We’ve all been there. We experience moving worship and an encouraging sermon on Sunday morning, and we go home fully convinced that this week we will be different. We will be changed….Kingdom-minded in everything we do. Then Monday morning arrives. We over sleep, putting us behind schedule. The kids are arguing, and one of them drops their cereal bowl resulting in broken pieces of ceramic mixed with milk all over the kitchen floor. Finally, we get in the car to get kids to school and/or head to work…only to realize the fuel tank is on ‘E.’ We ask ourselves, “Can this day possibly get any worse?” Then we regret what just came out of our mouths because we know that it can! Can you relate?
Life is tough. It’s definitely not easy. It’s also very unpredictable. This proves even more why we really do need practical faith…a faith beyond Sunday.
James 5:13-15 tells us…
Is anyone among you suffering? Let him pray. Is anyone cheerful? Let him sing praise. Is anyone among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord. And the prayer of faith will save the one who is sick, and the Lord will raise him up. And if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven. (ESV)
Prayer, praise, anointing, forgiveness……these are all things that draw our thoughts and attention back to Jesus.
To over sleeping…stop…and thank God that He gave you another day to wake up.
To the cereal mess…stop…and praise God that no one got injured.
To the empty tank…stop…and ask the Holy Spirit to allow someone to cross your path today that you can help. Maybe the delay was needed.
Have you ever had a complete stranger pay the $5 you were short at the cashier? Or maybe they let you ahead of them in the grocery line…even when you had ten times more items than they did? Ponder this today. Did you ever think that perhaps that person’s day had been full of chaos and stress right up to that very moment?
Be Jesus to someone today…and experience what its like to have a faith beyond Sunday. What would that look like for you?
1 Corinthians 13:4-7 reads:
Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged. It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance.
Wow! A lot of what Love is and isn’t. This passage is famously referenced in the context of marriage, but its intent is much more general than that. Paul is clearly speaking about our character as believers in Jesus Christ. It’s how we behave/react with each other in certain circumstances, and our attitude and feelings inside of us that often times drive our behavior.
Jesus came to be with us in human form unselfishly and purely out of love for us. This is how we now have the gift of grace in our lives. It seems to me that when we can fully embrace the above text, we can then feel the heartbeat of Christ toward each other.
This week, may you be able to love…and allow yourself to be loved. May you also not lose your hope in God. He’s still hoping in you!
Philippians 4:8b reads:
“Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise.”
Think about this. When we get to sleep in, its sunny and clear out, and our finances are in order its pretty easy to view life as a bed of roses. On the other hand, its not quite the same when we can’t fix the car, in-laws are breathing down your neck, and you have absolutely no energy to deal with any of it.
In the above text, Paul is encouraging us to take charge over our thoughts. Not only that, but focusing on things that are ‘worthy of praise’ is simply recognizing God’s blessings in our lives…His actual involvement! Whether things are going great or really rough, intensionally locate God’s hand in the middle of it. This is what keeps us grounded and attentive to His will for us.
Today, may you feel His hand on your circumstance. And may you also allow God and His ways to take priority in your life.
A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another. John 13:34-35 (ESV)
Jesus himself modeled this for us. His own disciples (church people) betrayed him, doubted him, neglected his needs, etc. Yet…he loved them. He truly loved them. He even had compassion on the guards who nailed him to the cross, and asked his Father in Heaven to forgive them for their actions.
Jesus’ purpose was to come as the once and for all time ultimate sacrifice for the sins of all mankind. Our purpose (as believers) is simply to expose others to Christ the Savior. This is more effective than teaching Sunday School, evangelizing, or inviting someone to church. Now, don’t get me wrong. All of these things are necessary and good. If others can see that we genuinely love each other, however, THIS will convince EVERYONE that we belong to Jesus. Real love…..not pretend love…..is our most effective witness.
May you today show real love toward a family member, co-worker, grocery clerk, or church member who has ‘wronged’ you. In doing so, you will be introducing Jesus himself to them…..and possibly changing their life for eternity.