CrossRoads Moss Bluff

Helping people know god, find freedom, discover purpose & make a difference

Welcome to CrossRoads Moss Bluff Online, home of CrossRoads Church in Moss Bluff Louisiana.  Feel free to browse around and we hope to see you soon at one of our services or events.  Feel free to use the Contact CrossRoads page to get in touch or if you have any questions.

Daily Devotion, 9/17/19, “Blessed to be Home"  

Psalm 23:1-6 NKJV

The LORD is my Shepherd; I shall not want. He makes me to lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside the still waters. He restores my soul; He leads me in the paths of righteousness For His name’s sake. Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; for You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; You anoint my head with oil; my cup runs over. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life; and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever. 

 

What an unforgettable blessing my nearly two weeks Utah’s Wasatch Mountains turned out to be! It was by far the most challenging hunting I’ve done but also the most rewarding. Our days started at 4 a.m., ended around 11 p.m. and featured miles of mountain hiking/hunting each day. Thank you for your prayers! God protected us from danger, blessed us with new friends, wowed us with stunning beauty and watched over everything and everyone back home. I’m looking forward to and already planning for next year’s elk hunt, most likely in Idaho. For now, it’s great to be home, rested up, back in routine and writing again. 

 

While travelling to Utah, I wrote that the 23rd Psalm can easily be personalized as a daily prayer. In the days ahead, I will explain that further. Aside from the first two sentences, it already is written as a personal prayer to God. For today, go ahead and personalize the first two sentences and pray through the Psalm. “Lord, You are my Shepherd; I am content because You provide for me. You make me lie down in green pastures, You lead me beside still waters, You restore my soul...” and so on. As you pray each line, think about what each one means to you and give your Shepherd thanks for shepherding you with His strength and kindness.

 

You are loved!

Daily Devotion, 9/02/19, “You Are My Shepherd"  

Psalm 23:1-6 NKJV

The LORD is my Shepherd; I shall not want. He makes me to lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside the still waters. He restores my soul; He leads me in the paths of righteousness For His name’s sake. Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; for You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; You anoint my head with oil; my cup runs over. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life; and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever. 

 

Much like the Lord’s Prayer and the Prayer of Jabez, Psalm 23 is a great passage to use as a pattern for prayer. As I have opportunity to write in the coming days, I will look at how we can empower our prayer lives by praying through this psalm.

 

We used to have twenty-four Suffolk sheep at our place to help out with mowing the pasture. With the exception of a particular ram that was especially gifted at ramming us, our sheep were totally defenseless creatures. They didn’t have the speed to escape danger nor were they equipped with sharp teeth or claws to fight with. They were also totally dependent creatures. They depended on us for food, water, medication and so on. I learned in those years that a good shepherd is both the protector of and the provider for his sheep.

 

David wrote, “The Lord is MY shepherd.” Unlike the sheep I raised, we get to choose who we follow and who, if anyone, shepherds us. The Lord is only your shepherd to the extent that you choose to follow Him. He’s the “good shepherd” (John 10:14) who both protects and provides for the “sheep” who choose to follow Him. Remind yourself of whose you are this morning. Declare to God again that He is your shepherd and that you choose to depend on Him. You are loved!

 

PS Driving across New Mexico now to go bow hunt elk in Utah. Will write when I can these next several days.

Daily Devotion, 8/30/19, “Keep Me From Evil"

1 Chronicles 4:9-10 NKJV

Now Jabez was more honorable than his brothers, and his mother called his name Jabez, saying, “Because I bore him in pain.” And Jabez called on the God of Israel saying, “Oh, that You would bless me indeed, and enlarge my territory, that Your hand would be with me, and that You would keep me from evil, that I may not cause pain!” So God granted him what he requested.

Finally it’s Friday! I’m in Dallas with Sharon, Micah and six dear friends from our CrossRoads family for Bethel’s “Heaven Come 2019” gathering. My day yesterday started out with writing about God’s presence and finished up with experiencing His presence at Heaven Come. I learned something new last night from the Word: There’s a profound connection between what the scriptures refer to as “the fear of the Lord” and friendship/intimacy with God. I’ll write and teach on that at some point, for now, I’ll finish up with Jabez.

