Wednesday

March 15, 2017

A Big Slice of Great Advice

Read

Exodus 18:20-22, “Teach them His decrees and instructions, and show them the way they are to live and how they are to behave. But select capable men from all the people—men who fear God, trustworthy men who hate dishonest gain—and appoint them as officials over thousands, hundreds, fifties, and tens. Have them serve as judges for the people at all times…. That will make your load lighter, because they will share it with you.”

Think

Every now and then, it helps to take a slice of great advice out of some humble pie. Because at times, we can be working very hard, but in the grand scheme of things, we’re barely working—it’s called the tyranny of the urgent. Over the past few weeks, we’ve discussed how God’s man Moses had lost his ‘Mo-Mentum’ having been burdened with the work of many. And that his father-in-law, Jethro, laid down some heavy advice after noticing the inefficiency of Moses’ work, time management, and lack of overall leadership. Moses had lost sight of his calling. God did not call on him to do everything, but to do some things specifically. Jethro wisely pointed him back to his purpose, which was to be ‘the people’s representative before God’.

The advice Moses received with great humility was twofold. First, Jethro redefined Moses’ leadership role, and then he spoke about the art of delegation. Today’s scripture says Moses was to teach God’s decrees and instructions. Suddenly Moses realized he couldn’t do this on a case-by-case basis. He agreed he needed to appoint godly men as officials, and so he did. Proverbs 15:22 says, “Plans fail for the lack of counsel, but with many advisors they succeed”. Nowhere is this better illustrated than by Jesus. He didn’t embark on a solitary mission to save the world. No, He chose twelve disciples to follow Him immediately and taught them how to lead and carry out their prescribed mission after Jesus ascended back to the Father. We are called by God to fulfill specific roles for His purpose. Whether leading a Bible study, a corporation, a classroom, or even a family room, great leaders are set apart by putting the right people in the right positions with the right posture under God’s chain of command. Do only what you can do and delegate the rest. What urgent things are you doing that are keeping you from the important?

Pray

Praise God for His calling on your life and ask Him to guide you in deciphering the urgent from the important.

Act

Has someone ever given you some great advice that you didn’t take? Were there repercussions? Think of a time when you received wise counsel and applied it. What was the outcome? Now memorize Proverbs 12:15, “The way of fools seem right to them, but the wise listen to advice”.

 

Tuesday

March 14, 2017

The Standard

Read

John 3:16, “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life”.

Think

Most people have standards for what they will or will not do. We have societal norms. In the medical field there’s standard healthcare. Companies have standard operating procedures. Students take standardized tests. Why do we set standards? Why do we draw lines between the acceptable and the unacceptable? The answer to these questions may differ according to world-view. Some surmise that humans are basically good, and that the majority of people are kind and hardworking. They believe the status quo comes from the decency of mankind. Conversely, Christ followers understand that, in fact, the opposite is true—we are innately bad with only a modicum of natural goodness. The standard in our lives is the Bible.

Today’s verse provides the standard of God’s love for us—which is limitless and immeasurable. Because our hope is in Christ, our priorities and standards come from God’s principles, which we carry out through our commitments. The Bible also delineates God’s standard of holiness—perfection. Therefore, we know that we are natural born sinners incapable of meeting His standard. But because He so loved the world, He commissioned His only Son to step down from heaven to live perfectly, die sacrificially, and rise bodily; that whosoever believes in Him will receive eternal life. Jesus set us free from sin and death, and now when God sees us He sees the righteousness of Christ. So, God doesn’t expect us to live perfectly, but to live honorably with integrity. Our life standards are to love God, love others unconditionally, practice humility, seek purity, obey His commands, and share the love of Christ with the lost. Is that your standard operating procedure?

Pray

Father God, thank You for sending Jesus to die for my sins and rise again. Help me today to remain humble and guide me to love others as I love myself.

Act

Do you have a life verse? If you don’t, consider selecting one as you read your Bible throughout the week. Proverbs 3:5-6 is a great place to start.

 

Monday

March 13, 2017

Take It In

Read

Exodus 18:8-9, “Moses told his father-in-law about everything the Lord had done to Pharaoh and the Egyptians for Israel’s sake and about all the hardships they had met along the way and how the Lord had saved them.  Jethro was delighted to hear about all the good things the Lord had done for Israel in rescuing them from the hand of the Egyptians.”

Think

When miraculous things happen in our lives we can’t wait to tell somebody about it. It’s especially gratifying when the person we tell shares our enthusiasm as they listen. That’s probably what Moses was experiencing as he told his father-in-law, Jethro, about all the amazing things God had done for the Israelites. The story was so amazing, in fact, that it led Jethro to conclude that the God of the Israelites was the one and only true God.

There are important lessons that can be taken from both of these men. They truly listened and gained from what each other had to say. What Moses shared with Jethro changed his life forever as he was introduced to the Almighty GOD! Jethro’s concern for Moses led him to share some words of wisdom that also brought about life-change. This insight jolted Moses back into the correct direction. He awoke to the realization that he wasn’t on target with God’s plan and purpose, thus he took action. Thereby, not only did this improve his life, but that of God’s people as well. God puts us in the path of people every day that have stories to tell and wisdom to share, and we must  be willing to listen. And, with each new day, we need to be willing to share what God has done in our lives with someone living outside of the family of God.

Pray

Father God, open my eyes to those you place in my path every day. Open my ears to listen and my mind to consider what they have to say. Open my heart to receive advice with a spirit of humility.  And help me to remain alert to share Your love and grace with someone still living in darkness.

Act

Be intentional about not just hearing the people who speak to you today, but listen to them also. Additionally, be mindful to inquire and ask questions, because we are often only one or two questions away from a breakthrough.

 

Week 2

Friday

March 10, 2017

Leading Past the Likes

Read

Hebrews 13:7, “Hebrews 13:7 “Remember your leaders, those who spoke to you the word of God. Consider the outcome of their way of life, and imitate their faith.”

Think

We all like to be liked. We like receiving likes on Social Media. We often seek approval and respond well to praise. But likeability and lead-ability do not always go hand in hand. Great leaders understand that their motives, strategies, abilities, and decisions will be questioned. Hence, when an opportunity arises opposition awaits. When we try to make everyone happy, no one ends up happy including ourselves. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. once said, “A genuine leader is not a searcher for consensus, but a molder of consensus”. This means it’s more important to take people where they need to go than where they want to go. Had Nehemiah worried about his opposition, he would’ve never completed the wall. If Noah had paid attention to the ridicule and mockery he faced, he wouldn’t have completed the Ark. If Moses had succumbed to the children of Israel’s constant berating, whining, and complaining, he never would have gone atop the mountain to receive the 10 Commandments or deliver two million people out of slavery to the brink of the Promised Land. If Jesus had tried to please and appease everyone during His three years of earthly ministry, He would have never made it to the Cross and we would be facing eternal separation from God! Leaders do what is right despite the fight, outwork the opposition, continue casting vision, and remain focused on God’s plans and purpose.

Above was the information, so here’s the application. When facing criticism, always consider the source, and critique the opposition. Look at their underlying motives and the spirit behind their aversion. We cannot afford to think our critics are always correct and question ourselves to death. Conversely, we cannot assume that every negative voice is wrong and that we are always right. No, we must remain humble and seek wise counsel. In addition, we never forget to look to the book—the Bible, and pray for the wisdom and discernment to make the right choices. Remember, the loudest boos usually have no clue about effective leadership. So, we keep on leading past the likes knowing that following God will take us to the greatest heights.

Pray

Today, pray through the four C’s: Acknowledge the CHARACTER of God, CONFESS your sins, show CONFIDENCE in God’s promises, and stay COMMITTED to being part of the answer.

Act

As a leader for Christ, invite someone to church; knowing if even if they don’t want to go, it’s where they need to be.

 

Thursday

March 9, 2017

Tragedy to Triumph

Read

II Corinthians 4:17-18, “For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.”

Think

We like to root for the underdog. We love happy-endings and amazing accounts of overcoming the odds—going from tragedy to triumph. But victory is the endgame and only made possible by the preceding struggle, tragedy, loss, betrayal, or sickness. The greatest leaders often face the greatest pain, because they take people where they need to go versus where they want to go. God’s man Moses, experienced numerous tragedy to triumph moments. He carried the weight of 2 million people on his shoulders, because he bore the brunt of every struggle and uncomfortable situation the Israelites faced. How could they have been so blind to God’s provision? How many miracles did they have to witness? But before we get too critical, we must stop and ask ourselves the same thing? Where are we in the process, who are we blaming, and do we trust God with the outcome?

Let’s take a closer look at the memory failure, nearsightedness, and distrust within the children of Israel as well as the mental beating Moses endured after delivering them out of Egyptian slavery. God personally escorted them day and night to the edge of the Red Sea. They witnessed the waters part, crossed on dry ground, and watched as the water came crashing down on their enemy. They sang and danced praising God until they grew thirsty and then blamed Moses. God provided. When they grew hungry—it too was Moses’ fault. Evidently, they missed sitting around eating pots of meat in captivity. Once more God provided and they witnessed the glory of the Lord appear in a cloud over the desert. They journeyed on and again were in need of water. This time not only were they angry with Moses, they considered stoning him! With frustration mounting, he said, “Don’t tell me, tell the Lord!” So God led Moses to produce water from a rock—and even still they questioned His presence. You see, without playing the blame game, we’ve got to trust in our great and faithful God who’s never failed us and never will. Remember, Jesus’ death looked like the most epic failure of all time until He burst forth from the grave with supernatural resurrection power forever defeating death. And with Christ in us, hope prevails every time we pass from tragedy to triumph.

Pray

Father God, thank You for working through all things for my good. I know that no matter what I face, You are in control. I love You, trust You, seek You, and want to please You! In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.

Act

Reflect on the major obstacles you’ve overcome since knowing Christ. What are you facing that seems as if it will never bring about any good? Today, how can you trust Jesus to lead you through tragedy and into triumph?

 

Wednesday

March 8, 2017

Jethro Jolt

Read

Exodus 18:17-19, “Moses’ father-in-law replied, ‘What you are doing is not good. You and these people who come to you will only wear yourselves out. The work is too heavy for you; you cannot handle it alone. Listen now to me and I will give you some advice, and may God be with you. You must be the people’s representative before God and bring their disputes to Him.’”

Think

We like to be right. We don’t naturally enjoy being told what we’re doing is wrong. So what about when it comes to receiving advice—not unsolicited opinions—but insightful observations? Jethro was the priest of Midian and was well versed in effective leadership. No wonder he was taken aback by the futile and time-consuming methods employed by his son-in-law. Moses had gone slow-Mo and needed a jolt from Jethro to pick up his Mo-mentum! Speaking the truth in love, Jethro offered some great wisdom and perspective. Moses could have taken it as an insult, but fortunately he had a teachable spirit and showed great humility in receiving the advice. Wisdom is a quality of the soul, and within this exchange, Jethro pointed Moses back to God’s calling for his life.

In this series, we’ve talked a lot about the necessity of skipping within leadership, but one thing we should never skip is constructive criticism. Accountability emerges from affinity. Who are you listening to? Usually the people with the most experience have the most to say within a climate of critique. The moment we stop listening is the precise moment we stop leading. Learning is a lifelong process, and great information lacking application is an abomination. Proverbs 16:20 states, “Those who listen to instruction will prosper; those who trust the Lord will be joyful”. Are you teachable and adaptable? Or are you in need of a Jethro jolt? Because when we land on good advice, we will soar to places we never dreamed possible.

Pray

Father God, melt away any stubbornness from my heart. Help me to be humble and open to wisdom and critique. Thank You for placing people in my life who care enough to speak the truth in love. In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.

Act

Read the prologue in Proverbs 1:1-7. Then commit verse 7 to memory: “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and discipline”.

 

Tuesday

March 7, 2017

Let Them Hear

Read

Mark 4:9, “Then Jesus said, ‘He who has ears to hear, let him hear’”.
James 1:22, “Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.”

Think

Jesus said, ‘Whoever has ears, let them hear’, approximately fourteen times in the New Testament. He captivated crowds by the authority with which He spoke—and people raptly listened. In the early church, people didn’t have written access to the gospel. The apostle’s letters were circulated around the various congregations and read as sermons. How fortunate we are today to have access to every Bible translation at the touch of our fingers! However, we must credit those who were “hearers of the word”. Comparatively, our listening skills leave much to be desired. In our ADD society, we must remember that hearing is with the ears, and listening is with the brain. Are you merely skimming through Scripture? Or are you listening for God’s voice and obeying His commands?

What kind of listener are you? Some people are pre-occupied listeners. They can’t seem to give others their undivided attention. Then there are those that occupy space, yet their thoughts are a million miles away. And we’ve all fallen prey to those suffering from ‘Interrupter-itis’,  who sit perched and ready to jump in anytime you take a breath. This is the exact reason God gave us two ears and one mouth. Also, there are the armchair experts always on hand to provide unsolicited answers. And finally, although a rare breed, there are those who actually listen. They actively engage in hearing what others have to say. They empathize and wait until the other person finishes speaking. God listens and He wants us to be intentional listeners as well. Good listening is an act of love, requiring patience, and reflects a healthy relationship with Christ. Whether in prayer or in a personal conversation with others, we must remember to listen for what God is speaking into our lives.

Pray

Thank God for constantly speaking into your life. Ask Him to guide you in becoming a better listener and spend a few moments meditating on the name of Jesus.

Act

What kind of listener are you? Over the next week pay special attention to your interactions with others.

 

Monday

March 6, 2017

A Time To Skip

Read

Exodus 18:17-18, “Moses’ father-in-law replied, “What you are doing is not good. You and these people who come to you will only wear yourselves out. The work is too heavy for you; you cannot handle it alone.”

Think

We are all guilty of thinking that if we want something done right we have to do it ourselves. False pride definitely stokes this sentiment. Therefore, this errant belief stymies us from reaching our maximum potential. We get so caught up in the superfluous that we are blind to the significant. Why? Because we are too busy trying to please everyone, yet it’s an impossible thing to do. Moses had just led two million Jews out of Egyptian slavery. The Israelites had seen amazing things happen. God parted the Red Sea and led them in a cloud by day and in a pillar of fire by night. He had produced water from a rock and provided manna and quail for their every meal. And still, they complained about their living conditions to Moses. This led him to think that he alone had to sit and judge every dispute between the entire nation.

Thankfully, Moses’ father-in-law, Jethro, helped him to see the pitfall of trying to do everything himself. He led him to understand that he wasn’t doing what God had commissioned him to do. He had far greater responsibilities awaiting. What if Moses hadn’t taken his father-in-law’s advice? Would he have been available to hear God’s voice? Because soon after, guess what? Moses received the 10 Commandments. Are you skipping the insignificant to perform what God has called you to do?

Pray

Father God, thank You for Your divine leadership and providing me with the discernment of when to leader-skip. Help me to know when I need to let go, when I need to say no, and when I need to take hold of what You have called me to do. In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.

Act

Spend some time considering what major thing God has called you to do, that if you hadn’t yielded to His command you might not have done, or vice versa. What did you potentially miss?

 

Week 1

Friday

March 3, 2017

Keep On Asking

Read

Matthew 7:7, “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you”.

Think

We don’t ask a plumber for legal advice. For health-related concerns, we don’t schedule an appointment with an accountant. We don’t call the police (hopefully) when our child is making bad grades. Instead, we ask the right questions to the right people to get the right answers. And sometimes in leadership, we have to ask tough, pointed, and uncomfortable questions in addition to receiving certain answers that we don’t want to hear. Nonetheless, we must always go for the A.S.K. — always seeking knowledge. However, there are two main reasons we don’t ask questions, and the first is pride. The moment it enters the equation, God exits, because pride is the forerunner of all sins. When we’re on the ride of pride, we cannot seem to admit that we don’t know everything and we don’t have all the answers. The second reason is fear. We’re afraid of exposing weakness. And once we know the answer, we may have to make some changes. God wants us to ask questions. Learning is a lifelong process, and in fact, many of us are just two to three questions away from a breakthrough.

Humans are finite and limited. God is infinite and limitless. So, there are countless questions only He can answer. James 1:5 says, “If you need wisdom ASK our generous GOD, and He will give it to you”. And, not only will He give us wisdom, He blesses us for asking! Proverbs 3:13 states, “Blessed are those who find wisdom, those who gain understanding”. But here’s the caveat, when Jesus says, “I will do whatever you ask in My name” it doesn’t mean that we have a genie God always on standby to grant our every desire. If we want Him to respond to our interests, we must first be devoted to His. Remember, even Jesus yielded to His Father’s will in prayer. When we align our will with His, He will respond in amazing ways. We will never grow intellectually, spiritually, or otherwise, if we can’t humble ourselves enough to always keep on asking!

Pray

Pray through Psalm 25:4-5, “Show me Your ways, O Lord, teach me Your paths; guide me in Your truth and teach me, for You are God my Savior, and my hope is in You all day long”.

Act

There is a treasure trove of wisdom found in Proverbs 3. Read the chapter and journal the words or phrases that especially stand out to you.

 

Thursday

March 2, 2017

Celebration in Mo’s Town

Read

Exodus 18: 9-11, “Jethro was delighted to hear about all the good things the LORD had done for Israel in rescuing them from the hand of the Egyptians. He said, “Praise be to the LORD, who rescued you from the hand of the Egyptians and of Pharaoh, and who rescued the people from the hand of the Egyptians. Now I know that the LORD is greater than all other gods, for He did this to those who had treated Israel arrogantly.”

Think

Celebration begets celebration, and a great example of this is found in Exodus 18. We often gloss over the first day of Jethro’s visit with his son-in-law. We tend to skip to day two when Moses received great advice and wise counsel in the necessity of delegation within leadership. Upon Jethro’s arrival, he was greeted warmly and invited into his son-in-law’s tent. There, Moses shared all the miraculous and amazing things God had done to save His people. Jethro listened intently and was “delighted to hear” such incredibly awesome news. Truly listening to someone is the highest form of honor. At Fellowship Church, we talk a lot about having the right ‘THEY’ in our lives, because the right THEY always have something to SAY when we do something great! Jethro responded in a celebratory manner. Then he praised God as the Most High. And in that moment he underwent a life-changing transformation, which leads us to the next celebration…

Jethro was the Midianite priest of a religion that likely worshiped a multitude of gods. However, he was familiar with the God of Israel. How could he not be after spending forty years with Moses on the far side of the desert? Until his visit, though, he hadn’t committed to the Lord because in verse 11 he said, “Now I know that God is greater than all other gods”. Then as an act of worship, he brought a burnt offering and other sacrifices to the Lord out of gratitude for the mercy and deliverance God had shown him and his family. After this initial act of devotion, he came together with all the elders to share a portion of the sacrificial meal as a celebration in the presence of God. So, although he was not born into the Israelite faith, it was by faith after hearing Moses’ account of events that he committed to the God of Israel. This greatly applies to us! We are to bring our offerings and tithes as an act of worship to the house. We celebrate and encourage one another in Christ. And we share our stories in hope of leading people towards God, thus building new relationships and refueling those we have come to cherish.

Pray

Thank God for those who celebrate with you in the good times and stand by you in the bad. Ask Him to provide opportunities to share your story, and praise Him for His Almighty power, provision, and strength.

Act

Give someone a compliment, send an encouraging message, and smile at everyone you pass!

 

Wednesday

March 1, 2017

Two Great Questions

Read

Exodus 18:14, “When his father-in-law saw all that Moses was doing for the people, he said, “What is this you are doing for the people? Why do you alone sit as judge, while all these people stand around you from morning till evening?”

Think

God’s people were coming off a major victory after defeating the Amalekites. Moses, who sat on a hilltop overlooking the battle—where he was supposed to be—came down and returned to his daily grind. His father-in-law, Jethro, was visiting from out of town when he observed Moses sit all day and serve as judge for every problem and dispute for the entire nation of Israel—we’re talking about a population of two million people! Jethro, seeing the futility in his son-in-law’s time management—or lack thereof—asked two critical questions: “What are you doing?” And, “Why are you doing it?” We should all ask ourselves these two great questions in every facet of our lives, especially in our service to God.

God is a God of order. The devil deals in disorder and distraction. He doesn’t want us to stay on track with God’s agenda. Is each distraction some horribly evil temptation? No, in fact, the majority of them are good things that hinder us from pursuing the great. That’s why it’s so imperative that we regularly examine our actions and the reasons for them. In response to Jethro’s inquiry, Moses (notice the irony in his reply) said, “The people come to me seeking God’s will. Whenever they have a dispute, I decide between the parties and inform them of God’s decrees and laws.” As the Hebrew head honcho, Moses should have skipped judging individual disputes. Unfortunately, he landed for too long and got caught in the wrong spot. He was NOT doing the significant things God had called him to do! Instead, he was distracted by the superfluous. None of us will likely ever be called to lead two million people, but we all have influence. As leaders in the home, church, at work, and elsewhere, what we do matters greatly. Remember, we were created on purpose for a purpose. Are you dealing with distraction or taking action within God’s plan for your life?

