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I've Fallen, But God got me up! - Ashley Mofield

Monday, June 12, 2017 View Comments Comments (0)

       I hope the title of this devotion piqued your attention, and possibly triggered a grin or a chuckle.  Yes, I’m playing off the old infomercial that so often gets humorously quoted.  You know the one with the pitiful lady who is in distress, yet has the emergency alert system to call for help?  “I’ve fallen, and I can’t get up!”  I bring that silly nostalgic pop culture quote up for you to think about another big fall.  We, the human race, in our sin, have fallen.  And we can’t get up.  At least not in our own ability, strength, holiness, or religious performance. 

       The questions that I probably hear most often out in the world posed by religious skeptics, or even those struggling in their faith is this:  “Why do bad things happen to good people?’  Or, “Why would God allow so much suffering, evil, and death in the world?’  Those are important questions to consider, but biblically they are not difficult to answer.

       First, there are no good people.  According to Romans 3:23, “All have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.”  Verses 10-12 of the same chapter speak to the fact that there is no one righteous.  No one seeks God, and no one is good.  I am aware that is a sobering thought.  Yet it is one every person needs to consider.

       Secondly, God is not the author of the bad stuff.  He did not create evil and suffering.  It was our sin that brought hardship into the world.  In Genesis 3 when Adam and Eve sinned, the Bible is clear that death entered for the first time.  Suffering would become a reality in the world.  Cancer ,sickness, disease, and yes, even killing and strife, would now define our race.  Because we chose sin . . . and we choose sin.  Genesis 3 even states that nature itself fell.  This gives insight into the natural disasters that so often cause people to question God.

       It is easy to blame God.  Yet think about the suffering that takes place as people hurt people.  Think about the starving children in the world that could be fed, if the world would feed them.  Issues like that are just the tip of the iceberg.  Indeed selfishness is why much of the bad stuff happens.  But what about the stuff like cancer?  A result of a fallen world.  But there is good news.  Even in the midst of falling down and not being able to get up, we are given hope.  Living Hope in Jesus.  He will give us all we need in a fallen world as we trust in him.  He picks us up! (Psalm 40)

       A precursor to this hope is in the Garden of Eden as well.  When Adam and Eve sinned God had to clothe them with animal skins.  Here we see the first sacrifice for sin made, as an animal had to lose its life.  A foreshadowing of the Jewish sacrificial system is painted.  The ultimate and final sacrifice of Jesus is the supreme culmination of the picture.  We see grace.  For it is God who provided a covering suitable for Adam and Eve in their nakednes
       
I do not claim to have the answers to all of the mysteries of life.  Struggle and pain is real.  To be sure, there are a lot of deaths, challenges, diseases, and even disasters that take place.  I know ultimately they are a result of sin, but specifically we want God to protect us.  Often he does, even more than we understand.  And even when we can’t see the eternal big picture, we know that God is ultimately in charge and will work out things according to His plan in ways that we might not see or understand until Heaven (Romans 8:28-29).  Until then, we rest in the living hope we have in Jesus.

       We have fallen, but in Jesus, we can get up.  “The wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 6:23).  I believe a key phrase in that verse is “in Christ Jesus.”  This phrase repeats numerous times all throughout the New Testament.  There are going to be challenges along the way.  Life is not easy.  There will even be unanswered questions.  But when you are in Jesus, you are given His very life.  You are trusting in the One who holds all answers as He holds you.  His grace, just like those animal skins, is sufficient to cover your sin.  Jesus’ loving grace will pick you up and breathe life into you every day.  Without it, we are helpless.  Jesus lived the life we could not live, and died the death we deserve, and rose again, so we would have everything we need in this fallen world suffocated by sin.  Rest in Him.

