Wednesday, August 31, 2016
In review of 2 Corinthians 4:18 it says, “For we fix our attention, not on things that are seen, but on things that are unseen. What can be seen lasts only for a time, but what cannot be seen lasts forever”
The things you see today will soon be gone, but the things unseen will last forever. Therefore don’t focus on what is seen, but that which will last.
What this means to me:
So I should not focus at the troubles that I can see right now, rather, I should fix my gaze onto the things cannot be see. The things I see today will soon be gone, but the things I cannot see will last forever.
Today's verse comes from 2nd Corinthians chapter 4 where Paul speaks about being like fragile clay jars containing a great treasure of God's good news. It's like this so that it becomes clear to us that our great power is from God, not from ourselves. We may get knocked down, but we are not destroyed. For our present troubles are small and won’t last very long. Yet they produce for us a glory that vastly outweighs them and will last forever! So we don’t look at the troubles we can see now; rather, we are to fix our gaze on things that cannot be seen. For the things we see now will soon be gone, but the things we cannot see will last forever.
It’s important for me to remember that life on Earth is really just a temporary assignment. Knowing and keeping this in mind should alter my values and help me fix my attention on the things that are eternally important.
It would be a fatal mistake to assume that God’s goal for me is material prosperity or popular success as the world would define it. An abundant life has nothing to do with material abundance. Also faithfulness to God will not guarantee success in my career or even my ministry. Thus, I should never focus on temporary crowns.
Afterall, Paul was faithful, yet he ended up in prison. John the Baptist was faithful, but he was beheaded. Millions of faithful people have been martyred, have lost everything, or have come to the end of life with nothing to show for it. But the end of life is not the end!
Today’s verse in 2 Corinthians 4:18 reminds me, “For we fix our attention, not on things that are seen, but on things that are unseen. What can be seen lasts only for a time, but what cannot be seen lasts forever” (TEV).
When my life gets tough, when I’m feeling overwhelmed, when I’m with riddled with doubt, or when I wonder if living for Christ is worth the effort, I can remember that I’m not home yet. At death I won’t leave home, I’ll be going there.
Today I will consider my goals and perspective. Are they reflecting an eternal perspective?
Tuesday, August 30, 2016
In review of 2 Chronicles 16:9a it says, “God is always on the alert, constantly on the lookout for people who are totally committed to him”
The Lord keeps watch, and will give strength to those who faithfully obey him.
What this means to me:
God is always on the alert. He will give me strength as I commit and faithfully obey him.
Today's passage comes from the final years of King Asa’s reign as told in 2nd Chronicles 16. King Asa decided to make ill advised alliances because of the pressure oppression he was facing. Hanani the seer came to the king and told him, "because he had put his trust in the king of Aram instead of the Lord, he has missed his chance to destroy Aram's army. In the past Asa had relied on the Lord and his enemy had been handed over. Hanani told him that the eyes of the Lord search the whole earth in order to strengthen those whose hearts become fully committed to him. Because Asa was a fool, he reign will be filled with war.
When God gives me a mission, I can be sure that I’ll run into delays, difficulties, detours, and dead ends along the way. They are a natural part of life. But I can be ready for them.
For example, if anybody had a right to be discouraged, it was Noah. It took Noah 120 years to build the ark. I’m not sure I could go 120 years on a project without one word of encouragement from anyone around me.
However, I read that Noah trusted God. And when he heard God’s warning about the future, Noah believed him, even though there was no sign of a flood. I bet there were many days that Noah didn’t feel like going to work, but for 43,800 days, he went to the same place, and he worked. He never gave up.
Likewise I should not give up on any dream he has given me, either. Don’t, don’t, don’t give up. The good news is that God is in control. I haven’t read the final chapter of my life. God’s already written it, but I haven’t read it yet.
Today’s verse says, “God is always on the alert, constantly on the lookout for people who are totally committed to him” (2 Chronicles 16:9 MSG). God is looking for people who are committed to him and his plan so that he can bless them.
