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Are you ready for immersion into a new language? How about the language of living in Jesus?

Check out this video made by some of our interns to recap their summer at the Christian Training Center International.

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Check out our upcoming ministry programs for young adults and families. Please click here.

Our programs are like an immersion into a new language – the language of living in Jesus.  The goal is fluency in the language of relationships.  Programs share a sequential vision, building an understanding of relationships and family culture.  The foundation is an encounter with Jesus.  This encounter is the means for both insight and vision.  Encountering Jesus leads a radical change in living and relationships.

Heroes Semester is a 10-week residential, “family style” living experience like no other! | — The 2020 date will be announced soon. | Participants ages 18-26 come with one purpose – to go deeper with the Lord. Learn more about our programs here.

Strengthening & Restoring Family Relationships — Train to Reign Program — Oct 20 – Nov 2 | Family is the most vital relationship and the one under the most pressure and attack. Come strengthen your family in a strong relationship with God. Learn more here.

If you would like to donate to the Christian Training Center, please click here.

Holy Holy Holy Lord God Almighty … [Agnus Dei]

Isaiah 6:3 Christian Standard Bible (CSB)

And one called to another: Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of Armies;
his glory fills the whole earth.

And consider this:

Revelation 4:8 Christian Standard Bible (CSB)

Each of the four living creatures had six wings; they were covered with eyes around and inside. Day and night they never stop, saying,

Holy, holy, holy,
Lord God, the Almighty,
who was, who is, and who is to come.

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Check out our upcoming ministry programs for young adults and families. Please click here.

Our programs are like an immersion into a new language – the language of living in Jesus.  The goal is fluency in the language of relationships.  Programs share a sequential vision, building an understanding of relationships and family culture.  The foundation is an encounter with Jesus.  This encounter is the means for both insight and vision.  Encountering Jesus leads a radical change in living and relationships.

Heroes Semester is a 10-week residential, “family style” living experience like no other! | — The 2020 date will be announced soon. | Participants ages 18-26 come with one purpose – to go deeper with the Lord. Learn more about our programs here.

Strengthening & Restoring Family Relationships — Train to Reign Program — Oct 20 – Nov 2 | Family is the most vital relationship and the one under the most pressure and attack. Come strengthen your family in a strong relationship with God. Learn more here.

If you would like to donate to the Christian Training Center, please click here.

10 Powerful Prayers for Healing – Praying for Strength, Recovery & Comfort Now

Here are some great prayers: 10 Powerful Prayers for Healing – Praying for Strength, Recovery & Comfort Now

Are you facing a difficult disease, illness or malady and want to cry out to God for healing but don’t know what to pray? If you feel scared, alone, unsure of the future, or don’t understand how healing works, pray these words below in faith today! Below are ten healing prayers, an interview with Max Lucado explaining how we should pray for healing, and some of our favorite Bible verses on healing.

God tells us that through prayer, He can speak to us and use us to work miracles for His glory. When you use this prayer for healing you are coming to God completely surrendered and expectant to let His Holy Spirit work in and through you. I pray that you will find miraculous healing as you seek God’s plan for your life – His plan to prosper you and to give you a hope and future!

Read them all here:

10 Powerful Prayers for Healing – Praying for Strength, Recovery & Comfort Now

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If you would like to donate to the Christian Training Center, please click here.

Check out our upcoming ministry programs for young adults and families. Please click here.

Our programs are like an immersion into a new language – the language of living in Jesus.  The goal is fluency in the language of relationships.  Programs share a sequential vision, building an understanding of relationships and family culture.  The foundation is an encounter with Jesus.  This encounter is the means for both insight and vision.  Encountering Jesus leads a radical change in living and relationships.

Heroes Semester is a 10-week residential, “family style” living experience like no other! | — Sept 2 – Nov 9, 2019 | Participants ages 18-26 come with one purpose – to go deeper with the Lord. ow.ly/Nhag30oRYRK

Strengthening & Restoring Family Relationships — Train to Reign Program — Oct 20 – Nov 2 | Family is the most vital relationship and the one under the most pressure and attack. Come strengthen your family in a strong relationship with God. http://ow.ly/l5SU30oS5pQ

Beware of Criticizing Others 

Judge not, that you be not judged. —Matthew 7:1

Jesus’ instructions with regard to judging others is very simply put; He says, “Don’t.” The average Christian is the most piercingly critical individual known. Criticism is one of the ordinary activities of people, but in the spiritual realm nothing is accomplished by it. The effect of criticism is the dividing up of the strengths of the one being criticized. The Holy Spirit is the only one in the proper position to criticize, and He alone is able to show what is wrong without hurting and wounding.

It is impossible to enter into fellowship with God when you are in a critical mood.Criticism serves to make you harsh, vindictive, and cruel, and leaves you with the soothing and flattering idea that you are somehow superior to others.Jesus says that as His disciple you should cultivate a temperament that is never critical.

This will not happen quickly but must be developed over a span of time. You must constantly beware of anything that causes you to think of yourself as a superior person.There is no escaping the penetrating search of my life by Jesus. If I see the little speck in your eye, it means that I have a plank of timber in my own (see Matthew 7:3-5).

Every wrong thing that I see in you, God finds in me. Every time I judge, I condemn myself (see Romans 2:17-24). Stop having a measuring stick for other people. There is always at least one more fact, which we know nothing about, in every person’s situation.

The first thing God does is to give us a thorough spiritual cleaning. After that, there is no possibility of pride remaining in us. I have never met a person I could despair of, or lose all hope for, after discerning what lies in me apart from the grace of God.

Source: Beware of Criticizing Others | My Utmost For His Highest

If you would like to donate to the Christian Training Center, please click here.

 

Check out our upcoming ministry programs for young adults and families. Please click here.

How Deep Is God’s Love? 

Summer intern Marcy dives into the book of Hosea and how deep God’s love is for her.

Scripture

Hosea 11:8 Christian Standard Bible (CSB)

How can I give you up, Ephraim?
How can I surrender you, Israel?
How can I make you like Admah?
How can I treat you like Zeboiim?
I have had a change of heart;
my compassion is stirred!



If you would like to donate to the Christian Training Center, please click here.

Check out our upcoming ministry programs for young adults and families. Please click here.

Why does Jesus want us to reign for our families?

Bill Eubank is a member of the Christian Training Center International Board of Directors. Bill has been involved with training center for 40 years and has a great perspective on our work.

Family is the most vital relationship and the one under the most pressure and attack. Come strengthen your family in a strong relationship with God.

Throughout the year, we welcome individuals, couples, and families from around the world who are seeking to strengthen their relationships – with God, within their own families, and with their fellow believers.

Every session, individuals, couples, and families from around the world are transformed, healed, and renewed. Barriers to forgiveness, personal growth, and hope are overcome in a supportive and intimate environment.

Join us in this safe and holy place where painful and complex situations can be worked through – a place of hope and healing.

Learn more and register

Teaching topics include:

  • The Plan of God for Family
  • Duty vs Intimacy
  • Fatherhood
  • Communication
  • Covering
  • Resolving Conflict
  • Defeating Parenting Fears
  • Discipline
  • …and more!

If you would like to donate to the Christian Training Center, please click here.

 

Check out our upcoming ministry programs for young adults and families. Please click here.

 

 

What does it mean to be born again?

2019 summer intern Jesse Wahl shares his wisdom on John chapter 3. What does it mean to be born again?

John 3 Christian Standard Bible (CSB)

There was a man from the Pharisees named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews. This man came to him at night and said, “Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher who has come from God, for no one could perform these signs you do unless God were with him.”

Jesus replied, “Truly I tell you, unless someone is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.”

“How can anyone be born when he is old?” Nicodemus asked him. “Can he enter his mother’s womb a second time and be born?”

