The 14-Day Devotional
Welcome to the 14-Day Devotional. Reading this devotional is going to be an exciting 14 days for you! Over the next 14 days, we are going to take a look at topics that will help you follow Jesus and live out your faith. If you commit to these 14 days, we know that you will see the Bible come alive in your life every day and you will discover following Jesus is the best decision you could ever make.
Here are three tips to get the most possible out of these 14 days:
1. Turn on a worship playlist on Spotify as you read the Bible. Some music might help you focus on God.
2. If you don’t understand something or have questions about what you read, have a small group leader or a group of friends that you can talk with. You can find out more info about getting in a Small Group here!
3. Keep a pen and paper close by, and if something comes alive to you or you feel like God speaks to you through a verse, then write it down.
Each day’s reading will consist of a passage from Psalms, a Proverb, and the New Testament in the Message Paraphrase of the Bible. If you don’t know what a Psalm, Proverb or the New Testament is, you can google that and learn a lot, but just know it all came from God and was all written for you!
When you prayed to give your life to Jesus and meant that prayer in your heart, it counted. He heard your prayer, and the Bible says that all of heaven celebrated and cheered because you gave your life to Jesus.
When you did that, you received all the love God has no matter what you do, and now you do not have to live in fear of sinning or doing something wrong on the weekend. Now you get to fight from a place of victory because sin no longer controls your life. You now get to live your life as a light to the world sharing about what God’s love did for you and how it changed your life!
The family of God grows as each of us shares about what God’s love did for us and how we can come alive in God.
Could it be any clearer? Our old way of life was nailed to the cross with Christ, a decisive end to that sin-miserable life—no longer at sin’s every beck and call! What we believe is this: If we get included in Christ’s sin-conquering death, we also get included in his life-saving resurrection. We know that when Jesus was raised from the dead it was a signal of the end of death-as-the-end. Never again will death have the last word. When Jesus died, he took sin down with him, but alive he brings God down to us. From now on, think of it this way: Sin speaks a dead language that means nothing to you; God speaks your mother tongue, and you hang on every word. You are dead to sin and alive to God. That’s what Jesus did.
Friends love through all kinds of weather, and families stick together in all kinds of trouble.
God makes everything come out right; he puts victims back on their feet. He showed Moses how he went about his work, opened up his plans to all Israel. God is sheer mercy and grace; not easily angered, he’s rich in love. He doesn’t endlessly nag and scold, nor hold grudges forever. He doesn’t treat us as our sins deserve, nor pay us back in full for our wrongs. As high as heaven is over the earth, so strong is his love to those who fear him. And as far as sunrise is from sunset, he has separated us from our sins.
Let's talk about how to get closer to Jesus today! Growing in your relationship with God is found in doing the same things you would do to have fun with your best friends. When you are with your best friends, you can listen to music and have fun, or sit around a table for hours just talking and laughing. Spending time with Jesus is just like being with a friend. We don't have to hang out with friends, but we get to spend time with our friends. The Bible says that if we take a step toward Jesus, He will take a step toward us. When we read our Bible, we will learn about God. When we pray, God listens. When we sing worship songs, His presence will come.
Jesus wants to be close to us, and if we spend time with Him, He will draw close!
So He [Jesus] said, "When you pray, say, Father, Reveal who you are. Set the world right. Keep us alive with three square meals. Keep us forgiven with you and forgiving others. Keep us safe from ourselves and the Devil."
Then he said, "Imagine what would happen if you went to a friend in the middle of the night and said, 'Friend, lend me three loaves of bread. An old friend traveling through just showed up, and I don't have a thing on hand.'
The friend answers from his bed, 'don't bother me. The door's locked; my children are all down for the night; I can't get up to give you anything.' But let me tell you, even if he won't get up because he's a friend, if you stand your ground, knocking and waking all the neighbors, he'll finally get up and get you whatever you need."
Here's what I'm saying: Ask and you'll get; Seek and you'll find; Knock and the door will open. "Don't bargain with God. Be direct. Ask for what you need. This is not a cat-and-mouse, hide-and-seek game we're in.
God keeps his distance from the wicked; He closely attends to the prayers of God-loyal people.
