Archive for the ‘Devotional’ Category

Freedom from Busyness

April 27, 2011
It seems like everyone today lives extremely busy lives.  I once read a quote that 
said, “Many of us are so busy that if God wanted to speak to us, He would have to 
leave a message on our answering machine.”  As Christians, we often talk about 
“running our race,” but I do not think that God meant for us to run our race at 100 
miles an hour.  We get so caught up and become entangled in all of the things we 
feel like we need to do that we tend to become overly busy.

It would be unwise to think that we are best serving God by “constant activity at the 
cost of headaches and broken rest.”  The main focus of our labor should be to maintain 
unbroken communication with our Lord and Savior; then we will have entire rest, God 
abiding in us, and everything we do will not be ours, but His.

Most of us today run in the fast lane of life.  Our days are filled with school , work, or 
any number of other events and activities that keep us busy. When we try to run our 
Christian race consumed with so much busyness, it is like trying to run a marathon at 
full speed with heavy weights strapped all over our bodies.  We need to examine the 
bulky weight of constant busyness, otherwise we will have difficulty finishing our 
race.  The weights we carry are not always sin, they are just things that hinder us 
from our relationship with God - even to the point of taking place of Him. 

Our ultimate goal needs to be to run our race in a way that will win the prize God 
already has picked out for us.  Philippians 3:14 says, “I press on toward the goal to 
win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.”  Paul, an 
apostle of Jesus Christ who is arguably the most influential Christian of the early 
Church and wrote no less than thirteen books of the Biblical New Testament, says 
nothing here about finishing first or accomplishing more than everyone else.  In this 
passage, Paul is keeping his “eyes on the prize.”  Everything he is doing is for God.  
Paul also says in Galatians 1:10, “Am I now trying to win the approval of men, or of 
God?  Or am I trying to please men?  If I were still trying to please men, I would not 
be a servant of Christ.”  It is human nature to want to please men - to be a 
“people-pleaser.”  By doing that, we often become overly busy and are unable to be 
a servant of Christ because we simply do not have time.  Our ultimate goal needs to 
be to please our perfect Lord, not the sinful people we live around; even if what we 
are doing to please those people is a “good thing.”

In the story of Mary and Martha (Luke 10:38-42), Jesus said that Mary had chosen 
what was “better.”  Mary chose to sit, listen, and rest at Jesus’ feet while Martha let 
the busyness of all that she felt she needed to get done overrun her and cause her 
to not spend time with her Lord.

In order to keep our priorities straight, we need to identify what things are in our lives 
that we “treasure.”  Matthew 6:21 says,  “For where your treasure is, there your 
heart will be also.”  If our hearts and our priorities lay with material things or earthly 
relationships, we are putting those things before God and it is slowing us down in the 
race we are running for Christ.  We are reminded of this in Colossians 3:1-3.  “Since, 
then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ 
is seated at the right hand of God.  Set your minds on things above, not on earthly 
things.  For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God.”  Are our hearts set 
on things above?  A youth pastor from northern Utah once spoke at a summer camp I 
was attending and said something that really challenged me.  He said to ask ourselves 
these questions: “What is stopping me from allowing God to be first in my life?”  And, 
“Am I willing to let go of it?”  These simple questions have stuck with me and continue 
to challenge me today.  Things that stop or hinder us from putting God first can be 
anything that takes up our time.  Work, school, sports; or something less obvious like 
bitterness towards someone, worrying, or being anxious.  We can discipline our busy lives 
by making our time with God the top priority.  We need to learn that it is okay to say “no” 
in order to not become overly busy.  A really important skill for us all to remember is to pray 
for God to give us wisdom to help balance our lives.  In Colossians 1:9-12, Paul’s guidance 
for living in dependence upon the Lord is to grow in the knowledge of God and be 
strengthened with God’s power.  Doing this will produce great endurance, patience, and 
giving joyful thanks to our Father.  We need to be sensitive and walk with the Spirit so 
we can recognize the weights in our lives.  When we recognize them, we have to be 
willing to throw those other “important priorities” overboard.

1 Corinthians 3:10-13 tells us that our foundation, Jesus Christ, is already laid.  Our job 
is to build on that foundation.  Will we choose to build using gold, silver, and costly 
stones - which represent the things we do that have outcomes that stand the test of 
time last for eternity?  Or will we use wood, hay, and straw - things that are easily 
broken, damaged, rotted, or blown away?  Is what we are doing now going to matter for 
eternity?  The Bible promises that our work will be shown for what it is, because the Day 
(with a capitol “D”) will bring it to light. It will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test 
the quality of each person’s work.  The Bible clearly tells us what we should be putting 
our efforts into.  1 Corinthians 15:58.  "Therefore, my dear brothers, 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.”

