Follow Me

Today’s Scripture: 2 Peter 1

During our walk with God, it can be deceptively easy to become complacent in our faith. On a personal level, I sometimes catch myself “going through the motions” of followership, which can all too easily mask dormancy in my faith journey.

In these moments, I need to remind myself that faith is not a passive state. In other words, it is not enough for me to simply believe in God and just go on with my life. To the contrary, faith requires consistent interaction with God’s word and continual action on his behalf.

Today, our LivingItOut study begins the Second Epistle of Peter, in which Simon Peter warns us about the dangers of becoming complacent in our faith. The letter comprising 2 Peter was written against a somber backdrop. Christians were suffering vicious persecution at the hands of the Romans while so-called prophets espousing false doctrines were plentiful. Peter was nearing the end of his life. He would suffer a martyr’s death within a year or so of writing this letter. Being keenly aware of the relative brevity of life, Peter offers this epistle as an emphatic testament to his legacy (2 Peter 1:14-15).

In doing so, he implores us to be aware of our duties as followers. God’s desire, Peter suggests, is not simply that we believe in him. Indeed, belief is just the beginning. God desires that we grow in our knowledge of his word and in our faith, and that we express our belief through our actions (i.e., loving others). This is not because our actions earn us greater favor with God. As believers, we know that our destiny is secure because Christ paid for our sins on the cross. But God also wants us to benefit from his “great and precious promises.”

2 Peter 1:3-4
3 By his divine power, God has given us everything we need for living a godly life. We have received all of this by coming to know him, the one who called us to himself by means of his marvelous glory and excellence. 4 And because of his glory and excellence, he has given us great and precious promises. These are the promises that enable you to share his divine nature and escape the world’s corruption caused by human desires.

Though Peter’s legacy is complicated, his words on this topic carry particular credibility. Peter was known for being impulsive and brash, and he failed Jesus—spectacularly—on several occasions. At the same time, his allegiance to Christ and the word of God are unquestionable. It has been said that it is better to be a follower who fails than to be one who fails to follow. And there is perhaps no better embodiment of this saying than Simon Peter.

It is no accident that Jesus’ first and last encounters with Peter conveyed effectively the same message: “follow me” (Matthew 4:19, John 21:22). And so it follows that the core message of 2 Peter 1 is that we should actively turn to Jesus and follow him.

Questions:
How often do you find yourself becoming complacent in your faith? What steps can you take to be more mindful about living your faith in a more active manner? What are some specific ways in which you can grow in your knowledge of God and your expression of faith in action?

Next Steps:
Set aside time today to consider Peter’s three dimensions of faith: knowing God, growing in your understanding, and living your faith. Assess your level of active faith and where you have opportunities to be more intentional in growing it. As you do this, remember that this should not be viewed as an obligation, but rather as an opportunity to be more “productive and useful” as a Christ follower (2 Peter 1:8).

Prayer:
Heavenly Father, I thank you for your great and precious promises. Help me to always be an active and intentional follower, and to know, grow, and live my faith for your purposes. Amen.


This post was written by Todd Romain. Todd enjoys sharing life with his wife Jessica and their family and serving at CedarCreek. He is a communications director at Owens Corning and enjoys reading, writing, music, and sports in his spare time.


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Healthy Boundaries

Today’s Scripture: 2 Thessalonians 3

As Christians, being told to “stay away” from someone can feel like a direct violation against how we’re called to live. We’re called to love everyone, to forgive everything, and to turn the other cheek when dealing with difficult people—how can we justify staying away from someone? And yet, in 2 Thessalonians 3:6, Paul gives this command: “Stay away from all believers who live idle lives and don’t follow the tradition they received from us.”

How can we defend avoiding someone, especially a fellow believer? Jesus himself said he came for those who are sick, didn’t he?

Well, in essence, yes—but maybe not exactly.

Mark 2:17
When Jesus heard this, he told them, “Healthy people don’t need a doctor—sick people do. I have come to call not those who think they are righteous, but those who know they are sinners.”

All sick people need a doctor. However, a doctor can’t help someone who, like the Pharisees, refuses to see him or insists they’re not sick.

Of course, the people Paul is referring to in today’s reading seem to have acknowledged that they are sinners and have found salvation—after all, they are called believers. Still, even as believers, sometimes we don’t notice when we are straying.

