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October 14th to 20th (Suggested Passage: Romans 8)

on Sun Oct 14, 2018 4:35 am
Hello leaders of CCYG, please follow this suggested template for your devotionals/quiet time.

Scripture Passage: Romans 8 (Can be any passage, Romans 8 for this week is suggested!);

1. Pray. Ask God to reveal Himself onto you through Scripture. Ask God to give you an appetite for his Word (Just like how we always pray before we eat - you are essentially praying before you eat spiritually
2. Read maybe 2-3 times
3. Interpret the passage, see what verses, terms, and key phrases stick out to you.
4. See how you can apply the passage - knowledge is amazing, and to know God is essentially our focus. Even better if you can find ways to apply it.
5. Share your prayer requests. Seriously. Everyone is able to read what you flesh out and we are a Church that will pray on your behalf - also an opportunity for you to pray for others as well.
-You can always share praise songs that has spoken to you as well, maybe throughout your devotional/quiet time.
6. Pray to end off your devo, trust God that He is working through this initiative.

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You salty Bro

on Mon Oct 15, 2018 12:09 am
Im still continuing on with Mark and today a verse that really stood out to me was Mark chapter 9:50, “Salt is good, but if it loses its saltiness, how can you make it salty again? Have salt among yourselves, and be at peace with each other.” I thought this really spoke to me because it correlated with a pretty well known verse Luke 14:34, “Salt is good, but if salt has lost its taste, how shall its saltiness be restored?" I thought these were correlated in the means of the usefulness of salt. Salt can season foods and preserve meat and has many uses. But if the salt is not salty it just becomes useless. In my own experience I always wanted to do the least amount of work and effort to be able to be called a christian, I would only go to Sundays because "I had to" and i felt so dry by following the same routine every week. This eventually lead me to stop going to church completely for a whole semester as I lied to my friends saying I go to a different church but in reality I either slept in or went out to spend time with girls or other distractions that seemed so great in the outside. In all honesty, it was great at first but later, i never felt more lonely in my life. It made me feel empty and so meaningless in life and was just so desperate yet so ashamed to fall back to Christ. However, thanks to the mercy of God, I was given the opportunity to go to a retreat and serve where I was just completely changed by having that desire and fire be restored to just burn for him. Both these verses ask the same question, " how can salt be restored or how can you make it salty again." It was just by the grace of god, where no matter how much we lose our saltiness, he restored it to give us the purpose and the use to serve and love him.

Prayer Requests: School, future, family as always, Winter retreat is coming up and that we could use it as an opportunity to just learn more aboutGod not just to go for an emotional high
Songs: Second Chance really speaks with this devotional, the beginning lyrics are, You called my name Reached out Your hand Restored my life And I was redeemed The moment You entered my life. making it one of the most blessing songs in my life because it just applied to me so much


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Re: October 14th to 20th (Suggested Passage: Romans 8)

on Mon Oct 15, 2018 12:02 pm
Would want to break Romans 8 in three segments. Today's reflection consisting of verses one through 11.

v.1  "There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus."
-There is no more penalty, no more damnation, no more sin that is accounted against us - because of Christ. There is no sin out there that a believer can commit - in the past, present, or future that will be held against them, for that penalty was paid by Christ and His righteousness is now imputed onto us. Just the opening verse alone of this chapter is enough for a heavy reflection on the fact that God has fully wiped our history clean.
Condemnation being the judicial term of being found guilty, including the penalty of that verdict. The penalty was paid in full - that we had ought to have died and become separate from God. This was achieved by grace through faith as Paul had referred to in Romans 5, and this verdict is now unchangeable. It isn't changeable by time where God changes His mind and it isn't unalterable by our sin - NO sin will, and can ever reverse the verdict of justification. Amazing stuff as God sent his own son in the likeness of sinful flesh and was born under the law to FULFILL the necessary requirement that could never have been found within us (v.4).

v.5 "For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit."
-What do I set my mind on? Is it the things that was temporary, meaningless, and enjoyable to gratify the sinful nature that I have? Or is my mind occupied by the things of God and the things that please Him?
-Slowly and surely, God helps set our minds on things above (Romans 12:2, Colossians 3:1-2) and He will bring it into completion. But what are the necessary steps that I am taking in order that this could become a reality? The mind that is set on the flesh cannot please God (v. 7-8 ) or submit to His law.

v.9 "You, however, are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if in fact the Spirit of God dwells in you."
-As the Holy Spirit dwells within us, He is helping us turn our eyes upon God, helping us say no to sin and yes to God. As Christ also dwells within us, Romans 8 helps us understand that as Christ had died and rose again through the power of the Holy Spirit, that same power is now residing within us. The power from the same Holy Spirit is now accessible to us. Yet how many times do we depend on Him to turn away from the things of this world and sin? We operate on our own terms, our own volition, and by our own strength. I struggle myself with this - to humble myself so that I could be utterly dependent upon the Spirit. Then, and only then, could I conqueror sin, through the death and resurrection of Christ and the power of the Spirit residing in me.

"Now in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us." We are able to conqueror sin through Him. We are able to live a life that is satisfying to God and pleasing to Him because of Christ. And because of Christ, we are now eligible to think like Him. We are able to BE like Him. His commandments can now be done and effectively accomplished because of the Spirit. Amen...
-During today's devo I listened to Awake my Soul by Chris Tomlin on repeat - very fitting for today's passage. That He can, and already did - awake our souls. That are souls are now awaken from death onto life, in order that we can live according to God's glorious grace and in His light.

Please pray that I can apply the things that I preach and the things that I learn. I find it very easy to be hypocritical, and often times I can see myself not doing the very things that I encourage you guys to do. God is definitely calling me to practice what I preach.
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Re: October 14th to 20th (Suggested Passage: Romans 8)

on Tue Oct 16, 2018 3:13 am
Mark 10 is broken into many parts that were all parts of some of Jesus' teaching and miracles that he had performed.

The first part Is Mark 10:1-12 where jesus speaks to the crowd about divorce. Mark 10:8 "and the two shall become one flesh. So they are no longer two but one flesh." Mark 10:11- And he said to them, "Whoever divorces his wife and marries another commits adultery against her." At the age of 22 I have to start thinking about marriage and start praying for my future wife that I may stay faithful and be the man of God that she deserves

Part two speaks of many children coming towards Jesus to be rebuked by the disciples to keep the distractions away from Jesus, yet Jesus speaks that we must be like "children" to be able to enter the kingdom of God. I believe this passage is saying that even as children or adults we must all go to God no matter who we are if we want to enter the kingdom of heaven. One thing I struggle with is that because I am older than most of the people at the church, I believe I am more "holy" with a sense of pride when I should be more willing to learn and just grow with others despite their age with just a better heart.

Part Three speaks of the rich young man who comes to Jesus with faith and asks what he may do to enter the kingdom of heaven in Mark 10:21-22, 21 Jesus looked at him and loved him. “One thing you lack,” he said. “Go, sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.” 22 At this the man’s face fell. He went away sad, because he had great wealth. Jesus tells him that he must go out and let go of his worldly riches but the man is unable to do so because he had great possessions. One thing that my whole life was about was to do well in school, get a job and get married and have children like everyone else, but will I be willing to give up all these worldly riches to enter the kingdom of heaven. A famous sermon by Pastor Frances Chan speaks is of how we are so focused on a tiny little part of our time, when that determines how we will be for eternity. One thing that I desire is that one day that I will have that heart to be able to give up all these worldly distractions to follow Jesus.

