Friday, January 31, 2014
In review of Proverbs 29:25 it says, “Fear of man will prove to be a snare, but whoever trusts in the LORD is kept safe.”
It is dangerous to be concerned with what others think of you, but if you trust the Lord, you are safe.
What this means to me:
It is dangerous for me to be more concerned with what others think of me. This kind of thinking will trap and get me into trouble. Instead I am to put my full trust in the Lord who provides the ultimate form of safety. The enemy will use the “fear of failure” to diminish my faith, knowing that It is difficult for me to serve God and be constantly worried about what other’s think. I need to move beyond this. Proverbs 29:25 says, “Fear of man will prove to be a snare, but whoever trusts in the LORD is kept safe.” (NIV) In order for me to get rid of the “fear of failure”, I need to redefine what failure is. In terms of goals, I often think failure means not reaching it. But failure is not having a goal. Failure is not failing to hit your target, but rather not having a target. Failure is not falling down but rather refusing to get back up. I’m never a failure until I quit. So if I’m attempting something for the glory of God, that’s a good thing. Failure is not trying and not accomplishing anything but rather failing to try. Another way to get rid of the “fear of failure” is to eliminate comparison. I can always find someone who does a better job than me, which can discourage me. And likewise, I’m always going to find somebody who’s not doing as good a job as I am, making be become full of pride. Both discouragement and pride will keep me from serving God’s purpose for my life. The Bible says in Galatians 6:4, “Each of you must examine your own actions. Then you can be proud of your own accomplishments without comparing yourself to others.” (GW) There is a form of legitimate pride. The bad kind of pride is that of comparison: “I'm better than so and so!” The good kind of pride is, “God, I'm proud of what you’re doing in my family, my business, my life, my walk of faith.” God hasn’t called me to be the best person in the world. Rather God has called me to be the best person I can possibly be given the gifts, talents, and experiences he has given me. Ultimately when I get to Heaven, God isn’t going to say to me, “Why weren’t you more like so and so?” No, He’s going to say, “Why weren’t you who I made you to be?” This verse is a good reminder for me to let go of my “fear of failure”, because anything I’m attempting for God in faith is a good thing, regardless of the results. I need to consider what ways I’m using my gifts and abilities to work towards my goals. I also need to consider what failures have kept me from pursuing goals and dreams. God wants me to learn from my setbacks, so I won’t let them discourage me.
Thursday, January 30, 2014
In review of Ephesians 3:20 it says, “Now glory be to God, by his mighty power at work within us is able to do far more than we would ever dare to ask or even dream of — infinitely beyond our highest prayers, desires, thoughts, or hopes.”
To him who by means of his power working in us is able to do so much more than we can ever ask for, or even think of:
What this means to me:
That I should always recognize and bring praise to God, because all the glory belongs to Him. Then if I allow him, His power will be constantly at work within me. And with that I can do far more than I can ever dare to ask or imagine. Faith on my part will be to choose and believe in God’s dream for my life. Nothing worth meaning will start happening until I start dreaming, and God gave me the ability to dream, to create, to imagine. My dreaming is an act of faith on my part. In order to better understand God’s dream for my life I need to:
- Dare to ask for it: Ephesians 3:20 says, “Now glory be to God, by his mighty power at work within us is able to do far more than we would ever dare to ask or even dream of — infinitely beyond our highest prayers, desires, thoughts, or hopes.” (LB). If I want God’s blessing on my life, I must dare to ask for it. This happens by me asking, “God, what’s your dream for my life? What do you want me to do?” Then consider, “What would I attempt for God if I knew I couldn’t fail?” Let the results of this expand my dream/vision.
- Believe God’s promises: The Bible says in Jeremiah 32:27, “I am the LORD, the God of all the peoples of the world. Is anything too hard for me?” (NLT) I should never let an impossible situation intimidate me. Instead I should let it motivate me to pray, believe, trust, experience, learn, and grow more. Faith always works in the realm of the impossible.
