Soul Devotional - March 31, 2015

In Soul Kids we have a  magazine called HomeFront. This magazine is a resource for families of every shape and size. It helps to create fun, spiritually forming times at home. The layout makes it easy for busy families to create space in the week to all grow together. As I was reading through this months issue I found a gem that I wanted to share with you in preparation for this Easter season. 

" We often recognize Lent by giving up something in order to get a little uncomfortable and to remind us that we're completely dependent upon God. . But what if instead of simply fasting for 40 days, we added a couple of practices in the three days before Easter - practices that would get us out of our comfort zone? Rather than simply giving up chocolate, coffee, or soda, we add the disciplines of repentances and almsgiving - in addition to fasting. These disciplines date back to the beginning of Lenten tradition, and although tradition would define Lent as the 40 days prior to Easter, it's simply a season of preparation. This Holy Week, get out of your comfort zone with your kids [Becki says: "or any family members or friends"] and set aside time to incorporate these disciplines into your lives." 

THURSDAY, APRIL 2, 2015
" On what the church calendar refers to as Maundy Thursday, Jesus and His broke bread together at what would be the Last Supper. To remember the meal consumed that night, commit to a time of fasting as a family. This may be a total "media fast", meaning you commit to completely unplugging for the entire day, or it may be a fast from food for the entire day for adults or a portion of a mean for kids. be sure you explain to your kids why you're fasting so they can explain what they're doing to others. If you'd like, you might take communion as a family at the end of the day in remembrance of the Last Supper."
FRIDAY, APRIL 3, 2015
" On Good Friday, practice repentance for the very sins for which Christ died on the cross. As a family, confess your sins by writing them down on sheets of paper. Then read Psalms 51 together. Think about the words blot, wash, sin, iniquity, white, snow, pure heart, joy of your salvation - words and phrases that foreshadow the sacrifice that would happen on Good Friday. Using correction fluid or tape, "White out" all of the sins on the papers as you pray a prayer of repentance. Then, using markers or paint, transfer the space here the sins used to be into art, focusing on "pure heart" and "joy of your salvation"."[Becki says: use a canvas for this activity, then you can have a permeant piece of art to remember].
SATURDAY, APRIL 4, 2015
"On Saturday, prepare your heart for the resurrection by practicing almsgiving. Almsgiving is the act of giving to charity or providing something needed for free. The easy thing would be to go through your children's toys and clothes and to give the broken-isn toys and the holy-ish pants and the stained-isn shirts to someone who might be okay with the 'ish'. Instead, consider what you might give away that would install dignity in someone else. What would give your kids a view of the epic, radical, huge, and loving God who sent His Son to die on a cross for those sins you 'blotted out' the day before? Sit down with your children and find out what grabs their hearts. Where might they see limitless possibility - how might they give outside their comfort zone."

I hope you have some fun with these activities and find some time to spiritually mature and grow as a family. Lets remember what Easter is all about this season. 

Blessings! 

You can access the rest of the HomeFront magazine at the link below. This article was taken from: http://hub.truministry.com/i/486046-homefront-april-2015

 

Becki Wiens 
Children's Ministry Assistant | Soul Sanctuary
becki@soulsanctuary.ca

Soul Devotional - March 26, 2015

James 1:2-4

Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.

In the Christian walk I think these might be some of the hardest verses to follow. They are completely counter intuitive to how our minds work. But it is truth. We need to realize the big picture in life. Jesus has started a good work in us. Not an easy work but a work that will make us "mature and complete, not lacking anything." What a reward we have when we allow Jesus to work on us. And all we need to start is faith. When we have faith that Jesus is in control, it allows us to have joy in the trials. When we know that our Saviour is in control it gives our faith a base. Faith leads to perseverance. Perseverance is the commitment to seeing things through (with joy). Joy is the key though. With out joy perseverance is stubbornness. 

I challenge you this week to see every trial as an opportunity for your faith to lead to perseverance that will make you a more whole Christian.

--

Trevor Neufeld
Children's Pastor | Living Word Temple
trevor@soulsanctuary.ca

 

Soul Devotional - March 10, 2015

A couple of years ago the Soul staff had the opportunity to attend the Catalyst conference in California. One of the speakers we were able to hear was Christine Cane. Using the metaphor of a relay race, she explained the importance of teaching God’s Word to the next generation, “Handing the baton” off to the next in line. As a person working in children’s ministry, this is a great encouragement to me. Only somedays I think my progress may be too small, that I am not achieving what I set out to do. I was encouraged again by a trip to Christine’s website where I found this simple gem. I need to remind myself that God is in charge. I am working in His will. All I can do and all I should do is take the tiny steps that He directs me in, one at a time.

