Faith is Something We Do: March 2018
When Jesus saw his mother there, and the disciple whom he loved standing nearby, he said to her, “Woman, here is your son,” 27 and to the disciple, “Here is your mother.” From that time on, this disciple took her into his home. John 19:26-27 (New International Version NIV)
Even on the cross, Jesus was concerned with the importance of relationship. He commended His mother and His friend to care for each other. We are made to be in relationship with others, and that relationship carries with it the responsibility to care for the other just as a mother and son would do. As followers of Jesus, we are called to offer His comfort and care to all those whom God sends.
Show me those in my life that are “invisible” and how am I being called to “see” them. Show me how I can be more open to serving those whom You send into my life. You made each of us in Your image. Help me to recognize You in each person that I meet. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
“Crucify him!” they shouted. Mark 15:1-13 (New International Version NIV)
The crowd, who previously welcomed Jesus to Jerusalem, was disappointed as they saw Him standing helpless before the Roman governor unwilling to make any defense. Stirred up by the priests, they said release the murderer Barabbas and crucify Jesus.
We too face the same decision this crowd had to make between Barabbas and Jesus. Have you ever been disappointed in Jesus or angry with God? Have you ever expected Him to act in a certain way despite God telling us His thoughts are not our thoughts, neither are His ways our ways? (Isaiah 55:8-9) And like this crowd, when we get angry with God and upset with Jesus and turn from Him, there is another “Barabbas or Christ” decision to be made.
I realize that life is confronting me all the time with decisions to choose “Barabbas or Christ”. Grant that I may always choose the Lord Jesus. Help me to not just “talk the talk,” but also “walk the walk.” Amen.
Then he said to them, “My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death. Stay here and keep watch with me.” Matthew 26:38 (New International Version NIV)
An angel from heaven appeared to him and strengthened him. Luke 22:43 (New International Version NIV)
13 No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it. 1 Corinthians 10:13 (New International Version)
Often the place of our greatest pain becomes the place of our greatest triumph. Gethsemane was the place of Jesus’ greatest trial. He asked the Father to let this trial pass. It was not to be. God sent His Son to the cross to pay a debt owed by humanity.
Jesus was faced with temptation to quit. It was a personal battle to persevere. Sometimes we face situations that make us want to quit. We feel we can no longer endure. We question what little faith we have left and conclude that this faith thing simply doesn’t work.
Jesus asked the Father if this cup could pass. The Father’s answer to Jesus’ prayer was “No.” But, His compassion for His Son came in the form of an angel. Some temptations seem to be more than we can bear. However, God tells us He will not expose us to a burden more than we can bear.
If we persevere we often realize later the place of our greatest battle becomes the place of our greatest victory. The battle Jesus won in Gethsemane would result in the triumphant entry as Lord of the universe.
God will use your greatest failure or greatest sorrow to be a powerful force in your life and the lives of others.
If you find yourself in your Garden of Gethsemane, lay yourself at the feet of the only one who can sustain you. Entrust yourself to your Heavenly Father. Let Him determine your fate. It will ultimately become a place of victory.
He then began to teach them that the Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders, the chief priests and the teachers of the law, and that he must be killed and after three days rise again. Mark 8:31 (New International Version NIV)
5 In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus: 6 Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; 7 rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. 8 And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death even death on a cross! 9 Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, 10 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, 11 and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. Philippians 2:5-11 (New International Version NIV)
Knowing Jesus is God’s Messiah is one thing. Following Jesus as our Lord is quite another. Getting our minds, hearts, and lives in line is a challenge. Once Jesus’ disciples confessed Him as the Messiah, He knew He had to teach them the real road to glory. Each of the Gospels reminds us that this road led to the cross of agony before it led to the crown of glory. We are heaven-bound, but we can be sure that we will encounter obstacles along the way, with many steep hills to climb as Evil tries to defeat us. Our Savior, however, has already walked this road, and He is our great reminder that the path leads us to share in His glory.
I know believers who are struggling to faithfully follow Jesus. Give them the strength and the courage to endure, and I pray that You use me to encourage them and to help them through this dark time in their lives. Bless them. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
“Simon, Simon, Satan has asked to sift all of you as wheat. 32 But I have prayed for you, Simon, that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned back, strengthen your brothers.” Luke 22:31-32 (New International Version)
There are times that I have perceived myself to be at one place spiritually only to discover that I was far from it. Peter perceived himself to be so spiritually strong that he was prepared to suffer greatly for his Master. However, Jesus knew that Peter’s enthusiasm didn’t match reality.
