November 21 – Your Greatest Treasure

“But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us.”  II Corinthians 4:7

God has intentionally made your earthly body fragile breakable. Scripture refers to your body as a “jar of clay.” God could have made you differently — unbreakable, indestructible — but He did not… and seemingly for a very important reason.

It seems that God wants your attention to rest upon the strength of His power and not that of your own. In fact, He would prefer that you deny yourself and be willing to die (spiritually) to your flesh in order to grow strong in His Spirit.

“And he [Jesus] said to them all, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me.” (Luke 9:23)

The more you allow your flesh to be broken through obedience to God and separation from sin, the brighter His light will shine in your life. Your vessel is fragile so that your dependence will be upon Him! His saving and sustaining power is your “TREASURE” in an earthen vessel.

PRAY: “Almighty God, You have chosen to put Your light and life in me, and I am grateful.  You are my reason for living, my hope and peace, my joy and salvation. Thank You, Lord! Amen.”

Advertisements

November 20 – Potted or Planted?

“But blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord, whose confidence is in him. He will be like a tree planted by the water that sends out its roots by the stream. It does not fear when heat comes; its leaves are always green. It has no worries in a year of drought and never fails to bear fruit”  Jeremiah 17:7-8 (NIV)

Look upon your life today as a beautiful tree. God wants you to be planted by the rivers of living water (Psalm 1:3). He sees your potential as a mature and beautiful tree of righteousness (Isaiah 61:3).

However, you cannot grow a mature tree in a POT! The pot must be broken, like Gideon’s clay pot, to allow the light of Christ to shine forth. (See Judges 7:19-21.)

Read again the text verse (Jeremiah 17:7-8) and identify six benefits of being planted:

1) Happiness – “Blessed [happy] is the man. .

2) Confidence – Hope in God.

3) Well Watered – ‘. . roots by the stream.. .

4) No Fear – Even “when [the] heat comes!”

5) No Worries – Of seasonal drought. . . life’s “ups and downs.”

6) Always Fruit Bearing – A healthy, reproductive tree.

Get planted! Put your roots down deep. . . in your CHURCH. . . in your COMMUNITY. . . in your HOME on your JOB. Find your place to function. Be the best at where you are NOW!

PRAY: “Patient Lord, I am ready to put down roots and grow strong in You.   Help me to find my proper place to serve.   In Jesus’ Name, amen”

November 19 – A Potted Christian

“Enlarge the place of thy tent, and let them stretch forth the curtains of thine habitations: spare not, lengthen the cords, and strengthen thy stakes.”  Isaiah 54:2

A large potted plant beside the house was dying. Closer inspection revealed that the roots were actually splitting the plastic pot and growing into the earth. God spoke in this situation and said, “The plant is potted and root-bound like many of My children today.”

Here are six characteristics of a “potted,” root-bound Christian.

1) Sickly – Low on vitality, wilted leaves, anemic, no testimony, no desire to worship or pray.

2) High Maintenance – Requires daily attention, water, self-centered, over dependence on pastor or friends.

3) Root-Bound – No more soil (vision), just a ball of roots (knowledge). Like a stagnant pond, nowhere to go.

4) Top Heavy – Easily blown over by winds of adversity, big headed, high, lofty with pride.

5) Unsettled – Ungrounded, easily moved about by others, no foundation, no long-term direction.

6) Sterile – No reproduction, ingrown, no room in pot for new seeds, no vision for souls, no compassion.

PRAY: “Dear God, heal my root-bound condition today.   Expand my vision and help me to grow out of the confines of my flesh to experience Your infinite provision. I pray in Jesus’ Name. Amen.”

November 18 – Binding and Loosing

“Verily, I say unto you, Whatsoever ye shall bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever ye shall loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.”  Matthew 18:18

Here Jesus was reiterating His teaching in Matthew 16:19. It is as if He is saying actually: “Whatever you decree on earth has already been decreed in heaven.”

Matthew 12:29 records Jesus saying: “Or else how can one enter into a strong man’s house, and spoil his goods, except he first bind the strong man? and then he will spoil his house.” The “strong man” represents Satan who must be bound through the Name of Jesus, and then the evil spirits can be cast out of his human dwelling place.

