Opening Prayer: 

Pray that God would transform your mind today.  Ask him to be your strength in times of weakness.

 

Read:
2 Corinthians 12:9
But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.
Thought:

“My power is made perfect in my weakness.”  Did you ever think that when you are weak you are the most powerful?  Maybe in the eyes of our culture and our surroundings we don’t, but when you look at Christ being made perfect in you through your weakness, it makes sense.

You are not your own as a believer in Christ.  You were bought with a price.  When Christ lives in you, all your weaknesses (your flaws, shortcomings, imperfections and more) are made strong through Christ.
Why?  Because God has a plan for your life and He desires to use you – yes you!  With all of your weaknesses, His plans are great for you.  God desires to accomplish His plans through you.  We need to allow our weaknesses to become who we are and accept them as a part of God’s plan for our lives.
When we rely on Christ, we can make it through times of weakness.  When things are out of our control and we do not know what to do, God’s perfect power is there for you.  When life throws you a curve ball and you see no way out.  God’s power is made perfect for you in your weakness.
So, rest in Christ today and the grace he extends to those who trust in God.  Thank Him for extending grace to you and meeting you today at your point of weakness.
Response:
What did you hear as you read this short devotional?
What do you think about what you read?
What will you do in response to reading this devotional?

Talk with God – share with him what you learned from this devotional.

Opening Prayer: 

Pray that God would transform your mind today.  Ask him to evaluate your physical health and see what areas of your life you are going to give over to the Lord today.
 
Read:
1 Corinthians 6:19-20
Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; but were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies.
Thought:

We live in a culture that is very self seeking.  It is all about getting ahead and being the best and doing it all for the glory of ME!  It is very easy to get caught up in this culture because so much media and advertising flood our minds with this thought.  Our culture tells is basically that your body belongs to you.

Here is a radical thought that is totally counter-cultural:  Our bodies are not our own.  We do not own our bodies.  Our bodies belong to God!  This will force us to look at our bodies and how we treat our bodies much differently.  We steward our bodies because they are the living active temple of the Holy Spirit living inside of us as believers.
When we glorify our bodies for our self, we become self-worshippers.  When we glorify God with our bodies, we offer our lives up to God and do what Romans 12:2 says, which is to offer our bodies up to God as a living sacrifice – holy and pleasing to Him.  This is your spiritual act of worship.
Response:
What did you hear as you read this short devotional?
What do you think about what you read?
What will you do in response to reading this devotional?

Talk with God – share with him what you learned from this devotional.

Keith Tyler
WORSHIP & ARTS PASTOR AND MISSIONS PASTOR

office: 972.359.7777 x6020

1 Corinthians 2:16 says that we are to have the mind of Christ. “Who has known the mind of the Lord so as to instruct him?” But we have the mind of Christ.

The creator of the universe, the one that created the earth by just speaking it. The one who created man by forming him out of dirt and breathed life into him. No one can instruct Him, teach Him or surprise Him for He knows all things, even the very hairs on our heads.

As believer, how am I to have the mind of Christ?

When we open the word of God Paul unveiled the amazing privileges that God pours out on all who believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, for we (believers) have the mind of CHRIST.

In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus: Philippians 2:5

Whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Philippians 4:8

Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will. Romans 12:2

And when that mind is submitted to God, the Holy Spirit will instruct, lead and guide us into all truth, just as the Spirit guided the Lord Jesus during His earthly life so that He only said and did what the Father told Him to do.

Christ walked the spiritual way for He learned and practiced obedience. Christians similarly must walk that same spiritual path, adopting the humble mind and teachable disposition displayed by Him, so that we too can access the mind of the Almighty and can learn of Him and be taught by Him.

Robert Bennett
ADULT 3 & 4 MINISTER

office: 972.359.7777 x3025

The final spiritual discipline I want to talk about to help us grow in our spiritual health is serving. In Matthew 20:28 it says, “Even as the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for man”.

When Jesus came to this earth, He came to give of himself completely and to set an example for us so we could see what it looks like to serve and love each other. Galatians 5:13 reminds us, “For you were called to freedom, brothers. Only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another.”

