The Quest – Day 40!!! – FB Podcast Episode 100!!!

This is the devotional for Saturday, November 4, 2006 which is the 40th day of The Quest, our 40 Days of Discovery! Our devotional today offers a summary of the material in Chapter 40 of Frank Moore’s excellent book, The Power To Be Free. Thank you for sharing these 40 Days of Discovery with us! If you have found this journey to be helpful, please let us know!

 

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.

Today’s podcast marks the 100th episode of the FaithBuilders’ podcast! Thanks for helping our podcast site at buildyourfaith.net close in on 10,000 hits!

 

Day 40 – A Lifestyle of Service

 

Life in the Spirit of Christ is a life of service.

“But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” (2 Corinthians 12:9-10 NIV)

Your attention on this 40-day quest has focused primarily on a personal spiritual journey and your involvement in the community of faith. We’ve talked about the need to consecrate everything to God and receive the gift of His sanctification. However, the quest cannot be complete until we focus attention away from ourselves and onto others and their needs. Serving others is as vital to spiritual growth as praying or reading your Bible.

In the chapter of our Scripture focus for today, Paul teaches a key principle of service and ministry. Even in the midst of very difficult circumstances, we can experience the blessing and grace of God to the point that we wouldn’t want life to be any other way. Now to be sure, God is not the primary giver of the difficulties; Satan gets that credit. However, God finds ways to bless Paul and us in spite of Satan’s best efforts to defeat us.

Paul also teaches us one of the key mysteries of service and ministry here: God’s power sometimes works best in our lives at the point of our greatest weakness. We may prefer not to have the weakness, but somehow God’s light may shine brightest through it. So why does Paul endure the weaknesses and hardships in serving others? For the sake of Christ!

I’ve waited 40 days to say this. Are you ready? The life you long for is not about you! It’s about Christ and His example. The aim and focus is on others and the ways you can serve them in His name. It’s not about finding yourself; it’s about losing yourself. It’s not about becoming strong; it’s about coming to terms with your own weakness and finding your strength in Him. It’s not about what you become; it’s about what He becomes through you.

Life in the Spirit of Christ is a reflected life. You are like the moon. The moon is not a source of light. It only reflects the sun’s light. In like manner, as you spend quality time with the Spirit of Christ, you reflect His life through yours. Over time, Christ is formed in you (Colossians 1:27).

So does your quest for discovering life in the Spirit of Christ end today? No, quite the contrary! It’s only the beginning!

The memory verse for this week is Colossians 1:27, “To them God has chosen to make known among the Gentiles the glorious riches of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.”

For more information on both the FaithBuilders podcast and the Faith Church podcast visit www.buildyourfaith.net. For more information about our church, visit our website at www.jaxnaz.org.

Build your faith today by living a life of service.

The Quest – Day 30

This is the devotional for Wednesday, October 25, 2006 which is the 30th day of The Quest, our 40 Days of Discovery. Our devotional today offers a summary of the material in Chapter 30 of Frank Moore’s great 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 30 – Power Over Trials and Temptations

God gives us power to live victoriously over trials and temptations.

“Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance.” (James 1:2-3 NIV)

Author Frank Moore’s family plays a board game called The Magnificent Race.  Players must overcome a series of obstacles while progressing in the worldwide race.  The arch villain of this board game is Dastardly Dan, who does everything in his power to discourage and bankrupt players.  Victory comes only after numerous battles with this villain. 

Christian living mirrors this board game in many ways.  Most days seem like a mad dash against a nearly impossible schedule.  We must each deal with our own Dastardly Dan arch villain in the form of Satan.  He’s pinned a bull’s-eye on our backs and targeted us for spiritual defeat.  Our quest today takes us on a search for power to live victoriously over trials and temptations.  Temptations attempt to derail our faith; trials test and strengthen it.

In today’s Scripture, James urges us to look on the positive side of our trials.  James lists four positive results that come from trials:

  1. We grow in patience (v. 4)
  2. We become mature and complete in our faith (vv. 4-5)
  3. We increase in faith (v 6)
  4. We receive a reward from God (v. 7)

The Bible warns us against surrendering to temptation.  Remember temptation targets us for defeat.  Paul talks about temptation in 1 Corinthians 10:12-14:  So, if you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don’t fall! No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it.  Therefore, my dear friends, flee from idolatry.” 

These passages reveal that:

  1. Temptation is a fact.
  2. Temptation usually catches us off guard.
  3. Temptation originates outside of us.
  4. Temptation is universal.
  5. Temptation has its limits.
  6. You can resist temptation.
  7. Once temptation passes, you’ll be left standing.

In the wilderness temptation (Matt. 4:1-11) and throughout His life, Jesus met Satan’s temptations and remained victorious at every encounter.  So can you!

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 stopping by to read (or listen 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 depending on God’s power to live victoriously over trials and temptations.

The Quest – Day 18

This is the devotional for Friday, October 13, 2006 which is the 18th day of The Quest, our 40 Days of Discovery. Our devotional today offers a summary of the material in Chapter 18 of Frank Moore’s great book, The Power To Be Free.

If you were unable to attend Sunday’s service, focusing on Discovery 2 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 18 – Love’s Not Always Easy

It’s not always easy to love; God can show us the way.