I would like to be one of those people, so I won’t give up. I will keep on being faithful and committed knowing that God will use all things for the good of those who put their trust in him.
Monday, August 29, 2016
In review of Proverbs 4:20b-22 it says, “Listen carefully to my words. Don’t lose sight of them. Let them penetrate deep into your heart, for they bring life to those who find them, and healing to their whole body”
Really listen and absorb. Don’t let them get away. Remember and keep them close as they will give and promote health if taken to heart.
What this means to me:
I am encourage to pay attention and really listen to what is said in their proverbs. I am to never let them get away from me. I should remember them and keep them in my heart. If I do, the will give life and promote health if I really understand them.
Today's passages come from Proverbs 4 where Solomon tells about a Father's wise advice (the Proverbs.) We are told to pay attention and listen carefully to what He has told us. We are not to lose sight of them. We are to let them penetrate deep into our hearts, for they will bring life to those who find them and healing.
One of the pitfalls I know I’ll face as I attempt to fulfill my purpose is the temptation to take shortcuts. In truth, these shortcuts will only get you off track. The shortcuts may be moral, ethical, spiritual, financial, or even relational. However, they will distract me from what God wants me to do, and eventually end up wasting my time, energy, resources, and creativity.
Shortcuts will always be shortsighted. God wants me to stop being “absorbed with the things right in front of you. Look up, and be alert to what is going on around Christ — that’s where the action is. See things from his perspective” (Colossians 3:2 MSG).
Today’s passages encourage me to let God’s Word “penetrate deep into your heart, for they bring life to those who find them, and healing to their whole body” (Proverbs 4:20b-22 NLT).
So it’s important to recognize when something is a shortcut. From what I’m learning, a shortcut is something makes me focus more on earthly things rather than the bigger perspective, the things from above.
Today I will consider if their are things which I’m pursuing which are shortcuts and possibly keeping me from focusing on things from above.
Friday, August 26, 2016
In review of Proverbs 2:6 it says, “It is the Lord who gives wisdom; from him come knowledge and understanding”
God is the source of wisdom (knowledge, understanding and common sense).
What this means to me:
It is the Lord who will give me true wisdom. Every word he speaks is a treasure of knowledge, understanding and common sense.
Today's passage comes from the first part of Proverbs chapter 2. In this Solomon tells us about the benefits of wisdom. He says, to tune our ears to wisdom and concentrate on understanding. We are to cry out for insight, and ask for understanding. We are to search for them as if they were like hidden valuable treasures. When we do, we will then understand what it means to fear the Lord. For it is the Lord that grants wisdom, it's from his mouth that we get knowledge and understanding. He will guard the paths of the just and protect those who are faithful to him.
So, who better to get it from, than the creator and author?
However, it's harder to trust God when I’m not hearing him. I think I’m not hearing God because my mind is filled with a thousand other distractions. In order to hear God, I’ve got to get near Him. This means getting alone with him and being quiet.
Psalms 46:10 says, “Be still, and know that I am God” (NIV). This means I need to sit down and shut up. Then I’ll be able to hear and get near God. In practice it means sitting alone and just being quiet with your Bible. Starting with saying, “God, is there anything you want to say to me?” Then read God’s Word, and talk to him about what’s on my heart.
And, God says he will give me the wisdom I need to recognize his voice and follow through on what he says: “It is the Lord who gives wisdom; from him come knowledge and understanding” (Proverbs 2:6 TEV).
Today I pray, “God, I want to listen to you, not the voices of doubt. I want to get close to you and get to know you better. I want to hear you, and I promise to then obey you. I want to be one of the people that you can use and bless.”
I think I’d like to try just getting away to a quiet place for a while and trying this out. Often my morning quiet times at home are limited in time and my extended times are at a noisier place (Starbucks).
When it comes to reacting to God’s direction for me or direction in general, I’ve been bucking it. Trying to hold onto the comfortable and easier to control. I need to realize that God may be moving things in a different direction for my own good.
Today, I will need to think about how I can show God that I’m ready to obey what he directs me to do?
