Faith that works, in a world that doesn’t work too well; Part 5

Day 18

Day 18 is the end of this devotional from Rick Warren, and the ending subject is a foundation for faith, understanding forgiveness. Psalm 32 is about the forgiveness David experienced from the guilt or his illicit affair with Bathsheba, something that’s it available for all of us…

Devotional Point 4 today:

…you can’t feel guilty and be happy at the same time…

Scripture 4 today:

“Blessed is the one whose transgressions are forgiven, whose sins are covered. Blessed is the one whose sin the Lord does not count against them and in whose spirit is no deceit.” ‭‭Psalms‬ ‭32:1-2‬ ‭NIV‬‬

Reflection 4 today:

Carrying guilt is a very heavy load, and is responsible for a substantial amount of the mental illness we see in our world today. There are actually three separate words to describe send in the Hebrew language. All of them revolve around the damage that sin causes. The problems are essentially focused on the need to hide our sin, and the need to justify our sin. These two things are all consuming, and when we realise that they cannot be hidden or justified, guilt is produced. Where are there is guilt there is no peace, and no happiness, and no faith…

Question f. or the day:

1. What do you need to talk to God about today so that you can clear your conscience? I really like his idea of making an inventory in the morning and in the evening each day

2. How can you restructure your life to make time each day for a spiritual inventory? We all have our routines in the morning and in the evening, just Gotta get it into that routine

3. How are you living as a “bright light” in the world for Jesus Christ? What does your happiness in Christ say to the rest of the world? Is it is the foundation for all evangelism going forward. People are attracted to really happy people and say: “I want some of that“…

Tomorrow we will start a new plan from Justin Kendrick called “Bury Your Ordinary”, I think you will find it relevant and challenging. Invites our later today, be blessed…

Tomorrow we Start: Bury Your Ordinary

Day 17

Day 17 gets to the core of the power in us, the Holy Spirit. It gives us the power to decide correctly and act effectively, something you can only hope for without it…

Devotional Point 4 today:

God is the energy driver in your life.

Scripture 4 today:

“for it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose.” ‭‭Philippians‬ ‭2:13‬ ‭NIV‬‬

Reflection 4 today:

To accomplish anything, there are two components: the decision to act and the act itself. Without the Holy Spirit working in the hearts, our decisions to act on a number of issues are a composite of our random thinking and feeling. Sometimes that works out good and sometimes not so good, the entire study of psychology explores this in intricate detail. In Christ, we are lifted above and out of that dilemma because  we have the creator of the universe helping us decide and act in the best way going forward. He wants to make it work on both of those fronts for each of us today.

Question for the day:

1. What does it feel like to access God’s power that is available to you? Is absolutely sensational, there is nothing like it.

2. When do you doubt God’s presence the most? Ask God for faith to see him at work in your life. I’m not sure that I doubt is it as much as I just couldn’t see it, the more of my life that is turned over to him the more I am keenly aware of that.

3. How does your perspective in a difficult situation change when you know God is on your side? Who is the one thing that empowers the faith in God to do the right things every stage…

Other Notes: Get up every morning and say, “God, thank you that you’re going to be with me today, you’re going to be in me today, and you’re going to be for me today.”

Day 16

Day 16 Positive Praying, not just positive thinking is where the real changes start…

Devotional Point 4 today:

Positive praying is more effective than positive thinking.

Scripture 4 today:

“And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless for the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ—to the glory and praise of God.” ‭‭Philippians‬ ‭1:9-11‬ ‭NIV‬‬

Reflection 4 today:

It is very interesting here that Paul does not address any specific object of the “love“. Obviously, love can have quite a few different objects: people, things, places, events, etc… but he is using the word for “knowledge“ in the Greek that is quite a bit different from our understanding of this word in English. The first part of it is the information which we get from God’s word. The second part is the application which occurs through the work of the Holy Spirit in our lives. So, if in our interaction with other Christians we are not “feeling the love“, is probably from one of these two areas.

