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Friday, August 31, 2018

Surrendering What Jesus Uncovers

In review of Philippians 1:6 it says, “And I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns” (NLT).

Today’s verse reminds me that the God who began a good work in me, will continue it throughout my lifetime and will finish it when I meet him face to face. God's work for me began when Christ died on the cross in my place. His work in me began when I first believed. Now the Holy Spirit lives in me, enabling me to be more like Christ every day. What Paul is describing is the process of Christian growth and maturity that began when I accepted Jesus and will continue until Christ returns.

I’m reminded that when God starts a project, he completes it! God will help me grow in grace until he has completed his work in my life. So when I get discouraged, I just need to recall that God won't give up on me. He promises to finish the work he has begun. When I feel incomplete, unfinished, or distressed by my shortcomings, remember God's promise and provision. I shouldn’t let my present condition rob me of the joy of knowing Christ or keep me from growing closer to him.

It takes years for all of us to grow to adulthood, and it takes a full season for fruit to mature and ripen. The same is true for the fruit of the Spirit. The development of Christlike character in me cannot be rushed. Spiritual growth, like physical growth, takes time.

Before Christ enters our lives at conversion, he often must allow us to experience problems so that he can get our attention and show us that we’re living a life built on a faulty foundation. In truth, that faulty foundation is what causes many of the problems in our lives.

Jesus demands that I surrender all of my life to him. He doesn’t want a small portion of who I am. It’s like this, when I’m trying to climb out of a river that has a steep bank, I have to get a foothold on something to start the climb. And once I get the foothold, I can climb up the bank and walk all around.

The question for me is am I only simply giving him a foothold, but resisting his efforts to step fully up onto the bank so he can fully access my life. Jesus isn’t willing to stand there on that foothold. He wants me to give him all of my life.

I may think I’ve surrendered all to him, but the truth is, I’m still hanging on to some parts of my life. The good news is that Jesus isn’t upset with me. He simply wants to work with me to help me uncover areas that I still need to surrender to him. To move forward I need to surrender what Jesus uncovers.

There will be struggles and battles, but the outcome will never be in question. God has promised that “he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus” (Philippians 1:6 NIV).

Bottom LIne:
With confidence we can know that God, who began a good work in us, will carry his work on to completion, the day of Christ's return

What this means to me:
I can be certain that God, who is the one who began his good work within me, will keep on working in me to complete his work until it is complete, the day Christ returns.

In summary, I'm a work in progress. God who began a good work in me will be faithful to complete it, He won't give up on me. Jesus demands that I give Him more than a foothold. I need to surrender all of my life to him. He simply wants to work with me to help me uncover areas that I still need to surrender to him.

Today’s study reminds me that I need to keep Christ as the center of all areas or slices of my life (Marriage, Father, Grand father, Leader, Work, Leisure, Mentoring, Ministry.) Much of my life recently has been concentrated on my work. I need to make sure that I’m not compartmentalizing myself. I need to define what the “Win” is in my life and invest my time, energy and resources in the right things. The “Win” for me is to live with integrity and to make a difference in the lives of others. Am I doing this in all areas, keeping Christ as the center? Are there deep secret parts of my life that I need to surrender still?  

Today Father I pray that you help me clearly surface any areas of my life that I haven’t given over to Jesus and his leadership. I also pray for your continued wisdom and guidance in handling the work related items I have in front of me, in leading others and in responding to those around me.

Thursday, August 30, 2018

My Choices Control My Calendar

In review of Galatians 6:5 it says, “We are each responsible for our own conduct” (NLT).

Today’s verse comes from the last part of Galatians 6:4-5. Paul tells me to pay careful attention to my own work for then I will get the satisfaction of a job well done, and I won't need to compare myself to anyone else. For I’m responsible for my own conduct.

