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Daily Devotion

  • Humility Not Hubris

    Posted on April 25, 2012 by Family Christian

    “This is a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am chief.” 1 Timothy 1:15

     

    Humility is modest and respectful; hubris is proud and arrogant. Humility practices an egoless attitude; hubris exhibits an egocentric persona. Humility has a proper perspective of its capabilities; hubris is overconfident. Humility depends on God and others; hubris thinks it is self-contained. Humility is an aspiring virtue; hubris is a venomous vice. 

    We cultivate humility in our hearts when we remember how far the Lord has brought us by His grace. We are sinners saved by God’s grace, kept by God’s grace, and empowered to live the Christian life, by God’s grace. Our humble living sacrifice to Christ is all of grace or none at all. We need not forget where we came from, less we lose our fiery faith.

    “Yes, all of you be submissive to one another, and be clothed with humility, for “God resists the proud, But gives grace to the humble.” 1 Peter 5:5b

    Do you daily dress yourself in the clothes of humility? Consider a hat of submission to authority, a t-shirt of trust, a blouse of belief, a collared shirt of care, pants of prayer, a dress of dependence, a belt of boldness, socks of service, and shoes of gratitude. Humility lived out for the Lord requires intentionality in your body, soul, and spirit. Hubris hopes you dismiss humility as a strategy for the weak, but humility gives you access to grace.

    Perhaps you take the lead in doing chores around your house, or schedule a 24-hour silent retreat to get quiet before the Lord and listen to His gentle voice. Your humility checkmates hubris when you are intentional in your behavior and instructional in your beliefs. Jesus emptied Himself of self so His heavenly Father could fill Him with grace.

    Hubris says quiet times are electives, humility says they are required. Hubris says prayer is passé, humility says there is nothing more relevant. Hubris says personal achievement is the ultimate goal, humility says it’s for the glory of God. Your position of power and influence at home and work is a platform for humble service. See your role in life as a conduit for Christ and His kingdom. Your humility is heaven’s leverage in other’s lives.

    “Christ Jesus, who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men. Being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.” Philippians 2:5b-8, NASB

    Prayer: Lord, teach me to walk in the humble steps of Your son Jesus.

    Related Readings: Exodus 10:3; 2 Kings 22:19; Daniel 5:22; Romans 12:3

    Post/Tweet this today: Are you dressed daily in the clothes of humility? #humilty

  • Plan Ahead

    Posted on April 24, 2012 by Family Christian

    “Go to the ant, you sluggard; consider its ways and be wise! It has no commander, no overseer or ruler, yet it stores its provisions in summer and gathers its food at harvest”. Proverbs 6:6-8

     

    Wisdom works hard now, but is wise about planning for the future. Planners have an innate discipline that prevents immediate urgent matters from distracting them as they stay focused on important issues. Their discipline determines what choices they make during the day; always keenly aware that their actions affect their future. The best planners take the time to process through assumptions and the implications of best and worst case scenarios.
     
    Self motivated and disciplined planners do not require rigid management and control. They thrive in autonomy, but still submit to the accountability of authority. Wise planners save time and money because there is a decision making filter in place that results in more no’s than yes’s to good opportunities. The Holy Spirit works through a prayerfully crafted plan to guide you into God’s best, so stay aligned with the plan.
     
    “Many are the plans in a person’s heart, but it is the LORD’s purpose that prevails.” Proverbs 19:21

    Ants are small in stature but, with the unified effort of many, are large in results. A clearly defined, well-executed plan brings your team together producing outstanding outcomes. A plan creates creditability giving courage to those who carry it out. So be sensitive to your season of strategic service. If you are in the preparation phase, be patient and focused on the plan.

    If you are in the execution phase, remain diligent and focused on the task at hand. As you harvest success make sure to save for the future. Abundance is not meant to be spent all at once, but to be saved for the down times. Use your church, business, or home as a platform of provision for others in need. You plan ahead so that you can be an ambassador for Almighty God.