Pray

Father God, thank You for creating me to serve a special and uniquely specific purpose. Guide me, Lord, to regularly consider the ‘what’ and the ‘why’ questions, as I desire to stay on course with Your will. In Christ’s name I pray, Amen.

Act

Over the next week, spend some time considering the ‘what’ and the ‘why’ questions in your life.

 

Tuesday

February 28, 2017

The Art of Leader-Skip

Read

Psalm 27:8, “My heart says of You, ‘Seek His face!’ Your face, Lord, I will seek.”
Jeremiah 29:12-13, “Then you will call upon Me and come and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. You will seek Me and find Me when you seek Me with all your heart.”

Think

Praying about priorities is a senseless waste of time. Why? Because, our priorities are clearly delineated throughout Scripture. The problem is that we get so caught up in the superfluous that we miss the important. Thus, our priorities are about skipping. Great leaders are defined more by what they miss than the meetings they make. It’s called the art of leader-skip and delegation. When we skip we are in the air with the ability to see farther and gain a more unique perspective. Of course, what goes up must come down. But when we land, we don’t want to stay on the ground for too long.

The Amalekites had just attacked the Israelites. Moses, wise in his decision, delegated leading the battle and selecting soldiers to Joshua. As the nation’s leader, Moses went to the top of a hill with God’s staff in hand to watch the battle. As long as his hands were raised the Israelites were winning. When he lowered his hands the Amalekites started winning. To secure the victory, Moses’ brother Aaron and friend Hur helped him elevate his arms. And by God’s power, the Israelites won. Had Moses been on the ground in the midst of the battle, or anywhere else besides the hilltop, the enemy would have likely crushed the Israelites. Only there did Moses have the ability to see the events unfold, and he gained a greater perspective because he was where he was supposed to be. Likewise, in leadership, to make the greatest decisions we must go where God calls us to go. When we prioritize His will, He will grant us the discernment to do what needs to be done according to His purpose in a magnificent fashion.

Pray

Father God, help me discern when to skip and when to land. Guide me in Your way as I seek Your kingdom and righteousness above all else. I love You! Thank You, Lord for calling me according to Your purpose.

Act

Here’s the phrase that pays: We skip the superfluous and land on the significant. And when we land on the significant our lives will be magnificent! Write this helpful saying at the top of your calendar or daily planner. Then take it a step further and post it on social media with #FellowshipChurch.

 

Monday

February 27, 2017

Task Overload

Read

Exodus 18:13, “The next day Moses took his seat to serve as judge for the people, and they stood around him from morning till evening”.

Think

We live in a very task-oriented society. Everyday, from the time we get up until the time we go to bed, our schedules are jam-packed with things vying for our attention. It’s such an epidemic, that we constantly see articles and reports on stress management related to handling task overload. So, why? Why is this the norm? It’s because we so easily lose sight of the significant in the midst of the superfluous.

Moses had a similar problem.  He was one man taking on the daily problems of an entire nation. It seems crazy, right? That he would take on the concerns of two million people? Well, unfortunately, God’s man became so mired down by trying to do everything, that he lost sight of God’s purpose for his life. This same man who delivered the Israelites out of Egyptian slavery by the miraculous power of God, found himself essentially working in the customer service complaints department. So, what are you cramming into your life, right now, that is distracting you from doing what God wants you to do? What should you be focusing on instead?

Pray

Father God, thank You for all of the amazing things You have in store for my life.  Help me to discern between the important and the insignificant. I solely want to do everything that fulfills Your plan and purpose. I worship You with all of my heart in the name of Jesus, Amen.

Act

Study your calendar or daily planner. What do you need to skip to allow more time to pursue excellence in God’s economy?

 

You Say You Want a New Year’s Revolution

Week 6

Friday

February 24, 2017

Fig Tree Facade

Read

Galatians 5:22-23, “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control”.
Colossians 1:10, “And we pray this in order that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and may please Him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God”.

Think

Have you ever wondered why Jesus cursed a fig tree? It seems capricious and cruel, right? Well, He never wasted an opportunity to teach a spiritual lesson with a physical illustration. To answer our initial question, we must backtrack to where He was going to and coming from. Jesus and His disciples were on their way to Jerusalem when they saw a fig tree fully covered with green leaves. Hungry, He approached it only to discover it bore no fruit. So, Jesus cursed the tree and they went on their way. Now, you know the disciples were exchanging glances and shrugging their shoulders thinking, “What’s that about?” The men arrived in the city, and as they approached the temple, they saw people wheeling and dealing animals in the temple courts. This greatly angered Jesus, and rightfully so. He upended the moneychanger’s tables and drove them all out for disrespecting His Father’s house. The next day after leaving Jerusalem, Simon Peter pointed out that the cursed tree had totally withered and died.

In the Old Testament, the fig tree often symbolized the nation of Israel. The Jewish faith, like the fig tree that looked so outwardly supple, wasn’t producing any spiritual fruit. Jesus does not like pretension. He says His people will be known by the fruit they produce. So, we can go to church every week and occupy a seat, but if we’re not growing in our faith or truly following the path God has set before us, we’re spiritually dead. No matter how impressive our actions might be to others, works achieved through our own effort have zero value in God’s eyes. Are you hiding behind a faith facade or are you producing fruit? Because, remember, God will always uncover what we try to cover up and He cuts off what’s dead.

Pray

Father God, I want to be pruned and in tune with Your purpose. Uncover any deceptions or falsehoods barring me from being who You want me to be. And give me the strength to make wise choices so I can abundantly blossom with the fruit of Your Spirit.

Act

Read Mark 11:12-25. Then ask yourself, “Is my life producing fruit? Do people see Jesus in me? What am I hiding? Which spiritual fruit do I want to see more of in my life? What areas am I lacking in faith?

 

Thursday

February 23, 2017

Going G.O.M.O.

Read

Revelation 3:15-16, "I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other! So, because you are lukewarm--neither hot nor cold--I am about to spit you out of My mouth." 

Think

Isn’t it amazing how many internet acronyms there are. One website listed 668! And not only do more keep cropping up, there’s even one for a new phobic phenomenon called FOMO, which stands for the ‘fear of missing out’. It’s defined as “an anxiety that an exciting or interesting event may currently be happening elsewhere, often aroused by posts seen on social media”. Hmm… seems ridiculous, right? Wrong! It happens all the time; it’s an epidemic. Well, sometimes in our walk with Jesus we experience FOMO about what’s happening elsewhere. But what we need to do is forget about our FOMO and think GOMO, which means ‘God offers more opportunities’ than anything people are posting about on social media.

Yesterday we talked about the importance of leaving the past behind, growing more like Christ, and the necessity of staying on track with God’s plan. But once we’ve committed to our faith, we might be trekking right along when we encounter a new challenge that befalls all Christ followers somewhere along the way—spiritual lethargy. In fact, in today’s verse, Jesus is rebuking the church in Laodicea for being lukewarm. Surely He caught their attention with, “I’m about to spit you out of My mouth”. Yikes! However, the key word here is ‘about’, which leaves a small space for grace. It makes room for reigniting a passion for the gospel. Yet it’s also an imperative command meaning don’t wait, do it now! Are you taking a spiritual nap? Are you more concerned about what others are doing than you are for what God wants to do through you? Forget about missing the meaningless, and be mindful of all the amazing opportunities God has in store for your life.

Pray

Father God, I take to heart Jesus’ warning about being lukewarm. Make me hot! Reignite in me a new passion to be active in my faith and help me to treasure my relationship with You. I’m sorry for allowing myself to elevate my own interests and desires above Yours. And I thank You in advance for all of the amazing things I know You will do in and through my life.

Act

Check your spiritual temperature by asking yourself the following questions:
• Do I depend on God on a daily basis?
• Do I rarely share my faith because it makes me feel uncomfortable?
• Do I care more about being free from the penalty of sin than being saved?
• Do I live by faith or do I always prefer to play it safe?

 

Wednesday

February 22, 2017

So Long, Yesterday!

Read

Ephesians 4:22-24, “ You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness”.

Think

We all like the idea of a fresh start or a new beginning. And as the saying goes, “Out with the old and in with new”. However, we also long for yesterday. We like to hold on to certain things from the past. Those ah—nostalgia moments, back in the day, and remember when’s… are totally fine—great even. But in our walk with Christ, our yesterdays, previous lifestyles, and former ways of thinking are futile—they’re no-no’s and definitely not okay! They lead to double-mindedness and duplicity in our character. Today’s verse says to ‘put off our old self’ by ridding ourselves of old habits and unhealthy appetites. This means we’ve got to shake off yesterday’s dirt and ‘put on our new self’, which is being clothed in the righteousness of Christ. The Bible also says ‘all our righteous acts are like filthy rags’. Huh? Before we knew Jesus, even when we were at our best and performed wonderful deeds, we were still filthy. Our number one desire as Christ followers should be growing more and more like Jesus. This requires making a conscious decision every day to put on our new self in every aspect of our lives.

We are all very familiar with who we were yesterday, but are we certain of who we are today? Absolutely! Our identity is in Christ. But if we know this and are striving to become more like Jesus, why then do we so often find ourselves playing the spiritual ‘hokey pokey’ with one foot in and one foot out of God’s will?  We don’t need to ask God for guidance in what’s already clearly delineated in His Word! Instead, we should pray for His strength to keep our past in the past and the fortitude to step forward in our faith. Remember, the Bible says we are not our own; we were bought at a price. Therefore, we must identify what’s holding us back as well as identify what God is cultivating in our lives right now. It’s time to commit to repentance and lay our old habits and desires at the foot of the Cross.

Pray

Father God, change my thinking. Teach me to not think with my own instincts, but to cling to the truth as it is revealed in Your Word. Give me the discernment to flee from past temptations and to run toward Your strength and protection. And thank You, God, for sending Jesus to model who and what You desire for me to be.

Act

Here’s the phrase that pays: “Don’t let YESTERDAY hinder your decision TODAY to become who God wants you to be TOMORROW”. Write this down as a personal reminder to put on your new self every day. And take it a step further by posting it on social media with #FellowshipChurch.

 

Tuesday

February 21, 2017

Spiritual Nourishment

Read

Ephesians 4:14-16, “Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of people in their deceitful scheming.  Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of Him who is the head, that is, Christ. From Him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work.

Think

Healthy faith in action is measured by our growth, because growth is God’s method of transformation. Brand new believers, eager for growth, are often dismayed because they want their lives to change overnight. And many new Christians–although seeking life change—find themselves resistant to change. But as time passes, through the working of the Holy Spirit, we become more and more aware of our human limitations, weaknesses, and sinfulness.  As we mature spiritually, our desire to please and obey God outweighs our desire for rebellion.

The Bible says that we cannot simultaneously love God and love the world. Without the support of the body of Christ, we are subject to cultural relativism and conditional truth. Yes, we are to go into the world and shine Christ’s light—but we are not of the world. With full involvement in the local church we are refueled and revitalized every week to stand on God’s absolute truth no matter where we are. This means we are accountable and devoted to being the same people at church, at home, and in the world. And we require relationships with other believers who speak truth into our lives no matter the circumstance. Thus, our spiritual health soars when we are nourished and supported by the entire body—built in love, under one head—our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

Pray

Father God, thank You for the church! Thank You for my friendships with the right THEY. Help me to be a person of integrity in every aspect of my life. I love You with all my heart, and all my mind, and all my soul! In Christ Jesus I pray, Amen.

Act

Where are you in your personal growth with God? Are you like an infant, being tossed back and forth by waves? Are you on the brink of a breakthrough? Do you consider yourself to be mature in faith? Why is it so crucial to not only mature in Christ, but also to mature with the body of Christ?

 

Monday

February 20, 2017

Worthy of the Calling

Read

Ephesians 4:1-3, “As a prisoner for the Lord, then, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received. Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace.”

Think

People who don’t know God have a completely skewed sense of purpose. They have no basis for absolute truth. Living a life without God’s guidance leads to decisions that produce regret, shame, the inability to forgive, and a long list of avoidable consequences. But life does not have to be this way.

The minute Jesus enters into the equation, our perspective on life completely changes. Even the vilest lives riddled with shame and regret can be supernaturally transformed. Reborn through the grace and mercy of God, our lives become a brand new creation. And everything is possible through Christ who gives us strength.  Therefore, don’t let yesterday hinder your decision today to be who God wants you to be tomorrow.  Live a life worthy of God’s calling and encourage others to do the same.

Pray

Thank God for His discernment and wisdom available to us 24/7. And ask Him to help you live a life worthy of His calling.

Act

Read Ephesians 3 and 4 in the NIV translation.

 

2Gether

Week 1

Friday

February 17, 2017

No Greater Love Than This

Read

Romans 5:8, “God showed His great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners”.

Think

We love a lot of things. We love football. We love certain foods. We love our children. We love shopping. We love our spouse. Obviously, some of the things we love are weightier and more meaningful than others. However, in the Greek language there are several different terms which define the various forms of love. For example, phileo—like Philadelphia, the city of brotherly love—is a kindred affection, a shared camaraderie, and a strong bond between close friends. Stergo is a familial love. It’s a parental love and protective in nature. It can even be used to explain the love between a pet and its owner. Eros describes the passionate and erotic sexual intimacy between a man and a woman. Each of these are a vital part of our lives, but they all pale in comparison to the most important, foundational, and purest form of love—agape. It is sacrificial and unconditional. It is God’s love for us.

Without a solid foundation in Christ and an intimate knowledge of God, every other form of love can easily be manipulated, confused by emotions, and abused. Terrorists and gang members share brotherly love. Regardless of faith or lack thereof, people can experience romance. The most hardcore Atheists love their children, and they certainly don’t understand the love God has for them. The Bible says even while we were God’s enemies dying in sin and deserving of wrath, He sent His Son to die for us. This means that without God’s mercy and grace, without the ministry of reconciliation, our lives are devoid of purpose. We’re here because of His love and purposed to love Him and to express His love to others. To know God is to love God. When we are grounded in His love, all the other forms of love align. How great is that?

Pray

Thank God for His unfailing love and devotion. Ask Him to help you love others as you love yourself. And praise Him right now by saying aloud, “God, I know You love me even when I don’t love myself. God, I know you love me when I fail. God, I know I’m important to You. And God, I know that no matter what I’ve done or where I’ve been, that You chose me to share and show Your love everywhere I go!”

Act

Read I Corinthians 13 paying careful attention to the Apostle Paul’s description of love. Reread it aloud and notice the words and phrases that stand out to you the most. Then journal whatever God brings to mind.

 

Thursday

February 16, 2017

Matters of the Heart

Read

Matthew 6:21, “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also”.

Think

Most great things in life require great work. Making good grades is a result of good study habits. Physical fitness is the byproduct of a healthy diet and regular exercise. Promotions at work come from plugging away and proving that we take pride in a job well done. Why then, when it comes to relationships, do we so often give them our second best? In today’s verse, Jesus is referring to our priorities. That in which we invest the most time and energy marks the condition and position of our hearts. Whatever we cherish most drives our deepest commitments and controls our thinking, feelings, decisions, and actions. Therefore, true change doesn’t come from changing our thinking; it comes from changing what we love. What we worship the most matters the most. Thus, our heart and treasure are always intertwined. So, to see great return in our relational investments we must put forth great effort into what matters to God—the covenant of marriage and the ministry of reconciliation.

Great relationships aren’t built on this or that; they’re built on the this and the that. Men, prioritize your marriage over your work. Ladies, prioritize being a wife before being a mom. The enemy is always nudging us to prioritize “this” over “that”. But God is a God of the this and the that! He wants us to be a great a parent and a great spouse. He wants to bless us both vocationally and relationally. Remember, the God that spoke Creation into existence is the same God that wants to pour out His favor and blessing on those who seek Him first. Time is a gift that we must steward wisely. Date nights are crucial. And praying together is vital! In Matthew 18:19, Jesus says, “If two on earth agree about anything they ask, it will be done for them by My Father in heaven”. Invest in the best and God will handle all the rest!

Pray

Ask God to point out any areas that you are not investing in what matters most to Him. Pray for encouragement to keep your heart aligned with His will. And thank Him for His constant guidance and provision.

Act

Memorize and meditate on Matthew 6:33, “But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you”.

 

Wednesday

February 15, 2017

Successfully Single

Read

I Corinthians 6:18-20, “Flee from sexual immorality. All other sins a person commits are outside the body, but whoever sins sexually, sins against their own body. Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies.”

Think

It’s so easy to get caught up in the fantasy of fairy tale romances. Everything appears seamless, passionate, and perfect. But the keyword here is “fairy tale”. We all know life just isn’t that simple. In books and movies we only see a microcosm of the “happily ever after”. Financial difficulties, parenting challenges, and the struggle to set aside time for one another—the rut that befalls so many marriages—is omitted. As we’ve discovered this week, romance is a vital part of relationships, but love in action is the anchor, the foundational glue that makes marriages last. Yesterday’s devotional focused on marriage. So today, singles, this is for you!

The Bible definitely doesn’t shy away from the topic of premarital sex. God clearly prohibits it because He knows it leads to shame, remorse, rebellion, and funky and faulty feelings. Not to mention the obvious—unwanted pregnancies and STDs. Therefore, in today’s sexual climate, it’s crucial to set limits and stick to them. Ladies, if a guy isn’t protecting your body, he’s not going to protect your heart. Why buy the cow if the milk is free? And guys, if she doesn’t honor you now, she’s not going to honor you when she becomes your wife. Singles, you must date the people who walk in joy, the people whose first and foremost priority is their relationship with Christ. Run from difficult people—if a relationship is problematic now it will only become a greater burden after the vows. Lean upon God’s strength, keep a fire extinguisher nearby, set limits, and stay pure. Don’t defile God’s temple!

Pray

If you’re single continue asking God for “the one”, and pray for guidance in deciphering which dates are potential mates. If you’re in a serious dating relationship, pray for strength and wisdom to protect your purity. If you’re married, pray with your spouse. Thank God for one another and lay before Him any current struggles or concerns within your marriage.

Act

Reread today’s scripture. How does sexual sin hurt God’s heart? In what ways do you feel motivated to honor God with your body? If single, do you have an accountability partner? Write: “You are not your own; you were bought at a price” on a piece of paper and post it where you can see it.

 

 

Tuesday

February 14, 2017

Valentine’s Day Victory

Read

Song of Solomon 1:2,4 “May he kiss me with kisses of his mouth… Draw me after you and let us run together…”
Song of Solomon 5:10, 16 “My beloved is dazzling and ruddy, outstanding among ten thousand… and he is wholly desirable.”

Think

If you’re single, take note of what’s to come, as this devotional is speaking specifically to married couples. It’s Valentine’s Day, the one day of the year specifically devoted to love and romance—the two key ingredients to a successful marriage. Obviously, love is the binding factor. To clarify, romance is a feeling and love is an action. So, great marriages, rooted in Christ, seek to fan the flames of romance on a consistent basis. And guys, remember, what it took to get her is what it takes to keep her! Romance is a great fuel, but a horrible foundation. Ladies need a sense of security. And ladies, remember guys need to feel respected. Therefore, if romance is the fuel, love is the engine, the driving force. Commitment is love in action. Regardless of the season, nothing should divide what God provides.

The takeaway from today’s scripture is this: “Draw me after you and let us run together, wholly desirable”. This means the Bible is the greatest encourager of marital sex! How great is that? With this in mind, here are 5 keys to ignite Romance:
1) STUDY your spouse. Know their likes and dislikes. Know what matters to them. Know their style, favorite foods, annoyances, and turn-ons.
2) SERVE your spouse. Inconvenience yourself on their behalf. We serve everyone else and forget to serve within the home. Make this a marital priority!
3) LAUGH—a lot! Keep joy alive and have fun! Not only is laughter great for breaking tension, it’s also a great way to end a fight.
4) PLAN special moments. Put energy and time into something your spouse doesn’t see coming. Put some guesswork into the romance. Don’t skip date night. Guys, remember date night is mate night!
5) SPEAK into their life. We all have enough negativity within our own thought life. Encourage one another. Celebrate one another. Use words that complete one another versus compete or deplete. Realize, no one can say it better than you can.
Work these things into your marriage and set yourselves on fire, it’s worth it!

Pray

Thank God for the capacity to love passionately and for romance within the covenant of marriage. And singles, pray for what’s to come. Continue asking God to prepare you for who He is preparing for you.

Act

Tonight, if you’re married, date your mate. If you’re unmarried and on a date, be responsible with your body. And if you’re single, romance God and go have some fun with your friends!