In the last part of his prayer, Jabez prayed, “that You would keep me from evil, that I may not cause pain.” If you remember from Monday, his name literally meant pain or one who causes pain. He realized that the evil one wanted to work through him to help him live up to his name so he prayed that to be protected from evil. That’s a good prayer to pray over yourself. It’s much like that part of the prayer we learned from Jesus that says, “and lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil.” Jabez did not want to live up to the false identity and sin nature he had been born into. He didn’t want to cause pain. He wanted to be blessed so that he could be a blessing to others. He wanted to influence people to know and love the Lord he knew and loved. He wanted to walk in God’s presence and give the goodness of God away to others.

Ask God to help you live up to His name for you today. Ask Him to “keep you from evil” so that you can accomplish His purposes for you. You are loved!

Daily Devotion, 8/28/19, “God with Me"

1 Chronicles 4:9-10 NKJV

Now Jabez was more honorable than his brothers, and his mother called his name Jabez, saying, “Because I bore him in pain.” And Jabez called on the God of Israel saying, “Oh, that You would bless me indeed, and enlarge my territory, that Your hand would be with me, and that You would keep me from evil, that I may not cause pain!” So God granted him what he requested.

As I think about all that I have on my plate this week, I can definitely relate to what Moses prayed when he said to God, “If your Presence does not go with us, do not send us up from here.” (Exodus 33:15) Moses knew that the challenges of the journey before him and his people were significant and daunting. So long as God was going with him, he was all in.

Jabez prayed in much the same way when he said, “Let your hand be with me...” He’s intentionally welcoming God to be present in all that he will be doing throughout the day. More than that, he’s making himself aware of God’s presence. I can have people all around me that I don’t notice, engage with or acknowledge in any way. I can do the same thing with God. It’s not that He ever leaves me alone. It’s not that I’m ever not in His presence. It’s just that I sometimes act as though He’s not around. When I do that, I miss out on the joy, wisdom, guidance, inspiration and hope that His presence brings; not because they’re not available but because I don’t avail myself of them.

Ask God to be present with you today. Ask Him to help you be present with Him also.

You are loved!

Daily Devotion, 8/27/19, “Increase My Influence"  

1 Chronicles 4:9-10 NKJV

Now Jabez was more honorable than his brothers, and his mother called his name Jabez, saying, “Because I bore him in pain.” And Jabez called on the God of Israel saying, “Oh, that You would bless me indeed, and enlarge my territory, that Your hand would be with me, and that You would keep me from evil, that I may not cause pain!” So God granted him what he requested.

 

After asking God to bless him big time, Jabez asked God to enlarge his territory. He was asking God to give him more land for ranching and farming but there’s another angle to his request. With more land would come more influence. In effect, Jabez was asking God to increase the influence that he had. You can pray that same prayer over your life but here’s the question you need to ask yourself before you do: Is the influence you have something worth increasing? From God’s perspective, in light of His heart for people and His hope for them, does He look at the way your life influences others and say, “This world needs more of that?” God will increase your influence only to the extent that you use your influence to influence others to know Him and of His goodness, mercy and love.

 

Something that is true of money and material possessions is also true of the influence you have. When God blesses you with more, it is so you can be a greater blessing to others. As is often said, you are blessed to be a blessing. When your influence over others is a blessing to them, God will increase that influence.

 

May the way you influence others be a rich blessing to them. When other people experience you, may they be influenced by Him.  

 

You are loved!

Daily Devotion, 8/27/19, “Bless Me Big Time!"  

1 Chronicles 4:9-10 NKJV

Now Jabez was more honorable than his brothers, and his mother called his name Jabez, saying, “Because I bore him in pain.” And Jabez called on the God of Israel saying, “Oh, that You would bless me indeed, and enlarge my territory, that Your hand would be with me, and that You would keep me from evil, that I may not cause pain!” So God granted him what he requested.

 

As I wrote about yesterday, Jabez was given his name because his mother “bore him in pain.” The word Jabez literally means “to grieve” and “to cause sorrow.” Imagine living your whole life with labels like those! Somewhere along the way, Jabez decided to ditch that identity and become the “honorable” man God created him to be. To get there, he began to pray some very specific prayers to God regarding what he hoped in faith God would do in and through his life.

 

His first prayer was, “Oh that you would bless me indeed.” We don’t typically use the word “indeed” that way that much these days. If someone says, “It’s hot out there today,” I don’t reply with, “Indeed!” If my precious wife Sharon asks, “Do you love me today?” I don’t answer back with, “Indeed my love, indeed!” I think that what Jabez was praying was, “Oh God, please bless me big time!” He was asking God to abundantly and over the top bless every part of his life including his health, his family and his work. You and I can pray the same prayer over our lives.

