Southside's Blog

Southside is a loving, vigorous, and growing congregation in Shelbyville, Tennessee. Our vision is toward the future: Our Children, Our Ministry, and Our Outreach. Our goal is to embrace all people in our hearts and fellowship as we strive together to support Christ’s mission on earth.

Meditate on the Master - Max Lucado

"Is anything too hard for God? Does he ever throw up his hands and quit? The welcome answer is No, nothing is too hard for the Lord. Don’t measure the height of the mountain. Ponder the power of the One who made it. Don’t tell God how big your storm is. Tell the storm how big your God is. Your problem is not that your problem is so big, but that your view of God is too small. Accept the invitation of the psalmist: “O magnify the Lord with me, and let us exalt his name together” (Psalm 34:3 NKJV)."

"Our tendency is to magnify our fears. We place a magnifying glass on the diagnosis, the disease, or the debt. Stop that! Meditate less on the mess and more on the Master. Less on the problems and more on his power."

From Mike: The emphasis is in bold because the statement is true about many of us and Max gives us the resolution to the problem.

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PONDER THE POWER - Max Lucado

 

Despair can be a dangerous season. But it can also be a developing time, a time in which we learn to trust God, to lean into his Word and rely on his ways. The choice is ours.

And to help us choose the wise path, God gave the story of Esther. For fear of the death of his people, Mordecai cries out to Esther to intervene. He said, “If you remain silent at this time, relief and deliverance for the Jews will arise from another place…who knows but that you have come to your royal position for such a time as this?” (Esther 4:14).

Relief will come! This is God’s message for you. Feeling undone by the struggle? Then let God unleash the power within you to face it. Shift your focus away from the challenges, and ponder the power of your almighty God.

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Change

Another year is about over while a new one begins. The Southside congregation is about to embark on a number of changes.

Jeff will preach his final sermon tomorrow as the fulltime minister. He and Paula will start their new life in the Whitehouse, TN area. We will miss them! Pray for them as this chapter begins.

Our elders continue their search for a new minister. We have a minister visiting Sunday, January 8 to deliver a sermon. We’ll be looking him over just as he also looks us over. If you get a chance, be kind and welcome him after all he may be the man to continues Jeff’s work to encourage us on our way Home.

The word minister is used because that is what he will be for us. He will minister from the pulpit by delivering messages and the classroom by teaching lessons that will help us to continue to grow in our relationship with God. When we are hurting due to our illness or the illness of a loved one, the death of a loved one and during times of trouble he will minister to us through prayer and by being holding our hands.

We will be adding a new activities building. When it is finished, many activities will take place in it to offer encouragement for a closer relationship with God. Pray about it.

Jeff made a comment recently about our need for additional deacons. Be thinking about men to serve and start your prayers asking God for His guidance.

Pray for Rob, Kevin and Al as they continue to serve us as our elders.

Pray for Southside that we may continue to serve God as a place people can come to find Him. We must continue the following:

Welcome to the Southside Church of Christ. Southside is a loving, vigorous, and growing congregation in Shelbyville Tennessee. Our vision is toward the future: Our Children, Our Ministry, and Our Outreach. Our goal is to embrace all people in our hearts and fellowship as we strive together to support Christ’s mission on earth. Christ, our Lord died for us, and he has risen! Like you, we daily need wisdom and love beyond our own capacities. Because of this we’ve found it important to set aside a few hours each week to worship God and learn from His Word. In our Sunday School and worship services both young and old learn principles for successful living, not just for Sunday but for every day.  To continue reading this statement go to: https://www.cofcsouthside.com/

God Bless

Mike  This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

 

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A HEART LIKE JESUS - Max Lucado

"You and I live in a trashy world. Unwanted garbage comes our way on a regular basis. Haven’t you been handed a trash sack of mishaps and heartaches? Sure you have. May I ask, what are you going to do with it?"

"You could hide it, pretend it isn’t there. But sooner or later it will start to stink. So what will you do? If you follow the example of Christ, you’ll learn to see tough times differently."

