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DEVOTIONAL: Hope by Brenda Spahn


Hope

The biblical definition of hope is “confident expectation.” Webster defines hope as “to expect or desire or trust something could happen with anticipation.” Hope is a major part of spirituality that we often don’t recognize the importance of having. The scriptures teach us that hope is confident expectation. Romans 8:24-25, ESV: “For in this hope we were saved.  Now hope that is not seen is not hope. For who hopes for what he sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience.”   

When I think of hope, I think of one specific counseling session at the Lovelady Center in which I asked this particular woman just what had been the greatest thing to happen to her to enable the remarkable change in herself and her life. Just what had been the greatest gift Jesus gave her that could make such an overwhelming difference. As I was eagerly awaiting her remarks, she startled me by this one word: HOPE.  She had no hope and through meeting Jesus, she had found hope for the future.  All of the change in her began with the birth of hope in her spirit of the living God—He has all anyone needs if they will just accept it. She even quoted Hebrews 11:1: “Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.”

Each woman, each conversation at the Lovelady Center strengthens my faith and teaches me anew that all things are possible through Him. All we need is a little hope to get us started and miraculous things happen. Just watching the Lord work in the lives of these women has forever changed me.

I don’t know where you are today, but I do know this—Jesus is our hope.  He is our rock to climb on and hold onto when the water is rising in the floods of life.  He is our hope. 

“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.” Romans 15:13, ESV

Original devotional from Brenda Spahn, author of Miss Brenda and the Loveladies

SNEAK PEEK: Greater (Trade Paperback) by Steven Furtick


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Most of us aren’t in danger of ruining our lives.
We’re in danger of wasting them.

Click here to download chapter one of Greater.

Are you unsatisfied with the kind of Christian life you’ve settled for? If you are tired of cul-de-sac Christianity or self-help pseudo solutions, today is the day God’s greater plan for your life begins in full force:

Greater than the labels you were given when you were young.

Greater than the cynicism that settles in as you get older.

Greater than the dreams you’ve dreamed for yourself.

Click here to download chapter one of Greater.

 
 
 

SNEAK PEEK: The Real Win (Trade Paperback) by Colt McCoy & Matt Carter


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Prepare for a paradigm-shifting view of biblical manhood.

Click here to download chapter one of The Real Win.

Every man wants to succeed. But for so many, life seems to get in the way. We all have friends—good men, followers of Christ even—who start out well but before long, they’re failing at relationships, bending ethical standards, or driving themselves so hard at work they’re losing the hearts of their wife and kids.

Click here to download chapter one of The Real Win.

 
 
 

DEVOTIONAL: Forgiveness by Brenda Spahn


Forgiveness

Not many words can raise the emotions and quicken one’s heart beat more than the “f” word in the world of dysfunction we live.  We are taught that we need to “get even,” revenge is good.  People need to get “what they have coming.”  Most media outlets promote this mentality every day.  Our very souls and spirits desire for a “payback” to others.  To the wounds which are not so deep, some can immediately let go, but we tend to tuck deep wounds inside our soul and hold onto them. It’s not intentional, we just do it.   These are the kinds of grievances we have to learn to deal with or else our spirit will go through life with spiritual infection.  We need to realize that by whatsoever measure we forgive, we will be forgiven.  If we fail to forgive we limit the Lord’s moving in our lives.

I must confess that most of the women that come to the Lovelady Center have lead such tragic lives that I often find myself wondering how they could possibly forgive or forget. With each woman I stress how impossible it is to get the mountain of grievances and mistakes—inflicted both by others and by themselves—without the Lord with us.  We pour over the scriptures and pray and eventually, out of obedience to the Lord, they find the strength to forgive through faith. 

Matthew 6:14-16, ESV: “For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their sins, you Father will not forgive you.”

 

Mark11:25, ESV: “And when you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive him, so that your Father in heaven may forgive you your sins.” 

