Devotional for Friday September 21st

Good Morning Everyone,

 

Our theme for this month: “Personal Responsibility”

 

Our Bible verse for today: “Here I am today, eighty-five years old. I am still as strong today as I was the day Moses sent me out. My strength for battle and for daily tasks is now as it was then.” Joshua 14:11

 

Our thought for today: “You are responsible for taking care of yourself.”

 

I know a lady who is ninety-nine years old. She is spry and active and full of life. She is healthy, she comes to church every Sunday, her mind is sharp, and she just stopped driving a car two years ago.

 

The other day I ran into an old friend who is eighty-nine. He too is energetic and active and in good health. He’s getting ready to go on a tour of the Holy Land and is looking forward to walking the streets of Jerusalem.

 

Last year I made a trip to California to visit the man who had been my pastor and mentor for many years. He is eighty-seven now but looks sixty-seven. He is fit and trim and he just went on a trip to Japan to visit his granddaughter who is stationed there in the military.

 

I’ve recently made friends with a man who has just moved to our town and is now attending our church. He is eight-four and he rides his Harley even more than I ride mine.

 

What do all those people have in common? They took care of themselves! They have made it a point to protect their health by eating right and getting some exercise every day. Oh, each of them have had some health issues over the years. Two of them have had to fight cancer. One fell and broke her hip and had a stint in rehab. Disease, sickness, and accidents are just part of life and affect us all at some point. But the healthier you are the better you will handle the sickness and disease when it comes.

 

Taking proper care of yourself isn’t that hard. Just eat moderate amounts of reasonably healthy food and get some exercise every day. Throw in adequate sleep and plenty of relaxation time, and you will have the physical side of it covered. Then make sure you have a healthy spiritual life as well, and you will be well on your way to being healthy in body, mind, and spirit.

 

Nobody can avoid all disease and sickness. And, someday we will all die anyway. But there is a lot you can do to stay as healthy as possible for as long as possible – and you should! Your physical body is a gift from God. The healthier you are the more He can use you to accomplish His purposes.

 

Taking proper care of yourself is your responsibility. Borrowing a quote from that wise old Vulcan from Star Trek (Mr. Spock), “May you live long and prosper.”

 

God Bless,

Pastor Jim

Copyright © 2018 Oak Hill Baptist Church, All rights reserved.
You are receiving this email because you requested to be included in the Daily Devotional email reader group.

Our mailing address is:

Oak Hill Baptist Church

3036 Genesis Road

Crossville, Tn 38571

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Devotional for Thursday September 20th

Good Morning Everyone,

 

Our theme for this month: “Personal Responsibility”

 

Our Bible verse for today: “Haven’t I commanded you: be strong and courageous? Do not be afraid or discouraged, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:9 (CSB)

 

Our thought for today: “Don’t be afraid of failure”.

 

In his book, “Make Your Bed” Navy SEAL Admiral William McRaven tells the story from his days in SEAL training about what they called “the circus”. If a trainee didn’t perform well enough during the day’s training, he ran the risk of being invited to the dreaded “circus”. The circus was an extra training evolution held at the end of the day after all the other trainees had been dismissed and sent to the barracks. If you had failed in some way during the day, you were required to stay behind for an extra two hours of hard training.

 

Not only were you already exhausted at the end of a long hard day, but the circus promised to be even more difficult than anything else you had faced so far. That also meant that you would start tomorrow’s training extra tired. Failure had a price and this was it. Obviously the circus was feared and some trainees chose to quit and drop out of training rather than go through it.

 

However, nobody avoids failure and therefore everyone ends up facing the circus sooner or later. Admiral McRaven himself endured the circus on multiple occasions. But he soon learned that overtime, as he dealt with the consequences of his failure, and as he pushed through that failure, it made him stronger. And it enabled him to succeed the next time.

 

Failure is like that. It can defeat us and cause us to quit or, if we learn from it and overcome it, failure can strengthen us and prepare us to do better in the future. But facing your failure, dealing with it, and pushing through it, requires courage and determination. At the time of the failure it can seem easier to just give-up and quit. But most failures can be overcome, and you can then go on to accomplish the thing anyway on the next try. There’s much to be learned from any failure if you will at least try to deal with it.

