Friday, May 31, 2013

Relationships are Important!

"How then will they call on Him in whom they have not believed? How will they believe in Him whom they have not heard? And how will they hear without a preacher? How will they preach unless they are sent? Just as it is written, 'How beautiful are the feet of those who bring the good news of good things'" (Romans 10:14-15). 

I have some good friends who are missionaries in Brazil. This is an excerpt from their newsletter:

"Romans 10 contains a beautiful passage of Scripture that describes the necessity of hearing the gospel message in order to be saved. This necessity does not only mean that someone hears words, but that they hear with such understanding that they can apply these words to their own lives. In order to communicate anything with anyone, you must have a relationship with that person. When relationships are strong, the likelihood that your message will be listened to increases.
Sharon Beougher

"The best thing about living in Brazil is the relationships that we have developed. It is extremely encouraging for us to spend time with nationals and experience life with them. Why? Because God designed humanity to live in relationships to facilitate the spread of His glory. What a privilege to do what God has designed us to do!"

No matter where we live, God works through relationships. Let us press on to build the relationships God has put in our lives.

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Rise Up

"Get up, sleeper, and rise up from the dead,
and the Messiah will shine on you."
Ephesians 5:14, HCSB

Have you heard the song "Dreamers" by Daniel Bashta? You can hear it on YouTube here. The lyrics stood out to me - they reminded me of the verse above, Romans 16:20, 1 Corinthians 15:55-57 and Romans 6:4:

"Therefore we are buried with Him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was risen from the dead by the glory of the Father, so we too may walk in a new way of life" (HCSB).

In Ephesians 5:14, what does "the dead" mean? In context (see Ephesians 5), this chapter is talking about living in the light versus walking in darkness.

Kelli Martin
Has something been taking your eyes off God lately? Maybe here and there? I've been asking myself this recently. Christ's sacrifice and God's offer to forgive are meant to free us from living in darkness. God searches hearts and brings light (Job 12:22, Romans 8:27).

Let's get out of our graves - or whatever is holding us back from giving our best adoration to God.

Let's rise up to pursue this relationship and walk with God.

Let's pray God gives us the opportunity to help others understand what it means to find this renewed life in Christ, so they may know Him and find new life in Him, too.

Another great song: "Savior's Here" by Kari Jobe

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Discipline and Godliness

"On the other hand, discipline yourself for the purpose of godliness; for bodily discipline is only of little profit, but godliness is profitable for all things, since it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come."1 Timothy 4:7b-8

Kari Beougher
Our culture today focuses so much attention and media on ways to lengthen life. Eating organically, getting the proper amount of exercise, avoiding certain food, drinks, and habits, etc. We are bombarded with new ways to be as healthy as possible and live life to the fullest extent. And yet, this passage reminds us of how temporary life truly is. Bodily discipline is "only of little profit" with benefits "for the present life."

 Believers certainly have a responsibility to take care of their bodies. However, the discipline of godliness is the only discipline that holds the promise of eternal life. Reading God's Word, prayer, Scripture memorization, worship and service are the only truly lasting disciplines. Godliness is "profitable for all things."

What will we focus our attention on today? What disciplines will occupy our thoughts and time? Today may our relationship with the Lord and pursuit of holiness be our priority.

Friday, May 24, 2013

A Life of Faith

But someone may well say, 'You have faith and I have works;
show me your faith without the works,
and I will show you my faith by my works' (James 2:18).

If our faith in Christ is only talk, but does not have any actions, then it is worthless.  Our faith must be lived out through our "walk" and not just our "talk."  
Sharon Beougher
At the age of 79, an avid atheist named Malcolm Muggeridge became a Christian and joined a church.  As member of the church asked him about his conversion, he said that he was not affected by any books he read, any speaker/preachers he heard or anyone's witnessing techniques.  The factor that caused his transformation was the example of a person living out her faith.  That person was Mother Teresa.  He could not resist what he saw in her life.  He knew that he wanted whatever she had.
As we hold on to our faith, we must also be conscious of how we live and what we do. The world is looking at us to see our faith reflected in our actions!
Lord, help us not just talk the talk, but walk the walk as well.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

The same yesterday, today and forever

"Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever" (Hebrews 13:8, NASB). 