“But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us.” (2 Corinthians 4:7 NIV)

Loving God and others sounds manageable as we begin our Christian walk. It gets a little tough, however, as we begin to interact with people who are a bit hard to love. We are disappointed to discover that even the saints at church remain fully human. They’re sometimes as hard to love as sinners in the world. What’s that all about?

Even saints continue to live with their human natures; they still must use free will wisely every day. They face temptation. They have blind spots and prejudices. They lack insight and understanding about certain areas of life. They have unique personalities. They continue to deal with areas of immaturity. They still have human frailties and weaknesses. In no way do these realities diminish the grace and mercy of God at work in the believers’ lives. Nor do they depreciate God’s plan of salvation in our lives or His work among us. But if we fail to realize that we are still all human, we set ourselves up for disappointment.

But then one look in the mirror reminds us of our own imperfections. We realize that God cuts each of us a great deal of slack with His grace and mercy. We are called to imitate Him. As we become more like Him, we extend to others the same grace and mercy we received from God.

While we do not alleviate ourselves of the responsibility to grow in areas of weakness and immaturity, we are reminded that we are called to treat others with the same compassion and forgiveness God has showered upon us.

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.”

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

Build your faith today by letting God teach you how to love others.


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)

The Quest – Day 3

This is the devotional for Thursday, September 28, 2006, which is the 3rd day of our 40 Days of Discovery. Our devotional today offers a summary of the material in Chapter 3 of Frank Moore’s 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 3 – Got Growth?

Spiritual life brings growth.

“Like newborn babies, crave pure spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow up in your salvation” (1 Peter 2:2, NIV)

It was a sad sight to behold! Every time I looked out the living room window or pushed the lawn mower next to it, I just couldn’t believe it–that poor little oak tree in our front yard. It reminded me of Charlie Brown’s Christmas tree. It stood about 8 feet tall.

One day as I stood under my neighbor’s 40-foot tree, he told me something I couldn’t believe. “You know our trees were planted on the same day?” Impossible!

I’ve since learned that oak trees have taproots that need to drill deep into the ground. My lawn sat on a solid rock shelf that prevented a deep root system. My oak just couldn’t grow on solid rock.

We expect oak trees to grow. We ought to be able to say the same about Christian believers. It is natural for Christians that after we discover our purpose in life we would continue to search for something more.

The Bible outlines some elements necessary for spiritual growth. Here is a partial list.

1. Participate in a variety of means of grace, such as prayer, Bible reading, meditation, worship with a group of believers, the Lord’s Supper, Christian fellowship and fasting. Also add listening to Christian music and reading Christian literature. Organize your life around your faith.

2. Practice the presence of God in your every day life. Talk with Him throughout the day as would you talk with your closest friend. Listen for His voice to direct you and obey Him.

3. Discipline your life to make it consistent with your commitment to Christ. This discipline applies to areas like eating habits, entertainment choices, time usage, choice of friends, responsibility to commitments, keeping your word, honesty in business dealings, responsibility with your money, and attitudes. You may stumble along the way. If you do, talk to the Lord about it, get back up and keep walking with Christ.

4. Learn to cope with life’s daily circumstances. Learn not to gauge your level of spiritual maturity on how well things happen to be going at the time.

5. Commit to the Lord your past failures, appetites, weaknesses, temptations, the failures of others, and situations you cannot change. Becoming a Christian does not solve all of your problems. Get help from trusted Christian friends or counselors if you need it.

6. Open your life to Kingdom priorities in each area of your life. This includes giving time and money to the cause of Christ. Give your life away in service to others.

All spiritual growth centers on Christlikeness. The more time you spend with Him, reading His Word and Christian literature, listening to music about Him, fellowshipping with other believers, the more like Him you will become.

Want to know if you are alive in Christ? Look in the mirror and ask yourself the question, “Got growth?”

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

40 Days of Purpose – Day 35

This is the devotional for Saturday, June 3, 2006 which is the 35th day of our 40 Days of Purpose. Our devotional today offers a summary of the material in Chapter 35 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 35 – God’s Power in Your Weakness

God loves to use weak people!

“I am with you; that is all you need. My power shows up best in weak people.” 2 Corinthians 12:9a (LB)

A weakness is any limitation that you inherited or have no power to change. Everyone has weaknesses. In fact, you have a bundle of flaws and imperfections: physical, emotional, intellectual, and spiritual. Usually we deny our weaknesses, defend them, excuse them, hide them, and resent them. This prevents God from using them the way he desires.

When you think of the limitation in your life, you may be tempted to conclude, “God could never use me.” But God is never limited by our limitations. Sometimes, however, God turns strength into a weakness in order to use us even more.

Jacob was a manipulator who spent his life scheming and then running from the consequences. One night he wrestled with God and said, “I’m not letting go until you bless me.” God said, “All right,” but then he grabbed Jacob’s thigh and dislocated his hip.

What is the significance of that? God touched Jacob’s strength and turned it into a weakness. From that day forward, Jacob walked with a limp so he could never run away again. It forced him to lean on God whether he liked it or not.

If you want God to bless you and use you greatly, you must be willing to walk with a limp the rest of your life, because God uses weak people.

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 visiting FaithBuilders Blog at http://www.buildyourfaith.net. This podcast is a ministry of Faith Church of the Nazarene in Jacksonville, NC. Visit our website at www.jaxnaz.org for more information about our church.

Build your faith today by giving your weaknesses to God!