Monday, November 9 – “Jesus replied, ‘Anyone who loves me will obey my teaching. My Father will love them, and we will come to them and make our home with them.’” (John 14:23) God loves all people. But God can only reside with those who obey the teachings of Jesus. There is a big difference between receiving God’s love and receiving God. The former will allow you to enjoy the blessings of the world around you. The latter will give you the former, plus the indwelling power of the Holy Spirit and eternity in heaven. Why doesn’t God just shower his love and his presence on everyone equally, regardless of Jesus? God cannot dwell in the presence of sin. The sin in your life must be taken care of before God can take up residence in your life. That is why Jesus came, died and rose again from the dead. He paid the price for your sin and when you commit your life to the care and control of Jesus you also open the door for God to come and make his home with you. As every mechanic will tell you, you need the right tool for the job. Jesus is the right tool.
Tuesday, November 10 – “When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures.” (James 4:3) Sadly, too many of us pray to God, while still believing that we are the center of the universe. We pray out of selfish motives. We pray in order to get what we want. As opposed to praying in order to follow God’s lead. When we do pray out of selfish motives, we do not receive. When we do not receive, we get mad at God. When we get mad at God, we stop praying. When we stop praying our relationship with God is damaged. When our relationship with God is damaged, we replace God with ourselves or with another god. All because we initially prayed out of selfish motives. Today, take some time to examine the motives behind your prayers? Are you asking God so that you “may spend what you get on your pleasures”?
Wednesday, November 11 – “If I had cherished sin in my heart, the Lord would not have listened.” (Psalm 66:18) Sin is anything in your life that separates you from God. And sin is the only thing that can separate you from God. Thus, if you are feeling that God isn’t listening to you, it is because of sin in your life. Not because God has made the decision that he doesn’t want to listen to you. God can’t exist in the same space as sin. It is like trying to put the polar opposite ends of magnets together. It just can’t happen. If God can’t exist in the same space as sin, and you have sin in your life, then God can’t listen to you. It is impossible for God to be with you, if you are cherishing sin in your heart. So, this one is going out to all of you who feel as if God is not listening. Examine your life. Ask yourself this question: What sin is preventing God from listening to me? Take care of the sin and God will listen.
Thursday, November 12 – “In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.” (Matthew 5:16) A man or woman, who follows Jesus, doesn’t have to wear the T-shirt, or fly the flag from their car. This isn’t a popularity contest. A woman or a man, who follows Jesus, will be obvious because of the life they live. You don’t do good works in order to earn salvation. You are saved; thus, you do good works. Why do you do the things that you do? Do you do them because you are saved? Or do you do them because you are trying to earn your salvation or convince someone else of your salvation? If you are doing anything, out of selfish motives, trying to earn salvation or prove salvation, your good works will come with a catch. The catch will be the answer to the question: Did I receive that which I desired to receive, through my good works? Your answer will determine the likelihood of you doing good works in the future.
Friday, November 13 – “Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable – if anything is excellent or praiseworthy – think about such things.” (Philippians 4:8) Being a follower of Jesus is dynamic. It is a forever proposition. Not a once and done transaction. Being a follower of Jesus requires us to be constantly asking questions like: What is true, in this situation? What is noble, in this situation? What is right, in this situation? What is pure, in this situation? What is lovely, in this situation? What is admirable, in this situation? I am sorry to tell you that it never stops, until that day that you go home to be with the Lord. Every day, as followers of Jesus, we are faced with decisions to make, actions to take and life to live. The good news is that, as followers of Jesus, we are not alone in answering all of these questions. We have the indwelling power of the Holy Spirit to guide us and to teach us. For what is true, what is noble, what is right, what is pure, what is lovely and what is admirable, will not always be the easiest answer.