Last night, I thought about how God is simply a striking difference from me. I can miss chances to help someone, but His wisdom and love are ongoing. This morning, I read the verse above. It reminded me of Jesus' faithfulness and how much we need Him.

God's love is shown through Jesus' actions. Jesus, God's Son, was a blameless substitute for the price of our wrongs. God kept His Word about the Messiah - Jesus fulfilled this prophecy from the past. Jesus' sacrifice makes it possible for us to be freed today from the grip that sin threatens to have on us. In Him, we can have a restored relationship with our Creator, by grace and through faith.

Kelli Martin
How is Christ changeless? Some thoughts that came to mind for me:
  • As God, He is faithful and keeps His promises (Psalm 33:4, Isaiah 9:6)
  • His sacrifice sets believers free from fear - our confidence is in Him (Hebrews 4:14-16)
  • He vouches for us as our substitute (Hebrews 2:17-18)
  • As we face hard times and doubts, He's a disciple's anchor - we believe in Him and His lead (Hebrews 6:19)
Let's thank God for His faithfulness. Let's pray we see times to share this changeless Christ with others.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

The God of All Comfort

"In the day of prosperity be happy, but in the day of adversity consider— God has made the one as well as the other" Ecclesiastes 7:14

The tragedy of the recent tornadoes is utterly devastating. It is truly unthinkable to imagine what the family members of victims and those who lost all their possessions are going through. My freshman year of college at Union University, an F-4 tornado ripped through the campus destroying 80% of our buildings. I can easily recall the terror and horror of the evening.  In the aftermath of the weeks that followed, I read this passage in Ecclesiastes 7:14 and it brought me such comfort to remember that God is in control. "God has made the one as well as the other." There is nothing that surprises the Lord and that He is not capable of bringing good from. God, in His Sovereignty, is able to "work all things together for the good of those who love Him and have been called according to His purpose" (Romans 8:28). 

God is Creator and Sustainer of the world and absolutely Sovereign. However, He is also the God of ALL comfort and the Father of MERCIES. "Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort,  who comforts us in all our affliction so that we will be able to comfort those who are in any affliction with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God." 2 Corinthians 1:3-4. 

May we commit to praying for the families struck by this horrible tragedy and may we proclaim the Good News of the Gospel to a broken and hurting world.

Friday, May 17, 2013

Too Busy to Pray?

Rejoice always; pray without ceasing; in everything give thanks;
 for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus.  (I Thessalonians 5:17-18).
                                       I got up early one morning
                                        And rushed into the day
                                     I had so much to accomplish
                                  That I didn't have time to pray.
                                     Problems just tumbled about me
                                      And heavier came each task;
                            "Why doesn't God help me?"  I wondered,
                                      He answered, "You didn't ask."
Sharon Beougher
                         I wanted to see joy and beauty,
But the day toiled on gray and bleak;
I wondered why God didn't show me.
He said, "You didn't seek."
I tried to come into God's presence,
I used all my keys at the lock.
God gently and lovingly chided,    
"My child, you didn't knock.:"
                                  I woke up early this morning
                           And paused before entering the day
                                 I had so much to accomplish
                                 That I had to take time to pray.
                      Lord, help us not be so busy that we don't take time to pray. 
                      Teach us how to pray without ceasing.  As we pray, always
                      let us be aware of at least one person we can pray for to
                      come to know You and Your plan of salvation.

Thursday, May 16, 2013


"'Just as the Father has loved Me, I have also loved you; abide in Me'" (John 15:9, NASB). 

My roommate bought herbs the other day for our kitchen. She's doing a good job of taking care of them, isn't she? I was excited - I think fresh herbs can turn a good meal into a delicious one. When they are connected to the roots, their water source, they grow and flourish. 