A Place of Rest - Ashley Mofield

Tuesday, April 11, 2017 View Comments Comments (0)

      “Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.” (Hebrews 12:1-2)
        It has been almost 2,000 years since the miraculous event of Jesus’ resurrection occurred.  Jesus, in His desire to redeem humanity lost in sin, laid down His life for us.  Christ was not a mere victim; though innocent of the charges for which he was accused.  Our Savior chose the cross.  “For the joy set before Him,” He endured a death beyond our imagination.  Scripture points to this magnificent work of God on behalf of those He created.  The death we deserved, our Savior, the Lamb of God, endured.  The life we were to live, He had already lived perfectly.  Jesus, the last Adam, would forever put the stamp of grace on those who trust in Him as their Lord and Savior. 
       As we approach Easter, one of the signature “religious” holidays celebrated by the Christian church, I pray you see the celebration of Jesus’ victory over death much more than a religious event to commemorate.  Those who seek abundant life through exhausting or ritualistic religion will never realize the entire purpose of Jesus dying on the cross.  Furthermore, they will never experience the beauty of daily rest in a living Savior, who now lives to give them guidance, purpose, peace, victory, and rest.  There is nothing wrong with religion, if your religion is all about relationship.  Furthermore, if one is truly resting and walking with Jesus every day, it will not lead to sin.  Resting in Christ will lead to walking and running, loving and sharing, and ultimately to a life of worship as we seek for Him to be glorified.  Christian living will be based on being loved, and loving.  Any boasting will be in Christ, and not us.
       The above passage speaks of a great cloud of witnesses who came before us.  These witnesses are those who had faith in God.  Their faith was not a blind faith, but a faith in who God was, who He said He was, and what He said He would do.  Yes, we are to look to Him in faith.  Focus on Christ, and not the flesh.  The tangles of sin and flesh are strong, yet Jesus alive is how we overcome.  Indeed, we can run with endurance because Christ is the one doing the running!  His strength within is mighty and perfect, so we must trust in Him alone.  
       One more powerful thought must be noted in considering the above passage.  Jesus is sitting down at the right hand of God.  Why in the world is Jesus sitting?  We understand sitting to be a place of rest.  To be sure, Jesus is sitting down, resting, because He has done what is necessary to secure our salvation.  The work is done!  Jesus overcame the power of death and sin, and our only hope is to trust in Him.  Because Jesus is alive, death has been conquered, once and for all.  When you worship this Easter Sunday, enjoy some rest.  Rest in the fact that Jesus did what was needed for you to have forgiveness.  Rest in the fact that His overcoming the grave has secured something that will far outlive “religion.”  It secures a loving, eternal relationship with a Savior who loves us far beyond imagination.  Rest in the fact that you are loved.
  So, you might ask, am I supposed to do anything?  Yes!  Repent of sin and rest in Jesus.  Don’t try to earn your salvation, because you can’t.  Trust in Christ.  The Living Christ will work in you incredible miracles as He leads you into a glorious adventure of a new identity in Him.  Listen to Him speaking, trust in Him, and live.  He is alive!  Praise be to God, Jesus, our Savior, is alive!

God Defies the Odds

Friday, March 10, 2017 View Comments Comments (0)
       March Madness is just around the corner!  I know that excites many that read this, and some could not care less.  However, if you enjoy this time of year and have a dog in the hunt, what are the “odds” of your team making it all the way to the end and playing in the championship game?  A lot of Blue Bleeders in my church are always hopeful, yet have concerns this year.  I, myself, am a Vandy fan.  For that reason, I’m kind of used to not having the best of odds.  It builds character, right?  Whatever the case may be, or regardless of the colors you proudly wear, we like the odds to be in our favor.  Moreover, if the odds are not in our favor, everyone still loves a good underdog story.  Beating the odds and achieving victory when it’s not predicted can be exhilarating!  Thankfully, we serve a God who defies conventional odds.  Just so you know, I’m not talking about basketball.

       In the book of Judges, Chapters 6-8, we find a fascinating story. The story finds Gideon, one of God’s servants, up against seemingly impossible odds.  Gideon is given the task to take out an army of 135,000, and before it is all said and done, God has whittled Israel’s army down to three hundred.  Um, no thank you!  I cannot imagine people jumping in line for probable decimation and embarrassment.  In fact, that scenario has annihilation written all over it!  Yet, that was God’s plan, and God likes to defy the odds.  God didn’t get the decimation memo.

