Friday, January 19, 2018

Love Your Enemies

Scripture:

Matthew 6:44 "But I say, love you enemies! Pray for those who persecute you! In that way, you will be acting as true children of your Father in heaven.  For he gives his sunlight to both the evil and the good, and he sends rain on the just and the unjust alike."

Observation:

Jesus tells us here to love our enemies and pray for those who persecute us.  He says then we will be acting like children of God.  We act most like God when we love those who hate us and pray for those who are against us. 

Application:

We need to be people who love, no matter what happens to us.  When evil is done to us, we need to forgive and love like our heavenly father does.  When people speak evil of us and put us down, we need to pray for them instead of trying to prove our point or get them in trouble.  Our place, and the most godly thing to do is simply to love, then we are being like our Father.

Prayer:

Lord God, help me to be more like You.  Let me represent you well on the earth.  Help my attitude to reflect Your attitude.  Help me to walk in the Spirit and live by the Spirit instead of doing whatever I feel like doing.  Teach me to live Your way instead of my own.  Empower me to live a life that brings you glory.

Your Son,
Jeff

Thursday, January 18, 2018

Bold Proclamation

Scripture:

Matthew 3:7 "But when he saw many Pharisees and Sadducees coming to watch him baptize, he denounced them.  'You brood of snakes!' he exclaimed.  'Who warned you to flee the coming wrath?'"

Observation:

John the Baptist didn't sugarcoat anything when he dealt with religious people.  He went straight at them.  Jesus called him the greatest of the prophets.  He truly spoke what he felt without trying to make it easier or more palatable for the Pharisees or Saducees.

Application:

When God calls us to say the hard things, are we going to listen and communicate what we feel He wants us to?  When God wants to rebuke people, can He do it through me?  When God wants to confront things, can He do it through me?  I need to be willing to let God use me in more than one way.

Prayer:

Father, make me more willing to confront, speak up, and say hard things.  Help me to say what You want said, in the way You want it said.

Yours,
Jeff

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Kind Speech

Scripture:

Genesis 50:21 "No, don't be afraid.  I will continue to take care of you and your children.  So he reassured them by speaking kindly to them."

Observation:

When Israel died, Joseph's brothers were afraid he would change his mind about how they had treated them in the past.  They were terrified that, with the death of his father, he would get angry at his brothers and have them killed.  He assured them he wouldn't do them any harm and would continue to take care of them.  He reassured them by speaking kindly to them.

Application:

A kind word is very powerful.  It has the ability to diffuse really bad situations.  A kind word can assure people that you are not angry.  A kind word can let people know you are under control and not going to lose it about something.  We need to be people who use kind words and peace will follow.

Prayer:

Father, help me to always bring a kind word, even to those who try to destroy me.  Help me control my tongue at all times.  I want to speak blessings, not curses over those around me.  Give me the right words to speak at all times.

Yours,
Jeff

Thursday, January 11, 2018

The Power of a Smile

Scripture:

Genesis 33:10 "But Jacob insisted, 'No if I have found favor with you, please accept this gift from me.  And what a relief to see your friendly smile.  It is like seeing the face of God.'"

Observation:

Jacob had fled for his life from his brother Esau many years prior to this and expected a bad situation when he tried to return.  He had gone out of his way to try to appease his brother by sending gifts ahead of him.  When he finally saw his brother, he was greeted with a smile and it was to Jacob "like seeing the face of God".

Application:

A smile is  very powerful thing.  A smile has the ability to change people's day.  A smile lets people know everything is okay.  A smile can lighten a difficult situation.  For some people we run into, a smile might be like seeing the face of God.  We need to smile more.  As a believer, I have a lot to smile about and I know I need to smile more.  I use to have a contagious smile, but have let it fade.

Prayer:

God, give me my smile back.  Help me to enjoy life again and to stop being so pre-occupied that I forget to smile at those I am communicating with.  When people see me, may they say, "It is like seeing the face of God."

Your Son,
Jeff

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

God's Favor

Scripture:

Genesis 30:27 "Please listen to me, Laban replied, I have become wealthy, for the Lord has blessed me because of you."

Observation:

Jacob had worked for his father in law for a long time and was telling him it was time for him to be on his own and provide for his own family.  Laban, the father in law, realized his flocks had done amazing under Jacob's shepherding.  He realized that his wealth had greatly increased and realized that it was because of the Lord's blessing on Jacob's life.

Application:

When God blesses His children, even their employers will realize they are blessed because God's child works for them.  When the favor of God really comes on a person's life, everything they touch becomes prosperous.  Just as with Jacob, God still blesses His people and those around them will be blessed by association.

Prayer:

Father, let Your favor be on my life.  May those around me see that You are incredible and that You bless your children.  Let my life bring You praise and glory.  Bless the work of my hands and let them prosper.  Bless our congregations and let them prosper.

Yours,
Jeff

Friday, January 5, 2018

Righteousness by Faith

Scripture:

Genesis 15:6 "And Abram believed the Lord, and the Lord counted his as righteous because of his faith."

Observation:

God had shown Abram the land he was going to give him and promised his a son to be his heir.  He also told Abram He was going to make him wealthy and that his descendants would be like the stars in the heavens in number.  Abraham believed the Lord and God counted it as righteousness.

Application:

When you boil it all down, faith is believing God.  It is trusting something you cannot see.  Abraham heard the Lord and determined to follow Him and the Lord counted it as righteousness.  God wants His children to believe what He says and to act on it.  When we do, our lives change dramatically because God always responds to faith.  Our righteousness is not as much about what we do or don't do, but about believing God in faith do doing what He wants.

Prayer:

Father, teach me to walk by faith.  Help me to hear Your voice and to do exactly what You ask me to do.  Help me to fulfill Your will for my life in every way.  Teach me to walk humbly before You and to trust You totally.  I want to live a life of faith in the God who answers.

Yours,
Jeff

Thursday, January 4, 2018

Because of Sarai

Scripture:

Genesis 12:17 "But the Lord sent terrible plagues upon Pharaoh and his household because of Sarai, Abraham's wife."

Observation:

Abraham had told Sarai to act like his sister instead of his wife so that people wouldn't kill him, wanting her.  She did so and the Pharaoh brought many gifts to Abram, wanting Sarai.  As he was pursuing Sarai, the Lord sent plagues among Pharaoh's people and he realizes he was pursuing another man's wife.

Application:

God takes care of his kids.  Pharaoh didn't even realize he was doing wrong toward Abram and Sarai and God judged him for it anyway.  We need to realize that God is always fighting for us, even when we have messed up and done wrong.  We are in a covenant with Him and He honors His end of that covenant and will protect and keep us.

Prayer:

Father, thank you for showing me how you take care of Your people.  You are always looking out for Your kids and protecting them from harm.  Thank You for keeping Your end of the covenant, help me to always walk faithful to You and Your words. 

Your Son,
Jeff