February 14 – Love

“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish but have everlasting life.” John 3:16

This most familiar and most powerful Scripture in the Bible speaks of God’s love for mankind when He gave His only Son. Love is GIVING!

In a world so characterized by taking, Jesus’ disciples are recognized by their LOVE, not by their RELIGION.

“This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers.” (I John 3:16, NIV) Love is GIVING!

James 1:27 says: “Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world.” Love is GIVING!

Love must be demonstrated. You can TELL me all day how much you love me, but until you DO something to SHOW me…they are just words. James 2:18b says: “…I will shew thee my faith by my works.” Love is GIVING!

This Valentine’s Day, why not practice “pure religion” and “provoke one another to love and good works.” (See Hebrews 10:24.)

PRAY: “God of love, fill me to overflowing today with divine love, that kind of love that reaches out to others less fortunate in life with the Gospel of hope which will help them at the point of their need. In Jesus’ Name, I pray. Amen.”

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February 13 – Faithfulness

“…be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life.” Revelation 2:10c

Faithfulness is something YOU give to God. The word implies firm determination to “keep on keeping on!” God cannot make you to be faithful to His will and plan for your life. You must decide to be faithful and diligent in serving Him and giving Him all the glory due His Name.

Proverbs 28:20a: “A faithful man shall abound with blessings…”

Proverbs 13:17b: “…a faithful ambassador is health.”

Proverbs 25:13: “As the cold of snow in the time of harvest, so is a faithful messenger to them that send him: for he refresheth the soul of his masters.”

Proverbs 14:5a: “A faithful witness will not lie…”

Faithfulness is a much needed and appreciated virtue; yet, Proverbs 20:6b asks: “…but a faithful man who can find?”

Faithfulness transcends convenience, comfort, and equality. It requires one to give and love unconditionally.

God loves faithfulness! He even hands out rewards for the faithful. Psalm 31:23 says: “O love the Lord, all ye his saints: for the Lord preserveth the faithful…”

PRAY: “O Lord God, great is Your faithfulness!*  Every morning new mercies I see because of it. Help me to be faithful, too. In Jesus’ Name, amen.”

*Lamentations 3:23 (paraphrased)

February 12 – Discipleship

“And whoever doth not bear his cross, and come after me, cannot be my disciple.” Luke 14:27

Unlike the word “Christian,” which is found only three times in the Bible, “disciple” is used over three hundred times. Jesus has put out a call for people to BE disciples and to MAKE disciples, because He wants them to assist in spreading His Gospel. Jesus wants His disciples to be wise soulwinners.

The qualifications for such a task are self-denial and leading a “disciplined” life. Verse 28 asks a question: “For which of you, intending to build a tower, sitteth not down first, and counteth the cost, whether he have sufficient to finish it?” Verse 33: “So likewise, whosoever he be of you that forsaketh not all that he hath, he cannot he my disciple.

Jesus paid a high price when He left the glories of heaven to come to earth for the purpose of redeeming fallen man and restoring them to fellowship with His Father. He also asks His disciples to make choices between the things of this world and eternity’s values. Some sacrifice is involved.

As one of Jesus’ disciples, you will be a carrier of the Good News of salvation, and you will then, of necessity, have to ask yourself: Am I simply professing the EXPERIENCE of Christianity, or am I living the LIFE-STYLE of discipleship?

PRAY: “Father, help me count the cost today of true discipleship. Correct my lazy attitude toward Your Lordship in my life. I ask this in Jesus’ Name. Amen.”

 

February 11 – A Christian or a Disciple

“Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit; so shall ye be my disciples.” John 15:8

One Gallup poll reported that fifty million Americans claimed to be “Christians.” It discovered, however, that only twelve percent of those fifty million took their religious belief serious enough for it to have any effect on their lives.

What is a “Christian,” anyway? The word is mentioned only three times in the Scriptures. Webster’s Dictionary defines a “Christian” as “one who professes belief in the teachings of Jesus Christ…a member of the Christian denomination.”

Do you realize Jesus never called people to become “Christians”? He did not issue a command for us to MAKE Christians of others. He used another word…DISCIPLE. Webster defines “disciple” as “one who accepts and assists in spreading the doctrines of Jesus Christ.”

