1 Peter 2: 20-21 --- “For what credit is there if, when you sin and are harshly treated, you endure it with patience? But if when you do what is right and suffer for it you patiently endure it, this finds favor with God. For you have been called for this purpose, since Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example for you to follow in His steps,”
Everyone wants favor in their life, however, sometimes obtaining favor can also mean having endurance through hard trials. When we are going through these trials, there are typically two different ways to respond: we can either grumble and complain or we can endure these times with patience. Of course, enduring these times is what finds favor with God, even though we might not want to accept it. Think of all that Jesus went through… He did not do wrong when He came to this world, however He was treated with the most unjust actions, yet He endured it. Why did He do this? Because He knew that by doing this, greater things would come of it. When we trust God through not only every good time, but every bad time as well, we are showing our endurance with our trust in Him and His will for our life. Once we do this, God will empower us with strength to respond in a justly way and act accordingly.
Matthew 26: 36-39 --- “Then Jesus came with them to a place called Gethsemane, and said to His disciples, Sit here while I go over there and pray." And He took with Him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, and began to be grieved and distressed. Then He said to them, My soul is deeply grieved, to the point of death; remain here and keep watch with Me." And He went a little beyond them, and fell on His face and prayed, saying, My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me; yet not as I will, but as You will."
The story of Jesus praying in Gethsemane is one of the most well known stories of prayer and exhibits Jesus’ humanity best. It is evident that Jesus was struggling with fear and anxiety which is something that we as humans, can relate to very well. However, even though Jesus was experiencing the same things that we do, what He did is what made Him win His internal battle of struggle. In verse 39, we see that Jesus “fell on His face and prayed” and He prayed until He was fully surrendered to our Father in Heaven. He became fully accepting of God’s will for His life and trusted in Him that God’s will was better than His own.
This is exactly what we as Christians should look to as a guide for when our emotions are too much to handle. We must trust God’s will and fervently pray with Him in order to have ease. If our goal is to be like Jesus, we must look at the examples that He set for us, just like this example in Gethsemane.
Daniel 1: 8-9 --- “But Daniel made up his mind that he would not defile himself with the king's choice food or with the wine which he drank; so he sought permission from the commander of the officials that he might not defile himself. Now God granted Daniel favor and compassion in the sight of the commander of the officials,”
In our current society, one of the main ideas is that each person is free to decide what is right and what is wrong. As christians in this society, it is important to remember our morals through all circumstances and the story of how Daniel exemplified this is a perfect example for us. Despite being in the Babylonian culture, Daniel committed to following the Lord’s word no matter what the cost was. When this is related to current times, sometimes people can let the fear of rejection and ridicule keep them silent rather than standing by their beliefs. This silence may let you be comfortable in society, but it will never be pleasing to the Lord. Are you a person who will stand by God’s word and not let the overpowerence of society take over? Think about this and if you may be like that, but want to change it, pray about it and keep this story of Daniel written down as a reminder to you that the Lord’s way will always be more promising of a fulfilling future.
Colossians 1: 9-12 --- “For this reason also, since the day we heard of it, we have not ceased to pray for you and to ask that you may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, so that you will walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, to please Him in all respects, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God; strengthened with all power, according to His glorious might, for the attaining of all steadfastness and patience; joyously giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified us to share in the inheritance of the saints in Light.”
When one is trying to grow their relationship with God or for this purpose, wanting others to grow their relationship with God, there is one thing that is most important that we must do and this is praying for God’s will. The external things like being an influence with Bible verses and encouragement is of course helpful, as well as inviting people to church, but the ultimate thing that one must do is pray for God’s will in their lives and in your own.
When we pray, we must not pray for what we think should happen, but instead, we should pray for what is already in the Bible. By praying for God’s will, our prayers become much more powerful. For example, by replacing the word ‘you’ with someone’s name in verse 9 and 10 from above, you are praying for someone with God’s will for their life, rather than what you believe should be their will. Of course, these things do not happen overnight, so be sure to be fervent in prayer and being faithful through the journey.
Hebrews 4:12 --- "For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.
