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Friday, October 31, 2014

The Bible Has One Theme, and That’s a Miracle

In review of Luke 24:27 it says, “Beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, [Jesus] explained to them what was said in all the Scriptures concerning himself.”

Bottom Line:
Everything in Scriptures points towards Jesus.

What this means to me:
Everything in Scripture points towards Jesus. He explained everything written about himself, beginning with the Law of Moses and then with all the Books of the Prophets. There is a consistent message throughout.

Only God could have put the Bible together. It’s 66 books written over 1,600 years by 40 authors; and it has one theme. Having a single unified theme is one of the reasons we know that the Bible is God’s Word. From Genesis to Revelation, the Bible is all about God redeeming man, and Jesus is its star.

The fact that the Bible has only one theme is nothing short of a miracle. It’d be one thing if one person wrote the Bible. The Koran was written by one person, Mohammed. The Analects of Confucius were written by Confucius. The writings of Buddha were written by Buddha. You’d expect them to be uniform.

The Bible, on the other hand, was written by 40 different people, at every age and in every stage of life, on three continents. And they all wrote the same story; Jesus’ story. Prophets and poets, princes and kings, and sailors and soldiers all had the same story. Some were written in homes, others in prisons, and others on ships. You couldn't have put together a more diverse group of authors. Yet the story is the same.

Imagine we give 50 people a piece of paper, and I told them to tear their pieces of paper into different shapes; but we never tell them how were going to use them. What’s the likelihood we’d be able to take those pieces of paper and make a map of the United States out of them? Those odds would be astronomically low. If we could, most others would think it was a trick.

That’s the miracle of how the Bible was put together.

I tend to think that the New Testament is about Jesus and the Old Testament is about Israel and God. But this is not true. The Bible says in Luke 24:27, “Beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, [Jesus] explained to them what was said in all the Scriptures concerning himself” (NIV). The New Testament wasn't even written then.

The pictures, the metaphors, the analogies, and the illusions, from beginning to end, are about God’s plan to redeem people and build a family for eternity. It all began with Jesus. You can see him in every book. That’s a miracle.

I have one class left toward getting my Bachelor’s degree. It happens to be a class regarding the Old Testament (Exodus and Deuteronomy.)  I look forward to studying this. I will keep my eye out for the references that tie this all together.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Why I Should Start Memorizing Scripture

In review of James 1:25 it says, “Whoever looks intently into the perfect law … and continues in it — not forgetting what they have heard, but doing it — they will be blessed in what they do.”

Bottom Line:
Continue to pay attention and focus on the perfect law that sets you free. This is not just listening but actually doing what it says. If you do, then God’s blessing will be there.

What this means to me:
I should focus (look intently) into the perfect law. It has the power to set me free. But I must not only listen to it, but actually do what it says. I’m to take action regarding it. If I do, God has promised me his blessings.

What I’m learning is that, one of the best ways to grow in my on spiritual maturity, is to develop a habit of memorizing Scripture. This verse today reminds me that it’s one of four habits that leads to a blessed life: “Whoever looks intently into the perfect law … and continues in it — not forgetting what they have heard, but doing it — they will be blessed in what they do” James 1:25 (NIV).

This breaks down into:
  1. Reading the Bible. “Whoever looks intently …”
  2. Reviewing the Bible. “… continues in it …”
  3. Remembering the Bible. “… not forgetting what they have heard …”
  4. Responding to the Bible. “ … but doing it …”
It’s time to grow up and live the blessed life I’m meant to live. Memorizing verses, or “Hiding” God’s Word in my heart is an important way to start.

So when it comes to memory, I know I can remember what’s important to me. I remember the phone numbers and dates that I care about. If I can quote songs and movie lines. Given this,  I can certainly memorize scripture. Memory is a skill I can learn. It’s a muscle I can strengthen.

