More Than Enough

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What do you do with leftovers?  You know, after you’ve eaten a meal, you’re full, but there is still food left over?  What do you do with it?

Well, I can remember a time when my metabolism was still in “teenager mode” and there weren’t any leftovers because I would eat all the food we prepared.  However, something has changed in those years since those days…for some reason, these days if I act like a human garbage disposal, the consequences seem to weigh heavily upon me!  So, instead, we now plan more carefully.

First, we try to estimate portions better when cooking or ordering out.  But sometimes we plan to cook more than we need and then put the extra portions in containers to freeze until needed.  Then we plan to use those extra servings at a meal later in the week.  It is great to have those extra meals ready to re-heat and serve!

Did you know that Jesus’ disciples had to deal with leftovers too?  For them it was a blessing and a lesson in faith.  You see, Jesus had headed across the Sea of Galilee after a particularly tough day.  But when He got to the other side He found a crowd waiting for Him to help them.  His heart was moved with compassion by their needs, so He healed those who were sick.

As evening approached, the disciples told Jesus that He should send the people away so they could go buy food, so they wouldn’t starve.  Jesus tells them that they should feed the crowd.  But they replied that they only had 5 loaves of bread and 2 fish.  They realized that the 5 loaves wouldn’t go very far in feeding 5000 men, plus women & children.  But Jesus asked for the fish & bread, thanked God for them, broke the bread and began giving the disciples pieces of the food to hand out to the people.  The people all ate, Matthew says, and WERE SATISFIED (Matt. 14:20).  Then, just in case we wouldn’t believe that all had eaten until full, Matthew records that they gathered up the leftovers:  12 full baskets of leftovers!

What are the needs in your life today?  If you have given your life fully to God, He has promised to care for you!  Surrender your needs and resources to His will and you will find that He is the God of “more than enough!”  You too can be blessed by God’s “leftovers!”

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The Quest – Day 25

This is the devotional for Friday, October 20, 2006 which is the 25th day of The Quest, our 40 Days of Discovery. Our devotional today offers a summary of the material in Chapter 25 of Frank Moore’s insightful 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 25 – Undivided Loyalty

Heart purity requires an undivided loyalty.

“Jesus answered, ‘If you want to be perfect, go, sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.” (Matthew 19:21 NIV)

Carlos studied to be a medical doctor. When an area church found itself between pastors, God used this experience to call Carlos to full-time ministry. Carlos had the potential to earn one of the largest salaries in his country as a medical doctor. Yet he chose to live in a modest home and earn a modest salary as he fulfilled God’s call on his life. His undivided loyalty to Christ affected his entire life.

The verse for today comes from Jesus’ encounter with a rich young man in Matthew 19:16-22. The young man approached Jesus with the pure intention of asking an honest question. In Jesus’ day it was taught that God granted eternal life based on the performance of good deeds. This way of thinking is still around. The young man wanted to know which good deeds would assure eternal life.

Jesus pointed him to the Ten Commandments, but He failed to mention commandment number 10, “Do not covet.” The young man said he had followed these commandments perfectly, or so he thought.

But Jesus called for the young man to be perfect. He called him to deal with his internal problem of coveting by outwardly letting go of the material possessions he loved most. These possessions defined him: others even called him the “rich young man.” Now, Jesus does not condemn owning material possessions or working a job which pays a salary. But He does require us to remove all stumbling blocks that stand between us and fellowship with God and following His will for our lives. That’s why Jesus’ last words to the young man were, “Come, follow me.”

We also must watch for subtle stumbling blocks to our spiritual commitment. These include anything that means more to you than pleasing God completely. Such stumbling blocks will make you weak and ineffective in your commitment to Christ because they divide your commitment. Once you remove them, you clear the path to heart purity.

The memory verse for this week is Matthew 5:8, “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.”

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 3 of the Quest, 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 offering God your undivided loyalty.

The Quest – Day 23

This is the devotional for Wednesday, October 18, 2006 which is the 23rd day of The Quest, our 40 Days of Discovery. Our devotional today offers a summary of the material in Chapter 23 of Frank Moore’s insightful 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 23 – Heart Cleansing for Purity

Purity requires God to cleanse our hearts.

“Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.” (Psalm 51:10 NIV)

Yesterday, our quest highlighted the purity illustrated in Isaiah’s life. But we must not assume that purity can be ours simply by deciding that we will pursue it. We need much more than focused willpower.

