Hebrews 12:2 MSG
Jesus had vision. He kept going, even when it was challenging. The Bible says: ‘Because he never lost sight of where he was headed…he could put up with anything along the way: cross, shame, whatever…When you find yourselves flagging in your faith, go over that story again’ (vv.2-3 MSG). It’s our vision that fuels our passion. Ever noticed how God often transforms the worst of sinners into His greatest kingdom-builders? That’s because they’re passionate, and once that passion is harnessed and used for good they become effective in His kingdom. Knowing how vital passion is can help us understand why the enemy often wants to destroy ours. He knows once we line up our passion with God’s plan, there will be no stopping us. Passion is spiritual energy; without it we’re not going to get far in working for God’s kingdom. Jesus said to the church in Laodicea: ‘You are neither hot nor cold. I wish that you were one or the other!’ (Revelation 3:15 NLT). And those words can sometimes feel like they’re being said to us too. We can just end up going through the motions. We head to church, pray, and read the Bible, because that’s just what we do, not because we’ve got a real passion for growing a relationship with God or for growing His kingdom. So what do we do if we find ourselves lacking passion? We can ask God to increase our passion and spend time with people who are passionate about what God’s called them to do. Whatever God’s called us to do in His kingdom, let’s remember that it’s an incredible privilege and something to really get passionate about.
Gen 20-23; John 14:1-14; Ps 118:10-18; Prov 31:10-13
Hebrews 12:2 MSG
Concerning Jesus, the Bible says: “Because he never lost sight of where he was headed…he could put up with anything along the way: cross, shame, whatever…When you find yourselves flagging in your faith, go over that story again” (vv. 2-3 TM). It’s your vision that fuels your passion. Ever notice how God often transforms the worst of sinners into His greatest servants? That’s because they’re passionate, and once that passion is harnessed and redirected they become effective in His kingdom. Now you understand why the Enemy has tried so hard to destroy you. He knows once you line up your passion with God’s plan, there will be no stopping you. Passion is spiritual energy; without it you’re as limp as a wet noodle and as bland as hospital food. So instead of trying to stifle your passion, let God redirect it. Jesus told the end-age church, “You are neither hot nor cold. I wish that you were one or the other!” (Revelation 3:15 NLT). Who is He speaking to? Professing Christians who live, marry, have children, buy cars, accumulate stocks, and do all the things their modern-day counterparts do, but without passion. They were simply going through the motions! The Bible says, “Taste and see” (Psalm 34:8); in other words, step up to the plate and swing the bat! So what if you miss? The fact is you’ll miss for sure if you don’t swing! Your instinct for self-preservation can rob you of the only chance you may ever get at life. So if you’re down today, get back up. If you failed, try again. Ask God to rekindle the fires of passion within you.
Soul food: Gen 20-23; John 14:1-14; Ps 118:10-18; Prov 31:10-13
Proverbs 18:24 MSG
One day two cows looked over a fence and saw these words on a passing milk truck: “Pasteurized, Homogenized, Vitamin A added.” One cow said to the other, “It makes you feel a bit inadequate, doesn’t it?” Seriously, is that how you feel today? There’s too much to do, and not enough of you to do it? Or you don’t think you have the skill or resources? Remember the old Beatles song: “When I was younger, so much younger than today, I never needed anybody’s help in any way…Help me if you can, I’m feeling down, and I do appreciate you being round. Help me get my feet back on the ground; won’t you please, please help me?” In a perfect world Adam still couldn’t make it by himself, so God said, “I will make a helper suitable for him” (Genesis 2:18 NIV). Sometimes the solution requires more than prayer or counseling; it requires a friend who understands – especially one who has fought the same battles and won. In Acts chapter three God used Peter and John to bring about the healing of a lame man sitting at the temple gate. But there was another miracle earlier that day. Peter had just denied Jesus, fallen flat on his face, and decided to return to his old fishing job. But John refused to let go of him. As a result, Peter was restored, a lame man was healed, and three thousand people were won to Christ. You don’t need a lot of people in your life; you just need the right people. So ask God for a “true friend” who will stick by you; then you do the same for someone else.
Soul food: Gen 13-16; John 13:18-30; Ps 114; Prov 31:1-5
Ecclesiastes 9:10 NIV
The Bible says: ‘Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all your might’. It also says: ‘Whatever you do, work heartily’ (Colossians 3:23 ESV). That seems like great advice when we love what we’re doing. When we’re fully on board and passionate about our work or studies, it’s easy to put all our effort into it. But what happens when the things we’re doing now seem insignificant and unrewarding? We have to have future focus. We have to see beyond what we can see right now, and have faith that it will be useful in the future. The things we’re doing now could be preparing us for something God wants to do through us. The Bible says, ‘God is working in you to help you want to do and be able to do what pleases him’ (Philippians 2:13 NCV). What we’re doing right now may just be the stepping stones to what God’s calling us to in the future. Maybe we need these experiences, these moments, these encounters, to grow us and prepare us for what God’s got in store for us. If we only ever do what we feel like doing, or enjoy doing, we can overlook relationships and undervalue experiences essential to our future. If we’re not enjoying what we’re doing, we need to ask God to give us future focus. We have to learn to walk by faith and not by sight (take a look at 2 Corinthians 5:7), and that means we need to learn to think of God’s future plans rather than just the things we can see happening right now. Our today is connected to our tomorrow, so we need to maximise each opportunity and relationship that comes our way.
Isa 63-66; John 9:13-23; Ps 115; Prov 29:7-10
1 Kings 3:9 NIV
When God asked Solomon what he wanted, Solomon gave what we might think of as a surprising answer. Out of everything he could have wanted, he asked for the gift of wisdom. He prayed: ‘Give your servant a discerning heart…to distinguish between right and wrong. For who is able to govern this great people of yours?’ Solomon recognised the value of wisdom. We all need wisdom. From decision making to solving conflicts, we need to be able to make wise choices. And discernment fits in with this. Being able to discern between right and wrong, the truthfulness of a statement or the character of a person, helps us make those wise choices. The Bible says that discernment is a spiritual gift. In 1 Corinthians 12, Paul shows us that people are given differing gifts (see v.10). So some of us have discernment as our spiritual gift. But for those of us who don’t, we can ask God to help us be discerning and wise in our everyday decisions, faith, relationships and workplaces. ‘If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you’ (James 1:5 NIV). And when we’re filled with God’s wisdom, the decisions we make will bring peace, justice and goodness. And that will bring glory to God. When Solomon received the gift of wisdom, he was soon put to the test when two women approached him both claiming to be a baby’s mother. He managed to discern who the real mother was and we’re told that the people were in awe of him because they could see God’s wisdom in him (see 1 Kings 3:28). Can people see the same in us?
Judg 7:1-9:33; Mark 10:23-34; Ps 93; Prov 13:7-8