Category: Heart for the House

18
May

Day Fifteen: God of Miracles

Heart for the House | Day 15 | God of Miracles

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I love libraries. There is something so majestic about walking into a big library! University libraries are some of my favorite because they have been filled with books for so long that you can even smell the pages as soon as you walk in! I believe there will definitely be libraries in heaven.

The book of John in the bible is my favorite account of Jesus’ life. And the last verse in the book of John resonates with me. The disciple who walked with Jesus and witnessed many of His miracles, documented some of the most incredible faith-building stories in his book. And as he is ending the book of John and searching for his final words to us, fellow believers, he pens out John 21:25:

And there are also many other things which Jesus did. If they should all be recorded one by one (in detail) I suppose that even the world itself could not contain (have room for) the books that would be written.

John is telling you and me, the readers, that there is more to the story.

No doubt, John is referring to all of the miracles Jesus did while here on earth. He is saying there is no way that everything Jesus did could all be recorded.

But I believe that he is talking about our stories too.

With these words, John is telling us that we also have a role and responsibility in the story.

Like I said, I believe there are libraries in heaven. I picture us getting to Heaven one day and finding a huge library full of all the accounts of all of the miracles that have happened since Christ’s death and resurrection.

Inside that library are all the stories of the miracles that Kenneth Hagin, Smith Wiggelsworth, John G. Lake, Oral Roberts, and Billy Graham witnessed. Each with their own book full of stories of what they saw in their lifetime.

I also believe that tucked on a shelf will be a book for The Church RC.

That book will be filled with all the accounts of the miracles we have seen God do through the years.

There are so many things we have already seen God do, and this Sunday we will see God add another page to that book. We can’t wait to worship with you and celebrate all that God has done!

Reflect

  • Write down some miracles you have seen God do in your lifetime.
  • Take a moment to pray and thank God that your story is still being written.

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18
May

Day Fourteen: Nothing Too Big

Heart for the House | Day 14 | Nothing Too Big

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The doorbell sounded, our new sofa was being delivered,! I swung the door open to reveal a small framed man asking if I was the recipient of the couch and I confirmed.
“Great, I am going to be carrying the sofa in.”
“YOU?!” I asked, “Do you have any help?”
He shrugged and said, “No, my buddy called in sick today. I should be fine on my own”

I didn’t believe him, but I was interested to see how all this was about to go down. He opened the back of his truck and his look of confidence quickly diminished when he saw the size of the job ahead of him. Until that moment, he had believed anything was possible.

I think about what it was like for the disciples when Jesus boldly told them that there was, “nothing impossible to those who believed.” What they must have thought. After all, we live in a world where everything is limited.

You have limited items for a checkout aisle, limited hours in a day, and limited money before the next payday. But the disciples had been living with the Messiah for whom there seemed no limits or impossibilities.

When they were in lack He multiplied the loaves and fish, when there was a storm He calmed it, He ruined every funeral He attended by bringing the dead to life. This Jesus truly was limitless in all He did, but now He was opening the door to them also.

They were being invited to live their lives in the realm of no impossibilities.

There is only one condition, they only had one single responsibility. That was to believe the one who had promised.

I am sure that when those words left Jesus’ lips, the disciples were amazed. Belief. That is the only thing that stood between them and a miracle.

Still today belief is all that separates us from our miracle.

In fact, any time that the disciples didn’t see a miracle, Jesus questioned only their belief, nothing else.

I think the same is true today. Most of the time, nobody has to actively work to take our miracles from us. We talk ourselves out of miracles every day.

As we are closer to our Miracle Sunday as a church family, we encourage all of you reading this to choose to believe that anything is possible for us! God is able. Faith is taking hold of what is unseen and bringing it into the realm of reality.

I don’t know what you are praying for currently, but might I remind you that NOTHING is impossible to those who believe. Quit seeing God as the small framed delivery boy and start seeing Him as the limitless God that He is! When you start seeing Him in the right way, you will start praying and seeing BIG things happen!

Reflect

  • Have you held a small view of God?
  • What would happen if you started seeing God as limitless?
  • Take a moment and ask God for a greater measure of faith.

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17
May

Day Thirteen: Reaping and Sowing

Heart for the House | Day 13 | Reaping & Sowing

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Today we are going to look at three foundational truths about giving.

