What’s Your Name


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Today’s Devotional

by Joy Vroonland
March 19, 2019

My mom died 12 years ago today. I really miss her. She’s the one who gave me my name. If she told the story once, she told it a couple hundred times. Because of an illness and treatment my father had had years before I was conceived, they didn’t know if I would survive to birth. So they didn’t attach to me and, when I was born, I didn’t have a name. For three days, I was “Phelps girl.” On the third day, my mom looked at me and said, “You’re my bundle of joy.” I’ve been told countless times that my name fits me. Actually, I think I came to fit my name. All my life, my parents treated me like I was wanted and loved, like I was a joy to the family. I became who they said I was.

I did the same thing to our son, Matthew. For no reason whatsoever, I was sure he was going to be a girl, so we never settled on a name for a son. When he was born, he, like me, was nameless. My husband left the hospital that night and said, “You know the names I like. Tell me his name in the morning.” Really. He did that. The next morning, after much pondering, I looked at our son and said, “You are my gift.” “Matthew” means “gift of the Lord,” and I realized his name was Matthew. He is 19 years old now, and is the most content and abundant person I’ve ever known. He needs and wants nothing. I wonder if this is, at least in part, because his whole life he has been told the story of his name. He has been filled by the knowledge that he was wanted and of his basic value before he had ever done a thing. What else could he want?

So what’s your name? What’s your story? This is not necessarily about your literal name, but the labels that have been placed on you, the stories that have been told about you. Matthew’s story and mine attest to the power of a name and a story. It matters greatly who you say you are and who others say you are. Your name can lift you up or bury you. The good news, the great news, is that our God is in the re-naming business. He loves to give people new names and new stories. Simon became Peter, which means “rock” (John 1:42); Abram became Abraham, “the father of a multitude” (Genesis 17:5); and Sarai became Sarah, “mother of nations” (Genesis 17:15). This is just scratching the surface. These names communicate the promise of God and project who they are — and will be — as God’s children. These folks all lived in to the new names God gave them.

Have you been carrying around a name that isn’t true? One that isn’t consistent with who God says you are and will be? Others may have called you by that name, but our God loves you and wants to give you a new name: belovedprecious childperfect as you arepromisingworth dying for. Maybe it is time for a re-naming.

We pray that God has used this devotional to encourage and challenge you. If you would like to speak to someone about a spiritual decision or engage in a spiritual discussion, please click here. If you would like to support the ministry of Community Life Church, please click here.

Have You Abdicated Your Throne?


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by Nolan Jones III
March 14, 2019

You are one thing only. You are a Divine Being. An all-powerful Creator. You are a Deity in jeans and a t-shirt, and within you dwells the infinite wisdom of the ages and the sacred creative force of All that is, will be and ever was.
― Anthon St. Maarten, Divine Living: The Essential Guide To Your True Destiny

Do you think Maarten is correct? Are we all deities in jeans and t-shirts? Are we all divine beings that have within us “the infinite wisdom of the ages and the sacred creative force of All that is, will be and ever was”?

Who would have the audacity to say such a thing? How could we ever embrace such a ridiculous lie? We all know that there is only one true God, and it sure isn’t us.

A. W. Tozer writes on this matter:

Sin has many manifestations but its essence is one. A moral being, created to worship before the throne of God, sits on the throne of his own selfhood and from that elevated position declares, I AM. That is sin in its concentrated essence;
— A. W. Tozer, The Knowledge of the Holy

Sin is refusing to bow before our Creator and God in worship, and instead erecting our own thrones, sitting upon them, and declaring that we are God. Every sin that we commit is, at its core, a declaration of “I AM” from our self-appointed thrones. All rebellion begins with breaking of the first commandment:

You shall have no other gods before Me. You shall not make for yourself an idol, or any likeness of what is in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the water under the earth. You shall not worship them or serve them; for I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children, on the third and the fourth generations of those who hate Me, but showing lovingkindness to thousands, to those who love Me and keep My commandments.
― Exodus 20:3–4 NASB

You and I will never fully understand the degree to which we break this command. You may have never bowed down before an idol made of wood, metal or stone, but there is not a day of your life that you have fully abdicated your throne and bowed down with all you are before God and loved him “with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.” (Matthew 22:37)

You might not believe that you are a deity, but know that you have lived part, if not all, of your life as if you are.

