The Simple Need

Everyday our city teems with activity. The hustle and bustle of people trying to find their way through the onslaught of traffic and turmoil. As believers, we must go out to meet them, do life and start conversations about life with Jesus in the midst of it all. The essential action of being His witnesses is to GO. What God has done in us cannot stop with us. We must GO. This week's devos focus on the urgency to always be moving towards God. Towards the needs of others. Towards bringing the message of the love, peace and hope found in Jesus. Read the devos, remind others to read them and then . . . GET GOING!!

Read:

" ‘While you have the light, believe in the light, that you may become sons of light.' These things Jesus spoke, and departed, and was hidden from them." John 12:36

Reflect:

Jesus spoke to His disciples with urgency. The Light as they had known Him to be, would not always be available as He had in the past. If His hearers were to walk in certainty, they should act at once, unless after His departure they might find themselves in darkness. He called them to live persistently and consistently in their faith. 

Jesus compelled them to believe in the Light, to believe in Him. As they believed in the Light, the qualities, characteristics, and nature of the Light would become evident in their lives.

Followers of Jesus, however, occasionally complicate the concept of following Jesus. We love to splice theology and argue doctrine. When we do, we lose sight of the simple need to become more like Jesus. Said another way, it is easy to spend time discussing, debating, and writing about Christian beliefs, all the while neglecting Christian behavior.

As we follow Jesus, we should become more like Him. Remember non-believers found Jesus winsome and attractive. Sinners actually liked to be around Jesus. So, if we are serious about reaching our unbelieving culture, becoming more like Jesus should be our primary goal. When we are more like our Savior, those who are far from Jesus will find themselves wanting to be near us. When they do draw near, we have the opportunity to shine God's light of truth and love into their dark world.

Jesus told His disciples they are light, and therefore, they were responsible for confronting darkness. The principle means by which they would drive out darkness would be enforcing Jesus' work on the cross in every present form of darkness. The life of believers can either attract people and draw them closer to faith, or distract them away from faith. 

Respond:

Lord, thank You for sending "sons of light" into my life so I might come to know You. Now send me, I pray. Use me to bring others into Your eternal family.

Today's Filling

Everyday our city teems with activity. The hustle and bustle of people trying to find their way through the onslaught of traffic and turmoil. As believers, we must go out to meet them, do life and start conversations about life with Jesus in the midst of it all. The essential action of being His witnesses is to GO. What God has done in us cannot stop with us. We must GO. This week's devos focus on the urgency to always be moving towards God. Towards the needs of others. Towards bringing the message of the love, peace and hope found in Jesus. Read the devos, remind others to read them and then . . . GET GOING!!

Read: 

". . . be filled with the Holy Spirit," Ephesians 5:18

Reflect:

You can't do it alone. To succeed in the Christian life it will take the help of the Holy Spirit. Everyone in Christ has the Holy Spirit. Salvation secures the Spirit of Christ as Lord and Savior of one's life. However, every believer needs the filling of Holy Spirit. Today's filling will not do for tomorrow.

Paul urges his readers to draw on the reinvigorating resource of the Holy Spirit. It's the Spirit who produces a genuine exhilaration many will never find in the bottom of a glass. Paul is inviting his readers to go on being filled. This is not a manufactured experience. Though it can be rejected by the believer, by doing so they sentence themselves to a journey of lifeless Christianity.

Every day we need a fresh filling. We cannot afford to coast on past experiences with God. The present working of the Spirit regularly refreshes, it explains the nature of Jesus, to make us one with the Lord. It means that the Holy Spirit is having His way, unaggrieved and uninterrupted in the life of the believer.

How then can a believer be filled with the Spirit?

Cancel any known sin

If we claim we share in the life of Jesus, yet continue to stumble around in the darkness of sin, we are lying to ourselves. How can we expect the Holy One of God to work freely where sin is condoned? 

Completely surrender

Take your everyday ordinary life - your sleeping, eating, going to work, walking around - and place it before God as an offering, every area must be thrown open to His dominion. Embracing what God has done for you is the best thing you can do for Him.

Connect to the scripture

Give the word plenty of room in your life. Reading the word, studying it, obeying, all count in the working of His word as a fact.

Cease from striving

We must be emptied of our old selves. Identify yourself completely with Him, move your ego out of the way. You don't have to impress God, or anyone else. It's Christ who lives in you, it's not you doing the work, but the Spirit. The life you live is by faith in the Son of God.

Respond:

Today fill me afresh with your Spirit.