"He wants you to have a hope-filled heart…just like Jesus. Wouldn’t you want that? Jesus saw his Father’s presence in the problem. Sure, Max, but Jesus was God. I can’t see the way he saw. Not yet, maybe. But don’t underestimate God’s power. He can change the way you look at life."

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GOD’S NEVER ENDING LOVE - Max Lucado

God will not let you go. The big news of the Bible is not that you love God, but that God loves you! He tattooed your name on the palm of his hand. His thoughts of you outnumber the sand on the shore. You never leave his mind, escape his sight, or flee his thoughts. You need not win his love. You already have it.

He sees the worst of you and loves you still. Your sins of tomorrow and failings of the future will not surprise him; he sees them now. Every day and deed of your life has passed before his eyes and been calculated in his decision. He knows you better than you know you and has reached this verdict: he loves you still.

No discovery will disillusion him. No rebellion will dissuade him. He loves you with an everlasting love. God’s love – never failing, never ending.

From Mike: When we are going through our most difficult times, maybe we question God's love. We may ask Him, "Why God?" We may never understand but I believe Max's message to be true.

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THE IMAGE OF FORGIVENESS - Max Lucado

"You will never forgive anyone more than God has already forgiven you."

"Is it still hard to consider the thought of forgiving the one who hurt you? If so, go one more time to the room. Watch Jesus as he goes from disciple to disciple. Can you see him? Can you hear the water splash? Can you hear him shuffle on the floor to the next person? Keep that image."

"John 13:12 says, “When he had finished washing their feet…” Please note: he finished washing their feet. That means he left no one out. Why is that important? Because that means he washed the feet of Judas. Jesus washed the feet of his betrayer. That’s not to say it was easy for Jesus. And that’s not to say it’s easy for you. That is to say God will never call you to do what he hasn’t already done."

From Mike: To forgive those who have hurt us so deeply is one of the most difficult things to do! I do not want to stand before God on judgement day to answer why no forgiveness was extended to someone when He forgave so much in my life.

 

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Come and Behold Him - Max Lucado

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The Number One Need in Our Lives

In every aspect of our lives we have relationships: family, at work, friends, fellow church members, neighbors, school and others. We cultivate those in which we hold value. Other relationships just exist and we do not spend much time in nurturing them. That’s life!

What about with God? Actually, I believe there is a relationship to be built with the God head: God, Jesus the Christ and the Holy Spirit. Absolutely the most significant relationship we can have and develop. How much effort is spent in development and cultivation of our relationship with HIM? Perhaps an hour or two per week sitting in a pew?

This writing is created from three writers; Allen Jackson, Max Lucado and F. LaGard Smith. Each of these men have much to say about our relationship with God.

In his book, Standing Firm, Allen Jackson writes:

“How do you become a participant in the Kingdom of God? Perhaps you think you must have inherited Christian faith from your parents, like your eye color, or because you visit a church on Easter and Christmas and know all the songs. Actually, none of these things make you a part of God’s Kingdom. Unlike other faiths, the Christian faith is intensely personal---the decision to make Jesus Lord of your life is yours alone. It is about your relationship with Jesus of Nazareth. Mr. Jackson asks this question: “Is your relationship with Jesus one you feel you inherited, or is it one you have established yourself?”

He adds in another chapter that the Pharisees and Sadducees were religious but did not recognize the Messiah because he did not fit their preconceived notions. “We too can be outwardly religious and not believe in God. We can sit in church, carry a big Bible, and know every song, and yet have no relationship with Jesus. Let’s examine our hearts to ensure our desire is not to put on a religious show, but to be a friend of Jesus.”

