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Friday, September 20, 2019

When I’m Overwhelmed, Stand Strong

In review of 2 Chronicles 20:20 it tells me to Put your trust in the LORD your God, and you will stand your ground. Believe what his prophets tell you, and you will succeed” (GNT).

I am to believe in and put my trust in the Lord my God and know that I shall have success! I can believe his prophets and everything will be alright!” However, when I focus on my problems instead of trusting God, I’m going to end up being exhausted. And I’m going to be defeated because God didn’t design me to fight my battles alone. I don’t have the power I need to face every problem in my own strength. I need God’s power.

I won’t be able to focus on my problems and focus on God at the same time. I’ve got to shift my focus to who God is and what he’s promised to do for me.

Life is full of experiences that will test, drain, and wipe me out. When I’m worn out, that’s when it’s time to say to God, “I’m sorry. I can’t handle this situation, and I’ve tried everything. I need to give it to you because it’s bigger than me.”

So when I feel overwhelmed, Stand strong versus just wanting to fight back or have someone take it all away from me.

Standing strong is an attitude of quiet confidence in the character of God. I will be successful when I put my trust in what he says to me through his Word and the Holy Spirit. When I get with God, I’ll never have to give up ground because I am standing strong.

When the burden is overwhelming, I may be tempted to cave in under the pressure. God doesn’t want me to back down from difficult situations. He doesn’t want me to sacrifice my integrity. God wants me to trust him through the challenges and learn from them. If I run, I’ll miss out on learning from God. And chances are, I’ll end up needing to repeat that lesson.

God is committed to my success. But I need to focus on and trust him and his Word in order to stand my ground.

Trust God from the bottom of my heart; don’t try to figure out everything on my own. Listen for God’s voice in everything I do, everywhere I go; he’s the one who will keep me on track. Don’t assume that I know it all” (Proverbs 3:5-7 The Message).

In summary, I am to put my trust in the Lord my God, and I will stand my ground. If I focus on my problems instead of trusting God, I'm going to end up being exhausted and defeated. God didn't design me to find my battles alone. I don't have the power I need to face every problem in my own strength. I need God's power. Shift my focus to who God is and he's promised to do for me. When I get worn out, that's the time to say, "God, sorry, I can't handle this. I need to give it to our because it's bigger than me." I am to stand strong, which is an attitude of quiet confidence in the character of God. When the burden is overwhelming, it's tempting to cave in under the pressure or back down, nor sacrifice my integrity. He wants me to trust him through the challenges and learn from them. If I run, I'll miss out on learning from God. So, "Trust God from the bottom of my heart; don't try to figure out everything on my own. Listen for God's voice in everything I do, for he's the one will keep me on track. Don't assume I know it all."

Because I had been ill, and trying to get a little additional sleep, I had been by-passing my quiet time with God. I believe as a result, when I was working, it seemed to get overwhelming, and that myself and my team were getting dumped on. I see that in missing my time with God, that it was easy for me to miss out on his daily direction and perspective for my day. I’m glad I’m able to get back to this morning, as His Word today has greatly helped with what’s been on my mind and what I have been facing.

I thank you Father for your Word and my time with you. I pray today for me to put my trust in you. When I feel things getting overwhelming, that I can turn to you instead of trying to figure it all out on my own. I will look for and listen for your voice, so that you can help me keep on track. I also ask for your wisdom and guidance for my day, in my work, the work for my team, as well as my interactions with others. These things I pray in your Son Jesus name, amen.

Friday, September 13, 2019

Mentoring Matters for Spiritual Growth

In review of 2 Timothy 2:2 I read  The things you have heard me say in the presence of many witnesses entrust to reliable people who will also be qualified to teach others” (NIV).

If we were to consistently follow this advice, it would expand geometrically as well-taught believers would teach others and commission them, in turn, to teach others. As a disciple / Christ follower, I need to be equipped to pass on my faith. My work is not done until new believers are able to make disciples of others

Every Christian needs both a Paul and a Timothy.

A “Paul” is somebody who has been a Christian longer than myself and is helping to train and encourage me. That person may only be a month older than me, but he or she has probably walked longer with the Lord and is more spiritually mature and can mentor me.

