Showing posts from November, 2021


 22 The blessing of the Lord brings wealth, without painful toil for it. Proverbs 10:22 NIV

A Faith that works when life doesn't Part 5 (Day 8)

  What Happens When You Learn to Be Generous? Imagine if a father took his son to McDonald’s and bought him a large order of french fries. And, as they were driving home, the father reached over to take just one french fry, but his son pushed his hand away and said, “Dad, you can't have one. These are my fries!” As they continued to drive along, the man thought, “Wow. First of all, my child has forgotten that I am the source of all he has. I brought him to McDonald’s, ordered the fries, paid for them, and gave the fries to him. The only reason he has fries is because of me! “And my child doesn't realize I could take those fries away if I wanted to. I could just grab the whole box and eat them myself. Or I could buy my son a truckload of french fries! “What’s more, I don’t need his fries. If I wanted some, I could have gotten my own. But I want him to learn to be unselfish.” When it comes to God and your finances, do you ever find yourself being like the boy with his french frie


 9 Honor the Lord with your wealth, with the firstfruits of all your crops; 10 then your barns will be filled to overflowing, and your vats will brim over with new wine. Proverbs 3:9‭-‬10 NIV

A Faith that works when life doesn't Part 5 (Day 7)

  Tithe for the Past, Present, and Future Throughout Scripture, God has commanded us to give him the first 10 percent of everything we make. That’s called tithing. Why does God ask you to do that? He certainly doesn't need your money. It's all his in the first place. He just loans it to you while you’re alive. The Bible says you should practice the principle of putting God first in your income for three reasons: the past, present, and future. First, tithe out of gratitude for the past. Recognize that everything you’ve ever had has been a gift from God. You wouldn't have any of it if it weren't for God’s generosity! Second, tithe to honor your priorities in the present. Put God first in all the areas you want him to bless. Jesus said when you seek his Kingdom first and make him your top priority, he will take care of all the other needs in your life. Third, tithe for the future to demonstrate trust in God. Obeying God’s command to tithe shows that you believe his promise


 4 Wealth is worthless in the day of wrath, but righteousness delivers from death. Proverbs 11:4 NIV

A Faith that works when life doesn't Part 5 (Day 6)

  In Uncertain Times, You Need Eternal Security What good is your money in the end? The Bible says, “When the wicked die, their hope dies with them. Confidence placed in riches comes to nothing”  (Proverbs 11:7 GNT). It also says in Proverbs 11:4,  “Your riches won't help you on Judgment Day; only righteousness counts then”  (TLB). The only way to have security that will outlast your life is to have a relationship with Jesus Christ. When facing financial insecurity, you’re more likely to stop trusting in God to take care of you. But the Bible is very clear about God’s provision. It says that God will always provide—but often in ways you don’t expect or understand. And when you feel tempted to hoard your resources, the Bible says to trust in God, not in your possessions. You've got to be God-centered, not materialistic. And you should save—but for the right reasons. If you've never opened your life to Jesus Christ, you’ll never be able to trust him with your money or make fi


 5 Your conduct must be free from the love of money and you must be content with what you have, for he has said, “I will never leave you and I will never abandon you.” Hebrews 13:5 NET

A Faith that works when life doesn't Part 5 (Day 5)

  How Much More Do You Need? Many people are feeling financially unstable these days—no matter how much they have in the bank. Some are wondering,  Am I going to have a job next week? What’s going to happen to the economy? Will I have enough money to do the things I want to do with my life? If you’re asking those questions, then you need to remember God’s promise in Hebrews 13:5— “Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, ‘Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you’”  (NIV). God's promise to never leave you is connected to your financial future. He’s saying there’s no need for you to love money. You can be content with what you have. You don’t need to hoard your resources—because you have the assurance of God’s presence. God always sees you and knows what you need. And because God is love, he will never forsake you. What are you trusting in for your future financial security? Are you trusting in your possessions or in

Verse 2

 7 so that you do not lack any spiritual gift as you wait for the revelation of our Lord Jesus Christ. 1 Corinthians 1:7 NET

Verse 1

 4 I always thank my God for you because of the grace of God that was given to you in Christ Jesus. 1 Corinthians 1:4 NET

A Faith that works when life doesn't Part 5 (Day 4)