Prayer requests: School, that I be lead to whatever god calls me to do
Family, that i can be a better brother or son
Better heart, just to have a more willing and loving heart and not to be so focused on certain people more than others
Lust, not to be distracted with my relationship with Jesus by lustful relationships
Retreat, Just hope that I can serve this retreat with a pure heart for God
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Re: October 14th to 20th (Suggested Passage: Romans 8)

on Tue Oct 16, 2018 4:29 am
Romans 1 - The Righteous Shall Live by Faith

Hi guys, Im going to be starting in the book of Romans for my devotionals. While reading Romans 1 a part that really stood out to me was Romans 1:16-17. "For I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes: first to the Jew, then to the Gentile. For in the gospel the righteousness of God is revealed—a righteousness that is by faith from first to last, just as it is written: “The righteous will live by faith.” From high school till now even though I'm serving at CCYG as youth teacher/worship leader I've always had a hard time expressing the love I had for God. I thought because my pride was so great and the earthly things/desires I had made me happy that I was okay. But in verse 18 its states "For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth." Even when sinful things and temptations seem like the right choice at the moment or the easy out, if its not the path of God it not right choice. I definitely learned that the hard way as I tried the test God with the ways I wanted to do things in my life. But eventually God wrecked me but set me on the correct path to be on. Its so easy to say you love God but if you don't live it out do you actually love him? In verse 21 "For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish heart were darkened. Claiming to be wise, they became fools." Even though God has placed me in the correct path I still struggle with putting God first in my life. But beauty love of God is that he will always have his arms opened for you even though you fail hundred times. God doesn't want perfect people he wants people willing to fight to grow with him. If perfect people was the result he waited then we would have been made perfect. This is why the gospel is the righteousness of God and righteousness should live by faith.

Prayer Request
- To not be scared to show that I love God
- To put God first in my life even when I feel others things seem better
- My heath please...
- Show more love to the youth group and be more patient

Song of the Day
- Remembrance by Hillsong Worship - I've listened to this song on repeat all day lol... but the song talks about remembering the love of God. How without God we are nothing because he gave up everything he had to save our sinful live even though we don't deserve it.
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Parable of the Sower

on Wed Oct 17, 2018 1:05 am
Matthew 13: 1-9
For the next few devotionals I will be focusing on parables. For today's devotional I read the Parable of the Sower.

This parable is probably one of the more well-known ones, and in my opinion it is one of the easier ones to understand. In this parable, the sower (Jesus) is scattering a bunch of seeds into different types of ground. The seeds represent us humans, and just like how the purpose of seeds is to grow and be fruitful so that it can be pleasing to the sower's eyes, our goal in life is to grow as much as we can spiritually so that we may be able to please our sower who gave us life. In order for us to grow as much as we can, we need to be able to receive and accept God's word, which is represented by the good soil. Only in good soil will the seed have the potential to be fruitful. If we end up falling on the rocky ground, the path, or the thorns, our chances of getting closer to God are extremely slim. The overall message of this parable is that we need to ground ourselves in good soil, and ground ourselves in the word of God so that we may be able to be live a life that satisfies the Lord.

Because this parable was very easy to understand, I decided to listen to a sermon on this to get new insights on this parable. The sermon talked about how yes, choosing to ground ourselves in good soil is a good first step, but it is not good enough. After we've decided to hear and receive the word of God, we actually have to live out the word of God so that our seeds can grow out of the soil. If you can imagine yourself as a seed that's buried in soil, all you will see is complete darkness and you won't be able to see the sower from underground. This is what happens if we don't grow out our seeds. If all we do is expose ourselves to the message of God but don't do anything about it, we will forever be lost in the darkness of the soil, and we won't be able to have access to God and learn more about him as a result of being completely submerged underground. Only when we decide to grow ourselves in Christ will we be able to bust out of the ground and escape the hardships contained in the soil, and we will be able to finally see God and get to know who he truly is.
I feel like right now, I am still stuck in the soil. Recently I have struggled to put a lot of my effort into growing spiritually because I haven been prioritizing other worldly things. My mentality has always been that I would take care of things such as academics, jobs, stability, etc. first, and then fully commit myself to God later on in life. However by doing this I am only elongating my time trapped in the soil. As a result there has been a lot of worrying and anxiety in my life, and I have struggled with trusting the Lord since I don't fully know how great he is. But this passage and sermon has taught me that I need to bust out of the soil as quickly as possible so that I can be free of all the worries in my life and can instead take pleasure in being intimate with God.

Prayer requests:
-As stated above, I want to prioritize my spiritual life so that I can finally "bust of of the soil."
-I am not used to doing so many devotionals in a week, so pray that my heart will be motivated and that I can get the most out of each devotional.
-Pray that this youth group will learn to love God more than each other.
-Continue to pray that God will show me what he wants me to do for him in life.

Song: Be Still - Hillsong Worship
The bridge of this song is:
Surely love and mercy
Your peace and kindness
Will follow me
Will follow me
These lines really mean a lot to me, especially the part that says "will follow me." A lot of times I feel that I need to earn God's love by doing certain actions, but this song is saying that as long as we trust in God all we have to do is be still, and God will make sure that we get to experience his love, mercy, peace, and kindness.

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Re: October 14th to 20th (Suggested Passage: Romans 8)

on Wed Oct 17, 2018 1:22 am
10/17/18
Romans 2: 17-29 - The Jews and the Law

I recently started the book of Romans, so I'll be continuing to keep the focus of my devotionals on Romans.
The entire second chapter of Romans is calling attention to those who claim they follow God's laws and commit actions that is the very opposite of what we teach. While the first half of the chapter set its focus on the idea of judgement and the justice that God's judgement brings, the second part specifically addresses various sins that are taught about, then ignored in actual practice. Throughout the passage, the verses Romans 2:20-21 stood out to me. It says, ".. an instructor of the foolish, a teacher of little children, because you have in the law the embodiment of knowledge and truth--- you, then, who teach others, do you teach yourself?". As a member of praise team and an upperclassman, I would consider myself all of the above because I am "instructed by the law" and "have more experience". However, I think that verse 21 calls a lot of us out. This verse reminded me of what Daniel during Sunday service, as well as the general question, "how can you feed others when you aren't even feeding yourself?". The rest of the chapter goes on to call out the hypocrisy of those who teach against sins, while committing them themselves. It even goes as far to say, "God's name is blasphemed among the Gentiles because of you". This specific verse called for a bit of self-reflection in terms of my level of hypocrisy. Do I obey the law? And if I don't, what right do I have to teach others of it? Does my identity as a praise member make me "better" than someone who is more faithful than me? This is also called upon in the comparison of physicals Jews versus spiritual Jews. To twist it in a way to apply it to my life, I thought of it as a way to compare myself to those who have better faith than me, but are younger than me. Although I may have the physical "status" of leader, if I don't apply my own teachings to my life, then I'm no better than a nonbeliever and a hypocrite. On the other hand, even if someone doesn't have as much experience or status, if they are stronger in their faith and follow God's laws, then they are a true believer that has been touched by the Spirit. I think that by doing these devotionals, God is leading me and the other leaders who are in a similar situation as me towards the "spiritual circumcision" that would truly make us leaders of God's law. We should be leading with God at our center, and be asking him for HIS strength to guide the ones who teach.

Prayer Requests:
- I've had a lot of people support me throughout my life, and I hope that people could feel comfortable enough to reach out to me if they need help with anything
- In relation to that, I want to grow spiritually by feeding myself more often so that I can actually call myself someone who has been touched by God.
- Academics... so much stress and not enough sleep
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Re: October 14th to 20th (Suggested Passage: Romans 8)

on Wed Oct 17, 2018 2:32 am
Hello guys I read Mark 12 today and something that stuck out to me in the passage was Mark chapter 12:31 which says, "The second is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.” I feel like this passage really spoke to me because as a member of this church i feel like I tend to favor some over others. There are my list of people I want to be with and a list of people I don't want to associate myself with but as a member of our church it should be very important for me to love everyone like Christ did for us yet I struggle a lot due to awkwardness or just avoiding the people because they're either annoying or weird. I believe PJ spoke on this about how do we love God when we cannot even love the people around us.

