Saturday, April 30, 2011

Bearing Fruit

You have not chosen Me, but I have chosen you and I have appointed you [I have planted you], that you might go and bear fruit and keep on bearing, and that your fruit may be lasting [that it may remain, abide], so that whatever you ask the Father in My Name [as presenting all that I AM], He may give it to you.   —John 15:16

The Bible says that we are blessed if our confidence is in the Lord. We will be like trees planted by the waters that continue to bear fruit (see Jeremiah 17:7–8).

I admit that sometimes, at the end of a day, we may feel that all of our fruit has been picked! But God will replenish us if we abide in Him. If we put our trust in God, we will bear all kinds of fruit, and will have new fruit to share with others every morning. 

 From the book Starting Your Day Right by Joyce Meyer. Copyright © 2003 by Joyce Meyer. Published by Warner Faith. All rights reserved.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Saturday, April 23, 2011

The Gift of Joy

Discover a bit about the joy-filled purpose of your life through this Easter devotional. Jesus knew the purpose for his life on earth. He endured the cross with that purpose in mind. In "The Gift of Joy," Warren Mueller encourages us to follow Christ's example and discover the joy-filled purpose for our lives. 

As Easter approaches, I find myself thinking about the death and resurrection of Jesus. The purpose of his life was to offer himself as a sacrifice for the sins of mankind.The Bible says Jesus became sin for us so that we could be forgiven and found righteous in God’s sight (2 Corinthians 5:21).

Jesus was so certain of his purpose that he predicted when and how he would die.  (Matthew 26:2).
As believers and followers of Jesus, what is our purpose? 
Some would answer that it is to love God while others might say that it is to serve him. The Westminster Shorter Catechism states that man’s chief purpose is to glorify God and enjoy him forever. While considering these ideas, Hebrews 12:2 came to mind: “Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him, endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.” (NIV) Jesus looked beyond the suffering, shame and death he knew was to come and focused on the joy that would be. 

What is this joy that so motivated him? 
The Bible says that there is great joy in heaven whenever a sinner repents (Luke 15:10). Likewise, the Lord rewards good works and there is joy in hearing him say, “Well done good and faithful servant.” Therefore, Jesus anticipated the joy that would happen when each person would repent and be saved. He also looked forward to the joy that would result from each good work done by believers in obedience and motivated by love. 

The Bible says that we love God because he first loved us (1 John 4:19). Ephesians 2:1-10 tells us that by nature we are rebellious towards God and are born spiritually dead. It is by his love and grace that he brings us to faith and reconciliation. God has even planned our good works (Ephesians 2:10)! 

What then is our purpose? 
We can give him joy! What a wonderful God we have who honors sinners like us by giving us the ability to give him pleasure! He rejoices and experiences joy as we respond to him in repentance, love and good works that brings him glory! 

Give Jesus the gift of joy for he is looking forward to it! 

Friday, April 22, 2011

The Goodness of Good Friday

"Jesus knew that his mission was now finished, and to fulfill Scripture he said, “I am thirsty.” A jar of sour wine was sitting there, so they soaked a sponge in it, put it on a hyssop branch, and held it up to his lips. When Jesus had tasted it, he said, “It is finished!” Then he bowed his head and released his spirit." John 19:28-30 NLT

Good Friday … I am sure on that first Good Friday, that the first followers of Jesus would have called it anything but Good. That first Good Friday would have been an extremely long, tough, discouraging, dark day.

You see these first followers who had followed Jesus for three years and had had such hope, such confidence and such anticipation of the exciting future that Jesus would bring to their world and to their individual lives. And yet on that Friday almost 2000 years ago they saw their dreams and hopes dashed. You see they hadn’t read the rest of the story, they didn’t know how this exciting historic story was going to unfold.

All they knew was this Jesus of Nazareth, whom they had learned to trust, was now hanging before their eyes … dead on a cross. What must have been going through their minds?