  Your Gifts and Talents Are Not Just for Your Good When God created you, he gave you different gifts, talents, abilities, and skills. There are certain things you do that you're just naturally good at doing. Your gifts and abilities are how God shaped you. But God did not shape you uniquely for your benefit and for your own good. Your gifts are for the benefit of everybody else. And that means  their  gifts are for  your  benefit, too. One of my gifts is teaching. I’ve put that gift to work for many years now—for the benefit of other people. In the same way, your gifts can benefit the people in your life. You may already know what you're really good at doing. Why did God make you good at those things? He wants you to use those gifts for others! How should you use your gifts or talents? Well, you should use them to reach others for Jesus and be an ambassador of love in the world. In fact, if you’re not using your unique gifts the way God intended, then you're really just wa


 33 Sell your possessions and give to the poor. Provide yourselves purses that do not wear out – a treasure in heaven that never decreases, where no thief approaches and no moth destroys. Luke 12:33 NET

A Faith that works when life doesn't Part 5 (Day 3)

  Do You Really Need Everything You Have? Did you know there’s a bank in heaven? There is! The book of Luke talks about storing up treasure in heaven. As a Christian, this should be the bank where you make the greatest investments of your time, talent, and resources. In the book of James, the generosity of God toward his followers is emphasized in five different places. He says everything you have is because of God's generosity. You'd have nothing if it weren't for God. You wouldn’t even exist! Every good and perfect gift comes from God—it's all because of his generosity. God's generosity with you should make you generous with other people. You should use what you’ve been given to help others. Whatever you use to point people to Jesus Christ will be stored in your bank in heaven. You’re making an investment in eternity when you use your resources for the most important thing: helping people have a relationship with God. One day a very wealthy man came to Jesus and a


 3 because you know that the testing of your faith produces endurance. 4 And let endurance have its perfect effect, so that you will be perfect and complete, not deficient in anything. James 1:3‭-‬4 NET

A Faith that works when life doesn't Part 5 (Day 2)

  Let Trials Make You More Like Jesus We know the end of the story: Jesus is coming back! When he does, he will make all things right. And if you are his follower, you will spend eternity with him. Knowing how the story ends changes everything. One of the biggest ways it affects your life is how it motivates you to use adversity to become stronger spiritually. That's what James says to do while you're waiting for Jesus’ second coming:  “For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing”  (James 1:3-4 NLT). You will undoubtedly face stress, problems, difficulties, and trouble in this life. But between now and when you die—or when Christ comes back—you can use those trials to develop endurance and become more like Christ in character. Does becoming like Christ sound impossible? The Bible says God makes it possible:  “May God himself, the Go


 21 Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good. Romans 12:21 NET

A Faith that works when life doesn't Part 5 (Day 1)

  How to Fight Darkness with Light I don’t know if there’s anything more counter-cultural today than responding to evil with good. And because it’s so counter-cultural, it can be one of the hardest things to do. When someone causes trouble in your life, you need to respond positively. The Bible says,  “Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good”  (Romans 12:21 NIV). That’s a step of faith, isn’t it? Because everything in you probably wants to overcome evil with evil and fight darkness with more darkness. That’s why it takes faith to go against what your flesh and culture are telling you to do and instead trust in God, responding to darkness with his light. You fight darkness with light, hatred with love, and unkindness with kindness. You don't let evil overcome you. You overcome evil with good. That’s tough to do. But it gets even tougher:  “Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you”  (Matthew 5:44 NIV). Is that easy? No. Is it unusual? Yes. Is it a choice


 12 I want you to know, brothers and sisters, that my situation has actually turned out to advance the gospel: Philippians 1:12 NET

A Faith that works when life doesn't Part 4 (Day 15) Last Day

  Your Weaknesses Shape Your Witness to the World Your witness to the world will come out of your weaknesses, not your strengths. A lot of people have it backward: They think the world is impressed by Christians’ prosperity. That doesn’t impress the world. They see that everywhere! What impresses non-believers is how believers handle adversity, not prosperity. Your suffering, not your success, gives you credibility. Your faithfulness, not your fame, earns respect.  The apostle Paul was a pro at using his pain as a witness. He wrote from a prison dungeon in Rome,  "I want you to know, my dear brothers and sisters, that everything that has happened to me here has helped to spread the Good News" (Philippians 1:12 NLT). Paul used his pain to model the message God had given him. While he was chained in prison, he wrote letters to the church that became part of the New Testament. Paul said,  "In everything we do, we show that we are true ministers of God"  (2 Corinthians


