Archives For Psalms

Jesus is a personal savior. This isn’t news for any who grew up in church. We’ve heard all our lives how we need to accept Jesus as our personal savior. But how often do we take the time to marvel at what that actually means? Why is a personal savior better than any other kind of savior? As long as we’re saved, who cares, right? The difference comes down to love. Jesus is a personal savior because of how much love He has for you, for me, and for every single other soul on this planet.

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This means while Jesus died for the entire race of humanity – past, present, and future – He would have died for you alone. That’s pretty crazy. Even if no one else mattered, you would have mattered enough for Jesus to give up His life. That definitely puts the personal in Him being a personal Savior for us.

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It’s Thanksgiving day in America. While I recognize a good number of readers are not Americans, being thankful is something to which we can all relate. So whether you celebrate Thanksgiving in your culture or not, I suggest we all take some time today to reflect on all our blessings. Even if you are struggling in this season of life, I am confident you can find some things for which to be grateful.

being thankful,Thanksgiving,thankfulness,thankful,Matthew 6:25-34,consider the lilies,God cares for your needs,Matthew 7:9-11,son asks for bread gives Him a stone,God gives good gifts,Psalms 46:1,ever present help in trouble,John 3:16,God so loved the world,gave His only Son

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Something amazing happens when we pray prayers of gratitude. Our attitude changes. Our physical countenance improves. Most of us forget how truly blessed we are and take much of our lives for granted. But today, just for a little while, let’s reorient our focus on simply being thankful for everything God has done for us.

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As someone who has longed to meet Jesus for a long time now, I was particularly struck by a quote I read from one of the early church fathers named Irenaeus. He said, “The business of the Christian is nothing else than to be ever preparing for death”.  The statement also reminded me of Francis Chan’s latest book, “You and Me Forever”, in which he espouses the primary role of the husband is to make certain his wife is well prepared for Heaven.

prepared to die,Francis Chan,you and me forever,Matthew 25:14-30,Psalm 144:4,Job 7:7,Psalm 39:5,life is a vapor,life is a breath,unprepared to die,unprepared,not ready to die,five finger death punch

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Our entire lives should be spent preparing ourselves and others to meet Christ. This profoundly impacts the decisions we make and activities we engage in every day of our lives.
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In Part I of “Your Best Year Ever” we discussed how the most important thing you can do in the coming year is to spend consistent time in God’s presence each day. Most have probably heard this advice before, but many struggle in determining what to do during the time they set aside. I want to share a few of my own habits (and new commitments) in hopes they will be helpful for you or at least inspire some new ideas for your own time with God.

your best year ever,Psalm 46:10,James 4:8Jesus first,commitment,discipleship,disciple of Jesus,follower of Jesus,mission,kingdom of God,best year ever

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Remember the time set aside for Christ should be all about Him. It’s easy to consume the time praying for all your needs and desires, but that means it’s all about you. You are the follower, not the followed. When you become God, it can become all about you. Until then, let’s focus on Jesus.
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live intentionally,intentional living,discipline,self-help,psalms,you matter,impact,discipleship,kingdom of Godimage courtesy of Mark J P via Compfight cc

How can I serve God best today? It’s a question each of us should ask at the beginning of each day. The way we frame our days determines how we live our lives. If we wait for life to just happen to us, we will constantly be in a reactionary mode, and this is not the optimal way to live. Reacting results in circumstances dictating our own actions. A better way to live is to proactively and intentionally influence what circumstances will actually occur in our life. Remember the old saying that the best defense is a good offense? That sports analogy works well in life. We want to make our lives happen rather than wait for things to happen to us. As followers of Jesus, the absolute best way we can do this is to determine ahead of time how we will impact our world for Christ each day.

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time management,finite beings,discipleship,Job,live every moment,carpe diem,seize every moment,eternal life,reward

A great many of us spend the majority of our lives pursuing money. It’s not that we necessarily are ruled by it (though many are), but it is accepted as one of the basic needs of life. We need money to purchase the things we need to survive. Life is so much more than money and the endless pursuit of it can easily cause you to trust it, rather than God, to provide for your needs. There is a higher currency with which we should be far more obsessed. That is the currency of time. Time is far more finite, and infinitely more valuable, than money. How we spend our time reveals where our true treasure lies.

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time is short,time is fleeting,time management,make time for God

Psalm 90:12 instructs us to number our days. When we understand that our time on this planet is limited, we can begin to live with a greater sense of urgency and purpose. All of us realize that we will die someday, but few of us live like we believe it. We spend our days engaged in trivial pursuits and sleepwalking through our nights as if there will always be another. Many have resigned themselves to the mediocrity of conformity and accept the notion that as long as they are comfortable and able to “get by”, then life is good and they are doing enough. This isn’t the “abundant” life promised by Jesus, so why are we so willing to settle for it?

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faith,perseverance,patience of Job,facing trials,tribulation

Have you ever had periods in your life where you felt like you could relate to Job? There are seasons in all of our journeys where, to the best of our knowledge we are following well, yet everything seems to be crumbling around us. Maybe a job loss or financial difficulty will arrive. Perhaps we will lose someone close to us or have an internal battle threaten to rage out of control. We are doing the things God told us to do but still our lives seem to be spiraling downward and picking up speed. These are the times of character refinement, and it is these moments that determine our true loyalty. Will we give up because it is too hard? Or will we say with Job, “The Lord gives and He takes away… I will never curse my friend” (Job 1:21-22; Job 2:9-10)?

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clearing the temple,the Lords prayer,heaven on earth,zeal,zealous,zealousness,passion,God's will for your life,God's will for my life

Zeal is an interesting word. Scriptures tell us that zeal for God’s house consumed Jesus (Psalm 69:8-9; John 2:17). We see it played out when Jesus tossed the merchants and money changers out of the temple (John 2:13-17). In doing so, I believe Jesus set an example as to how we should react to things that stand in contrast to God’s design. While tolerance is preached today, Jesus demonstrated none of it towards those who were blatantly ignoring and abusing God’s commands. When was the last time you were so consumed by zeal for God that you took action regardless of what people thought and without thinking of any possible ramifications?

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proactive,putting God first,Jesus first,2013,goals,goal setting,discipleship

Today is the last day of 2012. The beginning of a new year is always an exciting time for me, as it presents a clean slate and a fresh set of opportunities. I’m a goals fanatic and have found it useful to have a theme to guide my planning for each year. Last year’s theme was, “Consume Less, Contribute More.” This year I have selected, “Take Action”. As a follower of Christ, nothing could be more important. As James said, we must be doers of the word, not merely hearers (James 1:22-25). If we are going to grow in our faith, we must act on the things Jesus told us to do.

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