You see even as we read this painful description found in the Bible in the 19th Chapter of John, it is only natural to quickly want to turn to the 20th Chapter and read about the victory that came on Sunday. But for just a moment on this Good Friday, let’s imagine what it would have been like for the first believers in Christ to see the one whom they had come to believe was the Son of God, the Messiah, was now hanging on the cross seemingly defeated.

What feelings must have been rushing through their hearts? They must have been experiencing feelings of discouragement, defeat, and hopelessness? You see … its Friday and although Sunday is coming, they didn’t yet know it!

Isn’t that the way it is in our lives sometimes?

We experience a discouraging setback at work… or possibly lose that dream job and we feel discouragement and disappointment. It is Friday and although Sunday is coming, we don’t yet realize it!

We suffer another tough day in our personal life feeling defeated by that particular temptation, addiction or enslaving habit. We feel stupid, embarrassed, angry, and defeated! It is Friday and although Sunday is coming, we don’t yet realize it.

We experiencing a heartbreaking setback in a personal relationship in our lives … We walk out of court with the words “Divorce” echoing in our ears. We feel rejected, lonely and unloved. It is Friday and although Sunday is coming, we don’t yet realize it.

We hear a bad report from the doctor for ourselves, or a loved one. Our hearts race with fear, anxiety and uncertainty. It is Friday and although Sunday is coming, we don’t yet realize it.

We stand beside the grave of someone we love very much and we feel a deep loneliness and ache in our heart. It is Friday and although Sunday is coming, we don’t yet realize it.

It is in those moments that we feel the darkness of that first Good Friday!

It is in those moments that we need to take to heart the example of Jesus that is described in the Bible in the Book of Hebrews. In the 12th chapter of that encouraging book, Jesus is described as our champion who initiates and perfects our faith. We are reminded that as Jesus went to the cross he had the following focus: “Because of the joy awaiting him, he endured the cross.” That was an incredible focus!

Corrie ten Boom, who suffered in a Nazi death camp, explained the power of focus: “If you look at the world, you’ll be distressed. If you look within, you’ll be depressed. But if you look at Christ you’ll be at rest!”

… This morning as we allow ourselves to feel the darkness that those first believers must have felt, let’s focus our thoughts on the fact that … Yes at times in life, the candle might have been blown out temporarily, but it will shine again very, very soon! You see … it is Friday, but Easter Sunday is coming! Let’s take a moment now and reflect on what they must have felt and the reminder that no matter what we might be going through in our lives … It is Friday, but Easter Sunday is coming! 

Monday, April 18, 2011

He Chose Us

God has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.”—Hebrews 13:5

Prior to the cross, Jesus endured hours of agonizing physical and emotional torture. Yet not once did he cry out. It was not until that culminating pain of separation from God that the heart of Jesus broke.

Jesus took upon Himself every sin, every pagan inclination, and all that is unholy in creation, and he died for it. For Jesus, the greatest hurt was the momentary abandonment from God, his Father. It happened because God, in his holiness, cannot look upon sin. When Jesus became the embodiment of sin, he was rejected. He was abandoned. He was ditched.

If you can identify with that feeling, you’re not alone. But I’ve got great news for you. Jesus’ separation from God—and ours—was bridged immediately the moment that sin-debt was paid. He was instantly restored to full correctedness with his Father. It’s absolutely mind-boggling: we too are instantly awarded full family membership the moment we confess our sin and receive the forgiveness for which Jesus died.

That means we will never be abandoned by him. We will never be a throwaway from him. We will never be rejected by him. We’ll never be ditched by him. We didn’t get left by him. He chose us. He loves us and will never leave us.

—Marilyn Meberg
Excerpted from A Grand New Day © 2008 by Thomas Nelson. Published in Nashville, Tennessee, by Thomas Nelson. Used with permission. All rights reserved.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Easter Week: Palm Sunday

It's Easter Week! Let us PRAISE OUR LORD!!

Today is Palm Sunday, and let us prepare our hearts for the week ahead.  Take time to pray and reflect on scripture.