 

No matter how big the sin, forgiveness is a must for all of us.  We cannot allow ourselves to be in bondage to the sin that can destroy us from the inside.  When we refuse to forgive we cannot subject ourselves totally to God because we are being controlled by another.  Forgiveness is a choice we make in obedience to the Word of God.  Freedom cannot happen with a heart full of bitterness. So when anyone offends me, all I do is reminder my beloved Loveladies and I have no trouble forgiving them.  Our example is Christ and His lessons of forgiveness but sometimes when we see Him working in others, it gives us strength.

Luke7:47-48, ESV: “Therefore I tell you, her sins, which are many are forgiven-for she loved much.  But he who is forgiven little, loves little……… And He said to her, Your sins are forgiven.”

 

Original devotional from Brenda Spahn, author of Miss Brenda and the Loveladies

 

Download: Crashing the Leader’s Chatterbox | Reflection Guide


pdf_1002Crashing the Leader’s Chatterbox is a FREE DOWNLOADABLE reflection guide designed for pastors, ministry leaders, and others in leadership roles.  Combat the negative voices that keep you from God’s promises with this free guide.  Best used in tandem with Crash the Chatterbox.

Get the guide now:   Crashing the Leader’s Chatterbox

Start reading Crash the Chatterbox.

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SNEAK PEEK: A Short Walk to the Edge of Life by Scott Hubbartt


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How Could He Possibly Make It Out Alive?

Click here to download chapter one of A Short Walk to the Edge of Life.

It was supposed to be a simple day hike. Scott Hubbartt was a military veteran with years of survival training. Everyone who knew him considered him an expert adventurer.

But Scott’s trek into the treacherous backcountry canyons of the Peruvian Andes turned into a desperate fight to survive after he became hopelessly lost. As his eight-hour hike lengthened into days, Scott faced dehydration, hunger, and exhaustion. And that’s when his true journey began.

Click here to download chapter one of A Short Walk to the Edge of Life.

 
 
 

VIDEO: The Good News About Marriage by Shaunti Feldhahn


SNEAK PEEK: The Good News About Marriage by Shaunti Feldhahn


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Divorce is not the biggest threat to marriage. Discouragement is.

Click here to download chapter one of The Good News About Marriage.

You’ve probably heard the grim facts: Half of all marriages end in divorce. The divorce rate inside the church is the same as outside. Most marriages are just holding on. But what if these “facts” are actually myths?

In The Good News About Marriage, best-selling author Shaunti Feldhahn presents groundbreaking research that reveals the shocking, incredibly inspiring truth.

Click here to download chapter one of The Good News About Marriage.

 
 
 

BLOG: I Wish I Liked Shoes and Socks

By: Chris Sigfrids
@ChrisSigfrids
Senior Online Marketing Manager
WaterBrook Multnomah

I recently read I Like Giving by Brad Formsma. It’s a book of stories from Brad and others about, well…giving. Most of the books you’d read on giving are about the theology of giving, tips on giving, or unpacking why we give. So when I started reading I Like Giving, I figured I wasn’t in for any earth-shattering discoveries. I Like Giving Book Cover

Most “giving” books have a way of making you feel guilty. What I found is I Like Giving did the exact opposite. It was refreshing, encouraging, and freeing. It reflected much of where my heart has been, over the years, on giving and as I read others’ stories of small sacrifices and listening and obeying that still, small voice that is the Holy Spirit, I felt a weight lifting.

I started reading I Like Giving on a plane ride from Denver to New York. After arriving in New York City, I spent a couple days walking around, eating meals, and sitting in meetings. Over those couple of days I had successfully put on my stern-faced, get-there-quick, don’t-look-anyone-in-the-eyes, countenance that comes over me anytime I walk through NYC.Towards the end of the trip, I met up with my sister for lunch. As we waited in line at the Shake Shack, a burger joint on Columbus and 77th, I noticed an older, scrawny, homeless man digging through the trash for food. He was just a few feet away from me.

