Monday, May 18, 2015

On Our Behalf

MONDAY // READ
John 17:6-19
I spelled out your character in detail
To the men and women you gave me.
They were yours in the first place;
Then you gave them to me,
And they have now done what you said.
They know now, beyond the shadow of a doubt,
That everything you gave me is firsthand from you,
For the message you gave me, I gave them;
And they took it, and were convinced
That I came from you.
They believed that you sent me.
I pray for them.
I’m not praying for the God-rejecting world
But for those you gave me,
For they are yours by right.
Everything mine is yours, and yours mine,
And my life is on display in them.
For I’m no longer going to be visible in the world;
They’ll continue in the world
While I return to you.
Holy Father, guard them as they pursue this life
That you conferred as a gift through me,
So they can be one heart and mind
As we are one heart and mind.
As long as I was with them, I guarded them
In the pursuit of the life you gave through me;
I even posted a night watch.
And not one of them got away,
Except for the rebel bent on destruction
(the exception that proved the rule of Scripture).

Now I’m returning to you.
I’m saying these things in the world’s hearing
So my people can experience
My joy completed in them.
I gave them your word;
The godless world hated them because of it,
Because they didn’t join the world’s ways,
Just as I didn’t join the world’s ways.
I’m not asking that you take them out of the world
But that you guard them from the Evil One.
They are no more defined by the world
Than I am defined by the world.
Make them holy—consecrated—with the truth;
Your word is consecrating truth.
In the same way that you gave me a mission in the world,
I give them a mission in the world.
I’m consecrating myself for their sakes
So they’ll be truth-consecrated in their mission.

g the gospel in all the towns until he reached Caesarea.

TUESDAY // ON OUR BEHALF
To have Christ pray for us it’s well, I don’t know if weird is the right word for it but different definitely is. When we talk about prayer we usually think of it as us praying to God. We ask God for many things, we thank God for many things, we praise God, we offer supplication for others to Him but have you ever stopped to think how these prayers get to Him. Who are we that God would listen to us, an unrighteous bunch of hoodlums? Is it not through grace that God offers a way to Him? Is it not through Christ that we have a way to God and maybe that includes prayer? Now don’t get me wrong, I believe that God hears the prayer of one who doesn’t believe, follow or has doubts, but even then I believe that’s possible by the saving grace of Jesus.

We can pray for others and in fact, we should, but to have Jesus pray on our behalf!? Imagine that! How comforting that is; to have our Savior pray for us-to find the words to say when we cannot, to intercede for us because without him, we aren’t worthy to approach God on our own at all (Romans 8:34 and Hebrews 7:25). When we pray we should be mindful of the cost it took for us to do so.

Now in this passage what is it that Jesus prays for? First, he defines who are his. He talks about how his followers believe that everything that is of his is that of God the Father. They believe that Jesus was sent by God and they are now able to display his life in their life. Jesus prays not for the world but for those that are his. He asks not to take them out of the world but that the Father would guard them against the Evil One. In other words, we, who believe, will experience pain and trouble but we have a source of strength that is ours to tap into and Jesus asks God to make it so. This prayer comes about, we see half way through the passage, because Jesus is about to leave his disciples and return to the Father. In many ways, he’s concerned for them. He wants to make sure that they are looked after because he cares for them, he cares for us.

Lastly, Jesus asks that they be made holy as he is holy; that the truth that he is, that they will become that same truth. Jesus consecrates or blesses or dedicates himself so that his followers will be him while he’s away. That through the Holy Spirit that dwells in each believer of Christ, Jesus is, in a way, still here. Can Christians be Christ to the world who hates him? Can the Church provide the hope that Heaven promises? Well, with Jesus interceding for us, then yes, I believe it can! 

WEDNESDAY // CHALLENGE
There are many things we can pull from this passage to challenge ourselves with. If we are to model ourselves after Christ and he prays for us, how are we praying for others? Are we even praying for others? Are we even praying at all? Do we get in this mindset that: I’ve tried that, I’ve prayed and nothing seems to happen, so I’ve kind of just given up on this whole prayer thing? Maybe it’s not that prayer doesn’t work but maybe we are not aligned with what God is doing. We have to be careful how we pray. Do we pray with only the things we have in mind without trying to understand what God may want?

