Resource Library

Friday
Sep222017

The importance of physical and mental rest

Then he said to them, “The Sabbath was made fro man, not man for the Sabbath.”

-Mark 2:27

In ancient Athens, Greece, a man one day noticed the great storyteller Aesop playing games with some small children. He laughed and jeered at Aesop, asking him why he wasted his time in a useless activity. Aesop responded by picking up a bow, loosening its string, and placing it on the ground. Then he said to the Athenian, “If you can, tell me what the unstrung bows implies.”

Puzzled, the man looked at it for several minutes but had no idea what point Aesop was trying to make. So Aesop explained, “If you keep a bow always bent, it will eventually break. But if you let it go slack once in awhile, it will be more fit for use when you need it.”

Much like that bow, people need to take time now and again to rest. God rested on the Sabbath day after creating the world. He also prescribed a Sabbath day of rest for Israel in the Old Testament. Jesus also lays out a pattern of rest for Christians now in verses like today’s.

Set aside a special time every week to relax physically and renew yourself emotionally and spiritually. Even if you don’t work every day, you still need time to separate yourself from the worries and anxieties of the world. When you take time to “loosen the bow” now and then, you’ll be at your very best to be used for the Lord!

Prayer Challenge:

Ask God to help you be disciplined to separate yourself from the world regularly so you can be at your best!

Questions for Thought

What are some of the stresses you encounter that “bend your bow”?

What’s the best time and place for you to get away at least once a week to refresh and renew your body and spirit?

Friday
Sep222017

Your most priceless possession

“The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field. When a man found it, he hid it again, and then in his joy went and sold all he had and bought that field.”

-Matthew 13:44

Vincent van Gogh first began to experiment with impressionist techniques during his Parisian period, the time from 1886 until 1888. The Dutch artist wrote to his sister in 1887: “Last year, I painted almost nothing but flowers to accustom myself to colors other than grey, namely pink, soft or vivid green, light blue, violet, yellow, orange, beautiful red.”

In 1993, the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam announced that it had authenticated a previously unknown work of the painter from the Parisian period. Purchased at a French flea market after World War II by a Swiss family and kept in their attic, Still Life (Vase With Flowers) fetched millions of dollars at auction.

Quite often, we don’t see the immediate value of what we have. This is especially true when it comes to our riches in heaven. You see, what you have in Christ is much more valuable than any riches the world could throw your way. Yet many people treat their relationship with Jesus as an inconvenience or a burden they’re just hanging onto in hopes of eternal life.

The most priceless possession you have is your salvation in Jesus Christ. God’s great gift to you will never be surpassed in its value. So treasure it… and consider it more valuable than anything else you own!

Prayer Challenge:

Thank God for the salvation He’s offered to you in Jesus Christ. Pray that you’d continue to hold Him higher than anything else!

Questions for Thought

Have there been times in your life when you’ve treated the world’s riches as more valuable than your relationship with God?

How can you avoid thinking of Jesus as just insurance against hell and move to a point where you’re building a real relationship with Him?

 

Friday
Sep222017

You’re not a fool.

"For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God."

-1 Corinthians 1:18

Many of us came to faith at a time when it was respectable to be a Christian. But with each passing day in our culture it’s becoming more and more uncomfortable to truly follow Jesus.

Of course, that really shouldn’t surprise us. As A.W. Tozer once said…

“A real Christian is an odd number anyway. He feels supreme love for One whom he has never seen, talks familiarly every day to Someone he cannot see, expects to go to heaven on the virtue of Another, empties himself in order to be full, admits he is wrong so he can be declared right, goes down in order to get up, is strongest when he is weakest, richest when he is poorest, and happiest when he feels worst. He dies so he can live, forsakes in order to have, gives away so he can keep, sees the invisible, hears, the inaudible, and knows that which passeth knowledge.”

It can be unnerving to suddenly live in a culture that seems to question everything you believe. But take heart today knowing that man’s skepticism doesn’t rattle God.

The Gospel must be foolishness to a world lost in the dark. But to those of us who’ve been transformed by grace, it’s the very power of God that can redeem broken lives.