Monday

February 13, 2017

Aloha

Read

Ephesians 5:33, “Each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband”.

Think

Aloha is a commonly known greeting for both hello and goodbye in Hawaii.  But the deeper expression of this word has some powerful meaning behind it. It’s a Hawaiian greeting that welcomes the other person into their space by sharing the breath of life. Two greet each other by pressing the bridge of their noses together and breathing in. What a beautiful expression! Let’s put this word picture in the context of marriage.  It is a special moment when a man and woman invite each other to share life together. But this mutual spatial invitation is just the beginning. There are intentional steps that must be taken in order for this covenant relationship to thrive.

In the scripture above, the Bible gives the two most vital components to a foundationally strong marriage – love and respect.  When a husband displays love for his wife and honors her, it gives her a sense of security and affirmation. Likewise, when a wife shows honor and respect to her husband, he too feels empowered and affirmed. These components bind like relational glue, producing the desire to learn more and more about each other’s likes and dislikes. Biblically founded marriages work—they are everlasting. What a great challenge to continuously study your mate in order to keep taking the relationship to a “holy notha’ level”!

Pray

Thank God for your spouse.  Ask Him to open your eyes and heart to learn more about them each day.  If you are single, ask God to continue growing you into the person He has created you to be, so that you can be prepared for whom He is preparing for you.

Act

Take a moment to let your spouse know you are thinking of them.  Share affirming and loving words via text, phone, a handwritten note, face-to-face, or some other form of communication. If you are single, take a moment to encourage someone close to you, letting them know they are loved.

You Say You Want a New Year’s Revolution

Week 5

Friday

February 10, 2017

Limitless and Immeasurably More

Read

Ephesians 3:17b—21, "And I pray that you... may have power, together with all the Lord's holy people to grasp... and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. Now to Him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we can ask or imagine, according to the power that is at work within us, to Him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever! Amen."

Think

There's no such thing as love at first sight. There's not! Yes, we are to love everyone, but we don't walk just down the street one day and decide to be in love with a complete stranger. Why? Because, true love requires knowledge of both the head and the heart. But before we can acquire heart knowledge, we have to intentionally seek out knowledge of their heart. When we love someone it is due to their unique traits, personality, and character qualities that we come to know over time.

Now, let's flip the script. Love must have an object and we are the objects of God's love. He made us, He knows us, and despite our flaws and sinfulness, He still loves us. In fact, there's nothing we could ever do or not do to make Him love us any more or any less. Conversely, we can have knowledge of God without having love for God.  Essentially, we will never truly know God until we understand the magnitude of His love and choose love Him back.  And our great and limitless God can do "immeasurably more than we can ever ask or imagine". Can you imagine that? Oh wait, you can't! Ha! As the church, we unite to grow in what we know about God. And the more we know Him, the more we will seek to do for Him. That's our calling—together with the saints—to bring Him glory and to make His name known! Amen!

Pray

Thank You, Lord for the power of imagination and for doing more than I can even ask or imagine. May my heart be overflowing with Your fullness so I can love You more and serve You better.

Act

Today, simply remember that you are chosen, adopted, redeemed, forgiven, saved, sealed, empowered by the Holy Spirit, and YOU ARE LOVED!!!

Thursday

February 9, 2017

Power Up

Read

Ephesians 3:16-18, "I pray that out of His glorious riches He may strengthen you with power through His Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord's holy people, to grasp how wide and how long and how high and how deep is the love of Christ."

Think

When we think about the word power, we think of strength, a physical force, the President and even chargers for electronic devices. But in his prayer to the Ephesians, Paul clearly means that supernatural spark that ignites God's power available to us 24/7 through the Holy Spirit. He's asking for strength to build power, not only for personal devotion to God, but also in obedience and conviction that flows from the heart. It is the power of the Holy Spirit that enables us to receive Christ as the Lord of our lives in all things. Therefore, the human mind—finite and sinful in nature—cannot receive God's power. Essentially, He chose us before we chose Him.

When our hearts and minds are powered by Christ,  we should have a huge desire to pool that power within the local church. As Paul's prayer continues, he leads us to the core of the gospel message, which is to grasp the limitless dimensions and depth of Christ's love. A love so vast it requires a supernatural power to even wrap our brain around it. This is why it's crucial for us to gather weekly! It's not optional! Only together—united in Jesus—can we understand the full impact of the resurrection power that allowed Jesus to burst forth from the grave forever defeating sin and death for us. So the gospel is not a "me" thing; it's a "we" thing. Our power potential ratchets up the more we know. The more we know, the more we grow. And the more we grow, the more we will show all of creation the magnificent works of the one and only living God Who was, Who is, and Who is to come.

Pray

Father God, thank You for the gift of the gospel and Your saving grace. Teach me to rely on Your Spirit for faith, confidence, and power. And help me to know You as the source of everything good in me.

Act

Read Paul's prayer for the in Ephesians 3:14-21 in the Amplified Bible (AMP) translation. And, you don't want to miss C3 Nights tonight at 7:00! It's free and open to the public at the Fellowship Church Grapevine campus!

 

 

Wednesday

February 8, 2017

Making a Statement

Read

Ephesians 10-12, “His intent was that now, through the church, the manifold wisdom of God should be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly realms, according to His eternal purpose that He accomplished in Christ Jesus our Lord. In Him and through faith in Him we may approach God with freedom and confidence.”

Think

In Ephesians 3:10-12, Paul communicates two distinct messages. The first is a mission statement for the church. The second serves as a reminder that our relationship with God is not about us and that the freedom and confidence we share in Christ is due to His strength and not our own. Verse 10 states that the church’s mission is “to make known the manifold wisdom of God”.  Question: Who is our audience? In this scenario, Paul is referring to created beings in the spiritual realm. Christ’s work surpasses all barriers, physical and spiritual. So, he’s saying the church witnesses to everything and every being including Satan himself! A unified and faithful church is just one more reminder of his defeat as well as a powerful display of God’s truth and love for all of creation.

We like to make things about us, don’t we? How easily do we forget what our lives would really be like if we were reliant upon our own strength and power!  We even prioritize our own needs, wants, and desires in our relationship with God in prayer. But the key to effective prayer is to put aside our natural selfishness and autonomous attitude and make it all about God. Jesus is the mediator of our salvation and of all other dimensions in our relationship to the Father. Our confidence is based on what He accomplished! And freedom rings as we live in Christ, through Christ, and with Christ for eternity! Want to make a statement? Humbly praise God with an attitude of gratitude for His omnipotent, omniscient, and omnipresent power!

Pray

Thank You, God, for giving me hope and confidence in Your strength and power. Help me to not trust in myself, but in Jesus. And remind me of the cross every time my thoughts or actions are motivated by my own selfishness.

Act

Select a life verse that serves as a reminder of God’s strength, provision, and power. Proverbs 3:5-6 is a great place to start!

Tuesday

February 7, 2017

We’ve All Got A Story To Tell

Read

Ephesians 3:7-9, "I became a servant of this gospel by the gift of God's grace given me through the working of His power. Although I am less than the least of all the Lord's people, this grace was given to me: to preach to the Gentiles the boundless riches of Christ, and to make plain to everyone the administration of this mystery, which for ages past was kept hidden in God, who created all things."

Think

In Ephesians chapters 1-2, Paul explains that although salvation came first to the Jews, that it was always God's plan—even before He laid the foundations of the earth—for salvation to be available to all humankind. In chapter 3, Paul expands on his call to preach the gospel of Christ to the Gentiles. In verse 7, he references his own conversion due to God's all-encompassing power found in Acts 9. In verse 8, he humbly refers to his own sordid past as a murderer of Christians. But miraculously, out of God's "unsearchable riches" he was saved. This means that although God revealed His plan for salvation, no one can fully grasp the vast intricacies involved.  So, Paul is saying that regardless of his former self, God chose him to help explain the mystery of the gospel. Verse 9 reaffirms that God the Creator of all offers salvation to all.

We can learn a lot from today's Scripture passage. Although Paul's mission had far greater implications within the foundational aspects of the Christian faith, although he wrote 2/3 of the New Testament, and although His conversion experience likely makes our own seem insignificant—our mission is the same: to make salvation through Christ known and to glorify God. No matter if we prayed for salvation at the age of 7, 37, or 77, God wants us to share our story: our life before Christ, what led us to Christ, our conversion, and life transformation. We don't have to be biblical scholars, ordained pastors, or even understand the entire Bible to explain what God is doing in and through our lives. All it takes is an otherworldly love, a passion, and a willingness to make the name of Jesus known.

Pray

Thank God for working through your past to lead you to Christ. Express your willingness to share your story, and pray high-risk prayers for such opportunities to arise.

Act

Read the story of Paul's conversion in Acts 9:1-31. Then practice telling your own story in two minutes or less.

Monday

February 6, 2017

Heirs, Members, & Sharers

Read

Ephesians 3:6, “This mystery is that through the gospel the Gentiles are heirs together with Israel, members together of one body, and sharers together in the promise in Christ Jesus.”

Think

In the technology-driven world we live in today, we are required to have logins and passwords to gain access to sites that have information we may need and to prove our membership of those sites. If we don’t have the correct logins and passwords, access is denied.  In essence, this is what the Gentiles (anyone who was not Jewish) in Ephesus were experiencing.  Their access to God’s promise in Christ Jesus was denied.  But Paul had good news for them.

The Good News of the Gospel of Jesus Christ is the amazing mystery that Paul had the privilege of unveiling to the Gentiles.  Previously it had only been spoken about to the Jews, the chosen nation of God.  But God’s gift of Jesus’ sacrifice was not only for them, but for the Gentiles too.  This means that, through Jesus Christ, the world can be co-heirs with Israel to God’s promises.  They can be members of the body of Christ; His church.  And they can share in the promise of eternity in Christ Jesus.  This is not only true for the Ephesians and the rest of the Gentiles in Paul’s day, but it is true for us today also.  By accepting the gift of Jesus’ sacrifice we too gain access to become heirs, members and sharers of God’s gift of eternity with Him.  That is the amazing Good News of Jesus Christ!

Pray

Father God, thank You for the precious gift of Your Son, Jesus Christ. Enable me to discover more and more of Your love for me each day.  And help me not to share it accordingly with those around me.

Act

Read Ephesians 3 in the NIV translation and bask the dimensional magnitude of God’s love.

Week 4

Friday

February 3, 2017

Peace, Love, & Rock Your Role

Read

Ephesians 2:21-22, “In Christ the whole building is joined together, and rises to become a holy temple in the Lord. And in Him you too are being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by His Spirit.”

Think

Who we are outside of church represents our relationship to the church, and ultimately to Christ Himself. Spiritual growth comes to an abrupt halt if we are not actively serving and engaging in the body of Christ. And sadly, the majority of our culture thinks of church in geographical terms, a specific location. However, in Matthew 16:18, when Jesus said, “On this rock I will build My church and the gates of hell will not prevail against it”, He was obviously referring to something far greater than a building with a physical address. Rather, He was casting vision for the unity of all Christ followers worldwide. In today’s verse, when Paul describes the church as a holy temple he’s talking about us! We are the temple; a dwelling place for God fortified and empowered by His Spirit. So, the body of Christ, both corporately and individually, is purposed to extend the reach of the local church.

The phrase “one another” appears in the New Testament fifty-nine times. We are to serve, love, submit, greet, encourage, make peace with one another and the list goes on. Each part of the body of Christ matters greatly to God, because He gifted us with unique talents and abilities that no one else can do. If we’re not leveraging our individual giftedness, then the body of Christ is incomplete. Are you rocking the house playing your vital role within the local church?  Are you inviting people to experience life change on a regular basis?

Pray

Praise God for the local church. Thank Him for the great relationships in your life. And pray for the FC staff and volunteers that will be working together to make the C3 Conference 2017 a smashing success!

Act

If you’re not already signed up to serve at the upcoming C3 Conference click here

 

 

Thursday

February 2, 2017

Peace Plan

Read

Ephesians 2:19-20, “Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and strangers, but fellow citizens with God’s people and also members of His household, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets with Christ Jesus Himself as the chief cornerstone”.

Think

The United States of America was founded on one primary principle—individual rights: life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. And as American citizens, we are graced with countless freedoms including economic, religious, and social. Our country is unique in that we are the only nation under God whose governing authority was predicated upon the establishment of specific rules and regulations for our protection. In Ephesians 2:19, Paul mentions another kind of citizenship—one that surpasses all else. No matter where we live, our nationality, who we are, or what we’ve done, if we know Jesus then we are citizens in the Kingdom of Heaven. We are under His authority and protected by His power. Only in Him can true freedom and peace be found. But that’s not all—we are also intimate members of God’s household—the church. We are saved by grace through faith made possible by the gospel of peace and reconciliation. In this, God had a plan. Through the church, “the manifold wisdom of Christ” would be taught and made known. You see, Christianity is not a solo sport. In fact, the Bible refers to us a “chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God”.

In first century architecture, the cornerstone was the first stone to be laid. It defined the shape, size, and infrastructure for the entire building. Jesus is the foundation, the cornerstone, of our entire faith. Thus, He is the head of the church and we are joined together as one body with each specific member playing an integral part in God’s plan. Therefore, if we call Jesus our personal Lord and Savior and are not active within the local church, we will never discover God’s best for our lives. We, united in Christ as the messengers of peace, are called to be a beacon of God’s light within the world.

Pray

Thank God for calling you His child. Praise the name of Jesus. And pray for growth within the body of Christ.

Act

Read through Paul’s prayer for the believers in Ephesians 3:14-21 twice, paying careful attention to the beauty, detail, and power of his words. Then read it aloud as a proclamation to God and feel the strength and power made yours in Christ.

Wednesday

February 1, 2017

Peace Span

Read

Ephesians 2:16-18, “And in one body to reconcile both of them to God through the cross, by which He put to death their hostility. He came and preached peace to you who were far away and peace to those who were near. For through Him we both have access to the Father by one Spirit.”

Think

Reconciliation between two opposing parties requires one very vital element—a relationship with Jesus Christ. Our horizontal relationships with one another can only reach true peace when our vertical relationship is right with God. Merely ceasing hostilities is not a conduit for grace and harmony. Yet we often confuse passivity for peace. But peace isn’t passive; it’s active and takes a lot of hard work! Life isn’t simple and sometimes we have to travel through a tunnel of chaos before we see the light on the other side—and it’s worth it! The great thing is, that no matter what, there is always a level playing field for reconciliation at the foot of the cross.

Through the gospel of reconciliation, we can always find peace when we look to Jesus for the resolution solution. The Bible teaches us that when we approach someone else with a problem, we must humbly communicate the issue without attacking. We must be willing to take responsibility for what we’ve done wrong as soon as possible. And we must never simply apologize without asking for forgiveness and be willing to forgive. Restoration happens when we seek to do the will of God and remember how greatly He forgave us. As Christ followers, we should rush to reconcile and make peace with others. So, when our vertical relationship is intact with Jesus, we can span the horizontal and bridge the gap as we unite in Christ.

Pray

Father God, until I knew Jesus I had no concept of real peace. Thank You for your overwhelming love, mercy, and forgiveness. Today guide me to represent who You are to the world and to model Your peace that “surpasses all understanding.”

Act

Read I John 4:7-21, “God’s Love and Ours”. In this passage, the word love is used over twenty-five times. Why do you think John chose to use so much repetition to make his point? What does the phrase, “The one who fears is not made perfect in love” mean to you? Journal your response.

 

Tuesday

January 31, 2017

Peace Man

Read

Ephesians 2:13-15, “But now in Christ Jesus you who were once far away have been brought near by the blood of Christ. For He Himself is our peace, who has made the two groups one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility, by setting aside in His flesh the law with its commands and regulations. His purpose was to create in Himself one new humanity out of the two, thus making peace.”

Think

In ancient times, there was a wall at the temple to separate the Gentiles from entering Jewish “holy ground”. Any Gentile attempting to cross this boundary faced death. Thus, a very real tension existed between the two groups. The Jews, God’s chosen people, believed that Gentiles were ceremonially unclean and less in the eyes of the Lord. But peace was not only lacking in a religious sense, but also in a true spiritual sense. You see, unless we are at peace with God, we are devoid of God’s peace. And what these religious elitists failed miserably to understand was that the wall of division at the temple wasn’t the issue. It was the wall of sin, racism, and hostility. Hence, they were at war with the wrong enemy. Nothing the Gentiles did could defile them from the outside in—it was their own sin nature that afflicted them from the inside out.

Jesus, the Prince of Peace, came to redeem the sin of all mankind, not just the sin of Israel. He obliterated the wall of separation between God and man. Remember, peace isn’t just the halting of hostilities; it’s the coming together of all who call Jesus their Savior—the unity of oneness in faith. When we are one in Christ, we are one with Christ, and therefore, one with the Father through the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. The gospel—the life, death, burial, and resurrection of Christ—is the only path to true peace. And once we’re at peace with God through the blood of Christ, then we become carriers of peace called to share His peace in a hostile world.

Pray

Thank God for making peace a possibility through Christ. Pray for any areas in your life lacking peace and praise Jesus for calling you out of the darkness and into the light.

Act

Read about living as a child of light in Ephesians 4:17-5:21. Journal what words and phrases stand out to you the most. Then pray through the passage allowing God to speak into your heart.

 

Monday

January 30, 2017

Peace Ban

Read

Ephesians 2:11-12, “Therefore, remember that formerly you who are Gentiles by birth and called “uncircumcised” by those who call themselves “the circumcision” (which is done in the body by human hands) – remember that at that time you were separate from Christ, excluded from citizenship in Israel and foreigners to the covenants of the promise, without hope and without God in the world.”

Think

Peace can be defined as a halting of hostilities or a putting down of weapons.  In the book of Ephesians, Paul describes it as “oneness”.  For someone who has not experienced peace, this could seem like a foreign concept.  It’s easy to get caught up in the hostilities going on in the world around us.  The hostilities of others can easily spill over and create hostility in those around them.  As a result, that hostility pours over into relationships and those relationships begin to lack peace because of said hostility.  It becomes an evil cycle that creates a chasm of separation and alienation.

God desires for us to have peace, oneness, and harmony with Him.  But because of sin there is a chasm created that separates us from Him. And when we are separated from God, we are separated from our source of peace.  It is no wonder that hostility rises to the surface due to this separation.  Only God, through the power of His son’s sacrifice on the cross, can bridge that chasm of separation that sin creates.  It is the only way that sin can be forgiven and true peace can be present in our lives.  The result of having peace that only God can bring creates the antithesis of what hostility creates.  It bridges separation, heals relationships and creates harmony.  Invite peace into your life today by bringing your sin to God and asking for His forgiveness.

Pray

Heavenly Father, thank you for the grace and mercy you have given us through Jesus Christ.  Take this sin from us that has caused separation and hostility.  Let us experience the peace, oneness and harmony that only you can bring.

Act

Allow God to renew your heart and your mind.  Take a break and do as Philippians 4:8 directs:  “Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.”

Week 3

Friday

January 27, 2017

A Little Less Talk and A Lot More Walk

Read

Matthew 7:21, 23, “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of My Father who is in heaven… Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Depart from Me, you evildoers!’”

Think

Many people who think they’re Christians really aren’t. We don’t like to talk about this—it’s a scary thought—but it’s a pertinent fact when only God knows what tomorrow will bring. Scores of self-proclaimed “Christ followers” may think their eternities are secure, but they’re not! Believing in and receiving Christ aren’t the same thing. One can believe that Jesus is the Son of God and that He died on the cross for their sins without having received the Holy Spirit, the indwelling of Christ in us. Satan believes in Jesus, and he is definitely NOT going to heaven. So, we can’t just talk the talk, we’ve got to walk the walk. We can’t live like hell and expect to be ushered into God’s presence. Jesus never minced words. He said, “If you love Me, then obey My commands”. Are you living out Christ’s description of love?

Today’s verse depicts people banging on the door to salvation claiming they had performed mighty works in Jesus’ name, yet they were not declared righteous before a holy God. In response did Jesus say, “Well, I used to know you, but we’ve grown apart”? No! He said, “I never knew you!” Yikes! It’s not enough to say, “I know Jesus Christ”. The question we must ask is, does He know me?! This isn’t an easy pill to swallow—but it is God’s honest truth. If we are active in our faith, then we are working out what Jesus has worked into our hearts. Thus, heaven starts here! And the time for salvation is now. So if you’re questioning your eternity, repent and invite Jesus into your life. Because, the most horrific thing ever would be to hear Jesus say, “Depart from Me, I never knew you”.

Pray

Thank God for His Word, ask His Spirit to help you be more heavenly-minded, and continue praying for the lost people in your life to receive Christ.

