Restful Beauty

Restful Beauty

Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. Matthew 11:28

A geode is a rock with beautiful crystals inside. These are formed as water that is high in mineral content flows through rocks. When the minerals become trapped in the rock and the water continues to flow, the crystals are created. The more the water flows, the more beautiful the crystals become on the inside. The outside of the crystal; however, suffers underneath the wear and tear of the weather, and its beauty fades.

That’s the picture of someone in whom and through whom the Spirit of God is flowing. Our outer appearance may age with time, and wrinkles may begin to show, but we are to grow more exquisite inside with each passing year. This happens when we look to God for inner transformation. God works on our spirits, resulting in a glorious beauty.

One way God works within us is by teaching us to rest in Him.


One way God works within us is by teaching us to rest in Him.
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Have you ever seen eagles fly? They’re known for their graceful soaring and gliding as their wings catch the wind. But did you know that if eagles couldn’t soar, they would crash? Their wings are too heavy for them to flap continually the way some birds do. So eagles flap their wings until they catch an air current, and then they soar.

God has designed each of us to soar on the wind of the Holy Spirit. He says that He will do the work; we only need to be still and rest. He wants us to position ourselves in Him and glide in His power. As we rest in Him, He will transform us into the beautiful reflection of His glory He has created us to be.

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Forgiving Freely

Forgiving Freely

He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.” 2 Corinthians 12:9

People have joked that we could be really happy if it weren’t for other people. People have a way of messing up our lives. The problem is, you and I are people too, and wherever we go, we keep running into even more people.

The slave Onesimus discovered that when you run away from some people, you run into others (Philemon 10-11). Do you know what I’m talking about? You change jobs to get away from troublesome people, and you run smack into other bad-news people on your new job. The same thing often happens when people change churches.

We humans are here to stay, so we had better learn how to relate to each other. Fortunately, we have God’s Word to guide us. Relationships are one of the most important topics in the Bible, particularly in Paul’s letters to churches where people of all sorts were rubbing shoulders.

Philemon was a prominent person in the church at Colossae. He had a slave named Onesimus. From what we can tell from today’s passage, Onesimus stole money from Philemon and ran away. The punishment for a runaway slave in the Roman Empire was death. But Paul urged Philemon to forgive Onesimus and be reconciled to him as a brother.

Has anyone ever hurt or offended you? God tells us in His word that we can forgive others because of our love for Jesus Christ and the forgiveness God granted us through His death on the cross. “Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you” (Ephesians 4:32).


Be kind to one another.
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Tag, You’re It

Tag You're It

Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Do not let not your heart be troubled, nor let it be fearful. John 14:27

The spiritual maturity we looked at in the previous devotion involved a process of growing to reflect Jesus Christ in your everyday life and decisions. Another aspect of Christian maturity is passing that growth on to those around you.

Paul put it in personal terms. He said, “Be imitators of me, just as I also am of Christ” (1 Corinthians 11:1). Now I’m not sure many of us would want to sign our names under a bold statement like that, but nothing is wrong with following people who are following Christ. A major part of Paul’s ministry was transferring what he had been entrusted with to others.


“Be imitators of me, just as I also am of Christ” (1 Corinthians 11:1)
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If you continue to take in the Word of God but don’t do your spiritual exercise by applying it and passing it along, you get spiritually overweight. In order to continue your growth toward maturity, you need to share the things you have learned and applied with others, just as Paul did.

Even if you haven’t gone that far in your Christian life, begin developing the habit of helping others who are coming along behind you.

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Our House, God’s Church

Our House Gods Church

But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for God’s own possession, so that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light. 1 Peter 2:9

The church isn’t a gathering of strangers, like fans at a ball game who just happen to be sitting next to each other. The church is a community of individuals spiritually linked together with the purpose of reflecting and spreading the values of the kingdom of God.


The church is a community of individuals spiritually linked together.
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The church is critical in the process of growing mature disciples who imitate Jesus Christ because Jesus is relational. Jesus Himself stated the key identifier that would tell us who were His disciples and who were not, and that is our love for one another.

