Weekend Devotions

Be Alert to Evil

“Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that the family of believers throughout the world is undergoing the same kind of sufferings.” – 1 Peter 5:8-9 Yesterday we were encouraged through the words of the Apostle Peter to “Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.” He then tells God’s people to “be alert” because our enemy is like a roaring lion seeking to devour us. A fact obvious to anyone who has observed lions is that lions don’t roar before they devour. Animals are not louder when hunting; they are quieter, isn’t that right? Here’s what we know about this roaring lion: It’s all bark and no bite! What is the point of roaring before devouring? If it’s hunting, why would it

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Your Super Bloom Awaits

“Again he said, ‘What shall we say the kingdom of God is like, or what parable shall we use to describe it? It is like a mustard seed, which is the smallest of all seeds on earth. Yet when planted, it grows and becomes the largest of all garden plants, with such big branches that the birds can perch in its shade.’ ” – Mark 4:30-32 Due to this year’s unusually wet winter, California experienced a wildflower super bloom. Hannah and I were hiking through a field and noticed amazing purple, red, and yellow blooms along with mustard seed plants in the distance. It reminded me of Jesus’ parable of the mustard seed in which He says of the Kingdom of God: “It is like a mustard seed, which is the smallest of all seeds on earth. Yet when planted, it grows and becomes the largest of all garden plants,

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Words That Grow

“I planted the seed, Apollos watered it, but God has been making it grow.” – 1 Corinthians 3:6 Isn’t it fascinating to think about words and their power? In order for words to grow, we must put them into action. Everything God allows us to experience can be traced to the seed of a word in someone’s mind, their heart, a word they read, or a word they wrote down on a cocktail napkin or in their personal journal.  The seed of a word was planted into John Harvard and other men who decided in the 1630s that pastors should not be illiterate, so a seminary was founded. Half of his monetary estate was donated to build it. Additionally, he donated his entire library, and these acts formed the groundwork for a little seminary called Harvard. When he died at the age of 30, he had no idea what would

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Get Heaven Into You

“And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever—the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you.” – John 14:16,17 A new Christian said to me, “I don’t understand this Holy Spirit thing.” So I explained what I believe occurs, and I have shared this before. Whenever you confess Christ as your Savior, God puts a “pilot light” inside of you that never goes out and is always there! You know what a pilot light is, it’s in your fireplace or your stove. It’s a little blue, almost invisible light that provides the flame needed to light the gas. At times you need a flashlight to find it, but it’s always there. It’s always in us,

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How You Perceive Your Life

“See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.” – Isaiah 43:19 We’re all familiar with PTSD, or post-traumatic stress disorder. Soldiers and people who have experienced a traumatic event often suffer from this. It’s a real and difficult thing people face so I don’t want to diminish it, but did you know that post-traumatic growth is more common than post-traumatic stress? That’s pretty interesting, isn’t it? Researchers Richard Tedeschi, PhD and Lawrence Calhoun, PhD, found over 90% of people who endured some major trauma, experienced a positive transformation over the long term. They all had their lives transformed by an experience, whether it was surviving a plane crash or surviving a health crisis.  In order to understand their transformation and how they perceived their life, we must look at

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Teach Your Children Well

“Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord.” – Ephesians 6:4 There is a tradition of Orthodox Jewish children memorizing the first five books of the Bible, also known as the Torah. Today, I want to point out how that practice is proof of just how much the Hebrew culture values and treasures their children. When we have children, we love them tremendously and want the very best for them. As Christians, this typically means that we desire for them to have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ and to know His Word and His ways. Accordingly, one of the most powerful things we can ever do for our offspring — whether biological or spiritual — is to teach them to love the truth of Scripture and to adore the Rabbi Jesus. While it’s natural to want them to excel

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The Process is Bigger than the Event

“And in him you too are being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by his Spirit.” – Ephesians 2:22 Yesterday we talked about the process of working towards a goal. Many times in life, we only see the “event” and not the hard work involved in getting there. Take for instance the Super Bowl. We don’t see all the practices the team went through in order to win the game, right? Or, we notice a person with great wealth, but we didn’t see them knocking on doors to build their business. Usually, we meet a person who is clean and sober, but we don’t see all the times they failed in their journey. It’s a process, but God wants us to trust His plan and timing. Oftentimes, we don’t see the process that leads up to the event, but the process is so much more important

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Become a Bigger Christian

“By faith we understand that the universe was formed at God’s command, so that what is seen was not made out of what was visible.” – Hebrews 11:3 It’s true that there are many things you can believe in, and there are a lot of affirmations that we make as Christians. However, my guess is that you already have enough affirmations. There is one thing I want most from you today: I want you to believe that you can become more, and you can achieve more. It’s not the first time that I’ve mentioned this, but I love big Christians more than I love big churches. Yes, big churches serve their community well, and I think they’re great. I love it when people come here to worship with us. There is no doubt that the more people who attend church, the more like a party it becomes, right? You want

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Keeping God’s Word in Your Heart

“I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you.” – Psalm 119:11 A generational mentality and a reverence for Scripture were hallmarks of the Jewish culture. A man named Shimon Ben Shetach had developed a method called Yeshiva, which is the process of helping children memorize, learn and understand Torah. Each child would begin attending school when he was five years old with the goal of being able to recite the first five books of the Bible by heart. This practice was common in Jesus’ day, and there was an expectation that every Jewish boy or girl who didn’t have a disability could recite any portion of the law if they were asked. The really exceptional students went on to memorize the rest of the Old Testament at the age of 10 or 11. The thinking behind every young person knowing the Word of

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Life Always Finds A Way

“All by itself the soil produces grain—first the stalk, then the head, then the full kernel in the head.” – Mark 4:28 Over the past few days, we covered how a will to life is a will to pay the price, but it’s a good price to pay. It’s amazing to see how life always finds a way! Think about the simple act of planting a tiny seed in the ground. It gets a little wet, forms deep roots that push through all the dirt and sand, and miraculously starts shooting up towards the sky. It grows as big as it can and bears as much fruit as it can — all that is possible, and no less. Have you ever seen a tiny crack in the sidewalk with a little bit of dry dirt, and out of it comes a living plant? Some call it a weed, but I

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