2018 – JULY

7-31

On one occasion, while the crowd was pressing in on him to hear the word of God, he was standing by the lake of Gennesaret,

Luke 5:1 ESV

As the church, we want change, we want justice, we want equality and all manner of noble things.

We want to see more children waking up in a home where their father stuck around.

We want to see more mothers full of grace and wisdom, living as the individual God created them to be.

We want to see more preachers living uprightly, leading with integrity.

In short, we want to see heaven’s power brought to bear upon the earth, and when that happens, we crowd around it.

What were those people flocking to, what were they amazed by? It wasn’t Jesus’ appearance (Isaiah 53:2), or his social status, but “they were astonished at his teaching, for his word possessed authority” (Luke 4:32).

The the word of God is where the power is, not clever marketing or cooler looking Christians. The source of power for living, for loving, for changing is through God’s word and the Holy Spirit.

Our resurrected heart does rightly long to see these wonderful things come to pass, but our flesh still wages war against us, and wants nothing to do with Scripture. It wants nothing to do with the work of study, prayer, and first being transformed ourselves.

Really… we want the power without going to the source.

Just as the people came to Jesus to “hear the word of God”, we have the Bible and Holy Spirit to guide us in his word.

When you feel discouraged or as though there is no life in your ministry, go back to the words of God and be rejuvenated by their power.

Are you gaining your power and strength from God? Are you “plugged in”?

7-30

I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.” – John 16:33 (NLT)

I remember a time when it felt like I couldn’t go on. I felt like no one liked me or understood who I was I didn’t know what to do or where to turn. In the midst of my struggle, I found one thing that brought me peace, which was Jesus.

Jesus understood me when no one else did. Jesus listened when it felt like no one else would. In the midst of the trials and sorrows of life, Jesus was my peace.

The great thing about Jesus is that He wants to do that for you too. Jesus wants to be your peace for what you’re going through. Even when it seems like everything that could go wrong has, you can still be at peace. Trusting Jesus and placing your hope in Him is what can bring you the peace you long for. Looking for love, acceptance or joy in any other place will always fall short.

So today, challenge yourself to find your peace in Jesus. Let Jesus bring you the peace you need. Spend time with Him, reading the Bible and finding out who He is. As you read the word and talk to God about your situation you’ll be surprised at the peace that comes into your life.

7-20

And my tongue will proclaim Your righteousness, Your praise all day long . – Psalm 35:28 (HCSB)

How often do we talk about what is going wrong in our lives? We talk about how things didn’t turn out like we thought, how we have too much stress in our lives, or how we are just disappointed about something. We often let the hurts, disappointments and stress in our lives become the majority of what we say.

What do you think would happen if we decided instead of talking about all that’s going wrong rather to talk about how good God is? What if we spent some time every day thanking God for all the blessings in our lives and for all the awesome things He has done for us?

I think it would change our whole outlook and attitude on life. Instead of walking around with out heads down, and being sad, we would have something to be happy about. We would instantly feel some of the stress of life just leave all because we took some time to speak life giving words and remind ourselves of all the things we have to thank God for.

7-19

According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love: – Ephesians 1:4

This verse shows us how important we are to God. In this scripture, we see that God chose us. When you get to pick your piece of cake at a birthday party, you don’t pick the sad, small piece. No, you pick the best and the biggest. God is no different. He picked you. That means He wanted to know you.  When you realize how much God loves you that can give you a new sense of self-worth. The end of the verse tells us that not only did God chose us, but it shows us how He sees us. When God looks at us in the light of what Jesus did on the cross He sees someone who is holy and without blame. He doesn’t see all the areas where you’ve fallen short or messed up. He sees you and He likes what He sees. To Him you’re great. To Him, you matter.

So when you start to get down on yourself or experience a day when you feel like no one cares, remember that God does. He chose you before the foundation of the world. Also, remember that to God you are Holy and blameless. There is nothing that God is holding against you. Jesus’ blood was enough to pay the price for sin and we are now free to live an abundant life in God.

7-17

And when they could not get near him because of the crowd, they removed the roof above him, and when they had made an opening, they let down the bed on which the paralytic lay.

Mark 2:4 ESV

“I guess it’s not God’s timing.”

“He will open a door another time.”

“God will send someone to say it, I don’t want to make this awkward.”

These are just a few of the multitude of excuses I’ve used to avoid doing something I thought I should. Making the excuse was easier than doing the work.

But my challenge lately is to be like the friends of this paralytic.

A great crowd was surrounding Jesus. The front door is jam packed with people peering and trying to hear Jesus.

It would have been so much easier for the four friends to say, “Well, maybe we will find Jesus another time. There’s no way in.”

Instead, these friends made a way to Jesus. They didn’t let a difficult situation stop them from getting to God. They made no excuses.

They just made it happen.

May we as the church become like these four men; foregoing our excuses, and getting our hands dirty.

When God wants to move, may we say “Yes, Lord!” instead of “Maybe later.”

As Jesus bridged the gap between us and the Father, so must we, like the four friends, bridge the gap between our friends and Jesus.

Their friend was incapable of getting to Jesus, but they made a way.

How many people do we all know that don’t know Jesus? They don’t know how to come to Christ. They don’t even know how to pray.

Instead of making excuses for why not to say or do something, strive to be obedient and stand in the gap.

Don’t just point the way to Jesus, lead the way!

7-16

He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.

Colossians 1:13-14 ESV

There is something built into us that loves the idea of a hero.

Little girls dress up as princesses and wait for prince charming to come and rescue them.

Little boys are infatuated with super heroes. The top blockbuster movies all have a plot line that involves a hero coming to the rescue of a person or people.

We love the story of a hero, whether boy, girl, man, or woman.

Did you know that you are actually part of the greatest story with a hero?That is right.

God is the ultimate Hero and his heroics far outweigh any heroics of some little hero in a movie or book. One of the reasons is because he has saved us from the worst thing possible, death due to our sins.

Someone can save you from losing your house or rescue you from a bad guy, but they cannot save you from your sins.

Just as heroes coming back from war get parades and thanks, so should you constantly be giving this to the ultimate Hero, God.

Let yourself be reminded as you read books or watch movies that you have been saved by the greatest Hero there will ever be.

Let it sink in that you were and still are in need of this Hero.

Spend time today thanking God for his Son, Jesus and the salvation that came with him.

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