Thought of the day: stand up
“Now get up and stand on your feet. I have appeared to you to appoint you as a servant and as a witness of what you have seen and will see of me.”
(Acts 26:16 NIV)
Jesus, speaking to Paul in a vision on the road to Damascus.
This vision changed Paul’s life. He was confronted with the spiritual reality of Jesus’ resurrection and God-nature. He fell to his knees, but Jesus lifted him up. “Get on your feet! Go and do!” Paul dedicated his life to a person, not a cause. The foundation of his life was not a message but a relationship.
Thought of the day: look to God
Look unto me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth: for I am God, and there is none else. (Isaiah 45:22 KJV)
NIV says “turn to me and be saved.”
Who are we looking at? As we pursue a Christian walk, who or what or where are we looking at? The LORD says “look into me.” Don’t look at someone else and compare yourself to them, or think that you must do what they are doing. Look to God. He is your firm foundation.
We probably look to God more in times of trouble, when we recognize that we need help outside of ourselves. But also remember to look to God when things are going great. Don’t be distracted by the blessings – acknowledge the source.
Thought of the day:
“Go and proclaim in the hearing of Jerusalem: “This is what the Lord says:
“I remember the devotion of your youth, how as a bride you loved me and followed me through the wilderness, through a land not sown.”
(Jeremiah 2:2 NIV)
I love this phrase: “the devotion of your youth”. When we are new Christians, and the mystery and power of salvation and grace and grace are fresh in our minds, we are devoted to God like a new bride. In love, amazed by love.
And now, later, are we comfortable? Are we passive in our love? Do we spontaneously do acts of love and service, for God? He remembers when our love was like that.
Thought of the day: freshness of spirit
Jesus answered, “Very truly I tell you, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless they are born of water and the Spirit. Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit. You should not be surprised at my saying, ‘You must be born again.’ The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit.” (John 3:5-8 NIV)
We are born of the spirit and filled with His new life. This energizes us. It gives us a freshness for each day, a willingness to say, “God, what do you have in store for me today?” We do not know where the Spirit comes from or where it is going. This means we are surprised by God. We can’t predict what God will do. Things will come into our lives unexpectedly or be resolved by His direction and intervention in our lives.
Thought of the day: trust
But Abram said, “Sovereign Lord, what can you give me since I remain childless and the one who will inherit my estate is Eliezer of Damascus?” And Abram said, “You have given me no children; so a servant in my household will be my heir.”
Then the word of the Lord came to him: “This man will not be your heir, but a son who is your own flesh and blood will be your heir.” He took him outside and said, “Look up at the sky and count the stars—if indeed you can count them.” Then he said to him, “So shall your offspring be.”
Abram believed the Lord, and he credited it to him as righteousness. (Genesis 15:2-6 NIV)
Abram heard the promise of God, but he didn’t see how it could be fulfilled in his human knowledge and human terms. He doubted because he didn’t see the result and thought he was running out of time.
We may have times in our lives where we don’t see the way forward. That’s where trust comes in. Trust means I will continue to believe without evidence. How will you know things will work out according to God’s plan? You won’t know with human knowledge. That’s what trust is. Believe anyway.
Thought of the day: believe
A week later his disciples were in the house again, and Thomas was with them. Though the doors were locked, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you!” Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here; see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Stop doubting and believe.”
Thomas said to him, “My Lord and my God!” (John 20:26-28 NIV)
When we truly believe as Thomas did, we will also proclaim Jesus as Master and Ruler, Holy One above all else. Thomas surrendered everything he had to Jesus in that moment of realization. No more living for self.
We sometimes try to fit Jesus into our plans. He doesn’t work that way. We serve him best when we pour out our life to him and completely surrender as Thomas did.
Thought of the day: call and response
For you have heard of my previous way of life in Judaism, how intensely I persecuted the church of God and tried to destroy it.
But when God, who set me apart from my mother’s womb and called me by his grace, was pleased to reveal his Son in me so that I might preach him among the Gentiles, my immediate response was not to consult any human being.
They only heard the report: “The man who formerly persecuted us is now preaching the faith he once tried to destroy.” (Galatians 1:13, 15-16, 23 NIV)
The call on Paul’s life came suddenly, without warning, a massive disruption of his life and beliefs. Paul writes that “God was pleased to reveal His son in me”. That’s the call. We may not experience God’s call in our lives in the same manner, but it will be for the same purpose – to reveal His Son through our lives.
Paul’s response was to discard his thoughts and beliefs and totally commit to follow Jesus, and he preached the good news from that point on. What is our response to God’s call? How do we live out Christ in us?