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August 22, 2019
For most people, the beginning of the year brings new resolutions. This year in kids’ church, we didn’t set resolutions. Instead, we decided on one new thing that we wanted to learn this year. For me, that was to run a full 5k without stopping. This was something new for me. I have run a 5k before but not without breaks. When I was a kid, baseball was my life, and I did it really well. What baseball didn’t teach me was how to run long distances. We only ran short sprints at a fast pace. When I set out to do my first 5k a few years ago, I was miserable due to cramps and being burned out. Sometimes I feel the same way in my relationship with God. When we are focused and have a good rhythm, the race seems pretty smooth. The slightest distraction can cause us to lose that rhythm.
This past July, I ran my first 5k of the year, and it was very crowded. I felt great about the race, but every time I would seem to get a solid pace, congestion of people would cause me to have to slow down or get off the path. When we get off the path, the focus seems pretty hard to pick up again. The same goes for running our race with the Lord. If we become too congested with our time, where is our time with the Lord? That means no time for prayer or reading our bible, which is our fuel to keep us going and to finish our race strong. This is where we need discipline.
Discipline helps us develop. If I was to sit around all day, every day and then go out and try to run a 5k, how well would I do? In the same way, a Christian, I can’t be lazy in pursuit of God, not consume God’s Word, and think that I will grow in my Christian walk. I read a quote today that said, “Don’t be a Christian citizen of this world trying to get to heaven, but rather a citizen of heaven making way through this world.” I want to develop a long-lasting and deep relationship with God. That takes a commitment to know Him more, every day. Praying, reading God’s Word, serving God’s people, increases my faith in God. These increases only come from spending time growing my faith, the same way that my endurance increases when I spend time learning to run.
“Run hard and fast in the faith. Seize the eternal life, the life you were called to, the life you so fervently embraced in the presence of so many witnesses.”
-1 Timothy 6: 11-12
When we begin to feel like we are getting winded in our race, we must remember what we have trained for and what that final goal is. Sometimes we need to get rid of congestion and distraction so that we can focus on our goal. That goal is an eternal pursuit of God. It is a large goal with high stakes, but remember God sent the Holy Spirit to run that race with us and encourage us. The Holy Spirit is our helper. I challenge you to when you start to feel down, distracted, or tired to take a deep breathe and enjoy the race. Take a moment to ask God what the lesson is in this struggle and continue to fight the good fight of faith.
August 15, 2019
Do you know that millions of people within the body of Christ are living enslaved to things they are bound to? They are bound to things like their job, marital status, church, friendships, and business or ministry opportunities. They are also bound to things like their self-perception, fear, unforgiveness, bitterness, anger, and worry. Of course, this is just a few of the things that can bind us, consume us, and keep us from living in complete freedom.
Over this past month, I have let fear keep me from living in complete freedom. Most of you know that I was not raised by my biological father. Over the years I have wondered about it from time to time. Whenever I thought about it, I would just pray and say, “Lord, if you want me to know more, you will have to work it out.” Unbeknownst to me, He had a plan.
About four years ago I took a DNA test through ancestry.com. I wanted to document my Native American heritage. I found out I didn’t have any in me although my family thought so. After that, I never really thought about it. Fast forward to earlier this month when I received an email saying that I had new DNA matches in my tree. I logged on and was shocked to find someone I didn’t know showing as a close relative, most likely an aunt. Well after a little Google and Facebook detective work, I located my biological father. The fear immediately kicked in. I really didn’t know what to do with this information once I found it. I began to pray for God to show me what to do. I didn’t want to interrupt other people’s lives or cause any hurt to anyone involved. If I was truthful, mostly, I didn’t want to be rejected.
I continued to pray and finally, in church I overheard someone saying, “just write the letter, you don’t have any control over what they do, just write it.” I knew the Lord was telling me what to do. I wrote a letter and explained all that I knew and how I came to know it. One week ago I mailed that letter and received a telephone call the next day. I was so scared when I received the message that fear gripped me and paralyzed me. Finally, I returned the call and had a twenty-minute conversation with my biological father. Ultimately, a plan was put in place for us to meet.