Question for the day:

1. Think of a strained relationship in your life—how can you pray the four things discussed in today’s devotional? I have a deeply strained relationship with my brother John who has very deeply and personally wronged me, and I still have not idea what it was that I did wrong. The Holy Spirit is presenting so me new means for this to be reconciled

2. How does positive prayer change you and not just the person for whom you are praying? Positive thinking can change me, but only positive praying can change the circumstances…

3. Take a moment and read Galatians 5:22-23. How are you seeing more of this “fruit” in your life as you follow Jesus? it is a very gradual thing but it does get better every day

Pray that they will grow in love: “And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight.”

Pray that they will make wise choices: “So that you may be able to discern what is best.”

Pray that they will live with integrity: “And may be pure and blameless for the day of Christ.”

Pray that they will become like Jesus: “Filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ—to the glory and praise of God.”

Day 15

Day 15 helps us take a good look at the memories we are focused on, the Holy Spirit gives us the ability to choose the good ones and let the bad ones fade away…

Devotional Point 4 today:

You need to understand memories are a choice…

Scripture 4 today:

“In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now,” ‭‭Philippians‬ ‭1:4-5‬ ‭NIV‬‬

Reflection 4 today:

Choosing to focus on the good bits that happened to us is for the most part, an unnatural act.  It takes effort to get that straight and to do that. Paul had figured out how to do that in a very big way. He learned early on that the rewards of transformation were so great, that they outweighed everything that he had to live through. So, the question quickly becomes, how does that work for me? And the answer is in the total transformation by the Holy Spirit. The more I am transformed the more I am able to focus on the really great stuff and set the rest aside…

Question for the day:

1. Why is it sometimes easier to hold on to painful memories than to replace them with good ones? It takes no effort to do that, and is pretty much our natural state of affairs…

2. How does focusing on good memories change your expectations for the future? We attract great things when we focus on great things…

3. How can you express gratitude for the people God has placed in your life? Be as specific as possible. Calls, emails, and notes…

Day 14

Day 14 is all about maintaining that “attitude of gratitude” to every one we know and meet. it is positively life-altering…

Devotional Point 4 today:

Paul’s first thought for his friends was one of gratitude…

Scripture 4 today:

“I thank my God every time I remember you.” ‭‭Philippians‬ ‭1:3‬ ‭NIV‬‬

Reflection 4 today:

With memory being as fading as it is, it is remarkable that Paul had all these quite vivid recollections of time with His various churches, in this case, a church he hadn’t seen in 10 years, the one at Phillipi. And it wasn’t something he was trying to conjure up, he was genuinely thankful for them, from the bottom of his heart. The people then were just as quirky and weird as people today, but he was still thankful for them, surely not every part of them, but for them being who they were, transformed by the work of the Holy Spirit…

Question for the day:

1. What negative thoughts do you need to replace with words of gratitude? Try and make this a daily habit. I have been writing this down for quite awhile now, and it has altered everything for me…

2. Who in your life are you thankful for? Schedule time to tell them this week. I don’t need to schedule it, I have it down…

3. Why might God want us to thank him for the people he has placed in our lives? When we are thankful for people we make it easier to look at the good parts of them

Day 13

Day 13 gives us the “track to run on” with this somewhat amorphous concept of mercy, which is something we all need…

Devotional Point 4 today:

…God expects you to show mercy to everybody…

Scripture 4 today:

“Show proper respect to everyone, love the family of believers, fear God, honor the emperor.” ‭‭1 Peter‬ ‭2:17‬ ‭NIV‬‬

Reflection 4 today:

To effectively deliver “mercy“, it has to start with respect. Increasingly in our world today there is less and less respect as each day goes past. Respect is parcelled out against a standard that many do not agree on, especially as the world attempts to disrespect our God… Most of what happens in some parts of social media like Twitter is disrespect. In that world, honour is given to those who can most effectively and compelling we disrespect others. So, the most important way we can deliver mercy to each person we run into today is by giving them first respect.