Everyone reading this devotional probably believes themselves to be a Christian. But believing you are a Christian and actually being one — a born-again new creation, indwelled by the Holy Spirit and being conformed into the image of Christ — are two different things. It would be presumptuous of me to assume that everyone reading this devotional was a true Christian.

If you are a born-again child of God, be assured that no matter what you did or didn’t believe before your conversion, you lived your life as a “deity in jeans and a t-shirt.” The unregenerate person has a corrupt heart (Jeremiah 17:9) that is a “slave to sin” (Romans 6) to such a degree that they will never abdicate their throne and bow to worship before the throne of God. But when you were regenerated, God did for you what he promised he would do through the prophet Ezekiel:

Then I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you will be clean; I will cleanse you from all your filthiness and from all your idols. Moreover, I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; and I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. I will put My Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My statutes, and you will be careful to observe My ordinances.
― Ezekiel 36:25–27 NASB

When God regenerated you, he essentially dragged you off your throne, crucified the idol-worshipping sinner that you were, created you anew in Christ Jesus, gave you a new heart capable of loving and worshiping him, and placed his Spirit within you to empower you to obey his commands.

But what about those who merely believe themselves to be Christians? I’m sure that none of you reading this would believe yourself to be in that group, but that is the nature of sin. It blinds us to the truth of our spiritual condition.

Yet so subtle is self that scarcely anyone is conscious of its presence. Because man is born a rebel, he is unaware that he is one. His constant assertion of self, as far as he thinks of it at all, appears to him a perfectly normal thing.
― A. W. Tozer, The Knowledge of the Holy

But God’s word encourages us to take an honest look at ourselves and see how we measure up:

Test yourselves to see if you are in the faith; examine yourselves! Or do you not recognize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you– unless indeed you fail the test?
― 2 Corinthians 13:5 NASB

So, even if you believe you are a Christian, put yourself to the test. If you test yourself and pass, then you have all the more reason to be secure in your salvation. But if you test yourself and fail, then you are free of a deception that would’ve taken you by the hand and led you blindly into the eternal wrath of God. If this is the case, know that there is still hope, because you are not dead yet. There is still time to cry out to God to save your soul.

So, are you ready to “test yourselves to see if you are in the faith”? Jesus is the test maker. He defines the terms of having a relationship with him. He tells us who is and who is not a Christian.

Now large crowds were going along with Him; and He turned and said to them, If anyone comes to Me, and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be My disciple. Whoever does not carry his own cross and come after Me cannot be My disciple.
― Luke 14:25–27 NASB

If you want to want to follow Jesus, your affection for him must be above your affections for everyone else: your parents, your siblings, your spouse and your children. Your affection for Jesus must also be put above your own life. To carry your own cross is to consider yourself dead to the things of this world. All your affections for this world and the things of it are gone. Jesus is your one true love, and you will abandon all to follow him. He may not ask you to abandon all, but if he did, you would abandon everyone and everything, even your own life. You will do whatever your one true love asks of you. That is what Jesus is saying. That is the test. That is what it means to be a Christian.

If that sounds foreign to you, ask yourself why. If you can’t imagine abandoning all for Jesus, then you ask yourself, “Is Jesus my one true love?” Where do your affections lie? Who calls the shots in your life? At whose throne do you worship? Are you sitting on the throne of your own selfhood from an elevated position, declaring, “I AM,” or are you bowed down before the throne of Christ, following him wherever he may lead?

If Christ is speaking to your heart right now, revealing to you some hard truths about yourself, calling you to abdicate your throne and bow before his, you best do what he says and take up your cross and follow him.

The natural man is a sinner because and only because he challenges Gods selfhood in relation to his own. In all else he may willingly accept the sovereignty of God; in his own life he rejects it. For him, Gods dominion ends where his begins.
― A. W. Tozer, The Knowledge of the Holy

His best religious works God rejects as He rejected the offering of Cain. Only when he has restored his stolen throne to God are his works acceptable.
― A. W. Tozer, The Knowledge of the Holy

We pray that God has used this devotional to encourage and challenge you. If you would like to speak to someone about a spiritual decision or engage in a spiritual discussion, please click here. If you would like to support the ministry of Community Life Church, please click here.

