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Friday, March 30, 2018

God Knows Me and Calls Me Personally by Name

In review of Luke 19:5 it says, “When Jesus came by, he looked up at Zacchaeus and called him by name! ‘Zacchaeus!’ he said” (TLB).

Today's passage comes from the first part of Luke 19 where Jesus and Zacchaeus meet. Zacchaeus was a chief tax collector in the region and despised by many for his corrupt actions. He had to climb a tree in order to see above the crowds to get a look at Jesus. However, Jesus noticed him out of the crowd and called him by name. "Zacchaeus!" He said, "Quick, come down! I must be a guest in your home today."

In response Zacchaeus took Jesus to his house with great excitement and joy. But in seeing this the people were displeased. "He has gone to be the guest of a notorious sinner.," they grumbled. Zacchaeus told Jesus that he would "give half of his wealth to the poor, and replay those he cheated back 4 times as much!”  Jesus responded, "Salvation has come to this home today, for this man has shown himself to be a true son of Abraham. "For the Son of "Man came to seek and save those who are lost."

Despite the fact that Zacchaeus was both a cheater and a traitor, Jesus still loved him; and in response to his encounter, this tax collector was converted. There are those around me who I generalize as being "untouchable" because of their lifestyles or beliefs. I should not give myself into any social pressure or prejudice to avoid them. Jesus loved them, and they may need to hear his Good News.

After Zacchaeus encounter with Jesus, he must have realized his life needed straightening out. Zacchaeus statement to Jesus demonstrated his inner change by his outward actions. Following Jesus in my head and heart alone is not enough. I must show my faith by changed behavior. I need to consider if my faith has resulted in a changed behavior. Is my faith being show in my actions?

All of Zacchaeus’ life, likely had been ridiculed and rejected, first for his appearance (being short) and then for his sinful life. But Jesus did more than just look at him. By calling Zacchaeus by name, Jesus showed that he knew him. Imagine the shock Zacchaeus must have felt! How did Jesus know his name?

God not only knows where I am, he also knows who I am. He knows what I’m going through, why I’m going through it, and how I feel about it. He knows me better than I know myself. He cares about me personally.

The name Zacchaeus means “pure one.” That’s the last thing that comes to mind when you think of a corrupt government official. He was anything but pure. And yet Jesus, calling Zacchaeus by name, was saying, “Hey, pure one, I’m coming to your house today.” Jesus was affirming what he saw in Zacchaeus, not what Zacchaeus was. Jesus wants to affirm ymeou. He wants to let me know how much he loves me.

When Jesus died on the cross and stretched out his arms and the soldiers put nails through his hands, my name was engraved there. When I get to Heaven, there will be no scars on anyone except Jesus. He’s going to have those scars for eternity to remind me how much he loves me, a way to say, “Do you think I could forget you? Not a chance! This is how much you matter to me.”

In my own life, I need to affirm those around me. It may mean a big difference for them and what their life. It may also open up the door for them to see Jesus in me. It's also a great reminder that God knows me personally and cares for me. God sees me for who I am, not necessarily what I had done.

Bottom Line:
God knows and calls us by our names.

What this means to me:
God knows me. I’m not just a small fish in a big lake. He wants a relationship with me and wants to build my character to be like Jesus.

Thursday, March 29, 2018

God Knows And Has A Plan For Me

In review of Jeremiah 29:11 it says, “I know what I’m doing. I have it all planned out, plans to take care of you, not abandon you, plans to give you the future you hope for” (The Message).

While the situation I'm in may not be ideal, comfortable or stress free, I need to embrace it and do my best within it. Jeremiah told his people and reminds me in this passage to keep on living, and accept it, the do what is right and just. For God knows the plans he has for me, they are plans for my ultimate good and not to destroy me. His plans, if I choose to follow them, will give me a future and a hope. Then as I pray, He promises that he will listen. If I look for him wholeheartedly, He promises that I will find him.

Overall, it's encouraging for me to have a glorious leader who stirs me to move ahead, someone who believes I can do the task given and who will be with me all the way. God knows the future, and his plans for me are for my good. They are full of hope. God, who knows the future, will provide me with an agenda. He promises to be with me as I fulfill his mission. In this, I can have boundless hope. However I must keep in mind that it doesn't mean that I'll be spared pain, suffering or hardship, but that God will see me through to a glorious conclusion.

Accepting the truth that God knows everything in my life can either be very disturbing or very comforting. It depends on my relationship with him and whether or not I’m trying to fool him.