As lead pastor Ben Snyder addressed last weekend, people who resist feedback, adjust the truth, and generally divert any blame away from themselves often fall into the category of mockers, scoffers, and fools. They’re not evil or wicked, but they’re not wise either.

Personally, I think Paul was dealing with some fools here.

For some context, these people had already been warned about their behavior in a previous letter from Paul.

1 Thessalonians 5:14 (emphasis added)
Brothers and sisters, we urge you to warn those who are lazy. Encourage those who are timid. Take tender care of those who are weak. Be patient with everyone.

That sounds a little more like loving everyone, doesn’t it? In these words, there’s an echo of our current theme verse, Ephesians 4:2, “Always be humble and gentle. Be patient with each other, making allowance for each other’s faults because of your love.”

However, when the foolish won’t listen to warnings, what can we do? Well, we’re certainly not going to stop loving them. We won’t stop caring about them. But if we care about them, we can’t turn a blind eye to destructive behavior. Instead, we have to place limits. As Paul said, “Take note of those who refuse to obey what we say in this letter. Stay away from them so they will be ashamed. Don’t think of them as enemies, but warn them as you would a brother or sister” (2 Thessalonians 3:14-15 emphasis added).

It’s a hard thing to define—that line between loving and setting boundaries. Here are a couple thoughts to help guide you:

  1. It’s not love to let someone settle for less than what God wants for them.
  2. While we are called to sacrifice for the sake of other believers, we are not called to risk our character or personal integrity.

Questions:
Which category do most of your friends fall into: the wise, the mockers, or the wicked? Which category do you fit into? Do you have any friends who are both foolish and believers?

Next Steps:
Do not immediately cut off any friends who are mockers. However, do consider some boundaries you can set if you recognize these friends are draining you or having a negative influence on your spiritual journey. If you’ve set boundaries and talked to these friends about some of the negative patterns you’ve seen in their lives, and they still haven’t changed, consider setting up stricter boundaries.

Prayer:
Heavenly Father, I know I can be foolish, maybe even wicked—thank you for loving me anyway. Help me to love others the way you first loved me, but also to recognize my limits and weaknesses. Teach me to see when people are willing to change and when they’re not—help me to keep my arms and heart open for when they are ready. Above all else, may your will be done. Amen.


This post was written by Payton Lechner. Payton is currently the apprentice copywriter at CedarCreek. In her spare time, she freelances as a writer and editor. Besides the English language, Payton loves swimming, cats, and a good cup of tea.


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Do Not Be Deceived

Today’s Scripture: 2 Thessalonians 2

Thessalonians is a book of letters Paul wrote to the church in Thessalonica, modern-day Greece. 2 Thessalonian 2:1-12 is confusing and a little scary. It talks about the end times and Christ’s second coming. It talks about deception and lawlessness. The part that is most unsettling to me is:

Thessalonian 2:9-12
9 This man will come to do the work of Satan with counterfeit powers and signs and miracles. 10 He will use every kind of evil deception to fool those on their way to destruction, because they refuse to love and accept the truth that will save them. 11 So God will cause them to be greatly deceived, and they will believe these lies. 12 Then they will be condemned for enjoying evil rather than believing the truth.

Pause and take a deep breath. I want to panic a little. How will I not be deceived? The man Satan sends will use deception. He will perform miracles and those who believe him will be on their way to destruction. What is even scarier is that God will cause them to be greatly deceived and they will believe the lies.

It’s time for another deep breath. What will prevent us from being deceived? Believing the truth: Jesus is the Son of God. He was sinless, he died on the cross for our sins, and God raised him from the dead. He gave us the priceless gift of salvation. When we believe this with our whole hearts, we will be saved. We prevent ourselves from being deceived by reading the Bible, memorizing verses, praying, resting in his presence, and spending time with other Jesus followers. I believe if we do these things, God will not let us be deceived. We will know the truth, and the truth will set us free.

I trust that God will do everything in his power to convince the deceived to believe. God does not want anyone to perish. Unfortunately, there are some people who will never believe. Instead they choose to focus on themselves and do great evil. They have refused to accept God’s free gift of salvation. Eventually, God will allow them to suffer the consequences of their choices.