 4 who comforts us in all our troubles so that we may be able to comfort those experiencing any trouble with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. 5 For just as the sufferings of Christ overflow toward us, so also our comfort through Christ overflows to you. 2 Corinthians 1:4‭-‬5 NET

A Faith that works when life doesn't Part 4 (Day 14)

  The Best Use of Your Deepest Pain When you’re going through pain, you can choose to focus on yourself or on other people. When you choose to focus on serving other hurting people, that’s called redemptive suffering. It is the highest and best use of your pain. No matter what pain you've gone through, Jesus wants to redeem your suffering. He doesn't want it to be wasted! He wants to use it to help other people when they are in pain.  "[God] comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others. When they are troubled, we will be able to give them the same comfort God has given us. For the more we suffer for Christ, the more God will shower us with his comfort through Christ"  (2 Corinthians 1:4-5 NLT). Who's better qualified to help a struggling veteran than somebody who's been a struggling veteran? Who's better qualified to help someone recovering from prescription drug addiction than somebody who has recovered from prescription drug addiction? W


 2 Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ. Galatians 6:2 NIV

A Faith that works when life doesn't Part 4 (Day 13)

  Let Your Pain Draw You Closer to Others Suffering changes you. It can turn you away from self-centeredness and toward caring more about other people in pain. One important way you can use your pain for good is to draw closer to others. If you're honest about the things that are causing you pain, then it will deepen your love and mature your relationships and sense of community. If you allow yourself to be vulnerable, then it will help you build authentic relationships. There's a sad statistic that about a third of marriages end up in divorce after the loss of a child. People all grieve differently, and it can drive a couple apart. When our son died, my wife Kay and I decided we were going to use our pain to grow closer together rather than let it drive us apart. We didn’t try to talk each other out of our pain. When Kay was going through a wave of grief, I would simply walk over and put my arm around her or just stand by her and be quiet. There were no words to say. The deepe


 8 We do not want you to be uninformed, brothers and sisters, about the troubles we experienced in the province of Asia. We were under great pressure, far beyond our ability to endure, so that we despaired of life itself. 9 Indeed, we felt we had received the sentence of death. But this happened that we might not rely on ourselves but on God, who raises the dead. 10 He has delivered us from such a deadly peril, and he will deliver us again. On him we have set our hope that he will continue to deliver us, 2 Corinthians 1:8‭-‬10 NIV

A Faith that works when life doesn't Part 4 (Day 12)

  Let Your Pain Draw You Nearer to God When anything painful happens to you, you've got a choice: You can run  to  God, or you can run  from  God. If you're running away from God, what are you running to? Who could help you more in your pain than God? In the years since my son Matthew died, I have had to choose over and over again to run to God. In fact, in those years I’ve spent more time alone with God than in all of the previous years of my life combined. Why? Pain has a way of drawing you close to God. How do you draw closer to God when you're in pain? The first thing you do is tell him exactly how you feel. It's what you naturally do when you see a disaster like a hurricane or an earthquake and cry out, "Oh my God!" Even if you cry out, "God, I don't like this. I'm mad. I'm upset," that's still drawing close to God in prayer. It's called the prayer of lament. You need to learn how to worship God in all the phases of grief. In


 32 Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you. Ephesians 4:32 NIV

A Faith that works when life doesn't Part 4 (Day 11)

  Heal Your Hurt with Grace How do you let go of the hurt in your life? You heal it with God’s grace. When you heal a hurt with grace, it doesn’t just mean you let someone off the hook. You forgive the person who hurt you, but you also change the way you talk to them. You stop being so judgmental and start being more gracious in your speech. As Christians, everything we say should be kind. This is getting harder to do in our world today. But showing kindness applies to everyone—even people with different political opinions. "Be gracious in your speech. The goal is to bring out the best in others in a conversation, not put them down, not cut them out"  (Colossians 4:6 The Message). Often the person who hurts you is carrying a lot of guilt. Hurt people hurt people. If you want to stop the cycle of hurt, then you’ve got to be willing to show some grace. Ephesians 4:32 says,  "Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you&q

Verse - Written in Red

 25 And when you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive them, so that your Father in heaven may forgive you your sins.” Mark 11:25 NIV

A Faith that works when life doesn't Part 4 (Day 10)

