Be wise in the way you act toward outsiders; make the most of every opportunity. Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone. Colossians 4: 5-6
Imagine you are getting out the ingredients to bake a batch of cookies, but you have unknowingly mixed up the salt and the sugar. You end up putting in a dash of sugar and a cup of salt.
Now, picture a little child taking a big bite of one of those cookies. How long will it take the child to realize something is wrong? Do you think he or she will ask for another cookie? Of course not!
The art of seasoning is a matter of balance. Just enough salt to notice, but not too much salt to overwhelm. Salt creates a thirst, a desire for more. As Christians, we sprinkle the salt of God’s grace and gospel into our daily conversations. We don’t saturate every conversations in a way that drives others away. The artful seasoning of God’s loving grace into our conversations will create a thirst and a desire in the lives of others. They will long to know more of Jesus. This is how you “make the most of every opportunity.”
“Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord….”
We are all in missions. Some are called to foreign lands. Some are called to the jungles of the workplace. Wherever you are called, serve the Lord in that place. Let God demonstrate His power through your life so that others might experience Him through you today. View your vocation as means to worship Him right where He has you.
Don’t play hide n’ seek any more.
#MarketplaceMinistry #StandUp #StepOut
So as David stood there among his brothers, Samuel took the flask of olive oil he had brought and anointed David with the oil. And the Spirit of the Lord came powerfully upon David from that day on. Then Samuel returned to Ramah.” -1 Samuel 16:13
We were sitting down at a very nice restaurant and had just ordered when my young daughter grew impatient, asking when her food was going to arrive. She couldn’t understand why her food wasn’t coming immediately after ordering at this restaurant as it does at fast food drive-thru windows.
We live in a very microwave culture. If we want something, we want it right now! But, even though we can go through a drive-thru to get fast food immediately, this microwave mentality often doesn’t apply to our calling and life with God.
We tend to think of David in the Bible as the great shepherd king, the worshipper after God’s own heart. But I wonder when we think of him, if we truly consider all the processing David endured after he was anointed to be king? Yes he won the fight against Goliath; but after he was anointed, he went back to tending sheep! He spent many years running from Saul. It was only after he was tested and he did not kill his enemy Saul that God allowed David to be king. This was years after Samuel had anointed the little shepherd boy in the field before his brothers. Years.
Often we can be impatient with God’s processing. We may want God’s promises – all right now! But God has His reasons for timing that may not make sense to us in the moment. We may not be ready. We may not be able to handle what He wants to give us until He puts us in a place of character building. We have to learn to trust God when we have yet to see the manifestation of the dream that’s on our hearts. This is how God knows we can be trusted with it. This is how we grow to be able to have the capacity to carry God-sized dreams. We grow through experience. This is how character is built.
The journey there brings the growth we need to rightfully handle the “thing” we’re dreaming about now.
Are you letting God grow you through experience? Even if you feel the place you are at right now is not your ultimate destination, decide to treat it with respect. It will provide the training ground we’ll need to be able to withstand God’s promises in our lives and our ultimate calling. Bloom where you’re planted.
One man considers one day more sacred than another; another man considers every day alike” (Rom 14:5)
Avodah (Ah´-voe-dah) is a Hebrew noun used in the Bible that has two distinct yet intertwined meanings: worship and work. It is also derived from the Hebrew verb L’Avod which has two meanings; to work and also to worship. The dual meaning offers powerful wisdom for modern times for how we are to view our work lives.
Work, if done with integrity and unto God, is a form of worship in the biblical Hebrew context. There has never been a concept of segmenting our work from our faith life in the Bible.
It is in the realm of the sacred to bring God into our everyday life.
Hebrews did not set aside a “day of worship,” such as Saturday or Sunday, but everyday is a place and time of worship. They did set aside a Sabbath day of rest.
It is a western idea to segment one’s faith life from our work life
In the Middle East and Asia, their cultures would never separate their faith from their work life even though their faith foundations might clearly contradict Christian beliefs. When someone comes to faith in Christ from this area of the world, they have an easier time of assimilating their faith into their work because they have always done so.