Prayer Challenge:

Ask God to help you trust Him in the midst of an increasingly critical culture. And pray for the grace to bear witness to God’s truth with your life.

Questions for Thought:

Is the Gospel really unreasonable or is the world just blinded by sin?

What’s the best way to convince a skeptical culture of the truth of the Gospel? 

Tuesday
Sep192017

How to experience spiritual renewal

Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe, for our “God is a consuming fire.”

-Hebrews 12:28-29

There’s a story an American Lutheran bishop tells of visiting a parish church in California and seeing a stirring red and orange banner on the wall. “Come Holy Spirit. Hallelujah!” it declared in words printed under a picture of a fire burning. But what really attracted his attention during his Sunday sermon was a sign directly underneath the banner which said: “Fire extinguisher.”

Looking down at his sermon notes, the bishop laughed as he thought to himself, “So much for this parish’s commitment to spiritual renewal!”

When it comes to spiritual renewal in our lives, many Christians carry around a spiritual fire extinguisher because they’re afraid of looking too “extreme” in what they believe or are afraid people will think they’re crazy. But if you look at those who’ve followed Christ most closely in the pages of the Bible and throughout history, you’ll find that while many of them were looked down upon for their faith, they were also well respected among believers and non-believers alike for sticking to their convictions.

So instead of trying to control the fire of the Holy Spirit in your life, let it burn free, moving to every area and consuming all you are as you’re transformed by the renewing of your mind!

Prayer Challenge:

Offer your entire self to God and allow Him to consume everything you are!

Questions for Thought

If someone were to ask those whom you interact with every day about how committed you are to God, what do you think they would say?

What are some areas of your life today in which you need to let God’s fire burn away the impurities and give wholly to Him?

Tuesday
Sep192017

The best payback you’ll ever have

"But love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back. Then your reward will be great, and you will be children of the Most High, because he is kind to the ungrateful and wicked."

-Luke 6:35

Georges Clemenceau was twice the prime minister of France, and played a major role in the treaties that concluded WWI. At the Paris Peace Conference, Clemenceau was on his way to a meeting with President Woodrow Wilson’s adviser when he was shot at by a young anarchist named Emile Cottin.

As Clemenceau’s car sped away, Cottin fired at least six more shots, one of which struck Clemenceau near his heart. Clemenceau very narrowly avoided death. But after Cottin was captured and the death penalty was demanded, Clemenceau asked for leniency, recommending eight years in prison “with intensive training in a shooting gallery.”

It was a little good humor at a time which could’ve been filled with bitterness and hatred that showed Clemenceau wasn’t holding a grudge against his attacker. And while most people won’t ever face someone who wants to kill them, they find it so difficult to have that same kind of attitude of forgiveness.

In life, people are going to let you down and disappoint you. They are going to say bad things about you and insult you to your face. Yet how you respond to those who treat you that way says much about your relationship with your heavenly Father. So instead of harboring bitterness, forgive and show mercy to those who wrong you. It’s the best payback you can have!

Prayer Challenge:

Ask God to give you strength when others insult you. Pray He’ll help you show them mercy instead of harboring bitterness.

Questions for Thought:

Why do you think it’s so difficult to show forgiveness and mercy to those who wrong us?

Think back to a time when you received unmerited forgiveness for something you did wrong. How did that make you feel?

Tuesday
Sep192017

Do you hear creation’s song?

"How many are your works, Lord! In wisdom you made them all; the earth is full of your creatures."

-Psalm 104:24

A man and his three-year-old daughter were strolling through the park one hot summer day, when the little girl suddenly asked, “Daddy, what’s that sound?”

With his little one at that age where every other phrase is a question, he wasn’t quite sure what his daughter was asking about. But after some coaxing he finally understood. “Those are cicadas,” he replied. “They’re bugs that come out during the summer time.”

The little girl listened intently for a while then exclaimed, “Daddy! They’re talking to me!” “What are they saying?” her daddy asked. “They’re saying, ‘Have fun at the park. God loves you!”’