- Dream big: Psalm 2:8 says, “Ask me, and I will make the nations your inheritance, the ends of the earth your possession.” (NIV). The size of how I view God should determine the size of my goal. Rick Warren says, “You haven’t really believed God until you’ve attempted something that can’t be done in the power of the flesh.” If I want to know how big my dream should be, I can consider two questions: How much time do I have to give to it? If it’s a dream I can give the rest of your life to, then I can really dream big. Next, what am I shaped to do? What are my spiritual gifts, heart, abilities, personality, and experiences; the five things that make me, me.. What are the things I love to do? What are the things I’m gifted to do?
I should dream great dreams for God. It will be the first step in my walk of faith. I start considering what is the seemingly impossible thing I would attempt if I knew i wouldn’t fail? God can do so much if I choose to dream big under his direction.
Wednesday, January 29, 2014
In review of Proverbs 13:16 it says, “Sensible people always think before they act, but stupid people advertise their ignorance.”
Be wise and plan before you act, you’ll be much better off.
What this means to me:
It is wise for me to think before acting for sensible people act with knowledge and good sense. Not thinking before acting will only show my stupidity. Goals are good, however if I’m going to make any traction toward them I’ll need a plan to get to where I want to go. Genesis 24 tells the story of Eliazar’s ingenious plan to find a wife for his master’s son, Isaac. Eliazar had two major obstacles to fulfilling this goal. Where would he find a wife for Isaac in his master’s homeland? And how was he going to find a high character woman without observing her long term? Eliazar had devised a predetermined plan to solve both of these problems. First, he went to a place where women gathered in those days, a well. He had much higher odds of finding a wife at that well than any other place he could have gone. And, he knew exactly how to get the type of wife he wanted for Isaac. He wanted to find a compassionate woman, so he looked for someone who would offer to draw up to 15 gallons of water for each of his 10 camels. That’s a lot of water! Eliazar didn’t fly by the seat of his pants to accomplish his goal. Instead he prayerfully established a plan, and, ultimately, he was successful. In doing so he proved what the Bible says in Proverbs 13:16: “Sensible people always think before they act, but stupid people advertise their ignorance” (GN). Good planning has three parts to it.
- Steps: I’ll need to establish how I’m going to get from where I am now to where I want to go. I often picture or diagram what it will look like when its complete. I then think backward as to what it took to get there (all the things that go into making it happen.) Then I write them down.
- Deadlines: Associate a date with every one of those steps I wrote down. A goal is a statement of faith as I say that I believe God wants me to accomplish my goal by a particular date.
- Schedule: Write those dates into a calendar. Don’t just hide it in a filing cabinet or up on a shelf. For me, what makes it to my calendar, is what’s important to me.
Studies show that only 5 percent of Americans have written down goals for their lives. Those same studies show that the same 5 percent are the highest wage earners in the U.S. Successful people set their direction and go for it. Unsuccessful people drift. Life just happens to them. They don’t have any goals. They don’t know where they’re going in life. At the end of the year, it will be just another year down the drain.I will develop a plan to reach my goals.
Tuesday, January 28, 2014
In review of Proverbs 21:5 it says, “Good planning and hard work lead to prosperity, but hasty shortcuts lead to poverty.”
Think about, plan well and work hard. When you do you be prosperous. If you try shortcuts you’ll only end up in ruin.
