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O LORD, who may abide in Your tent? Who may dwell on Your holy hill? 2 He who walks with integrity, and works righteousness, And speaks truth in his heart. 3 He does not slander with his tongue, Nor does evil to his neighbor, Nor takes up a reproach against his friend.

-Psalm 15:1-3

One Body -  

This devotional was written by Kelly McFadden

 

The human body has many parts, but the many parts make up only one body. So it is with the body of Christ. 1 Corinthians 12:12

 

Volleyball is a team sport. Many college teams carry a roster of 12-14 players, and only six players from each team can be on the court at a time. Of those positions only one is the setter. A setter is considered the football equivalent of a quarterback. The setter signals plays and acts as the team leader. The point is this: only 1 of 12 players leads the team from the court. Some argue that the setter is the most important player on the court. But, that distinction cannot be made for a team with only a setter would never win. A setter needs a passer to pass the ball and a hitter to hit the ball for the game to be played.

 

A coach once told me that there is a difference between a great player and a great team player. He explained that a great player performs to the highest level of skill, but a great team player helps others around them perform to the top of their capability. A crowd watches and responds to those they see on the court or field. However, there are times a crowd never sees the greatest team player perform. Many times, the best team player is the one who shows up to practice everyday, works as hard as they can, makes everyone around them better, and then cheers from the bench on game day.

 

How can you be a great team player as a Christian?

 

GOING DEEPER:

1. Why is it easier to envy the gifts someone else has been given, than to utilize and grow the ones you have been given?

 

2. Take a moment to write down or think about ways that God has gifted you.  How can you use those gifts to edify the body of Christ and be a great team player?

 

FURTHER READING:

Romans 12:1-6; Ephesians 4:15-16; Colossians 2:19-23

This devotional originally appeared in “HomeWord with Jim Burns” on Crosswalk’s Family Devotional section. For more information about HomeWord with Jim Burns devotionals, please visit us online.

More of HomeWord with Jim Burns: http://www.crosswalk.com/devotionals/homeword/

Never Settle for Mediocrity -  

 

I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. —John 15:5

 

Too many people today settle for second-best in life. Mediocrity is all they put into life, and mediocrity is all they get out of life. Yet Paul said, "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me" (Philippians 4:13 NKJV). He doesn't sound like a person who chooses to be average, and you don't have to be average either.

 

There's a Native American story about a brave who found an eagle's egg and put it into the nest of a prairie chicken. The eaglet hatched with the brood of chicks and grew up with them.

 

All his life the changeling eagle, thinking he was a prairie chicken, did what the prairie chickens did. He scratched in the dirt for seeds and insects to eat. He clucked and cackled. And he flew in a brief thrashing of wings and flurry of feathers no more than a few feet off the ground. After all, that's how prairie chickens were supposed to fly!

 

Years passed, and the changeling eagle grew very old. One day he saw a magnificent bird far above him in the cloudless sky. Hanging with graceful majesty on the powerful wind currents, it soared with scarcely a beat of its strong golden wings.

 

"What a beautiful bird!" said the changeling eagle to his neighbor, "What is it?"

 

"That's an eagle - the chief of the birds," the neighbor clucked. "But don't give it a second thought. You could never be like him."

 

So the changeling eagle never gave it another thought. And it died thinking it was a prairie chicken.*

 

GOING DEEPER:

1. According to John 15:5, how much fruit will a persons life bear who remains in Jesus? What does John mean by "fruit?"

 

2. Sometimes our circumstances cause us to settle for second best in life. Commit to God right now to being open to all He has in store for your life.

 

FURTHER READING:

John 15:16, Galatians 5:22

 

*Anecdote retold from What a Day This Can Be by John Cateior, ed., Director of The Christophers (New York: The Christophers)

Jim Burns is President of HomeWord and Executive Director of the HomeWord Center for Youth and Family @ Azusa Pacific University. Jim speaks to thousands of people around the world each year. He has over 1.5 million resources in print in over 25 languages. Jim’s radio broadcast is heard on over 800 stations a day and heard around the world via podcast at HomeWord.com. 

Some of his recent books include: Faith Conversations for Families; Teenology: The Art of Raising Great Teenagers, Closer: 52 Devotions to Draw Couples Together, Confident Parenting, The Purity Code and Creating an Intimate Marriage. Jim and his wife, Cathy and their three daughters Christy, Rebecca, and Heidi live in Southern California. 

