Keep Your Eye On The Prize

Written by Christa Hardin
April 1, 2014

“I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.” Phil 3:14

It is natural for a believer to sprint toward their calling when health, finances, and emotions are thriving, but the race of faith in between those near-perfect moments can range from an even pace to a slow and arduous walk. Let’s face it: sometimes the marathon of life can be downright discouraging. Even a seasoned Christian can lose sight of the goal in those difficult moments.

If you are running ragged today, stop to consider this. Even Jesus was upset as he prepared to endure the unimaginable pain of the cross (Matthew 27:46). However Jesus trusted God even in the midst of His distress. He carried forth God’s will toward the cross. He continued with the most difficult leg of the journey. With loving purpose He summoned his friends to care for his mother (John 19:27) and then He committed his spirit to God (Luke 23:46).

If you find yourself wondering how God could bring you through something difficult, remember He always has purpose in pain. Like Jesus, stay in communion with God, asking for a glimpse of what He is doing. Remember that a beautiful resurrection of your trial and ultimately your life is coming.

From the time when Christ was raised on that beautiful third day, we can now say in every loss we experience, “Oh Death, where is your victory? Oh Death, where is your sting?” 1 Corinthians 15:55 (NASB)  Christ’s resurrection power has conquered even death, our greatest foe.

Dear Father,

Thank you for giving me hope in Christ when I am grieving a difficulty. I want to bring others toward You, running at full sprint toward Your dreams for me but sometimes I simply run out of steam. Please help me to see Your purpose through the difficulties. Thank you for sending Jesus to win the race for me for eternity! In Jesus’s name, amen.

Take Action:

Although one day we will be with Jesus far away from trials, we need other believers during the difficult times here on earth. Just as Jesus summoned his friends to help his mother, if you need help, ask someone else to pick up and help you on the journey for a while until you can return to the race fresh and fully rested. If you’d like someone from our team to pray for you talk to a coach.

Redemption: Priceless

Written by Lynn Mosher
March 31, 2014

“But [you were purchased] with the precious blood of Christ…” 1 Peter 1:19a (Amp)

“…in whom [you] have redemption through His blood.” Col. 1:14a (NKJV)

Redemption is priceless!  For you redemption is a priceless, eternal gift, but for Jesus it was very costly. It cost Him His life.

Jesus released His earthly life to die an excruciating death on a cross. Is there any greater sacrifice? The disciple John wrote, “There is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” (John 15:13, NLT)

You are that special friend of Jesus; you are worth every drop of blood that He shed and paid for you. If you have accepted that sacrificial offer, you are the precious bride of Christ, the beloved bridegroom.

Jesus paid the asking price for His bride, “a single sacrifice for our sins [that shall avail] for all time,” Heb. 10:12a (Amp) “who gave Himself a ransom on behalf of all.” 1 Tim. 2:6 (NKJV)

He exchanged His life for yours. He redeemed your life to improve it, to give you abundant life. He purchased you from the power of the enemy, redeeming you from a life of drudgery, servitude to sin, and eternal loss. He said, “So that anyone who believes in Me will have eternal life.” John 3:15 (TLB)

Great agony and heartache were the price of your redemption. Truly you are not your own. You were bought with a price – a priceless price! Do you know this priceless, redemptive love?

Father, Remind me that eternal life is mine because You paid a great price to redeem me. Show me Your redemptive love in some special way this Easter season. Amen.

 

Take Action:

Spend some time in reflection. Have you been treating your life like a priceless treasure? Ask God if there is a habit or attitude that you need to let go of.

If you’ve caught yourself thinking that your life is just average, that message is not from God. Read How to recognize the voice of God.

 

 

Just Call My Name

Written by Sheena Devota
March 28, 2014

Start a Spiritual Conversation

What’s in a name? http://thelife.com/dailydevotions/just-call-my-name #LifeDevo

“Then everyone who calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.” Acts 2:21

Think about someone that you love very much – a child, your spouse, your parent. Now imagine them calling to you for help. Would you do everything that you could to get them what they need?

Jesus gave the disciples a lofty command: “Make disciples of all nations.” In this big world, reaching every nation was and continues to be a seemingly impossible mission. Thankfully, he also reminded them that he would always be there: “I am with you always, to the end of the age.”

The world’s shortest prayer is the human heart crying out the name of Jesus. In this prayer is the cry of an imperfect creature calling on Jesus – calling he who is the same “yesterday, today, and forever” and yet has come as a particular Person in the world, with a particular face, a particular name, to call us friends. Draw near to him by calling his name with an open heart.

