Refine — Day 26

Believe It

1 Peter 1:7 These [tests] have come so that the proven genuineness of your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed.

Live It

We can learn three lessons from today’s text.

  1. God allows us to be tested, to refine and purify our character. I wish I could tell you that the system God uses to refine and purify us is different than the one taught in this text. We have been programmed by society to avoid anything that produces pain and awkwardness. Reality is, we can’t avoid, or eliminate, the very situation God intends to use to transform our character, i/e pain. As weird as it sounds, pain can be a good thing.
  2. The process of refinement is sometimes painful. Without the cross, there is no glory. Without contractions there can be no childbirth. Without exercise there can be no physical conditioning. Without testing, there can be no purity. They are like the two faces of the same coin. Look for one, and the other shows up too. Remember that the devil will attack everything God blesses, so if you feel you are under attack right now, be of good courage, God will be glorified and you will be blessed from this experience.
  3. Refining begins on the inside. Jesus called out the Pharisees for their interest in purifying outward behavior, while they neglected transformation of character. True change begins when you give God the control He needs to change your character. That change may happen more slowly, but it will be more permanent.

Share It

Ask someone, “How are you?” and take time to listen to their answer. Ask God to send you someone this week who is going through a hard time, and minister to them.

My Prayer Today: For all the church volunteers.

– Pray that they may be attentive to the needs of visitors.

– Pray that they will maintain a positive, cheerful attitude.

My Thoughts: ________________________________________________________________________

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Prayer — Day 25

Believe It

James 1:5, 6: “If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you. But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind.”

Live It

We can learn three lessons from today’s text.

  1. Ask. A famous writer has said, “It is God’s will to give us, in response to the prayer of faith, those things He would otherwise not give us, had we not asked.” The first characteristic of a prayer God answers is that it involves a specific request. By asking, we demonstrate our dependence on God, and that pleases Him.
  2. Ask God. Not only is it important to ask, we need to ask the right person. Some people want to help, but can’t. Others can, but don’t want to. God not only wants to, He can. It is not only important to ask God, it is also important to ask Him first. I see many Christians going to God as a last ditch effort, once they have tried everything else. Go to God first. I heard a pastor once say, that the more you pray, the more coincidences happen in your life.
  3. Ask God with faith. The third secret of answered prayer is to ask with faith. It is in this third step that many struggle. They might ask God, but when they do, they ask without faith. If you are going to go through the process of asking, ask with faith, believing that if it is God’s will, you will receive. The Bible goes even further, telling us that we should thank God in advance for answering, even before He has responded.

Share It

If possible, today take a walk through the neighborhood where the event will take place, asking God in faith to soften the hearts of the people who live there.

My Prayer Today: For the conversion of the people who will attend the meetings.

– Pray that God will use their struggles, pain and problems to draw them nearer to Him.

– Pray that God will lay on their hearts the desire to return every night.

My Thoughts: ________________________________________________________________________

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Fasting — Day 24

Believe It

Isaiah 58:6-7 “Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen: to loose the chains of injustice and untie the cords of the yoke, to set the oppressed free and break every yoke? Is it not to share your food with the hungry and to provide the poor wanderer with shelter— when you see the

naked, to clothe them, and not to turn away from your own flesh and blood?”

Live It

We can learn three lessons from today’s text.

  1. Fasting should be practiced. Fasting is a spiritual discipline often admired, but seldom practiced. Jesus said, “when you fast,” not, “if you fast.” Jesus’ disciples made a habit of fasting, and so did biblical characters and well known Christians throughout history. It’s not something done only emergencies, but it should be a natural part of a disciple’s life.
  2. Fasting should be combined with action. When we think of someone fasting, it may bring up an image of a downcast person on their knees praying, looking pale, somber, and hungry, with a great need of a mint. Very few see the word “fasting” as synonymous with action. Fasting is seen as something that stops action so a person can focus on his or her own spiritual life. Notice the verbs in today’s verses: loose, untie, share, provide, clothe. Fasting should be combined with activity, centered on others, not spiritual navel gazing.
  3. Fasting results in blessings for ourselves and others. Today’s text presents a clear picture of the true fast. Rather than focusing on not eating, it emphasizes heightened concern for others. The common concept of fasting is that of an intensely personal, self-centered discipline. God turns that idea on its head. True fasting affects one’s own spiritual life, as well as the lives of those who surround us.

Share It

Fast this week. Lift up in prayer someone who is far from God; if possible, demonstrate God’s love through an act of kindness.

My Prayer Today: For the physical structure where the meetings will take place.

– Pray that there will be no accidents, especially in the children’s department.

– Pray that everything will function as it should in the building.

My Thoughts: ________________________________________________________________________

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Miracles — Day 23

Believe It

Mark 16:15-18: “He said to them, ‘Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation. Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned.  And these signs will accompany those who believe: In my name they will drive out demons; they will speak in new tongues; they will pick up snakes with their hands; and when they drink deadly poison, it will not hurt them at all; they will place their hands on sick people, and they will get well.’”

