Did you know that Shelby County YMCA has a Prayer Team? If you would like to request prayer for yourself, a family member, or a friend, please email the specifics to a.klene@shelbycountyymca.org and your request will be sent to our Prayer Team.

If you prefer to submit a written request, there is a prayer box located in the hallway behind the YMCA front desk.

**Your information will be kept confidential and will be shared only with the Prayer Team**

Monthly Devotion

God provides us with many gifts each and every day and one of the most important of these is the gift of peace. In John 14:27 Jesus says: “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” (NIV) In this chaotic world that we find ourselves in, we can find much comfort in those words and knowing that God is in control no matter what. We are called to be peaceful, as we learn in Colossians 3:15 which states: “Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful.” (NIV) And, if we let the peace of Christ rule in our hearts, it will lead to blessings: “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.” (NIV) Let God’s peace bring a sense of calm to you and then spread that peace to those around you, for it is truly one of God’s greatest gifts.

God is in Control

The solar eclipse that we recently experienced was simply stunning, amazing, and awesome! What a magnificent display of both God’s beauty as well as His power! Genesis tells us how God created the heavens the Earth and everything in it. Chapter 1, verse 14 says: “And God said, “Let there be lights in the vault of the sky to separate the day from the night, and let them serve as signs to mark sacred times, and days and years.” And from 1 Chronicles 29:11, “Yours, Lord, is the greatness and the power and the glory and the majesty and the splendor, for everything in heaven and earth is yours. Yours, Lord, is the kingdom; you are exalted as head over all.” God has created a beautiful world for us to enjoy and He is always in control!

True Light

One of the most common metaphors in the Bible is found in the imagery of light and darkness. The light is representative of goodness and the darkness is a symbol of evil. Jesus refers to himself as the light of the world in John 8:12, which reads: “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” We are about to experience a total solar eclipse, where the light of the sun will be blocked by the moon for approximately four minutes in the middle of the day, making it appear dark as night. However, the sun will slowly reappear and full daylight will return. This draws a very noticeable parallel to John 1:5, which teaches: “The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.” Enjoy the events on April 8th and let it serve as a reminder that Jesus will always overcome!

Lion and Lamb

There is a very familiar saying about the month of March: “It comes in like a lion and goes out like a lamb.” That is especially true this year since Easter falls on March 31st. There are many references in the Bible to Jesus being the Lion from the tribe of Judah, one of which is found in Revelation 5:5 which states: “Weep no more; behold, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has conquered, so that he can open the scroll and its seven seals.” (ESV) There are also multiple Biblical references that describe Jesus as the Lamb of God. For example, in John 1:29, John the Baptist sees Jesus coming towards him and says: “Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!” (NIV) As we celebrate Easter this month, let us rejoice and remember that Jesus is both the conquering lion as well as the sacrificial lamb!

TIME

We often hear people say “there just isn’t enough time in the day.” Well, this month provides us with an additional 24 hours since it is a leap year! Time is indeed precious, and we should use it wisely. As we settle back into a normal routine following the busy holiday season, it is a good opportunity to reflect on how our time is spent. Most importantly, we need to make sure we schedule time in each day to pray, study Scripture, and reflect on God’s purpose for our lives. He has given each of us a unique purpose in His Kingdom and that is the most important use of our time. John 9:4 teaches us: “As long as it is day, we must do the works of him who sent me. Night is coming, when no one can work.” (NKJV) Use your time wisely and efficiently for God’s purpose and enjoy the extra 24 hours this month!

PAID IN FULL

As the hustle and bustle of the Christmas season begins to fade, we can reflect on the joys of creating memories with family and build on the true meaning of the season. Unfortunately for most, there is also the debt that becomes a reality in January as the bills begin to arrive. Wouldn’t it be great if somehow that debt could be magically erased? Well, when Jesus was born in Bethlehem that Christmas night, he came to fulfill the promise that God made to provide a final sacrifice for the atonement of our sins. Our debt has been paid in full; it has been erased! This was prophesied by Jeremiah: “For I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more” (Jeremiah 31:34, NIV). This same wording is found again in Hebrews 8:12 as well as Hebrews 10:17. This is indeed the good news, the Gospel message that was manifested in Jesus, our Lord and Savior. Thank you, Jesus, for paying our debt!

