Thursday, July 26, 2012

We look for opportunities

"Conduct yourselves with wisdom toward outsiders, making the most of the opportunity. Let your speech always be with grace, as though seasoned with salt, so that you will know how you should respond to each person" (Colossians 4:5-6, New American Standard Bible). 

Some translators note that "making the most of the opportunity" means "redeeming the time." It reminds me of "soaking up the moment." When we run across someone else who does not have a relationship with God, I pray that we are aware of times that God gives to us, to share with them who He is and how He wants us to have a relationship with us.

Moments like that, to share our faith with someone who doesn't know Him, are like open doors. Doors can be so unique, like the one pictured above. They can symbolize a way to welcome outsiders. Have there been times recently that you have seen an "open door" to share something about your faith in Christ? I pray that God gives us the wisdom to see how to respond to opportunities where we can welcome people into knowing our life-giver, Lord, and Savior - Jesus Christ.

A wise woman, who preferred to be called Sistah Pat, once wrote, "Ask God to show you the opportunities.  They are all around.  Be encouraged that God is still using the ordinary to do the extraordinary."

Lord, thanks for all You've done and for what You're doing in our lives. Help us see opportunities to share with others who You are. Lead us in making the most of those moments. Amen.

Verse and topic used for study from HeartCall: Women Sharing God's Heart by Jaye Martin (1999)

Photo of carved door found on  - inspiration from Chateau des ducs de Savoie, 16th Century France

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

We ask for guidance

"'But when He, the Spirit of truth, comes, He will guide you into all the truth; for He will not speak on His own initiative, but whatever He hears, He will speak; and He will disclose to you what is to come'" (John 16:13, New American Standard Bible). 

Campus tour guides at my college impressed me. When I first went on a tour, it seemed like the grounds stretched on for a good five miles as the  guide talked and told us about campus traditions, classes, and campus life.  She kept my attention as I could see they wanted to interact with us, but also I hoped they wouldn't actually run into a tree or something!

In this passage, Jesus was trying to tell His disciples in the Upper Room that He would leave the earth soon.  They wouldn't be left to sort out things by themselves, though - God would send the Holy Spirit to guide them.  God the Father sent His Son, Jesus to die for all, and now God gives the Holy Spirit to help believers through life.  Jesus went on to explain, "'But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all that I said to you'" (John 14:26, NASB).

Lord,  thanks for what You have revealed to us about Yourself already.  Please teach us more about You, reveal your will to us and help us walk through life.  Please guide us in how to reach out to others and help them see who You are.  Thank You for this new life You've given us.  Amen.

Verse used for study from HeartCall: Women Sharing God's Heart by Jaye Martin (1999).

Photo above of a University of Missouri (aka Mizzou) campus tour from

Friday, July 20, 2012

We ask for wisdom

"But if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all generously and without reproach, and it will be given to him. But he must ask in faith without any doubting, for the one who doubts is like the surf on the sea, driven and tossed by the wind. For that man ought not to expect that he will receive anything from the Lord..." 
-James 1:5-7, New American Standard Bible

When I first think of wisdom, I usually think of being practical. When I worked in downtown Louisville, I had a couple of pairs of work heels that I loved to wear. After a couple of trips, I realized how much these business shoes were not built for the rain or for running.  I was grateful when some co-workers said they had spare shoes for walking along the streets.  What's the wisdom that James wrote about, though?

Wisdom from God is full of goodness and truth.  James advised readers to ask God for wisdom, and to ask for it full of faith instead of doubt.  As we ask for wisdom from God and trust He has the best answer, He is faithful to lead us as we put Him first in our lives.  James described God's wisdom as he wrote, "But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, reasonable, full of mercy and good fruits, unwavering, without hypocrisy" (James 3:17).

Lord, thank You for Your goodness and wisdom. Please let our source of wisdom come from You and help us show others more of who You are. Amen.

The study above is based off of the verses mentioned for study in the workbook HeartCall: Women Sharing God's Heart (Jaye Martin, 1999).

Illustration "Dr. Who" above by Steve Mack from

More about wisdom: 1 Kings 3:9-28, Ephesians 4:14-16, Craig Blomberg's commentary at

Friday, July 13, 2012

We pray for gentleness

"But sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts, always being ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you, yet with gentleness and reverence."
-1 Peter 3:15, New American Standard Bible (NASB)

This verse is striking to me, since I do not typically see the word "defense" used in the same sentence as "gentleness."  As believers, God is on reserve as the leader of our hearts, of what goes on at our core.  When people ask about our faith, we are able to respond not only with words but also with our actions - there is this window of time where we can explain who God is, what He's done, and even how He has done it - we can answer in a way that reflects His own gentleness.

What is this believer's hope?  We have hope in the past - in God's forgiveness for our sins and how He makes us new (1 John 1:9, 1 Peter 1:3, Acts 3:19).  We have hope for today - He guides us through good and tough times (Romans 8:26, Romans 5:5).  We also have this hope for the future - He has a plan for our lives (1 Corinthians 4:16-17, Psalm 27:4).