       God defies the odds for the purpose of displaying His incredible power and sovereignty.  Author Mark Batterson goes as far as to say, “Maybe God allows the odds to be stacked against us so He can reveal more of His glory.”  That is something I do desire!  A greater understanding of His glory, grace, provision, power, love, and watchful care in my life are part of what being in a relationship with Almighty God entails.  God will accomplish things in the world, and in your life, so that the glory is given solely to him.  He wants people to find their rest in Him alone, and there is nothing we can do or add.  When the tough day or circumstance subsides we will testify, “God is the only way I was able.”

        This precisely was Gideon’s experience.  He and his army were faced with impossible odds, and God, as He does, comes in and saves the day.  Israel wins, and the Mideonites are the ones who experience decimation.  Thankfully, God makes this very clear.  “You have too many warriors with you.  If I let all of you fight the Midianites, Israel will boast to me that they saved themselves by their own strength.” (Judges 7:2)

        To be sure, that message it what I want you to see today.  Do not boast in yourself, but boast in the power of Jesus.  Often we pray that God would change our situation.  Or possibly make us stronger.  Scripture reminds us that He will provide all we need in whatever situation we face.  Maybe the prayer isn’t to make myself stronger.  I might even ask to be weaker!  And the motivation for that mind-blowing, unconventional prayer, is this: “And He has said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.’ Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me.  For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardship, persecution, and calamity.  For when I am weak, then I am strong.”  (2 Corinthians 12:9-10)

        God defies the odds.  Grace, defies the odds.  Rest in Jesus today, allow His perfect strength, and love to be what will defy the odds in your life.  The message of Jesus in His life saving Gospel is your only hope for salvation, and for daily Christian living, no matter the trial or victory.  Obedience to Jesus is about trusting Him as He guides you each day.  Allow His Grace to be your guide.  Be loved, listen, and follow.
        
When you think about it, the deck is always stacked in His favor.  He is God!  Therefore, His strength is perfect.  What more could I ask?  Almighty God is in the business of doing the impossible.  He will never leave you nor forsake you, and His love will not disappoint, no matter the circumstance.  Rest in Him.

Out of the Box - Ashley Mofield

Tuesday, January 17, 2017 View Comments Comments (0)

      There was a time several years back when I was blessed to do a lot of work with children in a Christian setting teaching Bible stories, making crafts, playing games, and of course, singing songs.  The setting was very similar to what most people would consider Vacation Bible School.  In this kid friendly, fun environment, we sang a song with the kids that often pops into my head at random times.  The first verse of the song playfully states: “I wish I had a little bitty box to put my Jesus in.  I’d take him out, and hug His neck, and put him back again.”

       Now let me start by saying that is one of the dumbest songs I believe I have ever heard.  Oh the things we do when we are young and naïve!  Sure it testifies to the message of loving Jesus, and being close and intimate with Him.  Indeed, those are good things that should be sung.  But Jesus in a box?  And a “little bitty” one at that!  One of the great concerns that I have as a believer in Christ is that too many church-goers, fringe believers, and yes even dedicated Christians, have put Jesus in a box. 

       To be clear, I’m not talking about secondary doctrinal issues, nor am I advocating prosperity gospel beliefs where God is some magical genie in a bottle.  Those are issues worthy of discussion and need attention.  But I am speaking to the ultimate, mind-blowing reality of who God really is, and how that will effect one’s personal walk of faith.  This is about elevating our concept of God and seeing Him for who He truly is.  My good friend Scott uses the analogy of an umbrella.  The size of your umbrella can make quite a difference when the unruly weather hits!

       Ultimately, God’s glory is so big and magnificent that it should stop us dead in our tracks with praise and worship in our daily lives.  His grace and mercy are so overwhelming that they should overshadow our insufficiencies when we rely, trust, and rest in Him.  Yes, His strength is made perfect in our weaknesses! (2 Corinthians 12:9)