Act

Read James 4:1-10, then read it again out loud. What words or phrases stand out to you the most and why? Journal your response.

Thursday

January 26, 2017

Narrow-Minded

Read

Matthew 7:13-14, “Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life and only a few find it.”

Think

What if every attendee, every single concession worker, all maintenance staff, the players, coaches, media and technology people, cheerleaders, and even Jerry Jones himself had to line up single file and enter through a very narrow door at the Cowboys Stadium? Now picture all 7.5 billion people in the world trying to fit through a very narrow gate. The masses would give up and look for superhighways and other paths of less resistance. The same is true spiritually. Today’s verse says that the wide gate leads to destruction. Following Jesus—the narrow gate—makes our lives 100% better, but definitely no easier. In fact, suffering is within God’s will to teach us, shape us, strengthen us, and draw us back to Him. We no longer wander aimlessly allowing feelings to dictate our next step. We are chosen and adopted children of God living to carry out His pre-ordained plan.

Jesus pulls no punches in letting us know that following Him comes at a price. So to avoid pitfalls, let’s look at why the wide gate is so appealing. First, by default, if we stiff-arm God we are unequivocally destined for doom. It’s also easier to bend the truth to fit our individual wants and desires than believing in and adhering to God’s absolute truth. The broad way leads to immediate self-gratification over the hope of eternity. Plus, it’s always easier to go with the flow than to stand firmly on the foundation of our faith. And finally, there’s no opposition from the devil for those already on the route to destruction. The choice is ours. We can experience difficulty here with the hope of a perfect eternity or live a self-indulgent and autonomous life and spend a Christ-less eternity in hell. So, let’s be diligent and narrow-minded with our eyes on the prize of someday seeing Jesus face-to-face.

Pray

Before God, commit to being more narrow-minded in your walk with Christ. Praise Him for His favor and countless blessings. And pray for at least four people you know currently on the path to destruction.

Act

Read Matthew 7—often referred to as the scariest chapter in the Bible. Then consider the following questions. Do you find it frightening? Does it make you fear for the lost people in your life? It should! So keep them in your prayers and keep on inviting them to church.

 

Wednesday

January 25, 2017

By, Through, and Don’t Forget the For

Read

Ephesians 2:8-10, “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—not by works, so that no one can boast. For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works which God prepared in advance for us to do.”

Think

The sinfulness of sin—the world, Satan, and the indulgence of the flesh—can only be eradicated by the greatness of God’s grace. After the basic tenets of the gospel foundation and acknowledging our need for repentance, it is crucial to understand how we are saved. We are saved by grace through faith—that’s it! God needs nothing from us. And there’s nothing within the human realm that can save us from His wrath. We’re sinners deserving of eternal death. Grace simply means unmerited favor, and it’s a gift from God when we choose to make Jesus the Lord of our lives. This, of course, means we have faith in Him and believe that His promises will be fulfilled. Here we must note—especially for new Christians—the marked difference between faith and belief. We can believe in something without repentance and transformation. The Bible says that even the demons believe in Jesus, and they are definitely not recipients of grace. This is the point Paul is making in Ephesians 2:8-9, but that’s not all when we continue reading.

Knowing they are saved by grace through faith, too many Christians conveniently gloss over verse 10. We’ve got the why and the how, but what about the “for” factor? We were created for works. True faith requires action. Because we are now alive in Christ we should strive for obedience, transformation, and growth. We aim to please God. We are here to serve Him and fulfill His plans and purpose for our lives that will continue in heaven. We are God’s handiwork created to do the good works we were intended to do before He laid the foundations of the earth. If we love God, if our faith is in His strength and promise, then we do the work. We should be trophies of God’s grace on display for the world to see. And we’re here to push the ball downfield for the glory and praise of God.

Pray

As a reminder that you are God’s handiwork, pray through Psalm 139:1-18. Then ask God to use you in great ways to further His purpose, and once again thank Him for the gift of grace.

Act

Read Ephesians 2 in the Message Translation Bible (MSG). If you are not currently serving in the house or are interested in additional serving opportunities click here: Start Serving

 

Tuesday

January 24, 2017

Incomparable Riches

Read

Ephesians 2:4-7, “But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved.  And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus.”

Think

One bad mood, one off day, one impure thought, or even one cross look separates us from God. Incapable of perfection, selfish, and sinful by nature, we are destined for doom! We can choose our choices, but we can’t choose our consequences, and the Bible says the wages of sin is death. God is not capricious and cruel; His wrath is proportionate to our sinful behavior, it’s what we deserve. BUT due to God’s intrinsic love He has shown us mercy. This is not getting what we deserve. No matter what we’ve done or where we’ve been, God will forgive every sin. Is mercy available to all? Yes! Is it granted to everyone? No. The Bible says in John 14:6, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.” Therefore, recipients of God’s incomparable riches have a personal relationship with Christ.  How great is our God?  Not only are we spared from what we do deserve, we receive what we don’t—His amazing grace.

It’s very popular to talk about God’s mercy, grace, and kindness. And it’s great to be joyful and celebrate God’s abounding love.  He doesn’t want us to dwell on our past. He wants us to look forward—but we must always keep in mind what we’ve overcome and the sacrifice that made it possible. This should encourage us to seek out people that will get what they deserve in a Christ-less eternity.

Pray

Thank God for His mercy and grace. Ask Him to speak to you through His word and thank Him again.

Act

Read Ephesians 2 in the New King James Version (NKJV). And don’t forget to invite people who need Jesus to join in on our God-led revolution.

 

Monday

January 23, 2017

Sin-i-ty

Read

Ephesians 2:1-3, “As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient. All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our flesh and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature deserving of wrath.”

Think

There is a fascination with zombies in our current culture. We talk about what we’d do if there was a zombie apocalypse and “The Walking Dead” is all the rage. The interesting thing, though, is although brainless, tattered, and torn looking monsters aren’t trying to take over the world, we pass by zombies—walking dead people—every day within the spiritual realm. When sin entered the world, so did the Law of Inevitable Consequences – the wrath that we deserve due to our sinful and selfish nature. Paul reminds us of this in Ephesians 2. It’s called the sinfulness of sin, the “sin-i-ty”: the world, Satan, and the flesh. Too often we let the world squeeze us into its mold. The devil is trying to distort our perception of the gospel just enough to thwart us from God’s purpose. And we are always faced with the temptation to indulge in God-given desires in ungodly ways.

This scenario has the potential to become a very sad song in our lives full of the hopelessness that sin brings. But there is good news – God can make that sad song better. We can break the world’s mold! We can refuse to buy into Satan’s lies! And we can resist temptation! When we lean on the gospel of peace—the righteous life, sacrificial death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ, we have the security of life change and forgiveness. No longer are we among the spiritually dead when we live out a life of fullness, blessing, purpose, and passion for Jesus. If you’re among the living, then you need to be shining the light of Christ among the dead. If you’re among the dead, then seek the light of God’s grace through Christ.

Pray

If you’re among the living in Christ, pray for at least two “dead” people to accept your invitation to experience the great things going on at FC. If you have yet to ask Jesus into your life and want to pray for salvation simply say: "God, I admit to you that I am a sinner. I’ve tried to do life on my own and have failed miserably. I turn from my sin and turn to you. I believe that Jesus died on the cross for my sins and rose from the dead. I choose to die to myself and rise into the life you created for me in Lord Jesus. And in His name I pray, Amen."

Act

Read Ephesians 2 in the New Living Translation (NLT). If you have just prayed the salvation prayer for the first time, then click here to learn about taking the next step.

 

Week 2

Friday

January 20, 2017

He Reigns

Read

Ephesians 1:19-21, “These are in accordance with the working of the strength of His might which He brought about in Christ, when He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places, far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the one to come.” (NASB)

Think

We often forget just how great and powerful Jesus really is. We decaffeinate the magnitude of what it means to sit at the right hand of God, as if He is second in command or some assistant coach. But Jesus isn’t sitting in a press box coordinating our lives play by play. He is not sequestered in some control room making things happen behind the scenes. No, He is the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords reigning supremely above all things. The right hand of God is the utmost position of authority; there’s nothing or no one greater than He. He is the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and end, the Almighty Sovereign Living God.

In this post-election season, there’s a lot of discussion about the President of the United States being the most powerful person on the planet…with access to the nuclear codes…and so on. But—and it’s a big but—as important as he is, the President’s power can’t even hold a candle to the God of the universe. You want to talk power? Power is the ability to give sight to the blind and make the lame walk. Power is the ability to calm a raging sea. Power is the ability to speak the world into existence and make the dead rise. So no matter if we are the CEO of a Fortune 500 company, a high-powered attorney, a teacher, or a janitor, if we love Jesus and surrender to His ultimate authority we are all VIPs in His sight. Why? Because He chose us to demonstrate what His power looks like in practice. We’ve been called to live a life of obedience and purpose as His mighty power is at work within us, enabling us to make a difference everywhere we go to the praise and glory of God.

Pray

Pray for our country in this time of transition. And give thanks to God for His ultimate authority on earth and in heaven.

Act

Ask yourself the following questions and journal each response: Am I growing in Christ? Am I tapping into God’s power and relying on His truth? Am I willing to step out of my comfort zone and take a leap of faith? Do my words and actions reflect Christ? Am I living in a way that’s worthy of my calling?

 

Thursday

January 19, 2017

Here Comes the Son

Read

Ephesians 1:19-20, “I also pray that you will understand the incredible greatness of God's power for us who believe Him. This is the same mighty power that raised Christ from the dead and seated Him in the place of honor at God's right hand in the heavenly realms.” (NLT)

Think

The Beatle’s hit “Here Comes The Sun” is arguably the best rock-n-roll song of all time. Numerous critics have given it the number one spot on their lists of “The 100 Greatest Hits”. Within the lyrics it says, “Little darling, I feel that ice is slowly melting. Little darling, it seems like years since it’s been clear. Here comes the sun…” 2,000 years ago, John the Baptist watched Jesus approach the Jordan River and he too declared, “Here comes the Son”. Then God Himself confirmed the Savior’s identity audibly from heaven. Our Lord Jesus stepped down through time and space to melt our hardened hearts and to help us see clearly through the lens of Scripture.

In yesterday’s devotional, we discussed God’s Almighty Power and its impact on our lives as we strive to attain God’s wisdom and live it out. And we talked about our ability to tap into the supernatural resurrection power that brought Christ up from the grave. Well, not only do we have His resurrection power, we also share in the same ascension power that seated Jesus at the right hand of His Father in heaven. The Son came, the Son ascended, and the Son forever reigns at the ultimate position of authority. When Christ is the epicenter of our lives our confidence abounds. We know that in every situation or circumstance—from the uttermost to the guttermost—God has us where we are for His divine purpose. And without a doubt, like the Son, we too will someday ascend to our Father in heaven.

Pray

Thank God for life, eternity, and His unmerited grace. And praise His name expressing your love and appreciation for all that He is and all that He has done.

Act

Enlighten the eyes of your heart to God’s glorious display of power by reading the account of Christ’s death in Matthew 27:45-56, His resurrection in Matthew 28:1-10, and His ascension in Acts 1:1-11. Absorb it and read it again out loud.

 

Wednesday

January 18, 2017

Power Source

Read

Ephesians 1:18-19, “I pray also that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which He has called you, the riches of His glorious inheritance in the saints, and His incomparably great power for us who believe. That power is like the working of His mighty strength.”

Think

Power must have a source. There are natural energy sources such as hydroelectric, solar, and wind. The electricity we so readily rely on everywhere we go is generated at power plants primarily using coal. As Christ followers, we have the most vast and potent energy source available to us 24/7. It is neither natural nor man-made—it’s the supernatural power we have in Christ! In Ephesians 1:18-19, Paul is not praying for God to empower us—He is praying for us to understand the power we’ve already received and to use it! Unfortunately, though, we frequently fail to recognize the extreme importance of tapping into this amazing force generated by the sheer love and grace of God. You see, apart from Jesus we are utterly powerless, devoid of hope, and incapable of pleasing God. With Him, we have the same supernatural resurrection power of Christ as He burst forth from the grave and put death to death.

The first step in applying the power within us is understanding we are not the source. Next, we must note the definition of power, which is the ability to get things done. This means we are not here to carry out our own plans and purpose; rather we are here to serve God and orchestrate His sovereign agenda. To do this we must pray for discernment and wisdom to understand how to put the power we have in Christ to work and live it out. We must also study and pray through Scripture and allow it to study us. So no matter what we face, we can firmly stand on the foundational power and promise of the Almighty God—Whose strength is made perfect in our weakness.

Pray

Thank God for providing you with the resurrection power of Christ. And as you seek His wisdom through Scripture ask Him to guard your mind and heart against complacency.

Act

Spend a few moments reflecting on times in the past when you tried to rely on your own strength. What was the outcome? Now bask in the radiant energy made yours through the Son and the impact it has on your life every day.

 

Tuesday

January 17, 2017

The Hope of His Calling

Read

Ephesians 1:18, “I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened, so that you will know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints”.

Think

The Apostle Paul was no stranger to understanding the parallel between physical and spiritual blindness. On his way to persecute Christ followers, a radiant light blinded him and Jesus Himself called out his actions. For three days he experienced physical blindness as God opened the eyes of his greatly hardened heart. And ironically, this man with blood on his hands from killing those who professed their faith in the Son of God became the greatest church planter ever known and wrote two-thirds of the New Testament. With this in mind, we should pay special attention to Paul’s prayers. In Ephesians 1:18, he prays for God to open the eyes of the hearts of those experiencing spiritual blindness. You see true enlightenment is the wisdom and revelation of putting God’s word into action.

When our hearts are led by the guardrails and guidelines of God’s word and the qualities that define His very nature and character, only then can we truly understand the depth of hope we have in Christ. Essentially, the better we know Jesus the better we know ourselves. The “hope of His calling” then transcends feelings and attaches to God’s truth. Biblical hope is the assurance of future fact—the ability to live by faith no matter the situation or circumstances. A heart that yields to God despite personal feelings produces the greatest amount of true hope, faith, and trust. And our spiritual vision abounds in the strength of knowing the here and now will always give way to the eternal. Thus, the eyes of our heart—our faith—perform at maximum capacity when we focus on God’s plans and purpose and not our own.

Pray

Pray for God to alert your heart the next time you allow your personal feelings and objectives to transcend the power and purpose of His plan. And ask Him to enlighten the eyes of your heart to truly recognize the “hope of His calling”.

Act

Do a good deed today. Donate a couple of dollars to feed homeless pets, help someone with their groceries, or buy a complete stranger’s cup of coffee. No matter the deed, simply help another in need.

 

Monday

January 16, 2017

Heart Knowledge

Read

“For this reason I too, having heard of the faith in the Lord Jesus which exists among you and your love for all the saints, do not cease giving thanks for you, while making mention of you in my prayers;” - Ephesians 1:15-17 (NASB)

Think

It’s great to gain knowledge of a subject. Chances are that when you have that knowledge you’ll even want to share it with others. But in order to apply that knowledge to our life we have to not only have head knowledge, but heart knowledge too. In other words, to be truly effective we don’t just know about the subject, but we are putting it in practice and applying it to our lives.

This is really what the Christian life is about. Many times we will read God’s word, we may even talk about Him too. But we don’t really put into application what His word says. This is what happens when we know the Bible but don’t allow the Bible to know us. The words stay only in our minds, but they never make it those several inches to our heart. God’s word isn’t meant to only be stored away in our minds. It is meant to be applied and displayed in our sphere of influence and ultimately to the world. Truth known is cool, but truth applied can change the world. Let your faith show to the world around you.

Pray

Thank God for His truth – His Word. Ask Him to reveal His word to you every time you read it. Ask Him to allow His word to not just dwell in your mind, but seep into your heart in order to change you. Ask Him to help you live His word out in your life daily.

Act

Before stepping out into the world, ask God to help you see others through His eyes. Pray for those you will cross paths with today. Ask God to let His light shine through you.

Week 1

Friday

January 13, 2017

Signed, Sealed, Delivered

Read

Ephesians 1:13-14, “And you also were included in Christ when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation. Having believed, you were marked in Him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, Who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God’s possession—to the praise of His glory.”

Think

With identity theft so rampant in our world today, we often have to verify who we are with passwords and fingerprints. Legal documents are signed before a witness for authenticity and notarized with a specific stamp. Such precautionary measures are nothing new. In ancient times, important documents and decrees were sealed with hot wax stamped with the impression of the owner’s ring. In today’s verse, Paul uses this word picture to illustrate a believer’s faith being sealed by the Holy Spirit—the essence of ultimate security. God wants us to be absolutely certain of our salvation. Jesus is forever branded on our hearts and His Spirit always leads us back to God’s promise and absolute truth.

No one walks into a car dealership and expects to buy a car without some form of down payment. No, the purchaser enters into a contract promising to make payments until the balance is paid in full. The moment we put our trust in Jesus we are given a very real and immediate earnest deposit guaranteeing us the promise of greater blessing and a Christ-filled eternity in heaven. Our names are signed in the Book of Life by the blood of Christ. We are sealed by the Holy Spirit from the inside out, and delivered from the bondage of sin and death by the outpouring of God’s grace through faith. Our identity is found in Christ alone. So in the words of Stevie Wonder let’s praise Him by saying, “Signed, sealed, delivered—I’m Yours!”

Pray

Spend a few moments “Facetiming” with God. Seek His face and praise His name with an attitude of utter gratitude, and let His Spirit guide the rest of your time spent in prayer.

Act

Read Ephesians 1 in the Amplified Bible (AMP) translation.

 

Thursday

January 12, 2017

We’re Rich!

Read

Ephesians 1:11-12, “Also we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to His purpose who works all things after the counsel of His will, to the end that we who were the first to hope in Christ would be to the praise of His glory”.

Think

Love must have an object, and we are the object of God’s love. And like any great parent, His love is unconditional and we love Him in return. He chose us as His own and for His purpose to receive an inheritance. Yes, we are in God’s will! Why we were chosen we will never know. But we do know that at the center of all God’s blessings is Jesus. We have nothing apart from Christ—but in Him we have everything! Our confidence is found in knowing we are never alone, we are never without purpose, and we are never uncertain about where we’ll spend eternity. We have God-fidence; we walk with a spiritual swagger.

The moment we put our trust in Jesus, we have never-ending wealth. We are rich in Christ—He is our inheritance. And guess what? He inherits us! We draw on Him to fulfill every need, and He draws on us to carry out God’s predestined plan and purpose. Therefore, we’re rich due to God’s abounding grace and we are to spend our inheritance through works. This means we should be walking, talking, living, breathing billboards for “the praise of God’s glory” in everything we say and do, leading others toward the life-saving message of hope only found in Jesus Christ.

Pray

Thank God for orchestrating the circumstances that led you to Christ and for working through all things for your benefit. Then, wholeheartedly express your love to Him as your Heavenly Father.

Act

Today, read Ephesians 1 using the New International Version (NIV) Bible.

 

Wednesday

January 11, 2017

The Cost of Freedom

Read

Ephesians 1:7-10, “In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace that He lavished on us with all wisdom and understanding. And He made known to us the mystery of His will according to His good pleasure, which He purposed in Christ, to be put into effect when the times reach their fulfillment—to bring unity to all things in heaven and on earth under Christ”.

Think

In today’s crazy culture, we thrive on being “free”. We think freedom is the ability to do whatever we feel like doing regardless of anyone else’s opinion. But is freedom merely about lifestyle choices? What does it really mean to experience true freedom? Because even though our “free” society has detached from God, God is not some detached deity—He is the essence of freedom.

Freedom isn’t free. We were bought at a price so great that even King Solomon with all his riches couldn’t foot the bill. The Bible says the wages of sin is death.  Therefore, as sinners, we deserve the full extent of God’s wrath. But because God did not spare His Son, because Jesus willingly stood in our place, and because He spilled His precious blood as an atonement for our sins—we are FREE! We are free from transgressions, free from condemnation, free from fear, and free from eternal death. All we have to do is believe that Jesus died and rose again for the forgiveness of our sins. And, Jesus has revealed God’s will for our lives so that we are free to become who He created us to be as He lavishes His grace upon us.

Pray

Spend a few moments meditating on the implications of your freedom in Christ. Thank God for calling you out of darkness and into the light, and praise Him for lavishing His grace upon you.

Act

This week as we recognize and remember who we are in Christ, continue reading Ephesians 1 in the New Living Translation (NLT).

Tuesday

January 10, 2017

Trin-I-D

Read

Ephesians 1:4-6, "For He chose us in Him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in His sight. In love He predestined us for adoption to sonship through Jesus Christ, in accordance with His pleasure and will to the praise of His glorious grace, which He has freely given us in the One He loves."

