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. 
There are some processes that you can’t pray away! Some seasons you can’t fast your way through. There is no bypassing it. The struggle will not end nor will the fire cease until you go through it. Some seasons of difficulties are not meant to be looked at as mountains to be prayed away but more as stepping stones to fulfill our God given purpose.
Jesus’ primary mission when He came to earth was to reconcile mankind back to God. He came to make a way for us to be in right relationship with the father (2 Corinthians 5:21). The crucifixion and the shedding of Jesus’ blood is what made reconciliation possible (Hebrews 9:22). Jesus’ crucifixion was not a mountain to be prayed away, it was a stepping stone, it was a necessary process for Him to fulfill His purpose. He had to go through it!
We can learn a lot from Jesus’ approach in the Garden of Gethsemane right before He was to be crucified in Mathew 26:39-46. Jesus was feeling the burden of what was to come. He was in agony. What does Jesus do? He goes to His father in prayer, not once but three times. He is honest with the father, and He asks Him if there is any way He could bypass what was awaiting Him…the cup, the judgement for sin. Jesus however, does not stay stuck on how He feels. Despite His feelings, Jesus submits to the will of God and concludes, “not my will but your will be done!” 
This lets me know that it is through constant prayer that a submitted will is formed and maintained. I don’t have to feel bad about praying the same prayer more than once. Prayer gives me the strength and obedience to do the HARD THING! If you find yourself in a place of difficulty, don’t be quick to assume it’s a mountain to be prayed away, it could very well be a stepping stone to fulfill your God given purpose! (Written by Anika Jones.)

Here in the United States, February 2nd is Groundhog Day. It is a silly little holiday that is deep in tradition. On this day, the story goes, that if the groundhog sees his shadow there will be six more weeks of winter, but he doesn’t, then spring is right around the corner. Now, we know that a tiny furry animal cannot truly predict whether we will see the end of snow and the beginning of flowers, but the idea is fun and, hey, who doesn’t love a silly holiday. The idea behind the holiday is very true, however. There are signs all around us that spring is coming. The weather warms, flowers begin to sprout, and animals wake up from their hibernation. In the same way, Jesus told us that there would be signs before the Second Coming to announce the end of the winter of this world and the spring of new birth through resurrection. In Matthew 24, we are told of many of the signs of the end times. Just like the groundhog looks to see if his shadow can still be seen, we need to be watching for these end times warnings. Why? Because, like the famous groundhog smiling on TVs all across America this morning, people are watching to see our reaction. It’s time we wake up from our hibernation and share the gospel. One day, there will be no more chances to share the story of God’s love. I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to be found sleeping when Jesus returns. (Written by Keegan Harkins.)

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To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation (2 Corinthians 5:19).
When I started out telling people about Jesus, I wasn’t actually sharing the Gospel to them. I would simply tell folks, “Come to my church and God will bless you financially or you will receive your healing.” Now, does God heal? Absolutely! Is there favor with God? Absolutely! But telling folks only that is not the Gospel. 
We are not to just lead people to the supposed things in Christ, we are to lead them to His Person. We are to tell folks what Christ has done for them in reconciling them to God. We are to lead folks to what He has provided already, not their material or physical needs that He can meet. You may say, why is this so important? 
I remember a friend share with me of how he met a lady who had not been regular in church services and upon inquiring as to why, she said, “what they promised us (referring to material things), she has not seen.” Now, that’s serious! I believe virtually everyone in life will have periods in their lives where things don’t go their way. But it is our conviction about God that would keep us in those seasons. 
It would therefore be most harmful to give people the idea that if you come to God, He will give you things—that is material things, because God offers more than that! He offers eternal life which money can never buy. So friend, as you tell folks about Jesus always emphasize the value of eternal life they now have by simply believing in Jesus, then you can be sure they are standing on solid ground. You are blessed. God loves you. Yes, you! (Written by Daniel Emmanuel.)