 

In life you will be faced with your share of failures, and each of them will come with a cost. Don’t let them defeat you. As Joshua said, “Do not be afraid or discouraged, for the Lord your God is with you.”

 

We have a responsibility to face our failures with courage and confidence.

 

God Bless,

Pastor Jim

Copyright © 2018 Oak Hill Baptist Church, All rights reserved.

Our mailing address is:
Oak Hill Baptist Church

3036 Genesis Road

Crossville, Tn 38571

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Devotional for Wednesday September 19th

Good Morning Everyone,

 

Our theme for this month: “Personal Responsibility”

 

Our Bible verse for today: “Five times I received the forty lashes minus one from the Jews. Three times I was beaten with rods. Once I received a stoning. Three times I was shipwrecked. I have spent a night and a day in the open sea. On frequent journeys, I have faced dangers from rivers, dangers from robbers, dangers from my own people, dangers from Gentiles, dangers in the city, dangers in the wilderness, dangers at sea, and dangers from among false brothers; toil and hardship, many sleepless nights, hunger and thirst, often without food, cold, and without clothing. Not to mention other things, there is the daily pressure on me: my concern for the churches.” 2 Corinthians 11:24-28 (CSB)

 

Our thought for today: “Life isn’t fair. Get over it and keep moving.”

 

I once had a friend named Bob who was a co-worker of mine. As a teenager Bob was athletic and active, a High School football player who was probably going to receive an athletic scholarship to a good college. But then he broke his neck and became a quadriplegic. From that point on Bob spent his life in a motorized wheelchair. He had limited use of his right arm and hand, but that was about it. He needed help with every basic life function except feeding himself.

 

You might think that Bob’s life was ruined, but you would be wrong. Bob still went to college and earned a Master’s degree in counseling. Over time he learned to drive a specially equipped van, and he got a good job as a Marriage and Family Counselor. He married, adopted two children, sang in the choir at church, and taught Sunday school. Bob was bright and cheerful and he had a great sense of humor. He lived a better and fuller life than a lot of people who have full use of their bodies.

 

In 2 Corinthians 11:24-28 the Apostle Paul wasn’t whining. He was simply sketching for us a brief summary of the kinds of challenges he encountered over his decades of ministry. This was a laundry list of the kinds of things he had to face, lean into, and push through, in order to live the life he had lived and accomplish the things he accomplished.

 

It might seem as if Bob and Paul faced unfair obstacles in life, and perhaps they did. Maybe it was unfair, but life is like that. Often the trials we face and the situations we have to deal with are not fair. Okay, but then what? Will you allow the unfairness of it all to stop you from enjoying life and living it well? Will you whine and cry and spend your days reciting for everyone how unfair it is that you have to deal with this challenge or that trial? Or, will you accept the fact that life isn’t fair and you just need to get on with it anyway?

 

It’s true, life isn’t fair. Now that we’re all in agreement about that, the only thing to do is to put on your big boy pants, get over it, and move forward. We each have a responsibility to deal with life as it is, not as we wish it was.

 

God Bless,

Pastor Jim

Copyright © 2018 Oak Hill Baptist Church, All rights reserved.

Our mailing address is:

Oak Hill Baptist Church

3036 Genesis Road

Crossville, Tn 38571

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Devotional for Tuesday September 18th

Good Morning Everyone,

 

Our theme for this month: “Personal Responsibility”

 

Our Bible verse for today: “But the Lord said to Samuel, ‘Do not look at his appearance or his stature because I have rejected him. Humans do not see what the Lord sees, for humans see what is visible, but the Lord sees the heart.” 1 Samuel 16:7 (CSB)

 

Our thought for today: “Don’t be fooled by appearances”

 

I’ve been in various levels of leadership positions for more than forty-five years, and too often I’ve allowed myself to be fooled by a person’s appearance, or their accomplishments, or their talent. That’s less true today than it was in the beginning, but my sense of caution about such things has been learned through painful experience.

