…whatever “It” is!!
I’ll Turn Every Blessing Into Praise
Jesus followers—and even people who are unsure of God—often respond to tragedy by first appealing to God for help and then questioning His intentions. Either way, difficulty has a way of making us aware of our dependence on God. In these moments when He is all we have, hopefully we can realize that He is all we need.
For Job of the Bible, this was no mental exercise. Job actually experienced the loss of everything he held most dear in life. How did he respond? His book is where we get the phrase, “blessed be the name of the Lord!”
In both trial and blessing, a grateful heart returns praise to God. When we fail to praise God for His blessings, we make fertile soil for poisonous seeds of pride in our hearts. Ideas like, “I deserve this, I earned this, and I did this,” begin to take root and overshadow God’s providential work in our lives. When we instead return God’s blessings as praise, we make fertile soil for God to do abundantly more than we could ever ask or imagine.
WHAT’S UP WITH CHaNGe?
Discipleship is the process of becoming like Jesus. Some would say (and I agree) that this is a life long journey. Becoming like Jesus obviously involves change and, well.. change can be uncomfortable. But sometimes change is amazing.
Getting married was an awesome change for me. Becoming a father was another awesome change. Becoming a Christian has been the greatest change of all.
What’s Up With CHaNGe is designed to help you walk this out for a month and realise that we are all changing all the time. There is far more to be said for how good change can be. We either change and become like Jesus or keep letting society change us. The bible says, don’t become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking.
You will look back, with many others, who all agree there have been significant changes. These changes are usually in your conversations, your thoughts, the way you treat people and the way you go about daily life in the world around you.
TIME TO THINK:
How have I changed?
Do people around me suggest I have changed?
Father, you made me and you love me and you know the best way for me to live my life. I don’t want to become so well-adjusted to my culture that I fit into it without even thinking. Lord, please help me to embrace
We must let go of the good to grab hold of the better. To live a better life, it’s better to have less of what doesn’t matter and more of what does. Solomon says in Ecclesiastes 6, “Better one handful with tranquility than two handfuls with toil and chasing after the wind,” meaning that it is better to live a life of simplicity. This week you will learn what God’s Word says regarding the importance of living with one handful instead of two.
1 Better is a dry morsel with quietthan a house full of feasting with strife.2 A servant who deals wisely will rule over a son who acts shamefullyand will share the inheritance as one of the brothers.3 The crucible is for silver, and the furnace is for gold,and the Lord tests hearts.4 An evildoer listens to wicked lips,and a liar gives ear to a mischievous tongue.5 Whoever mocks the poor insults his Maker;he who is glad at calamity will not go unpunished.6 Grandchildren are the crown of the aged,and the glory of children is their fathers.7 Fine speech is not becoming to a fool;still less is false speech to a prince.8 A bribe is like a magic stone in the eyes of the one who gives it;wherever he turns he prospers.9 Whoever covers an offense seeks love,but he who repeats a matter separates close friends.10 A rebuke goes deeper into a man of understandingthan a hundred blows into a fool.11 An evil man seeks only rebellion,and a cruel messenger will be sent against him.12 Let a man meet a she-bear robbed of her cubsrather than a fool in his folly.13 If anyone returns evil for good,evil will not depart from his house.14 The beginning of strife is like letting out water,so quit before the quarrel breaks out.15 He who justifies the wicked and he who condemns the righteousare both alike an abomination to the Lord.16 Why should a fool have money in his hand to buy wisdomwhen he has no sense?17 A friend loves at all times,and a brother is born for adversity.18 One who lacks sense gives a pledgeand puts up security in the presence of his neighbor.19 Whoever loves transgression loves strife;he who makes his door high seeks destruction.20 A man of crooked heart does not discover good,and one with a dishonest tongue falls into calamity.21 He who sires a fool gets himself sorrow,and the father of a fool has no joy.22 A joyful heart is good medicine,but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.23 The wicked accepts a bribe in secretto pervert the ways of justice.24 The discerning sets his face toward wisdom,but the eyes of a fool are on the ends of the earth.25 A foolish son is a grief to his fatherand bitterness to her who bore him.26 To impose a fine on a righteous man is not good,nor to strike the noble for their uprightness.27 Whoever restrains his words has knowledge,and he who has a cool spirit is a man of understanding.28 Even a fool who keeps silent is considered wise;when he closes his lips, he is deemed intelligent.
In order to live with an ongoing, unending awareness of God’s presence, you must develop the habit of instant obedience to God.
15“If you love me, you will keep my commandments. 16And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper, to be with you forever, 17even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him, for he dwells with you and will be in you. 18“I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you. 19Yet a little while and the world will see me no more, but you will see me. Because I live, you also will live. 20In that day you will know that I am in my Father, and you in me, and I in you. 21Whoever has my commandments and keeps them, he it is who loves me. And he who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I will love him and manifest myself to him.” 22Judas (not Iscariot) said to him, “Lord, how is it that you will manifest yourself to us, and not to the world?” 23Jesus answered him, “If anyone loves me, he will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him. 24Whoever does not love me does not keep my words. And the word that you hear is not mine but the Father’s who sent me. 25“These things I have spoken to you while I am still with you. 26But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you. 27Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid. 28You heard me say to you, ‘I am going away, and I will come to you.’ If you loved me, you would have rejoiced, because I am going to the Father, for the Father is greater than I. 29And now I have told you before it takes place, so that when it does take place you may believe.30I will no longer talk much with you, for the ruler of this world is coming. He has no claim on me, 31but I do as the Father has commanded me, so that the world may know that I love the Father. Rise, let us go from here.
Q: How do you have a day with God?
A: You live with an ongoing, unending awareness of God’s presence.