The way we share our hope is just as important as the words we use, because it shows who God is - it shows the transformation God can make inside someone.  Gentleness comes from God; it's a fruit of the spirit (Galatians 5:22-23).  So, the unique thing in this defense is that we are talking with someone who we have something in common with - we are all in need of God's gentleness, as we ask Him to forgive us.  We are able to respond in a considerate and respectful way with God's strength.

Lord, thank you for sending your Son to die for us and for the world.  Please help us remember to put You first in our lives.  When there is opportunity to share the hope you bring, please help us explain it with the gentleness You have shown us. Amen.

Devotion above based on the verse highlighted to study in the workbook HeartCall: Women Sharing God's Heart (Jaye Martin, 1999).
Photo above, "Gentleness," taken by K. W. Sanders - - Horse Photos

Monday, July 9, 2012

We pray for Christ's attitude

"Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves; do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others. Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus." 
-Philippians 2:3-5 (New American Standard Bible)   

What does Christ's attitude look like?  In this chapter, we can read how Christ is the ultimate example of selfless love.  God came down to earth and walked along the streets of His creation.  He showed us how to love with humility, even suffering on the cross, so we wouldn't have to pay the price for our sins against Him.

How does that impact us?  We are changed, not because we are wise or perfect, but because of what God does with our lives when we ask for forgiveness and turn to Him.  God is the One who can transform us from the inside out.  When we receive Him into our lives, we let Him take the reins and lead.  As He works on our hearts, He heals us.

How does this impact our life?  Recently, my community group, friends and family chipped in, in different ways, to help me move from Louisville to Houston.  Moving can take so much time and can feel exhausting, and it was a blessing to have their help.  As we serve Christ, God is working through us.  Hopefully, as we serve Him, others will see more of who this God that we serve is, and want to know Him, too.

Lord, thanks for sending Your Son, Jesus, to sacrifice for us.  Help us see how to have an attitude of humility.  Please help us live out of a deep love for you and a desire to help others know You, too.  Amen.

A great video - YouTube music video "Be" by Selah

"Take my yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls" (Matthew 11:29, NASB).

For more study: Philippians 2:1-18, Romans 15, Philippians 1:1, Galatians 1:10

The above study was based on the "Praying God's Heart" guide for study from HeartCall: Women Sharing God's Heart (Martin, 1999).
Photo from

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Celebrate Freedom!

As we Celebrate Freedom and America's Birthday this 4th of July, while we are thanking God for those who have fought the good fight for nation and souls, who has God placed in our lives that needs to be free?  Who has God placed in our lives that needs us to share with them where freedom is found and how they can too be free?  Who has God placed in our lives that needs us to share with them the author and finisher of freedom, Jesus Christ?  In Jesus Christ we can be free from ANYTHING that trys to keep a strong hold on us and drag us down in the pits of life!!   

As we Celebrate Freedom this 4th of July, with every sparkler that sparks and with every firecracker that bursts with brilliance, let's be that kind of Freedom Follower as we share where our Spark and our Bursts of Light is found....Let's Celebrate Jesus and Share Him with those that God has placed in our lives as we remember what it felt like to be lost and we never get over what it feels to live in FREEDOM!!  This Is How It Feels To Be FREE!!  Phillips, Craig, and Dean

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

We pray for holiness

"Pursue peace with all men, and the sanctification that without which no one will see the Lord" (Hebrews 12:14, New American Standard Bible).

With this verse, we can see how God calls us not only to turn to Him, but also to follow Him. As we seek to be holy, we seek to live lives that reflect Him. Now, it is easy for us to see how imperfect we are. Yet, we serve a God who is holy, so we pray to God for the strength to be more like Him, so that others may see the change He is making in us everyday.

The Israelites are a great example of how God loves His people. They would turn to God for direction, and God asked them to be a holy nation that lives differently since God is their leader. We can read how God blessed them and helped them see how to live lives that are different in a way that honors Him. They fell into sin, though, just like we have done. God sent them into exile, but He did not leave them. He taught them over time who He was and who He created them to be.

The neat thing is that now, we have been given Christ as an example of who God is and how we are to live on earth. He has given those who believe in and receive His call to turn to Him the Holy Spirit. The Holy Trinity, God three in one - the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit - are all a part of who God is. He is our Creator and He already loves us, but He can make us into more and more of a reflection of Him. There is the hope that the more we reflect God, our Savior and life-changer, that others will see God and want to know Him, too.

Lord, please make us more and more like You. Lead us in how we can be holy so others see You and the change You can make in a life. Thank You for Your word and Your sacrfice. Please help us live for You today. Amen.

The above devotion is based on the verse meant to be studied from HeartCall: Women Sharing God's Heart (1999, Jaye Martin).