A “Timothy” is somebody who hasn’t been a Christian as long as myself whose faith I am helping to build. I offer that person encouragement and discipleship as they grow in the Lord.

So, I have a Paul and a Timothy in my life. But I’m also a Paul and a Timothy to others.

In 2 Timothy, Paul says this to Timothy: “The things you have heard me say in the presence of many witnesses entrust to reliable people who will also be qualified to teach others” (2 Timothy 2:2 NIV).

The are four generations in this verse. Paul says to Timothy that he helped mentor him, meaning Paul guided him to spiritual maturity. Now Timothy must find somebody to mentor, and then that person can find somebody else to mentor.

Don’t be intimidated by the word “mentoring.” Mentoring is as easy as taking someone to breakfast once a month and asking, “How’s it going?” I just need to be a friend. Listen to, encourage, and pray for that person. I don’t have to be a “perfect Christian” to do this. I just have to be willing.

To fully live out God’s calling on my life, I need other people. I will more fully grow as a disciple when I learn from other believers who are more mature than myself and when I share my wisdom and experience with believers who are younger than me.

In summary, Paul tells Timothy, the things you have heard me say in the presence of many witnesses, entrust to reliable people who will also be qualified to teach others. As a disciple, I need to be equipped to pass on my faith. My work is not done until new believers are able to make disciples of others. Being Mentor is as easy as taking someone to breakfast once a month and asking, How's it going. I just need to be a friend. Listen to. Encourage, and pray for that person. I don't need to be perfect, I just need to be willing. To fully live out God's calling, I need others. I will grow when I learn from others who are more mature, and when I share my wisdom and experience with believers who are younger. 

It’s been awhile since I had been mentored by someone else one-on-one. When I had been mentored it helped me with my thinking and perspective. But as I reflect today, I haven’t really had someone to mentor me in a while. I believe I have a problem taking any criticism or correction from others. In addition, I have also filled my life with work so that I have very little hours / margin left. Today I pray Father for your help me make more time available in my life to meet with others. I ask you Father for wisdom and guidance for my day. These things I pray in your Son Jesus name, amen.

Thursday, September 12, 2019

My Integrity Shows My Faithfulness

In review of Luke 16:10 it reminds me that Whoever is faithful in small matters will be faithful in large ones; whoever is dishonest in small matters will be dishonest in large ones” (GNT).

I would be wise to use the financial opportunities I have, not to earn heaven but to help people find Christ. If I use my money to help those in need or to help others find Christ, my earthly investment will bring eternal benefit. When I obey God's will, the unselfish use of possessions will follow

My integrity is often put on the line in money matters. God calls me to be honest even in small details I could easily ignore. Heaven's riches are far more valuable than earthly wealth. But If I’m not trustworthy with my money here (no matter how much or little I have), I will be unfit to handle the vast riches of God's Kingdom. I need to maintain my integrity in all matters, whether big or small.

It’s common today to hear people say, “What’s done in your private life is nobody’s business.” Well, that isn’t really true. What I do in my private life, behind closed doors or out of view of other people, builds and reveals my true character. And God sees it just as clearly as the things you do in public.

In fact, the small, unseen things I do are the seeds to God’s public blessing on my life. I cannot compartmentalize my life and say, “I have integrity in my public life, just not in my private life.” I bet you could make a list right now of public figures that have tried to live this way, only to have their private indiscretions lead to public scandal and personal downfall. No matter what they say, any leader who is not faithful in small matters will not be faithful in large matters.

This principle is nothing new. Jesus said, “If you have not been faithful with what belongs to someone else, who will give you what belongs to you?” (Luke 16:12 GNT).

For centuries, everybody who learned a skill, trade, or vocation learned it through an apprenticeship. If you were going to be a mechanic, you apprenticed to another mechanic and served in that person’s business before you started your own. As an apprentice, you had to be responsible with your master’s business before you were entrusted with your own.

This principle of apprenticeship applies to every area of life. It applies to how you handle other people’s money, how you handle other people’s possessions, and even how you handle other people’s ministry before God gives you your own. When no one is watching at my job, do I work diligently?

God is watching and testing my integrity. I show that I can be trusted with the big things by being faithful in the small things.

