4/19/15: Why Go to Church?

•April 19, 2015 • Leave a Comment

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We hear Hebrews 10:25 preached to us all the time, admonishing us to go to church. “Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching” (NKJ). Okay, that’s fine, but why? Other than the fact that this verse says I should go (which should be enough of a reason to do anything – because the Bible tells me to), what’s the big deal about going to church? Why can’t I just stay home and glorify God? I can read my Bible. I can do Bible studies. I can even watch preachers on TV. Why do I need to physically go to church?

As with all the Bible, verses don’t stand in isolation from the other verses around them. Let’s look back a few verses and pick up the context of Hebrews 10:25. Chapter ten begins by giving an explanation of how the old covenant, with its many sacrifices, was just a shadow of the new covenant, now ratified by the one marvelous, atoning sacrifice of Jesus. Since we can now enter into this new and living way thanks to Jesus Christ, our high priest, let’s live in accordance to it. Here’s how we do it:

  1. Verse 22: “Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith…” We live this new life in Christ by drawing near to God with a true and sincere heart.
  2. Verse 23: “Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering…” We live this new life in Christ by holding fast to what we believe without being tossed to and fro by every wind of doctrine.
  3. Verse 24: “And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works.” We live this new life in Christ by admonishing others to love and participate in good works.

The command in verse 25 concerning going to church comes on the heels of verses 22 – 24. We draw near to God by hearing the Word taught on a regular basis by someone we know and trust, and to whom we have committed the care and nurturing of our soul – our local pastor. We hold fast to the confession of our hope by being in constant fellowship with other believers who can encourage us through our ups and downs. And we can only consider one another to stir them up toward love and good works if we are around other believers. We are able to draw near, hold fast, and stir up as we assemble ourselves together.

No more excuses. The next time the church doors are open for service or Bible study, be there.

____________________________

©2015 Sharon Norris Elliott. Feel free to forward this devotion in its entirety, including this copyright line. Leave comments, ask questions, read past devotions, or subscribe to receive these devotions daily in your e-mail at www.sanewriter.wordpress.com. Also, periodically check in at www.LifeThatMatters.net to see what’s going on in the ministry.

ANNOUNCEMENT: Get ready to watch The Holy Spirit Broadcasting Network’s new internet TV show Life That Matters with Sharon Norris Elliott from any internet-connected device at http://www.HSBN.tv.

Pick up a copy of Sharon’s newest release,

Why I Get Into Trouble

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Here’s the link to our eStore: https://www.createspace.com/5131814

Also still available:

Boomerangs to Arrows: A Godly Guide for Launching Young Adult Children

Boomerangs FrontCover

available from Judson Press (http://www.judsonpress.com/product.cfm?product_id=17387),

Video link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f2JH_gbinMk

Power Suit: The Armor of God Fit for the Feminine Frame

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from New Hope Publishers (http://www.newhopedigital.com/2010/08/power-suit/)

4/18/15: God Has No Grandchildren

•April 18, 2015 • Leave a Comment

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One of my Biola professors once said, “God has no grandchildren.” What he meant by that was everyone must come into a personal relationship with God for himself or herself. We must interact with God as our Father and we as His children. Every generation with God is the first generation.

I thought of this as I read Judges, chapters one and two. It took only one generation before the children of Israel were utterly disobeying God. They were not driving out all the old inhabitants of the land, which led to their intermingling with them and taking on their habits, the worse of which was worshipping their gods. Judges 2:10-12 says:

  • 10 When all that generation had been gathered to their fathers, another generation arose after them who did not know the LORD nor the work which He had done for Israel.
  • 11 Then the children of Israel did evil in the sight of the LORD, and served the Baals;
  • 12 and they forsook the LORD God of their fathers, who had brought them out of the land of Egypt; and they followed other gods from among the gods of the people who were all around them, and they bowed down to them; and they provoked the LORD to anger. (NKJ)

Because the folks of the new generation had not experienced God for themselves, they easily slid away from Him. That taught me that the development of my faith is a function of trusting God for myself. I must get to junctures at which no one can help me but God. As the saying goes, “I won’t know that God is all I need until God is all I’ve got.”

We hinder our children when we don’t allow them to lean on God for their needs, their rescue, and their advancement. Perhaps we are helping to raise a generation who is leaving the Lord because we keep trying to provide for them that which only God can provide. It’s difficult, but there comes a time to allow our children to work out their own salvation, to work on their own testimony. Do our children know God for themselves, or is He more like a grandfather to them – someone their parents knew well, but who is removed and seen as the guy who comes by to dole out money every now and then? A child who knows the Lord for himself – as his own Father – will come to please God with his entire life.