I won’t lie I am still afraid, but I am trusting God to walk me through it. You see I believe what the Word of God says about me, I am not an orphan. I am a daughter of the King (Galatians 3:26). I truly believe that because I was born that God has a plan for my life. With that knowledge, I plan to take the next step that God has for me. I refuse to walk in a yoke of bondage concerning fear or anything else. I will stand fast in the liberty by which Christ has made me free (Galatians 5:1).
Today, I challenge you to ask yourself some questions. How is your freedom? Are you living in bondage to anything? What lies of the enemy are you believing? Remember, if you believe a lie, you empower that lie and give it power over your life. Finally, the freest place to be is releasing the Father’s Kingdom and not your own. Start taking steps today to reclaim your freedom.
August 08, 2019
Written and Recorded by Carlos Renfore | Translated by Edwin Cruz
It’s not difficult to see that the society in which we live can be very difficult and trying. It seems that disparaging new is around every corner. However, every symptom has a root and every action has a cause. Many of our longest-standing institutions such as marriage, family, and even life itself are suffering from a lack of hope. The results can be plainly seen.
A lick of hope can be devastating. Proverbs 13:12 says, “Hope deferred makes the sick, but when the desire is fulfilled, it is a tree of life.” This illustrates that when hope is absent, it brings infirmity to our mind, will, and emotions. But when sincere desire is met, it brings the opposite. It restores life! The most important part of the equation is for us to examine our source of hope. Romans 15:13 says, “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit, you may abound in hope.” The only hope that is sustainable and unchanging comes from God. His promises are foundational, and His plan provides a clear path that leads to eternal life.
Have you lost hope in any area of your life? Remember, only Jesus promised to never leave or forsake you. Trust in what He has provided. Let His Words restore hope and produce the fruits of life in your heart.
August 01, 2019
This week in our thpKids’ classes, we talked about the beauty of stained glass windows. We discussed the way light is especially beautiful when it shines through the windows. Each stained glass window is made differently and the differences are illuminated when the sunlight shines through. Matthew 5:14 says “You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden.”
Jesus calls us the light of the world when we allow His love and passion to shine through us. God has made each one of us unique and we all have specific passions. God’s passion is for us and He helps us to reclaim the passion we have lost along the path of serving Him. God desires for us to find all that is lost in our lives. Sometimes we see our differences as faults, but God’s desire is to use our differences to show His passion for people.
Passion is a strong wish! It means we want something with all of our heart! Whatever is important to us, we will want with all of our heart! Jesus, who was God, made a passionate decision to die on the cross. He showed people that He loves all of us enough to die so that we can have a relationship with God again. Jesus was very passionate about making a way for us to be with God. He wants us to get back all that we have lost. When we ask God to give us passion for serving Him, He will help us see our differences as ways to show His passionate love for people. We will be like a stained glass window in the sunlight. God’s passionate love will illuminate our differences. The parts of us we once thought were flaws or mistakes, God will use to show His passion and love for people! God has equipped us all to serve in unique ways.
When we reclaim our passion, we allow the light of God’s love and passion to shine through us. When we decide to serve Jesus, we can do it with passion! The normal details of our lives can become illuminated with the strong desire to honor God with everything we do. What passions have you lost along the way? Take a moment to look inside your heart. Ask yourself, “What is important to me? What do I want with all of my heart?” When God looks in His heart to ask Himself these questions, the answer is YOU! The answer is me! God’s passion is for us! Our passion can be for HIM! Let’s receive His passion, TODAY!
July 25, 2019
Written by Dallas Mora | Translated by Edwin Cruz | Recorded by Carlos Renfroe
“What is my purpose?” This is a resounding question that every person asks at some point. It is a question that is pondered and explored in every form of entertainment. Be it the mighty X-Men who question the purpose of being born with such weird and exotic abilities. Or Deku, an ordinary individual born into a world of the extraordinary, pondering what purpose he has if he’s not naturally a “Hero.” Or how about the Legendary King Author? A young man born for greatness but doesn’t realize it until he’s much older. We love these stories because the quest to find purpose resonates throughout all of humanity.