For God is aware of:
. My faults and failures. Even with these he still loves me unconditionally.
. My feelings and frustrations, and he sees my hurt more than anyone else can.
. My future, so he can tell what I need to know.
. My fears, and he wants me to hand my worries over to him.
. My faithfulness because he sees every good thing I do.

The fact that God knows everything can be a tremendous motivator to live a godly life. It helps me realize that nothing in my life is done in secret, nothing I face will hinder his ability to help me, nothing that is to come will catch him by surprise, nothing I fear will be too big for his strength, and nothing I do in his name is ever done in vain.

After all, God says, “I know what I’m doing. I have it all planned out — plans to take care of you, not abandon you, plans to give you the future you hope for” (Jeremiah 29:11 The Message).

Bottom Line:
God has a plan, and the plan is for good. He won’t abandon, but give hope for the future.

What this means to me:
God really knows me, and regardless of my current situation, he has a plan for me, one that will ultimately be what's best for me. If I listen and follow, he will guide me to make a difference and ultimately helps me to become more like Jesus.

This means that a lot of the stress and difficulty I face in my work life is all part of his plan for me. As I face it and do things for him, I will accomplish tasks and make a difference for those around me and my team. Given this, today I will give my to-do list over to him. I pray God that you will guide me in my decisions and help me make a difference. I also pray that you will help relieve some of the demands and new requests, so that I can finish up what’s already on my plate.

Wednesday, March 28, 2018

God Is Aware of My Needs

In review of Galatians 6:9 it says, “So we must not get tired of doing good, for we will reap at the proper time if we don’t give up” (HCSB).

In Galatians 6 Paul explains that I’ll harvest what I plant. I’m to share in other's burdens, and in doing so obey the law of Christ. If I think I'm too important to help someone, I'm only fooling myself, as I'm not really that important. I should concentrate on and give careful attention to my own work. When I do so, I will get the satisfaction of a job well done. I won't need to compare myself to anyone else. I am too be responsible for my own conduct.

Also, I will always harvest what I plant. Therefore if I live to satisfy my own selfish nature I will harvest decay and death from my sinful nature. However if I live to please the Spirit, I'll harvest everlasting life from the Spirit. So this means that no matter what, I shouldn’t get tired of doing what is good. If I do, then at just the right time I will end up reaping a harvest of blessing. Therefore, whenever I have the opportunity, I need to do good to everyone, especially to my brothers and sisters.

For when I do my very best, I'll feel good about the results. There is will be no need for me to compare myself with others. People will always make comparisons for many reasons. Some point out others' flaws in order to feel better about themselves. Others simply want reassurance that they are doing well. When I'm tempted to compare, I just need to look to Christ. His example should inspire me to do my very best, and his loving acceptance will comfort me when I fall short of my own expectations. In life, if I plant to please my own desires, I'll end up harvesting a crop of sorrow and evil. However when I seek to plant to please God, I'll harvest joy and everlasting life.

God is omniscient, he knows everything, including everything about me and my life. God knows about my faults and failures, my feelings and frustrations, and my future. God also knows my fears. He knows everything that gets me stressed out. God is aware of all my needs. Prayer is never giving information to God. He already knows what is going on; he already knows all about me. The Bible says, “Your Father knows what you need before you ask him” (Matthew 6:8 NIV). He’s aware of every single need you have: financial, spiritual, physical, social, and emotional.

God also knows my faithfulness. He sees everything I do that is good and right. Every time I choose not to sin, every time I resist temptation, every time I take a stand because of God’s truth, he sees my faithfulness to him.

His Word reminds me that every good deed will be rewarded, no matter how insignificant it is and regardless of whether anybody else on Earth sees it. Every encouragement I give to other people, every time you pick up around the office when it’s not your job, every time you set up chairs in church, every time I refuse to gossip, God sees it all, no matter how small, according to Matthew 10:40-42. God says, “I see it, and it doesn’t matter who else sees it.” Nothing good I do is ever done in vain: “So we must not get tired of doing good, for we will reap at the proper time if we don’t give up” (Galatians 6:9 HCSB).

So, I should never be discouraged. Just keep on doing good and trusting God to provide for me. I know I’m always looking for reassurance that I’m doing well. This makes me want to compare myself to others. This mornings passages remind me that it is God’s approval that is the only thing I should be concerned with. It’s easy for me to get caught up in my own desires. I just need to continually remind myself that if I plant to please my own desires, I'll end up harvesting a crop of sorrow and evil. Therefore my goal should be to plant to please God. This way I'll harvest joy and everlasting life.