Find Healing



Today’s Devotional

by Laci Prewitt
March 13, 2019

My youngest son, Rory, is 5. He is 100% of all the youngest child stereotypes: artistic, popular, social, manipulative, charming, persistent. He is also the baby of the family. Every night, he is scared of something in his room, he can’t reach anything without his stool, and he is dependent on everyone in the house to meet his basic needs. Buy he does it in the most adorable voice!

I am not known for being sympathetic. When he is scared, though, I may still roll my eyes a little, but I sit with him, and we talk it out and hug a bunch. When he is injured, I am the first one to step up and offer my condolences and affection. If Rory steps on a Lego, I will gladly put a Band-Aid on that tiny red mark. (Even though this is futile, because we all know it’s immediately coming off.) He’s our youngest, and I’m happy to squeeze out the baby years as long as I can. I’m happy to come running at the slightest whimper, because it’s my job, and I am happy to do it.

I have been thinking about this a lot this week in connection to the man that Jesus healed in our scripture from Sunday. As a mom, I am mortified to think that someone’s child was left alone to try and get himself into a spring for healing while others beat him to it over and over again. No one beats me to Rory when he is hurt!

I’ve also been thinking about Jesus in that story, who stood by and watched the crowd of people waiting for the water to be stirred so they could be the first one in there. What did the only true healer think about as he saw people desperate, but not for him? What does he think of me as I sit outside my own Pool of Bethesda? What is my Pool of Bethesda? Likely, it is napping. Turning off the world is my own brand of healing, and often my first stop in the journey. What does he do while we sleep, over indulge, self-medicate, retreat into ourselves, diet or self-improve?

I think he does to us what he did to the paralyzed man who had been waiting 38 years for something to change. He said, “Do you want to be healed?” (John 5:6)

It is such a simple question with an obvious answer. Of course he wanted to be healed! He did not come to the pool of healing for a hamburger. He was waiting for this for 38 years. But Jesus showed him he was at the wrong place. The pool offered nothing compared to Jesus. Why, then, do we keep going back to our own pools, hoping for a healing moment when, all the while, Jesus is standing by, asking us if we want to be healed?

What we find when we look in other places for healing is nothing. It often adds to our pain and our loneliness, causing us to add other “pools”. If my nap didn’t work, then maybe I could just watch these 10 seasons of something on Netflix, because at least then the day would be over and I could maybe move on. All the while Jesus is asking, “Do you want to be healed?”

If Rory tried to doctor himself, I’d say, “Don’t do that, silly boy. I clearly know best, so come here!” Jesus offers us this kind of love, and it’s the only healing that works.

Jesus said to him, “Get up, take up your bed, and walk.” And at once the man was healed, and he took up his bed and walked.
— John 5:8–9

We pray that God has used this devotional to encourage and challenge you. If you would like to speak to someone about a spiritual decision or engage in a spiritual discussion, please click here. If you would like to support the ministry of Community Life Church, please click here.

First Step


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Today’s Devotional

by Andrea Bailey
March 12, 2019

A few years ago, I had the opportunity to serve for three weeks at a Christian summer camp for orphans in the Ukraine. This camp was right by a river and mountain, and in the side of the mountain was the Sviatohirsk Cave Monastery. While we were there, we were able to tour the monastery, which was one of the most amazing experiences of the trip.

The entrance was an unassuming cave in the side of the mountain. Once you stepped into the cave, you were thrust into utter darkness. The guide led us through a series of completely black tunnels that were just big enough to walk through one by one, while trailing your hands on either side of the tunnel. The path gradually took you higher and higher inside the mountain. This was a way to keep out intruders because, without a guide, it would be very difficult to find your way to the top.

Once a safe distance from the entrance, each person was given a candle made by the monks, and then asked to light the candle of the person behind us. When we all finally reached the top of the mountain, the guide talked about how many people had sought refuge there since the 15th century. Many walked miles and miles into the Holy Mountains to escape persecution. The Lord, our God, has placed a need for him so strong, that people would travel any distance to live in a place where they could worship without oppression.

