By Topic

Pursuit

Thursday

June 8, 2017

Seek First

Read

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

Think

Matthew 6:33 is one of the most foundational verses in all of Scripture. It’s easy to say, easy to memorize, and even easier to forget when we get distracted by all the things vying for our attention every day. And it’s true—we are all busy. However, we cannot use this as an excuse to not spend time with God. There are 168 hours in a week. So, the question is, how are we managing our time if we can’t make time for the Creator of time? Yet, we always seem to find time to do what matters most. Here’s the truth, creating space within our daily lives is more about our priorities, devotion, and character than clocks and calendars. We must realize that our personal relationship with God is a privilege. He doesn’t have to be a part of our lives—He wants to!

There’s another facet to today’s verse that we often neglect due to our focus on the word ‘first’. In fact, first means nothing without the action verb before it. So, we are to SEEK first. This means to find or discover by searching, asking intentional questions, and exploring to obtain knowledge. Seeking God is a quest for His wisdom, character, and nature. It’s earnestly pursuing a deeper relationship with Christ. And it’s a point of surrender, knowing His strength is made perfect in our weakness. Then, no matter what comes our way—good, bad, or in between—we have a supernatural peace that transcends all understanding. Placing Him first allows all of our concerns to align, knowing He is in control. When Jesus is at the center of it all, He will guide our steps according to His goodness and grace.

Pray

Father God, thank You for desiring a relationship with me. I consider it a privilege and an honor to serve You. Convict my heart when I put anything or anyone before You. Search my motivations, and help guide me to actively seek Your righteousness. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Act

How do you prioritize your day? How would those priorities change with God at the top of your agenda? Does considering spending time with Him as a privilege affect your attitude?

 

Friday

May 26, 2017

Lion or Bear, Don’t Care!

Read

I Samuel 17:37, 45-46: “The LORD who rescued me from the paw of the lion and the paw of the bear will rescue me from the hand of this Philistine…  David said to the Philistine, “You come against me with sword and spear and javelin, but I come against you in the name of the LORD Almighty…  whom you have defied. This day the LORD will deliver you into my hands.”

Think

Did you know that the first “Yo Mama” joke was found by researchers on a stone tablet dating back 3,500 years to the ancient Babylonians? Shakespeare himself penned the one most widely published in history! And since the 1990’s maternal insults are forever memorialized on TV, in music videos, movies, and now memes. Why are they offensive? Because they target those who brought us into this life. Similarly, but for a far greater purpose, David took umbrage when he heard Goliath mocking the Creator of life. He refused to stand back while this godless giant trashed talked the name of God. Therefore, with great courage he said, “I come against you in the name of the Lord Almighty”! You see, coming in the name of the Almighty means to act with His power, presence, and authority. David’s passion for God outweighed his fear, thus he stepped forward in faith to do what others were too afraid to do.

David had three character qualities in particular that helped lead him to victory. First, he had a great spiritual perspective. The Israelites saw Goliath from a human perspective, but David didn’t. He knew no mortal could match God’s power. He also had great practical faith. He hadn’t just killed a lion and bear to defend himself—he pursued them and fought to rescue his sheep. Thus he said, “Goliath, lion, or bear I don’t care!” Why? Because, God’s deliverance in the past is always an assurance of His deliverance in the future. And finally, he was more focused on God’s glory than his own victory. He didn’t fight the 9’9”ft Behemoth to become a national hero—he did it to display God’s sovereignty. So, the next time you’re facing some seemingly insurmountable giant, realize that what God did for David He’s also willing to do for you!

Pray

Father God, today I seek to bring glory to Your name. Help me to pursue Your will before my own, and to not grow complacent in doing what’s right. I praise You in Jesus’ name, Amen.

Act

Be inspired by David’s faith, courage, and passion for God by reading I Samuel 17:1-54. Then, journal what stands out to you for future reference.

 

Thursday

May 25, 2017

Step By Step

Read

James 1:2-4, “Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.”

Think

Every cell in your body is screaming, “Stop!” Maybe it’s because you’re bored, tired, hurting, or feeling isolated. What do you do? The enemy is telling you it’s too hard, no one cares, and that God is just punishing you—but he’s a liar. People tell you you’re crazy for trekking along in such circumstances. They’ll try to dissuade you from staying the course. And their words have power—but they aren’t more powerful than the word of God. Could it be that God’s allowing you to struggle for your own well-being? Could He be preparing you today for what He’s prepared for you to do tomorrow? Yes!

