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Firsthand faith

“Hand-me-down faith may work when things are going well, but when pressures and problems hit, what you thought you believed will crumble…

Firsthand faith is not something you wear on the outside. Firsthand faith, in our experience, is centered deep in your own mind and heart. Sure, it’s still a work in progress, but it’s yours. It’s you. When hard times hit, you have a lot to draw on to weather the storm. In fact, firsthand faith is so real and personal that it just gets stronger when it is challenged.

Who wouldn’t want that kind of living, breathing faith?”

Excerpted from Firsthand by Ryan and Josh Shook

Daily Reflection: Are you relying on the faith of another (parent, spouse, child, friend), or do you know the Lord firsthand?

What Isn’t Apparent

“A woman in her early thirties confessed to me, ‘Apparently my husband and I cannot have children.’ Since they have yet to conceive, she fears it might never happen—a logical assumption based on solid evidence. Still, that word apparently is very telling. Faith is believing what isn’t seen, what isn’t apparent. This wise young woman is quietly leaving a door open for a miracle.”

Excerpted from The Women of Christmas by Liz Curtis Higgs

Daily Reflection: Do you tend to believe only what is apparent, rather than the unseen reality God may be in the process of unfolding?

Honoring God

The works of his hands are faithful and just; all his precepts are trustworthy. –Psalm 111:7

Psalm 111:7 speaks of God’s works, but as Christians, shouldn’t we do our best to emulate Him? Whatever task is set before us we should strive to perform to our best ability and with honesty. A man’s true character shows best when he thinks no one is looking. If we do the right thing–our best work–even when no one is around to see if we do a slip-shod job, then we’re honoring our God and no one can find fault with us.

Original Devotional by Kim Vogel Sawyer, author of What Once Was Lost

Daily Reflection: How do you honor God with your best work?

Adonai: Lord and Master

Adonai is a Hebrew name for God meaning “master, ruler, owner, lord.” It is the generic term for lord in Hebrew. It is first seen in Scripture when Abram, longing for an heir, cries out to God in Genesis 15:2. Abraham called out to God as his Master. He looked to Him in prayer through confusing circumstances. He connected his hopes to Adonai and revered Him as the One who held the answers to life in His hands. You and I should do the same. When we accept God as Master—sovereign over all—then He becomes greater and we become less. When we get to know God as our Adonai, we will become more inclined to seek Him and revere Him in appropriate measures to His glory.
How have you called out to God as your Adonai?

Excerpted [ … ]

Our Smallness

The truth is, feeling small may not be so bad after all, if in recognizing our smallness, we come to realize the wonder of God—a God who is beyond our ability to fully describe or imagine, yet Someone we are privileged to know, love, and embrace. Looking up from our fragile little lives, we are faced with the supremacy of a God who is fully capable of not only running the entire cosmos today—a task that doesn’t tax Him in the slightest—but of sustaining the affairs of our lives as well.

Excerpted from I Am Not But I Know I AM by Louie Giglio

Daily Reflection: How can you take comfort in God’s supremacy today?

Loving Others, Avoiding Resentment

“One of the things that kills empathy and compassion for someone we once felt love toward is the buildup of negative emotions, especially resentment. Jesus knows that when we’re struggling with the effects of a person’s sin against us, we will feel angry, scared, and hurt. That is human and normal. But when the person who has hurt us is not sorry, or continues to hurt us again and again, our negative emotions grow and resentment builds, putting a choke hold on all our positive feelings. I believe that is one reason why the Bible commands us to forgive when someone hurts us and why Jesus tells us to love our enemy by doing him or her good. It’s not only for their benefit but for ours, so that we don’t fill up with resentment and become toxic.

Doing good [ … ]

To Know God

Christianity is not just about adhering to a set of doctrines (although it is built on distinctive beliefs), nor is it just about living ethically (although moral choices are encouraged and expected), nor is it just about following a set of religious practices (although taking part in worship services, for example, is important). Christianity is first and foremost about a relationship to God—knowing him truly and personally.

One important distinction surfaces immediately: the difference between knowing about God and knowing God. I know many things about the current president of the United States: his likes and dislikes; his views on important issues; details about his family life, background, and so on. Most of this information has come to me through reading, watching news programs, or talking to people who know more about him than I do. I’ve never met the [ … ]

Do we see ourselves as we really are?

For most of us, the inability to accept ourselves is more debilitating than an inability to forgive ourselves. Whenever we sense—through conscious thought or through beyond-the-conscious-mind awareness—that the parts of our Self system are inconsistent, we feel anxious. With that anxiety comes a threat to the Self, and we try to defend against it.

Struggles with self-acceptance usually occur because our concept of our real self does not match up well with our ideal self. This might be because we are ashamed of things we did in the past. We can’t understand or accept how we could have done something like that. Or we have done wrong within the range of typical human behavior, yet hold unrealistic ideals that are satisfied with nothing less than our own perfection. The conceptual inconsistencies often spring from the contrast between the true self, [ … ]

Your life was meant for something more!

“But don’t just listen to God’s word. You must do what it says. Otherwise, you are only fooling yourselves.” (James 1:22, NLT)

“Just as we’re consumers of clothing and movies and huge homes and electronic gadgets, we become consumers of all things biblical. Consume, consume, consume—without ever living out the truths we’re consuming.

Guess what? God says there’s something more to life and to this whole adventure of faith. God calls us to a deeper faith, a more active faith—a faith that’s demonstrated through our actions and our lifestyle. Your life was meant for something more!”

Excerpted from Ten Days Without: Daring Adventures in Discomfort That Will Change Your World and You by Daniel Ryan Day

Daily Reflection: As Christians we’re called to live differently; but how can we do this amid all the consumer-focused excess [ … ]

Balancing Work and Family

“Contentment is found neither in the marketplace nor the family alone. It’s found when we align our priorities with his as it relates to both areas of responsibility. There’s nothing honoring to God about the workaholic who neglects his or her family. But the man or woman who refuses to provide for the family brings no honor to him either. Clearly we don’t have the luxury of choosing one or the other, since both are a permanent part of our lives. Both demand more attention than we have to give. Both originated with our Creator.”

Excerpted from When Work and Family Collide: Keeping Your Job from Cheating Your Family by Andy Stanley

Daily Reflection: In what ways do you most often experience the tension between work and family?