FaithSpring Staff Blog

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Day 31:Yes to Getting it Done, No to Procrastiation

Posted By at Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Hear Ye Hear Ye!  Calling all Procrastinators!  The author of this devotion is carrying our flag in the hopes to get some thumbs up from all others who would rather wait until tomorrow.  Procrastinators must unite if we hope to overcome the pressures from today’s devotion and the person who just sent it to us!  Today, we say “Yes” to Get It Done and “No” to Procrastination!

Getting It Done today is easy for plenty of people, but for some portion of the world, Getting Anything Done today is a real challenge.  This devotion, however, is not just for the typical Procrastinators.  This is for everyone who still has something undone and incomplete:Today is the day to get it wrapped up.

Why is this important?  Because all of us spend far too much time worrying about unfinished business or avoiding responsibility altogether.  Some things can only be put off for so long before they become a major roadblock in our faith journey.  Unpaid bills, overdue items borrowed from a neighbor, and unpleasant phone calls to our television provider or mobile phone carrier are just a few Procrastinating items that come to mind.  Heck, the author of this devotion decided to wait until this morning to complete the devotion, using the excuse, “I need to wait until I’m better rested, and it will give me a better understanding of my own Procrastinating habits…”  How ridiculous is that?  C’Mon, Man!

As we approach Palm Sunday on the Christian Calendar (Sunday, March 25), it calls to mind Jesus’ final entrance into Jerusalem.  Jesus had every opportunity to turn the donkey around and leave the area rather than face the danger that awaited him.  He could’ve easily justified that he needed a few more weeks to work with the Disciples or that a few more miracles needed to be worked in the neighboring towns.  Jesus had plenty of solid, justifiable reasons to avoid the Palm Sunday journey.  But rather than put it off, Jesus marched forward to face the danger (Mark 11:1-10).

Thankfully, none of us will make the kind of journey that Jesus made.  However, we need to remember that Jesus made the journey back then so that we can be forgiven today.  Today, let’s take a worry off our plate that has been staring at us for a while.  It’s going to help much more than we think.

Say “Yes” to Get It Done and “No” to Procrastinating!

 

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Day 30: Yes to Openness and No to Secrets

Posted By at Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Tuesday, March 20

Today we say “Yes” to Openness and “No” to Secrets. As interesting as it may seem, this challenge is not about the discovery of classified information or permission for the gossip to wreck people's lives. Rather, it is about opening ourselves and trusting the world around us. From the playground to workplace, we are taught to maintain our competitive advantages by excluding others from information or opportunity. Today’s challenge is to trust others and include them in our lives.

There’s plenty of good reasons to keep Secrets, but there’s also plenty of bad reasons to keep them. What we don’t realize is that by keeping Secrets, we may be excluding others to the what God may be trying to do through us. Sometimes, our deep, dark secrets need to remain hidden. But at other times, those experiences may serve as great teaching and example for others who are struggling with something equally as difficult.

Don’t worry about exposing your most classified material today. Rather, become aware that by keeping Secrets, we may be causing harm to the world that God created. Secrets can exclude and cause damage that we don’t intend, and if we want to try and improve the world, we need to become better about sharing the Good News that God gives to us.

“The secret things belong to the LORD our God, but the things revealed belong to us and to our children forever, that we may follow all the words of the law" (Deuteronomy 29:29, NIV).

Today, say “Yes” to Openness and “No” to Secrets!


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Day 29: Yes to Thoughtfulness and No to Neglect

Posted By at Monday, March 19, 2018

Monday, March 19, 2017

Today we say “Yes” to Thoughtfulness and “No” to Neglect. This is the perfect way to begin a week: Pay attention to those around us today and do something specific for them. This could be a Monday that changes a loved one’s week, a neighbor’s outlook on life, or a stranger’s belief in God. Today we are going to change someone’s outlook on the day.

We can offer small tokens of Thoughtfulness anywhere and everywhere and it doesn’t need to cost a penny. A simple “Hello” goes a long way. Opening a door for someone makes a difference. Calling to check-in with a friend is a big deal. Offering a verbal God Bless You to someone on the elevator and saying “Thank You” to a military service member can work miracles if we give it a chance.

