Scripture Reading: 1 Corinthians 6:19
A lesson that we all need to learn is that God does not compartmentalize our lives. In other words, there is no distinction between the physical and the spiritual. This is why Paul said that we are to glorify God both in our body and in our spirit. The physical things we do has an affect on the spiritual. The spiritual things we do has an affect on the physical. If we live with this perspective, we will be well on our way to living a life that brings glory to God. Living with no distinctions will change both our attitudes and our actions.
What is God saying to me: You are a whole person. There is no distinction or compartments of your life. You are to serve me and love me with all of you, not just part of you.
What should I do today: Glorify God in my body and in my spirit.
Scripture Reading: Genesis 21:14-21
Hagar is an example of a modern day mother. She was a single mom who had the worry and stress of caring for her new born baby. After being poorly treated by her master, Sarah, she is sent away to make it on her own. She did not ask for the trouble she faced. She was dealt a bad hand. Sometimes life happens and there is nothing we can do about it. The issue is not the hand we are dealt, but what we do with what we have been given. Too often we wallow in our misery and play the victim. We use the fact that we are a victim as an excuse to treat others badly, have a bad attitude, and sit and do nothing with our lives. This is not the reaction that God desires from us. He wants us to make the most of our lives. He wants us to get over it and move on. Don’t waste your life by allowing yourself to be a victim. Get up on your feet and rise above your circumstances and do something with your life. The key is to trust in God’s provision and to do our very best with whatever life brings to us. As we do this, God will bless, provide, and He will be glorified.
What is God saying to me: Life may have treated you harshly. Things may have not gone as planned. But, it’s okay. You don’t have to stay there. Look to Me and I will help you to make the most of it all.
What should I do today: Stop dwelling on how bad I have it and start making the most of it all.
Scripture Reading: Isaiah 58:6-14
The Lord desires to break the chains of sin that has us bound. He desires to do great things in our lives. He desires that we grow in our love for others in such a way that we are compelled to action. The Lord desires that we focus on our care and love for others rather than on our own personal pleasures. He desires that we keep the Sabbath Day holy and that we put Him first in every area of our lives. When Jesus is the center of our lives, He will answer us when we call upon Him. When Jesus is the center of our lives, He will provide for us and bless us. We make Jesus the center of our lives when we surrender to Him on a daily basis and we live a life of obedience and we fulfill His desires for our lives.
What is God saying to me: I have great desires for you and your wellbeing. I have a storehouse of blessings to pour out upon you. All I ask for is your heart. Put me first. Obey my Word, for I know what is best for you.
What I should do today: Examine my life and see what areas of my life that I need to surrender to Jesus. Live in obedience and put Jesus first in all that I do.
Scripture Reading: Psalm 147:10-11
He is not impressed by the strength of a horse; He does not value the power of a man. The Lord values those who fear Him, those who put their hope in His faithful love.”
(Psalms 147:10-11 HCSB)
As humans we have the tendency to focus on our personal strengths and weaknesses. We tend to accept others based on their level of talent and abilities. We are impressed with those who are highly talented and who have charismatic personalities. However, God is not impressed. He is not concerned with your abilities or your personality or your looks. He does not value the power of a man. What God does value are those who trust in Him and who are faithful. You see, you do not have to have a certain amount of talent or ability to serve the Lord. God is not looking for the most talented, He is looking for the faithful. There is something to be said about faithfully following the Lord day by day. Those whom God values are those who are faithful to spend time with Him in His Word and in prayer. God values those who are faithful to serve in and through the local church no matter how inadequate they may feel. God is looking for the faithful, are you one whom God is looking for?
What God is saying to me: Don’t get caught up in what man can do. Trust in me and stay faithful, and I will use you in mighty ways.
What I should do today: Be faithful in the little things and trust in the Lord.
Scripture Reading: Proverbs 14:15-35
The blessings of God are upon people groups who live according to the wisdom of God’s Word. Those who ignore God’s Word and live according to their own man-made standards will find themselves trapped in wickedness and sin. There is a curse that comes from sin. A nation that ignores God will not be at peace. As Christians, we must make sure that we ourselves are living in obedience to God’s Word. Our cumulative obedience will result in our nation being blessed. We must also pray for our nation’s leaders that they too will seek the Lord and live in obedience. A righteous nation is blessed by God. A nation that is full of wickedness will miss out on God’s blessing and will have no peace.
What is God saying to me: Make sure that you are living in obedience to My Word. The more who live in obedience, the more I will bless the nation.
What should I do today: Commit to living in obedience. Commit to praying for our nation’s leaders.
Scripture Reading: 1 Thessalonians 5:18
1 Thessalonians 5:18 says, “In everything give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.” The purpose of man is doxological. The reason for our existence is to bring glory to God. Everything that God does for us is ultimately that He may be glorified. This is also the desire of the hearts of true believers. When we think of the grace that God has bestowed upon us. When we think of the blessings He has entrusted us with. We are moved to thankfulness. God has blessed us beyond measure. Compared to many around the world, we all live in luxury. We have clothes to keep us warm. We have an over-abundance of food to eat and enjoy. We have shelter. We have a warm bed to sleep in. We are blessed with family and friends. We are blessed with a wonderful church family. We are blessed with the abundant and joyous life that is found in a relationship with Jesus Christ. We are forgiven, redeemed, justified, sanctified, liberated, and the list goes on and on. This is why we can give thanks even in the most dire of circumstances. The enjoyment of God’s grace and mercy is enough to cause us to be thankful no matter what we are going through. This may be a difficult Thanksgiving for you. You may be going through some difficult times. Don’t let your circumstance dictate your praise. Reflect and meditate on all that God is and all that has done for you. As you do, you will find your heart swelling up with gratitude and the cares and concerns you have will grow dim in the light of His glory and grace!
What is God saying to me: It is my will for your life that you be a thankful person.
What should I do today: Meditate on all that God has done for me. Focus on God’s blessings instead of my circumstances.
Scripture Reading: Romans 7:14-25
We all struggle with sin. We all struggle with doing what is right. In our workaholic culture, we have developed the mindset that the more we do, the more pleasing we are to God. We tend to think that the more we serve God, the more we are accepted by God. There is also this notion that we have to work hard to do good; to keep ourselves from sin. Yes, there is discipline involved in living for Christ. We do need to practice basic spiritual disciplines in order to keep ourselves pure and to stay close to Christ. However, the focus should not be on the doing, but on the being. In other words, if you find yourself trying so hard to be and do good and you keep failing, then stop trying. In our scripture reading, Paul talks about the struggle of living the Christian life. The key to getting through the struggle is to stop trying to live the Christian life and just be who you are in Christ. If we focus on the being rather than the doing, then the doing will take care of itself. Allow God to change you from the inside out. Surrender all to Him. Focus on what it means to be a child of God. Focus on being who you are in Christ rather than trying to do what you think Christians ought to do. When you focus on being rather than doing, your life will gradually change and you will become more and more like Jesus.
What God is saying to me: I have given you the Holy Spirit to help you in this life. I have made you a new creation in Christ. Stop trying to do good in your own efforts. Trust me. Let me work in you.
What should I do today: Focus on being rather then doing.