Jesus told Peter that he would deny Him three times that very day. Peter couldn’t believe what Jesus was saying.
Sometimes the lessons we must learn are very painful. Jesus knew it was necessary to purge Peter from his sin of self-righteousness. This lesson forced Peter to face his misperception of where he was in his relationship to Jesus. He wept bitterly once he realized he had done exactly what Jesus had predicted.
Confrontation with reality is sometimes necessary. Don’t be surprised if Jesus allows you to experience some painful circumstance designed to bring you to greater maturity in your walk with Him. It may not be a fun experience when you go through it, but you will, like Peter, become a leader whom God will use to lead others.
“Simon, Simon, Satan has asked to sift all of you as wheat. 32 But I have prayed for you, Simon, that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned back, strengthen your brothers.” 33 But he replied, “Lord, I am ready to go with you to prison and to death.” 34 Jesus answered, “I tell you, Peter, before the rooster crows today, you will deny three times that you know me.”….
54 Then seizing him, they led him away and took him into the house of the high priest. Peter followed at a distance. 55 And when some there had kindled a fire in the middle of the courtyard and had sat down together, Peter sat down with them. 56 A servant girl saw him seated there in the firelight. She looked closely at him and said, “This man was with him.” 57 But he denied it. “Woman, I don’t know him,” he said. 58 A little later someone else saw him and said, “You also are one of them.” “Man, I am not!” Peter replied. 59 About an hour later another asserted, “Certainly this fellow was with him, for he is a Galilean.” 60 Peter replied, “Man, I don’t know what you’re talking about!” Just as he was speaking, the rooster crowed. 61 The Lord turned and looked straight at Peter. Then Peter remembered the word the Lord had spoken to him: “Before the rooster crows today, you will disown me three times.” 62 And he went outside and wept bitterly.
Luke 22:31-34,54-62 (New International Version NIV)
Even though Jesus knew that His friend would betray Him, He still prayed for Peter’s faith. In fact, Jesus not only trusted that this relational rough spot would be reconciled, but also that Peter would come out of it with the ability to strengthen other believers.
Because we are all human, rough spots are bound to come up in our relationships. The question is , what are we going to do when we encounter them?
When the hour came, Jesus and his apostles reclined at the table. 15 And he said to them, “I have eagerly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer. 16 For I tell you, I will not eat it again until it finds fulfillment in the kingdom of God.” 17 After taking the cup, he gave thanks and said, “Take this and divide it among you. 18 For I tell you I will not drink again from the fruit of the vine until the kingdom of God comes.” 19 And he took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them, saying, “This is my body given for you; do this in remembrance of me.”20 In the same way, after the supper he took the cup, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood, which is poured out for you. 21 But the hand of him who is going to betray me is with mine on the table. 22 The Son of Man will go as it has been decreed. But woe to that man who betrays him!” 23 They began to question among themselves which of them it might be who would do this. 24 A dispute also arose among them as to which of them was considered to be greatest. 25 Jesus said to them, “The kings of the Gentiles lord it over them; and those who exercise authority over them call themselves Benefactors. 26 But you are not to be like that. Instead, the greatest among you should be like the youngest, and the one who rules like the one who serves. 27 For who is greater, the one who is at the table or the one who serves? Is it not the one who is at the table? But I am among you as one who serves. Luke 22:14-27 (New International Version NIV)
During this intimate gathering between Jesus and his closest friends, Jesus must listen to them argue about who is the best. Somehow, Jesus’ followers haven’t yet comprehended His daily example of the Kingdom being powered by the servant. This thinking is so countercultural that even the men who walked alongside Jesus every day had a hard time putting it into practice.
On the evening of that first day of the week, when the disciples were together, with the doors locked for fear of the Jewish leaders, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you!” John 20:19 (New International Version NIV)
After Jesus was crucified and raised from the dead, He appeared to the disciples. His first words to them were, “Peace be with you!” When Jesus appeared to the disciples, they received unconditional love and acceptance. When someone loves you unconditionally it becomes a powerful force in your life.