Creation is singing a song every moment of every day and night. But most of the time we’re too preoccupied with the worries of life to hear it.

From the song of the morning lark to the evening chirp of crickets, each day brings you opportunities to join in the chorus of praise and see yourself through the eyes of the One who made it all.

So the next time you hear a choir of cicadas singing aloud, listen prayerfully and hear them say, “Have fun today. God loves you!”

Prayer Challenge:

Pray for ears to hear the song of creation around you. And ask God to help you join in the chorus of praise each day.

Questions for Thought:

What’s one of the most beautiful things in creation you’ve ever seen?

How would taking time each day to praise God as Creator affect your attitude?

Wednesday
Sep132017

Who can you really trust?

"Do not put your trust in princes, in human beings, who cannot save. When their spirit departs, they return to the ground; on that very day their plans come to nothing. Blessed are those whose help is the God of Jacob, hose hope is in the LORD their God."

-Psalm 146:3-5

In the early 15th century, the kings of both Italy and Bohemia promised safe transport and safe custody to the great pre-Reformation reformer, John Hus. Both, however, broke their promises, leading to Hus being burned at the stake in 1415. 

The great British statesman Thomas Wentworth had once even carried a document signed by King Charles I which read, “Upon the word of a king you shall not suffer in life, honour, or fortune.” It was not long, however, before Wentworth’s death warrant was signed by the very same monarch!

If anything is sure in life, it’s that there’s very little that’s sure in life! This is especially true when it comes to putting your faith in the rulers of the world. Yet so often, Christians are as guilty as anyone of saying, “If we can only get so-and-so elected, things will be great.” History goes to show this just isn’t the case.

In whom do you place your faith? Is it in the princes of the world who talk a big game and promise you anything that will get them more votes? Or, are you firmly committed in your faith to Jesus who is eminently greater than any earthly ruler? Princes will let you down, but Jesus never will!

Prayer Challenge:

Pray for wisdom and discernment when it comes to politics—that you’d stay committed to Jesus, who is greater than any earthly ruler!

Questions for Thought:

What are some instances when you’ve been guilty of trusting in man more than you trust in God?

What attitude should you have when you support a political candidate or cause that will help you stick to your convictions but avoid creating an idol?

Wednesday
Sep132017

Avoiding what hampers your heavenly focus

"Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things."     

-Colossians 3:2

On May 6, 1954, Roger Bannister became the very first man in recorded history to run a mile in less than 4 minutes. But within 2 months, John Landy eclipsed his record by 1.4 seconds. So on August 7, 1954, the two met together for a historic race.

As they moved into the final lap, Landy held the lead and it looked as if he would win. But as he neared the finish he was haunted by the question, “Where is Bannister?” As he turned to look, Bannister, just behind him, took the lead and won the race. Landy later told a reporter, “If I hadn’t looked back, I would have won!”

As Christians, one of the most important things we can do is to focus on what really matters—God. But the problem is that very often, we become so consumed with the minutia of daily life that we allow it to take our eyes off of the ultimate prize. This causes us to become distracted, often losing ground in our walk with Christ.

But if we keep our eyes on Jesus and don’t allow sin and distractions of the world to pull us aside (Hebrews 12:1), we’ll maintain our heaven-focused perspective on the challenges when they arise. So don’t let the small stuff take your attention away from what really matters. Keep your head forward and your eyes on the cross, and you’re guaranteed victory at the finish line!

Prayer Challenge:

Pray that God would help you stay focused on Him when you’re tempted to let life’s challenges distract you.

Questions for Thought:

Can you think of some times when you’ve allowed earthly distractions to come between you and God?

What are some potential distractions you have in your life today you should be careful not to let hamper your heavenly focus?

Wednesday
Sep132017

Is your faith in circulation?

"As the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without deeds is dead."

-James 2:26

Longtime chaplain at Dallas Theological Seminary, Richard Seume, once shared a powerful reminder of what makes true faith come to life.

In Oliver Cromwell’s day, the British government ran out of silver for coins. Cromwell sent his men to the cathedral to see if they could find any there. They reported, ‘The only silver we can find is in the statues of the saints standing in the corners.’ To which the ever-practical Puritan replied, ‘Good. Melt down the saints and put them in circulation!’