Someone observed that Jesus was never in a hurry.  His life emphasizes the importance 
of taking time to be with His Father.  Jesus often went to places by himself to pray and 
spend time with God (Luke 5:15-16).  I think that the reason He did this was to set an 
example for us.  If Jesus, who is God Himself, places so much importance on time spent 
alone with God, then we should most definitely make that a priority in our lives as well.  
God tells us to rest in Him.  How can we rest if we are always running to keep up the 
pace of our busy schedules?  We need not only physical rest, which is important, but we 
also need inner rest - the peace and refreshment that only comes from the Lord.  God’s 
rest can be ours if we will abide in Him and stay active in His business and not our 
busyness.  The main goal of Christianity is not the work we do, but the relationship we 
maintain with our Lord.

Author Charles E. Hummel said, “When we stop to evaluate, we realize that our dilemma 
goes deeper than shortage of time; it is basically the problem of priorities. … We sense 
uneasily that we may have failed to do the important. The winds of other people’s 
demands have driven us onto a reef of frustration.  We confess, quite apart from our 
sins, ‘We have left undone those things which we ought to have done; and we have done 
those things which we ought not to have done.’”

A big “red flag” that we are too busy is when we are not spending enough time, or we are 
too tired to spend real, personal time with our Savior.  Quality time with Christ does not 
happen when we half-heartedly skim through a chapter of God’s Word at  the end of our 
day after realizing that we haven’t had a chance to read our Bible yet.  Reading God’s Word 
just so we can simply say that we have done our devotions for the day is not what we 
need for having true peace in our sometimes overly-hectic lives.

God tells us in Matthew 11:28-30, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and 
I will give you rest.  Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble 
in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.  For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”  
God WANTS to give us rest in Him, all we have to do is come.  If we are too busy to come 
to Him, then we are not making God our number one priority and we are going to be running 
ragged - guaranteed.

God is very clear in telling us that it is better to have a little of His rest than a whole lot of 
all the busyness that the world has to offer.  Ecclesiastes 4:6 simply states, “Better one 
handful with tranquility than two handfuls with toil and chasing after the wind.”  Freedom 
from busyness comes from making Jesus Christ not only a priority, but the priority of our 
entire life.  When we spend time with Him every day, we will find rest in Him and grow closer 
to Him.  When we seek His guidance in our lives, we will be less busy with the things in our 
life that do not matter for eternity.  We will find that when we put Him first, we still have time 
for everything else.  There is an object lesson that I have seen done many times that perfectly 
illustrates this:

A clear glass that represents our individual lives.  Filling up about three-quarters of the glass 
with sand represents all of the stuff that we do that make us busy; family, friends, work, 
school, sports, music, obligations, volunteer work, other things you have committed to doing, 
and so on - all “good” things to do, but all take up time.  We tend to put these things first in 
our day and in our lives, leaving only a little room to spend time with our Lord.  There is also 
an identical glass filled with rocks that you also try to squeeze in to your “life.”  These rocks 
represent the Rock - Jesus Christ.  Every rock you put in represents the time you spend with 
your Maker - prayer time, reading your Bible, going to church, and so on.  As you try to 
squeeze all of the rocks into the glass that represents your life, you quickly realize that there 
is no way to get all the rocks in on top of the sand.  Our life is going to overflow and become 
a mess.  The sand - our busyness - has taken up too much room in our lives and we no longer 
have time for Jesus because we put our other priorities first.  The amazing part of this object 
lesson comes next.  You empty your “life” and fill it first to the very top with the rocks, 
putting Jesus first, and then put in the sand, the things that fill our daily schedules, in.  
Miraculously, everything fits!  Even though it is the same amount of sand and rocks that you 
tried to fit into the glass the first time, when you switch the order and put the rocks in before 
the sand, everything fits perfectly.  This beautifully illustrates the way our lives work as well.  
When we put our time with God first and fill up on Him, everything else that we still need to 
get done during the day still gets accomplished.  In my own experience, when I fill up on God 
first, I often get even more done than I normally would otherwise.  It is impossible for us to get 
everything done and then have time for God.  But when we put God first and then do everything 
else that we know we have to get done in the day, we get the time we need with God that 
allows us to be at rest from our busyness in Him.  Everything else still gets done, and there is 
often even a little room left over.  We are not “spilling over” in busyness because God was first 
on our priority list over all the other earthly things.  God will take care of our time needs when we 
put Him ahead of our own schedules and agendas.  Our time with God should be number one, and 
even after that, all the other things we do should be for God and with God in mind.  Colossians 
3:17, 23.  “And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, 
giving thanks to God the Father through him.  Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as 
working for the Lord, not for men.”

