“For no one can lay any foundation other than the one we already have – Jesus Christ. Anyone who builds on that foundation may use a variety of materials – gold, silver, jewels, wood, hay, or straw. But on the judgment day, fire will reveal what kind of work each builder has done. The fire will show if a person’s work has any value. If the work survives, that builder will receive a reward.”-1 Corinthians 3:11-14
Jesus is the foundation everyone needs for life, and eternal life. But each of us builds on this foundation in ourselves and in others. What we build on top of our commitment to Christ matters. These verses list six kinds of materials. Three will survive a fire, and three will not. Three demonstrate value, three do not. We can build our own lives with eternal value – Gold, silver jewels. Or we can not build what God values in our lives, but build what we want which leads to wood, hay, straw. Our influence and relationships with others can build value into others, or it builds only temporary things. We can build into others gold, silver or jewels. We can also build a good time, but nothing of any depth spiritually – wood, hay, or straw.
For me, when I read this passage one question came to mind. How I/you answer this question may motivate changes. Will my work survive the fire (14)? Will yours?
Father lead me in making any and every change necessary to build eternal value in my life and in others.
Readings: Hebrews 12, 1 Corinthians 3, Psalm 58, 1 Peter 5
“That is why we never give up. Though our bodies are dying, our spirits are being renewed every day… So we don’t look at the troubles we see now; rather we fix our gaze on things that cannot be seen. For the things we see now will soon be gone, but the things we cannot see will last forever.” -2 Corinthians 4:16, 18
We can fool ourselves. A person can give up and yet still keep going. You do what has to be done. People see you and see nothing different. But inside… inside you have given up, become discouraged, leaking hope… So, how do I move from giving up to never give up? I am promised that The Spirit renews my spirit every day. To not give up I must pay attention to what God is always doing for me, for us – renewing me… daily. How do I do that? How do I see what God is doing in and around me when circumstances look and smell like the bottom of a trash can that has held trash for too long? I am to fix my gaze on to the eternal, rather than the moment, the temporary. Anything I see in my circumstances is temporary; temporary because God will change them, and temporary because of the eternal life I will experience when Jesus comes again. It all comes down to where I fix my gaze. If I fix my gaze on circumstances, then I have focused on my inability to “fix” it. When I fix my gaze on the unseen, I focus on Jesus, His promises, the presently unseen things He is doing. And, ultimately, my gaze is on the eternal.
Father, turn my gaze in the right direction, and give me eyes to catch glimpse of what you are doing in and around me.
Readings: Luke 20, 2 Corinthians 4, 1 John 3, Romans 8
Day 85 – Luke 20, 2 Corinthians 4, 1 John 3, Romans 8
Day 86 – Hebrews 12, 1 Corinthians 3, Psalm 58, 1 Peter 5
Day 87 – 1 Corinthians 9, 1 Thessalonians 2, Revelation 19, 2 Thessalonians 1
Day 88 – Isaiah 4, Isaiah 35, Isaiah 65, Zechariah 9
Day 89 – Isaiah 2, Isaiah 11, 1 Corinthians 6, Revelation 20
Promises About Marriage
Day 90 – 1 Timothy 5, 1 Peter 3, Genesis 1, Ecclesiastes 4
“May the Lord show special kindness to Onesiphorus and all his family because he often visited and encouraged me. He was never ashamed of me because I was in chains. When he came to Rome, he searched everywhere until he found me.” -2 Timothy 1:16-17
While I would never want to name a kid after this guy, I certainly would want kids to be like him – adults for that matter too! He is an encourager, and being an encourager requires something very specific. An encourager must be willing to go out of their way again and again. Paul was in prison, and this man visits again and again. Traveling to Rome, finding a place to stay, and making time for repeated prison visits is no small sacrifice. On top of all this Paul adds that he searched for Paul until he found him.