In the Gospel we are freed from selfishness and given the opportunity to serve one another so that the Gospel can move forward. Time is valuable- no one would argue with that, but human souls are more valuable. Isn’t being used by God the most valuable thing we can spend our time doing? There are tons of opportunities in our houses, our churches, our communities, and our workplaces to serve the Lord, but are we serving? Take some time today to seek the Lord and ask him how you can better serve others and glorify God with your life. If we will be willing to serve, we will be amazed how transforming serving others can be in our own lives.

Caleb Beets
YOUTH PASTOR
office: 972.359.7777 x4040
caleb.beets@cottonwoodcreek.org

1 John 1:9:  If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.James 5:16Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working.

I believe that confession is one spiritual discipline which we often do not practice. The reason we tend to ignore it is because we don’t really understand confession or we are afraid of what others will think of us.

One of the beautiful things about the Gospel is that Jesus knows everything about us, and He still loves us…even to the point of death. We all have struggles in our walk, and we all fall short in our obedience. This is the whole point of the Gospel…we could not, so Jesus did. The reason we are called to confess our sins is for healing and freedom from that sin.

In Ephesians 5:11-14 it talks about exposing the shameful acts we do with the light (Christ), so we can be awakened from our sinfulness. Do you confess your sins to God and someone you trust? Healing from our sin is available through Christ. If we will be faithful to do the things God has asked of us, He will be faithful to transform our lives.

Be transformed today,

Caleb Beets
YOUTH PASTOR
office: 972.359.7777 x4040
caleb.beets@cottonwoodcreek.org

As we strive to get closer to God, it is important to focus on the spiritual discipline of Prayer. We are told in 1 Thessalonians 5:17 to “pray without ceasing”. Matthew 7:11 reminds us “If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask him!” Luke 18:1 says “And he told them a parable to the effect that they ought always to pray and not lose heart”.

It is clear in the scriptures that we are to pray, but have you ever asked the question- Why? The reason we pray is because God is sovereign, and He can answer our prayers. Also, we pray because it causes us to grow in our relationship with God. Prayer helps build our faith because we will get to see God answer our prayers and work in our lives. Also, prayer helps us grow in our relationship with God. A healthy relationship must have communication coming from both sides. With Prayer, we get to speak to God and listen to his responses through the Scriptures and the Holy Spirit.

Here is my challenge to you with prayer. Pray for 15 minutes a day for the next 365 days and see what God does. If you do this you will have prayed for 5,475 minutes or 91-1/2 hours. That is four days of prayer in a year. I know that if you commit to doing spending this time in prayer, you will get to see God do some amazing things and your life will be transformed.

Be transformed today,

Yesterday I talked about the reality that we can never stop striving to grow in our spiritual health. For the rest of the week we are going to look at how we can grow in some spiritual disciplines in the hope that as we do these things our relationship with God will grow. Today I want us to focus on the spiritual discipline of reading our Bible. The Bible is the measuring tool for us to know where we land in our spiritual health so if we don’t read it we will never know what it means to be spiritually healthy. If you are not currently reading your Bible I want to challenge you start by reading until you find a nugget of truth that you can apply to your life. When you find that truth meditate on it for the rest of the day and allow it to press into your life and transform you. Let’s say that it takes on average 5 minutes a day for you to find an applicable truth. If you will do this a year you will have spent 30 hours in the word of God, and you will have meditated/memorized 365 truths in the Bible…that is transformational. If you do not know what book of the Bible to start in I would recommend trying the book of James. James is very easy to read and has a bunch of little nuggets of truth in it. We can find some motivation to read our Bibles from Psalms 119.
Psalms 119
• God’s word is Greater than all wealth and sweeter than Honey (vs. 72,127,162,103)
• God’s word should be our delight (vs. 16,24,35,92,111-112)
• We should long for God’s Word (vs. 20,81-82,131)
• God’s word helps keep us from sin (vs. 9-11, 133)
• God revives us through his word (vs. 25, 28, 93, 107)
• God’s word makes us wise and guides us (vs. 100, 105, 130)
• We need God’s help (vs. 18,34,36,38)
Caleb Beets
YOUTH PASTOR
office: 972.359.7777 x4040
caleb.beets@cottonwoodcreek.org

Trying to figure out if we are spiritually healthy can be a very difficult process, especially if we use the wrong standards to measure ourselves. Often times we make the mistake of looking around us and comparing ourselves to other people. We try to see where we land on a scale of being spiritually healthy based on those around us. The problem with doing this is we often times compare our strengths with the weaknesses of others, and we find ourselves getting spiritually out of shape because we think we have arrived at the peak of our spiritual healthiness.