 

Psalm 18:35 says, “You give me your shield of victory, and your right hand sustains me; you stoop down to make me great.” Genesis 12:2 says, “I will bless you...and you will be a blessing to others.” May God make you great and bless you big time so that you can be a great and big time blessing to others. 

 

You are loved!

Daily Devotion, 8/26/19, “Labels"  

1 Chronicles 4:9-10 NKJV

Now Jabez was more honorable than his brothers, and his mother called his name Jabez, saying, “Because I bore him in pain.” And Jabez called on the God of Israel saying, “Oh, that You would bless me indeed, and enlarge my territory, that Your hand would be with me, and that You would keep me from evil, that I may not cause pain!” So God granted him what he requested.

 

What labels have you taken on over the years? My grandmother used to call me “Terry the Terrible.” I know that she loved me and she certainly did her best, as she would say, “to spoil me rotten” but I wonder sometimes how her title for me shaped my perspective of myself as I was growing up.

 

Jabez carried a label in the literal meaning of his name. Somewhere along the road of life, he realized that he could either live down to the label he was given as one who causes pain or he could ask God to give him a new label to live by. He chose to ditch the old label and instead become “more honorable than his brothers.” He prayed some very specific requests to God that I will be writing about this week and teaching about on Sunday. For this morning though, I want to invite you to ask God about the labels you wear.

 

Take a moment to write down any negative labels that were spoken over you. Ask the Holy Spirit to show you how those labels have shaped your identity and how you do life. Forgive those labels and the people who gave them to you. Break them and renounce them in Jesus name. After that, ask your Abba Father to show you who He says you are. Write down the labels He has given you. Focus on those, pray through those and meditate on those for as many days, weeks and months as needed for you to see yourself the way God sees you.  

 

You are loved!

Daily Devotion, 8/23/19, “Fishy Prayers"  

Jonah 2:1 NIV

From inside the fish Jonah prayed to the Lord his God.

 

I prefer to pray while sitting in my recliner at home or while walking in the neighborhood near CrossRoads. When I think about my favorite places to pray, the front porch of the cabin in Montana tops the list. Not even being considered for the list is “From inside the fish.” How on earth did the belly of a giant creature of the deep become a place of prayer for Jonah? The answer is simple. Jonah was stubborn, judgmental, self-righteous and disobedient. Jonah’s dislike for wayward people who were loved by God along with his refusal to go to those people and tell them of God’s love for them is what made him the catch of the day for the big fish.

 

I’m sure you’ve noticed that sin and the consequences of those sins can land you in some significantly stinky places. God would very much prefer that you follow His lead so that you don’t end up in those distant, dark and desperate depths but the good news is that the water is never too deep and the fish blubber never too thick for Him to hear your prayers. When you finally “come to your senses” (Luke 15:17), He hears and He forgives. He puts you back on the beach with a breeze to refresh you and the waves to remind you.

 

Hopefully you’ll let God help you get over yourself so that you don’t end up disobeying Him and then dealing with the consequences. If you do find yourself “inside the fish,” pray your own fishy prayer of forgiveness and get back to walking with God on dry land again.

You are loved!

Daily Devotion, 8/21/19, “Parched"  

Psalm 42:1-3, 8 NIV

As the deer longs for streams of water, so I long for you, O God. I thirst for God, the living God. When can I go and stand before him? Day and night I have only tears for food, while my enemies continually taunt me, saying, “Where is this God of yours?”

But each day the Lord pours his unfailing love upon me, and through each night I sing his songs, praying to God who gives me life.

 

One hot summer years ago, I was backpacking in the Arkansas’ Ouachita National Forest when I ran out of water. According to the trail map, there were two fresh water springs on the ridge we were on where my hiking partner and I could refill. Each “spring” was trickling just enough to moisten the ground nearby but not nearly enough to fill our water bottles. Because I sweat like a hog in a quilt, I knew that we had to get to water soon. We decided to go down the ridge a couple of miles to the fresh waters of Mulberry Creek. Along the way, we ran into a nest of ground hornets. We each got hit multiple times but at least that made us move a little faster to the creek below. I stopped sweating about the same time the hornets started stinging. When we finally reached the cool rapids of the Mulberry, we were absolutely parched and I was dangerously dehydrated. I think that’s the most thirsty I have ever been and I’m certain that I’ve never had a more refreshing drink of anything than that water that day.