Faith is not a static quality. It’s a vibrant force that’s proven in action. It’s your belief in Christ put into circulation every day through the way you live.

Too often we allow our faith to grow cold like a statue, especially, it seems, when we’ve been walking with Jesus for a long time.  

But it’s never too late to let the Holy Spirit melt our hardened hearts. Now more than ever, the world is desperate for the hope you have inside you, so let God put your faith into circulation today!

Prayer Challenge:

Ask God to show you any ways you’ve allowed your faith to grow cold. And pray for His grace to help you boldly live out your faith today.

Questions for Thought:

What would it look like in your life for you to put your faith into circulation?

How would more Christians practicing a living faith impact our culture?

Monday
Sep112017

Get real encouragement to help you break free from loneliness and grief!

Everyone deals with loneliness and grief. But we want to help you overcome these challenges by sending you two helpful articles we’ve put together called Five Tips for Overcoming Loneliness and Five Truths to Help You Deal with Grief.

These resources are our way to thank you for your donation below to help more seniors like Elnora embrace the life God intends.

She wrote recently to say…

“I had a bad femur break about 6 weeks ago. The injury seems to be healing, but I am having pain in my other hip from compensating. I am missing the Bible study that I lead at the nursing home each week. They have been gathering but with much fewer. I use your devotionals frequently when appropriate for that group.”

Thank you for your generous support to help lift up seniors like Elnora through encouragement and prayer. We’re grateful for you!

 

Sunday
Sep102017

The reward of good accountability

"Brothers and sisters, if someone is caught in a sin, you who live by the Spirit should restore that person gently. But watch yourselves, or you also may be tempted. Carry each other’s burdens and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ."

-Galatians 6: 1-2

Former New York Yankee great Mickey Mantle recalls that as a teenager in the minor leagues he began playing poorly. Discouraged, homesick, and feeling sorry for himself, Mantle tearfully called his father to come to take him home. When the elder Mantle arrived, Mickey expected sympathy and reassurances.

But instead, Charles Mantle jarred his strapping son by saying, “Okay, if that’s all the guts you’ve got, you might as well come home with me right now and work in the mines.” Snapped awake, Mickey Mantle stuck it out that year—and wrote his name in history as one of the greatest baseball players to ever live.

Many times, we need a good kick in the pants to help us stay focused on what’s really important. This is because it’s so easy to get lost in the mundane and difficulty of our current circumstances that we lose sight of the big picture—we miss the forest for the trees! And it’s in those times that you need people who will gently and lovingly steer you back in the right direction toward what’s really important.

Keep a group of close friends around you who love you enough to spur you on to obedience to God’s calling in your life. Mickey Mantle made history because of his baseball abilities. And you can impact eternity if you’ll simply have those people in your lives who will love you enough to remind you of what really matters!

Prayer Challenge:

Pray for God to reveal to you people in your life who you can ask to hold you accountable when you need it.

Questions for Thought:

Can you think back to a time in your life when you let fleeting circumstances lead you to a wrong decision?

How many people can you name right now who, if they saw you making a wrong decision, would love you enough to let you know?

Sunday
Sep102017

How to stand firm in the face of pressure

"Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain."

-1 Corinthians 15:58

Back in the early 1990s, it was no secret that President George H. W. Bush was not a fan of broccoli. In fact, his distaste for the vegetable was so strong that he actually banned it from Air Force One. This embroiled the entire nation in a “broccoli discussion,” prompting broccoli growers to dispatch 10 tons of the vegetable free to Washington D.C.

Yet the President reiterated his distaste with gusto:

I do not like broccoli and I haven’t liked it since I was a little kid and my mother made me eat it. And I’m President of the United States and I’m not going to eat any more broccoli. Now look, this is the last statement I’m going to have on broccoli. There are truckloads of broccoli at this very minute descending on Washington. My family is divided. For the broccoli vote out there: Barbara loves broccoli. She has tried to make me eat it. She eats it all the time herself. So she can go out and meet the caravan of broccoli that’s coming in.

