A quick read. A seed thought. A short prayer and a spiritual 'pit stop'. Get your daily fuel here.
Welcome to the Crossroads Iron Men Daily Devotionals page. Please check back every day for a new devotional.
Friday, February 15, 2019 - "ALTAR YOUR WORSHIP"
"I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship." Romans 12:1
Worship is different than you think it is. It's not a musical presentation by a band, an event you attend weekly with a crowd of people, or entertainment that stirs you emotionally. But instead, it's a willing presentation of your complete being and all its facilities wholly and continually to God.
In addition, it's done from a motivation of mercy; and not your mercy - God's. So as you wake, go through your day in active worship, and give it all - that's everything - to God.
DO THIS: Worship him.
Thursday, February 14, 2019 - "THE VULNERABLE STRENGTH OF A MAN"
"But David strengthened himself in the Lord his God." 1 Samuel 30:6
This day in David's life was devastating. He returned to the city of Ziklag to find it burned, plundered, and their wives and children taken by an enemy nation. This moment brought him and his men to their knees. It was said that David's weeping was so intense that they wept themselves into a state of exhaustion. And when David was at his weakest, the unthinkable happens - his people begin to turn on him and prepare to kill him.
As if war from without was not enough, now David was bracing for war from within. While onlookers saw this as David at his weakest, they were wrong; it was here in his vulnerability that he demonstrated his greatest strength. For here, with much weighing on him, he "strengthened himself in the Lord his God." While he could have trusted in his skill, strategy, or self-will and engineered a way out, he chooses instead to let God be his strength. In this, he draws attention not to himself, but rather to God and what he can do through a weak and vulnerable man.
DO THIS: Be vulnerable and let God be great.
Wednesday, February 13, 2019 - "REFLECT & BE HUMBLE"
Then King David went in and sat before the Lord and said, “Who am I, O Lord God, and what is my house, that you have brought me thus far?” 2 Samuel 7:18
Great men and leaders understand that they are only as great as God chooses to "bring" them. But often you don't reflect on this. You are prompt to want more and ask for more but rarely give thanks for what God has done "thus far."
David, who faces the fact that he has asked for enough takes a moment to go "in and sit before the Lord." And in this moment of reflection, he pauses the desire to ask and reflects on his character in the shadow of what God has already done. It's in this moment men and leaders are made. And it's at this moment humility is born. But it's at this encounter you come face-to-face with your deficiencies, weaknesses, flaws, and shortcomings and also come face-to-face with a Lord that sits across from you. And it's here for the first time in a while you "sit" unimpressed with yourself and yet very impressed with Him.
DO THIS: Reflect and be humbled, and sit with God.
Tuesday, February 12, 2019 - "AN EXTRAORDINARY LEADER"
"With upright heart he shepherded them and guided them with his skillful hand." Psalm 78:72
Today you will be disappointed with someone who claims to be a leader. Regardless of who this is, what they lead, and why they have disappointed you, it begs the question - are there any extraordinary leaders out there?
The Psalmist above believed there was at least one in his day - King David. One whose heart aimed to be "upright" while his flesh favored self-indulgence. One who "shepherded" people as a steward and saw each as God's creation.
One who was "skillful" in leading which was developed intentionally over a lifetime. While these types of leaders are hard to find they do exist, and you can be one.
DO THIS: Lead like David today - Upright. Shepherd. Skillful.
Monday, February 11, 2019 - "DO YOU HAVE ANY BLIND SPOTS?"
“Keep a close watch on how you live…” – 1 Timothy 4:16a
We all have blind spots. Each of us has areas in our life that we can’t see clearly, areas where we’re ‘driving blind’. To grow as a leader I need to become aware of these areas and begin to work on improving them.
I’ve discovered that there are five levels of awareness in life. As I move through each one I get closer to the place where I am fully aware of the good, the bad, and the ugly in my own life.
5 LEVELS OF AWARENESS:
- BLINDNESS (I don’t know what I don’t know)
- INTUITIVENESS (I know there’s something I don’t know)
- CONSCIOUSNESS (I know what I don’t know)
- AWARENESS (I know what I know)
- MINDFULNESS (I do what I know)
Blind spots are dangerous to a believer’s life. That’s why the Apostle Paul tells us in 1 Corinthians 10:12: “So the one who thinks he is standing firm should be careful not to fall.”
