daily devotional

Sabbath

“There remains, then, a Sabbath-rest for the people of God…” – Hebrews 4:9 Let’s look at what it means to store up heavenly treasures and how taking care of ourselves through rest is an important part of living in the abundance of God’s Kingdom. Today, I want to share the Biblical foundation for this concept — Sabbath. The Shabbat (or Sabbath) was the key to Jewish culture. In the Jewish lifestyle, one day a week was always dedicated to rest and learning instead of trade and labor. While it’s logical to think this was strictly a day of inactivity, the often overlooked fact is that knowledge and growth were also a big part of it.  The Sabbath was when everyone gathered in the synagogue to study the Torah and all were invited to teach, learn, and contribute to the body of knowledge in their community. In Jesus’ day, this stood

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Serving Your Enemies

“But love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back. Then your reward will be great, and you will be children of the Most High, because he is kind to the ungrateful and wicked.” – Luke 6:35 Today I want to discuss the fourth and last area we can consider regarding our service to others. Remember Jesus’ instruction to love our enemies. Not only loving, but serving your enemies, your competitors, and even your boss has some real practical benefits! Yes, you even have to love your boss. If you’re in business or in sports, don’t badmouth your competitors, this makes you appear weak and petty.  It may seem unbelievable that Christians are even supposed to love and serve their enemies. One benefit of loving your enemies is that you stop blaming them for your problems. As this happens, your life will

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Healthy Boundaries

“The Lord protects and preserves them— they are counted among the blessed in the land— he does not give them over to the desire of their foes.” – Psalms 41:2 As I emphasized yesterday, it is not a matter of whether or not you serve, but rather about how others perceive your service. Each of us by God’s design, has a unique thumbprint, a different string of DNA that makes us who we are. You will be able to uncover the needs of each individual with God’s help so that your impact can be exponential. I will be examining today the third area of four regarding the success of your service: You have full permission to establish healthy boundaries!  The truth is that there are people in your life, church, or community who are doing more than they should be doing. Even as they are simply serving, serving, serving; they

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How Others Experience Your Service

“You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh; rather, serve one another humbly in love” – Galatians 5:13 Today I’m going to continue looking at the second of four areas regarding your service. I think this is the most important point of all four: It’s not about whether or not I serve, but about how others experience my service as a whole. Friends, this principle deserves your consideration. In the end, it’s about what people experience from you.  As a pastor praying and counseling people, I’ve met many men who are shocked when their wife serves them divorce papers. He felt the marriage was going well. It wasn’t amazing, but it was okay. This can also happen to a woman whose husband has an affair, and she is completely unaware of it. Recognize that one of the causes

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The Greatest Enemy of Love

“There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.” – 1 John 4:18 Before we continue our discussion about service, I want to share with you the greatest enemy of love! Fear is the number one thing destroying love and service today in our country, in our schools, and everywhere else. There is no greater enemy of love than fear. It’s said in the Bible that perfect love casts out fear, but I believe it’s also true to say that perfect fear casts out love. It’s common for married couples to find a nice equilibrium in their chores where one person does the trash, and the other person does the dishes. The mirrors are cleaned by one person and the bed is made by another. When your spouse’s chore needs

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How You Think about Your Service

“I know your deeds, your love and faith, your service and perseverance, and that you are now doing more than you did at first.” – Revelations 2:19 No matter how good or bad you are at serving, I will present four areas to examine over the next several days regarding your service. It doesn’t matter whether you are serving your children, grandchildren, school, neighbors, or anyone else. We begin with a reflection that may seem unrelated, what you think about becomes who you are. The Bible says plainly in Proverbs 3:7, “As a man thinketh in his heart, so is he.” It’s written, and it’s true. A person’s life is defined by what he or she dwells on day and night. Everything you possess in life is a result of how you think. So, the first thing we want to fix is our thinking. And here’s how it can affect

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The Law of Familiarity

“Those who have served well gain an excellent standing and great assurance in their faith in Christ Jesus.” – 1 Timothy 3:13 Today I am sharing the second of two principles that you can use to measure the impact of your service. The first was the law of reciprocity, meaning what goes around comes around. The more generous and selfless we become, and serve as God leads us, the more we will receive in due time. The second principle is the law of familiarity, which states that people tend to choose what’s familiar rather than what’s better. My college marketing class taught me this.  During a road trip, let’s say one of the children has to go to the bathroom. Once you exit the highway, there are two places you can go, so you decide that while you are stopped you should grab some lunch. The first option is a

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The Law of Reciprocity

“Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.” – Luke 6:38 I would like to share with you today the first of two principles that you can use to measure the impact of your service. First, we have the reciprocity law. According to the law of reciprocity, what goes around comes around. Others always feel obligated to return favors. Although that’s not a good reason to serve someone, it still happens. If you have given to a charity, maybe you received an envelope with a collection of free return labels that have your name and address on them and a lovely picture of the countryside. Because it’s free, you think I’ll send them twenty dollars. There’s a law of reciprocity at work

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Become a Catcher

“Come, follow me,” Jesus said, “and I will send you out to fish for people.” – Matthew 4:19 He is risen! Today, we remember Jesus’ sacrifice and give thanks for what he brought to our world. As I shared yesterday, once we have been caught by the Lord, we can trust Him completely! If you’ve been caught by the Lord, something special has happened to you. You begin to see things differently… you become more patient, and your view of people who have not been caught changes. I believe now that you’ve been caught, it’s time for you to take up the role of a catcher. Seeing the world around me, so many Christians seem to look at it with judgment. But what I see is a world where people are holding out their arms, and nobody is catching them.   So what a great moment in life it is,when the

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The Lord Will Always Catch You

“Because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now, being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” – Philippians 1:5,6 Yesterday I shared the first two of three definitions of Christian love. The first is that Christian love can be defined as a verb, it is something that you do for the benefit of others. The second is that Christian love is becoming a person who is loving. I likened it to bringing a positive, contagious, and loving vibe with you everywhere you go! Lastly, Christian love is something that God does in us first and foremost. This is something you should never forget. Father Henri Nouwen, a Dutch-born Catholic priest, professor, and prolific writer, shared a fantastic story about the catcher and the flyer. While on tour with

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