In the 15th chapter of John, Jesus asks us to "abide" in Him. What does that mean? In the Greek language, the word for "abide" is "ménō." It's a word of action. It means to remain in, and it references a time, place or state. You can read more about it here. This is how I understand it:
  • time - a continual sojourn - remaining on this journey with the Holy Spirit inside us
  • place - where we walk - following where God leads 
  • state - our identity in Christ as believers - forgiven sinners saved by His grace and devoted to Him
We can be like fresh herbs - as we stay connected to our water source. We can stay connected by keeping our relationship with Him - by learning more about Him and where He's leading in His Word, by listening to and communicating with Him through prayer, by living a life of worship to Him.  
Kelli Martin

So, let's abide with Him, as He abides in us by the Holy Spirit. 

Let us pray we see times to give credit to where our living water - our source of life - is from.

Some other verses about abide: 
John 15:1-10,  James 1:25, 1 Corinthians 13:13, 1 John 3:24

A couple of songs:
  • "Captivate Us" by Watermark - hear a cover of this song on YouTube here
  • "We are Changed" by Sojourn Music - see the chords and lyrics here

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Clinging To The Cross!

Some of my favorite promises from God's heart that describe "Clinging to the Cross" are 2 Cor. 1:3-11, I must cling to The Cross in order to keep my hope set on Jesus!  As you can see in this picture, I Am Clinging To The Cross!  I am a desperate Christian, but in desperation I find hope and victory in Jesus! 
I pray you are encouraged to cling to The Cross if you know Jesus as your Saviour or run to The Cross if you need Him to be your Lord today, as you read these promises too! God Loves You!! Praise God for God's Promise to use everything you experience in life for His purposes, His Glory, His Salvation for Others!!  "...if we are distressed, it is for your comfort and salvation..." 2 Cor.1: 6 (please see below)  WOW, that makes all the negative experiences in life worth it all to know that God can use them ALL to share comfort and salvation with OTHERS...I sure have a lot of things to share with others as someone that was not raised in a Christian home and as someone that has experienced many sufferings as a believer...I pray this encourages you to be ready to share Jesus from the pain and persecutions that you may have or may be experiencing in life!

2 Cor.1:3-11 "Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God. For just as we share abundantly in the sufferings of Christ, so also our comfort abounds through Christ. If we are distressed, it is for your comfort and salvation; if we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which produces in you patient endurance of the same sufferings we suffer. And our hope for you is firm, because we know that just as you share in our sufferings, so also you share in our comfort.  We do not want you to be uninformed, brothers and sisters, about the troubles we experienced in the province of Asia. We were under great pressure, far beyond our ability to endure, so that we despaired of life itself. Indeed, we felt we had received the sentence of death. But this happened that we might not rely on ourselves but on God, who raises the dead. He has delivered us from such a deadly peril, and He will deliver us again. On Him we have set our hope that He will continue to deliver us, as you help us by your prayers. Then many will give thanks on our behalf for the gracious favor granted us in answer to the prayers of many."  Keep Your Hope Set On Jesus and Be Ready to Share Him with Others!  (If I Could Just Touch The Hem Of His Garmet"!!!  Nicole C. Mullen) 

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Life and Godliness

"...seeing that His divine power has granted to us everything pertaining to life and godliness, through the true knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and excellence. For by these He has granted to us His precious and magnificent promises, so that by them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world by lust." 2 Peter 1:3

What a comfort to read this verse and realize that we are equipped for every work that God has called us to through a relationship with Jesus Christ. There will never be a day where we do not have exactly what we need to live a godly life! Through Christ, we have the ability to make right choices and glorify Him through our lives, thoughts, relationships, time and actions.

Within this verse, there is a sense of responsibility on behalf of the believer. There is no excuse to choose ungodliness when everything needed to live righteously has been given. How gracious of the Lord to not expect anything of us that He has not already given to us!