Question for the day:

1. Who has recently hurt you the most? How can you show that person mercy? Traditionally, when people have hurt me and disrespected me I have struck back at them with much deeper disrespect and hurt. That has accomplished absolutely nothing, I’ve learnt some pretty hard lessons here.

2. Which is more difficult for you: to show mercy to an enemy or to show mercy to someone in your family? Why? When your family hurt you even more deeply than any of your enemies ever have, showing respect and mercy is very difficult.

3. Why do you think Jesus says to not just love your enemies but also to do good to them? Once you show them respect, especially when they’re outlawed actions toward you are disrespect, you give them a great deal of powers to consider just exactly why this happened.

Day 12

Day 12 really zeros in on how to be happy, focus on the happiness of others…

Devotional Point 4 today:

…the more you help other people, the more you will succeed and the happier you will be…

Scripture 4 today:

“Your kindness will reward you, but your cruelty will destroy you.” ‭‭Proverbs‬ ‭11:17‬ ‭NLT‬‬

Reflection 4 today:

There is a tremendous amount behind this verse both for us and throughout history. Kindness is not common in our world today, and something we were rarely taught. It was not every rewarded for me growing up, so I had no concept of its value. Incredible kindness has been extended to me in the last 15 years, and I have learned its value. I want to be able to live a life featured with kindness for the rest of my life…

Question for the day:

1. How do you feel after you choose to condemn someone? Alternatively, how does it feel when you choose to show mercy instead, no matter how they may have wronged you? I have been deeply and almost mortally wounded by both those inside and outside the church. I don’t choose to condemn anyone, that is God’s job…

2. What does kindness have to do with mercy? Mercy is the outward manifestation of kindness.

3. Think of someone who has criticized you. Take a moment to pray for that person. Then take notice of how God blesses you for it. I spend a fair amount of time every day praying for those who criticise me…

Day 11

Day 11 is about Mercy, the kind that delivers God’s type of mercy to those who least expect it. Once you understand how much has been given to you it is quite a natural thing…

Devotional Point 4 today:

God wants you to be merciful to everyone.

Scripture 4 today:

“God blesses those who are merciful, for they will be shown mercy.” ‭‭Matthew‬ ‭5:7‬ ‭NLT‬‬

Reflection 4 today:

Mercy is a pretty rare and unpracticed site in the world we live in. It is quite specifically bringing hope into the world of the hopeless. AS they are hopeless, they will not be looking for the hope we can bring into their lives. That hope we bring can take a lot of forms, could be a gift, an introduction to someone they would have no hope of meeting otherwise, and could be financial. But the baseline is that it is most effective when the recipient is hopeless, and has not way forward…

Question for the day:

1. Why does God want you to show mercy like he has shown mercy to you? What does the act of mercy demonstrate to curious unbelievers? Most just won’t believe it. We always tend to show “mercy” where we can get some recognition back, but that is not God’s plan…

2. Is something keeping you from forgiving someone who has hurt you? Not a any longer…

3. In what ways does God bless you when you are merciful? It is always something different, and it is always something amazing…

Day 10

Day 10 is one of the most hard hitting things for us to consider, our “blindspots”. We all have them and they stop us from seeing and acting on the truth. We all tell ourselves stores about ourselves, We need wisdom to see the right stories…

Devotional Point 4 today:

God can deliver you from your hidden faults, blind spots, and self-deceptions.

Scripture 4 today:

Job 34:32 (NIV) Teach me what I cannot see; if I have done wrong, I will not do so again.’‬‬

Reflection 4 today:

This is an extremely complicated part of the Bible to extract accurate inspiration from, many of the commentaries disagree with each other vehemently. But the one truth is that we inherently know no truth, we inherently believe our own stories that we concoct for ourselves.  To avoid going into sensory overload, we need to have stories to see the world accurately, we can’t start over every day. But we can ask God to ferret out the falsehoods of any of our stories every day, and He is faithful to do it. He loves us and wants us on the right track always…

Question for the day:

1. What are some things you tell yourself over and over again that you know are lies? There have been too many to mention. The central one I did as a child was to tell myself that my parents actually loved me when I found out they just didn’t…