Another part of the chapter that stood out to me was the widow's offering and is one of my favorite stories in the bible due to the willingness of the widow. The scripture tells us that many rich and noble people gave large sums of money to offering but one widow came and gave just two coins. Jesus saw this and says that the rich and noble contributed out of their abundance but the widow gave everything she had. I believe this was just amazing how one could just give everything they have for offering, not knowing if they will be able to survive without that money. This taught me that no matter how much that you give, you should give your everything even if its less than just some of others.

Prayer requests: lowkey screwed for my anatomy exam tomorrow
just staying committed to reading the bible, its so hard staying up every night after work when i feel exhausted
Family, friends, youth group, retreat, school as always
Future, I really do not know if I still want to pursue nursing when I am at the age where some people already have jobs
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Re: October 14th to 20th (Suggested Passage: Romans 8)

on Wed Oct 17, 2018 3:35 am
Romans 2 - God's Righteous Judgment

Continuing on my daily devotionals, I read and studied Romans 2 which talks about God's righteous judgment. Yesterday I talked about how great God's love is and no matter where you are in life or how far you fell from him, he'll always take you back. In Romans 2 Paul dives deeper in explaining on how God's love work and the functions of it. After this year it'll mark ten years of me serving on worship team as drummer to worship team leader in CCYG. In the ten years of serving especially towards the beginning part of it I had the mind set because I'm serving it makes me more holy or my chance to go to heaven even closer. In Romans 2:1-2 "Therefore you have nope excuse, O man, every one of you who judges. For in passing judgement on another you condemn yourself, because you, the judge, practice the very same things." Serving doesn't put you in a high seat, the meaning serving is to serve others before you like how Jesus lived. It's easy to get lost in the thought "if I love God I'll be okay or God will always save me". From verse 3-4 "Do you suppose, O man—you who judge those who practice such things and yet do them yourself—that you will escape the judgment of God? Or do you presume on the riches of his kindness and forbearance and patience, not knowing that God's kindness is meant to lead you to repentance?" Yes, our God is loving and forgiving but God's kindness is meant to lead us to repentance. To be able to grow you need to learn to forgive to be forgiven. Reading this chapter today was really refreshing because even we all know we need to ask for forgiveness, reading in the Bible context really hit home for me. The question what would Jesus do? really reflects this whole chapter. As I continue to do these daily devotionals I hope I can truly live my life out like in Paul's writings.

Prayer Requests
- To learn to forgive and not hold things too deep in my heart
- To lean on repentance, not just through prayer but as life style
- My health as always...
- To not scared to show how much I love God
- To overcome my anxiety and to gain self confidence and not fake it

Songs of the Day
- Yours (Glory and Praise) By Elevation Worship Acoustic Version - This song talks about the greatness and amazing love of God. I recommend everyone to listen to this song, also because we'll be singing it on Friday night.
- Though You Slay Me By Shane and Shane - The song talks about how its easy to blame God when things don't go your way but God has a greater destination for us.
- Give Me Faith By Elevation Worship Acoustic Version
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Re: October 14th to 20th (Suggested Passage: Romans 8)

on Wed Oct 17, 2018 4:51 am
Psalm 13

In this passage we can see that there are many diffucult mishaps going around us. Throughout all of the troubles and all of our worldly desires coming over us, it is hard to see how a God is working through our lives. "How long will I wrestle with my thoughts and day after day have sorrow in my heart? How long will my enemy triumph over me?" (2) Everyday we go through different and difficult struggles which harm us. A lot of times we tend to blame God for everything and never look at the big picture. Every time something goes wrong, we always tend to side towards the negatives rather than the positives. However, we should we be looking upwards rather than downwards because it is a much healthier and heavenly desire that we need. "But I trust in your unfailing love; my heart rejoices in your salvation. I will sing to lords praise, for he has been good to me." (5-6) We should be looking up to God even through the darkest times that we have. Although it is obviously difficult, it is never impossible. Understandably schools been hard lately, but I've been trying to rely on Gods strength rather than my own. I realized that I was 100% going to lose the battle if I took it straight on without consulting with God first.
It hasn't always been like this as I would tend to blame God for everything going around me. Something not adding up to how I thought should have been. Something that would have made my life that much easier not coming into place. Throughout all that, it still burdens me at times, however, I know that God has a better plan for myself to grow throughout all of my difficulties and hindrances around me.

Prayer Request:
I can just show Gods love throughout things that I do.
I am able to always remember I am not fighting this battle alone.
I am able to not be frustrated with what comes about in the near future.

Songs of the day
Your (Glory and Praise) - I've been listening to this song all week, and it has touched my heart to the point that it has been the only song I've been listening to.
Break every chain - such a simple song, however, with extremely powerful lyrics coming into it.
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Devotional

on Wed Oct 17, 2018 5:44 pm
Psalms 15

Today I did my devotional on another part of Psalms. This passage has so many different areas that are able to accommodate into our own lives especially myself. It states in the beginning who is able to live on the holy mountain in a sacred tent. Who wouldn't want to live in a sacred tent. On many different areas of my life, I tend to always not be the one who is speaking the truth and not casting slurs towards others around myself. "The one whose walk is blameless, who does what is righteous, who speaks the truth from their heart; whose tongue utters no slander, who does no wrong to a neighbor, and casts no slur on other;" (2-3). The only way in order for you to live and dwell upon this place is if you are righteous in all of these different areas of your life. I am working on trying to change the things that I say around others and how others may perceive me as. By changing myself, it may show other people the ways that I am trying to work around. Especially with the many flaws that I have.
It is said to despise a vile person but honor those who fear the Lord in verse 4. On many occasions I tend to go towards the ones whom are doing things which are wrong and that I know which are wrong. Going to watch things which I should not be doing as a good person. Those are some things around me right now which are difficult especially in college as I am away from home and it is easy for myself to get distracted to these other things around me.

Prayer Request
I am able to really look at myself and adapt
I am able to really show the love of Jesus Christ throughout everything that I do


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Re: October 14th to 20th (Suggested Passage: Romans 8)

on Wed Oct 17, 2018 11:49 pm
For the devotionals I will be posting, I will be reflecting on the book of Proverbs. This is a book of the bible I read multiple times in the past, but I find that I continue to be drawn to it. With every read, I am able to take away a new sticking point or new perspective in each chapter which really shows its incredible depth. Today, I began with reading chapter one of Proverbs which captures the overall purpose of this book. I was again reminded of the concept of wisdom and knowledge, and how the foundation for attaining both requires the fear of God. Although I've seen this subject appearing in different sections of Scripture, I have yet to truly understand what this means in the context my own life. But after reflecting on this, I concluded that in order to fear the Lord, I should be willing and almost inclined to prioritizing Him over all of my secular focuses or desires. For me, a large part of this is my drive for earthly success in school and career aspirations. These seem to consume the majority of my thoughts and overwhelm thoughts of God in my heart and mind. In order to get past these desires and allow myself to place God at the center of my life, an initiative that I took in the past was to adjust my schedule to focus more on him by praying/reading Scripture in the mornings and before I slept so that I would be starting and ending each day with a mind and heart filled with the Lord. But I lacked discipline and inconsistently followed this, so I made the decision to attempt to take this habit up again to make it so that I would unconditionally walk with God and begin to prioritize my relationship with Him over all other secular things.