What this means to me:
I am to carefully think through and plan my activities. When I couple this with hard work, I’ll have plenty and be prosperous in my endeavors. There is no shortcut or quick way. If I’m too hasty in my planning or in my actions then I’ll only end up poor or diffused. In order for God to use me, I need to really be focused. The more focused I am, the more effective I can be, and the more God can use me. A diffused light doesn’t have much effect on what it touches, however a focused light provides much better clarity. My life can be much the same way. I can just drift through, diffused, and not impact much or I can be focused. Focusing on a few key goals can make a big impact on the world for God. As this verse explains, “Good planning and hard work lead to prosperity, but hasty shortcuts lead to poverty” Proverbs 21:5 NLT). I’ll never reach a vague goal, mainly because I’ll never know if I’ve completed it. My goals need to be specific. For instance, I can’t just say my goal is to mentor others. It would be better for me to set a goal to purpose to get together and meet with 2 or 3 guys once a month for the next six months. A goal like that would be more specific and easy to measure; I either did or didn’t do it. Specific goals are the ones that will change my life. As I have reflected on for the last few week, I’ll be setting some specific goals for myself for the next six months. One goal will be to help mentor others. I’ll do this by just taking an interest in their lives and getting together with 2 or 3 guys and meet with them once or twice a month for the next six months. Another goal will be to improve my health and work toward eliminating my use of medications to control blood sugar and cholesterol. I’ll do this by setting the goal to lose 20 lbs over the next six months. My goal at my job will be to train up my successor in the next six months so that I can be free to take on any new opportunities. For this goal I will work on specific things I can do to include this person in my daily activities so that he can easily step in. Lastly, I want to get together with two trusted individuals in my life so that I can share my goals and have them help hold me accountable to them. My next steps will be to define some tactics and strategies so that I can accomplish them.
Monday, January 27, 2014
In review of 2 Corinthians 5:17 it says, “Anyone who is joined to Christ is a new being; the old is gone, the new has come.”
Being joined to Christ makes you new. The old gone and the new has come.
What this means to me:
Belonging to Christ has made me a new person. My old way of living is now gone, a new way of living has started and continues. My identity comes from my choices. Making the right choices will help me determine today and my future. I can choose to get healthier, find ways to increase my energy, lower my stress, get more sleep, and have more power. Psalm 119:73 says, “Your hands made me and formed me; give me understanding to learn your commands” (NIV). Improving the controllable factors in my life helps me reduce the impact of the uncontrollable factors. I can choose to deepen my relationships. My fear of rejection prevents connections, and the only way to get rid of fear is to do the thing I fear the most - risk! I need to learn better communication skills, and risk reaching out and connecting with others. As mentioned in 1 Corinthians 14:1a, it says “Let love be your highest goal!” (NLT). I can choose to trust God, no matter what happens. Psalm 34:1 says, “I will praise the LORD at all times. I will constantly speak his praises” (LB). I can choose to have a confidence that can claim that “I can praise the Lord, no matter what happens in my life.” I can choose what I think about. Romans 12:2 reminds me to, “Let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think.” (NLT). I can choose Jesus as my Savior, a savior beyond saving me from my sins, a Savior for my everyday needs. Jesus gives me the power to follow through on the choices I make. 2 Corinthians 5:17 says, “Anyone who is joined to Christ is a new being; the old is gone, the new has come.” 2 Corinthians 5:17 (LB). I can choose how much God blesses my life. He is just waiting for me to use my wild card (my choices.) It is never too late to change and as such, I end my time this morning with this prayer: “God, there are some things you’ve dealt me and life has dealt me and others have dealt me that I don’t like. But I thank you for the wild card. Thank you that you made me in your image and that I can make choices. Today, in your power and your strength, I choose to get healthier. I choose to do the things that will give me more energy and a healthier mind, body, and emotions. Lord, I choose to build healthy relationships. I’m scared to death, but I’m going to risk building new, healthy connections. I want love to be my highest goal; I want my life to be built on love. I choose to trust you, regardless of the circumstances. I will praise you, no matter what happens! I will trust that every detail of my life is being worked out for good. Lord, I choose what I will think about, and eliminate the junk. Help me to fill my life with positive memories and the Word of truth. Most of all, Jesus, I choose you as my Savior. I need your salvation, but I also need you to save me from myself. I need you to help me rewire my body, my heart, my mind, and my relationships so that the rest of my life is the best of my life. In Jesus’ name. Amen.”