2. How does knowing God’s Word help you see your blind spots? What can you do to know God’s Word better? he wants to clear up all the blindspots so that we can have a real life

3. Who in your life can detect your blind spots? Are you open to letting them tell you what they are? Why or why not? Only a couple people, and I am always open to this…

Day 9

Day 9 is all about wisdom, that it is just not what we find in the world we live in. Check it out today…

Devotional Point 4 today:

True wisdom only comes from God’s Word…

Scripture 4 today:

“Stop deceiving yourselves. If you think you are wise by this world’s standards, you need to become a fool to be truly wise.” ‭‭1 Corinthians‬ ‭3:18‬ ‭NLT‬‬

Reflection 4 today:

Most churches in the last 65 years seem obsessed with developing leadership 30 years “wise“ in the ways of the world. When you look at their backgrounds, they are generally people who have had significant success in the wisdom of the world in applying it to a variety of occupations.  Anyone who features their academic credentials here’s part of their title what’s everyone to know that they are wise in the ways of the world. Obviously not something that Jesus thinks as important or even relevant. his wisdom is always going to be counter-cultural, so get used to it, we don’t fit here…

Question for the day:

1. What is the difference between being smart and being wise? Smart is about know the right information, wise is being able to do something with it…

2. What do you find yourself doing each day: studying God’s Word or scrolling through your phone? What can you do to prioritize studying God’s Word? God’s word if the first part of my day, every day…

3. Why do you think it’s important to ask God for wisdom? It is the only way to get there.

Day 8

Day 8 deals with the Blessing of the Lord. Because all blessing does come from the Lord. He enables blessing from us to many others, but it all starts with Him…

Devotional Point 4 today:

…everything you think you own is on loan from God…

Scripture 4 today:

“The blessing of the Lord makes a person rich, and he adds no sorrow with it.” ‭‭Proverbs‬ ‭10:22‬ ‭NLT‬‬

Reflection 4 today:

The blessing of the Lord for us as Christians has completely redefined the word “Rich“. Rich is far more than money, although money does help. Compare to 90% of the rest of the world, we are rich beyond imagination. But the real rich that makes life worth living is the rich that comes from the all conquering holy spirit in our lives transforming us to something that we don’t even recognise. The transforming power of the holy spirit gives us something that no one else can give, transformation. Financial riches change a few things, but the transformation from the holy spirit changes absolutely “everything“.

Question for the day:

1. Have you ever regretted giving generously to God? There is no way to regret generously giving to God, because are some things happen.

2. What is one thing you can do today to be obedient to God with your money? Take another look at our US giving

3. Do you believe God wants to bless you with more money? Why or why not? Definitely, he has a lot to do and it takes money to get it done

Day 7

Day 7 and my first day back in America… Was pretty weird and thankfully uneventful travelling on the 20th anniversary of 9/11. Got here in time for the Moorestown HS reunion, great fun…

Devotional Point 4 today:
Don’t give God your leftovers. God promises to give you everything you need.

Scripture 4 today:
“Honor the Lord with your wealth and with the best part of everything you produce. Then he will fill your barns with grain, and your vats will overflow with good wine.” ‭‭Proverbs‬ ‭3:9-10‬ ‭NLT‬‬

Reflection 4 today:
To honor God is to give all to Him with a view to glorifying Him. Not just obeying Him, or as some say “investing” in Him, but glorifying Him. If the Christian population gave just the tithe on it’s income, there would be no more poverty anywhere in the world. But sadly that is the case, yet another example of how the Christian population as we know it just doesn’t believe God. But we can change all that with our personal examples…

Question for the day:
1. What are you afraid of having to give up if you are faithful to God with your tithe? Take time today to surrender the fear that keeps you from obeying God. The problem for all of us is that we live to the limit, and that limit usually dies not include God unless we includ Him at the beginning of the expense process, not at the end…
2. How does keeping a budget help you be consistent in tithing? Causes you to put first things first…
3. If you trust God for your salvation, what else do you need to surrender to him? All of it…

Day 6

Day 6 digs into one of the core concepts of faith, namely what do you get when you’ve got it???