God gives a hand to those down on their luck, gives a fresh start to those ready to quit. All eyes are on You, expectant; You give them their meals on time. Generous to a fault, You lavish Your favor on all creatures. Everything God does is right - the trademark on all His works is love. God's there, listening for all who pray, for all who pray and mean it. He does what's best for those who fear Him - hears them call out, and saves them. God sticks by all who love Him, but it's all over for those who don't.
It is pretty fun living life knowing that we have an all-powerful God who listens to us and wants to be close to us, but do we understand how big that is? How much power God has? Jesus was completely human on earth, and completely God. Jesus could walk into any situation, no matter how bad it looked and turned it upside down. He healed the sick and raised the dead. He fed thousands of people at one time from just a few loaves of bread and fish. Jesus did some pretty wild stuff while He was on earth. The same power that Jesus walked with on earth, we get to walk with as Christians. When we are sick emotionally, physically, or spiritually, Jesus can work with us and heal us.
When everything looks to be going the wrong way, Jesus can step in and fix it all.
Having Jesus on our side is an incredible life to get to live. Now when you have a need, you know that you can boldly approach God knowing that you will receive mercy and grace in your time of need!
On His return, Jesus was welcomed by a crowd. They were all there expecting Him. A man came up, Jairus by name. He was president of the meeting place. He fell at Jesus' feet and begged him to come to his home because his twelve-year-old daughter, his only child, was dying. Jesus went with him, making His way through the pushing, jostling crowd. In the crowd that day there was a woman who for twelve years had been afflicted with hemorrhages. She had spent every penny she had on doctors but not one had been able to help her. She slipped in from behind and touched the edge of Jesus' robe. At that very moment her hemorrhaging stopped. Jesus said, "Who touched me?" When no one stepped forward, Peter said, "But Master, we've got crowds of people on our hands. Dozens have touched you." Jesus insisted, "Someone touched me. I felt power discharging from me." When the woman realized that she couldn't remain hidden, she knelt trembling before him. In front of all the people, she blurted out her story - why she touched Him and how at that same moment she was healed. Jesus said, "Daughter, you took a risk trusting me, and now you're healed and whole. Live well, live blessed!"
Trust God from the bottom of your heart; don’t try to figure out everything on your own. Listen for God’s voice in everything you do, everywhere you go; He’s the one who will keep you on track.
Sing God a brand-new song! Earth and everyone in it, sing! Sing to God - worship God! Shout the news of His victory from sea to sea, Take the news of His glory to the lost, News of his wonders to one and all! For God is great, and worth a thousand Hallelujahs. His terrible beauty makes the gods look cheap; Pagan gods are mere tatters and rags. God made the heavens - Royal splendor radiates from Him, a powerful beauty sets Him apart.
Knowing that Jesus is on your side is incredibly encouraging because we know that He will meet us in any situation. The struggle of our life comes because we live in a broken and sinful world. We can fight from a place of victory and know that Jesus is all-powerful, but the world is broken, bad days come. Friends around us do things that hurt us. Or it might feel like the bad day is your fault because you messed up. It can be hard on those days to keep the right perspective and to trust that God has our back. He is on your side!
On that rainy day, we can trust God more than ever to meet us in a mess.
We can trust that on the hard days, God is closer than ever before. He is helping us on a hard day, and the hard day produces in us something we did not see in ourselves. One day we will look back and see that the hard days helped us trust Jesus more and made us look more like Jesus.
He went on, "It is necessary that the Son of Man proceed to an ordeal of suffering, be tried and found guilty by the religious leaders, high priests, and religion scholars, be killed, and on the third day be raised up alive." Then He told them what they could expect for themselves: "Anyone who intends to come with Me has to let Me lead. You're not in the driver's seat — I am. Don't run from suffering; embrace it. Follow Me and I'll show you how. Self-help is no help at all. Self-sacrifice is the way, My way, to finding yourself, your true self. What good would it do to get everything you want and lose you, the real you? If any of you is embarrassed with Me and the way I'm leading you, know that the Son of Man will be far more embarrassed with you when He arrives in all His splendor in company with the Father and the holy angels. This isn't, you realize, pie in the sky by and by. Some who have taken their stand right here are going to see it happen, see with their own eyes the kingdom of God."
