Before we knew Jesus Christ, our life was full of godlessness and wickedness—we had self-seeking ways and stubborn, unrepentant hearts (Rom. 1:18; Rom. 2:5, Rom. 2:8). Like our strife-filled world, we clamored for peace and tried to find it, but our efforts failed.
When we came to faith in the Savior, all of that changed. We were rescued from the dominion of darkness and brought into Christ’s kingdom (Col. 1:13). Every one of our sins—past, present, and future—was forgiven. Divine justice was satisfied by Christ’s sacrifice, and God’s wrath upon us was removed. We became a new creation, washed clean by Jesus’ blood (2 Corinthians 5:17).
Now that sin’s power over us has been broken, we can become members of God’s family rather than His enemies (Rom. 5:10). He sent His Holy Spirit to be our personal guide in this new life, helping each of us experience Christ’s peace (Rom. 8:6). We also can look forward to an eternity spent in heaven, where righteousness, tranquility, and joy abound (Rom. 14:17).
The story of the Prodigal Son’s return is a picture of our reconciliation with the Lord (Luke 15:11-32). The young man had chosen to leave his father, living instead to please himself. Repentant, the son eventually returned home; his father joyfully greeted and forgave him, and there was harmony between them. God has done all this for us.
Our unity with the heavenly Father came at a great price—the sacrifice of His only Son. Christ gave His life for us so that we could be reconciled to God (Col. 1:20). Christian lives are to testify that Jesus is the source of our peace. Does your life communicate this message?
Bible in One Year: 1 Corinthians 11-13
Read: Luke 7:36–50
Bible in a Year: Ezekiel 37–39; 2 Peter 2
God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.—Romans 5:8
In Japan, food products are immaculately prepared and packaged. Not only must they taste good but they must look good too. Often I wonder if I am purchasing the food or the packaging! Because of the Japanese emphasis on good quality, products with slight defects are often discarded. However, in recent years wakeari products have gained popularity. Wakeari means “there is a reason” in Japanese. These products are not thrown away but are sold at a cheap price “for a reason”—for example, a crack in a rice cracker.
My friend who lives in Japan tells me that wakeari is also a catchphrase for people who are obviously less than perfect.
Jesus loves all people—including the wakeari who society casts aside. When a woman who had lived a sinful life learned that Jesus was eating at a Pharisee’s house, she went there and knelt behind Jesus at His feet, weeping (Luke 7:37–38). The Pharisee labeled her “a sinner” (v. 39), but Jesus accepted her. He spoke gently to her, assuring her that her sins were forgiven (v. 48).
Jesus loves imperfect, wakeari people—which includes you and me. And the greatest demonstration of His love for us is that “while we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Rom. 5:8). As recipients of His love, may we be conduits of His love to the flawed people around us so they too may know that they can receive God’s love despite their imperfections. —Albert Lee
I know I’m not perfect, Lord, so help me not to be hypocritical and pretend I have it all together. Open my heart to others in acceptance and love so that they might know Jesus’s concern for them.
Broken people are made whole by God’s love.
Several years ago, I had the opportunity to visit with some friends who live in Colorado. We spent a couple of days hiking in the beautiful San Isabel National Forest. Within this section of the Rocky Mountains are five major mountain ranges that rise from 5800 to over 14,400 feet and have the most mountain peaks above 14,000 feet. The difference in elevation affords one multiple views from different perspectives.
Starting at the tree line populated by various conifers, aspens, and cottonwoods, we climbed to the more barren alpine terrain dotted with scrub brush, alpine wildflowers, and wildlife. Reaching the ridgeline, the vistas of the valleys and trails below took on ever-new perspectives. Climbing higher gave a broader panorama, obviously, but each step taken presented ever-changing views. From my perspective, I thought I had seen everything on the trail, and yet new aspects of the horizon continually became visible.