“Do not despise these small beginnings, for the LORD rejoices to see the work begin, to see the plumb line in Zerubbabel’s hand” (Zechariah 4:10 NLT).

If we want to live a life of significance, we need to understand that it won’t happen by accident. We must be intentional about the choices we make in relation to our dreams, and set goals to ensure we are moving toward them daily. A question I am regularly asked is how I balance marriage, motherhood and ministry, and keep my sanity. The truth is, my God-given dream fuels me; therefore, my life is very focused and uncomplicated. Of course, this is coupled with God’s favour and anointing.

I didn’t get to my dream overnight. It took small steps, one at a time, to get to where I am today. The same is true for you.

It is not enough to see the future we want; we have to be deliberate about the actions we take to make this future a reality. We need to ask the Lord to give us a dream, then envision ourselves in that future and begin to take small, incremental steps toward that dream.

Taken from  
http://www.christinecaine.com/cmspage.php?intid=55&intversion=1402
On March 9th 2015

Be encouraged today! 

--
Becki Wiens
Children's Ministry Assistant | Soul Sanctuary
becki@soulsanctuary.ca

Soul Devotional - December 23, 2014

JUST THE RIGHT TIME

REFLECTION

A Savior had been promised to God’s people for centuries. They longed and prayed for rescue. And then on the right day, in the right place, at the right time, Jesus was born. While God rarely comes at our appointed time, He always comes at the right time.

All of us are waiting on something, often wondering if God has forgotten us. In your waiting, let the birth of Christ encourage you. Just because God hasn’t come through (as far as you can see), it doesn’t mean He has abandoned you. To Him a day is like a thousand years and a thousand years are like a day. This very minute He’s working for His glory and for your good. Though circumstances say otherwise, God is going to come through, on schedule, fulfilling His long-appointed plans for you. Don’t give up before the time is right.

Take hope in the manger and know that you are loved and prized by the God who stepped down from heaven and arrived at the perfect time for you.

SCRIPTURE

Galatians 4:4-5 ESV

But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons. 

PRAYER

Father, meet me in the waiting, the place where I long for what is not fully in view. Still my heart and give me the ability to know that You are near. I believe Your plans are good. I see it in the birth of Your only Son.

But sometimes I struggle to see beyond the haze that surrounds me. Renew my confidence as I lift my eyes to You. Be glorified in my life during this season of expectation. Amen.

Taken from Louie Giglio (Advent Devotional on Holy Bible YouVersion App)

Soul Devotional - December 22, 2014

Righteousness will be his belt and faithfulness the sash around his waist.The wolf will live with the lamb, the leopard will lie down with the goat, and the calf and the lion and the yearling together; and a little child will lead them....In that day the Root of Jesse will stand as a banner for the peoples; the nations will rally to him, and his place of rest will be glorious (Isaiah 11:5–6, 10).

Jesus came at Christmas to bring God’s peace to a world that needs it. The “Root of Jesse,” which means a descendant of David’s dynasty, is descriptive of the Messiah God’s people were looking for. Jesus, a descendent of David, was the Messiah prophesied by Isaiah. Righteousness and faithfulness would be his belt and sash. These garments were used to ready a man before work or battle.

As we get close to the holiday, what are your thoughts consumed with? What are your worries? Perfect holidays are created on the film set but rarely in our homes.There is usually something that upsets the plans.There is usually someone that upsets the people. And there is the Lord who says “get ready for the holiday. Be righteous and faithful and the peace that God will be yours.“

What does God’s peace look like? It looks like the wolf, living with the lamb. A leopard that lies down with the goat; the calf and the lion and the yearling — all together in one place. And in the midst of all of them, a young child who rules them all. God’s peace is not possible unless Jesus is leading.

Jesus is the banner that all should see when they enter your home. He can be the banner that hangs above the gifts that are given, the meals that are eaten and the conversations that occur. Jesus came to stand as a banner for all people. Is he the banner in your home? If Jesus is our banner, the nations will rally to him.We can restore Christmas, if Jesus stands as the banner over the holiday.