On the first day you are to take branches from luxuriant trees—from palms, willows and other leafy trees—and rejoice before the LORD your God for seven days. Leviticus 23:40 NIV

On the walls all around the temple, in both the inner and outer rooms, he carved cherubim, palm trees and open flowers. 1 Kings 6:29 NIV

The [uncompromisingly] righteous shall flourish like the palm tree [be long-lived, stately, upright, useful, and fruitful]; they shall grow like a cedar in Lebanon [majestic, stable, durable, and incorruptible]. Psalm 92:12 Amplified

So they took branches of palm trees and went out to meet Him. And as they went, they kept shouting, Hosanna! Blessed is He and praise to Him Who comes in the name of the Lord, even the King of Israel! John 12:13 Amplified

After this I looked, and there before me was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language, standing before the throne and before the Lamb. They were wearing white robes and were holding palm branches in their hands. Revelation 7:9 NIV

Hosanna by Hillsong

Friday, April 15, 2011

Good Morning, God!

“Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness” (Lamentations 3:22-23).

My alarm went off at 6:00 a.m. Again. I had to get breakfast ready to serve the campers at 8:00. Again. I had been doing this since the middle of June. It was August and I was tired of working at camp. Later that day, I talked to my friend. She said I needed to stop thinking “Good God, its morning,” and start thinking, “Good morning, God!”

Routine can really get us down. It’s hard to be joyful when we think we’re just facing another routine day. Thanks to God, we don’t have to dread the coming day. No matter how hard it may be, I’ve found that it is crucial to wake up in the morning and say and believe,

“Good morning, God!” Decide that this is the day that the Lord has made. Decide to rejoice in it. Ask Him to remind you throughout the day that this day is good because He is in it.

Before you get out of bed, recite some verses you have memorized, and repeat them throughout the day. Pray and ask Him to be with you and guide you through this day and to remind you to rejoice in this new day. When your focus is on God, your focus won’t be on the routine of the day. When you are totally living the day for God, you will be more focused on carrying His name in everything you do.

I woke up in my dorm room several months after that day at camp. It was a normal January day, but to me, it was the third anniversary of when I had committed my life to Christ. I woke up determined to make it a special day with God.

I prayed for fifteen minutes first thing that morning. Throughout the day, I talked with God and intentionally spent time with Him. It was an awesome day. I didn’t want it to end.

Later that day, I realized the joy of celebrating that anniversary didn’t have to end. I could still totally focus on God every day. I decided then that every day would be a special day because God is walking through the day with me.

Today is a new day. Celebrate! Thank God for this day.

Questions: How can you make today a positive day to celebrate in with God? When do you especially need God’s help to keep from negatively thinking, “Good God, its morning”?

By: Power to Change

Wednesday, April 13, 2011


“You have made known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand.” Psalm 16:11 
Life seems to be more and more difficult right now. It is much easier to be unhappy than to have joy. Happiness means a state of well-being or contentment. Many times our happiness is based on our circumstances but joy is a deeper emotion and can have very little to do with circumstances. 
We have recently been going through a difficult time. I can tell you at times it was very hard to be happy, but I found joy. The only way that is possible is when I focus more on Jesus, His plan, His purpose, and His way. The more I find time to be with Him and read His word the easier it is to find the peace and joy that only He gives. 
As we continue to be faithful in our service we soon forget about what is going on in our lives. Each day is a new day and new opportunity for God to work on your situation. The promises God gives us in His word are what keep us going. When we read that “…He is always working…”, or “…He never slumbers or sleeps…” I know He is not giving up on me or my problem and He is at work on my situation. That can give us a new sense of joy. It teaches us that our joy is in Him and what He is able to do, not on what we need.
When you go through the next crisis remember to focus on Jesus and not on your problem. Be in His presence and you will have joy each day.

Thank you Jesus for your presence.

From Encouraging Website

Monday, April 11, 2011

Drowning In or Drowning Out Distractions?

“I will listen to what God the LORD will say;
he promises peace to his people, his saints —
but let them not return to folly.”
Psalm 85:8 (NIV)
I am the lightest of sleepers. And being awakened at night by noises is often a disastrous recipe for exhaustion. That’s why I love my white noise machine; a round, little electronic contraption that sits beside my bed. It’s my nightly sanity-saver.