Devotional Point 4 today:

What good is your money in the end?

Scripture 4 today:

“Riches won’t help on the day of judgment, but right living can save you from death.” ‭‭Proverbs‬ ‭11:4‬ ‭NLT‬‬

Reflection 4 today:

Now that I have my eternity secured, I do not spend hardly any time thinking about death, as I know what the end game is. But that is not the fate of most the world around me, they try too make money fill the God-sized hole in their lives, which of course they are destined to fail in. We are called to confidence in this salvation, and the peace that comes from that confidence…

Question for the day:

1. In what ways has your relationship with Jesus made you wiser with your money? I don’t need to use it to fill that God-sized hole

2. What does it mean to trust in your possessions? Has your life been marked by trust in your possessions or trust in God? I hve spent a good part of my life trusting in my possessions, only to lose them…

3. What resources are you tempted to hoard during difficult days? Ask God to help you release that desire to him and instead open your life to sharing with others. I hoard cash, gradually opening up on this…

Day 5

Day 5 is yet another cornerstone in the discipling process of developing faith: being content. Christians have the unique power of the Holy Spirit to make it work. Without it, it just doesn’t work…

Devotional Point 4 today:

…true security comes when you trust in God, not in your own wealth and abilities…

Scripture 4 today:

“Don’t love money; be satisfied with what you have. For God has said, “I will never fail you. I will never abandon you.” ‭‭Hebrews‬ ‭13:5‬ ‭NLT‬‬

Reflection 4 today:

The state of “wanting more“, or covetousness is what we were born into. But covetousness is born out of fear and contentment is born out of faith. With the power of the holy spirit inside us, we have enormous unfair advantage in the world that we are walking every day, most especially today. We have the power and inner strength to be “content“ with what we have, without that inner power, it is almost impossible. This one saying is possibly one of the best reasons why you would want to become a Christian. For the non-Christians, they don’t own their possessions, their possessions own them.

Question for the day:

1. What are some promises from God’s Word about his presence and how he takes care of you? Search for some of these and highlight them in your Bible. These are things that I make a habit of highlighting all the time, there are dozens of them…

2. How does your bank statement reveal where you put your trust? How does it show your faith that God will provide? Your bank statement displays the cold hard reality of where are your “treasure“ is…

Day 4

Day 4 of a Faith that works gets into the core reason why we have all the gifts we need, to serve others. Serving is living…

Devotional Point 4 today:

Use your gifts to serve God by serving others.

Scripture 4 today:

“Now you have every spiritual gift you need as you eagerly wait for the return of our Lord Jesus Christ.” ‭‭1 Corinthians‬ ‭1:7‬ ‭NLT‬‬

Reflection 4 today:

Interestingly, Paul did not say you have most of the gifts you need, but you can become really spiritual if you go after our Bible school here or our seminary there and then you’ll actually have the gifts you need… No, they had it all right there. So there is a lot of parallels between then and today. We have all the content we need to develop disciples and be developed as disciples. The only real question is will we take what we have which is quite sufficient and get on with it, or keep looking over our shoulders? Clearly, God wants us to take what we have and get on with serving others.

Question for the day:

1. Do you know what your purpose is? How do you think your gifts and talents play into your purpose? Fortunately, I have been able to get some clear insight into my purpose, my talents, in what I can use to serve.

2. What is one new way you can use your talents and skills to help someone this week? I am considering some new applications on tick-tock which are slightly different from what I am doing right now.

