October 31 - November 5
Monday, October 31 – “Yet for your sake we face death all day long; we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.” (Psalm 44:22) Jesus, God in human form, came and lived as one of us for thirty-three years. He was despised by the world, wrongfully accused, tried and convicted by the court of public opinion and then hung on a cross to die. Yet, many of his followers believe that they deserve a life of peace, prosperity, health and wealth. Jesus didn’t die in order to give you a good life. Jesus died in order to make your life good, in the eyes of God. Any peace, prosperity, health and wealth that you experience is simply icing on the cake.
Tuesday, November 1 – “Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day.” (2 Corinthians 4:16) Faith in Jesus isn’t about outward living, it’s about inward renewal. Being transformed form the inside out. Outward living focuses on stuff like fame, fortune and success. Inward renewal focuses on who you are in relationship with stuff like fame, fortune and success. As well as who you are in relationship with hardships, suffering, pain and struggles. A focus on inward renewal will help you overcome anything and everything in your life. A focus on outward living will simply leave you empty, longing for something more, in face of life.
Wednesday, November 2 – “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.” (Mark 12:30) Doesn’t leave much room for anything else, does it? That’s the point. For if you don’t love “with all your”, it simply means that you are only loving “with some of your”. God isn’t interested in “some of your”. God wants all of your! God isn’t interested in your leftovers, your “When I get around to it” or your “If it fits in my schedule”. This is all about your want to. God wants to transform your want to. God wants you to want him (Tongue and cheek Cheap Trick reference intended.) It was all-or-nothing for God, when he came as Jesus. In response, God wants it to be all-or-nothing for you.
Thursday, November 3 – “Therefore once more I will astound these people with wonder upon wonder; the wisdom of the wise will perish, the intelligence of the intelligent will vanish.” (Isaiah 29:14) What’s the point? Wisdom is good. Intelligence is good. But God is great. You can be right about everything and wrong about Jesus and you will be wrong. Conversely, you can be wrong about everything and right about Jesus and you will be right. Don’t abandon your pursuit of wisdom and intelligence. Just don’t allow your pursuit of wisdom and intelligence to cause you to abandon a saving relationship with God, through faith in Jesus.
Friday, November 4 – “So do not be ashamed of the testimony about our Lord or of me his prisoner. Rather, join with me in suffering for the gospel, by the power of God.” (2 Timothy 1:8) Every action comes with an equal or greater reaction. Every decision has consequences. And a decision to follow Jesus is going to come with consequences. Many are good – forgiveness of sins, indwelling power of the Holy Spirit, eternity in heaven. Others aren’t so good – living in the world, not of the world. Our culture teaches that we are to proclaim who we are, with no fear and no shame. Rightfully so. The same is true for you, as a follower of Jesus. Be loud, be proud and be heard. Don’t be ashamed.
Saturday, November 5 – “And he said to them, ‘Truly I tell you, some who are standing here will not taste death before they see that the kingdom of God has come with power.’” (Mark 9:1) Many took Jesus’ words as teaching that the end was near. Well, 2,000 years later we are still here. Thus, Jesus must have been teaching something different. As followers of Jesus we have learned to pray “Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done. On earth as it is in heaven.” So, just maybe, Jesus was speaking of the ability, the opportunity, that each one of us has to experience the kingdom of God, right here, right now.