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4-Week Devotional Challenge

(Week 2: Jan 15-21,2012)

Name ____________________
Time each day I plan on spending time with God


Sunday (page 1)

OUT-OF-CONTROL EXPERIENCES (Note: todays devotional is 2 pages)

Most of us have been in a situation that has felt out-of-control. I can think of several times in my life when I felt that way. Im not really talking about the big picture sense, like my life is too busy or something. I mean, like Ive been mountain biking and Ive lost control of the bike, or when a little kid skiing has passed in front of me causing me to spiral and tumble out of control. One of my most distinct memories like this is from when I was 17, and I was driving home from a movie with my girlfriend. Mothers day was the next day and I need to get my mom a card. We were talking about the movie when my girlfriend in a frantic voice yelled, Youre going to miss the turn for Meijer, stupid! It was dark and raining that night as I did a quick check in the mirrors and over my shoulder as I headed across two lanes of traffic to get over for the Michigan U-turn. Suddenly my vehicle was hit on the drivers side, spinning us around in circles, into the median, where I plowed over a road sign, barreling to a stop in the middle of the median, as I watched oncoming traffic zip by. Even today, 15 years later, thinking of that moment causes a lump to form in my throat and some flutters in my stomach. Do you know what Im talking about? I bet you can think of a situation like that, too, one that, as you remember it now, you can almost sense again what it was like. Maybe thinking of it now causes just a little feeling of panic in your soul.


Continued on Next Page

Sunday (page 2) Now that youve got that strange, uncomfortable, panicky feeling somewhere in your gut, I want you to imagine that youre standing in a boat. The boat is rocking violently. Water is coming in over the sides, and you feel like any wave might capsize the boat. Youre starting to panic. READ Read this story through the eyes of fear and even panic:

One day Jesus said to his disciples, Let us go over to the other side of the lake. So they got into a boat and set out. 23 As they sailed, he fell asleep. A squall came down on the lake, so that the boat was being swamped, and they were in great danger. 24 The disciples went and woke him, saying, Master, Master, were going to drown! He got up and rebuked the wind and the raging waters; the storm subsided, and all was calm. 25 Where is your faith? he asked his disciples. In fear and amazement they asked one another, Who is this? He commands even the winds and the water, and they obey him. -Luke 8:22-25 GO BACK AND READ IT A COUPLE MORE TIMES FEAR AND AMAZEMENT You know that scary, panic-induced experience that I asked you to describe before? Now think of what it felt like just after it was over. I remember when I got out of my totaled car; the fear wasnt quite goneit was like there was an aftertaste of fear in my mouth. But I was also amazed. I looked at my car, the sign I ran over, the tire tracks in the mud and thought, We made it! Were alive!!! I love that Luke tells us that the disciples wondered who Jesus was in fear and amazement. Thats a strange mix of emotions, but it also seems appropriate. DO YOU EVER WONDER WHO JESUS IS? IF YOU WERE ONE OF THE DISCIPLES AND HAD BEEN STANDING IN THAT BOAT THAT DAY, HOW DO YOU THINK YOU WOULD HAVE ANSWERED THE QUESTION, WHO IS THIS?


Try to come up with 3 things to pray for when you look at each picture.

Example: Cell Phone Picture (1) God, I thank you for advances in technology that allow for more communication, convenience, and a feeling of safety when traveling. (2) Help me to not over-use my phone when spending time with people I love. (3) Guard my heart from jealousy when I want other peoples cell phones or technology.


This passage might be very familiar to you. So before reading, pause and ask God to give you fresh eyes and an open heart to absorb it. Then read it carefully. Luke 10:38-42 The Message (MSG) ~ Mary and Martha As they continued their travel, Jesus entered a village. A woman by the name of Martha welcomed him and made him feel quite at home. She had a sister, Mary, who sat before the Master, hanging on every word he said. But Martha was pulled away by all she had to do in the kitchen. Later, she stepped in, interrupting them. "Master, don't you care that my sister has abandoned the kitchen to me? Tell her to lend me a hand." The Master said, "Martha, dear Martha, you're fussing far too much and getting yourself worked up over nothing. One thing only is essential, and Mary has chosen itit's the main course, and won't be taken from her."
41-42 38-40

Prayerfully let your creativity loose as you engage with this Bible text. First put yourself in the skin of Mary (view the story from the perspective of Mary). If you are Mary on that day, what might you be doing? Whats going on around you in the house? What are you thinking and feeling when Martha complains about you? Now, put yourself in Marthas shoes. What are you preparing? What are your motivations? What are you feeling? What might you be thinking and feeling after Jesus says those words to you?

The text says that Mary sat before the Master. Now its your turn. Sit or kneel in front of an empty chair, imagining Jesus seated there. Read the Bible passage again. Stay in this posture, in silence, and ponder who Jesus is. Sit, think, ponder, wonder.

As you remain before the chair, whisper, Jesus, who am I more like today: Mary or Martha? Dont rush this experience. Even if an urge to get up comes, continue to be still and sit in silence. Anticipate (expect) that Jesus will communicate with you. Wait for Jesus and allow him to speak words of promise, correction, or comfort into your life.


