Tag Archives: opportunity

Strict Judgment

Many people want to be up front and in the limelight. With social media, more are encouraged to share everything and be in front of everyone. Being in charge, being a leader, being a teacher—these positions of authority come with a great warning. James notes that these people “will be judged more strictly.”

Remember that it is a huge responsibility to have the opportunity to teach others. When given this responsibility, it is important that we share God’s Word and not our own. It is crucial that we do not become a stumbling block. It is also important to share only the Truth, so you do not cause someone to get off course. You will be judged more strictly. Don’t allow your opportunity to be neglected or abused.

Today if you are a leader or teacher, make note of this warning. Even if you are not a teacher, be aware of what you are sharing online and in person. Are you sharing the Truth or lies? Are you making the most of every opportunity or are you wasting your opportunities? Are you focused on telling people what you think or are you adamant about sharing only what God thinks?

“Dear brothers and sisters, not many of you should become teachers in the church, for we who teach will be judged more strictly.” – James 3:1 [NLT]

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Willing Consent

Notice that when Paul writes Philemon, he says he didn’t want to do anything without having Philemon’s consent. He wanted Philemon to help because it was something he was willing to do, not something that he was forced into doing. The Bible speaks about this desire and purposeful decision we make to do something, and it comes from the heart. We know that when we are giving, we are to not give reluctantly or because we are forced, but to give what is on our heart (2 Corinthians 9:7). If we are doing anything for God because we are forced to do it, or because we feel we should do it, but it is not in our heart to do it, that’s not being real with God. It’s also not what Jesus had in mind when He spoke of discipleship.

Paul wanted Philemon to make his own choice in the matter. If Philemon just did what Paul said because Paul told him to do it, it does not give the opportunity for forgiveness and reconciliation. It also does not open the doors for what God had for all parties involved. It was important for this reconciliation to take place. It was important for there to be this opportunity to forgive and move forward. It was a great moment for growth if he was willing to respond.

Today, consider what you are doing because you truly want to do it, and what you are doing because you feel you are supposed to do it or your family/friend/parent/boss is making you do it. If it is not something on your heart, if it is not something you give your willing consent, it is just going through the motions. It’s not being transparent or truthful. If you are not willing, talk to God about it. Ask Him why not. At the end of the day, you have the opportunity to give consent for God to move mightily in your life, just as you also have the opportunity to keep yourself self-centered. It’s always either Thy will be done or my will be done. You decide.

“But I didn’t want to do anything without your consent. I wanted you to help because you were willing, not because you were forced.” – Philemon 1:14 [NLT]

Glory to His Name

We have been given the privilege and authority to share the Good News. We have a great responsibility and a great opportunity to tell people everywhere what God has done. As we share the Gospel of Jesus Christ and what He has done in our own lives, the Spirit will grow the kingdom of God. When people believe, they will obey. In doing so, God will be glorified.

We have a great role in the Kingdom. It is not something to take lightly. God has sent us to go to the nations and this requires dedication and sacrifice. We have been given everything we need to do what He has called us to accomplish. We simply need to walk in faithful obedience.

Today, embrace the privilege and authority He has given you. Ask the Spirit how you can share what God has done for you. You are a chosen vessel, but remember the Spirit does the rest. Pray that those who hear about Jesus will open their hearts, believe, and obey. To God be the glory.

“Through Christ, God has given us the privilege and authority as apostles to tell Gentiles everywhere what God has done for them, so that they will believe and obey him, bringing glory to His name.” – Romans 1:5 [NLT]

Embrace the Timing of God

Lately I need to be even more patient than usual. That’s difficult for me. It took long enough for me to get the patience I have—and now I have to be even more patient?!? Things take longer than I ever could imagine. Things aren’t as simple as I first considered. The struggle is real. You know what I mean? I’m sure you are patiently waiting for this devotion to end (let’s hope not because I didn’t even share what God has shown me). Perhaps you are recollecting your drive home or the long line at the supermarket. A half hour ago, I waited 4 minutes for a red light. FOUR MINUTES!!

Despite my love of not waiting, I have learned to embrace God’s timing. Oftentimes, this means that I must make good use of that patience He has taught me over the years. Usually it means I will be stretched to the max, growing in patience or falling while pulling out my hair asking God what is taking so long. The truth is, I embrace God’s timing because I have realized He has the best plan. He has showed me how extra time brings everything in line the way He orchestrated. Waiting on His timing allows for people to step up that He positioned to rise. Waiting on His timing gives me the opportunity to see Him move in mighty ways. Embracing the timing of God is a walk in faith and it produces great fruit. Plus, I have proven time and time again that my timing is HORRIBLE!!

