Gentleness

SHOWING GENTLENESS

TALKING TO GOD
Thank God for the people in your life who show you gentleness. Ask God to help you find ways to show His gentleness to others.

DIVING IN
Gently tap objects as you walk through your house. You can tap a window, a hardwood floor, a countertop, a glass vase or the front door. Discuss why you need to be gentle when you tap items around the house. Concentrate on how fragile items can break and hard items can hurt your hands.

GOING DEEPER
Sometimes your actions are what you use to “tap” the people around us. It’s important to remember that you can hurt others with your behavior, just as you can be hurt by what others do. Because you are fragile, God wants you to be gentle with others. Philippians 4:5 says, “Let your gentleness be evident to all.” Your actions are evidence of your gentleness, and when you make an effort to be gentle with others, you show God’s character to the world.

TALKING TO EACH OTHER
– What is one thing you do that shows gentleness to others?
– How difficult or easy is it to show gentleness to others?
– How have others modeled gentleness to you?
– What can you do this week to show gentleness to someone?

The Process…

Despite all of the hype, we still love the fact that the New Year can be an opportunity to wipe the slate clean and start over. We are free to finally lose that 10 pounds, commit to daily devotions, win more games, train harder, pray more faithfully, spend more time with family, pay off bills, raise grades or even share Jesus Christ with more teammates and friends. But the reality is that those long lists of resolutions rarely become a reality.

One solution is to strip it all away and boil it down to one key word for the upcoming year, making it basic and simple.

So, let’s get to the practical side of the One Word theme concept. Here are steps to help you discover your One Word theme. Keep in mind that the process takes time, but it is worth it. Whether you are an athlete, coach, parent or business leader, this process can facilitate breakthrough for you in every area of your life.

The One Word process has three simple steps – Look In, Look Up, and Look Out.

Step 1 – Prepare Your Heart (Look In) – This is where you take action to unplug from the hectic pace, noise and clutter. Finding solitude and silence can be a difficult task, but to hear from God is essential. As we let God examine our heart, He will give us clarity.

Step 2 – Discover Your Word (Look Up) – This step helps us plug in and listen to God. Taking time for prayer—that simple conversation with God—is the place to start. Ask Him this question: What do you want to do in me and through me this year? This question will help you discover the word meant for you. Don’t pick a good word; receive a God-word.

Step 3 – Live Your Word (Look Out) – Once you discover the word that is meant for you, it’s time to live it out. Your word will have impact in all areas of your life: physical, mental, spiritual, emotional, relational and even financial. Keep your one word front and center. Tell your accountability partners and your family your word for the year. Write it in your journal. Post it on your refrigerator. Talk about it with your family at the dinner table. Do whatever it takes to keep it in focus and keep it fresh.

We pray that this year is a breakthrough year for you as the Lord takes you to the next level and uses your One Word to bring Him glory!

Go
1. What is God saying to you now about your One Word theme?
2. Commit some serious time to praying and asking God to speak to you.
3. Go through the three steps and let God reveal the word meant for you.

Workout
Psalm 27:4, Psalm 84, Psalm 139

Overtime
“Lord, I pray for a breakthrough year. Use this One Word theme to bring You glory. Stretch me through this process. Reveal to me truth and revelation. Please make it plain to me. Speak, Lord, Your servant is listening. In Jesus’ name, amen.”

TODAY!

New Year’s Resolutions don’t work!

50% of resolution-makers fail by the end of January and 9 out of 10 quit by March! So instead of resolutions, get One Word for the year…but be careful! It might just change you.

If you have the “get-it-done” mindset like we do, you’ve done your fair share of goal–setting at the start of each New Year. However, as time goes by, we felt frustration as we fell short on our ambitious plans. We tried to do too much and as a result, we didn’t do anything very well.

In 1999, we started the simple discipline of developing a One Word theme for the upcoming year. That’s right—One Word. Not a phrase or a statement, just a single word. By focusing on just One Word we have experienced incredible life-change year after year. When you discover your One Word for the year, it gives you more clarity, passion and purpose for life.

The One Word exercise brings simplicity and focus. It cuts through the distractions and keeps us focused on what really matters. It has stretched us in all areas: spiritually, physically, mentally, emotionally, relationally and financially. God has transformed us through this exercise; God delights in life change.

