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Fresh Start : Day 21

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Bryan Grisham

Day 21 (PDF version – click here)

To the Ends of the Earth: a Friendly Reminder About the Great Commission

Can you remember a time when your parents went away and left you at home? You might have been old enough to stay by yourself, or maybe you stayed with a relative or a neighbor. Before your parents left, there was always “the talk” about what was expected of you while they were gone. You heard phrases like, “don’t be late for school…shower and brush your teeth…obey those in authority over you…and NO PARTIES AT OUR HOUSE!”

At the end of the Books of Matthew, Mark, and Luke, Jesus tells his followers that He is going away. The most familiar version is Matthew 28:18-20, which reads, “And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world.”

The instructions Jesus gave in this “Great Commission” are a little more critical than those your parents might gave you. But the bottom line was that Jesus had an expectation of our behavior while He was away. He had invested a lot in his followers, and he wanted them to continue to live and act according to His standards. Jesus made it clear that He was coming back, and this was what He expected of them until His return. Do you see the parallel between Jesus and your parents?

You might be thinking, “There were many things Jesus said in the Bible, so how can we do all of them?” That’s a fair question. But consider this: throughout your life, your parents taught you many beneficial things. But before they leave you for a while, they recap the most important ones. Jesus also taught many valuable lessons. But let’s consider that one of the last things He said was likely one of the most important things He said. If Jesus had a “Top Ten” list, sharing the Good News (Gospel) of His salvation to the world would be on it!

So how does all this affect your life? For starters, you have to decide if you’re even going to obey what Jesus said. Then you have to figure out what you can do to spread the Gospel. Jesus said, “…you are the light of the world,” and “…let your light shine before men,” and “…they will know you by your love.” One of the easiest ways to spread the Gospel is simply letting God’s love flow out of you to others. You can also stretch beyond your comfort zone and engage in a WOGM Global mission venture that will take you “to the ends of the earth.”

Going deeper…

1. Read the “Great Commission” passages at the end of Matthew, Mark, and Luke. List some of the key phrases that you find in all three books.

2. Write 3-4 things you can start doing to show God’s love to people around you. Here are a few ideas to get you going: the music you listen to, the websites you visit, the things you write on FB and Twitter, the way you speak to friends, etc.

3. In your own words, say a prayer committing to obey one of the last things Jesus told you to do – spread the Gospel – and ask God to help you know how to do this more.

 

Fresh Start : Day 20

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Jon Harris

Day20 (PDF version – click here)

Victorious: You’re On the Winning Team

“These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world” (John 16:33).

What did you think about when you read this verse? Did your mind race to peace? What about the idea of good cheer or being an overcomer? Did did you immediately think about tribulation?

Read it again and take a moment to ponder this question in your heart.

I’ve asked this question to many and the overwhelming response is that people tend to immediately focus in on tribulation, trials and problems. Why is that? Why are we so conditioned to think about having trouble? What about the good things in that verse? There are three good things in that specific verse (peace, good cheer and overcome) and only one bad thing (tribulation). Yet our minds still immediately race to that one negative thing, tribulation.

The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines ‘tribulation’ as unhappiness, pain, or suffering; an experience that causes someone to suffer. To ‘overcome’ is defined like this: to defeat, to successfully deal with or gain control of something difficult.

According to these definitions, I believe most would definitely rather choose to overcome. However, in life I believe we subconsciously pull out the bad. Because we’ve endured bad experiences and painful trials, we have become conditioned to focus in on the negative. We’ve subconsciously filed these away in our brain and our mind- or soul- has made the decision to tell the brain, “these are bad, these hurt, I don’t want to feel these again, watch out for these!” We end up living our lives in fear of what may happen.

One of my favorite authors and speakers, Dr. Caroline Leaf, said it this way: “Whatever thoughts you think about the most will grow – thoughts are real physical things that grow in response to your thinking.”

Studies show that our brain is an amazing place. So amazing, in fact, that even the top neurosurgeons in the country are still learning it’s full capacity and potential. What they have learned is that our brain has incredible capacity to learn new things, to change and to expand.

How can this help us? I believe the answer lies within a choice. We must make a conscious decision to choose to focus on the “good things”. The Bible says if we do this, the peace of God will be with us (Philippians 4:8). We have the power to choose. God has given us free will and it’s up to us to decide. We have been made in the image of God. We are not victims of our genetic make-up; we are VICTORS over and above our genetic make-up.

