Page 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45 46 47 48 49 50 51 52 53 54 55 56 57   Entries 6-10 of 285
December 7, 2017, 5:00 AM

Where is worry consuming your thoughts?

But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own. Matthew 6:33-34


Even though we will point to the long list of things we need to get done, the real reason we keep moving is what being busy helps us avoid. When we slow down, we become restless and begin to squirm. Speed makes everything a blurry distraction, yet when we push pause, clarity about the true state of our heart becomes clearer. Stillness forces us to hear the whispers of regret, doubt, shame, and fear. To avoid this tension and level of vulnerability, we pick up the pace. We reason it’s easier to stay busy than dealing with the things that emerge when we slow down and become still.


At this moment, what we look at determines what we wonder. If all we see is our mistakes and insecurities, we will begin to wonder if we matter. If all we see is our fear and uncertainties, we will begin to wonder if everything will be okay. If all we see is our wants and desires, we will begin to wonder if we’ll ever feel fulfilled and satisfied. We respond to these doubts by calculating how we can ensure that all of our wants and desires are fulfilled. This doesn’t get displayed in overt arrogance or self-importance, just a simple belief that our will is more important than everything and everyone else. Our desires become demands that must be fulfilled by those around us and even God himself. These behaviors and thought processes are fueled by entitlement. Pride prevents pursuit, but gratitude paves the way to humility.


Gratitude helps us measure the depth to which Christ is being formed in our hearts. Gratitude only rises from stillness. We see through the lens of what we want the most and that’s why Jesus invites us to seek Him. By taking our eyes off ourselves and placing them on God, we heal the distorted perspective of our heart. But, this doesn’t take place by simply seeing God. We can’t just notice Him; we must seek Him. We have encounters where we see Him in undeniable ways, but something has to shift. God acts on our behalf. He works out a situation in our favor – a bill gets paid, a relationship gets restored, a good prognosis is received at the doctor, etc. These are ways in which God reveals Himself to us, but seeking God’s kingdom is something different that requires intention on our part.


God will catch our attention, but we have to pause and consider whether He has captured our heart. Both are encounters and both are important. Seeking first the kingdom of God is an invitation to align our heart with, not only what it truly wants, but what it was made for. The first step in seeking first the Kingdom is first seeking the King. When expression is hard, pursuit becomes essential. This takes place not from our effort or our good behavior. It takes place as we worship. If things have become stale or stagnant in our relationship with Christ, the call isn’t to work harder, but to worship and wonder. Where is worry consuming your thoughts? How can worship and seeking Him be utilized to combat those things?


This is my Prayer: Father God, instead of worrying, today I will worship. Lord rather than rushing, today I will rest. Jesus instead of simply seeing You, today I will seek Your heart and rather than attempting to control my circumstances, today I will lay them down at Your feet. In Your name, Jesus. Amen.

December 5, 2017, 5:00 AM

How would resting in the security of God’s love influence your relationships with others?

And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. Ephesians 3:17-19


What if we were able to grasp Christ’s love for us and our lives became an expression of this understanding? Imagine how drastically this would transform the way we treat our relationships. What if we could live transparently secure in our standing with God? How would trusting in the truths of today’s Scripture change the things we demand others to fulfill? Take it a step further. How different would our lives look like if we could love those we are in a relationship with freely because we were no longer looking to them for a love that had eluded us?


The simple fact is that we were created to love. It is very clear in Scripture that God is love and apart from Him love does not exist. Without it, what motivates our actions and our words can be suspect. From the outside the actions can seem pure, but our motives are driven by selfish desires. We look to get rather than give. We try to manipulate situations. We “love” out of a sense of obligation, to make up for mistakes or to avoid confrontation. Our ability to truly love others lies solely in our understanding and acceptance of God’s sacrificial love.


Therefore, Christ must be the foundation upon which we live our lives and care for others as well as what spurs us on to act with right motives. Ultimately, a sense of freedom is experienced because for the first time we are able to trust our heart and our motives. How would resting in the security of God’s love influence your relationships with others?


This is my Prayer: Father God, may I put my complete trust in Your love. Lord open my eyes to the depths of how far Your love runs. Jesus help me to reflect Your sacrificial love in my relationships. In Your name, Jesus. Amen.

December 4, 2017, 5:00 AM

Are you staying alert to any of Satan’s lies that you may be entertaining?

“So when God desired to show more convincingly to the heirs of the promise the unchangeable character of his purpose, he guaranteed it with an oath, so that by two unchangeable things, in which it is impossible for God to lie, we who have fled for refuge might have strong encouragement to hold fast to the hope set before us.” Hebrews 6:17-18


Think of all of the reasons why people lie. Even if God could lie, He would have no motivation. He can gain nothing by lying. Everything He wants to have happen, happens. Every word He says is true. He’s afraid of nothing, and He’s right about everything. He doesn't forget anything. Nothing about Him ever changes. He is a Rock, He’s God! Because He never lies, when God says something, you can be sure He’ll do it. So when He says we are “heirs of the promise,” He wants us to be convinced of His faithfulness.


While it may seem strange to think there is something God cannot do, Hebrews reminds us it is “impossible for God to lie.” God is truth! He is the standard of truth, and everything about Him is truth. It’s not simply hard for God to lie, that would be an issue of validity. It’s not unlikely that God would lie, that would be a matter of probability. It is impossible for God to lie, that’s an aspect of His inviolable attributes something God cannot and therefore will not do.


When God fulfilled His promise to Abraham, He made room for you there, too. Galatians 3:29 says, “If you are Christ’s, then you are Abraham’s offspring, heirs according to the promise.” So, if by faith you have trusted in Christ for forgiveness and eternal life, you’re in on the promises God has made. The writer of Hebrews confirmed our part in God’s promises by highlighting the “unchangeable character of his purpose.” We may waver and wander; God is always on task and on track. Both His promises and His character are “unchangeable”!


