1 Corinthians 12:27-31
Now you are the body of Christ and individually members of it. And God has appointed in the church first apostles, second prophets, third teachers, then workers of miracles, then healers, helpers, administrators, speakers in various kinds of tongues. Are all apostles? Are all prophets? Are all teachers? Do all work miracles? Do all possess gifts of healing? Do all speak with tongues? Do all interpret? But earnestly desire the higher gifts. And I will show you a still more excellent way.
Thought for the Day: What part of the puzzle do we fill?
In the afternoons before my kindergarten class is dismissed, we have free center time where the children can choose an activity. The students enjoy doing puzzles and they love seeing their finished picture. One day last week, several students worked on a puzzle and when they finished there was a missing piece. It was hard on the children when they realized the puzzle could not be finished. As I read a devotional this morning, it mentioned that the Body of Christ is much like a jigsaw puzzle. Each of us makes up the puzzle and when we use our talents and spiritual gifts, we fill the part of the puzzle that we represent. A part is missing, however, when we do not use the gifts God has given. On the other hand, if we fill a place on the puzzle with things that are not from God, we might be keeping someone else from using their gifts. When this happens, there might be two pieces missing instead of one.
We are a part of the Body of Christ and as a part of that Body we must recognize that every part is important. And, we must recognize our God given gifts by listening to God first before jumping into something we are not ordained to do. In listening, we will first find the place God has led us directly to, and we will not be doing something someone else has been led us to do but can’t because we are already there and they don’t want to hurt our feelings by wanting to do the same thing. Where is our place on the puzzle – Where is our place in The Body of Christ?
Prayer: God, thank you for all of the people who have been our examples of how to take our place in The Body of Christ. Those who stand out the most are the ones who definitely listened for Your leading as they took their place in Your Body. Amen.
Prayer Focus: Those finding their place in the Body of Christ
1 Corinthians 12:26
If one member suffers, all suffer together; if one member is honored, all rejoice together.
Thought for the Day: How will we share comfort or joy with someone today?
I am always amazed when I read a devotional how it touches me where I am and gives me just what I need in a moment. As I read a devotional in The Upper Room Devotional Guide, I was touched by a gentleman who shared that in one day he visited with a friend who had been touched by complete sorrow and one who celebrated a special birthday. He took on the emotions of his two friends. First, he felt complete sorrow for his sorrowful friend and did not know how he was going to be able to share joy with the other. But, through prayer, he was able to share in the celebration. When I share my devotions on Facebook and write my introduction, I occasionally feel torn. There are days when I have a prayer request for a friend in deep need and there are days when I share a joy about prayers being answered. The tough days for me are when I have both emotions to share. How do I share someone’s celebration of joy when I have just written a prayer request for someone in dire need?
After I read the devotional in the Upper Room, I read one of the daily devotions found in our church’s bulletin from last Sunday. It said, “As members of the same body, we are so closely bound together that we actually share the same feelings. What causes joy for one member delights the whole body. When one member suffers the entire body hurts. As members of the body of Christ, we are called to surround each other with love and support.” As I look back over my life, I remember fondly those members of the body of Christ who have been there for me through all my tragic periods, giving me comfort by literally crying with me and holding me through their heart-filled hugs. Those same people have been there to rejoice with me in my celebrations by crying tears of happiness and holding me in their heart-filled hugs. We are the Body of Christ – how will we share comfort or joy with someone today?
Prayer: Father God, thank you. Thank you for giving us the hearts to share in the sorrows and joys of others. Help us find where we are needed today. Help us hear your voice calling us to those in need today. You are awesome! Amen.
Prayer Focus: Those comforting others
Click Here for Video: He Who Began a Good Work in You
Do not be deceived; God is not mocked, for whatever a many sows, that he will also reap. For he who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption; but he who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life. And let us not grow weary in well-doing, for in due season we shall reap, if we do not lose heart.”
Thought for the Day: He who began a good work in you will be faithful to complete it in you.
“He who began a good work in you…..will be faithful to complete it in you.” Each evening, when I put my child down to go to sleep, my body is ready for rest. My husband and I have both found that after a very long period of time where loss of job, financial hardship, finding jobs, moving, beginning those new jobs, and transitioning to another place with our children has been overwhelming and very tiring. We both collapse into bed early where we can make it through the next day. We both have times of frustration and feel we don’t have time to organize our work, and we definitely do not have time to organize our new home. As I read a devotional in the Upper Room this morning, the words of encouragement came through the scripture mentioned. Galatians 6:9 reads, “And let us not grow weary in well-doing, for in due season we shall reap, if we do not lose heart.”
