Month: October 2011

Devotions for Week Three

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Each week, a new post will provide the next devotional reading.  Dads and sons can schedule a few minutes each week to read the post together…even print it out if they choose to go over it later!  Hope the topics initiate some meaningful conversations.

Click on the “For Dads” tab on the upper right hand corner of this blog to go to the “Dad’s Words of Wisdom” page and scroll down to the last entry each week.

Get ready for Christmas with Keith and Kristyn Getty

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Providence gets to enjoy an extraordinary opportunity to celebrate Christmas with an Irish twist this year.  Keith and Kristyn Getty and their band will be with our choir and orchestra for two concerts on December 11.  Hope you enjoy this video and start anticipating the time we will have with them!

When the news is not so good…

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Into every life, some rain must fall.

All of us are familiar with that simple statement, or at least fully acquainted with the truth it expresses!  Bad news, tough times and difficult circumstances come into our lives from time to time.  No one is exempt entirely, and truth be told, some seem to experience more than their share.  How do we as followers of Christ respond to these trials?  What does our response say about what it means to trust Him and give thanks in and for all things?  Like the prophet Habakkuk reminds us, even when the wheels appear to be falling off, “yet I will exult in the Lord, I will rejoice in the God of my salvation” (Habakkuk 3:18).

So I have been trying to process how differently people work through those times when life gets harder, when the events of the day make you step back and regroup.  Although there are many shades of difference, the primary reactions I see fall into just a few categories:  anger, anxiety, paralysis, resignation and assurance.

Anger usually stems from a sense that we have a right not to have troubles come our way and resent it when they do–not exactly a reaction that honors the Lord and trusts that He is still in control.

Anxiety seems to be the most dominant response as people begin to dream up all kinds of awful possible scenarios that could flow out of the troubles–again, not a reaction that demonstrates trust in the Lord.

Paralysis often grips those who react emotionally and find themselves consumed with fears and tears that trap them in an emotional box that prevents them from moving forward for indeterminate periods of time–hardly a healthy way to deal with trouble!

Resignation gives the appearance of trust but actually only disguises an unbelieving fatalistic perspective, a cover-up and suppression of emotions, or a numb indifference cultivated through years of coping with life in a fallen world–not an honest reaction but one which tries to present a facade of trust when in fact it simply covers a view of God that assumes He cannot really be counted on to prevail in a fallen world.

Assurance arises from a view of trouble that rests in confidence that God is now and has always been in complete control, or as one friend said recently, “He is God and knows stuff you don’t!”–and the evidence that this assurance is real, not just another version of resignation is the presence of peace and joy in the middle of the storm.

Trouble will always be just around the corner in a fallen world.  Unwanted surprises will always await us just when we would prefer smooth seas.  But how we react speaks volumes about the character of Christ in us.  “Blessed assurance, Jesus is mine,” should be the reaction we aspire to have in and through all circumstances as we rise up rejoicing, confident that we can know that God knows best and can be trusted–no matter what we see, He sees the end He has in mind and is faithfully working toward that end.  We can know that the end result of our trials and troubles will be His glory and our good.  And that is sufficient for us to be assured, confident, peaceful and joyful whatever may come!

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Devotions for Week Two

Each week, a new post will provide the next devotional reading.  Dads and sons can schedule a few minutes each week to read the post together…even print it out if they choose to go over it later!  Hope the topics initiate some meaningful conversations.

Click on the “For Dads” tab on the upper right hand corner of this blog to go to the “Dad’s Words of Wisdom” page and scroll down to the last entry each week.

On wings like eagles…

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OK, the only way to get this close was at the San Diego zoo…still, what a majestic look!

Check out the page “For Dads”

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Fifty-two weekly devotions for fathers and sons begins this week!

Out of Africa!

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Sitting here in Johannesburg, South Africa waiting for our return flights home, I am filled with gratitude for all the goodness of the Lord on our visit to southern Africa–specifically to the nation of Zimbabwe.  Cathy and I were joined for the ten day trip by George and Nancy Tissiere as we taught pastors and Christian leaders in three cities–Harare, Mutare and Bulawayo.

Effective training is going on here among so many new leaders and we had the privilege of spending time in formal teaching sessions, vibrant interactive discussions and informal times of great fellowship.  As always, we will come back having learned far more than we were able to communicate to them.  Foremost among the lessons would have to be the joy of living with contentment in Christ even when there is not much by way of material possessions to count on. Worship in each setting was rich and enthusiastic and the people were always gracious and grateful to all of us.

So to all of you who prayed, thanks!

Pastors Seminars Next Week in Zimbabwe

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Next week Cathy and I will join another couple in leading Christian leadership seminars and conferences in the southern African nation of Zimbabwe.  The quality of leadership there is extraordinary and we always come back having received more than we gave!

If you read this during the time we are there, Oct 10-20, please pray for us and those we will serve there!

Breakout sessions with Zimbabwean pastors and leaders

Spurgeon–New life by the Spirit

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Came across this powerful truth from a sermon by Charles Spurgeon a couple of days ago.  Only the Holy Spirit, opening our eyes to see the grace and mercy of Jesus Christ and leading us to Him, can impart life.  Many have tried to substitute religious passion and zealous deeds, or church activity and moral behavior, for the gift of God’s grace–and it never works!  Listen to this challenge from Spurgeon that resounds across the 127 years since he preached these words in 1884 in London.

“If, when you believed, you had not a life imparted by the Holy Spirit, your believing was a dead believing, the mere counterfeit of living faith, and not the faith of God’s elect.  If the Holy Ghost has not been with you since your conversion, every act of your religion has been formal, dead, and unaccepted…If the Holy Ghost is not there, life is not there.
     “You have professed to be a believer, but you know nothing at all unless the Holy Spirit taught you…Both for life and for light we must have the Holy Ghost, or else we are dead and in the dark.” (taken from Volume 30, pp. 387-388, Metropolitan Tabernacle Pulpit)

As I shared this quote in a sermon today, God spoke to many hearts and directed some of them to put their trust in Jesus Christ as their Savior.  “Dead believing” became living faith and folks came to life by trusting in the name of the Lord.  What a glorious Lord who makes all things new through Jesus Christ!

Books available by David Horner

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