Prayer Requests:
My hunger for God and having him be the center of my ambitions and thoughts.
Helping me not be lazy or unwilling to read and reflect on Scripture as I try to implement a new adjustment to my schedule

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Re: October 14th to 20th (Suggested Passage: Romans 8)

on Thu Oct 18, 2018 2:54 am
Romans 3 - God's Righteousness Upheld

While reading Romans 3 today Paul asked a question in verse 5-7 really made me wonder why. Romans 5-7 "But if our unrighteousness serves to show the righteousness of God, what shall we say? That God is unrighteous to inflict wrath on us? By no means! For then how could God judge the world? But if through my lie God's truth abounds to his glory, why am I still being condemned as a sinner?" This question really stood out to me because I know if following what God is telling me to do, I'm speaking God's truth. But in the verse its staying even through unrighteousness and lies God's truth is still being shared. Context like this made it hard for me to share the gospel with my friends because when I told them "if you do right he will loves you but if I do wrong he'll still loves you. Many of my non-christian friends didn't understand that kind of love God has. The way my friends would respond to many question would be "then why do I have to christian if God love me even when I'm not". In moments like those I would freeze and not know what to say. I would question myself if what I am believing is the truth, that everything I learn at church is truly correct. In verse 9 Paul states "What then? Are we Jews any better off? No, not at all. For we have already charged that all, both Jews and Greeks, are under sin." Do I really have to be christian to go heaven? was a question I would think about when I felt unsure. But after reading verse 19-20 I knew what I was believing in was truth and the gospel is truth and the light. Romans 2:19-20 "Now we know that whatever the law says it speaks to those who are under the law, so that every mouth may be stopped, and the whole world may be held accountable to God. For by works of the law no human being[a] will be justified in his sight, since through the law comes knowledge of sin." Yes, God loves everyone but the ones who believe and follow law he has written will have eternal life. God is not exclusive, God will always have his hand out for us from the day we're born to the day we die. Its our choice to decide if we want to follow that path to eternal life. Why waste the little time you have on earth when you can spend eternal life with God? Why do we push back God when we know if we believe and live our life out for him we'll have eternal life?

Prayer Requests
- To trust what I believe in
- To do well on my Pharmacy exam (this is actually the second time I'm taking this exam, not passing the first time really broke me so I hope I can do it this time.)
- My voice and back have been hurting a lot lately so if you guys can pray for me to get better

Songs of the Day
- This I believe By Hillsong
- Yearn By Shane and Shane


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Re: October 14th to 20th (Suggested Passage: Romans 8)

on Thu Oct 18, 2018 5:59 pm
Psalm 51:1-19

This chapter in the Bible was recommended by Pastor James, and I really liked it because it kind of got me self-conscious. This chapter is about how great God's grace is. How he forgives us of our sins. Before this chapter, David has committed adultery with Bathsheba. He repents for his wrongdoings and asks God to cleanse him so that he can teach sinners God's ways. In the context, David asks for forgiveness, "Have mercy on me, O God, according to your unfailing love: according to your great compassion, blot out my transgressions. Wash away all my iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin. Almost always, I repent for my sins and ask for his mercy." I always do know that God is there for me in my head, but never follow up with my actions. The verses from 1-2 made me question myself if I am actually Christian. I think I did not repent and pray because I did not see the forgiveness with my own eyes. Neither did I feel God's mercy physically. But by reading this chapter of the Bible, it reminded me that repenting to God and asking for forgiveness, is a necessity.

Prayer Request:
- School (I have been struggling, in my opinion, in school and I just really hope that I can receive the grades I need)
- Health (Not only for me but everyone in the youth group. It's been getting chilly and I hope that everyone can stay healthy and worship God.)
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Parable of the Weeds

on Thu Oct 18, 2018 7:01 pm
Matthew 13: 24-30
Parable of the Weeds

This parable talks about a man who sowed a bunch of wheat (the good plant) in his field. However later on, someone else came into his field and planted a bunch of weeds (the bad plant), and so the man's field was mixed with bost wheats and weed. Although his servants wanted to get rid of the weeds because they got in the way of of the wheats, the man told him to leave them be until the wheats were fully grown. This man represents God because just like how the man purposely left the bad plants with the good plants, God purposely leaves the struggles and hardships in our lives alone, and makes us have to deal with them. Reading this passage at first really made me frustrated with God because right now there are many things I am struggling with, and in my eyes my life would be so much easier if God were to just remove all of those struggles from my life. However I realized that God is a patient God, and that he wants us to struggle early in life so that later on in life we will be much more matured. In biology class, we learned about how plants are able to grow better if other plants are around them, rather than having them just grow by themselves. Thinking about this made it easier to understand why God wants us to go through so much adversity. Just like how wheats are able to grow better in the presence of bad plants, we humans are able to grow spiritually better if we learn how to deal with the hardships that God presents us. Even though this process doesn't give us immediate pleasure and satisfaction, it will end up benefiting us in the long run since we will be able to be much bigger and fruitful plants.

Prayer requests:
-Help me to have a better attitude towards struggle. Instead of questioning God on why he wants me to struggle so much, I should be blessed to have struggles in my life since they will help me grow more.
-Help me to trust God and his plans for me even though things don't go my way.
-Help this Youth Group, especially the leaders, to have a better attitude towards devotionals, reading scripture, praying, etc.
Song: Heart Abandoned - Passion
I really enjoy the chorus of this song, which says:
God give me a heart abandoned
Ever after You alone
Gold and silver, You can take it
All I want is You my Lord

This song is urging us to have our strongest desire be in God. Even though pursuing worldly things such as money sounds the most appealing, they don't even compare to what God can do for you once you decide to give yourself up for him.
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Romans 8

on Thu Oct 18, 2018 8:58 pm
So after reading Roman's 8 I really focused on verses 1-17. The first few verses just generally talk about how great God's power is and how if we have his spirit, we will be free from sin eternal. What really shook me though is when the passage mentions our flesh. It has a common motif that flesh is anything bad we do that harms God. Nothing good comes out of our flesh. On verse 5, it says "Those who live according to the flesh have their minds set on what the flesh desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires", and verse 7 says "The mind governed by the flesh is hostile to God; it does not submit to God’s law, nor can it do so". What we do and focus on in this world really doesn't matter at all if we not have the spirit as a prime motive. How I perceived this was that always keep God's spirit in our minds, and be mindful of the actions that we do and if they please God or not, and try not to focus too much on worldly (flesh) desires. Another verse that really had got to me was verse 9, where it says "You, however, are not in the realm of the flesh but are in the realm of the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God lives in you. And if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, they do not belong to Christ". This scared me a lot when I was reading it. It basically says that whatever we do now in this world, it won't matter in the end. All that matters to us in this world right now is if we can have the spirit of God in us, so we may have salvation and be saved. I think we can have this same spirit if we just gave more back to our church and just serve God in any way possible. If we have a Christ like mind, then we can easily be able to gain the Spirit of God through service.

Prayer Requests:
- Help me with just managing my time throughout the week. I have not been able to do the thing I wanted to do nor I was able to really get a good nights sleep either. Whatever the case may be, I just want to be more responsible and reasonable on how I use my time.
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Re: October 14th to 20th (Suggested Passage: Romans 8)

on Fri Oct 19, 2018 1:00 am
As I near the end of Mark, a lot of the stories of just Jesus and his teachings really made me reflect on just my past and just how relatable I was with just the mistakes made by his disciples, the pharisees, and all the ones who were rebuked by Jesus. Helped me realize how much I needed to be rebuked for the sinful habits and desires that I have that have continued throughout my life for so long. I just felt this way after going through Mark chapter 14 where I ran into the part where Peter was accused of denying Christ. Verses 29-30 say, "Peter said to him, “Even though they all fall away, I will not. ”And Jesus said to him, “Truly, I tell you, this very night, before the rooster crows twice, you will deny me three times.” I think so many times in my life i was given just a clear message and just huge opportunities in life where I can just serve or just do the little things yet every time I turn it down because it was a little too much work or I just wasn't in the mood. So any times where I could have gone to him when I was hurt or troubled but denied him so many times by looking at world things. SO my prayer request for today is just to trust in God more and to just have stronger faith through thick and thin. that i may go to him in happy and sad times rather than ignoring or denying him as I have countless times.

