The Quest – Day 19

This is the devotional for Saturday, October 14, 2006 which is the 19th day of The Quest, our 40 Days of Discovery. Our devotional today offers a summary of the material in Chapter 19 of Frank Moore’s great book, The Power To Be Free.

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Day 19 – Is This Thing For Real?

God’s love is for real.

“How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are!” (1 John 3:1 NIV)

Love is a good thing! We know we need it and should give it to others. Love gets lots of attention from world religions, secular society and the entertainment sector, yet our hearts long for something more. This longing takes us on a quest to find a deeper kind of love. What we’re searching for can only be found in the love of Christ.

Christian love comes from God, the source of all love. Only though knowing Him and living in relationship with Him can we find love for the live we long for. 1 John 3:16 says, “This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us.” But can we love in that way just by willing it? Haven’t you noticed that loving by sheer willpower just doesn’t cut it?

The Bible tells us that we must first accept God’s love for us. Only then can we turn around and love others the way He loved us. Christian love is not something we generate from within by determined willing or imagination. Rather it is God living through us to love others. We do not create Christian love; we simply pass it on as a gift. When God lives in us, His love flows through us, even to our enemies and those who frustrate us.

It may be tempting to dismiss the idea of Christian love as unrealistic. However, remember that God places His love in us the same way He gives us salvation. If you can accept the miracle and mystery of His salvation, you can also accept the miracle and mystery of His love. Receive it; pass it on. It’s that simple.

The memory verse for this week is Mark 12:30-31, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength. The second is this: Love your neighbor as yourself. There is no commandment greater than these.”

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Build your faith by receiving God’s love and then sharing it with others.

The Quest – Day 4

This is the devotional for Friday, September 29, 2006 which is the 4th day of The Quest, our 40 Days of Discovery. Our devotional today offers a summary of the material in Chapter 4 of Frank Moore’s awesome book, The Power To Be Free.

If you were unable to attend Sunday’s Kickoff service for the Quest, we’d love you have you participate via our Faith Nazarene Church podcast.

Day 4 – Trouble in River City

We need more than resolve and determination to live the Christian life.

But Peter insisted emphatically, ‘Even if I have to die with you, I will never disown you.’ And all the others said the same.” (Mark 14:31 NIV)

The usual pattern of growth for new believers follows a similar path. New life in Christ begins with excitement and enthusiasm as God welcomes a new child into His family. Regular church attendance, Bible reading, and Christian fellowship mark the trail of the new believer. Along the way, new believers typically come to a realization that is similar to that of newlyweds: a painful awareness that there is a problem in their relationship. They can’t always put a finger on it. They’re not even willing to call it a problem at first. But over a period of weeks or months, they come to terms with the emerging realization that there’s trouble in River City with their faith walk. They fear that if they do not get to the source of the problem and solve it, their very relationship with Christ could be threatened.

There are several possible sources for this problem:

1. Sometimes you may sense things changing in your spiritual walk as it settles from the new and novel to a life pattern. That’s natural.

2. Sometimes you will sense things changing in your spiritual walk as you go through the normal highs and lows of human life. Remember, everything on earth goes through cycles. The cycles in your spiritual walk do not necessarily signal a problem in your relationship with God.

3. Sometimes you will sense things changing in your spiritual walk as you grow in Christ. Such change signals a good thing as you move from Christian babe to seasoned saint.

4. Sometimes, however, you may sense a change in your spiritual walk that indicated a spiritual problem at a deeper level. Let’s try to diagnosis this problem with a series of questions:

* Do you hunger to return to your old sinful lifestyle and circle of friends?
* Is your love for God, His family, or spiritual things waning?
* Are you slipping in your spiritual disciplines?

If these are not the problem, then you may have the same problem that Peter and Jesus’ other disciples had. They had promised to follow the Master right into the jaws of death. But although Peter may have insisted emphatically, his insistence wasn’t enough. He needed something more in order to maintain his commitment to Christ. But what? Tune in tomorrow for “The Rest of the Story.”

But first, let’s review our memory verse for this week, Ephesians 2:8-9, “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith–and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God–not by works, so that no one can boast.”