Between Sundays: A Year of Transforming Devotionals for the Toughest Days

Overview

You've experienced it — the spiritual let-down on Monday after Sunday worship that keeps spiraling down until the next first-day fellowship. How do you overcome that deflating feeling? How do you maintain your Sunday fervor of faith Monday through Saturday? Between Sundays by Shawn Craig is the place to start.

Shawn Craig is best known for being the middle name in Philips, Craig and Dean, but in this artfully crafted, spiritually sensitive ...

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Between Sundays: A Year of Transforming Devotionals for the Toughest Days

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Overview

You've experienced it — the spiritual let-down on Monday after Sunday worship that keeps spiraling down until the next first-day fellowship. How do you overcome that deflating feeling? How do you maintain your Sunday fervor of faith Monday through Saturday? Between Sundays by Shawn Craig is the place to start.

Shawn Craig is best known for being the middle name in Philips, Craig and Dean, but in this artfully crafted, spiritually sensitive book, Craig proves himself a sound author who feels a deep devotion to God and his people.

While making this book a daily part of your spiritual devotions, you will feel as if Craig is personally familiar with your life . . . and he is. In his work as a pastor, his life is a daily course in helping others pursue Christ. Open the pages of this book and accept Craig's invitation to "walk with me in pursuit of God." Your faith will be transformed to equip you to face the toughest days of your week.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781416538035
  • Publisher: Howard Books
  • Publication date: 12/12/2006
  • Pages: 320
  • Product dimensions: 5.90 (w) x 3.70 (h) x 1.20 (d)

Meet the Author

Shawn Craig is best-known for being the middle name in Phillips, Craig, and Dean, one of the most popular contemporary Christian music groups in the world today. Shawn is also a prolific songwriter who has had songs recorded by Point of Grace, the Gaither Vocal Band, Glen Campbell, and others. When Shawn isn't writing music and performing, he serves as the music pastor of South County Christian Center in St. Louis, Missouri. He began writing devotional material in 1991 with hopes of one day publishing his work.

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Read an Excerpt

Week One: Encountering God

A Moment of Reckoning

Week 1/Monday

But you, lazybones, how long will you sleep? When will you

wake up?—Proverbs 6:9

NLT

I am convinced that we all receive a wake-up call at least once in our lifetimes. We don’t always recognize it when it happens, but later we realize that’s what it was. We are blessed if we can hear and know when God is trying to shake us loose from the shackles of slumber and delirium.

The Father of our souls is looking for long-term results, not short-term gains. We may look at our lives and say, “I’m doing fine...money in the bank, healthy family, faithful to attend church, etc.” But God looks at us and is not satisfied until Christ is formed in us. God’s eyes are on the inner self, not the outward man (see 1 Sam. 16:7). He knows when we’re due for a wake-up call.

Peter the apostle had a wake-up call in the days following the Last Supper. In the warmth of fellowship among his ministry peers, he was quick to say, “Lord, I am ready to go with thee, both into prison, and to death” (Luke 22:33 kjv). But later, in the warmth of the fire of scrutiny, he hastily denied any knowledge of Christ. Then, when he realized what he’d done and admitted how weak he truly was, his heart was broken, and a conversion took place.

God cannot fully use those who are totally self-reliant. It is from the broken places of our lives that we minister most effectively. It is from a state of utter hopelessness that we realize how much we desperately need God. Only when we reach this point are we emboldened to do what is beyond ourselves, because only then do we realize our strength is from God and not something we can conjure up ourselves.

So when your faith is shaken, when your world is suddenly turned upside down, stop and listen. Consider what’s happening. It might be God’s alarm clock going off in your life. Your wake-up call. Arise and shine; resist the lure of the snooze button.

~Lord Jesus, let me recognize the crucial moments of my existence. I don’t want to be spiritually asleep. I want to be attentive to your workings, to your voice and your purpose.~

Stand by Me

Week 1/Tuesday

He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire; he set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand.—Psalm 40:2

Moses. Mighty man. Leader. Chosen by God. Now in the presence of God…there on the mountaintop, Moses watched as God’s finger chiseled out the holy commandments for Israel. God was so close that Moses could feel the holy light permeating his very being.

“God, show me your glory,” he said bravely.

God looked at his faithful servant and smiled. Surely there was so much he would have liked to reveal, but he knew his servant only too well. God spoke. “There is a place near me where you may stand on a rock” (Exod. 33:21). “I will cause all my goodness to pass in front of you” (Exod. 33:19).

