Daily Devotional

November 21, 2019

IF LOVING PEOPLE WERE EASY…

The call to love is simple, but the act of loving people is hard. If it were easy we wouldn’t need to hear about it. Knowing it’s not easy, Jesus talked about it often. Love – it’s Gospel 101. ...

 “This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. This is love: not that we loved God, but that he so loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us.” – 1 John 4: 9-12

Daily Devotional

November 20, 2019

THE UNFORGIVEABLE SIN

When Jesus died on the cross He paid the penalty for all of our sins. That means there’s no baggage and no regret too big to leave at the cross. There’s no sin too big for Christ’s forgiveness. So...

“Truly I tell you, people can be forgiven all their sins and every slander they utter, but whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit will never be forgiven; they are guilty of an eternal sin.” – Mark 3: 28- 29

Daily Devotional

November 19, 2019

TWO TYPES OF FAMILIES

Let’s set the scene. Jesus was in the early days of ministry and word had spread about His powerful teaching and miraculous healings. He was in the small town of Capernaum when His family showed up, hoping to talk...

“Who are my mother and brothers?” He (Jesus) asked. Then He looked at those seated in a circle around Him and said, “Here are my mother and my brothers. Whoever does God’s will is my brother and sister and mother.” – Mark 3:33-35

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The call to love is simple, but the act of loving others is hard. If it were easy, we wouldn’t need to hear about it. Knowing it’s not easy, Jesus talked about it often. Love – it’s Gospel 101. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
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As followers of Jesus, we are called to love God and to love others. So how do we do it? How do we live out this call to love? If you are struggling to love those in your life, what can you do?⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
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First, recognize the source. The power to live out this call to love comes from the love God has shown us through Christ.  It’s because we’ve been unconditionally loved first, that we are empowered to love others. Don’t miss this - Misunderstanding this foundational Gospel truth has led many people to burnout and frustration with religion.⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
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Second, the call to love others is not about earning the love of God, but rather revealing the love of God we have received.  The apostle John says to look to Jesus.  Jesus is the manifestation, the revealed picture of God’s love for us. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
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God’s love is NOT portioned out based upon what we do for Him. It’s NOT revealed based upon our performance. It’s all about what God has already done for us.  So, my efforts to love my neighbors, colleagues, friends or family is not in hopes of finally experiencing God’s love, but in hopes that they see this love and grace He has given to me.  We love because He first loved us!⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
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Are you striving to love others out of a desire to be loved, OR out of a desire to reflect love you have received? If you’re looking for fulfilling love from others, you will only be let down.  It’s the unconditional, unending, undeserved love found in Christ alone that truly satisfies. The more we understand this kind of love, the more God empowers us to love others – even those hardest to love. #rfthministries #dailydevo #dailydevotion #dailytruth #dailydevotional #quiettime #bible #bibleverse #biblescripture #faith #christian #christianlife #christianliving #jesuschrist #scriptureoftheday #dailyword #christianposts #biblequoteWhen Jesus died on the cross, He paid the penalty for all of our sins. That means there’s no baggage and no regret too big to leave at the cross. There’s no sin too big for Christ’s forgiveness. So what does Jesus mean when talking about “an unforgiveable sin?” Is there really an unforgiveable sin?⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
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If this topic is making you nervous, let me put your mind at ease. If you’re skimming through your list of sins and wondering about an “unforgivable sin,” then you can stop worrying. When you acknowledge your own sinfulness and recognize your need for a Savior, you’ll never come close to what Jesus says is the unforgiveable sin: blasphemy of the Holy Spirit.⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
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What exactly is blasphemy against the Holy Spirit? It’s an attitude whereby a person is so blind to their own sins that they only see the sins of others. It’s when a person doesn’t see a need for a Savior to forgive them of their sins.  Someone who rejects Jesus as God’s Son. That person is headed towards the unforgiveable sin. If they die with that mindset, they will never be forgiven. In Jesus’ day, many religious leaders fell into this category. If this sounds like you, it’s time for some serious self-reflection. Don’t let your self-righteous pride keep you from recognizing that we are all sinners, seriously in need of a forgiving Savior – Jesus Christ. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
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“Truly I tell you, people can be forgiven all their sins and every slander they utter, but whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit will never be forgiven; they are guilty of an eternal sin.” - Mark 3: 28- 29⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
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#rfthministries #dailydevo #dailydevotion #dailytruth #dailydevotional #quiettime #quiettimewithgod #godtime #bible #bibleverse #biblestories #biblescripture #faith #faithjourney #faithjournaling #myfaithstory #christian #christianlife #christianliving #jesuschrist #godisbigger #godcan #godsplan #letgoandletgod #bibleverseoftheday#scriptureoftheday #dailyword #christianposts #biblequoteI tell young pastors going to established churches to expect some resistance or push back. Although the title of “Pastor” will be received immediately, it often takes about five years to be really accepted as the leader of an existing church. Why is that? Because when a new pastor seeks to follow God’s will and implement change, very often certain people will dig in their heels and resist. For this reason, the average tenure of a pastor in our denomination is about three years – the difficulties to hang in there and stay with it seem too much.⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
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Jesus understood this. He, too, was opposed by the religious leaders of His time. Now in today’s world, these “religious elite” can be compared to the old-school "faithful" in a church being resistant to the new direction God is leading a pastor. They can also be the “politically correct” society that condemns every idea that doesn’t fit their man made view of morality.⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
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Facing resistance from these two camps, a Jesus follower can feel shamed and even cast out of contemporary culture. In the first century, Jesus faced this same type of opposition from the religious leaders. Eventually, their fear and closed hearts would send Jesus to the cross.⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