Think

A revolution takes place when we understand our identity, and our identity is found in the Trinity: God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. The Godhead, 3 in 1 and 1 in 3, is something we'll never fully grasp on this side of eternity. The Bible does, though, explain the implications of our relationship with each manifestation of God. In Ephesians 1:4-6, the apostle Paul details three aspects to understanding our identity in God the Father; we are chosen, adopted, and accepted by Him who spared His own Son to make our relationship with Him possible.

God chose you! Right now, say it loud and proud, "God chose me!" That's right! And it's not as if one day He decided to pick you out of a crowd. No, He chose you before He laid the foundations of the earth. He knew what you would look like, He knew your name, He loved you, and He gave you a very specific purpose. But He also knew that you would be born outside of His family. We were born into a fallible and fallen world. Sin separated us from entering the presence of a perfect and holy God. Through His Son, He made a way to reconcile us to Himself. Thereby we were reborn of His Spirit and adopted as His children. So, God chose you, He adopted you, and He has accepted you. God knows you are a work in progress, but by grace He now looks at you and sees the righteousness of His beloved Son. Remember, you are a child of God, chosen, adopted, and accepted—it's who you are—it's your Trin-I-D!

Pray

Thank God for choosing you, for calling you His child, and accepting you as a work in progress.

Act

Read Ephesians chapter 1 in the Message (MSG) translation.

Monday

January 9, 2017

A Perfect Fit

Read

Ephesians 1:1-3 (NASB), “Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, To the saints who are at Ephesus and who are faithful in Christ Jesus:  Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ”.

Think

Isn’t it true that we sometimes try way too hard to fit in? Throughout our lives we have been drawn to various groups that seemingly have it all together. We think if we can win their approval, then we’ll have finally made it. But upon further inspection, are they truly who we want to be? Because, apart from God we’ll never be as together as we’d like everyone to think. Our lives can only peak with maximum potential when we stop playing to the crowd and play for an audience of One—God.

As Christians, our identity is solely found in the Holy Trinity: God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. We are forgiven by the Father’s gift of unmerited grace through the Son. Then, the moment we accept Jesus as the Lord and Savior of our lives, the Holy Spirit takes up permanent residence in our hearts. From this we gain a supernatural confidence with God in us. We fit in with Perfection! Why? Because we know we’re here on purpose for a purpose—to glorify the name above all names, Jesus Christ.

Pray

Thank God for His forgiveness and acceptance of you. Ask Him to lead your steps with the knowledge of both who and Whose you truly are.

Act

Begin developing a solid understanding of your identity in the Trinity.  Continue reading Ephesians chapter 1 in the NASB translation.

NYE at FC

Week 1

Friday

January 6, 2017

Happy Endings

Read

Luke 19:10, “The Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost”.
I Peter 3:15, “But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to anyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect”.

Think

We all love a great story. And with every great story, there’s a situation, a build-up, a climax, and hopefully a happy-ending. Sadly, though, in real life not all stories end happily ever after. For those who don’t know Christ, their ending will result in misery and utter isolation. Because when this life ends forever begins, and forever is a very long time. As believers, our hope is built on a Christ-filled eternity in heaven—a place more glorious and spectacular than we can ever imagine. But as we eagerly await coming face to face with the Savior, we have a mission. It is to populate heaven and depopulate hell. Most often the path to salvation doesn’t occur by the unsaved randomly showing up at church. No, it starts with us as we share our own great story with the lost.

We don’t have to be Bible scholars to share our story. And often, when we attempt to explain why we believe what we believe to the unchurched from a biblical perspective it backfires. Instead, it’s always great to meet people on common ground. It helps to engage in friendly conversation and get to know a little bit about them—and people love to talk about themselves. Then when the timing is right—and God’s timing is always perfect—we share our stories. We talk about who we were before we knew Christ, what led us to Christ, and what Christ is doing in and through our lives. Eternities are on the line, the stakes are high, and we must love others enough to share about who and Whose we are. Remember, we seek, Jesus saves, and lives are forever changed, because God desires for us all to have a happy-ending.

Pray

Pray for at least three people you know in need of life change and ask God to orchestrate just the right moment to share your story with them.

Act

Prepare to share your story. Write it down. Practice telling it in a precise and concise manner. And be ready when such opportunities arise.

Thursday

January 5, 2017

Worship Is…

Read

Psalm 84:4, “Happy are the people who live at Your temple; they are always praising You”.
Psalm 34:1, “I will praise the Lord at all times; His praise is always on my lips”.

Think

Many of us relegate worship to merely the first ten or fifteen minutes of church as we praise God by singing. And yes, that is a part of public worship, but worship is so much more—it’s a way of life, it’s what we do. Picture a pyramid with God as the foundation. As you move up the sides, think about everything you do throughout the week, every facet of your life relationally, vocationally, maritally, socially, etc. Then you reach the peak which is our time spent in corporate worship—the best hour of our week. Thus, we do not come to church to worship; we come worshipping. Worship is our response to who God is and what He’s done expressed in what we say and do.

God does not need our worship. We do not fulfill His needs by attending church. No, but it does fulfill ours. As Christ followers, our goal is obedience. This means striving to emulate the very nature and character of Jesus Christ. So what does that look like in our daily lives? It is honoring and loving our spouse as Christ loves the church. It is leading our children into a relationship with Jesus and collaborating with the local church to make good kids into great leaders. It is bringing the tithe back to God and being responsible with the resources we’ve been given. It is treating our bodies like holy temples of the Lord. It is our prayer life. It is being the same person of integrity in private as we are in public, because how we act when no one’s around is who we truly are. Worship incorporates all these things and more. Is your life an act of worship?

Pray

First, spend a few moments reflecting on everything God has done and is doing in your life, then thank Him. And ask Him to reveal any areas that you are falling short of bringing Him the glory He deserves.

Act

Psalm 96:1-2 says, “Sing to the Lord a new song; sing to the Lord all the earth. Sing to the Lord, praise His name; proclaim His salvation day after day”. Start your day—wherever you are—by playing worship music and singing along wholeheartedly. And think, “This is a day that the Lord has made and I will rejoice and be glad in it!”

Wednesday

January 4, 2017

Microwave Prayers

Read

I Thessalonians 5:16-18, “Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus”.

Think

The phrase “But First, Coffee” is currently trending on t-shirts, coffee mugs, placards, coasters, and even key chains. More than anything else in the morning, we lean on caffeine to face the day. And it’s true; coffee does stimulate us to get moving. However, as catchy as “But First, Coffee” is, it doesn’t prepare us for the day ahead. With Christ in us, we’re already prepared from the moment our eyes open and our feet hit the floor. And in order to maximize our daily potential we need to flip the script and stimulate our minds with, “But first, prayer”.

Many of us don’t pray enough because we errantly believe we have to hit our knees and spend a certain amount of time to pray effectively.  Do not be mistaken, all time spent in prayer is great! But as we hustle and bustle throughout the day, extended periods of prayer aren’t always feasible. Today’s verse says to “pray continually”. This means God wants us to include Him in everything we do. And often, quick simple prayers—microwave prayers—are perfect to refocus our minds as we engage in each new task. Therefore, as you move throughout your day keep God in the conversation, listen for His voice, and allow Him to flow through you as you interface with others.

Pray

Praise God for His desire to be in continuous communication with you. Express your love to Him and thank Him for the perfect agenda He has for your life.

Act

Set an alarm on your phone for three times during your day to serve as a prayer reminder. This will help you get in the habit of praying microwave prayers and including God in your daily dialogue.

Tuesday

January 3, 2017

Instruction Manual

Read

John 3:16, “For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.”
James 1:22, “Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.”

Think

Many of us are not good at reading instructions. Or maybe, we simply don’t want to be bothered. But the truth is reading directions can save us a lot of wasted time, energy, and frustration. Why then do we so often try to figure things out on our own? We were never meant to exist on self-reliance. God created us to be reliant upon His strength and guidance. And He gave us an amazing instruction manual—the Bible.

One of the most important things we can do to make 2017 a raving success is to study Scripture on a regular basis. The Bible is literally a gift from God; it is His love letter to us.  The death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ is the foundation of our faith. John 3:16 beautifully illustrates God’s love, His sacrifice, and His promise of a Christ-filled eternity to those of us who believe. In addition, the Word exists for our protection, inspection, correction, and direction. But what good does it do us to merely read the Bible? True life-change happens when we do what God says to do! Therefore, obedient application leads to spiritual transformation. God’s way works! So pick up His instruction manual today. Read it and apply it for a beautiful day and an even brighter tomorrow.

Pray

Praise God for expressing His abounding love to us through His word and ask Him to guide your thoughts today as you spend time in Scripture.

Act

Meditation is a key element to studying the Bible. It simply means to mull over, to reflect, and to deeply focus on a particular thought. Today, meditate on John 3:16 and consider the magnitude and meaning of this verse.

 

Rhythm of Christmas

Week 3

Friday

December 30, 2016

King of Kings

Read

Philippians 2:5-8, “Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus:  Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to His own advantage; rather, He made Himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to death—even death on a cross!”

Think

Today, our most prevalent image of royalty is the English Royal Family, synonymous with privilege, wealth, and entitlement. We constantly see photos of Prince William, Kate, and their two children. But, we can only wonder what life is truly like for them behind the hats, handshakes, and smiles. Although seen publically, they are untouchable. Essentially, you will not run into Charles and Camilla at the local coffee shop. In contrast, it’s intriguing that the King of Kings lived such a modest life. And that He is always approachable and always available.

We are all naturally selfish. It is our nature to put ourselves first with an air of entitlement. Knowing this, God encourages us to imitate Christ’s humility. Jesus was God incarnate, yet on earth, He came to serve—not be served. Fully God and fully man, He never leaned on His divinity for thirty-three years. In fact, not only did He become a humble servant, He became the object of public humiliation, hatred, and scorn. We cannot even begin to imagine what He felt shouldering the burden of all sin and suffering. Therefore, we must be obedient, diligent, earnest, and others-focused in our Christian walk. Only then will our lives become an act of worship as we serve the King of Kings.

Pray

Praise God for commissioning Jesus to live a perfect life and die a sacrificial death. Thank Him for accepting you as a work in progress. And ask for guidance as you seek to empty yourself of self to become a selfless, humble, and obedient servant in Christ.

Act

Did you know that you are royalty? As a child of God, you are a co-heir with Christ in line to inherit the Kingdom of Heaven. As a reminder of this, memorize I John 1:3, “How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are!”

 

Thursday

December 29, 2016

Pierced For Peace

Read

Isaiah 53:5-6, “But He was pierced for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on Him, and by His wounds we are healed. We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to our own way; and the Lord has laid on Him the iniquity of us all”.

Think

We know Jesus graciously died for our sins. However, today’s scripture separately mentions that He suffered for both our transgressions and iniquities. Isaiah could have written ‘pierced and crushed for our sins’—but he didn’t. We often fail to realize that both terms are not synonymous. So to grasp the full depth of meaning in this verse, it’s important to understand the difference. The word “iniquity” describes utterly immoral and grossly unfair behavior. A transgression is merely an offense of conduct or violation of law. Thus, as Christ followers, hopefully we no longer involve in extremely vile behavior, but we do, however, transgress daily.

God does not expect us to be perfect. But He does expect us to strive for excellence, and the only way to pursue it is through daily prayer. We must ask Him for wisdom and discernment as we seek to grow more and more like Christ—who is perfect. Because, most often, it is our little indiscretions that allow the enemy to gain a foothold in our lives. Therefore, daily reflection of our acts, deeds, and transgressions will thwart the evil one’s attempts to keep us from fulfilling our purpose. And it will draw us closer to God as our hearts and minds are renewed in Christ.

Pray

Thank God for His amazing grace and unconditional love. And ask for strength to overcome whatever keeps you stumbling.

Act

Take a sin-ventory and present your current transgressions to God.

 

Wednesday

December 28, 2016

Take A Bow

Read

Psalm 95:6-7, “Come, let us bow down in worship, let us kneel before the LORD our Maker; for He is our God and we are the people of His pasture, the flock under His care”.

Think

Isn’t it interesting to watch people’s posture, how they carry themselves? Certain people stand very erect with an elongated neck. Others emit a vibe of insecurity, sadness, or sickness standing with their heads down and shoulders slumped forward. Some people relax into their stance and just sort of groove through life. And most of us land somewhere in the middle. How’s your posture? How do you carry yourself?  Because, our outward posture is a display of our inner condition and spiritual disposition.

Kneeling is typically considered a posture of passivity, but when we bow before God, it becomes active. In stillness, we position ourselves in submission to the Lord’s authority, sovereignty, and power and our hearts become receptive to His voice. As we worship our Creator, in the name of Christ, great things happen as God begins to move in our lives. Not only does bowing down in surrender allow us to get under God’s authority, it helps us grow, and to stand tall for Christ with spiritual swagger. Then, we begin to approach every aspect of our lives with God-fidence—not arrogance or false pride—but confidence in who and Whose we are. Remember, as we get under what God has put over us, He places us over what He has prepared for us.  As we enter 2017, periodically check your posture, giving thanks to God the Father and praising the name above all names, Jesus Christ. Is it time for you to take a bow?

Pray

Pray on bended knee before the Lord in appreciation, admiration, and adoration of Jesus Christ, who stepped down from heaven to earth in human form to reconcile us to His Father.

Act

Everything we do, say, touch, and feel should be an act of worship. We do not come to church to worship; we come worshiping. Let this thought marinate in your mind as we approach the New Year. And make a resolution to meditate on a few passages of Scripture daily to determine the position and condition of your heart.

Tuesday

December 27, 2016

Grace On Top of Grace

Read

John 1:14-16, “And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen His glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth. (John bore witness about Him, and cried out, “This was He of whom I said, ‘He who comes after me ranks before me, because He was before me.’”) For from His fullness we have all received, grace upon grace.

Think

As children, even though we knew the Christmas story, our minds were typically more focused on counting our presents under the tree and the anticipation of even more gifts from Santa Claus. Now, as parents, our pleasure comes from giving our children gifts and watching excitedly as they open them. But let’s face it; they did nothing to earn all of their new toys gadgets, and apparel. They receive presents because of our abounding love and devotion to them. However, parents’ love for their children is only a microcosm of God’s love for us as His children. And God dispenses gifts to us according to His will and pleasure. We’ve done nothing to deserve His love, but due to His mercy, we receive unmerited favor. It is God’s love in action. In fact, everything we receive from Christ can be summed up in one word—grace.  Without it, our eyes are blind to God’s glory. But, when we accept His gift of forgiveness, making Jesus both our Lord and Savior, our eyes open supernaturally to see Christ for who He truly is. Then grace transforms us and changes us into His likeness by the Holy Spirit of God.

“Grace on top of grace” is God’s goodwill towards us and the work of Christ in us. Such grace promotes and advances further grace, and is multiplied through our actions and deeds. For the grace we’ve been given, we must extend to others. Thus, the greatest gift we can give our children is to guide them into a personal relationship with Christ and partner with the local church to develop these good kids into great leaders by His grace and for His glory.

Pray

Thank God for opening your heart and mind to His wisdom and truth. And pray for Him to open the eyes of others to see His glory through your words, actions, and deeds in Christ.

Act

Pause for a moment and remember God’s ultimate act of grace by sending Jesus to die on the cross for your sins and rise again. And throughout the day remember to approach others with appreciation and grace.

Monday

December 26, 2016

Comfort and Joy

Read

Psalm 23: 1, “The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not be in want”.
Psalm 23:6, “Surely Your goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever”.

Think

Many believe David wrote the 23rd Psalm towards the end of his life. This eloquent prayer is obviously expressed by that of someone with a wealth of life experience. But prior to God’s appointment of him as king, he was a shepherd. He faithfully tended his flock day and night despite the weather and other dangerous circumstances that certainly made his job less than ideal. From shepherding sheep to leading the nation of Israel, it’s evident in David’s words that he had a true sense of supernatural confidence, comfort and joy.

This Psalm transcends time, and is just as relevant today as it was nearly a thousand years before Christ. And because of our faith in the one and only Living God, we too can pray with confidence, comfort, and joy for all the great things He has done, is doing, and will do in our lives through our Savior Jesus Christ.

Pray

Thank God for the eternal confidence, comfort, and joy you have in Christ no matter the situation or circumstance.

Act

Take a few moments and consider your current needs. Then, prayerfully approach God with confidence and faith that He will meet each need.

Week 2

Friday

December 23, 2016

Coming Home

Read

Matthew 2:19-21,  “After Herod died, an angel of the Lord appeared in a dream to Joseph in Egypt  and said, “Get up, take the child and his mother and go to the land of Israel, for those who were trying to take the child’s life are dead”. So he got up, took the child and His mother, and went to the land of Israel.”

Think

There’s almost nothing better than reuniting with family and friends for the holidays. Bing Crosby said it best in his Christmas classic, “Oh, there’s no place like home for the holidays. No matter how far away you roam… for the holidays, you can’t beat home sweet home”. And it’s true! It’s all so exciting: the anticipation, the preparation, and finally the celebration. With this in mind, think how relieved Mary and Joseph must have felt when God gave them the green light to leave Egypt and return to Nazareth. This is where Mary lived at the time of Jesus’ conception. Her family was there, she likely met Joseph there, and they were well known. Living in a foreign nation, God called His Son home to the Promised Land, just as He had centuries earlier with the children of Israel. Right now, God is calling for the lost, those living far outside of His family, to return as well.

We were not born within the family of God. We too, were foreigners to Him, until we chose to make Jesus our personal Lord and Savior. How great is it that our hearts are now a permanent dwelling place for Christ! As full-court followers, God’s house—the local church—is a constant fixture in our lives. So, as we consider our own spiritual healing and maturity, we want to welcome the scores of people still spiritually sick and dying that will be coming “home” for the holidays. Prayerfully, many will be just one step away from becoming fellow members of God’s family.

Pray

Ask God for hearts to be touched and lives to be changed as many first-time guests attend Fellowship Church. Remember, no matter how far they might have roamed, pray for God’s house to become their home.

Act

As you attend the Rhythm of Christmas experience, come early, and be a friendly face. Introduce yourself to new people, and share with them our culture of hospitality. Because, you never know, God might have set a divine appointment for you to be His messenger for the Messiah!

 

Thursday

December 22, 2016

Position Opposition

Read

Matthew 2:7-8, 13, “Then Herod called the Magi secretly and... sent them to Bethlehem and said, ‘Go and search carefully for the child. As soon as you find him, report to me’… An angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream. ‘Get up,’ he said, ‘take the child and his mother and escape to Egypt. Stay there until I tell you, for Herod is going to search for the child to kill him.’”

Think

Today, in most cities, it seems like the road construction is never-ending. Familiar routes suddenly dead-end and become aggravating detours. Similarly, the enemy is constantly vying to thwart us from pursuing the things of God. He loves to deter us with distractions, throwing oblique obstacles in our lives every day. But, we have a God far bigger and greater than any of Satan’s schemes.

King Herod considered Jesus to be a threat, an obstruction to his power, and attempted to have Him killed—but God provided an escape. Herod was no match for the King of Kings and God’s sovereign power prevailed. Likewise, when we look to God for guidance, He will always equip us with an alternate route. Of course, we will still face obstacles, but with a God that can move mountains, we are assured that the highway to His heart is open as we set forth to fulfill His plans and purpose.

Pray

Ask God to clear the way for all the guests you have invited to experience Christmas at Fellowship Church.

Act

Check in with the people you invited, and express your excitement about celebrating the Rhythm of Christmas. Specify a meeting point and ask them to join you in the worship center.

 

Wednesday

December 21, 2016

A Star Pierced Sky

Read

Matthew 2:1-2, “After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the time of King Herod, Magi from the east came to Jerusalem and asked, ‘Where is the one who has been born King of the Jews? We saw His star when it rose and have come to worship Him.’”

Think

Although we know the Magi set out in search of the newborn King, the Bible gives no account of how God informed them that the eastern star signified His Son’s birth. However, we do know that the star didn’t guide them all the way to Jerusalem. Only after inquiring about the infant Christ did the star reappear above Bethlehem. As they drew near, surely they felt abounding hope in anticipation of meeting God face to face.

Every day we pass by hopeless people searching for something to fill the God-shaped hole in their lives. Yes, they have heard of Jesus, but a personal relationship with Him seems like a distant possibility. As Christ followers, we must be the light—the bright star—leading the way to a joy-filled life of purpose and faith. And we must always be prepared to give an answer for the hope we have. Initially, they may only catch glimpses of Christ in us. But with consistency, we can become a beacon of light shining out of the darkness guiding them, like the Magi, to meet the Savior of the world.

Pray

Pray for everyone feeling hopeless this holiday season. And ask that they find the hope and peace of Jesus Christ.