Thursday, August 25, 2016
In review of Proverbs 1:7 it says, “Start with God — the first step in learning is bowing down to God; only fools thumb their noses at such wisdom and learning”
One must take the Lord seriously. Stupid people have no respect for wisdom and refuse to learn or take instruction.
What this means to me:
The key entry point to true wisdom comes from the fear of the Lord. This is not a shaking in my boots kind of fear, but rather taking God and what he says seriously. For it would be foolish for me to not to respect, refuse to learn or to take instructions.
Today's verse comes from the very beginning of Proverbs which had been written by Solomon, David's son. His purpose behind them where to teach people wisdom and discipline and to help understand the insights of the wise and to live disciplined and successful lives. The first thing that Solomon says is that the fear of the Lord is the foundation of true knowledge. Only fools would despise wisdom and discipline.
Often when establishing goals, people say, “Who do you think you are?” or “It can’t be done” or “Forget about it”?
The antidote to the voices of doubt is to instead listen to the voice of God. Just imagine all the critics that were in Noah’s life. “That guy Noah thinks God speaks to him, but he’s just messing up all of our property values by building that ark in his front yard.”
The Bible tells us that Noah listened to God. And what did he hear? He heard God’s warning that the world was going to be destroyed. He believed what he had not yet seen. That’s what faith is — being certain of something we don’t see.
So Noah didn’t turn back on the vision God had given him. Instead, he built the ark.
God may end up giving me a certain goal for my life, and some people may think it’s pretty crazy. But I’ve got to stay focused on what I know God has said through his Word. Then, I’ve got to go build my ark!
So today, I will consider how I can practice listening for God voice. One thing I can do is remind myself frequently that when God tells me what to do, and it doesn’t always make sense, I should still do it. Afterall, He is all that I need and that where He guides, he will provide. I just need to learn to trust Him and I’m sure this will be one day at a time.
Wednesday, August 24, 2016
In review of Proverbs 4:5 it says, Get wisdom; develop good judgment. Don’t forget my words or turn away from them.
Get wisdom; develop good judgment. Don’t forget what you’ve learned.
What this means to me:
I’m encouraged to get wisdom by seeking and developing good judgment, sense, insight and understanding. I should not forget what I’m learning or being taught, nor should I ignore or turn away from it.
One of the most important tests in life as I work toward achieving what God has call me to do is the cultural distractions that are all around me. These are items that can drift my focus away.
The distraction of popularity. If I’m worried about what other people think, I will be distracted from my destiny.
The distraction of pleasure. While it’s okay to have fun and feel comfort, but making it the primary focus of life, will never fulfill what I was meant for.
The distraction of profits. I can’t serve both God and money. Making a profit or gaining more shouldn’t be a primary focus.
The distraction of possessions. Judging my success by how much stuff I own will only keep me concerned about keeping and maintaining things.
If I’m going to fulfill the mission God has given me, I must dare to be different from others. I must stay focused on the most important thing: my relationship with Jesus Christ.
I realized that a root of some of my more recent disappointments has come from being worried about what others think of me. I’m taking too much pride in wanting to be known as someone who has it all together and under control. When things go wrong, I’m thinking I’m perceived as not being able to handle things. This affects my character and how I act, think about and probably treat others that work under my direction.
I also realize that when things don’t go to my way of thinking, that my stress level increases (i.e. recent revealing of being transferred from my current work reporting relationship to another, who may want to change the reporting structure.) This too affects my character and how I act, think about and probably treat others around me.
In reflecting on this today, I remember Romans 8:28. “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. (NIV)” I need to “828” myself to remind me, that “in all things God works for the good”. What I’m going through is just part of building my character, faith and my reliance on Him.
This morning father, I pray that you give me the courage to be different and go against cultural standards and not be distracted from what you have in store for me.
Tuesday, August 23, 2016
In review of Proverbs 14:8 it says, “The wise man looks ahead. The fool attempts to fool himself and won’t face facts”
A wise person looks ahead and faces reality, but fools only deceive themselves, thinking they know ignoring reality..
