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Thursday, May 31, 2012

Guilt and Unrealistic Expectations Destroy Your Confidence

In summary of 1 John 3:21, it says "Friends, if we don’t have a guilty heart, we can come before God with a bold confidence."

Bottom Line:
If we don’t have a guilty heart (unconfessed sins/wrongdoings) we can come before God with a bold confidence.

What this means to me:
God is all-powerful and everywhere.  I can barely measure up to what he had originally planned for me before the fall.  It is difficult for me to approach him if am harboring unconfessed sins.  Having a clear conscience allows me to approach him with a bold confidence.  My confidence varies greatly from day to day.  This is essentially because of what’s going on within me.  When I face the hurts, habits and hang-ups of this life, it is extremely important for me to walk without self-condemnation and within the faithful confidence that God forgives me if I admit my wrongdoings to him and make things right with those whom I’ve done wrong to.  It’s important for me to rid myself of unresolved guilt that destroys my confidence.  Often I craft up some very unrealistic expectations, feeling like I should be flawless, perfect and pleasing to everyone.  I’ve learned over time that just because I don’t finish all the things on my todo list I’m not a failure.  Today and moving forward, I will strive to continue to confess to God things in my life that I still struggle with so that I can be clear with God and not let them hold me back.  With his strength I can overcome.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

God Will Support And Guide

In summary of 2 Thessalonians 3:3 it says, "But God is faithful, he will never let us down; he will strengthen and stick by you and he will guard and protect you from evil and the evil one."

Bottom Line:
God will never let us down.  He will stick by you, strengthen you, and provide protection from evil and the evil one.

What does this mean for me:
God tells me that he can be trusted and counted on.  By having a close relationship with him, he is there to stick by me in my times of need.  He promises to strengthen me.  Also I as follow him he provides a level of protection which allow me to fend off evil and can help me fend off attacks from the enemy.  But I must choose to have a close relationship.  It is through this relationship that I am strengthened and given guidance that protects me if I choose to follow it.  So today, I will seek my relationship with him.  I’ll ask him to give me guidance and strength regarding a decision point in my career.  When evil comes near, I will rush to him.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

We Have A Leader Who Not Out Of Touch With Our Reality

A summary of Hebrews 4:15 says, "We do not have a high priest who is out of touch with our reality.  He understands our weaknesses because he experienced it all and faced all of the same testings we did, yet in all of that he did not sin."

Bottom Line:
We do not have a high spiritual leader who is out of touch with what we experience daily.  He fully understands what affects us and makes us weak.  He lived a life like ours and experienced all of what we faced and he went through all of the same testings we went through.  But through all of it he was able to live his life without sin.  

What this means to me:
God knows exactly what we go through, through his son, he lived the same life and because of this he understands what affects us and what makes us weak.  Since he has experienced this he can be sympathetic and fully understanding.  He can give us strenght to make our way through it.  We see the example of his Son whom lived like us but still was able to do so without sin. This encourages me, first because what I’m going through is not unusual.  I face the same things everyone else faces.  Secondly because since Jesus experienced the same things he can give me help as I face these things.  When I experience times of testing, I will take confidence in knowing that Jesus faced the same and came out of it, and can provide me the help to get through it.  So in the decision I’m facing, he understands my concerns and my desires.  He is not out of touch.  I will look to him for guidance and peace for the decision I have the opportunity to make.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Launch Out In Faith

A summary of Joshua 1:8-11 says, "Do not let this Book of the Law to depart from your mouth; you are to meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it.  Then you will be prosperous and successful.  Have I not commanded you, “Be strong and courageous, do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.”   Joshua then gave orders to the people’s leaders:  Go through the camp and tell the people to get their things ready for travel.  In three days you will cross the Jordan River and then enter into and take possession of the land the Lord your God is giving to you."