Paul doesn’t end his letter on such a sad note. He reminds the believers how much God loves them and how he will give them comfort, hope, and strength. I believe these words are addressed to all of us believers:

Thessalonian 2:16-17
16 Now may our Lord Jesus Christ himself and God our Father, who loved us and by his grace gave us eternal comfort and wonderful hope, 17 comfort you and strengthen you in every good thing you do and say.

God does not want us to live in panic and worry about the end times. He wants us to be prepared and not to be deceived. He will fill us with his grace, comfort, and hope.

Questions:
Have you accepted Jesus as your Lord and Savior? If not, why? Are you attending services, reading your Bible, praying, and spending time in fellowship with other believers? Why is it so important to do these things?

Next Steps:
Go to GrowthTrack. Join a Life Group. Become a member of the Dream Team. Pray. Read your Bible. Attend services. Have fellowship with other believers.

Prayer:
Jesus, I praise you that you love me so much you sent your son, Jesus, to save me. If that was the only thing you ever did for me, it would be more than enough. You want so much more for me. You, the almighty God of the universe, want to be in relationship with me. You want me to know the truth! You want everyone to be saved. You love me so much you fill me with your grace, comfort, and hope. You help me face all the challenges of this world. I don’t need to worry about the end times. I need to prepare for them by having a close relationship with you. You already have saved me. You already have won. I praise you, my wonderful Savior. Amen.


This post was written by Marsha Raymond. Marsha has been happily married to her husband, Jeff, for 30 years. They have two grown sassy and fearless daughters. She loves spending time with God, her family and friends, reading, riding bicycles, yoga and walking.


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Persevere

Today’s Scripture: 2 Thessalonians 1

The Apostle Paul wrote this letter to the Thessalonians shortly after writing the first letter in order to correct a misunderstanding about the Lord’s return and to encourage persecuted believers. This was a difficult time for the church in Thessalonica because of the violent persecution from the surrounding culture.

2 Thessalonians 1:3-5 (NIV)           
3 We ought always to thank God for you, brothers and sisters, and rightly so, because your faith is growing more and more, and the love all of you have for one another is increasing. 4 Therefore, among God’s churches we boast about your perseverance and faith in all the persecutions and trials you are enduring. 5 All this is evidence that God’s judgement is right, and as a result you will be counted worthy of the kingdom of God, for which you are suffering.

Paul indirectly pointed out the perseverance of believers by thanking God for their increasing faith and love, which is evidence of maturing Christianity. Notice that he wrote “ought to always thank God.” There is a spiritual obligation to thank God when he accomplishes great things in the lives of Christ followers. Paul used their church as an example for other churches because of their perseverance. He also emphasized God’s affirmation to keep going despite their persecution. The Christian life does not promise to be free from suffering. Jesus suffered so that we could have a relationship with him and one day see his Kingdom. Suffering is real, but so is the coming Kingdom of God! It is not written in the fine print: suffering is boldly written throughout the Scriptures.

1 Peter 4:12-13
12 Dear friends, don’t be surprised at the fiery trials you are going through, as if something strange were happening to you. 13 Instead, be very glad – for these trials make you partners with Christ in his suffering, so that you will have the wonderful joy of seeing his glory when it is revealed to all the world.

2 Timothy 3:12
Yes, and everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution.

Paul also wrote about God will defend those who suffer for his name. Retribution is the responsibility of God alone. He will “pay back trouble” to those who persecute Christ followers when and how he decides. We need not worry about fighting our battles— God will fight them for us.

2 Thessalonians 1:6-7a
6 God is just: He will pay back trouble to those who trouble you 7 and give relief to you who are troubled, and to us as well.

Questions:
Are you living your life with perseverance? Do you consider suffering as a way that God perfects Christ followers? Do you seek revenge on those who persecute you?

Next Steps:
Consider how you view suffering. Journal the ways you are suffering and how this is perfecting you to be counted worthy of the Kingdom of God. If you cannot consider suffering as a way of purification, pray that God will help you see as he sees.

Prayer:
May our God make you worthy of his calling, and that by his power he may bring to fruition your every desire for goodness and your every deed prompted by faith. We pray this so that the name of our Lord Jesus may be glorified in you, and you in him, according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ. Amen.