God has given us a Bible full of promises. These promises are truths and we can take them to the bank! Seek them out, memorize them, and stand on them. Every day we have a choice. Let’s make a commitment to start each day by thanking God for sending Jesus to overcome the world for us. Thank Him for all of His many benefits. Thank Him for giving us freedom to overcome the tribulations we face.

You are an overcomer! Read that verse again. Now what do you see?

Prayer:

Lord I thank you for sending Jesus so that we may have eternal life through Him. I thank You for also sending Him so that we may be victorious in this life. Help me to learn your promises and to remember that I am a victor. In Jesus name – Amen.

Fresh Start : Day 19

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Ben Pirtle

Day 19 (PDF vereisen – click here)

Sure

When my wife and I bought our first home in Phoenix, Arizona, one of the selling points that convinced us was the enormous citrus tree in the back yard. Out of our back window was a panoramic view of lush greens which contrasted the desert brown. In the middle of it all was a radiant grapefruit tree, clothed in gold and orange. I would often stare at the tree wondering how such a large juicy fruit could grow in such an arid environment? The breathtaking beauty of color was accompanied by an aroma of grapefruit. Then there was the taste. Words cannot express the incredible taste of a grapefruit picked fresh off of the tree.

In all of the different seasons that I lived in the desert, I never questioned whether the tree in my yard was a grapefruit tree. I was certain of it. The proof of the trees identity was displayed in its fruit. It looked like grapefruit, smelled like grapefruit and most importantly, tasted like grapefruit. It was undeniably a grapefruit tree. Have you ever wondered, ‘Am I really saved?’ Have you ever had a doubt that your salvation is genuine? There is a sure fire way to have the greatest assurance and confidence in your condition. You can be certain of your salvation by examining the fruit of your life. In warning believers not to follow false prophets, the Word tells us that you can easily identify the “saved” by examining their fruit. Lets look at Matthew 7:15-17:

“Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves. Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles? Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit.”

Here we see that a bad tree cannot produce good fruit. In other words, people who haven’t been born again cannot produce fruit in accordance with the born again life!

What are the fruits that Christians should have?

Galatians 5:22-23 lists them for us: “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.”

The same passage also describes the type of fruit that grows in the life of unbelievers. “Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God” (Galatians 5:19-21).

How can we rest in assurance of our salvation? It is as simple as being a fruit inspector. Take a good look at your life. Are you growing into a person that displays the fruit of the spirit, or do you display the fruit of the flesh? You don’t have to wonder if you are really saved. You simply need to take an honest look at your fruit. The proof is in the fruit!

When we expected company in Arizona, I would often pick the fruit and place it in a bowl on my table. I would display the lush produce of my garden for others to marvel over. Our guests would see the fruit, smell the aroma and ultimately taste its goodness. God is pruning you so that He can show off His goodness to those who have not yet tasted to see just how pleasing His Kingdom is.

Are you saved? Are you sure? The proof is in your fruit.

You can further examine your fruit using the tools below:

Your salvation rests on the Word of God (John 1:12), the witness of the Holy Spirit (Romans 8:16), keeping God’s Word (I John 2:5), walking like Jesus Christ (I John 2:6), not loving the world (I John 2:15), purification (I John 3:3), love for the brethren (I John 3:14), true love (I John 3:18-19), answered prayer (I John 3:22), overcoming the world (I John 5:4).

Fresh Start : Day 18

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Zac Rowe

Day 18 (PDF version – click here)

Jesus : the Real Superhero

“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, To an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you, Who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.” (1 Peter 1:3-5)

As a child, I had a very active imagination. I’d often run around the yard with a sword cut from my grandfather’s precious plywood sheets. I knew I’d get in trouble for ruining the entire sheet of wood, but the joy of an adventure was too promising to pass up. I’d swing the sword, rescue the damsel in distress, and journey back to my castle by the sea — all before supper time, of course.

My love for adventure was trumped only by my admiration for the ultimate superhero — Superman. He was everything I wanted to be: tall, strong, mysterious, powerful, invincible even! Nothing could stop Superman as he flew across the sky, strengthened by Earth’s red sun. I remember heated arguments with my friends about the unmistakable truth that Superman was the greatest superhero ever invented.

As an adult, I’ve often wondered why I was so drawn to heroes like Superman and the thrill of an adventure across open fields to rescue someone in need. While some of this can be attributed to a boy’s natural desire for epic odysseys, I think the overarching truth is that it is our desire as humans to see good triumph over evil. What draws us to pull for the good guy in every story?

The answer: hope.

Hope is the theme of every good story. It’s the conviction that no matter how impossible the odds, our hero will overcome and rescue the person in need.