In a broken world corrupted by sin, it seems like such a daunting task to pursue holiness and live righteously. And yet, the good news of the Gospel is that through Christ, we have  been granted "everything pertaining to life and godliness" AND we are able to become "partakers of the divine nature" who have "escaped the corruption that is in the world by lust."

THANKS be to God! May we choose to live in light of this glorious truth today, allowing a true knowledge of God to enable us to glorify and honor Him. Today may we "walk by the Spirit, and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh." Galatians 5:16.

Monday, May 13, 2013


"Guard, through the Holy Spirit who dwells in us, the treasure which has been entrusted to you" 2 Timothy 1:14, NASB

Paul tells Timothy that he is to guard the treasure entrusted to him. In this verse, he also says that the Holy Spirit will help him to guard that treasure.  That treasure is the gift of Christ. It is the gift of faith that has been entrusted to him as a believer.  Timothy has the treasure of Christ and the calling as a teacher to pass on the truth of the Word of the Lord that has been entrusted to him. Paul reminds Timothy that he is not alone on this mission, God is with him.

In a world that is so full of people who do not want to trust Christ, it is comforting to know that God is still at work in our lives helping us to treasure His gift of eternal life, His everlasting love and the hope of His calling. Through the work of the Holy Spirit, we know that we can share the good news of Christ with others. We can be true to our calling. Regardless of what they say or do, we can guard the treasure that has been entrusted to us.

Just like you, I have been involved in several recent conversations with those who deny Christ. I thank God that it is not my job to convince or convict them, but I can guard the treasure entrusted to me,

Lord, help me to share. Help me to guard your truth! Amen.

Friday, May 10, 2013

Happy Mother's Day

I am blessed to have one of the sweetest, kindest, most patient mothers on the face of the earth.  As with every holiday, Mother’s Day may not be a celebration for everyone. For some, Mother’s Day is a resurfacing of pain, as they remember saying goodbye to their mom. For others, it’s even worse as they are reminded they never knew their mom. For some who desire children, but are struggling with infertility, it can be an empty or awkward time.  Whatever the situation for us,Titus 2:3-5 gives us all a responsibility.

"Older women likewise are to reverent in their behavior, not malicious gossips nor enslaved to much wine teaching what is good, so that they may encourage the young women to love their husbands, to love their children, to be sensible, pure, workers at home, kind, being subject to their own husbands, so that the word of God will not be dishonored."  (Titus 2:3-5)

Titus 2 is not directed to, “the moms.” It says “older women” Titus 2 is giving me a charge – a responsibility – to encourage and teach the younger women.
Sharon Beougher

I pray this coming Sunday is a day filled with pleasant thoughts. Express your thanks and appreciation to your mother.  If you are one of the many who don’t have an earthly mother, find someone who has influenced you and celebrate that woman. And for those who are childless, Mother’s Day is a great day to reach out to a single mother, a widow, or someone recently divorced and begin a relationship with them. And finally, Mother’s Day is the perfect day for all women to examine ourselves and see if we are living the life of a Godly woman.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

The aim of our charge is love

"The aim of our charge is love that issues from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith" (1 Timothy 1:5, ESV). 

As I was on a trip with my parents last week, we got to see some friends in town. It was honestly a bit humbling finding them, as we attempted to master the mass transportation systems. So, after the travel, it was refreshing to talk and laugh with some good friends. Some were fellow believers in this diverse, hustling city.

Kelli Martin
As I read this chapter in Timothy during our trip, I noticed how encouraging it must have been for Timothy to receive this letter from Paul, his mentor. In Timothy's community, there were some false teachers. Paul explained that the source of a disciple's hope is rooted in Christ, and the aim of this message from God is love. This encouragement came at a timely moment for Timothy. He was not alone in his devotion to God. It must have inspired him to remain centered on Christ and keep teaching His Word.