This post was written by Jennifer Macke. Jenn has a son, daughter, granddaughter, and grandson, and she thanks God every day for them. She is enjoying retirement and feels blessed to be writing for LivingItOut. She was raised in an Evangelical Church, but her spiritual life awakened when she started attending CedarCreek.


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Be Ready!

Today’s Scripture: 1 Thessalonians 5

As an elementary school student, I rode the bus to and from school. Some days I was up on time, eating a wonderful breakfast my loving mom had prepared, out the door with my things, and at the bus stop in plenty of time to catch the bus. Some days I had to sprint out the door and through the backyard to the next stop. I knew the bus was coming. I believed the bus would come. This is why I prepared to get on the bus each school day.

On Sundays, I woke in plenty of time to get myself ready and into the car before my dad could call out, “The bus is leaving!” which  was a great warning to be IN the car and not left behind. I knew we were going to church. I believed the car (my dad) would leave me behind if I was not in it!

Paul uses Chapter 5 to help us “be on the bus” when the Day of the Lord comes. We know Jesus will return and we are to be diligently watchful. We are not to slumber and be lazy as the world is. Paul is reminding the church in Thessalonica that Jesus will come unannounced, and many will be unprepared. We should be ready: “Having put on the breastplate  of faith and love, and the helmet of the hope of salvation.”

Just as a child waits expectantly for a promised surprise, we too are to be looking for Jesus’s return with faith, hope, and love.

The remainder of the letter is an urging to respect Christians who are correcting these newer believers. God is calling on the church to revere one another in the work he has for them. Paul sums up the whole letter with his most basic instructions: “See that no one repays evil for evil, but always seek to do good to one another and to everyone. Rejoice always. Pray without ceasing, giving thanks in all circumstances,  for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. ”

As we wait for his coming, may we be found blameless,  prepared, and waiting as a child waits: hopefully, joyfully,  and expectantly.

Questions: 

How can you get ready for the coming of the Lord? Who can you encourage to be prepared while waiting for the Lord? What one step will you take to be ready?

Next Steps: 

Join a small group to encourage one another in the Word. Attend GrowthTrack to find out how you can get plugged in and serve. GrowthTrack will also help you discover your gifts. Do a word study on the rapture, faith, hope, or salvation.

Prayer: 
Thank you, Lord, for the great promise that you are coming to get us and take us to heaven with you! Your Word may not tell us exactly when,. but your promise tells us you will return. Thank you for giving us the hope of eternity with you and one another. We need help staying diligent and alert. Give us the desire to do your will and not be like the world. Help us to meet with you daily, to be encouraged, and to share your hope and salvation with those in our path. Thank you. Amen.


This post was written by Julie Roehl, a regular contributor and editor of the LivingItOut.


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Raising The Bar

Today’s Scripture: 1 Thessalonians 4

Much of the fourth chapter in 1 Thessalonians emphasizes living to please God.

1 Thessalonians 4:1
Finally, dear brothers and sisters, we urge you in the name of the Lord Jesus to live in a way that pleases God, as we have taught you. You live this way already, and we encourage you to do so even more.

Paul is “urging” those in Thessalonica to “do so even more.” Now there is a challenge! To “live in a way that pleases God … do so even more.” Some may ask, “How will I know when enough is enough?”

There was a time when that question surfaced in my mind. But it has been replaced with the reality  that there is no end to “do so even more” this side of heaven. Thankfully, for me, that reality is not a burden in the least. That reality is quite the opposite—it is a relief!

The inner weavings of Scripture make an undeniably profound impact on this soul. Micah 6:8 is one such passage:  “No, O people, the Lord has told you what is good, and this is what he requires of you: to do what is right, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God.” Please note, this is not a multiple-choice statement. This passage does NOT imply one selection is all that is required.

Thankfully, God does not turn his back on me when I fail “to do so even more.” He also does not beat me with a stick to perform (behave) a certain way. But, as my personal relationship with him deepens, my genuine desire to live in a way that pleases him deepens. When my desire to please God intensifies, Satan’s animus toward me intensifies.

This never-ending spiritual battle for my soul compels me to continue on the path presented by Jesus in Matthew 7:13-14.  “You can enter God’s Kingdom only through the narrow gate. The highway to hell is broad, and its gate is wide for the many who choose that way. But the gateway to life is very narrow and the road is difficult, and only a few ever find it.”