Even with my stone-cold persona flipped on, I notice things from time to time out of the corner of my eye. I glanced down at the homeless guy’s feet and there it was…he was missing his right shoe. A beat up shoe on his left foot, but no sock or shoe whatsoever on his right.

I don’t expect to save everyone. I know I can’t provide for everyone’s needs. I don’t pretend to be someone I’m not and I’m definitely no Oskar Schindler. That said, I believe God wants to work through me in very unique ways. As is talked about in the stories of I Like Giving, I’ve seen him also call me to specific tasks for a specific purpose on more than a few occasions.

I want to be used by God.

In order to be used by Him, I feel I need to keep my heart in a sensitive place where God can get through. But I’m easily sucked into things that don’t matter. Instead of reading, I watch television. Rather than engage my sons, I tinker. For me to hear from God I need the following: time reading the Bible, dedicated silence where I can reflect and meditate, songs of depth and praise that call me into worship and reminding me why I’m here, and wise people speaking into my life. When these things are happening, I see God working. When they’re lacking, I see God working less.

The homeless man had a simple need: shoes and socks. In Formsma’s book he shares stories where people recognized a need and met that need. A kid’s bike was stolen so a guy gave that kid a bike. That guy “likes bikes.” A woman finds out her neighbor doesn’t have enough money for a Thanksgiving meal, so she gives her a platter of turkey, stuffing, yams, and beans. That lady “likes Thanksgiving.”

This guy needed shoes and socks. I saw it plain as day and God’s voice was quietly directing me to him. I saw it, but my heart wasn’t in a place where it  obeyed to act.

I missed it.

Shoes

I was flying home to Colorado when a convicting wave of emotion crashed into me. It was a pure, clear thought: I should have given that guy my socks and shoes. It may have been weird, awkward, and it totally could have bombed. But I should have at least made the offer. I should have looked that guy in the eyes and said, “Here. Please take my socks and shoes.”

I should have done it. As quickly as that thought occurred to me, I was reminded of what Formsma said in I Like Giving:

“If an opportunity comes your way and you chicken out, don’t beat yourself up about it. When I first started giving this way, I found myself wondering how many people I’d walked past, how many opportunities I’d missed. The good news is that it’s never too late to give. If an opportunity comes your way and you don’t seize it, don’t get stuck in the downward spiral of regret. Smile, tell yourself all is well, and then ask for another one. If there are people around you, there will be more opportunities to give.”

I blew it. But it’s okay. There will be other opportunities.

As I reflected on the plane, I prayed and submitted my failure to God. I was reminded of what it says in Romans 12:1, “Take your everyday, ordinary life—your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life—and place it before God as an offering.” (The Message).

I may not get it right all the time, but that’s what I’m shooting for. I’m aiming for a life that matters. A life surrendered to God on an all-the-time basis. Do you want that too? I think most Christians do. I’d encourage you to pick up and read I Like Giving. It may start to knead some areas of your heart that God wants to use as you look to bless others and live a life that matters.

SNEAK PEEK: Stand Strong by Nick Vujicic


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This Christmas, experience learning to trust alongside the Plain folk of Apple Ridge, Pennsylvania in this heart-warming tale of second chances. – See more at: http://waterbrookmultnomah.com/catalog.php?work=226490#sthash.t1pXmENy.dpuf
Gideon O’Riley has been given another chance at a life with Lonnie. But will the fight for her heart risk it all over again? – See more at: http://waterbrookmultnomah.com/catalog.php?work=219085#sthash.2GHMxE02.dpuf
Turn your fleeting minutes into defining moments.
They were two of Jesus’s closest friends. Each had something to offer Him. But one offered “the better part.” – See more at: http://waterbrookmultnomah.com/catalog.php?work=223010#sthash.s6voIUKK.dpuf

No Bully Can Define Who You Are

Click here to download chapter one of Stand Strong.