Bottom Line:
Joshua was a new leader, God had told him to not let this Book of the Law (his Word) depart from him; he was to really study it, think about it day and night and to be careful to follow it and do everything written in it.  If he did, then whatever he set out to do would be prosperous and successful.  God had already told him to be “strong and courageous, not terrified or discouraged”, for God will always be with him.  So in getting guidance from the Lord as to the next steps, Joshua passed orders onto the leaders of the people; They were to go throughout the camp and tell the people to get themselves and their things ready for the next leg of their journey.  In three days they will cross the Jordan River and then enter into and take possession of the land that God is going to give them.

What this means to me:
God wants us to do well.  He has provided his written Word (Truth about how he designed and intended life to be lived out.)   He suggested that we really study it, make it part of our daily routine.  If we do this and really follow what it says we will be prosperous and successful.  With that God provides specific instructions. Its up to us to take the next steps.  In a direct relationship with the Father, he’ll provide the confidence we need to be “strong and courageous.”  He has promised to never leave us.  So like Joshua, I can ask God for the next steps and he’ll provide the guidance, however I’ll come to a point where I need to stop talking about and take the next steps and do my part.  Sometimes barriers to accomplishing things insurmountable, but I need to step out in spite of my feelings, fears and doubts.  Like Joshua I need to take the plunge and move forward in faith and let God do his work, I can’t wait for the perfect conditions.  Often, the next steps or progress will be made until we that that first step.  So when I know something is God’s will, no matter how scary it may be to me, I need to do it anyway.  Once I start God will work and allow me to further exercise my faith.  God wants me to step out in faith. I find myself facing an interesting choice in my work career.  The nice thing about it is that is completely voluntary, however the impact could have a large impact either way.  A decision doesn’t need to be made right away, however there is a timeline associated with it.  I will proceed in faith, asking God for clarity, understanding, wisdom and guidance.  I will also get wise counsel.  But there will come a point in which I will need to move forward in faith trusting in what God has guided me with and fully trusting the outcome to him.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Letting Go Of Doubt

In summary of James 1:5-8 it says, "If you don’t know what you’re doing or need wisdom, pray and ask our generous God; he loves to help.  He won’t get down on you for asking.  But when you ask him, be sure that your faith is in God alone (in other words, ask boldly, believingly, without a second thought.)  Do not waver, for a person with divided loyalty is as unsettled as a wave of the sea that is blown and tossed back and forth by the wind.  Such people should not expect to receive anything from the Lord.  Their loyalty is divided between God and the world while trying to keeping all their options open."

Bottom Line:
God’s Word says that If you need guidance or wisdom in a situation, ask him; he is generous and loves to help and won’t get down on you for asking.  However, when you ask, make sure your faith is in God alone.  Ask boldly, believingly, and without giving it a second thought.  If you are wavering with divided loyalty you are being the same as a wave of the sea which is blown back and forth.  If you’re like this don’t expect to receive anything from God as your loyalty is divided between God and the world trying to keep all of your options open.

What this means for me:
God has told me to count on him for any wisdom or guidance I might need.  He will gladly provide it and not get down on me or be condescending just because I asked.  He is a generous God and loves to help me with anything I’m willing to bring to him.  What I’ve learned is that God doesn’t not tolerate wishy-washiness.  I can’t keep all of my options open looking for what comes along that may suit my fancy or be the easy way out.  The wisdom God gives me regarding the situation is something that would benefit me or stretch me.  It may even be something I’d rather shy away from because it is out of my comfort zone or it doesn’t fit within my selfish desires.  God tells us in his Word that if we are divided and not prepared to take his guidance exclusively in a situation that he won’t even provide it.  If I’m like this then I’m unstable in everything that I do. To battle this doubt/unstableness, I need to avoid comparing myself with everybody else (their talent, education, experience.)  Instead I need to look to God as he doesn't want me to be like someone else, he wants me to be me.  I also need to be cautious of bringing up my past failures or playing old tapes in my mind.  All this can do is torment me and prove of no value.  God wants me to forget about the past and move forward in the boldness and newness he gives me.  He wants to use me today and I can’t be used if my mind is in the past.  Today, I look to what God would want me to accomplish versus wasting time with being unstable or doubting.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Learning To Live A Life Of Service

In summary of Ephesians 2:10 it says, "God has made us what we are, his masterpiece / workmanship.  He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so that we can do the good things he has planned in advance for us to live our lives doing."

