Good News!

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Have you, or someone you know, ever wondered if God really cared about you?  Have you ever faced something so bad or difficult that you found it hard to believe that God was paying attention to you?  Have you ever considered giving up on God because it seemed that He had given up on you?  Well, if you’ve ever been there, don’t give up on God, because He has a message for you:  the Message of Easter!

The Message of Easter is Good News!  At its core, the meaning of Easter is that God has not given up on you or forgotten you.  In fact, His Son, Jesus Christ, willingly sacrificed His life to save yours!  God went to EXTRAORDINARY lengths to make sure that the problems you are facing are not the last word!  Jesus planted the seed that will grow into ultimate victory for you and me!  His death and resurrection have set in motion a redemptive process that will, one day, transform the whole world!

The only thing that is unclear is whether or not we will share in this transformation.  The reason it is unclear is that the choice is left up to us.  Will we admit that we need to be rescued from the devastation of our sinful world and from the results of our own sinful choices?  Will we accept Jesus’ free gift of forgiveness for our sins?  Will we choose to follow Him?  I have.  Will you?

The message of Easter is Good News!  The God of the universe has not abandoned us in a broken world.  Instead, He is dying to save us from it, and then He overcame death so that we could too!  Help us share the story this Easter!  It’s Good News!

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The Quest – Day 33

This is the devotional for Saturday, October 28, 2006 which is the 33rd day of The Quest, our 40 Days of Discovery. Our devotional today offers a summary of the material in Chapter 33 of Frank Moore’s challenging book, The Power To Be Free.

Click here to listen to the podcast version of this devotional. Visit http://www.buildyourfaith.net to read the previous days’ devotionals or to subscribe to the “FaithBuilders” podcast.

 

Day 33 – Receiving the Power

 

You can receive power from God for the life you’ve longed for. 

“But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”  (Acts 1:8 NIV)

You have been exploring God’s power for the life we’ve longed for that comes through relationship with the Spirit of Christ.  This is power to conquer habitual sinning and the self-serving attitude that leads you to selfish choices.  This is power to help you through the trials of life and power to resist temptation.  This is power to assist you in sharing your witness for Christ and to make new disciples for Him.

So how do we obtain this power?  We obtain it not through strenuous spiritual exercise or through earning it or purchasing it.  We receive it as a gift!  Jesus left us a promise, the promise of His Spirit.  

The disciples hoped Jesus would offer them political power.  Jesus instead offers spiritual power which would be absolutely essential for their success with the mission He had given them. 

The three symbols of Pentecost hold spiritual meaning.  The wind reminds us of its ability to separate chaff from wheat (Matt. 3:12), pointing out the Spirit’s desire to blow away all that is unholy in our lives.  The flames remind us of fire’s ability to burn chaff and purge gold and silver from impurities (Mal. 3:2-4).  The Spirit comes to purge our hearts of all that is less than what God intends for us.  The miracle of languages reminds us of the call to communicate the good news of Jesus to every person in his or her own tongue (Matt. 28:19-20).  What were the results of this spiritual power for the disciples?  Their lives were changed.  The Good News went out.  The world was changed! 

There is no doubt.  God has the power for the life you long for.  Ask for His gift and wait for His response.  Remember not to desire the gift over the Giver.  The gift is a by-product of a close, personal relationship with God.

 

The memory verse for this week is Acts 1:8, “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”

Thank you for listening to FaithBuilders podcast at www.buildyourfaith.net.  For more information about our church, visit our website at www.jaxnaz.org.  

If you were unable to attend Sunday’s service, focusing on Discovery 4 of the Quest, “You can receive power,” or if you’d like to hear previous messages in The Quest series, please sign up for our Faith Nazarene Church podcast.  You will find the link at www.buildyourfaith.net. 

Build your faith today by asking God for the gift of His Spirit.

The Quest – Day 5

This is the devotional for Saturday, September 30, 2006 which is the 5th day of The Quest, our 40 Days of Discovery. Our devotional today offers a summary of the material in Chapter 5 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 5 – The Rest of the Story

The answer to our question is found in the Spirit of Christ.

