Because He Forgives

Posted on April 18, 2017 by Karah

Pause

Remove the distractions from around you; turn off the TV, music, and your cell phone. Ask God to prepare you to hear and understand what He has to say in His Word.

Skim over Matthew 18:21-35 and look back on the devotion, “Unconditionally Forgiven” from March 27th to remind yourself about what you learned when you studied the parable of the unforgiving servant. In your journal, jot down the main point of that devotion in your own words.

Dig a little deeper with these questions:

-What does this parable reveal about how God forgives us?

-What does this parable teach you about forgiving others? Explain.

-Now, turn to Ephesians 4:31-32. Answer the questions that follow.

“All bitterness, anger and wrath, shouting and slander must be removed from you, along with all malice. And be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving one another, just as God also forgave you in Christ.” —Ephesians 4:31-32

What do these verses have in common with the parable of the unforgiving servant? Explain.

Underline Ephesians 4:32. As a Christian, you have experienced God’s forgiveness for a debt you could never pay. According to these verses, how should that affect the way you interact with others, particularly those who have wronged you?

Why is it so important that forgiveness characterize the lives of believers? How does practicing extravagant forgiveness testify to the truth of the gospel? Explain.

Respond

Because you have been forgiven so much, you must forgive others.

Think about the people in your life. Are there people you refuse to forgive because you don’t think they deserve it? If so, write their names in your journal. Take steps to forgive that person today. Let him or her know you want to forgive because God forgave you of a far greater debt.

You may need to ask someone to forgive you. If God has used these verses to bring a person to mind, don’t delay in seeking his or her forgiveness. List your action plan in the margin. You can’t control the person’s response, but you can be obedient to God in seeking forgiveness.

Behind the Story

Paul’s words in Ephesians 4 were written to Christians. Knowing the struggle of living the Christian life, he charged them to put away the things that had characterized their lives before knowing Christ. He challenged Christians to treat one another with kindness and compassion because God had treated them that way. In doing so, the church would be built up and unified. This would help the world to see that Jesus does make a difference.

The Point

Because you have experienced God’s forgiveness, you must forgive others.


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Kingdom Responsibility

Posted on April 11, 2017 by Karah

Pause

Prepare your heart and mind to read God’s Word today. Pray, asking God to give you wisdom to apply the truth you learn today as you study Scripture.

Consider the definition of the word steward. What qualities do you think a good steward possesses? What characterizes someone who’s a bad steward? Journal a few thoughts.

Steward (n.)= Someone who looks after or manages something, like property or money.

Read Matthew 25:14-30 in your Bible.

“Immediately the man who had received five talents went, put them to work, and earned five more. In the same way the man with two earned two more. But the man who had received one talent went off, dug a hole in the ground, and hid his master’s money.” —Matthew 25:15b-18

Ask yourself:

Read verses 15-18,24-27 again. According to these verses, what are some characteristics of a good steward? What qualities characterize a bad steward? Explain.

The slave who hid the talent failed to make any kind of investment with what the master had given him, which displayed a lack of commitment to the master. His desire to be safe overrode his desire to please the master.

Has Jesus ever called you to be obedient in a way that would have cost you something? Why is obedience when things don’t make sense a good gauge of your commitment? Explain.

The master gave each slave something in this parable. They didn’t get the same amount, but no one was left out. The same is true of the kingdom of God. God has placed resources in the lives of every believer—talents, skills, gifts, capabilities—and we must be good stewards of all He has given us.

Respond

Think about the last few days or weeks and the opportunities you experienced to be obedient or faithful to God. What does your obedience (or disobedience) reveal about your commitment to God? Are you truly willing to follow Him wherever He leads, or only when it makes sense?

Ask God to help you to trust Him entirely and follow Him no matter where He leads, even if it doesn’t make sense or scares you.

In your journal, list some gifts, talents, skills, or capabilities that God has given you. How can you be a good steward of those gifts and use them for God’s glory? Jot down three ideas in your journal. Circle one you’ll focus on this week.

Behind the Story

The parable of the talents calls believers to obey Jesus in all things—even when risk or uncertainty is involved. This does not imply that we are to be foolish or take chances, but rather that we are to be obedient. When God calls us to step out in faith, we are to do so, even if the world thinks that choice is unwise, difficult, or senseless. Faithful obedience to the Lord pleases Him and accomplishes His kingdom purposes. 

The Point

God has given each of us resources to use to build His kingdom. We must be good stewards of all He has given us.


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Spring Cleaning Birthday Party Bash!

Posted on April 7, 2017 by kgreenwell

Spring cleaning at camp means YOU are right around the corner! A few of our staff came up for a weekend to help get camp ready and to celebrate Grace’s Birthday!!!

