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Friday, August 30, 2019

Fulfilling My Calling

In review of Philippians 3:14 Paul says, “I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus” (NIV).

Paul provides me with an example to follow with my own attitude and drive in life, which is to press on toward what God wants me to accomplish and that which he will reward me for in his heavenly place. 

In my own life, I have definitely not achieved all that God wants me to be, but I can focus on forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, to reach what God wants me to have in heaven

I read that Paul's goal was to know Christ, to be like him, and to be all that Christ had in mind for him. This goal absorbed all of Paul's energy. This is a helpful example for me. I should not let anything take my eyes off of my goal of knowing Christ. I must lay aside everything harmful and forsake anything that may distract me from being an effective witness for Christ. I've done things in the past for which I'm ashamed or now not happy that I ignored. I need to be careful to not live in the tension of what I had been and now what I want to be. Because of my hope in Christ, I can let go of the past and look forward to what God will help me become. I shouldn't dwell on the past. Instead, I need to continue to grow in the knowledge of God by concentrating on my relationship with him now. I am forgiven, so I can move on to a life of faith and obedience. I can look forward to a fuller and more meaningful life because of my hope in Christ.

I’m reminded that when I live out God’s call on my life, he’ll reward me. And the best part about that reward is that It will last forever.

I have no idea how to explain or know all that awaits me in heaven. But I can start with this: My prize for fulfilling my calling will be to share everything that God has in heaven. I’ll share his Kingdom, his glory, his power, and more. It’ll all become mine as well.

As Rick Warren has explained, “Life on earth is a test. God could have just created me and taken me straight to heaven. But he wanted to test my faithfulness. He gives me a few things, like opportunities and relationships, and puts them in my care. Then he says, “Let’s see what I’ll do with them.” If I’m faithful with a little, then he can trust me with all of his riches, power, and glory for all of eternity in heaven.”

The Bible says it like this: Live the kind of life that pleases God, who calls you to share in his own Kingdom and glory” (1 Thessalonians 2:12 GNT).

One day, God will share his Kingdom and his glory with me and his followers! So I should make the most of my calling. Make my life count. For my eternity will be impacted by it.

In summary, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me to. I can focus on forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, to reach what God wants me to have in heaven. With Paul's example I should not let anything take my eyes off of the goal of knowing Christ. Lay aside everything that is harmful and forsake anything that may distract me from being an effective witness for Christ. I can let go of the past and look forward to what God will help me become. I will continue to grow in the knowledge of God by concentrating on my relationship with him now. Life on earth is a test of my faithfulness. God give me things like opportunities and relationships, and puts them in my care. He's looking to see what I'll do with them. Therefore, I need to live the kind of life that pleases God. I should make the most of my calling and make my life count. My eternity will be impacted by it.

Father thank you for Word that helps encourage and point me in the direction you want me to go. I need not let what’s in my past affect me, I need to look forward and work toward what you’ve made me to be. I need to make the most of opportunities and relationships you bring my way. I pray that your Spirit helps remind me of these things. I pray that you continue to work with my doctor’s help me with my swelling and other areas they are concentrating on. I ask for your Wisdom and guidance for my day as I work through the items I have for work, for my leadership and for my interaction with others. These things I pray in your Son Jesus name, amen.

Thursday, August 29, 2019

Don’t Miss This Call

In review f Romans 8:28, it says, “And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them.” (NLT)

What I’m learning and being reminded of, is that God works in "everything," not just isolated incidents, for my good. This doesn't mean that all that happens to me is good, as evil is prevalent in our fallen world. But God is able to turn every circumstance around for my long-range good. He's not working in my life to make me happy, rather to fulfill his purpose for me. He does this because I choose to love him. He has called me. As a result I have a new trust, perspective and mindset. I trust in God, not in life's treasures; because my security is in heaven, not here on earth. I'm also being taught to not have my faith waver when pain or persecution comes, because I know that God is with me

If I was told that God was going to call me sometime today, would you be excited or scared? Would I let the call go through to voicemail, or would I answer right away?

