STOP FENCING YOURSELF IN

STOP FENCING YOURSELF IN

In 2 Corinthians 6:11-13 (TMB), we read: “We didn’t fence you in. The smallness you feel comes from within you. Your lives aren’t small, but you’re living them in a small way… Open up your lives. Live openly and expansively!”

We didn’t fence you in. This statement forces us to change the way we look at life. Blame is one of those things that make us feel good about ourselves. When we blame others for what has or hasn’t happened in our lives, it means it wasn’t our fault. It means that we don’t have to do anything to change. But the phrase “we didn’t fence you in” strips us of our right to blame others. God wants us to know that no one can fence us in; no one can force us to live small lives. Other people’s actions don’t have the power to define the kind of life we’re going to live.

The smallness you feel comes from within you. This is a little hard to accept…but it’s true. Our lives aren’t the result of what’s been said about us or done to us. Our lives are the result of what’s in us, coming out of us. We may feel that we’re living small lives because of our circumstances, but the truth is that our lives are the result of who we are on the inside…not by what happens around us on the outside.

Your lives aren’t small, but you’re living them in a small way. This statement is full of hope! No matter what you look like on the outside, or how you feel about yourself on the inside, the truth is that God did not create you to live a small life. He created you in His image, after His likeness. You’re not small or insignificant because God isn’t. God has deposited so much inside of us. In fact, His Holy Spirit lives with us. We’re BIG on the inside…which means we can live BIG on the outside.

Open up your lives! Each of us have a unique purpose given to us by God. Open yourself up the possibilities that God wants to use your life for something big. And “big” doesn’t mean measuring up the person next door or on TV. “Big” means what God has for you. So stop comparing yourself to someone else. The moment you realize who God designed you to be…you won’t want to be anyone else but yourself!

[We will be releasing our second 90-Day Challenge in the coming weeks, including a new Bible Reading Plan. Until then, in celebration of Easter, we will be encouraging you to read through various chapters from God's Word.]

Daily Bible Reading:  Matthew 21

BY FAITH NOT FATE

BY FAITH NOT FATE

In Romans 9:10-13 (TMB), Paul wrote: “…To Rebecca, also, a promise was made that took priority over genetics…What God did in this case made it perfectly plain that His purpose is not a hit-or-miss thing dependent on what we do or don’t do, but a sure thing determined by His decision, flowing steadily from His initiative…”

I was born this way.” Has that thought ever crossed your mind concerning something that you’ve been trying to change about yourself? If it has, the next thought is usually, “Why did God make me this way?”, and the thought after that is always, “If God made me this way, I don’t have to change.” This line of thinking is deceptive. It’s how many people give themselves permission not to change.

We lose our temper. We tell our spouse, “I was born this way.” We overspend and get into debt. We tell ourselves, “I can’t help it. I was born this way.” We struggle with temptation. We tell our friends, “This is how I am. Take it our leave it.”

The fact that God has forgiven us doesn’t mean that we’re to accept our sins and continue in them. The Christian life isn’t one of self-acceptance but of transformation. As John the Baptist put it in John 3:30, “He must increase, but I must decrease.” We are to become more like Christ; not make Christ more like us.

So Paul points out in Romans, using the life of Rebecca as an example, that God’s promise is greater than our genetics. We may in fact have been born a certain way…but when we were born again, God placed Himself within us. Whatever our parents or grandparents or great-grandparents may or may not have passed down to us is broken through the Cross. Our life and identity no longer comes from our family tree…but from the Calvary’s tree.

We live by faith…not by fate. God’s promise, not our genetics, is what defines our lives.

[We will be releasing our second 90-Day Challenge in the coming weeks, including a new Bible Reading Plan. Until then, in celebration of Easter, we will be encouraging you to read through various chapters from God's Word.]

Daily Bible Reading:  Zechariah 9

GOD LOVED YOU BEFORE

GOD LOVED  YOU BEFORE

In Jeremiah 1:5 (NKJV), we read: “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you; Before you were born I sanctified you…”

God chose each of us before, not after:  before we were born, before we could prove ourselves to Him, before we could mature into people who would be responsible and dependable. God didn’t choose us after:  after we made the right choices, after we kept our word, or after we fulfilled all of our commitments.

It’s important for us to understand this simple truth. Why is this important? Because it means God’s love for us and commitment to us isn’t based on our performance. When God chose Jeremiah, it was before he was formed in his mother’s womb. What had Jeremiah accomplished at that time? What had he proved? Absolutely nothing…and yet God chose him anyway. You see, our good performance doesn’t earn us God’s love…and our bad performance cannot cost us His love either.

Jeremiah didn’t serve the Lord to earn His love and approval. He served the Lord because he already had it. Whether it be your devotions, your giving, or your service, what we do for the Lord should be because we are loved, not because we are trying to earn it. When we realize this, we stop striving for God’s grace and learn to accept it by faith.

[We will be releasing our second 90-Day Challenge in the coming weeks, including a new Bible Reading Plan. Until then, in celebration of Easter, we will be encouraging you to read through various chapters from God's Word.]

Daily Bible Reading:  Titus 3

REJOICE AND AGAIN I SAY REJOICE

REJOICE AND AGAIN I SAY REJOICE

In Philippians 4:4 (NKJV), we read: Rejoice in the Lord always. Again I will say, rejoice!”

This is a season to rejoice! It’s been said and it’s been recorded that the two times each year people flock to church is at Christmas and at Easter. People celebrate His birth and they celebrate His resurrection! They have heard the story of Jesus and how He is the Risen Lord! There’s something in them that wants their lives to be right with God.

