We are to live with great expectation because our hope originates from a living Savior. That's why in the midst of difficult times, we can say, "it is well with my soul."
Scripture References: Jeremiah 29:11; Hebrews 11:1; 1 Peter 1:3-5; Jude 1:21; Proverbs 18:10; Psalm 91:2; Psalm 46:1; Nahum 1:7; Mark 5:21-43; Mark 3:21; Isaiah 40:25-31.
We keep sending people away from our real story because we want a healthy story. Yet, there is hope in the whole story. It can end well, it can be changed. But if you get yourself closed off, you’re not only injured, you’re also isolated and your story isn't supposed to be lived alone.
So Ruth, against all odds, stays with Naomi and they get back to Israel. Then they end up in Boaz’s field. And in the midst of this, who is giving Ruth all the ins and outs of what she should do? Naomi. Naomi helped change Ruth’s life, helped change Ruth’s story because she understood the culture, she understood what was going on. Finally married, they have a son named Obed, who became the father of Jesse, who became the father of David. But what would have happened had Ruth stayed back in the foreign land? (I figure God would have another way of doing it but David wouldn’t be in the line.) I believe your desire to be alone is the enemy’s attempt to destroy your destiny. Don’t face it alone. You can’t, and you should not, face real life alone. We need each other. As you allow others to take part in your life, you may be bringing healing to their lives, as they bring healing to yours. Ruth’s life was changed and healed because Naomi took interest in her. But in the end Naomi’s life was healed, as well, because Ruth helped heal her.
How you handle your story will help determine the outcome of someone else’s story.
Scripture References: Mark 5:1-20; Revelations 12:11; John 4:1-42; 2 Corinthians 12:1-10; The Book of Ruth
He [Peter] closes this section in 1 Peter (Chapter 4)....in verse 11, he says, "If anyone speaks, he should do it as one speaking the very words of God; if anyone serves he should do it with the strength God provides." Why? "So that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ. To Him be the glory and the power for ever and ever." Our practice must lead to praise, our work must culminate in worship so that in all things God receives the glory.
Scripture References: 1 Peter 4:7-11; Deuteronomy 28:37; Proverbs 14:12; Jeremiah 4:22; Isaiah 5:20-21; 23-24; Matthew 24:10; Psalm 47:8; 1 John 2:28; 1 Corinthians 13:7; Proverbs 10:12; 1 Corinthians 4:2
Get used to different.
Get used to different and the reason that we're different is to point to Him...not just to be different, not just to be weird, not just to stand out in a crowd, but we're to be different from the inside out so that we make a difference.
Scripture References: Matthew 7:21-23; Isaiah 29:13; 1 Corinthians 1:21; James 2:18-19.
Final Prayer: For each one who thought of someone that they know that's still a slave to fear ... [they] will have an understanding that to have a vertical fellowship with You they need to have a relationship with You. Maybe it needs to start first with us having a horizontal relationship with one another.....then we can get past the differences, get past the comments, get past the appearances and see to the heart of the matter ... to build a bridge to make that time together and build a relationship so that there can be a relationship with You ... not that we get sucked in and be of the world, Lord God, or just be here or in the world. Help us to stand firm as we make these contacts, because Lord we’re not here for ourselves, we're not here just to serve ourselves, we’re here to honor You and to seek others to come to know You.
Scripture References: Acts 2:41-42; Hebrews 10:25; Ecclesiastes 4:9-10; Proverbs 27:17; Phillipians 2:1-4; Colossians 3:12-14; Genesis 3:8-9; 1 John 1:3, 1 Corinthians 1:19; Romans 12:2.
When you pray, I want you to always remember this: it's better to have a heart that has no words to say, than have words to say without a heart.
He [Daniel] confessed the nation's disobedience to God's Word, which is to be our life instruction manual. We need to have a firm grasp on what God says. (Colossians 3:16, Hebrews 4:12, Romans 7:22, 1 John 5:2-3, Psalm 119:103).