What this means to me:
A wise person looks ahead and understands where they are going, they know what to do. A fool only attempts to fool themselves, they get lost in their own deception, never facing the facts, only thinking they know.
A lot of people start out well, but end up progressing poorly because they don’t plan for the pitfalls. Today’s verse reminds me that a wise man will look ahead and face reality.
As I make plans for the future, I will face pitfalls. There will be cultural distractions, voices of doubt, tempting shortcuts, and discouraging delays. As an example, consider Noah: He had pitfalls after God told him to build the ark, but he overcame them and I can, too.
Fortunately God doesn’t give me something as difficult as building an ark, however he has something in mind for me.
Today’s verse says, “The wise man looks ahead. The fool attempts to fool himself and won’t face facts” (Proverbs 14:8 TLB). By looking ahead, I’ll not only be prepared to spot the pitfalls when they come; but I’ll also be equipped to make plans that help me become the man God wants me to be.
I should continue to ask God for his help in establishing my goals for the next decade of life. I’ll then be ready to move forward and learn how to handle the pitfalls that could potentially keep me from getting where God wants me to go.
As I think about the last decade, I can see where God has assisted me when I couldn’t help myself (serious infection, surgeries a few years ago), He has used my choices to reveal things about myself and my walk (Rom. 8:28, “In all things God works for the good..”). A consistent thing I find is that as I follow and stay obedient to him, he blesses me and my decisions. I’ve also noticed that when problems come, he is able to guide and help me cope with, or teaching me how to appropriately deal with them. Given this I know that I can count on God to help me set future goals that will accomplish that which is important to him.
It's time for me to consider how my future goals are reflecting the power of God in my life. I can dream even bigger than what I can accomplish alone, because I serve a big God.
Monday, August 22, 2016
In review of Galatians 6:9 it says, “Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up”
Never get tired of helping others. Your reward will come at the right time.
What this means to me:
I should not become tired or give up on doing good. A time will come when I’ll reap a harvest from it.
Failure is never final unless I quit because of it. A person’s greatness is not determined by his talent, his wealth, or his education. A person’s greatness is determined by what it takes to discourage him. What does it take to discourage me from going after my dream?
Today’s verse in Galatians 6:9 says, “Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up” (NIV).
When I feel like giving up, God says, “Just keep on keeping on.”
What I’m learning is that God will work in my life according to my faith. The Bible says, “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.”
So what am I doing in faith? I need to keep asking myself each day when you get up, “God, what can I do today that will require faith?” That’s an important question, because that’s what’s going to please God.
There are a lot of things in my life that I don’t have control over. I didn’t control who my parents were, when I was born, where I was born, or what my race or nationality is. I didn’t control what gifts and talents I was given. I didn’t decide how I would look.
However I do have complete control over how much I choose to believe God. God uses people who expect him to act, who never give up, who take risks in faith, who get his dream and go after it. It’s my choice whether I want to be the kind of person God uses to accomplish his purpose.
Today, I’ll think about what things discourage and keep me from pursuing goals and how I think God wants me to respond to those circumstances? Also what act of faith is God asking me to take today?
Friday, August 19, 2016
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”
Fearing people is a dangerous trap, but trusting in the Lord means safety.
What this means to me:
Being fearful and concerned of what others think can be a dangerous trap for me, but if I trust in the Lord I’ll be kept safe.
I’ve noticed that Satan’s favorite tool to diminish my faith is the fear of failure. It’s difficult to serve God and to be constantly worried about what other people think. I need to move forward. Today’s verse in Proverbs 29:25 says, “Fear of man will prove to be a snare, but whoever trusts in the Lord is kept safe” (NIV).
What I’m learning is In order to eliminate a fear of failure, I need to redefine it. Afterall what is failure? Failure is not failing to reach your goal. Failure is not having a goal. Failure is not failing to hit your target. Failure is not having a target. Failure is not falling down. Failure is 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. Failure is failing to try.