 

Maybe you can relate to that this morning. We all have seasons when the water is running low and the hornets are closing in. If that’s you, may you find the refreshing “streams of water” your soul longs for in God’s presence this morning. May Abba pour His unfailing love upon you and give you life. You are loved!

Daily Devotion, 8/20/19, “Not Shaken"  

Psalm 16:5-8 NIV

Lord, you alone are my portion and my cup; you make my lot secure. The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places; surely I have a delightful inheritance. I will praise the Lord, who counsels me; even at night my heart instructs me.I keep my eyes always on the Lord. With him at my right hand, I will not be shaken.

 

Like many of the psalms, this a prayer that you can echo and pray over yourself. We all get hit by the stark reality that we live in a fallen world from time to time. Tragedies, losses, struggles as well as attacks from the evil one are either rocking the boat we’re in or are just a gust and a wave away it seems. Sometimes we need to “strengthen ourselves in the Lord” (1 Samuel 30:6) when the wind picks up. This is one of those prayerful psalms that helps you do just that.

 

Take some time now to pray through these verses. Be reminded of who you are. Be reminded of whose you are. Thank God for His blessings. Praise Him for His worth and who He is. Thank Him for His counsel and welcome more of His counsel for this season. Keep your eyes on Him. For the psalmist, God was at his right hand. Because you live on this side of the cross, God is not just with you, He is in you. (Romans 8:11a) He is with you. He is in you. He is for you, He’s got you and He will keep you.

 

May you not be shaken.You are loved!

Daily Devotion, 8/19/19, "Rise and Shine"  

Isaiah 60:1-3 NIV

Arise, shine, for your light has come, and the glory of the Lord rises upon you. See, darkness covers the earth and thick darkness is over the peoples, but the Lord rises upon you and his glory appears over you. Nations will come to your light, and kings to the brightness of your dawn.

 

We used to sing a song at church camp when I was a kid that said, “Rise and shine and give God the glory, glory (repeat twice) ...children of the Lord.” It is good song and thought to start the day with today just as it was back then. The song reminds me of Isaiah 60:1-3 which is the theme verse for the 21 Days of Prayer that we’re in week two of at CrossRoads right now. This passage was originally spoken from God through the prophet Isaiah to the people of Israel over 2,700 years ago but I believe It’s just as much God’s hopeful call for you and for me today as it was for them.

 

It’s not difficult at all to see the “darkness that covers the earth and thick darkness over peoples.” We see and feel the impacts of living in a broken and fallen world on a daily basis. Here’s the deal though: you can either allow that darkness to define your reality or you can join God In bringing His goodness, light and glory to every dark place you go and every person you encounter. You are not meant to stumble around in the darkness of discouragement and despair. Your light has come! The glory of the Lord rises upon you! His glory appears over you! So, rise and shine! When you shine, you reset the atmosphere of everyplace you go from one of darkness to one of light. When you shine, those stumbling in the dark will see the light you carry and “come to the brightness of your dawn.” “Nations” and “kings” will be drawn to the light that you carry. In other words, God will influence the influencers  in your world through you as you bring His light, goodness and glory to them. Rise and shine!    

 

You are loved!

Daily Devotion, 8/16/19, "Famous Enough"

This is the devotion that my friend and mentor, Steve Chiles, wrote for today. Since I'm writing on prayer during our 21 Days, I thought this would be perfect for today. 

Psalm 99:6 NLT
Samuel also called on His Name. They cried to the Lord for help, and He answered them.” 

I’ve had the privilege of meeting a few “famous” people in my life. When I worked at the Y in Houston, we had a couple of different movie stars visit our Y to work out, swim, and get massages. Back in my athlete days, I got a chance to get to know some professional football and basketball players as I did camps and played on various AAU and Fellowship of Christian Athlete teams. I’ve even been blessed to get to know several Christian celebrities who have sold millions of books, starred in movies, written popular Christian music, and pastored huge churches. Can I tell you something I’ve learned? They are all HUMAN. Not just human, but every bit as human as you and me. Regardless of their fame, fortune, or accomplishments, they struggle with life, faith, and relationships just like the rest of us. And they have just as many flaws.

