Lent FLOW March 30
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March 30, 2018

“He made him who knew no sin to be sin for us, so that we might become the righteousness of God.”
2 Corinthians 5:21

My kids collect different things and often trade with each other and other kids. At one point they were trading with each other and I realized that the older kids, who had power over the little kids, were taking advantage. I thought that they would trade fairly, but instead they used their age and power to give bad cards in exchange for good cards. In a free trade system the weaker person is going to always be at a disadvantage when negotiating. I thought it was a good life lesson until there was a trade with one of the neighbor kids that didn’t seem right, an older kid had clearly taken advantage of a younger one. And I made them give the stuff back to each other.

The centerpiece of the Gospel story is an unfair trade. One party receives rewards earned by the other and the other party receives punishment that the other deserved. In the Gospel story things are backward, the person with all the power chooses to use His power to give to others rather than take. Jesus has all the power in the world, he created it and shows many times that He can do whatever He wants. Yet, He chooses not to take advantage of His power, but to humble Himself.

Jesus was faithful to the plan to empower others. Instead of using His power solely to receive glory for Himself, He goes to the Cross to glorify His Father in heaven and accomplish the salvation of humankind. This righteous life and death bring great delight to the Father. In this trade, the sin of His people is placed on Him and He absorbs God’s wrath and dies in their place. Then in exchange for taking humanity’s sin, He gives them His righteousness (obedience to the Father) that they might walk in blessings that they haven’t earned.

I hope that this Good Friday we will remember the worst and best trade in human history and be thankful.
Pastor Mike Conan

Prayer: Lord Jesus, thank you! Thank you for humbling yourself and coming to the earth and dying for me. Thank you for using your power to help me, as I was powerless to earn God’s favor on my own. Help me to walk with God as someone who has been forgiven and set free.

FLOWFLOW StudyLent
Lent FLOW March 28
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March 28, 2018

"We who have fled to take hold of the hope set before us may be greatly encouraged. We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure." Hebrews 6:18-19

In early Christianity the cross wasn’t a commonly seen symbol. Rather, it was the anchor that was often used. The writer of Hebrews uses the image of an anchor to describe the confident hope we have in God.

 When a boat is in open water an anchor is used to keep it in place, to prevent it from drifting off in any direction. I love the imagery of hope being the anchor for our souls. Life can be so uncertain at times. We all go through seasons that make us feel as though we are being tossed around in a boat in the midst of a very rocky sea.

 Hebrews 6 gives us two examples of people who assure us that hope in God is an anchor for the soul. The first is Abraham. God promised Abraham land and descendants. Even though those promises were threatened many times during his life, Abraham hoped in the anchor of God’s promises and those promises were eventually fulfilled.

 The second person is Jesus, “our forerunner.” Jesus ran ahead of us. He ran the race of human life. He ran through death, and he returned victorious to life, rising from the dead.

Following in His footsteps gives us an anchor for our souls. Because he lived, died and rose, we have the same hope for new and eternal life after our time here on Earth has ended.

 When the waters of life get rough and we long to see the shore, let our hope be in Jesus, who is our anchor. Our anchor is set. His work is finished. His love is for you and toward you. He is present and near, and He will care for you in this life and in the one to come. I’m so thankful to be anchored in Christ.

Laura Bodine

Pray:

FLOWFLOW StudyLent
Lent FLOW March 26
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March 26, 2018

"... since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse."
Romans 1:19-20 (NIV)

I am so excited to see the ocean over Spring Break! I've been yearning for it. Being born in a land-locked state, I was awed when I first saw the Pacific Ocean as an 8 year old girl. I had never seen a limitless view, heard the hum of the ocean, or run from the ceaseless, unpredictable waves. It was exhilarating!

When visiting my family while I was finishing college, I loved sitting and just experiencing the many moods of the ocean with all my senses. It calmed me and spoke to me of overwhelming power and beauty. When I was single and life was too much to handle, I would drive to the coast. There, I found stretches of lonely beach and would sing praises to God—the Creator of all that majesty—returning home in peace.