Act

Think about the people you know seeking hope. Next time you see them, compliment them or give them some words of encouragement. And allow them to notice the special spark of the Holy Spirit in everything you say and do.

Tuesday

December 20, 2016

Too Good Not To Share

Read

Luke 2:17-20, “When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told to them about this child, and all who heard it were amazed… The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen; which were just as they had been told”.

Think

Whenever we see a fabulous movie or discover a great new restaurant, we can’t wait to tell others all about it. We love to give play-by-play details of what we saw, heard, tasted, and felt. Why then, do we naturally hesitate when given the opportunity to share about the life change we have experienced as Christ followers?

In biblical times, shepherds were not highly regarded in the community. So, it was unlikely that they would go about announcing the birth of an unknown infant. Imagine how shocking their announcement of the Messiah’s birth must have been initially. But the Bible says everyone was amazed by what they heard. Perhaps, just as much as the news itself, people were drawn to the men’s glowing and animated account. Every week we have front row seats to the life change happening here at Fellowship Church. Movies and restaurants come and go, but salvation lasts forever. Next time you feel like giving a glowing recommendation, why not make it for the only thing Jesus ever built—the local church.

Pray

Pray for the Spirit of God to prompt you to share your life story in moments of hesitation.

Act

Identify three specific people in need of life change, and allow the Holy Spirit to work through you as the hands and feet of Jesus.

 

Monday

December 19, 2016

Humble Guests

Read

Luke 2:15-16, “When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about”. So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger”.

Think

We’ve all had those “You’ll never guess who I just ran into” moments. They make us shake our heads, because we keep thinking how crazy it was to run into that person in that place! Surely, Mary and Joseph felt something similar to this when the shepherds, total strangers, hurriedly arrived to witness the newborn Christ. Was it awkward at first? What could they otherwise have had in common? 

Of all the characters in the Bible, only a very small percentage received direct communication from God. It is probable that the shepherds, Mary and Joseph all shared their visions and visitations as great encouragement for their faith. When we think, “What could I possibly have in common with that person?” the answer is simple—Jesus! Some of the most unlikely people to attend church are just one invite away from salvation.

Pray

As you continue to pray for those you have invited to the Fellowship Church Christmas experiences, ask God for opportunities to invite the most unlikely of guests and for Him to give you just the right words to say.

Act

Be creative and think of ways to enhance your invitations. Attaching candy canes or packets of hot chocolate with ribbon is a great place to start.

 

Week 1

Friday

December 16, 2016

Glory to God in the Highest

Read

Luke 2:13-14, “ Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, “Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those on whom His favor rests”.

Think

Singing Christmas carols is a great way to get into the holiday spirit. But as we get closer to Christmas, we hear these familiar tunes repeatedly. And the songs about Christ’s birth become innocuously mixed amongst the scores of songs like “Here Comes Santa Claus” and “Jingle Bell Rock”. They become relegated to background music while we are busy shopping for presents, searching for the best deals, and waiting in long checkout lines.

The shepherds had just received the news of Christ’s birth from an angel of the Lord. Can you imagine their reaction to the magnitude of the multitude of heavenly hosts appearing before them singing, “Glory to God in the highest”? What they experienced seems merely unfathomable! But what is fathomable are the countless ways we can glorify God by showing goodwill to others through our words, actions, and deeds. After all, Jesus is the reason for the season.

Pray

Pray for wisdom and awareness as you seek to glorify God in every aspect of your life this Christmas season. And ask God for discernment and insight into any areas you are unknowingly not bringing Him the glory He deserves.

Act

The next time you find yourself mindlessly humming along to “O Holy Night” or “Joy to the World”, tune in, and let the message first proclaimed by a chorus of God’s angels on the night of Jesus’ birth guide your thoughts. And then ask yourself, “How can I glorify God today?”

 

Thursday

December 15, 2016

Good News

Read

Luke 2:8-12, “And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, ‘Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; He is the Messiah, the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.’”

Think

The vast majority of us are not called to be pastors in the local church. But as Christ followers, we are called to be ministers of the gospel of peace. Think about it. God could have sent His angel to appear before the religious elite and scholars of the law—but He didn’t! He chose shepherds, men of humble means, to be the first to receive the good news of Jesus’ birth.  Regardless of where we work or our course of study, we are employed by God to be His messengers everywhere we go.

The Bible says we are here to glorify God and shine His light in darkness. But often, this ‘darkness’ is not found in some back alley—it is in close proximity to us every day. Isn’t it true that when it comes to sharing God’s message it’s often hardest to share with our coworkers and classmates? No matter what, though, even when it seems intimidating, we must remember Who we are truly working for.

Pray

This week, pray for God to give you courage as His messenger to boldly proclaim the true meaning of Christmas.

Act

Just as the angel said to the shepherds, “Do not be afraid”, God is telling us the same thing. Allow His Spirit to infiltrate your heart and mind as you invite coworkers and classmates to experience Christmas at Fellowship Church.

 

Wednesday

December 14, 2016

Here Comes the Son

Read

Luke 2:5-7, “[Joseph] went to [Bethlehem] to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child. While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no guest room available for them”.

Think

Have you ever planned a trip somewhere and things didn’t happen quite the way you expected? Maybe the hotel that looked so clean and pristine in the brochure turned out to be a little run-down and dingy. However, in retrospect, you choose not to focus on the poor conditions, but instead the treasured memories you made there. As Joseph and Mary set out for Bethlehem, certainly they weren’t thinking that she would give birth to the Savior of the world surrounded by livestock! But as Mary adoringly gazed down at the infant in her arms, the less than ideal circumstances no longer mattered.

Isn’t it true that some of life’s greatest gifts are found in the most unexpected places? Who would have ever imagined that God’s Son could be found in a feeding trough? Although Jesus entered the world in meager conditions, He came as the greatest gift of all—the Messiah, sent to save us by the mercy and grace of God.

Pray

Today, as you spend time in prayer, take a moment to reflect on God’s gift of preemptive forgiveness through His Son Jesus Christ. And thank Him for His constant presence in your life.

Act

The Christmas season is a time of sharing gifts and spreading joy. And there’s no greater gift than sharing the gospel of peace with those who don’t know Christ. Today be mindful of those people and share God’s love by inviting them to Fellowship Church.

 

Tuesday

December 13, 2016

A Father’s Commitment

Read

Matthew 1:20-24, “…an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream and said, ‘Mary will give birth to a son, and you are to give Him the name Jesus, because He will save His people from their sins’ All of this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet: ‘The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and they will call Him Immanuel’ which means—‘God with us’. When Joseph woke up, he did what the angel had commanded him and tool Mary home as his wife”.

Think

In ancient times, Mary’s pre-marital pregnancy was so very not okay. We can only imagine Joseph’s initial shock when she was found to be with child prior to the angel’s appearance to him in a dream. Can you imagine explaining that to your family over Christmas dinner? Mary being unwed and pregnant would have been the talk of the town. And even worse, this particular “sin” was often punishable by death! Yikes! Legally, Joseph had every right to send her back to her family to be disowned or possibly killed—but he didn’t. And like Mary, as a righteous man of integrity, he too faithfully obeyed the Lord’s command.

You probably remember a time (maybe you’re going through one right now) when you pushed back on something God commanded you to do. Maybe God was asking you to address a destructive behavior or to step out of your comfort zone. Think about your life: is there any area where you are living in disobedience? The Bible says, “If you love Me, obey My commands”. Therefore, when we give up control and allow God to reign in our lives we will be amazed by His countless blessings.

Pray

Thank God for His passionate desire to lead us into the best life possible. Pray for those struggling in marriage and for lives in need of restoration to be encouraged through all the great things happening at Fellowship Church this Christmas season.

Act

What is that thing (or things) God’s Spirit has been laying on your heart to do? Write down three action steps regarding this and get started today.

 

Monday

December 12, 2016

A Leap of Faith

Read

Luke 1:30-32, “But the angel said to her, ‘Do not be afraid, Mary; you have found favor with God. You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you are to call Him Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High…’”

Luke 1:34-35, 37, “’How will this be,’” Mary asked the angel, ‘since I am a virgin?’ ‘The angel answered, ‘The Holy Spirit will come on you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the holy One to be born will be called the Son of God… For nothing is impossible with God’”.

Think

Upon receiving this unfathomably shocking news Mary’s faith and obedience was incredible. Her response to the angel was, “I am the Lord’s servant… May your word to me be fulfilled.” Now, you might be thinking, “Did she really have a choice?” The answer is yes, she did. Of course, she couldn’t override God’s sovereign will, but she could have chosen to respond in a very different manner considering what it meant to be pregnant out of wedlock in the ancient Jewish culture.

Have you ever been afraid to take a leap of faith? God doesn’t always call us to the path of least resistance, but He does prepare the way for wherever He’s taking us. Initially, Mary didn’t know about all of the implications involved. She would have to face every hardship imaginable, yet she trusted in God’s promise. One of the greatest callings in every Christ follower’s life is to share Jesus with others. In today’s ultra-accepting, politically correct society, this can feel like a daunting task. But remember, God is preparing the hearts of those around you to hear His good news!

Pray

Pray for faith and confidence as you live by the promises and priorities of God’s Word. And ask God for boldness as you intentionally take opportunities to invite people to experience Christmas at Fellowship Church.

Act

Today, keep a watchful eye as you’re going through your daily routine. And Invite two people to The Rhythm of Christmas at FC. If you start to feel anxious or nervous, just remember the angel’s words to Mary: Do not be afraid!

 

Call Me Wealthy

Week 1

Friday

December 9, 2016

Check Your Pulse

Read

Hebrews 13:5, “Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, ‘Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you’”.

Proverbs 11:24, “One gives freely, yet grows all the richer; another withholds what he should give, and only suffers want”.

Think

People distracted with loss, those in pain, and the terminally ill are not concerned with stock options. People in ICU or on their deathbed aren’t calling for their investment brokers or accountants; they’re calling for their pastors and families. Big houses and fancy cars suddenly no longer matter, because we come into this world with nothing and we leave with nothing. But somehow, in the midst of the hustle and bustle of life and in striving for success, we forget that there are some things money can’t buy.

Money is neutral and therefore not problematic. It’s our attitude toward it that can lead to trouble. Unlike money, we aren’t neutral because we’ve all sinned and fallen short of God’s glory. If our hearts truly beat for God, then they will beat fast for the local church. In order for the house to thrive we must give. Generosity is the essence of Christianity and tangible giving brings blessings in ways money can’t touch. When we compare what we’ve done for God—nothing—with what He’s done for us—everything—our hearts should overflow with gratitude. So, it’s time to check our spiritual pulse to see if our hearts are beating fast for the things of God. Because, if we’re not content with what we have now we won’t be content with more. The key to financial success is not only bringing back to God what is rightfully His; it’s giving more. It’s partnering with the vision of extending the church’s reach and living in the sweet spot of God’s blessing. When we love God first, we can truly understand how to love the benefits of generosity.

Pray

Partner with Fellowship Church in prayer. Pray for seats to be filled, for lives to be changed, and for overall generosity in the hearts and minds of those considering end of the year giving.

Act

Check your spiritual pulse by considering the following questions.

  • Which would make you the happiest? Inheriting $100,000 or sharing your story and leading 10 people into a relationship with Christ?
  • If you earned extra money beyond your regular income, would you bring back the first 10% to God?

 

 

Thursday

December 8, 2016

Hope of Slope

Read

Proverbs 18:11, “The rich think of their wealth as a strong defense; they imagine it to be a high wall of safety”.

I Timothy 6:17, “Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in God who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment”.

Think

In today’s culture we toss around the word hope. We say, “I hope my plans work out for this weekend” or “I hope I win the lotto”. For Christ followers, though, the word takes on a whole new depth of meaning. It’s a door that opens to a world of endless possibilities because our hope is in God. Our hope is in what we cannot see but know to be true. For us, hope is not found on a lofty bank statement or investment portfolio. You see, most wealthy people are good people; they’re just not good at being wealthy. Because greater wealth provides more options, their hope can easily shift from God down a slippery slope to their riches. But with greater wealth comes greater responsibility. And God doesn’t congratulate people for leaving millions behind—He rewards sacrifice. And remember, any annual income over $32,400 places us in the top 1% according to the Global Rich List.

One day Jesus sat in the temple courts and watched as many wealthy people tossed large sums of money into the treasury. Then He saw a poor widow approach and toss in less than a penny’s worth of coins. Jesus saw this as a great teaching opportunity and told His disciples that what she gave was worth far more than all the others because for her it was a true sacrifice. Her hope was in the Lord who always provides for what we need—not greed. You see, sacrifice is a percentage thing not a numbers thing. And true generosity starts at 11% by giving above the minimum tithing requirement. So let’s put our hope in our great and generous God who loves to bless us to be a blessing to others.

Pray

Praise our God of hope by praying through I Peter 1:3-4 using personal pronouns. “Praise be to the God and Father of my Lord Jesus Christ! In Your great mercy You have given me a new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade—kept in heaven for me.”

Act

Oftentimes, we confuse our wants with needs. On a piece of paper list your needs and wants in two separate columns and you will be amazed at how often you mistake one for the other.

 

Wednesday

December 7, 2016

A Trea-SURE-d Life

Read

I Timothy 6:18-19, “Command them to do good, to be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share. In this way they will lay up treasure for themselves as a firm foundation for the coming age, so that they may take hold of the life that is truly life”.

Think

“Call Me Wealthy” is a motto we need to be reminded of regularly. Maybe you’re thinking, “Yeah right! I’ll never be rich!” Well, if you have indoor plumbing, electricity, more than a couple changes of clothes, and clean water—you’re rich. We don’t have to have a bunch of zeros behind the number in our bank account to be rich if we’re rich in God. Storing up treasures for ourselves in this life without a spirit of generosity and a willingness to share is the poorest way to live. Question: Have you ever seen a U-Haul trailer behind a hearse? The answer is no—and you never will. In this life, the measure of our treasure in God directly affects our measure of treasure in heaven.

Today’s verse says laying up treasure in heaven allows us to take hold of the life that’s truly life. We innately want to have meaning and purpose in our lives. And the only way to live an authentic “real deal” life is by giving generously to God’s work in deeds and action sowing the tangible and intangible into the body of Christ. Because, remember, eternity doesn’t start when we die—it’s starts here and now. So let’s focus on being trea-SURE-minded in Christ—the only everlasting measure of eternal pleasure.

Pray

Thank God for providing all the amenities and conveniences in your life daily. And ask Him to show you any areas—time, talent, or resources—lacking in generosity.

Act

We have daily opportunities to make a difference in our community. Join us as a church by getting involved in one of several local missions that partner with FC. For more information, click here: https://fellowshipchurch.com/local-missions/

 

Tuesday

December 6, 2016

The Essence of Christianity

Read

I Timothy 6:18, "Command them to do good, to be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share".

John 3:16, "For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, so that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have eternal life".

Think

Imagine if we only had what we thanked God for. We can't! It's unfathomable to even scratch the surface of just how generous our great God really is. No one can out give God, because He is the very essence of generosity. Our entire faith is founded upon the fact that He sent His only Son to die a terrible death for us to receive an eternal inheritance in heaven. In today's verse, Paul is instructing Timothy to not only encourage generosity, but to command it. So, as Christ followers striving to emulate Him in every way, generosity should always be in our hearts and minds, because it's not just something we do, it's a way of life.

The late great evangelist, Charles Spurgeon, said, "Giving is true having". What a wonderful thought as we kick off the Christmas season. Everyone—believers and non-believers alike—is far more generous at this time of year. So as we approach the celebration of our Savior's birth, let us consider giving above and beyond by serving, sharing, and sowing into the only thing Jesus ever built—the local church. And remember, God loves a cheerful giver.

Pray

Thank God for things you might usually forget to thank Him for. Then ask Him to place on your heart a specific act of generosity.

Act

Tis the season to be jolly, and there's no greater way to make your spirit bright than by serving others! If you have yet to get connected by serving in the house click here: https://fellowshipchurch.com/volunteer/

 

Monday

December 5, 2016

The 1%

Read

“Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment.” - 1 Timothy 6:17

Think

Let’s dream big for a moment.  What would we do if we became wealthy? The common answers would be to enjoy it by buying big houses, expensive cars and travelling the world. Others may respond with responsible answers like paying off debt and giving to their church. All of these are great ideas. We should be able to enjoy the wealth that we are blessed with while being responsible with it also. It’s interesting to think about being in that “1%” as they are known. Who can say if they will ever be part of such an elite group? But what if you already are?

Typically we think of people with several million or even billions of dollars as those in this elite 1% category. However, it may be surprising to find out that the median global income is $9,700 a year. And according to the Global Rich List, an income of $32,400 per year is in the global 1% of wage earners. There is a sudden perspective change knowing this information. We don’t think of “that category” as the characteristic selfish, prideful and strange any longer because many of us are suddenly in the 1% category.

Now that many of us can actually say “Call Me Wealthy” and mean it, we should take a moment to consider an important question – is our hope based in the wealth we have or on our faith and trust in God? Does the management of our wealth reflect a healthy tension between being responsible with our wealth and enjoying our wealth? God has commanded us to be responsible for what He has given us so that we can enjoy what He has given us.

Pray

Thank God for everything that He has been so generous in giving you. Ask Him to help you be a good steward of this wealth and guide you in the management of it. Ask Him also to help you be generous.

Act

Determine today that you will be generous by making your end of year donation here - End of Year Donation

 

Love My City

Week 2

Friday

December 2, 2016

Triple Threat

Read

Colossians 4: 2-3, 5, “Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful. And pray for us, too, that God may open a door for our message, so that we may proclaim the mystery of Christ…Live wisely among those who are not believers, and make the most of every opportunity”.

Think

At times spontaneity is great! It keeps life interesting and spices things up. However, to accomplish most things with excellence, we need to have a plan. And when it comes to stepping out of our comfort zones and into God’s zone—the sweet spot of His success—we must be alert, prepared, and ready to take action. You may be thinking, “Sounds great, I’m all for it, but how?” We start by praying high-risk prayers. Warning: don’t pray high-risk prayers if you are not serious about being used by God! Why? Praying to reach people guarantees God will answer. Secondly, we must live wisely among the lost. This means we don’t just talk the talk; we walk the walk by living a life worthy of our calling.

Basketball coaches train their players to maintain the “triple threat position”, so at any given moment they are prepared to dribble, shoot, or pass the ball. It’s a position of readiness to act quickly given any circumstance. The same is true in God’s zone. We must always be ready to SHARE our faith, SERVE others, and STAND for what is true. But many of us need to stop waiting for others to make a difference in our cities. It’s time to move from the sidelines and get into the game if we truly want to be full-court followers of Christ.

Pray

Ask God to search your heart, remove any self-seeking motivations, and fill you with a renewed passion to make a difference in the lives of others.

Act

Read John 4:27-42. In this passage, Jesus gives us great encouragement to do what we’ve been called to do. What does verse 42 say to you about the importance of planting the seed of the gospel message and inviting people to church to grow and flourish in Christ?

 

Thursday

December 1, 2016

From Ordinary to Extraordinary

Read

Hebrews 11:8, “By faith Abraham, when called to a place he would later receive his inheritance, obeyed and went, even though he did not know where he was going”.

John 14:15, “If you love Me, keep My commands”.

Think

Can you imagine how ridiculous we must look to God when we pray for change, yet do nothing to further the process? We can get so caught up in waiting for God to move that we fail to realize we are the move of God. Jesus stepped down from heaven to do the will of the Father, and He expects us to continue the life of service that He so perfectly modeled. But unlike Jesus, we’re not perfect and obedience is not an automatic occurrence the moment we are reborn into the family of God. It is an attitude, a position, a stance we must learn to embrace as an act of worship to God.

Many of us never get involved in acts of service because we think we have nothing to offer. But actually, nothing could possibly be farther from the truth! The Bible is full of ordinary people used by God to accomplish the extraordinary. They were regular people just like us! What set them apart was their level of commitment and obedience to God. Abraham, then Abram, was an idol worshipper from Ur until the day he was called by God. And his first encounter required him to make a huge faith decision. God told him to leave his country and everyone he knew to travel to a new land. He obeyed God, and like us, made some mistakes along the way. But due to his faithfulness and fortitude to stay the course, God used him to become the father of “a multitude of nations”. So here’s the phrase that pays: Our potential to be used by God is only limited to our level of obedience to God.

Pray

Pray for your city and ask God for insight into the movement He wants you to make. Then thank Him for your home, your neighborhood, and the opportunity to share His love with your community.

Act

Read about God’s Hall of Faith in Hebrews chapter 11. Now, take a few moments to consider the areas in your life lacking obedience. Then make a plan of action to get back on track.

 

Wednesday

November 30, 2016

Bike Messengers

Read

2 Timothy 4:5, “…Do not be afraid of suffering for the Lord. Work at telling others the Good News and fully carry out the ministry God has given you”.