Take a moment to read Psalm 51:1-12 in preparation for today’s study. The first part of the passage reveals our need for God’s forgiveness. Then verse 5 calls attention to the fact that our hearts need cleansing too. From infancy we prefer our own interests, even if they go against God’s will for our lives. In verse 6 David says, “Surely you desire truth in the inner parts; you teach me wisdom in the inmost place.” The problem of sin is solved only at its source where the desire to sin begins. David calls for a divine washing of his inner nature. He seeks a transformation to change him from the inside out.

Here lies the heart of the matter. God’s forgiveness of our sins is essential, but forgiveness is never enough. David prays for God to deal decisively with his sinful nature. This prayer for purity asks God for three things: (1) a clean heart, (2) a right spirit, (3) a sense of God’s Spirit living within him.

As in David’s time, people still come into this world with a desire to please themselves. They use free will to choose their own ways, and they wake up one day deeper in sin than they realized was possible. Yes, more than anything they need forgiveness for their acts of sinning. Once forgiven, they also need God to cleanse their hearts of the desire to sin or serve self.

The good news is: God can help us; He provides two cleansings!

 

The memory verse for this week is Matthew 5:8, “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.”

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 3 of the Quest, 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 to cleanse your heart!

The Quest – Day 22

This is the devotional for Tuesday, October 17, 2006 which is the 22nd day of The Quest, our 40 Days of Discovery. Our devotional today offers a summary of the material in Chapter 22 of Frank Moore’s wonderful book, The Power To Be Free.

If you were unable to attend Sunday’s service, focusing on Discovery 3 of the Quest, 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.

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 22 – Burn It Up!

God’s fire brings purity.

“Then one of the seraphs flew to me with a live coal in his hand, which he had taken with tongs from the altar. With it he touched my mouth and said, ‘See, this has touched your lips; your guilt is taken away and your sin atoned for.’” (Isaiah 6:6-7 NIV)

Author Frank Moore recounts that during his first year in seminary he worked at a medical center sterilizing surgical instruments used in the operating rooms. He followed strict quality-control procedures; one mistake could endanger a patient’s life. He learned that high temperatures for an extended period of time kill all that contaminates. That’s why the Bible uses fire as a symbol for purity.

One passage that uses fire to symbolize purity is found in Isaiah 6:1-7. When Isaiah saw how holy and spotless God appeared, he immediately looked at himself. He did not like what he saw; he didn’t measure up. Notice in this passage God’s use of fire and its purifying properties. And notice how Isaiah’s close encounter with the presence of Holy God transformed him.

We discussed on Day 5 the fulfillment of Jesus’ Mount of Olives promise to His disciples. The Spirit came upon them in ways they could not doubt. Twenty years later in Jerusalem, Peter recounted again what the Spirit did in their hearts on the Day of Pentecost. Peter said the Spirit “purified their hearts by faith” (Acts 15:9). Remember the second symbol on the Day of Pentecost? Fire. So, we see again, God used His fire to bring purity.

Our hearts draw us toward purity. We ask ourselves, “Where can I experience the purity for the life I’ve longed for?” Today’s Bible lesson reminds us: God is the source of purity. Only His fire can truly purify our hearts. What might He want to purge from your heart? Let Isaiah and the disciples motivate you to open yourself to His purging fire today.

The memory verse for this week is Matthew 5:8, “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.”

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

Build your faith today by asking God to purify your heart. Then receive His purity by faith.

40 Days of Purpose – Day 33

This is the devotional for Thursday, June 1, 2006 which is the 33rd day of our 40 Days of Purpose. Our devotional today offers a summary of the material in Chapter 33 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 33 – How Real Servants Act


We serve God by serving others!

You can tell what they are by what they do.” Matthew 7:16 (CEV)

In our self-serving culture with its me-first mentality, acting like a servant is not a popular concept. Jesus, however, measured greatness in terms of service, not status. God determines your greatness by how many people you serve, not how many people serve you. Yet, it is possible to serve in church for a lifetime without ever being a servant. You must have a servant’s heart.

Notoriety means nothing to real servants because they know the difference between prominence and significance. In heaven God is going to openly reward some of his most obscure and unknown servants—people we never heard of on earth, who taught emotionally disturbed children, cleaned up after incontinent elderly, nursed AIDS patients, and served in thousands of other unnoticed ways.

Knowing this, don’t be discouraged when your service is unnoticed or taken for granted. Keep on serving God! “Throw yourselves into the work of the Master, confident that nothing you do for him is a waste of time or effort.” I Corinthians 15:58 (Msg)

Even the smallest service is noticed by God and will be rewarded. Remember the words of Jesus: “If, as my representatives, you give even a cup of cold water to a little child, you will surely be rewarded.” Matthew 10:42 (LB)

The memory verse for this week is 1 Peter 4:10 “Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others.”

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 serving God with a servant’s heart!