A few years ago, I took on the challenge of memorizing the first chapter of Romans. These two verses, stating that God's power and divinity are clearly seen in nature, really hit home to me because I love science and enjoy learning and teaching about how this world works. Everything I experience and feel being present with the ocean has always led me to God. Whatever I learn about how the world is put together… the particles that make us, the number patterns in nature, the intricacy of ecosystems, the rhythms of life… leads me directly to a powerful, intelligent, holy and divine Creator God!

It's spring! The world is filled with new life! I challenge you to get out and marvel over the intricate beauty and complex design of God's creation. Look at the natural world around us. Learn about its attributes! Be amazed at what God has done and praise Him for who He is. After all, what we can know about God is clearly seen and can be understood from what He has made. Hallelujah!
Diane Anderson

Question: What part of the natural world speaks to you about God? What does it teach you of His character?

Prayer: Lord, thank you for showing Who You are through the world and universe You created. I pray that everything we experience and learn in nature leads us to praise You—not your creation. We love You. We trust You. We worship You. In the name of your Son, Our Savior, Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

 

FLOWFLOW StudyLent
Lent FLOW March 23
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March 23

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God." Philippians 4:6

There is a lot of anxiety in our world. I often think about the anxiety people have, Christians or not. Before I surrendered my life to Jesus, my anxiety level was high. I would often worry about things that were not relevant, or I would worry about “what-ifs.” I would worry if a person was out for me at work. I would worry about unfinished work and the what-ifs that would follow.

Nowadays, social media causes a lot of anxiety, especially for the younger generation. They worry about needing to post more on Instagram and Snapchat. People worry about how many 'likes' they have or if anyone commented on their posts. There is so much information, busy-ness, and distraction in the world that it is easy for anxiety to creep into our minds. We have to be very careful what we are putting into our minds. If we are only letting in a tiny bit of God each week, then how do we expect our anxiety to go away?

I have good news! Jesus loves you and he wants to give you peace. 1 Peter 5:7 - "Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you." There is no place for peace in our hearts if we don't make a place for it. The peace in our hearts come from spending time with God. The more time you spend with God and the more you trust him, the less anxiety you will have.

Romans 15:13 - "May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit."

Don Mershon

Prayer: I pray that I will spend more time with God each day, building my relationship with him and trusting him more. I pray that I will cast all my anxiety onto him.

FLOWFLOW StudyLent
Lent FLOW March 21
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March 21

“Go then, eat your bread in happiness, and drink your wine with a cheerful heart; for God has already approved of your works.” Ecclesiastes 9:7

"Already approved of my works?! Doesn’t God know what a sinner I am? There is NO way He can approve of my works! Maybe in a few years, once this thing gets handled. I am just not doing it well enough yet; once I get some of this stuff cleaned up, thennnn God will approve and I can be happy, and enjoy my life.” 

The first time I saw this passage, that was my response. In fact, I went back and read the entire chapter to make sure that I hadn’t just taken it out of context; I was checking to see if the passage said once I had ‘The Fruit’ or the ‘Be Attitudes’ or the ‘Love your Neighbor’, THEN God would approve; as if I had missed what it was contingent upon.

Ephesians 1:7 - “In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace.”\

How in the WORLD can God approve of my works? How is that possible? Because He is the great forgiver. Are we going to be perfect, no, but in HIM we are redeemed. In HIM we have redemption, by faith we are free! The mindset that we must struggle to please God is a thing of the past! 1 Timothy 6:17b - “but to put their hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment.” He WANTS us to enjoy our lives!

I find that the times I am unable to enjoy life, or to see that God approves of my works, are the times when I am holding on to an area where I haven’t measured up, where I have failed, or where I haven’t met the mark. Sometimes it’s looking forward. How do I enjoy a new job if I am so worried that I am not going to do well? How do we enjoy being parents if we are constantly in fear of failing and messing our kids up? How can God possibly approve if I can’t ever seem to get it together? If only I was better about sharing my faith, then I would be doing what God wants. 