He has made everything beautiful in its time. Also, he has put eternity into man’s heart, yet so that he cannot find out what God has done from the beginning to the end.
— Ecclesiates 3:11

I love this verse. Just as David Griffin pointed out in his sermon on Sunday, it shows us that God has put a desire for him in our hearts. He wants us to find him, to chase him, to love him. God wants us to choose to be in relationship with him.

God wants to be in our lives because he love us. We are his creation, and he will not leave us.

Know therefore that the LORD your God is God, the faithful God who keeps covenant and steadfast love with those who love him and keep his commandments, to a thousand generations,
— Deuteronomy 7:9

Romans tells us how wise he is, and James tells us that he never changes.

Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments and how inscrutable his ways!
— Romans 11:33

Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change.
— James 1:17

I think we often forget how blessed we are to live in a time and place where we have the opportunity to seek God without fear of consequence from the world. Unfortunately, we let the world influence our lives to such a degree that we allow it into the place reserved for God.

I know that this has been true in my life. There have been so many things that I put in the place reserved only for my Jesus. I have let my job, my family, my marriage, what others thought of me, what others did to me, and what I did to others get in the way of seeking what God had for me. The closer my relationship gets to him, the more I understand that he is using those experiences to help me help others.

What about you? It may be time for you to go on a journey towards the entrance to a tunnel that you have been hiding for a long time. The way may be dark, but the Lord will guide you along the path. He is waiting on you to take the first step.

We pray that God has used this devotional to encourage and challenge you. If you would like to speak to someone about a spiritual decision or engage in a spiritual discussion, please click here. If you would like to support the ministry of Community Life Church, please click here.

Only Jesus


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Today’s Devotional

by Randy Wade
March 11, 2019

For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.
— Ephesians 2:8–9

Have you ever had an “only Jesus” moment? You know, that time when only Jesus could have rescued? That time when only Jesus could have satisfied? That time when only Jesus could have redeemed? That time when only Jesus could have made it — whatever it was — possible? “Only Jesus” moments are those times when nothing can explain it away, only Jesus.

As I have been thinking about this devotional, I have been reminded of several “only Jesus” moments that have occurred over the course of my life. One of the more vivid moments was when I was teaching in a remote part of northern Ghana called Paga. Very few people had gathered to listen to me preach, for fear that the Muslim leaders and husbands would punish congregants and family members if they attended our crusade. As a result, many people stayed at a considerable distance, watching but unwilling to come near.

As I started to preach, all of the electricity in Paga went out. When I say all, I am being literal. ALL of the power went out for as far as the eye could see. I turned and asked our host what I should do, and he simply responded, “Preach the Word! They can turn off the lights, but they will not silence our voices.” Admittedly shaken, I continued to teach, but I was teaching to complete darkness. It was one of the most awkward things I had ever experienced. I got to a place in my message where I was transitioning from talking about a secondary character from the text to talking about the primary focus of the text, Jesus. As soon as I said the words “Now let me tell you about Jesus,” every light for as far as the eye could see came back on. This was surprising, because in northern Ghana, if the power goes out it could be off indefinitely. To my surprise, as the lights warmed back up it became clear that, under the cover of darkness, well over 300 people had drawn near to the Word of God. These people were literally 10–15 feet in front of me. That night, at least 20 people were saved by the grace of God. Only Jesus. I still get chills when I think of that story, but it isn’t the most powerful story.

I have seen people healed of diseases that left medical teams scratching their heads. Only Jesus.

I have seen prodigals so far gone that there seemed to be no hope of them ever returning home, but they did. Only Jesus.

I have seen marriages that had already ended in divorce rekindled and made new. Only Jesus.

I have seen people face and overcome fears that for decades had paralyzed them. Only Jesus.

I have seen people so shackled by addiction that there didn’t seem to be a path toward sobriety set free. Only Jesus.

I am a person who has recognized the depth of my depravity and fully understood that the only thing I deserved as a result of my sinfulness and rebellion was eternal separation from God, and yet found the way to be forgiven. I found the way to be made new. I found the way to walk in victory.

