Working Together

by Laura Courtney
 

So if you’ve read my prior devotional, you will recall my rough description of all the components that need to come
together to make our now-regularly scheduled Sunday morning livestream. When all the technical parts are set up
correctly and working together, you see and hear God’s Word coming through. But if there is a misconnection of
equipment or two tech pieces aren’t communicating properly, well, the end result is not as good.

Perhaps you’ve seen the end result when all the parts don’t work together. It’s a video with no sound, sound but no video, or just a big blank screen. It’s VERY obvious when something isn’t working.

2020 was a year that tried to divide, separate, and destroy the Body of Christ. Racial tensions, political tensions, Covid
tensions, and divisiveness all around. But as Christians and true followers of Christ, we cannot give into this pressure to divide and hurt one another. That’s not what Christ did when he walked this earth. And that is not Him at work now. We need to be perfectly aware that what divides us and seeks to tear us apart is not the work of Christ, it is the work of the Devil. And Satan has had some pretty easy work pitting us against each other this past year.

Instead, we need to unite first as believers, if we want to bring peace and the rest of the world to Christ. Regardless of our opinions, affiliations and just straight up differences, we are all equal in Christ. The ground is level at the foot of the cross. And if we truly want to show Christ and His love to the rest of this world, it starts right here with us and how we interact with those around us. Because when we are connected and work together, God’s message is broadcast clearly and streamed to all those around us. When we don’t, it is very obvious that something isn’t working.

I’d like to say that I was not one of those adding to the divisiveness of 2020. But I don’t think that is true. I can say that God has been working on me in this area and I hope to be a better example of His love and grace in 2021. Ephesians 4 has crossed my path a few times in the last couple months and I can’t help but think how true those words are for us (me
included) today. I’d invite you to read through it as well and pray for God to grant you patience, grace, and His calming spirit to guide you through the rest of this year.

“So that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes. Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, from whom the whole body, joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped, when each part is working properly, makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love.”
(Ephesians 4:14-16)


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What Was That Conversation About?

by Herman Crawford
 

I have been reading Francis Schaffer’s book True Spirituality (copyright 1971). I think this is about my third time reading this particular book. That is unusual for me. Normally when I read a book for study purposes, I take notes and then use the notes for future reference rather than read the book again. But True Spirituality seems to be a little different for me. Some might say that the book is deep, has a lot of substance, etc. That is probably a very good description because each time I read this book, I find something which I feel is key but had missed during the previous reads.

What has caught my attention in the reading thus far are a couple of things that have to do with the death of Christ. Schaffer asks the question: “How central was Christ’s death for our redemption?” In the book of Luke, the event of Jesus up on the Mount of Transfiguration meeting with Moses and Elijah is recorded. Now I know that I have read this before but it is one of those passages which I read, but didn’t really READ. In Chapter 9:30-31, Luke writes, “And behold, two men were talking with Him; and they were Moses and Elijah, who, appearing in glory, were speaking of His departure, which He was about to accomplish at Jerusalem.”

Scripture does not tell us how long Jesus and His disciples were on the mountain but it must have been for some period of time. The disciples, as the disciples did in the Garden when Jesus was arrested, became tired and were overcome with sleep. Schaffer’s question is being answered while they slept. Jesus, Moses and Elijah were discussing “His departure.” This was not about leaving the Mount, it was not about leaving Jerusalem or Galilee or any other Israeli town or city. It was about leaving this earth for His place at the right hand of God the Father. But I think it was even more than that. I think maybe it was about how the departure process would happen. The arrest, the trial, the carrying of the Cross, the crucifixion, what took place during the time of His death, the burial and finally the resurrection. Essentially, the Easter story, but in the kind of detail that I cannot not even imagine. How important His departure must have been to spend time in this kind of detailed conversation about it – and probably a good deal of time if the disciples slept through it. Francis Schaffer points out that the death of Christ was central to the work of Christ. The prophets spoke of it in the Old Testament and here we have Jesus, Moses and Elijah talking about it in the New Testament.

So then, perhaps each of you should read the story of the transfiguration. Answer the question for yourselves. What would your/our redemption have looked like without the “departure” of Christ? What do you think Jesus, Moses and Elijah might have been discussing in their conversation?

Father God, thank you for loving us. Thank you for giving what you loved most, your Son Jesus, for us. We thank you for the power of the resurrection, which now enables us to join you, both now and in eternity. Amen.


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He Is Faithful

by Christina Hice
 

I have struggled with writing this Lenten Devotional. I mean, REALLY struggled. I think I started and stopped at least seven times, woke up in the middle of the night multiple times, and jotted down side-bar notes while supposedly taking notes at a staff meeting (sorry—not sorry) when an idea was triggered. It seems like I just can’t land on a topic, theme, or point that I want to make, or, more rightly, that I perceive God is wanting me to make. Nothing seemed to fit.