Max Lucado also points to our relationship with God: “God rewards those who seek Him. Not those who seek doctrine of religion or systems or creeds. Many settle for these lesser passions, but the reward goes to those who settle for nothing less than Jesus himself. And what is the reward? What awaits those who seek Jesus? Nothing short of the heart of Jesus.” ― Max Lucado, Just Like Jesus: Learning to Have a Heart Like His

In his book, On the Anvil,  Nr. Lucado writes about Judas, the man who never knew Jesus. “We learn this timeless lesson from the betrayer. Satan’s best tools of destruction are not from outside the church, they are within the church. A church will never die from the immorality in Hollywood or the corruption in Washington. But it will die from corrosion within—from those that bear the name of Jesus but have never met Him, and from those that have religion but no relationship.  Judas bore the cloak of religion, but he never knew the heart of Jesus. Let’s make it our goal to know….deeply.”

In Meeting God In Quiet Places, F. LaGard Smith writes a chapter he labels Nettles. He writes that nettles look so harmless but are quiet prickly. His story is about the rich young man who was unwilling to surrender his possessions to have a relationship with Jesus. Mr. Smith writes: “Surrendering to God is the most difficult decision we will ever make. The prophet Joel reminds us that we are not alone when we face the moment of choosing: ‘multitudes, multitudes in the valley of decision. For the day of the Lord is near in the valley of decision.’ What Joel really means is that most of us live an entire lifetime in the valley of in decision. To surrender or not to surrender---that is the ultimate question of life.”

“Through His complete surrender on the cross, Jesus has already grasped the nettle for us. He has taken away the sting of death. All we need to do is to put our hand in His—to feel the softness of His love and never let go!”

Each writer has written in his own style about the importance of a relationship with Jesus. Jesus the Christ allowed his body and blood to be the sacrifice for our sins so we have the hope of heaven. Why would we not cultivate and develop a relationship with Him? God does not take our relationship with Him lightly so we shouldn’t either!

We spend the majority of our waking life on our relationship with others and so little about Him. If we are not praying, studying and trying to encourage others, our relationship needs improving. Remember that our relationship with Him should be our priority!

Thanks!

Mike   This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Standing Firm – Allen Jackson – 2018 – Intend Publishing – Used with permission

Just Like Jesus - Max Lucado – 1998 – Word Publishing – Used permission

On The Anvil – Max Lucado – 1985 – Tyndale Publishing – Used with permission

Meeting God In Quiet Places- 1992 – Harvest House Publishers – Used with permission

Bold emphasis is mine

 

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SEARCHING FOR A LIGHT - Max Lucado

On the night when Jesus was born, I wonder if Joseph prayed, “Father, this all seems so…bizarre. The angel you sent? Any chance you could send another?”

You’ve stood where Joseph stood. Each of us knows what it’s like to search the night for a light. Not outside a stable, but perhaps outside an emergency room or the manicured grass of a cemetery. We’ve asked our questions. We’ve wondered why God does what he does.

If you’re asking what Joseph asked, let me urge you to do what Joseph did – obey. He didn’t let his confusion disrupt his obedience. What about you? You have a choice: to obey or disobey. Because Joseph obeyed, God used him to change the world. Can he do the same with you? Will you be that kind of person? Will you serve, even when you don’t understand?

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Don’t Let the Old Man In

A friend, Ron, in the Memphis area sends several of his friends emails from time to time with attachments. Most are humorous but this one was very thought provoking.

I admire Clint Eastwood as an actor and a conservative. While making the movie, The Mule,  fellow actor and musician, Toby Keith, asked him how he could remain so active at 88 years old. Eastwood’s reply was “don’t let the old man in”. Keith was so impressed that he wrote a song:

“Don't let the old man in I wanna leave this alone

Can't leave it up to him He's knocking on my door

And I knew all of my life That someday it would end

Get up and go outside Don't let the old man in

Many moons I have lived My body's weathered and worn

Ask yourself how would you be If you didn't know the day you were born

Try to love on your wife And stay close to your friends

Toast each sundown with wine Don't let the old man in

Many moons I have lived My body's weathered and worn

Ask yourself how would you be If you didn't know the day you were born

When he rides up on his horse And you feel that cold bitter wind

Look out your window and smile Don't let the old man in

Look out your window and smile Don't let the old man in”

Application: I’ve let the “old man” in lately. Writing my own thoughts on the blog has become much more difficult. Mental capabilities have diminished. Typing has become a challenge because these old fingers can’t seem to find the correct keys. To copy and paste Max Lucado’s material has become the easy way for the blog. Some are not Lucado fans but he does make me think and can do it in a couple of paragraphs. I do have permission from other writers to use their material but I must type it myself. The blog will use more of their thoughts.

