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Love

 

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“A friend loves at all times and a brother is born for adversity,” -Proverbs 17:17

How does one say, “I love you”? In many ways, you might say. We all have our own way of saying these three words or expressing them in our own love language. Whether it is to a spouse, a dear friend, a parent or a child—we normally do not have a problem saying those words to those we truly care for. But for some it may be difficult. Why? Is it because of the way you were raised as a child? Was it common practice to hear in your home? Maybe something in your past happened and hindered you from the expression of love to others because of the pain and hurt you have experienced. There are many reasons why “love” is difficult to express.

As believers, we are not just encouraged to love but commanded to do so (John 15:17, 2 John 1:6).  In Scripture, we are told what love actually looks like:“Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful” (1 Corinthians 13:4-5). The Father must have known by the way He was treated that we might have some challenges with loving completely, so He has given us examples of what it must look like. Sometimes it is difficult, just as it was difficult for Jesus as He endured such pain from the very ones He came to earth to help. However, if only we can be examples out of obedience first, I believe He will honor that step as we move toward that love that is described in 1 Corinthians 13.

It is our responsibility as believers to love as Christ loves us—an example of how to love without expecting anything in return. We are even told to love our enemies (Matthew 5:44). This can be very difficult when someone has wronged you. It is out of obedience to the Creator of the universe, to love—regardless of sin, regardless of hurt, regardless of what they can do in return. Love is a powerful expression and emotion of what we have available to us in our very finite minds. We can’t really begin to understand the type of love or even the depth of Christ’s love for us as He went through the horrible experience of being beaten, spat on, mocked, and crucified on the cross.

The best way to understand and attempt to love on that level is to remember the cross that Jesus bore. Understanding the love Christ has for each of us can motivate you to love the way he has demonstrated His love for us.  Romans 5:6 tells us, “But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”

Remember who you are and whose you are and our commandment to love one another! Be encouraged, my brothers and sisters!

Written by Melissa Roberts, Site Director for Online and McDonough

 


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Day 21: It’s Really About Prayer

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What a wonderful 21 Days of Prayer! I don’t know about you, but I have been blessed by the Point students, faculty, staff and leadership who have shared daily insights from God’s word. I have learned much from these devotions and from my prayer time each morning.

Someone asked me at the beginning of the 21 Days if we were following a theme. My response was something like, “I’m sure we are, but we won’t know it until the end.” I think that is true. As I look back on these diverse devotional pieces, I read many insightful truths, but I think they all fit under one banner—God is our ultimate provider.

The narrative of the Bible teaches us that God is our provider. From the Bible’s description of God’s provision in creation in the garden of Eden to the provision of never thirsting again in the new heaven and earth, we see time and time again that God provides all we need. God provided abundance in Eden and manna from heaven for his children in Exodus. He provided for Elijah through the poverty of the widow. And he revealed himself to the shepherd David as the Good Shepherd who not only gives David victory over lions, bears and giants but also sets a table of plenty for David until his cup overflows. At just the right time, our Heavenly Father sent us his son who reminds us that we can pray boldly that God’s Kingdom would come to earth as it is in Heaven. If we listen carefully as we pray the Lord’s Prayer, we hear that God provides our daily bread and that He will deliver us from the evil one.

As we close these 21 Days, I encourage you to pray both Psalm 23 and Jesus’ model prayer.

Written by President Dean Collins

Psalm 23

The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.
He makes me lie down in green pastures.
He leads me beside still waters. He restores my soul.
He leads me in paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.
Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil, for you are with me;
your rod and your staff, they comfort me.
You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies;
you anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows.
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life,
and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever.

Matthew 6:9-13

Our Father which art in heaven, hallowed be thy name.
Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.
And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil:
For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever.
Amen.


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Day 20: An Angel in the Parking Lot

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It had been a busy hospital day for me, but I had one more to go. As I waited for the elevator, a nurse walked up beside me. She looked tired.

I like nurses because my mom was one and a teacher of nurses as well. So, I asked her where she went to school, mentioned mom, and we discovered some mutual friends. As the elevator arrived she asked, “Headed home?” I said, “No, I have one more hospital to go.” She replied, “Me, too.”