I’m learning that memorizing Scripture is important because:

If I do, I’ll always have God’s Word with me. When I’m tempted, I may not have a Bible open or by my side. When I’m witnessing to someone who doesn’t know Jesus, is under stress, needs comfort, or is in a crisis, there may not be a Bible around. I need God’s Word in my mind so that I can remember it and review it right when I need it.

I can also meditate on Scripture wherever I go. I won’t be able to review God’s Word unless I remember it. If I’ve memorized Scripture, I can think about it when you get into bed at night or as I drive to an appointment. I can think about the Bible because I’ve memorized it. That’s called meditation. The only promise of prosperity and success that God gives in the Bible says that meditating on his Word is the key (Joshua 1:8).

The real key for me will be what changes will I need to make so that I’m regularly memorizing verses. I think today, I will look for apps for my smart phone that will help me in practicing my memorization of verses. This is much like carrying around a pack of verse cards, but much easier, since I always have my phone with me. With a tool like this at hand, I should set myself a goal to memorize a certain number of verses a year, such as, one verse a week (52 in a year) or maybe just one verse a month (12 in a year.)

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Learning How to Get Better Reception

In review of James 1:19-21 it says, “Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, because human anger does not produce the righteousness that God desires. Therefore, get rid of all moral filth and the evil that is so prevalent and humbly accept the word planted in you, which can save you.”

Bottom Line:
Listen more, speak less and avoid anger. Anger gets you nowhere. Move forward in life by getting rid of moral filth and evil that comes so easy. In humility, accept God’s word, it has the power to transform you.

What this means to me:
I need to listen more than I speak. I should avoid anger. Anger will not allow me to do anything that God wants from me. Therefore, I need to eliminate any moral filth and evil that comes so naturally. In humility, I am to accept and follow His word. It has the power to direct and save me.

Given the example of a gardener, one can take the exact same seed and plant it in three different locations and get three different results. In one spot, you’ll get giant tomatoes. In another, you’ll get small tomatoes. And in a third, you’ll get nothing. What’s the difference? It’s not the seed; it’s the soil. The soil must be prepared for the seed.

The same is true when I hear God’s Word. My heart has to be prepared for the Word. If I’m late, have trouble finding a parking spot, and are irritated as I rush into church, I’m probably not going to hear God’s voice! I’m not in a receptive mood.

That’s why you can take two people to church, set them side-by-side, and one will walk out thinking God really spoke to him and the other won’t get anything out of the service. The heart of one person was prepared; the other’s heart wasn't.

This verse reminds me that, “Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, because human anger does not produce the righteousness that God desires. Therefore, get rid of all moral filth and the evil that is so prevalent and humbly accept the word planted in you, which can save you” (James 1:19b-21 NIV).

For good reception, this passage teaches that you have to have four attitudes:

You must be quiet. You can’t hear God if you’re talking.
You have to be calm. You can’t rush God. If you’re frantic, you’re not going to hear him. The Bible says, “Be still and know that I am God.” My translation of that is: “Sit down, and shut up.”
You have to be clean. Before you can meet with God, you need to take out your emotional and spiritual garbage. You need to get rid of the stuff that stinks in your life. You get rid of the garbage by confessing your sin to God and agreeing with him that what you did was wrong.
You need to be humble. Be ready to do whatever God tells you from his Word. A prideful attitude won’t work.

When it comes to my quiet times, I need to keep my mind clear and turn my focus to him. I should not be thinking of my todo list.  I need to confess any wrong doings so that I can be clear in my relationship with God.  I can always pray for assistance in accomplishing my todo’s or for help overcoming any recurring sins.

This verse, also helps me in my daily interaction with others. Being quieter and listening more are skills that I need to develop. Often, I’m not listening completely because I’m formulating what I’m going to say, or making up my mind about whatever it is. I need to slow down and not rush. It’s important to hear everything, otherwise I’m imposing my own thoughts / desires. In order to listen more / speak less, I’ll need to tell myself to wait at least 5-10 seconds before responding. I’ll also need to eliminate distractions, such as focusing on my cell phone or my computer.  I should turn and look at the one speaking to me.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

A Witness Just Shares What They've Seen God Do

In review of 1 Peter 3:15 it says, “Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have.”