God calls us to do our work as an act of worship to Him
Our work is not only to be a place of hard work, sweat and toil, but an expression of our love, faith and adoration of Jesus Christ.
Today, before you work, ask God to help you see your work in a new way–as worship to Him.
Sometimes things don’t go as planned. T’s crossed. I’s dotted. You even prayed about it and was sure things were going your way. There was peace. There was joy. And then the door slammed shut. Hard.
I had this happen to me a few weeks ago. To say I was disappointed would be an understatement. I prayed. I lamented. I asked GOD to show me the lesson. What did I miss? What did I need to learn from this?
Maybe you had a dream vanish, a relationship suddenly go south, a friendship ran its course, a deal went sour, and big plans fell through. Maybe you were in the middle of something great and God called you to move out of it. Or maybe for you it was bunch of little things that together, became seemingly unbearable.
God moves in ways we seldom understand. We must let go of judging the situation as failure. Couldn’t it actually a blessing?
GOD has an awesome way of redeeming the broken situations and the hurting people and creating something beautiful from it.
Here’s a few examples:
He took a team conflict between Paul and Barnabas and created two successful ministries instead of one.
He used Joseph’s forced exit from his home to deliver two nations from starvation.
After Peter publicly rejected Jesus three times, God made him the founder of the modern church.
When Jesus’ earthly father Joseph relocated out of concern for their lives, a prophecy was fulfilled that verified Jesus as God’s Son.
Don’t misjudge the situation as loss. We are super conquerors in Christ. Once we let go of judgment, we find freedom from grief, anger, and disappointment.
There’s nothing like change to reveal how we truly handle change. How many times do we kick and scream against it? With our carefully marked itinerary in hand, we get mad and try and take back control.
There’s a popular saying, “If you want to make God laugh, tell Him your plans.” I don’t think God would ever maliciously laugh at us, but I do think He wonders why we thought we had the right to determine our course in the first place.
Who’s plan do we operate by?
“In his heart a man plans his course, but the LORD determines his steps” Proverbs 16:9
Dealing with a change in plans requires us to have God’s thoughts as our focus. Jesus says in Matthew 16:24 that if we want to follow Him we must deny ourselves. Following Jesus requires a change in our plans. We must relinquish our desire to plan, scheme, and insist our way through daily surrendering our lives to Jesus.
While salvation is secure through our Savior Jesus, the struggle to make Jesus Lord is a constant giving up of our plans for God’s plans.
When your plans change, look for something unexpected. Look for something amazing that changes your course and gives way to God’s life-giving plans. Look for something that came about because of those changed plans.
Ever since I went to Pharaoh to speak in Your name, he has brought trouble upon this people, and You have not rescued Your people at all. – Exodus 5:23
Have you ever felt like you have been obedient to the Lord for something He called you to do and all you get are more roadblocks?
This is the way Moses felt. When Moses went to tell Pharaoh to release the people because God said so, Pharaoh simply got angry and made the people make bricks without straw. Moses caught the blame for this from the people. Moses was just learning what obedience really means in God’s Kingdom. You see Moses had not even begun to release plagues upon Egypt. He hadn’t even gotten started yet in his calling, and he was complaining about his circumstances. There were many more encounters with Pharaoh to come, and many more plagues with no deliverances in sight.
Why would God tell Moses that He is going to deliver them and not do it?
It was all in timing. God never said when He was going to deliver. He just said He would. In the next chapter, we find Moses arguing with God about not being capable of the job God had called him to:
But Moses said to the Lord, “If the Israelites will not listen to me, why would Pharaoh listen to me, since I speak with faltering lips?” Now the Lord spoke to Moses and Aaron about the Israelites and Pharaoh king of Egypt, and He commanded them to bring the Israelites out of Egypt Exodus 6:12-13. (Emphasis mine)
Do you get the feeling God was losing His patience?
God had a good reason for His delays. He said, “And the Egyptians will know that I am the Lord when I stretch out My hand against Egypt and bring the Israelites out of it” (Ex. 7:5). God not only wanted the people of Israel but also the Egyptians to know Him. It would be the greatest show of God’s power on earth.