 

This, it's right here in Psalms 32:5 “You forgave the iniquity of my sin, Selah.” – I really struggle with forgiving myself. The Bible tells me all over that God forgives me, and that I am to forgive my neighbors, but I don’t want to forgive myself; which really, if I am brutally honest, is where my sin is. How is it that Jesus can go to the cross and die for the forgiveness of my sins, but I won’t let them go? I am much more comfortable holding on to everything I haven’t done or haven’t done correctly. It gives me permission to not believe that I am who God says I am; therefore, I don’t have to live out His calling on my life.

 

Ecclesiastes 8:15 says, “So I commend the enjoyment of life, because there is nothing better for a person under the sun than to eat and drink and be glad. Then joy will accompany them in their toil all the days of the life God has given them under the sun.” God wants us to enjoy our lives, because when we toil we can take that enjoyment with us into the dark moments. Not only is that a blessing for us, but even more glorious is the reflection of Hope that we are for the people around us - what a testimony to the power of the forgiving grace of our Savior! So, go, forgive yourself as God has forgiven you and live like Ecclesiastes 9:9 says, “Enjoy life with the woman whom you love all the days of your fleeting life which He has given you under the sun.”

Carolynn Yancey

Prayer: What a gift it is, Lord, that you designed life for us to enjoy. Please forgive us for the ways that we hide and give ourselves permission not to be who you called us to be, because we are dragging our sins around with us. Please Lord, from the top to the bottom, from the front to the back, for everything that happened, and everything that didn’t happen, allow me to forgive myself for all of all of it and anything in between; just like you have done for me. Thank you that through your redemption we are free!

FLOWFLOW StudyLent
Lent FLOW March 19
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March 19, 2018

"Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.”
Joshua 1:9

In the darkest time of my illness, August, 2013, I went through a bout of ICU Psychosis as anesthetic medications cleared my system. My nightmares were my reality. "Real" life was more like a fading dream. I was terrified. I was sure that the nursing staff was trying to kill me and hurt my family and friends. Because I was sick, I thought my husband was leaving me and he and my parents were taking the kids away from me forever.  During this struggle, Wade set up a rotation of friends and family to be with me at all times. I was never left alone. Some of you were there and spent the night or a few daytime hours at my bedside to comfort me by letting me know I was not alone. The comfort of opening my eyes to see a loving and safe face was immeasurable.
    
The Bible is filled with words about the importance of companions: "a cord of three strands is not quickly broken;" "For where two or three gather in my name, There am I with them;" “Again, truly I tell you that if two of you on earth agree about anything they ask for, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven."; Jesus sent the disciples out in pairs rather than singly; "The Lord God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him.” God created us for relationships.
    
Our most important relationship is the one that inspired God to create us—choosing to love and interact with Him. This life verse from Joshua, given to me on a poster my 9th grade year, has been a continual reminder that I am NEVER alone! I have faced almost all of my worst fears and God has proven this verse to be true. HE HAS BEEN WITH ME WHEREVER I HAVE GONE—ALL THAT I HAVE ENDURED! HE IS WITH YOU, TOO!
    
One other note—Notice that this promise is preceded by a command. Being strong, courageous, and encouraged are all reactions we can choose. They are acts of trust in the Lord who is always faithfully with us, wherever and whatever comes our way.

Diane Anderson


Question: What is one moment or challenge when God was definitely present to help you? (Start a praise list of those moments to train your brain to see God being with you).

PrayerLord, please help us to see you being present in our lives. Help us to choose the holy reaction of trusting courage to battle fear and dismay. May the strength and courage we display give glory to you. In Jesus' Holy Name, Amen.

FLOWFLOW StudyLent
Lent FLOW March 16
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March 16, 2018

“Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us."

Romans 5:3-5

When hardships, struggles, difficulties and suffering comes our way in life, the last thing we feel like doing is rejoicing. So why are we told to do so? Because tribulation is the very catalyst God uses to bring about patience, experience and hope.

“Lord, I want to be an object of beauty,” we say. “All right,” He says, and in come the winds of adversity, not to blow us out, but to make us beautiful; not to sink us, but to strengthen us. The cold winds of adversity, the hot winds of tribulation cause us to sink our root systems deeper in the soil of Scripture, to ground and root us in faith. That’s why Paul says we are not to just tolerate difficulties, but to rejoice in them.