There is only one scale when it comes to being spiritually healthy and that is the Bible, and there is only one man who has ever stood on that scale and been found healthy in every way, and his name is Jesus. All of us have areas in our lives where we need growth spiritually; we need to quit looking at other sinners, making excuses, and justifying the thought that we do NOT need to grow in the Lord.

In 1 Thessalonians 4:1 Paul acknowledges that Thessalonians are walking with the Lord, but he urges them to do so more and more. When it comes to our spiritual health, we are never done growing, and just like the Thessalonians, we need to strive after God more and more. You can feel Paul’s plea with the church in his redundancy “more and more”. He repeats his petition because he wants us to understand that we must always press on in our spiritual growth.

Ask yourself today- In what ways can I run after God more and more?

Caleb Beets
YOUTH PASTOR
office: 972.359.7777 x4040
caleb.beets@cottonwoodcreek.org

 

As a Pastor, I am often asked- How can I get closer to God? This week’s blog focuses on that exact question. Yesterday, we started by looking at what causes us to move away from God. We looked at the passage about the prodigal son where at the beginning of the story, he took his inheritance and walked away.

In Luke 15:13-14, we see the first step in moving back to God.
13-Not long after that, the younger son got together all he had, set off for a distant country and there squandered his wealth in wild living. 14-After he had spent everything, there was a severe famine in that whole country, and he began to be in need.

The prodigal son wasted all he had received. He had nothing left. He got desperate and hungry. Then he finally came to his senses.

From these verses we see the first step in getting closer to God is that you have to get fed up with your current life. The prodigal son had taken his blessings from his father and headed off in his own direction. He squandered everything he had and then came to his senses. That phrase, “came to his senses” simply means “he got fed up” with where he was and how he was living. He realized he had messed up and headed back to his father.

Let me ask you, have you gotten fed up with where you are and how you are living? If so, that is the first step to getting closer to God.

Think about it and have a blessed day!
John Mark Caton, Ph.D
Continue reading tomorrow as we examine the second step in a renewed closeness with our Heavenly Father.

Jeremiah 29:13, You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.

 

Luke 15:11-24, Jesus continued: “There was a man who had two sons. 12 The younger one said to his father, ‘Father, give me my share of the estate.’ So he divided his property between them. 13 “Not long after that, the younger son got together all he had, set off for a distant country and there squandered his wealth in wild living. 14 After he had spent everything, there was a severe famine in that whole country, and he began to be in need. 15 So he went and hired himself out to a citizen of that country, who sent him to his fields to feed pigs. 16 He longed to fill his stomach with the pods that the pigs were eating, but no one gave him anything. 17 “When he came to his senses, he said, ‘How many of my father’s hired servants have food to spare, and here I am starving to death! 18 I will set out and go back to my father and say to him: Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. 19 I am no longer worthy to be called your son; make me like one of your hired servants.’ 20 So he got up and went to his father. “But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him. 21 “The son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son.’ 22 “But the father said to his servants, ‘Quick! Bring the best robe and put it on him. Put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. 23 Bring the fattened calf and kill it. Let’s have a feast and celebrate. 24 For this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’ So they began to celebrate.

As a Pastor, I am often asked- How can I get closer to God? This week’s blog focuses on that exact question.  When we talk about getting closer to God, sometimes it helps to realize what caused us to get so far away from God in the first place.

Probably the best single passage that describes both the drifting away from God and the coming back to God is found in Luke chapter 15. It is the story of a man we refer to as the Prodigal Son.

Here’s what the Bible says:

Luke 15:11,…There was a man who had two sons. 12The younger one said to his father, ‘Father, give me my share of the estate.’ So the Father divided his property between them. 13“Not long after that, the younger son got together all he had, set off for a distant country and there squandered his wealth in wild living. 14After he had spent everything, there was a severe famine in that whole country, and he began to be in need.

In that simple but short story, we see a pretty clear example of how we move away from God. We start to focus on self: our desires, our wants, and our plans. But, how do we get closer to God? Over the next 4 days, my blog will cover some clear steps that will get you closer to God.

Examine where you are today, and stay tuned for the rest of the story.

John Mark Caton, Ph.D

Jeremiah 29:13,You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.

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