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Devotional Thought: Act Like Something Big Is Going To Happen!

During the Winter months, we can always count on a snow storm or two to wreak havoc in our area. Typically, the weather reports begin to brew, people talk about the coming storm and begin to make preparations. In school, the teachers make adjustments in class knowing that there is a possibility of a delay or no school the following day. At work, employers remind their workers of protocol in bad weather. At home, people rush to the store to make sure they have enough milk and food, along with a shovel and salt for their driveway. You can tell a storm is coming by the actions and discussions of those around you. We watch the weather radar and weather reports anticipating the coming of a storm.

In athletics we mirror a similar reaction to a big event that is approaching. We make preparations for that big game by cleaning, decoration, gathering snacks, and making sure our home is ready to host that "big game" party. We go to the store and purchase a flag, a foam finger, our favorite jersey or team shirt to wear to the game. We host a pep rally, have a tail gate party, or talk about the coming weekend's big match-up! You can tell a big sporting event is approaching by the actions and discussions of those around you.

So let me ask you this question: "When it comes to the return of Jesus Christ, can those around you see evidence of your preparation?"

When we are at work, does our discussion reflect the Good News of Jesus Christ? Do we talk about His first arrival to this earth and why we celebrate Christmas? Do we talk about the second coming of Jesus Christ? Examine the way we spend our money and discover if it reflects that we are preparing for an eternal destiny or are we building up earthly treasures. Does our actions, our discussions, and our spending reflect that Jesus Christ is going to return? Do we go to church excited that we are one week closer to His return? Does our singing and our prayers reflect that God is the Lord of this universe and someday we will come face to face with eternity?

In Revelation 1:7 we are told that Jesus is coming back! "Look, he is coming with the clouds, and every eye will see him, even those who pierced him; and all the peoples of the earth will mourn because of him. So shall it be! Amen." Are you ready?! If you are not ready - today is the day to get started and to make sure that those around you are prepared too!

Recognize that God loves you: John 3:16 "For God so loved the world, that He gave His one and only Son! That whoever believes in Him will not perish but have everlasting life!"

Understand that our sin, our bad choices separate us from God: Romans 3:23 "For all have sinned (messed up) and fallen short of God's glory."

Surrender your life to the Lord Jesus Christ. Romans 10:9 "If we confess with our mouth that Jesus is Lord, and believe in our hearts that Jesus was raised from the dead, we will be saved!"

God forgives us! I John 1:9 "If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to cleanse us of our sins and unrighteousness."

Knowing that you are spiritually ready for the return of Jesus Christ, go live it!

Revelation 1:6 says, " To him who loves us and has freed us from our sins by his blood, and has made us to be a kingdom and priests to serve his God and Father, to him be glory and power for ever and ever! Amen." We are free from our sins and bad choices. We are free to serve Him by loving others! Take this good news to your family, friends, and co-workers. There is no better Christmas gift, than the eternal gift of new life in Jesus Christ.

Spend your finances on eternal things. Spend your time showing God's love to others. After all, your spending is good evidence of what is important in your life. Let's not only live like something big is going to happen - let's live knowing that something big has already happened!

I praise God for all of you and pray that this is a blessed Christmas for you and your families. May the Love of God surround you and empower you to share His love with everyone!!! Merry Christmas!

Devotional Thought: Don't Let Pride Keep You From The Light!

Brace yourself, as I confess that I have been living in the dark. Before you gasp in disbelief or agree with a hearty "amen" - allow me to explain. The headlight on my car has a burned out bulb. So, I have been driving down the road in the morning and at night, not fully seeing the road in front of me. I'm not driving in total darkness, but I have increased my risk of accident for myself and others. So, I stopped at the local auto store, picked up a new light bulb and happily returned to my car with the knowledge that my life would be bright once again.

I have replaced light bulbs in my vehicles before, but this was the first time for this car. I opened the hood of my car and looked for a quick fix. I was totally baffled to discover there was no easy access to the headlight. I searched, explored, and reached around every part in the front of my car. Still, no easy access to changing the light. So I gave up. In frustration, I walked away, washed my hands of the dirt and grease. "This should be easy," I said to myself. The next morning I pulled out the owner's manual and consulted the "professionals" to see why I couldn't do something that should be so simple. According to the manual, I should be finished in four easy steps - pull two levers, pull the light forward, replace the bulb, and push the light back into place. That's it. IF you can find the levers! Again, after searching, pinching my skin with the tools, and getting a little more frustrated - I gave up.

A few days later, I finally asked a friend for help, someone who is a full time mechanic. I confessed my inability to him and he agreed with me, "it's not as easy as it used to be." He examined my car, as I told him everything that I did. He showed me that I found the right levers, I just didn't pull hard enough and in the right direction. Within a minute, the light bulb was replaced and my life was bright once again.