There are many things we do as a church; we sing, we study the Bible, we have VBS, we go to camp but the one thing Jesus stresses to us, as a church, is to pray. He has said that his church should be a house of prayer. It really makes sense when we stop and think about it. If each church is God’s church, should we not go to him in all things we do? As those who belong to Christ, should we not go to him in all things as individuals? Probably, but once again do we?

 So let this be our challenge for not only this week but throughout our lives that we become a people of prayer, that we acknowledge the One who can do all things, so he can do all things through us!

THURSDAY // REFLECT


FRIDAY // PRAY
Some times when we don’t know what to pray, pray the scriptures:

Psalms 4:1
Hear me when I call, O God of my righteousness: you have enlarged me when I was in distress; have mercy on me, and hear my prayer.


Psalm 63
You, God, are my God, earnestly I seek you; I thirst for you, my whole being longs for you, in a dry and parched land where there is no water.

I have seen you in the sanctuary and beheld your power and your glory. Because your love is better than life, my lips will glorify you. I will praise you as long as I live, and in your name I will lift up my hands. I will be fully satisfied as with the richest of foods; with singing lips my mouth will praise you.

On my bed I remember you; I think of you through the watches of the night. Because you are my help, I sing in the shadow of your wings. I cling to you; your right hand upholds me.


Monday, May 11, 2015

Take 2 / Action!

MONDAY // Acts 10:34-48
So Peter opened his mouth and said: “Truly I understand that God shows no partiality, but in every nation anyone who fears him and does what is right is acceptable to him. As for the word that he sent to Israel, preaching good news of peace through Jesus Christ (he is Lord of all), you yourselves know what happened throughout all Judea, beginning from Galilee after the baptism that John proclaimed: how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power. He went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with him. And we are witnesses of all that he did both in the country of the Jews and in Jerusalem. They put him to death by hanging him on a tree, but God raised him on the third day and made him to appear, not to all the people but to us who had been chosen by God as witnesses, who ate and drank with him after he rose from the dead. And he commanded us to preach to the people and to testify that he is the one appointed by God to be judge of the living and the dead. To him all the prophets bear witness that everyone who believes in him receives forgiveness of sins through his name.” While Peter was still saying these things, the Holy Spirit fell on all who heard the word. And the believers from among the circumcised who had come with Peter were amazed, because the gift of the Holy Spirit was poured out even on the Gentiles. For they were hearing them speaking in tongues and extolling God. Then Peter declared, “Can anyone withhold water for baptizing these people, who have received the Holy Spirit just as we have?” And he commanded them to be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ. Then they asked him to remain for some days. (Acts 10:34-48 ESV)

TUESDAY // Take 2/Action

This story is about Peter. The apostle of action. Peter was the only apostle to jump out of the boat and attempt to walk to Jesus on the water.  Peter was the apostle who refused to let Jesus wash his feet.  Peter was the apostle who drew his sword in the garden and defended Jesus by cutting off the guard's ear. Peter was one of two apostles who followed Jesus to the courtyard of the high priest where He was being interrogated and beaten, only to deny knowing Jesus...3 times!!!  Now in this passage we see Peter once again taking action....opening his mouth and then baptizing. 

We know from the stories of Peter that his first impulse, his initial action wasn't always well thought out. He jumped out of the boat and THEN he began to wonder if he was going to drown. In the courtyard Peter denied knowing Christ and then wept bitterly over his words. We might call Peter impulsive. He acted out of love for Christ, no doubt, yet his actions were  not always a reflection of Christ's will. Jesus used each of these situations to help Peter more deeply understand what following Him (Jesus) was really all about.


In the story which precedes this passage Peter is praying on the  rooftop of a friend's house and God sends him a vision.  This vision challenges Peter's belief in what it means to follow Jesus.  Peter lived his life as a devout Jew never eating anything that wasn't kosher.  Now God sends him this vision of all kinds of animals and commands him to eat.  Peter refuses.  He knows what's right.  He is not going to eat the unclean animals.  Three times God sends the sheet and commands him to eat.  Then while Peter is considering the meaning of this vision 3 visitors arrive and invite him to join them at the house of a Gentile.   It seems safe to conclude that as these strangers came seeking Peter on God's directive he would be aware that the vision and the  opportunity to go to Gentiles and preach the word must somehow be related.  Peter agrees to go and upon arriving he has something to say.


God's vision to Peter opened Peter up to new possibilities.  New limits...no boundaries.  New friends. New partnerships.  New followers. Not a new god.  Not a new way.  Just a better understanding of how God is coming to this world and  renewing it little by little in preparation for the  day when all will be made new.