It was in this revelation that I realized the greatest hero of all really isn’t Superman. It’s hard to admit, but it’s most definitely true. I’d like to confront my 8 year-old self and try to convince him that Clark Kent’s altar ego had met his match.

If hope is the central theme by which we decide who the greatest heroes are, there is most definitely a hero better than any other. The greatest hero will be proven by His ability to provide the greatest amount of hope.

No one has given us more hope than our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

He is crowned as the Champion of Heaven. His ability to rescue has never been matched. His willingness to save cannot be questioned. Just as it says in 1 Peter 1, Jesus has given us not only a hope in this life, or for this world, but that through Jesus we have a hope that is eternal.

It’s not the hope of riches and mansions, although that’s included. It’s not the hope of happiness and health, although He promises to fill you with joy that will be your strength in the hard times. You see, the greatest superhero of all is Jesus Christ, not only because he saves us every time we fall, but because He empowers us to live a life without falling. Instead of holding onto His power and lording it over us, He freely gives it away to whoever asks. He’s a Savior and a friend. He’s the promise and the fulfillment. He’s the hope of eternal life, and the victory over every issue we encounter.

And I can honestly say, he’s been better to me than Superman ever could’ve been.

Today, let’s think and meditate on our true source of hope, Jesus Christ, the Champion of Heaven.

1 Peter 1:13 || Romans 15:13 || Romans 5:2-5 || Psalm 39:7 || Jeremiah 17:7 || Psalm 71:14

Fresh Start : Day 17

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Earl Watson

Day17 (PDF version – click here)

An Important Part of the Whole

I’ve noticed something very interesting about people when it comes to describing their physical features. Everyone tends to point out what they believe to be their major defects first. We live in a culture that puts so much emphasis on the wrong thing, and I admit this affects us all. We measure our success, or lack there of, by that of another. The way that we view ourselves in light of gifts and talents, when it comes to our purpose and calling, is usually very negative. Yet all of those thoughts are totally irrelevant when we begin to believe what the Word of God has to say about us.

We are all members of one body; therefore, we each have a specific purpose that God designed for us to fulfill. God made everyone for a special and unique reason. Not only is every individual unique, but also God’s purpose for him or her in this life is necessary. Consider what the Bible says:

“If the foot shall say, because I am not the hand, I am not of the body; is it therefore not of the body? And if the ear shall say, because I am not the eye, I am not of the body; is it therefore not of the body? If the whole body were an eye, where were the hearing? If the whole were hearing, where were the smelling? But now hath God set the members every one of them in the body, as it hath pleased him. And if they were all one member, where were the body” (1 Corinthians 12:15-19).

Here’s what I love about this scripture: God has placed every member in the body as it pleased Him. He is absolutely pleased with the way you and I were designed. He isn’t going to take away the talents and gifts that He intended for us to share with others. They are without repentance. To me, that says we are created with intent. The God that created us in His image is not ashamed for the way that He made us as individuals.

Since God was so intentional with the way He created us, imagine how it make Him feel when we choose to believe that our purpose is less significant than that of another. We are all created in His image. In the same respect, we shouldn’t boastfully think that the gift God has given us is more important, or should be preferred over another. Psalms 133: declares, “ Behold how good and pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity. For there the Lord commanded the blessing, even life for evermore” (1, 3).

I think the Book of Acts sets a great model of how we should live as the church. I can imagine how they all felt as they gladly received the Word of God. We are told that they had all things in common, continued daily with one accord in the temple, and went from house to house breaking bread and eating their meat with gladness and singleness of heart. I’m positive that some possessed more resources than others, but because of their singleness of heart they served together with gladness. Lets adopt the same mindset.

Praise God that your purpose is necessary. No one else is exactly like you, therefore, without you, something would be missing. The body of Christ has been given a specific mission and your role is important. Simply examine who you are, and identify your God given gifts, and you will have taken one gigantic step toward finding your purpose in life.

Prayer:

Lord, Your body, the church is fearfully and wonderfully made. We praise you for making each one of us a part of your body. Thank you for giving us all a purpose to serve in your Kingdom, as you fill us with your Spirit to do your will. Amen!