When I do my very best, I will feel good about the results. There should be no need to compare myself with others. I tend to make comparisons for several reasons. At times I point out others' flaws in order to feel better about myself. At other times I simply want reassurance that I’m doing well. Next time I'm tempted to compare, I need to look at Jesus Christ. His example will inspire me to do my very best, and his loving acceptance will comfort me when I fall short of my expectations

What I’m learning is the my choices are far more powerful than my circumstances. I may not like how complicated my life has become. But with few exceptions, no one is forcing me to keep my life complicated.

I have the power to simplify my life. In fact, God expects me to assume responsibility for my life and to carefully choose how I spend my time.

I have just enough time to do God’s will while I’m here on Earth. I’ve been given just enough time to fulfill my purpose. When I try to do more than God planned for me, it’s only natural that I will find myself constantly out of time or stressed over my schedule.

Bottom Line:
We each must carry our own load.

What this means to me:
I am responsible for my own conduct, I must carry my own load.

In summary, I need to pay attention to my own work and get the satisfaction of a job well done. There is no reason to compare myself to anyone else to myself feel better or for any assurances from others that I'm doing well. I should look at Jesus, his example should inspire me and his loving acceptance comfort me. My choices are far more powerful than my circumstances. I may not like my complicated life, but no one is forcing me to have it this way. Simplifying is in my power. I have just enough time to do what God's will is. When I try to do more, then I'll find myself constantly out of time and stressed out. Ultimately, I'm responsible for my own conduct.

As a next step, I need to make a list of the activities and responsibilities that are causing me stress. Ask God to help me determine the things on my schedule that he never intended for me to do. Where do I believe God wants me to focus my time and energy? What choices do I need to make that will help me focus more on what God has planned for me?

Father today, I pray that I find relief from stress and a new sense of satisfaction as I do only the things God created me to do. Father help to give me wisdom and guidance as I plan and execute my work, lead my team and interact with others. These things I pray, in your Son Jesus name.

Tuesday, August 28, 2018

In Order To Change, I Need To Start with My Thinking

In review of Ephesians 4:23 it says, “Let the Spirit renew your thoughts and attitudes” (Ephesians 4:23 NLT).

Today’s verse comes from Ephesians 4:22-24 which says to throw off my old sinful nature and former way of life, which had been corrupted by lust and deception. Instead, let the Spirit renew my thoughts and attitudes. Put on my new nature, created to be like God, truly righteous and holy.

This is a reminder that my old way of life before I believed in Christ is completely in the past. I need to discard it and put it behind me. I shouldn't allow myself to driven by desire and impulse. I must put on my new nature, head in a new direction, and have a new way of thinking that the Holy Spirit provides.

Change in my life will require new thinking. In order to change, I must learn the truth and make wise and good choices, but also change the way I think.

The way I think determines the way I feel, and the way I feel determines the way I act. If you want to change the way I act, start by changing the way I think. In addition, if I want to change the way I feel, start with the way I think.

I’ll never be able to fight my way into a feeling. I must change the way I think about something. That in turn will change the way I feel, which will then change the way I act. The Bible says, “Let the Spirit renew your thoughts and attitudes” (Ephesians 4:23 NLT).

The battle for sin, the battle to deal with those defects in my life that I don’t like, starts in my mind. If you want to change anything in my behavior or anything in my emotions, I need to start with my thoughts and attitudes.

The renewal of my mind is related to the word “repentance.” Repentance isn’t always something bad, something I don’t really want to do, or something painful. Repentance is about more than changing my behavior. It is about changing my mind and learning to think differently. “Repent” simply means to make a mental U-turn.

I turn from guilt to forgiveness, from frustration to freedom, from darkness to light, from hatred and bitterness to love.

Start with my mind, and change the way I think about my relationships, the economy, the world, and my past, present, and future. Changing the way I think will then affect my emotions and my behavior.

Bottom Line:
Let the Spirit change your way of thinking

What this means to me:
My attitudes and thoughts must all be constantly changing for the better, led by the Holy Spirit.

In summary, I need to get rid of my old ways of thinking and let the Spirit renew my thoughts and attitudes. Change the way I think, for it will determine the way I feel and the way I feel will determine the way I act. Make a mental u-turn about the way I see things. Filter everything through the what God and the Holy Spirit tell me.