As God’s glory passed by, God covered Moses with his hand so that Moses got only a glimpse. Still, Moses’ face shone for many days to come.

Later, in the last few days of his life, Moses was once again on the mountain. This time he had not come to view God’s glory but to behold from afar the land of promise. Moses must have felt great anguish in seeing what he could never obtain because of his disobedience. But once again…he was not alone. He was with his friend, his God.

Do you remember your first special encounter with God? I remember mine well. The distance from my seat to the altar seemed to be at least a mile or more. I was privileged, however, to have my dad sitting beside me. I asked him to take that walk with me. Facing God with my sin did not seem as overwhelming to me as long as Dad was with me.

Whether we are basking in God’s glory, facing disappointment, or confronting the truth of our transgressions, God has provided a place where we can stand beside him. He will be with us and help us not to be afraid. He will cover with his hand what he knows we cannot bear. And he will give us the courage we need to encounter what we must.

~Father, how I love to stand beside you, to feel the strength that you alone possess, and to know you hold my hand and give me courage enough to face your holiness. I will not be afraid, for you will hide me in your pavilion, in the secret of your tabernacle. You will set me on a rock, that special place beside you.~

An Encounter with God

Week 1/Wednesday

When they saw the courage of Peter and John and realized that they were unschooled, ordinary men, they were astonished and they took note that these men had been with Jesus.—Acts 4:13 (emphasis added)

Recently I was asked which three people have had the greatest impact on my life. At first I thought it wouldn’t be difficult to answer the question. But upon further consideration, I realized it wasn’t easy to come up with an answer. I’ve encountered many, many helpful people along the way, most of them for just a short while, and there have been several who have impacted my life in varying ways, large and small. I couldn’t name just three.

If someone asked me to identify the single source of life-changing impact in my life, however, I wouldn’t even have to stop and think. The answer is God.

God’s impact on his children’s lives goes beyond the normal “bumping into” changes brought about by earthly helpers or motivators. When Moses met with God on Mount Sinai, the glory of God shone so radiantly on his face that when he left God’s presence he had to wear a veil to address the Israelites. When Saul, the terrible persecutor of Christians, encountered God on the road to Damascus, he became the mighty apostle Paul, who would write more of the New Testament than any other disciple. Consider the stories of Abraham, Peter, Mary Magdalene, and all the others whose lives were radically changed after their date with divinity.

When we encounter God—when we allow him to touch our lives and take up residence in our hearts—we are not just impacted; we are transformed, marked for life, changed and revolutionized. And people will notice. Just as Jacob’s mysterious limp was an outward reminder to others of his Peniel encounter with God, and just as Moses’ face glowed, when we encounter God and allow him to change us, the transformation will be noticeable. Others will look at us and say we’ve never been the same since that moment.

~Lord, I pray that your transformation of my life is so evident that others will notice so that I may point the way for them to have their own encounter with you.~

The Moment of Revelation

Week 1/Thursday

When he was at the table with them, he took bread, gave thanks, broke it and began to give it to them. Then their eyes were opened and they recognized him, and he disappeared from their sight. —Luke 24:30–31

Revelation begins when you open the door. As long as Jesus stands outside the door beckoning with his voice, there is no revelation. Christ longs for us to open the doors of our hearts, to open our spiritual eyes, so that he can come in and reveal his heart, character, and love to us.

The disciples who met Jesus on their way to Emmaus but didn’t recognize him are an example to us of what it means to be spiritually blinded. These two disciples spilled out their grief over the loss of their Master and Friend, when at that very moment the risen Lord was right there with them. It was only after they had invited him into their abode that revelation took place as he blessed and broke the bread. Suddenly they recognized him, and then he was gone.

When Jesus comes into our lives and “breaks bread” by sharing his words of spirit and life, our eyes will be opened. We will get a glimpse of our Lord and of his love for us. The blinders will fall from our eyes as the Bread of Life is blessed, broken, and given. Maybe then he will vanish from our sight, not because he plays games, but because we can only receive revelation in small doses. In essence, we can only eat so much bread at one sitting!

There must be a time of assimilation of what we have received and then a giving to others. As Jesus instructed us, “Freely ye have received, freely give” (Matt. 10:8 kjv).

