The Opposite of Worry

We are under constant pressure of external forces working to get us to give up on God, to walk away from faithfulness. You will have to fight back. Don't let this world get the best of you. This week we are journeying through a few verses in Psalm 37 which remind us to continue to trust in the Lord, to stay focused and stay faithful and see the faithfulness of God. 

The Opposite of Worry

Read:

“Do not fret . . .” Psalm 37:1

Reflect:

Don’t worry. Don’t be anxious and troubled. Don’t let that feeling of being rushed, panicked, or driven by fear, gain on you. In the days in which we live, worry is a common emotion and fatal to living well and doing good things.

Don’t fret. It sounds like a phrase that belongs on a Christian coffee cup – so commonplace, so shallow. It seems unworthy to be among the great theological thoughts. And yet, “don’t worry” goes deep into the fabric of our faith, if we only had the ability to respond to the call to live without worry.

It’s no accident the psalmist opens with the command to fret not. Fretting is a frightful thing. It drains us of the ability to live faithfully for God. Fretting over small things causes as much damage as major anxiety. It disrupts our spirit and clouds our judgment. 

The opposite of worry is peace. Think of how much emphasis the Bible places on peace. We hear it proclaimed in the birth announcement of Jesus. The angel shouts “glory to God in the highest and peace on earth.” It comes in Jesus’ closing remarks before His death, “my peace I leave with you, my peace I give to you.” It was the very first greeting He gives to His disciples after His resurrection, “peace to you.” Then, just to make sure the disciples didn’t miss the point, “and again He said peace to you.”

Considering all of gifts Jesus gives to us as the conqueror over sin, death, and the grave, He gives peace. Peace is the focus of the apostle’s writings, “the God of hope fill you with joy and peace.” Peace is the present, daily work of God, “now may the God of peace grant you peace in every circumstance.”

It’s worth making every effort to respond to the call of the psalmist to take away the worry and fret out of our lives and live more continually and confidently in the shelter and strength of the “peace which passes all understanding.” 

Respond:

Worry or peace, the choice is yours.

Our Way VS. The Right Way

Thank you making the CP devos part of your spiritual formation. These devos are specifically designed with you in mind. This week we focus our attention on the preeminent trademark of the church. No, it's not our music, shirts, coffee mugs, bumper stickers. It's not our organization or our building. It's not cool lights, comfortable seats. It's love. We are captured, compelled, by the love of God. After thousands of years of church history, we have yet to get over the great love of God. We can't help but to love others because He first loved us. Love is our focus – look at it, live it, and let it out towards others. Make sure to let others know about our daily devos.

Our Way vs. The Right Way

Read:

“When a man’s ways please the Lord, He makes even his enemies to be at peace with him.” Proverbs 16:7

Reflect: 

We live in a generation when everything around us encourages us to “do it your way.” Even restaurants are all geared to give us more and more choices. Instead of fries and a Coke with your meal, in fast food restaurants you can choose milk and fruit, or onion rings and juice. Not to say that having so many choices in life is evil or bad, but we have become so accustomed to having things “our way” that we think that is the “right way.”

God has given us the ability to decide if we want “our way” or His plan for our lives. God’s way is where there is happiness and fulfillment. If you believe that God is not really all that He said He is, then you will choose your own way. But, if you really begin to understand and accept the unconditional and unfailing love of God, you must yield to a new way of thinking. It’s called faith. 

If you choose this new way of thinking, it will show in your actions and in the very essence of who you are. The choice to follow Christ will not be a bed of roses, without opposition or criticism. Many have made the choice to follow Him and have been ridiculed by friends, even family. But for those who stay strong and continue to follow, God’s love will show through too!

Ask yourself these things: Has there been a time when you felt your choice made more sense than the path God had chosen for you? When you evaluate your Christian walk, is it active or passive? Do you blend in easily?

Respond:

God, help me depend on You more each day. I want to walk in Your ways and not my own. Help me live in such a way that Your love shows through my life. Amen

Created to Connect

Thank you making the CP devos part of your spiritual formation. These devos are specifically designed with you in mind. This week we focus our attention on the preeminent trademark of the church. No, it's not our music, shirts, coffee mugs, bumper stickers. It's not our organization or our building. It's not cool lights, comfortable seats. It's love. We are captured, compelled, by the love of God. After thousands of years of church history, we have yet to get over the great love of God. We can't help but to love others because He first loved us. Love is our focus – look at it, live it, and let it out towards others. Make sure to let others know about our daily devos.

