Impact Church

Passionately serving God and His people

Category: May Devotional 2017

Yet Not I, But the Grace which was with Me

1 Corinthians 15:10 But by the grace of God I am what I am: and his grace which was bestowed upon me was not in vain: but I labored more abundantly than they all: yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me.

Ah, firsthand stories arrive from the battlefield, and we lean in as decorated soldiers describe in detail the outwitting or demise of their enemies. Describe the dangers and moment to moment decisions required to survive – and our hearts beat faster, our throats gulp, and our eyes moisten.

Stories of human conflict and struggle weave for us precious tapestries, unforgettable and priceless. For the color of their character is highlighted in attributes true soldiers respect – valor, courage and sacrifice!

Yet, even with such earthy heroism rewarded and honored, no warfare is more dramatic than those engaging in Kingdom matters. The conflicts these soldiers enter are of another ilk and nature. Yes, these enemies are far more subtle and challenging, but their victories are sweeter and their rewards far richer!

So how exhilarating are the testimonies of the battle-scarred when their stories began and end with the grace of God! While soldiers of this life are promoted for skill and decorated for bravery, soldiers of the Cross take no personal credit for accomplishments. They know their strength, their ability and their victories are only testaments to the power and presence of another.

Otherworldly are the praises that flow from those who know their Captain has already defeated the enemies they confront.

Whether we’re given advance notice of spiritual skirmishes, or perhaps we’re even presently in the midst of hostile circumstances, or whether we’re relishing, post-war, the sight of Pharaoh’s chariots upside down in the sea – the soldiers of the Kingdom live only to magnify the grace that made them victorious!

Experiential boldness comes when God’s chosen grasp Grace’s full impartation to their communal psyche and assignment. Read the rest of this entry »

To the Mothers

by Stephen Bowden

Yours is a love that knows no end
For in you the Father desired life to begin.
He chose you as the vessel to share His love,
Receiving from Him the gift that was bestowed from above.

The beauty of your strength is displayed at birth,
His Word tells me far more than rubies is your worth
For you are a virtuous woman in actions and in deeds
To your wisdom sons and daughters take heed.

For God has walked with you, and ever been by your side.
Through imperfections, sorrows, and tears you’ve cried;
Yet He still chose you, a mother to nurture His image.
To pass down the faith, to strengthen His lineage.

Often your love and dedication is presented with no reward,
Please know you are appreciated. Your passion is seen by us and the Lord.
He commanded that we give you honor.
Today, and forever that is what we’ll do.

To the Mothers,
Happy Mother’s Day, From Impact to You.

The Way of Escape

“No temptation has overtaken you but such as is common to man; and God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will provide the way of escape also, so that you will be able to endure it.”
(1 Corinthians 10:13, NASB)

If you’re human, consider these truths from God’s Word:

  1. You will be tempted to do wrong, and no temptation is unique to you.
  2. Indeed, even Jesus was tempted by Satan.
  3. Temptation is not sin; it cannot be since Jesus came through it unscathed. (Hebrews 4:15)
  4. God will always be faithful to provide a way of escape,…some translations like the one above call it the way of escape.

If we believe that our loving Father will never put us in a situation where failure is inevitable, then we can more easily accept times of temptation and trial as tests allowed by Him so we can prove what we’ve learned! If we take Romans 8:28 to heart, we know that our Master never brings anything into the lives of His children that He cannot redeem for our good and His glory! So God doesn’t want to see us fail; rather, He wants to strengthen our character and be glorified in the process.

Our all-knowing Teacher starts with the end in mind. We may be mired in the middle of the test, but He sees us acing the final exam! “He knows the way that I take: when He has tested me, I shall come forth as gold” (Job 23:10)!

Let’s hear some practical advice on how to overcome temptation:

> Don’t let the devil sneak up on you! If you think you are beyond falling, my friend, you are a target. One verse earlier in Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians, he warns the young believers that if they think they can stand on their own they will surely fall. Proud Christians are easy prey to the enemy.

> Seek help! Obviously we pray and read God’s Word and use Scripture against Satan as Jesus did in the wilderness, but we can also seek counsel and accountability from Godly brothers and sisters. Read the rest of this entry »

Above All, Love

“Share with the Lord’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality.” – Romans 12:13 (NIV)

Every Tuesday night, once our kids are sound asleep, you can find my husband and I cuddled up on the couch watching the latest episode of HGTV’s hit show Fixer Upper. On the show, Chip & Joanna Gaines show buyers three potential homes for purchase; each of which requires varying amounts of renovation. Once the buyers choose their home, Joanna handles preliminary designs while Chip serves as the lead contractor. Each episode ends with the breathtaking reveal of one of the most beautiful homes I’ve ever seen; as a result all of my home interior dreams consist of shiplap walls, farmhouse sinks, white subway tile, “chippy-paint”, wooden beams, and barn doors. The homes revealed are nothing short of absolute perfection. The problem is, for most of us, this level of magazine worthy perfection is simply unattainable. We are tempted to view shows like Fixer Upper and become discouraged, feeling as if our homes are insufficient. If we aren’t careful we’ll begin to think that the Lord’s command to be hospitable has something to do with the condition of our homes when it actually has everything to do with the condition of our hearts. Hospitality isn’t just something to do, it’s someone to be.

The definition of hospitality according to dictionary.com is “the quality or disposition of receiving and treating guests and strangers in a warm, friendly, generous way.” In this definition there is no mention of throw pillows being straight, an elaborate meal being prepared, or fresh flowers being arranged. In fact, it doesn’t mention the condition of our homes once. I’d like to submit to you this truth- real hospitality has nothing to do with a beautifully decorated home or a meticulously planned gourmet meal. Whether we live in a 5 bedroom home or a 1 bedroom apartment God is asking us each the same question: Are we willing to swing wide open the doors of our homes and hearts and welcome others in? The only requirement is our willingness to say yes and demonstrate God’s love in a practical and tangible way. While love is considered abstract, hospitality puts flesh and bones on it. Hospitality displays God’s love in action.

Our God is the originator of hospitality. He welcomed Adam and Eve home into the Garden of Eden and surrounded them with unparalleled beauty and abundant provisions. Most importantly – He gave them His presence. Genesis records God walking in the garden “in the cool of the day.” Furthermore, while we were still sinners, alienated from God because of our sin, He sent His son Jesus. Jesus died for us so that we could be reconciled to God and invited into His family. Make no mistake – our God is hospitable. It’s who He is. As believers, we are to model God’s heart. When we imitate the hospitality of God we are living out the gospel for the world to see. Matthew 10:8 section b says, “Freely you have received, freely give.” We, who are extravagantly loved, are now commissioned to extravagantly love.

1 Peter 4:8 says, “above all, love each other deeply, because love covers a multitude of sins. Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling.” Above all, love.  Love has the miraculous ability to cover.

Love covers the dusty baseboards.

Love covers the crayons on the floor.

Love covers the dishes in the sink.

Ultimately God asks that we be selfless, not that our homes be spotless; Read the rest of this entry »