Jesus as Center Stage

Hi friends! For the month of May, we will be using a reading plan given to us by Sweet to the Soul Ministries. Feel free to stroll through their Facebook page and blog. They even have a journaling kit and Bible study for this month’s plan!

Matthew 6:33-34 is the verse for us on this first of May. This is the perfect Scripture for us to focus on – as we kick off our week.

But put God’s kingdom first. Do what he wants you to do. Then all those things will also be given to you. So don’t worry about tomorrow. Tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own. (NIRV).

Each day has its own set of worries and stresses.

We cannot worry about them. Will tomorrow be stressful? Yes. Will tonight be stressful? Most likely. But here is the bottom line: We have to place God and His Kingdom above those things. We have to place God and His Kingdom high above the concerns we have in this life.

I read a Scripture yesterday that comes to mind, so I want to share it with you all today.

So if you’re serious about living this new resurrection life with Christ, act like it. Pursue the things over which Christ presides. Don’t shuffle along, eyes to the ground, absorbed with the things right in front of you. Look up, and be alert to what is going on around Christ—that’s where the action is. See things from his perspective (Col. 3:1-2, MSG)

The truth is – we need to keep our minds focused on Jesus. When we choose to follow Jesus, we know His way is far better. His way is infinity better than any way we could concoct in our minds. Jesus Christ, the King of the world, is the One who is worthy of our focus.

And if He is telling us we don’t need to worry, then, we honestly do not need to worry. As difficult as it may be, we need to let go of the concerns of this world and deliberately choose instead to trust our great God.

I would like to draw your attention to the book of Mark – where we are given much insight. Ready for this?

The seed that fell among the thorns represents others who hear God’s word, but all too quickly the message is crowded out by the worries of this life, the lure of wealth, and the desire for other things, so no fruit is produced (4:18-19, NLT).

When we first heard the Gospel of Jesus Christ, it had the opportunity to radically change our lives. For many of us, Jesus has been doing an amazing work in us. But His work is cut short. Why? Because of the allure of worrying ourselves to pieces, trying to get rich now versus basking in the anticipation of Heaven’s glorious riches, and honestly – wanting other things. In our hearts, we can place other things above our desire for Jesus Christ.

We need to allow Him to take center stage. He is not the back up act, but He is the real deal!

We need to decide for ourselves if we want to fully follow Jesus Christ, enjoy the full fruit of His promises, and begin to surrender the “other stuff” to Him – trusting Him to be more than enough.

Featured image by Auré Pereira.

In Christ,

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Made to Shine {{Week 4}}

Welcome, friends!

I invite you to get out your study journal and Bible, if you have it nearby. If you haven’t had the privilege of ordering your study journal yet, you can do so here (Please Note: It’s an affiliate link).

The Scriptures – Matthew 5:14-16; John 8:12

Here’s another way to put it: You’re here to be light, bringing out the God-colors in the world. God is not a secret to be kept. We’re going public with this, as public as a city on a hill. If I make you light-bearers, you don’t think I’m going to hide you under a bucket, do you? I’m putting you on a light stand. Now that I’ve put you there on a hilltop, on a light stand—shine! Keep open house; be generous with your lives. By opening up to others, you’ll prompt people to open up with God, this generous Father in heaven (Matthew 5:14-16, MSG).

Jesus once again addressed them: “I am the world’s Light. No one who follows me stumbles around in the darkness. I provide plenty of light to live in (John 8:12, NIRV).”

Devotion

Before I first decided to follow Jesus, I was filled with nothing but darkness. In my spirit, that’s all there was – death and darkness.

… Then I met Jesus, and He changed everything!

He took all the darkness, and gave me His light. He took on my punishment, so I wouldn’t face a permanent spiritual death. And, He gave me new life. Best of all, I can now have a relationship with Him that thrives on intimacy and His grace.

I now stand before the world as a new creation, filled with the light of Christ. We are like a city of a hill. You can’t hide the transformation Christ is doing inside of you. The light given to you – was always made to shine!

With Jesus, we can shine in the darkness.

