Monday Motivation: Self-Control

11 For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation for all people, 12 training us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in the present age, 13 waiting for our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ,”

(Titus 2:11-13)

For many of us, we have just come off of an uplifting Lord’s Day of worship and rest and are now returning to a busy work week and family/personal tasks.  In the process of performing the many responsibilities we must do every day, I pray that you would keep in mind the passage above from Titus.  While the grace of God does amazing things in our life to include offering us salvation, it also acts as our trainer, teaching us what is right and how to live.

Make it a daily reminder this week that the Lord wishes us to live upright, godly lives as we anxiously await the return of our Savior.  Be ready to turn away from unrighteousness when those situations arise and pray for self-control to face any temptation that the devil may throw at you.  And no matter what you, do it in the name of the Lord, offering him the glory he so rightfully deserves.

-Joe Butler

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Monday Motivation: He Still Creates

One of the most amazing attributes of God, and one which is passed down to us, is the ability to create.  God, out of nothing, created the entire universe, everything we can see and many things that we can’t.  Simply with the sound of his voice, the heavenly bodies found their origin.  When he uttered the words, mountains rose into view and thousands of species of birds took flight.  That beach you love to lounge on?  Created in an instant.  Your favorite animal?  It was inspired by the mind of God.

It’s amazing to think that over six days, God put into motion all that there is.  But did you know that he still creates today?  He has the power to take you and literally make you new!

“If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation.  The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.”

(2 Corinthians 5:17)

When we become one with Christ (Romans 6:3-8), he takes our old, sinful selves and banishes them once and for all (Hebrews 10:1-17).  The decaying, broken-down, sinful person inside of you is made new.  We are clothed with Christ (Galatians 3:27) and will be made like him at Christ’s return (1 John 3:2).

He still creates!

-Joe Butler

Monday Motivation: We All Need Jesus

“The problem we have with Jesus isn’t that he gives life and grace freely, but that we have to admit our need for it.  It’s hard to convince people Jesus is a great Savior when they don’t think they need saving.”

(Jefferson Bethke- “Jesus > Religion”)

Wow!

Just let that quote sink in for a minute.  We’re all sinners in need of a Savior.  The “I’m a good person” line of thinking doesn’t work with God.  Just because you think you’re better or more righteous than someone else doesn’t mean you meet Jesus’ standard of holiness.

Sound harsh?  Not really.  It’s actually quite liberating to let go of the rat race idea of trying to work our way into the good graces of God.  Just like the Pharisees treated God’s law as a checklist (John 5:39-40), we sometimes read the Bible as a policies and procedures manual in order that God will be pleased with us.  But it doesn’t work that way.  We have to learn that we’ll never check off enough boxes to be good enough to deserve his grace.

That’s the freedom we have in Christ.  When we humbly come to him as the penitent sinner that we are, he offers his grace and forgiveness free of charge.  We just have to get the point to admit that…

each and every day!

-Joe Butler

Monday Motivation: Wonderful Savior

“I lift up my eyes to the hills.
    From where does my help come?
My help comes from the Lord,
    who made heaven and earth.

He will not let your foot be moved;
    he who keeps you will not slumber.
Behold, he who keeps Israel
    will neither slumber nor sleep.

The Lord is your keeper;
    the Lord is your shade on your right hand.
The sun shall not strike you by day,
    nor the moon by night.

The Lord will keep you from all evil;
    he will keep your life.
The Lord will keep
    your going out and your coming in
    from this time forth and forevermore.”

(Psalm 121:1-8)

 

“but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Since, therefore, we have now been justified by his blood, much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God. 10 For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by his life. 11 More than that, we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation.”

(Romans 5:8-11)

What a wonderful Savior we serve!  Long before we could ever do anything to deserve it, he reconciled us to God by sacrificing himself on our behalf.  The King we serve is also our Savior, and He continually saves those who earnestly seek Him.

-Joe Butler

Monday Motivation: Follow the King

“The gospel isn’t advice: It’s the good news that you don’t need to earn your way to God; Jesus has already done it for you. And it’s a gift that you recieve by sheer grace- through God’s thoroughly unmerited favor. If you sieze that gift and keep holding on to it, then Jesus’ call won’t draw you into fanaticism or moderation. You will be passionate to make Jesus your absolute goal and priority, to orbit around him; yet when you meet somebody with a different set of priorities, a different faith, you won’t assume that they’re inferior to you. You’ll actually seek to serve them rather than oppress them. Why?  Because the gospel is not about choosing to follow advice, it’s about being called to follow a King.”

(Timothy Keller- “King’s Cross”)

I love this quote for its simplicity in explaining the effect the gospel message should have on our lives. The gospel is not a list of rules to follow, nor is it a call to religious fanaticism which excludes all outsiders different from ourselves. The gospel is a proclamation of good news, a declaration that our King has come and that he calls us into a new way of life.  Choose today to follow the King.

-Joe

Monday Motivation: Don’t Let Fear Keep You From Your Promised Land

Sometimes you’ve got to feel sorry for Moses. It must have been tough for him having to listen to all of the complaints from the nation of Israel. After all God had done for his people during their rescue from Egyptian slavery (Exodus 7-12), after all of the provision God had given them during their time in the desert, they still found enough energy to complain about their situation.

In Numbers 13, spies were sent into Canaan to take a look at the land God was giving them. Sadly, they came back to report their inability to successfully take the land. They had absolutely no faith that God was able to fulfill his promises. Fear kept God’s people from entering the Promised Land and they were punished accordingly (Numbers 14:20-45). The punishment even affected the next generation. Our fear and its results is far reaching isn’t it?

God has many great blessings for us, but sometimes we miss them because of a lack of faith. What blessings have you missed out on because you didn’t act in faith? How many times have you blamed God for your circumstances but in reality, they were self-induced? God desired to bless you but he couldn’t because you didn’t trust the gift giver.

Don’t let fear keep you from your Promised Land. Don’t miss out on the wonderful treasures that are ours through our inheritance with Jesus Christ. Don’t settle for living in the wilderness like Israel, continually pouting over your lot in life. Our God is good, his promises are true, our Promised Land is waiting. All you need is the faith to reach out and take it.

-Joe

Monday Motivation: Talk is Cheap

We’ve all heard the phrase, “Talk is cheap.”  It’s a go-to comment when we want someone to prove what they say by providing some action.  I like the phrase because in this day of social media and instant technology, it’s become easy to talk about anything we want.  It doesn’t take commitment or hard work, but simply the ability and time to spout off about anything.

There’s probably no argument more valid against Christianity in today’s world in a general sense than that we need to be more about action and less about talk.  Action is about actually doing what we say we believe.  It’s making our life match our faith.  Even the Bible spends some time specifically addressing how we should put our convictions into action:

14 What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can that faith save him? 15 If a brother or sister is poorly clothed and lacking in daily food, 16 and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, be warmed and filled,” without giving them the things needed for the body, what good is that? 17 So also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.

18 But someone will say, “You have faith and I have works.” Show me your faith apart from your works, and I will show you my faith by my works.”

(James 2:14-18)

Today and the rest of this week, strive to put your faith into action.  Open your eyes to the very real and numerous needs around you and make every effort to do something about them.  Be the example of Christ in the lives of others.

-Joe