In summary, whoever is faithful in small matters will be faithful in large ones. Likewise if you are dishonest in small matters, you will be dishonest in large ones. It would be wise for me to use my financial opportunities I have to help others find Christ or help them when they are in need. When I obey God's will, the unselfish use of my possessions will follow. Therefore, I need to maintain my integrity in all matters, big or small. The small, unseen things I do are the seeds to God's public blessing on my life. God is watching and testing my integrity. I show that I can be trusted with the big things by being faithful in the small things. 

I’m reminded this morning that God has entrusted me with many things, all of which he is using to test my integrity. There are many things in my work that I am responsible for. Often it’s overwhelming and I want to manage them well, it just seems that I don’t have enough time to properly do it. Perhaps this is some of the source of stress I feel, wanting to do my best but not having the proper time to do it. I think one of the other areas I need to continue to concentrate on is my health. I must continue to do the small things that matter. Today I pray Father for your help through your Holy Spirit to be with me and encourage me as I take the time to be faithful in the small things. I also ask for your wisdom and your guidance for my day, my work, my leadership, and my interaction and influence on others. Thank you for the love you have for me. I ask for help to be and do what you designed me to do. These things I pray through your Son Jesus name, amen.

Wednesday, September 11, 2019

The Value of Faith in a Faithless World

In review of Luke 18:8 this morning I'm given this thought  When the Son of Man returns, how many will he find on the earth who have faith?” (NLT).

In the beginning of Luke 18 I read the parable of the persistent widow, I’m reminded in it that I should always pray and never give up. For If a godless judge responds to constant pressure, how much more will a great and loving God respond to me? Because I know how much he loves me, I can believe that he will hear and respond to my cry for help

I live in an increasingly faithless world. It is a secular world of shifting values and growing egocentrism. If Jesus were to come back today, how many people of faith would he find? And would I be counted among them?

The Bible makes it clear that God is looking for faithful people. I’m reminded In 2 Chronicles 16:9, “For the eyes of the Lord search back and forth across the whole earth, looking for people whose hearts are perfect toward him, so that he can show his great power in helping them” (TLB).

God is seeking them because he wants to bless them. He wants to show his love through his great power. Faithfulness is the key to unlocking his blessing in my life.

Jesus said, “According to your faith let it be done to you” (Matthew 9:29 NIV). God wants to pour blessings into all areas of my life, family, career, finances, health, and my relationships. This blessing may not look the way I expect it to, but God is working it out in my life nonetheless. And he will do it according to the level of my faith. If I have great faith, I will have great blessing. If I have a little faith, I will receive a little blessing. But if I have no faith, God’s blessing will not be in my life.

Sadly, faithful people who really trust God and live for Christ day in and day out are hard to find. The Bible says, “Everyone talks about how loyal and faithful he is, but just try to find someone who really is!” (Proverbs 20:6 GNT).

When sin entered the world with Adam and Eve, we were all corrupted. None of us does what is right all the time. But faith is the key to victory. The greater my faith, the more victory I will experience in my life. “Every child of God can defeat the world, and our faith is what gives us this victory” (1 John 5:4 CEV).

In summary, when Jesus returns, how many will he find who have faith? I should always pray and never give up. If a godless judge can respond to pressure, how much more will a great and loving God respond to me? Because I know how much he loves me, I can believe that he will hear and respond to my cry for help. God is looking for faithful people because he wants to bless them. He wants to show his love through his great power. Faithfulness is the key to unlocking his blessings. Also according to my faith, it will be done to me. His blessings may not always look the way I expect them to look, but God is working it out in my life nonetheless. He will do it according to my faith. Faith is the key, and the more faith I have the more victory I will experience. 

Father you have reminded me that my faith is key to unlocking and receiving your blessings. While your blessings may not always come in the manner I expect, you are working things for my good. Problems and difficulties will arise. You will be doing things that help me to accomplish what it is you have planned for my life. My response it to believe and have faith in you. Then I need to do what you tell me and what I know I need to do. I pray this morning Father that your Spirit continually infuses my life with the perspective that I need to trust in you and live a life of service to others. I pray also for your wisdom and guidance for my day, my leadership and my interactions with others. Allow me to have a cam day that rests in your presence. These things I pray in your Son Jesus name, amen.

