The More You Know

“The man who thinks he knows something does not yet know as he ought to know.” (1 Cor. 8:2)

In college, I was given a topic for a research paper.  I spent a good part of the semester reading, investigating, checking sources, and taking notes.  Every article cited another 20 journals and papers.  When I finally sat down to write the paper, I had so much new knowledge, but I was also convinced of something else: I was nowhere near understanding this subject completely!

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Has that happened to you? Have you ever had a moment where you read or researched a topic extensively, only to find that all the knowledge you had newly acquired was only .01% of the vast information on that subject?

“The more you know, the more you know you don’t know.” – Aristotle

In this world of bravado and braggadocio, both Aristotle and Paul were onto something.

*This mini-devotional was written for the app of Mesoamerica Region Nazarene Youth International (NYI). We encourage you to download and use that app, through which short devotional thoughts like this (written by a variety of leaders) will be shared daily.

The Famous Know-it-All

“We know that we all possess knowledge.  Knowledge puffs up, but love builds up.” (1 Cor. 8:1)

Have you ever met a know-it-all? He (or she) justifiably has a lot of information in his brain, and he wants to let the world know every bit of it.  You’ll know when you’ve met one if they cut off your story or exciting piece of news with a “Well, of course, but did you also hear that…”

There’s no better way to bring a conversation down than with a know-it-all.

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Through social media today we all seem to want the world to know our thoughts and opinions.  We work hard to graduate and get a diploma that verifies that we possess the expertise necessary in a certain area.  Knowledge is vital, and we should strive for more knowledge every day.  However, if all that knowledge is used to bring attention to ourselves or –even worse– to disrespect someone, we have missed the boat.  Knowledge very often puffs us up.  But love? Love builds both you and others up.

*This mini-devotional was written for the app of Mesoamerica Region Nazarene Youth International (NYI). We encourage you to download and use that app, through which short devotional thoughts like this (written by a variety of leaders) will be shared daily.

Let Go and Become New!

By Cathy Spangler

In the last decade, it has become popular on television to see different make-overs.  Sometimes it is a wardrobe, haircut, and make-up that bring a drastic change.  But other times entire homes are transformed from run-down to state-of-the-art in just a few days!

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Anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun!” (2 Cor. 5:17).

In this day of “make-overs”, the verse above seems easy to understand.  God gives us a new look: a better and healthier one for sure!  But the Apostle Paul is not referring to our outward looks, although many times God changes our appearance, too.  This verse talks of a new life: something that requires a deep changeon the inside.  I used to think that was a one-time whammy that comes in the salvation experience.  But now I realize this making of me into a new creation is also a process that is ongoing!

“And I will give you a new heart and I will put a new spirit in you.  I will take out your stony, stubborn heart and give you a tender, responsive heart” (Ez. 36:26).

When God removes our stubbornness, he does so in order to release us to be all that He created us for.  He empowers us.  He gives us the ability to overcome discouragement and emptiness!  Heenables us to love Him and others like we never could before.  Hehelps us look past difficulties to the victory beyond.  And hefills our hearts with trust and faith!  All this comeswith a flood of peace and contentment!

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Throw off your old sinful nature and your former way of life, which is corrupted by lust and deception.  Instead let the Spirit renew your thoughts and attitudes.  Put on your new nature, created to be like God-truly righteous and holy” (Eph. 4:22-24).

Did you know that we have a responsibility in this “make-over”? God gives us a new nature, but we have to put it on!  We let the Spirit change our attitudes by paying attention to the Word and applying it as we come to understand it, a little at a time. 

“Forget the former things.  Do not dwell on the past.  See, I am doing a new thing!  Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?” (Is. 43:18-19).

Part of becoming this new creation is LETTING GO of the past.  “The old life is gone…” So often we limit ourselves because of fear and failure in the past.  The “what – ifs” keep us from getting out of our boat of safety and comfort and walking to Jesus out there on the water.

Do we want miracles in our lives? Do we want to walk in the glory and fire of God? Of course! So, quit holding on to the past and take a chance on a NEW walk with God, in His light and in His Spirit.  We can access power beyond our wildest dreams.  We can see financial breakthroughs by faith.  We can see our loved ones delivered, saved, healed and protected.  Really!

That’s what it’s going to take in this end-time season.  Let’s expect!  Let’s receive!  Let’s let go and become NEW!

The Fragrance of Knowing God

By Cathy Spangler

Experts say that the most easily-remembered of our five senses is smell.

We forget many parts of a song days after we have heard, or even sung, it for the first time.  In many cases, our recollection of the specifics of what we see starts to fade mere hours after an event.  However, years after the fact, a certain aroma captivates us and brings a flood of memories. Yes, the sense of smell is powerful, indeed.

