By Topic

Determination

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.

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?

Wednesday

October 19, 2016

Gospel Bound

Read

Acts 20:23-24, "I only know that in every city the Holy Spirit warns me that prison and hardships are facing me. However, I consider my life worth nothing to me, if only I may finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me—the task of testifying to the gospel of God's grace".

Romans 8:28, "And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose".

Think

At some point in our lives we have all felt bound or incarcerated by something. Maybe it's worry, fear, addiction, unforgiveness, financial stress, or spiritual bankruptcy. Well, no matter the situation or circumstance we can rest assured in knowing that God works through—not some things or things with conditional clauses—but ALL things for our benefit and to His glory. However, sometimes His plan unfolds in unexpected ways.

The Apostle Paul longed to visit Rome. He yearned to proclaim Jesus’ name in the largest and most influential city in the known world. God, though, prevented him from going until due time. Paul eventually did make it to Rome—but not in the manner he imagined. He went there as a prisoner. As God's ambassador in chains, Paul continued to preach fearlessly under Roman guard for two years and wrote the majority of the New Testament.

As a great reminder of spiritual ambition, we must remember Paul's devotion despite his harrowing and likely miserable circumstances. He could have quit. He could have complained about life being unfair. He could have grown bitter towards God—but he didn't. He remained ‘joyful in hope, patient in affliction, and faithful in prayer’. We can all take a page from the apostle's book to push past our own opposition or discomfort and carry out God's sovereign plan and purpose. So the next time we undergo hardship, we must not ask God, "Why me?" And instead ask, "Why not me?"  Remember, what binds us physically might just be what spiritually sets us free.

Pray

Pray for a renewed desire, a new spiritual ambition to see God's will be done no matter the circumstances. And ask God to grant you the necessary patience to wait on His perfect timing.

Act

Throughout the day assess your attitudes, ambitions, and motivations. And consider your willingness to avail yourself to accomplish the work God has prepared for you to do.

 

Thursday

October 13, 2016

Exist to Persist

Read

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

Galatians 6:9, “Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up”.

Think

In the face of great turmoil and racial injustice Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. said, “If you can’t fly then run, if you can’t run then walk, if you can’t walk then crawl but whatever you do keep moving forward”. Although a call to persevere in the struggle for civil rights, these words are extremely applicable to the Christian life. God has called us to share the gospel message with unbelievers. Inevitably, though, the more we reach the more we experience opposition. We have a very real enemy vying to disrupt and halt our efforts. And we can easily become discouraged which leads to apathy, the precursor to idleness.

In Galatians 6:9, the apostle Paul encourages us to keep on striving because in God’s perfect timing we will reap from our effort. He also says to not grow weary. Thus, it’s important to note the difference between being tired and feeling weary. Tiredness is physical and is cured by rest.  Weariness is spiritual, which in the original language translates “to lose heart”. However, reliance on God’s strength and supernatural ability provides the necessary wind in our sails to be the hands and feet of Jesus as we shine His light in darkness.

Pray

Declare your determination to persevere knowing God will provide the necessary strength to overcome every obstacle. And thank Him for His ever-present help in times of trouble.

Act

Jailed for healing people in the name of Jesus, Peter and John were the embodiment of persistence. Read Acts 5:17-33, 41-42 as a great reminder of why we do what we do to reach those facing a Christ-less eternity.

 

Monday

November 9, 2015

One Word

Read

“Simply let your ‘yes’ be ‘yes’.” Matthew 5:37

Think

Have you noticed how in our commitment phobic culture, “yes” is the new “maybe.” “Yes” used to mean “yes.” But today, when people say “Yes,” too many of them really just mean that they might. “Yes, I’ll be there for you,” has come to mean, “If it’s convenient for me,” or, “If nothing better comes along.” We’ve decaffeinated the word. But as we read today, we should say what we mean and mean what we say.

Everyone wants a simple life. We want things to make sense. Well, it often starts with us, and Jesus gave us the key. Too often, man tries to complicate the simple. God, though, simplifies the complex. Are you ready for a simple life? Simply let your “yes” be “yes”!

Pray

Pray today for the discipline and strength to say what you mean and mean what you say. Pray for the wisdom and ability to simply let your “yes” be “yes”.

Act

When you have an opportunity today to make a choice, let your words be few. When you say “yes” stand behind it. Let your words stand as an example of a life committed to Christ.

Friday

February 20, 2015

An attitude of gratitude

Read

Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom, and as you sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God. Colossians 3:16

Think

We all rub shoulders with other people, from acquaintances to our closest friends. And God wants our connection to those people to be meaningful, intentional, and powerful. The right THEY in our lives don’t just happen. This entire series, “Fifty Shades of They,” is all about learning to be intentional about who we surround ourselves with.

Every relationship you have is an opportunity to grow in your own life and a chance to influence someone else to grow in theirs. Are you intentional in your interactions? Are you focused in your friendships? Are you surrounded by the right THEY?

Pray

Thank God for creating you as a relational being. Ask Him for direction and discernment in developing meaningful, powerful relationships in life.

Act

Write a list of the three most important relationships in your life. Over the next day, tell each of these people what they mean to you. And remind them that THEY are the right they!