Fresh Start : Day 16

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Jeremiah Woods

Day16 (PDF version – click here)

Buried

“Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.” – Romans 6:4

Every first Wednesday at Word of God Ministries, we baptize men and women of all ages, cultures, backgrounds and social classes. It’s exhilarating to hear the crowd cheer each time someone springs up from the water, publicly declaring “I am a new man/woman, and I’ve decided to follow Jesus.” One can sense the anticipation of a new life rendered as Pastor Earl excitedly declares, “Buried in the likeness of His death and raised to walk in newness of life.” As each person walks out of the baptismal it’s as though they’re walking into this new life, forecasting deliverance with each step.

Having watched nearly 268 baptisms in 2015, I can’t help but wonder what kind of life each one went on to live. I consistently think, what if they really walked in newness of life? What if our cheers were to precede a race well run? What if their confession of faith really marked their day to day walk, and 268 people were now walking the cities of Shreveport and Bossier with new life in their bones and fresh fire in their hearts? What if we all dared to be changed and made into the image of One: Jesus Christ?

One way the Lord has always spoken to me is through nature. “For ye shall go out with joy, and be led forth with peace: the mountains and the hills shall break forth before you into singing, and all the trees of the field shall clap their hands” (Isaiah 55:12). Nature has a voice, and it’s singing. I once had the opportunity to watch a documentary on butterflies. I was utterly fascinated by their amazing mid-life transformation. Like Superman in a booth, a caterpillar can go into its cocoon as Clark Kent and return, on the other side, airborne and completely unrecognized. In order to become a butterfly,every caterpillar must encounter the cocoon.

It’s amazing how closely the caterpillar, cocoon and butterfly relate to our life walk with Jesus. It would be astonishing to see a caterpillar enter into its cocoon, only to come out the other side a caterpillar. I would be justified in saying that they missed the entire purpose of the cocoon because the cocoon was never designed for hibernation. It was made for transformation. In that same way, one would be missing the purpose of their salvation,adoption into the kingdom and baptism if they were buried in the likeness of His death, only to be raised to walk in old habits. For the caterpillar, there is no returning to a crawl when it has wings to soar.

“If so be that ye have heard him, and have been taught by him, as the truth is in Jesus: That ye put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts; And be renewed in the spirit of your mind; And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness.” Ephesians 4:21-24

What is the current transformation that the Lord is calling you to walk through? Perhaps you’ve never known Jesus personally, or you’ve recently placed other things as idols above Him. I want to challenge you to walk wholly surrendered into your own season of transformation until you no longer find yourself crawling through life, but soaring in His purposes for you.

 

Fresh Start : Day 15

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James A. McMenis

Day15 (PDF version – click here)

Prayer: You Have to Ask

James 4:2 teaches us that we have not because “we ask not.” Nothing is as fundamental to the Christian walk as prayer. I once heard that any failure in life is a prayer failure. That’s a heavy statement, but a very real one! It’s time that we understand the power of prayer and to prioritize prayer in our lives.

There are some that live with the idea that because God already knows our needs, there’s no need to pray. Many miss the importance and power of prayer. Prayer is a privilege that has been given to us by God’s grace and we must not take it for granted.

I believe that the most powerful position for any believer to be in is when they are declaring the Word of God in the authority of the Name of Jesus! With that being said, let’s look at several key principals to prayer.

First of all, we must recognize that the Biblical portrait of prayer is that of a legal petition. Notice the following parable that Jesus put forth on prayer:

“And he spake a parable unto them to this end, that men ought always to pray, and not to faint; Saying, There was in a city a judge, which feared not God, neither regarded man: And there was a widow in that city; and she came unto him, saying, Avenge me of mine adversary. And he would not for a while: but afterward he said within himself, Though I fear not God, nor regard man; Yet because this widow troubleth me, I will avenge her, lest by her continual coming she weary me. And the Lord said, Hear what the unjust judge saith. And shall not God avenge his own elect, which cry day and night unto him, though he bear long with them? I tell you that he will avenge them speedily. Nevertheless when the Son of man cometh, shall he find faith on the earth.” (Luke 19:1-8)

In this parable Jesus used a legal petition as the model. It describes a widow making a lawful request before a judge. Jesus used this example to portray the power of bringing God’s Word before Him in prayer!

Isaiah 34:16 declares,

“Seek ye out of the book of the Lord, and read: no one of these shall fail, none shall want her mate: for my mouth it hath commanded, and his spirit it hath gathered them.”

We are being challenged to seek His Word. When one makes a legal petition, they must know what grounds they have. God’s Word is our foundation in prayer! God’s word will not return unto Him void (Isaiah 55:11) and Jesus said, “If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you” (John 15:7). Learn the power of using the Word in prayer!

