Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Humbly Serving

In review of Mark 9:35 it says, “He sat down, call the twelve, and said to them, If anyone desires to be first, he shall be last of all and servant of all.”

Bottom Line:
If you desire great things ahead, put aside your self and serve.

What this means to me:
If I desire His blessings and guidance in my life, I need to put my pride and needs aside and humbly serve.

Today's verse comes from the last part of Mark chapter 9. In it Jesus is telling his disciples about the greatest in the Kingdom. Jesus had asked his disciples what they were discussing out on the road. But none of them had answered, because they had been arguing about which of them was the greatest.  So Jesus sat down and called the disciples over to him, and said, “Whoever wants to be first must take last place and be the servant of everyone else.”

What I’m learning is that I exist to make a big deal out of God. This life is not about my own self-recognition, either in this world or in heaven. It is all about honoring the King of kings and Lord of lords with everything I have to give.

Given this, I should make each day count as I will only get one chance to share the love of Christ on earth. I should make my life count by using my God-given talents to honor the Lord. The blessing he will provide for me doing so will be far greater than what I give of myself.

In summary, I am called to be a servant. I need to wash a few feet here on earth and share the love of the Lord!. As I assume the role of a servant, I will become more like Jesus.

Monday, January 30, 2017

Prospering

In review of Psalm 1:3 it says, “He shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that brings forth its fruit in its season, whose leaf also shall not wither; and whatever he does shall prosper.”

Bottom Line:
Follow and delight in His law, for when you do it’s much like a tree planted near a great source of water. You’ll produce fruit at the right time and not wither. You will prosper in what you do.

What this means to me:
As being one of God’s children, I delight in His law, much like a tree that is planted near a stream of water that brings forth fruit at the right time and does not wither. He allows me to prosper in what I do.

Today's verse comes from the first part of Psalm 1. In it the psalmist writes how joyful is it for those who do not follow the advice of the wicked or stand around with and join mockers. Rather they take delight in the law of the Lord; meditating on it day and night. They become like a tree planted along the riverbank, bearing fruit each season. Their leaves never wither and they prosper in all they do. But this is not so for the wicked! They are like worthless chaff, scattered by the wind. They will be condemned at the time of judgment. sinners will have no place among the godly. For the Lord watches over the path of the godly, but the path of the wicked leads to destruction.

It seems that as time goes on, our world gets crazier and crazier, further away from what God intended. Even with this, I should be encouraged that He is always on my side. He sees and knows my every need, not just the major obstacles, but every need!

Given this I should not be afraid to stand and speak up. I can make my personal petitions know. I do not need to hide behind the woes of a failing nation or a generations who has forsaken God.

Today, in Jesus’ name, I can stand up and declare a year of greatness for myself and my oikos (those immediately around me.) I can lift up my head and rejoice in knowing it’s going to be wonderful year when I put Him at the front of it.

This year can be a time of supernatural harvest where souls are saved, captives are set free, and burdens are lifted. My enemies will be defeated and I will experience a year of great success.  I can be encouraged to know that as I seek the Lord first, everything I put my hand to will begin to prosper far beyond my wildest expectations.

Friday, January 27, 2017

Making a Difference

In review of Isaiah 52:7 it says, “How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him who brings good news, Who proclaims peace, Who brings glad tidings of good things, Who proclaims salvation, Who says to Zion, “Your God reigns”

Bottom Line:
Good news of peace and salvation are here, God reigns.

What this means to me:
It’s a wonderful thing to be one who proclaims good news of peace and salvation. God reigns.

My life can make a difference for Jesus. He impact has greatly affected me. He sacrificed His life on the Cross so that I might be saved, so that I might have an eternal home with such unspeakable splendor. The difference I make, can shine the light and love of Jesus that God has put in the forefront of my life, the immediate 8-12 people around me (my oikos.)

It won’t be necessary for me to stand on a street corner and preach in order to share the gospel to a dying world around me. My actions will speak louder than words?

But how does this really apply to my life? What do my actions currently say about me? Am I standing up and speaking for righteousness sake, or do I remain silent.

There is no better time than today, to tell those God has placed in my life. Time is short. Soon, Jesus will come in clouds of glory to take his people home. Am I ready? Have I done what I can to introduce those around me to Him?

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Don’t Rely On Wisdom, Strength Or Wealth

In review of Jeremiah 9:23 it says, “Let not the wise man glory in his wisdom, Let not the mighty man glory in his might, Nor let the rich man glory in his riches.”

