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Devotionals from Fall 2015 print issue (Week 2)

SERIES: DISTINXION, LESSONS FROM THE HARDWOOD

Monday “…whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things.” Philippians 4:8

Choose Your Thoughts Wisely

Our minds are such a powerful tool—one that can be used to build and make strong or one that can be used to take apart.

My husband, Luke, and I decided that at the end of our vacation, we were going to spend our last day with a close group of friends. These were the people who knew us well and made our wedding memorable. These people loved us and we loved them. But somehow, my mind started analyzing the situation of our active 2-year-old staying with them and it took me to a place of high anxiety. I was having such high anxiety that I even tried to convince Luke that spending time with our close friends wasn’t a good idea.

I allowed my anxiety to potentially destroy the rare opportunity to have quality fellowship. Paul urges us in Philippians 4:8 to fill our minds with “…whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things.” If we aren’t careful, we can so quickly allow our minds to take us to a place that destroys our joy instead of bringing it.

I’m thankful that, despite my anxiety, Luke convinced me to attend the gathering because we had a great time reconnecting and worshipping God through fellowship. It was a good reminder that whatever we fill our minds with will also overflow our hearts. May you choose to fill your mind with joy today.

By Hope Zeller, DistinXion Staff


 

Tuesday “Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their work: If one falls down, his friend can help him up. But pity the man who falls and has no one to help him up!” Ecclesiastes 4:9-10

Friends Matter

Today, be a friend to someone. There are plenty of people in this world who go without friends or who go without the right friends. Be a Christ-like friend to everyone you encounter. Jesus befriended even those who were looked down upon. He befriended cheaters, stealers, sinners, and even those who would eventually betray Him. Jesus selflessly loved all who came to him no matter what they had done or what they would do.

He has done the same for you. He loves you no matter what you have done. He loves you no matter what you will do. He wants the best for you, and even when you loose track of the path He is taking you down, He will be beside you. Jesus is the kind of friend who not only walks along side you in the dark times, but also leads you through the trouble. Jesus has conquered death. He wants to tackle anything you are going through. Model your life and friendships after His example. Be a friend who never leaves their friend’s side, leads selflessly, and loves unconditionally. Be the friend Jesus has been to you.

By Leigh Frantz, DistinXion Intern


 

Wednesday “Now so it was that after three days they found Him in the temple, sitting in the midst of the teachers, both listening to them and asking them questions.” Luke 2:46

Jesus at the Center of Everything

The Bible provides one story from the childhood of Jesus Christ. This story comes in the second chapter of the book of Luke. Joseph, Mary and Jesus are attending the Passover Festival. Upon their departure, the young Messiah stays behind in Jerusalem without his parents’ knowledge. After frantically searching for him for the next few days, they find him back in Jerusalem, sitting with the religious teachers. Jesus responds to their searching by stating in Luke 2:49, “Why were you searching for me? Didn’t you know I had to be in my Father’s house?” We know exactly where Jesus is. We know exactly how to talk to Him. He wants to be a part of our life at all times. He does not ask to be on top of everything, He asks to be the center of everything. We have become vulnerable to labeling church, prayer and service as “Christian” activity. Remember, we are Christ-followers while we are mowing the lawn, eating our meals, or shooting hoops. Many times, whether we are caught up in our work, in our sports, in our relationships, or even in our church, we lose sight of Jesus. Keep Jesus at the center of all you do and feel the fruit of His beautiful care for your life.

By Hunter Leum, DistinXion Intern


 

Thursday “And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast.” 1 Peter 5:10

He Makes Us Stronger

What doesn’t kill you only makes you stronger. We’ve all interacted with this phrase at some point, whether in a song or used as an inspirational saying. The Bible speaks this truth to us also. God wants us to fight through tough times. Without those difficult experiences, we would never know the true joy of life. I have faced many struggles in life already, and have definitely felt suffering while on my knees praying for God to take away the pain.

If one thing remains constant, it is God’s grace and glory. He has been with me always, and has never let me down. I know that God brings me to challenging situations and is a proud father when I come out stronger, more faithful and a better daughter of Christ. How fortunate I am to have someone who never leaves my side! It’s important to remember these things when going through something that feels miserable and helpless. We are never alone, no matter how lonely the situation.

One of the greatest things I’ve learned is that we can come to God broken, in pieces, and He welcomes us with open arms no matter the hurt we are feeling, harm we’ve caused, or sins committed. We are encouraged as sinners to come exactly as we are to the One who holds so much grace. In this instance, it is with grace that God rescues us from sufferings only to bring us closer to Him in order to live out the life He has planned.

By Kayla Bryant, DistinXion Intern



Friday “If I were still trying to please people, I would not be a servant of Christ.” Galations 1:10

Playing with Intention

One thing I’ve learned while living in the professional sports culture is, in general, sports are performance-based activities. Fans tend to flock to the players who perform well, but are quick to disapprove of any player who doesn’t perform up to their expectations. And since the coaches make important decisions after evaluating an athlete’s performance, the athlete may feel like he or she should play to gain the approval of the coaches, team managers and spectators. But, if we play (or work) with the intention to gain the approval of others, regardless of our talent, performance, likeability, or circumstances, we will live a life of disappointment. No matter how well we perform, we will always experience some sort of criticism and disapproval, which can make us feel disheartened and inadequate.

Galatians 1:10 reminds us that, “If I were still trying to please people, I would not be a servant of Christ.” When we can learn to adjust our intentions from playing to please others to playing to serve the Lord, the pressure of performing perfectly will decrease and praising the Lord will increase. And when we do this, the focus of our intentions is suddenly taken away from us and placed onto God. Once we realign our heart’s intention to work to the please the Lord, our need for approval subsides and our confidence is no longer grounded in the inconsistency of others’ opinions. In doing this, we can find confidence in knowing that whatever the outcome, God is fulfilling His will in our lives and in the Kingdom.

By Hope Zeller, DistinXion Staff


 

Weekender “Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.” Ephesians 6:11 (KJV)

Going Long

Focus on the word “whole” and be reminded that we have to put on our entire armor so that we are equipped on a daily basis.