  Lift Holy Hands Instead of Shaking Fists How much energy does it take to drop something? Nothing. You just let it go! It doesn't take any energy at all. Jesus says,  "Whenever you stand praying, if you have anything against anyone, forgive him [drop the issue, let it go], so that your Father who is in heaven will also forgive you your transgressions  and  wrongdoings"  (Mark 11:25 AMP). When you let your hurt go, all of that energy you've wasted on hating, resenting, carrying a grudge, and nursing your resentment will be released. Then you can use your energy on more important and constructive projects. You’ve got to give your hurt to God. Drop it and let him carry it for you. God has already volunteered to handle it. You just say to God, “This hurt is too heavy for me to carry, and I don’t know the right thing to do about it. I'll probably make a mess of it! So, God, I'm giving you this hurt. I forgive that person who hurt me, and I would like for you to ha


 3 Stone is heavy and sand a burden, but a fool’s provocation is heavier than both. Proverbs 27:3 NIV

A Faith that works when life doesn't Part 4 (Day 9)

  Don’t Let Bitterness Wear You Down Any time you harbor bitterness, you suffocate your spirit. Bitterness doesn't just choke out your happiness and your healthy emotions. It also strangles your spirit. When you have bitterness in your heart, you can't breathe spiritually. Bitterness will only weigh you down and depress your spirit. Proverbs 27:3 says,  "A stone is heavy and sand is weighty, but the resentment caused by a fool is even heavier"  (NLT). Choosing bitterness is like choosing to carry around a huge weight everywhere you go, all the time. It's an unnecessary load, but you’ve made the choice to hang on to it. Sometimes you may think you can hurt the person who hurt you by holding on to what happened—that by staying mad, the other person will become miserable. But bitterness is a worthless weapon. It doesn't hurt the other person. It only makes  you  miserable. The person who hurt you is probably not even aware you're thinking about them all the t


 27 and do not give the devil a foothold. Ephesians 4:27 NIV

A Faith that works when life doesn't Part 4 (Day 8)

  Don’t Let Your Emotions Give Satan a Foothold In every quarrel, an unseen spiritual war is going on behind the scenes. On the surface, a quarrel may seem minor. You may think you're arguing about who didn’t take out the garbage or who left their clothes on the floor. But at a deeper level, Satan is trying to create chaos, distractions, and destruction in your relationships. He is behind the scenes, taking every opportunity to produce conflict in your life. You won’t have peace in your life if you think you’re only fighting with another person. You’re actually fighting against spiritual forces. Satan is not seen, but he is real. He is the source behind all conflict. Ephesians 4:27 says,  "Anger gives a foothold to the devil"  (NLT). Anger gives Satan something to hold on to in your life. Any time you get angry and use hurtful words, you open the door for Satan to get a foothold in your emotions and create chaos. You can’t have healthy relationships if you have uncontroll


 6 But he gives us more grace. That is why Scripture says: “God opposes the proud but shows favor to the humble.” 7 Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. James 4:6‭-‬7 NIV

A Faith that works when life doesn't Part 4 (Day 7)

  Stop Quarrels with Humility and Grace Let’s be honest, even when we love someone dearly, there’s a good chance they still get on our nerves—and it’s often because of our pride. For instance, have you ever been so prideful that you could not compromise on something, even though you knew you should? Have you ever been in an argument with your spouse or a close friend and you knew you were wrong, but you just couldn't admit it? Of course, you have. We’ve all been there! We are full of pride, and that’s why we all experience conflict in our lives. “‘God is against the proud, but he gives his grace to the humble.’ So give yourselves completely to God"  (James 4:6-7 NCV). God declares war on pride, ego, arrogance, and selfishness. Any time pride rears its head in your life, you’re opposing God. God doesn't look at pride and just say, "Oh, that's a little petty." He openly opposes people who are prideful. God declares war on the ego.  You may have already noticed


 2 You desire but do not have, so you kill. You covet but you cannot get what you want, so you quarrel and fight. You do not have because you do not ask God. James 4:2 NIV

A Faith that works when life doesn't Part 4 (Day 6)

  Only God Can Meet All Your Needs One of the biggest causes of quarreling in your family, with your friends, or at your work is when you expect people to fulfill needs in your life that only God can fulfill. This happens most often in marriage, but it can happen in any relationship. Once you find people who you can trust and know you well, there’s a tendency to start looking to them to keep you emotionally and spiritually fulfilled. It’s common for people to get married and think their spouse should (and will) meet all their needs. But that’s just unrealistic, unfair, and only sets you up for frustration. Your spouse is not God. Your best friend is not God. Your co-workers are not God. None of them know you like God does. None of them can provide for you like he can. They are broken human beings—just like you! It’s time to change your expectations so your frustration doesn’t lead to more conflict and quarreling in your relationships. So, what should you do instead of looking to someon


