Are We There Yet

November 12, 2017 • Pastor Tyler Gramling

Have you ever heard the phrase, “Are we there yet?” Maybe it came out of the mouth of your child during a road trip, or maybe when you found yourself lost when trying to get to a new friend’s house. The truth is, much of life can be filled with waiting—with a journey that never seems to reach a destination. So how are we to handle the “waiting”? Is God with us even in the wilderness? Pastor Tyler Gramling shares God’s plan in the wilderness, and how God uses the waiting to strengthen our faith!

Loved

Day 34 • February 17, 2018

A Vietnamese teenager won the right to change his name. He was born Mai Phat Sau Nghin Ruoi. In English his name means “fined six thousand and five hundred”.... so named because that’s what the Vietnamese government charged his father for having a fifth child. Can you imagine being named after something like that? Labeled as a mistake for the rest of your life? Every time you think about your birth you come to the same conclusion that you are some type of liability? So many people do... You were a problem child... you’ll never amount to anything. That bad choice you made before you got married? Here’s your label. Grew up in a low-income home? You’ll never rise above it. The addiction that you had... you’ll never break free. Somewhere along the line we start to believe that who we were back then defines who we are now. Once a mistake... always a mistake. We wear our past problems like a name badge that’s permanently affixed above our hearts for the world to see. The Bible says that this is not the case: 2 Corinthians 5:17 “This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun!” If you have a relationship with Christ, who you once were... that label you were given... is gone. You no longer have to be defined by your past mistakes or live under the unfair judgment of people who don’t understand that your scars are not marks of shame but revelations of growth. Dare to change your name. Push past who you once were and accept that you are a NEW creation... with a NEW name... given to you by Christ Himself! The teenager in our story above changed his name to Mai Hoang Long... which translates to “Golden Dragon”. What will your new name be? Forgiven? Accepted? Strong? Overcomer? World Changer? Confident? Secure? Choose today to see yourself through God’s eyes... and you’ll find that the only label He wants you to wear simply says... Loved.

Renting A Fish

Day 33 • February 16, 2018

Most hotels give their guests the basics... hair dryers, extra pillows, etc. But there’s a hotel in Belgium that does things a little differently. They provide something that has become quite popular: goldfish. Guests can request a goldfish and bowl be sent to their room for a small fee. The reason? Companionship. Hotel management has discovered that people get lonely... and the mere presence of a small fish makes them feel less so. Have you ever felt lonely? Ever felt isolated from the world even when you’re in a crowd of people? I have good news for you. There isn’t one moment of any day where you are ever completely by yourself. God tells us in His word that He is always with us. Hebrews 13:5 says, “For God has said, ‘I will never fail you. I will never abandon you.’”. Isn’t that comforting? Will you always feel Him around you? Maybe not. Does it mean that bad things won’t happen to you? Nope. However, just knowing that the King of Kings intentionally chooses to stay by your side regardless of your circumstances, income, or mood should bring you great comfort and peace. Renting a fish may make you temporarily smile... but you’ve got to give it back. God’s passion for you... His purpose for you... and His presence WITH you is forever.

Weight Of The World

Day 32 • February 15, 2018

A psychologist walked around a room while teaching stress management to an audience. As she raised a glass of water, everyone expected they'd be asked the "half empty or half full" question. Instead, with a smile on her face, she asked: "How heavy is this glass of water?" Some guessed 8 ounces... others 20 ounces... She replied, "The weight doesn't matter. It depends on how long I hold it. If I hold it for a minute, it's not a problem. If I hold it for an hour, I'll have an ache in my arm. If I hold it for a day, my arm will feel numb and paralyzed. In each case, the weight of the glass doesn't change, but the longer I hold it, the heavier it becomes." Stress is the same way. Hold it for a little while...no problem. A little while longer...a little more weight. All day? A week? It quickly becomes unbearable. So how can we control the pressure on our lives? Take Jesus up on what He offers in 1 Peter chapter 5 verse 7: “Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about you.” God wants us to turn to Him when times get tough... We weren’t created to carry the weight of the world... so today, let’s choose to trust in His strength and not our own.