Category Archives: Faith

Wellspring Devotion, April 1, 2014

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Matthew 5:14-16: “You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.”

This verse reminds me of my childhood days when we used to sing the song, “This Little Light of Mine.” What a simple song with some very powerful words. “This little light of mine I’m going to let it shine. Hide it under a bushel? No! I’m going to let it shine. Don’t let Satan blow it out! I’m going to let it shine.” To be honest, I have not thought of this song for a long time but as I was reading this verse in my Bible the song kept coming in to my mind. The words are ingrained in my mind and easy to remember. Though this song is often geared toward children it is packed with powerful truths that we all must remember once we have accepted Christ as our Savior.

Sometimes, once we have accepted Jesus into our hearts, it is easy to get complacent and not continue to follow God’s will for our life. Sometimes we see the attitude, “I am saved now. I don’t have to do anything.” In fact the Bible tells us the exact opposite of this. Matthew 28:19-20 says, “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” Verse 20 specifically tells us to obey God’s commandments that are spelled out in the Bible. Whether we are new Christians or have been a believer for many, many years there are some things we can incorporate into our daily life to strengthen our relationship with Christ. Read the Bible regularly (click here to see ideas from my earlier post). Pray often (with everything going on in life take time throughout the day to pray). Find a place to worship with others who believe in the Bible. And let God’s love shine through you in all that you do. As the verse above says, “let your light shine before others.”

For the past several weeks at church, our pastor has been reminding us that we are “the church” everywhere that we go. We are called to sacrificially love and serve Christ and others in all places that we are. “Church” can be our homes, our workplaces, our community! Let us remember always to love others as Christ has so graciously loved us.

Prayer for the week: Dear God, We thank you for sending your only son Jesus to take away our sins so we can live our lives focused on our eternal home in Heaven. Help me this week to keep the focus on you and let me be a light to others in this sometimes dark and negative world. Give me the desire to know you more each day! This little light of mine-I want to let it shine all of the days of my life for you! In your name we pray, Amen.

Discussion questions:

What are some ways we can let God’s light shine in our home?

What are some ways we can let God’s light shine in our community?

The Wellspring devotion group meets the first and third Tuesdays of each month at 7 a.m. at Grace Community Church in Worthington, MN. The group is open to all women in the area.

 

Wellspring Devotion March 18, 2014

 

This week I am happy to share the Wellspring devotion written by my dear friend Stephanie! May you be blessed by these words and keep this verse from Joshua 1:9 in your heart and mind always. These are some powerful words!

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I don’t know about you, but sometimes, my mind takes my thoughts on a frightening walk through my brain, visiting all the possible scenarios that could happen in a given situation. Much of the time, these scenarios are apocalyptic, worst case scenarios.

Joshua 1:9 says, “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”

Imagine how comforting these words were to the Israelites as they were about to march into Canaan, against some rough and very tough warriors. These words comfort me in times of fear as well. Over the last nine months, I have learned that God is indeed there for me, no matter where I am.

Romans 8:31 asks us, “What shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?”

How true and powerful these words are! Every person is fighting a battle of their own, whether it be a physical one or a purely spiritual one. In all of my battles, I have learned that the best way to fight the fear and darkness is to call out to my God and ask for comfort, strength, wisdom, whatever it is I may need. God may not always grant this in the way I request, but He is always there, and He is always on the side that is best for me, providing me with what He knows I need.

As you go through these next few weeks, remember that you are a mighty warrior of God. He has instilled in you a strength and fearlessness, in His name. Be strong in Christ and watch what happens around you!

Prayer for the week: Heavenly Father, I come to You with all my fears and worry. Take these from me and give me the courage to move forward into whatever plan You have for me. I surrender my fear of all that is to come.  I hold you up, Lord, and recognize you as my mighty warrior. With You in my corner, I can never be defeated by this world. In your name I pray, Amen.

Discussion questions:

Can you think of someone that has faced something in their own life that you personally fear?

How did they handle it?

What did you learn from their experience?

How do you handle your own fear?

Wellspring Devotion March 4, 2014

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                                              Ecclesiastes 3:11 (ESV) –                                                 He has made everything beautiful in its time.

When I was asked recently to speak at the local MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers) group on the theme “Beautiful Mess” I immediately decided this was a great topic for a devotion. I chose the Ecclesiastes verse because it reminds us God has made each of us women a unique, beautiful person. We are constantly a work in progress and we grow closer to Him through our daily messes. When we many times feel like a mess or like our lives are a mess God loves us anyway. His love for us is never ending and he knows our “beautiful messes” are all for a greater plan – his eternal plan for our lives.

