God Set You Apart

God planned and packed you on purpose for his purpose. Heaven’s custom design.

At a moment before moments existed, the sovereign Star Maker resolved, “I will make _____________.” Your name goes in the blank. Then he continued with, “And I will make him/her _________, _________ and _________ and ____________ and __________.”

Fill those blanks with your characteristics. Insightful. Clever. Detail oriented. Restless. And since you are God’s idea, you are a good idea. What God said about Jeremiah, he said about you: “Before I made you in your mother’s womb, I chose you. Before you were born, I set you apart for a special work.”

 Set apart for a special work

Cure for the Common Life

How have your unique characteristics prepared you to do a special work for God?

From Thomas Nelson’s Grace for the Moment: Morning and Evening Devotional [2008] [Max Lucado] Learn more here

Today, be the hands and feet of Jesus.  God Bless, Jay

A Day At The Beach – Book Review

9781496414878_p0_v3_s192x300A Day At The Beach – Devotions to help you relax, refresh and renew by Jedd and Todd Hafer has become not only my favorite summer devotional, but my go to book when I need to reflect, refresh, and renew my spirit.

This beautiful, orange leather pocket size devotional is filled with short stories and reflections centered around the Hafer brothers love for the beach.  And their style of writing, storytelling at its finest!

If your the type that finds peace and quiet from life struggles at the beach, or hears God small voice in the roll of every soft wave, this book is for you.  As you read through the devotionals, you’ll find yourself transported to the beach and the warm sunshine of Gods love.

There is no right or wrong way to read this book.  One devotional a day, or sit and read it in its entirety, in order or jump around.  It doesn’t matter, any way you decide to read through it you will find yourself renewed and refreshed.

“When we are present in the everyday moments, we find that God is present with us.  And where God is, the flicker of a holy flame can help us see the commonplace in a whole new light.”  “Wherever your treasure is, there the desires of your heart will also be.” Matthew 6:21

I loved this book so much I feel it deserves 6 out of 5 stars!  You can get this little gem HERE.

Todd & Jedd Hafer’s Bio:
Todd Hafer, a veteran writer with fifteen books published, is editorial director for Hallmark, Inc. In addition to Stranger in the Chat Room and Mischief from the Back Pew, he has co-written Snickers from the Front Pew with his brother Jedd. He lives with his family in Kansas.

Jedd Hafer is a stand-up comic who has performed with some of the top comics in the nation and is the director of a home for troubled teens. In addition to Stranger in the Chat Room and Mischief from the Back Pew, he has co-written Snickers from the Front Pew with his brother Todd. Jedd and his family make their home in Colorado.

Visit Todd & Jedd’s website at www.haferbros.com

I am blessed to have received a copy of this book for free from Tyndale Publishers for review purposes.  I received no other compensation and the review is my own honest opinion of the book.

The One Year Hearing His Voice Devotional ~Book Review~

The One Year Hearing His Voice Devotional by Chris Tiegreen contains 365 devotionals about intimate communication with God. If you are looking to enter into a deeper relationship with God by understanding the ways in which He speaks, then this book is for you. Each devotional starts with a Bible scripture verse, than a devotional reading, and ends with a prayer that brings it all together. There are also devotionals titled “From the Heart of God”, which are like God is speaking directly to the reader.

“I never promised that you wouldn’t go through deep waters, rivers of difficulty, or fires of oppression. I have promised, however, that I will be with you and bring you through. You need to understand the difference. When you encounter trials, even painful or difficult ones, don’t think that I’ve let you down. I’m with you even in the midst of them.”

I have tried reading devotional books before, but they have never kept my interest nor helped me come closer to God.  But after reading this book for the last few months I am amazed how much this book has helped me take next steps with God. I highlighted a lot throughout it because I felt like God was often speaking directly to me.

I have found that starting each day with this book has helped me to form positive habits that connect me to what’s most important.  Words are extremely important to me and this book has helped me find a natural rhythm for drawing closer to God.  Daily focus on the devotional message has had a very personal and essential impact on my spiritual growth, and you can have that too, just get a copy of this book.

I pray that this book finds its way into your hands somehow, whether you buy it, you receive it as a gift, or if you borrow it from someone.  “Our God is not silent – He has revealed Himself as the God who guides, instructs, corrects, inspires, encourages, and reveals.  He has always been vocal, and He always will be.”  My review = 5 out of 5 stars

Chris Tiegreen

Insightful and thought-provoking, Chris Tiegreen has inspired thousands of people through his popular One Year devotionals including The One Year Walk with God Devotional, The One Year At His Feet Devotional, and The One Year Experiencing God’s Presence Devotional. He is also the author of Unburdened and several other books. His experiences as a missionary, pastor, journalist, and university instructor bring a unique perspective to his writing. He is currently an editor at Walk Thru the Bible.

You can read an excerpt of the book HERE.  The book is available at AMAZON

I am blessed to have received a copy of this book for free from Tyndale Publishers for review purposes.  I received no other compensation and the review is my own honest opinion of the book.

Have a blessed day, Jay

Nothing Can Separate Us

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The question the gospel of grace puts to us is simply this: Who shall separate you from the love of Christ? What are you afraid of?

Are you afraid that your weakness could separate you from the love of Christ? It can’t.

Are you afraid that your inadequacies could separate you from the love of Christ? They can’t.

Are you afraid that your inner poverty could separate you from the love of Christ? It can’t.