More of Jim Burns: www.homeword.com

On the Verge of Collapse -   

This devotional was written by Jim Liebelt

 

Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you fulfill the law of Christ. —Galatians 6:2

On August 1, 2007, a typical afternoon commute across the I-35W bridge in Minneapolis, turned tragic when suddenly and without warning, the bridge collapsed into the Mississippi River below. 13 people died and 145 were injured. Frankly, it was amazing so many people whose vehicles plunged into the river survived.

When we think about bridges, the vast majority of us never give a moment’s thought to whether or not they are structurally sound. We simply drive across them. It’s such a matter of trust for us that we don’t even consider the possibility that they might not be safe.

Think of the many people around you everyday, including the people who make up your world of relationships. Some bear the physical scars of life and some don’t. Most of us don’t give a moment’s thought to what is going on in the lives of those around us. Yet, many people bear tremendous emotional and spiritual damage – interior damage that few, if any of us, see. Like an unsound bridge that looks normal, but is critically damaged in places unseen, most appear as though all is well in their lives. Yet, some teeter at the brink of collapse from the wounds that have weakened them.

In the Minneapolis bridge collapse, heroes emerged: People caught on the collapsed bridge and rescue workers who quickly arrived at the scene. These were people who courageously put their own lives at risk to help those caught up in the tragedy. What a great reminder that we, as Christ-followers, are called to be spiritual and emotional rescue workers in the lives of those around us.

In the New Testament book of Jude, we read, “Show mercy to those whose faith is wavering. Rescue others by snatching them from the flames of judgment. There are still others to whom you need to show mercy…” (Jude 22-23, NLT)

Today, decide to look below the surface of the lives of people in your world. Chances are, there is someone you know who needs your support. Through your love and care, you can help to prevent someone from suffering collapse.

 

GOING DEEPER:

1. Who, in your world of relationships, can benefit from your support and care?

2. Specifically, identify a way that you can help carry someone else’s burden today.

 

FURTHER READING:

Hebrews 3:13; 10:25; 12:14-15; Ecclesiastes 4:9-12; 1 Thessalonians 2:8

This devotional originally appeared in “HomeWord with Jim Burns” on Crosswalk’s Family Devotional section. For more information about HomeWord with Jim Burns devotionals, please visit us online.

More of HomeWord with Jim Burns: http://www.crosswalk.com/devotionals/homeword/

Opening Your Eyes -  

This devotional was written by Kelly McFadden

 

Defend the cause of the weak and fatherless; maintain the rights of the poor and oppressed. —Psalm 82:3

 

Driving through Lagos, Nigeria—one of the largest cities in the world—was quite an adventure. Driving through the traffic of the busy roads was like walking through a swap meet. Hundreds of people stationed themselves on these busy city streets doing their best to offer their goods to travelers passing by in order to make their livings. The longer we rode in the car, the less I looked out my window, keeping my eyes looking forward.

 

On one particularly slow traffic day (it took an hour to drive two miles), the amount of people that came by our car was uncountable. It is easy to say “no” again and again for goods you don’t want or need, but it is much harder to say “no” to the small child who knocks on your window asking for money for food, to the crippled man on a skateboard rolling between cars hoping someone will give him some money, or the young girl who walked a blind gentleman past the car and asked if we could spare some change. Stories like these are commonplace in Lagos and all over the world. It got so bad that, at one point, I simply closed my eyes because I couldn’t look anymore.

 

It is easy to feel helpless to the woes of the world. There are so many needy people all around us. But, the answer is not to live a life doing what I did in the car that day. We should not shut our eyes to the sorrows and the needs of those who are oppressed and in need. As Christians, we are called to reach out to those who have nothing and to serve others without expectation of repayment. The Bible tells us to defend the weak and maintain the rights of the poor.

 

Although it is not realistic for people to hand money to each person they pass, there are things we can do. First, open your eyes. Be ready when the Lord provides an opportunity to help someone. Second, do your part. Alone, none of us will solve the world’s poverty. But together, each of us doing our part through volunteering or giving, we can help make a difference in the lives of those we come in contact with. Don’t shut your eyes, as I did in Lagos, because it feels overwhelming. Rather, open them to see that the Lord gave each of us the power to give back, no matter our circumstances.

 

GOING DEEPER:

1. What are you doing to help the poor in your community?

 

2. How can you make sure you keep your eyes open to the work the Lord has for you to do with His people?

 

FURTHER READING:

1 Samuel 2:8; Proverbs 19:17; Luke 14:7-14

This devotional originally appeared in “HomeWord with Jim Burns” on Crosswalk’s Family Devotional section. For more information about HomeWord with Jim Burns devotionals, please visit us online.

More of HomeWord with Jim Burns: http://www.crosswalk.com/devotionals/homeword/

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