____________________________

©2015 Sharon Norris Elliott. Feel free to forward this devotion in its entirety, including this copyright line. Leave comments, ask questions, read past devotions, or subscribe to receive these devotions daily in your e-mail at www.sanewriter.wordpress.com. Also, periodically check in at www.LifeThatMatters.net to see what’s going on in the ministry.

ANNOUNCEMENT: Get ready to watch The Holy Spirit Broadcasting Network’s new internet TV show Life That Matters with Sharon Norris Elliott from any internet-connected device at http://www.HSBN.tv.

Pick up a copy of Sharon’s newest release,

Why I Get Into Trouble

Trouble-copy-2

Here’s the link to our eStore: https://www.createspace.com/5131814

Also still available:

Boomerangs to Arrows: A Godly Guide for Launching Young Adult Children

Boomerangs FrontCover

available from Judson Press (http://www.judsonpress.com/product.cfm?product_id=17387),

Video link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f2JH_gbinMk

Power Suit: The Armor of God Fit for the Feminine Frame

Power Suit Cover

from New Hope Publishers (http://www.newhopedigital.com/2010/08/power-suit/)

4/17/15: Man Up

•April 17, 2015 • 1 Comment

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When Joshua took over as leader of the Israelite people after Moses’ death, in God’s opening charge to him, four times God said, “Be courageous” (Joshua 1:6, 7, 9, and 18). In essence, God told Joshua, “Man up!” Joshua did. In chapter 23, at the end of Joshua’s life, he hasn’t forgotten how following God’s admonition had served him well. He reminds the people that it has been God who has fought for them, conquered the land, and brought them into their inheritance. “Therefore,” he tells them, “be very courageous to keep and to do all that is written in the Book of the Law…”.

You see, the courage was not in facing the enemy and conquering territory; the courage was in standing firm in obedience to God. As the children of Israel were obedient to do things God’s way, He fought their battles. Their enemies may have looked threatening, the armies strong, the weapons mighty, but that wasn’t their concern. The courage came in believing what God said in spite of what their eyes saw.

It’s the same for us. All God requires is our obedience in the face of whatever He places before us. God fights for us, conquers the lands He wants us to inhabit, and brings us into our inheritance. No matter how threatening the enemy looks, how strong the forces seem, or how mighty the weaponry against us appears, that’s not to be our concern. We simply must believe God and obey Him in spite of what our eyes see. We’ve got to man up! That’s showing courage. God’s well able to handle the rest.

____________________________

©2015 Sharon Norris Elliott. Feel free to forward this devotion in its entirety, including this copyright line. Leave comments, ask questions, read past devotions, or subscribe to receive these devotions daily in your e-mail at www.sanewriter.wordpress.com. Also, periodically check in at www.LifeThatMatters.net to see what’s going on in the ministry.

ANNOUNCEMENT: Get ready to watch The Holy Spirit Broadcasting Network’s new internet TV show Life That Matters with Sharon Norris Elliott from any internet-connected device at http://www.HSBN.tv.

Pick up a copy of Sharon’s newest release,

Why I Get Into Trouble

Trouble-copy-2

Here’s the link to our eStore: https://www.createspace.com/5131814

Also still available:

Boomerangs to Arrows: A Godly Guide for Launching Young Adult Children

Boomerangs FrontCover

available from Judson Press (http://www.judsonpress.com/product.cfm?product_id=17387),

Video link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f2JH_gbinMk

Power Suit: The Armor of God Fit for the Feminine Frame

Power Suit Cover

from New Hope Publishers (http://www.newhopedigital.com/2010/08/power-suit/)

4/15/15: Recyclable Blessings

•April 15, 2015 • 1 Comment

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Joshua 17 – 18 talks about the Promised Land being divided up among the tribes of the children of Israel. Luke 12:1-31 records Jesus talking about not worrying about material things. As shown to the Israelites in Old Testament times, and as spoken to His followers in the first century, be it land, food, or clothing, God is perfectly able to provide everything we need.

In response to these readings, I surveyed my life and was compelled to stop and thank God for all the ways He provides for me. He sent me my husband, He provided me with my job, He blessed me with children and grand-children, and He gave me my gifts that are now providing me with opportunities to bless others.

That’s the coolest part of receiving from God; He gives us recyclable blessings. Everything that comes from God has potential to be given by the recipient to someone else.

  • My mom taught me to sew. I designed and made the nursery bedding and curtains for my boys’ nursery. Other women saw my nursery, and that sewing gift from my mother became my New Blessings Interiors business that designed nurseries for other children.
  • My grandmother started me taking piano lessons. I learned well enough to accompany several children’s choirs over the years. Later, I began to compose praise music and Christian children’s musicals.
  • My father and mother encouraged in me a love for books and now I write them in several different genres.