Talk about not bending under pressure! In the face of so much criticism and demand to change his ways, the President took a stand and told the world he was sticking to his guns!

If only more Christians today would stand firm like this in the face of the world’s pressure to compromise and relent in their own enthusiasm for the Gospel. So when you’re pressured to give in and water down your faith, remember that if one man can stand firm against a vegetable, you can stand firm for Jesus Christ!

Prayer Challenge:

Ask God to help you stand firm for your faith when you feel pressured to back down.

Questions for Thought:

Can you think of a time when you were pressured to compromise on what you knew was the right thing to do?

How can you be more intent on standing for your faith even when you might receive some criticism?

Thursday
Sep072017

Let God lift you up!

Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.

-Hebrews 4:16    

In one of Charles Schulz’s famous “Peanuts” cartoons, Lucy philosophizes about life as Charlie Brown listens woefully.

“Charlie Brown,” she begins, “life is a lot like a deck chair. Some place it to see where they’ve been. And some so they can see where they are at present.” Charlie Brown gives a big sigh and says, “I can’t even get mine unfolded.”

Have you ever felt like that? Like you can’t even get the day started.

The truth is that life can be rough, and the struggles we face don’t usually wait their turn. But it’s in those moments when everything seems to be colliding at once that you can walk right up to God and say, “Father, I can’t do this, please take over.”

That’s your privilege as a child of the King – to approach God’s throne of grace with confidence.

Whether you’re dealing with stress, sickness, loss, loneliness, or anything else, God wants to help you in your time of need. So stop staring defeatedly at your unfolded deck chair on the lawn.

Cry out to God for help today, and He will lift you up!

Prayer Challenge:

Ask God to intervene in whatever situation you’re facing today. Pray that you’d be able to trust in His power and rest in His love.

Questions for Thought:

Why do we sometimes tackle problems on our own without seeking God’s help?

What are some situations in your life that you need to fully entrust to God?

Thursday
Sep072017

How to lean on God in days of doubt

The fool says in his heart, “There is no God.” They are corrupt, their deeds are vile; there is no one who does good.

-Psalm 14:1

Pastor and author Ravi Zacharias shares a story from British journalist Malcolm Muggeridge about a conversation he had with Svetlana Stalin, the daughter of Josef Stalin. She spent some time with Muggeridge in his home in England while they were working together on their BBC production on the life of her father.

According to Svetlana, as her father lay in his bed during his final hours, he suddenly sat halfway up in bed, clenched his fist toward the heavens once more, and fell back upon his pillow, never to be revived.

The incredible irony of his whole life is that at one time, Josef Stalin had been a seminary student preparing for the ministry until he made a decisive break from his belief in God. This dramatic and complete reversal of conviction that resulted in his hatred for all religion is why Lenin had earlier chosen Stalin and positioned him in authority. And as Stalin lay dying, his one last gesture was a clenched fist toward God, his hard heart in defiance of God’s very existence.

Every Christian, at one time or another, experiences doubt when it comes to faith. And there are two reactions you can have toward doubt: you can let it harden your heart or you can use it to build your faith even more by leaning more into God and watching Him work. So when doubt creeps in, don’t shake your fist. Rely on God all the more and you’ll be amazed at what He does!

Prayer Challenge:

Pray that God would strengthen your faith in Him whenever doubt arises!

Questions for Thought:

What are some times in your life when you’ve experienced doubt when it comes to your faith?

When you think back on God’s work in your life, how does that reaffirm His existence, His goodness, and His faithfulness toward you? 

Monday
Sep042017

You’ve been chosen for joy!

"Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy…"

-1 Peter 1:8

The great Scottish theologian, William Barclay writes…

“We are chosen for joy. However hard the Christian way, it is both in the travelling and in the goal, the way of joy. There is always a joy in doing the right things. When we evade some duty or some task, when at last we set our hand to it, joy comes to us. The Christian is the man of joy. The Christian is the laughing cavalier of Christ. A gloomy Christian is a contradiction in terms, and nothing in all religious history has done Christianity more harm than its connection with black clothes and long faces.”