Friday, January 24, 2014
In review of Romans 8:29 it says, “God knew what he was doing from the very beginning. He decided from the outset to shape the lives of those who love him along the same lines as the life of his Son. The Son stands first in the line of humanity he restored. We see the original and intended shape of our lives there in him.”
God knew what he was doing. He decided at the start to shape the lives of those who love him like his Son. His Son is the firstborn of many. When we look to his Son, we see the original and intended shape for our lives.
What this means to me:
God has known me before he created the world, and has chosen me to be like his son. His son is the firstborn among all of us. Within Jesus, I can see the intended shape for my life. Over the past few days I have come to know how wonderful complex he has made me. In order to fulfill God’s purpose, I need to look at every dimension of my life and understand the factors that influence my identity. So far, I know that chemistry, connections, circumstances, and my consciousness affect the way I’m shaped. If these were like cards in a game of poker, the fifth one would be my wild card. My wild card affects my choices and the other ways I’m shaped. I may not be able to control the hand I was dealt, but I can use my wild card to change the way I live simply by the choices I make. Unlike all of God’s other creatures, I was created in his image. I can choose to do right or wrong and my freedom to choose is one of God’s greatest blessings and can also be one of the greatest curses. I make bad choices all the time that harm me and others around me. A wild card can change my hand. I didn’t choose my chemistry, but I can choose what to do with my body. I didn’t choose my connections, but I can make new relationships and mend or nurture the ones I already have. I can choose how I respond to my circumstances, and I can choose to stop believing any harmful things others have said about me. In short, my identity is shaped by my choices. The key will be, what choices will I make today that will positively affect the rest of my life.
Thursday, January 23, 2014
In review of Romans 12:1 it says, “Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for him.” Romans 12:1 (MSG)
In view of all God has done to offer ourselves up as a living sacrifice to God, pleasing to Him.
What this means to me:
In view of all God has done for me, I should offer myself up as a living sacrifice to God, pleasing to him. Taking care of my body is a spiritual discipline much like prayer, worship, or Bible study. God wants me to succeed at this. Paul explains, with God helping me, “Take my everyday, ordinary life — my sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life — and place it before God as an offering” Romans 12:1 (MSG). In taking care of my body, I worship God. And it’s never too late to start this. Before starting my journey of getting healthy, I need to realize that it’s a step of faith. Like Peter stepping out of the boat, every step I take toward better health increases my trust in God. Every step helps me expect the best from him. The same verse also says, “Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for him.” The Bible embraces three incredibly important truths about the journey of getting healthy.
- God made my body. Psalm 139:13 says, “For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb” (NIV). Physical health is as much about stewardship as where I give your resources.
- Jesus paid for my body. The Bible says, “Don’t you realize that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, who lives in you and was given to you by God? You do not belong to yourself, for God bought you with a high price. So you must honor God with your body.” 1 Corinthians 6:19-20 (NLT). On the cross, Jesus paid not just for my soul but also my body. I honor God when I take care of your body.
- The Holy Spirit lives in my body. Good health is one way you take care of God’s temple.
When I fully embrace these truths from God’s Word about my body, I’ll be ready for my body’s brand new year. Knowing the truth about my body makes acting on that truth a step of faith. It means I’m no longer getting healthy just to live a few more years, fit into a particular item of clothing in my closet, or look more physically attractive. I’m getting healthy as a way to worship God. That’s a terrific and empowering reason to get healthy this year and truly the most sensible and appropriate way to worship him.
Wednesday, January 22, 2014
My Life Is Being Shaped By My Thoughts
“Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.”
Let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you’ll learn God will.
