“Even if I have sinned, that is my concern, not yours. You think you’re better than I am…” ~ Job (Job 19:4,5)
“Do not judge others, and you will not be judged.” ~Jesus (Matt. 7:1)
“God alone, who gave the law, is the Judge. He alone has the power to save or to destroy. So what right do you have to judge your neighbor?” James 4:12
Think it’s your job to ferret out the godless in the land? To weigh the motives of others? To eye and criticize? Retire of that tedious, joyless job today, and learn to walk in love.
I lay down my self-imposed responsibility of judging the heart, motives, intentions, and actions of the people in my life. You have instructed me in this, and I will obey you. I remove the back-breaking burden of being the judge, and I repent of the pride in my life that is evident every time I have a critical, judgemental thought. You have commanded me to walk in forgiveness and love, to rise above offenses, and to walk humbly with you. I choose that road today. I submit my thoughts to you – each and every one – for approval, choosing loving thoughts and not condemning thoughts, compassionate thoughts not critical thoughts. And kindly remove the log in my eye. Thank you.
In Jesus’ Name and with the help of the Holy Spirit, Amen.
“And you should imitate me, just as I imitate Christ.” ~Paul (1 Corinthians 11:1)
Often we look at the apostles in Scripture and wonder at their strength, productivity, diligence and power. We sigh and say, “No wonder they were able to move with such anointing! They literally lived and walked with Jesus for years.” But stop a moment. Paul might have seen Jesus from a distance once or twice, but he had none of the advantages that the other apostles had. In fact, Paul had to live down a reputation of being a brutal terrorist of the Christian faith.
In essence, Paul only had at his disposal what we have: the words of Jesus and the Holy Spirit. Every insight, every nugget of wisdom, every truth he spoke came from the self-same source that is available to you and me. So let’s dig into the Word! Let’s listen to the Holy Spirit! Let’s walk out our faith and follow the example of Paul. He wasn’t much of a communicator (by his own standards) and he wasn’t a rock star. He was just an ordinary guy doing extraordinary things for God. Why? Because He lived like Jesus’ words were true (because they are!) and He had faith to believe that the Spirit who lived in him was the best teacher around (because He is!).
Thank you for the example of Paul. I, too, am ordinary. I, too, have a shady past and a reputation to live down. Like Paul, I don’t have much to offer in and of myself. But, I, too, have the powerful words of Jesus and the mighty Holy Spirit alive and well in me. I will follow Paul’s example, Lord, with your help. I will be Paul’s student and learn to teach others as he did of your grace, your unending love, and of the plan you have developed for each life in the Kingdom of God. This is my desire. This is my decree! Take my ordinary life and make it extraordinary for Your sake.
In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Assignment #1: Read Paul’s definition of love in 1 Corinthians 13.
Assignment #2: Spend the rest of your life practicing that kind of love!
The righteous keep moving forward… ~Job (from Job 17:9)
I focus on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead… ~Paul (Phil. 3:13)
Look straight ahead, and fix your eyes on what lies before you. ~Solomon (Prov. 4:25)
Our God encourages us to live our lives future-focused. When we insist on gazing in the rear view mirror we can dangerously miss what is right in front of our path. The past and all its grave errors and sins can be placed into God’s hands. He exchanges our repentance for cleansing and forgiveness through Jesus. We can then move on into our futures free from our bondage, the pain, sin, and trauma we have survived. We can walk with Jesus on a brand new path where He is guiding us to His preferred future for us. He who made us knows us best. He will direct, guide, and empower us on our new walk with Him.
Thank you for second chances. Thank you for exhorting me to look ahead, to stop obsessing about my past and to start hoping in the future you have laid out for me. I step into that future in faith. But from here out, I’m not doing this on my own. I failed miserably without You. It’s You and me all the way now.
In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
I pray that God, the source of HOPE, will fill you completely with joy and peace because you trust in him. Then you will overflow with confident HOPE through the power of the Holy Spirit. (Romans 15:13)
On any given day one out of ten people are experiencing depression at some level. The Bible offers hope. This hope yields real peace and joy that nothing else can offer.
Has joy and confidence eluded you? What are your expectations in the future? You can have hope if you put your trust in God the Father through His Son Jesus who is the only source of the true hope for which we all hunger. I (Jill) battled depression for many years, and even though I knew Jesus as Savior, I hadn’t received the blessing of hope that He had to offer me. After I made Him Lord and aligned myself with His truth, depression left and the joy journey began. The circumstances didn’t change immediately, but how I viewed those circumstances did change. HOPE is yours, my friend, if you take Jesus up on His offer to give it to you.
According to your Word, I find HOPE in relationship with you. As I put my HOPE and trust in you, Your Word promises that I will be filled completely with joy and peace. In fact, I will be so filled with these virtues that I will overflow with them. This HOPE will not be an empty wish but a HOPE that has substance and great confidence through the power of Your Holy Spirit that lives in those who believe. This world and all it contains cannot offer me HOPE. Only with the reality of you living in me, can I have HOPE. I receive your Holy Spirit anew today. I align my heart with the truth that Jesus taught, and I receive HOPE from you, my Father. Fill me to the full with HOPE today and allow me to be an encouragement to those around me who are hopeless.
In Jesus’ Name, Amen.