Ask God to show you any blind spots that might be holding you back in your leadership.
Sunday, February 10, 2019 - "WHEN GOD DESIGNED YOU HE DEFINED YOU"
“Your hands have made me and fashioned me...” – Psalm 119:73a
“…for He (God) is the former of all things…The LORD of hosts is His name.” – Jeremiah 10:16b
GOD’S DESIGN AFFECTS 4 AREAS OF YOUR LIFE
1. GOD’S DESIGN AFFECTS YOUR IDENTITY – YOUR CREATION - Who has God made me to be?
2. GOD’S DESIGN AFFECTS YOUR DESTINY – YOUR CALLING - What am I meant to do?
3. GOD’S DESIGN AFFECTS YOUR LEGACY – YOUR CONTRIBUTION - What will I leave behind for the next generation?
4. GOD’S DESIGN AFFECTS YOUR ETERNITY – YOUR CROWNING - How will I spend Eternity?
God’s design of you can serve as the blueprint for your life plan. That’s why getting to know yourself is so critical. If you don’t know yourself well, if you fail to fully appreciate your own God-given uniqueness, you may end up making choices that work against what God intended for you. In other words, God’s design should direct your steps. God’s design determines my direction in life.
Saturday, February 9, 2019 - "LEADERS MUST CONTROL THEIR SELF-TALK TO SUCCEED"
“…but David encouraged himself in the Lord his God.” – 1 Samuel 30:6
A leader is never successful unless a lot of people want him to be. Leaders need support from their staff, teams, and followers. But there are those times in leadership when everyone deserts the leader. This was one of those times for King David. Notice what he did:
“…but David encouraged himself in the Lord his God.”
In tough times, take a deep breath and recall The Self-Management Sequence as taught by Dr. Shad Helmstetter in his book What To Say When You Talk To Yourself:
The step that most directly controls our success or failure is our behavior – what we do or do not do. Behavior means our actions.
Every action we take is first filtered through our feelings. How we feel about something will always determine or affect what we do and how well we do it.
Your attitudes are the perspectives from which you view life. Whatever attitude we have about anything will affect how we feel about it, which in turn affects how we act about it, and that determines whether or not we will do well.
What we believe about anything will determine our attitudes about it, create our feelings, direct our actions and in each instance, help us to do well or poorly, succeed or fail.
We believe what we’re programmed to believe. Our conditioning, from the day we were born, has created, reinforced and nearly permanently cemented most of what we believe about ourselves and what we believe about what goes on around us.
David managed his “self-talk” in a Godly way. What you say to yourself matters. When others stop believing in you and your leadership, you must rise to the occasion and continue to believe in your God. Every leader goes through these times. Leaders who can’t be tested, can’t be trusted!
Friday, February 8, 2019 - "GET PRAYBACK NOT PAYBACK!"
“Bless those who persecute you. Don’t curse them; pray that God will bless them.” – Romans 12:14
I’ve found that the best way not to be crushed and destroyed by my own bitterness and desire for revenge is to pray for the people who hurt me. It’s hard to hold a grudge against someone you’re consistently praying for. In fact, the Apostle Paul tells us to “pray that God will bless them”.
You say, “Bless them! I don’t want God to bless them. I want God to punish them!” Boy, I know that feeling. I’ve felt it a time or two. But I’ve also realized there’s a better way to handle situations where someone has hurt me personally. The better way is to bless them, not curse them.
Sometimes, you must “Bless your way out of Bitterness”. You and I will never blame our way to a better life. We must rely on God to deal with our enemies. He does such a better job than we do at getting justice.
To blame, one must b-lame. Don’t be lame
Prayer is the best weapon we have against the rising tide of anger and resentment we fight against in our own life and heart. Pray. Pray. Pray.
“Pray without ceasing.” – 1 Thessalonians 5:17
Thursday, February 7, 2019 - "YOU MIGHT BE A WEAK LEADER IF..."
“Do you see someone skilled in their work? They will serve before kings; they will not serve before officials of low rank.” – Proverbs 22:29
Let me just apologize to comedian Jeff Foxworthy up front because I'm going to rip off his idea here (You Might Be A Redneck If...) and use it to discuss leadership. I'm from the South. I love a good redneck joke. But that's not what I'm here to talk about.
How do you know if your leadership is growing or shrinking? How can you tell if you’re a strong leader or a weak leader? Check it out below:
You Might Be A Weak Leader If…
- You're seeking LESS RESPONSIBILITY.
