Lord, put into my life enough delays to teach me patience. .......................enough failure to teach me humility. .......................enough expenses to teach me to work. .......................enough needy people to teach me generosity. .......................enough leisure to teach me to enjoy myself. .......................enough health to allow me to help the sick. .......................enough barriers to teach me perseverance. .......................enough illness to teach me to accept help. .......................enough stress to teach me serenity. .......................enough loneliness to teach me to reach out. .......................enough joy to teach me to smile. .......................enough questions to teach me faith. .......................enough of YOU to teach me awe.
- Jesus prayed early in the morning. (Mark 1:35)
- Jesus obeyed the promptings of the Holy Spirit. (Matthew 4:1)
- Jesus cared about lost people he had never met. (Matthew 23:37)
- Jesus met the physical needs of others. (Mark 6:36-42)
- Jesus cared about the emotional needs of others. (Luke 24:36; Matthew 10:31)
- Jesus let God control his speech. (John 14:10)
- Jesus turned regular conversations towards spiritual issues. (John 4:4-41)
- Jesus attended church regularly. (Luke 4:16)
- Jesus fulfilled family responsibilities. (Luke 2:52; John 19:26-27)
- Jesus gave proper priority to physical possessions. (Matthew 8:20)
- Jesus helped disciple new believers. (John 6:3)
- Jesus welcomed “outsiders”. (John 4:4-41)
- Jesus faced criticism in order to tell the truth. (Mark 2:13-17; Mark 3:1-6)
- Jesus had an enthusiasm for the church. (Mark 11:15-17)
Jehovah knew we could never understand a god who could create galaxies, control storms and harness the tides. But He thought maybe we could understand a god who washed feet, loved children and cried at funerals. So He sent Jesus.
Should we study God’s word so that we can be informed or transformed? Are we as willing to be confronted and challenged as we are to be comforted and calmed?
In my efforts to please my Father and be like Jesus, do I emphasize rules or relationships? Have I allowed myself to settle for a reasonable degree of success in the “Thou shall not” part of Christianity while allowing myself to fall short in the “Cup of cold water aspect”?
Lost people don’t need to see good people working for God; they need to see a good God working through people. And these good people need to be aware of and acknowledge that it is the power of the Holy Spirit that enables them to do that work.
What specific things did I do yesterday that said to the world “That man loves God”? What will I do tomorrow that says the same thing?
The Father decides. The Son delivers. The Holy Spirit defines.
Love is giving your place in line (#1) to someone else and then going back to the end of the line (#50) to start over again.
Until we realize we are desperate without Christ we can never be complete in Christ.
On Palm Sunday, Jesus was the most popular person in Jerusalem. He soon made enemies of the town’s businessmen and religious leaders by honoring his Father. Popularity was never his goal, but intimacy with hurting people was. Are we willing to establish our priorities the same way?
The most horrible condition on the planet is “God forsaken.” Jesus must have felt the first touch of this in Gethsemane. Knowing he would feel it much stronger on the cross must have made the hours between his arrest and death almost unbearable.
The privilege of prayer is one of the best things God has ever given us. It allows us to access Him anytime, anywhere, for any reason.
God is more interested in developing me into a tool for his service rather than a trophy for his mantel.
I am a nobody trying to tell everybody about the Somebody who can save us all.
For a child of God his mercy will last longer and be stronger than his discipline.
I am glad God gave us commandments. How else would we know how to please Him?
Does God intend for me to be a soldier or a lamb, a crusader or a teacher, a fierce defender of the faith or a little child approaching Jesus?
May God’s joy in my heart soften my judgements of others and allow his grace to spill over onto them.
A life of service to God is much to be preferred over a life of comfort for self. Do we really believe that?
God applies his forgiveness to our sins with eagerness and joy, not with reluctance and regret. As much as that forgiveness cost Him…..the death of Jesus…..we can be sure He delights in applying it to us. I must give to others what God has given me.
Dear Father, slow me down before I break down and lift me up before I blow up.
Are you stymied for gift giving ideas? Giving gifts can be problematic in our society of affluence when trying to find something for those who “have everything.” Here’s an idea for consideration. The ideal gift is yourself.
That’s right, give away some of yourself:
Give an hour of your time to someone who needs you. Give a note of encouragement to someone feeling down. Give a hug of affirmation to someone in your family. Give a listening ear to someone who is lonely. Give a word of compassion to someone who has suffered a loss. Give a deed of thoughtfulness to someone who is overlooked. Give a gentle response to the frustrated. Give a quiet push to someone needing encouragement. Give the benefit of a doubt to the misunderstood. Give a second thought to someone else's opinion. Give forgiveness to those who have harmed you. Give a second chance to someone who has failed.
God gave Jesus to us on the first Christmas morning. Jesus gave his life for us on a cross of disgrace. How much of ourselves are we willing to give others this Christmas season?
