Matthew 6:20 (ESV)
20 but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal.
Store your treasures in heaven, where moths and rust cannot destroy, and thieves do not break in and steal. – Matthew 6:20 Today’s Bible verse got me thinking about Christmas time. How much of our energy is spent this season buying or getting the “right” gift? Why do we try so hard to get something that will be outdated or that you’ll get bored of before too long? So much of our energy at Christmas time is spent in the pursuit of things that don’t last. This verse tells us to not store up treasures on earth, but to rather store up treasures in heaven. So instead of just living for yourself and what you can get, choose to do something different this Christmas. If you have a friend who needs help offer it. If you see a need, meet it. If you have extra money, give it to your church to help them reach out to someone else in need. Mostly, just be open to let the light of Jesus shine through open doors all around you.
Mark 11:23 (ESV)
23 Truly, I say to you, whoever says to this mountain, ‘Be taken up and thrown into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that what he says will come to pass, it will be done for him.
Are you facing a situation where you need a breakthrough? We all face situations in life when things are not the way we’d like them to be. In those times, the words you speak over your situation matter. Words aren’t inconsequential. The words you speak have power. If you get your speaking lined up with the Word of God, you’ll experience awesome results in your life. However, your words won’t line up with God’s word automatically. If a promise in God’s word isn’t real to you, your speaking won’t match what the Bible says.
To say something you have to see it first. You can’t speak something out until you’ve seen it first. Maybe you’re in a situation you need a breakthrough. To speak the breakthrough you’ve got see the breakthrough first in your mind’s eye. That’s faith. When you begin to look at things with a faith mindset, anything is possible. So choose today to change what you speak by changing what you see. This might involve you spending some time reading the Bible to see what God says about your situation instead of what you see around you. The more you see God’s promises and not your limitation the more likely you’ll be to speak God’s truth over your situation. Your words have power, so speak words of life and see the breakthrough happen.
7 Therefore welcome one another as Christ has welcomed you, for the glory of God.
You’ve probably been labeled. We all have. Perhaps you’ve been labeled an athlete and so you feel you can’t try out for the band. Or maybe your mom told you that you were stupid and so now you don’t try as hard because you’re afraid to fail.
In life, we will pick up labels. People will call us things. However, it’s up to us whether we let those labels stick. We choose whether we let a label hold us back in the future. Labels don’t have to define us, but it’s going to take work to make that a reality in our lives.
We have to choose to believe what Jesus says about us more than what others say. It takes letting who we are in Christ be our label, not what others say about us. Doing that isn’t easy. We have to battle our feelings, fears and our past to see ourselves the way Jesus sees us.
So today, you may have been labeled. You might have let that label hold you back from doing things you know that you could and should do. Don’t live in bondage to your label. Instead, choose to look forward and see your value to Jesus. When you do, you’ll find that your future is unlimited.
I Am the Light of the World
12 Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”
Have you ever been in a dark room and you turned your iPod or phone on? The light from your device was really bright and made the darkness go away. That’s a lot like how Jesus is in our dark world. He’s light. Where He is, darkness flees. When we walk with Jesus, we don’t have to walk in darkness. He came to destroy the devil’s work. He came to set people free. With Jesus, we have freedom and a new life. The kind of life that Jesus brought us is a good life. It’s freedom and peace for us. It’s a life of freedom from the things that once held us back. Jesus truly is the light of the world. He’s brought us light and life and when we put our trust in Him we can walk in that light in every area of our lives. So no matter what you’re facing, know that Jesus came to bring life and light to your situation. Choose to believe Him and walk in the light He provides.
John 16:33 (ESV)
33 I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.”
If you flip on the TV, or go online, you see lots of things that can bring fear. It is really easy to see all the horrible things happening in the world and begin to be afraid. No matter how crazy things get in the world around us, God doesn’t want us living our lives in fear. Fear stops us, holds us back and keeps us from doing the things that God intended for us to do. Instead of being afraid, we should put our trust in Jesus. He will keep us safe. He is there to help us navigate through the troubles and the craziness that life brings. So instead of being afraid of what is going on in the world around us, we should take heart and realize that the God we serve has already conquered everything we’re up against. We don’t have to fear, we’ve got a great God on our side!
Hebrews 6:18-19 (ESV)
18 so that by two unchangeable things, in which it is impossible for God to lie, we who have fled for refuge might have strong encouragement to hold fast to the hope set before us. 19 We have this as a sure and steadfast anchor of the soul, a hope that enters into the inner place behind the curtain,
When we’re in difficult times, and if we’re fortunate enough to have caring friends or family, they may offer encouraging words such as “I’ll be hoping for the best.” And it’s somewhat comforting to know that you have someone in your corner. But hope is not a verb. It’s not something we or anyone else can do for us. We can only find true and everlasting hope in the Lord. We find hope in God’s presence. When life feels out of control, turn to Him in prayer. We find hope in God’s promise—His living Word. We find hope in God’s process, which almost certainly does not reflect our understanding. But even in our pain, God is at work sewing things together for good. This process may not translate to our immediate comfort, but it is meant to conform us to be more like Christ (Romans 8:28). God uses our struggles to produce endurance, which builds character, and character produces hope (Romans 5:3–5). We find hope in God’s purpose for our lives. And finally, we find hope in the promise of things to come. In John 14:1–2, Christ says, “Don’t let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God, and trust also in me. There is more than enough room in my Father’s home. If this were not so, would I have told you that I am going to prepare a place for you?” Hope is not something we do; it’s something we possess. And it’s given to us by God’s grace. Hope is the anchor for our soul and without it, we would be lost. Are you hopeful? If not, are there areas of your life that you’re not fully trusting the Lord?