It occurs to me that life, and perhaps more so the last year, has been a lot like this. Starts and stops, interruptions, detours, derailments. Times of trying to listen but just not hearing. Things not fitting properly.

And yet…

And yet, if nothing else, with all that happened in 2020 and all that is to come in 2021 and future years, at the very bottom of it all, God is faithful. He has been faithful, He is faithful, He will be faithful. In all things, in all circumstances, in all situations, He is faithful.

One more time: He. Is. Faithful.

No matter the storms, no matter the changes, no matter the sorrow, no matter the joys, no matter the quiet…God is
faithful.

Nothing added, nothing extra, nothing else but, in the fullness of the promise of His Own Word, God Is Faithful.

Lord, in the midst of life, help us to deeply, without question or reservation, know Your faithfulness to Your people. May we move in confidence, serving You as we step forward in faith. Amen.

“Great is Thy faithfulness, O God my Father
There is no shadow of turning with Thee.
Thou changest not, Thy compassions, they fail not
As Thou hast been Thou forever wilt be.

Great is Thy faithfulness, great is Thy faithfulness
Morning by morning new mercies I see.
All I have needed Thy hand hath provided
Great is Thy faithfulness, Lord, unto me.”
“Great Is Thy Faithfulness”, Thomas Obadiah Chisholm


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Mission Moment: God Prepares a Way in Oklahoma

Many of you have seen in the news recently about the record-breaking snow in our southern states like Texas and Oklahoma. For most this was unexpected and unplanned; many homes in southern states not even built for such low temperatures. Truly, this has been a difficult and dangerous time for families in these areas. Who could have foreseen such a thing?
 
Backtrack a little to the fall of 2019. CABC sent seventeen volunteers, two vans, and a Penske truck full of boxes to Anadarko, Oklahoma to minister to three areas where our missionary family, the Sullivans, serve and actively share the love of Christ.  Boxes of winter coats, boots and warm clothes were among those packed in the vans and truck.
 
Two days were spent at the Anadarko Christian Center openly allowing the community to come in and “shop” for free and take clothes and shoes they needed. Another day was spent at the Riverside Indian School sharing the day with students in various games and activities including again a winter coat distribution.
 
As only God would have known, He used the coats that the CABC body provided for children in Oklahoma over a year ago to help them battle some of the worst winter weather they’ve experienced in a long time! Below you’ll see the happy faces from the time they received these coats. And just imagine the smiles they have today as they enjoy some of their first snow days wrapped in warmth and love!
 

“As it is written in Isaiah the prophet: ‘Behold, I send My messenger ahead of You, Who will prepare Your way…'” (Mark 1:2)

 
Prayer Request: the People of Oklahoma and Alysha Smith
We continue to pray for the people of Anadarko, Oklahoma as well as the rest of those facing this difficult and challenging winter. May God protect them and comfort each one as well as those working tirelessly to restore heat, power, and hope to these communities.
 
In addition, Alysha is the daughter of missionaries Shanney and Laugher Smith in Anadarko, OK. who has been on our prayer list. Alysha has been diagnosed with a rare disease disorder call Voght Koyabagi-Harada. This disease affects many systems in her body – eyes, with rapid loss of vision, eye inflammation, blurred vision and very severe pain. She does get sore spots throughout her body as well. This disease is more prevalent in Oriental, Hispanic, and the American Indian population. Alysha had several eye surgeries to reduce inflammation and is being treated intravenously with high doses of steroid medication.
 

Please pray that the infusions will continue to be covered by insurance and that God will heal her from this disease.


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You Must Not Eat Bats

by Terry Hess
 

After a year like 2020, we need to have a little humor in our lives. While not trying to diminish the severity of what a lot of people went through (and still are going through), I think it is important to be able to smile and even laugh out loud once in a while.

Humor is described as the ability to see or show the funny or amusing side of things.

In a search through the Bible, humor is used more than eighty times. Who but God could use a talking donkey to get His point across (Numbers 22:21-34)? So I hope these few bits of humor make you smile today.

A girl was visiting her friend who had acquired two new dogs. She asked, “What are their names?” The friend replied, “This one is Rolex and that one is Timex.” The girl replied, “Who ever heard of someone naming their dogs those names?” “What’s wrong with it?” said the friend, “They are watch dogs.”

Why did the man put his car in the oven?
He wanted a hot rod.

Why did Humpty Dumpty have a great fall?
To make up for a bad summer.

What did the left eye say to the right eye?
Between you and me, there is something that smells.

What is brown and sticky?
A stick.

My prayer is that, just for a moment, you found reason to smile.

(Read Deuteronomy 14:18 to understand the title!)


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Scripture Focus: Romans

“Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we boast in the hope of the glory of God. Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; 

perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.”

“You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous person, though for a good person someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”

 

(Romans 5:1-8)


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