Luke 9:23, “…Then Jesus said to the crowd, ‘Whoever wants to be My disciple must deny themselves, take up their cross daily, and follow Me'”.

Think

God has positioned us exactly where He wants us to share His love through our unique abilities and talents.  And within our specific placement, we can choose one of two possible positions. The first is the “Couch Potato” position. It’s comfortable, easy, and safe, with no responsibility or accountability. Although seemingly appealing, it is impossible to fulfill our purpose if we remain static and stationary. The second position is the “Bike Zone”. It is the best and most blessed way to live. But, it’s uncomfortable and dangerous. It requires hard work, sacrifice, braving the elements, responsibility, and accountability. It can at times seem too daunting or costly, but if we persevere and live out our purpose, our great God will reward us in ways we’ve never imagined.

Now, you might be thinking, “Why doesn’t Jesus want me to feel comfortable?” We are to be comforted by Christ with a willingness to become uncomfortable for Christ. You see, Jesus died an uncomfortable death for us to experience eternal comfort. Obviously Jesus didn’t have our comfort in mind when He said, “Look, I am sending you out as sheep among wolves” (Matthew 10:16). Thus, we should have a sense of urgency in our mission—there’s no middle ground—we must do the work! Therefore, we must decide for ourselves if we would rather be comfortable going nowhere, or uncomfortable going where God has planned and purposed for us to go. So, as “Bike Zone” messengers for God, let’s fervently spread the Good News of Jesus Christ all over our cities.

Pray

Ask God to energize you with a willingness and desire to move out of your comfort zone to share His message of hope and love. And pray for perseverance and focus as you continue to do His work.

Act

Read Luke 9:18-27. Do you struggle with self-denial? What does picking up your cross daily look like in your life? As Christ followers, God expects us to do what He has called us to do. Are you following His instructions?

 

Tuesday

November 29, 2016

Chosen by Him for Him

Read

John 15:16-17, "You didn't choose Me. I chose you. I appointed you to go and produce lasting fruit, so that the Father will give you whatever you ask for, using my name. This is My command: love each other".

Think

Jesus was very clear in His command to the disciples, known as the Great Commission. Leaving no room for interpretation—He said, "GO!" And He's telling us to do the same. There are people in our vicinities that don't know Him looking for hope, seeking answers, and facing an unknown future. With Christ in us, we are equipped to spread His love. Unfortunately, though, many of us think that God couldn't possibly use us to reach others. Maybe you're thinking you don't know enough about the Bible. Maybe you think you are too inconsistent in prayer or don't spend enough time at church—but the truth is God has already chosen you!

In today's verse, Jesus said, "I chose you" and commands us to love "each other". Who is each other? It is community we live in. We must keep this in mind throughout the Christmas season because people are the most open to attending church at this time of year. Therefore, we must be alert and ready to share the greatest gift of all—the gift that keeps on giving—an introduction to the life-changing message of Jesus Christ.

Pray

Thank Jesus for choosing you to share His love within your community. And continue praying for opportunities to do just that.

Act

Write down this daily affirmation and post it where you can see it. "I am useful to Jesus because He chose me to share His love!"

 

Monday

November 28, 2016

Purpose of Position

Read

“Therefore, GO and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit.” – Matthew 28:19

Think

There is a question that we all ask ourselves.  “What is my purpose?”  Many of us spend so much time pondering what that purpose is that we miss it all together.  The reality is that God has already given us our purpose.  But at first glance that purpose seems like it may be a bit out of our comfort zone.  So we watch from that comfort zone as life passes by along with the purpose we should be engaging in.  All the while knowing that something must be done about the world…the city around us.  This world…this city needs help….it needs Jesus.  Someone has to GO tell them.  That someone is us.

As Christ Followers we have the answer that the world…the city needs.  We have been placed in positions with a specific purpose.  The purpose is to GO and share Jesus.  The position is where we have been placed in our schools, our jobs and our everyday lives to do so.  We have the opportunity to reach out to those around us for Jesus.  Are you taking the opportunity to live out your purpose to help change your city where you are by sharing Jesus?  Or are you waiting for someone else to do it?  You are positioned for a purpose.  Be ready!

Pray

Ask God to open your eyes and heart to those He has placed in your life to share Jesus with.  Now ask Him to give you the opportunity and the boldness to do so.

Act

This is such a great season to share Jesus with everyone around you.   Begin now by simply giving out invitations and personally inviting those around you to one of the Christmas experiences at Fellowship Church.

 

Week 1

Friday

November 25, 2016

A Holy Huddle Rebuttal

Read

Mark 2:16-17, “When the teachers of the law who were Pharisees saw Jesus eating with sinners and tax collectors, they asked His disciples: ‘Why does He eat with tax collectors and sinners’? On hearing this, Jesus said to them, ‘It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.’”

Think

As Christians we should only socialize with other Christians. Our kids should only attend Christian schools, go to Christian dance studios, and play sports with other Christians. We should only employ Christian lawn services, plumbers, housekeepers, electricians, and auto mechanics. And we should form holy huddles, because if we don’t worldly people might seep into our lives and make a negative impact! Anyone who believes God intended for us to live this way is sadly mistaken! Additionally, they are definitely not sharing Christ’s love with those most desperate for it. Biblically this lifestyle parallels the Pharisees and other religious elitists. What did Jesus do? He shook things up because of His love for Jerusalem. He dined with sinners, tax collectors, and other societal outcasts. And like the Pharisees, too many “Christians” just don’t get it.

Why are so many turned off by Christianity? Why do they have such a distaste for church? It is because they don’t see Christ’s love at work in our lives. Many seekers view the church as something they can’t be a part of until they look a certain way, dress a certain way, or act a certain way. But that is not Jesus’ intention for the church! He created an inclusive body of believers filled with people who don’t necessarily look the same, sound the same, or share the same interests. God doesn’t want division—He wants diversity. If you love Jesus and you love your city, give a rebuttal to the holy huddle.

Pray

Pray over the Rhythm of Christmas invites thoughtfully and ask God to open the hearts of your potential guests. Then thank Him in advance for the openings and opportunities He will provide for you to extend your reach.

Act

Make a list of the people you plan to invite to experience Christmas at Fellowship Church. Then brainstorm ways to reach them where they are. If they like coffee, meet them at a local coffee shop. If they’re huge football fans, invite them over to watch a game. Whatever it is, find common ground and watch as God does something profound!

 

Wednesday

November 23, 2016

Our City, Our World

Read

I John 4:19-21, "We love because He loved us first. Whoever claims to love God yet hates a brother or sister is a liar. For whoever does not love their brother or sister, whom they have seen, cannot love God, whom they have not seen. And He has given us this command: Anyone who loves God must also love their brother and sister".

Think

The world is the city we live in. And that is the WORLD that we are called to LOVE—called to reach. Yet too often, we so concern ourselves with people we've never met on other continents that we are blind to what's happening in our own cities. We focus more on taking mission trips overseas then miss out on mission trips across the street...at work...at the grocery store...at the gym. All mission trips are incredibly necessary, and yes global missions are greatly encouraged, but why fly over one mission field to reach another? God places us where we are on purpose for a purpose. Thus, our cities are the most important mission fields on the planet. Why? It's where we can make the greatest impact. It's also more difficult to reach your neighbor across the street than it is someone living in a third world country desperate for a better existence. But the truth is, our neighbors, coworkers, and friends are just as desperate spiritually.

God commands us to reach the lost and dying. Look around—they're everywhere. But guess what? We have an advantage because It's easier to get the unchurched to church during the Christmas season than at any other time of the year. Your communities are worth it, so don't just be a good neighbor. Be a catalyst for the change you've experienced in your own life to happen in the lives of others. Extend to them the greatest gift ever known—your personal Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

Pray

Pray for the same passion that led you into a relationship with Jesus to lead you to reach lost people. And ask God to orchestrate opportunities for you to share the gift of life.

Act

Yesterday you were challenged to perform a random act of kindness for a family member. Today, take it to the streets and perform another random act of kindness for a complete stranger.

 

Tuesday

November 22, 2016

Live to Give

Read

Romans 5:8, "But God demonstrates His own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

John 3:16, "For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life".

Think

We know that to love others effectively we must love Jesus initially! Why do we love Jesus? It's because He gave. Giving is an expression of love. If we truly love others we cannot just tell them—we've got to show them. Hence the saying, "Talk is cheap". Therefore, love requires action. Jesus showed His love for us by stepping down through time and space to experience our humanity at the deepest level. He acted on our behalf because we are the object of His love. And then He made the ultimate sacrifice for us on the Cross, thereby reconciling us to our Father in Heaven, who first gave His one and only Son.

As recipients of God's grace, forgiveness, and mercy we desire to grow more like Him. Thus, we choose to sacrifice our time, energy, talent, and resources in order to introduce others to Christ as an act of love for those dying from sin all around us. The more we extend the reach of the local church the stronger and greater our cities can become in the name above all names—Jesus Christ.

Pray

Thank God for placing you where you are to make an impact on others. And ask Him to guide your heart as you pray for others in your community in need of God's life-changing grace.

Act

Show your love for someone in your household today with a random act of kindness.

Monday

November 21, 2016

Loving Effectively

Read

“Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.” - Matthew 22: 37-39

Think

The words we use can have a lot of power and influence. The word LOVE, is one that is tossed about frequently. But many times it’s just that….a word to express an emotion. However, it is more than just an expression of emotion, it is a verb. It is recognized in our sacrifices of time, energy and resources.

Jesus had some powerful things to say about LOVE and there is significance in the way He explains it. He tells us that the most important commandment is to love God first. And then the second most important is to love our neighbor as ourselves. It is important to understand the order of LOVE. By loving God first we understand where our true value comes from. Only then can we truly LOVE our neighbor effectively. Loving others effectively happens when we love Jesus initially! Once we experience the vertical love, we will understand the importance of the horizontal love…we can’t love others the way God wants us to, until we first love God.

Ultimately, this is how we change the world. It begins with loving the author of LOVE - God. Then we can effectively love our neighbors - the city we live in. Effectively loving our city will be a result of our relationship with Jesus. It will come from the overflow of love that God has given to us!

Pray

Take a moment to thank God for His amazing love for you. Ask Him to help you effectively love those around you so they can experience His love from the overflow of the love you have received from Him.

Act

Share God’s love with someone today by sending them a note of encouragement.

We’ve Picked a President, Now What?

Week 1

Friday

November 18, 2016

Upside-Down Kingdom

Read

Romans 13:1, “Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God”.

Think

No one likes being told what to do. We get bristly when someone we don’t respect in a higher position than our own says or does things we find offensive. Authority issues—we’ve all dealt with them because authority exists everywhere—in families, schools, corporations, at the gym, and even on the golf course! And in light of the recent election, our emotions are running at an all-time high. Many are cheering. Others are jeering and sneering. Some are even fearing the upcoming inauguration. No matter what, though, we must put our feelings aside and honor the position regardless of our opinion of the person.

Honor is definitely lacking in today’s culture. Simply stated, honor is God’s pecking order of authority, His chain of command. He has strategically placed authority figures over us to mold and shape us into who He wants us to be. It is also for our protection—not dominance—because we are sinful and in need of order, guidelines, and guardrails. So if we want to reach a “holy notha’ level” we must get under authority to rise spiritually, personally, and relationally. It’s the upside-down world of God’s kingdom. We have to get under what God has put over us, so we can get over what God has put under us. If we want to have power and control then we have to relinquish power and control to God. Because, if we have authority issues, ultimately we have an issue with God.

Pray

Today simply give thanks and instead of asking God to do things in your life, ask what you can do for Him. Pray for Him to orchestrate opportunities for you to serve others or to share your story with someone who doesn’t know Jesus.

Act

Want to make a difference in the lives of others? Kickoff your holiday season with a spirit of love and generosity. Fellowship Church partners with several local missions across the DFW metroplex. For more information click here: https://fellowshipchurch.com/local-missions/

Thursday

November 17, 2016

What If…?

Read

Proverbs 28:26, “Those who trust in themselves are fools, but those who walk in wisdom are kept safe”.

Proverbs 14:26, “Reverence for the Lord gives confidence and security to a man and his family”.

Think

Let’s suppose that there was nothing or no one greater than ourselves. What if we just appeared on the planet by chance through some random cosmic cocktail? We would have no concept of right and wrong, no purpose, and no responsibility. And in fact, since we were created spontaneously from non-living matter, mankind would merely be just another species. Then, as a part of nature, we’d instinctively have a predatorial kill-or-be-killed mentality with no security or hope for supernatural intervention. Is that the kind of world we’d want? No! Even the most hardened atheist would agree. However, their caveat would include that man is inherently good and due to our conscience, we would strive to create a better and more ordered environment. But man is not inherently good. Without a transcendent Creator, or even a modicum of pre-existent morality, we’d be no greater than sloths and anarchy would reign supreme.

By the grace of God, we are made in His image, and set apart from the rest of creation. He is the foundation of righteousness, forgiveness, and integrity. He is the Almighty Lord who has revealed Himself to us through His Word. Wisdom means to be skillful at living. Thus, those who live life well are anchored by God’s wisdom. Without intelligent design, we could only gain information without understanding God’s aptitude for application. So, in a world where morality shifts like sand we would be destined for disaster. The only hope for a life of greatness is found at the foot of the cross. Because, we know that good will never be good enough but God is always God enough!

Pray

Praise God for uniquely creating you on purpose and for a purpose. Ask Him to reveal any offensive patterns in your life and give thanks for the hope you have in Jesus Christ.

Act

Memorize Proverbs 3:5-6. It is a great life verse to pray through every day.
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to Him, and He will make your paths straight.”

Wednesday

November 16, 2016

Heart Malfunction

Read

Jeremiah 17:9, “The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it?”

Romans 12:2, “Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—His good, pleasing, and perfect will”.

Think

People flippantly say, “The heart wants what the heart wants”, “I’ve got to go with my heart”, or “It’s my heart’s desire”. It’s carte blanche—if we “feel” it in our hearts then it must be okay. God, though, refers to the human heart as incurably deceitful and downright evil! What? It’s not exactly what we want to hear. We prefer being described as good, kind, loving, and fair. But the truth of the matter is that we are all broken, degenerate, greedy, immoral, and selfish. Without Christ in us, we look to creation versus the Creator for truth and justice. And if man is the source of truth, only chaos can ensue. Therefore, moral relativism is a horrible heart malfunction with disgraceful and deadly implications.

Obviously, God isn’t shy about describing the innate condition of our hearts. So, as Christ followers, we too shouldn’t shy away from speaking the truth in love. Are we still fallen and fallible sinners? Yes, but our hearts are on the mend. Jesus is the greatest heart surgeon in the universe and He’s passionate about healing lost and broken people. Only He can resurrect the spiritually dead—those flat-lining on self-prescribed societal norms. Trying to please man is a risky business without first yielding to the will of the Almighty Lord. Therefore, many will never experience God’s heart transforming grace until we are willing to boldly and unabashedly proclaim Christ’s truth in a compassionate and honest manner.

Pray

Pray through Psalm 25:4-5, “Show me Your ways, O Lord, teach me Your paths; guide me in Your truth and teach me, for You are God my Savior, and my hope is in You all day long”. Then ask for the courage and compassion to speak out against spiritual corruption.

Act

Is there someone in your life who needs prayer? Is there anyone to whom you need to speak the truth in love? Does anyone need encouragement? Who can you share your life story with that doesn’t know Jesus? Fill in the blanks and put these questions into action.

Tuesday

November 15, 2016

Right and Wrong

Read

Judges 21:25, "In those days there was no king in Israel; everyone did what was right in his own eyes".

Think

At the end of Judges, people denied God's commands and did as they saw fit. It's literally mind boggling! The children of Israel had witnessed God's sovereign power countless times, and still they let feelings dictate their reality. Samuel, God's divinely appointed prophet and spokesman for the Lord Himself, was leading the nation. But the Israelites were crying for a king. Like neighboring nations, they wanted a figurehead, someone to lead them into battle, unite them, and provide a sense of security. Talk about blind? God was their King! This direct request was a rejection of the Lord's sovereignty. How ironic—who provides victory, security, and unity greater than the King of Kings?

Isn't it true that we frequently overlook God's power and truth for something "better"? All we have to do is watch the news to see that we are doing what's right for man versus God's mandates. As a nation we've strayed from biblical values and absolute truth and instituted our self-prescribed societal norms. How do we begin to amend and heal the sickness of our culture? It's up to us as the church—the hands and feet of Christ—to be the most tolerant people on the planet. We must have a willingness to accept everyone despite their actions or beliefs and lead them to Christ. That is the only way we will ever return to one nation under God.

Pray

Father God, help me to discern what's wrong with what I sometimes see as right. I thank You for providing me with the choice to respond to Your love. It makes my commitment to You just that much more impacting to others who knew me prior to receiving Your life-changing grace and forgiveness. In Jesus I pray, Amen.

Act

The prophet Samuel's mom Hannah dedicated him to the Lord and sent him to the temple as a small child to serve God. Samuel lived to fulfill the will of the Almighty Lord for the entirety of his life. What does this say about the importance of partnering with the local church for our children's development? What effect can this have in schools, communities, and even on a national level?

Monday

November 14, 2016

The Truth Hurts!

Read

“There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way of death.” - Proverbs 14:12 (NKJV)

Think

The truth of the matter is that truth isn’t always easy to hear and accept. Truth can be painful. When we consider what it requires to become a Christ follower, we understand that truth completely. To become a Christian we have to face the reality of our sin and walk away – repent – from it. No one wants to face the darkness of sin in their own life. It is much easier to ignore it or make excuses for our choices than to face the dark truth of our reality. But that seems to be the mindset of our culture today. Instead of accepting the truth that can actually save us and change our lives, we would rather continue down a path that ultimately leads to destruction.

Our world today seems to be speeding down a path to destruction at an alarming rate. It is a path that has been paved with relative truth, decisions based on feelings and authority issues. We can stop the madness though if we will choose to listen to God’s truth rather than the relative truth of our world today. It is the truth that doesn’t always make us feel good, but in the end, will save us from ourselves. It is the truth that will change our lives and ultimately reveal how much God truly loves us and wants His best for us. It is a truth that is found, not within ourselves, but in God’s word.

Pray

Heavenly Father, give us the courage to open our hearts to hear and accept Your absolute truth. Heal our nation and help us look to Your Word for truth and not our own understanding.

Act

Bring some joy into someone’s life today. Buy someone’s coffee, give someone a sincere compliment, let them cut in front of you in traffic or just simply give someone a smile.

How To Pick A President

Week 1

Friday

November 11, 2016

Stand Up!

Read

Proverbs 31:8, “Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves; ensure justice for those being crushed”.

Jeremiah 6:15, “’Are they ashamed of their disgusting actions? Not at all—they don’t even know how to blush! Therefore, they will lie among the slaughtered. They will be brought down when I punish them,’ says the Lord.”

Think

Standing up for what is right isn’t an option within the Christian faith. Our values and integrity are what set us apart in this lost and dying world. Many are blinded by moral relativism. Sadly, they will completely miss their true calling, the life God had in store for them. When one’s morals are on a sliding scale, when they attempt to be inclusive of all beliefs and proclivities, they are excluding God. And without knowing Jesus, they are literally in grave danger.

As Christ followers, what must we do to be the change that we want to see in our nation? We stand up for those who can’t stand up for themselves. We protect and provide for those in legitimate need and stand firm in biblical truth. Although we don’t necessarily approve or choose to celebrate certain lifestyles or behaviors we accept everyone. We pray for our nation to return to God. We pray for our leadership. Even if we don’t respect the person we honor the position. And finally, we strive to shine Christ’s light in the darkness. We fish for people, becoming walking, talking, living, breathing billboards for what God has done in our lives. When we do these things, God will give us the trajectory to change the world one life at a time. If we can change a life, we can change a family. If we can change a family, we can change a community. If we can change a community, we can restore our nation and eventually change the world bringing glory to God.

Pray

Thank God for His Word and ask Him to point out any duplicity in your life. Pray for Him to speak into your life and for opportunities to share Christ with others.

Act

Read Matthew 5:13-16. What does this say about your duty as a Christ follower? Salt isn’t only a seasoning, it’s a preservative. You are here to preserve biblical truth—how salty are you (in this case you can never be too salty)? And how brightly are you shining the light of Christ before unsaved coworkers, friends, and neighbors?

Thursday

November 10, 2016

The Prize of Being Wise

Read

James 1:5, "If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you".

Proverbs 1:7, "The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and instruction".