Bottom Line:
God made us, we are his workmanship and masterpieces.  He created us in advance already planning what it is he wants us to live our lives doing.  We get the power and insight to do this through our relationship and acceptance Jesus Christ and what he has done for us.

What this means for me:
God made us, we belong to him.  He created us through his workmanship, we are his masterpieces.  He created us for a purpose that he had predestined long ago.  He wants us to live our lives doing what he already has in mind that he will do only through us.  As I live my life I can do it several ways; I can waste it (be lazy, not doing anything important), I can spend it (pursue things that bring wealth or make me happy, but at what expense?), I can invest it wisely doing something that will outlast and make a difference beyond this world.  I believe the worse thing I can do is simply just live for today and my own selfish wants (living for myself.)  God’s Word tells me that he did not put me here to just live for myself.  He created me to become more like Jesus and Jesus came to serve, not be served.  Jesus came to testify to the truth.  Jesus came as a ransom for many (paid the price for our rebellion and brought us back into a right relationship with the Father.)   I need to continue to learn how to live a life of service.  If I do so, I can create a lasting spiritual legacy and make a difference in the lives of many.  So I ask God today and in the days to come to reveal to me new ways that I can give myself in service to those around me.   I  turn-over my life over daily to be used by as a tool by him for his good purposes.  As I noticed in the past, my life is much more meaningful to me if I use it to do what God has in mind for me to do.  I will continue to ask God for opportunities to tell other about the Good News of his grace to all.  Giving my life away for God’s use and for the spreading his good news is the only way to ever know what he means by a full and abundant life.  So I’ll need to do battle with my selfish nature and through God’s strength serve a bigger purpose.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Not Letting Self-Indulgence Weaken Life

In Summary of Proverbs 25:28 it says, "A Person without self-control is like a house with its doors and windows knocked out or like a city whose walls for protection are broken down."

Bottom Line:
What protection is it for you if you lack any type of self control?  Lack of self-control is like being in a home with door and windows knocked out.  There isn’t much protection.

What this means for me:
God wants us to protect our boundaries and what can come in/out of our lives.  This requires that we exercise some form of self control over our indulgences.  Our world seems to be filled with the notions that we should live to satisfy our desires and to be open to discover ways to become self-fulfilled.   This is in contrast to what God’s word tells us.  God tells us this, because he knows like a house (or shelter) that has no doors or windows to provide protection, our lives can be seriously affected if we don’t have any control over what we allow to engage us.  Even the smallest weakness if left unchecked can lead to a serious downfall.  In my life I have great strengths, but I also have great weaknesses.  My strong strengths are not enough to always protect me.  It is my weaknesses that can and have lead to downfalls in the past.  Self centeredness or self-indulgence is the same form of lack of self-control scripture alludes to.    Self-control issues for me in the past have been with money, possessions, passions, emotions, how I spend your time and other forms of indulgence.  Any of these things that I left get out of control weaken me life and undermine the way I live for Him.  I cannot leave God out of the picture and get away with it, I will always reap the kind of crop I have been sowing.  When I sow to please my desires I in turn only seed things that will bring about spiritual decay in my life and weaken my effectiveness to be used by Him..  I have found that the best way to build discipline back into my life is to give all my weaknesses to Jesus, and then take the steps he tells me to take.  As such I will strive to turn over to Jesus things that I’m reminded about in my quiet time with him that I’m being indulgent in or with.  I need to continue to be cautious to not let my time with Him get crowded out by other demands in life and thus have the ability to reflect on how I’m managing the resources he has entrusted me with.   Thank You God for your protection that comes from having a relationship with you and following the truth you have laid out for me in your Word.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Confidence and Security

In summary of Proverbs 14:26 it says, "The fear the Lord builds up confidence and makes one secure.  This confidence and security become a refuge for you and your children; it allows your children to feel safe."