When it comes to God’s provisions, everything He gives can be reimagined and passed back as a blessing, an encouragement, a service, and some enlightenment for someone else. When it comes to the gifts God has given, be a pipeline, not a dam.

____________________________

©2015 Sharon Norris Elliott. Feel free to forward this devotion in its entirety, including this copyright line. Leave comments, ask questions, read past devotions, or subscribe to receive these devotions daily in your e-mail at www.sanewriter.wordpress.com. Also, periodically check in at www.LifeThatMatters.net to see what’s going on in the ministry.

ANNOUNCEMENT: Get ready to watch The Holy Spirit Broadcasting Network’s new internet TV show Life That Matters with Sharon Norris Elliott from any internet-connected device at http://www.HSBN.tv.

Pick up a copy of Sharon’s newest release,

Why I Get Into Trouble

Here’s the link to our eStore: https://www.createspace.com/5131814

Also still available:

Boomerangs to Arrows: A Godly Guide for Launching Young Adult Children

available from Judson Press (http://www.judsonpress.com/product.cfm?product_id=17387),

Video link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f2JH_gbinMk

Power Suit: The Armor of God Fit for the Feminine Frame

from New Hope Publishers (http://www.newhopedigital.com/2010/08/power-suit/)

 

4/8/15: Standards of Behavior

•April 8, 2015 • Leave a Comment

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Standards of behavior exist in every relationship and institution. In kindergarten, we learned to sit on the mat for story time and lie on our blankies for naps. In elementary school, we were expected to sit in our seats at the appropriate times, line up for recess, and share the playground equipment. The standards got more complicated in middle and high school because not only the teachers, but other kids were imposing standards of behavior on us, and if we wanted to be cool, sometimes those standards clashed. Then there were the standards regarding relationships. We worried about doing things right with friends, best friends, boy/girlfriends, teachers, counselors, etc.  Later there came employers and the stresses associated with the standards of the workplace.

First and foremost though, were the standards we learned at home. Dad and Mom expected us to act a certain way in their presence and show forth the standards we learned when in public. Common phrases may have been, “We don’t act that way in this family,” or “Do not embarrass us.”

God has set standards too. When Saul was chosen as the first king of Israel, Sameul “explained to the people the behavior of royalty, and wrote it in a book…” (I Sam. 10:25). Kingship was new to everyone and explanation was needed.

1 Peter 2:9 says of us, “But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light” (NKJ). There is a standard set for the behavior of royalty and that’s who we are as the people of God. There are certain ways we do and don’t act in this family. Please don’t embarrass us.

____________________________

©2009/2015 Sharon Norris Elliott. Feel free to forward this devotion in its entirety, including this copyright line. Leave comments, ask questions, read past devotions, or subscribe to receive these devotions daily in your e-mail at www.sanewriter.wordpress.com. Also, periodically check in at www.LifeThatMatters.net to see what’s going on in the ministry.

ANNOUNCEMENT: Get ready to watch The Holy Spirit Broadcasting Network’s new internet TV show Life That Matters with Sharon Norris Elliott from any internet-connected device at http://www.HSBN.tv.

Pick up a copy of Sharon’s newest release,

Why I Get Into Trouble

Trouble-copy-2

Here’s the link to our eStore: https://www.createspace.com/5131814

 

Also still available:

Boomerangs to Arrows: A Godly Guide for Launching Young Adult Children

Boomerangs FrontCover

available from Judson Press (http://www.judsonpress.com/product.cfm?product_id=17387),

Video link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f2JH_gbinMk

Power Suit: The Armor of God Fit for the Feminine Frame

Power Suit Cover

from New Hope Publishers (http://www.newhopedigital.com/2010/08/power-suit/)

 

4/6/15: The Day After Easter

•April 6, 2015 • Leave a Comment

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What happened the day after Jesus’ followers discovered He had risen from the dead? It’s interesting that we’re not told directly about that day. In Acts 13:30-31 Paul preached that Jesus hung around a while after His resurrection. “But God raised Him from the dead. He was seen for many days by those who came up with Him from Galilee to Jerusalem, who are His witnesses to the people” (NKJ, emphasis added). Still, of the next day after that first realization of His resurrection, the Bible is silent.

If it had been today, Jesus’ every move would have been posted on Facebook and His every appearance would have been chronicled on Instagram. He’d be swarmed by the paparazzi and the press would be hounding him.

“Show us your hands, Jesus.”

“Do the wounds in your feet hurt when you walk?”

