The ways of right-living people glow with light; the longer they live, the brighter they shine
We remember seeing fireflies for the first time visiting precious friends near Columbus, Ohio. As twilight arrived many fireflies started moving around. Their bright blinking lights caught everyone’s attention. Children were running around hoping to catch at least one of these illusive beetles. The darker it became the more brilliant their lights appeared and the easier it was for them to be seen.
Today’s verse lets us know that we, as believers, should be easily seen. When we live life God’s way, rather than our own, our lives will glow. Anyone whose life is immersed in darkness will easily notice the difference. They’ll see our brightness and want it for themselves. The longer we live right the brighter our lives become. The brighter we become the more noticeable we will be.
So how is it possible to live this life that shines brightly? Matthew 22:37-39 sums a brilliant life up in 2 simple but vital ways. Firstly, we must love the Lord our God with all our heart, all our soul, and all our mind. Secondly, we must love our neighbour as ourselves. When we start doing this we’ll be glowing. As we continue in it, we’ll be shining brightly.
This week let’s make sure our lives are glowing & bright. When we continue to love God with all our heart, soul, and mind we’ll be a brilliant beacon of hope to our friends & neighbours. No matter how dark their lives might seem we’ll shine like a firefly. Our brightness will catch their attention. Then we’ll be able to share God’s amazing love to them. That will set the captives free & allow them to experience a brilliant life just like we have.
I knew you before I formed you in your mother’s womb
The longer we know someone the deeper our relationship with that person can become. Some people become our trusted friends because of the journey’s we’ve walked together. We have climbed life’s hills & walked through its valleys building trust, hope & confidence together. These people become more than incidental friends, they often become a valued & vital part of our future.
Today’s verse lets us know about our longest & strongest relationship. We’re told that God intimately & personally knew us before we were even conceived. This means He knows us better than anyone. He knows every one of our strengths, weaknesses & desires. He knows how to lead, direct and help us through every part of this life.
Oftentimes we forget to connect with our longest & strongest friend. We try to climb life’s mountain and walk its valleys alone. We forget that He wants to lead us, help us and direct us to a victorious & prosperous life. His motives are pure and His heart is towards us, his longest and strongest friends.
This week let’s not ignore the one who knows us best. Since God knew us before He formed us, He wants to help us whenever we need it. Connecting with our longest & strongest friend will enable us to receive all He has to lead and guide us forward. We simply connect with Him by opening His Word, the Bible, and reading, meditating and praying on it. This forms a connection that enables Him to lead, help and direct us through every part of our life. So, get into God’s Word & get ready for your victory!!!
I’m asking God for one thing, only one thing: To live with him in his house my whole life long
Some people live in one house their whole life. Others move constantly from one place to another. It’s a choice we make as to where we want to live. It may be for practical, theoretical or spiritual reasons. Some places are better & more enjoyable to live than others. Some places capture our heart and live long in our memories.
Today’s verse gives us insight into where King David wanted to live. He was not always King & he didn’t do everything right but his passion was to be in God’s House continually. This passion remained with him throughout his whole life. It absorbed him completely. Many obstacles stood before him but his fiery passion for God’s House ensured he would always have victory.
David’s life was one of constant movement, transition and change. No matter where he found himself his passion was focused on building God’s House and making it great. His heart was to stick & stay with God’s House, so he could grow and go further. When our hearts are the same as David’s we’ll grow and go further as well.
This week let’s determine what we can do to make God’s house, the Church, great. What can we do to express our passionate love for Him better in our congregation? What is the one thing that we can do that will cause others to flourish? When we find that thing let’s do it, rather than leave it for someone else to accomplish. As we stick and stay with it, we’ll soon discover ourselves growing and going further than we ever thought we could.
My sheep listen to My voice; I know them, and they follow Me.
Have you ever heard a person change their voice to play a trick on someone? Comedians & entertainers do this quite often. They sound just like someone else. But if you really know the true person, you’ll discern that it’s really not their voice. The prank won’t be successful even though it was lots of fun.
In today’s verse Jesus reminds us how important it is to know His voice. He says that when we will LISTEN to His voice, He’ll actually KNOW US. When we listen to His voice, we’ll FOLLOW HIM by being obedient to Him. However, if we close our ears and stop listening, He will not know us and we will not follow Him.
There are many voices in the World today. People, politicians, commercials & media. Every voice has a strong opinion & influence that they want us to follow. Every voice wants to sound like God’s but every voice is not God. Voices can easily lead us astray [Ephesians 4:14] The devil knows if he can get us listening to his voice rather than God’s, then he has our future in his hands. That’s not a good place to be.
