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We hope you benefit from the devotions below.  Please check back often as they are updated regularly!

Author: CBF Personnel/Partner Created: 12/18/2007 1:43 PM
Devotions from the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship Internationals Center

What does tomorrow hold? I am one of those that needs to plan, check it again, repeat it just one more time to make sure, etc. I like everything to be in place and organized. It’s amazing how plans can quickly change no matter how hard we work at it. Things happen!! A few years ago, I read the following by Oswald Chambers in his book My Utmost for His Highest:

Certainty is the mark of the commonsense life – gracious uncertainty is the mark of the spiritual life. To be certain of God means that we are uncertain in all our ways, not knowing what tomorrow may bring. This is generally expressed with a sigh of sadness, but it should be an expression of breathless expectation. We are uncertain of the next step, but we are certain of God.

God impressed on me the two phrases: “gracious uncertainty” and “breathless expectation.” Faith is that gracious uncertainty we have in our Lord. It is like the child who knows that his parents' love and care for him are unquestioning, but he doesn’t know what...

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God heard [Ishmael] crying, and the angel of God called to Hagar from heaven and said to her, "What is the matter, Hagar? Do not be afraid; God has heard the boy crying as he lies there. Lift the boy up and take him by the hand, for I will make him into a great nation." – Genesis 21:17-18 (NIV)

All across the Commonwealth of Virginia, and especially in Fredericksburg where we live, stories of Latino immigrants who left children, parents, brothers, sisters, aunts, uncles, cousins, and others in their home countries to live and work to the US come to our attention, breaking our hearts and bringing tears to our eyes. Leaving behind a little one, or even an older adult, who depends on you for their needs truly cannot be an easy thing to do. But many have done so, and continue to do so, not out of callousness or cruelty, but just the opposite, out of...

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In the same way your light must shine before people, so that they will see the good things that you do and praise your Father in heaven. -- Matthew 5:16 (Good News Bible)

Now that I've put you there on a hilltop, on a light stand—shine! Keep open house; be generous with your lives. By opening up to others, you'll prompt people to open up with God, this generous Father in heaven. -- Matthew 5:16 (The Message)

 

Something to Think About:

Have you ever heard someone say ‘she’s the spitting image of her mother’ or ‘he’s a chip off the old block’? It’s usually meant as a compliment. That is what Jesus meant when he shared this final thought about shining. He told his disciples that when they let their little lights shine folks would compliment God their Father. By the goodness they would bring to others, that is to say their love, their example of faith, the acts of kindness and goodwill people would...

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The Statue of Liberty is one of the most recognizable icons of the U.S. worldwide, and in a more general sense, represents liberty escape from tyranny. The Statue of Liberty was often the first glimpse of the United States of America for millions of immigrants who traveled 1000’s of miles on harrowing ocean voyages from Europe and Asia.

The statue depicts a woman, standing upright, dressed in a flowing robe and a spiked crown, holding a stone tablet close to her body in her left hand and a flaming torch high in her right hand. The statue is made of pure copper on a framework of steel (originally iron) with the exception of the flame of the torch, which is coated in gold leaf. It stands atop a rectangular stonework pedestal, itself on an irregular eleven-pointed star foundation. The statue is 151 feet and one inch tall, with the foundation adding another 154 feet.

In her hand pressed into the stone...

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When an alien lives with you in your land, do not mistreat him. The alien living with you must be treated as one of your native-born. Love him as yourself, for you were aliens in Egypt. I am the Lord your God.—Leviticus 19:33-34 (NIV)

“Random acts of kindness”—how potent they are in sharing God’s love and care with a hurting world! Over the past few months, our ministry—LUCHA Ministries—has uncovered a number Latino families in our area in need of food assistance. With the economy bad and jobs drying up, fewer and fewer families are able to put food on the table regularly. So every basket of food we distribute is always much appreciated. But sometimes, as M. reminded us, assistance shared randomly and unexpectedly can mean even more. Recently, M. revealed to Sue one of those “acts of kindness” her family had received from an “American” they knew but whose...

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 So neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything, but only God, who makes things grow. The man who plants and the man who waters have one purpose, and each will be rewarded according to his own labor. For we are God's fellow workers; you are God's field, God's building. — 1 Corinthians 3:7-9 NIV

We have been in this ministry among Persian Speakers for over 17 years now. We have worked in many countries and many states in the US. We have planted churches and held Bible studies and worship services. We have shared the gospel with family, friends, neighbors and strangers.

We know that God is faithful.  We know that from scripture and from the changed lives we see. We also know that God loves people and desires for them to be saved. “The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance” (2 Peter 3:8 NIV).

During a recent visit to Texas, we reunited with an Iranian family who were...

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Jesus answered, "If you want to be perfect [like Him], go, sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me." Matthew 19:21

Jesus lays the challenge before us. Are we willing to apply this principle to our lives? Do we want to be like Him? I think we would be hard pressed to find a Christian who doesn’t want to be like Christ. But are we willing to be obedient? Do we not demonstrate our faith through obedience? Are we willing to abandon all for Him? In this modern world we do not often see selflessness practiced – we see selfishness practiced. The word of God is clear. The eternal principle of holding up our fellow man is clear. One of our greatest challenges in ministry is simply having the funds necessary to carry on – to respond to the human catastrophe around us. Praise the Lord, He multiplies the bread and fish and provides daily people who give sacrificially to love our brothers and sisters refugees/migrants. They continue...

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Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego replied to the king, "O Nebuchadnezzar, we do not need to defend ourselves before you in this matter. If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to save us from it, and he will rescue us from your hand, O king. But even if he does not, we want you to know, O king, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up." Daniel 3:16-18

God has taught me to seek to have the great faith of Abraham and Moses and others listed in the great “hall of fame” of faith in Hebrews 11. I’m realizing that in the work that I’m privileged to join God in (reaching Muslims for Christ), progress comes slowly and even when it does, it doesn’t always fit neatly into the paradigms we’re used to from our Western perspective. With the slow progress and out of the ordinary successes, God is teaching me to rely on Him and to continue to be faithful “even if He doesn’t” come through, just as Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego remained faithful....

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As I look at this view from our terrace, I often think of Psalm 125:2 “As the mountains surround Jerusalem, so the Lord surrounds his people both now and forevermore.”





As we live in a place where we often encounter many different religions including African Traditional Religion and Islam, I often find myself considering the difference between religion and relationship, and I am thankful that we have the awesome privilege of knowing God and having a personal relationship with Him through the precious gift of His Son our Savior. Christmastime is a wonderful time of year to be reminded of this gift and to be encouraged to strive each day to get to know Him better by spending time with Him. “For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given” (Isaiah 9:6a).

In the book Keep a Quiet Heart, Elizabeth Elliot says, “For it is He–not His gifts, not His power,...

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For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given, and the government will be upon his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. − Isaiah 9:6

Our co-worker, Dr. Robert (Bob) Newel, who serves in Athens Greece, has recently written a series of Advent sermons. In the first sermon he refers to the “African proverb, ‘It takes a village to raise a child.’” He goes on to say that he would like to turn that saying around and look at it in a different way for the theme of his sermons: “It takes a child.”

"Indeed, the heavenly perspective, as revealed most keenly in the Bethlehem event, affirms the power of this reality. Advent and Christmas stand as stark reminders that ‘It takes a child’ to raise the hopes of humankind; ‘It takes a child’ to raise the awareness of a decimated and discouraged world of God's faithful compassion! ‘It takes a child’ to raise the desperately damaged vision of what each of us was intended to...

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