Embracing the opportunity (not requirement) to “live in a way that pleases God … do so even more” truly is a privilege.

Questions:
What paths in your spiritual journey need rerouting? Is there a path where a U-turn would benefit you and others in your life?

Next Steps:
Pray and ask God to reveal specific areas hindering your ability to please him “even more.”  Examine the things battling for the devotion of your heart. Pray for his strength to infuse you where currently there is a lack of strength.

Prayer: 
Heavenly Father, thank you for loving me and accepting me where I am on my spiritual journey. It is my desire to live in a way that pleases you. Stretch me beyond myself in living for you in all areas of life. I invite you into my life to show me how to trust you more, love you deeper, and grow my faith. May the changes be evident to those closest to me. Amen. 


This post was written by Karen Peck, a regular contributor to the LivingItOut Bible Study.


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Love Unconditionally

Today’s Scripture: 1 Thessalonians 3

A few weeks ago, I overheard a conversation between two people in a setting outside of church. Based on the conversation, it was clear that they both considered themselves Christ-followers. One told the other that she had a family member who was living in conditions that she thought would not be approved of by God. Because this family member lived this way out of their own free will, she said she could not wish them the best for their future despite loving them.

This conversation really stuck with me, and I have thought of it many times since. I cannot understand how someone could declare that they love someone, yet are not willing to wish them the best for their future—even if they did not agree with all their choices.

In this week’s chapter, Paul is writing a letter to let the Thessalonians to let them know how happy he is that Timothy reported back to him about their continued faith. But he also talks about how they ought to love.

1 Thessalonians 3:12 (NIV)
May the Lord make your love increase and overflow for each other and for everyone else.

While Paul had given the Thessalonians instructions on how to change their lives to glorify God and live as God had instructed, he did also say that they should not only love each other but everyone. Presumably, he was referring to people outside the Christian community, which would have been people who did not know and follow Jesus. In other words, our love should be unconditional.

If I am not wishing a loved one “well for their future,” I am effectively withholding something that should come naturally.  My love and hopes should not be dependent on whether or not I approve of the choices they make. If I love someone, my intentions should always be the best for them, and that includes desiring they live a happy and fulfilled life. If I do not wish them the best for their future, then I am only a very short step away from saying that I hope deep down that God punishes them for their life choices. Choices which I do not approve because I claim to know that God would not approve of them either.

So, for me, I choose to encourage others to live a life that is full of love and kindness. If they do not follow the path that I envisage best for them, it is not my place to judge them. I will nevertheless still pray that they have a wonderful future ahead of them.

Questions:
Is there anyone in your life whom you are secretly or not so secretly judging because of the choices they make in their life? Do you still wish the best for their future? If not, why? Could you bring yourself to let them know that your love for them is unconditional?

Next Steps:
Make a list of three things you could do to show your unconditional love for someone whose life choices you do not approve of. Then go ahead and do them. Report back to a fellow Christ-follower what happened.

Prayer:
Dear Father, thank you so much for showing us unconditional love and endless patience. Please let me realize that it is not my place to judge anyone’s choices but instead to show them the same love, grace, and mercy you have shown all of us. I do not know what I would do without your love and those whom I love in my life. Amen.


This post was written by Cordula Mora. Cordula is a neuroscientist who currently works in the Provost office at Bowling Green State University. She was born and raised in Germany, then spent many years living in New Zealand before settling in the US almost 16 years ago. She was raised in a German Protestant church but feels blessed to have been spiritually awakened when she was introduced to CedarCreek Church. She thanks God every day for all the blessings in her life, including two amazing daughters. She is currently looking for someone who would like to serve the Lord with her.


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It Is Not About Me

Today’s Scripture: 1 Thessalonians 2

One day, I started a conversation with my coworker about God. Our talk led me to believe that she may not know Jesus as her personal savior.  I felt that she had an open heart toward him, but not a relationship with him.

As I talked with her, she shared a number of questions with me. I answered the questions that I could. And for the ones I couldn’t answer, I told her I would research and get back to her, but I never did. The reason I never did was because I felt like I had to have all the perfect answers.