Bottom Line:
Fear of the Lord (taking him seriously) will build up your confidence which in turn helps make you secure.  It’s this confidence/security that provides safety for both yourself and for your family/children.

What this means for me:
My knowledge of who God is and really taking what he says seriously was my beginning of walking in a way that is wise/confident.  I have studied and realize that the “Fear of the Lord” is the razor thin line in which one crosses from folly into wisdom.  My confidence has grown because I meet with him frequently in prayer / quiet time studies and have seen what he does time and how he responds consistently time and time again.  In my relationship with him, I learn that He is always with me and has told me he would never abandon me.  With this promise it is much easier to start over when life gets me down or a situation seems hopeless.   The world has its own ways about how to gain confidence, however none of it really worked for me.  On my own, I had messed up my life, however with God I have the confidence and security I needed to start over.  I couldn’t make things right on my own, but the great news is that Jesus paid the price to bring me back into a direct relationship with the father.
I now have a confidence that in following him, he will not rip me off.   This security benefits those around me, I’m a good example in which others can see my confidence.    So I strive to live my life in a relationship with him and his purposes.  This week I will concentrate on understanding more about my God and understanding how the world around me has strayed from including God in it.  I would like to find a way to make a real difference in the lives of those I come in contact with.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Getting Back Up After A Failure

In summary of Proverbs 24:16 it says "God-loyal people may trip at times, but they don’t stay down long; Soon they’re up on their feet.  However when trouble strikes the wicked, that’s usually the end of them."

Bottom Line:
Those who follow and are loyal to God may trip up from time to time, however they don’t stay down long when this occurs, they get back up quickly.  However when trouble strikes one who does not follow or is not loyal to God, they end up being down for the count or have a hard time recovering.

What this means for me:
God provides us with what we need to live, he allows us to bounce back when we fall.  We can find in Him that failure isn’t fatal, as a matter of fact it happens to be normal.
I personally mess up all the time.  My natural reactions are to throw myself a pity party or focus on my shortcomings robbing me of any confidence I might have had.  However, having a close and tight relationship with God allows me to persevere.  I can admit my mess up or failure to God and he forgives and provides encouragement.  I can then easily keep doing what God has called me to regardless of any setbacks.  The Bible reminds me all the time that God can use my failures and problems in life to develop me and grow my trust and faith in him.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Having A Relationship With God Is Not About Just Following A Set Of Rules

A summary of Galatians 2:19-21, says, "I had tried keeping rules and working hard to follow just the law, however living for the law is not enough.  Christ’s life showed me how, and enabled me to do it, so I stopped with just trying to meet its requirements so that I might identify myself directly with God.  My old self has been crucified with Christ.  My own ego is no longer central, and it is no longer important that I appear righteous before others or trying to impress God.  It is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me.  The life you see me living is not “mine,” I end up living in this earthly body by trusting in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.  I do not treat the grace God has given to me as meaningless.  If just keeping the law could make us right with God, then there wouldn’t have been a need for Christ to die."

Bottom Line:
Just following and keeping laws is not enough to earn my way to salvation.  Christ’s life is an example of how to live a life for God alone.  With this I stopped just trying to meet the law's requirements (hoping that that would be all that I needed) and just identify myself directly with God through Christ.  I allowed my old self to be crucified with Christ. As a result I am not longer concerned about ego or what others think of me or trying to earn God’s favor with just being righteous.  It’s not about those former things at all, it’s about trusting in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself up for me.  It is no longer I who live, but now Christ who lives in me.  I don not treat this grace that God have given me as meaningless, it is of the utmost importance.  Besides, if just keeping the law could make us right with God, then there wouldn’t have been a need for Christ to die for us.