Remember, leaders move toward responsibility not away from it.
- You're choosing paths of LEAST RESISTANCE.
Remember, leaders do what’s right not what’s easy.
- You're operating with LIMITED REQUIREMENTS.
Remember, leaders expect more of themselves than others do.
- You're treating yourself and others with LOW RESPECT.
Remember, leaders treat themselves and others with high respect.
If you find yourself doing any of these, make a choice to change with God’s help. With God’s grace, you can turn things around and become the leader God has called you to be.
Wednesday, February 6, 2019 - "TO CONNECT WITH OTHERS GET INTO THEIR W.O.R.L.D"
“Be devoted to one another in brotherly love.” – Romans 12:10
Your ability to work with people will make or break you. As President John F. Kennedy famously wrote in Profiles in Courage: "The way to get along," I was told when I entered Congress, "is to go along." The key to getting along is learning to 'connect' with people.
"Connecting is the ability to identify with people and relate to them in a way that increases your influence with them." - Dr. John Maxwell
TO CONNECT WITH OTHERS TRY FOCUSING ON THESE 5 AREAS...
Wants – What do they want? What’s motivating them?
Opinions – What do they think? What’s true to them?
Relationships – Who is important to them?
Labors – What is ‘worth the effort’ for them? What work do they do?
Dreams – What’s their dream in life?
Discovering the answers to these five questions will take you a long way in connecting to people in your life, whether to a cranky boss or a stubborn teenager.
Tuesday, February 5, 2019 - "ARE YOU A NAVIGATOR?"
“The preparations of the heart belong to man, but the answer of the tongue is from the Lord. All the ways of a man are pure in his own eyes, but the Lord weighs the spirits. Commit your works to the Lord, and your thoughts will be established.” Proverbs 16:1-3
Effective leaders practice the Law of Navigation, which says that anyone can steer the ship, but it takes a leader to chart the course. The verses in Proverbs 16 remind leaders to:
- Check the source of their wisdom
- Check their motives
- Check the outcome they are pursuing
Consider five key words to understanding how God helps leaders to navigate their way through life:
- Process – God’s plan usually unfolds over time. What is He revealing progressively?
- Purpose – God wants to accomplish His purposes. Why were you created?
- Potential – God will use your gifts and passion. Does this goal fit who you are?
- Prioritize – God will ask you to adjust your time and energy. What steps must you take?
- Proceed – God will eventually require you to act. When should you start?
(Excerpt from The Maxwell Leadership Bible.)
Monday, February 4, 2019 - "THINK ABOUT IT"
“Ponder the path of your feet; then all your ways will be sure. Do not swerve to the right or to the left; turn your foot away from evil.” Proverbs 4:26-27
Spend some time today “pondering” and thinking. While you often pass over this, a wise man invests time in this need activity. But this isn't a reflection on past events, but rather thoughts of the future and the “path your feet” will take today. It’s a responsibility to proaction and avoidance of reaction.
An activity that results in great things like “surety.” And as you walk your path today make it straight, determined, and “unswerving.”
Don’t be swayed by untruthful opinions, philosophies, or cultural norms. Be cautious of the counsel of well-meaning people who claim to have knowledge that competes with God's truth.
DO THIS: Show me the right way and keep me from the wrong way.
PRAYER: God, today give me eyes to see your holy will for me. Guide me down on the right path and I pray I will not swerve.
Sunday, February 3, 2019 - "ULTIMATE SEASONING"
“Walk in wisdom toward outsiders, making the best use of the time. Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer each person." Colossians 4:5-6
Well, another day is here. A day for some "walking." To walk is to take slow and thoughtful steps. But notice you're commanded to walk, not aimlessly but in "wisdom." So don't take foolish steps today or run through your day in a continuous hurry.
Rather "walk in wisdom" as it's a slow and intentional process that results in the "best use of your time." But the writer adds another point; it's not just walking, but walking and talking. You are commanded to also "season your speech," like you would season a meal.
You know it's true - some meals without seasoning are too plain. But food with the right seasoning applied in appropriate amounts to the right elements makes a meal into something to be savored. And so God is honored when our speech is seasoned with "grace." So today, walk and talk thoughtfully and topped with grace and so influence your world for the kingdom.
DO THIS: Walk and talk with grace.