In our reading today, Paul shows us that sharing the good news of Jesus isn’t about saying everything perfectly or saying what we think others want to hear. The gospel is about grace, hope, and love. It about Jesus — not us.  It is about who he is and what he has done for us. Telling others our authentic story without hidden agendas or mixed motives is how we should share him with others.

1 Thessalonians 2:5-6
5Never once did we try to win you with flattery, as you well know. And God is our witness that we were not pretending to be your friends just to get your money! 6As for human praise, we have never sought it from you or anyone else.

During the conversation with my coworker, I thought I should flatter her with all the answers instead of letting God speak through me with the gospel message. The gospel should be at the center of my heart because it should be what I am living for. When I make sharing the good news of Jesus with others about me, it makes for a cheap, false gospel that does not give people hope and is ultimately disobedient to how God calls us to share it.

Questions:
What keeps you from sharing the gospel? Are you able to confidently share your personal story of following Jesus? Could you tell someone what the spiritual journey God is inviting us on looks like?

Next Steps:
What steps have you taken in these areas of the spiritual journey:

  1. Know God
  2. Find Freedom
  3. Discover Purpose
  4. Make a Difference

Write out your spiritual journey and share with someone.

Prayer:
God, you are our living hope. You gave us the greatest hope we could ever ask for. As I share this good news with others, help me to never make it about myself. As I go through this week, open my eyes to the opportunities I have to point others to you. In Jesus’ Name, amen.


This post was written by Rebecca Roberts, a regular contributor to the LivingItOut Bible Study.


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Praise the Lord!

Today’s Scripture: 1 Thessalonians 1

I feel so honored and privileged to be able to serve at the weekend services. A half hour before every service, each ministry group, at each campus gets together and prays. (This is so cool, everyone praying at the same time, at all different campuses, for the same thing!)

We pray for all the people who will be attending the service. We pray each person will have an open mind and heart. That they will listen to the message and be changed. Our goal is that our guests take the next steps in their faith journeys. We share life-change stories. (A life-change story is when a person puts his or her faith in Christ and is changed.) The stories are amazing and fill us with joy. We praise God for working miracles in each person’s life. We ask God to work through us to show our guests that they are loved and that they matter. Our prayer is that they will realize God has wonderful plans for their lives. We want everyone to: know Jesus, find freedom, find their purpose, and make a difference.

1 Thessalonians 1 is a beautiful letter from Paul, Silas, and Timothy to the Thessalonians. It talks about the extraordinary changes that God had made in the Thessalonians’ lives. Paul and his friends let the Thessalonians know that they pray for them constantly and praise God for their faith, love, and hope. In other words, the Thessalonians listened to what was preached, they believed, and God changed them.

1 Thessalonians 1: 2-5 (The Message)
Every time we think of you, we thank God for you. Day and night you’re in our prayers as we call to mind your work of faith, your labor of love, and your patience of hope in following our Master, Jesus Christ, before God our Father. It is clear to us friends, that God not only loves you very much but also has put his hand on you for something special. When the Message we preached came to you, it wasn’t just words. Something happened to you. The Holy Spirit put steel in your convictions.

It is amazing when you personally witness a life-change story. My husband and I have been married for 31 years. I prayed for years and years that he would accept Jesus as his Savior. My husband has always been a wonderful man, but he wasn’t a believer. He did go to church for a short time. He read the Bible, but he concluded it wasn’t true and didn’t believe it. He quit going to church. He told me to stop praying for him. He respected my faith and beliefs, so he made our daughters go to church with me.

About five years ago, he started to go to CedarCreek with me. He didn’t believe in Jesus, but he went because it was a great place to learn how to be a better husband, father, friend, person, and worker. He thought the sermons gave sound advice on how to live. Jesus slowly softened his heart and mind. Around three years ago, he became a believer and was baptized. Hallelujah!

A few months later, I was sitting in the family room having quiet time and he was upstairs cleaning the bathroom. (I told you he was a great guy.) I heard him loudly singing the lyrics to Good Good Father:

You’re a good, good father
It’s who you are, it’s who you are, it’s who you are
And I am loved by you
It’s who I am, it’s who I am, it’s who I am.

My heart was filled with joy and my eyes were filled with tears. PRAISE GOD!

Questions:
What is your life-change story? Whom can you share it with? What is your next step? Whom can you pray for to have a life-change story?