In this world filled with beating hearts, the Word of God reminds us that “everyone who calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved…For the promise is for you, for your children, and for all who are far away, everyone whom the Lord our God calls to him.” Acts 2:21,39

Do you ever feel overwhelmed by the challenges of life and ministry? What are some of the challenges you encounter in sharing the gospel with others? Name these struggles. Then call His name.

Jesus, help me to trust in You with all my heart. Help me to share about Your love with others, that we may all call upon your name and be saved. Change many hearts in my life, starting with my own. And may all this be done in Your holy name, in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Amen.

 

Take Action

Write the name of Jesus somewhere you can see every day. Every time you see it, try to take a few moments to call on his name. In between tasks or classes, try to develop a habit of saying small but significant prayers, as simple as, “Jesus, I trust in you,” or “Jesus, remember me.” Say a prayer now that the Lord may reach others through you, that they may begin to have this prayer in their hearts too.

Called to Give

Written by Ashlea Massie
March 27, 2014

If you have a bank account, you have a calling. http://thelife.com/dailydevotions/called-to-give #LifeDevo

“Having gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, let us use them: if prophecy, in proportion to our faith; if service, in our serving; the one who teaches, in his teaching; the one who exhorts, in his exhortation; the one who contributes, in generosity; the one who leads, with zeal; the one who does acts of mercy, with cheerfulness.” Romans 12:6-8 (ESV)

I used to think that the highest calling was to be a missionary. I felt like my life was worth nothing if it was not going to be invested in full-time, lifelong mission work. I felt guilty for living a nice life and not experiencing poverty or severe persecution like some missionaries face.

The fact of the matter is, God calls all of us to perform mission work in one form or another. And to God, they are equivalent in importance. God calls some to go overseas and become full-time missionaries, but God also calls many others to give. After all, missionaries need support in order to continue their work. Full-time missionaries wouldn’t be able to effectively continue the work God gave them without the funds of others working to give to God. We who are not full-time missionaries are called to live to give to others, and that is just as important as being a full-time missionary.

Are you struggling with feelings of self-doubt about your importance in God’s kingdom? Perhaps you are struggling with guilt for being able to live comfortably. Remember that the best way to fulfill your calling at home is to give, especially to missions through prayer and financially. Sometimes God calls us to become uncomfortable by giving more and spending less on ourselves. This calls for just as great a self-sacrifice as those who give their lives to mission work.

Dear Lord, give us the assurance we need to be content with being givers behind the scenes and inspire us in our missions. Bless the work of all involved with spreading the Gospel. Amen.

Take Action

If you have not been called to full-time mission work, then you have been called to give. Make a concerted effort to give more to missions this month, whether it be a one-time gift or a dedicated commitment to give more on a monthly basis, all make a difference in the kingdom of God!

Support the hardworking missionaries at TruthMedia!

Wherever You Go

Written by Mary Pinckney
March 25, 2014

A great way to share the good news intentionally is by becoming a mentor.

Jesus didn’t really mean ‘everywhere’…did He? http://thelife.com/dailydevotions/wherever-you-go #LifeDevo

“So wherever you go, make disciples of all nations: Baptize them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Teach them to do everything I have commanded you. And remember that I am always with you until the end of time.” Matthew 28:19-20 (GW)

“So wherever you go, make disciples of all nations.” This portion of scripture really stood out to me as I read it today. Wherever you go could mean the grocery store, next door to a neighbor’s house, the bank, the mall, etc. For some it may mean missions’ trips. Jesus made it plain that wherever we go we should take the good news of the Gospel with us. We should be willing to share His love with those we encounter on a daily basis.

Now the question is, are you willing to step out of your comfort zone to make disciples? Most of the church goes into a panic state when the word “evangelize” is mentioned. Normally a picture comes to mind of passing out tracts and witnessing door to door. But what about letting our lives be a witness? What about paying for the person’s lunch in line after you? What about meeting the needs of a single mother that is struggling to feed her family? In each of these situations it would break the fallow ground of the hearts so that they will be receptive to the Gospel.

Our lives should be a living testimony of Jesus. People should see our good works and glorify our Father in Heaven. As you go about your day to day life, be sensitive to the Holy Spirit’s prompting and reach out to those around you. He is not willing that any should perish, but that all will come to eternal life.

Lord so often we get busy with our day to day routine and fail to see those right around us that need a relationship with You. We often take for granted that everyone knows You. Please give us Your eyes so that we may see their needs. Help us to be Your hands and feet to this dying world. We may not be able to change nations alone, but wherever we go we can change one heart at a time. In Jesus’ name, amen.

Take Action

Do you believe that Jesus calls you to be a missionary everywhere you go? If you go through the drive-thru today, pay for the order in the car behind you. If you don’t, find another way to break out of your routine and do a random act of kindness in Jesus’ name.