I can look back at the difficult seasons of my life and see how those seasons are the very ones that forged my faith, solidified my relationship with Jesus, and shaped my character. Growth happens in struggle, maturity is developed in hardship, and hope in the Lord is what we hold onto in the midst of it. I love the description of hope as being the absolute expectation of coming good.

If you find yourself in the midst of a difficult season, be encouraged, God is at work. He is working to shape you, build you up and strengthen you so you become the vessel He created you to be.

Romans 8:28 says “And we know that for those who love God, all things work together for good, for those who are called according to His purpose." And verse 5 above reminds us that God’s love has been poured into our hearts through His Holy Spirit. We can rest in the fact that, because the Lord loves us immeasurably, we can trust Him through seasons of struggle knowing they are for our good. May we find both true joy and strength in the name of Jesus.
Laura Bodine
Pray:

 

FLOWFLOW StudyLent
Lent FLOW March 14
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“And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up.”
- Galatians 6:9 (ESV)

A few years back I decided to finally read the Harry Potter series and a quote from Professor Dumbledore to Harry stood out: “Dark times lie ahead of us and there will be a time when we must choose between what is easy and what is right.”

That quote reminded me of this verse from Galatians. Doing good or doing right is not always easy. So often doing the right thing is hard. We may lose relationships, we may lose opportunities, we may get made fun of but, according to this verse, we have planted a seed. We live in a society that wants immediate gratification and that typically involves the easy choice. God is interested in our long term happiness and eternity.

It may take years to see the fruit of our decisions to do good now, we may not see them until we reach eternity, but the impact of that harvest will be much more rewarding than anything we gain immediately by doing that is easy.

Brett Bodine

Pray:

 

FLOWFLOW StudyLent
Lent FLOW Mar. 12
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“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.”
- John 10:10 NIV

I remember working a job where one of my co-workers complained about everything. He would ask me if I agreed with what he was saying. I wasn't close to God at this time and found myself falling for the trap and complaining right along with him. My attitude had changed. The joy was not there. I was always looking for the next thing or person to complain and gossip about.

Looking back, I can see where the devil came in to steal my joy. Once I surrendered my life to Jesus, the way I thought and acted was different. I now can recognize when I am under attack from the enemy. I now look to compliment people instead of complain about them. Jesus gave me wisdom and a renewed mind. I now have life and have it to the fullest. We must stay close to God and be in relationship with him.

“Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.” Ephesians 6:10-12
Don Mershon

Prayer: Dear heavenly Father, give us the strength to stay on guard from the enemy. Let us be strong and courageous for you, Lord. We pray this in Jesus' name, Amen.

 

FLOWFLOW StudyLent
Lent FLOW Mar. 9
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March 9, 2018

“When you are in tribulation, and all these things come upon you in the latter days, you will return to the Lord your God and obey his voice.”
- Deuteronomy 4:30 ESV

Voices - Who Will You Listen To? - Part 2
The soft voice claiming hope. The gentle whisper bringing peace. I promise you, you won’t understand it. It’s surreal, supernatural.

In all the turmoil it comes and it saves. The voices don’t stop. They don’t quiet. Yet they do change. The words and the orders simply turn to noise. And that one soft voice conquers the others, bringing with it a new concept -- truth.

Recently, when the voices rage on, when I cry out for them to quiet even for a moment, when the need for escape becomes unbearable and all hope is gone, the Truth of God comes and defeats it all.

The voices haven’t gone away, not for me at least. But they have begun to lose their power. The become empty promises, stupid lies. They become white noise and meaningless words. And rising above comes Truth. The words that do not fail. The words that do not lie. They are full of peace, hope, safety, understanding, encouragement, and relief.

Never forget that you do have a choice. The Scriptures are just as alive as the demons, they all fight for your attention and your trust. Don’t let the voices have the last word in your life. The Truth has power over the voices.

Kara Helland

Pray:

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Lent FLOW Mar. 7
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March 7, 2018

“As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good, to bring it about that many people should be kept alive, as they are today.”
- Genesis 50:20 (ESV)

Voices - Who Will You Listen To? - Part 1
Recently I’ve found I’ve had a lot more time for reflection. Whether it’s in the evenings when I’m forced to stay home from sports practice, in the times I find myself alone in my room, or during the nights when I’m exhausted yet can’t sleep no matter how hard I try. These times alone can be refreshing, renewing, and important. But in the last month, I’ve found they can be equally, or even more so, detrimental, dangerous, and outright terrifying.

