and then turn them over to Him in order to allow peace and acceptance to replace guilt and pain. The first step is the willingness to accept your mistakes and to have a desire to change and grow. And that can be really, really hard. But it’s a growing pain that’s difficult in the moment, and necessary and worthwhile in the long run.  

Another Biblical figure who has brought me comfort and inspiration is Paul. In II Corinthians 4:8-9 we read, “We are pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed.”  

If we recognize the example of David and Paul, who endured so much and yet were still able to turn it over to the Lord, we can recognize, accept, and use these challenging times to not only persevere in our relationship with God, but to grow in our faith and trust in Him.

 

Living out the Message:

The Proper Perspective
By Barb Barnhart

This week as Pastor Josh was sharing, I had the opportunity to be a part of opening up of the preschool area to the children. This is my happy place. Here is where God often reminds me of His goodness and power. I have learned that little ones have the ability to help adults put life in perspective.

We began our time discussing the power of God! Yep, it is an easy topic when you are young without all the things and people around you that obstruct your view of God. We did an activity where we talked about how God made everything out of nothing. The children closed their eyes and saw “nothing”. When they opened their eyes, immediately they began listing the things that the power of God created—the trees, the grass, the sky, the bug, my brother…

We are tainted by life. Life causes us to be discouraged. We become inwardly focused and unable to see the power of God at work within us and around us. I love how David was able to “sing” his way through the troubles in his life. He knew that his relationship with God grew stronger as he sought forgiveness from his sin and trusted the power of God to “create a clean heart for me and renew a steadfast spirit within me” as we read in Psalm 51:10

Like a preschooler who is able to focus on our good, gracious and powerful God, we should learn to do the same. My favorite way to focus on God is to sing songs of praise. Whether it is an old hymn like Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus, Because He Lives from the 1970’s, or the modern Death was Arrested, sing your song of Praise to God. As you sing from deep within your heart, your cares and concerns flow to a Heavenly Father who is powerful enough to put life back into proper perspective.