    “Instruct them to do good, to be rich in good works, to be generous, and ready to share, storing up for themselves the treasure of a good foundation for the future, so that they may take hold of that which is life indeed.” I Timothy 6:18-19

    Prayer: What opportunities do I need to put on hold so that I stay focused on implementing the current strategic plan with excellence?

    Related Readings: Genesis 41:28-43; Job 12:7-8; Luke 14:28; Hebrews 6:12

    Post/Tweet this today: A plan creates creditability giving courage to those who carry it out. #plan #courage

     

  • Tested Faith

    Posted on April 23, 2012 by Family Christian

    “Simon, Simon, Satan has asked to sift all of you as wheat. But I have prayed for you, Simon, that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned back, strengthen your brothers.” Luke 22:31-32

     

    Satan is always on the prowl to discredit the faith of sincere disciples. He asks the Almighty if he can flush out the mercenaries who only see Jesus as a means to their own end. The Lord does give the devil permission at times (like with Job) to strain His children with temptation and trials. However, the enemy learns quickly that Jesus increases the intensity of His intercession for those being badgered by Satan’s schemes.

    A tested faith is an opportunity to grow from inspiration to transformation. We may deny Christ at times, but He does not deny us. We may lose faith, but He remains faithful. In our weakness, He is strong. Stumbling in our faith provides an opportunity for faith building. Emotional expression converts to willful commitment—post our predicament. Out of our tests of faith He brings success, so that we can help other followers of Jesus.

    "Does Job fear God for nothing?" Satan replied. "Have you not put a hedge around him and his household and everything he has? You have blessed the work of his hands, so that his flocks and herds are spread throughout the land. But now stretch out your hand and strike everything he has, and he will surely curse you to your face." (Job 1:9-11 NIV)

    Are you ready for God's next step? Have you prayerfully prepared? Indeed, God may have a small step of suffering for you before your next significant step of faith. See a temporary delay as a divine detour to build your faith before your next move. As you spiritually spar with Satan, be brave, since your Savior prays for you. Your inner strength forged in spiritual fights becomes energy to effectively engage your external challenges.

    Like a trusted trainer who cares for and instructs a boxer who collapses on a stool in his corner, so Christ soothes your emotional cuts and bruises with His loving grace, He teaches you with wisdom. However, the Lord strengthens you so you can strengthen those whose faith is sputtering. There is a tear in every church pew—a dear saint who is waiting for a Christ follower like you to share from caring eyes your own liquid love. Your tested faith transformed by the Holy Spirit welds heaven's salvation to save souls!

    “And with many other words he [Peter] testified and exhorted them, saying, “Be saved from this perverse generation.” Then those who gladly received his word were baptized; and that day about three thousand souls were added to them. And they continued steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, in the breaking of bread, and in prayers. Then fear came upon every soul, and many wonders and signs were done through the apostles.” Acts 2:40-43, NKJV

    Prayer: Lord, whom can I strengthen in the faith by the strength You have given me?

    Related Readings: 2 Corinthians 13:5; Hebrews 11:17; James 1:3; Revelation 2:10

    Post/Tweet this today: There is a tear in every church pew waiting for you to share from caring eyes your own liquid love. #tears #compassion

  • Chosen by God

    Posted on April 22, 2012 by Family Christian

    Know that the Lord has set apart the godly for himself; the Lord will hear when I call to him. Psalm 4:3

     

    God chooses His children for Himself. Our relationship with our Lord is all about Him. It is all about His desires, His pleasures, His vision, His goals, and His will. When we came to God we came empty handed, clinging only to the cross of Christ. So in our surrender to our Savior, we emptied ourselves and received Jesus. We went from self-sufficient to God-dependent. We went from flesh patterns to spiritual habits.

    We went from ungodly to godly. We went from an impersonal relationship with a distant God to an intimate relationship with our heavenly Father, up close and personal. God chose us for Himself. Now in our engagement with eternity, we want what God wants. Our passions have been changed from the temporal to the eternal. We get excited over what excites God.