Next Steps:
Attend Growth Track. Make a list of who you can invite to CedarCreek. Invite them. Practice telling your life-change story and tell someone your story. Sign up to serve at CedarCreek.

Prayer:
Jesus, I am so grateful that you never gave up on me. You waited patiently for me to turn to you and accept you as my Lord and Savior. My life has been so blessed by you. Please work through me to share your love, peace, joy, and faith with others. Help me be ready to share my life-change story. Thank you for giving me the opportunity to serve you and others. I continue to lift up all those I love who haven’t accepted you as their Lord and Savior. Please open their hearts and minds to accept you as their Savior. I trust you to change their hearts. Amen.


This post was written by Marsha Raymond. Marsha has been happily married to her husband, Jeff, for 30 years. They have two grown sassy and fearless daughters. She loves spending time with God, her family and friends, reading, riding bicycles, yoga and walking.


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Fish AND Breakfast

Today’s Scripture: John 21

As the book of John comes to a close, Jesus and his disciples have been through it! Jesus had died, was buried, was resurrected, and came back to hang out with his people. Now, in Chapter 21, the guys are going fishing. It’s been a slow night, and when morning comes, some random guy shouts at them to ask whether they had caught any fish.

John 21:5-6
5 He called out, “Fellows, have you caught any fish.”
“No,” they replied.
6 Then he said, “Throw out your net on the right-hand side of the boat, and you’ll get some!” So they did, and they couldn’t haul in the net because there were so many fish in it.”

The guys didn’t realize it was Jesus until their nets were full, overloaded with fish. And then, when they got to shore, Jesus had breakfast waiting for them.

They were trying to fish their own way, and it was a struggle. Jesus gave a simple instruction, to cast their nets on the other side. When they listened, they were blessed with an abundance of fish. And Jesus made them breakfast to boot!

Blessing after obedience is nothing new. Check out this example from the Old Testament:

Deuteronomy 28:1-2
1 “If you fully obey the Lord your God and carefully keep all his commands that I am giving you today, the Lord your God will set you high above all the nations of the world. 2 You will experience all these blessings if you obey the Lord your God:”

How often do we try to do things on our own or our own way? Jesus gives us simple commands to follow, and when we do obeywhen we follow his wayhe blesses us. In fact, he doesn’t just bless us for obedience, he serves up some breakfast on top of it.

Scripture is full of Jesus’ teachings. One example is from the theme verse for our current message series:

Ephesians 4:2
Always be humble and gentle. Be patient with each other, making allowance for each other’s faults because of your love.

The bottom line this week is What COMES NATURALLY to me might bring out the BEST OR WORST in you. You may want to handle a person or a situation in the way you feel like handling them. But, if you follow the teachings from this versebe humble, be gentle, be patient, make allowance for other’s faultsGod will work in the situation and bless you for it.

No one said it would be easy, but when we listen to Jesus, it is for our good. There’s blessing (and maybe even breakfast) in obedience if you follow his way.

Questions:
What are you trying to do on your own? What are you trying to handle your own way?

Next Steps:
Take some time to journal about a person or situation that is disturbing your peace. Go to God with your feelings about the situation and ask him how to act. Ask him for humility, gentleness, and patience. Follow up with journaling on how things went by handling them God’s way.

Prayer:
God, I confess that too often I want to do things my own way. I want to hurry up and take care of things that are bothering me. Please forgive me. Help me to walk in humility, gentleness, and patience. May I seek wisdom from your Word on how to deal with jerkfaces or jerkface situations in my life. Help me to walk with and follow you. In your precious name, I pray. Amen.


This post was written by Kendra Grubinski. Kendra is passionate about her relationship with Jesus and loves studying and sharing God’s Word. During the week, she is a Spanish Teacher at Findlay High School. She also enjoys spending time with her family and pups, reading, traveling, drinking good coffee and being active outdoors.


Leave a Comment?

We would love to hear how the LivingItOut is making a difference in your life. Let us know how today’s post inspired, challenged, or encouraged you by leaving a comment here.


Want to be a part of the LivingItOut team?

We are always looking for people who are passionate about writing and proofing to serve on the LivingItOut team. If you are interested, email LIO@cedarcreek.tv today!


Printable version of this week’s LIO study:

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More Resources

Memory Verses
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RightNow Media