A Good Father – by David Beachy

In the three chapters of the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus refers to God as Father seventeen times. In the context of the religious performance of His day, Jesus spoke repeatedly about His Father. Somehow in the midst of their religion, God had become a distant deity. Religion says, “I’ll just try harder” and relies on perfect performance to evoke God’s love – thus keeping Him at a distance. However, Jesus begins His sermon by saying that the Kingdom of Heaven belongs to those who realize they can’t perform perfectly – the poor in spirit. Aware of their need, they rely on God’s mercy and help (Mt. 5:3; Lk. 18:9-14). Walking in relationship with God as Father pushes us off the performance treadmill. His love for us isn’t dependent on how we perform, so we don’t have to fear the loss of that love if we fail. Jesus further emphasizes the intimate nature of our relationship with God by showing His knowledge of our daily needs (Mt. 6:8; 32). In this context of God’s care, Jesus urges us to trust in our Father and ask for our daily bread (6:11). He feeds the birds of the air and clothes the lilies of the field. But, we are much more valuable to our Father than these (6:26). Won’t He do the same for us?

Encounter: God has given you intimate access to Him and He cares for you as a good Father. Take the worries of your day and give them to Him (I Pt. 5:7.)

Noah Trusted God – Kevin Beck

As I was reading from Genesis 6 and 7 to Mya this past week, something new struck me. In chapter 6, God tells Noah how frustrated He is with mankind and that he plans to destroy all living creatures on the earth.  He instructs Noah to go make an ark in this size and manner.  Noah obeyed and spent many years building the Ark.  (I checked with Tom Kirk, and it seems likely that this construction project took in the range of 50 to 75 years.  Check out https://answersingenesis.org/bible-timeline/how-long-did-it-take-for-noah-to-build-the-ark/ if you want more info on this from scripture.)

Several things in this first paragraph catch my eye.  First, in Genesis 6:22 we see that Noah did everything just as God had commanded him.  Here we see God establishing a principle of working in tandem with man to establish all of His Kingdom purposes on earth. God intended from early on to work with and thru man for all His purposes.

Second, I wonder what it was like for Noah to build the ark well away from a body of water.  I’m sure Noah was the subject of ridicule, jokes, and cruel comments from others in the area as they watched Noah build this big boat in a spot where he couldn’t float it.  I tried to imagine what kind of relationship Noah had to have with God in order to face mankind’s scorn for 50 to 75 years while building this boat.  Would I had the backbone and drive to follow thru on what God said for that long?  Do I believe in God’s promises to a point of doing things that no one thinks are smart or logical, for this long?  Did Noah ever wonder if he was doing the right thing?  I think Noah had many questions during this season of his life, and yet, he was obedient to what God said.  He would have had to be confident he had heard God correctly.  This could only have happened thru relationship with God—especially in a time and culture where no one honored God.

Third, when the ark was done, God says that in seven days he would send rain on the earth for forty days and nights (Gen. 7:4.)  Why did God put the animals and Noah’s family in the Ark for seven days before the rains started?  Was God helping the animals to grow comfortable in their new home, a home of darkness?  Again, people probably stood outside the ark making comments about Noah being crazy.  Yet Noah doesn’t appear to waiver.  Do I have this kind of faith?  Am I willing to go the distance with God?  Do I hear God enough to make life decisions with confidence?

I hope these comments and questions help you in your walk with God.  I’m amazed that all I’m doing is reading scripture to Mya, yet God brings new revelations to me as I read the scriptures.  LifeSpring, be blessed today and in this week! 

Love you lots,

Kevin

“Reset Day 2: Decide” – Fernando Marroquin

Today’s theme word is “Decide”. What I decide today will influence my habit tomorrow. My habit tomorrow will shape my future destiny.  So, today I can decide to partner with God with my resolve and God will partner with me with His help.

“My beloved ones, just like you’ve always listened to everything I’ve taught you in the past, I’m asking you now to keep following my instructions as though I were right there with you. Now you must continue to make this new life fully manifested as you live in the holy awe of God—which brings you trembling into his presence. God will continually revitalize you, implanting within you the passion to do what pleases him.” (Philippians 2:12-13 TPT)

Each day I get to choose to “make this new life fully manifested” in me. And, each day He is ready to meet me by “implanting the passion to do what pleases him”.

