Sunday, June 30, 2013

Why are you trying so hard to fit in, when you were born to standout?

Don't copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God's will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect. NLT Romans 12:2

We are all called to such a high calling. Something so big we could never imagine, but we trade that in for the things of this world. Things that will never make us happy. We are trying to fill our hearts with temporary things that will NEVER satisfy us. All those things you chase of the world, whether it be addictions, relationships, etc.. will never fill you up. If you only knew how much stronger you would be if you just let it go. And the best part? God is literally begging you to go to him so he can help you through it. You don't have to do it alone.

"God doesn't call the qualified, he qualifies the called." This means, when you let God in and completely take over you and your life, he qualifies YOU. You do not have to be perfect to come to him. You can go to him broken and lost. He will mend you and he will help you. All he wants is for you to tell him you need him as your savior.

Did this help you? If so, please comment below! Your story could help encourage others!!!

Ashley Pierce

Saturday, June 29, 2013

Be The Definiton

Galations 2:20
“I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.”

Do you remember that first time you got saved? That overwhelming feeling that just can’t be described with words? I remember that day just like it was yesterday. I was 18 years old and I had only been going to church a few months when my pastor asked the congregation if anyone wanted to accept Jesus into their heart. I got so excited inside at the thought of being saved- I wasn’t even sure what being saved truly meant but I knew I wanted it. I knew because since I had started going to church, I had noticed that the people there possessed something I wanted. Just by watching how they acted, how they spoke, and even how they thought, I realized that they had it. 

All throughout my life, people had told me that I needed Jesus in my life because it was the right thing to do. They told me I should act this way and that. They told me I should speak like this and not like that. They told me I should go to church every sunday. But that’s it- they were just doing a lot of talking. Why do we as Christians all talk so much? Do we practice what we preach? Or are we just preaching to other people what we don’t practice? 

My goal in life ever since I was saved was to live a life so Christ-like that people didn’t have to ask if I was a Christian- they just knew. I want people to look at my life and relationship with the Lord the way I looked at the lives of the people in my church and think “I want that. I want to live like that.” I want them to see that I am born again and that Christ lives in me.

Some say that the “Christian” label has gotten a bad reputation so they instead refer to themselves as simply “Followers of Christ” or “Disciples” instead of taking the “Christian” label. But the truth is- these are just a bunch of words. We’re still just doing a bunch of talking. It doesn’t matter what we call ourselves- whether it be “Christian” or “Disciple”- what truly matters is how we act and speak and live our life. Don’t just go around telling people what it means to believe or what the definition of your religion is. BE the definition of your belief.

This devotion was written from the heart of Nealey Sims.

I would love to hear your comments so please share! You never know whose heart you comment might touch!

God Bless!

Friday, June 28, 2013

Monkey See...Monkey Do

Ephesians 5:1 - Be ye therefore followers of God.

When I was a child I felt very comfortable in my own skin; I would say that I was a confident child. I had a good upbringing in a Christian home, parents that were happily married, and a big brother that adored his little sister.  When I was twelve, in 1969, my family moved from the quite town of Hopkinsville, Kentucky to the big city of Birmingham, Alabama where I started the 7th grade at Vestavia High School. This was a culture shock indeed!!! I remember that day like it was just yesterday as I walked the hall to my first class wearing my blouse neatly tucked into my brand new pink and yellow pencil skirt. My Mother had made this skirt special for me just for this big day!  I had no clue what Adginger purses were, not to mention Mary Jane shoes.  As I walked the hall my hands were clammy, my breath was shallow, and I walked into the bathroom for one more look in the mirror before I headed off to the classroom.

I never will forget passing two middle school girls wearing much shorter skirts than I was; I felt like they were staring me down like I was a hillbilly from the back woods of Kentucky. I turned the the corner, rushed into the girl's bathroom, shut the door, untucked my blouse, and rolled up the waist of my pencil skirt three times. YES.... Three times!!! I entered my new class only to find out, Heaven forbid,  that girls at the age of twelve in  Vestavia - SHAVE THERE LEGS!!! Yikes! Yes, my legs were hairy and gross and theirs were not.  That day I did not care about math, or science, all I cared about was getting home to make an important phone call to my out-of-town father to solve my hairy problem. I knew my mama would say no, but thank the good Lord my daddy said yes!