On one occasion, while he was eating with them, he gave them this command: ‘Do not leave Jerusalem, but wait for the gift my Father promised, which you have heard me speak about. For John baptized with water, but in a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.” (Acts 1:4-5 NIV)

Yesterday you got a glimpse into the way Jesus’ disciples felt as they tried to come to terms with the sharp disconnect between their promise and resolve to follow Jesus in Mark 14:31 and their actions later in that same chapter. Mark 14:50 says, “Then everyone deserted him and fled.” Sounds like all-out, full-blown desertion to me. How on earth could the pendulum of the disciples’ lives swing so quickly from total commitment to total desertion?

Did the disciples’ failure surprise Jesus? No, He predicted it right down to the smallest detail (vv. 27-30). Jesus talked to His disciples about the need for something more in their spiritual walks long before they even knew they needed it. Jesus answered a question the disciples hadn’t yet asked. It’s the same question we’re seeking to answer in this Quest: How can I live the life I’ve longed for?

In Acts 1, Luke tells us the rest of the story. “Do not leave Jerusalem, but wait for the gift my Father promised, which you have heard me speak about. For John baptized with water, but in a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.” (Acts 1:4-5) “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” (v. 8 ). Again, He answered a question they had not yet asked, “How do I live the Christian life after Jesus returns to His Father?”

Thankfully they obeyed Jesus. They gathered back in the Upper Room where they had shared the Last Supper with Jesus 40 days earlier. They joined together in prayer. It was a unifying experience. They prayed through each day and into the evening for more than a week.

And something dramatic happened. On the 10th day of their prayer meeting, the heavens broke open and the promised Spirit filled them (Acts 2:1-4). The sights and sounds of Pentecost signaled the presence and power of God. A sound like a great wind was heard, symbolizing power. Flames of fire descended upon each participant, symbolizing purity of heart. They all began proclaiming the gospel message in languages they had never learned. They hit the streets and told thousands of Jerusalem visitors about Jesus Christ. This symbolized the need to take the new gospel message to the ends of the earth, to every language group.

Everything Jesus told us during His ministry about the Spirit and everything we see happening in the Early Church following Acts 2 shows us the secret of spiritual growth, how to overcome spiritual hindrances, and how to live a victorious Christian life. You will learn more about this exciting message as you continue your quest through these days of discovery.

Our memory verse for the week reminds us that every discovery we make on this quest comes by way of God’s grace. “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.” (Eph. 2:8-9)

40 Days of Purpose – Day 37

This is the devotional for Monday, June 5, 2006 which is the 37th day of our 40 Days of Purpose. Our devotional today offers a summary of the material in Chapter 37 of Rick Warren’s best-selling book, The Purpose Driven Life.

Click here to listen to the podcast version of this devotional. Visit http://www.buildyourfaith.net to read the previous days’ devotionals or to subscribe to the “FaithBuilders” podcast.

Day 37 – Sharing Your Life Message

God has given you a Life Message to share!

“Your lives are echoing the Master’s Word … The news of your faith in God is out. We don’t even have to say anything anymore – you’re the message!” 1 Thessalonians 1:8 (Msg)

When you became a believer, you also became God’s messenger. God wants to speak to the world through you. Paul said, “We speak the truth before God, as messengers of God.” 2 Corinthians 2:17b(NCV)

You may feel you don’t have anything to share, but that’s the Devil trying to keep you silent. You have a storehouse of experiences that God wants to use to bring others into his family. The Bible says, “Those who believe in the Son of God have the testimony of God in them.” 1 John 5:10a (GWT)

Your Life Message has four parts to it:

– Your testimony: the story of how you began a relationship with Jesus

– Your life lessons: the most important lessons God has taught you

– Your godly passions: the issues God shaped you to care about most

– The Good News: the message of salvation

Is anyone going to be in heaven because of you? Will anyone in heaven be able to say to you, “I want to thank you. I’m here because you cared enough to share the Good News with me?” Imagine the joy of greeting people in heaven whom you helped get there. The eternal salvation of a single soul is more important than anything else you will ever achieve in life.

The memory verse for this week is Colossians 4:5 (NIV), “Be wise in the way you act toward outsiders; make the most of every opportunity.”

Thank you for listening to FaithBuilders Podcast at buildyourfaith.net. This podcast is a ministry of Faith Church of the Nazarene in Jacksonville, NC. Visit our website at jaxnaz.org for more information about our church.

Build your faith today by sharing your life message!