When we feel like a crazy mess, we have peace in knowing that God is our father and he loves us through everything. He uses all of our messes for the greater good. God is able to forgive our every sin and take it from us. We do not need to hang on to our anger and guilt because when we ask God to forgive us for the messes we create he does just that. In him we have peace and comfort and we can look forward to each new day as a beautiful adventure.

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A beautiful mess comes to mind when my two nieces come to visit my house. They get fingerprints on the walls, they have toys and books placed throughout the house and sometimes they make a big mess by spilling juice and food. This is all a part of the beauty of having children in our midst! One time when my niece dropped a piece of a sticky banana on a page of my Bible—I made a note in my Bible that reads, “Chloe’s banana fingerprints” and I wrote down the date. Every time I pass by this page in my Bible is brings a smile to my face to think of my sweet niece. God has given us precious time with children and we must not get caught up in the small, trivial messes they help create, but see them for the Heavenly blessings that they are. Children are one of God’s most precious gifts and we are called to care for them well. So sometimes even when we feel like our life is a mess, see the beautiful mess for what it is- a true gift from God.

Prayer for the week: Dear Heavenly Father, Thank you for making everything beautiful in its time. Help me to be patient in waiting for your time in all that I do. Thank you for giving us the hope of eternal life! And thank you for the “beautiful messes” you put in my every day life so I can see your beauty and grace that surround me. Help me this week to see all of the messes in my life as a gift from you and please use these messes to draw me closer to you. In your precious name I pray, Amen.

Discussion questions:

Share a “beautiful mess” you have experienced lately.

How did this “beautiful mess” draw you closer to God?

Wellspring Devotion Feb. 18, 2014

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1 Thessalonians 5:16-18-Rejoice always. Pray without ceasing. Give thanks in all circumstances for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.

Let’s be honest here friends, this is a hard verse to live out daily. It sounds so simple as it is written but let’s be real—life and our own emotions get in the way and make it difficult to heed the advice in this verse. This winter has been cold and long, and it is wearing on people’s emotions. I know many people, including myself, who have been experiencing some really dark times including depression, anxiety, negative self-talk and more. To be honest for the last three weeks, I have tried to sit down and write devotions and no words come. I have been feeling distant from God and not prepared to put words on paper. Satan is on the prowl and he is attacking each day and we must be aware. Later in 1 Thessalonians in verse 22, it says, “Abstain from every form of evil.” God knows we are tempted and we are sinful beings. Paul reminds us in this verse to stay away from evil because that is what God commands.

So in the dark times, we must continue on. We must be faithful in prayer and find joy in the difficulties we are going through. God is faithful and will answer our prayers in his way in his own time. Keep pressing on. You never know when you will find peace in a song you hear, a note from a friend, a sermon at church, or a specific Bible verse that speaks to you.

At church Sunday, we sang the song Counting on God by Phillips, Craig and Dean. It exuded so much positive energy. It was great to see the joy that filled the sanctuary. It was a wonderful reminder that God is faithful and only He can get us through the dark times. The words of this song are powerful. When dark times surround you, may you find comfort in these words.

Joy unspeakable that won’t go away
And just enough strength
To live for today
So I never have to worry
What tomorrow will bring
‘Cause my faith is on solid rock
I am counting on God

Prayer for the week: Dear God, Please be with everyone who is going through a dark time right now. There is so much hurt and heartache in this world and we ask you to lead us through these difficult situations and allow us find joy in all that is going on around us. Use these situations to draw us closer to you. Let our hearts and minds not be filled with negative thoughts but with joy because we have hope in you. In your precious name we pray, Amen.

Discussion questions:

What is one thing that you do during hard times to help get through it?

What helps you feel better when you are down in the dumps?

Wellspring Devotion Feb. 4, 2014

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Psalm 34:8-“Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good! Blessed is the man who takes refuge in him!”

What power in the Psalmists words, “Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good!” These words tell us to take action and see the many wonders of our Lord around us. This verse is telling us to taste….this takes effort on our part. We must actively engage ourselves in growing our faith and feeding our hunger to learn more and live more like Christ. The Bible is one of the best places to get started in feeding our hunger. When we take time to get into God’s word we can learn the truths of the Bible and live them out in our daily life. The more we get into the word, the more we will crave it and want to continue on in our daily readings.