God often causes delays in our lives that we cannot understand. Sometimes it seems our obedience is not getting rewarded. Jesus said He learned obedience through the things He suffered (see Heb. 5:8). Imagine that – Jesus having to learn obedience. What does that say for you and me?
Sometimes God’s delays are simply because He wants more glory in the situation, more recognition, more Christ-likeness in you and me through greater patience and obedience. Faint not, for the promise may yet come.
Today God Is First (TGIF) devotional message, Copyright by Os Hillman, with added emphasis by Christy
#Hebrews #Exodus #BibleStudy #Devotion #amwriting #Faith #LifeWithChrist #Moses #Jesus #christyrawlsDOTcom
We all have it.
Your clout is your God-given power and influence. You are uniquely made by God. When we discover and unleash our God-given influence – our clout – we position ourselves to lead with passion and purpose that DEFY our personal limitations. Defies it. Goes beyond. Soars way past anything we could ever imagine in our finite minds! Whew! That’s exciting!
I’m thrilled about a book that came out this week called Clout by Jenni Catron:
Jenni’s leadership is outstanding. She is the Executive Director at Cross Point Church in Nashville, Tennessee where she leads the staff and ministries of 5 churches that has grown exponentially under her leadership. Her writing is full of heart and shows her desire to help us all grow exponentially! I was deeply encouraged. My book is covered in highlights.
I love what Jenni said here: “One of the most important lessons we have to learn about unleashing our God-given influence is that it is not simply for our benefit. It is for God’s plan and purpose to be accomplished through us for the blessing of others.”
Each of us has the ability to change the world around us.
We all are capable in influencing others.
We all want to matter. We all want to know that our lives are making a positive impact on the world around us.
There are some common traps which short-circuit our clout. Jenni discusses seven clout killers and teaches us through scripture how to avoid these traps:
- Confronting Fear
- Understanding the Impact of Jealousy
- Squeezing Out Scarcity
- Identifying Insecurity
- Purging Pride
- Relinquishing Control
She doesn’t stop there. She goes on to share how we can cultivate our clout, making the most impact in our area of influence:
- Discovering Your Identity
- Developing Your Confidence
- Defining Your Mission
- Determining Your Passion
Thomas Nelson Books has graciously offered me a copy to give to one of you! And trust me, you will want to get in on this. The offer will end on Tuesday, January 28. The winner will be randomly chosen and announced on Wednesday, January 29. Enter to win by leaving a comment below. The book will be shipped directly from Thomas Nelson.
The Thomas Nelson Books team are amazing and they are giving away an iPad mini in celebration of Clout’s release! Here’s the link to the offer on the Clout website: go here
Don’t forget to leave a comment to win the book!
#discoverCLOUT #JenniCatron #Influence
We are constantly influencing those around us. Whether our sphere of influence is a church, a Bible Study group, co-workers, our spouse, children, family, online and social media community, or a class – we owe it to those around us to equip ourselves with great tools to love and lead them well.
Leaders are readers.
I highly recommend that you arm yourself with loads of encouraging, equipping, and empowering books on faith that inspire you to stretch yourself. To help you love and lead like Jesus.
However, we don’t need to read a bunch of books about the Bible instead of actually reading the Bible. I love a quote by Charles Spurgeon: Visit many books, but live in the Bible. There’s nothing, nothing, nothing like reading God’s Word.
There are lots of tools you need to be successful in the new year and save money doing it. Yesterday I told you here about 16 free books by one of my favorite teachers, Beth Moore. There are links in that post for iPhone, iPad, Nook, Kindle, ePub, and more. That offer is only good through January 10, 2014 so be sure and hurry over to that post for all the links to grab those jewels. Don’t forget to pass on my blog link for others to enjoy.
Today I have more goodies for you:
For those of you that do not have a Kindle, don’t fret. There is a free app for Kindle in which you can download all Kindle eBooks just as someone would do on a real Kindle device. And, just because I love you…and I want you to get these books…here’s the link to grab that app
This is 100 FREE eBooks, friends! Even better – it’s 100 FREE BEST SELLERS ON FAITH! What a great big, toe tipping kiss from Daddy! I’m not sure how long this deal will be going on, so run on over with this link and get them while you can.