Created to Connect

Read:

“. . . joined and knit together by what every joint supplies, according to the effective working by which every part does its share, causes growth of the body . . .” Ephesians 4:16

Reflect:

There is no such thing as a self-made man. Our culture teaches us a self-destructive lie that has affected generations – get what you can, while you can, before you can’t. This self-serving attitude sends the message that we need only our own strength and wisdom to succeed.

Scripture repeatedly presents the powerful truth that God uses connections to help us realize our true significance and potential. For example, God formed Eve to be a helpmate for Adam because it was not good for Adam to be alone (Genesis 2:18). Barnabas stood with Paul, the former Christian killer now turned preacher, because he could not stand on his own merit.

The Holy Spirit guides Christians to embrace their significance through connections (I Corinthians 12:13).  Believers are led to this realization in several ways. First, they can find great instruction and encouragement through God’s Word. If one wants to know the will of God, that person must get to know the Word of God. It is His love letter, given to His creation, for His glory.

Christians can also learn to grasp their value through intimate conversations with their Creator. We must learn to not only talk to God, but to listen for His response. Too many of our prayers sound like Christmas wish lists, when they should resemble a beggar’s plea for mercy.

Another critical component that offers hope and direction, is the local church. We all need a sweet place to belong and be loved. Christians, who are serious about following the Lord, should search out authentic, godly mentors who are willing to invest long-term. Many times, it is through these quality relationships that we find much needed wisdom.

Respond:

Lord Jesus, I understand that my future success has little to do with my own skill and everything to do with Your ability. Help me to daily draw strength from intimate time alone in Your Word and in prayer. Please continue to connect me with like-minded believers who are not willing to settle for less than Your best. Thank You in advance for the great works You will do in and through me to make a difference in the world. Amen

You're New

Thank you making the CP devos part of your spiritual formation. These devos are specifically designed with you in mind. This week we focus our attention on the preeminent trademark of the church. No, it's not our music, shirts, coffee mugs, bumper stickers. It's not our organization or our building. It's not cool lights, comfortable seats. It's love. We are captured, compelled, by the love of God. After thousands of years of church history, we have yet to get over the great love of God. We can't help but to love others because He first loved us. Love is our focus – look at it, live it, and let it out towards others. Make sure to let others know about our daily devos.

You’re New

Read:

“Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old things passed away; behold, all things have become new.” 2 Corinthians 5:17

Reflect:

I don’t know if you are like me, but I find this verse to be so encouraging. In fact, this may be the most encouraging verse in the entire Bible. Before Christ came to live in me, I was a mess. According to God’s law, I should be in a great deal of trouble. As a matter of fact, I should be, and was, sentenced to death. However, that was before Christ. I am in Christ now, and that makes all the difference.

I don’t always live as if I am new. There are times when I forget who I am. That’s why this verse is so encouraging to me and should be to each of you. I would imagine that this was a pretty powerful concept to Paul as well.

The only condition in this sentence is the word “if.” The apostle Paul assures us that if we are in Christ, then we are, without a doubt, new. The facts may be simple, but they don’t change. Even when we don’t act like it, God stands over us declaring that we are new. His is the only word that matters. That isn’t an excuse to live like we aren’t in Christ, rather, it is our motivation to live for Jesus. It simply doesn’t make sense for us to live like we used to. Scripture clearly says that the person that we used to be has passed away. That’s just a polite way of saying he or she is dead. You are new. Live like it, and let your actions match reality.