 

I remember one time many years ago I had a talented young man serve as a guest worship leader on multiple occasions in our church in California. He was a great guitar player, he had a beautiful voice, he was dynamic in the way he engaged the congregation, and I liked his style of music. I did have a sense that something was not quite right about his character, but I couldn’t put my finger on it and I didn’t think too much about it. Besides, I really liked his music.

 

One day I learned that he was in jail. He had sold the family’s mini-van and used the money to buy a large quantity of drugs he was then going to resell (after he kept a good amount for his own use). It turned out he was a secret drug addict. His young family was in serious financial trouble because of his addiction, they now no longer had a car, and he was headed for prison. But, I really liked his music.

 

The lesson of 1 Samuel 16:7 is that God is totally unimpressed with a person’s appearance, talents, professional accomplishments, or wealth. What God pays attention to is the condition of a person’s heart. We need to learn to do the same.

 

Good moral character, a strong sense of integrity, humility, a determined sense of perseverance, a commitment to hard work, loyalty, dependability, and of course, a close walk with the Lord, are all character traits that are much more important than any of those other things.

 

In terms of personal responsibility there are two points of application here. First, each of us has a personal responsibility to be developing the virtues in life that really matter most. Professional accomplishments, education, creative talents, etc, are all helpful and important, but such things are not as important as the condition of your heart.

 

Second, in our interactions with other people we each have a responsibility to not be fooled by outward appearances. Instead, look for evidence that reveals what kind of heart the person has. That’s what matters most to God, so that’s what should matter most to us.

 

God Bless,

Pastor Jim

Copyright © 2018 Oak Hill Baptist Church, All rights reserved.

Our mailing address is:

Oak Hill Baptist Church

3036 Genesis Road

Crossville, Tn 38571

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Devotional for Monday September 17th

Good Morning Everyone,

Our theme for this month: “Personal Responsibility”

Our Bible verse for today: “Carry one another’s burdens; in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.” Galatians 6:2 (CSB)

Our thought for today: “We need each other.”

As we continue to consider our theme of “personal responsibility”, we need to think about the responsibility we have to maintain healthy relationships. The truth is that we all need other people in our lives. Nobody makes it through life alone. And the more close relationships we have, the better the quality of our life will be.

In 1969 a hit song was released by the rock and roll band “The Hollies” which beautifully reflects the truth expressed by the Apostle Paul 1900 in Galatians 6:2. The title of the song was “He Ain’t Heavy He’s My Brother”. It goes like this:

The road is long
with many a winding turn,
that leads us to who knows where,
who knows where.
But I’m strong,
strong enough to carry him.
He ain’t heavy, he’s my brother.
So on we go,
his welfare is of my concern,
no burden is he to bear
We’ll get there …

We need each other. At times I’ll be strong and I’ll help you, and at other times you will be strong and you will help me. That’s what happens when we’ve taken the time to develop and maintain close relationships.

But here’s the thing: Having close and healthy relationships in your life is your responsibility. There’s an old saying that goes, “In order to have a friend you have to be a friend.” You have to make an effort to cultivate close relationships with people.

Good friends and close relationships enrich our lives. I encourage you to make as many friends as you can, and then do the work to nurture those relationships and keep them healthy.

God Bless,
Pastor Jim

Copyright © 2018 Oak Hill Baptist Church, All rights reserved.
You are receiving this email because you requested to be included in the Daily Devotional email reader group.

Our mailing address is:

Oak Hill Baptist Church

3036 Genesis Road

Crossville, Tn 38571

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Good Morning Everyone,

 

Our theme for this month: “Personal Responsibility”

 

Our Bible verse for today: “And may the Lord cause you to increase and overflow with love for one another and for everyone, just as we do.” 1 Thessalonians 3:12 (CSB)

 

Our thought for today: “The health of the church is your responsibility”

 

The little church in Thessalonica was a good church that was faced with tough times. They were being persecuted and afflicted by a hostile society, but they were holding fast to their faith. This was a healthy church during a time when it wasn’t so easy to be a healthy church.

 

But many churches are not healthy. Hundreds of churches close their doors in the USA each week. (Fortunately, as those churches are dying and closing, the Lord is raising up new churches to take their places). Interestingly, while those churches are in the process of dying, the Lord lets them die. That’s right, He lets them die. He doesn’t have to. He is all-powerful. The Holy Spirit could draw people to those churches and fill the pews every Sunday if He wanted to. But He obviously doesn’t want to. Instead, He let’s them die.