Bottom Line:
Worship Christ as Lord of your life. Always be prepared to give an answer to anyone who asks you for the reason for your hope and belief that you have. Yet do this in a gentle and respectful way.

What this means to me:
I am to honor Christ, letting him be the Lord my life. I am to always be prepared to provide an answer to anyone who asks about the reason and the hope that I have. I am to do this in a gentle and respectful way.

Its probably safe to say that everyone I see this week has some form of hidden hurt and could use a massive dose of hope. When I share hope, I’ll have a willing audience.

The hope that best helps people is the hope from someone who can say, “Been there, done that.” What I’m learning is, this is how God wants to use me. God wants me to be a hope dispenser by sharing my experiences and what He has done for me.

The Bible says in 1 Peter 3:15, “Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have” (NIV). God is asking me to be his witness.

I tend to shy about from being a witness. I tend to think a witness means that I’d have to explain why Jesus died on the cross, quote a bunch of Scripture verses from memory, and know a bunch of theology and doctrine.

There's a difference between a witness and an attorney. It is the job of the attorney to press the case, to show the evidence, and to ask for a decision. Not once in Scripture does Jesus say, “You will be my attorney.” It’s not my job to convince people to accept Christ. That’s the Holy Spirit’s job. I’m not called to be an attorney. However, I am called and commanded by God to be a witness.

A witness will say, “This is what I saw. I saw the blue car run into the red car.” Am I an expert on cars? No. Do I know anything else? No. I just share what I've seen or experienced. That’s the true essence of being called being a witness.

So how does God want me to be a witness this week to the unbelievers around me who are hurting and need hope? He wants me to say, “Pain really got my attention. Let me tell you what I learned. I learned that I need people in my life when I’m going through pain. I learned that God is all I need. You don’t know God is all you need until God is all you've got. I learned that God’s going to hang with me no matter what.”

I share the lessons I've learned through my own pain and trials. I can say, “Let me tell you about a time that something bad happened to me but God brought good out of it.” That’s what God commands me to do; to pass on my hope.

I can prepare to be a better witness but just being conscience of opportunities that come my way. Then open up, be honest and share what I've experienced.  Today I ask God for an opportunity to practice this.

Monday, October 27, 2014

Learning To Be Honest About My Pain

In review of 2 Corinthians 6:11 it says, “We have spoken frankly to you; we have opened our hearts wide.”

Bottom Line:
Speak honestly and frankly with a wide open heart toward others.

What this means to me:
I am to speak honestly and frankly to others about my life and about my struggles. I am to care and to make sure I have room for them in my heart.

When I talk about and share my pain with others, I’ll likely have willing ears, particularly if I’m talking about a pain that others are going through. However, for God to be able to use my past experiences to help others, I need to be authentic as I communicate them. It’s important that I not sugar coat or fake what I say. I won’t be authentic if I’m not being honest and real about the past hurts in my life.

One of the best examples of this can be seen in the life of Paul. The New Testament provides examples of how Paul is honest about things in his life that we don’t normally like to talk to others about. Paul single-handedly revolutionized the Roman Empire. Christianity spread all over the world because he was willing to be honest about things that I may not be willing to be honest about. Therefore in order to help others, I must be honest about these five things:

My feelings - Paul says in 2 Corinthians 6:11, “We have spoken frankly to you; we have opened our hearts wide” (GNT). Paul didn't just teach others; he opened his heart and shared his feelings. If I’m going to have an impact in the lives of others, I've got to learn to share my feelings.

My faults - This one’s a bit harder. In the Bible Paul tells us that “each of us must bear some faults and burdens of his own. For none of us is perfect!” (Galatians 6:5 LB) It’s pretty easy to see and admit that no one is perfect. I am to be honest, humble, and specific with others about my faults.