God-devotion makes a country strong; God-avoidance leaves people weak.
With a fistful of enemies in one hand and a fistful of haters in the other, You radiate with such brilliance that they cringe as before a furnace. Now the furnace swallows them whole, the fire eats them alive! You purge the earth of their progeny, you wipe the slate clean. All their evil schemes, the plots they cook up, have fizzled - every one. You sent them packing; they couldn't face you. Show your strength, God, so no one can miss it. We are out singing the good news!
Friends who are pursuing Jesus is one of the most important things in the world for our relationship with God. You can sometimes get in a place where you feel like you are in a rut and nothing is going right. On those days having friends around you can be the most encouraging thing in the world for you.
It's crazy that on your worst day spiritually, God can speak through your friends to give you a word of encouragement.
A good way to put your faith in motion is to get in a Small Group where you can have friends who are pursuing Jesus too! They can come alongside you and help you understand the Bible, help you learn more about how to get closer to Jesus, and just help in your day-to-day life. Click here to find a Group!
I've loved you the way my Father has loved Me. Make yourselves at home in My love. If you keep My commands, you'll remain intimately at home in My love. That's what I've done - kept my Father's commands and made myself at home in His love. I've told you these things for a purpose: that my joy might be your joy, and your joy wholly mature. This is my command: Love one another the way I loved you. This is the very best way to love. Put your life on the line for your friends. You are my friends when you do the things I command you. I'm no longer calling you servants because servants don't understand what their master is thinking and planning. No, I've named you friends because I've let you in on everything I've heard from the Father. You didn't choose me, remember; I chose you, and put you in the world to bear fruit, fruit that won't spoil. As fruit bearers, whatever you ask the Father in relation to me, he gives you. But remember the root command: Love one another.
Take good counsel and accept correction - that's the way to live wisely and well.
I'm proud to praise God, proud to praise God. Fearless now, I trust in God; what can mere mortals do to me? God, you did everything you promised, and I'm thanking you with all my heart. You pulled me from the brink of death, my feet from the cliff-edge of doom. Now I stroll at leisure with God in the sunlit fields of life.
Just like the right friends can push you toward Jesus, bad friends can pull you away from Jesus. What do you do when you have friends you love who are doing things they should not be doing? You love them and care about their lives, but now you are different. God has changed your life completely. He has taken the things that used to hurt your life and transformed them. He has given you hope, and a purpose, but those people you love around you look so hopeless.This can be a really hard place to be, and sometimes it might even feel like these people do not want to hang out with you now because you are not doing what they do. The goal is that they would see something different inside of you and want to have what you have.
You can still keep your friendship with them by always being ready to help on their bad days, and by telling them about what God did inside of you.
Even if your friends do not care when you first tell them about what God did in you, they will be watching to see how you live. Your story of what God did in you can be very impactful in their life.
Now you can invite them to Small Groups to hang out, and just keep inviting even if they are saying no. They are watching to see what God is doing in your life!
Meanwhile, the boat was far out to sea when the wind came up against them, and they were battered by the waves. At about four o'clock in the morning, Jesus came toward them walking on the water. They were scared out of their wits. "A ghost!" they said, crying out in terror. But Jesus was quick to comfort them. "Courage, it's me. Don't be afraid." Peter, suddenly bold, said, "Master, if it's really you, call me to come to you on the water." He said, "Come ahead." Jumping out of the boat, Peter walked on the water to Jesus. But when he looked down at the waves churning beneath his feet, he lost his nerve and started to sink. He cried, "Master, save me!" Jesus didn't hesitate. He reached down and grabbed his hand. Then he said, "Faint-heart, what got into you?" The two of them climbed into the boat, and the wind died down. The disciples in the boat, having watched the whole thing, worshiped Jesus, saying, "This is it! You are God's Son for sure!" On return, they beached the boat at Gennesaret. When the people got wind that he was back, they sent out word through the neighborhood and rounded up all the sick, who asked for permission to touch the edge of his coat. And whoever touched him was healed.