That perplexed me a bit. So, I asked her about the “one more hospital.” She said that her 21-year-old son was having treatment for cancer. By now we were headed to the parking lot, and I expressed concern and told her that I would be praying for her. She said thanks and that prayer had gotten them through when her 8-year-old daughter died from cancer. I was stunned; I could hardly believe what I had just heard! Here was a nurse who compassionately worked at a children’s hospital when she had lost a daughter to the ravages of a disease that was at the top of the list of the most frequent maladies of the patients she treated.

I looked at this woman and marveled at her strength. I tried to mumble some words of encouragement to her and said, “I’ll pray for you…It will be okay.” With a twinkle in her eye, she replied confidently, “I know it will!”

Wow! I staggered to my car, looked heavenward with tears in my eyes and asked the Lord, “Why did you bring me to her? Did I do enough, say the right things?” Then, almost audibly, I heard, “You dummy, I didn’t bring you to her, I brought her to you!”

I call these kinds of events “God moments.” We are confronted with them frequently. Now you may be thinking, “Well, Donovan, that may be true for you preachers, but not for us ‘plain ole Christians.’” However, I beg to differ.

I think God rather delights in using all sorts of believers and situations to visit and minister to His people.

If you aren’t recognizing these encounters, might I suggest that it is due to the noise in our culture and, consequently, in our personal lives. There is so much “noise” both literal and virtual that we can’t experience God’s still, small voice and gentle nudges in our daily experience.

While we don’t have the same relationship with God that the prophet Elijah had, perhaps we might be able to discover what he discovered: God did not speak to Elijah in the powerful wind or the earthquake or the raging fire.

“And after the fire came a gentle whisper.” —1 Kings 19:12b (NIV)

God spoke to Elijah in a still small voice. God wants to speak to us and use us to speak into the lives of others even as that wonderful nurse and mom blessed me. Join me in quieting the noise so that we can hear and bless and be blessed.

Written by Dr. Jim Donovan, Professor of Education


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Men’s Week Schedule

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Schedule of Activities

  • Monday 1/30, 2:00-4:00 p.m.—Real Men Serve Community Service Project, Lanett Recreation Center
  • Tuesday 1/31 , 6:00-8:00 p.m.—Men’s Nite Out, Irish Bred Pub (includes free appetizers for the first 30 men)
  • Wednesday 2/1, 12:00 p.m.—Men’s Pray Circle, Dining Hall (hosted by SGA)
  • Wednesday 2/1, 7:30 p.m.—Men’s Nite Basketball Game, West Point Gym (includes free drinks)
  • Thursday 2/2, 3:00-5:00 p.m.—Real Men Read, West Point Cares Afterschool Program
  • Friday 2/3, 7:00-9:00 p.m.—Game Day, LAC Student Commons (includes free food)
  • Sunday 2/5, 11:15 a.m.—Men’s Fellowship Day, Refuge Point Church
  • Sunday 2/5, 6:00 p.m.—Super Bowl Watch Party, LAC Student Commons
  • Monday 2/6, 3:00-5:00 p.m.—Man Talk, Preaching Lab

 


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Day 19: Say Yes to God

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It is the end of the first month of 2017, and many resolutions that were freshly displayed January 1 on our refrigerator or desk have been removed, abandoned or deemed too difficult. We have told ourselves, “No, I can’t exercise three times per week. No, I can’t save more. No, I can’t stick to a new diet. No, I definitely can’t use social media less.” Our desires to do something new when another year rolls around are well intended but often go by the wayside.

  1. Exercise 3x a week. Too hard.
  2. Save more. Not enough money.
  3. Start and stay on a diet. I tried.
  4. Read more. No time.
  5. Use social media less. No way.

So this year, I have decided to not type a list of resolutions for 2017 because that’s what the radio and TV personalities tell me to do or because Target sells a trendy looking journal in which to write them. Instead of making a list of hopes and desires with no action behind them, I challenge myself to focus on the true meaning of resolution—a decision to behave in a certain way.

Former President Barack Obama stated in his final speech: “For many of us, it’s become safer to retreat into our own bubbles, whether in our neighborhoods or on college campuses or places of worship or especially our social media feeds, surrounded by people who look like us and share the same political outlook and never challenge our assumptions.”

Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son of the Holy Spirit.” –Matthew 28:19

I don’t think it means to only make disciples of those in which I am comfortable interacting. How can the Great Commission be truly fulfilled if we never exit the bubble? So, join me in being resolute in saying “yes” to God in 2017 and stepping out of the bubble. Say yes to stepping out of the bubble and starting up a conversation with someone in the Starbucks line. Say yes to speaking to the person in the hall whose hair or clothing looks different than your own. Say yes to sitting with or near someone you do not know or seeking to understand another person’s experience or viewpoint.

Will this be risky or uncomfortable at times? Yes, but in prayer remember the following verses:

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.” —Philippians 4:6

Be strong and courageous! Do not tremble or be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” ­—Joshua 1:9

Written by Andrea Pope-Smith, Instructor of Sociology


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Day 18: Putting on Christ

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As believers, we get to live as sons and daughters of the Most High King. We get to wake up every morning with a peace that passes all understanding, a faith that can move mountains, a love that conquers all fear, and a hope that shapes our future. We are free.

We are free to live apart from burdens. We are free to live apart from sin. We are simply free to live. But let us not forget that freedom came with a price. Christ gave His life for us. In return, we are called to give our lives to Him. If we take our freedom for granted in the way we live, are we really free? Or, have we tied ourselves back to the bondage of this world?

“For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ.” —Galatians 3:27 (NKJV)

The thought of walking with Christ is something for which we should marvel. And we get to! We get to make the choice every day to live with Him and for Him. However, we know that God’s path for us is not always the one we want. I cannot help but to think of the comic with a child holding a small teddy bear. Jesus is asking her to give it up, but she wants to hold on to it. What she can’t see, though, is that Jesus is holding a huge teddy bear behind His back, waiting for her to make the trade: to give up her small bear for His greater one. Our small desires for His greater ones.

God wants nothing more than to give us what is eternally better for us, which is also best for His Kingdom.

When we trade in our desires for His, we can really experience the freedom He has given us. Let us find a quiet place today and take some time to pray that we may learn to put on Christ and walk daily with His desires in mind.

Written by Kristen Styer, Biblical Studies and Preaching Major


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Day 17: Jesus’ Hands and Feet

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I have a little prayer taped to the computer monitor at my desk. I don’t really remember where I got it or how long I have had it. It simply states:

Jesus, what can I say or do today to demonstrate what You have done for me, and how can I be a blessing to others today?

Maybe this is another way to say the words we hear so often, “What can I do to be the hands and feet of Jesus?”

A few years ago, I was waiting for my doctor in an exam cubicle at UAB Hospital in Birmingham. A gentleman in the next cubicle was being evaluated to be a kidney donor, and I could hear the conversation. The medical team member asked him “Are you related to the recipient?” “No.” “Then how do you know her?” “I don’t really know her, but she goes to my church.” “Why do you want to donate your kidney to her?” “Well, she has been on the prayer list for over a year, and I thought I would see if I was a match so she can get off the list.”

Wow! Talk about unselfish. This gentleman offered the miracle of life to someone he barely knew. He was a miracle worker—the hands and feet of Jesus!

We probably don’t have the opportunity on a daily basis to actually save a life by donating an organ or stopping a crime or preventing a major crisis, but we do have the opportunity to touch a life by sharing a simple thought, word or deed. Perhaps a “random act of kindness.”

There is a student who comes in my office almost daily, just to give me a hug. Many days the timing of that hug is amazing. It comes when I am frustrated or tired. A quick hug, and I am a new woman, ready to go again. How does that student know when I need that hug the most?

We have many opportunities to put our faith in action in our school, our jobs, our churches—to be Jesus’ hands and feet. For some this may involve working in church ministries, distributing food to the hungry, caring for the sick, or challenging those who allow injustice to go unchecked. But maybe it is as simple as babysitting so a mom can have a much-needed break. Carrying groceries to the car or reaching something on the top shelf at Walmart doesn’t take but a few seconds but can mean so much to a senior citizen with an aching back. Grab the hand of someone who is hurting and say a prayer of love and encouragement. It could be the turning point in their life!

Until the time that Jesus returns, it is up to us to be His hands and feet. Be a blessing to someone today.

Written by Mary Susan Underwood, Director of Guest Relations