Prayer is: Confession (Daniel 9:4-5a), Acceptance (Daniel 9:11), Forgiveness (Daniel 9:19), Love (Daniel 9:23).
Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord. Acts 3:19
We need to get built up in our spiritual realm so we can stand in the spiritual battle.
Challenge: Take the top three issues you are facing in your life right now, and for the next 70 days, make them a matter of intentional prayer. See what God does!
Additional Scripture References: Daniel 9:1-23; Malachi 4:6; Proverbs 28:13; 1 Corinthians 8:3
Those who had been scattered preached the word wherever they went. Philip went down to a city in Samaria and proclaimed the Messiah there. When the crowds heard Philip and saw the signs he performed, they all paid close attention to what he said. Acts 8:4-6
Phillip enjoyed a purpose wherever he was. He was presenting the word, he was preaching.
You see if we think our mission is to cross the ocean, I think that's spiritually farsighted. And if we just think our family is the only mission, we are spiritually nearsighted. Our mission is where we are. We need to be intentionally living...whether it’s with our family, whether it’s with our work, whether it’s at school, wherever we are, we need to be intentional about it, It’s our mission.
Scripture References: Acts 8:1-8; John 16:2; Acts 1:8; Romans 8:28; 1 Peter 2:9; Colossians 4:5; Matthew 5:13-16; Acts 11:19-21
Your conversations, seasoned with salt, so many times can make fears disappear, your enemy beg for mercy. Just be open to a situation and bring light where there is no light. God has asked us to be salt in this world - to preserve, to enhance. To lower cold hearts, sweeten bitter hearts. Only do it by making a difference, by being different in this world. So as you face school, as you face certain situations, remember we need to be different in how we go forward.
You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled underfoot. Matthew 5:13
Scripture References: Matthew 5:13, Luke 14:34-36, Mark 9:50, Colossians 4:2-6, Leviticus 26:7-8
There are John's in the world, there are Janet's in the world....not just in a story but in your life that need to know that God loves them, need to know that it's o.k. And if we who "quote" know the truth and know a Savior who loves us, then why aren't we being a blessing to others more so than we are to one another? Blessing to be blessed is the very part of the Christian experience or lifestyle. Remember the scripture this morning God loves a hilarious giver? It's more blessed to give than to receive. What if we were to share blessings with one another or with other people hilariously? Speak life into people's lives, not just when things are wrong, but when things are right. Be a blessing that goes beyond that. Let's practice living a blessing and a blessing life. I don't want to turn around and end up like John Milburn Davis. I want to be a blessing so that my life makes a difference. Would you like the same?
The Lord bless you and keep you;
the Lord make his face shine on you and be gracious to you;
the Lord turn his face toward you and give you peace.
Scripture References: Acts 20:35; 2 Corinthians 9:6-7; Numbers 6:24-26; 1 Peter 1:4; James 1:17; John 10:27.
We want the church to rise up. We need to have unity in our leadership and a combined vision. We need to have relevant teaching. We need to have participants, not just spectators. We need to wait on the Lord, we can withstand the darkness of the day. The early church prayed for the power of the Holy Sprit because they knew they could not go it alone, that's what Jesus asked for. We need to pray that the Holy Spirt will move us and direct us. You see, if we want to walk as light in this present darkness, we must choose not to be afraid of the dark. The enemy has no grip on us because this world is not our home. Even if the future seems cloudy, we serve a God, our Savior Lord Jesus Christ, whose light dispels the darkness of the unseen, the unknown and the uncertain. The one who has power over life and death has your future. Isaiah 41:10 says, "Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.
Scripture References: Galatians 1:3-5; Romans 1:18-32; Isaiah 9:1-4; Psalm 27; Hebrews 13:89; Jeremiah 29:11; Joshua 1:9; Matthew 6:34; Psalm 56:3; John 17:6-19; John 14; Ephesians 6; Acts 1:1-8; Isaiah 41:10.