3. If you knew Jesus was going to return in three days, how would you spend those three days? How should that perspective change the way you spend your time every day? I think the point that he makes later on in the Scriptures is that no one does know the time, which is a real advantage. In truth, I’m not really sure that I would do anything different from what I’m doing right now…

Day 3

Day 3 of a Faith that works… Which works when everything we have and own is actually given to the Master, we are just stewards…

Devotional Point 4 today:

…When you’re generous, it changes your perspective on what you actually need…

Scripture 4 today:

“Sell your possessions and give to those in need. This will store up treasure for you in heaven! And the purses of heaven never get old or develop holes. Your treasure will be safe; no thief can steal it and no moth can destroy it.” ‭‭Luke‬ ‭12:33‬ ‭NLT‬‬

Reflection 4 today:

As the Ancient Greek philosopher Aristotle said: If God does not own our possessions, then our possessions will own us. So, the important question is who owns you? When you see how the real poor and impoverished live, you realise that we in the West live as Kings and Queens. Jesus did issue a command to His specific disciples to sell everything. But not to us, the “us part” is also required to give it all to him, and take care of the poor, but we need to be generating the resources for the Kingdom using money, time, influence, and our networks…

Question for the day:

1. Where do you invest most of your time, talent, and money right now? Do those investments reflect a worldly or an eternal investment? I invest almost every minute and all my extra funds in different ministries, mostly serving directly, but some indirectly as well…

2. How has your desire for more earthly things kept you from focusing on eternity and helping people get to heaven? I really don’t care much for any earthly possessions as I have had most of them and have found them vacuous and worthless…

3. What do you think it looks like to have treasure in heaven? Sometimes I wonder about that, good thing to ponder…

Day2

Day 2 of a Faith that works. A mobile day for me, going to the NEC in Birmingham (England of course), all work… But one of the most beautiful days you can imagine.

Devotional Point 4 today:

…Knowing how the story ends changes everything…

Scripture 4 today:

“For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing.” ‭‭James‬ ‭1:3-4‬ ‭NLT‬‬

Reflection 4 today:

Life for everyone is a lot of trials, the Christian life has trials, but for a reason, to strengthen our faith. Christianity is not some weak mamba pamby religion and set of rules. It is a dynamic powerful faith that lifts us above the normal, we are not bound by the constraints of the world’s rules and regulations, we have a mighty power within that does the heavy lifting in that, we just have to patiently pray through each of the trials we face. That are meant to strengthen our faith, not determine if we have some…

Question for the day:

1. What trials in your life might be causing you to question God? How are they making you more like Jesus? None now, but 15 years ago there were many

2. Why is it important to have discipline when it comes to your spiritual growth? The more discipline you have in getting into God’s word, the more you are able to un dear stand His grace to get through these situations

3. How do God’s promises help you when you feel overwhelmed by stress and adversity? He will get me through…

Day 1

Day 1 with Rick Warren for the next step on the understanding of Faith. So, the start is to understand that it requires faith to do one of the biggest things  Jesus talked about: forgiving those who do evil to us. Not some petty insult or anything like that, but genuine evil. Evil done to destroy us. But that can be completely overcome by doing good. How? Stay tuned…

Devotional Point 4 today:

Taking the step of faith to overcome evil with good will not always be easy, but it will make you a powerful witness for Jesus.

Scripture 4 today:

“Don’t let evil conquer you, but conquer evil by doing good.” ‭‭Romans‬ ‭12:21‬ ‭NLT‬‬

Reflection 4 today:

When we have been hurt or deeply damaged by someone, the natural reaction is to strike back. But that accomplishes nothing. The goal is to conquer evil, and the way to do that is not to be more evil than they are. in fact it is to be completely counter-cultural and do good to them. Whether they say it or not, got has put in the heart of every person who does wrong and then sees good coming back from the person they intentionally tried to harm to respond as Saul did to David: “You have treated me well, but I have treated you badly.…“ in 1 Samuel 24. Only that mighty force of the Holy Spirit in us can make this happen…

Question for the day:

1. What did Jesus do to show us how to overcome evil with good and love our enemies? A number of examples in His lifetime, but ultimately to die for us said it all…

2. Why do you think God wants us to pray for the people who harass us? What difference does it make in our lives? In their lives? It frees us, and totally throws them off guard

3. Have you ever consistently prayed for one of your enemies? How did God change your heart toward that person? I am learning to, but it is very hard…

 

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