Like hiking, life often has a way of shifting one’s perspective. While on the hike, I received a text message from a concerned relative. “Was I anywhere near the shootings?” the text read. I hadn’t learned yet about the horrible massacre that had occurred just hours earlier in an Aurora, Colorado theater where 12 people were killed and 58 were seriously injured. From striking beauty and the grandeur of mountain vistas to images of suburban sidewalks spattered with blood, our perspective shifted once again. Now the awe producing vistas of our hike were juxtaposed against the horror and terror of what should have been any other night at the movies in suburbia. While we had been enjoying the landscapes, others were fighting for their lives. While we laughed at marmots at play, others wept over their lost loved ones. While our feet trod lightly without a care in the world, others bore the weight of worry and fear that their loved ones, too, were among those killed. And this grievous juxtaposition of opposites occurs over and over again in contexts all around the world.
For [if we are] in Christ Jesus, neither circumcision nor uncircumcision counts for anything, but only faith activated and energized and expressed and working through love.— Galatians 5:6
More than anything else, God wants us to have genuine, pure, fervent love for Him and for others. If we can manage only one thing in our lives, it should be to love other people.
Many people think great faith is the number one sign of spiritual maturity. But I believe that walking in love is the true test of spiritual maturity, and I know that it energizes our faith walk.
The Bible teaches that faith works through love. Galatians 5:6 says what really counts is faith activated and energized and expressed and working through love. Love is not just what we say or a theory; it’s action.
Trying to walk in faith without love is like having a flashlight with no battery. We must keep our “love battery” charged at all times, otherwise our faith will not work! I believe Christians run into problems when they do not diligently pursue walking in love as a vital part of their faith and relationship with God.
So pursue a life of love, and watch your faith strengthen and grow. When God’s
“Always be full of joy in the Lord; I say it again, rejoice! Let everyone see that you are unselfish and considerate in all you do. Remember that the Lord is coming soon. Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything; tell God your needs and don’t forget to thank Him for His answers. If you do this you will experience God’s peace, which is far more wonderful than the human mind can understand. His peace will keep your thoughts and your hearts quiet and at rest as you trust in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:4-7).
Don and Ann wanted with all their hearts to please the Lord and worked at being victorious Christians. They diligently kept their quiet time and memorized Scripture, and they were faithful in church attendance. They did everything right. But as they said, “Even though we’ve claimed the fullness of the Holy Spirit by faith and tried to understand and apply identification truths [in which they sought to identify themselves with Christ, his crucifixion, burial and resurrection,] we just don’t seem to be enjoying the Christian life. There’s something missing.”
“In Philippians 4,” I told them, “you will find a surefire spiritual formula for victory in the Christian life. Just allow the Holy Spirit to make this passage a reality to you and apply the following as He enables you:
As an act of your will, decide that you’re going to be full of the joy of the Lord. You are the one who decides whether you’re going to rejoice or be discouraged and sad. Demonstrate before all men an unselfish, considerate attitude. Remember that the Lord can come at any moment, and be prepared.
Do not worry about anything.
Pray about everything.
Thank Him in faith for His answers.”
The results of practicing these steps is the most priceless and wonderful experience one can know, the supernatural peace of God that cannot be purchased or acquired in any other way. In order to succeed in this formula for supernatural living, of course, you must already be studying the Word of God, applying its truths to your life daily, living in the power of the Holy Spirit and sharing your faith in Christ with others.
Bible Reading: Isaiah 12:1-5
TODAY’S ACTION POINT: Today, as an act of my will, I shall claim the supernatural resources of God by faith and continue to experience and share the abundant life which is the heritage of all who trust and obey Him
Our daughter Jenna was born in Brazil. Soon after we brought her home we received a hefty bill. No matter how much I pleaded or explained, the insurance company said, “We won’t pay.” The hospital meanwhile said, “You must pay!” The bill was $2,500. The good news is that we paid the bill. The bad news is we were broke as a result.
Philippians 4:6 became a theme promise. “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God.” I was a novice to anxiety-free living, but I treated each anxious thought—and there were many—with prayer. “Lord, with your help I will not be anxious. But I’m in a foreign country with a new baby and an empty bank account. Hint, hint!” God took the hint!