Tuesday, September 10, 2019

Don’t Give Up When Times Get Tough

In review of 2 Corinthians 4:16-18 it says,“That is why we never give up. Though our bodies are dying, our spirits are being renewed every day. For our present troubles are quite small and won’t last very long. Yet they produce for us a glory that vastly outweighs them and will last forever! So we don’t look at the troubles we can see now; rather, we fix our gaze on things that cannot be seen. For the things we see now will soon be gone, but the things we cannot see will last forever” (NLT).

It's easy to lose heart and quit. I have faced problems in my relationships or in my work that have caused me to think about giving up. Rather than quitting when persecution wore him down, Paul concentrated on experiencing the inner strength that came from the Holy Spirit. I shouldn't let fatigue, pain, or criticism force me off the job. Instead, I need to renew my commitment to service Christ. Don’t forsake eternal rewards because of the intensity of today's pain. My very weakness allows the resurrection power of Christ to strengthen me moment by moment. 

My trouble should not diminish my faith or disillusion me. I need to realize that there is a purpose in suffering. Problems and human limitations have several benefits: (1) They remind me of Christ's suffering for me; (2) they keep me from pride; (3) they cause me to look beyond this brief life, (4) they give me opportunities to prove my faith to others; and (5) they give God the opportunity to demonstrate his power. Begin to see my troubles as opportunities!

The ultimate hope when experiencing terrible illness, persecution, or pain is the realization that this life is not all there is, there is life after death! Knowing that I will live forever with God in a place without sin and suffering can help me live above the pain that I may face in life.

So why do bad things happen to good people? Why do we have to suffer? Why is life so difficult sometimes? As difficult as it is to understand, God can use your pain for his purpose. Don’t be surprised if he is using tough times in your life to test your faithfulness.

Faithful people keep on keeping on when other people choose to give up. Faithful people are diligent and determined. They are persistent. They change their perspective and focus on God’s promises in his Word.

In 2 Corinthians 4, Paul says you need to get the right perspective when you’re going through a problem. If you want to persist, don’t look at the temporary problem. Look at the long-term reward. Don’t look at the temporary pain; look at the long-term gain. Don’t look at it with the short-term view, “What’s happening to me right now?” Instead, look at the character that you are building because you haven’t given up. You’re hanging in there.

God is more interested in what I am becoming than what I accomplish.

If you are facing difficult times right now, I challenge you to write this verse on a 3x5 card and memorize it: “So let’s not get tired of doing what is good. At just the right time we will reap a harvest of blessing if we don’t give up” (Galatians 6:9 NLT).

Use this as encouragement to keep me going. God is working in me and for me, at just the right time and in just the right ways. I’ll will be rewarded for my faithfulness!

In summary, never give up. My body may be dying, but my spirit is being renewed every day. My present troubles are quite small and won't last very long, yet they will produce for me a glory that will vastly outweigh them and last forever. So don't focus on the trouble I can see now, rather fix my gaze on that which cannot be seen. What I see today will be gone and things I cannot see will last forever. It's easy to lose heart and quit. I need to renew my commitment to service Christ. Don't forsake eternal rewards because of today's pain. There is a purpose in suffering; they remind me of what Christ suffered for me, keep me from pride, cause me to look beyond this life, give me opportunities to prove my faith to others and give God the opportunity to demonstrate his power. This life is not all there is. God can use my pain for his purposes. Don't be surprised if he is using tough times in my life to test my faithfulness. God is more interested in what I am becoming than what I accomplish. God is working in me and for me, at just the right time and in just the right ways. I'll be rewarded for my faithfulness. 

As I focus on my life today I thank you God for this reminder that you use what happens in my life to build my character and faith. I pray today that you help me keep the right perspective. Help me to focus on what you are building into me for the future. There is a purpose in what you are doing. I ask for your wisdom and guidance for my day, for my leadership and my interaction with others. I pray these things through your Son Jesus name, amem.  

When I’m Overwhelmed, Stand Strong

In review of 2 Chronicles 20:20 it tells me to “ Put your trust in the LORD your God , and you will stand your ground . Believe what his pr...