Once we identify what it is that is keeping us from making God our first priority, we can let go of 
it…as long as we are willing.  In Christ alone, we can be freed from busyness and have rest in Him.  
We can run our race without all the weight of our worldly priorities that so often get in our way.  
What is it that is keeping you from making God first in your life - as He should be?  Are you willing 
to let go of it in order to get your priorities straight and have Jesus Christ first in your life and have 
God’s freedom from busyness?   

Hugs and Prayers,
Kendra Allison

Road Block

May 8, 2009

Hi everyone!  This is a post from my personal blog…I hope you not only enjoy it, but that you can apply it to your life as a Christian.

I’ve totally hit a “road-block!” I have 6 different sites on the bottom of my screen (2 e-mails, this blog, facebook, a different blog, and the Rebelution site), but I don’t know what to do. My brain feels like mush. I’m having to type and re-type because my fingers won’t “say” what I want them to “say” the first time they hit the computer keyboard. I think that sometimes our spiritual life, our walk with Christ, is like that. We know that there is a lot that we can do. We know that we have our “6 different sites on the bottom of our screens” (praying, reading the Bible, talking with someone about Christ, etc.), but we just don’t know what to do. We can’t think or feel, but yet somehow we manage to keep living life. There isn’t always a reason for feeling numb, it just happens sometimes. We get busy with our lives, our friends, school, and all the things that “have to get done.” We spend ourselves on what we think is important and totally exhaust and stress ourselves out, but totally forget to leave time for what and Who is truly the most important to spend our time on. Everyone says, “We need to find/make time for God,” but I’m here to tell you that that statement is just not true!!! We don’t need to make time for God, our almighty Creator who should be the most important in our lives, we need to make time for all the other things in life. We need to put God first and then worry about the other things that need to get done in our lives. When we “exhaust ourselves” and “spend all our time” on Christ, like we should, everything else is just going to fall into place. We’re going to have time to study, read books, check our e-mail, do missions projects, and hang out with friends if we put Jesus first! That’s a guarantee!!! But it’s not guarantee that you’ll “have time” for your Savior if you push Him to the end of your day. When you meet Him face to face, do you want to stand there knowing that you should and could have “made more time” for the One who died for you so that you could have everlasting life, or do you want to hear Jesus say, “Well done, my good and faithful servant”? Put Jesus first today!

I hope that this all makes sence to you, readers. I felt that I needed to blog what was on my heart…even if I’m not totally functioning mentally because of the busy day! I admit to you that I failed in putting Jesus Christ first in my life today, but I will tomorrow, and I hope you will too!

Hugs and Prayers,

Kendra Allison

Love of Christ

March 10, 2009

Romans 8:38-39 “For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of Christ Jesus our Lord.”

This is such an amazing passage.  Paul wrote this in a letter with words that are God-inspired.  Paul is truly convinced that, in a word, NOTHING can keep or separate us from the love of Christ Jesus, our Lord.

The world tries to separate us.  The world tells us that there was never really a love to separate us from.  The world brain-washes us into thinking that we got here by a “big bang,” or just by random chance; resulting in accomplishing their main goal: to rip us away from Christ and His enduring love.

Paul states that, “neither death…life…angels…demons…present…future…powers…height…dept…nor anything else in all of creation will be able to separate us from the love of Christ…”  This is a bold statement, and Paul is right.  Nothing can separate us because God, the Creator, has made us, His creations.  We are His children.  We can see His love in our everyday life by looking at what He’s done in the world to make it perfect for us.  He pays attention to the details and supplies us in all our needs through nature and other aspects of His wonderful creation.

God made both angels and demons.  He controls how much they’re allowed to affect us.  There is no angel or demon that can do anything to keep us from Jesus’s free gift of grace and love.

We can’t have a present without it being God’s will; and without a present, there is no future.

