WE HAVE ALL CHANGED

THOUGHT:
Some of us are really hard on ourselves. We have high expectations. This can lead to great disappointment. The greater the gap between expectation and reality, the greater the disappointment of failure.

A high self-critical nature can lead to a high expectation of others, and this nearly always leads to being disappointed in people. Whilst we don’t want to make excuses for people’s bad attitudes and disgusting behavior, we do need to realize that we have all changed. We are now in a fallen world that is so broken, most of us don’t even realize we are marching to the same beat as everyone else.

Our reading today shows that all humans are like sheep, and we just wander off with everyone else. There are not many Christian communities that are all wandering toward God together. Most of us live in a society and feel like we are swimming upstream, against the tide that pulls us down.

This is why church community is so important. Gathering together regularly in church settings helps you not wander off with the rest of society. It’s ok to follow godly people toward God. One day (if you’re not already) you will be leading people to God.

TIME TO THINK:
Are my expectations of others too high?
Am I leading people to God, or am I still following?

PRAYER:
Father, it must break Your heart that we have all wandered at some point in our lives. Thank you for being so patient with us. Thank you for waiting for us to come back to You. Help me to not get stuck in the flow of the culture around me. Help me to swim against the tide and toward You.

YOU’VE CHANGED

THOUGHT:
God and man experienced an uncomplicated intimate friendship in the garden of Eden. It was the way it was always meant to be. No fear of judgement, no shame, no hindrance. Just a deep loving relationship that was life itself.

Sin changed all that. It severed what was natural and fulfilling. Sin interrupted a natural order and disturbed the peace -globally. For the first time, man was afraid so hid from God. And, well, we have been hiding ever since.

You have changed!

You are part of the human race that has changed and fallen from its original plan and purpose, which is to reflect the image of our Maker. Adam’s sim has affected us all. The whole planet is out of balance. This is the most vivid picture of how our choices today affect our descendants tomorrow.

Thank God for His plan of salvation. That God is reconciling the whole world back to Himself through Jesus Christ. Our only hope of changing back to what God originally made us to be is found in relationship with His Son, Jesus.

TIME TO THINK:
God saves us and restores us for relationship.
What relationships do I need to work on fixing or making better?

PRAYER:
Father, I’m sorry that sin has disconnected us all from You. And I’m sorry for all the sins I have committed against You and others. Thank you for Your love and mercy. Thank you for Your saving grace. Help me walk in Your love with You and others around me. Amen.

THE DAILY GRIND

THOUGHT:
The daily grind is an expression that relates to the everyday, ordinary routines of our lives. It’s daily, and it’s often monotonous!

I wish there was a way to have an instant upgrade as a Christian. It would be so great if, the day I gave my life to Jesus, all my attitudes, desires and behaviors were upgraded to be just like God – but they’re not. It’s a slow grind. Everyday in little ways becoming more like Christ than the day before.

The positive side of all this is that I have plenty to talk to God about. The more I spend time with God, the more obvious it is that I have so many things that need changing in my life. God wants to help me with every one of these little things that needs to change.

Don’t get too worried if there’s a lot of things to work on. God is not overwhelmed at what’s ahead of you. Don’t get discouraged if you can’t think of many things to change. God is not trying to fix everything in one day.

God wants to meet with you in your daily grind!

TIME TO THINK:
What’s the main thing God is talking to you about at the moment?
How do I become more aware of God’s friendship?

PRAYER:
Lord, I am so grateful You are willing to do the journey with me everyday. I know there are plenty of things to work on but thanks for being so patient with me. Thank you for your undying friendship. Thanks you for changing me little bits everyday. Amen.

BECOMING LIKE GOD

THOUGHT:
It should not surprise us that we are meant to become like God because in the beginning we were made in His likeness. We were created in the image of God. Sin changed all that. We have fallen so far from grace. But now God is bringing us back through Jesus Christ.

Becoming like God will obviously involve change, and sometimes that change is painful or difficult. Some of us have more changing to do than others. But don’t forget, humans have been far away from God for a long time, and that distance (away from God) has caused all the harm and pain we humans experience. There is no true pleasure in living far away from God.

God has made instant access available through Jesus. Relationship with God is not like confession once a month, where you save up all your sins to say sorry, waiting for the priest to pardon you and give you confidence that God accepts you. God already accepts you through Jesus.

