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

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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

Monday Motivation: Standing Alone

We are creatures of comfort and with that comes our ingrained desire to be liked and agreed with.  Even the most staunch introverts and individual thinkers still wish to be heard and understood.

So, imagine if you will, what it was like in Noah’s day when he was commanded by God to build the ark.  Imagine what it was like to be the only man who stood for God in an evil, sinful generation.  Sometimes we bemoan the wickedness of our current time, but I believe it is nowhere near as bad as Noah’s time on earth.  It must have been if God wished to destroy his creation (Genesis 6:12-13).

But look at Noah’s example.  We have to look no further than Noah to see what it would look like to stand alone for God.  As difficult as that was, he was still willing to live a righteous and blameless life before God(Genesis 6:9).  Imagine not having the support of other Christians in the church like we do today.  Think about what it would be like to spend 100 years building the ark, all the while preaching to the lost of their impending judgment, and not having a single convert!  Would you get discouraged?  Would you still be willing to stand for God if you were the only one left to do so?

Today and every day, we as Christians must all make that decision.  Every day we must decide to deny ourselves, our desires and our wants, and live an obedient life for God (Luke 9:23).  Only in living by faith and giving our lives to God do we have the opportunity to save them (Luke 9:24).

Make that commitment right now to wholly and lovingly give your life to God.

-Joe

Monday Motivation: Jesus as Lord

“The Lord reigns; he is robed in majesty;
    the Lord is robed; he has put on strength as his belt.
Yes, the world is established; it shall never be moved.
Your throne is established from of old;
    you are from everlasting.

The floods have lifted up, O Lord,
    the floods have lifted up their voice;
    the floods lift up their roaring.
Mightier than the thunders of many waters,
    mightier than the waves of the sea,
    the Lord on high is mighty!

Your decrees are very trustworthy;
    holiness befits your house,
    O Lord, forevermore.”

(Psalm 93:1-5)

Jesus is Lord.

JESUS IS LORD.

JESUS IS LORD!!!

Just let that sink in.  We have a King, a Lord who loves us beyond compare.  We have a Lord who is our Savior, who died on a cross to redeem us.  We have a Lord who has defeated death and is seated at the right hand of God in Heaven, and who is coming again to take us there.

JESUS IS LORD!!!  Make sure you live like you believe it.

-Joe

Monday Motivation: Real Discipleship

“Then Jesus told his disciples, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. 25 For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it. 26 For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul? Or what shall a man give in return for his soul?” (Matthew 16:24-26)

“34 A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. 35 By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” (John 13:34-35)

“I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinedresser. 2 Every branch in me that does not bear fruit he takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes, that it may bear more fruit. 3 Already you are clean because of the word that I have spoken to you. 4 Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me.” (John 15:1-4)

Disciple: One who follows Christ and is a student of his teaching.

It’s common practice in the hiking community to take on a trail name while out on the trail. This practice originated with Appalachian Trail thru-hikers and is now somewhat of a tradition. With the help of some other hikers, I decided that if I ever thru-hiked the Appalachian Trail, I would take the name “Disciple” as my trail name because it summarizes what I want my life to be about: following faithfully in the footsteps of Jesus.

So what does that really mean? It means I must pick up my cross daily to follow him. I must sacrifice self if I’m to serve Christ completely (Matthew 16:24-26). It also means I must love him with all my heart and love others as myself. Jesus exemplified love to the world, and as a disciple of his, I should do the same (John 13:34-35). Finally, it means that I must stay close to my Lord and Teacher. I must learn from his example and his word in order to be as fruitful as possible in my lifetime (John 15:1-4).

What are you doing today and in the week to come to be a disciple of Christ and to follow him to the best of your ability?

-Joe