My failures - Paul says, “Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners — of whom I am the worst” (1 Timothy 1:15b NIV). Paul goes on to describe how he persecuted the Church and stood by while Stephen was stoned. He’s very frank about his failures.

My frustrations - Paul says, “I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out” (Romans 7:18). I don’t want to look at that, I don’t want to read that, I don’t want to act that way, I don’t want to say that, but I do. It will be that kind of gut-level honesty that will make a difference in people’s lives.

My fears - Paul says in 2 Corinthians 12:20, “I do admit that I have fears that when I come, you’ll disappoint me and I’ll disappoint you” (MSG). However, every time I share a fear with someone, it does two things: It lowers the level of fear in y life, and it encourages the other person.

Paul says that we’re all broken. So why don’t I just admit it? If I hold it in, it will only make me miserable and It won’t help anybody else. I need to learn to be honest about my fears, faults, failures, frustrations, and feelings. When I can do this, I’ll obtain healing and others will be able to benefit as well.

In retrospect, I think I have difficulty in sharing some of my failures and faults because I want to appear that I have it all together and that I don’t struggle. But the truth is, I don’t quite have it all together (and probably will never be until Christ returns.). When I think back, I have benefited greatly when others have shared their fears, faults, failures, frustrations, or feelings with me. It’s comforting to know that we all share the same struggles.

I will keep this notion in mind as I follow Ephesians 4:25, in living an honest and open life before others.

Friday, October 24, 2014

God Can Use My Messy Life for Good

In review of Romans 8:28 it says, “We know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God.”

Bottom Line:
When you love God, you know that he causes everything that happens to work for your good, it’s part of his plan.

What this means to me:
If I love God, I will know that He causes everything to work together for my good, it is part of his purpose for me and fits into his plan.

One of God’s great promises in revealed in Romans 8:28: “We know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God” (NLT). While being one of the most well-known verses, it can also be one of the most misunderstood. This verse speaks to me of recovery and growth.

First it says, “We know.” In other words, I’m not guessing, hoping, wishing, or desiring. I know for certain. I can be confident. I can even stake my life on it.

What do I know? “We know God causes ...” This means my life is not an accident. There’s no such thing as random chance. There’s no such thing as bad luck. My life is not a result of fate. There is a grand design behind everything.

“We know that God causes everything ...” If we just stopped there, that would make God the author of evil, and God is not the author of evil. Nothing that is evil in the world was caused by God. Rather, He’s saying, “We know that God causes all things to work together for the good ...” This verse does not say all things are good. They’re not! There’s a lot of evil in the world.

What I’m learning is that no matter what, God can bring good out of bad. For example, take the Crucifixion. The death of Jesus was bad. They tortured him, they spit on him, they beat him, and then they crucified him. God brought good from that in the form of salvation to the world! God specializes in bringing good out of bad.

Interestingly enough, his promise is not for everybody. “We know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God.” This promise is only for those who are willing to give God the pieces of a broken life and say, “God, I love you, and I believe you can use the mess of my life for something good. Please take the pieces of my life and put them back together.”

I know that all things that have happened in my life, whether I thought them to be bad or good were to build me up and then make me useful for his purposes. Given this, I want myself to be open to God use me and my life to make a difference in the lives of others around me.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Learning To Not Waste My Pain

In summary of 2 Corinthians 1:4-5 it says, “He comforts us when we are in trouble, so that we can share that same comfort with others in trouble. We share in the terrible sufferings of Christ, but also in the wonderful comfort he gives.”

Bottom Line:
God comforts us when we experience trouble, so that we can share similar comfort with those in need. We can be assured that the more we undergo sufferings for Christ, the more he will shower us with his comfort and encouragement.

What this means to me:
God has promised to comfort and help me when I’m in deep trouble. I am to share this same comfort, with others in need of sympathy and encouragement. I can be certain that the more I undergo suffering for Christ, the more he will comfort me.