 

The reason those churches die is because the people aren’t doing their part to keep them healthy. Often they get stuck in tradition and refuse to change their methods, even though the old ways of doing things obviously don’t work anymore. In other cases they have compromised their doctrine and therefore the Holy Spirit has withdrawn His blessing. In many cases the people have gotten lazy and they simply make little or no effort to keep the church healthy. Sometimes they have circled the wagons and are hunkering down inside their little church forts, having nothing to do with the outside world.

 

For many reasons churches die – and God lets them. But it doesn’t have to happen. Churches can continue to survive and thrive, but it’s up to the individuals to take the steps necessary to keep their church healthy.

 

This Sunday at Oak Hill Baptist Church we’re going to celebrate our annual Homecoming Day. It’s our way of kicking off the new church year in a big, fun way. Oak Hill is a church that was revived, and which is once again on-fire for the Lord and making a difference in our little corner of the world. In the sermon I will talk about why that happened and how it happened.

 

Come and enjoy the day with us! Sunday school is at 9:00 and the worship service is at 10:00. There will be special music from the choir, a commissioning service for our new missionary Trevor Wright, a word of greeting from our missionaries to Southeast Asia Jeff and Rachel Gayhart, and a special Homecoming message as the sermon. Afterwards we will enjoy a catered lunch from Big John’s BBQ. We would love to have you with us!

 

God Bless,

Pastor Jim

Copyright © 2018 Oak Hill Baptist Church, All rights reserved.

Our mailing address is:

Oak Hill Baptist Church

3036 Genesis Road

Crossville, Tn 38571

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Devotional for Friday September 14th

Good Morning Everyone,

Our theme for this month: “Personal Responsibility”

Our Bible verse for today: “In the morning, O Lord, you hear my voice; in the morning I lay my requests before you and wait in expectation.” Psalm 5:3 (NIV)

Our thought for today: “You are responsible for starting the day off right.”

Yesterday I told you about the commencement speech given by Admiral William McRaven to the 2014 graduating class of the University of Texas. The title of the talk was “Make your bed”. Admiral McRaven told the story of how when he was in training to become a Navy SEAL the first task of each day was to make his bed, and to make it so well that it would pass a rigorous inspection by a SEAL instructor.

Making the bed was an exercise designed to instill the virtues of attention to detail and of doing all tasks with a high degree of excellence. But the other point Admiral McRaven was making was that starting the day by making his bed very well helped to set the tone for the rest of the day. Now that he had started the day by doing one thing exceptionally well, he was ready to go forward into the day doing all things exceptionally well. Making his bed with that degree of attention to detail, and with such a commitment to excellence, helped to establish his attitude for how he would approach the entire day.

Starting the day with the right attitude is important. Then you can use that good beginning as a foundation to build the rest of the day on. In Philippians 4:13 the Apostle Paul reminds us of a great truth that is very helpful when it comes to establishing and maintaining a good and positive attitude. “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” In other words, there is nothing you will face in the upcoming day that you and Jesus can’t handle together. This is more than just a theological truth, it’s a practical reality. Claim the truth of Philippians 4:13 first thing. Then as you walk through your day you can keep calling on and relying upon the Lord, and He will help you.

The best way to start your day is in prayer and Bible study. Spend some time reading the Bible and then talking to God. Talk to Him especially about the day that lies before you. Review it with Him, asking Him for guidance and help. Ask Him also for a sense of peace and joy as you approach the new day. Then, get going. You have started the day well, now go live it well. This is on you. It’s up to you to get out of bed early enough so you can do this. Billy Graham once said “If I don’t start my day with Jesus, I meet Satan around every corner all day long.”

Navy SEAL trainees start their day off right by making their bed. The smart Christian starts his or her day off right by spending time with the Lord. It’s your responsibility to start the day off right.

God Bless,
Pastor Jim

Copyright © 2018 Oak Hill Baptist Church, All rights reserved.

Our mailing address is:

Oak Hill Baptist Church

3036 Genesis Road

Crossville, Tn 38571

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