God, help me to slow down and season my life with grace as I encounter people
who need your direction. I pray that every person I come in contact with would
know you and the grace you have for them.
Saturday, February 2, 2019 - "NEED TO ESCAPE"
“David departed from there and escaped to the cave of Adullam. And when his brothers and all his father's house heard it, they went down there to him."
1 Samuel 22:1
For King David, the "cave of Adullam" was his place to escape. And sometimes you need just that - an "escape." Yet you don't plan it or do it. Why? But remember it's not just about being away and alone, it's about escaping with proper support.
David escaped with brothers that could walk with him, encourage him, and offer needed help and advice. But too often you don't plan it nor put yourself in proximity to the support you need. Today change this behavior. Plan an escape for even an hour today. And then find a brother to take with you, share your heart with him and let him support you in your season of trial.
DO THIS: Plan a one-hour escape.
God, today help me escape for a while with you and another brother.
Friday, February 1, 2019 - "A WAR CRY FOR GREAT MEN"
“Then David said to the Philistine, “You come to me with a sword and with a spear and with a javelin, but I come to you in the name of the Lord of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied.” 1 Samuel 17:45
This battle is perhaps one of the most inspiring moments in Old Testament history. To have witnessed this moment in time would have been spectacular and awe-inspiring as a man. An untrained shepherd boy named David, about 15 years in age charges confidently into the Valley of Elah from the encampment of Israel. He comes against a single warrior who hails from the Philistine army.
Yet Goliath was no ordinary man. He was a monster, skilled, and trained for battle and had been heckling and cursing the God of Israel. He wore advanced armor and wielded superior weaponry custom made for his size and strength and confronted the runt from the clan of Jesse.
But mind you, Goliath was not about to battle with David, but rather "the God of the armies of Israel." And embracing this war cry, he charged into a battle of unreasonable odds. And in the same way, you O man, fight the battles you'll face today.
Remember it's not about finding more will-power, having a better strategy, leaning on advanced ingenuity, or acquiring better training. But it's about being available and resolved that the God who fights for His Name and His Glory is charging behind you.
DO THIS: Let God fight the battle; you focus on shouting the war cry.
PRAYER: God, I get in the way of myself all the time. I confess that I think I have it all figured out when each battle is beyond my comprehension. God may I see your work today in the small battles I fight. Show me your glory so that I can give you credit and praise and others will know of your glory.
Thursday, January 31, 2019 - "GREAT LEADERSHIP"
Now they told David, “Behold, the Philistines are fighting against Keilah and are robbing the threshing floors.” Therefore David inquired of the Lord, “Shall I go and attack these Philistines?” And the Lord said to David, “Go and attack the Philistines and save Keilah.” 1 Samuel 23:1-2
Great leaders understand a few things in crucial moments. First, a leader understands that they may not have all the answers. Second, a leader also realizes that ground forces have a unique perspective of situational reality. Third, they recognize that leadership requires a quick but prayerful response. And fourth, and most importantly, every great leader understands that they serve at the pleasure of another greater leader - the Almighty God.
In difficult moments leaders know the obvious choice is to turn to God for his direction. After all, David has the opportunity to either rely on his ingenuity or trust in God who has the best answer. You too will have this choice today. You, as a leader at home, work, and in your personal life will be faced with a decision that may require prompt, clear, and decisive attention. And the only right answer is to "inquire of the Lord."
DO THIS: Be a great leader today, that makes excellent choices.
God, prompt me today to turn to you and not lean on sheerly my own
Wednesday, January 30, 2019 - "LIVE LIFE BACKWARDS"
Sometimes it's good to reverse engineer life or as I call it "live life backward." Often this way of thinking helps us to understand a process, realize how something is constructed, or discover how we arrived at a final result. But I believe even more it can help us to live and leave a godly legacy - which should be the goal of every man. So what does it look like to "think backward" about our life?
leadership is marked by how we're remembered and the impact we leave after life
is done. When we take our last breath we'll each leave behind temporal things -
golf clubs, cabins, boats, and even that retirement account we been investing
in for years. That's because they are only temporal tools and enjoyments. While
they hold value in the present, on the day you take your last breath they won't
matter a lick. And this is evidence that legacy is less about temporal stuff.
It requires us to determine what we want to be remembered for and then make conscious
choices that will achieve that legacy.