Don’t worry, we’ll get back to posting devotions and Bible studies here. I just had to tell you about these delicious finds and couldn’t dare keep them for myself!
(FYI: I in no way receive any money for recommending these to you. I haven’t been solicited by Amazon to tell you about it. There are no affiliate links in this post. I just love you all and want to bless you with my finds 🙂 )
#Amazon #Free #ebooks #Kindle #Christian #faith
There are loads of tools you need to be successful in the new year and save money doing it. Here’s a dynamite one for you:
Through January 10, 2014 you can get 16 of Beth Moore’s BEST-SELLING Books on Nook, Kindle, Android, Tablet, or Computer! The link to all the downloads are in this post.
If you’re not familiar with Beth Moore and you’re looking for a great read on Christian living for women, you owe it to yourself to discover one of my favorite Christian teachers.
If you’re already a fan, you know how amazing the news of these FREE books is!
God has blessed me so much through Beth’s writing and teaching in the over 24 years of ministry He’s called me to. I still remember my very first Beth Moore study. Life changing.
Don’t forget: this is only through January 10, 2014….so don’t dawdle. Be sure and quickly spread the word about this offer with female friends and family, Bible Study groups, Sunday school groups, and your church. An easy way to pass the news along is to pass along my blog post since it contains the link for all the downloads 🙂 (Thank you!)
Here are the titles and a little information on a few of them:
Praying God’s Word Day by Day
$9.99—get it for FREE
Praying God’s Word is Beth Moore’s best-selling release to date! Now the wisdom provided in her book is available to you in a convenient devotional. Learn to pray fervently and directly from Scripture with Praying God’s Word Day by Day!
Believing God Day by Day: Growing Your Faith All Year Long
$9.99—get it for FREE
Do you take God at his word, or simply believe in him? Believing God is one of Beth Moore’s best-selling books—and this latest update offers an uncomplicated day-by-day reading plan explaining how God’s plan for his believers’ lives spreads the gospel to all. Get this thought-provoking devotional and learn to develop an understanding of God’s plan for your life.
Breaking Free Day by Day: A Year of Walking in Liberty
$9.99—get it for FREE
Throw off the chains that bind you and gain power over sin and doubt. Breaking Free Day by Day empowers you to cling to the freedom found in Christ and uses the truth of God’s Word to help you identify and overcome the enemy’s strongholds in your life. This devotional packs the most powerful content from Beth Moore’s bestseller, Breaking Free, into a daily-reading format to start your day off in God’s presence.
Check out 10 other FREE Beth Moore books:
A Heart Like His
Praying God’s Word: Breaking Free From Spiritual Strongholds
When Godly People Do Ungodly Things: Finding Authentic Restoration in the Age of Seduction
Breaking Free: Discover the Victory of Total Surrender
Feathers from My Nest
The Beloved Disciple
To Live Is Christ
Jesus, the One and Only
And 2 more in Spanish! Be sure and pass these along to our Spanish speaking darlings
READY FOR THAT LINK? HERE IT IS:
Click here to go to download these books for Kindle, Nook, ePub, iBooks (iPad/iPhone), Android, Tablet, Vyrso, and computer!
Both Amazon and Barnes and Noble offer apps for those of you who don’t own a Kindle or Nook. So, if you don’t own an e-reader, fret no more!
Remember: This offer is only active through January 10, 2014
16 #FREE #BethMoore #eBooks! #Nook, #Kindle, #iPad, #Android, #Tablet, or #Computer! Offer Ends 1/10/14
Then He said to them all, “If anyone wants to come with Me, he must deny himself, take up his cross daily, and follow Me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life because of Me will save it. What is a man benefited if he gains the whole world, yet loses or forfeits himself? For whoever is ashamed of Me and My words, the Son of Man will be ashamed of him when He comes into His glory and that of the Father and the holy angels.” Luke 9:23-26 HCSB
Jesus is telling us what we can expect for ourselves in a life of following Him. He’s laying it all out so that we know going in what this disciple-life is like and what we can expect so that there’s no surprise when it happens:
Anyone who intends on coming along with Him has to let Him lead. We aren’t in the driver’s seat. He is.