  1. You reap what you sow.

I’m sure you’ve heard this phrase before. It’s a common saying because it’s a self-evident truth. For example, if you sow corn, you reap corn; if you sow wheat, you reap wheat; and if, as Paul suggests, you sow money, you reap money. It’s a law that was established at the creation of the world, which we read in Genesis 1:11–12:

Then God said, “Let the earth bring forth grass, the herb that yields seed, and the fruit tree that yields fruit according to its kind, whose seed is in itself, on the earth”; and it was so. And the earth brought forth grass, the herb that yields seed according to its kind, and the tree that yields fruit, whose seed is in itself according to its kind. And God saw that it was good.

However, as glaringly obvious as this principle sounds, you’d be surprised how many times I’ve observed people expecting things to work some other way in their case. Can you imagine a farmer standing in a field in which he has sown wheat seeds and being frustrated because corn is not appearing? That would be foolishness. But that is precisely what so many believers do. They expect a harvest of something they’ve never planted. Let me emphasize once again, this is not a holy get-rich-quick scheme.

We don’t sow for the purpose of getting more money; however, financial growth is a by-product of bountiful sowing.

  1. You reap after you sow.

This is the second principle you need to know. I know that seems mind-numbingly simple but you cannot believe how many people say things like, “Someday, when I have more money, I’m going to be a giver.” If that’s what they’re waiting for, it will never happen.

You can’t reap before you sow. This is a principle God has woven into the natural order of things. Jesus affirms this in today’s Scripture when He says, “The kingdom of God is as if a man should scatter seed on the ground, and should sleep by night and rise by day, and the seed should sprout and grow.”

Imagine the same foolish farmer I mentioned earlier now standing in the field waiting for a crop to come in when he has never planted a seed. “Once this crop comes up, I’m going to do some serious sowing,” he says confidently. “I’ll be a bigtime sower if I ever get this crop to come in.” Of course, this is absurd. Yet I have heard many believers say pretty much the same thing, such as, “If God will help me close this major business deal, I’m really going to start giving to the church.”

It’s the one who is faithful with little who will receive much. You have to start where you are.

  1. You reap more than you sow.

The essence of this principle can be found in Psalm 126:5–6:

“Those who sow in tears shall reap in joy. He who continually goes forth weeping, bearing seed for sowing, shall doubtless come again with rejoicing, bringing his sheaves with him.”

As this passage implies, the principle of harvest increase is so powerful that, even if you’re crying as you scatter your little bag of precious seed, your tears will turn to rejoicing as you begin bringing in your sheaves of harvest.

Think about it—just a few kernels of planted corn will produce a stalk with several ears. And each ear will contain hundreds of seed kernels (approximately 400 kernels). That’s a pretty good return, isn’t it?

You always get more when you sow God’s way, but it’s up to us to take the first step. That starts with being faithful in planting the first seed. It may be difficult to take the first step, but once you do you’ll be rewarded with much more than you ever expected

Reflect

  • Take a moment to ask God to reflect on how you view giving. How could you view it differently?

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16
May

Day Twelve: We are the Church

Heart for the House | Day 12 | We are the Church

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When you have little kids you find that you take on a new language. They have their own words for everything. When Brailey was little, she would say “drinky” when she was thirsty, “froggy” was foggy, “kaprize” was surprise.

All children have their own language, and Their family knows that language best. I remember when I first came into church. It seemed as though everyone spoke with a different language then I did.

The word church is first mentioned in Matthew 16:18 where Jesus says the famous line,

“I will build my church and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.”

The word church here literally means a gathering place.

One of the things I think is so amazing about The Church RC is that it is a gathering place for people from all over our area. We have people that drive hours each week to come worship with us, and many more that listen to our podcasts.

When Jesus was describing the church He desired it to be a gathering place. A gathering place for people of all different backgrounds, ages, cultures, occupations and beliefs.

Unlike the religious rulers of that time Jesus gave no qualifications for who could gather.

You see, everywhere that Jesus went was a continual ‘gathering place’. From Luke 5 the gathering place was so full a group of men had to lower a man through a roof to get to Jesus; to when Jesus was walking along the streets and the crowd pressed on Him on every side (Mark 5); or when He gave the famous message on the sermon on the mount the thousands sat all day listening to Him speak.

Before He even told the disciples the name of this new movement, Jesus was already living it out. It is no wonder people gathered themselves to Him! Every part of who He was let people know that they were welcome just as they were.