God keeps His word. I just need to ask. Before amen—comes the power of a simple prayer!
Read more Before Amen
For more inspirational messages please visit Max Lucado.
Another day, another bombshell. Garrison Keillor, the former host of A Prairie Home Companion and longtime cultural icon, says he’s been fired by Minnesota Public Radio over allegations of improper behavior. And rapper Jay-Z admitted that he has cheated on his wife, Beyoncé.
This after Matt Lauer’s firing yesterday by NBC News stunned America. The list of powerful men facing allegations of sexual misconduct continues to grow by the day.
Media coverage has centered on these men and their actions. However, I have seen much less attention given to women who are the victims of such abuse. As a result, I will focus on them today.
As a man, I cannot comprehend what it is like for women to experience and disclose sexual abuse. But I can offer three biblical responses to their pain.
Your courage is to be applauded.
Megyn Kelly’s response to Lauer’s firing was especially powerful. After showing video of Today show anchors Savannah Guthrie and Hoda Kotb responding to the news, she replied: “I see the anguish in my colleagues’ faces. When this happens, what we don’t see is the pain on the faces of those who found the courage to come forward. It is a terrifying thing to do.”
She explained: “We don’t see the career opportunities women lose because of sexual harassment, or the intense stress it causes a woman dealing with it when she comes to work each day. I am thinking of those women this morning, hoping they are OK.
One day I posed a question to the waitress at a restaurant: “If you could ask God for anything, what would your request be?” Her answer was immediate. “I want to feel at peace.” She tearfully explained that her grandmother had died and emotional turmoil resulted.
Many in our world are like this woman, in that they desire inner calmness but have no relationship with the Lord. People often seek contentment by trying to improve their appearance, physical fitness, financial situation, or social status—or by abusing substances. But such things can’t bring tranquility of heart or mind. Only a relationship with Jesus leads to true peace.
Prior to salvation, we were slaves to sin and living in opposition to God (Col. 1:21). Our transgressions had formed a barrier of hostility between Him and us, and on our own, we were helpless to cross it. Without God’s intervention, we could not have found the way of peace. But our heavenly Father provided the perfect solution to our sin problem. He sent His Son to pay for our iniquities and remove the separation that existed between us and Him.
When we trusted Jesus as our Savior, we were reconciled to the Lord and no longer at odds with Him (Rom. 5:10). In Christ, we have peace with the Father.
Our triune God has provided everything we need for inner tranquility. The Father opened the way for us to be in His family. Jesus continually offers His peace so we can experience serenity of mind and heart (John 14:27). And the Holy Spirit cultivates the fruit of peace in our lives (Gal. 5:22).
Bible in One Year: 1 Corinthians 7-10
Read: Hebrews 2:14–18; 13:1–3
Bible in a Year: Ezekiel 35–36; 2 Peter 1
Remember those in prison as if you were together with them in prison.—Hebrews 13:3
Put on the R70i Age Suit and you immediately feel forty years older as you experience impaired vision, hearing loss, and reduced mobility. The Age Suit was designed to help caregivers better understand their patients. Wall Street Journal correspondent Geoffrey Fowler wore one and wrote, “The unforgettable, and at times distressing, experience shed light not just on aging, but also how virtual reality equipment can teach empathy and shape our perceptions of the world around us.”
Empathy is the power to understand and share the feelings of another. During a time of severe persecution against the followers of Jesus, the writer of Hebrews urged fellow believers to “continue to remember those in prison as if you were together with them in prison, and those who are mistreated as if you yourselves were suffering” (13:3).
This is exactly what our Savior has done for us. Jesus was made like us, “fully human in every way . . . that he might make atonement for the sins of the people. Because he himself suffered when he was tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted” (2:17-18).
Christ the Lord, who became like us, calls us to stand with others “as if [we] were together with them” during their time of need. —David C. McCasland
Lord Jesus, we marvel at Your willingness to share our flesh and blood in order to purchase our salvation. Give us grace to stand with others who are in need today.