There is a reason why we say, “Get One Word for the year…but be careful.” As soon as you discover your word, the battle will begin. It will initiate a process of teaching, developing, refining, and molding. God will use your word as a light and a mirror – illuminating your path and revealing things that need to change. It facilitates a great journey of highs and lows all designed to make you into the person you are created to be.

It has been our experience that God quickly reveals His plans for the year regarding your One Word. That word (be it a discipline, fruit of the Spirit, character trait, or attribute of God) will brand you for the year! So discover your One Word for the year and share it with others! It might just change your life!

Go
1. What is God saying to you this past year?
2. What area does God want to take hold of in your life and use for His glory?
3. How does God want to position you for the upcoming year?

Workout
Psalm 27:1-14; Luke 18:22; Mark 10:21

Overtime
“Dear Lord, I ask that you will make it a life-changing year. Reveal Yourself to me as You show me what my One Word theme will be. Fill me with Your Holy Spirit. I realize that it is a journey of learning not a task to accomplish. Strengthen me as I live out my One Word every day. In Jesus’ name, amen.”

God answers some Questions…

“Questions”

People who are gifted in the art of relationships are often people who ask some of the best questions. Here’s where God is a pro.

Take a look at some of God’s most profound questions:

Where are you? (Genesis 3:8-9)

Right at the beginning of the Bible, God demonstrated this aspect of His character through His relationship with Adam and Eve—a trusting, transparent, daily relationship.

In Genesis 3, we read about Adam and Eve choosing to turn from God and live life apart from Him. When the relationship was broken, God came looking for Adam and Eve. He didn’t come to punish or shame them but to restore the relationship.

When you can sense God stirring in your life, you, too, are a person He’s seeking out, so that you might be able to know Him and live in a relationship with Him.

What do you want? (John 1:35-39)

In John 1, we see Jesus asking some curious men a question like God’s question. He asked them, “What do you want?” (John 1:38).

The men avoided the question and changed the subject, asking Jesus, “Where are you staying?” Rather than give them an actual address, He answered them, “Come … and see” (John 1:39). Rather than giving an answer, He gives an invitation.

Often, many us of are usually saying to God, “I want something from You,” while God is saying to us, “I want to be with you.”

Who do you say I am? (Matthew 16:13-15)

This is where Christianity begins. Your answer to that question is your start here, because it’s where you get clear about what you think of Jesus. Fortunately, what Jesus says about Himself is recorded in the Bible, including John 10:36, John 11:25, John 10:11, and John 8:58.

These are just some of Jesus’s statements—how He would answer the question about His identity. But Jesus doesn’t stop; He makes it even more personal.

Do you believe this? (John 11:25-26)

Jesus always makes things personal. He said to His disciples, “But what about you—who do you say I am?” and He said to Martha in John 11:25-26, “Do you believe this?”

Jesus asks these same questions to us, too, and answering these questions is a part of being in a relationship with God, of finding God and finding the truth. And finding the truth starts with Jesus Christ.

 

“Rules v. Relationship”

If you do a quick search for a definition of Christianity, you are likely to find something about “following the teachings of Jesus.” And that’s true—Christianity is about following Jesus’s teachings. The problem is most people turn the idea of “following Jesus” into “following rules”—and that’s not the point.

The story of the Bible makes it clear that the point of knowing Jesus is for a relationship, not rules. As you begin to explore what God tells us about Himself through the Bible, you are going to find that being in a loving, committed relationship with Him is the main thing.

So saying that the main idea of Christianity is to follow teaching points is like saying that the main idea of marriage is to share your household bills. Not exactly what we hope for in a great love story!

This perspective of rules versus relationship is a great divide that distinguishes Christianity from other religions. Where most religions teach that the way to “be good” is through required practices and rigid beliefs, Christianity starts from a different place.

From the earliest times, Jesus’s followers weren’t known for following rules or “being good.” The thing that stuck out—the thing that was worth mentioning—was the mere reality that they had “been with Jesus” (Acts 4:13). Not that they acknowledged Jesus, not that they followed the behavioral system of Jesus, but that they were “with” Him.

Being with Jesus is what transformed these people from what the Bible calls “unschooled, ordinary men” into courageous, bold leaders. And that’s the same reality we are offered when Jesus invites us into a relationship: to “be with Him.”

What shall you eat?

Are you hungry?