It’s true of people in the Bible, too. Like in our verse today. When you hear the names of Moses, Aaron, and Samuel, and that God answered their prayers, you are tempted to say, “Well, of course, He did. God answers the prayers of great people like that.” But they weren’t great. They were just people greatly used by God. They all had flaws, struggled with sin, and had people in their lives that made them crazy. Sound familiar? Yep. They were just like you are. Human. God didn’t hear and answer their prayers because they were “great people.” He heard and answered their prayers because HE is a Great God who loves and care for His Children! He hears and answers yours just like He does theirs.

Whatever it is you’re wrestling with today, whatever struggles you have, problems you’re facing, or hurt that’s taking your breath away, go to God. You may feel like you’re a nobody, but God believes you are a Somebody. He knows you as well as He knew Moses, Aaron, and Samuel. And God loves you just as much. He is every bit as willing to help you as did them. So don’t let the enemy make you believe you are unimportant to God. Don’t let him convince you that you are unworthy or unwelcome to come before the Lord. Jesus has made you worthy. You see it doesn’t matter how many people on this planet know who you are. God knows you BY NAME. So tell the devil to take a hike, and come boldly before God with your requests. You, my friend, are famous to God! Your are loved!

Daily Devotion, 08/15/2019, “Give Away Goodness”  

Psalm 34:8a NIV

Taste and see that the Lord is good.

 

“Goodness of God” by Bethel Music is one of those songs that I can’t just listen to. My heart wakes up on the first note and worships through the last. Every anointed word of that song declares what I know from life to be true: that God is good and faithful. I’m not always good, life isn’t always good and the evil one is never good but God is consistently and abundantly good and good to me. 

 

Many people in the places that I do life in do not know that about God. They don’t know that they have an Abba Father who loves them beyond words, who has life and blessing in store for them and who desires nothing but good for them. The reality is that they will never just figure that out on their own. In fact, they may even blame God for the bad they’ve experienced and the bad in our world. So here’s the question, how are those far from God going to “taste” the goodness of God so that they might put their faith in Him? The answer is that you and me and others like us are the taste test for them. 

 

One of my prayer focuses for this next season is that I will consistently, practically and powerfully give the goodness of God away to others. I’m asking God to make me mindful of every opportunity to love, to bless, to inspire, to encourage, to come alongside, to do whatever I can to give His goodness away to those I encounter each day. More than anything else, I want them to experience His goodness when the experience me. I pray that everyone from the complete stranger to the closest in my circle gets a good taste of His goodness from me...and from you. You are loved! 

Daily Devotion, 08/14/2019, “Thin Air”  

Genesis 28:16 NKJV

Then Jacob awoke from his sleep and said, “Surely the Lord is in this place, and I did not know it.”

 

Maybe it’s just the effect of the thin air on my brain, but I really do feel closer to God in the high country. It likely has more to do with experiencing the shear ruggedness and beauty of the mountains while being far from the cares of everyday life. The reality is that “the Lord is in this place” no matter where “this place” is. I can get busy and distracted by life to the point that I act as if I don’t know that His presence is with me. I don’t want to live like that. I don’t want to live life running at the pace I set, acting with the understanding I possess or relying on the provision I produce. I need God’s guidance. I need God’s wisdom. I need God’s provision. In short, I need His presence. It’s in relationship with Him and proximity to Him that I experience the love that is His nature and every other “good and perfect gift” that He has for me. (James 1:17)   

 

Yesterday I invited you to ask God to show you two or three personal prayer focuses as you head into this next season in your life. One of mine is that I live every moment fully aware of, connected to and walking in God’s abiding presence while never acting as though He was there and “I did not know it.” To get there, I’m asking God at the beginning of the day to go with me and ahead of me. I’m choosing to listen to and from the heart sing more songs of worship throughout the day. I’m pausing more throughout the day to welcome God’s counsel and wisdom for the work and ministry I do. Basically, I’m trying to be intentional about living in His presence in a very real and practical way. As much as I love being in the mountains, I’m finding that God’s presence is just as available here in the land of heat advisories and everyday life. May you say of each day, “Surely the lord was in this place and I absolutely knew it.”

 

You are loved! 

Daily Devotion, 08/13/2019, “What’s Next God?”  

After spending the better part of two weeks in Montana with a time change difference, a big need to “work” as little as possible and oftentimes unreliable/non-existent internet access, it’s great to be home, well rested, kind of back to a routine and up early writing again. Sha and I both said that it was our best break away ever. Thank you for praying for our rest, restoration and protection.

