2018 – October

10-19-2018

Deuteronomy 30:19 (ESV)

19 I call heaven and earth to witness against you today, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and curse. Therefore choose life, that you and your offspring may live,

It’s easy to not think that much about the choices you make every day. You might not think that choosing to skip practicing your instrument or skip reading your Bible matters that much. The truth is the choices you make each day matter a lot. They set the direction and the course for your life.

This Bible verse challenges you to choose godly things and choose life. If you want to experience the best in life, you need to daily choose to follow after God. Following after God isn’t always the easiest choice, but it’s a choice that doesn’t bring heartbreak or regret.

Choose today to make God first in your decisions. Choose to develop godly habits and do the things that God would have you to do. Decide today that you’re going to do what this verse says and choose life!

10-18-2018

Psalm 119:105 (ESV)

Your word is a lamp to my feet

and a light to my path.

We inherit much of our lives. Our parents and our upbringing, the environment we grow up in, and the people we’re surrounded by all play a part in determining our path. Yet as we grow and mature we’re able to make our own way through our collective decisions and actions. But when it comes to shaping our future, the words we use are just as important.

Whether it’s a careless slip of the tongue or a moment of weakness when we’re angry, in an instant our words can ruin a relationship, forever damage someone’s fragile self-image, or even shatter a dream.

Likewise, our words can speak love and encouragement. They can bring out the best in people, build hopes and dreams, and even inspire movements.

Our words can destroy or they can build anew; either in someone else’s life or our own. But as powerful as they are, there’s one thing we cannot do with our words: we cannot use them to speak anything into existence. Only God’s Word is that powerful.

If you’re unhappy with any aspect of your life, lean on those around you who will speak to you positively and lift you up. Look in the mirror and tell yourself what you need to hear. But most importantly, look to God’s Word and what it means for your life.

There is no problem or pain that the Bible does not address. His Words are perfect, unchanging, and more powerful than we can comprehend. There’s no greater example of this than Genesis 1:3 where God says, “Let there be light” and then there was light. He literally spoke the universe into existence and with the same power and authority, He speaks directly to us through the Bible.

And these words are not simply a story about God, it is the Word of God. Hebrews 4:12 (ESV) says, “For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.”

When we’re searching for the right words to motivate and inspire us down the path of life, the only words we should truly rely upon are those of God. He knows exactly who you are and what you need to hear.

Do you actively read your Bible? Do you know what God is trying to speak into your life today

10-17-2018

Mark 9:23-25 (ESV)

23 And Jesus said to him, “‘If you can’! All things are possible for one who believes.”

It can be really easy when you’re facing a difficult situation to want to give up. You might think that its impossible, or that there is no hope. However, Jesus said if we can believe that all things are possible.

What this means for us is this, if we find a promise in the Word of God about the situation we’re facing, we can stand on that promise and believe it. When we do this, we find that all things are possible for us. Most of us are wired to be impossibility thinkers. We always think that things are impossible. However, we need to train our thinking to line up with God’s word. When we get our thinking in line with God’s word we find that all things are possible for us.

No matter what situation you’re facing, it can turn around. It’s up to you to train your thinking in line with God’s word. When you do this and believe all things are possible for you!

10-16-2018

Ephesians 4:29 (ESV)

29 Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.

One time, my grandma made a pumpkin pie and she used chili powder instead of nutmeg as one of the ingredients. When we ate the pie, we were surprised at how bad it tasted. One small ingredient in the batter made a huge impact on the flavor of the pie. Today’s Bible verse talks about the importance of words. Words are small things, that make a huge impact. A word can tear someone down or build them up. And while it’s easy to take our words for granted, we should be trying to do what we can to speak words of life to others. Our words should be good and helpful. They should be words that build others up and encourage them. So today, as you’re speaking, take notice of the words you use. Ask God to help you use words that are good, helpful and encouraging!

10-15-2018

Luke 16:10 (ESV)

10 “One who is faithful in a very little is also faithful in much, and one who is dishonest in a very little is also dishonest in much.”

Do you ever think about how the small things you do can set you apart from others? For example, if you show up in class every day and pay attention, you’re going to do better than someone who skips class a lot. That’s because the small habits you develop now make a big difference over the course of your life. Often the decisions you make in small areas often lead to bigger responsibilities. If you haven’t proven yourself in small areas, it will be a lot harder to succeed in bigger areas.

In a way, today’s Bible verse is like climbing a ladder. If you want to climb up a ladder, you’ve got to start at the bottom, and then climb up, rung after rung. That’s very similar to how success in life works. As you start out, you prove yourself in a small area. Then you’re able to prove yourself in the next area, and the next area until you are at the top in life.

So today, take a close look at your life. Are you being faithful in the small areas? Are you being honest, even in the smallest areas? As you begin to be honest even in the small things, you’ll be able to move up into areas of greater responsibility.