As we share Him, let us be refreshed and give thanks that we are not alone in this message of hope that we share. There is already a great cloud of witnesses to the truth of the hope, forgiveness and new life that we have because of Christ. Let us pray for other believers as they share Christ in their cities, and let us pray that God gives us the wisdom, grace and boldness to share who He is. Let us be a light wherever God has us this week.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Mother's Day Tribute!

"The Lord is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance."  2 Peter 3:9 (NASB)

The picture you see above is a picture of my mother and I on Mother's Day, 1965, when I was 2 years old.  I was born on Mother's Day, 50 years ago, wow can't believe I just typed that number, I am about to be 50 and happy, happy, happy! 

My life is a miracle from God!  I was born into a very lost family, I am the first Christian in my family and the joy of my life is to know that God used my life to lead my own dear mother to the years go by there is no greater Joy than to know that my mother is in heaven this Mother's Day!  If you have loved ones that still need to be saved, be encouraged, my mother did not come to know the Lord quickly or easily for this daughter. 

At first, when I ran to Jesus and gave Him my life, my mother thought that I had been brained washed.  I remember her asking me time and time again, "why are you going down to the church all the time, are you in some kind of cult"?  Witnessing to family members can be some of the most difficult people to share Jesus with, but never give up, God is always at work!  After more than 10 years of praying for my mother to come to know Jesus as her Lord, many days that were discouraging because of the rejection that often goes hand in hand with "being patient & waiting on the Lord", it happened like this:  It was a Sunday morning at our church in Plano, Texas and my mother came to church, may I say, without me even inviting her to come to church that Sunday :-) !  It was like we turned around and she was there and the next thing I know she was asking me to lead her to the Lord, GLORY & PRAISE TO GOD!!

Then she became an inspiration as she jumped into her relationship with the Lord with total surrender as I became her mentor and had the JOY of discipling my own I look around my study right now I can see the many many Bible Studies and even my mother's Bible that I had the PRIVILEGE of sharing with my mother as she grew and grew as a Christian!!  Here is a picture of my mother at one of her first women's ministry ladies retreats that I had the privilege of leading, my mother is the one full of the joy of Jesus in the middle of this picture :-)  
As my mother grew in the Lord there were dear sisters in Christ that He used to love her unconditionally, She was so excited about her relationship with the Lord that she was involved in every area of church, so much so that I was able to say back to her with a smile "why are you down at that church all the time, are you in some kind of cult, ha!!"  Barbara was one of my moms first Christian friends and she is pictured in this picture on the right and she blessed my mother's life in Christ in so many ways!  And then there was my mothers first pastor's wife, Judy Fenton.  Judy inspired and loved my mother unconditionally, here is a picture that includes Judy, she is on the left full of beauty inside and out!
My mother had her first church directory picture taken and I can not tell you how excited she was, just look at the joy of Jesus and His beauty in her face!
My mother had some difficult days in the last years of her life but because of prayer and the encouragement of many, she finished well and she is now in heaven with Jesus!  I will forever be thankful for the witness and encouragement of Jaye Martin during the last few months of my mothers life as she strived to finish strong for Jesus!  This picture was taken by Jaye at our son's wedding, just over 3 months before my mother went to be with the Lord! 
but it doesn't end with my mother going to be with the Lord, she went to be with the Lord as a soul-winner because as I had the privilege of sharing my mother's testimony at her memorial service, her 66 year old little brother, my Uncle Larry that you see in this picture with my mom GAVE HIS LIFE TO JESUS at my mother's memorial service!! 
This was one of the desires of my mother's heart, that her little brother would come to know Jesus as his Lord, God Answered my mother's Prayer!! 

Thank you, Jaye, for your prayers, for loving my mother unconditionally, and for never giving up!!