WEDNESDAY // Challenge

Basically what Peter had to say was that God did not have favorites.  It is hard for us to believe that...really.  We want to treat everyone  the same.  We fight against the "us and them" mentality.  Yet we struggle to live out the truth that God does not play favorites.  Maybe in part that is because we want to  be His favorite.  It is somehow comfortable to feel as if we can make choices that will earn us favored status.  We look around and evaluate our lives according to what we see others doing.  How do we grow in our understanding of the kind of love God has for everyone?  Love that has no favorites.  How do we learn to love as God loves?

Perhaps we could start with those people closest to us who require much grace to be around.  We used to call them EGR friends. (extra grace required)  Think of the person who challenges you the most, the one you deal with everyday, the one who makes you want to run in the opposite direction.  Seek out that person and begin loving them like God loves you.  If you recall our discussion of love a few weeks back that will require sacrifice.  What can you sacrifice this week for the EGR person in your life?  It's worth thinking about.  Then go one step further and engage them.  Remember...God doesn't have favorites...neither should you.


THURSDAY //  REFLECT




FRIDAY // PRAY
We may feel inadequate,
We may feel tongue-tied,
We may feel uninspired.
But since it is not the hearer, 
not the speaker of the prayer who changes things...
Pray on.

God,
We come before you unable to love perfectly.  You show us how, yet we still struggle.
Our prayer is that you will begin to cultivate a true desire in us to love...love when it seems foolish to love...love when it seems risky to love...love when others tell us not to love...love in the face of controversy...love in our inadequacies...love in our hurt...love like you.  Grow us into lovers of people.  And when we grow into this way of loving may we be used to change this world into a place that sees more of you because of us.


Amen

Monday, May 4, 2015

The Forest Through the Trees

MONDAY // ACTS 8:26-40
Now an angel of the Lord said to Philip, “Go south to the road—the desert road—that goes down from Jerusalem to Gaza.” So he started out, and on his way he met an Ethiopian eunuch, an important official in charge of all the treasury of the Kandake (which means “queen of the Ethiopians”). This man had gone to Jerusalem to worship, and on his way home was sitting in his chariot reading the Book of Isaiah the prophet. The Spirit told Philip, “Go to that chariot and stay near it.”

Then Philip ran up to the chariot and heard the man reading Isaiah the prophet. “Do you understand what you are reading?” Philip asked.

“How can I,” he said, “unless someone explains it to me?” So he invited Philip to come up and sit with him.

This is the passage of Scripture the eunuch was reading:
“He was led like a sheep to the slaughter,
    and as a lamb before its shearer is silent,
    so he did not open his mouth.
In his humiliation he was deprived of justice.
    Who can speak of his descendants?
    For his life was taken from the earth.”

The eunuch asked Philip, “Tell me, please, who is the prophet talking about, himself or someone else?” Then Philip began with that very passage of Scripture and told him the good news about Jesus.

As they traveled along the road, they came to some water and the eunuch said, “Look, here is water. What can stand in the way of my being baptized?” And he gave orders to stop the chariot. Then both Philip and the eunuch went down into the water and Philip baptized him. When they came up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord suddenly took Philip away, and the eunuch did not see him again, but went on his way rejoicing. Philip, however, appeared at Azotus and traveled about, preaching the gospel in all the towns until he reached Caesarea.

TUESDAY // THE FOREST THROUGH THE TREES
It is a curious thing to think how much we think we know, only to be reminded again and again of how little we truly know. Consider a large tree in a forest—when we stand and gaze at that tree, we can marvel in its magnificence, its massive trunk, its sheer height. But step back from that tree, and we find an entire forest of trees. We often don’t marvel at the entire forest in the same way we marvel at a single object within. The scope of our attention has changed, and our curiosity has become diluted. Another step back and we see our forest is but one piece of a greater landscape, a biome. And to go a bit further still, our biome is one of a handful covering the face of our world.

As we change our scope, we change our perspective. When we stand at the base of our tree, we notice the roughness, the lines, and the wear of its bark. We gaze upward toward its top; we inspect its branches. We might find the nests of birds or squirrels running to and fro. If we could see through our tree, the rings of its trunk would give us a beautiful and impressive account of its entire life. Every struggle, every peace. If we could look under it, we would see its root system—the source of its strength and sustenance.

