How long would it take to remove every distraction from your mind? After you’ve put down the cell phone, turned off the TV, walked away from the computer screen, and stepped away from any other potential distraction, you’re probably still going to need some time. Next let go of to-do lists and pending deadlines reeling in your mind. Release worries. Resist the temptation to look for dust or straighten pictures within arm’s reach. Let your body and your mind be still. Breathe.
What’s next? Talk with God. Listen to God. Think about who God is. Let the neighborhood birds serenade you. Dream. Think about your life. Enjoy the stillness. Think about how good it is when God gives you a momentum to sit still.
Be still and know that I am God. (Psalm 46:10)
My front seat was covered with one pocketbook, two briefcases, and a tin of snacks. The backseat was occupied by a little boy tying his cleats, straightening his hat, and worried about getting to baseball practice on time. Out of nowhere, a little mutt came barreling across the street dangerously close to my front tires. As I slammed on the brakes, everything in the front seat went flying in every direction all over the floor, while one small dog trotted into a neighbor’s yard, completely oblivious to the mayhem he’d caused inside my car.
In the drive of life, what do you break for? Sometimes those who are in the most spiritual peril are the ones most oblivious to the nearness of the danger of being crushed by their sin. Will you slam on the breaks to help, no matter the cost to you?
By faith Abel offered to God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain, through which he obtained witness that he was righteous, God testifying of his gifts; and through it he being dead still speaks. (Hebrews 11:4)
Abel was charting new territory. He was only the second generation of human life, standing in the short shadow of his father Adam, and mankind still had much to learn about walking with God in a fallen world. Abel made a simple sacrifice in faith, and God was pleased.
Abel’s brother despised him for his faithfulness. Hatred killed his mortal body, but Abel’s simple act of obedience is still speaking today. God testifies that his sacrifice was worthy.
The testimony of your life can speak beyond your years. What act of obedience will tell a story to the next generation?
What’s stopping you? What are the hindrances to your spiritual growth? Maybe you keep bouncing off the same walls that are separating you from God’s destination for your next stage of spiritual growth. It could be a sinful habit that you allow to hold you hostage, or a painful memory that you continue to clutch close to your heart. Fear. Pornography. Unforgiveness. Greed. Excuses. Lust. Laziness.
It’s time to tear down that barrier. If you’re ready to get serious about moving forward, talk to God about it. Name it out loud before God, and ask for His help. Prepare for daily adjustments as God strengthens you to remove the barrier to your spiritual growth.
See that you do not refuse Him who speaks. (Hebrews 12:25)
What a warning: Do not refuse Him who speaks.
I’m listening, Lord. I will let go of pride and fear of failure and loss. I will not listen to the fretful voice inside my head. I say no to the voice of my heart, trying to persuade me to live my life at my own pace, in my own stride. My ears are attuned to You, Lord, and I will no longer pretend that I can’t really hear You when You say those things that are hard for me to hear. I’m listening, Lord.
But know that the Lord has set apart for Himself him who is godly;
The Lord will hear when I call to Him. (Psalm 4:3)
I was making a fruit salad as an appetizer for a special family meal. I had pulled out linens, china, napkin rings, the whole bit. This night was to be memorable. As I picked through the strawberries in the carton I’d purchased earlier that day, I was a little disappointed at how many bad spots were hidden among them. I cut away every bad spot and set apart the good, deciding I’d be content with whatever little bit of fresh strawberry I had to work with. I was not about to serve blemished strawberries at this special meal. It was too bad that so much strawberry had to be thrown away, rotten and unusable.
Everything that God does is eternal, meaningful, and holy. When He wants to use me for His glory, I want to give Him all of me! As He seeks out men and women He will use in the harvestfield, He sets us apart. He’s looking for godliness, holiness. May we resolve to be holy before God so that He can use us fully for His glory.
Imagine living with a chronic disease for the rest of your life…because you choose to.
Sound crazy? Who willingly chooses disabilities, pain, life interruptions, limitations, and constant physical deterioration on purpose? Yet many of us refuse to forgive others, and unforgiveness is like a cancer that eats away at the soul, resulting in daily deterioration. And just like having a disease affects more than our health – it has ripple effects into our entire lifestyle and the relationships we have with others – so too unforgiveness will manifest itself to bring destruction in every area of our lives. Worst of all, our very walk with Christ suffers when we choose not to forgive others.
Jesus said, “Forgive, and you will be forgiven” (Luke 6:37). There is no value in holding onto unforgiveness. It won’t prompt the other person to change his or her ways, it won’t deaden the pain of past wrongs, and it won’t make you feel better about the situation. So forgive. Forgive completely. Pour out the forgiveness until the last drop has fallen, and let God heal your heart.
But as they were loosing the colt, the owners of it said to them, “Why are you loosing the colt?” And they said, “The Lord has need of him.” (Luke 19:33-34)
The time had come for Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem. Jesus sent two disciples to fetch a colt, and young donkey, for the ride into the city. I’ve always been curious about how this played out in real-time, when these two disciples went after this donkey that didn’t belong to them. But the answer they gave was all that the owners needed to hear: The Lord has need of him.
The donkey was needed to bring glory to Christ. The donkey was needed to fulfill prophecy. The donkey was needed to play a role in the redemption story.
As I read this story, I think about my own possessions and how tightly I might hold to them. If God whispers in my ear that the Lord has need of my resources, am I willing to freely give them for God’s purpose to be fulfilled?
At the cross, we see God demonstrating His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us (Romans 5:8). He loved us while we were drowning in sin against Him! And knowing of this grace, we realize it is no license to keep on sinning. We honor Christ by taking His sacrifice to heart and by seeking to honor Him with holiness.
Is there a habit you’ve been indulging that you know isn’t pleasing to God? In honor of God’s love for you and Christ’s sacrifice on the cross, are you willing to attack that habit and “put it to death” (Col. 3:5)? It’s a beautiful time to deny ourselves, pick up a cross, and follow Jesus.
A blind beggar sitting by the road sensed that there was an uproar swelling in the streets. He asked for someone to tell him what was happening. I can imagine that fear would make a blind man’s heart race to be sitting by the road and hear human commotion and have no idea what great or horrible thing might be about to happen. It was Jesus, they said. He was coming. Imagine the blind man sitting up on his knees, turning his head in every direction so that the sound of his voice might travel wherever it must go in order to reach the ears of Jesus. “Son of David, have mercy on me!” (Luke 18:39). He couldn’t get to Jesus. He didn’t know where Jesus was. All he could do was cry out to him and hope that Jesus would come to him.
I’ve been there. So blinded to what to do in my situation, heart pounding and desperate, on my knees, praying for God to find me because I knew I had no means to find Him.
Jesus said to the blind man, “What do you want Me to do for you?” (v.41). What do you need to ask God to do? Though we be blind and begging, Jesus hears our cry and attends to us.