For those who understand the meaning of “don’t let the old man/old woman in “ pray about this daily!

Application: For those of you who have no idea what “don’t let the old man in” means, think in terms of Satan. Every thought and desire he has for us is to not be active for the Lord whether you are young or old so “don’t let Satan in!!”

We need to practice both “don’t let the old man/old woman in” and ”don’t let Satan in”.

Thanks for the email, Ron!

Mike  This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

BTW: This writing drove the “Editor” feature on Microsoft Word nuts.

 

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AS HUMAN AS HE INTENDED TO BE - Max Lucado

From Mike: I admit that it is really difficult to think of Jesus the Christ in the terms that Max describes Him. He's the Son of God who preformed all types of miracles, healed people and raised them from the dead. Max gives Him many of the same human qualities as me. Yet if I don't believe in His human side it's more difficult to think He can understand where I've been and am now. How could He understand if He wasn't as Max describes Him? Maybe it's more irreverent not to see Him as Max describes Him!

"It all happened in a moment, a most remarkable moment. God became a man. Heaven opened herself and placed her most precious one in a human womb."

"Jesus came, not as a flash of light or as an unapproachable conqueror, but as one whose first cries were heard by a peasant girl and a sleepy carpenter. The hands that first held him were un-manicured, calloused, and dirty. For thirty-three years he would feel everything you and I have ever felt. Weak and weary and afraid of failure. His feelings got hurt."

"To think of Jesus in such a light seems almost irreverent. There’s something about keeping him divine that keeps him distant and predictable. But don’t do it. For heaven’s sake, don’t! Let him be as human as he intended to be. Let him into the mire and muck of our world. For only if we let him in can he pull us out"

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GOD’S PLAN FOR HUMANITY - Max Lucado

Excellent thoughts to begin your work week!

"God’s plan for humanity. It was crafted in the halls of heaven and carried out on the plains of earth. Only holiness could have imagined it. Only divinity could have enacted it.  And only righteousness could have endured it."

"When God chose to reveal himself, he did so through a human body. The hand that touched the leper had dirt under its nails. The feet upon which the women wept were calloused and dusty. And his tears—oh, don’t miss his tears. They came from a heart as broken as yours or mine ever has been."

"So people came to him. Not one person was reluctant to approach him for fear of being rejected. Remember that the next time you find yourself amazed at your own failures. Or the next time you hear a lifeless liturgy. Remember, it’s man who creates the distance. It’s Jesus who builds the bridge."

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WORRY DOESN’T WORK - Max Lucado

Another good for those who worry.

"Worry has more questions than answers, more work than energy, and thinks often about giving up. Not enough time, luck, credit, wisdom, intelligence. We’re running out of everything it seems, and so we worry. But worry doesn’t work. You can dedicate a decade of anxious thoughts to the brevity of life and not extend it by one minute. Worry accomplishes nothing."

"God doesn’t condemn legitimate concern for responsibilities, but rather the continuous mindset that dismisses God’s presence. Destructive anxiety subtracts God from the future, tallies up the challenges of the day without entering God into the equation."

"Jesus gives us this challenge: “Your heavenly Father already knows all your needs. Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need” (Matthew 6:32-33 NLT)."

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WHAT TO DO WITH WORRY - Max Lucado

For those of us who worry, we ought to read Max's messaghe every morning before we start our day! A good thought for us!

"Romans 8:32 says, “God did not keep back his own Son, but he gave him for us. If God did this, won’t he freely give us everything else?”