Song recommendations- remembrance, its a good song, can't get it out of my head
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Re: October 14th to 20th (Suggested Passage: Romans 8)

on Fri Oct 19, 2018 4:43 pm
Matthew 13: 10-23 The parable of the Sower

Summary: Jesus is speaking to a crowd on a bot. He tells them of a parable of how a farmer went out to sow his seeds and they fell on different paths and how it affects how the different seeds grow. Then his disciples ask Jesus why he speaks in parables. Jesus responds with another parable and then proceeds to explain the parable of the sower to the disciples.

Application: The phrase that caught my eye is “The secrets of the kingdom of heaven” (v.11). Although God is always right next to you, we need also need to be the ones who are looking for him. He is always trying to reach out to us every day and we are the ones who ignore him and become distracted by our own worries. The keyword “secrete” intrigued me because you would think that God’s word should be for everyone and not kept away. However, what I think he means by this is that we need to be the ones who are actively looking for him on a daily basis. This is why these devotionals are so important. They force us to dig deeper and reveal the secrets and the joys of the word.

Prayer Requests:
Stay strong in our daily search for God and be consistent with doing our devotionals.

Song of the week:
"Letting go of my pride
I lay down my desires
Just to worship in Spirit and truth
More than all of my dreams
More than fame I will seek You Lord"

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Re: October 14th to 20th (Suggested Passage: Romans 8)

on Fri Oct 19, 2018 4:50 pm
Today's reflection is on Romans 8:14-27

Our identities are now kept secure as God's sons and daughters, guaranteed by the Holy Spirit, through the merit of Jesus' life, death, and resurrection.
All separate, all apart from our very own contribution, as salvation is exclusively through grace through faith.
But life as a Christian isn't always easy and today's passage touches upon our lives in Christ.

As fellow heirs of Christ, we are also called to live by His example and that we come to terms with our own personal ambitions and lives - just as He did, even until death. "For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us." The difference between the present degree of pain we experience and the blessedness to which God has appointed his people is so immensely different that there is no way to compare them. And any comparison we make, come up with, formulate, simply falls short. Suffering is definitely real, but it is due to the hope that is to come and that we wait upon God's glory in light of what we struggle through.
If the present day sufferings are not worth comparing to God's glory, then am I suffering? Or am I living a life that is easy?
-Not to say that we should suffer unnecessarily, but I do believe that being challenged in the midst of our faith is the litmus test that will indicate that we not only live for God, but that we truly know the worth of God's glory.

It's probably best suited to ask, Do I know the value and worth of knowing Christ and His glory to come? I feel as though this question could really test my faith, as it should be tested.

We are called to wait eagerly, we are called to wait passionately, and most definitely not passively. "For in this hope we were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what he sees?" The verses go on to state that we are the fruitfruits of what is to come. We OURSELVES are the EXAMPLE of God's glory. That His glory is made known to the rest of the world through His people. Just as the first pieces of produce hope of a future harvest, the fruit which the Spirit provides in us can now provide hope that we will one day be like Christ. There is a harvest to come.

Hope gives stability to our faith. Hope is our anchor upon the foundation of Christ. Without hope, everything becomes just an emotional experience that is founded upon everything external to my faith. Hope will lead us and guide us, that when I feel lost and confused in my faith - it will bring peace, rest, and steadiness to my life even in the midst of chaos. Am I hoping? Do I even know what to hope for? These questions arose, that even though I ought to hope, I can't. But that's the beauty of God, in which He gives us the Spirit who helps us in our weakness (v.26). That when I don't know what to pray for, He knows what to pray for, on my behalf. The Holy Spirit searches my heart, reveals my idols and imperfections that I may bring them about back to God. There is hope for the hopeless, as the Holy Spirit gives faith to the faithless. There is so much more to come, so much more of God's glory to be revealed, and so much work to be done in us - to the praise of His glory. From Him, through Him, and to Him are all things and we are living testimonies of this grace...

Please pray for greater devotion and greater hope, I think that this passage really revitalized me from a week of falling behind classes. Just as I see my sleep schedule finally being corrected, I can also see my posture and attitude in serving God being corrected as well.
I listened to King of My Heart throughout today's devo, God truly is the king of our hearts as it is His rightful throne... Super pumped for bible study!
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Romans 8:18-30

on Fri Oct 19, 2018 11:37 pm
For this devotional I wanted to focus on the second part of Romans 8. Verses 18 already gets right into it with saying how all the suffering we have now is nothing compared to God's Glory. This means that whatever we think may be tragic or amazing, it is nothing compared to what God's Glory has in store for us. Yet, in verses 19-21, it talks how we are eager to receive this said Glory, yet at the same time frustrated by the fact we cannot see this glory anytime soon. It talks of how we frustrate ourselves since we want to be liberated and see this glory, but in reality we need to be patient for God to open up his glory to us. 22-25 talks how we've been complaining since the beginning of time. Even if we have the fruits of the spirit, we still groan and complain as we wait eagerly for God to save us. What really gets me is these last few verses when it says "But hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what they already have? 25 But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently". This is saying how we have to be patient if we want to have the Glory of God. I kinda saw this as a way for us to be motivated to do more for God. If we already hope for what we have, whats the point in waiting? We won't get anything beneficial if we want something we already have. We could do so much more for God if we wait for his Glory to come to us. 26-27 tells us that through all this patience, we are not alone. The Spirit helps us in our faults and where we struggle, helps us get through all the groaning for his Glory. The last verses sum everything up perfectly. 28 Says that God brings good things to those who love him. He even already knew the outcome of our lives, and he predestined us to different fates. 30 says that we were predestined and called, which lead us to being justified, leading us to be glorified. I like how this ends because its saying that, hey we get through all this groaning and eagerness for God's glory, but we already have it. God already is going to make us glorified to we should stop complaining about not getting it when we will someday for sure since God had predestined us for Glory.

Prayer: I am in a lot of struggle right now for school. I bombed one of my big tests and my grades are not looking that good at all. I pray God can just let me be able to focus more on school and try not to be distracted so I can do better.
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Re: October 14th to 20th (Suggested Passage: Romans 8)

on Sat Oct 20, 2018 12:47 am
One of my favorite passages from Romans is Romans 8:37-39.

Romans 8:37-39 is a passage that really stuck out to me. These verses basically say that nothing, absolutely nothing, can separate us from the love of the Lord. It says "For I am convinced . . ." This phrase really stuck out to me because I sometimes lose sight if the Lords love, and this passage reminds me on how far I truly am from God.
The verses are applicable to all, and should be remembered, in my opinion. These verses have stuck to me ever since elementary school. This always remintds me of how great the love of God is and how he would always sick by me no matter the consequences. Through this, it shows me that he is there and how is never ending love would be inseparable.
Some of my prayer requests are:
-being able to improve myself as a person overall
-to help me with school grades and stress
-get my priorities straight
-grow spiritually

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Re: October 14th to 20th (Suggested Passage: Romans 8)

on Sat Oct 20, 2018 4:01 am
Matthew 14: 22-36 Jesus Walks on the Water

Summary: Jesus had gone up to a mountainside to pray by himself. After he was done, he saw that the boat had drifted away because of the wind so he walked onto the lake to rejoin his disciples. The Disciples saw him walking on the lake and they cried out in fear, thinking that Jesus was a ghost. Jesus replied, “Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid” (v.27). Peter went out and walked on water, but as soon as he saw the wind, he became afraid and started to sink. Jesus caught him and rebuked Peter for having little faith.

Application: The verse that caught my eye was verse 31. It says, “Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. ‘You of little faith,’ he said, ‘why did you doubt?’” I think that we doubt Jesus a lot more than we think. We live in a society full of anxiety and we constantly worry about things that aren’t even meaningful. When we worry about anything, we, just like Peter, are looking at the wind instead of Jesus. We are getting distracted by the worries of the world and not looking at the one thing that really matters in our lives. This very closely relates to the book of Ecclesiastes, which helped me through times of worry and anxiety. I highly encourage people to read the book again in your own time/doing it for your devotionals.