Oh, how we love to control things. We live in a time where everyone is all about being in charge of themselves and obeying no one. Not even God. We want all the fruits of His spirit, but choosing to obey Him is something we often ignore. We need to have complete dependence on God and be obedient to the leading of the Holy Spirit. If God is all you have, you have all you need (John 14:8)
Don’t run from suffering but embrace it. Follow Him and He’ll show you how. You may have opposition of loved ones. Some of your family and friends may oppose what you stand for. The Message we proclaim isn’t popular. We will suffer in one way or another for righteousness sake whether that means saying no to a certain movie with our friends, or taking a stand before the world for what you believe in.
Self help is no help at all. Self-sacrifice is the way, His way, to finding yourself – your true self.
Do you think of your relationship with God primarily in terms of what’s in it for you or in terms of what you can do for Him?
The tendency is to save our lives by selfish, complacent routine—basking in comfort, luxury, and ease by living for the present. Trading our finest talents in exchange for a few years of mock security. God calls us to a life of death to self and to the world.
We are called to pour out our lives for the sake of others, not to spend our lives on earth merely to please ourselves.
What good would it do to get everything you want and lose you – the real you? We may end up packing our bags and leaving everything we know behind…family, friends, house, lands, and comforts. God may call you away from all that you know but that’s ok because if God is all you have, you have all you need (John 14:8)
If anyone is embarrassed with Jesus and the way He leads us, know that He will be far more embarrassed of us when He arrives in all His splendor in company with the Father and the holy angels. Don’t back down. Stand up and stay up!
Our instinct is to recoil from a life of cross-bearing. Our minds are reluctant to believe that this could be God’s will for us.
This life involves laying hold life that is life indeed! It means finding, at last, the reason for our existence! What joy and peace it is to be right where God wants you to be, doing exactly what He wants you to do! And, it means eternal reward. What a PROFOUND spiritual pleasure that comes! This life of abandonment has a deep inward satisfaction that defies description. Ever see someone go through things and remain in peace? This is why.
Giving this up for anything this temporary world could offer would be an insane bargain.
This is what we’re called to. This is the real you- the you that you were created to be. Anything less is said not to be a true disciple, but merely superficial lip service. True, it’s risky business following Jesus in this world, but the odds are in our favor. We win.
“After Job had prayed for his friends, the LORD made him prosperous again and gave him twice as much as he had before” (Job 42:10)
Have you ever been wrongly judged? Have you ever had people assume there was sin in your life because of the troubles you may have experienced? Or perhaps they judged your motives as wrong. What if the people judging you were your closest friends?
This was exactly what happened in the life of Job. His friends did not understand how a godly person could ever go through his degree of adversity unless God was judging him for his sin. However, his friends were wrong and God intervened. “I am angry with you and your two friends, because you have not spoken of me what is right, as my servant Job has,” said God to Job’s three friends.
Nothing has really changed after thousands of years. I recall going through a seven year “Job” experience. Friends in the marketplace could not understand why I would experience such calamity unless I had made poor choices. Those in the Church often wrongly equated trouble with sin. Sometimes this can be true, but often trouble is simply a consequence of a call on one’s life such as Joseph and the apostle Paul experienced.
Joseph was required to forgive his brothers. Jesus was required to forgive Judas and the disciples for betrayal. You and I are required to forgive those who wrongfully judge us.
This forgiveness is often THE most important step in gaining restoration in our own lives. The scripture above reveals that it was not until Job prayed for his friends that he was restored in the things he had lost.
Is there someone in your life you need to forgive? It may be the missing piece of your puzzle for restoration.
(Today God Is First (TGIF) devotional message, Copyright by Os Hillman, Marketplace Leaders)
I’m such a Bible geek. I love studying scripture. Can’t get enough. I never tire of reading the Bible; it’s the Lord’s love letter to His children.
Another thing I love is telling others about resources that honor GOD and help us all grow.
