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April 05, 2020
Hope is the Ingredient
Over the years I’ve learned some pretty valuable lessons as a Christian. Among them is the fact that my success in my walk with the Lord seldomly has anything to do with my circumstances. It almost always has to do with my heart. Just like a good recipe, a healthy heart has a few key ingredients. One of the most important of these is hope.
Proverbs 13:12 says, “Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but when the desire comes, it is a tree of life.” This shows us that a lack of hope can be bad soil for our hearts, but when hope is restored, we can be fruitful. We also must maintain hope in the right things. 1 Peter 1:3b even tells us that God has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. Our hope is always to be centered on the finished work of Christ. When Christ is the object of our hope, hope never disappoints!
March 05, 2020
Written by Dana van Noppen | Translated by Becky Cruz | Recorded by Carlos Renfroe
A few years ago, there was a problem with the plumbing at my house. We tried everything in our power to fix it ourselves, but eventually, we had to call for help. Under normal circumstances, one would alert a plumber to a plumbing need, but we always call my father in law. He and my husband dug into the front yard and cut into a pipe that was FILLED with crape myrtle roots. The main flow of sewerage from our home was literally choked out by roots and instead of calling a plumber, we tried to fix it ourselves. We cut the pipe and removed the roots, and it all works well. HOWEVER, the pipes still needed to be repaired and we weren’t equipped. We needed someone who had the right tools to repair the problem. Even on the days when we are on top of the world, we are not equipped to do everything ourselves. There are days when the worries, cares, and troubles of the world are too much for us.
In life, we can have so many worries that it becomes too much to handle. It might make us feel sad, or angry, or scared. The parable of the sower talks about seeds that are thrown into thorny soil. Jesus said that one way people respond to Him is to be like the thorny ground. Sometimes we hear the word of God, but the message of hope is choked out by all the things we worry about. The good news is that we don’t have to carry all of our worries around alone. Jesus sent us the Holy Spirit as a helper. The Spirit searches everything, even the depths of God. No one knows our deepest thoughts, except for us and God and no one knows the thoughts of God, except His Spirit. Fortunately for us, we have received the Spirit of God, so that we can understand the hope of God! Hope does not disappoint, but it is life giving. We can rely on Holy Spirit to help us, and our hope will not be choked out by the cares of this world.
March 05, 2020
Written and Recorded by Carlos Renfroe | Translated by Edwin Cruz
As Christians we are called to emulate our Savior in every way. In the scriptures, Jesus gives us many examples to follow. One of the greatest of these has to be His compassion. Simply stated, the Lord’s compassion gave him a powerful consciousness of what others felt and a desire to get involved, even when it was disruptive or inconvenient.
Hebrews 4:15 says, “For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin.” Though Jesus was fully divine, His human nature allowed Him to feel what we feel in our broken humanity. It qualifies Him to be our intercessor and address our pains with His perfection. It is the very reason that we can come to Him and find mercy in our times of need. Just as Matthew 9:36 talks about Jesus looking onto the masses and having compassion, as Christians, our hearts should break when we look at an unredeemed and needy world. We should be moved to action by our own compassion. The harvest is truly plentiful. God needs compassionate laborers to heed the call. So, has compassion found you?
February 24, 2020
Written by Dallas Mora | Translated by Edwin Cruz | Recorded by Carlos Renfroe
This past week, we talked about the stony ground and the need to drill and blast out the rocks in the soil of our hearts. These rocks represent things that cause us to lack deep roots in our relationship with Christ. But some rocks, while yes they need to be removed, don’t need to be destroyed. In the New England area, you’ll find towns with well-built with stones found while blowing lands for their farms. These boundaries still stand today due to care and intention that was taken to building them.
Some of the stones that you remove from your life need to be taken and used to create boundaries in your life. Not forgotten, not used to hold over your head to shame you, but to help create a line of demarcation. A line that says, I cannot and should not go here, because if I do, the soil of my heart will become contaminated. This week we challenge to examine your own heart. Are there stones that you’ve already removed, but need to be used to create boundaries? Start today, set the standard for life. What you establish today, if done well, will help others for generations.
February 13, 2020
written by Dallas Mora | Translated by Edwin Cruz | Recorded by Carlos Renfroe
Have you ever been in a church setting and thought to yourself, “I’m just not growing here.”? Some, when they come to this conclusion, begin to look at their pastor’s preaching. They look at the style of worship. They look at their Sunday school class. But how many of us take a moment to examine our own hearts. The heart of mankind is sometimes referred to as soil, and the word of God is referred to as a seed. It could be that there is plenty of water and sunlight to grow what God wants to grow, but the soil of your heart is hard.
If you’ve found yourself in a place where you’re not growing, take note of your own heart. Has it become hard? If so, what’s caused it? Have you allowed distractions to keep you away from the Lord? Are you taking the time to allow your personal Bible Study to affect you truly? Examine yourself and take steps to plow the soil of your heart.
February 05, 2020
Written by Shelli Pierce | Translated by Becky Cruz | Recorded by Carlos Renfroe
How deep are your relationships with others? This past year I discovered new family through a DNA match. I speak to them a few times a week in an effort to know them better. I have learned through this process that I not only need them, but they need me. Family and community are important for understanding yourself, others, and God. I have learned so many new things about myself and them by putting in the time. Yes it requires effort, but it’s well worth it. I also understand the love God has for me in a whole new way. He loves me so much that He has provided answers to questions that I have had for fifty years. All of this happened by choosing to be vulnerable with people and doing life with them.
I challenge you to think about the time you spend with others. Are you asking the hard questions? Are you sharing your deepest thoughts and desires? Find some people to really do life with. Get in there and get connected.
January 30, 2020
Written and Recorded by Carlos Renfroe | Translated Edwin Cruz
I can trace my family name as far back as the Renfroe Plantation in Georgia. My family took on this name in 1864 after the emancipation of slavery. Since then the Renfroe name in my family has had a long heritage of hard work and overcoming obstacles. We’ve been found in all walks of life from military service and even professional sports. Because of this, I take my family name quite seriously. It means a lot to me to honor this Renfroe name and pass it along to my children. It speaks to the legacy of those that have come before me as well as my identity today.
If natural identity can mean so much to a family, how much more should spiritual identify mean to the born-again believer? Romans 8:16 says, “The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God.” Through the blood of His own Son, God has given us the Spirit of Adoption and has made of joint heirs of Jesus Christ. This means the we are HIS! This should be our perspective in all our situations and the controlling factor in all our behavior. Let’s honor our Heavenly Father while considering the name that He has given us. Be true to your identity!