Recently, it seems that most sermons and lessons I have heard have been strongly based on learning how the Holy Spirit works in our lives. As I read the verses surrounding Galatians 6:9, I read “Do not be deceived; God is not mocked, for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap. For he who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption; but he who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life.” As my husband and I know that God led us to our new home and new positions, I also know that He who moved us and began this new life for us has been and will be faithful to help us complete the tasks at hand. God loves us and sends the Holy Spirit to help us – our goal needs to be to listen for the Spirit’s leading. He will lead us to Eternal Life with Him.
Prayer: God, You are so faithful to us. Help us listen to Your voice as we go through our day to discern Your will and want for us today. Help us accomplish the tasks You desire for us to accomplish and help us let go of the tasks that are not from You. You began a new work in us will be faithful to complete it – help us complete at least some of that work today. Amen.
Prayer Focus: Hard Workers
1 Corinthians 12:4-7
Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit; and there are varieties of service, but the same Lord; and there are varieties of working, but it is the same God who inspires them all in every one. To each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good.
Thought for the Day: What is God nudging you to do today?
One year ago today I shared some time with a special friend and we shared some wonderful stories of faith. It had been years since we had been able to spend time together so we both opened up and learned a lot about the faith journey of the other. As I watched her and listened to her I was touched by her desire to pray for everyone she met. She asked everyone who came by if they had a prayer request and put those requests in her phone. I knew in my heart that she used that list daily to pray for each and every one. What a beautiful God given talent. As we talked, she told me about a prayer request needed for her family, particularly her teenage niece. As I listened to the circumstance, I quickly recognized the situation as one that had happened to my family when I was a teenager. My heart yearned to communicate to this young lady how God had worked in my life through such a similar situation forty years before. Over the next couple of days I thought about how to share my story about my experience, but wasn’t sure how. Then I read my Upper Room devotional one morning and realized that I could write a devotional about my situation in the same style as The Upper Room devotionals written by so many each year. So, I did. I sent an e-mail attachment to my friend, and to her brother, that told my story of that particular situation.
That moment, that simple moment, of listening to a friend’s prayer request for her family was my nudge from God to do something I had always wanted to do but never started. I began writing. At some point, I heard myself say to God, “I promise I will try to write every day.” That began a writing journey that has now lasted a year and one that I pray will last my lifetime. Now, I am the first to say that my writing is not perfect. Fortunately, I did not promise I would write perfectly every day. Fortunately, God knows I am not an English/Grammar Scholar. What God knows is that my life has been filled with a lot of happiness through my experiences with family and friends, but that I had to live through a lot of pain and grief along my life journey. Through the years, many friends told me that I needed to write about my family because there was such a beautiful, although tragic, story to tell. I guess I held the thought of writing in my heart because when a friend asked for a prayer request, I knew I could put it into writing in order to help a young friend. God led me to this place of writing and I know this place is where I am supposed to be.
Prayer: Father God, thank you for nudging us until we begin following Your desire for us. We try to listen and follow your plan for us, but we are sometimes slow in listening. Thank you for placing people in our lives who can help us hear Your voice more clearly. Thank you for the gifts You give each of us to share You with those around us. Amen.
Prayer Focus: Those Discerning Spiritual Gifts
1 Corinthians 12:11
All these are inspirited by one and the same Spirit, who apportions to each one individually as he wills.
Thought for the Day: Listen for God’s voice when discerning Spiritual Gifts.
One step at a time, as I have been told and believe, is the way to live through new circumstances and to learn new skills and tasks. Beginning a new position has been fun and rewarding, but the learning curve has been a bit overwhelming. I shared with my principal a few days ago that I am finally starting to understand what questions to ask, rather than being so lost that I didn’t even know how to ask the questions needed. Over that past few days, organization has begun happening and the understanding of computer programs and class set up has begun to sink in. I am finding I am enjoying the kindergarten teaching more and that I am getting a grasp of how to create a better atmosphere for my students and me.