If Jesus is our banner, we can experience the peace of Christmas. Our home and our holiday can be a glorious place of rest. May the peace of God fill your home and our nation — this Christmas and always. 

Gerry Michalski | Lead Pastor
Soul Sanctuary

Soul Devotion December 18th, 2014

            During this time of year, it is easy to see how people are busy getting ready for the Christmas season.  The time of Christmas parties, shopping, traveling, and getting together has already begun.  For some people, this can be the most stressful time of the year because of so many demands on their time and money mean that they have to pick and choose what they are doing.  It is as if the idol of Christmas has taken over the meaning of Christmas.

            So what do I mean by that?  I mean that we have forgotten or misplaced what the true meaning of Christmas is.  We have had our focus shift from celebrating the Savior’s birth to see if we can find that impossible to find gift for someone.  Christmas is a time where we have the opportunity to reflect on the grace that God had on us when He sent His Son as a babe in a manger.  Jesus did not come in some flashy manner that caught everyone’s attention, but rather, He came quietly, in a way that the Jewish people were not expecting, to save His people.

            This year, I am resting in the fact that this amazing event, the birth of this Child, would be a game changer.  This Child would repair a relationship to God that we, in no way, could repair ourselves.  This Child would be the One that demonstrated to all the people how our relationship to God was suppose to look like.  This Child brought peace, love, and joy to a people that desperately needed those things.

For unto us a Child is born, Unto us a Son is given; And the government will be upon His shoulder. And His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Isaiah 9:6 New King James Version

But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid; for see—I am bringing you good news of great joy for all the people: to you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is the Messiah, the Lord. This will be a sign for you: you will find a child wrapped in bands of cloth and lying in a manger.”  And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host, praising God and saying,

“Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace among those whom he favors!” Luke 2:10-14 New Revised Standard Version   

--

Shawna Lavender
Children's Ministry Director| Soul Sanctuary

shawna@soulsanctuary.ca 

Soul Devotional - December 12, 2014

“A vast army of locusts has invaded my land, a terrible army too numerous to count. Its teeth are like lions' teeth, its fangs like those of a lioness. It has destroyed my grapevines and ruined my fig trees, stripping their bark and destroying it, leaving the branches white and bare”. Joel 1:6-7 NLT

The faithfulness of God is truly remarkable. In the book of Joel we read about the distractive locusts that come to take from the lives of the Israelites  the things that are important. Sometimes it is simply the circumstances of our lives that are like locusts, and other times it's the very things that we do that bring that same distraction. But in chapter two of Joel (Joel 2:25-26 The LORD says, "I will give you back what you lost to the swarming locusts, the hopping locusts, the stripping locusts, and the cutting locusts. It was I who sent this great destroying army against you. Once again you will have all the food you want, and you will praise the LORD your God, who does these miracles for you. Never again will my people be disgraced.) we see  the faithfulness of God as we turn our eyes and ways back  to Him.  We must look to God for all that we need. He promised the restoration of those things that we have lost. How faithful is our God!

Today, look to him for all that you require. Restored relationships, restored vision, and restored hope can all be ours if we just look to Jesus.

Paul Winter | LWT Pastor
 

Soul Devotional - December 10, 2014

Soul Devo - Wednesday.jpg

And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”  Luke 2:8-12

At our house, over the Christmas season we love to curl up on the couch with a bowl of popcorn and watch Christmas movies and Christmas specials. We watch Miracle on 34th Street, Elf much to John’s chagrin, The Santa Clause with Tim Allen, and the original animated Grinch. But one of my favourite Christmas television specials of all time is: A Charlie Brown Christmas.

Nearly 50 years ago, Charles Schulz and the Peanuts gang were already struggling with an overly commercialized holiday season. Even Charlie Brown himself loses sight of the true meaning of Christmas when he tries to direct his friends in a Christmas pageant. Finally, he shouts in frustration, “Isn’t there anyone who knows what Christmas is all about?!”

In one of the most astounding moments in television history, Linus answers Charlie Brown’s question. He drags his blanket to center stage, stands alone in a simple spotlight, and recites the Christmas story from Luke 2:8-14. Linus says, “For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, which is Christ the Lord.”

It seems so simple.  Yet today, many people celebrate the holiday for a lot of reasons, and some have nothing to do with the birth of Christ, like family traditions, a day off from work, a time of gift-giving, Santa Claus, parties and so on.  Commercialism and materialism is a part of the fabric of Christmas celebrations in our culture. 