"Take your anxieties to the cross—literally. Next time you’re worried about your health or house or finances or flights, take a mental trip up the hill. Run your thumb over the tip of the spear. Balance a spike in the palm of your hand. Read the wooden sign written in your own language. And as you do, touch the velvet dirt, moist with the blood of God. Blood he bled for you. The spear he took for you. The nails he felt for you. The sign he left for you. He did it all for you. All of this. Knowing this, knowing all he did for you there, don’t you think he will look out for you here?"

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WITH THE ONES WE LOVE - Max Lucado

Holiday travel. It isn’t easy. Then why do we do it? Why cram the trunks and endure the airports? You know the answer. We love to be with the ones we love. The four-year-old running up the sidewalk into the arms of Grandpa. The cup of coffee with Mom before the rest of the house awakes. That moment when, for a moment, everyone is quiet as we hold hands around the table and thank God for family and friends and pumpkin pie. We love to be with the ones we love.

May I remind you? So does God. How else do you explain what he did? Between him and us there was a distance—a great span—and he couldn’t bear it. He couldn’t stand it. So he did something about it. Philippians 2:7 reminds us, “He gave up his place with God and made himself nothing.”

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EXHIBIT THE GLORY OF GOD from Max Lucado

God endows us with gifts so we can make him known. God endues the Olympian with speed, the salesman with savvy, the surgeon with skill. Why? The big answer is to make a big to-do out of God. Brandish him. Herald him. Magnify your maker!

Scripture says, “If anyone speaks, let him speak as the oracles of God. If anyone ministers, let him do it as with the ability which God supplies, that in all things God may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom belong the glory and the dominion for ever and ever. Amen” (1 Peter 4:11).

So exhibit God with your uniqueness. When you magnify your Maker with your strengths, when your contribution enriches God’s reputation, your days grow suddenly sweet!

From Mike: We have too many people in the world today who don't even come close to 1 Peter 4:11 especially our leaders. They seem more interested n glorifying themselves. It's up to us as everyday Christians to make 1 Peter happen! You say that's not your responsibility or that's not your talent. You do not have to be a pulp preacher to minister to others so think about that when it's your turn to stand before God and give an account!

Thanks Mike   This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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God's Grace in Action

Kay and I had a chance to witness God's grace in action yesterday afternoon. We were on I-840 head to Franklin to pickup items she bought at an online auction. About 5 miles from the I-65 exit, a pickup truck pulling a sixteen foot trailer passed us traveling probably 85-90 miles per hour. I pulled out to pass a much slower car placing us about fifty yards behind the trailer when it started weaving. It looked as if the trailer was going to jack knife. I started braking immediately then the trailer broke free from the truck running into the median. It continued through the media into the east bound traffic lanes. The traffic was heavy! Our reaction was to holler NO! It came to rest up against a mound on the other side after crossing both lanes. It was still upright on all four wheels. The trailer hit no car nor did a car hit it. Our stomachs were doing summersaults. The pickup driver was probably stunned!

We were amazed that there was no accident. If there had been a collision, some people would have been seriously hurt maybe even killed. I commented that how that happened without a wreck was amazing. Kay's comment that there was no wreck because of God's grace. We returned home via the same route looking for the trailer and pickup but they were gone.

We both prayed silently the remainder of the trip praising God. The first thing on my mind this morning was God's goodness to all of us on that section of I-840 yesterday afternoon. He is good!

Thanks!

Mike     This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

 

 

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JESUS, HE UNDERSTANDS YOU from Max Lucado

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"Don’t be afraid. God even knows how many hairs are on your head."

"Why did Jesus grow weary in Samaria, disturbed in Nazareth, and angry in the Temple? Why was he sleepy in the boat on the Sea of Galilee, sad at the tomb of Lazarus, and hungry in the wilderness? Why?"

"Why did he endure all these feelings? Because he knew you’d feel them too. He knew you’d be weary, disturbed, and angry. He knew you’d be sleepy, grief-stricken, and hungry."