Before they ever knew the name of this movement, they knew the message.

We were standing in the lobby after church one Sunday when a woman came up to me. Tears streaming down her checks holding a worship guide. “This,” she began pointing at the worship guide that says ‘come as you are’, “before I ever read this line on my seat, I felt it.”

People ask why we are building a new facility. It is for stories like hers, and for the many more that are longing to have a place to gather so that they can encounter Jesus. We have seen over 2,000 salvations since our first service, but we know that it’s just the beginning of all God wants to do.

There is a longing deep inside every person’s heart to gather around the One, Jesus.

Reflect

  • What was your perception of church before attending The Church RC?
  • Take a moment to ask God to gather people into His house, the church, so that they might also encounter Jesus

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15
May

Day Eleven: Hear, Believe, Obey

Heart for the House | Day 11 | Hear, Believe, Obey

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If you ever need a big boost of encouragement, read Hebrews 11! There you will read about the “heroes of faith”—the people throughout the Bible who did amazing exploits for God. I have read Hebrews 11 many times, but one day I noticed a pattern.

All the heroes listed in that chapter heard God, believed God, and obeyed God.

Nehemiah heard God tell him to rebuild the walls of his city, he believed God, obeyed Him, and saw God do an incredible miracle. Moses followed the same pattern when God told him to build a tabernacle and by faith he accomplished everything God told him to do.

Many people who grew up in church remember being told to hear and obey. But they are leaving out a crucial step! We may hear God, but if we don’t believe what we’ve heard, we won’t obey.

Biblical faith is believing what God says no matter what feelings, people, or circumstances tell us.

The good news is that we can follow the pattern outlined in Hebrews 11 today!

We can hear God every day because He has sent the Holy Spirit to speak to us, guide us into all truth, and tell us what God wants us to do (John 16:13).

And there is more good news! If we hear and believe Him, He gives us the power to obey Him—to do what He told us to do—even if it seems impossible.

This week in our study, we are going to look at the life of David. He had some pretty big things to do for God and it was going to take him hearing God, believing it, and obeying.

I don’t know about you, but I want to be a hero of faith. What if God was writing a faith chapter today in the books He keeps in heaven? Would you make it in? What do you think it would take to become a hero of faith? Follow the examples of Jesus’ disciples and the heroes of faith, and hear, believe, and obey God every day.

When you become a follower, you have the power to change the world for Jesus Christ!

Reflect

  • Take a moment to think and pray for the step you find the hardest in your life: hearing God, believing God or obeying God

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12
May

Day Ten: You Have All You Need

Heart for the House | Day 10 | You Have All You Need

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She sighed as she sat down in the car. For only 7 years old she seemed like she was carrying the weight of the world on her shoulders. I lovingly asked her what was troubling her.

“Mom, I just don’t know what I am going to be when I grow up. I am good at drawing. I am good at dancing. I am really good at singing. I love to ride my bike. How am I going to choose?”

I laughed to myself at her predicament and assured her that God would show her what she should do when it was time. Satisfied at my answer she went back to practicing her many talents.

I wish this was the way people thought of their life as they get older, but sadly it isn’t. Somewhere as we get older, we start to magnify other people’s strengths while minimizing our own.

I want you to think about this; when they were building the tabernacle in the book of Exodus they were in a desert.

They had been raised as slaves, with no frame of reference for the task at hand. To build anything in the dessert would be difficult, but a tabernacle? We aren’t talking about a fort that is built in your living room when your kids have a bunch of friends over. This is a HUGE undertaking that cost $10 MILLION dollars in today’s cost, that is without labor!

The odds were stacked against them:
No money
No skill

God isn’t limited by what you have or by what you know!

He is a BIG God! I love the verse in Exodus 35:5-6 AMP:

And they said to Moses, The people bring much more than enough for doing the work which the Lord commanded them to do. So Moses commanded and it was proclaimed in all the camp. Let no man or woman do anything more for the sanctuary offering. So the people were retrained from bringing.

This is such an incredible moment! God super abundantly supplied for every need they had!

When God gives you the vision, He will always give the provision to accomplish the task!

So now they have the money, but what good is money if you don’t have the talent to make it into what you need?

There isn’t Yelp where you can hire the local contractor to come in and finish the job. Over and over again we see how God gives them the talents they need to do the job! What is incredible is that God gave the people the exact skills they needed to complete the job.