When we step back from our tree, we see the forest. We cannot absorb the same level of detail for the whole of the forest as we can for our tree. We can notice new things, however, such as closeness, interaction, health. We can explore shared space and life, but we cannot know the entire forest as intimately as we do our tree.

And back further, we find our biome—our ecosystem. Our tree is but one tree in the middle of one forest, which accompanies countless more forests to create one greater community, which exists cooperatively with other unique and marvelous communities around the world. We cannot begin to grasp details of the biome like we did our tree—the scope of our attention has changed. We must focus on different traits, such as cooperation and symbiosis (the way our community of trees interacts with other types of life). At this place in our perspective, we’re not concerned with one tree, rather with millions, and how all of those trees live together to create the entirety of the landscape.

Our tree has never lost its importance through this process, we just cannot see it—we are limited in our perspective. When we stand beside our tree, we cannot see the forest, or the biome, or the world at large. When we look upon the world from satellite imagery, we see the world at large and the biomes, but we cannot see our tree. This is scope, and scope teaches us there is far more than what we can absorb and comprehend than the place we are now.

WEDNESDAY // THE TREE & THE FOREST
Where, then, does all this thinking about a tree, a forest, a biome, and the world take us? There seems to be little relationship between Philip, the Ethiopian, and a tree. The relationship, of course, is symbolic, but the greater concern here is the concept of scope. Philip is a tree. The Ethiopian is a tree. Both exists within a community, which exists alongside other communities within a nation, which exists alongside other nations in the world. On the thought of scope, however, we must look at how scope applies to people. Just as we could go deep into the life and soul of our tree, we can go deep into the life and soul of a friend, a spouse, a child. We can explore the deepest and most intricate places of their minds and hearts. We can see them for who they are, we can know them for their dreams and their love.

We can only do this with a handful of people though. There is research within Psychology and Sociology that suggests no person can truly know and maintain that level of relationship with more than 6 to 10 other people. Think about this—how many people can you truly say that you know, and that they know you? How many intimate and intricate connections do you have? We have utterly skewed the definition of friend in the last decade with the rise of Facebook, but step back and consider your truest friends, your closest soulmates, the people you get, and that get you. Can you dive into who they are, like with our tree? And how many people can you say this about?

This is not a negative reflection on us, or our ability to love. Our capacity for connection is simply limited, thus we have varying degrees of scope when it comes to people. We can know nearly everything about a few, but as we pull more people into the scope of our vision, we begin to know less and less. Eventually, what used to be people becomes traits and statistics.

This is not God, however—he is not limited by scope. God knows Philip, as a parent knows a child. God also knows the Ethiopian. He knows both men’s needs, both men’s desires. And he guides Philip to be in the right place, at the right time, to meet the needs of the Ethiopian friend. God knows each of us as intimately as we know our tree, yet he also sees the big picture—how these two men will collide in the forest, who needs something, and from where that will come.

THURSDAY // REFLECT & PONDER




FRIDAY // WHAT IT ALL MEANS
People often complain that God sounds like a Chessmaster, moving us around the board like pawns. Quite frankly, that’s not far from the truth. We have the choice to listen, but he is orchestrating a marvelous story in this world, and we need a Chessmaster to overcome our limited scope. Would the Ethiopian have ever heard the story of Jesus if God had not guided Philip to their meeting place? We can only presume the rest of the story, but given how excited our Ethiopian friend was, he likely went home and began telling his community the story of Jesus. God arranged the meeting—he guided Philip to the place, and Philip made the choice to listen and tell the story.

Life requires all levels of scope, but only God has mastery of this. He knows each of us more intimately even than we know ourselves. Yet he also sees the ebb and flow of life, and how we all connect with one another. Through Jesus, we are connected to the Father, and through the Father, the rest of the world. It is in this relationship that he guides and directs our steps, causing us to influence others, learn about ourselves, and grow in his love.

No single chess piece can achieve victory, nor can all pieces working individually. Without a master overseeing the whole of the board, said pieces are wandering aimlessly, working in vain. Likewise, our tree might be incredible, but to consider one incredible tree alongside another, and not lose sight of that as we expand our scope, changes the whole of our being. When we open ourselves to the direction of God, he enables us to expand our scope without forgetting the wonder of each individual tree we share the soil with.

Lord, lead and guide our steps. Help us to remember the beauty and wonder in every person you created, and tune our ears to listen to, and act on, your direction. We are not rooted in this world alone—create connections in us.