None of these things were found in my benevolence and kindness toward others. None of these things were found in my intellect or work ethic. None of these things were found in my personal disciplines. None of these things were found in anything that had to do with me.

All of these things — forgiveness, newness, victory — were found in Jesus alone. Only Jesus.

We pray that God has used this devotional to encourage and challenge you. If you would like to speak to someone about a spiritual decision or engage in a spiritual discussion, please click here. If you would like to support the ministry of Community Life Church, please click here.

Giving Faithfully


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Today’s Devotional

by Pat Cooper
March 08, 2019

And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that having all sufficiency in all things at all times, you may abound in every good work.
— 2 Corinthians 9:8

I don’t practice tithing as such. I practice faithfulness — faithfulness to God and his word, where I find a recurring mandate to support the propagation of the gospel faithfully, consistently and cheerfully with all the resources entrusted to me, especially in my finances (10% is but a starting point). In fact, my greatest thrill comes when my wife places the church check (as we call it) on the dining room table Sunday morning for me to stick in my pocket and drop in the offering basket as we enter the auditorium. It’s the first thing we do on Sundays and the moment worship for us begins.

W.O. Womack owned a small mom-and-pop pest control business, and I was his only employee. We were called exterminators back then, and some of my friends nicknamed me 007 because, in their words, I was licensed to kill. (roaches, rats, spiders, scorpions and other such creepy crawly creatures, of course. Snakes, too. I hate snakes.) At the end of the day each Friday, we would sit together at the Womack’s dining room table where Mrs. Womack would go over the books, adding up the total dollars generated for the week. Once the numbers were in the ledger, she wrote checks paying the bills and paying me. Always written first though, was a check totaling a minimum of 10% of that week’s business income, an amount cut right off the top (the gross, not the net). To this day, I still see that bright smile sweep over her face as she would slip that check into her Bible, ready to be placed in the offering plate come Sunday morning. I bet she smiled then too.

One Friday, Mr. Womack asked me to step out in the backyard with him while Mrs. Womack took care of the books. “Do you want to know why my wife always writes out our offering check first?” he asked. Without waiting to be acknowledged, he began looking back more than 50 years to their beginning. Immersed in his story, almost two, maybe three hours had slipped by before there was an awareness of passing time. Only a darkening sky would indicate day’s end. But before the sun had slipped over the horizon, I came to know a man whose God was worthy, not only of his very best, but deserving of being first in every area of his life, and I understood why the church check got cut first.

Dear reader, that is how I came to make faithfulness a practice. Faithfulness to God and his word where I find a recurring mandate to support the propagation of the gospel faithfully, consistently and cheerfully with all the resources entrusted to me, especially in my finances.

We pray that God has used this devotional to encourage and challenge you. If you would like to speak to someone about a spiritual decision or engage in a spiritual discussion, please click here. If you would like to support the ministry of Community Life Church, please click here.

Because Of Christ


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Today’s Devotional

by Ryan Castle
March 07, 2019

He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him.
— Colossians 1:15–16

I love this declaration from Paul. If you want to know what God is like, just look to Jesus. He is the image of the invisible God!

I want to focus on the end of this text, where Paul declares that all things were created through Jesus and for Jesus. This truth should change the way we see ourselves, but also how we see the things God has given us by his grace. Sometimes we tend to overcomplicate things, but in this case, I think it’s as simple as this: it is because of Christ and his power and grace that we have anything that we have, and therefore, it is to Christ that we owe everything, including our entire lives.

Now, I could probably just drop the mic and end this devotional right there, but I think it’s helpful to keep going, primarily because it’s the final part of that last sentence that is the hardest for me.

This next thing I want to tease out is a little off topic, but I think I can bring it back around, so hang with me. Have you ever wondered why the Jews in the first century wanted to kill Jesus? I mean, seriously, think about it. He was going around, feeding everybody, healing the sick, casting out demons, telling dead people to stop it and exercising authority over sickness and emotional and spiritual brokenness. Why would they want to get rid of that guy? The problems that people had with Jesus flared up whenever Jesus’ deity would show. Jesus is saying in the gospels, “This is the path to life, and you aren’t on it. I need you back over here,” and the first-century Jews (and by the way, us too, if we are honest) are saying, “No, no, no, I know the path to life! The path to life is what I want and when I want it and how I want it.” I know the best way to handle my finances. I know the best way to navigate my marriage. I know the best way to raise my children.