 

December brings countdowns, preparation, and anticipation of the Holiday season. Advent calendars help us count down to Christmas day. We prepare by decorating our homes, purchasing gifts, listening to Christmas music, and watching our favorite Christmas movies. The anticipation builds to December 25th, the celebration of Jesus’ birthday. One week later, another countdown begins, the countdown to the new year. Some celebrate with fireworks, some with noise makers, but just about everyone counts down the final seconds of the year and anticipates what the new year will bring. However, the most important preparation that we need to work on is the preparation for the return of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Luke 12:40 tells us: “You also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him.” (NIV) As we anticipate His return, let us prepare our hearts and minds by studying His word and spending time in prayer and quiet reflection each day so we are prepared for what will be an amazing day!

The Shelby County YMCA staff wishes everyone a very Blessed Christmas and 2024!

As we enter into November, we also enter into a season of giving thanks. The Thanksgiving Holiday typically has us sharing a meal, giving thanks for our many blessings, and spending some time with family. The table is most often the center for Thanksgiving celebrations. There are many references to tables in the Bible. Proverbs 9:1-2 refers to a table as part of its illustration of wisdom: “Wisdom has built her house; she has set up its seven pillars. She has prepared her meat and mixed her wine; she has also set her table.” The most important biblical reference to a table is when Jesus invites His Disciples to the table for the Last Supper.  We need to remember that Jesus has also invited us to this same table, the table of the Last Supper, and be mindful of His request: “Do this in remembrance of me” (Luke 22:19). This is the greatest blessing that we should be thankful for this season and every season.

Shelby County YMCA wishes our members a very Blessed Thanksgiving!

It is officially the Fall Season which means that things are changing. The season changes, the amount of daylight changes, the weather changes, and the leaves change color. But, one thing that is always consistent and never changes, is Jesus. The Bible tells us in Hebrews 13:8 that “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.” (NIV) As Christians, however, we need to change because deepening our relationship with Jesus is a life-long process. The more we learn about God, His Son, and the Holy Spirit, the more it should impact our daily lives, slowly changing us into the person that God created us to be. The recipe for changing into that person is a continuous four step cycle that consists of:

  1. Reading Scripture (“Fix these words of mine in your hearts and minds”) Deuteronomy 11:18 (NIV)
  2. Praying (“Pray without ceasing”) 1 Thessalonians 5:17 (NKJV)
  3. Listening (“Be still, and know that I am God”) Psalm 46:10 (ESV)
  4. Acting (“But don’t just listen to God’s word. You must do what it says”) James 1:22 (NLT)

We must change to effectively serve an unchanging God.

Prayer is defined as: “a solemn request for help, or expression of thanks, addressed to God.” Prayer can be expressed in spoken word, or in thought. An active and consistent prayer routine is an essential part of the life of a Christian. In fact, the Scriptures teach us to pray at all times. We are taught in 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 to “ Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” (ESV) And in a similar verse in Romans 12:12, we find: “Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer.” (ESV) We also learn from Scripture that prayer brings results, for example, Mark 11:24: “Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.” (ESV) Take time each day to pray, to talk with God, to thank Him and let Him know what’s on your heart. Pray not only for those around you, but for healing and revival in our world. Prayer is a powerful tool!

The Bible is more than stories, more than history, it is the Word of God and it is our source of information, our guide for life. We can find inspiration within its pages as well as advice for any and all situations that we face. The lessons are still applicable to today’s world, even though they were written thousands of years ago. But it is far more than words, it is action steps for how to live as representatives of God’s Kingdom. In Luke 11:28, Jesus says: “But even more blessed are all who hear the word of God and put it into practice.” (NLT) In Luke, chapter ten, we find the familiar story of the Good Samaritan that stopped to help the injured man. Jesus ends this story by saying “go and do likewise” (Luke 10:37, ESV). It is important to read and study God’s Word, but it doesn’t end there; we must also put it into action!

