Your Focus Affects Your Thanks
In the US, we’re in a special time of the year where we slow down, eat way too much, and express thankfulness for all the freedoms we enjoy.
As believers, we’re told to give thanks throughout our day (1 Thess. 5:18). As we do, a smile comes on our face, peace pours out our hearts and our step is just a little lighter. And, when we’re thankful, we also put a smile on God’s face because we’re doing what He asked us to do, which is an expression of love for Him.
Being thankful is not a suggestion either! It’s a command. Our God knows that focusing on being thankful throughout our day is extremely good for us. Think about it. What happens to your list of things you’re thankful for when you start thinking about tomorrow while it’s still today? It goes out the window along with your smile and peace!
Today is the time to be thankful. Show your God you love Him through being thankful. It brings a smile to both of your faces. When you do, you’ll be found smiling upon Jesus’ return as well.
Bonding not Begging
The meaning behind the Hebrew word for prayer (tfilia) is about bonding with the one you’re talking with. As one author put it, “In Jewish Hassidic traditions, tfilia is understood to be an introspection that results in bonding between the creature and the Creator, as a child would bond with their father.”
When asked to teach them how to pray, Jesus taught His followers to start their conversations with God with Our Father. In other words, talking with God is not simply a request-making session, but a time of great relationship building.
Jesus is called our friend, one who loves to spend time talking about life and all that goes with it with His friends. The Spirit is a great listener (aka comforter) with whom we can get things off our chest, which makes us feel better and closer to Him. And the Father, well, He cares more about us than we do ourselves.
Let me encourage you to stop having prayer times! And start having conversations throughout your day where you’re sharing life, bonding rather than begging, with the God you say you love. Talk about how you’re feeling, about what you are thinking and above all, BE REAL.
As you do, you’ll be ready for Jesus’ return.
Existence is not the same as livin’.
Farmers know something that many Jesus believers don’t. Soil without seeds is just dirt. I know it sounds like a “duh” statement, but think about it. Isn’t farming all about growing something?
And yet, without planting something, which takes both time and effort, nothing gets grown. Dirt might be filling if eaten, but not very nutritious.
Believers exist, but whether they’ll experience real living or not depends on the seeds planted in the soil of their hearts and minds. Planting seeds from Scripture takes both time and effort, but without it, all you’ve got is dirty existence.
What excuses and lies are keeping you existing, but not living? Be ready for Jesus’ return by making the time to plant life experiencing truths into your life.
Jesus sees all of you – inside and out.
After turning water into wine, Jesus went to Jerusalem where He performed more miracles. At this point, John 2:23 says many people believed in Him.
Shouldn’t He be ecstatic? Nope, as seen in the very next phrase. Jesus didn’t entrust himself to them. He knew they could turn on Him just as easily as they had believed in Him. In fact, in just a few short years, many of these same people would call for Him to be hung on a tree.
Jesus was secure in who He was as seen in His “I am” statements. He didn’t need others to validate Him. Numbers didn’t impress Jesus either. What did was loving His Father through His daily choices. It was His Father who He said, “This is My Son. And I’m very proud of Him!”
We don’t need others or numbers to validate us! Jesus sees deep into our souls and still says, “I love you. Come walk with Me, right now.” This should result in less “beat me up” time and more loving Jesus. Less down time and more walking with Jesus. Today is the day and now is the time to love Jesus through your next choice. As you do, you’ll be ready for His return.
Don’t move the bullseye. Let the Spirit enable you to hit it!
The little girl in the comic shot an arrow toward her yard’s all white fence. After putting down her bow, she ran toward the fence and proceeded to paint a red bullseye around where the arrow entered the fence and then two red circles proceeding outward.
I can only guess at the writer’s point, but it was dead on when it comes to Western Christianity, let alone culture. We love to lower God’s standard of holiness thinking we’re freeing ourselves from God’s constraints in order to reduce our guilt in the hopes of living happier lives.
Yes, God’s standards are high. Yet, reality continually shows that living up to higher standards actually makes us feel better than does living down to lower ones. Think about it. How do you feel when you’ve earned something rather than when you’re patted on the head and given something you know you didn’t earn? Achievement helps not hurts, though it may hurt to achieve it.
Yes, God’s standards are high, which is why He knew way back in Genesis 3 He’d have to send Jesus to meet them for us! Yet, if the mark of holiness can be lowered, why not lower it to non-existence? And if that happened, Jesus didn’t need to come at all!
Yes, God’s standards are high. Yet, Jesus met those standards for us. He is also making us into those standards, holiness. Don’t move the bullseye. Hit it in the Spirit’s power! As you do, you’ll be ready for Jesus’ return.