 

1 Thessalonians5:16-18 NIV

Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.

 

Staying in an ongoing relationship and conversation with God is a normal part of doing life as a Christ-follower. While the conversation goes on “continually,” as Paul writes, the nature and focus of that conversation changes as it does with any other significant relationship. When I’m heading into a new season of ministry, a new season on the calendar or a new season of life in general, I like to identify two or three prayer focuses for that particular season. I pray about other everyday things as normal, but I especially pray about the prayer focuses that I know are important for the season ahead. The natural flow for me and for CrossRoads is to have “21 Days of Prayer” with specific prayer focuses at the beginning the ministry year in late August and the calendar year in January. We have three prayer focuses for CrossRoads that we all pray about plus each person has their own personal and individualized focuses. I want to invite you into that. I encourage you to ask God what He wants you to focus on and pray about as you enter this next season. Don’t just write down what seems pressing. Ask Him. You may be surprised at what He wants you to pray about and even more surprised by what He has for you in the season ahead. “God’s will for you in Christ Jesus” is that you “Rejoice always, pray continually” and “give thanks in all circumstances.” I’m asking you to go a step further and ask Him if there are some new circumstances and revelations of His will for you that He wants you to focus on.You are loved!

Daily Devotion, 07/24/2019, “Stumble Proof”  

Jude 1:24-25 NKJV

Now to Him who is able to keep you from stumblingand to present you faultlessbefore the presence of His glory with exceeding joy;to God our Savior,who alone is wise,be glory and majesty,dominion and power,both now and forever.Amen.

 

Jude’s short letter is mostly about not being influenced by the

“ungodly people who have wormed their way into your churches, saying that God’s marvelous grace allows us to live immoral lives.” (verse 4) God shows “marvelous grace” to us when He forgives us for our sin. We don’t at all deserve that which is why it’s called grace. It can’t be earned or bought. Instead, it is a free gift to be received. Because it is a gift that cost us nothing, some were saying in James’s day that Christians may as well sin as much as they want because the limitless grace of God would cover it all anyway. James makes it clear that this not the case by giving several examples of God’s judgement for sin in verses 5-16. He goes on to say in verses 20 and 21, “But you, dear friends, must build each other up in your most holy faith, pray in the power of the Holy Spirit, and await the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ, who will bring you eternal life. In this way, you will keep yourselves safe in God’s love.”

 

If and when we sin and fall, we must rely on God’s grace to redeem and restore us. That being said, our aim should be to live “holy” lives without sinning and falling. That’s not always easy but if we will “build each other up” in the faith and “pray in the power of the Holy Spirit,” it’s doable. As verse 24 says, God can “keep you from stumbling” and “present you faultless.” The same gift of marvelous grace that forgives you of sin also empowers you to not sin. As with salvation, your role is to simply receive that gift and then walk in. As you begin your day, ask the Holy Spirit to show you throughout the day when you’re in danger of stumbling. Ask Him to show you the safe path to take and to give you the strength and wisdom to take it. Grace isn’t just given for forgiveness, it’s also given for holiness. You are loved!

 

Daily Devotion, 07/23/2019, “Just a Man”  

James 5:17-18 The Voice

Remember Elijah? He was a man, no different from us. He prayed with great intensity asking God to withhold the rain; God answered his prayers and did not allow a single drop of rain to fall for three and a half years. It did not rain until Elijah prayed again for God to open the skies, when the rain came down and the earth produced a great crop.

 

If you spend some time in the last chapters of 1 Kings and the first chapters of 2 Kings, you will read of some of the phenomenal and supernatural works God did through Elijah. His life was so impactful that he was mentioned in all four gospels and by both Paul and James hundreds of years later when what we call the New Testament was written. James was careful to point out that yes, God answered Elijah’s prayers powerfully but like us, Elijah was just a man. In other words, the miracles God did through Elijah were not exceptions. Instead, they were examples of what God can do through any person who learns to pray “with great intensity.” Simply put, you can pray the same way Elijah prayed and see God answer as He answered him. After all, Elijah was just “a man, no different than” you.

 

May you be inspired to “approach the throne of grace with boldness” and confidence (Hebrews 4:16) just as Elijah did and so many other people of faith continue to do. May you grow to pray “earnestly,” as some translations say, and with “great intensity.” As you do, you will see God answer your prayers in phenomenal and supernatural ways.