Jesus answered, “Truly I tell you, unless someone is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. Whatever is born of the flesh is flesh, and whatever is born of the Spirit is spirit. Do not be amazed that I told you that you must be born again. The wind blows where it pleases, and you hear its sound, but you don’t know where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit.”

There is power in prayer. We see it every day. Let us join with you in tapping into the Power of God. Click here to make a request.

Heroes Semester is a 10-week semester program focused on personal and spiritual development for young adults. While immersed in a way of life that emphasizes the Word of God, prayer, relationships, family, servanthood and personal discipline, you will be renewed, trained, and challenged to walk with God in a deeper way. Learn more here.

Our programs are like an immersion into a new language – the language of living in Jesus.  The goal is fluency in the language of relationships. The foundation is an encounter with Jesus that leads to a radical change in living and relationships.

Heroes Semester is a residential, “family style” living experience like no other! Emphasizing the biblical truths of relationships, family, servanthood, and personal discipline, young men and women are challenged to live a faith that reaches beyond the four walls of the church and affects everyday life.

“The Heroes Semester is taking place, and all that I can say is that the Lord is showing me Himself! Christ is mesmerizing me; He’s opening my heart to fall more in love with Him!”

CB -Tennessee (Participant)

Participants ages 18-26 come from all walks of life with one purpose – to go deeper with the Lord and seek Him for their lives and future. Each semester is filled with teaching, activities, and experiences designed to take you on the mountaintops with the Lord as well as train you to live a disciplined life in Christ in the plains and valleys.

Participants spend their days in study sessions, work duties, or on the unpredictable outdoor adventure. The evenings have a natural rhythm of group Bible studies, prayer & intercession, and recreational activities. Everyone pitches in with the usual chores that come with living life together. Electronics take a back seat in daily life, unplugging from usual habits helps to make space for new ones. Each day ends with a note of gratitude and lessons learned.

If you are ready to go deeper in relationships, devotion, and surrender to the Lord, then CTCI’s Heroes Semester could be the most purposeful 10 weeks of your life! Learn more here.

If you would like to donate to the Christian Training Center, please click here.

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Why is Jesus the light for all of us? Why can’t His light be overcome?

Light shines

What is Jesus to me? Jesus is life. In Jesus, and only Jesus, I have life. There is no way around it. I can’t, and don’t, want to deny it. It is reality for me. Jesus is life!

In Jesus [him] was life, and that life was the light of men. That light shines in the darkness, and yet the darkness did not overcome it.

There was a man sent from God whose name was John. He came as a witness to testify about the light, so that all might believe through him. He was not the light, but he came to testify about the light.

The true light that gives light to everyone, was coming into the world.

He was in the world, and the world was created through him, and yet the world did not recognize him. He came to his own, and his own people did not receive him. But to all who did receive him, he gave them the right to be children of God, to those who believe in his name, who were born, not of natural descent, or of the will of the flesh, or of the will of man, but of God. | John 1:4-13 (CSB)

Life is a key theme in John’s good news book; it is used thirty-six times. What are the essentials for human life? There are at least four: light (if the sun went out, everything would die), air, water, and food. Jesus is all of these!

Jesus is the Light of life and the Light of the world. He is the “Sun of righteousness”. By His Holy Spirit, He gives us the “breath of life”, as well as the Water of life. Finally, Jesus is the Living Bread of Life that came down from heaven. He not only has life and gives life, but He is life.

Light and darkness are recurring themes in John’s good news book. God is light while Satan is “the power of darkness”. People love either the light or the darkness, and this love controls their actions. Those who believe on the Messiah are the “sons of light”. Just as the first Creation began with “Let there be light!” so the New Creation begins with the entrance of light into the heart of the believer. The coming of Jesus the Messiah into the world was the dawning of a new day for man.

You would think that blind sinners would welcome the light, but such is not always the case. The coming of the true light brought conflict as the powers of darkness opposed it. A literal translation of John 1:5 reads, “And the light keeps on shining in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it or understood it.” The Greek verb can mean “to overcome” or “to grasp, to understand.” Throughout the good news book of John, you will see both attitudes revealed: people will not understand what the Master Jesus is saying and doing and, as a result, they will oppose Him. John 7–12 records the growth of that opposition, which ultimately led to the crucifixion of the Messiah.

Whenever Jesus taught a spiritual truth, His listeners interpreted it in a material or physical way. The light was unable to penetrate the darkness in their minds. This was true when He spoke about the temple of His body, the new birth, the living water, eating His flesh, spiritual freedom, death as sleep, and many other spiritual truths. Satan strives to keep people in the darkness, because darkness means death and hell, while light means life and heaven.

This fact helps explain the ministry of John the Baptizer. John was sent as a witness to Jesus the Messiah, to tell people that the Light had come into the world. The nation of Israel, in spite of all its spiritual advantages, was blind to their own Messiah! The word witness is a key word in this book; John uses the noun fourteen times and the verb thirty-three times. John the Baptizer was one of many people who bore witness to Jesus, “This is the Son of God!” Alas, John was martyred and the Jewish leaders did nothing to prevent it.

Why did the nation reject Jesus as the Messiah? Because they “knew Him not.” They were spiritually ignorant. Jesus is the “true Light”—the original of which every other light is a copy—but the Jews were content with the copies. They had Moses and the Law, the temple and the sacrifices; but they did not comprehend that these “lights” pointed to the true Light who was the fulfillment, the completion, of the Old Agreement.

As you study John’s good news book, you will find Jesus teaching the people that He is the fulfillment of all that was typified in the Law. It was not enough to be born a Jew; they had to be born again, born from above. He deliberately performed two miracles on the Sabbath to teach them that He had a new rest to give them. He was the satisfying manna and the life-giving Water. He is the Shepherd of a new flock, and He is a new Vine. But the people were so shackled by religious tradition that they could not understand spiritual truth. Jesus came to His own world that He had created, but His own people, Israel, could not understand Him and would not receive Him.

They saw His works and heard His words. They observed His perfect life. He gave them every opportunity to grasp the truth, believe, and be saved. Jesus is the way, but they would not walk with Him. He is the truth, but they would not believe Him. He is the life, and they crucified Him!

But today we need not commit those same blunders. John 1:12–13 gives us the marvelous promise of God that anyone who receives Christ will be born again and enter the family of God! John says more about this new birth in John 3, but he points out here that it is a spiritual birth from God, not a physical birth that depends on human nature.

The Light is still shining! Have you personally received the Light and become a child of God?

If you would like to donate to CTCI please click here.

Sources:

  1. Christian Standard Bible. (2017). (Jn 1:1–51). Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers.
  2. Wiersbe, W. W. (1996). The Bible exposition commentary (Vol. 1, pp. 285–286). Wheaton, IL: Victor Books.

Why did Jesus visit the wedding in Cana?

2019 summer intern Courtney Potter shares this mornings devotion from John chapter 2.

Heroes Semester is a 10-week residential, “family style” living experience like no other! | Sept 2 – Nov 9, 2019 | Participants ages 18-26 come with one purpose – to go deeper with the Lord. ow.ly/Nhag30oRYRK

Strengthening & Restoring Family Relationships — Train to Reign Program — Oct 20 – Nov 2 | Family is the most vital relationship and the one under the most pressure and attack. Come strengthen your family in a strong relationship with God. http://ow.ly/l5SU30oS5pQ

On the third day a wedding took place in Cana of Galilee. Jesus’s mother was there, and Jesus and his disciples were invited to the wedding as well. When the wine ran out, Jesus’s mother told him, “They don’t have any wine.”

“What does that have to do with you and me, woman?” Jesus asked. “My hour has not yet come.”

