MorningWatchMonday

Light and Life

I’ve been thinking about the word “hope” a lot lately. It’s in those moments when I acknowledge the hope that we have in Jesus that I am filled with joy. Hope can make our eyes smile and dance with excitement because hope in Jesus is rooted in the promise of full and eternal life.

 

The passage that I keep returning to that reminds me of that hope and gives me peace is found in the gospel of John:

In Him was life, and that life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, but the darkness has not understood it…
He was in the world, and though the world was made through Him, the world did not recognize Him. He came to that which was His own, but His own did not receive Him. Yet to all who received Him, to those who believed in His name, He gave the right to become children of God.
John 1:4-5, 10-12

We live in a broken and dark world, but because of Jesus we have light and we have life. His life is the light of men.

He came into this world, knowing that He would be rejected by the very people that He created and the people that He loves and so desperately desires to know. He came to give us a chance...to give us the right to become children of God.

How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are!
1 John 3:1

Despite our brokenness, a holy and perfect God lavishes His love on us and calls us His children. We can live out every day with joy in our hearts because no matter what situations or challenges or decisions we face, God’s love for us remains unchanging, and we are allowed the blessing of being His children.

-Jay

If you would like to submit a devotional for Morning Watch Monday or have a topic you would like to see, contact Lorianne, loriannewalker7 [at] gmail.com

Pond Scum

I’ve never been a big fan of rain, but I do like when it waters my flowers and vegetable garden. When we are at camp, though, the rain makes the paths muddy and sometimes ruins our plans for an outside UEP or evening campfire.  But, I do remember one nice thing about the rain last summer.  When I was at camp, there was a lot of green scum on the surface of the lake.  Did you see it? I saw TONS of it.  Pretty gross!  Then one day, it rained really hard and after that, a lot of that pond scum had been washed away!   It made canoeing a lot nicer and fishing a lot easier.  It also made the water clear enough that I could see some plants growing on the bottom, some tiny fish and even some water bugs and rocks along the shore.  More importantly, it reminded me of a verse in Titus, Chapter 3,

“He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit.” 

God wants to save us and wash all our sins away, just like the rain washed away the pond scum!  Even though we try really hard to make good choices, we still sin and that makes our hearts dirty.  If Jesus lives in us, we want our hearts to be clean and clear so that other can see Him in our lives!  Ask God to forgive your sins and make your heart clean, just like the lake after a rain.  He wants to wash away all the “sin scum” in your life, all you have to do is ask!

If we confess our sin, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sin and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
1 John 1:9

-Sprig

If you would like to submit a devotional for Morning Watch Monday or have a topic you would like to see, contact Lorianne, loriannewalker7 [at] gmail.com

Never Once

Music video by Matt Redman performing Never Once (Live). (P) (C) 2011 sixstepsrecords/Sparrow Records. All rights reserved. Unauthorized reproduction is a violation of applicable laws. Manufactured by EMI Christian Music Group,
“Standing on this mountaintop, looking just how far we’ve come, knowing that for every step, you were with us.”

Two summers ago, the day that campers left camp for good for the summer, I remember being in the office working on some paperwork. I was doing some last minute filing or writing up some last minute report or something. But I was in there for at least an hour. I was listening to Never Once on repeat the whole time. It was the only song that I felt completely described so beautifully how I felt. The whole summer had been spent climbing this mountaintop, and now we were at the top, looking over the valley and could see all the rocks we trampled over. All the trees that once looked like obstacles now looking like Polly-Pocket trees. God brought us through this incredible summer.

“Scars and struggles on the way, but with joy our hearts can say. Yes, our hearts can say ‘never once did we ever walk alone, never once did You leave us on our own. You are faithful, God, You are faithful.’”

Sometimes following God is really hard. We get so caught up in other people’s thoughts and feelings. We get hurt by other people, by situations, and by our messed up world. But if there’s one thing my seven (soon to be eight) years on staff at CCWNY has taught me, it’s that God is always with us. Constantly fighting for us, constantly using us to change lives. Christ has been in these past 70 years of ministry at CCWNY, and will be using many more years and stories to come to transform lives, cultivate disciples, and train leaders at CCWNY.