If we are going to be a follower then we must ONLY follow Christ, and not worry what other people think of us.  Decisions are lurking at every corner; sometimes even seasoned Christians follow their own path by stepping over the Holy Spirit's leading, and do things their own way. Being a follower of Christ is not easy, but I can promise you it is the only path to peace.

We are living in difficult times, but God will always have our backs if we reach out and trust Him.  Sometimes even the simplest decisions can affect other people's lives; for the good and sadly even for the bad.  It has been said that one atheist changed prayer in school, yet one Jesus FOLLOWER can change it back.

Make a quality decision to FOLLOW Christ today!  1 Peter 3:11 says - Let him shun evil, and do good, let him seek peace and pursue it.  FOLLOW Christ and NOTHING ELSE, and you will be pursuing the start of a Happy Life!

I pray for each one of you that reads this!  It was written with a seed of faith, in love!

Please comment below and share how this may have impacted you.  Your story could encourage someone else!

Blessings to each of you!

Pamela Malone

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Who's Plan is it anyway??

For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope. (Jeremiah 29:11 NLT)

Sunday morning Pastor Ant questioned the congregation as to who's favorite scripture was Jer. 29:11. He went on to say that we sometimes forget the first part of the scripture. You know the part! The part where He tells us that HE has plans for us! I think that many times we forget that part!! We are all about OUR plans. We are all about the hope for OUR future. The future we have planned!! BUT, what if HIS plans don't line up with our plans?? What if HIS plans are not what we think we want?? What then??

For as long as I can remember I have watched the love my parents have for each other and have longed for my Father in Heaven to send me that kind of love. Everyday I remind HIM of what HIS word says :
Then the Lord God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper who is just right for him.” (Genesis 2:18 NLT) 
To me, this is a promise!! But, my plan was for this promise to be fulfilled many years ago! HIS plan has been not yet!! 
HIS plan has been to grow me, to change me,and to work on me daily. To turn me into the woman HE wants me to be. 
Maybe your plan is like mine. To find the person HE created you for. Maybe your plan is for a child of your own, a new home, to be financially secure.......... Our plans can be any number of things. BUT, all that really matters and all that will really bring us peace, hope, a future is HIS plan!! To listen to and obey HIS voice!! And to remember the words that Moses spoke to the Israelites :
The Lord himself will fight for you. Just stay calm.” (Exodus 14:14 NLT)

I pray that we will all let our Father lead us according to HIS plans!!

This post was written from the heart of Beth Reed. Please feel free to comment! 

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Nothing is impossible with God

 Truly I tell you, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.” Matthew 17:20

I was reminded of this scripture the other night as I watched Nik Wallenda walk a tightrope across the Grand Canyon. What a testimony in itself. He was praising God every step of the way. He said over and over again ALL glory to God because it was HIM that gave him the strength.

Just like Nik focused on the end of the tightrope while he walked, we should also as christians focus on the prize at the end of our christian walks with glorifying God with every inch of our being the whole way there. Put all of your attention on him even when the winds are high and the rope is shaking and everything seems to be working against you. For nothing is impossible with God. Whatever you are dealing with, whatever you might be facing, GOD is stronger and GOD will provide. Ask and you will receive!

Please comment below and share how this impacted you. Your story could encourage others!

                                  May God Bless You Richly

                                           Mandy Robertson

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Desperation / Dedication

We had a wonderful service Sunday morning :) I honestly have been thinking about it ever since the sermon ended. I wanted to stay a long the same lines as the sermon in my first blog post for "Awakening Your Day."

 Desperation / Dedication.

When ever I start thinking about what it means to be desperate for Him, to have this unbearable urge to devote and dedicate everything in your life to Him...God always leads me to Psalm 119.

It starts out perfect.

Psalm 119:1 How happy are those whose way is blameless, who live according to the Lord's instruction!

Psalm 119:2 Happy are those who keep His decrees and seek Him with all their heart.

Psalm 119:3 They do nothing wrong; they follow His ways.

I put a lot of personal thought, and have for several years, into the question of : what makes a person commit whole heartedly to the call of discipleship to Christ vs. those who half heartedly show up on Sunday mornings vs. those whose seem to just not care at all.

I think these scriptures sum it up beautifully.

Care enough to live your life according to His instructions. Keep His decrees. Seek Him with all your heart. Follow Him.

It really is that easy. Your heart has to be in it. Your whole heart. If it is not, and it is so easy to spot, then it doesn't work.