Bottom Line:
The Lord says: Don’t brag about your wisdom or strength or wealth.

What this means to me:
I should never glory or brag about my wisdom, boast about my skills or strength or even be proudful for what I own and what I make.

Today’s verse comes from Jeremiah chapter 9.  In it Jeremiah lays out the people’s conditions because of their choice to not follow God.  What is happening to them is directly related this. In it Jeremiah prophesies and speaks what God tells him, and part of this is section not bragging about wisdom, strength and wealth.

I’m learning that the secret of really knowing God is discovered when I know what God’s purpose is for my life.  Do I know what his top priority is for me. More importantly does God’s priority for me, match mine.

I’m told my top priority is not to glory in wisdom, which becomes a type of intellectual idolatry. If I trust my own wisdom (or of those around me) over God’s, then I will not seek Him first or be able to know what His will is for my life.  How can I give God the glory for my life if I’m not trusting Him to lead me.

Also I am not to glory in riches. Wealth and fame will not bring me peace, and they are fleeting. Only the Prince of Peace can give me the health to sleep soundly through the night.

God is an awesome God! Living beneath His standard is not what He wants for me. I am one of the most important things on His agenda, and I should put Him in a place of honor: at the top of my list.

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Learning To Trust In The Lord

In review of Proverbs 3:5-6 it says, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; In all your ways acknowledge him, and He shall direct your paths.”

Bottom Line:
Trust God wholeheartedly, don’t rely on your own thoughts, rather seek God and he will provide the path to take.

What this means to me:
I am to trust the Lord with all of my heart and not rely on what I think I know, rather I should acknowledge him and seek his will in all I do. He will then show me which path to take.

Today's passage comes from the 3rd Proverb of Solomon. In it he talks about trusting in the Lord and it’s benefits. He starts by reminding us to not forget what he has taught. We are to store it up in our hearts. If we do, then we will live many years and our lives will be satisfying. Loyalty and kindness should drive our thoughts and behaviors. Also, we will find favor with both God and people and earn good reputations. So we are trust in the Lord with all of our hearts. We should never depend on our own understanding of things. Rather we should seek his will in all we do. When we do he will show us which path to take.

What I’m coming to realize is that when I trust in myself instead of God, I choose to become my own god. In doing so, I ultimately miss out on all of the incredible blessings God has in store for me; things that I could never accomplish on my own.

When I face difficult circumstances or encounter something that I have never seen before, I should turn to to God first. He should be my default “go to” when things seem so black that I can’t see my way out.

He can hear and help me. I just need to trust in Him. When I do so, he promises to turn my life around.

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Escape and Freedom

In review of 2 Timothy 1:7 it says, “God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.”

Bottom Line:
God does not give a spirit of fear, rather one of power, love and self-discipline.

What this means to me:
The Spirit God gave me should not make me fearful or timid, in fact it is a Spirit that fills me with power, love and of self-control.

Today’s verse comes from the first chapters in 2 Timothy. It comes as Paul is giving Timothy encouragement to be faithful. He tells Timothy of his remembrance of his genuine faith, one shared by both his mother and grandmother. Given this he then reminds Timothy to fan into flames the spiritual gift God gave him. For God has not given any of us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline. With this we can escape fear and have freedom.

We can escape sickness and disease because the Bible tells us that by His sufferings we are healed. We can escape death because those who believe in Jesus should never die. Children of God can escape loneliness, for the Bible says that God will never leave you nor forsake you. I can also escape depression because the joy of the Lord is our strength.

What I’m learning is that as a follower of the Most High God, I can escape fear because He has not given me a spirit of fear, but of a sound mind. I can escape poverty because it is the Lord that gives us the power to get wealth. He supplies all of my needs according to His riches in glory, so I don’t have to want for anything.

I can escape addition, as the Word says whosoever calls upon the name of the Lord shall be delivered. I can escape the pit of hell; by confessing my sins. For He is faithful and just to forgive my sins. Whom the Son sets free is free indeed!

Monday, January 23, 2017

Troubles Can Become Assets

In review of 2 Corinthians 4:8-9 it says, “We are hard-pressed on every side, yet not crushed; we are perplexed, but not in despair, persecuted, but not for; stuck down, but not destroyed.”

