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Do all things without grumbling or disputing; 15 so that you will prove yourselves to be blameless and innocent, children of God above reproach in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you appear as lights in the world, 16 holding fast the word of life, so that in the day of Christ I will have reason to glory because I did not run in vain nor toil in vain.

-Philippians 2:14-16

One Body -  

This devotional was written by Kelly McFadden

 

The human body has many parts, but the many parts make up only one body. So it is with the body of Christ. 1 Corinthians 12:12

 

Volleyball is a team sport. Many college teams carry a roster of 12-14 players, and only six players from each team can be on the court at a time. Of those positions only one is the setter. A setter is considered the football equivalent of a quarterback. The setter signals plays and acts as the team leader. The point is this: only 1 of 12 players leads the team from the court. Some argue that the setter is the most important player on the court. But, that distinction cannot be made for a team with only a setter would never win. A setter needs a passer to pass the ball and a hitter to hit the ball for the game to be played.

 

A coach once told me that there is a difference between a great player and a great team player. He explained that a great player performs to the highest level of skill, but a great team player helps others around them perform to the top of their capability. A crowd watches and responds to those they see on the court or field. However, there are times a crowd never sees the greatest team player perform. Many times, the best team player is the one who shows up to practice everyday, works as hard as they can, makes everyone around them better, and then cheers from the bench on game day.

 

How can you be a great team player as a Christian?

 

GOING DEEPER:

1. Why is it easier to envy the gifts someone else has been given, than to utilize and grow the ones you have been given?

 

2. Take a moment to write down or think about ways that God has gifted you.  How can you use those gifts to edify the body of Christ and be a great team player?

 

FURTHER READING:

Romans 12:1-6; Ephesians 4:15-16; Colossians 2:19-23

This devotional originally appeared in “HomeWord with Jim Burns” on Crosswalk’s Family Devotional section. For more information about HomeWord with Jim Burns devotionals, please visit us online.

More of HomeWord with Jim Burns: http://www.crosswalk.com/devotionals/homeword/

Never Settle for Mediocrity -  

 

I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. —John 15:5

 

Too many people today settle for second-best in life. Mediocrity is all they put into life, and mediocrity is all they get out of life. Yet Paul said, "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me" (Philippians 4:13 NKJV). He doesn't sound like a person who chooses to be average, and you don't have to be average either.

 

There's a Native American story about a brave who found an eagle's egg and put it into the nest of a prairie chicken. The eaglet hatched with the brood of chicks and grew up with them.

 

All his life the changeling eagle, thinking he was a prairie chicken, did what the prairie chickens did. He scratched in the dirt for seeds and insects to eat. He clucked and cackled. And he flew in a brief thrashing of wings and flurry of feathers no more than a few feet off the ground. After all, that's how prairie chickens were supposed to fly!

 

Years passed, and the changeling eagle grew very old. One day he saw a magnificent bird far above him in the cloudless sky. Hanging with graceful majesty on the powerful wind currents, it soared with scarcely a beat of its strong golden wings.

 

"What a beautiful bird!" said the changeling eagle to his neighbor, "What is it?"

 

"That's an eagle - the chief of the birds," the neighbor clucked. "But don't give it a second thought. You could never be like him."

 

So the changeling eagle never gave it another thought. And it died thinking it was a prairie chicken.*

 

GOING DEEPER:

1. According to John 15:5, how much fruit will a persons life bear who remains in Jesus? What does John mean by "fruit?"

 

2. Sometimes our circumstances cause us to settle for second best in life. Commit to God right now to being open to all He has in store for your life.

 

FURTHER READING:

John 15:16, Galatians 5:22

 

*Anecdote retold from What a Day This Can Be by John Cateior, ed., Director of The Christophers (New York: The Christophers)

Jim Burns is President of HomeWord and Executive Director of the HomeWord Center for Youth and Family @ Azusa Pacific University. Jim speaks to thousands of people around the world each year. He has over 1.5 million resources in print in over 25 languages. Jim’s radio broadcast is heard on over 800 stations a day and heard around the world via podcast at HomeWord.com. 

Some of his recent books include: Faith Conversations for Families; Teenology: The Art of Raising Great Teenagers, Closer: 52 Devotions to Draw Couples Together, Confident Parenting, The Purity Code and Creating an Intimate Marriage. Jim and his wife, Cathy and their three daughters Christy, Rebecca, and Heidi live in Southern California. 

More of Jim Burns: www.homeword.com

One Day at a Time -  

This devotional was written by Jim Liebelt

Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own. —Matthew 6:34

It has been said that there are two days that people worry most about but should actually worry least about: Yesterday and Tomorrow. We worry about yesterday – the mistakes we’ve made and what we would have done differently. Yet, there is nothing we can do to change yesterday. Our worries are wasted.  We also worry about tomorrow – the problems it may bring and the challenges we may face. Yet, we cannot control tomorrow. It is out of our grasp. So again, our worries are wasted.