Going through a class developed to prepare people to join our church, has been rewarding to me and I have been reminded that our Christian faith calls us to take one step at a time as well. The class calls us to look at our Spiritual gifts to find where we are called by God to use our talents. The minister leading the class, however, shared that we can’t jump into all the areas we are interested in all at once or we will become overwhelmed and burned out quickly. Today, as I continue bettering myself in teaching in a more organized fashion, I want to better myself in my Spiritual walk with God. I ask God today to lead me to the areas of ministry that He is calling me to participate in and to hold me back from the ones that will be too overwhelming. I am listening to His call.
Prayer: Precious Lord, as we look at our lives and our desire to change things in our lives all at once, You remind us that we need to slow down and take things one step at a time. Help us truly hear Your calling for us as the world seems to ask us to take things more quickly. You are our desire. Amen.
Prayer Focus: Those Discerning Spiritual Gifts
For I am not ashamed of the gospel; it is the power of God for salvation to every one who has faith, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. For in it the righteousness of God is revealed through faith for faith; as it is written, “He who through faith is righteous shall live.”
Thought for the Day: What opportunity will we take today to share God’s Word with others?
Opportunity came yesterday for me to have some extra time with my youngest son. As I began my normal twenty minute drive to our school, I found myself in a major traffic jam. The interstate system was jammed tight and I needed to take another direction. I began my drive another way and it was jammed as well. As I drove, I began working with my son on his words and sounds for kindergarten. As we drove by something at a very slow rate, I spelled a word of something I saw, sounded it out phonetically, and he called out the word when he recognized it. We had fun and he learned a lot along the way. When I got to school, I shared several words the same way with my students who enjoyed the time as well.
God gives us opportunities every day to share His Word and to teach those around us about His love for us. Some of the opportunities are obvious as we have church groups and conversations. Some just happen as we go through our day when we find ourselves alone with a colleague or friend. The key to finding these opportunities is whether we recognize them and share His Word or do we miss the opportunity by letting the time go by. I was thankful for my time with my son yesterday helping him with his learning, but I want to make sure I take the time to share God with him and with others as the opportunities arise each day.
Prayer: Thank you, God, for the opportunities you give us to share Your Word with people each day. Help us recognize those opportunities and share in the way You would have us in those times. You are an awesome God. Help us recognize you in the midst of our daily live and to see the opportunities You give us to share Your love. Amen.
Prayer Focus: Those Sharing God’s Word
Do nothing from selfishness or conceit, but in humility count others better than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.
Thought for the Day: See what happens when you smile at someone today.
During my time in a class for those wanting to join our church, the pastor talked about us being the body of Christ, as was the theme for Worship as well. Everything he said touched me bringing me to tears a number of times. One thing he said, however, made me do something that I have done before but lately not so much. He said that before he truly understood Christ and that God sacrificed himself for “ME”, that he didn’t think about those he met each day as brothers and sisters that God sacrificed himself for as well. He said he kept most of his focus on what he needed to do and the stress of the day. After he learned more about God’s sacrifice through Jesus Christ, he began viewing people in the stores in a different ways and started recognizing them and speaking to many. So, yesterday I went to the store and almost immediately had a short conversation with an elderly man. We giggled a little and went on. Then, I pushed myself to say “Good afternoon, how are you today?” to several others I met. Everyone answered politely and we went on. I asked my check out clerk how she was doing and she said, “I don’t have any complaints today.” We said “Have a great afternoon!” to each other as I left. I felt a sense of God’s presence throughout that time and knew I had at least put a smile on two faces. There was a smile on my face as well. I shared time with brothers and sisters in Christ.
In the class it was quoted about humility, “We live joyfully when we serve joyfully and serve humbly.” If you know me well, you know it is not in my personality to just open up and talk to people I do not know very well. I made up my mind when I went into that store yesterday that I was going to speak more to people I met in the aisles. When I humbled myself and talked to people through joy, I witnessed smiles and I came home with a warmth in my heart.
Prayer: Our Father, thank you for the reminders through Sunday School classes and Worship services about how we are to live. You tell us to live joyfully and humbly, but sometimes the reminders are needed. Thank you for the people who lead us in such remarkable ways. Amen
Prayer Focus: Those sharing God’s love with others
Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not rely on your own insight. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.
