The 90 Day Challenge Day 88 – Contagious Pursuit

th-1

“But, you, man of God, run from these things, and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance and gentleness” -1 Timothy 6:11

There is a vast difference between wishing and pursuing, or ignoring and pursuing. I am working on a table. The center section design needs planing, but it is much to large for my surface planer. Sanding, no matter how much you sand, will never yield a completely smooth surface. So, I researched, studied, and came up with a plan to make a sled planer for the project. I had to pursue it to get there….

This verse calls the follower of Jesus to pursue, not just hope for or wish for a lifestyle like Jesus. Too often, we can become content with things as they are; to be content with salvation and go only a little further. But, God calls us to pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance, gentleness. We are to pursue becoming more like Jesus. We are to pursue becoming better people than if we just let life take its course. Righteousness and godliness cover two sides of one issue – holy living. Righteousness call us to rely on Christ to empower right living and rest in His forgiveness by giving us His righteousness. Pursuing faith invites us to believe God can and will change us, even when it seems impossible. Endurance inspires us to not give up, to not lay down and quit. And gentleness keeps us humble. Gentleness means the life changes God is making in us are lived out with others in a gentle rather than arrogant or condescending way. Gentleness will invite others to want to become more like Jesus too.

Papa, embolden my pursuing of being more like Jesus and may love and gentleness be the thread tying it all together that others may see You in me and want to become more like You too.
JT

Readings for Day 89 – 2 Timothy 2, 2 Timothy 4:1-18, Matthew 26:6-13, Acts 6:8-15, Ecclesiastes 10-12

Advertisements

The 90 Day Challenge Day 85 – My Hiding Place

th-4

“Trust in Him at all times, you people; pour out your hearts before Him. God is our refuge.” -Psalm 62:8

We all have our “escapes.” We all want or need to get away at times. Our escapes can be the beach, the mountains, a vacation, the lake. Our escapes can be food, or a program on TV or a movie. There is nothing inherently wrong with any of these things. And, there is nothing wrong with getting away from the pressures of life at times. The problem comes when I/we allow these things to become our place of refuge rather than God. God is our refuge.

As our refuge, we can pour out our hearts to Him. Too many pour out their hearts on social media. A person gets offended, or hurt, or angry and there it is in living color on facebook. Facebook and attention from others is not to be my/our source of refuge. God alone is my refuge. When we consistently escape in one form or another, we are in essence saying we trust this “escape” more than we trust God! A dangerous position indeed.

Bottom line – God is my refuge. I am to pour out my heart to Him. He is my place of protection and rest and recovery. To follow through on this means I must ruthlessly look at my “get aways” to discern where is my trust – in Him or just getting away?

Papa, I trust you enough to be my refuge, and every get away will be only to hear You more clearly…
JT

Readings for Day 86 – Colossians 1, John 6:60-71, Acts 17:1-26, John 17, Ecclesiastes 1-3

The 90 Day Challenge Day 81 – The Call To Be A Slave

th-1

“Although I am a free man and not anyone’s slave, I have made myself a slave to everyone, in order to win more people.” -1 Corinthians 9:19

Sometimes we need harsher words to face reality. Admitting I was wrong is different than admitting I have sinned. Telling someone I am sorry is different from asking for forgiveness. In this verse the HCSB Translation uses the word “slave” instead of “servant”. While both words are accurate, the term “slave” implies more.

In my seeking to reach others to faith in Christ I am to be a servant. To be a “slave” to those around me is more self-sacrificing, more humbling, more others focused. I can serve others but look after my interests. As a slave, my interests come second. As a servant I can try to find time in my schedule, when it is convenient, for others. As a slave, my time is not my own. The translation of that one word exposes my self-centeredness and how it can get in the way of winning “more people.”

Papa, guide me in living more humbly, more like a slave in order to win more people.
JT

Readings for Day 82 – Acts 18:24-28, Romans 10:14-17, Acts 26:1-11, Acts 3:1-17, 2 Samuel 16-18

The 90 Day Challenge Day 80 – He’s Extraordinary Not Me

IMG_0292

“Now we have this treasure in clay jars, so that this extraordinary power may be from God and not from us.” -2 Corinthians 4:7

I don’t know about you, but I see myself as quite ordinary – skip the “extra” prefix thank you. But ordinary is precisely the description of a clay jar. I’m just a clay jar – ordinary, fragile, subject to chips and cracks – quite easily. However, it is this ordinary fragile state God wants so His extraordinary power is visible to to others as I live out my life.