The mouth of a good person is a deep, life-giving well, but the mouth of the wicked is a dark cave of abuse
God, mark us with grace and blessing! Smile! The whole country will see how you work, all the godless nations see how you save. God! Let people thank and enjoy you. Let all people thank and enjoy you. Let all far-flung people become happy and shout their happiness because You judge them fair and square, you tend the far-flung peoples. God! Let people thank and enjoy you. Let all people thank and enjoy you. Earth, display your exuberance! You mark us with blessing, O God, our God. You mark us with blessing, O God. Earth's four corners-honor him!
Wow, today is day 7 of this devotional. The Bible is pretty cool, huh? It is crazy how the Bible can come alive and speak to exactly where you are and to the ups and downs that you face every day? Think about that real fast. A book written by God, through people, can speak to what you are facing over 2,000 years later. The Bible can do that because Jesus is a heavenly being who came to earth and faced challenges and pains we face. Jesus is legendary. God uses the Bible and all that Jesus faced to be a light to our path.
Christianity is not just a race that we can complete is seven days of reading the Bible, but it is a day-by-day walk beside Jesus.
We speak to Him about our challenges, and He reminds us that He went through that feeling or challenge just like we did. That reminder from Him brings peace. That encouragement from Him lights our path and makes the challenges of the day a little easier. Maybe you have a test that you did not study for today, Jesus can bring peace, but you might fail the test. Maybe your parents have been fighting and arguing, Jesus can bring peace in the middle of it. No matter what you are facing, you can bring that to Jesus, and He can meet your right there. You do not have to be afraid of what He will think of you or that He will be disappointed in your struggle. Go to Jesus, and He will meet you.
Next Jesus was taken into the wild by the Spirit for the Test. The Devil was ready to give it. Jesus prepared for the Test by fasting forty days and forty nights. That left him, of course, in a state of extreme hunger, which the Devil took advantage of in the first test: "Since you are God's Son, speak the word that will turn these stones into loaves of bread." Jesus answered by quoting Deuteronomy: "It takes more than bread to stay alive. It takes a steady stream of words from God's mouth." For the second test the Devil took him to the Holy City. He sat him on top of the Temple and said, "Since you are God's Son, jump." The Devil goaded him by quoting Psalm 91: "He has placed you in the care of angels. They will catch you so that you won't so much as stub your toe on a stone." Jesus countered with another citation from Deuteronomy: "Don't you dare test the Lord your God." For the third test, the Devil took him to the peak of a huge mountain. He gestured expansively, pointing out all the earth's kingdoms, how glorious they all were. Then he said, "They're yours - lock, stock, and barrel. Just go down on your knees and worship me, and they're yours." Jesus’ refusal was curt: "Beat it, Satan!" He backed his rebuke with a third quotation from Deuteronomy: "Worship the Lord your God, and only him. Serve him with absolute single-heartedness." The Test was over. The Devil left. And in his place, angels! Angels came and took care of Jesus’ needs.
Start with God - the first step in learning is bowing down to God; only fools thumb their noses at such wisdom and learning.
By your words I can see where I'm going; they throw a beam of light on my dark path. I've committed myself and I'll never turn back from living by your righteous order. Everything's falling apart on me, God; put me together again with your Word. Festoon me with your finest sayings, God; teach me your holy rules. My life is as close as my own hands, but I don't forget what you have revealed. The wicked do their best to throw me off track, but I don't swerve an inch from your course.
God lights our path and helps us every single day, but God also equipped us. The Bible says that God made us and had a plan for our life long before we were born. When God made us, it was intentional and very on purpose. Our lives begin to gain momentum and be influential when we know how and why God created us. Over the next few days, we are going to dive into how and why God created us, how God gave us gifts to use for Him, and how to impact the world. Exploring how God gifted you is going to be a really fun process, and you should talk to God about what you learn, and take note of what you enjoy throughout the following days. Discovering your gift and purposes helps us live like Him.
At Connect Church, we have a three-week process called the Growth Track. It was created to help you find out how God made you, and help you get connected to serving the Church. When you know why God made you and you begin to serve, then you can help other people find out about Jesus.
The big idea is that saved people serve people.
Serving people will bring so much fulfillment and purpose into your life. Check out Growth Track to get involved and to put your faith into motion!
