Life

If you’re a child of God, you not only have physical breath passed down from Adam, but spiritual life from the Second Adam-Jesus (Romans 5:12-21). As we go, the joy of the Lord and the seeds of life go with us. Jesus compared His kingdom to a mustard seed:

“What is the kingdom of God like? And to what shall I compare it? It is like a mustard seed, which a man took and put in his garden; and it grew and became a large tree, and the birds of the air nested in its branches.” – Luke 13:18-19 NKJV

He then compared it to leaven, working its way through three measures of meal. In both descriptions, there’s something very tiny bringing newness and profound change.

As we move through the day, our words, actions, and demeanor have great potential. There is life within us; may we carry it well.

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Required

God is not a cosmic abstract or blank canvas to project self-centered notions onto.

He has specific characteristics and has revealed Himself to us (through the Person of Christ, and His Word). However, we can easily find ourselves drifting toward a focus on stories and personal narratives at the expense of spending time in the actual scripture. As disciples we must remain diligent to keep our focus on the raw, unbridled power of God’s Word because our strength depends on it.

In Luke 12, Jesus describes a master charging his servants to run the household affairs while he’s gone. When the master returned, he found several that weren’t doing what they knew to do, and he punished them severely. Jesus then summed it up this way:

“…for everyone to whom much is given, from him much will be required; and to whom much has been committed, of him they will ask the more.” – Luke 12:48b NKJV

The Christian life includes requirements. Our Master didn’t speak in a timid fashion, hoping to be recognized as the right voice among many, He spoke then/and speaks now with authority. Through His wonderful grace we are saved (and not by works – Eph. 2:8-9), but we must also never forget that we’re His (and not our own – 1 Cor. 6:19).

What is the Master requiring of you today?

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Divine Friendship

Consider the privilege of divine friendship. Jesus described His followers this way:

“You are My friends if you do whatever I command you.” – John 15:14 NKJV

The Creator and Righteous Judge of the universe not only provided a way for us to be forgiven, but also a way to know Him as a friend. There is an old hymn that reminds us of this precious truth. Think about the first verse as you go today…

“What a Friend we have in Jesus, all our sins and griefs to bear! What a privilege to carry everything to God in prayer! O what peace we often forfeit, O what needless pain we bear, all because we do not carry everything to God in prayer.”

“What a Friend We Have in Jesus” – Joseph Scriven (1855)

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Wisdom 22.2

“The rich and the poor have this in common, the LORD is the maker of them all.” – Proverbs 22:2 NKJV

Society has always labeled people. Terms like rich, poor, famous, common, etc. have been used for centuries, but we’re all in need of God’s forgiveness. Don’t let society’s norms cause you to place more/less value on someone…or to place more/less value on yourself. Today, may we look past the labels and see the people.

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Fear

Fear can be paralyzing. It’s mentioned throughout the scriptures, with stories of people fearing each other, fearing to follow God’s instructions, fearing the presence of angels, fearing death, etc. There are also the words “do not fear”, and Jesus instructing us to “fear Him!” (which is to properly reverence God because He holds the ultimate power over life, death and eternity).

He goes on to remind us of this:

“Are not five sparrows sold for two copper coins? And not one of them is forgotten before God. But the very hairs of your head are numbered. Do not fear therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows.” –Luke 12:6-7 NKJV

There is such a thing as healthy fear. It’s a deep acknowledgement within one’s self that “He is God and I am not.” The irony is that true “fearlessness” starts with a healthy fear. It’s not the absence of fear, but a properly placed one. What or who do you fear today? Step outside and listen to the birds chirping. Their little songs are valuable to the Lord. They’re never forgotten and you’re considered even much more valuable than them. Do not fear today…you’re in the hands of Almighty God!

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Conformity

The pressure to conform is part of life. Even within church circles, there are those who position themselves as the guardians of all things “acceptable”. Jesus spoke of such people, and one of His statements about them was this:

“Beware of the leaven of the Pharisees, which is hypocrisy.” –Luke 12:1b NKJV

In the Jewish world of the first century, the Pharisees were social bullies and dominated the public discourse. Their words, doctrines, and attitudes were the norm; and speaking their “language” was the only way to get their affirmation and acceptance.

As followers of Jesus, we must be careful to base our words, doctrines and attitudes on Him (and His Word), because the wind of peer pressure is always blowing. In former times, “legalism” was common, but today, the idea of tolerance has become the supreme virtue. Debate is no longer about absolute truth, but about what “truth” is comfortably accepted.

So, as the social climate changes and the wind picks up; who and what will your convictions, words, and actions be based on?

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Being

One of the biggest struggles in the life of faith is the pressure to “do”. Whether it’s spoken, unspoken, self-imposed, or “others-imposed”, the expectation to be “doing” something for Christ can distract from the powerful reality of “being” something in Christ.

Martha and Mary are perfect examples of the contrast. When Jesus was in their home, Martha was busy with hostess work, while Mary was busy listening to the Lord. Of course the scripture teaches a strong work ethic, but not at the expense of being “at the feet” of Jesus. Consider the Lord’s comment:

“Martha, Martha, you are worried and troubled about many things. But one thing is needed, and Mary has chosen that good part, which will not be taken away.” – Luke 10:41b-42 NKJV

Sometimes we simply need to “be” in the Lord’s presence. It’s not all about trying to keep up with structured reading (that we often fall behind on), getting a “quiet-time” marked off (that can feel robotic), or trying to prove our dedication through activity (that can drain us); it’s about pausing, exhaling, worshipping, and listening. May your spirit be renewed and set free today by simply being in His presence.

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