Can I Lie To God?

Psalm 139:13 For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother's womb. Luke 12:7 Indeed, the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Don't be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows. Psalm 139:11-12 11 If I say, Surely the darkness will hide me and the light become night around me, 12 even the darkness will not be dark to you; the night will shine like the day, for darkness is as light to you. Hebrews 4:13 Nothing in all creation is hidden from God's sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give account. No one knows you as well as God. Not your mom, dad, siblings, best friends, boyfriend/girlfriend. God created you. He formed you in your mothers womb. He knows the number of hairs on your head. Nothing can be hidden from Godnot even our sins. Since God already knows our sins, we cant really lie to Him about it can we? What would be the point of trying to lie to an all-knowing God? David Crowder addresses this concept in his song Can I Lie Here found on the Church Music album released by David Crowder Band in 2009. If you dont have this song, go to YouTube (on your computer or iPod Touch) and search Can I Lie Here David Crowder. Listen to the song two times. The first time, spend time confessing the sins that God already knows about. The second time, listen, finding rest in the arms of the God who knows you and loves you more than anyone else can know you or love you. Thank Him for saving you, for bringing you peace and happiness. Thank Him for being there with you. Can I lie here in Your arms Can I lie here in Your arms My only calm is You Save me Can I lie here in Your arms Can I lie here in Your arms My only thought is You Save me Can I lie here in Your arms Can I lie here in Your arms My happiness is You Save me

Oh how lovely this place To be with You To be with You Oh the brightness of Your face Here with You Here with You Oh my only calm is You Oh my only thought is You Oh my happiness is You Oh my happiness is You To be with You To be with You Save me

I know that the feel of this song leads you to believe that the phrase Can I lie here is referring to lying down in Gods armsbut I did my research and David Crowder says its about not telling the truth.

Read: 1 Corinthians 13:1-13

(If you cant find a Bible, look up the passage on www.biblegateway.com)


The main thing I remember or learned from this Scripture is __________________________________________________________________________ __________________________________________________________________________ __________________________________________________________________________ __________________________________________________________________________ __________________________________________________________________________ Here is what God is trying to teach me through this Scripture __________________________________________________________________________ __________________________________________________________________________ __________________________________________________________________________ __________________________________________________________________________ As a result of this, today (or tomorrow) I will. __________________________________________________________________________ __________________________________________________________________________ __________________________________________________________________________ Right now I need to pray about. __________________________________________________________________________ __________________________________________________________________________ __________________________________________________________________________


Listen to Our God by Chris Tomlin (Albums you can find the song on: Passion: Awakening and And If Our God Is For Us ~ the Passion: Awakening version is a live recording) or another worship song (Listen in your headphones if possible). You can find the song using YouTube, Spotify, or Grooveshark. Look up the lyrics online, listen to the song again, or use your memory. What do the lyrics tell you about who God is? List everything you can think of from the song. ____________________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________________ Which lyrics speak to you the most? What words really touch your heart? ____________________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________________ What can you give God praise for? ____________________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________________ Listen to the song one more time, letting your heart and soul sing it to God

Saturday Who was your best friend in second grade? Who was the first super-athlete you can remember? What was your favorite TV show 4 years ago? All of these things are probably different today (though these memories may hold great sentimental value). Ever wonder why things change so much? Sometimes change is for the better; other times its disappointing. Occasionally its hurtful, but mostly its just different. Change is woven into the fabric of being a teenager. Your voice changes, your body changes, your likes and dislikes change. Seems as if everything changes. Do you ever have moments when you wish somethinganythingin your life was constant? Read Isaiah 54:9-10. 9 To me this is like the days of Noah, when I swore that the waters of Noah would never again cover the earth. So now I have sworn not to be angry with you, never to rebuke you again. 10 Though the mountains be shaken and the hills be removed, yet my unfailing love for you will not be shaken nor my covenant of peace be removed, says the LORD, who has compassion on you. Here, God reassures His people of His love. The prophet Isaiah had the fun job of telling Gods people about the serious consequences of their sin. The result was time spent in exile from their native land. (I can almost guarantee that Isaiahs best friend from second grade wasnt hanging out with him after that!) But then Isaiah got to share some great news. God chose to renew His covenant promise with the Israelites, telling them that His love would remain longer than the mountains that populated the Judean countryside. So what does this mean to us thousands of years later? The mountains are still there, right? The promise that God gave to the Israelites, He also gives to us. In a world that may seem to spin out of control, God is right there. Though we may experience difficult times, His peace never leaves us. Though everything around us may seem as if its falling apart, Gods love and faithfulness never change. He wont move, retire, get replaced, become outdated, or outgrown.Nothing changes Gods love. Nothing. Following Him doesnt guarantee an easy life, but His peace and love will never fail us. Reflect 1. What are some changes that have occurred in your life that were difficult for you? How did God help you through these situations?

2. What changes are you encountering right now? How could God help you through these changes?

3. How will you help others know Gods unfailing and unchanging love?

4. God revealed His love for Israel even through discipline. How has God shown His love for you through discipline, and what lasting difference did it make?