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Blog  //  Devotionals, Stories, News and more...

Marriage Catalyst

A Growing Relationship with God is the Catalyst for Building a Great Marriage.       
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Saturday, March 16, 2013 Posted by Marcel Sanchez | 0 comments

The Hour of Darkness


So also the chief priests, with the scribes and elders, mocked him, saying,
“He saved others; he cannot save himself.” (Matthew 27:41-42)

It was an unusually dark hour. Marked by unbelief, torture and defeat, it was a time of great sorrow. For the disciples, it was a time that would almost stand still. It was the hour of darkness. The final chapter on the life and ministry of Jesus was coming to an abrupt ending. It was the moment many of the religious leaders hoped for. It was their hour of triumph. Victory was near. Total conquest was certain. It was almost time to celebrate. The religious leaders could almost taste this great achievement in the palate of their soul. This self-proclaimed Rabbi and Messiah would finally get what he deserved for blaspheming their God—death.

The death of Jesus would come about deceitfully, forcefully and violently. It would give evidence to the great presence of evil and lack of true spirituality in the hearts of men. The cross was the symbol for death. When someone hung on a cross they did not survive. No matter how strong a person was there was no escaping the fury of the cross. The cross meant the death of a criminal.

It was assumed that those who died on the cross were guilty of the charges made against them. The cross was one of the cruelest forms of death known to mankind. It was not something anyone hoped to find within his or her future. It was built for a criminal, but on it hung our Savior and King. The Pharisees were correct in their conclusion. Jesus was unable to simultaneously save his life and save us from our sins. It was either one or the other. If he saved his life from the punishment of our sins, we would be lost today. We would remain in spiritual darkness. Jesus voluntarily offered his life as a permanent sacrifice for your sins. The hour of darkness was difficult, but temporary. The resurrection was glorious and eternal.

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 12:2)

Read: Open your Bible and read Matthew 27:41-54

Reflect: Prayerfully consider the following: How would my life be today if I remained in darkness? What areas of my old self need to die for Christ to live?

Respond: In prayer, ask, “Lord, what do I need to change starting today as a result of these truths? What action steps should I take?”

Friday, October 26, 2012 Posted by Marcel Sanchez | 0 comments

Starting Point


                                           He was in the beginning with God.  (John 1:2)

Have you ever arrived late to a good movie?  You may have prepaid your tickets online, but local traffic, and possibly your small children, obstructed every effort to arrive on time.  When you ask the person sitting next to you, “How much did I miss?”  They look at you and smile, “Oh, only about thirty minutes.” 

By this time you’re disappointed and very frustrated.  You’re not sure where the movie is headed or what key parts were missed.  One thing is certain; you missed the starting point of the entire movie.  Why?  You were not present in the opening scene.  You missed it entirely.   Jesus has always existed.  He is the starting point of life.

During one of his teachings, Jesus responded, “I tell you the truth…before Abraham was born, I am!” (John 8:58, NIV).  Jesus unapologetically declared that he was the eternal God over all of creation.  The title “I am” was used in the Old Testament to refer to the God of the Hebrews.  This response, as you can imagine, infuriated the religious leaders of the day.  Why?  Simply put, it placed Jesus on the same divine category as the God of Israel.

It meant that Jesus already existed in eternity past with the Father and Holy Spirit.  If Jesus was the great “I am” it meant that He is eternal and shares God’s divine nature.  What these leaders failed to understand was that before time ever existed, before the movie of this world started playing, Jesus was already living.

Jesus was an active part of eternity before our world began.  Why?  Jesus is the starting point of life.  One day everyone will bow and recognize Jesus as Lord of all things.  The Living Word of God will return to earth, destroy all evil and reign supreme over his creation.  He is clothed with a robe dipped in blood, and His name is called The Word of God. (Revelation 19:13, NASB)


Read:
Open your Bible and read John 8:48-59

Reflect:
Prayerfully consider the following:

·       What activities are you involved in that bring glory to God?

       ·       Share one point of this devotional with two friends this week.

Respond: In prayer, ask, “Lord, what do I need to change starting today as a result of these truths?  What action steps should I take?”

Tuesday, October 16, 2012 Posted by Marcel Sanchez | 0 comments

Keeping it Real


In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.  (John 1:1)

The Kingdom of God is eternal.  Jesus had no beginning and has no end.  Before this world was created, He ruled and shared the glory of Heaven’s throne with the Father and the Holy Spirit in eternity past.  Although Jesus is a distinct person from God the Father, He always shared God’s qualities and His divine nature (Hebrews 1:3; Philippians 2:6).  The Apostle John wrote, “The life appeared; we have seen it and testify to it, and we proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and has appeared to us” (1 John 1:2).