Prayer Requests:
I think that we tend to worry about how our church will turn out or how different people will turn out. It good that we care about them but we also have to realize that we are in God’s hand and that he will take care of us. I pray that we have more faith in God and instead of worrying, we pray to do His will.

Song/Lyrics:
“Glory and praise
Power and strength
Worthy is the Lamb of God
Hallelujah”

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Re: October 14th to 20th (Suggested Passage: Romans 8)

on Sat Oct 20, 2018 7:43 am
Matthew 15:1-20 That Which Defiles

Summary: Jesus is in Jerusalem and some Pharisees question Jesus on why the disciples break the tradition of washing their hands before they eat. Jesus replies that the Pharisees also break the command of God for the sake of keeping a tradition and calls them hypocrites. Jesus then speaks to the crowd, “‘What goes into someone’s mouth does not defile them, but what comes out of their mouth, that is what defiles them” (v.11). Jesus goes into further detail in verse 18, saying, “But the things that come out of a person’s mouth come from the heart, and these defile them”.

Application: I feel like this passage speaks directly to some of the problems that we have in our church and something that I also struggle with at times. Verses 17 to 19 should rebuke all of us, and I quote, “Don’t you see that whatever enters the mouth goes into the stomach and then out of the body? But the things that come out of a person’s mouth come from the heart, and these defile them. For out of the heart come evil thoughts - murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false testimony, slander. These are what defile a person, but eating with unwashed hands does not defile them”. I think that the culture of CCYG has become a lot more toxic in the past couple of years. We constantly roast each other instead of caring for one another. When is the last time one of us sat down with one another and asked how the other was doing (excluding college members)? We say a lot of swear words that would definitely not be appropriate in any other setting, but we allow it at church. What does that say about our youth group? I also struggle with this because saying vulgar comments gets your attention. Like, “I can’t believe he just said that!” It’s something that I definitely want to change and lead others by example.

Prayer Requests:
Stop swearing.
Instead of roasting each other, we should catch up on one another and care for them.

Meaning Song/Lyric:
“I am not my mistakes
I am a child of God
You have called me by name
I'm home in my Father's arms”

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Re: October 14th to 20th (Suggested Passage: Romans 8)

on Sat Oct 20, 2018 8:57 am
10/20/18
Romans 3 - God's Faithfulness, No One is Righteous, Righteousness Through Faith

Sorry if this is posted twice; I think the one I posted earlier today didn't go through.
The next chapter is Romans 3, which is divided into three subsections. The first talks about faithfulness through a series of rhetorical questions, the second talks about what happens when one turns away from God and the law through various cross references, and the third talks about how the righteousness of God is given through God's grace and not through the upholding of law. I'll be mainly focusing on the last half of the second portion, and the last portion.
The second portion begins with establishing what happens to those who turn away from God through cross references that are made in the Bible, primarily from the book of Psalm. In verse 19, Paul writes, "Now we know that whatever the law says, it says to those who are under the law". This reminded me of Friday bible study, when we discussed how if someone is devoted to the rewards that something brings, they are a slave to it. Similarly, those who are under the law are people who serve the law for their personal glory, and nothing else. This is further justified in verse 20, where he says, "Therefore, no one will be declared righteous in God's sight by the works of the law; rather, through the law we become conscious of our sin". This shows that simply blindly following the law isn't enough to be declared righteous by God. The law is only enacted to create a baseline for sin, so that we know when we have done wrong. God's grace is the only way we can be redeemed in Him. It says in verse 23-24, "for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus". These verses really made me realize that God is the only one that can give us redemption and save us from our sins. It really stuck out to me because it always feels like I should act according to the law in an effort to pay back what Christ has done for us. This passage really raised up the question: am I really doing it for God or am I doing it for myself? Although I know that I can never "pay him back", the mindset persists. The passage made me realize that this is wrong, and that I should realign my heart with God's ways. This isn't to repay him, but a way to give thanks for what he has done for us and for his saving grace.

Prayer requests:
- Help me serve with a better heart and help build my spiritual life back up
- To control my anger and bitterness in a way that isn't destructive to others
- To have a more forgiving heart

A song that I've been listening to throughout the week is Devotion, by Hillsong United. The specific lyrics that stuck out to me were in the second verse:
"I'm forgiven, my savior who did not deserve death
He was blameless and I was lost in shamefulness
I'm delivered, but it doesn't seem right
Unless I keep my eyes focused on the savior who gave his live"
This also related to Romans 3, because it talks about how I was only delivered because of God's sacrifice. It reminded me that there is no way to redemption without God in the center of it, and that I should take up the cross and follow him in thanks for his sacrifice.
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Re: October 14th to 20th (Suggested Passage: Romans 8)

on Sat Oct 20, 2018 2:55 pm
To be honest I haven’t read the Bible on my own since the summer. I have read certain verses here and there, but not a whole chapter. I think these devotionals will help me to read more and help me understand more. So I’m reading the book of Matthew again, because I decided I want to read over the gospels and understand it better.
Matthew 16 talks about false teaching and knowing who Jesus truly is. I wanted to focus my devotional on the second half of the chapter which is about how Peter confesses Jesus as the Christ. There are many times in my life where I just think, “Oh Jesus is just the son of God who forgave all our sins by dying on the cross.” When I read verses 17-19, there were two things that hit me. One, I can’t just say I am a Christian by declaring that Jesus is the son of God. I have to mean it and accept it in my heart. I knew this already, but I really don’t think I truly accepted it. It was all surface level for me. It was never from deep down inside. But as Peter says this, Jesus knew he meant it and accepted it because he praised Peter. He says, “Blessed are you, Simon Bar- Jonah!” Second thing that hit me was that Peter was able to declare this because of his faith and intimacy with God. The second part of the verse I wrote above says, “For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father who is in heaven.” So Peters faith in God was strong enough for God to communicate this to Him. I realized I really want that. I want to build a relationship with God to the point where I can hear what he’s saying to me and I can follow him with a faithful heart. To do that, I’m going to read more of His word and try to see what He is telling me and pray. I haven’t prayed to God one on one a lot and I hope I can do that more. I know all these things aren’t shocking discoveries, but I think these little discoveries will help me to become a faithful follower.
Prayer requests:
-my prayers be less shallow and more meaningful especially before I read His word and pray for others
-help me to fit my schedule around God instead of trying to fit God into my schedule
Song:
Some parts of Greater by MercyMe’s lyrics were playing in my head like, “Cause I hear a voice and He calls me redeemed when others say I’ll never be enough. And greater is the one living inside of me than he who is living in the world” especially during the part where Jesus says not to listen to the Pharisees and Sadducees of the world.
Another part of the song is, “Bring your doubts and bring your fears. Bring your hurt and bring your tears. There’ll be no condemnation here. You are holy, righteous and redeemed.” That part just helps me to remember how merciful God is and He’s there for me.

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Re: October 14th to 20th (Suggested Passage: Romans 8)

on Sat Oct 20, 2018 3:40 pm
Proverbs 4
In this chapter, the main take-away seemed to be caution. It emphasized gaining wisdom and understanding in order that they would guide you in straight paths and not in the ways of the wicked. Later in the chapter it gave certain commandments that give examples of what this means or looks like such as guarding your heart, keeping your mouth free of perversity, giving thought to the paths for your feet, and not turning to the right or left. All of these get to the point of watching one's intentions, words, and actions/decisions making sure that they are righteous and not a detachment from the "straight path". To break each of these examples down, I interpreted guarding one's heart as making sure that that my intentions and desires are God-oriented and not wicked. Keeping one's mouth free of perversity seemed to mean that I should make sure that the words that I say are not sinful but rather pleasing to God. I interpreted giving thoughts to the path of one's feet as saying to watch my actions, making sure that they aligned with the path that God set out for me. Finally, not turning to the left or right seemed to mean to make sure that my path isn't disrupted or redirected by sin. I reflected on what each of these meant in the context of my own life, and I realized how reckless I am at times with every one of these things and how much I stray from the straight path that the bible requires from me as a Christian. In my daily life, I will aim to live up to this call to caution from the Bible, and to work towards the righteousness and purity of Jesus to the best of my ability.