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Why were the religious leaders so opposed to Jesus? They saw the miracles. They couldn’t deny Jesus’ super-natural power, but they felt threatened. Responding out of fear, they accused Jesus of being evil. Their hearts were so hardened and closed to the Truth that they saw anyone who opposed THEM as evil.⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
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This is the danger zone: It’s allowing our pride and self-righteousness to blind us to the Truth of the Gospel. If you find yourself in that danger zone, open your eyes to the Truth.  Allow God to remove your pride, soften your heart and open your eyes to the greatest gift you’ll ever know – the Gospel of Jesus Christ. #rfthministries #dailydevo #dailydevotion #bibleverse #biblescripture #faith #christian #jesuschrist #bibleverseoftheday#scriptureoftheday #christianposts #biblequoteDo you remember the movie Liar, Liar staring Jim Carey? It came out about 20 years ago and told the story of a profane attorney whoThere’s an old cliché that says, “There are no atheists in foxholes.” In other words, when the battle rages and the bullets fly, people tend to pray. There’s just something about realizing that you’re out of options and in need of divine intervention. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
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Jonah experienced this kind of moment as the sailors tossed him overboard into the rough and stormy sea. You see, Jonah didn’t like the idea of preaching in the dangerous city of Nineveh, so he ran. That was Jonah’s first mistake. Thankfully, even when we run from God, God never stops pursuing us.⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
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1) When we run FROM God, we will continue running INTO God. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
As Jonah ran, he stumbled into one problem after another. Some of those problems impacted his own life, while other problems spilled over into the lives of others. (Think of all the sailors on the ship in the storm.) In running FROM God, God kept showing up.⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
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2) Sometimes it takes hitting rock bottom. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
It took Jonah being tossed into the sea and facing eminent death before he asked God for help. It didn’t have to be this way for Jonah, and it doesn’t have to be this way for us. However, for so many of us, it often takes hitting rock bottom before we turn back to God.⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
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Are you running from God? What problems in your life and in the lives of others are the result of running? Thankfully, no matter how far or how fast we run, we can never out run God. His arms are too long for us to escape His reach. He is always ready and waiting to welcome us home. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
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#rfthministries #dailydevo #dailydevotion #dailytruth #dailydevotional #quiettime #quiettimewithgod #godtime #bible #bibleverse #biblestories #biblescripture #faith #faithjourney #faithjournaling #myfaithstory #christian #christianlife #christianliving #jesuschrist #godisbigger #godcan #godsplan #letgoandletgod #bibleverseoftheday#scriptureoftheday #dailyword #christianposts #biblequote #runnerThe Gospel is incredibly good news that follows bad news. Imagine that out of nowhere a North Korean long-range ballistic missile with a nuclear warhead was 30 minutes from hitting Los Angeles. Can you imagine the horror and fear not just in LA but around the world? Then twenty minutes later we learn that the US military has shot down the missile.  It falls harmlessly into the Pacific. Talk about incredibly good news after the imminent worst-case scenario. This good news following horrific news illustration is what the Gospel is all about.⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
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The Gospel tells us that we are all sinners, separated from God because of that sin. God is very clear that we will face judgement for our sins, a “double-death.” In other words, we will die both a physical death and a spiritual death which the Bible tells us means a permanent eternal separation from God. Jesus calls this Hell. This is the bad news.⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
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But the Gospel is actually the good news that follows the bad. It’s that God loves you and me so much that He sent His Son, Jesus, to pay the penalty for our sins. Jesus died in our place so that if we acknowledge our sins, confess and repent, then we are forgiven.  He cleanses us of sin. He makes us right with God, and because Jesus rose from the dead and conquered death, Jesus gives us that same victory, as well. Even though our bodies will one day give out and die, we can be confident that our souls will live forever with the Lord. And one day, when He returns for His Church, He will give us a resurrected body like His.⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
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This is the Gospel! There is no better news in all of history. Have you embraced the Gospel in your life?⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
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“For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.” - John 3:16 ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
#rfthministries #dailydevotion #dailytruth #dailydevotional #bible #bibleverse #faith #christian #christianlife #christianliving #jesuschrist #bibleverseoftheday#scriptureoftheday #christianposts #biblequoteImagine any action movie. The hero always finds himself/herself in some kind of life or death chase – frantically running from the enemy. The adrenaline builds as we watch our hero narrowly escape, until finally collapsing, safe and sound at a safe house – or refuge – however temporary.⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
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Our lives might not mirror that of an action hero, but we can all relate to feeling like the walls of our lives are caving in. Maybe it’s financial decisions and debt that you can’t seem to get out from under. Perhaps it’s a toxic work environment where the pressure and stress is starting to spill over into other areas of your life. Maybe it’s an overwhelming and uncertain health crisis that made your otherwise pretty good life suddenly spin out of control. Whatever your situation, wouldn’t it be nice to just run away and escape it all for a little while?⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
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Well, the people of ancient Israel could certainly relate. They were facing threat after threat, particularly from the Assyrians (modern day Iraq), when the prophet Nahum showed up with some words of comfort from God: “The Lord is good, a stronghold in the day of trouble, and He knows those who trust in Him” (Nahum 1:7 NKJV).⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
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A stronghold or refuge is “a place that has been fortified so as to protect it against attack”(Oxford dictionary). It’s that place of escape from the front lines of battle. It’s a place where you can rest and find refreshment in the midst of a storm. It’s a place where you can let your guard down. This is how Nahum describes God to the fearful Israelites as the Assyrians’ threats grow louder. Now, the situation with the Assyrians didn’t transform overnight. In fact, it would take close to 200 years for the Assyrians to face God’s ultimate judgment, but God wanted to remind the Israelites that He remains in control. God was calling them to trust.⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