    Furthermore, He wants us to know and not forget these basic tenets of Christianity. He knows we need to know. He knows that we need to know because we forget and revert back to beliefs that rival God’s ownership of our lives. Because He owns us, He owns everything about us. You may be struggling with traveling overseas for the sake of His cause. But Jesus’s commands are clear that we are to go into all the world and make disciples.

    You may be too busy to build a relationship with your neighbors. But our sensitive Savior implores us to love them. Our words may say one thing, but our behavior brands us. What can we do today to set ourselves apart as His? Our distinctive may be to reflect a patient attitude, a caring comment, or sinless anger toward hypocrisy. We are at His disposal to carry out His desires. This is His expectation.

    Moreover, God offers a clear channel of communication for His children. He hears when we call to Him. Prayer is not passive for our heavenly Father. He is interested in our intense circumstances and our heartfelt fears. Because we are His, He listens to and answers our prayers. It is not always the answer we expect it to be. He defines His will for us as much with his answers of “no” as He does with His answers of “yes.”

    Our prayers are a response to the love, respect, dependency, and trust we have in our heavenly Father. Because we are His, we come to Him often, as does a child in a healthy relationship with his or her parent. We have no need to fear, for our heavenly Father is near. He is near to listen and to love. He is near to forgive and heal. He is a prayer away.

    The more we constantly converse with Christ, we will surely speak all the more boldly to men. Prayer is a purging and a preparation. It is God’s platform to launch us into fields that are ripe for harvest. It is a preparation for engagement in the lives of people. Prayer fills us with love so we can be emptied of love. God chooses us, and what He chooses He makes holy. We are godly because we are God’s. It is holiness that makes us fit to live with holy God forever. Without holiness we cannot see our Savior (Hebrews 12:14). Boldness follows seeing Jesus. Because He was poured out, we are sold out.

    Taken from Reading #3 in the 90-day devotional book, “Seeking God in the Psalms”… http://bit.ly/bQHNIE

    Post/Tweet this today: Our words may say one thing, but our behavior is what brands us. #behavior

  • Remain Faithful

    Posted on April 21, 2012 by Family Christian

    “This calls for patient endurance on the part of the saints who obey God’s commandments and remain faithful to Jesus.” Revelation 14:12

     

    Faithfulness tends to be practiced by the few. However, for all committed followers of Christ, the clarion call is to remain faithful. He is the object of your adoration and your obedience, and He deserves and desires your faithfulness. It should be easier to remain faithful when the object of your faithfulness is as pure as the driven snow.

    There is nothing about Jesus that doesn’t elicit faithfulness. His fairness invites faithfulness; His grace and generosity generate faithfulness; His love longs for faithfulness; His holiness inspires faithfulness; His compassion creates faithfulness; His forgiveness foretells faithfulness; His judgment motivates faithfulness; His life models faithfulness. Jesus remained faithful to the very end and, in Him, so can you.
       
    Is there anything about Jesus that keeps you from remaining faithful? Who else can you go to for eternal life (John 6:68)? Faithfulness to Jesus is par for the Christian life. He is the standard by which you live. Even under the onslaught of illness, you remain faithful. As circumstances around you crumble, you remain faithful. When people mistreat and misunderstand you, you remain faithful.

    If you lose your job, you remain faithful. When a close friend lets you down and rejects you, you still remain faithful to Jesus. Faithfulness to Jesus is the chorus of Christian living. Moreover, His faithfulness to you is the measure of your capacity to remain faithful. The indwelling of the Holy Spirit’s power in your life provides you with the capability to remain faithful.
       
    Remaining faithful to people is a natural byproduct of remaining faithful to Jesus. People can be disappointing and downright disturbing. But your faithfulness may be the very thing that draws them to Jesus. Certainly, your remaining faithful will give them pause to reflect on your radical love and forgiveness. Faithfulness reminds people of truth. Paul said, “I am sending to you Timothy, my son whom I love, who is faithful in the Lord. He will remind you of my way of life in Christ Jesus…” (1 Corinthians 4:17).