With no arms, no legs, and no defense, Nick Vujicic was once a bully’s target and knows what it feels like to be picked on and pushed around:  It makes your stomach hurt, gives you nightmares, and feels like there is no hope in sight. But Nick shows how you too can overcome and rise above bullying. 

Ten Days Without is a compelling story and practical guide that will equip you and your friends to break through walls of convenience and indifference, and join a movement that is confronting apathy and ignorance around the world to make an impact on people’s lives in a God-honoring way. Ten Days Without is where our good intentions end and making a difference in the world begins. – See more at: http://waterbrookmultnomah.com/catalog.php?work=223380#sthash.vc9QufxP.dpuf

Working hard to develop a new Amish community outside of Unity, Maine, Rhoda Byler is fully committed to rehabilitating an orchard with business partner Samuel King. But an impulsive decision has created an unexpected strain in her relationship with her beau, Samuel’s brother, Jacob, threatening plans for the orchard. Amidst mounting tension in matters of the heart and business, Rhoda finds that this fledging settlement feels like the home she has always longed for, and she begins to embrace the God-given, heightened intuition that has always felt like a burden to her. – See more at: http://waterbrookmultnomah.com/catalog.php?work=208964#sthash.ouClSIqV.dpuf

Working hard to develop a new Amish community outside of Unity, Maine, Rhoda Byler is fully committed to rehabilitating an orchard with business partner Samuel King. But an impulsive decision has created an unexpected strain in her relationship with her beau, Samuel’s brother, Jacob, threatening plans for the orchard. Amidst mounting tension in matters of the heart and business, Rhoda finds that this fledging settlement feels like the home she has always longed for, and she begins to embrace the God-given, heightened intuition that has always felt like a burden to her. – See more at: http://waterbrookmultnomah.com/catalog.php?work=208964#sthash.ouClSIqV.dpuf

Sadie enjoys her freedom away from home and her mission trips to Peru, but after four years, her Old Order Amish family insists it’s time to come home and settle down. Levi, a bachelor who distrusts women after a family heartbreak, also has no desire for romance. To keep their families from meddling in their lives, Sadie and Levi devise a plan—but soon discover that the walls around their hearts are breaking down. Can they let go of their prejudices, learn to trust each other, and embrace a future together? – See more at: http://waterbrookmultnomah.com/catalog.php?work=226490#sthash.t1pXmENy.dpuf

Working hard to develop a new Amish community outside of Unity, Maine, Rhoda Byler is fully committed to rehabilitating an orchard with business partner Samuel King. But an impulsive decision has created an unexpected strain in her relationship with her beau, Samuel’s brother, Jacob, threatening plans for the orchard. Amidst mounting tension in matters of the heart and business, Rhoda finds that this fledging settlement feels like the home she has always longed for, and she begins to embrace the God-given, heightened intuition that has always felt like a burden to her. – See more at: http://waterbrookmultnomah.com/catalog.php?work=208964#sthash.ouClSIqV.dpu

Click here to download chapter one of Stand Strong.

Working hard to develop a new Amish community outside of Unity, Maine, Rhoda Byler is fully committed to rehabilitating an orchard with business partner Samuel King. But an impulsive decision has created an unexpected strain in her relationship with her beau, Samuel’s brother, Jacob, threatening plans for the orchard. Amidst mounting tension in matters of the heart and business, Rhoda finds that this fledging settlement feels like the home she has always longed for, and she begins to embrace the God-given, heightened intuition that has always felt like a burden to her. She longs for Jacob to fully be free of his past, so they can work towards the future together.But as Rhoda uses her gift to unpack an old secret with her Englisch neighbors, it is not her beau but an unlikely ally that cheers her on. With the orchard on shaky ground and Jacob’s plans in question, Rhoda is determined to see things through to harvest. But can she trust her insight to direct her path in matters of the heart? – See more at: http://waterbrookmultnomah.com/catalog.php?work=208964#sthash.iEe3za7V.dpuf

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