Coloring Through the Bible

These are the daily devotionals posted last week at our Facebook page. (www.Facebook.com/ColoringThroughtheBible)

(CLICK HERE TO BE DIRECTED TO THE FACEBOOK PAGE.) 

     Coloring Through the Bible is a Facebook page that offers daily inspirations and encouragements. I know that not everyone 'colors' in their Bible, but the for those of us who do, the verses that are highlighted hold a special meaning. As we read scripture we color or highlight the verses that speak to us and encourage or challenge us. That is the motivation behind these daily devotionals. I hope that you will be encouraged and challenged as you read. To see all of the devotionals, please click here to visit www.Facebook.com/ColoringThroughtheBible. If you would prefer to receive these as a daily email, please send us an email via our Contact Us page. 
Some of our greatest moments happen when we have other things planned. That’s the beauty of life, and I believe those are some of God’s greatest blessings. My family and I went on a vacation a while ago. We had planned and anticipated it for months. Unfortunately, when it happened, we were tired, sick, and it rained almost the entire time. Our son lost his shoes at the beginning of a two-mile jungle hike, and a bottle of wrinkle release exploded in our suitcase. So many things did not go as planned that when we returned home, I felt like we had ruined our vacation and worried the time and money was wasted. Now, I look back on that trip and smile. I laugh at the strange looks we got with our son walking with t-shirts tied to his feet. I giggle when I think about how we traveled to a tropical location during hurricane season and stubbornly went sight seeing as streets were flooding and rain pounded us. I think about us all sick as we traveled home and laugh that our return trip can be measured by the different pharmacies and bathrooms we visited in each town and state along the way. My youngest son even declared it to have been his favorite part of 2017. You see, life isn’t going to be picture perfect, but that doesn’t mean it won’t be fabulous. I am learning to embrace the crazy experiences and imperfect family photographs because I know that the ones that are perfect are not always what they appear. I have a flawlessly staged professional photo of my children when they were toddlers and I laugh every time I look at it. I know that although the picture looks like a picture embrace of two brothers, that shot came after 20 minutes of begging my two year old to stop picking his nose. I chuckle at the fact that in the picture it looks like his older brother is hugging him when he is actually holding his hand down so it doesn’t travel to his nose – again! Embrace the craziness of life and enjoy all the moments that make up our lives. I believe some of God’s greatest gifts are the things that don’t turn out the way we planned. Instead of seeing our lack of perfection as failure, let’s learn to see it for what it is – a gift from a God with a sense of humor. (Written by Keegan Harkins.)
Our thoughts can be our worst enemy at times. It seems like our minds replay those moments we despise and dread the most over and over again. Perceived fears and worries twist our thoughts into knots of anxiety and rob us of our peace and joy. Psalm 13 captures this feeling of unease and worry and sheds light on the only guaranteed cure. Verse 2 says, “How long must I wrestle with my thoughts and every day have sorrow in my heart? How long will my enemy triumph over me?” Can you relate? Have you ever wrestled with your thoughts for so long you felt there no end in sight? If David had left this psalm here, we would be as lost as his words reflect him to have been when he wrote it. Thankfully, he did not. Verses 5-6 give us the answer to our tortured thoughts. “But I trust in your unfailing love; my heart rejoices in your salvation. I will sing to the Lord, for He has been good to me.” The answer to our fears, our worries and our thoughts that keep us up at night – remembering God’s goodness. Are we worried about the future? Hasn’t God always taken care of your past? Afraid your mistake will cost you everything? Though the consequences of our actions may not be pleasant, God’s forgiveness completely washes away our sins. There are no worries, no struggles, no thoughts that keep us up at night that stand a chance in the light of God. He is the answer to every problem we face. He is the cure for every dilemma we fight. When worry knocks at your door, let Jesus answer it. (Written by Keegan Harkins.)