Prayer Requests:
- Having a righteous and God-oriented heart to serve.
- Giving me motivation to not be lazy about my spiritual life. (Less importantly, my secular life too)
- The safe return of my parents from Korea
- A good grade on my euro test (not really)

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Re: October 14th to 20th (Suggested Passage: Romans 8)

on Sat Oct 20, 2018 7:16 pm
Proverbs 5
This chapter of proverbs discusses adultery and the repercussions of falling into that temptation. It describes the adulteress as one who leads you to death, and it warns that succumbing to her seduction would cause you to lose your wealth to those who are cruel. As a solution to this, the Scripture calls for us to practice discipline and self control, and to be satisfied and grateful for the possessions or the spouse that we already have. To conclude the chapter, it reminds us that all that we do is in plain sight God and that he is always examining our paths. Although this particular example of sin isn't a scenario that can be directly related to my life, I thought about what the "adulteress" was in my life. I found that the primary temptations in my life were sadness, laziness, and lust. Time and time again I find myself wallowing in sadness, rejecting God's comfort and support without a real purpose. Instead on focusing on the blessings God has provided for me without having earned any of it, my mind dwelled in negativity and hate for my weaknesses. Secondly, despite being fully capable of actively pursuing a more intimate relationship with God, I was drawn in by the temptations of laziness and became inconsistent with my faith. Lastly, I found myself bending to the seduction of lust, sometimes without any resistance. This chapter motivates me to take more measures to weaken the grip of these temptations in my life by describing the consequences these evil deeds and reminding me that God watches over and examines each and every one of my actions. I believe that keeping both of these pointers in mind whenever I feel tempted by sin will effectively prevent me from being overcome by it.

Prayer Requests:
- For God to provide me with the willpower and strength to resist the temptations in my life keeping the two reminders in mind from this passage
- To practice discipline and self-control in my daily life unconditionally

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Re: October 14th to 20th (Suggested Passage: Romans 8)

on Sat Oct 20, 2018 7:48 pm
Concluding w/ verses 28 through 39 of Romans 8;

v. 28 "And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose."
Literally I feel as if there's so much going on in this verse that it can be a separate devotional in it of itself.

God, causes all things to work together for our good - what does this mean in particular? Does this mean God gives us good things? What does causing things to work together for our benefit mean?
I think this is particularly looking at the fact that we were originally designed to know Him and to have a relationship with Him. And that would serve as the ultimate good in our lives. Sometimes we think that God does 'good' things for us, which is true to some degree, but I feel as if this particular verse is addressing the fact that what is good for is for us to have our identities firmly rooted and established in Him. And throughout that process, God will CAUSE ALL THINGS to work together for this purpose. Amazing stuff.

v.29-30 addresses the fact that we cannot lose our salvation and also that we were predestined to know God - even before He created the foundations of the earth (Ephesians 1:4). As He as called us individually and collectively as a whole, as a body in Christ, God surely will finish the good work He has started. And this is so comforting, knowing that by our own strength we can accomplish nothing. The following verses bring about rhetorical questions that are really good for us in order that we can validate, confirm, and affirm our faith. And there is nothing, nothing, nothing, that can separate us from the love of God. Not even ourselves, not even our sins, not even our enemies, nothing and no one. God did not even spare His own son, that He desired that we would know Him to the extent of slaughtering Him on that cross. That God's wrath, originally intended for us was laid on Christ and now when God looks at us, He considers us to have lived Jesus' perfect life. There can also be no charge against us - there is no sin that Christ has not died for. There is also no condemnation either, that as God has justified us - there's no turning back. There's no reversal in the judicial court, where we would be held accountable for our sins.

Our identities are firm, they aren't subject to change. God doesn't change His mind on us. And when we're unfaithful, God is faithful. We are held safe firmly in the palms of His hand where He was pierced for our transgressions, crushed for our sins in order that we might have life in Him. There is no other truth greater than this truth, and no other comfort that can be found in this world apart from the love of God that is unending, never failing, and never changing.

Please pray for me tomorrow, God's been really humbling me and providing me His passion, that He has for all of us.
God is really in the midst of doing amazing things for us, please continue to pray for our youth group <3
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Re: October 14th to 20th (Suggested Passage: Romans 8)

on Sat Oct 20, 2018 10:25 pm
10/20/18
Romans 4 - Abraham Justified by Faith

This next chapter of Romans focuses specifically on Abraham and how he remained faithful through his struggles.
The chapter begins with how Abraham was justified by God, and not through the works that he was able to do. It says in verse 3, "What does scripture say? 'Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness'". This shows that because Abraham believed in God and did not boast in his actions, he was given the gift of righteousness by God. As the chapter continues, it addresses if Abraham was circumcised, which was a sign of righteousness. The chapter clarifies that Abraham was circumcised AFTER he was given the gift of righteousness, which shows the idea that God looks for spiritual circumcision, rather than physical. The chapter continues and brings up a specific struggle that Abraham had went through. God had promised Abraham a son, even when he was over a hundred years old. This act would've been physically impossible, but Abraham didn't have any doubts in God. Verse 20 says, "Yet he did not waver through unbelief regarding the promise of God, but was strengthened by his faith and gave glory to God". This again shows how strong his faith in God is, to the point where he believes that God will be able to do things that transcend physical capabilities to help him in his struggles. This made me wonder what holds me back from believing in God as strongly as Abraham. If Abraham had that kind of faith through something that seemed so impossible, who am I to not believe that God will help me in my own life? This specific passage really caused me to reflect on how strong my faith in God really is, and made me wonder what holds me back. This entire passage made me realize that there are so many examples in current life as well as the Bible that go through struggles that are so much more severe and seem so much more hopeless than my own situation, and yet they have unwavering faith whereas I have doubts. If they can remain faithful through their struggles, then I should be able to do the same. This passage really made me strengthen my trust in God, because truly, nothing is impossible for him.

Prayer requests:
- I need to get better at doing devotionals on time, and not cramming it in at the end of the week
- Not sick, but my body feels super exhausted all the time and I've been getting really bad sleep this entire week... Please pray for my health
- Reiterating my past prayer requests, as those are long term requests that I really want to fix in my life
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Romans 8: 31-39

on Sat Oct 20, 2018 11:52 pm
For this devo and since I was following Romans 8, I thought I could do the last chunk of this chapter. The very first verse of this chapter (31) says that with everything said before, what do we have to worry about? If God has such plans for us, what do we have to fear for? It says “If God is for us, who can be against us?”. I perceived this as we should have no fear in our daily activities or that we shouldn’t have much doubts since God is for us. Where we go his spirit is with us watching over us. The second verse also says that he gave us his son, so he would graciously give us all things. I saw this as we shouldn’t be afraid to lose things in life because God has things that can make up for all the other things we lost in life. The next few verses speak of justice and accusations. It says how we shouldn’t be judging anyone or persecuting anyone of anything as God is the one doing that. Since God sent his son to die for us, God has every right to be the one who should condemn anyone and we shouldn’t take that from God and do it ourselves. The next verse talks of what would separate us from God. Our connection with God is so great that nothing would severe that connection, from famine to war. The next verse talks of how we deserve to die for God and we are useless. But the next verses speak of how we are more that just sheep to be slaughtered, we are conquerors and that nothing would make us lose our connection with God. I really connected with this verse since this was one of the verses we had to memorize for our Nicaragua missions trip. It really just shows how great God’s love is, and just like in Reckless Love, there’s nothing that will stop it from coming to us. No shadow, no wall, no mountain, nor no lie would stop us from the love
of God.
My prayer requests is still the same. I really just want to focus more and more on school and still have time for God while not get distracted by other things.
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Re: October 14th to 20th (Suggested Passage: Romans 8)

on Sun Oct 21, 2018 12:24 am
10/20/18 Acts 3
Repentance - God’s Love
“Repent therefore, and turn back, that your sins may be blotted out,”
Purpose: Tells us to repent that we may be changed.