This past Sunday, we had the opportunity to hear stories that challenged many in their thinking about their purpose. We heard stories about people walking in a purpose that to be honest, is one that belongs to everyone. They served. Serving people is an essential action that all Christians are called to do.
For you were called to freedom, brothers. Only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another.
Galatians 5:13 (ESV)
Some believe that their calling is to be a Pastor, a Teacher, a Doctor, etc. But no matter what title you walk in, every one of those titles boils down to one simple idea. You are meant to serve other people. A Pastor serves the people they lead. A teacher serves their students. A Doctor serves their patient by bringing healing. This is why a key value for us here at The Healing Place is that we believe serving is our calling as followers of Jesus Christ.
This week we’d like to challenge you to step outside of your comfort zone and find a way to serve people. Be creative; think beyond yourself. It doesn’t have to be complicated, but it does take you to think about others before yourself.
July 18, 2019
Written by Corey van Noppen | Translated by Edwin Cruz | Recorded by Carlos Renfroe
Do you ever say to yourself, “why did I just say that”, or “that’s not something I would say”? That truth is, it is something you said, but where did it come from. Recently when I was at a store, I overheard some people saying things that they shouldn’t have been saying in a crowd and quickly realized what they were saying, paused and they proceeded to say “we are alright, no kids were around”. The thing is, why is it only wrong if kids are around? I didn’t care to hear what they were saying, but sometimes we are in situations where things like that happen and other times we willing put ourselves into that environment.
“The good person out of the good treasure of his heart produces good, and the evil person out of his evil treasure produces evil, for out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks.”
- Luke 6:45 (ESV)
We may not be in control of what goes on or is said around us, but we can choose how we act upon those things. A person is known by their actions, and we need to realize that actions begin with our thoughts. The character of a person’s thoughts determines the character of his life.
His actions are inspired from within. Every product of the soul, whether it is an action or a purpose, is first a thought. Because we were born with a sinful nature, sin lies in the soul first in thoughts and then, if we let it take root it will reveal itself in actions.
I challenge you to look inside yourself and see what fills you up everyday. If it’s something that is going to cause you to stumble into sin, it will surface. The same goes for things that keep you going, like love. If you know you are loved by God, it will make you want to love Him with all your heart.
July 11, 2019
by Shelli Pierce | Translated by Becky Cruz | Recorded by Carlos Renfore
Do you ever feel that your relationship with God has grown distant? Do you feel that you are not as close as you once were? I recently felt that way myself and began to look at why I felt that way. First, I realized that I felt disappointed because some personal circumstances in my life did not turn out the way I hoped. I didn't have any control over it because it involved a family member's behavior. It thought everything was going well when all of a sudden they returned to old behavior. In return, I allowed it to take root in my own spiritual walk.
At first, I tried to pretend that it was not really bothering me. At its worst, I have to admit that I felt angry and disappointed. I let this reflect in my daily habits. At first, I noticed I wasn't praying as much. Next, I noticed I wasn't reading my word every day. Finally, I had to admit that I was the problem. I directed my anger and disappointment at God expecting Him to fix it. Once I realized this I was free to restore my relationship with God.
To restore my relationship I first have to repent. I have to tell God that I am wrong and that I agree with Him. I must then make a complete change of direction. I go back to the things that I did when I was alive and passionate for God. I seek His face. I spend time in His presence. I read and study His word. I pray. I focus on the good things in my life. Philippians 4:8 says, “Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy – meditate on these things.”
Today, I challenge you to take a look at your relationship with God. Are you passionate like you were when you were first saved? If not, dig to the root of why . Are you making bad choices? Do you feel disappointed with God? Are other people's choices determining your relationship with God? I can assure you that if you are running from His grace, His grace is still running toward you. Make a change today.