Gods word is a powerful tool. It tells us our rights from our wrongs and helps through the best of times and the worst of times. God's word will guide us in any direction we need to go in life, but ONLY if we apply it. You cannot just read the word and say you are living a life for God. This is like reading the instructions on how to build a piece a furniture, but never actually doing it. YOU MUST MAKE THE WORDS OF THE BIBLE ACTIONS. Do not just read about how you need to change something in your life, change it. Do not just read on how to better yourself, actually apply it. Do not just read on how to live a life for God, go live your life for God. Be the action that you want to see. BE BOLD. GO BEYOND.
Ecclesiastes 5:2 --- "Do not be quick with your mouth, do not be hasty in your heart."
Often times, when you see, for example, younger siblings arguing, there is always one thing that each sibling tries to do: have the last word. Each child always tries to add in that little last bit to make their argument seem more valid. We might not realize it, but sometimes we can get caught up in trying to have the last word with God. A situation can happen in our life that we might not like the outcome of, and instead of closing our mouth and taking a step forward, we can often question God on how He is leading our life.
In order to fix this problem, we need to learn to listen, rather than speak. Let the one who created our life and our path, have the last word. Do not have attitude in your questions about life situations, but rather have gratitude and wisdom. Learn to pray and listen, learn to #liveBEYOND.
Genesis 50: 19-21 --- “But Joseph said to them, Do not be afraid, for am I in God's place? As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good in order to bring about this present result, to preserve many people alive. So therefore, do not be afraid; I will provide for you and your little ones." So he comforted them and spoke kindly to them.”
The story of Joseph with his brothers is one of the best examples of forgiveness. After all that Joseph had gone through by bearing many brunts of jealousy, plotting against him, and selfishness, he still had the ability to forgive in the end which can be a hard task for most.
When we do not forgive others it can lead to many built up emotions and resentments in our hearts. It will also begin to make us have bitter feelings and it will start to affect our emotions. Not only this, but it will also begin to affect your relationships with the other people in your life. If you have a disagreement with a family member and you cannot find it in yourself to forgive, it will continue to lead to problems until there is forgiveness. Overall, the outcomes of unforgiveness are not worth it. Do not think that forgiving is considered weak or that it is embarrassing to admit you have done wrong, but rather see it as a positive thing that you can humble yourself and not have resentments.
Genesis 25: 29-34 --- “When Jacob had cooked stew, Esau came in from the field and he was famished; and Esau said to Jacob, Please let me have a swallow of that red stuff there, for I am famished." Therefore his name was called Edom. But Jacob said, First sell me your birthright." Esau said, Behold, I am about to die; so of what use then is the birthright to me?" And Jacob said, First swear to me"; so he swore to him, and sold his birthright to Jacob.Then Jacob gave Esau bread and lentil stew; and he ate and drank, and rose and went on his way. Thus Esau despised his birthright.”
When we read the story of Jacob and Esau, the most immediate thought to come to our minds is typically, “why we would he sell his birthright for a bowl of soup?” It seems foolish and the two items do not compare to one another in terms of value. However, let’s take the context out of the actual items traded and ask ourselves if there is anything of lesser worth that we are trading for something that is truly valuable?
Think about the activities in your daily life. Are you giving up time and devotion with God for more time to do leisure activities? Are you prioritizing your hobbies or work over your personal family? These are all examples of something of value that we give up for something of lesser value. Some of these choices could ultimately be stopping us from receiving the blessings that God is trying to place in our life and we may not even realize it. Consider what you are planting in your life, because the day will come when we must reap what we have sown… do not let your personal “bowl of soup” bring an obstacle into your life.
1 John 3: 18-19 --- “Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth. This is how we know that we belong to the truth and how we set our hearts at rest in his presence:”
It can be easy for people to say “I love you’s” or “I am here for you” with a simple text or especially in the age we are in with social media. However, just as the verse above states, we should #goBEYOND just these words. If you love someone, SHOW them you love them with your actions. If you really want to be there for someone, BE THERE. It can be so easy to say you will be there and when the time comes and you are not, some people result to the mindset of “it’s the thought that counts”. It is different if one can truly not be there, but people tend to use the thought that it counts as a way out and it is ultimately not. Do not live with a mindset filled with only words and no actions. Imagine if God only gave us words through the Bible with our life and did not show us His blessings in our life everyday? People would feel a lot more lonely and have a harder time trusting through in their faith. Love more, be there more, and use actions more.