This verse tells me that perhaps my greatest ministry will flow out of my pain; not out of my strengths or talents but rather out of the painful experiences of my life. It is my weaknesses that helps other people in their need, not necessarily my strengths.

A great example of this is the apostle Paul. In 2 Corinthians 1, Paul says that he was in a time of his life when he was so discouraged that he was ready to kick the bucket. He despaired of life itself. He was ready to give up on life. He was ready to crawl in a corner and die.

But Paul was able to say this in 2 Corinthians 1:2-5: “I pray that God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ will be kind to you and will bless you with peace! Praise God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! The Father is a merciful God, who always gives us comfort. He comforts us when we are in trouble, so that we can share that same comfort with others in trouble. We share in the terrible sufferings of Christ, but also in the wonderful comfort he gives” (CEV).

Who can be more sympathetic than somebody who has already been through what another person is going through right now. So in short, I shouldn’t waste my pain. If I hide and hold it back, it won’t do any good. But if I can be honest with God, myself and with others, God can use the thing I may have hated the most, had the biggest disappointment with, and that I wished may never had happened. God is saying, “You can’t change what happened to you. But I can use it for your benefit and for my purposes.” If I’m willing to share my brokenness, God can use it to help others.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Don’t Fight Temptation. Instead Flee From It!

In review of 1 Corinthians 16:13 it says, “Be alert. Continue strong in the faith. Have courage, and be strong.”

Bottom Line:
Be alert, continue to stand firm in your faith, have courage and be strong.

What this means to me:
When it comes to temptation, this verse reminds me that I need to keep my eyes open and alert for spiritual danger. I can’t allow myself to get laxed. I am to continue to be strong in my faith. I am to have courage. I am to act bravely. I am to be strong. What I’m learning is that I shouldn’t feel guilty about temptation. It’s not a sin to be tempted. Rather, It’s a sin to give in to temptation. Scriptures tell me that Jesus experienced every temptation known to man, but he didn’t sin. Temptation is not a sin. It’s how you respond to it that matters.

God’s word tells me to flee temptation, in fact is say, “Be alert. Continue strong in the faith. Have courage, and be strong” (1 Corinthians 16:13 NCV). The being “alert” part means knowing what tempts me so that I can stay away from it.

There are two things I need to stay away from: tempting situations (circumstances) and tempting associations (people who tempt you). This means that I need to know what tempts me, when it tempts me, where it tempts me, who tempts me, and then just stay away from those situations and people. I also need to avoid tempting associations. The Bible says in 1 Corinthians 15:33, “Do not be fooled. ‘Bad companions ruin good character’” (TEV).

So if I find myself in one of those tempting circumstances and/or people, I need to get out! Don’t just walk away, run! I don’t fight it; I flee it. Go after the good stuff in life instead.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Make It Right by Confessing Right Away

In review of Psalm 103:3-4 it says, “He forgives all my sins and heals all my diseases. He redeems me from death and crowns me with love and tender mercies.”

Bottom Line:
The Lord will forgive our wrong-doing, and provide healing when we get sick, he will protect us from death, and will surround us with his steadfast love and mercy.

What this means to me:
He forgives all my sins and heals me when I’m sick. He redeems me from destruction and surrounds me with his loving kindness and tender mercies.

One thing is for certain, I will stumble. I shouldn’t try to live a perfect life, rather the key will be to face and let go of my failures quickly. This means that I shouldn’t try to cover them up, or blame others, and certainly not excuse myself. I should own up to it, quickly.

Often it's easy to ask for forgiveness of sins of the past. However it’s much more difficult to confess and forsake the ones that just occurred. My ego can get in the way of confessing a sin at the moment.  But what I’m learning is that a key to spiritual growth is to confess my sin instantly. Let it go! Don’t let them pile up. Take out the garbage on a daily basis.