Secondly, we must recognize the power of the Name of Jesus! “And whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If ye shall ask any thing in my name, I will do it” (John 14:13-14). Be sure and exercise the power of His name in prayer!

Lastly, follow Jesus’ model in prayer. In Matthew 6:9-13 Jesus gives us the perfect outline for prayer. He says, “After this manner therefore pray ye” (v.9). His instruction in prayer begins with calling on God’s Kingdom and His will to be done in earth as it is in heaven. Ultimately, that should be our desire in prayer —for the will of heaven to manifest in earth!

Fresh Start : Day 14

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Ben Pirtle

Day14 (PDF version – click here)

Charged Up for Use : A Powerful Product or a Paper Weight

Isn’t technology amazing? Every day, many of us Americans wake up to the sound of our alarm clock. We check the news, check the weather, check in with our friends and family members, check our finances, check traffic reports, check our emails and social sites. We order coffee and begin communicating with the world. We do life and all of these daily events on our cell phone! Its like Star Trek, Star Wars, Back to the Future and every sci-fi gadget is now a reality. The power that we hold to adjust and move our lives is all inside of a 2.5” by 4” rectangle in our pocket. Amazing!

The power available to you and me is astounding, and it all would be impossible without one key element, the charger! Without a charger, your cell phone is nothing more than a paperweight. Without a charger all of the promise and potential of the device becomes null and void. The designed purpose of the cell phone can not be accomplished. Without power, your cell phone is simply a glass and plastic rectangle with no use other than taking up space and weighing things down.

You, much like a cell phone, were designed with incredible precision. You were designed on purpose, with a purpose. You were created for an amazing cause.

Consider what the Bible says about you:

Ephesians 2:10 says, “For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.”

Matthew 5:13 says, “Ye are the Salt of the earth.” You are designed to flavor, sustain, and preserve the earth!

Matthew 28:19 says you are to, “Go ye therefore and teach all nations.”

Acts 1:8 declares that, “You shall be witnesses unto me”

Genesis 1:26 states that you have been given Dominion to rule. You are loaded with purpose and designed to be effective and productive. You are placed here on earth at a specific time with a specific mission.

Acts 17:26 declares that God “hath made of one blood all nations of men for to dwell on all the face of the earth, and hath determined the times before appointed, and the bounds of their habitation;”

God designed all of us and He set the boundaries of when and where we live. He is very specific concerning our placement.

Ask yourself, are you fulfilling your designed purpose, or are you just taking up space?

Just like the cell phone, the key to fulfilling your purpose is to be connected to the power source! To be effective, you must be charged up!

Today if you want to fulfill your purpose, connect to the Holy Spirit. Get your power from Him. It’s the only way to function in your design!

“But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him. But God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God. For what man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him? even so the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God. Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God. Which things also we speak, not in the words which man’s wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual.” (1 Corinthians 2:9-13)

You’re created to live a life that is far more amazing than you could ever imagine. Your connection to the Holy Spirit of God (the power source) is the only way that you will ever experience your destiny!

Take a few minutes to ask the Holy Spirit to fill you with power and to move you into your designed purpose!

No more paper weights!

Fresh Start : Day 13

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Zac Rowe

Day13 (PDF version – click here)

The Father’s Giving Heart

“Jesus answered and said unto her, If thou knewest the gift of God, and who it is that saith to thee, Give me to drink; thou wouldest have asked of him, and he would have given thee living water” (John 4:10).

I’ve always thought of myself as a good gift giver. I mean as good as can be expected of your typical male. Let’s be honest, men aren’t always known for putting excessive amounts of thought into the gifts they give. But I pride myself in remembering the dress my wife admired at the mall, or the ring she showed me on some celebrity’s Instagram page. When the time is right, and you give a gift that communicates the fact that you actually ARE listening to your loved ones, the gift is that much more important.

They say the best gifts are the ones that keep on giving. No gift proves this thought more than the gift spoken of in John 4:10. So many times we read this Scripture and focus on Jesus calling Himself the living water, but it’s interesting to note that He also snuck another title in there as well.

“The gift of God…”

As much as I fancy myself a good gift giver, the truth is I am powerless to give any gift of real worth. A perfect gift keeps on giving, and that dress or ring I got my wife can only do so much. This gift of God isn’t something found on the earth, but is in fact Heavenly in nature. It’s supernatural, so as to superimpose itself over our natural reality.