The truth is, the Bible says God has already called me. Now, it’s not the same as a phone call, except that it is a message directly to me from God and it is personal, one-to-one.

The call of God is my life’s mission, the one he gave me when he created me. But I shouldn't confuse my calling with my career. For example, maybe I’m called to be a teacher, but that doesn’t necessarily mean I’ll be in a classroom. Or I may be called to be a writer, but that doesn’t mean I’ll work in journalism or even write novels.

My calling is far more significant than any job. It is an all-encompassing mission that rests at the center of my life and should influence everything I do.

Throughout the Bible, God calls people to fulfill this special mission, such people as Noah and Abraham and Moses and David and Nehemiah and Mary and Peter and Paul. They each had a unique role that supported God’s plan to redeem humanity.

And the Bible says that God has called me to an equally important task.

Paul writes in Ephesians 1:18, “My prayer is that light will flood your hearts and that you will understand the hope that was given to you when God chose you. Then you will discover the glorious blessings that will be yours together with all of God’s people” (CEV).

The greatest of those glorious blessings is my intimate relationship with God. Focus on him, and he’ll talk to you about your calling.

In summary, God causes everything to work together for my good because  love God, and am responding to his purpose for me. Not everything that happens to me will be good. However, God is able to turn every circumstance around for my long range good. He's not working to make me happy, rather to fulfill his purpose for me. He does this because I have chosen to love and respond to him. I now have a new trust, perspective and mindset. I'm learning to trust God, not lives treasures, as my security will be in heaven and not here on earth. My faith is also growing so that when pain or persecution comes, I know that God is with me.

Father I thank you for the reminder that you are working in me to fulfill what you want me to do in this life. You use the things that happen, either because of my negligence or from others to grow me and my faith. I pray this morning that you will help to point out your purpose for me so that I can fulfill it. I also ask for your wisdom and guidance in my work tasks, my leadership and my interaction with others. Help me with the right perspective I should maintain today. Also thank you for what you're doing in my life with my health. I continue to ask for wisdom for the Doctor’s as they help determine the cause of my swelling and with the other things that are being discovered as they run tests. I also thank you for the relief I have been given through their guidance. These things I pray in your Son Jesus name, amen.

Tuesday, August 27, 2019

I’m Called to Become Like Christ

In review of Romans 8:29 this morning, I read that God knew his people in advance, and he chose them to become like his Son, so that his Son would be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters” (NLT).

What I’m learning is that God's ultimate goal for me is to make me like Christ. As I become more and more like him, I discover my true self, the person I was created to be. I become like Christ, by reading and heeding the Word, by studying his life on earth through the gospels, by spending time in prayer, by being filled with his Spirit, and by doing his work in the world.

I had big dreams when I was younger. Aspiring to become something great. For most of us, that dream looks a bit different today. In fact, I may even think I’ve missed out, that I didn’t become what I hoped to become.

But here’s something I need to realize: I have been called to become something significant. Or more precisely, I’ve been called to become like someone significant.

I was called to become like Jesus. That doesn’t mean I’m going to become like a god. I’ll never be a little mini-god. That’s not going to happen.

But God wants me to become godly, to become like him. He wants me to take on the characteristics of Jesus, who is loving, joyful, peaceful, patient, kind, self-controlled, and gentle (these are some of the fruit of the Spirit found in Galatians 5:22-23).

This kind of growth will not happen overnight, nor will it happen easily. But eventually I can get there. The Bible promises us this: “I am certain that God, who began a good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns” (Philippians 1:6 NLT).

Next time I think about the fruit of the Spirit and get discouraged at how far I still have to go, remember this: God isn’t finished with me yet! He is still working to make me more like Jesus everyday.