Today’s passages also help remind me that even when things get tough at work, like it did yesterday with so many requests and demands to bring lots of things to conclusion, that I shouldn’t give up. I just need to turn my frustrations to doing to right thing in the right way and asking him for help.

Bottom Line:
Don’t give up. Do what is good and right. It will benefit me down the road.

What this means to me:
I shouldn’t give up doing what is good and right. For in the end I’ll reap blessings at the proper time.

Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Nothing Surprises God

In review of Psalm 139:16 it says, “Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be” (NIV).

In Psalm 139, the psalmist tells me how God is all-seeing, all-knowing, all-powerful, and everywhere present. God created, knows, and is with me. His greatest gift is to allow me to really know him.

God knows everything about me, and there is no where I can hide that He cannot see me. You've make me so wonderfully complex. You saw me before I was born. Every day of my life was recorded in your book. Every moment was laid out before a single day had passed. How precious are your thoughts about me.

In summary, God's character goes into the creation of every person. So if I feel start to feel worthless or even hate myself, I just need to simply remember that God's Spirit is ready and willing to work within me. I need to have as much respect for myself as my Maker has for me.

Psalm 139 reminds me that God knows everything about my faults and failures and my feelings and frustrations, and he also knows what my tomorrow will hold. He knows my future.

The Bible says that even before you were born, God knew all of my future: “Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be” (Psalm 139:16 NIV).

From his perspective, God can see past, present, and future all at once. Knowing this should give me great confidence in God. It should be comforting to me that he knows everything that is going to happen. He not only knows about the future, he’s also there in the future. He not only walks with us day by day, he can also walk in our future.

God is already prepared for everything I’m going to face tomorrow, next week, and next month. What the future holds may surprise me, but it doesn’t surprise God. Nothing ever catches him by surprise or makes him say, “Oh, really?”

In the future I may be faced with a crisis, and I may think, “What’s happening? Where is God?” God’s been there all along, preparing. He’s already in my future, and he’s prepared for everything.

So If God knows all my tomorrows today, why shouldn’t I ask him for advice. He knows what’s going to happen: “Call to me and I will answer you. I’ll tell you marvelous and wondrous things that you could never figure out on your own” (Jeremiah 33:3 The Message).

The things I don’t know, God can tell me about. I know however, that He’s not going to lay out my whole life all at once, telling me everything that will happen. If he did, I’d likely get deeply discouraged or prideful, or both. Instead, he’ll give it to me a little bit at a time.

Rick Warren suggests that when I get up in the morning, I should go over my schedule with the Lord. Pray, “Father, you’ve already seen this day that I’m about to experience. You know ahead of time every interruption I’m going to face, every crisis, every flat tire, every missed plane, every hurt, even when I’m going to spill my coffee. You’ve already seen it all. Would you please give me the strength that I need for today?”

I can go through my daily life knowing that God knows exactly what I need because he’s already seen what I’m going to face. And he will provide.

I have to admit that it's tempting for me want to know my future and shape it for comfort and ease. But what I’ve learned is that God is more interested in building my character than in making me comfortable. Therefore he has a training plan to grow my faith and hope in him. I plan that will make me more like His Son Jesus Christ.

This means that many of the problems I face at work are there to train me and to help me serve others. I need to remember that God has placed me where I am because He has something he wants to do through me here.

Bottom Line:
Our lives are created and crafted by God himself. It is His plan.

What this means to me:

God you saw me before I was born. Every day of my life predetermined and crafted by you. You have a purpose. Nothing that happens to me comes as a surprise to you.

Monday, March 26, 2018

God Knows Everything About Me And That's Good

In review of Hebrews 4:13 it says, “Nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give account” (NIV).

In Hebrews 4:12-13 I’m reminded that the Word of God is alive and powerful. That It is sharper than the sharpest two-edged sword, cutting between soul and spirit, between joint and marrow. The Word exposes my innermost thoughts and desires. There is nothing in all creation that is hidden from God. Everything is naked and exposed before his eyes, and he is the one whom I will be accountable.

This means that the "word of God" is not simply a collection of words from God, a vehicle for communicating ideas: rather it is living, life-changing, and dynamic as it works within me. God's Word reveals who I am and what I'm not. It penetrates the core of my moral and spiritual life. It discerns what is within me, both good and evil. And the demands of God's Word require decisions. I must not only listen to the Word; I must also let it shape my life.

Nothing can be hidden from God. He knows about everyone everywhere, and everything about us is wide open to his all-seeing eyes. God sees all I do and knows what I think. Even when I'm unaware of his presence, he is there. When I try to hide from him, he sees me. I have no secrets from God. It is comforting to realize that although God knows me intimately, he still loves me.