Joy is the characteristic mark of all believers. It’s your privilege to have inexpressible and glorious joy no matter what your circumstances.

Through loss or gain, through satisfaction or through want, you can have deep, abiding joy in your heart because Jesus has saved you, He’s with you, and He will walk with you all the way home.

 

That’s why Barclay writes that a gloomy Christian is a contradiction. Because a gloomy Christian plods along dismally in the presence of the living Christ!

So look up today and know in your heart that Jesus walks beside you. Rejoice in His presence and move forward in joy!

Prayer Challenge:

Ask God to fill you with the joy of His presence. Pray your joy will be a testimony for others to see Christ at work in your heart.

Questions for Thought:

When are some times you’ve experienced deep joy in walking with Christ?

Who are some people whose Christian joy you’ve admired? Why?

Monday
Sep042017

Fostering inclusiveness in the Body of Christ

"Here there is no Gentile or Jew, circumcised or uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave or free, but Christ is all, and is in all."

 -Colossians 3:11

One Sunday morning in 1865, a black man entered a prominent and fashionable church in Richmond, Virginia. When Communion was served, he walked down the aisle and knelt at the altar. A rustle of resentment swept the congregation. How dare he! After all, believers in that church used a common cup to take communion.

Then all of a sudden, a very distinguished layman stood up, walked forward to the altar, and knelt beside the black man. It was Confederate General Robert E. Lee. With General Lee setting the example, the rest of the congregation soon followed his lead and joined the two in communion.

Since the Civil Rights movement began, our nation and our culture have been become dramatically more inclusive in terms of race. People of all races learn together, eat together, ride on the bus together, and worship together. What wonderful progress our country has made!

Yet despite this overall change in attitude, racism and ethnocentrism still persist among many individuals and communities today. But God’s Word tells us that in Christ, everyone has been made one. Our standing in Christ isn’t determined by our skin color, our culture, or our country of origin. We’re all one in Jesus!

As Christians, it’s our role to be an antidote against prejudice by accepting all people of all colors into the fold of the Good Shepherd, Jesus Christ!

Prayer Challenge:

Ask God to help you identify and eliminate prejudice attitudes in your life.

Questions for Thought:

Over your lifetime, has God worked in your heart when it comes to your attitudes toward people of other races?

How can you help foster racial inclusiveness in our nation and our churches today?

Monday
Sep042017

The importance of getting quiet each day

Then, because so many people were coming and going that they did not even have a chance to eat, he said to them, “Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest.”

 -Mark 6:31

Studies show noise affects human behavior. In one experiment carried out by psychologists, a student leaving a library intentionally dropped an armload of books. In 50% of the cases, a passerby stopped to help the student pick up the books.

Then the experimenters brought out a lawn mower without a muffler and started it near where a student would again intentionally drop the books. But this time, only about 10% of the people who passed by stopped to help. It was clear that the behavior changed because of the earsplitting sound of the nearby lawn mower.

In experiments in Los Angeles, researchers found that children who lived in neighborhoods near the airport could not complete certain tasks undertaken when jets were landing and taking off as easily as children who lived in quiet neighborhoods.

So what is it about quietness that makes us comfortable? No doubt, when high levels of concentration are required for a certain task, the best way to be sure you can focus well is to have peace and quiet. Yet quietness does more than help us concentrate, it gives our minds rest from a hectic world.

This is why it’s important to get away for some time each day and be quiet. Use this time to focus on God and deepen your relationship with Him. You’ll be much better prepared to deal with the busyness of life when you spend time recharging in a daily quiet time

Prayer Challenge:

Pray that God would give you the discipline to dedicate time each day to recharging and focusing on Him.

Questions for Thought:

What are some things you like to do when you unplug from the busyness of life and spend some quiet time?

How do you think spending some regular time alone every day would better enable you to deal with daily tasks?

Wednesday
Aug302017

The world is watching

"Whoever walks in integrity walks securely, but whoever takes crooked paths will be found out."

