You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden; nor does anyone light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on the lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven. Matthew 5:14-16
1. LIFT UP YOUR EYES. Sometimes we put our noses to the grindstone trying to figure out the intricacies of a problem, when what we really need to do is take a step back and look to Jesus. When your eyes are focused on Him instead of on the problem, you aren’t denying reality—you are looking to the One who has the answer.
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Lift up your eyes on high and see who has created these stars, the One who leads forth their host by number, He calls them all by name; because of the greatness of His might and the strength of His power, not one of them is missing. Isaiah 40:26
1. LOOK AT THE STARS. When you look up at the clearest and brightest starry night, remember that God has named every single one of those stars. God told Abraham and Sarah, a senior childless couple, that He was going to create a nation through them as numerous as the stars in the sky. Abraham lifted up his eyes to a faithful God, and the Jewish nation was born out of that moment of obedience and faith.
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The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside quiet waters. He restores my soul; He guides me in the paths of righteousness for His name’s sake. Psalm 23:1-3
1. FIND REST. God has called us to a life that is different than it was before we knew Him—to a life of joy and abundance (John 10:10). If you’ve been distracted and things have gotten bland spiritually or you’ve been so filled with anxiety that you can’t rest, be assured that God wants to bring you into a place of focus and peace.
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But love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return; and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High; for He Himself is kind to ungrateful and evil men. Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful. Luke 6:35-36
1. DRIVEN BY LOVE. God is interested in our growth. He wants us to be relatable, loving, genuine, and effective through the course of our lives. When Jesus was on earth, He gave us an example of how to walk out this life — not driven by the dictates of our flesh, but by the promptings of the Holy Spirit and the direction of God’s Word.
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Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in Your sight, O Lord, my rock and my Redeemer. Psalm 19:14
1. WATCH YOUR WORDS. Life and death are in the power of the tongue (Proverbs 18:21). If we guard our mouths, we can actually guard our soul from trouble and worry (Proverbs 21:23). We will have to give account for every careless word we speak (Matthew 12:36-37). So, let’s carefully consider our words, and speak life instead of worry and fear.
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For where jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there is disorder and every evil thing. But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, reasonable, full of mercy and good fruits, unwavering, without hypocrisy. And the seed whose fruit is righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace. James 3:16-18
1. AVOID STRIFE. Strife is a weed and can quickly take over to become a lifestyle of resentment, jealousy, unforgiveness, and quarreling. But God is calling us to pull up any weeds of strife — forgiving quickly, resolving issues, walking in love, and stopping quarrels before they start (Proverbs 17:14).
Continue reading “How to Live Ready”
My son, give attention to my words; incline your ear to my sayings. Do not let them depart from your sight; keep them in the midst of your heart. For they are life to those who find them and health to all their body. Watch over your heart with all diligence, for from it flow the springs of life. Proverbs 4:20-23
1. GUARD YOUR HEART. When we enter the secret place with God, we obtain strength, direction, and refreshing (Psalm 91:1 NKJV). But the strategy of the devil is to provide weapons of mass distraction that pull us away from attention to God’s Word. That’s why we must stay attentive—to guard our hearts and to keep life’s distractions from choking out the fruitfulness of the Word.
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A wide door for effective service has opened to me, and there are many adversaries. 1 Corinthians 16:9
1. THE IMPOSSIBLE IS POSSIBLE. Whenever you hear people say something is impossible, then you can celebrate, because God said all things are possible to those who believe (Mark 9:23). Let the Word of God push aside unbelief and fear, because God has called you to speak to the mountains and command them to be moved (Mark 11:23).
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Seek the Lord while He may be found; call upon Him while He is near. Let the wicked forsake his way and the unrighteous man his thoughts . . . “For My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways My ways,” declares the Lord. “For as the heavens are higher than the earth so are My ways higher than your ways and My thoughts than your thoughts.” Isaiah 55:6-9
1. FORSAKE WRONG THINKING. Instead of thinking our own unrighteous thoughts, we are invited to actually think the thoughts of God—to trade our thoughts for His and actually view life the way God views it.
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Everyone who comes to Me and hears My words and acts on them, I will show you whom he is like: he is like a man building a house, who dug deep and laid a foundation on the rock; and when a flood occurred, the torrent burst against that house and could not shake it, because it had been well built. Luke 6:47-48
1. GOD’S WORD IS A SURE FOUNDATION. Building your life on the promises of God will get you through whatever you face. You can hold to it, live by it—it’s a lamp to your feet and a light to your path (Psalm 119:105).
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Make my joy complete by being of the same mind, maintaining the same love, united in spirit, intent on one purpose . . . Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus. Philippians 2:2-5
MAKE JESUS CENTRAL. The chief project of life is cultivating closeness with Jesus.
Continue reading “The Attitude of the Church”
For a wide door for effective service has opened to me [Paul], and there are many adversaries. 1 Corinthians 16:9
1. WALK THROUGH THE OPEN DOOR. Opportunities are often disguised by obstacles. With every promise there will be inherent challenges and problems. Paul knew he was going to have challenges, but he kept forging ahead anyway. Instead of shrinking back or hesitating, we must seek God about what opportunity He has for us in the midst of difficulty.
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Jesus said to them, “My food is to do the will of Him who sent Me and to accomplish His work. Do you not say, ‘There are yet four months, and then comes the harvest’? Behold, I say to you, lift up your eyes and look on the fields, that they are white for harvest.” John 4:34-35
GOD’S AMAZING PLAN. Jesus lived to do God’s will. There is nothing more fulfilling than to follow God’s plan for our lives. God has called us to be a culture of effective workers who do our work heartily to Him and have genuine impact in the lives of others around us.
