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 58   Entries 56-60 of 286
October 2, 2017, 5:00 AM

Where are you seeing new life bloom in your actions, thought life and words?

Now there were some Greeks among those who went up to worship at the festival. They came to Philip, who was from Bethsaida in Galilee, with a request. “Sir,” they said, “we would like to see Jesus.” Philip went to tell Andrew; Andrew and Philip in turn told Jesus.  Jesus replied, “The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified. Very truly I tell you, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds. Anyone who loves their life will lose it, while anyone who hates their life in this world will keep it for eternal life. Whoever serves me must follow me; and where I am, my servant also will be. My Father will honor the one who serves me. “Now my soul is troubled, and what shall I say? ‘Father, save me from this hour’? No, it was for this very reason I came to this hour. Father, glorify your name!” Then a voice came from heaven, “I have glorified it, and will glorify it again.” The crowd that was there and heard it said it had thundered; others said an angel had spoken to him. Jesus said, “This voice was for your benefit, not mine. Now is the time for judgment on this world; now the prince of this world will be driven out. And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to myself.” He said this to show the kind of death he was going to die. John 12:20-33


Seeds in a bag sitting on a shelf in a garage are pretty useless.  Safe?  Yes.  Useful?  No.  Think about what a seed has to go through, though, to be useful, to bear fruit.  It has to leave the safety of the packaging, enter the harsh, cruel world, get buried alive, spend days dying alone in the dark, have cold water poured over it seemingly drowning it, and ultimately it dies! Anyone want to sign up to be a seed? This is what Jesus is calling us to, though.  To be planted.  To give up our lives.  To give up our dreams.  To give up the safety of the sterile packaging.  To leave the comfortable structures of our lives.  To die. It’s what Jesus did.  He left the safety and comfort of heaven to be planted for a time amongst us.  He did the will of His Father.  He gave of Himself.  He sacrificed His desires and put others first.  He spent himself.  He died.


But the story doesn’t end with death, not Jesus’ story.  Did Jesus suffer?  Yes.  Did Jesus go through excruciating amounts of humiliation and pain?  Yes.  Was Jesus raised from the dead and given new life?  Absolutely, and we celebrate that! The story doesn’t end with death for a seed, either.  Because when it dies, new life springs forth!  When a seed dies, it can have true life, and others reap the benefit of the fruit it produces. The same can be true for us as well.  Jesus calls us to follow Him, and following Him means, first and foremost, to die.  To lay down our desires.  To lay down our hopes and dreams.  To put aside anything other than full devotion to Him and His plan for our lives.  To be willing to part with the things that we so easily cling onto for life and to say to God, “I’m willing to destroy these things if it means I can be used by You to bring You glory and bear fruit so that others may know You as God.”


And in the end, what is promised is life – both here on Earth and eternally with Him.  We are seeds, and we’re either sitting on a shelf alone and useless or we’ve died so that Jesus can give us life and use our fruit to bring nourishment to those around us. Where have you been planted? Who are you impacting? Where are you seeing new life bloom in your actions, thought life and words?


This is my Prayer:  Father God reveal to me the areas of my life that need to be put to death so that I can be fully alive.  Lord give me courage to do the things You’ve called me to do.  Jesus help me to see myself as planted where I am so that those around me can receive nourishment from the fruit that You bear through my life.  In Your name, Jesus. Amen.

September 30, 2017, 5:00 AM

How would you describe what motivates you to pursue wisdom and God’s truth?

Don’t turn your back on wisdom, for she will protect you. Love her, and she will guard you. Getting wisdom is the wisest thing you can do! And whatever else you do, develop good judgment. If you prize wisdom, she will make you great. Embrace her, and she will honor you. She will place a lovely wreath on your head; she will present you with a beautiful crown. Proverbs 4:6-9


One of my greatest regrets in life is not taking school seriously. For the most part, I mailed it in by going through the motions and resting on my laurels. My parents told me I was too smart for my own good and I think they were right.  Friends who pulled all-nighters cramming for a test would often be livid at me for barely cracking open a textbook and getting a better score than them on an exam. Those good grades only reinforced my lack of effort and living my life doing the bare minimum.  I bring this up not to brag, but rather as a lament mourning all those opportunities I squandered. More often than not, as soon as the last question on the test was answered or the term paper was handed in, my brain would do an Control-Alt-Delete and reboot with that information gone forever. 