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Thank you for your interest!
We assume we have mastered a lesson until we get another test some time down the road. Our grade on the tests reveals if it is necessary to relearn the material. In school, I tried to be diligent about studying for upcoming tests. I often passed the initial test. However, there were some instances where I did poorly on the final exam at the end of the semester, especially in math. This was a clear indicator that I had not mastered the foundational skills necessary to retain the material. I didn’t fully get it. Truth is, some lessons must be revisited.
Here I am taking inventory on 2017 and asking honest questions, “Did I learn the material the Lord was trying to teach me, did I REALLY LEARN the lesson? Did I go around the SAME MOUNTAIN all year, or did I graduate? Have I made progress?” The Christian life is all about progress. We move from glory to glory (2 Corinthians 3:16-18). We press towards the mark of the high calling (Philippians 3:14). We allow the one who began a good work in us to continue it until its completed (Philippines 1:6).
As I sit and reflect, I encourage you to do the same. What lessons did God teach you in 2017, have you mastered them? Are you ready to go to the next level, or do you need to sit in class a little longer? I pray that 2018 finds us all in a place of total obedience and a made-up mind to learn all the Lord wants to teach us. (Written by Anika Jones.)

Writer's Submission Information
 “These people honor me with their lips, buts their hearts are far from me.” (Mark 7:6) How many words can fill the air and still leave the world at a loss for the love they desperately need to hear? We can speak and speak and still say nothing worth hearing. It isn’t the quantity of the words we speak but the quality of what we share. The Apostle Paul understood this. In 1 Corinthians 13:1 he wrote, “If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal.” This year, let us make one more resolution… one more promise to ourselves or goal to strive for. Let us not waste our breath on words without love. Let us keep the things that tear down far from our lips. May every word that we utter be of worth and be of love so that our words do not pollute this world with idle passages of clutter. Instead, may our words show our heart to be close to God. In return, those words will point to and draw others to the life-giving message of the Gospel. Instead of words without meaning that reveal hearts without relationship, let us speak of our heart’s greatest pleasure – the love of our Savior and King. (Written by Keegan Harkins.)
There will always be people who disagree with our faith. There will always be people who wait expectantly for us to say something they can argue with or twist in an attempt to make Christians look foolish or cruel. How we deal with this can be confusing and maybe frightening. I know that my God is more than capable of defending His own honor – and words do nothing to change His plans or lesson His love, but if I stay quiet am I missing an opportunity? Could the person who argues and spews hates towards my faith be just the one God has placed in my path to show love? And if so, which is more loving – to allow the comments and lies to be spread in order to keep the peace or to correct them and end the delusion? I honestly believe that getting into an argument with an unbeliever does more harm than good. “For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.” (1 Corinthians 1:18) However, if I stay quiet, I miss an opportunity. Matthew 10:32-33 says, “Whoever acknowledges me before men, I will also acknowledge him before my Father in heaven. But whoever disowns me before men, I will disown him before my Father in heaven.” The answer to hate has to be love – love for the one opposing us and love for the One who saved us. I never want to push away the lost, but I can never deny the One who died to save my soul just to make them feel comfortable with their unbelief. The only way to live love is to walk in the footsteps of Jesus and leave our pride at the foot of the cross. (Written by Keegan Harkins.)
Do you enjoy serving the Lord? Do you find it fulfilling to labor for the Kingdom? Or is that burdensome to you? Jesus said, “My meat is to do the will of him that sent me, and to finish his work” (John 4:34). Physically, Jesus felt the weight of the ministry. But this weight paled in comparison to His passion for doing the will of the Father. We should have a similar zeal in serving the Lord. At times, we should become so consumed by what we do in His name that missing a natural meal is no big deal. 
If we don’t enjoy serving the Lord, we should ask ourselves why. It’s not normal for bona fide Christians to feel that way. Such discontent suggests that something about us needs tending to. We have been born again from above. The Spirit within us lusts to do the will of the Father. As Jesus did, we should find it gratifying to labor for the Lord.
Our attitude toward doing the Lord’s work is a reflection of our spiritual status. Are we outside the will of God, doing something He has not called us to do? Has our relationship with Him been weighed and found wanting? We have not fully arrived in our walk with the Lord until we enjoy doing the will of Him who has saved and called us. (Written by Frank King.)