If Jesus lived in our world today, how would He demonstrate Thoughtfulness? Would he use a mobile phone to share God’s love? Would Jesus use email as a means of spreading the Good News? Would Jesus have a FaceBook page and check in with a childhood friend with whom he hasn’t spoken in a long time? This is more than just a humorous thought. It is a real-life opportunity to do what Jesus would do.

Take some time today and be intentional about doing something for others. Some of us might always be Thoughtful. Some of us might forever be Grateful. But if all of us reach outto other people today, we can make all the difference in the world.

Say “Yes” to Thoughtfulness and “No” to Neglect!

“People were bringing little children to Jesus in order that he might touch them; and the disciples spoke sternly to them. But when Jesus saw this, he was indignant and said to them, ‘Let the little children come to me; do not sop them; for it is to such as these that the kingdom of God belongs.’” (Mark 10:13-14, NRSV.)


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Weekly Challenge 5: Yes to Honesty, No to Lies

Posted By at Sunday, March 18, 2018

Week 5: March 18-24

In this fifth weekly challenge, we say “Yes” to Honesty and “No” to Lies. This week, we address the easiest subject matter to understand but the most difficult to complete. Don’t turn away just yet…especially if you believe that you have this one in the bag. There can be a fine line between the Truth and a Lie. Being Honest may not be as easy as we think:

*When the 4-year old asks where babies come from, how do you respond? Is mommy’s tummy enough of an answer or do you launch into an explanation that would cause a middle-aged man to blush? When is it okay to withhold a little information?*When your loved one asks if they look fat in these jeans, do you give the answer they need to hear or the Honest Truth? When is it okay to bend a little from the Truth?*When the teacher asks you why you didn’t complete your homework, do you explain with the Honest details of a disastrous home-life or Lie about the real reason?

The difference between a Lie and the Truth is easy enough to determine. We know when we’re Lying, unless we’ve become so accustomed to it that we can’t tell the difference anymore. The Truth, on the other hand, can take many forms. What’s True for one person is not always True for another person. Perspectives, context, knowledge and distractions are just a few things that play a part in the experience of Truth, but one doesn’t have to witness an auto accident to know that there’s going to be plenty of Honest answers.

The search for Truth is important, but if it was so easy to find, why would humankind spend its’ existence searching for it? Some of us would have an easier time finding the Leprechauns’ hidden treasure (see the March 17 Lenten Challenge for more information) than uncovering the Truth. Yet, the importance of the Truth should not be trivialized. The Truth is vital all situations and should be sought in all times, but sometimes, we put too much emphasis in what we believe to be True versus what God has established as Truth.

It would be good for us to remember that God sent Truth into the world so that we could find it and be freed by it. Consider Jesus’ words, “Jesus said to the Jews who believed in him, ‘You are truly my disciples if you remain faithful to my teaching. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free’” (John 8:31-32, NRSV).

This week, say “Yes” to Honesty and “No” to Lies!

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Day 28: Yes to Wearing Green; No to Excluding Others

Posted By at Saturday, March 17, 2018

Saturday, March 17

Today we say “Yes” to Wearing Green and “No” to Excluding Others.  In this St. Patrick’s Day Challenge, we honor one of the oldest traditions of Wearing Green clothing.  An accompanying tradition of St. Patrick’s Day involves those who don’t wear Green: they’re supposed to get pinched. But today, we’re not going to exclude the non-Green participants by pinching them.  Today we’re going to love them even more.

Where does Wearing Green originate?  It appears to be the Leprechauns’ fault, mythical creatures who protect their treasures by tricking “would-be” thieves.  Apparently, one of their common tricks is to pinch people who get close to their hidden treasure.  However, Leprechauns are color-blind to the color green, thus, by Wearing Green clothing, thieves could become invisible to the mythical creatures and escape the pinches.  We can’t verify if any of this is true, or if Leprechauns really hide their treasures at the base of the rainbow, but I suppose if you get pinched today and nobody is around, you must be close.(Just remember to give a little of your treasure to the church.)

We’re not sure if Jesus ever wore Green, but, if He did, He certainly wasn’t worried about Leprechauns or their treasure.  However, Jesus was a big proponent of fitting the Gospel into popular culture.  Sure, Jesus preached some things that were not well-received by society, but He also made a point to go straight to the needs of all people.  He didn’t Exclude, discriminate, or withhold blessings because of the color of someone’s clothing.  Jesus provided for the needs of everyone from the abundance of love that He had for all people.