Monday, April 27, 2015

Light Has Come

Monday
Psalm 23
The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing.He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, he refreshes my soul.He guides me along the right paths for his name’s sake.Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies.You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows.Surely your goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.

John 3:16-21
For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son. This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but people loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that their deeds will be exposed. But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what they have done has been done in the sight of God.

Tuesday
This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but people loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil.In an action film, it’s always easy to identify the villain straightaway. He’s usually lurking in the shadows, walking down a dark alleyway, and then, well, inevitably doing something nefarious. Last weekend, I was marathoning a superhero show and it struck me how dark most of the cinematography was. The hoard of villains was constantly meeting in a dark parking garage in the middle of the night to discuss their drug trafficking woes. Then, the superhero vigilante would attack them in dark alleyways. There were scenes so dark that it was nearly impossible to see what was going on. I kept thinking: what would it be like to watch this show if the whole thing was set in the daylight? If the villains met at some outdoor cafe to discuss their latest shipment of cocaine; if the vigilante accosted corrupt cops and drug dealers in a park mid-afternoon. I think it would be even more unsettling.

It seems like the sins we commit in daylight are usually the sins we convince ourselves aren’t really sins at all.

Jesus is the light that came into the world. This means, as outlined in Psalm 23, we don’t need to fear the evil lurking in the darkest alleyways. But it also means an exposure of our own evil doings. I think we all, to some degree, try to keep part of our lives in the dark, even after we accept the light of Jesus into our lives. It’s hard to have our faults exposed, and whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so what they have done has been done in the sight of God.
That’s really scary. Thanks to sin, it’s really, really natural to want to hide our flaws, faults, mistakes, and disobediences from God. That’s the very first thing Adam and Eve did after disobeying God and eating the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil. They hid themselves away. Because it’s so natural to hide, confession feels unnatural. Confession and open honesty with God may be difficult, but the wonderful thing about coming into the light is that, in the light, we aren’t condemned for our sinful nature. We’re exposed, yes. Judged, yes. But not condemned. For God did not send his son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned.

Wednesday
Do you ever avoid saying something because once you put it to words it will seem... real? I know I do. In high school, about two weeks after I got my driver’s license, I ran over a curb and dented my wheel. I was a little shaken up and taken aback but throughout the day I was fine. Until my parents came home and I had to tell them what I did. Then, I got really anxious and overwhelmed. I felt like a disappointment and kind of like a disaster. It was as though nothing had happened until I had to verbalize it. Then it was real.I think that’s one reason confession is such a challenge. When we say, “I have been struggling with impure thoughts” or “I am carrying around a lot of anger” or “I was gossiping and ended up starting a rumor,” then those things become real. They’ve moved out from the darkness where we tuck our sins and struggles away and into the light to place before God’s judgement.So, that’s what I’m going to challenge you to do. While somethings (like my vehicular mishap as a teenager) need to be confessed to other people, it’s really most important that they’re confessed to God. So, speak the words. Or, write a list. But use definitive language and confess your struggles to God. It can be tempting to say, “Please forgive me for my sins” and call it a day (I know--I pray this vague prayer all the time). But try to be more specific than that. I know that confession can be challenging. And it’s kind of scary to place your faults before God’s judgement. But, you’re also placing them before God’s mercy. So as you confess your struggles, remember: Jesus was sent to save the world, not condemn it.

Thursday



Friday
Lord, I am scared. I am scared of your judgement, I am scared of condemnation from my peers, I am scared of the darkness where I seem to, too often, dwell. I struggle to be honest--to be completely vulnerable and honest--with others, with you, with myself. I especially struggle to be honest about my faults and failings. But despite that, I know that your Light protects me; that you loved me so much that you sent your son to die for me. I know that I can confess my sins to you and that your love for me will never falter. Thank you. Thank you for your steadfast love. Thank you for your unfathomable sacrifice.Help me to remember: your goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever. I want to live in your light all my days.

Monday, April 20, 2015

Be One

MONDAY // READ
Psalm 4
When I call, give me answers. God, take my side!
Once, in a tight place, you gave me room;
Now I’m in trouble again: grace me! hear me!

You rabble—how long do I put up with your scorn?
How long will you lust after lies?
How long will you live crazed by illusion?

Look at this: look
Who got picked by God!
He listens the split second I call to him.

Complain if you must, but don’t lash out.
Keep your mouth shut, and let your heart do the talking.
Build your case before God and wait for his verdict.