In summary, God knew me in advance and chose me to become like his Son. His ultimate goal is to be like Christ. As I become more and more like him, I discover my true self, the person I was created to be. I become more like Christ by reading, heeding the Word, by studying his life on earth, by spending time in prayer, by being filled with his Spirit and by doing his work here in the world. I have been called to become like someone significant. God wants me to take on the characteristics of Jesus, who is loving, joyful, peaceful, patient, kind, self-controlled and gentle. When I get discouraged, I need to realize that God isn't finished with me yet. He is still working to make me more like Jesus.

Father, you want to make me more like Christ so that I can make a difference in other’s lives by serving, helping and being an example of what a relationship with you is all about. I pray this morning for the Holy Spirit to remind me of these things and to help me become more like Jesus in my thoughts, choices and actions. I pray for wisdom and guidance for my day, my leadership and my interactions with others. Help me to become more like Jesus. I also pray that through the tests I’m undergoing, that you will help my doctor help diagnose and provide the right treatment for my swelling. I pray these things through your Son Jesus name, amen.

Monday, August 26, 2019

To Be Productive, I Must Be Connected

In review of John 15:4-5 it tells me that A branch cannot produce fruit if it is severed from the vine, and you cannot be fruitful unless you remain in me. Yes, I am the vine; you are the branches. Those who remain in me, and I in them, will produce much fruit. For apart from me you can do nothing” (John 15:4-5 NLT).

Fruitful branches are cut back to promote growth. God must sometimes discipline me to strengthen my character and faith. Branches that don't bear fruit are cut off at the trunk not only because they are worthless but also because they often affect the rest of the tree. Those who don't bear fruit for God or who try to block the efforts of God's followers will be cut off from his life-giving power. Also Fruit is not limited to winning souls, answered prayer, joy and love are also fruit. Remaining in Christ means (1) believing he is God's son, (2) receiving him as Savior and Lord, (3) doing what God says, (4) continuing to believe the Good News, and (5) relating in love to the community of believers, Christ's body.

In the Bible, the vineyard is a picture of the church. It’s a metaphor describing how a church family helps you grow like fruit on a tree or grapes on a vine.

Fruitfulness in Scripture revolves around being productive. No one wants their life to end and feel like it was unproductive. I want my life to count. To be productive, I must be connected.

In God’s garden, in his vineyard, my life becomes productive when I am connected.

God has all kinds of fruit he wants me to bear during my lifetime. But my calling will not happen until I’m connected to God’s family, the church.

If I really want the life God created me to live, I need the power to live on, the people to live with, the principles to live by, the plan to live out, and the purpose to live for.

God created the church to meet all of those needs. I won’t find that outside of the church.

Sometimes getting connected means taking a step (or two) of faith and being uncomfortable at first. It’s not always the easiest thing to do. But it’s one of the most important things I can do with my life.

It’s time to plug in. It’s time to get connected. Take a step forward today!

In summary, a branch cannot produce if it's severed, likewise I cannot be fruitful unless I remain in Him. If I do, I'll produce, apart and I can't do anything. God must sometimes strengthen my character and faith. Fruit in my life also includes answered prayer, joy and love. For me to remain in Christ means that I believe he is the son of God, I receive him as Savior and Lord, do as he instructs me, continue to believe in the God news and relate in love to the community of believers. Fruitfulness revolves around me being productive and to do so means that I must be connected. My life becomes productive when I'm connected. God wants me to bear fruit in my lifetime. My calling will not happen until I'm connected to God's family. If I want the life God created me to live, I need the power to live on, people to live with, principles to live by, Plan to live out and the purpose to live for.  

Thank you father for the reminder to be connected with you and the church. I want my life to mean something and to fulfil what you created me to be. I ask for you help today in being productive and fruitful. I pray for your wisdom and guidance for my day, my leadership and my interaction with others. I also pray that you give wisdom to my doctor to help me find the cause of the swelling I’ve been experiencing. I pray these things through your Son Jesus name, amen.

When I’m Overwhelmed, Stand Strong

In review of 2 Chronicles 20:20 it tells me to “ Put your trust in the LORD your God , and you will stand your ground . Believe what his pr...