Sunday, December 31, 2017


Submitted by Stephen Trainer

UPSIDE DOWN: An upside-down life is empowered by God to live like Jesus lived, to live every moment with God’s kingdom in mind.

At my church in Brooklyn, New York City, we talk a lot about things being upside down. When we look at the life and example of Jesus, we see that the life He calls us to live seems upside down compared to what our natural inclinations guide us to and what the world tells us success looks like.

Actually, upside down is really right side up. It’s the way God always intended it to be. We have been living in a broken, self-centered world for so long now that we don’t even recognize that it’s been turned over. So, in order to get back to right side up, we need to turn our lives upside down.

Jesus lived an upside down life. He lived every moment with God’s kingdom in mind. He taught us to do the same.

If you try to hang on to your life, you will lose it. But if you give up your life for my sake, you will save it.    Matthew 16:25

Jesus taught that life in God’s kingdom looks upside down from the world we know. I do “me first” really well. The only way our thinking can be changed is by placing our faith in Jesus.

Lord, help me to see this world as You see it. Keep me from living for myself and my own kingdom and help me to live for your Kingdom.

Saturday, December 30, 2017


And without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him.  Hebrews 11:6
Faith. It’s the most important component to the Christian life. We can’t purchase it or sell it. Thankfully, we can’t obtain it on our own. It is simply given to us by God.
Blogger Shannan Martin traveled with Compassion International to Ecuador to a borrowed home of a family who belong to the indigenous Quechua people group. Let’s hear about how her understanding of faith changed:
Thirteen people live under the tin roof, eleven children in total, three of whom are sponsored by Compassion. Dressed in their everyday attire of hand-embroidered blouses and long, dark skirts, they took my breath away. The depth of their material poverty was clear …
"What do you dream for your children?" we asked the mother.
She sat quietly, her face lined with the pain of lack. "I wish I could have big dreams for them, but I cannot. I have no hope."…
My trip-leader, Bri turned the question to the girls, "What do you dream for yourselves?"
They want to be a doctor, a teacher, a fashion designer.
"What gives you that hope?" she asked.
Without a beat, living water spilled from their lips. "Jesus."
The enemy was in Ecuador today, working hard on my heart…He would like to convince us some people are beyond hope, and for a couple of hours today, he met me half-way there. They will never make it out. They live miles from civilization. They climb mountains for dirty water. They eat nothing but corn…
When I said these things out loud to Bri, she gasped. "No, Shannan. No! They are Compassion girls! Maria is already in high school. This is a big deal!... This is what Compassion does! They've introduced them to Jesus and He is all the hope they need. They have sponsors pouring into them. When Compassion says they release children from poverty, they mean it. They will not give up on them."
Ana, Maria, and Ashley's faith is so much greater than my own. Jesus, who offers eternity in the span of a seed, grows hope in the smallest spaces.

Lord, give me the faith to understand that no one is beyond your reach, that You are the only true hope.

Friday, December 29, 2017


The Name of the Lord is a strong tower; the righteous man runs into it and is safe.
Proverbs 18:10
When you hear the word “refuge,” what image comes to mind? You might think of a fortress surrounded by water to keep those inside safe from anyone seeking to do them harm. The Bible describes God as our refuge—our safe place of protection. Understanding this helps us trust God more fully.
As Believers, we can face difficult circumstances with confidence because God is our strong tower. Bri McKoy gained a greater understanding while visiting Ecuador with Compassion International. The girls in this community are viewed as objects and potential wives at a young age. When Bri arrived, men were lingering outside the church trying to cast a net with their eyes. The pastor locked the gate to keep the church a strong refuge for the children inside. Let’s hear about her experience:
Sometimes poverty looks like not having enough food to nourish your body. Sometimes it looks like not living in acceptable conditions – leaving you exposed to the weather, disease and an easy target for all kinds of evil. Today it looked a lot like loneliness. Like no one was ever going to come for you. Like the only way out was just another turn into poverty – getting married too young and starting a family you can’t possibly provide for.
You were up to your elbows in abandonment.
And just when I thought I’d need a lifetime of deep breaths before I lost my mind at this cycle of poverty, I went to your house, Brenda.
Your smile was so innocent and blindingly pure…
While loneliness, abandonment, and an urgency to settle down young is raging through your community, there is something else living loud. The local church…
You have come to know Jesus. And you know He has a plan for you too. So poverty, it is breaking with every step you take. And you are another divine appointment, reminding me that my life is so worth losing for the work of God…
“God sees you. He sees you. He loves you. He has a plan for you. One you cannot even imagine.”
God sees you too and He loves you. He has a plan for your life. Are you secure in His refuge?

Lord, when the world around me seems chaotic help me to understand that you are my refuge and that I am always safe with You.

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