I often get into a debate with myself: “Go ahead. It won’t hurt this one time.” It’s in moments like these that Satan feeds us a devilish excuse: “No one will ever know.” I go ahead and do something questionable, because I believe the lie that “no one will ever know.”

But God already knows! Hebrews 4:13 reminds me, “Nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight” (NIV). God is never surprised. He knows everything! The fact that God knows everything about me is actually good news, not bad.

God knows my faults and failures. It may be uncomfortable to realize I don’t have any secrets from God, because there are things about me I’d rather God not know. But the Bible says, “My sins, O God, are not hidden from you; you know how foolish I have been” (Psalm 69:5 GNT).

I’m not fooling God when I keep my sin hidden (see 1 John 1:8). He’s not shocked by my sin, and when I admit it to him, it will never change the way he feels about me. The good news is that He loves me unconditionally, and that means I don’t have to fake it. I don’t have to pretend.

God knows my feelings and frustrations. Often I may think, “Nobody knows what I’m going through. Nobody feels the pain I’m experiencing.” God knows. He’s seen the crisis in my soul. And no hurt goes unnoticed by God. Psalm 56:8 says, “You know how troubled I am; you have kept a record of my tears” (GNT).

Because God knows my frustrations and despair, I can give those feelings to him: “Leave all your worries with him, because he cares for you” (1 Peter 5:7 GNT). Cast them all permanently on God, once and for all. Don’t take them back.

Since God knows everything about me, It’s important for me to acknowledge and agree about my sins. When I don’t acknowledge and agree, I’m putting up a wall between God and myself. When I confess my sins, God is faithful to forgive them. I can then ask for his help to overcome them in the future and my prayers / requests won’t be hindered. Also, I find I often hold onto my worries and try to resolve them myself, when it would be so much easier to turn this over to God and to trust him with the outcome. Knowing God loves me unconditionally keeps me from trying to hide and not be honest with myself and others.

Bottom Line:
You can’t hide from God. He sees and knows everything about us, and we will give an account for our lives.

What this means to me:
No part of me is hidden from God. Everything about me is uncovered and laid bare before him. One day I will give an account for myself before Him.

Friday, March 23, 2018

Learning My Value and Place

In review of 1 Corinthians 7:23 it says, “You have been bought and paid for by Christ, so you belong to him — be free now from all these earthly prides and fears” (TLB).

Bottom Line:
You belong to Christ, bought and paid for. You are not free from all earthly pride and fears.

What this means to me:
I have been bought and paid for by Christ at a high price, and as such I belong to him, therefore I can be free now from all earthly prides and fears.

In 1 Corinthians 7 Paul explains that whatever my status is in life (rich, poor, free or not free), the important thing is to keep God's commandments. I should remain as when God called me. God paid a high price for me, so don't be enslaved by the world.

Paul wrote to the Corinthians saying that people (including me) should be Christians where they are. I can do God's work and demonstrate my faith anywhere. I should never assume I’m in the wrong place. Where I am is where God want me to be.

I shouldn’t become so concerned about what I could be doing for God somewhere else, that I would miss great opportunities right where I am. Paul says that I should continue with the work I have previously been doing for every job can become Christian work when I realize that it can be an opportunity to honor, serve, and speak out for Christ. Because God has placed me where I am, I need to take every opportunity to serve him there.

Also, God says that I’m not only accepted, but also valuable. My value is much more than my net worth. I shouldn’t confuse my valuables with my value as a person. I can be rich or poor, but it has nothing to do with my value as a person.

What I’m learning is that there are two main things that determine something's value:

1. It depends on what someone is willing to pay for it. For example, how much is your house worth? Probably not as much as I’d like it to be worth, and maybe not as much as it was a year ago. My house is worth what somebody is willing to pay for it — no more.

2. It depends on who owned it in the past. Sometimes something is valuable because of who used to own it. For example, a car owned by Elvis Presley be more valuable than a car owned by me.

Based on these two factors, what’s my value? I can consider, “Who owns me?” and “What was paid for me?” The Bible says, “You have been bought and paid for by Christ, so you belong to him — be free now from all these earthly prides and fears” (1 Corinthians 7:23 TLB). I have been bought and paid for by Christ. I belong to him. How much does that make you worth?

Next consider, “To whom do I belong?” The Bible says I belong to God. God exchanged his own Son for me. The cross proves my value. Jesus didn’t die for junk. I am incredibly valuable. Nobody has ever paid a greater price than God paid for me. I’m accepted, and I’m valuable!