Live It

We can learn three lessons from today’s text.

  1. Jesus still works miracles. A very common characteristic in the New Testament church was that miracles and preaching went together. Preaching continued, but where are the miracles? Does Jesus still work miracles? The answer is a resounding “Yes!”
  2. Jesus works miracles using us as His instruments. Perhaps we’ll never understand why a perfect, holy, and infallible God chooses sinful, fallible, imperfect people like you and me. Why does He do it? We don’t know why, but we do know that he does. If you let Him use you, God can work miracles through you.
  3. Conversion is the greatest miracle. Think of all the miracles Jesus did while He was on earth. All those people he healed and even resurrected, every one of them ended up dying eventually. When we think of miracles, many think of a blind person recovering sight or a paraplegic that starts to walk. I propose to you, that the greatest miracle of all is the conversion of a human being. It has an eternal effect. Anyone who might doubt the fact that miracles exist, needs only to get to know a transformed Christian, and he’ll quickly recognize the efficacy of God’s power.

Share It

Ask God to send you someone you can share your conversion story with. Start with your family.

My Prayer Today: For those who have decided to be baptized, but face complications.

– Pray that God will give them the strength to go forward with their decision.

– Pray that God will resolve anything that stands in the way of going through with their decision.

My Thoughts: ________________________________________________________________________

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Patience — Day 22

Believe It

Psalm 37:7, 9: Be still before the LORD and wait patiently for him; do not fret when people succeed in their ways, when they carry out their wicked schemes.  For those who are evil will be destroyed, but those who hope in the LORD will inherit the land.

Live It

We can learn three lessons from today’s text.

  1. You cannot hasten your blessing, but you can delay it. When God has a blessing planned for you, there’s not much you can do to make it happen sooner, but there are things you can do to delay it. Take the example of the Children of Israel. A trip that should have taken days took decades. The Bible mentions several examples, of people that postponed their blessings because they took matters into their own hands. Some examples of this are Moses when he hit the rock instead of talking to it, or Abraham sleeping with Hagar because his promised son had not arrived. God is not asleep, nor is he disconnected to what is happening to you. He is in control. Wait.
  2. Watch your attitude while you wait. A factor that contributed to Israel’s wandering in the desert for four decades, was their desperately negative attitude. Each time they complained, murmured, and disobeyed, God would say, “Another round.” As you wait, don’t compare yourself with others, don’t get angry, and don’t become anxious. If you seem to be going in circles in the desert of your life, if there is a lot of movement but little progress, first check your attitude. May God never need to say to you, “Another round.”
  3. The reward is better, after waiting. Today’s text tells us that to those who wait, God will give the Promised Land. What a marvelous promise! The longer the wait, the greater the blessing. Someone reading this section may have been waiting a long time for God to change a situation in his or her life. Take heart! God has not forgotten you.

Share It

Perhaps you’ve given up on something, or someone, in your life. Today begin praying again, trying again, dreaming again.

My Prayer Today: For those we will invite who have never attended church before.

– Pray that they may find the church with ease as they drive there.

– Pray that they will continue attending, every night.

My Thoughts: ________________________________________________________________________

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Testimony — Day 21

Believe It

Matthew 24:14: “And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.”

Live It

We can learn three lessons from today’s text.

  1. Keep your testimony genuine. Before Jesus comes again, our testimony will be shared with the nations, and that begins with our loved ones, neighbors, and friends at work. When you talk about Jesus, be positive, but genuine. Talk about how good God is, but don’t make promises that aren’t found in the Bible, like telling them that all their problems will disappear if they accept Jesus in their life.
  2. Keep your testimony short. The gospel is eternal, but your testimony shouldn’t go on forever! Better to keep the conversation short, while there’s still interest in hearing more. Witnessing is like salt. An appropriate amount in the food enriches the taste, but too much can overwhelm the taste buds and can produce outright rejection.
  3. Keep your testimony focused on Jesus. Many testimonies I’ve had the opportunity to hear include a lot of information about things that happened before encountering Christ. This period of time is presented so attractively, that some become confused and develop an interest in non-spiritual topics based on the testimony. Instead, focus on Christ, on His power, on the blessings you have received after your conversion, and the peace He brings. Don’t glorify sin. Lift up Jesus.

Share It

It would be a good idea to write down your testimony, and divide it into three parts:

a. What was your life like before Jesus?

b. How did you come to know Jesus?

c. How has walking with Jesus changed your life?

My Prayer Today: for the families of the leadership.

– Pray that God will keep the families connected to Him and each other.

– Pray that their lives may remain in balance, during this very busy time.

My Thoughts: ________________________________________________________________________

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This weekend at TAF…

We hope you can join us tomorrow.
 
Our breakfast, Bible studies and fellowship begins at 10:00am.  Our worship service will begin at 11:00am.  Thomas Watkins will bring us a message entitled Strangers In The Eyes Of Men.  Join us for lunch afterwards as we are having haystacks.  
 
