Friday, December 9, 2016

A Christmas Prayer

A Christmas Prayer by Robbie Iobst

Empty me, Lord, of
the idea of a perfect Christmas.
Fill me with 
accepting life as it comes.
Empty me, Lord, of
the pressure to have my home decorated like a Martha-Stewart-worthy Winter Wonderland,
Fill me with
the peace of simple beauty.
Empty me, Lord, of
the gluttony around Christmas sweets and treats.
Fill me with
glad-hearted moderation.
Empty me, Lord, of
the need to have my calendar full of holiday fun.
Fill me with
the desire to spend extra time with You.
Empty me, Lord, of
the temptation to spend more than I have on gifts.
Fill me with
the kindness of unpretentious thoughtfulness within my budget.
Empty me, Lord, of
the black hole of “gotta-get-It-done” that tries to swallow me in December.
Fill me with
the unending pool of Your peace each moment, each day.
Empty me, Lord, of
the tyranny that Christmas can become.
Fill me with
the wonderful joy of Your birthday party.

Wednesday, November 2, 2016


Here's a thought: If we have pledged allegiance to Jesus as our King and now serve as ambassadors to His Kingdom, how can we participate in the political processes of another kingdom?

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Be the Reason...

It amazes me that sometimes it takes a complete stranger to make you see your work has value and is not for naught. What started as a random conversation in Starbucks about football, moved to my name badge and this: "I'll let you slide for being a Cowboys fan, because that's some super good stuff you do there. Thanks for what you do." I'm not saying this to offer myself a pat on the back, nor do I want some applause. I've done anything but that for myself this week. I've beat myself up. Been disappointed. Jaded. Broken. Wanted to quit. I'm offering this: If a perfect stranger can offer encouragement to someone he doesn't know, then why do we take those so dear to us for granted? If you have a carer, a helper, a supporter in your life-thank them. Encourage them. Don't assume they know you appreciate them. And don't assume everyone else is offering it either. Also most helpers are rarely taking the time to do this for themselves, or taking the time to even take care of themselves. All their time and energy is being put into you or someone else. A simple act of kindness could make a world of difference to their own well being, and could even keep them from quitting altogether. Be the reason someone feels encouraged today.

~ January Marshall

Friday, September 23, 2016

Following God's Direction in Your Life

"If anyone, then, knows the good they ought to do and doesn't do it, it is sin for them." - James 4:17
So how do you know the direction God is guiding you? In James 1:5 it says, “If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him.”

Prayer is central to communication with God, but hearing God's answer isn't always easy. Sometimes we struggle with the guidance He's given us, or it seems too challenging. Our human nature often guides us to take the path of least resistance or to doubt the power of God's plan or question it entirely. There is a certain peace in trusting in God and his plan, however. In Philippians 4:7 we read, "And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus."

Peace is something that we all seek in our lives. In our marriage, work life, and even when we eat or sleep. It's difficult to stay focused in times of turmoil and stress. Believing in God's plan and His will in our lives is often difficult, but when we experience the peace of knowing we're working to serve Him, the storms of life aren't nearly as intimidating. As challenging as life can seem, He is with us through it all, and your labor is not in vain. When we are trusting in the Lord and His direction in our lives, even death will be swallowed up by victory through Jesus Christ.

"Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain." -1 Corinthians 15:58

~ Matt Croti Maddalena

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Opportunities to Love Jesus and to Love People...

Wise words from the heart of my friend, Avery Moore:

"Today, I dropped off a carload of clothes and things as a donation to the Topeka Rescue Mission and was reminded of something that Jesus said: “You will always have the poor among you…” (Matthew 26:11a) When I first encountered this verse years ago, it made me think, “Well, there you go. He said we’ll always have the poor, so what’s the point in doing anything about it. We’ll never resolve that problem.” Today, I thought of that verse in a different light. In that little phrase, perhaps he wasn’t just saying, “You will always have the poor.” Perhaps he was also saying, “You will always have opportunities to show me how much you love me and how much you love people. You’re welcome.” Well, there you go. That changes everything!"

Monday, August 8, 2016

Liena's Prayer

Powerful video created by Voice of the Martyrs ~ Liena's Prayer. Viewer Discretion Advised. 

Published on Sep 18, 2014

Liena and her family turned down offers of asylum in Western countries after civil war broke out in Syria. They knew the cost that might be required, but they chose to remain as witnesses to their Muslim neighbors and as an encouragement to other Christians.

Friday, July 22, 2016

Christo-centric or Fill-In-The-Blank-Centric: Finding That Which Grounds Us

We can be safe or we can be ambassadors of Jesus Christ. It is unlikely that we can be both at the same time. Jesus wasn't safe but He was good. Fear would have us live protected lives and be safe in a world filled with land mines.

Living safe looks like disciples huddled together behind locked doors after the crucifixion of Christ. The fear was real and the fear was fueled by a legitimate threat because the disciples were likely asking themselves a very legitimate question. Which one of us will be killed next?

We are not called to be controlled by fear. We are called to operate with a sound mind. God did not call us to a life of timidity. Courage may be required as we press into our fear as this culture is rapidly moving toward secularism.

When we recognize the incredible resurrection power available to us and live into all this means, we will no longer fear losing political power or being marginalized as Christians in a culture that may be becoming more hostile to the Christian faith. In a world in which we are living more like exiles in our own land, fear is not going to be life-giving. Fear will kill us much quicker than the outside threat we perceive to exist.

If we find ourselves fighting to be center place in this culture through political means or other forms of structural power, we may be operating out of fear.

I am reminded that Jesus never implemented a new political system. He is the one that said, "And if anyone wants to sue you and take your shirt, hand over your coat as well. If anyone forces you to go one mile, go with them two miles."

This was not a a popular message of revolt against an oppressive Roman government. It was a path toward a life of humility. It was a call to something much deeper. In essence, it seems to me Jesus was saying, "Quit clinging to that which you find your identity in. Instead, find your identity in Me. Stop trying to insist on finding places of power from which to wield change. Relax. Realize I AM the change your heart desperately desires. When you recognize who I AM you will stop insisting on finding temporal solutions for eternal desires and needs."

I am reminded that when the disciples came out from behind closed doors, identifying with the Resurrected Christ and filled with the Holy Spirit, everything changed. They couldn't be shut up, threatened, or intimidated. They were convinced Jesus was raised from the dead and their Christo-centric hope led to a Christo-centric life. The meaning of life was found ONLY in Jesus Christ. They just couldn't stop talking about Jesus. It was obvious. These disciples had the conviction that their whole life revolved around Jesus.

~ John Comstock

Sunday, April 17, 2016

It's All About Me

Sometimes people negatively proclaim, "He thinks it's all about him."

I tell myself sometimes that this (whatever it is) is ALL about me...seriously...

It really is all about me...

It is all about how I'm supposed to use this situation to learn, grow in my faith and become who JESUS wants me to be...through the struggles and trials that come my will I respond...what will I do...who am I I bringing glory to God...?

What am I willing to sacrifice because of what God has called me to do?  What will I do without in order to spread the gospel of Jesus Christ?

All that being said it is all about me when it is happening to me...

And it is all about you when it is happening to you...

But not in a selfish a way that humbles me and you and shows us our need for a forgiving, loving, teaching God...

We need each other...we need prayer, we need support, we need encouragement.  Be there for your brothers and there for them when it is all about them...and they will be there for you when it's all about you.

When we get right down to the heart of the's all about HIM! Allow Jesus to work in your life in the midst of the heartache, challenges and even the disasters. When the world peeks out and sees your response and my response, they may decide that a life with Jesus is what they need too.