1If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. 2Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. 3For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. 4When Christ who is your life appears, then you also will appear with him in glory. 5Put to death therefore what is earthly in you: sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry. 6On account of these the wrath of God is coming. 8But now you must put them all away: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and obscene talk from your mouth. 9Do not lie to one another, seeing that you have put off the old self with its practices 10and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge after the image of its creator. 11Here there is not Greek and Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave, free; but Christ is all, and in all. 12Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, 13bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. 14And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. 15And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful. 16Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God. 17And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.
We must let go of the good to grab hold of the better. Living a better life begins with understanding this one key thought from Psalm 84: better is one day with God than thousands elsewhere. His ways are better than your ways. His love is better than life. His blessings are better than material possessions. This week you will read from God’s Word about what it truly means to have a day with God.
1 How lovely is your dwelling place,O Lord of hosts!2 My soul longs, yes, faintsfor the courts of the Lord;my heart and flesh sing for joyto the living God.3 Even the sparrow finds a home,and the swallow a nest for herself,where she may lay her young,at your altars, O Lord of hosts,my King and my God.4Blessed are those who dwell in your house,ever singing your praise! Selah5 Blessed are those whose strength is in you,in whose heart are the highways to Zion.6 As they go through the Valley of Bacathey make it a place of springs;the early rain also covers it with pools.7 They go from strength to strength;each one appears before God in Zion.8 O Lord God of hosts, hear my prayer;give ear, O God of Jacob! Selah9 Behold our shield, O God;look on the face of your anointed!10 For a day in your courts is betterthan a thousand elsewhere.I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my Godthan dwell in the tents of wickedness.11 For the Lord God is a sun and shield;the Lord bestows favor and honor.No good thing does he withholdfrom those who walk uprightly.12 O Lord of hosts,blessed is the one who trusts in you!
In the fall of 1982, James Burke, the chairman of Johnson & Johnson, faced the biggest crisis of his career. J&J learned from a reporter that their flagship product, Tylenol, had been linked to seven poisoning deaths in the Chicago area. No one knew how or why the capsules had been poisoned, and Burke didn’t know how widespread the danger to the public might be.
What would you do?
The Bible suggests we should start the decision-making process by considering the potential consequences of our actions. Deuteronomy 28 shows that some actions bring blessings while others bring curses. What actions could Burke take to save his company from potential curses? How could he bless consumers and the Tylenol brand for the future?
Burke quickly considered the consequences of several strategies, with a focus on keeping customers safe. Though it cost Johnson & Johnson $100 million in the short term, Burke convinced J&J shareholders to recall all Tylenol capsules. Burke also directed an expensive media campaign to warn consumers against taking Tylenol until it was deemed safe again.
The effort was costly for Johnson & Johnson in the short term, but it saved the Tylenol brand in the long term. After J&J launched a new tamper-proof packaging, Tylenol quickly regained its lost market share. The public rewarded Burke for the trust he had built up during the crisis through his transparency and ethical decision-making.
When you face a tough ethical dilemma, think about the potential consequences of each of your choices. List all the consequences you can think of, both short term and long term. Does one choice yield more blessing?
Lord, give me your insight into the consequences of my choices. Guide me towards blessing and away from curses. Amen.
One of the most important keys to fulfilling your God-purpose is knowing that the Lord is with you. It is an awesome feeling to know you have support in the natural sphere of life like family, friends, coworkers, peers, and acquaintances, and be that as it may, the ingredient in making this phase perfect is knowing that the Creator of the universe, the one who brings the world as we know it into existence out of non-existence goes before you and backs you up. With this kind of knowledge, there is no way to fail, but there is an assurance that the very purpose you were created for will come to be a reality, because the one who authored it is with you.
As I have explored the Bible about the lives of many men and women God chose to use, I found that the common denominator was that the Lord was with them. God used ordinary, and even the least of men, and women to accomplish great feats that would preserve future generations. They had faults and flaws; however, these short comings did not keep them from accomplishing their God-purpose. We must remember; in order to fulfill the God-purpose, we must have God in it.
My friends, the present situations that we face in our lives should not deter us from fulfilling the God-purpose because we as believers are equipped with the assurance of knowing that God is with us. Being able to fulfill the God-purpose in our lives may never happen the way we think it should happen, but when we know the Lord is with us, it does not matter how it is going to happen, but, rather, it matters that we know who is with us while it is happening.
Power Thought: I am determined to fulfill my God-purpose – not in my strength and abilities, but in the Lord’s strength and abilities.
Broken Crayons Color The Same…OnPurpose!!
Holy. How often do you see yourself as holy? That’s not a term we usually apply to ourselves? Perhaps you’ve never married, but not by choice. Maybe you’re divorced, abandoned or abused. You might have had a baby outside of marriage, or you may have even aborted a baby. How holy does that leave you feeling?
And yet, if you are God’s child, he sees you as holy, no matter how damaged, broken or deserted you feel. You may wonder, How can he see me that way after everything I’ve done? It’s because he is looking at you through rose-colored glasses. These heavenly glasses have crimson lenses that have been tinted by the blood of his Son, Jesus — the Darling of the universe. Heaven’s precious Prince. The Savior of the world.
The Father cannot see the ugly stains, blotches and blemishes of what you may think is your unholy life. He cannot see your past failures or sins because they are filtered from his view by rose-colored lenses that have been drenched in the royal-red blood of his Son at Calvary. By that sacrifice, Jesus made it possible for you to be perfect forever — yes, holy! You may have trouble wrapping your finite human mind around such an infinitely divine concept. But it’s true nevertheless, and you can celebrate your holiness. Look forward to eternity with the Father, who loves you more than life itself — the life of his own dear Son.
And when you look into your mirror, see what your Father sees through rose-colored glasses…OnPurpose!
Mary Hollingsworth ~ Taken from Fulfilled
See Leviticus 11:45