Bottom Line:
We often suffer, but we are never crushed. Even when we don’t know what to do, we never give up. In times of trouble, God is with us, and when we are knocked down, we get up again.

What this means to me:
I may be hard-pressed from every side by trouble, but I’m not crushed. I may end up perplexed, but never driven to despair. I may be hunted down, but never abandoned by God. I may get knocked down, but I’ll never be destroyed.

Today's passage comes from the fourth chapter of 2 Corinthians where Paul speaks of us being treasure in fragile clay jars.  Paul tells us that since God in his mercy has given us this new way, we never give up. We reject all shameful deeds and underhanded methods. We don't try to trick anyone or distort the word of God. We tell the truth before God, and all who are honest know this.

God who said, let there be light in the darkness, has made this light shine in our hearts so we could know the glory of God that is seen in the face of Jesus Christ. We now have this light shining in our hearts, but we ourselves are like fragile clay jars containing this treasure. This makes it clear that our great power is from God and not from ourselves.

So we may be pressed on every side by troubles, but we are not crushed. We are perplexed, but not driven to despair. We are hunted down, but never abandoned by God. We get knocked down, but we are not destroyed. Through suffering, our bodies continue to share in the death of Jesus so that the life of Jesus may also be seen in our bodies.

We live under constant danger of death because we serve Jesus, so that the life of Jesus will be evident in our dying bodies. So we live in the face of death, but this has resulted in eternal life for you.

This is why we never give up. Though our bodies are dying, our spirits are being renewed every day. 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 see now; rather, we fix our gaze on things that cannot be see.  For the things we see now will soon be gone, but the things we cannot see will last forever.

So what I’m learning is that trouble is an asset, every improvement I’ve ever made is because of it.  My antagonist is my helper, shaping me into a strong person today than I was yesterday. Trouble sharpens my wit, improves my skill, and transforms my spine into steel.  I shouldn’t run from it, but face it head-on, and rejoice at the opportunity to become an overcomer.

A diamond is a lump of coal, made great under pressure. This lump of worthless coal endured intense pressure in the bowels of the earth until its carbons were so tightly compacted that all it could do was reflect the glorious light of day when its opportunity came to shine.

Today, I should consider what I’m doing with my life. Am I going to remain a lump of coal, or am I working toward becoming a diamond?  Don’t whine, but shine! God made me more priceless than diamonds; I shouldn’t sell myself short.

Friday, January 20, 2017

Calling Upon the Name Above All Names

In review of Philippians 2:9-10 it says, “God also has... given Him, the name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth”

Bottom Line:
God lifted Jesus above any other, such that at his name, every knee shall bow.

What this means to me:
Because God raised Jesus up to the heights of heaven and gave him a name which is above all other name, every knee shall bow in heaven and in earth.

Today’s passages come from the 2nd chapter of Philippians. In it Paul tells us about having the attitude of Christ. He asks if we have received any encouragement, love and fellowship from belonging to Christ? Is my heart tender and compassionate? Then he asks that I agree wholeheartedly, love and with others with one mind and purpose. I should not be selfish, or try to impress others. Rather, I should be humble, thinking of others as better than myself. I should not only look out for my interests, but take a genuine interest in others. Paul suggests that you must have the same attitude that Christ Jesus had. Even though he was God, he did not think of equality with God as something to cling to. Instead he gave up his divine privileges and took on the humble position of a slave, born of a human. As he appeared in human form, he humbled himself in obedience to God and even died a criminal’s death on a cross. Therefore, God elevated him to the highest honor and gave him the name above all names, that at his name every knee should bow, and every tongue declare that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of the Father.

God can break any chains of misery and addition that enslave me. He will make a way when it seems there is no way. After all, he is God and there is none like Him, anywhere.  The earth was created by his majestic Word. In the beginning God said... until there was a perfect world.

Names such as Rockefeller will open the doors of any bank, Einstein the doors of science, Beethoven will open the doors of any music hall; but the name of Jesus will open up the gates of heaven and close the gates of hell.

When I seek the name of the Lord, I should do so with gusto! I shouldn’t be afraid of what others might say about my boldness. When I face tough fights, I should give it all I have. Get to my knees and tell the enemy to take a hike! He will flee at the Name that is above all names.

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Effective Prayer

In review of Matthew 7:11 it says, "If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!"

Bottom Line:
We know how to give good things and we are not perfect. How much more would our Father in heaven who is great, will give good things when we ask.

