Roswell Pres Blog

Focus on God's Faithfulness - Lenten Devotional 2018 - Tuesday, February 20 - The Chandler Family

Chandler family in 2015 - Emily, Mike, Isabel, Natalie, and Bennett

Chandler family in 2015 - Emily, Mike, Isabel, Natalie, and Bennett

Focus on God's Faithfulness
Tuesday, February 20
Chandler family - Emily, Mike, Isabel, Natalie, and Bennett - members of RPC since November 2005

"Be still and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the Earth." - Psalm 46:10 (NIV)

Being asked to write a devotion on FOCUS takes, um, focus. Every family has their challenges and difficulties. At this stage of our lives, we find that the most difficult thing is to stay "focused." Maybe being asked to write this devotion is God's way of telling us he wants us to focus this Lenten season.

On a daily basis, we find ourselves caught up in the struggles of softball practice, dance lessons, homework, laundry, tween life, and trying to keep it all together. Mondays can turn into Fridays with the weekends being a rush from one game to another, all the while trying to fit in Billy's birthday party. It is difficult to focus on the truly important things in life: Faith, Family, and Love. We try to get to onCore and Wednesday Evening Fellowship. We try to get to Sunday school and worship. But many times we are running in late with overwhelmed minds and our attention focused elsewhere.

Taking time for our family and being intentional about our Faith and togetherness is a constant struggle. But it's on these things that we know our FOCUS should be. We know we should eat dinner as a family around the table, discuss our highs and lows of the day, say our prayers with our children every night; yet we find ourselves falling short of these necessities. However, this Lenten season, we will not give up chocolate, sugar, or online shopping, but we will take on an intentional devotion to our family and faith.

The Bible says, "Be still and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the Earth." God calls us out of the craziness of life to slow down and devote time to honor him.

Questions for Kids

  • What is Lent, by the way?
  • What can I, as a child, do for Lent?

Prayer:
Dear God, thank You for the season of Lent and for reminding us to focus on our Faith. Help us to slow down and remember the blessings You have given us. Amen.


The purpose of the season of Lent is to intentionally take time to reflect on Jesus' life and journey to the cross. The Lenten devotional is a tool to help people reflect on this journey.

The theme for this year's devotional is FOCUS. So much of lives we end up focusing on the wrong things. We focus on our jobs, families, bodies, friends, self, and tons of other things. How might our perspective on all things in our lives change if we focused more on our faith?

This year we want to make the devotional more accessible for families with children. In order to do that we have included some devotions that are written by families. We encourage all of you to engage with your children using this devotional as a tool.

You can sign-up now to receive information and updates about Lent 2018 at RPC, including these daily devotionals. To receive messages via text, text @rpclent to 81010 or sign-up online at www.remind.com/join/rpclent to receive text and/or email notifications. We will also be posting these daily devotionals to the RPC Facebook page. Hard copies are available at RPC.

Focus on God's Faithfulness - Lenten Devotional 2018 - Monday, February 19

Focus on God's Faithfulness
Monday, February 19
Lectionary

Ephesians 2:1-10 (NRSV)
From Death to Life
You were dead through the trespasses and sins in which you once lived, following the course of this world, following the ruler of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work among those who are disobedient. All of us once lived among them in the passions of our flesh, following the desires of flesh and senses, and we were by nature children of wrath, like everyone else. But God, who is rich in mercy, out of the great love with which he loved us even when we were dead through our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ - by grace you have been saved - and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the ages to come he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith, and this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God - not the result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are what he has made us, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand to be our way of life.

Reflection:

  • How do you feel you have died to the "course of this world"?
  • Or maybe, how do you need to do this?
  • What difference does it make that God is rich in mercy to you?

Prayer:
Holy God, although the things of this world dare to trap me and hold me captive, help me to remember that I have been saved through faith. Help me to know how kind and good You are today. Amen.


The purpose of the season of Lent is to intentionally take time to reflect on Jesus' life and journey to the cross. The Lenten devotional is a tool to help people reflect on this journey.

The theme for this year's devotional is FOCUS. So much of lives we end up focusing on the wrong things. We focus on our jobs, families, bodies, friends, self, and tons of other things. How might our perspective on all things in our lives change if we focused more on our faith?