Another way to get rid of the fear of failure is to never compare myself to anybody else. I’ll always find somebody who’s doing a better job, which discourages me. And, I’ll always find somebody who’s not doing as good a job as I am, and I become full of pride. Both of these views will mess up my life. Discouragement and pride keep me from serving God’s purpose for my life. In Galatians 6:4 it says, “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 two forms of pride, one of which is legitimate. The bad kind of pride is comparing: “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.” That’s the good kind of pride.
Ultimately when I get Heaven, God won’t say, “Why weren’t you more like so and so?” He’s going to say, “Why weren’t you who I made you to be?”
I can let go of my fear of failure, because anything I’m attempting for God in faith is a good thing, regardless of the results.
Today I will consider what ways I’m using my gifts and abilities to work toward goals.?
Thursday, August 18, 2016
In review of Ephesians 3:20 it says, “Now glory be to God, who 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”
God working within you can do much more than you could have ever thought possible.
What this means to me:
I have access to God’s mighty power within me, to do far more than I could ever dare to ask or even dream of.
Today's passage comes from the second half of Ephesians chapter 3. In this section Paul is praying for our spiritual growth. He prays that from God's glorious, unlimited resources that he will empower me with inner strength through his Spirit. That Christ will make his home in my heart as I trust in him. My roots will grow down into God's love, keeping me strong. That I would have the power to understand, as other believers should, how wide, long, high and deep his love is. That I would experience the love of Christ and be made complete with all the fulness of life and power that comes from God. He concludes with giving glory to God, who is able, through his mighty power at work within me, to accomplish infinitely more than I might ever ask or think of.
What I’m learning is that faith is choosing and believing God’s dream for my life. Nothing starts happening until I start dreaming. God gave me the ability to dream, to create, to imagine. Dreaming is an act of faith. Everything on this planet accomplished by man was started as a dream.
I was given the following suggestions for getting God’s dream into my life:
First, I should dare to ask for it. Ephesians 3:20 says, “Now glory be to God, who 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” (TLB). If I want God’s blessing on my life, I must dare to ask for it. I must say, “God, what’s your dream for my life? What do you want me to do?” Then ask yourself, “What would I attempt for God if I knew I couldn’t fail?” Then let that expand my vision.
Second, believe in 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) Never let an impossible situation intimidate you. Let it motivate you to pray more, believe more, trust more, experience more, learn more, and grow more. Faith always works in the realm of the impossible. There is a quote from Hudson Taylor that says, “there are three stages to God’s will in your life: impossible, possible, and done.”
Third, dream big! “Ask me, and I will make the nations your inheritance, the ends of the earth your possession” (Psalm 2:8 NIV). The size of my God should determine the size of my goal. I haven’t really believed God until I’ve attempted something that can’t be done in the power of the flesh (on my own). In order to know how big my dream should be, I can ask myself two questions: How much time do I have to give to it? If it’s a dream I can give the rest of my life to, then I can really dream big.
Lastly, what am I shaped to do? What are my spiritual gifts, heart, abilities, personality, and experiences; the five things that make me me. What do I love to do? What am I gifted to do?
Dream great dreams for God. It’s the first step in my walk of faith.
Today I will consider what is the seemingly impossible thing I would attempt if I knew I wouldn’t fail and How my current dreams reflect the amount of faith I have in God?
Wednesday, August 17, 2016
In review of Romans 5:1 it says, “By faith we have been made acceptable to God. And now, because of our Lord Jesus Christ, we live at peace with God”
Our faith is what puts us right with God. Through Jesus, we have peace with God.
What this means to me:
By my faith I have been made right and acceptable to God. Because of what Jesus Christ our Lord has done I can live at peace with God.
Today's passage comes from the Book of Romans chapter 5. In this section Paul talks about how faith brings joy. He says since we have been made right in God's sight by faith, we can have peace with God because of what Jesus Christ our Lord has done for us. Because of our faith, Christ brings us into this place of undeserved privilege where we now stand. We can confidently and joyfully look forward to sharing God's glory. We can even rejoice when problems come our way, for we can know they are here to help us develop endurance, which further develops character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation. And this hope will not lead to disappointment, for we know how dearly God loves us, because he gives us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with his love.