    Therefore, make it a goal to remain faithful to an “undeserving” relative or friend. This becomes a magnet attracting them to God, and not a detour to the devil. You may need to dissolve a working partnership, but you can still salvage the relationship. You can remain faithful even when the other party doesn’t. Let your faithfulness, not your feelings, be the gauge for your giving, your service, your forgiveness, and your love. Above all else, remain faithful to Jesus, for He is the Faithful One.

    Taken from April 19th reading in the 365-day devotional book, “Seeking Daily the Heart of God”… http://bit.ly/bQHNIE

    Post/Tweet this today: Remaining faithful to people is a natural byproduct of remaining faithful to Jesus. #faithful

  • Spirit-Filled Leaders Love

    Posted on April 20, 2012 by Family Christian

    “Brothers and sisters, choose seven men from among you who are known to be full of the Spirit and wisdom. We will turn this responsibility over to them.” Acts 6:3

     

    Leaders, full of the Spirit of God, represent the Lord well in how they serve others. A leader led by the Lord loves well. They look beyond what a person can do for them, and seek to understand what they can do for their colleagues. Love asks what motivates others to feel appreciated. Is it time off, a kind word, an unexpected bonus, or just knowing they are cared about? A spirit-filled servant of the Lord loves well, as a boss under God’s authority. 

    Furthermore, we may find ourselves in a position of responsibility to choose leaders at our church, in our community or for civic duties. This process of wisely qualifying a leader cannot become a popularity contest concerning charisma, charm, and who communicates the best. We are wise to prayerfully select those who serve for the pleasure of the customers or the constituents. Look for leaders who lovingly look out for others first.

    “If you really keep the royal law found in Scripture, “Love your neighbor as yourself,” you are doing right. But if you show favoritism, you sin and are convicted by the law as lawbreakers.” James 2:8-9

    How are you doing as a leader who loves well? Yes, creating job opportunities is a good first step, but what about creating a culture of love? Not a workplace of mediocrity, but one of loving accountability. Team members are not made to believe in Jesus, but everyone is expected to behave like Jesus. As a leader do you model treating everyone with dignity? Janitors and Junior Associates alike receive your same respectful response.

    So, how do you remain consistent in leading a Spirit-filled life? It is a daily surrender to your Savior Jesus and death to self. You are a leaky vessel that needs the Lord’s infusion of grace to fill you back up to the brim. Yesterday’s filling cannot compensate for today’s empty feeling. Engage your faith in humble confession for the Spirit’s fullness and He will fill you to overflowing. Like a sprinkler refreshes grass, the Spirit waters your soul, so seek His fullness. Spirit-filled leaders love in the power of the Lord’s love.

    “The Spirit gives life; the flesh counts for nothing. The words I have spoken to you—they are full of the Spirit and life.” John 6:63

    Prayer: Lord whom are you calling me to love and serve in Your name?

    Related Readings: Job 32:18; Ezekiel 37:1; Luke 10:21; Acts 11:24

    Post/Tweet this today: Yesterday’s filling cannot compensate for today’s empty feeling. #Spirit #filled

  • Eternal Examination

    Posted on April 19, 2012 by Family Christian

    “For a man’s ways are in full view of the Lord, and he examines all his paths.” Proverbs 5:21

     

    There is an eternal eye that watches our every move. Almighty God is not exhausted from examination, because He knows we need the accountability of His watchful eye. We do better when we know Deity is watching. This is why you train your children to be accountable to God, so when they move out and move on, they fear God, and they are motivated to love and obey Him. You can’t follow your teenagers and young adult children around but the Lord does. 

    This is how the Holy Spirit is able to check a woman’s conscience, or prick a man’s pride. Every good or bad deed is in full view of your Heavenly Father for your benefit. He sees what a situation will bring, and seeks to guide you in the right direction. This is why prayer is imperative to gain God’s perspective. An eternally examined life is a gateway to knowing God. Live your life ever mindful you are under your Master’s microscope of concern, and you are freed by faith in Him.