We all are holding onto something. For some of us, it’s a secret activity or habit that nobody knows about. And this brings up thoughts in my head of “What is it for me? What do I need to let go of?” In perspective, God rarely puts something new in your life until you open yourself and let go of something broken or old. I’ve been reading the Bible and seeing how I can find my way back to God. From my first two devotionals, the first one was about seeking something more deep and true in your life. The second about feeling regret and how God let’s us start over. Now for this one, I think this is the most important in making me closer to God. Through out my life, I have been going to church, and one thing I learned is that you can’t do it yourself when finding your way back to God. We are in need of the Christians around us who can keep each other accountable. Turning away from sin and seeking help is a form of repentance. To repent is to go home, to the place where you came from and where you belong. Going home is about being forgiven and receiving assurance of life after this life. However, it’s also about finding a new meaning and direction for life that can’t be found anywhere else. It’s about having a relationship with God and going back to him. When you repent, God changes you in a recognizable and ongoing transformation. Repentance doesn’t mean feeling bad. In the Bible, true repentance leads to “times of refreshing” from the Lord. Repentance is about starting over and admitting that we need help. Today could be the day where I or you go home to where we belong. It doesn’t matter what we have done in the past. God wants us to come back to him, our home, even if we are a wreck. Through this devotional, it helped me think through of what I have to repent for, so I may have a refreshed time with God.

Prayer Requests:
I need prayer to live my life solely for the purpose of God rather than living for the worldly things around me.
Prayer that I can live my life with purpose for God rather than for myself
Prayer that when I study that it would be an act of worship to God
Prayer that I won’t get sick to easily.
Prayer that I won’t get too stressed out from school.


Song recommendation: “Rhythm of Grace” - Hillsong

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Re: October 14th to 20th (Suggested Passage: Romans 8)

on Sun Oct 21, 2018 12:40 am
I just read the two chapters for the books that were given to us and it seemed more like a wake up call as one of the leaders and older members of our congregation. It was a short two pages yet made me reflect so much on my own actions of what kind of leader I am. In chapter 53, Find the Critic's Kernel of Truth it talks about how instead of taking someone critic so harmfully and emotionally we should instead try to learn from it. This really spoke to me because as someone older I feel as if I am wiser and I should know whats best but there are a lot of faults in the things I do and when someone tells me on how to fix it, instead of trying to learn from it I tend to go in the mindset of "Im older than you so Im better" instead of trying to learn from it.
In chapter 70, Arrive early or not at all, it tells us how the actions of a leader in coming early or late really affects the way others may feel or take on the situation. However, i believe something other than just being late it is more about the behaviors and actions some of the leaders do that allow some members to do the same. As a leader if I use my phone or talk during bible study or during the sermon I believe that as the members see the leader do it, they'll think its fine for them to do the same. In this, i believe that I should follow as a better example so that younger members may learn good behaviors rather than bad behaviors from me.

Prayer requests:
-A lot of my desire and fire I got from revival died down which gave me less motivation to do time of devotionals and quiet time and kind of made it into a chore, just to be more on top these things and to get the right desire to do these
-gotta start applying for schools soon and hopefully this is the path that god wants me to follow
-winter retreat
-just to be a better example and person

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Devotional

on Sun Oct 21, 2018 1:06 am
Psalms 18

I decided to do my devotional on Psalms 18, as I am going through Psalms for my devotionals and chose this specific chapter because it has many references which I can implement into my own life style. "I love you, Lord, my strength. The Lord is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer; my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold." (1-2) Something that stood out to me was the part where it said my fortress and my deliver, as many times I go throughout my days, and say simply that I can do everything while in the comfort of my own home/room, however, I need him as a fortress of my own. I need him daily as a stable rock on which I stand on. He is the refuge on which I stand on top of as I am unable to continuously love my neighbors as myself and glory his name without his love and compassion. Many times, I try to go into battle against sin thinking I am able to do it on my own, however, I fall all the time. Never was I ever able to defeat what I am trying to accomplish with my own flesh and thought to myself that everything was going to be easy without him.
In verse 6, it states, "In my distress I called to the Lord; I cried to my God for help. From his temple he heard my voice; my cry came before him, into his ears." He is able to hear my call from wherever He may be. He is always looking after me whenever I am happy, sad, gloomy, or grumpy. In whatever I do, He is always looking out for me and is looking after me. I fail to forget that he is always with me, watching over my every move, listening to my ever thought, and wanting the best for my own growth through him. Wanting to learn from my mistakes and always turning back to him because the only thing He wants is my heart yearning for more and more of him each and everyday. Although I tend to want to keep things by myself, I am learning more and more to become more vulnerable with him and wanting to really reach out to him more during my years in college.
Coming away from home, my first thought was just freedom away from my parents and having everything to myself and no one telling me what to do. However, God had a different plan. He knew I was going to fall away, but He never gave up and continuously wanted me to fight with him and not against him. It wasn't until this year where I realized God really planted something inside of me and really stirred my own self to want to become more and more like him. Wanting to learn more about him coming back every weekend, and just sharing just the love and compassion that he has shown me. Showing that God is always faithful in wanting me to come back and never ever giving hope in me even after I've turned away to my own selfish desires. God has been so faithful to such a broken person like me by laying a solid foundation and helping me really realize that.

Prayer Request
Really showing how God has helped me this year
Showing that God has never given up on a selfish person such as myself
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Parable of the Mustard Seed and Yeast

on Sun Oct 21, 2018 2:19 am
Matthew 13: 31-35
Parable of the Mustard Seed and Yeast

In this parable, Jesus is comparing the kingdom of heaven to a mustard seed. At that time the mustard seed was the smallest known seed, and so just by looking at it you would think that it has no potential to grow. However, a mustard seed is able to grow into a huge tree and become one of the largest plants in the garden. Jesus also compares the kingdom of heaven to yeast. Yeast is also a very microscopic organism, but when put inside bread can spread all over it and allow it to rise. Just like how a mustard seed and yeast start out small, God's kingdom starts out very small. At times, I think that Christianity will never rule this world and I feel as if it will eventually die out given that many Americans are turning away from God and are instead pursing worldly pleasures. But this passage was very rebuking to me since it talked about how even when it seems hopeless for us Christians, we just have to wait and trust that God will do great things for his kingdom in the long run.
Although this parable was meant to describe the kingdom of heaven, I also interpreted the mustard seeds and yeast as followers of Christ. Just like how a mustard seed and yeast are very tiny and unimportant at first, our lives as Christians may not seem significant in the beginning of our lives. It can be very easy for us to instead live like a grass seed, which is initially a lot bigger than a mustard seed. Instead of remaining pure in God's eyes and keeping strong faith in him, we can turn fall into worldly temptations. Yes, this might make our lives more pleasurable and satisfying, but by succumbing to worldly sins all we can ever be is a piece of grass. However if we want to eventually become a huge tree and shine among the rest of the plants, we need to live humbly and put God over everything in this world.

Prayer requests:
-even though my life as a student may seem boring and repetitive, trust that I will be able to eventually flourish like a mustard seed
-pray that I won't stress too much about colleges

Song: The Lost our Found - Hillsong Worship
The bridge of this song says:
The lost are found
The blind will see
The lame will walk
The dead will live
And You our God forever You will reign
In this song the bridge is sung almost 10 times, but each time I hear it the more blessing it becomes because it shows how God can make the most improbable things happen in your life as long as you have trust.

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Re: October 14th to 20th (Suggested Passage: Romans 8)

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