Once you’ve received Jesus, the gift of God, your perspective of the world cannot stay the same. He’s the gift that keeps on giving. This means that when life casts yet another trial in your face, you can turn to this gift of God to sustain you in the storm. As the foundation of your life begins to feel shaky, you step onto the solid ground — the firm foundation of the Son of God. Life is to be lived with Him, yes, but the best life is to be lived through Him. Jesus doesn’t just want your Sunday or your Wednesday, He wants your every day. Every thought, every sense, every moment finds it’s true purpose when seen with His perspective.

God didn’t give us this perfect gift so that we could have the experience of opening it only to sit it on some obscure shelf in our hearts. No! The purpose of the Father’s gift to us is to empower us to finally find our purpose and feel empowered to walk as children of God.

Let’s be careful not to get it twisted, though. We haven’t received a gift from God because we deserved it. In fact, the opposite is true. God gave us the gift because we could NEVER deserve it on our own. None of our works or accomplishments would persuade God to give us Jesus. He doesn’t need to be persuaded.

The fact that God has given us this perfect gift doesn’t show how amazing we are. It shows how amazing He is.

There’s no need that the gift of God can’t meet. Whether in this life or the next, Jesus has already won the victory. Let’s lay down the mindset of “not having enough”. We have all we need in Jesus. He is the Living Water, Bread of Life and He is Jehovah Jireh — the promise of God’s provision. In Him there is no lack, no fault, no weakness. There is only power, love, and wholeness.

Today, ask God to make you aware of the Gift that is Jesus Christ. Your increased awareness of His strength will decrease your awareness of your weakness, and THIS is the Gift of God.

Ephesians 2:8 || Romans 6:23 || Matthew 7:11 || John 3:16 || James 1:17 || 1 Peter 4:10

Fresh Start : Day 12

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Bryan Grisham

Day12 (PDF version – click here)

Full: Becoming More Like the Holy Spirit and Less Like You

I must confess my penchant for a Sonic Route 44 Diet Coke with vanilla and easy ice. I’ve tried to quit several times, but have failed miserably. I’m not addicted, but a couple times a week my car instinctively steers into the drive thru, as if on autopilot. But what I have no interest in is a Route 39, or 40, or 41. I have been known to send it back requesting that my beverage be FILLED with the full 44 ounces (as if the loss of a few ounces would matter).

Notice how often the Bible uses the same word “filled” with respect to the Holy Ghost:

Luke 1:15 – “For he shall be great in the sight of the Lord, and shall drink neither wine nor strong drink; and he shall be filled with the Holy Ghost, even from his mother’s womb…”

Luke 1:41 – “And it came to pass, that, when Elisabeth heard the salutation of Mary, the babe leaped in her womb; and Elisabeth was filled with the Holy Ghost…”

Luke 1:67 – “And his father Zacharias was filled with the Holy Ghost, and prophesied…”

Acts 2:4 – “And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance…”

Acts 4:8 – “Then Peter, filled with the Holy Ghost, said unto them, Ye rulers of the people, and elders of Israel…”

Acts 4:31 – “And when they had prayed, the place was shaken where they were assembled together; and they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and they spake the word of God with boldness…”

Acts 9:17 – “And Ananias went his way, and entered into the house; and putting his hands on him said, Brother Saul, the Lord, even Jesus, that appeared unto thee in the way as thou camest, hath sent me, that thou mightest receive thy sight, and be filled with the Holy Ghost…”

Acts 13:9 – “Then Saul, (who also is called Paul,) filled with the Holy Ghost…”

Acts 13:52 – “And the disciples were filled with joy, and with the Holy Ghost…”

Webster’s Dictionary defines the word “filled” as “to put in as much as can be held or conveniently contained.” In other words, adding into a vessel so much of a thing that it cannot hold or contain any more of it. In the same manner, according to the scripture references above, we are to be completely consumed with the Holy Spirit to the point that there is literally no room for even the slightest increase. Now THAT’s what I call “filled.”

The references above also indicate that this filling is a specific occurrence at a specific time in the lives of these people. There are many good books and sermon series on this topic, and I will not dive any deeper into it at this time. But suffice it to say, the Bible is clear that being filled with the Holy Ghost is an active event that happens directly in you. It happened to John the Baptist, Elizabeth, Zacharias, Peter, John, Saul (who then became Paul), and the Disciples. Once this filling had occurred, their lives and ministries were never the same.

I have often said to people, “Tell me about your salvation experience.” I’m always blessed by the miraculous way God’s redeeming love reaches a heart. But I wonder if I should add, “Now, tell me about when the Holy Ghost welled up in you and began to run over the edges and spill out on all sides.” That’s even better than getting my full 44 ounces of Diet Coke!