Tuesday, January 29, 2019 - "THE CONFLICT OF PRIDE"
"Pride leads to conflict; those who take advice are wise." Proverbs 13:10
Pride is your primary rival. It's what breeds conflict, strife, fight, and quarrels. But advice is the primary tool of a humble man. He is the one that is wise. Why not instead of trying to do life isolated and outside of guidance don't you take the advice of a wise man today and become wiser. Avoid the unavoidable conflict with self and others that leads to pride.
DO THIS: Take advice and be wise.
PRAYER: God, while I prefer to figure it out on my own, what I need today is wisdom. Bring a wise God-fearing person into my life to speak sense into me and may I avoid the conflict of pride.
Monday, January 28, 2019 - "IF YOU WANT TO SUCCEED, PUT GOD FIRST"
“But seek first his (God’s) kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.” – Matthew 6:33
I once heard Pastor Rick Warren say, “If you want God to bless something, then put Him first in it.” If you want your marriage to be blessed, then put God at the center of it. If you want your career or business to prosper, put God first in it.
You may say, “I want to put God first but I don’t know where to start.” I suggest four starting points. Personally, I’m learning the following 4 ways to put God first:
- Give God the first day of every week – Attend church on Sunday
- Give God the first part of every day – Morning Devotions with God
- Give God the first tenth of my income – Tithe to the Church
- Give God the first consideration in every decision – Seek God’s wisdom
Prayer: Father in Heaven, I know that you love me. I know that you want me to succeed. I want you to bless every part of my life. So, I ask you to help me learn to put you first in everything I do. Show me how to seek you diligently. Grant me courage and wisdom to make right decisions that please you. In Jesus’ name, Amen!
Sunday, January 27, 2019 - "ARE YOU SICK AND TIRED OF IT YET?"
I’m sick and tired of it! How about you? Something’s got to change! What’s got me so sick and tired? I’m glad you asked!
1) I’m tired of telling myself, “I can’t”!
When God tells me, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me”, why do I keep telling myself, “I can’t”? The truth is God has put inside of you and I everything we need to succeed. The Apostle Peter reminds us, “By His divine power, God has given us everything we need for living a godly life.” Because of God’s grace, you’ve got what it takes!
2) I’m tired of telling God, “I won’t”!
I’ve run from God for too long. Just like Jonah, I’ve spent way too many days and nights avoiding doing what He’s called me to do. At some point, I’ve got to ‘come to my senses’, just like the prodigal son, and come back to my Heavenly Father. Jesus says, “Come to me all you who are weary and heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” Stop saying, “I won’t” to God. Just obey Him. See the blessings that follow.
3) I’m tired of telling the Devil, “I quit”!
I’m tired of being tempted. But I’m more tired of giving into temptation! And I’m really sick and tired of giving up whenever Satan’s attacks become more severe. I don’t want to give up anymore! I want to keep fighting the good fight, just like Paul. Jesus didn’t quit. When Satan tempted Jesus in the wilderness, he didn’t give up and quit. He stood up and quoted scripture in the Devil’s face.
Here’s the point: If you’re sick and tired of it, then change it ~ you’re not a treeJ
Prayer: LORD, please help me to take a stand for what is right today in your grace and power. Give me the will to fortify my faith and forge ahead in the face of spiritual attacks and burdens. In Jesus’ name, Amen!
Saturday, January 26, 2019 - "THE MOST DIFFICULT PERSON YOU'LL EVER HAVE TO LEAD"
“Why do you look at the speck in your brother’s eye but don’t notice the log in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ and look, there’s a log in your eye? Hypocrite! First, take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye.” – Matthew 7:3-5
Jesus asks a great question. Why do we look at other people’s faults but overlook our own? I believe the answer includes the following three reasons:
1) The Easiest Person To Deceive Is Myself.
Jeremiah 17:9 says, “The heart is more deceitful than anything else and desperately sick – who can understand it?” Leadership expert, John Maxwell, has quipped, “My years working with people have taught me an important truth: people seldom see themselves realistically. Human nature seems to endow us with the ability to size up everybody in the world except ourselves.”
2) The Hardest Person To Change Is Myself.
That’s why it’s easier for us to neglect our own shortcomings and work over time to find where others fall short. We know how hard it is to change. It’s a labor of love that doesn’t happen overnight but over time. We often lose our patience and our focus and so, lazily, start to point out other people’s flaws rather than do the hard work of improving ourselves.