Conversely, then, whatever you “loose on earth” has already been “loosed in heaven.” The Holy Spirit is loosed to dispatch God’s love and healing power.

So bind the strong man of jealousy and pride, and loose the love of God. For a spirit of heaviness, loose the garment of praise and oil of joy. If you see a spirit of infirmity or sickness, bind the strong man and loose the Spirit of life and healing. A spirit of fear can be bound as the Spirit of love, power, and a sound mind is loosed upon a person. In cases of sexual perversions, loose an excellent spirit; and for idolatry, loose the true Spirit of God.

PRAY: “Hallelujah, praise to You, Lord, for Your teaching on binding and loosing .  Once I was blind, but now I can see.  Empower me by Your Spirit to help set captives free. Amen.”

November 17 – Levels of Friendship

“Iron sharpeneth iron; so a man sharpeneth the countenance of his friend.” Proverbs 27:17

Consider this definition of a friend: “A friend is one who KNOWS you as you are, UNDERSTANDS where you have been, ACCEPTS who you have become, and still gently invites you to GROW.”

Friendships help you grow. Your levels of friendship should grow also, from casual acquaintance to intimate friend. Consider what it takes to develop friendships at these four levels:

1) Acquaintance – be friendly, smile, learn names, be a great listener.

2) Casual Friendship – requires regular communication and contact; takes personal interest; being honest about your strengths and weaknesses.

3) Close Friendship – requires scheduled time together; takes interest in each other’s lives, dreams, potential; speaks of your friendship as “close.”

4) Intimate Friendship – takes more time! Assume personal responsibility for the other’s reputation. Learn how to comfort in trials and sorrows; pray for each other; be committed, loyal, faithful.

PRAY: “Dear Lord, I love you. As my friendship with You grows, help my friendship with others to grow, also.  In Jesus’ Name, amen”

November 16 – Friendship Takes Giving

“A man that hath friends must shew himself friendly: and there is a friend that sticketh closer than a brother.” Proverbs 18:24

There are three levels of giving into a friendship.

1) Comfort Level – Giving when it is convenient, fun, rewarding, or affordable. This is a selfish level of friendship.

2) Sacrificial Level – Giving to the point of personal expense. It requires certain inconvenience and contribution. This level is better than the comfort level, but there is a tendency to “keep score” or draw comparisons.

3) Faith Level – Here is where you want to be. It is giving based on obedience to God’s Word. It is unconditional. It simply asks, “What would God do?” “What would God say?”

Your friendships will prosper when you love and give unconditionally, without the expectation of return. You can only achieve this faith level through putting your trust in God. Remember, God is keeping the score. He holds your reward. His Word simply says that obedience to Him is better than sacrifice. (See I Samuel 15:22.) What you give to others, God will give back to you.

PRAY: “Giving Lord, You have given Your best to me. I desire to be Your instrument of love to others.  Increase my faith and ability to give to others unconditionally. In Jesus’ Name, amen.”

 

November 15 – Friendship Takes Persistence

“Do not forsake your friend and the friend of your father, and do not go to your brother’s house when disaster strikes you — better a neighbor nearby than a brother far away.” Proverbs 27:10 (NIV)

In Luke 11:5-8 (NIV), Jesus told a parable about a man who went to his friend at midnight to borrow three loaves of bread to entertain some guests. His friend was already in bed and said, “Don’t bother me… my children are with me in bed. I can’t getup and give you anything.” BUT, the man was PERSISTENT.  He kept knocking and asking.

Jesus said in Verse 8, that because of his IMPORTUNITY “ his friend would arise and give him as much as he needed.” Importunity is defined as “boldness, forwardness, unreasonable persistence.”

Friendship takes persistence and patience. It requires pressing in to another’s life to the point of vulnerability to test the level of love and trust. Valuable friendships do not “just happen,” nor do they happen quickly.  Friendships are developed over a course of time and experiences.

Be willing to test your friendships. Be willing to have your friendship tested by others. Stick in there with your friend for the long haul. . . the big picture. After all, God has stuck in there with YOU!

PRAY: “Lord, help me to cultivate my friendships through love, patience, and persistence.  Help me not to be so easily hurt and offended. I desire to be a friend like You. I pray in Jesus’ precious Name. Amen.”