Jesus is the only one that was born from a virgin birth, lived a sinless life, was crucified for man’s sins, rose on the third day and is now seated at the right hand of the Father! No other religion or name that is worshipped can compare!

Jesus’ name means more than we will ever know or comprehend. His name represents all forgiveness, all truth, and deep love! His name represents joy unspeakable, peace in troubled times, comfort in great distress and strength in weakness. Christians can call upon the name of Jesus and expect great things to happen on their behalf when they call upon His Name in Faith and according to His Word!

Rejoice this season and remember that you serve the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords – Jesus!

[We will be releasing our second 90-Day Challenge in the coming weeks, including a new Bible Reading Plan. Until then, in celebration of Easter, we will be encouraging you to read through various chapters from God's Word.]

Daily Bible Reading:  John 3

RELEASE YOUR FAITH

RELEASE YOUR FAITH

In Romans 10:8-9 (NKJV), Paul wrote: “But what does it say? ‘The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart’ (that is, the word of faith which we preach): that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.”

Christianity is a life of faith. The Christian is called to walk by faith, not by sight. Jesus established this principle when He told Thomas, “Because you have seen, you have believed. Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed,” (see John 20:29).

In Romans 10, Paul teaches that faith is located in two places:  the heart and the mouth. He mentions nothing about our heads. Faith isn’t a matter of what we can grasp with our minds. Faith is more than a thought and it’s more than just mentally agreeing with the Bible. As long as faith is something you try to contain in your mind, it’s not true faith.

Faith is meant to live in our hearts. Faith is not an emotion or a feeling. Faith is a choice we make. It’s a decision to take God at His Word. Faith is simply trusting God’s Word in spite of what everyone and everything else says. When God makes a promise, faith says, “I believe You.”

Faith starts in our hearts but it cannot stay there. Faith must move to our mouths. Faith believes and faith must speak. Faith is placed in our heart as we hear God’s Word; and faith is released when we speak God’s Word out of our mouths. Faith isn’t what we think. Faith is what we say.

Everything speaks. Our money speaks, our bodies speak, our relationships speak. They’re always talking to us about how things won’t work out, how things are wearing down, how things are too stressful. We need to talk back! Speak God’s Word over your circumstances. That’s how faith is released. When faith is believed in the heart and spoken out of our mouths, it always results in God’s supernatural intervention in our lives!

[We will be releasing our second 90-Day Challenge in the coming weeks, including a new Bible Reading Plan. Until then, in celebration of Easter, we will be encouraging you to read through various chapters from God's Word.]

Daily Bible Reading:  John 1

THE OTHER SIDE

THE OTHER SIDE

The Bible states in Mark 4:35 (NKJV): “On the same day, when evening had come, [Jesus] said to them, ‘Let us cross over to the other side.’” 

Jesus and His disciples had done some great things on that side of the Sea of Galilee…but it was time to move on. It was time to “cross over to the other side.” Jesus was always on the move. He went to unpopular places at inconvenient, even dangerous, times. He was on a mission.

When we find something that works, when we come to a comfortable place, when we’re having a good time, we like to camp out. We settle and then we cement. But God is on the move and He leads us to fulfill His purposes. That’s what Jesus was doing when He told His disciples, “It’s time to move. Let’s go over to the other side.”

There is always an “other side” for us – it represents God’s next assignment for our marriage, our kids, our mission. They say that the worst thing to do in a snow storm is to go to sleep, because you may not wake up. There’s a difference between rest and retirement. Don’t let past accomplishments keep you from your present assignment. What’s next for you? What challenge is God leading you to take on?

If you’re already on your way to the “other side”, if you’ve taken the steps needed to move toward your next assignment, you may encounter some storms along the way. But remember, if Jesus said to cross over to the other side, no matter what comes, you’re going to make it. He doesn’t abandon those He calls. He doesn’t forget those who have taken a step of faith.

[We will be releasing our second 90-Day Challenge in the coming weeks, including a new Bible Reading Plan. Until then, in celebration of Easter, we will be encouraging you to read through various chapters from God's Word.]

Daily Bible Reading:  Luke 3

SHOW ME YOUR GLORY

SHOW ME YOUR GLORY

In Exodus 33:18 (NKJV), we read: “And [Moses] said, ‘Please, show me Your glory.’” 

Moses’ prayer was simple, yet powerful. He wanted to experience God’s glory. The word “glory” means “weight.” The idea behind it was that things of value have weight to them, like gold. They’re not hollow or shallow. And that’s what Moses wanted. He wanted a relationship with God that had depth to it. He wasn’t after a one-night-stand.

Our relationship with God needs to go beyond wanting God to make us feel good about ourselves. God wants more for us than feeling better. He wants us to be better and to live better. It’s been said that man looks for better methods but God looks for better men. If our goal in life is to feel good, we’ll miss out on a lot of what God has planned for us.

If we want to experience God’s glory, the best He has, then we need to be ready for Him to take us to some uncomfortable places. The problem isn’t with Him; it’s with us. It’s not that He doesn’t want to show us His glory, but that we must deal with those things in our lives that keep us from seeing it. If we will dare to pray what Moses did, God will answer. He will take you to places that force you to deal with things you would rather ignore. It may be painful, but so was the Cross. And on the other side is always the resurrection.

[We will be releasing our second 90-Day Challenge in the coming weeks, including a new Bible Reading Plan. Until then, in celebration of Easter, we will be encouraging you to read through various chapters from God's Word.]

Daily Bible Reading:  1 Corinthians 15