Psalm 37:21 (ESV)
The wicked borrows but does not pay back,
but the righteous is generous and gives;
How do you handle your money? Are you always asking others for money to go to the movies? Or are you someone who is looking for opportunities to give?
This Bible verse really shows us how much better it is to be a person who gives. Giving to your church and to others is a great habit to get into while you’re young. Many people put off giving thinking that they will give when they’re making more money. The problem with that thinking is that it doesn’t matter how much money you make. You’re always going to find something else to do with it. If you can’t find a way to give when you have a little, you’ll never give when you have a lot. Giving is always worth it in the long run. You’ll find that God will really bless you as you give to Him and the lives of others. So don’t give into the lie that tells you if you give you won’t have enough. That is not the case. When you make giving a habit, you’ll find you’ll always have enough to do the things you want to do.
2 Corinthians 8:21 (ESV)
21 for we aim at what is honorable not only in the Lord’s sight but also in the sight of man.
Have you ever had to do the right thing, even when it was hard? I remember a time when I paid for something at a store and I noticed that the cashier had given me too much money back. I was tempted to just say that it was good luck and keep the extra money. However, after thinking about it for a while, I decided to return the money.Doing the right thing can be hard at times. Sometimes it can make you look weird or feel stupid. Other times it can be just plain hard to do what’s right because it costs you something. Doing the right thing isn’t easy but it’s always worth it. In the long run, being a person of character is worth the effort. When you do things well people begin to notice. They realize that you are a person of character and they want to do good for you and promote you. And even if no one notices you doing the right thing, realize that God does. He sees what you do and He will reward you for your faithfulness.
Philippians 1:6 (ESV)
6 And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.
It’s hard to stay encouraged when you don’t see results. I find this true, especially in my own life. When I’m not acting or doing the things I think I should I get really frustrated. I wish I was farther along and at times feel like a failure when I don’t measure up to my own expectations. Today’s Bible verse really encourages me. It says that God has started a good work in me. He’s not completed it yet, but He’s started. And the good news is that He hasn’t given up on me. He hasn’t been frustrated with me messing up time and time again to the point where He’s decided I’m not worth the effort. No, instead He’s with me every step of the way.
He’s there helping me learn and grow when I make mistakes. He’s ready to come alongside me and help me out in the areas where I fall short. God hasn’t given up on me yet, so I shouldn’t give up on myself. I may not be perfect, but I’m learning and growing each day. So instead of being upset when I don’t do or say the right thing, instead, I’m choosing to be thankful that God hasn’t given up on me and He’s with me as I learn each and every day.
Isaiah 40:31 (ESV)
but they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength;
they shall mount up with wings like eagles;
they shall run and not be weary;
they shall walk and not faint.
It’s no secret that in this day and age, life is fast-paced and demanding. It’s not uncommon to feel overwhelmed with all we have to do and the little time in which we have to do it.
To make matters worse, we all carry guilt from our sins, feel stressed by the demands of those over us, and may even be struggling physically or emotionally.
If we’re honest, we’re desperate for help.
Yet when we struggle, we shouldn’t focus on our feelings but on what we know: God’s Word.
Some of the most comforting words in the Bible come from Matthew 11:28. Jesus says, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light.”
Notice, Jesus offers us His yoke. This means that work is still required of us, but it’s much easier with His help than it is all alone. Christ frees us from our burdens and promises us love, renewal, and a relationship with God. This allows our daily struggles to feel less like burdens and more like productivity and purpose.
And when we feel like we simply can’t go on, God promises us the strength to overcome anything (Philippians 4:13). In Psalm 23, David says, “He lets me rest in green meadows; he leads me beside peaceful streams. He renews my strength.” Other translations say “He restores my soul”. In either case, the picture David paints in these passages is a clear example of the kind of rest and relaxation our spirits need to get through our most trying times.
But to activate these promises in God’s Word, we must have faith. He is in control of all things and when we put our trust in the Lord, we’re giving him control of our lives, too.
Today, be confident that He will strengthen you to overcome life’s difficulties because you are a righteous, healed, and restored child of God.
Ephesians 2:10 (ESV)
10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.
God didn’t only make you a part of his family, God has also planned things for us to do. The things that God has planned for you are good. God doesn’t have bad things in store for your future, only good. God created you and made you with special gifts and abilities to help others. You have been made something very special. Don’t let fear stop you from stepping out and doing the things God has called you to do. Ask God to show you what those things are and be willing to be used by Him. If you stay open, God wants to use you to bless and encourage others.
Today challenge yourself to believe that God has in store for you. Step out and see what God will do through you!