“Every step we are breathing in Your grace, evermore we'll be breathing out Your praise. You are faithful, God, You are faithful”

If you’re like me (which you probably are because you’re most likely a camp person), praising God through everything is so hard. And when it gets hard for me, I picture myself standing on the mountain top, looking over all the things God has accomplished in my life, and through my life. And when it gets even more difficult, I picture myself standing on the mountain top, looking over all the things God has accomplished through Camp Cherith, and through the people that have been changed at Camp Cherith… And it’s the most incredible site in the world. So when you think of the Greater Story of your life, and of CCWNY, I hope you realize how unique you are, and how you fit into this big story that God is creating through you. God has placed each of us here and each of us in the story of CCWNY, whether it be for a day, a week, a summer, or for many summers, and we each have a unique piece of that Greater Story. We have so many reasons to praise God! Never Once is the perfect song for our 70th summer!

<333 Roo

If you would like to submit a devotional for Morning Watch Monday or have a topic you would like to see, contact Lorianne, loriannewalker7 [at] gmail.com

 

You Follow Me!

When I attended summer camp, one of my favorite morning songs to sing was Peter was a Fisherman. This song tells the story of John 21. After Jesus had died and risen from the dead, he appeared to his disciples multiple times. In this meeting, a group of 7 had gone back to their regular jobs: fishing. Jesus miraculously fills their nets with fish, cooks them breakfast, then gives them instructions for their future work. I am most convicted by these verses:

When Peter saw him [John], he said to Jesus, “Lord, what about this man?” Jesus said to him, “If it is my will that he remain until I come, what is that to you? You follow me!”
(Emphasis Mine) John 21:21-22. Crossway Bibles (2011-02-09). The Holy Bible, English Standard Version (with Cross-References) (p. 1094). Good News Publishers. Kindle Edition.

Many times I look around me and wonder, why isn't so and so doing more to serve God? Or, it's easier for that person to live a Christian life than me. God doesn't tell us the details of another person's story or life. Our command from Jesus is, "YOU follow me." Don't worry about what others are doing around you. Are YOU following what Jesus commands? If you aren't sure about his commands, talk with a trusted pastor or other mature Christian you know. God has placed us in community with other believers so that we can learn from others' wisdom and the Holy Spirit. Who knows, maybe God has big plans for you, like he did Peter! "You follow me!"

If you would like to submit a devotional for Morning Watch Monday or have a topic you would like to see, contact Lorianne, loriannewalker7 [at] gmail.com

Letting God...

Happy #MorningWatchMonday from Rina!

Luke 18 and 19 contains three stories with three lessons: Which of these life lessons do you need to focus on today?  (Ideas from Charles Swindoll)

1- When we don't know what we want, but know something's missing, let God educate!  (Take a look at the Rich Young Ruler)

18And a ruler asked him, “Good Teacher, what must I do to  v inherit eternal life?” 19And Jesus said to him, “Why do you call me good? No one is good except God alone. 20You know the commandments:  ‘Do not commit adultery, Do not murder, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Honor your father and mother.’” 21And he said,  “All these I have kept from my youth.” 22When Jesus heard this, he said to him, “One thing you still lack. Sell all that you have and distribute to the poor, and you will have  z treasure in heaven; and come, follow me.” 23But when he heard these things, he became very sad, for he was extremely rich. 24Jesus, seeing that he had become sad, said, “How difficult it is for those who have wealth to enter the kingdom of God! 25For it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the kingdom of God.” 26Those who heard it said, “Then who can be saved?” 27But he said, “What is impossible with man is possible with God.” 28And Peter said, “See, we have left our homes and followed you.” 29And he said to them, “Truly, I say to you, there is no one who has left house or wife or brothers or parents or children, for the sake of the kingdom of God, 30who will not receive many times more in this time, and in the age to come eternal life.”

Luke 18:18-30 Crossway Bibles (2011-02-09). The Holy Bible, English Standard Version (with Cross-References) (p. 1057). Good News Publishers. Kindle Edition.

2- When we know what we need, but can't change the situation, let God liberate!  (The Blind Beggar)

35 As he [Jesus] drew near to Jericho, a blind man was sitting by the roadside begging. 36And hearing a crowd going by, he inquired what this meant. 37They told him, “Jesus of Nazareth is passing by.” 38And he cried out, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!” 39And those who were in front rebuked him, telling him to be silent. But he cried out all the more, “Son of David, have mercy on me!” 40And Jesus stopped and commanded him to be brought to him. And when he came near, he asked him, 41“What do you want me to do for you?” He said, “Lord, let me recover my sight.” 42And Jesus said to him, “Recover your sight; your faith has made you well.” 43And immediately he recovered his sight and followed him,  glorifying God. And all the people, when they saw it, gave praise to God.