Thought for the Day: God brings us peace
After the snow had fallen during the night my youngest son and I walked in the wooded area behind our house. We walked by the creek and heard the serene sound of the water. We walked through the trees and heard only the sound of our steps rustling through the snow covered leaves and the breeze blowing the few leaves left on the tree limbs. We were alone with nature and laughed a little along the way. Then, I looked around and from where we stood maybe 200 feet from our house I could clearly see the backs of ten other houses in the neighborhood. It was then that I began hearing voices of children playing and people talking. As I thought about that experience this morning and as I talked to my husband, I realized that what happened on our snow walk yesterday happens almost every day in my life. I begin the day reading and writing about my relationship with God and I pray. Then, the hustle and bustle of the day begins as I drive to my work then continues throughout the day. The serene sounds of my heart give way to the busy sounds of my daily life.
This is not what God wants for my life and I know that He wants the serene sounds to continue throughout my day. Today, I venture into a new day and I pray that God will help me remember serenity in my heart and will help me remember that He is beside me to bring me peace throughout my day. “God, please bring peace and serenity through the busyness of my day.”
Prayer: God, thank you for peace and serenity in the midst of life. Your reminder for us to live in peace with you is awesome. Help us, Lord, to live in serenity with you today. Amen.
Prayer Focus: Those praying for serenity
O Lord, thou hast searched me and known! Thou knowest when I sit down and when I rise up; thou discernest my thoughts from afar. Thou searchest out my path and my lying down, and art acquainted with all my ways.
Thought for the Day: God knows us and is with us
It is a Saturday morning and I must admit that after a week teaching kindergarten students and then coming home to take care of the needs of my family all I want to do is rest. Last evening, I found that all I wanted to do was to get into the bed for a long sleep. As I awoke this morning, I rested my eyes more as I sat preparing to read my devotional books and Bible verses. After some time, I read the Upper Room Devotion and read a devotional written by a man who had earlier lived with cancer. He shared that during his time with cancer, he learned the difference in being tired and being fatigued. Tired is how I felt last evening when all I wanted to do was sleep. Fatigued is when one can’t even muster the thoughts of sleep, people who are fatigued might only be able to “sigh”, as the writer wrote. Today, I sit humbled. Today, I realize that although tiredness comes I can physically do what I need to do and I am ever thankful.
In the devotional I read, the writer went on to say that even in his fatigued state, God knew how he felt and what he longed for. When I thought about it, I realized that even when I am so tired and all I want to do is sleep, God knows exactly how I feel. Today, I pray for those who are fatigued that they will feel and know that God is with them. God is with each of us, knows each of us, and loves each of us no matter how tired or fatigued we become.
Prayer: God, thank you for sleep when we are tired. Thank you for loving us, no matter how we feel. Be with those, today, who are suffering and fatigued because their bodies will not let them do anything except to “sigh”, and give them the comfort of knowing that You are near. Help us remember every minute that you are with each of us, you know each of us, and you love each of us no matter what we are going through. Amen.
The Upper Room Devotional I read today: http://devotional.upperroom.org/devotionals/2016-01-23#comments
Prayer Focus: Those who are tired and fatigued
For you will be a witness for him to all men of what you have seen and heard. And now why do you wait? Rise and be baptized, and wash away your sins, calling on his name.
Thought for the Day: How will we share God with someone today?
What fun and excitement I witnessed last night as I attended my first science night at my school. I was stationed in the cafeteria area where a group of college interns set up different fun experiments and displays for the children. My assignment was to walk around to make sure everything was going okay. As I observed the interns, I quickly noticed two young ladies who were over the top in their personalities cheering the students on as they made and observed science. The children who went to their stations left with smiles on their faces and with something they would probably talk about for a long time.
As Christians, how “over the top” are we in our witness to those around us? Are we excited to the point that we joyously and excitedly talk about God, or are we “ho hum” in the way we share our story of faith with others. As I thought back over the science night, I thought about that little boy who had been to one station to make a colored goo only to have the bag containing his goo pop. He was so sad. Then he went to one of the intern’s stations. When she shared the experiment with him, the tearful face changed in front of my eyes to pure joy. The beautiful thing about that moment was that I knew it was going to happen. I had watched this intern throughout the night, and I knew when the little boy saw a remarkable thing happen that it would make him excited. So, how am I going to witness today? How can I bring that pure joy of knowing Christ to someone today?
Prayer: Father God, thank you for placing people in our lives who have shared your Gospel with us. Help us witness to others in the way you would have us witness, with excitement and joy. Amen
Prayer Focus: Those Witnessing to Others