God’s call for me/we to be encouragers means a readiness to go out of my way; to make sacrifices repeatedly; to persist until found. We tend to hate the slightest inconvenience. This has to be shed to encourage. While many people we may minister to may not literally be in prison, they can be in prisons of their own struggle. They, too, must be found. They will require persistence because they may at first push us away. But the encourager presses on and in.
Father, make me a better encourager…
Readings: Ezekiel 37, 2 Timothy 1, Psalm 17
“And remember, the Lord’s patience gives people time to be saved…” – 2 Peter 3:15
Jesus came to this earth with a mission – for people to believe in Him and so be saved. Jesus gave the disciples and us a mission – to “go and make disciples of all nations”, in other words share the message of life only in Jesus. Amazingly, even the second coming of Christ is focused on redemption. So often we/I think of the second coming and associate it with judgment. But this verse tells us the return of Christ is arranged so people will be saved. Now obviously, not all will be saved because not all will believe. However, the Lord delays the return of Christ for more people to be saved. Maybe it is time to associate the second coming of Christ more with his mission than judgment. Certainly judgment will come on that day, but it will be a consequence of those who refuse to believe. In the end, the return of Christ is more about salvation. This hope coupled with the reality of judgment for all who do not receive Jesus as God’s remedy for our sin, should stir a fresh passion to share Christ with others. It should also cause us to plead with God to fulfill His promise through us to “make us fishers of men.”
Jesus, my wonderful savior, keep my focus and passion on sharing you with others in a way Your Spirit will use to lead others to receive and believe in you!
Readings: Isaiah 21, 1 Thessalonians 5, 2 Peter 3, Hosea 13
“Whatever happens, my dear brothers and sisters, rejoice in the Lord. I never get tired of telling you these things, and I do it to safeguard your faith.” -Philippians 3:1
There are a few things that would come to mind that would be a safeguard, a protection to my faith. Time in the Word of God would be a safeguard for my faith. Prayer would be a safeguard for my faith. Listening for the voice and leading of the Spirit would be a safeguard for my faith. The ministry of other believers in my life would safeguard my faith. But Paul bypasses all of these. The safeguard of my faith is rejoicing in the Lord. Rejoicing in God’s love, attention, provision… and so much more is cause for rejoicing. Rejoicing in whatever happens to me protects my faith because rejoicing in “whatever” grows my faith that God is good and will always do what is best. Rejoicing gets my eyes off of me and my circumstances and focuses me on God and His ability. This kind of rejoicing is a choice, a faith choice. This kind of rejoicing changes my attitude and thinking when I am not feeling so joyful. In essence, rejoicing builds joy. Seems crazy, but that is how God has designed it to work! So, I’m going to choose to rejoice…
Father, in the “whatevers” of life strengthen my choice to rejoice in you by faith.
Readings: Philippians 3, Matthew 24, Matthew 25, Mark 13
“So, my dear brothers and sisters, be strong and immovable. Always work enthusiastically for the Lord, for you know that nothing you do for the Lord is ever useless.” -1 Corinthians 15:58
Work is at times a great joy and pleasure. At other times it is just work – grinding out, persevering, enduring work. And at times, even work for the Lord can feel the same. And, therein is the problem – feelings defining how we work. Working enthusiastically can also fall into this trap. Enthusiasm is often treated as a feeling, something that can be ginned up, manufactured, created. So, if we create the right environment, we can work enthusiastically for the Lord. However, this verse paints a different picture. Enthusiasm is not an emotion, or feeling, or created by environment. Enthusiasm is a choice, a faith filled choice. I choose to work enthusiastically because God works through what I do and it always accomplishes what He plans. I work enthusiastically in serving the Lord because there is eternal reward in serving the Lord. I work enthusiastically because God Himself approaches each day, each moment enthusiastically. I choose enthusiasm by faith.
Father, keep before me that enthusiasm in serving you is a faith choice in what you are doing.
Readings: Titus 2, 1 Corinthians 15, Hebrews 9, Joel 3