Luke 18:35-43 Crossway Bibles (2011-02-09). The Holy Bible, English Standard Version (with Cross-References) (p. 1058). Good News Publishers. Kindle Edition.

3- When we can't understand what's happening, but realize it's out of our control- Let God be God! (Zacchaeus, the Tax Collector)

He [Jesus] entered Jericho and was passing through. 2And behold, there was a man named Zacchaeus. He was a chief tax collector and was rich. 3And he was seeking to see who Jesus was, but on account of the crowd he could not, because he was small in stature. 4So he ran on ahead and climbed up into a sycamore tree to see him, for he was about to pass that way. 5And when Jesus came to the place, he looked up and said to him, “Zacchaeus, hurry and come down, for I must stay at your house today.” 6So he hurried and came down andreceived him joyfully.

7And when they saw it, they allgrumbled, “He has gone in to be the guest of a man who is a sinner.” 8And Zacchaeus stood and said to the Lord, “Behold, Lord, the half of my goods I give to the poor. And if I have defrauded anyone of anything, I restore it fourfold.” 9And Jesus said to him, “Today salvation has come to this house, since he also is a son of Abraham. 10For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.”

Luke 19:1-10 Crossway Bibles (2011-02-09). The Holy Bible, English Standard Version (with Cross-References) (p. 1058). Good News Publishers. Kindle Edition.

Do you need to take some time letting God....?  Let Go, Let God!

Swindoll, Charles. Swindoll's New Testament insights (insights on Luke). Zondervan publishing 2012. Grand Rapids MI

If you would like to submit a devotional for Morning Watch Monday or have a topic you would like to see, contact Lorianne, loriannewalker7 [at] gmail.com

Pride Comes Before a Fall

Happy #MorningWatchMonday from Rina!!

Check out this story about Daniel while he served as chief wise man in Babylon…

Daniel answered, "...Renounce your sins by doing what is right, and your wickedness by being kind to the oppressed. It may be that then your prosperity will continue.”
All this happened to King Nebuchadnezzar. Twelve months later, as the king was walking on the roof of the royal palace of Babylon, he said, “Is not this the great Babylon I have built as the royal residence, by my mighty power and for the glory of my majesty?”
Even as the words were on his lips, a voice came from heaven, “This is what is decreed for you, King Nebuchadnezzar: Your royal authority has been taken from you. You will be driven away from people and will live with the wild animals; you will eat grass like the ox. Seven times will pass by for you until you acknowledge that the Most High is sovereign over all kingdoms on earth and gives them to anyone he wishes.”
Immediately what had been said about Nebuchadnezzar was fulfilled. He was driven away from people and ate grass like the ox. His body was drenched with the dew of heaven until his hair grew like the feathers of an eagle and his nails like the claws of a bird.
At the end of that time, I, Nebuchadnezzar, raised my eyes toward heaven, and my sanity was restored. Then I praised the Most High; I honored and glorified him who lives forever.
His dominion is an eternal dominion;
    his kingdom endures from generation to generation. 
All the peoples of the earth
    are regarded as nothing.
He does as he pleases
    with the powers of heaven
    and the peoples of the earth.
No one can hold back his hand
    or say to him: “What have you done?”
At the same time that my sanity was restored, my honor and splendor were returned to me for the glory of my kingdom. My advisers and nobles sought me out, and I was restored to my throne and became even greater than before.
Daniel 4:28-36 (NIV)

Daniel warned King Nebuchadnezzar to turn from his sins.  Nebuchadnezzar was filled with pride of all the great things he had done and gave no glory to God. He didn't listen to Daniel, so God punished him by forcing him into the wilderness away from people where he lived like an animal. After the "seven times" had passed, his sanity and throne were restored, and he PRAISED GOD!  God will always get your attention if he wants it.  Sometimes he brings us through suffering so we can see the folly of our sin and come closer to him! 