“They brought to Jesus a deaf man who had an impediment in his speech, and they begged him to lay his hand on him.  Jesus took him aside in private, away from the crowd, and put his fingers into his ears, and Jesus spat and touched the man’s tongue.  Then looking up to heaven, Jesus sighed and said to him, “Ephphatha,” that is, “Be opened.”  And immediately the man’s ears were opened, his tongue was released, and he spoke plainly” (Mark 7:32-35, NRSV).

Today, make a point to include someone who might be looking in from the outside.  Then, join in the fun and wear something Green!

Today, say “Yes” to Wearing Green and “No” to Excluding Others!

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Day 27: Yes to low calorie/fat food; No to Indulgent Food and Drink

Posted By at Friday, March 16, 2018

Friday, March 16, 2018

Today we say “Yes” to a Low Fat/Calorie Diet and “No” to Indulgent Food and Drink.Like other Fridays in the 40-day Challenge, today we are focusing on a dietary challenge.Compared to other Fridays in the Challenge, this one will be easy, but it’s purpose is important:pay close attention to the food and drinks we consume.The Challenge for today is to Avoid Indulgent, High Fat/Calorie Food and Drinks while replacing them with Lower Fat/Calorie Food and Drinks.

Maintaining a healthy diet is probably the best way we can improve our health.Whether we want to admit it or not, all of us need to improve our diets.All of us have our little secret indulgences that, on occasion, are nice treats.However, we may have let it get out of control.Snacks hidden in the desk, restaurant foods on Friday nights and pre-bedtime drinks need to go by the wayside today.Instead of fried catfish, try it grilled or blackened.Rather than fries and chips with our meal, exchange them for fresh fruit and steamed vegetables.Instead of Soft Drinks and Fruit Juices, drink a glass of water.

There’s plenty of ways we can improve our eating habits and today is the day to start treating our bodies the way that God expects.In his letter to the Church in Corinth, St. Paul addresses the need to care for our bodies.St. Paul says, “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; you were bought at a price.Therefore honor God with your bodies” (1 Corinthians 6-19-20, NIV).

Today, say “Yes” to Low Fat and Low Calorie Food and Drinks and “No” to the Bad Stuff!

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Day 26: Yes to Intentional Generosity, No to Selfishness!

Posted By at Thursday, March 15, 2018

Thursday, March 15, 2018

Today we say “Yes” to Intentional Generosity and “No” to Selfishness.  Most of us recognize that need is everywhere, but few of us are Intentional about being Generous when the opportunity arises.  This challenge isn’t designed to point out our selfish short-comings (which we probably already know).  Rather, this is designed to help us recognize the places in daily life that provide us with an opportunity for Generosity.

Generosity can be experienced in plenty of ways.  The most obvious way to demonstrate Generosity is through the provision of financial or need-based resources, such as money, food and clothing.  But there’s plenty of other ways that we can be Generous.  We can be Generous with our time when we witness a situation that needs a helping hand.  We can be Generous with our skills when someone else encounters a specific problem, or we can be Generous with patience when situations arise that require our attention.  Generosity can take almost any form!

Intentional Generosity means that we are going to look for ways to be Generous.  How many opportunities will arise in just one day?  Start your day with a prayer and ask for God to open your ears and eyes to the opportunities you will encounter, then focus on Intentional Generosity and watch God do His best work!

“A generous person will prosper; whoever refreshes others will be refreshed” (Proverbs 11:25, NIV).

Today, say “Yes” to Intentional Generosity and “No” to Selfishness!

 

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Say Yes to protect Others and No to Bullying

Posted By at Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Wednesday, March 14

Today, we say “Yes” and “No” to a couple of things that should be common knowledge. That may be true, but in the real world, common knowledge isn’t always followed up by common action. Many adults tend to think that Bullying only occurs in and around school-aged children. Nope. There’s plenty of Bullying that occurs in the workplace, at social events, within relationships, and in all other social interactions.