What this means for me:
God is not interested in us just following a known set of rules without having a direct relationship with him which is enabled by trusting in Christ, who shows us the truth and ultimately paid the penalty for us.  So I pursue this relationship and understanding of who God is.  I allow Christ and his character to take over control of my life.  I should no longer concern my life with trying to impress others and thinking that what I do will earn favor with God.  He has already provided a grace that I cannot fully comprehend, but I accept it.  This is difficult, as my natural tendencies always pull me into wanting to look good, prove my worth.  I need to realize that the law was given to help us in guidelines but was not a means in and of itself.  It is important to not use freedom God gives us to use it for my own pleasure.  Instead I need to commitment myself to spending time with him daily.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Part Of God’s Inner Circle

In summary of John 15:15 it says, "Jesus no longer calls use slaves, because a master doesn’t confide in his slaves, nor does a servant know or understand his master's thinking or planning.  Instead he refers to us as friends, since he has told us everything the Father has told him."

Bottom Line:
Jesus no longer call us slaves, because a master usually doesn’t confide to his slaves or provide a full understanding of what he’s up to.  has a much higher regard for, he now calls us friends, since he had told and revealed to us all the Father has confided in him.

What this means for me:
Even though God created us and is rightfully our master (we should be in a Master-Slave or Creator-created type of relationship.)  He has chosen a much higher regard for us.  Jesus has brought us into a closer relationship, part of his inner circle because he has shared with us all that the Father has shared with him.  We can now understand what God has in mind for us.
The way he refers to me as “friend” is much more than a casual acquaintance.  I am now part of a close and trusted relationship.  I am part of an inner circle of trusted ones who enjoy a close contact, direct access and entrusted with confidential information.  That God would want me for a close friend is sometimes hard to understand.  I do know that God deeply desires an intimate relationship with him.  Knowing and loving God is my greatest privilege.  I will make it a priority to continually meet with him daily in prayer and my quiet time studies so that I can learn much more about him.  I would not want to miss out on this close relationship / time with him.

Monday, May 14, 2012

A Key To Knowing God’s Will

In summary of Ephesians 5:15-17 it says, "So watch your step, be careful how you live, don’t live like fools, use your head.  Make the most of every opportunity in these desperate and evil times.  Don’t act thoughtlessly, instead make sure you understand what the Lord wants you to do."

Bottom Line:
You really need to pay attention to how you live. You have to watch your step, use your head and be careful how you live.  Instead of just going through life thoughtlessly, understand what the Lord wants you to do and get after it.

What this means for me:
God has tasks in mind that he wants to accomplish through me.  His plan is not mystical or about following a formula or step-by-step procedures.  He won’t play games with me, he really wants me to understand his will for my life.  I'm learning that God’s way starts with me understanding who he is.  As I get to know him more each day, I find that I must be careful how I live.  I can’t be careless, just living life without a clue or even pursuing the wrong things.  Doing so will actually create barriers to understanding his will.  It’s through having a daily intimate friendship with him that he reveals more about what it is he wants me to do.  In summary God wants me to know him (he already knows me.)  Once I have my relationship with God established, over time direction for everything else; my career, family, goals, finances, health, ambitions and other relationships will begin to fall into their proper place.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Getting Encouragement

In summary of Romans 15:3-6, it says "Christ didn’t live to please himself.  He didn’t make it easy for himself by avoiding people’s troubles, instead he waded right in and helped out.  He took on the troubles of the troubled is the way Scriptures put it.  These things were written long ago to teach us and give us hope and encouragement as we wait patiently (endure) for God’s promises to be fulfilled.  God wants the combination of his steady, constant calling and warm, personal counsel in Scripture to come to characterize us, keeping us alert for whatever he will do next.  May God, who is the one who gives patience and encouragement, help develop you in maturity, showing you how to live in complete harmony with each other, as would be fitting for the followers of Christ.  Then all can join together in one voice, giving praise and glory to God, who is the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ."