As you give Christ the space to proclaim His glory through you, many others will come to know Jesus Christ and His transformative power too! This is why we resist the urge to run away and hide (Hello Jonah!). We have been shown the great mercies of God.

. . .

Try as we may, we just cannot hide. We simply cannot ignore the change God does inside of us. Like Moses’ shining face (see Exodus 34:33-35; 2 Corinthians 3:12-13), we will shine the darkness right out of this world. Not because of anything we could do on our own, it is simply who God is. He expels the darkness, when we come to Him, surrendering, and make Him Lord over our lives… when we give up control, so we can begin a relationship with our Lord Jesus Christ! It all begins with abiding in Jesus (see John 15).

We can’t ignore the good work God is doing in our hearts, but why would we want to? Let Jesus continue His good work. He is doing great things, you just wait and see (see Philippians 1:6)

Lord Jesus, You are good and do good. Thank You for the way that You’re changing me. Help me to keep shining for You, so others will come to know You too! Amen.

Look Up! {{Week 3}}

We are at the end of our third week, for our current study. We have spent the past few weeks, studying Isaiah 40. Amazing journey, right?!? I am loving it! If you are new, it’s not too late to join in. We have one more week, before journeying through Matthew 4-7 (see end of post, for details). For Isaiah 40, you can pick up a free journal and schedule – to join in the fun!

The Scriptures – Isaiah 40:26; Psalm 89:11, 147:4

“Look up to the skies. Who created all these stars? He leads out the army of heaven one by one and calls all the stars by name. Because he is strong and powerful, not one of them is missing (Is. 40:26).”

The skies and the earth belong to you. You made the world and everything in it… He counts the stars and names each one (Ps. 89:11, 147:4).

God is calling us to “look up”. Look up, He says to us. Look up and see. God is the great Creator of the universe. He has uniquely made each star, but He doesn’t stop there.

  • God created them.
  • God has brought them out, so we can see His handiwork. We get the shear joy of witnessing His handiwork.
  • God has called each one, by its God-given name.
  • God counts them, to make sure none are missing.
  • While God counts each one, they are given a specific name. Our God is specific and deliberate in every action He makes.

To me, this shows just how involved God is in each one of our lives – as well. In John 10, we see most of these themes play out again. Only this time, they relate to us!

Just as the heavens and eath are His, we are definitely His too! God saw fit to create us and call us His own. God created us from nothing and has the authority to call us as His own.

God is weaving us into His grand plan for the universe, as we come to Him. (Click to Tweet)

God calls us, by name. It doesn’t matter what we answered to, before we began walking with Jesus. All that matters is the moment we are standing in. All that matters is the new name we have been given, at this very moment. God wants to call us His sons and daughters. This happens, as we come to His Son – Jesus Christ, the Messiah!

Jesus has chosen you (me too), and gives you a new name. Just like He did for Jerusalem, He is rebuilding us. He is bringing us back. He is healing us. He is shwoing Himself as our Awesome Creator. His understanding, in Psalm 147:5, is even described as “beyond comprehension.” He is that good!

Jesus has picked you! And, He has a new name for you too. (Click to Tweet)

*  *  *

I invite you to join us for our next study. For nine weeks, beginning on September 11, we will be enjoying bite-size portions of Matthew 4-7. This amazing section of Scripture, we will finally get to sit down and study at our own level. You can pick up your journal, over on Amazon. (Please Note: As an Amazon Affiliate, I receive a small earning from any purchases made using the link at no expense to you.)

True Greatness {{Week 3}}

We have been studying Isaiah 40, over the past few weeks. It has been an amazing time of worship and connecting with God. I hope you have been able to join us. If you haven’t, it’s not too late. We still have a few days left. You can pick up your free journal and schedule, and join in the fun!

The Scriptures – Isaiah 40:23-24; Psalm 107:40; Isaiah 5:21

“He dooms the great men of the world and brings them all to naught. 24 They hardly get started, barely take root, when he blows on them and their work withers, and the wind carries them off like straw (Is. 40:23-24, TLB).”

“For God pours contempt upon the haughty and causes princes to wander among ruins (Ps. 107:40).”