When we do not waste our worries on yesterday or tomorrow, it frees us to live in the present – today. Today, we are able to make decisions about our life. Today, we can set our course, set off in a direction or alter our course, if necessary. Sure, we will still make our share of mistakes. And, we will still have worries. Each day brings enough to be concerned about. Still, seldom are life’s concerns unbearable today. Our worries become unbearable when we add the wasted worries of yesterday and tomorrow.

Jesus instructs us to live one day at a time. He knew that so much of what we worry about is out of our control. He wanted us to understand that God gives us today. And, as we live our lives seeking Him, we are in a safe place. Jesus promises that our heavenly Father will provide us with everything we need.

When I’m tempted to worry about any of life’s concerns, I find that it helps to remind myself of the many times I’ve given in to worry – and how things never came to pass as I had feared – which is actually the vast majority of the time!

Do your best to live today – just one day at a time! And, when you find yourself tempted to worry, remind yourself of Jesus’ words, “Your heavenly Father knows all your needs, and he will give you all you need from day to day if you live for him and make the Kingdom of God your primary concern.” (Matthew 6:32-33, NLT)

 

GOING DEEPER

1. What do you find yourself worrying about more, yesterday or tomorrow?

2. How can Jesus’ words about living a life of seeking God and living one day at a time help you in your struggle about worry?

 

READING FURTHER

Psalm 118:24; Matthew 6:25-34; Philippians 4:6

This devotional originally appeared in “HomeWord with Jim Burns” on Crosswalk’s Family Devotional section. For more information about HomeWord with Jim Burns devotionals, please visit us online.

More of HomeWord with Jim Burns: http://www.crosswalk.com/devotionals/homeword/

GOD IN EVERYTHING -  

BY MRS. CHARLES COWMAN

"It is the Lord: let him do what seemeth him good". -1 Sam. 3:18


See God in everything, and God will calm and color all that thou dost see!" It may be that the circumstances of our sorrows will not be removed, their condition will remain unchanged; but if Christ, as Lord and Master of our life, is brought into our grief and gloom, "HE will compass us about with songs of deliverance." To see HIM, and to be sure that His wisdom cannot err, His power cannot fail, His love can never change; to know that even His direst dealings with us are for our deepest spiritual gain, is to be able to say, in the midst of bereavement, sorrow, pain, and loss, "The Lord gave, and the Lord hath, taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord." 

Nothing else but seeing God in everything will make us loving and patient with those who annoy and trouble us. They will be to us then only instruments for accomplishing His tender and wise purposes toward us, and we shall even find ourselves at last inwardly thanking them for the blessings they bring us. Nothing else will completely put an end to all murmuring or rebelling thoughts.--H. W. Smith. 


"Give me a new idea," I said, 

While musing on a sleepless bed; 

"A new idea that'll bring to earth 

A balm for souls of priceless worth; 

That'll give men thoughts of things above, 

And teach them how to serve and love, 

That'll banish every selfish thought, 

And rid men of the sins they've fought." 


The new thought came, just how, I'll tell: 

'Twas when on bended knee I fell, 

And sought from HIM who knows full well 

The way our sorrow to expel. 

SEE GOD IN ALL THINGS, great and small, 

And give HIM praise whate'er befall, 

In life or death, in pain or woe, 

See God, and overcome thy foe. 


I saw HIM in the morning light, 

HE made the day shine clear and bright; 

I saw HIM in the noontide hour, 

And gained from HIM refreshing shower. 

At eventide, when worn and sad, 

HE gave me help, and made me glad. 

At midnight, when on tossing bed 

My weary soul to sleep HE led. 


I saw HIM when great losses came, 

And found HE loved me just the same. 

When heavy loads I had to bear, 

I found HE lightened every care. 

By sickness, sorrow, sore distress, 

HE calmed my mind and gave me rest. 

HE'S filled my heart with gladsome praise 

Since I gave HIM the upward gaze. 


'Twas new to me, yet old to some, 

This thought that to me has become 

A revelation of the way 

We all should live throughout the day; 

For as each day unfolds its light, 

We'll walk by faith and not by sight. 

Life will, indeed, a blessing bring, 

If we SEE GOD IN EVERYTHING." 

--A. E. Finn


The public domain version of this classic devotional is the unabridged edition of Streams in the Desert.

Devotions.org, a division of Back to Bible has a daily source of devotions to keep you in touch with God and His word, written by some of today's top authors and Bible teachers. Browse the variety of resources completely on their website. 

More of Devotions.Org: http://www.backtothebible.org/devotions

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