-Proverbs 10:9

After his message one Sunday, the pastor of a church in London hopped on the trolley to head back home. He paid his fare, and the trolley driver gave him too much change.

“It’s wonderful how God provides,” the pastor thought at first. He knew his income was tight that week and this extra change was just enough for his lunch. But as he sat down he felt guilty. He wrestled with himself the entire ride until finally the trolley arrived at his stop.

Walking past the driver, the pastor finally said, “Here, you gave me too much change by mistake.” The driver replied, “No, it wasn’t a mistake. I was in your church service this morning when you spoke on honesty, and I thought I’d put you to the test.”

The fact is the world is watching. How you live, how you react to situations, how you handle conflict, and how you treat others is how they’ll see Christ.

As is often said, you may be the only Bible some people ever read.

But you don’t carry the weight of this responsibility on your own. The Holy Spirit dwells in your heart – filling you with the power to be all God’s called you to be in Christ. And just like the pastor on the trolley, He’ll guide you to shine for Jesus.

So be mindful that the world is watching to see what your life is preaching, and trust God to help you bring a life-changing message today! 

Prayer Challenge:

Pray for spiritual sensitivity in every situation. And ask God to help you reflect Christ well.

Questions for Thought:

What are some situations in which you’ve reflected Christ well or maybe failed to do so?

Can you think of opportunities you have throughout your day to bear witness to the Gospel through your words, attitude, and actions?

Wednesday
Aug302017

Finding God’s favor through perseverance

"I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus."

-Philippians 3:14

Psychologist Martin Segilman of the University of Pennsylvania advised the MetLife insurance company to hire a special group of job applicants who, although they had failed a normal aptitude test, tested high on optimism. So the company participated and observed these workers over time.

They were shocked, then, to observe that compared with salesmen who passed the aptitude test but scored high in pessimism, this group made 21 percent more sales in their first year and 57 percent more in their second.

Explaining this phenomenon, Dr. Segilman reasoned that a pessimist is likely to interpret rejection as meaning, “I’m a failure; I’ll never make a sale.” Yet when optimists fail, they tell themselves, “I’m using the wrong approach,” or, “That customer was in a bad mood.” By blaming failure on the situation, not themselves, optimists are motivated to make that next call and experience success.

As Christians, we’re also called to be optimists. When we give things our best and they don’t go our way, we can safely say that it wasn’t God’s will and He has something better planned. So instead of expecting the worst, keep your head up and press on, knowing that God’s plan is perfect and He’ll always show you His favor!

Prayer Challenge:

Ask God to help you see His favor in every situation—even when it doesn’t go your way!

Questions for Thought:

How should living with a heavenly perspective change your outlook on everyday life?

What can you change today to help you better persevere through life’s setbacks?

Monday
Aug282017

What’s your hope for today?

“And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.”

-John 14:3

One night a young boy asked his mother a question we’ve all wondered, “Mother,” he said, “what’s it like to die?”

His mother sat quietly for a moment and then said gently, “Son, do you remember how you sometimes play so hard all day, that when night comes you’re so tired that you just fall asleep on the couch? But when you wake up in the morning you find yourself in your own bed, in your own room. You’re there because someone loved you and cared for you – your father came and with his big strong arms he carried you into your own room and put you into your own bed.”

“Well, death is like that,” she explained. “You just wake up one bright morning to find yourself in your own room – the one Jesus prepared just for you!”

Jesus knows death can be a fear that weighs on our hearts; He’s felt it Himself. But He comforts us in John 14 with the assurance that death is just the rest we take while He carries us home.

And that hope is more than a comfort for your thoughts. It gives courage for today. Knowing that Jesus holds you in His arms even in death is reason to have confidence and joy in life!

So whatever fears are weighing on you today, listen to the words of your Savior and “do not let your heart be troubled.”

Prayer Challenge:

Ask God to help you trust in His care for you, even in death. And pray that your confidence in His promise would empower you to live joyfully for Christ today.

Questions for Thought:

How can our fears of the future rob us of living for Christ today?

What are some ways you can make each day count for God’s Kingdom, knowing that He holds your life and your future safely in His hands?