Who Are We Living For?

Written by Becky Toews
March 24, 2014

Make The Life Commitment.

What are you aiming for? http://thelife.com/dailydevotions/who-are-we-living-for #LifeDevo

“However, I consider my life worth nothing to me; my only aim is to finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me….” Acts 20:24

A group of Indians were walking by Mother Teresa when they saw her hugging a leper. One of the men commented, “I wouldn’t do that for all the money in the world.” Mother Teresa replied, “Neither would I. I am doing it for the love of Christ.” Not because it made her feel good. Not because it made her rich and famous. Not because it paved the way for the Nobel Peace Prize. Completing the task the Lord had given her was her only aim. Nothing in life trumped her love for Christ. She never forgot who she was living for.

Neither did Paul. In his farewell to the Ephesian elders he warned them that difficult days lay ahead. Some among their very flock would distort the truth and draw others away (Acts 20:30). Despite the inevitable discouragement such betrayal would bring, he exhorted them to keep pressing on. He reminded them of Jesus’ words— that a life of giving and investing in others exceeds a life marred with self-interest. He never forgot who he was living for.

How about you and me?  Let’s commit to live for Jesus in every aspect of life. We will undeniably fulfill the great commission as we remember our only aim and not forget who we’re living for.

Lord Jesus, help us weak vessels resist all the pulls of life that threaten to draw us away from the things that really matter. Help us not forget that the only life worth living is life lived for you. Amen.

Take Action

Take some time to consider the priorities in your life. Ask the Holy Spirit help you put first things first.

Mission: Impossible?

Written by Allan Mitchell
March 22, 2014

“Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is…” http://thelife.com/DailyDevotions/mission-impossible #LifeDevo

But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” Acts 1:8

For many Christians, the word evangelism evokes an uncomfortable image of sharing the gospel awkwardly and inadequately to a nonbeliever.

I recall my first evangelism experiences: initially, I confidently and boldly recited the right verses and the right answers. Other times, feeling totally unprepared, I fumbled and mumbled through a rehearsed clichéd script. Mostly, I thought I was on course, but perceived fruitlessness quickly quenched my passion and fire. Consequently, I lost confidence. This mission seemed impossible.

Why would God call, consecrate, and commission us to share our faith, when many believers experience perceived failure and consider it mission: impossible? Often, perception doesn’t reflect reality. Actually, God never asks us to perform a task without empowering and equipping us to accomplish His task. Acts 1:8 assures us that God empowers and equips us for an ongoing mission: sowing and cultivating His gospel in the world.

So, how do we embrace God’s mandate to share our faith authentically, purposely, and effectively with those in our sphere of influence? Although not an exhaustive list, here are a few evangelism essentials I’ve learned: prepare in prayer, rely on the Spirit, avoid Christian jargon, listen intently, exchange life stories, cultivate relationship, avoid criticism, and speak truth in love.

As laborers, believers are responsible to sow and to cultivate, but the Lord Jesus is responsible for the harvest. Now, your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to intentionally and faithfully engage in sharing His gospel. Light a match…let the mission begin!

Dear Heavenly Father: Thank You for empowering me and equipping me with Your Holy Spirit. Prepare my heart for intentional outreach to those in my sphere of influence. Give me the courage to persevere and to share about You authentically with a lost and hurting world. Amen.

Take Action

Offer to God any concerns or feelings of inadequacy you may have about sharing your faith with others. Ask God to start building confidence in you as you depend on Him and start taking risks to share your faith.

If evangelism feels like a burden, make sure to watch Relax! Witnessing is Not All About You. We’ve also discovered a great book on how to have spiritual conversations: God Space by Doug Pollock.

What’s one thing you find hard about witnessing? Please post a comment. Then we get to encourage one another! 

How Bright is Your Light?

Written by Kristi Huseby
March 21, 2014

Check out this free app that introduces you to a new unreached people group to pray for everyday!

Is your light hiding or shining? http://thelife.com/dailydevotions/how-bright-is-your-light #LifeDevo

“You are the light of the world—like a city on a hilltop that cannot be hidden.  No one lights a lamp and then puts it under a basket. Instead, a lamp is placed on a stand, where it gives light to everyone in the house.”  Matthew 5.14-15 (NLT)

This past week I was having a discussion with a friend of mine and she told me about a satellite image that she had seen of our world.  The picture was taken at night.  Places in Europe were lit up like a Christmas tree but other places like China and North Korea were completely dark.

As my friend explained the picture she saw, I couldn’t help but wonder: if we were to take a spiritual satellite image of our world, where would the light and darkness be?  Would the light be switched?  Would North Korea be ablaze and America pitch dark?