The Simplicity of Following

Everyday our city teems with activity. The hustle and bustle of people trying to find their way through the onslaught of traffic and turmoil. As believers, we must go out to meet them, do life and start conversations about life with Jesus in the midst of it all. The essential action of being His witnesses is to GO. What God has done in us cannot stop with us. We must GO. This week's devos focus on the urgency to always be moving towards God. Towards the needs of others. Towards bringing the message of the love, peace and hope found in Jesus. Read the devos, remind others to read them and then . . . GET GOING!!

Read:

"And do not be drunk with wine, . . . but be filled with the Spirit," Ephesians 5:18

Reflect:

The longer we follow Christ the simpler it becomes, because we are less inclined to be suspicious of God's ways and less inclined to be argumentative about where He leads. As the Christ-follower matures, they begin to see the compelling purpose behind even the smallest of details. In all things, they are shaped and formed into oneness with God's purpose.

A Christ-follower is someone who trusts more in God's wisdom than they do in their own abilities. Having an agenda and purpose of our own destroys the simplicity of following Christ. The real test of simple, uncomplicated faith is living for Him in the details of life. The path of wisdom is to discern God's will, then obey it to the hilt.

Here in this verse, Paul focuses in on one such detail, that of drinking. It represents one's willingness to surrender a fine point of trust. Drinking becomes a problem for the believer when it leads to excess, becomes habit-forming, it offends the conscience of another believer, whenever it hurts a Christian's testimony and detracts from the presence of God, and finally, when there is a doubt in the Christian's mind about it.

Paul gives a startling counter to being under the control of a substance - that of being filled with the Spirit. When the two states are compared and contrasted, it is easy to see the dissonance alcohol creates. 

In both, the person is under the control of a power outside of themselves, both produce a distinctive, fervent spirit. In both cases, a person's walk is affected in drunkenness, it's the physical dislocation of center in the spirit, it's the moral behavior that's affected. 

There are two distinctive contrasts between drinking and being in the Spirit. In the case of drinking, there is dissipation, distraction, and degradation. The filling of the Spirit never produces such negative effects, but creates a relaxed rhythm of walking with God. With drinking, there can be a loss of control, but the fruit of the Spirit is self-control. A believer, when filled with the Spirit, is never at a loss of control of their actions.

So, God instructs us down to the smallest detail, and when He does, don't fight it with human reasoning, "Hey, it's not wrong," or "It's only the excess that matters." Instead, keep your life clean in your daily walk. Doing holy things prepares us for harder things.

Respond:

Are you in agreement with the Son of God, or is there rebellion and defiance? 

In All Ways, By All Means

Everyday our city teems with activity. The hustle and bustle of people trying to find their way through the onslaught of traffic and turmoil. As believers, we must go out to meet them, do life and start conversations about life with Jesus in the midst of it all. The essential action of being His witnesses is to GO. What God has done in us cannot stop with us. We must GO. This week's devos focus on the urgency to always be moving towards God. Towards the needs of others. Towards bringing the message of the love, peace and hope found in Jesus. Read the devos, remind others to read them and then . . . GET GOING!!

Read:

"redeeming the time, . . ." Ephesians 5:16

Reflect:

Throughout our faith journey we will discover the hardest part of being a Christian is choosing to act like Jesus. Steadily, daily, deciding to live like Jesus would live, if He were wearing your shoes. We should be diligent to see there is a striking resemblance between us and Jesus. 

Every Christian is a living biography of Jesus. Aligning what we profess to be with who we are will bring about a striking resemblance of Jesus' character. We are to be living pictures of the one we follow. Were there that kind of conformity in our life, the world would not have to hold us up hour by hour and say, "Well, there seems to be somewhat of a likeness," or "It's not Jesus I have a problem with, it's the way His followers live." Rather, they would exclaim, "They have been with Jesus, they have been taught of Him, they have been conformed to the very likeness of the man from Nazareth and they are working it out in their life in everyday decisions."

A Christian should be like Christ in their boldness, confidence, and zeal. Never be embarrassed by your relationship with Jesus. Your profession of Him before others will never disgrace Him nor you. Take care never to disgrace Him.

Be like Jesus, valiant for your God; imitate Him through a loving spirit, think highly of others, speak kindly to others and serve others well and in such a way that the world could only say, "They have been with Jesus." Imitate Jesus in His holiness, His fervency to do the Father's will in both word and deed. Jesus was self-denying, never looking to His own personal interests, but placing others before Himself.

Redeem the time, don't let it be wasted on momentary desires. Our life is too precious, too short. Use the time you've been given to live as Jesus did. Ask that all that's real in Jesus, would be made real in you. 