Before I obtained this clever contraption, I lost sleep due to a snoring spouse or midnight-snacking teenager. As a result, I was cranky and cantankerous; frazzled and fruitless. As a sleep-deprived soul, I became unproductive, easily distracted and down-right ineffective at life.

Thankfully, now my nocturnal helper ushers me quickly to la-la land (and allows me to stay there) with one of its many options: waves crashing, birds chirping, or a thunderstorm gently rolling in. The steady, constant stream of soothing sound magically drowns out any background distractions.

I have found the same to be true with our spiritual lives. If we want to focus on the importance of listening to God though prayer, Bible study and time simply sitting still before Him, we must drown out all distractions.
When our screaming schedules, messy houses, unpaid bills, or idle pastimes such as television or the Internet aren’t intentionally blocked for a time, we will never reach the important stage of resting and receiving direction from God each day.

Jesus Himself was a master at drowning out distractions. A quick read through the New Testament will find Him often withdrawing to a lonely corner, getting up early to pray or locating a place of calm focus amidst a clanging throng of people.

Jesus purposed to find peace among the pandemonium.

Likewise in the Old Testament, the Psalmists often list peace, calm, and quiet as gifts given to those who earnestly seek the Lord and desire to walk in His ways. Embedded in today’s key verse is such a promise to us as well: peace to God’s people. But the precursor to experiencing that peace is listening to what the Lord has to say. And for listening to occur, we have to be able to actually hear from God, focused and free from all that clamors for our attention.

So, just as I plug in my slumber device each night, we must also unplug for a time each day. Shut off the phone; the TV; the laptops and iPads. Ignore the dishes, the paperwork and the screaming schedules so we can drift off to a peaceful place where sweet Jesus is waiting — desiring for us to be still and listen long enough to actually hear Him speak to our hearts.

Drowning in so many daily distractions can keep us from hearing God’s voice. Let’s purpose together to drown out our distractions instead, and tune in to the life-giving Word. He is the only steady source from which we can ever find true and lasting peace.
Dear Lord, give me courage to unplug, determination to focus and patience to listen. I want to bask in Your peace and walk in Your ways. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

© 2011 by Karen Ehman. All rights reserved.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

NorthStar News........ Announcements for the week of 4/10

 Mark your calendars.  Below are the latest announcements from NorthStar Church!!
  • Easter Sunday Service will take place on April 24 at 7:00 a.m., 9:00 a.m., and 11:00 a.m. 
  • Marriage Enrichment 8 week course led by Rev. David Holt, Senior Life Coach for CrossVine Coaching. Now...Thursday April 14th-June 2nd, Carmichael Campus, 6pm-7:30pm. Signups located at Connection Point.
  • Rummage Sale to benefit Nicaragua Mission Team. April 16th, 8am-1pm, 7241 Oak Ridge Hwy, beside Grace Baptist Church. Still accepting any last minute donations and hope to see you at the sale. Contact info:
  • Baptism Service, next Sunday, April 17th...both services! If you’re saved and never been baptized, or were baptized on the wrong side of salvation, come to Connection Point and sign up today.
  • Extraordinary Women’s Conference, April 29-30th, Freedom Hall in Johnson City TN. Information sheets at Connection Point or at

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Just Do It!!!!

For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God.—Romans 8:14

I have discovered that if I want to be happy and if I want to have an anointing on my life, then I must be obedient to the voice of God. I don't always have to know why God wants me to do something. I just need to know what He tells me to do—and then do it!

When our feelings run amuck, we need to keep them from running our lives. We need to submit our will to what God tells us to do through His Word to us. If we don't feel like going to church, we go anyway. If we don't feel like giving that hundred-dollar offering God told us to give, we do it anyway. If God tells us to give away items we feel like keeping, we give them away with joy.

"Walking in the Spirit" is a phrase that believers have used loosely in the past few decades. What it means to me is to hear God speak and do whatever He tells me to do. We can point our finger when we see that other people aren't obeying God, but all He wants from us is our own obedience.