    “For God will bring every act to judgment, everything which is hidden, whether it is good or evil” (Ecclesiastes 12:14).

    God’s accountability is not bondage, but freedom. You live within God’s guidelines, but with tremendous freedom and creativity on the playing field of Providence. It’s those who stray into sin who are snared by its seduction. There are no secrets with your Savior.  Every action will be weighed and brought into judgment.

    Therefore, come clean with Christ in confession, and claim a clear conscious. Do not let pride keep you from pronouncing your blind spots to friends who will lovingly yet boldly bring them to your attention. There is no such thing as an unexamined life, as the Lord is looking. Behave in a way that makes Him smile, as He gazes on your life with humble holiness. Indeed, the Lord looks on for your blessing and benefit.

    “And there is no creature hidden from His sight, but all things are open and laid bare to the eyes of Him with whom we have to do.” Hebrews 4:13, NASB

    Prayer: Which of my blind spots do I need to invite a friend to ask me about with regularity?

    Related Readings: 2 Samuel 22:25; Job 31:4-9; Psalm 139:1-12; Revelation 2:18-23

    Post/Tweet this today: An eternally examined life is a gateway to knowing God. #examined #life

  • Source of Grief

    Posted on April 18, 2012 by Family Christian

    “When Esau was forty years old, he married Judith daughter of Beeri the Hittite, and also Basemath daughter of Elon the Hittite. They were a source of grief to Isaac and Rebekah. Genesis 26:34-35

     

    Sometimes a child becomes a source of grief because they choose to marry someone who does not meet their parent’s approval. In fact, the more the mom and dad express their disapproval the more adamant the child becomes in dismissing his parent’s wishes. When relational equity is overdrawn the opportunity to influence another vanishes for a season. This season of distress and disagreement can permanently scar a family. 

    So, someone has to be mature in the face of immaturity. Even when we are insulted and rejected by an impetuous young adult with our same last name, we are obligated by God’s grace to rise above demanding our own way. Disowning (real or perceived) is not an option for a family full of love and forgiveness. Yes, rejection is painful—in the same way the Holy Spirit grieves over our unwise choices, so we grieve over our foolish child.

    “See that no one is sexually immoral, or is godless like Esau, who for a single meal sold his inheritance rights as the oldest son. Afterward, as you know, when he wanted to inherit this blessing, he was rejected. Even though he sought the blessing with tears, he could not change what he had done.” Hebrews 12:16-17

    Furthermore, here is a tender word of wisdom to adult children: honor your parents by asking their concerns over the person you love, whom you may desire to marry. Yes, you have the power to fill their hearts with joy by including them in your prayerful process, or you can drive a dagger into their hearts by rejecting their advice, just to spite them. Marriage is your decision under God and under the authority of your father and mother. Grief generated out of youthful foolishness is a relational plague to people bound by blood.

    Lastly, look to your own heart and consider how you may have hurt your parents or wounded your son or daughter. Be intentional in building conversational bridges by seeking to understand and value their interests. Pray more and judge less, lest love gets lost in the confusing equation of shame plus blame. Forgiveness is the fuel that reignites a family’s love for one another. Humble yourself first and watch the grace of God work wonders!

    “Make every effort to live in peace with everyone and to be holy; without holiness no one will see the Lord. See to it that no one falls short of the grace of God and that no bitter root grows up to cause trouble and defile many.” Hebrews 12:14-15

    Prayer: How can I honor my parents in my decision-making process? How can I relationally invest in my adult child?

    Related Readings: 1 Samuel 20:34; Isaiah 63:10; Romans 9:13; Hebrews 11:20

    Post/Tweet this today: When relational equity is overdrawn the opportunity to influence another vanishes. #invest #relationally

  • Midlife Crisis

    Posted on April 17, 2012 by Family Christian

    “May your fountain be blessed, and may you rejoice in the wife of your youth. A loving doe, a graceful deer—may her breasts satisfy you always, may you ever be captivated by her love”. Proverbs 5:18-19

     

    A midlife crisis means you are most likely discontent. Your may be discontent with your wife, your work, and your car. However, the Bible is very clear about being content with what or who God has blessed you with, especially your spouse. His desire is for you to want what you have, and not obsess over what you don’t have. Remember the bride of your youth, and celebrate her coming out party.
     