Bottom Line:
Christ didn’t live on earth just to please himself.  Instead of taking it easy, avoiding people's troubles, he waded right in and helped them out.  Scriptures say he took on the troubles of the troubled.  His example along with the scriptures were written to teach us, give us hope and encouragement as we endure and wait patiently for God’s ultimate promises to be fulfilled.  God wants to use the combination of his warm, personal, steady and constant counsel presented in his Word to characterize us, keep us alert what he will do next.  God who is the one gives patience and encouragement, will help you develop in maturity showing you have to live in harmony with others who are also followers of Christ.  Then all can join together in one voice, giving praise and glory to God who is the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.

What does this mean for me:
God provides his written Word to encourage us, even the toughest parts encourage us in the right direction.  Spending time alone reading his Word and talking with him is extremely important.  Scripture shows the example of Jesus and how he didn’t live for himself but to serve and make a difference for others.  So next time I’m feeling down, instead of having a pity party, I should reach for my Bible instead and give myself a “Word” break.  If I’m feeling discouraged, hopeless, alone.. I should see these things as a signal that I’m not spending enough time in His Word.  Instead of turning on the TV or surfing the Internet, I’ll open God’s Word and read it.
I’m convinced that God’s Word has the power to change my life.  It is the “real stuff” - true encouragement.  While it may be difficult, I need to be sure that I do whatever I can to have my daily time with God.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Connecting To The Source

In summary of John 15:5-8, it says "Yes, I am the Vine; you are the branches.  Those who remain in me, and I in them, will produce much fruit.  Apart from or separated from me you can do nothing.  Anyone who does not remain in me is like deadwood, thrown away like a useless branch, something that withers and cannot grow.  Such branches are gathered up and burned.  But if you make yourselves at home with me and my words are at home with you, you can be sure that whatever you ask will be listened to and acted upon.  This is how he shows who he is; when you produce much fruit."

Bottom Line:
Jesus is like a vine and we are like branches off of it.  Staying connected to the vine we are close to him and he to us, through this we can produce fruit.  If we become disconnected for the source we won’t have what we need to produce fruit.  Once we are disconnected, what we do is worthless other than being used for firewood.  But making ourselves at home and absorbing his words will allow us to live more in line with his will and purposes.  Then we can ask for what we see that needs to be done and the Father will act upon it.  This is how he shows who he is.

What this means for me:
The Lord is our source of nourishment, encouragement, and everything we would need to live a life that makes a real difference.  Scripture is telling us that like branches on a vine, if we get cut from the source, we can’t produce any longer (at least the things that really matter.)  Staying connected, plugged into the source allows God to work through us, even when it seems we don’t have everything internally we would need to do the task on our own.   Producing good fruit it is how God works and shows who he is. I need to keep plugged in daily in prayer to him and study of his word.  Just yesterday, I missed my actual getting into the word / study time.  I almost felt numb, lifeless.  In retrospect this is what the Scriptures are pointing out.  I’ll need to find time to get a little of God’s word into my life each day.  On days like yesterday when I’m traveling, I’ll just make it a point to look at / meditate on the daily verse on my phone.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

How to Properly Hear God’s Word

A summary of Romans 10:17 says, "Faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is hearing the Good News about Christ.  You have to listen in before you can trust."

Bottom Line:
Faith comes when you hear and trust the message that illustrates the Good News about Christ.

What this means to me:
God wants to build my faith by hearing from him in his Word.  This starts with the Good News about Christ and what he has done to bring us back into a right relationship with God.  Being in the right frame of mind is what it takes to hear God’s word.  For me my heart has to be prepared in order to get and understand God’s truth.  Its like seed that is put into different types of soil   It will grow differently based upon how the soil was treated.  Soil that has been prepared will yield a much better crop.  So for me, If I’m not in the right sense of mind then I’ll likely not hear or understand.  In order to be prepared, I must be:

  • Quiet, I can’t be distracted by other things (concerns, worries, commitments, etc..)
  • Calm, I can’t rush into it.. I must be still and know that he is God.
  • Clean, rid myself of emotional and spiritual garbage by getting clear of the things that stink in my life (confessing and agreeing what I did was wrong before him)
  • Humble and ready to do whatever God tells me from his Word.  Any pride on my part will stifle any forward progress.
So daily I need to prepare myself to get into God’s word.  I must not forget this or short change this process.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Being Trustworthy With Responsibility

A summary of Luke 16::10-12 says, "If you are faithful in the little things, you will be faithful in large ones.  But if you are dishonest in the little things, you won’t be honest with the greater responsibilities.  If you are untrustworthy about worldly wealth, who will trust you with the true riches of heaven?  If you are not faithful with other peoples things, why should you be trusted with things of your own?"