I drove for a week with the new light bulb sitting in my passenger seat. My inability to accomplish a task and my pride in asking for help, kept me in the dark. How many times have we ran away from God's direction, lived in spiritual darkness, or avoided God's help because of our pride?

There is a story in the book of Acts (8:26-40) of how a Ethiopian was reading scripture but didn't fully understand the meaning. Philip ran to this Ethiopian and asked him if he understood the scriptures that he was trying to read. The Ethiopian confessed that he didn't understand and asked Philip to explain these readings. Pride could have kept this Ethiopian from asking for help, and in the end he could have ended up living in darkness. Pride and fear could have kept Philip from going to the Ethiopian and asking if he needed help. Praise God that both men dropped their pride. After reading together, the Ethiopian surrendered his life to Jesus Christ and was baptized!

I encourage you today to drop all fears, insecurities, and pride - seek the help you need. Ask for God's help as living in darkness can be dangerous...

For a deeper pep talk from the Lord read Proverbs 11:2, Proverbs 16:18, and John 11:45-53 (pride led to disbelief).

From 1/17/08 FCA Meeting at WHS

Throughout life’s journey, we are given many opportunities to become a better person.  Even though we also come to roadblocks in life, there is always an opportunity behind those obstacles.  I believe that God gives us some obstacles to overcome so that we realize that something good could come out of them, whether it is a lesson learned or a chance to spread God’s love to others.

In the FCA Athlete’s Devotional, Heart of an Athlete, different competitors write about their thoughts on certain aspects of life.  Fleceia Comeaux talks about how to think positively on and off the court or field.
“When you walk onto a court to play a game, do you immediately think that you’re going to lose or that you’re going to win?  Do you stare at your opponents while they warm up and begin to wonder why you even laced up your Nikes, or do you focus on giving it your all?  Do you see obstacles, or do you see opportunities?

In Numbers 13, the spies were sent into Canaan to check out the land.  God had already given them great victories in battle and rescued them from tough situations.  During the 40 days that they were evaluating the land, they could have seen a great opportunity, but they didn’t.  Only two guys, Joshua and Caleb, thought that they could succeed in acquiring the land.  The rest of the team did what I think many of us would have done: They saw a wall and a formidable opponent and said, ‘We don’t think that we can do this!’

Well, that much is true.  We can’t, but God can.  It’s strange that the Israelites didn’t remember the situations from which God had delivered them and the victories He had granted.  They also forgot that God had commanded them to go into the land and that He had promised to give it to them.  These were His words:  ‘Send some men to explore the land of Canaan, which I am giving to the Israelites.’

God has already given us much.  We only need to receive what He has promised.  We are so much like these Israelites when faced with challenging situations.  But I pray that we can be more like Joshua and Caleb, who received and believed in the opportunity that God had given them.”  (Comeaux 32-33).
This devotional got me thinking on how I look at the tough times in life.  I know I am guilty of being one that looks at my competitors and thinks negatively before the match even started, like Fleceia Comeaux explained.  After reading this devotional, however, I think about how God can help turn obstacles into opportunities and how to have a more positive outlook on life itself. 

Scripture is such an awesome source for helping us turn obstacles into opportunities.  After thinking about the four words on the pink and lime green bracelets that are in memory of Hollis, one amazing, faith-filled girl, I went to www.bible.com and searched each word on the bracelets.  The bracelets say, “Hope”, “Faith”, “Joy”, and “Forgiving”.  I tried to look up verses that related to turning the outlook of obstacles into opportunities. 

                Hope – Psalm 25:5 says, “Guide me in your truth and teach me, for you are God my Savior, and my hope is in you all day long.”  This verse helped me realize that I need to keep my hope in God always, and that He will guide me through my speed bumps and teach me His ways.

                Faith – 2 Timothy 4:7 states, “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.”  Even though this is a common Bible verse, it still spoke to me.  My take on this verse is that no matter where you finish in a race or whether you win or lose, the only thing that matters is if you finished the race and didn’t give up.  I try to see Jesus at my finish line as I’m completing a race.

                Joy – Psalm 45:15 says, “They are led in with joy and gladness; they enter the palace of the king.”  I believe this verse is saying that those who enter heaven are led in by angels and are so excited to see Jesus face to face for the first time.

                Forgiving – Ephesians 4:32 states, “Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.”  Although this verse can be hard to accept, it says a lot when it comes to forgiving people.  God forgives all of our sins, and He’s teaching us how to also be forgiving to others.

These verses got me thinking about how I can change my outlook of obstacles into positive   opportunities.  Maybe the verses will have the same affect on you.

                God Bless!  Brandi Dominique

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