 28 And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. Romans 8:28 NIV

A Faith that works when life doesn't Part 4 (Day 5)

  Who Controls Your Future? One of the great fears people face in life is the fear of the future. You likely fear the future for your family, friends, job, and community—and everything else in between. Because you’re not in control, it’s natural to fear. But that realization should drive you to trust God more deeply. You might not be in control of your future, but God is. He created the whole universe. If he wanted to, the Lord could just snap it out of existence in a moment. Yet he is working his plan in history. He is moving history to a climax—a destiny. One day Jesus Christ will come back to Earth. Nothing will stop that. Just as God is working in history to move events toward a particular moment, he will work in your life for a purpose, too—if you’ll let him. The Bible says, “ And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them”  (Romans 8:28 NLT). God’s Word doesn’t say that everything is good


 34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own. Matthew 6:34 NIV

A Faith that works when life doesn't Part 4 (Day 4)

  Plan for Tomorrow but Live for Today The good thing about the future is that it doesn't hit you all at once. If you had your entire life thrown at you in a single moment, it would no doubt be overwhelming. So God gives it to you in bite-size, 24-hour segments. Since God gives you only one day at a time, that’s how he expects you to approach your life. Live one day at a time, and make it count. Jesus taught:  "Don't worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring its own worries. Today’s trouble is enough for today"  (Matthew 6:34 NLT). Jesus is saying to stop borrowing trouble. If there’s something happening next week, why are you wasting energy today by worrying about it? Worry can't change the past, either. Worry only makes you miserable today. God gives you all the grace you need—but just enough for today, every day. He doesn't stockpile all that power in your life and give it to you for the next week or month. He says to pray, "Give us  this day  our 


 5 If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you. James 1:5 NIV

A Faith that works when life doesn't Part 4 (Day 3)

  You Can Still Make Plans During Difficult Times There’s nothing wrong with planning, even during uncertain days. But if you want God’s blessing on your plans, it’s important to include him in your planning. The book of James gives us a promise when it comes to planning. It says,  "If you want to know what God wants you to do, ask him, and he will gladly tell you, for he is always ready to give a bountiful supply of wisdom to all who ask him"  (James 1:5 TLB). God promises he’ll give you wisdom as you plan. You just have to ask. This is part of humbling yourself before God. You don’t have to wonder what he wants you to do with your life. You just have to pray about it! God is always ready to give you the wisdom you need to make good plans. We’re living in a unique time, and you might feel like some areas of your life are still in limbo. You may feel like you can’t—or maybe shouldn’t—make any plans. But, as you wonder how long the pandemic will impact your life—even after the


 51 “Does our law condemn a man without first hearing him to find out what he has been doing?” John 7:51 NIV

A Faith that works when life doesn't Part 4 (Day 2)

  Before You Judge, Listen in Love It’s hard to be judgmental when you're listening with compassion, honesty, sincerity, and fairness. James 1:19 says,  "Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry"  (NIV). The Bible says, listen first before you judge. One time the Pharisees were trying to judge Jesus without letting him have a say or explain himself. They didn’t want to hear his side of the story. But Nicodemus, one of the Pharisees, spoke up and said,  "According to our Law we cannot condemn people before hearing them and finding out what they have done"  (John 7:51 GNT). How many times have you judged someone—your child, your spouse, your neighbor, your enemy—without listening to their story first? Have you found yourself treating someone the same way the Pharisees treated Jesus? When you feel the urge to judge someone, stop and take a deep breath. Hold that breath before you release it—if that’s what it takes for you to listen


 3 “Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? Matthew 7:3 NIV

A Faith that works when life doesn't Part 4 (Day 1)

  How to Spot Your Blind Spots Before you judge someone else, remember that you have blind spots in your own life. Blind spots are attitudes or weaknesses that you can’t see or refuse to see, even though they might cause conflict with others. For instance, you may be constantly argumentative and not realize you keep turning simple conversations into debates. Jesus says that when you feel the urge to judge someone because of their blind spots, think of it as an opportunity to uncover your own—and to address them. Jesus talked about this in the Sermon on the Mount:  "Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye"  (Matthew 7:3-5 NIV).  He's saying, “How da