“Do whatever he tells you,” his mother told the servants.

Now six stone water jars had been set there for Jewish purification. Each contained twenty or thirty gallons.

“Fill the jars with water,” Jesus told them. So they filled them to the brim. 8 Then he said to them, “Now draw some out and take it to the headwaiter.” And they did.

When the headwaiter tasted the water (after it had become wine), he did not know where it came from—though the servants who had drawn the water knew. He called the groom 10 and told him, “Everyone sets out the fine wine first, then, after people are drunk, the inferior. But you have kept the fine wine until now.”

Jesus did this, the first of his signs, in Cana of Galilee. He revealed his glory, and his disciples believed in him.

After this, he went down to Capernaum, together with his mother, his brothers, and his disciples, and they stayed there only a few days.

Christian Standard Bible. (2017). (Jn 2:1–12). Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers.

Where can we find our Lord and Savior?

Welcome, from all of us at Christian Training Center International. Please join us this morning as we read and ponder this devotion written by Susan Pons about seeking the Lord with all of our heart. We have a promise from the Lord that He will be found if we seek Him with all our heart, so don’t give up – keep seeking until you find Him! Genuinely: Pray, ask, talk to God, be in Scripture daily with full focus.

What do you want to become?

Welcome, from all of us at CTCI!

Before the work of pottery begins, the potter starts with a lump of clay and an artistic idea. There is also the job of watering the clay. With proper training and talent the watered clay is transformed by the guidance of the potter’s hand. If it’s a pleasant outcome, then everyone sees and marvels.

I know that this is such a widely taught Scripture. Let’s study it anyway. It is so very profound if we take a moment to really think about it through Holy Spirit eyes.

Dear Lord we pray for Your Holy Spirit of wisdom as we read and ponder this Scripture.

Jeremiah 18:1-6

The word that came to Jeremiah from the Lord: “Come, go down to the potter’s house, and there I will let you hear my words.” So I went down to the potter’s house, and there he was working at his wheel. The vessel he was making of clay was spoiled in the potter’s hand, and he reworked it into another vessel, as seemed good to him.

Then the word of the Lord came to me: Can I not do with you, O house of Israel, just as this potter has done? says the Lord. Just like the clay in the potter’s hand, so are you in my hand, O house of Israel.

The Lord is speaking to us also. He transforms us by sanctification and we become a new and beautiful creation in Him! People that see this transformation, marvel.

Father God, You are HOLY and PERFECT and the Creator of all things! Our desire and prayer today is for You to mold us into Your new creation. We pray for sanctification and for Your holy hand to guide and recreate our lives into what You know is best! Please Lord, help us be courageous and steadfast in the process and confident in You. We thank You and pray in Jesus’ name, amen.

We seek the Lord daily here at CTCI. Our prayer is to not only become the Lord’s beautiful vessel, but also to be used as such for His kingdom! The two main things going on here at this ministry are biblical healing and training. We have several events and programs throughout the year for believers of all ages. Would you like more information about how we may be able to serve you? Please leave us a message here in the contact box and we will get back to you quickly!

 

If you would like to donate to CTCI please click here.

Marriage…Why it is a mystery

Greetings to each of you from all of us here at CTCI, we hope you enjoy this clip from our teaching today! 

Marriage, according to God’s Word is meant to be an earthly reflection of the relationship between Christ and the Church. (Ephesians 5:22) What an incredibly high calling! The Lord has given us the first two steps in creating this new identity once we say “I do”.

Mr. Webster gave us excellent definitions for these two words:

Leave: to go away from; to abandon; to exit; withdraw from; to forsake. 

Cleave: to adhere firmly and closely or loyally and unwaveringly.

Step #1 – Leave our old life behind. (Genesis 2:24, Matthew 19:4, Mark 10:7) Many of us have not done this. We brought our “single life” into our marriage and thought we would continue in our previous lifestyles.

Step #2 – Cleave, or cling to our spouse and God’s instructions for a successful marriage. It does not matter what kind of past you may have come from (stable or dis-functional) the Good Lord requires a new oneness and obedience together in Him.

Let’s take a peek at this small piece of a teaching here at CTCI called “Leave and Cleave” written by Susan Pons. She and her husband learned by experience how to do this God’s way.

This is one of a series of three posts from this teaching that we will be sharing.

“Between uncovering God’s plan for the Christian household and reading Mr. Webster’s definitions, Larry and I were confronted with the stark realization that we had failed to leave behind many of our former self-seeking attitudes and independent ways in order to become one. This included our distinctly male and female thought patterns, which were reasons enough to cause major rifts between us. It was up to us to change. This was challenging… yet oh so rewarding!

But, the Lord had an answer that was designed for each couple from the very beginning of time. Actually, leave and cleave is the first command God gives to man and woman following their creations. (Genesis 2:24) So, these two action verbs must be very important in His sight. This mystery is very great; but I speak concerning Christ and the Church. (Ephesians 5: 31-32)”

So, we see in God’s Word that we are commanded to leave our old life before marriage and cleave to our spouse as a new family is created. What steps can you, even now with your spouse, “leave” from your lives before marriage?

Why not come to our Train to Reign program this June and learn how to practically walk this out. It will be a precious time of healing, training and restoration. Train to Reign is the name of our family program here at CTCI and it is designed to help heal and restore family relationships based on Biblical truths. Would you like to know more about how we may be able to help you?

A Remedy for Insomnia

Let’s hear about what David has to say in the Psalms! This is a good place to start if you are looking for a cure for insomnia! This is a very short yet powerful devotion by Derek Prince. How can you apply this to your life and perhaps find rest? We would love to hear from you in the comments section!
Psalm 3:5–6

I lie down and sleep; I wake again, because the Lord sustains me. I will not fear the tens of thousands drawn up against me on every side.     NIV

     There is a remedy for insomnia. How many of you, I wonder, know what it really is to have the assurance of quiet, blessed, restoring sleep each night. Who can count the millions in our contemporary civilization who are tormented by sleeplessness, by insomnia? But there’s a man who had found a remedy: I will lie down and sleep. I wake again because the Lord sustains me. You may think that that man did not have the pressures that you have. He wasn’t subjected to all the trials. He didn’t have the worries and concerns. But you are very mistaken. He probably had many enemies, more pressures, was more confronted by danger, than at any time you’ve been in your own life. But he’d found the secret.

I lie down and sleep. I wake again. I will not fear. Why? Because the Lord sustains me.Each night he committed himself to the Lord. He lay down in confidence in the Lord. He knew that his soul was safe in the Lord’s keeping. He could sleep and he could awake without anxiety, without fear, without the torment of sleeplessness. If you’re troubled with that awful torment of insomnia, remember David’s words and apply them.

—Derek Prince
It’s so profound that when we are in close communion and fellowship with our God, He truly sustains us and truly gives us rest in our souls! That soul peace transfers to the physical and does calm our mind and allow for us to sleep well!
Here at CTCI we do always point every situation to Christ. The first relationship that has to be reconciled in any circumstance is the one that connects us to Christ! Sometimes we as humans just need a little guidance in finding our way back to our first LOVE (Jesus). We host families, young adults and also teens with various programs and events throughout the year. May we be of help to you? Let us know if you would like more information.

Hot or Cold?

This morning’s devotion by Susan Pons is talking about marriage, however, it’s also relating Christ to the Church. So, whether you are single or married, please join us as we dig into God’s Word and feel free to comment below!

Revelation 3:15 – “I know your works. You are neither hot nor cold. I wish that you were either hot or cold. So because you are neither hot nor cold, I am about to spit you out of my mouth.”

Ephesians 5:21 – “Be subject to one another out of reverence for Christ.”

Ephesians 5:31 – “For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife and the two shall become one flesh. This mystery is very great, and I am applying it to Christ and His church.”

