Category Archives: Daily Devotional
We live in a “bottom line” world. As a result, we often focus our attention there. Overseers are certainly concerned with the bottom line. Can you hear yours saying, “Don’t tell me how hard you worked, just tell me what you got done;” or “I don’t want to hear about the labor pains, just show me the baby”?
In competition, the objective is to win. Focusing too closely on the scoreboard however, is an ineffective and confusing approach. Some would ask whether focusing on winning is even possible. Winning as an objective is, in many ways… abstract. What is not abstract however, is being on time for a meeting, utilizing warm-up and stretch time to prepare muscles for practice or finishing through the line in a drill. Focusing on the process keeps us from missing opportunities right in front of us.
God encourages us in Matthew 6:34 to not look too far ahead. “Therefore don’t worry about tomorrow because tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” He also promises to instruct us on each and every step if we will go to His word. “Your word is a lamp for my feet and a light on my path.” Psalm 119:105.
Ever had someone you know go forward at church? For those already following Jesus, perhaps nothing is more rewarding than seeing a brother or sister surrender to the God of the universe. To see someone we love stop fighting.. accept God’s calling… allow God to start making decisions for them… give God the position of “Lord” in their lives… and stop constructing a God of their own… WOW! And for those occasions when we see God actually used us in the process…how humbling.
Jesus was not just a good and wise teacher – He left no room for that option. Consider His words: “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the father except through me.” (John 14:6) “If you have seen me, you have seen the Father.” (John 14:9) “I and the Father are one.” (John 10:30) Jesus was either a lunatic or He was God in the flesh.
The decision to accept Jesus as Savior and Lord of our life is unquestionably the greatest anyone can ever make. The choice guarantees heaven as our eternal destination and establishes the bible as our operations manual for life. But why do some people make this once-in-a-lifetime decision over and over again? Could this change be just an intermittently stirred emotion? Just a passing feeling brought about by a well-delivered sermon?
Connecting the Spiritual and the practical can be difficult. Reality is, we can be certain we know God when we keep His commands (1 John 2:3). Where we try yet fail, the grace offered by Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross covers us. Where we repeatedly ignore God however, there is no blessing. When we truly experience salvation, we seek to know God and become more and more obedient to God’s voice and the instruction in His Word – without “trying” all that hard. We allow God to Lord over our decisions. We choose the path He tells us to travel. When this is not the path we have been traveling, we expect the new route will be unfamiliar and initially uncomfortable. We also realize retreating to our comfort zone would simply take us to the place we have determined not to live anymore.
Whether motivated by a courageous Spirit or the fatigue of living in our own strength, leaving feelings and emotions behind, and practically applying/inserting the Lord of our lives into the next personal, social or professional decision we make is new…it’s fresh…and it represents Real Change.
Under Armor’s Protect this House ad campaign resonates with every athlete. We do everything in our power not to compromise the home field. In our faith walk, our mind is the “House” needing protected (Romans 7:25). With our mind, we are slave to the law of God. Not so with our flesh, which is slave to a lazy, cowardly, sinful nature. The gospels of both Matthew and Mark remind us the Spirit is willing but the flesh is weak.
To operate in the omnipotent power of God, we must protect the home field and govern what enters our mind. 2 Cor 10 counsels us to “…take captive every thought.” Intentionally controlling the information, conversation and thought we entertain, limits opportunity for our opponent to gain traction, establish a foothold, have any success for that matter in our house - the temple of the living God.
We are bombarded with information from which our minds need protected. Should we retreat to “holy huddles” and seclude ourselves from our adversary? No way! This is not God’s calling nor is it even possible in this world (1 Cor 5). The way to protect our House is by not allowing what the world does or says to distract from what God is doing in and through us. Until we are called home to heaven or Christ returns, we must live in this world. We do not however have to become of this world. Elevate your mind. Give your every situation, conversation and decision the home field advantage. Anything that is not true, honorable, just, pure, lovely, commendable or morally excellent should occupy no part of your mind. We must Protect this House!
For so long I understood this passage to say – what someone wanted – God would provide – just delight in Him. If a mate was desired…God would find one. A football scholarship… God would work out an offer. A new job… God would open the door to walk through. Maybe the desire was selfish; maybe borderline sinful…but if desired in the heart, God would grant it. The disconnect was plain and apparent. I just didn’t see it.
God is not going to give me MY desires. If I will delight in God, He will then put HIS desires in my heart! Selfish desires…not likely. Borderline sinful…no chance. God is not going to put desires in your heart for sinful things, selfish things, or anything which does not bring Him glory and represent His best for you. But a mate, a football scholarship or a job in ministry doesn’t sound selfish or sinful. Not at all. But is it God’s desire for you? Is it the best for you right now?
God’s thoughts about us each day are more numerous than the grains of sand on the seashore (Psalm 139). As much time as we spend thinking about ourselves, God thinks about us more. We think we know what would be best, but He simply knows better. When we delight in the Lord, what we desire becomes about God and his perfect plan and purpose for our life. Perhaps the desires may stay the same, but they are no longer our desires fashioned for our purposes, they become the desires of a loving father placed in our heart! What a Savior!
Don’t let fear keep you from advancing. Satan is masterful at filling minds with doubt (Exactly why we must take every thought captive… 2 Cor 10). Satan wants us to envision all sorts of barriers to our progress. We get paralyzed and stop moving forward.
Even God’s most faithful need a “kick in the butt” occasionally. In Chapter 18, Joshua asks the Israelites “How long will you delay going out to take possession of the land that the Lord the God of your fathers gave you?” God had given the Israelites the promised land! The fear God’s people endured thinking about crossing the Jordan was 100% unmerited (remember that ultimately they crossed on dry ground). But the Israelites allowed their thoughts to stop them in their tracks. Stop looking at what you think are barriers….Keep on Truckin’.