Imagine: The Great Flood

The last thing ten-year-old Corey remembers (before the world as he knew it disappeared) was the searing pain in his head after falling while chasing his dog Molly into the woods. What happens next can’t be explained as Corey wakes up and finds himself face-to-face with not one but two lions! Imagine. . .The Great Flood is the first release in an exciting, brand-new epic adventure series for kids ages 8 to 12. The Imagine series brings the Bible to life for today’s kids as they ponder what it would be like to live through a monumental biblical event.

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Come, Follow Me

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These 365 readings will help you grow your faith and connect you to the heavenly Father as you’ve never been before. Each day of the year, you will encounter a moving, blessings-filled reading that has powerful potential to impact your life.

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Warrior

Precious Child,

I am Peace.

Loving me, the Lord your God, and yielding your heart to mine, sweet one is why I made you. This one relationship is what brings you rest in a love-draining world that seeks your allegiance. Walking with me today pushes the seekers away and makes room for my calming touch.

Keeping my commands and holding fast to me child, brings a heavenly rest that helps you stay on the path of righteousness. Serving me with all your heart and with all your soul drives away confusion. The world builds up altars of rebellion because they don’t know me or know of the great things I have done for you. Go and tell them, child.

When I move, my power causes the earth to shake, clouds to pour down rain, and mountains to tremble. In your weakness, feel this same strength rise inside you. When you feel like the least out of many, know that I am with you to hold your head high and make you like a mighty warrior.

The world boasts of its own ability. The people rule over each other and they have forsaken me. Oh, how they need to hear from you, child. They need to hear what you have to tell them about me.

Today, child, remember that I’m not sending you alone. I am with you and will open up the hollow places of life to provide you with an endless supply of living water so you will be strengthened. Go out into the world in my peace and know with everything that’s in you that I have appointed and approved your journey. I am so proud of you.

Joshua 22:5; Judges 6:24; Judges 18:6

 

Piece 28-Confidence

We have been trading out the possessions of the world for eternal treasures in Christ. Whereas Judas Iscariot took a sack of thirty silver pieces, we have discovered spiritual rewards that not only assist us in our daily living but also sanctify us for the life to come. The next piece we pull from the Lord’s gift bag is titled CONFIDENCE. This precious blessing aligns our hearts with truths such as 2 Chronicles 32:8 which says the Lord helps us and fights our battles and Psalm 71:5 that says “For you have been my hope, Sovereign Lord, my confidence since my youth.” Merriam-Webster defines confidence as the quality or state of being certain.

“Blessed is the one who trusts in the Lord, whose confidence is in him.” (Jeremiah 17:7) The only things we should be certain of, are the words and promises of Jesus Christ. In him and through faith in him we may approach God with freedom and confidence. (Ephesians 3:12) If we put our certainty in Jesus, we are truly free to go before Almighty God with our worship and prayers. Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need. (Hebrews 4:16) Mercy and grace come from above. Nothing in this world can give us these precious blessings.

Be certain that Jesus doesn’t want you to be afraid and that he is always there with you to help! So we say with confidence, “The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid. What can mere mortals do to me?” (Hebrews 13:6)

Be certain that God loves you like a father loves his children and that he listens to you! This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. (1 John 5:14) 

Be certain that God has a great plan for you, a long-term plan that is good! Being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus. (Philippians 1:6)

Be certain that you have a special part to play in the sharing of the gospel message to the world! And because of my chains, most of the brothers and sisters have become confident in the Lord and dare all the more to proclaim the gospel without fear. (Philippians 1:14)

Be certain of the hope that this confidence gives you that one day you will see Jesus: And now, dear children, continue in him, so that when he appears we may be confident and unashamed before him at his coming. (1 John 2:28)

Jesus taught about his gift of true confidence in his parable recorded in Luke 18: “Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. The Pharisee stood by himself and prayed: ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other people—robbers, evildoers, adulterers—or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week and give a tenth of all I get.’ “But the tax collector stood at a distance. He would not even look up to heaven, but beat his breast and said, ‘God, have mercy on me, a sinner.’ “I tell you that this man, rather than the other, went home justified before God. For all those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.” 

I want to be a tax collector. But, if I were honest, most of my time is spent walking around like a Pharisee. Sure, I don’t tell God I’m happy I’m not like a robber or adulterer, but my daily living tells a different story. Too many times, my confidence is in the things I can see, rather than in the heart of the One who died for me.

How about you? Where are putting your confidence? Where does your certainty lie? Be  confident that Jesus is who He says He is and that He loves you. Confidence in Him is a gift that always satisfies.

Piece 27-Sonship

We set out to discover thirty pieces or gifts that Jesus has for His children and discovered  things such as rest, open doors, courage, and humility. This next piece of the Lord’s treasure is called SONSHIP. The gospel of John says, “Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God.” (1:12) The apostle Paul details this in his letter to the church in Rome: “For those who are led by the Spirit of Go are the children of God. The Spirit you received does not make you slaves, so that you live in fear again; rather, the Spirit you received brought about your adoption to sonship. And by him we cry, ‘Abba, Father.’  The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children.  Now if we are children, then we are heirs—heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory.” (Romans 8:14-17)

Abba is a title that teaches us a great deal about this gift of sonship and our position as a child of God. This would be one of the first words a child learned to speak. Abba connotes intimacy between child and parent as well as respect. It shows us the reason why Jesus constantly tells us not to be afraid. As a parent, I would do anything for my children. Anything! How much more is the Creator, our Heavenly Father, ready to lavish on His children? As a child of God, one of our biggest blessings is that we are no longer slaves to the world’s way of life. Paul’s letter reminds us that the world’s way of doing things reaps fear and uncertainty. Even the great King Solomon in his reflections in the book of Ecclesiastes concluded that everything under the sun is meaningless. As children of the Most High, we are free from fear because He is Protector and Lover of our souls.