Bottom Line:
How you handle the things you have today (even small or things that belong to others) matters greatly.  The way you handle these is an indicator of how you’ll handle greater responsibilities  If you are not trustworthy with what you have, why should you be given greater and higher levels of responsibility.

That this means to me:
Everything God has given us is a trust and a responsibility.  How we handle the small things or the things that don’t belong to us matter greatly to him.  If we cannot be trusted with the small things or areas that don’t belong to us then why would he or anyone else trust you with more.  He blesses those who handle their stewardships rightly.  This doesn’t mean I’ll always be perfect in managing them.  I learn by our failures as much as I do my successes.  However if I have a pattern in my life that doesn’t practice integrity or care or even rightly handle the things entrusted to me, I won’t be trusted with more.  As God and those around me in Church Life or Work believe in me and trust me, I’m given the opportunity with more.  As a I prove faithful in these stewardships, God will grant more and through it I can continue to grow.  I need to constantly keep in mind that I am a steward in this world, I don’t own anything (it all belongs to God, even if I’m paying for it.)  I need to steward the things I’m being entrusted with.  Today I will practice effective stewardship (being trusted with little or things that don’t belong to me) so that I can please God.  Those times when I think I’m being overlooked for responsibility should be my trigger to review how I’m handling what I’ve been entrusted with.

Friday, May 4, 2012

God’s Grace At Work

A summary of Ephesians 2:8-10 says, "God saved you by his grace when you believed.  This is all his idea, and his work.  You can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God.  All we do is trust him enough to let him do it.  The salvation you receive is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it.  We are all God’s masterpiece, created anew in Christ Jesus to join him in the work he does, so we can do the good things he had planned for us to do long ago and we had better get going."

Bottom Line:
It is by God’s grace alone that we are saved.  This is all part of his plan and his doing.  All we need to do is believe and trust him enough with our lives to let him do it.  So we can’t take any credit for this, it is not a reward for good things we do or have done, but instead is a gift from God.  Given this, we would have no reason to be boastful or prideful in our own doing.  We are God’s masterpiece, created new in Christ to join him in the work he is doing and what he has planned for us to do long before we even knew it.  We better get going and get after it.

What This Means for Me:
God loves me and He knows there is nothing I can do to make myself right with him or earn my way to heaven, I can’t possibly do enough good things to earn it.  He put together a way for me through his son’s sacrifice to be right again. And this is simply a gift, not something I have earned.  So by his grace (his unmerited favor) he saves me from my hurts, habits and hang-ups.  In essence God took my problems and made them his.  And He saves me not just for myself but for his purpose.  He wants a relationship with me and want to do things in my life that only can be done through me.  Unfortunately at times I still try to be in control, doing things my way.  I need to just quit trying to do things on my own.  I just need to relax, let go and let God be God.  Let him teach me through my quiet time with him and my study of his truths laid out in his Word.  I learned a great acrostic from Rick Warren this morning on “grace”, it is simply:

God’s
Riches
At
Christ’s
Expense

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Getting Wise To The Enemy

A summary of 2 Corinthians 2:10b-11, says "Forgive whatever needs to be forgiven, as Christ guides us to.  We do not want to unwittingly give Satan an opening for more mischief and try to outsmart us.  We are familiar with his evil schemes."

Bottom Line:
We need to forgive others, just as Christ would guide us to.  If we don’t forgive, it may unwittingly give Satan an opening to instill mayhem.  Paul tells us this because he is familiar with and wants to warn us of the enemy’s evil schemes.