 

You are loved!

Daily Devotion, 07/22/2019, “Powerful and Effective”

James 5:13-16 NIV
Is anyone among you in trouble? Let them pray. Is anyone happy? Let them sing songs of praise. Is anyone among you sick? Let them call the elders of the church to pray over them and anoint them with oil in the name of the Lord. And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well; the Lord will raise them up. If they have sinned, they will be forgiven. Therefore, confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.

Most of us have prayed for others who were sick and asked to be prayed for when we were sick ourselves. That’s the easy part of this passage. The not so easy part is the part about confessing our sins to each other. Why does James throw that in the mix? I get that there is sometimes a connection between unforgiveness and sickness, but why not just confess directly to God? Why do “others” need to be involved? John wrote that if we confess to God, God forgives us and gives us a fresh start, (1 John 1:9) so why confess to others also?

Several things happen when you confess your sin to a trusted confidant in the faith. (BTW, don’t confess to the whole church in a service or to the whole world through social media. Just a trusted confidant or two in the faith will do.) When you confess to a “righteous person,” they will pray “powerful and effective” prayers for you. The power of their prayers will help you stay free and not fall back into that which you are confessing. Additionally, they will hold you accountable if you ask them to which will also help you stay free. They may also have wise counsel for you that will help you forgive yourself, forgive others and live in freedom. Lastly, there’s something about speaking it out to another person, hearing their prayers for you, receiving God’s grace through them and hearing them say, “You are forgiven” that is both empowering and freeing.

I hope you don’t sin or get sick or both anytime soon but if you do, don’t deal it all alone. You are loved!

This morning at CrossRoads: You Asked for It, Part 2


Q. Is it ever ok to judge others?

Matthew 7:1-2 NIV
Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you. 

Matthew 7:3-5 NIV
Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.

Here’s what we know...

1. We shouldn’t judge SUPERFICIALLY. 

John 7:24 NIV 
Stop judging by mere appearances, but instead judge correctly. 

2. We shouldn’t judge HYPOCRITICALLY.

Romans 2:1 NLT
You may think you can condemn such people, but you are just as bad, and you have no excuse! When you say they are wicked and should be punished, you are condemning yourself, for you who judge others do these very same things. 

Romans 2:4 NLT 
Don’t you see how wonderfully kind, tolerant, and patient God is with you? Does this mean nothing to you? Can’t you see that his kindness is intended to turn you from your sin? 

3. We shouldn’t judge NON-CHRISTIANS by Christian standards.

1 Corinthians 5:12-13a NIV
What business is it of mine to judge those outside the church? Are you not to judge those inside? God will judge those outside. 

4. We should discern and CORRECT within the church and help RESTORE fallen Christ-followers.

Galatians 6:1-2 NIV
Brothers and sisters, if someone is caught in a sin, you who live by the Spirit should restore that person gently. But watch yourselves, or you also may be tempted. Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.

Daily Devotion, 07/20/2019, “All for One, One for All”

James 5:13-16 NIV
Is anyone among you in trouble? Let them pray. Is anyone happy? Let them sing songs of praise. Is anyone among you sick? Let them call the elders of the church to pray over them and anoint them with oil in the name of the Lord. And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well; the Lord will raise them up. If they have sinned, they will be forgiven. Therefore, confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.

One of the highlights of my week was the couple of hours I spent with my good friends in my small group Wednesday evening. We ate together, shared stories from our travels and experiences over the last couple of weeks then the men went upstairs to pray together as the women did the same downstairs. Our passage today was to be the passage we’d study but we never made it there...maybe next week!

We all need a close group of friends who are on the same faith journey we’re on to do life with, to stand together with, to pray with and so on. Whether we are “in trouble,” “happy,” “sick,” or “have sinned,” we need people to walk with us through it all who love Jesus and love us.

I’ll spend more time on this passage next week but for now, take a moment to thank God for those in your circle who bring this passage to life for you. Ask God what you need to pray for them and then do so. Lastly, let them know before the weekend is over that you appreciate them and that you prayed for them today. If you don’t have a group of friends like that, I encourage you to join a small group or life group so that you can start building these kinds of life-giving relationships.

You are loved!



CrossRoads Moss Bluff * 338 HWY 171 * Moss Bluff, LA  70611