Does Satan sometimes influence a Christian to do “good” things? Oddly enough, it seems sometimes the answer is yes.
One of Satan’s most successful ploys is to encourage us to do good things which will prevent us from doing the best things that God intends for us.
Satan may tempt us to do a religious thing rather than a Christian thing. Satan may tempt us to do a church thing rather than serve a neighbor. Satan may tempt us to only pray for another person rather than help them while we pray. Satan may tempt us to give a cup of cold water rather than explain the path of salvation.
The allure of the good is strong for several reasons. Such activity is usually socially acceptable and we gain the praise of others for being so generous. Good behavior is less likely to involve a long-term relationship that might be confining. And, of course, good behavior allows us to have warm feelings of self-satisfaction.
What is the promised reward when we correctly identify, select and carry out the best? We will hear “well done, thou good and faithful servant.” (Matthew 25:23)
How can we know which actions are good, but not the best? James 1:5 promises such wisdom. If we don’t seek this wisdom, we are likely to miss the chance to do the best things by instantly doing every good thing that comes along.
It is vital that we have an eagerness and willingness to joyfully serve our Master. But before putting our enthusiasm into play, we must seek and find his will. We must allow him to help us correctly identify our assignments. Then He will help us complete them.
None of us consciously intends to disobey God. We don’t get up in the morning and say “Today I’m going to refuse to do what God tells me.”
Yet every day we manage to be disobedient. Why?
Sometimes the answer is that we simply don’t hear Him telling us how to obey. We are like the child who, as he runs off to play, honestly does not hear his mother say “You be home by noon.” We don’t consider our actions to be disobedient because we can’t be expected to do what God says if we don’t know what He says, can we?
Oh, we don’t put our hands over our ears and shout “I can’t hear you” like we did when we were children. Yet we allow the radio, phone, TV, computer and demands of job and family to drown out his still, small voice. We don’t hear because we don’t listen. Often we don’t listen because we fear He will tell us to do, or stop doing, something.
We may feel “I didn’t know” is an acceptable excuse for sinning. But while it may serve as a thin veneer of acceptability in our minds, God views it differently. For a child of God to be ignorant of His commands is a sin that leads to further sins.
Does God really want to make his specific will clear to each of us every day? Yes! But those messages will remain a mystery unless we learn to listen and comprehend. To hear Him more clearly and consistently we must enter our prayer closet several times each day, listen for his voice in the din of life, read what He has already written for us and discipline our minds to think of spiritual things.
He will guard us from accidental disobedience if we deeply and sincerely want to obey.
Luke 2:49 indicates Jesus had unusual spiritual sensitivity. Does it mean He knew then He was the Messiah? Maybe and maybe not. But it does mean He understood that God had a specific, personal claim on his life to one degree or another. And what did He do about it? He went home and correctly played his proper role as a family member (Luke 2:51-52). He continued to do so for the next eighteen years (John 2:3-10). My first and greatest opportunity to behave in a Christ-like manner is at home with my family. If I don't follow his example there I won't follow it anywhere. Genesis 4:26 states the people began to "call on the name of the LORD". Do I call on his name in surrender as often as I do in request? Do I call on his name asking that He change me as often as I ask him to change others? In my efforts to please my Father I need to emphasize relationships more than rules. I must not allow myself to settle for reasonable success in the "Thou shalt not" category of Christian living, while ignoring the "cup of cold water" part. Joshua 24:15 says "Choose you this day whom you will serve". I think we are also asked each day to decide who we will "worship." This will be determined and demonstrated by which TV shows we watch, what internet images we download, which magazines we read, how we spend our money, which gossip we listen to, what attitudes we reinforce, which priorities we develop and what parts of our culture we embrace.
In a capitalistic economic system every person is encouraged to accumulate all the wealth possible. Success is largely determined by the size of portfolios and bank accounts. Money earned today is to be used in a way that will produce more assets tomorrow.
By the same token, an individual’s poverty is of no concern to anyone else. A person is allowed to lose all his wealth without interference from anyone else. Birth-to-death poverty is common.
Such capitalism is a disaster unless it is guided by “Do unto others” (Matthew 7:12) and “Feed the hungry” (Matthew 25:35-36). Only these Christian principles can shape the system to benefit all income levels.
There are, of course, many times and places that Christians can give to people who need help. The Holy Spirit will lead in determining when, where and how such caring and sharing should take place. Certainly Jesus called on his followers to give help one-on-one.
But in today’s world there is a need for large-scale institutions that strive to produce economic equality. For the most part our churches have not stepped up to the plate to help fill this need. One of the least offered prayers during Sunday morning services is “God, do you want me to give more?”
Q. Does God want the poor in my community to have more of this world's resources? A. Yes. Q. What is His plan for getting more to them? A. The generosity of Christians. Q. Does God want me to have more of this world's resources? A. Only if I will pass on these additional blessings to the poor.(Or maybe only if I pass on more of my currently held resources.)