In my house, we need Linus’ answer every year. Jesus is more than just a baby in a manger. He is more than just a good teacher and a storyteller. He is more than our prayer buddy who takes our requests to God. Jesus is our Savior. He is Christ. He is the Lord, fully God and fully human.

During the hustle and bustle of Christmas, I hope we are all taking time like this to reflect, to meet with family and friends, to shine a spot-light onto the true meaning of Christmas. It isn’t about presents. It isn’t about decorations or food or cookies or caroling. Although those are all fun ways to celebrate, they are not our reason for celebration. Christmas is the birth of our Savior, Jesus Christ. His life is a model for how we should live. His death for our sins is a model of the humble nature we should have. And his resurrection is a promise that someday we will know peace on earth and good will toward all people.

Joanne Ritchie | Soul Sanctuary
info@soulsanctuary.ca

Soul Devotional - December 9, 2014

Our calling is based on our identity. It’s based on who we are in Christ and how God uniquely designed us. The word that’s typically rendered “church” in the New Testament comes from the Greek word “ekklesia.” That word literally means “called-out ones.” The church is called-out for God’s purposes. You have been called-out for God’s purposes. Today’s passage gives us another snapshot of our position in Christ and what God has for us.

Main Passage: Ephesians 2.4-10

4 But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, 5 made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved. 6 And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, 7 in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus. 8 For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— 9 not by works, so that no one can boast. 10 For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.

Reflection:

What’s Paul talking about right before verse 10? What does verse 10 indicate that God prepared for you?
Why is verse 10 meaningful if you’re insecure or overly confident?
Thank God for using you to do his work. What are you praying God will do in you as a result of this study about your calling?

Taken from "Catalyst - Known: A 21-Day Journey" (Holy Bible App).

Soul Devotional - December 8, 2014

Let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven (Matthew 5:16).

A few years ago we purchased a pre-lit Christmas tree. It may have saved our marriage. Let’s just say my wife enjoys our Christmas decorations more than the rest of the household does. What would Christmas be without the beautiful lights? Traditionally lights on the tree have been used to symbolize Christ, the light of the world (John 8:12). Edward Johnson, who worked with Thomas Edison, invented the first string of electric Christmas lights, which were mass produced in 1890. People have been lighting their trees ever since.

Christ told his disciples to let their light shine before men, so others could see their good deeds and praise their Father in heaven. How can the light of Christ outshine the artificial lights of the season? Through you and me. We carry the light of Christ into every room we enter. How brightly does his light shine in you?

I often say it shouldn’t take longer than five or ten minutes for someone to realize you are a Christian. If people have known you and think you “might be a Christian” — you need to crank up the light! How can you let your light shine this holiday season?

Our light is simply the overflow of our relationship with Christ. If you have a close walk with him, others will notice his presence.

The fruit of the Holy Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness and self-control. If you are filled with the Spirit, that will be the fruit of your life and others will notice. They will know you are Christians by your love; if you love God, you will love others.

May the lights on your tree remind you that the Baby in the manger is the light of the world. I pray that you will let his light shine everywhere you go today and that the genuine light of Christmas will outshine all that are artificial. 

Gerry Michalski | Lead Pastor
Soul Sanctuary

Soul Devotional - December 4, 2014

I heard an interesting quote this week from Pete Wilson, who is a pastor at Cross Point Church in Nashville.  He said “If we don’t find ways to remember what God did in the past, we will have a hard time trusting Him with our future.”  As this has been going through my mind, I realized how true it is. 

In the Old Testament, when God had rescued His people or demonstrated His power for His people, the Israelites took the time and built an altar to God. This was a physical reminder to the Israelites that there had been a promise made and kept, that God’s hand had moved to keep that promise to His people.  I find that it is easy to only see the challenged that are in front of me, without remembering that God has already taken up the challenges that I am walking through.  It is easy to remember the defeats instead of all of the times that God was faithful.  It is easy to get upset about how God has not moved, instead of being in awe of all of the times that He has moved in powerful ways.  However, I also see how important it is to be able to have the tangible reminder of altar that is dedicated to remembering the works of God and all that He has done.  The way I look at it, since my memory is bad, having a physical reminder stirs the memory to remembrance.  How many times do I need to be reminded of all of the amazing things that God has done for me, especially during through difficult and dark times that I walk through.