From the book New Day, New You by Joyce Meyer. Copyright © 2006 by Joyce Meyer. Published by InProv. All rights reserved.

Monday, April 4, 2011

How Can God Bring Good from This?

“And we know that in all things God works for the good
of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.”
Romans 8:28 (NIV)
Have you ever faced a personal struggle and wondered how God could possibly bring good out of it? How could Romans 8:28 apply to my hidden issues — the ones I don’t like to think about, deal with, or even admit I have?

If you would have told me 10 years ago that God could bring good out of my weight issues and food struggles, I would have seriously doubted you. I would have rolled my eyes and excused myself to the bathroom. 

Bathroom stalls are great places to cry in secret.

When a soul is rubbed raw from years of trying and failing, you don’t want to hear, “eventually good will come from this.” I wanted something to instantly fix my issues. I wanted to stop calling myself awful names I’d never let another person call me.

I wanted to be naturally thin like my sister.

I wanted to stop crying when I walked into my closet to get dressed in the morning. I would have cared less about some elusive, eventual good. My jeans didn’t fit. Even my sweatpants didn’t fit. I felt horrible. I couldn’t stay committed to a healthy eating plan to save my life. And I saw no hope in sight.

It’s a terrible thing to scan the horizon and see no evidence of hope. Maybe you’ve been there with some hidden issue. Maybe you’ve been there like me with food and weight struggles. Maybe you’re there today.

Whether your issues are the same as mine or not, all of us Jesus girls have struggles. We all fall short in some way. And we all need to know more about this “good” mentioned in Romans 8:28.

But instead of a three point sermonette, I want to share with you a letter I recently received. As I read it, the mercy gates of heaven split wide open and reigned down “this working of good.” It was heaven’s salve soothing deep places in me.

It is a picture of the reality of God’s Word being true. Always true. God does work for the good… in all things… every single thing… even our most raw and seemingly impossible things… but we must know it even when we don’t feel it.

“Just want to say thank you for sharing your struggles, Lysa. I’ve had an eating disorder since August,1978. Full blown anorexia, which led years down the road to bulimia. I became a Christian in 2002, but never could fully surrender my eating disorder to our Lord. Through your story and the advice you shared the Holy Spirit is empowering me as I never knew possible.  I’ve had 7 days of no binging or purging!!! This may not seem like a high number to you, but after 33 full years with this binge/purge addiction, this is AMAZING. Hallelujah!!

You shed such new light on scriptures that I have read, but never knew how to interpret in my life especially with regards to eating. I’ll be honest I figured my eating disorder wasn’t that big a deal to our Lord. In fact I had told myself that He made me this way so it must just be the sin I was born to deal with; so glad to know that it isn’t, and that I matter to HIM." – Melissa P.

As I read this, my tears leaked free. We don’t have to figure out how God will bring good, we just have to stay on the journey with Him and watch Him work. May this be a glimpse of hope in the midst of your struggles as well.

And we know (we know it even if we don’t feel it) that in all things (even the ones we can’t even fathom being used for good) God works for the good. (He works for the good. Our job is to walk with Him day by day. His job is to work the good.)
Dear Lord, thank You for this hope. Thank You that You don’t waste our tears, our struggles, or those places rubbed raw from years of trying and failing. Once we do what You’ve instructed us to do, You always do what only You can do. I know You will bring good even when I can’t see it or feel it. And what a comfort that is to me. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Taking the Next Step:
Application Steps:
Write out your struggle on the front of a 3×5 card this week and pray for the next 5 days for God to reveal some good that could come from this. Write some of the power verses on the back of your card and meditate on these truths.

God doesn’t comfort us to make us comfortable. God comforts us to make us comfort-able. Able to comfort others with the same comfort we’ve received from Him. Is there someone in my sphere of influence who could benefit from hearing my story? Could this be some of the good God can bring from this?

Power Verses:
Ephesians 2:10, “For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” (NIV)

© 2010 by Lysa TerKeurst. All rights reserved.