       Theologians describe various attributes of God as “incommunicable.”  The defining traits considered incommunicable are God’s alone, and though we do not have them, we serve and know a God who does.  Those who walk with Jesus will find comfort as these divine qualities of our maker are tremendously encouraging.   Our God is Holy, and is perfect in character and quality (Psalm 71:22, Isaiah 6:3, 1 Peter 1:16).  He is immutable, and never changes.  His essence has always been and will always be exactly the same (Psalm 90:2, Malachi 3:6, Hebrews 13:8).  God is infinite (Genesis 21:33, Isaiah 40:28, Psalm 90:2).  His is an omnipotent (all-powerful), omniscient (all-knowing), and omnipresent (all-present) God (Psalm 33:9, Isaiah 40:28, Romans 16:27, Hebrews 4:13, Psalm 139:7-12, Jeremiah 22:24).  Our Father in Heaven is self-sufficient and sovereign (Psalm 102:24-27, 1 Timothy 6:15, Isaiah 46:10).  That is a lot of scripture references, but we serve a really big God!  And to be honest, those attributes and references don’t even scratch the surface.  I encourage you to look them up, and by faith, believe! 

       Isaiah 55:8-9 states, “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways declares the Lord.  As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.”  Believing in a God who is bigger than we can imagine is not disconcerting.  In fact, it is just the contrary.  The God who has all of these qualities loves me, gave His life for me, and lives in me.  What a mighty God we serve!  It’s time to get God out of our little bitty boxes and see Him for who he really is.  We will not be disappointed.

He Cares For You - Ashley Mofield

Monday, December 26, 2016 View Comments Comments (0)

       Grace, mercy, and an alien strength that is not my own has been my theme these last few weeks.  Though I am enjoying Christmas celebrations and excited about what blessings Jesus will bring in 2017, I write this devotion with a heavy heart.  Over the last two weeks I have walked with eight families who have experienced the loss of a loved one.  To be honest, it doesn’t even seem possible.  And as anyone who has experienced loss can testify, it often does not seem real as numbness can linger for months. 

        Praise God that, in most of the deaths, the people who passed had placed their trust in Jesus.  As final respects were paid we celebrated complete and final healing, knowing the deceased are not really “deceased,” and are now more alive than ever.  They live eternally healed in the presence of Jesus.  But that celebration often does not diminish the heartache that can come from loss.  Questions arise, and sadness can form a dark cloud over what normally is considered a joyous time of year.  In addition to the present losses, there are many others who have experienced loss over the last year, or in recent years, who also struggle throughout the holiday seasons.  Walking with these families during this time has reminded me of some of the incredible truths of the gospel.  Yes, in each and every situation, blessings abound for those who know Jesus personally!

            John 3:16 states, “For God so loved the world, that whosoever believes in Him would not perish, and would receive everlasting life.”  In this passage Jesus wasn’t just stating the blessing of heaven and the afterlife.  No doubt that heavenly promise does give comfort when considering death, whether it be of a friend or loved one, or even considering our own mortality.   Those who walk with Jesus never truly die.  Yet the reality of the promise goes beyond that.  When we enter into a relationship with Him, the eternal, everlasting Son of God comes to dwell in us.  We enjoy the everlasting life of Christ residing in us now, on this of eternity.  It is the gift of grace, and those who place their trust in Jesus receive an eternal blessing that begins immediately.  This has nothing to do with being religious, or trying to perform, or impress God.  It is a peace that passes all understanding that can only come from the knowledge of the truth of Christ in me, the hope of glory (Colossians 1:27)!  The joy of the Lord indeed becomes your strength (Nehemiah 8:10).

            If you are struggling this season, there is hope for you.  Jesus was born to give us a living hope!  And living hope in a living Christ is not a guessing game, or an “I hope so.”  Living hope does not disappoint as our Heavenly Father secures us in His arms, and loves us through the pain and loss.  If you are feeling hopeless this season realize that Jesus was born so that your hopelessness could be transformed into eternal life.  Life is not always easy because we live in a fallen world.  In fact, it can be downright hard.  And because of sin, death is a certainty.  But for such times as these we are reminded that we have a true Father in Christ who is mighty to save and desires to help us through the tough times.  We are promised that Christ will never leave us or forsake us (Hebrews 13:5).  In the midst of uncertainty there is a God who is sovereign, loving, merciful, and caring, and beyond certain.  Indeed, He is the way, the truth, and the life.  No man comes to the Father except by Him (John 14:6).  I pray you know Him!  The joy of finding salvation and hope in the living Christ surpasses anything you will encounter on this side of heaven.  I am reminded of the words of Dietrich Bonhoeffer, as he perfectly stated, “Bewilderment is the true comprehension.”  I am thankful that I can’t explain the comfort I have that comes from a strength that is not my own.  But by faith, I rest in the Gospel, and Jesus is my very joy, even in the midst of pain and loss.  “Cast all your cares on Him, for He cares for you.”  (1 Peter 5:7)