There is no power on earth, such as fortune tellers; mediums; phisycs; wiches; or wisards that can possibly do anything to us without it being in God’s holy and perfect plan.

Romans 8:31b “If God is for us, who can be against us?” You can’t soar to the heights of Heavin without accepting God’s gift to you.  It’s because Jesus loved us so much that we’re even able to came to God and say, “yes” to the incredible gift that is being offered to us by our Heavenly Father.

John 3:16 “For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him will not perish, but have everlasting life.” But even if you choose to not accept Christ’s gift, and choose to go into the depths of Hell, you are still loved.  It’s because of God’s love that you even have the freedome to choose whether or not to take His FREE gift of Salvation.  Nothing on this earth can keep us from the forgivness of our loving Savior.

Jesus Christ is waiting for you to say “yes” to Him.  His love for you is a gift that will always be offered.

Revelation 3:20 “Here I am!  I stand at the door and knock.  If anyone hears My voice and opens the doors, I will come in…”

When we die, we’re going to see Jesus, whether we’re ready and willing or not.  Have you accepted His love and Salvation from sin?  Jesus Christ bore our sins on the Cross, and by his blood, we are cleansed.  He’s waiting, and He’s ready for you to come home to Him.

Hugs and Prayers,

Kendra Allison

Those were my nails.

December 24, 2008

“Those were my nails, it was my crown, that pierced Your hands, and Your brow.  Those were my thorns, those were my scorns, those were my tears that fell down.  And just as you said it would be, You did it all for me.  After You counted the cost, You took my shame, and my blame on my cross.”

Those words are from the song, “On my Cross (Those Were My Nails)” by FFH.  I can honestly say that those words not only make up my favorite song, but that that song is so far the only song that I’ve cried over because it got me thinking about how great our God is, and how much He gave for us.  He gave His sinless, perfect life for us…just a bunch of rotten sinners that don’t stand a chance of getting to the gates of Heaven without the power of the Almighty LORD.  Even when we try our best to “be good,” it’s not enough.  “…all of our righteous acts are like filthy rags.” Isaiah 64:6b Filthy rags!  I won’t go into detail about what that means, but trust me…it’s pretty disgusting!

We have to realize that we don’t get ourselves into Heaven.  Christ Jesus took our punishment on the cross so that all we have to do is accept His FREE gift of Salvation and Eternal Life!  “For God so loved the world, that He gave His one and only Son, so that whoever believes in Him will not perish, but have eternal life.”  John 3:16 He’s offering it, so take it.  There are no strings attached.  There is nothing that you are required to do, or are even capable of doing to get you into Heaven.  “For all have sinned, and fall short of the glory of God.” Romans 3:23 If you really. truly think about what God has done for us, there will probably be tears and great rejoicing.  Take for yourself the gift of Salvation, and then tell everyone you meet about the amazing thing that has been done for you!  You would tell everyone about the cure for cancer if you had it, so why not tell everyone you know about the cure for Hell?

Thank You, Jesus, that You have taken the punishment for all the sinful things that we’ve done, all the dirty thoughts that we’ve had, and and actions that we take only in our hearts.  Please help us all to realize who You truly are.  Thank You for loving us, even when we’re unlovable.  “God demonstrates His love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” Romans 5:8 Thank You for taking from us the nails through Your hands and Your feet, the spear through Your side, the flogging, and crown of thorns on the cross.  Thank You for giving us an amazing gift that we don’t deserve.  You are such a great and awesome God!  In You Holy Name, Amen

Hugs and Prayers,

Kendra Allison

Thankfulness

December 2, 2008

Though the Thanksgiving holiday season is over, it is important to remember that every season is a season to give thanks. Here are a few meditations on the topic of thanksgiving.

God commands us to give thanks. “See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise… Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ…” (Eph. 5:15,20)

Give thanks always, for all things. This commandment could be repeated a thousand times and still be as powerful. It is difficult, but a good habit is to just thank God as you go about your daily business. But we cannot only thank Him for what we see as good, but we must thank Him for all things. “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are called according to his purpose.” (Rom. 8:28) Sometimes it is hard for me to give thanks for things that trouble me. But I need to!

To love God is to thank Him. This is for a couple of reasons. First, God commands us to thank him: “If ye love me, keep my commandments.” (John 14:15) Thus to love God is to keep His commandments, and to keep his commandments is to thank Him! Secondly, don’t you think God wants to be thanked? Do you want to be thanked? Surely we all do, and so does God. So let us show God our love for Him by thanking Him for all his many blessings.