This year we want to make the devotional more accessible for families with children. In order to do that we have included some devotions that are written by families. We encourage all of you to engage with your children using this devotional as a tool.

Additionally, you will find some days where you are encouraged to read Scripture and reflect. This comes from our Lectionary which divides the Bible into reading segments over a course of three years.

You can sign-up now to receive information and updates about Lent 2018 at RPC, including these daily devotionals. To receive messages via text, text @rpclent to 81010 or sign-up online at www.remind.com/join/rpclent to receive text and/or email notifications. We will also be posting these daily devotionals to the RPC Facebook page. Hard copies are available at RPC.

Focus on loving others - Lenten Devotional 2018 - First Sunday in Lent, February 18

Focus on loving others
First Sunday in Lent, February 18
1 Kings 21:1-16 (NRSV)

Naboth's Vineyard
Later the following events took place: Naboth the Jezreelite had a vineyard in Jezreel, beside the palace of King Ahab of Samaria. And Ahab said to Naboth, "Give me your vineyard, so that I may have it for a vegetable garden, because it is near my house; I will give you a better vineyard for it; or, it is seems good to you, I will give you its value in money. But Naboth said to Ahab, "The LORD forbid that I should give you my ancestral inheritance." Ahab went home resentful and sullen because of what Naboth the Jezreelite had said to him; for he had said, "I will not give you my ancestral inheritance." He lay down on his bed, turned away his face, and would not eat.

His wife Jezebel came to him and said, "Why are you so depressed that you will not eat?" He said to her, "Because I spoke to Naboth the Jezreelite and said to him, 'Give me your vineyard for money; or else, if you prefer, I will give you another vineyard for it'; but he answered, 'I will not give you my vineyard.'" His wife Jezebel said to him, "Do you now govern Israel? Get up, eat some food, and be cheerful; I will give you the vineyard of Naboth the Jezreelite."

So she wrote letters in Ahab's name and sealed them with his seal; she sent the letters to the elders and the nobles who lived with Naboth in his city. She wrote in the letters, "Proclaim a fast, and seat Naboth at the head of the assembly; seat two scoundrels opposite him, and have them bring a charge against him, saying, 'You have cursed God and the king.' Then take him out, and stone him to death." The men of his city, the elders and the nobles who lived in his city, did as Jezebel had sent word to them. Just as it was written in the letters that she had sent to them, they proclaimed a fast and seated Naboth at the head of the assembly. The two scoundrels came in and sat opposite him; and the scoundrels brought a charge against Naboth, in the presence of the people, saying, "Naboth cursed God and the king." So they took him outside the city, and stoned him to death. Then they sent to Jezebel, saying, "Naboth has been stoned; he is dead."

As soon as Jezebel heard that Naboth had been stoned and was dead, Jezebel said to Ahab, "Go, take possession of the vineyard of Naboth the Jezreelite, which he refused to give you for money; for Naboth is not alive, but dead." As soon as Ahab heard that Naboth was dead, Ahab set out to go down to the vineyard of Naboth the Jezreelite, to take possession of it.

This week, focus on loving others instead of being envious of them.

Listed below are some suggestions of practices to help you focus.
Focus through...

Photography - Take a picture of something that represents loving others. Use it to bless others by sharing it on social media using the hashtag, #rpclent
Music - Listen to or sing a song that reminds you to love others.
Writing - Write a letter as a prayer to God. Ask God to help you love others well.


You can sign-up now to receive information and updates about Lent 2018 at RPC, including these daily devotionals. To receive messages via text, text @rpclent to 81010 or sign-up online at www.remind.com/join/rpclent to receive text and/or email notifications. We will also be posting these daily devotionals to the RPC Facebook page. Hard copies will be available at RPC.

Focus on God's Faithfulness - Lenten Devotional 2018 - Saturday, February 17 - Debbie Cagle

Debbie Cagle

Debbie Cagle

Focus on God's Faithfulness
Saturday, February 17
Debbie Cagle, RPC member since October 2010  

Jesus replied: "'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and will all your soul and with all your mind.' This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.'" -  Matthew 22:37-39 (NIV)

When I was a young mother, I would have listed my life priorities as: Family, Friends, and Faith. I realized some time ago that I had them in the wrong order. Dependence not on our own strength but upon God, our Creator, is what gives life purpose, meaning, and direction. I ask God for guidance for myself and for those I love at the beginning of each day. This frees me from worry and lets me go about my day as God has ordered it. I am trying to turn more often each day to the source of power in my life and ask for his leading.