Who are you praying for today, dear friends, that still needs to turn their life over to Jesus?  Please always know that you can share your loved ones names with us as we pray with you because  "The Lord is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance." 2 Peter 3:9 (NASB)

♥Happy Mother's Day 2013♥  "Blessings"!!! Laura Story


Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Living and Active

"For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart." Hebrews 4:12
Kari Beougher
I absolutely love the truth of this verse. As an avid reader who often re-reads books, I love that no matter how many times I may read a passage of Scripture, I learn new truths from it. Growing up in a devoted Christian home and attending Christian schools all my life, I have had the extreme privilege of reading the Word of God often. Yet, no matter how many times I read a passage or think I know it, some days it speaks to me or affects me in ways it never has before. The Word of God truly never grows old. It’s  never outdated, and it will never become meaningless.It is living and active. I love that I will never stop learning through reading and that God will continually communicate to me through the Bible, His revealed word. What a beautiful truth!

 I also continually experience the second part of this verse, able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart. Reading the Bible not only teaches me more about who Jesus is or what He wants for my life, but it also convicts me of my sin and shows me when I am wrong- which unfortunately, is often.While other books may lose their significance, the Bible will always be relevant and absolutely necessary to the Christian life.It is a means through which we learn more of who God is and who we are called to be.

Is reading the Word of God a priority in our life? Are we allowing God's Word to teach us new things? Are we allowing His Spirit to convict and correct sin in our lives? Trust in the power of God's Word today. It never returns to Him void but always accomplishes what He intends!

Monday, May 6, 2013

Be not a wimp

“Be on the alert, stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong.  Let all that you do be done in love” (1 Corinthians 16:13-14, NIV).

I was editing some devotionals and ran across this one that I wrote years ago. It slapped me in the face! I thought I'd share it with you.

     Be on your guard.  We are to be ever on the alert.  Always looking for what God is doing and aware of what the enemy might be trying to do.  God want us to be ready for whatever happens.  When we come to Him daily, He can open our eyes to what we need to see.

     Stand firm in the faith.  When you are under attack, don’t budge.  Keep focused on God and not on the problem.  Stand in one place and do not be blown by the wind; only be led by the Spirit.  Move only when God moves you.

     Be men of courage.  Act like a leader during the battle.  Don’t be a wimp.  Be courageous in all that you do and say.  Take a bold stand and God will reward you.

Jaye Martin
     Be strong.  You are empowered for battle, use what you have.  Be a mighty warrior for Christ.  Strength is gained by exercise.  So, exercise your faith.  Act on what you know to do and trust God to stretch you so you will be stronger in and for Him.

     Do everything in love.  While you are alert, be alert in love.  While you are standing firm, stand firm in love.  While you are courageous, be courageous in love.  While you are strong, be strong in love.  No matter what you are doing, let love dominate all that you say and do.

 Lately I have been the biggest wimp. I need to realize the way the enemy gets to me!

Lord, help me apply Your love to the battle of life I will face today.  Give me Your strength and courage to stand firm and tell someone about You.  Help me be on guard to what might keep me from sharing my faith.  I am ready to walk onward with You!  Amen.

Friday, May 3, 2013

Compassionate Evangelism

Dr. Tim Beougher, in his booklet Overcoming Walls of Witnessing, shares a true story about a pastor in the 1800's in Boston named John Vassar.  He was going door to door to invite people to church.  When he went up to the house right across the street from the church and knocked on the door, the lady of the house angrily opened the door and told him not to ever come to her house to talk about religion.  Vassar was so heart-broken at the woman's hard heart that he just wept on her front door steps.

Sharon Beougher
The next Sunday this same lady walked into the church and sat at the back.  After the service, Vassar went up to her and said he was glad, but surprised to see her at church.  He asked her what had changed her mind.  She said, "It was your tears. I had never seen anyone weep for me before."

Wow!  When was the last time you wept over a unbelieving family member, much less a stranger who was lost?  I am convicted by that!

Seeing the people, He felt compassin for them, because they were distressed and dispirited like sheep without a shepherd (Matthew 9:36).

Lord, please develop in us hearts of compassion so that we may urgently share the Good News to a generation who is in desperate need of hearing Your message of hope!