It wasn't so long ago that you were mired in that old stagnant life of sin. You let the world, which doesn't know the first thing about living, tell you how to live. You filled your lungs with polluted unbelief, and then exhaled disobedience. We all did it, all of us doing what we felt like doing, when we felt like doing it, all of us in the same boat. It's a wonder God didn't lose his temper and do away with the whole lot of us. Instead, immense in mercy and with an incredible love, he embraced us. He took our sin - dead lives and made us alive in Christ. He did all this on his own, with no help from us! Then he picked us up and set us down in highest heaven in company with Jesus, our Messiah. Now God has us where he wants us, with all the time in this world and the next to shower grace and kindness upon us in Christ Jesus. Saving is all his idea, and all his work. All we do is trust him enough to let him do it. It's God's gift from start to finish! We don't play the major role. If we did, we'd probably go around bragging that we'd done the whole thing! No, we neither make nor save ourselves. God does both the making and saving. He creates each of us by Christ Jesus to join him in the work he does, the good work he has gotten ready for us to do, work we had better be doing.
He keeps his eye on all who live honestly, and pays special attention to his loyally committed ones.
Oh yes, you shaped me first inside, then out; you formed me in my mother's womb. I thank you, High God - you're breathtaking! Body and soul, I am marvelously made! I worship in adoration - what a creation! You know me inside and out, you know every bone in my body; You know exactly how I was made, bit by bit, how I was sculpted from nothing into something. Like an open book, you watched me grow from conception to birth; all the stages of my life were spread out before you, The days of my life all prepared before I'd even lived one day.
Today we are going to talk about gifts. We all love gifts. We love birthday gifts, Christmas gifts, and we all love getting home, and our parents have a random surprise for us. We also love free food. Nothing in life is better than going out to eat with a group of friends, and one of your friends decides to buy your meal. That is a great gift!
God is a gift-giving God! We can ask for anything in life, and God has the resources and capability to give it to us.
God also has gifts that He gives to every single Christian. The day you prayed and gave your life to Jesus, He instantly equipped your life with the gifts that the Bible calls the "Fruit of the Spirit." You might not have even known until right now that God had given you a bunch of gifts, and it is really hard to use a gift that you did not know you had. The Fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness, and self-control. It can be hard to always walk with these gifts, but just talk to God about them. In the moments when you need some joy just tell God you need some help walking in the gift of joy that He has given you. Over time, these gifts can transform everything about your Christian walk, and help you stay away from the traps of this world.
It is obvious what kind of life develops out of trying to get your own way all the time: repetitive, loveless, cheap sex; a stinking accumulation of mental and emotional garbage; frenzied and joyless grabs for happiness; trinket gods; magic-show religion; paranoid loneliness; cutthroat competition; all-consuming-yet-never-satisfied wants; a brutal temper; an impotence to love or be loved; divided homes and divided lives; small-minded and lopsided pursuits; the vicious habit of depersonalizing everyone into a rival; uncontrolled and uncontrollable addictions; ugly parodies of community. I could go on. This isn't the first time I have warned you, you know. If you use your freedom this way, you will not inherit God's kingdom. But what happens when we live God's way? He brings gifts into our lives, much the same way that fruit appears in an orchard - things like affection for others, exuberance about life, serenity. We develop a willingness to stick with things, a sense of compassion in the heart, and a conviction that a basic holiness permeates things and people. We find ourselves involved in loyal commitments, not needing to force our way in life, able to marshal and direct our energies wisely.
Fear-of-God is a school in skilled living - first you learn humility, then you experience glory.
Hallelujah! You who serve God, praise God! Just to speak his name is praise! Just to remember God is a blessing - now and tomorrow and always. From east to west, from dawn to dusk, keep lifting all your praises to God! God is higher than anything and anyone, outshining everything you can see in the skies.
The gifts that God has given to us are to help us in our daily lives, but He has also given us gifts to impact the world around us. Those gifts can range from having the gift of faith to believe the best in a hard situation or the gift of wisdom where you can know that you need to leave a certain place. Jesus was so powerful on earth because He walked with the Fruit of the Spirit and He knew how to operate in His spiritual gifts. Jesus walked in the gift of faith and the gift of healing the sick. Jesus embodied every gift.
God has also equipped each of us with gifts. Some of us have musical talent, and others can make people feel comfortable in every situation.