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Where in your life are you struggling to keep your world together? If you’re looking for shelter from life’s storms, turn to God. #rfthministries“I’ve prayed about it. God has given me peace.” This is a common statement when it comes to deciding whether or not to follow God’s calling to take a big step of faith (professionally, relationally, or otherwise). It typically means that a person has spent serious time asking God for confirmation, studying God’s Word, and discussing the decision with trusted and wise council. When a decision is made in God’s will, God shows up by providing a supernatural peace in the midst of a difficult decision. This is REAL peace.⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
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Yet, how often do we rely on a temporary feeling of FALSE peace as an excuse to justify escaping a difficult situation: ending a relationship or marriage rather than work on our own weaknesses; running away from a commitment just because it’s challenging; bailing on a friend because it’s uncomfortable; choosing to cave to societal pressures and blend in rather than live differently and face ridicule… I could go on. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
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In the moment, we might THINK that feeling of peace is from God, but if the decision or action you’re making is contrary to God’s character or God’s Word, then it’s not from God. It’s a temporary, false feeling of relief and escape rather than true peace. Eventually, the consequences will catch up.⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
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Jonah experienced this temporary peace after running from God’s calling because he didn’t want to share the Gospel with the Ninevites. It was pure relief. They were an evil people and a very real enemy to the nation of Israel. The last thing Jonah wanted was to face potential persecution and death simply by showing up. Even worse, in Jonah’s eyes, would be God choosing mercy over judgment if the people turned from their evil ways. So, he tried to sail away.⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
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During a terrible storm, Jonah realized that ALL of the lives on that boat were in danger (Jonah 1:4-6). You see, when we think running from God won’t affect anybody else – we’re only deceiving ourselves. Have you, like Jonah, been hiding behind a false peace excuse to run away?Most of us are familiar with the expression: a “come to Jesus talk.” We think of it as a last chance, tough-love conversation between a coach and an athlete, or a boss and team member who isn’t living up to expectations. Perhaps you’ve had this type of conversation.⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
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Did you know that the ORIGINAL “come to Jesus talk" took place between Jesus and Peter, after Jesus rose from the dead. It took place early one morning over breakfast with Peter (John 21:15-19). I like to think that as Jesus began this now well-known chat, that Jesus pulled Peter aside as He asked three times, “Do you love me?”⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
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Imagine. You’re face to face with your mentor, your leader, the person whom you love and long to honor, after having completely let them down. What’s worse is that he or she knows exactly what you did. This was the case with Peter.⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
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On the day of Christ’s crucifixion, the disciples were in a panic. If Jesus could be arrested and condemned, then certainly his closest followers were next. So, when asked if he had been part of Jesus’ group – Peter said no. Not just once, but three times Peter denied knowing and associating with Jesus.⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
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Imagine the shame and guilt Peter carried as he sat having breakfast with the now resurrected Savior. Everything that Jesus predicted – had come true. And now, Jesus was asking him over and over again (three times in a row), “Do you love me?”⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
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By asking Peter three times if he loved Him, Peter was reminded how he had sinned. This recognition of how he fell short was an important part of reconciliation. Secondly, Jesus’ questions offered Peter a chance to reaffirm his love and commitment to the Lord. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
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Christianity is a relationship with Jesus. In this talk with Peter, we see how Jesus cared enough to PURSUE and REDEEM Peter after he totally let Jesus down. In the same way, Jesus pursues a reconciled relationship with us. #rfthministries #dailydevotion #bible #biblestories #christian #jesuschrist #christianJesus offers freedom in forgiveness. Author Stephen Chbosky writes in the book turned film, The Perks of Being a Wallflower, that “We accept the love we think we deserve.” In other words, how we view ourselves (our identity, value, and self-worth), has a big impact on how we engage in life. That’s why it can be so difficult to completely let go of our past sins, regrets, or even the harm others have done to us. It’s much easier to hold onto our pain and baggage, accepting the labels given by ourselves and others.⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
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Let’s jump back into the story of Hosea and his wife (Read the full story in the Old Testament book, Hosea). I wonder if Hosea’s wife ran back to her old life of sexual immorality because she wasn’t able to fully embrace Hosea’s love, acceptance, and forgiveness? I wonder if she still carried around the weight of her sin and shame from her previously immoral life, rather than walking in the new identity Hosea was offering her as his bride?⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
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Have you ever done that? No matter how hard you try, you just can’t shake the lie that you’re not worthy of love, happiness, purpose, worth, a healthy relationship (fill in the blank). Why? Maybe you messed up in the past and you’re letting guilt and shame keep you from moving on. Perhaps you heard that label or statement spoken about you so often that it’s hard to believe anything different is possible. Maybe you’ve had one door after another slammed in your face and you’ve internalized that rejection, believing there must really be something wrong with you.⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
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Thankfully, there is no sin or shame or lie we’ve believed that is too big for the forgiveness of Jesus to redeem. Jesus accepts us as we are, where we are – when we come to Him with a repentant heart and surrendered spirit. 2 Corinthians 5: 17 speaks of becoming a new creation – “the old has gone, the new has come.” Gone is our sin and shame. Gone are the lies we’ve believed and gone is that former identity we’ve carried. The new has come! Praise the Lord!