On the opposite end of the spectrum is Satan, the ultimate antithesis of God. While God is the best truth teller, Satan is the worst liar. John 8:44 says, “[Satan] is a liar and the father of lies.” He cannot tell the truth. Satan will never even mention the truth to you unless it is wrapped around a deceptive lie. That was the tactic he used with Jesus when they met in the wilderness (Matthew 4:1–11). The devil quoted Scripture to Jesus, but only to twist it for his manipulative purposes.


You can’t count on anything Satan tells you; but you can rest the full weight of your life on God and His Word. If you think about it, you can probably come up with a number of promises God is keeping right now. He wants you to rest in His absolute reliability so that “we who have fled for refuge might have strong encouragement to hold fast to the hope set before us.” As you think about the promises God is keeping right now, which one or two are the most precious to you? Are you staying alert to any of Satan’s lies that you may be entertaining?


This is my Prayer : Father God, I remain in awe of Your promises. How can a person like me be in the sights of Your great love and mercy? Yet, You have assured me You love me with an everlasting love. How can I not come to You in humble adoration and seek to know You better? Lord thank You that the joy of knowing Your faithfulness is not affected by my failures, but guided by Your unchangeable character. Jesus receive my obedience today as a gesture of gratitude for all You have done for me. In Jesus’ name, amen.

December 3, 2017, 5:00 AM

Why do we often settle for lesser things to fulfill the desires of our heart?

Why, my son, be intoxicated with another man’s wife? Why embrace the bosom of a wayward woman? For your ways are in full view of the LORD, and he examines all your paths. Proverbs 5:20-21


The question, “Why?” is hard to answer. The vulnerable reflection required on our part is the main reason we indulge without even thinking. We don’t want to consider how we are twisting a pure desire like love, significance, success or intimacy and offering our hearts to something less deserving. This simple proverb poses a simple question. Even though this passage is spoken from the masculine perspective, the point is the same for all of us.  Why do we want something less?  Why do we want something that we know we will regret later?


What we fix our eyes on determines the direction we go.  We simply see this initial pleasure, indulgence or quick fix. We fail to look past to see the pile of regret and the wake of destruction that the path we are enticed by will soon produce. The last part of the passage seems to pile on us even more. But, that is only due to our limited perspective and understanding. Many of us read verse 21 and think God is spying on us.  He is looking through the keyhole hoping to catch us doing something wrong and then whammo, we’re busted.


This is not the view of a God who possesses the heart of a Father.  For example, as a father, I attend my daughter’s school programs.  From the audience, I watch.  I don’t watch for mistakes or critique.  My eyes are on her for a simple reason.  She is mine.  In fact, the first question she asks when she comes off the stage is, “Did you see me?”  She wants to make sure that her ways were before the eyes of her father.  This puts a different perspective on the whole thing doesn’t it?  What you see determines the direction you go.  When you see the eyes of the Father watching you with a Father’s heart, the things that entice you diminish at the promise of being pleasing to the Father. There is nothing that compares to this so why would you want lesser things? Why do we often settle for lesser things to fulfill the desires of our heart?


This is my Prayer: Father God, may I not be enticed by lesser things. Lord open my eyes to the places where I am vulnerable to temptation. Jesus help me to not twist and distort the pure desires You’ve put in me. Before I act, may I pause and reflect on what is driving my behavior or my speech. In Your name, Jesus. Amen.

December 2, 2017, 5:00 AM

How have you wrestled with accepting the love and forgiveness of Christ?

Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ is born of God, and everyone who loves the father loves his child as well. This is how we know that we love the children of God: by loving God and carrying out his commands. In fact, this is love for God: to keep his commands. And his commands are not burdensome for everyone born of God overcomes the world. This is the victory that has overcome the world, even our faith. Who is it that overcomes the world? Only the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God. 1 John 5:1-5


You can diagram and chart what Jesus did, but the one thing you can’t do is explain why. Why did Jesus do all of this for us? “What” can be explained, but “why” cannot. This is why the facts aren’t enough.  Facts try to convince you with logic and reason. The love of God is radically different than the way we think of love. Love is the motivation behind God sending Jesus. Love is not logical. We aren’t agreeing with a concept, but rather relating to a person.


Jesus came and entered our world by walking, talking, living and breathing. He endured the years of His life in many ways like you and me: laughing, crying, thinking, and interacting. But, Jesus not only entered in our world in a way that can be verified historically, but He came into your world in a way that can only be perceived personally.  This leaves you with two options in responding to the illogical love of Jesus Christ. You can embrace His impact and invite Him into your mess or you can resist His impact and keep Him at arm’s distance. You can stand in awe and worship or continue on moving with your life. Your natural response will be to resist.


After all, everything you’ve been taught is that nothing comes free. You need to prove your worth. So, you reason, “If I perform well enough He’ll truly accept me.” But, His love undoes all that crazy talk. Christ’s sacrifice took care of all that performance-based mindset.  Christ isn’t intimidated that you blew it and He isn’t impressed with our efforts to be “good” enough. Instead, Jesus calls us to draw near and reminds us that we’ve been adopted as sons and daughters. We understand this as a concept but wrestle with living our lives based on this security being a reality.


The way we relate to God is to trust and obey. Obedience is an act of faith. The illogical love of Christ frees us to obey as a response. How have you wrestled with accepting the love and forgiveness of Christ? How does Christ’s love go against the grain of how we define love?


This is my Prayer: Father God, I stand in awe of Your love. It is impossible for me to fathom. Lord instead of asking “why,” may I just trust that it is true. Jesus You love me in ways I can’t imagine and in that love I am secure. In Your name, Jesus. Amen.

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