Think

Even non-believers associate the word wisdom with King Solomon. And wise he was! In fact, the Bible says his wisdom exceeded all others before him and after. It's important to note that his wisdom originated from God in prayer. After inheriting the throne from his father David, God appeared to him in a dream and said, "Ask Me". So Solomon asked for wisdom and the ability to discern between good and evil. God was pleased by his request. Early in his life, Solomon's heart beat for God. He obeyed the commandments and was greatly blessed for it.

Unfortunately, Solomon failed to live out that wisdom and he gave into all sorts of insatiable appetites. God had specifically told him not to marry foreign women or involve in their pagan practices. However, lust and pride led him to marry 700 women and take on 300 concubines, many of whom were idol worshipers. His heart turned from God and he too began to worship false gods. And like us, God did not override his free will or force him to obey. He suffered grave consequences and God judged His wisest man as the biggest fool. Eventually Solomon saw the error of his ways and realized that his life apart from God was not worth living. In summation, we cannot allow our lives to be negatively effected by negligence and carelessness. And instead we must establish our hearts and minds in the wisdom of God's Word.

Pray

Father God, I acknowledge that You alone are the source of wisdom. Convict my heart and mind to not be foolish, but wise by the power of Your Spirit. Please help me to maintain focus on You and not the things of this world. I love You and yield to Your almighty power in Jesus' name. Amen

Act

Read I Kings 11:1-6 and Ecclesiastes 12:13-14. Although we don't literally worship false idols, anything that takes precedence over our relationship with God is idolatry. What is currently encroaching upon your time spent with God in prayer? What are you "worshiping" aside from God?

Wednesday

November 9, 2016

Occupation Proclamation

Read

II Thessalonians 3:10, “For even when we were with you, we gave you this rule: ‘The one who is unwilling to work shall not eat’”.

Proverbs 16:27-29, “Idle hands are the devil’s workshop; idle lips are his mouthpiece. An evil man sows strife; gossip separates the best of friends. Wickedness loves company—and leads others to sin”.

Think

Everything that happens each weekend across all of our campuses doesn’t just happen out of thin air. It’s easy to just show up and enjoy the experience for an hour and leave. However, all of the work done behind the scenes is not. It takes tremendous effort by our staff and numerous dedicated volunteers to pull it off. Hard work honors God and reflects His intent for humanity. Conversely, He sees idleness and unwillingness to work as a grave offense.

Because of our inherent sin nature, we deserve nothing from God. The moment we begin to feel entitled, as if the world owes us something, the enemy rushes in and says, “It’s okay to slack off a little. You deserve it. God will take care of you no matter what, so sit back, and relax”. Don’t buy Satan’s lies! Idleness only allows more time for wrongdoing. If we believe in Jesus—if we believe He did the preemptive work of forgiveness on the cross for us—then it is our responsibility to take action. No matter if we’re a dishwasher, a student, or a brain surgeon we must approach everything we do with excellence as an act of worship. God cares more about our attitude and willingness to work hard than He does about our profession or achieving perfection.

Pray

Father God, convict my heart to take action when I exhibit idleness. Protect my thoughts from the enemy and guide me to the best of my ability to emulate Jesus’ fortitude and diligence at home, at work, and when serving in the local church. In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.

Act

Evaluate your work ethic. In what areas do you tend to slack off? In what areas should you put forth greater effort to pursue excellence? Conversely, if you are extremely driven in most everything you do, when can you carve out time for stillness and reflection before God?

Tuesday

November 8, 2016

Speaking the Truth in Love

Read

I Corinthians 16:13-14, "Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be courageous; be strong. Do everything in love".

I Corinthians 13:13, "And now these three remain: faith, hope, and love. But the greatest of these is love".

Think

When a child misbehaves a parent might say, "I love you too much to tolerate that kind of behavior". And as grown ups, there are times we have to deal with certain personalities that we find almost intolerable to be around. Unfortunately, now we are even saying that about the current presidential candidates. But the word tolerance has far greater implications than any specific behavior or characteristic. It is the willingness to accept feelings, habits, or beliefs different from our own. As believer's, we must accept everyone. Why? Because, we will never lock eyes with anyone that Jesus didn't die for. Everyone matters to God.

In today's culture—a world sinking in a sea of moral relativism—truth is subject to individual feelings and proclivities. Everybody must not only accept everyone else's beliefs but approve of them and celebrate their differences. However, we cannot confuse acceptance with approval. Hence this faux tolerance contradicts exactly what it espouses. Those who are so emphatic about the approval of all lifestyles claim that anyone who speaks to the contrary is being intolerant. But aren't the 'tolerance watchdogs' being just as intolerant? It's crazy, so what do we do? We accept everyone, but we don't have to approve of their actions. Remember, Jesus loved the religious elite enough to call out their blatant hypocrisy. Thus, we aggressively love one another enough to speak the truth in love.

Pray

Pray for our country in the midst of the current divisive political climate. And yield to God as you pray for His sovereign will to be done.

Act

Every vote counts! So if you haven't voted yet—today's the day!

Monday

November 7, 2016

Where is Truth?

Read

“Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” - John 8:32

Think

In the existing culture we live in there seems to be varying definitions of what truth is. The phrase “that may be true for you, but it’s not true for me” is regularly tossed about. But if that is the case, what is truth? What is right and what is wrong? The popular opinion seems to be one of Moral Relativism - The belief that there are no absolute or objective standards for moral values, which are used to determine right and wrong. This seems to be the overlying sentiment of our current election year too. With candidates who are infinitely flawed, how do we determine who is right and who is wrong if there is no absolute truth? This lack of truth has created immense chaos and division in our country. We need an anchor of absolute truth to ground us as individuals and as a nation.

With the current election upon us, it is more important than ever to find that absolute truth – that anchor - outside ourselves. The Bible is the only anchor that we can truly depend on to understand what direction to turn. This election will have lasting implications well beyond the next 4 years. Before casting our vote we must examine the choices before us with our Bible in one hand and the platforms of the candidates in the other. We must understand what God says about the issues and then measure that against what our future could hold. His truth will set us free.

Pray

Heavenly Father, thank you for this nation we live in. Thank you for the opportunity and privilege to elect our leaders. We ask that you help us choose wisely based on Your absolute truth and not on our own relative truth. We ask that you protect our country and turn our hearts to you as a nation. In Jesus’ name, Amen!

Act

As you prepare to vote take time to understand the platforms of the candidates and decide which one lines up closest to God’s truth. Pray for God’s guidance.

Spookarama

Week 1

Friday

November 4, 2016

Precautionary Measures

Read

Ephesians 6:10-11, “Be strong in the Lord and His mighty power. Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes”.

Think

No one hopes to sustain an injury or get hurt. Instinctively, we try to avoid harm. We take precautionary measures such as wearing seatbelts and putting on helmets to ride bikes. We read warning labels and lock our doors to prevent home invasion. Why then, when it comes to spiritual safety do so many Christ followers fail to put on God’s protective armor? It’s not as if we are clueless about Satan’s attempts to distract us and attack our faith. If the Bible says the devil comes only to steal, kill, and destroy why not be prepared for battle? What soldier goes into combat wearing a tank top, shorts, and flip-flops? Obviously, it’s a ridiculous question, but is it so far-fetched when it comes to our spiritual lives?

Wearing God’s armor means that we seek to live out God’s truth with single-minded devotion. We never forget that Jesus died and rose again to make us righteous before the Father. Secure in our salvation, we block the enemy’s lies and efforts to wedge doubt into our thought life. Standing firm in faith, we share Christ with the lost. We resist temptation by leaning on God’s strength and strive to live lives of purity. And we immerse ourselves in Scripture. We pray through it, memorize it, and meditate on it. If we put these safety measures in practice, Satan has no choice but to tuck his tail between his legs and slink back into the shadows. Don’t wait until it’s too late! Put on God’s armor today, and you will be amazed at just how much safer you’ll feel as you literally take on the world.

Pray

Praise God for always equipping you with what you need for battle. Ask for the drive, passion, energy, and commitment needed to enact these safety precautions. And thank Him for His fierce and abounding love.

Act

Memorize the following two verses to add to your Scripture arsenal:

James 4:7-8, “Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. Draw near to God, and He will draw near to you”.

Romans 8:39, “Neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord”.

Thursday

November 3, 2016

All Things Possible

Read

Numbers 13:30-32, “Then Caleb silenced the people before Moses and said, ‘We should go and take possession of the land, for we can certainly do it.’ But the men who had gone up with him said, ‘We can’t attack those people; they are stronger than we are.’ And they spread among the Israelites a bad report…they said, ‘The land we explored devours those living in it. All the people we saw were of great size.’”

Think

Isn’t it true that when given a bad report we typically jump to negative conclusions? Instead of considering what God can do we hyper-focus on our own limitations. Well, that’s exactly what happened after Moses delivered the Israelites to the brink of the Promised Land. Once there, he sent twelve spies to explore Canaan. You know, after forty years of desert dwelling, the people were surely excited to see the spies return. However, ten of the twelve went negative saying, “We can’t…they’re bigger and stronger…” The other two, Joshua and Caleb, though, were wondering what could possibly be bigger than God? They said, “Yes, we can!” But their charisma fell on deaf ears. The people even went so far as to complain that they were better off as slaves in Egypt! Wow! Talk about short-term memory! Did they not witness God’s plagues on Egypt? Had they not seen God split the Red Sea? Had they not eaten food from heaven and drunk water from a rock? But let’s not be too quick to judge. How often do we forget just how much God has done for us?

Too often, we crater instead of crashing through quitting points. We are so myopic that we cannot see beyond our own shortcomings. When we open our hearts and minds to what can be instead of what never could, we will be attuned to the greatest things God wants to do in our lives. The Israelites total lack of faith led to forty more years in the desert. So the next time negativity and total disregard for what God has done invades your mind, realize it’s the devil vying to keep you from going to a ‘holy notha’ level’. Remember, all things are possible through Christ who gives you strength.

Pray

Praise God for His almighty power. Ask Him to remind you of the cross when negativity creeps in and thank Him specifically for what He has done, is doing, and will do in and through your life.

Act

Keep a log of all the blessings and actions—big or small—that God is doing in your life. And remember, accentuating the positive always decreases negativity!

Wednesday

November 2, 2016

For the Love of God

Read

Matthew 22:37-39, “Jesus replied: ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: Love your neighbor as yourself.’”

Think

The Bible gives us dozens of accounts about people who, despite the odds, fought courageously in the face of great opposition and even death out of their love for God. With no formal combat training, young David voluntarily faced-off with Goliath—an intimidating and formidable giant who had the entire Israelite army shaking in their sandals—and won with merely a slingshot and a stone. Esther faced the threat of death to save the entire Jewish nation. And Gideon defeated an army of at least 135,000 men with 300 men, trumpets, pottery, and torches. Each of these accounts all point to God’s sovereign power and faithfulness to the faithful. What is the common thread? They all fiercely loved God!

As we read about the courage and strength of these admirable biblical heroes and heroines, we should remember that they were people just like us. They were not superheroes. No, but they were incredibly willing to allow God to place His ‘super’ on their ‘natural’ to make the impossible possible. We must be encouraged by their fortitude, strength, and unimaginable level of obedience. A life full of love and passion for the things of God produces great character, integrity, and bravery to stand up for what is right.

Pray

Praise God for making the impossible a possibility in your life. Ask for the faith, wisdom, and strength modeled throughout Scripture. And thank Him for giving you the Bible as a tactical guide to overcoming the odds.

Act

Read Daniel 6:3-23. What character qualities do you think “so distinguished” Daniel? What does this account tell us about the importance of prayer? What do you think motivated the king to run to the door of the lion’s den and call out to a presumably dead Daniel?

Tuesday

November 1, 2016

Courage Into Fire

Read

Daniel 3:17-18, "If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to deliver us from it, and he will deliver us from Your Majesty’s hand. But even if he does not, we want you to know, Your Majesty, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up".

Think

Going against the grain and standing firm in faith is a daunting task. God's faithful servants, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego demonstrated amazing calm, inner strength, and courage as they stood before a fiery furnace and refused to bow to King Nebuchadnezzar's ten foot golden idol. Even in the face of death, they refused to crater to fear and chose the heroic yet difficult path to obedience.

The godly character demonstrated by these men did not occur in a vacuum. They had been taken captive, driven into a foreign land, and successfully adapted to their new lives without compromise. You see, their strong faith began long before the Israelite's exile to Babylon. They likely came from families of conviction and integrity who instilled in them the value of obedience. Likewise, we must do the same as our children grow to face moral dilemmas. Teaching faith in God's strength without compromise is not only paramount to the Christian faith, it sets an exemplary standard in a world so overwrought with moral relativism. Remember, when we take a stand, God will always give us a hand.

Pray

Thank God for His constant faithfulness and ask Him to instill this same godly character and conviction in you and in the lives of your children.

Act

Memorize Isaiah 41:10 to add to your Scripture arsenal in times of trial and difficulty:
"Do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with My righteous right hand."

 

Monday

October 31, 2016

Train Them Up

Read

Train up a child in the way he should go, And when he is old he will not depart from it. – Proverbs 22:6 (NKJV)

Think

Years of research tells us that what a person is exposed to at an early age greatly determines who they will become later in life. Other studies tell us that while cognitive learning peaks at around age 35, our moral development peaks at around age 10 and sharply declines until around age 16.  Simply put, we have a short amount of time to instill in our kids the moral fabric they need.

The Bible has actually been telling us this all along.  We have to help our kids learn early on to grasp the morals and values they need to face decisions they will encounter as they grow up.  If we teach our kids these lessons while they are young, it becomes more than just head knowledge; it becomes a part of their heart, mind and soul – their moral DNA.  With this kind of moral fabric, a child will grow up to be able to stand strong when faced with moral decisions.  They will feel confident to go in the way they should go and not depart from it.

Pray

Ask God to help you to train your child/children in the way they should go. If you do not have children, ask God to give you opportunities to pour into the children of the friends and family in your life.

Act

Experience the lessons learned in FC Kids by visiting - http://www.Leadershipforkids.com

Forget About It

Week 1

Friday

October 28, 2016

Never Forget

Read

Luke 22:19-20, “He took some bread and gave thanks to God for it. Then He broke it in pieces and gave it to the disciples, saying, ‘This is My body, which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of Me.’ After supper He took another cup of wine and said, ‘This cup is the new covenant between God and His people—an agreement confirmed with My blood, which is poured out as a sacrifice for you.’”

Think

The Israelites slaughtered a lamb without blemish and placed its blood over their doors to spare their firstborns as the angel of death passed over enacting God’s final plague on Egypt. After the sacrifice, the lambs were roasted and served with unleavened bread signifying God’s provision and the deliverance of His people. Therefore, Passover supper became the most sacred annual Jewish feast. Jesus is our flawless Passover Lamb.

Never succumbing to a single fleshly desire, Jesus gave His flesh for us. For this reason, He passed out bread for the disciples to eat and said, “Do this in remembrance of Me”. Then He lifted a cup of wine and said, “This is My blood”, shed to free us from the bondage of sin and death. Therefore, God gave us communion to memorialize His free gift of forgiveness and grace—something we don’t deserve.

Communion also serves as a reminder of who and Whose we are. It brings awareness to the vitality and quality of life that began in us the moment we entered into a loving personal relationship with Jesus. And it’s a marker of life change. Our lives are forever changed once Christ walks through the door of our hearts, cleanses us, and removes all of the unwanted trash and wreckage of our former selves. So the next time you receive a little cup of juice and a tiny cracker, don’t take for granted the magnitude of the occasion—our sin debt paid in full on the Cross by the Savior’s blood. But receive it with joy in celebration of God’s tremendous gift—with awesome gratitude as an expression of the greatest love ever known—that Christ laid down His life for ours.

Pray

Give thanks to God for always having your best interest at heart. And ask Him to reveal any hypocrisy within your life in order be a carrier of His forgiveness and grace.

Act

Over the next week approach everything and everyone with an attitude of gratitude. Each day post something you’re thankful for on social media. Not only will this help you express your appreciation to God, it will serve as a reminder for others to do the same.

Thursday

October 27, 2016

Saved Seating

Read

Ephesians 2:6, "And God raised us with Christ and seated us with Him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus".

Colossians 3:1,3-4, "Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God...For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also appear with Him in glory".

Think

In a game of Musical Chairs, the players go around in a circle until the music stops and everyone scrambles for a seat. During each round a chair is removed and one unfortunate individual is left standing. As Christ followers, we never have to worry about losing a seat beside our Savior in Heaven. The moment we bow before Jesus, in a position of surrender, we are cosmically pardoned—our sins forgiven and forgotten. And God sees the righteousness of Christ in us, thereby allowing us to enter into His perfect and holy presence.

Like playing Musical Chairs, we must be zealously-driven to fill seats and heavenly- minded to promote reconciliation to the Father through the Son. Conversely, though, our aim is to add—not subtract—chairs because the stakes are sky high for the spiritually lost. People all around us are spinning in space, looking for seats in all the wrong places. As coheirs with Christ in the Kingdom of God, our goal is to populate Heaven and depopulate Hell. Therefore, we've got to move our meat to save some seats by continuously inviting the lost to experience life change firsthand every weekend at Fellowship Church. And the great thing is, Jesus will never say, "Sorry, that seat's taken".

Pray

Thank God for His constant affection and grace. And ask Him to fill your heart with zeal to share all the wonderful things Jesus is doing in and through your life.

Act

Pray for the house to be full and invite at least one person to join you for Spookarama this weekend at Fellowship Church. For more information on this event, click here: https://fellowshipchurch.com/spookarama

Wednesday

October 26, 2016

“Practically Holy”

Read

I John 4:9-10, "This is how God showed His love among us: He sent His one and only Son into the world that we might live through Him. This is love: not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sin".

Think

God said, "Be holy, because I am holy". As Christ followers, we're always mindful of our salvation through unmerited grace, yet we often forget to do all the things God has asked us to do. Thus, not only are we blocking the blessings He desires to rain down upon us, we are missing out on all the great things He wants to accomplish in our lives. Remember, He didn't hesitate to spare His only Son for us. Therefore, we must not hesitate to actively participate in the things of God for His glory.

30% of Jesus' words were about information and 70% were about application. The practical application of faith is consistently doing what Jesus did while He was on earth. Because we love God, we desire to imitate Christ and obey His commands. What must we do? We leverage our gifts and abilities within the body of Christ. We extend God's grace to others. We sow our time and resources within the local church. And we become the hands and feet of Jesus by sharing the life-changing message of the gospel with the lost. When we practice purity in reverence and remembrance of His sacrifice and forgiveness, God will do immeasurably more than we ever dreamed possible in and through our lives.

Pray

Pray Psalm 37:3-6, "I will trust in You, Lord, and do good. I will live safely in the land and prosper. I will delight myself in You, knowing You will give me the desires of my heart. I commit everything I do to You. And I trust that You will make my innocence radiate like the dawn, and the justice of my cause will shine like the noonday sun".

Act

Our lives should be an act of worship. This means everything we do, say, touch, and feel should glorify God. Spend a few moments considering the aspects of your life that fall short of this standard. Then pray for guidance and insight into these areas. If you are not currently serving in the house, no problem! Click here to get connected: https://fellowshipchurch.com/volunteer/

Tuesday

October 25, 2016

Remember That

Read

“If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” - 1 John 1:9

Think

Forgiveness is such a complex act for so many.  There is something in us that requires that a transgression be paid for and certainly not forgotten.  Perhaps that is why accepting forgiveness for our own transgressions is so difficult.  We struggle with understanding that once we confess that transgression – that sin – then God is done with it.  He chooses to forget them.  But it is not as easy for us to forget because the enemy continues to remind us of those sins and causes us to question God’s forgiveness and the fact that God has already accepted payment for those transgressions with the blood of His only son, Jesus Christ. 

It’s time to change our way of thinking.  Instead of continuing to remember those things God has forgotten, let’s remember what God remembers.  God remembers that His Son came to this earth, lived a perfect life, died a sacrificial death and defeated death through the resurrection.  Why?  So that when we confess our sins to Him, ask Jesus to take over our hearts and wash us clean with that sacrificial blood that was poured out for us He will not remember our sins, but He will remember that we are forgiven and now righteous.  We too can enter that throne room with Jesus because of the debt He paid for us.  When we come to God and confess our sins, He remembers our sin no more, but instead sees Jesus and remembers what His son gave for us.   Let’s remember what God remembers and forget what God chooses to forget.

Pray

Ask God to search your heart.  Confess any sins and transgressions you need to right now and ask for His forgiveness.  Thank Him for being so gracious in forgiving your sins – your transgressions and for the sacrifice of His Son, Jesus Christ.  Thank Him for choosing to forget what you may find difficult to forget and ask Him to help you remember what He remembers – that you are now righteous before Him and forgiven.

Act

Write todays verse on a piece of paper and put it where it will remind you often of this truth.  Now remember, you are forgiven!

 

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