You have what you need to accomplish what God has called you to do!

He wouldn’t place something inside your heart if he wasn’t going to provide for you to accomplish it or the skills needed to obtain it.

Reflect

  • Do you sometimes question if God will provide for the dream He put in your heart?
  • Do you ever feel like you don’t have the skills needed for what God has called you to do?

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11
May

Day Nine: Summer Camp

Heart for the House | Day 9 | Summer Camp

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As a Pastor, people often tell me about their childhood church camp experiences. It’s a story usually is told with a sense of nostalgia. The talk about the songs, the cabins, the memories made with friends, and of course, the powerful encounter they had with God.

And somewhere in the story, I always hear the same comment: “Yea, those were the good ‘ole days.”

Can we be honest for a minute? No, those weren’t the “good ‘ole days”! Your hormones as a teenager were out of control, the cabins you stayed in make a Motel 8 look like a Hilton, and the food was awful! The only difference between “the good ole days” and today is your focus.

When you went to summer church camp you went with a heart that was expecting God to do something great. For the first time in your life God wasn’t something that fit into a one hour block on Sunday morning – He became real to you. To top it off, at camp you were surrounded by people that were all experiencing the same thing. For one week you were able to seek God first thing in the morning and the last thing at night. You felt encouraged because you were only associated with people that wanted nothing more than to grow their relationship with God too.

What if our life became a summer church camp?

I am not suggesting that we all exchange our comfortable homes for run down cabins. I am advocating that we begin to really allow God to enter our lives. Let’s seek God first and get around people who are doing the same!

I don’t ever want you to look backwards to find the time in your life that you burned brightest for God!

Romans 12:11 encourages us: “Never lag in zeal and earnest endeavor; be aglow and burning”

I love campfires and Bryan is great at making them. I like to think of it a team effort since he builds the fire and I enjoy it. One thing Bryan works carefully on the entire time is making sure the fire stays burning. He is constantly looking for the right brush and sticks to add at the right time to keep it going.

This is a lot like what the author of Romans is telling us to do; he wants us to stay burning bright for God. The way you do that is:

  1. Time in His word and
  2. Time with his people

I am so proud of you for doing this devotional! I know this: your fire is burning!

Reflect

  • Take a moment to think about how you can incorporate God into your daily life?
  • Pray and thank God for the relationships that encourage your faith and keep you “burning” for Him

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10
May

Day Eight: God is in the Details

Heart for the House | Day 8 | God is in the Details

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It was the day after Thanksgiving and shopping at Macy’s was the last thing I wanted to do. In my opinion, there is no sale or discount good enough to make me want to get out and fight the Black Friday crowds.

My Nana, on the other hand, completely disagrees. In fact, I have a theory that her favorite part of the holidays is the Black Friday sales. So, because she and my great aunt wanted to go, off we went to Macy’s!

As we drove into the packed parking lot, I began to pray out loud for a front row parking spot. The ridicule came almost instantly, “That’s the dumbest thing I have ever heard! God doesn’t care about parking spots.”

Right about that time, though, the car on the front row began to reverse just as we were approaching. I replied to her with a smile, “I guess today He does.”

We probably all have things in our lives that we don’t pray about. It can seem silly to pray to God about the little things sometimes.

In the back of our minds we evaluate whether our need is big enough to ask the “big man upstairs” for help.  We wouldn’t want to bother the ruler of Heaven and Earth with a seemingly insignificant request.

Despite what you may think, though, God cares about it all. Yes, everything!

When we read through Exodus 35-36 we see that our God is a very detailed God. He cares about every element of our lives.

He left no detail unmentioned when it came to revealing his plan for the people building the church. Every part mattered to him. The same is true in your life.

God is the perfect builder, orchestrating each piece to fit perfectly in our lives!

Take time to read through Psalm 139:1-12 and you’ll see that God cares about every detail.

There isn’t a single thing that you can face today, tomorrow, or in your future that God doesn’t care about.

If he took time enough to tell Moses every detail about how to build the tabernacle (a church building), I am confident that He is also concerned with the details of our lives!

Reflect

  • What areas of your life have you not been praying about?
  • Take a moment to pray to God about the little things in your life
  • Pray for The Church RC, that God will take care of every detail for our new building

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I am never out of your sight | Psalm 139:2

09
May

Day Seven: A Promised Delayed isn’t a Promise Denied

Flights Boarding, One Time, and DelayedHeart for the House | Day 7 | A Promised Delayed isn’t a Promise Denied

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It’s never a good day for your flight to be delayed, but it’s especially bad news when you are headed to Walt Disney World with 5 kids.

