Category Archives: Devotions

Are You a Peacemaker?

March 1st. On this day in history, in 1961, President John F. Kennedy established the Peace Corps. The Peace Corps is composed of trained volunteers who are sent to other countries to provide assistance and to promote a mutual understanding of each other as nations.

Olive Branch
The olive branch is a symbol of peace in many cultures.

Jesus is the ultimate peacemaker. By His sacrificial death on the cross of Calvary, Jesus satisfied the wrath of God for our sin, making a way for us to be at peace with God. Because we, as believers, have peace from Jesus.

As recipients of His peace, He then sends us to out to be peacemakers: “Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, I also send you” (John 20.21, CSB).  As peacemakers, we show that we are like our Heavenly Father. Jesus said,Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called sons of God” (Matthew 5.9, CSB).

In what ways can you be a peacemaker?

Perhaps you can pray about how you might help people reconcile. It’s tragic to me how often I hear about close family members who haven’t spoken to one another in years. While the Bible clearly says that it’s wise to not insert yourself into the middle of a fight that is not yours (see Proverbs 26.17), sometimes the Lord might ask you to talk to one of the two and see if they might be willing to move toward reconciliation. If they are, perhaps you can serve as an intermediary, working to bring both sides together in hope of resolution.

Or perhaps you can be a peacemaker by refusing to enter into a fight that someone is trying to start with you. Instead of bowing up in pride and retaliating in kind, perhaps you would take a higher road, and calmly pursue peace with the person. Jesus said: “Reach a settlement quickly with your adversary while you’re on the way with him to the court, or your adversary will hand you over to the judge, and the judge to the officer, and you will be thrown into prison” (Matthew 5.25, CSB).

The Enemy of our souls loves to stir up trouble and cause fights. But the Lord loves peace and desires for us to “lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and reverence” (1 Timothy 2.2, NKJV).

Lord, make your people an army of peacemakers. Start with me. Amen.

 

 

Book Review: Family-Driven Faith by Voddie Baucham, Jr.

I don’t recall when I first heard of Voddie Baucham but we did have the privilege of seeing him live at the Desiring God National Conference in Minneapolis back in 2006. During that same timeframe I called him and talked with him about twenty-five minutes. He was gracious and I recall our conversation went very well. What I cannot recall is why I called him in the first place!

I started reading his first book, The Ever-Loving Truth, but did not finish it, which is nothing new in my world. This book, Family-Driven Faith, which I purchased through the Amazon Kindle Store and read over three devices (my iPad, my iPhone, and my wife’s Kindle Fire), was more engaging to me because of my interest in the subject matter. Two areas of interest drove me to read this book: (1) how to do a better job as the spiritual leader of my home and (2) how to more effectively lead our church to equip parents in discipling their children. Family-Driven Faith is the only book I have ever read that that I can recall addresses these two issues, and Baucham does so boldly and directly.

Continue reading Book Review: Family-Driven Faith by Voddie Baucham, Jr.

Week of Prayer and Fasting – Friday

Meditation

As Jesus passed on from there, he saw a man called Matthew sitting at the tax booth, and he said to him, “Follow me.” And he rose and followed him. – Matthew 9.9

Follow my example as I follow the example of Christ. 

– 1 Corinthians 11.1 (NIV)

Obey your leaders and submit to them, for they are keeping watch over your souls, as those who will have to give an account.

– Hebrews 13.17

Make a list of the characteristics of a great follower, then pray that the members of Harvest Jacksonville would follow the elders in a godly way.

 

Prayer 

I charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by his appearing and his kingdom: preach the Word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching.

– 2 Timothy 4.1-2

Friday is one of the days of the week Pastor Brett devotes to study, and the day when most of his Sunday message is written. Pray that he would have wisdom and clarity. Pray also for God’s hand upon him.

 

—> If you have a chance to pray with someone today (spouse, children, or friend), make sure to pray for Pastor Brett and the message on Sunday. Try to make this a habit on Fridays.

Week of Prayer and Fasting – Thursday

Meditation

 He is also the head of the body, the church;

    He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead,

    so that He might come to have first place in everything.

– Colossians 1.18 (HCSB)

But I have this against you, that you have abandoned the love you had at first. – Luke 19.10

What are some of the things that get in the way of Jesus having first place in our lives?

 

Prayer

Create in me a clean heart, O God,

and renew a right spirit within me. – Psalm 51.10

Pray for God to have first place in your life, in your home, and in Harvest Jacksonville. Ask the Spirit to expose anything that you are allowing to have prominence in your life rather than Him and then ask God to give you a true heart of repentance, granting wisdom for you to know how to ruthlessly crush your idols.

 

—> On a blank sheet of paper, write out a prayer of repentance, confessing your idolatry to God. Destroy the paper, rejoicing that God forgives and forgets your sin.

Week of Prayer and Fasting – Wednesday

Meditation

Behold, how good and pleasant it is

when brothers dwell in unity! – Psalm 133.1

Holy Father, keep them in your name, which you have given me, that they may be one, even as we are one.    – John 17.11

What are some of the things that separates God’s people? List out the potential things you think Satan might use to divide the people of Harvest Jacksonville.

 

Prayer

So if there is any encouragement in Christ, any comfort from love, any participation in the Spirit, any affection and sympathy, 2 complete my joy by being of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind. 3 Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. 4 Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.         – Philippians 2.1-4

Pray for the unity of Harvest Jacksonville. Pray that the body would be of one mind, united in the partnership of the Gospel and in following the elders as Harvest moves forward by faith.

 

–> Think of a way you can encourage another Harvest member this week…then follow through with it.