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Jesus was going through all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues and proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom, and healing every kind of disease and every kind of sickness. Seeing the people, He felt compassion for them, because they were distressed and dispirited like sheep without a shepherd. Matthew 9:35-36
1. FOLLOW THE SHEPHERD. When Jesus saw the crowds, He wasn’t moved with disdain but with compassion. He went about “doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil” (Acts 10:38). Because God has poured out His love in our hearts, we actually have a capacity for compassion. Like our Shepherd, we are made to be carriers of this type of love. Take time to listen to what God is saying to you: repent quickly and forgive quickly.
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Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children; and walk in love, just as Christ also loved you and gave Himself up for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God as a fragrant aroma. Ephesians 5:1-2
1. IT’S GOD’S LOVE. Walking in love is a process that involves sacrifice, commitment, and follow-through, but it doesn’t originate in our humanity. We are born with a tendency to act selfishly, but the moment we receive Jesus, God’s love is deposited within us and we can move into a new dimension of becoming considerate and valuing others.
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The law of the Lord is perfect, restoring the soul; the testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple. The precepts of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart. Psalm 19:7-8a
1. GOD’S WORD RESTORES THE SOUL. There is such a battle for our thinking, and what goes into our minds will come out. When the Word of God gets inside us, life flows out of us. When garbage gets in, garbage comes out. Weapons of mass distraction are vying for our attention and bombarding our minds and hearts. But as we constantly feed on the Word of God, we will be renewed and restored (Romans 12:2).
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NINE RESULTS OF THE PRESENCE OF THE HOLY SPIRIT IN YOUR LIFE
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. Galatians 5:22-23
1. LOVE. Loving God and connecting with Him is the best part of life. God is love and His Spirit who dwells within us helps us to respond to others by walking in His love.
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Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. 1 John 4:7
Set the Thermostat. Just like you can change the temperature to heat or cool your home, if you walk in love, you will set the thermostat of the world you live in. When you walk into a room and sense strife or conflict, you can bring change to the environment by simply operating in love. Every person you encounter is someone for whom Christ died. Even if you disagree with someone, ask yourself: “How can I genuinely value that person without compromising the truth?”
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“Yield now and be at peace with Him; thereby good will come to you. Please receive instruction from His mouth and establish His words in your heart.” Job 22:21-22
1. YIELD. A yield sign is a beautiful thing–it tells us to look and acknowledge traffic and people around us. We yield and listen to the Holy Spirit, not to be reticent or fearful, but instead to become aware of what He is saying in order to move forward.
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But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. Galatians 5:16, 22-23
1. WALKING BY THE SPIRIT. When you receive Jesus as your Savior, your spirit is made alive in God! You become a child of God and you have the ability to hear His voice and receive His guidance. These are blessings attached to choosing the things of God. These attributes—love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control—are the tools that give us victory in life.
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But thanks be to God, who always leads us in triumph in Christ, and manifests through us the sweet aroma of the knowledge of Him in every place. 2 Corinthians 2:14
LIFE TRIUMPHS OVER DEATH. When Jesus died on the Cross, everything looked like a failure. But when He rose from the dead, it turned into victory over death and sin! Whatever you have been through, however you have messed up, Jesus wants to forgive your sins, give you a fresh start, and lead you in triumph.
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Most of the crowd spread their coats in the road, and others were cutting branches from the trees and spreading them in the road. The crowds going ahead of Him [Jesus], and those who followed, were shouting, “Hosanna to the Son of David; Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord; Hosanna in the highest!” Matthew 21:8-9
1. HONOR JESUS. Jesus is the Messiah and He fulfilled every prophecy about Himself, and some day soon Jesus is going to come back. In the meantime, we are to exalt and acknowledge Him. And just like the crowds cried out “Hosanna!” (“Save us!”) when Jesus rode into Jerusalem on a donkey, we are also coming into a time when our city, our nation, and our world will be stirred to ask for God’s salvation.
Continue reading “Let’s Get Ready for Easter”
Let no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth, but only such a word as is good for edification according to the need of the moment, so that it will give grace to those who hear. Ephesians 4:29
1. RESIST NEGATIVITY. Words are powerful. They can contain either hurt or healing and they can contribute to someone’s suffering or to someone’s cure. The Greek word for unwholesome in Ephesians is translated rot. So, just like the expression “one bad apple can spoil the whole bunch,” one complaining person can contaminate a whole group of people.
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Let the wicked forsake his way and the unrighteous man his thoughts. . . For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways and My thoughts than your thoughts. Isaiah 55:7, 9
1. WE LEARN GOD’S THOUGHTS. God’s lowest thoughts are higher than our highest thoughts. As we invest our time in reading the Scriptures, our minds get renewed (Romans 12:2) and we trade in our smaller way of thinking for God’s amazing, big beautiful, eternal thoughts!
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But you, when you pray, go into your inner room, close your door and pray to your Father who is in secret, and your Father who sees what is done in secret will reward you. Matthew 6:6
FELLOWSHIP WITH GOD. God is all powerful and when we draw near to Him, strength will come. His presence shifts us from surviving to thriving. Delving into the Word of God and spending time in God’s presence will strengthen your heart. If you feel worn down by life, take time like Jesus often did to “slip away to the wilderness and pray” (Luke 5:16). The Creator of the Universe has everything you need—all the strength, all the power, all the insight, all the guidance. And always try to remember what Daniel 11:32b proclaims: The people who know their God shall be strong and do exploits!
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