3) The First Person I’m Responsible For Is Myself.
Jesus said, “First, take the log out of your own eye…” Why? Because the first person I’m really responsible for is myself. The Apostle Paul told a young man named Timothy, “Play close attention to your life and to your teaching.” This is what it takes to become a man after God’s own heart. It takes dealing with your own sins and shortcomings sincerely. It’s why one author said, “The first person we must examine is ourselves.”
Prayer: LORD, please help me to look in the mirror first, to really examine myself before you and seek to change what you want me to change. In Jesus’ name, Amen!
Friday, January 25, 2019 - "RULE YOURSELF OR FOOL YOURSELF"
“He that hath no rule over his own spirit is like a city that is broken down, and without walls.” – Proverbs 25:28 (KJV)
You have a choice: rule yourself or fool yourself! Remember Cain? Adam and Eve had two sons: Cain and Abel. One day both men brought an offering to God. Abel’s offering was accepted, while Cain’s was not. Cain was angry! But God told Cain: “Why are you angry? And why has your countenance fallen? If you do well, will you not be accepted? And if you do not do well, sin lies at your door. And it’s desire is for you, but you should rule over it”. – Genesis 4:6-7
Ruling your ‘self’ means exercising self-control over your body, mind and spirit. Ruling yourself means ruling over sin. In other words, we need to ask ourselves some questions:
- Am I out of control?
- Am I exercising self-control over my impulses? (Food, Sex, Money, Time-Management, etc.)
- Am I telling myself the truth or am I self-deceived?
- Am I surrendering to God more of myself each day?
If you don’t take responsibility for “ruling your own spirit” then Satan will gladly pick up the slack! Don’t let him. Instead, start by seeking God and His Word for ways to lead yourself toward excellence. Remember the words of Epictetus who said: “God has entrusted me with myself. No man is free who is not master of himself.”
Prayer: Father in Heaven, I need your strength. Please help me to exercise self-control today. Give me power over sinful impulses. Enable me to lead myself well so that I may lead others well, too! In Jesus’ name, Amen!
Thursday - January 24, 2019 - "SKILLFUL HANDS"
“He (God) chose David His servant and took him from the sheepfolds; He brought him from tending ewes to be shepherd over His people Jacob --- over Israel His inheritance. He (David) shepherded them with a pure heart and guided them with his skillful hands.” – Psalm 78:70-72
Most people have stubborn streaks running through them. It’s their sin nature. That’s one reason God gives us leaders, to help His people overcome their sin natures and obey His Word.
Every leader God chooses comes with two tools: their heart and hands. A leader’s heart must be pure before God. David’s heart was pure. And that’s saying something. Because remember, David was guilty of adultery AND murder! He wasn’t perfect but He was pure; meaning, he took God seriously and dealt with his own sin sincerely, truly repenting when God confronted him about his wrong choices.
David also “guided them with his skillful hands”. David not only drew close to God daily for his heart, He also grew closer to God daily as a leader. As John Maxwell says, “Leadership develops daily, not in a day.” To lead oneself and others successfully, a man needs both a pure heart and skillful hands. Why? Because the only thing more important to God than our methods are our motives.
Prayer: LORD, today I ask you to please purify my heart. Make my motives pure. And please help me to grow in my skills today as a leader and man of God. In Jesus’ name, Amen!
Wednesday - January 23, 2019 - "HOW TO MAKE GOD HAPPY"
“You (God) do not want a sacrifice, or I would give it; You are not pleased with a burnt offering. The sacrifice pleasing to God is a broken spirit. God, you will not despise a broken and humble spirit.” – Psalm 51:16-17
If I heard my dad say it once, I heard him say it many times, “Brad, the most important thing you can ever do in the Christian life is to be 100% dependent on God.”
The Psalmist echoes this thought when he says that what pleases God is a “broken spirit”. Humility makes God happy! God is pleased when we come to Him like a toddler comes to his parents for help: dependent, vulnerable and sincere. When we approach God with a humble attitude, God’s heart is moved and He has compassion on us. “As a father pities his children, so the LORD pities those who fear Him. For He knows our frame; He remembers that we are dust.” – Psalm 103:13-14
God isn’t hard to please! He’s just seeking men who will humble themselves and lean on His wisdom and strength in their lives. Will you do that today?