10-12-2018

Proverbs 11:24 (ESV)

24 One gives freely, yet grows all the richer;

another withholds what he should give, and only suffers want.

Have you noticed how easy it is to be focused on yourself? You’re probably concerned about the teachers you have, or perhaps focused on saving money for something you want to buy. All of these concerns keep us focused inward. We get so wrapped up in ourselves we forget to think about others.

We were put here to be a blessing to others and show them who Jesus is. And if we spend all our money, energy and time thinking about ourselves, we’re not thinking in terms of eternity.

So instead of focusing all our money, time and energy on getting the newest thing, we should take some time to think of others. What is a way you could bless someone with something you have? Maybe you could give a friend a t-shirt of yours you know they liked. How about buying a candy bar for that person next to you in math class that seems to be having a bad day.

Challenge yourself to make your life more about giving to others than keeping it all to yourself. Choose to give freely and see what a difference you can make for God.

10-11-2018

Ephesians 4:25 (ESV)

25 Therefore, having put away falsehood, let each one of you speak the truth with his neighbor, for we are members one of another.

I used to lie, a lot. No, they weren’t huge lies, just small ones. I’d stretch the truth a bit about what happened when I was out with friends so my mom didn’t freak out when I got home. I’d exaggerate when telling a story to make myself look better to my friends. I knew telling big lies were wrong, but how about small ones that got me out of trouble and didn’t hurt anyone?

Maybe you’re like me and have gotten into a bad habit of telling lots of harmless small lies. Or maybe you flat out tell huge whopping lies. It honestly doesn’t matter. Lying isn’t good and it isn’t godly.

So if you’ve found yourself trapped in the habit of lying, take a moment to step back. Honestly look at yourself and your motivation for lying. Are you trying to make yourself look better? Cover an insecurity? Or something else?

For me, the root of my lying habit was insecurity and selfishness. I didn’t want to look bad or get in trouble, so I’d tell a lie. Once I confronted my motivation for lying, it made it easier for me to kick the habit. I realized that I needed to tell the truth even if it meant I got in trouble. I needed to tell the truth even if it meant that others didn’t look at me as favorably.

The freedom I experience when I stopped lying was amazing. I wasn’t plagued by guilt anymore. I realized that there was freedom in telling the truth. So today, choose to tell the truth regardless of what it costs you.

10-10-2018

Hebrews 6:1 (ESV)

Therefore let us leave the elementary doctrine of Christ and go on to maturity, not laying again a foundation of repentance from dead works and of faith toward God.

Over the years, I’ve been blessed with opportunities to coach my kids’ youth sports. It’s not only fun and rewarding but a fascinating view of personal growth and development.

For instance, when they first start playing organized team sports, they have no grasp of basic concepts like individual positions, teamwork, or direction of play. As a coach, you merely point them in the right direction and watch them swarm around.

Of course, the older they get, the more they learn the importance of positional play and working together as a cohesive unit to score points. Some players naturally develop into skilled players, while others require some help. As a coach, it’s your job to find creative and effective ways to communicate to players what you expect of them and what they’re capable of achieving. And when they commit to the work, they develop into a valuable player for the team.

When it comes to spiritual development, some people are not fully committed. They may have Christ in their lives, but they’ve stopped short of the ultimate goal of becoming fully committed to following Jesus.

Being a good athlete requires more than just showing up on game day. And being a Christian involves more than just going to church on Sundays. Committing yourself to Christ means not only obeying Jesus as your Savior but following his every call as your one true Lord and developing a complete understanding of the faith.

Athletes must train hard every day so that they’re in peak condition to support their teammates during the game. Faithful followers of Christ—mature Christians—must grow beyond (but not away from) the basic teachings of Christ. Only then are we capable of teaching new Christians, learning even more from God’s Word.

What are you doing in your life to develop a complete understanding of faith.

10-9-2018

Proverbs 17:24 (ESV)The discerning sets his face toward wisdom,

but the eyes of a fool are on the ends of the earth.

How many times have you spent hours wishing you were somewhere else. I used to always wish that I was done with high school and out of my parent’s house. I just felt that I wanted freedom and I wanted to get on with my life. However, this verse tells us that dreaming about things like that makes us a fool. To spend time thinking and wishing you were somewhere else is not productive. If you spend all your time unhappy because of where you are in life and never do anything about it, nothing will change.

Instead of spending all your time wishing you were somewhere else doing something else, choose to do what the first part of this verse says. Choose to focus on what can be done now. Think about things you can be doing now to make a difference or to help someone else out. If you spend your time doing this, then you are intelligent.

As this verse says, taking action and planning right where you are now is always more powerful than dreaming of wanting to be somewhere else. Your purpose is not fulfilled just longing for a better place to be. Instead, choose to see the opportunities right in front of you and begin making plans and taking action. You’ll be glad you did.

10-8-2018

Philippians 4:6 (ESV)

6 do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.

Bad things happen to all of us. You might have recently received bad news or gotten a bad grade. What do you do when bad things happen?