I would encourage us to build or have a place where we can remember God’s faithfulness in the past; whether it is a particular song, a book, a special place where you have encountered God.  These are the things that help us remember when the times get dark and hard, that God will guide and help us through.  These are not altars that are to be worshipped at, but used as a reminder of the faithfulness of the God that we serve.

Here are a few scriptures that talk about building altars to God:

Then Noah built an altar to the Lord, and took of every clean animal and of every clean bird, and offered burnt offerings on the altar. Genesis 8:20  New Revised Standard Version

 So Abram moved his tent, and came and settled by the oaks[a] of Mamre, which are at Hebron; and there he built an altar to the Lord. Genesis 13:18 New Revised Standard Version

And Moses wrote down all the words of the Lord. He rose early in the morning, and built an altar at the foot of the mountain, and set up twelve pillars, corresponding to the twelve tribes of Israel Exodus 24:4 New Revised Standard Version

Shawna Lavender | Soul Sanctuary

shawna@soulsanctuary.ca

Soul Devotional - December 2, 2014

Sunday Prayer:

God of Hope, we gather in your presence this morning with confidence that you will meet us. Where there is sadness, bring joy; Where there is tiredness, bring refreshment; Where there is despair, bring a renewed sense of hope. Let this place be a sanctuary, a safe haven for us, a place for holy words and songs and prayers as we devote ourselves to you.

God we turn to you with our prayer of hope. Hope springs eternal when we walk with you. Help us walk this week with you. We hope that this will be a week filled
with joy, with love, with laughter, with purpose and fulfillment.

But if the week brings hard times and hurt, pain and sorrow, tears and trials,
we know that your care and comfort will console us moment by moment.
Grace us with forgiving spirits. As a community help us walk with the happy and the sorrowful, holding their stories tenderly.

We hope for peace in our time, for an end to war. We long to hear the sound of governments listening to their people, heeding their pleas for justice. We long to hear the sound of the children of the world cheering together because peace has been declared, and they do not have to fear anymore. We hope for healing for our world, for harmony and balance where we have caused disharmony and unbalance.

Lord, help us to feel in our bones the beauty of this life, this world; its sounds and sights and smells and tastes, the lavishness of being which you give us in seconds and minutes and hours and days and weeks and months. Move in us, have your way with us, so that we can say, wholeheartedly, every day has been a gift through which we’ve lived and moved as followers of Jesus Christ, Amen.

Gerry Michalski | Lead Pastor
Soul Sanctuary

 

November 28, 2014

It is hard to believe that it is almost the end of the year.  As I take a look at the year that I walked through, it is amazing the changes that have all taken place.  As full as this year has been of change, I am in awe of the peace that God has brought though everything that has happened…from all of the goodbyes that we have said to all of the welcoming hellos that have come. 

During this year, I have spent a lot of time in Ecclesiastes 3.  This has been a reminder to me that even when I do not see what is happening, when I do not see the big picture, God does.  God in control of the seasons in my life, and He will not lead me into a place where He will not give me the strength to walk down.  Not to say that I am going to feel prepared for each and ever season that comes my way, but with God in control, I can rest assured that He will be walking with me every step of the way.

My prayer is that I will always been mindful of the changes and seasons that God brings me through, that I would walk through each season with the grace, love, and mercy, knowing that my Father is walking with me.    Although the seasons may be difficult, there are things that God is teaching me about how faithful and good He is and how much I am in need of a loving God and Savior to get me through to the other side.

Everything is appropriate in its own time. But though God has planted eternity in the hearts of men, even so, many cannot see the whole scope of God’s work from beginning to end. Ecclesiastes 3:11 The Living Bible

I know that whatever God does endures forever; nothing can be added to it, nor anything taken from it; God has done this, so that all should stand in awe before Him.
Ecclesiastes 3:14 New Revised Standard Version

Shawna Lavender
Children's Ministry Director | Soul Sanctuary
shawna@soulsanctuary.ca

Soul Devotional - November 25, 2014

A Tuesday Prayer Letter

Dear Dad,

Please make my heart long for your words more than anything else.
Open my eyes so I can see amazing things in the Bible.
Unify my heart in fearing you and only you.
And satisfy me with your unfailing love.

I ask that all people, including me, would honour you and uphold your reputation by both our words and our actions.
I ask that your sovereignty would become tangible and evident in people and nature around the world.
And I ask that everything you want to happen today would happen.