 

Out of Nothing

Friday, November 11, 2016 Play this file. Play View Comments Comments (0)

Indulge me if you will, and partake in a little experiment.  I know there are some chocolate lovers out there!  Open your mouth and utter the word, “chocolate,” and see if a blessing of sweet milky goodness appears in your hand.  So, how did you do?  Outside of some “Copperfield-esque” illusion, I know for certain you could not summon up the power to make something appear by the power of your word.  Yet that is exactly what God did when He created the world!  Genesis 1:1 states, “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.”  Though a seemingly elementary verse of the Bible, learned by children in their first preschool days, the reality of the text is mind blowing.

     To be certain, God opened up his mouth, stated what He desired to create, and it came into being.  We often think of God’s Word solely as the written Word, the Bible, and that it is.  But God’s Word is also demonstrated by God speaking things into existence by the power of His Word, as in Genesis 1:1.  God speaks, and poof, it exists.  In regards to the creation account, the concept regarded to as ex nihilo, which is Latin for “out of nothing,” celebrates this divine miracle. Imagine a reality in the beginning of God, and nothing else.  The Father, Son, and Holy Spirit existed, eternally living in harmony, and fellowshipped with each other.  God pre-existed before any other thought, color, cell, or ion.  There was nothing else.  Nothing!  We cannot even comprehend it, yet the unimaginable and unthinkable is what makes it beautifully divine.  If I could wrap my mind completely around God and this idea, then He would fail to be God!  Hebrews 11:3 affirms the idea reminding us that “by faith we understand that the universe was created by the Word of God, so that what is seen was not made out of things that are visible.” 

     Now fast forward from Genesis 1:1 to John 1:1-2.  In John’s gospel the disciple states, “In the beginning was the Word.  And the Word was with God and the Word was God.  He was with God in the beginning.”  In this New Testament example, we see something very interesting sandwiched between the repeated phrase “in the beginning.”  It is John’s understanding of who is at the heart of the entire purpose filled message:  Jesus, the Living Word.  Before, as in the Genesis 1:1 example, God spoke, and things appeared out of nothingness.  The fingerprints and testimony of God by the power of His Word are before us.  In John 1:14, Jesus, the Living Word of God, steps out of heaven and dwells among men.  The testimony of God was now Full Divinity wrapped in flesh, Word and deed, possessing the fingerprints of a man!  He was undiminished in his divine perfection, yet took on human flesh to be the representative for man to God.  He was a worthy sacrifice, and showed the world how unfathomably deep His love runs.  Indeed, He loves the world so much that he sent his Son, the living Word, to show the way to God.  His plan is one of redemption, forgiveness, and life for those who by faith, trust in Him.  If you see Jesus, you have seen the Father.  And those who know Jesus personally and intimately know God, and have been given eternal life.  When you rest in this grace-filled gospel truth, abundant life will reside in your very being!  Beware, for you cannot save yourself.  Salvation only comes by the power of Jesus’ sacrifice and an empty cross.  Trust Him, and know the joy of the indwelling of eternal King Jesus!