God’s people are so vitally connected that we’re like members of the same physical body. The parts of your body are in a relationship with the other parts. Just smash your thumb or stub your toe, and you’ll have a good biblical reminder of the interrelationship of your bodily members. Once you disconnect a body part, you cut off its ability to function because it is separated from the source of its life.

That’s why Peter and Paul both call the church the “household of God” (1 Peter 4:17; Titus 3:15). Your home is supposed to be the place where you give and receive love unconditionally. It takes more than the paid professional staff in a church to produce this kind of love. It comes from each one of us being in in dynamic relationships so we can encourage and edify each other.

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God’s Standard

God's Standards

One person regards one day above another, another regards every day alike. Each person must be fully convinced in his own mind. He who observes the day, observes it for the Lord, and he who eats, does so for the Lord, for he gives thanks to God; and he who eats not, for the Lord he does not eat, and gives thanks to God. For not one of us lives for himself. Romans 14:5-7

Many issues of personal preference are not mentioned in the Bible, and people have varied opinions about them. Some of these issues are movies, dancing, makeup, dress style, card playing, sports on Sunday, the Sabbath, certain kinds of music, and even which vehicles to drive. Some of the concerns are regional; some are universal. Nearly all are cultural issues.

All issues on personal preferences and opinions can be stumbling blocks for us. God doesn’t proceed with our spiritual growth in cookie-cutter fashion. Everyone grows spiritually at different rates and in different ways. If we are judging others according to our own preferences, we have a long way to grow spiritually ourselves. The standards we live by shouldn’t be based on our preferences, but on the absolute standards in the Scriptures.


God doesn’t proceed with our spiritual growth in cookie-cutter fashion.
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“Who are you to judge the servant of another? To his own master he stands or falls; and he will stand, for the Lord is able to make him stand” (verse 4). Once we meet God’s standards, we can differ in many ways.

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What is Your Legacy?

what-is-your-legacy

How much more will your Father who is in heaven give what is good to those who ask Him! Matthew 7:11

She had traveled to London for vacation, and she was determined to see all she could. Each evening, as she returned to a small hotel room that overlooked one of the city’s squares, she couldn’t help but notice how beautiful the area was. She also wondered what it would be like to walk through the gardens located in the center of the square. However, this seemed impossible. A very high wall surrounded it, and signs were posted on each gate explaining that the gardens were for residents only. No one could enter unless he or she had a key. Her curiosity continued, even though she believed she could never get past the gates.

After returning home, she visited the hotel’s website, just to see if anything was posted on it about the garden located in what she now knew was Eccleston Square. Sure enough, listed under hotel information was the following: “The attractive gardens are for the use of the residents of the hotel.” In her hesitancy, she had missed a wonderful opportunity to experience a part of everyday life in London.

How many of us do the same thing. God prepares a banquet full of good things, but we stop at the doorway and only peer in through the screen. In Psalm 23:5, David writes, “You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; You have anointed my head with oil.”

David isn’t writing about an ordinary table. He’s talking about a feast with all the trimmings—one that will be served for everyone to see, especially his enemies. God will vindicate each one of us. Though at times we have doubted His goodness, He has anointed our heads with His oil of blessing and gladness.

Today and every day you can rejoice that Your heavenly Father loves you and has taken care of every need you have.


Today and every day you can rejoice that Your heavenly Father loves you and has taken care of every…
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Oh Death, Where is Your Victory

oh-death-where-is-your-victory

“I know the plans that I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope.” Jeremiah 29:11

God is a planner. He knows exactly what is next on the agenda for our lives. He usually doesn’t reveal the next step to us until we’re ready to take it. However, while we’re waiting on Him to lead us from one point to the next, we can learn how to wait for His best and be content with what He has given us.

David was sometimes tempted to give up, but he never did. He learned how to encourage himself in the Lord. Where do you turn when life becomes stale and empty? Do you lift your eyes to heaven with hopeful expectation, or do you become downcast and sorrowful?

Remember, from God’s vantage point, there are no hopeless causes—only possibilities. No one has ever hit a dead end while living for Him. He always opens up a way for us to travel to the next destination in His plan.


Remember, from God’s vantage point, there are no hopeless causes—only possibilities.
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Therefore, instead of looking at your life and seeing limitations, ask the Lord to help you see His possibilities for your future. Never let your limitations limit you.