Don’t forget to check-in on Facebook each week.  TAF will make a donation to Second Harvest Food Bank for each and every check-in this month.  Last month, we were able to provide 896 meals to the hungry in our community.  
 
Who have you invited to the Roger Hernandez series?  It’s not too late to start praying and asking people to come.  Registration is now open.  You can register at registerforhope.com.  There is a flyer attached to this email.  Start sharing it with your friends.  
 
We still need helpers for the Children’s Program during the Roger Hernandez series.  If you are willing to help, please talk to Janelle Argueta.  
 
Don’t forget to support TAF financially.  Together, we can continue to reach our community and present the love and saving grace of Jesus Christ.  
 
We hope to see you tomorrow!!
 


Commitment — Day 20

Believe It

Acts 5:29 “Peter and the other apostles replied: ‘We must obey God rather than human beings!”

Live It

We can learn three lessons from today’s text.

  1. Commitment is action, not words. A more complete reading of Acts 4 shows us that when the disciples spoke of their commitment to God, they showed it more with acts than with words. They were even ready to give their lives for what they believed. Now ask yourself this: Are you willing to do for truth what others are willing to do for lies?
  2. Commitment is permanent, not temporary. We live in a world without much commitment. People get married and divorced, and married again without giving it much thought. They change their jobs, their homes, their business partners, and even their way of thinking, based many times on how they feel. Loyalty is rare. But notice what the apostles said when confronted with hardship: “We must obey.” For them, commitment was not influenced by their present situation. Hardship made them even bolder!
  3. Covenants are made with God, not with others. The apostles put it well when they said that it was necessary to obey God, rather than human beings. Obedience is not based on votes, surveys, or popular opinion. It always must be based on “Thus says the Lord.” It’s to Him we must give an account.

Share It

Perhaps there is a difficult decision you have been putting off, because of your reluctance to ruffle feathers and/or upset people. Maybe you need to revisit that whole process and ask yourself whether it is time to make a difficult, but right, choice.

My Prayer Today: For the local church pastors.

– Pray that God will protect them from each of Satan’s attacks.

– Pray that they will maintain balance in their lives, during this difficult and busy time.

My Thoughts: ________________________________________________________________________

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Family — Day 19

Believe It

Romans 12:8-10: “Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good.  Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves.”

Live It

We can learn three lessons from today’s text.

  1. Be loving. Here’s some good counsel regarding relationships: In the essentials, unity; in the non-essentials, liberty; in everything, love.
  2. Be understanding. An old proverb says: “If you wish to understand another person, walk a mile in his shoes.” It’s easy to label and categorize other people. It’s harder to take the time to understand them. But that’s the right way and it’s what God commands us to do.
  3. Be respectful. One way we show disrespect to others is when we try to force them to change. The following story illustrates this concept. A child was standing in the back seat of a car, as the father was driving on the highway. His father commanded him to sit down. He refused. After repeated threats, he finally sat down. Then he told his father: “Daddy, on the outside, I’m sitting down, but on the inside, I’m still standing.” Our objective is not to pressure others to change. We must respect their individuality. We can give suggestions, make recommendations and give counsel, but don’t make demands and threats.

Share It

Take time today to talk to a person with whom you don’t see eye to eye. Ask if he or she has a need for which you can pray, make that request to heaven today.

My Prayer Today: For special people we have invited.

– Pray that they will arrive safely.

– Pray that God will help them see for themselves the importance of starting a relationship with Him.

My Thoughts: ________________________________________________________________________

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Healing — Day 18

Believe It

Psalm 147:2-3: “The LORD builds up Jerusalem; he gathers the exiles of Israel.  He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.”

Live It

We can learn three lessons from today’s text.

  1. Your wounds are real. We need to be healed because we have real wounds. These wounds come from the hurtfulness of others and through our own wrong choices. But whatever the causes, we’re still wounded. It’s dangerous to overstate the seriousness of those wounds, but it’s equally dangerous to ignore or minimize them. Your wounds are real.
  2. Your wounds need not hold you back. Some allow the wounds of the past to determine their success in the future. You can do nothing about what has already happened. But you can control your reaction and attitude toward the past. You are not a victim. You are special to God. I would go a step further. God can transform the hurts of your past to be a blessing to others. Out of the greatest pain, God can produce the greatest blessing.
  3. Your wounds can be healed. You can choose healing. God has already prepared people, circumstances, materials, messages, and places to bring healing into your life. Ask Him today to help you find what He is already preparing for you. Remember that recovery is a process. You don’t get well in just one day, but you can get better every day.

Share It

Ask God to show you a person who is suffering because of his or her wounds. Make a commitment with God to be a part of their healing process.

My Prayer Today: For the parking attendants.

– Pray that the personal interaction with guests will be positive.

– Pray that the personal impression they make will cause guests to want to come back.

My Thoughts: ________________________________________________________________________

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