     Only a God who speaks things into being out of nothing can make something as fantastic as this possible.  Forgiveness is granted to sinners.  Death is no longer to be feared, for it is exchanged for eternal and abundant life.  The living life of Christ is now the treasured indwelling certainty for believers.  In our sorrow, suffering, and futility, He has spoken the truth of a living hope.  It is in the person of Jesus Christ!
     Do you feel like nothing?  No purpose and no hope?  No peace, and no chance to dig yourself out of the pit where you remain enslaved?  The Living Word came to change your reality.  Cast all your cares on Him, for he cares for you. (1 Peter 5:7)

 

The Makings of a Major Crisis - Ashley Mofield

Tuesday, September 27, 2016 View Comments Comments (0)

We have the makings of a major crisis of epic proportions taking place in our very midst.  This crisis will cast many into hopelessness and despair, and has the potential to affect countless citizens.  No favoritism is shown as to age, race, sex, socio-economic status, or political affiliation.  One might guess that the cause for alarm might be the valid concern for ISIS, or possibly the American economy, or even the upcoming election.  Others may point to our recent gas crisis.  (That kind of reminded me of the rush to get bread and milk at Kroger and Walmart when there is a chance for snow!)

 

The crisis of which I speak is an Identity Crisis.  To put it succinctly, Christians have forgotten who they are!  And even more so, they have forgotten whose they are!  Paul’s words in 2 Corinthians 5:17 where he speaks of Christians being new creations is getting lost in the callings of the world.  These voices plead for us to find “our true self” in things other than Jesus. This is a lie, and it is feeding the crisis. By contrast Christians find hope and identity in the miraculous truth that Christ now lives in us, and He is our very life (Galatians 2:20).  This reality is not only a change of thinking from religion to relationship, but a change in our nature and identity from hopelessness to a living, guaranteed hope!  Yes, living in the light of this new identity will affect one’s entire life. 

 

The battle ground in this crisis involves the fragile self-esteem of so many, even believers.  Confidence in Christ has been put on the back burner as religion and the world lead people to seek fulfillment in anything other than Christ, and to forget that Christ died and rose again to bring a peace that passes all understanding (Philippians 4:6-7).  Our self-esteem should be grounded in the Gospel and the work of Christ on the cross!  Jesus loves extravagantly and lives in believers so that they do not have to live life playing the comparison game, wanting what others have, trying to impress God, or living life hoping for the acceptance of others.  Anxieties about belonging, worth, and competence plague our society, and Christians need to reminded that the Gospel is the remedy!

 

If by faith, you have accepted Jesus Christ, then you do not have to let your life be controlled by others, nor by their acceptance of you (teens or college students, read this several times!)  A biblical self-esteem and new identity in Jesus Christ reminds us that we have belonging because we are part of God’s family (Psalm 100:3).  What makes us important is who owns us.  We are in His family (John 1:12), and according to the Apostle Paul we will always be a part of God’s family (Romans 8:37-39).  The opinion of others, or number of Facebook likes we get should not dictate our sense of belonging.  That is the job of the Gospel!

 

Furthermore, we are worth something because as the old saying goes, “God don’t make no junk!”  According to John 3:16 you are worth what Jesus did for you on the cross.  God so loved YOU, that His son died for you (Romans 5:8; Hebrews 12:1-2). Think of the price that was paid.  We are worth an extravagant amount.

 

Lastly, our confidence should not be in what the world thinks, or even what we can do in our own strength.  Competence comes when we know that whether hungry or full, clothed or naked, we will move forward and praise God through Christ as His strength is our foundation (Philippians 4:13).  Inside the believer resides the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 3:16), and nothing should encourage us more than to know God himself lives inside us.

 

The current crisis can be averted for many as Christians remind themselves of who they are in Jesus.  Who am I?  I am a child of God who has confidence that my worth is based on the price paid for me at the cross, and I belong to Him!   When resting in these truths, by the Grace of God, I can live the Christian life, day by day.  I know who I am in Christ, and I know whose I am!  That is my identity.

God Containers - Ashley Mofield

Wednesday, August 17, 2016 View Comments Comments (0)

“God Containers”

“To them God chose to make known how great among the Gentiles are the riches of the glory of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.” (Colossians 1:27)

 

     Three of the most powerful words in the Bible contain a life-changing fact for those who have placed their faith in a relationship with Jesus.  The words are “Christ in you.”  An argument could be made for other theological ideas that might rival this astounding truth, but there could be no sweeter comfort and reassurance of love and grace than to have the creator of the world in residence within our very being.  