It’s pretty common in the summertime to hear people say they’re going to “soak up the sun” on a nice day, or over the weekend, or during a vacation. The sun provides many health benefits, such as reducing stress and improving sleep patterns. It is also a great source of vitamin D. However, the SON provides everlasting benefits that can only be found through Him. Through Jesus, we can receive forgiveness (Isaiah 53:5), salvation (Acts 4:12), and an eternal home (John 3:16). James 4:8 teaches: “Draw near to God and He will draw near to you.” And, in Matthew 13:43, we learn: “the righteous will shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father.” So, this summer while you soak up the sun, make sure you are also soaking up the SON, because His benefits are life-changing and life-sustaining!

As the days get longer and the weather gets warmer, we tend to spend more time enjoying the great outdoors. The beauty and peace that God has provided us through nature is unmatched and is a tremendous blessing! Each day God gives us a unique and beautiful sunrise and sunset. Each day He gives us a unique symphony from the songbirds. Sometimes rain is perceived as a negative, but it nurtures the crops and feeds the awesome waterfalls. God is very visible in the nature all around us – take time each day to appreciate its beauty!

There is currently a praise song out by the band Cain that contains the lyrics:

“On my best day, I’m a child of God and on my worst day, I’m a child of God.

Every day is a good day and You’re the reason why.”

Isn’t it comforting to know that God loves us the very same; He loves us unconditionally; regardless of what kind of day we are experiencing! As we learn from John 1:12, “But to all who believed him and accepted him, he gave the right to become children of God.” We first must believe God and accept Jesus as Savior to become a child of God. This is further explained in Ephesians 1:13-14, which says: “when you believed in Christ, he identified you as his own by giving you the Holy Spirit, whom he promised long ago. The Spirit is God’s guarantee that he will give us the inheritance he promised and that he has purchased us to be his own people.” Rejoice in being a child of God today and every day!

The Easter season is upon us and we praise and thank God for the gift of His Son and for the sacrifice that he made on the cross for our sins. Jesus Christ, who is without sin, took our place and died for our sins. If we believe and accept Him as our savior, our sins are washed away and we become a new person. Scripture teaches this in 2 Corinthians 5:17, which says: “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.” (ESV) As we celebrate this Easter Sunday, let us remember these words and let us focus on becoming that new creation a little bit more each day.

The Shelby County YMCA Team wishes a very Blessed Easter to all of our members!

The month of March brings us St. Patrick’s Day, a holiday associated with good luck. It is common for good luck symbols such as shamrocks and pots of gold to be incorporated with St. Patrick’s Day decorations and advertisements. But the good news for Christians is, we don’t have to rely on luck if we have faith in God. Hebrews 11:1 tells us: “Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.” (NIV). The words of Jesus, as recorded in Mark 11:24, also teach us: “Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.” (NIV) So, when we ask in prayer and believe, we are assured that we will receive what we have hoped for.  

Faith is no match for luck!

The month of February is often symbolized with a heart since Valentines Day occurs within the month. The heart is not only essential to our physical well-being, but to our emotional and spiritual well-being as well. We know that our human nature is going to cause us to fall short, but we also know that God sees our heart and loves us unconditionally. The Scriptures teach us: “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.” (Matthew 5:8, NIV) And from the Psalms we read: “Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me.” (Psalms 51:10, ESV), and “Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in your sight, O Lord, my rock and my redeemer. (Psalms 19:14, ESV)

Have a heart-healthy February!

