Scripture Reading: Matthew 6:19-34
From the Pastor’s Heart
There is a television commercial where a man is standing at his front door trying to keep the mailman from putting another bill in the mail slot. He is then seen sitting in the shower with his arms around his legs sobbing and crying. This comical commercial gives a picture of real life. Paying bills can be very depressing. Just like the typical American family, our family has its share of bills. I have all but given up on saving, because every time I think I have an opportunity to get ahead here comes the braces, tonsils removed, car repairs, broken appliances, and so on. As you read this article, no doubt you are smiling right now because you have either been there before or you are there now. The responsibilities and circumstances of life is something that we cannot run from. Life is life. I tell my children that they do not want to grow up too soon because, as you get older, the more responsibilities you are going to have. It is easy for us to get bogged down with life issues. It is easy for us to get stressed and worried. However, we must remind ourselves that all of this is temporary. As believers in Christ, we have a future. We have Heaven to look forward to. My friend, there is no pain in Heaven. There is no suffering in Heaven. Praise God, there are no bills in Heaven! Jesus teaches us a very valuable lesson in Matthew 6:19-34. We don’t need to concern ourselves with the cares of this world. Our goal in life should not be to make more money or to be financially secure. Our goal in life should be to be secure in Jesus. Invest in the Kingdom of God. Live your life for Jesus and don’t worry about how you are going to pay the bills or even if you are going to have enough food for the week. God has a way of providing for His children, especially those who put Him first. Don’t worry about today or tomorrow. God is in control and if you trust in Him, everything is going to be alright!
Scripture Reading: Galatians 2
When I focus primarily on my works rather than on grace, I bring shame to the cross of Christ. I am saved by God’s grace alone, therefore, I should live by God’s grace only. Grace living requires the understanding that I no longer live. It is Christ that lives in me and through me. This changes everything. It changes the way I live and the way I think. I pray that I would be like Jesus. Instead, I should pray that I would be Jesus. I should die to self in such a way that I no longer am living. It is Christ in me and Christ through me.
What is God saying to me: I died for you so that you would die. I rose again so that I would live in you. Put to death the deeds of the flesh and live in my grace.
What should I do today: Confess everything that self brings. Take up my cross and let Christ live in me and through me today.
Scripture Reading: Galatians 1
There are many today who preach ‘another gospel.’ There are many pastors who have compromised on the truth for the sake of being relevant. There are many believers who have fallen into the trap of false teachings. There are few who are still faithful to preach nothing but the Word of God. Lord, help me to not preach what is popular. Help me to preach the truth. Protect me from compromise. Keep me on the straight path. Give me tunnel vision. Help me to stay focused. Empower me by your spirit. I pray that your Word will accomplish much in the lives of those who hear. May your truth prevail!
What is God saying to me: I have called you to be an ambassador of my kingdom to this world. Stay close to me. Preach only that which I command. Represent me in truth. Do not compromise.
What should I do today: Commit to proclaiming nothing but the truth.
Scripture Reading: Luke 2
Luke 2:7 describes how there was no room in the inn for Jesus. The hotels of Bethlehem were located right in the middle of the main shopping district. With all the people going to Bethlehem in order to be counted in the census, the shops were full. It was very similar to what we see at Christmas time. Stores are full with people hurrying about finding last second gifts. There are also parties to attend and Christmas programs at church to prepare for. With all the busyness of life, I wonder, is their room for Jesus? We all have busy schedules. There are things that demand our attention. But, do we pay any attention to Jesus? Do you spend time with Him in His Word? Do you commune with Jesus in prayer? Are you listening to Him? Nothing is more important than spending time with Jesus. As a matter of fact, the more responsibilities we have, the more time with Jesus we should spend. Is there room for Jesus in your life?
What is God saying to me? If it were not for me, there would be no Christmas. Please, do not forget me. I am here.
What should I do today? Commit to spending more quality time with Jesus. Put Him first in all I do today.
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.