Prayer: Father in Heaven, I want to depend on you today. Please help me to lay down my pride and humble myself before You, LORD. In Jesus’ name, Amen!
Tuesday - January 22, 2019 - "THE MEANING OF YOUR LIFE"
“The fool says in his heart, ‘God does not exist’.” – Psalm 53:1a
There’s no meaning in life without a maker of life! How you answer the following questions reveals “the meaning” you experience in your life:
- How did humans get here?
- When I look around me, why do I see something rather than nothing?
- Is there a Creator?
- Does God exist?
Unless you can answer these questions with confidence, then life itself has no objective meaning. Sure, maybe there’s meaning people “manufacture” in their head, but nothing real or lasting outside of themselves.
Thankfully, the Bible answers these questions with certainty. The Bible doesn’t “defend” God’s existence but assumes it. God’s Word simply asserts, “In the beginning, God…” We’re told that God created us in His image and that He made everything in heaven and earth. Furthermore, we’re even told why God made us in the first place. Revelation 4:11 tells us, “Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honor and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created.” God’s pleasure is the measure of your life! It’s why you’re here! God created you to make Him happy.
The meaning of life is pleasing the maker of life! Focus on pleasing God, and your life will never be wasted!
Prayer: LORD, please show me how to please you today. Give me the desire to please you above everyone in my life. In Jesus’ name, Amen!
Monday - January 21, 2019 - "MISSING YOUR DEFINING MOMENT"
“So Elijah departed from there and found Elisha the son of Shaphat, while he was plowing with twelve pairs of oxen before him, and he with the twelfth. And Elijah passed over to him and threw his mantle on him.” 1 Kings 19: 19
When the prophet Elijah showed up to name Elisha as his successor, that was a defining moment in Elisha’s life.
It was the middle of a work day and Elisha was out in the fields of his parents’ farm when Elijah showed up and draped his mantle, or cloak, over his shoulders. Today the expression, “to pass on the mantle of leadership or responsibility,” is pretty common. Few realize that this concept actually comes from this Biblical story.
In the ancient times, a mantle was a sleeveless cloak worn over the outer garments for warmth. However, when Elijah placed it onto Elisha’s shoulders, it symbolized the transferring of spiritual leadership.
Elisha knew exactly what was happening in this moment and ran to tell his parents. Next we see him sacrifice his oxen to God and leave with Elijah. This was Elisha’s all-in moment. By sacrificing the oxen, Elisha was essentially saying there’s no going back.
His old life as the son of a wealthy farmer and working in the fields was over. He was choosing to accept God’s call and step into this new life as Elijah’s successor. Talk about a huge step of faith and a defining moment in Elisha’s life – that was it!
Are you facing a defining moment in your faith journey? Maybe God is asking you to trust Him by making a drastic career change. Maybe it’s a move to another city where you know no one.
Maybe it’s finally forgiving that person who hurt you, or it’s reaching out to share what you have with a neighbor who’s struggling. Ask God for the courage and faith to leave the old behind and step into what’s ahead. Don’t miss a defining moment in your faith journey.
Sunday - January 20, 2019 - "CAN YOU SQUEEZE GOD INTO YOUR BUSY LIFE?"
"It was at this time that He went off to the mountain to pray, and He spent the whole night in prayer to God." - Luke 6:12
If restless and sleepless nights keep you up all hours - these moments can create an opportunity to have un-rushed time alone with God. We are able to hear His voice and understand His guidance. It’s like He speaks in a special way when we haven’t really been hearing Him.
Realize God blesses you greatly when you spend regular time alone with Him. Take advantage of opportunities that present themselves, no matter what time of day or night they may be; it may just be that God is trying to squeeze one-on-one time into your busy schedule! It may be keeping you up so you many spend quality time with Him.
Saturday - January 19, 2019 - "IS EVERYTHING POSSIBLE WITH GOD?"
"Jesus said, 'with men it is impossible, but not with God.'" - Mark 10:27
One of the greatest verses in the Bible is, “For nothing will be impossible with God.” Do you believe it? It’s what the angel told Mary, the mother of Jesus, when he announced that she would give birth to God’s son as a virgin.
If you are facing a particularly tough challenge where you need strength and wisdom beyond yourself, will you believe nothing will be impossible with God?
If you are in a season of grief and not sure you can make it, will you believe nothing will be impossible with God?
If you are facing discouragement, disappointment, depression, or despair, will you believe nothing will be impossible with God?