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November 18, 2019

The Shadow You Cast

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Water Walking Faith

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November 4, 2019

Looking Forward to the Future

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An Update From Bryant!

 

Many who are part of our Right From The Heart
family may not know that I have been the Senior
Pastor of Johnson Ferry Church in Marietta,
Georgia, for the last 37 years. A few months ago,
I felt the Lord leading me to begin the search
process for my successor, which as I’m sure you
can imagine, wasn’t an easy decision to make!
But, it was clear to me that God was the source
of this change, so the church began the process of
searching for God’s man to follow me in the role
of Senior Pastor. I’m very pleased to say that Clay Smith
has affirmatively answered the call to become the next Sr. Pastor at JFBC.

“So,” you ask, “what happens to Right From The
Heart after you step down from pastoring the
church?” Well, I can assure you of one thing:

I STILL PLAN TO LEAD RIGHT FROM THE HEART!

I’m excited that I will have more time to focus
on our mission to “Reach and disciple people
for Jesus Christ through the use of media.” God
has blessed this ministry in so many ways, and I
know that through your continued prayers, your
financial support, and our dedication to be good
stewards of what God has graciously allowed us
to do, we will be able to reach even more people
with the Good News of Jesus Christ!

In addition, I will be adding new aspects to our
ministry at RFTH in leading Bible study tours to
Israel and Paul’s missionary journeys, as well
as mentoring younger pastors. I humbly ask for
your prayers for all of us at Right From The Heart
as this transition takes place. Thank you and
may God bless each of you!

FROM OUR FOUNDER
Bryant Wright