Jesus calls us to stand with others as if we were in their place.
INSIGHT: Hebrews 2:17-18 tell us that Jesus had to take all human suffering and sin upon Himself to both understand and heal humanity. But is it possible for each of us to truly empathize and help believers who are suffering? Hebrews suggests “yes,” noting that the church is the family of God (2:10-14; 13:1). In a loving family, emotional ties are so strong that when another family member suffers, everyone suffers right with them (13:3). Similarly, Paul argues that because believers are united in Christ as one body through His Spirit, when anyone suffers, everyone is affected (1 Cor. 12:26). Yet the church’s uniquely powerful love should also be extended to “strangers” outside the church (Heb. 13:2), for each believer was loved by God while still an outsider (Rom. 5:8).
How does strengthening relationships within the church enable more effective outreach to those outside the faith? Monica Brands
There are a great many companies that think very highly of you and all that you deserve. You deserve the best. You have earned a vacation. You deserve to splurge on this because you’re worth it. Whether in plenty or times of economic downturn, flattery actually remains one of the most effective psychological drivers that compounds debt. In a HSBC Direct survey during one such downturn, forty-two percent of the consumers interviewed said they had splurged on themselves in the past month despite hardship. Twenty-eight percent cited their reason for the splurge as simply “because I deserve it.”(1)
Of course, each of us who has ever bought into the idea that L’Oreal thinks I am worth it or BMW believes I deserve the ultimate driving experience probably realizes that we have done exactly that: we have bought the idea, paid for both the product and the flattering suggestion. No one is giving away these things because they think we are worth it; their flattery is quite literally calculated. In effect, it’s not that they think so highly of us, so much as that they want us to think highly of ourselves. Whether we see through this empty sycophancy or not, Geoff Mulgan believes it is working: “‘[B]ecause you’re worth it’ has come to epitomise banal narcissism of early 21st century capitalism; easy indulgence and effortless self-love all available at a flick of the credit card.”(2) The enticing words are an invitation to reward ourselves, and it just so happens we agree that we’re worth it—and they are glad.
There is of course much that can be drawn from reflecting on the intemperate desires of a consumer culture and the imagination fostered within its confines. A consumerist view of the world holds a very particular view of humanity and its worth. Beside this prominent vision, the drama of the Christian story fosters another imagination, along with the space and invitation to try on its counterintuitive system of worth. The invitation of a creator who so values creation that he steps into it is one that presents every opportunity to question the psychological drivers of empty flattery and consumer seduction. The Father gives us in Christ a mediator, an advocate, a vicarious redeemer of human identity in human form. While the imagination of a consumer promises flattery, the free invitation of Christ gives a startling commentary on a similar kind of compliment, within a very different transaction. Choosing to become human, Christ has indeed proclaimed our worth. But there is nothing required to accept this unfathomable gesture of a God who takes on flesh.
A time will come, however, indeed it is already here, when the true (genuine) worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and in truth (reality); for the Father is seeking just such people as these as His worshipers.— John 4:23
Worship is so much more than just singing songs. It is a condition of the heart and a state of mind. We can even worship God passionately without singing a single note. Our worship for God is born in our hearts, it fills our thoughts, and it is expressed through the words we speak and the way we live.
The world often thinks of worship as “religion,” which could not be further from the biblical concept of worship. It’s about a personal relationship, spiritual intimacy and passionate expressions of devotion from people who love God with all their hearts. This is true worship.
The Bible says that God is seeking those who worship Him “in spirit and in truth.”
I find it interesting that He does not want just anybody to worship Him. He wants genuine people who sincerely live in His Truth. He does not want to be worshipped out of fear, obligation or religion.
True worship is a result of intimacy with God. Worship God today with your whole heart, and be a worshiper in spirit and in truth!
“God, who called you to become His child, will do all this for you, just as He promised” (1 Thessalonians 5:24).
