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Daily Devotion

boldstardex

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ENERGY FOR THE MISSION
June 07, 2021
“To this end I labor, struggling with all His energy, which so powerfully works in me.” Colossians 1:29
We’re living in the midst of an energy crisis. I’m not talking about fossil fuels, but about trying to find enough energy to face the relentless demands of our busy lives. Exhaustion is so widespread that energy drinks are a multi-billion-dollar industry in the US alone.

The Apostle Paul, of course, didn’t have the luxury of grabbing a Red Bull to fight off fatigue. He had to depend on another kind of energy altogether.

His energy was supernatural and it came through the indwelling Spirit of God and enabled Paul to handle continuous challenges on his missionary journeys.

At the core of his being, Paul operated under the power of the Holy Spirit, relying on Him to fuel his every action.

Still, Paul was not exempt from exerting tremendous effort. He “labored” and “struggled.” A literal translation of these terms reads, “I labor to the point of exhaustion, agonizing.” This expression was typically used to describe an athlete participating in a competition.

Throughout all of his vigorous toil, Paul was never striving in his strength alone. There was a beautiful combination of human labor and Divine energy. Theologian and author John Piper explains, “God does not work instead of our working, but through our working. God does not energize instead of our having energy; He energizes our energy.”

This same dynamic is as accessible to us today as it was for Paul.

The question is – do we really believe we can live this way?

Before we answer this question, we need to understand the motive behind Paul’s labor and the purpose of the Spirit’s energy coursing through his bones.

Notice what he shares in the preceding verse – “He (Jesus) is the one we proclaim, admonishing and teaching everyone, so that we might present everyone fully mature in Christ” (v.28).

The goal of Paul’s life was to proclaim the good news of Jesus and help people grow in Christlikeness.

Not all of us are called to be full-time missionaries, but all Christians are called to participate in this mission in some form or fashion (See Matthew 28:19,20). For this cause, we’re promised an endless supply of His energy.

The Spirit performs a variety of functions in our everyday lives such as:

Reminding us of truth (John 14:26)

Shaping our character (Galatians 5:16-18)

Helping us pray (Romans 8:26)

But these everyday functions of the Spirit are in the broader context of living “on mission” to reach a lost, broken world. The Spirit empowers us to be witnesses for Christ as we go about our everyday lives (Acts 1:8).

So, why does the Spirit fill us with His energy?

  1. To increase our fame? No.
  2. To make our hopes and dreams come true? No.
  3. To make our lives problem-free? No.
His Spirit energizes us so that we can play our unique role in reaching and discipling people for Jesus right where we live, work, and play.



Written by Jonathan Munson, Executive Director, RFTH
 

boldstardex

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STRUGGLES WITH PATIENCE
June 08, 2021
“He who is slow to anger has great understanding, but he who is quick-tempered exalts folly.” – Proverbs 14:29
One of the Merriam Webster definitions of patience is: “steadfast despite opposition, difficulty, or adversity.” It’s not the most uplifting definition. Being patient is hard because as humans, we have a tendency to want what we want at that particular moment. Unfortunately, it seems that life is often a test of patience.

I struggle with waiting – whether it’s sitting in traffic or at a restaurant. Why, I’d rather drive five miles out of the way than sit stuck in traffic. I get impatient when I’m facing a deadline and get interrupted, or when someone says they’ll do something and then fall through.

Where do you struggle with patience? Do you ever pray, “Lord, give me some patience, now!” Let me suggest a few practical ways to learn patience:

  1. Take a deep breath and pray for self-control.
  2. When people anger you, if possible, retreat for a moment. Take time to back off and get control of your emotions.
  3. Confront fairly, and seek to listen and understand – first. When needed, be sure to forgive.
  4. Remember, the greatest motive for patience is remembering God’s patience with us.
Patience is a precious commodity, for it’s a powerful way to win the respect of others and turn a potential enemy into a friend.

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June 12
He Knows Your Name
Bible in a Year:

I have summoned you by name; you are mine.

Isaiah 43:1
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Today's Scripture & Insight:
Isaiah 43:1–7
After breaking with our longtime church, my husband and I reunited with the fellowship after three long years. But how would people treat us? Would they welcome us back? Love us? Forgive us for leaving? We got our answer on a sunny Sunday morning. As we walked through the big church doors, we kept hearing our names. “Pat! Dan! It’s so great to see you!” As children’s author Kate DiCamillo wrote in one of her popular books, “Reader, nothing is sweeter in this sad world than the sound of someone you love calling your name.”
The same assurance was true for the people of Israel. We had chosen a different church for a time, but they had turned their backs on God. Yet He welcomed them back. He sent the prophet Isaiah to assure them, “Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine” (Isaiah 43:1).
In this world—where we can feel unseen, unappreciated, and even unknown—be assured that God knows each of us by name. “You are precious and honored in my sight,” He promises (v. 4). “When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you” (v. 2). This promise isn’t just for Israel. Jesus ransomed His life for us. He knows our names. Why? In love, we are His.
By: Patricia Raybon
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Reflect & Pray
Why does God welcome His people back to Him? How has He shown that He knows you by name?
Jesus, when I stray from Your arms and Your fellowship, summon me home by name. I’m so grateful to be Yours.
 