Difficult marriage, loneliness, anxiety over the children’s future? They can’t.

Negative self-image? It can’t.

Economic hardship, racial hatred, street crime? They can’t.

Rejection by loved ones or the suffering of loved ones? They can’t.

Persecution by authorities, going to jail? They can’t.

Nuclear war? It can’t.

Mistakes, fears, uncertainties? They can’t.

The gospel of grace calls out: Nothing can ever separate you from the love of God made visible in Christ Jesus our Lord.

You must be convinced of this, trust it, and never forget to remember. Everything else will pass away, but the love of Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever. Faith will become vision, hope will become possession, but the love of Jesus Christ that is stronger than death endures forever. In the end, it is the one thing you can hang on to.

What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? Romans‬ ‭8‬:‭31‬ NIV

How Do We Define Success?

The following post was written by Pastor and Author Kurt Bubna.  Kurt wrote the book “Epic Grace” which I have reread several times and I find his regular posts on kurtbubna.com a true joy to read.  I encourage you to check out his website and his book Epic Grace which you can get HERE.

How Do You Define Success? By

 

SuccessIn our culture, we underrate failure and overrate success. In fact, I recently did an Amazon search for “how to succeed” and found 27,857 books listed. Seriously, that’s a lot of noise out there about success, but I fear too many insights about this issue have got it dead wrong. Frankly, a lot of pastors wrestle with this issue on a regular basis (myself included).

Several years ago, a middle-aged pastor named Tom came to me extremely discouraged. He told me, “I’ve spent my entire life trying to succeed at something . . . anything . . . but the golden ring is always just out of reach. No matter what I do, my church just won’t grow.”

I asked him an important question, “Tell me how you define success?” Without blinking, he rattled off a list of measurables and goals that “must be met” (his words) for him to feel accomplished as a pastor. Most of them had to do with attendance numbers and recognition by his peers.

I gently pushed back and responded, “What if success is different than you think? Is it possible you’ve been reaching for the wrong golden ring?” The look on his face was telling as I took just five minutes to redefine for him how God defines success.

How God defines success: read the rest of the article here

What Rejection Can Teach You

The following post was written by Pastor and Author Kurt Bubna.  Kurt wrote the book “Epic Grace” which I have reread several times and I find his regular posts on kurtbubna.com a true joy to read.  I encourage you to check out his website and his book Epic Grace which you can get HERE.

What Rejection Can Teach You, by Kurt Bubna.

I’ll never forget the Sunday years ago when a little old lady cornered me in our tiny church lobby. She didn’t say “good morning” or introduce herself. In fact, she immediately made it clear from her body language and facial expression that she was not happy! I had said something in my talk that pushed her buttons, and she was going to give this young arrogant pastor a tongue-lashing. By the time she finished, I was emotionally bleeding, and I went home that day ready to quit (again).

In my world, rejection rates right up there with having a root canal—it’s costly and painful. No one likes to be rebuked, unwanted or treated like gum stuck to a shoe. Regardless of our apparent warts and wrinkles, we all long to be loved and accepted. It’s a fundamental human need.

As a teaching pastor, every Sunday my congregation evaluates me. New attendees compare me to their previous pastor. Regular attenders measure the value of the current talk or series to the last one. Unchurched folks appraise me based on their favorite speaker or TV host (yikes!).

As an author and blogger, other writers often scrutinize what I produce, and my copy editor sometimes rips me to shreds. Then, of course, the readers leave their mark by buying or not buying my books or by liking or ignoring my posts. (I, for one, am grateful there’s no such thing as a “dislike” button on Facebook!)

Simply put, I live with rejection on a regular basis, and surprisingly, I’m fine with that reality. Yes, it’s still painful, but more importantly, rejection has taught me much.

The top 10 things I’ve learned about rejection:  read the rest here;

Your Hope In The Storm

 
Christ’s last words in the sermon on the mount talk about the storms of life. The final four verses (Matthew 7:24-27) teach that these storms will be powerful and that they cannot be avoided.

So, the question is not can I avoid the storm, but how can I remain secure when the storm strikes. This much is certain, the storms will come.

Jesus is talking about more than physical dwellings. He is talking about your life. The same things – the rains, the rising streams, the winds will attack each house. Don’t be fooled. The security of the house rests not upon the elaborateness and beauty of its construction, but upon the solidness of its foundation.

In the Proverbs the wise are those who fear God. The foolish are those who live as if there is no God. The wise builder’s house does not fall in the storm. The house of the foolish builder will fall with a great crash.

[Read the rest of the article at Shepherd Press.]

Make The World More Beautiful

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Everyday the onlookers shake their head, laugh, and wonder why the young man feeds a stray dog, helps the elderly lady, gives what he can not afford to the homeless little girl, smiles to the sadden faces, tends the garden of the hopeless and forgotten. Everyday

What does he get in return for doing this every day?

He gets nothing.

He won’t be richer. Won’t appear on TV, still anonymous and not a bit more famous.

What he does receive is emotions.

He witnesses happiness.

Reaches a deeper understanding.

Feels the love.

Receives what money can not buy…

a world made more beautiful.

And in your life?  What is it that you desire most?

Better yet, “What does God desire most in your life?”

Father, let me be your feet today.  Wherever you chose to send me I will go.  In my actions and in my words let them see You! Today, through you, I will live my life for a more beautiful world.  In Jesus name I pray, Amen.

be a blessing