BE LIKE JESUS
And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God (Romans 12:2 New King James Version).
I’m sure many of us remember the commercial for Gatorade back in the 1990’s (I know, I’m somewhat dating myself here) with the tagline “I want to be like Mike”. This was an ad campaign pushing Gatorade which implied we could become as athletically successful as Michael Jordan by drinking it. I am not a Gatorade fan, but I remember how the catchy little jingle would get stuck in my head and I’d be singing right along with every commercial.
Advertising is a great industry. It makes us think we need a big screen TV, how we absolutely can’t live without fabulous granite countertops in the kitchen, how we simply must have the totally rad new high tech gadget. Ad campaigns are great at hitting their target marketing groups. Just look at Christmas time when the toy commercials come out; our kids see and begin to create lists of “can’t live without it” items. Marketers have become skilled at telling us what we have is not good enough, that we just can’t be content with mediocrity and what we already have. More, more, more is their cry. More sales, more money, more target groups.
Imagination, books and creativity are not enough anymore; we have to have enhancements to assist and aid us in being creative. I love to color with crayons; I keep a box and a coloring book for when I need to relax and want to do something totally creative that reminds me of childhood rainy days. I have to hunt to find a simple coloring book; now there are activity books that not only include coloring pages, but dot to dots, word scrambles, fill-ins, and hosts of other “creative and educational enhancements.” All I want is a plain coloring book without all the extras.
God’s word tells us not to be conformed to this world. He says no matter how good the advertising is we don’t need all that’s out there. How do we know we don’t need it? By transforming our mind, and renewing it through reading His word. When we commit to reading Scripture we pray more effectively, align ourselves with His word, learn how to be content with what we have, and we are able to truly distinguish our wants from our needs. We are more fervent witnesses for Christ when we set the example of self-control and good stewardship. Is it easy? Not by any means, but a steady, consistent diet of the Holy Bible makes it easier because God is on our side, and He is faithful, loving, and longs to see us walk in His will.
As Christian followers we are different than the rest of the world. By becoming content and taking care of what God has entrusted to us, which is everything, we learn to trust God to help us learn our true wants from our true needs. We should want to be like Jesus, not Mike. We should be content with what we have and not fall victim to the latest advertising craze. Church, it’s time to differentiate ourselves from the rest of the world and say, quite simply, that we need and want Jesus!
Let’s Pray: Dear Sweet Heavenly Father, there is none so sweet and beautiful as You! You are our breath and our song, our food and our drink! You are our praise and we bow down in worship to You! You are all we need and You are the first of our wants. Father, draw us closer to You and draw closer to us! Cover us ever more with Your wings and surround us with Your presence. May we learn to be content with what You have blessed us with, may we learn to feed ourselves daily on Your Holy Word, may we listen to You when You speak to us about what we don’t have to have and what we do. Father, Spirit, Jesus, reveal Yourself to us more and more each day, in more and more ways. May we trust in You to provide our needs and teach us to be good stewards. May Your light shine through us and truly set us apart from this world. Renew and transform our minds. We give You all glory and praise! In Jesus’ name, Amen.
Today’s Attitude of Worship: Make a list of your wants and needs. Take 24 hours in which you avoid any type of advertisement and commercial break, this may be difficult but can be done. Instead of watching, reading or hearing the ads, read Scripture instead. After 24 hours, spend some time in prayer about your wants and needs list made the day before and then make another list of your wants and needs. What had God revealed to you about it?
Additional Scriptures: Philippians 4:11-12; 1 Timothy 6:6; Hebrews 13:5; Ephesians 5:1
I have set the LORD always before me; because He is at my right hand I shall not be moved. Therefore my heart is glad, and my glory rejoices; my flesh also will rest in hope (Psalm 16:8-9 New King James Version).
As humans, our eyes are in front of our head looking forward. We are not able to see what’s next to or behind us without turning our heads. For most people, it’s much easier to focus on what is in front of us. When we place God before us, we focus on Him, we follow where He leads, and we won’t need to worry about what’s going on around us since He carves out our path. How do we place God in front? When we purpose in our hearts to make Him our highest priority every day, when we make a conscious decision to cultivate our relationship with Him first before any other relationship. Since God is outside of time as we know it and we are time oriented creatures, it makes sense to approach this relationship when we first wake up, before starting our day.