 

1. Considering that Paul is referring to marriage as a mirror of Christ and the Church, how important is marriage in the sight of God?

2. Was marriage part of God’s plan from the beginning?

3. If the Lord will spit out the Church for being lukewarm, what does this say about marriage?

4. Is your marriage lukewarm? How so? Discuss this with your spouse today.

We will press on!

With our Father God, we can repair much of what has been ruined or broken in our relationships. The Word of God tells us we are to press on toward our goal of the upward calling. It begins vertically with our relationship to the Lord Himself and then extends horizontally to those close to us in our lives. Please join us this morning as we study this devotion by Susan Pons and reflect on how we can begin this process.

Isaiah 58:12 (NRSV) Your ancient ruins shall be rebuilt; you shall raise up the foundations of many generations; you shall be called the repairer of the breach, the restorer of streets to dwell in.

Philippians 3:12-14 (NRSV) Not that I have already obtained this or have already reached the goal;but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own… forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the heavenly call of God in Christ Jesus.

1. Personally, what does it mean to you for God to say that your ancient ruins will be rebuilt?

2. What does it mean to be a “repairer of the breach”, a “restorer”?

3. What are those things you must leave behind in order to press on with God?

4. Will there be a strain in doing this?

5. How will this be worth the strain it is going to take?

Dress for Success

We pay close attention to our physical appearance (at times even too much). We must also be mindful of our character and how we appear to others in a relational sense! Please join us in this mornings devotion by Susan Pons and see what Scripture says about what we ought to put on daily:

Colossians 3:12-14  So, chosen by God for this new life of love, dress in the wardrobe God picked out for you: Compassion, kindness, humility, quiet strength, discipline.  Be even-tempered, content with second place, quick to forgive an offense.  Forgive as quickly and completely as the Master forgave you. And regardless of what else you put on, wear love.  It’s your basic, all-purpose garment. Never be without it!

What does being dressed in the “wardrobe of God” mean to you personally?

How does our wardrobe in Christ differ from the world?

When should we dress ourselves in the attire of Christ?

Our Family Vision

What a blessing to create a GODLY vision for your family for all to see and know! Please join us this morning in our devotion by Susan Pons and use your time with the Lord to begin your family vision statement!

Habakkuk 2:2  Then the Lord answered me and said: Write the vision; make it plain on tablets, so that a runner may read it.  For there is still a vision for the appointed time; it speaks of the end, and does not lie. If it seems to tarry, wait for it; it will surely come, it will not delay.

1)Write on your tablet the vision you have for your family. If you have not had one, begin it now.

2)If you are not married, write the vision God has given you for your life.

What kind of Ark is He asking you to build?

Please join us in this mornings devotion by Susan Pons regarding healing in our homes and families.

Genesis 6:9,11-12 (NASB) These are the records of the generations of Noah. Noah was a righteous man, blameless in his time; Noah walked with God. Now the earth was corrupt in the sight of God, and the earth was filled with violence. 12 God looked on the earth, and behold, it was corrupt; for all flesh had corrupted their way upon the earth.

1 Peter 3:20-21 (NASB) When the patience of God kept waiting in the days of Noah, during the construction of the ark, in which a few, that is, eight persons, were brought safely through the water. Corresponding to that, baptism now saves you—not the removal of dirt from the flesh, but an appeal to God for a good conscience—through the resurrection of Jesus Christ.

1. Why do you think Noah and his family were the only humans saved during the flood?

2. Do you believe the Lord looks down from heaven in today’s world on our individual household?   What kind of ark is he asking us to build?

3. What changes will it take for you and your wife to obey God in your ark?

4. Discuss this with your spouse:    “If the foundations are destroyed, what can the righteous do? (Psalm 11:3)

      

Why are you cast down?

God is our HELP, our HEALER, our HOPE!!!! Please join us as we study this devotion written by Susan Pons regarding how David dealt with his time of distress.

Why are you cast down, O my soul, and why are you disquieted within me? Hope in God; for I shall again praise him, my help and my God (Psalm 42:7).

I suppose most of us have experienced David’s weep expressed in this scripture at some time or another…those moments when an uninvited, unnerving, unsettled anxiousness blasts into our soul. Many times we can put our finger on reasons for the turmoil. But, there are those experiences when we simply cannot begin to understand such dis-quietness troubling us. So, David gives us the answer for these paralyzing emotions. Hope! Hope! Hope in God! Your help! Your God! Because the tumultuous waves of the ocean obey Him, how much more will our souls obey as we hope in Him?

1.What are some circumstances in your life that can cause your soul to become restless (disquieted)?

2.If we cannot put our finger on the reason for our restlessness, Whom should we turn?

3.What does “hope in God” mean to you?

We would love to hear some of your answers in the comments!

You can find HOPE!

As we search for healing, for HOPE, let us begin that search in the GOSPEL! Please join us as we spend time in God’s Word today and read this devotion by Susan Pons.

Hope in His Word

For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through the endurance taught in the Scriptures and the encouragement they provide we might have hope (Romans 15:4).

Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path (Psalm 119:105).

Imagine that!From Genesis— In the beginning— to Revelation— Blessed are those who hear the Word and take to heart what is written in it.Because of His Word,we are not left in the dark as to God’s desire for us in our lives here on earth.He has not left us as orphans…unfed, unclothed, unclean.The great prophet, Jeremiah exclaims, Your words were found, and I ate them, and your words became to me a joy and the delight of my heart, for I am called by your name, O Lord, God of hosts. His Word feeds us! For all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ (Galatians 3:27).We are literally clothed with Jesus! After he had provided purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty in heaven (Hebrews 1:3). We are pure and spotless (clean) in His sight!

Holy words long preserved
For our walk in this world,
They resound with God’s own heart
Oh, let the ancient words impart.

Words of life, words of hope
Give us strength, help us cope
In this world, where e’er we roam
Ancient words will guide us home.

Ancient words, ever true
Changing me, and changing you.
We have come with open hearts
Oh let the ancient words impart

            –Lynn DeShazo—

  • What hope in God’s word does the Word of God give you?
  • What do you believe Jeremiah meant by eating God’s Word?
  • In what ways, in your personal lives does it mean to clothe yourself in Christ?
  • In our failures, was your salvation and purification completed in Christ?  How does scripture show us this marvelous happening?

The Lord is near to the Brokenhearted

How wonderful to know that we CAN count on our Lord! Please join us in this mornings devotion written by Susan Pons and feel free to comment below!

The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit. Many are the afflictions of the righteous, but the Lord delivers him out of them all. (Psalm 34:17)

How was it that David received such a  revelation? Well, David was on the run from Saul, his covenant brother, Jonathan’s, father. It was a tragic relationship, but, David’s covenant relationship with the Lord was the one that delivered him time and time again.  

Don’t you just love the human happenings of  men and women in Bible? King David, an adulterer and murderer; Moses, a murderer and one who lost his temper with God; Tamar, dressed as a prostitute, she coerced her father-in-law, Judah, to have sex with her and she bore twin sons…one of the sons a direct lineage to Jesus; Jonah, disobeyed God and ran from Him, yet God forgave Jonah and used him to spread the message of God’s love and forgiveness to the Ninevites. The Apostle Paul, a murderer of God’s people; Simon Peter, denied Jesus three times yet God forgave him and built His Church upon Peter, the Rock. Let him who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall (1 Cor. 10:12). God has always loved, forgiven, and continued to use fallen men and women to be examples of the love of God.

Every day they pass me by

I can see it in their eyes

Empty people filled with care

Headed who knows where?

On they go through private pain

Living fear to fear

Laughter hides their silent cries

Only Jesus hears

We are called to take His light

To a world where wrong seems right

What could be too great a cost

For sharing life with one who’s lost?