What this means to me:
Even as bad as I am, I know how to give good things to my daughter. How much more is my heavenly Father willing to give me good things if I just ask.

Today’s verse comes from Matthew chapter 7. In it Matthew explains what Jesus said about effective prayer. Jesus said, “Keep on asking, and you will receive what you ask for. Keep on seeking, and you will find. Keep on knocking, and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks, receives. Everyone who seeks, finds. And to everyone who knocks, the door will be opened.”  He then goes on to say as a parent you wouldn’t give your children bad or unhelpful gifts. So if we, as we are know how to give good things to our children, how much more would your heavenly Father give good gifts to those who ask.

If I was the King of unlimited resources and a saw a child in great need, I would likely invite that child to my place. When that child arrived, full of expectation, I would lavish him with gifts until their every need was met. I would make sure that he/she had the things necessary to be successful in life and no longer in need.

This is what Jesus is trying to do for me. Jesus is the King of Glory who has resources that my mind cannot even begin to fathom. Afterall, his kingdom has been built upon streets of solid gold. And of His Kingdom, there will be no end.

So as I am and my desire to help those in need, how much more would my heavenly Father want to do for me?

He has written a royal decree to all people, telling us of His undying love.  All I have to do is invite Jesus to be the Lord and Master of my life and give Him control  He can and will meet my every need if I ask Him.

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

When In Need, Call Upon God

In review of James 5:14-16 it says, "Are any of you sick? You should call for the elders of the church to come and pray over you, anointing you with oil in the name of the Lord. Such a prayer offered in faith will heal the sick, and the Lord will make you well. And if you have committed any sins, you will be forgiven. Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power and produces wonderful results.

Bottom Line:
In times of need, pray. In time of happiness, sing praises. Pray for and rejoice with others. Earnest prayers offered in faith will heal. Confessing will provide forgiveness.

What this means to me:
In times of suffering or hardship, I should pray. In times of happiness I should sing praises. I should pray and rejoice with others. For my earnest prayers offered in faith will heal and make things well. Confessing my sins will provide forgiveness.

Today’s passage comes from the middle of James 5. James is writing about the power of prayer in our lives and calling upon God in our times of need. He starts out by saying, Are any of you suffering hardships? If so you should pray. Are any of you happy? If so, you should sing praises. Are any of you sick? If so you should call for the elders of the church to come and pray over you, anointing you with oil in the name of the Lord. Such a prayer offered in faith will heal the sick, and the Lord will make you well. And if you have committed any sins, you will be forgiven. We are to confess our sins to each other and pray for each other so that we may be healed. The earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power and produces wonderful results.

What I see in this passage is propositional revelation; if you do this, this will happen. In this section from James I see several propositions laid out for various audiences.

Sick: call on elders to pray over you and you will be made well
Sinners: confess your sins and be made whole

Whatever my needs are or the needs of others around me, I am to call upon God. He has promised to meet it according to His glorious richness.

What I’m learning is that as powerful as God is, He doesn’t answer prayers until they are prayed. Thus prayer should be my first choice, not my last one. So I should stop asking everyone’s opinion of what I should do and go directly to the Source of all knowledge, the Creator of heaven and earth. But key to this is the expectation that he will show up.

I’m reminded this morning that when I get into trouble, God will show up.  The stories of Daniel in the lion’s den or the Hebrew boys in the fiery furnace, illustrate this. He closed the mouths of the lions for Daniel. The Lord was the fourth man in the fire with Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego. He will do the very same for me.

So when I have or see a need, I should call upon the Lord. The Power of Prayer should be my first choice, not my last.

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Finding Hope and Deliverance in God

In review of Psalm 50:15 it says, "Call upon Me in the day of trouble; I will deliver you, and you shall glorify me."

Bottom Line:
Call on God in the day of trouble; He will deliver you, and you will honor him

What this means to me:
I can pray to God in times of trouble, He will deliver me and I will give him glory and honor for it.

Psalm 50 speaks of God’s character and his faithfulness.  In it, the psalmist explains that what God wants from us is our true thanks. God wants us to trust in him in our times of trouble. He will rescue us and we will give him the glory and honor for it.

God can’t really deliver me if I’m not in trouble, or won’t admit I’m in trouble.  How can I know that he is my provider unless I have a need?  How can I know that God is a Friend who sticks closer than a brother without being lonely and rejected?  