It can be really fun to learn what these gifts are and to walk in them. You can take a personality and spiritual gifts assessments at Step 2 of Growth Track. These gifts are so important because when all of us know our gifts, we can work together to make a huge impact on the earth. God has equipped us with the same gifts that made Jesus so powerful on earth. As we discover them, we can use them to impact the world!
For no matter how significant you are, it is only because of what you are a part of. An enormous eye or a gigantic hand wouldn't be a body, but a monster. What we have is one body with many parts, each its proper size and in its proper place. No part is important on its own. Can you imagine Eye telling Hand, "Get lost; I don't need you"? Or, Head telling Foot, "You're fired; your job has been phased out"? As a matter of fact, in practice it works the other way - the "lower" the part, the more basic, and therefore necessary. You can live without an eye, for instance, but not without a stomach. When it's a part of your own body you are concerned with, it makes no difference whether the part is visible or clothed, higher or lower. You give it dignity and honor just as it is, without comparisons. If anything, you have more concern for the lower parts than the higher. If you had to choose, wouldn't you prefer good digestion to full-bodied hair? The way God designed our bodies is a model for understanding our lives together as a church: every part dependent on every other part, the parts we mention and the parts we don't, the parts we see and the parts we don't. If one part hurts, every other part is involved in the hurt, and in the healing. If one part flourishes, every other part enters into the exuberance. You are Christ's body - that's who you are! You must never forget this. Only as you accept your part of that body does your "part" mean anything.
1 Corinthians 12:20-27
When God approves of your life, even your enemies will end up shaking your hand.
Thank you! Everything in me says "Thank you!" Angels listen as I sing my thanks. I kneel in worship facing your holy temple and say it again: "Thank you!" Thank you for your love, thank you for your faithfulness; Most holy is your name, most holy is your Word. The moment I called out, you stepped in; you made my life large with strength. When they hear what you have to say, God, all earth's kings will say "Thank you." They'll sing of what you've done: "How great the glory of God!" And here's why: God, high above, sees far below; no matter the distance, he knows everything about us.
Exploring and learning about how God created us and made us for a purpose is an awesome process. It is a process and journey you will walk with God for the rest of your life now, and He will lead you and guide you. Now it is time to put those gifts into action and try to use them to help people out. We are a part of a body, the body of Christ. The Church. The Church is powerful when it comes together in unity to serve Jesus, and is the place where we can all grow together as followers of Jesus as we worship Him and learn about Him.
A huge piece of putting your faith in motion is to be active and involved in the local church because this helps us serve and grow as Christians.
As you begin to walk out your journey of faith, go all-in. Put your faith in motion by going to church, being involved in a Small Group, completing the Growth Track and diving into your purpose. Do your best to apply what you learn on Sunday from Pastor Peter and the messages he shares. As you commit, over time you will look back and see how God has used the Church to help transform your life and keep your faith strong!
So, friends, we can now - without hesitation - walk right up to God, into "the Holy Place." Jesus has cleared the way by the blood of his sacrifice, acting as our priest before God. The "curtain" into God's presence is his body. So let's do it - full of belief, confident that we're presentable inside and out. Let's keep a firm grip on the promises that keep us going. He always keeps his word. Let's see how inventive we can be in encouraging love and helping out, not avoiding worshiping together as some do but spurring each other on, especially as we see the big Day approaching.
It pays to take life seriously; things work out when you trust in God.
On your feet now - applaud God! Bring a gift of laughter, sing yourselves into his presence. Know this: God is God, and God, God. He made us; we didn't make him. We're his people, his well-tended sheep. Enter with the password: "Thank you!" Make yourselves at home, talking praise. Thank him. Worship him.
We are already on day 12 of this devotional. What a journey it has been and I am sure God has spoken to you at this point. By now you have probably had a bad day. Being a Christian is not always easy because we have a very real enemy called the devil. On the days when it feels like the enemy is attacking you and tempting you to sin, you can trust God. Or maybe you messed up and did something you said you would not do anymore, and you feel like giving up on being a Christian altogether. Do not give up because God's grace is sufficient for you. You can remember His promises and how He made you.
God is a place of protection for you on your good and bad days, and you can walk in freedom.
