Acts 16:25 "About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the other prisoners were listening to them.
The way you handle the tough times in life gives validation to your faith.
Think of it: Do you worship God the same in easy times as you do in hard times? Not really. You are more likely to forget the thousands and millions of blessings God has given us when you are secure. But when you are tried for your faith, it is then that your life’s song of praise is truly played loudly before the world and ultimately God.
Without a proper perspective of how important a Godly life is, we will fail to see how God can work in our lives. Nothing can make a greater difference for our witness to this lost world than living every area of our lives completely for God. Paul and Silas knew this, and they showed that worship in good times and bad attune us to His will and refocus our priorities.
Is your life signing a clear, loud message to God? Or is there a lot of static? The way you live your each day associates where you are with God.
Father, I see the faith of Paul and Silas in this verse and I am ashamed. Ashamed because I know that I am too comfortable and content with my way of life. I am too much in the world and too less in you. Be glorified, Lord. Help me to see what is important in this life, even through the mundane of work and daily living. You are the best thing that can ever happen to me and I need your grace now. I pray this in Jesus’ name, amen.
2 Corinthians 4:10 "We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body."
Carrying around in our body the death of Jesus means we share in His sufferings.
Dear reader, you know exactly of what I speak. You are in state now where you can’t see how pieces of your life’s puzzle will fit together. All you can see are scattered pieces with no order. As any mountain climber will tell you, you won’t understand the importance of the valleys until you are at the summit. Then you can look back across all the terrain you have scaled and find comfort in knowing you finished the ascent.
Have you need to shed the dead skin in your life?
Have you viewed the recent events in your life as a blessing or a curse?
Let’s remember that “though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day” (2 Corinthians 4:17). God’s strength in sufficient and His grace is more than enough to meet all our needs (2 Cor. 12:8-10).
To become more like Jesus, you must trust Him to remove all that is old and stinky.
Father, the suffering of your perfect Son, Jesus Christ, is more than I can bear to think about. Yet, it was not just the physical punishment that befuddles me. It was that He willingly, according to your divine plan, went to the cross and took on the wrath I deserve for my sin. And then he resurrected after his burial and ascended to heaven to sit at your right hand.
Lord, I am in awe because I now carry around the marks of his death in my body as His follower. I just want to thank you today that you have rewritten my eternal destiny by His death, burial, and resurrection. I pray this with all thanks in Jesus’ name. Amen.
Psalm 119:71 "It was good for me to be afflicted so that I might learn your decrees."
There is something to be said for difficulty in our spiritual lives as well. It is not a matter of “if” we will face hard times, but it is rather a matter of “when”. You see, if we are walking closely with Christ, persecution for the name of Jesus is a sure indicator that we are doing His will.
On the other hand, hard times may be needed to draw us out of sin or test our faith in times of growth. Whatever the case, God is in control the whole time and we most deeply appreciate what we learn after and not in the midst of the hard time.
You may think God is not helping you at all. But He has heard your cry, and in that very moment He went into action! We serve a loving Father who feels your grief the moment you first feel it (Exodus 2:24-25).
No matter how you got into your affliction, God hurts with you. He grieves to see you so broken and He wants more than anything to deliver you.
Won’t you let Him do that today?
Father, this Christian life is not a bed of roses or an easy walk on the beach. This isn’t my home in this world and the world reminds me of that. It is not easy being a follower of you. But how could I ever repay you? You gave me life, breath, and, most of all, salvation in your Son’s name. Lord, you are good to me. Help me to carry my cross of trial today no matter what the cost. Thank you that you are strong in my weakness! In Jesus’ name, amen.
Hebrews 12:14 "Make every effort to live in peace with everyone and to be holy; without holiness no one will see the Lord."
The saddest commentary on Christians today is how easily we let our standards slip. As ambassadors for Christ on this earth (2 Corinthians 5:20), we must be the ones that are different from the world. We must live our lives in such as a way that God’s holiness is clearly seen.