Jesus enjoyed a divine fellowship with the Father, a shared relationship, which was spiritually fruitful, relationally profound and perfectly aligned.  This communion was both unique and transparent.  It went way beyond anything that we could possibly create on our own.  This powerful relationship produced a unique splendor that radiated throughout all of Heaven.  Now we have the opportunity to experience God’s Kingdom everyday as we allow God’s presence to flow through our lives.

Before enduring the cross, Jesus prayed, “And now, Father, glorify me in your own presence with the glory that I had with you before the world existed” (John 17:5, ESV).  In another translation it reads, “Now, Father, bring me into the glory we shared before the world began” (John 17:5, NLT).  Jesus longed to reunite Himself with the glory of the Father to once again experience the majesty and beauty of their fellowship in Heaven.  This idea of a shared relationship is available and extended every believer.


Read: Open your Bible and read Hebrews 1:3 and Philippians 2:6Reflect: Prayerfully consider the following:

·       What new habits do you need to create to improve your relationship with God and with others around you?

·       Do you enjoy your relationship with God?  What is it that you desire the most?  How have you communicated this to Him?

·       Since God is a ruler of an Eternal Kingdom, what encouragement and hope does that provide for your life?

Respond: In prayer, ask, “Lord, what do I need to change starting today as a result of these truths?  What action steps should I take?”

Tuesday, September 25, 2012 Posted by Marcel Sanchez | 0 comments

Creating Something Out of Nothing


 

In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.
(Genesis 1:1, ESV)

The Jewish teachers interchangeably connected the “word of God” with the God of Israel.  They used this phrase to point their people to the One True God.  The “word of God” is used throughout the Old Testament to describe the creative power of God.  This is the power that makes something out of nothing.  In other words, it brings life and all forms of matter into existence while providing the perfect form and environment for its survival.  This is the same power that commands life into existence.  This “word” is the force, the power behind what sustains life and provides the necessary structure for life to prosper.

As a believer in Christ Jesus, you are the result of God’s magnificent creative power.  He provided you with a new Spirit, His Spirit, when you accepted His Son into your heart and verbally confessed your sins to Him (John 1:12; 1 John 1:9).  He replaced what was dead and decaying with what is eternally alive and thriving.  He moved in and now permanently lives within you.  You are no longer the one who has to try and control every detail of your life.  You can now rest in the perfect work of Jesus Christ crucified on the cross at Calvary.

Just as God expressed Himself and created life through the Word, Jesus Christ, He wants to express who He is and create more life through your life.  He wants others to experience His great love for them through your life.  He wants His love to be visible, obvious to those around you.  He wants to use you as an instrument of His grace in bringing people into a greater knowledge and love for His Son—the Living Word, the One who was present in the beginning.

Read: Open your Bible and read Genesis 1:1-31

Reflect: Prayerfully consider the following:

·       What patterns do you find as you study God’s creation?

·       Since you are created in the image of God, what does this statement say about the value God places on your life?

Respond: In prayer, ask, “Lord, what do I need to change starting today as a result of these truths?  What action steps should I take?”

Thursday, September 13, 2012 Posted by Marcel Sanchez | 0 comments

Un Dios y Salvador Eterno


En el principio ya existía la Palabra. (Juan 1:1, RVC)


Imagínese no tener que preocuparse por activar una alarma ó llegar a tiempo para su próxima cita.  Imagínese si usted pudiera dibujar un cuadro de su vida sin ninguna limitación de tiempo.  ¿Que haría usted diferente si su vida no fuera gobernaba por las leyes del tiempo?  ¿Cuál nueva aventura pondría en el calendario?

Solamente tenemos 24 horas cada día para completarlo todo.  Tenemos que aprovechar cada momento para llevar a cabo el plan de Dios de reconciliar a todo hombre a Él (2 Pedro 3:9).  Ahora imagínese estar vivo antes de que el concepto del tiempo empezara.  Piense en lo que pudiera suceder si usted viviera en un ambiente perfecto.  Este lugar nunca envejece ni es afectado por condiciones externas. Es un lugar eternamente joven. ¿Se pueden imaginar esto?

Antes de llegar a esta tierra, Jesús vivió en un ambiente semejante. ¿Sabía usted que Jesús es la Eterna Palabra de Dios?  Dios es uno, pero existe en tres personas diferentes, Padre, Hijo y Espíritu Santo.  Deuteronomio 6:4 dice,
Oye, Israel: el Señor nuestro Dios, el Señor es uno” (RVC).  Cada uno funciona en una harmonía perfecta.

La Palabra de Dios es la representación hablada de la persona de Dios (Juan 1:1).  Aunque es una persona distinta, Jesús comparte Su naturaleza divina con el Padre y el Espíritu Santo.  Aguardando la esperanza bienaventurada y la manifestación gloriosa de nuestro gran Dios y Salvador Jesucristo (Tito 2:13, RVR 1960).  Jesús es la representación exacta de Dios (Col. 1:15-20).  El Espíritu Santo existe como una persona distinta.  El sirve un propósito especifico.