Jesus understood that the disciples needed to fail Him as part of their training. It would be this failure that became their greatest motivation for service. Failure allowed them to experience incredible grace for the very first time. Grace would transform them as human beings.
If you were the leader of a group and you poured your life into them, teaching them all you know for three years, only to have them disband and go their own way when troubles came, what would you say to them after you were reunited for the first time? Would you scold them and site each one’s offense or shame them for their lack of faithfulness and courage?
Have you extended grace to those who have hurt you? Can you let go of any wrongs that have come through friends or associates? The grace you extend may change their lives and yours.
Jesus declared, “I am the bread of life. He who comes to me will never go hungry, and he who believes in me will never be thirsty.” John 6:35 (New International Version NIV)
We are hungry for food at regular intervals during the day. But deep in our soul is a hunger. This hunger can’t be filled by food, drink, or chemicals. This hunger is the desire built into us by our Creator that can only be satisfied through God.
Fill me with Your Holy Spirit. Give me Daily Bread, that I may find life in all its fullness. Fill me and touch me with Your presence so that I can serve You by blessing those around me with Your love and grace. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
I want to know Christ—yes, to know the power of his resurrection and participation in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, 11 and so, somehow, attaining to the resurrection from the dead. Philippians 3:10-11
Coming over to us, he took Paul’s belt, tied his own hands and feet with it and said, “The Holy Spirit says, ‘In this way the Jewish leaders in Jerusalem will bind the owner of this belt and will hand him over to the Gentiles.’” 12 When we heard this, we and the people there pleaded with Paul not to go up to Jerusalem. Acts 21:11-12 (New International Version)
Paul understood his personal mission, which should be the personal mission of every believer. It can be reduced to three important characteristics: to know Christ; to know and experience His power; to identify with His sufferings.
Everything else is a by-product of these three. Salvation, miracles and Christ likeness are by-products. Paul’s focus was on his relationship with Christ. He understood that the deeper the relationship, the more power he would experience. He also understood that as he grew in this relationship, there would be suffering. Whenever the Light confronts the darkness, there is a battle, and this often results in casualties. Christ confronted these earthly kingdoms and suffered for it. If we are living at this level of obedience, we too will face similar battles; it simply comes with the territory.
Make this my personal mission statement. Center my life on knowing Christ and the power of His resurrection. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
Rend your heart and not your garments. Return to the LORD your God, for he is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and abounding in love, and he relents from sending calamity. Joel 2:13 (New International Version NIV)
God is so “gracious and compassionate.” This is true even when we’ve messed up big time. In fact, when we sin, He longs to forgive, not condemn and punish. His grace greets our heartbreak with forgiveness and redemption.
Help me see my sin as You do. Soothe my remorse over my sin when I’ve rebelled against You. I want to always appreciate the great cost You paid to redeem, forgive, and cleanse me with Your grace. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
For those who are led by the Spirit of God are the children of God. Romans 8:14 (New International Version)
The greatest sign that we are maturing in our walk with God is when we can discern the difference between “good things” and “God-things.”
Each of us must have the discernment to know when God is leading in a matter, or if it is simply a good idea. There are many things in which we can be involved, and the more successful you become, the greater the temptation to enter into things where God has not called us.
Some years ago, I entered into a project that I thought would help many people. After 3 years, the project had to be discontinued. It was a great lesson on understanding what projects have God’s blessing on them. There are some projects we might get involved in that result in little fruit compared to the investment put into them. That is because they may never have been birthed by the Holy Spirit.
As children of God, we are called to be led by the Spirit. This requires listening, waiting, and moving only when God’s Spirit tells us to move.
Make me a person who is led by Your Spirit. Keep me from lagging behind or moving ahead. Reveal whether the next project I consider is a “good thing” or a “God-thing.” In Jesus’ name, Amen.
“His master replied, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!” Matthew 25:21 (New International Version NIV)
In sports, we ascertain the “choke” point for athletes by putting them into a pressure situation. It is under these stressful times that we discover how well they have been trained to withstand the pressure and make right decisions regardless of outside influences. In my younger days, I played sports. I came to observe that failure under pressure usually came because we reach a point where our ability to focus on execution yields to concern about outcome. This worry about outcome forces us to lose our concentration. The fear of failure begins to rule our emotions and actions, which ultimately results in our failure. What we fear has come upon us. It becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy.