When God seems so silent and the night is so long and so black, how can I know God is a Deliverer unless I have lived in chains of captivity of bad habits that rob me.  So when trouble, comes, consider that it’s the perfect time and opportunity to discover the God who answers prayer!  God can provide me with a life without limit and peace that surpasses all understanding. He can give me hope in the darkest night because he is the God who delivers.

I will call upon His holy name and find rest in Him.

Monday, January 16, 2017

Character Over Comfort

In review of Ephesians 4:22-24 it says, “Take on an entirely new way of life — a God-fashioned life, a life renewed from the inside and working itself into your conduct as God accurately reproduces his character in you”

Bottom Line:
Take on a new way of life, renewed and fashioned by God from the inside and working it’s way out and being revealed by my life

What this means to me:
I’m to get rid of any old way of life and take on a entirely way, one that God is being renewed and fashioned into his likeness, one that is revealed in a life that is upright and set aside for his purposes.

Today’s verse comes from the latter half of Ephesians chapter four, where Paul is explaining how to live as children of light. He tells us to no longer live as the Gentiles did, for they were hopelessly confused. Their minds had become full of darkness; and they wandered far from the life God gave, because they had closed their minds and hardened their hearts against him. They had no sense of shame and lived for lustful pleasures. But this isn’t what we learned about Christ. Since you have heard about Jesus and learned the truth that comes from him, throw off your old off you old way of life, which had been corrupted by lust and deception. Instead, let the Holy Spirit renew your thoughts and attitudes. Put on you new nature, created to be like God, truly righteous and holy.

There are many religions and new age philosophies that promote the lie that we are divine and can become gods. Fortunately the Bible tells us that we will never become God or even a god. Thinking of yourself as god is a prideful like that is the enemies oldest temptations. We see this first show up in Genesis, where Satan promised Adam and Eve that if they followed his advice, they would be “as gods” (Genesis 3:5 KJV).

However in my own life, this desire to be a god shows up everytime I try to control my circumstances, my future, and / or the people around me. But as a creature, I will never be the Creator. What I’m learning is that God doesn’t want me to become a god; rather, he wants me to become godly, taking on his values, attitudes, and character. I am meant to “take on an entirely new way of life — a God-fashioned life, a life renewed from the inside and working itself into your conduct as God accurately reproduces his character in you” (Ephesians 4:22-24 MSG).

God’s ultimate goal for my life on Earth is not my comfort but rather my character development. God wants me to grow up spiritually and become like Christ. Becoming like Christ does not mean losing my personality or becoming a mindless clone.

God created my uniqueness, so he certainly doesn’t want to destroy it. Christlikeness is all about transforming your character, not my personality.

God wants me to develop the kind of character described in the Beatitudes of Jesus, the fruit of the Spirit, Paul’s great chapter on love, and Peter’s list of the characteristics of an effective and productive life (Matthew 5:1-12; Galatians 5:22-23; 1 Corinthians 13; 2 Peter 1:5-8).

Every time I forget that character is one of God’s purposes for my life, I will become frustrated by my circumstances. I’ll wonder, “Why is this happening to me? Why am I having such a difficult time?” One answer is that life is supposed to be difficult! It’s what enables me to grow. I need to remember, that Earth is not Heaven.

I should be careful to not misinterpret Jesus’ promise of the “abundant life” (John 10:10) to mean perfect health, a comfortable lifestyle, constant happiness, full realization of my dreams, and instant relief from problems through faith and prayer. I should not expect my life to be easy (Heaven on Earth). If I did, I’d be treating God as a genie who simply exists to serve me in my selfish pursuit of personal fulfillment.

This life is not about me!  I exist for God’s purposes, not vice versa. Besides, why would God provide heaven on Earth when he’s planned the real thing for you in eternity? God gives me my time on Earth to build and to strengthen my character for later in Heaven. In short, God Is more interested In building my character, rather than making me comfortable.

Friday, January 13, 2017

To Get Enthusiastic, Get in God

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”

Bottom Line:
Work hard and don’t be lazy. Serve with devotion, let your hope keep you joyful. Be patient in times of trouble and pray always.

What this means to me:
I should not be lazy or give up, rather work hard and serve the Lord with devotion. I am to let my hope keep me joyful. I need to be patient in times of trouble and never stop praying.

It's important to maintain my enthusiasm over time. Enthusiasm will help me make it across the finish line. But how do I go about doing this?