The moment I behave in a way that is not God-like, that’s the moment I can come back to God and say sorry, be forgiven and remain close in His presence.

Becoming like God is a daily walk of intimacy with the help of His Spirit.

TIME TO THINK:
When was the last time I asked God for His help?
How much have I changed to become like God in the last few months?

PRAYER:
Father, thank you that I can come straight to You to talk about my struggles. I don’t have to wait and I don’t have to go through any other person. Help me become more like You and show me where I can change, no matter small it is. Amen.

GOD’S GLORY ON DISPLAY

THOUGHT:
God’s glory is the magnificence of His splendour. It’s part of who God is. His character and His nature. It is too wonderful for anybody to put into words. When His attributes are seen in our lives, God Himself is seen in our lives. His glory is displayed in our activity.

It pleased God to have his whole nature living in Christ, so whenever anybody looks at Jesus Christ, they are looking at God. Jesus is God’s glory on display for all to see.

Becoming a Christian is turning back to God and asking Jesus to occupy your life. The Christian now lives to please Christ instead of pleasing self. Everything we did at one time was to show the world who we are. Now we are on display for Jesus. God’s magnificence should start to shine through our lives.

For whatever reason God has decided to reveal Himself to people through people. God chose us to show Himself to others. We are His body and He is our head. We take our instructions from Him and His glory is on display through our lives.

TIME TO THINK:
Does my life reflect the glory (goodness) of God?
What’s one thing I could change to better represent who God is?

PRAYER:
Father, it is amazing that you have decided to dwell in our broken lives. Your glory is seen in our activity when we do the things You

The Spirit of FREEDOM

THOUGHT:
Every child grows up with rules but these are not intended to cause restriction. We are meant to learn the appropriate way to live and respond to others around us. The more we automatically live by these boundaries, the more freedom we experience. We usually only feel the restrictions with the boundaries we don’t want to keep.

God gives all of us boundaries so that we can experience true freedom in our lives. The more we love Him, the more these boundaries are automatic for us. We only feel the restriction of the boundaries we want to break. A rebellious community is not a free community. They are bound by their wickedness.

The Holy Spirit wishes to lead us in a loving relationship with God the Father. He wants to write the law of God on our hearts (conscience) so we have a willingness to live a life that pleases God.

When we love God from the heart we don’t need a rule book for life, because we automatically live the rule book of life.

In the early stages of Christianity there is a strange tension going on. We experience an incredible friendship with a loving God but also feel the need to change some of our behavior. It’s easy to focus on the things we should say no to instead of focusing on saying yes to what the Spirit of God is desiring of us.

I am most free when I am most like God.

TIME TO THINK:
Am I more focused on what I need to change or on friendship with God?

PRAYER:
Father, thank you for saving me and wanting relationship with me. Help me to focus more on my relationship with You than on all the things I need to change. Lead me by Your Spirit into all the changes You have for me. Amen.

DO I NEED A VEIL?

THOUGHT:
The most interesting part about the story of the veil yesterday is not that Moses had to wear one because the people were afraid. What is most interesting is that, the glowing slowly disappeared after many days but Moses kept wearing a veil anyway. So, now the glow has gone but the people think it’s still there.

You may have found (like I did) that the beginning of your friendship with God, He is so close and you are very aware of His presence. After a while, you sometimes don’t feel as close to God. This is where we start the journey of faith – trusting God is present even if we don’t feel His presence.

Whenever we pretend to feel God’s presence it is like wearing a veil – a veil that is not needed. We are best just being honest and saying, I know God is real and He is with me even if I don’t feel it today. Julia and I have been married for 24 years, and there are days we don’t feel as in love like other days. But I still love her very much.

In fact, the moment I am honest with my feelings, even my lack of feelings, that’s the moment everything seems to change. The veil is removed again and there I am, face to face, spending time in the presence of the one I love.

TIME TO THINK:
When was the last time I didn’t feel God’s presence?
What changes can I make to lose the veil?

PRAYER:
Father, thank you for your unconditional love. You loved me when I was still far from You. Why would I think that Your love would run out now, now that I am pursuing You. Forgive me for pretending to be close to You when I actually feel so far away. Help me to understand how close You are even when I don’t feel anything. Amen.