How many times have we thought we knew the way to life? I don’t know about you, but whenever I feel like I know the best way to live my life, it usually leads to destruction, heartache, and disappointment. That’s primarily because I really don’t know the best way to live my life apart from Christ!

So, we don’t want to spend a lot of time thinking about Jesus as God because if Jesus is God, then all his teachings about life being found in him are true, and that collides with my own thoughts of, “I know what I want. I know what my life should look like. I know what’s best for me.” When Jesus’ authority slams into that, we realize what we actually believe and what we actually love. What we do in this collision is important.

C.S. Lewis can help me summarize what I am trying to say:

“Christianity, if false, is of no importance, and if true, of infinite importance. The one thing it cannot be is moderately important.”

If Jesus is God, and all things were created through him and for him, then that is infinitely important. And if he is not, then none of this is important. But the only thing he cannot be is something we tack on to our lives a few weekends a month, give him an hour of our time, and move on. He cannot be that.

So, if what Jesus says about himself is true, that he is the Son of God, and that life and ultimate gladness are found in him alone, we can trust him with our entire lives. We can rest assured in the cross of Christ that Jesus is worthy of all that we have to give. He is faithful to use us and all that we give in incredible ways when we freely give it all over to the only one who is worthy.

We pray that God has used this devotional to encourage and challenge you. If you would like to speak to someone about a spiritual decision or engage in a spiritual discussion, please click here. If you would like to support the ministry of Community Life Church, please click here.

Simple Obedience


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Today’s Devotional

by Shelli Ragle
March 06, 2019

How can one person change the world? Honestly, one person alone can’t. But one person doing their part as a member of the larger body of Christ makes a mighty difference.

“I am only one, but I am one. I cannot do everything, but I can do something. And that which I can do, by the grace of God, I will do.”
— D.L. Moody

Imagine what we could accomplish for Christ if we were all doing our part?

We are the body of Christ, one no more important than the other, and we’re stronger together. We are the royal family! We are part of the kingdom of God. We needn’t wear a crown of jewels to set us apart from the world. We are already different, bejeweled with God’s grace and mercy that, because of his love for us and in us, we are able to bestow on others. As ambassadors for Christ, how we respond to others should look different. We should kiss the baby, shake the hand, pose for the pictures. (OK, maybe not that far, but you get the point.) We are to act as though we are royal! We don’t need to live in a palace here on earth to be considered royalty. Our palace awaits us in heaven. For now, though, we are passing through part of the worldly realm, here on mission from God himself to win back the hearts of man to the kingdom of God. Our world has been living separate from God too long. It’s time we fight for Christ and all that he has done for us. It’s time his sacrifice was not in vain, time that we all agree it meant something. It means something. Don’t worry what others say or think. Just keep serving your King. Spread the message he’s written in your soul. Be the light in the darkness, pull others close, hold them tight and don’t let go.

Don’t let Satan trip you up and convince you that you’re not strong enough or worthy enough. Don’t let your past make you feel like you aren’t deserving of the call. Don’t be caught up in the what wasn’t or the who didn’t so much that you become an if-only-I-coulda kind of person. Satan doesn’t want you to finish whatever race God has set before you. He wants you to quit. Don’t do it.

And know that you don’t need a huge platform or lots of money to make a difference. Sometimes it’s the smallest decisions that make the biggest impacts.

“Extraordinary acts of God often start with ordinary acts of obedience.”
— Randy Wade, 12/10/2017

So, let’s be obedient to God’s call on our lives, and let’s start where we are, one decision at a time.

We pray that God has used this devotional to encourage and challenge you. If you would like to speak to someone about a spiritual decision or engage in a spiritual discussion, please click here. If you would like to support the ministry of Community Life Church, please click here.

What’s In Your Wallet?


