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Devotion

Friday

March 24, 2017

In God We Trust

Read

Proverbs 11:25, “A generous person will prosper; whoever refreshes others will be refreshed”.
Luke 16:11, “It is also a test of our faithfulness to God. Jesus said, ‘And if you are untrustworthy about worldly wealth, who will trust you with the true riches of Heaven?’”

Think

Jesus said, “Where your treasure is, your heart is also”. There is a direct correlation between how we manage our money and what we treasure most. Question: Do you feel uptight and bristly when you hear a message on giving? Because, for many of us, our hearts and minds may be open to spiritual transformation, yet when it comes to our money, we still get funny. But the truth is, we’ll never fully understand God’s grace or see the growth we’re hoping for without first having a genuine spirit of generosity. Our wallet is a window to our soul, and where our wallet goes, we follow. You see, giving is something God wants for us, not from us. He doesn’t need our money, He wants us to need Him! Truly trusting in Him is putting our money where our mouth is—it’s where the rubber meets the road. Want to know what you love the most? Take a look at your calendar, bank statements, and credit card bills. Want to know what you trust the most? Make a generous donation. We must ask ourselves, “Do I trust God with my money?” and conversely, “Does God trust me with what I’ve been given?”

We must not confuse generosity with bringing back the tithe to God. That is not ours to keep, and it’s the minimum worship requirement. Generosity begins with willingness to give beyond the first ten percent of our income. The more we sow into the things of God, the more we will reap from Him. Favor and blessing are the byproducts of cheerful giving. Generosity is the currency for gratitude. The more grateful we are, the more we naturally want to give; it’s a show of love, devotion, and trust with thanksgiving. Winston Churchill said, “We make a living by what we get. We make a life by what we give”. We are never more like Jesus than when we give. Question: In what ways does your life reflect gratitude for God’s grace? Remember, when we give of our time, talent, and resources with a pure heart, God will bless us in ways we never thought possible.

Pray

Father God, give me a generous heart, and help me to trust in Your provision. Guide my thoughts back to Christ’s sacrificial death and resurrection whenever I’m in the crosshairs of greed and entitlement. Thank You for always being faithful and true—it delights my heart to praise You! In Christ I pray, Amen.

Act

Would you call yourself a cheerful giver? Why or why not? Have you seen God bless your finances or provide for you in a unique way in response to your faithfulness? Consider these questions over the next few days. Memory verse: “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.” (Matthew 5:8)

 

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.

 

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

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.

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 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."

 

Wednesday

September 7, 2016

Revolving Around the Son

Read

Acts 17:28, “For in Him we have life and motion and existence; as certain of your verse writers have said, for we are His offspring”.

Ephesians 2:10, “For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do”.

Think

What if the sun suddenly ceased to exist? Plants would wither and die followed by the animals that eat them. Then, after every last-ditch effort for survival, humankind would perish. Also, without the sun keeping the earth in orbit, our planet would spin out into space as if slung from a slingshot. Likewise, our lives—without revolving around the Son—become unanchored and spiral out of control. But in Christ we have life and life to the fullest. Apart from God we are deprived of the sustaining elements— the breath of His Spirit, the living water, and the bread of life.

As we orbit around the Son, God wants us to move as His Spirit moves within us. Our purpose is not selfish ambition, pride, or personal gain. Our movement, our motion, correlates with the notion of being living, breathing, walking, talking billboards for the cause of Christ. Thus, we move with Him in accordance to His commands.

If the sun perished the earth would follow. Yet our existence surpasses Creation. Because our great God is—we are! We are alive in Him forever. Undeniably, our lives pass from the ordinary to the extraordinary when we keep Jesus at the center of our existence and live to fulfill His plan and purpose on earth and in heaven.

Pray

Pray through Philippians 1:9-11 using personal pronouns:
“And this is my prayer: that my love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, so that I may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless until the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ—to the glory and praise of God.”

Act

Learn how to pray and leverage your God-given abilities and talents as an active and thriving part of the local church by attending our Growth Track classes. Click here for a detailed description of each class: https://fellowshipchurch.com/growth-track

Friday

August 26, 2016

Single-minded Success

Read

Pray through Psalm 86:11-12: “Teach me your way, O Lord, and I will walk in Your truth; give me an undivided heart, that I may fear Your name. I will praise You, O Lord my God, with all my heart; I will glorify Your name forever”.

Think

James, the half-brother of Jesus, had a lot to say about double-mindedness. You see, even as Christ followers we are subject to duplicity in our thought life. On one hand,
our lives are fueled by our passion for God and our utmost desire to please Him. On the other, however, we are driven by earthly desires and self-centeredness. Hence, James warns us about the falsehood of spending time in God’s Word without living it out. Additionally, he spoke to the foolishness of faith in God without action. For example, Jesus did not commission His disciples to sit around and discuss their faithfulness to the Father. No, He said, “Go and make disciples of all nations and share My teaching”. In Chapter 4, James mentions the futility of trying to be friends with both the world and with God. Then he lists the necessary steps toward single-minded devotion to the Lord: submit to God, resist the devil, draw near to God, cleanse yourself from sin, and purify your hearts. His letter concludes with the importance of prayer—not just any prayer—but specifically prayers of faith. This means presenting requests to God with pure-minded motivation, believing that through Christ all things are possible, and asking for His will—not ours—be done.

Can you imagine what our world would be like today if everyone had the single-mindedness that James described? Every facet of our lives would enhance and improve relationally, socially, vocationally, emotionally, physically, and most importantly, spiritually. There would be no hypocrisy, bias, bigotry, slander, or corruption. Sounds too good to be true, right? Well, it is and isn’t for Christ followers. Yes, on this side of the grave it’s pure fantasy. But when we move from this life to the next we will come face to face with perfection in eternal paradise. Remember, God’s way works! And every day we are blessed with the opportunity to have intimacy with God, to encourage others, and to stand apart as difference makers for the cause of Christ.

Pray

Bow before God and personally call out to Him by the various names that represent His very nature and character (Healer, Defender, Savior, Lord, etc.). Then express your wondrous awe and reverence for His almighty power.

Act

Take a moment to examine the thoughts of your mind and heart. Are they filled with positivity or negativity? Judgment or grace? Self-seeking or “others-minded”? Are your motives self-centered or God-centered? Is your life on target and fulfilling the plans and purpose God has for your life?

 

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!