The Word of Grace Devotion for the Week of November 23, 2015
Psalm 9:1- “I will give thanks to the Lord with my whole heart; I will recount all of your wonderful deeds.”
Beloved, I want to thank you for praying for Sheila and I while we were on outreach in Russia/Abkhazia. Your prayers sustained us through the long travel and kept us safe. We had no travel issues and our outreach was a blessed time of encouraging one another. Please continue to pray for the Shepherds and Kvachenkos- our missionaries in Russia/Abkhazia.
Beloved, as celebrate Thanksgiving this coming Thursday, I am reminded of the many blessings, which lead us to maintain a grateful and thankful heart. Each year I like to remember at least ten things/people in which I can give thanks.
(1) I am thankful for my salvation and my Savior, Jesus Christ.
(2) I am thankful for my wife and family.
(3) I am thankful for you as Ephesians 1:16 says, “I do not cease to give thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers.”
(4) I am thankful that my Dad went to be home with the Lord this year as 1 Thessalonians 5:18 says, “Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.”
(5) I am thankful for the numerous brothers/sisters in Christ I have throughout the world such as those in Russia/Abkhazia/Mexico.
(6) I am thankful that I can get up each morning and praise the Lord! Thank you Jesus!
(7) I am thankful for the food that I eat, the bed that I sleep in and God’s continual provision for my life.
(8) I am thankful and amazed that the Lord continues to use me in spite of me!
(9) I am thankful that I can participate in Cross fit tonight and the Turkey Bowl on Thursday as 2 Corinthians 4:16 says, “So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day.”
(10) I am thankful that one day I will be in the presence of the Lord! Thank you Jesus!
Beloved, what are you thankful for?
I pray that you will have a blessed Thanksgiving! I love you and I will be praying for you!
Word of Grace E-mail Devotion for the week
Philippians 1:3-6, “I thank my God every time I remember you. 4In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy 5because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now, 6being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.”
Beloved, a partnership is an arrangement where two or more parties agree to cooperate to advance their mutual interests. It was this partnership, which moved the Apostle Paul to write to the Philippians. God had joined them together for the proclamation of the Gospel.
Beloved, in like manner God has joined us together for the same purpose. As believers, we have a partnership in the Gospel. In order for this partnership to flourish, like any other partnership there needs to be cooperation and active participation.
I am thankful for those who are actively participating in our partnership to proclaim the Gospel to a lost and dying world. I appreciate all you do as you give of your treasure (finances), your time, and your talent. It is through these offerings that our partnership is able to flourish and expand.
For those of you who are not actively participating, I would encourage you to get involved. There is nothing as exciting as actively being involved in the lives of one another. God has gifted you and desires to use those gifts for His glory.
Essentially, I am encouraged that God is not finished with us yet. He is still working is us and through us. I love the promise that the Apostle Paul gives us, “He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.”
Have a blessed week. I love you and I will be praying for You!
The Word of Grace Devotion for the Week of November 2, 2015
Matthew 28:18-20, “And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”
Beloved, as I write this devotional my wife Sheila and I along with four others from Calvary Chapel Temple are two days away from leaving to minister in Russia and Abkhazia. Part of our itinerary includes teaching a conference through 1st John in both Novosibirsk, Russia and in Abkhazia along with ministering to a couple of missionary families that we support, Bill & Ania Shepherd in Novosibirsk and Yuri & Wendy Kvachenko in Abkhazia.
Missions has been on my heart since my first outreach to Juarez, Mexico 28 years ago. When I completed the School of Ministry and Shepherd School at Calvary Albuquerque I prayed about being sent out to Australia. But alas, the Lord led me to Texas, my birthplace and specifically to San Antonio.
Our desire as a fellowship is to eventually send out ten missionaries that we can support. With this our personal vision for my wife and I is to be able to visit and minister to these missionaries on a consistent basis. It is a long-range goal, which we desire the Lord to fulfill. Until then we are content to go on occasional short-term missionary trips.
We covet your prayers for our outreach to Russia/Abkhazia. Pray that the Lord would fill us with His Spirit to minister the Gospel to those who have not heard it. Pray that we would come along side to encourage and lift up our missionaries in Novosibirsk and Abkhazia. I have been told that sometimes missionaries may fill that they are all alone. We go to let them know that we love them and that they have a family of believers back in San Antonio praying for them.
Ultimately, we go to fulfill the great commission given to us from our commander Jesus Christ to, “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations.” I understand that some of us may not be able to go. Family, work, illness and other factors may keep us grounded where the Lord has planted us. There is absolutely nothing wrong with that because if everyone went there would be no one to send. Senders are just as important as those who put boots on the ground.
So pray for us as we venture out in faith. Please pray also for our missionaries: the Kvachenkos in Abkhazia; the Shepherds in Novosibirsk, Russia; the Bentleys in Durango, MX; the Velardes in Guanajuato, MX; and the Delgados in Helotes, TX. Pray that when moments of doubt surface that they would know that there is a family praying for them. We will see you soon! We will be praying for you! We love you!
In Jesus Name,
Pastor Joe & Sheila