In life, we see giving in to pressure in the form of compulsive behavior, withdrawal, anger, abuse, moral failure, and dishonesty to name a few.
Jesus never yielded to pressure. He always performed the same no matter what the circumstance. As God entrusts us with more responsibility, He brings more pressures into our lives to test us to make sure that He can give more responsibility to us. This process helps us see where we are in our maturity and determines our level of future responsibility. To perform as God intended, we must be continually in relationship with and obedient to God. Trust God. He has made you to perform well under pressure.
“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” John 16:33 (New International Version NIV)
Thank You for giving me hope in the face of my trials and temptations. Bring this Scripture to my mind whenever I am feeling down. Because Jesus overcame the world, I too can overcome the world. Grant me joy and cheer and initiative to keep moving forward. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
”I in them and you in me—so that they may be brought to complete unity. Then the world will know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.” John 17:23 (New International Version NIV)
Jesus made a profound statement that has the potential to change the world if we simply apply it. This one truth would allow people to see Jesus and respond to the Gospel like nothing we have ever experienced. It’s the key to unlocking the door of salvation to so many that are lost. Yet it is the one thing we believers fail at the most.
Lack of unity among His Body of believers prevents Christ from being revealed to so many. Efforts have been made, but our Body remains fragmented and weak. According to Wikipedia there are some 41,000 Christian denominations in the world and more cropping up daily. Does this sound like unity?
God has called each of us individually and corporately to represent Christ to the world, but our independence, pride, and ego prevent us from becoming unified in the purposes of Christ.
The adage, “United we stand, divided we fall,” is not just a good battle cry; it is a spiritual truth that will determine the fate of many souls.
Allow me to be an instrument to unify Your Body. Make me a catalyst for unity and not an instrument of division. Allow people to see Jesus because of the unity they see in my family and my church. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
“I have brought you glory on earth by finishing the work you gave me to do.” John 17:4 (New International Version NIV)
Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know.” Jeremiah 33:3 (New International Version NIV)
We are to love the Lord our God with all our heart and to love our neighbor as ourselves. Jesus’ desire is for us to know Him and the power of His resurrection. The fruit of this relationship is our glorifying Him by completing the work He has given each of us to do. It will become a by-product of this relationship, not an end in itself.
Jesus never did anything the Father hadn’t instructed Him to do. He lived in such communion with the Father that He knew when to turn left and when to turn to the right. I believe it is possible to have such a relationship with our heavenly Father by following the example of Jesus.
Whatever work He has called you to do, He will use you as His instrument to accomplish something that He has uniquely prepared you to do.
When our life is complete, what a glorious day it will be if we can each say, “I have completed the work You gave me to do.”
“I will not say much more to you, for the prince of this world is coming. He has no hold over me, 31 but he comes so that the world may learn that I love the Father and do exactly what my Father has commanded me.” (John 14:30-31 New International Version)
There is a constant war going on between our flesh and the Spirit. As Christians, the Spirit seeks to move us to fulfill all that for which we were created. Every person was designed to be under some form of authority. Jesus modeled this in His own life. He lived under the authority of His Heavenly Father. He made no independent decisions. He, unlike us, was sinless and always remained under His Father’s authority. He acknowledged that the prince of this world has a hold on many but did not have a hold on Jesus.
The prince of this world has a hold on many in our world, even among our brothers and sisters. Freedom to make our own decisions is the one thing most of us want the most. However, Jesus chose to live under the authority of the Father’s desire for His life. He was the ultimate model of a man under authority.
Each day we must determine if we’ll willingly choose to be under the authority of the Father and the direction of the Holy Spirit. It’s a choice each of us must make. It is a choice that leads to freedom, not bondage. Choosing to live under the authority of our Heavenly Father frees us to gain the greatest fulfillment in life. That is His mission and the purposes He has for us. It is the little decisions of daily life that reveal whether we truly live under His authority.
Then he called the crowd to him along with his disciples and said: “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. 35 For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me and for the gospel will save it. 36 What good is it for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul? 37 Or what can anyone give in exchange for their soul?” Mark 8:34-37 (New International Version)
Leaving the crowd to follow Jesus might sound straightforward. We simply step away from the group and walk into new territory.