"He knew you’d face pain. If not the pain of the body, the pain of the soul—pain too sharp for any drug. He knew you’d face thirst.  If not a thirst for water, at least a thirst for truth, and the truth we glean from the image of a thirsty Christ is—he understands. And because he understands, we can come to him!"

From Mike: Max's title of the devotion in many ways is comforting but at the same time is uncomfortable because my heart is not always as it should be. The best thought is that I've not experienced anything that Christ does not understand! He understands because He's been there. He's not going to wave His hand and make it all better but just to know He has God's ear on my behalf causes great hope.

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CONDUCT THAT HONORS CHRIST - Max Lucado

Those who don’t believe in Jesus note what we who believe in Jesus do. They make decisions about Christ by watching us. When we’re kind, they assume Christ is kind. When we’re gracious, they assume Christ is gracious. But when we’re dishonest, what assumption will an observer make about our Master?

No wonder the Apostle Paul says, “Be wise in the way you act with people who are not believers, making the most of every opportunity. When you talk, you should always be kind and pleasant so you will be able to answer everyone in the way you should” (Colossians 4:5-6 NCV).

Courteous conduct honors Christ. It also honors his children. When you make an effort to greet everyone in the room, especially the ones others may have overlooked, you honor God’s children with a love worth giving.

From Mike: Romans 14:12  "So then each one of us will give an account of himself to God." This verse is somewhat confusing to me because God already knows everything. There are two questions He could ask that bother me: Who is a Christian because of you? Who is not a Christian because of you?

Read Colossians 4:5-6 again and think about it.

Thanks!

Mike       This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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Help Is Here from Max Lucado

 

Wonder how many of us the following of us this descibes? Be honest with God and yourself!

Adapted from Help Is Here

“But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.” Acts 1:8 (NKJV)

Somewhere in my midthirties I ran out of fuel.

While serving churches in Miami, Rio de Janeiro, and San Antonio I resolved to study hard, counsel wisely, solve problems, organize committees, and satisfy each cranky member. But after three or four years, I lost my energy. Suddenly I could not sleep. How does a person lose the ability to sleep? When my head hit the pillow my mind would race. I thought of members to be called, decisions to be made. On more than one Sunday morning, I stood before the church having had little, if any, sleep. I was desperate.

In those late-night hours while I was still awake, I would climb out of bed, pad down the stairs, and kneel at our couch and pray. Dejected figure I was. Not Max the pastor. Not Max the church leader. That fellow in the crumpled pajamas was Max the depleted, confused disciple.

My prayers were moans. My faith was a frazzled thread. I couldn’t even summon the energy to fake it. I was honest. Honest to God, I was. Turns out God has a soft spot for an honest prayer.

Little by little I began to sense the Spirit. He led with a kind touch. He wooed with a whisper. Mysterious? By all means. But figment of my imagination? No. Not at all.

I requested strength. He gave it. I asked the Spirit to heal the sick. More than once he did. I prayed for vitality and joy. Both returned.

Why? Because the Holy Spirit comes with power.

Jesus told his disciples, “You shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth” (Acts 1:8 NKJV).

Mark it down. Power. Power to make good choices, keep promises, and silence the inner voices of fear and failure. Power to get out of bed, get on with life, get busy about the right things in the right way. Power to face the unexpected, unwanted passages of time. This is what Jesus promised then, and this is what Jesus promises still.

How is your power level?

Maybe today you find yourself lacking energy, enthusiasm, or strength. Your step has lost its spring; your voice has no song. You want to be a joyful, empowered person, but you are weary from life’s chaos.

Friend, I want to encourage you that the Spirit of God longs to give you His great power. He will guide, teach, and energize you. He will shoulder the burdens you were never intended to carry.

Help is here.

         

Heavenly Father, Thank you for giving me the precious gift of your Holy Spirit. Teach me how to experience the Spirit’s power so that my life is filled with purpose and strength for Your glory. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

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