Positive thinking will not be enough. Pulling myself up by my psychological bootstraps is not enough. Talking myself into optimism is not enough.

What I’m reminded of this morning is that the way to stay enthusiastic for a lifetime is found in the word “enthusiasm” itself. The word “enthusiasm” comes from the Greek phrase 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.”

When I get in God, I will be enthusiastic. It’s the kind of enthusiasm that isn’t affected by the economy or the weather or by my circumstances. It’s eternal because I’m tied to the eternal God. I am in Christ.

Paul explains 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, I need to get God’s power by being joyful in hope, patient in affliction, and faithful in prayer.

Today I pray, “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.I humbly admit that I need help. I want you to help renew my mind. Help me to think the way you want me to think. Please forgive me for my pride. I don’t want to think more highly of myself than I should. My faith needs to grow, and I need your help to set goals that can be measured so I can manage them. Forgive me for trying to change on my own. I want to fill my life with love. I want to fill my life with you. Help me to get group support. Help me to take delight in honoring others, to focus on giving my life away so that you can take care of my needs. 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 give myself to you. In your name I pray. Amen.”

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Filling My Life with Love

In review 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”

Bottom Line:
Don’t just pretend but really love. Hate what is wrong, hold onto what is good. Love with a genuine love and honor others above yourself.

What this means to me:
I shouldn’t just pretend to love, but really love them. I should have a dislike for what is evil or wrong. I need to hold tightly to and stand on the side of what is good. My love for others must be of a genuine affection and I my delight should be in honoring others more than myself.

In looking at this passage, the tone is that my life should be about real love. Love is the only thing that can change the unchangeable. Love invigorates, revitalizes, renews and refreshes. Love is the most powerful force in the universe, because God is love. It doesn’t say he has love; it says he is love. Love heals what cannot otherwise be healed. Love uplifts, strengthens, energizes and empowers.

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” (Romans 12:9-10 NLT).

“Taking delight in honoring each other” means that when people in your oikos (the smaller group of people God has put at the forefront of my life) have a win in health, finances, or any goal they’ve set, I celebrate it with them. If they are having struggles, then pray for and with them. I am told to take delight in honoring each other and to show genuine affection.

Interesting enough, it seems God has wired the universe so that when I help others, God takes care of my needs. God is looking down on me, but not to say, “Am I helping myself?” but “Am I helping others?” One way to get help with my goals is start helping others with theirs. This is the act of giving myself away. There is healing in giving back.

Remember the story of Job where he lost everything? He lost his health, he lost his family, he lost his wealth. He lost it all. At the end of the book, God gave it all back to Job. Was this because Job prayed for himself? No. Rather it says, “After Job had prayed for his friends, the Lord restored his fortunes and gave him twice as much as he had before” (Job 42:10 NIV).

One great thing about being in a small group is not just to be helped, but to help others. It is so that I can pray for those people, and then God can help me.

I am confident that if I practice giving myself away in love, God will work in my life.

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

To Know Where I’m Going, I Need To Evaluate Where I Am At

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”

Bottom Line:
Don’t think you are better than you really are, rather use good sense and measure yourself with the faith God gives you.

What this means to me:
I should not think more highly of myself or that how much better I think I am, than I should. Rather I should think of myself more honestly, in accordance with the faith God has given me.

Today’s verse reminds me that my first and greatest barrier to making effective change is my own pride. My pride gets in the way of making any real change. I don’t want anyone to see my flaws. In reality no one really has it all together and likewise no one is perfect.  Everything is broken because of sin.

For the most part, I put on a mask and try to impress others, pretending that I’ve got it all together. I’m reminded this morning that in order to have lasting change, I need to humbly assess my current state and admit that I don’t have it all together. Then, I need to be open and honest, then admit what my struggles are with.

Romans 12:3b 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).

But am I willing to ask the those closest to me, “where I need to change?” Will I have the courage to ask others to be honest about and with me?

What I’m learning is that I will only be able to manage what I can measure. For instance, I can’t set financial goals without knowing where I am financially. I can’t set health goals without knowing where my health numbers are. Likewise, If I’m not familiar with the measure of my faith, I can’t grow it. I can only manage what I can measure.

It’s also important to record my progress, so that I can measure my growth.

Today I will consider and evaluate where I am, so that I can know where I should go.

Choosing to Accept God’s Grace

In review of Romans 6:23 it tells me that “The wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus our Lor...