The Lord has really been dealing and teaching me on the heart lately. He hasn't summed it up yet, but I promise it is big, in the spiritual realm, and I will probably blog on it several times.

Psalm 119: 10 I have sought You with all my heart; don't let me wonder from your commands.

Psalm 119: 11 I have treasured Your Word in my heart so that I may not sin against You.

The HEART. It is all about the heart. What is in your heart? Where is your heart at?

Are you seeking Him. Please do. Desperately seek Him. Dedicate everything to Him. Give all you have. Chase after him passionately. Make it a heart issue. Make it pure.

There is one catch to this whole desperation / dedication thing and it is hard... you can't make someone do it. You can't make someone want it. You can't push this on anyone. And in return it can't be faked.

What can we do then? How can we encourage people in our lives that don't have that same desire as we do? Who don't have that same pure desperation to reach Him some how?

We pray. We encourage. We witness to them by example.

We as humans are so impressionable. It's almost funny how quickly we follow other's leads with out even realizing it.

Funny story time :)

Today I was sitting at work and I could just not decide what I wanted to eat for lunch. I had planned on going to pick up something all morning, but when the time came I could just not decide what I wanted to eat. I even had told one of my co-workers I wasn't even hungry. A couple of minutes another co-worker of mine came in my office. In just casual conversation I asked her what she ate for lunch. She said Arby's. She told me she had gotten cheese sticks and that they were really good. Guess where I went to lunch? Arby's. I left to get lunch maybe 5 minutes after she told me that. Guess what I got. Cheese sticks. Do I normally eat cheese sticks from Arby's? No. Why did I go there? Why did I order the same thing she did? Because we are humans and we see people do things or listen to what they have to say, then we start thinking about it and before we know it we are doing the same thing. In my office this happens all the time during lunch.

We can use this same concept when trying to encourage other Christians to develop this desperation / dedication we have been talking about. Be happy. Be enthusiastic about the work you are doing for God. Be involved in your church. I take that back don't just be involved, be the CHURCH. Put your whole heart into it. Give it everything you have.

When people begin to see this radical passion in you...who knows maybe they will want to give it a spin too. I not only went to Arby's today but I ordered the cheese sticks also :)

By the way... This blog post was written by Mary Sellers :) I can't wait to contribute to this blog on a weekly basis, and I am really looking forward to reading the blogs other people from our church contribute. Big things are happening :)

Please feel free to comment! I would love to hear your thoughts on this subject! 

Monday, June 24, 2013

Learning to Rely on God

(2 Corinthians 1:8-10)
"We think you ought to know, dear brothers and sisters, about the trouble we went through in the province of Asia. We were crushed and overwhelmed beyond our ability to endure, and we thought we would never live through it. In fact, we expected to die. But as a result, we stopped relying on ourselves and learned to rely only on God, who raises the dead. And he did rescue us from mortal danger, and he will rescue us again. We have placed our confidence in him, and he will continue to rescue us."

Have you ever felt this way? You know, just felt like nothing in your life was going right. I think that some of us feel this way more than we let on. Paul was describing a time in his life in which he felt like he actually wasn't even gonna live anymore; a time that was so bad that he couldn't see anything getting better. He uses the terms "crushed" and "overwhelmed" to show us exactly what was going on in his heart.

I think, sadly, that many christians walk in the world with this "crushed" and "overwhelmed" feeling. I would go as far as to say that it dominates many peoples lives. When Jesus died on the cross and paid the price for our FREEDOM, His intention was that we would be FREE from this "overwhelmed" and "crushed" feeling that Paul is describing. While Jesus was hanging on the cross His hope was that we would have an abundant life! Not just any abundant life, but a life without condemnation, without fear, and without being crushed and overwhelmed.

So how do we break this - Paul said it best; "But as a result, we stopped relying on ourselves and learned to rely only on God, who raises the dead." Yes! That's right, if God can raise the dead then he can change the circumstances of your life. The question is can you trust the Lord? Can you put your confidence in Him? Can you let go and let God rescue you?

Learn to rely on God, and stop trying to fix everything yourself. Because of the wonderful price that Jesus paid you can lean on Him in times of despair. He will rescue you...He wants to rescue you!
Please comment below and share how this impacted you. Your story could encourage others!

May God Bless You Richly
Pastor Ant