When we set the Lord before us, the Bible tells us we shall not be moved. How awesome is this? Putting God first makes everything else we do fall into perfect place; He increases our faith, He gives strength and endurance to withstand temptations, and He walks through tests and trials with us! When we set Him before us, we can be glad and rejoice, we will have perfect peace because we know we have no need to worry since God is before us and with us. We can trust Him to work out all the details of any circumstance.
I encourage you to cultivate this love relationship today. Set the Lord before you, He is at your right hand and because of it you will be immovable! Let your flesh rest in hope that God will work out all the details and circumstances of your day, each and every day.
Let’s Pray: Oh, Dear Sweet Lord, how we love You! How we praise and exalt Your Holy name! Words cannot adequately express the amount of deep, deep love and adoration we have for You. Because of Your love and faithfulness, we are able to carry on each day. Thank You for walking with us, thank You for pointing our eyes in Your direction. Thank You for being our hope, our gladness, our joy!!! We place You before us and we focus our eyes on You. We have turned away from worry, from sadness, from heaviness because we know that You are before us and that You care so much for us that You have already worked out every detail of our day. May we have open ears and open eyes so that we can discern Your footsteps for us today. Oh, we love You! We thank You for Your attentive ear and we give You all praise and glory! In Jesus name, Amen!
Today’s Attitude of Worship: Regardless of what you have to do today, take time first, even if it’s only a moment, to get before God and speak with Him. You will find that everything else will fall right into place!
Additional Scriptures: Hebrews 11:1; Psalm 5:3; Matthew 14:25-30
I have shown you in every way, by laboring like this, that you must support the weak. And remember the words of the Lord Jesus, that He said, “It is more blessed to give than to receive” (Acts 20:35 New King James Version).
This verse has been traversing the coils and curves of my brain, penetrating itself deep into my sub-consciousness, as only Scripture can. Over the course of my life, I have always heard the latter part repeated in the context of giving sacrificial gifts or monetary offerings. While I believe gifts such as these are wonderful, I also believe there is a greater gift we can offer.
I am linguistically challenged; my family knows this and will often stump me by throwing a Spanish word into conversation. Lately, though, I have been thinking about the Spanish word for “more”, which is “mas”. Contemplating this, Christmas has come to mean, to me, “more Christ”, or “Christ more.” This year, my desire is to give more of Christ to others. What does this look like? At the moment of this writing, I have not fully defined it; however, as situations present themselves, the opportunity to give more Christ to others will be revealed.
You see, for me, since I have received Christ as my savior, it is better for me to give more of Him to others who don’t know Him. Looking at the complete verse in Acts, we are told to support the weak and remember the words of Jesus. As I move through this Christmas season and into the New Year, my hope and prayer is to bring more Christ into every area of my life – work, school, ministry, and family – to support those who are weak.
As He is the sustainer of my life, not only am I compelled to share Christ with others, I must also receive more of Him. The ability to minister to others means I, myself, must be filled with Him in order to recognize the opportunities He presents to me. Only then, will I be able to fully understand the blessing of giving.
May this Christmas season leave you with a sense of God’s peace, His presence, and a taste for more Christ!
Merry Christmas, or rather, Merry More Christ!
That which has been is what will be, That which is done is what will be done, And there is nothing new under the sun (Ecclesiastes 1:9 NKJV).
The family has been very heavy on my heart lately, specifically mine, yet what my family faces is not any different than what many other families face. I came to a realization that the devil has no new tactics, he just recycles the same ones over and over again, and it’s almost always against the family. Oh, each family is different, as well as the dynamic minute details within each situation, yet the overall attack is the same – to cause major division within, breaking apart the family unit, trying to cause God’s purposes to go unfulfilled. Strife, shame, prodigal children/parents/grandchildren, division, distraction, disillusionment, greed, pride, selfishness, believing lies instead of truth, etc..the list could go on; these are all the same tactics he uses within every family, and generally, the key players are either family or close friends of the family. Because he selects people close to us to bring the hurt, we often don’t always see it coming.
About two months ago, the Lord kept repeating to me Joshua 1:9 “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and of good courage; do not be afraid, nor be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” At the time, I thought it was because I was stepping out in faith to do something I was called to do, but had reservations about. And, it was appropriate then, but now that my husband and I are facing this family division, I believe it was also meant for this particular time. I am not going into details about our situation, but I know this is one many families face. While it’s painful, I know my God has everything all worked out for our good and for the good of the family member involved. There is nothing new under the sun, every biblical pillar had family issues, and God was for every single one of them. God is the same yesterday, today and forever, and He is for us. If God be for us, who can be against us?