    Perhaps you married her because she was cute, cuddly, cared about you, and she loved Christ. Those are compelling characteristics that hopefully have grown over the years. Be joyful in Jesus, and grateful to God that He has given you a woman who walks with Him, and wants to be with you. Rejoice in the wife of your youth, as she keeps you young and yearning for Yahweh.

    “I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances.” Philippians 4:11
    Moreover, be captivated by the love of your wife. Her capacity and willingness to love you will grow, as you consistently and unconditionally love her. What wife will not embrace her husband, who serves her like His Savior Jesus serves? Love and respect creates love and respect, as it is a Christ-like cycle. Be captivated by the love of your wife, knowing she was given to you by God. You chose her, so be pleased with your choice; in His providence He pronounced you “husband and wife”.

    Lastly, a wife captivates her husband with her kind character, and attractive looks. You wooed the husband of your youth by your sweet spirit, your delightful smell, and your inviting beauty. Be very intentional to make your love interesting to your man who may easily get bored in the bedroom. Let the distractions of life, and the activities of raising children rank second to your captivating love for each other. The “grass is greener” is the will of God, which means remaining faithful to one another.
     
    “And as the bridegroom rejoices over the bride, So your God will rejoice over you.” Isaiah 62:5b

    Prayer: How can I love my wife in a way that brings alive her captivating love?

    Related Readings: Song of Songs 4:5; Ecclesiastes 9:9; I Corinthians 7:2; Ephesians 5:28

    Post/Tweet this today: Men and women miss a mid-life crisis when they find the Lord and each other.

  • Spiritual Labor

    Posted on April 16, 2012 by Family Christian

    "Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain." 1 Corinthians 15:58

     

    What is spiritual labor? It is work done with the Lord and for the Lord. It is a new mother rocking her baby, while she prays God's blessing over her little one. It is a blue-collar laborer, who, in Jesus name, is diligent in his or her duties. They are punctual when others are late and they are eager to work more, when others look for ways to work less. Spiritual labor sets high standards of service for the Lord. 

    Spiritual labor is an executive, a manager or administrative assistant who will not compromise their character to make more cash. Their word is their bond and their behavior points other people to Jesus. We are spiritual laborers when we do our work first and foremost for our heavenly Father. We stand firm in faith-motivated work and when we wake up every day grateful to represent Jesus in our job.

    "We remember before our God and Father your work produced by faith, your labor prompted by love, and your endurance inspired by hope in our Lord Jesus Christ." 1 Thessalonians 1:3

    This describes your public spiritual labor, but you are also called to be consistent in your private spiritual labor. Your personal empowerment by the Holy Spirit gives you courage for Christ and gumption for God. Your quieted soul quietly influences your noisy world. You go deep with Jesus in prayer and He expands your influence at home, in your community, and at your workplace.

    Indeed, your spiritual labor is laborious. Thus, as you perspire for the Lord, pray to persevere through rejection and do not be surprised if your integrity irritates others. You continue to toil in trust, even when results are not immediately evident. Your higher calling from Christ fuels your service for Him. Let nothing move you from moving forward with God. Your spiritual labor in the Lord is not in vain, as it brings joy and satisfaction to you, Him, and friends!

    "This is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance. That is why we labor and strive, because we have put our hope in the living God, who is the Savior of all people, and especially of those who believe. Command and teach these things." 1 Timothy 4:9-11

    Prayer: Lord, by Your grace, I pray I will stand firm in my spiritual service for You and others.

    Related Readings: 1 Corinthians 3:8; Philippians 1:21-23; 2:15-17; Revelation 14:13

    Post/Tweet this today: Your quieted soul quietly influences your noisy world. #spiritual #labor

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