Here’s the description Lisa Harper’s Hebrews: The Nearness of King Jesus study:
Join Lisa Harper as she journeys through this bridge between the Old and New Testaments to get into the heart of the matter: Jesus is our accessible King. He is not a far away God, but and up-close Redeemer who draws near to us.
The trailer and description reminded me of the post I wrote this week entitled Made For Heights. God has equipped His people to scale the heights even in the midst of great challenges. He enables us to go to the higher places with Him.
The Sovereign Lord is our strength. He enables us to go on the heights (Habakkuk 3:19)
Read the rest of that post here
The fact that Jesus is near is a theme here on my site. He’s close. He’s crazy-head-over-heels-stalkerlike in love with us! His mind is costumed with us. He is ever working at getting closer to us. He is for us and wants more than anything to have a close, thriving, passionate relationship with us. This is why He gave up His life! He definitely, absolutely is NOT a far away God.
Being on this launch team fit me like a glove. I’m excited. I’m pumped. I’m drooling at the mouth to dig into this study and dance skin to skin with my Jesus. No “four inch rule” for us. No, we are dancing tight and up-close!
Keep an eye out. I’ll definitely be filling you in more so we can all dance with our King Jesus.
In the meantime, don’t forget to check out the new trailer we just released here and follow all the buzz on social media using the hashtag #NearJesus
Slow dancing with Jesus,
The Sovereign LORD is my strength; he makes my feet like the feet of a deer, he enables me to go on the heights” Habakkuk 3:19
The book of Habakkuk inspired Martin Luther’s reformation and the book “Hinds Feet on High Places” by Hannah Hunnard. Habakkuk encourages us to question what God is doing in our lives. When we are thrown into suffering for a period of time, or our enemies are prospering while we are just barely getting by, we wonder about the equity of God and life. Habakkuk affirms that God is God and we are made to scale the mountains of adversity. We just need to be still and know He is at work. He is who He says He is and does keep His promises.
God equips His people to scale the heights even in the midst of great challenges. He enables us to go to the higher places with Him where we are set apart from the world. Sometimes the way we have to go to get us there is through suffering and sorrow, but if we rest in Him and trust Him we come out where He wants us.
When Jesus told the disciples He was going to send the Holy Spirit to them, it was in order for them to scale the mountain before them with a new form of power they had not experienced.
“But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth” (Acts 1:8)
If you find yourself in a place of doubting God and His plan for your life, know that this is a normal aspect of your journey in God. However, know that God has made available His Holy Spirit in order for you to accomplish the tasks that lie ahead.
Ask the Holy Spirit to enable you to achieve the heights for which He has created you.
~Today God Is First~
Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, “This is the way; walk in it.” Isaiah 30:21
We hear a lot about how so few are surrendering to following Christ radically. Giving up the throne and becoming second seems to be hard for a lot of people. Being willing to listen to God’s directions and doing it regardless of how ridiculous it sounds, is important. We all see people doing it. And, we all want to have that kind of closeness with God.
I don’t think it’s so much a matter of people not wanting to live this kind of life, as much as it’s about the mystery. It’s about the unknown. It’s mystical and scary, and there’s no control over the results of our choices. If we went to church on Sunday and got a list for the week….sort of a summary list of turn by turn directions. You know, the kind you get on your GPS where you can see a complete summary list ahead of time of all the turns you’ll make to get to your destination?
We would all follow God if we went to church and He gave us a complete list of to-dos. Even if they were crazy, we would do them. We don’t like the mystery of listening as we go. We want a complete list. We would even say and do crazy things if on the list God said, “On Monday, while you’re at the copy machine, your co-worker is going to walk by. Turn to her and say this. She’s going to cry, but that will only last a minute, and then she will be happy you told her that. Then, you will go and do this other thing and that will happen.”
It’s the unknown, unplanned, and not knowing that holds us up
We can read scripture and see the consequences of some of our choices, but in the day to day, we need to trust God for turn-by-turn directions. We need to listen to His voice as He says turn here, this is the way. It’s a beautiful thing to be going about your day and hear His directions this way. I’ve never regretted one time of listening to God no matter how crazy it sounded. Not one. Every single time, He had already gone ahead and prepared things for what He has me doing. But, we will always regret not listening and following His voice.