That is the crux of Hebrews 12:14. When we walk with the world, the world will be seen. When God is at the center of everything we do, and we acknowledge Him with our lips before men, holiness will shine like sun at noon. There will be no mistake who we serve--Jesus Christ.
Holiness is only seen when God is our sole desire and mission in life.
Father, I don’t want people to see me, my strengths, and my successes. I want them to see you and your glory. Like Moses, Lord, won’t you show this world your glory through me? I pray this not selfishly—but for others to come to know you as I have come to know you. Let what happens here be for your praise and the advancement of your kingdom. Oh, Father, you are worthy! Be lifted high in my life today. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
Philippians 3:16 "Only let us live up to what we have already attained."
A distinguishing mark of a mature Christian is their outlook on everyday life. Someone who is constantly connected to Jesus through prayer does not let minor things hinder them from God's plans.
This requires heavenly vision. Heavenly vision means that we compare our attitude and reaction to trials to what really matters in the end. It is a process to be able to live life with heavenly vision. It demands we let go of our concerns and walk completely in the Lord's will. It is a daily choice.
We must carry our crosses and keep our eyes fixed on our Savior (Hebrews 12:2). Then we will be able to understand what it means to have heaven’s eyes.
Father, help me set my mind on things that are above. Let my thoughts be the thoughts that most honor and glorify your name. Lord, let me vision be like that of Elisha and his servant, who, though surrounded by an army, could see that you and your army were surrounding them. Thank you for watching over me. Nothing happens in my life apart from your hand and I need to be reminded of that today. You are good, Lord. I praise you for everything, not the least is the giving of your Son. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
Genesis 12:1 The LORD had said to Abram, "Go from your country, your people and your father's household to the land I will show you."
When God called Abram, it wasn’t because Abram was a good man. It wasn’t because he had faith. He didn’t have any credentials to commend him to God. God didn’t receive a stack of resumes and decide that Abram was the most qualified to be the father of all.
Don’t be mistaken. Nobody was qualified. Nobody deserved God’s blessing. Abram was a sinner who deserved God’s wrath and punishment. God called Abram out of paganism and false gods. He called him out of his idolatrous lifestyle. But God chose him in spite of his sin. God chose to bless him even though he was a sinner.
The call of the Gospel is total and complete. Jesus doesn’t say, “Give me a couple of hours each Sunday.” Jesus says, “Deny yourself and take up your cross and follow me. Give Me everything! Everything you have. Everything you are. Every gift and talent, every hope and aspiration, every relationship. It’s all mine.”
Jesus is not a Savior who works around your schedule. You can’t compartmentalize Him into certain parts of your life like a bag in an overhead airplane storage bin and leave Him out of other parts of your life. He wants everything, and He wants to affect every part of your life.
Father, thank you for the reminder today that no one deserves your grace. Abram was not seeking the true God, just as we are before we come to know Jesus Christ There is none who do good – no, not one. There are none who are seeking you. There are none who would follow after you. Yet, Lord, we are reminded from 1 John that we love because you first loved. We know from Ephesians 1 that you predestined us come to know you.
Father, what great love has been lavished on us that we should be called sons and daughters of God by faith in your Son! Thank you, Father, for saving me! In Jesus’ name. Amen.
1 Corinthians 4:13 "When we are slandered, we answer kindly."
God seeks out the broken, the people who have been chewed up and spit out by a cruel and sinful world.
It is these, the refuse of the world, who grace was meant for.
It is these, who have seen their lives crucified, who are ready for resurrection.
We must become like they are, both in our hearts and in our lives.
We must learn to see the depth of sin in our lives and so shed any pretension of pride, being the chief of sinners, the lowest of scum. We must live in such a way that we sacrifice our rights and possessions out of love for our neighbors.
Father, what a thought it is to know that the world treats your followers as trash, and how much more your very own Son! Lord, remind me today that the world is not my friend. To be a friend of the world is to be an enemy of God. Yet, Lord, I know there are countless millions that don’t have any idea who you are. Remind me that I am, indeed, like Paul, the chief of all sinners, but one who is also forgiven by Christ’s death. Be glorified in this way in my life today, Father. In Jesus’ name. Amen.