Thinking with a Purpose –

Read Ps 119.97 – Why am I writing these daily devos? Really two reasons; first and foremost, it’s because it helps me meditate (think with a purpose) on what I just read. And secondly, maybe it will have some benefit to you. 🙂 But the art of meditation is so important. It’s what helps us digest the Word of God so that it goes from the Head, to the Heart, and eventually to the Hands. Let me make my point with a question; Have you ever finished reading something and then wondered what you just read? It’s like we were on auto pilot and cruised through the text but have no recollection of the journey. That’s why I highlight, underline, write a small prayer in the margin of my Bible, or cook up a short devotional for Facebook. It forces me to go back a meditate on what I just read. Are we digesting the Word when we read or listen? Are we 4th Soil People everyday when we meditate on the seed that just fell on us?

Motivation for Association –

Read Lk 15.11-32 – I have been studying the gospels looking for the motivations for association. In other words, why the people wanted to hangout with Jesus and why Jesus wanted to hangout with them. I’ve found a bunch of reasons why people wanted to associate with Jesus; Healing, Eternal Life, Forgiveness, See Miracles, Hear His Teaching, Get Free Food, Be in the Cool Crowd, and the list goes on. But this morning I think I found the #1 reason Jesus wanted to hangout with the people; He loved them. In the parable of the Prodigal Son, the son comes to his senses when his stomach starts growling. He decides to repent but only because he’s hungry. On the other hand, what was the father’s motivation for receiving his son back? Pure love, plain and simple. Why do we want to hangout with Jesus? Why do people want to hangout with us?

Eyes on Heaven –

Read Lk 12-14 – Have you ever heard the saying, “They’re so heavenly minded, they’re no earthly good?” It’s cute but I’m not sure it’s accurate. Jesus reminds us over and over again about looking to our future in heaven with Him. And He does this by drawing our attention to the fact that our actions on earth have direct consequences to our rewards in heaven. Things like, don’t fear, store up treasure in heaven, put the kingdom first, don’t worry, be on the alert for His return, love the marginalized, etc… You can see that this list of earthly “dos” will directly impact our eternal rewards. I’m not talking about getting into heaven (Salvation), that is by grace and grace alone. I’m talking about our treasure in heaven. Does the prospect of reward in heaven motivate our day to day activities? Are we teaching people about heaven the way Jesus did?

Fan or Fire –

Read Lk 9.52-56 – When Jesus passed through Samaria on the way to Jerusalem he was shunned. His men, being offended, took it personal and wanted to nuke the village. Jesus rebuked them and shows us a side of leadership that all leaders need to heed; Not everyone is going to be a big fan of what you’re doing. In fact, good leaders do the hard thing but great leaders do the hard thing even when people will not endorse what they are doing. These leaders have a sense of timing, they are patient, they see down the road, and can take it on the chin when they’re decisions aren’t popular with everyone [and without retribution]. Can we bless those who curse us? Can we allow our reputation to be sullied for the sake of the kingdom. 

Striving for Greatness –

Read Mt 18.1-5, Mk 9.33-37, Lk 9.46-48 – Have you ever wanted to be great? I mean like, be the boss, or famous, the most liked, or something like that? I don’t know about you but I have had this ambition all my life and so did the disciples. Now for the record, greatness in the world’s eyes is not all it’s cracked up to be and Jesus let’s His disciples know it. He says, “Whoever humbles himself like this child ​– ​this one is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.” Now the world is having none of that! But who’s eyes are we trying to be great in, the world, each other’s, or God’s? Now that really defines greatness, doesn’t it? Like beauty, greatness is in the eyes of the beholder and there is only One who holds everything. Who’s eyes are we trying to be great in?

Having a Moment –

Read Mt 26.69-75, Mk 14.66-72, Lk 22.55-62, Jn 18.18-27 – I feel sorry for Peter. One moment he’s facing down an armed mob with his little sword and the next he denies Jesus when confronted by a little girl. But before we get all uppity and all, don’t we have our “moments?” Haven’t we gone from Hero to Zero in no time flat? Yes, this is our stark reality and that’s why Jesus came and died for all our “moments.” Are you having a “moment” today? Let’s Confess, Repent, and Move On in the glorious victory of our Savior.

Jesus Practiced what He Preached –

Read Mt 26.47-56, Mk 14.43-52, Lk 22.47-53, Jn 18.4-12 – When Judas sold the Son of God for thirty pieces of silver and betrayed Him with a kiss, Jesus called his enemy “friend.” When Peter cut off the ear of one of those seeking to kill Him, Jesus healed His enemy. Jesus commanded us, “But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you…” (Mt 5.44) How hard it is to love even those who mildly irritate us let alone someone trying to kill us. And yet Jesus practiced what He preached even in His last hour of agony and pain when He prays for His murders, “Father forgive them for they do not know what they do.” (Lk 23.34) When we say “I want to become like Jesus.” is this what we are talking about?

God Loves Beggars –

Read Mt 9.35-38, Lk 10.1-2 – We are often annoyed by begging. People begging for money, kids begging for the latest toy, pets begging for food. But God is not annoyed by beggars. In fact, God commands us to beg! When Jesus tells His disciples to “PRAY” for laborers to be sent into the harvest, the Greek word He uses is “BEG.” It’s like when the leper came to Jesus and begged Him to heal him. (Lk 5:12) Or the demons in the Demoniac begging Jesus not to torment them. (Lk 8:28) And when this same man was delivered from those demons, he begged Jesus that he might follow Him. (Lk8.38) Now that’s some pretty intense begging going on! And in the same way Jesus commands us to beg the Lord of the Harvest to send out laborers into His harvest. Are we obeying Jesus’s command to beg for laborers? Are we teaching others to obey this command?

Tip: Set an alarm for 10:02 and pray Luke 10.2 daily

Much, Much, More –

Read Jn 15.1-27 – Some how, some way, we have boiled down abiding in Christ to having a good quiet time in the morning (reading the Bible and Prayer). Is that what remaining in Jesus really looks like? Read the chapter and let’s see what the Expert says;

Fruitfulness

Pruning

The Word

Prayer

Connectedness

Dependence

Warnings

Glorifying God

Being His disciple

Loving God

Loving one another

Obeying God’s commands

Joy

Sacrifice

Being chosen

Going to bear fruit

Sustainability

Enduring persecution

Remembering

Being helped by the Holy Spirit 

And this is just a list from chapter 15! But if we need to boil it down, the Apostle John says; “The one who says he abides in Him ought himself to walk in the same manner as He walked.” (1 John 2.6) Are we taking a wholistic approach to abiding in Christ or are we picking and choosing? Are we teaching others that remaining in Jesus is a whole lot more than having a good quiet time?

The Mystery of Ministry –

Read Mk 4.26-29 – The farmer in the parable of the seed has no clue how it grows. He plants, nurtures, and harvests but at the end of the day he sees the whole process as a miracle from God. But today we are so much smarter aren’t we? Well, not so much. I think any honest scientist would admit that there is still a lot to be learned about the miracle of a plant bearing fruit. But if we are not careful, we can fall under the delusion that we know everything about kingdom growth. We can assume that all we have to do is steps A through E and voila, we have mature disciples bearing fruit. Uh, no. The kingdom advancing in an individual, a community, and this world is still a miracle. We are completely dependent on the King to cause it to grow. (1 Cor 3.6) Are we declaring our dependence on God through prayer about the ministry He has called us to? Do we think we have found the silver bullet and cut the Holy Spirit out?