The cool thing about God is, He is always working out a solution. Everything He does is a solution. So, when we get off track He is more than willing to “recalculate” our wrong turns and help us get back on the road. God calls on us, we certainly can call on Him.
Let today be the day that you say Today, God is first. Radically. No matter what. Even in the crazy ridiculous…
Today God Is First
“One man considers one day more sacred than another; another man considers every day alike” Rom 14:5
Avodah (Ah´-voe-dah) is a Hebrew noun used in the Bible that has two distinct yet intertwined meanings: worship and work. It is also derived from the Hebrew verb L’Avod which has two meanings; to work and also to worship. The dual meaning offers powerful wisdom for modern times for how we are to view our work lives.
Work, if done with and unto God, is a form of worship in the biblical Hebrew context. There has never been a concept of segmenting our work from our faith life in the Bible. It is in the realm of the sacred to bring God into our everyday life. Hebrews did not set aside a “day of worship,” such as Saturday or Sunday, but everyday is a place and time of worship. They did set aside a Sabbath day of rest.
It is a western idea to segment one’s faith life from our work like. In the Middle East and Asia, their cultures would never separate their faith from their work life even though their faith foundations might clearly contradict Christian beliefs. When someone comes to faith in Christ from this area of the world, they have an easier time of assimilating their faith into their work because they have always done so.
God calls us to do our work as an act of worship to Him. Our work is not to be a place of sweat and toil, but an expression of our love, faith and adoration of Jesus Christ. Today, before you work, ask God to help you see your work in a new way–as worship to Him.
God uses unexpected people to spread His message. We have our own preconceived ideas of who is worthy, but God doesn’t play by our rules. I’m glad. He’s a much better leader and coach than we are. I’ll let Him call the plays.
Let’s look at John 4:4-47
On His way home from Jerusalem, Jesus stopped in Samaria—an area most Jewish people avoided. Jesus didn’t have any concern for the prejudices of people around Him. Instead, He chose to minister to everyone who was willing to recognize Him for who He really was.
We don’t know much about the woman at the well. Her villiage knew who she was. They knew she was woman not to be trusted or a woman to be admired. But, when she met Jesus she knew her villiage needed to meet Him too. Telling her villiage was not up for debate or a choice; meeting Jesus was not a story that could be contained. So despite the risk, despite the ridicule she knew could come, she ran to the villiage and told them the story about how she met a man who knew everything about her.
Her villiage was never the same.
GOD used and unexpected woman to impact her whole Villiage with her story. She was repurposed. Her story ended differently than it began. Hallelujah!
Because It’s not how you start, it’s how you finish…
GOD used the story of a divorced, relationally plagued woman to move the hearts of a whole town. One woman’s story brought the whole town to Jesus. This was the tool that GOD used to bring His message to a lost world.
Maybe you feel like the woman at the well. Maybe you have done some terrible things. Sexual sins. Bad relationships. Things you’ve said. Bad habits you can’t kick. God still wants to use you. He wants you to get in the game. He wants to work through you.
None of us were created to sit in the stands. We all need to get out of the stands, off the bench and into the game.
What is your circle of influence? If you had been at that well, and you had immediately left to go back to your circle of influence, your network, where would you have gone? Your family? Your school? The sport team you play on? Your neighborhood? What circle of influence has GOD put you into? Where has He planted you?
Where did God find you?
Where did He take you?
Whatever your story, it’s not a story to be contained. You must reach out wherever God has you….EVERYWHERE that God has you…and tell the story of Jesus.
My life is not my own. I belong to him as well as all that encompasses my life. I am sealed. Repurposed. I must go and tell about a man who knows everything about me…….
Leaders remember: you’ve got to live it to lead it
Just a short post today as I ponder leadership.
There is a difference between a boss and a leader…
Anyone can be bossy, but not everyone can be a leader
Leaders lead~~Bossy people are just bossy.
Leaders inspire, build up, and encourage~~Bossy people blame and tear down.
Leaders want others to succeed~~Bossy people walk in fear and jealousy.