<3 Rina

If you would like to submit a devotional for Morning Watch Monday or have a topic you would like to see, contact Lorianne, loriannewalker7 [at] gmail.com

According to Our Sins

Pressing on through Psalm 103. There are lots of nuggets of gold here for you:

The LORD is merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love. He will not always chide, nor will he keep his anger forever. He does not deal with us according to our sins, nor repay us according to our iniquities. For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his steadfast love toward those who fear him; as far as the east is from the west, so far does he remove our transgressions from us.
Psalm 103:8-12. Crossway Bibles (2011-02-09). The Holy Bible, English Standard Version (with Cross-References) (p. 603). Good News Publishers. Kindle Edition.

What a great thing to remember in this season after Resurrection Sunday! Even before Jesus, King David was writing of God showing mercy, not punishing us according to what we deserve, and showing a faithful love. Take time today to thank the Lord today for removing our sins so that we can have a restored relationship with him..

If you would like to submit a devotional for Morning Watch Monday or have a topic you would like to see, contact Lorianne, loriannewalker7 [at] gmail.com

One Body, Many Members

For this week's Morning Watch Monday let's reflect on believers working together.

For just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many, are one body, so it is with Christ. For in one Spirit we were all baptized into one body— Jews or Greeks, slaves or free—and  m all were made to drink of one Spirit.
I Corinthians 12:12-13. Crossway Bibles (2011-02-09). The Holy Bible, English Standard Version (with Cross-References) (p. 1154). Good News Publishers. Kindle Edition.

My church wrapped up a sermon series called “Rediscovering Church.” We have been examining the church in its early days and the church of today – we looked at the concept of unity in the church. If you read the first couple chapters of Acts, you will see that there were some beautiful things about the early church. There were also moments of tension and conflict, and the early church dealt with those moments in a very open, real way. The main theme of the sermon was a reminder…as Christians, and as members of the church, we are all on the same team. No matter what your church looks like…the denomination, the size, the kind of music played, the way people dress…as Christ followers we are all on the same team, working towards the common goal of spreading Jesus’ love and telling people about the hope to be found in His resurrection.

<3 Jay

If you would like to submit a devotional for Morning Watch Monday or have a topic you would like to see, contact Lorianne, loriannewalker7 [at] gmail.com

Death, Where is Your Victory?

“Death is swallowed up in victory.”
“O death, where is your victory?
 O death, where is your sting?”
The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.
1 Corinthians 15:54b-57

Sin brought death into the world. Death is Satan’s attempt at power over the world. But Satan doesn’t have the final victory. Death—something that so many of us might fear—something that seems so permanent and final and dark…it isn’t the end.

Just when Satan thought that he had won, Jesus totally showed him up. He came back to life and gave us hope through His resurrection. Jesus’ death put to death our sins, and His resurrection gives us the hope of eternal life with God in heaven.

When the disciples learned that Jesus was alive, they were overjoyed and wanted to spread the news of His life everywhere. That’s something so important to remember this Easter…we have this incredible news…this incredible life to celebrate…Jesus bringing light into the world. And it’s our job to spread that light, just like the disciples did.

Happy Easter!!!!!

Performed on Church Online by Joel Limpic and Marcy Preist. http://live.lifechurch.tv

LifeChurch.tv's Church Online Easter Experience. Song: Christ is Risen is written by Matt Maher.

If you would like to submit a devotional for Morning Watch Monday or have a topic you would like to see, contact Lorianne, loriannewalker7 [at] gmail.com

Forget Not All His Benefits

Let's dig deeper into Psalm 103 for this week's Morning Watch Monday!

Bless the LORD, O my soul, and all that is within me, bless his holy name!  Bless the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits, who forgives all your iniquity, who heals all your diseases,   who redeems your life from the pit, who crowns you with steadfast love and mercy, who satisfies you with good so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.
Psalm 103:1-5. Crossway Bibles (2011-02-09). The Holy Bible, English Standard Version (with Cross-References) (pp. 602-603). Good News Publishers. Kindle Edition.

Why should you praise God? Why should you care? Because God is working to restore you. He sent Jesus, who took the punishment for our sins, so that we will be forgiven and redeemed. Start keeping a written or photo journal of the good God has done (even if it is "this was a terrible day, tomorrow is a chance to begin again"), so that when you begin to doubt him, those good things can remind you of his faithfulness and bring you back to praising him.

If you would like to submit a devotional for Morning Watch Monday or have a topic you would like to see, contact Lorianne, loriannewalker7 [at] gmail.com