When God looks at you, He only sees your potential and the unfolding of His marvelous plan. He sees the possibilities ahead.

At one of David’s lowest points, he turned to God and remembered that the Lord had a plan for his life—that one day he would be king of Israel. “You are my hope; O Lord God, You are my confidence from my youth. By You I have been sustained from my birth; You are He who took me from my mother’s womb; my praise is continually  of You. I have become a marvel to many, for You are my strong refuge” (Psalm 71:5-7).

When the eyes of your heart are set on Christ, you will have all the hope you need to face today and tomorrow.

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The God of All Comfort

the-god-of-all-comfort

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort. 2 Corinthians 1:3

Christians who truly love the Lord Jesus Christ will also love their brothers and sisters in the Lord and encourage, restore, and comfort them. Offering comforting is one way we encourage each other.

The encourager is called alongside another to help. We are willing to assist persons going through difficult times, strengthening them as they walk a path of discouragement and suffering.

Suffering comes with living. All of us know how to comfort others, and we all have experienced times when we needed comforting. Sometimes we were to blame for our hardships; sometimes others caused our suffering. Outside circumstances can also cause difficulties for us. We don’t go looking for trouble, but trouble seems to know where we live. In all this we need comforting.

Knowing Jesus Christ as our Savior and sin bearer doesn’t guarantee that we won’t have problems. In fact, in this verse, Paul writes that we will have affliction. But he adds that there is no problem for which God cannot and will not supply adequate comfort. “Do not fear, for I am with you” (Isaiah 43:5).

God is the God of all comfort that covers all affliction. He walks you throughout life’s afflictions.


God is the God of all comfort that covers all affliction.
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Choosing Simple Joy

Choosing Simple Joy

Wake up. Start the laundry. Make breakfast. Get dressed. Get everyone out the door. Go to work. Attend meetings. Send emails. Drive home. Fix dinner. Straighten up. Jump into the bed. Start again tomorrow.

If I’m not careful, I will fill my days with all the things I have to do and not leave room for the things that nurture my soul, fill me up, or give me joy. Of course, the most important way to experience joy is to spend time in God’s presence. But we can also choose to engage our sense of sight, sound, taste, touch, and smell to enjoy simple joys that fill our soul. The Psalmist reminds us that “The heavens declare the glory of God…” Psalm 19:1 (ESV). God leads us to the path of joy and also provides opportunities for us to engage our senses to enjoy our world.

Our soul will not stay full on its own. Its filling takes our participation. I am learning to make time to look at the sky, listen to music, light the candles, savor a good meal, or go outside to feel the breeze. We can trust God for the joy He alone can provide, while also making time to discover the joy around us everyday.

Chrystal Evans Hurst is the author of She’s Still There, a book for women who feel lost in the middle of their life. Chrystal also co-authored Kingdom Woman with her father and pastor, Tony Evans. ChrystalEvansHurst.com

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Masterpiece in the Making

Masterpiece in the Making

Do ever feel lost in the middle of your own life?

Maybe you imagined you’d have a career you loved, financial security, or a marriage made in heaven. Maybe you thought you’d have a house that felt like home, a child who brought you joy, or a deep solid faith you could stand on. Maybe you’re tired of waiting on a dream that seems overdue. Maybe you’ve giving up on the idea that your life can be a masterpiece.

Many women have experienced a moment where, after glancing in the mirror, she realizes she doesn’t recognize the girl staring back at her. But she wants to believe there’s more so she’s faced with a choice. She can do nothing and continue in disappointment, shame, or regret, or she can recalibrate and believe that her life is a work of art because God’s Word says
so.

“For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.” Ephesians 2:10

Every woman can choose to believe that her life is a masterpiece in the making.

She can choose to be brave and believe that a uniquely beautiful life is still hers to have. She can boldly grab hold of the hope she has for the girl inside.

Chrystal Evans Hurst is the author of She’s Still There, a book for women who feel lost in the middle of their life. Chrystal also co-authored Kingdom Woman with her father and pastor, Tony Evans. ChrystalEvansHurst.com

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