Devo Family Topics

October 26, 2019 by  
Filed under Daily Devotions, Worship

Hope After ‘I Do’ – Art Fulks

A little girl recounted the story of Snow White to her mother. After telling how Prince Charming kissed Snow White, bringing her back to life, she asked, “Do you know what happened next? 

Her mom answered, “Sure, they lived happily ever after.

The girl frowned, “No, they got married.

Getting married and living happily ever after are not always synonymous. God created marriage to be happy, but sin disrupted it. Hope in Christ makes it possible again. 1 Peter was written to persecuted believers who faced great financial and cultural pressure. Yet he says there is hope in following God’s prescription for marriage.

Peter encourages wives to focus on their own actions, even if their spouse is unreasonable. By not preaching or nagging, God uses you to reach the heart of your husband. Ruth Graham once said, “My job is to love Billy. It’s God’s job to make him good.

He also encourages wives to not merely focus on their appearance, but on character and attitudes. Physical beauty is quickly overshadowed by harshness or a quick temper. God places high value on spiritual fruit like gentleness and self-control. And healthy reverence for the husband’s God-given role allows His blessing and intervention even in difficulty.

Peter writes one very challenging verse directly to husbands, calling us to not simply coexist with our wives, but to do life with them. We often compete to have our needs met, but God calls and enables us to be completers of each other, to become a vivid picture of Christ.

He challenges men to intentionally work at knowing the intimate part of their wife’s heart, which takes a lifetime. Chuck Swindoll says, “Most wives who are walking with God won’t fight you for it, but they will long for it…some die longing for it.” Your pursuit of knowing her will make your wife long to be in your presence.

Finally, Peter prescribes granting wives a place of honor. She may not think like you, but she is an heir of God and He has honored you with the privilege of being her husband. No more tearing her down publicly or privately.

Taking God’s prescription is not always easy and cannot be applied only as a contingent to your spouse’s response. But you can trust God’s plan. Remember, God’s timing is not ours and He is at work.

There is hope after ‘I do’!

“You husbands in the same way, live with your wives in an understanding way, as with someone weaker, since she is a woman; and show her honor as a fellow heir of the grace of life, so that your prayers will not be hindered” (1 Peter 3:7 NASB).

A Father’s Day Gift to My Kids

August 22, 2019 by  
Filed under Daily Devotions, Family

By Art Fulks –

This is a really weird year for our family. This year, our oldest daughter’s birthday is on Mother’s Day. Our youngest son’s birthday falls on Father’s Day. So who decides where we go to dinner? This dilemma caused me to consider their gifts. Our daughter wants clothes and our son wants a new guitar. But what could I give them as a dad that would really last?

This week, I spent a considerable amount time thinking about it and realized how fleeting and perishable my gifts usually are. Then I read a bit from Peter and Paul. They really loved their spiritual children. And their writings gave me two potential gifts to give my kids this Father’s Day.

How about hope and holiness?

You probably had the same reaction that I did when these ideas crossed my mind. But after a bit of contemplation, I realized that there are no more valuable, lasting gifts that I could give them than the message of hope found in Christ and a model of holiness founded in the truth of God’s Word.

In this fatalist culture in which we (and they) live, they need to be consistently reminded of the incredible, Living Hope who is Jesus Christ. His gracious gift of salvation and grace even during the most difficult of circumstances will never fail them. It provides a perspective that allows them to see through the deepest, darkest days of their journey.

The holiness part was a bit harder to deal with considering they know how imperfect I am. However, the challenge is not striving for perfection, but for consistency. The founder of Methodism, John Wesley, stated that through Christ we have the ability to experience “moment by moment non-transgression of the known will of God.” Could I give my kids the gift of a consistent life pursuing full surrender in worship of my Heavenly Father?

I realized giving my children these gifts would require sacrifice of my will and desires on a daily basis. But just as much, it would require the courage to say with the Apostle Paul, “Imitate me.” It sure is a scary gift to give, but there is nothing more valuable!

“I exhort you therefore, be imitators of me” (1 Corinthians 4:16 NASB).

Appropriate Vacation Worship

July 28, 2019 by  
Filed under Daily Devotions, Worship

By Art Fulks –

It is almost summer time and for many this means vacations. Recently, I heard a radio commercial that declared what most of us know to be true. Visiting family is wonderful and you can call it anything you want. But we all know that it is rarely a vacation.

With multiple children, especially in diverse age brackets, parents can often need to go back to work in order to get any rest. Resort activities, amusement parks, beaches, and swimming pools can drive you to the brink of exhaustion. As a father of four, let me encourage you that most kids eventually begin to appreciate their sleep.

Eventually, you may find yourself alone, sitting in front of a large window overlooking an incredible mountain view like I am right now. It is mid-morning and my first cup of coffee is still too hot to drink. Everything is quiet as I pier over what seems a limitless supply of peaks and valleys. As I asked myself what would be an acceptable act of worship, the words of Psalm 8 came to mind. In the quiet of the moment, it seemed God spoke to me and said, “Thanks for taking time to notice and admire My handiwork.”

God seemed to know that I needed a couple of days away from the fast paced race I have been running to sit in quiet mountain cabin and acknowlege His Sovereignty. Through an unexpected invitation, here I sit. And God seems to be reminding me that the beauty of His creation is all around me every day. It is in the starlit sky at night and morning sunrise. It is in the eyes of the people I love so much, as well as the eyes of those that I should love more.