My approach to learning was all wrong. I only cared about the grade, looking good to others and feeding my ego. Over the years I’ve noticed how, if I’m not careful, this mindset can creep into my walk with Christ and my pursuit of wisdom and knowledge. My quest for His truth isn’t always about understanding His heart and furthering our relationship, but rather mere head knowledge that makes me look and feel “super spiritual”.   Just like my schooling, I can fool people very easily and hide my motives like a magician’s sleight of hand trick. The outside appearance of knowledge can very easily come across as spiritual maturity, wise understanding, and uncompromising integrity. Looks can be deceiving.


Because of this, I have to make it a point to pause, reflect, and ask God to expose my motives for pursuing His truth. God wants me to be honest with Him about the one thing I can hide from everybody else, my motives. Sometimes I don’t enjoy what He exposes, but this process is needed. Left to my own devices I can use truth for my own gain. I’m confident that I can’t be the only one on the planet who struggles in this way. If I wrestle with my pursuit of truth and having pure motives, chances are good so do you.


What drives your own pursuit of wisdom?  Are you pursuing truth to further your agenda? Are you searching Scriptures to know God’s heart or to build your argument and prove your point against someone else? Are you more concerned with understanding God’s character or appearing wise in the eyes of others? Would you describe your search for wisdom as going through the motions and out of obligation? Has all the knowledge and insight you’ve gained made the short trip from your head to your heart? What do you “know” but aren’t acting upon or living out? How would you describe what motivates you to pursue wisdom and God’s truth? Why is this the driver? Those questions aren’t meant to discourage you or leave you feeling condemned. Remember, we’re in the same boat and guilt never leads to transformation. Instead, let this time of reflection serve as a jumping off point and an opportunity for transparency and honesty.


This is my Prayer: Father God, may I pursue Your truth with right motives and a pure heart. Lord instead of gaining wisdom to boast and bring attention to myself, may I seek Your truth in order to better reflect Your heart. Jesus I desire to gain wisdom so that I can point others to the hope only You provide. In Your name, Jesus. Amen.

September 29, 2017, 5:00 AM

What truth do you need to cling to in order to provide perspective on your situation?

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart. Hebrews 12:1-3


There are so many reasons to be fearful. There are so many reasons to run away and hide. But the most precious truth is that all of those reasons don’t matter to the King of Kings. There is only His love that casts out all fear. Christ is King. He has washed away our sins in perfect love so that is all there is. Who am I to dwell in the fear and the struggle? God is good and He has called me precious in His sight. He has called me His child. He has called me to build His Kingdom. So why do I let the anxiety and the doubt creep in? God loves me. He loves me. I am His. I know these things are true. When I let the fear grip my thoughts, it feels like He is squishing me under His thumb—like He has put me in impossible circumstances with no way out; but when I let His love fully in, I feel the freedom of His power shaping me and building my endurance to run the race set out before me full of His strength and grace.


Why would I ever choose to focus on the fear, then? It is so easy to slip. It is so easy to stumble. It is so easy to live out of the knowledge of good and evil. It is so easy to feel like I am a disappointment or that I am not worthy or that I am cast aside. But none of these things are true. God’s plan and provision and truth are perfect. I am exactly where He intends for me to be in this season. I am crossing paths with exactly whom He intends for me to cross paths with. I am struggling in the exact areas He knew I would struggle in. He planned it all; He created me. Now it’s my choice. Will I trust Him in each of these things? Will I surrender control to the Lord in each of these places? 


If I grip the control with white-knuckled fists I will drive myself straight into the dirt. But—if I choose to trust and hold all that I have with open hands and a believing heart then I can gracefully step forward into what the Lord has called for me. I can soar on the wings of eagles. I can run and not grow weary. The Lord will continue to renew my strength. There are so many reasons to pour out God’s love. When I look to Him as my source daily, that love will keep bursting out. Where are you reacting fearful and anxious to the circumstances you face? What truth do you need to cling to in order to provide perspective on your situation?


This is my Prayer: Father God, keep my eyes on you. Lord keep Your truth in my thoughts and Your grace in my heart. Jesus help me to turn away from the fear and to focus on Your truth. Amen.

September 28, 2017, 5:00 AM

What are you learning through your steps of obedience?

