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  • You are here: Blogs Directory / Devotionals / The Word Works Welcome Guest
    The Word Works
          God's Word works in the real world. Seek Him and His truth, and find fullness of life!

    Sat, Nov 18th - 5:53PM

    Keep your eyes open...




    Do You Have Some Time?

    God is a God of love. To live like him, we love others - we care for them. This care for others is beautifully illustrated in the book of 3 John. The apostle John, one of Jesus’ closest disciples, wrote this letter to Gaius, a younger follower of Christ. In it, he encourages and commends Gaius for meeting the needs of fellow believers traveling through the area. (3 John 5-8, NIV) These were sent out to spread the message of God’s love and salvation through Christ. Taking little with them, they depended on fellow Christians to provide lodging and food on their journey. This allowed them to maximize their energy and effort toward sharing this message, the gospel, with all who would receive it. Even though these “itinerant preachers” were strangers to Gaius, he took them in and saw that they were well-cared-for. By showing great hospitality, Gaius also contributed to God’s rescue mission on planet Earth.


    How open are our hearts to caring for and meeting the needs of others, especially strangers? Are we in tune enough with God's heart that we are fulfilling his purpose for our lives? Sometimes our hands so tightly hold our to-do lists, that they’re not free to embrace a stranger. Sometimes our eyes are so focused on where we’re going and what we're doing, that we miss opportunities to love and help those who cross our path. Does your heart receive those that God brings you?


    Do you look to share the one message that can truly make a difference for people? Jesus took time to enter into others’ lives, and help them on their way. In fact, he came to “...seek and to save the lost.” (Luke 19:1-10; John 3:1-17) When we truly know God, he transforms our hearts to love like Christ:


        On one occasion an expert in the law stood up to test Jesus. “Teacher,” he asked, “what must I do to inherit eternal life?”

        “What is written in the Law?” he replied. “How do you read it?”

     He answered, “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’; and, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’”

        “You have answered correctly,” Jesus replied. “Do this and you will live.”

     But he wanted to justify himself, so he asked Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?”

     In reply Jesus said: “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, when he was attacked by robbers. They stripped him of his clothes, beat him and went away, leaving him half dead. A priest happened to be going down the same road, and when he saw the man, he passed by on the other side. So too, a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. But a Samaritan, as he traveled, came where the man was; and when he saw him, he took pity on him. He went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he put the man on his own donkey, brought him to an inn and took care of him. The next day he took out two denarii and gave them to the innkeeper. ‘Look after him,’ he said, ‘and when I return, I will reimburse you for any extra expense you may have.’”

     “Which of these three do you think was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of robbers?”

     The expert in the law replied, “The one who had mercy on him.”

        Jesus told him, “Go and do likewise.” (Luke 10:25-37)



    For more encouragement, click here: www.kristinspann02.wix.com/spring1





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    Sat, Nov 11th - 4:28PM

    Where is your focal point?



    Who Do You Stand For?

    Ultimately, who or what is your life about?

    In the 1st century A.D., Jude (a follower of Christ) wrote a letter encouraging fellow believers to “contend for the faith.” (Jude 1:3, NIV) Why? Men who had joined their fellowship were using God's grace as an excuse for sin. They wanted to use people's hunger for God as a means of gaining money and prestige for themselves, and to indulge every fleshly impulse/desire they had. (Jude 1:1-12)

    We see the same thing today. People who claim the name of Christ run after money, fame, and power. Others excuse and even promote actions, lifestyles, and beliefs that are clearly contrary to Scripture. How are these things justified? By claiming that God loves everyone, and therefore anything we desire he must also desire for us, and any type of belief, lifestyle, or choice is acceptable to him.

    It’s true (thankfully!) that God loves every person he created. But there's a reason why Christ had to die on the cross. There's a reason we've all been called “enemies of God” who need to be reconciled to him. (Romans 5:10) Not every belief we hold or choice we make is good, acceptable, or right to God. When we fail to believe him and act contrary to what he says is right, we sin. Literally, we miss the mark he’s set for us.