If we look at Mary, we see a person who made a different decision than her sister, Martha. Jesus honored that decision by saying:

“Mary has discovered the one thing most important by choosing to sit at my feet. She is undistracted, and I won’t take this privilege from her.” (Luke 10:42 TPT)

If I choose this one thing, what does He promise me?

  1. A focused life (undistracted)
  2. A permanent privilege of intimacy
  3. A revitalized life
  4. A passion to do what pleases Him

What will you choose to do today?

Fernando Marroquin

“Reset Day 12: Listen” — Judy Marroquin

Day 12 of Reset refers to learning to Listen — “He who has ears to hear, let him hear” (Matthew 11:15.) As I read this portion, I became hungrier than ever to hear His voice.  As I face uncertainties, I realize I need to hear His voice—especially His words of love for me and those I care about. 

We need to learn to hear what the Lord is saying. As we hear from heaven, we act according to what He is saying.  It’s very simple: I don’t change when I talk to God; things change when God talks to me.  When I speak, nothing happens; but when God speaks, even the wind and waves obey Him.  Therefore, we should be slow to speak and quick to listen.  As we quiet our hearts, we learn to hear His voice.

Today, take a few moments to ask the Lord for a soft heart that responds to him in faith and obedience every time He speaks.

You can hear God’s voice every day. It happens in the simplest ways. 

  1. Read the Word slowly.
  2. As you read, talk to God internally or aloud and make it an interactive visit with God. 
  3. Take time to ask God questions and wait for Him to answer.  He wants to speak to you.

4) Write down what God says to you.

Judy Marroquin

“Meditation: a Weapon Against Fear” – Kevin Beck

“This book of the law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it; for then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have success.” (Joshua 1:8)

“But his delight is in the law of the LORD, And in His law he meditates day and night.” (Psalm 1:2)

If Satan has a strategy to defeat God, I wonder if it might include confusing God’s people as to who they are and why they are here?  Might it include keeping people away from serious involvement with the Word of God?  By keeping our relationship with God’s Word superficial and secondary, he prevents us from going deep with God.  Someone has said the Adversary majors in three things: noise, hurry and crowds.

Each of these are opposed to and work against developing and maintaining the mind of Christ through studying and meditating on the Word. They’re designed to keep us out of the Word, which is so essential to our ability to avoid the delusions of Satan and the world system and to hear and respond to the call of God on our lives.

What does it mean to meditate?  Meditation means “the act of focusing one’s thoughts: to ponder, think on, muse.” Meditation consists of reflective thinking or contemplation, usually on a specific subject, to discern its meaning or significance or a plan of action.

There are four objectives of meditation:  Worship (Ps 27:4), Instruction (Ps 49:3), Motivation / Encouragement (Josh 1:7-8), and Transformation (Ps 4:4; 19:14; 119:15).

In this season, we can find life in time spent with God.  Since our gatherings are few and far between, seek to find a special place with God.  Mediate on His Word, worship, and be encouraged.  2 Tim 1:6 invites us to fan into flame the gift of God . . . for the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline!

In this season of fear, I commit to live in the presence of God.  I invite you to join me in removing fear from our lives and replacing it with faith in God.  Be blessed today.

Kevin Beck

Reset Day 15: Love – Austin Birkey

Day 15 of Reset is titled simply, LOVE.

John 15:9,12 “As the Father loved Me, I also have loved you; abide in My love…This is My commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you.”

“Prayer is all about love. Reduce prayer to its fundamental essence and you’re left with love. A prayer reset is to return to love.”

How did I never see or understand that prayer is all about love?  And not the Hallmark Valentine kind of love, but love like a bride and groom on their wedding day; deep, intimate, rich and interactive love.  

I have always understood prayer to be a conversation: talking & listening, thanking & requesting, praising & repenting. All of this is true—but focus all this now on our Father revealing how very much he loves us, and how completely He knows us. And, not only does He know me completely, but He loves me completely—every single day.  On one level, I understand this; but honestly, I don’t think I have understood it enough.  I imagine if I really understood the all-encompassing love of a perfect Father, I would behave differently—more like Jesus. It’s truly life-altering.  

Pray with me:

God thank you for loving me.  Please help me to understand more each day how wide and how deep your love for me is.  I permit, desire and want your love to transform who I am, that I might love others also.  Amen.

Blessings,

Austin Birkey

P.S. here is a song that is worth a listen too.

“Shelter in Place” – Bryan Mierau

“Shelter in place” is a term we’re becoming accustomed to these days.  Kevin shared helpful perspectives last weekend on his recorded video message to our church body.  I’m adding my encouragement from my reading this morning in Psalm 27.

