July 31 - August 5

Monday, July 31 – “By their fruit you will recognize them.  Do people pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles?” (Matthew 7:16) If you really want to know who someone is, simply watch what they do.  Actions will always reveal belief, character and identity.  You can modify your behaviors.  But, sooner or later, your true self will come shining through.  Everyone would be shocked to go to an orange tree and find grapefruit.  The same is true for your life.  If you claim to follow Jesus, do your actions confirm or deny it?  Oh, and by the way, everyone knows who you really are.  Most are just way too polite to call you out.


Tuesday, August 1 – “Brothers and sisters, think of what you were when you were called.  Not many of you were wise by human standards; not many were influential; not many were of noble birth.” (1 Corinthians 1:26) Why is that?  You’d think God would want to call the leaders, the movers and shakers, the wealthy and the powerful, in order to carry out his will here on earth.  Yet, truth be told, God calls everyone.  Pain is the catalyst for change.  And the wise by human standards, the influential and those of noble birth just don’t experience as much pain, in this life.  Thus, there isn’t a perceived need for change.  A need to be transformed from the inside out.  Which makes it harder to yield to the lordship of Jesus.


Wednesday, August 2 – “So since we find ourselves fashioned into all these excellently formed and marvelously functioning parts in Christ’s body, let’s just go ahead and be what we were made to be, without enviously or pridefully comparing ourselves with each other, or trying to be something we aren’t.” (Romans 12:6) Your life’s mission, if you choose to accept it, is to find out who you are and then to be it.  We all get into trouble when we get out of our lanes.  Unfortunately, too many of us get out of our lanes, because we don’t know which lanes are ours.  The world, your family, your friends, your culture, your race, your gender, will all tell you what lane is yours.  But don’t forget the one who created you.  God knows your lane and is waiting to lead you into it.     


Thursday, August 3 – “’Teacher,’ said John, ‘we saw someone driving out demons in your name and we told him to stop, because he was not one of us.’” (Mark 9:38) Cliques existed long before Jesus walked the earth.  It’s part of our sin-stained nature to create insiders and outsiders.  No judgment.  No condemnation.  Just being real.  Cliques are disastrous anywhere.  But they are especially dangerous in the church.  Have you ever gone to a church and walked into a wonderful family reunion?  Just to quickly realize that you weren’t part of the family?  Sadly, the main complaint at most churches isn’t that strangers felt too welcomed. 


Friday, August 4 – “Whoever acknowledges me before others, I will also acknowledge before my Father in heaven.” (Matthew 10:32) Do the people in your life know that you are a follower of Jesus?  Or do they simply know that you go to church?  If you were arrested today and charged with being a follower of Jesus, would there be enough evidence, from your life, to convict you?  Your actions, your decisions and your disposition all testify to who and to what you believe.  The old song doesn’t say “They will know we are Christians by our T-shirts, bumper stickers and profile pictures”.  But that “They will know we are Christians by our love.”


Saturday, August 5 – “For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in.” (Matthew 25:25) As a follower of Jesus there is no such thing as secular.  Everything is sacred.  Every encounter, every conversation and every decision is sacred.  For, as a follower of Jesus, there’s nothing that you can do and no place that you can go, where God isn’t there.  You do what you do, because of who you are: A follower of Jesus, indwelt by the power of the Holy Spirit. You don’t do what you do in order to earn God’s love.  You are God’s love.  Thus, you do what you do.