Here is our checklist and a few pics of the fun we had…

  • Fertilize and seed the upper green-CHECK
  • Clean  out the beehive basement-CHECK
  • Fertilze the plants and flowers with holy tone, rose tone, plant tone and osmocote (ask Grace our new horticulture specialist if you want to know what that stuff is)- CHECK
  • Clean out and organize the Village Director closet of fun-CHECK
  • Prime new cabin signs-CHECK
  • Prime two infirmary bathrooms-CHECK
  • Clean pool- CHECK
  • Celebrate Grace’s birthday on the blue ridge parkway with a picnic- CHECK AND CHECK

Before…

During…

After…

Whistle while you work…

Picnic on the Parkway…


You can make chores fun anywhere! What does your Spring Cleaning look like?! 


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Justified

Posted on April 4, 2017 by Karah

Pause

Find a quiet room where you won’t be distracted. Take a few moments to pray, asking God to prepare you to study His Word today.

Read Luke 18:9-14 in your Bible.

“Two men went up to the temple complex to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. . . . But the tax collector, standing far off, would not even raise his eyes to heaven but kept striking his chest and saying, ‘God, turn Your wrath from me—a sinner!’” —Luke 18:10,13

Read verses 10-14 again. Compare and contrast the hearts and attitudes of the tax collector and Pharisee

Pharisee                                            Tax Collector

 

The tax collector’s prayer was marked by humility and recognition of his standing (as a sinner) before God. The Pharisee’s prayer was marked by pride, self-righteousness, and judgment of others.

-Whom did Jesus say left justified? Why?

-The Pharisee was a religious leader and the person Jesus’ listeners would have expected to be the hero of the story, especially knowing the Pharisees’ emphasis on moral excellence. Why is it important to recognize that we aren’t justified because of our own goodness or effort, but Jesus’ goodness?

Respond

Believers are not self-righteous or prideful, pointing hateful fingers toward sinners and proclaiming they are better than them. Believers recognize their need for Jesus, turn to God in repentance, and urge others to do the same.

Pause to take stock of your life. Which attitude best describes yours: the Pharisee or the tax collector? Confess any sin the Holy Spirit reveals.

In what ways do you struggle with self-righteousness? What steps will you take this week to deal with this?

When are you most tempted to judge others for sinful choices? When that happens this week, think about the depth of your sinfulness and your own need for Christ. Let that realization affect the way you respond to others.

The last few devotions should have helped you to recognize the depth of your sin, your need for Christ, and the overwhelming nature of God’s grace. If you have never placed your faith in Jesus, talk to a parent, someone you trust from church, or a camp counselor about what it means to put your faith in Christ.

Behind the Story

Pharisees were Jewish religious leaders. The name Pharisee means separated ones. They believed that ritual, rules, and separation from common sinners was the way to please God.

Justification n.= Right standing before God, only made possible through Jesus Christ.

The Point

True believers recognize their sinfulness and need for God’s mercy. When we humbly turn to Christ in repentance, He justifies us.


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Unconditionally Forgiven

Posted on March 28, 2017 by Karah

Pause

Spend a few moments alone in prayer. Ask God to help you understand the great debt of which He has forgiven you.

Ponder the cost of a luxury car, a year’s tuition to an Ivy League college, or an enormous amount of credit card debt. If you owed that amount of money, how would you feel if someone paid it for you? Jot down a few ideas.

With that in mind, read Matthew 18:21-35 in your Bible.

“Since he had no way to pay it back, his master commanded that he, his wife, his children, and everything he had be sold to pay the debt. At this, the slave fell facedown before him and said, ‘Be patient with me, and I will pay you everything!’ Then the master of that slave had compassion, released him, and forgave him the loan.”—Matthew 18:25-27

Think through these questions:

-The debt the first slave was forgiven of was enormous, comparable to several million dollars in today’s currency. Knowing this, what does this parable help you to understand about the debt you owe because of your sin?

The slave was forgiven a debt he never could have repaid, even if he had several lifetimes to earn the money. The scandal of the gospel is that Jesus has done the same thing for us. Our good works, acts of righteousness, and endless efforts could never make up for the debt our sin created. But Jesus laid down His life and offered Himself as the sacrifice so that our debt could be paid.

-How does it make you feel to recognize that Jesus laid down His life to pay your debt? Journal a few thoughts.

Respond

While we were still sinners, Christ died for us (Rom. 5:8). Recognize that you are the debtor and Jesus has forgiven you, taking that burden off of you, not because you deserve it or earned it, but because He loves you.

-If you’re a Christian, ponder the depth of your sin and the great debt Jesus has paid for you. Record your praise in your journal.

-If you are not a believer, read Ephesians 2:8-9 and consider the Gospel. Will you accept God’s gift of grace today?

For further study, read Romans 5:1; Colossians 2:13-14; and Galatians 3:8.

Behind the Story

In the ancient Roman Empire, a talent was the highest known denomination of currency. Likewise, 10,000 was the highest number for which the Greek language had words. Therefore, the parable is meant to stress that this was an enormous debt that the slave had no hope of repaying on his own.

The Point

Salvation is impossible to earn; it can only be given. God has made a way for our salvation through Jesus.


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