Let’s Pray: Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the blessing of a new day, thank You for solid ground to walk upon and for Your Word that never returns void. Father, You are Holy and Mighty and there is NOTHING too hard for you, we come before You lifting up the families going through painful drama, families affected by the loss of a prodigal, families caught in the middle of lies, we bring these families before You and we ask for strength to stand, peace to fill their hearts, wisdom and strategies to deal with wayward children/grandchildren/ parents. Father, we know the family is close to Your heart and we press in to see Your glory revealed in every family affected. We stand strong and firm, holding the weapons You have given us, and we ask for more discernment to know when to stand still and when to move. Grant us all affected tenderness of heart toward our loved ones who have hurt us, and may we approach them with grace and love. You are worthy of all honor, and worthy of all praise no matter what we face. We stand boldly before You in Jesus’ name. Amen.
Today’s Attitude of Worship: One tactic our enemy likes to use is to separate us from the flock, he does this by shaming us into thinking we will be looked down upon by others if we share what we are going through. I’m telling you to share, you don’t have to give intimate details of your situations, but share the heartache, share the frustration, share the anger, loss and grief. It’s in the sharing with others we find we are not alone, and we have reinforcements to carry us to God in prayer and to stand strong on the offense against the fiery darts that come against us. There is much power in prayer, tap into it.
Additional Scriptures: Romans 8:31; Genesis 50:20
And who is he who will harm you if you become followers of what is good? But even if you should suffer for righteousness’ sake, you are blessed, “And do not be afraid of their threats, nor be troubled” (1 Peter 3:13-14 New King James Version).
The Bible says, “No weapon formed against you shall prosper” (Isaiah 54:17). Jesus has the victory (1 Corinthians 15:57) and because He does, we do too. There is nothing the enemy can throw at us that we cannot overcome with Christ. There is nothing he can do where Jesus hasn’t already been victorious. No matter what we may be personally going through, Jesus is right there with us and He has already won. Let’s not waste our day away worrying about something Jesus is already handling. Let the joy of the Lord be our strength (Nehemiah 8:10).
If you woke up today and feel as though the weight of the world is crashing down on you because you have an issue going on in your life, let Jesus handle it.
If you are feeling sad today, let Jesus comfort you.
If you are hungry today, let Jesus feed you.
If you have tread off the path, let Jesus lead you back to it.
If you are becoming blind, let Jesus open your eyes.
If you are going deaf, let Jesus remove the background noise.
If you are penniless, let Jesus be your financial advisor.
There is victory with Jesus, there is hope with Jesus, and there is love with Jesus. We have no worries if we trust and submit ourselves fully to Him, when we praise Him and worship at His feet. Let us get before Him, allowing Him to take all of our cares, burdens, and heavy weights. Let us walk in the freedom we have in Jesus. Let us not allow the idle chatter of others to burn within our minds and hearts. Praise Jesus and let Him stand up for us.
Let’s Pray: Dear Heavenly Father, we thank You again for another blessed day! You have granted us a “tomorrow” and for all the “tomorrows” that have become “todays” we give You thanks and praise! Father, there are many who are suffering at the hands of others and we lift them up to You. Your word says that no weapon formed against us shall prosper, that any tongue which rises up against us You shall condemn and we stand on this promise that those who are slandering us, persecuting us, trying to bring us down will not succeed. We stand firm knowing that You are Judge, Jury and the Executor of Your judgments. Lord, we ask for endurance to withstand these attacks, may our armor be strong. May we react to all situations in love, with Your grace, with Your strength, with Your wisdom and may we be humble. May we bow our heads and pray for those who hurt us, who slander us, who persecute us so that they may come to a saving knowledge of who You are. You desire all men to be saved, not just a select few and Lord, we ask for Your grace to be able to pray for all men. We love You Father, and we desire to lean on You for all things. We give You all glory, honor and praise. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
Today’s Attitude of Worship: Lay your worries down, let Jesus be your problem solver. Don’t lose sleep over things going on in your life, submit them to the Holy Spirit and let Jesus handle them. We are commanded through God’s Word to not worry, we are told to be anxious for nothing, so this is God’s way of saying we are not equipped to solve every problem on our own, and we will make ourselves physically and spiritually sick if we try to work things out. Our job is to give our situations, other people, and lives to the Lord while following His path to overcoming them.
Additional Scriptures: 1 Peter 5:6-7; Philippians 4: 6, 13; Matthew 6:25-34
****Adapted from my book Today’s Bible Treasure, Simple Christianity Volume 1****