    But God is just that... God. He is Truth. He knows everything. What he says is right, is right. What he says is wrong, is wrong. What he says is reality, is. What he says is not, is not. It's important to distinguish between God's love for us as individuals and his joy or sorrow over the choices we make and the beliefs we hold. If every path we take and decision we make is acceptable to him, then Christ didn’t need to pay a death penalty for our sins. Sin wouldn’t exist! In his Word, he shows us a better way...

    Let's take him at his word, then.  A life lived for God constitutes service to him, not self-promotion. Jesus said, “...if anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will save it. What good is it for a man to gain the whole world, and yet lose or forfeit his very self?” (Luke 9:23-25)

    The pretenders in Jude's day wanted to suck as much out of life/others for themselves as they could. They weren't interested in truly loving God or living for him. We can fall into a similar yet subtler trap as we jockey for position, popularity, or power in our church, career, and social circles. Our goal in life should not be self-gain. It should be loving God with all that we are: believing and doing what is good according to his standards, giving ourselves away for him and others, and sharing his one and only means of salvation and reconciliation - Jesus.

    For more encouragement, visit my blog "The Word Works" at www.kristinspann02.wix.com/spring1 (click "blog") at the top.



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    Sat, Oct 28th - 5:47PM

    Something to hold on to...



    Real Hope

    Hope.

    Without it we wither. Sometimes our circumstances make life seem hopeless. Things change, and the rhythm of life is interrupted. We find our backs against a wall, and don’t know which way to turn. At times like these, it may seem like all our efforts are in vain. I have definitely felt this way, and I get frustrated. I persistently try to achieve an outcome that never occurs. But then, God gently beckons me to turn in a different direction. Sometimes I get so focused on one pursuit, one goal, that I forget the world is a wide-open space with endless possibilities. I’m not an advocate of random and reckless wandering through life, but I definitely believe in hope. Not a random hope that amounts to nothing more than positive thinking, but a substantive hope in God. A hope that yields results!

    What kind of hope is this? This kind:

    “And we know that God works all things for good to those who love God and are called according to his purpose.” (Romans 8:28) I know that the circumstances of my life are no accident. I’ve given my life to Christ and am committed to following him. I love God, and therefore know that he’s orchestrating my life - yielding good for myself and for others. Knowing this brings peace when things are hard or unclear.

    “The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not be in want.” (Psalm 23:1) If I’m following his lead, God’s not going to leave me in need. This doesn’t mean I’ll only walk through fields of flowers (I wish!!). Sometimes he takes me through wilderness and desert, and almost always on paths that are new and unknown to me. But in every place and every season, he supplies what I need. That’s why I hear him say to me, just like to Joshua before conquering the promised land, “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” (Joshua 1:9)

    When I trust enough to follow him in the hard times, he leads me to new places. My life becomes richer, fuller... better! And I do too. It’s an adventure that I have to remind myself to embrace - that everything’s going to be more than okay. When I do, I’m able to enjoy the ride, and the outcomes that are “...immeasurably more than all we [could] ask or imagine.” Ephesians 3:20

    For more encouragement, visit my blog, "The Word Works," at kristinspann02.wix.com


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    Sat, Oct 14th - 5:54PM

    How do you define "faith?"



    What Is Faith, Exactly?

    Throughout God's Word, we see a consistent message - that salvation comes exclusively through faith in Christ. But what does the word "faith" mean? Is it a positive thought that everything will work out? A good feeling about life, others... the universe? An attempt to speak positive outcomes into existence? Many of these ideas have been put forth in modern times as the "stuff that faith is made of." All of them, however, fall short of the real thing. To understand faith, we can't rest on a single Bible verse, and we certainly can't take verses out of context, inventing our own ideas of it.