I should never forget that Jesus is all about second chances, especially when I stumble. I can be grateful that his mercies are new every morning.
Jesus said, “I didn’t come to condemn the world. I came to save it.” This means that God didn’t stand behind me and shake his head disapprovingly when I blew it. I don’t need to feel ashamed about your past failures. God isn’t ashamed of me.
I think a lot of people go through life feeling guilty, judged, and criticized by God. They have no desire to spend time with the critical god they’ve imagined in their head who they’re sure is disappointed in them.
To move forward I need to accept that God loves me completely, totally, and unconditionally. Because Jesus died in my place on the cross, I am completely acceptable to God, no matter how many time I’ve blown it.
Romans 5:1 says, “By faith we have been made acceptable to God. And now, because of our Lord Jesus Christ, we live at peace with God” (CEV).
God wants to give me his best, no matter how many times I’ve failed in the past. The Bible says I have complete access to God and his power in my life if I know him. I don’t have to wait until I get my life together. I get all the amazing benefits of being a child of God today!
I can be completely and totally transformed, if I can become consistently aware of God’s unconditional, continuous, and never-ending love for me.
I can know that He longs to walk with me. So instead of letting any of my past failures define me, I can understand God’s great love for me. His love will give me the power to do the unbelievable if I just follow him.
Tuesday, August 16, 2016
In review of Philippians 4:13 it says, “For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength.”
Christ will give you the strength to face anything.
What this means to me:
I can face, endure and do everything through Christ, who supplies me with the power and strength needed. Like Paul, this too can be my secret for every situation.
Today's verse comes from the 4th chapter in the book Philippians where Paul is thanking those in Philippi for their gifts and concern. Paul goes on to tell them that he has learned the secret of living in every situation (plenty or little.) He tells us that he can do everything through Christ, who gives him strength.
Given this, a right relationship with Jesus is foundational to every area of my life. Through a secure relationship with Jesus, I can grow and change in ways it’s impossible to do without one. In truth, I can’t accomplish anything having to do with my health without God: “I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength” (Philippians 4:13 NLT).
Any major change I try to make can seem like an impossible challenge. And it can be if I try to do it on my own strength! But what I’m learning is that in our inadequacy, God’s strength for a person of faith is made perfectly evident.
That’s why it takes faith. I’ll never be able to do it on my own. I was never intended to be able to! Anything I can do in my own willpower doesn’t require faith, and when faith is not required, I’m not living faithlessly.
This reminds me of a recent quote from T.D. Jakes, “If you can accomplish your dream on your own, then your dream is too small”
When I come to Christ in acknowledgement of my weaknesses, he often turns my greatest weakness into my greatest strength. God loves to turn great weakness into our great strengths. If I want to exercise my faith I need to depend on God, and let him turn it into my greatest strength.
But this will only happen through God’s power. The Bible tells me there’s a direct connection between faith and power. The more faith I have in God, the more power and the more blessings I will have in my life.
Jesus illustrated this in Matthew 13, where he went for a visit in his hometown, Nazareth. The Bible says Jesus “did only a few miracles there because of their unbelief” (verse 58).
God will bless me when I’m not afraid to trust him completely. When I give him my trust, God fills me with his power. In the Bible, Abraham is considered the father of faith. It says, “He didn’t doubt God’s promise out of a lack of faith. Instead, giving honor to God for the promise, he became strong because of faith” (Romans 4:20 GW).
Without God’s power I’m just running on my own energy. And God never meant for me to do that. It’s much like having a laptop that’s unplugged; the battery will eventually drain and all the power will be gone. Why would I want to live like that?
I need to consider that I’ve got a small battery. I can run through life on my own power, which means I’ll be tired all the time. Or I can have access to God’s power plant, provided I just plug in and admit my need for God’s help.
Seems, it’s a pretty easy choice.
Today, I will consider what may be some warning signs in my own life that I’m trying to do something on my own power rather than God’s.
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