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Today’s Devotional

by Jerrod McDaniel
March 05, 2019

I don’t have a lot of money. I’m reminded of this fact fairly regularly. Maybe you know the kind of moments I’m talking about. Like when you realize you just missed the lunch special prices and you’re wondering, “How can I casually crawl out of this restaurant right now?” Or when Netflix hikes their prices up another dollar a month, and you want to write a letter to your congressman. Or when you see a trailer for an epic upcoming movie, and you think, “Man I can’t wait to see that — in two years, when it comes to Redbox!” Or when you actually choose to eat McDonald’s. I’m joking mostly. I would never choose to eat at McDonalds. [Editor’s note: The opinion expressed here by Mr. McDaniel does not necessarily reflect the views of Community Life Church or its leadership. Egg McMuffins are delicious.]

Maybe you can relate to the feeling that you’re not exactly flush with cash. So, when I read a passage in the Bible about not letting your money be a god in your life, I assume it’s not intended for me. I assume it’s for the people who have swimming pools full of gold coins and purchase VIP tickets to the Fyre Festival. But look carefully at Jesus’ words in the Gospel of Mathew:

“No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money.”
— Matthew 5:24

Your initial response, like mine, may be, “No problem! How can I serve money if I don’t even have any of it?” But then I read the verses that immediately follow:

“Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they?”
— Matthew 5:25–26

Did you notice that little “therefore” that connects to the previous verse? It’s basically outlining what it really looks like for money to be your master. And it has nothing to do with a swimming pool full of gold. It’s describing something very common and very relatable: anxiety. Anxiety over having food to eat or clothes to wear. It’s worrying about making enough money to provide for your needs.

Yikes. Turns out this passage is speaking directly to me after all. The essence of what Jesus is reminding us is simple. What we worry about controls us. And if you are worrying about money rather than trusting God, then money is more like your master than God is. Whether you have any of it or not.

Instead, Jesus points to the birds, which have no money. He assures us that God takes care of them nonetheless. He feeds and sustains them, for they are valuable to him. It’s a welcome reminder that I need to reevaluate my relationship with money. Money is not what can sustain me. And the more I hoard it or worry about it, the more it has an unhealthy hold on me. Often it’s our generosity and faith with our finances that demonstrates God’s position in our lives. So let us listen to Jesus’ warning and serve the God who saves, rather than the money that can’t.

We pray that God has used this devotional to encourage and challenge you. If you would like to speak to someone about a spiritual decision or engage in a spiritual discussion, please click here. If you would like to support the ministry of Community Life Church, please click here.

Be Light


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Today’s Devotional

by Kyle Kelley
March 04, 2019

If you watch the news or listen to the radio, the world can seem so out of control. The Bible says that in the last days there will be great turmoil in the world. As followers of Christ, we might think there are only two options: sit back and say that Jesus is the answer, and that this is all part of his plan, or run around stressed out and hopeless, trying to figure out what to do about it. Neither of those is the way that God wants us to respond. Instead, we can realize we live in a fallen world that struggles and is filled with strife, and choose to be light in the dark places as often as we can. As Casey Coats said in week one of this series, “You can’t do everything, but you can do something!”

There is a story about a young boy walking on the beach after a hurricane. He could see thousands of starfish that had washed ashore. Picking them up one by one, he began throwing them back into the ocean. An older gentleman approached the boy and said, “Son, you are wasting your time! There are thousands of these all over the beach, and you can’t make a difference.” The boy looked up at the older man as he picked up another starfish, threw it back into the ocean and said, “It made a difference for that one!”

We can’t solve the world’s problems. We can’t even solve the problems in our own families, so how does God expect us to make a difference? It is very simple. He expects us to love people one by one by one, binding up the broken-hearted, mourning with those who mourn, giving hope to the hopeless, and being the hands and feet of Jesus to the hurting.

As we walk this week in a fallen and broken world, ask God to give you eyes to see needs, a supernatural ability to hear the hurt in people’s lives, and the compassion to act in ways to show Christ.

“For in this world you will have hard times, but I have overcome the world.”
— John 16:33

With the help of the Holy Spirit, we can make a difference, one person at a time.

We pray that God has used this devotional to encourage and challenge you. If you would like to speak to someone about a spiritual decision or engage in a spiritual discussion, please click here. If you would like to support the ministry of Community Life Church, please click here.