Why you might ask? Voices. A lot of them. We all have them -- those self-talk voices that get you thinking about everything. They lurk and whisper, most of the time we barely notice. They tell us all sorts of things and they make suggestions of how we should live our lives. And when we obey, it all seems normal… almost perfect.

But it isn’t always right, most of the time it’s not. As I’ve learned to recognize how wrong some of these voices are, I’ve started saying no. Refusing to obey them. Refusing to believe them. It’s freeing, and it’s empowering, but it isn’t easy.

Soon, the whispering is replaced with screaming. Louder and louder. The lurking is replaced with consuming my mind 24/7. They stop suggesting and start commanding.

It doesn’t shut off - pounding, pounding, pounding. All day. All night.
Escape? No chance.

And in all the chaos, a soft sound rises above the noise; “this is not where it ends...”
Kara Helland
Pray:

 

FLOWRosalie LundLent
Lent FLOW Mar. 5
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March 5, 2018

“Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself.”
- Philippians 2:3 (NKJV)

At a men’s retreat in 2008 the speaker told us a story about a Pastor who wanted to send a telegram to members of his missionary team.  He could only afford one word at the time so he sent the word “Others”.

Philippians 2:3 is such a tough verse for me because it goes against everything that comes naturally for me and everything we are taught in our society today.  From an early age we are told to have high self esteem.  Everything in our culture is about me, what is in it for me, doing what benefits me.  We are a self centered country.

This verse turns all of that upside down. As a high school math teacher it can be extremely difficult to esteem others better than myself.  I want to analyze, criticize, and critique everything my students do but it is amazing what happens when I esteem them highly.  At times it is hard to find something to esteem but the looks on their faces are priceless when I give them something positive.  We crave positive esteem from others but we are so quick to tear down in order to get ahead.
Brett Bodine

Prayer: Lord, help me to put others before myself. Help me to esteem others, rather than tear them down; and, may everything I do be for your glory to draw others to you.

 

FLOWFLOW StudyLent
Lent FLOW Mar. 2
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March 2, 2018

“No weapon formed against you shall prosper, and every tongue which rises against you in judgment You shall condemn. This is the heritage of the servants of the Lord, and their righteousness is from Me,” says the Lord.”

Isaiah 54:17

I love the band Petra, I have loved them since I was a freshman in high school. Though I am not going to tell you what year that was, Petra did disband in 2006... that should date me enough! One of my favorite songs by them is “No Weapon Formed”; this is the entirety of the lyrics:

No weapon formed against us shall prosper All those who rise up against us shall fall I will not fear what the devil may bring me I am a servant of God
I am a servant of God

When I joined the Army, I would be in a fox hole at 2:00am by myself and terrified. When I was hiding from domestic abuse I was terrified. When my son was in the hospital and we weren’t sure if he would live, I was terrified. I would sing this song over, and over, and over until whatever terror I was feeling subsided, it became my fear theme song. This song by Petra is from Isaiah 54:17

I don’t think the song needs many more lyrics. Do you believe this uncomplicated promise from God?? I will not fear what the devil may bring me, I am a servant of God. Today, no matter what Satan tries to bring you, stand inside of that truth.

Carolynn Yancey

FLOWFLOW StudyLent
Lent FLOW Feb. 28
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February 28, 2018

"And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise.” - Philippians 4:8

I recently came across a quote that really resonated with me: “We do what we do and feel how we feel because we think what we think.”

Our thoughts are so powerful. And our human tendency can often be to focus on things that cause us worry and anxiety. We live in a world where we are inundated with instant information and news and, sadly, much of our fallen world is filled with sin and pain. It’s easy to become discouraged, anxious or even fearful.

And although we may not have the ability to change what’s going on around us, we do have control over where we park our thoughts and our focus.
2 Corinthians 10:5 says
“We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.” And in Colossians 3:2 we read “Set your minds on things above, not the things on earth.”