I remind you, my dear children: Your sins are forgiven in Jesus’ name. You veterans were in on the ground floor, and know the One who started all this; you newcomers have won a big victory over the Evil One. And a second reminder, dear children: You know the Father from personal experience. You veterans know the One who started it all; and you newcomers - such vitality and strength! God's word is so steady in you. Your fellowship with God enables you to gain a victory over the Evil One. Don't love the world's ways. Don't love the world's goods. Love of the world squeezes out love for the Father. Practically everything that goes on in the world - wanting your own way, wanting everything for yourself, wanting to appear important - has nothing to do with the Father. It just isolates you from him. The world and all its wanting, wanting, wanting is on the way out - but whoever does what God wants is set for eternity.
1 John 2:12-17
God's name is a place of protection - good people can run there and be safe.
God claims Earth and everything in it, God claims World and all who live on it. He built it on Ocean foundations, laid it out on River girders. Who can climb Mount God? Who can scale the holy north-face? Only the clean-handed, only the pure-hearted; Men who won't cheat, women who won't seduce. God is at their side; with God's help they make it.
Wow! Day 13. Only today and tomorrow left! Living in motion is all about being what the Bible calls "Great Commission" focused. By ourselves, we can do a little, but together we can do a lot. Jesus told the disciples to use their lives to go, baptize, and teach. Our lives are like the disciples who followed Jesus. We are supposed to go out and use our lives to tell the story of what Jesus did. Your life has a story. God saved you. We are called to be baptized. Baptism is a way of showing the world that Jesus washed you clean and raised you to life, and you can get baptized at Connect Church! Text "CONNECTINFO" to 97000 and fill out the form. Finally, we are called to use our life to teach and show the world about what God has done for us.
We can put our faith in motion by being the salt of the world. Salt makes food better.
We are called to make the world better by being full of faith, by serving the local church, and being an influencer of the world around us.
Let me tell you why you are here. You're here to be salt - seasoning that brings out the God-flavors of this earth. If you lose your saltiness, how will people taste godliness? You've lost your usefulness and will end up in the garbage. 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.
Jesus, undeterred, went right ahead and gave his charge: "God authorized and commanded me to commission you: Go out and train everyone you meet, far and near, in this way of life, marking them by baptism in the threefold name: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Then instruct them in the practice of all I have commanded you. I'll be with you as you do this, day after day after day, right up to the end of the age."
A sterling reputation is better than striking it rich; a gracious spirit is better than money in the bank.
God, my shepherd! I don't need a thing. You have bedded me down in lush meadows, you find me quiet pools to drink from. True to your word, you let me catch my breath and send me in the right direction. Even when the way goes through Death Valley, I'm not afraid when you walk at my side. Your trusty shepherd's crook makes me feel secure.
You did it! You made it to day 14! This journey of reading the Bible together has been amazing, and it does not stop here. The best is yet to come because heaven is our final destination. Your good days and bad days will not affect you if you keep heaven in the forefront of your mind. Because we know that heaven is our home, we can focus every day on using the breath God has given us to save more people. Do not stop growing in your relationship with God. Follow Jesus with everything you have, serve and love people well, and use your life to make a difference.
Live every day to make an eternal impact. Let God use your life by putting your faith into motion!
The gatekeeper opens the gate to him and the sheep recognize his voice. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. When he gets them all out, he leads them and they follow because they are familiar with his voice. They won't follow a stranger's voice but will scatter because they aren't used to the sound of it. Jesus told this simple story, but they had no idea what he was talking about. So he tried again. "I'll be explicit, then. I am the Gate for the sheep. All those others are up to no good - sheep stealers, every one of them. But the sheep didn't listen to them. I am the Gate. Anyone who goes through me will be cared for - will freely go in and out, and find pasture. A thief is only there to steal and kill and destroy. I came so they can have real and eternal life, more and better life than they ever dreamed of.
The ways of right-living people glow with light; the longer they live, the brighter they shine.
I'm happy from the inside out, and from the outside in, I'm firmly formed. You canceled my ticket to hell - that's not my destination! Now you've got my feet on the life path, all radiant from the shining of your face. Ever since you took my hand, I'm on the right way.