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June 14
The Power of God
Bible in a Year:

My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth.

Psalm 121:2
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Today's Scripture & Insight:
Psalm 121
Rebecca and Russell’s doctors told them they couldn’t have children. But God had other ideas—and ten years later Rebecca conceived. The pregnancy was a healthy one; and when the contractions started, the couple excitedly rushed to the hospital. Yet the hours of labor grew long and more intense, and Rebecca’s body still wasn’t progressing enough for delivery. Finally, the doctor decided she needed to perform an emergency C-section. Fearful, Rebecca sobbed for her baby and herself. The doctor calmly assured her, saying, “I will do my best, but we’re going to pray to God because He can do more.” She prayed with Rebecca, and fifteen minutes later, Bruce, a healthy baby boy, was born.
That doctor understood her dependence on God and His power. She recognized that although she had the training and skill to do the surgery, she still needed God’s wisdom, strength, and help to guide her hands (Psalm 121:1–2).
It’s encouraging to hear about highly skilled people, or of anyone, who recognize they need Him—because, honestly, we all do. He’s God; we’re not. He alone “is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine” (Ephesians 3:20). Let’s have a humble heart to learn from Him and to trust Him in prayer “because He can do more” than we ever could.
By: Anne Cetas
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Reflect & Pray
How have you gained an understanding of your own need for God and His power? How is this dependence seen in your daily life?
I need You and Your wisdom and power, God, for decisions, skill, work, relationships—all of my life.
 

boldstardex

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IF TODAY WERE YOUR LAST DAY…
June 14, 2021
“…godliness is profitable for all things, since it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come.” – 1 Timothy 4:8
What would you do if you knew that today was your last day to live? Would you try to make a couple extra bucks and stay late at the office working hard? Would you spend time with your family, or express thanks to those who’ve helped you along the way? Would you seek to get right with God?
Most of us tend to prioritize the material and temporal at the neglect of the eternal and relational.
But none of us knows the number of days God has planned for us. So, don’t put off until tomorrow the really important things you can do today – like getting right with God.
God became a man in the person of Jesus to show us how. Start there, and show your family how much you love them. Surprise them by occasionally coming home early. Tell them you love them. Plan fun things to do with them. Help someone you care about – someone who needs you at the office, in the neighborhood, or maybe someone who simply needs a friend.
It may not be your last day here on earth, but it might just become a great day for you and those you care about.
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June 17
The Way of Faith
Bible in a Year:

The Lord said to Gideon, “You have too many men. I cannot deliver Midian into their hands, or Israel would boast against me.”

Judges 7:2
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Today's Scripture & Insight:
Judges 7:1–8, 22
In a 2017 World Cup qualifying match that pitted the US against Trinidad and Tobago, the Soca Warriors shocked the world when they beat the US men’s national team, a team ranked considerably higher. The upset eliminated the US team from the 2018 World Cup.
Trinidad and Tobago’s victory was so unexpected in part because the United States’ population and resources dwarfed those of the small Caribbean nation. But those seemingly insurmountable advantages weren’t enough to defeat the passionate Soca Warriors.
The story of Gideon and the Midianites features a similar upset, one between a small group of fighters and a large army. The Israelite army actually had more than thirty-thousand fighters, but the Lord whittled the army down to just three hundred warriors so the nation would learn that their success was dependent on God—not the size of their army, the amount of money in their treasury, or the skill of their leaders (Judges 7:1–8).
It can be tempting to put our trust and confidence in things we can see or measure, but that’s not the way of faith. Though it’s often difficult, when we’re willing to depend on God, to “be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power” (Ephesians 6:10), we can go into situations with courage and confidence, even when we feel overwhelmed and unqualified. His presence and power can do amazing things in and through us.
By: Lisa M. Samra
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Reflect & Pray
When have you faced seemingly insurmountable odds? Whether you tasted victory or defeat, how did you experience God’s provision for you?
God, when life gets challenging, help me learn to rely more and more on Your mighty power and grace.
 

boldstardex

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A DAD WHO PRAYS
June 17, 2021
“The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective…” James 5:16
Fatherhood is not for wimps.

The complex challenges of fathering three young souls are relentless and at times, overwhelming. Don’t get me wrong. Love, joy, and laughter abound in the “Dad-life” too. These past sixteen years have been a beautiful mix of difficulty and delight.

But make no mistake about it. Being a dad frequently exposes my inadequacy, shortcomings, and sinfulness.

When I’m engulfed by the exhausting demands of fatherhood and have fallen woefully short for the umpteenth time, I can either run towards my Heavenly Father or away from Him.



I HAVE TO CHOOSE HOW TO RESPOND:

I can cling to the illusion of self-sufficiency, pretending that I can handle things on my own.