What this means to me:
I am not to be shaped by the customs and ways of this world. Instead I should let God transform and change the way I think. This way I’ll be able to determine what he really wants and is pleasing to him. I’m a product of the way God created me and of the relationships that surround my life. My identity is also influenced by my circumstances and my consciousness. Circumstances are the things that happen to and around me, most of which I have no control. I’m a product of the trauma, troubles, suffering, shame, shock, pressures, and pain that have shaped my life. Consciousness is how I talk to myself. I can be harsh with myself. If I talked to friends the way I talk to myself, I probably wouldn’t have them. My thoughts are often filled with the lies I’ve heard from other people that I’ve let simmer and fester. When I repeat other people’s thoughts in my head, they go deeper and deeper into my consciousness, and then shape my identity. Proverbs 4:23 says, “Be careful how you think; your life is shaped by your thoughts” (LB). My thoughts don’t have to be true to hurt me; I just have to believe them. If I’m afraid I can’t do something, then I won’t. My thoughts will run my life! While circumstances may be out of my control, they aren’t out of Gods. My thoughts will shape who I am. The good news is that I can change the way I think. My past circumstances and consciousness have shaped who I am, but the way I respond to them in the future and the thoughts I choose to believe will shape the rest of my life.
Tuesday, January 21, 2014
In review of Mark 12:30-31 it says, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength. The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.”
Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength. Secondly love others as much as you love yourself. There are no other commandments more important than these.
What this means to me:
This verse reminds me of the two most important things I can do as a follower of Jesus Christ. First is for me to love the Lord my God, with all of my heart, soul, mind and strength. The second is is equally important and it’s to Love others as much as I love myself. Yesterday, I studied how my uniqueness / complexity and even flaws are all from God. They make up a key part of who I am. Today I’m reminded that connections to others in my life also make up my identity. Connections with others give my life purpose and meaning. Jesus said that the most important thing I should do is love God and love other people (Mark 12:30-31). In the end my life will not be about my accomplishments or acquisitions, my popularity or prestige. It’s about how well I love. I’m learning that there are a few problems that keep me from loving fully as God intended. First, I myself are imperfect. There will be no perfect relationships because there are no perfect people. Next my sin disconnects me. Adam and Eve had the first broken relationship and disconnected themselves from God and from each other. The more disconnected I am, the more fearful I become. I crave intimacy, but fear vulnerability. I crave acceptance, but fear rejection. Overall, I may not have had a say in the hand I was dealt in life. But God sent his son as my Savior to transform my cards into a winning hand. No matter what connections I’ve made in life, I will be held responsible for what I do with my connections today. I choose to let God affect my connections. I will trust him for my future in spite of my past. I will nurture, protect, and build relationships so that God is more fully glorified by my life. I will strive to build healthy and not hurtful relationships with God’s help.
Monday, January 20, 2014
In summary of Psalm 139:14 it says, “Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex! Your workmanship is marvelous — how well I know it.”
Thank you God for making me unique. You work is complex and marvelous and I will recognize it for what it is.
What this means to me:
In this verse I’m reminded of how wonderfully complex he has made me. He is due praise for making me in such an amazing and wonderful way. This should not be surprising because everything God does is marvelous. As each day passes I’m getting to know and understand this more and more. It would be difficult for me to become all that God created me to be until I can fully embrace my identity, the unmistakably unique and flawed me that God made for a purpose. To fulfill God’s purpose for me, I need to look at every dimension of my life and understand the factors that influence my identity. Then, simply make the most of what I’ve been given. Everyone has been given different parents, pains, problems, and potential, but we will all be held accountable one day for what we did with those factors. So I am to play the hand I’ve been dealt. One factor that makes me unique is my DNA, genes, hormones, and chemical makeup. These include my tolerance for pain, my energy level, and my muscle tone. My flaws should never be considered sinful or shameful, it’s just the way God has wired me. My flaws make me unique and are part of my custom design, that God planned for his purpose and glory. So now the question is, what will I do with the hand I’m dealt? Today I will consider the flaws that make me unique and what I can do to use those flaws to bring God glory.
