Category: Faith at Work Devotional
"Each one should give what he has decided in his heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver." - 2 Corinthians 9:7 People give for lots of different reasons, but not all giving accomplishes what God wants to accomplish in our lives. We don't give for God's sake; we give because we need to...we give because God wants to do something in our lives through our giving.
Jesus prayed for his present and future disciples on the day before his crucifixion "that they may all be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us that the world may believe that you have sent me." - John 17:21 I believe in the 10 to 1 rule in the body of Christ. For every critical thing we need to lovingly say to one another, we need to say 10 affirming things. That's a good rule for home, work and church. Who can you encourage this week? Who can you thank? Who can you praise? Who can you write a note to that says, "I think you're the best."
"Just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, so in Christ we who are many form one body, and each member belongs to all the others". - Romans 12:4-5 The real key to our unity is that it is grounded in Jesus. There's unity in the body of Christ because we all belong to Jesus through our baptism. We are one in Christ. And because we're one in Christ, we share a common mission, a common purpose, a common sense of direction.
"Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit-- just as you were called to one hope when you were called-- one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all." - Ephesians 4:3-6 The Church is very much like a symphony orchestra. It is incredibly diverse, but has an essential unity because we have a Great Conductor, a common score to follow, and a clear destination. And when the Church plays the symphony of God's music with passion and grace it is a delight to the heart of a broken world.
"First, I want to remind you that in the last days there will be scoffers who will laugh at the truth and do every evil thing they desire." - 2 Peter 3:3 I've heard it said that truth is relative. I have to agree. Truth is a relative. He's my brother and his name is Jesus. When you see Jesus, you see and know the truth that sets you free to live life abundantly.
"[Christ Jesus] ... did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death--even death on a cross!" - Philippians 2:6-8 Buried under a load of sin and death Jesus risked it all, leaving the safety of heaven and descending into human flesh to rescue us. Jesus didn't just risk his life for us; he intentionally sacrificed himself.
"How can a young person stay pure? By obeying your word, O LORD, and following its rules." - Psalm 119:9 How can a young person resist the temptation of lust, sex, and violence? First, by growing up strong in God's Word. Encourage your child to read God's Word daily and hide it in your heart and the Holy Spirit will use it when you need it most. As an adult, set a personal example of this.
Jesus taught the people: "You have heard that it was said, `Do not commit adultery,' but I say to you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart." - Matthew 5:27-28 One of the things I just love about Jesus is that he was fearless when it came to tackling tough issues. Jesus never dodged the bullet or softened the truth. He just said it straight. And that's exactly what he does in his Sermon on the Mount as he tackles issues of sexuality and fidelity. These are hard words, but words we need to hear in a sexually charged culture bent on doing what feels good and what is convenient, neither of which is a good measure of God's best for us.