Ephesians 4:26 --- “In your anger do not sin”: Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry,”
This verse is definitely one of my favorites, because it can turn a situation completely around. It is a verse that my boyfriend and I live by and when I say it lead to some of the best conversations I mean it.
When you get angry at someone or a situation in your life (this includes being angry at God), it can be so easy to go to bed and have the mindset that you do not want to deal with it anymore and that you are going to bed to ignore it. However, this is one of the worst things to do. This is letting the devil win his fight. All it leads to is bitterness in the morning and unsolved problems. It will usually even affect your mood for the entire next day. Who wants that? Hopefully no one does! Guess what, you might lose some sleep or maybe even a lot of sleep depending on the entirety of the situation, but even if you have to stay up all night, you always work out your issue first. You must be open and willing to humble yourself by realizing no argument or anger at a problem is worth going to sleep on. We must also teach ourselves to never let our anger lead us to sin. This often happens due to feelings of retaliation or spite, which in turn, typically lead to regret of the act. You will have to face your issue at some point so never try to put it off until you do. #liveBEYOND your anger and learn to be filled with graciousness from the Holy Spirit.
Luke 1:45 --- “ Blessed is she who has believed that the Lord would fulfill his promises to her!”
Having faith through an unanswered prayer request can be one of the hardest things. It can bear a weight on you and can lead your mind to a questioning state, however there are things that we must do to ensure that we keep our faith first and do not question God. You must first and foremost make sure that you submit your life to God daily. Be sure that what you are doing honors Him and that you are always finding ways to praise Him. This will keep your mindset close to Him and keep your faith strong. Another important thing is to be sure that you #liveBEYOND the fear that comes into your head and turn those voices into praises. One of the best ways to keep fear away is to fervently read God’s word and His promises. Once you begin doing these things, you will be able to put your mind to God’s plan and have a better sense of the path you are on.
Luke 16:10 --- “Whoever can be trusted with very little can also be trusted with much, and whoever is dishonest with very little will also be dishonest with much.”
In this verse, we are reminded that if you can be faithful in small situations, than you can be faithful in the even larger ones. This is why we should always go about our daily routines in life and small obstacles with even the largest faith. Through these small things, God often starts to reveal the larger plan that He has for our life.This verse is an example of how you can live #limitless if you prioritize your faith in every aspect of your life.
We must also use this verse as a guide to how we need to be careful in life. We should never underestimate the power that a ‘small’ lie or an unfaithful action can have, because once the Devil is successful in tempting you one time, he has an even greater chance of tempting you successfully the next time. We must recognize if we need to fix something and repent for what we have done that way we can be sure to put our lives back on the path that God has intended us to be on. Never underestimate your strength and always be cautious of the small mishaps that could lead to even greater trouble.
Romans 12: 6-8 --- “Since we have gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, each of us is to exercise them accordingly: if prophecy, according to the proportion of his faith; if service, in his serving; or he who teaches, in his teaching; or he who exhorts, in his exhortation; he who gives, with liberality; he who leads, with diligence; he who shows mercy, with cheerfulness.”
God gives each of us special gifts and talents that we are to use to glorify His name and to spread His word. Sometimes, we think that unless our gift or talent has to do with a church directly, that we are inadequate to this, however this is the complete opposite. Just as Romans 12:6 says, each person has different gifts, because each person is unique in their own way and if each person had the same way of spreading God’s word, then we would never be able to spread His love to its full capacity. God gives each person their own ‘tools’ in order to carry out their talent, but we must be willing to use these tools in our daily life. We are not to feel inadequate to other people with what talent God has given us, but rather, we are to work together in order to serve Him as one body. God gives us these talents when we are born, however when we are saved, this is when He gives us the spiritual tools and opportunities in order to glorify His name.
Do not think of your talent as either a small talent or a large one to glorify God, but rather think of it as one whole talent that is doing just as God asked and leading others to Christ.