As we wait and listen, we will hear his voice calling. If we will open the door, he will come in. He has said, “Whoever has my commands and obeys them, he is the one who loves me. He who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love him and show myself to him” (John 14:21). If you love him, listen...

~Dear Lord, I want to be able to hear your voice calling at the door of my heart. Let me seize the moment of the calling. I will open the door to your revelation. My knowledge of you will grow as I partake of the Bread of Life.~

A Humbling Experience

Week 1/Friday

[Jesus] made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness.—Philippians 2:7

What a humbling experience it must have been for God to take the form of humanity and feel all the hunger, fatigue, and other discomforts that were so different from his glorious existence in the heavenly realm. But that was only the beginning. Those difficulties couldn’t compare with the humiliation he suffered on the cross, dying the most horrifying of deaths, experiencing complete and utter rejection by the very ones he had come to save.

And despite all he’s already done for us, still today he continues to humble himself for us. He comes down to our level of understanding to meet us at our point of need. He humbles himself to reach us at our measure of faith.

I love how Jack Deere, a former professor at Dallas Theological Seminary, tells how God met him at his level of faith. Deere was convinced that the miraculous was a thing of the past. But God slowly tore down Deere’s walls of resistance until he reversed his stance. In his book Surprised by the Power of the Spirit, Deere explains how God patiently revealed this on a level he could understand. Being a cerebral theologian, Jack found that God was merciful enough to meet him there.

There will always be diversity in the body of Christ. One church will respond one way while another will respond in a manner that’s radically different. God is big enough and yet humble enough to understand both.

~Jesus, thank you for humbling yourself by taking the form of man, for experiencing the joy and the suffering of life so that you could be touched with the feeling of our weaknesses and could save us. I want to remember your humility, your willingness to be a servant, and make allowances for diversity in my spiritual family.~

Weekend Reflections

Week 1/Saturday

God surprises us. He rarely shows up where and how we expect him to. The two disciples on the road to Emmaus were walking with the Son of God and didn’t even know it! Maybe their eyes were blinded by God for a greater purpose. Or maybe their minds were so closed to the possibility of Jesus’ being alive that they just couldn’t recognize him when he walked right beside them. What a shock it must have been when they realized that the one they so loved had been so near to them!

Leading a Bible study recently, my friend Ken Schmitt encouraged us to spend a week looking for Jesus in those around us. I was amazed how we could see the evidence of Jesus in friends, family members, coworkers, and even strangers when our minds were tuned to the idea and we actively looked for him everywhere we went. Pay attention! Jesus may pay you a surprise visit today through someone who touches your life.

1. Spend the next few days looking for Jesus to surprise you. Write down how he reveals himself to you in the people around you.

2. Why do you think the two men on the road to Emmaus didn’t recognize Jesus? How does this apply to your situation?

3. When do you find that you are most aware of Jesus? On Sundays? On a quiet night gazing at the stars? Why?

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Table of Contents

Contents

Acknowledgements

Introduction

Week 1 Encountering God
Week 2 A New Perspective
Week 3 The Power of God
Week 4 The Voice of God
Week 5 Pursuing God
Week 6 Surrender
Week 7 Love
Week 8 Service
Week 9 Self-Acceptance
Week 10 Humility
Week 11 Mysteries
Week 12 Prayer
Week 13 Repentance
Week 14 Resurrection
Week 15 Grace
Week 16 Obedience
Week 17 The Kingdom of God
Week 18 The Will of God
Week 19 Spiritual Rest
Week 20 Communion with God
Week 21 Faith
Week 22 Persistence
Week 23 Trust
Week 24 Joy
Week 25 Discipline
Week 26 Purpose
Week 27 Hope
Week 28 Possibilities
Week 29 Intimacy with God
Week 30 Abiding in Christ
Week 31 Loving Others
Week 32 Carpe Diem
Week 33 Knowing God
Week 34 Conversation
Week 35 Attitude
Week 36 Holy Spirit
Week 37 Confidence
Week 38 Excellence
Week 39 Patience
Week 40 Temptation
Week 41 The Presence of God
Week 42 Freedom
Week 43 Identity
Week 44 Endurance
Week 45 Holiness
Week 46 God's Faithfulness
Week 47 Thanksgiving
Week 48 Growth
Week 49 God's Church
Week 50 God Is Love
Week 51 Celebrate Christ
Week 52 Change
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