Writer's Submission Information
The world we live in rushes by in hurried journeys of stress. We work and claw our way to a better life and a grander lifestyle. While hard work brings success, there is an important element we must not overlook – God. Psalm 127 paints a beautiful picture of true success. Verses 1-2 say, “Unless the Lord builds the house, its builders labor in vain. Unless the Lord watches over the city, the watchmen stand guard in vain. In vain you rise early and stay up late, toiling for food to eat – for He grants sleep to those He loves.” If we want our plans to flourish, we can’t overlook God’s role. He is the key to our success. Unless His will lies at the heart of all our plans – we toil in vain. But, let’s not overlook the beautiful and loving gift tucked into the end of these verses – “He grants sleep to those He loves”. God cares about more than just our success, He cares about our well-being. He never designed us to run until we are on empty. He designed a season for everything in our lives. Let us commit ourselves to work hard for the Lord and not ourselves and to rest in His provisions. (Written by Keegan Harkins.)
Have you ever seen a large dog try to squeeze their way into a bed made for a much smaller animal? It’s quite comical to watch them try to push their way in, only to fall out once more. My puppy, a Mastiff, is a rather large breed. She is not a year old and already taller than me when she stands on her back legs. Our older dog is much, much smaller Maltese – about the size of the puppy’s head. As I watched the puppy try desperately to sleep in her sister’s dog bed, I had to laugh. She looked ridiculous when she finally plopped over exhausted with just her head in the older dog’s bed. I wonder how often we do that. We push, cram, and attempt to force our life to fit into the mold obviously meant for another. We forget that we were made to be us and not the person next to us. Isaiah 64:8 says, “Yet, O Lord, you are our Father. We are the clay, you are the potter; we are all the work of your hand.” I love this image – a father lovingly bending over a potter’s wheel to shape his creation into life. We were made with such care and purpose and yet we often deny who we are in our attempts to be someone else. It reminds me of Romans 9:20-21, “Shall what is formed say to him who formed it, ‘Why did you make me like this?’ Does not the potter have the right to make out of the same lump of clay some pottery for noble purposes and some for common use?” There is no shame being the best “You” you can be. Whether God made you for “noble purposes” or “common use”, your life is so important that He took His time to shape you and mold you on purpose. Don’t ever be ashamed to be who you are. When we accept that God created us to be a Mastiff and stop trying to do the things a Maltese does, we will begin to see the beauty in God’s design. (Written by Keegan Harkins.)
Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in the darkness, but shall have the light of life (John 8:12).
This verse was preceded by the story of the woman caught in adultery and was brought to be condemned by Jesus. But Jesus said to her accusers, “…,he that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her.”(John 8:7). One by one, each of them left the scene. Jesus looking up and saw no one save the woman said, “Woman, where are those thine accusers? hath no man condemned thee?” She responded, “No man, Lord.” And Jesus said to her, “Neither do I condemn thee: go, and sin no more.” (John 8:10-11). 
Jesus was the only one without sin in their midst and had the right to cast a stone at her, but He said, “I don’t condemn you daughter, go and sin no more.” Why won’t Jesus condemn her, He had the right to? Notice her response to Jesus’ initial question: She said, “No man, LORD.” She acknowledged Jesus as Lord and that gave her a no condemnation verdict! Friend, once you acknowledge Jesus as Lord, you receive a no condemnation verdict and the strength to go and sin no more. 
And that’s why in our text, Jesus says that because He is the light of the world, anyone who follows Him—who believes in Him, will not walk on in darkness—in sin, because such a person has the light of life—has Him residing in them. Once you believe in Jesus, God’s spirit indwells you and gives you the strength to live above sin. 
You might ask, I believe in Jesus, but I am still struggling with some negative habits. First understand that sin no longer has dominion over you. That is your reality now in Christ. You have the light of life in you who gives you the ability not to walk on in sin. Having understood who you are now in Christ, Romans 12:2 tells us not to be conformed to this world but to be transformed by the renewing of our minds. Before we believed in Jesus, we were thinking in a different manner, but now we have the responsibility to renew our minds with the Word of God and think in line with who we are now in Christ. 
So friend, what you need is get verses of the Bible that tell you who you are now in Christ, study and meditate on them. The Pauline Epistles will go a long way for you. You are blessed. God loves you. Yes, you! (Written by Daniel Emmanuel.)