Why is everyone hungry for more? “More, more,” they say.
“More, more.”
I have God’s more-than-enough,
More joy in one ordinary day

Than they get in all their shopping sprees.
At day’s end I’m ready for sound sleep,
For you, God, have put my life back together.

John 3:1-8
What marvelous love the Father has extended to us! Just look at it—we’re called children of God! That’s who we really are. But that’s also why the world doesn’t recognize us or take us seriously, because it has no idea who he is or what he’s up to.

But friends, that’s exactly who we are: children of God. And that’s only the beginning. Who knows how we’ll end up! What we know is that when Christ is openly revealed, we’ll see him—and in seeing him, become like him. All of us who look forward to his Coming stay ready, with the glistening purity of Jesus’ life as a model for our own.

All who indulge in a sinful life are dangerously lawless, for sin is a major disruption of God’s order. Surely you know that Christ showed up in order to get rid of sin. There is no sin in him, and sin is not part of his program. No one who lives deeply in Christ makes a practice of sin. None of those who do practice sin have taken a good look at Christ. They’ve got him all backward.

So, my dear children, don’t let anyone divert you from the truth. It’s the person who acts right who is right, just as we see it lived out in our righteous Messiah. Those who make a practice of sin are straight from the Devil, the pioneer in the practice of sin. The Son of God entered the scene to abolish the Devil’s ways.


TUESDAY // Be One
We are not just called Children of God, but in fact are Children of God. It says the world doesn’t recognize us because they don’t know who he is or what he’s up to, but I wonder, do we recognize ourselves? Because most of the time our words fall short to describe who he is and to know what he’s up to? Well, that at times, seems impossible!

Yet, John reminds us: Friends that is exactly what we are! As impossible as it may seem we are Children of God! Do you know how this can be? Because God says it is through Christ Jesus! You may think it crazy and other people may not get it but this is who God says we are and what God says about you is what counts. People say all kinds of things as to who they think you are and they use a tone as if this is true but God sees things as they are, so only he can tell us the truth about ourselves!

To be called children is to be claimed by a father. This means we come from him and if we do then we act as he does. I guess this leads us to the whole sin issue. Part of what we do or the actions and behaviors we exhibit come from an understanding of who we are. What we do comes from what we identify ourselves with. John is saying if you truly are a Child of God and you start to believe that you are, then that belief should carry you away from the sin we might indulge in. When our eyes are on the beauty of Christ and our focus is on who he says we are, then how can we settle for anything else?

I guess it comes down to our actions, doesn’t it? We can say all kinds of things to fool people into thinking we are on the straight and narrow, we can in fact, say things to fool our very selves that same thing.  Yet, John says it is the person who acts right who is right. The core of who we are is our belief and our core is always shown in our actions. It’s our mask we wear and the words we say that are used to cover our actual us. It’s like someone who smiles; if you want to know if they’re truly happy, look at their eyes, not their smile. It’s the same here- don’t listen to someone’s words, look at their actions.

Let our actions align with who God says we are. If you want to know you believe you are a Child of God, then act like one, no, BE ONE!


WEDNESDAY // CHALLENGE
To believe something takes work and then again it doesn’t. That doesn’t make sense so let me explain.  C.S. Lewis once said that the more we do for someone we love, in a certain sense, makes us love that person more. A great musician (sorry his name escapes me) once said to learn everything about an instrument you possibly can and then forget all that you learned and play out of passion. You find you play better; it just naturally flows from you. Another thing, when we sleep we have to get ready for bed, we have to lay down but we have to allow sleep to take us over.

With each illustration here we see that we have to get acclimated, we have to put in some work but our goal is that it starts to become a part of who we are; something that we want in our lives. You see, without it being or becoming a passion we desire, it just becomes a check-list, a monotonous thing to do. Sometimes we might not have a desire to believe and sometimes we need to work at it but the hope is as we go, it starts to become a desired thing, a more natural thing.

Pray that God gives you strength to work and soft, open hearts to receive his transforming love in your life. This is where belief is conceived; in between our practice and God’s passion he puts in us.


THURSDAY // REFLECT






FRIDAY // PRAY
Lord, 
Enlighten what's dark in me. Strengthen what's weak in me. 
Mend what's broken in me. 
Bind what's bruised in me. 
Heal what's sick in me. 
And lastly revive whatever peace and love has died in me.
In Jesus name, amen.