This week let’s refresh ourselves to the sound of God’s voice. Let’s take some time to read His Word – the Bible, hear from Heaven and follow His Voice. Tune out to the voice of the enemy and the voices of the world that are trying to sound like Him. Focus on God’s voice only. When we LISTEN to His voice, we are guaranteed that we are HIS SHEEP, HE KNOWS US and we can safely FOLLOW HIM.
Why are you gripped with fear? Where is your faith?
Have you ever grabbed quickly for something and selected the wrong item? Often when we do this we’ll end up with mismatched socks, different shoes or even a product that we really didn’t want. It’s not that the right item wasn’t available, it’s the fact that we grabbed in a rush and ended up gripping the wrong thing.
In today’s verse Jesus’ disciples had the same problem. They were out on a boat with Jesus when a storm arose. They grabbed fear rather than faith. Jesus then demonstrates how to still the storm by picking up faith and using it correctly. It wasn’t that the disciples didn’t know. It’s that they grabbed fear in that moment and fear can never silence a storm. It’s an easy mistake that many believers make.
As we go through the storms of life, we need to ensure that we continually pick up faith rather than fear. We can’t allow circumstances to drive us into making pressured decisions. Instead, we should slow down, connect with God’s Word and then grip onto faith. In the same way Jesus calmed the storm through faith, is the same way we can. Faith enables us to calm every storm.
This week let’s grip onto faith no matter how violent or unexpected the storm is. When we grip faith & never let it go, we can re-establish peace in our lives. If we grab a hold of fear by mistake let’s take it to Jesus and exchange it for true faith. He’ll stand with us, help us and ensure we make it through. Before long we’ll be on the other side standing in victory & strength holding fast to this truth.
The world of the generous gets larger and larger;
The world of the stingy gets smaller and smaller
Have you ever tried repacking an item back into its original packaging? Where it used to cleverly fit it no longer seems to. It has left the confines of the manufacturer’s packaging and expanded to fit its new environment. It is possible to make it return but it won’t function or perform how it’s meant to. The product isn’t meant to stay in its packaging; it’s meant to be opened, utilized & enjoyed
Today’s verse tells us about the packaging around our lives. We’re not meant to live boxed up & contained. Our lives are meant to be unpacked, expanded & enjoyed. Each day we should live expansive lives producing something greater not something less. Stingy people always keep their lives in the safe confines of its original packaging. They let life slowly waste away rather than utilizing every part of it. Generous people do the opposite.
So how big is your world? If you’re concerned with just yourself & little else then you’re living a small life. You are still living in the confines of the manufacturer’s packaging. If, on the other hand, your life is reaching out, helping others and always being busy causing them to flourish then you are living a larger life. No matter how small or how large your life is today God wants it to become larger & larger.
This week let’s assess our individual worlds. Let’s carefully determine how small or large they truthfully are. Once we do this we can use our generosity to cause our world to expand and become larger. Generosity isn’t about what we do or do not have, generosity is an attitude of the heart. When we apply generosity through our lives, into the lives of others, we’ll cause our world to become larger & larger. Get ready for an expansive week, month & year ahead.
No one who puts a hand to the plow and looks back is fit for service in the kingdom of God
“Don’t look back” was a golden rule when running foot races at school. If we constantly turned to see where our opponents were we’d slow down & stray from our lanes. The best way to win was to simply keep looking forwarding towards the finish & give all our energies to reaching it.
Today’s verse lets us know that it’s similar in God’s kingdom. We’re shown that, once we’ve started doing things God’s way, we should never return to the old way of doing them. We’re told that this is the same for each & every one of us. Our own ways may be good but God’s way is always brilliant. Every time we do things God’s way, we get good success.
The thing is it’s not always easy. Our mind & logic continually try to turn our head back to look at the ways we used to accomplish things. These were our own selfish ways instead of God’s generous ways. When we look back like this, we make ourselves unfit for the best result that God has intended.
This week let’s actively focus on God’s way of doing things in our lives. Let’s choose one area in which we’re struggling and then try solving it God’s way rather than our own. As we do this, we’ll become fit for God’s Kingdom & His result. Then let’s confidently move onto another area that we can work out in our lives God’s way. Before long we’ll be moving forward and the temptation to look back, slow down and lose direction will be a far gone memory. We’ll be experiencing God’s best in more areas of our lives as we flourish into our future.