How bright is my own light?  Is it glowing brightly enough for others to see? Or is it a dull radiance that is barely perceived?

I believe many of us know ABOUT God.  We know about God like we know about our favorite actor, singer, or band member.  We’ve prided ourselves on all the facts and statistics we know about God, we’ve loaded up on knowledge about Him through Bible studies, sermons and spiritual books but have neglected to develop an intimate, personal, knowing relationship with Him.  We may spout verses, tell other people how they should live but neglect to live in obedience ourselves.  We live self-centered, self-serving lives.  And our light?  It isn’t light at all – it’s really darkness.

Is our life just meaningless words or are we truly living what we say we believe? How bright is your light?

Lord, we need You.  You have placed Your light in us at great personal cost to You.  Don’t let me cheapen this great treasure.  I want to get out of the way and let Your light shine so that others can see the truth.  Amen.

Take Action

Think of a part of your life that you have kept dim; maybe it’s the side of you that comes out at your child’s sporting events or when you take a night off with your friends, or even your workplace. Intentionally bring a little light into those places this week by using positive speech, unconditional love, and the name of Jesus!

What Did You Say?

Written by Julie Cosgrove
March 20, 2014

“For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.” Hebrews 4:12

When I was a child, we’d play the game “Gossip.” It’s a whisper game passed from person to person until the last one in the circle, who then says out loud what they think they heard.  Often, it is very different than what the first person whispered.

There is a great deal of whispers in the world today about what Christianity is and is not. Many people have heard about it second-hand. Misinterpretations can easily occur that way.

When you hear someone proclaiming what Christianity is all about, make sure you check to see if that is what God’s holy word states.  Here are some ways:

  • Pray over it and ask the Holy Spirit to reveal the truth to you.
  • If you need help finding a passage that confirms or refutes their ideas, there are websites that have Bible passage and keyword searches.
  • Many Bibles have study comments at the bottom of each page to let you know how scholars have interpreted the passages.
  • You can ask a trusted pastor for help.
  • You can email a mentor at Power to Change for free.

Get the truth from someone who knows, through study and prayer, the One who spoke it first. Show someone else where to find the truth so they don’t turn the gospel into gossip.

Dear Father in Heaven, there are so many interpretations of what your Son is, or was or can be. There are so many rules and traditions slapped on to faith as conditions of Your mercy and grace. There are so many falsehoods being spread about your good news. Teach us to always go to the source—Your word—for confirmation of Your will and Your ways.  We pray this through Jesus, who is the truth and the way. Amen.

Take Action:

What is one question you have about the faith? Share your question in the comments and we can help each other find the answers.

 

Rescued to Rescue

Written by Linda McCutcheon
March 19, 2014

What Ground Zero taught me about my mission. http://thelife.com/DailyDevotions/rescued-to-rescue #LifeDevo

“Rescue any who need to be saved, as you would rescue someone from a fire.” Jude 1:23a (CEV)

I stood soberly with others at Ground Zero. There was a hush as we remembered those fire fighters and rescuers who gave their lives at the World Trade Center over a decade ago. There was an urgency to rescue and save all they could. Scripture says we are to be like fire fighters, with urgency and focus to rescue people to the safety of God’s eternal Kingdom.

As we reflect on our own life being rescued, we can be encouraged as Colossians 1:13 says, “For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves.”

We’re called to be God’s ambassadors to help rescue. Each day, we need to look for opportunities to share about the hope we have because Christ is living in us. Let’s consider those in our circle of influence: our family, our bus ride buddy, co-workers, a cashier, or a neighbour. We can’t rescue everyone, but we can be Spirit-guided, taking advantage of the opportunities He provides. I was inspired when meeting with Author, J.I. Packer; he told us that his priority was to always spend time with those who needed Christ.

What stops us from having this sense of urgency? Maybe it’s feelings of inadequacy, fear, or indifference. Thelife.com is full for resources for overcoming these setbacks.

Will you prayerfully ask God to help you be A Rescuer for Jesus? God will guide and amazing things will happen. God has entrusted you to be part of His great plan to pull people from the raging fires of this world.

God of our Salvation, thank You for rescuing me. Thank You for making me a part of Your family. Help me to see the urgency of becoming a Rescuer of Souls. May my life be God-honouring and tuned into Your Spirit, so I rely on the courage and strength You provide. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Take Action

Make a prayer list of those in your circle of life and keep it close. Ask God to reveal one person this week that you can begin to share Christ with and trust Him to help you. Considering trying The Share Your Faith Series.

How can we gain confidence to share our faith? Encourage others. Post a comment below.