A Passage and A Prayer 3/13/19


Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship, not conforming to the pattern of this world, but transformed by the renewing of your mind. [Romans 12]

 
Everyone worships something. We were made to worship. This means it is part of human nature to put something on a pedestal and praise it, to uphold it as the highest good, and to revere it. God has placed this within us because God has called us to worship him- God is the One enthroned in heaven. But we put so many other things in God’s place.

You name it, somebody worships it. Our big ones in the United States are money, fame, sex, and self. We have become so low that we worship ourselves. Even Christians struggle. Why? Because worship is infectious. It gets in you, and it is hard to get out. And when we watch shows or listen to the news or shop or anything else in this world, we are tempted to take on the pattern of the world.

But we submit our bodies and souls to God, offering our very being as a sacrifice to Jesus. We (can/should) worship God in everything we do. Can you imagine what it would look like if you saw every moment of your life as an opportunity to worship Jesus, instead of one hour on Sunday?
 
Challenge: Worship God. Go for a walk and listen to praise or worship music. Or turn off your phone and read through some Psalms. Listen to a sermon or Christian radio station while driving around. You can access FIL’s livestream here: https://livestream.com/filministries or sermon audio here: http://www.filministries.org/sermon-audio/
 
Dear Jesus, we worship You. Be with us in every moment, guard us from conforming our lives to the world. We don’t want to become less human by worshiping anything less than God. Help us to see Your glory throughout our day and join in praising You at all times. In Your name, Amen.


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A Passage and A Prayer 3/12/19



“God… please… have mercy on me… I’m broken.” [Luke 18]

 
What does a good prayer sound like? It sounds like a real conversation with the real God of the universe. We don’t hide behind our words. We don’t try to make ourselves look better. We don’t try to impress God. Jesus has given us the privilege to pray, and He promises to pay attention.
 
I am a father; my toddler’s babble is just as meaningful as my older son’s “I love you.” And I know our conversations will get deeper and cover a greater range of topics, but for now I hear them no matter how they communicate. That’s what prayer is. It is communicating with our loving Daddy in heaven. So get talking- He wants to hear from you.
 
Challenge: Spend some time today in prayer. Feel free to use this model: ACTS. Adore- tell God why you appreciate him; Confess what is going wrong or where you are failing; Thanksgiving- share with God the blessings you’ve received and say “Thanks!”; Supplication- lift up anyone you know who is in need of God’s help or anything you yourself might be in need of.
 
Dear Triune God, I adore You because__________________________. I confess to You ___________________. I thank You for _____________________________. I ask that You supply these things in my life and in others’ _________________________________. In Jesus’ name, Amen.


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A Passage and A Prayer 3/11/19


“Now when all the people saw the thunder and the flashes of lightning… they were afraid and trembled, and they stood far off (from God), and said to Moses, ‘Please, you speak to us, and we will listen; but do not let God speak to us, or we are going to die.’” [Exodus 19]

 
You would probably love to hear from God, wouldn’t you? I have thought before, “God, please just speak with me. Let me know you are here. I need to know what you are up to, what you are thinking!” The people in the Old Testament had a lot they wanted to talk to God about, too. But when God actually spoke, they were overwhelmed. They were afraid they were going to die! Even though they knew who God was, they were not ready to hear him speak to them.
 
Are you ready to hear from God? Thanks to our relatives millennia ago, it is unlikely that God again will speak like he did on Mt. Sinai, but Jesus is the Word made flesh, and the Bible is the Word written down for all people. Are you turning to the Bible to hear what God has to say? We need to make ourselves available to hear from God, and God has chosen to speak to us today mainly through the Bible, which has been passed down from our ancestors so that we might know what God has to say.
 
Challenge: Open the Bible today and hear from God. If you don’t know where to start, begin with the book of John. Or the Psalms. But start. And keep going for the rest of the challenge. If you need help, go online and search for a Bible reading plan (like this one) or download the YouVersion Bible app. No more excuses: get in God’s word. Jesus has promised to meet you there.
 
Dear Jesus, we want to be with You. We want to hear from You. Speak to us, and bless us as we read the Bible. Show up and speak truth and life into our hearts and minds. Give us guidance and peace. We know that You are present in our lives; help make it even clearer as we read the Scriptures. In Your name we pray, Amen.


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A Passage and A Prayer 3/8/19

“We are handcrafted by God, created in Christ Jesus to do the very work that God prepared for us to do.”  Ephesians 2:10
 
Spinning around on a planet with 7 billion other people can really make a person feel small, worthless, inconsequential. There are literally billions of people smarter than me, or faster than me, or better looking than me, or… or… or… We can get swallowed up by the sheer weight of our smallness. But Jesus says something much different. Jesus says that each of us is vital. Each of us matters. Each of us has a specific job to do, and God has handcrafted us for it. That means that, even if there are a billion other people better at something than you, there no one better at the one thing God has prepared for you to do.

Jesus is leading us to serve others. That’s why we were created: to be life-giving people in service of all people. Slaves, really. Not looking to gain or garner anything for ourselves through a life of humble care. Rather, we carry out the work God has for us through serving others.
 
Jesus, You lived a life a service, choosing to help others rather than seek Your own prosperity. We have been made in Your image, blessed with Your purpose, empowered by Your Spirit. Help us to see our lives, too, as a chance to serve those You have placed in our lives. In Your name, Amen.


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A Passage and A Prayer 3/7/19


“As far as the east is from the west, so far have I separated you from your transgressions.” Psalm 103

 
“It’s not true!” your conscience screams. Not really. You are still the person who did those terrible things, who thought those despicable thoughts. You are the liar and cheat you always have been. What’s worse, we hold onto the sins and struggles of others. They will never be more than the sum of their past mistakes. Our hearts are so full of pain and hurt that we are blinded to reality.
 
You have been separated from your sinfulness. God performed open-sin surgery, and that demon was drowned. Put to death. Can the east ever meet the west? No. Can you ever be the sinful person God has already forgiven? No. But you still struggle to make this feel real. I know this, because I am just like you. We can’t wrap our minds around it. Our hearts fail to accept the new reality. And it keeps us from allowing the reality of forgiveness to shape our views of others.

Spend some time today coming to grips with the reality that God knows the darkest parts of you and still loves you. More than that, Jesus found that person to be so lovely that He gave up His life for that person. Jesus gave His life for you.
 
Dear Jesus, You forgive us and You strengthen us to forgive others. Help us to live in light of the freedom of forgiveness and unshackle us from the weight of our sins. In Your name, Amen.


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