I have believed Matthew 22:39, "Love your neighbor as yourself," for a long time. I now realize that in order to do this I need to live verse 37 that says, "Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind." I am still working on this. Delving into God's word in Bible study has brought me into closer contact with God and deepened my faith. I wasn't sure how I was going to fit this study into my schedule. I asked the members of my Bible study to pray for my prioritization of time. God has answered this prayer and I have found the time for study of his Word. The study and time spent with God has helped me put the rest of my life in order.

Prayer:
Dear Lord, please help me to focus on my faith in You in order that I may be filled with Your Holy Spirit and fulfill Your command to love others as myself. Amen.


You can sign-up now to receive information and updates about Lent 2018 at RPC, including these daily devotionals. To receive messages via text, text @rpclent to 81010 or sign-up online at www.remind.com/join/rpclent to receive text and/or email notifications. We will also be posting these daily devotionals to the RPC Facebook page. Hard copies will be available at RPC.

Focus on God's Faithfulness - Lenten Devotional 2018 - Friday, February 16 - Minnie Bowden

Minnie and Jerry Bowden

Minnie and Jerry Bowden

Focus on God's Faithfulness
Friday, February 16
Minnie Bowden, RPC member since May 1996  

"Be still, and know that I am God!" -  Psalm 46:10a (NRSV)

How do we mere mortals "be still"? Especially, when our odometers are set at full speed? Why is it that I do not focus on my God every hour, every day of my life, knowing that He gave His Son Jesus to die on the cross so that my life might be cleansed of sin? Is it because I pack too much into my life so that I can look good for my friends and family?

My mother, "Big Alice," as my brother David called her, was a role model for her children. As a single parent of three kids, she worked two jobs most of her life. Yet she focused on our God. In waking every day, I would find mother on her knees praying. Before going to bed, she would read her Bible and once again be on her knees praying. When her family or friends faced illness or death, she was there ministering with prayers and food. Mother trusted God with the heavy load she carried. God never failed her.

In living with such a role model as my mother, how is it that I fail to focus and depend on God? I cannot blame it on the fact that our lives are about packing in as many activities as possible. The blame lies with my priorities. Lent provides me the opportunity to STOP AND LISTEN to God. As I anticipate Jesus' death on the cross, I want to slow down, to wake up praising God for a new day to pray, read His word, and to listen to where He wants me to serve. And... to realize that there is enough time to accomplish all He needs me to do... if only, only, I would listen to His voice. 

For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 8:38-39 (NIV)

Prayer:
God, help us to see Your presence today in our lives. We trust You to manifest signs of Your compassionate love. May we be open to the opportunities Your grace provides to be changed each day, closer to your dream for us. In Jesus' name. Amen.


You can sign-up now to receive information and updates about Lent 2018 at RPC, including these daily devotionals. To receive messages via text, text @rpclent to 81010 or sign-up online at www.remind.com/join/rpclent to receive text and/or email notifications. We will also be posting these daily devotionals to the RPC Facebook page. Hard copies will be available at RPC.

Focus on God's Faithfulness - Lenten Devotional 2018 - Thursday, February 15 - Melanie Brannon

Focus on God's Faithfulness
Thursday, February 15
Melanie Brannon, confirmed in 2007, family has been members since 1994

I discovered early in my college career that I had a passion for individuals with disabilities. After being introduced to a pediatric occupational therapy internship, I knew without a shadow of a doubt in my heart that this was the job I was called to do. God had spoken so clearly that this was His purpose for me, and I had the drive to do anything it took to fulfill this plan.

The rest of college remained a struggle for me in my academics, social life, and trust for the future. My drive faded. Professors lacked hope in my ability to go to graduate school. I had a laundry list of prerequisite classes I still needed to take, and I became discouraged and doubtful in God's calling. Almost two years after graduating college, I finally became confident enough to apply to graduate school, yet my doubt in God flooded back into my thoughts when I heard that I was rejected. Why was all my hard work not paying off? Was this not His plan for me after all? I wasn't focused on my faith, job, friends and family, or any of the other blessings that God had placed in front of me to enjoy at that time. I was impatient, and I felt like neither I nor God was in control of my life anymore.