Friday, January 17, 2014
In review of Psalm 32:3 it says, “Before I confessed my sins, my bones felt limp, and I groaned all day long.”
When I kept my sin to myself, I felt weak deep inside and moaned all day long.
What this means to me:
When it comes to sin, keeping it to myself and refusing to confess it will physically affect and put undue stress on my body. One healthy choice I can make this coming year is make sure that I’m asking for and receiving the forgiveness of God. Feelings of being physically “weighed down” by guilt are real. Carrying around that extra stinky sack of garbage won’t just make me ineffective for serving Jesus; it’ll ruin my health as well. The Bible teaches in Psalm 32:3-5: “Before I confessed my sins, my bones felt limp, and I groaned all day long. Night and day your hand weighed heavily on me, and my strength was gone as in the summer heat. So I confessed my sins and told them all to you. I said, ‘I’ll tell the LORD each one of my sins.’ Then you forgave me and took away my guilt” (CEV). The good news is that God has given me a foolproof method for relief from those soul and body-destroying feelings of guilt: repentance. It may be good for me to make a moral inventory. Psalm 138:23-24 says, “Search me, O God, and know my heart; test my thoughts. Point out anything you find in me that makes you sad, and lead me along the path of everlasting life” (LB). In other words, I can start by grabbing a pencil and paper (or other electronic forms) and ask God to bring to mind my sin. Next, accept the blame. The greatest holdup to healing is me. I shouldn’t rationalize or minimize it. I may not own 100 percent of the blame, but accept the 10 percent of the blame that’s mine. Next, ask for forgiveness and believe that God will forgive me. Ask him to forgive me based on what he promises in the Bible 1 John 1:9, “God is faithful and reliable. If we confess our sins, he forgives them and cleanses us from everything we’ve done wrong.” (GW). There is no need for me to beg or bargain. Just believe that God is able and willing to forgive me. God wants to use me. I should be sure that I’m clean about sin so that I can serve him.
Thursday, January 16, 2014
In review of Isaiah 43:2 it says, “When you go through deep waters, I will be with you. When you go through rivers of difficulty, you will not drown. When you walk through the fire of oppression, you will not be burned up; the flames will not consume you.”
When you pass through deep waters, God will be with you and your troubles will not overwhelm you. When you pass through fire, you will not be burned; the hard trials that come will not hurt you.
What this means to me:
God is telling me that when I walk closely with Him that even though I may go through some deep waters of difficulty, my troubles will not overwhelm me or cause me to drown. Because he is with me, He promises to see me through it and these hard trials will not hurt me. So I have three basic choices when it comes to stress in my life: I can worry, I can just ignore my stress, or I can relax and trust God. I won’t be able to trust in God and worry at the same time. That’s not just good spiritual wisdom from the Lord; it’s great wisdom for my health as well. The Bible says in Proverbs 14:30 that a heart at peace is a healthy heart: “A heart at peace gives life to the body, but envy rots the bones” (NIV). It’s not just what I eat that will destroy my health, it’s more about what I let eats at me! I can have the best health plan around, eat healthy and properly portioned amounts, but if I have resentment or worry about tomorrow, my health will suffer. Worry is much like a poison or a fire. It can burn me up inside. The good news is that I don’t have to worry. Worry is something I can control because the One who holds my future will walk with me through it. This notion is just as important as any diet or exercise plan I may have for this year. Today I will consider what particular areas in my life are struggling me to trust God, causing me unneeded worry.
Wednesday, January 15, 2014
In review of Romans 12:11-12 it says, “Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.”
Do not be lazy but work hard, serving the Lord with all your heart. Be joyful because you have hope. Be patient when trouble comes, and pray at all times.