Repasa:
Abre su Biblia y lea Colosenses 1:15-20

Reflexiona:
En oración, considere lo siguiente:

¿Por qué es posible que Jesús puede mantener toda su vida en harmonía cuando los desafíos de la vida llegan sin aviso
?

Escriben tres características de la persona de Jesús
1.________________
2.________________
3.________________

Cuando dejamos que el Señor reine en cada área de su vida, ¿en cuales áreas de su vida se rehúsa a someterse?


Responde: En oración, pregúntese, “Señor, ¿que tengo que cambiar en luz de estas verdades? ¿Cuáles pasos debo tomar?”

Thursday, September 13, 2012 Posted by Marcel Sanchez | 0 comments

A Timeless God and Savior


   In the beginning was the Word. (John 1:1, ESV)

Imagine not having to worry about setting your alarm clock or being on time for your next appointment.  Picture what your life would be like if you lived without any time limitations whatsoever.  What would you do differently if your life were not governed by the laws of time? What new adventures would you plan?  This may be hard to imagine right?

We only have 24 hours each day to get everything done.  We simply have to make the best use of each moment to advance God’s plan of reconciling all men to Himself through Jesus Christ (2 Peter 3:9). Now imagine being alive before time, as we know it ever existed.  Think about what would happen if you lived in a perfect environment.  It never aged nor was it governed by time or subject to negative environmental factors.  Can you picture the beauty of such a place?

Prior to His arrival on earth, Jesus lived in such an environment.  Did you know that Jesus Christ is the Eternal Word of God?  God is one, but exists in three distinct persons, Father, Son and Holy Spirit.  Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one (Deuteronomy 6:4, ESV).  They each function in perfect harmony.  The Word of God was the spoken representation of God’s person (John 1:1).

Although a distinct person, Jesus shares His divine attributes with the Father.  While we wait for the blessed hope—the glorious appearing of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ (Titus 2:13, NIV).  Jesus is the exact representation of God Himself (Colossians 1:15-20).  The Holy Spirit also shares within this divine nature.  He exists as a separate person and serves a unique purpose within the divine trinity.

Read:
Open your Bible and read Colossians 1:15-20

Reflect:
Prayerfully consider the following: Why would Jesus be able to hold your life together when multiple challenges arrive without any warning?

List three characteristics regarding the person of Jesus:
1.______________________________ 
2.______________________________ 
3.______________________________

When it comes to allowing God’s Word to rule in every area of your life, which areas do you findyourself still resisting?


Respond: In prayer, ask, “Lord, what do I need to change starting today as a result of these truths?  What action steps should I take?”

 

Sunday, June 10, 2012 Posted by Marcel Sanchez | 0 comments

How do You Define a Catalyst?


A catalyst is best defined as an agent for change.  There are certain things in life that won’t work without the presence of a catalyst.  In the world of biochemistry, a catalyst starts, manages, and accelerates change.  The catalyst itself is not changed in the process. 

It remains constant.  A catalyst can make things function more effectively by changing structure or bonding things together.  A catalyst will do this to produce the best possible product or realize maximum energy.

A Growing Relationship with God is the Catalyst for Building a Great Marriage.

This is the main idea of what we are saying as it relates to building a great marriage.  Here are a few things for you to seriously consider throughout this great adventure.
 

1.   SOURCE - God must be the source for building your marriage: You are not the source.  Your spouse is not the source.  God is the source of life and the catalyst for change within your marriage.  You can’t build a thriving marriage without the presence of God flowing through your life and the life of your spouse.  God must be the source.  He is the foundation for a marriage filled with hope, purpose, and laughter.

 

2.   CHANGE - Let God change you from the inside out: Change is seldom easy for most of us.  As a general rule, we resist change, at least initially.  When it comes to changing our attitude, our behavior, and even our priorities, the difficulty level increases.  If your marriage will experience change, it will be in part to your willingness to allow the Master Designer to make significant changes within your heart.  Be encouraged, He’s not finished with you or your spouse.  Let His work advance and produce good fruit. 

And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you
will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.  (Philippians 1:6, ESV)

3.   ENGAGE - Engage in the good work your marriage was designed to fulfill: The product of God’s work in our lives will produce good works.  God wants to reveal the uniqueness of your relationship to encourage the downcast, strengthen the weak, and give hope to the hopeless.  How he does this will vary from couple to couple.  Take the initiative to understand how God can leverage your marriage to help others. 

For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works,
which God prepared in advance for us to do.  (Ephesians 2:10, NIV, 1984)

For your marriage to thrive, you and your spouse must place God as your source of life and the very foundation for building your marriage.  Once God is the source, transformation can begin.  God wants to change you from the inside out.  This change will compel you and your spouse to get involved in God’s work as you learn to live your life through your identity in Christ Jesus, the life (John 14:6).