It is vital to remember that God has a purpose in everything we do along every step of the way. Perhaps I wasn't able to get into school at that time, but God was calling me to persevere through more application preparation, to work as hard as I could at my job, to focus on my relationships, and above all, to stay true to my faith. Feeling that I was the only one who could be in complete control and thinking that I was entitled to get what I "deserved" were barriers to my faith in God.

I hope to take every obstacle and every moment that may not be in my plan as a sign that this is where I am meant to be at this moment in time. Surrounding myself with a community of faithful peers, praying for continued trust, and reflecting on my countless blessings are ways to feel sound that my relationship with God is greater than any worldly issue that I am facing. God's timing may not be our timing, but that is okay. He will listen, and He will provide with trust and prayer.

Months later, I was accepted into occupational therapy school, where I have begun the most incredible and humbling opportunity to pursue what I love while following the plan that God introduced to me years ago. He did listen, He did provide, and He was in control when I felt that I was not.

Prayer:
Dear God, I want to take this moment to thank You for the countless blessings You have provided me. I may be struggling with understanding why my journey looks different than what I expected it to be, but that is okay. Your plan and Your love can and will conquer any fears, insecurities, and worries that I may have about my direction in life. Help me to understand why I am meant to be where I am in life. Help me to recognize my blessings amidst a difficult time. Help me turn to You when I lose strength, hope, and encouragement. I pray that I will continue to trust in Your plan and know that any issue I am facing in this world is minuscule compared to your vast and unconditional love for me. Amen.


You can sign-up now to receive information and updates about Lent 2018 at RPC, including these daily devotionals. To receive messages via text, text @rpclent to 81010 or sign-up online at www.remind.com/join/rpclent to receive text and/or email notifications. We will also be posting these daily devotionals to the RPC Facebook page. Hard copies will be available at RPC.

Focus on God's Faithfulness - Lenten Devotional 2018 - Ash Wednesday, February 14 - The Amerault Family

Amerault family in 2015 - Clay, Melissa, Declan, Caleb, Ian, and Ainsley

Amerault family in 2015 - Clay, Melissa, Declan, Caleb, Ian, and Ainsley

Focus on God's Faithfulness
Ash Wednesday, February 14
Amerault family - Clay, Melissa, Declan, Caleb, Ian, and Ainsley - members of RPC since December 2013

Rejoice in the Lord always; again, I will say, Rejoice. Let you gentleness be known to everyone. The Lord is near. - Philippians 4:4-5 (NRSV)

"It's my turn to talk. It's my turn to talk," said our daughter at the dinner table. But it's hard to have your turn for everyone to focus on what you have to say when you're only five and you have three older brothers who what to monopolize the conversation and like to shout over you. As we all gather for dinner, or talk in the car, or sit next to each other on the couch and message each other on an iPad, are we focused on each other or just focused on what's going on in our own heads?

As a family, we hope that we are focused on and supportive of each other. But it's important to focus on our faith, too, as this gives us the strength and comfort to focus on each other. There are stumbling blocks to keeping this focus, as we all have responsibilities at work and school that seem to take up so much time. And it's so much easier to spend time on leisure activities than to give time for God. To maintain this focus, it's important for us to regularly attend Sunday school and church. We talk about what everyone learned in Sunday school or from the sermon that day. The kids love when they've learned something in the Sunday school classroom that Mom and Dad don't know, or when they can recite a reference to Harry Potter or football from the sermon. We try to take time to focus on faith in other little moments throughout the week.

Questions for Kids

  • How much of your time do you devote to focusing on your faith?
  • What challenges do you have in focusing on your faith?
  • How do you find time for God?

Prayer:
Dear God, please help us to think about you and devote time for you. Amen.


You can sign-up now to receive information and updates about Lent 2018 at RPC, including these daily devotionals. To receive messages via text, text @rpclent to 81010 or sign-up online at www.remind.com/join/rpclent to receive text and/or email notifications. We will also be posting these daily devotionals to the RPC Facebook page. Hard copies will be available at RPC.