People need the Lord

People need the Lord

At the end of broken dreams

He’s the open door

People need the Lord

People need the Lord

When will we realize

People need the Lord?

—Steve Green—

 

  1. What kind of people did Jesus minister to?

  2. What kind of people does the Word minister to?

  3. What kind of hope does this scripture give to you?

Insight from the book of Job

Almighty God is bigger and way beyond anything we can think or imagine! Please join us today as we study this devotion written by Susan Pons, and please feel free to comment and interact with us – we would love to hear your insight also!

Where were you…? (Job 38:4-7;31-33)

I cherish the book of Job! Job is ancient in the writing but he is ever so modern in the message he brings to an anti-God intellectualism that has over taken our belief system.  Job puts us in our place when he states…

Where were you when I laid the earth’s foundation? Tell me, if you understand. Who marked off its dimensions? Surely you know!     Who stretched a measuring line across it?
 On what were its footings set,     Or who laid its cornerstone–while the morning stars sang together and all the angels shouted for joy? Can you bind the chains of the Pleiades? Can you loosen Orion’s belt?  Can you bring forth the constellations in their seasons or lead out the Bear with its cubs? Do you know the laws of the heavens? Can you set up God’s dominion over the earth?

The raw truth is that we were nowhere to be found nor have the intellect to design His divine creation swirling around us day by day.  Paul is very clear when he states: For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse.

In other words…where were you?  Just look out your window in the mornings of your life and watch the morning stars sing for joy!  Watch the squirrels prepare for winter!  Gaze on the birds of the air taking flight, migrating to a summer home, thousands of miles away!

We are without excuse!  What a lovely revelation!

  • Why do you believe God chooses Job to ask such questions as where were you?

  • How do you believe intellectualism has taken over our belief system in Christianity?

  • Why do you believe that God chose creation to give us no excuse?

Hope in His Word

Please join us today as we meditate on this devotion written by Susan Pons, and please feel free to share your comments with us below!

 For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through the endurance taught in the Scriptures and the encouragement they provide we might have hope (Romans 15:4).

Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path (Psalm 119:105).

   Imagine that!  From Genesis— In the beginning— to Revelations— Blessed are those who hear the Word and take to heart what is written in it.  Because of His Word, we are not left in the dark as to God’s desire for us in our lives here on earth.  He has not left us as orphans…unfed, unclothed, unclean.

   The great prophet, Jeremiah exclaims, Your words were found, and I ate them, and your words became to me a joy and the delight of my heart, for I am called by your name, O Lord, God of hosts. His Word feeds us!

   For all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ (Galatians 3:27).  We are literally clothed with Jesus!

   After he had provided purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty in heaven (Hebrews 1:3). We are pure and spotless (clean) in His sight!

Holy words long preserved
For our walk in this world,
They resound with God’s own heart
Oh, let the ancient words impart.

Words of life, words of hope
Give us strength, help us cope
In this world, where e’er we roam
Ancient words will guide us home.

Ancient words, ever true
Changing me, and changing you.
We have come with open hearts
Oh let the ancient words impart

            –Lynn DeShazo—

  • What hope in God’s word does the Word of God give you?

  • What do you believe Jeremiah meant by eating God’s Word?

  • In what ways, in your personal lives does it mean to clothe yourself in Christ?

  • In our failures, was your salvation and purification completed in Christ?  How does scripture show us this marvelous happening?

CTCI Monday Morning Devotions

Please join us today as we study God’s Holy Word and this devotion by Susan Pons

If you have raced with men on foot and they have worn you out, how can you compete with horses? If you stumble in safe country, how will you manage in the thickets by the Jordan? (Jeremiah 12:5)

Jeremiah had just complained to the Lord about the prosperity of the wicked. God would have none of it as He expressed in this scripture.This is such a word to us, as well, in these days and times in which we live. Oh! Jeremiah had so much more to complain about than we do in today’s world.  But the small, insignificant tasks that try our patience day by day bringing large complaints…perhaps, we need to reckon with.  Our world is a very fragile place.  We are blessed with food, clothing, shelter, and prosperity yet we can complain at the slightest distaste for a particular food, a clothing article that does not meet our satisfaction, or perhaps having to rise up earlier than we desire.  But, whatever will we do when the thickets of grueling and complicated times come upon us personally or nationally?  If in a time of peace we complain, what in heaven’s name will we do in a time of war?  These are situations we all need to come to terms with.  History proves it to be so. The Lord tells us to pick up our Cross and carry it daily.  He did not ask us to complain about it!

I walked one day along a country road,

And there a stranger journeyed too,

Bent low beneath the burden of His load:

It was a cross, a cross I knew.

I cried, “Lord Jesus,” and He spoke my name;

I saw His hands all bruised and torn;

I stooped to kiss away the marks of shame,

The shame for me that He had borne.

“Take up thy cross and follow Me,”

I hear the blessed Savior call;

How can I make a lesser sacrifice,

When Jesus gave His all?

  1. After reading how the Lord dealt with Jeremiah, what adjustments can you make in your approach to God?

  2. Do you think we need to prepare ourselves spiritually in case difficult times are ahead? Explain.

We would love to hear your answers in the comments!

 

CTCI Monday Morning Devotions

Please join us today as we study these Scripture verses and this devotion written by Susan Pons:

But even if he doesn’t, it wouldn’t make a bit of difference, O king. We still wouldn’t serve your gods or worship the gold statue you set up (Daniel 3:18).

And the fourth man looks like a son of the gods (Daniel 3:25)!

Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego walked out of the fire…not a hair singed, not a scorch mark on their clothes, not even the smell of fire on them! (Daniel 3: 26-27)

Daniel! What a model you are to us all!Your words ring true to us, even in today’s world. You refused to become an unclean young man in the sight of the Lord and He honored your faithfulness!

Inside the fiery furnace, a trinity of young men, walking freely around through a portrayal of hell, unscathed, and escorted by a fourth man. And the fourth man looks like a son of the gods! Who was this fourth man?It was Jesus! And they came out of that inferno with not even the scent of smoke on them!

God never promised us that we would not go through affliction, adversity, and sorrow.In this world you will have tribulation but, be of good cheer! I have overcome the world (John 16:33).In His overcoming presence, we will come out of our fiery circumstances, overcomers, without the smell of fire upon us!

In the midst of persecution

Stand by me;

When my foes in battle array

Undertake to stop my way

Thou who saved Paul and Silas

Stand by me.

In the midst of tribulation

Stand by me;

When the hosts of hell assail

And my strength begins to fail

Thou who never lost a battle

Stand by me.

In the midst of faults and failures

Stand by me;

When I do the best I can

And my friends misunderstand

Thou who knowest all about me

Stand by me.

—Charles Albert Tindley, 1905—

The God of heaven will set up a kingdom that will never be destroyed, nor will it be left to another people. It will crush all those kingdoms and bring them to an end, but it will itself endure forever (Daniel 2:46).

Instead of a gold statue, what are some of the gods we bow to in today’s world.  Explain how you or someone you know came through a fiery furnace without the scent of smoke?

We welcome your responses!

Monday Morning Devotions

This morning we invite you to join us as we meditate on this devotion written by Susan Pons.

…for I shall yet praise Him for the help of His countenance”. (Psalm 42:5)

Have you ever walked past or noticed someone special and thought to yourself… I think they know the Lord.  There was just something about them with which your spirit bore witness. In other words, it was their countenance.

The definition of countenance is this…the look on a person’s face that shows one’s nature or feelings.

I love the fact that David, in the midst of a severe trial recognized the help of God’s countenance (God’s nature and feelings) upon him.  In other words, probably no one else could tell he was cast down because the Lord’s presence and countenance was covering him.

