Philippians 1:12-19 – God Can Use It All

Read Philippians 1:12-19

Holy Spirit stained glass in circle shape

Do you ever feel like you’re the only one that doesn’t have it all together? I know lots of women who confess on social media they are simply a “hot mess” struggling to pull it all together to be a positive influence on their families and in the workplace. Why do we all feel it necessary to put on a good show for the rest of the world? Isn’t it better to just be ourselves, comfortable in our own skin, thankful for what God has provided?

One of my favorite sayings we used often in our Celebrate Recovery ministry over the years was, “God never wastes a hurt.” Think about that one for a moment. God can use everything we experience and make something good out of it. Paul is alluding to this in this passage when he gives credit to how his less than desirable circumstances have helped him spread the Good News!

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Micah 3:1-12 – Boast in the Lord

Read Micah 3:1-12

man shouting praise to God

Micah calls out to the leaders to listen. This message is for them. Leaders include priests and other prophets in charge of telling the people about God’s ways and expectations. It wasn’t like people had their own Bibles sitting on the shelf with everything they needed to know. The people had to rely on their leaders to tell them about God.

These leaders needed a wake-up call. They were more interested in the bribes they’d receive and in supporting themselves rather than relying on God and teaching truth. I know the struggle, even today, for pastors leading churches and feeling like their hands are tied when “big donors” expect their own agendas will be recognized, even when the good of the congregation is the other direction. Interesting comparison.

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Galatians 5:16-26 💜 When the Spirit Takes Control

Read Galatians 5:16-26

Fruit of the Spirit displayed in a tree with various fruit all named, entitled "This Fruit is Always in Season"

I couldn’t help but picture a little devil and a little angel sitting on my shoulder, like the familiar meme. Especially when I read, “these two forces are constantly fighting each other.” It’s true. We are constantly fighting the battle of sin in our lives. Evil can often disguise itself as good, or we can try to explain away our sinfulness.

I hope you’re happy, too, to know that we have a helper in the Holy Spirit. We can be assured that when follow the Holy Spirit’s leading in our life, we will be less likely to stumble into the traps of the evil one.

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Acts 2:1-47 💙 The Church Was Born

Read Acts 2:1-47

Pentecost celebration of church, people, with a dove

To have been in Jerusalem that day when Jesus’ promise was first fulfilled would have been glorious! Albeit a little frightening, I’m sure, for those who didn’t understand what was happening. “They were completely amazed. “How can this be?” they exclaimed.” As soon as the realization hit the disciples, that they were witnessing what Jesus had described to them in our last reading, they were in awe.

Peter was so moved he started preaching! He got their attention using Joel’s fulfilled prophecy to explain what was happening. Of course, he shared with everyone his own testimony of what Jesus had done and how that changed his life! Many people were moved by hearing words they had never heard before. People were encountering Jesus’ Spirit without him being visually present (except in tongues of flames)! The church was born that day!

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John 14:15-29 💛 You Are Not An Orphan

Read John 14:15-29

Friends - two stuffed bears sitting in a field one with the arm around the other

Jesus is not going to leave his disciples (or us) alone as orphans. Our reading today kicks off our new theme of “The Holy Spirit & Prayer.” We see exactly when and where Jesus promises the Holy Spirit to his disciples. It was during his last meal with them. He was dropping a lot of truth bombs on them that night. Jesus was cramming some important stuff into this time with them.

You know how it can be when you’re getting ready to leave after a visit. You think of all the things you wanted to say the whole time but either didn’t find the right time to say or simply ran out of time. Either could be happening here. But clearly the disciples are starting to get a little nervous. The things Jesus was saying that night must have left them with more questions than answers.

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