Have you ever substituted your own name in a promise like that? I have, and the result is staggering, overwhelming. “God, who called Bill Bright to become His child, will do all this for me, just as He promised.”
Include your name in the verse, and the effect will be the same for you. It is incredible that before the very foundation of the world God chose and called you and me to become His children. His foreknowledge makes possible many of the mysteries we puzzle over today.
Your sanctification (setting apart) – and mine – depends upon God, and since He has begun a good work in us, He will see it through to completion. God requires holiness (another word for sanctification) and He is the resource upon whom we may call for accomplishment of that requirement.
While it is true we will never be completely and totally holy in this life, it is equally true that provision is made for us to be holy. Every moment that you and I are under the control of God’s Holy Spirit, is a moment that we are holy! Looked at in that light, the task of acquiring holiness does not seem so impossible to attain.
The principle is clear: God never gives a command without the enablement to obey it.
Bible Reading: 2 Thessalonians 3:3-5
TODAY’S ACTION POINT: I will see myself as a child of God, the beneficiary of His multitudinous blessings, capable of living a supernatural life and bearing fruit for His glory through His enablement
Look around. People thrash about in seas of guilt, anger, despair. Life isn’t working. We’re drowning fast. But God can rescue us. And only one message matters…His! We need to see God’s glory. Make no mistake. God has no ego problem. He doesn’t reveal His glory for His good. We need to witness it for ourselves. We need a strong hand to pull us into a safe boat. And once aboard, what becomes our priority? Simple. Promote God. Hey, strong boat over here! Able pilot! He can pull you out!
1 Chronicles 16:24 says, “Declare His glory among the nations, His marvelous deeds among all peoples.” If we boast at all, we boast in the Lord! Psalm 115:1 says, “Not to us, O Lord, not to us, but to Your name give glory because of Your lovingkindness, because of Your truth. So…Declare His glory!
From Lucado Inspirational Reader
For more inspirational messages please visit Max Lucado.
Matt Lauer has been a fixture on American television for more than two decades. He began his career at NBC News as a news anchor on the Today show. In 1998, he became co-anchor of that program and has continued in that capacity for nearly twenty years.
Lauer has co-hosted the opening ceremonies of several Olympic Games. He has appeared on numerous other television shows and has interviewed presidential candidates and global celebrities. He has been one of the most recognizable and successful figures in American culture.
This morning, NBC News announced that he had been fired for “inappropriate sexual behavior.” NBC News Chairman Andy Lack released a statement to his employees that begins:
“On Monday night, we received a detailed complaint from a colleague about inappropriate sexual behavior in the workplace by Matt Lauer. It represented, after serious review, a clear violation of our company’s standards. As a result, we’ve decided to terminate his employment. While it is the first complaint about his behavior in the over twenty years he’s been at NBC News, we were also presented with reason to believe this may not have been an isolated incident.”
Lauer’s Today show co-anchors Savannah Guthrie and Hoda Kotb announced his firing at the beginning of this morning’s broadcast. Near tears, Guthrie said, “All we can say is we are heartbroken; I’m heartbroken.”
She described Lauer as “a dear, dear friend” and added that she was “heartbroken for the brave colleague who came forward to tell her story.” She continued, “How do you reconcile your love for someone with the revelation that they have behaved badly?”
As you discuss this developing story with friends and colleagues today, please remember three biblical principles.
Private sin never stays private. (more…)
Did you know that you are an heir to unimaginable wealth that will never fade away? If you’re a believer, then God has an inheritance reserved for you in heaven. In fact, He says you have already obtained it. (See Eph. 1:11.) Your right to this treasure is not based on anything that you’ve done, but on the one to whom you belong. If you are a child of God, then the inheritance is yours and will be “revealed in the last time” (1 Peter 1:4-5).
No one can take our inheritance from us, because God has guaranteed it by sealing us with His Holy Spirit of promise. The transaction is complete and merely awaits the ultimate consummation when everything will be brought under the headship of Christ. This seal shows His ownership and authority over us, and one day our full redemption will come.