What this means to me:
I should not be lazy or lack zeal, but instead work hard eagerly following the Holy Spirit. I should serve the Lord with all my heart and devotion. I need to be happy in my confidence in HIm and patient in times of trouble. I should pray at all times. Also, as I make new goals for this year, I need to find a way to maintain my enthusiasm over the long haul. What I need help in is staying enthusiastic day after day, despite delays, difficulties, dead ends, problems, pressures and criticisms. Positive thinking or optimism will not be enough. What I’ve learned today is that for me to stay enthusiastic for the long term is found in the word “enthusiasm” itself. The word “enthusiasm” comes from the Greek word en theos. En is the Greek word for the English word “in.” Theos is the Greek word for “God.” So en theos means to be “in God.” My daily time with God, can help me with this enthusiasm,. a kind of enthusiasm that isn’t affected by the economy, weather or my circumstances. Paul tells me how to do this in Romans 12:11-12. He says, “Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer” (NIV). To reach my goals for this year, I need to get God’s power by being joyful in hope, patient in affliction, and faithful in prayer. I’ll need to humbly admit that I need His help. I need Him to help renew my mind. To help me to think the way he’d want me to think. To help me with humility, so that I don’t think more highly of myself than I should. My faith needs to grow, and I will need His help in setting goals that can be measured so that I can manage them. I’ll need help in filling my life with love. I’ll need help in taking delight in honoring other people, to focus on giving my life away. I want to nurture my enthusiasm by being in you. Help me to be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, and faithful in prayer. I end this time with this prayer, “Dear God, I don’t want to go another day without you in my life, controlling every part of my heart. I offer you my body. I dedicate myself to you. In light of all you’ve done for me, I give myself as a living sacrifice to you as a spiritual act of worship.”
Tuesday, January 14, 2014
In summary of Romans 12:9-10 it says, “Don’t just pretend to love others. Really love them. Hate what is wrong. Hold tightly to what is good. Love each other with genuine affection, and take delight in honoring each other.”
Your love must be real. Hate evil. Hold on to what is good. Be devoted to each other like a loving family. Honor others more than yourself.
What this means to me:
I can’t pretend to love others, it must be real. I am to hate everything that is evil and hold tightly to what is good. My love must be done with genuine affection and devotion, much like a loving family would have. And I am to honor others more than myself. I’m learning that if I want lasting change in my life, I must fill my life with love. Love invigorates, revitalizes, renews and refreshes. Love is the only thing that can change the unchangeable. Love is the most powerful force in the universe, essentially because God is love. Love can heal what cannot otherwise be healed. Love uplifts. Love strengthens. Love energizes. Love empowers. Romans 12:9-10 says, “Don’t just pretend to love others. Really love them. Hate what is wrong. Hold tightly to what is good. Love each other with genuine affection, and take delight in honoring each other.” God’s word instructs me to take delight in honoring others and to show them genuine affection. When I take care of others, God will take care of me. God would ask me, “am I helping myself” or “am I helping others?” One aspect to keep in mind is if I want help with my goals, I should be helping others with theirs. I can do this by showing love and giving myself away. In my quiet time this morning, I’m reminded of the story of Job where he lost everything. Then at the end of the book, God gave it all back to him. He gave to Job because Job throughout his turmoil had prayed for his friends. As a result the LORD restored his fortunes and gave him twice as much as he had before. In summary, if I give myself away in love, God will work in my life.
Monday, January 13, 2014
In review of Romans 12:3 it says, “Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the faith God has distributed to each of you.”
Learn to be humble. Don’t think more highly of yourself than you should, instead measure yourself according to the faith that God gives you.