Respond:

Father, thank You that I am new in Your Son, Jesus. You are the only One who knows all of my past, and yet You still accept me. You are the only One who could condemn me, yet You choose to give me grace. Thank you for accepting me as Your child. I may not always feel new, but I choose to trust Your Word. By Your Spirit, will You help me to live so that my actions match reality? Thank You for making me new in Jesus. Amen   

 

Giving First: Acceptance

Thank you making the CP devos part of your spiritual formation. These devos are specifically designed with you in mind. This week we focus our attention on the preeminent trademark of the church. No, it's not our music, shirts, coffee mugs, bumper stickers. It's not our organization or our building. It's not cool lights, comfortable seats. It's love. We are captured, compelled, by the love of God. After thousands of years of church history, we have yet to get over the great love of God. We can't help but to love others because He first loved us. Love is our focus – look at it, live it, and let it out towards others. Make sure to let others know about our daily devos.

Giving First: Acceptance

Read:

“Therefore receive one another, just as Christ also received us, to the glory of God.” Romans 15:7

Reflect:

We live in a world that daily asks us to accept different things. When we upgrade our iPhone or computer, we are asked to read an agreement and accept it. If we are honest, we have come to the point that we no longer read the agreement, we just scroll down and click accept! We accept people on social media, even though we have no clue who they are. We accept the transaction fee to withdraw our own money from an ATM machine. We punch the button to accept the fee and pay an extra five dollars to get twenty dollars. In the midst of this “blind” acceptance, one can’t help but wonder if we are blindly rejecting the people that God has placed in our paths?

We pass by people every day at work, school and even church who are longing to be accepted. We don’t notice them because we enter the room looking for people with whom we already have a relationship. We join them and block out everyone else.

If a new person was pointed out to us, we say “I already have a good group of friends,” or “I’m not sure that’s the kind of person I need to be associated with.” Read those two statements out loud. Now go back and read Romans 15:7. We should be glad that Jesus didn’t say that about reaching out to us! He willingly accepted us, regardless of our past!

We sometimes forget where we came from, and think that we are better than we really are. Remember that Jesus reached out to us and accepted us. He told us to do the same for others. The next time someone is sitting alone, remember this verse and step out to make a new friend.

Respond:

Jesus, where would I be if You had not reached out and accepted me? Thank You for seeing past my faults and failures and taking me in. Help me to see people the way You see them. Help me move past my fear of rejection and the opinions of others, so that I can take the first step and reach out in Your name. Amen 

Giving First: Love

Thank you making the CP devos part of your spiritual formation. These devos are specifically designed with you in mind. This week we focus our attention on the preeminent trademark of the church. No, it's not our music, shirts, coffee mugs, bumper stickers. It's not our organization or our building. It's not cool lights, comfortable seats. It's love. We are captured, compelled, by the love of God. After thousands of years of church history, we have yet to get over the great love of God. We can't help but to love others because He first loved us. Love is our focus – look at it, live it, and let it out towards others. Make sure to let others know about our daily devos.

Giving First: Love

Read:

“We love, because He first loved us . . . And this commandment we have from Him; that the one who loves God should love his brother also.” I John 4:19, 21

Reflect:

Have you ever noticed how many ways we use the word “love”? Just for fun, try walking through the mall and eavesdrop on different conversations that are taking place around you. A couple holding hands might talk of their “love” for each other. Someone in the food court might talk about dining at a restaurant they “love.” At the music store someone may talk about how much they “love” a certain band. The word has been used so often, its meaning has become diluted.

We can get a distorted view of love, if we have the wrong definition of love. We may think that love is based on feelings and emotions, or that it comes with certain expectations. Love, when understood with the wrong definition, always has strings attached: “I will love you if . . .” or “As long as you do this . . . I will love you.” Is this love?

The true definition of love is found in Scripture. God is love (I John 4:16). His love has no strings attached. We could not earn it if we tried. Take a moment to think about that. There is nothing we can do to earn God’s love, and there is nothing we can do to lose His love. Those thoughts are both humbling and freeing.

Why does God pour out His love on us? The answer – so that we will love Him and love the people He places in our path. Remember what the passage said, “He who loves God, must love his brother also.” Our ability to love others is found in our desire to love God. The closer we are to Him, the more we allow His love to flow through us and into the lives of those around us. 

The more we love God, the more we will love others.

Respond:

Father, thank You for the amazing love that You have poured out on me. I recognize that the more I experience Your love, the more I am able to love those around me. Help me to understand that true love is unconditional and undeserved, but because of Your love for me, I can show true love to others. Amen