What This Means For Me:
God knows that the enemy will try to get a foothold in our lives/situations when we hold back forgiveness.  I need to realize that the enemy is out to destroy what God has created, especially the institutions God has put into place (marriage, relationships.)  The enemy loves to stir up conflict ,arguments, confusion, stress, hurt feelings, disappointment, anger and chaos.  
When I allow myself to live and be guided God’s processes,  I have some defensive action in which I can resist the enemy and realize what’s he up to.  So, I need to be conscience at all times and recognize the enemy’s tactics.  
Part of this is knowing how he’ll play on my pride, he’ll tell me what I want to hear, tell me it’s ok to retaliate, or show them who’s boss here - all things that are not of God.  When I see this occurring I can just say, “Satan, I know that’s you... thank you for reminding me of what Jesus came to save me from” or I can quote Proverbs 13:10 “Pride leads to conflict.”  I may also need to do some self evaluation and ask myself, “how am I being prideful” or “what am I not willing to admit or compromise on”, or “why am I only thinking of my needs and not those of others.”   Today I will try to be especially conscious of this.  In following God daily, I can work to incorporate this into life.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Unlocking Potential

A summary of John 8:31-32 says, 'Jesus said to those who believed in him, “You are my disciples if you live this out and stick with what I tell you.  Then you will experience the truth, and this truth will set you free.”'

Bottom Line:
Jesus told those who were following and believing in him, that “they would really be his disciples if they lived out and stuck with what he was telling them.  Then they would experience the truth and they would find that this truth will set them free.”

What This Means To Me:
God has laid out for us the truth of how he designed what our lives will be all about and how to live it.  When I read his word and follow what it says, the truths within it will set me free for an abundant life, one in which I can do possibly more than I could ever imagine.  Unlike God, I don’t think I really understand what my full potential is, however God knows.  At times and especially in the past I lived for the approval of others, spending time worrying about what others think of me or what other have said life is all about.  I need to be careful to not replay tapes of what others may have told me in the past or learned behaviors.  I need to talk with God about what my potential is.  With his help I can unlock this more in my life.  Jesus frees us through his Word, and this  will unlock all I’ve been made to do and be.  Through his Word/Truth I’ll be able to do things I’ve never thought possible.  However, In order to do this, I need to; learn what he says, accept it as a final authority for life, and then obey and do what it says.  God won’t bless me for what I know but rather for what I do.  Each day I need to make it a priority to see what he says in his Word.  In the next several days, I need to start thinking about areas I want to know more about, find scriptures that deal with those and then study them and unlock more potential than I knew could exist.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Growing In Life

A summary of Luke 2:52 says, "As a Child, Jesus matured and he grew in wisdom and stature.  He was blessed by God and had favor with both God and with all the people."

Bottom Line:
Even as a child, Jesus matured and grew in wisdom and stature.  As he did so, God blessed him and he found favor with God and with all those around him.

What This Means To Me:
God will bless choices made by those who grow in maturity toward Him and His truths.  Following Jesus example, I need to continue what I can do to grow in wisdom; knowing about God and the Truth he has laid out for us in His Word.  I have a responsibility to take care of my body as God lives in and through me.  I need to serve others and do good for them; ultimately growing in favor with people and being known as a help, a good example that points all things towards God and not a selfish person who’s only out for myself.  As I do this I have a responsibility to train those under me to do the same.   To do so, I will continue to get into God’s word daily and learn more about His character and who He is.  Furthermore I will strive to learn his truths and put them into practice to get the most out of what He has intended for me.  As I do so, I need to remember that how I conduct myself and how I react to things in life will reflect what I truly believe.  I need to live out what I really believe.  I can be an example that others.  I would hope that they may look and say, please tell me why things appear to go smoothly with you and why you appear to be at peace always.

Look for Ways to Bring People Together

In review of 2 Corinthians 5:18-19 I'm reminded that “ God has restored my relationship with him through Christ , and has given me a mi...