This morning Father I pray for your guidance and assistance in helping me see things differently. Let me see things the way you do. Allow your ways to be foremost in my mind. I also pray for your wisdom and guidance in handling what comes my way today. Help me to work with and respond rightly to those around me. Help me in my leadership of those who take direction from me. In your Son Jesus name I pray, amen!

Monday, August 27, 2018

Nothing Worthwhile Is Ever Easy

In review of Galatians 6:9 it says, “Let’s not get tired of doing what is good. At just the right time we will reap a harvest of blessing if we don’t give up” (NLT).

Today’s verse comes from Galatians 6:1-10, where Paul reminds me that I will harvest what I plant. Paul tells me to share each other's burdens. If I think I'm too important to help someone, I'm only fooling myself. I'm not that important. I’m to pay careful attention to my own work, for then I will get the satisfaction of a job well done, and I won't need to compare myself to anyone else. For I'm responsible for my own conduct. I will always harvest what I plant. Given this, I should never get tired of doing what is good. For at just the right time I will reap a harvest of blessing if I don’t give up. Therefore, whenever I have the opportunity, I should do good to everyone.

It's discouraging to continue to do right and receive no word of thanks or see no tangible results. Paul challenged the Galatians and myself, to keep on doing good, and to trust God for the results. In due time, I will reap a harvest of blessing.

Procrastination or discouragement are a few of the things that keep me from completing what God created me for. If the enemy can’t get me to put off my life mission, then he’ll try to get me to quit altogether.

The apostle Paul teaches that we need to resist discouragement: “Let’s not get tired of doing what is good. At just the right time we will reap a harvest of blessing if we don’t give up” (Galatians 6:9 NLT).

When I’m discouraged, I become ineffective. When I’m discouraged, I work against my own faith.

When I’m discouraged, I’m saying, “It can’t be done.” That’s the exact opposite of saying, “I know God can do it because of what he said.”

I need to consider thinking through these questions:

· How do I handle failure?
· When things don’t go my way, do I get grumpy?
· When things don’t go my way, do I get frustrated?
· When things don’t go my way, do I start complaining?
· Do I finish what I start?
· How would I rate on persistence?

If I’m feeling discouraged, don’t give up without a fight. Nothing worthwhile ever happens without endurance and energy.

When an artist creates a sculpture, he has to keep chipping away. He doesn’t hit the chisel with the hammer once, and suddenly all the excess stone falls away, revealing a beautiful masterpiece. He keeps hitting it and hitting it, chipping away at the stone.

And that’s true of life, too. Nothing really worthwhile ever comes easy in life. You keep hitting it and going after it, and little by little your life becomes a masterpiece of God’s grace.

Great people are really just ordinary people with an extraordinary amount of determination. Great people don’t know how to quit.

Bottom Line:
Don’t get tired of helping others. If you don’t give up, you will be rewarded when the time is right.

What this means to me:
I should never get discouraged or give up doing what is good, what right and what is helpful for others. For just at the right time God will reward and bless me.

In summary, I should never think I'm too important to help someone else. I should focus on my own work and get the satisfaction of a job well done. I am responsible for my own conduct. I will always harvest what I plant. Therefore I should never get tired of doing what is good. For at just the right time I will reap a harvest of blessings as long as I don't give up. While it may be discouraging at time to do what is right and good with no recognition, I should keep on doing good and trust God for the results. In his due time, I will reap a harvest of blessing. Procrastination or discouragement are some thing that will keep me from completing what God created me for. When I feel discouraged, don't give up without a fight. Nothing worthwhile ever happens without endurance and energy. A great person is just an ordinary one with an extraordinary amount of determination.

In retrospect, I have had some tough times in my current role at work. I have allowed the tyranny of the urgent to zap my time and efforts. As I talked with someone else about my skill sets recently I realized that I had not really put into place the things I know I want and need to do. I know that this had discouraged me enough to consider whether I should keep on. I believe the thing I can do to encourage myself is to put together a 90 day plan to implement what I know wanted and need to do. Then evaluate each work day to make sure I’m setting aside and putting in place to work on the important items and only allowing the urgent smaller ones to take a smaller block of time.