All of us need help, Bullies included. But Bullies aren’t always going to seek help, and in fact, Bullies may not even know that they are acting in this manner. Today’s challenge isn’t only to call Bullies out. That’s very important, but it also important that we help turn this common knowledge into common action. We should be caring for each other, protecting one another, and loving one another. If we ourselves are bullies, stop it. If we witness bullying, step up and care for the innocent. If we feel that we are being bullied, talk to a trusted friend or loved one about it and be ready to seek some outside help.

Nobody likes a Bully, especially God. God doesn’t want us to be Bullied around by sin for our entire existence. So God sent Jesus into the world to save us so that we don’t have to be Bullied by sin any longer, as Jesus says in the Gospel of John: “God didn’t go to all the trouble of sending his Son merely to point an accusing finger, telling the world how bad it was. He came to help, to put the world right again” (John 3:17, The Message).

Keep an eye pealed and ear open today. Watch out for those who are suffering at the hands of others. And if we happen to be a guilty party in Bullying, make some mental notes about why we are treating others in this manner and seek some help for ourselves. There’s plenty that all of us can do to improve our relationships with others, but with God’s help, we can do a whole lot more.

Say “Yes” to Protecting Others and “No” to Bullying!

 

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Day 24: Yes to Letters of Encouragement; No to Forgetting

Posted By at Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Today, we are challenged to do something that most of us probably haven’t done in a while:Write a Letter.  Yes, we are referring to a good, ‘ole fashioned, hand-written and US Postage-stamped Letter of Encouragement to someone.  The Letter can be written to a friend, family member, neighbor, or someone you barely know.  Whomever you choose, let them know that you’re thinking of them and offer them a few words of Encouragement.

A little bit of Encouragement can produce big results.  The world around us is not always kind or positive, so we have plenty of places that we can offer Encouragement and kindness.  If we’re wondering how much it might help, just take a moment to consider how much a hand-written letter would mean to you.  It’s a big deal to everyone, especially because we don’t receive many of them anymore.

We don’t have records of Jesus writing Letters of Encouragement, but St. Paul writes plenty of them.  The New Testament is filled with his letters of Encouragement to the churches.  He begins his letter to the Thessalonians, “We must always give thanks to God for you, brothers and sisters, as is right, because your faith is growing abundantly, and the love of everyone of you for one another is increasing.  Therefore we ourselves boast of you among the churches of God for your steadfastness and faith during all your persecutions and the afflictions you are enduring” (Thessalonians 1:3-4, NRSV).

Write a Letter of Encouragement to someone today and Don’t Forget!

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Day 23: Yes to Grace, No to a Temper.

Posted By at Monday, March 12, 2018

Monday, March 12

Today, we begin the weekly challenge of Encouragement by saying “Yes” to Grace and “No” to our Temper. Tough way to start a Monday, huh? Mondays are fertile ground for Tempers, so beginning the week by removing our Temper from our day may be a little tough. But grind it out; you can do it. The other part of today’s challenge, offering Grace in all places, will probably be more difficult.

Grace, in the Spiritual sense, is God’s unmerited offering of Grace to His people. Even when we are at our worst, God still offers Grace. Today we will attempt to flip this around by offering someone else that same kind of Grace. Even if they are at their very worst, try and offer them Grace in place of your normal response.

Why is this important? Two reasons. First, when we focus on offering Grace to other people, it helps provide us with a better understanding of the Grace that God offers us. Second, Jesus gives plenty of examples of offering Grace to those that might be undeserving. One especially cool story involves Jesus teaching in a crowded house, and some guys cut a hole in the roof to lower a crippled man down to Jesus. The religious leadership becomes angry and Jesus addresses them.

“Jesus immediately knew what they were thinking, so he asked them, ‘Why do you question this in your hearts? Is it easier to say to the paralyzed man, ‘Your sins are forgiven’, or ‘Stand up, pickup your mat, and walk?’So I will prove to you that the Son of Man has the authority on earth to forgive sins.’Then Jesus turned to the paralyzed man and said, ‘Stand up, pick up your mat, and go home!’” (Mark 2:8-10, NLT).

We may not have the power to heal a crippled person or the authority to forgive sins, but we know where to find the solution to both of these concerns. God did it, Jesus exemplifies it, and we can live it out today.

Say “Yes” to Grace and “No” to Temper!