Your heavenly Father loves you so much, he sent his only Son to die for you so that you may be freed from the chains of worldly slavery and be given a new life of love and relationship with Abba, Father!

You are no longer a face in the crowd of millions, lost and alone. You are called by God as His son or daughter to live a life that glorifies Him and testifies to the riches of His grace. Jesus said, “Which of you, if your son asks for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!”

Lord, thank you for this new day that you’ve given me. Thank you for loving me. Lead me to the people and places Your will would have me go and give me the courage to be a  helpful servant. Thank you for saving me and setting me free. Remind me often that I’m your beloved child because the world would rather help me forget that truth. My Beautiful Savior, thank you for enduring the cross and reminding me not to be afraid. May your Holy Name be praised forever!

Piece 26-Faith

Hebrews 11:1 says that faith is “confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.” This gift that we’ve been given unlocks all the doors that the world closes. The Lord went to unbelievable lengths to give this gift to us: “Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.” (Hebrews 12:2) The apostle Paul told the Galatians, “I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.” (2:20)

Jesus died a horrific death on the cross so that you and I may have a way to be cleansed of our sins. The most amazing thing is that the grave couldn’t hold Him! Jesus rose so that we may rest assured that He who conquers death also has the power to conquer our inherent sin problem. This is where faith comes in. Faith is the spiritual air our souls breathe. It tethers us to the beautiful heart of the One who loves us more than anything the world might send our way. Faith reminds us that our hope of eternal life with Jesus is not in vain.

Like Noah, “when warned about things not yet seen, in holy fear built an ark to save his family, (Hebrews 11:7)” we press on in faith knowing that doing the Lord’s will brings Him the glory and honor that is rightfully His. “By faith Abraham, when called to go to a place he would later receive as his inheritance, obeyed and went, even though he did not know where he was going.” (11:8) Both of these situations sound absurd. In our day of smart phones and social media, it’s hard to imagine unplugging from either one of those forever and connecting to God. But maybe instead of an ark, we could build a Godly legacy with our lives, even though society will laugh and call us crazy. And, maybe instead of traveling to the Promised Land, we could just go across the street and be Jesus to our neighbor, even if we we’re filled with uncertainty about going.

Moses “chose to be mistreated along with the people of God rather than to enjoy the fleeting pleasures of sin. He regarded disgrace for the sake of Christ as of greater value than the treasures of Egypt, because he was looking ahead to his reward.” (11:25,26) Egypt had money. Egypt had material things. Just like our world today. Oh, if we could have the faith of Moses and look ahead to our eternal reward and say no to the temptations of this life. That kind of faith helps us live mistreated lives along with the rest of God’s children so that His glory can be known and not our own.

“I do not have time to tell about Gideon, Barak, Samson and Jephthah, about David and Samuel and the prophets, who through faith conquered kingdoms, administered justice, and gained what was promised; who shut the mouths of lions, quenched the fury of the flames, and escaped the edge of the sword; whose weakness was turned to strength…” (11:32-34) Through a life of faith, these people also did amazing things with their lives. They trusted completely that God is who He says He is and that His promises don’t go unfulfilled. Even though they faced challenges that seemed insurmountable, through faith each overcame their obstacles and gave God the glory. And, their lives have a become a testimony to the richness and meaning that comes by living this life through the Lord’s great gift of faith.

Piece 25-Grace

Grace. This gift that we have in Jesus is unique because Scripture records Him saying, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” (2 Corinthians 12:9) Grace, God’s unmerited favor, frees us to live the lives we were made to live. Grace tells guilt to flee and keeps our hearts safe from the lies this world tells us.

The gift of grace wipes the dust off our memories so that we may remember where we came from and what the Lord did for us. The apostle Paul reminded the Corinthians of this as he quoted the words of Isaiah: “In the time of my favor I heard you, and in the day of salvation I helped you.” (49:8) To the Ephesian church, Paul wrote, “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God.” (2:8)

God has given us this gift of grace in Jesus (Ephesians 1:6). Because of the cross, Jesus made a way for us to go from death to life. We can’t work our way into heaven. “But we do see Jesus, who was made lower than the angels for a little while, now crowned with glory and honor because he suffered death, so that by the grace of God he might taste death for everyone.” (Hewbrews 2:9) Grace helps us know that Jesus was the only One who died for you and me. He died so that we may call Him Savior and Holy! He died so that we wouldn’t be separated from Him forever. Jesus died so that our sins and guilt would be wiped away. Jesus endured our shame and rightful punishment because of God’s grace.

The more we know God and Jesus, the more we know grace. (2 Peter 1:2) And the more grace we receive, the more we must give. “Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms.” (1 Peter 4:10) We are called to be stewards of grace. Philip Yancey says it best: “One who has been touched by grace will no longer look on those who stray as ‘those evil people’ or ‘those poor people who need our help.’ Nor must we search for signs of ‘loveworthiness.’ Grace teaches us that God loves because of who God is, not because of who we are.” (What’s So Amazing About Grace?)

Paul also said that we are not to rely on worldly wisdom, but on God’s grace. (2 Corinthians 1:12) Quiet times spent with the Lord reading His word, listening to Him, praying…these are our guides down the river of His grace. Life, formed as the mountains and valleys, is the land on the shores but grace carries us through them all to eternity with Jesus in heaven. The current of His love moves us on, through the highs and lows, as we focus on Him alone; the horizon and hope of our hearts.