A moment like this could make us feel brave and even proud. It’s easy to fall into thinking it’s our own strength that pulls us away from the crowd. But thankfully, it isn’t. We wouldn’t get far. Walking away from our old lives needs to happen in a state of surrender to God.
Surrender is the difference between the crowd and the disciple.
“But what about you?” he asked. “Who do you say I am?” Peter answered, “God’s Messiah.” Luke 9:20 (New International Version NIV)
A lot of people have their own opinions about who Jesus is. The real issue, however, is what you believe about Jesus. What you decide about God’s Son means everything for you and for those you influence. Look at Jesus’ question to His disciples as if He is asking it of you: “Who do you say I am?” I pray that your answer is the same as Peter’s: “You are the Messiah, the Son of God.”
Thank You for Jesus, who is my Lord, Savior, friend, and brother. Thank You for Your love demonstrated by Him on the Cross. In Jesus’ mighty name, Amen.
Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die; 26 and whoever lives by believing in me will never die. Do you believe this?” John 11:25-26 (New International Version NIV)
This is the most important question you will ever answer. Do you really believe this? Do you believe that when you died with Christ in baptism through faith, that you died the most significant death and that your physical death will not separate you from Jesus? All of life and eternity for you hangs on this one question.
Because You have adopted me into Your family, death will never claim me. Help me live with confidence knowing that Satan can’t have me, and death can’t claim me because I am Yours through Jesus, Your Son and my Lord. Amen.
Seek good, not evil, that you may live. Then the LORD God Almighty will be with you, just as you say he is. Amos 5:14 (New International Version NIV)
Throughout history many evil groups have claimed to have God on their side. Horrific things have been done under the guise of a “Christian” movement. The Bible says we can recognize people by their fruit. Those who seek good and abhor evil and those who practice justice and mercy are the ones who have God with them.
Let’s make sure our claim of God’s presence is matched by the presence of God’s character in our lives.
Even as he spoke, many believed in him. John 8:30 (New International Version)
While we often talk about Jesus as our Lord and Savior, we can also find it easy to ignore His voice.
Be with me as I seek to know Jesus better and obey His words more faithfully as I read Your Holy Scriptures. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness but will have the light of life.” John 8:12 (New International Version)
Darkness is more than a symbol; it is a pervasive way of living and viewing the world. Darkness is the place of deception, evil, crime, predators, sin, and death. To follow Jesus means to bring Him our heart and let Him cast out the darkness that plagues us on the inside, so we don’t have to be afraid of the darkness on the outside. In this way, Jesus gives us light, but it is a light that does more than fill a dark room. This is a light that illumines the heart.
Thank You for sending Jesus to cast away the dark fears that so easily envelope me. Grant me strength and courage to not only live in the light but show others their way to the light. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness but will have the light of life.” John 8:12 (New International Version NIV)
My joy is finding Jesus, who lights my heart on my darkest nights, and lights my way with His words of truth.
Thank You for the light of my life. Until my face reflects the light of Your glory, I know Jesus will light my way. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
When they kept on questioning him, he straightened up and said to them, “Let any one of you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.” John 8:7 (New International Version NIV)
When we find it easy to identify the sin of others, God wants us to be reminded of how important it is for us to take a rigorously honest inventory of our own faithfulness. He wants us to deal with our own sin before we evaluate anyone else.
Forgive me for my sins, especially for the sin of a critical and judgmental spirit. Deliver me from such hurtful and evil habits and bless me with faithfulness. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth. John 1:14 (New International Version)
Jesus generously shared a life of boldness and authenticity. He became fully man and moved into the neighborhood. The Son of God came to where we were, in a way that authentically showed His love for us.
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. … The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth. John 1:1-2 and 14 (New International Version NIV)
All true ministry involves people to people contact, human touch, and genuine physical care. While “Faith is Something We Do” is an Internet ministry, it will never live in cyberspace. It must be carried into the daily life of believers who are committed to share the grace of Jesus with their friends, relatives, acquaintances, and neighbors. Just as God purposely sent Jesus at the right time to the right place, He did so with us. We are here to bless others, not just in word, but in deed and truth.