Today, you might not know what God is doing. You may even say He is silent or absent. I can promise you that He is not absent. He promises not to leave or forsake you (Deuteronomy 31:8). God is always moving too, so if you think He’s silent, it’s quite possible that you aren’t listening. I have many times found myself guilty of not taking a pause in life to listen to our heavenly Father. Take the time today. Pray. Read His Word. Simply sit still. Embrace His timing. Carve out some time to rest and listen. Wait for the Lord. Wait for the Lord.

“Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord.” – Psalm 27:14 [NIV]

 

Accusations

After we read about the sinfulness of God’s people in the beginning of the fourth chapter of Hosea, there is this one verse that follows which talks about accusations. The verse says, “let no one contend, and let none accuse.” Then we read the reason why. The contention has a place—it is towards the priest.

Wow! This is harsh to chew upon. The finger is pointed at the leadership. The priest who was put in charge of God’s Word, who was to lead the people to God and His Truth, was on the receiving end. That was where the contention was placed. But why? Because the people were led astray. The people were so far from God that they had no knowledge of Him. What was the priest doing? Why was the Law absent? Why was God not known?

Leadership is hard. Each day I recognize the opportunity I have been given, but more importantly the responsibility. I have a tree of people in my office at work to look at to remember this responsibility. At my home office, I have a card I was given by the church congregation. I read over the names often. I remember this great responsibility. Lead to Truth. Lead with grace. Lead with love at the center. Whether you lead in an area of ministry, lead your children at home, lead at your workplace—no matter where you lead, it’s always the same. Lead to Truth. Lead with grace. Lead with love at the center.

“Yet let no one contend, and let none accuse, for with you is my contention, O priest.” – Hosea 4:4 [ESV]

Much Demands

Responsibilities are important. Each of us have a different list of responsibilities. Some lists are more demanding. Some lists contain items that have an eternal impact. In Luke 12, we read that those who are given much will be demanded much—those who have been trusted with much will be asked for much in return. Talk about responsibility. This is something we can see in action when you look at every area of life. The older child typically has more responsibilities in the home. Those in management have more responsibilities than the team they manage. Those in an advanced placement class in school have more responsibilities than other students.

Consider everything you have available – your time, your talents, your treasures. Consider the opportunity you have (job position, connections, etc.). Consider the background you have – the experience. Consider all of these things. Now, read the verse again. You have been given this much. Are you meeting the demand? You have been trusted with this much. What has been your response? I’ve had people ask why I pour myself so much into Kingdom work. Peter said this: “For we are unable to stop speaking about what we have seen and heard” (Acts 4:20 HCSB). I cannot stop speaking about Jesus. He has called me to speak. He has put His Word in my mouth. After I finish preaching, if I don’t feel like I poured out my all, I am pretty hard on myself. Why did I hold back? What kept me from pouring out everything? Why didn’t I let Him take the message further? These are the things that go through my head.

This verse from Luke is a great reminder to me. I have been given much. If I don’t pour myself out for Jesus, I am giving Him mere leftovers. I have been entrusted with so much; this is not something I take lightly. Friends, today look at what you have been given, what you have been entrusted—are you pouring yourself out? Are you using all you can for His work, for His kingdom? Are you complaining because of the great work before you? Do you have your responsibilities out of whack because of other things you think should have priority? Have you accepted the mission—your great work through Christ—because you want nothing more than to serve your Lord? Or are you on your own mission using the tools Jesus has given you to build up your own kingdom here on earth?

 

“But the one who does not know and does things deserving punishment will be beaten with few blows. From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked.” – Luke 12:48 [NIV]

You Have Lacked Nothing

You Have Lacked Nothing

Today’s verse speaks of a time when God’s people were wandering around in the wilderness. Even when they were not always walking with their eyes fixed on God, even when their hearts were easily swayed, God provided for them. During a time when they grumbled and complained again and again, God still made sure they had everything they needed. He provided them manna. He provided them fresh water. This verse speaks truth – they “lacked nothing.”

For those reading this right now, it is quite possible that you can boldly claim these same words – that you have lacked nothing, that God has indeed provided for everything you need. Oftentimes as we fix our eyes elsewhere, we might become forgetful of this truth. But we have lacked nothing. We have been fed. We have been clothed. We so often show little gratitude for the many things God provides us for daily.

Today let us remind ourselves that we have lacked nothing over the years. God has provided for us and He has provided in abundance. Let us not overlook this great blessing. Instead, I pray we are able to live a life of gratitude, a life that appreciates all of the blessings that He pours out upon us. We are blessed so very much. Thank you Jesus! Let us be blessed to be a blessing!