Naturally, we all want to know what we’re going to inherit. Much of that is beyond our earthly comprehension, but Scripture gives us a few hints. It will involve the transformation of both our body and soul. The goal for which God predestined us will be completed as we stand before Him, conformed to the likeness of His Son (Rom. 8:29; 1 John 3:2). And these weak, perishable bodies will be changed into strong, glorious ones that are free from sin and death (Phil. 3:20-21).
Why has God done all of this for us? Amazingly, He says it’s so that throughout eternity He can show us “the surpassing riches of His grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus” (Eph. 2:7). In love and gratitude for such amazing goodness, let’s devote each day of our life to living for Him.
Bible in One Year: 1 Corinthians 4-6
Read: Amos 4:12–13
Bible in a Year: Ezekiel 33–34; 1 Peter 5
[He] who creates the wind, . . . the LORD God Almighty is his name.—Amos 4:13
One day by the seaside, I delighted in watching some kite surfers as they bounced along the water, moved by the force of the wind. When one came to shore, I asked him if the experience was as difficult as it looked. “No,” he said, “It’s actually easier than regular surfing because you harness the power of the wind.”
Afterward as I walked by the sea, thinking about the wind’s ability not only to propel the surfers but also to whip my hair into my face, I paused to wonder at our God the Creator. As we see in the Old Testament book of Amos, He who “forms the mountains” and “creates the wind” can turn “dawn to darkness” (v. 13).
Through this prophet, the Lord reminded His people of His power as He called them back to Himself. Because they had not obeyed Him, He said He would reveal Himself to them (v. 13). Although we see His judgment here, we know from elsewhere in the Bible of His sacrificial love in sending His Son to save us (see John 3:16).
The power of the wind on this breezy day in the South of England reminded me of the sheer immensity of the Lord. If you feel the wind today, why not stop and ponder our all-powerful God? —Amy Boucher Pye
Father, thank You for Your power and love. Help us to daily rely on You.
God through His love created the world. Praise Him!
INSIGHT: The Bible uses many metaphors to describe God and His work in our lives: For example, God is a “shepherd” (Ps. 23:1; Isa. 40:11), a “rock” (Gen. 49:24), a “consuming fire” (Deut. 4:24), and a “spring of living water” (Jer. 2:13). But at the dawn of creation, God was likened to a powerful wind. Genesis 1:2 says “the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters.” The Hebrew word rendered “Spirit” in this verse means “wind.” We can’t see the wind, but we can feel the coolness of a gentle breeze and witness the raw power of a violent tornado uprooting trees and destroying everything in its path. The wind pictures for us God’s invisible presence, His sovereign will, His awesome power, and His mysterious ways. Jesus spoke of this same power of the Spirit of God at work in transforming our lives: “The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit” (John 3:8).
As you reflect on our powerful God, how does your heart respond? Sim Kay Tee
On a recent visit to my local grocery superstore it hit me. I was standing in an aisle with over thirty types of orange juice and I couldn’t make up my mind about which kind I should buy. Pulp-free or extra-pulp? Added vitamin D plus calcium or anti-oxidant plus? No sugar or low-sugar? Low-acid or heart-healthy and fiber-rich? It didn’t occur to me to ask why there were this many varieties of orange juice.
The reality of an abundance of choices doesn’t just hit me as I stand in the grocery store. It pervades my reality. At the food court in the mall, or in the sporting goods store, or the electronics store, or while on the internet, the abundance of choices overwhelms me and I am paralyzed to choose. Especially during November and December when holiday buying becomes the dominant theme, I find myself numbed by choice. More often than I care to admit, once I do decide, I am less satisfied with what I choose. In the back of my mind swirl all the other options. Did I make the right decision or buy the right gift? The question plagues me and steals all of the joy of having been able to make a choice in the first place.