This morning Father I pray for your guidance and wisdom to do this. Help me to respond rightly to others around me and to encourage those who work with me. This I pray in your Son Jesus name, amen!

Friday, August 24, 2018

Being Afraid of Making the Wrong Decision

In review of Psalm 23:3 it says, “He guides me along the right paths for his name’s sake” (NIV).

Today’s verse is from Psalm 23 where David explains to me how God is a caring shepherd and a dependable guide. It is wise for me to follow and obey his commands. He is my only hope for eternal life and security.

In verse 3, David explains how the Lord gives him new strength, and guides us in the right paths. What Psalms 23 reminds me is that the Lord is my good and great shepherd, and I am one of his sheep -- not a frightened passive animal, but an obedient follower, wise enough to follow one who will lead me in the right places and in right ways. When I choose to allow the Lord to be my shepherd, to guide me, I have contentment. Not listening to him or rebelling against his leadership is actually rebelling against my own best interest. The Lord, the perfect shepherd and host, promises to guide and protect me throughout my life and welcomes me as a special guest in his "house" forever.

Often I can be afraid of making the wrong decision, and that creates stress. Often I face a decision about major issues: “Should I hold on, or should I let go?” “Should I get in, or should I get out?” “Should I ?”

When I can’t make up my mind, I end up staggering through life. In fact, the Bible says in James 1 that when we remain double-minded, we become unstable in everything we do. The Greek word for unstable literally means “stagger like a drunk.”

But God says there is an antidote to my indecision. Psalm 23:3 tells us, “He guides me along the right paths for his name’s sake” (NIV). I can handle the stress of decision-making by letting God guide me. He wants me to know his will more than I want to know it. My problem is I often look for the wrong thing when we’re trying to find it.

For example, I may look for a feeling, to be swept off my feet by some emotion so I can say, “That’s how I know what God’s will is!” Or I want a methodical approach to God’s will. I want somebody to give me a recipe or a formula to follow. I can even take a magical approach to God’s will, looking for God to do some fantastic sign; write it in the sky, call us on the phone, send us an email.

All of these ways lead to frustration and cause me to miss God’s will. God’s will is not a feeling or a formula or something he wants me to be frustrated or fearful about.

God does not want me confused, and he doesn't want me stressed over making any decision. He is there, and will guide me every step of the way. In Proverbs 3:5-8, I’m reminded to “trust in the Lord with all my heart and lean not on my own understanding. Acknowledge him and he will make my paths straight.”

Bottom Line:
He refreshes me and guides me in a way that honors him.

What this means to me:
He gives me new strength. He guides me in the right path to do what honors him the most.

In summary, God is a caring shepherd and a dependable guide. He will give me strength and guidance in the right path to take, one that will honor him. I choose to follow him not as a frightened passive animal, but as an obedient follower, wise enough to let him lead and guide me.Truly following him will provide contentment, not listening will actually be counterproductive to my own interests. I should avoid being double-minded and unstable. As I look to follow him, I need to make sure I'm not looking for the wrong thing or response. God's will is not a feeling, formula or something he wants me to be frustrated or fearful about.

I admit that I find myself afraid of making a decision. Today's’ verse reminds me that the Lord is here to guide me, I just need to ask. Unfortunately I don’t always go to him with things in my work life. This morning Father I pray that with the help of the Holy Spirit within me that going to you should be my default action rather than an afterthought. I do ask you for you wisdom and guidance to handle activities that surround me. Help me to interact with others in a loving and caring manner. Also, Father I pray for your guidance in the investigation I have been asked to participate in. At this point, I don’t know what it’s about, but you do. I want to trust you and ask for your protection if I need it. Allow me wisdom, insight, patience and calmness. These things I pray in your Son Jesus name, amen!

Stress Management: Don’t Worry!

In review of Philippians 4:6 it says, “ Don’t worry about anything ; instead , pray about everything . Tell God what you need , and thank h...