Don’t be afraid, those who are with us are more than those against us
2 Kings 6:16
Have you ever counted a vast number of items only to discover at the end that you’ve made an error? The items had been miscounted. Perhaps somehow there was a distraction or some confusion entered in during the count. The bottom line is that the total was incorrect. When this happens, it becomes necessary to go back and recount, ensuring we have seen everything correctly.
In today’s verse we’re told 2 very important things. Firstly, we’re told “Don’t be afraid”. Many scholars tell us that this phrase is in the Bible 365 times. The Bible reminds us each & every day to keep fear away. If we don’t, the enemy is guaranteed to enter with fear & cause faith to exit our lives.
Secondly, we’re told “Those who are with us are more than those against us.” Oftentimes life can seem overwhelming. This is especially true when problems & trials seem to outnumber us. At these times we need to take a fresh look over our lives and discover how much more we actually have going for us. Fear & anxiety will always cause distraction & confusion. Whenever fear enters in, we miscount and see life in the wrong way. That’s why we must actively force fear out of our lives each & every day.
This week let’s wage an active battle against fear so we can clearly see the wonderful life we’ve been given. Let’s simply try getting victory over fear for a day, then 2 days. In no time at all we’ll be experience a fear free week, month & then year. As we stop fear entering, we’ll experience faith’s power growing. Before long we’ll be walking in and declaring that “Those who are with us are more than those against us.”
Love never fails
1 Corinthians 13:8
Can you remember someone who showed you love when you thought you didn’t deserve it? This expression of love sticks as a memory and a feeling long after the circumstances surrounding it have faded away. We remember the person and we remember the love shown. It is impossible to forget. This expression of love forms a powerful and permanent memory.
Today’s verse tells us why this is. Paul lets us know that true love can never ever fail. In other words, love can be dependable. When love is unconditionally given as a gift it will always lift up, put right and lighten even the heaviest of hearts. Agape love is the fail proof way to build, repair & restore every relationship we have. True love will always protect, always trust, always hope and always preserve. Love is something that we each possess but it must be given away so it does not fail.
Whenever we give unconditional love to others, we produce a fail proof change in their life. This effect can last far beyond today; it can become a blessing to future people & generations. But if we selfishly withhold our love, doing nothing with it, we’ll ultimately see lives of failure & hurt rather than success & blessing.
This week let’s make our agape love work passionately in someone else’s life. After all Matthew 5:26 says we get a reward for loving the unlovely. So let’s take some of our love and give it away to someone desperately in need of it. In no time at all it will lift them up, put them right and lighten their heavy heart. It will build protection, trust and hope around them. It will preserve & strengthen them and it will cause us to live a rewarded life.
I can do all things through Christ
In this technologically driven age of IPhones, IPods & IPads we’ve quickly become reliant on what these items are able to do for us. People seldom wear a watch, carry a diary or even open a book any more. Everything they need is provided by their technology. The difficulty is we’ve developed a society where people want everything done for them, rather than actually doing it themselves.
Today’s verse reminds us that we can, and should, be doing some things for ourselves. We shouldn’t be leaving everything to other people and our technology. The Bible says we’re individually equipped & capable of achieving some fairly major things. We’re able to achieve them with little help from others. But many believers ignore what they’re capable of producing. The truth is that when we work God’s Word in our lives, God’s Word works in our lives.
Here are a few simple things that we’re able to do individually. They require little help from technology or other people:
Ephesians 6:19 I CAN pray
Matthew 6:14-15 I CAN forgive
Matthew 2:8 I CAN worship God
Philippians 1:25 I CAN help others
1 Corinthians 13:2 I CAN move mountains
1 Corinthians 9:21 I CAN lead people to Christ
Psalm 139:7 I CAN never escape God’s presence!
Philippians 1:22 I CAN do more fruitful work for Christ
Mark 5:28, Matthew 9:21, 1 Peter 2:24 I CAN be healed.
Romans 1:11 I CAN use my spiritual gift to help others grow
2 Corinthians 8:3, Acts 26:22 I CAN tell people what God is doing in my life
This week lets decide, “I CAN & I WILL do more than I have been doing”. Let’s put away the distraction of technology and go “old school” in our pursuit of God. Let’s get up close & personal with Him rather than boxing God into our schedules & plans. Use the list above as a spontaneous bucket list for what you’d like to accomplish in God this week. Personally press your life into God’s Word & His Promises and you’ll quickly discover His Word & Promises overtaking your life.