I can fall to my knees in prayer, crying out for His supernatural strength.




You see, prayer demonstrates dependency. Prayerlessness is an indication of pridefulness. A lack of prayer signals that I’m full of myself and have no need for God’s grace, guidance, or wisdom.

To say that James, the half-brother of Jesus, was a man of prayer is an understatement. James spent so much time on his knees praying for the Church that he became nicknamed, “Ol’ Camel-knees.” You probably haven’t seen the knees of camels recently, but they are extremely calloused. Camels have to kneel down to allow a rider to climb on board, so over the course of a lifetime, their knees take quite a beating.

It sounds like James was a prayer-warrior who fought his battles on his calloused, camel-like, knees.

What do your knees look like?

Kneeling is an outward posture that displays an inward attitude of reverence, humility, and surrender. And fatherhood, if I’m paying attention, provides ample opportunities for me to hit my knees.

James assures us that dropping to our knees in prayer is not an exercise in futility. Prayer is “powerful” and “effective.” One translation says, “our prayers are a force to be reckoned with.”

My prayers rarely seem like a powerful force. My thoughts often bounce around like a pinball and sometimes, it even feels like my prayers reach no higher than the ceiling.

Nevertheless, I press on. As a father, regular prayer, even my feeble attempt at it, expresses my reliance on The Father.

You might think to yourself: But I am definitely not a righteous man. How can I pray?

That is 100% correct. In and of ourselves, none of us will ever be righteous before a holy God. We are made righteous only by placing our faith in the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus (2 Corinthians 5:21).

So, when we pray, we’re not praying in our name and strength, but in the mighty name of Jesus.

Let me suggest a simple, yet powerful prayer that any Dad can pray from the trenches of fatherhood:

Lord, Jesus. Help. I need You.”

Before this day is through, why not fall to your knees and give it a try?



Written by Jonathan Munson, Executive Director, RFTH
 

boldstardex

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HAPPY FATHER’S DAY!
June 20, 2021
“Fathers, do not exasperate your children, that they may not lose heart.” – Colossians 3:21 NAS
Most dads fear that they won’t measure up – that they will fail to be the kind of father they should be – or need to be.

Sadly, as guys, we often will skip the instruction manual, thinking we will just figure it out along the way. Yet, when things go wrong, it’s always nice to have that manual to go back to – isn’t it? Well, there IS a manual for life (the Bible) and we certainly shouldn’t skip it.

So, if you’re a dad looking for a little help in being a good father, one particular verse from the Bible really helps: “Fathers, don’t provoke your children, instead bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.”

  • Don’t provoke your children. That means don’t make unrealistic demands. Don’t crush their spirit by being aloof or overly strict. Every child has a fragile psyche that needs to be built up, not torn down.
  • Bring them up in discipline. Discipline should be fair and consistent. They need to know the boundaries and know there are negative consequences if they ignore them. This gives children security and helps them know they are loved.
  • …and the instruction of the Lord. Discipline precedes instruction–any good teacher knows that. But discipline without instruction exasperates children. They need Dad to teach them right from wrong – and to do so with love.
It’s not easy being a good father or father figure, but we have a great model in our Heavenly Father, revealed to us through Jesus.
 

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June 22
God Is There
Bible in a Year:

If God will be with me and watch over me . . . then the Lord will be my God.

Genesis 28:20–21
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Today's Scripture & Insight:
Genesis 28:10–15, 20–22
Aubrey bought a fleece-lined coat for her aging father, but he died before he could wear it. So she tucked a note of encouragement with a $20 bill into the pocket and donated the jacket to charity.
Ninety miles away, unable to endure his family’s dysfunction any longer, nineteen-year-old Kelly left his house without grabbing a coat. He knew of only one place to turn—the home of his grandmother who prayed for him. Hours later he stepped off a bus and into his grandma’s arms. Shielding him from the winter wind, she said, “We’ve got to get you a coat!” At the mission store, Kelly tried on a coat he liked. Slipping his hands into the pockets he found an envelope—with a $20 bill and Aubrey’s note.
Jacob fled his dysfunctional family in fear for his life (Genesis 27:41–45). When he stopped for the night, God revealed Himself to Jacob in a dream. “I am with you and will watch over you wherever you go,” God told him (28:15). Jacob vowed, “If God will . . . give me food to eat and clothes to wear . . . , then the Lord will be my God” (vv. 20–21).
Jacob made a rudimentary altar and named the spot “God’s house” (v. 22). Kelly takes Aubrey’s note and that $20 wherever he goes. Each serves as a reminder that no matter where we run, God is there.
By: Tim Gustafson
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Reflect & Pray
When you’ve had to “run,” whether literally or metaphorically, where did you go and to whom did you turn? How can you remind yourself of God’s presence in your life?
Father, You’re the One I can always run to. Help me turn to You first.

Read Who's My Neighbor? at DiscoverySeries.org/Q0308.



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