Person of the Year

At the end of every year, Time Magazine chooses their “Person of the Year”. This began in 1927 when they chose Charles Lindbergh as their very first Person of the Year and continues to this day. According to their website, the criteria they use to determine the Person of the Year is: “the person or persons who most affected the news and our lives, for good or ill, and embodied what was important about the year.” Essentially, they are looking for the most influential person. As Christians, the person with the most influence on our lives should be Jesus Christ and He should be our Person of the Year every year.

The Scriptures say Jesus is the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow (Hebrews 13:8), and that His kingdom will have no end (Luke 1:33). Amen!

 

Presents and Presence

“The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.”     John 1:14  (NIV)

December is here! The month when we celebrate the birth of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ! The world puts a lot of emphasis on presents this time of year, but we need to put our focus on His presence. His presence in our life; His presence in our family; His presence in our Church; His presence in our community; His presence in our YMCA; His presence is everywhere we go! Even in the hustle and bustle of the Holidays, His presence is there. As we go about all of the fun activities that surround this Holiday season, we need to remember and acknowledge His presence in our lives at all times.

The Shelby County YMCA staff wishes everyone a very Blessed Christmas!

 

The season of Thanksgiving is upon us and the holiday will soon be here when most of us will likely eat a little bit too much. Physical nutrition is important, but we need to remember that spiritual nutrition is just as important. There is a passage in John 21:15-17 where Jesus asks Peter three times if he loves Him and Peter always responds with “yes, Lord, you know that I love you!” Jesus answers with “if you love me, then feed my sheep.” Jesus is instructing Peter (and us) that we need to take care of each other and make sure that each one is fed physically as well as spiritually. Remember as you eat the turkey and pumpkin pie this Thanksgiving holiday that spiritual nutrition is just as necessary as physical nutrition and that we also need to feed God’s sheep.

Before Jesus ascended to heaven, He told His disciples that He would send a helper to all those that believed in Him. On the day of Pentecost, the Holy Spirit came upon all the believers and is still present with all believers today. The Holy Spirit teaches us, guides us, and comforts us. When we study God’s word, come to Him in prayer, and take time to just be still, we will be able to discern the ways in which the Spirt is guiding us. The Holy Spirit will fill us with a sense of peace and joy and that will shine through to those around us so that they may experience it as well. Take time today and every day to study His word, pray, and listen, and you will find true peace.

The Shelby County YMCA has been open for one year as of July 26th! We are very thankful to the community and especially to our members for supporting us during our first year and we look forward to new and exciting programs in our second year! We continue to seek and to follow God’s guidance for ways to serve our members and for opportunities to contribute to the wellness of Shelby County. We would like to encourage everyone to spend time in prayer each day for our YMCA, for our community, and for our world. We can find strength, comfort, and peace in knowing that God is consistent, and is always in control.

June brings us the first day of summer, longer days, and vacation season!  Vacations are a great time to relax; or to explore new destinations, but they are also the perfect time for renewal and refocus.  Jesus even directs his Disciples to relax, as recorded in Mark 6:30-32

“The apostles returned to Jesus from their ministry tour and told him all they had done and taught. Then Jesus said, “Let’s go off by ourselves to a quiet place and rest awhile.” He said this because there were so many people coming and going that Jesus and his apostles didn’t even have time to eat. So they left by boat for a quiet place, where they could be alone.”  (NLT)

Take some time to relax this summer, but make sure it is for the purpose of renewing your spirit so you can effectively carry out the specific tasks that God has called you to do.

February is commonly known as the month of love and it is the perfect time to reflect on God’s unconditional love for us.  The familiar verse of John 3:16 summarizes God’s love well

     “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever  believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.”  (ESV)

It’s difficult to grasp the depth of this love, that God would send his own Son to pay the price for our sins, but he does love us that much!

It is further explained in 1 John 4:16: “we have come to know and to believe the love that God has for us. God is love, and whoever abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him.”  (ESV)

God also calls on us to do the same: “But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.”  (Matthew 5:44)  (ESV)

Be thankful each day for God’s unconditional love and try to show that to others as He has shown it to us.