Thankfulness does us a lot of good. In my life God has shown me that depression is always selfishness. If I am feeling down, I had better check and see if I am being selfish! What is the best way to get out of selfishness? Thankfulness is! How can we be stuck in our conceit and foolish discontentedness when we sincerely look at all that God has done for us? “O taste and see that the Lord is good…” (Psalm 34:8) And God has done so very much for each and every one of us. If you cannot think of anything else, think about the salvation that the Lord so freely offers!

One more thought on how thankfulness does us good. If someone kept knocking on your door day after day asking for things, would you like it? Probably not. Now let’s say that you are a very generous person (and we are called to be), and again and again give to this person. In turn they smile and walk away; or even worse, they take the gift they wanted so from out of your hands, frown, and then walk away depressed. Within the last few weeks I have found myself doing this same thing. Should God keep giving us what we want if we don’t even take the time to show appreciation? No: “And whatsoever we ask, we receive of him, because we keep his commandments, and do those things that are pleasing in his sight.” (1 John 3:22) In short, we need to thank God because otherwise He might just decide to stop giving us what we ask for!

Thankfulness is thus extremely important. My challenge is for us to develop an attitude that is thankful always in all things, and to develop a habit to give thanks constantly and consistently. God bless!

In Christ,

~ Anthony H.

Weekly devotional number 1

November 13, 2008

Levi says:

This is the first of our weekly devotionals. I have the privilege of giving it this week. Now when I say something, you be sure to search the scripture and ask God if it is true. Too many people read or listen to something and never even imagine that it might be false. God wants us to search the Scripture and see if what they’re saying is true.

Knowing by fruits

Take a look at these verses, and read them carefully:

Mathew 7:15 Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves. 16 Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles? 17Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit. 18 A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit. 19Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire. 20 Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them. 21Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. 22 Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? 23 And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.   Luke 3:9And now also the axe is laid unto the root of the trees: every tree therefore which bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire.

I’m going to bring up something quite shocking. But realize its not just what I’m saying that’s shocking, its how I’m interpreting the scripture. It says “Ye shall know them by there fruits.” There are so many churches and youth groups out there that have bad trees. The people look like the world, act like the world, and do the same things the world does. They watch the same movies, listen to the same music, wear the same clothes. When you ask if they’re saved they say “Of course, I said a prayer.” Let’s examine that and see how that compares to what the Bible says. The holy scripture says, “A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit”. If those “Christians” are truly a good trees then they have to have good fruit. There is no two ways about it.

So how do you know if yourself or someone else is truly saved? In my way of seeing it, you have to believe in Jesus Christ to forgive your sins and repent, after that you need spend your life abiding in Him. How do you know that you’ve believed? By looking at your fruits. If you’ve truly believed it will show in your life. What changes have a occurred because of getting saved? Of course we know Christians sin. The Bible tells us that if you say you aren’t sinning your lying. But a true Christian will let God convict him of his sin and repent. Some people say they’ve got God, but they don’t show any signs of Him. That is like a business man coming into a meeting at his office. He wears a nice trim suit and his hair is perfectly in place, but he’s half an hour late. He was supposed to be the speaker. He says to the other men, “Sorry I’m late. You see, I was driving down the highway when I got a flat. I pulled to the side of the road and started to change it. But then all of a sudden a Mack truck veered into me and smacked me twenty feet to the side of the road. I then finished putting the tire on.” If a man said something like that, the others would think he’s ludicrous. He would be one of two things, lying or crazy. That is how it is with God! If you say that you’ve met with God who is infinitely bigger than any semi, how could you possibly not be radically changed?

Some people get saved over and over rededicating their life to Christ. Does that sound biblical? Others wonder if they’re actually saved, so someone will ask, “Did you pray a prayer one time?” or “Did you write down when you prayed?” Does that sound biblical? When does the bible say pray a prayer and you will be saved. No! It says believe. How do you know if you believe? You shall know them by their fruits. There are so many people out their that go to church and Sunday school. But when you look at their life, their fruits are the same as their roots.

What does all of this mean? It means there are a lot of “Christians” who are still lost. God will say, “Depart from me for I never knew you.” This widely broadens our mission field.
Think about what I’ve said, pray and believe. If you want to hear more, the majority of this was taken from this message: http://www.godtube.com/view_video.php?viewkey=19fd9c84c942a08316e0. I would strongly encourage watching it (even though it’s really long).

God Bless