Leaders see clearly that there is no “I” in team~~Bossy people see no “I” in team.
Leaders thrive on giving~~Bossy people snatch, take false credit, and think everyone is out to get them.
Leaders speak well of your accomplishments to others~~Bossy people belittle you and gossip.
Leaders make much of Jesus~~Bossy people need to be upfront and center with the spotlight on them.
When a leader sees someone younger in the faith making a mistake, they come alongside, teach in love, and keep it between them ~~~Bossy people see someone make a mistake, call it out and tell others about it. (whoever would foster love covers over an offense, but whoever repeats a matter separates close friends. Proverbs 17:9)
Leaders do this:
So Christ himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers, to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ. (Ephesians 4:11-13 NIV)
Go. Inspire someone today. Encourage. Equip. Empower others to the attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ
Leaders: Remember, you’ve got to live it to lead it. A boss says “Go!” A leader says “Let’s Go!”
Then God looked over all He had made, and he saw that it was very good! Genesis 1:31
GOD saw that His work was good.
We can sometimes feel guilty for feeling good about an accomplishment. This need not be so. Just as GOD felt good about His work, we can too…..when it is well done and God is pleased with it.
What are you doing that pleases both God and you?
In Luke 14:25-35, Jesus is saying that if we do not love Him supremely, more than our family and more than our own lives, we cannot be His disciple. There is no half-way measure. Not all believers bear the Cross. It is possible by living a nominal Christian life. This is called the lukewarm Christian life.
But, if we determine to be all out for Christ we must live the type of life that Christ lived when He was here on earth–a life of self-renunciation, reproach, persecution, temptation, in opposition of others, humiliation.
He wants us to understand that this living and leading like Jesus isn’t for wimps. We need to count the cost. To take up our cross daily is to expect painful situations everyday because of our allegiance to Christ.
I can certainly choose to live a nominal, lukewarm Christian life and avoid all that…..but, it would cost me so much more.
I would miss the miracles, the power, the blessings of seeing God move first-hand. I would miss this deep love affair that sweeps me off my feet. I would miss the dance and gazing into eyes of my Savior; that skin to skin closeness that leaves me speechless.
Who wants to miss that? Not me. Nothing I suffer here on earth could ever be more than what He did for me. Before I knew Him….when He was a stranger to me….He suffered and died for me. Most of us would give our lives for our spouses, or our children because we know and love them but not for a stranger that didn’t even know our names. We get goosebumps when a stranger in the car in front of us buys our coffee for us (I’m not knocking that show of kindness. I think it’s great). BUT this Jesus DIED for me BEFORE I EVEN KNEW HIS NAME. THAT deserves my life. My love supremely. My worship. Everything. No. Holding. Back.
Please allow me to speak bluntly with you:
I have heard many people say, “I feel like crap” or, “I look like crap”. I’ve probably said it myself. In Luke 14:34-35, Jesus is talking about the lukewarm Christian being useless and even messing up crap. Wow. If we stepped in crap, He would have to tell us to move out because we would be messing it up. How bad is THAT?! That is funny, but it’s not funny.
How about making Him throw up?? Take a look at Rev 3:14-22. I don’t want Him to vomit me out of His mouth! He urges us to cleanse, repent, shake off, open our eyes, to be committed. This. Is. Your. Call. Listen! He is standing at the door knocking. Hear His voice and open that door and dine with Him. Besides, the victor will get to sit with Jesus at the dinner table! I get excited about having the opportunity to sit and talk with brilliant people, but THIS! Whew, glory!
You’ve been feeling empty and seeking out your purpose. Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened (Matthew 7:7-8).
When we give up everything to follow Christ, guess what we find? We find everything right there in Christ. Just like salt, we have a useful purpose. We are here for more than to breath oxygen, and collect treasures of this world. I know money is important and that living life here takes money. Breathing oxygen is important to life, but we are here for more reasons than to breath. We have a purpose to live out, and that purpose is to follow Christ. Christian, its time to live a purpose driven life that lives and leads your family like Jesus. Step out from the crowd, be committed, repent and let’s do this. Together.