Jesus was devout, so stay strong and consistent in your prayer life. Jesus always deferred to the Father's interest, so submit your drives and ambitions to Him. Because Jesus was patient, we can also learn to endure. The epitome of a living portrait of Jesus was His forgiveness of His enemies. So, forgive as you hope to be forgiven. Always give good in return for evil. Be godlike in all ways and by all means. So that all may say, "They have been with Jesus."

Respond:

Jesus, help me to live this day so that others may see You.

Push, Pull or Drag

Everyday our city teems with activity. The hustle and bustle of people trying to find their way through the onslaught of traffic and turmoil. As believers, we must go out to meet them, do life and start conversations about life with Jesus in the midst of it all. The essential action of being His witnesses is to GO. What God has done in us cannot stop with us. We must GO. This week's devos focus on the urgency to always be moving towards God. Towards the needs of others. Towards bringing the message of the love, peace and hope found in Jesus. Read the devos, remind others to read them and then . . . GET GOING!!

Read:

". . . Awake, sleeper, And arise from the dead, And Christ will shine on you." Ephesians 5:14

Reflect:

It's time to get up and get going. Enough already with confusing chaos, with business. Away with lethargy, it's time to take reluctance and cast it aside. Listen to the fresh command of God for us to wake up, arise and live in the light. 

Stop waiting for God to give you energy, you have to get yourself up. Stop waiting for assurance of the future. The fact is, power comes upon us after we arise and move into action. When you do, you'll find He gives miraculous power to live. God doesn't give overcoming life, He gives us life as we overcome.

Darkness in the life of a believer tranquilizes the soul, causing sedation to set in. Our spirit ends up in a dormant, inactive state. The work of darkness will never contribute anything good. We are to bring darkness into the light of truth. All of it. Every attempt to justify it mitigates and conceals the true gravity of our situation, all of our excuses and apologies, for repeated defeats. There are four areas we must push, pull, or drag into the light.

Depression

There are things in life that are designed to depress us. Depression tends to turn us away from the practical work of God, like eating better and resting more. The ministry of God can be in the most simple things. When we arise and obey, the weight will lift.

Despair

The sense of doing something irreversible creates despair, but it's in the past now, so let it stay there. God says arise and move on to the next thing. Never let despair keep you from taking the next step.

Drudgery

The utterly hard, menial, tiresome, dirty work reveals our true character. The way a common task is done can make it holy forever. Don't continue to lie there and do nothing, do what He's asking you to, and His light will shine upon it.

Daydreaming

Keeping our head in the clouds and pipe-dreaming about something we should already be doing is a waste of time for the disciple. God's word to us is don't get distracted, get going.

Respond:

What do you need to bring into the light of God? Do it now!


The Essential Mark

Everyday our city teems with activity. The hustle and bustle of people trying to find their way through the onslaught of traffic and turmoil. As believers, we must go out to meet them, do life and start conversations about life with Jesus in the midst of it all. The essential action of being His witnesses is to GO. What God has done in us cannot stop with us. We must GO. This week's devos focus on the urgency to always be moving towards God. Towards the needs of others. Towards bringing the message of the love, peace and hope found in Jesus. Read the devos, remind others to read them and then . . . GET GOING!!


Read:

"1Therefore be imitators of God as dear children. 2And walk in love, as Christ also has loved us and given Himself for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling aroma." Ephesians 5:1-2

Reflect: 

Walk in love. These three words inspire, stirring us to love others with the love we received from Jesus. But the apostle Paul didn't stop with inspiration, he moved on to instruction. And then, to strengthen his instruction, Paul pointed us to the individual who can be an example for us - Christ Jesus is our model for what walking in love looks like.

On the cross, Christ presented Himself to God as an offering. Paul adds it was a "fragrant offering," a phrase that appears forty times in the first five books of the Old Testament. The Lord's sacrifice was pleasing to His Father and was accepted as the means of reconciliation. When a Christian identifies with Christ in His death, the believer's life becomes an acceptable sacrifice to God.

Real love-Christ-like love-makes sacrifices for the good of others and the glory of God. This kind of costly love has a sweetness to it that others find attractive and encouraging. This love not only smells good, but it sounds good as well. There is something uplifting about being around people who have a song in their heart and encouragement on their lips. You notice these rare individuals and appreciate them because they are so refreshing to be around.

A life that is like the love of God, will be a life of love. Love is the essential mark of the Christian's character. Our model for love is Christ Himself. Because He laid down His life for us, we are to love others to the point of the sweet aroma of sacrifice. He now lives in us and through us, and that is why we are able to imitate Him and resemble Him.

Respond:

Lord, teach me to walk in love-staying close to You-so that Your presence will be a winsome aroma and a sweet song of worship to those around me.