“What facial products are you using to heal those scars around your head left by that crown of thorns? Do you still have that crown? Will you be selling it on eBay soon?

But we hear none of this hubbub. After His appearance to and verbal exchange with the women outside the tomb, His disciples in their hiding room, and the followers on the road, we just know He basically hung out with many others before His ascension back to Heaven. No other details are shared.

Evidently, the details of the days between the resurrection and ascension are immaterial. All we need to know is the ultimate effect. The fact that Jesus was alive again was enough to ignite a fire in His followers that has not been extinguished to this day. Acts 17:6 describes the apostles as people “who have turned the world upside down.”

It’s our job to continue what was started by those first Christ-followers. The eggs have been hunted, the lilies have been enjoyed, and the pictures have been taken. In church, services have been attended, the Resurrection songs have been sung, and the sermons have been preached. Let’s not forget about Easter just because the day has passed. We have been energized for the rest of the year. It’s time to continue to turn the world upside down with the good news of the Gospel. The resurrected Lord appeared to us too through our celebration of the day, His life still matters, and His message makes a difference. Keep spreading the message: He is risen indeed!

____________________________

©2015 Sharon Norris Elliott. Feel free to forward this devotion in its entirety, including this copyright line. Leave comments, ask questions, read past devotions, or subscribe to receive these devotions daily in your e-mail at www.sanewriter.wordpress.com. Also, periodically check in at www.LifeThatMatters.net to see what’s going on in the ministry.

 

ANNOUNCEMENT: Get ready to watch The Holy Spirit Broadcasting Network’s new internet TV show Life That Matters with Sharon Norris Elliott from any internet-connected device at http://www.HSBN.tv.

 

Pick up a copy of Sharon’s newest release,

Why I Get Into Trouble

Trouble-copy-2

Here’s the link to our eStore: https://www.createspace.com/5131814

Also still available:

Boomerangs to Arrows: A Godly Guide for Launching Young Adult Children

Boomerangs FrontCover

available from Judson Press (http://www.judsonpress.com/product.cfm?product_id=17387),

Video link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f2JH_gbinMk

Power Suit: The Armor of God Fit for the Feminine Frame

Power Suit Cover

from New Hope Publishers (http://www.newhopedigital.com/2010/08/power-suit/)

 

4/5/15: Reality!

•April 5, 2015 • Leave a Comment

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My three-day, Facebook debate with an atheist ended when we came to an impasse. My final evidence for the existence of God and Lordship of Jesus Christ is the Bible. The consistency of the internal evidence is enough for me, but at Biola University, I did study external evidence supporting its authencity and veracity. Once my atheist debater began to spew ugly accusations about Jesus’ birth, no matter what evidence I gave, our conversation was over.

No matter how much he says the Biblical record is untrue, or claims to have conflicting “evidence,” the thing that bothers me most is that if he doesn’t change his views, he’s in for a rude awakening when he dies. I know that sounds contradictory–death vs. an awakening–but there is an awakening for us all when we die. The Bible promises believers eternal life in the presence of God; it promises unbelievers everlasting torment in which they are consciously aware that it was their denial of Christ that has caused their eternal state.

An old song once said, “If heaven never were promised to me, neither God’s promise to live eternally, it’s been worth just having the Lord in my life.” I agree, but thank God He’s real, Easter celebrates Jesus’ resurrection, heaven exists, and I’m going! Matthew 28:6 states all the facts we need. “He is not here; for He is risen, as He said.”

Share the news.

____________________________

©2015 Sharon Norris Elliott. Feel free to forward this devotion in its entirety, including this copyright line. Leave comments, ask questions, read past devotions, or subscribe to receive these devotions daily in your e-mail at www.sanewriter.wordpress.com. Also, periodically check in at www.LifeThatMatters.net to see what’s going on in the ministry.

ANNOUNCEMENT: Get ready to watch The Holy Spirit Broadcasting Network’s new internet TV show Life That Matters with Sharon Norris Elliott from any internet-connected device at http://www.HSBN.tv.

Pick up a copy of Sharon’s newest release,

Why I Get Into Trouble

Trouble-copy-2

Here’s the link to our eStore: https://www.createspace.com/5131814

Also still available:

Boomerangs to Arrows: A Godly Guide for Launching Young Adult Children

Boomerangs FrontCover

available from Judson Press (http://www.judsonpress.com/product.cfm?product_id=17387),

Video link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f2JH_gbinMk

Power Suit: The Armor of God Fit for the Feminine Frame

Power Suit Cover

from New Hope Publishers (http://www.newhopedigital.com/2010/08/power-suit/)

 
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