Why do you think James says, “Consider it pure joy” to face trials for the production of perseverance? It is because it’s not about us—it’s about God who blesses us for obedience in fulfilling His plan. Yet we often perceive perseverance as sticking something out—but it’s not, that’s endurance. Perseverance is pursuing the perfect and authentic nature of God to produce Spiritual Fruit. So, whatever you face and with every step you take, keep looking ahead. Be faithful to finish because if God is with you, you’re in it to win it.

Pray

Father God, I trust You and thank You for Your guidance past, present, and future. Help me to crash through every quitting point for my good and Your glory. I praise You in the name of Jesus, Amen.

Act

Over the next several days read through and meditate on David’s intimate words to God in Psalm 139. Highlight words or phrases that stand out, then lift them up to God in prayer.

 

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”.

 

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.

 

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?

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

Tuesday

May 10, 2016

On purpose, for purpose

Read

"And who knows but that you have come to royal position for such a time as this.” Esther 4:14

Think

Every single person on earth has a purpose. In fact, one of our biggest questions in life is usually focused on that very fact. We want to discover our purpose, our meaning, why we are here. Some people have discovered their purpose. Others are still searching. And still others have given up, because they feel like they have no purpose. Where are you in that pursuit of purpose? If you have discovered your purpose, continue to fulfill it with everything you have. If you are still searching, don’t stop. And if you have come to the point that you don’t think you have a purpose, let today’s verse be an encouragement to you. Make no mistake; God has a purpose for your life. You were created ON purpose and FOR a purpose. Trust in Him to reveal that to you. Follow Him, and He will lead you to your true purpose.

Pray

Thank God for creating you on purpose and with purpose. Pray for wisdom and discernment as you discover your God-given purpose.

Act

One thing we were all created to do is serve God through the local church. Make that part of your purpose today. Sign up to volunteer, and discover just how much God has created you to do!

Friday

March 6, 2015

Focus on the finish line

Read

“…let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith,” Hebrews 12:1-2

Think

Life is like a marathon. It is a test of our endurance and often tries us in ways we never expected. Many times we hit “the wall” in a way that we didn’t see coming. When we hit those barricades, those roadblocks, and those walls, it can be easy to take our eyes off of our purpose and focus instead on our problems.

Jesus, though, wants us to keep our eyes fixed on Him. Like runners in a race who keep focused on the finish line rather than the distractions around them, we must keep our focus on what God has in store for us ahead. When we stop doing that and begin to turn to the side, we lose sight of what “is set before us.”

Don’t lose sight of what is set before you. Don’t allow the distractions in life to keep you from pursuing the purpose of life. Focus your eyes on Jesus, and rely on His strength to get you through the race.

Pray

Thank God for giving you the opportunities you have today. Don’t lose sight of what God has in store for you. Instead, pray for His strength to help you through!

Act

Take a rest! Every marathon has several water and food stations along the way. These are there to help refuel runners and keep them going. Church is like those stations. Make sure you are at church this weekend to get refueled and refocused on the race ahead!

Tuesday

December 23, 2014

Overcoming Distraction

Read

“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 in the east and have come to worship Him.’” Matthew 2:1-2

Think

When confronted with the birth of Jesus, the Magi, Herod, and the religious leaders all had different reactions. The Magi were intense in their pursuit of Jesus. They had heard about Him and sought Him with all they had. They overcame difficulty, distance, distraction, and danger all so they could bow at the feet of the newborn King.

We have an opportunity every day to be intense in our pursuit of Jesus. But during this season, how often does that pursuit get put on the backburner because of all the distractions? Don’t allow the busy-ness of this Christmas season to distract you from the purpose of this Christmas season. Set your eyes on the Savior and do all you can to pursue Him today.

Pray

Admit to God where you are lacking in your pursuit of Him. Pray for the determination and discipline to focus on Jesus, especially when other things begin to distract you.

Act

Take time today to get away from the distractions. Turn off your phone (yes, there’s an “off” function), get away from your normal activities, and simply take a few minutes to pray for God to remind you of what this season is all about!