    Reading the whole of Scripture and thoroughly studying passages concerning faith gives us an accurate understanding of it. For time's sake, let's consider just two here. Ephesians 2:8-9 (NIV) says "For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith - and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God - not by works, so that no one can boast." Though we don't deserve God's love or salvation, God offers both as a gift by his grace (unmerited favor). We receive them by believing that he's made this offer - that Christ died on the cross to pay our death penalty for our sins - and believing so completely that we act on it. We turn from our sins and ask him to forgive us, committing ourselves to walk in his ways and follow his lead. God grants our pardon, giving us a fresh start and a new life, increasing in fullness as we learn to live like him. Faith serves as a channel through which we receive all the good God has for us. When we believe what he says, it's easier to do what he says, and reap the benefits of it. Without faith, his gifts and his goodness remain in his hands as unclaimed offers.

    In Hebrews 11:1, we see that "... faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see." This not only refers to our future hope of heaven, but the specific personal direction God gives us (through his spirit and his Word) as we journey through life. Hebrews 11 catalogs heroes of the faith - those whose belief translated into action. They were all commended for their faith, accompanied by this word of instruction:
    "And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him." (Hebrews 11:6) In other words, we believe what God has revealed about himself, and everything changes.

    Faith, as God defines it in his Word, is quite simply believing that what he says is true. This doesn't mean intellectually agreeing that he's spoken truth - but personally believing what he speaks directly to your spirit, and has spoken to you through his Word. This kind of belief  directly affects our attitudes and behavior, often radically changing them. This is why James said that "...faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead." (James 2:17b) A genuine, living faith inevitably produces good character, good works, a good life - one in which we're transformed to fully and freely give and receive his love.


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    Sat, Sep 30th - 4:09PM

    What's so amazing about grace?



    Grace in Real Time

    Have you ever felt like one of the “least” as a follower of Christ? The apostle Paul did. In his letter to the Corinthian church he says, “For I am the least of the apostles and do not even deserve to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God.” (1 Corinthians 15:9, NIV) His next statement, though, gives hope to all of us: “But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace to me was not without effect.” (1 Corinthians 15:10) Regardless of what he deserved, Paul knew that God’s love was larger than his sin. He received God’s grace, and it compelled him to live sacrificially and powerfully for Him. While most of us haven't shared Paul’s history of torturing and persecuting Christians, we all share the human experience of majorly sinning at times.

    We all need grace.

    Thankfully, God isn't one to withhold what we need. He's a father who loves us more deeply than any parent loves a child. “Which of you, if your son asks for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!” (Matthew 7:9-11)

    When our need goes far deeper than physical sustenance, He's here to provide for us. He offers full forgiveness and pardon for every wrong we commit in life: How amazing is that?? I don't know about you, but it’s a huge weight off of my shoulders. I don't have to walk around wondering if I'm good enough, or, in the end, if the good I do will outweigh the bad. That's already been settled - his standard is absolute perfection, and I clearly don't meet it. But, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” (1 John 1:9)

    You see, the hope he offers is full, not partial, and permanent, not temporary. He's not just willing to forgive the small stuff, but even the really destructive decisions that leave broken lives in our wake. He forgives it all, and gives us a fresh start. “Because of the Lord's great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.” (Lamentations 3:22-23) This is what's so amazing about grace: It is “undeserved favor” that we all definitely and desperately need. No matter how many times we blow it, he remains the God of a million chances. Let's recognize the magnitude of this gift, and live our lives in a way worthy of the God we serve.


    For more encouragement, click here! www.kristinspann02.wix.com/spring1


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    About Me

    Name: Kristin Spann
    ChristiansUnite ID: kristin
    Member Since: 2017-05-17
    Location: Ft. Worth, Texas, United States
    Denomination: Non-denominational
    About Me: I love God, and enjoy living life for and with Him! I also enjoy singing, dancing, reading, writing, riding motorcycles and kayaking.

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