The answer from the Bible is always the same- don’t worry, pray. We pray because nothing is too big or too small to give to God in prayer. We often try to work things out on our own and sometimes make things worse. That’s why we need to come to God about what to do.

But here’s the catch. We have to turn off the phone, turn off the music, get alone with God and quiet enough to hear Him speak . “With thankful hearts offer up your prayer and requests to God” Philippians 4:6b . Before the request- stop and thank Him for who He is, what He has done for you. Amazingly, you will sense His presence. Then out of respect ask Him your request.

Too often we barge in right away with a request- instead of taking the protocol of this verse.

Thank Him- worship Him and then ask Him for the request. Then be quiet and listen for His answer. And when He speaks it won’t be loud either. Sometimes when you get quiet and get the problem out of your mind and just tell God you love Him and need his help- then out of your heart will come a thought or a picture of what to do. His answer might surprise you. It might be – just pray for the person and don’t say a thing. Or it might be “just take them a cupcake”. Or it might be “just study”. Or it could be a scripture that comes to mind. Whatever it is act on it.

10-5-2018

Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. – Colossians 3:15

I noticed recently that I hadn’t had a lot of peace. I’d been stressed out about my job and relationships and there was absolutely no peace ruling in my heart. I wanted to curl up in bed and not come out for a long time.

You’ve probably faced circumstances like I have that made you want to tune everything in the world out. Maybe an assignment, teacher or tough relationship has been stressing you out. It’s hard to have peace in your heart when it seems like so many things are against you, externally.

Today’s Bible verse says something interesting about peace. At the end of the verse, it tells us to be thankful. How do we practice being thankful when things are going so wrong? I believe it’s by starting to be thankful. Even when things are hard there is something you can find to be thankful about. When you focus your energy on being thankful, even for the smallest things, it’s a lot easier to be at peace.

10-4-2018

Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need. – Hebrews 4:16 (NKJV)

Many people use the words mercy and grace interchangeably. However, these two words are different. God’s mercy is His forgiveness and kindness to us. However, when the Bible speaks of God’s grace especially in the new testament, it’s referring to His ability to do what you cannot do.

To really live the Christian life we need both. We need God’s mercy because, without His complete forgiveness, we’d be unable to have any kind of true relationship with Him. However, without God’s grace (His ability working in us and through us) we are not really able to live like Jesus.

To receive this grace (the ability of God) we need to come to Him. Not just once, but whenever we need His empowerment. This often is when we are being tempted. This is the opposite action we’d normally take. Usually, when we are being tempted, we want to sneak off away from God and then come back later.

This verse is saying that we can come to God boldly at any time and we will receive His mercy and grace. Today, don’t be afraid of getting close to God even in times your being tempted. Run to Him and receive His mercy and His grace.

10-3-2018

Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest.”

Matthew 9:37–38

Have you ever planted a tree? I have vivid memories of planting a tree with my dad in our backyard when I was very young. At the time, I remember thinking my dad had dug the biggest hole I had ever seen. It was a lot of work for him, and it seemed like an incredible feat of strength to me, considering the hole was as deep as I was tall.

Despite the work, my dad had a plan. He knew that tree would grow to be very large, providing shade and protection to the west side of our home from the hot afternoon sun. Digging that hole was worth it because someday, that tree would serve a purpose.

In many ways, planting a tree is similar to spiritual growth.

When we faithfully plant the good news of Jesus into the lives of those we encounter, and they accept it, the Word of God takes root in their hearts. As we nurture this growth, God transforms their hearts into something beautiful. And as they mature, they realize their divine purpose and role in God’s Kingdom. And it can all start by just sharing the gospel.

My dad knew he was planting a shade tree. He may not have known that tree would provide shade for countless family picnics, or that its limbs would provide the perfect place to hang his granddaughter’s first swing.

When we share the gospel with the world, we may or may not see the fruits of our labor because spiritual growth takes time. But never forget that God is in control of the process, and he has a plan for the future.

So many people are ready to give their lives to Christ if someone would only show them how. Don’t be surprised if God has chosen you to show another person the way to him.

10-2-2018

Because you have made the Lord, who is my refuge, Even the Most High, your dwelling place, – Psalm 91:9

Where do you go when you’re upset? Do you have a place you like? When I was a little kid, I loved going into my closet where it was dark to hide when I was upset. It helped me calm down and it was nice to just have a place where I felt no one could find me.

In this Bible verse, we are encouraged to think of God as a refuge. We are to think of Him as a safe place, where we can get away from our problems and find peace. Its interesting though how often we forget about God’s ability to be our shelter in tough times. We often turn to friends, our room, a TV show, or even over eat when we’re upset. The best place we can turn in tough times is to God.

God is willing to be your refuge from the troubles of life. Will you make Him your safe place? The next time you experience trouble, take a moment to think about God. Give Him a chance to be your safe place, your refuge from your trouble.

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