I do this by my own self-examination. The Bible says in 1 Corinthians 11:31, “If we would examine ourselves, we would not be judged by God in this way” (NLT). God says I can either judge myself or he can judge me. Part of my growth process is to own up to my sin right away and say, “God, I stumbled again. I don’t want to , but I did. I just need to admit it to God, and then let it go.

This means that I shouldn’t beat myself up; or tear myself down. Rather say, “God thank you. I’m not the way I used to be. Yeah, I dropped the ball, but I’m going to pick it up again. And I’m going to try to do better and be better. I’m going to focus on the future and not on the past.”

I have to remember God’s character. He is not going to say, “Oh, come on! Not that sin again! Can’t you come up with any new ones? You’ve come to me with that sin 9,900 times. I’ve already forgiven you 9,900 times!” No. God is love. He never tires of providing forgiveness. He’s just waiting on me.

Psalm 103:3-4 says, “He forgives all my sins and heals all my diseases. He redeems me from death and crowns me with love and tender mercies.” This verse reminds me that God won’t criticize me with judgment and scorn. He wants to bless me with love and mercy. God will give me what I need, not what I deserve.

So, when I stumble, I just need to go to God right away and say, “One more time, Lord. I need your forgiveness.” It’s the starting point.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Learning How to Set a FAITH Based Goal

In review of Philippians 3:13-14 it says, “I know that I have not yet reached that goal, but there is one thing I always do. Forgetting the past and straining toward what is ahead, I keep trying to reach the goal and get the prize for which God called me through Christ to the life above.”

Bottom Line:
I know that I have not yet reached that goal, but there is one thing I do, I forget the past, and run toward the goal to receive the prize God offers, what Christ Jesus has done for us.

What this means to me:
I am still not all I should be, but I will focus on this one thing; forget what is behind and do my best to reach what is ahead. I will press on toward the goal, the prize that God offers. I do this because of what Christ has done for me.

Goals are simply statements of faith. The Bible says, “The just shall live by faith” and “Without faith it’s impossible to please God” and “Whatsoever is not of faith is sin” and “According to your faith it will be done unto you.”

God will often operate in life by faith. This is why I feel that I need goals in my life, because a goal is a statement of faith. A goal says, “I believe God wants me to accomplish something by a certain date.” If I don’t have a date, it’s not a goal. It’s just a wish, dream or desire. The only thing that will change life is setting a goal. You’ve got to wake up from the wish and go to work!

A “FAITH” goal has five characteristics:

Focused. Meaning that its specific. Using words “more” or “less,” is not a focused enough. “I want to be less angry” or “I want to weigh less” or “I want to be more like Jesus” are not goals because they can’t be measured. So they must be specific.

Attainable. Setting an unrealistic goal, will only discourage. For instance if I say, “I’m going to pray three hours a day,” I”ll end up setting myself up for failure. Rather I should set a goal that stretches me and then trust God will help me stretch.

Individual. It must be personal. I cannot set goals for other people because I can’t control them. I can’t set goals for family. I can only set goals for myself, because I can control only myself and not anybody else. The only way to change others is by first changing yourself.

Trackable. A trackable goal can be measured. Its verifiable. Set a date and say, “By Nov. 30 I will have accomplished this, and by Dec. 30 I will have accomplished this, and by Jan. 30 I will have accomplished this.”

Heartfelt. My goals need to be heartfelt. I’ll never reach a passionless goal. If I’m not passionate about the goal, wait until I become passionate about it. If I don’t have a deep desire, then don’t set it.

One possible goal would be to have a regular quiet time four days a week for 30 min. That is a FAITH goal, and it can accomplished if it is in faith.

Today I will consider all the wishes for my life. I will convert the one’s I most passionate about into FAITH goals that I can really work towards. I will included these goals in my quiet time prayers.