Don’t we all desire His countenance shining on us even in midst of trials and tribulations?

The Lord bless you and keep you. The Lord lift up His countenance upon you and give you peace. Amen.

1. Who do you know that carries the countenance of God?

2. Do you believe that God can lift His countenance up us personally

regardless of our circumstances?

3. How do we give room to God to lift His countenance upon us?

Please answer these questions above in the comments section and we can study together!

Monday Morning Devotions

Today as we get ready for a new year, let us resolve to give top priority to our relationships!

Devotion by Susan Pons

We must pay the most careful attention, therefore, to what we have heard, so that we do not drift away (Hebrews 2:1).

Staying the path with God requires a discipline to take the time to hear Him speak:
Let your eyes look straight ahead; fix your gaze directly before you. Give careful thought to the paths for your feet and be steadfast in all your ways. Do not turn to the right or the left; keep your foot from evil. (Proverbs 4:25-27)

There are seasons in this life when we can drift away from our “first love.”

Similar to an earthly marriage that needs careful attention to keep the flame burning, so it is in our union with the Lord.

How do we keep these two most important relationships alive?

1. Inclining our ears towards the Lord and our spouse.

2. Seeking both relationships with all of our hearts.

3. Cutting off those things that keep us from nourishing these two highest unions.

So, today, let’s make the effort not to drift away from our relationships with the Lord and in our marriage. The rewards are great!

1.What is it in your personal life that can cause you to drift away?
2.What kind of discipline does this require of you?
3.How does our not drifting away affect the Body of Christ of which you are a
part?

We would love to hear your thoughts on these questions and this study! Please comment below!

 

Monday Morning Devotions

Merry Christmas Eve dear friends! Please join us today as we remember Jesus and how the little baby born in a manger so long ago still has everlasting power for us today!

Today’s devotion by Susan Pons


The Word became flesh…and dwelt among us. (John 1:14)

What an unthinkable happening! Jesus, the Word, took on the garment of the flesh and dwelt among us!

He still does…! Each and every moment of our lives!

So what happens when the Word becomes flesh in our lives?

Perhaps it is something as simple as a smile, a kind word, or an encouragement.

Maybe the Word becomes flesh when we help lift a burden, to give instead of receive; to forgive a fault; to lay our life down for a friend.

Jesus becomes flesh in our lives when we seek Him, the living Word.

Today, I pray that the Word will become flesh in our homes, the Body of Christ, and in you and me.


Jesus, O living Word of God,
Wash me and cleanse me with Your blood So You can speak to me.
Just let me hear Your words of grace, Just let me see Your radiant face, Beholding constantly.
Jesus, living Word, My heart thirsts for Thee; Of Thee I’d eat and drink, Enjoy Thee thoroughly.
Jesus, most precious One to me, I want to seek You constantly So you can spread through me.

How can the Word became flesh in your Christmas this year? Please respond below we would love to hear from you!

 

Monday Morning Devotions

This morning as we read and meditate on this Scripture verse, and the accompanying devotion by Susan Pons, we can know with confidence that as children of God we have HOPE!

But the plans of the LORD stand firm forever, the purposes of His heart through all generations.

Blessed is the nation whose God is the LORD, the people he chose for his inheritance. (Psalm 33:11-12)

What an incredible scripture for our lives and our nation!

His plans for your life, for your children and grandchildren stand firm!

We can go boldly to His throne room of grace on behalf of our families and our nation and acknowledge that we are chosen to be a part of the blessings of His inheritance!

Jeremiah, in the midst of war and national depravity cries out… “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”

So, today, no matter what overwhelming events face you, turn to Him as a Father, one who desires to leave an overflowing inheritance for you personally and for our beloved America.


1.What do you believe are the purposes of God’s heart for you today?


2.When the enemy comes in like a flood, does his voice give you a future and a
hope? How must we recognize his voice?


3.According to this scripture, what can you and I do to lift up His name and His
ways in our nation so that we can be blessed?

 

We graciously encourage you to interact here and let us know your thoughts on this mornings study!

Monday Morning Devotion

This morning’s devotion by Susan Pons reveals where we can find God and find peace in the midst of our circumstances.

  “Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him.” (Psalm 137:7)


What an incredible command from the Lord in these days of whirling thoughts, opinions and actions, driving us into one more act of toil.

This is not a new dilemma in our world.

Elijah, one of God’s most passionate servants had to learn this lesson as well in the midst of fervent service to Israel and to God.

“Go out, and stand on the mountain before the Lord.”

And behold, the Lord passed by, and a great and strong wind tore into the mountains and broke the rocks in pieces before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind; and after the wind an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake; and after the earthquake a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire; and after the fire came a gentle whisper (I Kings 19:11-12).

So, today, no matter what turmoil that is going on in our personal, national, or world events, let’s turn our eyes and ears away from the circumstance and listen for the gentle whisper.

He is there in the whisper.

  1. What particular prayer are you waiting for the Lord to answer?
  2. What should be our position before the Lord in hearing the answer?
  3. Why do you believe the Lord requires of us to hear His whisper?

Please let us know how you would answer these questions!

Monday Morning Devotion

This devotion written by Susan Pons reminds us with Scripture not to complain, but instead to resolve in our hearts to be well prepared and ever so grateful for all that the Lord has provided and done for us!

If you have raced with men on foot and they have worn you out, how can you compete with horses? If you stumble in safe country, how will you manage in the thickets by the Jordan? (Jeremiah 12:5)

Jeremiah had just complained to the Lord about the prosperity of the wicked.

God would have none of it as He expressed in this scripture.

This is such a word to us, as well, in these days and times in which we live.

Oh! Jeremiah had so much more to complain about than we do in today’s world.  

But the small, insignificant tasks that try our patience day by day bringing large complaints…perhaps, we need to reckon with.  

Our world is a very fragile place.  

We are blessed with food, clothing, shelter, and prosperity yet we can complain at the slightest distaste for a particular food, a clothing article that does not meet our satisfaction, or perhaps having to rise up earlier than we desire.  

But, whatever will we do when the thickets of grueling and complicated times come upon us personally or nationally?  

If in a time of peace we complain, what in heaven’s name will we do in a time of war?  

These are situations we all need to come to terms with.  

History proves it to be so.

The Lord tells us to pick up our Cross and carry it daily.  

He did not ask us to complain about it!

I walked one day along a country road,

And there a stranger journeyed too,

Bent low beneath the burden of His load:

It was a cross, a cross I knew.

I cried, “Lord Jesus,” and He spoke my name;

I saw His hands all bruised and torn;

I stooped to kiss away the marks of shame,

The shame for me that He had borne.

“Take up thy cross and follow Me,”

I hear the blessed Savior call;

How can I make a lesser sacrifice,

When Jesus gave His all?

  1. After reading how the Lord dealt with Jeremiah, what adjustments can you make in your approach to God?

  2. Do you think we need to prepare ourselves spiritually in case difficult times are ahead? Explain.

Please comment and share your thoughts about this!

Monday Morning Devotion

Todays devotion is about how God takes the waste places and rejection in our lives and turns things around for good – for His glory! Thank You Father God, that with You, nothing in the lives of Your children are waste! You bring beauty from ashes and we praise Your holy name!