It is early in the New Year, and a great time to commit to reading the Bible regularly. There are many ways to go about reading the Bible. You can read one book at a time. You can read topical daily devotions that focus on verses on a specific topic. You can read the Bible chronologically in one year. There are many ways to go about reading the Bible. Find the way that works for you and dive in.

Psalm 34:1 says, “I will bless the Lord at all times; his praise shall continually be in my mouth.” Can we make the commitment to live like David has written in this verse? It is a worthy goal. As we challenge ourselves to do this, we must remember we are imperfect beings and we will mess up many times. It is only with God’s gracious help that we can find solace in him and praise his name at all times.

As we read the Bible, we get a clear picture of what God wants from us. We have to be intentional in all we do and train ourselves to like what God likes. Staying engaged in reading the Bible helps us to flee from partaking in the sins of the world. Instead of tasting what the world has to offer, we choose to savor in the goodness of the Lord. He gives us everything we need. And as Psalm 34:8 says, “Blessed is the man who takes refuge in Him.”

Prayer for the week: Dear God, Help us to taste and see that you are good. You are the only one we need. When we are faced with struggles in our daily life or when we think we are too busy to read the Bible, give us the sense to stay the course and do your will! Thank you for all of your wonderful blessings. Please guide me in this New Year to continue to grow closer to you. In your precious name I pray, Amen.

Discussion questions:

What is one thing you plan to do this year to continue to grow closer to God?

Have you chosen a Bible verse for 2014? Pick a verse that has special meaning to you right now in this season of your life. Memorize it. Print it out and keep it around so you can be reminded of it daily.

Being Real in the New Year

The New Year is such an exciting time. There is much anticipation about the year ahead. It is a time we put the past year behind us and thank God for all of the blessings and all of the struggles we went through! Take some time to give thanks for the many blessings of 2013. It is also important to recognize that the hard times are all a part of God’s plan and he uses those times to strengthen us and draw us near to him. If 2013, was a year you just want to quickly forget and move on to better things I encourage you to look at what you gained from the situations you went through. How were each of those situations a part of God’s plan for your life? I remember very well the New Years where I would feel so down and depressed because I was not satisfied with my life. Each year, I prayed things would get better.

It took me a long time to figure out and I am still learning that when I put God first and trust him life changes. My attitude and outlook are so much better. Negative emotions no longer control my life. I choose to be as positive as I can each day. Instead of worrying about situations out of my control, I am learning to pray more and realize it is all a part of God’s sovereign plan. Quite honestly this could be a new year where I jump on the negative bandwagon and feel down. A great friend of mine who I had the privilege to work with for five years just moved to Hawaii! If I were still my old Negative Nelly self I would still be down about it and letting it affect my whole life. Now, don’t get me wrong I did shed plenty of tears the last few weeks she was here, but ultimately I am so excited for her and her new adventure. God always has a wonderful plan and this year it was exciting to see something I had prayed for five years —my friend to find a Godly man to marry—unfold. We also always prayed that when it was time for her to leave Schafer’s that the right person would come along — and believe it or not that has happened! Now, I know God does not always answer prayers in the way we want but there are times when he takes care of the details so perfectly. His answer to these prayers was better than I ever could have imagined.

The New Year is such an exciting time because we are reminded of our new birth in Christ. 2 Corinthians 5:17 says, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.” It is hard to think of this verse and not get super excited! Because Jesus died on the cross for us we have new life in him. We are all sinners and he loves us any way.

So what can we do in the New Year to grow closer to Christ?

Read the Bible more regularly…It sounds so easy but it is hard to put into practice. Choose a time each day that works best for you. Most days, I do my reading in the morning because otherwise it seems like the day just gets away and then I use the excuse I am too tired at night. I like to read the Bible in the morning because it sets the tone for the day ahead. For those of you who have never read the Bible or are looking for more focused plans check out www.youversion.com. This free program offers daily devotions, plans to read the Bible in a year and much more. You can download this app to your smart phone, your computer or IPAD. So you have the Bible with you wherever you go and you can even set it up to send you a daily reminder to read the Bible. I know sounds kind of crazy but it is a huge help! And the site is loaded with great devotions focused on specific issues that you might be dealing with.

Choose a Bible verse to focus on throughout the year. Pick a verse that has special meaning to you right now in this season of your life. Print out the verse and put it around in places where you see it daily. Memorize the verse so it is with you always! Below is my 2014 verse to remember.

2014 verse

Get engaged! Find positive people who have the desire to know God more!

Breathe! Smile and be kind to yourself. Always remember we are all a work in progress and God will be with us every step of the way!

Wishing you many blessings in the New Year!

Amanda