Friday, October 17, 2014

If I’m Too Busy for God, Then I’m Just Too Busy

In review of 1 John 2:28 it says, “Now dear children, continue to live in fellowship with Christ.”

Bottom Line:
Be in routine and confident fellowship with Christ. This way you won’t be ashamed and caught off guard when he returns.

What this means to me:
If I continue to stay connected in routine fellowship with Christ, I’ll be able to have confidence and not shame when he returns for me.

Growing any kind of grapes requires them to be connected to the the vine. Without this connection they won’t develop. Jesus tells us, “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing” (John 15:5 NIV). I will not bear any fruit in my life if I’m not connected to Jesus on a regular basis.

This is true in all my relationships. If I don’t spend time with someone, I’m going to be disconnected. This is even more important in marriage. If I don’t spend time with my wife, we’re going to lose our intimacy and be disconnected. This same principle is true with God. I need to spend time with God in order to be close to him, to feel his love, to sense his presence in my life.

I’ve been walking with the Lord for 20 years, and from experience it can be hard to keep a consistent daily time with Him because everything can fight against it! I believe this is because the enemy knows if he can keep me disconnected, that I’ll be worthless for the kingdom. I’ll have no power. I’ll have no defense. I’ll have no strength against his temptations. He doesn’t care if I do all kinds of good things as long as I don’t spend quality time with God, because it’s my number one purpose in life.

Ultimately I wasn’t put here on earth to mark things off a “To Do” list. God didn’t create me just to do a bunch of activities. God created me so I could know him and love him and he could know and love me back. If I’m not spending time getting to know God, then I’m missing the number one purpose of my life. Satan knows this, so he’s going to try to keep to distract me.

If I ever get too busy for God, I need to re-evaluate my schedule as I’m putting everything else in front of the number one commandment; love God with all my heart and soul and mind and strength.

Todays verse reminds me “continue to live in fellowship with Christ” (1 John 2:28 NLT).

So far, I’ve been doing well keeping my weekday quiet times with him. Its tough, it requires getting up earlier, when I’d rather sleep, putting in extra effort to be prepared when there’s some many other selfish things I could do.  Thank you God for helping me be consistent and through it teaching and affecting my life.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Forget the Past, Focus on the Future

In review of Philippians 3:13-14 it says, "No, dear brothers and sisters, I have not achieved it, but I focus on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us."

Bottom Line:
I know that I have not yet reached that goal, but there is one thing I do, I forget the past, and run toward the goal to receive the prize God offers, what Christ Jesus has done for us.

What this means to me:
I am still not all I should be, but I will focus on this one thing; forget what is behind and do my best to reach what is ahead. I will press on toward the goal, the prize that God offers. I do this because of what Christ has done for me.

My past is past. I am not my past. While my past might have influenced me, it does not define me. What matters today is not my past. Regardless of what I’ve done, who I did it with, or even how long I did it. What matter’s the most is what direction I’m heading today.

To grow, my focus should be on the future. This is a focus on what I want, not what I didn’t want to happen. Focus on my goals, not my habits.

This is what Paul talked about in Philippians 3:12: “I do not mean that I am already as God wants me to be. I have not yet reached that goal, but I continue trying to reach it and to make it mine. Christ wants me to do that, which is the reason he made me his” (NCV).

However he adds just afterwards, “I know that I have not yet reached that goal, but there is one thing I always do. Forgetting the past and straining toward what is ahead, I keep trying to reach the goal and get the prize for which God called me through Christ to the life above.

This means that I should focus not on the past but what I want to happen. If I try to drive while only looking in the rear view mirror, I’m going to crash. So stop, It’s over. In order to finish the race well, I’ll need to continue to commit to my daily time with God so that I can fill my mind with God’s Word and focus on his goal for my life, not my past.

Today, I will spend some time thinking and praying about the goals I have and the direction God is leading me.

When I Ask for Something, Believe That God Will Answer

In review of Mark 11:24 it says, “Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer , believe that you have received it , and it will be...