Our two kids and their cousins sat perched by the large airport windows, watching the airplanes. Each time they saw another plane come or go, their complaints grew louder. Bryan reassured them, “Our flight has been delayed, but that doesn’t mean we won’t ever get to Disney World. It just means we will get there a little later than we expected.”

In the book of Exodus, we see that Moses is having an amazing encounter with God on a mountaintop. I can imagine he was excited to travel back down the mountain to tell the Israelites all the good things that God was about to do.

To Moses’ dismay, however, when he returned, the people were worshiping an idol. They had built a golden calf with an altar; they were giving offerings to their new idol and celebrating it.

While their actions might sound absurd to us, the first few words of chapter 32 tell us why they did what they did: “When the people saw that Moses delayed…

In other words, when the people saw that God delayed…they made their own plans.Have you ever felt like God’s plan for your life was delayed?Maybe you have prayed for a loved one continuously, but haven’t seen any changes? Perhaps you have battled financial troubles that seem never-ending, or maybe you know what it feels like to be stuck at a job you know is not for you, but there’s no way out. We have all felt lost and forgotten in God’s plan at one point or another.

When the Israelites felt like God had delayed, they got busy doing their own things.

When you are in a season of waiting, the enemy will tempt you to make things happen on your own. He will try to make you settle for a cheap version of what God has for you.

Sure, the job offer isn’t all that you had hoped for, but you have waited so long that you’re tempted to settle for “good enough”.
Maybe the guy you are dating doesn’t love God, but he has a good heart so it’s more tempting to settle than to wait for God to bring you someone else.

Don’t settle! Don’t lose faith! Don’t develop your own plan, because God’s promise will still come to pass!

The Israelites were just ONE day away from encountering God’s plan for them, but in their impatience, they created their own plan, and they missed out.

We all experience delays on this  journey called life.

Just like we didn’t get up and walk out of the airport when there was a delay, though, you can’t give up on what God has promised just because it didn’t come in the timeline you were wanting.

Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful.

Hebrews 10:23

Reflect

  • Think about a time you may have compromised and made your own plan. What was the result?
  • Pray and ask God to build your strength, endurance, and patience as you wait for His perfect plan

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Handwritten Calligraphic Words

08
May

Day Six: Filled with a Purpose

Heart for the House | Day 6 | Filled with a Purpose

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“I don’t know when I started smelling bad, but this is awful.” My friend was so disturbed by her own smell that she went to the doctor to see what was happening. She tried all of the recommendations, new laundry detergent, different deodorant, but couldn’t figure it out. Finally, she considered that the problem might be her new, favorite body wash. She went to recover the bottle from it’s place in her shower and realized – she had been bathing with LOTION and not body wash for weeks!

While she was very concerned at the time, this story makes us laugh now. It also makes me think about how our lives work sometimes.

See, God has filled each and every one of us with abilities, talents, and giftings.

He gives us these unique abilities so that we, in turn, can use them to help build His people and His church. So many people are walking around unsatisfied with their lives, and craving “more” because instead of using their gifts to glorify God, they are trying to find purpose in their pursuit of other things.

Just like my friend showering with the lotion. There was nothing wrong with the lotion. The only problem was that she wasn’t using it in the way it was created to be used.

In the book of Exodus we see that God is giving Moses a look at the bigger picture. God knew that Moses couldn’t do everything on his own, and God never expected him to. He had given different men specific abilities so that together, they could accomplish God’s plan.

God isn’t looking for instruments to work with, He’s looking for willing hearts.

When our hearts are open to be used by God and our hands are made able by the One who created them, there is no limit to what we can do.

We see this truth in the New Testament too. When Jesus was ready to start the church, He filled the disciples with the power of the Holy Spirit so they could fully accomplish the plan that was before them. God again had a big plan and all he needed was willing hearts.

Friend, I want to encourage you that God wants to use YOU to accomplish His purpose in the earth. All you have to do is have a willing heart.

Reflect

  • As you read today’s scriptures, keep in mind who it is that fills us with abilities
  • Take a moment to pray and let God know that you are open and willing to be used for His purpose

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God Doesn't Need Ability, He needs availability