The next time you feel worry or discouragement setting in, take some time to redirect your thoughts to Jesus. He encompasses all that is true, honorable, pure, lovely and admirable. Spend some time in prayer, reading His Word, and in worship and you will find that the key to experiencing joy in your heart is to have the right thoughts in your mind. - Laura Bodine

Prayer: Lord, thank you for the gift of your Word. With so many distractions around me, help me to keep my mind fixed on you. Thank you that you are the source of peace and hope and in you we find true joy.

FLOWFLOW StudyLent
Lent FLOW Feb. 26
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February 26, 2018

“Weeping may tarry for the night, but joy comes with the morning.”

- Psalm 30:5b (ESV)

In my memory, I call my 7th/8th grade year "THE YEAR OF TEARS." I think I cried at some point every day that school year. My Bible Quiz coach gave me a New Testament Bible and wrote this passage inside the cover. It became my first life verse—my first Holy Spirit-spoken promise of hope from the Lord. It reminds me that sadness and grief are temporary emotions that, in a healthy brain, will pass. The context of the entire Psalm reminds me that God is in charge and will bring joy to my heart as I trust Him. He will replace the heartache with healing gladness.

What is one time when God replaced sorrow with joy in your heart and mind? Diane Anderson

Prayer: Lord, I pray that we will remember your faithfulness and trust in your rescue. I pray that while we wait on your gift of joy, you would fill our hearts with hope in the midst of our sorrow. In Jesus's Name, Amen.

FLOWFLOW StudyLent
Lent FLOW Feb. 23
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February 23, 2018

"I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us.” - Romans 8:18

I remember many years ago having the opportunity to listen to a homeless man talk about his situation. He was living under a tarp -- a tarp that still couldn’t keep the cold November rain from flooding his old boots. He had no family, no food, and no job. Yet I never saw him without a smile on his face. Content couldn’t describe him. He was constantly filled with joy, believing that God had drenched him with far too many undeserved blessings. I watched him in awe as he spoke of God’s goodness and grace, barely being able to wrap my head around how such a hopeless situation could leave someone so happy. Even now, years later, I think of that man and how I want to live like him.

It’s hard to admire someone who throws a tantrum when things don’t go their way. It’s hard to respect someone who says “finally, it’s about time!” when things do go their way. But when someone takes every circumstance they face and points back to Jesus, it all changes. You can see how people like this stump everyone around them. How could someone praise God for a situation like that? What keeps them going when things seem so hopeless? How can they still trust that their God is in control? It’s supernatural, and we all recognize it as coming from something outside this world.

Today, I challenge you to step back and take a look at whether you’re using your circumstances to point back to Jesus. As believers, everything we face is an opportunity to show the goodness of God to others.

- Kara Helland

FLOWFLOW StudyLent
Lent FLOW Feb. 21
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February 21, 2018

“If we are living now by the Holy Spirit's power, let us follow the Holy Spirit's leading in every part of our lives.” - Galatians 5:25

I remember sitting in a parking lot, tired and getting ready to start my day at the Fitness shop. I saw a man in hospital clothes and on crutches. He was coming my way. My flesh tells me to just go inside to work and not worry about that man. The Holy Spirit told me to go over to him and ask if I can help him.

I walked over to him and ask him if he is doing OK? He told me he was hit by a car last night and is homeless. He had no clothes to change into and was hungry. I told him God had spoken to me to come over and help him. I saw tears coming down from his eyes. He told me he prayed to God to send someone his way. We walked to Burgerville and I paid for breakfast and found him a ride to the Goodwill. He told me that God sent him an angel that day.

I am no angel. I was obedient to the Holy Spirit and let God do all the work. It makes me wonder how many times we miss out on God's plans for us to help others.

Don Mershon

Prayer: Lord teach us to focus on You. Let the Holy Spirit guide us in our lives everyday. We pray this in Jesus' name. Amen.