“Woe to those who are wise and shrewd in their own eyes! (Is. 5:21)”

We aren’t as awesome, as we would like to believe.

As humans, we sin and are powerless (on our own). When we stand alone, we are so small compared to God and His righteousness. Even the greatest people of the world will give an account to God for their actions.

When we stand alone, we are so small compared to God and His righteousness (Click to Tweet).

Absolutely none are exempt from the judgment of God. God is sovereign and we need to know that. Our whole world is rampant with conceit and pride. In today’s society, we waste our own effort in becoming great in the world’s eyes versus knowing the One who is truly great – the Greatest One of all!

One thing is certain – destruction becomes ours from the moment we think we are wise and clever in our own eyes. The truth is – we need to be humble and seek God. Knowing His vastness, should bring us to our knees and make us rethink the way we are living. If we try to live for the world’s applauds versus God’s, we are inviting His judgment to sit with us – ignoring His sacred truths. We need to live like we know God’s all powerful. We need to revere God, through how we live – because He is the One in control.

While He passionately pursues, and meets us on a personal level, I need to invite God to be the most important part of my life – for He is true greatness. God’s sovereignty isn’t superficial or going to fade with time. God is Awesome in His power. The best kind of power, is God’s eternal power.

God’s sovereignty isn’t superficial or going to fade with time (Click to Tweet).

Lord Jesus, you are the very picture of greatness. It is not found in anything I could ever do. But, it is found in You. Thank You, Lord!

See 1 Cor. 10:12; Matthew 23:11-12

* * *

I invite you to join us for our next study. For nine weeks, beginning on September 11, we will be enjoying bite-size portions of Matthew 4-7. This amazing section of Scripture, we will finally get to sit down and study at our own level. You can pick up your journal, over on Amazon. (Please Note: As an Amazon Affiliate, I receive a small earning from any purchases made using the link at no expense to you.)

The Real One {{Week 3}}

Today, we begin week 3 (of our Isaiah 40 study). If you are new to joining us, I invite you to grab a free journal and schedule. It is never too late, to join in!

The Scriptures – Isaiah 40:18-20; Micah 7:18

“To whom then will you liken God, or what likeness compare with him? An idol! A craftsman casts it, and a goldsmith overlays it with gold and casts for it silver chains. He who is too impoverished for an offering chooses wood that will not rot; he seeks out a skillful craftsman to set up an idol that will not move (Isa. 40:18-20, ESV).”

“Who is a God like you, pardoning iniquity and passing over transgression for the remnant of his inheritance? He does not retain his anger forever, because he delights in steadfast love (Micah 7:18).”

The Israelites grew impatient and formed idols to worship. They took their material possessions, and constructed their own god (the golden calf, in Exodus 32). God makes it clear that He is nothing like man-man possessions and/or idols. God is not something we can stuff in our own pocket, while we go about our separate lives from Him. God is incomparable. 

Believe it or not, God is not solely dependent upon you and me. Lifeless idols reveal how different they are, from the One True God that we worship. Lifeless idols cannot even stand on their own. They cannot care for themsleves, much less their followers.

God cares for Himself, the world, and everything in it. God is…

  • careful and intentional.
  • using His steady hands to govern the world.
  • relient on none, but Himself.
God cares for and governs the entire world. He is the Faithful One! (Click to Tweet)

Through Scriptures, we learn God is the Faithful One (see 2 Tim. 2:13, for example). He is the One we can put our trust in. He is the One who will pardon our sins, as we trust in His Son Jesus. He is the One who adores us, cares for us, and never leaves our side. There is a big difference between God and any other.

Lord God, You are real! God, You are the One True God. I know You see and hear everything going on in my midst. I just need You to intercede. Remind me that none are great like You are! Thank You for all You are and do for me. Help me to remember I can depend upon You. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

* * *

I invite you to join us for our next study. For nine weeks, beginning on September 11, we will be enjoying bite-size portions of Matthew 4-7. This amazing section of Scripture, we will finally get to sit down and study at our own level. You can pick up your journal, over on Amazon. (Please Note: As an Amazon Affiliate, I receive a small earning from any purchases made using the link at no expense to you.)