Philippians 1: 19-20 --- “for I know that this will turn out for my deliverance through your prayers and the provision of the Spirit of Jesus Christ, according to my earnest expectation and hope, that I will not be put to shame in anything, but that with all boldness, Christ will even now, as always, be exalted in my body, whether by life or by death.”
When situations come up in our life, often times, our perspective on the situation has a large impact on the outcome of our struggle. This can often be seen a lot in daily life when people are going through a hard medical situation. One person goes through the same medical condition with trust in God and contentment, while another goes through the situation anxious and feeling alone (this devotion is not to overshadow on the obstacles and effects that situations like these can have on people's physical and mental state of mind, it is simply to explain how trusting in God through situations and having a positive perspective can benefit through the journey). Take for example Paul’s arrest. He had committed no crime, however he was still locked up, but he did not let that tear him down. He knew that if he was executed, he would immediately be with Christ, however, if he was not, he would continue to spread the word of God on earth. As a christian, nothing can separate us from Christ and His love. Yes, we face difficult circumstances, but Christ dwells within us and everything that we face, He facing right there with us. Be sure to always fix your eyes on Jesus throughout everything that life brings us.
2 Corinthians 12: 8-9 --- “Concerning this I implored the Lord three times that it might leave me. And He has said to me, My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness." Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me.”
I am sure that all of us have had a time where we asked God to answer one of our prayer requests, but he did not. Then, later on life, we look back on these prayer request and we are actually thankful that he did not. In the moment of asking for this request however, we typically do not see the good in the no action that God has. There are so many promises of God answering our prayers in scripture, so why is He not answering these? There are actually several reasons.
God always does what is best for us. Therefore, if your prayer request is being unanswered, you may want to evaluate what you are asking. You need to make sure that your prayer request does not go against God’s word or His will. You may think it will be good for your life, but remember, God always knows what is best for your life. Secondly, it may be for your protection that He is not answering this request. This could be one of those situations where you may not find out until later one that it was for the better, but this is why it is so important to trust God in every aspect of your life. Lastly, the Lord could have something that is better for you that you may not realize.
There are so many more reasons, however these are just a couple of them. Overall, remember why it is important to trust God through every situation and know that He is ALWAYS listening to you and doing what is best for you.
Matthew 25: 14-15 --- “For it is just like a man about to go on a journey, who called his own slaves and entrusted his possessions to them. To one he gave five talents, to another, two, and to another, one, each according to his own ability; and he went on his journey.”
Do you ever try to compare what you are doing in life to what someone else is doing in their life? This can apply to career choices, daily choices, etc. … well, I think we all have probably had a thought like this at one point or another. When you connect this to your spiritual life, you may begin to question, “am I doing enough to honor God in my life?” Now yes, there are certain decisions and practices that we do that do not honor God, but I am talking about the basics here. If you have ever thought these things (I know I have), than you have one important thing to remember: God entrusted each of us with a specific talent or talents, according to our individual abilities. Everyone was not meant to have the same abilities, but rather we are all supposed to use our abilities together to honor and glorify God. You might be questioning your talent that makes your career and if you are, then you MUST remember that God gave you that talent for a reason and he entrusted in you to use it to glorify his name. So think to yourself, are you using your talents to honor God?
Psalm 25: 10 --- “All the paths of the LORD are loving kindness and truth To those who keep His covenant and His testimonies.”
They always say, you never truly know how someone truly is, until you live with them (whether this be good or bad qualities). You start to learn their habits, their outlooks, and the way in which they approach situations. As humans, we can often look at scripture and try to understand God’s ways. When something happens that can alter the path of our life, we try to understand every aspect of it and how God works through that situation and how He is going to help you through it. The thing is, we are not meant to just understand God’s ways in which He works right off the bat. This is why it is so important that we fervently read His word. We must keep a constant longing to grow our knowledge on the Lord and to look at every word with open eyes and an open heart. He is not just going to give us all of the knowledge we need right after we have been saved by Him. He wants us to read His Word, He wants us to pray to Him, and He wants us to always have that want to do so.
Remember the importance in reading God’s word and always keep an open mindset that He is growing our spiritual understanding everyday.
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