FLOWFLOW StudyLent
Lent FLOW Feb. 19

 

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I am not sure how one would go about picking a favorite verse; that would be like trying to pick a favorite praise hymn, which we all know is impossible. To narrow it down, I picked the verse that is really my favorite way that the Lord has been working on me lately:

“For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.” - 2 Timothy 1:7

Since I was a child I have been a Presbyterian, a believer; and as a child it was very clear to me that I was weak -- “I am weak, You are strong” “I do nothing without You” -- The message that we are sinners and the message that we are weak is throughout the Bible. By the time I was 8 I already knew I was weak, but that didn’t come from my experience with scripture; in fact, the first time I decided I was weak and afraid, I had never even been to church. At 5 there was fighting in my home and I wouldn’t say or do anything because I was scared. In hiding and not saying anything, I decided that I was powerless and was never going to be able to stand up for what I believed. Even today I catch myself hiding, I won’t say what I am thinking, or be assertive in a group about what I think is right.

This year the Lord has shown me that the feelings I have of being weak or powerless may never go away. That is why there is so much assurance about not being afraid in scripture. And I don’t think He necessarily wants those feelings to go away, why would we seek the Lord if we had power? Jesus makes us a very powerful promise in Acts 1:8a “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you...” If you are a believer you received power from the Holy Spirit when you received the Holy Spirit; so now we have power. Now you have power.

I don’t know about you, but for me to say, “I have power” felt like blasphemy, how dare I claim that I have power. The verse says, “God has given you a spirit of power.” And we are commanded to claim that spirit of power. Isaiah 41:10, “Do not be afraid,” is not a suggestion. We give ourselves permission to not disciple others, or to not obey commandments when we don’t own that the Holy Spirit has given us power; we live as being too weak, or too small, or unable to do what God has called us to do.

Carolynn Yancey

1.What has God called you to that you avoid because of fear?
2.How does having a spirit of power effect the circumstances you are dealing with?
3.What new promises will you make to God in light of His promise to you?

Prayer: Lord, thank you for giving us Your spirit of power and love; continue to fill us with that power. Thank you that we don’t have to be weak or afraid. I pray that you remind me that I have a spirit of power, that I can do what you have commanded, and show me ways to make a difference with the people around me.

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Lent FLOW Feb. 16
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February 16, 2018

"Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths." - Proverbs 3:5-6

During my early years of ministry the youth director I was working under did some team building exercises with her junior high leaders. She had six of them stand across from each other and ran up to the top of the jungle gym and fell over backward. The kids arms gave way right away and she fell straight to the ground! After a brief moment to collect herself she rearranged them a bit and told them to catch her and she went up and did it again! This time, though, they caught her.

We then were partnered up with someone and one of us had our hands tied behind our back and the other was blindfolded. We went on a treasure hunt in the playground and the person who was blindfolded had to listen carefully to precise commands as we picked up different pieces of treasure.

Today’s verse is about continuing to entrust our hearts and our wills to God. Trust implies that we are giving ourselves to God. It is nice to know that when we step out in faith God will catch us and lead us by His word and Spirit.

-- Pastor Mike Conan Prayer: Lord teach me to trust you everyday. Help me to be open to taking risks

and use me for your purposes in this world.

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Lent FLOW Feb. 14
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February 14, 2018

“For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek.” - Romans 1:16

Michelle and I etched ROM 1:16 into the concrete of our first house. We picked that verse because we wanted to make a difference in our neighborhood. But we were aware that we ourselves were not the hope of the community, the gospel (the good news of Jesus) that we would share can and does change the world, one person at a time.

It is freeing to realize that the gospel in and of itself has power. Power to deliver people from their biggest struggles into the victory of Jesus Christ. The gospel has power to bring hope, even when the struggles and problems of the world seem overwhelming, Jesus is working for good in the lives of those who receive Him and one day Jesus will bring complete deliverance and healing to this world.

The power of the gospel frees us to live and share boldly, rather than cower in shame. This verse reminds us that this salvation is not exclusively for the people whose families already know the Lord, but Jesus is available to everyone. Our role is to simply trust the power of the gospel to save people. We share with others and testify to how the gospel impacts us and then we let the gospel change lives as people respond to it!

Pastor Mike Conan

Prayer: Lord, help me to trust and unleash the power of the gospel in my own life. Show me what you have delivered me from and what you are delivering me into. Then, help me to boldly share your gospel with others.

FLOWFLOW StudyLent