Teach me your way, O Lord, that I may walk in your truth; unite my heart to fear your name. Psalm 86:11

Lead me in your truth and teach me, for you are the God of my salvation; for you I wait all the day long. Psalm 25:5


It is possible for one to have all the answers, yet still not be free. “Going deeper” is dangerous waters when one finds themselves drowning in the shallow end of a faith not lived out. Knowledge that remains stuck in our brain but never sees the light of day is not truly understood. We might comprehend these bits of truth in theory, but knowing truth is only developed through experiencing truth. Truth is discovered by faith. We open up God’s Word and are bombarded with wisdom and insight. We nod our head when we come across Scripture that tells us it is better to give than receive, to forgive as we’ve been forgiven, to not lean on our understanding, to pray continually, to store up treasures in Heaven. We can memorize these verses, post them to our Facebook wall or even share them with our friends and family.


In our minds, we believe we understand and comprehend these passages. This insight might be lodged in our heart, but unless we put that knowledge into practice; all we have is information. The Scriptures were not given as evidence of faith, but rather serve as a calling to faith. Unfortunately, we typically search for information to free us from faith and create a certainty we can control, navigate and solve.  We don’t know how dangerous this mindset is in terms of crippling the intimacy and knowledge we have of God. The opposite of faith isn’t doubt but certainty. We foolishly believe that freedom is found by holding on when true freedom can only be experienced when we let go and trust. Our trustful obedience opens us up and avails us to being known by God. We show our love for God by making Him the first person we come to when we can’t figure things out on our own. Truth is revealed one step of faith at a time. What has God been revealing to you about His character and your heart lately? What are you learning through your steps of obedience?

This is my Prayer: Father God, as you reveal to me more of Your heart and Your character, may  I walk in obedience and faith. Jesus I desire to display courage and boldness as I search for Your truth. In Your name, Jesus. Amen.

September 27, 2017, 5:00 AM

Where do you turn for comfort when you are afraid?

Whenever I am afraid, I will trust in You. Psalm 56:3

Truth be told, when I was kid I was afraid of the dark. I was a master at procrastinating. I’d find every excuse to get out of bed once I was tucked in. “I need to go to the bathroom. I need a drink of water. I think I left something in the living room. I’m hungry.”  I’d go through the same back and forth routine with my mom every night at bedtime, because I was afraid. No matter how old I get, I still deal with fear on a regular basis. Only now when I lay awake in bed at night it’s not fear of the dark that haunts me…it’s fear of failure, fear of rejection, fear of letting go, fear of self-image, fear of trying new things, fear of being uncomfortable, fear of what the future holds, fear of not having enough money, fear of not making enough time for my wife and kids, fear of the world that my kids are growing up in…fear, fear, fear.


The enemy tries to plant that fear like a melody in my head. It plays loudly like a song that you just can’t get out of your head. But it rarely lasts because the melody of God’s word in Psalm 56:3 plays even louder.  It’s like a timeless anthem that makes me want to stand and sing along at the top of your lungs in a stadium of 10,000 people.  How about you? Does the melody of fear play loudly in your head? What fears do you take to bed with you and how do you handle them? Over and over God’s Word tells us that we don’t have to be afraid because He is with us. Check out the words of the Prophet Isaiah that served as God’s nightlight for the Nation of Israel during their time of fear and uncertainty as they wandered and waited on God to lead them into the Promised Land:


“But now, this is what the Lord says—he who created you, Jacob, he who formed you, Israel: “Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze. For I am the Lord your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior…” Isaiah 43:1-3 God wanted the Nation of Israel to trust him and not be paralyzed by their fears and uncertainties. He reassured them that He made them, He saved them, and He was with them no matter what because they were His children. Perhaps that’s what God wants us to remember when we are plagued by the melody of fear. No matter how rough the waters are, how high the waves appear, or how hot the flames may seem, we are his children, ransomed and rescued by His Son Jesus, and He is with us no matter what.


What’s the song of fear that plays loudly, over and over in your head? Where do you turn for comfort when you are afraid? God’s word is like a melody of assurance that He is with us, He will never abandon us, and He can be trusted no matter what. Take a moment and memorize Psalm 56:3 so that in times of fear you can be reminded that you are not alone-the Lord is with you. “What time I am afraid, I will trust in thee.” What’s the song of fear that plays loudly, over and over in your head? Where do you turn for comfort when you are afraid?


This is my Prayer: Father God, I will trust in You when I am afraid. Lord in the midst of the darkness, help me to see Your light is always there to guide me and comfort me.  Jesus teach me not have to fear for You are with me. Thank you for never leaving my side. In Your name, Jesus. Amen.

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 58   Entries 56-60 of 286