When you go beyond the passive accommodation of professing belief in Christ (even devils believe, according to James 2:19) and begin to accept and assist in spreading the Gospel, you become His “disciple.” Your faith becomes more than an EXPERIENCE; it becomes a LIFE—STYLE! Are you a “CHRISTIAN” or a “DISCIPLE”?

PRAY: “Dear Heavenly Father, I have to answer that question, don’t I? You and I have had a wonderful relationship, but my life-style could bear more fruit. Guide me today. I pray in Jesus’ Name. Amen.”

February 10 – The Great Commission

“Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.” Matthew 28:19-20a (NIV)

Notice in this Scripture, commonly known as “The Great Commission,” Jesus commanded His followers to make “disciples” and not “converts.” A “disciple” is a follower who learns from his teacher. Did you know that your life has the influence of a teacher on those around you?

It has been said that if one evangelist added a thousand people to the church every day of the year, it would take him ten thousand years to win the whole world to Christ (taking into consideration the population growth). However, if one disciple of Jesus were to win one lost person each year and “disciple” that person to win one other person the following year, and so forth, it would take only thirty-two years to win the whole world.

Jesus ministered to the multitudes, but with His disciples He imparted His life…they ate together, worked together, worshipped together, and enjoyed fun times together. Jesus took time to develop deep personal relationships with a smaller group of friends around Him so that they would become intimately acquainted with His doctrines and empowered to teach others. That is your example! “GO and MAKE disciples!”

PRAY: “Father, I am thankful that Jesus imparts His life to me yet today through the Holy Spirit and mature disciples. Teach me so I may teach others. In Jesus’ Name, amen.”

February 9 – Joyful Obedience

 “The precepts of the Lord are right, giving joy to the heart. The commands of the Lord are radiant, giving light to the eyes.” Psalm 19:8 (NIV)

There is nothing that makes the heart of a parent more glad than to hear a child respond to instruction with “Yes, Daddy…okay, Daddy.” Joyful obedience, as opposed to reluctant obedience, is a mark of a Spirit- filled disciple. (See Psalm 40:7-8.)

You see, parents have ways of bringing about (forced) obedience in the conduct of their children, but it is so much more rewarding when they CHOOSE to obey willingly. You grow in your faith in Jesus by both hearing AND obeying His Word. (See James 1:22-25.)

Obedience is a mark of true discipleship. Jesus said, in I John 8:31b: “If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed.” It is also a condition for understanding God’s truth. Read John 7:16-17.

You are a child of the loving, heavenly Father, who loves to give good gifts and rewards to those who follow Him in JOYFUL OBEDIENCE. Encourage each other to say “no” to the world when it makes an offer. There is reward for JOYFUL OBEDIENCE to God!

PRAY: “Yes, yes, yes, Father, I will to do Your will today and, in so doing, I expect to understand more of Your Truth, as Your Word promises. In Jesus’ Name, forgive my failures to live up to Your standard of holiness. Amen.”

February 8 – The Promised Land

“…walk as children of light: (For the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness and righteousness and truth) Proving what is acceptable unto the Lord.” Ephesians 5:8b-10

Folks talk and sing about it…the Promised Land…the land flowing with milk and honey, BUT maybe your walk with God seems like a perpetual desert! “So how,” you ask, “do I get to the Promised Land?”

For Christians today, the Promised Land is not a physical PLACE but a spiritual POSITION. It is a position of growth in the Lord…FORWARD MOTION…a plane of experience called the “victorious Christian life.”  “Walking in the Spirit” (Romans 8:1) and “abiding in the Vine” (John 15:4) are commands of SPIRITUAL movement.

Stop looking for another PLACE to go…another job, another church, another opportunity. See yourself maturing IN THE SPIRIT as you walk through those spiritual Red Seas and past those spiritual giants…not wandering in circles, getting nowhere for forty years, but arriving at your PROMISED LAND by obediently following God’s road map of service along the path of life. Recognize God’s purpose in your walk HERE and NOW, and pass through that dry desert into CANAAN!

PRAY: “Father, I thank You for Your up-to-date road map with its clear directions. I need not fear any roadblocks as I walk the Highway of Holiness.* In Jesus’ Name, amen.”

*Isaiah 35:8 (paraphrased)