If you are struggling in your family, will you believe nothing will be impossible with God?
Mary did and because she did, Jesus came to be our Savior. He died and rose, conquering sin and death for you and me. The story of Jesus continually reminds us of how nothing will be impossible with God.
Friday - January 18, 2019 - "WHAT MAKES A HERO?"
“Now Stephen, a man full of
God’s grace and power, performed great wonders and signs among the people.
Opposition arose, however, from the members of the Synagogue…But they could not
stand up against the wisdom the Spirit gave him as he spoke.” Acts 6:8-10
The early church was also familiar with heroic individuals willing to risk it all for their faith. Stephen was one of them. What made Stephen a hero? Take look at his character.
1.GRACE. (Acts 6: 8) Grace is what God demonstrated by forgiving our sins even though we are guilty and deserve judgement. Grace is Christ taking OUR sins and dying in OUR place on the cross. Stephen was full of gratitude and humility at what Christ did for him on the cross.
2.HUMILITY. (Acts 6: 10) The Bible speaks of Stephen’s great power as he performed incredible miracles. Rather than letting this power boost his ego, Stephen remained humble and grateful, always pointing to the source of his power – the One True God.
3.WISDOM. (Acts 6:9) Stephen was smart. As a speaker, he was intelligent and knowledgeable, relying on the Holy Spirit to guide his words even when attacked with manipulative “half-truths.”
4.FAITH. Stephen truly believed that because Jesus rose from the dead he would overcome death as well. For him, death held no fear. Christ had conquered it.
How about you? Would people describe your character as full of grace, humility, wisdom, and faith? We all have heroes in life. Ask God for heroic character like Stephen by being faithful to the Lord – in His strength day by day.
Thursday - January 17, 2019 - "FAITH TAKES ACTION"
"He told them, 'The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore to send out workers into his harvest field.'" - Luke 10:2
Just like a physical harvest, farmers recognize time is limited. There is a sense of urgency. In the same way, time is limited for family members, neighbors, colleagues, or classmates to come to know Christ. One day, we will all die. Those who have not responded to the Gospel of Christ are going to spend eternity separated from God. Jesus recognizes this urgency and out of His love for us, He calls us to join in. He wants us to get our hands dirty – to get off the sidelines, and share the good news of the Gospel with others. This is the harvest Jesus is talking about.
Many Christians would like to focus solely on the benefits of being a Christian – salvation from hell, victory over death, and eternal life. These are great benefits. But, Jesus wants more. You see, our calling is to make a decision of faith – not because of something we’ve done, but because of His sovereign grace.
The question is this: Have you responded to Jesus in faith? Will you share what you’ve experienced in your life and participate in the harvest?
Wednesday - January 16, 2019 - "WHO IS JESUS TO YOU?"
"All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth" - Matthew 28:18
No person has had more impact on history than Jesus Christ. The fact that He lived and walked in the land of Judea and Israel over 2000 years ago is undeniable. But who is Jesus, really?
- He is the visible image of the invisible God. He is
God in a person. You want to know what God is like? Look to Jesus. The fullness
of God dwells in Him.
- He is the Creator of all creation. It’s His
masterpiece. God’s greatness is revealed through all that He has made.
- He is the Savior who saves us from our sins. He
came to reconcile us with God.
- He is the head of the church. He is to the church what the head is to the body.
Once you know who Jesus is, you have a choice–a decision to make. It’s the biggest one you’ll ever make–to trust Him as your Lord and Savior or to reject Him. Who is Jesus? The Bible is clear, but the question is do you believe it?
Tuesday - January 15, 2019 - "WHY ARE WE HERE?"
“The Lord has saved us and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace which was granted us in Christ Jesus from all eternity." - II Timothy 1:9
Time keeps moving on. It never stops for anyone–no matter how important you are. We just can’t find enough time. God wants us to be good stewards of our time, and the starting point is knowing why each of us is here. Consider these steps in finding the answer to why we are here:
- Ask God to help you develop a life-purpose statement. It will
take some time, but it’s the best time you’ll ever invest. Know why you’re
- Decide each day what’s most important for you to do that day, and do it. By having a clear purpose, and doing the most important thing each day, God can revolutionize your life and help you make the most of your time.
There is no question that God has
a purpose for your life, but sometimes God speaks in a still, small voice. Listen.
You’ll be glad you did.