This raises a question. What do people see in me? The ordinary? The clay jar only? Focusing on my limitations or living life in my own efforts highlights the jar rather than the contents – Jesus. As I live depending on Him – He shines through. As I admit my weaknesses and look to His strength, extraordinary power shines through.

I have more questions. Does His extraordinary power shine through my words? Is His extraordinary power evident in how I handle situations everyday? When was the last time His extraordinary power was clearly evident in relating to others?

Father, let this clay jar draw more attention to the contents – You and Your extraordinary power – than to the imperfections of the jar…
JT

Readings for Day 81 – 1 Corinthians 9:19-23, Acts 16:11-15, Psalm 116, Acts 14:8-20, 2 Samuel 13-15

The 90 Day Challenge Day 78 – Hearing & Being His Voice

th

“As they were ministering to the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, Set apart for me Barnabas and Saul for the work I have called them to.” – Acts 13:2

How trusting are we, of the leading of the Holy Spirit? A group of men are gathered to worship and fast and pray. These men are all “prophets and teachers.” In the course of their time together these spiritual leaders are told by the Spirit to set apart Paul and Barnabas. Who did the Spirit speak to? All of them at once? One person speaks up and the Spirit confirms it in the others? We really do not know. My best guess is God spoke to these men about Paul and Barnabas. Certainly the lives of these two men were already headed in this direction. But other men became the affirmation of the Spirit.

Which leaves me thinking, How comfortable am I with the Spirit speaking through others about the direction and course of my life? Am I willing to trust the Spirit to speak through others? Like Paul and Barnabas, when the Spirit speaks through others on the course of my life, it is most often an affirmation of what the Spirit is already doing and speaking into my life.

On the flip side, I must also be willing for the Spirit to speak to and through me to others about what He wants to do in and through their lives. My words can be God’s means of affirming the direction of the life of another.

Papa, keep me open to receive from Your Spirit through others, and to be Your voice into the lives of others for Your glory.
JT

Readings for Day 79 – Joel 2:18-32, Ezekiel 36:22-30, John 16:5-15, Psalm 131, 2 Samuel 7-9

The 90 Day Challenge Day 76 – Choosing Gentleness

th-7

“Brothers, if someone is caught in any wrongdoing, you who are spiritual should restore such a person with a gentle spirit, watching out for yourselves so you won’t be tempted.” -Galatians 6:1

When someone is caught in any wrongdoing our reaction is often quite different than what is said here. If the wrongdoing is “serious” enough the typical response is anger, in word and/or action. At the height of spiritual pride we may even assume our “righteous anger” is what God would do. Or we might just cut them off. When we do so we forget the goal is restoration, not punishment. The goal is restoration not the waging of a purity war. After all, is not the cross gentleness on full display? Jesus remained on the cross by choice to save us from our sins. Yes, that is grace and mercy. It is also being gentle. Jesus was gentle with the woman caught in adultery. He was gentle with Peter’s denial of Him.

Being gentle does not allow me to excuse or overlook sin in our lives, or the lives of fellow believers. It means our goal is to restore them to a deeper relationship with Christ. God’s call on me is not to be angry with the sinful choices of others, but to be loving and gentle in helping them to see their wrongdoing, to give room for the Spirit to convict them and lead them to repentance (Notice I said it is the Spirit’s role to convict), and a renewed relationship with Christ. After all, the fruit of the Spirit is gentleness…

Papa, please use me as a gentle persuader in the hands of Your Spirit.
JT

Readings for Day 77 – CATCH UP DAY
Readings for Day 78 – Acts 13, Psalm 130, Acts 15, 2 Samuel 4-6

The 90 Day Challenge Day 73 – More Than Going To The Store

th-4

“As You sent Me into the world, I also have sent them into the world.” -John 17:18

When a person receives Christ as Savior there are numerous things that we get. We get a personal relationship, forgiveness, hope, peace, power, The Holy Spirit, spiritual gifts, encouragement… the list could go on and on. It really is wonderful all we have when we have Jesus. The danger is we can view our faith only as “getting” from Him. In essence, we treat Jesus like a store. We get what we want and go home.

In this prayer, Jesus makes it clear that our faith in Christ is more than a store. It is also a mission outpost. It is a sending community. We are sent as Jesus was sent. When we choose Jesus we are sent like Him. Like Jesus, I/we are sent to seek and to save that which was lost. Like Jesus, I am sent not to call the righteous but sinners. Like Jesus, I am sent to make disciples who in turn make disciples. The question is, am I living a “sent” life?

Father, open wide the doors of living a greater “sent” life.
JT

Readings for Day 74 – Psalm 123, Mark 12:28-31, 1 Corinthians 13, 1 John 4:7-19, 1 Samuel 25-27