I'm needy, spiritually, physically, emotionally, and mentally; please give me everything I need for today.
When I stumble and sin, please forgive me just like I forgive others and show them grace.
Don't put me on the path of temptation, because I'm not great at resisting it.
Please rescue me from the evil one.

And now I'm going to be happy because of everything you have done for me! I've cried for help so many times, and you always comfort me and save me through the hardest times. I want to trust you more and more with everything. You paid the ransom for my life; I'm yours now. And you are mine too! You won't hold yourself back from me, I get to know you.

How is it that you show me so much attention when I'm so small? I'm overwhelmed by how a God so powerful and famous shows so obviously that he cares about me and my life. Thank you for always being with me! Thank you that I don't have to be ashamed of myself anymore! Thank you so much for how you love me. I love you too. I'm looking forward to spending today with you.

On behalf of Jesus,

_______________________________
               (your name here)

Soul Devotional - November 24, 2014

God of beauty, thank you for things that we take so for granted. Your colours amaze us, as do the textures, smells, tastes and sounds of this great world. Thank you for giving us life and breath on this beautiful day.

Thank you for the cycle of the seasons, this circle of life which we are so much a part of, yet which we understand hardly at all. Help all who are sorrowing, all who are filled with anxiety about their health, or about finances. Thank you that you are our Leader, our Captain, that you are beside us, helping us find a way through every situation.

We ask for your grace this week in the little things. The tiny decision of what expression to wear on our face when we answer a question, the decision to see this person or that person, to answer a call or an email, or not to answer it, what to do with that bit of extra money we have. We want every decision to be directed by you, every action for the good of Jesus’ team, the team of love, the team that cares for others.

We ask for your forgiveness because too often we go our own way. We want to be our own captain, we want to do what we want. We have ended up alone, lonely, unfulfilled. Thank you that you find us, you save us, you direct and guide us.

Today especially we pray for people who are wondering, “Whose team am I on? What is life all about?” Help us to share your good news with everyone we meet, to share it with words, to share it with actions, to share it through the strength of our community, our gathered group of your people here at Soul Sanctuary.

We pray this in Jesus’ name, Amen.

Gerry Michalski
Lead Pastor | Soul Sanctuary
info@soulsanctuary.ca

 

Soul Devotional - Nov 19, 2014

    God’s been working on me very specifically in these last couple years. He is throwing me curve ball after curve ball! Just when I feel as if I am in a comfortable groove, God changes things up. Be it a new home, a new baby, a new job, changing family dynamics...life is crazy. Just when I think I’ve figured it out and have it under control it changes! WHAT?!

    God is working on me. He is teaching me to trust in him at ALL times. He gives me opportunities every day to lean on him and trust in him. When things are going well, this is easy. When things do not go as I expect and I am left vulnerable, it’s not always that easy to trust in our God. In fact, I fail...a lot! But in my weakness, I can trust in his strength, even when I do not understand.

Revelations 22:13 says “ I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, the first and the last”. 

 In an article I read, Naquan says this, regarding Revelations 22:13 
“Who else can say that but God?  No one, only God can say such a thing.  God knows everything: the past, current and future and our knowledge and understanding doesn’t even compare to the knowledge and understanding of God –  even when it applies to our own life. 
Furthermore, when you don’t understand what God is doing in your life, consider the source – Who is it that you’re trusting; God or yourself?
Here is something to remember.  Man is fallible; we fall short and at times we’re unable to keep our promises.  Man can give you instructions that are misleading and imperfect.  With God, none of these things are possible.  God keeps His promises, God gives you right instructions according to His perfect will and He won’t mislead you.
No matter how much you don’t understand life as it is right now; no matter how uncomfortable it may seem or how hard it gets, don’t give up.  If God is with you -  the same God who spoke life into you, the same God who IS and knows the beginning and the end, the same God who knew you before the foundation of this world -is with you, then ask yourself who or WHAT can stand against you.
Consider the source and seek to be obedient to the Lord, even when you don t understand what God is doing in your life; don’t worry about “this or that” because God has provisions for you.”

(Trusting in God When You Don't Understand http://2praisegod.com/blog/2010/04/trusting-god-when-you-dont-understand/#sthash.EXlznEL2.dpbs).

I pray that you will trust in our perfect God today and that he will give you the strength to follow his perfect will. Blessings!

--
Becki Wiens
Children's Ministry Assistant | Soul Sanctuary
Becki@soulsanctuary.ca

 

 

Soul Devotional - November 18, 2014

Who Can You Call for Help? 