     Consider Solomon’s prayer in the Old Testament as he dedicated the temple unto the Lord.  “But will God indeed dwell with man on the earth? Behold, heaven and the highest heaven cannot contain you, how much less this house that I have built!” (2 Chronicles 6:18)  It is fascinating to recognize an acknowledgment of the vast and incomprehensible size of  the heavens and the universe, yet God is so big, the heavens cannot contain him.  However, He created human beings with the spiritual capacity to be that very thing—God containers!  How humbling it is to know that Jesus, our Savior, divine creator, King of Kings and Lord of Lords, by faith comes to live inside of us!  The indwelling of God in us, and us in Him, is the very heart of our new identity, and the greatest treasure imaginable.  And we don’t somehow try to impress God and convince Him to come. By grace through faith He comes in us to live!
     In him you also are being built together into a dwelling place for God by the Spirit.”  In all of the visible majestic creation, we see that Jesus makes us to be the spiritual houses where He will live.  Often, people refer to the worship room in a church as the “sanctuary.”  But biblically we recognize that for those who have a personal, life-saving, life-giving, grace-filled relationship with Jesus, we are the sanctuaries!   That according to the riches of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being,  so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith—that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.” (Ephesians 3:16-19).
     Dear brothers and sisters in Christ I pray that this brings you incredible comfort.  We tend to see the gospel as a message.  And of course many see Christianity as another “religion,” or a belief system that we hold on to and trust in to make it through our existence, with a hope for something more when we leave this world.  But “Christ in me” is so much more than a message or a religion.  Christianity is about an indwelling LIFE!   It has always been about a life, and God has always desired to dwell among his people.  Through the cleansing of His blood and by the reality of an empty cross in the power of the Holy Spirit, if we place our lives in Him we receive new hearts, and He comes to take residence in us. 
     The universe can’t contain God, yet he created us to be God containers.  Trust in Him today, and rest in His grace and love, for His indwelling is our hope of glory.  “Christ in me” is three powerful words that will change your life.  Jesus’ wonderful life is imparted to us by faith as an amazing gift of God’s grace.  What profound joy and everlasting peace we have been given!

The Ultimate Father - Ashley Mofield

Wednesday, June 15, 2016 View Comments Comments (0)

“Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name.” Undoubtedly you will recognize these opening words to the most recited prayer in the world.  We know this model prayer of Jesus teaching his disciples how to pray as “The Lord’s Prayer.”  Just about everyone reading this has probably recited it at one time or another, whether as part of a basketball team in the locker room before a game, some other extracurricular function, or maybe in a religious service or meeting in which you may be a part.  As we embark upon a celebration of Father’s Day, I am reminded of the blessing of these important opening words in Jesus’ model prayer.

            It is often claimed that seeing and understanding God as a father was somewhat foreign to the audience Jesus was teaching when he prayed this prayer.  I have heard many preachers and scholars state that the idea of God as a father was unknown to the disciples and in Judaism.  Interestingly enough, this is a little misunderstood and exaggerated, as the Jewish faith did believe one of God’s attributes was him being a father.  Judaism maintains that we are all God's children. A well-known piece of Jewish liturgy repeatedly describes God as "Avinu Malkeinu," our Father, our King.  It is said that one of God's greatest gifts to humanity is the knowledge that we are His children and created in his image.

            However, the idea of God as our Father that Jesus was encouraging I believe was much deeper and significant than any pre-held religious ideas.  Grace was being taught and ushered in by the Son and, ultimately, demonstrated at the cross.  The New Covenant was about to be reality as the Messiah would come to permanently dwell in believers.  To be sure, the grace and loving sacrifice of Jesus turned “religion” upside down, as it was not about being religious, but about a knowing God intimately through the work He would do.  This entire plan is initiated from an incredibly loving father who desires to dwell with His people.  God as Father loves us, and desires to be in a relationship with us!  We trust in Him as he does the needed work to make that a reality.  In Galatians 4:6 the Apostle Paul states, “And because you are sons, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, “Abba! Father!”  Indeed, Jesus is our daddy!  If you know Jesus and understand this reality of God your father, then you know that you have an ultimate protector!  You have a father who loves you more than you can ever imagine.  Indeed you are loved with an unconditional love that is never ending through the grace of our Lord by faith in Christ.  He loves abundantly.  He is passionate, comforting, and loyal.  He will guide and discipline you for your good.  He is your biggest supporter!  I guarantee you, as the old saying goes, “my dad can beat up your dad!”   And as the current popular Christian song states, “You’re a good good Father!  It’s who you are!”