The disciples had fished all night and caught no fish. At sunrise, they saw a man on the shore who called out to them about their success. Then he suggested they try fishing on the other side of the boat, after which they hauled in a great catch (vv 4-6). Knowing they were hungry he offered to feed them.

Have you ever worked and labored over a task only to accomplish nothing? It probably felt good when you were called to come inside for supper and you could leave your task behind for a while; weary souls need time to refresh.

Some things to ponderナ?

1. When you see someone who is weary are you willing to help them refresh?

2. Try this – the next time an opportunity arises to encourage someone who is weary, do it.

He knows the plans for you…

You were created for a great purpose that God specifically designed for you to fulfill. God not only chose you but he loves you! A lot of people don’t really understand God’s love for them and this oftentimes is evident in one’s life decisions, interactions and thoughts. All throughout scripture God’s words clearly identify His abundant love for every one of his children. God’s love is exercised for each and every one of us when He: forgives, covers, protects, provides, heals, restores, reveals, rewards, establishes and demonstrates his continued grace, mercy and power in our lives.

When you feel as though you are not loved, quickly demolish those lies with the truth of God’s word and declare out loud “God loves ME so much that he sent Jesus Christ to die for MY sins, I believe in Jesus and I will not perish but have eternal life.”

When you feel as though your sins are too great and you are unworthy of God’s love, declare out loud “I forsake my old ways and unrighteous thoughts. I turn to you, LORD, thank you for your mercy, love and for forgiving me generously.”

When you feel as if you are not valuable and unlovable, declare “God loves me and knows the plans he has for me, plans for welfare and not evil, to give me a future and a hope.”

Today choose to follow Jesus Christ as you journey through life. Be mindful of God’s love for you. You no longer need to seek love from the evil influences of this world. It’s all a mirage to block you and hinder your mind into believing that you are not lovable, worthy or valuable, but remember GOD LOVES YOU! God’s love is so powerful that his loving power can fill any void in your life. God loves you better than the world. Turn from the world’s way and receive God’s true, pure love.

God will forever come through in His Love for you!

Prayer: God, I receive your pure, true, unconditional love for me. I praise your wonderful name and thank you for your goodness, grace and mercy! Your love sustains me and I seek to be a reflection of your love in the lives of others. In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.

Give me a chance

New Beginning

You can have a new beginning. It doesn’t matter how many new beginnings you’ve had before. Don’t believe the lie that you can’t have any more. Jesus’s work on the cross paved the way for another new beginning and another and another – as many as you need. Our Father’s mercies are new every day. Seasons change. Believe that you can have a new beginning in any area of your life that has not aligned with Father’s perfect will for you. Embrace this precious promise, get back up again, and walk toward the new beginning. Father has good plans for you. It’s up to you to move into His grace.

I believe I can have a new beginning because the Word of God tells me so. Help me walk in this promise as I transition from one season to another. Give me strength to hold fast to this great and precious promise when I can’t see what door to walk through. Walk with me.

Let’s Get Serious

Spirit or Flesh?

Being able to discern spirits requires you to have a discerning spirit. Deducing, supposing, presuming, or otherwise guessing can be a dangerous exercise. Many times what you think is merely the flesh.

Be cautious not to get out of balance in the spiritual realm. The flesh is at enmity with Me. I war against the flesh. Often what you are facing is not a spirit but someone’s carnal nature rising up against you. The person’s actions may or may not be motivated by a spirit. Always ask Me.

I don’t want to play guessing games in the spirit, so I need You to show me what You need me to see. Help me to stay in balance with the Word of God so that I don’t open myself up to deception. Increase my ability to discern the spirits.

  • 1 John 4:1
  • 1 Corinthians 12
  • 1 Thessalonians 5:21

My Delight

Delight Yourself in the Lord

Father always has something bigger and better in mind if you’ll walk toward what He loves, even if that means walking away from what you think you love. Here’s a promise: you’ll discover that you love what He loves far more than you loved what you walked away from.

Father gives you the desires of your heart as you delight yourself in Him – and sometimes that means He changes the desires of your heart to line up with His. So delight yourself in Him because He delights Himself in you. And be willing to let go of the good things for the best things He has planned for you.

I set my heart to delight in You. Change my heart’s desires to match Your heart’s desires. Give me the desires of Your heart so that You can give me the desires of my heart. I surrender to Your perfect will in my life.

Read:

  • Psalms 37:4
  • Psalms 20:4
  • Ezekiel 36:26-27