Thank You for putting me where I am. I know I am here to do Your work and carry on Jesus’ ministry. Help me seize the opportunities You give me today to bless others. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was with God in the beginning. 3 Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. 4 In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. 5 The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.6 There was a man sent from God whose name was John. 7 He came as a witness to testify concerning that light, so that through him all might believe. 8 He himself was not the light; he came only as a witness to the light.9 The true light that gives light to everyone was coming into the world. 10 He was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognize him. 11 He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him. 12 Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God— 13 children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God.14 The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth. John 1:1-14 (New International Version NIV)
We might not all go the Tim Tebow route and paint “John 3:16” on our face, but we all have ways of spreading our excitement, even if they’re subdued. Consider the shepherds response when Jesus was born. They weren’t forced into anything. They didn’t have a formula or try to mimic someone else. Rather, they had an experience with Jesus that they wanted to pass onto others. It wasn’t just an abstract idea. It was a person they met and a power they saw. Have you ever been in a situation where it felt completely natural to tell someone about how Jesus is part of your life? Be open to more of those situations. Spend some time praying for a friend.
“You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you so that you might go and bear fruit—fruit that will last—and so that whatever you ask in my name the Father will give you.” John 15:16 (New International Version NIV)
I will never forget the day in high school when I went to the gym to view the list of those who would make the varsity baseball team. Several of us went excitedly to see who was on the list and who was not. I made it! The feelings of exhilaration were beyond description for a fifteen-year-old. Those who didn’t make it were sad and downcast.
Most of us growing up either landed on “picked” or the “unpicked” side of life. I often heard a dear friend of mine say that he was the last or second to last to get picked for sports in gym class. He wanted to be more involved in athletics, but just didn’t possess the skill. It is awesome to be picked by the God of the universe to be on His team. When God chose you, He knew what He was doing. God doesn’t always pick those who have the greatest skill. However, He always has something in mind for those He picks. There is one thing He requires of those He picks. They’re to be fruit-bearers. Our goal should be to know the One who chose us and makes the fruit. When we really know the One who chose us, fruit will be a natural by-product.
As you begin your day, consider where you will drop some fruit. It might be by praying for a co-worker. It might be by simply greeting someone cheerfully during lunch. It might be by leading someone to the Savior today. Share your fruit freely.
“I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete. 12 My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. 13 Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. 14 You are my friends if you do what I command. 15 I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you.” John 15:11-15 (New International Version NIV)
Jesus was fully connected with God’s will and way of living. This way of living means experiencing love to its fullest leading to a complete joy that isn’t fleeting but has taken root and grown up.
“As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love. 10 If you keep my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commands and remain in his love.” John 15:9-10 (New International Version NIV)
Our society focuses on what we can perform. Jesus teaches us to function in love. Jesus modeled a life of freedom through following His Father’s voice. We can live the same kind of life by remaining in a rhythm of receiving God’s love, and in giving it away.
Show me how to remain in Your love especially in areas of my life where I have been negative. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
“I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. 6 If you do not remain in me, you are like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned.7 If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. 8 This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.” John 15:5-8 (New International Version NIV)
Unlike branches that can’t choose on their own to disconnect from the vine, God gave us the ability to make our own choices. Sometimes when the going gets rough we retreat into the vine, and we look for God, the gardener, to tend to us. Yet, when fruit begins to come we want to take credit or say, “Thanks God, I’ve got it from here.” What might it look like in our lives if we retreated to Him, and remained in Him as we work and produce?
Show me how You want me to remain in You throughout my day. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
“I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. 6 If you do not remain in me, you are like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned. 7 If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. 8 This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples. 9 “As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love.10 If you keep my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commands and remain in his love. 11 I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete. 12 My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you.” John 15:5-12 (New International Version NIV)
Make Your desires my desires. Hold Your Word in my heart. May I bear much fruit for Your greater glory. Thank You for loving me and accepting me as Your child. May I always remain full of Your joy and love others as You have loved me. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
“I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. 6 If anyone does not remain in me, he is like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned. 7 If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be given you. 8 This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples. 9 “As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love. 10 If you obey my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have obeyed my Father’s commands and remain in his love. 11 I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete. 12 My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. John 15:5-12 (New International Version NIV)
I want to abide in You and You in me, so that I will bear much fruit, for without You, I can do nothing. If I abide in You, and Your words abide in me, I will ask what I desire, and it shall be done for me. May Your desires be my desire. May Your Word be held in my heart so our Father is glorified.Thank You for loving me and accepting me. May I always remain full of Your joy and love others as You have loved me. Amen.