When we go through major disappointments in life, our natural reaction is to pull back and isolate ourselves. We want to handle it ourselves. We want to keep our losses and failures and mistakes and crises a secret. We want to withdraw. This is a terrible idea.

When you go through disappointment or crisis or loss is when you need your friends the most. You need to accept help from others. God doesn’t intend for you to handle all the pain and stress in your life by yourself. We were wired for each other. We need each other. We’re social beings. The first thing God said in the Garden of Eden is, “It’s not good for man to be alone.” We’re made to be in relationships. 

Job 6:14 says, “When desperate people give up on God Almighty, their friends, at least, should stick with them” (MSG). 

There will be times in your life when you are in so much pain you will say, “I don’t even believe in God right now!” You need to have friends who will come alongside you and say, “That’s OK. We’ll believe God for you right now.” 

There will come a time when you’ll say, “I don’t have any faith right now. I’m full of doubt.” That’s when you need your friends to step in and say, “That’s OK. We will have faith for you. We will trust God for you in this.” 

“By helping each other with your troubles, you truly obey the law of Christ” (Galatians 6:2 NCV). What is the law of Christ? It’s this: Love your neighbor as yourself. The Bible commands us to help each other. Every time you help somebody who’s going through pain, you are fulfilling the law of Christ. 

Trying to handle your trouble yourself will only make you more tired and stressed out. You need to accept the help of others and let your friends carry you through it. 

Taken from Rick Warren's daily devotional on the Holy Bible App.

Soul Devotional - November 14, 2014

I have been going through the devotional book Spiritual Classics, edited by Richard Foster and Emilie Griffin over the past few months.  Throughout this devotion book, there are a number of different contributors that focus on various spiritual disciplines that Christians should practice within their lives.  The one that stood out to me was a devotion on fasting by Catherine Marshall (pg. 57).  Her devotion on fasting got me to thinking in a different path than what I usually think of when it comes to that particular discipline.  When most Christian hear the word “fasting”, they think of food.  Fasting food has the ability to loosen things in the heavenly realm and allow us to see God’s hand move in an amazing way.  What if we think out of the box for a minute.  What if thinking of fasting in a bigger term?  Marshall challenges us to not only fast food, but also fast from the things that may prevent us from hearing God’s voice (pg. 60).  Her example to this was that she fasted from criticalness (pg. 59).  What would happen, if we as Christians fasted from the things that drew us away from God?  How would we be changed?  How would the world around us be changed?   This can be a small thing…like TV, Netflix, or even Facebook.  What would happen if these distractions were fasted from and we took that time to focus on the things that were close to God’s heart?  I would hazard a guess that we would be different people and that the world would take notice of that change.  Let’s all take up the challenge and fast from those things that draw us away from hearing the voice of God and begin to seek and pray for the best that God has for us, individually and as a community.

Spiritual Classics: Selected Readings for Individuals and Groups on the Twelve Spiritual Disciplines. San Francisco: HarperSanFrancisco, 2000.
--
Shawna Lavender
Children's Ministry Director | Soul Sanctuary

 

Soul Devo - Friday.jpg

Soul Devotional - November 11, 2014

Psalm 22:27-28

"All the ends of the earth shall remember
    and turn to the Lord,
and all the families of the nations
   shall worship before you.
For kingship belongs to the Lord,
   and he rules over the nations."

Today we remember those who sacrificed their lives for our freedom. For believers, a ceremony of remembrance is familiar; we observe one each time we receive the bread and the wine.

Do not be afraid to show solemn thankfulness to those brothers and sisters that have emulated our Saviour in this way. As Jesus said, no one has greater love than the one who lays down his life for his friends.

Let the day and its memories remind you also of him whose sacrificial death accomplished everything spoken of in this Psalm.

Soul Devotional - November 10, 2014

O God, early in the morning I cry to you.
Help me to pray
And to concentrate my thoughts on you:
I cannot do this alone.
In me there is darkness,
But with you there is light;
I am lonely, but you do not leave me;
I am feeble in heart, but with you there is help;
I am restless, but with you there is peace.
In me there is bitterness, but with you there is patience;
I do not understand your ways,
But you know the way for me…
Restore me to liberty,
And enable me to live now
That I may answer before you and before me.
Lord, whatever this day may bring,
Your name be praised.

--- Dietrich Bonhoeffer