What this means to me:
In this verse Paul gives me a warning to not think more highly of myself than I should. I must decide who I really am based on the amount of faith God has given me as a believer. Getting over pride is the first and greatest barrier to making any change in my life. The Bible says there’s nothing perfect on Earth except God’s Word. Everything on this planet is broken because of sin. I know I don’t have it all together. I often walk around and pretend I’ve got it all together. What this verse reminds me is, to have lasting change, I need to humbly assess my current state and admit that I don’t have it all together. I have to admit I have a problem that I need to address. Romans 12:3 says, “Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the faith God has distributed to each of you” (NIV). The question will be, am I willing to ask the people closest to me, “Where I need change.” I need to have the courage to ask others in my life to be honest about me. I’m finding that I can only manage what I measure. If I don’t know the measure of my faith, I won’t be able to grow in faith. If I don’t know the measure of my health, I can’t develop and grow in health. If I don’t know the measure of where I am spiritually or vocationally or relationally, then I can’t grow in those areas. I can only manage what I measure. It will be important for me to record my progress in any goal I set (perhaps in a journal.) So as I set some goals, it will be important to record my progress so that I can measure growth / progress. The key is to evaluate where I’m at, then I can know where I should go. Also as I move forward with an assessment and goal setting this year I will consider who are the people in my life with whom I can share openly and honestly for a sounding board and to help hold me accountable.
Friday, January 10, 2014
In review of Ephesians 4:22-24 it says, “Put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and ... put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.”
Get rid of the old way of life that was corrupted by deception and instead let the Spirit change your way of thinking. Then you can put a new self that is created in God’s likeness such that you can live a life of service set apart for God.
What this means to me:
This verse reminds me that I should continue to put off my old nature and former way of life, one that is corrupted by lust and deception. Instead let the Spirit change my way of thinking and renew my thoughts and attitudes, and then put on my new self, one that imitates Jesus, so that I can be truly set apart for His service. Lasting change for me will come from changing the way I think, I need to allow in, the things that will honor God. Ephesians 4:22-24 says, “Put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and ... put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness” (NIV). This verse emphasizes that there is a putting off and a putting on that needs to take place. For example If I want to improve my health, I need to stop doing some stuff that is hurtful and replace it with things that will edify it instead. The same is true with my mind, I need to stop putting negative, hurtful things into it, and instead start to watch and listen to things that will edify me and make me more like Christ. Today I will consider the “old” things and habits that I need to take out of my life and replace them with the “new” things and habits.
Thursday, January 9, 2014
In review of Romans 12:1 it says, “Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God — this is your true and proper worship.”
We are special/dear to Paul, so he encourages that in view of all God has done to offer ourselves up as a living sacrifice to God, pleasing to Him. This is truly the most sensible and appropriate way to worship him.
What this means to me:
Paul strongly encourages me, that in view of all God has done (God is good and shows me great mercy and compassion) to offer up my life as a living sacrifice, and to do so in a manner that is pleasing to Him. This is truly the most sensible and appropriate way for me to worship God. What I’ve learned this morning is that for any change to occur in my life, I need to begin with the physical, because my body affects my overall behavior. My muscles can affect my mood and motivation. My physiology can actually affect my psychology. Romans 12:1 says, “Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God — this is your true and proper worship” (NIV). The problem with being a living sacrifice is that I can choose to crawl off the altar! I have to admit that I do this all the time. Over and over again, I offer myself to God, and then take it back. What I realize is that this is not a once-for-all offer. I need to do it constantly, multiple times a day! There are three things I can do with my body that the bible considers acts of worship:
- First is to cleanse my body. The Bible says in 2 Corinthians 7:1, “Let us purify ourselves from everything that contaminates body and spirit, perfecting holiness out of reverence for God.” This form of cleaning is to control what I allow into my mind through what I watch and listen to and in what I choose to eat and drink.
- Second is to care for my body. Ephesians 5:29 says, “No one hates his own body but feeds and cares for it, just as Christ cares for the church” (NLT). Keeping my body in shape is an act of worship to God.
- Lastly is to control my body. “Each of you should learn to control your own body in a way that is holy and honorable.” 1 Thessalonians 4:4 (NIV). I need to control my body so that it doesn’t control me. There is no reason for me to say, “I couldn’t help myself!”
No matter what kind of change I want to make in my life, it will require energy. To have the energy to meet my goals, I need to start with these three things with my body.
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