Whether your vacation pace is relaxed or faster than normal life, God can use the change of scenery to speak. He can show you something new, or just to help you refocus. Either way, I am learning that the proper response in worship is to pay attention! That is something the Psalmist seemed to get.

AUTHOR QUOTE: Whether you go to the mountains, the ocean, or to some brightly lit kingdom dedicated to a popular rodent, God desires to speak to you.

“O Lord, our Lord, How majestic is Thy name in all the earth, Who has displayed Thy spendor above the heavens!” (Psalm 8:1 NASB).

The Benefits of Personal Worship

June 16, 2019 by  
Filed under Daily Devotions, Worship

By Art Fulks –

The Book of Psalms is filled with the passionate, personal worship of David and others. Its variety gives us confidence that God desires us to sing to Him in both the good and bad times, with transparency of feelings and genuineness of faith. God desires and deserves to be worshipped by surrendered followers for both what He does and for Who He is.

But could there be supplemental benefits to our acts of worship, such as the praise we offer in song? I believe there is. There are two similar passages of Scripture found in Ephesians 5:19 and Colossians 3:16. Both refer to singing or speaking to ourselves and others in “psalms and hymns and spiritual songs.”

During the years of worship wars, both have been used as proof texts for worship styles. However, in the context of both passages, I found an interesting similarity. Both are sandwiched between texts that speak about the difficulties of being conformed to the image of Christ and living out our faith in the context of family relationships.

True personal worship is achieved when what we believe about Who God is and what He has done is allowed to change us and then lived out. Many of us know it is often most difficult to live out our faith in the context of family relationships. So what does this have to do with personal worship through singing songs?

God has given us the gift of music to help us not only praise Him, but to also help us remember and apply His Word. As the words of biblical truth pass from our minds through our lips to the melody of whatever style best fits our personality, it often gets to our heart. And when those words of truth are consistently engaged, they begin to be used by the Holy Spirit to change us—transform us—into the image of His glorious Son.

Recently, one of our kids picked up a guitar and learned a few chords. It is amazing how fast they learn and progress.  He tries to get his sisters to sing the praise songs while he plays, but often ends up going solo—not always singing on key. But over the past few months, I have noticed a difference in how this group process has impacted relationships in our family. There is more singing in the house and car. And the phrase, “I love you” is being said more. Sing on!

AUTHOR QUOTE: “True personal worship is achieved when what we believe about Who God is and what He has done is allowed to change us and then lived out.”

“Let the word of Christ richly dwell within you, with all wisdom teaching and admonishing one another with psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with thankfulness in your hearts to God” (Colossians 3:16 NASB).

Today’s devotional is by Art Fulks, a church planter / pastor at Connection Fellowship in Greenville, South Carolina. Married for 22 years and father of four, Art is a graduate of The Ohio State Univeristy and Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary. He is a passionate Bible teacher, speaker, musician, worship leader, and life coach. Read more at http://www.connectionfellowship.org or walk the journey with him daily on Facebook., a refreshing oasis in our journey today.

Singing New Songs

May 30, 2019 by  
Filed under Daily Devotions, Worship

By Art Fulks –

My entire life as a worship leader, the words “new song” have been the most volitile ever spoken in a church. One beloved seminary professor said, “People do not know what they like, they like what they know.” Before you click your mouse or turn the page, I assure you that this is not a piece about worship wars. Bear with me for a moment.

Although I like many styles of music, the fellowship I pastor has a more contempory flavor. Over the years, I have heard Scriptures, like Psalm 144:9, used to justify a music preference. As believers who still have fleshly flaws, we can sometimes try to force the Bible to support our individual preferences.

This week, as I read this passage again in the context of the entire chapter, I realized it has nothing to do with corporate worship or musical styles. In the middle of incredible persecution and tragedy, the Psalmist finds his faith still present. It prompts him to raise a personal song of praise and promise, when most would have abandoned all hope.

It is not uncommon in dark days to find hope and encouragement in the heartfelt songs of others. But when was the last time you put your deepest desires, passions, and feelings to music and raised them as an offering from your soul to the Lord? Although many of us made up songs as children and sang them in front of our parents, most of us have never sung a personal song to our Heavenly Father.

Unlike earthly audiences, God is not impressed with lyrical structure or musical ability. Some of us have nothing but a monotone chant to offer in the privacy of our car. For others, our lyrics would be broken or drenched with tears of sorrow. As the message of Amy Grant’s song declares, what we offer from our hearts is sometimes better than a hallelujah. For those with true faith in Christ, I would add that you can legitimately cry in despair and lift expressions of praise in the same chorus.

So maybe in your car today or in the shower with a loud exhaust fan running, why not try singing a new song—your own song—to God?

AUTHOR QUOTE: Whether it is a chorus of joy, hymn of praise, or burdened spiritual, the Father longs to hear you sing it with all of your heart.

“I will sing a new song to Thee, O God; upon a harp of ten strings I wil sing praises to Thee” (Psalm 144:9 NASB).

Today’s devotional is by Art Fulks, a church planter / pastor at Connection Fellowship in Greenville, South Carolina. Married for 22 years and father of four, Art is a graduate of The Ohio State Univeristy and Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary. He is a passionate Bible teacher, speaker, musician, worship leader, and life coach. Read more at http://www.connectionfellowship.org or walk the journey with him daily on Facebook.

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