“For the LORD your God has blessed you in everything you have done. He has watched your every step through this great wilderness. During these forty years, the LORD your God has been with you, and you have lacked nothing.” – Deuteronomy 2:7 [NLT]

Thinkers and Doers

Today I had Chinese takeout for lunch. The end of the meal always consists of eating the fortune cookie. It said something like don’t just think about it, act on it. Though I am not into fortune cookies, despite finding them tasty for being crispy bits filled with air, the words on the little slip of paper are a great reminder to us all.

See we can all think about living for Christ. We can all think about being a shining light. We can all think about what is good and pure and holy. We can think about how it is good to help the needy. We can think about how it is important to love others. But where does thinking get us? What happens if we all just sit and think and no one does a thing?

Edmund Burke said, “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.” Today I pray that thinking isn’t the only thing you are doing. Actions speak louder than words. James said to be doers of the word. It’s important to ponder things. It’s important to not rush into things. But if we do nothing else but think, if we never be the hands and feet of Christ, then we miss so many great opportunities. Take advantage of each opportunity. God put these people in your path for a reason.

“But don’t just listen to God’s word. You must do what it says. Otherwise, you are only fooling yourselves.” – James 1:22 [NIV]

The Welcoming Word

In Romans 10, Paul writes that salvation is all about the welcoming word—“Jesus is my Master.” This means that you embrace Jesus with all you have and you are calling out to God, trusting in Jesus and what He did for you. He said it really was not about doing anything. It was about the welcoming word. It was about calling out to God and trusting in Him.

With your whole being you embrace God and He sets everything right. It is only because of Him that things can be set right. With the welcoming word, life is changed. The word of faith is your righteousness. Remember Abraham believed and because of it he was righteous.

Have you declared the welcoming word yet? If you haven’t done so please understand that if you do so today, if you embrace God and call out to Him right now, you will be saved. God will set everything right between you and Him. If it’s been awhile since you were saved but you have fallen off course, today is a good day to reaffirm the welcoming word once again and ask Him to encourage and empower you to press onward. I am so thankful that we can approach Him with this welcoming word. Only through Jesus we have this great opportunity.

 

“It’s the word of faith that welcomes God to go to work and set things right for us. This is the core of our preaching. Say the welcoming word to God—‘Jesus is my Master’—embracing, body and soul, God’s work of doing in us what he did in raising Jesus from the dead. That’s it. You’re not ‘doing’ anything; you’re simply calling out to God, trusting him to do it for you. That’s salvation. With your whole being you embrace God setting things right, and then you say it, right out loud: ‘God has set everything right between him and me!’” – Romans 10:8-10 [MSG]

The Dog Bath

Giving Max a bath can be quite the ordeal. Since he’s a larger dog, it’s not so easy to get him into the bath tub. Plus he is not fond of getting a bath and I am not fond of cleaning all of the hair out of the tub when he finally decides to comply with his mom’s request. Every so often I take him to the dog wash, which is a dog bath at the local car wash.

Max never wants to go up the ramp to the bathing area. Although it is the good path to take, he does not want what will follow. He loves to be clean. He loves to have his hair blown dry. But he detests the bath itself. When the bath is over, I have to stand beside him when he gets put back on his leash for he wants to hop out of the bathing area rather than taking the ramp down to the ground. Today I got soaked because he rammed into me as I blocked the dangerous attempt

Many times God will try to lead us down a particular path in life. Sometimes it does not appear so great and sometimes the path brings about trials and obstacles we do not desire. However, God has a perfect plan and His direction will help us to get to where we are meant to be in life. There are moments when He opens doors for us to enter but we hesitate because we fear, we doubt, or we think we know better. There are also moments when we try to go another way, a way that might lead toward something not in our best interest. At times He will block it to keep us safe and at times He will allow us to take the other way to help us to grow closer to Him. It is as if He says, “You want it. Okay, I’ll give it to you.” Oh the lessons He has taught me by giving me what I wanted. I soon realized I no longer wanted what I wanted—I wanted instead what He wanted. Today, if God is leading you down a particular path, if God has opened a door for you to enter, I pray you have the trust to follow. Following His direction is always the best way.

“Therefore I will block her path with thornbushes;
I will wall her in so that she cannot find her way.
She will chase after her lovers but not catch them;
she will look for them but not find them.
Then she will say,
‘I will go back to my husband as at first,
for then I was better off than now.’
She has not acknowledged that I was the one
who gave her the grain, the new wine and oil,
who lavished on her the silver and gold—
which they used for Baal.” – Hosea 2:6-8 [NIV]

“You will show me the way of life, granting me the joy of your presence and the pleasures of living with you forever.” – Psalm 16:11 [NLT]