There are pungent odors and beautiful odors.  In the days before air conditioning in schools, the smells of sweaty children often filled the hallways and classrooms.  Walking into a beauty shop will immediately mean aromas of permanents, shampoos, and hairsprays.  I work on a farm and absolutely LOVE the smell of my horse’s neck when I hug him.  I adore the familiar scent of my husband’s aftershave.  And I even love the smell of baby lotion!

After walking home from school on cold, snowy days when I couldn’t feel my legs anymore, I remember coming into my house and being met with the smell of cinnamon rolls fresh out of the oven. Still to this day, when I smell cinnamon rolls cooking, that aroma connects me with my mom’s loving care.

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Did you ever have someone walk by and you could smell their perfume or cologne? 2 Corinthians 2:14 says that God will diffuse through us the fragrance of our knowledge of Him in every place!  When you enter a room, can people “smell” the presence of God in your life?

As we spend time in relationship with Him, seeking to KNOW Him more, people will sense it like a heavenly smell!  As they are in contact with me, I want them to get a sniff of His love, His healing, His kindness and power!  I want to “smell” like I’ve been with Jesus!

Do you “smell” like you’ve been with Jesus?

Investing Time

“Teach us to number our days, that we may present to You a heart of wisdom” (Psalm 90:12).

Time is a precious resource, and there often doesn’t seem to be enough of it. But the truth is, how you invest the minutes and hours you’ve been given demonstrates what’s most important to you.

For instance, consider: Are you distracted by needless pursuits – diversions that have no eternal value – when the Lord is calling you to His higher purposes? Are you choosing entertainment over knowing God through His Word and prayer? Do you spend hours pondering your fears rather than thanking Him for all He’s done and resting in Him? Do you spend more time complaining about others than ministering to them?

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The time you have is indeed limited. The Lord calls you to invest your time in pursuits that are eternally worthwhile such as seeking Him and blessing others. So, ask Him, “Lord, how can I spend my life in a manner that pleases You?” He will show you how to employ your time wisely if you’ll listen to Him and respond to Him in obedience. Give Him your time daily.

*This mini-devotional was written for the app of Mesoamerica Region Nazarene Youth International (NYI). We encourage you to download and use that app, through which short devotional thoughts like this (written by a variety of leaders) will be shared daily.

Absolutely Nothing

“I am convinced that NOTHING can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow – not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love” (Romans 8:38 NLT).

There may be something on your mind – a sin, a bad decision, someone’s rejection, or a particular trial – that makes you feel as if the Father does not or could not love you. However, once you believe in Jesus as your Lord and Savior, NOTHING can separate you from His love. Not people. Not circumstances. Not angels, nor demons, nor the enemy’s entire army. ABSOLUTELY NOTHING my friends.

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Psalm 34:18 is clear, “The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.” So when you feel at your most unworthy or defeated is when the Father is closest, tenderly bidding you to return to Him.

The most dangerous move you can make is to resist His love. So seek His face today. Confess your failings. Ask Him to teach you. Thank Him for inviting you back. Then praise His holy name and love Him in return with all your heart. In His presence enjoy His love always.

*This mini-devotional was written for the app of Mesoamerica Region Nazarene Youth International (NYI). We encourage you to download and use that app, through which short devotional thoughts like this (written by a variety of leaders) will be shared daily.

A Voice? What Voice?

“Now those who were with me saw the light but did not hear the voice of the one who was speaking to me.” (Acts 22:9 NRSV)

Arrested and standing before a mob ready to lynch him, Paul relates the story of his conversion.  It was the seminal moment of his life; quite literally (as well as metaphorically), he once was blind, but now he sees.  A bright light.  He falls to the ground.  A voice from heaven.  A dialogue that would forever change this terrorist into apostle.

And tucked in the middle of his testimony is the detail we read above.  Apparently, all those with Paul saw the light.  But they didn’t hear anything out of the ordinary.  What was so clear to Paul –enough for him to stake his life on it– was not even audible to anyone else.

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Have you ever been in a service or camp where others are responding in droves to God’s call, while you cross your arms, confused or even skeptical? They are hearing his voice and communing with him, but you casually wonder what the big deal is.

Could it be that God was speaking to everyone (you included)? The only difference is that you weren’t listening for his voice.  In The Message, Acts 22:9 says this: “My companions saw the light, but they didn’t hear the conversation.”

Don’t miss his voice today.  Pay attention to the conversation!

*This mini-devotional was written for the app of Mesoamerica Region Nazarene Youth International (NYI). We encourage you to download and use that app, through which short devotional thoughts like this (written by a variety of leaders) will be shared daily.