Indeed, the LORD will comfort Zion; He will comfort all her waste places. And her wilderness He will make like Eden, and her desert like the garden of the LORD; Joy and gladness will be found in her, thanksgiving and sound of a melody. (Isaiah 51:3)

Indeed!  Indeed! He will not only comfort His people…He will comfort our waste places! The definition for the word, waste, means, any person or material unused and rejected as worthless or unwanted.  What a marvelous promise! Mark 14 tells this beautiful story..a woman came with an alabaster jar of very expensive perfume, made of pure nard. She broke the jar and poured the perfume on His head. Some of those present were saying indignantly to one another, “Why this waste?”  Have you ever considered that the waste places in our lives are very precious, very costly, and give off a lovely aroma not only to the Lord but to those around us.  Our waste and wilderness places will relocate into a garden where joy, gladness, and singing will be heard! So, if you are reading this devotion today and are embracing the thought that your life is a waste…look up, your redemption is drawing close!

Just like Mary, Lord, when she poured the oil

She wasted it all on You.

Others cried, what waste! Use it other ways—

But, she wasted it all on You.

The poor could have used its wealth for food—

And we would have cried, “How good!”

But, she knew your worth, and your hope for earth

She wasted it all on You.

As I stand here, Lord, facing this cruel world—

There’s so much to do for You.

“Hesitate,” You say, “There’s a better way,”

First, I’ll waste it all on You.

All that is so precious, to You I give—

And all that I hold so dear.

Hear my prayer, Oh, Lord—

Take, until I’m pure—

I want to waste myself on You.

So before I go out—before I start to sing and shout!

Before I preach You to the world and let my banners go unfurled.

Oh, Lord, I want—

To waste myself on You.

—Susan Corbett Pons—

 

  1. What do you think the Lord means by comforting all of Zion’s waste places?
  2. What  lesson from Mary can we learn concerning our lives?
  3. What waste places in your life are you desiring for the Lord to turn into a garden?

 

We would love to hear your thoughts this morning! Please comment!

God’s Warning

A Devotional from Susan Pons

The word of the Lord came to Jonah son of Amittai: “Go to the great city of Nineveh and preach against it, because its wickedness has come up before me.” But Jonah ran away from the Lord…(Jonah 1:1-3)

Jonah’s father’s name was Amittai, which means, “My truth”; for God’s prophets should be sons of truth. What an honor that God would send His word to Jonah to be delivered to Nineveh…a city great in number; great in wealth; great in power—but, sadly, great in wickedness. The book of Jonah shows us that peoples who were outside of the Mosaic covenant relationship with Jehovah were  accountable to Heaven’s moral law. ButGod so loved the world. God so loved Ninevah. God so loves America. Because Jonah had received the word of the Lord, he became responsible for its delivery to a people who were on the edge of the wrath of God destroying them.  Three profound lessons in less than three verses: (1) God gives words of warning to peoples who go against His moral laws; (2) He expects His word of warning to be delivered; (3) But…the chosen deliverer of His warning should not run away. 

Neither should we.

Under Pressure-Devotional

I was crushed…so much so that I despaired even of life, but that was to make me not rely on myself, buy on the God who raises the dead. (2 Corinthians 1:8-9) 

What other faith in this world expresses such experiences in truth such as this scripture? Therefore I am well content with weaknesses, with insults, with distresses, with persecutions, with difficulties, for Christ’s sake for when I am weak, than I am strong. (2 Corinthians 12:10) Or, how about this one?…

Up From the Ground

I love spring. I think it’s fitting that winter’s barrenness is followed by the most colorful season of them all. It is a time of new beginnings, of freshness, a time of awakening. Sitting on our porch is a birdhouse which was built by one of my kids. As I walked by the other day, I glanced in it and saw eggs sitting there waiting to be incubated. Two weeks ago it was snowing and today there are eggs. Springtime is exploding all around us. Although winter will probably try to hold spring down or turn it back, we can be assured that warm weather will prevail.

What does this have to do with Easter? Well, it is no coincidence that way back during the Exodus, slavery was dying and freedom was bursting forth during this time of year. It wasn’t by accident that Jesus conquered sin and death during this time of year. It was God’s plan that a season in the story of mankind would end with the most crucial event in all of history. You see, the same way that germination causes a plant to come up out of the ground, our Lord rose up from the ground on Easter.

What does this season look like to me? It signifies the end of slavery to legalism. It looks like a fresh beginning in my walk with him. It is a time of growth. It is a time of victory. No matter how dark the barrenness of winter has been, new life is waiting for you. Allow the fullness of resurrection to enter your soul.

How can you respond to Him this Easter?

1) Yield yourself to His touch. Slow down and surrender.

2) Hear His voice. Quiet yourself, wait and listen.

3) Walk with Him. Fellowship with Him and walk in His ways.

4) Thank Him. For all He has done. For what He is doing. For what He will do. For His resurrection – and yours.

Experience new life this Easter.

A Word to the Lonely, Unsatisfied, Frustrated or Frazzled on Valentine’s Day

Ah, Valentine’s Day.

On a day like this, our thoughts naturally turn to the sentimentality of love. We can’t help it! Since before the Black Friday sales were complete, pink and red hearts have been lining the aisles of stores, and the pop-up banners all over the web are convincing us to buy flowers, jewelry, and chocolate for those we love. The world has trained us well in this sentimental version of love through its movies, novels, music, and marketing.

In effect, you may be feeling lonely. You may not have a significant other in your life. Or perhaps the crazy-in-love-fairytale your marriage was supposed to be isn’t living up to that ideal. Maybe you are anticipating the let-down you know Valentine’s Day will inevitably hold. Perhaps you even feel like the love you’ve shown to others is underappreciated or not reciprocated. Let me encourage your heart today.

This Season, it is Better to Receive Than to Give

“and remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he himself said, ‘it is more blessed to give than to receive’
– Acts 20:25

This anthem and the local espresso drink has been carrying Holiday sales for a very long time – and the American economy is very appreciative of the clever use of scripture to carry their revenue into the black before the year ends. But don’t let their clever marketing rob you of the true meaning and purpose of Christmas.

Christmas Must be Received First

“For to us a child is born, to us a son is given”
– Isaiah 9:6

“He came to His own, and His own people did not receive him. But to all who did receive him, who believed in His name, he gave the right to become Children of God.”
-John 1:11

This year, since before the Thanksgiving meal had even been served, Americans have been flooding the stores and cyberspace to find amazing deals for Christmas. Many well-intentioned Christians have not been excluded from this frenzy, hoping to give wonderful gifts to friends, loved-ones, and co-workers with the saying in mind “it is better to give than to receive.” But have we stopped – really stopped – in our tracks of running around in a spirit-of-the-season-holiday-frenzy to consider the coming of Christ and it’s implications?

There is no greater gift this Christmas than Christ the Son. All our giving flows from the reality that we have received the greatest of gifts – from God. Receiving Christ and His kingdom in our hearts and lives is immeasurably greater than any physical gift we will receive this holiday season. And yet many of us will be focusing on giving physical things.

Thinking back to the story of Mary and Martha, we recall that Martha had a great heart to give as well – she believed serving the Lord and the disciples was the most important thing to do in that moment. What could possibly be wrong with that?? Yet the scripture goes on to say Martha was distracted with much serving (Luke 10:40), asking Jesus, “Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Tell her to help me.” She had allowed herself to get caught up in a frenzy of giving without understanding the spiritual importance of what Mary was doing – receiving from Christ. The Lord answers her, “Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things, but one thing is necessary. Mary has chosen the good portion, which will not be taken away from her.”

So what is the “good portion” we are to seek this Christmas? Could it possibly be better to receive this Christmas?

Three Ways to Receive Jesus This Christmas

Know Christ more intimately this year than ever before. Use those new gift cards and buy yourself a new Bible – a good bible, a great bible! Your greatest joys next year will be discovered with Christ, and in Christ.

Treasure Christ as supreme, set apart, and special above all other gifts. Stay up late or rise early and think upon the life of Jesus. Let your mind be filled with the narrative of His birth and listen to songs that declare His arrival.