            You may be reading this and even struggle with the concept of what a “good father” looks like. Yours might have been, or is, lacking.  In fact, you may not even know your earthly father.  But, if you know Jesus and have trusted in Him, you have a father above all fathers.  He is the supreme father and will love you like no other.  Crawl up in his lap and allow him to put his arms around you.  Enjoy him as he enjoys you.  Be encouraged by his Spirit.  Allow him to lead and guide you in life.  If you are a father, or a parent, you know how much you love your children.  You would do anything for them!  You would sacrifice, and even die for them.  You heart’s desire in all things is for your children to know how much you love them.  How much more so do you think our Heavenly Father loves his children?  More than we can even imagine, praise God.  So I say to everyone, “Happy Father’s Day!”  You are loved.

Distractions - Ashley Mofield

Tuesday, April 26, 2016 View Comments Comments (0)

      Today has not been a good day for me in regards to newspaper devotional writing.  I just keep getting distracted!  I have a great topic I’ve been praying through, and a nice, reliable computer with which to write. Smooth background music is setting the mood, and a beautiful, inspiring spring day is taking place outside my office window. 

       Unfortunately, I keep getting distracted.  Whether it is people needing advice or wanting to meet, administrative responsibilities, or distractions of my own doing.  You know, the important ones, like checking my Facebook status and reading up on the Predators playoff game that took place last night.  Anyone relate?  Staying focused can be such a challenge when the world is coming at us from every direction, and it’s not getting any easier.  Recently I read where the average attention span for a middle school student is no more than 10-15 minutes.  So many things are begging for our attention, whether it be Facebook or Twitter, the latest App, TV, or simple self fulfillment in things we enjoy. 

       Some distractions are just the byproduct of responsibilities and “life” happening, and you just have to push through and give them to Jesus.  Many others, however, can be self-inflicted.  We find ourselves being distracted by something in which we ourselves set the trap.  Or at the very least, satan set it, and we took the bait.

       For believers in Christ, God’s Word is very clear in what protects us from the distractions.  Consider  Hebrews 12:1b-3: Let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.”

       A pursuit of Jesus and resting in Him above all things will provide the direction and protection we need as life’s detours seek to get us off track.  And the message is very clear that we, as believers, must throw off the things that entangle us. Or, in essence, “distract” us. Furthermore, as we are living the life which God calls us, we have someone to whom we are running that will protect us from the distractions.  KEEP YOUR EYES FIXED ON JESUS!  We must live every day resting in Him and looking to Him for direction in all things having “tunnel vision that is content in Christ.”  JESUS IS LIFE and living Him will bring about the security we so desperately need. 

       I also love the fact that focusing on Jesus gives believers a constant reminder of the work that has been done for us, and it is a completed work.  Jesus is the author of our faith, and He will carry us through as we live in Him.  Christ made our faith and salvation possible through love, joy, and sacrifice.  Knowing he sat down at the right hand of God gives confidence that what Jesus did on the cross and through the resurrection is a finished work. If you are a believer, do not be distracted and miss the grace Christ wants you to live in every day.  He sat down because the work was done, and our victory has been made certain!  The distractions will come, but they will never overtake you as you keep your eyes fixed on the Master.

       Finally, when I think about distractions, I’m sure there are those reading this who may have never looked to Jesus for salvation.  You have never received forgiveness for your sin.  Jesus is the divine difference maker because he has done for you, by grace, what you could never do for yourself.  By faith trust Him today, and believe that His death was powerful enough for your forgiveness, and that the alive Jesus wants to live in you!  The world and satan will seek to distract you from believing this message.   Jesus discussed these distractions as well, when he stated in Matthew 16:26, “What good will it be for someone to gain the whole world, yet lose their soul.”