I often will read the Psalm associated with the daily date–in this case Ps. 27.  Many of you will remember that Psalm 27:4 was the focal point of the first lesson in our Reset prayer journey related to desire, “One thing I asked of the Lord, that will I seek after—to  live in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to behold the beauty (delightfulness) of the Lord, and to inquire in His temple.”

A couple of weeks ago I was in Ontario visiting my mother, who turns 91 in April.  The news of the pandemic and the seriousness of taking action was filling the Canadian airwaves.  (My travel across the border today would be difficult, if not impossible.) I wanted us to be able to share in God’s awareness and presence in the midst of all this before I left, and we turned to Ps. 91 –”You who live in the shelter of the Most High, who abide in the shadow of the Almighty, will say to the Lord, ‘My refuge and my fortress.'”  The whole Psalm is rich with God’s reassurance of His presence and protection.

So too is Ps. 27, reassuring us that, “He will hide me in shelter in the day of trouble; He will conceal me under the cover of his tent; He will set me high on a rock” (v.5.)  He ends with having gained assurance through his prayer time and journaling, and says, “I believe that I shall see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living.”  He then passes that encouragement on to others, “Wait for the Lord; be strong and let your heart take courage; wait for the Lord!” (vs. 13-14.)

I’ve gained some ground in my prayer life on our Reset journey, in waiting on the Lord.  Still, it’s hard to break away from wanting to be busy, doing things, and focusing on future job possibilities.  God understands, and He continues to extend the invitation to come into His protective presence, where there is fullness of joy (Ps. 16:11.)

How about “Shelter in Place” with a capital “P”?  And let’s encourage one another while it is still called “today” (Heb. 3:13), all the while taking the necessary precautions to avoid receiving or passing on the virus.

Shalom to all,

Bryan

The Power of Praise, by Tom Kirk

The Power of Praise – Tom Kirk

Our world is currently looking and feeling very different right now.  But let me just say that each of our experiences can take on a whole new perspective when we look at it through eyes of praise.  My life and yours take on a different perspective when we see them through a thankful, grateful, praising heart.  Praise has the power to transform what my circumstances look like.  It may not change my circumstances, but it will change what they look like.

The truth is, learning to praise the Lord will always provide stability and sanity in the midst of the normal every day pressures of life.  The even bigger truth is that when we start to see all things through eyes of praise, everything begins to look different.  The reason life takes on a different perspective is because we’re striving to see it from God’s point of view.  We discover that God is bigger, greater and more real than any circumstance we may be facing at that moment.

Praise is one of the most important disciplines in the Christian life, intended to be an everyday lifestyle. The command to “Praise the Lord” is one of the most frequently repeated commands in all of God’s Word.

When someone says to me; “How are you doing?”  My typical outward response is usually, “I’m fine”.  But internally I may be thinking, oh, there’s so much going on. I don’t have time to do everything I need to do; I don’t even know what I should be doing. I feel scared and frazzled.  When I truly listen to myself, however, I realize I’m often thinking only of myself and my circumstances rather than casting the spotlight on the Lord and His greatness.  Even as social distancing and personal lock downs have become part of everyday life these last few weeks, when it seems I would or should have all the time in the world to do whatever I want or need to do—I still need to be focusing on and evaluate the time I spend praising the Lord.  Why?  Because it’s a habit I need to learn and cultivate.  I think that as we learn to truly praise the Lord, it becomes a key to experiencing the reality of God’s presence in our lives.

If you think about it, praise is really at the heart of why God made us.  It’s at the heart of why we exist.  Scripture teaches us that God loves praise and that God is actively looking for worshipers.  Jesus said, “The Father is seeking those who will worship Him in spirit and in truth”.

We all feel the stress of these present days, but may we still express and feel with our mind and heart—Lord, how I praise You and worship You for the hope that is ours.  We live in a fallen, messed-up world.  We feel the ravages of sin around us.  We face challenging circumstances for which it seems that there are no solutions.  Yet, Your Word says You will perfect that which concerns us. So, Lord, we have hope!

We have the hope of heaven, the hope of eternal life, the hope of an eternity spent in Your presence, where forever we will join with the angels of heaven saying, “Blessing and honor, glory and power, riches and wisdom and strength be unto You Who sits at the right hand of God” (Rev. 5:12-13).  That is the power of praise that sustains us.

We praise and worship you, O Lord!!

 

 – Tom Kirk