Share Christ with your family and friends. A good gift is not only treasured but shared. Don’t limit your giving to that which is merely physical in nature, but in the name of Jesus freely give blessings, encouragements, prayers and supplications. Lay hands on the sick. Comfort the hurting. Share the blessing and good news of His kingdom come to earth.

 

Celebrating His life with you this Christmas and always,

Your friends at Christian Training Center International

 

First Family

“For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and cleave to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.  This is a great mystery, but I speak concerning Christ and the Church. Nevertheless, let each one of you in particular love his own wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband.     — Ephesians 5:31-33

What a high calling marriage is!  The first command God gives  to man following the creation of woman is to leave mother and father and cleave to his wife (Genesis 2:24). Adam did not have earthly parents, which makes this scripture, written in the beginning, even more extraordinary and weighty.

Grabbing Ahold of the Cross

The brakes!!! I really should have remembered the brakes. I had bundled ten month old Gabriel quickly into his stroller, eager to get outside and begin our grand adventure! I started to push the stroller along the driveway. It was hard going, either Gabriel had put on considerable weight of I was suffering a bout of weakness. Suddenly I realized I had not released the brakes. I reached down and did so, and then we were off.

The Bear Necessities – Alisha Ostby

You may be familiar with the Disney children’s movie based on the classic novel ” The Jungle Book”. Written by Kipling in 1894, the whimsical songs and care-free characters made this story one of my childhood favorites. I was surprised when I heard someone singing a song from it the other day on a campout with a group summer INNterns. 

As we were walking though underbrush, carrying on our backs just enough for the three-day trek, I heard the familiar lyrics “look for the bear necessities, the simple bear necessities”. A thought came to mind: Could there be a relevant message behind this song? What are the real necessities of life? 

HEALING PROCLAMATION…

God’s Word is full of very powerful verses regarding healing and story after story of wonderful healings taking place. Here is a Proclamation concerning healing that we can make for ourselves and for those we are praying for who need to be healed. Jesus Our Healer, we give all the glory to You!

HEALING PROCLAMATION…

Heal us, O LORD, and we will be healed; save us and we will be saved, For YOU are our praise…JESUS YOU bore our sins in YOUR body on the cross, so that we might die to sin and live to righteousness; for by YOUR wounds we are healed…Send forth YOUR WORD LORD and heal us…YOU LORD will remove from us all sickness and every kind of disease… We shall serve YOU, LORD OUR GOD, and YOU  will bless our bread and our water; and YOU will remove sickness from our midst… healing every kind of disease and every kind of sickness… Freeing us from our sickness… YOU YOURSELF took our infirmities and carried away our diseases…YOU restore us to health.

Jeremiah 17:14, 1 Peter 2:24, Psalm 107:20, Deuteronomy 7;15, Exodus 23;25, Matthew 4;23, Luke13;12, Matthew 8;17, Psalm 41:3

His Compassions Fail Not

Lamentations 3:22
Through the Lord’s mercies we are not consumed, because His compassions fail not.

While reading 1 Kings this morning, I was faced yet again with the fact that whenever I think I have the Lord “figured out,” that what I’m thinking is what He’s thinking, He blows my mind… a fresh revelation of what Isaiah 55:9 proclaims:

“For My thoughts are not your thoughts,
Nor are your ways My ways,” says the Lord.

“For as the heavens are higher than the earth,
So are My ways higher than your ways,
And My thoughts than your thoughts.

Meat For My Bones – Motivation to Memorize #1

Bread Face

“Rejoice Always,
Pray without Ceasing,
In everything give thanks, for this is Gods will for you in Christ Jesus.”

– 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

One of the greatest gifts God has ever given me was His Word. I was 19 when the Lord grabbed me and threw me over His shoulders. I was young, but far too familiar with sin and its effects. It was the first time I had heard Gods word. I could barely understand it, but it was like so many of the foundations I had poured with my dad before building a new house; strong, big, and fresh.

Snake Management 101 (Excerpt from Hold the Starch)

The following essay is found in the book Hold the Starch: Brief Thoughts About God, Me, and You by Bunyan J. Towery (who is actually Dr. Jeff Morton, Pastor of Discipleship at Hillside Baptist Church in Dickinson, ND). Entitled “Hold the Starch”, this collection of essays is not “stiff” or pretentious, but the author communicates simple yet deep nuggets from every day life in an easy to understand way. I like to keep this book by my bedside for a little nighttime encouragement and something to ponder. I read this essay a little while back, and it’s truth has just stuck with me. (Besides, I too hate snakes!) Overcoming the power of sin through Jesus Christ is one of the wonderful promises of the Gospel of life! Hope you enjoy!

Celebrating Liberty!

As July continues to unfold with interns, families and staff, we take great pride and thankfulness to live in our America -“One nation under God.” One of our great privileges is to instill in all those who come our way is the truth of “Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord.” (Psalms 33:12).

Like the Canaanite Woman: Pressing Through the Silence

In the same way that nature goes through seasons, so do we in our lives and in our relationships with the Lord. Recently a close friend and I were talking about how we both feel like we’re in a “silent” season in our lives. It seems like no matter what we do – pressing into the Lord every day, trying to keep our attitudes in check, talking to mentors, etc, etc – we just can’t hear Him speak. It was amazing how the more we talked we kept identifying with what the other one was saying. We talked about what we thought He might be trying to teach us. Do we learn things from our daily devotions and teachings that we hear? Of course. But as great and wonderful as all of that is (and it really is) we both kept finding ourselves over and over again in the place of crying out. I know I did. “Lord! There has got to be more than this, I just know it! I miss Your voice. Where is it? Why can’t I hear it? What do I do? What are You saying? I need You! Please don’t be silent!” Sometimes I found myself crying out while driving and hitting the steering wheel, sometimes while crying myself to sleep, sometimes quietly in my spirit while someone else was sharing what the Lord had directly and intimately spoken to them.

A Good Shepherd

It is a joy and privilege to have such a diverse staff here at CTCI, not only in terms of their individual talents and abilities, but also in the different cultural perspectives that each brings to our work and family environment.

Here is a devotional thought from our beloved Ambiorix Caldéron (native from the Dominican Republic) on his perspective on what it means to be a good shepherd. (See below for an English translation):

Esta mañana mientras caminaba en la cerca, me di cuenta que los obejos me seguian dondequiera que yo caminaba.  Me hizo pensar en Jesús cuando dijo, “…el pastor llama a cada obeja por su nombre y las obejas reconocen su voz…y cuando ya han salido todas camina delante de ellas y las obejas lo siguen porque reconocen su voz.  

¿Y tú, quiere ser un pastor que te sigan las obejas, y que te conozcan?  Tu ejemplo determinará si las obejas te sigan.

-Ambiorix Caldéron (CTCI Staff)

(Translation)

This morning as I was walking in the field, I realized that the sheep were following me wherever I went.  It made me think of Jesus when he said that the Shepherd calls every sheep by name and the sheep recognize His voice. When they have all come out, He walks before them, and the sheep follow him because they recognize His voice.”

What about you?  Do you want to be a shepherd whom the sheep know and follow?  Your example will determine if the sheep will follow you.

The Seven-Year Itch and the Joy of Lifelong Marriage | Desiring God

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German politician Gabriele Pauli shocked her conservative party and sent waves through news outlets worldwide when she proposed in September 2007 that marriage should only last seven years.

Described at the time as “Bavaria’s most glamorous politician,” the 50-year-old, twice-divorced, motorcycle-riding Pauli campaigned for party head, in part, with the hopes of institutionalizing what some have called “the seven-year itch.” Her plan was that marriages would automatically dissolve after seven years, at which point the spouses could renew their union or go along on their own merry ways. Pauli did not win in her bid for party leadership.

Seven-Year What?