Elevate 28 - A 28 Day Challenge to Intentionally Engage with God's Word
No one has ever seen God; if we love one another, God abides in us
and his love is perfected in us. By this we know that we abide in
him and he in us, because he has given us of his Spirit.
1 John 4:12-13
Given By The Holy Spirit
By Kurt Selles, www.today.reframemedia.com
Very truly I tell you, no one can enter the kingdom of God
unless they are born of water and the Spirit.
God’s grace doesn’t just “happen” to come to us. It comes to us from God the Father through the obedience, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. And the saving work of Jesus comes to us through the Holy Spirit.
The Bible teaches that we all share the stain of Adam’s sin. From the moment we are conceived in our mother’s womb, we are in rebellion against God. Our rebellion, though rooted and connected to Adam’s first sin, includes our own inescapable inclination to sin. Our hearts are hardened against God: we have plugs in our ears and blinders over our eyes. On our own, we are hopelessly lost.
But the Holy Spirit comes to us and changes our hearts.
The Holy Spirit’s work in our hearts is sometimes overlooked or downplayed. Through the sometimes dramatic though often mundane events of our lives, the Spirit woos us, draws us to him, and moves us toward the love of our Father in heaven. And when—and only when—the Holy Spirit has softened our hearts, unstopping our ears and removing the blinders from our eyes, do we turn to God.
We are saved by grace alone through the power and work of the Holy Spirit. Be aware of the Spirit working in your life today, filling you with grace and flowing to those around you.
Kurt Selles is the director of Back to God Ministries International, the parent organization of ReFrame Media, which publishes the Today devotions. He also serves as Executive Editor of Today. Kurt is a graduate of Calvin Theological Seminary and Vanderbilt University. Kurt previously served as director of the Global Center at Beeson Divinity School, where he also taught missions. He also served as a missionary in Taiwan and China. Kurt and his wife, Vicki, have three adult children.
REFLECT & RESPOND
Gather your home team or small group to have fun creating a Heart Maps.
Literary Mapping is an instructional strategy used in teaching to help students organize thoughts around a specific theme. A map can take the shape of any theme – for this activity the map will be the shape of a heart. Each person will create their own Heart Map – very young children can partner with an older sibling or parent.
The purpose of this activity is to find images that illustrate love in action – specifically – how each person demonstrates love. The Heart Map can be divided into sections – to show how love is demonstrated in various areas of life - such as:
· The World
Though, creating sections on the Heart Map is not necessary – it is a good idea to label your pictures with verses or with brief statements describing the pictures.
To do this activity you will need:
· Construction paper or copy paper
· Glue or tape
· Printed internet images
· Crayons, colored pencils, or markers
Gather your craft materials.
Cut out large hearts from construction paper or copy paper sheets.
Find pictures in magazines and print pictures from the internet that show how love dwells in you and touches those in your life. You could also draw pictures.
Glue or tape pictures onto your heart.
Each person can share how their Heart Map explaining how love dwells in them for God’s glory.
Hang hearts as a gallery wall in your home or group area to remind each person of God’s great love that we dwell in and that dwells in us
*Bonus Children's Devotional*
Written by Susan Wambui
You see I have lots of brothers and sisters every day and I choose to behave in a loving way towards them. There are times when I would rahter do something for myself, or just do nothing at all, but I do not choose to. Instead, I choose Love. There are times when I make a bad choice, but when I do, I ask for forgivness and ask for help in making a better chocie next time. Without the help of God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, I would not succeed.
"Love care more for others than it does for self."
1 Corinthians 13:5
This activity was provided by the Teacher Love Project - a Why Not Charleston community education initiative. The Teacher Love Project aims to provide love and encouragement to teachers that will elevate their wellness and care and therefore, enhance student achievement. We must care for those who care for our children - we must love each other because God loved us first.
"We love because he first loved us."
1 John 4:19
”Heart Of God”
by Taraea L. Griffith
Lord you said in your word that you will give me a new heart and put a new spirit in me you will remove from me my heart of stone and give me a heart of flesh. Lord you will also put Your Spirit in me and move me to follow Your decrees and I will be careful to keep Your laws. Lord as the deer pants for the streams of waters so my soul pants for you. I am your son/daughter and you sent the Spirit of Jesus Christ your Son into my heart and my spirit calls out Abba Father. Your words are fixed in my heart and mind. I tie them as symbols on my hands and bind them on my forehead knowing that I will share them with my children. Thank you for a heart like your heart Lord. AMEN
Taraea L. Griffith lives in Charleston with her husband, children, and grandchildren. She is a poet and writer, and making an offering of her special gifts and talents as a Why Not Charleston 2020 contributor.
THRU THE LENS - FINDING YOURSELF IN GOD'S WORD
A blog by regular men and women about finding themselves in God's world
God Fill My Heart
By: Candice Hilse
Have you ever felt empty? All the fab dinner parties, fun new wardrobe options and vacations all over can be happening, but when you feel empty, nothing can fill you up.
The problem with feeling empty is, we find things to fill the hole. I know we've all heard the saying there is a God-sized hole in all of us, and we take it lightly, but in 1 John 4, John is warning to take it anything but lightly.
The severity of the war happening for our souls paired with our ability to fill our days with ample meaningless tasks, so we never take the time to sit in silence and hear the spirit, is a recipe for disaster.
I was really good at everything but time with my father for a long time. Here is the formidable thing about Satan though. He has a plan just like God. He takes His time. The busy-ness of today is one of his best. Even when we are on fire for Him we are at risk of saying yes to too much, striving for too much, and getting our priorities out of wack.
I can remember actually rationalizing to my husband, who was over it, that all the late nights were to be expected, that my cause of career was noble, and how dare he question it or not support me whole heartedly without any grumblings. It's honestly a miracle I didn't kill my marriage completely, because we all know what happens next. Things are going well, you feel great and you begin to fill your life and love with all those things, then one bad thing happens and BAM!, you feel the hunger pangs.
You feel the hunger pangs for the spirit that filled you, sustained you, and carried you when the bad things happened. Without the spirit, we are leaving ourselves vulnerable to an attack on our souls. We are vulnerable to losing everything because we aren't under the authority of the one who loves us and created us.
For me, I thought my heart was full and everything was perfect. I had been filling my heart with empty things. I had made my idols of this world. I had allowed the enemy to fill my heart, and sucker punch of the attack was that just when I thought it was all wonderful, all of those other idols I had allowed him to fill my heart with opened the door for attack and vulnerability.
The battle to get back, to hear God's voice again, and to make my priorities and purpose under my heavenly father's authority again was long. The beauty of it is, though, that God took the enemy's plan and made it His own. In my fight to set things right and holy, God used the time to ensure I treasured every moment, lesson and blessing. We have to open our eyes everyday, because our hearts will always be filled, we simply need to choose to have the Spirit be what resides in us.
God, please fill my heart with you today. Let me see attacks and keep my eyes on you versus that with which my enemies may try to distract me. Thank you for reminding me to be a vision of your spirit and love and that my heart is to be protected. -Amen
Charleston native Candice Hilse resides in Moncks Corner, SC with her husband Erich, three killer
kids and three dogs. Candice serves in various gospel-based ministries throughout Charleston and leads the Firestarters Ignition course through Why Not Charleston.