Author and psychologist Barry Schwartz argues that too many choices often have a negative impact:
“All of this choice has two effects, two negative effects on people. One effect, paradoxically, is that it produces paralysis, rather than liberation. With so many options to choose from, people find it very difficult to choose at all. The second effect is that even if we manage to overcome the paralysis and make a choice, we end up less satisfied with the result of the choice than we would be if we had fewer options to choose from.”(1)
It is not hard to understand that the more options there are, the easier it is to regret anything that is disappointing about the option that you chose. Schwartz suggests that this is because the multiplicity of choices heightens our expectations. When there are not as many options human expectation is mediated. But when there are endless options, our expectations become heightened. The more heightened the expectation the more inevitable the disappointment.(2) Perhaps this is why many travelers to poorer nations are surprised to find so much more happiness and contentment among people who have so little.
But let endurance and steadfastness and patience have full play and do a thorough work, so that you may be [people] perfectly and fully developed [with no defects], lacking in nothing.— James 1:4
When you and I say to God, “Change me,” we need to understand what we’re saying because all of the changes we need to make won’t happen overnight. Instead, what God is going to do is give us an opportunity, through opposition, to grow as we change.
James 1:4 tells us how important it is to have patience when we’re changing and facing opposition. Patience is a fruit of the Spirit that only develops and grows under trial, and it’s something we need. Scripture tells us that when we have it, we’re perfect and entire, lacking nothing. However, there’s just no way to get it without going through something in order to receive it.
If we really want to be victorious Christians who serve God and make a difference in the world, then we are going to have to go through some challenging things. The devil will try to discourage you every chance he gets, but God is greater than your enemy, and He can bring you through any challenge victoriously.
So today, choose to let God work through you, even in the face of opposition. As your patience grows and develops, you will step into a life of great victory.
“And I am sure the God who began the good work within you will keep right on helping you grow in His grace until His task within you is finally finished on that day when Jesus Christ returns” (Philippians 1:6).
Howard was adamant in his conviction. “I would never lead anyone to Christ that I could not personally follow up to be sure he matures and grows and becomes all that God wants him to be.”
“Since when did you assume the responsibility of the Holy Spirit?” I asked.
Obviously, we are to do everything we can to help a new believer grow to maturity in Christ – by teaching him to trust God, study His word, pray, live a holy life, and share his faith with others. But no matter how much we do, it is the Holy Spirit who helps the new believer come to Christ, and who illumines his heart with the Word. The Holy Spirit teaches us how to pray and empowers us to witness. In fact, there would be no supernatural life apart from the Holy Spirit.
Paradoxically, you and I can be confident, yet humble, when we think of all that we are, and all that we have in Christ, and realize that we are not responsible for any of it, but it is something which God has given us according to His grace. My only boast is in God, His Son Jesus Christ and His indwelling Holy Spirit. How can I boast of my abilities and achievements, when it is the Giver alone who is worthy of all honor and praise? The apostle Paul had the strong conviction that the work God had begun in the believer would be permanent. All events that transpire in our lives, all influences, heartaches, testings and sorrows, as well as all of the blessings, are designed to conform us to the image of Christ.
Bible Reading: 1 Corinthians 1:4-9
TODAY’S ACTION POINT: God, who saved me, continues to work in my life, conforming me to the image of Christ. Therefore, I will continue to trust and obey Him, as I draw upon His supernatural resources
What matters to you matters to God! You probably think that’s true when it comes to the big stuff like death, disease, sin, and disaster. But what about the smaller things? What about grouchy bosses or flat tires? What about broken dishes, late flights, toothaches, or a crashed hard drive? Do these matter to God?
Let me tell you who you are! In fact, let me proclaim who you are! The Bible says you are an heir of God and a co-heir with Christ. You have a crown that will last forever. You were chosen before the creation of the world. But more than anything else is the simple fact—you are God’s child. 1 John 3:4 says we are called children of God. And we really are His children. I love that we really are His children! And if something is important to you—it’s important to God!
From Lucado Inspirational Reader
For more inspirational messages please visit Max Lucado.